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Government/Politics - 2. page

Beijing News: Half a Trillion Spent on Urban Railways in 2017; Four Cities Break Even; 30 Run at a Loss

Beijing News recently reported that, according to a report that the Chinese Urban Rail Transit Association just released, China spent RMB half a trillion (around US$73.2 billion) in 2017 alone to build urban rail transit systems. By the end of 2017, a total of 34 cities completed their systems, with an operational railway length of 5,033 kilometers. At the same time, there are another 56 city systems still under construction, with a planned total length of 6,246 kilometers. With the massive expansion of urban rail projects, more and more issues and risks have started to occur and the government has called off some projects. These city rail transit systems imposed a major burden on the local budget of the cities. At the same time, the systems are largely under-utilized. Among the completed 34 rail transit systems, only Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Wuhan broke even financially. All of the other 30 cities run their systems at a loss.

Source: Beijing News, September 6, 2018
http://www.bjnews.com.cn/graphic/2018/09/06/503553.html

China to Build a Red Online Army of Commentators

The senior officials in the judicial circle of the Chinese Communist Party held a meeting on September 4th, mapping out a work plan related to the Internet and new media. Chen Yixin, Secretary-General of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, encouraged all personnel in the profession to open their online media accounts, in a sense to build an army of online commentators.

The meeting reportedly encouraged legal professionals and police officers to use new media to set the agenda for public discussion, create hot topics, and become effective online communicators. Chen talked about the transformation of the media and asked if he could be the first responder and agenda setter when a major event breaks out. Chen added that judicial personnel have the additional responsibility of using the pen and “are proactively sharing the burden for the Party.”

The “50 Cent Party” was also part of the discussion at the meeting. The 50 Cent Party, or 50 Cent Army (Chinese: 五毛党), is the colloquial term for Internet commentators who Chinese authorities have hired in an attempt to manipulate public opinion to the benefit of the Chinese Communist Party. Pointing out that the 50 Cent Party is low in quantity, poor in quality, and poorly organized, the meeting asked for a transition toward a “powerful red online army.” To this end, it is necessary to “discover and gather a group of talented original writers with positive energy.” The compensation for the 50 Cent Party was also put on the table. The meeting acknowledged that “not enough attention and support” has been provided to them in the past. Therefore, it was proposed to “explore the incentive mechanism and build a talented team.”

The meeting proposed to foster a group of WeChat public accounts of millions of followers, Weibo accounts of tens of millions of followers, and a web platform with millions of subscribers.

After the meeting, Chinese judicial and legal authorities may require all personnel to open online media accounts. If other professions follow suit, China will see a humongous size of government backed online red army commentators.

Source: Central News Agency, September 7, 2018
http://www.cna.com.tw/news/acn/201809070270-1.aspx

Deutsche Welle: The Number of Death Penalty Executions in the World Is Decreasing. China Still Tops the List.

Deutsche Welle reported that, according to Amnesty International’s 2017 annual report on the death penalty around the world, over two-thirds of the countries, or 142 countries, have abolished the death penalty or stopped the practice. Guinea and Mongolia are the latest two countries that have abandoned the death penalty. However there are 23 countries that still carry out the death sentence. China is the country that has the highest rate of death executions in the world. In 2017, 23 countries carried out 993 death sentences, down four percent from 2016 and down 39 percent from 2015. This number does not include China. Amnesty International believes that the death sentence in China was in the thousands but the real number remains a “state secret.”

Source: Deutsche Welle, September 7, 2018
https://p.dw.com/p/34Sla

Members of Religious Organizations Attend National Religious Group Workshop

From August 27th to September 1st, the Central United Front Work Department held a workshop in Beijing for the heads of national religious groups. Nearly 100 members at the level of Secretary General, The General Officer, and above from the Chinese Buddhist Association, the Chinese Taoist Association, the Chinese Islamic Association, the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, the Chinese Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the Chinese Christian Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee, the Chinese Christian Association, and others participated in the study. According to an article in The Paper, the participants “exchanged their understandings of the key messages from the 19th National Congress” and “concluded that they would fully utilize the network as religious organizations and unite their followers and other patriotic religious community members to follow the party’s direction.” In the speech that the Deputy Director of the Central United Front Work Department gave, the participants were told they should “constantly learn to understand, resolutely safeguard the core position of Xi Jinping, support the leadership of the Party, and strive to achieve the great rejuvenation of the China Dream.”

Source: The Paper, September 1, 2018
https://www.thepaper.cn/newsDetail_forward_2401674

Guangming Daily: Strengthen the Party’s overall Leadership over Propaganda and Ideological Work

A Guangming Daily editorial on September 3 re-emphasized the role of the Chinese Communist Party in leading China’s propaganda and ideology work.

The article said, “The more complicated the situation that the propaganda and ideology work face and the more arduous the task, the more important it is to strengthen the Party’s leadership. . . . General Secretary Xi Jinping delivered an important speech at the National Conference on Propaganda and Ideology Work. He stressed that it is necessary to strengthen the party’s overall leadership over propaganda and ideology work and clearly to adhere to the principle that the Party takes charge of propaganda and the Party takes charge of ideology.”

“Propaganda and ideology work . . . matter for the future and the destiny of the Party and the country. To strengthen the party’s overall leadership over propaganda and ideology work, one must resolutely safeguard the core position of General Secretary Xi Jinping, resolutely safeguard the Party’s authority and centralized leadership, and firmly adhere to the correct political direction.”

“Ideology work is an extremely important task of the Party. While we are doing our best in economic development, we cannot for a second relax and weaken the work of ideology. We ought to have an adequate estimate and preparation for the complexity and lasting nature of the struggle in the field of ideology.”

Source: Guangming Daily, September 3, 2018
http://news.gmw.cn/2018-09/03/content_30942552.htm

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