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To Buy Fireworks in Beijing Now Needs Real Name Registration

  • The first time a person wishes the purchase fireworks or firecrackers in Beijing, he now has to register for the purchase using his real name. For the record, the purchaser needs to provide personal identification information, a mobile phone number, and enter the type and quantity of fireworks and firecrackers into the computer database. According to media reports, a Beijing municipal official revealed that the number of retail outlets for purchasing fireworks and firecrackers will be reduced from more than 80 last year to no more than 30. The sales time window is from January 30 to February 9. The purpose of real-name registration is said to be strengthening the supervision of the flow of fireworks and firecrackers. “Every retail outlet will be equipped with special instruments and an ID card will be used for the purchase. Then, once a problem occurs, it can be traced back to the purchaser.”
  • Beijing is the second city after Xinjiang, which started in 2014, to have implemented real-name registration for purchasing fireworks and firecrackers.
  • Beijing will hold a number of major political events this year. First, the second “One Belt, One Road” international cooperation summit forum will be held in April. Following that will be the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. The government has been conducting a series of security deployments since New Year’s Day to ensure political security, including the sale of fireworks and firecrackers.
  • Source: Radio Free Asia, January 31, 2019

Chinese Ambassador Admitted Personal Involvement in Cancelling Shen Yun Performance

Epoch Times reported that, according to a recent investigation, Lu Fan, China’s Ambassador to Spain, admitted that he pressured a Spanish theater into cancelling a performance that Shen Yun Performing Arts had booked with the theater.

“Lu admitted in a phone call, that he personally put pressure on the Royal Theater in Madrid to cancel its contract with Shen Yun Performing Arts. By using the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) control of the large Chinese market as an enticement, Lu and the theater’s director jointly planned to cancel the Shen Yun performances under the pretext of “technical difficulties.” After the case was reported, Lu and the theater continued planning on how to respond.”

Shen Yun Performing Arts is a New York-based independent performance troupe specializing in classical Chinese dance. Its many companies have tours around the world every year in as many as 130 major cities. It has, for years, been the target of the CCP, which uses Chinese embassies and consulates to try to disrupt the performances. The World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG), a non-profit organization that investigates human-rights abuses perpetrated against Falun Gong adherents, has been following such incidents.

A WOIPFG investigator, who, posed as a high-level Chinese government official, called Lu Fan directly and got him to reveal the details of how he intervened in Spain. Lu Fan directly called the Royal Theater and requested that it cancel the Shen Yun performance that had been scheduled for January 31 to February 2 this year.

In the investigator’s phone call, Lu admitted that the theater’s general manager was initially reluctant to carry out the embassy’s request because the theater had already sold nearly 900 tickets. “I directly talked to him,” said Lu, “On this issue, you cannot think only about the economic gains, but you also need to consider the politics. You are working with China and have signed the ‘International League of Theaters of the Silk Road.’ There is a great market potential for you to collaborate with China. You should not lose the Chinese market because of (the Shen Yun performance).” China has been promoting the “International League of Theaters of the Silk Road” agreement for exchanges in the field of performing arts as part of its “One Belt and One Road” initiative.

Lu also stated in the call that he worked closely with the theater’s general manager to come up with a good reason (claiming technical difficulty and a time shortage) for cancelling the show. The theater then used that excuse to cancel the performance.

Lu also stated that, after Shen Yun reported the cancellation in a local newspaper, he worked with the theater to come up with responses. “Our initial thought was to avoid making it a hot issue. Stay with the technical reason.”

The recorded phone conversation with Lu Fan is available on the Epoch Times’ website.

Source: Epoch Times, January 28, 2019

RFA: State Council Ordered to Ban For-Profit Kindergartens

Radio Free Asia reported that the State Council issued a notice on January 22, stating that the state will put more effort into building a public education system for kindergartens and no for-profit kindergarten will be permitted. The notice requires that a comprehensive investigation of all kindergartens be completed before the end of April of 2019.

According to RFA, at present, there are two types of kindergartens in China. The first one includes government sponsored public kindergartens and public college and enterprise affiliated kindergartens. The other type is a private kindergarten. Public kindergartens mainly receive funding from the government or from enterprises. The teachers at the private kindergartens are highly skilled but the admission cost is also higher. They are more popular among middle-class families.

The RFA article quoted comments from people in China regarding a policy change which will allow government subsidized kindergartens gradually to take over the private kindergartens. One person told RFA that the public kindergartner uses the teaching materials that the municipal Department of Education designs. The private kindergartens are special. They make a profit and focus on quality education. They produce their own teaching materials, which have fewer contents involving public brainwashing. If the government transforms kindergartens from private to public, that will make it easier for it to brainwash the kids.

On January 21, the National Bureau of Statistics of China announced that the number of births in 2018 was 15.23 million, a decrease of 2 million from 2017. Some mainland media reported that from 1997 to 2017, the proportion of Chinese public kindergartens dropped from 95 percent to 44 percent.

Source: Radio Free Asia, January 24, 2019

Xi Jinping Speaks about Omnimedia

Omnimedia is a relatively new concept of media still in development. In China, the discussion of omnimedia started around 2008 or 2009. Although it may refer to different  people who may have different ideas, generally speaking, Omnimedia refers to a communication of information based on the integration of different channels of transmission – print, television, radio, Internet, mobile phone – and different means of presentation – text, images, animation, audio, and visual – so that the audience will absorb the information via multi-dimensions.

Xinhua News Agency reported that the Chinese communist party’s politburo held a group study session on January 25 in Beijing. Xi Jinping, the general secretary of the party, stressed that promoting media integration and building the omnimedia has become an urgent issue. “It is necessary to use the fruits of the information revolution to promote in-depth development of media integration and make the mainstream public opinion stronger.” The “mainstream public opinion” usually refers to the public discourse that is in line with the party’s ideology.

Xi said that the party’s newspapers and periodicals should strengthen the innovation of the means of communication and develop various new media such as websites, Weibo and WeChat channels, electronic newspapers, mobile newspapers, and Internet TV. This also should include exploration of interactive, service-oriented, and experience-oriented communication. The party’s voice should directly cover all types of user terminals.

At the same time, Xi demanded that new media adhere to the correct political direction. The mainstream media should provide more true and objective information with clear-cut views and in a timely manner, so as to take control of public opinion. Xi also emphasized safeguarding national political security, cultural security, and ideological security in terms of the contents of omnimedia communication, and guarding against the risks that new technologies, such as big data, may pose.

Source: Xinhua News Agency, January 25, 2019

CCP Published Political and Legal Affairs Work Regulations

Recently the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee published “Political and Legal Affairs Work Regulations” (Regulations).

Article Ten of the Regulations listed the responsibilities of the local CCP party committee. The first one was to “coordinate the political and legal affairs work that is related to national security, especially the events related to political security whose core is the ruling party’s security and the ruling system’s security.” The second one is to “coordinate social stability work and timely and properly handle important issues or emergencies that will affect social stability.”

Article Eleven stated that a Political and Legal Affairs Committee will be established at the Central Committee, at the local party committee, and at the county level or above. A township or street (in the city) party committee will establish a committee member position for the Political and Legal Affairs work.

Shi Cangshan, an independent China issue expert, commented, “In the past the CCP’s lowest policing structure was the local police station at the township or street level (in the city). Now the Political and Legal Affairs Committee for the first time, is extending itself to that level. This is related to its recent strengthening of communist ideology.” He also felt that it shows the old stability maintenance mechanism is no longer sufficient for putting down public dissatisfaction and protects.

1. Xinhua, January 18, 2019
2. Epoch Times, January 22, 2019

Facing Fluid Domestic and International Situations, Xi Jinping Spoke about Maintaining Overall Stability

At the opening ceremony of a meeting with provincial leading officials, Chinese president Xi Jinping gave an important speech, which Xinhua News Agency reported on January 21. The report highlighted two key points: improving the ability to prevent and control, with a focus on major risks, and maintaining a stable and healthy economic development.

In his speech, Xi “made a profound analyses and proposed clear requirements” for preventing major risks in politics, ideology, the economy, science and technology, social affairs, the external environment, and party development.

In the political arena, Xi stressed that, in the face of the turbulent international situation; the complex and sensitive surrounding environment; and arduous tasks of reform, development, and stability; one must always maintain a high degree of vigilance.

Xi emphasized that the economic operations are stable but changing. It is necessary to maintain composure and promote China’s economic development in the right direction. It is also necessary to enhance the sense of urgency, plan ahead, and accurately respond to possible problems in the economic field.

In the judgment of the external environment, he said that China’s external environment is complex and severe. It is necessary to coordinate both domestic and international situations, effectively preventing chain reactions emanating from all kinds of risks. He asked to improve the “One Belt, One Road” security system and safeguard sovereignty and security.

Source: Central News Agency, January 21, 2019