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Radio France Internationale: Awkward Silent Moment of the Foreign Press

Radio France Internationale published an article titled “The Awkward Silent Moment of the Foreign Press in China.” The article described a recent incident involving a direct verbal conflict between the foreign press stationed in China and Hua Chunying, Deputy Director of the Foreign Ministry Information Department. During the conflict, many foreign reporters chose to remain silent fearing they would lose their press visa. The conflict started during a regular media conference that the Foreign Ministry held on January 30. On the same day, the FCCC (the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in China) published a report which stated that over 40 percent of the foreign reporters stationed in China felt that they faced worse treatment in 2017. That number was 29 percent in 2016. The report also commented that, based on strong evidence, it is getting more and more difficult for foreign reporters to report news in many regions, especially in Xinjiang where, in 2017, 73 percent of the foreign reporters were either denied access or given limited access. That number was 42 percent in 2016. During the media conference, one reporter raised a question about the FCCC report and asked what China would do to improve the situation. Hua Chunying bluntly countered and said that the claims in the report were sheer nonsense and asked all the reporters at the conference to raise their hands if they agreed with the FCCC report. None of them raised their hands. China’s Huanqiu reported on this incident and praised Hua for her response. On February 1, one Japanese Sankei Shimbun reporter spoke up during that day’s press conference and said that he was not present during the media conference on January 30; he agreed with the FCCC report and wished that China would do something to improve the situation that the media faced. That question angered Hua Chunying. She asked how many of the 600 foreign reporters belonged to FCCC and why Sankei Shimbun was the only media that felt that they were mistreated. She stated that Sankei Shimbun reporters should reflect upon themselves to find out if they did anything wrong. On Sina Weibo, Hua’s response received wide support. Some posts even suggested that the Sankei Shimbun Japanese reporter should be expelled from China.

Source: Radio France Internationale, February 2, 2018中国/20180202-驻华外国记者们的难堪沉默

Radio France Internationale: Two of the Bishops that Pope Francis Accepted Have Their Own Families

Radio France Internationale reported that in order to repair the relationship with Beijing, Pope Francis said he will accept seven candidates from the “patriotic churches” in China as the Catholic bishops in China. According to a report from Apple Daily, two of the seven candidates have mistresses and children. According to one scholar from the Hong Kong Baptist University, these candidates, who the Chinese Communist Party selected, are “total garbage” because they are the existing members of the Bishops Conference of the Catholic Church in China and the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. The Chinese Communist Party controls both. It is very likely that they will face resistance and disapproval from the church members in China.

Source: Radio France Internationale, February 3, 2018中国/20180203-获教宗接受大陆主教其中两人传已有家室

VOA: Xi Jinping Changed the Selection Criteria for National People’s Congress Delegate

On January 30, China announced that the first meeting of the Thirteenth National People’s Congress will be held in Beijing on March 5. As of the current time, the delegate name list has been finalized. It is particularly notable that, like a few other top leaders of the country, Xi Jinping made the delegate list from Inner Mongolia which is a different region from his residency. Voice of America published an article which was based on a panel discussion on how top leaders get assigned to a region which can be different the location of their residence. One panel commented that Xi changed the delegate selection criteria in 2013. Prior to 2013, leaders of the central administration needed to be assigned to a local region where they might have had work experience or which was their birthplace. The new regulation, after 2013, has the delegate selection tied to three requirements instead: the “one belt one road” project, an ethnic minority region, and a poverty relief target region. This is also an indication that Xi changed the rule to prevent the members of the top leadership from being assigned to a region with which they were familiar and where they, consequently, exercise too much influence. One panel also touched upon the delegate selection from Hong Kong. He said that the so called National Congress delegate does not represent the interests of the Hong Kong people. The Hong Kong people did not selected them and they don’t have an office in Hong Kong, so the people in Hong Kong do not know where to find them to raise their voice. He stated that the National People’s Congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference are just like a flower vase and just like a voting machine. They don’t represent anyone other than the interest of the ruling party.

Source: Voice of America, February 1, 2018

Mingpao: Guangdong Province Has Given up Achieving Poverty Goal by 2018

Mingpao published an article in its 2018 government work report delivered at the People’s Congress Conference of Guangdong Province which ended on Wednesday, January 24. According to the article there was no mention of the plan to achieve its poverty goal in 2018. The Guangdong provincial government body established the poverty goal back in 2015 after the Central Committee Political Bureau passed a “Decision on Winning the Tough Battle against Poverty.” The goal was to win the battle by 2020. The article reported that in 2015 Guangdong put pressure on itself and vowed to achieve the poverty goal by 2018, two years earlier. At the end of 2017, it gave up trying to achieve the goal due to personnel changes and a lack of experience in dealing with poverty issues. Xi Jinping also directed, during Lianghui in 2017, that the poverty deadline set by the central administration is 2020 and that the local municipal governments should be realistic and shouldn’t casually change the poverty deadline themselves.

Source: Mingpao, January 26, 2018

13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Name List Has Been Published

Well-known Chinese news site Sina published an article on the members of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). There are 2,158 members on the list. Among them 99 are Chinese Communist Party members including Wang Yang, the only member from the Politburo Standing Committee and Xie Fuzhan, the Henan provincial party committee secretary and director of the Provincial People’s Congress of Henan Province. Xie is 63 years old and was born in 1954. He was promoted to the provincial party committee secretary in March 2016.

{Editor’s note: The Chairman of the CPPCC is always a CCP Politburo Standing Committee member. Given that Wang Yang is the only Politburo Standing Committee member on the list, he will most likely take the Chairman’s position and Xie Fuzhan is likely to be the Vice Chairman.}

Source: Sina, January 25, 2018

Xinhua Article Outlined the Criteria for the 13th CPPCC Member Selection

Xinhua published an article in which it outlined three criteria that the Central Committee would use in the selection of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) name list. The list of these criteria follows:
1) Emphasize the party’s leadership. Adhere to the requirement that “those who make a recommendation should be responsible for the recommended candidate.” Be specific about who can make the recommendation; all candidates that the organization nominates should effectively play a leadership role in the party organization. All units should make recommendations carefully and responsibly after collective research and on the basis of deliberation.
2) Conduct thorough communication and consultation
3) Apply a strict selection criteria to the candidates. Follow the standards and apply strict selection to the candidates who can pass the political and integrity test with positive reputations. Pay attention to candidates’ political and work performance, their images and reputations, as well as their performance as Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee members. Those who cannot pass the selection criteria cannot be selected as candidates.

{Editor’s note: Observers have pointed out that Song Zuying (宋祖英) who has been a member of the 10th, 11th, and 12th CPPCC, is not in the 13th CPPCC list. Song, 51, is widely reputed to have been involved in an extramarital affair with former CCP leader Jiang Zemin.}

Source: Xinhua, January 25, 2018

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