Posts tagged ‘accountability’

Monday, March 22, 2021

Europe’s Voice on Shortwave: Radio Romania International

Floriilor Cave, South Carpathians 45.212 N and 23.132 E,
Radio Romania International QSL, 2015
Click picture for more info

The following translation is an excerpt from Radio Romania International’s mailbag show in Chinese. The letter read out there last week was from a long-time listener who hadn’t written before.

[…] By now, Radio Romania International is the only European radio station that has maintained shortwave broadcasting. I cherish your station’s broadcasts all the more!

[…..] 如今,罗马尼亚国际广播电台,是欧洲唯一一家保留对华中文短波广播的电台,我对贵台的广播更是格外珍惜!

Although it isn’t too easy to receive your broadcasts in our area, there are sometimes indications of your signal, obscured by noise. But half of the time, I can hear Radio Romania International clearly, even if it weakens intermittently, but thanks to the hosts’ fluent Chinese, I can still get the general meaning clearly. I cherish every time you broadcast.

虽然,在我的地区,接收贵台并不是一件太容易的事,有时候依稀能够听到播音迹象,却淹没在短波噪音中,但是,另一半的时间里,我还是能够清晰收听罗广的,虽也有信号衰减迹象,断断续续,但得益于主持人们字正腔圆的中文,我还是能听清楚大概意思的,每一次您们播音,我都格外珍惜!我害怕失去你们!作为欧洲唯一保留中文短波的国家,我真的害怕失去你们!作为第一次联系罗广的老听友,我诚恳的建议您们,绝不能依赖网络!

The aforementioned European stations, including yours, although keeping broadcasting online, may not know that in our country, it isn’t convenient to listen to foreign stations online. The network may not be very responsive, it’s operation speed be limited, freeze after a few seconds of good listening, may take time to load again. That’s disappointing, these factors have has made internet radio devoid of value. It can’t be compared with the reliability and smoothness of shortwave radio. I hope your station can hear an ordinary listener’s voice and accompany us on shortwave forever!

前面提到的欧洲国家,包括贵台在内,虽然保留了对中国的网络广播,但是他们或许不知道,在我国,接收外国的网络广播是很不舒服的,网络卡顿,运营商限速,听的好好的,卡顿好几秒,继续播音,甚至加载的时候都得等好久,非常非常的扫兴,这些因素,都导致他们的网络广播收听价值荡然无存………与收听短波广播的可靠流畅是无法比拟的!希望贵台能够听到我一个普通听众的声音,能够在收音机里永远陪伴我们!

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Related

Some Radio Romania International history, Jan 25, 2018
DW Chinese informs listeners, Oct 27, 2012
“Opinion leaders”, May 20, 2011

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Thursday, January 14, 2021

Before you define your next China policy, learn from Lu Xun

Chinese nationalism has had its share of wishful thinking. But in recent decades, the West has fallen into similar traps, although its humiliations – the 2008 financial crisis and the flat-footed reaction of most Western countries to the Covid-19 pandemic – have been comparatively minor humiliations.

True story

But humiliations they have been, and nothing shows this more clearly than the way some of the West’s governments have reacted to China’s handling of the pandemic. To quote one of the more civil criticisms  – by Iain Duncan Smith, a former leader of the United Kingdom’s Conservative Party -, “the world would have had more time to prepare for the pandemic if Chinese leaders had been more forthcoming”. No worries, though, he switched into another gear right away:

For too long, nations have lamely kowtowed to China in the desperate hope of winning trade deals. Once we get clear of this terrible pandemic it is imperative that we all rethink that relationship,” he said.

Politics, that much is true, must never let a crisis go waste, and there are reasons to “rethink” the West’s, and possibly the world’s, relationship with China.

But China only bears a limited share of responsibility for this global crisis. If people in the West don’t understand that, they don’t understand their own political class.

We don’t need to reconsider our relationship with China because its role in the pandemic was questionable.

We must reconsider our relationship with China because we must not tolerate the way Chinese authorities treat Chinese citizens. Human rights violations often hit “national minorities” like Tibetans or Uyghurs hardest, but the political malpractice doesn’t stop there.

We must reconsider our relationship with China because in Hong Kong, Beijing has shown complete disregard for the rule of law, within Hong Kong’s autonomy (that’s nothing new, China has never understood the concept of autonomy anyway), and complete disregard of international law.

We must reconsider our relationship with China because in the South China Sea and other international waters, China has adopted a policy of annexation.

And we must reconsider our relationship with China, because with his “Resist America, Aid Korea” speech in October, Chinese CPC secretary general and state chairman Xi Jinping has made China’s disregard for international law official, by suggesting that Maoist China’s war against the United Nations had been a “war against imperialism”.

There may be some reason to believe that many within the CPC believe that the speech has been a non-starter, because they haven’t dwelled too much on it in the media since, and because the faces of many of the leaders during Xi’s speech appeared to speak volumes. But there is no reason to believe that Xi’s speech wasn’t an honest attempt at rewriting history, at the expense of truth. This attempt must be taken seriously.

All that said, when reconsidering our relationship with China, we must not walk into the Ah-Q trap. This is something we might learn from China indeed: the way Chinese intellectuals used to be self-critical was part of China’s more recent successes, just as China’s more recent pompousness and triumphalism may earn it serious setbacks.

The same is true for us, and especially for those who consider themselves our “elites”. For decades, China has been described as an opportunity too big to miss, and to justify throwing valuable Western-made technology at it. To make this foreign-trade salad more palatable to the general public (and arguably also to the propagandists themselves), China-trade advocates added that trade and engagement with China would lead to improvements in the country’s human rights practice, or its economic and social system.

“The party is over,” a long-forgotten “expert” crowed in the 1990s, in a huge, long-forgotten book. Others suggested that the CPC might become a “social-democratic” party. But nobody seemed to ask the CPC people if they had any such intentions, at least not seriously. And if they did, they only heard the answers they wanted to hear.

There was never a doubt that China’s political system is a dictatorship. And when that dictatorship began to succeed economically and technogically, quite a number of Western intellectuals, and especially business people, began to admire that dictatorship:

I have fantasized–don’t get me wrong–but that what if we could just be China for a day? I mean, just, just, just one day. You know, I mean, where we could actually, you know, authorize the right solutions, and I do think there is a sense of that, on, on everything from the economy to environment. I don’t want to be China for a second, OK, I want my democracy to work with the same authority, focus and stick-to-itiveness. But right now we have a system that can only produce suboptimal solutions.

Don’t get me wrong either. I don’t think Thomas Friedman argued in favor of the introduction of authoritarianism, let alone totalitarianism. But he didn’t apply any logic – and he’s no exception among Western intellectuals. He’s full of ideas and without a plan when it comes to these issues.

Because if we could be China for one day, we could be China every day. And then we would be the kind of society that we now want to reconsider our relationship with. (OK, maybe not Friedman.)

But the worst thing is to think of ourselves as Santa. The guys who only want the best for China, etc.. I’m pretty sure that half of my fellow Germans, in as far as they have misgivings about China, don’t worry about China’s human rights record. They worry about its economic clout, and the preparedness of a lot of Chinese people to work harder, for less income, then we would.

That’s legitimate self-interest, but nobody should confuse this interest with something like international solidarity. To do that, to suggest that “we are nice, we are generous, we’ve done everything for them, and they are bloody ingrats” is typical Ah-Q thought.

No, guys. Our bosses threw our technology at China, technology developed with support of public institutions we paid our taxes for. That’s what our bosses usually do. Sometimes at the Chinese, sometimes at other promising markets. But as our bosses’ greed for profits from China knew no limits, they fooled themselves, too. Occasionally, they complained once it went wrong. But this wasn’t “Chinese” greed – they only picked up what was thrown at them. And even if they never told us that they would make good use of it, with or against the law, daily practice could have shown us in a year that this transactional model wouldn’t work – at least not for the West.

China – not just the CPC, but most of the Chinese people – have always told us that their rightful global place was at the pole position.

They have always told us that they would “re-take” Taiwan, once they had the power to do so.

Every bloke in the street told us that Hong Kong was no stuff to negotiate about – it had been taken by the imperialists, and had to be retaken by China. Besides, those Hong Kongers shouldn’t think of themselves as “special”. Yadayada.

We played along, one year after another. We still do. I’m afraid we’ll continue to do so. Our governments, for example, keep participating in the diplomatic charade to this day that, for some incomprehensible reasons (depending on what individual Western nation’s memoranda with Beijing have made up out of thin air), Taiwan wouldn’t be quite a sovereign country.

In short: it was hard to get China wrong, but we managed anyway. And if we don’t stop suggesting that our intentions in this relationship had always been honest, we won’t get our next China policy right either.

To reshape our relationship with China, let’s learn from Lu Xun first.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Huanqiu Shibao: “Strike the iron while it is hot, Reinforce China’s political self-confidence”

The following are translated excerpts from an unsigned editorial by Huanqiu Shibao. The article was published online on Sunday. Links within blockquotes added during translation.

Main link:
To take a turn for the better, 2021 will require hard work (2021,好转需经艰苦努力才会发生)

[…]

This year, China has ample capital to continue [the process of] becoming the most outstanding country with its successes in fighting the epidemic and in transforming these achievements into fruits of economic development. To accelerate the expansion of domestic markets, to promote the formation of the dual-circulation pattern and its consolidation is crucial, because the trade wars of the past few years have told us that relying on the international markets alone is highly problematic and the political risks of it are growing. Domestic markets that balance and mutually support each other have become the road to follow.

今年中国有充足资本继续成为抗疫成就最突出的国家,并且将这一成就朝着经济发展的成果转化。加快扩大国内市场、促进双循环格局的形成和巩固至关重要,因为过去几年的贸易战已经告诉我们,仅靠扩大国际市场既困难重重,而且其政治风险也越来越高,国内和国际市场的平衡及相互促进已是必由之路。

Even if the global economy shows some recovery in the new year, it will be weak, and if China’s share in this year’s international recovery is disproportionally high, it will cause more jealousy, and this is something we have to be aware of.

全球经济在新的一年里即使有所恢复,也会是微弱的,如果中国今年的经济增长占据过大国际经济恢复的份额,将会引来更多妒忌,这方面的意识我们切不可缺失。

China’s leadership in controlling the epidemic has provided us with a huge comparative advantage over other major countries, and this summary rather belongs to history. As far as China’s society itself is concerned, especially as far as many individuals are concerned, the impact and challenges the coronavirus epidemic has brought about are more real, and China’s policies of this year must address these practical problems, and they must not lower their problem-solving qualities because of the epidemic.

中国率先控制住疫情,这提供了我们相对其他主要国家的巨大比较优势,但这是一笔国家的宏观账,这份总结更多属于历史。就中国社会自身来说,尤其是对很多个人来说,新冠疫情带来的冲击和困难更为真实,今年中国的各项政策仍需针对这些实际问题,不因疫情降低解决它们的质量。

One of the biggest earnings for China’s society in 2020 is the increase in political self-confidence. The epidemic has provided the Chinese people with a rare glimpse on the efficiency of China’s political system and its people-centered objective. America’s idolistic effect has basically collapsed. But one year is too short. Chinese society’s political self-confidence must be reinforced by striking the iron while it is hot. This year is a critical period during which the Chinese people’s self-acknowledgment of last year must go on.

2020年中国社会最大的收获之一是增加了政治自信,国人通过这场疫情提供的罕见可比性看到了中国政治体制的效率,读懂了它以人民为中心的宗旨,美国的长期偶像效应基本垮掉了。然而一年的时间太短了,中国社会的政治自信需要趁热打铁地加固,今年是延续中国人去年自我认知的关键时期。

[…]

It won’t be easy to make China take another step forward while giving the masses another experience of improvement at the same time, but it deserves China’s efforts. Objectively speaking, the number of Chinese people who have suffered losses in 2020 hasn’t been small, and 2021 must allow this great number of people to “turn losses into gains”, and turn China’s victory into a common triumphal hymn for all the people.

要让国家往前再迈一步与人民群众的收获体验再获改善同时发生,这非常不易,但却是值得中国2021年跳跳脚争取摸到的。客观说,2020年受了损失的中国人还是不少的,2021年要让那些绝大多数个人也都“扭亏为盈”,让中国的胜利成为真正全体国民的共同凯歌。

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Related

A test for our Governance System, Jan 24, 2020
Frugal new year, Febr 10, 2018

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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Xi Jinping’s “Resisting U.S. speech”: a few remarks

Curt publication

What strikes me while translating Xi Jinping’s October 23 speech, commemorating the Korean War, is Beijing’s departure from seeking truth in the facts. Contrary to what Xi tells in his “majestic epic that scared heaven and earth and made supernatural beings cry” (驚天地、泣鬼神的雄壯史詩), China was involved in North Korea’s and Russia’s war preparations, although probably rather passively and not enthusiastically. China supported an enabled an aggression, rather than defending itself against one. Xi, in his speech, emphasized the need to be “brave to be innovative” so as to “advance further”, and to be “good at creating” so as to be “victorious” (勇于創新者進,善于創造者勝). And if being inventive enough seventy years later to win the Korean War after all (or at least make it useful), so be it, seems to be Xi’s line of thought.

But what is the use of it? The next batches of translation may turn out to be self-explanatory, though there is probably always room for different interpretations. In Xi’s view, China is in dire need of an army that will not only defend the country or to quash uprisings, but that will also be able to invade, for example, Taiwan.

To arouse a “spirit” that defies death, Xi rewrites history. Doing that has a long imperial tradition in China, but to lie as fundamentally as Xi did on October 23 marks a revival of faking the records that hasn’t been seen for decades.

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Related / Updates

Xi speech (1)
Xi speech (2)
Xi speech (3)

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Monday, September 28, 2020

Shangguan: “Anti-corruption campaigns aren’t about wanting to cull all the errant party cadres”

The following is a translation of a “Shangguan” article. Shangguan (“Shanghai Observer”) has been Jiefang Daily‘s (or “Liberation Daily’s”) online news medium since April 1997, according to Wiki Mandarin.

Jiefang Daily is “the official daily newspaper of the Shanghai Committee of the Communist Party of China”. The article translated here probably targets, above all, party cadres.

It mainly contains two messages which – from a totalitarian point of view – probably don’t contradict each other:

  • If you have violated party discipline and the law, you can’t escape the organization
  • If you have violated party discipline and the law, you should trust the organization and turn yourselves in before your offenses are exposed by the organization – the org will then be comparatively lenient.

Links within blockquotes have been added during translation.

Xi speaking, cadres taking notes – CCTV evening news on July 24, 2013 (archive).

Main Link:
Secretly returning the money, resisting the organization, fleeing abroad with the money, actively turning oneself in … after breaking discipline and the law, they made entirely different decisions. (悄悄退钱,对抗组织,携款外逃,主动投案……违纪违法后,他们做出了截然不同的选择)

Summary: Under high pressure and awe, political appeals and legal case examples, there will be even more errant cadres who will take the road of actively surrender.

摘要:相信在高压震慑、政策感召和越来越多的案例示范下,还会有更多犯错的党员干部走上主动投案这条路。

Recently, some party cadres who had violated discipline and the law have been exposed. They had gone too far on the wrong road of mistakes, and stood on the edge, facing the abyss. Which path should they take from there?

最近曝光了一些违纪违法的党员干部,他们在错误的道路上走得太远,一直走到了悬崖边,脚下临深渊,该何去何从?

Different people made different choices …

不同人做出了不同的选择——

Some people became anxious and worried, looked around undecidedly, wanting to find a secure lane to safety. They reassured themselves by returning the money they had received. Baotou National Rare Earth Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone People’s Procuratorate’s former inspector Li Shuyao and former Guizhou Province’s Duyun city deputy mayor Liu Shengjun both received money and feared afterwards that the matter could fall through and be exposed. So they returned the money to the briber, as if this would unmake it all.

有人惶惶不安,彷徨四顾,想找到一条安全上岸的小路,于是选择了一个自我安慰的方式——把收来的钱原路退回去。包头市稀土高新技术产业开发区人民检察院原检察官李书耀,贵州省都匀市原副市长刘胜军,都是在收了钱之后感觉事情可能要败露了,又把钱退给行贿人,仿佛这样做,就可以当一切都没发生过。

Some people obstinately persisted in handling things the wrong way. The organization had already discovered their issues and reached out to them, but they kept struggling endlessly. Du Changdi, former Anhui Provincial Investment Group chairman of the board and declared expulsed from the party and the office on September 8, “forged evidence, colluded with others to fabricate a story, and resisted organizational investigation.

有人执迷不悟,组织已经发现了他们的问题,伸手想拉他们一把,他们却还挣扎不休。9月8日被宣布双开的安徽省投资集团原董事长杜长棣,“伪造证据,与他人串供,对抗组织审查”。

Some people chose to flee abroad. On September 7, Heilongjiang Provincial Supervisory Commission announced that Jixi city‘s former deputy mayor Li Chuanliang was suspected of embezzling a large amount of public capital1). accepting bribes, and accumulating money from questionable business over a long period. To avoid investigation, he fled abroad, and diverted some of the stolen funding abroad.2)

还有个别人,选择了外逃。9月7日,黑龙江省纪委监委发布消息,黑龙江省鸡西市原副市长李传良涉嫌贪污巨额国有资金、收受他人贿赂、长期搞钱色交易,为了躲避调查,逃至境外,并向境外转移部分涉案赃款。

But there are more party cadres who choose a different path: promptly braking and turning their heads to seek the organization’s help, taking the initiative to surrender.

不过,有更多党员干部,选择了另一条路:及时刹车,回头寻求组织的帮助,主动投案。

Recently, among those who actively surrendered, there were high-ranking party cadres – Qinghai Province deputy governor Wen Guodong, staff with ordinary public posts at Henan Province, Xinyang No. 1 Hospital’s payment counter. There were cadres who had been retired for five years like Chen Xiaohua, Wenshan Zhuang and Miao Autonomous Prefecture former consultative conference deputy chairman Chen Xiaohua, Changchun Municipal People’s Congress standing committee deputy director Shi Changyou, and Handan municipal party secretary Gao Hongzhi

最近主动投案的人当中,有党的高级领导干部——青海省副省长文国栋;有普通的公职人员——河南信阳一医院收费室的工作人员;有退休五年的老干部——云南省文山州政协原副主席陈晓华;还有长春市人大常委会副主任史长友、邯郸市委书记高宏志……

Secretly returning the money, resisting the organization, fleeing abroad with the money, actively turning oneself in – what is the correct way out?

悄悄退钱,对抗组织,携款外逃,或者主动投案……到底哪条路,才是正确的出路?

Let’s take a look at the quiet return of the money. If the money has been returned before the opening of a case, everything is fine?

先来看悄悄退钱的。案发前把钱退给行贿人,就万事大吉了?

According to the law, when there is the subjective intention to take a bribe, and the office is used to accept others’ property, and this is for the benefit sought by the others, the power for money exchange has been completed, and so is the crime of taking bribes. What’s more, many cadres, when returning the money, their main concern is to conceal the fact that they took bribes. There has been no sincere regret at all.

根据法律规定,主观上有受贿故意,在客观上利用职务上的便利收受了他人财物,并且是为他人谋取利益,权钱交易已经达成,受贿罪就既遂了。何况很多干部案发前退钱,心中主要是想掩盖受贿事实,根本不是真心悔过。

When people enter the stage of investigation and they still resist the organization, adding one mistake to the other, adding another violation of political discipline to their record, what is awaiting them will be even more serious consequences.

而那些进入审查调查阶段还在对抗组织的人,错上加错,给自己徒增一条违反政治纪律的情形,等待他们的将是更加严重的后果。

To flee with the money is even more of an impasse.

携款外逃,那就更是绝路一条。

China has lots of practical experience in tracking and recovering stolen goods internationally, with more and more mature mechanisms, and the key: “what escapes must be pursued, what’s pursued must be pursued to the last”. No matter who, those who fled to the end of the earth3) won’t get away. They will not only be brought back, but the money must be reclaimed, too. From 2014 to June 2020, China got back 7,831 people from 120 countries, and 19.65 billion Yuan. China initially built an anti-corruption law enforcement cooperation network that covered all continents and key countries, concluded new extradition treaties with 28 countries, judicial assistance treaties, property restitution and sharing agreements. The National Supervisory Commission has concluded agreements with ten countries’ anti-corruption law enforcement institutions and international organizations …

在国际追逃追赃方面,中国已经有丰富的实战经验,有越来越成熟的机制,关键还有“有逃必追、一追到底”的坚定决心,不管是谁,逃到天涯海角都不会放过,不光把人追回来,还要把钱追回来。2014年至2020年6月,中国共从120多个国家和地区追回外逃人员7831人,追回赃款196.54亿元。中国初步构建起一张覆盖各大洲和重点国家的反腐败执法合作网络,与28个国家新缔结引渡条约、司法协助条约、资产返还与分享协定,国家监委与10个国家反腐败执法机构和国际组织签订了合作协议……

Under such a big net, even if he escapes, chasing and returning him is just a matter of time. Many of those on the interpol list who had escaped, have, one after another, returned and turned themselves in.

在这样一张大网下,就算逃出去,被追回来也只是迟早的事儿。之前那些逃出去的“红通”人员,很多都陆陆续续回国投案了。

So, the only remaining thing is to turn oneself in on ones own initiative. That’s the only correct way out. That has also become the practice of more and more errant party cadres. Why do they make this choice?

那么,只剩下主动投案,是唯一正确的出路,也是现如今越来越多犯错误党员干部的做法。他们为什么要作出这样的选择?

After the supervision law had been issued and implemented, Ai Wenli, the first provincial-level cadre who turned himself in on his own initiative said: “After the 19th National Congress, when one after the other fell of the horse, I had to sort things out. I felt that I couldn’t run, or keep up my wishful thinking. … I’m feeling more and more that this path I’ve taken is the right one, that I must trust the organization …”

监察法颁布实施后首个主动投案的省部级干部艾文礼曾说:“十九大之后,落马的一个接一个,我也把我自己的这些事儿捋了捋,我觉得跑不了,不能再有侥幸心理了。……越来越感到我这条路走的是对的,要相信组织……”

“Trust the organization”, these are the true feelings of many surrenderers. To turn oneself in on one’s own initiative spells trust in the party organization, to submit the issue to the party on one’s own initiative is of political significance. Party members and cadres suspected of a lack of discipline and breaking the law or committing crimes in office will be leniently dealt with in accordance with the regulations, discipline, and the law.

“相信组织”,是很多主动投案者说过的心里话。主动投案,选择的是相信党组织,主动向党组织交代问题,这其中是有政治内涵的。对涉嫌违纪、职务违法、职务犯罪的党员干部和公职人员,如果主动投案,将依规依纪依法从宽处理。

In July this year, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervisory Commission announced the issue of former Hebei Provincial party committee standing committee member and deputy provincial governor Zhang He having violated discipline and the law. He seriously violated party and organizational discipline. Violating discipline also constituted breaking the law on duty. This was of a serious nature with bad effects and something to be dealt with severely. But considering that that he submitted his offenses against discipline and the law voluntarily, issues which had not been known by the organization, and handed over all the illegal income, showing a rather good attitude of acknowledging his mistakes and regretting them, the organization decided to deal with him leniently, in accordance with the principle of “punishing past things to prevent them from happening again”, punished him by expelling him from the party and [This appears to be something related to Zhang He’s pension rights].

今年7月,中央纪委国家监委公布了河北省原省委常委、副省长张和的违纪违法问题。他严重违反党的组织纪律、廉洁纪律并构成职务违法,性质严重,影响恶劣,应予严肃处理。但考虑到他主动交代组织未掌握的违纪违法问题,上交全部违纪违法所得,认错悔错态度较好,按照“惩前毖后、治病救人”的原则,组织决定对他从宽处理,给予开除党籍处分,按四级调研员确定退休待遇。

In August, Yao Yinqi, a state employee suspected of crimes on duty, was the first case to be extradited by a EU member state4). He was sentenced by a first-instance court. Because Yao Yingqi actively cooperated in the extradition procedures, truthfully submitted the case as it was and actively and restituted both the stolen value plus interests, he was given a reduced prison sentence of three years and fined 3 mn RMB.

8月,我国首次从欧盟成员国引渡回来的涉嫌职务犯罪的国家工作人员姚锦旗,受到了一审判决。由于姚锦旗在引渡过程中积极配合,如实交代案件事实,并主动退缴全部赃款及其孳息,依法被减轻处罚,判处有期徒刑六年,并处罚金人民币三百万元。

Honest-practice and anti-corruption campaigns aren’t about wanting to cull all the errant party cadres, but to help them to admit their mistakes and to repent. The goal of these campaigns is to achieve the punishment of the past while curing the sickness to save the patient. Previous lessons have shown time and again that getaways and concealment doesn’t make the past go away, so why not face up to one’s own issues and accept the organization’s remedies?

正风肃纪反腐,不是要把犯错的党员干部都一棒子打死,而是要帮助他们认错悔悟,实现惩前毖后、治病救人的目的。前车之鉴已经反反复复地证明,逃来逃去、藏来藏去还是躲不过去,为什么不正视自己的问题,接受组织挽救呢?

There is reason to believe that under high-pressure awe, inspiring policies and more and more model cases, even more errant party cadres will take this road of turning themselves in voluntarily.

相信在高压震慑、政策感召和越来越多的案例示范下,还会有更多犯错的党员干部走上主动投案这条路。

To remain updated about next week’s major events, see how the next chapter evolves. (Zi Buke)

欲知下周大事,且听下回分解。(子不歇)

Column editor: Gu Wanquan. Text editor: Song Hui. Title picture: Shangguan. Picture service: Zhu Li.

栏目主编:顾万全 文字编辑:宋慧 题图来源:上观图编 图片编辑:朱瓅

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Notes

1) Literally: state-owned capital. Not sure if this reflects the linked definition of “public-owned capital”.
2) The Epoch Times has a different version of the story.
3) In Chinese words: to Cape Haijiao in Sanya (as if the South China Sea hadn’t been full of Chinese islands since ancient times)
4) This probably refers to Bulgaria, where Yao was reportedly arrested in October 2018, and extradited to China about a month (and a few days) later.

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Related

Shanghai police chief investigated, SCMP, Aug 18, 2020
How the fly roared back, Jan 25, 2013
Three Self-Control, April 19, 2009

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Saturday, August 1, 2020

Lee Teng-hui, 1923 – 2020

Lee Teng-hui and Nelson Mandela met twice: in 1993, when Mandela visited Taiwan, and in 1994, when Lee attended his inauguration as South Africa’s first democratically-elected president.

台湾的主张, 台湾,1999,p. 103

They were two 20th-century giants of democracy, and there were a number of experiences they had in common – struggles for emancipation, more or less intensive tries at Communism, and a crucial role in the democratization of their countries, respectively. But while Mandela led a long open struggle, spending many decades of it in jail, Lee rose through the ranks of the nationalist KMT, supported and promoted by Chiang Ching-kuo during the 1970s and 1980s.

Lee probably owed much of his career to Chiang’s intention to co-opt native Taiwanese citizens into the KMT – a party which Lee actually (and secretly) hated. In the end, he owed his presidency to Chiang, to those in the KMT who threw their weight behind him after Chiang’s death in January 1988, and his own skills as a politician and a technocrat.

Lee’s career came full circle after his presidency had ended in 2000. The KMT revoked his membership in 2001, citing violation of party rules, not least their former president’s and chairman’s close contacts with the Taiwan Solidarity Union.

The KMT had been a vehicle on which Lee pushed forward Taiwan’s democratization, and the re-emergence of Taiwan’s own identity. This rediscovery is still an ongoing process.

While Mandela’s successes and limits in democratizing South Africa were a matter of wide global concern, attention and respect, Lee’s achievements and setbacks mostly took place in the shadows. The likeliest situations that would make the global public look towards the island was when it was threatened by China, with words or military exercises.

Delivering a lecture to an audience at his American alma mater, Cornell University, in 1995, Lee described Taiwan’s situation this way:

When a president carefully listens to his people, the hardest things to bear are the unfulfilled yearnings he hears. Taiwan has peacefully transformed itself into a de­mocracy. At the same time, its international economic ac­tivities have exerted a significant influence on its relations with nations with which it has no diplomatic ties. These are no minor accomplishments for any nation, yet, the Repub­lic of China on Taiwan does not enjoy the diplomatic rec­ognition that is due from the international community. This has caused many to underestimate the international dimen­sion of the Taiwan Experience.

When Lee retired, he essentially moved from the “pan-blue” (KMT-dominated) political camp into the “pan-green” (DPP-dominated) one. He supported both President Chen Shui-bian, and then current President Tsai Ing-wen. And he was prosecuted by the KMT after Ma Ying-jeou had taken office as president in 2008. Lee apparently wasn’t accused of unjustified enrichment, but of “diverting funds and money-laundering”. In November 2013, he was acquitted.

While Lee was known as a technocrat, especially with a record in agriculture, he also sought for new “spiritual” foundations for Taiwan’s emancipation from the Republic of China, i. E. the Chiang Dynasty’s China, imposed on Taiwan during the 1940s’ second half.

My active advocacy, he wrote in the late 1990s,

for  the “reform of heart and soul” in recent years is based on my hope to make society leave the old framework, applying new thought, face a new era, stir new vigor, from a transformation of peoples’ hearts. This goes deeper than political reform, and it is a more difficult transformation project, but we are confident that we will, based on the existing foundations of freedom and openness, achieve the building of a new Central Plain.

近年来,我积极倡导“心灵改革”,就是希望从人心的改造做起,让我们的社会走出旧有的框架,用新的思维,面对新的时代,并激发出新的活力。这是一个比政治 改革更加深入、也更为艰巨的改造工程,但是我们有信心,可以在社会自由开放的既有基础上,完成建立“文化新中原”的目标。

Zhongyuan (中原, the central plains) is a term charged with a Chinese sense of mission and civilization – in that context, it may appear surprising that Lee, a “splittist element”, would use the term at all. The way Henan party secretary Xu Guangchun (徐光春) referred to the central plains may give you an idea: The history of Henan Province constitutes half of the Chinese history. Two years earlier, Xu had apparently given a talk in Hong Kong, with a similar message. But this wasn’t necessarily what Lee had on mind, in 1996.
From “Taiwanisation – Its Origin and Politics”, George Tsai Woei, Peter Yu Kien-hong, Singapore, 2001, page 19 – 20 (footnotes omitted):

Another anecdote should also be mentioned here. In 1996, Lee Teng-hui declared his ambition to “manage the great Taiwan, and to construct a new Central Plain”. As is known, Central Plain (zhong-yuan) was, and still is, a term usually reserved to describe cultural China. To “manage the big Taiwan” is something easily understood, but to construct a new “Central Plain” is very controversial, to say the least. Some argued that Lee’s aim was to help rebuild China as a “new” central plain, but with his foot firmly on Taiwan. But others rebutted that what really was in Lee’s minds was to build Taiwan as a new Central Plain so that there was no need to unify, or have connections, with the “old” central plain, China.

But while the Taiwan experience hasn’t become as much part of human heritage as South Africa’s has, Lee power to shape his country’s development was probably much greater than Mandela’s to shape South Africa’s.

Lee had become president in extraordinary times. Opposition groups, and “illegally” founded political parties among them, had demanded the lifting of the decades-old martial law for a long time. And when Lee began his second term as president in 1990, after the two remaining years of what had originally been Chiang Ching-kuo’s term, students occupied what is now Taipei’s Liberty Square. Once Lee had been sworn in again, he received a fifty-students delegation and promised Taiwan’s democratization, less than a year after the Tian An Men massacre in China.

When a man follows the leader, he actually follows the mass, the majority group that the leader so perfectly represents,

Jacques Ellul wrote in the 1960s*), and added:

The leader loses all power when he is separated from his group; no propaganda can emanate from a solitary leader.

Lee understood that. Maybe Chiang Ching-kuo understood it, too. But when he made Lee Vice President in 1984, and therefore his heir-apparent, he probably did not know at all how far the “group” – Taiwan’s complex mixture of “ordinary people”, Taiwanese and Chinese nationalists, and, all among them, the islands Indigenous people – would make Lee Teng-hui go.

Taiwan Presidential Office Spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka remembers Lee Teng-hui – click photo for Tweet

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*) Jacques Ellul: Propaganda, the Formation of Men’s Attitudes, Paris 1962, 2008, New York 1965, S. 97

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Radio or the Internet? It’s both or neither

Why are “social media” so successful? Seems to me that the most obvious reason is that they give you a chance to speak out publicly, to make a difference in political ways. You can compliment the actress of your choice (ahem), you can shout at your region’s members of parliament, at top politicians, or at industrial managers.

(Those who appoint the managers won’t usually do Facebook or Twitter, though. They may not even bother to hire some ghostwriters.)

Then there may be a need to network. When all people relevant for your career are on Facebook or Twitter, you may have to be there, too. There may be a real need to follow them there, if you want to succeed in your job, or in “smashing the system”, or whatever your mission may be.

If both these motivations – making yourself heard and networking – are important, this could help to explain why “social media” haven’t helped to make our societies more democratic. What they have produced is a crude dialectics, though I’m not sure if there’s a never-ending synthesis, or if synthesis is completely out when sloganeering (with some more or less original variations of peoples’ credos) is the only thing that matters.

Bertolt Brecht doesn’t come across as an optimist. He usually saw the potential in new developments, including radio broadcasting – in 1932 and one year before the Nazis seized control of it. Brecht also knew – or learned – that newly-emerging media wouldn’t necessarily help the cause that he held dear.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is a guy who is talking about the Internet, not radio,

writes a headphones guy in California.

Sounds logical, but it isn’t. Just as radio has become a mostly linear medium, so has the internet – at least on its commercial side, i. e. Twitter, Facebook, etc.. Yes, people can voice their opinions there. But I can’t see how they would shape things in a way different from the old days*). No matter if radio or internet, their democratic effectiveness depends on how they are organized, or how people organize themselves while using radio or the internet as their media.

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Note

*) Except for a more intense cultivation of enmity on the internet, maybe.

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Related

My first ten days on Twitter, Jan 30, 2020

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Thursday, June 4, 2020

June 4 Anniversary and Hong Kong: Broke Horses and Resisting Horses

I think there have been two moments when Chinese people of my age basically told me two things.

a) Yes, they had been among the 1989 protesters, be it in Beijing, be it in other places in China.

b) They had come to understand since how wrong they had been back in 1989, and what a calamity they had all been spared by the crackdown.

In both cases, I listened, nodded, and didn’t argue. I didn’t believe them a word. And I felt I was listening to another chapter from a universal story of human weakness, just as Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago had, again, many decades earlier, and who had said that “it was like listening to a horse describing how it broke itself in.”

I didn’t argue because I felt that I hadn’t been in their place, that I still wasn’t in their place, and because I knew them beyond their (rather pathetic) political point of view. We were friends, or sort of friends. Hadn’t we known each other personally, and had it been an online encounter, we would probably have had a fierce debate.

Work style – CCTV evening news on July 24, 2013.

This comes to my mind when I read triumphant Chinese news articles about how many signatures had been collected by now, in support of the “security law for Hong Kong”. Obviously, I have no way of knowing if the numbers are real – and I don’t know how many bosses have “nudged” their staff to sign, or else.

People have to survive. There seems to be a rule: a majority of people will only be prepared to fight for their freedoms when they see a chance to succeed at it. That hope is waning in Hong Kong. It is, on the other hand, very much there in Taiwan. The rule that bleak situations break morals isn’t universal, as shown by exceptions. But it is often broad enough to work in favor of those who abuse their powers.

I can’t blame anyone. But I’m critical of a certain kind of “self-broke horse”. That’s the horse that denies the pressures and the threats, that argues that it recognized a necessity, acted accordingly, and that those horses that continue to resist the necessity would be obnoxious or dangerous. That’s a likely pattern of argument once the self-broke horse has “seen the light”, because every horse that remains noticeably free – or resisting – challenges, by its mere existence, not only the people in power, but also the broke horse itself.

A society could be more relaxed if broke horses could admit – even if only to themselves or in private – that they simply don’t want to live a – supposedly too difficult or painful – dissident’s life, or that they want to be happy, and that their happiness requires a certain monthly income, i. e. a favorable career. The problems begin to explode when they try to link their rather personal desires to “something greater”, and when freedom and conscience aren’t the “greater things” of choice, it will most probably be “the motherland”.

China’s rulers understood that, and they fostered such tensions. That’s why they pushed “patriotic education” in mainland China in the 1990s – to fill the void left behind by the crushed hopes of 1989, and to cater to nationalist feelings that had been there anyway – among many 1989 protestors, too.

Here in Germany, I have sometimes heard people vent anger about Wolf Biermann, an East German singer and songwriter who was stripped of his citizenship and exiled by the East German authorities in 1976, while he was on a pre-approved tour of  West Germany.

Biermann had been a vocal critic of East Berlin – a dissident. He hasn’t been much of a critic of Western flaws after 1976. In fact, he embraced all the good and bad things the West had to offer – imperialism included.

One should be aware of that. Biermann is no saint. But he has done more than most of us. He opposed a regime. That may not be enough for a lifetime – but it’s more than what most of us would be prepared to do.

So let’s be grateful for the courageous. Not to hate them for their integrity is a good first step into the right direction. To learn from them – within the realms of our abilities – should be a good second step.

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Updates / Related

365 days, Tsai Ing-wen, June 4, 2020
Sacrificed and gained, Sui Muqing, June 2, 2020

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