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AIDS Activist Prevented from Attending U.N. Conference

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 22:47

An AIDS researcher, Wang Qiuyan, was prevented from attending a women’s rights conference put on by the United Nations, when authorities forcibly registered her at a hospital. Jess Macy Yu reports for the New York Times:

Wang Qiuyun, 46, a member of the Women’s Network Against H.I.V./AIDS China, was to have consulted Thursday with experts reviewing China’s case before the Committee for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

In an interview on Wednesday, she said she was currently under close surveillance at her home in Hebi, Henan Province, after local officials took away her passport with her newly issued Swiss visa on Oct. 10. On that same day, she was driven to the Hebi City Infectious Disease Hospital by six officials, registered as a patient and told to notify the conference that she was “too sick to attend.”

That night, she said she was able to quietly escape the hospital.

Ms. Wang, formerly director of women’s services with the Henan Province Family Planning and Medical Station, has in recent years devoted her time to the Women’s Network Against H.I.V./AIDS China, an organization founded in 2009 with the support of Unaids, the United Nations agency dealing with AIDS, to help Chinese women with H.I.V. improve the quality of their life. [Source]

Simon Denyers at the Washington Post looks at Wang’s work and the possible reasons for her travel ban. Wang herself contracted HIV, most likely during an operation when Henan was the center of an HIV epidemic in the 1990s:

“I don’t know why this happened,” Wang said in a telephone interview. “I’ve explained to the police and other officials many times that I was just going to talk about helping women with AIDS, and about children who suffer discrimination because of their parents’ HIV status.”

The report she was due to present, on behalf of the nongovernmental group Women’s Network Against HIV/AIDS China (WNAC), concludes that the HIV epidemic among women in China is on the rise, partly because of a lack of awareness and low condom use among sex workers.

It also argues that women face “serious discrimination and humiliation” in health care, employment and education, and that strong laws against prostitution — including police regulations that equate condom possession with prostitution — were discouraging sex workers from carrying condoms. [Source]

Read more about the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, currently meeting in Geneva:

Just before the lunch break, the Chinese delegation responded to #CEDAW that there is no extralegal detention in China.

— 國際特赦組織中國組 (@amnestychina) October 23, 2014

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Writer Who Published Mao Victims’ Memoirs Charged

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 22:45

Writer Huang Zerong, also known by the pen name Tie Liu, has been officially charged by Chinese authorities for criticizing the Chinese government and publishing the memoirs of some who suffered under Mao Zedong. The 81-year-old, who has been detained since September, may face up to seven years in prison. Chris Buckley at The New York Times reports:

Ms. Ren [Tie's wife] said the police visited her on Thursday to tell her that Mr. Tie had been formally arrested on two crimes: illegal business activities and “creating a disturbance.” She and his lawyer, Liu Xiaoyuan, said questions the police had directed at her, Mr. Tie and others showed that the first charge was based on his work publishing the memoirs of people who, like him, were purged as “rightist” enemies of the party from 1957 on, after Mao had invited criticism, and then, stung by the depth of discontent, turned on his critics.

For years, Mr. Tie has published those memoirs, often handwritten accounts of the years the rightists endured in labor camps as political pariahs, in compilations printed in the hundreds and shared among survivors and scholars. Chinese authorities heavily censor accounts of the past, and the memoirs could never have been published officially. But for years, the police ignored Mr. Tie’s home publishing, even leafing through copies when officers made one of their regular visits, Ms. Ren said. (Like other politically outspoken citizens, Mr. Tie was under watch by the police.)

“This was for their own private use,” said Ms. Ren, referring to the recipients of the memoirs, printed cheaply with plain covers. “It wasn’t to make a profit, so the illegal-business crime doesn’t make sense. He lost money from it.” [Source]

A Hainan court rejected similar reasoning in the 2012 trial of environmentalist Liu Futang for unlicensed publishing. Read more about Tie Liu, via CDT.

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The Chinese Used to Think Pandas Were Monsters

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 22:32

At Foreign Policy, Alexa Olesen describes the shift in Chinese views of pandas from metal-eating monsters to national treasures.

China’s love affair with the panda is in fact a fairly recent phenomenon, and while strong, is not symptomatic of a deep culture of animal protectionism. China has a dismal record when it comes to animal rights and conservation, and pandas are among a tiny minority of animals unlikely to end up in a Chinese soup pot somewhere. But the national embrace of the panda has inculcated a shared affection that could provide a template for saving other species in the future.

The elevation of the black and white bear to China’s national symbol happened gradually only over the last century. (There are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, which dates back over 2,000 years and includes the mythical dragon — but no panda.) Yiduiread, a news channel on the hugely popular WeChat mobile messaging platform, posted a sweeping overview of panda history in June with the headline: “Giant Panda: From Monster to National Icon.” In ancient times, the article said, Chinese people feared pandas and described them as metal-devouring black-and-white “tapirs,” an herbivorous mammal resembling a pig. The bears were known to descend from the mountains to forage for utensils made of bamboo, iron, or copper, and could chew the nails off a city gate, it said. In his 1993 book The Last Panda, U.S. biologist and naturalist George B. Schaller explained how Chinese used to hunt pandas for their pelts because it was believed that sleeping on panda fur could ward off ghosts and help regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle. They also thought panda urine could dissolve a swallowed needle. [Source]

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China Asked to Back ICC Case Against North Korea

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 17:23

The U.N.’s chief investigator into North Korean human rights issues has asked China to support an International Criminal Court case against Pyongyang, rejecting the widespread assumption that Beijing will inevitably shield its neighbor and ally. From Mirjam Donath at Reuters:

Michael Kirby, a former Australian judge who led the independent U.N. inquiry into alleged human rights abuses in North Korea, told reporters at U.N. headquarters that it was by no means certain Beijing would block an ICC referral.

“I don’t think a veto should be assumed,” Kirby said. “China is a very great pal with great responsibilities as a permanent member. Veto is not the way China does international diplomacy. China tends to find another way.”

[…] Kirby emphasized that China has only 10 vetoes, the lowest number of any of the five permanent members. That is a fraction of the dozens of times Russia and the United States have vetoed resolutions in the 15-nation council. [Source]

China defended North Korea against the U.N.’s “unfair criticism” earlier this year, however, and has barred the organization’s investigators from operating on its side of the border. At the same time, it has grown increasingly resistant to international pressure on its own rights situation.

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Panda Sluggers: U.S. Democrats Bash China

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 17:11

At Slate, William Saletan describes a wave of China-bashing by current Democrat campaigns in the U.S.:

Exploiting American anxiety about Asia is a long, unsavory tradition. As the Soviet Union unraveled in the 1980s and 1990s, many candidates turned their xenophobic fire from Russia to Japan and Korea. The threat was no longer military; it was economic. Now the enemy is China, whose economy, by some measures, has just surpassed that of the United States. Democrats, tired of looking soft on ISIS or Ebola, are talking tough on China. And they’re trying to make Republicans look un-American.

[…] Republicans have done their share of Asia-baiting over the years. They’ve played on fears of competition (Chinese people saying, “We take your jobs”) and depicted the Chinese army marching in front of the United States Capitol. In Kentucky, a PAC supporting McConnell has countered the left’s China-baiting with its own flier in which Asians appear to thank Obama for attacking the American coal industry. A few Republicans have mentioned China in the context of United States debt (“borrowing from China”) or the futility of unilateral restrictions on carbon emissions (“The Chinese are building coal-fired plants”). But I’ve yet to see a 2014 Senate race in which a Republican is using China the way Democrats are using it. Republicans don’t need a foreign boogeyman. They have Obama. [Source]

Read more from CDT about anti-China rhetoric in U.S. political campaigns, from a racist 2012 political Super Bowl ad to Obama and Romney’s use of China as a “punch bag” during presidential debates the same year. At Foreign Affairs, Elizabeth Economy warns against such an adversarial tone from those in office:

[… A]lthough little in Xi’s domestic or foreign policy appears to welcome deeper engagement with the United States, Washington should resist framing its relationship with China as a competition. Treating China as a competitor or foe merely feeds Xi’s anti-Western narrative, undermines those in China pushing for moderation, and does little to advance bilateral cooperation and much to diminish the stature of the United States. […] [Source]

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Apple and Facebook Chiefs Navigate China Visits

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 16:09

Following accusations that Apple threatens China’s national security while China tries to intercept Apple users’ cloud data, Apple CEO Tim Cook met with Vice Premier Ma Kai in Beijing to “exchange views” on digital security on Wednesday. From Gillian Wong at The Wall Street Journal:

In an interview with Chinese news portal Sina.com, Mr. Cook said the Cupertino, Calif., gadget maker will also increase investment in China by an unspecified amount. “In the future China will become Apple’s biggest revenue contributor,” he said, according to Sina.com. “It’s just a matter of time.”

[…] Mr. Cook’s trip is being portrayed by some Chinese media outlets as part of the company’s attempt to assuage concerns the Chinese government or public might have about the security of data stored on its phones. In July, state broadcaster China Central Television called a location-tracking function on the iPhone a “national security concern.” Apple has said it doesn’t keep user data.

The official Xinhua News Agency said Mr. Cook and China’s Vice Premier Ma Kai “exchanged views on protection of users’ information” when they met on Wednesday. [Source]

Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai and #Apple CEO @tim_cook Wed met in Beijing to discuss protection of users' information pic.twitter.com/NZyTVx8ayk

— People's Daily,China (@PDChina) October 22, 2014

Despite mutual suspicion, Apple has developed what GreatFire.org—which first revealed the recent iCloud attack—has called “a cozy and snuggly […] bromance” with China. In January, it announced plans to deepen ties with the colossal China Mobile carrier, while in August it sought to dispel unease about its use of China-based servers.

Concerns about factory conditions have also been a longstanding problem for the company in China. Cook tried to sweeten the image of Apple’s supply chain with a visit to a Foxconn production line for the new iPhone 6 in Zhengzhou:

Great to meet talented people like Zhang Fan, who helps make iPhone 6 in Zhengzhou. An early highlight of this trip. pic.twitter.com/ALo5d3SiSZ

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) October 23, 2014

Also making an appearance in China was Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who held a half-hour Q&A session at Beijing’s Tsinghua University as he took up a place on the advisory council of its School of Economics and Management. Speaking in Mandarin, Zuckerberg expressed hope that Facebook might one day win greater access to the country. From Austin Ramzy and Paul Mozur at The New York Times:

[…] Mr. Zuckerberg’s new association with Tsinghua University shows how Facebook is playing the long game in China. The hope appears to be that engagement with China, along with Facebook’s current operations selling advertisements to Chinese companies, will help the company some day open a form of its website in China.

[…] When asked about Facebook’s plans in China, Mr. Zuckerberg took two big gulps from his water bottle to laughter, and then said, “We’re already in China,” to more laughs.

“We help Chinese companies increase foreign customers, they use Facebook ads to find more customers,” he explained, citing how Lenovo uses Facebook to advertise in Indonesia. He added that Facebook had worked with Hangzhou and Qingdao to help those Chinese cities attract visitors via their Facebook pages.

“We want to help other places in the world connect to China,” he said. [Source]

Zuckerberg’s Chinese was greeted warmly by his audience, but met mixed reactions elsewhere.

Loving all the Zuck hate from the Chinese-speaking white guy contingent. You guys realize you sounded just like that in college right?

— Megha Rajagopalan (@meghara) October 23, 2014

Mark Zuckerberg's Chinese is not bad at all. Bravo! Basically demonstrates the level anybody can achieve in 2-3 yrs. https://t.co/xogP6kn9ee

— 大山 Dashan (@akaDashan) October 23, 2014

This is the vote that counts RT @akaDashan: Mark Zuckerberg's Chinese is not bad at all. Bravo!

— Aaron Back (@AaronBack) October 23, 2014

Judge for yourself from video of the session on Facebook, or read further highlights from Quartz and more on Zuckerberg’s language skills at The Washington Post.

While Facebook tries to break into China, the country’s leading smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has announced plans to break out, moving services for international users outside the Great Firewall. While citing performance as the main reason for the move, International VP Hugo Barra added that “it also better equips us to maintain high privacy standards and comply with local data protection regulations.” From Jon Russell at TechCrunch:

Xiaomi got itself into hot water this summer when it was found be sharing a range of user information with a server in China. A report from security company F-Secure found that the device’s IMEI number, customer’s phone number, phone contacts and text messages received were all shared but — importantly — there was no way for customers to opt out.

As with all things China and privacy-related, the revelation raised concerns that the information could be accessible by the Chinese government.

Xiaomi quickly offered an opt out for users, but moving their data overseas — MIUI services will be housed in Amazon AWS data centers in Oregon, USA, and Singapore — is the best response to any claims of nefarious intentions. [Source]

The Economist looked this week at the overseas expansion of Chinese smartphone brands, including Xiaomi. The obstacles ahead of them, from pronunciation to security fears and likely legal battles, appear steep but surmountable, it argues.

Another local firm on the move is OnePlus. Reviewers in developed markets have been raving about its clever handsets, which offer top-notch performance and features for around $300—less than half the list price of the latest iPhone. Carl Pei of OnePlus argues that unlike its rivals, his firm was “born a global company”. Since its founding late last year, it has targeted 16 countries—including such challenging markets as America and Britain. “It helps that a lot of people don’t know that we are a Chinese firm,” he confides.

[…] A serious threat to Chinese firms as they head overseas is lawsuits from Apple and Samsung, who themselves have long been entangled in nasty battles over intellectual property (IP). Ben Qiu of Cooley, an American law firm, believes that “Xiaomi is in dangerous waters of potential patent-infringement claims on the international markets.” But he argues that the firm’s clever management team, which includes former Google executives, can navigate these perilous seas because it is well prepared for legal and regulatory battles. [Source]

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Man of the Week: Cutlassfish Zhou

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 14:07

Word of the Week comes from the Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon, a glossary of terms created by Chinese netizens and encountered in online political discussions. These are the words of China’s online “resistance discourse,” used to mock and subvert the official language around censorship and political correctness.

周带鱼 (Zhōu Dàiyú): Cutlassfish Zhou

Nickname for the nationalistic and anti-American writer Zhou Xiaoping. Zhou, who is loose with facts and quick to slander, has been praised by President Xi Jinping for his “positive energy.”

Zhou Xiaoping earned his nickname during the crackdown on Big Vs in 2013. In an August 26 blog post, Zhou excoriated Charles Xue (Xue Manzi to his followers), the Weibo celebrity and Chinese-American businessman who was detained for “soliciting prostitutes,” only to appear on CCTV days later apologizing for his online behavior:

To promote sales of water purifiers, Xue Manzi claims China’s water is so poisoned that Zhoushan’s cutlassfish farms cannot sell anything, leaving countless fish farming households to face bankruptcy. Xue is guilty of a most terrible crime. Who will punish him?

薛蛮子为净水器促销,诋毁中国水质有毒,造成舟山带鱼养殖场滞销,当地无数养殖农户面临破产,罪大恶极,谁来追究? [Chinese]

Cutlassfish, it turns out, cannot be farmed, and netizens will not let Zhou forget that point.

“Cutlassfish Zhou” is blocked from Weibo search results as of October 23, 2014, but searches for “Brother Cutlassfish” (带鱼哥) turn up several thousand comments.

Example:

文盲李世威: Because he refuted Cutlassfish Zhou point-by-point, Fang Zhouzi‘s Sina blog has been preemptively shut down. Soon we may not be able to see his Weibo or WeChat, either… (October 22, 2014)

方舟子因逐条反驳周带鱼所写正能量的文章,其新浪博客被预防性关闭,其微博、微信也可能即将看不了了…… [Chinese]

Want to learn more subversive netizen slang? Check out Decoding the Chinese Internet: A Glossary of Political Slang. Available for $2.99 in the Kindle, Google Play, and iTunes stores. All proceeds from the sale of this eBook support China Digital Times.

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Photo: Umbrella, by Ge Li

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 12:00
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Yan Lianke: Finding Light in China’s Darkness

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 22:40

Writer Yan Lianke was just awarded the Franz Kafka Prize in the Czech Republic. At the awards ceremony in Prague, he delivered a speech which has been translated and excerpted in the New York Times, in which he discusses his motivation behind becoming a writer:

Today’s China is no longer the China of my childhood. It has become rich and powerful, and because it has solved the basic problem of providing 1.3 billion people with food, clothing and some spending money, it has come to resemble a bright ray of light that illuminates the East. But beneath this light lies a long shadow.

When I look at contemporary China, I see a nation that is thriving yet distorted, developing yet mutated. I see corruption, absurdity, disorder and chaos. Every day, something occurs that lies outside ordinary reason and logic. A system of morality and a respect for humanity that was developed over several millenniums is unraveling.

Life is gloomy and depressing. Everyone is waiting for something dreadful to happen. This uneasy and fearful expectation has produced a collective sense of anxiety.

[...] It is a writer’s job to find life within this darkness. [Source]

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Photo: Light Man, by Ge Li

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 17:09
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Tiananmen Activist Chen Ziming Dies at 62

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 16:37

Chen Ziming, one of the most influential activists in the 1989 Tiananmen Protests, died in Beijing of pancreatic cancer on Tuesday, aged 62. From The Wall Street Journal’s Josh Chin:

Mr. Chen and fellow activist Wang Juntao were accused by the government of being the masterminds behind the 1989 protests. In 1991, both were sentenced to 13 years in prison, in a trial authorities used to bolster the official line that the protests had been the work of a handful of conspirators rather than a movement with mass appeal.

[…] Unlike many other prominent figures associated with the 1989 protests, Mr. Chen chose to stay in China after his release [on medical parole in 1994], despite being diagnosed with cancer after leaving prison. He was thrown back in prison in 1995 after staging a 24-hour hunger strike to mark the anniversary of the June 4 crackdown, and was released again the next year, just ahead of a visit to Beijing by then-U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher.

[…] “If Xi Jinping really intended to bring about political reform, he would publicly declare that objective,” he told Hong Kong’s South China Morning post in a video interview published on the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown earlier this year. “If you want to walk the road of constitutionalism and democracy, reversing the verdict on June 4 would be an important symbolic step.” [Source]

See more on the 25th Tiananmen anniversary via CDT.

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Zhou Xiaoping, Director of History

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 13:31

Since nationalistic blogger Zhou Xiaoping’s “positive energy” won accolades from Xi Jinping at the Beijing Forum on Literature in Art last week, he has been the subject of much netizen scrutiny, and some have taken him to task for his blatant misrepresentation of facts. CDT has translated one netizen’s annotation [Chinese] of an excerpt from an essay that Zhou posted to his Sina blog in 2013 [Chinese].

Zhou’s blog post is titled “His and Their National Dream,” where “he” is Mao Zedong and “they” are his companion founders of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Zhou counters internal criticism of China’s status quo by explaining the glorious military history that reinforces his love for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the nation.

The netizen’s annotations, which stand out from the original text in bold, draw attention to Zhou Xiaoping’s tendency to blatantly disregard historical accuracy.

His and Their National Dream

Zhou Xiaoping

…When the Chinese government had just established itself from the ruins; (Better to be clear that you are talking about the government of the PRC. There has always been a “Chinese government.” The Republican government and the Qing government were both “Chinese governments.”) when the Chinese people managed to gain a new lease on life from the fires of war; when we erased the lives of some tens of millions of men and sons on the battlefield, when we managed to chase off the Eight-Nation Alliance; when we had managed to establish our own nation; (Chase off the Eight-Nation Alliance? Was it you, Zhou Xiaoping, who chased them off? During the Boxers‘ 1900 siege of Beijing, the Eight Nation Alliance entered the capital and Empress Dowager Cixi fled west in a panic. The Qing government ended up signing the Boxer Protocol with the Eight Nation Alliance, paid reparations, and made concessions.) the Americans didn’t leave us even a trace of breathing room. In 1950 the previous wave of former invaders had just left, and the Seventeen-Nation Allied Army [i.e. the United Nations Command] invaded us again under the leadership of the United States. (This is nonsense. On June 25, 1950, Kim Il Sung attacked South Korea unannounced, and the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 82 which condemned North Korea’s actions and authorized forces to block the North Korean army. Even if they were invading, they were invading North Korea, so how could it be that “Japan had just left, and America invaded us again,” huh? Aren’t you just talking a bunch of nonsense here?)

After making landfall in Korea, the Seventeen-Nation Allied Armies swept into Pyongyang, continuing to make a rapid advance toward the Yalu River, their goal being to move in the direction of the industrial base China had just established in the northeast. (Please read a history of the Korean War, okay? Because China and the Soviet Union had just signed the Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance, which stipulated that signatory nations were obligated to provide assistance in military affairs. This meant that to invade China was to take on the Soviet Union as an enemy. In order to prevent the Soviet Union from joining in, even though there was a minor amount of cross-border military activity, from the beginning to the end the American government demanded that [General] MacArthur exercise restraint, and not allow the fires of war to reach China’s northeast. For a time they declared the entire border region with China’s northeast a no-fly zone. For this reason, MacArthur had a serious falling out with President Truman, which in the end led to MacArthur being discharged. Zhou Xiaoping ignores historical fact when he claims that the United Nations attacked China—if he’s not ignorant, then he must be malevolently misleading his readers.) 

If these industrial bases had been pounded into rubble, then China would never have had nuclear bombs, guided missiles, tanks, submarines, fertilizer, or mechanized factories, and they also never would have had created trains and boats. (Oh, come on, even in the Qing dynasty, the Jiangnan dockyards could already produce warships. By 1920, they had already exported large ships to the United States; the Mawei Shipyard had already built our nation’s first airplane in 1919, in the seventh year of Emperor Guangxu [1881] China made its first train, and in 1931 China produced its first automobile.) Then the people of China would forever have suffered the torments of hunger and warfare like today’s Somalia and Afghanistan. (Don’t use the word “forever”in every sentence, you’re just being alarmist. Will history from here on out be decided by you and you alone, Zhou Xiaoping?)

At that time the Seventeen-Nation Allied Armies had cutting-edge military armaments with ferocious firepower: their guns, tanks, airplanes, and artillery were a hundred time more ferocious than those of the troops who had previously invaded from Japan. At that time, China’s People’s Liberation Army basically had nothing. Since they had just established the nation, all they had were some locally manufactured hand grenades and an odd assortment of firearms. (More nonsense. During the time period in which the Soviet Union occupied the northeast, they passed on the weapons and equipment they confiscated from the Japanese to the CCP’s military, including artillery, tanks, airplanes, and other heavy weapons. Besides, by 1947 the CCP had begun to use the numerous factories left behind in Dalian after Japan’s surrender to build a military firm on an enormous scale–the “New Construction Company,” established to make a heroic contribution to the effort to seize political power.)

And it was under these conditions that he [Mao Zedong] and they [Mao's comrades] did not abandon their own dream for their nation. With great difficulty, the people of China managed to establish a homeland and to protect it from destruction; they managed to get a piece of land to eke out a living, and they managed to prevent the raping and pillaging of their wives and children, the young and old. (Such a rich and terrible tableau must have come from Zhou Xiaoping’s sexual fantasies.) At this time, on the battlefields of North Korea, the most elite troops of the People’s Republic of China put everything on the line, and Chinese people bet their house on them. The soldiers who took part in the war with the American-led Seventeen-Nation Allied Armies were all veteran troops. On average these seasoned soldiers had participated in 100-400 military campaigns big and small. (Little Zhou, did you count them up? What is your source? To speak without thinking, “a river of words flowing from your mouth,” this is your precious style.)

They survived their fight against the Eight-Nation Allied Armies. (The Eight-Nation Alliance invaded China in 1900. That was during the Qing dynasty, fully 50 years before the Korean War. I’m speechless.) They survived their fight against the Japanese military (Are you talking about the National Revolutionary Army? Because that’s absolutely true. When we entered the Korean War, a relatively large number of these troops were conscripted, but much of the CCP military didn’t join until the Civil War, and never fought against the Japanese.) They survived their fight against the puppet armies and mountain bandits. They survived the Nanjing-Shanghai-Hangzhou Campaign, the Huaihai Campaign, and the Hundred Regiments Offensive(You’ve mixed up the order of these campaigns, Comrade Zhou.) They survived the forest of guns and rain of bullets, artillery flying in the conflagration of war. But in the face of the overwhelming firepower of the Seventeen-Nation Allied Armies, these soldier-gods (soldier-gods??), who had survived hundreds of battles, were cut down just like trees, row after after row. (Shameless mass charge tactics made them into tragic cannon fodder.)

On the plain of steel they hugged explosives and crawled under enemy tanks to detonate their payload. In Changjinghu they were turned into living ice sculptures by temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius. At the coast they plunged into the sea to follow American surplus troops already fleeing on speedboats, carrying mortars on their shoulders to continue firing on the enemy. They did all this to let loose their cries, eager to force these foreigners who were more vicious and wolf-like than wolves to withdraw forever from their own homeland… (Who is more vicious and wolf-like than wolves? The Kim family dynasty or the Americans? Compare the lives of the North Koreans and the South Koreans and you’ll know the answer. Their own homeland? Could it be that in Comrade Zhou Xiaoping’s heart of hearts, North Korea is really his ancestral land?)

Having endured these campaigns, the best men and boys in the Chinese people’s modern history nearly all died. Mao Zedong and many, many of the common people’s sons alike all died on the battlefield, becoming immortal spirits to protect our current peace and prosperity. (That a bitter sacrifice like this was traded for the world’s most authoritarian, despotic and shameless political power–their deaths weren’t worth it, and they died unjustly! Their deaths did not protect our peace and prosperity, but instead the throne of the Kim dynasty, three generations of fatties who indulged in a life of luxury and extravagance, and the boundless tragedy of the people of North Korea!)

The CCP isn’t my “second set of parents,” but the great benefactor of my parents and former generations. Several of my grandfather’s brothers died in the chaos of war, and it was the CCP which ended all the wars. When my parents were young they endured starvation, and in the end it was the CCP which launched a project to repair the railroads which end all famines. Therefore, my love for China and my love the CCP is a very natural thing. If you’re not an ungrateful wretch, how could you not love the CCP? [Chinese]

Translation by Nick.

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Photo: Beijing Railway Station, by Steve Balla

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 23:06

Beijing Railway Station

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Rights Group Details Abuse in ‘Black Jails’

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 22:49

A new report by Chinese Human Rights Defenders gives an in-depth look at so-called black jails, or detention facilities that are operated extralegally by local officials. Black jails are frequently used to detain petitioners who travel to Beijing from the provinces to present their grievances to the national petition office, the Bureau of Letters and Visits. CHRD’s report focuses on women detainees and the abuses they suffer under the system. Didi Kirsten Tatlow writes for the New York Times:

Many of the inmates of black jails are people who have traveled to larger cities in search of redress for injustices they feel they have suffered in their hometowns. Typically, these petitioners are abducted by “enforcers” hired by their hometown officials who fear the petitioners may embarrass them by revealing local abuses to their superiors. The petitioners are often incarcerated twice, once at the place where they are first seized and then back in their hometowns. Women are more likely to petition over grievances, often on behalf of their families, accounting for the gender imbalance in the black jail population, the group said.

The scale of the system is suggested by the fact that Chinese lawyers and activists compiled a list of 89 facilities in Wuxi alone that they said were being used as black jails, the report said.

It found that while both men and women were beaten and abused in a multitude of ways, women especially were the target of sexual abuse; rape was common, as were being stripped naked and other forms of mistreatment. [Source]

Read the full CHRD report here.

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China Brushes Off iCloud Attack Accusations

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 22:04

On Monday, censorship monitor GreatFire.org reported apparent efforts to intercept Chinese Apple users’ data, attributing the attacks to Chinese authorities and warning Apple that its efforts to maintain a “cozy and snuggly relationship” with them would not protect it from interference. But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying brushed off the suggestion in a Tuesday press briefing, Xinhua reports:

“I have no information of this report yet,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily news briefing.

“China is resolutely opposed to hacker attacks in all forms and China itself is a major victim of cyber attacks,” she said.

[…] The spokeswoman said “wild guesses and malicious blemish” will not help solve cyber issues. [Source]

The latter comment follows senior diplomat Yang Jiechi’s admonition to Secretary of State John Kerry that “due to mistaken U.S. practices, it is difficult at this juncture to resume Sino-U.S. cyber security dialogue and cooperation.” Last week, People’s Daily Online accused the U.S. of using “gimmicks” to demonize China on cybersecurity:

The documents leaked by Edward Snowden show that US National Security agency has tried to gain access to sensitive data in the global communications industry. The documents describe a range of clandestine field activities that are among the agency’s “core secrets” when it comes to computer network attacks. This clearly reveals the true colors of the US for all its posturing as the world’s policeman.

[…] China defends its cyberspace security resolutely. The Chinese government and military have never launched any cyber attacks. Confronted with threats of internet attack, China remains committed to combating cyberspace crime. The US can smear China all it wants; it will not succeed in erasing its image as a network attacker. [Source]

But many security experts agreed with GreatFire.org’s conclusion that Chinese authorities are strongly implicated in the iCloud attack. From Paul Mozur, Nicole Perlroth And Brian X. Chen at The New York Times:

“All signs point to the Chinese government’s involvement,” said Michael Sutton, vice president for threat research at Zscaler, a San Jose, Calif., security company. “Evidence suggests this attack originated in the core backbone of the Chinese Internet and would be hard to pull off if it was not done by a central authority like the Chinese government.”

The targeting of Yahoo, Google and Apple also potentially reveals a new Chinese government effort to adapt to initiatives by Internet companies — most notably new encryption techniques — to protect user data from government spying.

“The Chinese government could no longer sniff traffic, so they intercepted that traffic between the browser and the iCloud server,” Mr. Sutton said.

[…] “As more sites move to encryption by default — which prevents the censorship authorities from selectively blocking access to content — the Chinese authorities will grow increasingly frustrated with their ability to censor that content,” said [a] GreatFire spokesman. [Source]

Others quoted by the BBC and The Wall Street Journal agreed, though the consensus was not quite complete. From Scott Thurm:

[… S]ome security analysts raised skepticism that Beijing, with sizable resources at its disposal, would order an attack that is so easily detected.

“This doesn’t seem like the sort of attack an adversary with the resources of a government would attempt, since connecting users would see a very obvious security warning from their browser. It’s more likely the sort of attack you’d see from someone with limited resources,” said Kevin Milner, a researcher working on Internet infrastructure security at Oxford University. [Source]

The Intercept’s Morgan Marquis-Boire suggested to Motherboard that the attack’s extreme bluntness could be a deliberate message.

Without specifically referring to China or the GreatFire.org report, Apple published a new support document on verifying browser connections to iCloud.com. “Apple is deeply committed to protecting our customers’ privacy and security,” it said. “We’re aware of intermittent organized network attacks using insecure certificates to obtain user information, and we take this very seriously. These attacks don’t compromise iCloud servers, and they don’t impact iCloud sign in on iOS devices or Macs running OS X Yosemite using the Safari browser.”

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Minitrue: Fang Zhouzi Digs into Zhou Xiaoping (Updated)

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 13:08

The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online. The name of the issuing body has been omitted to protect the source.

Do not hype the article “Fang Zhouzi Attacks Zhou Xiaoping: Sleepwalking Through America, Then Denouncing the Country’s Crimes.” If you have already posted the story, please remove it immediately. (October 20, 2014)

《方舟子打假周小平:梦里游趟美国便控诉美国罪恶》一文不炒作,已经转发的请立即删除。 [Chinese]

Zhou Xiaoping is a hyper-patriotic blogger praised for his “positive energy” by President Xi Jinping at last week’s Beijing Forum on Literature and Art. Zhou has accused the U.S. of using the Internet “to poison Chinese civilization” and has questioned the cancer diagnosis of former Google China CEO Kai-fu Lee.

Fang Zhouzi, himself no stranger to controversy, counters claims about American ills made in Zhou’s essay “Dream-Broken America” (梦碎美利坚), such as that the minimum wage in many U.S. cities is “between three and five dollars [an hour],” and that “even a meal at a roadside cafe costs $20-$40 per person.” Fang digs in:

Ignorant as I am, I have just heard about the “Internet writer” Zhou Xiaoping. Since he is an “Internet writer,” he must have a body of work. I searched a bit and found he’s only written a handful of blog posts. Does this make him a writer? The bar has truly been set low.

[...] Zhou Xiaoping took a sleepwalk through America, then opened his mouth to denounce the country’s crimes. It takes experience living in the U.S. to see through some of his nonsense, but for many of his claims, one need only look online to find that he is wrong. A web search will quickly show that this “Internet writer” is bold enough to lie even about the price of American cars and the market for unaccessorized iPhones. Does he think netizens are as easy to fool as politicians?

孤陋寡闻,我最近才听说冒出了一个“网络作家”代表周小平。既然是“网络作家”,好歹得有作品,搜了一下,无非也就是写了一些博客文章,这就成作家了?现在作家门槛可真够低的。

[……]周小平只是在梦里游了趟美国,然后就开始信口开河控诉起美国的罪恶。他的这些胡言乱语,有的需要有在美国生活过的经验才能识破,有的则根本不需要,只要上网一查就知真假。这个“网络作家”连美国汽车价格、iPhone裸机销售价格之类很容易上网查明的事实都敢胡说,是把网民全当成像当官的那样容易糊弄吗? [Chinese]

President Xi’s praise for Zhou has raised eyebrows on both Weibo [Chinese] and Twitter:

Xi Jinping says the blogger, Zhou Xiaoping, who specializes in character assassination exhibits “positive energy.” http://t.co/Gy5l2IWKzH

— John Pomfret (@JEPomfret) October 18, 2014

Following & reading Zhou Xiaoping 周小平, sincerely trying to understand how this might be considered “positive energy”. Very depressing.

— 大山 Dashan (@akaDashan) October 20, 2014

Zhou Xiaoping’s basic thesis: any disagreement Chinese people may have with govt orthodoxy is direct result of skillful White House strategy

— 大山 Dashan (@akaDashan) October 20, 2014

Update: A post from Fei Chang Dao notes that Fang Zhouzi’s microblogging account was shut down by Tencent hours after he posted an announcement that his essay and related weibo had been deleted.

Since directives are sometimes communicated orally to journalists and editors, who then leak them online, the wording published here may not be exact. The date given may indicate when the directive was leaked, rather than when it was issued. CDT does its utmost to verify dates and wording, but also takes precautions to protect the source.

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Hong Kong Talks End Without Significant Breakthrough

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 12:05

As street protests in Hong Kong entered their fourth week, government officials entered into an unprecedented public debate with student leaders Tuesday evening, in which both sides presented their views but didn’t yield any significant breakthroughs. The Wall Street Journal provides a summary of participants and issues discussed. Ireland’s Independent newspaper reports on the talks:

In opening remarks, student leader Alex Chow said that an August decision by China’s legislature ruling out so-called civil nomination has “emasculated” Hong Kong.

“We don’t want anointment,” said Mr Chow, secretary-general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, one of three groups leading the protests.

[...] “An unequal nominating committee is no good for the wealth gap in Hong Kong,” Mr Chow said. “Should it continue to serve business conglomerates, won’t it continue to deprive the political rights of the one million people living in poverty?”

The officials stuck to the government line that Hong Kong’s mini-constitution cannot be amended to accommodate protesters’ demands, while also saying that many others do not share their views. [Source]

The talks did not result in any concrete changes in policy, but the government representatives took a softer line on student demands than they have in the past. Michael Forsythe and Alan Wong report for the New York Times:

Carrie Lam, 57, the second-highest ranking official in Hong Kong, told the students that the government was willing to submit a new report to Beijing acknowledging the surge of discontent that followed the Aug. 31 decision by China’s National People’s Congress on the election guidelines.

In what appeared to be a further softening, she also said the rules could change in subsequent elections.

The students stuck with their demands to push for immediate changes to Hong Kong’s election law. They want the 2017 elections for the city’s highest post, the chief executive, open to a wide range of candidates. But Mrs. Lam’s offer did spark some interest.

“What is the next step?” Alex Chow, 24, the secretary general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, asked after hearing Mrs. Lam’s offer. “Do you have a time frame? Do you have a road map to see in which direction our constitutional development is going?” [Source]

Prior to the talks, Chief Executive C.Y. Leung spoke with several foreign media organizations and also presented a more conciliatory approach to student demands than he has previously. From Agence-France Presse:

In an interview on Tuesday, Leung said that while Beijing would not back down on vetting his successor, the committee tasked with selecting those candidates could become more democratic.

“There is room for discussion there; there’s room to make the nominating committee more democratic and this is one of the things we’d very much like to talk to not just the students but the community at large about,” he said.

The offer is still a long way from meeting the core demands of protesters who say anything other than public nomination of candidates is unacceptable.

But Leung’s comments are the first indication of a potential negotiating point as talks began between senior government officials and student leaders at a nearby medical college. [Source]

For Forbes, Heng Shao lists six takeaways from the talks, which were intended to be the first-round in an ongoing dialogue, but students have not yet decided whether or not to continue. Number two on Shao’s list:

2. The Occupy Movement Itself

Neither has Chief Executive C.Y. Leung nor mainland media spoken favorably of the protests, which are deemed illegal by the Hong Kong government and the central government. During the dialogue, however, Lam characterized the student protesters as “peaceful” and having “exhibited a strong sense of civic awareness.” “We appreciate that,” she said. She admits that the “social campaign was of a massive scale with far-reaching implication.” But in light of the ongoing stand-off in Mong Kok, where many of the protesters are members of the working class, Lam warned that the movement has deviated from its “peace and love” objective and is “bordering on riot.” [Source]

Alex Chow and 4 other leaders of #OccupyCentral students attended 1st formal talks with Hong Kong govt officials Tue pic.twitter.com/16xPIRSLlY

— People’s Daily,China (@PDChina) October 21, 2014

Televised debate a huge milestone for Hong Kong, and transparency everywhere. This doesn’t even happen in the west. Well done.

— Cam MacMurchy (@zhongnanhai) October 21, 2014

Students are really on their game. Calm and prepared, but also showing passionate conviction. #HongKong #UmbrellaRevolution

— Emily Rauhala (@emilyrauhala) October 21, 2014

I can’t remember a time when Hong Kong people are so enthusiastic about television that’s not Korean love dramas. pic.twitter.com/PGQhfaUbVb

— Alan Wong (@byAlanWong) October 21, 2014

Carrie Lam says repeatedly that Hong Kong is not independent and must respect conditions set by Beijing #OccupyHK pic.twitter.com/58F0LUh7Ol

— Joanna Chiu (@joannachiu) October 21, 2014

Watching live-stream of #HongKong govt & student protest leader talks. It’s literally suits vs t-shirts. #OccupyHK

— Kristie Lu Stout CNN (@klustout) October 21, 2014

The Hong Kong students seem less like radicals and more like a well-prepped debate team, with arguments divided among them in advance.

— Philip P. Pan (@panphil) October 21, 2014

I am so proud of these kids. If these students represent Hong Kong’s future, the city needn’t worry.

— Cam MacMurchy (@zhongnanhai) October 21, 2014

Carrie Lam thanks the police. Fair. But does not mention excessive force, key point for people outside. #HongKong

— Emily Rauhala (@emilyrauhala) October 21, 2014

Talks between #OccupyHK student leaders and govt reps now begin (students left) Who’s who here http://t.co/AEcPbvqmvH pic.twitter.com/cYYURvKnSv

— Joanna Chiu (@joannachiu) October 21, 2014

Remarkably respectful Hong Kong debate over. Two sides remain far apart. But both clearly searching for a way forward.

— Philip P. Pan (@panphil) October 21, 2014

After the debate, Mong Kok breaks into a cacaphony of street forums. pic.twitter.com/gMilk4zSoL

— Chris Buckley 储百亮 (@ChuBailiang) October 21, 2014

In Mong Kok, hundreds gather to watch debate projected into small screen. pic.twitter.com/H6s9Mr983v

— Chris Buckley 储百亮 (@ChuBailiang) October 21, 2014

So much for a city that, cliche held, didn't care about politics. pic.twitter.com/RVFsYFFqq4

— Chris Buckley 储百亮 (@ChuBailiang) October 21, 2014

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Winning, and Watching, Hearts and Minds in Xinjiang

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 23:35

With tensions continuing to rise between local Uyghur residents of Xinjiang and Han authorities, a series of recent violent incidents have killed dozens, perhaps hundreds, of people. Meanwhile, authorities continue to employ harsh tactics to crack down on what they deem “separatist” behavior. Now a new program promises a softer approach to “win the hearts and minds” of Uyghurs by sending hundreds of thousands of Party officials to rural regions to interact with the local population. But as Tom Phillips reports for the Telegraph, the plan also includes a more sinister purpose:

“The basic idea is to visit families, build unity and bring them benefits,” said one of the 12 officials in Bayandai village. “It is a project to win people’s hearts and to improve the local economy and people’s lives.”

But there is also a second, largely unspoken task for the team, and for the rest of the officials who are fanning out across 8,000 villages in Xinjiang: to gather intelligence on the lives of the villagers and create a vast community surveillance network in this huge and troubled region.

“Nominally they are there to listen to the people,” said Dr James Leibold, a specialist on China’s ethnic policy from La Trobe University in Australia. “But one of the things they have also been tasked with is surveillance.”

The teams have been told to interview each household in their village and compile detailed reports on their employment status as well as on their observance of Islam, noting down, for example, whether the women wear veils and the men have beards. [Source]

According to the Telegraph report, the plan would, “help thwart terrorist activities and extremist thought.” China has blamed the recent violence on the rise of religious extremism from abroad, but other observers believe it is an extreme response to systematic government repression of the Muslim minority group.

While evidence of sustained links between global jihadist groups and Uyghurs in Xinjiang remains sketchy, some jihadist groups have condemned the Chinese government’s treatment of Uyghurs. A publication affiliated with Al Qaeda recently called Xinjiang “occupied Muslim land”, calling for it to be “recovered [into] the shade of the Islamic Caliphate.” James Griffiths reports for the South China Morning Post:

Produced by the jihadist organisation’s As-Sahab media wing, the 117-page debut issue of Resurgence includes a feature titled “Did You Know? 10 Facts About East Turkistan,” referring to the name for Xinjiang used by those who advocate independence from China.

While much of the article is inaccurate – it claims, for example, that teaching the Quran is illegal in China (Islam is one of the country’s five recognised official religions) – it shows how China’s actions in the region, such as encouraging the migration of Han Chinese into Xinjiang and restricting religious dress, are being used by jihadist organisations to confirm their belief that Muslims are under threat.

[...] “In recent years [jihadist organisations] have expressed an interest in the alleged oppression of Xinjiang Uygurs by the Han Chinese,” Ahmed Hashim, a terrorism expert and associate international studies professor at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, told the South China Morning Post. “China is being seen as an oppressive power as it grows in strength.” [Source]

In July, the leader of the Islamic State gave a speech in Iraq in which he vowed to get revenge on a number of countries, including China, which had “seized Muslim rights.”

Read more about Xinjiang, Uyghurs, and violence in the region, via CDT.

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Expensive Cameras the Latest Corruption Tell-tale

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 23:28

Global Times reports that high-end photography gear has become a sign of officials’ illicit income, in a similar vein to the luxury wristwatches which have betrayed many of their owners:

The Xinhua News Agency carried an article on September 23 about officials accepting bribes and using public funds to pay for their hobby.

For instance, an unidentified “senior official” used a police helicopter during a trip in Henan in order to take overhead photos of swans in the Yellow River, Xinhua reported.

His plan was fruitless, as the loud noise of helicopter scared the swans away.

Xinhua reported that [recently dismissed Henan official Qin Yuhai] claimed that his all of his equipment was gifts from a local businessman. Qin allegedly got rid of his most pricey lenses and accessories before authorities launched an official probe that yielded millions of yuan in equipment.

[…] For corrupt officials, photography also provides a convenient way to transmit bribes. Because art appraisal can be subjective, amateur works can be sold legitimately for astonishingly high prices. [Source]

Reuters’ Ben Blanchard reports that the gift loophole may soon be closed:

Currently, officials can defend themselves from accusations of receiving bribes by saying money or other goods received, like luxury watches or bags, were just a present from a friend, the official China Daily reported.

It is only considered a crime if a link can be made to some sort of abuse of power, it said.

[…] The gift rules will probably be changed at a regular meeting of the National People’s Congress opening on Oct. 27, the newspaper said.

“The draft is likely to deem that accepting gifts or money of a considerable amount would be punishable for all government officials,” it added. [Source]

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Party “May Never” Open All Files on Painful Past

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 18:17

Reuters’ Ben Blanchard reports comments from a senior Party scholar on the dim prospects for public release of sensitive historical documents:

Xie Chuntao, Director of the Party History Teaching and Research Department of the Party School, which trains rising officials, said the party had reflected deeply on its mistakes.

[…] “Everyone has reached a consensus that the mistakes of the past will certainly not be repeated today or in the future.”

Only a “small number” of the party’s historical files were still sealed, he said.

“Some involve the state’s core interests, and some are not convenient to be released,” Xie added.

“From a historical research it is to be hoped that it would be best if they are all opened. But I fear this cannot happen, and may never happen.” [Source]

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