Archive for ‘intelligence’

Monday, January 20, 2014

Societal Governance: Falling Growth, Rising Vigilance

The Chinese economy grew by 7.7 percent in 2013, 0.2 percent more than the central government’s target of 7.5 percent, but marking a 14-year low, according to the BBC. The story doesn’t explicitly say that there will be a further slowdown, but suggests that more growth would hardly be investment-led (as it was in the past), quoting an economist as saying that the government’s moves to curb shadow banking and local government debt will cap the growth of investment.

What may be rising further are “public-security” budgets. In November, party and state leader Xi Jinping had announced the establishment of a national security committee, and Chinese media were frank in announcements or interpretations right away. Tasks and challenges had become more complicated in the fields of national security, and the coordination and standardization (or unification, 协调和统一), innovative societal governance (社会治理), innovation of effective systems to defuse contradictions in society were needed, and it was easy to see that the new security committee needed to have both internal and external functions to react to both internal and external challenges.

A report by Central People’s Broadcasting  Station System (CPBS, aka China National Radio) pointed out that processes like these were going on not only in China, but in the United States, Japan, France, and other countries, too. Not least, the report quoted Ruan Zongze (阮宗泽),  a researcher and diplomat, the creation of a national security committee indicated the growing dynamics of Chinese diplomacy.

Such growing dynamics can certainly be visited in the German press. The home minister of the Free State of Bavaria, Joachim Herrmann, announced in a press release in March 2013 that China and Bavaria would cooperate yet more strongly in combatting international terrorism and drug trafficking. Herrmann issued the release after meeting Guo Shengkun, who had become minister for public security in December 2012, i. e. three months earlier.

Early this month, People’s Daily (online) published an article by Guo, which describes public-security work as safeguarding political security, security of state power, issues that relate to the ruling position of the party (事关党的执政地位) as well as national core interests mattered in Guo’s article, emphasizing several times that his position was based on prior speeches of party secretary general Xi Jinping, which indicated the party’s new height in understanding of how to maintain national security and social stability (我们党对维护国家安全和社会稳定规律特点的认识达到了一个新高度).

Guo’s article mentioned lots of ideological ingredients for these new heights of insight, but little or no recognizable threats. It doesn’t seem far-fetched however that incidents like these are among those on Guo’s mind.

Sina Weibo, according to reports, is losing users – the BBC links the decline to a crackdown on “online rumors”. It remains to be seen if innovation will come from Chinese media – “social” or other. Earlier this month, in a review of China’s media landscape of 2013, or China’s political discourse in 2013, Qian Gang, a contributor to the China Media Project, found a trend which in his view, went from some kind of constitutionalism to the two must not rejects. The two must not speaks as a term

summed up a new political position emerging from the Party leadership, that “the historical period after economic reforms [in 1978] must not be used to reject the historical period before economic reforms; and the historical period before economic reforms must not be used to reject the historical period after economic reforms.”

A number of terms in the media were checked by Qian, suggesting that terms associated with constitutionalism and democracy were reaching new lows. And while Qian considers the term “Chinese Dream” mainly motivational, he believes that media reference to “Mao Zedong’s Thought” is a measuring stick that can be used to look at Chinese politics.



» Edward Bernays, NYT obituary, March 10, 1995



» Fresh Cash, Jan 21, 2014


Monday, July 1, 2013

Journalism under Attack

Glenn Greenwald talking to the Socialism Conference in Chicago on June 29.

Transcript there.

From the introduction (not part of Greenwald’s talk):

There are people in our society who have remained consistent under Democrats and Republicans, who put principle over partisanship, who have committed to being the same people that they are, whether a Democrat is in office, or a Republican is in office.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

CCTV’s Xinwen Lianbo: Edward Snowden coverage

Edward Snowden‘s statement that NSA spied on computers and networks in Hong Kong and mainland China is among the headlines mentioned at the beginning of CCTV‘s main daily newscast, Xinwen Lianbo, and gets an almost two-minutes’ slot towards the end of the program. CCTV quotes from a one-hour interview conducted by the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

Edward Snowden - is she surprised? Xinwen Lianbo co-anchor Li Ruiying

Is this presenter surprised? Xinwen Lianbo co-anchor Li Ruiying.

The headlines’ ranking lists usually depend on how high in Chinese protocol people “making” the news are – starting with party and state chairman Xi Jinping, even if the actual weight of his event is rather small. That’s why news like Snowden’s descriptions of NSA activity wouldn’t appear further up in the program.

Snowden’s comments may be a sweet-sour surprise for Beijing – sweet for supporting China’s claim that China, too, is a victim of hacking activities (which has been Beijing’s reply to U.S. criticism of alleged Chinese hacking attacks in the past), and sour, as Snowden’s stay in Hong Kong may strain relations with Washington – a relationship which are meant to become a new type of relations between big powers.

One outcome would appear hardly conceivable to me, though: that Snowden would be extradited – unless a court in Hong Kong makes such a decision. I’m not sure if the central government has a say in this (given its role in Hong Kong when it comes to diplomacy and defense issues), or if this will be for the Hong Kong courts alone to decide.

But if the decision is a homework for Beijing, extraditing Snowden would be hard to sell to the Chinese audience.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Hu Jintao, Mohamed Mursi: Freedom of Thought

For your better information, the guy to the left is Mohamed Mursi, Egypt’s new president. The guy to the right is Hu Jintao, China’s old chairman. Mursi was (or maybe still is) in Beijing to consolidate Egyptian-Chinese strategic relations.

But what do they think of each other?



Beijing Cream offers some ideas.

JR’s idea, too  –

Mursi: Our culture is older than yours, infidel.

Hu: Trip me up again, will you? I’ve dealt with people like you before, and their so-called spiritual leader‘s glasses were no smaller than yours.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Zhou Yongkang Awards Heroic Police Collectives and Expresses Four Hopes

Main Link: People’s Daily / Enorth, May 19, 2012. Translated off the reel, and posted right away.

The General Meeting for the National Police Collective Heroic Model Award was held in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on Friday. Before the meeting, CCP Central Committee General Secretary, State Chairman and Central Military Commission Chairman Hu Jintao expressed his heart-felt congratulations to the National Police Collective Heroic Model Award collectives and his sincere greetings to all the police and military police who stand at the front line and fight bravely to protect national security and social stability.

Permanent Politbureau member and State Council Chief Councillor Wen Jiabao, Permanent Member of the Standing Committee of the Politbureau, Deputy State Chairman and Deputy Central Military Commission Chairman Xi Jinping attended. Permanent Politbureau Member and CCP Political and Legislative Affairs Committee Secretary Zhou Yongkang attended the meeting and spoke at the award ceremony.

At about 9.30 a.m., Hu Jintao and the other central leading comrades entered the Great Hall of the People’s North Hall, came to the middle of the delegates, the entire audience sounded an enthusiastic applause. Hu Jintao et al happily and warmly shook hands with delegates, and had a keepsake photo taken with them.

A souvenir photo with Comrade Yongkang

A souvenir photo with Comrade Yongkang (CCTV 新闻联播, main evening news, May 18, 2012). Click picture – video should be online for at least a few days.

Zhou Yongkang said in his speech that under the correct leadership of Hu Jintao as Secretary General, police work had centered around the goal of comprehensively building of a modest-prosperity society, firmly mastering and protecting the general requirements of important times of strategic opportunities. They solidified the leading ruling position of the party, protected the country’s lasting stability and peace, safeguarded the lives and work of the people in peace and contentment, and  served economic and social development, thus making outstanding contributions. A large number of heroic models and advanced collectives had emerged, who completed major security tasks, took part in natural disaster relief, carried out specialized actions, and broad ranks of police didn’t shrink from life-and-death situations, never gave up in the face of numerous difficulties and dangers, and dedicated blood, life, and sweat to write a great song of heroism that shook heaven and earth (感天动地).

Zhou Yongkang emphasized that this year is especially meaningful for our country’s development in that our Party will hold its 18th National Congress. Creating a harmonious and stable environment for this a victorious event was the public security organs’ primary task. Public security organs on all levels needed to clearly understand the complicated nature of the current international and domestic situation and the particular importance of maintaining stability this year, and with the meeting with Secretary General Hu Jintao and other central comrade-leaders as a collectively motivating force, they should improve their abilities to combat crime, to serve the people, and to protect national security and social stability. To accelerate the building of a country under socialist rule by law, to actively build a socialist and harmonious society, and to ensure the timely and comprehensive building of a modest-prosperity society, new contributions needed to be made.

Zhou Yongkang expressed for hopes to the public security authorities and the police:

  1. That they be steadfast in their ideals and beliefs, and forever preserve their political qualities, deepen the development of political and legal core values in their actions and activities, adhere to the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics, maintain the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, maintain the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, firmly establish a concept of socialist rule by law, that they be  unswerving builders and defenders of the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
  2. [more practical, work-related aspects, plus being close friends of the masses … .] That they sing and sound (唱响) the People’s Police for the People theme, give their best in working practically for the people, solve problems, do good things, and deepen interaction on good terms.
  3. That they [keep holding] the Three Assessment Activities (“三访三评” 活动), deepen their understanding of the problems of the masses, build harmonious police-to-people relations while solving mass difficulties, win the trust and support of the masses in the process of safeguarding their rights and interests, and that they continuously improve public credibility and the masses’ degree of satisfaction.
  4. That they  maintain their determination for reform and innovation, constantly promote the development and progress of public security work. That they firmly establish a people-oriented (以人为本) concept that puts service first that carries out action and prevention in a coordinated manner and that puts prevention first. That they consolidate the foundations, focus on long-term concepts, progressively improve and perfect work mechanisms, that they guide police work in accordance with the will of the people, guarantee police work by systematic standards, by effective prevention and control, precise action, scientific management and modern technology improve police work, and that they constantly improve the scientification of police work.


Zhou Yongkang demanded that party committees and governments at all levels strengthen their leadership of police work under the new situation, to support the public security organs in their performance in strict accordance with the law, to coordinate solutions of problems and difficulties timely, to conscientiously implement the political building of the police, to administrate police seriously, to manage the police forces well by  taking steps in all fields of preferential treatment of police policies, by building and making good use of the police, and to conscientously shoulder the major policies in the areas of maintaining stability and of safeguarding the peace.

General Office of the CCP director, State Council Secretary and State Councillor Ma Kai attended the meeting.  State Councillor and Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu*) attended and presided the meeting.

The award decisions were announced, and National Police Collective Heroic Model Awards were given. Hebei Provincial Highway Traffic Police (Baoding Detachment detachment heads Jian Zhuozhou and Gu Huaigang, Hubei Province Wuhan City Public Security Bureau Hanyang Divisional office Zhoutou Street local police station deputy chief Wang Qun, Gansu Province Lanzhou City Public Security Bureau criminal police’s Zhang Jingang and other spoke on behalf of the prize winners [i. e. prize-winning collectives] and took the prizes.



*) A number of reports have recently suggested that Meng Jianzhu had effectively taken control of what had previously been Zhou Yongkang‘s central responsibilities. However, it should be noted that Zhou Yongkang’s downfall has been anticipated in the foreign press for many weeks, and the sources seem to be anonymous, for obvious reasons. Without official confirmation, or with obvious shifts in “public-security” policies, I don’t see a lot of evidence for Zhou “falling from power”, but it might be plausible that he wouldn’t involved in investigating the cases of Bo Xilai and Gu Kailai. That alone, if true, would suggest quite a loss of control, and possibly the beginning of the end to his career.



» Social Management, Febr 21, 2011


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bo Xilai planned the Third World War

OK, maybe not. But he (or Wang Lijun, or whoever) wiretapped everyone, up to the collective leader Hu Jintao himself, “nearly half a dozen” (i. e. 5.9, I guess?) CCP officials people with party ties claim, as quoted by the New York Times. And the British government is soooo happy that the rule of law applies in China, and that the Heywood case is re-investigated. OK, not quite that, either – he welcomes Neil Heywood death investigation.

My theory is that Bo Xilai shagged Sarah Palin, conspired with the Nazis on the dark side of the moon, and that they will soon abduct him so that he can’t reveal their schemes.

We will never see Bo Xilai again. That’s almost for sure.

Extraordinary rendition: JR Intelligence Unit spotted Bo in Syria.

Update - Update - Update: JR Intelligence Unit spotted Bo in Syria in what appears to be an extraordinary rendition arrangement between Beijing and Damascus.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Weekender: North Korea in the International Media

North Korean troops conducted live-fire drills on the south-eastern coast near South Korea, earlier this week. North Korean troops brandished weapons given to them by new leader Kim Jong Un, Associated Press reported.

Indeed, the respected leader left many guns as souvenirs after inspection tours, as Voice of Korea reported on March 4, and wouldn’t leave any unit behind without some practical advice either, concerning a barber shop, for example:

Sitting on the beds of soldiers without ceremony, he praised that heating conditions have been ensured well, to live warmly in cold winter, too. At the barber’s, he […] that mirrors should be installed not only in the front, but also in the back and both sides, so that they can see if their haircut is good or not.
[Update, December 23, 2012: soundfile now removed. Please contact me by email or comment if you are interested in the soundfile – JR Former link:]

Chinese media show some guns being brandished on high-resolution military-exercise photos, and some of those may indeed come from the hands of the respected leader:

Mirrors your haircut (click picture for source)

Colt Government, mirrors your haircut (click photo)

In its weekly “Last Week in East Asia” (东亚过去一周时事回顾) program a week ago, IRIB Tehran‘s Chinese service noted that North Korea had condemned U.S.-South Korean military exercises on February 27 as an “unspoken declaration of war”, and that the DPRK Defense Commission had referred to the southern exercise as an inexcusable war of nerves (精神战). That U.S.-South Korean plot would, however, be eliminated by the DPRK’s people and army, by means of a particular war (特殊战争)*).

Apart from their military exercise [of February 27], America and South Korea also announced an exercise for the month of March. To North Korea, these exercises indicate America’s long-term hostile policies on the Korean peninsula.

On February 29, [North Korea] took a position which led to unexpected change. North Korea announced that it would stop nuclear testing, launchings of long-range missiles, and uranium enrichment activities. The North Korean foreign minister announced these positions on the afternoon of February 29. Pyongyang [also] immediately allowed IAEA inspectors to inspect the country’s nuclear-enrichment activities. […] This, of course, satisfied America. Washington decided to provide North Korea with 240,000 tons of grain.


2月29日,朝鲜局势变化进程和该国采取的立场发生了令人难以预料的变化。朝鲜宣布:该国将停止核试验、发射远程导弹以及进行铀浓缩活动。朝鲜外相2月29日下午宣布了这些立场。随即,平壤将允许国际原子能机构核查人员检查该国的铀浓缩活动。朝鲜的这些政策是在朝鲜副外相在北京与美国代表会晤之后做出的。朝鲜现在还没有宣布停止上述活动的确切时间。 […..] 此后,华盛顿和平壤就此方面达成共识,华盛顿也决定向朝鲜提供24万吨粮食。

Then six days ago, there came this bomb shell: headlined Iran allegedly tested atomic bomb in North Korea, Hans Rühle explained in an article for German  weekly Die Welt (or their Sunday edition) how, well, the allegation could make sense.

Die Welt: Ahmadinejad, Kim

Be very afraid, Dear Reader (click picture for “Die Welt” article in German)

Whenever Rühle, a former leading bureaucrat at Germany’s defense ministry, provides detailed data and information, I’m glad if there is most probably someone else on the world-wide web who will translate that stuff into English – or give an account of the gist of it – before I have to. Adam Cathcart did that right away, still on March 4, on the Sino-NK website. Given that he’s not so familiar with Die Welt, and geographically more distant, too, the revulsion threshold he has to overcome to translate that kind of stuff is probably somewhat lower than mine, and I can just keep reading Huanqiu Shibao (Global Times, but not the English-language one), another produce of global quality journalism from another neck of the globe, and sufficiently foreign to me to get some bizarre enjoyment out of translating it.

I had the opportunity to reciprocate, though, in providing my concise, even if possibly somewhat subjective, views of who Rühle is, and what Die Welt is, in another Sino-NK thread:

Hans Rühle, member of the Christian Democratic Party (CDU), until he left, reportedly out of anger for not being promoted within the defense ministry (which has been attributed to a ruse by Helmut Kohl against Rühle). A sober member of the military-industrial complex he is (otherwise), and a classical pre-unification German apparatchick.

Die Welt, without saying so, seems to subscribe to a concept of a muscular liberalism – but not only at home. They used to be explicitly conservative in the past, but have become somewhat more flexible during the past decade (or even longer), so as not to embarrass the yuppies they’ve discerned as a crucial target group. I suppose Rühle writes there, because this helps the paper to suggest that they have background information to offer. I tend to agree with many things Die Welt writes about domestic politics (an over-emphasized ecological “awareness”, for example), and to disagree with the ideology which seems to define their coverage of international politics. If you are looking for Wilhelministic heritage in Germany (in style only, after all, our allies have changed since), their foreign-affairs editorial department may be a good place to start with.

An exception, and probably not the only one, would be Jonny Erling, their China correspondent. He either knows a lot about the country, or he’s successfully judgmental when deciding to whom in China he should talk and listen, on any day.

The Sino-NK post contains both useful English-language links, and a translation of some of the Rühle’s article.



*) Not sure if particular war is the correct translation, or if it should rather be special warfare, for example, but some of the North’s guns did look particular.



» Why are Mass Media losing Relevance, Febr 26, 2009
» Asshole in a Wall Closet, Volker Pispers/Youtube, 2004


Friday, September 2, 2011

German Press Review: Wikileaks’ Leakage

Wikileaks‘ reputation is now quite probably tarnished – not only among those who never believed that it would work in the way its founder or co-founder Julian Assange asserted it would, anyway, but also among some of the public who so far admired the whistle-blowing platform, and among those who may have considered feeding Wikileaks with new confidential documents now or in the future.

To which extent Wikileaks – or online whistleblowing more in general – have lost credit among those who previously liked the concept, now that an unknown number of documents are publicly disclosed unredacted (i. e. without removing names of people from the classified documents who may otherwise face threats for being uncovered) is hard to tell. Experience would suggest that many Wikileaks fans will simply follow Assange’s example and exclusively blame  the mess on the Guardian (one of the papers who cooperated with Wikileaks and redacted the files before publication in the past) for the publication of the encrypted files’ password.

Among the German media, the extent to which they see Wikileaks damaged varies from paper to paper. Die Welt, conservative, tries to contain itself, and quotes U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, as previously quoted by the New York Times:

We continue to carefully monitor what becomes public and to take steps to mitigate the damage to national security and to assist those who may be harmed by these illegal disclosures to the extent that we can.

Wikileaks, too, writes Die Welt,

understands that it isn’t worth it. A human life weighs more heavily than the elucidation of real or supposed grievances.

Do they?

Die Welt wasn’t among the mainstream media partners who cooperated with Wikileaks. Der Freitag, a not-so-mainstream paper from the left, however, had become an Openleaks partner – the platform founded by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a German national who had fallen out with Assange. According to Die Welt, Der Freitag reported Wikileaks’ passport leak last week. A cooperation partner of Openleaks, or Openleaks itself, may therefore be responsible for now general knowledge of the Guardian disclosure, which had spread privately over several months, reached critical mass last week –  “critical mass” being the wording used in a statement Wikileaks e-mailed to reporters on Thursday.

According to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Wikileaks have now put all their remaining files or “cables”, a total of 251,287,  online – neither edited by themselves, nor by a cooperation partner. [This number may refer to the encrypted, or to intentionally published files. The Wall Street Journal reported this Friday that “in recent days, as German media reported that the full set of unredacted cables was online outside of WikiLeaks’ control, WikiLeaks scrambled to publish more than 100,000 of its previously unreleased cables”, and that “some of the newly released cables reportedly contained the names of confidential informants”]. Either way,

This could mean that informants and activists in dictatorships and war zones become endangered, as now, intelligence services and warring parties can read the data, too,

muses Andrian Kreye of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, but adds that even Dinah PoKempner, a solicitor with Human Rights Watch (HRW) isn’t aware of people having been arrested or gotten into harms way for having been mentioned in the cables. Rather, in Tunesia or Egypt, the revelations had played an important role for the protest movements.

Either way, suggests Kreye, Wikileaks had lately relied on nothing but on data Bradley Manning had passed on to them. Those files were all public now – and Wikileaks hadn’t received any new files since. One reason could be that the platform doesn’t work any more, and anonymity was therefore technically unfeasible now, writes Kreye.

Even if Assange’s allegations against the Guardian are true, Wikileaks could have chosen a safer way of passing the files on to their cooperation partners, and could – and probably should – have deleted the unedited file immediately after download by the Guardian and other partners, suggests Johannes Kuhn, another Sueddeutsche journalist. Both Assange and the Guardian’s David Leigh (the latter mentioned the complete password publicly) should face questions.

And despite PoKempner’s suggestion that no informants are known to have been harmed so far, worries about the safety of those mentioned in the files still aren’t unjustified. On August 19, Assange had phoned Der Freitag’s (i. e. Domscheit Berg’s partner publication) publisher Jakob Augstein. Assange feared for the safety of informants, Der Freitag reported on August 25.  Augstein assured him that his paper wouldn’t publish information which could endanger informants of the American government.

Now, out of control when it comes to the daily whistle-blowing routine, Assange is back to explaining the world to the world.

“Media organizations that proudly tell the public that they seek the truth are liars,”

he told an audience in Sao Paulo, through a video link from England on Thursday, and:

“In our negotiations with The New York Times and The Guardian, we constantly saw the difference between what the population wants and the angles that are chosen by media groups. The population is much less conservative.”

Maybe some “conservatism” at Wikileaks wouldn’t have hurt.



» Through the Course of his Work, May 9, 2011
» Why Wikileaks can’t Work, December 1, 2010


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