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Government/Politics

Three Arrested in Hong Kong for Allegedly Insulting Chinese National Anthem

Three Hong Kong citizens were arrested on June 6 at a football stadium for allegedly insulting the national anthem of the People’s Republic of China.

The World Cup Asian qualifying match between Hong Kong and Iran was held at the Hong Kong Stadium on the night of the June 6. As is customary, the Chinese national anthem was played before the match.

The police stated that during the playing of the national anthem, the three arrested individuals either turned their backs to the field or did not stand up, violating Hong Kong’s National Anthem Ordinance. They were subsequently removed from the stadium and arrested.

The case is currently under investigation by Hong Kong’s Serious Crime Team. All three individuals have been released on bail and will have to report to the police early next month.

After the 2014 “Occupy Central” movement in Hong Kong, the city saw a local rise in anti-China sentiment. During international football matches, large groups of fans would boo during the Chinese national anthem.

In June 2020, the “National Anthem Ordinance” came into effect, criminalizing improper use of the national anthem as well as the public, intentional insult of the anthem. The ordinance stipulates that insulting the national anthem can result in a HK$50,000 fine or 3 years imprisonment.

Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), June 7, 2024
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/acn/202406070057.aspx

China’s Communist Party Members Revised Disciplinary Code Details “Hundred Sins”

The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) nearly 100 million members are studying a newly revised set of “Disciplinary Regulations.” The regulations contain over 100 provisions, leading Hong Kong media outlet Ming Pao to sarcastically comment that members who can avoid violating any of them are almost “saints” or “perfect people.”

According to the commentary in Ming Pao, the revised regulations list 158 disciplinary violations for party members. These include bans on religious beliefs, stock trading, and joining alumni or hometown associations without approval.

First introduced in 2003 and frequently revised since, the latest version of the CCP’s “Disciplinary Regulations” took effect on January 1st, 2023 after the latest revisions were finalized in December 2022. Violations span six categories: political, organizational, integrity, mass relations, work, and life.

On the political discipline front, publicly expressing “right-wing” views that “adhere to the position of bourgeois liberalization and oppose the Four Cardinal Principles,” as well as “ultra-leftist” opposition to China’s reform and opening up policies, are considered violations. Newly added are violations like “opportunistic networking” and “associating with ‘political fraudsters.'”

“Political fraudsters” refer to those who claim high-level connections to officials, those who claim to have “special backgrounds” as experts/masters, and those who ingratiate themselves with local politicians to facilitate promotions or to resolve legal cases for personal gain.

The Ming Pao commentary noted that, while some violations like “failing to resolutely implement central policies” are clear, others like “pursuing sensual pleasures and vulgar interests” or “inaction, false action, and slow action” are more vague and hard to interpret.

Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), June 11, 2024
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/acn/202406110039.aspx

Philippine Mayor Alice Guo Suspended Amid Allegation of Being Chinese Spy

Alice Guo (Guo Huaping), the 35-year-old mayor of Bamban City in Tarlac Province, Philippines, has been suspended from work after being accused of being a Chinese spy and of involvement in a scam operation. Alice Guo’s background is quite mysterious. In 2021, she suddenly emerged and registered to run for mayor of Bamban City. She won the election smoothly.

The dynamics of Chinese influence over Philippine politics have changed, as relations between the Philippines and China worsened in recent years.

There are many immigrants from Fujian Province, China, in the Philippines, and Fujianese leaders have significant influence there. During presidential elections in the Philippines, the Chinese diaspora leaders and businessmen spend significant amounts of money financing the campaigns of their preferred politicians, as having their preferred president in office results in several years of prosperity for their businesses. They maintain close ties with the Chinese Communist Party’s Department of United Front Works as well as with China’s diplomatic and intelligence departments; in the past these Fujianese diaspora leaders and businessmen have played key roles in the Philippines during moments that Beijing considers critical.

In March of last year, the Philippine police raided a location in Bamban which was disguised as a POGO site (a local term for an offshore gambling venue). The venue was actually a scam center; the police rescued nearly 700 individuals, including 202 Chinese nationals and 73 people from other countries, who had been forced into “online romance scams.” Alice Guo was found to own half of the land involved in the POGO operation, which was located right behind her office. Alice Guo owns a helicopter and a Ford Expedition SUV.

Source: Creaders.net, June 4, 2024
https://news.creaders.net/world/2024/06/04/2739029.html

Henan Province Massively Cuts Government Jobs

As China’s fiscal pressure remains unabated, local governments are seeking ways to reduce the number of “iron rice bowl” positions (secure government jobs).

In 2023, all Chinese provinces and municipalities (except Fujian Province) recorded budget deficits. Henan Province had an income of 451 billion yuan (US$ 62 billion) while its recorded expenditures reached 1.106 trillion yuan (US$ 152 billion), resulting in a deficit of 655 billion yuan (US$ 90 billion). The province has cut over 5,600 government positions in the past few years and will continue its efforts to cut more positions going forward.

Henan Province announced that, with the exception of schools and hospitals, it is planning to cut or consolidate at least 50 percent of government units, 30% of staffing positions, and 10 percent of fiscal funding for staffing positions. In principle, the government will no longer retain work units at the division level and below if they have fewer than 16 staff positions.

Source: Epoch Times, May 5, 2024
https://www.epochtimes.com/gb/24/5/5/n14241546.htm

Mingpao: Police Deployed in Causeway Bay and Some Protesters Removed for Mourning June 4th

Mingpao, one of the primary Hong Kong newspapers, reported on June 4 that, on the day of the 35th anniversary of the June 4th Tiananmen Square Massacre, a large number of Hong Kong police officers were deployed in Causeway Bay, an energetic shopping and cultural district in Hong Kong.

Many people were stopped and checked, and some protesters were removed by the police. In the evening, police dispatched armored vehicles to patrol Causeway Bay, and Deputy Commissioner of Police (National Security) Kan Kai-yan also visited Victoria Park to talk with the police officers on duty.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Victoria Park saw hundreds of thousands of local residents gathering annually to remember the June 4th Massacre. The Consuls General of the Netherlands and Germany in Hong Kong and the Acting Director of the European Union Office in Hong Kong and Macao arrived at Victoria Park at about 7:30 pm, just to “take a walk.” The three stayed for about ten minutes and then left. During this period, they did not respond to questions from the media. Kenichi Okada, the Japanese Consul General in Hong Kong, was also seen entering Victoria Park alone at around 8pm.

Source: Mingpao, June 4, 2024
https://news.mingpao.com/ins/%E6%B8%AF%E8%81%9E/article/20240604/s00001/1717487598647

CCP Claims 115 Million Children Affiliated Communist Young Pioneers Organization

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) released data on the number of children in its affiliated Communist Young Pioneers organization. According to the National Young Pioneers Work Committee, as of December 31, 2023, there were 114.807 million Young Pioneers nationwide. There are a total of 276,000 grassroots-level Young Pioneers Committees across the country, including 190,000 in primary and secondary schools, 83,000 in townships (streets) and villages (communities), and 3,000 in youth centers.

The CCP has three communist organizations: the CCP is for adults, the Communist Youth League is for youths (ages 14 to 28), and Communist Young Pioneers is for children (ages 6 to 14). According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics there were 159 million children in the 6-to-14 age range in 2020. If these numbers are correct, then the CCP has made the majority of China’s youth join its Young Pioneers organization.

Sources:
1. People’s Daily, June 2, 2024
http://cpc.people.com.cn/n1/2024/0602/c64387-40248399.html
2. National Bureau of Statistics website
https://www.stats.gov.cn/zs/tjwh/tjkw/tjzl/202304/P020230419425666818737.pdf

China Releases “2023 Report on Human Rights Violations in the United States”

On May 29th, China’s State Council Information Office released a “2023 Report on Human Rights Violations in the United States.” The following are some highlights from the report:

In 2023, the human rights situation in the U.S. continued to deteriorate. Some 76 percent of Americans believe their country is heading in the wrong direction.

Intense partisan fights, governmental dysfunction, and ineffective governance have resulted in the inability to effectively protect civil and political rights. Mass shootings remain rampant, with approximately 43,000 people dead from gun violence [in 2023], averaging 117 deaths per day. Police brutality is rampant, with at least 1,247 people dying due to police violence in 2023, the highest number since 2013. Although the U.S. population accounts for less than 5 percent of the global population, it holds 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, truly making it a “prison nation.” Partisan strife continues to intensify, with elections manipulated by gerrymandering and with two “house speaker election debacles” in the U.S. House of Representatives. Only 16 percent of surveyed Americans expressed that they trust the federal government.

Racism is deeply rooted in the U.S. Nearly 60 percent of Asian Americans report facing racial discrimination, and the “China Initiative” targeting Chinese scientists has had far-reaching negative impacts.

The gap between rich and poor in the U.S. is widening, with the “working poor” phenomenon becoming more prominent and with economic and social rights protection systems failing.

Women’s and children’s rights in the United States have long been systematically violated.

Despite being a nation historically and presently benefiting from immigrants, the U.S. has severe issues of exclusion and discrimination against immigrants.

The U.S. has long practiced hegemony, pursuing power politics, and abusing military force and unilateral sanctions. It continues to export weapons such as cluster munitions to other countries. This has exacerbated regional tensions and armed conflicts, causing numerous civilian casualties and severe humanitarian crises. Moreover, the U.S. has carried out extensive “foreign agent” operations, destabilizing other societies and infringing on their human rights. To this day, it refuses to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

Source: People’s Daily, May 29, 2024
http://politics.people.com.cn/n1/2024/0529/c1001-40246324.html

Global Times: Beijing Announces Strict Rules Regulating How Stock Holdings May be Reduced

Global Times recently reported that the China Securities Regulatory Commission issued “Interim Measures” for managing “Share Reductions by Shareholders of Listed Companies.” The purpose of the new rules is to strictly regulate the holding reduction behavior of major shareholders and to effectively prevent “detours” to holdings reductions. The Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges released detailed sets of guidelines at the same time. {Editor’s note: These new restrictions by Beijing, which prevent stockholders from selling their shares under certain circumstances, may be motivated by a belief that these measures will help to prop up China’s stock market and economy.}

The new rules clarified the various circumstances under which shareholding reduction is prohibited. Controllers and controlling shareholders of listed companies are not allowed to reduce shareholdings through centralized bidding transactions or large-scale transactions when the shares are broken (i.e. when the stock price falls below the issue price on issuing day), netted (when the stock price falls below net asset value per share), or when dividends are not up to standard. Controllers, controlling shareholders, and persons acting in concert are not allowed to reduce their holdings within the corresponding period if the listed company is involved in violations of any laws or regulations. Disclosure obligations now include 15-trading-day-ahead disclosure requirement. Shareholding reduction plans should include the number and sources of shares to be reduced as well as the time range, price range, method, and reasons for the reduction, etc. The new rules also include restrictions on the reduction process as well as on major shareholder identity management. The China Securities Regulatory Commission also attempted to plug loopholes where shareholder reduction could happen following a refinancing or a company split-up (a divorce).

China’s benchmark CSI 300 index has lost more than a third of its value since 2020 and is now entering its fourth year of decline.

Source: Global Times, May 27, 2024
https://m.huanqiu.com/article/4Hxnqo39nyY