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New Labor Law Took Effect January 1; Enforcement is the Key

A new labor law, intended to improve the rights of Chinese workers, took effect on January 1, 2008. The law, which includes measures that set standards for wages, mandatory contracts and severance pay, aims to improve protection for employees’ legal rights, and toughen the punishment for government officials who abuse their office.

The real question is whether the new laws will be enforced, how they will be enforced, and against whom they will be enforced.

Source: People’s Daily, December 29/2007 Wall Street Journal, January 2, 2007
http://www.chinalawblog.com/2007/07/chinas_new_labor_law_enforceme_1.html

Forty Percent of Chinese Use Mobile Phones

The Ministry of Information Industry of the People’s Republic of China reported that there were over 539 million mobile phone users in China in November 2007, an increase of 78 million compared with the number of subscribers in 2006. The reform of mobile phone roaming tariffs was part of the reason for the rapid increase.

Guangdong province took the lead with 77 million cell phone subscribers while Tibet has only 765,000 subscribers. According to People’s Daily, the number of text messages sent over cell phones exceeded 535 billion in November 2007.

Source: Ministry of Information Industry Website, January 3, 2008/People’s Daily, December 25, 2007
http://www.mii.gov.cn/art/2008/01/03/art_2001_35674.html

Unwelcome Guests: Military Bombers Fly over Japanese Gas Field

According to Asahi Shimbun, on September 11 and 12, 2007, Chinese military bombers flew over a gas field in the East China Sea more than forty times. Japan‘s Self-Defense Forces’ F4 fighters scrambled to respond. At times, Chinese bombers and Japanese F4 fighters were only 5 kilometers apart. The encounters were confirmed by Taiwan‘s military sources and by the Japanese government. The gas field is Chunxiao gas field, which Japan has named ”Shirakaba,” or white birch.

Source: Asahi Shimbun, December 31, 2007
http://www.asahi.com/world/china/news/TKY200712300153.html

China Enters into a Decade of Crises

According to an Observer article on December 25, 2007, starting from 2008, China is entering a 10-year period of severe crises.

The article cites the following factors:

· Short-term crisis: The skyrocketing price of resources, coupled with social inequality
· Long-term crisis: A cross-the- board recession, given the constraints of limited land resources
· Crisis of Rule by Man: The one-party political system does not produce people with integrity.
· Justice Crisis: Courts are fatally overrun with corruption.

The article concludes that hope lies with the people. One of the goals of the rights movement will be to put a referendum in the constitution.

Source: Observer Magazine, December 25, 2007. Secret China reprint http://www.secretchina.com/news/223188.html

Asylum Seeker Turned Away by Taiwan

Wu Yalin, a PRC citizen who applied for political asylum with Taiwan government, was declined the application. With his Taiwan visa expiring on January 2, Wu is concerned that he will finally be repatriated to China. In 1980’s, Wu was jailed for nine years for disclosing illegal election practices. In 2007, he was sentenced to 3 years in labor camp for encouraging friends to read the Nine Commentaries on Communist Party, according to Wu. He fled to Taiwan via Hong Kong and Thailand. Beijing issued an arrest warrantee with the charge of “attempt to overthrow the government by colluding with anti-China forces.”

Source: Voice of America, January 1, 2008
http://www.voanews.com/chinese/w2008-01-01-voa21.cfm