Posts tagged ‘Hong Kong’

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Hong Kong’s “Occupy Central” at the Crossroads

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Related

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

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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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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Obituary: Chris Gelken, 1955 – 2014

Chris Gelken, a former anchor and editor at China Radio International, Press TV (Iran), and media in Hong Kong and South Korea, died in the French city of Limoges on April 4, aged 58, according to the Korea Herald online.

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Related

» BC and AD, Ridealist, October 14, 2013
» Have we met, Dec 6, 2011
» Publish & be damned, Korea Herald, April 5, 2010

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Friday, May 16, 2014

South China Sea Conflicts: Friendship among Nations and inescapable Responsibilities

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China says its oil rig will continue drilling in contested waters in the South China Sea, despite deadly anti-Beijing riots in Vietnam, reports the BBC.

Three news items of Thursday and Friday from the Chinese press this week, closely or loosely interrelated.

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1. FMPRC Regular Press Conference, Spokesperson Hua Chunying, May 15, 2014

Q: In recent days, there are several violent incidents against foreign enterprises and workers in Vietnam. What is Chin’s comment on that?

问:近日在越南发生了针对外资企业和人员的严重暴力事件,中方对此有何评价?

A: We are shocked at and seriously concerned about relevant incidents. Now Chinese officials from the embassy in Vietnam are racing against the time to reach the scene which is located in very remote areas and verify relevant reports. Leading officials of the Chinese Foreign Ministry have summoned the Vietnamese ambassador to China to lodge solemn representations and demanded the Vietnamese side to take all necessary and effective measures possible to protect the safety of Chinese citizens and the property of Chinese enterprises and organizations in Vietnam.

答:我们对有关事件感到震惊,并表示严重关切。中国驻越南使馆人员正日夜兼程赶赴地处偏僻地区的现场了解核实有关情况。中国外交部负责人已紧急约见越南驻华大使提出严正交涉,要求越方采取一切必要有效措施确保中国在越人员的人身安全及企业和机构的财产安全。

It is worth pointing out that the Vietnamese side has an inescapable responsibility for the beating, smashing, looting and burning targeted at China and other countries.

必须指出的是,越南近日发生针对中方及其他方企业和人员的打、砸、抢、烧行为,越方负有不可推卸的责任。我们敦促越南政府切实负起责任,严肃彻底调查,严惩肇事者。

We have learned that enterprises from Hong Kong SAR, Taiwan China, Singapore and ROK have also sustained damages and threats to various degrees. That also points to the graveness of the current situation. Again, we urge the Vietnamese side to immediately take all necessary and effective measures possible to protect the safety of foreign citizens and enterprises in Vietnam, including those from China, and provide a decent working environment for foreign enterprises doing normal business there.

我们注意到,包括中国台湾和香港地区以及新加坡、韩国等一些企业也受到了不同程度的威胁和冲击破坏。这更加说明了当前事态的严重性。我们再次敦促越方重视 中方和其他方交涉,立即采取一切必要和有效措施,确保包括中国同胞在内的外国人员和企业在越南的安全,同时为外资企业在越正常经营提供起码的工作环境。

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2. Xinhua Net, via Enorth (Tianjin): Chinese Companies in Vietnam newsarticle, May 16

In recent days, foreign investors and companies have faced seriously violent cases of vandalization and looting. Some Chinese companies, including companies and employees from Taiwan and Hong Kong region, and Singaporean, South Korean, and other companies suffered attacks of various degrees, causing losses of property and life. According to initial confirmation, one Chinese citizen has died, and hundreds have been injured.

近日,在越南发生了针对外国投资者和企业的打砸抢烧严重暴力事件,包括台湾和香港地区在内的一些中国企业和人员以及新加坡、韩国等企业遭到不同程度的冲击,造成生命和财产损失。据初步核实,已有1名中国公民死亡,上百人受伤。

Concerning this, on the evening of May 15, foreign minister Wang Yi had an emergency telephone talk with Vietnamese deputy prime minister Pham Binh Minh. For the Chinese government, he expressed strong condemnation and put forward a solemn and just protest.

对此,15日晚,外交部长王毅同越南副总理兼外长范平明紧急通电话,代表中国政府向越方表示强烈谴责,提出严正抗议。

Wang Yi said that the Vietnamese side bore an inescapable responsibility for lawless elements who violently attacked companies and employees of the Chinese side. The Chinese side solemnly demands that the Vietnamese side immediately take resolute measures, stop all violent behavior, guarantee the safety of life and property of all Chinese companies and employees in Vietnam, immediately make proper arrangements for those who were attacked and to make every effort to help the injured, to start investigations of the violent incidents immediately, to punish all criminal elements in accordance with the law, and to compensate the Chinese companies and individuals for all losses.

王毅表示,越方对不法分子暴力 袭击中方企业和人员负有不可推卸的责任。中方郑重要求越方立即采取坚决有效措施,制止一切暴力行为,确保所有在越中国企业和人员的生命和财产安全;立即妥 善安置受到袭击的中方企业和人员并全力救助伤员;立即对有关暴力事件展开调查,依法严惩所有犯罪分子,赔偿中国企业和个人的一切损失。

Pham Binh Minh said that the Vietnamese side was paying close attention the current situation, more than one thousand suspects had been arrested, and criminal elements would be severely punished in accordance with the law. Vietnam would take all measures and protect the safety of lives and property of Chinese employees and institutions in Vietnam. Currently, the situation was stabilizing.

范平明说,越方对当前事态高度重视,已抓捕1000多名嫌犯,并将依法严惩犯罪分子。越方将采取一切措施,保护在越中国人员和机构的生命和财产安全。目前事态已趋于稳定。

In the afternoon [of May 15], deputy foreign minister Liu Zhenmin was tasked to summon Vietnamese ambassador to China, Nguyen Van Tho, made solemn representations, demanding that the Vietnamese side immediately take practical and effective measures, resolutely stop and severely punish illegal and criminal behavior, and ensure the safety and the rights of Chinese citizens in Vietnam.

当天下午,外交部副部长刘振民奉命紧急召见越南驻华大使阮文诗,提出严正交涉,要求越方立即采取切实有力措施,坚决制止并严惩违法犯罪行为,确保在越中国公民的安全和权利。

On the same day, the Chinese government exigently dispatched an inter-departmental working group headed by assistant foreign minister Liu Jianchao to Vietnam.

(Original headline: China puts forward solemn and just protest against seriously violent attacks suffered by Chinese companies in Vietnam.)

(原标题:中方就中国在越企业遭受严重暴力袭击提出严正抗议)

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3. Xi Jinping Speech to Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, May 15

On Thursday, Chinese media also covered a speech by Xi Jinping on the 60th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. The occasion was probably long-planned, and Xi’s speech didn’t necessarily undergo changes to adapt to the troubles south of the border. Xi apparently spoke in his capacity as state chairman only, as the report doesn’t mention his role as secretary general of the CCP. A number of foreign guests reportedly attended, Richard Nixon’s grandson Christopher Nixon Cox among them.

Source: CCTV Online (央视网), via Enorth (Tianjin)

State Chairman Xi Jinping chaired a conference at the Great Hall of the People on May 15, marking the 60th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), and gave an important speech. He emphasized that friendship between peoples was a fundamental force in promoting global peace and development. The Chinese people wish to live together in peace with all peoples of the world, to develop harmoniously, and together with them promote the lofty cause of peace and development of humankind.  People-to-people diplomacy would innovate the development of friendly exchange in multiple areas, through many channels, and on many levels.

国 家主席习近平15日在人民大会堂出席中国国际友好大会暨中国人民对外友好协会成立60周年纪念活动并发表重要讲话,强调人民友好是促进世界和平与发展的基 础力量,中国人民愿意同世界各国人民和睦相处、和谐发展,共同促进人类和平与发展的崇高事业。民间外交要开拓创新,多领域、多渠道、多层次开展对外友好交 流。

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Xi Jinping emphasized that friendship between peoples was a fundamental force in promoting global peace and development, and a prerequisite for achieving win-win cooperation. Facing a complicated and volatile international situation and severe and protruding global problems, peoples of all countries needed to strengthen friendly exchange, work together, and help each other. In the process of bringing about the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, China would, together with all countries of the world, promote the achievement of all countries’ peoples of their own dreams. China would continue to comprehensively open up to the outside world, promote mutually beneficial cooperation with all countries of the world, promote the construction of an economic Silk Road belt and a maritime Silk Road of the 21rst Century, bring about opportunities for all countries to develop, to create together and to share together. China would make great efforts to develop international cultural exchange, and to make contributions to the progress of human civilization.

习近平指出,人民友好是促进世界和平与发展的基础力量,是实现合作共赢的基本前提。面对复杂多变的国际形势和 严峻突出的全球性问题,各国人民需要加强友好交流,携手合作,同舟共济。中国将在实现中华民族伟大复兴的过程中,同世界各国一道,推动各国人民更好实现自 己的梦想。中国将继续全面对外开放,推进同世界各国的互利合作,推动建设丝绸之路经济带和21世纪海上丝绸之路,实现各国在发展机遇上的共创共享。中国将 大力开展中外文化交流,为推动人类文明进步作出贡献。

Xi Jinping empasized that the Chinese nation had always been a peace-loving nation, had always sought and passed on the firm concepts of peace, concord, and harmony. To invade others, seeking world hegemony was not in the nature of the Chinese nation, and the Chinese people did not accept the logic of “national strength must dominate”*), but wanted to live in peace with the peoples of all countries of the world, to develop harmoniously, seek peace together, protect the peace together, and enjoy peace together. China would adhere to the path of peaceful development, and also promote the persistence of all countries in peaceful development.

习近平强调,中华民族历 来是爱好和平的民族,一直追求和传承和平、和睦、和谐的坚定理念。中华民族的血液中没有侵略他人,称霸世界的基因,中国人民不接受“国强必霸”的逻辑,愿 意同世界各国人民和睦相处、和谐发展,共谋和平、共护和平、共享和平。中国将坚持走和平发展道路,同时也将推动各国共同坚持和平发展。

[...]

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Updates/Corrections:

*) “national strength must dominate” might be replaced by “national strength must lead to domination (of others)” – that would seem to reflect the meaning of “国强必霸” better.

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Saturday, February 15, 2014

World Radio Day, and how did Li Wai-ling get Fired?

February 13 (Thursday) was World Radio Day. That was an adequate day for the Hong Kong Journalists Association to bring Li Wai-ling (or Li Wei-ling, 李慧玲) and the press together. But let’s go through the issues one by one.

The Genius leads the spectators: engineering of consent in its early stages in applauding his works.

If everyone is happy, who needs a free press?

China’s growing economic weight is allowing it to extend its influence over the media in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, writes Reporters without Borders, in their 2014 report, published earlier this week. The BBC added a palpable story on Friday, about the sacking of Li Wei-ling, a radio talk show host at a commercial station in Hong Kong who has been sacked and who, on a press conference on Thursday, accused the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of having put pressure on her employer.

Organizations like Reporters without Borders have their merits. This may be even more true for the Hong Kong Journalists Association who organized Ms Li Wei-ling’s press conference. Reporters, talk show hosts and all the people who are critical and daring in the face of power deserve solidarity.

But this goes for reporters and journalists in Western countries, too. The problem with stories like the BBC’s, served to an American or European audience, seems to be that they blind people for problems at home. Here, too, broadcasters need to apply for frequencies. Here, too, they need to rely on political decisions when they are public broadcasters. On licence fees, or on public budgets. Advertisers, too, may exert influence.

My window on press freedom is small. The case I really looked at rather closely during the last years was that of the Chinese department at Deutsche Welle. I’m looking at these issues as a listener to and reader of the media.

This post might serve as the short version, and here is a longer one. They are about German politics, and the media.

The freedom of the press isn’t necessarily the freedom of a journalist to speak or write his mind, or to publicly highlight whatever scandal he or she may discover. This depends on a reporter’s or journalist’s employer, and frequently, reporters and editors-in-chief in the free world are very aware of when to better censor themselves, so as to keep their jobs.

This tends to be particularly true when a journalist’s contract is non-permanent. You don’t need state authorities to censor journalists when journalists’ employment is as precarious as is frequently the case in Western countries.

There is no point in pitting Chinese journalists against Western journalists, or the other way round. But there is a point in looking at every situation without ideological blinkers. Suppression of freedom from commercial organizations (and, sometimes, public-private networks) may still allow media that offer valid criticism of suppression in totalitarian countries – after all, that’s “them”, not “us”. Media in totalitarian countries can also, at times, provide valid criticism of media in freer countries. It is useful to read and listen to as many different outlets from as many different political systems as you can.

But there is no need or justification to blindly trust either of them. Without a broad global audience that develops criteria to judge press reports, freedom will get under the wheels of authoritarianism, even in – so far – free societies. The internet has become a place where journalists and their listeners and readers should meet, and be as honest with each other as they can. Its also the place where the struggle for freedom on the airwaves has to begin, time and again, whenever powers of whichever color try to weigh in on them.

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Related

» Radio Sparsam, Jan 26, 2014
» Authentic, Feb 16, 2013

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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”.

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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

____________

Updates/Related

Charges against Bo Xilai, BBC, July 25, 2013

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