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Persecution of Falun Gong Escalating in the Run-Up to the Olympics

As the Olympics is approaching fast, there is no sign of improvement in the human rights in China other than continuous efforts by the Communist Party to cover-up the human rights violations.  In fact the Communist Party is escalating the suppression of the Chinese peoples’ speech, beliefs, even the most basic right to live, using the excuse of hosting the Olympics, particularly in the persecution of Falun Gong.  Recent cases of Falun Gong practitioners being arrested, detained, tortured, killed, or homes ransacked have been on the rise. The persecution has intensified.  The following contains translated excerpts from Falun Dafa website, Minghui.org.[1]

In 2005, Deputy Minister of Public Security Liu Jing received an order from the Communist Party to eliminate Falun Gong before the Olympics.  To implement the order Liu issued a mandate to the national police system. In March 2007, the former Minister of Public Security Zhou Yongkang issued another order, demanding a second round of severe persecution against Falun Gong. Soon after, massive arrests of Falun Gong practitioners took place in several regions. Practitioners were detained or sentenced to prison.  Some have gone missing while others have been tortured to death.  During the abductions and arrests, police clamored, “[There is an ] order from the above: kill a batch before the Olympics."

Beijing Seized with Terror as Olympics Approaches

Sources from Mainland China indicate that, as the 2008 Olympics approaches, Beijing has been seized with terror.  Police are searching people’s bags at Tiananmen Square, main traffic intersections, and vehicles that exit the highway going towards Beijing. Those who enter Beijing by train must now show their ID paperwork, along with their tickets. This practice is usually used one or two weeks before the Communist Party Congress, but this time it has begun a full eight months before the Olympics would start. On January 24, 2008, police in Chaoyang, Chongwen, and Shunyi Districts barged into Falun Gong practitioners’ homes or workplaces to ransack and perform illegal arrests. On January 25, 2008, police were all over Beijing stopping vehicles and checking passenger IDs. Sources say that the funding for persecuting Falun Gong has also increased.

Falun Dafa website Minghui.org reports that several dozen Falun Gong practitioners in Beijing were arrested in December 2007, followed by more arrests in January 2008. Over twenty were detained on January 23-25, 2008, including some practitioners’ family members and colleagues.  Some insiders indicated that some practitioners’ friends have also been taken away.  The actual number of those detained appears to far exceed what is reported here.

Inside sources said that the detained Falun Gong practitioners were brutally beaten without normal processing or questioning.  Many were arrested without pretext, at home or at their workplaces, and then sentenced to eight months or more of forced labor, which will end when the Olympics is over. The forced labor camps in Beijing are full, so camp administrators are transferring practitioners out of town.  This is the so-called preemptive “Hard Strike” launched by the Party in the run-up of the Olympics.
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Peaceful on the Surface Yet Persecution Intensifies

In 2007, seven Falun Gong practitioners died in Daqing City as a result of the persecution. They include Mr. Zhang Hongquan, Mr. Zhou Shuhai, Ms. Jiang Pai, Ms. Liu Sheng, Ms. Ma Bing, Ms. Zhang Baoying, and Mr. Ni Wenkui.  In 2007, several dozen abductions occurred targeting Falun Gong practitioners and their families. For instance, on the morning of April 25, 2007, police from the Dong’an District arrested practitioner Ms. Lu Guilan and her son Yan Jiaohui who is not a practitioner.

Masanjia Forced Labor Camp is notorious for locking female Falun Gong practitioners in male cells. On February 21, 2008, Director Wang had many "dead person’s beds"[2] shipped to Masanjia, ordering prisoners to torture those Falun Gong practitioners who were holding hunger strikes. According to eyewitnesses, four practitioners, Mr. Chen Kaiqu, Mr. Liu Qing, Mr. Gao Yuling, and Mr. Han Ximin were beaten to the point of becoming deformed. Mr. Zheng Haitao and Ms. Chen Yan were tied to the dead person’s beds, their four limbs pulled apart, with a horse’s bit inserted into their mouths so that they could not talk. Brutal force-feeding torture was then carried out on these practitioners.

Severe Torture and Death Cases on the Rise

Information from Falun Dafa website Minghui.org shows that the Chinese Communist Party has engaged in renewed campaign in the name of the Olympics to further persecute Falun Gong.  Falun Gong practitioners who have been arrested at their workplaces or homes have gone missing, and arresting officers are refusing to tell their families the whereabouts of the arrested practitioners, are not allowing visits, or have denied the fact that they arrested these practitioners. Eyewitnesses in Xinjin County, Sichuan Province, and Rong County in Guangxi Zhuan Autonomous Region revealed that the police put masks on the practitioners’ heads when they arrested them. In 2007, the number of confirmed deaths reached one hundred twenty three practitioners. In January 2008, there were another eight confirmed deaths.

Endnotes:
[1] Minghui.org, February 27, 2007
http://minghui.ca/mh/articles/2008/2/27/173204p.html
[2] Dead person’s bed – the victim is tied to the four corners of a cold metal bed frame and not allowed to get up to eat, drink, or use the bathroom. The torture typically lasts from several hours to over ten days.

China’s Strategies on Financial Market for Petroleum

China’s two-pronged strategy for meeting its giant oil-consumption needs involves seeking oil-producing countries as long-term strategic partners while simultaneously attempting to play an important role in the global oil market.  China recognizes that the international economy is greatly impacted by the US dollar being the only currency for oil price quotes. This has been observed especially in light of the way in which the US dollar has been gradually devalued during the sub-prime mortgage crisis. The oil price hike has brought tremendous pressure on China to appreciate its currency, the RMB.  As a result, China is currently striving to establish a forward market for crude oil so as to secure domestic resource supplies even while counteracting the expansion of US influence into Asia, thus bringing the country to play a larger role in the world oil market. The following translation is of an article on Xinhua News, February 24, 2008, entitled “Some Thoughts on China’s Strategic Financial Planning with Regard to the Petroleum Market.” [1]

Oil prices twice exceeded $100 per barrel within the last week. In addition to the supply and demand for petroleum and international political factors, the devaluation of the US dollar and fund speculation certainly have played a crucial role in the rise of the price of oil. The oil market is becoming an increasingly important aspect in finance. As a giant consumer of oil, China must fully exploit financial strategies to counter the fluctuation of oil prices as an important aspect of its strategic planning for energy and resources.

Negative Effects of the “Oil and Dollar” Duet

The US reached an agreement with OPEC in the 1970s; namely, the US dollar would be the only currency for oil price quotes. Since then, the petroleum market has been intimately tied to the fluctuation of the US dollar. Suffice it to say, with the ups and downs in the price of oil, the variety of incidents which suddenly emerged [recently] have merely been superficial triggers while it is the decisions made by the US Federal Reserve (the Fed) that are the “main switch” ultimately determining the direction of oil price.

Since the sub-prime mortgage crisis, the Fed lowered interest rates three times–on September 18, October 31 and December 11 of last year. As a result, international oil prices rose immediately each time.  On the same day that the interest rate was lowered, the forward price of light crude oil increased $0.94, $4.15 and $2.16, respectively, from the price quoted on the previous transaction day.  The first two rate cuts resulted in record high crude oil prices at $81.51 per barrel and $94.53 per barrel, respectively, on the same day that the rate cut was announced.

The devaluation of the US dollar keeps pushing up the price of oil. The exchange rate between US dollars and 14 other major currencies all dropped during the last year.  For example, the exchange rate with the Euro dropped by about 10.5%, and with the Japanese Yen it dropped by about 6%. Studies show that when the US dollar devalues by 1%, the prices for energy and crude materials rise on an equivalent scale.  Currently, if converted to Euros, oil priced at $100 is equivalent to last year’s price at $60.
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At the same time the depreciation of the US dollar has made oil and gold more attractive to speculators.  According to experts, speculation has resulted in at least a $25 increase in oil prices. The forward business of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) has increased 18% annually since the beginning of this century. The forward business was expected to have reached 1,300,000 transactions per day, amounting to 1.3 billion barrels per day, which is 15 times the daily consumption of the whole world. At the end of last year, hedge funds invested in the petroleum market had reached $200 billion, a 60% increase from the beginning of last year.

In the face of the US dollar’s devaluation and increasing oil prices the US only needs to increase its export capacity to counteract the negative effects on the US economy.  Other countries such as the European Union, Japan and the UK, are able to exchange their currencies with the US freely; they can easily handle the increased oil price by appreciation of their respective currency. However, as China’s currency cannot be traded with US dollars freely as of now, we have to endure the dual pressure from both the increase in oil cost and the appreciation of the Chinese RMB. As a giant consumer of oil, it is a hard reality for us to swallow.

Financial Strategies Need to Be Exploited to Counter Oil Price Fluctuations

The price quote for oil sold to Europe from the Middle East is currently tied to Brent Oil forward pricing; oil sold to the US is tied to WTI forward pricing and oil sold to Asia is priced with reference to Platt’s Oil Price Index. The Platt’s Oil Price Index is based on the evaluation of spot market trading status, which can be easily manipulated. According to statistics, light oil from Saudi Arabia sold to northeastern Asia is usually higher by $1 per barrel than the same oil sold to Europe, and higher by $3 per barrel than oil sold to the US. This single item costs us $0.5 billion to $1.5 billion in oil import expenditures every year. The core issue in strategic oil planning for a nation lies in whether or not the pricing of petroleum is reasonable and can be stabilized within a certain range. In order to change the aforementioned negative effects, China proposed the  first draft of the Energy Act at the end of 2007, stating that “the government will establish a mechanism for energy pricing with market regulation being the dominating force.”

Then, how do we arrive at a “market price” for oil imported to China? The answer is, establishing a rational financial strategy for petroleum and encouraging more enterprises to get into the international oil financial market, getting actively involved in an attempt to quote oil price in RMB and gradually establishing an oil business forward market, so as to counteract the inflated oil price. Among all these strategies, establishment of an oil forward market would be our final choice. In order to change the current status wherein the price we pay for oil is higher than what Europe and the US pay, we need to develop a crude oil forward market, so that we have the right to participate in price quoting for crude oil.

After the refined oil is priced on an open (freely-traded) domestic market, the refined oil forward market will also need to be established to set the oil price.  In addition, the huge petroleum reserve accumulated by the business transactions of the Petroleum Exchange will also serve to replenish the petroleum reserve in our country.
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Nonetheless, we will have to face a lot of issues during the establishment of a crude oil forward market. Japan, India and other Asian countries have expedited the formation of these forward markets, trying to be key members in the control of oil pricing in the Asia-Pacific region. Some European countries and the US also hurriedly expanded their force into Asia-Pacific, attempting to strangle the formation of an independent oil pricing control system within the Asia-Pacific region.  Inside China, many oil-related companies cannot participate in the import trade of crude oil, yet they are not motivated to join the establishment of the forward market. In addition, as to whether we should continue to quote prices in US dollars in order for us to have a certain degree of international influence or to quote prices in RMB for the sake of a long-term, stable development, we do not have a final answer yet.

Presently with the financial system in the process of globalization and the international currency system constantly changing and adjusting itself, some oil supplying countries have started to request that buyers close transactions with currencies other than the US dollar. We have started to see the emergence of “oil price in the Euro” and “oil price in Japanese Yen.”  The oil pricing system and currencies used in oil transactions are becoming more diversified. Many oil-supplying countries are willing to accept RMB in trade for oil.  In the face of an oil price increase pressuring China to appreciate the value of our RMB, it is a good choice to gradually attempt to quote oil prices in RMB.

China’s investment fund has not yet made its way into the international oil market. A few giant oil companies, after government ratification, will be able to enter the outside forward market to secure the long-term price of oil; however, because doing so will get too much international attention and because there is a lack of a related mechanism inside China, we will be placed in a very passive position.  In addition, China does not yet have a hedge fund. So, speculation funds cannot enter into an international petroleum forward market for the time being. These are undoubtedly negative factors for China’s economy. With the development of a domestic forward market, the growth of investment funds, and the opening up of financial business, we should soon move investment funds into the international petroleum market, so as to make a profit from the big fluctuations in the price of oil.

Endnotes:
[1] Xinhua, February 24, 2008
http://news.xinhuanet.com/newscenter/2008-02/24/content_7660540.htm

The Olympics and Politics

First of all, “do not politicize the Olympics” itself is not a tenable statement. There are many requirements for a nation to be able to apply to host the Olympics; from its social condition to its economic situation, from its degree of globalization to its government’s management ability, all of these are subjects that cannot be resolved simply with sports. When China won the right to host the Olympics, the entire nation rejoiced and all agreed that it represented “the rise of the Chinese people.” Can sports, as a single field, cover the meaning behind it all? Because of its history and traditions, being able to host the Olympics has become an honor for the chosen nation. Otherwise there would not be so many nations fighting for it every four years. But how can an honor to a nation be represented just by sports? Back in the days when the U.S.S.R invaded Afghanistan, many western countries refused to attend the Olympics. At that time, the government of China did not step out to uphold “justice” and call for “do not politicize the Olympics.” Why then, when it comes to itself, is it using a different standard?

Secondly, in the several years since China won the right to host the Olympics, the Olympics has become one of the Chinese regime’s most important tasks. It has used the whole nation’s strength to ensure that the Olympics will be carried out successfully. Is sports the only motivation behind all of these actions? China has spent so much. Was all it was aiming for to make China’s track, swimming, and so on, to rank high in the world? In order to ensure the Olympics to be hosted without anything going wrong, the government of China made a black list that forbids 43 types of people from watching this sports gathering; so who is the one politicizing the Olympics? The government of China arranged that the presidents from North Korea and South Korea would sit together in the audience, and also asked the South Korean team to take the train from Soul to Pyongyang, and then take the same train to Beijing with North Korea’s team; who is the one politicizing the Olympics? When all layers of governments in China were required to put “making sure the Olympics goes smoothly” as their main task, is it really that China has made sports the highest objective of its regime? If not, who is the one politicizing the Olympics?

Of course hosting the Olympics is an honor for China. But it is exactly because it is an honor to the Chinese people that, as patriotic Chinese people, we hope that what China shows to the world is a civilized, democratic, thriving, and free nation, not a government that supports genocidal massacres internationally, and then domestically arrests its own people who have different political views. If these were our wills, even if we “politicize” the Olympics, how can we be wrong? Isn’t it true that a nation with improved human rights conditions will be more applauded and supported by the world? The government of China is thinking of every possible way to use the Olympics to make political profits for its reign, and is using the Olympics’ politicizing factors to the maximum degree, while continually saying to others to stop “politicizing the Olympics.” This is not only an action of “allowing officials to set fire but not common people to use lights;” it also exposes the Chinese Communist regime’s duplicity and hypocritical nature.

Endnotes:
[1] Wang Dan was born on Feb 26, 1969 in Beijing. His ancestors were from Heyi, Shandong Province. He was one of the main student leaders at the Tiananmen Square Protests in 1989. Before this democracy movement led by students, he had organized activities to commemorate Hu Yaobang, wrote articles to support democratic groups, and so on. The government of China has arrested him many times.
[2] Radio Free Asia, February 20, 2008
http://www.rfa.org/mandarin/pinglun/2008/02/20/wang_dan/

State Church Organizations Call for Support of the Olympics

According the official website for the 2008 Olympics, two state-run Christian organizations issued a joint resolution in support of the Olympics. The resolution states that the event will show the steady increase in China’s national power and that the Christians share the joy. The two organizations are the National Committee of Three Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China and the Chinese Christian Council. Their mission is to ensure that all Christians in China comply with the law and support the government and Chinese Communist Party.

Sources: Official website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, March 6, 2008 http://www.beijing2008.cn/news/dynamics/headlines/n214262486.shtml Chinese Protestant Church, http://www.chineseprotestantchurch.org.cn/other/about.htm

China Speeds Up Tapping of Strategic Oil Reserves

On March 6, PetroChina announced the opening of a commercial oil reserve project in Shanshan county of Xinjiang province. Total oil reserves there are expected to reach 1 million cubic meters. The project marks the beginning of China’s second phase of tapping oil reserves in response to the worldwide oil shortage.

The first phase centers on the coastline and consists of four strategic oil reserve bases: Zhanhai, Zhejiang province; Huangdao, Shandong province; Zhoushan, Zhejiang province and Dalian, Liaoning province. The Dalian base was the last one opened and it was close to being 2/3 completed as of March 6.

Source: China Stock, March 7, 2008 http://cnstock.xinhuanet.com/newcjzh/06cjdt/2008-03/07/content_3075200.htm

The Establishment of Party Organs in Private Enterprises

In recent years, a main impression of Western governments or research institutes on China’s change has been that the proportion of the private sector’s role in China’s economy has dramatically increased. In considering such trends, however, it is important to keep in mind that in Chinese society, the concept of a private enterprise is quite different from its Western counterpart. In particular, the influence of the ruling Communist Party in the management of China’s private enterprises cannot be neglected. “Private” enterprises are often equipped with elements of the Party structure and its organizations, including having Party leaders heading the Board of Directors or serving as the CEO of a private enterprise. In addition, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has also been recently strengthening the Party’s influence in private enterprises, raising questions of how free from government influence such enterprises actually are. Below are excerpts from an article from the official publication of the CCP’s Central Committee, Qiushi. [1]

‘Let the Construction of the Party in Private Enterprises Take Root, Flourish, and Bear Fruits’ – Investigations and Understandings from ‘SANY Heavy Industry Co., Ltd.

By Hunan Provincial Federation of Social Science, Investigation Group

To conduct the construction of the Party system well and promote the organizational role of the Party in private enterprises, thereby facilitating the positive and rapid development of the private sector of the economy, is a major theoretical and practical issue concerning the Party’s governing capacity for construction and the socioeconomic development of China. With this question, we walked into the SANY Heavy Industry Co., Ltd. (SHIC-LTD) of Hunan.

SANY has more than 19,000 employees—among them are more than 2,000 Party members—and is the private enterprise in Hunan with the highest Party membership. In 2002, the company’s Party Committee was established. There are now 3 general Party branches and 19 subordinate branches. It is among the first batch of trial units for building grassroots Party organizations in the company. A representative of the Party’s 17th Congress and the chairman of the company’s Board of Directors, Liang Wengen, always takes “being fair and faithful with gratitude in heart” as his own motto, and uses “managing honestly to return to the society” to express his gratitude to the Party. Walking into SANY, the huge slogan of “Gratitude in Heart” is very eye-catching.

One: Always Take Construction of Party Organizations as the Crucial Step in Human Resource Management

The first is to have Party play a role in uniting the employees. The employees of SANY have a strong affection for the company, which cannot happen without their attention to constructing the Party organizations and having the Party play the role of uniting people. Since the establishment of the Party organizations in 2002, employees who are Party members have had their own organization, which generated a strong feeling of being at home.
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The second is to use the Party members’ education and training to strengthen human resource management. The top management of SANY believes that Party members are excellent sources of talent. Therefore, to strengthen human resource management, the top priority is to enhance the education and training of the Party members. Since 2003, the company has incorporated the training of Party members into the company’s overall training plan by setting up “the system of training and educating the newly recruited Party member employees.” Meanwhile, it has implemented the double-training project to “train excellent employees into Party members and train Party members into excellent employees.” In recent years, there have been a few hundred young employees actively getting closer to the Party organization each year. Among the newly accepted Party members, more than 80 percent are the managerial technical backbone of the company. Meanwhile, they have established a study system of the Party members, initiated educational campaigns of Maintaining the Advanced Nature of Party, founded a Party school in the company, and trained the professional skills of the Party members, etc. These versatile training and cultural activities of Party members have achieved remarkable effects.

The third is to promote the guidance and incentive role of the Party members, thereby achieving “human resources being maximally utilized and talents being maximally elicited.” The Party committee of the company examined the Party members, setting the highest requirements. Thus, the overall Party members will maintain their advanced nature and do their own jobs well in a unified manner, strive to develop top working skills, maintain top work proficiency, and achieve top work performance. These incentives have made the Party members fully play their roles. At present, more than 90 percent of the general committee members and branch committee are principal managerial cadres in their departments, and 26.8 percent of the middle level managerial cadres are Party members.

Two: Integrate the Construction of the Party with the Development Of Enterprise

The basic requirements for each Party member can be summarized as “four ‘are’s and four ‘aren’t’s”: There are Party members at critical positions; there are Party members to face hardships; there are Party members in moments of urgent events; and there are Party members in research projects. There aren’t accidents with Party members; there aren’t defective products produced by Party members; there [isn’t] wasting by Party members; and there aren’t violations of rules by Party members.” The Party committee has also set up a “model Party member position” in committee branches and group, to sufficiently promote the Party members’ advanced role models.
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Since 2002, the company has copied the organizational structure of the Party to the company’s management, as a way to form the company. To combine the construction of the Party organizations with the building of the managerial team, the company promoted excellent Party member managers to be the Party workers, and recommended excellent Party workers into the managerial decision-making team. Thus, the leadership of the Party committee and the enterprise managerial layer are crossed and are taking dual responsibilities.

In addition, the company also guided the cultural development of the enterprise with the excellent traditions of the Party, and instilled advanced cultural ideologies into the enterprise’s culture, so that will eventually become the enterprise’s spirit and the values of all the employees.

Three: Introducing modern science and technologies into construction of the Party organizations

Managing the organization activities of the Party using the Internet is highly efficient. With the IT strength of the enterprise, the Party committee of the company developed a network management system, established the website of “Party Construction in SANY” and the “Managerial System of the Database of Party Members.” Today, the “Party Construction in SANY” website carries comprehensive data and materials, becoming an important platform for the Party committee to strengthen the education and management of the Party members, and for all Party members to study and communicate together. The company also adopted a new form of the Party membership fee management system by using banking accounts management. In the past, because the Party members were not well organized, there were many difficulties in collecting Party membership fees. After serious study and discussion, the Party committee has changed from centralized collection to decentralized collection with centralized management. According to the situation of the company, the Party committee has made set rules regarding the payers, timing, standards, and requirements for using membership fees. Collection of the fees is managed by the banking accounts system. The company has a specific bank account for timely collection of Party membership fees.

Four: The Fruits from Construction of Party Organizations in the Company

As highlighted in the working report of the CCP’s 17th National Congress, adhering to and perfecting the basic economic system that uses public ownership as the mainstream and meanwhile developing various non-public economic sectors; unswervingly consolidating and developing the public economy; and unswervingly encouraging, supporting, and guiding non-public economic sector development,  with equal guarding of property rights. Thus a new pattern is formed in which a variety of economic sectors compete on an equal footing and with mutual promotion. “Two unswervingly” and “two equal” not only indicated the Party’s clear attitude to promote the non-public economy in the new era, but also raised new requirements on how to enhance the Party’s ruling capacity.
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The achievements of Party-building greatly facilitated the development of the various causes of the enterprise

These achievements cannot be separated from the close attention and sufficient trust of the Party to private enterprises. As the Chairman of SANY Liang Wengen stated: “SANY’s success is based on the development of China as a whole. The development of SANY can be attributed to the good policy of reform and openness. Otherwise, the development of SANY will be just like water without a source, and trees without soil.” In an interview, the general Party committee secretary of the company and the Executive Chairman Xiang Wenbo said with a deep feeling: “The Party’s long-term ruling will be the guarantee for China’s development, and is the important backing for future development of private enterprise.” [1]

Endnotes:
[1] Qiushi, No. 4, 2008.
http://www.qsjournal.com.cn/qs/20080216/GB/qs%5E473%5E0%5E11.htm