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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

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

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

Tens of Thousands of Civilians Appeal at “Petition Day” in Guangzhou

China News posted an article from the Guangming Daily reporting that tens of thousands of residents went to appeal in the rain when the Guangzhou municipal government held a city-wide public “Petition Day” on June 26, 2008. It was reported that such a large public reception of petitioning residents has never occurred in the whole country before. The problems with regards to which residents appealed were mostly related to housing, social security, and environmental protection. The article commented that the public reception is nevertheless more of a show (by the local government leaders) rather than a practical avenue for solving residents’problems.

Source: China News Agency, June 28, 2008

Xinhua Article Calls Reporters without Border a tool of Western Anti-China Force

Xinhua newspaper Global Times published a commentary article attacking the organization “Reporters without Borders (RSF).” The article, titled “Uncovering ‘Anti-China Too’—‘Reporters without Border’s Inside Story, calls RSF a wandering ghost, anti-China radicals, and the front runner and tool of Western anti-China forces. The article also speculates that the U.S. can hit two birds with one stone by utilizing Menard [RSF’s Secretary General]: giving the Beijing Olympics a “negative” spot in history; and benefitting from [the fight] if Beijing retaliates against France because RSF is a French association.

Source: Xinhua, July 1, 2008