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Another Chinese Propaganda Video Ties Mainland Rights Defense Activism, Protests in Hong Kong, and the Syrian War Into One Anti-U.S. Narrative

December 18, 2016

A verified account belonging to the Ministry of Public Security issued this video on December 15 with the hashtag #警惕颜色革命 (“Beware of color revolutions”) and #是谁最想扳倒中国 (“Who wants to take China down the most”).  Two similar videos issued in August can be seen here and here.  – The Editors

 

 

[Syrian swimmer] Yusra Mardini, fleeing war-ravaged Syria. The boat had a problem, she and her sister pushed it to rescue the refugees packed in it.

[Mardini’s voice]: “It’s hard to believe, but as an Olympic swimmer, I almost died in the water.”

In Rio, she was a member of the Refugee Olympic Team made up of athletes who have lost their homes because of “color revolutions.” Her presence at the Olympics was an indictment of the brutality of war.

Several years ago, she and her compatriots celebrated passionately the beautiful new world brought by the “Arab Spring.”

But behind the flowers and colorful flags are nothing but ruins, turmoil, terror, and despair.

The homes that once were are gone forever.

 

“Color revolutions” have successfully turned many countries to war zones and strife, and the sharp claws of the Devil have also reached China!

In 1953, former U.S. Secretary of State John Dulles said that a strategy of peaceful evolution must bet on the young people.  

In 2000, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright emphasized that, with the internet, America has ways of dealing with China.

In 2011, a former U.S. ambassador to China argued during a presidential debate for the famous “Take-China-Down Theory”:

“We should be reaching out to our allies and constituencies within China. They’re called the young people, they’re called the ‘internet generation.’ There are 500 million internet users in China. And 80 million bloggers. And they are bringing about change, the likes of which is gonna take China down.”   

By sending carriers to South China Seas, and by deploying THAAD in South Korea, the U.S. is using multiple approaches to try to contain China.

[Clip of Hong Kong police and protesters.]

[Photo: citizens protesting the shooting of Xu Chunhe (徐纯合) in Heilongjiang in May 2015]

[Photo: Lawyer Wang Yu in court defending Falun Gong practitioners in April, 2015.]

[Photo: Lawyer Wang Quanzhang’s wife Li Wenzu outside a courthouse in Tianjin.]

[Clip: Hong Kong protest scene]

[Photo: citizens protesting in Weifang, Shandong, during Xu Yonghe trial in June 2015.]  

Joshua Wong, Secretary General of Demosisto in Hong Kong, “Now I’m asking all of you to come with us and we are going to charge into the Civic Square.”  

 

anti-us-video-3

A screenshot of the video.

Are these real expression of the people, or the instigation of foreign forces? The facts and the truth are alarming!

[CCTV announcer:]  Tianjin Municipal Second People’s Intermediary Court held a trial of Zhou Shifeng for “subverting state power.” Zhou Shifeng was convicted of the crime of subverting state power, and sentenced to seven years in prison and deprivation of political rights for five years.

August, 2016. Zhou Shifeng, director of Beijing Fengrui Law Firm: “[I] plead guilty. I repent. I accept punishment, and will never appeal.”

[CCTV host]  Strengthening the so-called labor movement and publicizing sensitive cases are the hallmarks of the “topple the wall movement” that Zhou Shifeng and Hu Shigen have been implementing.

 

Hype up mass incidents and use social conflicts as breakthroughs, as the fuse for launching a “color revolution.”

Zhai Yanmin, trouble-making organizer of “petitioners”:  “None of the sensitive cases I participated in publicizing has anything to do with me. It’s publicity for the sake of publicity.”

Criminal suspect Gou Hongguo: “Wherever there was a high profile incident, they’d certainly organize people to protest on site.”

 

Utilize foreign NGOs to train “proxies” to lay the social foundation for a “color revolution”

Illegal religious activist Hu Shigen: “[They recruit young people with potential in the mainland, and train them to be future leaders.”

Fengrui Law Firm’s Wang Yu resolutely refused the first “International Human Rights Award” by the U.S.

[Wang Yu’s voice:]  The content of their training includes smears against the Chinese government. My attitude toward this award is to not acknowledge it, not recognize it, and not accept it. To me, this award is their attempt to use me to attack the Chinese government. I’m a Chinese, and I only accept the leadership of the Chinese government.”

 

Embassies in China are frontline directors that integrate forces to implement “street politics.”

In 2011, U.S. ambassador to China Jon Huntsman “accidentally showed up at the Jasmine Revolution gathering site

Netizen: This is the U.S. ambassador.

Netizen: Do you know that these people are here for the Jasmine Revolution?

Netizen: You are pretending you don’t know, aren’t you?

In February 2016, foreign diplomats again appeared outside Tianjin Municipal Second People’s Intermediary Court.

And Director of Feirui Law Firm Zhou Shifeng has been “good friends” with them.

[Photo: Zhou Shifeng with Swedish ambassador Lars Fredén.]

[Photo: Zhou Shifeng with a member of the Geneva Bar Association*]

[Photo: Zhou Shifeng with an Associated Press journalist.]

 

Utilizing Internet and other media to negate Chinese history and culture and lay the ideological foundation for a “color revolution”

Comprehensively slandering Chinese history [screenshot of a Taiwanese website questioning the existence of the Yuan Dynasty]

Destroying role models [photo of article questioning the truth of communist martyr Lei Feng]

Defiling the image of leaders [photo of the Causeway Bay bookstore]

Questioning the trustworthiness of the government [screenshot of a 2013 article pointing out failures of the government housing information database]

Doomsaying China [screenshot of BBC article about likelihood of a Chinese economic crisis]  

 

Using Hong Kong as a base for a “color revolution”

In 2011, Jimmy Lai was exposed to be the biggest donor to the opposition. The Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption launched an investigation into $40 million in dark political money.

[Voice of Alex Tsui,** former deputy director of operations of ICAC] “It’s obvious that Jimmy Lai plays a very important role in the ‘black money whirlpool.’

[Voice of Benny Tai] “Occupy Central now begins”

It turns out that Occupy Central did not start from the “Trio” and the students, but from Jimmy Lai who, as early as 2012, already secretly sought advice from Shih Ming-teh [Taiwan early opposition leader].

[Recording, voice of Jimmy Lai] “As long as we are willing to go to jail.”

[Voice of Shih Ming-teh] “Right, you will succeed the moment you are jailed.”

[Voice of Jimmy Lai] “Together we go to prison.”

[Voice of Shih] “This flower, when it blossoms, will be Hong Kong’s flower of freedom, and it could very well also be China’s flower of freedom.”

Jimmy Lai’s “friendship circle” was exposed by the media, and the behind-the-scenes black hand is the U.S.

His “assistant” Mark Simon is the chairman of the Hong Kong branch of the Republican Party. He used to be an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy, and his father was a senior agent in the CIA.

[Photo of Raymond Burghardt, Chairman of American Institute in Taiwan, at the Occupy Central site]

[Multiple photos Paul Wolfowitz, former deputy Secretary of Defense]

Towards the end of Occupy Central, the localists gained support, and once peaceful Hong Kong is no more.

Man wearing a black T-shirt with text on his back: “Hong Kong has always been a base for subversion.”

[Clips of Hong Konger clashing with police] “I’m a Hong Konger!” “I’m not a Chinese!”

[Voice of Hong Kong resident Mr. Lee:] “We want to live in peace. We want to have peaceful and happy life. When you don’t have food and have no job, you’ll know, because we have experienced that.”

 

We once experienced the chaos of war and the torment of poverty

The happiness of today is due to the ceaseless efforts and sacrifices of generations

A stable society with good public safety

A sense of security is like water and the air — we’ve long been accustomed to it

Indeed, happiness is not inevitable, because the shadow of war has never been far away

Social progress is never a smooth road

Peace and stability are the most important guarantees to fulfilling our dream of revitalization

Thoroughly expelling from China all “color revolutions” will be a long and arduous battle

It requires the vigilance and resistance of every one of us

Don’t believe lies. Don’t be gullible. Understand history, be resolute in your belief.

The new Great Wall will be forged through the thoughts and actions of all of us

‘If there’s a war, the veterans will answer the call and re-enlist’ is not merely the promise of every veteran soldier

It is the pledge made to the fatherland by every Chinese person

If there’s a war, the veterans will answer the call and re-enlist

In resisting “color revolutions,” everyone must do their part

 

*A delegation of Geneva Bar Association visits Beijing Bar Association in November, 2014. It’s striking how such a photo can be used against a Chinese lawyer.

**Alex Tsui was sacked in 1994 for questionable associations with a man under ICAC investigation.

 


Related:

After Four Detainees of the ‘709 Incident’ Are Indicted, Chinese State Media Name Foreign News Organizations, a US Congressman, & Three Embassies in Beijing as ‘Foreign Anti-China Forces’, China Change, July 15, 2016.

To American Bar Association With Regard to ABA Human Rights Award to Wang Yu, August 2016

The Vilification of Lawyer Wang Yu and Violence By Other Means, July 2015

 

 

China’s Most ‘Radical’ Political Prisoner Dies in Jail

China Change, November 30, 2016

 

image2-2Peng Ming (彭明), one of a handful of Chinese political prisoners serving a life sentence, died in Xianning prison, Hubei Province, on November 29, according to his relatives in China. The head of the prison told Peng’s brother in Wuhan, the provincial capital, that Peng Ming suddenly fell down while watching TV, and died in hospital after being rushed in for emergency treatment. No autopsy or forensic report has yet been performed.

But China Change learned today from a close family friend that Peng Ming’s sister believes he was murdered; a public statement from the family is forthcoming.  

To many who have been tracking human rights in China over the years, the name of the 62-year-old political prisoner may not be a familiar, or have become obscure with the passage of time. But the news of his death is reverberating in the dissident community inside and outside China. Indeed, many expressed doubt over the official version of events, particularly given the fact that Peng’s older brother visited him as recently as November 24, Thanksgiving Day, and reported that he appeared to be in good health. Peng had also recently written encouraging letters to his children in the United States; his daughter Lisa Peng (彭佳音) is a junior at Harvard University majoring in political science.

The brother, according to friends, has since been placed under house arrest to prevent him from speaking about Peng’s death.   

Unlike most dissidents, Peng Ming first enjoyed a successful career until his run-in with the authorities. His achievements, impressive for his age, were mostly forged in the 1990s, a time of opportunity and imagination in China. He was editor-in-chief of “Friends of Entrepreneurs” magazine, CEO of a company under the Ministry of Aerospace Industry known as the Aerospace General Electric Group (航太航空通用电气集团), chairman of Beijing Urban Construction Group (北京城建集团), and director of China Institute for Development and Economic Strategy (中国发展经济战略研究所). The series of appointments represents the paragon of a successful businessman plugged directly into the official system.

pengming_%e7%ac%ac%e5%9b%9b%e5%ba%a7%e8%b1%90%e7%a2%91

“The Fourth Landmark,” still available online. 

Peng was also the author “The Fourth Landmark” (《第四座丰碑》), sponsored by the Ford Foundation and published in Taiwan in 1999. It argues that, succeeding Sun Yat-sen’s “Three People’s Principles” revolution, Mao Zedong’s communist revolution, and Deng Xiaoping’s reform and open-up, China needs a fourth revolution for the 21st century.

In June, 1998, Peng Ming founded “China Development Union” (中国发展联合会) with Chinese dissidents to promote a path to development through environmentalism and constitutionalism. The organization boasted over 10,000 members and made a splash at the time. According to a TED talk by Lisa Peng in 2014, it was “a think-tank established to address the censored topics of human rights, free speech and democracy.” Merely a few months later, in October 1998, the Chinese government declared the organization illegal and sentenced Peng Ming to 18 months in a labor camp.

Upon his release, Peng was surveilled and threatened with more jail time. The family decided to flee China by escaping to Vietnam, then Thailand. They eventually arrived in the United States in August 2001 as UN refugees.

Based in the Bay Area in California, Peng Ming continued his activism. In early 2003, he established the “China Federal Interim Committee” (中国联邦临时委员会) and an “interim government.” Its mission was to unite anti-communist forces overseas, end one-party rule in China in three to five years using any means, and then establish a Chinese federation. This is what he called “The Democracy Project”(民主工程).

According to Peng Ming’s own defense, he entered Myanmar from Thailand on May 22, 2004, with a travel document issued by the U.S. government to asylees. Once there he was kidnapped by Chinese agents and soldiers of the Burmese communist People’s Army. On May 28, he was taken back to China and on July 23 formally arrested under orders of the Wuhan People’s Procuratorate. On February 23, 2005, he was indicted.

pengming_lisa-peng-on-capitol-hill

Lisa Peng during a Congressional hearing in 2013.

It was widely believed that Peng Ming’s plan was to establish an armed resistance base in the border area of Myanmar and China.

On October 12, 2005, the Wuhan Second Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Peng to life imprisonment, and a lifetime deprivation of political rights, for “the crime of organizing and leading a terrorist organization.” The indictment states that beginning in 2001 Peng published articles online, as well as wrote the book “The Democracy Project,” which called for the violent overthrow of the Chinese regime. The court also declared that Peng was guilty of kidnapping and the possession of counterfeit currency (the evidence on which these charges are based is unclear).

Peng Ming’s story is redolent of that of another overseas Chinese dissident, Wang Bingzhang (王炳章), who was kidnapped from Vietnam in 2002 and is currently serving a life sentence in Shaoguan Prison, Guangdong. Years of campaigning by relatives and human rights organizations have failed to secure his release.

 

Sources:

http://www.rfa.org/cantonese/news/china_dissident-20051014.html
http://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/pengmin-20051018.html
http://www.rfa.org/cantonese/news/china_dissident-20051014.html
http://www.rfa.org/cantonese/news/138898-20040618.html

 

pengming_%e6%b0%91%e4%b8%bb%e5%b7%a5%e7%a8%8b1China Change offers below a translation of the table of contents of Peng’s book “The Democracy Project” (《民主工程》) in order to provide readers with a deeper understanding of the man and his uncanny insights, which ring even truer today than when they were written 15 years ago. The book is meant to be a practical handbook, providing specific advice for the set of institutions that would replace the Chinese Communist Party, as well as the means of a prospective opposition movement to do so. Readers are advised that the presentation of Peng’s ideas does not represent an endorsement of them by China Change. — The Editors

The Democracy Project

By Peng Ming

One of the Greatest Global Projects of Social Change in the Early Years of the 21st Century

Establishing a Provisional Federal Government

Replacing the Chinese Communist Dictatorship

Publisher: China Federal Government Development Committee Publishing House

Table of Contents

 Chapter One: The Chinese Communist Dictatorship Must be Ended as Soon as Possible

Part One: The need to improve human rights in China

  1. The CCP will continue depriving citizens of political rights, crush to the greatest extent possible the space for activism, and eliminate dissident forces in their nascent stages
  2. Ethnic minority protests in Tibet, Xinjiang, and Inner Mongolia will be pitilessly and comprehensively crushed
  3. The broad population of middle- and low-income earners will have their basic livelihoods increasingly threatened

Part Two: The need to prevent a large-scale economic and social crisis

  1. China’s economic bloat
  2. A bloated economy is beneficial to the consolidation of regime power
  3. China’s economic maladies
  4. An economic crisis is unavoidable
  5. The international impact of an economic crisis

Part Three: The need to avoid the outbreak of war across the Taiwan Strait

  1. The flames of nationalistic sentiment fanned by the Communist Party among the public, intellectual elite, and military will force the CCP into military confrontation with Taiwan
  2. Provoking a war to divert attention from domestic crises
  3. Jiang Zemin, whether for self-aggrandizement, a show of achievement, or to extend his power, may set off a war with Taiwan
  4. Taiwan’s own conflicted attitudes and behavior may lead to the CCP using military force
  5. The ambiguity of U.S. policy may lead the CCP to take desperate risks

Part Four: The need for long-term security and stability in the Asia-Pacific

  1. A conflict in the South China Sea is unavoidable
  2. Provocations in the Senkaku Islands have already begun
  3. Territorial disputes with India will arise once again
  4. The CCP will proliferate nuclear weapon and guided missile technology to Pakistan, weakening India’s military position and imperiling security in South Asia
  5. The CCP will secretly hinder the unification of North and South Korea, and encourage the North to be militaristic and belligerent

Chapter Two: The Failure of ‘Peaceful Evolution’ and the Uncertainty Ahead

Part One: The West’s strategy of peaceful evolution worked in the Soviet bloc of Eastern Europe, but has failed in China

  1. Differences in people
  2. Differences in culture
  3. Differences in national character
  4. Differences in level of development
  5. Differences in how much effort the West has put into peaceful evolution
  6. Differences in counter-measures

Part Two: The failure of U.S. administrations to change China’s regime through engagement

  1. The result of implementing a policy of regime change through engagement
  2. Why regime change through engagement failed
  3. The consequences of continuing the policy
  4. The choice for America’s China policy in the future: “a high-pressure push for change”

Part Three: A repeat of Taiwan’s peaceful transition can’t take place in China

  1. Differences in basic ideology
  2. Differences in international circumstances
  3. Differences in internal repression
  4. Differences in historical baggage
  5. Differences in levels of development
  6. Differences in blood debts against the people
  7. Differences in vested interest groups

Part Four: Without external pressure, the process of CCP self-reform will be an extremely drawn-out process

  1. Under certain conditions, dictatorships can survive long term
  2. Regimes without popular support can also survive long term
  3. The CCP is an organism with the ability to learn, adapt, self-correct, and extricate itself from crises
  4. The Party has a strict set of regressive mechanisms that weed out high-capability individuals and great leaders from gaining entry to elite politics

Chapter Three: The ‘Gray Path’ to Realizing Democracy in China

Part One: The first path: red

  1. The basic ideology: ‘red’ [revolutionary] culture
  2. Political appeals
  3. The means of operation
  4. Leader type
  5. Those relied upon
  6. International support
  7. Analyzing the evidence
  8. Basic judgments

Part Two: The second path: blue

  1. The basic ideology: blue [democratic] culture
  2. Political appeals
  3. The means of operation
  4. Leader type
  5. Those relied upon
  6. International support
  7. Analyzing the evidence
  8. Basic judgments

Part Three: The third path: green

  1. The basic ideology: green [ecological] culture
  2. Political appeals
  3. The means of operation
  4. Leader type
  5. Those relied upon
  6. International support
  7. Analyzing the evidence
  8. Basic judgements

Part Four: The gray path and the way out

  1. The gray path = red methods + a blue leader + green ideology

Chapter Four: The Design of the Democratic Project and the Establishment of a Provisional Government

Part One: Establishing a provisional government is a precondition and guarantee for realization of the democratic project

  1. Establishing a provisional government is necessary for mobilizing the public
    1. If you want the public involved, they must first recognize and believe in you
    2. If you want the public involved, it needs to benefit them in some way
    3. If you want the public involved, you’ve got to give them a deep and unshakeable hope for the future
    4. If you want the public involved, their risks need to be lowered to the minimum
  2. Establishing a provisional government is essential for integrating all the anti-CCP forces
  3. Establishing a provisional government is necessary for securing international support
  4. Establishing a provisional government is needed to give the CCP a shock
  5. Establishing a provisional government is needed to invigorate the overseas democracy movement.

Part Two: The structure of the provisional government

  1. A Chinese Federation
  2. The Federation of China
    1. Composition and distinctions
    2. Jurisdiction and relationships
  3. The federal government
    1. The presidency
    2. The Cabinet
    3. The legislature
    4. The courts
    5. The military
  4. The federal Cabinet
    1. Operational norms
    2. Permanent structures and functions

Part Three: Getting the democracy project started

  1. Preparing to establish the provisional government
  2. Starting operations: Grasp the central theme, lay a sound foundation, prepare for a comprehensive campaign
    1. Raise a war chest
    2. Set up a headquarters and regional bases
    3. Recruit and train personnel
    4. Set up lines of communication and an intelligence network
    5. Establish an underground governing network
    6. Prepare the ability to strike
  3. Map out the plan for a general offensive
    1. Find and take aim at targets
    2. Designate four primary battle tactics
    3. Deploy measures for toppling the system

Chapter Five: Roll Out the Democracy Project, Gain Power in Three Years

Part One: Launch a surprise attack, shaking the foundations of CCP rule

  1. Use all four battle tactics — publish Nos. 1-4 of the “Announcement to All Chinese People”
  2. Use the momentum to retake the country, comprehensively wresting power by the CCP
    1. Publish “Announcement to All Chinese People” No. 5
    2. The CCP’s collapse
    3. A round-table conference and the unification of the interim government
  3. Restore order and prepare for political reform

Part Two: Carry out the plan for political reform

  1. Promulgate the Constitution, formally establishing the federation
  2. Establish the legislature and hold a legislative election
  3. Directly-elect the president and form a Cabinet
  4. Select members for the Supreme Court
  5. Establish governments in every province
  6. The new Cabinet puts forward the “project to revitalize the federation,” at which point the democracy project is basically complete, and the project for rebuilding the country has begun

Part Three: Implement the project to revitalize the federation — four major programs

  1. Adjust security and defense needs
  2. Establish a comprehensive social security system and plan for regulating the population
    1. Three basic subsistence guarantees for unemployment, retirement, and healthcare
    2. Nine years of free elementary education
    3. Population regulations: control the quantity, optimize the quality
  3. A plan to invigorate the economy and regain territorial integrity
    1. Emergency reform measures: currency, finance and taxation, foreign trade, and state-owned enterprises
    2. Medium to long-range plans: One measure, two projects, three main goals
  4. A plan to re-establish faith and virtue
    1. Restore [freedom of] belief
    2. Awaken the conscience of the people
    3. Rebuild morality — draw up a “China’s Classics of Virtue”
    4. Strengthen the role of grassroots autonomy and family and clan ties

 

(For photos of the Table of Content in original Chinese, check out here.)  

 

 

 

 

The World According to a CCTV Journalist Based in London

Yaxue Cao, November 27, 2016

 

liu-huizhen

 

Ms. Liu Huizhen (刘惠珍) is a villager in the District of Fangshan (房山区), on the southwestern outskirts of Beijing. She’s a victim of forced demolition who fought hard to preserve her property but lost it anyway. This year, she is one of the 70 or so Beijing residents who organized to compete for seats as district People’s Representatives. China held its once-every-five-year grassroots elections for county-district level People’s Representatives on November 15. In a joint statement, Ms. Liu and other independent candidates promised that “they will make sure every voter knows who they are and how to reach them with their problems, and as their representatives, will monitor the government and its functions.”

Financial Times, Washington Post, and other media outlets reported Ms. Liu’s candidacy. On November 17, BBC posted a striking 5-minute video of its Beijing correspondent John Sudworth visiting Ms. Liu, showing him blocked and manhandled by a throng of plainclothes cops, or government-hired thugs. The video went viral on WeChat, and got a lot of play on Twitter too.

On November 19, a CCTV journalist based in London — according to her Twitter bio in any case — with the handle @KongLinlin, accused John Sudworth of making “fake” news. She has since been identified as Kong Linlin (孔琳琳).

Several Twitter users, including BBC’s Stephen McDonell, asked her to point out which part of John Sudworth’s reporting was fake. She replied in Chinese:

“Liu Huizhen has been party to a lawsuit because of a housing demolition, and a BBC journalist in China got himself involved in the Chinese judiciary, trying to artificially lump together Chinese grassroots elections with a demolition suit. When he reported for Western audiences, he made no mention of the woman’s background, misleading people exactly the way he reported the Obama Red Carpet Gate.”

Ms. Kong is referring to the fact that Liu sued Fangshan District Housing and Urban-Rural Construction Committee for unlawful demolition and lost in the first instance and then, in 2015, the appeal.

In his reporting, Sudworth made no mention of the demolition suit, as it’s irrelevant to the elections. So how did Sudworth “artificially lump together Chinese grassroots elections with a demolition suit”?

Does Liu’s “background” matter in the elections, and in her role as an independent candidate? It appears to me that it’s the CCTV reporter who’s lumping together Liu Huizhen’s lawsuit with her participation in the elections.

Ms. Kong went on to explain why the story is supposedly fake:

“Isn’t he deliberately blurring this woman’s lawsuit and using Western political concepts to get involved in China’s rural economic disputes? Hasn’t he been making hate propaganda for BBC?” (Emphasis in original.)

Continuing to explain the alleged falsity of Sudworth’s reporting, she tweeted (English her own): “Deliberately reporting on unclear fact , depend on single resource ,misleading the audience .That is also a fake news.” (A Twitter user commented: “this is not how you type punctuation.”)

She picked it up some two hours later on November 20:

“A Chinese person who doesn’t abide by Chinese election laws but fantasizes that she can ‘participate’ in elections in the American way. It’s inevitable that she’d be ‘locked up’. Ms. Liu also supported Hong Kong independence — how could she have the right to be elected?”

According to Article 3 of China’s Electoral Law, “All citizens of the People’s Republic of China who have reached the age of 18 shall have the right to vote and stand for election, regardless of ethnic status, race, sex, occupation, family background, religious belief, education, property status or length of residence. Persons who have been deprived of political rights according to the law shall not have the right to vote and stand for election.”

Ms. Liu may have lost a civil lawsuit against her local government, but she’s not a criminal and has not been deprived of political rights. In November 2014, Liu and nine others in Beijing were detained for holding signs to support the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong, and she was released after seven months in detention.

By now, many Chinese Twitter users were arguing with and ridiculing Kong Linlin.

A few hours later, Ms. Liu Huizhen, who recently joined Twitter, became aware of the unfolding argument and tweeted: “You are a Chinese journalist, and you have no regard for fact. All you do is sing the praise [of the Party]. Have you eaten up your own conscience?”

“I’m Liu Huizhen,” she continued, “they blocked me from leaving my home because I declared that I would take part in the elections as a candidate. The world wouldn’t know such ugliness if the BBC didn’t happen to capture the truth. Ms. Kong Linlin, you may eat you dog food with your conscience unperturbed, but you’ve got no right to insult me!”

“I’ve decided to tweet more details of my candidacy. @KongLinlin, open up your titanium dog eyes to see who’s violating the law,” Liu went on.

I submitted my name [to the district’s electoral committee] in mid-October, 2016 to stand for election. Around 10 am on October 30, I picked up the voter recommendation form and candidate CV form. Around noon on the same day, I began to seek support in the No. 50 electoral zone. By the next day, 24 voters in my zone had signed on to recommend me as a candidate for office of People’s Representative.”

According to Article 29 of China’s Electoral Law, any citizen with the recommendation of 10 or more voters can enter the primary selection.

 

Liu continued, “What the BBC video revealed was only a tiny fraction of my far more complicated experience. The repressive agents were so blatant that not even policemen dared intervene. So you tell me: who is backing them? I can’t imagine there are journalists like Kong Linlin who would defend them! I ask the whole world to judge this. Thank you everyone!”

She attached photographs of the neighborhood posting of five candidates for the No. 50 electoral zone, and her ballot, where she wrote in herself and another candidate.

 

An hour later, the CCTV journalist resumed her attack:

“You should also disclose how you received guidance, and how much funding you received, from overseas anti-China hostile forces.”

How did BBC accidentally videotape you? How did you accidentally have photos as proof when you supported Hong Kong independence? You’ve actively taken part in anti-China political activities. Stop pretending you’re an innocent village woman.”

Ms. Kong provided no evidence for these accusations. To a Twitter user who pointed out her distorted logic, she replied: “I also support legitimate candidates who use the ballot to gain rights, but those who are funded by foreign political forces will have no lawful right to stand for elections in China.”

To a Twitter user who criticized the Chinese government’s use of thuggery to stop independent candidates, Ms. Kong has this to say: “China prohibits the use of illegal assembly to participate in People’s Representative elections. If [she] wants to be elected as a representative the American way, [she] should go to the United States.”

liuhuizhen

On November 3, 50 or so supporters came to Changyang Township to campaign for Liu. I suppose this is the “illegal assembly” Ms. Kong was referring to. 

 

One comment asked Ms. Kong: “How many people together constitute ‘illegal assembly’?” while another comment pointed out: “So far, Ms. Liu’s ‘violation’ of the law only existed in your mouth, but I saw with my own eyes the violation of law by the thugs, I also see that you are defending such violations of the law. …By defending such violations of the law, you don’t show your high ground in rule-of-law thinking, but the lowness of your moral standard.”

To a Twitter user who asked Ms. Kong to explain what a “legitimate” candidate is, she replied:

“First of all, [a candidate] cannot be manipulated by foreign forces. This is a basic requirement for candidates in any country.” She didn’t reply when the same Twitter user asked her: “Which law defines whether or not a candidate is ‘manipulated by foreign forces’? Who has the right to define it? Through what procedures is it defined? Or is it just an arbitrary decision from the lips of the relevant organ?” (i.e. official government body.)

Finally, CCTV’s Kong Linlin had this to say to Ms. Liu Huizhen:

“Ms. Liu, to petition your case, you go to the court. Nobody is blocking you from taking part in the elections, except that you have to go through appropriate procedures and abide by Chinese law. You mix your petition with illegal assembly, and in addition, you collude with foreign forces, and support Hong Kong independence. You are doing so many things, and each one of them endangers the country. Don’t be sold out by those people in the end.”

Because of this prolonged argument between Ms. Kong Linlin and Ms. Liu Huizhen and a good number of Chinese Twitter users, I scrolled down Ms. Kong’s Twitter feed and had a few more peeks into her world:

konglinlin

Ms. Kong in the Calais Jungle, a former refugee camp in France, in October.

  • On UK public opinion against the Hinkley deal: “Very close mind .” (English her own.)
  • She likes to use the word “democrazy” to answer Twitter users who express disgust with her views.
  • On the Hamilton cast reading a statement to Vice President-elect Mike Pence: “Insult your audience is not the real free speech.” (English her own.)
  • On the execution of Jia Jinglong (贾敬龙): “If the case is so easy to judge ,why we need a professional judge .” (English her own.)
  • On Syria: “…it is all because of Obama.” (English her own.)
  • On the CCP and China today: “Chinese young people have to thank that big mountain that blocks the wind for them when they wear high-end earpieces and listen to music and discuss current affairs, spared of the fate of the Iraqi, Libyan, and Syrian refugees who are displaced or die on their journey because of the harm of color revolutions.”
  • On Western media: “To understand the evil side of western media , they try to provoke and make more troubles on the rising China.” [English her own]
  • On the UK: “Hahaha, The British,’ like a lion,they like to roar,but can no longer hunt.'” (English her own.)

 

 

Yaxue Cao edits this website. Follow her on Twitter @YaxueCao

 


Compare Ms. Kong’s worldview to that articulated in these two propaganda videos released during the trials of four lawyers and activists earlier this year:

China Claims Rights Lawyers and Dissidents Are Part of Vast American Conspiracy in 4-Minute Video, August 3, 2016.

China Smears Foreign Diplomats in Another 4-Minute Video, As Trials of Rights Lawyers and Activists Continue in Tianjin, August 4, 2016

 

Related:

‘We Have a Fake Election’: China Disrupts Local Campaigns, the New York Times, Nov. 15, 2016

For Over 36 Years, Grassroots Elections in China Have Made No Progress – An Interview With Hu Ping, China Change, Nov. 1, 2016

 

 

 

 

Open Letter to the Chinese Government and the World Media About the Suppression of Wukan

Zhuang Liehong, November 23, 2016

“Wukan is a big prison now. Scores of villagers have been detained, including my father. Police patrol the streets and roads, and life is difficult.” – Wukan villager Zhuang Liehong

 

wukan-protest-zhuang-liehong

Zhang Liehong arrived early on November 23 to protest on behalf of his village. A U. S.-China trade delegation is here for talks led by Wang Yang (汪洋), who presided over the first Wukan crackdown in 2011.

 

Wukan, a fishing village in eastern Guangdong Province, occupies an area of about 5,765 acres and has a population of 13,000. Since 1993, corrupt officials have conspired with businessmen to secretly sell off the collectively-owned, arable village land, and pocket the proceeds.

This led to large-scale petitions and protests to defend villagers’ rights from 2009 to 2011. As they fought for their land and for democracy in their village, Wukan residents were faced with extreme hardship, and the local government did everything it could — including plots and conspiracies — to deny and block these demands. In 2011, the authorities launched a crackdown on the village, and a number of the key villagers involved in defending their rights, including myself, were arrested. Xue Jinbo (薛锦波) was treated particularly cruelly, and died in prison.

Under the gaze of international media, then-Party chief of Guangdong Province (and current Politburo member and vice premier), Wang Yang (汪洋), made a show of goodwill, sending Zhu Mingguo (朱明国), then-vice Party secretary of Guangdong, to the village to ease tensions, affirm that the villagers’ demands were legitimate, and promise that the demands would be met. Now, however, it appears that all this was simply the government buying time while the world was watching.

 

wukan-protest-stop-the-car

Zhang Liehong and fellow protesters stopped a vehicle of the Chinese delegation on Constitution Avenue. Chinese officials inside covered their faces with briefcases. Shamed?

 

In 2012, after Wukan formed its own democratically-elected village committee, the government used a range of methods to sow discord among villagers, erode the bonds of trust between them, lay traps for the most active village rights defense activists, and manipulate and control public opinion. Four years on, the government has put overwhelming emphasis on “stability maintenance” (meaning police and other security forces), and has not met any of the villagers’ demands for the return of the stolen land. Between 2012 and 2016, the authorities arrested one villager, (Zhang Dejia [张德家]), and sentenced three others — Hong Ruichao (洪锐潮), Yang Semao (杨色茂), and Lin Zuluan (林祖銮) — to prison.

In order to avoid the same fate, I fled to the United States on January 27, 2014, and applied for political asylum. For 85 days between June 19 and September 12, 2016, Wukan villagers organized daily protest marches through the streets, with about 4,000 participants every day.

On September 13, they were violently suppressed by thousands of riot police.

wukan-xuejinbo

Xue Jinbo (薛锦波), one of the leaders of Wukan uprising in 2011, died after two days in custody.

At about 3 a.m. on September 13, a battalion of armed police moved on the village, raiding houses and arresting 13 villagers that the government considered to be the most high-profile, including my father, Zhuang Songkun (庄松坤). Come dawn, thousands of fully-armed People’s Armed Police locked down village street intersections, dividing the crowd and then crushing the protest. They fired countless rounds of rubber bullets, and volleyed canisters of tear gas and shock grenades into the unarmed villagers. Then they began surrounding and violently beating villagers, without regard to whether they were old, women, or children. Faced with this violent, armed suppression, villagers resorted to throwing rocks and bricks. Hundreds of villagers were injured during the conflict, and reports indicate that an old woman died after being shot twice with rubber bullets. Nearly 100 villagers are believed to have been arrested.

Following the incident a large number of armed police, SWAT teams, and plainclothes officers installed themselves on practically every street corner in the village, even organizing patrols along the thoroughfares and back alleys. They severed internet access to block news about what happened from getting out, and stopped Hong Kong and international media from getting in. While all this was taking place, official media published gravely false reports about the suppression of the village. In the nearly three months since then, Wukan has become one big prison. Heavily armed riot police patrol the streets and alleys, members of the village Party committee act as spies, and the arbitrary arrest of villagers continues.

image1-4

“Wang Yang killed Xue Jinbo.”

There are multiple indications that the violent suppression of Wukan this time was carried out on the direct orders of the Guangdong provincial government. Reports say that the vice-secretary of Guangdong was commanding the suppression from the nearby city of Lufeng (陆丰市), and that the thousands of riot and SWAT police deployed had been mobilized from the Huizhou Military District (惠州军区). The only one authorized to bring this level of force to bear is the current Guangdong Party secretary, Hu Chunhua (胡春华), so I’m positive that the violent suppression of Wukan was ordered by him.

On September 19, activist Yao Cheng (姚诚), a friend, and I were on our way to the United Nations headquarters in New York City to protest, when we were accosted and harassed by over a dozen men in identical black suits and blue raincoats — apparently national security agents from Chinese premier Li Keqiang’s (李克强) security detail. After we all got into an argument, one of the men took an open letter I handed to him, addressed to the Chinese Consul General in New York. We proceeded to the designated area at the UN and held our protest as planned. The following morning, however, I was shocked to receive a telephone call from the Lufeng public security bureau, who had detained my father, and were forcing him to tell me to keep quiet. On the one hand I was so glad to be in America, yet also realized that my right to express myself freely here is still limited by the Chinese authorities, and my own personal safety is even put at risk.

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“Hold Hu Chunhua accountable.” The current Party secretary in Guangdong province, Hu presided over the brutal crackdown on Wukan in 2016.

Wukan is still fraught with tension and conflict: the villagers have had two thirds of their land stolen from them, and this already put their basic livelihood under enormous pressure. Now, the entire area has been turned into a jail. So many villagers have been badly injured and arrested, which is another severe blow. Many families don’t even have the money to pay for proper medical treatment, and now rely on relatives from nearby villages to send them rations just so they can survive.

For all these reasons, I make the following demands of the Chinese authorities:

I. Cease the suppression and detention of Wukan villagers;

II. Release Lin Zuluan, Hong Ruichao, Yang Semao, Wei Yonghan (魏永汉), Zhang Xiangkang (张向坑), Yang Jinzhen (杨锦贞), Yang Shaoji (杨少集), Liu Hanchai (刘汉钗), Hong Yongzhong (洪永忠), Zhuang Songkun, Lin Desheng (林德升) and all other Wukan villagers who sought to defend their legal rights to the village land, and release the body — or, if still alive, the person — of the 80-year-old grandmother who was shot twice at close range with rubber bullets and reportedly killed;

III. Arrange for the immediate medical care of the roughly 100 villagers who were severely injured by riot police, and who are now hiding in their homes attempting to recover;

IV. Return the stolen land to Wukan village;

V. Hold accountable the chief culprit that orchestrated the violent suppression of peaceful Wukan villagers on September 13: Guangdong Party Secretary Hu Chunhua.

Wukan villager Zhuang Liehong (庄烈宏)
Washington, D.C.
November 22, 2016


乌坎村民庄烈宏

 就乌坎镇压致汪洋和国际媒体的公开信

 

乌坎,是一个位于中国广东省东部的自然渔村,拥有土地面积约3.5万亩;人口1.3万。自1993年起,官商勾结暗中盗卖我乌坎村集体土地(耕地)资源,从而引发自2009年至2011年乌坎村集体上访和与当局政府的维权抗争。乌坎村人民在争取土地和民主途中所遇极其困难,政府以各种形式和阴谋阻止乌坎实现诉求。2011年政府对乌坎村进行镇压,包括我本人在内的几名维权首要村民被抓捕,薛锦波更在被捕后惨死狱中。在国际媒体的关注下,时任广东省委书记汪洋政府释出善意,特派时任省副书记朱明国进村平息民愤,承认乌坎村民的诉求是合法的,并承诺解决乌坎诉求。现在看来这只是政府面对国际舆论的一个暂时让步而已。

在2012年乌坎成立民选村委会后,政府利用各种手段,对牵头维权的村民布局陷阱,分化村民之间的信任关系,控制舆论自由等。4年以来当局以维稳为重,并未兑现乌坎村民的土地诉求。在2012年至2016年间,当局分别逮捕和判处一名村民(张德家)和三名维权领导人徒刑(洪锐潮、杨色茂和林祖銮)。我本人为了躲避迫害而于2014年1月27来到美国寻求政治庇护。2016年6月19日至9月12日共85天期间,村民自发每天在乌坎村道游行抗议,每天参与人数4千多人,直至9月13日乌坎村遭几千警力暴力镇压。

9月13日凌晨3点钟大批武装部队分别同时入屋抓捕13名政府认为在游行抗议中比较高调的村民,当中包括本人的父亲(庄松坤)。天亮后几千名全武装武警部队分别封锁村各个路口,并对我乌坎村人民进行切割式镇压,对村民展开无数次橡胶子弹枪射击、投放催泪弹和震撼弹,镇压中没有顾忌地对老人、村妇、孩童等实施围殴等暴力手段。面对全武装的军警镇压,手无寸铁的村民以路边砖块还击,事发中造成几百名村民身受重伤,拟似一名老太太身中两枪死亡。70多名村民在对峙中被捕。

事后,大批武警、特警和便衣警察在通往村里的每个路口、乃至村内的大街小巷布防和巡逻,同时切断网络,封锁现场消息流出,以及阻止香港和世界各地的境外记者进村采访。与此同时,国内官方媒体对乌坎镇压做了严重失实的报道。自九月以来的三个多月以来,乌坎村如同一个大监狱,村中大街小巷每天都有全副武装的武警分批巡逻,村党总支部人员充当间谍,当局对村民的任意抓捕行为仍在继续中。

各种迹象表明,此次对乌坎村的镇压是由广东省政府下令。据悉广东副省长坐镇陆丰市政府指挥,几千名镇压乌坎村的武警、特警由广东省惠州军区调遣,然而能行驶这等权利者唯有广东省现任省委书记(胡春华)。因此我肯定对此次乌坎暴力镇压是胡春华所为。

9月19日,我与姚诚先生以及一名好友前往纽约联合国总部前举标语抗议的途中,受到十几名身穿统一黑色西装和蓝色雨衣、貌似李克强跟从的国保人士的阻挠。在与他们一番争吵后,其中一人接过了我的一封《致中国驻纽约领事馆公开信》。 随后我们按计划前往纽约联合国总部前的示威区域举标语抗议。没想到第二天早上我即收到陆丰公安局人员打来电话,让在看守所中的父亲劝我封口。我庆幸自己来到了美国,然而虽然身在美国,但自由表达权利仍然受中国当局干扰,甚至感到人身安全受到威胁。

乌坎如今是一个千疮百孔的村庄。乌坎人民因无法追回近两万亩失地,本来已面临巨大的生存压力,如今更是活在一个大监狱中。许多村民受伤和被捕,导致经济严重受创,很多家庭无法给伤者提供正常治疗,甚至靠向外村亲戚借口粮维持生存。

诉求1:停止镇压、停止看守乌坎人民。

诉求2:释放林祖恋、洪锐潮、杨色茂、魏永汉、蔡加磷、张向坑、杨锦贞、杨少集、刘汉钗、洪永忠、庄松坤、林德升等所有参与土地维权的乌坎村民,归还对乌坎镇压中拟似受两枪近距离橡胶子弹射击至死的80岁老奶奶(钱秀香)的尸体,或释放其人。

诉求3:帮助治疗对乌坎镇压中100多名身受重伤的村民及其家庭度过难关。

诉求4:归还乌坎村被盗卖的土地。

诉求5:问责9月13日暴力镇压乌坎人民的刽子手——广东省委书记胡春华。

乌坎村民:庄烈宏

发于:华盛顿D.C.

2016年11月22日

Trump and Xi Jinping Haven’t Spoken, But China Outlines Expectations With Coaxing and Threats  

Yaxue Cao, November 13, 2016

 

trump-peoples-daily

People’s Daily calling for Trump’s victory 45 minutes earlier than AP and Bloomberg. The Communist Party mouthpiece seems elated. Photo via: China Digital Times

 

On November 9, around 6:30 am EST (7:30 pm in Beijing), Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported that Chinese president Xi Jinping’s had sent the U. S. president-elect Donald Trump a “congratulatory telegram.” A telegram, really? How do you send a telegram to a New York billionaire in 2016? It sounds like Mao Zedong sending a telegram to comrade Enver Hoxha in Albania in 1961.

Whether or not a telegram was sent, Mr. Trump hasn’t received it. Nor has he tried to reach out to Xi, though he spoke to nine world leaders within 24 hours of his victory, and by Friday, he has spoken with or heard from “most” leaders except for Xi.

The Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpieces, however, have lost no time to lay out their expectations of the president-elect.

China and the U.S. Must Continue to Cooperate

A couple of hours later, around 10 am EST, November 9, Xinhua published a commentary titled “Hoping for the China-U. S. Relationship to Make Bigger Advances From a New Starting Point.” When Trump takes office at the beginning of next year, it begins, it will be the 45th Anniversary of Shanghai Communique, and it will present the two countries “a big opportunity…to make a new step forward.”

Our relationship has been normalized for 40 years, the commentary goes on, and we have achieved so much in trade, dialogues, dealing with regional and global challenges, and we have been cooperating more and more deeply. “It’s a win-win for both if we cooperate, and it will hurt both if we fight.” Our common interests greatly outweigh our differences, it indicated.

The word “cooperation” appeared 10 times in this brief commentary of 1,200 characters.

It’s Just Campaign Rhetoric, Right?

Mr. Trump vowed to “put America first” and voiced objection against globalization. He promised to designate China as a “currency manipulator,” and said the U. S. would slap a 45% tariff on Chinese imports. He plans to reinforce the American military presence in Asia.

But surely, the commentary says, “campaign language is just campaign language.”

“Reasonable people have realized that, after decades of development, trade cooperation has become the brightest part of the China-U. S. relations. The two countries are seeing mutually beneficial trade relations displaying these trends: the areas of our cooperation continue to multiply, the scope of our cooperation continues to expand, and the level of our cooperation continues to elevate.  Trade and economic cooperation is the ‘ballast’ and the ‘propeller’ of the China–U. S. relationship.”

Isolationism is bad for the America — the commentary cited a researcher named Lee Branstetter and unspecified “American economists.”

Overseas Military Interventionism Is Bad for America

However, China likes Trump’s proposed reduction of overseas military involvement during the campaign.

“History has proved that the U. S. has paid heavy political and economic costs for overseas military interventionism. Instead, China and the U. S. should coordinate and cooperate on hot regional issues as well as global challenges.”

A ‘New Type Great Power Relationship’ and ‘Win-win’

In the early evening, around 6:30pm, EST, on November 9, the People’s Daily published a commentary titled “The Big Picture of the China-U. S. Relationship Won’t Change.” It opines:

“The effort to build new type great power relationship between China and the U. S. is based on the solid and tangible interests of both peoples, and promoting the healthy development of the two countries’ business and trade relationship is an important channel to realize these interests.”

It says that “it’s been proven that the two countries are mature powers capable of handling many complex and sensitive issues, cooperating bilaterally, regionally and globally, and managing their differences constructively.”

As examples of the two countries “consciously cultivating strategic mutual trust,” the piece evokes Xi Jinping and Obama’s meetings at the “Sunnylands meeting” in June 2013, their “Yingtai nightly conversations” inside the CCP headquarters of Zhongnanhai in November 2014, their “autumn chat” in the White House in September 2015, and their “stroll along the West Lake” in Hangzhou in September 2016.

obama-stroll

A stroll along the West Lake – for Xi Jinping’s show. 

Repeating pretty much what the Xinhua commentary says, sometimes verbatim, it goes on to coax the President-elect that “it is for the fundamental interest of the two peoples that China and the U. S. develop long-term healthy and stable relationship, which is also the overall expectation of the international community.”

China Will Fight Back….

On November 11, Global Times, another mouthpiece of the Communist Party, published an article recommending that China “should stand ready to fight back if Donald Trump rolls out measures against China after he is sworn in as US president.” These include “establish[ing] trade barriers for American imports,” naming Apple for example. “If Trump plans to persuade American enterprises in China to return to the U.S., which would take jobs away from China,” China should consider the 80,000 jobs its investments have created in the U. S.

(To put the matter in perspective, the number of U. S. jobs outsourced to China since 2001, according to one statistic, is 3,200,000.)

“Without a doubt, China has plenty of chips with which to bargain with the U.S. …China should also develop contingency plans to prepare for the worst, if the U.S. does provoke a trade war. In the meantime, Beijing is likely to seek dialogue with Trump to ensure a smooth transition in Sino-U.S. ties.”

‘What Concerns Us Most Is Globalization’

On November 12, Ms. Hu Shuli (胡舒立), the editor-in-chief of Caixin Media, believed to be closely tied to the Party’s disciplinary czar Wang Qishan (王岐山), opined on Caijing’s Weibo (later published in Caixin) about Trump’s win. She observes soberly that, with Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, globalization will be undergoing tumultuous changes, and “all of these are highly relevant to China.”

“To maintain stable economic development, deepen reforms and open-up, and realize the goal of a prosperous society, China needs a smooth and bright global economic environment that robustly pulls forward. From 1978 when China initiated reforms, to 1992 when China revamped reforms, to the beginning of the 21st century when China accelerated opening up, China has been enjoying just such an international environment. It’s true that the Chinese economy is not as open as the American economy. Right now China is planning to continue to open up, but the U.S. is signaling a closure. What is China going to do?”

She prescribed continuous globalization and domestic reforms that will benefit more of the people, but China watchers are anything but sanguine about the changes Xi Jinping has been implementing since taking power.

Climate Change

On the eve of the U.S. election, China’s Climate Minister Xie Zhenhua (解振华) and one of his top negotiators Zou Ji (邹骥), warned that Trump should not pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement as he said he would during the campaign.

“If Trump were to insist on doing things his own way, then he would pay a heavy price both politically and diplomatically,” said Zou Ji, deputy director of the National Center for Climate Change Strategy, part of China’s state planning apparatus.

“The U.S. would suffer the greatest harm and of course, the rest of the world would also be implicated,” he told reporters on Nov. 4.

Zou’s comments marked the second occurrence in a week of a Chinese official commenting on a foreign election, both of whom condemned Trump’s threat to spurn the Paris Agreement, made by nearly 200 governments, which takes effect on Nov. 11.

On Nov. 1, China’s top climate change negotiator rejected Trump’s plan to back out, saying a wise political leader should make policy in line with global trends.

While it’s amusing to see China touting itself as “a responsible country,” China’s worries about the U.S. withdrawing from the climate change pact may have more to do with just climate change.

In an essay in 2014, political scientist Wu Qiang (吴强) pointed out that Obama’s deal with Xi Jinping on reducing China’s carbon emission was “almost the sole instance of progress the Obama administration has made in U.S.-China relations at a time when the relationship is becoming more difficult.” He argued that climate change was the bond that would be the engine driving the relationship.

“During the Clinton administration, Most Favored Nation Trade Status was the issue that bound the relationship. During the Bush administration, the bond was the war on terrorism. Now that these bonds are gone, emissions promises are becoming the new bond that keeps the two countries in a cooperative relationship in which they clash often but not break up.”

What Will Trump’s China Policy Look Like?

I will not guess, but this piece of colorful advice from a Trump advisor caught my eyes the other day:

To deal with China, he says, the United States should act like an aggressive patient at a dentist’s office: “Here’s how the patient deals with the dentist: sits down in the chair, grabs the dentist by the nuts, and says, ‘You don’t hurt me, I won’t hurt you.’”

I’m all for grabbing Xi Jinping by the balls, just not lying on a dentist chair.

Trump’s Brief Encounter With the Chinese Judiciary  

On May 18, 2015, the Beijing Superior People’s Court upheld a lower court ruling that denied the registration of Trump as a trademark in China.

 

Yaxue Cao edits this website. Follow her on Twitter @YaxueCao.

 


Related:

Donald Trump’s Peace Through Strength Vision for the Asia-Pacific, Alexander Gray and Peter Navarro, Foreign Policy, November 7, 2016.

A Trump-China Reading List, Graham Webster, November 9, 2016.

China Claims Rights Lawyers and Dissidents Are Part of Vast American Conspiracy in 4-Minute Video, August 3, 2016.

 

 

 

For Over 36 Years, Grassroots Elections in China Have Made No Progress – An Interview With Hu Ping

November 1, 2016

Updated on November 17: 5-minute BBC video tells everything you need to know about Chinese elections.

 

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Election debate at Peking University in 1980.

 

Yaxue Cao: This year is also an election year in China, with county- and district-level elections of People’s Representatives on November 15. Independent candidates have sprung up everywhere, and China Change recently ran an article about the independent candidates from Beijing, including the group of 18 organized by Beijing resident Ye Jinghuan (野靖环). Over the months leading up to the vote, they’ve held training sessions on election law and the electoral process — some of which was presented by lawyers. But since their announcement of candidacy, they’ve been harassed by police. On the first day (October 24) of their neighborhood campaign, police came and stopped some of them from leaving home, and blocked interviews with foreign media. Some candidates elsewhere in China have been subject to criminal or administrative detention.

Hu Ping: Right, that’s what happened. I’ve also been following this news.

Yaxue Cao: This is unbelievable given that we both experienced the Haidian District People’s Representatives elections at Peking University in the fall of 1980. You were a graduate student in philosophy at the time, one of candidates who got elected. Now, 36 years later, China has changed in almost every way — yet in all these 36 years, no progress has been made to expand elections. Not only has it not changed, in fact it’s worse than it was 36 years ago. This is why I wanted to speak with you about elections in China today: the fact that there has been zero change on this, over more than three decades, is an important lens through which to evaluate China politically.

So first, please explain to us: what are “grassroots elections”?

Hu Ping: There are two kinds of grassroots elections in China: those at the county and district level for electing the deputies to the People’s Congress, and those for electing the head of a village. Both are direct elections. Before the Cultural Revolution there were similar elections that I participated in once when I was in senior high school — it was a single-candidate election (等额选举). This means that when you wanted to elect a representative, there was only one candidate. And that candidate had been selected in advance by the higher-ups — there was no competitive process, and the whole thing was just a formality. It was a joke.

After the Cultural Revolution, Chinese society had been ravaged, and there was a sense that China needed democracy. Even the Party conservatives thought that these were just grassroots elections, and allowing the people to vote in a few petty bureaucrats wouldn’t impact anything. In 1980, the Party center promulgated a new election law, which said that apart from the regular channels of nominating candidates—social organizations [affiliated with the Party], Party organizations, and unions [controlled by the Party]—individual citizens can also nominate themselves to be candidates, as long as they have three people to second their nomination. The updated rules also stated that candidates could engage in publicity. This was an opening for electioneering in China.

Back then, the elections weren’t held at the same time across the country. For instance, Shanghai’s and Sichuan’s were a bit earlier in the year, and Beijing’s was held last. This was probably because Beijing is the political capital, and political passions there run hotter than elsewhere. Stacking Beijing last was about limiting the influence of the elections.

As elections were held around China, university campuses became very active. At Fudan University in Shanghai, undergraduates in the Chinese language department, philosophy department, and also graduate students, became candidates. This was reported in “China Youth Daily.” The elections in Beijing were held in November, and Haidian District, which has a concentration of universities, came last. Back then Li Shengping (李胜平), who was studying in Xicheng District at one of Peking University’s branch campuses, stood for election and won. He was one of the activists involved in the Democracy Wall (民主墙) and an editor of the “Beijing Spring” (北京之春) magazine. He was also involved in the April 5th incident, 1976.

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Candidate Yang Lichuan (杨利川) giving a speech at the Triangle at Peking University.

Because Haidian District had so many universities, the election activities there were especially active. Peking University was divided into two electoral constituencies: one for faculty, workers, and their families, and another for students and graduate students. The constituency for undergrads and graduate students elected two representatives, and 20-30 people ran as candidates. A range of activities were held to attract votes, including public debates, question-and-answer sessions, and so on. For about a month or more Peking University was soaked in the atmosphere of the election.

An important feature of the Peking University elections is that even though the post was for a largely irrelevant district representative, the political ideas proposed were of national significance: namely, how to foster the democratization of China. Actually, everyone was clear on what was really going on, which is that we were simply using the platform of an election to express our views to the government. I suspect that this is something the authorities didn’t anticipate. They thought that because the issues county- and district-level deputies can get involved in are so minor, there’s no political significance to the process at all.

Yaxue Cao: At that time I was a freshman still finding my ways on campus, and I remember during the elections there were people crowded near the The Triangle (三角地) every day, looking at the election-related big and small character posters. Even though I didn’t quite understand what was going on, I browsed some of them. I remember the back walls of the glass display board at The Triangle were covered too, and I remember reading an A4-sized poster titled “John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty.”

Hu Ping: Also, during the elections students organized their own media, reporting on all the electoral developments. Some candidates also organized their own election teams. Back then the president of Peking University was very open-minded about it and provided the school auditorium for the debates. I myself held two debates at that auditorium.

Li Shengping’s triumph in the Xicheng District election put some of the old conservatives in Beijing on guard. The municipal government dispatched an internal notice demanding that party members not get involved in elections. This shows that the conservatives at the time were terrified of the idea of even a grassroots vote. But the entire social atmosphere was pursuing change, student passions were high, and most of the campus leaders and administrators were fairly open-minded and liberal — because so many people had experienced horrifying political persecution in the past.

At the end of 1980 the Solidarity Movement in Poland was formed. The conservative Hu Qiaomu (胡乔木) wrote an internal letter saying that the same sort of thing might transpire in China, and the Party elite started to get very nervous. The whole political atmosphere quickly became much more stern. After the election there was a rumor saying that the top Party leadership were very unhappy with the elections and wanted to crack down — they only reason they didn’t was because of internal disagreement.

Later they revised the election law and limited a number of election activities. At the next election in 1983 (they were held every three years), the Communist Party was running the so-called “anti-spiritual pollution” political campaign (反精神污染运动), and the political atmosphere was heavy, so there weren’t very many election activities held then.

Yaxue Cao: I was still on campus in 1983, but I don’t have any memory of the elections that year — so it mustn’t have been anything like 1980. In 1980, Chen Ziming (陈子明) was elected as a representative for the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. You wrote in an essay that he was the convenor of the group of representatives drawn from universities in Haidian District. What did all you do as representatives?

Hu Ping: We proposed some draft resolutions, voted against or abstained from voting on some government work reports, and so on. It was all trivial stuff. Nothing we did had any impact on the big picture.

By the time 1986 came around, the atmosphere had loosened up again, and election activities started up once more. For instance, at Peking University Li Xianbin (李淑贤), a lecturer in the physics department, was elected as a representative, and she was of course the wife of Fang Lizhi (方励之). Professor Fang had already gained national prominence and influence at universities around China for his involvement in pro-liberalization and democratization activities, and the Communist Party saw him as an enormous headache. Fang was engaged in his own enthusiastic electioneering at the China University of Science and Technology in Hefei, Anhui. Then the 1986 student movement started, beginning at CUST and then spreading to Shanghai and Beijing, with students taking to the streets. The police made some arrests, but when this stirred up even more students to go to Tiananmen Square to protest, they quickly let them go.

The lively political atmosphere throughout 1986 struck dread into the Communist Party leadership, and they made a major decision: they expelled Fang Lizhi, Liu Binyan (刘宾雁), and Wang Ruowang (王若望), and others, from the Party — and the reform-minded Party Secretary Hu Yaobang (胡耀邦) was also forced out. The political atmosphere once again became severe.

What all this means is that before the 1989 movement, the hardliners at the top of the Communist Party had already lashed out against a tide of liberalism and democracy, but because China was still just emerging from the calamity of the Cultural Revolution, social elites — including some members of the top echelon of the Party — all actually sought some degree of freedom and democracy, especially the youth and the intellectuals. The yearning was deep. In China at that time, everyone was increasingly dissatisfied with the half-hearted opening up that the authorities had engaged in. This was followed up with a half-hearted repression, which didn’t truly strike fear into people’s hearts, and thus aroused even more disaffection. It was against this backdrop that the democracy movement of 1989 exploded.

After the June 4 massacre, the Communist Party was completely panicked and they viewed every collective activity as a major threat, and their attacks on dissent became fiercer. The whole political atmosphere of the 1990s was desolate and grim.

By the end of the 1990s and the early 2000s, independent candidates began appearing again, such as Xu Zhiyong (许志永) and others. And again, it was at the universities — for instance Xu Zhiyong was a teacher at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications when he was elected. But these elections were nothing like the 1980s, where all the talk was about national politics, and ideals; in the latter case, the election was limited to how they’ll discharge their duty as people’s representatives. For all that, independent candidature in and of itself represents a strong orientation toward democratic principles and values, so these elections are still enormously meaningful. Furthermore, grassroots elections are the only way that Chinese citizens can actually cast votes.

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Xu Zhiyong standing in front of his campaign poster in 2011. He’s serving a four-year sentence for activities of the New Citizen Movement.

Yaxue Cao: Xu Zhiyong was elected a People’s representative in both 2003 and 2006, but by 2011 (at that point elections had been changed to once every five years), the authorities resorted to all sorts of measures to prevent him from being re-elected. A few years ago you wrote an article about grassroots elections, noting that after three decades, the bureaucratic level of the posts haven’t risen — it remains at county- and district-level People’s Congresses, and village elections. Another observation you made is that the quality of them has dropped, which has manifested in the general lack of interest in the elections by voters, given that they’ve often simply become a show manipulated by officials, who receive bribes and crush independent competitors. So, given that the authorities have absolutely no intention to roll out genuine elections, why don’t they just abolish them and appoint the representatives or village officials directly themselves? Isn’t that the outcome anyway? Why go to the trouble of staging them?

Hu Ping: After June 4, the Party began to regard liberalization and democratization as the number one enemy, and there was basically no one at the top echelon of the Party who had any sympathy or support for democracy. The suppression never let up, and China’s entire political ecology underwent a fundamental change. But the authorities don’t really have any need to promulgate a law abolishing the grassroots election system altogether, because it’s too insignificant. With continuous repression in the 20 some years following the June 4 massacre, cynicism is rampant in Chinese society, and the majority of Chinese people feel no attachment or sympathy with the past movement of liberalization and democracy, and they don’t get involved. So, the fact that there are so many people now stepping forward as candidates is just amazing. The risks they’re taking are so much greater than those we took back then, so it’s worthy of our wholehearted support and close attention. Every single person who runs as an independent candidate, without exception, becomes a target for the authorities to attack. The corollary to this is that it proves that independent candidature is itself a challenge, regardless of what your policies or politics are.

Yaxue Cao: I remember during the Wukan incident [in 2011] a group of public intellectuals traveled there to offer their support, and to get involved and be election observers. A few days ago I was chatting with He Depu (何德普) about this, and he said that this year public intellectuals didn’t have the slightest enthusiasm in the elections. Might this reflect the current political atmosphere in China?

Hu Ping: Since taking power, Xi Jinping has taken systematic steps to shut down the space for expression for Chinese liberal-leaning intellectuals, which had been constrained to begin with. Even the Gongshi (Consensus) website and the Yanhuang Chunqiu magazine have been shut down and are no longer tolerated — and you can well imagine the terrorizing effect this has. I believe that the international community, including the United States and other Western countries, is seeing more and more clearly that the Chinese regime has had no intention of carrying out political and democratic reforms. On the contrary, as the Chinese economy grows bigger and bigger, the regime has become more confident and armed with more resources. These are obvious developments, and even some of the China apologists in the West are seeing that things are not panning out as they expected.

Yaxue Cao: U.S. policy toward China has for decades been built on the assumption that, once China develops and the middle class grows strong, democracy will naturally come. Many have been dazzled by changes in China. China watchers are awed, some even succumbed to admiring the efficiency of authoritarian rule. But at the same time, elections in China have made no progress whatsoever, in terms of both level and quality. Stacking these two pictures of China together, you can’t support the assumption that the course of economic development will nurture the course of democratization.

Hu Ping: It was predicated on a mistaken theory to begin with — and yet just what lies at the heart of the Communist Party, and just how the regime has made it through all these years, I believe Western observers still don’t have a clear understanding of. Not only are they unclear, but probably a lot of Chinese aren’t clear, because the twists and transformations of the Party have no precedent that we can reference. Actually, the principle is quite simple: After the extreme centralism of the Mao era resulted in widespread political terror and total economic collapse, after Mao died Chinese society from top to bottom, inside and outside the Party, experienced a strong impetus toward political and economic reform, and the 1980s was a reflection of this. The Soviet Union and Eastern European countries also went through their own democratic transition via this route. But in China the June 4 massacre reversed the trend and history — and also changed the history of the world. You cannot have any hope that a regime built on such a massacre is going to engage in any liberalization and democracy. And so not only the Chinese people, but the entire world is faced with a stubborn and powerful dictatorship. I think people haven’t realizes the seriousness of this problem and haven’t devoted enough attention and understanding to it.

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Last week, policemen blocking an independent candidate from leaving her home in Beijing.

Yaxue Cao: In early October, professor Arthur Waldron at the University of Pennsylvania, gave a speech in New York that we published on the China Change website. He said that his greatest concern was that Western countries didn’t see autocracy as a feature of communism, but as a feature of China.

Hu Ping: What’s needed right now is to have a complete narrative of China’s political course over the past three decades, letting people know that China has undergone a very special process that has led to today’s China. As you examine this process, you will see that the Chinese are not any different from foreigners. So when assessing China don’t just extrapolate from economic determinism to a claim of Chinese exceptionalism. The damage this does is divert attention from how to counter the challenges and deal with the threat posed by a communist dictatorship, to instead being about how to accommodate and accept them. This is dangerous. You should be changing it, not accepting it. When the bar is continually lowered to: “We are fine with it as long as we avoid war,” isn’t that aiding them?

Yaxue Cao: Once the free world begins to make concessions on universal values, the world order will change.

Hu Ping: It’s already changing. If accommodation becomes the new engagement policy, the West will inflict disasters on itself. China is not North Korea. North Korea has no ability to corrupt other countries, but China will corrupt the whole world.

Yaxue Cao: In looking back on the 1980 elections in Peking University, you refuted the idea that “democratization depends on a market economy and a strong middle class.” You pointed out that, in 1980, the Cultural Revolution had just ended, and few people knew what democracy or freedom actually looked like. You wrote: “We discovered, spontaneously and indigenously, the idea of constitutional democracy and its operation.”

Hu Ping: The New York Times interviewed me recently, and I also talked about this. Chinese propaganda wants you to believe that the concept of freedom and democracy is a Western one, but where did the Westerners get it? It was a response to lasting religious wars, persecution, and terror. People were persecuted for different beliefs, for different interpretations and views, and this led to demand for tolerance, for freedom of belief, and freedom of expression. Following the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese wanted tolerance, and it was spontaneous.

When Eastern Europe democratized in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it had no middle class, no market economy. Mongolia had no market economy when it democratized. Xi Jinping’s father Xi Zhongxun (习仲勋), while in office, proposed that China needs a law to protect dissent. He had had no western education, where did he get that idea? Because he was persecuted for his speech, and he came to the realization that a line should be drawn between the rights of the people and the power of the government, and that certain freedoms must be granted and protected. The popular demand for freedom was the real cause of the 1989 Tiananmen protests. But the June 4 massacre changed not only the course of China, but also the course of the world.

Yaxue Cao: Yes. The world has yet to confront this reality. Thank you.

 

Hu Ping (胡平) lives in New York and edits Beijing Spring (《北京之春》), “a monthly Chinese-language magazine dedicated to the promotion of human rights, democracy and social justice in China.”

Yaxue Cao (曹雅学) edits the China Change website. Follow her on Twitter @YaxueCao