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Government/Politics

Two Chinese Officials Plagiarized Speeches “Clashed” at a Meeting

According to a local government newspaper, Jiangxi Daily, on October 11, when an inspection team from the Guangchang County Party Committee was meeting with the county’s Party History Office and the Housing Management Bureau, the speech delivered by the Party chief of the Party History Office sounded almost exactly the same as that of the Party chief of the Housing Management Bureau. Both officials’ speeches were stopped on the spot.

A comparison of the wording that the two officials submitted showed that they were “perfectly identical,” except for a difference in the titles and the names of the office. As a matter of fact, the two officials’ speeches were copied from the Internet and were not original works by themselves. Unexpectedly, these two almost identical speeches “clashed” at the same meeting.

This was not an isolated case. Three officials’ speeches from another area, Zixi County in Jiangxi Province were also exposed as having been copied from the Internet.

Recently, the Zixi County government was conducting a series of interviews with county level Party officials for a performance review and anti-corruption investigation. Every official was required to make statements on their job performance. It was found that many paragraphs in the statements that the lower-level township, County Urban Management Bureau, and the County Traffic Police Brigade gave were both very similar.

Some overseas observers commented that many officials will hire other people to write their reports, and then read them in public. Even the officials do not know how much content is true and how much is fiction.

Source: Jiangxi Daily, October 11, 2018
http://www.jxnews.com.cn/jxrb/system/2018/10/11/017160395.shtml

Phoenix News Media Scrutinized during Internal Shakeup

Phoenix Satellite TV is one of the most influential Chinese-language media based in Hong Kong and the mainland. On September 26, a notice that Phoenix News Media posted on its website revealed that the network must undergo an internal shakeup. The official internet security management department made the request because the media was accused of “spreading illegal information, distorting the original meaning of the news headlines, and illegally reprinting news information.” The notice stated the network’s information channel, technology channel, and financial channels will be suspended temporarily from September 26 to October 10 and there will be no updates during that period. A Radio Free Asia article stated that this is a harsh punishment for a news station and is a reflection of Beijing’s tightened control over the news media. This is also the third time this year that the Phoenix News has been ordered to have an internal shakeup. In February, six online news websites, including Phoenix News Media were criticized for providing “unauthorized Internet audiovisual program service.” In April, the Phoenix News App was disabled and couldn’t be downloaded for two weeks. Meanwhile Phoenix is not the only news station being scrutinized this time. In September, the financial section of 163.com was also ordered to shut down for two weeks from September 11-25.

RFA quoted a comment that said, “After so many years, ifeng.com has long been like the official (communist) media. It has pushed patriotic news all day long. No matter whether it is Phoenix Satellite TV or ifeng.com, they have already changed. There is nothing to look at.” Another comment stated that “(all media) should listen to the party’s words in the future. The next target will be the portal website and Weibo.”

Sources:
1. Ifeng.com, September 26, 2018
https://inews.ifeng.com/index03.shtml
2. Radio Free Asia, October 5, 2018
https://www.rfa.org/mandarin/zhuanlan/7f517edc535a5f08/1-10052018150032.html

BBC Chinese: HK Refused to Renew the Financial Times Asian Editor’s Visa

BBC Chinese recently reported that the Hong Kong government officially refused to renew the work visa rpplication for Victor Mallet, who is currently the Asia News Editor for Financial Times (FT) and was the former FT Bureau Chief for South Asia. He is also the deputy Chairman of the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC). Mallet chaired a talk that a Hong Kong independence activist gave in August, despite the objections that came from Beijing. The Hong Kong government refused to comment on the incident. The FCC immediately issued a statement describing the government’s decision as very unusual and demanded an explanation. The British Foreign Ministry also asked for a reason for the rejection of the visa and asked the Hong Kong government to respect freedom of the press – which is part of the core values of Hong Kong society. The latest event triggered widespread discussions and concerns about Hong Kong getting closer and closer to being “like the mainland.”

Source: BBC Chinese, October 5, 2018
https://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/simp/chinese-news-45759836

RFI Chinese: HK Publicly Traded Mainland Companies Are Setting Up Party Branches

Radio France Internationale (RFI) Chinese Edition recently reported that Mainland companies that trade publicly in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange are establishing branches of the Chinese Communist Party. Chinese President Xi Jinping has required that state-owned companies must “strengthen the party leadership.” In the past one and a half years, 123 Mainland companies have formalized the party structure in their company charters and have given operational rights and financial interests to the CCP branches. These are about 5.43 percent of all companies publicly traded in Hong Kong. Some of these companies even put it in writing that, in case there is a conflict of interest between the party and the shareholders, the party’s interest has a higher priority. Market analysts pointed out that it is highly questionable whether or not the old “hidden rules” could just be legalized like that. It is even more ridiculous for the Hong Kong Stock Exchange to have allowed this to happen. Eight of the 123 companies are Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index constituent stocks. Further research showed that the amended company charters typically require one percent of the company’s total compensation cost to be used for Party branch activities. For critical decisions, the party branch must discuss and agree first, and then the decisions will be passed on to the board for voting.

Source: RFI Chinese, September 26, 2018
https://bit.ly/2IrSU3c

State Council Issued the Official Guideline for Publicly Traded Companies

The Paper reported that the State Council recently issued the official guideline for the Publicly Traded Companies in China. Among the guideline that consists of ten sections and 98 clauses, it specifically called for the requirement of “enhanced party development work” within the companies.”

The content of the guideline covers the basic concepts and principles of corporate governance; the composition and operation of the shareholders’ meetings, the board of directors, the board of supervisors, the rights and obligations of directors, supervisors, and senior management personnel; the incentive mechanism; the behavioral norms of controlling shareholders and their related parties; institutional investment parties and the related institutions that participate in corporate governance; the basic requirements of listed companies in terms of stakeholders, environmental protection and social responsibility; as well as information disclosure and transparency. The official guideline is set to be effective immediately.

Source: The Paper, September 30, 2018
https://www.thepaper.cn/newsDetail_forward_2492368

VOA: Swedish Television Host Says He Will Apologize, but not to the Chinese Government

Voice of America reported that a well-known Swedish television host said in a program that had been broadcast on Friday, September 28, that, although he was sorry for his lack of cultural sensitivity, he would not apologize to the Chinese government, which does not respect freedom of speech. On the show, the host, Ronndahl, showed a revised version of a map of the world. The revised map was covered with the Chinese flags everywhere and the world was red. He satirized China and said, “The whole world is yours.” The Chinese Embassy in Sweden issued a statement on Saturday expressing a strong protest, saying that the TV station “had vicious intentions and was trying to set the Chinese people against the Chinese government.” The statement also criticized the “so-called” apology from the Swedish television host and claimed that the apology “dodged the issue about what racism is.” The statement also said that the Chinese government is a government that has the “heartfelt support” of nearly 1.4 billion Chinese people.

The incident started with an initial report about a Chinese family involved in a hotel dispute in Sweden. The family claimed that, in dealing with the case, the Swedish police were rude and that they had a racial bias against the Chinese people. Later it was exposed on the Internet that the Chinese tourists wanted to stay in the hotel for one free night {saying they arrived the day before their booking}. After their tactic was exposed, the hotel rejected their request. The family members started to argue with the hotel staff and the police ended up removing them from the hotel. Since the event took place, the dispute between the two countries has become more and more fierce.

A Swedish comedic TV host used the hotel incident to remind Chinese tourists to be mindful of the local culture {Editor’s note: The host advised Chinese tourists not to mistake dogs for food or to defecate in public.} The Chinese government strongly protested. China slammed the show for maliciously insulting the Chinese people, accused the program of not including Taiwan and Tibet as part of China on the map they showed on the program, and demanded an apology.

The host said about Friday’s show that Chinese netizens had been bullying him. He also said that he would apologize for a joke that made one billion people uncomfortable and apologize to those who felt hurt. However, he said he would not apologize to the Chinese government because he believed that the Chinese government does not respect freedom of speech.

Source: Voice of America, September 29, 2018
https://www.voachinese.com/a/swedish-talk-shows-offer-chinese-government-humorous-apology-20180929/4592701.html

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