CEFC

Revue de presse du 20 mai 2016

Keywords: Révolution culturelle, économie “en L”, Baidu, réforme des quotas d’entrée à l’université, décès de Lei Yang, police de Pékin, visite de Zhang Dejiang à Hong Kong, “One Belt One Road”, investiture présidentielle à Taiwan.

China

Politics

1. On 50th Anniversary of the Cultural Revolution

 

There have been discussions about the 50th Anniversary of the Cultural Revolution in the society of Mainland China (For example, Yanhuang Chunqiu) amidst the silence of the Central Authority. Media in Hong Kong (see for example, Apple Daily and the Initium in Chinese) and the United States (see for example featured stories by New York Times) are also active in covering this event. While no official commemoration of Cultural Revolution was staged, some recent high-profile shows triggered people’s memory of the characteristics of Cultural Revolution. The official line is finally pronounced recently which indicate the Authority’s resolute objection to the resurgence of the Cultural Revolution as relevant messages are noted on various state-owned media outlets such as the People’s Daily and Global Times. China Digital Times made a summary of various online media outlets with coverage on this topic.

Performance at the Great Hall of the People by the Fifty-Six Flowers Troupe include the red songs of the Cultural Revolution as well praising the current leader Xi Jinping for his great leadership:

  • //A concert that featured “red songs” praising the Communist revolution and Mao Zedong, staged in a style reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution, has sparked controversy and criticism from the daughter of a revolutionary after it was held at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People. […] In a twist late Friday, one of the organisers of the event, the China National Opera and Dance Drama Theatre, said it had been deceived by its partner, which claimed to be from an office under the party’s Central Publicity Department. Photographs of the concert on Monday evening showed performers singing against the backdrop of a huge screen, which flashed images such as photographs of Mao and Xi, as well as propaganda posters from the Mao era, including the Cultural Revolution. Most of the musical scores were so-called red songs praising the party and its leadership, mainly produced during the height of Communist propaganda in the Mao era. Some songs also praised Xi. Some people commenting online drew comparisons between the show and the campaign to promote “red culture” in Chongqing under the city’s disgraced former leader Bo Xilai, who is now serving a life sentence for corruption. One person commented: “This is the role of power at play. They [the people with power] reminisce about it, so they can directly put on a show about it. They are only representing their own interests, which have ­nothing to do with the people’s ­interests.”// Source: SCMP, 06 May 2016.
  • //The performers and organisers of a concert in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing that featured Cultural Revolution “red songs” are refusing to take responsibility for the event. There has been confusion among some members of the public over whether Monday’s concert, given its high-profile location, signalled a political stance or intention in the lead-up to the 50th anniversary of the revolution. […] Referring to statements by the theatre group and the Xicheng office, troupe leader Chen Guang said that if “both statements are correct, then we’re victims as well”. He denied the concert was aimed at praising the Cultural Revolution. “There were nearly 6,000 people in the audience. No one would have linked it to the Cultural Revolution. […] A source close to the situation said there were 300 performers in the show, but no high-profile officials attended except a few from the Communist Party propaganda department. Some observers said the concert was a continuation of the main themes that emerged out of the Spring Festival Gala organised by the state broadcaster. “The show may be seen as a continuation of [this year’s] Spring Festival Gala,” said Zhang Lifan, an outspoken commentator, referring to the five-hour-long show by China Central Television in February.// Source: SCMP, 08 May 2016.

Commentary on the Global Times:

  • //Discussions over China’s Cultural Revolution have been emerging on the Internet. The decade-long internal chaos was a huge disaster. It is thus normal to hear people talking about it on the 50th anniversary of this movement. On the other hand, however, such discussions cannot be treated as a cleavage in people’s ideological understanding. Chinese society shares much more consensus than divergences in terms of the way we see this part of history. Resolution on certain questions in the history of our party since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, adopted in 1981 by the Communist Party of China (CPC), made the authoritative conclusion of the utter denial of Cultural Revolution. Since then, generations of Chinese leaders have all firmly stuck to the conclusion of the resolution. Completely denying the values of the Cultural Revolution is not only an understanding throughout the party, but also a stable consensus of the whole of Chinese society. Since the 18th National congress of the CPC, as well as the development of the “Four Comprehensives” strategy, China is getting increasingly closer to the goal of realizing the modernization of country despite ups and downs. It is not possible for such a revolution to be repeated. The decade of calamity caused severe damage, leaving permanent pain for many Chinese. Entirely denying the values of the Cultural Revolution will help Chinese society remain vigilant against the danger of all kinds of disorder.// Source: Global Times, 17 May 2016.

Chinese original text of the commentary on the People’s Daily:

  • //党的十一届六中全会通过了《关于建国以来党的若干历史问题的决议》,对新中国成立以来的一系列重大历史问题作出正确结论,彻底否定了“文化大革命”和“无产阶级专政下继续革命的理论”,实事求是地评价了毛泽东同志的历史地位,充分论述了毛泽东思想作为党的指导思想的伟大意义。这个决议对“文革”的政治定性和原因分析,经受住了实践的检验、人民的检验和历史的检验,具有不可动摇的科学性和权威性。“文化大革命”是一场由领导者错误发动、被反革命集团利用,给党、国家和各族人民带来严重灾难的内乱,造成的危害是全面而严重的。历史已充分证明,“文化大革命”在理论和实践上是完全错误的,它不是也不可能是任何意义上的革命或社会进步。我们党对自己包括领袖人物的失误和错误历来采取郑重的态度,一是敢于承认,二是正确分析,三是坚决纠正,从而使失误和错误连同党的成功经验一起成为宝贵的历史教材。《历史决议》把“文化大革命”时期同作为政治运动的“文化大革命”区分开来,把“文化大革命”的错误理论与实践同这十年的整个历史区分开来,有力回击了借否定“文化大革命”来否定党的历史、否定党的领导和社会主义制度的错误观点。 […] 我们一定要牢牢记取“文革”的历史教训,牢牢坚持党对“文革”的政治结论,坚决防范和抵制围绕“文革”问题来自“左”的和右的干扰,既不走封闭僵化的老路,也不走改旗易帜的邪路,而要毫不动摇走中国特色社会主义道路。// Source: The People’s Daily, 17 May 2016.

2. State-owned Media criticized by the Cyberspace Administration of China for its hawkish stand over Taiwan

 

  • //Criticism Reported by the Cyberspace Administration of China: We spoke with the management of the Global Times and Global Times Online on May 9. During this sensitive time leading up to May 20, Global Times Online published a large public opinion survey on the Taiwan question, showing 85% of respondents in support of unifying Taiwan by force, 58% of whom believe that the best time to do so would be within the next five years. This survey has been sensationalized by Taiwanese and international media. Taiwanese internet users have reacted furiously. This move seriously violates journalistic discipline, as it could easily generate adverse effects and political ramifications. All websites should learn a lesson from this and not conduct public opinion surveys. […] The Global Times is a tabloid run by the People’s Daily. In February, Xi Jinping toured state media headquarters to publicly emphasize the message that official media must “speak for the Party.” In April, Chinese diplomat Wu Jianmin criticized Global Times editor Hu Xijin for the paper’s “extreme” articles and hawkish foreign policy stances. Hu himself has frequently been the target of netizen mockery for his nationalistic positions, earning him the nickname of “Frisbee Hu” for his ability to “catch” the Party’s spin.// Source: China Digital Times, 13 May 2016.

Economy

3. Economic policy unchanged

 

People’s Daily interviewed an “authoritative source” who reveals that the government is prepared to face “L shaped” economy for China. Such situation will persist for some years. At first, it creates rumours about whether such description of the economic prospect spoken by an anonymous figure is a sign of deviation from the Xi Jinping’s economic policy of supply-sided economic reform. Analysts suggest that this is not the case.

  • //本报记者近日再次独家采访了权威人士,为中国经济问诊把脉。经济运行的总体态势符合预期,有些亮点还好于预期。但经济运行的固有矛盾没缓解,一些新问题也超出预期。很难用“开门红”“小阳春”等简单的概念加以描述。综合判断,我国经济运行不可能是U型,更不可能是V型,而是L型的走势。这个L型是一个阶段,不是一两年能过去的“退一步”为了“进两步”。我国经济潜力足、韧性强、回旋余地大,即使不刺激,速度也跌不到哪里去。[…] 我们希望进的方面,也有了新进展。服务业比重继续提升,新模式、新业态竞相涌现,一些高附加值、高技术含量的产品快速增长,居民消费不断升级,“五一”小长假国内旅游火爆,长三角、珠三角等主动适应新常态、注重需求分析、追求创新和质量效益的地区,经济增长的稳定性加强。尤其是各地区各部门对供给侧结构性改革重要性的认识不断提高,按照中央的要求主动开展工作,成效正在逐步显现。然而,不可否认,我们面临的固有矛盾还没根本解决,一些新的问题也有所暴露。“稳”的基础仍然主要依靠“老办法”,即投资拉动,部分地区财政收支平衡压力较大,经济风险发生概率上升。特别是民营企业投资大幅下降,房地产泡沫、过剩产能、不良贷款、地方债务、股市、汇市、债市、非法集资等风险点增多。// Source: People’s Daily, 09 May 2016.

Commentator Liu Shengjun (刘胜军) from Caixin suggests that the new publication to guide and consolidate public expectation in supply-side economic reform, which is yet fully implemented.  He also argued that the new direction is correct from an economic perspective:

  • //权威人士此次发声,恰逢中国经济一季度数据引发争议的时刻:一方面部分指标的改善令部分人欣喜“小阳春”,但亦有不少专家担忧反弹缺乏质量,可能引发风险上升。更重要的是,虽然中央明确了“供给侧结构性改革”作为主线,但对改革如何执行、能否执行依然存在不少争论。经济学家吴敬琏最近说,“我们现在确实有很好的顶层设计,但是好像没有办法贯通”。换言之,对供给侧结构性改革依然缺乏足够的共识和明晰的预期。随着19大的临近,政治周期与经济周期的互动也会成为新的影响因素。2016,中国经济步入危机后的第8个年头,但围绕中国经济的疑问和困惑不减反增。在这种格局下,如何引导社会预期就显得至关重要。因此,习近平主席在2016年4月底就明确表示,“随着供给侧结构性改革不断推进,会有一些职工下岗”。[…]权威人士对L型走势的冷静判断、对货币刺激不可取的鲜明态度、对“去杠杆”的高度关切,或许会被市场解读为“利空”。但有了权威人士富有理性、专业性和逻辑性的思考,中国经济政策才能保持定力,避免一惊一乍,形成稳定、可预期的政策环境,这才是真正的利好!// Source: Caixin, 11 May 2016.

The use of “authoritative source” but not the real name of any leaders has stirred up some rumours about the division of economic policy within the core of power, but Commentator Wang Xiangwei from SCMP argued that the appearance of another piece on the People’s Daily signals the policy by Xi Jinping is in command:

  • //On Monday, the mouthpiece controlled by the Communist Party’s Central Committee carried a long question and answer “interview” with an unnamed “authoritative” source, repudiating the country’s debt-fuelled growth policies. On Tuesday, it published the text of a long speech by President Xi Jinping expounding his hallmark economic policy which focused on supply-side structural reforms – 20,000 words in all that occupied two pages in the newspaper. Xi gave the speech to top Chinese officials back in January, but the timing of the publication sent an unmistakable message. Taken together, the articles signal that Xi has decided to take the driver’s seat to steer China’s economy at a time when there are intense internal debates among officials over its overall direction – namely whether to continue to resort to the old ways of deploying massive stimulus resulting in overproduction and high debt levels, or to undertake painful restructuring to reduce overcapacity and close down “zombie” enterprises. […] The two articles suggested that Xi appeared determined to bet on painful restructuring instead of seeking short but unsustainable growth, something that Chinese leaders have said repeatedly over the past few decades but have made little progress in achieving. As some economists have pointed out, Xi’s emphasis on supply-side reforms is part of a global trend and also reflects his political aim to put more pressure on vested interest groups, including local officials and state-owned enterprises after his harsh crackdown on rampant official corruption. Indeed, to push through Xi’s reforms means that many “zombie” enterprises will be forced to close down, which could contribute to unemployment and social instability. The admission that the trajectory of China’s economic growth will continue to be “L-shaped” in the next few years validated the fears of many international investors including George Soros and will heighten international pessimism over the Chinese economy.// Source: SCMP, 16 May 2016.

4. Market Economy Status in WTO not supported by the European Union

 

The Parliament of European Union in a non-binding resolution refuses to grant Market Economy Status to China after 15 years of China’s accession to World Trade Organization (WTO) before the dumping issue is resolved.

  • //The European Union may choose to maintain defensive trade ­measures while eventually ­approving market economy ­status to China, diplomats and economists say, even after such a move was rejected informally by European lawmakers last week. In a non-binding resolution passed on Thursday by 546 votes to 28, with 77 abstentions, the European Parliament said it “strongly opposed” the status being conferred to China later this year and underscored an “imminent need” to reform Europe’s anti-dumping laws. Chinese observers have warned that European trade protectionism may become severe ahead of general elections next year in major European countries like France and Germany. […] The European Parliament must decide by the end of the year whether or not to grant market economy status to China. If it does, the move will deprive the EU of the right to use the third-party criteria in alleged anti-dumping probes to compare the prices of Chinese goods, so would not be able to impose high punitive ­duties on Chinese products ­involved. […] French ambassador to China Maurice Gourdault-Montagne said in March that the EU was studying how to clarify the anti-dumping provisions in China’s WTO accession agreement to protect itself from unfair competition and possible dumping. The European Parliament claimed that China’s exports, especially in sectors with chronic overcapacity such as steel, had caused “strong social, economic and environmental consequences in the EU”. Wei Jianguo, a former Chinese vice-commerce minister and now deputy head of a think tank affiliated with the National Development and Reform Commission, said the issue of China’s market economy status “had long been politicised” and that the European Parliament resolution may be have been an attempt to ease domestic opposition. He warned against rising trade protectionism amid upcoming elections in the US and EU countries.// Source: SCMP, 14 May 2016.

Prof. Shi Zhiqin from the Tsinghua University argues in one article on the Diplomat that populism hampers the advantages of granting China the Market Economy Status by the EU:

  • //In the 15 years since China’s accession to the WTO the flows of commerce between the EU and China have expanded substantially. Populists have used the EU’s rising trade deficit with China to accuse Beijing of mercantilism and unfair trade tactics, and call for a “fortress Europe.” To bolster their arguments they intentionally exclude reference to the EU’s record exports to China, which have created millions of jobs and promoted European welfare. They have also declined to acknowledge China’s support for the EU during the eurozone crisis, which took the form of direct investments and portfolio investments in sovereign bonds of EU states under economic distress, as well as high-level statements by former Premier Wen Jiabao and current Premier Li Keqiang. […] The MES crisis offers an inflection point in Sino-EU relations. The MES will not be resolved by technical imperative; the solution must be political and strategic. On practical terms, acknowledging the impact to the European steel industry China must agree with the EU on a special transitory period to deal with steel overcapacity in a way that does not involve dumping steel in Europe and crowding out EU producers. Perhaps China and the EU could negotiate some sector agreements for a transition period to market status, including sectors where China clearly isn’t operating according to market signals. This would be a win-win as China would promote efficiency and the EU would save jobs during an already long crisis with record unemployment.// Source: The Diplomat, 15 March 2016.

Society

5. Update on the social controversy over the death of Wei Zexi

 

After the investigation, a report was released and Baidu was ordered to carry out an overhaul of its “bid ranking“ business model and streamline medical information it provides:

  • //A team of investigators from the CAC, the State Administration of Industry and Commerce, and the National Health and Family Planning Commission was dispatched to Baidu on May 2. They found Baidu’s search results did influence Wei’s choices of medical treatment, and specified areas in which Baidu needs to change. The search-engine must eschew the current model of paid listings and stop ranking search results solely according to price-tags. It needs to propose and implement a new listing mechanism which places the heaviest weight on credit-worthiness of products and organizations, the investigators said. They asked Baidu to clearly label advertisements, and feature a risk reminder; and to restrict the share of commercials in search results to less than 30 percent of each screen page. Baidu was also ordered to streamline its commercial services regarding the medical industry. Such information featured must be pulled off should it break regulations, and medical institutions unaccredited by industry regulators should not be commercially promoted. The investigators also required Baidu to respond to Internet users’ tip-offs regarding imprudent content, and to compensate them for any losses stemming from misleading information. The CAC said it will tighten regulation of the country’s Internet search services and crack down on false medical advertising online.// Source: Xinhua, 09 May 2016.

Commentator Wang Wenwen from the state-owned media Global Times argues that it reflects the loopholes in China’s Internet governance that inserts necessary supervision and controls to ensure corporate responsibility of the technological giants in response to the call for bringing back Google:

  • //After the latest scandal, many netizens have urged allowing competitors, such as Google, to operate so as to regulate Baidu’s behavior. Google was fined $500 million by the US government over advertising it allowed from fraudulent pharmacies. Google now needs to use a verification program created by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) which is used to weed-out rogue online drug sellers and connects to the data supplied by the US Food and Drug Administration. Issues such as paid listings have been brewing for years, and a tragedy involving all these issues has inevitably erupted. This reflects the loopholes in China’s Internet governance. Although China’s Internet enterprises are enjoying a boom thanks to the popularity of technology, their sense of social responsibility and corporate values did not advance with the times. Without necessary supervision and controls, even if Google is allowed to operate in China, it may become another Baidu that can trade moral standards for maximizing profit.// Source: Global Times, 05 May 2016.

On another front, a report on the Second Hospital of Beijing Armed Police Corps was also released. The hospital in question was ordered to terminate any collaboration with the private medical company, to stop all the profit-making projects, to streamline all advertisements related to the Hospital, to punish related staff, and lastly, to promote education and discipline.

  • //调查认为,武警二院存在科室违规合作、发布虚假信息和医疗广告误导患者和公众、聘用的李志亮等人行为恶劣等问题。调查组责成武警二院及其主管部门采取以下措施立即整改:一是立即终止与上海柯莱逊生物技术有限公司的合作。同时,对其他合作项目运行情况进行集中梳理清查,停止使用未经批准的临床医疗技术。按照中央军委《关于军队和武警部队全面停止有偿服务活动的通知》要求,对所有合作项目立即终止;对全院聘用医务人员从业资质进行逐一核查,对发现的问题立即按规定整改。二是彻底整治涉及武警二院的虚假信息和医疗广告,合作方立即终止与有关媒体公司的合同,停止发布虚假信息、各类广告和不实报道;严格按照原解放军总后勤部、国家工商行政管理总局、原卫生部等五部门《关于禁止以军队名义发布医疗广告的通知》要求,对涉及部队医疗机构的各类广告、信息推广以及宣传进行全面彻底清理,积极配合有关部门进行监测,坚决查处、严肃处理。三是对涉事的医务人员依据有关规定,由其主管部门实施吊销医师执业证书等行政处罚和纪律处分;对涉嫌违法犯罪的,移送司法机关处理。四是在武警二院开展依法执业宣传教育和纪律整顿,完善规章制度,规范执业行为,加强内部管理,改进行业作风,彻底扭转管理混乱问题。同时,以此为鉴,举一反三,加强全系统依法执业管理,全面强化行业作风建设,快速、彻底清理整顿医疗合作项目。// Source: Xinhua, 09 May 2016.

For the details of the development of Putian Clan, please find it here from the China News (English Edition) or an excerpt below.

  • //Statistics from the National Health and Family Planning Commission show that as of October, 10,877 private hospitals were operating in China, and of those, about 8,000 were run by people from Putian, where more than 60,000 residents are engaged in the medical and healthcare industries. […] In the early 1980s, during a stint in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, an experienced barefoot doctor taught Chen a special treatment for scabies, a painful, infectious condition caused by mites that burrow under the skin. At the time, scabies was widespread and extremely difficult to cure, but the treatment, which used a combination of nitric acid, mercury and vinegar, turned out to be an effective weapon in the barefoot doctors’ arsenal, Chen recalled. The medicine, which sold for 2 yuan (32 US cents) a bottle cost only 0.2 yuan to make. Its popularity meant that Chen could make about 200 yuan a day at a time when public servants earned about 30 yuan a month. […] In the 1990s, they formed companies and started to sign contracts with public hospitals to run specific departments, such as andrology – or male, and especially sexual, health – and dermatology, Zhan said. Although the mode, known as the “hospital within a hospital” system, was copied countless times across the nation, the uniformly high treatment costs provoked controversy. In 1998, Wang Hai, a vigilante consumer advocate, launched a probe into the medical sector, and later published a report in which he claimed that the practitioners from Putian sold 10-yuan bottles of STD treatment for 200 yuan. The report also questioned their eligibility and qualifications after healthy patients were diagnosed with STDs in the “hospital within hospital” system. Wang’s investigation was followed by a series of media reports that exposed fraudulent activities in hospital departments operated by Putian-based entrepreneurs in a number of cities, and concluded that the episodes had severely damaged the credibility of public hospitals. In 2000, the State Council issued guidelines forbidding public hospitals from signing “hospital within a hospital” contracts or cooperating on projects with the companies. […] In 2009, the State Council issued a circular to encourage private capital to set up hospitals. A year later, to promote the development of private hospitals, the government published proposals to gradually abolish restrictions on the amount of equity that foreign capital is allowed to own in each project. In April, the State Council gave private hospitals the right to set prices for diagnoses and treatments, processes that had previously been government-controlled. Against such a backdrop, it’s unsurprising that building the brands of private hospitals and clinics has been high on the agenda of Putian’s medical entrepreneurs.// Source: China News (English Edition), 17 June 2014.

6. Protests over the re-allocation of university admission quota

 

On 4 May, The Ministry of Education and the National Development and Reform Commission jointly announced the plan (关于做好2016年普通高等教育招生计划编制和管理工作的通知) to re-allocate university admission quota across provinces in the name of achieving a fairer university enrolment system at the national level. However, parents in both Jiangsu Province and Hubei Province, two o ut of fourteen “contributing” provinces/cities, staged protests against the plan, worrying about reducing the chance of university admission for their children whose household registrations are in the two provinces and citing it as another kind of unfairness. For pictures of the protest, please find them here prepared by ImagineChina.

  • //The Ministry of Education and the National Development and Reform Commission jointly announced the plan early this month to adjust enrolment quotas in an attempt to make admission to top universities more equitable, and reduce the pressure students faced from the college admission test. The central authorities required universities in 14 developed provinces such as Hubei and Jiangsu, and big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, to admit a total of 210,000 students from poorer inland provinces – like Henan, Guangxi, Guizhou and Gansu. Under the plan, universities in Hubei and Jiangsu must offer nearly 80,000 seats to outside students. The parents were quoted by news website ThePaper.cn as saying that less than 10 per cent of local students in Jiangsu would be enrolled in local key universities while a student from Beijing had about a one in four chance. They said they felt angry and confused why universities located in the national capital were allowed to reserve more spots for those students with a Beijing hukou, while students in Hubei and in Jiangsu had to make more room for non-local students. The parents’ concerns were reasonable, according to Huang Wenzheng, a demographer and visiting scholar at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management. The mainland’s college admissions system has long suffered from distortions caused by the residency control system.// Source: SCMP, 15 May 2016.

The Authority’s response to the protests:

  • //Hours after thousands of ­parents took to the streets in Nanjing and Wuhan, the Ministry of Education said late on Saturday night that admissions resulting from college entrance exams in all provinces would steadily increase this year. The statement was aimed at easing parents’ fears that a move to allocate enrolment quotas for non-local students would make it more difficult for their children to find places close to home. Both the ministry and authorities in Jiangsu and Hubei insisted the quotas were aimed at making tertiary education more equitable and would benefit students from less developed inland provinces.// Source: SCMP, 16 May 2016.
  • //专家介绍,对高招生源计划的跨省调控并非始于今年。21世纪教育研究院副院长熊丙奇表示,政策之所以在今年备受关注,是因为首次向社会公开了各省调入和调出的具体人数。熊丙奇说:“实际上这个工作一直在推进,只不过今年把相关数据向社会公开了,让考生、家长、公众了解生源调拨的情况。”按照计划,湖北省和江苏省今年将分别承担40000和38000人的省内招生名额调出计划,引发社会尤其是考生家长广泛关注。以江苏省为例,熊丙奇说,38000人的调出计划为指导性计划,既可安排本科,也可安排专科,目前,江苏省具体安排为本科9000人和专科29000人,具体到一本人数,可能在3000人左右。考虑到今年江苏高考报名人数减少25万,预计今年江苏省高考录取比例将不低于去年,甚至略有提高。[…] 石家庄市二中的这位老师认为,不能光看招生计划数、生源调出量等某一个数字,还要结合今年高考报考人数等因素综合分析。老师说:“(记者:那总体来说可能咱省的孩子升学压力比原来会大一点?)那也不一定,万一今年报考的考生少了呢,你比如少了一万,可能不但没有紧张还富余了呢,对吧,还是得看这分母有多大。现在咱分母也不知道,分子也不知道,高考人数、分数线划到多少,这些可能只有省考试院能解读出来。所以光笼统地看一个数觉得不好分析。”// Source: The Phoenix Media Hubei, 17 May 2016.

Reactions and comments by the parents:

  • //江苏宜兴某中学高三学生家长彭先生说:“教育公平是可以的,要增加其他省份的录取率,但不能用减少江苏考生名额的方式来达到目的,这对江苏考生就是一种不公平,某种意义上来说。[…] 本身江苏高考竞争就很激烈,分数要达到,等级还要达到。江苏考生很辛苦,我现在就是今年高考学生的家长,小孩晚上都要到十一二点,他说有的同学还要晚。江苏教育水平本身也比较高,所以我们有理由给江苏考生更多更好的机会。第三个是发布政策的时间问题,现在距离高考一个月不到的时间,出来这样一个政策,我们都没有表达合理诉求的时间,为什么不能早点出来,让我们有个接受、理解的时间。”家长赵女士说:“高考本来就是竞争压力蛮大的,作为我们家长,能让自己小孩上到好的学校,心里肯定好。现在这种情况,作为我们普通老百姓来讲,我们其实首先应该保证我们省内的。”家长袁女士说:“站在国家的角度,孩子的生源减少了。站在我孩子的角度,我觉得好像有种不公平,你可以把西部地区的来委培,来定向,为什么一定要占用我们的指标呢?”还有一名学生家长说:“我的小孩今年正是高三毕业生,刚刚听到这个消息,作为家长,我们还是很有失落感的,因为我们江苏的考生,竞争压力本来就蛮大的,特别是临考阶段让孩子们得知这样的消息,我想对他们也是有冲击力的。但是我又想,国家既然出台了这项政策,我们作为家长还是要拥护的意识,我目前要做的就是,帮助孩子正视现实,好好的舒解压力,以积极的心态来面对高考。”湖北和江苏,这是两个本身就竞争激烈的地方,现在的消息让很多学生和家长感到:雪上加霜。学子们的失落心情可想而知。据一位当地的老师朋友说:她的学生中,有个女生哭了几次,后来竟然就不去学校了。在高考关键期知道这个消息,确实不太容易接受。// Source: The Phoenix Media Hubei, 17 May 2016.

Analysts’ comments:

Another commentator from the China’s Phoenix Media Chu Yin (储殷) also argues that the problem with the plan goes beyond whether it is actually reducing the chance for local exam candidates, for example, lack of sufficient public discussion, sensitive timing to announce such policy 10 days before the start of the high-school examination, and lack of communication with the public to explain:

  • //[在]涉及重大公众利益的问题上,充分的讨论与公开是最起码的要求。令人遗憾的是,在该政策制定的过程中,有关部门显然缺乏对于公众的尊重,也缺乏公开决策过程的意愿。关于调整名额的决定是如何出台的,调整幅度是如何确立的,直到今天大多数民众还是一头雾水。即便这一政策是合理的,这种机关大楼之中几十人如同划蛋糕一样来决定千万人命运的决策过程也令人难以接受。[…] 从政策推行的时机上而言,这一政策显然选择了一个错误的时机。制度之治绝不仅仅意味着以制度的名义治理社会。优良的制度最重要的价值在于能够给人以合理的期待利益。在高考仅剩几十天的情况之下,突然变动录取名额,这不仅意味着围绕这一名额进行准备的大批考生的期待利益可能受到了严重侵害,而且很可能对于参加考试的学生群体的心理造成严重影响。[…] 从政策沟通的方式来讲,此次政策的推出,在与公众沟通方面显然存在重大失误。在任何可能引起社会危机的政策出台之前,社会治理者要把工作做在危机之前,而不是危机之后。可我们的有关部门显然更希望通过偷偷摸摸的方式混过去,可是在新媒体高度发达的今天,哪里有能混过去的可能。事实上消息一经公布,多地爆发群体性事件,而有关部门显然对此缺乏准备,不仅应对软弱无力,而且爆出了发言人子女在国外读书,无需参加本省高考的重大丑闻。// Source: Phoenix Media, 15 May 2016.

Professor at various universities share his views:

  • //Analysts said despite steps to promote transparency in enrolment, authorities had failed to tackle the root of the problem and there was discontent nationwide. “Apparently, authorities are not very sensitive and have failed to solicit public opinion before announcing such a change,” Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the 21st Century Education ­Research Institute, said. Analysts said despite mounting public pressure, educational reform had largely been hindered by bickering between local and state authorities and the centrally planned economy mindset. “Education reforms, which should be regarded as part of social justice, have been under ­intense public scrutiny,” said Professor Mao Shoulong at Renmin University of China. “But unfortunately, education authorities have chosen to stick to decades-old highly centralised college admission practices and shown little appetite for market-oriented reforms,” he said.// Source: SCMP, 16 May 2016.

7. A young man mysteriously died after having been taken into custody by the Police in Beijing

 

  • //A group of former students from a top university in Beijing is calling for a thorough investigation into the death of a graduate following his arrest for allegedly soliciting a prostitute. Public pressure and suspicions over the death of Lei Yang in the capital over the weekend are mounting, prompted by differing police accounts of the arrest and a lack of an explanation over how the man died. An online petition launched by alumni at Renmin University, where Yang, 29, graduated with a master’s degree in environmental science in 2009, said the authorities’ claim he died while trying to escape arrest by plain-clothes police officers was unconvincing. “It is hard to believe that Yang, as a father of a newborn, would solicit prostitution while heading to the airport [to fetch a relative],” the petition said. […] Prominent criminal lawyer Chen Youxi said Changping police should withdraw from the investigation and hand it over to others as they appeared to have broken the law themselves. “Even if Lei really did pay for a prostitute’s service, he would still not be a criminal. In China, there is no such offence as soliciting prostitutes,” Chen said. “One could be placed under security detention for soliciting prostitutes [which is liable for administrative punishment], but plain-clothes police should carry the appropriate paperwork [to make arrests].” […] Xing Yongrui, deputy chief for Dongxiaokou police office in Changping, said Lei had destroyed a phone and it had taken 20 minutes for several plain-clothes officers to apprehend Lei. Xing said Lei jumped from the police car while it was stationary, landing with his feet first. “After we brought him back to the vehicle, Lei stopped resisting and we were returning to the office when we discovered he was feeling ill and rushed him to a hospital instead,” Xing said.// Source: SCMP, 11 May 2016.
  • //29-year-old Changping, Beijing resident Lei Yang died while in policy custody last weekend. There were major discrepancies between the story given to his family, and his family’s knowledge of his whereabouts—the latter suggesting that visiting a prostitute the night of his death was impossible. An earlier propaganda directive from May 10 (also translated by CDT) ordered coverage to adhere to official standards. The story sparked outrage online, and there has been suspicion of official use of the “water army” to steer public opinion on the case: CDT Chinese earlier reported on many comments expressing support for the police—some even condoning death as a punishment for visiting prostitutes—from accounts that appeared less than authentic.// Source: China Digital Times, 12 May 2016.

Commentator Zhu Xuedong from the Beijing News argues that the reason for the huge public outcry is due to the rights awareness of the citizens who want to know the truth but not just to challenge the public power of the Police:

  • //人们关心,那天晚上到底发生了什么。这不仅是家属亲人所关心的,也是公众所关心的。这是成为舆论场热点的基础。进一步激发公众舆论关切的,是对死亡过程发生了什么解释的遮遮掩掩,以及对死者涉嫌嫖娼的用力佐证。在舆论喧嚣的第三天,涉事警方通过北京电视台、人民日报、中央电视台等,较为详细地向公众还原了当日现场,但这种还原,前后不一的细节,却引发了公众舆论更大的质疑和抨击。事实上,涉事警方的每一次解释,都激发了公众舆论的强烈反弹。[…] 事实上,雷洋死亡事件中,公众舆论对于涉事警方事后解释的质疑,针对的是涉事警方回应中的疑点,而不是一概的不信——涉事警方在事关一条人命所公 开回应的言论和提供的证据,无论在事实证据链条上、还是在逻辑链条上,都存在明显的前后矛盾和疑点,超越公众常识,公众舆论质疑的,还仅仅是这些疑点,谈 不上质疑公权力。公众舆论关切这样的案件,还有一个非常重要的原因,是公众权利意识的觉醒。中国社会走到今天,一代代的人在奋斗中付出了巨大的代价,才有了中国社会的开放和法治意识的提高,而与之相随的,是公众的权利意识的觉醒。我一直认为,这是中国改革开放以来最大的成就,也是中国能够走向文明未来的基石。// Source: The Beijing News, 12 May 2016.

BBC ‘s commentary argues that the case reflects the fear by the public from the abuse of power by the police, the problem with the unprofessionalism of the police force, and the non-transparency of the public power. All these undermine the credibility of the leaders’ pledge to build a law-based society:

  • //但在公眾場合被「數名便衣警察」暴力拘押,呼叫求救無果,被強制銬手銬,和家裏親人失聯,隨之突然死在警方拘押之中;隨後在死亡原因得不到有力解釋、本應該有的執法影像證據缺失的情況下,被警方一再在媒體上公開指責「嫖娼」,這些恐怕都是普通公民的噩夢。人命關天是中國古老的成語,是指有關人命的事情關係及重大,不能忽略。這個成語更多是給手中握有權力的人的提醒。不論當時事件當事人對錯,事件曝光後昌平警方避開「非正常死亡」的關鍵問題,對家屬有關雷洋死因質疑和執法監督儀器等問題均不能給出信服的回答之際,一再在公眾媒體上渲染「嫖娼」細節,顯然不是尊重死者、尊重生命的態度。從回顧過去的悲觀角度,長期關注中國社會發展的倫敦國王學院中國研究所主任凱瑞.布朗教授就此對BBC中文網表示,雷洋的案件不幸又讓人重新想起十年或數十年前警察或安保人員違法暴力對待嫌疑人釀成惡果後,又試圖掩蓋真相的歷史。[…]中國公眾就雷洋案提出一系列疑問,涉及到涉案便衣人員是否具有警察資格、警方執法程序是否公正、執法度是否合適等,折射出公眾對中國政府建設法治社會的宏偉目標和社會基層實際狀況落差的態度。[…] 調查結果稱,中國仍然有超過三分之一的被評估城市的法治水平處於不及格狀態,其中包括當地政府信息不夠公開、執法人員素質差、機關人員行政腐敗問題。布朗教授表示,雷洋案件到目前顯示出一種不透明、缺乏追責的狀態,這對公民與國家的關係是具有嚴重破壞性的。雷洋案也反映出在轉型期中國的社會溝通、社會信任的不足。但此案在媒體上受到的關注、家屬、律師的要求,北京檢察機關的介入,也體現在社會公眾和媒體對司法程序的推動下,官方認識到這個案件對法治社會建設整體可能產生的作用。// Source: BBC, 18 May 2016.

In face of the public pressure, the Beijing Police launched an investigation into the case:

  • //Beijing police have launched an investigation into the officers who handled the case of Lei Yang, an environmental scientist who died while in custody. A short statement released through an official social media account of the Beijing public security bureau said the investigation against the officers would be launched in accordance with the law and that the bureau’s enquiries would be thorough.// Source: SCMP, 19 May 2016.

Hong Kong

Politics

1. Zhang Dejiang’s visit to Hong Kong for the forum on “One Belt One Road”

 

The said purpose of Zhang Dejiang’s visit to Hong Kong is to attend the forum on “One Belt One Road”. At the forum he for the first time spelled out the specific roles Hong Kong can play in the project, including utilizing its financial and professional sectors, building up of RMB offshore market for its internationalization and a financial platform for the project, fostering cultural exchange between China and countries along the “One Belt One Road”, and cooperating with the Mainland to open market abroad in the project. For his full speech, please find it here (in Chinese) by Ming Pao Daily.

  • //[t]he nation’s third-highest-ranking leader identifying four key areas for the city to focus on. In his keynote speech yesterday at the Belt and Road Summit, Zhang Dejiang highlighted the professional sectors, financial services, “people-to-people exchanges” and cooperation with the mainland on developing businesses along the land and sea routes connecting China with the rest of Eurasia. It was the first time a mainland leader has spelled out details of the city’s role in the trade initiative first announced by President Xi Jinping in 2013. “The central government … holds the view that Hong Kong possesses a multitude of unique strengths in the development of One Belt, One Road, and is capable of performing such functions that are of high importance,” Zhang said, addressing a local and international audience. The state leader who oversees Hong Kong affairs also called on the city to participate in the nation’s development “more proactively” with Beijing’s backing. […] Zhang also urged deeper economic cooperation between Hong Kong and the mainland in going global together, which he said would benefit both sides. […] Zhang also advised the city to take the advantage of its status as a prominent offshore renminbi trade settlement centre, provide financing for infrastructure projects and offer insurance and reinsurance services.// Source: SCMP, 17, May 2016.
  • //香港如何在“一帶一路”中發揮積極作用?張德江稱,一是主動對接“一帶一路”,打造綜合服務平台;二是瞄準資金融通,推動人民幣國際化和“一帶一路”投融資平台建設;三是聚焦人文交流,促進“一帶一路”沿線民心相通;四是深化與內地合作,共同開闢“一帶一路”市場。張德江認為,推動“一帶一路”建設,是繼承歷史遺產、促進全球經濟復甦,能推動區域協同發展,有利於加強人文交流,維護世界和平。// Source: SCMP, 18 May 2016.

Prof. Qiang Shigong from the Law School of Peking University interprets Zhang’s speech as to re-define the role of Hong Kong from “getting into” China to contribute to the reform in the past to assisting China “getting out” to the world in the future under the plan of “One Belt One Road”.

  • //全國人大常委會委員長張德江昨日上午在港出席「一帶一路」高峰論壇時發表主旨演講,表示希望香港充分把握「一帶一路」重大機遇。北京大學法學院教授強世功認為,張德江的講話體現中央對香港定位的調整,由以往「內向」地為內地改革開放作貢獻,轉為幫助內地的經濟和社會文化「走出去」。// Source: MingPao Daily, 19 May 2016.

Meeting with the opposition party the pan-democrats on 18 May:

On another front, Zhang also met opposition party in Hong Kong for the first time together with the Beijing-loyal parties. Four members of legislature from the pro-democracy camp historically met state leader in Hong Kong face-to-face. Analysts propose that the less-than-an-hour meeting is more symbolic than substantial, but it signifies the central committee’s willingness to collect views from the opposition parties in Hong Kong before the onset of the 19th Party Congress as well as the election of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong next year.

  • //The encounter between the pan-democrats and Zhang took place yesterday before a formal banquet hosted by the Hong Kong government in Zhang’s honour, which the pan-democrats boycotted on grounds that direct talks with Zhang were not possible in such a setting. The pre-banquet cocktail ­reception lasted about one hour, longer than the scheduled 40 minutes. Some 20 legislators, district council chairmen and judges were invited. Alan Leong of the Civic Party said he was not discouraged that Zhang had sidestepped many of the questions they raised. “It is something we can build on to move forward. It is the first time since the handover that we pan-democrats, as elected public representatives, can hold talks with a state leader face to face. We are also pleased to note that Zhang seemed to have agreed that there should be more such meetings in the future.” Leong had earlier proposed the idea of setting up a Hongkong affairs conference to maintain direct contact between Beijing leaders and local politicians. […] Nine pro-Beijing lawmakers were at the reception as well. One pro-Beijing lawmaker Ip Kwok-him, of Democratic Alliance for Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said: “The meeting was held in a very honest manner. Zhang had said he would to see more chances to meet representatives from various sectors of Hong Kong.” // Source: SCMP, 18 May 2016.

Ming Pao Daily Editorial on Zhang’s visit:

  • //今次張德江與泛民議員交流,已知是當局主動提出並 推動成事。在全體泛民議員抵制晚宴的情况下,安排小範圍酒會,邀請泛民議員的黨派代表出席,可見當局用心良苦。泛民否決政改方案,與中央嫌隙未彌合,現在 張德江已經是中央領導人,他此行要在港見到泛民議員,這個取態放在歷來中央與泛民的關係審視是別饒意義,起碼釋出中央嘗試對泛民關係解凍的信息。這次「酒 會交流」是回歸以來的重要政治事態,若能持續積極發展,日後會被視為香港政治情勢轉折點的里程碑。其次是政改方案否決之後,本港政治生態愈 趨激化,「自主」、「自決」甚至港獨等冒出或明或暗的分離分裂傾向,成為政治訴求或是個別政團的路線目標。若趨勢發展下去,中央被迫出手處理,「一國兩 制」將不保,香港肯定承受災難性後果。張德江此際主動與泛民黨派代表接觸,即使在交流互動時言語間並無提示或告誡,不過在客觀上應有透過親身接觸,遏止泛 民政團滑向「離心」的考慮。出席小範圍酒會的4名泛民議員,據他們會後向記者交代,已經向張德江提出撤換特首、重啟政改等訴求。姑勿論這些 訴求的邏輯是否成立或合理,酒會短短約50分鐘,還有其他6名議員表達意見,加上張德江須作整體概括回應,因此不會有深入交談;張德江對他們的訴求,也不 可能即席明確回應。可以說,這次交流形式重於實質。另外,若認為一次短暫交流就會取得什麼成果,那個期望也過高了,若視之為日後泛民與中央常態交流溝通的 起步,意義就不一樣。// Source: Ming Pao Daily, 19 May 2016.

Commentary by former editorial-in-chief Kevin Lau Chun Tuo (劉進圖):

  • //全國人大委員長張德江是中共中央港澳工作協調小組的組長,在中央領導層的排名僅次於國家主席習近平和總理李克強,他代表中央政府來港視察訪問期間,4名泛民主派政黨代表獲邀出席交流酒會,當面向張德江表達了對過去數年特區施政作風的批評及撤換特首的要求,這個不尋常的安排相信不是張德江個人的主意,而是受習近平領導的政治局常委會所託,為今年下半年總結香港政經形勢、制訂未來數年治港方針及敲定下屆特首人選作準備。[…] 我們有理由相信,以習近平為首的政治局常委會對於張德江訪港時會晤泛民黨代表,必然是事先知情及同意的,很可能是主動授意的,他們明知道泛民政黨在會晤期間將提出撤換特首的要求,仍屬意張德江與泛民政黨代表見面,是向外界傳達了一個重要的政治信息,即不論中央最後決定誰人當下屆特首,都是在充分知悉香港各界對現屆特首的意見後才作的決定,政治局常委會就此決定考慮的各界意見,包括泛民政黨的意見。// Source: Ming Pao Daily, 19 May 2016.

The security level by the Hong Kong Police for Zhang’s visit is unprecedented:

  • //While the 8,000 officers on duty far outnumbered protesters on the streets, the League of Social Democrats still managed to hang another giant yellow banner calling for “genuine universal suffrage” in Kowloon and release a balloon near the restricted zone in Wan Chai. […] But protesters were kept well away from Grand Hyatt Hotel, where Zhang was staying, and the Convention and Exhibition Centre where he delivered a key speech during the summit on Beijing’s “One Belt, One Road” trade strategy. The visiting state leader also attended a banquet there last night. A top police source told the Post that around 5,000 officers were deployed on Hong Kong Island, while another 3,000 were positioned in other districts, including the Science Park in the New Territories, which Zhang visited in the afternoon. The original plan was to have 6,000 officers protecting him on any given day. “We need more officers as the dangers posed to Zhang are at their highest level today. So many important people are concentrated in one place,” the source said. “As a rule, manpower is needed to handle unforeseeable protests and clashes as we’re now conducting a counterterrorism operation.”// Source: SCMP, 18 May 2016.
  • //Zhang, who chairs the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, is the first state leader to visit Hong Kong since 2012. A police source close to the matter said the officers were from the rural area patrol unit and that the force had stepped up security measures for the chairman. “There was a huge banner hung from the rock in 2014,” the source said. “We have to take precautions before Zhang’s arrival.” […]But he stopped short of revealing what risk a banner would pose and did not share details of the security measures. It was understood that Zhang is scheduled to visit a newly built public housing estate in Kwun Tong district during his stay. Lion Rock became a site of protest during the Occupy movement in 2014 when a group of rock climbers hung a large yellow banner reading “I want real universal suffrage” on the mountain to show support for the pro-democracy movement.// Source: SCMP, 16 May 2016.

Some remarks by Zhang on the judiciary as well as localism:

  • //But in his call for the city to safeguard the rule of law, the chairman of the National People’s Congress singled out the ­judiciary, which he said should implement the law “seriously” and “justly” without tolerating ­offenders. It was not clear if he was ­referring to recent court rulings in favour of some of the activists being prosecuted over the ­Occupy movement of 2014. […] Amid growing pro-independence talk, based on the premise that Hong Kong would only remain intact by being separate from the rest of the country, Zhang said those proponents accounted for only “an extremely small number” of people. “This is not a matter of localism,” he said. “This is secession in the name of localism. “Hong Kong people’s care of their own way of life and set of values ought to be respected.”// Source: SCMP, 18 May 2016.

Protests against Zhang’s visit and for democracy for Hong Kong in various forms:

  • //In the days leading up to his visit, various arms of the Hong Kong government made strict preparations, including planning “counterterrorism” security measures. Still, activists managed to drape a banner over a mountainside rock across the harbor that read, “I Want Genuine Universal Suffrage.” Another, at a construction site along the route taken by Mr. Zhang’s motorcade, said, “End One-Party Dictatorship.” At least seven members of the League of Social Democrats party were arrested on Tuesday in connection with the banners, according to a statement posted on the party’s Facebook page. “Zhang Dejiang owes Hong Kong 299 lives,” it added, referring to the death toll from SARS. “He should beg for Hong Kong people’s forgiveness.”// Source: New York Times, 17 May 2016.
  • //民陣、支聯會、社民連及天主教正義和平委員會今早8時發起遊行,工黨、公民黨、職工盟及街工等多個團體參與,團體會由灣仔家計會出發,遊行至會展。遊行隊伍一度拒絕警方指示,沿在入境大樓的右邊樓梯行至菲林明道公園指定示威區,與警方對峙。警方舉起黃旗示警,亦有搜證小隊拍攝。示威隊伍則要求繼續前行,大嗌「開路」、「我有權示威、我有權進入會展」等口號。 遊行到820分正式啟步,民陣早前已表示,今次遊行無向警方申請不反對通知書,只以電話知會警方。對於是次警方核心保安區覆蓋整個會展,民陣冀可向張德江遞信,稱會盡能力接近會展會場。民陣召集人岑子杰呼籲中共不要干預香港,促請中央撤回人大31決定並重啟政改,稱已委託泛民議員今晚邀請張德江落示威區與他們對話,真正聆聽聲音。// Source: Hong Kong 01, 18 May 2016.
  • //A group of artists are using Kowloon’s International Commerce Centre to stage a large-scale countdown to July 1, 2047. The public art project – kept secret until now – aims at urging Hongkongers to think about the city’s future whilst Chinese state leader Zhang Dejiang visits Hong Kong. The “Countdown Machine” began on Tuesday evening – the day Zhang, China’s No. 3 official, arrived in the city. For one minute every night until June 22, the facade of the tallest building in Hong Kong will be transformed into a countdown timer. Hongkongers will be able to watch the countdown to 2047 in seconds. The date marks the official end to the One Country, Two Systems agreement and is a symbol of the uncertainties over the city’s future.// Source: Hong Kong Free Press, 18 May 2016.
  • //Add Oil Team’s Sampson Wong, however, shed light on how they avoided having the project shut down before it was realised. “Actually, I understand that the ICC has emailed all media telling them that it was not in charge of the exhibition… [or] selecting the work – in my understanding that is accurate,” Wong told HKFP. He added that he understood that there were “clear guidelines saying that no message with political elements could be shown on the ICC.” “We don’t know the internal mechanism – the ICC management always collaborate with different art organisations to organise exhibitions. When they’re working with other units, I think it’s common sense that [the decision-making] takes place at different levels.” “So I don’t know in this case at which level artworks might be censored,” Wong told HKFP, adding that the display went on as usual on Wednesday evening, and that he had yet to receive any news saying that it would be suspended. “It is fair and accurate of [the ICC] to say that it did not directly select the artwork, and we know that it is generally not allowed. We understand that it is the convention, because in other competitions [held at the ICC] these guidelines apply as well… We were told that if something is explicitly political or has any political elements, it would not be shown, so we tried to do it in a subtle way without telling anyone how to interpret it until it happened.”// Source: Hong Kong Free Press, 19 May 2016.

Taiwan

Politics

1. The Inauguration of Tsai Ing-wen as the President of Republic of China on 20 May

 

Mainland China has been pushing Taiwan to stick to the “1992 Consensus” which does not violate the “One China Principle” before the inauguration of the Tsai Ing-wen from the pro-independence DPP as the president on 20 May. The US also took a step forward in support of the DPP as the new ruling party in Taiwan by legislating some former vertical pledges to the country. DPP, since its presidential election campaign, has not been very clear about its stand on the cross-strait relation or only revealed little. In her inauguration speech, she outlined the plan for Taiwan’s next few years in array of issues from economic re-structuring, social safety reform, judicial reform for fairness and justice, to cross-strait relation and international relations.

On 05 May, the People’s Daily published an article titled “Not recognizing the 1992 Consensus is to destroy the common political foundation of the cross-strait relation” (不承认“九二共识”就是破坏两岸关系共同政治基础) which repeatedly emphasizes the importance of the 1992 Consensus as the foundation store of the cross-strait relation as well as the bottom line on the part of the Mainland China.

  • //今年两会期间,习近平总书记明确指出,我们对台大政方针是明确的、一贯的,不会因台湾政局变化而改变。我们将坚持“九二共识”政治基础,继续推进两岸关系和平发展。我们将坚决遏制任何形式的“台独”分裂行径,维护国家主权和领土完整,绝不让国家分裂的历史悲剧重演。习近平总书记的讲话重申了大陆的原则和底线,展现了善意,表明了维护国家主权和领土完整的坚定意志和决心。“九二共识”明确界定了两岸关系的性质,是确保两岸关系和平发展行稳致远的关键。// Source: The People’s Daily, 05 May 2016.

People’s Liberation Army made a military landing drill:

  • //Chinese state media have reported that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has carried out at least three landing exercises on the country’s southeast coast since the beginning of May. The largest drill was conducted in recent days by a regiment under the PLA’s 31st Group Army, which is based in coastal Fujian province, across the strait from Taiwan, the official China Daily newspaper said on Wednesday. China’s Defense Ministry said the drills were intended to increase responsiveness to “security threats”. “These drills are routine arrangements conducted according to annual training plans,” the ministry said in a short statement on its website. “They do not target any specific objective. Relevant individuals should not over-interpret [them],” the ministry said. The ministry made a similar statement after state-media broadcast footage of live-fire military and landing drills just days after the landslide Taiwan election win in January by Tsai and the DPP. Chinese state media have made no mention of Taiwan in the reports on the exercises, though some Chinese domestic media have hinted that the timing might be coordinated ahead of Tsai’s inauguration to deter pro-independence moves.// Source: Reuters, 18 May 2016.

Background of the DPP’s  position in the cross-strait relations and its alliance the United States:

  • //The DPP, which is traditionally hostile to Beijing but friendly to Washington and Tokyo, will replace the Kuomintang as the governing party in Taiwan on Friday, when its leader, Tsai Ing-wen, is sworn in as the island’s leader following her defeat of the mainland-friendly Kuomintang (KMT) in January’s presidential election. […] Over the years, the DPP’s political stance has shifted from opposing dictatorial rule on the island to opposing the mainland on the grounds that Taiwan had been independent since breaking free from half a century of Japanese colonial rule at the end of the Second World War. That pro-independence is anathema to Beijing, and the DPP’s rise to power in 2000, when it first replaced the mainland-friendly KMT as the island’s government, unnerved the mainland. Chen Shui-bian, who was elected president, decided in his second term to resort to provocative moves, hinting at Taiwanese independence, resulting in an escalation of cross-strait tensions. […] On Monday, the US House of Representative passed a concurrent resolution in support of Taiwan, reaffirming the Taiwan Relations Act and the “six assurances” – covering arms sales to Taiwan and the island’s sovereignty – as the cornerstones of US-Taiwan relations. It was the first time the assurances had appeared in written form in a resolution pass by the US Congress. However, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told a press briefing the following day that Washington’s commitment to the “one China policy” and the “three communiques” – which led to the establishment of diplomatic relations with Beijing and the severing of formal diplomatic ties with Taipei – remained unchanged, an indication of support for the cross-strait status quo.// Source: SCMP, 19 May 2016.

The US’s support of DPP-ruled Taiwan:

  • //The US House of Representatives on Monday passed a resolution aimed at boosting relations with Taiwan as members reassured Taipei of Washington’s support. Close observers on Capitol Hill said that the resolution — which triggers no specific action — was in part designed as a goodwill gift to president-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). “It is the sense of [US] Congress that the Taiwan Relations Act and the six assurances together form the cornerstone of US relations with Taiwan,” the resolution read.Since the six assurances were a verbal pledge, this is the first time in history that they have reached the floor of Congress in the form of legislation, Formosan Association of Public Affairs president Peter Chen (陳正義) said. “It adds tremendous weight and momentum to the six assurances and further solidifies the US commitment to Taiwan,” Chen said.// Source: Taipei Times, 18 May 2016.

Below is an excerpt of Tsai’s inauguration speech on 20 May, for the original text in Chinese, please see here prepared by the NewTalk:

  • //I would like to tell you that, regarding the results of the January 16th elections, I have always had one interpretation only. The people elected a new president and new government with one single expectation: solving problems. At this very moment, Taiwan faces a difficult situation that requires its leaders to shoulder the burdens without hesitation. This is something I will not forget. […] To build a better country, going forward, the new administration must accomplish the following tasks. The first is to transform Taiwan’s economic structure. This is the most formidable task that the new administration must take on. […] In order to completely transform Taiwan’s economy, from this moment on, we must bravely chart a different course – and that is to build a “New Model for Economic Development” for Taiwan. The new administration will pursue a new economic model for sustainable development based on the core values of innovation, employment and equitable distribution. The first step of reform is to strengthen the vitality and autonomy of our economy, reinforce Taiwan’s global and regional connections, and actively participate in multilateral and bilateral economic cooperation as well as free trade negotiations including the TPP and RCEP. We will also promote a “New Southbound Policy” in order to elevate the scope and diversity of our external economy, and to bid farewell to our past overreliance on a single market. […] The second area that the new government must address is to strengthen Taiwan’s social safety net. Over the past few years, several incidents of violent crime affecting the safety of children and youth have shaken our entire society. […] The issue of pension reform is crucial for the survival and development of Taiwan. We should not hesitate, nor should we act in haste. Vice President Chen Chien-jen is spearheading the establishment of a Pension Reform Committee. Previous administrations have devoted some effort to this issue, but public participation was inadequate. The new government will launch a collective negotiation process, because pension reform must unite everyone involved. […] The third area the new government must address is social fairness and justice. On this issue, the new government will continue to work with civil society to align its policies with the values of diversity, equality, openness, transparency, and human rights, so as to deepen and evolve Taiwan’s democratic institutions. For the new democratic system to move forward, we must first find a way to face the past together. I will establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission inside the Presidential Office, to address the historical past in the most sincere and cautious manner. The goal of transitional justice is to pursue true social reconciliation, so that all Taiwanese can take to heart the mistakes of that era. The new government will address issues concerning indigenous peoples with an apologetic attitude. My administration will work to rebuild an indigenous historical perspective, progressively promote indigenous autonomous governance, restore indigenous languages and cultures, and improve the livelihood of indigenous communities. Next, the new government will actively promote judicial reform. At this juncture, this is the issue the people of Taiwan care the most about. The general sentiment is that the judicial system is not close to the people, and is not trusted by them. It is unable to fight crime effectively, and has lost its function as the last line of defense for justice. […] The fourth area for the new government to address is regional peace, stability and development, as well as the proper management of cross-Strait relations. Taiwan has always played an indispensable role in the region’s development. But in recent years, regional dynamics have been changing rapidly. If Taiwan does not effectively use its strengths and leverage to proactively participate in regional affairs, it will not only become insignificant, it may even become marginalized and lose the ability to determine its own future. […] Taiwan has always played an indispensable role in the region’s development. But in recent years, regional dynamics have been changing rapidly. If Taiwan does not effectively use its strengths and leverage to proactively participate in regional affairs, it will not only become insignificant, it may even become marginalized and lose the ability to determine its own future. […] I was elected President in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of China, thus it is my responsibility to safeguard the sovereignty and territory of the Republic of China; regarding problems arising in the East China Sea and South China Sea, we propose setting aside disputes so as to enable joint development. We will also work to maintain the existing mechanisms for dialogue and communication across the Taiwan Strait. In 1992, the two institutions representing each side across the Strait (SEF & ARATS), through communication and negotiations, arrived at various joint acknowledgements and understandings. It was done in a spirit of mutual understanding and a political attitude of seeking common ground while setting aside differences. I respect this historical fact. Since 1992, over twenty years of interactions and negotiations across the Strait have enabled and accumulated outcomes which both sides must collectively cherish and sustain; and it is based on such existing realities and political foundations that the stable and peaceful development of the cross-Strait relationship must be continuously promoted. The new government will conduct cross-Strait affairs in accordance with the Republic of China Constitution, the Act Governing Relations Between the People of Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, and other relevant legislation. The two governing parties across the Strait must set aside the baggage of history, and engage in positive dialogue, for the benefit of the people on both sides. By existing political foundations, I refer to a number of key elements. The first element is the fact of the 1992 talks between the two institutions representing each side across the Strait (SEF & ARATS), when there was joint acknowledgement of setting aside differences to seek common ground. This is a historical fact. The second element is the existing Republic of China constitutional order. The third element pertains to the outcomes of over twenty years of negotiations and interactions across the Strait. And the fourth relates to the democratic principle and prevalent will of the people of Taiwan. […] We will proactively participate in international economic and trade cooperation and rule-making, steadfastly defend the global economic order, and integrate into important regional trade and commercial architecture. We will also not be absent on the prevention of global warming and climate change. We will create within the Executive Yuan an office for energy and carbon-reduction. We will regularly review goals for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the agreement negotiated at the COP21 meeting in Paris. Together with friendly nations we will safeguard a sustainable earth.// Source: SCMP, 20 May 2016.

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