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China News: Many Companies Faked Air Quality Monitoring Data

China News recently reported that the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection issued its report on inspection results from 18 critical cities that have air quality concerns. This was a joint effort among the Ministry and six provinces. The Ministry sent 18 inspection teams to the cities and counties. The teams inspected over 8500 organizations and companies and found 3119 had problems. The joint inspection effort made several key findings. First is that response plans for heavy air pollution events were unrealistic. Second is that committed air pollution remediation plans did not get implemented. Third is that companies continued to ignore air pollution laws. The fourth finding is that many companies faked air quality monitoring data. The fifth finding is that the lack of dust control remains a common practice. The inspection effort also found that various levels of government branches did not take much action on their environmental protection responsibilities.

Source: China News, March 31, 2017

Party Officials Criticized for Mispronouncing Words during Public Speech

A Duowei News article quoted an article from Jiefang Daily on March 30 which sharply criticized a number of party officials for mispronouncing words during their public speeches and said that the phenomenon resulted in quite a lot of laughter and jokes in China. Some of the officials were reported to have even repeated the same mistakes at several locations. These officials were criticized for poor language skills and knowledge while the people around the officials were reportedly too scared to make any corrections or to say “No” to certain of their bosses’ inappropriate behavior. As Duowei reported, the Jiefang Daily article questioned whether mispronouncing the words was simply mispronouncing the words or if it sent another kind of alarming signal.

Source: Duowei News, April 1, 2017

Duowei News: Four New Appointments at Provincial Level in One Day and More to Come

According to an article published in Duowei News, the recent power shuffling indicates that Beijing is building a foundation to prepare for the upcoming 19th National Congress in the second half of the year. On April 1, Beijing announced four major changes at the provincial level. They included a new governor for Hainan and Gansu provinces and a new Secretary of the provincial Party Committee for He Longjian and Shandong provinces. The article stated that, based on the statistics that Duowei collected, since January 2016, among 31 provinces, direct-controlled municipalities, and autonomous administrative regions in China, a new Secretary of the provincial Party Committee was assigned in 18 provinces and regions and a new governor was assigned in 28 provinces. As of April 1, there were only 8 Secretaries of the provincial Party Committee and 3 governors left that had not been changed. The article predicted that there could be retirements and other more “exciting and critical” changes to come.

Source: Duowei News, April 1, 2017

RFA: Microsoft Customized Windows 10 for the Chinese Government

Radio Free Asia (RFA) recently reported that, according to Microsoft, a joint effort between Microsoft and its Chinese partner has been completed. The project was to customize the Windows 10 operating system to comply with the requirements that the Chinese government imposed. Experts expressed their belief that this new accomplishment may improve the weak sales situation of Microsoft products in the Mainland China market, which has heavily regulated and controlled the Internet market landscape. The customized Windows 10 version is designed specifically for government purchases instead of for the consumer market. Many international technology companies had to do the same thing. Qualcomm, Intel, and IBM all took the same approach. However, Microsoft did not reveal what they did for the Chinese government. The customization was required under the Chinese government’s worry about “back doors.” This task was challenging because Microsoft had to satisfy China’s requirements while protecting its core intellectual properties as well as ensuring that the Chinese government would not monitor the company.

Source: RFA, March 22, 2017

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

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