(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)
Xi calls for preserving quintessence of Chinese culture
21:17 UTC+8, 2019-08-20
Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, visited exhibitions of relics and research results and attended a symposium with experts, scholars and representatives from cultural units in the Dunhuang Academy in Dunhuang during his inspection tour of northwest China’s Gansu Province on August 19, 2019.
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, has called for well preserving the quintessence of Chinese culture.
Xi made the remarks on Monday at a symposium at Dunhuang Academy with relevant experts, scholars and representatives from cultural units, during his inspection tour of northwest China’s Gansu Province.
Xi stressed the need to help carry forward and promote traditional culture.
He also called for more efforts in cultural exchanges with other countries and learning from the outstanding achievements of civilizations from around the world.
During the inspection tour on Monday, Xi visited the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang, a key cultural heritage site under state-level protection.
Dunhuang culture shows the Chinese nation’s confidence in its culture, Xi said. “Only a self-confident civilization can absorb and draw on the achievements of other civilizations while maintaining its own characteristics.”
Xi also encouraged workers in the cultural sector to well tell the stories of Dunhuang and China.
During his visit to the Mogao Grottoes, Xi talked with tourists there and wished them a pleasant journey.
Dunhuang is home to the Mogao Grottoes, a renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site boasting rich collections of Buddhist artwork — more than 2,000 colored sculptures and 45,000 square meters of murals — in 735 caves along a cliff.
The Mogao Grottoes, first constructed in 366 AD, symbolizes the great achievements of China’s Buddhist art from the 4th century to the 14th century. It showcases the cultural integration and mutual learning among the diverse civilizations along the ancient Silk Road.
Source: Xinhua Editor: Chen Xiaoli
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(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)
Indian war ships in rare parade with Chinese who display powerful destroyer
President Xi Jinping spoke of international maritime cooperation as China displayed the first of a new generation of guided missile destroyers on Tuesday at a naval parade to mark the 70th anniversary of China’s navy in the Yellow off China’s eastern coast.
WORLDUpdated: Apr 23, 2019 19:58 IST
Hindustan Times, Beijing
Foreign naval officers gather for a group photo on the deck of the naval training ship Qi Jiguang before a naval parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of China’s PLA Navy in the sea near Qingdao in the eastern China’s Shandong province on April 23, 2019.(AFP photo)
President Xi Jinping spoke of international maritime cooperation as China displayed the first of a new generation of guided missile destroyers on Tuesday at a naval parade to mark the 70th anniversary of China’s navy in the Yellow sea off China’s eastern coast.
Two Indian battleships, stealth destroyer, INS Kolkata, and supply vessel, INS Shakti were part of the parade, which saw 16 other ships from 12 other countries participate in the parade through rain and mist off the Qingdao coast.
“A total of 32 vessels of the People’s Liberation Army Navy sailed in six groups, and 39 warplanes of the Navy flew in ten echelons,” official news agency, Xinhua said in a report from the port city.
Commenting on Indian navy’s rare public appearance in the Chinese navy’s event military expert, Yue Gang, said Indian and Chinese navies have different advantages and should not confront each other.
“The number of Chinese warships is four times that of India. (But) Indian warships in the Indian Ocean have a superior geographical advantage. It is difficult for both sides to win completely,” Yue said.
“India and China are immovable neighbours. They are better off in peace than in competition. Cooperation is a win-win situation, and both sides will lose in confrontation,” he said.
“Both China and India have benefited from the Indian Ocean region. It is necessary to carry out cooperation and coordination to avoid mistrust. The countries have carried out preliminary security cooperation at sea. The main projects include maritime search and rescue exercises and the anti-piracy joint escort of The Gulf of Aden,” Yue said.
“In the future, the two countries will have the opportunity to establish a wide range of cooperation in anti-terrorism, humanitarian relief, submarine wreck rescue, and UN peacekeeping,” he said.
Meanwhile, at the parade, China’s first domestically produced aircraft carrier, which is still unnamed and undergoing sea trials, was not present, though the country’s first carrier, the Liaoning led the Chinese ships, state media report.
Earlier, at a gathering of foreign and Chinese naval officers and guests, Xi said the navies of the world should work together to protect maritime peace and order.
“The Chinese people love and long for peace, and will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development,” Xi said.
“Everyone should respect each other, treat each other as equals, enhance mutual trust, strengthen maritime dialogue and exchanges, and deepen pragmatic cooperation between navies,” he added.
“There cannot be resorts to force or threats of force at the slightest pretext,” Xi said.
The parade took place in the backdrop of China’s ongoing maritime disputes with countries in Southeast Asia over competing claims on the South China Sea.
(If Marx was still alive, he would be arrested by the CCP and sentenced to life because he advocates for freedom of press, speech and thought.) (IN TRUTH IT IS THE COMMUNIST PARTY LEADERSHIP ESPECIALLY XI JINPING WHO SHOULD BE ARRESTED BECAUSE THEY ARE TOTAL FRAUDS TO THE IDEAL OF MARXISM)(oldpoet56)
China Central Television’s program “Marx was right.” Screenshot from Youtube.
On December 28, Beijing police arrested a group of Peking University students for protesting against the takeover of the campus’ Marxist society in yet another testament of the chasm between Marxism and Marxism “with Chinese characteristics.”
The action followed the detention of the society’s president Qiu Zhanxuan for celebrating former China’s Communist Party (CPP) leader Mao Zedong’s birthday on December 26.
The arrests are only the most recent episode of CPP’s repression of independent Chinese leftists. In August, 50 people, among students and workers, who had attempted to establish a trade union at a Jasic Technology factory in Southern China were arrested.
Among the detainees is Yue Xin, a Peking University graduate who has publicly adhered to President Xi Jinping’s thought. Instead of pursuing study abroad, she became a blue-collar worker in the Jasic factory. She has been missing since the police raid in August. The Peking University Marxist group had been campaigning for the release of the detained activists.
This new generation of young leftists who put their values into practice has been accused by pro-government commentators of reading Marx at the covert direction of foreign powers.
On Weibo, CCP ideologue and Global Times’ chief editor Hu Xijin justified the repression on Peking University’s Marxist group, whose core team members have since been replaced with the university’s picks.
I want to tell student Qiu that only China can save socialism. China is the only hope for the future of Marxism. China is now facing a lot of challenges inside and outside the country. All Chinese people who embrace socialist ideals should support the state to go steady in the path of socialism with Chinese character and support the development of Marxism under the circumstances of reform and open doors. Socialism is a very complicated praxis, it is not an dogmatic and idealistic pursue. It is definite that the fate of socialism depends on the fate of China. I hope all young people can realize this. Unfriendly forces have been taking all sort of opportunities to attack us. We have to prevent providing such opportunities for these forces.
Hu’s statement reflects China’s recent appropriation of Marxism as an ideological tool that helps legitimize President Xi Jinping’s governance strategy that is based on authoritarianism and economic progress.
The 5-episode series “Marx was right“, broadcast this year in China’s main state-run TV channel, argues that China’s market economy is a “tool to realize the values and goals of socialism” and an antidote to crises such as those faced by Western democracies in the past decade, from the 2008 global financial crises to the Brexit referendum in the UK.
As Xi put it at the grand Marx’s 200th birthday celebration in Beijing in May:
It is perfectly right for history and the people to choose Marxism, as well as for the CPC to write Marxism on its own flag, to adhere to the principle of combining the fundamental principles of Marxism with China’s reality, and continuously adapt Marxism to the Chinese context and the times.
More than 30 prominent scholars have decided to boycott Beijing’s 2019 World Congress on Marxism, including leftist professor Noam Chomsky, who said he didn’t want to be “complicit in the Chinese government’s game.”
China is the world’s largest manufacturing economy and international investor, and its economy is highly exploitative of the working class.
The CCP’s practice to suppress independent labor movements and workers’ organizations go back decades. While many Marxists believe in workers’ struggle as the driving force for social and political transformation, Chinese ideologues consider young leftist students’ who stand by workers’ rights simply troublemakers.
Following the takeover of Peking University’s Marxist society, Twitter user @luli398 snarkily tweeted:
At first I was thinking of using the title ‘is it past time to kill your dictator as I am not sure which title was the most appropriate, or, is neither appropriate? In today’s world it does seem that most dictators choose to keep power in a country by fraud sham elections so as to say they are legally elected Presidents. Examples of this could be Mozambique and Robert Mugabe, Cuba with the Castro’s or even Mubarak of Egypt. I used these three as my first examples because none of the three actually died in Office. Mugabe and Mubarak were both removed from Office by their Nations military at the insistence of the will of the people. I am not nor have I ever been a fan of either of the Castro’s but surprisingly they gave up power of their own accord mainly because of age and health reasons. The Castro brothers are different in the reality that most dictators refuse to give up power until they are dead or removed from power by their military.
Any time that a country has a ‘one party’ political system that is simply another way to say dictatorship. Good examples of this are with Syria’s President Assad and Russia’s Putin. Then there is the illegitimate Communist government on mainland China where only the Communist Party leadership decides who will be their ‘President’ every 10 years that is until their current President Xi Jinping came into the picture. Now the Mainland has themselves a ‘President for life’ with Mr. Xi Jinping and the people have no power to get rid of him outside of killing him. Another type of example of a Dictator resides in North Korea where their Leader Mr. Kim Jong Un considers himself to be a living God even though I find it odd that the two former ‘gods’ of North Korea are dead. One of the things that these people have in common, just as in Turkey with their ‘President’ Mr. Erdogan, they are all mass murderers. Then there are cases like in Iran where the actual Leader who calls himself the ‘Supreme Leader’ whom should be known as the Supreme Murderer of Iran who has final say in all things even over the Nations President.
I know that by the Biblical Scriptures we are told that we should pray for our Leaders. Scripture says nothing about whether these Leaders are Kings (Dictators), Priests or honestly elected Presidents or Prime Ministers as these are just titles. Folks, titles do not go to Heaven nor to Hell, people do. People also tells us that we are not allowed to murder anyone yet it is very plain that in cases of war we are allowed to defend ourselves and our families. We as people are also allowed to defend ourselves and families if our lives are in imminent danger such as someone who is armed breaks into our home and threatens you. This would also be so if let’s say you are in a store, a concert or a Church and a person or people come in and start shooting, we have every right to defend ourselves. Folks this does include the reality of ‘anyone’ whom is trying to kill you or your loved ones. Folks, this does mean anyone whom is trying to kill you, by this I mean if military people, police or even a Congressman or a President is actively trying to physically harm you, you have the absolute right to defend yourselves. By this I do mean (for example) what happened in Waco Texas in the early 1990’s where the government murdered over a hundred people, women and children included. This was a case where police came bursting through the doors and windows while shooting at the people inside whom had not yet shot one bullet at the Officers.
Now let’s get back to the issue of killing your Dictator, do you/we have the right to do so? Even though the human in me says that there should be no Dictators on the face of the Earth, this is not a reality. When it comes to G-d’s Judgement Day all Leaders will have to answer for all of their actions as Leaders both good and evil. On a smaller scale the same situation exists within a Church community as far as the Leaders who are responsible for the safety of the Flock who committed crimes against the Flock. I am not saying here that the members of the Church have the right to kill (lets say, a pedophile) though we do have the right to not allow them to be a part of the Congregation at all and we do have the right to charge them in front of our Nation’s Courts. What I am saying though is that all Church Leaders will have to answer for their actions as ‘Guardians’ of the Flock whether good or evil. So, do we have the right to kill our Dictator even if they are a murderer like Mr. Putin or Kim Jong Un? These Dictators, are they actively trying to kill you or your loved ones? When the answer is no, we have no such right to harm them, peacefully try to remove them from their position, yes, kill them, no.
Obviously this letter to you is just my thought, my beliefs. Like is almost all of my letters to you I am simply trying to get you to think about the issue that I am writing to you about. What are your thoughts on this matter, what do you believe? Leave me a note, let me know your thoughts?
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There Is Only One China And That Is The Republic Of China (Taiwan)
The communist government that resides on the mainland is not the legal government of China! The Communists leadership which holds the billion plus people, civilians, men, women and children at the point of a gun is not the legal government of the Nation of China and they never have been, they are nothing but murderers and thieves. Archeologist tell us that there have been humans on the mainland for a little over two million years. The first Dynasties were the XIA, then the Shang, then the Zhou. The first unified government was during the Qin Dynasty and it was these people who sat up the position of Emperor.
The Han Dynasty (206 B.C. through 220 A.D.) greatly expanded their territory through their military campaigns. Countries they took over were parts of Korea, Vietnam, Mongolia as well as punching out a strong foothold deep into central Asia. It is during this time frame that the Chinese government helped establish what became known as ‘the Silk Road’. In the year 1271 A.D. the 5th Khagan of the Mongols established the Yuan Dynasty, in 1368 it ended. In 1368 a peasant revolt led by a man named Zhu Yuanzhang ended the Mongol reign. At this time they sat up the Ming Dynasty which lasted until 1544. They established the Qing Dynasty and during that war it is believed that 25 million people were killed. The Quing Dynasty lasted until the year 1912 and they were the last Dynasty, up until a man named Xi Jinping assumed the office of President about six years ago.
During the 1800’s the government of China took a defensive view toward Europe and their tendencies to colonise other Nations, this stunk of hypocrisy though being the Chinese government was doing the same exact thing themselves. Yet it is to the credit of the Chinese leaders of the early 19th century that they realized that there was a world that was much bigger than China and that they had no control of that reality. From 1851-1873 China and Great Britain fought two wars which became known as the Opium Wars. During these wars it is estimated that 200 million Chinese people died.
On January 1st of 1912 the ‘Republic of China’ was established which ended a 2,000 year reign of Imperial Rulers. In 1937 Japan attacked the people of China and this war cost the Nation of China another ten million people before it ended in 1945. After WWII had ended the Communists took advantage of the weakened state of the legitimate government of China forcing a Civil War on the Nation. In 1947 the real government of China, the ROC, were able to set up Constitutional Rule but the Communists ignored the will of the people killing many millions more civilians until they were able to push the ROC Government onto the Island of Taiwan in 1949. The two sides kept fighting until 1950 though no Truce was ever signed. There are two things that I am going to leave you with tonight about the Communist mass murderers on the mainland, one is that the founder of modern-day Chinese Communist Party was Chairman Mao and he was directly responsible for the deaths of several hundred million of his own people. Two, President Xi Jinping is a devout follower of Chairman Mao.
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(WHEN IT COMES TO THE INTERNET THE GOVERNMENT OF CHINA AND PRESIDENT XI JINPING SHOW THAT THEY ARE SCARED TO DEATH OF THE PEOPLE HAVING ANY KNOWLEDGE OF THEIR COWARDLINESS AND CRIMES TOWARD THE PEOPLE, IN THIS SENSE XI JINPING IS NO BETTER THAN NORTH KOREA’S KIM JONG UN, COWARDS, LIARS AND MURDERERS WITH NO INTEGRITY AT ALL.)(OPED BY oldpoet56)
The great firewall of China: Xi Jinping’s internet shutdown
Before Xi Jinping, the internet was becoming a more vibrant political space for Chinese citizens. But today the country has the largest and most sophisticated online censorship operation in the world. By Elizabeth C Economy
In December 2015, thousands of tech entrepreneurs and analysts, along with a few international heads of state, gathered in Wuzhen, in southern China, for the country’s second World Internet Conference. At the opening ceremony the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, set out his vision for the future of China’s internet. “We should respect the right of individual countries to independently choose their own path of cyber-development,” said Xi, warning against foreign interference “in other countries’ internal affairs”.
No one was surprised by what they heard. Xi had already established that the Chinese internet would be a world unto itself, with its content closely monitored and managed by the Communist party. In recent years, the Chinese leadership has devoted more and more resources to controlling content online. Government policies have contributed to a dramatic fall in the number of postings on the Chinese blogging platform Sina Weibo (similar to Twitter), and have silenced many of China’s most important voices advocating reform and opening up the internet.
It wasn’t always like this. In the years before Xi became president in 2012, the internet had begun to afford the Chinese people an unprecedented level of transparency and power to communicate. Popular bloggers, some of whom advocated bold social and political reforms, commanded tens of millions of followers. Chinese citizens used virtual private networks (VPNs) to access blocked websites. Citizens banded together online to hold authorities accountable for their actions, through virtual petitions and organising physical protests. In 2010, a survey of 300 Chinese officials revealed that 70% were anxious about whether mistakes or details about their private life might be leaked online. Of the almost 6,000 Chinese citizens also surveyed, 88% believed it was good for officials to feel this anxiety.
For Xi Jinping, however, there is no distinction between the virtual world and the real world: both should reflect the same political values, ideals, and standards. To this end, the government has invested in technological upgrades to monitor and censor content. It has passed new laws on acceptable content, and aggressively punished those who defy the new restrictions. Under Xi, foreign content providers have found their access to China shrinking. They are being pushed out by both Xi’s ideological war and his desire that Chinese companies dominate the country’s rapidly growing online economy.
At home, Xi paints the west’s version of the internet, which prioritises freedom of information flow, as anathema to the values of the Chinese government. Abroad, he asserts China’s sovereign right to determine what constitutes harmful content. Rather than acknowledging that efforts to control the internet are a source of embarrassment – a sign of potential authoritarian fragility – Xi is trying to turn his vision of a “Chinanet” (to use blogger Michael Anti’s phrase) into a model for other countries.
The challenge for China’s leadership is to maintain what it perceives as the benefits of the internet – advancing commerce and innovation – without letting technology accelerate political change. To maintain his “Chinanet”, Xi seems willing to accept the costs in terms of economic development, creative expression, government credibility, and the development of civil society. But the internet continues to serve as a powerful tool for citizens seeking to advance social change and human rights. The game of cat-and-mouse continues, and there are many more mice than cats.
The very first email in China was sent in September 1987 – 16 years after Ray Tomlinson sent the first email in the US. It broadcast a triumphal message: “Across the Great Wall we can reach every corner in the world.” For the first few years, the government reserved the internet for academics and officials. Then, in 1995, it was opened to the general public. In 1996, although only about 150,000 Chinese people were connected to the internet, the government deemed it the “Year of the Internet”, and internet clubs and cafes appeared all over China’s largest cities.
Yet as enthusiastically as the government proclaimed its support for the internet, it also took steps to control it. Rogier Creemers, a China expert at Oxford University, has noted that “As the internet became a publicly accessible information and communication platform, there was no debate about whether it should fall under government supervision – only about how such control would be implemented in practice.” By 1997, Beijing had enacted its first laws criminalising online postings that it believed were designed to hurt national security or the interests of the state.
China’s leaders were right to be worried. Their citizens quickly realised the political potential inherent in the internet. In 1998, a 30-year-old software engineer called Lin Hai forwarded 30,000 Chinese email addresses to a US-based pro-democracy magazine. Lin was arrested, tried and ultimately sent to prison in the country’s first known trial for a political violation committed completely online. The following year, the spiritual organisation Falun Gongused email and mobile phones to organise a silent demonstration of more than 10,000 followers around the Communist party’s central compound, Zhongnanhai, to protest their inability to practise freely. The gathering, which had been arranged without the knowledge of the government, precipitated an ongoing persecution of Falun Gong practitioners and a new determination to exercise control over the internet.
The man who emerged to lead the government’s technological efforts was Fang Binxing. In the late 1990s, Fang worked on developing the “Golden Shield” – transformative software that enabled the government to inspect any data being received or sent, and to block destination IP addresses and domain names. His work was rewarded by a swift political rise. By the 2000s, he had earned the moniker “Father of the Great Firewall” and, eventually, the enmity of hundreds of thousands of Chinese web users.
Throughout the early 2000s, the Chinese leadership supplemented Fang’s technology with a set of new regulations designed to ensure that anyone with access to China’s internet played by Chinese rules. In September 2000, the state council issued order no 292, which required internet service providers to ensure that the information sent out on their services adhered to the law, and that some domain names and IP addresses were recorded. Two years later, Beijing blocked Google for the first time. (A few years later, Google introduced Google.cn, a censored version of the site.) In 2002, the government increased its emphasis on self-censorship with the Public Pledge on Self-Discipline for China’s Internet Industry, which established four principles: patriotic observance of law, equitableness, trustworthiness and honesty. More than 100 companies, including Yahoo!, signed the pledge.
Perhaps the most significant development, however, was a 2004 guideline on internet censorship that called for Chinese universities to recruit internet commentators who could guide online discussions in politically acceptable directions and report comments that did not follow Chinese law. These commentators became known as wu mao dang, or “50-cent party”, after the small bonuses they were supposedly paid for each post.
Yet even as the government was striving to limit individuals’ access to information, many citizens were making significant inroads into the country’s political world – and their primary target was corrupt local officials.
In May 2009, Deng Yujiao, a young woman working in a hotel in Hubei province, stabbed a party official to death after she rejected his efforts to pay her for sex and he tried to rape her. Police initially committed Deng to a mental hospital. A popular blogger, Wu Gan, however, publicised her case. Using information gathered through a process known as ren rou sousuo, or “human flesh search engine”, in which web users collaborate to discover the identity of a specific individual or organisation, Wu wrote a blog describing the events and actions of the party officials involved.
In an interview with the Atlantic magazine at the time, he commented: “The cultural significance of flesh searches is this: in an undemocratic country, the people have limited means to get information … [but] citizens can get access to information through the internet, exposing lies and the truth.” Deng’s case began to attract public support, with young people gathering in Beijing with signs reading “Anyone could be Deng Yujiao.” Eventually the court ruled that Deng had acted in self-defence.
During this period, in the final years of Hu Jintao’s presidency, the internet was becoming more and more powerful as a mechanism by which Chinese citizens held their officials to account. Most cases were like that of Deng Yujiao – lodged and resolved at the local level. A small number, however, reached central authorities in Beijing. On 23 July 2011, a high-speed train derailed in the coastal city of Wenzhou, leaving at least 40 people dead and 172 injured. In the wake of the accident, Chinese officials banned journalistsfrom investigating, telling them to use only information “released from authorities”. But local residents took photos of the wreckage being buried instead of being examined for evidence. The photos went viral and heightened the impression that the government’s main goal was not to seek the true cause of the accident.
A Sina Weibo poll – later blocked – asked users why they thought the train wreckage was buried: 98% (61,382) believed it represented destruction of evidence. Dark humour spread online: “How far are we from heaven? Only a train ticket away,” and “The Ministry of Railways earnestly requests that you ride the Heavenly Party Express.” The popular pressure resulted in a full-scale investigation of the crash, and in late December, the government issued a report blaming poorly designed signal equipment and insufficient safety procedures. As many as 54 officials faced disciplinary action as a result of the crash.
The internet also provided a new sense of community for Chinese citizens, who mostly lacked robust civil-society organisations. In July 2012, devastating floods in Beijing led to the evacuation of more than 65,000 residents and the deaths of at least 77 people. Damages totalled an estimated $1.9bn. Local officials failed to respond effectively: police officers allegedly kept ticketing stranded cars instead of assisting residents, and the early warning system did not work. Yet the real story was the extraordinary outpouring of assistance from Beijing web users, who volunteered their homes and food to stranded citizens. In a span of just 24 hours, an estimated 8.8m messages were sent on Weibo regarding the floods. The story of the floods became not only one of government incompetence, but also one of how an online community could transform into a real one.
While the Chinese people explored new ways to use the internet, the leadership also began to develop a taste for the new powers it offered, such as a better understanding of citizens’ concerns and new ways to shape public opinion. Yet as the internet increasingly became a vehicle for dissent, concern within the leadership mounted that it might be used to mobilise a large-scale political protest capable of threatening the central government. The government responded with a stream of technological fixes and political directives; yet the boundaries of internet life continued to expand.
The advent of Xi Jinping in 2012 brought a new determination to move beyond deleting posts and passing regulations. Beijing wanted to ensure that internet content more actively served the interests of the Communist party. Within the virtual world, as in the real world, the party moved to silence dissenting voices, to mobilise party members in support of its values, and to prevent foreign ideas from seeping into Chinese political and social life. In a leaked speech in August 2013, Xi articulated a dark vision: “The internet has become the main battlefield for the public opinion struggle.”
Early in his tenure, Xi embraced the world of social media. One Weibo group, called Fan Group to Learn from Xi, appeared in late 2012, much to the delight of Chinese propaganda officials. (Many Chinese suspected that the account was directed by someone in the government, although the account’s owner denied it.) Xi allowed a visit he made to Hebei to be liveblogged on Weibo by government-affiliated press, and videos about Xi, including a viral music video called How Should I Address You, based on a trip he made to a mountain village, demonstrate the government’s increasing skill at digital propaganda.
Under Xi, the government has also developed new technology that has enabled it to exert far greater control over the internet. In January 2015, the government blocked many of the VPNs that citizens had used to circumvent the Great Firewall. This was surprising to many outside observers, who had believed that VPNs were too useful to the Chinese economy – supporting multinationals, banks and retailers, among others – for the government to crack down on them.
In spring 2015, Beijing launched the Great Cannon. Unlike the Great Firewall, which has the capacity to block traffic as it enters or exits China, the Great Cannon is able to adjust and replace content as it travels around the internet. One of its first targets was the US coding and software development site GitHub. The Chinese government used the Great Cannon to levy a distributed denial of service attack against the site, overwhelming it with traffic redirected from Baidu (a search engine similar to Google). The attack focused on attempting to force GitHub to remove pages linked to the Chinese-language edition of the New York Times and GreatFire.org, a popular VPN that helps people circumvent Chinese internet censorship.
But perhaps Xi’s most noticeable gambit has been to constrain the nature of the content available online. In August 2013, the government issued a new set of regulations known as the “seven baselines”. The reaction by Chinese internet companies was immediate. Sina, for example, shut down or “handled” 100,000 Weibo accounts found to not comply with the new rules.
The government also adopted tough restrictions on internet-based rumours. In September 2013, the supreme people’s court ruled that authors of online posts that deliberately spread rumours or lies, and were either seen by more than 5,000 individuals or shared more than 500 times, could face defamation charges and up to three years in jail. Following massive flooding in Hebei province in July 2016, for example, the government detained three individuals accused of spreading “false news” via social media regarding the death toll and cause of the flood. Some social media posts and photos of the flooding, particularly of drowning victims, were also censored.
In addition, Xi’s government began targeting individuals with large social media followings who might challenge the authority of the Communist party. Restrictions on the most prominent Chinese web influencers, beginning in 2013, represented an important turning point in China’s internet life. Discussions began to move away from politics to personal and less sensitive issues. The impact on Sina Weibo was dramatic. According to a study of 1.6 million Weibo users, the number of Weibo posts fell by 70% between 2011 and 2013.
The strength of the Communist party’s control over the internet rests above all on its commitment to prevent the spread of information that it finds dangerous. It has also adopted sophisticated technology, such as the Great Firewall and the Golden Shield. Perhaps its most potent source of influence, however, is the cyber-army it has developed to implement its policies.
The total number of people employed to monitor opinion and censor content on the internet – a role euphemistically known as “internet public opinion analyst” – was estimated at 2 million in 2013. They are employed across government propaganda departments, private corporations and news outlets. One 2016 Harvard study estimated that the Chinese government fabricates and posts approximately 448m comments on social media annually. A considerable amount of censorship is conducted through the manual deletion of posts, and an estimated 100,000 people are employed by both the government and private companies to do just this.
Private companies also play an important role in facilitating internet censorship in China. Since commercial internet providers are so involved in censoring the sites that they host, internet scholar Guobin Yang argues that “it may not be too much of a stretch to talk about the privatisation of internet content control”. The process is made simpler by the fact that several major technology entrepreneurs also hold political office. For example, Robin Li of Baidu is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, an advisory legislature, while Lei Jun, founder and CEO of mobile phone giant Xiaomi, is a representative of the National People’s Congress.
Yet Xi’s growing control over the internet does not come without costs. An internet that does not work efficiently or limits access to information impedes economic growth. China’s internet is notoriously unreliable, and ranks 91st in the world for speed. As New Yorker writer Evan Osnos asked in discussing the transformation of the Chinese internet during Xi’s tenure: “How many countries in 2015 have an internet connection to the world that is worse than it was a year ago?”
Scientific innovation, particularly prized by the Chinese leadership, may also be at risk. After the VPN crackdown, a Chinese biologist published an essay that became popular on social media, entitled Why Do Scientists Need Google? He wrote: “If a country wants to make this many scientists take out time from the short duration of their professional lives to research technology for climbing over the Great Firewall and to install and to continually upgrade every kind of software for routers, computers, tablets and mobile devices, no matter that this behaviour wastes a great amount of time; it is all completely ridiculous.”
More difficult to gauge is the cost the Chinese leadership incurs to its credibility. Web users criticising the Great Firewall have used puns to mock China’s censorship system. Playing off the fact that the phrases “strong nation” and “wall nation” share a phonetic pronunciation in Chinese (qiangguo), some began using the phrase “wall nation” to refer to China. Those responsible for seeking to control content have also been widely mocked. When Fang opened an account on Sina Weibo in December 2010, he quickly closed the account after thousands of online users left “expletive-laden messages” accusing him of being a government hack. Censors at Sina Weibo blocked “Fang Binxing” as a search term; one Twitter user wrote: “Kind of poetic, really, the blocker, blocked.” When Fang delivered a speech at Wuhan University in central China in 2011, a few students pelted him with eggs and a pair of shoes.
Nonetheless, the government seems willing to bear the economic and scientific costs, as well as potential damage to its credibility, if it means more control over the internet. For the international community, Beijing’s cyber-policy is a sign of the challenge that a more powerful China presents to the liberal world order, which prioritises values such as freedom of speech. It also reflects the paradox inherent in China’s efforts to promote itself as a champion of globalisation, while simultaneously advocating a model of internet sovereignty and closing its cyber-world to information and investment from abroad.
Adapted from The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State by Elizabeth C Economy, published by Oxford University Press and available at guardianbookshop.com
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China says North Korea pledges denuclearization during friendly visit
Ben Blanchard and Joyce Lee
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping, in this still image taken from video released on March 28, 2018. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited China from Sunday to Wednesday on an unofficial visit, China’s state news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday. CCTV via Reuters TV
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping (unseen), in this still image taken from video released on March 28, 2018. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited China from Sunday to Wednesday on an unofficial visit, China’s state news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday. CCTV via Reuters TV
(Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has pledged to denuclearize and meet U.S. officials, China said on Wednesday after an historic meeting with President Xi Jinping, who promised China would uphold its friendship with its isolated neighbor.
After two days of speculation, China and North Korea both confirmed that Kim had visited Beijing and met Xi during what China’s Foreign Ministry called an unofficial visit to China from Sunday to Wednesday.
The China visit was Kim’s first known trip outside North Korea since he assumed power in 2011 and is believed by analysts to serve as preparation for upcoming summits with South Korea and the United States.
North Korea’s KCNA news agency made no mention of Kim’s pledge to denuclearize, or his anticipated meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump that is planned for some time in May.
Beijing has traditionally been the closest ally of secretive North Korea, but ties have been frayed by North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and China’s backing of tough U.N. sanctions in response.
China’s Foreign Ministry cited Kim in a lengthy statement as telling Xi that the situation on the Korean peninsula is starting to improve because North Korea has taken the initiative to ease tensions and put forward proposals for peace talks.
“It is our consistent stand to be committed to denuclearization on the peninsula, in accordance with the will of late President Kim Il Sung and late General Secretary Kim Jong Il,” Kim Jong Un said, according to the statement.
North Korea is willing to talk with the United States and hold a summit between the two countries, he said.
“The issue of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved, if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace,” Kim said.
Kim Jong Un’s predecessors, grandfather Kim Il Sung and father Kim Jong Il, both publicly promised not to pursue nuclear weapons but secretly continued to develop the programs, culminating in the North’s first nuclear test in 2006 under Kim Jong Il.
The North had said in past failed talks aimed at dismantling its nuclear program that it could consider giving up its arsenal if the United States removed its troops from South Korea and withdrew its so-called nuclear umbrella of deterrence from South Korea and Japan.
Many analysts and former negotiators believe this still constitutes North Korea’s stance on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and remain deeply skeptical Kim is willing to give up the nuclear weapons his family has been developing for decades.
Though billed as an unofficial trip, Kim’s appearance in Beijing contained almost all the trappings of a state visit, complete with an honor guard and banquet at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.
Kim and Xi also met at the Diaoyutai State Guest House, where Kim Il Sung planted a tree in 1959 that still stands.
State television showed pictures of the two men chatting amiably and Kim’s wife, Ri Sol Ju, getting an equally warm welcome from Xi’s wife, Peng Liyuan.
China briefed Trump on Kim’s visit and the communication included a personal message from Xi to Trump, the White House said in a statement.
“The United States remains in close contact with our allies South Korea and Japan. We see this development as further evidence that our campaign of maximum pressure is creating the appropriate atmosphere for dialogue with North Korea,” the statement said.
A top Chinese diplomat, Politburo member Yang Jiechi, will brief officials in Seoul on Thursday, including President Moon Jae-in, on Xi’s meeting with Kim, according to the presidential office in Seoul.
Kim told a banquet hosted by Xi the visit was intended to “maintain our great friendship and continue and develop our bilateral ties at a time of rapid developments on the Korean peninsula”, according to KCNA.
Xi had accepted an invitation “with pleasure” from Kim to visit North Korea, KCNA said.
However, China’s statement made no mention of Xi accepting an invitation, saying only that Xi pledged to keep frequent contacts with Kim through the exchange of visits and sending special envoys and letters to each other.
China had largely sat on the sidelines as Pyongyang improved its relations with Seoul, prompting worry in Beijing that it was no longer a central player in the North Korean issue, reinforced by Trump’s subsequent announcement of his proposed meeting with Kim in May.
“China is North Korea’s lifeline, so the notion, from a Chinese perspective, that Kim Jong Un couldn’t have these other two meetings before meeting with Xi Jinping, I think the Chinese just thought that is not going to happen,” said Paul Haenle, director of the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center in Beijing and the former White House representative to North Korea denuclearization talks from 2007-2009.
Speculation about a possible visit by Kim to Beijing was rife earlier this week after a train similar to the one used by Kim’s father was seen in the Chinese capital, along with heavy security and a large motorcade.
Improving ties between North Korea and China would be a positive sign before planned summits involving the two Koreas and the United States, a senior South Korean official said on Tuesday.
Kim Jong Il met then-president Jiang Zemin in China in 2000 before a summit between the two Koreas in June that year. That visit was seen at the time as reaffirmation of close ties with Beijing.
The secrecy around the visit was not unusual. The later visits of Kim Jong Il to China were only announced by both countries once he had left the country.
(Additional reporting by Christine Kim and Soyoung Kim in SEOUL, David Stanway and John Ruwitch in SHANGHAI and Ayesha Rascoe in WASHINGTON, Writing by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Paul Tait)
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((Commentary: by TRS) Just how foolish is President Moon of South Korea? Yes, it is obvious that Kim Jong Un wants to “write a new history” of the Korean Peninsula with himself as the supreme ruler of all of the peninsula. The only thing acceptable to Kim Jong Un is for the people of South Korea to totally and completely give up all of their freedom. Even China’s Xi Jinping has made it clear that China will not tolerate a “non-Communist” government on their border. So, it is my belief that President Moon is acting like either a total fool, or, he is a total traitor to the people of South Korea!)
North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Wants to ‘Write a New History’ With South Korea After Talks
I’D LIKE TO BE OPTIMISTIC.’ DONALD TRUMP SEES SIGN OF PROGRESS IN POSSIBLE NORTH KOREA TALKS WITH U.S.
(SEOUL, South Korea) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had an “openhearted talk” in Pyongyang with envoys for South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the North said Tuesday.
It’s the first time South Korean officials have met with the young North Korean leader in person since he took power after his dictator father’s death in late 2011 — and the latest sign that the Korea’s are trying to mend ties after a year of repeated North Korean weapons tests and threats of nuclear war.
North Korea’s state media said Kim expressed his desire to “write a new history of national reunification” during a dinner Monday night that Seoul said lasted about four hours.
Given the robust history of bloodshed, threats and animosity on the Korean Peninsula, there is considerable skepticism over whether the Koreas’ apparent warming relations will lead to lasting peace.
North Korea, some believe, is trying to use improved ties with the South to weaken U.S.-led international sanctions and pressure, and to provide domestic propaganda fodder for Kim Jong Un.
But each new development also raises the possibility that the rivals can use the momentum from the good feelings created during North Korea’s participation in the South’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics last month to ease a standoff over North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and restart talks between Pyongyang and Washington.
NORTH KOREA’S KIM JONG UN WANTS TO ‘WRITE A NEW HISTORY’ WITH SOUTH KOREA AFTER TALKS
I’D LIKE TO BE OPTIMISTIC.’ DONALD TRUMP SEES SIGN OF PROGRESS IN POSSIBLE NORTH KOREA TALKS WITH U.S.
The North Korean report sought to make Kim look statesmanlike as he welcomed the visiting South Koreans, with Kim offering views on “activating the versatile dialogue, contact, cooperation and exchange.”
He was also said to have given “important instruction to the relevant field to rapidly take practical steps for” a summit with Moon, which the North proposed last month.
Moon, a liberal who is keen to engage the North, likely wants to visit Pyongyang. But he must first broker better ties between the North and Washington, which is Seoul’s top ally and its military protector.
The role of a confident leader welcoming visiting, and lower-ranking, officials from the rival South is one Kim clearly relishes. Smiling for cameras, he posed with the South Koreans and presided over what was described as a “co-patriotic and sincere atmosphere.”
Many in Seoul and Washington will want to know if, the rhetoric and smiling images notwithstanding, there’s any possibility Kim will negotiate over the North’s breakneck pursuit of an arsenal of nuclear missiles that can viably target the U.S. mainland.
The North has repeatedly and bluntly declared it will not give up its nuclear bombs. It also hates the annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises that were postponed because of the Olympics but will likely happen later this spring. And achieving its nuclear aims rests on the North resuming tests of missiles and bombs that set the region on edge.
Photos distributed by the North showed a beaming Kim dressed in a dark Mao-style suit and holding hands with Moon’s national security director, Chung Eui-yong, the leader of the 10-member South Korean delegation. Chung’s trip is the first known high-level visit by South Korean officials to the North in about a decade.
The South Korean delegates have another meeting with North Korean officials on Tuesday before returning home, but it’s unclear if Kim Jong Un will be there.
Kim was said to have expressed at the dinner his “firm will to vigorously advance the north-south relations and write a new history of national reunification by the concerted efforts of our nation to be proud of in the world.”
There is speculation that better inter-Korean ties could pave the way for Washington and Pyongyang to talk about the North’s nuclear weapons. The United States, however, has made clear that it doesn’t want empty talks and that all options, including military measures, are on the table.
Previous warming ties between the Korea’s have come to nothing amid North Korea’s repeated weapons tests and the North’s claims that the annual U.S.-South Korean war games are a rehearsal for an invasion.
Before leaving for Pyongyang, Chung said he would relay Moon’s hopes for North Korean nuclear disarmament and a permanent peace on the peninsula.
Chung’s delegation includes intelligence chief Suh Hoon and Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung. The South Korean presidential Blue House said the high-profile delegation is meant to reciprocate the Olympic trip by Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, who became the first member of the North’s ruling family to come to South Korea since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.
Kim Yo Jong, who also attended Monday’s dinner, and other senior North Korean officials met with Moon during the Olympics, conveyed Kim Jong Un’s invitation to visit Pyongyang and expressed their willingness to hold talks with the United States.
After the Pyongyang trip, Chung’s delegation is scheduled to fly to the United States to brief officials about the outcome of the talks with North Korean officials.
President Donald Trump has said talks with North Korea will happen only “under the right conditions.”
If Moon accepts Kim’s invitation to visit Pyongyang it would be the third inter-Korean summit talk. The past two summits, one in 2000 and the other in 2007, were held between Kim’s late father, Kim Jong Il, and two liberal South Korean presidents. They resulted in a series of cooperative projects between the Korea’s that were scuttled during subsequent conservative administrations in the South.
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Peter Pham , CONTRIBUTORI write financial newsletters for investors on how to profit in Asia.Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
A general view from Victoria Peak shows Victoria Harbour and the skylines of the Kowloon district (background) and Hong Kong island (foreground) on July 3, 2017. (ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)
Through careful planning and strategic economic policy reforms, mainland China has evolved from a country struck by poverty to the world’s second largest economy. But don’t think this was solely the Chinese bureaucrats’ doing. The U.K.’s special “present” to China proved to be essential to the story of China’s miraculous development.
In 1997, Tony Blair, who was U.K.’s prime minister at the time, went to Hong Kong to give the city back to Beijing. 156 years of colonial rule had completely transformed the city.
What was once a backwards fishing village, was now one of the worlds’ most important financial hubs.
Hong Kong currently has the highest concentration of international banks in the world. The 71 largest international banks and almost 300 international fund management companies are housed in Hong Kong. The island also has most beneficial legal regulations for both residents and companies.
China basically saw Hong Kong attending a 150 yearlong financial course. The financial powerhouse now belongs back to the Middle Kingdom that uses it to funnel foreign capital into its centrally planned economy. Something the mainland wasn’t able to do by itself.
Never before has a centrally planned economy ever received such a precious gift as Hong Kong.
How Hong Kong feeds China
Companies in planned economies – like China’s – typically have a hard time raising capital. That makes Hong Kong a key factor in China’s economic development.
With its leading financial institutions in place, Hong Kong is able to raise capital unhindered by political or economic instability. A problem free market economies like in the U.S. generally have to deal with.
Four years before Hong Kong was given back to China, it was responsible for 27% of China’s GDP. Let’s put this in perspective. At the time, only 6.5 million people lived in Hong Kong while mainland China had a population of 1 billion people. It’s easy to see that Hong Kong’s impact on China’s economic growth was tremendous.
The mainland did catch up over time as the graph below clearly illustrates. By 2017, Hong Kong accounted for merely 3% of the GDP.
One Road Research
Hong Kong’s Share of China’s GDP
Hong Kong’s return in 1997 coincided with the dramatic rise of China’s GDP.
One Road Research
China’s GDP in Current US$
China’s economic growth was partially due to twenty years of export-oriented policies from Beijing. But without Hong Kong’s well-established financial markets, necessary funds couldn’t have been raised.
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Yet all these numbers are little more than well-informed guesstimates. There are no records that will magically resolve the question of exactly how many died in the Mao era. We can only extrapolate based on flawed sources. If the percentage of deaths attributable to the famine is slightly changed, that’s the difference between 30 and 45 million deaths. So, in these sorts of discussions, the difference between one and two isn’t infinity but a rounding error.
Mao didn’t order people to their deaths in the same way that Hitler did, so it’s fair to say that Mao’s famine deaths were not genocide—in contrast, arguably, to Stalin’s Holodomor in the Ukraine, the terror-famine described by journalist and historian Anne Applebaum in Red Famine (2017). One can argue that by closing down discussion in 1959, Mao sealed the fate of tens of millions, but almost every legal system in the world recognizes the difference between murder in the first degree and manslaughter or negligence. Shouldn’t the same standards apply to dictators?
When Khrushchev took Stalin off his pedestal, the Soviet state still had Lenin as its idealized founding father. That allowed Khrushchev to purge the dictator without delegitimizing the Soviet state. By contrast, Mao himself and his successors have always realized that he was both China’s Lenin and its Stalin.
Thus, after Mao died, the Communist Party settled on a formula of declaring that Mao had made mistakes—about 30 percent of what he did was declared wrong and 70 percent was right. That’s essentially the formula used today. Mao’s mistakes were set down, and commissions sent out to explore the worst of his crimes, but his picture remains on Tiananmen Square.
Xi Jinping has held fast to this view of Mao in recent years. In Xi’s way of looking at China, the country had roughly thirty years of Maoism and thirty years of Deng Xiaoping’s economic liberalization and rapid growth. Xi has warned that neither era can negate the other; they are inseparable.
How to deal with Mao? Many Chinese, especially those who lived through his rule, do so by publishing underground journals or documentary films. Perhaps typically for a modern consumer society, though, Mao and his memory have also been turned into kitschy products. The first commune—the “Sputnik” commune that launched the Great Leap Forward—is now a retreat for city folk who want to experience the joys of rural life. One in ten villagers there died of famine, and people were dragged off and flayed for trying to hide grain from government officials. Today, urbanites go there to decompress from the stresses of modern life.
Foreigners aren’t exempt from this sort of historical amnesia, either. One of Beijing’s most popular breweries is the “Great Leap” brewery, which features a Mao-era symbol of a fist clenching a beer stein, instead of the clods of grass and earth that farmers tried to eat during the famine. Perhaps because of the revolting idea of a brew pub being named after a famine, the company began in 2015 to explain on its website that the name came not from Maoist history but an obscure Song dynasty song. Only when you’re young and fat, goes the verse, does one dare risk a great leap.