Archive for August, 2012

Friday, August 31, 2012

International Press Review: Merkel’s China Trip and Germany’s Submissive Bosses

translations from Chinese and German by JR. Links within blockquotes added during translation

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Xinwen Lianbo, CCTV, August 31, 2012

Xinwen Lianbo, CCTV, August 31, 2012

Beijing Youthnet (北青网), August 31, 2012, 0715 local time (China)

Contrary to Thursday, which was packed with a political agenda, Friday is the day which is about “cultural tourism” and “economic cooperation trips”. Although this is Merkel’s sixth visit to China, this is the first time that she visits the Forbidden City. The scheduled fourty minutes of sightseeing let this German chancellor learn about Chinese history and culture first-hand, and deepen her comprehensive understanding of China.

与30日在北京密集的“政治日程”安排相比,默克尔今天的行程可以说是“文化之旅”和“经济合作之旅”。看点很多,可以用三个“首次”概括。今天上午温家宝总理将陪同默克尔一起参观故宫。虽然默克尔已经六次访问中国,这还是她首次到访故宫,预定40分钟的参观时间将让这位德国总理亲身领略中国历史和文化,加深她对中国的全面了解。

After the visit to the Forbidden City, Chief State Councillor Wen Jiabao personally accompanies Merkel on her trip to Tianjin, on the high-speed Beijing-Tianjin railway, which is the first time for Merkel to travel on a Chinese high-speed train. Concerning this, Merkel, herself from a great country of high-speed trains, says that this trip lets her experience China’s rapid development.

结束对故宫的访问之后,温家宝总理将亲自陪同默克尔乘坐京津高铁赴天津访问,这将是默克尔首次乘坐中国的高铁。对于来自高铁技术大国的默克尔来说,这次中国的高铁之旅相信可以让她感受到中国的快速发展。

The third “first”: this is Merkel’s first visit to Tianjin. Before, Merkel visited several Chinese cities, including Nanjing, Xi’an, and Guangzhou, but she is going to Tianjin for the first time. Tianjin is also Wen Jiabao’s hometown. During yesterday’s meeting with Merkel, Wen said that these Sino-German government consultations would be the last during the tenure of the current Chinese government. This means that if nothing extraordinary happens, this visit by Merkel will be the last one during which Wen will greet her in his capacity as Chief State Councillor. Merkel says that her stay as a guest in Wen’s hometown will be a memorable visit for her.

第三个“首次”:这是默克尔第一次到访天津。之前,默克尔已经访问过包括南京、西安、广州在内的多个中国城市,但天津还是头一回去,而且天津也是温家宝总理的故乡。昨天,温总理在与默克尔会面时就表示,这次中德政府磋商将是本届中国政府任内最后一次了。这意味着如果没有特殊情况出现的话,默克尔本次访华将是温家宝作为总理最后一次接待她访华。在这样一次访问中,默克尔到温总理的家乡做客对于她来说将是一次值得回忆的访问。

An important reason for Merkel to visit Tianjin is that Tianjin has become a focus of German companies in northern China. According to statistics, until July this year, 334 German-invested companies have been approved in Tianjin, and accumulated contractual investment is at more than 2.1 billion US dollars. Germany has also become the European country with the most companies investing in Tianjin.

默克尔之所以要访问天津,有一个重要原因是天津目前已成为德国企业在中国北方的主要聚集区。据统计,截至今年7月,天津累计批准德国投资企业334家,累计合同外资额超过21亿美元。德国也成为欧洲国家中在天津投资企业数量最多的国家。

During the time in Tianjin, Chief State Councillor Wen and Merkel held an hour of talks with Chinese and German entrepreneurs. This arrangement had been made during several of Merkel’s previous visits to China, too. In July 2010 and in February this year, when Merkel visited China, Wen held talks with Chinese and German entrepreneurs in Xi’an and Guangzhou, together with Merkel. This reflects the importance the two [heads of government] attach to listening to the comments and suggestions from entrepreneurs from both sides, concerning the development of Sino-German economic and trade cooperation. As for Merkel’s visit to China this time, an important goal is to further strengthen economic and trade cooperation with China. There are not only many entrepreneurs accompanying Merkel, but on Thursday, after the Sino-German government consultations, the two countries signed 13 agreemens concerning electric vehicles, biotechnology, climate protecton and other areas. The value of cooperation for the companies reached nearly seven billion US dollars.

在天津期间,温总理将和默克尔一同与中德企业家举行历时1个小时的座谈,这样的安排在以往默克尔的访华行程中多次出现。2010年7月和今年2月默克尔访华期间,温总理就曾与她一起在西安和广州同中德企业家座谈,这体现出两国总理非常重视听取双方企业界人士有关中德经贸合作发展的意见和建议。而默克尔本次访华的一个重要目的,就是着眼于继续加强与中国的经贸合作。随同默克尔来访的不仅有多位企业家,而且在30日中德政府磋商之后,两国签署了涉及电动汽车、生物技术、气候保护等领域合作的13项协议文本,有关企业、公司则达成的商业合作总金额接近70亿美元。

There is an important item on Chief State Councillor Wen’s and Chancellor Merkel’s agenda in Tianjin; they take part in Airbus Tianjin Company‘s ceremony, as the 100th A320 plane is completed. The Airbus assembly line in Tianjin is the first comprehensive one of this aircraft company outside Europe, a product of Airbus cooperation with Chinese companies. Both [heads of government] are witnessing the moment when the 100th plane since August 2008 leaves the assembly line.

在天津期间,温总理和默克尔总理有一项重要的日程安排是共同出席空客天津公司第100架A320飞机的下线仪式。空中客车在天津的这条总装线是空客公司在欧洲以外的第一条飞机总装线,是空客和中国企业合作的产物。从2008年8月开始组装首架飞机,到今年8月正好赶上第100架飞机下线,两国总理将共同见证这一时刻。

This production line is a win-win product for China and Europe. Airbus Tianjin Assembly Line general manager Shang Luguo said in an interview before that one of this projects biggest successes has been that it trained more than 400 Chinese technicians to master the world’s most advanced aircraft production technology. At the same time, it promoted China’s aviation industry’s development. China is currently conducting its own big-aircraft development program, and is learning from aircraft-building peers’ experience. This was very important for China, and this assembly line [in Tianjin] provided China with an opportunity to learn, which showed its importance.

这条生产线对于中欧来说是互利双赢的产物。空客天津总装线总经理尚鲁国之前在接受采访时就曾表示,这个项目取得最为重要的成就之一就是培养了400多名掌握世界最先进的飞机总装技术的中国员工,同时,推动了中国航空制造产业的发展。中国目前正在进行自己的大飞机研制计划,向同行学习飞机制造经验对于中国来说十分重要,而这条生产线为中国提供了一个学习的机会,可见它的重要性。

Also, China and Germany signed the “second-term Airbus China Assembly Line agreement”, and a purchasing agreement about 50 A320 aircraft at 3.5 billion US dollars. Wen and Merkel witnessed the signing of the contracts. Earlier, there were reports saying that Airbus expected purchases of 100 planes, but in fact, China bought only 50.

另外,昨天中德双方昨天还签署了《空客中国总装线二期框架协议》,以及价值35亿美元的50架A320飞机采购协议,温家宝和默克尔见证了协议的签署。之前,有报道说,空客方面预计中方订购的飞机是100架,而实际上中方购买的数量是50架。
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Reuters, August 31, 2012

The European Commission has until next Friday to decide whether to launch an investigation into a complaint brought by European solar firms and people familiar with the case believe it may well go ahead and do so.

On Thursday, Merkel told reporters after talks with Wen that she favoured negotiations over confrontation in the matter, comments that were welcomed by the Chinese premier but stoked concern in the European industry.

But on Friday she appeared to row back on her conciliatory tone, saying Chinese solar firms needed to recognise that subsidies, such as bottom-rate bank loans, distorted competition and violated European law.
“We are not out of the woods yet,” she said. “My plea is that everyone be transparent, that they lay their cards on the table about how they produce.”
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Der Spiegel, international online edition, August 31, 2012

The chancellor’s course on China, in fact, has slowly come to resemble the business-first policies pursued by her predecessor Gerhard Schröder. He almost surely approves of the lovely images of her visiting the Airbus plant in Tianjin, where she made a stop just before flying back to Berlin. The factory visit took place a day after a contract was signed for 50 new planes ordered by the Chinese.

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Merkel, in fact, seems to have become almost completely domesticated by the economic gains made by the Asian superpower. She still, of course, addresses points of bilateral contention — during a press conference with her host Premier Wen Jiabao she requested that German press correspondents be treated better following repeated incidents of hassling. Beyond that, however, Merkel appeared overly considerate of a single-party dictatorship that pays little mind to human rights, neither at home in China nor elsewhere in the world.
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Financial Times Deutschland, August 31, 2012, 1720 local time (Germany): Germany’s Submissive Bosses (Deutschlands devote Chefs)

When it comes to lobbying during the German-Chinese economic forum in Tianjin, it was Wen Jiabao and Angela Merkel who taught Peter Löscher and a few others some lessons. “Are there deficits in equal treatment for foreign companies in China?”, Wen followed up on Löscher’s vague opening statement, on which [Löscher] only goody-goody said: “I see it as a sign of trust that we can bring these issues forward with you personally.”

In Sachen Interessensvertretung waren es beim deutsch-chinesischen Wirtschaftsforum in Tianjin Wen Jiabao und Angela Merkel, die Peter Löscher und anderen ein paar Lektionen erteilten. “Gibt es in China denn auch Mängel in Sachen Gleichbehandlung für ausländische Unternehmen?”, hakte Wen nach Löschers vagem Eingangsstatement nach. Woraufhin der nur artig sagte: “Ich sehe es als Zeichen des Vertrauens, dass wir diese Themen bei Ihnen persönlich vorbringen können.”

It wasn’t the only moment when Wen or Merkel were compelled to actively encourage the top managers to complain. [...]

Es war nicht der einzige Moment, in dem Wen oder Merkel die Topmanager aktiv zu Klagen ermutigen mussten. [...]
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Handelsblatt, August 31, 2012

[China's] market may be the world’s biggest one – but the Chinese government continues to hamper investors. In the chancellor’s presence, German company bosses vented their furustrations. There are many reasons to complain.

Der Markt mag der größte der Welt sein – doch die chinesische Regierung stellt Investoren weiterhin Hürden. In Anwesenheit der Kanzlerin machten deutsche Firmenchefs ihrem Unmut Luft. Anlässe zur Klage gibt es viele.

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Related

» Independent Innovation, May 29, 2012
» Industriousness and Wisdom, January 9, 2011

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

What the Dalai Lama’s (potential) Travels may have to do with Soviet History, Oil Prices, and the South China Sea

The Dalai Lama hopes that the new, coming leadership would be more lenient, according to Reuters. Reuters writes that

[i]n the early 1950s, the Dalai Lama knew Xi Jinping’s father, Xi Zhongxun, one of the most liberal leaders of the Chinese revolution, who was known to have had a less hardline approach to Tibet.

Xi Zhongxun (习仲勋) is said to have opposed the 1989 Tian An Men crackdown, about a year after his retirement in 1988. The article suggesting this stance by Xi Zhongxun also suggests that Xi Jinping himself is the only leader who served in the military. If true, this could mean that he has a more realistic view of the limited use of violent crackdowns. However, according to a Singapure National University document, Xi Jinping’s military role was rather political:

Unlike other frontrunners of the fifth generation leadership, Xi has had some
military service before. Upon his graduation from Qinghua University in 1979, he worked for Geng Biao (耿飚), the then secretary general of the Central Military Commission (CMC), for about three years.

Meantime, Huanqiu Shibao is quoted as having reported on an eleven-day visit by the Dalai Lama to Japan, scheduled for November this year. The article can currently not be found on Huanqiu (only the search results seem to be available at Google). Beifang Net apparently republished the short news article. It closes with quoting the foreign ministry’s standard condemnation:

Concerning the Dalai issue, the FMPRC has expressed many times that Tibetan affairs are China’s internal affairs. The Dalai has for a long time been a political exile under a banner of religion, engaging in anti-China splittist activities. China resolutely opposes any country and any person making use of Tibetan issues to interfere in Chinese internal affairs.

中国外交部就达赖问题多次表态称,西藏事务纯属中国内政。达赖是长期打着宗教旗号从事反华分裂活动的政治流亡者。中方坚决反对坚决反对任何国家、任何人利用涉藏问题干涉中国内政。

Russian president Vladimir Putin told Buddhist citizens on July 31 that the Russian government worked in the direction of inviting the Dalai Lama to Russia. Feng Chuangzhi, a regular congtributor to china.com, a website operated by the state council, wrote in an editorial on August 8 that given many years of friendly cooperation between Putin and Beijing, Chinese reactions to Putin’s comment eight days earlier had been low-key, just its reaction to the Russian shelling of a Chinese fishing boat had not been radical (过激). After a short re-cap of the usual allegations against the Dalai Lama, Feng writes that

under such circumstances, the likelihood of a Dalai visit to Russia as expressed by the Russian president does, of course, hurt the feelings of the Chinese people, and can lead to contradictions emerging between the two sides [China and Russia].

在这种情势下,俄总统发出的为达赖访俄罗斯创造可能性理所当然伤害了中国人的感情,双方的矛盾可能会因此而出现。

However, the ways in which Putin and Western countries invite the Dalai are different. Putin spoke about the possibility, but didn’t make it definite. People know that a so-called possibility is no official decision. It should also be said that he made these remarks in a discussion, saying that “we obviously understand the hopes of our people living here in [the Republic of] Kalmykia that the Dalai Lama comes to them”.

但是,同样说邀请达赖,普京与西方等国邀请达赖的口角就有所不同。普京只是说到创造达赖访俄罗斯的可能,并未把话说死。人们知道,所谓可能性,只是一种预 测,不是正式决定。还应一提的是,所说的邀请达赖来的是在同论坛与会者们交谈时的表示,“我们当然理解我们那些生活在卡尔梅克并期待达赖·喇嘛到来的 人”。

The following lines explain the history of the “so-called Kalmyks” (所谓卡尔梅克人). Feng then returns to the present tense:

Putin promised the Kalmyks to invite the Dalai Lama to alleviate their historical wounds.  One can imagine that for some time, the Kalmyks raised the invitation of the Dalai, and as a Russian politician, [Putin] can’t ignore their wishes, but he also can’t be unaware of the Chinese government’s attitude towards the Dalai, and therefore can’t simply do things that would lead to tensions in Sino-Russian relations. Agence France-Presse said on August 1 that Putin had always acknowledged China’s position concerning the Tibetan issue, and believed that the Dalai was “a politicial personality engaging in secession”, and that the Dalai’s announcement of abandoning the political role had perhaps changed Russia’s traditional approach. “The Australian” said that perhaps, Putin’s remarks on July 31 marked “a turning point in attitude”. There are Western media that say that if Putin, only for a single day, allows the Dalai Lama to visit Kalmykia, it would put Sino-Russian relations to a direct test. Therefore, Putin’s invitation to the Dalai Lama is rather to curry favor with the Kalmyks, and also rather makeshift.

普京面向卡尔梅克人承诺邀达赖访问一事其为平抚卡尔梅克人历史创伤之意。可以想到,一段时间以来,卡尔梅克人早就发出了邀请达赖来访的声音,身为俄罗斯政 治家,不能不顾及卡尔梅克人的意愿,但普京也不可能不知道中国政府对达赖的态度,决不会冒然做令中俄关系紧张的事情。法新社1日说,普京一直认同中国西藏 问题立场,认为达赖是“从事国家分裂的政治人物”,去年达赖宣布放弃政治角色,或能让俄改变传统做法。《澳大利亚人报》称,普京7月31日的发言或是“态 度转变的契机”。有外媒称,普京一旦允许达赖访问卡尔梅克,将“对俄中关系构成直接考验。因此,普京发出邀请达赖访俄更多是讨好卡尔梅克人之意。也就是权 宜之计。

It wasn’t clear if Putin also “played the Dalai card” to put pressure on China in negotiations about the price for Russian oil, where there was disagreement between the two sides, writes Feng, and also gives Russia’s alliance with Vietnam a mention. Feng doesn’t describe Russia as a foe, but uses quotes instead to whip up  readers’ paranoia. Referring to Cam Ranh Bay, among other recent issues in the news, Feng quotes analysts:

Russia’s president Putin wants to tie China down and weaken it by inviting the Dalai. It wants to slow Chinese action against Vietnam down, thus giving Russia the opportunity to arm and support Vietnam, and to build military bases in Vietnam.

俄罗斯总统普京想通过达赖来牵制削弱中国,企图通过捏中国的痛处,迫使中国放慢对越南动手的脚步,使俄罗斯能够有机会武装、援助越南,并且有时间在越南建立军事基地。

China and Russia are friendly neighbors, and to promote Sino-Russian friendship is the mainstream volition of the people on both sides. The most important thing in their relations is to respect territorial sovereignty and integrity, and each others core interests. If core interests are involved, contradictions will arise. This author [Feng] believes that both countries’ politicians, facing a complicated international situation, will handle sensitive issues, including those of  the “Dalai Lama card” type, appropriately. Floating clouds won’t blind them, and they will maintain and promote the general situation of Sino-Russian friendship.

中俄是友好邻邦,促进中俄友好是两国的主流民意。两国关系最重要是尊重领土主权完整,尊重双方的核心利益。一旦涉及核心利益,矛盾就会萌生。笔者相信,面对复杂的国际形势,中俄两国政治家会妥善处理包括打“达赖牌”之类的敏感问题,不被浮云遮望眼,保持和推进中俄友好大局。

I’ve sometimes wondered what it may feel like, for the Dalai Lama’s emissaries, to “negotiate” with Chinese cadres. Articles like Feng’s seem to give me a vague idea.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book Review: Behind the Red Door – Sex in China

Red doors are about attracting luck, and when you do an online search about red doors in Chinese – hong men or 红门), you will get tons of fengshui and home-decorating commercial offers to that end. Family happiness is probably as universal a catchword in China as is the pursuit of happiness in America. But here lies the difference: in China, family happiness depends on each and every family member. Red doors may be helpful, but if you, a daughter or son, achieve in contributing to your family’s happiness, or if you inflict pain on your family – your parents especially, but on your grandparents and wider family, too -, will usually depend on the family you are going to build yourself, as a Chinese individual in his or her twenties. It will depend on the wife or husband you are going to marry, and the child you are expected to have.

Mr Wang's REAL life is quite different.

Mr Wang’s REAL life is quite different.

When I started reading Richard Burger‘s debut book, Behind the Red Door – Sex in China, I became aware that I actually knew very little about the topic. I was aware of the pressure on Chinese colleagues of my age to get married and to have children, and I also got impressions on how the terms were being negotiated between children and parents – even marrying a partner from a different province is considered a flaw by some elders. But what makes Burger’s book particularly insightful is a review of how the outer edges of sexual behavior and identity in China “deviate” from family and social norms, and the troubles in coming to terms with these differences – or in living with them without coming to terms with them.

Behind the Red Door begins with a chapter on sex in imperial China, continues with one on dating and marriage (including marriage between Chinese and foreigners), and a chapter on the sex trade. In many ways, the chapter after these, “The Family”, constitutes a hub to everything else. Neither chapter comes without references to the individuals’ families, anyway. Sex workers will rarely let family people know about their business. One may guess that if a family wanted to know, they would know, but that’s not how psychology works. Gays and Lesbians – they are the topic after the chapter on family – rarely come out to their family people. And few transgendered will even apply for a gender-changing operation (let alone get one), because this would leave them without any chance to keep their sexual identities hidden from their families – and those who are looking on, i. e. basically everyone in the wider family, colleagues, the neighborhood, village, or town.

There is one section where Burger interprets the impressions and trends described in the books actual seven chapters: that’s in his parting thoughts, on the last fifteen pages. It’s the weakest part of the book, in that it unintentionally seems to confirm Burger’s own intuition described as early as in the introduction: arriving at a neat conclusion is impossible. But that attempt is an – unintentional, maybe – practical demonstration of just that fact.

The strengths of Behind the Red Door lie in the way it makes China speak from old and contemporary sources. It builds a narration from imperial times, with instances of traditional societal liberalism towards sex that doesn’t only serve procreation but rather seeks pleasure, even among lower classes, to a strongly puritan (Republican, Maoist and Dengist) modernity, and once again to growing relaxation during the most recent decades – even as traditional family values, and party orthodoxy, continue to linger in sometimes unpredictable areas. Behind the Red Door – and this is much more “political” than what I expected to read, discusses links between sexual liberalization and political control, too.

Burger is highly aware of China’s many political and personal realities, and writes in an engaging style. It isn’t only the author himself who speaks to the reader; it’s Chinese individuals just as well – a few out of millions of “ordinary” Chinese men and women of all ages who – willingly or of painful necessity – test the limits of what is “permissible” in terms of sex and in their relationships – people who deal with varying numbers of disintegrating illusions before and after wedlock – and who, in unfortunate cases, arrive at the comprehension that family happiness, “classical” or not, may not come their way.

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Behind the Red Door, by Richard Burger, 2012, at Amazon.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

German China Correspondents’ Open Letter to Merkel

Some thirty German correspondents in Beijing and Shanghai asked German chancellor Angela Merkel to address problems like state-security forces’ infringement on their work in China, and open threats that visa wouldn’t be extended for journalists who reported on “sensitive issues”. German news magazine Der Spiegel reported about the open letter on Monday. The correspondents expect working conditions like those which went without saying for Chinese journalists in Germany.

Merkel starts a two-day visit to China on Thursday.

The open letter thanks Merkel for previous efforts she had made during German-Chinese government consultations in 2011, but also states that there had been no improvements. Melissa Chan‘s case had been a recent point of culmination. Excerpts from the open letter:

Interlocutors are locked away, or pressured not to talk to us.

Our Chinese co-workers are asked by the state security to spy on us. They are warned of dealing with critical topics. During fieldwork in particular, they are threatened – in single cases, there is violence.

[...]

The Chinese ministry of foreign affairs gave a colleague from Der Spiegel a runaround for almost a year and in fact thus denied him accreditation.

The rules introduced prior to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, according to which only the agreement by the interviewee to an interview is needed, have been interpreted restrictively by the police in sensitive cases, since 2011. In such cases, suddenly, coverage is only permitted with approval from authorities.

The ministry of foreign affairs asserts that nothing had changed, but in practice, journalists are at the mercy of security authorities. In our view, the uncertainties are meant to intimidate.

Chinese embassy diplomats ask superiors at central editorial departments to exert influence on their correspondents and to ensure less “critical” coverage. Senior German correspondents who have worked in Beijing since the 1990s see a decline in conditions, even compared to the situation back then.

The open letter appears to be signed by 25 correspondents.

Visa apparently need to be renewed annually, in December. If previous tries to improve working conditions haven’t led to tangible improvements, correspondents’ employees themselves should adopt measures which make correspondents less dependent on China as a place to cover. Such measures could include attractive location options for the correspondents to choose from after two or three years in China, or anytime a correspondent’s visa isn’t extended within that scheduled period. One may ask, of course, if such options shouldn’t be on the table for any correspondent who reports from a difficult environment – but among those environments, China is probably the place from where accurate coverage is in highest demand. Alternative places might include Taiwan or South-East Asia. And after a few years there, a correspondent might (try to) return to China.

Obviously, one can wish the correspondents luck under the circumstances as they are, and one can always hope that things will improve – but frequently, people who complain about the conditions seem to be unaware of the nature of the Chinese state. And that makes me wonder if coverage from China is realistic anyway.

Then again, correspondents speaking out in an open letter are transparent about the limitations to their work. That in itself may be kind of assuring for readers who depend on their coverage.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Pressure on Beijing Love Source seems to Ease

Beijing Love Source Information Center, the AIDS support group managed by Zeng Jinyan, apparently received a note from Beijing Chaoyang tax office this week which states that currently, the office sees no tax illegality in the NGO’s operations from August 1, 2005 to December 31, 2009 – the period that had apparently been under investigation. Ms Zeng, who is married to Chinese activist Hu Jia, had previously blogged about the investigation in November, 2010.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Chinese Press Review: Copy and Paste from Meng Jianzhu

37 Chinese nationals were flown into Beijing International Airport on Saturday morning after their extradition from Angola. The suspects were arrested in Angola for crimes against other Chinese citizens, allegedly including kidnapping, armed robberies, extortions and forcing women into prostitution. Chinese and Angolan police reportedly cooperated in the operations that led to the arrests.

A press release by the ministry of public security states that the operation had led to the destruction of twelve criminal gangs, the uncovering of 48 serious criminal cases, and the rescue of 14 victims of Chinese nationality. The press release emphasizes the role of the Chinese embassy in Angola in bringing the gang operations to the attention of the ministry of public security.

State Councillor and minister of public security Meng Jianzhu attached great importance to this and ordered the public security organs to take effective measures to severely crack down on criminal activities that violate the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens, and to conscientiously protect the safety of Chinese nationals’ lives and properties in Angola. In April this year, during Angolan interior minister Sebastião Martins’visit to China, Meng and Martins signed the “Cooperation Agreement between the PRC and the Angolan Republic on the Protection of Public Security and Social Order”, and one of the main points of their discussions were joint crackdowns on crimes harming the legal rights and interests of Chinese citizens in Angola, and decided that China should, as quickly as possible, dispatch [a] team[s] to Angola for joint action. Meng Jianzhu sent a letter to Martins, expressing his hope that Angola would actively cooperate, intensify efforts, ensure the actions’ efficiency, and conscientiously protect our citizens’ lives and properties.

今年初,我国驻安哥拉大使馆致函公安部称,去年以来,在安境内不断发生针对中国公民的抢劫、绑架、敲诈勒索、拐骗妇女强迫卖淫等犯罪案件,严重危害了在安中国公民安全,希望公安部采取打击行动。国务委员、公安部部长孟建柱对此高度重视,要求公安机关采取有效措施,严厉打击侵害中国公民合法权益的犯罪活动,切实保护在安中国公民的生命财产安全。今年4月,安哥拉内政部部长马丁斯访华期间,孟建柱与马丁斯共同签署了《中华人民共和国公安部和安哥拉共和国内政部关于维护公共安全和社会秩序的合作协议》,并在会谈中重点讨论了中安警方联合打击侵害在安中国公民合法权益犯罪的有关工作,商定由中方尽快派工作组赴安开展联合行动。孟建柱致信马丁斯,希望安方积极配合,加大工作力度,确保打击成效,切实保护我公民的生命财产安全。

A advance group was sent to Angola in May, the ministry’s website says, to carry out investigations, and to coordinate cooperation with the Angolan authorities. According to their findings, the gang activities had been going on since 2009. More than 30 public security and People’s Police officers from Fujian, Anhui, Liaoning and other regions were sent to Angola on July 19. More than 400 Angolan police and Chinese officers started the crackdowns on August 1, according to the ministry website.

The following sentence seems to suggest to me that the public security minister invites all kinds of media to simply copy and paste the press release and to sell it as their own work (“source” and “author” are left open at the beginning of the release):

This reporter learned that, due to the Angolan presidential elections, the extadition of the suspects didn’t go as scheduled. State Councillor and minister of public security Meng Jianzhu had to send another letter to Angolan interior minister Martins.

记者了解到,由于安哥拉正值总统大选,遣返犯罪嫌疑人的工作未能如期进行。国务委员、公安部部长孟建柱再次致信安哥拉内政部部长马丁斯。

Public security ministry: come, copy me!

Public security ministry: come, copy me!

At People’s Daily Net, the People’s Daily Photo Channel becomes the “source”, and in another category, it’s People’s Daily Net proper – but at least, they put a narrator in front of a camera. Interestingly, they also add the names of two reporters (Yang Yan, Feng Huanhuan).   Sina isn’t that cheap, and laconically states “ministry of public security” as the source. Most or all commercial media, from Wenxue City to TenCent,  also attribute the press release correctly. China’s second-largest news agency after Xinhua however, China News Service, states itself as the source.

Huanqiu Shibao attributes the report to the ministry, and Enorth attributes it to China News Service (see end of previous para). For some reason, the report even gets an author at Enorth, different from the editor mentioned at the news agency.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Switzerland (reluctantly) Features in U.S. Election Campaign

They say that American election campaigns get nastier by the day, which is probably true. But this “Romney Girl” is cute, isn’t she?

The Swiss are reportedly angry, all the same, but not about this video (which, its authors say, was made for an Agenda Project/Action Fund without links to Obama anyway), but, according to a Swiss embassy spokeswoman in Washington, about campaign ads giving the impression that simply having a Swiss bank account means that the accountholder is trying to hide money from the IRS.

Isn’t the “Romney Girl” reason enough to go to Switzerland (just with the amount of money it takes to party, rather than to carry those alleged big suitcases there)? Isn’t she soft power? I mean, isn’t she Frau Antje?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Obituary: Xu Huaiqian, 1968 – 2012

Xu Huaiqian (徐怀谦) was born in a village in Shandong Province, in 1968. He graduated at Beijing University’s (Bei Da) Chinese Faculty in 1989 and then worked at People’s Daily‘s arts and literature department. He left People’s Daily for two years, in 1999, and went to Yucheng County in Henan Province to work there temporarily, for two years, as a county (party) committee deputy secretary chairman.

His work as a journalist wasn’t confined to People’s Daily – the list of papers he wrote for includes Southern Weekend (南方周末), a progressive and liberal paper in Guangdong Province. His last function was at a supplement paper to People’s Daily, Da Di (大地, “The Land” or “Earth”), as deputy editor-in-chief.

One of the initial – or the initial – microblog posts came from Hangzhou City Express (都市快报) chief editorialist Xu Xunlei (徐迅雷) on the day of Xu Huaiqian’s death and said that Xu had unfortunately died (不幸去世), and mentioned depression as the cause of death. Jiangsu Net explicitly reported that Xu had suffered from depression and had committed suicide (via Sohu, via Dongfang Net). The article also quotes Xu himself, from one of his books:

Some people say that this is a mediocre era, an era without substance, of foolish music, without mastry. But we can’t blame on this on the era. An individual can’t control the era, but he can control his face. He may not be pretty, but he can’t be without content. He may be ugly, but he can’t be without personality.

有人说,这是一个平庸的时代,一个物质的时代,一个愚乐的时代,一个缺乏大师的时代,可是,我们不能把什么过错都推给时代。一个人左右不了时代,却可以左右自己的脸——它可以不漂亮,却不可以没内容;它可以很丑,却不可以没有个性。

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Related

» Reactions, RFA, Aug 23, 2012
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Updates/Related

» Not by Magic, Xu Huaiqian (via Paper Republic), June 2012

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