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CNA: On April 4, Beijing Mourned the Dead while Netizens Fought Against Censorship and Demands Truth

In China, “404” means April 4, which is Ching Ming Festival or Memorial Day when people pay reverence of one’s ancestors in Chinese culture. Meanwhile it also means a webpage is deleted and “not found.” It often happens when words or content that are not liked by the authorities are deleted as soon as they are posted online. On April 4, while leaders in Beijing gathered together to mourn the death of the 2019 coronavirus disease, Chinese netizens were also commemorating the “404” on the internet. In addition to mourning the dead, they posted articles and comments criticizing the authorities’ act of covering up the truth and blocking comments on the internet. There were many commemorations and criticisms of the government appeared on the Internet while the authorities were busy deleting such postings at the same time.

On Sina Weibo, Chinese netizens expressed their helplessness and anger in a joking tone. Some people said: “It felt like a large-scale 404 site, and none of the postings I saw last night are still there.” “LOL(Laugh out loud)… complaining about 404 will indeed bring us 404.” Others have criticized: “If there was no 404, the flag wouldn’t be half way on April 4, nor will there be lock down and isolations, humanitarian tragedies, and economic crises all over the world.”

There are only a few articles left on the internet that are too late to be deleted or re-posted. Some people refused to follow the Chinese Communist Party officials to pay silence on this day because “I don’t like to have a special permission or to be arranged to show sadness. I think most people won’t Like it. ”
Another article stated that “On this day, please forgive me for not to participate. I don’t think this is a suitable time for the public ceremony. The epidemic is not over yet. There is still the possibility of more death from the epidemic. This feels like a unilateral announcement of a ceasefire when we don’t even know who is winning. This posting has been deleted since.

Source: Central News Agency, April 4, 2020

DW Chinese: No, Autocracy Is not Better for Handling Crises

Deutsche Welle Chinese Edition recently published a commentary on China’s propaganda about how well autocracy performed in a crisis compared to democracy. The commentary started with China’s media describing Xi Jinping showing up in Wuhan as a heroic scene. Unfortunately, this was immediately followed by mountains of work to shut off massive online criticism. The Chinese communists have been trying to sell the world fairy tales. One of them was that the government never made any mistakes in the battle against the coronavirus. Yet the Chinese leadership was initially caught by surprise and their first response was clearly a cover up all the way through December. Later in January the biggest news was that the whistle-blower Chinese doctor was detained and died thereafter. Now the Chinese leadership is working tirelessly on another fairy tale, which is to broadcast to the world that the coronavirus was not sourced in China. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson went even further, by accusing the U.S. Military of bringing the virus to China. People mostly laughed at this idea, but the effort of China offloading responsibilities sounded a serious alarm. The biggest fairy tale so far is claiming the autocratic system is more “successful” than democratic systems. This is a big lie. All one has to do is to look at Taiwan, where highly efficient and swift responses effectively controlled the spread of the virus in the island. This is especially remarkable when Taiwan achieved this with zero help from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Source: DW Chinese, March 15, 2020

The Government Is Taking over the HNA Group

The HNA Group, is a rapidly expanding airline and conglomerate in China. After the high-profile mysterious death of its Chairman, Wang Jian, in France in last year, the Hainan Provincial government has been leading its restructure.

The HNA Group announced on February 29 that its high liquidity risk that started at the end of 2017 continued and worsened in 2020 due to the novel coronavirus. Therefore, it requested to form the “Hainan Provincial Government HNA Joint Working Group” to coordinate and address the risk. The Hainan Provincial government has led the working group.

Key personnel in the joint work group are all from government offices or state-owned enterprises:

  • Director Gu Gang, Chairman of Hainan Development Holding Co., Ltd, which is directly owned by the Hainan Provincial government
  • Executive Deputy Director Ren Qinghua, Director of Management Committee of the Hainan Yangpu Economic Development Zone
  • Deputy Director Li Shuangchen, Deputy Director of the Central and South China Regional Administration, Civil Aviation Administration
  • Deputy Director Cheng Gong, Deputy Director of the Credit Management Bureau, China Development Bank.

The HNA Group also re-elected its seven-member board. Gu Gang and Ren Qinghua joined the board. While HNA Co-founder Chen Feng remained as the Chairman, Gu Gang became the Executive Chairman and Ren Qinghua became the joint-company CEO.

HNA Group Co., Ltd. is a Chinese conglomerate headquartered in Haikou, Hainan, China. Founded in 2000, it is involved in numerous industries including aviation, real estate, financial services, tourism, logistics, and more.

People have been sayings that the HNA Group is connected with Wang Qishan.

Source: Stock Times, February 29, 2020

Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesperson on Revoking Press Credentials of Three Wall Street Journal Reporters

Many questions were raised regarding China’s decision to revoke the press credentials of three Wall Street Journal reporters at the press conference that Geng Shuang, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, gave on February 20.

One question asked was whether China’s action was a response to the United States designating five Chinese media companies as “foreign missions.” Geng didn’t give a direct answer.

Instead, Geng criticized the Wall Street Journal for publishing an article (“China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia”) that slandered China. He repeated exactly the same statement in his answers to four different questions, which seemed to indicate that Beijing was targeting the Wall Street Journal as a whole, though the three reporters may have had nothing to do with that article.

Question: The commentary department of the Wall Street Journal published the article insulting China. The three reporters are in the news reporting department. Before revoking the credentials of these three reporters, who had nothing to do with the insulting article, did China ask the Wall Street Journal for an apology or try other mediation measures?

Answer: … We are not interested in the internal work assignment (of different people) at the Wall Street Journal. There is just one Wall Street Journal in the world. They must be responsible for their actions.

Question: What if those three reporters got their reporter credentials revoked?

Answer: … We are not interested in the internal work assignment (of different people) at the Wall Street Journal. There is just one Wall Street Journal in the world. They must be responsible for their actions.

Question: It was reported that the CEO of Dow Jones, the publisher of the Wall Street Journal expressed that the article was from its Commentary department. Whether people agree with it or not, the newspaper can provide an opportunity to release all different opinions. How will China comment on it?

Answer: … We are not interested in the internal work assignment (of different people) at the Wall Street Journal. There is just one Wall Street Journal in the world. They must be responsible for their actions. …

Question: These three reporters were from the news reporting department, not the commentary department and had not participated in the article which insulted China. Why did China revoke their reporter credentials? On which law did China base its measure?

Answer: … We are not interested in the internal work assignment (to different people) at the Wall Street Journal. There is just one Wall Street Journal in the world. They must be responsible for their actions. …

Source: The Foreign Affairs Ministry website, February 20, 2020

Leadership: Xi Explains His Role in Containing Coronavirus since January 7

Qiushi Journal, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee’s flagship bimonthly periodical, released a speech that Xi Jinping, the CCP General Secretary, gave at the February 3 meeting of the Politburo Standing Committee.

Qiushi published the full text of Xi’s speech on Saturday, February 15. In the speech, Xi explained his role since January 7, 2020, in containing the novel coronavirus. After consolidating power, Xi has made it a rule that different organizations, including the National People’s Congress, State Council, each headed by a Politburo Standing Committee member, all report their work to him. This is the first time he had to explain to others what he has been doing.

China experts observed that Xi has been under mounting domestic and international pressure because of the outbreak, as well as the spread of the coronavirus. In order to “gain international understanding and support,” Xi offered guidance on “communicating with WHO, and with relevant countries and regions, to promote information sharing and policy coordination.” Meanwhile, Wilbur Ross, the US commerce secretary, revealed that the 15-member WHO delegation has no US experts in it.

Xi also wanted to “ensure societal control and security by stepping up law enforcement and mobilizing public security and the armed police in joint efforts.” Xi made no mention of the delayed or inaccurate reporting that the local leaders from Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus outbreak had voiced.

Xi gave orders to “strengthen control and management of Internet media; push for clear organizational and individual obligations, management obligations, and supervision obligations; and strike against and handle those who spread rumors and stir up trouble.”

On February 4, the day after Xi’s speech, Zhao Kezhi, minister of China’s ministry of public security, told police personnel across the country through a teleconference to maintain a secure and stable environment to fight the virus. He said the police needed to place “political security” above everything else, and to crack down on “domestic and international hostile forces.”

Xi also emphasized adherence to the economic goals set for this year, including achieving “moderate prosperity.”

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Chinese Government Issued Nationwide Guidance on New Labor and Banking Rules

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security just released new regulations to relax certain labor laws for the period when the nation is combating the coronavirus. The new regulations prohibit laying off workers or stopping their pay if the workers are not able to work due to government bans. Companies should provide a minimum living payment to those who are not able to perform work. For the same cause, if one who is involved in the rescue activities of the epidemic temporarily loses income and is not able to pay off credit card debts or a mortgage, this will not be recognized as a breach of contract. Delayed payments should be allowed. The State Grid for electricity also issued announcements that allow customers to continue to use electricity even if their payment is past due. In the meantime, the Grid will provide capabilities for customers to do business remotely online without visiting local offices.

Source: Sina, January 27, 2020

A Chinese Student Sentenced for Six Months for Posting Cartoon Making Fun of Xi Jinping in the U.S.

During his studies at the University of Minnesota, Luo Daiqing, from China, posted Cartoons on Twitter. After he returned to China, he was arrested and later sentenced for his posting.

Luo posted Lawrence Limburger, the primary villain of Cartoon Biker Mice from Mars, along with quotes from Xi Jinping’s speech given in October 2018. In the Chinese government’s view, Lawrence Limburger, who is similar to Winnie the Pooh, is taboo because that is considered to be the same as referring to Xi Jinping.

Luo visited his home in Wuhan City, Hubei Province in May 2019. He was called into the police office for questioning on July 12. Then he was put under administrative detention for 10 days. He was formally detained after the administrative detention was over. He was approved for arrest on August 29 and sentenced to six months in prison on November 5, 2019.

The verdict that the Wuchang District Court, Wuhan City, released on January 22, 2020, claimed, “(Luo) used the Internet to post fake images and words to defame the national image and damage the order of social management.” He was charged with creating a disturbance under Article 293 of the Criminal Law.

A student commented that, since Luo did the posting on a U.S. website when he was in the U.S., this case showed that the Chinese Communist Party is imposing Internet control over the U.S. network and managing people’s speech in the United States.

Source: Radio Free Asia, January 23, 2020

China’s Ambassadors Failed to Raise Money from German Businesses for a Pro-China Portal

German national television recently reported that two of China’s Ambassadors to Germany asked German businesses for money to finance a portal supporting Beijing.

The idea of the portal, named “China reporter,” was from Wolfgang Hirn, editor of Manager magazine and Georg Blume, a free-lance writer for Times and Der Spiegel. Both are viewed as “experts on China” in the German media circle.

Shi Mingde, the previous Chinese Ambassador to Germany, had been trying to raise money for this project. On February 28, 2019, his last day as Ambassador, he even wrote fund-raising letters to large foundations and companies listed on Dax.

His successor Wu Ken sent his letter on December 4, 2019, a few days after the media exposed the Communist regime’s systematic arrests of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. “Since the German media did one-sided reporting (criticizing the CCP), it has become a more urgent need to spread a full and better image of China.”

According to the German media’s investigation, none of the foundations or companies that received the Ambassador’s letters provided funds. However, it is quite shocking that the CCP even asked German businesses for money for it to influence public opinion in Germany.

Source: Epoch Times, January 21, 2020

China Revised Down Its 2018 GDP Numbers to Show Growth in 2019

Recently Beijing “uniformly” arranged its work to review and revise its 2018 economic data fully, so that the GDP number in 2019 could still show growth.

On January 22, the Tianjin Statistics Department published Tianjin’s GDP in 2019 as 1.41 trillion yuan (US $200 billion). It also had a small footnote: “According to the National Statistics Bureau’s uniform arrangement, Tianjin’s GDP in 2018 is revised to 1.34 trillion yuan.” That was a dramatic cut of 29 percent from the previously claimed number of 1.88 trillion yuan. This revision gave Tianjin 5.5 percent GDP growth in 2019. (Editor’s note: However, the sharp drop in the 2018 number would mean Tianjin’s GDP growth from 2017 would be quite negative, unless the authorities revised down the 2017 number, and then as a chain reaction, revised down the 2016 number. … Anyhow, this showed that China’s GDP number and its impressive high growth could just be a mirage that the communist regime created.)

The Jilin Provincial Statistics Department reported a GDP of 1.17 trillion yuan in 2019. It cut its 2018 GDP number down by 25 percent to 1.13 trillion yuan, so that it could show a 4.2 percent increase in 2019.

Shandong Province revised down its 2018 number by 13 percent. The Liaoning Province reduction was 7 percent. Heilongjiang Province was down 21.5 percent.

Source: Epoch Times, January 23, 2020

Wuhan Epidemic Highlights Deficiency of China’s Political System

A World Journal editorial commented on the problem of China’s political system as reflected in the Wuhan epidemic.

“First, there is a huge problem in the top-down system: On the evening of the 20th, Xi Jinping delivered a speech on CCTV regarding the new coronavirus, requiring local governments to do a good job of prevention and control to maintain stability. After his speech, great changes took place in the entire Chinese officialdom. Wuhan and other parts of the country immediately released the information on new infections, and the figures kept jumping every day. It was in sharp contrast with the downplay and cover-up of the epidemic that was in place before Xi’s speech.”

“Xi Jinping spoke because the truth could no longer be covered up. Why was there such a huge change before and after the speech? It is because the central government exercises strict control and implements a top-down system. Any major event must be reported level by level. Lower-level officials have no decision-making power and must report to higher authorities in order to obtain approval. Wuhan’s municipal health bureau has no right to declare the epidemic situation and must report to the provincial government; the governor and the Party chief of the province then report to the central authorities and finally the report reaches Xi Jinping’s confidants. Xi’s confidants have to be well prepared before deciding how to inform Xi. Usually the lower-level officials choose to report what their superior like to hear. Such a top-down system and lengthy reporting process is the reason why Xi was briefed a month after the outbreak of the virus. This shows how the delays in the decision-making process have caused the epidemic to spread rapidly.”

“Second, the politicization of health care is an issue. In a free and equal society, physicians and nurses each have their own specialties and make their own judgments about conditions. However, under the Chinese Communist system, professional judgments on medical care must give way to politics. Officials should first consider whether the news will cause social unrest. Then they have to consider whether the news will cause their superiors to be dissatisfied. That would affect their careers. When the medical process is politicized, the facts of the situation are not the basis for decision making. Hence all decisions will go bad. This is the reason why the Wuhan municipal government downplayed and covered up the epidemic before Xi Jinping’s speech.”

Source: World Journal, January 26, 2020