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Is China’s Civil Law Creating Literacy Persecution?

The “Hero and Martyr Protection Article” in the General Provision of Civil Law that the Fifth Plenary Session of the 12th National People’s Congress recently passed has generated a lot of scrutiny.

The original draft did not contain that article. During the Plenum, Article 185 was added as, “Those who infringe on the names, portraits, reputations, and honor of heroes and martyrs and damage the public interest should bear civil liability.”

Many people have ridiculed this law: It is very difficult to define “heroes and martyrs” legally. In certain periods, the “heroes and martyrs” that the Communist Party promoted were indeed fake. When people tried to go back to the real truth in history, their comments were treated as malicious slander.

“Those of a certain age can still remember that whoever said something negative about Mao Zedong during the Cultural Revolution would be imprisoned or killed. Now China has ‘improved.’ Whoever criticizes Mao Zedong or other of the Communist Regime’s ‘heroes’ and ‘martyrs’ will not be killed. Instead, the Public Security Bureau and the procuratorate may use a civil lawsuit to destroy his family financially.”

It is called, “to use the Civil Law to create literacy persecution (imprison the author who writes something against the regime’s will).”

1., March 14, 2017兩岸/77661/民法總則增新條款擬追究褻瀆烈士行為-學者稱-英雄烈士-難界定
2. Radio Free Asia, March 20, 2017

Taiwan Military Developed Jammer against the Beidou Satellite Positioning System

Based on Taiwanese media reports, well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that the Taiwanese military revealed its anti-Beidou system, which is a suite of jammers to fight against the Mainland’s satellite position system. The Mainland Beidou system is China’s replica of the U.S. GPS system, with some improvements. The Beidou system can significantly improve the precision of China’s missiles that are aimed at Taiwan. It is expected that the Mainland military will complete the next phase by the year 2020. The Taiwanese anti-Beidou equipment includes a jammer for individual soldiers, a satellite jammer for vehicles, and a radar-based anti-satellite system. The new equipment can also send “bail” signals that are designed to fool enemy missiles with fake targets. These new systems have been deployed to various military locations across the island to improve the success rate.

Source: Sina, March 13, 2017

FT Chinese: SWIFT Cut off All Ties between North Korea and the Global Financial System

Financial Times Chinese recently reported that the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), the world’s core settlement network for inter-bank transactions, announced it will remove the membership of the last four North Korean banks that remained in its network. A recent United Nations report indicated that SWIFT had been allowing the four banks not under UN sanction to use its network. The UN report described how North Korea bypassed the international sanctions with help from organizations like SWIFT. SWIFT, headquartered in Brussels, explained that its latest decision had nothing to do with UN sanctions. It was merely the result of the four banks missing the qualifications required for their SWIFT membership. The Belgium authorities withdrew the permission necessary to maintain the four banks’ membership. However, some experts expressed their belief that this new development will only force North Korea to explore other “creative” ways to get into the international financial system via underground ties. The UN report mentioned that some Chinese global companies and organizations provided most of the financial connections North Korea has been using to its advantage.

Source: FT Chinese, March 17, 2017

BBC Chinese: China Plans to Build Monitoring Station on Huangyan Island (Scarborough Shoal)

BBC Chinese recently reported that China announced a plan to start the preparation work for constructing an environmental monitoring station on Huangyan Island, also known as Scarborough Shoal. China occupied Huangyan Island in 2012 and prohibited the Philippines’ fishermen from entering the region. However, China started to allow fishing after the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to China last year. China’s new announcement indicated the intent to start the construction in 2017. The Philippines Ministry of Foreign Affairs refused to comment on this latest announcement. Last month one of the Philippines’ ministers said that Chinese President XI Jinping promised not to do construction work on the island, but China later said that the comment was “confusing.” In the meantime, two U.S. senators, namely Marco Rubio and Ben Cardin, proposed a new sanction to ban the issuance of U.S. visas to the Chinese citizens who are related to island construction. China expressed its “anger” and described the two senators as “arrogant and ignorant.”

Source: BBC Chinese, March 17, 2017

VOA: 2017 Will Be the Year for Xi to Shake off His Predecessors’ Control and Carry out His Plan

VOA published an article about Liang Hui (the National People’s Congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference) which ended on March 15. It also quoted the comments that Douglas H Paal, Vice President for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, made predicting that Xi Jinping will play a greater world leadership role in 2017.

According to the article, Liang Hui ended quietly on March 15 partly because Xi does not want to make any changes prior to the 19th National Congress which will be held later this year. The article further indicated that Xi has further consolidated his power. It stated that 2017 will be the year for Xi to shake off the control of his predecessors while carrying out his plan.

The author also interviewed and quoted Douglas Paal’s comments. According to Paal, 2017 is the year that Xi Jinping enters into phase II of his era. Below is the translation of part of his comments:

“During phase I, Xi had to work with the people from various backgrounds in leadership. Those people had their own opinions. They represented the results of the negotiation between Xi and his predecessors Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin. They did not agree with Xi on the key issues including reforms and the policies that Xi has been promoting. I believe, during phase II, most of the members in the politburo standing committee and the central party committee will be his people who support his policy.”

“There are two issues that are worth noting. First, Xi might further reduce the number of members in the politburo standing committee, possibly from seven to five, in order to reduce the differences between the members. Second, the issue is how to retain Wang Qishan, a key supporter of Xi. Wang will be 69 in July. Based on an unwritten age limit policy for senior leaders, Wang has to retire from his current position. I think he will find a way to keep Wang Qishan as a consultant or in other roles within the politburo standing committee. The world will see this as a positive signal. Therefore this decision will benefit Xi.”

“In 2017, Xi Jinping will play a greater world leadership role. In January 2017, Xi spoke at the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland and said that if the U.S. withdraws from its world leadership role, China is more than willing to replace it. There will be a “One Belt, One Road” forum to be held in May in Beijing. It will be the stage for Xi to show the world his foreign policy. Moreover, Xi will have a further political impact this year on the upcoming 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover.”

“In the short term, Xi will have a positive impact on the world, but in the long run, it might not be the case. Once Xi gains political power, he will more actively protect China’s so called “national interest.” For example, if President Trump decides to impose a penalty tax on China and build trade barriers, Xi will be fully against it. He will also resist on issues such as the East and South China Sea and Taiwan.” {Editor’s note: While VOA reports Douglas Paal’s interview and quotes him, Paal’s exact wording could not be located in English.}

Source: Voice of America, March 17, 2017

CNS: Tillerson Mentions US-China Mutual Respect in Beijing

China News Service, China’s second earliest established state-level news agency, reported on March 19 that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Beijing in preparation for the meeting between China’s top leader Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump and to discuss a reduction in the tension on the Korean peninsula.

According to the article, during Tillerson’s two-day visit in Beijing, he characterized the U.S. views on bilateral relations as “non-conflict, non-confrontational, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation.” Wang Fan, vice president of the Beijing-based China Foreign Affairs University, told CNS that this is exactly the core concept of the new model of major country relations between China and the U.S. that Beijing proposed. Wang interpreted Tillerson’s position as a positive, friendly signal that the U.S. voluntarily sent out, which amounts to a de facto recognition of China’s new model of major country relations.

A commentary at, which is directly affiliated with the State Council Information Office, noted that this is the first time a high-level U.S. official used the term “mutual respect” publicly. The commentary added that, when dealing with officials in the Obama administration, U.S. officials had open exchanges in closed door meetings, but they were reluctant to use the term publicly. The concern was that it would lead its allies to believe that China was an equal partner with the U.S., which would weaken U.S. authority in carrying out its Asia-Pacific strategies.

The New York Times, in a Chinese and English bilingual analysis, cited an unnamed diplomat in Beijing as saying that Mr. Tillerson was almost certainly sterner in private. The diplomat said, “I believe Tillerson repeated in the meetings what he said publicly in South Korea and Japan, and backed up what Trump said in his tweet.” In his Twitter post on Mar 17, Trump said China had “done little to help” in solving the issue of North Korea.

Sources: China News Agency, March 19, 2017, March 19, 2017
New York Times, March 20, 2017

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