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China’s Movie Market Saw First Box Office Decline in Nine Years

The China Business Journal recently reported from the Shanghai International Film Festival that statistics showed that the Chinese movie market saw a box office year-over-year decline of 6.35 percent in the first five months of this year. During this period, the national total viewership also declined from 689 million people to around 589 million. This is the first time since 2011 for the Chinese movie market to suffer a decline in box office revenue. One of the reasons for this dramatic decline was that, in 2018, the entertainment industry was hit with tax related scandals. Domestic movie makers were affected when the stock they held lost 72 percent of its value in the stock market. Another major issue is that half of the movies in the Chinese market were from the United States. The current poor relationship between China and the U.S. led to a government intervention which affected U.S. movie distribution in China. Even domestic movies were limited in choosing themes and stories.

Source: China Business Journal, June 16, 2019
http://www.cb.com.cn/index/show/zj/cv/cv13451781268/p/1.html

Mingpao: Hong Kong Lawyers Marched in Black

Mingpao, one of the primary Hong Kong newspapers, recently reported that, on June 7, around 3,000 Hong Kong lawyers marched in silence against the government’s recent plan to amend the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance. The proposed amendments effectively extend the Mainland’s criminal laws to Hong Kong. The Hong Kong legal community, along with the local residents, are deeply concerned about the independent status of Hong Kong’s its legal system. All participants in the march were dressed in black, with no signs, banners or slogans. The group walked from the Court of Final Appeal to the city government headquarters. The protesters were led by seven former chairpersons of the highly respected Hong Kong Bar Association. The number of participants in the march is considered to be the highest since Hong Kong returned to China. Multiple members of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council also joined the march. The Legal community is also worried about the fact that the government criticized the judges expressing their opinions and did not consult them on law amendments. The focal point of these local public opinions is that, in the past, it was the Mainland government trying to bypass the Hong Kong legal system

This time it is the Hong Kong government.

Source: Mingpao, June 7, 2019
https://bit.ly/2F0r6CB

World Journal: U.S. Reporter Detained in Beijing for Interviewing People before June 4

Well-known U.S. Chinese language newspaper, the World Journal, recently reported that, right before June 4, a U.S. CBS reporter interviewed random Chinese people in the streets of Beijing. He entered the tightly controlled Tiananmen Square area asking young people about their knowledge of the Tank Man. The reporter also showed people the world-famous photo of the Tank Man blocking the path of the communist tanks on June 4, 1989. Most of the Chinese people questioned had no idea who the Tank man was. The local police ended up detaining the CBS reporter for about six hours. BBC reporters also did similar street interviews using the Tank Man photo. Most people interviewed did not know anything about the Tank Man. However, some appeared to know but refused to admit it.

Source: World Journal, June 5, 2019
https://bit.ly/2XCtqXM

CCP Secret Document: Crackdown on Christian Churches

The United Front Work Department of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Ministry of Public Security of the Liaoning Provincial Government, issued a secret document directing the local governments to crack down on foreign-related Christian churches and demonize religious groups in order to legalize the CCP’s suppression.

The document, titled, “Work Plan for Investigating and Handling Foreign Christian Penetration in Accordance with the Law,” is a special action for local governments to implement. The main task of the special action is to require government agencies to “resolutely crack down on foreign religious believers, resolutely destroy the religious activities of foreign religious groups in the local area, and resolutely prevent organizations from attending training in neighboring countries and regions.” It also directs the tightening of restrictions on the use of foreign Internet websites to conduct online missionary work.

In addition to targeting the “Jehovah Witnesses” and several Korean Christian churches that have been suppressed before, the CCP’s secret document also named the Young Disciples of Jesus, Cru, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Bo Ai Church, the Ai Xin Church, the Canaan Christian Church, and a number of others.

In order to achieve the goal, the document recommends that the local governments first send out undercover agents to conduct detailed investigations on these religious groups, such as the scope of their activities, the status of get-togethers, personnel composition, background, funds, and the scale of their activities. The document recommends surveillance of relevant WeChat and QQ groups; in addition to recording all the believers’ information; establishing a “Resistance to the Overseas Christian Penetration Work Database,” as well as the use the big data analysis to keep abreast of church activities.

In terms of crackdowns, the document calls for the shutdown of church meeting places, training centers, and seminaries; the taking of a number of measures to combat the believers’ beliefs, such as criminal prosecution, education transformation, pressure on their work units and relatives, and cutting off welfare protection; “investigating and handling some, registering some, controlling some, and transforming some.” The document holds local CCP committees and governments responsible for the education transformation so as to eliminate completely any possibility of restoring religious activities.

Moreover, before each crackdown action, local authorities are required to demonize religious groups and guide public opinion to legalize the CCP’s suppression of them.

The document also requires that government propaganda departments should produce critical articles and videos to incite the masses. Internet censorship departments should control “harmful and sensational public opinion. Education departments need to strengthen the management of teachers and students with religious backgrounds. The document also requires that the crackdown work should not be conducted during the time when there are major domestic political activities or important sensitive anniversaries.

The document requires confidentiality. It is strictly forbidden to release crackdown documents on the Internet or notify personnel of their crackdown assignments through WeChat and other social media channels.

Source: Bitter Winter, May 27, 2019
遼寧機密文件內容曝光 全國性打擊涉外教會行動已開始

BBC Chinese: Cut of Game of Thrones Final Episode Caused Major Debate in China

BBC Chinese recently reported that the popular U.S. TV series Game of Thrones is also very popular in China. However, when the Chinese fans were eager to watch the final episode on May 20, the broadcaster Tencent cut the show off one hour before airing citing technical difficulties, without providing a new air time. Tencent is the sole distributor of Game of Thrones in China, and many fans paid extra for the VIP access to watch the show. The cut-off caused nationwide anger online, especially when Tencent’s version of the show had already passed China’s official screening. A large number of Chinese netizens questioned whether this is part of the public opinion war against the United States. Once the trade war restarted recently, China’s media have been engaged in a wave of anti-American activities. Many normal TV broadcasts were replaced by old movies covering the Korean War. Tencent stock dropped 3.88 percent instantly after the event. Both Tencent and HBO refused to respond to this matter. Game of Thrones is very popular among China’s top leadership members as well, including President Xi himself. They typically watch a much-compressed edition called the “diamond version” in order to save time.

Source: BBC Chinese, May 21, 2019
https://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/simp/chinese-news-48345861

Beijing News: Beijing Announced Grain and Oil Market Stabilization Plan

Beijing News recently reported that the City of Beijing just announced and deployed an emergency response plan to balance the city’s grain and oil market. This is another emergency market control plan for life’s necessities, after the pork market and the vegetable market. As a “mega consumer city,” Beijing’s goal for the new emergency plan is to ensure that the market prices of grain and oil related products are controlled to be within certain ranges. The plan aims to control the price adjustments in the wholesale market. Based on past statistics, Beijing’s wholesale price fluctuations are typically more severe than those of the retail prices. The plan is to reflect the concerns related to the mid-to-long term impact under the complex domestic and international market pressure. Starting in 2013, Beijing established price control emergency funds within the government budget.

Source: Beijing News, May 13, 2019
http://www.bjnews.com.cn/news/2019/05/13/578387.html