Press Highlights 24 FEBRUARY 2015

Keywords: Chinese New Year, Mao Zedong, CCTV, Western values, PLA, corruption, internet

China

 Xi’s New Year visit marks village homecoming, 22 years after his last visit

  1. // At the entrance to a village in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, the man villagers had been waiting for finally arrived. They were excited and called him by his first name: Jinping. Forty-seven years ago, a teen Xi Jinping came to Liangjiahe as part of a campaign launched by Chairman Mao Zedong that asked urban youth to experience rural labor life. On Friday, Xi, now leader of more than 1.3 billion people, returned to the village in Shaanxi to extend Spring Festival greetings to locals in old revolutionary base areas. During his seven years in the village, Xi lived in a cave dwelling with villagers, slept on a kang, a traditional Chinese bed made of bricks and clay, endured flea bites, carried manure, built dams and repaired roads. It was also here that he joined the Communist Party of China. “Ying’er, you’ve grown old,” said Xi, who immediately recognized villager Wang Xianjun and called him by his nickname. The two reminisced about building mud dams together to hold water for irrigating the dry land. // Source: Xinhua
  2. New York Times: Chinese President Returns to Mao’s (and His) Roots in Yan’an
    // President Xi Jinping of China has capped a year resonant with echoes from the Maoist era by going back on Friday to where it all began. As China prepared to celebrate passing from the lunar Year of the Horse to the Year of the Goat next week, Mr. Xi visited Yan’an: the rural stronghold from where Mao Zedong pushed the Communist revolution to victory. And there Mr. Xi returned to the village of Liangjiahe, with its steep, yellow-earth hills and cave dwellings where Mr. Xi grew into adulthood during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, when he, like millions of urban youths, was “sent down” to the countryside. On the cusp of each Lunar New Year, Chinese Communist Party leaders make heavily publicized trips to mix with common citizens, sharing New Year’s greetings and traditional dinners, usually dumplings. […] Xi has shown no inclination to try to take China back to Mao’s era of a command economy and fervent Communist campaigns. But he has repeatedly said that the party would mortally damage its authority if it abandoned Mao’s legacy. // Source: New York Times

A ChinaFile discussion addresses the question “Is Mao Still Dead?”, with scholars and experts invited to explain the significance and meaning of the “hard ideological turn”

  1. ChinaFile asks: // From the rejection of liberalism that colors the internal Party directive known as Document 9, to Education Minister Yuan Guiren’s recent speech demanding an “ideological campaign,” to Xi’s own speeches which seem to reference Mao and Marx far more often than his predecessors’, Chinese politics under Xi seem to have taken a hard ideological turn. How significant is this phenomenon and what does it mean? Is Mao still dead? //
  2. Rebecca Karl: // Mao is dead. Very dead. The indicator of how dead he is happens to be how much he is now cited as an “authority” for the most un-Maoist of endeavors. China is not undergoing a Maoist or even a Mao revival. […]Rather, the invocation and evocation have to do with strengthening a centralized Party apparatus and its political-economic systems of domination, whose waning legitimacy in face of massive and systemic corruption can only be bolstered by ideological contortionism. Mao-era ideological control was about including all who would or could be included into a revolutionary-democratic mobilization that was not merely about the “rise of China” or the renaissance of the Chinese people, as such, but more important, such a mobilization was about the transformation—fānshēn 翻身—of an intertwined global and domestic system of inequality, whose rapaciousness threatened not only the survival but also the ethical, moral, and environmental possibilities of human life. The current nationalist reduction of Mao into a totem of a Chinese dream of national supremacy does as much violence to his systemic socialist project as he intended to do during the Cultural Revolution to the Party-centered hyper-bureaucracy that aspired to a monopoly on truth and social domination. //
  3. Andrew Nathan: // I interpret the revival of Maoism as a sign of Xi Jinping’s political vulnerability. He is engaged in the risky political endeavor of attacking corruption, meanwhile (and not so incidentally) cleaning house of political enemies and centralizing power. We don’t know what his ultimate goals are for using this power – whether to make the political system more democratic, make it more authoritarian, open up the economy further or move it back toward greater state control, make the military less politicized, or more politicized. But in order to do any of these things, Xi has to face the risk of disruption from those inside the political and economic elite who will be hurt by the changes.//
  4. Hung Ho-fung: // China’s economic boom has now ended, and the ruling elite who have been tied their legitimacy to the buoyant economy appear to be extremely anxious about any social and political upheaval that a faltering economy could unleash. They invoke the totem of Mao as a desperate, traditional source of legitimization. But what they are doing—increasing bureaucratic control of ideology in media and universities and tightening the screw on civil society—manifests a Stalinist impulse rather than one echoing Mao’s mass mobilizations. Hu Jintao’s admiration of the North Korean model is no less than his praise of Mao. What the new generation leaders are reviving is Stalin disguised as Mao.//Source: ChinaFile

 CCTV 2015 New Year’s Gala

  1. Chinese Corruption, Now Officially Hilarious // The party and its cadres used to be off limits to CCTV comedians; the last time performers skewered party officials on the Gala was in 1988. But this year, the party seems to have decided that corruption must be included. The Paper, a state-run, Shanghai-based news site, reported that CCTV asked Miao Fu and Wang Sheng, two young performers of crosstalk, a form of comedic dialogue, to write the script for an anti-corruption skit in October 2014. The propaganda department arranged for Miao and Wang to meet with the party’s disciplinary commission to discuss real-life cases of corrupt officials as inspiration. The party mouthpiece People’s Daily claimed, to online sneers, that CCTV’s directors were “most generous” in giving the skit leeway in their censorship process. Wen Wei Po, a party-owned newspaper based in Hong Kong, reported that as many as three skits about corruption were shown at the Gala’s dress rehearsal on Feb. 8. This does not mean anything goes. Miao told Huashangbao, a local paper in his native Shaanxi province, that the script had been revised more than 70 times, and “many things could not be mentioned” because of censorship requirements. 
    The irony — that political satire had to be commissioned by the party – has not been lost on the social media chattering class.
    One advertising copywriter wrote on microblogging platform Weibo, “Pushing the envelope? That’s arranged by the party.” One Internet user commented, “They are following orders from party officials when they make fun of party officials.” Another agreed: “When the party needs these performers to satirize they must do it, but when it doesn’t need them they must shut up.” // Source: Foreign Policy
  2. Why 700 Million People Keep Watching the Chinese New Year Gala, Even Though It’s Terrible. // Even if only a fraction of the hundreds of millions of viewers were paying attention, though, the Gala still offers one of the best chances for the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to present the image of China as a prosperous and harmonious nation. The amount of stage management that goes into the Gala is astonishing – each year a special CCTV team spends three to six months planning the show and staging several dress rehearsals for the show’s thousands of participants, with the last serving as a backup tape in case the live broadcasting goes awry. CCTV directors and party officials from several agencies must approve every spoken line and lyric. As a result, the Gala is entertainment by committee at its worst. But while it is easy to see the television extravaganza as propaganda that airbrushes darker realities underlying Chinese society, the show is also complex and revealing. Below are five surprising findings from this year’s Gala.
    – Chinese ethnic minorities were awarded a stronger showing.
    – Anti-corruption satire is now officially hilarious (See below)
    – Hong Kong made a conspicuous appearance
    – The generation gap played a starring role
    – But Gala critics still miss the point // Source: Foreign Policy
  3. Foreign Policy also looked at gender inequality at the CNY Gala. // But amid increasing awareness of women’s issues in the country, this year’s production ignited online debate over what many saw as discriminatory and insensitive skits about “secondhand” and “leftover women,” as well as hints that female officials can get promoted by providing sexual favors. […] To be sure, the Gala has historically been something of an equal-opportunity offender. Past skits have repeatedly mocked people for their height, weight, looks, and regional accents. But in the past few years, numerous public debates both online and offline have questioned the place of women in Chinese society. Online outrage over this year’s gala partly reflects increasing public awareness of gender inequality in China. In November 2013, students at Beijing Foreign Studies University were forced to defend themselves when, to promote a campus performance of The Vagina Monologues, they posted photos of themselves holding up messages such as, “My Vagina Says: I Want Freedom.” NGOs such as Women’s Media Monitor Watch have gained a sizable following online, recently engaging issues like gender discrimination in college admissions in an October 2014 report.// Source: Foreign Policy
  4. Another performance featuring Hong Kong tenor Warren Mok paid tribute to Xi Jinping. WSJ reported on the song, a good summary of this year’s Gala and review of its history // With the Lunar New Year drawing near, China’s state broadcaster used one of its most tightly managed and overtly political Spring Festival galas in recent memory to deliver a message to the country’s 1.3 billion people on behalf of the Communist Party: Our hearts are yours. […] The most overt message, however, was delivered roughly three hours into the program with a soaring political love song titled “I Give My Heart To You,” illustrated with a video montage of Mr. Xi meeting citizens and soldiers in spots around the country. “My motherland, my brothers and sisters/I give my heart to you,” Hong Kong tenor Warren Mok sang as images flashed in the background showing Mr. Xi planting trees, shaking hands with residents in an old Beijing alley and stomping through the snow to greet soldiers on China’s northern border.// Source: Wall Street Journal

 Former Propaganda Chief Deng Liqun Dies

  1. Deng was a conservative Marxist who opposed Deng Xiaoping’s reform and opening policy and played a key role in the anti-liberal campaigns of the 1980s. He also supported efforts to oust reformist leaders Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang.
  2. According to SCMP’s Cary Huang, // [Deng] worked under several senior party leaders, some of whom became very powerful in the post-Mao Zedong era. He was the personal secretary of former president Liu Shaoqi, and also worked under Chen Yun, the arch-rival of Deng Xiaoping, as well as former president Li Xiannian and Wang Zhen, former vice-president.// Huang quoted Ezra Vogel’s book on Deng Xiaoping, which considers Deng Liqun as one of several key political players in the Deng Xiaoping era: “Deng Liqun was influential because he was fearless in expressing his views, knowledgeable about theory, and was supported by Chen Yun and Wang Zhen, whose opinions he often voiced”. // Source: SCMP

 Corruption in the PLA

  1. Dennis J. Blasko discusses corruption in China’s military, and argues that corruption is more endemic within political officer system and the logistics and armaments systems, less among frontline operations. // Granted, graft and corruption undermine discipline and morale in any military and must be weeded out for the good of military forces in China and elsewhere. However, from the evidence available, the vast majority of corruption in the PLA is found within the political officer system (mostly involving promotions and assignments), the logistics and armaments systems (among those who handle official funds and property and are involved in the procurement of supplies and equipment), and potentially in low-level local headquarters responsible for conscription/recruitment (but likely involving relatively small sums of money). There is little indication that the PLA’s frontline operational leaders, those in command of the units tasked to do the fighting, have been smitten by the scourge of corruption to the degree that some rear area personnel have been.
    […] 
    Ninety percent of “duty crimes” in China were reported to involve “personnel and finance management, construction, oil management, material and armament procurement, health care, real estate, and reception services.”
    The category of “personnel management” implies the buying (offering bribes) and selling (accepting bribes) of officer promotions and assignments within a personnel system overseen by the General Political Department. Finances, construction, fuels, health, and real estate (especially management of PLA housing) are under the purview of the General Logistics Department, while arms procurement is the responsibility of the General Armaments Department. Functions relating to the command of units and operations are under the jurisdiction of the General Staff Department and were not mentioned as among the 90 percent of duty crimes. This omission implies that while there may be some trouble among operational commanders and staff officers, it has not risen to the level present in the other internal PLA systems.
    […] 
    To date, very few (if any) operational combat unit (i.e., divisions, brigades, regiments, etc) commanders and staff officers are known to have been caught in the corruption dragnet.
    As the PLA increases the pace of its modernization and the intensity of its training, unit command assignments are becoming increasingly stressful, requiring personnel who have been properly educated and trained and who have acquired experience by rising through the ranks of their functional specialties. An unqualified person buying a job as a brigade commander or even political commissar would likely be discovered very quickly as incompetent by professionals in positions above and below. Rather, corruption appears to be much more prevalent among the ranks of those performing rear area personnel and logistics duties than among those who will lead the PLA in any future battles it may fight.// Source: War on the Rocks
  2. A recent Rand Corporation report found that the PLA is becoming more professional and more capable, but pointed out that the transformation isn’t complete. Source: Rand Corporation

 Chinese property mogul Ren Zhiqiang challenges ban on Western values, attacked by state media

  1. //Ren’s comments came at a Feb. 14 economics forum in Beijing, which focused on the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) approach to the slowing economy. […] Citing unfair lending and bankruptcy policies, Ren blasted what he perceived as Beijing’s preferential treatment of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) over private companies. As China’s economy has slowed over the past year, Ren noted, investment by SOEs has remained stable, but private investment has suffered. “The government simply does not want to protect” private assets, he said. Ren also took aim at the legal reforms, encapsulated in Xi’s catchphrase “rule of law.” Extralegal maneuvering, lack of judicial independence, and even blatant disregard for existing laws have plagued CCP governance and reduced its legitimacy in the eyes of many Chinese. “[They] call this rule of law,” Ren said, “but in reality…it’s just government power.”
    Perhaps most controversial was Ren’s comparison of China’s contemporary political tide to the Cultural Revolution. […] Xi’s swift consolidation of power, his invocation of orthodox Communist rhetoric once considered moribund, and the systematic silencing of dissent under his watch have led some observers to wonder if Xi might be reviving some of the era’s ideological policies. Ren said that the government is “emphasizing guns and knives” – a reference to Xi’s Jan. 2015 remark calling rule of law a “knife” in the “hands of the party,” an expression once favored by Cultural Revolution-era ruler Mao Zedong – as well as “opposing Western values.
    Seemingly conscious of how controversial his remarks might become, he took to his Weibo account later on Feb. 14, posting a full-length article in which he justified his criticism of the CCP’s campaign to vilify “Western values” and its recent move to eliminate the teaching of such values from college classrooms.
    Chinese state-run media moved quickly to counter Ren’s claims, casting his criticisms as bordering on a call for regime change. “The heart of today’s struggle between value systems,” the reliably nationalistic newspaper Global Times asserted in a Feb. 16 article, “is a struggle between political systems.” The article impugned Ren’s invocation of the Cultural Revolution as “feeble,” claiming it was Western values, not CCP governance, that created chaos in the world.
    […] Ren has thus far avoided official reprisals. And despite China’s notorious army of censors, his post about Western values, already forwarded more than 10,000 times, has not been deleted. // Source: Foreign Policy
  2. 任志强:什么是西方价值观?// 我说不清楚什么是西方价值观。但我知道现有世界各国家的政治体制是各国人民的一种选择和认可。这种政治体制代表的价值观,并非仅仅是少数人或国家管理者自己制定并强加于本国民众的一种意识。(少数独裁和专制除外)尤其是民主制度的国家,谁当权是选举的结果。不管是左派政党或右派政党上台,都没有改变国家的体制。或者说都没有改变现有的价值观。[…]这些西方国家中的人民用选票做出了对国家制度的选择。当然包括宪法和法律,以及宪法中体现出的价值观。他们当然也可以自由的用脚投票,选择他们认可的价值观和国家宪法。如果他们留在了这个国家,可以认为他们选择了这个国家的价值观。那么世界人民大团结的前提则是必须承认或接受他们的选择。每个国家的人民都有选择自己价值观的权利。这些价值观也许有不同。但不能因自己的价值观与他人的不同就必须反对。这样就等于把中国人民摆在了世界人民的对立面上。又何谈团结起来呢?如果我们的价值观有超越西方价值观的优越性,如果中国希望世界能接纳中国的价值观,那么为什么不能公开的让两种价值观在同一个平台上竞争,又何需惧怕西方的价值观?如果没有选择的权利,又如何让被西方价值观"污染"了的世界人民与坚持东方价值观的人民团结起来呢?// Source: Ren Zhiqiang’s weibo
  3. 环球时报:任志强扯出文革来说事是欲盖弥彰 // 任志强说道理似是而非,讲原则指西打东,摆事实指桑骂槐。他提倡西方价值观,却掩盖不了“皮袍下的脏东西”,即西方的政治制度,一人一票、多党制、三权分立等等。正如他说的,“民主制度的国家,谁当权是选举的结果”。中国的现行政体不是一人一票,如此一来共产党执政的合法性就成问题了,这是问题的关键。[…]目前价值观之争,核心是政体之争。在一些人眼里,中国的问题都是由于一党执政造成的.只有推进西方民主制度,就可以解决中国问题。凭什么西方民主就是放之四海而皆准的?好像自已掌握了真理,用这种理论套中国的现实,真是大无畏。非西方国家照搬西方模式,基本上是照搬一个失败一个,正处乱局的中东和乌克兰就是很好的例子。西方的价值观并不具有普世价值。我们反对的是西方用来忽悠我们,想让我们摔跤的价值观。脱离国情套用西方价值观,无论它表面上多么美丽,其实不过是通过地狱的一张门票,给中华民族带来的只有灾难。// Source: Global Times
  4. At Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Joanna Chiu reports Chinese students’ reactions to a spate of rhetoric against Western values: // Foreign relations student Cai is no fan of being told what books he can – or rather cannot – study for his degree at the North China Institute of Science and Technology. “They are trying to make us accept their fixed ideology,” says the 21-year-old who only wanted to be identified by his last name. “I really don’t like it.” Cai is sceptical of new guidelines from the country’s education minister banning books that promote “Western values,” and he is far from the only one. “Studying only the culture of China cannot compare to being exposed to other cultures and learning from them,” said Isaac, an 18-year-old finance major in Beijing, who gave only his English name. “It’s much too strict,” said a student from Liaoning province who did not want to be named. “The government should relax a little.”// Source: DPA
  5. Xinhua defended Yuan’s call against criticism from abroad and clarified why it needs to resist wrong Western values: //But this sort of conclusion, without prudent review of why the Chinese government resists these “wrong Western values” or the context of this decision, is in itself wrong. China does not oppose the ideas of liberty, democracy, equality and human rights, which are among the core values of western culture. In fact, these concepts are included in the Constitution. However, China’s understanding of these concepts may differ to the West. Many in the West misunderstand China, confidently predicting the fall of the Communist Party of China (CPC), they wish for the country to purge itself of its old political system, to replace it with a more western model: In this way, they believe, China would be “accepted” by the West. There is no universal criteria to judge political values. Therefore, China must assimilate western values within its own political culture. Otherwise, it could ruin the future and fate of the entire nation. China has always stressed the protection of human rights, which are the basic goals of countries seeking for good governance. However, it holds different values from the Western thought that human rights are natural born. China holds that the concept of human rights depends on objective conditions, like history, traditions, and economic and social development, thus, there is no universal concept of human rights. Unlike western countries, which pay more attention to liberty, protection of private property and other civil and political rights, China, a developing country, prioritizes the right to subsistence and development. In addition, humans do not only have civil and political rights, but also economic, social and cultural rights. // Source: Xinhua

 Lu Wei on the “dream of the web”

  1. David Bandurski: // On February 9, 2015, China’s internet czar, Lu Wei (鲁炜), the director of the Cyberspace Administration of China, hosted a Chinese New Year banquet at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse. At the event, attended by foreign dignitaries and representatives from internet companies, Director Lu delivered an address in which he reiterated the need for global internet governance that respects the “internet sovereignty” of various countries. Repeating his frequent theme that freedom and order must work hand-in-hand, Lu imagined an international internet woven together from sovereign national internets — connected with a mind to respective national security interests.“We live in a common online space,” Lu Wei told his guests. “This online space is made up of the internets of various countries, and each country has its own independent and autonomous interest in internet sovereignty, internet security and internet development. Only through my own proper management of my own internet, [and] your proper management of your own internet . . . can the online space be truly safe, more orderly and more beautiful.”// Source: China Media Project
    i. It also has the link to a post on the website of the Cyberspace Administration of China that quoted several guests at the banquet as praising Lu’s remarks and the work of his office, and Lu Wei’s speech translated.
  2. Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) sang their own praises in an anthem lauding the benefits of Internet censorship. // During the talent show portion of a Lunar New Year celebration held on Tuesday by the Beijing Internet Association and attended by many of the country’s leading media figures and Internet executives, the Cyberspace Administration debuted what can only be described as a semiofficial anthem. A throwback to revolutionary songs glorifying the state, the piece uses rich, if mixed, metaphors to boast of China’s influence over the Internet and its innovative prowess. To a bombastic battuta that sounds a bit like a military march, employees at the Cyberspace Administration, who reportedly worked overtime to practice the song, belted out memorable lines like, “Unified with the strength of all living things, Devoted to turning the global village into the most beautiful scene” and “An Internet power: Tell the world that the Chinese Dream is uplifting China.” Though other media organizations and companies gave their own performances, media reports of the event unanimously dubbed the Cyberspace Administration’s song the winner. // Source: New York Times

 

Hong Kong

Pro-Beijing newspaper launched an attack on former HKU law dean Johannes Chan

  1. HKU law professors hit back against pro-Beijing press ‘political interference’ attacks. // Law professors from the University of Hong Kong have joined forces to hit back at attacks on a colleague by pro-Beijing media, saying the news reports were a “worrying” signal of political interference in academic affairs. […]In their interview with the Post, the HKU scholars argued that a recent research assessment, on which attacks on Chan by pro-Beijing newspaper Wen Wei Po were based, did not fully reflect the law school’s contribution to academia and the wider community under Chan’s leadership, especially its pivotal role in Hong Kong law. Fu Hualing, who lectures on human rights issues in China, said he was “worried” by the press attacks. “The newspaper articles gave us a warning that something might happen in future … But then there are things we should continue doing, regardless of what Wen Wei Po or others say,” Fu said. // Source: SCMP
  2. Government advisors admitted discussing the promotion of Johannes Chan, but other government officials, including CY Leung, flatly denied the claims.
    // […] Sophia Kao Ching-chi, a top adviser to the chief executive, admitted discussing with unidentified people whether pro-democracy scholar Johannes Chan Man-mun was fit to be a HKU pro-vice chancellor. She claimed she could not remember if they were from HKU. Kao, a member of the Central Policy Unit, told RTHK she “would not rule out” the possibility she had raised Chan’s case with some people “over lunch or tea” – but she said she could not remember who they were or whether they sat on the HKU council. She denied exerting pressure but could not be reached to clarify her position last night. // Source: SCMP
    // The Chief Executive’s Office has denied a report that said Leung Chun-ying interfered in the selection of the next pro-vice chancellor at the University of Hong Kong. In a brief statement, it said an Apple Daily report that the CE had barred former law dean Johannes Chan Man-mun from taking the job was untrue. // Source: The Standard
  3. Johannes Chan calls for review of government’s universities role. Speaking at the University of Cambridge as a visiting professor, Chan said that the government’s role in higher education should be reviewed. // Chan refused to comment on alleged government interference over the possible appointment, saying he knew little about it because he had been largely away from Hong Kong since July last year. However, he said the government’s sway over public universities in the city was questionable. “The government has considerable power over governance of tertiary institutions, and it doesn’t seem right,” Chan said. “For example, why should the chief executive be the chancellor of all [public] universities?” Chan said the role of the chief executive as chancellor was not clear and raised questions on whether it was appropriate that some of the university’s council members were government-appointed. “Universities should be accountable because they are publicly funded, but there are different ways of accountability, and that is something that we have to think of, about the system itself,” // Source: SCMP

 Hong Kong University voted to quit Hong Kong Federation of Students

  1. SCMP: Federation of Students suffers biggest split in 57-year history as HKU quits over Occupy. // Hong Kong’s oldest and most politically influential student body, which organised the sit-ins that acted as a catalyst for last year’s Occupy turmoil, suffered the most significant split in its 57-year history yesterday when one of its biggest bloc of members voted to leave. University of Hong Kong students voted narrowly in favour of quitting the Hong Kong Federation of Students in a referendum sparked by a groundswell of support for the so-called localist movement, which to varying degrees supports Hong Kong independence and believes the federation’s core mission to “build a democratic China” diminishes its ability to represent the interests of the city. The referendum took place amid concerns of possible tension between local and mainland students on campus. This month a state-backed newspaper claimed there was a “McCarthyite trend” of criticism against mainland student Eugenia Yip, who was running in student-union elections at the university. Yip lost her bid to become the union’s social secretary yesterday. The Global Times was referring to Joseph McCarthy’s infamous anti-communist crusades in 1950s America. // Source: SCMP
  2. Apple Daily’s Lee Yee: Lessons for Pan-Dems (港大退聯應引發所有民主政團思考 ) // HKU’s referendum confirms its departure from HKFS offers some important lessons to the pan-dems in Hong Kong.
    i. Localism is a natural trend in the democratic progression in Hong Kong. Although political parties and organisations that have contributed to the democratic progression in Hong Kong or China have won historical “political halos” and resources, they have to review their directions or they will be left behind in this unstoppable wave of localism.
    ii. A democratic movement is not a goal to be imposed upon society as a whole, but something that needs to be created within one’s organisations. Only with a well-established democratic system, can an organisation have the legitimacy and power to continue playing a role in the society-wide democratic struggle. Otherwise, their “halos” are only good for display and self-indulgence in past “victories”. // Source: Translation by TheRealNewsHK

 Survey found two thirds of young Hongkongers wouldn’t consider working on the Mainland

  1. //But China, despite the fact that it is our closest neighbour and – according to the International Monetary Fund – has the world’s largest and fastest growing economy, isn’t seen as a land of opportunity by people in our city. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Many young Hongkongers really don’t see China as a good place to settle and work, according to a new survey carried out by CUHK. The survey asked just over 1,000 HK residents aged between 18 and 29, all of whom had never worked in China before, about their attitudes on the idea of working in the Mainland. Of those asked, a whopping 65 percent said they would never consider working in the PRC. Only 4.9 percent of respondents had ever actively tried to look for a job in China. According to a separate report by the Planning Department, the number of cross-boundary workers in Hong Kong (those who are aged 15 and over, and who travel over the border at least four times a week) dropped from 49,200 in 2011 to 41,400 last year. So, what’s the reason for these negative opinions of working in China? The statistics are interesting, if on the whole unsurprising. China’s hardly had a good year in terms of PR in Hong Kong, with ongoing concerns over press freedom and censorship compounded by the strength of feeling behind the Occupy pro-democracy movement. Then there are the cultural differences. An overwhelming number – more than half the respondents – blamed ‘societal aspects of mainland China’ for their decision to not consider working in the country. A further 18 percent pinned their decision on being ‘not accustomed to living in the Mainland’ and then a good chunk, 15.1 percent, simply blamed ‘holding negative attitudes towards mainland China’. // Source: TimeOut Hong Kong
  2. The report ‘Attitudes of Hong Kong Youth towards Seeking Employment in Mainland China’ was published by the Bauhinia Foundation Research Centre, which commissioned Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies of the Chinese University of Hong Kong to conduct the survey among 1,001 local young people aged 18 to 29, who have no working experience in the Mainland. The survey was conducted from 28 August 2014 to 27 September 2014. It reveals that 64.7% of young respondents are unwilling to seek employment in mainland China. Only 4.9% of all respondents show a willingness to seek employment in the Mainland have actually taken concrete action in this direction. Source: Bauhinia Foundation

 

Taiwan

 Taiwan indicts 118 Sunflower protesters

  1. // Protest leaders including Huang Kuo-chang, a scholar, and Lin Fei-fan, a former graduate student, were charged Monday with counts related to the 23-day occupation of Taiwan’s legislature, including obstructing official business and inciting others to commit criminal acts. A total of 118 people face charges, including 93 people for an hourslong effort to expand the protests by taking over Taiwan’s main government administrative building on March 23. The police used clubs and water cannons to clear the demonstrators, the most violent clash of the Sunflower Movement protests, with nearly 200 injured. Four people were charged with surrounding a police station on April 11, when the main body of protesters left the legislature. // Source: NY Times

 Taiwan identity rises to new high under President Ma

  1. // 台灣政治大學最新的民調顯示,在台灣總統馬英九7年任期內,反映台灣人身分認同的「台灣人認同指數」一路上升,甚至比大力倡議台獨的民進黨總統陳水扁執政時期更高;此外,民眾也愈來愈傾向獨立。有台灣學者指出,對大陸有感情的一代人已經逐漸凋零,在陳水扁「去中國化」政策下成長起來的人也已成年,加之馬英九政府宣傳不足,都是民調有此結果的原因。
    根據台灣政治大學選舉研究中心的調查資料顯示,「台灣人認同指數」從1992年的負9%,增加到2000年的24.4%,2007年的38.3%,及2012年的50.6%,2014年再繼續增加到57.1%。政大選研中心從1992年開始,長期針對台灣地區民眾的統獨立場、政黨認同及台灣人認同進行調查。
    2014年底調查結果,認同自己是台灣人的比例為60.6%,認同自己是台灣人也是中國人的比例為32.5%,認同自己是中國人的比例為3.5%。將台灣人認同的比例減去中國人認同比例成為「台灣人認同指數」,也就是60.6%減去3.5%,所得為57.1%。這個數字從2000年到2007年,由24.4%增到38.3%,在2014達到57.1%。 另外,在統獨立場上,將支持盡快統一、偏向統一的民意支持度之和,減去盡快獨立與偏向獨立的民意支持度之和,則為「兩岸統獨指數」。此指數數值愈低,顯示受調查者愈傾向獨立。
    「兩岸統獨指數」在1995年達到10.1%的最高點,當時的台灣總統是李登輝,其後便一路下滑到1999年的負0.9%。2000年陳水扁總統上台後,該指數迅速攀升,2001年升高到7.9%,隨後持續下跌到2004年的低點負7.5%,2007年為陳水扁政府時期的最低點負9.6%。馬英九2008年上台後,「兩岸統獨指數」立刻跌到負12.9%的歷史最低點,2014年更成為歷年來「兩岸統獨指數」最低的時期。// Source: Mingpao
  2. HKU also conducts a poll on Hongkongers’ acceptance of Taiwan independence. In the past 7 years, support for Taiwan independence in Hong Kong has increased rapidly. Source: HKU POP

 

Publications

 

  1. In the New York Times magazine, Lauren Hilgers reviews the origins and development of the Umbrella Movement and the lasting impact it has had on participants. Source: New York Times
  2. Didi Kirsten Tatlow and Michael Forsythe report on a regressive attitude toward women in business in China. // [T]he economic boom that has created opportunities for women has also fostered a resurgence of long-repressed traditional values. More and more men and women say a woman’s place is in the home, wealthy men take mistresses in a contemporary reprise of the concubine system, and pressure for women to marry young is intense. In the office, Socialist-era egalitarianism has been replaced by open sexism, in some cases reinforced by the law. “The media has been publicizing individual cases of successful women, but over all there isn’t space for women to develop in the economic realm,” said Feng Yuan, a prominent Chinese feminist. “Women’s status has not improved, and in some areas has regressed.” Chinese women are losing ground in the work force compared with men, their representation falling steadily with each rung up the professional ladder. Women make up 44.7 percent of the work force, but just 25.1 percent of people with positions of “responsibility,” according to China’s 2010 census.// Source: New York Times
  3. In an interview conducted in July 2014 with China Law & Policy, Leta Hong Fincher discusses the problem of leftover women in her new book. // I think there is no question that it is a deliberate campaign. If you look at the news reports that Xinhua put out in 2007 and 2008, there are quite a few of them that re-appear over and over and over again over the years and are still re-appearing even in 2013 with only slight changes in the wording. And maybe they will change the picture. So there’s no question that the Propaganda Department wants to get these reports out and is pushing them out continuously. When I looked into the origins of the term, I noticed that in January 2007 China’s State Council issued a population decision which was a very important statement about what they called unprecedented population pressures facing China in part because of the sex ratio imbalance which they described as a real threat to social stability. And they said that China has a problem of so-called low quality of the population which would make it very difficult for China to compete in the global marketplace. So they set a key goal of so-called upgrading population quality. This term “population quality” or [renkou] suzhi (人口素质) can refer to a complex mix of superior genetic make-up, education, a more nurturing environment. The women who are being targeted in this leftover women media campaign are precisely the women who are considered to be of highest quality. So I argue that this campaign is in part an effort to get these highest-quality sort of speak women to marry and have a child for the good of the nation.// Source: China Law and Policy Part 1, Part 2
  4. The Interpreter: Is education the next Hong Kong battleground? // Recent events are starting to clarify exactly how Hong Kong’s governance will be more closely aligned with China: still ‘one country, two systems’, but with the emphasis on the former. […] The most significant impact will be on the education sector. Just as Deng Xiaoping concluded that the attitudes of youth were instrumental in the 1989 movement, so the topic of national education will become a future ‘ideological battleground’, as the state media likes to say. […] There are calls for greater youth appreciation of, and connections to, China. A recent survey suggests only a few percent of Hong Kongers aged 18-29 want to live and work across the border. Schools are being offered funding to institute partnerships with mainland counterparts. A new national cadet program, kitting out kids in PLA uniforms, has raised hackles. // Source: The Interpreter
  5. Jiang Wen interviewed by Deutsche Welle about his movies and his goals in filming it: //In addition to history, Jiang is also obsessed with the quest for truth. “The leading character in this film is somebody who is unable and also unwilling to help the world move in the direction of fakery. He is somebody who wants to seek out truth. By making this film, I was also trying to find my way towards truth.” “A lot of work being done here is challenging or going against people’s basic assumptions. For instance, the high status of the prostitute. Changing people’s preconceptions is something you have to do in order to search for truth. Of course normally that’s not done because it also challenges social stability and stories, as a result, are often told much more simply,” Jiang said. […] After being asked if his latest film is a parody of modern China, he burst into laughter again, saying, “China today is beyond parody. It is already a huge satirical work. Any film you would make about China is going to be a satire of China.” // Source: Deutsche Welle

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