Keywords: ONG étrangères en Chine, Ren Zhiqiang, Révolution culturelle, Wei Zexi, Baidu, Hôpital n° 2 de la police de Pékin, réseau de Putian, BBC China News Services.
1. New Regulation on Foreign NGOs passed
The long anticipated law on the regulation of foreign NGOs has been passed on 28 April 2016 and will take effect since 01 January 2017. Observers said the final draft of the law has been revised substantially compared to the second draft. According to the law, all foreign NGOs must register their representative organization or document their temporary projects with the Ministry of Public Security. They cannot establish any chapter in China and no political operations or illegal religious activities shall be conducted. They are also forbidden from getting donation or accepting any members domestically. The Law also allows the Ministry of Public Security to establish a “black list” on which organizations are deemed involved in “subversion of state power” and “separatism”. They cannot set up any establishment or carry out temporary operations in China. For the unofficial translation of the Law, please see here prepared by the China Law Translate.
Issues allowed by the Law for foreign NGOs:
- //会议表决通过《中华人民共和国境外非政府组织境内活动管理法》。 法律自2017年1月1日起施行。境外非政府组织境内活动管理法指出，本法所称境外非 政府组织，是指在境外合法成立的基金会、社会团体、智库机构等非营利、非政府的社会组织。境外非政府组织依照本法可以在经济、教育、科技、文化、卫生、体 育、环保等领域和济困、救灾等方面开展有利于公益事业发展的活动。境外非政府组织在中国境内不得从事或者资助营利性活动、政治活动，不得非法从事或者资助 宗教活动。根据法律，公安机关负责境外非政府组织代表机构的登记、年度检查，境外非政府组织临时活动的备案，对境外非政府组织及其代表机构的违法行为进行查处。境外非政府组织不得在中国境内设立分支机构，国务院另有规定的除外。[…] 全国人大常委会法工委副主任张勇说，“我相信这部法律的制定，一定能够使境外非政府组织在华活动更加顺利、有序开展，境外非政府组织的合法权益一定会在这部法律的规范引导之下得到更加充分、有力的保障。”// Source: Sina China, 29 April 2016.
- //The mainland on Thursday passed a controversial law governing foreign non-governmental organisations that grants police huge powers to regulate the groups. Officials say the Law on Domestic Activities of Overseas Nongovernmental Organisations will “facilitate” their activities. The law, which will come into effect on January 1, 2017, stipulates that all foreign NGOs must register with and obtain approval from the police rather than with the Ministry of Civil Affairs like their domestic counterparts. […] Nearly 10,000 foreign NGOs are present on the mainland, authorities say. […] The law lists fields in which foreign NGOs will be allowed to work, including economics, education, science and technology, culture, health, sports, environmental protection, disaster and poverty relief, and “other areas”. The Ministry of Public Security will draft a catalogue defining the areas foreign NGOs will be allowed to work in and how to register temporary projects. […] Hao Yunhong, director of the Ministry of Public Security’s Foreign NGO Management Office, said many fields would be included in the catalogue and that the ministry held an “open, tolerant, active and supporting attitude” towards foreign NGOs. ”But for those supporting or orchestrating illegal activities in China, we would certainly deal with them in accordance to the law,” Hao said. Guo Linmao, an official with the National People’s Congress Standing Committee’s Legal Affairs Commission, said the law was an affirmation of foreign NGOs’ contribution to China. Yet it also bore in mind the “small number” that conducted “illegal and criminal” activities, and empowered police to deal with them.// Source: SCMP, 29 April 2016.
Mode of establishment for foreign NGOs under new regulation:
- //法律強調，境外NGO在華開展活動，應遵守中國法律，不得危害中國的國家統一、安全和民族團結，不得損害中國國家利益、社會公共利益和公民、法人以及其他組織的合法權益。境外NGO應當依法登記設立代表機構；未設立代表機構需要在華開展臨時活動的，應當依法備案。如未經過上述登記、備案，境外NGO不得在中國境內開展活動，同時不得委託、資助中國境內的單位和個人開展活動。// Source: Wenweipao, 29 April 2016.
Scope of supervision by the Ministry of Public Security:
- //公安机关“可以约谈境外非政府组织代表机构的首席代表以及其他负责人”。公安机关认为备案的临时活动有危害国家安全等情况的，“可以通过中方合作单位停止临时活动”。对有颠复国家政权、分裂国家等违法犯罪情形的境外NGO，中国当局“可以将其列入不受欢迎的名单，不得在中国境内再设立代表机构或者开展临时活动”。// Source: BBC (Chinese Edition), 25 April 2016.
Specific foreign organizations are not bounded by the Law:
- //在放宽规定的部分，一是明确受管理的境外NGO，包括基金会、社会团体、智库等，但学校、医院、自然科学和工程技术等学术研究机构与国内相当机构交流合作，可不受此法规范，而是按照国家有关规定办理。二是删除这些境外NGO设立代表机构数量及驻在期限的硬性规定，并将临时活动须申请许可改为活动15天前备案即可。三是原本要求这些组织“不得在中国境内发展或者变相发展会员”，改为“不得在中国境内发展会员，国务院另有规定的除外”，以便利参与科研类NGO的专家。// Source: BBC (Chinese Edition), 25 April 2016.
Official reason for the supervision by the Ministry of Public Security:
- //北京青年報記者提問，中國境內社會組織的登記管理機關是民政部門，「為什麼對境外的非政府組織代表機構的設立要由公安機關負責？」(法工委社會法室巡視員)郭林茂回答稱，「把這個權力給公安機關，有利於公安機關為境外非政府組織在華活動提供更加便捷的服務。我們的出發點是好的。」他表示，「這部法律賦予了公安三個權力，即約談、停止臨時活動、宣布不受歡迎的名單」，不是限制境外 NGO 在中國活動，而是「只有發現涉嫌違法行為的時候，公安機關才能採取相關措施。」// Source: The Initium, 29 April 2016.
Official reason for the ban on domestic donation and member recruitment:
- //香港有線電視記者就境外 NGO 的資金來源進行提問。根據《管理法》規定，境外 NGO 只能只用「境外合法來源的資金；中國境內的銀行存款利息；中國境內合法取得的其他資金」，不得在中國境內募捐。法工委社會法室巡視員郭林茂解釋稱，根據全國人大剛剛通過的慈善法規定，只有慈善組織才能有資格進行募捐，境外非政府組織的代表機構不是法人，所以不得進行募捐。[…] 美聯社北京分社記者提問，為什麼不允許境外 NGO 在中國設立分支機構及發展會員，而國務院另行規定的一些機構卻又有差別對待？郭林茂回答稱，法案放開了對境外 NGO 在中國設立代表機構的制，則「分支機構就沒有必要存在」；境外 NGO 不具備法人資格，「開展臨時活動的也是短期活動，活動完就走了，發展會員不符合中國的法律規定」；國務院規定例外的情況主要指國外自然科學的學會。// Source: The Initium, 29 April 2016.
Comment by the Director of Beijing’s Yirenping (NGO) Centre Lu Jun (陸軍):
- //這類法案傳統上由民政部門牽頭，此次變成了公安部，這表明政府對 NGO 的態度有了根本的改變，不再將 NGO 特別是國際 NGO、境外 NGO 的工作視為社會公益事業、一種民政部門管理的事業，而將其視為是公共安全的威脅，要有公安部門來管理。//Source: The Initium, 29 April 2016.
- //Lu Jun, founder of Yirenping, which campaigns on health and employment, said the law would “damage the course of charity and public interest in China severely”.// Source: SCMP, 29 April 2016.
Comment by Professor Chan Kin-man from Chinese University of Hong Kong:
- // [p]lacing foreign NGOs under police management – and not the Ministry of Civil Affairs like their domestic counterparts – reflected the authorities’ view that such NGOs were a potential threat to national security.“In the past, NGOs all operated in a grey area. But after the law is enacted, it will become either black or white, and the grey area will be gradually wiped out.“Organisations deemed helpful to China that are not politically sensitive … will be given more support. Those deemed dangerous will be gradually eliminated.”// Source: SCMP, 26 April 2016.
Comment by Shawn Shieh from the Blog of “NGO in China”
- //In addition to thinking about how to comply with the law, INGOs and their Chinese partners need to think about how they can shape the implementation of the law. It’s often said that China has good laws on the books but they are often not implemented and enforced. In the years ahead, there will be plenty of areas to shape implementation and enforcement. In this sense, INGOs should see this law as an opportunity to expand and deepen their interactions with Public Security and other implementing agencies. In the past, the relationship between Public Security and INGOs has been largely a one-way street in which Public Security has treated INGOs as an object of suspicion. This new law should provide INGOs with the opportunity to transform that channel into a two-way street in which public security will have to treat NGOs as “customers” and “clients” if they want to justify the substantial addition of staff and other resources that they will need to implement this law. Some people may not agree with me on this point, but I think it’s more productive for us in the long run for us to think about how we can improve the law’s implementation, instead of seeing the law as the state’s weapon to shut INGOs out of China.// Source: Blog of NGO in China, 01 May 2016.
2. Xi Jinping’s urge to guard against foreign infiltration through religions
Religious freedom under Party’s leadership and to realize the Chinese Dream with the Internet as the propaganda front:
- //China must guard against religious extremism and foreign infiltration through religion, President Xi Jinping told a high-level meeting on religious affairs on the weekend. Xi also said the internet was a key propaganda front to promote the Communist Party’s stand on religion. “We must resolutely resist overseas infiltration through religious means and guard against ideological infringement by extremists,” Xinhua on Saturday quoted Xi as saying. He urged officials to fully implement policies on religious freedom, stressing that religious groups must abide by the party’s leadership. Religious groups should “merge religious doctrines with Chinese culture, abide by Chinese laws and regulations, and devote themselves to China’s reform and opening-up drive and socialist modernisation to contribute to the realisation of the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation,” he was quoted as saying.// Source: SCMP, 25 April 2016.
To blend Marxism with religions in China, support Sinicization (中国化) of religions, and to guard against foreign infiltrations:
- //“Religious groups… must adhere to the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC),” Xi told senior party officials at a conference ending on Saturday, the official Xinhua news agency said. But party members must be “unyielding Marxist atheists”, he said, calling on them to “resolutely guard against overseas infiltrations via religious means”. China is estimated to be home to hundreds of millions of Buddhists, Christians and Muslims, with the Communist Party seeking to “guide” believers while cracking down on unofficial religious groups.// Source: Hong Kong Free Press, 25 April 2016.
- //习近平指出，做好新形势下宗教工作，就要坚持用马克思主义立场、观点、方法认识和对待宗教，遵循宗教和宗教工作规律，深入研究和妥善处理宗教领域各种问题，结合我国宗教发展变化和宗教工作实际，不断丰富和发展中国特色社会主义宗教理论，用以更好指导我国宗教工作实践。积极引导宗教与社会主义社会相适应，一个重要的任务就是支持我国宗教坚持中国化方向。要用社会主义核心价值观来引领和教育宗教界人士和信教群众，弘扬中华民族优良传统，用团结进步、和平宽容等观念引导广大信教群众，支持各宗教在保持基本信仰、核心教义、礼仪制度的同时，深入挖掘教义教规中有利于社会和谐、时代进步、健康文明的内容，对教规教义作出符合当代中国发展进步要求、符合中华优秀传统文化的阐释。[…] 要坚决抵御境外利用宗教进行渗透，防范宗教极端思想侵害。要高度重视互联网宗教问题，在互联网上大力宣传党的宗教理论和方针政策，传播正面声音。// Source: Xinhua, 23 April 2016.
The background of the religious work under the Xi administration:
- //Xi’s statements follow broad efforts by the Chinese state to control and regulate religion, particularly the practice of Islam in Xinjiang and the spread of Christianity elsewhere across the country. Under Xi’s administration, authorities have passed new rules governing dress for Muslim Uyghurs and education policies aimed at cultural “blending” in Xinjiang. These measures have accompanied an anti-terror campaign launched in response to a series of violent attacks attributed to Xinjiang separatists and religious extremists whom authorities claim are linked to the global jihad movement. Meanwhile, officials in Zhejiang have removed over 1,200 crosses and demolished several churches since 2013 in an apparent attempt to halt the growth of Christianity in the region. A number of Christian activists and lawyers were detained and later released for protesting against the removal of crosses.// Source: China Digital Times, 25 April 2016.
3. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) received the Party’s punishment of probation for Criticizing Xi’s Policies
- //Chinese Communist Party officials have put an outspoken property tycoon who is a party member on a one-year probation for writing online comments criticizing President Xi Jinping’s propaganda policies, according to reports published on Monday by Chinese news websites. The probation means the tycoon, Ren Zhiqiang, could be expelled from the party, which has more than 85 million members, if he steps out of line again. The news was announced on a public holiday by party discipline officials in the Xicheng district of Beijing, a sign that the party wanted to get the news out quietly, perhaps because of Mr. Ren’s popular online presence.[…] Mr. Ren had a reputation for posting contentious statements, which earned him the nickname “the Cannon.” Censors quickly deleted his posts on Mr. Xi’s new policy, and a website managed by the Beijing party committee’s propaganda bureau said Mr. Ren had “lost his party spirit” and taken up “opposing the party.” Then officials at the Cyberspace Administration of China, which controls Internet content, decided to muzzle him by deleting his main microblog account, which had been hosted on the Sina Weibo platform. […] Some political analysts also noted that Mr. Ren was a friend of Wang Qishan — the powerful head of the party’s anticorruption agency and an ally of Mr. Xi, who has made the fight against corruption in the party a touchstone policy. The analysts said there had been signs for months that there may be tensions or a power struggle underway in the top party ranks between Mr. Wang and Liu Yunshan, the overseer of the vast propaganda apparatus. Both men are on the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee, the top governing body in China. The analysts said the attack by censors and the Internet agency on Mr. Ren might have been a swipe by Mr. Liu and his allies at Mr. Wang. Elite party politics in China continues to be opaque under Mr. Xi, and there is often speculation of where the major players stand and who wields greater power and influence.// Source: New York Times, 02 May 2016.
- //今年2月中旬，任志強在微博公開質疑「官媒姓黨」，連續發表「人民政府啥時候改黨政府了？花的是黨費嗎？」。此前中共總書記習近平視察新華社、央視等官媒時強調，官媒「必須姓黨」。任的發言引起共青團系統的官方微博圍攻，北京官方背景千龍網亦刊文稱，「誰給了任志強反黨的底氣」；討伐任志強的文章相繼出現，網上亦湧現呼籲開除任志強黨籍的聲音。2月28日，國家網信辦勒令關閉任志強新浪、騰訊的微博帳號。翌日，中共北京西城區委下發《關於正確認識任志強嚴重違紀問題的通知》，通知稱將對任嚴肅處理。在此期間，中紀委旗下的《中國紀檢監察報》，2月29日刊發文章「千人之諾諾，不如一士之諤諤」；由於任志強與政治局常委、中紀委書記王岐山的私人關係，這被外界解讀為王岐山力挺任志強。任志強曾公開稱，他的初中輔導員就是王岐山。// Source: Ming Pao Daily, 03 May 2016.
4. The death of the last member of Central Cultural Revolution Small Group (中央文革小組) Qi Benyu (戚本禹)
On 20 April 2016, the last member of the Central Cultural Revolution died at 84 in Shanghai. Until his death, he did not repent what he did during the Cultural Revolution. Some leftists who wanted to attend his funeral were banned. At the 50th Anniversary of the Cultural Revolution, there has been a recent discussion on Mainland China about the details of the Incident. Some observers point out that the silence on this topic long sustained by those who went through the period has left many historical problems unresolved. It is also observed that there is a recent tendency that a small group of leftists tried to glorify the figures in that period. For further information about how Contemporary China recalls histories in the Mao Era, please see China Perspectives (2014/4).
- //Qi Benyu, a Chinese Communist Party propagandist who climbed to power in the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution; served as an aide to Mao Zedong and his powerful wife, Jiang Qing; and spent the rest of his life defending their legacy, died on Wednesday in Shanghai. He was 84. He had been treated for cancer, Ye Yonglie, a historian who visited Mr. Qi in a hospital last month, said in confirming the death. Qi (pronounced chee) was the last surviving member of the Central Cultural Revolution Small Group, which Mao created in May 1966 to guide his tumultuous movement. To the end of Mr. Qi’s life, he revered Mao and remained unrepentant about the upheavals that erupted across China 50 years ago, even though he was purged by Mao and then jailed for nearly 20 years. “Back then, the chairman told me with great assurance that a young fellow like me might be able to see the dawn of communism so long as we continued making revolution,” Mr. Qi wrote in an essay published several years ago. “But, sadly, even now I see no such dawn.”// Source: New York Times, 25 April 2016.
The last interview with by MingPao revealed his support for Xi Jinping’s effort in anti-graft campaign:
- //談及時局，「我支持習近平，因為習近平是後毛澤東時代唯一一個不僅是在口頭上，而且是在實際上真正反貪、反腐的國家領導人。他到現在為止，沒有被發現有任何貪污。」他希望是習近平「把革命進行到底」，「把特殊化階層打倒」，「習近平如果真能把中國從資本主義的發展方向扭轉到社會主義道路上，就會成為毛澤東苦心營求的無產階級革命接班人，他是毛澤東第二」。// Source: Ming Pao Daily, 21 April 2016.
Recent publication of his memoir:
- //[其]回憶錄由香港的中國文革歷史出版社出版，不過，有知情人士透露，該版本是由未完成修訂的書稿匆匆出版，當中錯漏百出，而「修正版」回憶錄將另行出版。[…] 研究「文革」歷史的上海復旦大學歷史系教授金光耀對本報稱，[…] 戚本禹對「文革」的反思仍不足夠，還是站在60年代的立場，「他對中國歷史很了解，應該能夠眼光放遠一點，把這段歷史放到整個歷史長河中去看，他已經活到21世紀了，應該能夠以21世紀的角度回看那段歷史，但是在他已經發表的文章中並沒有看到，這也是一個遺憾」。// Source: MingPao Daily, 21 April 2016.
Some members labelled as far-leftists are banned from attending Qi’s funeral:
- //在靈堂內外放有多個來自山西、河南等地的「紅歌會」﹑「毛學會」等左派團體的花圈，經濟學家張五常夫婦，文革中上海「寫作組」負責人朱永嘉、清華大學教授汪暉、香港理工大學教授嚴海蓉、對外經貿大學教授陽和平等人均有送花圈。與戚本禹生前交往甚密的「造反派」頭目如蒯大富、韓愛晶等人則不見蹤影。另外據了解，有上海造反派成員前晚開始被警察監控，昨日上午禁止出門，亦有人到殯儀館門口被禁止入內。已故中共中央副主席林彪的女兒林立衡（又名林豆豆）原本有意送花圈，不過遭到阻止。// Source: MingPao Daily, 25 April 2016.
Recent discussion on the Cultural Revolution on its 50th Anniversary as shown in an article by Wang Haiguang (王海光), researcher at China East Normal University:
- //第二个问题是左倾思潮的回潮问题。当前的左倾思潮的回潮有两种，一种是翻文革案的思潮，一种是清算改革开放的思潮。不久前，有人开会追思江青，赞颂江青，推崇张春桥，调门很高。江青、张春桥是文革的政治符号。有些人重新对他们顶礼膜拜，这不是简单的个人偏好问题，而是反映了文革与现实复杂的互动关系。[…] 在1980年代”彻底否定文化大革命”的时候，”四人帮”已是全民唾骂的公敌，被钉在历史的耻辱柱上了。40年过去了，现在社会上又有人重新肯定他们。这当然不那么简单。一、从社会心理上讲，许多人对文革的怀旧，是因为在现实生活中的失落，对当前社会现状的不满。二、从历史研究上讲，对文革的研究，从一开始，就有一个政治实用主义的问题。有些人总想把文革这段历史给回避过去，实在回避不了，就来个”宜粗不宜细”的冷处理。由于长期以来对文革研究的禁锢，人们对文革缺乏深刻的反思，以至造成对文革历史的许多误解误读，后遗症很大。 […] 第四个问题是对当年反思文革的再反思。即由“彻底否定“转为“彻底反思“。当前，在体制内和社会上有一股回到文革的思潮。如果说，社会上的思潮表达了一些边缘群体对现实的不满，带有某种要求彻底反腐败的社会心理期待，那么，体制内一些现任官员的文革言论和思想回潮，又说明了什么？这些问题的出现，当然有着其复杂的原因。但有一点是可以肯定的，就是当年的拨乱反正是不彻底的。而这种不彻底，又与当年对文革研究采取的历史实用主义态度有密切关系。以行政方式设置文革研究禁区，满足于在政治上定性，这是不能实现全民认真反思文革总结文革教训的。// Source: Yan Huang Chun Qiu, Issue 3, 2016.
An interview with Xujun Eberlein (徐軍), a writer who grew up in Chongqing and is now based in Boston, by New York Times:
- //Q. Why is the Cultural Revolution such a sensitive subject, even 50 years later?
- The silence on the Cultural Revolution has been more voluntary than enforced, and it is because the memory of the time is very painful to the victims and shameful to those who victimized. Adding to the emotional complexity is the fact that many people took turns in both roles — victims and victimizers. Parents don’t pass their experiences of the time to children. This, coupled with the void in textbooks, results in the ignorance of the younger generations. This is where the danger lies: Because the lesson has not been learned by the later generations, the disaster might be repeated in the future. Two years ago, this collective silence was briefly broken, when quite a number of ex-Red Guards courageously came out to apologize for what they’d done in their fanatic youth. It looked like the prediction I made in 2008 through my book’s title, “Apologies Forthcoming,” might finally come true. But that hope was short lived. That voice was quickly gone, like a wisp of smoke, and has not been heard again.// Source: New York Times, 4 April 2016.
An interview with Prof. Roderick MacFarquhar from Stanford University on the comparison between Cultural Revolution and recent anti-graft campaign by New York Times:
- 答：习近平深知他如果试图掀起一场如文革一般的社会动乱，他大概会很快下台。全国上下从领导人到绝大部分群众，没人想看到文革重演。习近平的控制欲也极强。他希望事件能够依照他的意愿演变发展。毛泽东则不同。他相信如果他发动群众，群众会以他的思想为指导做出正确的判断，然后便会万事大吉。不过习近平的反腐运动和文革确实有相似之处。毛泽东发动红卫兵是为了让群众变得具有革命性；习近平发动反腐运动是为了改善群众，净化群众。我认为后者比前者更艰巨。不过归根结底毛泽东与习近平都希望改变中国人民：毛希望让他们革命，习希望让他们听话。// Source: New York Times (Chinese Edition), 27 April 2016.
5. The death of Wei Zexi (魏则西) after receiving low quality treatment at Beijing’s hospital
Wei Zexi, who is a university student from Shaanxi Province, died of a rare form of cancer named synovial sarcoma after receiving treatment at the Second Hospital of Beijing Armed Police Corps. Before his death, he accused the online search giant in China, Baidu, of providing the dubious information that leads his family to receiving substandard medical treatment. His later death stirs up huge social outcry for 1) the business ethics of Baidu with the “bidding rank” search (競價排名), and 2) the quality of medication from the service outsourced by public hospitals to private medical companies under a cooperative arrangement.
- //Wei Zexi, from Shaanxi province, died on 12 April after undergoing expensive experimental treatment that he had learned about through the search engine of Baidu, China’s answer to Google. […] According to reports in the Chinese media, Wei died of synovial sarcoma, a rare form of soft tissue cancer that can affect a person’s legs, arms or torso. In the months leading up to his death he underwent four rounds of experimental and ultimately unsuccessful treatment at the Second Hospital of the Beijing Armed Police Corps in the Chinese capital, for which his family paid more than 200,000 yuan (£21,000). The treatment reportedly involved using cells produced by the patient’s immune system to fight the illness.// Source: The Guardian, 03 May 2016.
- //The Second Hospital of the Beijing Armed Police Corps describes its DC-CIK – short for dendritic cells and cytokine-induced killer cells – treatment to tackle tumours as the most advanced technology. […] It claimed the treatment had been developed by a top university in the United States, which the hospital claimed had cooperated in transferring its expertise to China. The DC-CIK treatment was actually performed by contracted private health-care-service providers in the hospital, according to a statement by the Chinese Non-government Medical Institutions Association published on People’s Daily’s website. It called on the government to tighten regulation on Baidu’s health-care advertisements. The effectiveness of immunotherapy in tackling cancer has been questioned by some medical experts. Dr Stephen Chan, an associate professor at Chinese University of Hong Kong’s clinical oncology department, said the treatment was still experimental and still undergoing clinical trials and that it should not be used routinely as a standard treatment for cancer. The treatment cost Wei’s family more than 200,000 yuan (HK$240,000) and was unsuccessful, with the cancer spreading to his lungs within months.// Source: SCMP, 03 May 2016.
Report on Baidu’s bidding rank search and its cooperation with an infamous private medical company that delivers substandard medical treatments by the China’s Digital Times:
- //Chinese authorities have launched an investigation into Baidu’s questionable search ranking practices in connection with Wei’s death. The company has long attracted criticism for taking money to boost or suppress health- and safety-related search results. In January, it came under fire from state media and NGOs for selling moderation rights on medical forums to private companies which then posted ads for substandard or bogus treatments. China Daily also reports that a Baidu vice president was fired on Friday for “violating professional ethics and jeopardizing the company’s interest.” […] In the days before his death, Wei shared his experience online to help prevent other Internet users from being misled by shady medical advertisements on Baidu. […] A major suspect behind the false medical advertising is the so-called “Putian Clan” medical business network. People’s Daily has reported that the hospital department where Wei was treated was run under contract by a Putian company, though the hospital itself has denied this. […] As of January, Baidu’s business with the Putian Clan reportedly continued. The clan also features prominently in a Vice article on malpractice in China’s private medical system, focused on a former patient who says he was pressured into overpriced and unnecessary surgical procedures that left him impotent.// Source: China Digital Times, 02 May 2016.
Both Baidu and the Second Hospital of the Beijing Armed Police Corps are now under investigations jointly by the state authorities as well as the Party’s Central Military Committee:
- //5月2日，国家网信办网络综合协调管理和执法督查局、国家工商总局广告监管司、国家卫生计生委医政医管局及北京市网信办、工商局、卫生计生委成立联合调查组进驻百度公司，对此事件及互联网企业依法经营事项进行调查并依法处理。昨日该事件继续发酵，国家卫生和计划生育委员会新闻发言人表示，国家卫计委、中央军委后勤保障部卫生局、武警部队后勤部卫生局联合对武警北京二院进行调查。// Source: The Beijing News, 04 May 2016.
State-owned media unleashed criticisms against Baidu for its bidding rank search, followed up by the state investigation into Baidu because of the incident:
Commentary on the People’s Daily:
- //[t]he controversy falls on allowing companies who pay more to appear high on search result rankings, even when such companies may not be qualified to provide the service. In early January this year, Baidu was widely criticized for “selling” moderation rights on online forums related to hemophilia to the detriment of such group users’ interests, and causing many forum users, who were also the blood disease patients, fell as victims of a scam. […] Baidu has made two responses to Wei Zexi’s death. The first one said that the Second Hospital of Beijing Armed Police Corps is a “primary” institution in China’s 3-tier system that recognizes a hospital’s ability to provide medical care, medical education, and conduct medical research, and thus is fully qualified. The second response said that Baidu is “proactively” looking into the credentials of the hospital under scrutiny and called on related authorities to give “high priority” to the case. The Second Hospital of Beijing Armed Police Corps has remained silent in this case. The regulatory authority’s actions are vital to bring the case to full investigation to reveal the truth at this stage. […] Ranking medical information by how much revenue it generates can be a matter of life or death to anyone. The ranking of medical information needs to be regulated, it needs to be legally binding and to be treated carefully. There have been hospitals making profits at the cost of killing patients who were directed by false advertisements paid at a higher rank in search results.// Source: The People’s Daily (Online Version), 02 May 2016.
Commentary from the People’s Daily quoted by SCMP:
- //Baidu was strongly criticised in a commentary published by a social media account operated by Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily. The commentary accused the search engine of putting profit ahead of morality.“ As a search engine company that occupies a commanding market share in China, Baidu serves as the gateway for most Chinese internet users to search for information. But it is a seemingly open and wide entrance to knowledge that has become choked at the throat by money,” it said.// Source: SCMP, 02 May 2016.
- //Baidu has long been known to mix paid information among its search results, so as to guide users to the websites of those that pay for it to do so. Some who have paid for such “hits” have been found to be involved in fraud and there have been many victims. As a business, Baidu has prospered. In 2015, Baidu made a profit of about 33 billion yuan ($5.23 billion), and it is said to now enjoy roughly 80 percent of domestic online search market. More importantly, given its virtual monopoly, Baidu can easily hide information unfavorable to it. The only way to stop such harmful activities is to break Baidu’s search monopoly.// Source: China Daily, 03 May 2016.
The criticisms against the cooperation between public hospital and the substandard medical company:
- //As the probe evolves, the spotlight has shifted to a practice common among military-affiliated hospitals, deemed reliable by most civilians, to outsource medical services to private firms. […] Media reports said the hospital’s biological treatment centre for oncology appeared to have been providing an outsourced service handled by a network of private health care providers that originated in Putian, Fujian. The network reportedly controls about 80 per cent of all mainland private hospitals. In the 1990s, hundreds of people from Putian with little or no formal medical training were found to be working in military hospitals, where they sold home-made remedies and fake medicine at high prices. Analyst Chen Daoyin said the excessive power and resources enjoyed by the military were at the root of the problems. “The military is an independent kingdom alongside the central government that was not subject to monitoring in any form. The more power one gets, the more corrupt one becomes.” The No 2 Hospital of the Beijing Armed Police Corps insisted that its treatment centre was still under the hospital’s management and not the Putian network.// Source: SCMP, 03 May 2016.
False information to the victim family by the hospital’s biological treatment centre:
- //Wei said he learned of immune therapy from the Second Hospital of Beijing Armed Police, because it was the first paid advertising result on a Baidu search for treatments. The therapy aims to use cells generated by patients’ own immune system to fight cancer. A doctor with the hospital told Wei the treatment was developed by the US’s Stanford University, he wrote, and was 80 to 90% effective. After treatment, his health only deteriorated. He spent more than 200,000 yuan ($30,810) for the therapy over several months. Later he learned the CIK cell therapy he received is only in clinical trials in the US and has a low record of effectiveness—information that didn’t turn up high on Baidu’s search results. On Apr. 12, Wei’s father wrote on Zhuhu that Wei died that morning.// Source: Quartz, 02 May 2016.
Further information of the background of the “Putian clan” (莆田系) and its reach across China’s medical system from online materials and media reports. It is revealed that the Kangxin Company (康新公司) the usual mode of cooperation involves sharing of profits according to preset ratio, and the hospital provides the venue (the name as well) and the private company supports with finance. Such cooperation often started with hospitals managed by the Military. In the process, “gift-giving” is the norm.
- //成都商报记者联系上了陈元发，他承认自己确实是康新公司原来的股东，同样来自福建莆田，因为股权分红问题和陈新喜、陈新贤两兄弟反目。陈元发称，康新公司老板陈新喜和陈新贤，均来自莆田。陈新喜2007年创立了上海柯莱逊生物技术有限公司。柯莱逊正是“魏则西事件”中所涉医院细胞免疫技术的支持者，而康新公司则被指是该医院肿瘤生物中心的域名管理者。[…] 在陈元发公开的一份2010年度利润分配确认书上，他占有股份的医院有10多家，均为和康新公司合作的部队医院，其一年可分配的利润竟高达1118万余元。陈元发和陈氏兄弟的矛盾，陈氏兄弟掌握的另一家医院投资管理公司前任员工程先生也听说过，但他表示，自己已经离开公司。陈元发告诉成都商报记者，上海康新2003年1月2日注册，到2011年，和80多家部队医院合作，主要是在妇产科、口腔科等领域。一般来说，每个地方合作的模式都是一样的，先是公司开发部的员工去和医院的人谈合作，合作谈下来以后，公司和医院会制定一个分成模式，公司出资金，医院出场地，然后大部分医务人员经外聘招来，整体运营由公司负责完成，包括对外营销包装等。和各地医院最早合作，都是从部队医院开始的。[…] 陈元发披露的资料中，格外引人关注的，是一大批给各地医院从院长到普通员工的“送礼清单”“过节清单”。在曝光的清单中，康新公司在2008年给大连解放军某医院从院长、政委、副院长、医务处主任、政治处主任等各科室主任以及部分医院职工送礼，总共送了28人54万余元的礼金，其中显示送给院长的金额高达20万元。礼金支出审批表上，有陈新喜签名。[…] 陈元发称，陈新喜2007年成立了上海柯莱逊生物技术有限公司。陈元发说，当时这家公司是用康新公司的资金成立的，但是包括他在内的大部分股东此前都并不知情。柯莱逊公司成立之后，主要的方向就是生物技术，包括生物细胞研究等。成都商报记者查询到，国家卫计委官网曾把 “自体免疫细胞治疗技术”列为涉及重大伦理问题，安全性、有效性尚需经规范的临床试验研究进一步验证的医疗技术之一。陈元发说，当时公司高层包括开发部的一些人，是到各个医院直接联系以及推广这种生物免疫治疗技术。有一些医院的态度其实是模棱两可的。而这种技术其实并没有获得国家资质认证，宣传资料很多东西实际夸大了。 // Source: Sina China, 03 May 2016.
Outsourcing of hospital departments to private companies (科室外包) is strictly forbidden in public hospitals according to the regulations. The private company involved in the “Wen Zexi Incident” denied the outsourcing but emphasized another mode of cooperation with the Second Hospital of Beijing Armed Police.
- // 去年，国务院出台政策，在公共服务领域推广政府和社会资本合作模式。随后，国办也印发关于促进社会办医相关文件，其中明确，鼓励地方探索公立医疗机构与社会办医疗机构加强业务合作的有效形式和具体途径。国家卫生计生委直属卫生发展研究中心研究员李卫平此前曾撰文称，我国公立医院公私合作至少有11类。目前，政策禁止的公私合作形式主要是“院中院”，指在公立非营利性医疗机构中设立的营利性医疗实体，或指以营利为目的的个人或组织承包医院科室并自负盈亏的经营模式。新京报记者了解到，这一政策源头可追溯至2000年，在多部门联合发布的《关于城镇医疗机构分类管理的实施意见》中，明确指出，政府举办的非营利性医疗机构不得投资与其他组织合资合作设立非独立法人资格的营利性的“科室”、“病区”、“项目”。[…] 2015年6月11日，国务院办公厅印发《关于促进社会办医加快发展的若干政策措施》，出租承包科室等行为依然被明令列入政策禁区。// Source: The Beijing News, 03 May 2016.
- //柯莱逊公司副总经理程昆在接受澎湃新闻的采访时，否认承包北京武警二院的肿瘤生物中心，称只是合作共建。合作模式是北京武警二院负责就诊患者的诊断、抽取免疫细胞和回输免疫细胞，因医院没有相关的培养技术，免疫细胞的培养就由柯莱逊公司技术人员完成。从2008年开始，该公司开始开展这种业务，每年约有1万例患者接受相关服务。// Source: Sina China, 03 May 2016.
Commentary by Huang Yangtan (黄羊滩) from The Beijing News argue that the cooperation between the Putian Clan and the hospitals pushes up the medical cost for the public and breeds corruption in the medical field.
- //魏则西事件仍在热议中，与此同时，有关莆田系给分布在全国各地多所医院的主要官员、科室主任以及医生“发放”现金的名单和“承包”医院科室的利润分成合同被曝光。[…] 合同及名单的真实性，尚待进一步的调查核实。随着事件的深入发展，相信这些线索清晰、指向具体的资料信息，并不难查清。若曝光属实，则这一全国撒网的方式方法已远远超出正当的商业行为，而是涉嫌违法。即便目前尚不能确定莆田系是不是真的派发了节礼、分肥了利润，但其与众多正规医院的媾和，却是不争的事实。那么多大医院竞相为莆田系站台、背书，充当其资质、信誉的保障，若是说二者之间没有利益关联，恐不能让人信服。包括魏则西在内，诸多病人的个案显示，正是因为有大医院的招牌在那里，病人才会一步步掉进陷阱。据披露，这类医疗机构对付病人的惯用套路其实也很简单：你有病，病很重；病能治，会很贵……而一旦陷入这样的诊疗套路，很难有人能够逃脱。而一旦病人提出异议，在大医院的高门槛面前，没见有多少人能讨回什么公道。[…][莆]田系的疯狂扩张，往往是以金钱开路、利益扭结的方式进行，某种程度上讲，其行为不仅助长了公立医院的僵化，也推高了社会公众就医的成本，从而加剧了医疗腐败。而最终的买单者，仍是奔波于各大医院的“魏则西们”。当下之计，必须彻查其中的利益输送行为，深挖医疗腐败的土壤。而从长远看，还是要做到放管结合，权力要放到位，公共医疗不能继续枯守“牌照”管理，而应该走向“标准”管理；监管也要管到位，不能让“潜规则”一点点吞噬并替代“明规则”。// Source: The Beijing News, 04 May 2016.
1. Protest against the dismissal of senior editor at MingPao
- //More than 400 journalists, community activists and politicians braved the heat and rain on Monday afternoon to protest against the sacking of a top editor of Chinese-language daily Ming Pao, fearing that the move threatens press freedom in Hong Kong. At a rally on the street outside Ming Pao Industrial Centre in Chai Wan, protesters carried pieces of ginger to symbolise their support for Keung Kwok-yuen, whose surname in Chinese also means ginger. […] Hong Kong Journalists Association chairwoman Sham Yee-lan, in support of the protesting editorial staff, read out an open letter from eight Hong Kong journalist groups to the Ming Pao management demanding it revoke the decision to sack Keung. Sham said: “The recent sudden dismissal of [Keung] is a matter of great concern to the news industry and to society as a whole. “It not only reflects changes in your newspaper’s overall direction and human resource policies, but also worrying developments in Hong Kong’s media.”// Source: SCMP, 02 May 2016.
2. BBC’s Chinese News Service moved to Hong Kong
Citing the global competition, the BBC headquarters announced that it will transfer its Chinese Service under the BBC World Service to Hong Kong from London so that it can get the news about China in the China’s time zone. This move is protested against by the BBC staffers who are worried about editorial independence and personal safety. Some commentators argue that the worries are overreactions.
- //In an internal email to director of news James Harding, the BBC World Service head of language Liliane Landor laid out plans to restructure the Chinese service. She makes a reference to the censorship in the region, saying: “We know that web-blocking and censorship have been a serious impediment but even in that context, our reach has been disappointing. Competitors are outperforming us. In such an important market, we have had to look at what we are doing that’s not working and try to address this.” “Therefore we propose to restructure the team, basing the majority of roles in Hong Kong, where they will be in the right time zone to serve the audience, and in the best place to produce more original and relevant content. […] A BBC spokesman said: “We need to change the way BBC Chinese works to improve our reach and impact in China. In a fiercely competitive market, we need more first-hand reporting in China and cannot continue relying on content produced in London, nine hours behind the relevant time zone. We believe these changes will enable us to provide our Chinese audience globally with an independent and compelling news offer it can’t find elsewhere. They will also help us to explore new ways to circumvent web blocking and censorship.”// Source: The Guardian, 25 April 2016.
Responses from trade union of UK’s journalists:
- //The BBC’s plan to relocate its Chinese news service from Britain to Hong Kong has been slammed by staff and journalists as “cynical, illogical and plain mad” amid growing concerns over the state of press freedom in the territory and China. The National Union of Journalists (NUJ), a trade union based in the UK and Ireland, called the plans a “bow to Beijing” and noted recent events which posed a threat to press freedom in the city. It cited the sacking of a top Ming Pao editor, the change in ownership of South China Morning Post, and the case of the missing booksellers. National Union of Journalists general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said that the move would “jeopardise the safety of BBC staff”, and that it puts the focus on journalists critical of Beijing. “[They will not] have the security of a British passport to protect them from the potential wrath of the Beijing regime,” it said on Monday. The international broadcaster’s World Service staff also reacted strongly to the plans. In response, they sent a letter to former Hong Kong governor Chris Patten, the Foreign Office and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, saying that Chinese-speaking UK journalists have been “stabbed in the back again and again by the BBC’s management”, the Guardian reported on Monday.// Source: Hong Kong Free Press, 26 April 2016.
Responses from Hong Kong Journalist Association:
- //Hong Kong Journalists Association chairman Sham Yee-lan said she appreciated the concerns raised by BBC staff about the move, but also hoped they would think again on the issue.“As journalists, I believe we should go where there is news,” said Sham. “We’d like them to be able to work here and together fight interference from the authorities.”// Source: SCMP, 27 April 2016.
Opinions on the re-location by Alex Lo from SCMP:
- //Granted, the state of local journalism has been hit hard since the city’s return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. Constant accusations of self-censorship have given the profession a bad rap. Hong Kong’s ranking of press freedom by Reporters Without Borders has dropped from 18th in 2002 to 69th this year. But in a perverse way, if self-censorship is rampant, it means the state doesn’t practise overt censorship. So my BBC friends have nothing to fear. Don’t believe me? Ask your own BBC colleague, the brilliant Hong Kong-based Juliana Liu. Has she ever been threatened or censored after all these years in Hong Kong? If she has, I would love to hear about it. Actually, I am certain some Chinese-language service staff have nothing to fear: they won’t be coming to Hong Kong. According to the BBC World Service head of language Liliane Landor, 10 new posts will be created in Hong Kong and 16 closed in London. You can see why current staff may be upset about the relocation and cost-cutting exercise. She wants the revamped Chinese service “to produce more original and relevant content”, according to an email she sent to her boss James Harding, the director of news.// Source: SCMP, 28 April 2016.
The digital media market in China is surging amidst the media censorship by the authority:
- //China’s media industry is experiencing a period of rapid growth, with investors pouring billions of dollars into digital media deals ranging from online news and videos to movies and television programs. An example of this is Alibaba’s $266 million purchase of Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post and its associated media assets, including SCMP Group’s mobile apps and other digital media platforms. In a video interview, Bloomberg’s Shai Oster explains that the surge in internet media investment is fueled by growing demand from China’s middle class and the proliferation of mobile technology. Paradoxically, this boom is being accompanied by an ongoing crackdown on the media. Under President Xi Jinping, the Chinese government has intensified measures to control both new and traditional media in mainland China as well as Hong Kong. This includes calls for state media organizations to bear the “Party surname,” the firing of prominent Ming Pao editors, and the rebuking of domestic media outlets for allegedly falsifying reports. In addition, authorities have implemented new rules to regulate China’s television industry and online streaming services. In a separate article, Bloomberg’s Oster looks at how Hong Kong-based media startup Initium, recently blocked in mainland China, is navigating its business and growing a solid readership in the face of tightening censorship// Source: China Digital Times, 27 April 2016.