Press Highlights 15 December 2017

Our latest fortnight selection of press articles on what is making the news in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. For print-friendly version, download here.


migrant workers

Source: CNN

Keywords: Eviction campaign, gas-supply shortages, self-driving buses, Wuzhen Summit, transitional justice bill.


1. Beijing’s 40-day eviction campaign drove migrant workers out of the city

On 18 November, a fire disaster in a two-story apartment building in Daxing District, Beijing killed 19 people –  many of them were migrant workers and their children. Soon after the incident, local officials released a list of 25,395 safety hazards, most of them located in working-class urban villages (城中村) at the edge of the city where migrant workers from rural, poorer parts of China tend to reside. On 20 November, Beijing’s party secretary, Cai Qi, ordered a 40-day campaign to evict the residents living in cramped low-rise buildings in those urban villages. While government officials have been inspecting and taxing the buildings for years before the fire disaster, the recent crackdown declaring them as illegal came as a shock to the migrants who were given short notices to move out of their homes within a few days. Critics believed that the crackdown was Beijing government’s move, in the name of fire safety, in hope of driving the “low-end population” (低端人口) out of the city as a way to ease population pressures. Since rising population in Beijing was officially announced as a problem in 2014, population control by limiting the city’s population to 23 million by 2020 hence became an urgent task for local officials. Out of the 21.5 million people living in Beijing nowadays, only 13.6 million of them have permanent residency status. Many of the displaced migrants have returned to their home provinces, while others are searching for new places to live and work in Beijing. The crackdown was met with resistance by Beijing residents – both permanent and temporary. On 10 December – also the world’s Human Rights Day, hundreds of protesters took part in a rare protest on the streets of Feijia village in Chaoyang district. In response to the rushed evacuation, critics speaking for the migrants – as construction workers, cleaners, couriers, and factory workers – called attention to the importance of their contribution in maintaining the normal operation of big cities like Beijing. Indeed, the sudden eviction of migrant workers has already resulted in some major service disruptions such as parcel delivery.

  • //我們要如何分析北京當局在2017年的冬天,以如此法西斯主義的方式展開大規模「低端人口清退」行動呢?早在20142月習近平第一次視察北京,提出「疏解北京非首都功能」以來,2015年國務院通過《京津冀協同發展規劃綱要》後,北京市先後於2015年通過了《中共北京市委北京市人民政府關於貫徹〈京津冀協同發展規劃綱要〉的意見》和2017年《北京市總體規劃》, 由最高長官意志確定了北京市2300萬的人口容積上限。自此,清理「多餘人口」就成為北京市先後兩屆政府的首要任務,也是北京恢復所謂首都功能的一個急迫目標,要求2017年「取得明顯成效」。 於是,在2017年冬天來臨之際,大興區一處廉價公寓的可疑火災過後,在這些外地務工者、小工廠集中的城鄉結合地帶,北京市各區行政機關以消防安全和郊區農戶「煤改氣」的環保要求為名,進行了全面動員,各種拆遷機器在大批制服人員護衞下,直接進村作業、驅趕住戶,演成一場仍在進行中的人道主義危機。 如果注意到十九大前後由蔡奇擔任北京市委書記,那麼人們很容易得出,這樣一場大規模暴力驅離,大概算是過去幾年地方層面為表忠心、出政績而相互比拼,屢屢採取激進主義的治理政策的延續。例如,杭州為迎G20峰會大搞城市改造、限制物流和車流,廈門為迎金磚峰會同樣搞堅壁清野時的維穩,麗江強行關停一批客棧,深圳嚴禁電動車等等。 // Source: Initium, 28 November 2017,
  • //The sudden eviction of tens of thousands of migrant workers from their homes in Beijing is threatening the business model of the country’s booming ecommerce industry, a pillar of China’s vaunted “new economy”. […] One courier for SF Express, China’s biggest logistics service, estimated that 20 of its distribution centres — about a 10th of its Beijing total — had been closed. He said six colleagues in his team of 50 had to sleep in their delivery vehicles in temperatures of -5C after their houses were demolished last week. The company has since provided new dormitories to rehouse staff. […] Four big listed logistics companies — Best, ZTO, YTO, and STO — announced that delivery times would be affected until the end of December. One ZTO courier said his usual daily load of 100 packages had dropped to 20 in the past week, while several stalls on Alibaba’s ecommerce platform Taobao have stopped shipping to Beijing. // Source: Financial Times, 2 December 2017,
  • //城市要发展,“生命至上、安全第一”是一条红线,是时时刻刻要绷紧的一根弦。开展安全隐患大排查、大清理、大整治专项行动,拆的是违法建设、治的是盲区漏洞、为的是公共安全。就北京目前的情况看,“三合一”“多合一”场所、工业大院、散乱污企业、违法建设等,既是疏解整治的重要内容,亦是安全事故的高发之处。火灾这一安全生产的“灰犀牛”,带给我们的教训极其深刻,血的事故警醒我们,现在已经到了必须动真格、出重拳、下狠手的时候,该处罚的必须处罚,该关停的必须关停,该查封的必须查封,该拘留的必须拘留,该挂账的必须挂账,惟有彰显出坚决的执法态度,层层压实责任,不留任何死角,才能将隐患问题全面清零。 而我们以3年为期,开展疏解整治促提升专项行动,是要坚定不移抓住疏解非首都功能这个“牛鼻子”,通过整治环境促进城市治理水平提升,更好地服务城市战略定位。北京地域空间有限,资源有限,不可能什么都搞,必须“在量上做减法,在质上做加法”。疏解非首都功能,是中央为北京指明的发展方向,也是为实践证明的正确发展路径。看不到这样的深层意义,将疏解工作这一系统工程与为期40天的安全隐患排查整治专项行动混为一谈,显然是一种误解。// Source: 北京日报, 24 November 2017,
  • //老马一家是24日晚上搬出公寓的。公寓关闭后,几百户人四处找房。周边小区的租金趁势上涨,一套两居室三天内从3000元涨到3800元,半年付变成了年付。老马在附近工地轧钢筋,活多时一个月有6000多元收入。他妻子在工地食堂做饭,每月工资3000元左右。两口子有个智力障碍的儿子,从小就跟在父母身边。父母出去时,他会把地扫干净,做饭时,他会帮忙洗菜。几年前,因为“冬天有暖气”,他把70多岁的母亲从老家接到北京,还接来了5岁的外孙女帮忙照看。四代人挤在一套两居室里,每月租金2300元。这几年老马的工钱不好结算,总是工程竣工后也拿不到钱,但“省着点花”,5口人也能勉强度日。时间久了,老马倒觉得“生活还挺稳定”。可现在,稳定的生活被打破了。从公寓搬出来后,老马拿不出“押一付六”的房租,住不起那些不会被关闭的正规小区。他想找旅馆,但周围的小旅馆都贴上了封条,剩下几家大点的宾馆也都挂上了“客房已满”的牌子。18点,天已经黑透了,因为公寓断电,老马带着一家人下了楼。外面风很大,空地上停满了搬家的车辆,有人坐在摩托三轮上,蜷着身子,把脑袋缩进衣领。// Source: 南都观察, 5 December 2017,

2. Beijing aims to clear its skyline by removing 27,000 billboards across the city by the end of 2017

Following the 40-day campaign of mass eviction, Beijing has launched another major campaign in November aiming to remove 27,000 rooftop billboards by the end of 2017. As an attempt to beautify the city space and clear the skyline, the new regulation bans “signs that are more than three storeys high, over 1.5 metres in length, or use highly reflective materials” (SCMP 4 December 2017) installed on buildings. Other than small private businesses, a number of well-known company headquarters and even government-owned properties have also been affected by the campaign including the Bank of Beijing, the Chinese National Geography building, as well as a police station. Nearly 14,000 signs have been removed by 9 December. Beijing residents have complained that it became difficult for them to find their destinations after the signs were removed. Critics have suggested that the waves of demolitions reflect Beijing’s ambitious attempt to gentrify itself.

  • //北京市以〝净化城市空间、打造美丽天际线〞为名的大清拆行动,据说是依据该市新修改的《北京市牌匾标识设置管理规范》实施,该文件共4章24条,对建筑物广告牌匾设置定出非常详尽的标准要求。按该文件要求,全市广告招牌不管公共还是私人物业,建筑物屋顶禁设各类牌匾标识,只允许部份建筑物墙体上保留一处建筑物名称,其他各类牌匾标识要全部下移到底层。文件还要求,禁止在建筑物墙体上设置突出式、动态式牌匾标识;禁止广告牌匾大面积使用高光合金材料;同时划分禁设区、严控区和开放区,前两区禁设突出式牌匾标识和厚度超过0.3米的灯箱式样牌匾标识。[…]不少北京网民感慨,当局做法令不少初来京者〝找不着北〞(分不清东南西北)。开着导航,也分不清东西南北了。有网民称:我去过无数世界各地的大城市,除了朝鲜的大城市,其他的地方都不如我们干净、清爽。还是咱北京强,有帝王风范,越来越像平壤了!// Source: NTDTV, 10 December 2017,
  • // 隨着一塊塊作為北京地標的招牌被拆除,遊客哀嘆找不到路標之餘,更見識了文革「破四舊(舊思想、舊文化、舊風俗、舊習慣)」式砸爛文物的作派。面對輿論劣評如潮,北京市當局辯稱是依法行政,被清理的只是違反《北京市牌匾標識設置管理規範》的招牌。但北京市城市管理委員會官網的政策解讀顯示,今年9月修訂的《北京市牌匾標識設置管理規範》,是為「配合這次全市集中清理建築物屋頂廣告牌匾專項行動而制定的」,同2007年的版本相比,「在禁設條件和允許設置條件等方面做了重大改動」。其中最受矚目的改動是,原來只有長安街、天安門廣場、中南海、釣魚台地區等少數地段和建築物不允許設置牌匾,現在擴大至全市所有三層以上建築物。這就是所謂依法行政?且不說有關規範只是配合這場運動的行政指令,連人大會議的橡皮圖章都未蓋,遑論經過立法公眾諮詢。[…]北京市委書記蔡奇說,首都無小事。這是說,在北京發生的小事都可能引發嚴重的政治後果,相應地,北京的大事一定有政治目的,拆招牌運動的政治目的絕不是所謂的整治天際線那麼簡單,而可能是北京市奉習近平指令而為,或為討好習近平而為。習近平今年2月及2014年2月視察北京時,重點都是北京的城市規劃和形象。國務院住建部部長王蒙徽也曾公開表示,北京的規劃編制工作是「在習近平總書記親自指導下完成的」。尤受關注的是,近日被拆除的牌匾中,既有名人題字的「北京科技大學」、「護國寺小吃」,更有前領導人的墨寶,包括毛澤東題寫的「中央美術學院」、鄧小平題寫的「中國國際廣播電台」、江澤民題寫的「中國農業大學」等。因此,北京大規模的拆招牌運動被質疑是為掩蓋清拆這些重點目標的手段,頗有文革破舊立新的意味。// Source: Apple Daily, 12 December 2017,
  • //《环球时报》发表的一篇文章指出,从城市发展的长期逻辑线来审视,北京新的治理行动在方向上无疑是进取的。从最广义的角度说,城市治理水平的升级会在一些时间点上有阵痛代价,只要结果被时间证明是好的,一些当时受到反对的改造就可能最终被公众接纳,成为城市现状和传统的新基点。但文章同时强调,加强沟通,听取公众对城市治理的意见,围绕城市发展的思路形成更多共识,这恐怕是化解纠纷的根本途径。《人民日报》也对此评论称,利益高度分化的时期,确实鲜有毫无争议的公共政策。该评论表示,什么是判断的关键标尺,什么是治理的最大公约数?应该属法治。为了净化城市空间、打造美丽天际线,北京新修改通过了《北京市牌匾标识设置管理规范》,清理属于有法可依。该评论也称,在摘除过程中,在有法可依的前提下,或许也可以考虑一下社会承受力的问题。一言以蔽之,精细化的管理一定是法治化的,也应该是将绣花功夫落实到治理全链条中的。// Source: Zaobao, 10 December 2017,


1. Chinese government’s intensified efforts to phase out coal caused gas-supply shortages in rural areas in northern China

Due to excessive industrial development in areas surrounding Beijing, the air quality usually worsens in winter when coal is used as the primary source for heating in rural areas. To curb air pollution, the Chinese government set out an action plan in 2013 which aimed to reduce an effective amount of particulate matter (PM) by 2017. Attempting to meet the environmental targets by the deadline, China’s accelerated yet unsuccessful switch from coal to natural gas has caused rural residents being left out in the cold due to gas-supply shortages and the lack of pipeline construction. Since November 2017, the burning of coal has been banned in 18 cities and districts surrounding Beijing including Langfang and Baoding. The most affected provinces where coal use was abolished include Hebei, Shanxi, and Shaanxi. And while the winter temperatures in Hebei could reach as low as minus ten degrees, many residential homes lack sufficient sources of heating. Accompanying the lack of gas supply and the inadequate infrastructure, the price of liquefied natural gas (LNG) has been recorded a 100% increase, escalated to a record high of 9,400 yuan per ton in September. According to Global Times, as of the year of 2015, “China had only 25 underground gas reserves, accounting for a mere 3 percent of the country’s gas consumption, much lower than 17.4 percent in the US and 17 percent in Russia”. Some commentators have criticized the failure of energy source transition in keeping pace with the country’s demands as the result of officials’ blind obedience to authority at the expense of the people’s wellbeing.

  • // 今年入冬以来,华北地区迄今尚未出现长时间的严重雾霾天气,应该与煤改气和煤改电的大力推进有一定关系。我们不应忘记前几年雾霾笼罩华北时公众感受到的巨大痛苦,支持燃煤取暖的替代工程应是舆论的基本态度。然而所有好的政策都需要以负责任的态度加以执行,地方政府在解决一个问题时,不能以制造另一个在当下环境中更加突出、紧迫的问题为代价。让一部分居民取不上暖,只能在大冬天里冻着,忍着,这就是至少在短时间里带来更多负面刺激性后果的问题。宏观政策可以是“一刀切”的,但是执行过程既要坚决,也应有情有义。在偌大的中国和动辄比一个国家人口还多的大省里,大概不应有一个涉及民生的政策是“绝对一刀切”的。当一刀下去有可能真正切出哪怕是很少数老百姓的痛苦时,无论是什么刀,它都应该在那个具体痛点上止住。[…] 近来一再发生好的政策在基层执行过程中出现损害群众利益和基本权利的情况,究其原因大概都是一个,那就是一些基层官员在推进某个重大事项时,只顾让上级领导满意,忽视甚至不顾群众的反应,致使一些具体情况不能及时反馈到更高一级推动执行的管道中,这是官僚主义的体现。// Source: 环球时报, 4 December 2017,
  • // 近日来,天然气和LNG市场都颇为热闹。一方面是天然气供不应求,不少地方开始限气,石家庄更是启动了天然气保供应应急预案;另一方面,由于缺气,LNG价格开始大涨,并不断创出新高。[…]《证券日报》记者了解到,发改委发布了《关于部署召开液化天然气价格法规政策提醒告诫会的通知》,为规范液化天然气(LNG)价格异常波动,确保迎峰度冬期间液化天然气市场价格基本稳定,发改委将于12月4日统一部署相关省区市价格主管部门立即召开天然气价格法规政策提醒告诫会,提醒告诫辖区内各液化天然气生产流通企业和相关社会组织加强价格自律,规范价格行为。 […] 他还指出,工业燃煤锅炉还需改造14.8万吨,是今年改造量的3.6倍,民用“煤改气”华北地区未改造的还有2700万户,是今年改造量的9倍,按中性假设这部分改造在未来5年内完成。这将给每年总计带来118亿立方米的需求增量,将带动未来华北天然气整体消费增速超过15%。在未来国内供给紧张大背景下,需求将不成问题,甚至长期看,LNG价格也有望进入上涨周期。// Source: 证券日报, 4 December 2016,
  • // In 2013, under a mounting public outcry for government to tackle the smog crisis, China’s state council, or the cabinet, laid out targets to reduce levels of PM2.5 – the tiny particulate pollutants that pose the greatest health threats – in Beijing from around 90µg/m3 to 60µg/m3 by the end of 2017. The World Health Organisation recommends an annual mean of 10µg/m3. Nearby Tianjin municipality and Hebei province – which have worse air quality than Beijing – have been requested to slash PM2.5 particulates by 25%. Guardian Today: the headlines, the analysis, the debate – sent direct to you Read more In China, such targets bear political importance. The nation’s leader Xi Jinping has placed increasing emphasis on protecting the environment. In 2014, Beijing’s former mayor Wang Anshun promised to “present his own head” to the public if the capital city failed to meet the mark. Phasing out overcapacity in iron and steel, pushing for better compliances through campaign-based checkups and car use limitations to control vehicle emissions have made only marginal gains. Official statistics from Beijing show the city’s annual PM2.5 levels were still at 73 µg/m3 at the end of 2016. Environmental authorities decided some rural areas in northern China – especially those close to Beijing – had to embark on the arduous program of retrofitting coal-fired heating system into gas-powered ones if Beijing and its surrounding areas were to meet the targets. // Source: The Guardian, 4 December 2017,–6c
  • // 我找到了数十位置身其中的哥迷,他们讲述的真实境遇,令人唏嘘。“孩子们穿成大熊,有的娃手都冻裂了”今年刚大学毕业,李星(化名)就考到陕西铜川市,成为一名乡镇幼儿园的幼师。“我们这里说起来是乡镇,其实就是在一个村子里。我们的幼儿园只有三间房子,和小学在一个院子里,”李星说,今年暑假,环保部门跑来拆掉了学校的煤炉,“因为污染环境嘛。”拆完了锅炉,天然气却没能供上,也没法用电取暖,因为会跳闸,最后只能烧甲醇,“一天要花三四千块”。经费不够,学校会在上午11点前开一会暖气。大部分时间里,孩子们只能在教室里冻着。当地的温度只有1度左右。出太阳的时候,室外温度比室内高,李星会带着孩子们在操场做游戏,暖和身子,“孩子们穿成大熊,有的娃手都冻裂了”。李星所带的中班有39个孩子,因为冷,只剩下19个孩子还在上课,其他的都被家长带回了家。比起幼儿园的孩子,小学生处境更糟。[…] 石阳(化名)是一名煤炭工人,在山西长治一家国有煤企工作。每天下井十几个小时,对他来说是常态。“煤改气”之后,石阳家倒是通上了天然气,但“老人舍不得开,每天都冻着”。天然气取暖有多贵?石阳给我算了一笔账:一升气要2.25元,住户如果一天二十四小时不停歇的话,最少每天要花费60-70元,一个月大概要3600元-4200元,整个采暖季四个月,花费上万。(壁挂炉原本要出安装费,但由于居民的强烈反对,最后免费安装了)“说好的一个采暖季补贴2400元都没有到位,有的村发了,我们村就没了音信,”石阳说,为了省钱,不敢把壁挂炉温度调太高,最多调到60度,室内就是八九度。如果要再调高温度,花费也就更高。一年收入五六万的石阳,面对上万的采暖费,也吃不消,“一个普通百姓一个月工资也就一千四五,你让他怎么去承受?” // Source:, 7 December 2017,

2. Shenzhen rolled out its first self-driving buses in the Futian district

Since rolling out the first battery-powered bus in 2009, Shenzhen now has about 14,500 of them on the road and is expecting to electrify all its public buses by the end of 2017. Home to some of the country’s top technology companies, the southern Chinese city has recently started testing driverless buses in the Futian district. Equipped with sensors, radar, and a visual scanning system from Haylion Technologies, the buses are set out to collect more data in order to improve their software and on-road safety. The tasks the buses can perform include “reducing speed, averting hitting pedestrians, vehicles and barriers automatically, changing lanes safely, as well as stopping at designated points” (EJ Insight 5 December 2017). According to Hu Jianping, chairman of Haylion, while most road fatalities in China are caused by human error, self-driving vehicles actually improve road safety. Being one of the world’s biggest transportation markets, China is aiming to have 10% of the vehicles to be self-driving by 2030.

  • //针对目前“智能驾驶”汽车在技术和伦理上的一些问题,穆毅说公司已有相应的设计,“此次‘智能驾驶公交车’的车速并不快,大约在每小时20公里到30公里之间,遇到紧急情况,可以很快停下来。此外,如果遇到汽车周边有人的情况,车上搭载的雷达装置可以很快感应到,随后停车等待行人的下一步行动,或是继续停车等待,或是绕过行人继续行驶。” 穆毅表示,“我们注意到了有网友担心交通事故责任如何来分界的问题,这是一个系统性的问题,不是仅仅从技术上能够解决的。我们也希望相关部门能够尽快制定相应的政策,明确责任的划分。” “‘无人’驾驶只能做到局部互补,在大规模‘无人’驾驶车运行的情况下,由调度中心来实现全局规划是做不到的。”西南交通大学深圳研究生院院长谭永东认为,推动“无人”驾驶不是为了替代司机,而是通过人和车的协同在驾驶方面更安全,让人们出行更方便。 交通运输部管理干部学院教授张柱庭表示,目前的自动驾驶技术还不算是真正的“无人驾驶”,目前相关的技术仍是“人工驾驶为主,自动驾驶为辅”,因此还没有到需要为“自动驾驶”立法的阶段。“目前智能驾驶、自动驾驶还没有一个官方的技术路线图发布,我们的立法工作,需要等到这个技术路线图发布后才能开展”。// Source: Xinhua Net, 5 December 2017,
  • //Shenzhen’s buses represent only a small fraction of China’s total electric bus sales, which reached 116,000 last year. […] there are four key factors driving China’s rapid deployment of electric buses: 1. Government support. Ample national and regional subsidies have helped lower the price of an electric bus from twice that of an internal combustion engine bus to roughly equal today. 2. Urban air pollution and a desire to reduce oil imports. 3. Many Chinese cities are building their public transit networks from scratch. New, electric-bus-specific infrastructure can be built, and buses can be rolled out without having to fit into an existing fleet’s renewal cycle. 4. Industrial policy. The central government actively encourages investment in battery manufacturing. For Shenzhen, it doesn’t hurt that the world’s third-biggest lithium-ion battery manufacturer, BYD Co. Ltd., is located in the city; it also doesn’t hurt that BYD builds buses, too. // Source: Bloomberg, 8 December 2017,


World Internet Conference in Wuzhen highlights tensions underlying China’s internet development

The state-run 4th World Internet Conference, also known as the Wuzhen Summit (乌镇峰会), took place in Wuzhen on 2-6 December 2017. One of the highlights of the Summit was the presence of Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, the first time where chiefs of foreign technology companies attended the conference. Commented in a keynote address after hundreds of mobile apps were removed from Apple’s China app store earlier this year, Cook highlighted Apple’s contribution to the Chinese economy by emphasizing the US$16.9 billion the app store brought to the 1.8 million app developers in China. Another highlight was the speech by Wang Huning – the former dean of law school at Fudan University and advisor to three Chinese leaders (Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, and Xi Jinping) who made very few public appearances in the past two decades. In his address, Wang praised China’s internet governance and announced the country’s plan to enhance cross-border e-commerce by cooperating with international companies. Being a tightly controlled internet regime that censors major global websites such as Google and Facebook, the Summit highlights the tension underlying China’s development which increasingly relies on the global internet environment while being cautious about the internet’s democratizing influences on the society.

  • // 那么,如何构建“网络空间命运共同体”?早在2015年,习近平站在乌镇的讲台上发表重要讲话时,就明确指出应坚持“四项原则”,并提出“五点主张”。他提出推动互联网全球治理体系变革,建立多边、民主、透明的全球互联网治理体系,倡议各国应该加强沟通、扩大共识、深化合作,共同构建网络空间命运共同体。此次主旨演讲,一度被海内外称为世界互联网治理的中国方案。[…] 过去的十年,中国已在多个领域成为全球数字经济引领者。以电子商务为例,十年前中国电商交易额还不到全球总额的1%,如今占比已超40%。据估算已超英、美、日、法、德五国总和,数字化支付也在迅速增长。2016年,中国与个人消费相关移动支付交易额高达7900亿美元,相当于美国的11倍。全球262家“独角兽”公司中,三分之一是中国公司,占其总估值的43%。[…]“中国数字经济发展将进入快车道。”习近平在第四届世界互联网大会的贺信中表示:“中国希望通过自己的努力,推动世界各国共同搭乘互联网和数字经济发展的快车。中国对外开放的大门不会关闭,只会越开越大。”// Source: The Paper, 5 December 2017,
  • // 1994年4月20日,中国全功能接入国际互联网,自此开启了互联网时代。短短二十多年间,中国已然成为互联网大国。如今,中国7.5亿的网民数量居全球之首,中国也是全球最大的电子信息产品生产基地,并培育出了四家世界十大互联网企业,即阿里巴巴、腾讯、京东、百度。2016年,中国数字经济规模达到22.4万亿,占GDP的比重达到30.1%,电子商务交易额达26万亿,网络零售年均增长30%[…] 我们常引以为豪的古代中国的“四大发明”,即造纸术、指南针、火药、活字印刷术,是为世界文明进步做出过突出贡献的先辈们的智慧结晶。如今,我们中国已进入“新四大发明”时代,即高速铁路、电子商务、移动支付、共享经济,它们大部分都是基于网络与信息技术,这是我们当代中国人对于世界的又一次突破性和创新性贡献。今非昔比,如今有不少国家,包括我们曾经模仿或学习过的先进国家,正积极转向来学习中国的互联网创新,真可谓是“三十年河东,三十年河西”。 […] 未来中国能否在第四次工业革命中实现“弯道超车”,对于中华民族伟大复兴的中国梦的成败而言,至关重要。我们不仅应适时并创新地对互联网技术加以充分应用,更应该抓住千载难逢的历史机遇期,积极主动地参与国际网络空间话语权和“游戏规则”的制定。唯有这样,中国未来才有可能成为互联网时代的真正强者和大赢家。// Source: 观点中国, 2 December 2017,
  • // According to Reuters, Cook gave a surprise keynote address in which he highlighted how Apple has boosted China’s economy. He said that the app store has helped give China’s 1.8 million developers earnings that total $16.9 billion. He also re-affirmed the conference’s commitment to an “open” internet. “The theme of this conference—developing a digital economy for openness and shared benefits—is a vision we at Apple share,” Cook said, according to Bloomberg. “We are proud to have worked alongside many of our partners in China to help build a community that will join a common future in cyberspace.” […] Strong proponents of internet freedom might quiver over this. For the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), China’s main internet regulator and the conference’s organizer, the World Internet Conference marks an opportunity to seek public affirmation for China’s internet policies—which include rampant censorship and barriers on foreign competition. Getting on stage with China’s chief censors after a year that has seen unprecedented censorship can’t help but lend legitimacy to China’s increasingly closed internet, and render praise of “openness” hollow. At the same time, attending the event gives foreign tech executives one of the few opportunities they’ll ever have to gain insight into the inner workings of the CAC. And if these foreign companies are committed to doing business in China in any capacity, such insights can be invaluable. // Source: Quartz, 4 December 2017,


Meeting between Xi Jinping and Aung San Suu Kyi consolidated economic ties and mutual diplomatic support 

Within a week after Myanmar’s army chief Min Aung Hlaing’s official visit to China, Aung San Suu Kyi – Nobel Peace laureate and Myanmar’s foreign minister – arrived in Beijing on 1 December to attend an international conference hosted by China’s Communist Party and to meet with Xi Jinping. Since more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar’s military at home to Bangladesh from August, Aung San Suu Kyi was severely criticized by the international community for failing to stop the military’s “ethnic cleansing”. Seen by many as Myanmar’s attempt to seek diplomatic support from China – which has previously spent billions of dollars on Myanmar’s infrastructure projects – in the face of international pressure over the current situation in Rakhine state, commentators moreover suggested that the meeting reflects China’s aggressive attempt to exert its influences on Southeast Asia as well as secure interests in the neighboring state whose coastline offers a strategic site to the Indian Ocean.  According to Sampa Kundu of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi, the “bilateral relationship between two neighbours is getting stronger because the influential neighbour has chosen to give its back to the relatively weaker one to fulfil its own geostrategic interests” (SCMP 1 December 2017). Baohui Zhang of Lingnan University moreover suggested that the crisis in Rakhine State has given China an opportunity to be seen “as the new power broker that can get things, like peace building and political settlements, done” (NY Times 30 November 2017).

  • //習近平會見昂山素季時的談話分為三個層次。第一個層次是對中緬关系、中共與民盟关系現狀總結,認為勢頭良好。第二個層次是重申中國對緬甸的政策和進一步期待。第三個層次是介紹中共十九大以及十九大確立的外交努力方向——構建人類命運共同體,習近平說“我們願同包括緬甸在內的各國人民一道,積極推動構建人類命運共同體”。 昂山素季首先感謝中共邀她與會,其次重申中緬关系的重要性,感謝習近平對中緬关系的重視,表達合作中緬經濟走廊的意願,最后表達對中共執政經驗的欽佩表示願意進一步交流。昂山素季談了中緬关系以及中國提出的中緬經濟走廊,對中國感激之情溢于言表,但唯獨沒有回應習近平提到的第三個層次——構建人類命運共同體。 習近平與昂山素季的历次會見談話大都側重談中緬关系、緬甸和平進程、邊境和平等話題,此次會談的重點除了以往的調門,多出來的這一點并沒有得到昂山素季的積極回應。 昂山素季多次訪華,支持“一帶一路”等舉動表明她已經摒棄對中共抱有的偏見,完成了從批評中國到信任中國的轉變。昂山素季上台執政后也完成了從民主政客到務實政治人物的轉型。從根本國家利益出发昂山素季對與中國关系做出了明智判斷和選擇。這些都是不容忽視的事實。// Source: 多維新聞, 3 December 2017,
  • //雖然緬甸因殘酷清洗羅興亞人問題而飽受國際社會批評,但中國和緬甸的關係似乎格外緊密。這是在軍方總司令敏昂萊上星期訪問中國之後,緬甸第二位高級領導人訪問北京。中國官方在相關報導中沒有提到兩國領導人在會晤中是否提到羅興亞人問題,而是強調了習近平所說的,兩國“在事關對方核心利益和重大關切的問題上彼此理解、相互支持、協調配合”。今年10月,英、法兩國曾經提議並起草了一份關於緬甸問題的安理會決議,但由於中國和俄羅斯的反對而未能通過。此外,上個月初,聯合國安理會就緬甸局勢發表的主席聲明,在中國的努力之下,聲明中避免了確保羅興亞人有權回到緬甸的措辭。昂山素姬似乎對此深表感謝。她星期五對習近平說,緬甸“充分感受到了中國黨和政府的真誠友好情誼,這必將推動緬中關係更為坦誠親密”。中國官方的新華社還說,這位諾貝爾和平獎得主還說,緬甸“欽佩中共的執政成就和豐富執政經驗“。在緬甸政府軍的殘酷攻擊之下,有多達60多萬多羅興亞人逃到孟加拉國。聯合國稱之為種族清洗。昂山素姬拒絕對此進行譴責,甚至拒絕使用“羅興亞”這個詞,而是用若開邦代指。// Source: Voice of America, 1 December 2017,
  • // Against this backdrop, the Chinese government’s approach to the Rohingya issue is of note. After meeting the Bangladesh and Myanmar government leaders on Nov 19, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi proposed a three-staged plan to address the Rohingya crisis. The first stage involves a ceasefire to restore order, stability and peace to the situation. The second stage involves all parties supporting Myanmar and Bangladesh to find an amicable solution on the basis of equality. The third stage calls for the international community to help develop Rakhine state. The Myanmar government is appreciative of the Chinese plan, partly because it calls for a bilateral solution between Bangladesh and Myanmar, and perhaps partly because the proposal does not mention the Rohingya specifically by name. A peaceful settlement of the Rohingya crisis is in China’s interests. China would not want the Rohingya crisis to stand in the way of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor, a key component of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. Peace and stability is necessary for Beijing to implement its economic projects across Myanmar’s and Bangladesh’s borders. // Source: Channel News Asia, 4 December 2017,


Carrie Lam’s visit to Beijing established Hong Kong’s involvement in China’s global trade development

During her duty visit to Beijing, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor signed an agreement with the National Development and Reform Commission – a ministry-level administrative body that plays a decisive role in China’s economic direction – establishing Hong Kong’s role in China’s Belt and Road initiative and global trade development on 14 December. According to an official statement, the agreement “focuses on finance and investment; infrastructure and maritime transport; economic and trade facilitation; people-to-people bonds; pushing forward the Greater Bay Area initiative; strengthening cooperation between the two sides and dispute resolution; among others” (SCMP 14 December 2017). The agreement marks another major trade deal between Hong Kong and mainland China since the signing of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) in 2003, which economic benefits to Hong Kong, according to some critics, have declined in recent years. An administrative unit consisting of the National Development and Reform Commission, the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, and the Hong Kong government will be set up to oversee the agreement’s actualization. The agreement moreover plays an important role to further the economic integration of the Greater Bay Area (Hong Kong, Macau, and Guangdong) which is expected to boost China’s economic development as well as compete with other bay area metropolises such as New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo.

  • //有關安排聚焦金融與投資、基建與航運、經貿交流與合作、民心相通,推動粵港澳大灣區建設、加強合作與爭議解決服務等,同時擬設聯席會議制度,作為推動安排落實的保障機制。「金融及投資」部分提及,通過香港平台共同合作,促進各方在「一帶一路」建設提供所需資金和多元化的融資渠道,包括上市集資、銀團貸款、私募基金、債券融資等服務。至於「民心相通」部分,提及增加香港青年在相關國家和地區中資企業的實習機會,以及鼓勵香港高等院校積極與相關國家和地區的高等院校合作,吸引相關國家和地區的學生來港升學及進修,培育各方面優秀人才,亦會支持香港藝術機構及藝術家參與在相關國家和地區開展的文化藝術交流。此外,雙方同意建立聯席會議制度,由發改會、港澳辦等相關部門負責官員和香港特別行政區政府高層代表組成,每年開會一次。林鄭表示,相關的措施有助鞏固及提升香港作為國際金融、航運、貿易中心的地位,推動內地和香港企業建立合作伙伴關係,她感謝中央政府的支持和發改委在過去幾個月就草擬《安排》文件做的大量工作。// Source: HK01, 14 December 2017,
  • // The Greater Bay Area has a combined population of 67.95 million, which is greater than the Tokyo Metropolitan Area – the world’s largest city cluster with a population of 44 million. It covers around 56,000 sq km, which is comparable to that of the New York Bay Area. And, as one of China’s fastest-growing regions, the Greater Bay Area had a combined gross domestic product of US$1.4 trillion in 2016. By 2030, the region’s GDP is expected to reach US$4.6 trillion, surpassing the Tokyo, New York and San Francisco bay areas to become the world’s largest bay area in terms of the size of its economy. The Greater Bay Area is not only economically huge, but also has many diversified industries with a distinct competitive edge. […] As China makes the transition from a labour-intensive, manufacturing-based economy into a services- and innovation-oriented society driven by a growing middle class, the Greater Bay Area will lead the country towards a new growth model. Apart from the obvious advantages in many areas of manufacturing, innovation and logistics, the bay area has the potential to prosper in financial technology, renewable energy, biopharma, health care, medical equipment, tourism and wealth management. // Source: South China Morning Post, 10 December 2017,


Transitional justice bill passed in Taiwan setting out to investigate and strip legitimacy of past authoritarian rule

A transitional justice bill (促進轉型正義條例) was passed by Taiwan’s legislature on 6 December, where lawmakers voted in favor of the mandatory removal of symbols of Chiang Kai-shek’s legacy under the administration of Kuomintang. The bill will also demand political parties to release political files date from 1945 (when Japanese colonial rule ended) to 1992 (when the martial law on Kinmen and Matsu ended), in order to conduct a thorough investigation into the White Terror from 1947 to 1987, during which around 140,000 people were imprisoned and about 3,000 to 4,000 executed for their opposition to the KMT. While the KMT has previously proposed an alternative version of the bill that covers the Japanese colonial period and demands “the Japanese government take responsibility for infringing upon the rights of aborigines, comfort women, and Taiwanese drafted into the Japanese Army during World War II” (Focus Taiwan 6 December), the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) – the current majority ruling party – opposed the KMT’s proposal and passed its own version that focuses exclusively on the period of KMT authoritarian regime. In response to the KMT’s criticism, the DPP stated that the law is a “bridge of reconciliation” that serves to compensate the victims and their families. Coming on the 70th anniversary of the February 28 Massacre in 1947, the authoritarian past has been targeted since Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016. For example, the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall has stopped selling souvenirs depicting the former nationalist leader.

  • //事實上,在黨國教育潛移默化之下,許多人心中並不清楚民主法治是什麼,常常把轉型正義當成清算。不過,轉型正義的核心價值是建立民主法治的國家,以國家的角度反省威權時代所犯下的錯誤,讓人權價值深入人心,使威權永遠不會再回來。因此,轉型正義的基礎不能是「空想」,必須翔實的調查證據,並依照證據做出判斷,也要節制政府權力的濫用。[…] 在這條路上,我們需要歷史人耙梳資料與脈絡,也要在考量個人隱私之後,將這些屬於全民的相關資料以開放的格式與授權釋出,供大眾應用、研究,讓全民能看見轉型正義的價值,認清過往的歷史。把民主、人權與法治的觀念深植人心,反省獨裁時期的錯誤,並透過教育讓更多人了解威權所犯下的錯誤,讓未來的台灣不會走回獨裁的老路。 轉型正義,就是誠實面對國家犯過的錯誤,不只是透過政策或作為的修補,更需要透過資料的開放,讓大家一起反省。如此,才能鞏固我們的民主,確保我們不再走上獨裁政權的老路。// Source: Apple Daily, 6 December 2017,
  • //“立法院”今天上午召開院會討論《促進轉型正義條例》草案,無黨聯盟“立委”高金素梅發言表示,原住民碰到法律的可恥日就是1895年12月的26號日令,這一刻開始,原住民的土地統統被掠奪,民進黨用“清理戰場”的用語形容“轉型正義”實在太可怕。如果把轉型正義當戰爭打,也只有民進黨做得出來。 高金素梅強調,轉型正義沒有原住民就是不正義,轉型正義如果沒把時間點推到1895年(清朝簽訂馬關條約割台),台灣這塊土地的仇恨不會和解,原住民的土地也不可能有回復的一天。 “ […]  國民黨“立委”賴士葆、林德福都質疑,民進黨的促轉條例只清算鬥爭國民黨,沒有追溯到日據時期,還可以強行搜索人民住宅、翻箱倒櫃、行使司法強制權力,根本是違反人權,塑造新威權、再現明朝小東廠。 高金素梅發言時指出,對原住民而言,第一次面對所謂的法律就是1895年12月的26號日令,這一刻開始,原住民的土地統統被掠奪,今天轉型正義推出來,對台灣這塊土地的主人原住民來說,是何其痛苦與不堪。 […] 她表示,這個法案從一開始她就不斷呼籲,轉型正義怎麼可以用選擇性、切割式、針對性?她聽到民進黨“立委”說是“清理戰場”讓她嚇一跳,“轉型正義”用“清理戰場”的用語實在太可怕了,如果把轉型正義當戰爭打,也只有民進黨做得出來,相信絕大多數台灣人民堅持的是真正的轉型正義,只有真實的面對台灣所有族群的坎坷歷史,台灣人民才能真正放下心中的仇恨,達成寬恕與和解。// Source: 中國評論新聞網, 5 December 2017,
  • //台灣戒嚴時期政治受難者關懷協會榮譽理事長蔡寬裕說,數十年來的奔走,突然接連接到這樣的好消息,彷彿一扇無論如何叩門、卻始終緊閉的門扉,終於開啟了些許縫隙、露出了一絲曙光。 蔡寬裕今日一早就親自到立法院關心修法進度,於院長會客室觀看直播。對於《促進轉型正義條例》終於三讀通過,他說,感謝小英總統對於我們這些垂暮老人的感同身受,也感謝民進黨團總召柯建銘在議事攻防過程裡居中折衝, 並在協商中堅持受難者除罪化的條文,這當中所付出的心力,外界難以知悉,他要向柯總召致上最高的敬意。[…] 蔡寬裕也表示,《促進轉型正義條例法案》立法完成,名譽恢復、罪刑取消,是政治受難者一生的心繫。而在轉型正義的跑道上,一個里程碑終於豎立,未來還有很多工作要做,包括政治檔案的開放、威權象徵與不義遺址的識別、司法冤屈的平反,以及歷史真相的還原。// Source: The Storm Media, 5 December 2017,


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