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Briefings - 3. page

HKSAR Strengthens Nationalism Education: Schools Must Raise the National Flag and Play the National Anthem

The Education Bureau of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) recently issued guidelines to primary and secondary schools that require raising China’s national flag and letting it flow and playing the national anthem on three holidays: New Year’s Day, the HKSAR’s Establishment Day on July 1, and Chinese National Day on October 1.

A Hong Kong radio station reported that the education bureau also announced that it will implement “national anthem” education in the music classes from the first grade of elementary school to the third grade of junior high school.

In particular, the education bureau also pointed out that if students exhibit “abnormal behavior” while singing the national anthem, the school should handle it through counseling and if the situation is serious and involves illegal behavior that cannot be handled by the school, it may consider seeking police assistance.

Source: Central News Agency, June 18, 2020

China Mandates Real-name Registration for Online Literature

China’s online literature has grown rapidly in recent years. According to the “2019 Online Literature Development Report” that the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) released in February, the number of online literature users has reached 455 million. Fifty percent of users are online readers; the number of online authors has reached 17.55 million.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported on June 15 that China’s National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) issued a “Notice on Further Strengthening the Administration of Online Literature Publishing.” The Notice demands “rectifying the order of the online literature industry, strengthening the management of online literature publishing, and leading the online publishing units with a correct publication orientation.”

The Notice requires that online literature publishing units establish and improve content review and the approval mechanism. It strictly regulates the posting and publishing behavior and enforces the “real name registration for online literature creators.” Online publication platforms are told to be explicit in exhibiting posting rules and service agreements.

Source: Central News Agency, June 16, 2020

EU Considers Tightening Up Foreign Investment Rules

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that the European Union is considering further tightening up foreign investment policies. It is aiming at the Chinese government’s subsidies to Chinese companies’ international acquisitions. The EU is preparing investigations into the conduct of the Chinese investors. This new plan is supplemental to the EU’s foreign investment review mechanism passed in April. Another important driver behind this new action is to address the wary when some EU companies become the target of acquisitions in the current coronavirus environment. The European Commission has informed the member countries about this intent to establish a new legal tool, designed to ensure a fair competitive environment. The EU April Foreign Investment Review Policy already allowed member country governments to step in to foreign acquisitions on strategic assets. The new rule will focus on subsidies.

Source: Sina, June 6, 2020

Beijing Made Clear its Right to Intervene in National Security Cases in Hong Kong

In Shenzhen, on Monday June 15th, The Chinese Association of Hong Kong & Macao Studies (CAHKMS), a government think tank under the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, held a forum on the Hong Kong Basic Law. Deng Zhonghua, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macao Office, mentioned in his speech that both the central government and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government need to establish agencies to maintain national security, and that the central government will supervise and guide relevant work in Hong Kong. Deng emphasized that most of the law enforcement and judicial work should be completed by the HKSAR government, but the central government will retain jurisdiction over some cases.

Deng added, “The central government has jurisdiction over crimes against national security in the HKSAR. It must have an effective control and produce effective deterrence. It cannot be merely shouting some slogans or putting on some show. The central government should also, under extremely special circumstances, retain the power to exercise jurisdiction over crimes in the region that seriously endanger national security. Of course, very few cases will come under the jurisdiction of the central government, which will not take over the responsibilities of the relevant authorities in the HKSAR; nor will it affect the independent judicial power and final adjudication power enjoyed by the HKSAR under the Basic Law.”

Billy Li, a Hong Kong barrister and Convener of the Progressive Lawyers Group, a pro-democracy civil group formed by legal professionals, commented that, “If the (central government) enforces the law in Hong Kong, I think it is a violation of the Hong Kong Basic Law. Judicial, administrative and legislative rights are all part of Hong Kong’s autonomy, as codified by the Basic Law. Once (the central government) enforces the law in Hong Kong, even if it (the central government) adjudicates these cases, it is violating the autonomous rights of Hong Kong.”

Johannes Chan, Chair Professor of Law and former Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Hong Kong, also pointed out that if the national security organs can supervise and guide the work of Hong Kong agencies, this will almost completely destroy the “two systems.” It is equivalent to the “nationalization” of Hong Kong’s autonomy and will change the Basic Law beyond recognition. Chan expressed concern about Deng Zhonghua’s remarks, that if the mainland’s national security organs exercise jurisdiction in Hong Kong, it would mean the one-stop process of arrest, investigation, trial, sentencing, and even the procedure of imprisonment.

Hong Kong’s Legislative Council member Dennis Kwok expressed strong opposition to the possibility of transferring national security cases to the mainland for trial. Kwok asked, “Why can some cases suddenly be handled without going through the jurisdiction of the Hong Kong courts? Article 19 of the Basic Law makes it clear that the HKSAR has jurisdiction over all cases (in Hong Kong). That is to say, all cases related to Hong Kong must be tried in the Hong Kong courts. This further proves that the ‘National Security Law’ is unconstitutional and illegal.”

Source: Radio Free Asia, June 15, 2020

A Xi’an Company Banned the Use of the Apple iPhone

Well-known Chinese news site Tencent News recently reported that a company in the City of Xi’an just issued a company-wide ban on the use of the Apple iPhone. Any company employee found using an Apple iPhone will be fined six months’ worth of merit pay, which will be directly deducted from payroll. In the meantime, if an employee buys a Huawei cellphone, the company will award RMB 100 (around US$14). The company also pays any employee RMB 1000 (around US$140) for a domestically made car purchase. The story went viral online among Chinese netizens. It triggered a heavy debate on what is the right take on American products. However, not long ago, Apple iPhone 11 sales ranked among the top two across several major Chinese online retailers. It shows that Apple iPhones are widely recognized among Chinese consumers. Among the online discussions of the event, the population appears to be very divided. Many suggested their own companies had similar policies but they may not be published. Some suggested the iPhone buyers should be fired directly. However, a large number of people thought the fine was too extreme, and some even suggested that the fined iPhone buyers sue the company. Technical netizens also pointed out that Huawei products also use American technology.

Source: Tencent News, June 8, 2020

RFA Chinese: China Removed Crosses from over 250 Churches in Four Months

Radio Free Asia (RFA) Chinese Edition recently reported that the Chinese Communist Party’s Suppression of Religious Freedom has continued. Just between January and April, the communist government removed the crosses from more than 250 churches in Anhui Province alone. The churches that were ordered to remove the crosses all belong to the Three-Self Patriotic Church system, which is the only legal and pro-government Christian church system in China. The “Three-Self” churches accept the leadership of the Chinese government and refuse to have any ties to the West. According to some members of the churches, local government officials asked the churches to remove the crosses based on the new policies from Beijing to eliminate all religious symbols, not just the Christian ones. Recently, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and other human rights organizations have been criticizing China’s religion suppression. The USCIRF 2020 Annual Report pointed out that China is not only removing the crosses all over the country, but is also banning people below the age of 18 from participating in any religious activities.

Source: RFA Chinese, June 12, 2020

China’s Xi and Li at Odds on Street Vendor Economy

China’s Premier Li Keqiang recently pushed for a “street vendor economy,” encouraging people to set up street stalls as tens of millions have lost their jobs. However, the media in Beijing city and even the official mouthpiece did not follow suit. The Central Propaganda Department of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has reportedly issued a directive requesting the media to delete past reports that promote Li’s proposal. It is believed that the discord highlights a disagreement between Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang’s economic policy.

During his trip to Yantai, Shandong, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang praised the street vendor economy as the vitality of China. For a time, the words “street stalls,” and “night market” became a hot topic among the people and the media.

Even before the heat died down, first-tier cities, including Beijing and Shenzhen, clearly stated that they are not suitable for a street vendor economy. Beijing Daily, the mouthpiece newspaper of the CCP committee in the capital city, published a commentary article on June 6, claiming that the street vendor economy is not suitable for Beijing. “As the capital of the country, Beijing carries the national image. As the country’s first super-scale city, it has its own functional positioning and management requirements.”

The official website of the Shenzhen city government posted an article entitled, “Forget about ‘Setting up the Stalls!” The article said, “At present, Shenzhen has not yet promulgated any management measures for the ‘street vendor economy’ and will not announce any locations for temporary stalls.”

China Central Television (CCTV), the CCP’s official TV network, followed up on June 8. It said that for large cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, refined management is the right way and that major first-tier cities have not “blindly followed the trend.” It added that some cities have “clear minds” to say no to chaotic street vendors.

Radio Free Asia quoted some insiders from Beijing’s official Xinhua News Agency that, on the evening of June 4, executives from major official media received an injunction from the CCP’s Central Propaganda Department and began to delete previous reports (that promoted the street vendor economy). The Central Guidance Commission on Building Spiritual Civilization, a CCP commission in charge of brainwashing, withdrew previous official documents on the street vendor economy.

A Chinese independent scholar, Wu Qiang, reported that Hong Kong based Apple Daily, believed that this was an expression of the debate on whether the central government should strengthen or relax economic control after the epidemic. Li Keqiang has been promoting economic freedom policies such as reducing government approvals and giving the market a free hand; but Xi Jinping has continued to intervene to strengthen control of the economy. The two were always at odds.

On June 9, Frédéric Lemaître, a reporter from the French newspaper Le Monde, wrote that people believe Li Keqiang is more inclined toward the market economy, while Xi Jinping prefers a regulated economy through large state-owned enterprises. Li once said that China “still has about 600 million people whose monthly income is only 1,000 yuan (US $141), not even enough to be able to rent a room in an ordinary city.” His words stirred up a lot of discussions and also cast a shadow over Xi Jinping’s boasting about China’s anti-poverty “success.”

Source: Radio Free International, June 14, 2020

Former CCP Party School Professor: CCP Has Become a Political Zombie

Cai Xia, a former professor of the Central Party School of the CCP, made some remarks at a private forum saying that the CCP has become a political zombie. The remarks were then reported and appeared on the Internet.

Cai Xia stated that there is no way out of the current system itself. “There is no point in reforming the system. Speaking from the bottom line, this system must be cast away.” Cai Xia believes that after the CCP reform and opening up, the two most fundamental problems have not been solved: one is the system and the other is theory.”

Cai Xia stated that the CCP has become a “political zombie.”  “The CCP has come to its end.”

Cai Xia warned that if nothing is done now, “we will only be able to watch the free fall of the system, wait for him [Xi Jinping] to have a free fall and for the society to collapse; then we would start from the beginning. I think this is a highly probable path. If so, China will be in major chaos within five years.

Source: Radio France Internationale, June 4, 2020

Hong Kong’s Security Czar: HKPF Plans National Security Law Enforcement

John Lee, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Security in charge of the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF), confirmed that, in cooperation with the upcoming national security law, the HKPF is planning to set up a dedicated team to implement the national security work.

Lee told the media that, although the law is being drafted, the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region must get ready with sufficient manpower so that the laws can be enforced immediately after taking effect.

He added that, after the promulgation and enactment of the national security law, Hong Kong has the responsibility to do the job of maintaining national security. “Therefore, the Hong Kong government must be ready to carry out relevant deployment. This includes preparing sufficient manpower and providing training so that the law enforcement officers can perform their duties in this area.”

Source: Central News Agency, June 11, 2020

Chinese Communists’ Video Conference with Communist Leaders in Latin America

According to the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) mouthpiece newspaper People’s Daily, on June 9, the CCP’s International Liaison Department held a video conference with leaders of Communist Parties in Latin American. The paper reported that the meeting discussed issues such as adhering to the mission of Communists, cooperation in battling the epidemic, and opposition to using the epidemic to stigmatize the party. Attendees included communist leaders from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

Song Tao, head of the International Liaison Department promised continued assistance to those countries. In return, “The Latin Communist leaders spoke highly of the CCP’s leadership in the fight against the epidemic and thanked the CCP for its assistance through inter-party channels. They also condemned individual countries’ attempts to politicize the epidemic and stigmatize China. In addition, they affirmed their support for the ‘one China’ and ‘one country, two systems’ principles, and opposed any external forces that interfered in China’s internal affairs.”

Source: People’s Daily, June 10, 2020