Hundreds of Chinese veterans broke through the government’s containment at all levels on Wednesday and held demonstrations in front of the Beijing Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. They demanded a better solution to their resettlement problems. How can these soldiers be able to organize protest demonstrations of considerable size at the sensitive time before the 19th Congress when Chinese society is so tightly controlled? Will the difficulties that these Chinese veterans have weaken the army’s loyalty to the regime? What will be the impact on the turbulent Chinese society? To answer these questions, VOA invited a group of Chinese scholars to participate in a live discussion.
Yang Jianli, founder of the Human rights organization “Citizen Power” said that for veterans to safeguard their rights is not a new phenomenon. Over the past 20 years, veterans have gone to Beijing to petition three times a year on average. Petitions in the provinces and cities are countless. The Chinese Communist Party at the highest level has always taken military stability as the last guarantee of power. To this end, Xi Jinping has taken great efforts to clean up military corruption. Even so, the army is not necessarily stable.
Gao Wenqian, author of the book The Chronicle of Zhou Enlai, said that many veterans can successfully go to Beijing to petition. In China’s extremely tight stability-maintenance system, it is impossible not to keep the petition plan a secret without leakage. One cannot rule out the possibility that someone will deliberately leak the information and bring the veterans “troubles” to Beijing (in order to) vent their dissatisfaction with the military reform.
Famous political commentator and writer Chen PuoKong said that there is a possibility that, behind the scenes, Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption, military reform, and the disarmament of 300,000 military personnel caused dissatisfaction among the entire military. One cannot rule out that Xi Jinping’s enemies within the Party and the military intended to attack him by encouraging veterans to make trouble, to create difficulties for Xi, and to cause problems for this year’s Two Conferences or the 19th Congress.
Source: VOA, February 24, 2017
Caixin, a mainstream news media specializing in China’s economy, reported that China’s labor force continues to decline and its aging population continues to expand. According to data that China’s National Bureau of Statistics released in January 2017, at the end of 2016, the number of working-age population who were between the ages of 16 and 60 was about 33.25 million lower than in 2011. At the same time, China’s population aged 60 years and over at the end of 2016 increased by 45.87 million compared with 2011.
The report also mentioned that China’s population structure compared unfavorably with India.
Source: Caixin, February 27, 2017
On February 17, China Times published an article discussing China’s investments to stimulate the economy. According to the statistics that each province has released, the total investment to stimulate the economy in 2017 amounts to more than 40 trillion yuan (US$5.82 trillion). Twenty-three provinces so far have announced their 2017 fixed asset investment targets. Taking into account the provinces that have yet not published their data, the total investment in fixed assets this year will be at least 45 trillion yuan (US$6.54 trillion).
In addition to the large provincial budget targeted for infrastructure investment, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) also announced the latest progress on major investment projects. On February 15, NDRC spokesman Zhao Chenxin said at a press conference that in January, NDRC approved 18 fixed asset investment projects with a total investment of 153.9 billion yuan (US$22.38 billion). These projects are concentrated mainly in water conservancy, transportation, and energy fields.
Beijing Fushengde Economic Consulting Firm Chief, Economist Feng Delin, told the China Times reporter, “These investments are mainly to cope with the economic slowdown.”
Source: China Times, February 17, 2017
After China understood that the South Korea Company Lotte would remain firm in its position with the Korean government on the exchange of land for the deployment of the “THAAD” anti-missile system, China’s state media Global Times published an article threatening that Lotte should prepare for the consequences. Continue reading
In doing research for his new book, Consideration of (Post-Communist) China’s Constitution, Chinese lawyer Gao Zhisheng reported a conversation that enlightened him about how government cadres are not subject to the law. A retired vice president from the Xinjiang High Court told him, “In our country, once the leader reaches a position at a certain level, he no longer needs the law. His power can solve all problems. Only those who are helpless would take the route of a lawsuit.” Continue reading