In doing research for his new book, Consideration of (Post-Communist) China’s Constitution, Chinese lawyer Gao Zhisheng reported a conversation that enlightened him about how government cadres are not subject to the law. A retired vice president from the Xinjiang High Court told him, “In our country, once the leader reaches a position at a certain level, he no longer needs the law. His power can solve all problems. Only those who are helpless would take the route of a lawsuit.” Continue reading
Radio Free Asia (RFA) and the Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily each reported recently that the Chinese environmental protection agency asked the owner of the mobile app “Air Matters” to “fix” the app so that it will not display the air pollution index numbers once they reach a certain level. The app displays air pollution index values based on officially released government data. However, the app did make it significantly easier for average citizens to obtain pollution level information. The app uses Chinese standard measures to display the data and it is also capable of interpreting the data using other standards such as the U.S., the British, and even the Indian standards. The Chinese authorities have been saying that it is “obviously unreasonable” to use a foreign standard to measure Chinese data. The event triggered a massive discussion online among Chinese netizens. Most posted comments such as, “The government is unable to fix the smog pollution over a long period of time; however, it can fix the app writer’s <ability> to show the pollution level very swiftly.” The government has subsequently also blocked any comments on this news.
Radio Free Asia, January 9, 2017
Apple Daily, January 8, 2017
Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that, according to both Chinese criminal and civil courts, the Chinese branch of the famous German dyestuff and chemical manufacturer DyStar committed a crime when it released 2,698 tons of waste acid into a river without using the proper cleansing process. In 2010, China’s Zhejiang Longsheng Group acquired the DyStar Group. A Chinese management team then managed its Chinese Nanjing branch. In 2010, the branch stopped processing the waste acid. Instead, it subcontracted a third-party company to handle the waste; that company did not perform the job. The third-party company owner bribed the Chinese management team of DyStar Nanjing, who admitted participating in the destruction of physical evidence. After the courts ruled, the ultimate parent company, the Longsheng Group, hired a dedicated manager from outside China to upgrade the administration of pollution control.
Source: Sina, January 5, 2017
Xinhua recently reported that heavy smog covered the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region starting on December 16. The situation worsened on the 19th. Shijiazhuang, the capital city of Hebei Province, suffered a record high pollution level of over 1000 for both PM2.5 and PM10 indexes. Some monitoring stations even recorded 1015 for PM2.5 and 1132 for PM10. Ten cities in Hebei Province declared Code Red emergency status. Hebei is the province that surrounds Beijing. Its capital city Shijiazhuang is only 163 miles away from Beijing.
PM2.5 particles are air pollutants with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less, small enough to invade even the smallest airways. These particles generally come from activities that burn fossil fuels, such as traffic, smelting, and metal processing. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers a PM2.5 number below 25 to be safe. The U.S. Embassy in Beijing recorded a PM2.5 of 522 on December 4, 2011. Not long after that, China started monitoring the level of PM2.5. New York’s PM2.5 peak level was 68 on October 5, 2013. <Editor’s note: DW reported that, according to a scientific paper published by the independent research group Berkeley Earth, bad air contributes to 1.6 million deaths a year or roughly 17 percent of all deaths in China; a study reported in the New York Times indicated that, in 2013, 916,000 deaths were related to PM2.5 exposure.>
Source: Xinhua, December 19, 2016
DW, August 17, 2015
New York Times, August 17, 2016
The popular Hong Kong newspaper Oriental Daily published a series of articles on its official website commenting on the massive monitoring system that the Mainland police established. The Mainland Ministry of Public Safety just released a draft of new regulations that govern how the Mainland’s police use video monitoring technologies at different levels of the government, which, it is widely considered, the government abuses. It is very unusual that a significant pro-Mainland newspaper criticizes the Mainland’s national-level security system. In one article especially, the reporter directly named the former Chinese leader, Jiang Zemin, to be the force behind the development of the nationwide secret monitoring system. The article pointed out that Jiang’s regime approved the Golden Shield Project, which was designed to provide 360-degree monitoring of the entire Chinese population. Publicly available documents showed that Jiang Zemin, his son Jiang Mianheng, and the leadership of the Public Safety Ministry then headed the project. The multi-billion-dollar privacy-intrusive project had no record of any kind for approval or authorization from China’s People’s Congress. Oriental Daily has been Hong Kong’s number one in circulation since 1976, with a record readership of over 3,100,000.
Source: Oriental Daily, November 29, 2016
BBC Chinese recently reported that former Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen warned on the news of the potential establishment of a formal diplomatic relationship between the Vatican and China. Zen expressed his concern that, if such an agreement were to be reached, the Vatican might be considered to be “betraying Jesus Christ.” Zen said The Pope might be misled by the experience of the communists persecuted in Latin America. It would be a bit “childish” to understand the Chinese communists the same way, since the Chinese Communist Party has killed a large number of innocent people during its short history. Chinese Catholics are only allowed to join government-approved churches and sermons to the public are banned. The Chinese government-appointed “official” bishops don’t truly preach the gospel. Instead they have the hidden agenda of ensuring the church members obey the communist authorities. Zen expressed that those at the Vatican who crafted the agreement with the Chinese communists lacked first-hand experience and did not truly understand how the Chinese government controls the official churches like “puppets.”
Source: BBC Chinese, November 28, 2016