Posts tagged ‘Shanghai’

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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Friday, May 23, 2014

Sino-Russian Shanghai Summit: Natural Gas Deal “supports Russia”, but simultaneous Naval Exercises indicate no Military Alliance

On Tuesday, prospects that Beijing and Moscow would get to an agreement over a natural gas supply treaty after many years of negotiations looked good, according to Victor Larin, Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Far East Institute. Societies in both countries were watching the negotiations closely and discussing them “warmly”, said Larin, and situations like these frequently indicated that two sides were close to an agreement. Russia was in a position to provide China with needed energy, and in turn, the treaty would provide Russia with the funding it needed for its own economic development. Larin was quoted by Economic Information Daily (经济参考报, via  People’s Daily, and so was a Russian sinologist whose name would read Bie’erge’er in Chinese. He was quoted as saying that energy cooperation could reach well beyond gas supplies from Russia, and include oil processing, Russian involvement in nuclear power plant construction in China, Russian electricity supplies into China, and cooperation in wind and solar energy development. The main obstacle the sinologist still saw was pricing.

Discussing Russia’s “Looking East”, Larin said that Russia was currently actively developing Siberia’s Far East, and Russia would only be able to make this happen with the help of Asian countries, and particularly with help from China. Russia needed Chinese investment, equipment, and Chinese human resources.

拉林在谈到俄罗斯“向东看”时说,俄罗斯正在积极开发西伯利亚和远东地区,只有依靠亚洲国家特别是中国的帮助,俄罗斯才能实现这一目标,俄罗斯在开发上述地区过程中需要中国的投资、设备和人力资源。

Sina quotes the Chinese website of RIA Novosti on Thursday as reporting that Russia was going to invest 55 billion USD in the implementation of the gas supply treaty, while china would invest 22 billion USD. According to the agreement, Russia will supply China with 38 billion cubic meters of gas over thirty years. The treaty’s overall value is 400 billion USD, RIA/Sina quote Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller.

It took almost a decade to conclude the negotiations, the Washington Post wrote on Wednesday. While Russia believes that gas supplies to China can start in 2018, the Christian Science Monitor quoted a consultant who warned that after the political declarations are made this week, and even if Putin comes home waving a huge new gas deal with China, Gazprom may prove unable to deliver the goods, and that 2020, rather than 2018, might mark the beginning of gas supplies at the earliest. The olifields that would have to serve the contract were running behind schedule, and any diversion of existing supplies to serve the expanding Chinese market risks disrupting ties with another priority customer, Japan. It could become necessary to pipe gas from more distant fields, and in the worst case, a costly measure like that could mean that Russian taxpayers are committed to subsidizing Chinese consumers well into the future.

Sino-Russian naval exercises in the East China Sea are taking place for the third time this year, but without intentions to form a Sino-Russian military alliance, a RIA Novosti report quotes both sides. The exercises began on Tuesday.

Guancha, a Shanghai-based website and therefore at the scene of the Sino-Russian summit, suggests that the 400-billion deal between Beijing and Moscow is “a blow to the West”, or rather, that this was the view of much of European and American public opinion (….. 欧美舆论大多认为,中俄走近对西方来说是个打击). The gas treaty would strengthen Russia’s ability to resist Western pressure. Guancha also quotes the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) as saying that the gas supply treaty provides Russia with support at a time when its relations with the West are worsening. While the EU was looing for gas suppliers beyond Russia, the treaty with China strengthened Russia’s position. (A word of warning: I haven’t found the quoted WSJ article online and can’t tell if Guancha quotes it correctly.)

The support the treaty offers Russia might come at a price – two WSJ reporters took the data available about the treaty on Wednesday and computed an implied price for the gas of about $350 per thousand cubic meters, which would spell a good deal for China. If true, that is – other guesswork quoted in the article suggests that Russia would nearly get 380 USD, i. e. basically what it gets from Europe, too.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Deng Xiaoping’s Southern Tour revisited: “three years after the storm”

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From the script of a CCTV “Dialog” (对话) broadcast, either just broadcast or to be broacast shortly, and pre-published by “Guanchazhe” (Shanghai).

[…]

Chen Kaichi
(former chairman of the Guangzhou Consultative Conference and party group secretary):

In the morning of January 1, 1992, at five in the morning, the General Office of the Central Committee of the CCP sent a top-secret telegram to the Guangdong provincial party committee. The telegram was only one-and-a-half lines long and only said that Comrade Xiaoping wanted to come to the South to have a rest, and that the provincial party committee should prepare for a good reception and for security.

It only reached provincial party secretary Comrade Xie Fei after nine a.m., after decryption, and when he saw it, he immediately made a phonecall to ask where I was.

陈开枝(原广州市政协主席、党组书记):1992年元旦的凌晨五点,中共中央办公厅给中共广东省委发了一个绝密电报,这绝密电报只有一行半字,就说中共广东省委小平同志要到南方休息,请你们做好接待,安全工作。

这个电报呢,经过翻译,上午的九点多才送到省委书记谢非同志手上,谢非同志看了电报,就要找我,打电话问我在哪里。
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Chen Weihong
(moderator):

Your position at the time was …

陈伟鸿:您当时担任的职务是。

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Chen Kaichi:

… provincial party committee deputy secretary general. Back then, there were only few secretary-generals, only one secretary general and one deputy, and I said that I was in Shatou Town, Nanhai. He made me understand the situation by saying that “the old man we’ve been waiting for for so long is to come, please come here very quickly to make the arrangements.

陈开枝:广东省委副秘书长,因为当年那个秘书长很少,只有一正一副,那个我说,我在南海那个沙头镇,他用一名能够听得懂的话跟我说,我们盼望已久的那位老人家要来了,请你赶快来做出安排。

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Chen Weihong:

You knew right away what he [Xie Fei] was talking about.

陈伟鸿:你当时心里一下子就明白,他说的是什么了。

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Chen Kaichi:

[I knew it right away] because we had been depressed during those years, hoping that the old man would would come, and also thinking that he would come, because if he didn’t, China’s problems would not be solved.

陈开枝:因为我们这几年太压抑了,早就希望这个老人家要来了,也想到他一定要来了,不来中国的问题不能解决了。

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Chen Weihong:

Depressed of what, actually?

陈伟鸿:究竟因为什么而压抑?

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Chen Kaichi:

After the 1989 storm, our country was shrouded by a truly dismal atmosphere, when the thoughts from the “left” were comprehensively gaining ground. At that time, people even opposed the introduction of joint ventures, and high-ranking leaders said that joint ventures meant still more capitalism, and they didn’t want it. So, under these circumstances, I didn’t believe the words about “coming to have a rest”.

陈开枝:1989年风波以后,整个我们国家笼罩着一种非常沉闷的气氛,“左”的思想全面抬头,这个时候呢,已经有人连引进三资企业都反对,很高层的领导说多一个三资企业,就多一分资本主义,他说他们不要,所以在这样情况下,说休息,我就绝不相信是来休息的。

[…]

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Chinese Press Review: Syria, very clever

At a moment when everything had seemed to be set for a showdown, things changed dramatically, writes People’s Daily. Yesterday night, Syria officially responded to the international community and said it was willing to hand over all its chemical weapons so as to avoid American attack.  (叙利亚危机剑拔弩张的气氛出现戏剧性变化。
昨日晚间,叙利亚正式回复国际社会,叙利亚愿意交出全部化学武器以换取免遭美国打击。)

After a short account of Kerry’s sudden suggestion on a press conference in London that Syria could only avoid U.S. military strikes by handing over its chemical weapons, and Russian foreign minister Lavrov’s and Syrian foreign minister Mouallem’s statements, amounting to a Syrian willingness to do just that, plus Obama’s ABC interview, People’s Daily quotes an old diplomat and professor, Zhou Zunnan (周尊南) of the Chinese Foreign Affairs University, in an interview with the “International Financial Journal”:

Russia is very clever. They have successfully used diplomatic techniques, and the important thing is that in the current situation, with all the different parties’ interveaved interests, this is a “good move” [in a game of chess].  On the one hand, America gets under international pressure by gradually lowering other countries’ support for unilateral American war, and on the other, objectively, Russia showed support for Syria, perhaps implicating that “no matter if you use force or if you don’t, we will stand on Syria’s side.”

“俄罗斯很聪明,他们成功利用了外交技巧,重要的是,在目前各方面利益交织的格局下,这是一步‘好棋’。”老外交官、外交学院教授周尊南对《国际金融报》记者表示,“一方面,美国会陷入国际压力,进一步压低其他国家对美国单方面发动战争的支持度;另一方面,俄罗斯客观上表达了对叙利亚的支持,言外之意可能是‘不管你动不动武,我都会站在叙利亚’这边。”

People’s Daily is hedging its bets, regarding the likelihood of open American military intervention. From the Third Middle-East War (meaning the Six-Day War) to Syria’s occupation of Lebanon in 1976, and to Syria’s “flirting glances” (与伊朗保持“眉来眼去”的关系) with Iran, things had put this Middle-Eastern country’s relations with Western countries “out of sorts”, the paper writes. In the latest stage of the Syrian conflict, America had sought an “pretext” (quotation marks by People’s Daily), which was the chemical weapons.  There were several indications, People’s Daily quotes Zhou Zunnan (周尊南), still from the “International Financial Journal”, that the issue of chemical weapons was just an excuse. It would have looked bad to take military action against Syria before the UN inspectors delivered their findings, and besides, Russia had borrowed the position Kerry stated in London, Syria had cleverly strengthened its alliance with Russia, thus putting America into a difficult position. A third problem was American public opinion, according to Zhou.

And after all, the situation was complicated: Turkey would have to forget about a four-country economy including Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, if the Assad stepped down. And Russia’s only naval base in the Mediterranean was Tartus, in Syria. Syria was at the center of solving or mishandling the big Middle-Eastern issues.

Referring to further sources, People’s Daily suggests that oil prices had to be critical factors in Washington’s deliberations, too – with repercussions for the U.S economy. And still, this could also help America to replace the Middle East as the world’s center of energy sources, with an impact on countries depending on those, such as China and India. Therefore, the possibility of military action could not be ruled out. People’s Daily quotes a Russian political scientist (波利卡诺夫) who was also quoted by Xinhua a day earlier as suggesting that the military strikes were only delayed, but had not been stopped by Moscow’s and Damascus’ decisions.

Even China wasn’t on the sidelines in Syria, writes People’s Daily.  Syria had maintained close oil trade with China, and Chinese state-owned energy companies had business in Syria. A SINOPEC spokesperson is quoted as saying (again from “International Financial Journal”) that his company had temporarily closed their branch company in Syria, with most of the staff returning to Beijing, and some staying in Lebanon. Despite all the emphasis on diversification, about fifty percent of China’s crude oil imports were still coming from the Middle East, an expert from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is quoted.

Economics aside, People’s Daily concludes, there had also been a close Sino-Syrian relationship in other fields. Reports say that when China was treated unfairly in the international arena, it could always count on Syrian support.

This is about as far as official Chinese media go in their support for Damascus. Voicing official or semi-official positions is frequently the job of high-ranking academics, when Zhongnanhai prefers to remain silent or low-key. Zhou Zunnan’s comments in the “International Financial Journal”, which is in fact a branch of People’s Daily itself, probably play this kind of role.

On September 4, another academic, Li Shaoxian (李绍先) of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, was quoted by Huanqiu Shibao with a rather candid statement (which may or may not mirror the official Chinese position, obviously):

Besides, Li Shaoxian believes that, when Bashar al-Assad said that China and Russia were Syria’s allies, that was the great banner used as a tiger-skin [a way to impress enemies]. China wasn’t Syria’s ally.  “Although China and Russia both insist on a peaceful solution and both oppose foreign military intervention, Russia has major actual interests in Syria to protect, while China’s interests in Syria are small.”

李绍先还认为,叙利亚总统巴沙尔说中国、俄罗斯是其盟友的说法是“拉大旗作虎皮”,中国不是巴沙尔的盟友。
“尽管中俄对坚持和平解决、反对外来军事干预是一致的,但中俄的考虑并不完全一致,俄罗斯在叙利亚有重大的现实利益要保护,而中国在叙利亚的利益很少”。

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Related

» Netzschau (German blog), Sept 10, 2013
» Less than 40 percent, Global Times, Dec 12, 2011

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Friday, June 7, 2013

Xi Jinping arrives in California: “an unprecedented common cause”

Xinhua, via Enorth (Tianjin), June 7, 2013

The following blockquotes are excerpts from the Chinese press. Links within blockquotes added during translation.
Xinhua, viao Enorth (Tianjin), June 7, 2013

Chinese state chairman Xi Jinping arrived in the U.S. state of California on June 6, for talks with American president Barack Obama from June 7 to June 8.

中国国家主席习近平6日抵达美国加利福尼亚州,于7日至8日同美国总统奥巴马举行会晤。

This Sino-American summit will be held in the Annenberg Estate in California. Xi Jinping is going to have broad and deep communications with Obama on strategic issues of mutual concern to deepen understanding, to enhance mutual strategic trust, practical cooperation, to make guiding suggestions for building mutual respect, mutually beneficial cooperation and partnership, and  structures for a new type of relations between big powers.

这次中美元首会晤将在加利福尼亚州安纳伯格庄园举行。习近平同奥巴马将就双方共同关心的重大战略性问题进行广泛深入沟通,加深相互了解,增进战略互信,推进务实合作,为中美共同建设相互尊重、互利共赢的合作伙伴关系,构建中美新型大国关系提出指导性意见。

This is the first meeting between the two top leaders after the changes of governments, and highly meaningful for strengthening strategic communication, mutual strategic trust, deepening mutually beneficial cooperation, building effective management of disagreements, promoting the development of a Sino-American partnership of cooperative relations, and  structures for a new type of relations between big powers.

这是中美两国政府换届后两国最高领导人之间的首次会晤,对中美双方加强战略沟通,增进战略互信,深化互利合作,有效管控分歧,推动中美合作伙伴关系发展和探索构建中美新型大国关系具有十分重要的意义。

Xi Jinping travelled to California on a special plane after winding up state visits to Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica, and Mexico.

习近平是在结束对特立尼达和多巴哥、哥斯达黎加、墨西哥三国国事访问后,乘专机从墨西哥梅里达抵达加利福尼亚州的。

Huanqiu Shibao quotes China People’s Broadcasting Service (CPBS):

[…] Chinese ambassador to the U.S., Cui Tiankai, has previously said in Washington D.C. that this is the first summit meeting between the two heads of state [Obama and Xi] after the changes of governments, a strategic and historic summit.

[…..] 中国驻美国大使崔天凯此前在华盛顿表示,这是两国政府换届后中美元首首次面对面接触,是一次战略性和历史性会晤。

Cui Tiankai said: “Along the main line of building a new type of relations between big powers, deep discussions about matters concerning the big issues in the future development of relations will be held.

崔天凯:“两国领导人将围绕构建中美新型大国关系这一主线,就事关两国关系未来发展的重大问题进行深入沟通。”

Cui Tiankai pointed out that the foundations of Sino-American relations have become more solid, and the support from the people of the two nations has also become broader. While the two sides focus on mutual benefit, there can also be effective control and management of differences (管控和处理分歧). China and America should take the road that corresponds with the development requirements of the times to develop their big-powers relations.

崔天凯指出,中美关系的基础比从前更加稳固,两国民众的支持也更加广泛。双方在聚焦于共同利益的同时,也能够有效地管控和处理分歧。中美应该走出一条适应时代发展要求的大国关系新路。

Cui Tiankai said: “This is a common cause for the two countries, unprecedented and for generations to come [this should be the correct translation if 后起来者 is meant – I’m not sure about the actually used term 后启来者]. It will lead Sino-American relations to enter a new development stage, and it will also open a new chapter in international relations.”

崔天凯:“这是一项两国共同的事业,是一项‘前无古人、后启来者’的事业,将引领中美关系进入新的发展阶段,也将为国际关系开启新的篇章。”

Cui Tiankai (崔天凯), a man who knows how to drive a tractor, had been vice minister of foreign affairs from 2009 to 2013, and assumed office as ambassador to the U.S. in April, 2013. He is the Chinese diplomat with perhaps the deepest knowledge of the United States, Jane Perlez wrote in the New York Times, on Thursday. The idea that Xi and Obama should meet outside either Washington or Beijing has been attributed to Cui.

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Related

» Cui Tiankai on South China Sea, June 24, 2011
» Vivid Microcosms, Jan 21, 2011
» Three Eight Hundreds, Apr 19, 2009
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Monday, June 3, 2013

June 4, 1989: the Unsinkable Boat of Stone

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.

The only official evaluation so far: Deng Xiaoping defends his reform policies of economic openness and political repression, 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)

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.

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Notes

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
一生运载的风暴都已走远
该卸下自己了  让石头船舷去腐烂
夏季  是惟一的港口

2) Jatinder Verma: Asian Diasporas, BBC (World Service), Sept 2, 2002

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Monday, May 20, 2013

The Weeks before June 4: Deng Xiaoping’s remarks and the April-26 Editorial

« Previous translation/rendition: Struggling for the Ideological Switch Stands

For all previous instalments, see this table.

Most or all of the party-insider information used by Wu Renhua seems to be based on “Li Peng’s diary”. There seems to be wide-spread agreement that the diary – becoming known in 2010 – was authentic. However, even if it is, one needs to ask if Li’s own account of the run-up to the massacre of June 3/4 1989 is accurate. Probably, these are questions only the party archives could answer – JR

Tuesday, April 25, 1989

Main Link: 1989 年 4 月 24 日 星期日

About 60,000 students at 43 colleges and universities in Beijing continue the strike on lessons. (On April 24, 38 colleges and universities were involved.) At some colleges and universities, wall papers promoting the students’ movement continue to emerge.

At 3 p.m., the Beijing University Preparatory Committee publishes a notice: eight out of the university’s 27 faculties have set up branch committees, and the preparatory committee has conducted re-elections, with Kong Qingdong (孔庆东), Wang Chiying (王池英), Feng Congde (封从德), Wang Dan (王丹), and Shen Tong (沈彤) as new members. “The new preparatory committee will have decision-making authority, and temporarily take the lead of the students union.”

The Beijing University students union has established contact with more than 32 other colleges and universities in Beijing. Chairman Zhou Yongjun says that three demands have been issued to the government:

  • official dialog with the state council, based on delegations (or representation)
  • a public apology for the Xinhua Gate incident and punishment for the perpetrators
  • truthful domestic media coverage about the students movement.

At nine in the morning, at his home, Deng Xiaoping listens to Li Peng’s, Yang Shangkun’s, Qiao Shi’s, Hu Qili’s, Yao Yilin’s, Li Ximing’s, Chen Xitong’s and others’ reports. The meeting ends before 11 a.m.. After the meeting, Yang Shangkun stays with Deng for discussions.

Deng agrees with the politburo standing committee’s and the broader politbureau meetings’ decisions, and requires the central committee and the state council to establish two teams – one to focus on dealing with the unrest, and one to get hold of the routine work. Deng says that before, the talk had been about managing the economic environment, but now, there was a need to manage the political environment.

Deng believes the students movement isn’t a normal agitation (or strike), but a political unrest. Attention needs to be paid to avoiding bloodspills, but it will be hard to avoid it completely. In the end, it could be necessary to arrest a batch of people. The “People’s Daily”, in accordance with the spirit of what Deng said, writes in its editorial on April 261) that “we must oppose the unrest with a clear and distinct stand” (more literally: under a bright banner).

On Li Peng’s proposal, Zeng Jianhui (曾建徽) drafts the editorial, and after authorization by Hu Qili and Li Peng, it is decided that the editorial shall be aired this evening at 7 p.m., by Central People’s Broadcasting Station (CPBS) and on CCTV’s main newscast Xinwen Lianbo.

Delegations from all colleges and universities in Beijing discuss the prospects of the students movement at the Autonomous Federation’s meeting, held at the University of Political Science and Law, at 7 p.m.., and determining a draft for a national people’s program. At the time of the meeting, the April-26 editorial is aired, on which countermeasures are discussed. The editorial leads to a tense atmosphere, and one student leader says that the danger is understood, and that the work to defend the dormitories needs to be strengthened.

At about 18:45, some three- to four thousand students of the People’s University (Renmin University) arrive at the China Youth University for Political Sciences, at Beifang Jiaotong University, at the Academy of Nationalities  (i. e. national minorities, 中央民族学院 – frequently referred to as the Minzu University of China), and the Beijing Foreign Studies University (actually: foreign-languages university, formerly an academy, 北京外语学院, now 北京外国语大学) to support the strikes, and also to strongly oppose the April-26 editorial. 21:40, the protesters leave the China Youth University for Political Sciences, originally planning to go to Beijing Normal University, but they are intercepted by nearly 800 police. At 21:02, more two thousand students from the People’s (Renmin) University, the Minzu University of China, and other universities are protesting around the universities, oppose the April-26 editorial, saying that the editorial confuses right and wrong (颠倒是非) and that “action must continue”. Some students are shouting a slogan: “Oppose repressions against the student movement”.

At 23:00, the Capital Autonomous Federation of University Students (北高联) issues a notice: “On April 27, the entire city will demonstrate unitedly and converge on Tian An Men Square”, to oppose the April-26 editorial.

At 23:00, the Beijing University (Students) Preparatory Committee (北大筹委会 / 北大学生筹委会) holds a press conference at the Beijing University No. 1 Teaching Building (北京大学第一教学楼), and Kong Qingdong, who is hosting the conference, announces that “the Beijing University Preparatory Committee is neither anti-party nor anti-constitutional; it is here to promote the progress of democracy [or democratization].” He also spells out three conditions for the students’ return to the classrooms:

  1. dialog with the government
  2. an accurate explanation of the 4-20 incident [see here, Wang Zhiyong] and
  3. a press law.

In a brief meeting at 15:00, Li Peng convenes a brief meeting of the standing committee of the politbureau and communicates Deng Xiaoping’s remarks. Yang Shangkun attends as a non-voting participant. The standing committee believes that Deng Xiaoping’s remarks are absolutely important and should be communicated to the lower ranks right away. It is decided that first, it shall be passed on  within the “system of the big three” (三大系统) – to the central committee, to the state council, and to all cadres above vice-ministerial level in the Beijing municipal government, including the transcript of Deng’s remarks today, and the standing committee’s records from the meeting in the evening on April 24.

Wen Jiabao’s instructions to the General Office of the CCP  to communicate the standing committee’s records from the meeting in the evening on April 24, and to promptly arrange Deng Xiaoping’s remarks, are the foundation of communications. Toward the evening, Wen gives Li Peng a phonecall asking for instructions if some sensitive issues in Deng Xiaoping’s remarks should be kept out of the communication at first. To reduce possible vulnerabilities and to get as many points to ralley the comrades around, Li Peng agrees.

The quantity of propaganda material explaining “the situation in Beijing” is growing. At Fudan University, Tongji University, Jiaotong University, and many other universities and colleges, wall newspapers, photos or leaflets emerge, mainly about “the real story of the 4-20 incident” and “the whole story about the 4-21 demonstrations” , and “100,000 students’ peaceful petition” etc..

The rate of students who show up for classes is diminuishing in Tianjin’s major universities, and about one third of students are on strike. There are calls for supporting the students in Beijing. Eighty-seven young teachers at Nankai University put up slogans: “Support the Students’ Strike!”

In the afternoon, the “Jilin Declaration” from Jilin University emerges, with the full wording: “The fate of our nation is the responsibility of everyone. Beijing University has arisen, so has Nankai University, all students are pleading in the name of the people – how can the people of Jilin University stand by and watch? Arise, people of Jilin University. Political corruption, maldistribution, economic chaos, outmoded education and the nation in peril, when will be the time!

Wall newspapers in some universities in Xi’an, Changsha and other places also refute the “People’s Daily” editorial, calling it “a pack of lies”, as the students’ actions were not a political struggle, but a demand for democracy. Some Xi’an students distribute mimeographed leaflets, calling for a demonstration on Xincheng Square on Sunday.

At the Central South University of Technology (中南工业大学) in Changsha, Hunan Province, the chairpeople of seven faculties who prepared a meeting at 21:00 to adopt measures and to support the students of Beijing to escalate the situation, are stopped by the university’s related departments.

The traffic regulations that had been in effect since the 4-22 riots at Xincheng Square, the center of the riots, were lifted at 00:00 today. Large numbers of armed police are leaving the square, but some police are guarding the entrances of the provincial government. The authorities have also ordered a batch of helmeted troops from the people’s Liberation Army 49 Army from their base, twenty kilometers outside Xi’an, into the square.

According to a “People’s Daily” report, 98 people were arrested in the riots of Changsha in the evening on April 22, among them 32 workers, peasants who work in Changsha as migrant workers, six six self-employed/small-business owners (getihu), 28 socially idle people2), six students (five of them middle school students and one of them a secondary specialized or technical school student).

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Notes

1) In a partial chronology of 20th century China, Tian’anmen Square TV provides a translation of the April-26 editorial.
2) A stronger translation would be riff-raff.

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To be continued

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