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Guangzhou Government’s Open House Highlights Dissatisfaction with Corruption

On June 26, 2008, tens of thousands of residents waited in the rain to air grievances to Guangzhou Mayor and other high level officials during an open house at local government offices. It is helpless and saddening, said Guangming Daily. “It is not normal that matters that should have been resolved through official channels may be resolved only through interventions by higher-ups.” “Who should ultimately be shamed by this?” implying  that the authorities are responsible for such failure. Of the 84 comments posted at Chinanews.com, most expressed disappointments in government curruption and abuse of power.

Source: Guangming, June 28, 2008
http://www.chinanews.com.cn/gn/news/2008/06-28/1295767.shtml
http://comment.chinanews.com.cn/comments/comments.php?newsid=1295767&page=1

Top Chinese Leaders Voted No on Earthquake Warning

According to an article in the July issue of the Hong Kong based Trend Magazine, before the May 12 earthquake, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders received serious warnings from seismology experts. During a vote on whether to inform the people, eight members of the Standing Committee of the CCP’s Polibureau voted no. Premier Wen Jiabao was the only dissenting voice.

The CCP’s decision was made to insure the success of the Olympic Torch Relay. The source said on April 26 and 27, 2008, scientists in the Natural Disaster Prediction Committee under the China Geophysics Institute reached an agreement on the following warning: “From May 2008 to April 2009, there is a possibility of Magnitude 6 – 7 earthquake in Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai bordering areas.” Chinese seismologist Geng Qingguo was more specific, he predicted that a Magnitude 7 or stronger earthquake may happen around May 8, plus or minus 10 days at Sichuan Province’s Aba Region.

On April 30, 2008, a document containing the predictions was secretly sent to the China Earthquake Administration. But it failed to convince China’s top leaders to take action.

Source: Boxun.com, July 3, 2008
http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2008/07/200807030438.shtml

Did the Chinese Authorities withhold the earthquake warning

On the afternoon of May 12, 2008, an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale hit Sichuan Province, a mountainous region in Western China. Over 100,000 are believed to have died in the quake. In the first few days immediately following the Sichuan earthquake, the Chinese people showed unprecedented solidarity in the rescue effort. Support for victims poured in from all over China and overseas.

The Sichuan earthquake broke the hearts of tens of thousands parents who stared helplessly at fallen school buildings where their only child lay dead under the rubble. Now the victims’ families are questioning the authorities. Why did school buildings collapse like tofu while nearby government buildings remained intact? In the first critical 72 hours, offers to help poured in from international rescue teams. Why did the Chinese authorities reject them? Why was no warning whatsoever given to the public prior to such a major earthquake? Did the Chinese authorities’ failure to alert the public contributes to the severe damage? Could the death of tens of thousands have been avoided?

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Yum! Brands Inc. Cracks Down on Corruption in its China Operations

With speedy expansion into the China market, Yum! Brands Inc. is facing a rise in the number of business frauds and has launched a crackdown on internal corruption. The latest dismissal took place in a Pizza Hut store in Shanghai in mid-June where an employee was dismissed as a result of forging a fake financial statement.

According to statistics disclosed by Yum! Brands Inc., by the end of 2007, there were 2,100 KFC stores, including 300 opened in 2007, while the total number of Pizza Hut stores reached 300 including, 100 new stores opened in 2007. The revenue of Yum! Brands Inc. in China reached 21.5 billion yuan and its profits grew by 30 percent, accounting for 1/3 of its profits worldwide.

Source: China Business, June 23, 2008
http://www.cb.com.cn/news/ShowNews.aspx?newsId=17718

Party Organization Department: Total Membership Reached 74 Million

Total party membership reached 74 million by the end of 2007, according to an announcement by the Organization Department of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee on July 1, the 87th anniversary of the Party. There was an increase of 2.7 million or 5.6% in party membership from the year 2006. The total number of party organizations established at the local level had reached 3.6 million, up by 99,000 from the year earlier. There were 17,600 party committees, 22,200 chief offices, and 3.2 million branch offices. Among the party members, 32.4% hold college or advanced degrees and 52% were aged 36-59. There was 1% increase of members with business managerial and specialized skills, and 0.3% increase of the students.

Source: Xinhua, July 1, 2008
http://news.xinhuanet.com/newscenter/2008-07/01/content_8471350.htm

Independent TV Station Loses Signal Over China

On Monday, June 16, weeks before the opening of the Beijing Olympics, New Tang Dynasty Television’s (NTDTV) broadcast into Asia was stopped. Millions of households in China are no longer able to receive the broadcast of the largest independent Chinese-language TV network. The cause of the downed signal, according to Eutelsat Communications, the satellite operator, was due to "an anomaly to the satellite power supply system". The broadcasting of VOA programming using the same satellite, however, has not been affected. Eutelsat has declined NTDTV’s request to provide an estimate on when the signal may be restored. Kerry Hong, spokesperson for NTDTV, suspected that the “termination” was made under pressure from the Chinese government in exchange for lucrative contracts. NTDTV, widely known for being the only uncensored Chinese-language TV program broadcast over China, has been using the Eutelsat satellite service since 2002.

Source: NTDTV, July 1, 2008
http://ntdtv.com/xtr/b5/2008/07/01/a159985.html