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Beijing Builds Detention Centers to Protect the Olympic Games

In order to express their grievances, mainland petitioners usually show up at major state activities where they can attract media attention to their plight. For example, on the second day of Indian Prime Minister Singh’s visit, the overseas Chinese affairs website Canyu reported that more than 100 petitioners attempted to enter Tiananmen Square. The police stopped them and escorted them back. It has been reported that the square is now being heavily guarded. One petitioner from Heilongjiang revealed that Beijing has set up a transit point in the suburbs to detain petitioners and prevent foreign media from accessing them during the Olympics. Similar detention centers for petitioners have also been built in all provinces and cities.

Source: Radio Free Asia, January 15, 2008

Leading Scholar Reported for Plagiarism

Xie Hua’an, an ex-fellow of the Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences (FAAS) and a leading scholar known for growing a popular hybrid rice was elected into the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in December 2007. At the time of his election, two retired FAAS researchers reported that Xie plagiarized one of his research papers. Xie’s paper “Shanyou 63 Ⅲ – China’s rice variety with the largest acreage – Photosynthetic characteristics and the utilization of solar energy” was reported to have no citations and no footnotes, except for a list of 16 references to articles that others had previously published. Data used in the paper were surprisingly identical to the data in three papers that the Jiangsu Agricultural Science team had published in 1989. CAS denied the charge.

Source: The Beijing News, January 14, 2008

On China’s Newest Administrative Reform

During the Chinese Communist Party’s (NCCCP) 17th National Congress, the party chief Hu Jintao said the party would “step up our efforts to streamline government agencies, explore ways to establish expanded departments with integrated functions, and improve the mechanisms for coordination and collaboration between government departments.” [1] A plan for the sixth administrative reform, called the “greater departments system,” is now under evaluation and will be sent to the State Council.

The followings are excerpts from the Epoch Times report on January 15. [2]
“The ‘greater departments system’ refers to having one single department to conduct the central administration of all state affairs that have similar functions and scope of business in the framework of government bodies. The benefits of this system are: avoiding the overlapping of government and multi-level management, improving administrative efficiency, and lowering administrative costs.

Although the news of combining of the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC), and the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) at the end of 2007 was negated, Zheng Xinli — deputy director of Policy Research Office of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (PROCCCCP) — said that a greater department was considered to have been established for the financial sector.

Signs indicate that the ‘greater departments system’ brought up in Hu Jintao’s Report to the 17th NCCCP will be the focus of China’s reform in 2008.

There have been reports that the State Council will set up a Ministry of Energy to consolidate the energy related functions from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), the Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR), the Ministry of Water Resources (MW and the State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC). The new Ministry will also administer the state-owned energy giants such as China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), China Petrochemical Corporation (SINOPEC), China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), and the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC).

Experts predict that if the Ministry of Energy will be established, a new round of reshuffling of administrative officials will occur during the Two Conferences (the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference) in March.

The Chinese government’s administration cost is gigantic. Under the State Council, in additional to the General Office, there are 28 Cabinet Ministries, one special agency, 18 Departments directly under The State Council, 4 Offices under That State Council, 10 State Bureau Administrations under various Ministries and Commissions, 14 Institutions directly under The State Council, and more than 100+ coordination agencies.
In contrast, there are only 13 Cabinet departments in the U.S. and 12 ministries in Japan. German’s Bundesregierung (Federal Cabinet) is composed of 15 ministries and Her Majesty’s Government in the UK has 18 ministries. The number of ministries in China doubles or even triples those in some other nations. The huge management cost is as high as ten fold other governments, with a gigantic number of public servants.

However some experts doubt the effectiveness of this reform. Ren Jianming, the director of the Anti-Corruption and Governance Research Center at Tsinghua University said, "It seems that five years has become a cycle for government reform. The 1998 and 2003 reforms, which were centered around streamlining these agencies, failed to stop the cycle of expansion-after-streamlining. The ‘greater departments system’ is faces the same problem.

It’s said that the biggest issue that faces the ‘greater departments system’ reform is how to prevent the concentration of power and the consequent corruptions.

Fan Yafeng, a fellow at the Law Research Institute under the Chinese Academy of Social Science believes that the ‘greater departments system’ reform belongs to administrative reform, while the transformation of the functions of the government is the deeper issue. The reform that the government needs is to be under the rule of law. The expansion of the powers of the government together with the distribution of the rights to taxation and fiscal expenditure need to be processed under the rule of law too.”

[1] Full text of Hu Jintao’s Report to Seventeenth National Congress of Chinese Communist Party on October 15, 2007
[2] The Epoch Times, January 15, 2008

Xinhua Publishes Article Vilifying the Chief Editor of Kanwa Defense Review

An article published on xinhuanet attacks the editor-in-chief of Kanwa Defense Review (a monthly magazine published in Canada, about China’s military news). It uses very malicious terms. The article, titled “Andrei Chang’s True Identity Comes to Light, a ‘Traitor,汉奸’ Utilized by Western Media,” states, “Andrei Chang is not a serious military scholar and Kanwa Defense Review is not a professional military magazine. Articles published in the magazine are only to please the anti-China forces in international society.”

Source: Xinhuanet , January 14, 2008

Xunlei (Thunder) Has Become the Biggest Source of (Internet) Piracy in China

On January 13, 2008, Deutsche Welle reported that Xunlei (Thunder, 深圳市迅雷网络技术有限公司), an Internet company based in Shenzhen, has rapidly become the biggest company providing Internet search and download services in China. The company was established in 2002. It initially offered only software downloads. The number of users kept increasing, to the point where it now claims to control 80 percent of China’s Internet download business. The company has quickly expanded its business into other areas. All the new hot products, such as music, movies, and software can be downloaded through its website.

Source: Deutsche Welle, January 13, 2008,2144,3055799,00.html

Turmoil at a University Campus

During the evening on December 24, 2007, a car accident occurred near Nankai University in Tianjin, China. It eventually led to a protest by a crowd of about 1,000 students. They clashed with the police and destroyed the police car. None of the official media in China reported or commented on this incident. The following are sections of reports by the Central News Agency in Taiwan.

Central News Agency, reported from Taibei on December 26th. [1]
“Due to a car accident in Nankai University in Tianjin, China, there was a major incident of students gathering and protesting. Nearly 1,000 students clashed with the police and destroyed their police car. It was reported that after the police took away the student who they considered the leader of the incident, the school has a list of the students who posted articles on the BBS that called for help, which had led to the protest. These students are facing punishment by the school.

According to an anonymous source, the incident began around 8:30 p.m. on December 24, and continued until about 1:00 a.m. The event started when a female student riding a bicycle was hit by a Buick near the Student Union building. The driver refused to apologize and instead began cursing the bicyclist. The driver later called the police to demand an apology from the student.

The driver called a few thugs for help who then beat some students. The police reacted by forcing the students into police cars, while letting the thugs go free. This sparked further anger amongst the students who witnessed the event. A group of students surrounded the police car, smashed the car, and turned it upside down.

According to the anonymous source, the police arrested the student who led the assault on the car and was charged him with destroying private property. The school also inspected the website where the students posted articles that called for support. The school authorities took down the names of these students and they are facing punishment by the school.”

Beijing human rights defender Hu Jia said that although the vice president of Nankai University, Zhang Jing, promised publicly at the incident site that the school would not investigate the students, privately (to ensure the situation is under control), the school authorities have been pressuring and threatening the students.

Hu Jia said that nowadays the Chinese regime is extremely sensitive to college students’ gatherings, especially at the major universities. There are specific personnel within the Ministry of State Security that monitor and control student activities.
Hu Jia said that when their personal interests are affected, quite a large number of college students stand up and defend their rights, but the Chinese regime completely covers up such news. For example, last June in Zhengzhou University, Hunan Province, thousands of students protested violently because they could not get their graduation certificates.

Hu Jia said this time, the students’ purplose was to resist what they call ‘privileged cars’ that have existed for a long time, and also to help the female student bicyclist who was hit. It was for a just cause. This kind of support happens quite often now on the streets in China. For instance, when urban management personnel, also called ‘chengguan,’ beat up small business people, a mass of people will surround the site.”

The following is from another reporter of the Central News Agency in Taibei on the 26th. The title was “Violent Incident of Tianjin Nankai University; Students Again Picked Up Their Anti-Japanese Spirit.” [2]
“Nankai University was established in 1919 and is a renowned university in China. Many famous people came out of this university in the modern era, like Wu Dayou, formerly, president of the Academia Sinica of Taiwan, and Zhou Enlai, formerly, the premier of China.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Nankai University was the leader of anti-Japanese activities. People from Nankai organized activities, such as boycotts of Japanese products. In 1937, Japanese troops attacked the city of Tianjin. Nankai University was seen as a base of resistance and thus, all buildings – lecture halls and student dorms – were heavily bombed and almost totally destroyed.”

After an incident involving a bicycle crash, a student posted an article on the Internet, which said:

“We Nankai University students were together and we sang our school song!  When the school song echoed in the air, all Nankai people were united. You must know that back then, the Japanese military bombed our campus, but even that could not destroy our unity!”

In recent years, the incidents of crowd gathering and protesting have spread to other college campuses. Two months ago, another renowned university in China, Fudan University, had a protest of more than 300 people. But, again, it was suppressed by the school and the news was supressed.

[1] Central News Agency, December 26, 2007
[2] Ibid.