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Social Stability

BBC Chinese: Hong Kong Reporters Were Beaten up in Mainland China

BBC Chinese recently reported that, not long ago, unknown attackers beat up reporters from Hong Kong media. One latest example was Hong Kong’s Now TV reporter Xu Junming. Five under-cover policemen beat him while he was reporting on a hearing that the Beijing Lawyers’ Association had organized. Their Discipline Committee was punishing human rights lawyer Xie Yanyi. Xie represented Falun Gong practitioners in court. Xu is fully licensed and authorized to report in Mainland China. Another example occurred four days earlier than that. Two unknown men attacked Hong Kong Cable TV reporter Chen Haohui in Sichuan Province while he was reporting on the 10-year anniversary of the 512 Wenchuan Earthquake. These incidents triggered a wave of criticism in Mainland social media. According to Reporters Without Borders, China was ranked number 176 in the Freedom of Press Index, only better than Syria, Turkmenistan, Eritrea and North Korea.

Source: BBC Chinese, May 17, 2018

Social Credit Rating System Restricted over Ten Million from Purchasing Airline or High Speed Train Tickets

RFA reported that since China launched its social credit system, over 10 million people have been restricted from purchasing airline or high speed train tickets due to their poor social credit rating. The social credit system collects data from an individual’s financial records, social behavior such as traffic violations, criminal records, or academic integrity records. The social credit system score is then used to control the individual’s whole life, such as whether he will be restricted from leaving the country, whether he will be accepted by a school, and whether he can become a civil servant. According to a commentary that the article quoted, the social credit score in other countries is used for rating financial credit. However, in China, financial institutions are not the only ones that use the information on an individual’s social credit score. It also contains information that government agencies can use. That information is not used just to manage society, but rather to control society.

Source: RFA, May 18, 2018

Epoch Times: Ten Years Later Victims of Sichuan Earthquake Still under Surveillance

Epoch Times reported that, as of the tenth anniversary of the earthquake in Sichuan Province, officials are still covering up their corruption and are still retaliating against those who choose to appeal. The article stated that those who were responsible for the shabby construction, especially of the school buildings, have not been held accountable; the official’s embezzlement of the rescue funding is still kept secret; and parents and the local people who reported on the officials or who wanted to appeal are still under surveillance. One woman told the Epoch Times that people were warned not to accept interviews from foreign media. She told the reporter that her house was damaged during the earthquake but she has no money to repair it. She said that the villagers were forced to sign a cash receipt showing an amount that was higher than what they actually received while the officials pocketed the rest of the money. A writer from Sichuan Province who wrote an appeal letter for these villagers told Epoch Times that he was saddened to see how those legal citizens ended up losing their freedom to speak and to appeal.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs issued a report that confirmed that, as of September 25, 2008, following the Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan Province, 69,227 had died, 374,643 had been injured, and 17,923 were missing. The unofficial number that the Bashu United League released stated that the death toll was at 300,000. Among them, 30,000 were students; most of them were children in kindergarten. During the earthquake, the schools reported having the most casualties because of the poor quality of the buildings. The government buildings, however, were found to be the most earthquake resistant.

Source: Epoch Times, April 28, 2018

Beijing Public Security Bureau Claims 5,000 Spy Tip-Off Calls Received in One Year

Huanqiu carried an article that Beijing Evening News originally published on April 10. The article reported that, in the year since the Beijing Public Security Bureau issued a notice to reward citizens for offering information about suspicious spying activities, the bureau has received close to 5,000 calls. The article listed examples of a few reported spying activities. One involved a former classmate from a foreign country trying to obtain confidential academic information. A second one involved a person who was overseas attending an academic conference. The person was asked to provide confidential academic information in exchange for a permanent residence status. A third involved a Chinese cab driver who noticed a group of foreigners conducting suspicious activity near a restricted military area. The article claimed that the tipping hotline has received an increased number of calls and the end results have been effective. A VOA article reported that the monetary reward could be as high as 500,000 yuan (US$80,000) for each occurrence. When a VOA reporter called the tipping hotline, the operator who answered the call declined to comment on how many of the tips were eventually validated.

1. Huanqiu, April 10, 2018
2. VOA, April 13, 2018

RFA: China Hires Neighborhood Administrators to Monitor Residential Neighborhood Activities

Radio Free Asia reported that China has divided neighborhoods into small blocks of about 15 to 20 households each and has assigned an administrator to manage each block. The neighborhood committee maintains close contact with the local police department and regularly reports “suspicious” movements going on in the neighborhood. Recently a hiring notice for the Residential Administrator of a neighborhood committee indicated that the administrators are required to know their assigned neighborhood, people’s housing situations, the basic infrastructure setup, the number of organizations in the neighborhood, the population and any potential risks. They also need to collect feedback from the residents and be prepared to assist and resolve conflicts. Each administrator is responsible for 15 to 20 families in the neighborhood. The administrators are also required to maintain confidentiality when going about their work.

A news report from last November showed that these administrators can make up to 5,000 yuan (US$796) a month. The money comes out of the stability maintenance fund.

Source: Radio Free Asia, April 10, 2018

Oriental Daily: Mainland China Banned Online Stores from Selling the Bible

The popular Hong Kong newspaper Oriental Daily recently reported via its online news site that online e-commerce platforms in Mainland China have completely removed their Bible offerings. Many of them also removed related Christian books. Some sellers even cancelled their sellers’ accounts altogether. According to some Mainland Christians, Bibles are now only available from the government approved Patriotic Church. According to a recently released official government Five-Year Work Plan, people should align their “position about the Bible” with the government approved view. The Chinese government is planning to re-translate the Bible and publish its own “official version” of the book. Oriental Daily has been Hong Kong’s number one newspaper in circulation since 1976, with a record readership of over 3,100,000.

Source: Oriental Daily, April 3, 2018

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