Keywords: Internet censorship, AIIB, anticorruption, Women’s Rights, Labour Movements, Hong Kong
China said to use powerful new weapon to censor the Internet
- // Last month, the censorship monitoring and circumvention project org was the target of two major Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), including one aimed at the code-sharing site GitHub which hosts two of the group’s pages. Visitors to some Chinese sites from outside the country were unwittingly “weaponized” in an effort to swamp servers with bogus traffic. This hijacking appeared to take place as traffic entered China, crossing the Great Firewall. // Source: WSJ// We are under attack and we need help.
i. Likely in response to a recent story in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), we’ve experienced our first ever distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. This tactic is used to bring down web pages by flooding them with lots of requests – at the time of writing they number 2.6 billion requests per hour. Websites are not equipped to handle that kind of volume so they usually “break” and go offline. This kind of attack is aggressive and is an exhibition of censorship by brute force. Attackers resort to tactics like this when they are left with no other options. […] This attack affects all of our mirror websites. While we have talked openly about our method of using collateral freedom to unblock websites and mobile apps that have been blocked by the Chinese authorities, the WSJ story clearly stated how the strategy works and how it is being used successfully to deliver uncensored content into China. Blocked websites that we have liberated in China include Boxun, Deutsche Welle and Google.// Source: GreatFire.org
- It took place after a recent story published on WSJ describing the ways anti-censorship groups use major cloud computing company servers. // U.S. tech companies are caught in the middle of an escalating battle between China’s increasingly active Internet censors and the free-speech activists determined to thwart them. Activists outside of China say they are disguising Internet traffic banned by Beijing—which includes anything from social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, to Gmail and news websites—by tunneling it encrypted through cloud servers run by major U.S. companies. These cloud services run by Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp., Akamai Technologies Inc. and others are meant to help businesses improve their website speeds by storing their data on remote servers. But activists say they are using them to get around China’s so-called Great Firewall, which could draw the cloud providers unwillingly into the censorship clash. To stem the flow of prohibited content, authorities would need to block entire servers of these companies, disrupting hundreds of businesses, according to the activists. […] “The philosophy is to make it as expensive to block as possible, so that there would be a lot of collateral damage,” said Philipp Winter, a Swedish computer scientist who researches censorship technology. // Source: CDT
- // Late last month, China began flooding American websites with a barrage of Internet traffic in an apparent effort to take out services that allow China’s Internet users to view websites otherwise blocked in the country. Initial security reports suggested that China had crippled the services by exploiting its own Internet filter — known as the Great Firewall — to redirect overwhelming amounts of traffic to its targets. Now, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Toronto say China did not use the Great Firewall after all, but rather a powerful new weapon that they are calling the Great Cannon. The Great Cannon, the researchers said in a report published on Friday, allows China to intercept foreign web traffic as it flows to Chinese websites, inject malicious code and repurpose the traffic as Beijing sees fit.
The system was used, they said, to intercept web and advertising traffic intended for Baidu — China’s biggest search engine company — and fire it at GitHub, a popular site for programmers, and GreatFire.org, a nonprofit that runs mirror images of sites that are blocked inside China. The attacks against the services continued on Thursday, the researchers said, even though both sites appeared to be operating normally.
But the researchers suggested that the system could have more powerful capabilities. With a few tweaks, the Great Cannon could be used to spy on anyone who happens to fetch content hosted on a Chinese computer, even by visiting a non-Chinese website that contains Chinese advertising content. // Source: NYT
- The full report, titled “China’s Great Cannon”, is available on Citizen Lab’s website. // This post describes our analysis of China’s “Great Cannon,” our term for an attack tool that we identify as separate from, but co-located with, the Great Firewall of China. The first known usage of the Great Cannon is in the recent large-scale novel DDoS attack on both GitHub and servers used by GreatFire.org.
[…] We show that, while the attack infrastructure is co-located with the Great Firewall, the attack was carried out by a separate offensive system, with different capabilities and design, that we term the “Great Cannon.” The Great Cannon is not simply an extension of the Great Firewall, but a distinct attack tool that hijacks traffic to (or presumably from) individual IP addresses, and can arbitrarily replace unencrypted content as a man-in-the-middle.
[…] The incorporation of Baidu in this attack suggests that the Chinese authorities are willing to pursue domestic stability and security aims at the expense of other goals, including fostering economic growth in the tech sector. Selecting Baidu’s international traffic may appear counterproductive given the importance of Baidu to the Chinese economy: the company enjoys stature as one of China’s “big three” Internet firms, alongside Alibaba and Tencent,35 and currently ranks as the top site in China.
[…] The attack launched by the Great Cannon appears relatively obvious and coarse: a denial-of-service attack on services objectionable to the Chinese government. Yet the attack itself indicates a far more significant capability: an ability to “exploit by IP address”. This possibility, not yet observed but a feature of its architecture, represents a potent cyberattack capability. A technically simple change in the Great Cannon’s configuration, switching to operating on traffic from a specific IP address rather than to a specific address, would allow its operator to deliver malware to targeted individuals who communicates with any Chinese server not employing cryptographic protections. The GC operator first needs to discover the target’s IP address and identify a suitable exploit. The operator then tasks the GC to intercept traffic from the target’s IP address, and replace certain responses with malicious content. If the target ever made a single request to a server inside China not employing encryption (e.g., Baidu’s ad network), the GC could deliver a malicious payload to the target. A target might not necessarily realize that their computer was communicating with a Chinese server, as a non-Chinese website located outside China could (for example) serve ads ultimately sourced from Chinese servers.// Source: Citizen Lab
- Sina faces suspension if it doesn’t step up censorship: // Chinese web giant Sina will face suspension of its Internet news services if it fails to improve censorship of illegal content, authorities have warned. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) summoned Sina leaders to a meeting late on Friday over “massive numbers of public complaints about its law violations”. Since the beginning of the year, the administration has received 6,038 complaints about Sina, more than any other web portal. It said the reports indicated that “Sina has spread illegal information related to rumors, violence and terrorism, pornography, swindling, advocation of heresies and has distorted news facts, violated morality and engaged in media hype.” Sina has also published some false news because of hurry and its censorship of user accounts has been poor, undermining online order and damaging public interests, the CAC added. It asked Sina to correct these oversights and strengthen internal management. If Sina fails to meet these requirements, the CAC will “seriously” punish the firm, with possible measures including a complete shut down of its Internet news services. Sina’s leaders promised they will intensify censorship and publish more information with “positive energy”. // Source: Shanghai Daily
How the New York Times is eluding censors in China
- // The New York Times’ English and Chinese-language websites have been blocked since an October 2012 article about the wealthy family of prime minister Wen Jiabao. But according to employees in the company, outside observers, and mainland Chinese readers, the Times is quietly pursuing a new, aggressive strategy to reach readers in China. The Times has taken a different approach in recent months, these people say. The company is simultaneously:
Mirroring: Every time a new article appears on the Times’s Chinese language website, three or four copies of it appear on “mirror” sites scattered around the internet. While these mirrors, like this one of the company’s home page, are often quickly made inaccessible by censors, new ones crop up constantly, often made or sanctioned by the Times. […]
Using apps: Articles are published on apps targeting the Chinese-language market that have often been ignored by Chinese censors for weeks or months at a time, before being blocked. Often these apps are openly branded with the “New York Times” name.
Pushing news on social media: The New York Times’ official social media accounts, as well as its reporters, are blocked by censors. But the company continues to publicize new articles on social media accounts in China that are repeatedly shut down by the censors and reinvented under new names, in what one person familiar with the strategy described as a “cat-and-mouse game.”
Syndicating to local websites and newspapers: Several domestic news outlets continue to purchase the rights to run New York Times stories, like QDaily.
Times executives would not discuss the technical specifics of the company’s new strategy, except to say that there was one, and that it was working. “The only thing I can say is that we have a very strong tech team that works tirelessly to make our journalism accessible to readers in China,” Craig Smith, the paper’s managing director for China, told Quartz. […] Advertisers are showing interest in the Chinese language website again, he added. // Source: Quartz
AIIB will be lean, clean and green
- // The China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will be lean, clean and green, its interim chief said, playing down concerns over transparency and standards governing the institution. […]”Lean is cost effective; clean, this bank will have zero- tolerance on corruption; green means it’s going to promote the economy,” China’s Xinhua news agency quoted Jin Liqun, secretary general of the bank’s multilateral interim secretariat, telling a forum in Singapore on Saturday. The bank would not be run politically, Jin said. “AIIB is a bank, not a political organization or political alliance. This guaranteed that it would be impossible to operate it in an untransparent way,” he said. // Source: Reuters
- According to Wikipedia, Jin Liqun (金立群; born 1949) is Chairman of Board of Supervisors of the sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corporation, and its subsidiary Central Huijin Investment Ltd.. He is the Secretary General of the Multilateral Interim Secretariat of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). He is also serving as deputy chair of the International Working Group of Sovereign Wealth Funds. He was formerly the Vice-President of the Asian Development Bank, and Vice Minister of Finance of the People’s Republic of China. Source: Wikipedia
- China steps back? Johns Hopkins sociologist Ho-fung Hung argued that China’s role in the AIIB is not aimed at global domination, but rather a self-restraining act: // In fact, the United States government has nothing to fear from the A.I.I.B.; its opposition is misguided. The bank’s creation will not enhance China’s global power at the expense of the United States. If anything, Beijing’s attempt to go multilateral is a step backward: It’s a concession that China’s established practice of promoting bilateral initiatives in the developing world has backfired. […] Multilateral institutions are inherently restricting. When a country lends on its own it has total control over the terms of the arrangement. Lending via the A.I.I.B., or the BRICs bank, will mean being constrained by other stakeholders. And this is precisely Beijing’s point. As Shi Yaobin, a Chinese deputy finance minister, said recently, “every member’s share” of decision making power in the new A.I.I.B. “will decline commensurately with the gradual increase in the number of the member countries.”
China, in other words, is deliberately forgoing some of its leverage, including in the very organization it is setting up. And it is doing so because it wants the cover and the legitimacy that will come from the participation of other countries. Creating the A.I.I.B. is not Beijing’s attempt at world domination; it is a self-imposed constraint, and a retreat from more than a decade of aggressive bilateral initiatives. And the more China channels its international investments through multilateral institutions, even ones of its own making, the lesser the risk that it will become all-dominant.// Source: NYT
Activism in China
- At the NYT, Andrew Jacobs reviewed the activism by the five detained Chinese feminists. // The young Chinese feminists shaved their heads to protest inequality in higher education and stormed men’s restrooms to highlight the indignities women face in their prolonged waits at public toilets. To publicize domestic violence, two prominent activists, Li Tingting and Wei Tingting, put on white wedding gowns, splashed them with red paint and marched through one of the capital’s most popular tourist districts chanting, “Yes to love, no to violence.” Media-savvy, fearless and well-connected to feminists outside China, the young activists over the last three years have taken their righteous indignation to the streets, pioneering a brand of guerrilla theater familiar in the West but largely unheard-of in this authoritarian nation. Now five of them — core members of China’s new feminist movement — sit in jail, accused of provoking social instability. One of the women, Wu Rongrong, 30, an AIDS activist, is said to be ailing after the police withheld the medication she takes for hepatitis. Another, Wang Man, 33, a gender researcher, was said to have had a mild heart attack while in custody. […] Now, as security agents from Beijing fan out across the country hunting down the volunteers who took part in the women’s theatrical protests, many young feminists have gone into hiding. “We’re so afraid and confused,” said one of them, Xiao Meili, 26, who recently completed a 1,200-mile trek across China to draw attention to sexual violence. “We don’t understand what we did wrong to warrant such a ferocious backlash.” […] But rights advocates say security officials were evidently alarmed by the women’s skillful use of social media to organize volunteers, their links to foreign organizations, and the inventive protests and flash mobs that often drew favorable coverage in the Chinese media. In contrast to the state-affiliated feminists and academics who have long dominated China’s gender-equality landscape, experts say the young mavericks prompted a seismic shift in women’s activism that yielded measurable results, including a landmark bill on domestic violence that is being considered by the national legislature. // Source: NYT
- Foreign Policy reached feminist Zhao Sile via mobile messaging app WeChat to discuss the detention of her fellow activists and the future of the feminist movement in China. // They are the best feminist activists in China. Their detention reminds me of the arrest of the Pussy Riot punk band in Russia, whose actions against the patriarchal authority had found support around the world. I believe the implications of the Chinese feminists’ detention are similar to that of Pussy Riot. // Source: Foreign Policy
- An interview with Chinese gender scholar Wang Zheng provides more insights to the detention of the five feminists: // Professor Wang Zheng (王政), of the University of Michigan, is a scholar whose research focuses on the modern and contemporary history of Chinese women and gender, and Chinese feminism in the era of globalization. Since 1993, Professor Wang has been working with Chinese domestic feminist scholars to promote feminist scholarship and establish courses in women studies and gender studies. She has also participated in the feminist movement itself in China over the years.
[…] These young activists said they were going to be distributing leaflets against sexual harassment on public transportation, and everybody cheered them: Great, that’s a creative idea! Then all of a sudden, the news came that they are taken by the police. At first, people in the group didn’t think it was anything serious. “Probably just drinking tea,” they said. […] Then they were brought to Beijing, and that’s very serious, something different altogether. I was puzzled at first: why are they detaining people in Guangzhou if it was related to the Two Sessions in Beijing? When they were brought to Beijing, everyone realized something was wrong. Their laptops and cellphones were also seized. We couldn’t get in touch with them anymore, and the police can read all of our WeChat conversations. […] They want to smash Yirenping (益仁平). Yirenping is a NGO [that promotes rights for the disabled, workplace discrimination, etc.] These young feminists are affiliated with Yirenping where they have a group working on gender equality. The authorities probably don’t want to make too big a splash by arresting the head of Yirenping, so they detained these young women to send the message. They succeeded in terrifying Yirenping. Once these young feminists were detained, everyone working at Yirenping knew this was about Yirenping. But the police are so ignorant, and they have no idea what a force the global feminists are.
[…] On March 9, the UN Chinese delegation announced that, in September, China will co-host the global women’s summit with the UN. Xi Jinping will be visiting the U. S. in September, and he will be giving a speech at the summit. These were arranged and prepared a long time ago, and the stage has long been set. The detention of the five is like lighting a match and throwing it on a pile of firewood. China barbarically detains feminists who campaign against sexual harassment, meanwhile on the world stage, China is co-hosting a women’s summit with the UN. No one can disregard such incongruity. So before the two-week conference was over, feminist leaders from around the world, not just the U.S. but also India, South Korea, and many other countries, organized protests in front of the Chinese embassies. World women’s rights leaders stood in front of the UN headquarters, holding signs that read, “No Release, No Summit.” Therefore, whether or not Chinese authorities release the five activists will determine how Xi Jinping will be greeted during his US trip. There will be consequences, but the Chinese patriarchal leaders have had no clue. // Source: China Change
- The five feminist activists are likely to be formally charged with “disrupting public order”, different from the original charge of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles”. // 在妇女节前夕被中国当局拘押的5个女性权利活动人士代表律师在4月9日得知，有关当局早在三天前已经向检察院报批，申请正式逮捕。据悉，北京海淀区检察院将在7天内决定是否正式逮捕。目前韦婷婷、李婷婷、郑楚然、武嵘嵘、王曼等5人已经被关押超过30天——她们在妇女节前策划举行反对公交车性骚扰的公众维权活动，分别被广州、杭州和北京等地的警方以“寻衅滋事”罪抓捕并拘留。被羁押的其中一人韦婷婷的代表律师王秋实在电话中告诉BBC中文网说，当局申请批捕的罪名与最初被拘留时也已经不一样。他表示在4月9日才查询到消息指，当局早在4月6日已经得到批准以“聚众扰乱公共秩序”罪名逮捕韦婷婷，而他到4月8日为止仍尚未查询到相关信息。// Source: BBC Chinese
- A series of recent posts at the University of Nottingham’s China Policy Institute Blog describes various aspects of Chinese activism and official responses:
i. Jessica Teets on “The Future of Civil Society under Xi Jinping”, seeing more continuity than difference between Xi and Hu on civil society: // / […] the most simple and accurate answer is that this is not evidence of factional warfare between Xi and Li to consolidate political power and stifle the space for social action in China, but rather simply a response based on the ongoing concerns of the CCP about social stability. Online censorship has been increasingly focusing not on the content but rather the potential virality. Any online content that garners as many views and downloads as Chai Jing’s documentary did in such a short time, could be a target of censorship. Although there is likely a diversity of opinions about environmental regulations between officials like Li Keqiang, Chen Jining and Xi Jinping, the government’s contradictory response to the film should be seen as a response to the virality of the film in the context of the uncertain political environment under Xi Jinping. In fact, the decision to censor the film most likely does not demonstrate Xi’s desire for political control, but more uncertainty on the part of government officials with the Xi administration’s political direction. As has long been the safest course of action for cadres in China, when uncertain, go conservative. […] I would argue that this space is much the same under Xi as it was under Hu. Despite Xi’s desire for a strong leadership role for the party, there does not necessarily appear to be less space for action under party “guidance” in the future. There will need to be a period of adaptation once Xi has indicated his position, but civil society, especially environmental groups and activists, have been really successful in adapting to political constraints. Xi has continued many of the policies initiated by Hu Jintao’s administration, such as requiring the registration of international civil society groups and simplifying registration and fundraising for domestic groups. Under Hu’s leadership, Yunnan piloted the first experimental policy to register international groups, and required that the groups registered with the relevant Civil Affairs agency and also received approval from the relevant Foreign Affairs agency before funding or collaborating with any domestic groups. In Yunnan, this has not led to an appreciable decline in the activities of international groups, although has reduced funding available to smaller domestic groups. The Ministry of Civil Affairs under Hu’s leadership also initiated direct registration policies and an expanded role for charities with the new charity law. […] The best way to understand the relationship between civil society and the party-state in China is one of “consultation authoritarianism” where civil society is encouraged to consult with the government on policy issues and to be active in society, but all under the “guidance” of an authoritarian government that has developed a sophisticated toolkit of control mechanisms to manage these social organizations. In this way, I see more continuity than change between the Hu and Xi administrations. // Source: China Policy Institute Blog
ii. Manfred Elfstrom’s “Whither China’s New Worker Militancy?” provides a thorough overview of the state of labor activism in China: // // Chinese labour unrest is rising dramatically. Annual mediated, arbitrated and litigated disputes increased more than ten-fold between the mid-1990s and the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences recently found that employment-related grievances accounted for the largest number of “mass incidents” involving 1,000 to 10,000 individuals over the previous decade-and-a-half (environmental protests accounted for the most incidents involving 10,000 or more people). An online map that I maintain called China Strikes and a similar but more up-to-date project run by the Hong Kong-based advocacy group China Labour Bulletin show strikes, protests, and riots involving workers to be scattered across the country, from the bustling port of Shanghai to up-and-coming cities like Chongqing to small interior towns in Yunnan. Whereas labour once fought defensively to protect a tattered “socialist social contract” and ensure the protection of its most basic rights under the law (see, for example, the work of Ching Kwan Lee), in a recent article in Industrial & Labor Relations Review, Sarosh Kuruvilla and I find that workers are making more aggressive demands: higher wages, irrespective of legal minimums; more employer attention to the”details” of working life; and simple respect. Other observers might add a fourth demand: a voice in production decisions. All this turmoil has led some to dub China the “epicenter of world labour unrest” […] First, as China’s economy slows and companies shift inland (and even abroad) in search of cheaper labour, what will happen to the new militancy of workers? Conceivably, a reduction in opportunities could put labour back on the defensive: strikes and protests could decrease, with only workers facing rights violations that threaten their very subsistence daring to raise their voices. Alternately, labour’s raised self-confidence and tactical lessons learned over the past decade might simply be put to new uses. Second, does the current government have the same concern for reducing inequality as its predecessors? Under Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, onerous agricultural taxes were slashed, improving the lot of farmers (and, indirectly, migrant workers, who gained a stronger fall-back option), while a slew of relatively progressive labour laws were passed, such as the Labour Contract Law, the Labour Dispute Mediation and Arbitration Law, and Employment Promotion Law. Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang have focused on fighting corruption, strengthening the “rule of law” (or “rule by law”), and deepening economic reforms. […] Third, what role, exactly, will the ACFTU come to play? The union’s experiments continue and there seems to be a fresh sense of urgency in the organization, at least in those regions where strikes and protests are most common. But national ACFTU leaders have also sent signals of political retrenchment. // Source: China Policy Institute Blog
iii. Chen Feng’s “How the state contains labour movements in China”: // Why has the 30-year capitalist economic development not generated an organized labour movement in China? The condition of a country’s labour movement must involve multiple causes. I would argue that if the emergence of labour movements in a society is premised on workers’ ability to organize and to act collectively, the Chinese state has effectively undermined such ability by enforcing a bifurcated strategy, a strategy that restricts workers’ collective rights (i.e., the rights to organize and strike) on the one hand, and confers them individual rights regarding wages, contracts, benefits, and working conditions on the other. The strategy deprives workers of the rights that would enable them to act in organized ways to make collective demands. But it also serves to reduce workers’ motivation to organize by offering extensive individual economic rights. How is the Chinese government able to implement such a bifurcated strategy? Two factors are important, one temporal and the other institutional. From the temporal perspective, the stage of state building in the labour sector at which a working-class movement arose is crucial for the subsequent development of state-labour relations. China’s lack of organized labour movements is attributable to the presence of a powerful Leninist labour institution predating the rise of labour conflicts, in contrast with the experience of western nations and developing authoritarian states. […] Institutionally, after protracted working-class struggles from the mid-19th Century, western democracies incorporated labour movements into the political system by institutionalizing workers’ collective as well as individual rights. Authoritarian developing states, on the other hand, either suppressed labour movements with violence or co-opted and depoliticized them, and subordinated them to firm state control. It was political democratization that paved the way for a full development of labour rights in these countries. China differs from both types of state above in that its capitalist development since the 1980s occurred at a different stage of state building in labour relations. The party-state had already had a strong presence in the labour sector as an institutional component of the Leninist political system, as the market reform began to change labour relations and bring massive labour conflicts. This pre-empted organized labour mobilization at the initial stage of capitalist development. Indeed, the state’s political and organizational control decisively undermined SOE workers’ ability to seek solidarity and instigate concerted actions against policies most detrimental to their economic interests. The establishment of labour-intensive industries in coastal areas in the early years of the reform also relied on the state to maintain the investment environment for foreign capital by keeping workforces silent. // Source: China Policy Institute Blog
iv. Lei Xie on “Why do individual Chinese participate in environmental governance?”: // A diverse set of values and beliefs can be seen among Chinese individuals in relation to the environment. One facet of their environmental identity resembles early environmental movements in the West where the main concerns were about nature conservation and environmental education. Another aspect to environmental identity reflects a wider tendency linked to perceptions about what is valuable in Chinese culture and society. A third aspect that is widely shared among the general Chinese public stems from increasing awareness of rights and how these relate to the need to protect the environment. Here, individuals can show growing rights awareness and assertiveness in articulating their interests which can feed through in complicated ways to a more general engagement in environmental governance. Their willingness to act can be seen linked to the development of a larger sense of political citizenship, something that can generate interest in policy discussions. Such citizenship does not usually follow neat urban-rural lines. It can be argued that ‘thick’ citizenship has emerged in different rural groups around the country precisely through the assertion of political rights against the state. // Source: China Policy Institute Blog
Former Party scholar Deng Yuwen on recent trends in the corruption crackdown
- One is that pervious work areas of top leaders are no longer safe given recent investigations in Fujian and Shanghai. Second is that even capable officials are not immune. Third is that SOE investigations are starting and are crucial to attacking vested interests blocking reforms. // 中纪委在两会后反腐持续加码，除福建省副省长徐钢、上海市政府副秘书长戴海波等政界人物被查处外，一汽董事长徐建一、中石油总经理廖永远、宝钢副总经理崔健、南方电网副总经理肖鹏、中海油原副总经理吴振芳等相继落马。再加上两会前和两会期间被查的云南省委副书记仇和、河北省委秘书长景春华以及中央军委集中公布的一批高级将领，两会前后到目前这段时间的反腐有以下三个特点：
[…] 上述反腐的三个特点，表明中纪委在反腐的领域又大大地深入了一步。不管是官场还是国企，也不管是领导人曾经工作生活过的地方，只要有腐败发生，无论哪种类型腐败，都将受到严厉查处。其中国企反腐，更值得一说。鉴于国企治理结构的特殊性，一定意义上说，国企反腐比起官场反腐来，更具迫切性。中国国企具有双掌特性，一方面，它们是市场经济下的企业；另一方面，它们又是国家进行宏观调控的政策工具，因此，国企既要遵循市场逻辑也要遵循政治逻辑。这种双重特性和逻辑也鲜明地体现在国企高管特别是负责人的任命上。国企负责人几乎都是通过行政任命产生的，尤其是央企领导，当局的国有资产管理部门还无权任命，其任命权掌握在党的组织部门，党管干部也适用国企特别是央企，这使得国企领导都具有双重身份。由此导致企业的生产经营权一般都集中在国企领导班子，特别是主要领导成员手中，这就为腐败的产生提供了土壤；再加上国企决策不够透明、监管不够到位，可以说，国企负责人的权力任性不亚于官场，国企沦为腐败“重灾区”也就自不待言。 // Source: Netease
Surveys on Hong Kong’s 2017 political reform are polls apart
- // The discrepancy in support ratings for the 2017 chief executive election reform proposal in recent surveys could be as large as 20 percentage points, with pollsters attributing the variations to the wording of the questions, polling methods and survey timing. The Post reviewed the results of surveys conducted by six agencies in February and March and found the support rate for Beijing’s ruling on political reform ranged from 40.2 per cent to 60.5 per cent. Pollsters called on the government to disclose survey details if it decides to conduct a future poll. In late February, a government source said an internal poll showed that the support rate for passing the reform package stood at 57 per cent. But a spokeswoman for the Central Policy Unit, which commissioned the poll, declined to give details, saying the survey was for the “government’s internal reference”. […] The six surveys reviewed by the Post were initiated by the Alliance for True Democracy, Chinese University, the Concern Group for Public Opinion on Constitutional Development, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, Hong Kong United Youth Alliance and New Forum. Three of them mentioned “one man, one vote” or “allow all voters to elect the chief executive” in the questions. The support rates for political reform were generally higher, ranging from 49.5 per cent to 60.5 per cent. The support rates for another three surveys – including the one by Chinese University, which did not use the wording – were lower at between 40.2 per cent and 45.1 per cent. However, a senior government official cast doubt on Chinese University’s results, saying the pollsters had used “loaded questions” such as asking interviewees whether they would accept the reform proposal if it did not allow people who shared different views from those of Beijing to be named as chief executive hopefuls.// Source: SCMP
- Chinese University professor T.M. Chan put forward a similar argument on his Mingpao op-ed: // 在佔領前第一輪調查時，主張否決政改方案的為7%，主張通過的有29.3%，彼此相差24.4個百分點。當佔領運動在今年3月告一段落後，主張通過和否定分別為40.2%和46.9%，相差為6.7個百分點。由此可見，經過半年的街頭衝突後，最終主張否定的比例仍然高於主張通過的，但是運動前後主張通過的增加了10.9個百分點，而主張否決的則減少了6.8個百分點，使彼此的差異縮小。如果我們以半數（50%）算，主張否定的略佔優勢，離半數只差3個百分點。
如果我們比對香港政改民意關注組委託嶺南大學做的民意調查，它們發現傾向接受「袋住先」大概多於半數，表面上跟這個調查所反映的傾向相反。為什麼如此？其中一個重要的原因很可能是因提問方法不一所造成的。中大調查的問法，同時有提及投票權開放及候選權限制的問題，而其他調查的提問多只提投票權問題，是以產生上述差異。至於問法應否提及候選權受限制的事實，那要看調查者認為調查應否反映現實中的爭議焦點。我們知道，一直困擾政改的問題不在投票權，而在候選權是否公平的問題，所以兩者並提是符合現實的選擇。// Source: Mingpao
Hong Kong’s guileless democrats outgunned
- Hong Kong-based journalist and entrepreneur Stephen Vines says tactics must change in the dirty game of politics. // In the face of this propaganda onslaught, the democrats are behaving like rabbits trapped in car headlights and seem to believe that they do not need to deploy any degree of guile in countering the anti-democrats. Instead, they stick to a line that may well be honourable but is looking increasingly tattered, as even the government seems to have learned better ways of manipulating public opinion. […] Take, for example, the current proposal for a signature campaign; why on earth do the democrats not challenge the anti-democrats to turn this into a genuine opinion-gathering exercise presenting the case for and against the reforms? And they could go further by pledging to respect the public’s majority view when it comes to the Legislative Council vote, with the important caveat that the anti-democrats should also pledge to follow majority views. Then there is the question of what happens should the current proposals for pre-vetted democracy be put before Legco without amendment. Is it really a smart idea for democrats to be seen voting against what can be presented as a plan for universal suffrage? Surely it is far smarter to say: go ahead with your phony scheme, we want no part of it and will leave chamber when it comes to the vote. // Source: SCMP
Hong Kong pan-democrat Ronny Tong considers future with moderates
- // Civic Party lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah tried to consolidate “moderate power” in Hong Kong politics yesterday by convening a first meeting to explore how the city should proceed if political reform proposals are blocked. The meeting led by Tong came as the government is set to announce details of its proposal as early as Wednesday. Pan-democrat lawmakers have vowed to vote down the proposal if it follows Beijing’s restrictive framework, which stipulates that only two or three candidates who secure majority support from a 1,200-strong nomination committee can run for chief executive. But Tong said the political reform was not on the agenda for the moderates, who might later create a think tank. “Even lawmakers would hold different views regarding [Beijing’s August 2014] framework. Perhaps political reform might not be [the topic] that we could have the most efficient discussion on,” the barrister said after the 31/2-hour meeting at City University.// Source: SCMP
DAB member proposes anti-independence law
- // Several Hong Kong legal experts have proposed a draft of an anti-Hong Kong independence law, which aims to clamp down on behavior that encourages secession and prevent the spread of “separatism.” Over 30 lawyers from the China-Australia (CA) Legal Exchange Foundation, a group that seeks to strengthen exchanges between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, started a four-day visit to Beijing on April 1 and have visited the Supreme People’s Court, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council and the Basic Law Committee to discuss the details of the anti-independence law with officials. // Source: Global Times
- But politicians, including Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang and Chief Executive CY Leung, were skeptical:// Hong Kong does not need an anti-independence law at the moment as there is “no market” for separatist discourse, Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing said on Thursday. And Tsang distanced himself and his party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, from a DAB member’s proposal to outlaw calls for secession. His comments came a day after party member Lawrence Ma Yan-kwok told the media he had submitted a draft anti-secession bill to Beijing and Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying denied newspaper reports the government planned to put forward such legislation this summer. // Source: SCMP
- // The government has no plan to try to outlaw campaigns advocating independence from China, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said on Wednesday, in response to a news report that such a law was in the works. But the chief executive said he would be on the alert for pro-independence behaviour. Leung’s comments followed those of Justice Secretary Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung, who said the government had not decided whether it should try to outlaw independence campaigns. Leung said the notion that Hong Kong should break away from China had gained traction recently, citing an incident in December 2013 in which trespassers carrying colonial-era flags entered the People’s Liberation Army barracks in Admiralty. But he said repeatedly that the government did not plan to push for an anti-independence law. // Source: SCMP