Archive for ‘human rights’

Friday, August 29, 2014

RSF and Republican Congressman demand Sanctions against Chinese State Media

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Reporters without Borders react to Xiang Nanfu’s release

Xiang Nanfu (向南夫), a Chinese journalist, has recently been released on parole after what Reporters without Borders (RSF) suspect was a forced concession. Xiang’s “confession” was broadcast by CCTV 13, a state-run Chinese television channel targeted at a Mandarin-speaking audience beyond the PRC. According to RSF,

on 13 May, ten days after his arrest, he was shown on CCTV13 confessing to having “smeared the Party and the government”.

Announced his release yesterday, the police said he was being freed on parole “because of his poor health and above all because of a relatively good attitude in pleading guilty.”

Xiang’s forced confession was broadcast just five days after a similar “confession” by the well-known journalist Gao Yu. Broadcasting forced confessions is often used to discredit dissident news and information providers.

RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire calls on

the European Council to adopt sanctions against CCTV13 and its executives – China Central Television CEO Hu Zhanfan, CCTV board member Jiao Li and CCTV vice-president Zhang Changming – for broadcasting these forced confession.

Xiang Nanfu had reportedly been charged with publishing “false stories” on Boxun, a dissident website, that “seriously harmed” China’s image. The BBC, in May this year, described Boxun as a website that ran sometimes thinly sourced stories.
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China Human Rights 3 Protection Act of 2014 Bill

Note: documents linked to underneath may be removed or changed – accessed and quoted from on August 29 – JR

According to Voice of Tibet (VoT), a Tibetan exile radio station based in Norway and broadcasting on shortwave from Tajikistan, U.S. Congress is considering a bill (no. 5379) that would intend to protect internationally acknowledged freedom of speech, free flow of information and and foreign journalists and media workers in China. The bill may also limit visa for high-ranking officials in China’s state media wanting to visit the US, and could revoke visa for Chinese media workers with Chinese media in the US.

A bill text as introduced on July 31 in the House of Representatives by Chris Smith (Republican) is available online. Updates should become available from here as they are coming up.

The issue of foreign journalists and media workers is addressed on page 16 of the draft, section 4: To further protect the internationally recognized right of free expression, ensure the free flow of information, and protect foreign journalists and media personnel in China.

Section 4 also addresses competitiveness (page 19). Chinese media organizations that could become targets for sanctions are listed on page 17.

The story about the bill sponsored by Smith has so far mainly been popular on dissident websites, and the apparent lack of mainstream media interest seems to suggest that the initiative won’t develop much traction in Congress.

Opinions from readers more familiar with American politics are welcome.

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Related

» State Vandalism, July 3, 2014
» Voice of Tibet (PBS), Feb 1, 2014
» The Firedrake, Mar 17, 2012
» Be more Xinhua, Oct 10, 2009

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Deutsche Welle: the Pendulum Swings back (and strikes again)

While a comparatively early report by Guanchazhe (Shanghai) came across as sort of neutral, a report by Huanqiu Shibao (the Chinese-language sister of the “Global Times”) on Monday used the Su Yutong vs Deutsche Welle story for a bit of domestic nation-building. Using purported netizen comments, Huanqiu criticizes Su for being “naive”:

“You are reporting negative news about China all day long and think Germans will like you for that? Naive! You are planning to sue Deutsche Welle for violating local labor laws? What a joke. You don’t understand Germany and German law. When you leak a company’s internal information, the company has every reason to discharge you”, some netizens said.

“你整天报道中国的负面新闻,德国人就喜欢你?幼稚! 还准备起诉德国之声违反当地劳动法?笑话。太不了解德国和德国的法律。光泄漏企业内部的信息,企业就完全有理由开除你。”有网友说。

The paper leaves much of the criticism to “netizens”, but adds some message of its own, too. According to a BBC survey [probably Globescan], China’s image in Germany had been deteriorating for a decade, and 76 percent of Germans currently held a negative view of China, writes Huanqiu. That journalists like Su Yutong, from important positions, were blackening China’s name had something to do with the country’s negative image. When Chinese people badmouthed other Chinese people, ordinary people abroad tended to believe them.

We, too, hate some dark phenomena in our country, but we also hope and believe our motherland will improve. Reasonable overseas Chinese people will be happy and proud about China’s economic construction and development during the past thirty years. China has its shortcomings and you can criticize them, but not with a maximum zoom, and opposition against everything.

我们痛恨自己国家的一些阴暗现象,但更希望并坚信,我们的祖国会越来越好。任何一个有良知的海外华人,都会对中国这30多年来的经济建设发展感到万分的庆幸与骄傲。中国有缺点可以批评,但不能无限放大,更不能逢中必反。

The article also describes the development of Sino-German trade and adds that during the sanctions on and from Russia, Germany’s economy had shrunk by 0.2 percent during the second quarter this year. And using comments on overseas-Chinese social media, Huanqiu suggests that “constant negative headlines at Deutsche Welle about China wouldn’t help bilateral cooperation”.

The Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business (APA) would probably agree. When German chancellor Angela Merkel visited China during summer, the APA had recommendations for the two heads of government, Merkel and Li Keqiang, concerning a better climate for Chinese investment in Germany. Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported:

It was “the common task of governments and companies on both sides to promote a good reputation of Chinese companies in Germany”, the recommendations, on hand at dpa newsagency in Beijing on Tuesday [July 8], say. This was about a “fair and accurate” presentation. Background [of these recommendations?] is Chinese criticism of German media which “irresponsibly and inaccurately report about Chinese human rights and political issues”, a position paper still in progress says.

APA chairman Hubert Lienhard, talking to journalists, resolutely denied the existence of this paragraph in the raft. However, only a week ago, a draft of the paper containing this criticism circulated in the German embassy in Beijing. Accusations like these were, however, not adopted in the recommendations to the two heads of government, recommendations the APA commission does not want to publish. [...]

The APA doesn’t need to be “behind” the most recent events at Deutsche Welle, and if the links are as crude as suggested both by Huanqiu Shibao and some of Su Yutong’s supporters remains an open question. But there seems to be a trend towards cozying up to Beijing – and the pendulum that hit Zhang Danhong in 2008, and four more of her colleagues at the DW Chinese department in 2010 on its way to more “China-unfriendly” coverage, now seems to have hit Su Yutong, on its way back to more “China-friendly” coverage.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

“Bild-Zeitung”: Matthias von Hein to be replaced

Germany’s biggest tabloid, the Bild-Zeitung, has published a notice in its newsticker at 19:22 UTC (21:22 local daylight saving time), quoting a statement of DW-spokesman Johannes Hoffmann of today. Hoffman is quoted as saying that Deutsche Welle would remain “a voice of freedom”, and that there would be no change in the station’s China coverage.

Head of the Chinese department, Matthias von Hein will be replaced in September, but that was a coincidence, “Bild” quotes Hoffmann.

Von Hein had been replaced as head of the Chinese department in 2008, too, but returned to the position in January 2012.

The wide coverage is similar to that of Zhang Danhong‘s case in 2008, but in marked contrast to 2010/11 when four editors at Deutsche Welle’s Chinese department lost their jobs. The German press remained widely silent three to four years ago.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How Logical, Mr. Palmer!

When business is going fine, CCP cadres are partners. When it’s going less well, they are mongrels [who] shoot their own people.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Fourth “China Tibet Development Forum”: Come Sigh with Us

When this snow-covered highland which underwent so many changes is so frequently misrepresented or misunderstood, be it intentionally or unintentionally, more people should be helped to understand the real Tibet,

发生在这片雪域高原的沧桑巨变,一直承受着有意无意的曲解或误解,需要让更多人了解真实的西藏

People’s Daily suggested on Friday.

Having brought together nearly one-hundred guests from thirty countries and territories, the “2014 China Tibet Development Forum” reached a “Lhasa Consensus” that is rich in content and fruitful in its results. Admiring New Tibet’s economic and social development, the improvements in its people’s livelihood, cultural protection, ecological construction and other great achievements, the foreign guests, walking a bit of the snow-covered highland’s irreversible modern cultural development themselves, were all praise.

汇聚世界30多个国家和地区近百位嘉宾的 “2014·中国西藏发展论坛”,达成了内容丰富、成果丰硕的“拉萨共识”。赞赏新西藏在经济社会发展、民生改善、文化保护、生态建设等方面所取得的巨大 成就,赞叹雪域高原走上一条不可逆转的现代文明发展进步之路,是与会中外嘉宾的共同心声。

Myths about the old slave society and alarmist stories harbored and produced by some people meant that besides accelerating Tibet’s scientific development further, opening Tibet up to let more people know “the real Tibet” was necessary, People’s Daily wrote.

But there was a problem. News articles like People’s Daily’s seemed to suggest that every participant had shared the consensus – an impression that at least one participant rejected. Talking to the BBC through his mobile phone, Sir Bob Parker, a former mayor of Christchurch in New Zealand, said that he hadn’t endorsed the statement. While knowing that such a statement had been made, he hadn’t signed up. “I think a number of people who were there were a little surprised to hear about that statement.”

Another attendee, Lord Davidson of Glen Clova, a member of the House of Lords, was reportedly not available for an interview with the BBC.

According to Xinhua, the conference, the first “Tibet Development Forum” held in Tibet itself, was sponsored by the Information Office of China’s State Council and the regional government of Tibet. It was reportedly held on August 12 and 13.

The previous three forums had been held in Vienna in 2007, in Rome in 2009, and in Athens in 2011, according to Tibet Express, a Dharamsala-based website.

Let the world gasp in admiration, Xinhua suggested three years ago, itself all sighs of emotion.

It’s nice when you don’t need to do all the sighing alone – but apparently, some people still stubbornly refuse to join.

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Related

» Appeasing China, May 1, 2014
» Keep Calm, Feb 23, 2014
» Voice of Tibet, Feb 1, 2014
» Science in Action, Dec 26, 2010
» Thanking Sandrup’s lawyers, June 26, 2010
» Zap zap jé, Oct 16, 2009

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Hong Kong’s “Occupy Central” at the Crossroads

“Whatever Beijing may say in public now, I think it can hardly afford to ignore the voices of 780,000 Hong Kong people”, Anson Chan (陳方安生), former Chief Secretary of both Hong Kong’s colonial and SAR governments and now a leading democratic politician, told CNN earlier this summer. Occupy-Central with Love and Peace (佔領中環) had just held an unofficial referendum, in which 787,767 Hong Kongers voted in support of free elections for the city’s next leader.

But if the Alliance for the Protection of Universal Suffrage and against Occupy Central (保普选反占中大联盟, shorter: Alliance against Occupy) is right, there are also 1.2 million people in Hong Kong who want to be heard with a different message to the central government. The Alliance against Occupy reportedly claims to have collected 1.2 million signatures, exceeding the 800,000 votes Occupy’s democracy poll got in June. The alliance against Occupy Central is backed by much of the Hong Kong’s establishment, including chief executive Leung Chun-ying (梁振英). And Beijing, or People’s Daily for that matter, certainly didn’t ignore the Alliance-against-Occupy demonstrations of Sunday afternoon.

Mainland Chinese media hadn’t ignored Occupy Central, but issued warning articles, sometimes using foreigners as warners against disruption. Reference News (参考消息), a Xinhua newsagency publication, quoted British media as saying that four global accounting firms in Hong Kong had published a statement opposing Hong Kong’s democracy movement (称“反对”香港的民主运动), and warning that extremist elements carried out street protests and disturbed business, their transnational customers could withdraw from Hong Kong.

Indeed, according to a Financial Times online newsarticle on June 27, the Hong Kong entities of EY, KPMG, Deloitte and PwC said the Occupy Central movement, which is calling for electoral reform in the former British colony, posed a threat to the territory’s rule of law.

Ostensibly, the Alliance against Occupy opposes civil disobedience or, more precisely, disruption of public life. On the other hand, universal suffrage (making Hong Kong’s Chief Executive an elected, rather than an appointed official) can mean a lot of different things – including the model that would preselect the candidates who would be allowed to run for office.

Those Hong Kongers who want real elections will rather trust Occupy Central. But those who put the economy (and therefore business interests) first, will rather trust the Alliance against Occupy. It would be easy to suggest that an unknown share of the claimed 1.2 million signatures against Occupy were coerced from employees, or that demonstrators in today’s anti-Occupy demonstrations had been paid. But there are most probably genuine concerns among “ordinary people”, not only among big business. There also seems to be a dividing line between the old and the young – most Alliance protesters seem to be 50-plus. They aren’t necessarily stupid, and they may be quite aware that the CCP and its business cronies, rather than Hong Kongers, may take control of Hong Kong’s political narratives. But to regain (or maintain) influence, Occupy Central will have to listen to what Hong Kongers actually want. To do that without losing their own way defines be the challenge.

Any kind of street protests or blockades may remind the elderly of the 1967 riots, when most Hong Kongers sided with the colonial government. Occupy Central is a very different movement – but they will have to mind their image among the (yet unknown) majority of Hong Kongers. A vision of 10,000 people blocking traffic in the central business district may not charm the public.

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Related

» World Radio Day, Feb 15, 2014
» Sense of Affection, July 30, 2012
» Szeto Wah, 1931 – 2011, Jan 2, 2011
» Divisive Power, June 21, 2010
» Don’t startle Beijing, Jan 7, 2010

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday Start-of-Work Links: Debauchery, Demonic Fetuses, and War

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1. Vietnam’s Key Ally

Vietnam “can’t fight Chinese encroachment alone”, writes Tuong Lai, a  sociologist, also known as Nguyen Phuoc Tuong, and a former adviser to two Vietnamese prime ministers, according to the New York Times. The key ally for Vietnam today is the United States — an alliance that the Vietnamese liberation hero Ho Chi Minh ironically always wanted.

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2. Shinzo Abe ends Tour of  New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe arrived back in Tokyo on Saturday afternoon. He had visited New Zealand, Australia and Papua New Guinea during a trip that began the previous Sunday, according to Radio Japan:

He briefed leaders of the 3 countries on his Cabinet’s decision to reinterpret the Constitution to allow Japan to exercise its right to collective self-defense.
He sought their understanding on Japan’s aim to proactively contribute to global and regional peace and security.

Reinterpretation – or a constitutional putsch, as Jeff Kingston describes it in an article for the Japan Times.

Abe has decided to allow his country to go to war in the defence of its allies. The polite cover story is that Japan needs to be able to help the US in defending itself against the dangerous crazies of North Korea,

writes Peter Hartcher of the Sydney Morning Herald, adding that

The reality is that Japan is bracing for the possibility of war with China.

Meantime, on Saturday, China Youth Net (中国青年网) briefed its readers about what it describes as an anti-communist, anti-China policy with a continuity from former Japanese prime minister Nobusuke Kishi – be it from his days as prime minister from 1957 to 1960, be it from his days in Manchuria – to current prime minister Shinzo Abe:

The [CCTV] report says that Kishi lived a life of debauchery while in China, with alcohol and whores every night. He was called the demon of Manchuria. After the war, he was rated a class A war criminal but in the end managed to avoid trial, becoming Japanese prime minister in 1957. During his term, Kishi actively promoted anti-communism and anti-China, modified the the policies of the peaceful constitution, just as Abe is doing these days. It is exactly the mantle of this war-criminal grandfather.

报道称,岸信介在华期间生活放荡,每晚饮酒嫖妓,人称“满洲之妖”。战后被判为甲级战犯,但最终逃脱审判,并于1957年担任日本首相。在任期间,岸信介积极推进反共反华、修改和平宪法的政策,而如今安倍晋三继承的,正是这个战犯外公的衣钵。

The article also mentions the Nagasaki flag incident:

Kishi was hostile to New China (i. e. communist China). After coming to power, the winds of Japanese politics quickly turned right, with activities hostile towards China. During April and May 1958, the Japan-China Friendship Association’s Nagasaki branch held an exhibition of Chinese stamps and paper cuts. During the exhibition, two thugs tore the Five-Starred Red Flag down, causing the “Nagasaki Flag Incident” which shocked China and Japan, while Kishi actually said that “the article that makes the damaging of foreign flags a punishable crime does not apply to China.” This matter caused outrage in China. In May of the same year, the Chinese government announced that the limits of Chinese tolerance had been reached and that under these circumstances, trade and cultural exchange with Japan would be cut off. After that, Sino-Japanese relations withdrew to the initial stages of the post-war period. Until Kishi stepped down in 1960 and Hayato Ikeda formed a new cabinet, Sino-Japanese relations made a turn for the better again.

岸信介敌视新中国。在他上台后,日本的政治风向迅速右转,进行了一系列敌视中国的活动。1958年四五月间,日中友好协会长崎支部举办中国邮票剪纸展览 会,期间会场上悬挂的五星红旗被两名暴徒撤下撕毁,制造了震惊中日两国的“长崎国旗事件”,而岸信介居然称:“日本刑法关于损坏外国国旗将受惩罚的条款, 不适用于中国。”此事激起了中方的极大愤慨。同年5月11日,中国政府宣布,中方在忍无可忍的情况下决定断绝同日本的贸易往来和文化交流。此后,中日关系 倒退到战后初期状态。直到1960年岸信介下台,池田勇人组织新内阁,中日关系才出现转机。

[...]

While Kishi has a bad reputation in China, Japan’s current prime minister Shinzo Abe, when referrring to this maternal grandfather, blew the trumpet [to his praise]. In his book, “Beautiful Japan”, he acknowledges that “my political DNA has inherited more from Nobusuke Kishi’s genes.”

虽然岸信介在中国臭名昭著,但日本现任首相安倍晋三提到这个外祖父时,却大吹特吹。他在其所写的《美丽的日本》一书中承认:“我的政治DNA更多地继承了岸信介的遗传。”

 

Kishi’s reputation in South Korea isn’t good either. However, his name may serve to insult South Korean politicians. A South Korean member of parliament

described President Park and her Japanese counterpart, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as the offspring of “demonic fetuses” that should not have been born ― in reference to ex-President Park Chung-hee and ex-Japanese leader Nobusuke Kishi.

In Australia, the government’s policy towards China and Japan appears to be causing headaches. Peter Hartcher of the Sydney Morning Herald notes that

[t]o now, the government and opposition have agreed on how Australia should deal with China. That agreement fell apart this week. It fell apart after the leader of Japan, China’s arch-rival, came to town.

Apparently, Hartcher writes, Australia’s foreign minister

Julie Bishop spoke in anticipation of the potential reaction from Beijing in an interview with Fairfax Media’s John Garnaut.
The story in Thursday’s paper began: “Australia will stand up to China to defend peace, liberal values and the rule of law, says Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.
“In the Coalition government’s clearest statement yet on how to handle China, Ms Bishop said it had been a mistake for previous governments to avoid speaking about China for fear of causing offence.
“China doesn’t respect weakness,” the article quoted Bishop as saying.

Labor disagreed. And once the can had been opened, alleged euphemisms by prime minister Tony Abbott about Japan’s war on its neighbors, made in reply to Abe, became an issue, too.

All that after Abe had left for Papua New Guinea, and before any words of disapproval had emerged from Beijing.

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3. Xinjiang: Have you eaten?

The old traditional Han-Chinese greeting – “did you eat?” – has apparently become a genuine question in Xinjiang. As Han-Chinese cultural imperialism shows concern not only for the spirutual, but also the tangible nourishment of the  colony the autonomous region, Muslim students are forced to have meals with professors to ensure they are not fasting during the current Ramadan, reports the BBC‘s Martin Patience.

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4. Four more Generals

Four Chinese military officers have become generals. Xi Jinping, in his capacity as the party and state Central Military Commission (CMC), issued the promotions and took part in the ceremony on Friday. The promoted officers are Deputy Chief of General Staff (副总参谋长) of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Qi Jianguo (戚建国), Commander of the Shenyang Military Area Command (沈阳军区司令员) Wang Jiaocheng (王教成), Political Commissar of the Shenyang Military Area Command (政治委员) Chu Yimin (褚益民) and Political Commissar of the Guangzhou Military Area Command (广州军区政治委员) Wei Liang (魏亮). CMC vice chairmen Fan Changlong (范长龙) and Xu Qiliang (许其亮) also attended the ceremony.

In neat military formation and high spirits, the promoted officers went to the Chairman’s rostrum. Xi Jinping handed them their letters of appointment and cordially shook their hands to congratulate them. The four military officers, wearing general’s epaulets, saluted to Xi Jinping and the other leading comrades and to all comrades attending the ceremony, and enthusiastic applause rose from the whole audience.

晋升上将军衔的4位军官军容严整、精神抖擞地走到主席台前。习近平向他们颁发命令状,并同他们亲切握手,表示祝贺。佩戴了上将军衔肩章的4位军官向习近平等领导同志敬礼,向参加仪式的全体同志敬礼,全场响起热烈的掌声。

CMC members Chang Wanquan, Fang Fenghui, Zhang Yang, Zhao Keshi, Zhang Youxia, Wu Shengli, Ma Xiaotian and Wei Fenghe attended the promotion ceremony.

中央军委委员常万全、房峰辉、张阳、赵克石、张又侠、吴胜利、马晓天、魏凤和出席晋衔仪式。

The ceremony ended with the resonant sound of military songs. Afterwards, Xi Jinping and other leading comrades stood for a souvenir photo with the promoted officers.

晋衔仪式在嘹亮的军歌声中结束。之后,习近平等领导同志同晋升上将军衔的军官合影留念。

Also in attendance were all the PLA headquarters, all big Danweis (units) of Beijing, leaders of the General Office of Central Military Commission, and others.

出席晋衔仪式的还有解放军各总部、驻京各大单位和军委办公厅领导等。

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

State Vandalism on the Air: from Beijing with Fear and Loathing

It couldn’t last. NHK Radio Japan‘s Chinese programs on 9540 kHz came in with a good signal here in Northern Germany for many months, but that seems to be over now. China People’s Broadcasting Station (CPBS), aka China National Radio (CNR) from mainland China occupies the frequency now.

Radio Japan QSL card from 1986, showing a tea plantation.

Can you pick us up? A Radio Japan QSL card from 1986, showing a tea plantation.

That doesn’t make Radio Japan completely inaudible here, but it’s no fun to listen to a faint Japanese signal behind vocal mainland Chinese commercials. I’ll probably switch NHK podcasts.

To use domestic radio to block international broadcasters is vandalism.

When it comes to certain historical Chinese facts, the Communist Party of China can’t even coexist with them. It seems that Beijing can’t coexist with information from abroad – no matter if facts, lies, or propaganda – either.

The way China is jamming Radio Japan is, by the way, a pussy-footed way of spoiling shortwave. The “Firedrake” would, at least, be a candid statement, even if still as ugly.

Rebroadcasts of China Radio International (CRI) programs and other Beijing-made propaganda, like the ones via Radio Luxemburg‘s 1440 kHz, ought to be tagged with an announcement at the beginning and the end of every hour on the air, informing listeners that while they can listen to the message from Beijing unimpeded, the senders themselves are denying Chinese nationals the experience of listening to international broadcasters.

That one line would tell more about China than a one-hour broadcast by China Radio International.

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Updates/Related

» Radio Japan Mandarin podcasts, regularly updated
» Jamming of BBC continues, March 28, 2014

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