China Exerts Pressure on Foreign News Outlets

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Beijing Officials Pressure International Media

 writes: China pressured international media outlets to censor their news coverage last year in addition to cracking down on domestic journalists, according to a new report.

 “Chinese embassy officials in Paris, Berlin, and London lodged direct complaints with senior editors, in an apparent effort to pressure them into restraining their reporters in Beijing. The Tokyo headquarters of Japanese media have received similar visits.”

Conditions for both domestic journalists and foreign correspondents in China have worsened considerably under President Xi . Journalists surveyed last year said they were increasingly subjected to harassment by authorities, sometimes violent in nature, as well as to visa delays and cyber attacks. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), which released its annual report on press freedoms in China on Monday, said intimidation from officials in Beijing has now extended to foreign outlets.

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Chinese embassy officials in Paris, Berlin, London, and Tokyo all reportedly pressured editors at publications based in those cities to alter their coverage and exert more control over their reporters in Beijing.

’For activists, the internet is like dancing in shackles’

– Su Yutong

One Chinese blogger, Su Yutong, was fired from the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle last August after she alleged that directors at the outlet met with the Chinese ambassador and then told their Chinese-language staff to tone down its coverage. A Deutsche Welle spokesman said at the time that Su was terminated because “she tweeted about internal issues” in a manner that “no company in the world would tolerate.”

Frank Sieren, Beijing-based communist and media consultant

Frank Sieren, Beijing-based communist and media consultant

Deutsche Welle gave more prominence last year to columnists such as Frank Sieren, a Beijing-based media consultant who has business interests in the country and is known to be sympathetic to its leadership. The broadcaster has been criticized in the past for coverage that was overly supportive of the Chinese Communist Party.

IFJ specifically named three other overseas news services that were targeted by the Chinese government.

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“At least three media companies—namely France 24, ARD TV (Germany), and the Financial Times—came under unusual Chinese government pressure after publishing news reports that angered the Chinese authorities,” the report said. “Chinese embassy officials in Paris, Berlin, and London lodged direct complaints with senior editors, in an apparent effort to pressure them into restraining their reporters in Beijing. The Tokyo headquarters of Japanese media have received similar visits.”

IFJ also condemned the repression of journalists covering Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests last fall. At least 39 reporters were harassed, detained, or assaulted by the city’s police or by demonstrators opposed to the pro-democracy movement…(read more)

Washington Free Beacon

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Chinese blogger Su Yutong

From HumanRightsWatchinChina:

The following is a blog post written by a Chinese journalist Su Yutong about her experience and feeling of being an activist calling for social change in China. Although to be an activist even on the Internet is like “dancing in shackles” in China, clearly people will not stop, just as what we have seen in the most recent days. Many people have been actively posting, forwarding and translating related information, raising more international awareness of Guangcheng’s case.  Su said in her writing, “To the Chinese people, danger comes not from action, but from silence and submission. Rights activists such as Hu Jia and Chen Guangcheng have demonstrated this to us with their courage and action, and I would like to learn from them.”

When I was in China, I was a journalist. But, after four years, I decided to resign as the Chinese authorities did not allow us to report the truth. I then started to work in an criticalNGO, doing research on social issues.

[Li Peng Diary: The Critical Moments is available at Amazon]

My concerns included the situation of victims of contaminated water sources, people who contracted HIV/AIDS through blood transfusion, as well as assisting vulnerable groups in defending their rights.

I was one of the more active internet activists, giving my views on public affairs, disseminating information and organizing activities.

From 2005, I was “invited for tea”, and for “chats”, kept under surveillance and periodically placed under house arrest in China.

In 2010, I distributed “Li Peng’s Diary”, a book forbidden by the authorities, and had my home raided and property confiscated by the police. With the help of international NGOs and friends, I managed to go into exile and now live in Germany.

Photo courtesy of Su Yutong

Photo courtesy of Su Yutong

For many bloggers in China, the most common and typical situation you face on a daily basis is all your content is suddenly deleted. In worse situations, sites will block opinions that are deemed to be “sensitive”.

I was an early internet activist. I organized a protest against the Vice Minister Wu Hao of the Yunnan Provincial Propaganda Department, in solidarity with human rights lawyer Ni Yulan; commemorative activities in relation to the Tiananmen crackdown and actions of solidarity with other activists. Read the rest of this entry »


Hammer Cocked: Satellite Photos Reveal China Military Buildup on Island Near Senkakus

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 reports: Recent satellite photos of an island off the coast of China confirm Beijing’s buildup of military forces within attack range of Japan’s Senkaku islands.

“If you want to rate the level of tension, this is the PLA reaching for its holster. When forces start deploying to Nanji Island, that means the hammer is cocked.”

– Rick Fisher, a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center

Construction of a helicopter base on Nanji Island was observed by a commercial spy satellite in October. The island is off the coast of Zhejiang province—some 186 miles northwest of the Senkakus, a group of resource-rich islets China calls the Diaoyu Islands.

The imagery, obtained from the Airbus Defense and Space-owned Pleaides satellite, reveals China is constructing an airfield with 10 landing pads for helicopters on Nanji Island.

The Pléiades system was designed under the French-Italian ORFEO program (Optical & Radar Federated Earth Observation) between 2001 and 2003

The Pléiades system was designed under the French-Italian ORFEO program (Optical & Radar Federated Earth Observation) between 2001 and 2003

Military analysts said the new military base appears to be preparation by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army for an attack or seizure of the Senkakus.

“China’s new heli-base on Nanji Island demonstrates that the PLA is preparing for an offensive military operation against the Senkaku/Daiyoutai Islands,” said Rick Fisher, a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center.

“If you want to rate the level of tension, this is the PLA reaching for its holster. When forces start deploying to Nanji Island, that means the hammer is cocked.”

© CNES (2014), Distribution Airbus DS / Spot Image / IHS

© CNES (2014), Distribution Airbus DS / Spot Image / IHS

The military buildup on Nanji was first disclosed by Japan’s Kyodo News Service last month. Kyodo, quoting Chinese sources, said a landing strip was being built.

However, the satellite photos, reported last week by IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, a trade publication, did not indicate construction of an airstrip, only helicopter landing pads. The helicopter pads are an indication that China plans to use the base for transporting troops and forces by helicopter and not for longer-range air transports or fighter jets.

China has been engaged in a tense confrontation with Japan over the Senkakus since 2012, when Tokyo, in a bid to clarify the status of the uninhabited islands, purchased three of the islands from private owners in a bid to prevent Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara from buying them.

Since then, Chinese ships and warplanes, as well as unmanned surveillance drones, have been flying close to the islands, prompting numerous Japanese maritime and aerial intercepts.

Jane’s reported the helicopter base construction is new. The construction is not visible in photos taken earlier than October 2013.

Google Earth screenshot

Google Earth screenshot

Wind turbines also are visible additions to the island that are located on a ridge on the southeast part of the island. Radar and communications equipment also is visible.

China’s Defense Ministry did not dispute the military buildup on Nanji. Read the rest of this entry »


China: Julia Leung, ‘The Tides of Capital’

Julia-Leung

Edited from an interview with William Kazer

Julia Leung has spent two decades engaged in financial policy work for the Hong Kong government. During her time as an official, she’s seen the city’s economy whiplashed by the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis and again by the global crisis a decade later. She has also tides-of-capitalwitnessed the territory’s increasing economic links to mainland China.

[Check out Julia Leung’s book “The Tides of Capital: How Asia surmounted financial crisis and is guiding world recovery” at Amazon]

In her new book The Tides of Capital, Ms. Leung examines the origins and response to financial crises of the 1990s and 2008 that shook economies across Asia and the world. The former Hong Kong Monetary Authority official and ex-undersecretary for financial services and the treasury (who also had a decade-long stint with the Asian Wall Street Journal) contends that emerging economies need a greater voice in global financial governance. China Real Time caught up with the reporter-turned-policy maker to talk about the financial challenges facing emerging nations, as well as China’s own financial and economic reforms.

Edited excerpts (read the full text of this edited excerpt here)

In your book you conclude that the IMF and the U.S. offered up the wrong prescriptions in the Asian crisis of 1997-1998. Where do you see policy leadership headed in the future?

Twenty years ago, the world was divided between the core and the outlying periphery….Financial crises only happened in the periphery, and the core dished out advice. In 2007, financial crisis erupted at the core and rippled to the periphery. Between 2008 and 2013, the size of China ’s economy doubled in dollar terms. The U.S. grew 14% during the same period, while Europe including the U.K. still falls short of the peak reached before the crisis. Combined GDP of emerging markets now make up more than 50% of global GDP, compared to one-third in 1990.

There will have to be considerable give-and-take between the country that is still the world’s leading economy and the other important players, especially China, that are assuming a progressively more important role. In view of the economic stagnation and political infighting besetting Europe, that continent will not be playing a full part in developing and policing a julia_leung_highresseries of better standards for world economic and financial governance. The world will rely ever more on a U.S.-Asian tandem for policy leadership.

You say the U.S. Congress is standing in the way of reforming International Monetary Fund quotas that would give more say to emerging markets. What will happen if there’s no reform?

The IMF is ideally positioned to provide policy leadership, particularly at times of crisis, but its effectiveness is undermined by its shareholding and governance structure, which has not kept pace with the shift in economic power to emerging markets. It is not surprising that developing countries have shown considerable frustration and exasperation with this imbalance, leading to new regional financing facilities, such as the Asian Infrastructure Bank and the New Development Bank.

When the core of the old world order continues to write rules that don’t take developing countries’ interests into account, the “peripheral” nations will use their own vast resources to start a new core…and write their own rules.

You say Asia needs to speak with a more coordinated voice. How much progress do you see here and what steps are still needed?

Even if Asia has a coordinated voice, it’s hard for it to be heard in the councils of the world power when the governance of these councils is slow to reflect shifting power. Read the rest of this entry »


Chinese Officials Vow To Fix Nation’s Crumbling Reeducation System

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BEIJING—Acknowledging that its current programs are insufficient to meet the needs of a fast-paced, 21st-century population, the Chinese Ministry of Justice held a press conference Friday affirming its commitment to fixing the nation’s crumbling reeducation system.

“We are falling well short of the reeducation needs of this country and failing a whole generation of dissidents. We need better reeducators who know how to use modern teaching and disciplinary technologies if we want to inspire our people to become fully subservient pawns of the state.”

According to government officials, the steady decline in the quality of reeducation is evidenced by the system’s serious overcrowding, dilapidated correctional facilities, and outdated propaganda materials, which have left a large percentage of China’s political prisoners unprepared for life as obedient citizens.

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“For China to remain competitive, it is of the utmost importance that we hire administrators who have the passion and know-how to promote the inability to think independently.”

“We are falling well short of the reeducation needs of this country and failing a whole generation of dissidents,” said justice minister Wu Aiying, lamenting that many institutions currently rely on standardized reprogramming curriculums that haven’t been updated since the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. “We need better reeducators who know how to use modern teaching and disciplinary technologies if we want to inspire our people to become fully subservient pawns of the state.”

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“The last thing we want is for state prisoners to fall behind and end up getting stuck in the system for several extra years. If we get them out there, we know they can thrive as pliant mouthpieces for the Communist Party.”

“It is crucial that we find ways to attract the best instructors to our facilities, the devoted ones who aren’t just in it for the paycheck,” Wu added. “For China to remain competitive, it is of the utmost importance that we hire administrators who have the passion and know-how to promote the inability to think independently.”

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Speaking candidly with reporters, several top Justice Ministry officials admitted that the majority of reeducators do not actively engage with China’s largest generation of prisoners to date, noting that most instructors lack passion and enthusiasm for their daily thought-suppression and punishment sessions. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Corrective Measures': China Asks Officials to Stop Plagiarizing Their Self-Criticisms

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Even for a Marxist, writing original self-critical confessions is hard. Why not copy the confessions of a fellow transgressor?

William Kazer reports: China’s communist leaders may be taking a break from their battle with tigers and flies. Now the ruling party seems to be focusing on copycats.

While the nation’s graft-busters have been wrestling with corrupt officials big and small, the enforcers of party discipline are worried about another troublesome matter — too many insincere self-criticisms, according to the People’s Daily. Self-criticisms are reports officials are asked to regularly produce evaluating their own performance.

“Some cadres copied materials already on file or drafted similar accounts,” the newspaper wrote of official self-criticisms. “Copying or borrowing of existing material should be immediately pointed out.”

Those who are holding up a magnifying glass to examine the behavior of party cadres and ensure party guidelines are followed are apparently complaining about the rank and file not taking their self-criticisms seriously. Problem officials seem to be behaving more like schoolboys — copying the confessions of fellow transgressors.

“The problems with self-criticisms apparently don’t stop at plagiarism. According to the People’s Daily, sometimes officials have made ‘self-criticisms that were superficial, their criticisms were not serious and their corrective measures inadequate.’”

The People’s Daily said in its online edition that some 45 top party officials have been put in charge of ensuring party discipline at the local level and laying down the law as stated by Communist Party chief Xi Jinping. Read the rest of this entry »


Crackdown: Chinese Communist Party Warns Officials: ‘Calligraphy Isn’t for Amateurs’

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Doing calligraphy, along with playing badminton, is a one of the few hobbies government officials in China admit to having

James T. Areddy and Lilian Lin report: Officials should put down their calligraphy brushes and stick to governing.

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“The problem today, according to the editorial, comes when officials promote their squiggles as valuable works of art.”

A new warning to officials about their calligraphy is the latest anti-corruption guideline from the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

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“Officials should put down their calligraphy brushes and stick to governing.”

Wang Qishan, the Politburo Standing Committee member who heads the party’s anti-graft commission, hit out at the traditional craft during a plenary meeting of the organization last week in Beijing, and the message was backed up by an editorial from the agency posted on Tuesday to its website.

Central Commission for Discipline Inspection

Central Commission for Discipline Inspection

Officials shouldn’t “grab meat from the plates of artists,” the editorial said.

Doing calligraphy, along with playing badminton, is a one of the few hobbies government officials in China tend to admit to having. State leaders often pen well-wishes in calligraphy when they drop into companies around the country, creating valuable mementos that tend to get BN-GN087_callig_E_20150120025827displayed in prominent spots in the companies.

 “As you have promised to make contribution to the party and to the country, why are you greedy for an unnecessary title for unjustified interests?”

Officials can be forgiven for thinking it’s OK to strive for recognition in calligraphy, an art form associated with erudition and wisdom. Chinese leaders from Qing dynasty emperor Qianlong to Mao Zedong have been celebrated for their ability to put brush to paper, though there is some debate as to whether the latter’s distinctive style deserved the praise the Communist Party has lavished upon it ever since.

The problem today, according to the editorial, comes when officials promote their squiggles as valuable works of art. Read the rest of this entry »


Head of God Hermes Seized in Anatolia

Hermes

A large number of historical artifacts, including the head of a 2,000-year-old Hermes statue, have been seized during an operation by the Sivas Police Department Directorate of Anti-smuggling and Organized Crime Branch.

Following three months of preparation, the police department simultaneously raided various addresses in villages and districts of the Central Anatolian province of Sivas, as well as in Nevşehir, Adıyaman and Kayseri on Jan. 13, and discovered historical artifacts. Read the rest of this entry »


Hong Kong Leader Singles Out College Magazine For Helping Cause ‘Anarchy’

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This is not the first time that HKU, among the city’s most prestigious universities, has come under fire from the Hong Kong government and Beijing since the outbreak of student-led protests in September, which followed a decree from Beijing that Hong Kong should elect its leader from a handful of pre-screened candidates.

Isabella Steger reports: A relatively unknown student magazine at the University of Hong Kong may get a surge in readership after Hong Kong’s leader made a reference to the publication, warning that support for ideas it propagates could lead to “anarchy” in the city.

In his annual policy speech, Leung Chun-ying kicked off his address with a series of stern warnings against further attempts by Hong Kong people to challenge Beijing’s authority on the issue of constitutional reform. He specifically named ideas advocating self-determination for Hong Kong published in Undergrad, a monthly Chinese-language magazine published by HKU’s student union.

“The protest showed Beijing that Hong Kong people were not loyal so Beijing ratcheted up interference in Hong Kong, but it also catalyzed a new wave of native ideology.”

– From the article in Undergrad

Saying that Hong Kong problems should be solved by Hong Kong people “violates the constitution,” said Mr. Leung, warning that such slogans could help throw the city into anarchy.

“Regardless of the likelihood of Hong Kong independence…we must fight to the end for the freedom to at least talk about it.”

– Keyvin Wong, a former assistant editor in chief of Undergrad

Under the One Country, Two Systems framework, Hong Kong is supposed to have a high degree of autonomy, but many in the city fear growing encroachment from Beijing. Mr. Leung said Hong Kong’s autonomy is not absolute.

Joshua Wong, the 18 year-old leader of another student protest group Scholarism, called Mr. Leung’s reference to the magazine “stupid” because it will only serve to boost interest in the publication.

This is not the first time that HKU, among the city’s most prestigious universities, has come under fire from the Hong Kong government and Beijing since the outbreak of student-led protests in September, which followed a decree from Beijing that Hong Kong should elect its leader from a handful of pre-screened candidates. Read the rest of this entry »


Cyberspace Administration: China to Force Social Media Users to Declare their Real Names

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Mainland regulators say people will be able to have nicknames – they will just have to register them with website administrators first

Li Jing reports: Online real-name registration will be ramped up on the mainland this year to cover instant messaging services, Twitter-like microblogs, online forums and other websites as the Communist Party continues to tighten its grip on cyberspace.

“The authorities need to make it clear to the public what laws and regulations they’re following to implement such a registration system, and answer the question of whether they’re in conflict with the constitution that promises the right to ‘freedom of speech’.”

– Zhan Jiang, a professor of international journalism at Beijing Foreign Studies University

The Cyberspace Administration did not give details on how the plan would be carried out, but administration official Xu Feng said yesterday the agency would “comprehensively” implement the rule and “beef up” oversight to punish violators.

Xu said website users would still be allowed to use a nickname online, but they would have to register their real identities with website administrators.

Commuters use smartphone

Real-name registration would also apply to open online forums called tieba, Xu said, without elaborating.

“Some Weibo users complained the move would lead to more self-censorship, while others people were worried about leaks of personal data.”

Authorities have in the past ordered users to register with their real names for some services, but the rules were not always followed.

In Beijing, for example, all users of social media platforms operated in the capital, including the Sina Weibo microblog service, were supposed to register their names and identity numbers in 2011 as part of a push to rein in online rumour-mongering and “cleanse” content.

But a year later it was still possible to use the Sina service without doing so.

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Sina admitted publicly it had failed to fully implement the regulation in 2012 because it was time-consuming and eroding its user base.

Zhan Jiang, a professor of international journalism at Beijing Foreign Studies University, said the administration was obviously trying to extend that rule nationwide and with wider targets, as the top leadership had repeatedly stressed “internet governance”. Read the rest of this entry »


The Colorful Propaganda of Xinjiang

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China is in the midst of a crackdown on what it describes as “terrorism driven by religious extremism”. The campaign is focused on the western province of Xinjiang, home to China’s Uighur ethnic minority who are predominantly Muslim.

The government believes religion breeds terror and has been trying to control religious expression in the region by imposing rules on the Uighur community. Critics say it is exacerbating the terror problem.

The murals below were painted on the walls next to a mosque in the old Silk Road district of Kashgar where 90% of the population are Uighur.

They show what the Chinese government deems as acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. They are a striking example of Chinese propaganda and highlight the government’s crude portrayal of ethnic relations in Xinjiang.

Inspirational posters are a fairly common sight in Chinese cities, advocating things like hard work and team spirit. It is not clear who painted these posters, but their presence implies they have some kind of official approval…(read more)

_80154220_img_1284 _80154180_img_1256 _80151112_img_1250 _80154215_img_1269 _80154175_img_1289 _80154101_img_1282 _80154145_img_1257 _80154029_img_1287 Read the rest of this entry »


Stop Obsessing About Inequality. It’s Actually Decreasing Around the World

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Many Americans point to globalization as a bogeyman, robbing our country of good jobs and resources. But really, the phenomenon has ushered a period of unprecedented prosperity in many poor countries.

imrs.phpMarian L. Tupy writes: Is inequality increasing or decreasing? The answer depends on our point of reference.

In America, the income gap between the top 1 percent and the rest has grown. But if we look not at America, but the world, inequality is shrinking. We are witnessing, in the words of the World Bank’s Branko Milanovic, “the first decline in global inequality between world citizens since the Industrial Revolution.”

For most of human history, incomes were more equal, but terribly low. Two thousand years ago, GDP per person in the most advanced parts of the world hovered around $3.50 per day. That was the global average 1,800 years later.

Ask AP

But by the early 19th century, a pronounced income gap emerged between the West and the rest. Take the United States. In 1820, the U.S. was 1.9 times richer than the global average. The income gap grew to 4.1 in 1960 and reached its maximum level of 4.8 in 1999. By 2010, it had shrunk by 19 percent to 3.9.

That narrowing is not a function of declining Western incomes. During the Great Recession, for example, U.S. GDP per capita decreased by 4.8 percent between 2007 and 2009. It rebounded by 5.7 percent over the next 4 years and stands at an all-time high today. Rather, the narrowing of the income gap is a result of growing incomes in the rest of the world.

Consider the spectacular rise of Asia. In 1960, the U.S. was 11 times richer than Asia. Today, America is only 4.8 times richer than Asia.

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To understand why, let’s look at China.

Between 1958 and 1961, Mao Zedong attempted to transform China’s largely agricultural economy into an industrial one through the “Great Leap Forward.” His stated goal was to overtake UK’s industrial production in 15 years. Industrialization, which included building of factories at home as well as large-scale purchases of machinery abroad, was to be paid for by food produced on collective farms. Read the rest of this entry »


Chinese Newspaper Condemns Paris Attack, But Says Exposes Dangers of Press Freedom

Pictures that an Internet poster on China's Weibo microblogging site went viral when it was suggested they were of officials in Lujiang County.

Clifford Coonan reports: A state-run Chinese newspaper has run a commentary condemning the terror attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine, but at the same time underlined how the incident exposes the dangers of press freedom.

“Even after China officially determines their terrorist nature, Western mainstream media puts quotation marks when describing these bloody assaults as ‘terrorist,’ saying that it is a claim of the Chinese government. This always upsets Chinese people.”

“We notice that many Western leaders and mainstream media outlets highlighted their support for press freedom when commenting on the incident. This remains open to question,” ran the commentary in the Global Times newspaper, part of the group that publishes the official Communist Party newspaper, the People’s Daily.

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“It’s inspiring that mainstream opinion worldwide supports Paris. But if the West can be milder in expressing cultural clashes and consider the feelings of many others, it would be very rewarding and respectable.”

China’s media are all state-controlled and content is heavily censored, and the ruling Communist Party keeps a tight grip on dissenting views and rejects calls for greater press freedom, saying it is Western core value.

Security guards stand outside newspaper offices in Guangdong province in January, where banners and flowers were laid in protest of censorship.

Security guards stand outside newspaper offices in Guangdong province in January, where banners and flowers were laid in protest of censorship.

“If the West thinks of globalization as an absolute expansion and victory of certain values, then it is in for endless trouble.”

The attack should make Western governments and media rethink their approach to press freedom when it comes to causing conflict with other cultures. Read the rest of this entry »


Coconuts: Venus De Milo, Scarlett Johannson Get Cropped After Chinese Cleavage Ban

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China’s online community has a new meme: The chaste, and unexplainable, close-up

Lilian Lin reports:

The Empress of China,” a popular Chinese costume drama, returned to television late last week just days Weibo-clevageafter its abrupt disappearance.

 “People care less about the cleavage. They are more concerned about the group of cultural gangsters that’s managing approvals.”

– Ren Zhiqiang, a Chinese property mogul and prominent online commentator

Rumors had swirled about why it was yanked from the air, and the edited shows that reappeared appeared to confirm them: Images of the actresses had been tightened to eliminate their low-cut necklines.

The anti-cleavage campaign marks the latest step in China’s tightening hold on the media. It has put limits on dating and talent shows and will more closely scrutinize foreign shows streamed online. The push – which also includes other media such as movies and the Internet — comes as Beijing calls for more positive and moral content.

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, which is in charge of managing what the country watches on TV, didn’t respond to request for comments. Zhejiang Talent Film & TV Co. which produces “The Empress of China,” didn’t respond to requests for comment on Monday. People close to the company said it declined to publicly talk about this issue for fear that the venus-de-scarletteshow would be pulled for good. In December it said it pulled the show for technical reasons.

Empress,” also called “The Saga of Wu Meiniang,” is about the life of a famous Tang Dynasty empress also known as Wu Zetian and played by actress Fan Bingbing. The Tang Dynasty is considered one of the most prosperous periods in China’s history, and also one of its less conservative.

The move was greeted with scorn online. “People care less about the cleavage,” said Ren Zhiqiang, a Chinese property mogul and prominent online commentator on his Weibo account. “They are more concerned about the group of cultural gangsters that’s managing approvals.”

Others pointed out that the edited images often didn’t make sense. “I collapsed when I saw the scene in which the emperor is leaning on Meiniang,” said another user, about a moment when one female character cradles the emperor to her breast. “Even [the emperor’s] face was cut out.” Read the rest of this entry »


China’s Maoists Are Revived as Thought Police

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China’s old guard leftists are a loose network of officials and former officials, sons and daughters of party veterans, and ardently anti-Western academics and journalists. They look back to the precepts of Marx, Lenin and especially Mao to try to reverse the effects of China’s free-market policies and the spread of values anathema to party tradition. 

HONG KONG —  and  reporting: They pounce on bloggers who dare mock their beloved Chairman Mao. They scour the nation’s classrooms and newspapers for strains of Western-inspired liberal heresies. And they have taken down professors, journalists and others deemed disloyal to Communist Party orthodoxy.

China’s Maoist ideologues are resurgent after languishing in the political desert, buoyed by President Xi Jinping’s traditionalist tilt and emboldened by internal party decrees that have declared open season on Chinese academics, artists and party cadres seen as insufficiently red.

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Xi Jinping  Photo by Diego Azubel/European Pressphoto Agency.

“Never allow singing to a tune contrary to the party center, Never allow eating the Communist Party’s food and then smashing the Communist Party’s cooking pots.”

– Xi Jinping

Ideological vigilantes have played a pivotal role in the downfall of Wang Congsheng, a law professor in Beijing who was detained and then suspended from teaching after posting online criticisms of the party. Another target was Wang Yaofeng, a newspaper columnist who voiced support for the recent pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and then found himself without a job.

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“It’s a golden period to be a leftist in China. Xi Jinping has ushered in a fundamental change to the status quo, shattering the sky.”

– Zhang Hongliang, a prominent neo-Maoist

“Since Xi came to power, the pressure and control over freethinkers has become really tight,” said Qiao Mu, a Beijing journalism professor who was demoted this fall, in part for publicly espousing multiparty elections and free speech. “More and more of my friends and colleagues are experiencing fear and harassment.”

Two years into a sweeping offensive against dissent, Mr. Xi has been intensifying his focus on perceived ideological opponents, sending ripples through universities, publishing houses and the news media and emboldening hard-liners who have hailed him as a worthy successor to Mao Zedong.

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In instructions published last week, Mr. Xi urged universities to “enhance guidance over thinking and keep a tight grip on leading ideological work in higher education,” Xinhua, the official news agency, reported.

In internal decrees, he has been blunter, attacking liberal thinking as a pernicious threat that has contaminated the Communist Party’s ranks, and calling on officials to purge the nation of ideas that run counter to modern China’s Marxist-Leninist foundations. Read the rest of this entry »


Hong Kong’s Top 10 Box Office Hits of 2014

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Dean Napolitano and Joyu Wang report: The blockbuster “Transformers: Age of Extinction” topped Hong Kong’s box office in 2014, a year in which big-budget Hollywood tentpoles again dominated local cineplexes.

The fourth installment of the “Transformers” franchise pulled in HK$98.2 million (US$12.7 million), according to Hong Kong Box Office Ltd. That far outpaced “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” which came in second and earned HK$56.6 million.

Rounding out the top five were other effects-filled Hollywood movies: “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” came in at No. 3, followed by “Interstellar” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”

Sandra Ng with Anthony Wong in a scene from ‘Golden Chickensss.’ Treasure Island Production Ltd

Sandra Ng with Anthony Wong in a scene from ‘Golden Chickensss.’
Treasure Island Production Ltd

Director Michael Bay’s “Transformers: Age of Extinction” was something of a hometown film: A major part of the action takes place in Hong Kong, including the movie’s climax, in which much of the city is destroyed in a battle between giant robots

The movie held its world premiere at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, with stars Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer and Nicola Peltz hitting the red carpet while admiring the city’s dramatic skyline.

The cast also included popular Chinese actress Li Bingbing in a co-starring role, while other Hong Kong and Chinese actors took minor roles. Still, the movie failed to match 2013’s top hit, “Iron Man 3,” which made HK$106.4 million….(read more)

Top 10 Films by Box-Office Receipts in Hong Kong in 2014

  1. “Transformers: Age of Extinction” – HK$98.2 million
  2. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” – HK$56.6 million
  3. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” – HK$54.7 million
  4. “Interstellar”* – HK$51.1 million
  5. “X-Men: Days of Future Past” – HK$50.8 million
  6. “Golden Chickensss” – HK$41.3 million
  7. “Maleficent” – HK$40.9 million
  8. “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” – HK$36.97 million
  9. “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb”* – HK$36.5 million
  10. “From Vegas to Macau” – HK$33.6  million

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] 2015 Drone-Enabled View of Hong Kong’s Spectacular New Year’s Fireworks


Stampede at Shanghai New Year’s celebration kills 35

The Butcher:

A family member (C) cries on a bench at a hospital where some of the victims of a stampede by new year's revellers were sent in Shanghai on January 1, 2015. A stampede by New Year's revellers in Shanghai's historic riverfront area killed 35 people and injured dozens more, the city government said on January 1.   CHINA OUT   AFP PHOTO        (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

A family member (C) cries on a bench at a hospital where some of the victims of a stampede by new year’s revellers were sent in Shanghai on January 1, 2015. A stampede by New Year’s revellers in Shanghai’s historic riverfront area killed 35 people and injured dozens more, the city government said on January 1.  AFP PHOTO STR/AFP/Getty Images

Originally posted on Q13 FOX News:

BEIJING, China (CNN) — At least 35 people were killed in a stampede at a New Year’s celebration in Shanghai, China, state media reported.

The stampede happened at about 11:35 p.m. Wednesday in a riverfront area known as the Bund, the state-run Xinhua news agency said. At least 42 people were injured, Xinhua reported.

Authorities are investigating the cause, Xinhua said.

A witness told the government-run news agency that people started scrambling after coupons that looked like dollar bills were thrown from the third floor of a building.

Reports of the stampede appeared on Twitter and China’s Weibo social network, with posts describing a chaotic scene and rescue efforts.

[van id=”world/2014/12/31/china-shanghai-stampede.cnn”]

Photos showed massive crowds packing a street near the river and emergency medical workers treating people on the ground.

Many of the dead were young students, CCTV America reported, citing Shanghai rescue authorities. Video from the Reuters…

View original 135 more words


Adult Breastfeeding Ring Busted in China

breastfeeding

…continued from Alex Linder‘s report:

…Police had been clued in to the organizations by a Beijing News investigative report in June that revealed quite a bit of milky details about the websites and their clientele. One of the websites offered two levels of services: “pure” and “impure.” The first being just your standard, run-of-the-mill breastfeeding for a paltry 40,000 RMB a month, while the second denotes a “deeper level of service” (read: sex) for 50,000 RMB a month. Once you choose your plan you are free to browse the site and find the right “milk mama” for you. Read the rest of this entry »


Forbidden: Gmail Blocked in China

gmail-china-blocked-ap

Gmail Appeared to Be Blocked on Applications That Were Previously Able to Connect With It

BEIJING— Chuin-Wei Yap reports: Google Inc. ’s popular Gmail email service has become unavailable in China, in what appears to be the latest move by Beijing to curb the U.S. search giant’s presence there.

“Chinese authorities, who strictly control online content, sometimes block or unblock Internet sites and services without stating a reason. It wasn’t clear whether Gmail access would return.”

Data on Google’s website showed Gmail traffic in China dropped sharply beginning on Friday. The service appeared to be blocked on computer applications that were previously able to connect with it.

Google spokesman Taj Meadows said Monday that “there’s nothing wrong on our end.”

censorcop

“Foreign services such as Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Google’s YouTube, among others, are blocked in China.”

China’s State Internet Information Office didn’t respond to a request for comment Monday. At a daily press briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she wasn’t aware of the matter. She added that the government “always welcomes foreign businesses to carry out relevant work in China.”

Chinese authorities, who strictly control online content, sometimes block or unblock Internet sites and services without stating a reason. It wasn’t clear whether Gmail access would return. Read the rest of this entry »


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