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CCP Watchdog: Cut off the Money Line behind the Entertainment Industry

In the headline news on its official website for August 31, 2021, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) stated that the entertainment industry must not harm the state’s interest.  The CCDI article reported on its interview with the State Council Development Research Center. The CCDI is the CCP’s disciplinary watchdog.

The CCP crackdown on the entertainment industry echoes its recent broader clampdown on the private sector. Increasingly Xi Jinping has emphasized the CCP’s dominant role in every aspect of China’s economy and society. The CCP has targeted high-tech, education, and other businesses using fines and restrictions. Private capital has been blamed for contributing to the risks of data breaches, education inequality, the disintegration of the Chinese culture, threatening social stability, harming state security, among other deep seated concerns.

According to the State Council Information Office in 2019, the value-added of China’s entertainment industry reached 4,436.3 billion yuan, accounting for 4.5 percent of China’s GDP.

The CCDI article states that money has been driving the growth and the chaos in the entertainment industry. Investment, entertainment stars, and fans’ consumption culture are part of one chain all led by money. In this chain, investment is the dominant force. It promotes entertainment stars to induce and influence fans’ consumption habits (particularly young people), ultimately eroding the socialist ideology.

“Entertainment is by no means mere singing, dancing, and playing music, but an important battlefield for ideological and cultural work. It is an important part of the superstructure [a Marxist term referring to culture, political power, and the state], and it is critical to Party [CCP] work. If capital is allowed to expand unfettered, entertainment will fail its role of serving the people and socialism, and it will disintegrate the spiritual homeland of the Chinese nation.”

“There are limits to capital expansion. The CCP dominant system has unique advantages so it can fully utilize capital in entertainment while effectively restricting disorderly expansion in the industry. The bottom line is that it cannot interfere with the development direction of socialism with Chinese characteristics;  it cannot manipulate the national economy and the people’s livelihood; it cannot harm state interests; and it cannot corrupt Party members and leading cadres, let alone seek improper political gains.”

Source: The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Chinese Communist Party, August 31, 2021
https://www.ccdi.gov.cn/toutiao/202108/t20210831_249112.html

Airbnb-Style Online Listings In Beijing Ordered to be Removed

According to Chinese media reports, in Beijing, most listings have been removed from Airbnb-style short-term rental platforms . A notice from the Beijing Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development stated that the city-wide short-term rentals will not be open for business for the time being. On August 22, short-term rental platforms were to remove “non-compliant properties” within seven days. As of August 29, most of the listings were removed from the rental platforms. An estimated 100,000 rentals were affected.

According to the notice, short-term rental listings may be restored after the rental operators provide documentation showing agreements among property management, homeowners associations, and other owners in the neighborhood and agreements with the public security authorities, among other requirements. It is more than challenging to meet these requirements. As a result, it is unlikely that most short-term rental units will be able to continue operating.

Analysts believe the authorities are tightening the control over people visiting Beijing. After the short-term rental industry collapse, people visiting Beijing will have to stay in hotels, where guests must register. Also, the higher cost of staying at hotels may make it harder for grievance petitioners and rights defenders to come to Beijing.

The statistics released by a short-term rental platform, Tujia, show that the total number of short-term rentals exceeded 630,000 in the first half of 2021, an increase of over 16 percent compared with 2020 (540,000 units), and a year-on-year increase of 2.9 times that of 2019 (160,000 units).

Sources:

1.) Netease, September 4, 2021
https://www.163.com/dy/article/GJ33V13D051492T3.html

2.) Radio Free Asia, September 1, 2021
https://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/jingmao/ql1-09012021062135.html

Xi Jinping’s Speech at the Central Party School: Have a Fighting Spirit in the Current Situation

Xinhua reported that, on September 1, 2021, the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) Central Party School started its Fall Training Class for Young and Middle-Aged Cadres. Xi Jinping gave a speech at the opening ceremony.

Xi recommended that cadres have a fighting spirit in the current situation. He stressed that, at the current moment, the world’s unprecedented changes have been accelerating and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has arrived at a critical period. The risks and challenges that the CCP faces have increased significantly. It is impractical to dream of always living in a peaceful environment without taking on any struggles. (The CCP cadres) should be realistic, dare to fight, and not yield on any principle issues. Thus they can safeguard our national sovereignty, security, and development interests with unprecedented determination. Communists, at any time, should have the bones and courage not to believe in any spirits, not to be afraid of anything, and not to yield to anyone.

Xi also stressed that the party cadres must have high ideals and firm beliefs. These ideals and beliefs are from Marxism, Communism, and Socialism with China’s Characteristics. Having a firm belief is tightly linked to being loyal to the party.

Source: Xinhua, September 1, 2021
http://www.news.cn/politics/leaders/2021-09/01/c_1127818076.htm

Entertainment Ordered to Study Xi Jinping’s Articles; Crackdown Has Started a Revolution

On August 30, 2021, China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism issued a directive requiring literary and artistic workers to study a series of articles by the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping.

The directive was issued to address the current violations of laws, regulations, and moral failures in the entertainment business, to further strengthen the control of education and to cultivate and promote the core values ​​of socialism.

The first item in the directive is to “strengthen study and education.” Specifically, it refers to studying Xi Jinping’s series of important expositions on literary and artistic work in depth. The directive calls for a deep understanding that the cause of entertainment is an “important cause for the party and the people” and that the entertainment front is an “important front of the party and the people.”

On August 29, 2021, the CCP media, China Youth Daily, posted a commentary entitled “Everyone Can Feel  that a Profound Change Is Underway!” More than 30 state media at the central, provincial and municipal levels in China have since prominently re-posted the commentary.

The commentary calls China’s recent crackdown measures “profound reforms” or “profound revolutions.” From censoring entertainment stars to suspending Ant’s Initial Public Offering, to Alibaba’s fine of 18.2 billion yuan, to the investigation of Didi and to the “common prosperity” policy, all measures show that a profound reform or revolution is taking place in the economic, financial, cultural, and even political arena. A profound “revolution” or “revolution” is returning capital to the people, to the CCP’s original goal, and to socialism. Those who attempt to block this reform will be “abandoned.”

The commentary continues that this “profound reform” is to counter the “barbaric and ferocious attack” of the United States against China. The commentary implies that China’s capitalists are the “fifth column” of the United States in waging a color revolution in China. “The United States is imposing increasingly severe military threats, economic and technological blockades, financial strikes, political and diplomatic containment and the suppression of China.” “The United States is more aggressively waging a color revolution through the fifth column within China. If this time, we still have to rely on those big capitalists as the main force of anti-imperialism and anti-hegemony,” China will not need enemies to fight. “It will fall first by itself,” just like the Soviet Union back then. That’s why China is reforming the “capital circle” and the “entertainment circle.”

Sources:

1.) China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, August 30, 2021
https://www.mct.gov.cn/whzx/whyw/202108/t20210830_927427.htm

2.) People’s Daily, August 29, 2021
http://politics.people.com.cn/n1/2021/0829/c1001-32211523.html

3.) Radio France Internationale, August 31, 2021
https://tinyurl.com/6p54dc87

 

Private Schools in China Are Disappearing

The owners of private schools in China have been forced to turn over their facilities to the state.

On August 25, 2021, the Ministry of Education of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) responded to questions from the media regarding the “Notice on Regulating the Establishment of Public Schools or Participation in the Establishment of Private Compulsory Education Schools.” The Ministry of Education stated that schools must cooperate with the CCP and carry out education reform as an important political task. Under the new regulation, private schools will be either handed over to the state or cease their operation within two years. The CCP’s suspension of private schools appears to be politically motivated to strengthen ideological control and amounts to misappropriating private assets.

The fallout from the education reform is rippling across the country.

On August 25, 2021, Yingshang School in Anhui Province notified its students’ parents that it closed its doors. In 2020, the school was a flagship in Yingshang County’s investment promotion campaign. The Jiangsu Zhufeng Education Group established it and invested in it. It was to provide elementary, junior high, and high school education. The campus has a construction area of ​​130,000 square meters and can accommodate 6,300 students. The school year was scheduled to start at the end of August.

Recently, the Huaiyang No. 1 Senior High School in Henan Province announced that the school will be donated in its entirety to the local government to “repay society.” It had a teaching staff of 1,300 and more than 20,000 students. The Henan Provincial Department of Education approved the school in 2002 and started to admit students in 2005. The school was touted as a model high school in Henan Province.

Jiaxiang Foreign Language School in Sichuan Province was turned over to the local government and will operate as a public school. It is the first compulsory education school in Sichuan that was converted from a private school to a public school after the implementation of the “Notice on Suspending the Approval of the Establishment of Private Compulsory Education Schools” that the Sichuan Provincial Department of Education had issued on June 11, 2021. The Notice requires all local governments to suspend the approval of private schools in the compulsory education stage.

In Hunan Province, on June 22, 2021, the Department of Education issued a notice on regulating private compulsory education. It requested that private junior high and primary schools reduce their students to below five percent of the total compulsory education students. It amounts to a reduction of approximately 364,000 students. Further, Hunan Province will no longer approve new private compulsory education schools.

In Jiangsu Province, the CCP Education Work Leading Group issued a directive stating that it will no longer approve new private compulsory education schools. The order sets the goal of reducing students at private compulsory education schools to below five percent of the entire compulsory education students within two or three years.

Sources:

1.) The Government of the People’s Republic of China, August 25, 2021
http://www.gov.cn/zhengce/2021-08/25/content_5633202.htm

2.) Zhihu, August 3, 2021
https://zhuanlan.zhihu.com/p/396201138

 

In 2020, China’s Economic Espionage Cases Were Seven Times What They Were Five Years Ago

On August 30, Dong Jingwei, China’s Vice Minister of State Security (MSS), said that the number of espionage cases in the economic and financial sectors in 2020 were seven times what they were five years ago. At the same time, the MSS has “strengthened work in non-traditional areas such as bio-security, network security, and data security, and has achieved rich results.”

The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission held a press conference on August 30. Dong, who was once rumored to have defected and fled the country, made his public appearance and made the above statement in response to media questions.

Dong Jingwei said that the national security organs “organized and mobilized the whole society to fight the anti-espionage war.”

Dong mentioned that MSS has achieved comprehensive coverage of the National Security People’s Defense Line. After the activation of the national security reporting platform in 2018, the number of tips submitted by the public has continued to increase, reaching a total of more than 11,000. MSS has launched investigations based on many of the submissions.

Source: Central News Agency, August 30, 2021
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/acn/202108300301.asp

Cyberspace Administration Cracks Down on Tech Companies and Financial Self-Media Accounts

On August 27, China’s Cyberspace Administration issued two orders in a row targeting tech companies and online financial self-media accounts.

The first order was a draft version of a regulation that bans the tech companies from using an algorithm to block content, push recommendations or manipulate the ranking order of a top search list. The experts suggested that these restrictive measures will have a major impact on the growth and profitability of these tech companies.

The second order aimed at effectively curbing the online dissemination of financial information by clamping down on online self-media accounts to keep them from illegally publishing financial related information. The self-media mainly refers to those independent accounts on Chinese social media that are not officially registered but can publish their original content. The order listed eight types of violations including arbitrarily making a distorted interpretation of the official policies and predicting a gloomy future for the Chinese economy and financial market; irresponsibly posting news and commentaries from overseas; spreading rumors and false information; manipulating the official economic and financial news reports; acting as a “black mouth” which refers to the commentators who post comments that disturb the social order; using negative information to threaten, intimidate, or blackmail the relevant party for financial benefits; hype negative social events to incite emotion, anxiety and panic; or fraudulent use of the name of state officials or experts to open up a financial column.

On Saturday, China’s largest social media platforms WeChat, TikTok, Sina Weibo and Kuaishou quickly issued statements stating that they will comply with the requirement and clean up any violations.

Source: Voice of America, August 28, 2021
https://www.voachinese.com/a/china-cracks-down-on-harmful-financial-news-20210828/6076166.html

Hong Kong Seeks to Amend Film Censorship Bill

The Hong Kong government recently announced that it has submitted an amendment of the 2021 Film Censorship Bill to the Legislative Council. The amendment contains requirements for the film inspectors to determine whether the release of films they inspect will be detrimental to national security. It also empowers the Chief Secretary of Administration to revoke any previously issued approval if the inspectors believe that the release of certain films violates national security.

One senior Hong Kong director who wants to remain anonymous told the Central News Agency that it takes more than just a director to make a film. When they assessed whether to make a film in the past, they mainly focused on the box office revenue and audience reaction. Now, however, from the directors to the production companies, they must consider political issues too. Politics will be above everything, including the original creation and any business concerns. It is also hard to figure out where the red line is, that is, whether it violates national security.

Source: Central News Agency, August 29, 2021
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/acn/202108290055.aspx