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China Threatens Military Action at Border Standoff in Doklam

On August 4, Haiwai Net, People’s Daily’s website targeting overseas readers, published a commentary which reiterated China’s position on the border conflict in Doklam. It warned that if India does not withdraw its troops, China will not rule out completely the option of taking military action. It stressed that for India to send troop across the border represents a very serious invasion. It alerted (India) that China will not back off from its position and will resort to all necessary measures to protect its legal rights. It warned that India should not insist on stirring up trouble for China as it will not benefit in any way from doing so.

Also on August 4, Huanqiu published an article in English. According to the Huanqiu article, from Thursday to Friday, two ministries and four institutions, including the Chinese foreign ministry, the defense ministry, the Chinese Embassy in India and People’s Daily, released statements or commentaries on the military standoff between China and India in Doklam, Tibet Autonomous Region. China urged India to pull back the trespassing troops to the Indian side of the boundary immediately and called on them to address the situation in a proper manner to restore peace and tranquility in the border region swiftly.

Ren Guoqiang, a spokesperson for the defense ministry said in a statement posted on its website late Thursday night that, “The series of remarks from the Chinese side within a 24-hour period send a signal to India that there is no way China will tolerate the Indian troops’ incursion into Chinese territory for too long.”

Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences said, “If India refuses to withdraw, then within two weeks, China may conduct a small-scale military operation.”

1. Huanqiu (Global Times), August 4, 2017
2. Haiwai Net, August 4, 2017

Minghui: Charges against Falun Gong Practitioners Dismissed due to “Changes in Legal and Judicial Interpretation”

Minghui, an overseas website that contains first person reports about the persecution against Falun Gong practitioners in China, recently published reports about court cases against Falun Gong practitioners that were, based on the court papers, dismissed due to “changes in the legal and judicial interpretation of the case.” Below is a brief summary of each case.

On August 23, 2015, Xue Yuying, a Falun Gong practitioner from Huangdao district of Qingdao City, Shandong Province was arrested for disseminating Falun Gong truth clarification material at the public market in the Town of Baoshan in Huangdao district. On April 22, 2016, the court held the first hearing on Xue’s case. Xue’s defense lawyer presented the argument at the hearing and demanded Xue’s immediate release, but the court did not make any decision on that day. On March 27, 2017, Xue was released on bail pending a second trial date. On the morning of July 20, 2017, Xue received a court paper from the People’s procuratorate of Huangdao district in Qingdao City, Shandong Province stating that her trial was dismissed due to a “change in the legal and judicial interpretation of the case.”

Zhang Zhe, Li Xiaojun, and Sun Yanping from Jiaozuo City of Henan Province were arrested in 2016 for filing criminal complaints against former leader Jiang Zemin for launching the persecution against Falun Gong practitioners. On July 28, 2017, all three of them were released and sent back home. They had been imprisoned for over one year and subjected to torture and inhuman treatment in prison. The court papers noted that their cases were dismissed due to a “change in the legal and judicial interpretation of the case.”

Cai Wei, a Falun Gong practitioner from Fushun City of Liaoning Province was taken into custody on September 23, 2016. Cai was released on bail four days later. On December 28, 2016, the first trial ended with verdict of a three year prison term and a 10,000 yuan fine for “obstruction of the law.” Cai disagreed and immediately filed an appeal. On March 22, 2017, the court issued a statement to withdraw the case against Cai, citing a “change in the legal and judicial interpretation of the case”.

According to the statistics that the Minghui website released, during the first six months of 2017, 54 Falun Gong practitioners from 21 provinces were released from prison and 97 trial cases were dismissed.


China Tightened Control of Party Officials Making Public Speeches and Comments Online

Officials have tightened control of party officials who make public speeches and comments online. In June, the Ministry of Publicity, the Ministry of Organization and the Office of the Central Leading Group for Cyberspace Affairs issued a joint statement which required that the party officials must follow “political order while they are online.” They must “safeguard the authority of the central administration. … They are prohibited from publishing improper comments and political rumors. … They are not to visit illegal and anti-China websites.” Below are a few incidents reported recently in which party officials were fired for policy violations.

According to an article VOA published, on July 25, Shi Jiepeng, an associate professor with Beijing Normal University, was fired for “publishing false statements against main stream values on the Internet. This was unfit for a professor to do. It crossed the ideology red line, violated the political order and caused serious damage to the reputation of the university.”

An article in Singtao reported that Li Mohai, a professor from the Shandong Institute of Business and Technology and the party school of Zhifu District of Shandong Province was put on probation and dismissed from the party school for posting comments online criticizing a number of social problems on the Internet.

In January of this year a professor from Shandong University of Architecture and Engineering was fired for posting negative comments about Mao Zedong online.

1. Voice of America, August 4, 2017
2. Singtao, August 1, 2017中國/225447-批評極權+指責不公+遭到舉報++斥網友愛國奴相+黨校教授被停職/

People’s Daily Blog: Xi Jinping Held Important High Level Seminar Ahead of 19th National Congress

According to a blog published on the People’s Daily website, on July 26 and 27, Xi Jinping held a seminar in Beijing. The purpose was understood to be to “unify the understanding among party members” and could be the most important meeting prior to the 19th National Congress. The article listed several differences between this seminar and the ones held in previous years. First, the seminar location was changed from the Party School to the Jing Xi Hotel {Editor’s note: the Jing Xi Hotel is located near the Military Museum and Defense Ministry and run by the General Staff Department of the People’s Liberation Army. The hotel is heavily guarded and closed to foreigners}. Second, the participant’s ranks were unprecedented. The participants included seven members of the Political Standing Committee, including Xi Jinping, key members from the provincial levels of government, top leaders from central and government agencies, the military, the People’s Congress, and the judiciary system. Third, there was no paper and there were no pens on the table. The blog also brought up a commentary article that Xinhua published on July 29, titled “Gain Confidence in the Historical Moment – Study and Carry out Key Points from Xi’s Speech Given at a Provincial Level Seminar. Part II.” The blog noted that “being aware of the challenges” and “establishing confidence in the party’s success in this historic moment” were the highlights of Xi’s speech. It quoted from the commentary which stated that “the world is undergoing a dramatic change while China is facing serious challenges. … How do we deal with the complexity of the world and gain control on the international stage? How can we seize the opportunity and break through the conflicts and risks as China is entering a critical development stage? How can the party overcome the tests and risks and continue to be the leading party of the country? … These are the important questions that the party members are responsible for answering.”

Source: People’s Daily, July 29, 2017

Director of State Administration for Religious Affairs: Party Members Can’t Cross the Red line to Believe in Religion

According to an article that Duowei published on July 16, Wang Zuoan, the Director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, published an article on Qiushi which stated that a religious belief is an “untouchable red line” for party members. In the article, Wang requested that party members must be atheists, believe in Marxism, and are not allowed to believe in a religion. Wang stated that, if anyone has embraced a religion, he must give it up or he will face consequences. The Duowei article stated that this topic has been mentioned on a number of occasions in past years, but during the “Two Sessions or Lianghui” held in March of 2017, religion was discovered to have ranked among the most discussed online topics in 2016 and a media focal point in 2017. The topic of “religion” was ranked 5th following education, children, real estate, and health.

Source: Duowei News, July 19, 2017

VOA: China is Softening on its Position over the Border Conflict with India

On July 28, VOA published an article in which it stated that there are indications that China is softening its position against India over the recent stand-off at the China India border. On July 28, Xi Jinping met with representatives from BRICS (an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Ajit Doval, India’s security advisor was among those representatives. According to China’s official media, Ajit Doval was said to be the person that ordered the Indian troops to the border. Per the media from the West, he is considered to be the most influential political figure next to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In the official press statement following the meeting, there was no mention of the military stand-off in the Doklam region. On July 25, Xinhua published an analytical article on its English website which praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his active promotion of India’s foreign policy reform and stressed that, “China-India cooperation helps promote open global trade and counter protectionism.” The Times of India said on July 27 that the Chinese government obviously thinks that India is an important market for China and that military conflicts between the two should be avoided. The article also mentioned that, at the press conference, the spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs appeared to avoid harsh words towards India except that China still insists that India must withdraw its troops from the border. The VOA article went on to quote an interview with Jeff Smith, a scholar at the American Foreign Policy Council, who told VOA that China has used so many aggressive words on the issue that it has pushed itself into a dead-end. He said it will be very difficult for China to back down from its position gracefully. “China is unlikely to gain from the border standoff with India as the road it was building in the Sikkim sector’s Doklam area leads to nowhere and the move would push India closer to the U.S. and Japan.” The article further quoted the speech that Jeff Smith gave during a forum held in Washington D.C. on July 27.

Source: Voice of America, July 28, 2017

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