China’s CPC National Congress Set For October 18



CPC National Congress set for October 18

THE communist Party of China will convene its 19th National Congress on October 18, a key meeting held to draw out polices for the future development.

More than 2,300 delegates will discuss the country’s accomplishments since the previous gathering, discuss a strategy for building a “moderately prosperous society” and elect new members of the top leadership.

The 19th CPC National Congress will also summarize experiences gained from uniting and leading citizens of all ethnic groups to advance socialism with Chinese characteristics, according to a meeting of the Politburo yesterday presided over by Xi Jinping, the Party’s general secretary.

It will examine the current international and domestic situation, and take into account new requirements for the development of the Party and the country as well as new expectations from the people.

The congress will draw out guidelines and policies that respond to the call of the times, according to a statement after the Politburo meeting.

The congress is being held at a time when China is striving to achieve a moderately prosperous society, and at a critical time for the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics, the statement said.

It will hold high the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, be guided with Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of “Three Represents” and the Scientific Outlook on Development, and thoroughly carry out the essence of Xi’s series of important remarks and the new governance concepts, thoughts and strategies of the CPC Central Committee, according to the statement.

The congress also aims to boost confidence in the path, theory, system and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics, continue to adopt an overall approach to promote economic, political, cultural, social and ecological progress, as well as to advance coordinated development of the “Four Comprehensives.”

The Four Comprehensives refers to a four-pronged strategy that aims to accomplish a moderately prosperous society, deepen reform, advance the rule of law and strengthen Party governance.

A new Central Committee and a new Central Commission for Discipline Inspection will be elected at the congress.

All preparatory work for the congress is going smoothly at present, the statement said, and preparations should continue to ensure a successful congress.

North Korea: Kim Jong Un Observes Missile-Ready Hydrogen Bomb



North Korea: Kim Jong Un observes missile-ready hydrogen bomb

Story highlights

  • State media: Kim Jong Un visits the country’s Nuclear Weapons Institute
  • The hydrogen bomb claim cannot be independently verified

Seoul, South Korea (CNN)North Korea’s regime has “succeeded in making a more developed nuke,” according to the country’s state news agency.

The Korean Central News Agency described it as a “nuke” in its English-language report, but called it a “thermonuclear hydrogen bomb” in the Korean version.
During a visit to the country’s Nuclear Weapons Institute, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “watched an H-bomb to be loaded into new ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile),” KCNA reported.
There was no independent confirmation of the claims.
“The H-bomb, the explosive power of which is adjustable from tens kiloton to hundreds kiloton, is a multi-functional thermonuclear nuke with great destructive power which can be detonated even at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack according to strategic goals,” KCNA reported in English.
This week, North Korea launched an intermediate-range missile, identified by the North Koreans as the Hwasong-12. The missile flew over Japan, further exacerbating tensions between North Korea and the United States and its allies, Japan and South Korea.
North Korea has been test-firing missiles at a rapid pace all year. With each launch, experts say Pyongyang can further refine and perfect its missile technology.

Who Vladimir Putin thinks will rule the world



Who Vladimir Putin thinks will rule the world

Story highlights

  • The Russian President gives an “open lesson” to more than a million schoolchildren
  • “Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world,” he says

(CNN)On the first day of the new school year in Russia, students learned an important lesson directly from their president — who he thinks will rule the world.

Speaking to students during a national “open lesson” from the city of Yaroslavl, northeast of Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the country that takes the lead in the sphere of computer-based artificial intelligence (AI) will rule.
“Artificial intelligence is the future not only of Russia but of all of mankind,” said Putin. “There are huge opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to foresee today.”
“Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world,” he said, adding that it would be better to prevent any particular “pair of hands” from achieving a monopoly in the field.
If Russia becomes the leader in the development of artificial intelligence, “we will share our technology with the rest of the world, like we are doing now with atomic and nuclear technology,” said Putin.
More than a million schoolchildren around Russia were expected to watch the televised open lesson online, titled “Russia Focused on the Future,” according to the Kremlin.

Putin visits new hockey school in Yaroslavl.

Participants in the lesson also watched videos about the large-scale innovative projects, including the development of a new generation of nuclear-powered icebreakers and a heavy-class space launch center.
The words of the Russian President echo what scientists in Russia and around the world have been mulling over for quite some time.
Work on developing drones and vehicles for military and civilian usage is well under way in Russia, according to state media.
The Russian military is also developing robots, anti-drone systems, and cruise missiles that would be able to analyze radars and make decisions on the altitude, speed and direction of their flight, according to state media.
While in Yaroslavl, Putin didn’t miss the opportunity to show off his hockey skills during a visit to a new school. Putin attended a training session of the children’s hockey team, talked to the young players and played some hockey himself.

China’s War on Dissent: Detained activists have two choices: vanish or confess



China’s War on Dissent

Phil Lynch, director of ISHR, said in his opening remarks that ISHR is deeply concerned by the widespread crackdown against human rights defenders in China. “Over the last several years, we worked hard to support Chinese human rights activists to elevate their voices using UN human rights mechanisms, especially the Human Rights Council, to pressure China for change and call for accountability.

Lynch discussed the case of Gui Minhai, disappeared since 2015. “He has missed his daughter’s graduation and her acceptance to a PhD program,” said Lynch. “She keeps on fighting for her father’s release.”

Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.Lynch then gave the floor to three Chinese human rights activists. Yaxue Cao, the founder and editor of, said that detentions in China are increasingly arbitrary. “Recent charges against defenders and human rights lawyers are increasingly absurd; and the use of nonlegal methods of detention are increasingly frequent. The international community and UN mechanisms should, therefore, be increasingly alarmed and respond accordingly,” said Yaxue Cao.

Cao also raised the question of security of human rights activists who cooperate with UN human rights mechanisms. “Just to come to Geneva has become very dangerous. Human rights activists are being subject to reprisals for their cooperation with international organizations in Geneva. It is unacceptable and we demand from the UN and international community more active efforts to ensure our security,” said Yaxue Cao.

Sarah Brooks, Asia program manager at the ISHR, said that in the last two years more than 300 activists have been harassed, threatened, detained and disappeared. “This crackdown marked by arbitrary arrests, incommunicado detentions, torture and ill-treatment and this is part of the policy of the Chinese government to close the space for civil society. The death of Nobel Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and enforced disappearance of his wife Liu Xia expose with painful clarity the costs of detention for defenders in China, and reminds us that this cost is also borne by friends and family. For all those at risk for their work to protect and promote human rights, we urge the Human Rights Council to press China for justice and accountability” said Brooks.

During the press-conference Zhang Qing, wife of the Guo Feixiong joined the discussion remotely to speak about her husband’s health conditions. Guo Feixiong has spent over a decade in detention for his human rights activities. She described the deplorable conditions her husband faced: “They locked my husband more than two years in a very small and confined space, where he hasn’t been able to move around. He hasn’t been allowed outside for exercise, or to see sunlight, and this has done huge damage to his health. It was a deliberate harm and a slow form of torture.”

Zhang told the member governments of the Human Rights Council that they could no longer ignore China’s willful mistreatment of activists in detention. “I express my gratitude to international groups and UN experts who raised the case of my husband at the UN. After international pressure he was transferred to another jail, where he recovered and his health is better now. His sister was allowed recently to visit him in the jail,” she said.

Yibee Huang, chief executive officer of Covenant Watch, spoke about reprisals against activists in Taiwan. She discussed the case of Li Ming-che, a manager at Taipei’s Wenshan Community College and a longtime democracy activist, who was detained in March 2017 and has been held incommunicado since. “We are deeply concerned about his health conditions. And the Chinese government shut down all communication means and we cannot receive any information about him” she said.

The activists also spoke about the case of the Chinese lawyer Jiang Tianyong, who disappeared on November 21, 2016. His whereabouts remained unknown for several months, and only at the end of 2016 did Chinese authorities admit that Jiang was held “under residential surveillance at designated location.” Kit Chan, president of the Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group told The Diplomat about his recently concluded trial.

“After detention incommunicado of 274 days, Jiang’s trial took place on 22 August at the Changsha Intermediate People’s Court. The trial was manipulated and the public were deliberately barred from attending it, and the areas around the Court were roadblocked with police officers. We demand the court give Jiang a non-guilty verdict and immediately release him. We also call on the international community not to be deceived by the illustrations and rhetoric of the rule according to law, but follow closely and speak up on the case of Jiang Tianyong and that of lawyer Wang Quanzhang, ” said Chan.

Incommunicado detentions have become routine and families struggle to hear any news about vanished activists. Wang, who Chan reference, was detained by the Chinese authorities in August 2015. His wife, Li Wenzu, told the BBC that she hasn’t heard from him and does not know if he is alive or not. “I had no information at all. He has simply disappeared from the face of the Earth.”

Law enforcement authorities in China are notorious for their use of torture against human rights defenders and political dissidents. It seems that incommunicado detainees have only two choices: make confessions that are then broadcast by state-run TV or refuse and remain vanished.

Li told the BBC that Wang’s continued incarceration might be because he is holding out. “I think it might be because my husband hasn’t compromised at all,” Li said. “That’s why his case remains unsolved.”

When they do confess, lawyers admit guilt and say that they were brainwashed by Western media and activists. For example, Chinese lawyer Xie Yang made a confession on state television in May. He had been charged with “inciting subversion of state power and disrupting court order.”

“My actions go against my role as a lawyer,” he said in the video released by the Changsha Intermediate People’s Court, “we should give up using contact with foreign media and independent media to hype sensitive news events, attack judicial institutions and smear the image of the nation’s party organs while handling cases.”

Liu Xiaobo, a symbol of Chinese pro-democratic movements, was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 2010 “for his long and nonviolent struggle for human rights in China.” He could not attend the ceremony in Stockholm and was represented by an empty chair because he was still in custody. Liu died of liver cancer in July, under guard at the hospital to which he had been released the month before — his cancer beyond treatment.

The international community has been worried about the destiny of his wife Liu Xia, whose location is still unknown. She has lived under constant police watch, and international organizations have been calling on Beijing to allow her to leave China if she wishes.

The main concerns of those gathered in Genea last week are that there are more and more activists being arbitrary detained and vanished, and cooperation with UN mechanisms and international organization have become more dangerous for Chinese defenders.

Cholpon Orozobekova is a researcher at the Bulan Institute for Peace Innovations.

China’s Xi Jinping Tightens ‘Thought Control’ Of Universities Teaching Staff



Chinese universities tighten ideological control of teaching staff

Seven top colleges set up departments to oversee the political thinking of teachers after government inspectors criticise institutions’ ideological ‘weakness’

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 August, 2017, 2:46pm
UPDATED : Monday, 28 August, 2017, 10:30pm

A group of China’s top universities have set up Communist Party departments to oversee the political thinking of their teaching staff after the colleges were criticised amid the government’s tightening ideological control on campuses.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the party’s powerful disciplinary watchdog, last week published “rectification reports” on eight top-tier universities it inspected this year.

Seven have set up a “teachers’ affairs department” under their Communist Party committees to improve “ideological and political work” among teaching staff.

The inspection teams toured 29 of the best universities across mainland China, including the prestigious Peking University and Tsinghua University in Beijing, for a “political check-up” earlier this year.

Some universities were criticised after the months-long inspections for their weakness in promoting ideology, while party committees were also chastised for weak leadership and failing to toe the party line.

Dalian University of Technology in Liaoning province has pledged to make annual training plans to improve the ideological and political education of teachers, according to its rectification report.

Beijing Normal University said the “virtues” of teachers, which include their ideological and political thinking, were included in their appraisals this year.

All universities and colleges in China are under the control of a party committee, which oversees party affairs on campus and the running of the schools.

Most committees already have two departments supervising undergraduate and graduate students to monitor their ideological and political thinking.

The inclusion of teaching staff for supervision under the party committee is the latest move by the authorities to tighten ideological control on campuses.

Universities were ordered four years ago to steer clear of seven topics while teaching, including universal values, press freedom and civil rights.

Outspoken professors who have openly criticised the communist authorities or its leaders have been punished or silenced.

Deng Xiangchao, a communications professor at Shandong Jianzhu University, was forced to retire in January after criticising Mao Zedong publicly on the eve of the anniversary of the late leader’s birth.

Some more liberal universities have already moved to tighten control of their teaching staff to toe the party line.

Many universities – as well as the seven inspected – have set up teachers’ affairs departments this year, including Shanghai Jiao Tong university and the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing.

Peking University was the first to set up a similar teachers department in 2015.

Twenty-one other universities inspected by the commission have yet to release their “rectification reports”.

Tsinghua University did not mention the party department in its report, but said it had set up a leading group on teachers’ ideological and political work headed by its party secretary.

The party’s ideological control of higher education has intensified since President Xi Jinping took power in late 2012.

Xi vowed at a high-level meeting last year to turn campuses into “strongholds of the party’s leadership” to ensure orthodox Marxism dominated the thinking of academics and students.