The BBC has a report about this televised confession of Chen Yongzhou and three previous similar events.
Should I believe the statements on tv?
» Under Arrest in Changsha, Oct 23, 2013
Changsha police official microblog (weibo) channel “Police Matters” confirmed last night that a reporter named Chen Yongzhou (陈永洲), from New Express (新快报), had been arrested on October 19, for allegedly causing causing damage to a company’s business reputation. This is what a Beijing Youth article republished by Xinhua says. His case was still under review, Changsha’s public security bureau is quoted.
The New Express, is one of Guangzhou’s main three newspapers, Beijing Youth explains. The “Express” is run by Yangcheng Evening News Group, a company founded in 1998 and also operates the Yangcheng Evening Post (羊城晚报), “Newsweek” (新闻周刊), Yangcheng Sports (羊城体育), Private Economy News (民营经济报), and “Guangzhou Construction News” (广东建设报), among others. Changsha, Hunan Province, is where Zoomlion, the company whose reputation had allegedly been damaged by Chen, is based.
Public information shows that from September 26, 2012 until June 1, 2013, Chen Yongzhou published ten critical articles concerning Zoomlion and “inflated profits”, “tunneled profits” [or maybe "conveyed benefits", depending on translation - JR], “abnormal marketing” and alleged fraud.
In July, writes Beijing Youth, Gao Hui, assistant to Zoomlion’s board chairman, wrote on a microblog that Chen had blackened the company’s name and caused significant drops in its share prices, apparently – as far as I understand Chinese – under rather strongly-worded subject lines (舆霸与打手).
Also according to Beijing Youth, Express said in a statement on August 8 that it had taken legal action against the company and Gao Hui. A civil charge says that Gao Hui had unfoundedly and deliberately described the paper’s reports as false, thus damaging its reputation, and violated the reporter’s legal rights. Damages of 1 Yuan (sic, probably a typo) for the publisher and 100,000 Yuan for the reporter were demanded, as well as an apology.
The BBC writes that the Express has made a front-page plea for Yong’s release. Chen had spent three days and three nights in custody before he saw a lawyer, the BBC quotes from the editorial.
» Second frontpage plea, BBC, Oct 24, 2013
Links within blockquote added during translation.
The party and state leadership held a ceremony at the Monument to the People’s Heroes on Tian’anmen Square at ten local time Tuesday morning, taking flower baskets there. Party secretary general and state chairman Xi Jinping and other “party and state leaders braved the rain”, together with representatives “from all walks of life” in Beijing.
Xinhua newsagency mentions Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Zhang Yu, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli as attendees. Xinhua:
This is the first time for the new generation of party and state leaders to offer flower baskets to the Monument to the People’s Heroes. At ten in the morning, the ceremony began. Accompanied by a military band, Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders, together with representatives from all walks of life in the capital city sang the national anthem of the People’s Republic of China. After that, everyone stood silent, in tribute to the to the heroic martyrs who gave their lives in the liberation of the Chinese people and the cause of the People’s Republic. In the autumn rain, China’s leaders put down the umbrellas they held, standing silently.
这是中国新一届党和国家领导人首次向人民英雄纪念碑敬献花篮。上午10时许，仪式开始。在军乐队 伴奏下，习近平等中国领导人同首都各界代表一起高唱中华人民共和国国歌。随后，全场肃立，向为中华民族独立、中国人民解放和共和国建设事业英勇献身的烈士 默哀。在秋雨中，中国领导人放下手中雨伞，肃立默哀。
After the silence, the Young Pioneers’ song, “We are the heirs of communism” sounded on the scene, sung by all the young people present at the ceremony.
Nine flower baskets, presented by nine party and state organs as well as mass organizations were placed to the Monument to the People’s Heroes side by side, fragrant flowers in clusters shining in the rain. Three-thousand representatives from all walks of life, including veteran soldiers, women, young boys and girls, families of martyrs, model workers and persons from all ethnic groups attended the ceremony.
This day’s ceremony has been officially held since 2010, one year after another, with the ceremony of presenting flowers to the Monument to the People’s Heroes. The reporter observed that although the ceremony was held in heavy rain this year, it remained unaffected by the rain. The atmosphere was solemn as ever.
The Monument to the People’s Heroes, inaugurated on April 22, 1958, was built for the people’s heroes who sacrificed themselves for the independence of the Chinese nation, the liberation of the people, and the cause of the construction of the People’s Republic.
Reporter: Yu Zhanyi.
Obviously, the weather was different from one year ago (with an effect on the scene), but the way CCTV’s main news broadcast, Xinwen Lianbo, presented the event on Tuesday was also quite different from last year’s, from 2011, and from 2010 (not sure if the 2010 link was the 7-p.m.-broadcast) – the first year when the ceremony was conducted. The bird’s eye view on Tian’anmen Gate (reminiscent of historic film material) was missing previously, at least in the Xinwen Lianbo coverage, and so was the distinclty Communist “Young Pioneers” song that was featured by Xinwen Lianbo this time. It seems that the party found that it is now time again for some “spiritual nourishment”.
This year’s footage, however, also makes you aware of how empty Tian’anmen Square actually is on the occasion of the flower-presenting ceremonies. If there were 3,000 people in attendance, as mentioned by Xinhua, they appeared almost lost in the huge square.
The BBC, in its regular review of Chinese media, besides hardocre CCP sources, also quotes from (seemingly or truly) more worldly-wise media and articles than Xinhua newsagency or Xinwen Lianbo. However, it is CCTV’s evening news broadcast which reaches most Chinese households on a regular basis.
Links within the following blockquotes were added during translation / quotation — JR
Kerry Brown, a professor of Chinese politics at the University of Sydney, recently asked in an article for the BBC if China’s “non-interference policy” was sustainable.
Although China’s global influence had grown during the past decades, Brown wrote,
[..] Chinese leaders still stay as close as they can to the principles of peaceful coexistence and non-interference set out by Zhou Enlai. Despite the fact that the world has changed so radically in this time, these principles are useful because they avoid China being dragged into situations that overstretch and challenge it, they avoid it being pushed into a corner where it can be painted as a foe of the US and the rest of the developed world, and they allow it to continue focusing on its own formidable internal development issues.
Indeed, China’s profile remained low in the Syrian conflict, so far, and seemed to follw Russia’s diplomatic wake rather than pursuing a globally visible role of its own (which does not necessarily mean that Beijing sees eye to eye with Moscow on each and every issue).
At the same time, not only foreigners wonder where China is when it comes to the current crisis (or its recent defusing). Domestic Chinese press does describe China’s position at times, not least to keep face-conscious readers happy, probably.
Xinhua newsagency, for example, carried an interview with China’s special Mideast envoy Wu Sike (吴思科) on September 10 this year. Excerpts:
The Syrian “chemical weapons” issue is confusing, and it hasn’t yet been possible to determine who is right and who is wrong, I have once lived in Syria for four years, and my impression of the locality was very good. Before the chaos caused of the war, it was a society of moderate prosperity [or a moderately well-off society], with many historical relics, and very friendly people. But now, according to UNHCR statistics, the number of refugees who fled abroad has surpassed two million, with one million of them children, and six million people are displaced within Syria. These aren’t just numbers; this is the suffering of homeless Syrian people who even lost loved ones. Who wants to be responsible for aggravating their crisis?
Wu Sike describes his role in Mideast diplomacy:
Last year in December, I took part in a conference in Bahrain, and the participating countries all thought that the United Nations should mediate. Now, America tries to be above international situations, which is a really high-handed behavior. But the intriguing thing this time is that America’s allies, such as Italy or Germany aren’t positive [about America's approach]. Therefore, China unequivocally advocates opposition against military methods, and advocates political means to solve the Syrian conflict. War will only complicate the situation further, intensify contradictions and clashes, and is no way to solve the problem. Therefore, political means should be used for a solution.
The Mideast situation is complex. When I visited Cairo, Arab-League general secretary Nabil Elaraby believed that the current problem was that the Syrian government believes that they still have strong troops to overcome its opponents. But the opposition believes that if only they persist for another day, there will be people abroad who will support them. Neither side wanted to abandon military means to protect itself, and there’s an impasse. Under such circumstances, efforts by the international community are required. The UN have now started an investigation of the chemical-weapons incident. To go to arms before the investigation’s findings are published runs counter to the purpose of the “UN Charter”. All parties should wait for and respect the findings of the investigation.
中东地区的形势错综复杂，我在开罗访问的时候，阿盟秘书长阿拉比认为现在的难点是叙利亚政府认为自 己手中还有强大的军队，能够征服他的反对者。而反对派认为只要自己坚持一天，国外就有人会支持，双方都不愿放弃军事手段来保卫自己，这是一个死结。因此， 在这种情况下，需要国际社会的努力。
Two years earlier (and this should not suggest that Wu Sike never talked again, prior to September this year), Wu Sike also commented on Mideast affairs. Back then, his Mideast and Syria comments were embedded in a broader picture of Chinese diplomacy.
Public Diplomacy Net was established on May 1, 2011, with former Chinese foreign minister Tang Jiaxuan, former chairman of the foreign aff airs committee of the “Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference” Zhao Qizheng, Commission for Africa member Ji Peiding and Chinese special Mideast envoy Wu Sike as the website’s advisors.
Soon after, in September 2011, Wu Sike was interviewed by the website, or responded to netizens’ questions. The main topic at the time was a white paper on China’s peaceful development, issued earlier that month on September 6, but as Middle-East special envoy, Wu was also asked questions related to the Middle-East peace process and the growing Syria conflict.
One of his answers further down in the following blockquote could count as an answer to the question at the beginning of this post, asked by Professor Brown, as to why China sticks to a low profile. The Chinese wording for “low profile” – or hiding your brightness and biding your time, depending on your translation, is 韬光养晦, is attributed to Deng Xiaoping.
Wu Sike’s answer to the first question of the interview is lengthy, and contains several paragraphs.
Public Diplomacy Net (PDN) / Wu Sike (WSK)
PDN: Special Ambassador Wu, the information office of the state council published the “China’s Peaceful Development” white paper on September 6, please explain the main content of the white paper to our netizen friends.
WSK: The white paper on “China’s Peaceful Development” has received broad attention at home and abroad. It is the declaration of China’s peaceful development, a roadmap, with absolutely important significance. It provides, for the first time, a comprehensive and systematic explanation of China’s path of peaceful development, the strategy and foreign policies of China’s peaceful development. It states Chinese path of peaceful development, the goals of peaceful development, and actively responds to the questions about how China wants to apply its strength and foreign relations and similar issues.
The white paper explains China’s development path, and strategic direction still more comprehensively, systematically and clearly to the world. Peaceful development has become China’s national will. The white paper officially defines the conceptof “core interests“, it points out that China will resolutely protect its core national interests, including the country’s sovereignty, security, territorial integrity, national unity, China’s political system and general social stability as established by the constitution, the basic guarantees for sustained economic and social development.
The white paper explains how the big country with its 1.3 billion people develops on the path of socialism, sums up its content and its characteristics, especially emphasizes that peaceful development is socialism with Chinese characteristics’ essential content, raises peaceful development to the rank of national will, turns it into the overall national development plan and fundamental policy, and implements domestic and external practice.
China is a responsible big country, the white paper uses the “promote and build a harmonious world, maintain the standing-of-one’s-own-and-peace foreign polciies, advocates the new security concept of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality [of states, apparently] and cooperation, an international concept of active international responsibility, pursuing good-neighborly regional cooperation concepts”, thus summarizing China’s peaceful-development foreign policy. Among these, Active international responsibility has appeared in a public official document for the first time. Cooperation on environmental issues is discussed as an organic part of a harmonious world.
Peaceful development is the national will. Therefore, as Chinese citizens, we need the concept of peaceful development to be reflected in our practical work. Also, we need to let the world understand the firm idea of China’s peaceful development.
After studying the white paper, I felt that there needs to be a deepened understanding from two aspects:
One is that peaceful development is the call of our times. We can see from the world’s historical development that [a country's?] strength leads to hegemony [or tyranny], and when a great power rose, it always replaced another great power by force, making both of them suffer. History has developed to a new era, and this road should be taken. In these times of globalization and rapid technological development, we should build a harmonious world with the methods of win-win. This is the requirement of global development and a certainty of historical development.
The second [aspect] is the fulffillment of “peace” as China’s concept with its great and far-reaching significance, as seen from China’s traditional culture. From ancient times, China’s philosophy has been about the “unity of nature and humanity”, that national characteristics [or identity] “values peace”, that there is diversity in harmony, about exploring inclusiveness, about open-mindedness, good-neighborliness and friendliness – this is the guiding spirit of China’s exchange with the outside world.
[This para is an incomplete translation] The Silk Road which opened more than two-thousand years ago, has enriched our culture and development through trade and cultural interaction, agriculture and our species. It has made lives richer.
More than six-hundred years ago, China’s famous navigator Zheng He took his seven voyages to the Western seas, to western Asia, eastern Africa, to thirty countries and regions. It was a big fleet, but they didn’t carry armed force. They carried concepts of friendship and peace. They promoted bilateral exchanges, and bequeathed us a much-told tale. Historically, China maintained an ideology that valued peace.
After the establishment of New China, we first issued the five principles of peaceful coexistence. This is both a fundamental policy in Chinese diplomacy and a manifestation of traditional Chinese civilization: mutual respect, no interference into each other’s internal affairs, etc.. After that, through our continuous development and changes, we have continuously enriched the five principles on their [own] foundation. In economic exchange, China maintains equality and mutual benefit and cooperational win-win. In terms of security concepts, mutual trust, hand-in-hand cooperation, it’s facing the traditional and non-traditional global security threats. Another advocacy is a kind of green development concept, humankind’s common care for the earth, and environment protection.
PDN: This interview has attracted many netizens’ attention, many have asked questions, and in the following, we would like to ask special envoy Wu Sike for some answers.
PDN: A netizen asks, which role is China playing in the Middle-East peace process?
WSK: The hot spot of the Middle East is a global concern. China’s regional peace and stability is also closely interrelated with global peace and stability. Therefore, China has always paid attention to the Mid-East situation, and has made unremitting efforts for Mid-Eastern peace.
PDN: What is the base line of “peaceful development”?
WSK: China’s peaceful development is our national policy. We will unservingly take the path of peaceful development, and also, the “white paper” has clearly defined China’s core national interests, which won’t waver in the least, either. Only when there is respect for the other side’s core interests, peace can be effectively protected, and sustainable development be put into place.
PDN: What is your understanding of “hide your brightness, bide your time“?
WSK: To keep a low profile and to actively make a difference is an important principle of China’s diplomacy. To keep a low profile is no makeshift measure. China needs to achieve comprehensive rejuvenation, to make efforts for another long period, and in this process, we always need to be modest and prudent, learn others’ strengths, and while developing economically, we need to change the ways of development, achieve scientific development, and even if Chjna has developed strongly, we must maintain peaceful policies. That’s in the fundamental interest of the Chinese people, and in line with the interests of the peoples of the world.
吴 思科：坚持韬光养晦，积极有所作为，这是中国外交的一条重要原则，韬光养晦不是权宜之计，中国要实现全面复兴，还需要经历一个很长时间的努力，在这个过程 中我们始终需要谦虚谨慎，学习别人的长处，在经济发展的同时还需要转变发展方式，实现科学发展，即使中国发展强大了，也必须继续坚持和平的方针。这是中国 人民的根本利益所在，也符合世界人民的共同利益。
PDN: How does China pursue win-win in cooperation?
WSK: China has always adhered to the policy of cooperational win-win, and has explored this new method of cooperation. Cooperational win-win has created favorable conditions for our country’s economic development, and has also made a contribution to global economic development. As for myself, I have been involved in promoting Chinese cooperation with Arab and African countries, achieving cooperational win-win projects which are too many to enumerate. These projects have been mutually beneficial, this is cooperation needed by both sides, and they have ample prospects.
吴 思科：中国在对外合作方面一直遵循合作共赢的方针，并不断探索扩大这种合作的新的方式，这种合作共赢、共同发展的合作理念为我国的经济发展创造了有利的条 件，同时也为世界经济的发展做出了贡献。我本人就曾经参与推动中国和阿拉伯国家、非洲国家的合作，实现合作共赢的合作项目不胜枚举，这些项目都为双方带来 的共同利益，。这种合作是双方的共同需要，也有着广阔的前景。
PDN: What, in your view, are the main points about the China’s peaceful development “white paper”?
WSK: I think they are the clear definition of China’s core interests, at the same time explaining the six big characteristics of China’s peaceful development, which are scientific development, development standing on one’s own, opening up development, peaceful development, cooperation development, and common development. You could say that this is a high degree of summarization with strong guiding significance for what fits our national situation in the sixty years since the establishment of New China, and especially for the more than thirty years of reform and opening up.
吴 思科：我认为最大的亮点是明确界定了中国的核心利益；同时阐述了中国和平发展的六大特征，就是科学发展、自主发展、开放发展、和平发展、合作发展、共同发 展。可以说这是对新中国成立60年特别是改革开放30多年来我国探索适合自己国情发展道路实践的高度总结，有很强的指导意义。
PDN: As the Middle-East envoy, how do you see the current situation in the Middle East?
WSK: The Middle East is experiencing the biggest upheaval and change since more than half a century, with far-reaching effects to the region. In a situation of international change, big developments, and major adjustments, people there are seeking change, seeking development, improvement for the peoples’ livelihoods, and these are absolutely reasonable demands. We hope that some countries in the region can achieve peaceful change, find their own ways of development that fit into the new situation, soon achieve stability, with the fulfillment of the peoples’ demands. We also hope that in the Mideast hotspots, issues can be solved through negotiations, and peacefully, which is in the interest of all countries and peoples in the region, and also beneficial for global causes of peace and stability and development.
吴 思科：当前中东正经历近半个世纪以来最大的政治动荡和变革，对该地区正在产生深远的影响。在国际形势大变化、大发展，国际格局大调整的情况下，该地区的人 民求变革、求发展、求改善民生，这是完全合理的诉求。我们希望该地区的一些国家能够实现和平的变革，找到新形势下适合各自发展的方式，早日实现稳定，使人 民的诉求能够得以实现。同时也希望中东地区的热点问题能够通过谈判的方式实现和平解决，这既是该地区各个国家和人民的利益所在，也有利于世界的和平稳定和 发展事业。
[The following two questions and answers discuss the way China is seen from outside, the "China threat talk" (所谓中国威胁论), "cold war mentality", hopes and fears about China's development, etc, and China's role in peacekeeping missions.]
The following is a translation of a Xinhua newsagency account of Bo Xilai‘s first day in court, on Thursday. Probably because of the judicial nature of the article, I found it quite complicated. Objections and advice to improve the translation will be welcome.
Like many (online) papers and websites, Huanqiu Shibao carried the Xinhua account.
Xinhua Net, Jinan, August 22 (reporters Huo Xiaoguang, Yang Weihan). The intermediate people’s court in Jinan, Shandong province, heard the case of Bo Xilai bribery, corruption, and abuse of authority. Bo Xilai is standing trial. Witnesses appeared in court and gave testimony. Close relatives of the defendant, National People’s Congress delegates, Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference members, media journalists and members of the masses from all walks of life – more than one-hundred overall – were sitting in and following the trial.
At 8:43, presiding judge, vice president Wang Xuguang of Jinan intermediate people’s court, struck the gavel and opened the hearing.
The prosecutor read out the indictment. The indictment reads: From 1999 to 2012, Bo Xilai used his offices as Dalian mayor, Dalian municipal party secretary, Liaoning provincial governor, minister of commerce and other offices to obtain property amounting to more than 21,790,000 Yuan RMB directly or through his wife Gu Kailai and his son Gu Guagua, after accepting requests from Dalian International Development Company general manager Tang Xiaolin (case handled separately), Dalian Shide Group Ltd. chairman Xu Ming (case handled separately) to help their companies or them individually with applying for car import quotas, reporting petrochemical project(s). The amount(s) was/were particularly big in 2002, when Bo Xilai made use of his office as Liaoning provincial governor and, together with others, embezzled Dalian city funds of 5,000,000 Yuan, and in January and February 2012, when Bo Xilai, as Chongqing municipal CCP secretary, violated regulations to obstruct investigations concerning Bo Gu Kailai’s intentional homicide, before and after the defection of deputy mayor Wang Lijun, approving the false public information that Wang Lijun “was on vacation and receiving treatment” and other ways of abusing authority. His behavior was a major cause in making it impossible to handle the above case timely in accordance with the law, and in the defection of Wang Lijun. This created a particularly abominable effect on society, major losses for the country’s and the people’s interests, under particularly serious circumstances. The prosecutor believes Bo Xilai should be prosecuted [on the basis of] crime of accepting bribes, crime of corruption, and crime of abuse of authority.
公诉人宣读起诉书。起诉书指控：1999年至2012年间，薄熙来利用担任大连市人民政 府市长、中共大连市委书记、辽宁省人民政府省长、商务部部长等职务便利，接受大连国际发展有限公司总经理唐肖林(另案处理)、大连实德集团有限公司董事长 徐明(另案处理)的请托，为相关单位和个人在申请进口汽车配额、申报石化项目等事项上提供帮助，直接或者通过其妻薄谷开来、其子薄瓜瓜收受上述二人给予的 财物共计折合人民币2179万余元，数额特别巨大;2002年，薄熙来担任辽宁省人民政府省长期间，利用职务便利，伙同他人侵吞大连市人民政府公款人民币 500万元，数额巨大;2012年1月至2月，薄熙来作为中共重庆市委书记，在有关人员揭发薄谷开来涉嫌故意杀人及时任重庆市人民政府副市长王立军叛逃前 后，违反规定实施了阻碍对薄谷开来涉嫌故意杀人案重新调查、批准对外发布王立军接受“休假式治疗”的虚假消息等一系列滥用职权行为，其行为是导致上述案件 不能及时依法查处和王立军叛逃事件发生的重要原因，并造成了特别恶劣的社会影响，致使国家和人民利益遭受重大损失，情节特别严重。公诉人认为，对薄熙来应 以受贿罪、贪污罪、滥用职权罪追究刑事责任。
Bo Xilai denied the indictment charges, made a statement and denied the charges. The court investigated the charges. Prosecutors and defenders respectively questioned the defendant, and cross-examined Dalian Shide Group Ltd. chairman Xu Ming [who attended] as a witness. The prosecutors showed evidence, testimonies, used evidence such as audio and video recordings, and prosecutors and defenders carried out ample evidence. The court put forward all permissions for Bo Xilai to to speak and to file motions.
在审判长主持下，被告人薄熙来对起诉书指控的受贿犯罪事实进行了陈述，并否认了指控。法庭就起诉指控薄熙来受 贿的事实进行了法庭调查。公诉人、辩护人分别讯(询)问了被告人，并对出庭作证的证人大连实德集团有限公司董事长徐明进行了交叉询问。公诉人当庭出示了书 证、证人证言、询问证人同步录音录像等有关证据，控辩双方进行了充分质证。法庭对薄熙来当庭提出的所有发言申请均予以准许。被告人及其辩护人充分发表了意 见。
The defendant, Bo Xilai, was emotionally stable in the court proceedings, his physical condition was normal. There was order among those sitting in and following the hearings.
At about six p.m., the presiding judge announced an adjournment, and the continuation of the hearings on August 23.
During the trial, Jinan intermediate people’s court’s official microblog channel [Weibo] covered the trial. After the morning session and the afternoon session, Jinan intermediate people’s court spokesman [or spokespeople] reported to the media.
According to the emoticons underneath, eleven reading voters are “frightened”, 37 are “angry”, 573 are “saddened”, three are “moved”, 28 “delighted”, none are “happy”, sixteen are “bored”, and 145 pushed the “ridiculous” button.
Huanqiu Shibao itself published an article today (Friday) that focuses on how the public follows the hearings, with an emphasis on international media: “Bo Xilai’s appearance in court attracts international attention” (薄熙来出庭受审引国际关注).
The BBC reported that Jinan people’s intermediate court’s offical microblog channel provided timely coverage. From the announcement of the trial and access provided to the audience, to the verification of the defendant’s identity, every step [in the proceedings] was published on the microblog.
Agence France-Presse (opening time of the hearings) and Singapore’s Lianhe Morning Post (orderly public listening to the proceedings), Hong Kong’s Ta Kung Pao online and WenWei Po are also quoted – none, however, with news or commentary that would add information to that provided by Xinhua (see first translation).
Two Russian sources get the last word in Huanqiu’s press review:
Russian newspaper “Independent” says that China’s trial of Bo Xilai shows that nobody can put himself above the law. Any criminal at any level will be punished. Russian “Information” website says that the trial clearly shows the CCP’s determination to fight against corruption.
According to the emoticons, 34 (emote-voting) readers are “frightened”, 52 are “angry”, 392 “saddened”, eleven are “moved”, 45 “delighted”, seven “happy”, 58 “bored”, and 1409 appear to find the article, the topic, situation, or else, “ridiculous”.
Xinwen Lianbo, China’s main evening news broadcast, apparently carried no news about the trial on Thursday, but an (apparently) unrelated one about cleaning the internet of “rumors”.
» Trial resumes, CNN, Aug 23, 2013
Warning: JR is trying to explain the economy to himself. His word pool and previous knowledge about this topic are shaky, and the following may or may not make sense – you’ll have only have yourselves to blame if you base your homework (or investment decisions) on this post.
This is not the first time that a “financial crisis” is predicted for China, and certainly not so in Western media, which seem to have become aware of problems in China’s financial system by 2011. It doesn’t seem unlikely that the times of export-led growth in China are coming to an end – a new policy needs to be found, and it will need to be more specific than these.
The third wave of the global financial crisis is likely to occur in the emerging markets, and it is in its preliminary (or brewing) stage in China, Hong Kong’s Beijing-leaning Wen Wei Po (文匯報) quoted Guan Qingyou (管清友), assistant dean of the Minsheng Securities Research Institute, on June 21. However, it hadn’t started yet, Guan added, and there were two reasons for that. America’s Federal Reserve Bank hadn’t sufficient reason yet to exit its quantative easing policy, and the Bank of Japan, Japan’s central bank, was firm in its radical easing policies.
But that was no reason to lean back, Wen Wei Po continues to quote Guan Qingyou. The longer the brewing stage of the crisis lasted, the more fiercely it would become once it broke out. For the time being, there were three firewalls, Guan suggested: China’s current account suprlus with a corresponding amount of foreign-exchange reserves, a capital account that hadn’t yet been completely liberalized, and short-term capital flight would therefore be limited, and thirdly, China’s financial system was relatively stable – this third aspect had allowed China to escape the Asian financial crisis (of 1997) rather unharmed. Despite these reassuring short-term “firewalls”, an aging population, growing financial risks and excess production capacity stemming from overinvestment as well as high housing/property prices were burdens that made it difficult for China to prosper.
It would therefore be possible to avoid an acute currency crisis, Wen Wei Po quotes Guan Qingyou.
On July 2, China News Service quoted excerpts from Hong Kong’s Ming Pao‘s (明報) July 2 edition. Here, too, the Federal Reserve got a mention: there was no fixed end to the third round of quantative easing, and it would continue until the US economy’s recovery was really steady. This positive change would occur later this year, the Federal Reserve is quoted as predicting – “we hope that the Fed is right”, China News Service quotes Ming Pao.
The Fed’s “quantative easing” was at times cussed in the Chinese media (I can’t tell if that was also true for Hong Kong media) during the first years of the financial crisis, for destabilizing the global economy (and, presumably, for devaluing both the dollar and the U.S. bonds China holds as America’s creditor). But few Chinese observers appear to be waiting for an end to quantative easing too impatiently.
Ming Pao, according to China News Service, uses some stronger language than Wen Wei Po in describing the need for Chinese financial market reforms: just as the economy was slowing down in China, and while the global markets weren’t stable, the Chinese central bank was trying to defuse the bomb in China’s financial system:
To meet their needs for working capital, mainland private enterprises are often seriously dependent on short-term funding. And if Chinese everywhere scramble for working capital, the whole Asian supply chain may become affected. This is bad news for the close regional ties between exporting and processing enterprises in mainland China. If the tightening period drags on, this will also negatively affect northeast Asian countries depending on Chinese growth.
内地的私营企业为满足营运资金的需求，往往 严重依赖短期资金。因此，若中国供货商到处争夺营运资金，整条亚洲供应链都可能会受到干扰。对于与内地出 口加工企业关系密切的地区出口商来说，这是个坏消息。若内地的紧缩周期拖长，对于那些俨如中国经济增长寒暑表的东北亚国家来说，将会不利。
The more resolute China’s [financial?] reform plans, the more painful the labor pain will be. The decision makers will try to increase the efficiency of capital use within the financial system. There is no “painless” way of dealing with the problem of debt dependence.
Access to loans had long been a problem for smaller and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Occasionally even the press seemed to confront the central bank with the issue. A Zhejiang Satellite TV reporter asked People’s Bank of China (PBoC) governor Zhou Xiaochuan in March 2011 how, under a tightening policy, harm for the SMEs can be avoided, given that banks could easily raise interest rates, and the SMEs had absolutely no bargaining power. Zhou’s answer amounted to a speech, rather than to an answer, and the only “practical advice” it contained basically amounted to a one-liner: We also encourage small companies to choose from the market.
The central bank hasn’t earned itself better grades very recently either, at least not by the Economist‘s standards: stirred by one trillion yuan added to the commercial banks’ loanbooks during the first ten days of June, the PBoC concluded that some banks were expecting a fresh government stimulus to revive a slowing economy and had “positioned themselves in advance”. But rather than going into another illicit lending orgy, the commercial banks had – arguably – only recognized existing loans in deference to the regulator’s instructions.
The message the BBC‘s Laurence Knight reads into the PBoC’s decisions is that the newly-ensconced government of President Xi Jinping is deadly serious about “rebalancing” China’s economy. (Knight’s story also contains a history of China’s recent “cheap-money era”, i. e. the stimulus package, and how small borrowers have been marginalised from the mainstream financial system.
But if the Xi leadership is indeed deadly serious about addressing the reform of the financial system, the question remains who will need to bear the pain Ming Pao (as quoted by China News Service) predicted on July 2. Michael Pettis, finance professor at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management, can think of one sector which must not take the burden:
You can only resolve a bad debt problem by assigning the cost to some sector of the economy. In the past it was the household sector that implicitly paid to clean up the debt, but if we expect rapid growth in household consumption to lead the economy going forward, and this is what rebalancing means in the Chinese context, we cannot also expect the household sector to clean up the bad debt in the same way it has done so over the past decade.
But if growth led by domestic demand – instead of export-led growth – is indeed the goal, neither Guan Qingyou’s comments as quoted by Wen Wei Po nor Ming Pao’s article as quoted by China News Service seem to hint at such a solution. And when it comes to China’s colonial possessions, investment appears to remain the only answer, to economic and political problems alike. But then, excess production capacity may hardly be the main issue there, in the short run.
China Radio International‘s Mandarin service renders a newslet by China News Service (中国新闻社), China’s second-largest state-owned newsagency after Xinhua, on the field of public diplomacy.
Original title: Ethnic Chinese Laotians go to Yunnan to experience Chinese culture
CRI Online news: according to China News Service, the “2013 China is alright – the perfect Yunnan summer camp” has started in Kunming, with fourty campers and group leaders from Chinese schools in Laos. It is scheduled to go on for ten days. Apart from developing [an awareness or knowledge of, apparently] Yunnan ethnic culture, knowledge of China, and exchange, the overseas Chinese students will also experience Yunnan province’s local conditions and customs.
With Chinese-Laotian cooperation growing closer and the surging “Chinese language fever” in Laos, more and more ethnic Chinese and Laotians want to understand the Chinese way of life and traditional culture. Luo Bailan, a teacher and group leader with the camp, says that the Chinese schools in Laos are continuously adjusting their educational methods, to allow the students to learn by experience.
Chinese Language and Culture Education Foundation of China deputy secretary general Li Xianguo says that “China is alright” is an important part of the foundation’s “Young Ethnic Chinese Chinese Culture Heritage Project”.
The State Council Information Office (SCIO) is more elaborate, adding that most of the students haven’t been to Yunnan before. Even though it has been rainy for days, and temperatures in the spring city [i. e. Kunming] are a bit low, this hasn’t affected the campers’ high spirits in the least. They are reading the course schedules of the camp reader, excitedly discuss the coming lessons and the tourist attractions. A student tells the SCIO reporter that he is most interested in poetry recital and calligraphy, and in touring the Stone Forest, the birthplace of Ashima:
“We also want to experience the culture of national minorities in the Yunnan Nationalities Village I don’t know a lot about national minorities and hope to experience a lot of interesting things”, Lin Yingcai says in fluent Chinese.
Many Laotians and Burmese and Cambodians and North Koreans see China as a promised land, Joshua Kurlantzick wrote in his 2007 book Charm Offensive (p. 137). And America, he warned, had earned itself a bad image in the past, and was still doing so:
For decades, the United States still did not grant Laos normal trading relations, though Laos’s human rights record was no worse than the record of China, with whom America traded vigorously. American sanctions on Laos infuriated Lao officials, who didn’t understand why such a big country like the United Stateswould punish a minnow – especially since during the Vietnam War, America had dropped more bombs on Laos than it dropped on Germany and Japan together during World War II, leaving Laos riddled with unexploded ordnance.
(Kurlantzick, p. 59)
Jiang Zemin visited Laos in November 2000, reportedly the first visit by a Chinese head of state. In November 2006, Jiang’s successor Hu Jintao followed up, and moved China Radio International (CRI) one step ahead of the BBC and the VoA, by pushing a button for a rebroadcasting FM station – the inauguration ceremony was reportedly broadcast live, as the rebroadcaster’s first program ever:
So, Vientiane listeners, for the first time, clearly and vividly heard the the warm voice of state chairman Hu Jintao, a visitor from a friendly neighbor.
A CRI official said that the friendly relations between China and Laos created good conditions for CRI’s operations in Laos. According to the official, the Laotian government’s approval of CRI’s Vientiane frequency was one of only few. Before, the BBC and the VoA had applied for frequencies to the Laotian government, but had received no approval.
Tiananmen Square has a meaning to China – not just Beijing – as deep as the Place de la Bastille‘s for Paris, or that of the Alexanderplatz for Berlin. On 400,000 square meters, Tiananmen Square – according to relevant tourist information – provides space for one million people. That’s how the square has been used – for gatherings ordered by the Chinese Communist Party, when Mao Zedong proclaimed the People’s Republic, for Hua Guofeng‘s eulogy on Mao Zedong in 1976, and for military parades celebrating the People’s Republic’s 35th, 50th, and 60th birthday.
In 1997, on Tiananmen Square, a limited number of people celebrated the return of Hong Kong. The limitation had conjecturable reasons – eight years and four weeks earlier, Chinese army and police troops had quashed a student movement – that movement, too, had its public center in Tiananmen Square.
Ever since 1911, Tiananmen Square had been a place for gatherings outside the scripts of the powers that be. The first, probably, was the May-Fourth movement, sparked by the transfer of formerly German possessions in Shandong Province to Japan, rather than to China, in 1919, after World War One. Chinese intellectuals had begun to perceive their country not just as a civilization, but as a nation, interacting with other nations and falling behind internationally. In 1919, there were no celebrations. There were protests.
The May-Fourth movement has since been canonized. CCP historians see the movement as the beginning of progressive processes during the first half of the 20th century, leading to the CCP’s rise to power. But even Hua Guofeng’s eulogy on Mao, in September 1976, had been preceded by expressions of grief months earlier, in April, for the late chief state councillor Zhou Enlai. The more radical followers of Mao Zedong considered that an affront.
Personal impressions from the 1976 “Tian An Men incident” apparently made Wu Renhua, later a dissident, honor Hu Yaobang with a wreath on Tiananmen Square, in April 1989. Hu Yaobang had just passed away, and some points seem to be noteworthy:
When Hu died, he had been removed as the CCP secretary general for more than two years. Apparently, the party leadership had considered him to be too reform-minded. Expressions of grief from the population might be considered an affront by the party leaders, too, and they probably did, even if it took more than six weeks for the party to put an end to the movement of intellectuals and students in which Wu Renhua had been taking part.
By then, the movement had long gone beyond their original motivation of honoring Hu Yaobang. Through anti-corruption protest, it had turned into a movement for democracy.
Also, Wu Renhua, then an about thirty-three years old lecturer from the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, was part of the movement, but – according to his own account – rather going along with it, than driving it. His actual confrontational attitude towards the CCP only built after the massacre – an outrage that he had never seemed to expect from his country’s leaders.
And even if the University of Political Science and Law played an important role in the 1989 movement, the Beijing University, the Beida, had the traditional, leading role.
Rivalries among the 1989 dissidents are nothing unusual today. Frequently, they are personal rather than political, accompanied by allegations that X is self-important, that Y is a CCP collaborator, or that Z is remote-controlled by Falun Gong – somehow unpredictable or dangerous.
June 4 has become an unsolved complex in Chinese history. Whoever studied in a major Chinese city in 1989 will know that complex. “Sure”, a Shanghainese told me in the early 1990s, “we were all protesting.” To her, however, the matter was closed with the end of the movement – ostensibly, anyway. Many Chinese people born after 1989 hardly know about the existence of the movement, and among those who do remember it, at least some consider the crackdown a rather lucky outcome: be it because they don’t think that the students were able to handle politics in 1989, be it because they see a foreign conspiracy against China’s stability and China’s rise behind the former movement.
By 2008, a trend had changed. Many Chinese people who used to feel respect for (Western) democracies had changed their mind. Frequently negative coverage by Western media on the Beijing Olympics certainly played a role here – the negative foreign echo was spread selectively, but broadly by Chinese media. Some overseas Chinese in Germany even organized a silent protest against the biased German media who had failed to spread their patriotic message and who had therefore muzzled them. Add how the mighty had fallen in the financial crisis – China’s period of growth still continued, thanks to state stimulus programs that tried to compensate for falling imports by Western economies. Criticism from abroad – that’s how the Chinese public was informed (frequently correctly) – was an expression of foreign envy. The ideas so vigorously discussed in 1989 have given way to the truculent nationalism of new generations, Isabel Hilton noted in 2009.
In 1990, Yang Lian (楊煉), a Chinese poet in exile, published this:
The darker the sky, you say that the boat is old,
the storms it bore are long gone,
it is for us to erase the Self, let the boat of stone rot away.1)
That, of course, is the last thing a boat of stone will do.
What is the role of the 1989 dissidents today? According to C. A. Yeung, an Australian blogger and human rights activist, hardly any role. Dissidents abroad, above all, appear to be out of touch with many activists inside China. This may also be true for Wei Jingsheng, an exiled Chinese who lives in Washington D.C..
Wei wasn’t part of the 1989 movement. At the time, he had been a political prisoner for some ten years. He was only released in 1993, and soon, he was re-arrested. Since 1997, he has been in America.
It requires a strong – and at times probably dogmatic – personality to resist the pressures Wei faced. No confessions, no concessions to the Chinese authorities through all the years of imprisonment. To people like Wei, “foreign interference” in China’s “internal affairs” is no sacrilege, but necessity. Such “interference” may not create space to live for open dissidents in totalitarian countries, but it does, at times, enable dissidents to survive. In that light, it was only logical that Wei attended a hearing of the German federal parliament’s culture and media committee on December 2008, about the alleged proximity of Germany’s foreign broadcaster’s Chinese department (Deutsche Welle, DW) to the CCP. DW Staff and program should defend human rights and democracy as a matter of principle, Wei demanded.
It turned out that Wei didn’t actually know the DW programs, jeered Xinhua newsagency. Wei didn’t disagree: “As a matter of fact, I have said from earlier on that I would not listen to the broadcast of the Deutsche Welle’s Chinese service that has been speaking on the CCP’s behalf.”
Such appearances in foreign parliaments may appear fussy, and near-irrelevant. But in 2002, Dutch author and exile observer Ian Buruma had still believed that Chinese dissidents abroad could play a big role:
Let’s say there are suddenly serious splits in the Chinese government. Things start to move rather quickly. All kinds of things are going to happen. And then, it can be that you suddenly need people who know how to operate in Washington, who know which buttons to press and [who] have contacts in Congress, and so on. And this has happened in the case of Taiwan, for example, where you had dissidents in the 60s and 70s who hung around, languished, were considered to be irrelevant until things began to change in Taiwan politically and suddenly, they were important.2)
But maybe, by now, that role has diminuished further – if Buruma’s original observations were correct. Maybe Wei Jingsheng and other dissidents, among them those who had to leave China after June 4, 1989, will play a role similar to the one Wolf Biermann, an East German exile in West Germany, anticipated for himself long before the Berlin Wall came down: at times cheering from the sidelines, providing advice once in a while, but hardly authoritatively. Only on his return to East Germany, Biermann mused, his actual exile would begin, as hardly anyone would recognize him: Dann beginnt erst mein Exil.
The actual historical events of spring 1989 are a different story, however. These days, the CCP neither condemns the events, nor does it condone them. The topic is entirely shunned.
In Hong Kong, people haven’t forgotten. After all, the June-4 crackdown came as a shock for a society that was to return to the motherland eight years and a month later. June 4 is part of tradition there. For many Hong Kong activists who demand more democratic rights for Hong Kongers themselves, solidarity with mainland activists or dissidents is part of their self-image.
In 1995, Deng Xiaoping‘s daughter Deng Rong suggested in an interview with the New York Times that only later generations could judge the 1989 events. She didn’t know how people thought about it – but my father at least, in his heart, believed that he had no other way.
It may take years before a re-evaluation of the 1989 movements may begin. Or it may only take months. The CCP could initiate one if it feels strong enough, or the citizenry could initiate one if the party gets weaker.
Nobody inside or outside China knows what is being thought about the movement. And many Chinese may only find out what they think once it becomes a topic – when it gets unearthed, gradually or rapidly, in a controlled or spontaneous process.
1) Yang Lian: Alte Geschichten (I-IV), Der einzige Hafen des Sommers, aus: Masken und Krokodile, Berlin, Weimar 1994, quoted by Joachim Sartorius (Hrsg): Atlas der Neuen Poesie, Reinbek, 1996, S. 67.
天空更加阴暗 你说 这船老了
2) Jatinder Verma: Asian Diasporas, BBC (World Service), Sept 2, 2002