Posts tagged ‘corruption’

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Buying Airtime: Will you take this content in Swahili?

» The BBC has warned that China poses a “direct threat” to its global reach by paying incentives to local broadcast companies to prioritise its state-funded CCTV service over other international networks.

The Independent, Nov 10, 2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

China’s Legal Reform Projects: Slowly, very slowly

The fourth plenary session of the 18th CCP central committee took place from October 20 to October 23. Less than a month before the opening of the plenum, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) quoted a politburo statement of September 29 as saying that the plenary session’s focus would be on improving the administration of law. At the center of that, according to the SCMP, would be a battle against corruption.

In July, Stanley Lubman, a lawyer and longtime observer of legal issues in China, wrote in the Wall Street Journal‘s (WSJ) China blog (China Realtime) that the CCP’s central leading group for judicial reform of the party and the “Supreme People’s Court” were signalling a serious intention to implement measures that could lead to a shift of power over finances and personnel in basic courts, from local governments and local “people’s congresses” to provincial governments. Pilot projects were planned in Shanghai, Guangdong, Jilin, Hubei, Hainan and Qinghai. If successful, these reforms could boost citizens’ chances to challenge local cadres over issues such as illegal land seizures or concealment of violations of product safety and environmental laws. However, this didn’t mean that courts would be insulated from pressures from those higher-level officials on their decision-making. Importantly, nothing in these reforms is aimed at diminishing Communist Party control over outcomes in the courts.

Lubman also links to a creative-commons translation cooperative, China Law Translate, which describes the pilot projects on the provincial and municipal (Shanghai) level in more detail.

Ultimate CCP control reservation apart, Lubman’s article came across as sort of optimistic. Less so an article by Russell Leigh Moses, dean of academics and faculty at the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies, published on October 24. If the communique issued after the plenary session was something to go by, this was a plenum that wasn’t interested in engineering far-reaching changes to China’s legal system. China would move slowly, very slowly, suggests the headline.

That said, the term under the party’s leadership (党的领导 / 党的领导下), quoted from the communiqué by Moses as a reminder that the conception and implementation of law belongs only to the Communist Party, can’t have surprised any observer.

According to the Economist, the CCP’s new enthusiasm for the rule of law springs from the campaign against corruption – see first paragraph of this post, too (SCMP quote). The battle is old (Xi Jinping’s predecessor as party and state chairman, Hu Jintao, warned in November 2012 that corruption, if not tackled by politics, could prove fatal to the party.

The battle is even older than old. Shen Zewei, China reporter for the Singaporean daily Lianhe Zaobao (United Morning News), quoted a Taiwanese researcher, Lee Yeau-tarn, in 2009 that Chiang Kai-shek had been able to implement land reform in Taiwan, but not in the mainland, because the KMT had been intricately connected with the despotic gentry.

This suggests that even Moses’ forecast could prove overly optimistic for China.

The Economist’s November 1 edition, however, sees the glass half-full – or even more positively. After all, one of the weekly’s editorials argues, the constitution, emphasized by the CCP leadership,

enshrines property rights. Of the many thousands of “mass incidents” of unrest each year in rural China, 65% relate to disputes over the (often illegal) seizure of land by officials. Mr Xi wants to make it clear that their behaviour is not just illegal but also unconstitutional. That sounds scarier.

Farmland reform, which was at the focus of the 17h Chinese Communist Party Central Committee’s Third Plenary Session in 2008, back then under the Hu Jintao/Wen Jiabao leadership -, is also moving slowly, very slowly. And the fourth plenary session of this 18th central committee might be considered another push into the direction of a more just, and more efficient, use of land – six years later.

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Related

» Dead Cats, rotten Fish, Nov 7, 2011
» Rural Land Certificates, July 10, 2011
» Wen Jiabao’s Endgame, April 21, 2011
» Tossing the Mountain around, Nov 8, 2010
» Farmland Reform, Oct 8, 2008

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Blog and Press Review: Budget work reports, Staying Ahead of the Enemy

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1. NPC Standing Commission hears Budget and Final Accounts

Xinwen Lianbo, June 24, 2014

NPC standing committee plenary session – click picture for youtube video

In his capacity as China’s top legislator (and CCP Politburo Standing Commission memberZhang Dejiang (张德江) was present at the second plenary meeting of the 12th National People’s Congress’ Standing Committee’s 9th session, reviewing the final accounts of the 2013 budget. CCTV‘s main evening news, Xinwen Lianbo:

The second plenary meeting of the 12th National People’s Congress’ Standing Committee’s 9th session was held in Beijing at the Great Hall of the People, in the afternoon of June 24. Committee chairman Zhang Dejiang attended.

十二届全国人大常委会第九次会议24日下午在北京人民大会堂举行第二次全体会议。张德江委员长出席。

Vice committee chairman Ji Bingxuan chaired the meeting. 162 Standing Committee members were attending, and the quorum as stipulated by law was therefore met.

吉炳轩副委员长主持会议。常委会组成人员162人出席会议,出席人数符合法定人数。

On behalf of the State Council, finance minister Lou Jiwei delivered a report concerning the 2013 central final accounts. In 2013, the central government had overall revenues of 6.02 trillion yuan RMB, achieving 100.2 per cent of the budgeted amount, and an increase of 7.2 per cent over the 2012 budget. Central government expenditure was at 6.85 trillion yuan RMB, or 98.5 per cent of the budgeted amount, an increase of 6.8 per cent. In general terms, the implementation of the central budget had been good, but with some problems. The next steps will emphasize the strong advance of the fiscal and taxation system, close attention to fiscal and tax policies, measures, and implementation, tangible strengthening of local government debt management, and great efforts to consolidate financial and economic order etc..

受国务院委托, 财政部部长楼继伟作了关于2013年中央决算的报告。2013年,中央公共财政收入60198.48亿元,完成预算的100.2%,比2012年增长 7.2%。中央公共财政支出68491.68亿元,完成预算的98.5%,增长6.8%。总的看,中央财政预算执行情况良好,但也存在一些问题。下一步将 重点做好扎实推进财税体制改革,狠抓各项财税政策措施落实,切实加强地方政府性债务管理,大力整饬财经秩序等工作。

On behalf of the State Council, National Audit Office general auditor Liu Jiayi reported the 2013 central budget implementation and other revenue and expenditure audits. After reporting, item by item, central budget revenue and expenditure and final accounts drafts, central financial management, the budget implementation and final accounts at the central government authorities, government debt, key people’s-livelihood projects and mineral resources, state-owned financial institutions, state-owned enterprises and other audits as well as major clues of illegality, he made the following suggestions for the next steps in work improvement: strict financial discipline, tangible administrative achievements in accordance with the law, financial management in accordance with the law, accelerating the transformation of government functions and streamlining administration and delegating powers to the lower levels, deepening the promotion of fiscal and taxation system reform, making efficient use of assets, optimizing structures, and increasing the use efficiency of financial funds.

受国务院委托,审计署审计长刘家义报告了2013年度中央预算执行和其他 财政收支的审计情况。在逐项报告了中央财政预算收支执行及决算草案、中央财政管理、中央部门预算执行和决算草案、政府性债务、重点民生工程及矿产资源、国 有金融机构、国有企业等审计情况及查出的重大违法违规案件线索情况后,报告提出下一步改进工作的意见:严肃财经纪律,切实做到依法行政、依法理财;加快转 变政府职能和简政放权,深入推进财税体制改革;盘活存量、优化结构,提高财政资金使用效益。

The meeting heard National People’s Congress Financial and Economic Affairs Committee deputy chairman Liao Xiaojun’s report on the 2013 central final accounts review. The committee believes that the 2013 central final accounts draft reflects the good implementation of the central budget, and recommended the approval of the draft. As for the problems [the draft] also reflected, the committee suggested to accelerate the promotion of budget system reform, further standardization of budget and final accounts management, the building of a comprehensive governmental debt management system, and the strengthening of auditing and supervision.

会 议听取了全国人大财政经济委员会副主任委员廖晓军作的关于2013年中央决算审查结果的报告。财经委认为,2013年中央决算草案反映了中央预算执行情况 是好的,建议批准该草案。针对反映出的问题,财经委建议加快推进预算制度改革,进一步规范预决算管理,健全政府性债务管理制度,加强审计监督。

On behalf of the State Council, People’s Bank of China deputy governor Liu Shiyu delivered a work report concerning the strengthening of supervising and averting financial crisis. He said that in recent years, in the face of the complications and changes in the international economic situation, downward pressures in the domestic economy had become stronger, the financial crisis had led to accumulated risks, the State Council had issued a number of policies and measures conducive to averting and defusing financial crisis, safeguarding financial stability, and conducive to economic restructuring  and transformation of development methods. [The State Council] had firmly kept to the bottomline of not allowing systemic or regional financial crises. The strengthening and improvement of financial supervision and management and prudent macro-management, the continuous comprehensive promotion of macro-economic stability and a modern financial system that supports substantial economic development.

受国务院委托,中国人民银行副行长刘士余作了关于加强金融监管防范 金融风险工作情况的报告。他说,近年来,针对国际经济形势复杂多变、国内经济下行压力加大、金融风险有所积聚的情况,国务院出台了一系列既有利于防范化解 金融风险、维护金融稳定,又有利于促进经济结构调整和发展方式转变的政策举措,牢牢守住了不发生系统性区域性金融风险的底线。今后,将进一步加强和改善金 融监管和宏观审慎管理,不断健全促进宏观经济稳定、支持实体经济发展的现代金融体系。

Besides playing democracy on Tuesday afternoon, Zhang Dejiang also met the speaker of an elected parliament, Pandikar Amin Mulia from Malaysia.

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Related:

Fiscal target, Shanghai Daily, June 24, 2014
CRI, somewhere in the Budget, June 1, 2012
CRI, a pit of waste, K. Perron, ca. 2012

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2. Staying ahead of the Enemy (in Xinjiang)

Shanghai Daily, on Tuesday, quoted State Internet Information Office (SIIO) spokesman Jiang Jun as telling a press conference that terrorist forces have “turned the Internet into a principal tool for their operations.”

[…] China launched a campaign on Friday to rid the Internet of audio and video materials that promote terrorism and violence. The move is aimed at safeguarding social stability in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and long-term peace, according to the SIIO.

Meantime, authorities on the ground in Xinjiang are victorious, People’s Daily reported on Monday. 96 per cent of “terrorist gangs” had been detected during planning stage (or in their embrionyic stage, 在萌芽状态) and been wiped out (or knocked out, 打掉), “Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region” Public Security Bureau deputy director Wang Qianrong (王谦榕) reportedly told a press conference. High-pressure policing (打高压态势), attacks at first opportunity (主动进攻) and staying ahead of the enemy (先发制敌) had been instrumental in normalizing the situation.

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Related

32nd Ethnic-Unity Education Month, May 3, 2014
Keep calm and carry on, Feb 23, 2014

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3. Staying ahead of the Enemy (in Mainland and Hong Kong)

Despite what organisers called the biggest cyber attack in Hong Kong’s history, hundreds of thousands of people have been able to voice their opinion in an unofficial pro-democracy referendum that started on Friday, the BBC‘s Juliana Liu wrote in the broadcaster’s China blog on Monday. Some 689,000 ballots had been cast on June 23, by 14:00 GMT. It probably helped that 15 polling stations provided opportunities to cast one’s vote in person.

They had a choice between three candidates for the office of Hong Kong Chief Executive.  Occupy Central is the major force between these – unofficial – elections.

The Economist, obviously sympathetic to the elections, warns that in China’s most prosperous city, both sides have a lot to lose and should be looking for a way to climb down. Beijing shouldn’t alienate Hong Kongers who, in a free election, … would have probably chosen a pro-China candidate anyway, but many of whom moved towards the radicals’ camp after a senior mainland fgure talked about dealing with disorder by sending in the Chinese army.

Also on Monday, with the number of votes at 700,000 by then, Foarp notes that to put pressure on a free society [is] liable to back-fire by driving people to the other side. That said, Occupy Central could have made more of the opportunty afforded to them by Beijing’s intransigence. By giving the voters a choice between the central-government proposed system and their democratic cause, the voters’ message could have been made so much clearer.

An unfriendly interpretaton would be that maybe neither Beijing nor Occupy Central want to leave anything to chances. A friendlier one would be that Occupy simply wanted to demonstrate democratic practice. The turnout, anyway, was remarkable – too remarkable to be officially noted in China. The searchword combination 622 Referendum was censored on Sina Weibo as the Occupy referendum approached, Fei Chang Dao noted on Sunday.

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Related

White Paper on HK in full (English)
White Paper on HK in full (Chinese)

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

June 4, 25 Years Later: Drinking the Wolf’s Milk

The Communist Party of China can’t live with the facts – it can’t even coexist with them. Anyone who thinks that we can “get past” the Tian An Men massacre is wrong. China’s collective leadership itself never got past it, and may never get past it. Nor can their business friends, supporters and well-wishers, at home or abroad. Just as stone can’t rot away, the memory of June 4, 1989 lingers. This memory is the touchstone few people inside China dare to touch upon – not the Chinese nomenklatura, nor their beneficiaries, and those who are both administrators and beneficiaries least of all. You comrades have been working hard, Deng Xiaoping told military commanders on June 9, 1989. The CCP, obviously, isn’t advertising the speech, but isn’t hiding it either – People’s Daily online apparently has the speech in full in its archive.

Deng Xiaoping, June 9, 1989

The only official evaluation so far: Deng Xiaoping defends his reform policies of economic openness and political repression, June 9, 1989 (click picture for video)

Richard Burger has a piece on June 4 today, plus an interesting comment there, and a post on May 19, also on this topic.

Many Chinese people were detained after the massacre. Some are reportedly still in prison; less than a dozen according to an estimate by the Dui Hua foundation.

Those in China who remember, and want to remember publicly, are threatened. In an interview with the New York Review of Books, Hu Jia said that for entering Tian An Men Square on June 4, he could receive a twelve-year prison sentence, and that since February 24 this year, his movements have been restricted by the Beijing Municipal Domestic Security Corps and the Tongzhou Branch of the Beijing Municipal Security Detachment, the latter of who had been around since July 2, 2004.

Hu Jia’s wife Zeng Jinyan has moved to Hong Kong with their daughter. “It’s better for them to be there”, Hu said in the New York Review of Books interview, describing how the CCP flag – not China’s national flag – was hanging at his daughter’s kindergarten on the 90th anniversary of the CCP’s founding (apparently on July 1, 2011). “They taught them that the party’s red flag is color with the blood of martyrs. This is really an evil influence on children. We call this ‘drinking the wolf’s milk’.

On June 1, i. e. on International Children’s Day, party and state leader Xi Jinping visited Haidian National Primary School in Beijing. Choreography had a child convey the party’s message: “[To join the Young Pioneers] is kind of an honor.”

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Related

» Informal Discussions, Open University, Apr 11, 2014
» Xi on Teachers’ Guiding Role, Jan 7, 2012

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Updates/Related

» Two HK Vigils, Tealeaf Nation, June 5, 2014
» Hong Kong vigil, BBC News, June 4, 2014
» Take a trip, foreign friends, China University of Political Science and Law, May 29, 2014

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mass Line, Second Phase: taking the Successes to the Grassroots

1. A Visit to Inner Mongolia

Lunar New Year’s eve is here, and old comrades get their visits from active cadres as every year. Meantime, Xi Jinping went to Inner Mongolia, braving the cold and having lunch with the guardians of the motherland’s borders.

CCTV’s Xinwen Lianbo had an epic tale of the tour last night (click picture for video).

Xi Jinping: lunch with the warriors

As modest as Joe Biden: CCP secretary-general / state chairman / CMC chairman Xi Jinping has lunch with the warriors in Inner Mongolia

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2. Local Press Coverage on Mass Line’s second Phase

Local media reported the beginning of the second phase of mass line education last week. “Holy Tibet”, a People’s Broadcasting Station (PBS / CPBS) broadcast in English, reported remarks by Liu Yunshan on Tuesday, exactly one week after they were made on January 21. The radio announcement is slightly different from this Xinhua (English) article, but its content is similar. Listen here. (Recording may be removed in a week.)

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Yongzhou City government in southern Hunan Province republished on Monday an article by Yongzhou Daily.

In the morning of January 24, the first phase of the party’smass line education ended with a summary, and a video conference making arrangements for the second phase was held. The main task of the conference was to conscientiously study the implementation of the spirit of secretary-general Xi Jinping’s important speeches, and the spirit of the Central Committee’s meetings, to carry out a summary of the first phase of educational activities in our province, and to make arrangements for the second phase of educational activities. Tang Songcheng, Gao Jianhua, Tang Ding, Dong Shigui, Yi Jialiang, Jiang Shansheng, Zhu Yinghong, Shi Yanping, Zhang Hengzhou and other municipal leaders took part in the video conference from their homes [that’s what the article apparently says  – ….. 张恒洲等在家的市级领导参加永州分会场会议].

1月24日上午,全省党的群众路线教育实践活动第一批总结暨第二批部署视频会议召开。会议 的主要任务是,认真学习贯彻习近平总书记重要讲话和中央会议精神,对我省第一批教育实践活动进行总结,对第二批教育实践活动作出部署。唐松成、高建华、唐 定、董石桂、易佳良、蒋善生、朱映红、石艳萍、张恒洲等在家的市级领导参加永州分会场会议。

The meeting pointed out that the effects and experiences needed to be conscientiously summarized, and the results of the first phase of educational practice be continiously consolidated and broadened. Ever since the first phase of educational practice activities had been started, the entire province, elders and the young, have closely connected to the theme of “for the people, practical work, honesty”, comprehensively implemented “looking into the mirror, dressing accurately, taking a bath, treating the illnesses”, emphasized leadership by example, adhered to open doors [to the cadres’ offices, for the public, apparently], boradened the masses’ participation, implemented strict requirements, showed the courage to face [tough issues of?] competition, and these activities have achieved first successes (取得了阶段性成果).

会议指出,要认真总结成效和经验,不断巩固和扩大 第一批教育实践活动成果。第一批教育实践活动启动以来,全省上下紧紧围绕“为民、务实、清廉”这一主题,全面落实“照镜子、正衣冠、洗洗澡、治治病”的总 要求,注重示范带动,坚持敞开大门,扩大群众参与,落实从严要求,敢于较劲碰硬,活动取得了阶段性成果。

The meeting believed that doing a good job at the second-batch educational activities is an inevitable necessity for implementing the scientific development of the [Hunan] province, enriching the people and strengthening the province, whole-heartedness and cohesion; an inevitable necessity for accelerating the building of a service-oriented party organization and doing good mass work, the inevitable necessity for concentrated reflection on the solution of outstanding problems, for a yet closer relationship between the party and the masses, and for consolidating the fruits of the first phase of activities and ensuring the activities’ success from the beginning to the end. […]

会议认为,抓好第二批教育实践活动是落实全省科学发展,富民强省、凝心聚力的必然要求,是加快整合服务型党组织建设和做好群众工作的必然要求,是集中反映解决突出问题、进一步密切党群干群关系的必然要求,是巩固第一批活动成果,确保活动善始善终的必然要求。[…..]

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3. Central-Level Mass-Line Meeting

The central-level conference for summarizing the first phase of mass line practice education and for arranging the second phase had taken place in Beijing, four days earlier. In a report on the same day – January 20 -, Xinhua newsagency reported that secretary-general, state chairman and central military commissions’ chairman Xi Jinping attended the meeting and delivered an important speech, summarizing the first phase of educational activities and making arrangements for the second phase.

He emphasized that ample use of the experiences from the first phase needed to be made, [the need for] staunch opposition against the “four winds” [i. e. undesirable working styles], to start with the issues that most concerned and pressed the masses, making efforts to solve problems of immediate concern to the interests of the masses, solving problems of bad work style (or malpractice) where this occured next to the people [this seems to target lower-rank cadres who are dirctly in touch with the public], implementing the results of improved work style at the grass roots, letting the masses enjoy the benefits and striving to achieving substantial results in the masses’ satisfaction.

他强调,要充分运用第一批活动经验,紧紧扭住反对“四风”,从群众最关心、最迫切的问题入手,着力解决关系群众切身利益的问题,解决群众身边的不正之风问题,把改进作风成效落实到基层,真正让群众受益,努力取得人民群众满意的实效。

Politburo standing committee members Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli attended the meeting, and central party mass line education practice activities group leader Liu Yunshan chaired the meeting. The meeting was carried out as a video and telephone conference, open to the county-level units and to the above-regiment units of the PLA and the armed police.

中共中央政治局常委李克强、张德江、俞正声、王岐山、张高丽出席会议,中央党的群众路线教育实践活动领导小组组长刘云山主持会议。会议以电视电话会议形式举行,开到县一级和人民解放军、武警部队团级以上单位。

Xi Jinping, too, pointed out “first successes”, such as having put brakes on the spread of the four undesirable work styles (刹住了“四风”蔓延势头), and overall improvements in social atmosphere (社会风气整体好转). The masses fully identified [with the mass line], and assessments within and without the party had been positive.

Xi Jinping emphasized that the first phase of educational practise activities had achieved important results, mainly maintaining leadership by example by leading cadres, by maintaining open doors [see Yongzhou government quote], outstanding [or prominent] problem-orientation, making a start by rectifying problems, injecting momentum through rectifying problems, providing answers by rectifying problems, upholding standards, exercising strict control, continuously tightening the screws, tightening and winding up the clockwork, and making sure that the activities aren’t carried out only formally.

习近平强调,第一批教育实践活动之所以能够取得重要成果,主要是我们坚持中央和领导干部带头示范,坚持开门搞活动,突出问题导向,以问题整改开局亮相,以问题整改注入动力,以问题整改交出答卷,坚持标准,严格把关,不断拧紧螺丝、上紧发条,保证活动不走过场。

Xi was also quoted as saying that ideals and faith were the “calcium” of a communist’s spirit (理想信念是共产党人的精神之“钙”), and as emphasizing the value of criticism and self-criticism. He also re-iterated his (“maoist”) slogan of “looking into the mirror, dressing accurately, taking a bath, treating the illnesses”, as later repeated on provincial levels (see Yongzhou).

Xi Jinping emphasized that more attention needed to be paid to bringing the masses’ enthusiasm [or initiative, 积极性] into play. The second phase of education practise activities needed to develop at the doorsteps of the mass families. It is necessary that open-door activities are adhered to, that the participation and supervision of/by the masses is ensured at every link and every piece of work, that the judgment of the masses is asked for, that attitudes are sincere, that guidance is strengthened, that methods are paid attention to, and that the party’s correct becomes the conscious [or voluntary] action of the masses. […]

习近平强调,要更加注重发挥群众积极性,第二批教育实践活动在群众家门口开展,必须坚持开门搞活动,确保每个环节、每项工作都让群众参与、受群众监督、请群众评判,态度真诚,加强引导,讲究方法,把党的正确主张变为群众的自觉行动。 […..]

Members of the politburo, central committee secretariat, party members of the NPC and vice chairman (or vice chairpersons) of the NPC, members of the state council, the chairman of the supreme court,the head of the supreme procurate, CPPCC party members and deputy CPPCC vice chairman (or vice chairpersons) took part in the conference.

A number of organizations are also said to have attended, apparently to illustrate the remark about county-level (and military regimental) units. The Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, for example, attended the conference, too.

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Related

» “Holy Tibet” Radio (state propaganda)
» Censorship row, Asahi Shimbun, Jan 14, 2013
» A million emancipated serfs, Peking Review, 38/1975

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Creating “a Good Public-Opinion Environment”: Nationwide Campaign against “Three Falses”

Hunan Province is striking hard at false media, false media organizations and false reporters, reports Rednet (Changsha, Hunan). The provincial authorities issued an order that work groups on eliminating pornography and illegal publications should carry out their work in the general public and at the grassroot units. The CPP mass line educational requirements is quoted as a basis for the crackdown on the “three falses” (三假) which reportedly started on January 4 and is scheduled to last until the end of March. It is said to be targeted at editorial offices, news bureaus and news websites or newslike websites (新闻类网站) that disturb the order of the press, negatively affect society and harmony. The report blames the “three falses” for rumormongering, hawking advertising space, blackmail (this seems to refer to issues like negative publicity, paid news, etc.

The stated goal of the operations is the building of a good public-opinion environment for society (营造良好的社会舆论环境).

The operations in Hunan are part of a nation-wide campaign. China Cultural Media online gave the campaign a mention last Thursday.

Meantime, Chinese lawyer and transparency campaigner Xu Zhiyong (许志永) is on trial, charged with gathering crowds to disrupt public order. And the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reports that close family members of China’s political elite, including the brother-in-law of President Xi Jinping, have been exposed as operating companies in offshore tax havens, according to leaked financial documents obtained as part of a major international investigation.

The documents, according to the Guardian, also disclose the central role of major Western banks and accountancy firms.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Bo Xilai Trial: “Party Resolved, Nobody above the Law”

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.

新华网济南8月22日电(记者霍小光、杨维汉)山东省济南市中级人民法院22日一审公开开庭审理被告人薄熙来受贿、贪污、滥用职权一案。薄熙来出庭受审。相关证人出庭作证。被告人亲属、人大代表、政协委员、媒体记者及各界群众一百余人旁听了庭审。

At 8:43, presiding judge, vice president Wang Xuguang of Jinan intermediate people’s court, struck the gavel and opened the hearing.

8时43分,审判长、济南市中级人民法院副院长王旭光敲响法槌,宣布开庭。

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.

被告人薄熙来在庭审过程中情绪稳定,身体状况正常。法庭旁听秩序井然。

At about six p.m., the presiding judge announced an adjournment, and the continuation of the hearings on August 23.

下午6时许,审判长宣布休庭,23日继续开庭审理。

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.

庭审期间,济南市中级人民法院官方微博对庭审情况及时作了播报。22日上午和下午休庭后,济南市中级人民法院新闻发言人向媒体通报了庭审有关情况。

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.

英国广播公司报道说,济南市中级人民法院官方微博对庭审情况及时作了播报。从预告案件以及旁听人员入场到核实被告人身份等,每一步都有微博发布。

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.

俄罗斯《独立报》称,中国审判薄熙来表明,任何人都不能将自己凌驾于法律之上,任何级别的犯罪分子都将受到惩罚。俄“消息”网站则称,审判清晰表明中共进行反腐斗争的决心。

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”.

____________

Related

» Trial resumes, CNN, Aug 23, 2013

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Updates/Related

» Press verdicts, BBC, Aug 23, 2013
» Censorship instructions, China Digital Times, August 22, 2013

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Xi Jinping’s New Work Style in Action

There were no formalities and extravaganzas when Xi Jinping revisited Zhengding Town in Hebei Province on July 11, Hebei Daily (via Enorth, Tianjin) reported. No police motorcades, only two small or medium-sized buses, quietly like the rain (雨悄没声). And Xi even recognized the party branch secretary in the village from his first visit, in 2008.

Later, the party and state leader “spontaneously” visited a family:

“The General Secretary has come to our home”, 18-year-old Jie Jinkai wrote on QQ. The General Secretary had randomly chosen Jin’s family to visit there. “Village cadres knocked on the door, and the General Secretary just came in. I was on the internet, my younger sister was watching television, and Grandma, Mum and Dad were busy with other things – I couldn’t believe my eyes.”

“总书记来我家了。”这是18岁的解金凯11日更新的QQ签名。总书记是随机选择来到他家的。“村干部敲开门,总书记就走了进来。当时我正在上网,妹妹正在看电视,奶奶、爸爸、妈妈都在忙着别的事,当时简直不敢相信自己的眼睛。”

The kids airing their heels, and Granny working her ass off: this was extremely realistically choreographed moderate-prosperity stuff, and the message was clear: The party’s new work style is in full swing, with modesty, cloeseness to the masses, small meals, and small people.

Xi Jinping listens closely and conscientiously takes notes - CCTV evening news (Wednesday) on a conference with provincial leaders in Wuhan, Hunan Province. Click picture for video.

Xi Jinping listens closely and conscientiously takes notes – CCTV evening news (Wednesday) on a conference with provincial leaders in Wuhan, Hunan Hubei Province.
Click picture for video.

Xi speaking, cadres taking notes - CCTV evening news on Wednesday.

Xi speaking, cadres taking notes – CCTV evening news on Wednesday.

Will President Xi Jinping turn out to be a reformer in the vein of Taiwan’s Chiang Ching-kuo, the South China Morning Post (SCMP, Hong Kong) asked on July 18. Or will he walk a more conservative path, becoming a leader in the mould of Communist Party helmsman Mao Zedong?

Conventional wisdom has it that a new leader needs to consolidate power before making decisive political moves (if he has any on his mind). But the SCMP quoted members of liberal circles in China who believe the opposite: that Xi could only move before his successor (who would only succeed him in about nine or ten years, if you go by the experience of Jiang Zemin or Hu Jintao) becomes known. That’s to say, Xi’s window of opportunity would be during his first five-year term.

But rather, the SCMP quoted another liberal, Xi had moved to the “left”, i. e. Maoist tradition.

On July 19, People’s Daily (online) reported on Xi’s activities as chairman of the Central Military Commission. The CMC is both an organ of the party and the state, and formally, they are therefore two different bodies. However, membership of both of them is identical, and only during the transition between Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping, when Xi had become the CCP’s general secretary, and Hu remained head of state (and therefore the “state CMC”), their functions could count as slightly different from each other.

With Xi’s approval, People’s Daily wrote, the Central Military Commission has recently published the “Army implementation of the Party’s regulations on building the system of incorrupt government”.  (经中央军委主席习近平批准,中央军委日前印发《军队实行党风廉政建设责任制的规定》。)

The “Regulations” thoroughly implement the spirit of the 18th National Congress of the CCP, and under the guidance of the Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thoughts of the “Three Representatives” [Jiang Zemin] and of scientific development [Hu Jintao] resolutely implement Chairman Xi’s important series of instructions, closely centered around the party’s goal, in the new situation, of a strong military, in accordance with the Central Committee’s and the CMC’s relevant rules concerning
the Party’s regulations on building incorrupt government. [The “Regulations”] combine the troops’ reality, clearly stipulated the concrete responsibilities of all levels within the party committees, of the commissions for discipline inspection of the CCP, and of leading cadres, as well as measures for inspection, supervision, responsibility and investigation.

《规 定》深入贯彻落实党的十八大精神,以邓小平理论、“三个代表”重要思想、科学发展观为指导,坚决贯彻习主席一系列重要指示,紧紧围绕党在新形势下 的强军目标,依据党中央、中央军委关于党风廉政建设的有关规定,结合军队实际,明确规定了各级党委、纪委和领导干部在党风廉政建设中的具体责任,以及检查 监督和责任追究的制度措施。

The CMC requires all levels to thoroughly study the spirit of the 18th National Congress of the CCP, to conscientiously implement the Central Committee’s, the CMC’s and Chairman Xi’s important instructions on incorrupt government and anti-corruption work, conscientiously implement the Politburo’s eight rules of the CPC Central Committee on improving work style and maintaining close contact with the people, and the spirit of the CMC’s ten regulations  for strengthening the work style, centered around the goal of a strong military, to do good work by strictly implementing the Party’s regulations on building incorrupt government. Measures of different forms must be taken for propaganda and education to create a good atmosphere for the implementation of the “Regulations”. The responsibility of the party work style of incorrupt government must be carried out earnestly, and concerted efforts must truly take shape.

中 央军委要求,各级要深入学习贯彻党的十八大精神,认真贯彻党中央、中央军委和习主席关于加强党风廉政建设和反腐败工作的重要指示,认真落实中央政治 局关于改进工作作风、密切联系群众八项规定和中央军委加强自身作风建设十项规定精神,紧紧围绕强军目标,把严格执行党风廉政建设责任制作为一项重要政治任 务切实抓紧抓好。要采取多种形式搞好宣传教育,营造学习贯彻《规定》的良好氛围。要切实履行抓党风廉政建设的责任,真正形成齐抓共管的合力。

Still within the third paragraph, but in bold characters, i. e. emphasized, the People’s Daily article says that

Right from the sources, corruption must be fought, in accordance with the “Regulations”, concrete measures and methods must be improved, systems to control and supervise with complete power must be built, and the power be impounded in a systematic cage. The edcuational activities for the development of the party’s mass line [or ampaign on mass line education and practice] must be deepened, we must concentrate on solving the four working-style problems of formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism and extravagance. Searching our way step by step, 抓铁有痕的劲头, clutching the building of the work style, we must achieve. We must adhere to the principle that where there’s where there is a [criminal? corruption?] case, there needs to be an investigation, where there’s corruption, there needs to be punishment, we must adhere to the principle of striking both at tigers and flies, and conscientiously rectify and deal with our [respective] units’ problems at party work style building, and corruption problems. By strict and impartial discipline, we guarantee the Party’s regulations on building the system of incorrupt government.

要 从源头上有效防治腐败,依据《规定》制定完善具体措施办法,健全权力运行制约和监督体系,把权力关进制度的笼子里。要深入开展党的群众路线教育实践活动, 集中解决形式主义、官僚主义、享乐主义和奢靡之风这“四风”问题,以踏石留印、抓铁有痕的劲头,把作风建设一抓到底、抓出成效。要坚持有案必查、有腐必 惩,坚持“老虎”“苍蝇”一起打,认真纠正并严肃处理本单位在党风廉政建设和反腐败工作中存在的问题,以严明的纪律保证党风廉政建设责任制的贯彻落实。

Not only the liberals quoted by the South China Morning Post on July 18 are pessimistic. Willy Wo-Lap Lam, once himself an SCMP editor, interprets Xi’s language as reminiscent of the Great Helmsman’s masterly blend of the vernacular and the metaphysical. And rather than establishing institutions such as universal-style checks and balances, […] Xi is resorting to Cultural Revolution-era ideological and propaganda campaigns to change of mindset of cadres, observes Lam.

This doesn’t necessarily amount to an allegation that Xi would be a Maoist himself. Rather, independent commissions against corruption might target the alleged wealth of China’s “first families”, not least Xi Jinping’s own family.

Institution-building could pose personal risks. But then, maybe the Xi’s aren’t that rich after all. Or maybe the new work style will truly take shape.

Until then, authority needs to be inherited.

____________

Related

Ban on new Government Buidlings, Herald Sun / AAP, July 23, 2013

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Updates/Related

Charges against Bo Xilai, BBC, July 25, 2013

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