China’s state propaganda machine is seizing Friday’s 110th anniversary of Deng Xiaoping‘s birth to highlight similarities between President Xi Jinping and the paramount leader who set the country on the road to economic prosperity while crushing dissent.
A heavyweight official biography of Deng was published this week, and Chinese television viewers are being regaled with a 48-episode dramatisation of his life, broadcast nationwide in primetime.
“The contribution by Comrade Deng Xiaoping not only changed the historic destiny of the Chinese people but also changed the course of the world’s history.”
– President Xi Jinping
But the series only covers the eight years up to 1984, avoiding much of the tumult of the Cultural Revolution and, crucially, stopping five years before he ordered the deadly crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989.
“Xi is essentially trying to get back to the Deng spirit of being reformist on the economy and orthodox on the politics.”
– John Delury, an expert on modern Chinese history at Yonsei University in Seoul
A broad assault on corruption in China is being led by Wang Qishan, a member of China’s Politburo Standing Committee and President Xi Jinping’s right-hand man.
NANCHANG, China—When Wang Qishan, China’s top graft-buster, dispatched a dozen investigators to this south China river town last summer, his message was clear: The investigators should inspire “shock and awe” among local officials, according to an account posted on a government website.
Anti-Corruption Drive Headed by a Heavy-Handed Communist Party Loyalist
Mr. Wang’s inspectors told local media they had settled in at a government-owned hotel. Within days, hundreds of residents lined up to give evidence about what they viewed as wrongdoing by corrupt local officials. Complaints also flooded in via the Internet, according to officials with knowledge of the matter.
“The leadership realizes that if they don’t stop massive corruption, the regime will collapse.”
– Huang Jing, a China specialist at National University of Singapore
Yang Peng, a restaurateur, says he told investigators he was jailed and tortured because of his association with an enemy of an important local mandarin who was accused of rigging the sale of a steel mill in exchange for kickbacks. Read the rest of this entry »
Pro-Democracy Activists Demand Right to Nominate Candidates for Chief Executive
HONG KONG — WSJ‘s Chester Yung reports: China’s top legislative body in Beijing is expected to announce a decision Aug. 31 on the issue of how Hong Kong’s leader is elected, according to people familiar with the matter.
[Also see - Pundit Planet welcomes new Deputy Bureau Chief & Asia Photo Editor-At-Large, Hong Kong Fong's Deb Fong]
Beijing has said elections for the city’s leader will begin in 2017, but at issue is whether Beijing will let Hong Kong residents directly nominate candidates for the chief executive post or whether only pre-approved candidates will be allowed to run.
The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislative body, will convene Aug. 25-31 in Beijing, and will discuss proposed reforms for electing Hong Kong’s top leader.
“Occupy Central, a pro-democratic activist group, has threatened to mobilize 10,000 protesters in mass civil disobedience if Beijing takes a hard line on the city’s election reforms.”
Two people familiar with the matter said a news conference would be held in Beijing on Aug. 31 to announce the results of the meeting. They said another news conference would be held in Hong Kong.
[From our July 1 2014 Edition: Hong Kong’s Occupy Central ‘Referendum’ Explained]
[Exclusive report - Underneath the “Hong Kong Miracle”]
So far, rhetoric from officials in both Beijing and Hong Kong suggests that Beijing will reject outright activists’ demands that the public be allowed to directly nominate candidates for chief executive. Read the rest of this entry »
Foreigner fell unconscious in Shanghai No. 2 subway. Passengers in 3 carriages rushed out. No one helped. pic.twitter.com/UyLNDLgPXb
— Offbeat China (@OffbeatChina) August 20, 2014
From vintage everyday: Heres a collection of amazing color photographs showing everyday life of Hong Kong in 1969, taken by LIFE photographer Co Rentmeester. Dedicated to Pundit Planet‘s own co-founder and Legal Affairs Correspondent, Primatologist and Hong Kong Fong‘s Deb Fong, our Deputy Bureau Chief & Asia Photo Editor-at-Large, both stationed at our luxurious Hong Kong Headquarters. See the whole series from this 1969 portfolio, it’s a large set, worth exploring the whole thing.
Public discontent in Hong Kong is at its highest for years
AFP reports: Thousands are expected to take part in a major pro-government rally in Hong Kong Sunday to counter a civil disobedience campaign that has pledged to paralyse the city in a push for electoral reform.
Public discontent in Hong Kong is at its highest for years, with concern over perceived interference from Beijing and growing divisions over how its leader should be chosen in 2017 under political reforms.
“We want to let the world know that we want peace, we want democracy, but please, do not threaten us, do not try to turn this place into a place of violence.”
– Alliance co-founder Robert Chow
Pro-democracy campaigners from the Occupy Central group have pledged to mobilise protesters to take over some of the busiest thoroughfares of the financial hub if public nomination of candidates is ruled out by the authorities.
FLASHBACK 2012: SCMP’s Benjamin Garvey, who more or less live-tweeted the proceedings, tweeted this photo and message: “Cameraman was hit from behind, other cameramen lept to his defence, grabbed attacker, held him until police came.”
But the movement has been heavily criticised by Beijing and city officials as being illegal, radical and violent.
[Also see - Hong Kong Asks Beijing for Greater Democracy]
Organisers of Sunday’s rally, the Alliance for Peace and Democracy, say the silent majority of the city’s seven million residents do not support the Occupy movement.
“We want to let the world know that we want peace, we want democracy, but please, do not threaten us, do not try to turn this place into a place of violence,” alliance co-founder Robert Chow told AFP.
More than 120,000 people have signed up for the rally, which started shortly after 1:30 pm (0530 GMT), but the turnout could reach up to 200,000, the alliance said. Read the rest of this entry »
Verdant Hong Kong
The most wonderful surprise for me has been the impressive natural elements found throughout HK – providing a beautiful contrast to HK’s more urban and iconic modern developments. Everyone knows HK is packed with glitzy skyscrapers and shopping malls, but even amidst all of that, you stumble across gigantic trees with sprawling roots that snake down city walls.
Parks are full of greenery, the surrounding islands are lush with foliage. Refreshing to view, perhaps all that plant life even helps make up for the occasional smog by pumping some oxygen into this fair city.
…We’re told the phone was smuggled out of a Foxconn factory in China … where the majority of iPhone models are manufactured. The owner of the phone says the smuggler is his friend — an ex-employee — who worked in Foxconn’s hardware department designing the outer casing for the new model…(read more)
“Many female tourists felt too awkward to approach the beach.”
Just months after a police crackdown on China’s top nudist destination, naturists ‘flout’ government rules which outlaw skinny dipping and naked sunbathing
Dozens of naked bathers bared all on Dadonghai beach, a 1.4-mile stretch of sand known as China’s premier nudist destination, over the recent holiday weekend.
“The illicit display of buttocks brought a swift government response.”
“Photographs published on Chinese websites showed large groups of naked men smoking cigarettes and reclining on towels on the beach.”
Men “in various states of undress” had been spotted on the seafront, according to a report in the Shanghai Daily newspaper – “some naked, some with their underpants half stripped down”.
“Normal people wouldn’t do such things.”
– Luo Baoming, Sanya’s Communist Party chief
Police banned nudists from Dadonghai beach in Sanya in February following complaints from residents of Hainan, an island in the South China Sea that tourist chiefs promote as “China’s Hawaii”. Read the rest of this entry »
The body of Sheila von Weise Mack, 62, was found in a hard-sided piece of gray luggage at the St. Regis Bali Resort
Jakarta, Indonesia (CNN.com) — Roger Clark and Jethro Mullen report: An American woman and her boyfriend have been taken into custody in connection with the killing of the woman’s mother, whose body was left inside a suitcase at a luxury hotel in Bali, Indonesia, police said.
“Police said the couple told them that they had been taken captive at the resort Tuesday by an armed gang, whose members killed Sheila von Weise Mack, but they escaped.”
The body of Sheila von Weise Mack, 62, was found with head wounds, stuffed in a hard-sided piece of gray luggage at the prestigious St. Regis Bali Resort on Tuesday, said Djoko Hari Utomo, the police chief of Denpasar, the capital of Bali. Police are waiting on forensic information to determine the time and cause of death.
“When the taxi driver and a manager opened the trunk, they saw blood on the luggage and drove the car to a police station. Police opened the suitcase and found the woman’s body inside.”
Her daughter, Heather Mack, and the daughter’s boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, were later found by police sleeping in a hotel room in Kuta, according to Utomo. Kuta is a town about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the St. Regis.
Police have not named Mack and Schaefer as suspects, Utomo said. According to Indonesian law, police can keep the couple in custody for up to 24 hours before they are named as suspects. If named, they can be held up to 20 days. Read the rest of this entry »
Originally posted on Quartz:
This month could bring major protests in Hong Kong, as Beijing is expected to announce proposed rules for the semi-autonomous territory’s 2017 election for a new chief executive. Students and other pro-democracy activists have promised widespread demonstrations in Hong Kong’s central financial district if, as expected, Beijing tries to limit the slate of candidates who can participate to a pre-screened group approved by the Communist Party leadership.
Former chief secretary Anson Chan, the highest-ranking civil servant in Hong Kong under British rule before the onetime colony was handed over to Beijing, is one of several public figures that have been lobbying Beijing and the international community to reach some sort of compromise. She spoke to Quartz about what’s at stake.
Quartz: How does the political climate in Hong Kong right now compare to previous times of transition?
Anson Chan: I’ve never seen Hong Kong so divided. We see a steady chipping away of our freedoms. The main concern…
View original 1,436 more words
Greetings from Hong Kong Fong! Continuing in my new role of China Deputy Bureau Chief and Hong Kong Photo Editor for Pundit From Another Planet, and following my inaugural PFAP post, The Visual Feast of Hong Kong: Through the Lens of Hong Kong Fong, Part 1, I now share with you Part 2.