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Tibetan Living Buddhas Cannot Reincarnate without Government Approval

China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs has issued a decree, "Reincarnation Regulations of Tibetan Living Buddhas," providing that, after September 1, 2007, it will be "illegal or invalid" for a Tibetan living Buddhas to reincarnate without government approval. If a Buddha reincarnates, it must serve the interests of national unity and the solidarity of all ethnic groups. No group or individual from outside the country can influence any reincarnation. The Reincarnation Regulations also require that temples that apply for permission for a living Buddha to reincarnate must bere "legally-registered venues for Tibetan Buddhist activities."

Criminal Investigation against Legal Daily Reporter Aborted

During a midnight interview with Xinhua on January 8, 2008, Gao Weiyi, the Deputy Governor of Xifeng County, stated that Fengxi had officially aborted the criminal investigation against Zhu Wenna, the Legal Times reporter who published a “negative” report on January 1, 2008, implicating the County Party Secretary. Local authorities also rescinded the warrant previously issued for her arrest.  The Public Security Bureau Chief was quoted as saying that the investigation and warrant were “not appropriate.”

The investigation and the ensuing warrant issued on January 4 prompted an uproar from news media, who cried foul and alleged that the Xifeng County government and the Party had abused their power in this incident.

Source: Xinhua, January 9, 2008 http://news.xinhuanet.com/legal/2008-01/09/content_7389210.htm

Hu Ziwei’s Embarrassing TV Speech, the Olympic Games, and China as a Great Nation

On December 28, 2007, China Central Television (CCTV) announced the renaming of its sports channel to the “Olympic Channel” at a press conference which was held at the studio of its sports channel CCTV5 and hosted by well-known sports anchor Zhang Bin.  At 3pm, Zhang’s wife Hu Ziwei promptly walked to the microphone and interrupted the conference to expose her husband’s affair with another woman. The family drama played out during three minutes of footage which was widely shared on the Internet.  Soon afterwards, major Chinese Internet portal sites deleted almost all reports of the  incident.  The government and official media have not made any announcements.  Our readers may peruse a compilation of news and editorial excerpts on the incident from overseas Chinese media and websites, listed below.

Hu Ziwei’s speech, as recorded in a December 29, 2007 article posted on The Epoch Times website [1]:

“… Before host Zhang Bin could introduce the ping pong athlete Wan Nan and bring him to the stage, a woman suddenly appeared. A sharp-eyed reporter on the scene recognized her as an anchor of a Beijing TV station, Hu Ziwei—Zhang’s wife.

“Hu wanted to speak, [but was] held back by Zhang Bin. Hu Ziwei said, ‘just give me a minute.’ She then freed herself from Zhang Bin, took up the microphone, and began to speak: ‘2008 is coming. All of you will have a happy new year, but Zhang Bin and I can’t.’

“Thereafter she disclosed that Zhang and another woman were having an improper affair. CCTV’s deputy chief Jiang Heping and several others hurried up the stage to urge Hu away.

“Hu: Today is a special day for the Olympic Channel, for Mr. Zhang Bing, and for me, too. Two hours ago, I found out that Mr. Zhang Bin has been involved in an affair with another woman.

“Hu: Next year is the year of the Olympics. All eyes will be watching China. But a French foreign minister said that if on the point of human values, Chinese people have no … (off-camera voice: no video taping) then what’s the meaning of all this? What meaning does it have?

“Hu: (struggling continuously) I will finish my last sentence. Let’s be polite. But that French foreign minister said, ‘Until China can export human values, [it] won’t become a great country.’ In front of us, [we] face such a sanctimonious … when Zhang Bin can’t face himself … even can’t face his wife, hurt by him. I feel, China, as a … become a great country… In the end do you have any conscience?! You let go! Still too far away from a great country.”

Excerpt from a December 31, 2007 Voice of America Chinese report entitled “From Hu Ziwei Farce to Talking about China as a Great Country” [2]:
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“Serendipitously on the same Friday, China’s Global Times published a report, [which] stated that the number of people who believe China to be a strong world power is decreasing. More than 50% of the people surveyed do not see China as a strong world power.

“In an in-house survey of 1,300 regular residents from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan and Chongqing, results showed that 18.40% of the people believe China is already a strong world power, compared to the 2006 survey, where the figure was 19.7%. 55.72% of the people surveyed believe China isn’t quite a strong world power. Last year this figure was 50.8%. The percentage of those believing China to be a strong power is declining.

“Additionally, the survey found that most people didn’t think that China is lacking in its diplomacy, economy, or military strength, with over 50% of the people believing China has the strength of a major power in terms of its economy. Those surveyed believed that the major problems damaging China’s image include corruption, morality, and ‘civilization.’”

A January 1, 2008 report on the aftermath of the incident from Taiwan’s FTV [3]:

“Hu Ziwei’s irrational behavior immediately resulted in her suspension by [her] employer, Beijing Satellite TV. It is said that afterward [she] was arrested by the police for damaging the [country’s] Olympic image. Although China continues to go to great pains to block this news, the footage of Hu Ziwen stirring up the ruckus at the press conference has already been posted on social networking video websites. Chinese Web surfers can see it as long as they are online.”

In addition to news reports, the incident has been a hot topic for Chinese commentators. An analyst from New Tang Dynasty TV wrote the following [4]:

“Some people have referred to Hu Ziwen’s words as a ‘New Year’s Dedication Speech.” Of course, the reason these words have caused a nationwide convulsion is because 1) they touched upon prevalent social, moral, and ethical questions that everyone can reflect upon; 2) they burst upon the Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece and highlighted a real scandal, a thrill—everyone wanted to watch CCTV’s drama; 3) they dealt with issues from family matters to China’s international status, and even spoke to the values and cultural and spiritual essence behind China’s rise; [it] is grand enough and thought-provoking.”

“Currently the entire country is submerged under the Olympic heat wave, [as if] this is the most important priority. The emergence of the Olympic Channel is just one such manifestation. The Olympics is no longer sports, but the driving force of a ‘patriotic movement,’ a monster, and a business machine. Everywhere there are various countdown celebrations. Souvenirs of various kinds can be found as can various trains of thought on investment and Olympic projects inundating the market. The Olympics has become synonymous with drumming up political propaganda. …and it has taken hold in China as a fever which, like a huge mechanical monster, is capable of pulverizing any call in question.”
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“The Olympics became the CCP’s greatest element in the political machinery which violently orbits around the CCP’s will. And, precisely under the drive of the CCP’s political Olympics, the entire country is rapidly slipping off the cliff of moral desecration. Amidst this national excitement, the underprivileged and marginalized groups have been cast aside—frequent civil rights violations and persecutions in various places have been cast aside; live harvesting and the profitable resell of organs go unnoticed. What are the Olympic Games about for the world? They are about human rights, about equal participation.  The Olympics is meant to be a grand athletic gathering free from political persecution and the games stand as a symbol upholding morality, harmonious family support, healthy bodies and minds, prosperity for nations and strength among the nations’ peoples. All of these have been twisted by the CCP’s political motives while this year’s Olympic excitement is evolving into a dangerous fever.

“Kudos to Hu Ziwei, who has the courage to call a stop to the dangers of the political Olympics and to the nation’s big slip. Hu Ziwei, in fact, was saying, ‘Without upgrading individual, family and national values, without moral guidance, without respect for human rights, this kind of Olympics has no meaning. Like a beautiful home, even if it seems to have the best living environment, with a husband like Zhang, the family no longer has meaning.’”

In a New Century blog, “View Beijing Olympics Risks from Hu Ziwen Incident,” Qi Ge [5] wrote the following:

“As far as the incident itself is concerned, it should be understood as an unprecedented, impromptu incident directly related to the Beijing Olympics. Precisely because the incident took place during the press conference [announcing] the name change of the sports channel to the “Olympic Channel”… it made people pay attention and think deeply. People will have to ask in the next several months, ‘Will these unprecedented, impromptu events again take place? If they do, will it be more serious than this?’ … [If] we look into the current China behind the Beijing Olympics, perhaps the situation is more serious than we imagine. This implies that the Beijing Olympics hasn’t given people enough reason to believe that those risks associated with the Olympics have been effectively evaded.”

“What can really cause people to be anxious, cause the Olympics to be associated with risks, are those problems special to China. These problems are rare elsewhere in the world, but they happen every moment in China. Any one of these problems can cause sudden incidents, and can even cause civil commotion. Take massive petitions as an example—this is a standard China problem with the number of petitioners reaching 400,000! Under a crippled legal system and unjust judicial system, petition became the last resort for people living at the bottom as well as a major outstanding China problem.
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“There are also other similar problems which pose far greater uncertainty and spontaneity. They are large scale social unrests. The causes of these incidents are mainly unemployment and loss of lands. For example, the Hanyuan Incident [6] was caused by the forceful occupation of farmers’ land for the construction of irrigation projects without fair compensation. All of these problems are unique to China and are deeply rooted in the political system. If one wants to resolve them, it definitely won’t be a day’s effort. [For Chinese government], can those headaches be cracked down with an iron fist? Maybe it was possible in the past, but now it’s too difficult. Aren’t we going to host the Olympics? Hosting the Olympics is to attract guests from the world, attracting the eyes of the whole world to our prosperity and to our national power. … Among the guest, there will be 30,000 to 40,000 journalists. Over ten thousand of those reporters are authorized to report the Olympics. According to the State Council, many reporters are authorized to interview ordinary people who want to be interviewed. For a government that habitually controls media, this undoubtedly is a new problem. In the history of PRC, the event with largest gathering of foreign reporters was Gorbachev’s visit in 1989, when over 2,000 reporters came. But this time, the number of visiting reporters is many times higher than it was back then. Under this kind of circumstance, any sudden unexpected incident will become the focus of the world, and can even cause serious problems.”

Endnotes:
[1] The Epoch Times, “Web News: Famous CCTV Anchor Wife Makes a Ruckus During Olympic Channel Press Conference,” December 29, 2007,
http://epochtimes.com/gb/7/12/29/n1958452.htm
[2]Voice of America, “From Hu Ziwei farce to Talking about China [as Having] Major Country Status,” December 31, 2007,
http://www.voanews.com/chinese/w2007-12-31-voa13.cfm
[3] FTV, “Expose Husband’s Affair, Hu Ziwei Arrested,” January 1, 2008,
http://news.ftv.com.tw/
[4] The Epoch Times, “Li Tianxiao: Hu Ziwei ‘Straight Words Straight Talk’ Beats New Year’s Editorial,” January 2, 2008, http://epochtimes.com/gb/8/1/2/n1962129.htm
[5] New Century Net, “View Beijing Olympics Risks from Hu Ziwei Incident,” January 1, 2008,  http://2newcenturynet.blogspot.com/2008/01/blog-post_4963.html
[6] Hanyuan Incident took place over a course of several months at the end of 2002. Tens of thousands of villagers, who were to be relocated due the Yangtze River dam construction, protested against the lost of their homes, businesses and land. Authorities responded by sending over 10,000 armed police and military personnel to crush the protest with force. The number of protesters reached as high as 150,000. Unknown numbers of civilians were injured or killed. China’s official media gave no coverage of this incident.

On China’s Overseas Investment in 2007

China’s trade surplus took a leap in 2007. According to the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, at the end of 2006, China’s foreign exchange reserve exceeded $1 trillion. In the year of 2007, the figure jumped by over $50 billion every month. By the end of September, the accumulated reserve primarily from trade surplus amounted to $1.43 trillion. At the same time, with the emergence of the global credit crunch at the second half of 2007, domestic macroeconomic imbalance, and shortage of raw materials, the government took active steps to hasten the pace in overseas investment.

The following are excerpts from a Voice of America report on December 30, 2007 [1].

"In the recent several years, China has constantly accelerated its pace in overseas investment. In 2005, China’s overseas investment was $12.3 billion, in 2006, $16.1 billion. As illustrated by statistics from the Wall Street Journal, China’s sovereign wealth fund together with state and private-owned companies has spent $29.2 billion on the purchase of overseas enterprises in 2007, while the amount spent for the purchase of China’s enterprises by all foreign regions was $21.5 billion.

Astounded at the overwhelming impetus of China’s economic expansion into foreign countries, Hong Kong-based Economic Weekly named the year 2007 as the first year of China’s capital outflow. With such pace of progress, said Economic Weekly, China’s overseas capital investment will be comparable to that of Japan within 10 years."

"China’s state-owned petroleum companies continued to purchase energy assets in mid-Asia, Middle East, and Africa through contracts of field exploration, pipeline construction, and refinement projects. The biggest deal was the $4.18 billion buyout of PetroKazakhstan Inc. by China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) from a Canadian multinational corporation in October 2007. China’s state-run media regarded the purchase as a breakthrough after a series of setbacks in previous unsuccessful attempts.

Manufacture leads China’s global expansion, accounting for 53.4 percent of the country’s total overseas investment. In early 2007, China’s telecommunication magnate China Mobile spent $284 million acquiring 90 percent of the stock shares of Pakistan mobile carrier Paktel out of a Swedish company. In August, the Shenyang-based Northern Heavy Industries Group successfully acquired and merged Germany’s Wandeor Holding Company and a French company NFM, becoming the controlling owner of the world’s top producers of Tunnel Boring Machine.

The most remarkable waves of overseas mergers and acquisitions (M&A) took place in the financial sector. In July, China Development Bank purchased 7.7 percent of the stock shares of U.K’s Barclays Bank. In October, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China acquired 20 percent of the shares of Standard Bank of South Africa at $42.3 billion, becoming the largest share holder of the largest lender in South Africa.
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At the same time, China Minsheng Banking bought 9.9 percent of San Francisco-based UCBH Holdings for nearly $300 million. CITIC Securities Corporation and the Wall Street investment bank Bear Stearns & Co. Inc. each invested $1 billion to each other and became a 50-50 joint venture.

"The newly released ‘World Investment Report’ published by the United Nations stated that China’s overseas investment last year (2006) constituted 2.7 percent of the total global overseas investment, ranking 13. Despite a small percentage, the rate of increase has been an annual average of 60 percent in the past four years. Moreover, the scale of single investment projects is growing sharply. In 2007, the five biggest overseas investments averaged $3.1 billion, while the size of foreign investment projects in China averaged $202 million."

The following are excerpts from another Voice of America report dated December 29, 2007 [2]

"China has long adopted a traditional and monotonous investment model for its foreign exchange reserve; that is, buying foreign government bonds which has low risk and low return. However, the model underwent a dramatic change since the second half of this year (2007). In March 2007, the preparation of China Investment Limited Corporation was initiated and the corporation was formally established in September. China’s media reported that China Investment Corp, under the State Council, has a registered capital of $200 billion. It is charged with the important task of investing the huge foreign exchange reserve at home and abroad."

"As an investment tool of the Chinese government, China Investment Limited Corporation, just like all other sovereign wealth funds, has received tremendous attention from the international finance circle and governments in western countries.

"David Lampton, director of China studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, believed the investment activities by China Investment Limited Corporation can easily arouse alertness from western countries, due to its nature as a Chinese government agency.

"Because China’s foreign exchange reserve and the newly established China Investment Limited Corporation are controlled by the government, many of the investment activities would be considered to have strategic goals, in addition to commercial motivation. The Chinese government has to deal with the capital meticulously. Whenever the capital is invested in sensitive projects, it would inevitably stir up controversies from the international society."

Endnotes:
[1] Voice of America, December 30, 2007
http://www.voanews.com/chinese/w2007-12-30-voa43.cfm?rss=economy percent20and percent20finance
[2] Voice of America, December 29, 2007
http://www.voanews.com/chinese/w2007-12-29-voa28.cfm?rss=economy percent20and percent20finance

China Plans to Launch 17 Satellites in 2008

Huang Qiang, secretary-general of the Commission of Science Technology and Industry for National Defense, revealed on January 7, 2008, that China plans to launch 15 rockets, 17 satellites and its third manned mission in 2008. The launch of Shenzhou VII in October will include a space walk; it wil initiate a joint effort with Russia to explore Mars in 2009. The agreement between China and Russia was signed on June 27, 2007.

Source: Southcn.com, January 8, 2008
http://news.southcn.com/china/zgkx/content/2008-01/08/content_4303378.htm http://bbs.tiexue.net/post2_2344250_1.html

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