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Government/Politics

VOA: Newly Elected Hong Kong Executive Will Face Challenges in Carrying out Her Policies

VOA carried an article about the election on Sunday, March 26, for Hong Kong’s Chief Executive. The article noted that, based on its analysis, Carrie Lam, the newly elected Chief Executive will face challenges in carrying out her policies because Beijing wanted her to be in that position even though she was far behind in the polls compared to her opponent John Tsang. The article stated that the Hong Kong election is also called a “limited election” because a committee made the decision; it consists of 70 members of Hong Kong’s legislative chamber and a mix of professionals, and business and trade elites. The article said that Sunday’s end result was “just as expected” and “with no surprises.” Carrie Lam, former Chief Secretary for the Administration of the Hong Kong SAR Government, won the election after gaining 777 votes (out of a total of 1,163 votes cast). The other two candidates were John Tsang, the former Finance secretary, who also led in the public opinion polls and and Woo Kwok-hing, a retired judge. Tsang had 365 votes and Woo Kwok-hing had 21 votes. According to the article, at the last minute, Beijing worked hard to put pressure on the business committee members to convince them to switch their position. This made Carrie Lam’s votes a lot higher than expected. Leung Kwok-hung, a member of the Legislative Council, told VOA that Beijing controlled the election. He explained that, according to a number of major Hong Kong media, even though Carrie Lam was 20 to 30 percent behind John Tsang in the polls one week before the election, Carrie Lam still won. Leung told VOA, “She had Beijing’s support, which might work against her in Hong Kong if she plans to execute her plans.” Another independent legislator told VOA that Lam winning the election will force Hong Kong to split even further and she will have a hard time managing Hong Kong. The article said that Carrie Lam is also called “Leung Chun-ying 2.0” because she claimed that one of her reasons to enter the election was that she wishes to continue the policies of Leung Chun-ying the incumbent Chief Executive. The author also interviewed Joshua Wong Chi-fung, the student activist who serves as secretary general of Demosistō, who told VOA that Beijing has been manipulating the election and that therefore, in the future, it will have to face more resistance from Hong Kong’s youth.

Source: Voice of America, March 26, 2017
http://www.voachinese.com/a/hong-kong-election-/3782234.html

Minister of Supervision: It Is Very Dangerous for Entrepreneurs to Seek Political Power

Yang Xiaodu, Deputy Party Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and Minister of Supervision gave a keynote speech at China’s Top Leaders Development Forum. Yang seemed to indicate that the CCDI wants to target some business tycoons and their connections with those having political power.

Yang pointed out that some entrepreneurs are extremely willing to deal with government officials. There are two abnormal situations. “One is when capitalists want to receive special treatment. However, that violates the market economy’s fair competition principle.” “Another one is when capitalists seek political power after grabbing economic power. This is very dangerous.”

“China’s enterprises have huge wealth, but the purpose is to benefit the public and society … It cannot become a tool and a means to corrupt government officials for the sake of their own enterprise’s interests.”

Source: The Paper, March 18, 2017
http://www.thepaper.cn/newsDetail_forward_1642345

CCDI Started “Skynet 2017”

The Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) started its “Skynet 2017” operations on March 7. “Skynet” is a campaign to bring corrupt officials who hide overseas back to China. CCDI carries out this operation every year.

The CCDI website explained that this year’s operation focuses on three things: money, ID, and people.

“The majority of criminal suspects tried to transfer money overseas before they left China. The campaign targets off-shore companies and underground banks to block the channels used for getting stolen money out of China.

“’Skynet 2017’ closely watches people’s IDs. As part of its routine work, it includes oversight of illegally obtained passports and IDs and the government officials’ private passports.

“It closely monitors people. It will strengthen the monitoring of key corruption suspects and people who can provide valuable tips so that a slight leak of information will prevent the suspect from escaping.”

Sources:
1. CCDI Website, March 8, 2017
http://www.ccdi.gov.cn/yw/201703/t20170308_95390.html
2. CCDI Website, March 8, 2017
http://www.ccdi.gov.cn/yw/201703/t20170309_95465.html

Favorable Reports in Chinese Media on 101-year-old David Rockefeller, Who Carried on His Family’s Philanthropy

On March 22, Xinhua News Agency published a lengthy report on David Rockefeller, the youngest of his generation of the Rockefeller family. Xinhua reported that renowned U.S. banker David Rockefeller passed away, at age 101, at his Pocantico Hills home in New York. The report quoted Fraser P. Seitel, spokesperson for the Rockefeller family as saying that he died peacefully in his sleep.

Xinhua went on to review what it called “the legendary life” of David Rockefeller. The review included his privileged upbringing, his education at the University of Chicago and at the London School of Economics and Political Science, his internship with New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia, his stewardship at Chase Manhattan Bank, and his declining to take the position of Treasury Secretary, first during the Nixon years, and the second time at the invitation of Jimmy Carter.

The reported cited praise from first ladies Barbara Bush and Hillary Clinton in memory of David Rockefeller for his philanthropy and other achievements.

At midnight on Mar 20, Phoenix Satellite Television, a Hong Kong-based broadcaster which serves China and other countries, broadcast a documentary on the philanthropy of John D. Rockefeller, grandfather of David Rockefeller. The documentary first aired in 2014. It commended U.S. constraint after signing the 1900 protocol which ended the warring dispute between 11 Western countries and the Qing Dynasty government in Beijing. The Phoenix documentary characterized the U.S. as a young, progressive country, which led the world by producing one super wealthy industrialist after another and one great invention after another.

John D. Rockefeller, according to the full transcript of the documentary, was then the wealthiest man in the world and a poster boy for that gilded age. He built two kingdoms in his life: one in petroleum and one in philanthropy. The Peking Union Medical College Hospital was established in 1917 with funding from John D. and his son. As Phoenix put it, it carried the aspirations for modern medical science across the Pacific.

Global Times, a newspaper known for editorials with a populist leaning, was among the earliest to profile David Rockefeller’s life achievements. It carried a report commemorating the Rockefeller family’s contribution to modern medicine science in China, attributed directly to Peking Union Medical College Hospital’s website, as well a series of pictures of David Rockefeller, attributed to china.com.cn, a news portal affiliated with the State Council Information Office.

Sources: Xinhua News Agency, March 22, 2017
http://news.xinhuanet.com/world/2017-03/22/c_129514811.htm
Phoenix Satellite Television, March 20, 2017
http://news.ifeng.com/a/20170320/50802581_0.shtml
Global Times, March 21, 2017
http://world.huanqiu.com/article/2017-03/10349407.html
Global Times, March 21, 2017
http://www.huanqiu.com/www/mobilenews/hot/2017-03/10346542.html
Global Times, March 20, 2017
http://world.huanqiu.com/exclusive/2017-03/10344409.html

Is China’s Civil Law Creating Literacy Persecution?

The “Hero and Martyr Protection Article” in the General Provision of Civil Law that the Fifth Plenary Session of the 12th National People’s Congress recently passed has generated a lot of scrutiny.

The original draft did not contain that article. During the Plenum, Article 185 was added as, “Those who infringe on the names, portraits, reputations, and honor of heroes and martyrs and damage the public interest should bear civil liability.”

Many people have ridiculed this law: It is very difficult to define “heroes and martyrs” legally. In certain periods, the “heroes and martyrs” that the Communist Party promoted were indeed fake. When people tried to go back to the real truth in history, their comments were treated as malicious slander.

“Those of a certain age can still remember that whoever said something negative about Mao Zedong during the Cultural Revolution would be imprisoned or killed. Now China has ‘improved.’ Whoever criticizes Mao Zedong or other of the Communist Regime’s ‘heroes’ and ‘martyrs’ will not be killed. Instead, the Public Security Bureau and the procuratorate may use a civil lawsuit to destroy his family financially.”

It is called, “to use the Civil Law to create literacy persecution (imprison the author who writes something against the regime’s will).”

Sources:
1. Hk01.com, March 14, 2017
https://www.hk01.com/兩岸/77661/民法總則增新條款擬追究褻瀆烈士行為-學者稱-英雄烈士-難界定
2. Radio Free Asia, March 20, 2017
http://www.rfa.org/mandarin/zhuanlan/yehuazhongnanhai/gx-03202017133305.html

VOA: 2017 Will Be the Year for Xi to Shake off His Predecessors’ Control and Carry out His Plan

VOA published an article about Liang Hui (the National People’s Congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference) which ended on March 15. It also quoted the comments that Douglas H Paal, Vice President for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, made predicting that Xi Jinping will play a greater world leadership role in 2017.

According to the article, Liang Hui ended quietly on March 15 partly because Xi does not want to make any changes prior to the 19th National Congress which will be held later this year. The article further indicated that Xi has further consolidated his power. It stated that 2017 will be the year for Xi to shake off the control of his predecessors while carrying out his plan.

The author also interviewed and quoted Douglas Paal’s comments. According to Paal, 2017 is the year that Xi Jinping enters into phase II of his era. Below is the translation of part of his comments:

“During phase I, Xi had to work with the people from various backgrounds in leadership. Those people had their own opinions. They represented the results of the negotiation between Xi and his predecessors Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin. They did not agree with Xi on the key issues including reforms and the policies that Xi has been promoting. I believe, during phase II, most of the members in the politburo standing committee and the central party committee will be his people who support his policy.”

“There are two issues that are worth noting. First, Xi might further reduce the number of members in the politburo standing committee, possibly from seven to five, in order to reduce the differences between the members. Second, the issue is how to retain Wang Qishan, a key supporter of Xi. Wang will be 69 in July. Based on an unwritten age limit policy for senior leaders, Wang has to retire from his current position. I think he will find a way to keep Wang Qishan as a consultant or in other roles within the politburo standing committee. The world will see this as a positive signal. Therefore this decision will benefit Xi.”

“In 2017, Xi Jinping will play a greater world leadership role. In January 2017, Xi spoke at the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland and said that if the U.S. withdraws from its world leadership role, China is more than willing to replace it. There will be a “One Belt, One Road” forum to be held in May in Beijing. It will be the stage for Xi to show the world his foreign policy. Moreover, Xi will have a further political impact this year on the upcoming 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover.”

“In the short term, Xi will have a positive impact on the world, but in the long run, it might not be the case. Once Xi gains political power, he will more actively protect China’s so called “national interest.” For example, if President Trump decides to impose a penalty tax on China and build trade barriers, Xi will be fully against it. He will also resist on issues such as the East and South China Sea and Taiwan.” {Editor’s note: While VOA reports Douglas Paal’s interview and quotes him, Paal’s exact wording could not be located in English.}

Source: Voice of America, March 17, 2017
http://www.voachinese.com/a/china-two-sessions-20170317/3770976.html

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