Voice of America reported that the latest organization announcement showed that the United Front Work Department will take over the function of the State Council Overseas Office, the National Ethnic Affairs Commission, and the State Administration for Religious Affairs. It is expected that Beijing will exercise tighter control over religion and ethnic issues and further carry out its efforts on exercising influence overseas. Continue reading
According to an article in Radio Free Asia, based on a document that the State Council released on March 21, China will form the world’s largest media station called “Voice of China.” It will combine the existing China Central Television, China National Radio, and China Radio International under one unified name. The Publicity Department will manage it and have the responsibility to “promote the Party theory and guidelines, organize major publicity and coverage, guide social hot topics, strengthen international communication capabilities, and publish positive news on China.” The article reported that, based on information from an undisclosed source, Voice of China will not only produce the party’s propaganda program, it will also copy the model of those public funded stations in foreign countries, receive government funding, and limit the amount of advertising during its programs. According to the official statistics, China Central Television has at least 10,000 employees with over 70 branch stations overseas. China National Radio has over 2,100 employees and China Radio International has over 2,000 employees and broadcasts in over 60 languages. It is expected that, following the consolidation, Voice of China will become world’s largest media.
Source: Radio Free Asia, March 21, 2018
Radio Free Asia reported that the Shanghai Public Security Bureau published an announcement on its website that it will delay the cancellation of the resident status of those Chinese citizens who live outside of China or have been granted resident status in a foreign country. The original policy was going to take effect in May and use Shanghai as the test city. The website claims that it needs time to further define what it means by “people who have foreign resident status.” Huanqiu published an article last week saying the policy was targeting those who hold dual citizenship. The initial notice drew heated discussions in social media overseas because many Chinese residents who live overseas may face the issue of whether their entitlement to pensions and medical benefits will be stripped in China if the policy were to go into in effective.
Source: Radio Free Asia, March 26, 2018
According to an article that Singtao and Epoch Times published, on March 21, Xi’s new administration, in a release about consolidating government agencies, made a list of restructuring announcements on the existing central administration offices. One noticeable change was that three government agencies, including the Central Public Security Comprehensive Management Commission, the Central Stability Maintenance Office, and the “610 Office” (established for the purpose of coordinating and implementing the persecution of Falun Gong) would be merged under the political and legislative affairs committee. The Singtao article stated that these three agencies have massive organizational structures which often have powers that overlap with each other. It also said that the announcement meant that the “610 office” is officially “dead.” The Epoch Times article commented that the announcement officially ended the infamous “610 office” which Jiang Zemin established on June 10, 1999, for the purpose of persecuting Falun Gong adherents. The “610 office” was reported to have had the authority to mobilize the nations resources to carry out the persecution. It has tens and thousands of agencies throughout China. In addition to the above consolidation announcement, the Singtao article also reported that three other central administration agencies have expanded roles. The Publicity Department will manage the press, publication, film, and television industry; the United Front Work Department will take over the State Council Overseas Office, the National Ethnic Affairs Commission, and the State Administration for Religious Affairs; and the Ministry of Organization will take over the National Civil Service Bureau and the State Commission Office for Public Sector Reform.
1. Singtao, March 23, 2018
2. Epoch Times, March 23, 2018
According to an article Radio Free Asia published, people are concerned that a new regulation that the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) announced on March 22 will limit derivative work and suppress freedom of creativity. SARFT announced that it will prevent any online program from producing or publishing programs that distort, spoof, or demonize classic works of literature. It also forbids editing, dubbing, or adding subtitles to any classic works of literature, radio, or television programs, and any original Internet programs. The announcement claimed that since the end of January this year, the Ministry of Culture has cleaned up 3,898 movies that contain spoofs of contents of classic revolutionary songs and 165 of those that contain spoofs of music. An artist from Beijing was quoted as saying that the authorities have issued a number regulations that appear to stabilize the social order, but the real intent is to eliminate any voice of opposition from the public. Another Taiwan movie director was quoted in the article as saying that he supports freedom of creativity, but he agrees that the derivative works violate the copyright issue. RFA reached out to SARFT for further clarification, but the person who answered the phone said he was not responsible for giving an explanation.
Source: Radio Free Asia, March 23, 2018
Duowei News published an article on March 20 stating that Xi has changed his focus on China’s foreign affairs effort, thereby elevating it to an important position and that there will be a major reshaping of China’s foreign affairs work to enable it to play a more important role in the party’s governing body. The change includes an increase in the budget, a change in personnel, the reform of the foreign affairs agency and the setting up of a state-level International Development Cooperation Agency. The article reported that in 2018, the budget for Foreign Affairs was 60 billion yuan or US$9.5 billion, an increase of 15.6 percent from 2017 and 40 percent from 2013 when Xi first took power. The personnel change includes the appointment of Wang Yi to state councilor to handle pressing foreign affairs issues including the US – China relationship, North Korea, Taiwan and the South China Sea. Wang Qishan was appointed to be the Vice President with his main focus being on foreign affairs; Xi’s economic adviser Liu He was appointed to be the Vice premier. He is expected to handle the trade imbalance between the U.S. and China. The newly established state-level International Development Cooperation Agency is expected to manage the ever increasing foreign aid budget.
Source: Duowei, March 20, 2018