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Xinhua: Public Security Bureau Cracks Down on “Internet Water Army”

According to an article that Xinhua published, since May 2017, the Public Security Bureau has been cracking down on the “Internet Water Army” which is a group of Internet ghostwriters who are paid to post online comments with a particular content {to “flood” the Internet}. The article stated that the Public Security Bureau has successfully solved 40 criminal cases with hundreds of millions of yuan in operation, arrested over 200 people, confiscated 5,000 online accounts and over ten thousand online websites and hundreds of thousands of online postings. The article reported that the “Internet water army” operates like an “Internet mafia.” It uses stolen personal information to send spam text or emails, gambling messages, to spread rumors in social media or to make up fake news using contents that slander others illegally or to manage online postings to make money.

{Editor’s note: The vigor of the crackdown suggests that there may be a large practice of disseminating information on the Internet that the government wants to control. The government calls all of it “faking or manipulating public opinion on the Internet.” The government is cleaning up the privately-run practices, but the CCP itself still manages the largest group, which is infamously known as the “Fifty Cent Party.” The name originated in the early days when the government paid each participant fifty cents for each posting of an article or comment that followed scripts that the CCP officially provided.}

Source: Xinhua, February 4, 2018
http://www.xinhuanet.com/legal/2018-02/04/c_1122366587.htm

The Vatican Replaced Its Own Chinese Bishops with the Ones Beijing Nominated

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that the Vatican just made a concession to Beijing to give up its sitting Chinese bishops and instead appointed the candidates that the Chinese government nominated. The Vatican has sent a delegation to China to formalize the decision. Retired Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen confirmed the news. In 2011, the Vatican had actually punished one of the China-nominated bishops, Huang Bingzhang, with excommunication. Huang is replacing the original bishop, Zhuang Jianjian, who the Vatican officially appointed in 2006 and who had no negative record. For more than one month in 2017, the Chinese police detained another bishop who the Vatican previously appointed, Guo Xijin. Both of these original bishops felt the decision that the Vatican made to remove them was unacceptable.

Source: Sina, January 23, 2018
http://dailynews.sina.com/gb/news/int/cna/20180123/04148224186.html

LTN: Freedom House Global Research Showed Low Score for Mainland China

Major Taiwanese news network Liberty Times Network (LTN) recently reported that the well-known freedom monitoring agency Freedom House just released its 2018 Freedom in the World report. Among 195 countries/regions, 88 were classified as “free nations.” However, the report indicated that the global degree of freedom has suffered a 12-year decline. With the full score of 100 points, Taiwan obtained 93 points, which is an increase of 2 points from last year. Japan scored 96 points and South Korea scored 84. According to the report, Russia got a score of 20, and Mainland China got only 14, which was even one point less than last year. The report indicated that the non-democratic nations are taking advantage of the weakened global trend to influence the international community. China even declared that it is showing the developing countries a “new road.” It appears China is seeking a true leadership role in the world. Signs are now visible that China is actively interfering with domestic politics in countries such as Australia and New Zealand.

Source: LTN, January 16, 2018
http://news.ltn.com.tw/news/world/breakingnews/2313741

China Continues to Drive Out Low-End Population

Beijing earlier conducted an extensive security risk investigation, forcing a large number of its low-end population to move out of the city. The activity caused an uproar in Chinese society and around the world because of the government-led violation of human rights. While the initial reaction is cooling down, the government is continuing to drive the so called low end population out of the capital city.

At the end of last month, in Yanjiao Town, Sanhe City of Hebei Province, which a just a river apart from Tongzhou, the satellite capital of Beijing, the Hebei authorities repeated the closing down of a large number of grassroots businesses and rental properties following the expulsion of a large number of low-end migrant workers. Vendors up to several kilometers along the main avenues and streets have been impacted. A joint law enforcement team composed of seven departments including public security, fire control, and urban management closed down and put a seal on those vendors and rental properties.

The staff of the government office in Sanhe City said it was unclear when the action would end and when the sealed houses would reopen. The local authorities hope that when the locals are ready to go to their homes for the Spring Festival, they will completely remove their work and living fundamentals in the area so they are prevented from coming back after the Spring Festival.

Source: wenxuecity (originally from hk.on.cc), January 13, 2018
http://www.wenxuecity.com/news/2018/01/13/6894218.html

Zhejiang University Professor Asked to Prove “His Mother Is His Mother” for a Medical Insurance Card Transfer

Sina (China News Agency) reported that when Professor Pan Liyong of the Zhejiang University School of Humanities applied for social security card transfer for his mother in order to bring his mother to live with him in Hangzhou, the Cixi Medical Insurance Center asked him to prove that “your mother is (really) your mother.” He was forced to get a notarized certificate as proof from his school. The certificate of proof spread on the Internet and got widespread attention from netizens.

The circulated certificate from the Humanities and Tourism Research Center of Zhejiang University had its official seal. The certificate said,” Professor Pan Liyong is the director of the Philosophy Department at the Humanities School of Zhejiang University. Recently he brought his mother to live with him in Hangzhou. According to the requirement of the relevant departments of your organization, he needs to go through certain formalities for his mother’s social security medical cards to be transferred. This is hereby to prove that PAN Li-yong’s mother, Chen Ai-Lian, is the mother of PAN Li-yong. It is hereby also to prove that the ridiculous practice of “proving that your father is your father,” which Premier Li openly criticized, is indeed still widespread.

Professor Pan said that when he tried to apply for the social security card transfer for his mother, the staff of Cixi Medical Insurance Center insisted that he provide a certificate of relationship with his mother. He had to get the above proof against his will. He then sent a photo of this certificate to his circle of friends. After the relevant departments from Cixi City saw the photo, the United Front Department of Cixi City promptly contacted him. Then the Cixi City Health Insurance Center immediately processed his mother’s social security card transfer.

Source: Sina, December 28, 2017
http://news.sina.com.cn/s/wh/2017-12-27/doc-ifyqcwaq4969339.shtml

UDN: Mainland Government Tightened WeChat Conversation Monitoring

United Daily News (UDN), one of the primary Taiwanese news groups, recently reported that Mainland China has been tightening up its control of conversations made on the popular mobile chatting app WeChat. One recent example occurred after construction worker Chen posted a message regarding exiled businessman Guo Wengui’s comments on corrupt government officials. Four days later, the police detained him for five days. Another example was former sales person Wang, who used negative names when discussing current Chinese President Xi Jinping and former Chinese leader Chairman Mao on WeChat. Wang ended up being sentenced to 22 months in jail. The Chinese government has been improving its use of technology rapidly. The police have established advanced monitoring of communication channels such as WeChat, using not only sensitive word detection, but sensitive picture detection as well. A massive nationwide setup of video surveillance and facial recognition is also under way.

Source: United Daily News, December 11, 2017
https://udn.com/news/story/7332/2868268

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