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RFA: Suicide Rate among Municipal Officials Is Rising

According to an article published in RFA, on May 21, Wang Xiaoming, the deputy secretary-general of the Beijing municipal government, committed suicide by jumping off the building. Medical records indicate that Wang had been suffering from depression for a long period of time. The article reported that, in China, it is not uncommon for government officials to commit suicide. Statistics show that from 2009 to 2016, 243 municipal officials committed suicide. They range in age was from 45 to 55 years old. Most of them suffered from depression. The article quoted a few comments which revealed that government officials work under high pressure. They work in what is considered a high risk profession. If they don’t have the correct background, they have to pay a high price in order to get promoted. If they are the subject of an investigation, they usually don’t have many options because they know China does not operate under the rule of law. Thus the anti-corruption campaign has resulted in an increase in suicides. Corrupt officials choose suicide for three reasons: to eliminate criminal evidence and protect their peers; to protect the vested interests of their family members; and to protect their reputations.

Source: RFA, May 22, 2018

BBC Chinese: Hong Kong Reporters Were Beaten up in Mainland China

BBC Chinese recently reported that, not long ago, unknown attackers beat up reporters from Hong Kong media. One latest example was Hong Kong’s Now TV reporter Xu Junming. Five under-cover policemen beat him while he was reporting on a hearing that the Beijing Lawyers’ Association had organized. Their Discipline Committee was punishing human rights lawyer Xie Yanyi. Xie represented Falun Gong practitioners in court. Xu is fully licensed and authorized to report in Mainland China. Another example occurred four days earlier than that. Two unknown men attacked Hong Kong Cable TV reporter Chen Haohui in Sichuan Province while he was reporting on the 10-year anniversary of the 512 Wenchuan Earthquake. These incidents triggered a wave of criticism in Mainland social media. According to Reporters Without Borders, China was ranked number 176 in the Freedom of Press Index, only better than Syria, Turkmenistan, Eritrea and North Korea.

Source: BBC Chinese, May 17, 2018

Video of Speech Made at Stability Mobilization Conference Leaked

Epoch Times reported that a video recording from an internal stability mobilization conference held in Hebei Province was recently leaked. The recording showed that China imposes strict control over mobile phones and WeChat activities and still maintains the strategy of having “tight control internally over its people but appearing relaxed on the surface” while imposing a harsh cracking down on dissidents such as petitioners. It is unknown when the meeting was held, but in the recording, the person who is the head of the Political Consultative committee said that, as long as one has a cell phone, his whereabouts would be very easy to track. Any posting on Wechat is traceable. He stressed that all the surveillance activity must be handled quietly and that anyone planning to go to Beijing to petition for their rights is considered “anti-party” and “anti-government” and must be stopped using any means. The recording showed that the participants include people in charge of the local Political Consultative committee, the civil court, the public security bureau, cadres from the police station, and managers of departments at the village and county levels.

Source: Epoch Times, May 15, 2018

China’s Vice Premier’s Statement on Trade Negotiation Differed from Joint Statement the White House Issued

In an article Xinhua published on May 20, Liu He, the Vice Premier of China, told the media that the biggest achievement made during the trade negotiation between China and the U.S. was that both parties reached consensus on not engaging in a trade war and on not imposing tariffs on imports. However, a news article Duowei published reported that Liu He’s statement differed from the joint statement that the White House issued. It said that even though China and the U.S. reached an agreement during the trade negotiation, the joint statement didn’t clearly mention that both sides would give up imposing tariffs.

1. Duowei, May 19, 2018
2. Xinhua, May 20, 2018

Mainland Uses a Three Step Strategy to Infiltrate Taiwan’s Media

On May 3, Taiwan Broadband Communications, a major cable TV provider, cut the transmission of the FTV news channel following its failure to reach agreement over increases in content authorization fees. The decision affects around 750,000 households including 250,000 in southern Taoyuan. In the statement that FTV news issued, it alleged that Terry Gou, owner of Taiwan Broadband Communications, has vast interests in its investments in the mainland and could be under pressure to make the “proper” decision. In an interview with Epoch Times about this topic, Su Ziyun, CEO of the Tamkang University Center for Advanced Technology (CAT) commented that there is no sound evidence to prove that this speculation is correct but he did acknowledge that China has deeply infiltrated Taiwan’s media. According to Su, the approach that the mainland uses can be summarized as involving a three step strategy. The first step is to make an equity investment in a media in order to acquire it. The second is to make use of marketing channels to gain control of or cut off any other media that they have not been able to acquire or that are unfriendly to China. The third is to invest in a media’s content and to influence the selection of the programming. Su said that the third one is the most concerning because the mainland can select the information that benefits it the most and, in addition, that it can filter out any programs that are unfriendly to China.

Source: Epoch Times, May 8, 2018

China Forms Federation of Internet Societies

People’s Daily reported that the China Federation of Internet Societies (CFIS), a national confederation of internet social network organizations, was formed on Wednesday May 9. The group consists of 300 Internet organizations and enterprises, including 23 national organizations and 277 local ones. The management team includes Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba Group and Huateng Ma, founder of Ten Cent. According to the article, the mission of the Federation is to “work under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and government to promote social network development utilizing numerous social resources.” The president of the Federation vowed that the Federation will “adhere to the correct political direction; advocate for the social network organizations to play a functional role, be a defender for their interests, promote party organizational development work within the organizations; oversee the operation of the organizations and promote the healthy and orderly development of social network organizations with the assurance of following the rule of law.”

Source: People’s Daily, May 10, 2018

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