Why China won’t let people compare Xi Jinping with an imperial predecessor

By Isabella Jackson
This article first appeared in The Conversation on 5 March 2018
Link to original article: HERE

The Chinese Communist Party’s legitimacy is largely based on a supposed contrast between its “enlightened” leadership and the despotism of “Old China”. Any hint that the party is creating a new emperor must therefore be quashed. But the Chinese public know their history, and history is a potent political force Continue reading “Why China won’t let people compare Xi Jinping with an imperial predecessor”

China: It’s official – Xi Jinping aims to be “Dictator for life”

Chinaworker.info

Lifting of presidential term limits plunges China and its autocratic regime into unchartered territory

The news from Beijing is historic – nothing less than a political earthquake with repercussions around the world. At its upcoming “parliamentary session” (the National People’s Congress, NPC, which starts next week), China will remove the two-term limit for the presidency and vice presidency. This confirms Continue reading “China: It’s official – Xi Jinping aims to be “Dictator for life””

Free Tibetan activist Tashi Wangchuk

Calling for the right to use Tibetan language in schools is not a crime

Adam N. Lee, chinaworker.info

A nine-minute video made by the New York Times may cost Tibetan language rights activist Tashi Wangchuk fifteen years in prison. He is the latest victim in an unprecedented crackdown in which hundreds of dissidents and rights advocates have been arrested, abducted, disappeared, tortured, forced to appear in televised ‘confessions’ and in many cases served with harsh prison sentences as a deterrent to others who would challenge Beijing’s policies. Continue reading “Free Tibetan activist Tashi Wangchuk”

China shuts 128,000 ‘harmful’ websites in 2017: state media

Report by SCMP

Announcement comes as the authorities tighten control of content on the internet, amid already routine censorship of the media

China shut as many as 128,000 websites that contained obscene and other “harmful” information in 2017, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported late on Monday, citing government data.

Xinhua said 30.9 million illegal publications were confiscated over the course of the year, while 1,900 people were subject to criminal penalties, according to figures from the national office in charge of combating pornography and illegal publications.

China has been tightening controls over internet content as part of efforts to maintain “social stability”, taking on “vulgar” and pornographic content as well as the unauthorised dissemination of news. Continue reading “China shuts 128,000 ‘harmful’ websites in 2017: state media”

Eight year jail sentence for Chinese dissident Wu Gan

State using systematic frame-ups and ‘carrot and stick’ methods to extract confessions

Adam N. Lee, chinaworker.info

On 26 December, the blogger Wu Gan, known by his online nickname Super Vulgar Butcher, was sentenced to eight years in prison by a court in Tianjin. This was the harshest sentence to be passed so far in a state crackdown on activism that began more than two years ago. It is common for China to hold trials of high profile dissidents during the Christmas period, to minimise international media coverage.

Wu was arrested in May 2015, two months before a major crackdown was launched against a group of around 250 lawyers and activists. Known as the ‘709 incident’, these mass arrests marked an escalation of state repression under ‘strongman’ ruler Xi Jinping which has since further intensified. China is currently experiencing its most severe repression since the post-1989 crackdown.

Continue reading “Eight year jail sentence for Chinese dissident Wu Gan”

China has 41 journalists behind bars amid ever-widening media controls

Report from RFA

As governments jailed a record number of journalists around the world in 2017, a U.S.-based press freedom group says the ruling Chinese Communist Party has a total of 41 journalists currently behind bars under the newly strengthened leadership of President Xi Jinping.

In its annual report, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) hit out at U.S. President Donald Trump for making no mention of Beijing’s record on human rights during his recent trip to the country last month.

“Trump made no public reference to human rights, despite an ongoing crackdown that has led to the arrests of Chinese journalists, activists, and lawyers,” the group said.

The group also highlighted the use of “medical neglect” to target writers and journalists in jail and detention centers, citing the death of Nobel peace laureate and writer Liu Xiaobo in hospital under prison supervision last July, following a diagnosis with late-stage liver cancer.

Continue reading “China has 41 journalists behind bars amid ever-widening media controls”

Beijing hinders free speech abroad

By Cindy

China Digital Times

At The New York Times, Wang Dan, a former leader of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, looks at the growing reach of Chinese censors on American college campuses as Beijing attempts to export its political control beyond its borders. Chinese international students studying in the U.S. were discouraged from attending Wang’s forums on Chinese politics due to fear of reprisal.

[…O]ver the past three months, my efforts on American campuses have been stymied. The Chinese Communist Party is extending its surveillance of critics abroad, reaching into Western academic communities and silencing visiting Chinese students. Through a campaign of fear and intimidation, Beijing is hindering free speech in the United States and in other Western countries.

The Chinese government, or people sympathetic to it, encourage like-minded Chinese students and scholars in the West to report on Chinese students who participate in politically sensitive activities — like my salons, but also other public forums and protests against Beijing. Members of the China Students and Scholars Association, which has chapters at many American universities, maintain ties with the Chinese consulates and keep tabs on “unpatriotic” people and activities on campuses. Agents or sympathizers of the Chinese government show up at public events videotaping and snapping pictures of speakers, participants and organizers.

Continue reading “Beijing hinders free speech abroad”

House arrest: Grave violations of human rights in China

China jails Taiwan activist Lee Ming-che for ‘subversion’

BBC

A Chinese court has sentenced a Taiwanese activist to five years in jail for “subverting state power”.

Lee Ming-che went on trial in September for attempting to promote multi-party democracy in group messaging chats.

His case has gripped Taiwan, which has called for Mr Lee’s safe return, and has further strained the island’s relations with China.

Taiwan’s presidential office has criticised the sentence, saying: “We cannot accept this.”

Continue reading “China jails Taiwan activist Lee Ming-che for ‘subversion’”

2017: Year of the crackdown in Hong Kong

Disrespect for national anthem punishible by three years in prison – latest installment in a wave of undemocratic measures

Adam N. Lee, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong)

The Stop Repression in Hong Kong campaign was launched to highlight the rapidly worsening attacks on democratic rights by Hong Kong’s government.

Socialist Action initiated this campaign in consultation with left organisations and worker activists in several countries. Key assistance has been given by the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI), the international socialist organisation with parties and groups in 40 countries. In October, protesters in 22 cities around the world – from Bangalore to Vancouver – answered the call of the campaign to demonstrate outside China’s embassies.

The great crackdown of 2017 has seen six legislators undemocratically ejected from Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (Legco), giving the pro-government parties a ‘super majority’ that enables them to rewrite the Legco rule-book in their favour.

This is not at all what the voters wanted in the September 2016 Legco elections, when the pro-government camp suffered one of its biggest defeats in terms of votes. In that election the combined opposition parties got 60 percent of the vote, an increase from 56 percent in the elections of 2012. This was obtained on the highest election turnout for two decades.

The establishment’s purge of the Legco has nothing to do with ‘rules’ or ‘oaths’ – that was a legal smokescreen created by the Chinese dictatorship and its Hong Kong puppets. Its real purpose is to attack the most radical voices in the democracy struggle, such as ‘Long Hair’ Leung Kwok-hung, and try to eliminate these forces from the struggle. This will not succeed and can actually blow up in the government’s faces, increasing public support for the ‘radicals’.

Under Beijing’s pressure, which ultimately reflects its fear of mass radicalisation spreading from Hong Kong to China, the news media in Hong Kong is increasingly a megaphone for China’s dictatorship. Reporters Without Borders lowered Hong Kong’s press freedom ranking in 2017 to 73 (out of 180 countries). This ranking has been falling year after year since 2002, when Hong Kong was ranked 18 in the world. China is ranked 176, the fourth worst in the world.

Read more: Global protests in 20 countries against Hong Kong repression ➵

Continue reading “2017: Year of the crackdown in Hong Kong”