Hundreds of thousands protest in Hong Kong against the extradition bill

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)

 

Hundreds of thousands protest in Hong Kong against the extradition bill

Huge protesting crowd against the extradition bill paralyzed a large part of Hong Kong Island on June 9 2019. Photo from inmediahk.net

Hundreds of thousands of people in Hong Kong took to the streets on Sunday, 9 June 2019, to stop the government from passing amendments to the existing extradition laws – the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance.

The rally started at 2:30 p.m. and it quickly paralyzed a large part of Hong Kong island. Anna Pearce recorded the crowd near Victoria Park, the starting place of the rally:

Anna Pearce@stilltalkin

No to China extradition.. incredible mass protest turnout in Hong Kong pic.twitter.com/DmE643iKVx

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Streets flooded with protesters

The organizer of the rally, Civil Human Rights Front, estimated that there were more than a million protesters in the rally as the scale of the protest was larger than the anti-national security law mobilization on 1 July 2003. But the police said there were about 240,000 in the streets during the peak of the rally. As South China Morning Post reporter Jeffie Lam put it, Hongkongers made history today:

Jeffie Lam

@jeffielam

are making history today. All lanes of the Hennessy Road – including those which police refused to open before – are flooded by protesters against the @SCMPNews pic.twitter.com/UTr2ui7Fix

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Protesters said the proposed amendments would make it easier for mainland China to cause the arrest of critics, dissidents, and even journalists in Hong Kong. They were chanting “no evil law” and calling for the city’s chief executive Carrie Lam to step down.

Protester placard: No China extradition; Liar Carrie Lam, step down. Image via inmediahk.net CC: AT-NC

A social worker told reporter from inmediahk.net that she rallied to defend the people working in the social work sector because under China’s judicial system, those who tried to bring positive change in society would be arrested. Another student protester believes that once the amendment is passed, the city will cease to exist as the constitutional principle of “One Country Two Systems” would come to an end.

Denise Ho (HOCC)

@hoccgoomusic

Today, Hongkonger are telling the world we oppose the Extradition Bill! pic.twitter.com/fNvaBjRhRm

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There have been several mass protests against the extradition bill. On 30 March, about 12,000 rallied from Wanchai to Admiralty right before the government presented the amendment bill to the legislature. One month later on 28 April, about 130,000 took to the streets demanding the scrapping of the bill.

The series protests has caught the world’s attention. Many are now monitoring if the city’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam would withdraw the controversial bill which is scheduled for second reading in the legislative chamber this week.

The amendments were first proposed by the Hong Kong government in February to provide further legal grounds for the Chief Executive and local courts to handle case-by-case extradition requests from jurisdictions with no prior agreements, specifically Taiwan and China. By citing the murder case of a pregnant woman in Taiwan, the government claimed that amending the extradition laws was meant to address ‘legal loophole’ that allow fugitives to escape punishment.

However, legal experts pointed out that the so-called ‘loophole’ was in reality a firewall to prevent crime suspects from being handed over to mainland China where there is no fair trial.

Human rights defenders, journalists, NGO workers and social workers at risk

Various sectors have warned that if extradition requests are processed without legislative oversight, the amendments would provide a legal basis for mainland Chinese authorities to arrest political dissents. This concern was stated in an open letter jointly signed by over 70 non-government organizations:

Given the Chinese judiciary’s lack of independence, and other procedural shortcomings that often result in unfair trials, we are worried that the proposed changes will put at risk anyone in the territory of Hong Kong who has carried out work related to the Mainland, including human rights defenders, journalists, NGO workers and social workers, even if the person was outside the Mainland when the ostensible crime was committed. We are calling on the Hong Kong government to immediately withdraw the bill…

Instead of addressing the concerns raised by the petitioners, the Beijing Liaison Office met representatives of the local business sector and demanded them to back the bill. At the same time, the Hong Kong government gave some concessions to the business sector by exempting nine white-collar crimes in the bill and raising the threshold for extradition from crimes punishable by three years in jail to crimes with a seven-year prison penalty.

But on the other hand, it decided to by-pass the legislative committee-level deliberations and tabled the bill for full legislative council discussion.

The direct intervention of the Beijing Liaison Office and the Hong Kong government’s violation of legislative procedure have given a strong and clear signal to the public that the amendment bill is a controversial political decision which is far from protecting Hong Kong people’s interest.

Under the current bill, foreigners who traveled to Hong Kong could also be handed over to mainland Chinese authorities upon extradition requests. Diplomats from the U.S, Canada and European Union have expressed a concern about this. Against the background of the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China, some are worriedthat the amendments would turn Hong Kong into a battlefield of international politics:

The intended effects of the amendments can be regarded as a mirrored counterpart of the legal rights utilised by the US government in Meng’s case [Note: the arrest of Meng Wanzhou in Canada upon the extradition request filed by the United State on 1 of December 2018]. If the amendments are passed, then any person who happens to come to Hong Kong can be arrested and surrendered to mainland China with the consent of a court or the Chief Executive, and without deliberation in the Legislative Council of Hong Kong.

More than 2500 lawyers demonstrated against the amendment of extradition law on June 6. Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

The Hong Kong government responded by accusing the opposition of misleading the public.

Lawyers stage “Black March”

But among those who have spoken out against the bill were not just opposition politicians but also members of the professional legal sector. On 6 June, the legal sector staged a “black march” against the controversial bill. Dressed in black, about 2,500 lawyers gathered outside the Court of Final Appeal and marched to government headquarters in silence. Prior to the “black march”, both the BAR society and the Law society have submitted opinions to the government demanding an extensive consultation with the legal sector and other stakeholders.

While debate in the legislature has been muted by the Hong Kong government, grassroots opposition voices have taken over. In the past few weeks, social media platforms have been flooded with joint signature campaigns against the amendments initiated by hundreds of university and secondary schools alumni groups, Christian groups, and neighborhood associations.

Hongkongers abroad have also spoken out. Diaspora Hong Kong communities from at least 25 cities, including London, New York, Berlin, Toronto, Melbourne, and Tokyo among others also held a coordinated protest against the amendment bill.

Roydon Ng@RoydonNg

Chants of We Love Hong Kong and We Love Freedom are shouted from central CBD (). Protesters oppose the law that would allow for extradition to mainland China. Police estimate 2000 attending. pic.twitter.com/AycfpKVNjO

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The whole world is now watching if Carrie Lam would redraw or continue to push through the extradition bill in Legislature this week.

China providing services to woman arrested at Mar-a-Lago

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF POLITICO NEWS)

 

LEGAL

China providing services to woman arrested at Mar-a-Lago

BEIJING — Chinese diplomats have been informed of the arrest of a Chinese woman at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club over the weekend and are providing her with consular services, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

Spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters that the Chinese Consulate General in Houston had been notified of the March 30 arrest, had gotten in touch with the person involved and was providing her with consular assistance. Geng gave no details.

Yujing Zhang is being held on charges of illegal entering and lying to U.S. agents.

Court documents allege 32-year-old Zhang told a Secret Service agent Saturday she was a Mar-a-Lago member there to use the pool. Agents were later summoned and they say Zhang began arguing during an interview.

Agent Samuel Ivanovich wrote in court documents that Zhang told him that she was there for a Chinese American event and had come early to familiarize herself with the club and take photos, contradicting what she had said at the checkpoint. He said Zhang said she had traveled from Shanghai to attend the nonexistent Mar-a-Lago event on the invitation of an acquaintance named “Charles,” whom she only knew through a Chinese social media app.

Ivanovich said Zhang carried four cellphones, a laptop computer, an external hard drive and a thumb drive containing computer malware. She did not have a swimsuit.

There is no indication Zhang was ever near the president or that she personally knew Cindy Yang, a Chinese native, Republican donor and former Florida massage parlor owner who made news recently after it was learned she was promising Chinese business leaders that her consulting firm could get them access to Mar-a-Lago, where they could mingle with the president.

A man named Charles Lee ran the United Nations Chinese Friendship Association and was photographed at least twice with Yang, who also goes by the name Yang Li. Yang previously owned a spa where New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was charged with soliciting prostitution.

Archived images of the United Nations Chinese Friendship Association website, which has since been taken down, show that the organization advertised itself as a non-profit registered with the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs. A page of “registration documents” purports to show certificates from the States of Delaware and New York, as well as a screenshot of a listing on the U.N.’s official website.

But a search Thursday for the association on the U.N.’s database did not turn up any results.

The United Nations Chinese Friendship Association’s website also shows Lee in photos with several government officials of various countries, including Trump, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, as well as officials from China, Canada, Turkey and South Korea. It is not clear whether any of the photos have been digitally altered.

While no espionage charges have been filed against Zhang, her arrest has reignited concerns especially among Democrats that Trump’s use of the club constitutes a security risk as long as members and guests are allowed to come in and out while he is there.

Zhang’s arrest attracted comments from Chinese internet users on the popular Weibo microblogging service, many of whom portrayed her as having been tricked by those seeking to exploit her desire for attention and connections.

The Communist Party newspaper Global Times, known for its strident nationalism, ran a lengthy report on the Zhang and Yang cases, accusing the U.S. media of hyping them as examples of Chinese “Trojan horses” entering Mar-a-Lago out of an excess of “Cold War thinking.”

China persecutes independent leftists in the name of Marxism

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)

(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 persecutes independent leftists in the name of Marxism

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.

Throughout 2018, the CPP spectacularly celebrated the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx, the father of communist thought. It organized an international academic conference in Bejing, a grand gathering of the Party, funded a giant statue at Marx’s birthplace in Germany, produced a youth-targeted TV series titled “Marx was Right,” and, most recently, released an animated series called “The Leader” based on Marx’s life.

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:

luli398@luli398

如果马克思活着的话,他也会被中国共产党抓起来,判终生监禁。因为他也主张思想、言论自由和新闻自由。

See luli398’s other Tweets

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.

What exactly is Marxism with Chinese characteristics? You may have a glimpse into it by watching this propaganda cartoon called “The Leader.”

China: Constitutional amendment adopted by NPC

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS PAPER THE ‘SHINE’)

(THE END OF ANY FREEDOM OF ANY KIND FOR THE PEOPLE OF CHINA THANKS TO XI?)

Constitutional amendment adopted by NPC

Xinhua

2018 Two Sessions

Xinhua

A deputy to the 13th National People’s Congress casts her ballot on a draft amendment to the Constitution at the third plenary meeting of the first session of the 13th NPC in Beijing yesterday.

China’s National People’s Congress, the national legislature, enshrined Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era in the country’s Constitution yesterday, codifying its guiding role.

The amendment, adopted at the first session of the 13th NPC with an overwhelming majority, wrote Xi’s thought into the Constitution’s preamble, along with other guiding theories including Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, and the Theory of Three Represents.

Scientific Outlook on Development has also been incorporated into the Constitution as a guiding theory.

“As an important content of the amendment, the inclusion of Xi’s thought into the country’s fundamental law reflects the common aspiration of the entire Communist Party of China and all Chinese people of various ethnic groups,” said Shen Chunyao, chairman of the Commission for Legislative Affairs of the 12th NPC Standing Committee.

“It has been the fundamental theoretical guide for the historic achievements and shifts made in the cause of the Party and the country since the 18th CPC National Congress,” Shen said at a press conference held after the amendment was adopted.

The CPC announced the formation of Xi’s thought for the first time at its 19th National Congress in October, hailing it as “the latest achievement in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context and an important component of the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

Upon conclusion of the congress, Xi’s thought was written into the Party’s Constitution as a new guide to action.

This was the first amendment to the country’s fundamental law in 14 years.

Key concepts, policies and strategies the Thought encompasses were embedded in the Constitution.

Included are a vision of innovative, coordinated, green and open development for all; the five-sphere integrated plan for coordinated economic, political, cultural, social and ecological advancement; the goal of a “great modern socialist country;” and an oath of allegiance to the Constitution.

The amendment has enriched clauses on the patriotic united front, harmonious relations among ethnic groups, and peaceful foreign policies, including the addition of building a community with a shared future for humanity.

The expression that China will “adhere to the peaceful development path and the mutually beneficial strategy of opening-up” was added to the preamble.

The following sentence was also added in the Constitution to stress the overall CPC leadership: “The leadership of the Communist Party of China is the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

“The greatest strength of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the leadership of the CPC,” said Cao Qingyao, an NPC deputy and a district Party chief of southwest China’s Chongqing.

“The revision has enriched provisions concerning upholding and strengthening the overall CPC leadership and is significant to ensuring the Party and the country to forge ahead along the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics,” Cao noted.

Other revisions include adding core socialist values and granting Chinese cities, with subordinate districts, the power to make local laws and regulations.

The people’s congresses and their standing committees in these cities will be able to adopt local laws and regulations under the condition that they do not contradict the Constitution, national laws and regulations, and provincial laws and regulations, according to the amendment.

Supervisory commissions have been listed as state organs in the Constitution, with a section about such organs added to the third chapter, “The Structure of the State.”

Supervisory organs are listed together with administrative, judicial and procuratorial organs of the state, all of which are created by the people’s congresses to which they are responsible and by which they are supervised.

The constitutional amendment included 11 entries related to supervisory commissions, said Zheng Shu’na, vice chairwoman of the Commission for Legislative Affairs of the 12th NPC Standing Committee.

The amendment offers constitutional support for supervisory commissions, their duties and powers, as well as the draft supervision law to be deliberated at the session, she added.

Reform of the supervisory system aims to pool anti-corruption resources, enhance the Party’s centralized, unified leadership over the campaign against corruption and form a centralized, unified, authoritative and efficient supervisory network, she stressed.

The establishment of supervisory commissions involves major adjustments of state apparatus, Zheng said.

The NPC has the power to elect the director of the national supervisory commission while the NPC Standing Committee can appoint or remove deputy directors and members of the commission at the recommendation of its director.

Directors of supervisory commissions of all levels will serve the same term as that of the people’s congress of the same level, while the director of the national supervisory commission shall serve no more than two consecutive terms.

As the supreme supervisory organ, the national supervisory commission will oversee local commissions and supervisory commissions at higher levels will lead the commissions at lower levels.

Lawmakers at the session agreed that the constitutional revision, which accords with the aspiration of the Party and the people and has won approval from both inside and outside the Party, is of historic significance for ensuring prosperity and lasting security of both the Party and the country.

A constitutional change is either proposed by the NPC Standing Committee or by more than a fifth of all NPC deputies, and then requires the approval of two-thirds or more of NPC deputies during the annual session.

The People’s Republic of China enacted its first Constitution in 1954. The current Constitution was adopted in 1982 and amended in 1988, 1993, 1999 and 2004.

From 1988 to 1999, amendments included reform of land-use rights, a legal status for the private economy, the theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, replacing the phrase “planned economy” with “socialist market economy,” and incorporation of Deng Xiaoping Theory.

The most recent amendment in 2004 protected private property and human rights, and gave the Theory of Three Represents constitutional authority.

China’s Constitution has been developed along with the people’s practices of building socialism with Chinese characteristics under the CPC leadership, according to Li Shuzhong, vice president of the China University of Political Science and Law.

“The amendment makes the Constitution in keeping with the times by incorporating new achievements, experiences and requirements of the Party and the country’s development as socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era,” Li said.

China’s President Xi says ‘reflect will of the people’ on rights

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA ‘SHINE’ NEWSPAPER)

 

Xi says ‘reflect will of the people’ on rights

Shine

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called on the international community to respect and reflect the will of the people in developing countries in human rights development.

Xi made the remarks in a congratulatory message to the South-South Human Rights Forum, which opened in Beijing yesterday.

“It is important for the international community to respect and reflect the will of the people in developing countries in the spirit of justice, fairness, openness and inclusiveness,” Xi said. “It is the lofty ideal of mankind that everyone enjoys human rights to the full.”

Since modern times, people in the developing world have fought long and hard for national liberation and independence, for freedom and equality, for dignity and happiness, and for peace and development, Xi said in the message. “By doing so, they have also contributed significantly to the progress of human rights.”

Xi said that following a people-centered development philosophy, the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government have all along placed people’s interests above all else, and worked hard to meet people’s desire for a better life and improve respect for and protection of the fundamental rights of the Chinese people.

The development blueprint outlined at the 19th CPC National Congress held in October will give a strong boost to human rights development in China and make new and even greater contribution to the progress of mankind, he said.

Noting the development of human rights worldwide cannot be achieved without the joint efforts of developing countries, which account for more than 80 percent of the world’s population, he said human rights must and can only be promoted in light of specific national conditions and people’s needs.

Xi urged developing countries to uphold both the universality and particularity of human rights and steadily raise the level of human rights protection.

“The Chinese people would like to work in concert with people in other developing countries and beyond to advance development through cooperation, promote human rights through development, and build a community with a shared future for human beings,” he said.

Some 300 participants from over 50 mostly developing countries attended the forum.

Addressing the forum’s opening session, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the Party congress had “identified the goal of forging a new field in international relations and building a community of shared future for mankind.”

“This is China’s answer to the question of where human society is heading, and it has also presented opportunities for the development of the human rights cause,” Wang said.

He highlighted China’s achievements in poverty reduction as an example of its efforts to improve rights. China has reduced its poverty rate to 4 percent and seeks to eradicate poverty by 2020.

Tom Zwart of Amsterdam’s Vrije Universiteit told participants that China has “entered a new era of human rights.”

The country, he said, has started to play a bigger role in building “a just and harmonious international order that also includes the international human rights system.”

Xi sees “new starting point” for China: Evidently Means A Total End Of Any Freedom For The People

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF FORTUNE MAGAZINE)

 

Xi sees “new starting point” for China—but where does it end?

Aug 02, 2017

Shanghai changes faster than any place I know. Each time I return, I’m flabbergasted by the pace of development. Pudong’s financial district sprouts new skyscrapers. The Bund sports pricier restaurants. Huaihai Lu, once the Avenue Joffre in the old French Concession, is recolonized by a few more European luxury boutiques. Buildings, city blocks, entire neighborhoods seem to vanish and reemerge as something else. If I am away for more than six months, it feels like coming back to an entirely new metropolis: bigger, richer, sleeker, chic-er.

I have been thinking about the breakneck pace of growth in Shanghai while trying to parse the implications of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s declaration last Thursday that China’s development has reached a “new historical starting point.” Xi’s pronouncement was part of a major policy address he delivered in Beijing to provincial and ministerial officials ahead of this year’s 19th Party Congress. At that gathering, likely to be held in the next few months, Xi is expected to install a new generation of leaders and consolidate his position as the party’s “core” leader. The speech seems to signal Xi’s determination to double down in his second term on the authoritarian policies that have been the hallmark of his first five years in power: a zealous campaign against graft, expanded support for state-owned enterprises, and new measures to strengthen the party’s grip on China’s economy and society.

You can get a flavor of Xi’s remarks from these reports in Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal. Alas, both those outlets are blocked in China. And so, no matter how stylish and seemingly cosmopolitan the lobby of my hotel, to access the global business press from it, I am obliged to rely on a “virtual private network” or VPN. In recent months, Xi’s push to bolster the party has included a sweeping crackdown on the use of VPNs and tightened party control over nearly all permutations of Internet use. In fact, TechCrunch reports today that Beijing has ordered Apple to purge all major VPN apps from the App Store in China. The move was first noted by ExpressVPN, a provider based outside of China—and, as it happens, the service I’m using to write this. The company says it received a notice from Apple that its app was scrapped because it “includes content that is illegal in China.”

This essay was originally published in our CEO Daily Newsletter. Subscribe.

Xi is also putting the squeeze on privately owned Chinese companies the government deems too aggressive in expanding outside China. In recent weeks, China’s state media has been filled with reports deploring the dangers posed by what pundits here are calling “gray rhinos“—large Chinese companies with murky ownership structures, high-debt ratios and extensive holdings overseas. It’s almost as if Beijing’s vaunted “Go Global” investment policy has been rebranded as “Go Home.”

Concerns about the risks over-leveraged firms pose to China’s financial system are well-founded. And yet, of the four gray rhinos China’s bank regulators have singled out for greater regulatory scrutiny in recent weeks, at least one, Dalian Wanda, was an established business with a coherent global strategy.

Shai Oster, a China tech correspondent for The Information, worries in a thoughtful essay published today that all the “euphoria” over the dazzling innovations in China’s tech sector in recent years masks the heavy-handedness with which Xi has dealt with private firms. If Xi himself can order the takedown of China’s most high-profile and politically connected property developer, no one is safe. “Even someone as famous as Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma could face increased political risks in the current climate.” Executives many of foreign firms operating in China say they feel equally vulnerable.

The optimistic view is that the many recent measures to tighten political control in China are temporary and that Xi will loosen up after the Party Congress once he has his ducks in line. It’s a comforting thought. If only there were more evidence to support it.

China’s “Head Of Religious Affairs” Nor President Jinping Have Any Clue What Religion Is

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF FOX NEWS AND THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

China: Willing to have talks with Vatican but Catholics must be patriots

China’s head of religious affairs said that Beijing is willing to have constructive dialogue with the Vatican but stressed that Catholics should “hold up high the flag of patriotism” and adapt Catholicism to Chinese society.

Wang Zuo’an, the director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, made the remarks Tuesday at a meeting of China’s official Catholic Church, which includes bishops, priests and lay Catholics, state media reported.

Beijing insists that the party-controlled Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association has the authority to appoint Chinese bishops, a right that the Holy See says belongs to the pope alone. This dispute over bishop nominations is the most vexing stumbling block preventing the re-establishment of diplomatic relations.

China severed relations with the Holy See in 1951 after the Communists took over, and the officially atheistic government closed churches and imprisoned priests, some for decades. Worship is officially allowed only in state-authorized churches outside the pope’s authority, although many of China’s estimated 12 million Catholics are thought to attend underground churches.

Wang said the Chinese government hoped that the Vatican can adopt a flexible and pragmatic attitude, and take concrete actions to create favorable conditions for improving relations, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. No details were given of what actions Beijing expects.

The ruling Communist Party has long feared that opposition to its rule could be spread by religious and other civic groups outside its control. In May last year, President Xi Jinping called for religions to adapt to Chinese society, which he termed the “sinicization of religion.”

On Tuesday, Wang stressed the importance of patriotism within religion and “pushing ahead with the sinicization of Catholicism.”

Pope Francis said earlier this year that Beijing and the Vatican have resumed working groups on the naming of bishops issue and that he is “optimistic” for an agreement, but that it will take time.

More on this…

  • Pope in Christmas speech blasts Vatican resistance to reform

  • Vatican upset China ordination marred by illegitimate bishop

  • Female relatives of jailed Venezuelan dissidents chain themselves in front of Vatican

Just last week, the Vatican said it was saddened that the ordination of two new Chinese bishops was marred by the presence of a bishop ordained without the pope’s consent.

It also said it was awaiting the outcome of this week’s meeting of the Chinese Catholic Church and hoped it would give Catholics in China confidence in the Vatican-China dialogue.

Central Communist Party Central Committee Wants Country Ruled By Law And Virtue

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

Xi calls for ruling country based on law, virtue

XI Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, has called for ruling the country based on both law and virtue.

Xi made the remarks Friday at a group study attended by members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.

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