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China News: Northern China PM2.5 Pollution Increased after Remediation

China News recently reported that China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment just released its 2018-2019 Fall and Winter Air Quality Improvement Report. The report indicated that, on a year-over-year basis, 28 cities in Northern China saw a PM2.5 pollution increase rather than a decrease after intensive air pollution control and remediation activities. These cities include Beijing and many cities near Beijing. The Report explained that, in addition to certain natural causes, it has been harder to apply environmental protection controls and, over time, the cities have again become undisciplined. The Report is part of the assessment process of the Three-Year Combat Plan for Protecting the Blue Sky. The initiative was designed to improve air quality in multiple major regions. While the Eastern region achieved an 8.3 percent improvement, the Northern regions suffered a 6.5 percent decline in quality. Statistics on both the average pollution level and the number of heavy pollution days showed the situation deteriorated. Local governments’ relaxed administrative and monitoring strength was identified as the key issue.

Source: China News, May 1, 2019

RFI: Beijing Imposed Heavy Sentences on Its Veterans

Radio France Internationale reported that Beijing launched a severe crackdown on its veterans for initiating a rights petition. Recently local courts sentenced 18 veterans who participated in the protests in Zhenjiang (Jiangsu province) and Pingdu (Shandong province) last year to two to six years in prison for “disturbing the social order,” “intentional assault,” or “the crime of preventing officials from performing their duties.” In the year that marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, the 30th anniversary of the June 4th incident, and the 100th anniversary of the May 4th Movement, the heavy sentences show that Beijing is taking a hard stance against the veterans’ rights petition.

Chinese veterans have been asking the authorities to resolve the issue of unfair benefits after their retirement. In recent years, veterans used social media to launch joint petitions to protest their rights and the scale has been growing. In October 2016, nearly 10,000 veterans from more than 10 provinces and cities came to Beijing to petition. They gathered outside the building of the Central Military Commission. The news had a great impact throughout the country.

On June 20 last year, a group of veterans in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province, protested their rights in front of the city government. After the city government sent unidentified personnel to beat them, veterans from all over China came to Zhenjiang to show their support. On June 23, the authorities dispatched nearly 10,000 armed police to disperse the protesting veterans who gathered in front of the city government and managed to intercept veterans who were on their way to Zhenjiang.

On October 4 last year, dozens of veterans from Shandong Pingdu were preparing to go to Beijing to petition. After many of them were intercepted from going to Beijing, more veterans from all over Shandong came to show their support. On the 6th, thousands of veterans went to the Pingdu Municipal Government to protest. The veterans used wooden sticks to fight back against the police who used tear gas to forcibly disperse the crowd.

In 2018, in response to the increasingly large-scale veteran protests, the Chinese authorities formed the Department of Veteran Affairs to “transfer and resettle military cadres and retired soldiers, to provide education and training for retired military personnel, and to resolve the dissatisfaction among the military personnel.”

Source: Radio France Internationale, April 19, 2019

Sina Weibo Shut Down Accounts that “Disseminate Harmful Information”

On the afternoon of April 16th, the Sina Weibo Community Management official microblog released an announcement on the recent investigation into the harmful information and accounts in Weibo. The announcement stated that from March 28, 2019, until April 10, 2019, according to the requirements of relevant laws and regulations, Sina Weibo banned and closed a number of accounts that had disseminated harmful information. The accounts closed included that of Actor Zhao Lixing, who has 7 million followers.

The announcement also reminded Weibo users that the language and discussion they use should comply with the requirements of relevant laws, regulations, and community rules. Users including self-media accounts should abide by the “Internet Information Service Management Regulations” and “must not create, copy, publish, or disseminate information content prohibited by law or administrative regulations.”

The announcement also posted a list of definitions of harmful information in current affairs. These include:
1. Opposing the basic principles established by the Constitution;
2. Endangering national unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity;
3. Leaking state secrets, endangering national security or jeopardizing national honors and interests;
4. Inciting national hatred, ethnic discrimination, undermining national unity, or infringing on national customs;
5. Destroying the national religious policy and promoting cults and superstitions;
6. Spreading rumors, disrupting the social order and undermining social stability;
7. Distorting, vilifying, defaming, or negating heroic deeds and spirit; insulting and defaming heroic martyrs;
8. Promoting gambling, violence, murder, terror or instigating crimes;
9. Inciting illegal gatherings, associations, demonstrations, or public gatherings to disturb social order;
10. Spreading negative information that goes beyond the bottom line of social morality and the system;
11. Publishing other content prohibited by law, administrative regulations and national regulations.

Source: Wenxuecity, April 16, 2019

LTN: Shen Yun Brings Global Popularity

Major Taiwanese news network Liberty Times Network (LTN) recently reported that U.S.-based Shen Yun Performing Arts 2019 global tour has been enjoying sold-out shows around the world in over 150 cities such as New York, Mexico City, Berlin and Toronto. Calling Shen Yun a miracle is not an exaggeration. The Show brought its popularity to people in all walks of life with different religious backgrounds and different political views. It is quietly changing the world. What’s truly unique about the company is that the performers have tried to influence other people by improving themselves. Three-time Emmy Award Winner Rita Cosby described them as having very strong power by simply demonstrating inner peace. The Show has been recognized as waking up the traditional values in people’s souls. Values like freedom, compassion and kindness are very meaningful for today’s world.

Source: LTN, April 10, 2019

RFA: Former Peking University Security Guard Arrested for Producing Video Criticizing Xi Jinping

Zhang Pancheng, a former security guard at Peking University, went missing because he posted a video on the Internet last November criticizing China’s human rights situation and Xi Jinping for giving out generous foreign aid to 3rd world countries. Zhang’s friends and lawyers have recently confirmed that the authorities arrested Zhang for allegedly “Picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” According to Zhang’s mother, Zhang Pancheng has been held in the Xicheng District Detention Center in Beijing for more than four months. The family member received a notice of the arrest. An attorney that the Zhang’s family hired had gone the detention center to visit him. The lawyer told Zhang’s family that Zhang refused to admit he made a mistake, refused to write a letter of guarantee, and refused to sign the lawyer’s power of attorney.

In the video Zhang made, Zhang said: “I am a simple, ordinary Chinese, but I also have my dreams, my ideals, my self-esteem, and my rights as a person. In China under today’s totalitarian rule, no one has personal safety. A private entrepreneur could die any time and anyone could disappear for no reason. He (Xi Jinping) could give away $60 billion in foreign aid but did he go through any approval process? . . . One million innocent Muslim compatriots are being held. What crimes have they committed? Please release them and send them home immediately.”

Source: Radio Free Asia, April 10, 2019

RFA: China Rebuilds and Expands at Least 30 Prisons Within One Year

Radio Free Asia reported that China’s provincial prisons have been undergoing renovation and expansion projects in recent years. Some online media have collected information from public government online information and found that over the past six years, the size of prisons everywhere has been expanding. Since 2013, 200 prisons have expanded to varying degrees. Overseas Uyghur organizations said that many Uyghurs have been transferred from Xinjiang to the mainland for custody, so the authorities needed to expand many detention facilities.

According to “Haifeng Express,” a Twitter account, since 2018, 34 prison expansion projects have been launched. They include Shaoyang Prison Phase II Expansion Project in Hunan province, Xingyi Prison Expansion Project in Guizhou, Luoyang Prison Reconstruction and Expansion Project in Henan, and the Prison Reconstruction and Expansion Project in Harbin. Radio Free Asia reported that their online research results showed that many prisons that were being renovated were not included on the list. This indicates that the actual number of prison reconstruction projects is far more than the reported number.

Di Lishati, the spokesperson for the World Uyghur Congress in Germany, disclosed to RFA on Tuesday March 26 that a large number of illegally detained Uyghurs have been transferred out of the Xinjiang region. Because the Chinese government has illegally detained a large number of Uyghurs, including the Turkic people, in reeducation concentration camps, the prisons are overcrowded. Since the Chinese government is under strong pressure from the international community about the illegal detention of Uyghurs, they planned to transfer the detained Turkic people gradually to the inland provinces of China. After these Turkic people were transferred to the provinces of mainland China, they continued to be oppressed and subjected to brainwashing education.

According to earlier reports from RFA, on New Year’s Day, a group of Kazakh young people from Nalati Town, Yili Xinyuan County were transferred to Nanchang, Jiangxi province, where a military company employed them under the China Aerospace Group. They were asked to learn Chinese after work and were even asked to join the party. Uyghurs in southern Xinjiang were transferred to Heilongjiang Province to serve as cheap laborers.

Source: Radio Free Asia, March 26, 2019