Archive for February 21st, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Zhou Yongkang: more Convenience with “Social Management”

Xinhua / Enorth — The CCP’s Politics and Law Committee directs and coordinates the work of Chinese courts, procuratorates, and police. Reportedly, a Committee decision can also override regular courts’ decisions. It was officially established in 1980, according to Wikipedia (of today). The organ preceding it was a central working group for legal affairs (中央政法领导小组), established in 1958.

The Commission’s secretary is Zhou Yongkang (周永康), who is also a member of the politbureau’s nine-members standing committee.

[Main Link] On Sunday morning [local time, Zhou] made a speech to leading cadres of the provincial level, in a seminar focused on social management (社会管理) and its innovative exploration (其创新专题研讨). He emphasized the need to earnestly study and implement secretary general Hu Jintao’s important speech, to adapt to new economic and social development trends, to strengthen and innovate social management, to build a social management system with the characteristics of Chinese socialism, to solidify the party’s ruling position, to protect the people’s fundamental interests, and to guarantee the country’s long period of peace and stability (长治久安).

[…]

Zhou Yongkang pointed out the need to adapt to new circumstances and new demands of economic and social development, the need to practically transform the concept of social management. By establishing a people-oriented (以人为本) service-first concept, containing a management based on service, by efforts to achieve a comprehensive unity of management and service, the people should feel that their rights were protected, and should therefore feel  more comfortable. The establishment of more pluralistic participation (多方参与), a concept of shared governance, the maintenance of party leadership and guidance by the government, cooperation with all benign forces in society, by autonomy, self-discipline, discipline of others, lawful effects, the dynamics of the people and their innovative self-initiative should be mobilized, and become the combined efforts of social management.

Zhou also mentioned legal education, administrative and judicial justice. The outset had to be the reality of our country (必须从我国实际出发), social management should go its own way (走自己的路), and correctly handle the traditional strengths and their relationship with the new situation. By no means should the past be totally repudiated (绝不能全盘否定过去), but be judged along the way, in mutual consultation (绝不能全盘否定过去,另搞一套). He also mentioned an unspecific role for elected village organs (基层群众性自治组织),  but emphasized that they needed to participate in social management in accordance with the law (依法有序参与社会管理). Risks in society needed to be assessed, social conflicts be reduced, and land acquisitions and resettlements be conducted in a harmonious, mediated way. Zhou’s remarks also included the management of industrial relations.

To improve social management, the identity card system (身份证制度) also needed to be improved, in order to serve people better, and a national population database should help services to better meet the reality of daily lives (提高对实有人口的管理服务水平).

For foreign NGOs active in China, a joint management mechanism needed to be built to protect legitimate exchanges and cooperation, and for the internet’s management, Zhou demanded a unified leadership of party committees, and strict government management (在互联网管理方面,要形成党委统一领导、政府严格管理). Another aspect of social management was an early warning and channeling system  (要建立预测、预警、疏导、救助机制) for spiritual hygiene.

Hui Liangyu (回良玉) presided over the session, Wang Lequan (王乐泉), Liu Qi (刘淇), Liu Yunshan (刘云山), Liu Yandong (刘延东), Li Yuanchao (李源潮), Wang Yang (汪洋), Zhang Gaoli (张高丽), Yu Zhengsheng (俞正声), Xu Caihou (徐才厚), Bo Xilai (薄熙来) and others were scheduled to attend.

The actual article was much longer, but I believe I have covered all the main buzzwords it contained. The whole lecture was hardly specific. No particular reason was given for the meeting and its topic.

The BBC establishes a link between the meeting and the current Arab Jasmine Revolution.

Figures published last year suggested the Chinese government spent almost as much on maintaining internal security as on defence,

writes the BBC’s Shanghai correspondent Chris Hogg.

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Related
Safeguarding “4.9”, February 19, 2011
You name the Problem, the CCP solves it, February 15, 2011
The Greatest Democracy for Humankind, February 3, 2011
Dangwai, January 31, 2011
Social Engineer, Wikipedia

Update/Related
Un parfum de jasmin à Pékin, Jordan Pouille, Febr 20, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

VoA Chinese Radio/TV: Something has to Give

The US government’s goal is to cut US$ 1.1 trillion from its deficit over the next decade. Part of the package is to cut the Voice of America‘s (VoA) Chinese service on radio and television by October this year. All these measures concerning VoA’s Chinese radio and television services would save about 8 million US-$ out of VOA’s $207 million budget.

VoA leaflet, October 1989: "Watching the Kettle Boil"

VoA leaflet, 1989: "Watching the Kettle Boil"

Contrary to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) explanations, the “Voice” would, most probably, lose many listeners. After all, if 400 million Chinese people are on the (heavily censored) internet, most Chinese people are still no “netizens” at all.

S. Enders Wimbush, chairman of the BBG’s Strategy and Budget Committee, defended the decision during a hearing in the U.S. Congress on new technologies Tuesday.
He said the audience for shortwave in China over the past few years has been barely measurable, while the country is now the largest Internet-using society in the world. He said the shortwave mission was being shifted to Radio Free Asia (RFA), also supervised by the BBG, which will now be able to operate on better frequencies and with better time slots.

Leninists know better. “Radio is the newspaper without paper and distances, which can’t be confiscated by customs officers, or banned by censors”, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin reportedly once said.*)

The internet is better than a newspaper, when censors have something against your message. But when it comes to China, it isn’t as good as radio. On shortwave, VoA

has a much wider audience and larger reach that will be sharply curtailed by the shift to the Internet because many Chinese in rural areas or regions facing central government punishment do not have access to the Internet or cell phones,

as the Washington Time’s Bill Gertz points out.

To assess the audience, the BBG can’t rely on Chinese listeners’ responses. Many of them will only listen, and never react to the broadcasts (i. e. write a letter). Another reason to think again is that the VoA has carried broadcasts in Chinese since 1942. That has made the station an authority on the airwaves which shouldn’t be recklessly dumped. Radio Free Asia, which is expected to remain on shortwave, won’t attain a similar standing.

Current and former officials state some important points which need to be taken into consideration – such as the internet blackout in Xinjiang, in July 2009.

According to a Taipei Times report, the VoA’s Mandarin service had been under political pressure in recent years.

[..] employees discovered that the pressure from management, which on certain occasions resulted in self-­censorship, was the direct result of a sustained campaign of complaints from Chinese diplomats, the Taipei Times’ Michael Cole quotes an unnamed source.

The state of America’s public finances is serious, and there can be no sacred cows in the negotiation process between the US administration and Congress. A negotiation process, after all, it is. The Voice is close to the Republicans’ and some more conservative Democrats’ hearts. Besides, the BGG’s official website doesn’t even seem to carry information about the cutting plans yet – and their explanations through other media sound so lame that I can’t help but feel that the reverend broadcaster is simply held hostage by the US administration.

If the Voice’s Chinese radio and tv services are to stay, something else will have to give.

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Notes
*) attributed to Lenin by German news magazine Der Spiegel, No. 13, 1984, page 163.

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Related
CRI almost doubled its short-wave output, Economist, Aug 12, 2010
Go, tell it from Global Local Sticks TV, October 22, 2009

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