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VOA: Xi Jinping Calms Private Enterprises

VOA reported that, in recent years, private enterprises have been suffering a slowdown. On October 21, Xinhua published a letter Xi Jinping wrote, which stated that the Party’s consistent policy of supporting the development of private enterprises will not waver and any statements that negate and weaken the practice of the private economy are all wrong.

On October 21, Xinhua published a letter Xi Jinping wrote in response to some private entrepreneurs who were awarded for their contributions in a poverty relief campaign. In the letter, Xi acknowledged the historical economic contributions private businesses have made and stated that the “role of the private economy is unquestionable. Any statement or practice that denies or weakens the private economy is wrong.” Xi insisted that “supporting the development of private enterprises is the consistent policy of the Party Central Committee. This will not waver.”

According to VOA, a research report that China’s Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business released showed that the index of business conditions of Chinese private enterprises in August fell significantly from the previous month, from 55.6 in July to 49.8 in August, the worst performance in four years. The VOA article concluded that the current mechanism to “allow the state to advance and the private sector to retreat ” has caused private enterprises to be unable to have the same advantages as state-owned enterprises and has resulted in a large gap between the operations of these two types enterprise.

Sources:

1. Xinhua, October 21, 2018
http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-10/21/c_137548892.htm

2. VOA, October 21, 2018
https://www.voachinese.com/a/xi-calls-to-protect-private-business-20181021/4622566.html

Beijing Scholar Teaches “Xi Jinping Thought” on edX

After the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, the authorities have been strongly promoting “Xi Jinping Thought” inside China, and are now exporting it to the U.S. On October 18, the website of Foreign Policy magazine published an article that Australian scholar Kevin Carrico wrote. “I was so excited to learn this August of a new course offered on the edX website, a U.S.-based learning platform: Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era—the official full name of Xi Jinping Thought. The instructor was none other than the Tsinghua University professor Hu Angang, known for his close links to senior government leaders and his claims that China has already overtaken the United States as the primary global superpower.”

edX is an online course provider that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University created.

Carrico said that, after paying a $49 fee, and providing a verified certificate with instructor professor Hu’s signature, he “was able to receive a final score of 100 across all the multiple choice quizzes.”

“The course’s promotional materials promised that learners would obtain ‘[s]ystematic and full knowledge of the {Chinese Communist Party’s} people-centered core concept,’ as well as a ‘deeper understanding of the socialist road with Chinese characteristics.’” Carrico explained about the contents of the course, “It is fair to say that China is a society different from Western society. Mainly, it has established a people’s society.” “Hu reminded us that the Chinese republic is the people’s republic, the national bank is the people’s bank, the police are the people’s police, and the army is the people’s army. But wait, there’s more. Hu proudly reported that Xi used the term ‘people’ 203 times in his report to the 19th Party Congress in 2017—more than any other term.”

Hu once said in his published research that China’s comprehensive national strength has completely surpassed the United States and it is ranked first in the world. It caused academic controversy after the Sino-US trade war.

A group of Tsinghua alumni signed a letter to the president of Tsinghua University in August. It criticized Hu Angang’s theory {about China’s surpassing the U.S.} as “misleading the national policy, as well as the general public, setting off alarm bells among other countries. It asked the university to fire him.

Source: Central News Agency, October 20, 2018
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/acn/201810200204.aspx

After Meeting with CCP’s Central Propaganda Department, Hong Kong Media Revised Reports amid Concerns over Self-censorship

On Tuesday October 16, about 20 Hong Kong media executives met in Beijing with the Chinese Communist Party’s head of the Central Propaganda Department, Huang Kunming. Siu Sai Wo, the head of the delegation and Chief Executive of the Sing Tao Group, told the media what Huang said at the meeting: “I hope that the Hong Kong media will not become a base for interfering with mainland politics.”

Some Hong Kong media broadcast Siu’s words on television and on social media. However, the report about Hong Kong media interfering with the mainland political base later “disappeared.” This triggered concerns over self-censorship in the Hong Kong press, as Chinese officials have never used such strong language targeting the Hong Kong media. However, Siu later told the South China Morning Post that the meeting related content should not be used for interviews and clarified that the original text should be “to prevent external forces from turning Hong Kong into a base for intervening and destroying the mainland.” It was not targeting Hong Kong media.

Bruce Lui, a lecturer at the Hong Kong Baptist University’s Department of Journalism, believed that, as a professional practice, the media has a responsibility to verify the facts. If the interviewee made a false statement, the media and its senior executives should offer clarification, so that the public will not feel that the Hong Kong media, following the practice of the mainland media, will collectively revise their story.

Lui pointed out that the CCP’s Central Propaganda Department mainly takes charge of the ideology inside the Party. “In theory it should not intervene in matters in Hong Kong or Macao.” This time the Central Propaganda Department was directly talking to the senior executives of the Hong Kong media and handing out opinions. It was different from the courtesy visits in the past and was “not normal.” He suspected that the Central Propaganda Department intends to become the direct superior of the Hong Kong media. Possibly it wants to intensify its influence on the Hong Kong media.

The Hong Kong media is different from that in the mainland in that there is a greater degree of freedom in reporting and editing. However, recently, the Asia news editor for the Financial Times, Victor Mallet was denied the renewal of his Hong Kong work visa. It happened after he invited Andy Chan, founder of the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), to give a speech at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC). The event caused the outside world to be concerned about Hong Kong’s freedom of the press.

According to the Hong Kong Journalists Association’s 2017 survey, the Chinese government controls 35 percent of Hong Kong’s mainstream media or they have received financial investments from China.

Lui expects that the mainland will exert more influence on the Hong Kong media in the future. It will use different political and economic tactics to deal with overseas media more often.

Source: BBC Chinese, October 17, 2018
https://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/simp/chinese-news-45887146

Public Appearance of Former Top CCP Leaders

A few retired former Chinese Communist Party {CCP} Standing Committee members have made public appearances recently in a number of different ways. Their unusual “public appearances” aroused some curiosity.

Wu Guanzheng, the former CCP Standing Committee member and Discipline Committee Secretary said, in a public article at the end of September, that he “was happy” after retiring and also mentioned {the need} to create more conditions for new talent to come into {leadership} positions.

On October 7, Wu Bangguo, the former CCP Standing Committee member, visited Feidong City in Anhui Province; according the local media there, the crowd “welcomed” him.

On October 11, Zhu Rongji, the former CCP premier, appeared at the advisory board meeting of the Qinghua University Management School. According to some media reports, the 90-year old Zhu appeared with a smile and looked like he was in good spirits.

On October 15, Li Ruihuan, another former CCP Standing Committee member, published an article online talking about his view of “the {correct} way to be a CCP official” and that “those who made {usually anonymous and often groundless or slanderous} complaints should not get into leadership positions.”

Source: Central News Agency, October 16, 2018
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/acn/201810160340.aspx

70 Percent of Drugs in Taiwan Come from China

Taiwan’s Interior Minister Hsu Kuo-yung said on October 17 that 70 percent of Taiwan’s drugs come from China. According to the statistics of the Ministry of Justice, this year alone, among the 3,600 kilograms of drugs seized by the end of June, 2,757.2 kilograms came from mainland China and Hong Kong, accounting for 77 percent.

Hsu pointed out that international cooperation is also very important. Taiwan’s Police Department and the Ministry of Justice have
liaison offices in both mainland China and Hong Kong. China has been obstructing Taiwan from joining Interpol. Hsu hopes that China will not obstruct it because a membership for Taiwan will also benefit China.

Taiwan recently sent a letter to Interpol to apply for an observer status. Hsu said that, so far, no response has been received.

Source: Central News Agency, October 17, 2018
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/aipl/201810170129.aspx

“Academic Alliance” of “Belt and Road” Countries

On October 13 and 14, an “Academic Alliance” consisting of schools of political science and international relations in a number of countries along China’s “Belt and Road” initiative was formally established at Fudan University in Shanghai.

Deans of the schools of political science and international relations from 13 countries including China, Russia, India, South Korea, Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Mongolia, Hungary, Poland, and Latvia met together to discuss the “Belt and Road” initiative and the development of a new international relationship, as well as possible international academic cooperation.

Su Changhe, executive dean of the School of International Relations and Public Affairs at Fudan University, said that emerging countries and developing countries are important forces in the development of new international relations, but these countries lack adequate understanding of each other. Using the means of international cooperation and education in international relations, schools of political science and international relations in these countries can play a leading role in conducting unofficial exchanges, helping reduce the deficit in mutual understandings, and fostering the basis for public opinion for common development.

The School of International Relations and Public Affairs at Fudan University initiated the alliance. Su Changhe proposed that the academic alliance should be a network for students and scholars and should adhere to the “4C” concept, that is, “comfort,” “cooperation,” a “community of mutual understanding,” and a “connective network.” Su believes that the alliance is an inclusive and informal organization that puts “comfort” first, meaning that no ideology or political standpoint is imposed in the academic exchanges, and that it’s a pragmatic cooperation on an equal and comfortable basis. The deans attending the conference put forward nearly 40 valuable proposals for the future of the alliance, including strengthening student and teacher communication, credit transfer, multinational dual degree programs, summer schools, scholars’ field research, remote online courses, and an exchange of scholars to give lectures on each country’s governance and politics.

Dody Prayogo, Associate Dean of the School of Social and Political Studies at the University of Indonesia, suggested the creation of a “Belt and Road” international journal. Mohammad Takhshid, from the Faculty of Law and Politics at the University of Tehran, wished that this academic network would be gradually and formally organized in the future.

Source: The Paper, October 16, 2018
https://www.thepaper.cn/newsDetail_forward_2531400

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