Archive for December, 2009

Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010: More Martyrs, more Permanent Residents

China’s laws and regulations can often be confusing, writes China Daily. There are several small changes to laws regulating security guards. If one dies on duty, they will be honored with the official title of martyr, usually reserved for those the government says have died for justice. Second, security guards are banned from performing body searches or using violence.

A regulation that may change more peoples’ lives and status is Guangdong’s Provincial Service Management Regulation on Migrant Population (广东省流动人口服务管理条例), which comes into effect all over the province on January 1, after it had been tested in Shenzhen for a year. Tens of millions may bid their current transitional status in Guangdong goodbye and become permanent residents, writes Southern Metropolis Daily (南方都市报). The kind act (善举) doesn’t yet amount to a household registration reform (户籍改革), but is a step into the ideal direction, believes the paper, as it indicated the provincial government’s changing concept.

51 years ago, New China stipulated the policy that citizens who temporarily live in a city outside their regular city or district for more than three days had to carry out temporary residence registration. In 1985, given a strong current of work migration into Guangdong in the wake of the reform policies, the public security office (公安部) issued the Interim Provisions on the Management of Temporary Urban Residency (关于城镇暂住人口管理的暂行规定). The status of migrant workers was that of temporary residence. They weren’t included in the province’s GDP statistics, and they had no entitlement to governmental services. Outsiders also criticized the temporary residence permit (暂住证) as a money machine (敛财的工具) for some departments, as some cities charged several hundred Yuan RMB per temporary residence permit, and another Defense of Law and Order fee of 158 Yuan RMB was charged in Guangzhou in 2001.

The Southern Metropolis Daily suggests that the case of Sun Zhigang (孫志剛) in 2003 helped to speed up the reform of temporary residence in Guangdong. The Southern Metropolis Daily doesn’t go into details, and doesn’t mention its own role in investigating Sun Zhigang’s case (which apparently led to massive revenge by the local authorities against its editors Cheng Yizhong and Yu Huafeng).

During the new regulations’ test period in Shenzhen, Professor Zheng Xinzhen (郑梓桢), head of the Guangdong Provincial Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Sociology and Demographic Studies, said that permanent residence was a rational reform, but only a beginning, and its bonus could be applied more broadly.

Southern Metropolis Daily also addresses the question if Guangdong Province has the financial resources to live up to the new regulation’s promises. The article believes that as the first ground for the reform policies, with the highest incomes in China, Guangdong should be able to afford education to the migrants children, and make them a force in building the province. Besides, without proper education, the new generation after the initial migrants could become destabilizing factors.

____________

Related:
Household Registration System – a Personal Opinion, September 11, 2009

Thursday, December 31, 2009

JR´s Little (German) Press Review

The European Union and the United States must do more to support those countries which suffer most from climate change and added least to it, writes Dorothea Steiner in the Green Party´s gazette Schrägstrich of December 2009. Globally, the need for combatting global warming is estimated to be 100 billion Euros from 2020, she writes.

It is absurd to build walls and fences against “boat people” who have lost their livelihood to climate change, rather than supporting their countries in coping with the consequences of climate change for their societies. [...] More than “two degrees plus” hurt us all. Latest scientific calculations show that from now to 2050, we can only emit 750 billion tons more of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere if we want to keep global warming at less than an additional two degrees. Any further rise is said to be neither technically nor financially controllable.

It’s not too late to build a dyke

To learn from the Netherlands means to learn victory

In the long run, our carbon dioxide emissions needed to be reduced by 80 per cent, according to Steiner. The surprising bit: what Steiner, herself one of the two chairwomen of Lower Saxony´s Green Party, doesn´t demand much more than the older political parties, or the EU, or – in terms of money needed to be pledged to poor countries to cope with global warming – not all that far from Hilary Clinton´s qualified offer in Copenhagen. Ms Steiner does however remind her readers that the German government must tell the citizens in detail how they will need to help to achieve the stated goals.

Giesbert Wiltfang, a dykemaster in Krummhörn, Ostfriesland, is not so worried, reports the Ostfriesen-Zeitung (East Frisian Times) of Tuesday. Wiltfang refers to the Lower Saxony Water Management, Coastal Defence and Nature Conservation Agency´s data: the  agency´s tide gauge on Norderney has recorded no tidal rise in addition to the 25 centimeters per century which had long been known. Therefore, the sea level was certainly rising, but its rise wasn´t accelerating. Wiltfang doesn´t want to play the issue down, but carbon dioxide wasn´t simply poisonous: “After all, the flora needs carbon dioxide. One shouldn´t vilify it.” East Frisians had little to fear from rising temperatures: “After all, we are profiting from it – tourism, farming, lower heating costs. When lowlands (like the Netherlands or Ostfriesland) are threatened, “they must build dykes”.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dumpstuff ’09

Before the are leaving this decade (the 2000s, that’s the timespan from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2009), let’s do away with some unnecessary things here in Germany.

  • the German-Chinese “Dialog on the Rule of Law” (Rechtsstaatsdialog), initiated by former chancellor Gerhard Schröder and then Chinese chief state councillor Zhu Rongji, in 1999. It’s a waste of money and time.
  • some aspects of our country’s family policies, especially the litter bonuses. We don’t need to encourage parents to have more children. We “only” need to take better care of the kids who are already here. That may even lead to higher birthrates. And if not, let’s think hard: won’t low birthrates offer opportunities, too?
  • the Non-Smokers’ Protecton Law (Nichtraucherschutzgesetz). Smokers may stink up the air, but conferences which turned their venues into heavy industrial zones usually achieved more, than all the treehugger events of these days. We may live shorter, but we may also accomplish more in our lives.

Further suggestions from home and abroad are welcome, but hurry up. This decade is rapidly drawing to a close. And before anyone comes up with dumb ideas, lemme tell you that this beautiful blog is here to stay.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Obituary: Akmal Shaikh, 1956 – 2009

Not every Briton or European will be appalled that Akmal Shaikh was sentenced to death, and executed on Tuesday. “They get away with every excuse” is frequently the tenor uttered by fellow citizens (or a big tabloid) here in Germany when extenuating circumstances lead to an extenuated verdict in our courts. Obviously, you better won’t smuggle drugs anywhere, and if you absolutely have to do it, you’d better not try in China or Singapore.

In Mr Shaikh’s case, a mental disorder – bipolar disorder or manic depression – could have been an extenuating factor. It apparently didn’t count in his trial in Xinjiang, or in China’s Supreme People’s Court’s review of the verdict. The BBC quotes Xinhua as saying that the supreme court hadn’t been provided with any documentation proving that Akmal Shaikh had a mental disorder. If this was really the wording, it should have been the prosecutors’ job to prove that he hadn’t.

In his reaction to Mr Shaikh’s execution, British prime minister Gordon Brown, stated that he was particularly concerned that no mental health assessment was undertaken. The China Global Times‘ take of  Mr Shaikh’s mental state in an article of December 24 was that

arguably, Shaikh has a mental disorder. But, China has its own definition of mental illness, and by that he is deemed to be mentally sound.

The fact that Shaikh is the first European to be executed in China in 50 years is sensational enough to stir up public emotion. But viewed in context, the uniform application of sentencing standards for both the Chinese and foreigners underscores the progress of China’s legal system, which is steadily building the principle of rule of law.

If politics plays a role in public emotion elsewhere, it certainly does in the Global Time’s coverage.

For the Chinese side, the case is sensitive because it brings back the black memory of the Opium War started by the British more than a century ago that dragged the country through a lengthy nightmarish period.

The critical limit where the death penalty may apply for drug smugglers or producers is at 50 grams of heroin or 1 kg of opium, China Daily wrote two years ago. It may lead to the death penalty, but the catalog starts with 15-years jail sentences.

It looks pretty bold to say that Akmal Shaikh’s execution were an indication for  progress in China’s legal system.

____________

Related:
Expressing myself, November 20, 2009

Related/Update:
“End of Laissez-Faire”, Junjie’s China Blog, Dec 30, 2009

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Teng Biao: Invalid Use of Testimony

Teng Biao (滕彪), a lawyer and one of the founders of the Open Constitution Initiative, has made a statement on a testimony to the Beijing Public Security Bureau  which was apparently used as “evidence” in the trial of Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波), which ended on Friday with an eleven-year jail sentence. In his statement of Friday, he points out that he didn’t even mention Liu Xiaobo in his testimony to the PSB, and that he hadn’t been questioned and cross-examined as a witness in court for verification, as required by article 47 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Under the Jacaranda has published Teng Biao’s statement in Chinese, and an English translation. His statement also refers to use which had been made in Hu Jia’s verdict.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Excerpts from Hermit’s Memoirs: “My first Chinese American Pizza”

Bremen – As we all know, China was subjected to a century-and-a-half of humiliation and cruelty at the hands of the Western imperialist forces. There are many small stories of Chinese individual fates which add up to the big historical picture, and Hermit, a well-known Taoist scientist and expert on Western imperialism and its everlasting snaky schemes, has some stories to share, concerning the more recent history. The following are excerpts from his memoirs (to be published in 2010), and in the following episode, he remembers his years of hardship as a student in Northern Germany, probably somewhere around 1990.

click here for the BIG pictureUnce Upon a Time in Bremen-Hemelingen: Hermit's Chinese American Pizza

Unce Upon a Time in Bremen-Hemelingen: Hermit's Chinese American Pizza

Once upon a time in Bremen-Hemelingen, when I was a student of natural sciences in Germany, I opened a pizza parlor with some compatriot classmates. We called our pizza the Chinese American Pizza, but those stupid German passer-bys only looked at our big billboard and laughed in a silly way. When our market research team asked them why they were laughing, they said that American Pizza was just American Pizza, and that it was as simple as that.

We made the earnest representation to them that pizza was Italian before it was American, and that the Americans only stole it, and that it was silly to say that American pizza was hotter than Italian pizza or the original Chinese Pizza (invented in 2749 before 1949). It was only because of America’s so-called soft power that they, the Germans, found American pizza cooler than Italian or Chinese American pizza. But despite our patience and endurance, our representations didn’t really sink in. *)

So after a while, we started selling noodle soup and fried rice instead, which worked much better. For the time being, we had to live with that typically German bias. Their limits on our products were also typical examples for their slave mentality which became rampant after the Americans had won the war against them. As there are also some racist restrictions on Chinese students who want to run a business in Germany, we used a Germany-born Chinese dummy, and it worked alright.

But once the soft power of our motherland has grown to its due strength, we will come back to Bremen-Hemelingen and open a Chinese American Pizza parlor there.

Or a Chinese American Italian Pizza Parlor. Or a Chinese Italian Pizza Parlor, because America won’t count anymore. Or a Chinese Pizza Parlor. It will depend on our market research.

____________

*) The background behind their narrow-mindedness was of course obvious. If they had admitted that American Pizza is really Chinese American Pizza, they would have had to admit that Taipei is really Chinese Taipei, too! Germans are very logical people, but they are particularly “logical” (in a perverted way) when they are trying to maintain their anti-Chinese bias!

____________

Hermit’s Memoirs (Working Title: A Patriotic Student Travels the World) will be published by the Central Government Document Publishing House late next year. In accordance with the CCP’s Historical Resolution, the publishing will be done in accordance with The Historical Resolution, they won’t be published overseas, and these excerpts will appear exclusively on JR’s Beautiful Blog.

____________

Related:
Hermit’s Childhood and the Beautiful Stone, July 27, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

Back in Prison – Liu Xiaobo Short Bio

Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波), president of the Chinese Independent Pen Center, once a lecturer at Beijing Normal  University,  and political commentator, has been sentenced to eleven years in  jail for “inciting subversion of state power” (煽动颠覆国家政权). Liu co-published the Charter 08 (零八宪章). He was arrested on December 8, 2008, before the charter’s formal release. The police had ended the “investigation phase” earlier this month. Beijing First Intermediate People’s Court announced the sentence today. Xinhua News Agency quoted a statement by the court that Liu’s legal rights had been fully guaranteed during the proceedings.

More than twenty years ago, shortly before the Tian An Men massacre on June 4, 1989, Liu returned from a visiting scholarship at Columbia University and took part in a hungerstrike in solidarity with the students’ movement, according to CNA. He was jailed for “counter-revolutionary crimes” (反革命罪), and released from prison in January 1991.

He refused to leave his country after his release from prison, campaigned for a re-evaluation of the official version of the “June-4 incident”, and was imprisoned again from May 18, 1995 to January 1996.

Also according to CNA, Liu was held in a labor camp in Dalian from October 8, 1996 to October 10, 1999, after authoring Anti-Corruption Proposals Addressed to the Third Plenary Session of the Eighth National People’s Congress, and Bloody Lessons from the Process of the Promotion of Democracy and the Rule of Law – an Appeal on June-4′s Sixth Anniversary (「汲取血的教訓推進民主與法治進程–「六四」6週年呼籲書」).

Now he is back in prison.

____________

Related:
“One day, he’ll be thought of as a very good citizen”, BBC News, Dec 25, 2009
Charter 08 Seminar held in Shandong Province, Dec 8, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

Xinhua Correspondents Learn from Mark Lynas*)

The following are excerpts from a Xinhua article of December 25

Wen’s whirlwind negotiations that afternoon [Dec 17] involved British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.

The three industrialized countries, though ambitious in leading international cooperation on climate change issues, lacked understanding of developing countries and had therefore raised some unrealistic and unfair requests. [...]

At a banquet hosted by Danish Queen Margrethe II on Dec. 17 evening, Premier Wen was told that the United States would hold a small-scope meeting between several countries’ leaders after the dinner.

During his talk with a foreign leader, Premier Wen learnt China was on the list of the meeting’s participating countries while he himself was not invited and neither did the Chinese delegation receive a notice for the mysterious meeting. [...]

It was Premier Wen who played a key role in the last-minute attempt [Dec 18] to exchange ideas and reach consensus.

Wen believed that it was impossible to reach a legally binding agreement at that time, while no country was willing to be responsible for the failure if the conference yielded no result in the end.

“As long as there is hope of one percent, we should not give up and must instead make 100 percent of effort,” he told the Chinese delegation.

Wen decided to meet other leaders of the BASIC countries*) again and make a final attempt.

At the same time, President Obama said he wanted to have a second meeting with Premier Wen. Wen agreed to meet him after the BASIC meeting ended.

The BASIC countries leaders agreed that the Copenhagen conference might fail and all-out efforts should be made to help achieve some results.

They agreed to reach consensus on key issues first and then negotiate with the United States and European countries on the basis of safeguarding interests for the developing countries and with the highest degree of flexibility.

Wen urged to keep contact and enhance cooperation with African countries, the Group of 77 and small island states.

At 6:50 p.m., when the BASIC leaders were reviewing their final common position, President Obama showed up, which was a bit of surprise for those in the room although the scheduled time for the Sino-American meeting was over.

Obama stopped with one foot outside the gate and asked Premier Wen with smiles if he should wait outside or join the discussion.

Premier Wen stood up and politely invited Obama to join them. Obama accepted and walked around the room to shake hands with all the people present, before taking a seat to the left of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and opposite to Wen.

The BASIC leaders knew very well the U.S. stance since they all met respectively before.[.....]

The [Copenhagen] achievement was a result of joint efforts by all the participating countries other than out of the will of one or two countries. [...]

Xinhua correspondents Zhao Cheng and Tian Fan, who accompanied and covered Premier Wen Jiabao‘s tour to the Copenhagen climate talks last week.

Thanks to Matthew‘s link on Found in China.

____________

Footnotes:
*) Mark Lynas, correspondent with The Guardian
**) BASIC countries: Brazil, South Africa, India, China

Related:
“A new agreement should contain the key Kyoto provisions”, The Deccan Herald, Dec 24, 2009

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 39 other followers