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
An anonymous Tibetan CCP cadre plans to publish a book about his country. According to Der Spiegel, he has served the Chinese government since his youth, but has now decided to write a recent history of Tibet. He reportedly quotes witnesses, but also seems to be describing his personal initial enthusiasm, and his growing disillusionment over the years.
His point of view as described by Der Spiegel does not come across as “secessionist”, although the article doesn’t seem to allow conclusions as to how the official sees Tibet’s future in this regard – and I would be curious about the book itself.
Quote: “Serf Emancipaton Day”, March 28, 2009
Glenn Greenwald talking to the Socialism Conference in Chicago on June 29.
From the introduction (not part of Greenwald’s talk):
There are people in our society who have remained consistent under Democrats and Republicans, who put principle over partisanship, who have committed to being the same people that they are, whether a Democrat is in office, or a Republican is in office.
Zhu Hong‘s case was rejected by the federal labor court in Erfurt on Thursday for not being conclusive. In the court’s view, Zhu hadn’t been discriminated against for her convictions, because it didn’t matter if and where something like a Communist worldview still existed (Es könne dahinstehen, so das BAG, ob und wo heute noch eine “kommunistische Weltanschauung” o.ä. existiert). (In this context, the court apparently confirmed that Zhu had no Communist convictions and was no member of the CCP.)
Even if Deutsche Welle wanted more journalistic distance between itself and the government in Beijing, and even if this had been the reason for Deutsche Welle to terminate cooperation with Zhu, this did not mean that Zhu had been discriminated against for her convictions.
Also, sympathy for a country didn’t spell sympathy for a party behind a government.
Zhu Hong is one of four former Deutsche Welle journalists or editors who lost their jobs or contracts in 2010 and 2011. At least two of the four, Zhu Hong and Wang Fengbo, went to court. Zhu Hong lost at the first instance at the local labor court in Bonn, in March 2011, and again at the second instance, at the Landesarbeitsgericht (state labor court) in Cologne, early in 2012. Zhu had argued that the termination of her work for Deutsche Welle – after some 23 years – had come in the wake of the Zhang Danhong controversy, which had been lasting since summer 2008. The controversy, with Deutsche Welle, Chinese or Chinese-born dissidents in Germany and overseas, and a group of German authors as substantial participants, had reportedly compelled Deutsche Welle director Bettermann to commission a former television news anchor, Ulrich Wickert, with authoring an opinion.
Wickert’s opinion was never officially released, and only part of it became known in the press. It comprehensively acquitted the Chinese department. But while Wickert’s findings seem to have played a role in the labor dispute and in some or all of the hearings, they remained unpublished.
According to Wang Fengbo, one of Zhu’s former DW colleagues who followed the hearing in Erfurt, chairing judge Friedrich Hauck said that Deutsche Welle had to be seen as a Tendenzbetrieb.
This term needs some explanation – Eurofound provides a definition: “tendential” establishments would be those in which, owing to the nature of its particular purpose, the provisions of the works constitution are only partly applicable. [...] The category covers all establishments which serve political, religious, charitable, educational, scientific or artistic aims or engage in news reporting and the expression of opinion.
Church-run kindergartens, for example, are usually Tendenzbetriebe. While other kindergartens – commercially- or state-run – are not allowed to consider the faith of an employee a factor, church-run kindergartens, schools, etc. may do so.
Eurofound addresses the issue of journalism and Tendenzbetriebe more specifically here.
Political parties, labor unions, employer associations, and even printing plans that belong to a newspaper group would be Tendenzbetriebe – not to mention the papers themselves, privately-owned papers included. Co-determination, a German concept of co-management of a company by its employees, is also limited in Tendenzbetriebe.
There was a rather big audience – some thirty people, apparently law students with no partiulcar interest in Zhu’s case, but looking on as part of their studies.
These are some initial impressions. Wang Fengbo described his and his three former colleagues’ story in an interview early last year, and a link collection with related posts can be found here (I realize that the collection could use some updates).
More details may follow.
Chen was born in Sichuan Province, in 1930, and died aged 82, 83, or 84, depending on how you count the years. He was seen as a staunch supporter of the Tian’anmen massacre of June 4, 1989. In 1992, he became a member of the central committee’s politburo, and party secretary in Beijing. In turn, he ended his mayorship after some ten years in office.
His career ended in 1995, when he faced corruption charges. In 1998, he was sentenced to sixteen years in jail, but was released on medical parole in 2006.
According to sources beyond HKCNA – quoted by the Voice of America -, Chen Xitong’s relatives released a bulletin of their own, too. Chen Xitong’s son, Chen Xiaotong (陈小同), thanked those who had helped the family during the illness of his father. Chen Xitong reportedly died from cancer.
Yao Jianfu (姚监复), a former researcher at the state council’s rural development research center, met Chen Xitong several times after Chen’s release in 2006. In June 2012, he had his accounts of their discussions, Conversations with Chen Xitong, published in Hong Kong.
Chen is said to have contested the notion that his role in the Tian’anmen massacre had been crucial. Deng Xiaoping had had his own sources to make his decision (i. e. didn’t depend on information from the Beijing mayor).
In June 2012, on the occasion of the publication of the Conversations, the Washington Post quoted Chen Xitong as having referred to the 1989 demonstrations as an American-backed conspiracy orchestrated by a “tiny handful of people” at the time of the movement, 24 years ago. Chen, in his rather recent conversations with Yao Jianfu, is also quoted as comparing his political fate (concerning the corruption charges in 1995) to that of Bo Xilai.
Some allegations against Chen Xitong, regarding his role in 1989, are based on the alleged diary by then chief state councillor Li Peng. But some allegations appear likely, such as Chen having been in charge of the headquarters that oversaw the crackdown. Either way, he certainly played his role well enough to get promoted to the politburo.
Tens of thousands of Hong Kongers attended a candellight vigil in Victoria Park on Tuesday night. William Chan, a Youtube user, wrote:
Hong Kong made me proud today. A big crowd braved heavy rain to attend. This was the moment when we all put down our umbrellas to raise our candles. The chants at the end are “Vindicate June 4th!” and “Never give up!”
The erhu music performed is called 江河水 [River Water].
» Ma Ying-jeou’s June-4 remarks, Taiwan Today, June 5, 2013
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
Xinhua, via Enorth (Tianjin), May 27, 2013 —
Chief state concillor Li Keqiang met with German president Gauck on Sunday.
Li Keqiang conveyed the cordial greetings and best wishes from chairman Xi Jinping. Li Keqiang said that current Sino-German relations were continuously reaching new developments on a high level, with both countries facing rare opportunities. With Merkel, we have deepened the Sino-German strategic partnership, and we held talks about strengthening cooperation in all kinds of fields. The two sides have issued a press communiqué, clearly stating the key areas and the direction of cooperation for our two countries. China is looking forward to strengthen dialog and exchange with Germany on the principles of respect and equal treatment, to enhancing understanding and mutual trust, to jointly cope with challenges.
李克强转达了习近平主席的亲切问候和良好祝愿。李克强说，当前中德关系在高水平上不断取得新发展，两国合作面临难得机遇。我同默克尔总理就深化中德战略伙 伴关系、加强各领域合作举行了很好的会谈，双方发表联合新闻公报，明确两国重点领域合作方向。中方愿本着相互尊重、平等相待的原则，同德方加强对话交流， 增进了解和互信，共同应对挑战。
Discussing China’s development and domestic situation, Li Keqiang said that all along during the past thirty years, China had moved forward, and the economy had achieved huge successes. Construction of a democratic legal system and the cause of human rights had constantly progressed. As a big developing country with 1.3 billion inhabitants, China’s path towards modernization was still long. We are acting from our own country’s national situation [国情, guóqíng, also translated as national characteristics or national circumstances sometimes], adhere to the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and at the same time, we want to draw on the civilizational achievements and experiences to achieve comprehensive development even better.
Gauck welcomed Li Keqiang to Germany and asked him to convey his cordial greetings to Xi Jinping. Gauck said that Germany and China both had a long history and magnificent cultures, and relations between the two countries had developed fine in recent years. Germany admires the achievements of China’s economic and social development and wants to strengthen cooperation and dialog with China in politics, economics, the humanities and other fields, and to promote further development in the relations of the two countries.
Li also met with Brandenburg’s minister-president Matthias Platzeck in the regional capital Potsdam, next to Berlin. In Potsdam,visiting Cecilienhof Castle there,
Rheinische Post (RP) onkine, May 26, 2013 —
Li Keqiang re-emphaszized his country’s claim on an uninhabited group of islands in the East China Sea. Japan had to hand the territories back to China. “This was a hard-earned fruit of victory”, Li said, pointing to international post-war agreements. The islands, contested between the two countries, had once been stolen from China by Japan.
Li Keqiang bekräftigte in Potsdam den Anspruch seines Landes auf eine unbewohnte Inselgruppe im Ostchinesischen Meer. Japan müsse die Territorien an China zurückgeben. “Das war die Frucht des Sieges, der hart erkämpft wurde”, sagte Li unter Verweis auf internationale Abkommen der Nachkriegszeit. Die zwischen beiden Ländern seit langem umstrittenen Inseln seien China einst von Japan gestohlen worden.
Märkische Allgemeine, May 26, 2013 —
In front of the castle [Cecilienhof], some flurry arose when two Tibet activists wanted to register a spontaneous demonstration. Security forces stopped the protest “along the route of protocol”, as a police spokesman told the MAZ [Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung].
Vor dem Schloss kam kurz Unruhe auf, als zwei Tibet-Aktivisten eine spontane Demonstration anmelden wollten. Sicherheitskräfte unterbanden jedoch den Protest “entlang der Protokollstrecke”, wie ein Polizeisprecher gegenüber der MAZ sagte.
Platzeck, whose heart beats for Dortmund, revealed that the Chinese guest was a soccer fan and that they had talked about the game [between Borussia and Bayern], too. It had turned out that Keqiang had more been in favor of Bayern Munich. That, however, had been the only disharmony between the two politicians, Platzeck assured.
Platzeck, dessen Herz für Dortmund schlug, verriet, dass der chinesische Gast ein Fußball-Fan sei und man auch über das Spiel am Vorabend gesprochen habe. Dabei stellte sich heraus, dass Keqiang eher für den FC Bayern gehalten habe. Dies, so versicherte Platzeck, sei aber die einzige Disharmonie zwischen den beiden Politikern gewesen.