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Video Clip Containing Pro-Democracy Innuendo Spread Widely in China on Lunar New Year

China has produced many TV dramas about the the Chinese Civil War (1946-1949), when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) defeated the Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) and took control of mainland China.

During the 2024 Chinese New Year, people spread a video clip of the TV drama Bright Sword, where a CCP military commander motivates his soldiers to fight in the civil war. In the video the commander says, “People are struggling to survive, and inflation is rampant. Shouldn’t we overthrow such a dictatorial, corrupt, and dark government? Brothers, now is the time to decide the future of a nation. Every Chinese with a conscience should make his choice. I, Zhao Gang, make this choice: to demand democracy, demand freedom, overthrow the dictatorial regime, topple the fascist dictatorship, and establish a new China where the people are in charge.”

The clip is now spreading because what was said in the video can be interpreted as referring to the current leadership of China by the CCP.

Source: X Platform, February 10, 2024

Hong Kong Crowd Wards Off Arrest of Street Musician Playing Anti-CCP Protest Song

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has broken its promise regarding the principle of “One Country Two Systems,” putting Hong Kong under tighter and tighter control. The people of Hong Kong, however, have not surrendered to political pressure from the CCP.

Earlier this month a youtube video was published showing a street musician playing the English version of the anti-CCP protest song “Glory to Hong Kong” (愿荣光归香港) with his guitar and amplifier.

Several police officers surrounded the young man and yelled at him to stop playing. As the officers began to manhandle the musician, bystanders that had gathered began to shout out in the man’s defense, and one officer is seen looking around nervously. The police eventually backed off as a substantial crowd had gathered and many people were shouting that the man had not committed any crime. The man resumed playing, this time singing the Chinese version of the song, and many people joined in chorus as the officers stood by and watched. At the end of the video, the man is seen leaving with his belongings as the police continue to stand by.

The song “Glory to Hong Kong” became well known during the 2019-2020 protests in Hong Kong. It has been called “the anthem of Hong Kong’s anti-CCP protests.”

Sources:

YouTube, February 6, 2024

“Glory to Hong Kong,” WIkipedia, retrieved February 20, 2024
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glory_to_Hong_Kong

Guangming Daily Editorial: “The Economic Landscape in China Is Most Uniquely Beautiful”

Xi Jinping delivered a Lunar New Year address on February 8, comparing China’s economy last year to a beautiful landscape: “the [economic] scenery here [in China] is uniquely beautiful” (“风景这边独好”).

On February 10, Guangming Daily published an editorial propaganda piece titled “Living Better Days!” aiming to substantiate the idea that China’s economic “scenery” in the best in the world. Here is a key paragraph from the piece:

“You see, we decisively implemented a transition from the COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control  phase [to an open society]. The bustling streets and the prosperity of markets tell us that we have come through that difficult period. Agricultural production has again reached new highs: the rumbling of machinery and the reaping of silver sickles proclaim that we have achieved twenty consecutive years of abundant harvests. The vitality of strategic emerging industries can be seen in [the country’s] continuous breakthroughs in technological innovation, in the rapid formation of new productive forces, and in the total export of the “three new industries” (electric vehicles, lithium batteries, and solar cells) having surpassing one trillion yuan (US$ 140 billion). Despite the continued global economic downturn, we have still sent out 17,000 China-Europe freight trains and generated 126 trillion yuan in total economic output. ‘The economic scenery on China’s side is uniquely the best’ – this is the declaration that we have sent out to the world.”

Source: Guangming Daily, February 10, 2024
https://news.gmw.cn/2024-02/10/content_37142995.htm

Chinese Netizens Mock CCP’s Staged Picture

China News Service, one of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) mouthpieces, released a short video on the X delivering a propaganda message about “soldiers guarding the border despite being covered in frost.” Sharp-eyed netizens discovered discrepancies in the picture and concluded that it must have  been staged. The posting was circulated widely on social media, attracting numerous onlookers and much ridicule.

Here are some comments that were posted in response to the China News Service tweet:

  • “With so much snow, why is there not a single snowflake on the railing? And the clothes and guns are also clean. Besides staging scenes to stir up people’s emotion, does the CCP’s Propaganda Department have any other specialties? 😂”
  • “Why is there only frost on the face and hat, while the rest of the body and the gun have none?”
  • “Would anyone be stupid enough to let frost accumulate on their face like this? 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 Sigh… (the media) loves to act…”
  • “The eyes are covered, why not clean them? How can they detect enemy movements?”
  • “It’s fake, staged! The necks of these two individuals are exposed. In temperatures of minus ten degrees, if we go by the amount of frost on the masks, their necks would have frozen to death already.”

Source: Aboluo, February 11, 2024
https://www.aboluowang.com/2024/0211/2016719.html

People’s Daily: Party Leadership on Culture Vital to Fate of Party and Nation

People’s Daily published an article on “adhering to the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) leadership on culture and ideology.” The following are some highlights:

Adhering to the Party’s cultural leadership is vital to the future and destiny of the Party and the country. “To adhere to the correct way is to fundamentally uphold Marxism’s guiding position in the ideological realm, and to uphold the CCP’s cultural leadership and the unique identity of Chinese culture.”

Since the 18th CCP National Congress, the Party’s Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core has stipulated that the Party must manage propaganda, ideology, and media. This means adhering to the principle that [the CCP] politicians should run the newspapers, journals, radio, television, and news websites.

“Our comrades must enhance their awareness of the [ideological] battleground. If we do not occupy these grounds, others will,” Xi Jinping emphasized.

To firmly uphold the Party’s leadership over ideological work, the most basic and crucial thing is to firmly control, with our own hands, the fields of ideology and public opinion. The Party’s propaganda and ideological department “must shoulder responsibility for, be accountable to, and fulfill their duties to” their respective territories.

To guard our positions, the Party and its officials must dare to struggle and be adept at it. Nowadays the struggle in the field of ideology is increasingly sharp and complex. Xi Jinping emphasized that “comrades on the ideological and propaganda front should be warriors, not gentlemen. They should not be neutralists or opportunists who will pick the winning side. There is no room for compromise or concessions in the struggle over ideology.”

Source: People’s Daily, January 23, 2024
http://dangjian.people.com.cn/n1/2024/0123/c117092-40164528.html

CCP Trying to Pass Article 23 in Hong Kong Again

BBC Chinese Edition reported that the CCP is once again pushing to add the controversial “Article 23” to Hong Kong’s constitution. A prior attempt to implement the legislation in 2003 led to massive street protests of approximately half a million people in Hong Kong. According to Wikipedia, Article 23 states that Hong Kong “shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People’s Government, or theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organizations or bodies from conducting political activities in the Region, and to prohibit political organizations or bodies of the Region from establishing ties with foreign political organizations or bodies.”

The CCP now has tighter control over Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong government is now able to push for Article 23 once again. The article defines various “crimes against national security” and allows the government to arrest people under those charges.

The government has opened a one-month period for public feedback on the article, January 30 to February 28. The article defines nine chapters addressing five categories of activities posing threats to national security:

  • Treason: Expanding offenses to cover behaviors such as joining foreign armed forces at war with China and intending to harm China’s sovereignty.
  • Rebellion and Secession: Extending the scope of incitement to secession to all public officials and introducing the offense of rebellion for more serious acts.
  • Theft of State Secrets and Espionage: Detailed definition of state secrets, covering all public officials, with prohibition on illegal acquisition and disclosure, and addition of modern espionage activities.
  • Destructive Activities: Preventing damage to public infrastructure and introducing penalties for acts harming national security via computer systems.
  • Overseas interference: Prohibiting actions undermining Hong Kong affairs abroad and expanding regulations to monitor all organizations in Hong Kong, including foreign organizations; as long as the authorities “reasonally believe” that it is needed for the state security, it can stop the relevant organization’s operations.

Sources:
BBC, January 30, 2024
https://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/simp/chinese-news-68142687

Wikipedia, Retrieved February 14, 2024
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong_Basic_Law_Article_23

The New Social Currency in China’s Financial Industry: Guandan + Maotai

The Chinese card game “Guandan” has rapidly gained popularity nationwide since last year, posing a threat to golf and Texas Hold’em poker as the new “social currency” of China’s financial industry. Such scenes have emerged as financial securities firms giving “Guandan gift boxes” to clients, fund companies organizing Guandan tournaments, private equity and venture capital firms studying Guandan books and skill guides, and industry leaders playing Guandan games at gatherings.

In the past, China’s financial industry was closely intertwined with the US dollar, and social activities largely revolved around western activities such as golf or playing Texas Hold’em poker and drinking red wine. Nowadays, however, foreign sources of funding have largely dried up, and availability of domestic private capital is decreasing too. Financial professionals in China are therefore forced to turn to the government for funding. Since Chinese government officials enjoy playing the game “Guandan,” mastering this game has become critical for Chinese financial professionals.

With the industry drifting towards a “Guandan + Maotai liquor” model, Shanghai has even established a Guandan Sports Association. Originating from Huai’an, Jiangsu Province, “Guandan” is a four-player card game played with two decks of cards, where players form teams of two and must use higher-ranking card combinations to suppress opponents, with the winner being the first to deplete their hand of cards, followed by scoring and ranking up.

Source: Epoch Times, January 29, 2024
https://www.epochtimes.com/gb/24/1/29/n14168608.htm

Nikkei Shimbun: China’s 2023 GDP Growth Was Actually Negative

Japan’s Nikkei Shimbun ran an article saying that China’s 2023 GDP numbers reported by the communist regime are likely fake. Given suspicions of data tampering by both local and central party apparatuses in China, Nikkei Shimbun put together a rough alternative estimate using three data points that have a significant impact on GDP: real estate investment, net exports, and household consumption.

  • Real estate investment accounts for about 10 percent of GDP. Adding in Chinese consumer spending on electrical products, the sum accounts for about 30 percent of GDP. In 2023, China’s real estate investment decreased by 16.7 percent compared to 2022, which could lead to a decrease of 5 percent in GDP.
  • China’s net exports (i.e. the difference between imports and exports) historically accounts for about 3 percent of China’s GDP. However, from January to November 2023, net exports decreased by 32.3 percent compared to the same period in 2022, resulting in an estimated reduction in 2023 GDP of about 1 percent.
  • Chinese officials have not publicly disclosed household consumption data, which accounts for about 40 percent of China’s GDP. Nikkei estimated this data using total retail sales to consumers, a figure which increased by 7.2 percent in 2023 compared to 2022, impacting GDP positively by about 2.8 percent.

Adding these three numbers together, the resulting estimated true change in GDP is negative 3.2 percent. Even accounting for the impact of inflation, the change in GDP should be at least negative 2 percent, significantly below the positive 5.2 percent change in GDP published by the Chinese government.

The Nikkei report urged Japanese investors in China to withdraw their funds as soon as possible.

Source: New Talk (Taiwan), January 31, 2024
https://newtalk.tw/news/view/2024-01-31/907283