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Is Jian Yang a Chinese Spy?

A number of English media and Chinese media reported that Jian Yang (杨健), an MP in the New Zealand government and a member of its ruling National Party, might be a Chinese spy.

Jian Yang was born in Jiangxi Province in China. He earned his Master and Ph. D. degree in International Relations from the Australian National University. Then in 1999, the University of Auckland in New Zealand hired him as a Senior Lecturer in Political Studies. In 2011, he was elected as an MP from the National Party.

The issue was that Yang didn’t disclose his experiences as both a student and instructor at two military schools in China whose main duty is to produce spies. The two schools are the Air Force Engineering College and the Luoyang PLA University of Foreign Languages.

Some of the English media focused on how much Yang had disclosed to the New Zealand government and whether he vowed to be loyal to New Zealand. However, that discussion may not be that relevant since what Yang disclosed (or did not disclose) does not prove (or disprove) he is a spy. In all probability, a spy would not disclose anything that would even hint that he is a spy. A person who is not a spy might not choose to disclose anything either.

So whether Yang is a spy may be left to the intelligence office to decide.

Lianhe Zaobao, the largest Singapore-based Chinese-language newspaper stated, “The two universities belong to the PLA and are the key places where China trains its spies.” It also quoted an expert who said, “Yang almost certainly works for the PLA.”

Source: Lianhe Zaobao, September 13, 2017
http://www.zaobao.com.sg/realtime/china/story20170913-794975

 

Copyright Battle between Sina and Netizens

Sina is a major Internet portal in China. Sina Weibo is a microblog social network, with more than 500 million users and millions of posts per day. Based on active users, it claims 56.5 percent of the Chinese microblogging market.

Recently, Sina tried to claim exclusive copyrights for all contents posted on Sina Weibo. The public fiercely rejected its claim, so eventually Sina conceded the copyrights to the microblog’s author.

Sina’s first announcement stated that, “Sina has the exclusive copyright over the contents that its users publish on Sina Weibo; Sina Weibo users authorize Sina Weibo, for free, to protect copyrights. The proceeds from the protection of these copyrights belongs solely to the Weibo platform; the user actively agrees to support Weibo‘s platform to exercise its rights and to provide related proving documents and support.’”

After the public’s outcry, Sina issued its second version of the announcement and modified the two articles that caused the public debate: “(Sina Weibo) users can legally use the contents over which they have the absolute intellectual properties’ right including the copyright, but retrieving contents published on the Weibo platform without the joint approval of the user and the Weibo platform is an act of unfair competition.”

It still met with the public’s rejection.

Sina then issued its third version: “The copyright of the contents published on Weibo for sure belongs to the author of the contents. Weibo, as a platform, has certain usage rights. The Weibo user can publish his own contents on other platforms at his own will. However, without the Weibo platform’s agreement, (the user’s) self-authorizing, allowing, or assisting a third party to retrieve published content on Weibo is not permitted.”

Source: Jiansu Toutiao, September 17, 2017
http://www.jiangsutoutiao.com/a/170917144740391-4.html

Chinese’ Total Bank Savings Amount Is Less Than Total Mortgage Amount

China’s National Bureau of Statistics recently reported that, by the end of 2016, the total amount of resident’s bank savings had reached 60 trillion yuan (US$9 trillion). However an article in the China Business Journal argued that the number is alarmingly small compared to housing prices and mortgage amounts.

Since China has 1.3 billion people, the average bank savings is 46,000 yuan per person. In Beijing’s the average bank savings is 130,000 yuan, the highest in the nation. However, the average housing price in Beijing is 5 million yuan. How can people afford a house?

The article further compared the total mortgage vs. total bank savings in the major cities. The traditional Chinese thinking is not to get in debt, so the author viewed it as a bad thing for the total of mortgages to be higher than the total of bank savings (it would mean that people collectively cannot afford their houses). Several cities fall into this group. For example, take Shenzhen. The total of all mortgages amounts to 1.4 trillion yuan in Shenzhen, but the total bank savings is only 1 trillion yuan.

Source: China Business Journal, September 18, 2017
http://www.cb.com.cn/qijunjie/2017_0918/1199834.html

Beijing Tried to Censor American Political Science Review

Radio Free Asia recently reported on how the Chinese authorities attempted to impose censorship over the Cambridge University Press. First they requested the removal of contents from The China Quarterly and the Journal of Asian Studies (http://chinascope.org/archives/13070). Beijing is also reported to have requested that Cambridge University Press remove articles from the American Political Science Review. The publisher rejected the request.

American Political Science Review is the highest-ranked academic publication on Political Science in the U.S. The Chinese government’s censorship of this journal shows that Beijing’s political censorship over academic publications has expanded.”

Political Science Professor Xia Ming of the City University of New York pointed out that China’s oversight of overseas academic publications has evolved in three stages.

Stage one: Only focus on Chinese content. Articles written in English can be published.

Stage two: Regardless of whether they are written in English or Chinese, an article’s subject matter cannot touch certain areas, such as Falun Gong, the Cultural Revolution, Tibet, Xinjiang, the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) history, and the military.

Stage three: Even if the publication is not about China studies and does not touch the “sensitive” topics, if it is about universal values, democracy, the rule of law, and other such topics, it is subject to censorship.

“Beijing will even censor a purely academic publication (such as the American Political Science Review that does not have a strong political position regarding China). It is because the Chinese government does not want the public and academia in China to access academic articles discussing the pros and cons of different political systems in order to prevent people from developing doubts about the legitimacy of the CCP regime.”

Source: Radio Free Asia, September 10, 2017
http://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/meiti/hc-09102017141334.html

Apple Daily: Why Xi Jinping Is Cleansing the Princelings?

Apply Daily published a commentary stating that Xi Jinping has started to remove princelings {descendants of prominent and influential senior Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials} from power. A discussion of the contents of the commentary follows.

“The princelings are rare to see among the newly elected representatives of the Communist Party’s 19th National Congress. They are not only rare in the civil section and state-owned enterprises, but also in the military. Several high-profile princelings in the military have either retired or been pushed aside, including Mao Xinyu (grandson of former CCP head Mao Zedong), Liu Yuan (son of former President Liu Shaoqi), Liu Xiaojiang (son-in-law of former CCP General Secretary Hu Yaobang), Zhang Haiyang (son of former Central Military Commission Vice Chairman Zhang Zhen), Liu Yazhou (son-in-law of former President Li Xiannian), Zhu Heping (grandson of former Marshall Zhu De).”

“Obviously this is Xi’s arrangement.”

The article went on to explain that the princelings, many of whom appear to have a high-profile civilian or military rank, are normally not in the key posts. Also, they have been split among many smaller groups due to the CCP’s intense in-fighting, whether among themselves or inherited from their parents.

They are likely to interfere in the administration’s policies. In 2005, Zhu De’s grandson Zhu Chenghu claimed that, if the U.S. were to interfere in China-Taiwan affairs, then  China “is prepared to sacrifice all cities on the east side of Xi’an” to have a nuclear war with the U.S. Another grandson of Zhu De, Zhu Heping, stated that China may have a military fight with Japan to gain the control of the Senkaku Islands (called the Diaoyudao Islands in China).

While the princelings may not have contributed big achievements, they can create big trouble for Xi Jinping due to their political status and their influence over the business world. Therefore, Xi has had to restrict them.

Source: Apple Daily, September 15, 2017
http://hk.apple.nextmedia.com/news/art/20170915/20153339

Xi Jinping on Traditional Chinese Culture: Don’t Lose It

Since Xi Jinping assumed power, he has mentioned and promoted traditional Chinese culture in a number of places. This is a deviation from the Communist Party’s approach which in the past has been to denounce, suppress, and even attempt the complete destruction of traditional Chinese culture.

Recently, Chinese Central Television (CCTV) broadcasted a six episode CCTV program, The Diplomacy of a Big Country. The first episode quoted Xi’s desire to keep traditional Chinese Culture.

“Xi Jinping: (Since) I became the President of the country, a number of retired officials have said to me, ‘What should the Chinese leader do? It is not to lose China’s 5,000 years of culture and civilization. It should also be passed down in your hands.’”

Source: CCTV, August 28, 2017
http://m.news.cctv.com/2017/08/28/ARTIVzGmfqhlkUslnKqCsVFB170828.shtml

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