CEFC

Press Highlights 07 June 2016

Keywords: Internet censorship, public opinion guidance, Wu Liangshu, supply-side economic reform, investors’ protests, June 4 Incident Commemoration in Hong Kong, repeal of high-school curriculum change in Taiwan.

China

Politics

1. New draft rules for Internet censorship over video content

 

  • //New regulations being considered by China‘s censorship authority would allow a select list of SOEs to buy “special management stakes” of up to 10 percent in the country’s popular video streaming websites, giving them the right to oversee production and decision-making, respected business magazine Caixin reported. The Chinese-language report was later removed from Caixin’s own website, although the text was widely reposted elsewhere. Video sites such as Youku Tudou, acquired last year by tech giant Alibaba for an estimated $4.8 billion, and Baidu’s iQiyi.com could be affected, with greater scrutiny over content and potential modifications to in-house productions.// Source: Hong Kong Free Press, 23 May 2016.

2. Public opinion guidance by government officials’ warning and the “Fifty Cent Party”

The government officials issued warnings to professional commentators and reporters who did not make positive remarks about China’s economy:

  • //Chinese authorities are training their sights on a new set of targets: economists, analysts and business reporters with gloomy views on the country’s economy. Securities regulators, media censors and other government officials have issued verbal warnings to commentators whose public remarks on the economy are out of step with the government’s upbeat statements, according to government officials and commentators with knowledge of the matter. The stepped-up censorship, many inside and outside the ruling Communist Party say, represents an effort by China’s leadership to quell growing concerns about the country’s economic prospects as it experiences a prolonged slowdown in growth. As more citizens try to take money out of the country, officials say, regulators and censors are trying to foster an environment of what party officials have dubbed “zhengnengliang,” or “positive energy.”// Source: Wall Street Journal, 03 May 2016.

A new study on the characteristics of the Fifty Cent Party by scholars had recently been released, for the study in full, please find it here:

  • //A new study says those people are closer to the government than previously thought. The study, from researchers at Harvard, Stanford and the University of California, San Diego, says the legions of online commenters are not all freelancers paid by the post. In fact, it says that most are government employees, preaching the principles of the Chinese Communist Party on social media while carrying out their jobs in the local tax bureau or at a county government office. They are also incredibly prolific. The study, released by Gary King, Jennifer Pan and Margaret E. Roberts, estimates that the Chinese government each year fabricates and posts around 488 million social media posts in China, or about one for every 178 social media posts on Chinese commercial sites. Posts are usually written in bursts around politically sensitive events, like protests or key national political events, and are often intended to distract the public from bad news. The study could shed light on an active but shadowy part of China’s complex system of tools used to guide online public opinion at home. Its best-known tool is the Great Firewall, the sophisticated system of Internet filters and blocks that prevents people in China from accessing Facebook, Twitter and Google, as well as foreign media sources such as The New York Times. […] Domestically, the report found that Beijing primarily sought to guide public opinion by having commenters write posts designed to “regularly distract the public and change the subject” rather than rebut arguments against the government line. “Distraction is a clever strategy in information control in that an argument in almost any human discussion is rarely an effective way to put an end to an opposing argument,” it said. The effects of this strategy are amplified by highly coordinated campaigns in which bursts of messages are posted around news or events as they go viral, according to the report.// Source: New York Times, 19 May 2016.

3. An attack on a lawyer Wu Liangshu (吴良述) by court police in Guangxi sparked outcry among lawyers over the abuse of power by court

 

  • //About 800 lawyers in China have signed a statement condemning an attack on an attorney who was assaulted in a courtroom by police officers. The lawyer Wu Liangshu was allegedly beaten by court policemen in the presence of two judges and one other official when he was attempting to file a case in a district court in Nanning in the Guangxi region of southern China on Friday. The clash reportedly broke out after Wu refused to hand over his mobile phone for inspection by court police. “Without any legal stance and paperwork such as a search warrant, court policemen are not allowed to carry out such an inspection,” the lawyers said in the statement. “We are of the view that this is a classic case of abuse of power. Searching people in whatever way they please is an illegal act punishable by law,” the statement added. Wu was photographed leaving the court with his shirt torn open and half of his trousers ripped away revealing his underpants, the news organisation Caixin reported.// Source: SCMP, 06 June 2016.

Commentator on the People’s Court Newspaper Zhong Li (钟莉), argued that the incident had already undermined the hard-built legal profession in China. She pointed out that the relevant regulations emphasized the prevention of judicial corruption and did not give room for the smooth communication between lawyer and the judges, leading to the failure of building up a common identity among them to protect the social image of the legal profession.

  • //2004年,最高人民法院和司法部联合下发了《关于规范法官和律师相互关系维护司法公正的若干规定》,这是建国以来第一个以律师与法官相互关系作为直接调整对象的规范性文件,被认为是法院系统首次建立法律职业共同体的政策性尝试。随后,各地也纷纷出台了“法律职业共同体行动纲领”“共同体合作框架协议”等规范性文件。然而,广西事件暴露出法律职业共同体的建设依然步履维艰。为何明明在制度层面上已有章可循,但在现实层面上仍然会出现剑拔弩张、火花四溅的局面呢?出现这一问题,值得深思。一直以来,对法官与律师关系的规制方式大都以禁止性规范为主,以“预防司法腐败”为目的,通过制度建构搭建出各种“防火墙”和“隔离带”。这种单向度禁止型的制度设计模式,对法官与律师之间必要的沟通与协作缺乏重视和疏导,一旦出现冲突,容易出现相互拆台的局面。在某些不应该发生的对抗性事件中,法官和律师均站在各自立场,相互辩驳和指责,而最终受损的是整个司法职业群体的社会形象。法律职业共同体的构建至少需要两方面的条件,即共同的专业知识与一致的群体认同。对于前一条件,已通过法学教育和职业资格考试等途径基本得以实现;而对于后一条件,由于我国长期的法制历史积弊和现实制度的藩篱,法官和律师之间没有建立起必要的信任和有效的沟通。由此,即使拥有相同的专业背景也无法感受到共同体的身份认同,由于缺乏一致的群体认同,理想的法律职业共同体在现实中只能表现为分崩离析的状态。// Source: The Paper, 06 June 2016.

4. Arrest of activists who commemorated June 4 Incident at home

 

  • //At least three activists have been detained in Beijing ahead of June 4 over a 1989 Tiananmen Massacre commemoration meeting that took place in Zhao Changqing’s home. Human rights activists Zhao Changqing, Zhang Baocheng, Xu Caihong were detained in the early hours of Tuesday morning [May 31]. According to Chinese human rights advocate Liu Xuehong, she was video chatting with Xu when police visited Xu’s home at 1:30am. Liu said that the call was cut and she could no longer contact Xu afterwards. Zhao and Zhang were arrested at around 7 am, according to Zhou Fengsuo, San Francisco-based co-founder of Humanitarian China.// Source: Hong Kong Free Press, 31 May 2016.
  • //北京昨日開始在街頭和互聯網提升監控級別,與往年一樣,地鐵1號線木樨地站西北面出口、2號線前門站的東北出口昨下午起臨時封閉,「直至另行通知」。微博上的「蠟燭」表情圖標也不能發送。在北京,數名維權人士在家中集會,點燃27支白色蠟燭紀念六四27周年,相片擺上網後,被北京豐台區警方以「尋釁滋事」罪名刑事拘留。據人權中國網報道,「天安門母親」收到27年來最大一筆單筆資助,由美國加州Tso Ming Sing基金會的吳銘之先生捐出,「天安門母親」發言人尤維潔表示謝意,但報道沒有提及金額。//Source: MingPao Daily, 04 June 2016.

Economy

 

5. Debate on the meaning of “supply-side reform” by Xi Jinping

In an article by Cary Huang on SCMP, Huang summarized a debate on Xi’s version of “supply-side reform”. Some analysts argued it was a market-oriented reform, while some doubted whether it indicated a return to state planning as in the past of the PRC’s history.

  • //President Xi Jinping’s hallmark “supply-side reform” has been confusing and controversial since its advent in November, with some seeing it as a copy of Western liberal economic policy and others viewing it as a return to Stalinist state planning. That is why state media and Xi himself had been at pains to correct “confusion” and “misunderstanding”, analysts said. […] In a lengthy speech to top officials in January, which was published by the Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily on May 10, Xi sought to distance his economic thoughts from Western-style supply-side economics. “I need to be clear, the supply-side structural reform we are talking about is not the same as the supply-side economics school in the West,” he said. In an article published last month, the People’s Daily also argued that Xi’s version does not mean “a new round of state planning” to cut overcapacity in the state sector or set targets for the reform. Economists said the development suggested an ideological divide within the leadership, or Xi’s frustration over the implementation of his policy. “There is a great deal of jargon in this article. It makes one feel as if there is an ideological debate going on somewhere,” said Hao Hong, chief strategist and co-head of research at BOCOM International. Hong said that, as the government had laid out specific targets to reduce capacity, some could see those targets as “a return to the centrally planned economy”. […] Lei Mao, a finance professor at Britain’s Warwick Business School, said Xi’s policy was “anti-state-planning”. “It does not make sense to talk about free prices and how these prices would adjust market activities in a market that is already highly distorted by the government,” Mao said. He said that in China, the supply of coal and steel had never been subject to adjustment by their market price. “Therefore, the first thing to do is to mitigate these distortions,” Mao said. “Thus Xi’s policy is exactly anti-state-planning.” […] Jia Kang, president of the China Academy of New Supply-side Economics, said Xi’s idea was neither a disavowal of the demand side nor blind copying of US policies under Reagan, which were based on tax cuts. Jia said supply-side reform did not suggest a return to the plan­ned economy and would adhere to the principle of allowing market forces to play a decisive role in resource allocation.// Source: SCMP, 05 June 2016.

In another article by a commentator Zhou Xin on SCMP, he outlined what Xi had mentioned about the “supply-side reform” regarding state-owned enterprises and what the official line said about it on the People’s Daily. He further argued that these indicated the supply-side reform would encourage state-owned enterprises to be more profitable while not out of control under the state.

  • //In an opinion piece in the official People’s Daily on Thursday, Renmin University professor Zhou Xincheng attacked suggestions that state-owned enterprises should be privatised, calling on the authorities to make SOEs “bigger and stronger”. The article was published on page seven of the ruling Communist Party’s mouthpiece and as such has less weight than an editorial or a front-page interview. But its publication amid a broader debate on “supply-side” economic reforms highlights the administration’s predicament about state firms – Beijing wants the massive enterprises to be more profitable but is unwilling to loosen its grip on them. […] The plan for SOEs is part of Xi’s hallmark policy of supply-side structural reforms, an approach the president says is very different from the economic policy adopted by US president Ronald Reagan and former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. Xi said the mainland’s supply-side reform was more than “an issue of tax or tax rate” – it was a slew of structural measures to seek innovation, prosperity and well-being. He said his concept meant “cutting capacity, reducing inventory, cutting ­leverage, lowering costs, and strengthening the weak links”. “The word ‘structural’ is very important, you can shorten it as ‘supply-side reform’, but please don’t forget the word ‘structural’,” he said. […] For mainland conservatives, however, SOEs are the bedrock of public ownership, and their health offers political legitimacy for the Communist Party’s rule. “It’s an inherent requirement from socialism that state-owned enterprises must perform well,” Zhou wrote in People’s Daily. “We must ensure the dominance of public ownership. That’s the key to maintaining the socialist nature of Chinese society. “Neoliberals say public ownership is incompatible with the market economy, and their purpose is to guide China’s SOE reform to a path of privatisation. We must be on high alert for this.”// Source: SCMP, 27 May 2016.

6. European Business groups protest against new draft rules for the insurance industry in China, criticizing the authority using cybersecurity as a pretext for economic protectionism

 

  • //The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China has joined other overseas business associations in signing an open letter calling for changes to Chinese regulations overseeing the insurance industry, which they say unfairly penalise foreign firms. The move comes ahead of ministerial-level talks next week in Beijing during the eighth China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue, in which trade and business issues are likely to be high on the agenda. The government says the draft measures are to improve cybersecurity and include stipulations that insurance firms should store data within China and prioritise buying “secure and controllable” products, including Chinese encryption technologies, hardware and software. Foreign business groups says the measures are excessive and will make it harder for overseas firms to compete with Chinese insurance companies and technology providers on the mainland. The letter comes amid rising discontent among foreign companies operating in China over the hurdles they face in doing business, including restricted market access, unclear regulations and government controls over the internet. Jacob Parker, the vice president of US-China Business Council on the mainland, said the rules would require big financial firms to adopt local technologies and “putting barriers on foreign technology will undermine China’s goal of a safer and more secure system”. “We and our members continued to be concerned that China is using national security for protectionist purposes,” Parker said. China passed national security and counterterrorism legislation last year, with requirements for firms to take action to improve cybersecurity. Concerns about the problems faced by foreign businesses and investors on the mainland may cloud the outlook for negotiations between China and the US and with the EU to agree investment pacts, according to analysts.// Source: SCMP, 03 June 2016.

Society

7. Protestors who lost money to the Fanya Metals Exchange last year circumvent the Great Firewall to draw intenational attention on Twitter

 

  • //More than 300 investors in Fanya Metal Exchange, have become active Twitter users, mostly thanks to Cong, 30, a state bank employee in Shanghai. Like many Fanya investors, Cong asked not to reveal her full name for fear that the government would retaliate. Her case is also typical: She put her life savings, nearly one million yuan (around $150,000), into the exchange because she trusted the local government and state banks which endorsed it. Cong rallied her fellow Fanya investors to join her Twitter initiative at the end of April. In less than a month, she had gathered hundreds in a WeChat group she set up. Most of them had never used Twitter before, and more than half are middle-aged, and not even active internet users. Most just know how to use chat apps like Weibo or WeChat. […] Everyone in the group is encouraged to make at least one post per day, no matter whether it is pictures or videos of the protests they attended, or details of the miserable changes in their lives. “We must @ prominent media,” Cong wrote in the instructions she sent out to investors, including a list of twitter handles from the UN to the BBC to US president Barack Obama. […] China’s netizens have collectively jumped the Great Firewall before, but for very different reasons. In January, an army of Chinese trolls blasted the Facebook page of Taiwan’s incoming president Tsai Ing-wen with anti-Taiwan comments and memes, for example. Fanya’s investors, though, would have been unlikely to try to go around Chinese censorship beforehand. “If this hadn’t happened, I would never have learned to ‘jump the wall,’” one investor named Tittizhush wrote on Twitter. “I used to live my nourishing life, but now… it’s horrible.” What’s more, they were unlikely to express “anti-China” opinions before—but now many do.// Source: Quartz, 26 May 2016.

In addition to their “Twitter” protest, they also went to Hong Kong and made physical protests on 22 May 2016:

  • //A group of burned Chinese investors are looking for help from outside of the mainland, after months of demonstrations at home failed to recover an estimated $6 billion lost in one of China’s largest suspected financial scams. More than twenty investors from Guangzhou, the mainland province that abuts Hong Kong, protested in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay shopping district on Sunday (May 22), demanding their money back from Fanya Metal Exchange, a rare metals trading platform which is now suspected to be a fraud and is under investigation. […] Fanya was just the tip of the iceberg for Chinese financial scams last year. It’s not the biggest in terms of money involved, but it remains one of the most troubling one because the company grew thanks to government support. The local Yunnan government approved its setup; state banks aggressively sold its flagship products, which promised “zero risks” and high returns, to their clients; China’s national broadcaster regularly endorsed the exchange. Investors say they never imagined things could go wrong, after all this official recognition. Investors have been trying to recoup their losses through public protests, and even at one point, kidnapping the exchange head and turning him in to the police. But their outcry has invited arrests and harassment from police.//Source: Quartz, 23 May 2016.

Background of the protests related to the Fanya Exchange since the fall last year:

  • //Investors angered by frozen assets in the Kunming-based Fanya Metals Exchange rallied outside the China Securities Regulatory Commission in Beijing, saying they had been cheated out of their savings. […]The protests have been ongoing for several months in various cities. On August 22, angered investors from around the country organized by social media and gathered in Shanghai to forcibly take the exchange founder to the local police station, where he was released without charge.// Source: China Digital Times, 22 September 2016.

In an article referring to the mysterious death of Lei Yang, a Beijing resident with a degree from the respected Renmin University a month ago, Chen Te-ping on the Wall Street Journal argued that discontent among China’s middle class continued to grow over the government despite rising income:

  • //The death here of a 29-year-old man in police custody—a new father and graduate of a prestigious Chinese university—has exposed increasing anxieties in the country’s growing middle class, already shaken by a decelerating economy and a disparate series of high-profile incidents threatening their sense of stability. Other wide-ranging targets of recent social-media attention include a violent string of attacks on doctors by embittered patients and their families, a demand that apartment owners in eastern China pay extra to secure the land on which their apartments were already built, confusing changes in college-entrance standards, and fatal chemical explosions wiping out homes. Such disruptions have come as reminders that rising incomes or better education don’t automatically shield China’s expanding middle-class ranks from danger, whether physical or economic, in a society where the law can be arbitrarily enforced and justice is sometimes brutal. […] In China, complaints about public-security officials meting out harsh treatment aren’t uncommon from migrant workers or people seeking redress from the government. The case of Mr. Lei—who worked for a think tank—was unusual in that it involved someone with a comfortable foothold on the economic ladder. “This really touches the nerves for the middle class,” said Patrick Poon, China researcher for Amnesty International. Ivan Sun, a professor who studies criminal justice at the University of Delaware, said China’s better-educated urbanites tend to have lower levels of trust in the police. […] While middle-class frustration most frequently is voiced online, it periodically spills over into open protests. In several cities in Jiangsu, one of China’s wealthiest provinces, parents demonstrated this month over changes to the university-entrance system that they feared would leave their children at a disadvantage. […] For now, David Goodman, a professor with Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, said that calls for change remain generally circumscribed. He notes that while members of China’s middle class have their complaints, they are also among the biggest beneficiaries of the country’s political system. “Their demands are not against the system,” he said. “What they’re mostly asking for is for the system to work better.”// Source: Wall Street Journal, 24 May 2016.

Hong Kong

Politics

1. June 4 Incident Commemoration in Hong Kong

There was a debate about whether Hong Kong’s younger generation should continue to commemorate the June 4 Incident. The debate was started by the president of the Hong Kong University Student Union who argued Hong Kong should put a stop to the commemoration in the future, while other students criticized the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China (i.e. the organizer of the June 4 Incident Vigil every year in the Victoria Park) for being routine and failing to achieve anything. Two forums were separately organized on June 4 at both Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of Hong Kong. The meanings of the June 4 Incident Vigil held in Hong Kong have been discussed in the city. More articles can be found from the media outlet PenToy (in Chinese).

For the first year, no representatives of university student unions participated in the June 4 Incident Candlelight Vigil:

  • //Student leaders will for the first time be absent from the annual candlelight vigil commemorating the Tiananmen Square crackdown, amid the rise of localist sentiment in Hong Kong. Representatives from the Hong Kong Federation of Students, the city’s biggest student body, which co-led the pro-democracy Occupy sit-ins in 2014, have been giving speeches at the candlelight vigil in Causeway Bay’s Victoria Park every June 4 for more than two decades.//Source: SCMP, 23 May 2016.

Two separate June 4 forums were held with a change of approaches to the way they commmemorate the Incident:

  • //Organisers of the alternative events said a change of approach was required as the many years of annual commemoration had failed to obtain results. For the second year running, the University of Hong Kong’s student union held its own memorial for the crackdown, together with a forum discussing the city’s future. Union president Althea Suen Hiu-nam had earlier said the ­student body disagreed with the need to build a democratic China – one of the stated aims of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which organised the Victoria Park vigil in Causeway Bay. The HKU event drew about 1,000 participants, who held a silent tribute for one minute but did not hold candles. […] About 1,600 people took part in a forum at the Chinese University campus, organised by student unions of 11 tertiary education institutions. Before the forum began in a packed hall, student leaders from the institutions read out a declaration, criticising the format of the Victoria Park vigil as “rigid”. They said not attending the vigil did not mean they cared little about the 1989 crackdown.// Source: SCMP, 05 June 2016.
  • //An “alternative” forum on the 1989 Tiananmen massacre was held by 11 student unions of tertiary institutions on Saturday. The Chinese University forum was held in a response to the annual candlelit vigil at Victoria Park, which organisers oppose. The student unions said Hongkongers have been attending the Victoria Park vigil without hesitation, but – in recent years – after the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy protests, young people have seen very big changes in local identity. They opposed the notion of “Hong Kong will only have democracy after China has democracy”, and voiced opposition to the belief that “building a democratic China” is the moral responsibility of Hong Kong people. Events to mark the June 4 crackdown from a local perspective have begun to emerge as student and localist groups urge deep and rational reflection on the massacre from the Hong Kong vantagepoint. The groups say they want to redefine the meaning of June 4 for a new generation, and for Hong Kong’s future. Chow Shue-fung, president of the student union of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said he was satisfied by what the event achieved. “It was fruitful,” he said. “Today’s discussions prepared theoretical foundations for future political actions.”// Source: Hong Kong Free Press, 05 June 2016.

A view which suggests the cessation of commemorating the Incident as represented by the president of Student Union of HKU Suen Hiu-nam (孫曉嵐):

  • //Suen [Hiu-nam] said discussing Hong Kong’s future on the anniversary of the crackdown was appropriate since people from different generations would be gathered at their assembly. “[The main candlelight vigil] has been the same for the past two decades. It has not contributed anything to how we think about the future,” she said. “Commemoration shouldn’t just be about expressing sadness. It should instead trigger discussions on issues that truly matter to Hongkongers.”//Source: SCMP, 24 May 2016.
  • //孫曉嵐今早與支聯會秘書長李卓人一同出席商台節目《在晴朗的一天出發》,表示不會說「六四」要劃上句號,但質疑悼念六四這件事,「係咪應該有個完結喺度呢?」她對於未來一兩年,學界的議程中,是否還會保留悼念六四有所保留,「因為呢一兩年,對香港前途問題係好重要時刻,呢個時候,當年輕人以香港人本位思考,再去悼念六四,而件事冇推進,好自然就唔應該再投放好多心力,或者唔應該視為理所當然的責任」。她又指,今年不用燭光悼念,原因「冇乜特別」,只是不認為悼念和默哀一定需要燭光,或者跟一定形式程序,而且去年清蠟燭漬用咗頗多時間。她強調不是特別想和維園的形式保持區別,並稱仍有1分鐘默哀環節。//Source: The Stand News, 25 May 2016.

A view which supports the continuity of the commemoration in Hong Kong as represented by the MingPao’s Editioral as follows:

June 4 Incident constitutes the shared memory of Hong Kong people and thus shaping the local identity and distinguishing the core values of the local from the people in the Mainland China. Also, Hong Kong is the only place allowed to commemorate the Incident openly within the Chinese territory, which demonstrates the practice of “One Country Two Systems”.

  • //六四事件是數十年以來,本港其中一次有重大影響的集體記憶,在塑造香港人身分、確立本港核心價值,以至香港的思維行事有別於內地等方面,都起着巨大促進作用。迄今本港政治生態格局,很大程度都與六四有關;因此,「本土」與六四關係密切,特別在政治層面,六四的影響是重要組成部分。今時今日六四在「一國兩制」仍有重要現實功能,中國960萬平方公里大地,只有香港約1100平方公里空間可以舉行悼念六四活動,它的象徵和實質意義都十分重要。說得嚴重一點,這是關乎香港約730萬人的生民命脈。放在這個層面檢視,會看到悼念六四在香港的重要性,不應輕易言廢。是否參加六四紀念活動純屬個人選擇,學生和年輕人的思緒和取態應以尊重,不過他們也要尊重其他人的選擇,不應攻擊、咒駡、侮辱參與悼念活動的人。讓港人繼續利用悼念六四的平台,展示與內地不一樣的真實一面。// Source: MingPao Daily, 04 June 2016.

Public survey about the June 4 Incident:

According to a rolling survey conducted yearly by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Programme, respondents who agreed that they have the obligation to promote democracy in Mainland China dropped to historically low in number since 1993 when such survey was first conducted. On the other hand, 78% of respondents who aged between 18 and 29 years old supported the redress of June 4 Incident. For details, see here by Hong Kong Free Press.

  • //香港大學民意研究計劃公布年度六四事件民調結果,在本土思潮席捲社會之下,認為香港人有責任推動內地民主的比率錄得1993年以來有紀錄新低,約62%受訪者認為港人有責任。不過,支持平反六四的整體比率較去年明顯回升6.9個百分點,至59%;其中受訪的18至29歲年輕人群組中,有78%支持平反六四,數字與去年相若,也是所有受訪歲數群組中比例最高// Source: MingPao Daily, 04 June 2016.

Taiwan

Politics

1. Taiwan holds first Tiananmen commemoration in the parliament

  • //Taiwan held its first commemoration in parliament of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown on Friday as lawmakers urged the island’s new government to address human rights issues in its dealings with mainland China. […] In the past, Taipei has repeatedly urged Beijing to learn lessons from the bloody Tiananmen crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. But parliamentarians had never before gathered to voice their views. A day ahead of the June 4 anniversary, senior lawmakers from the DPP and the Beijing-friendly Kuomintang (KMT) were joined by human rights activists and exiled Tiananmen student organiser Wuer Kaixi to observe a minute’s silence. […]KMT lawmaker Chen Shei-saint broke partisan ranks to voice support, saying democratisation on the mainland was “the biggest assurance for Taiwan’s security”.// Source: SCMP, 03 June 2016.

Views towards June 4 Incident by party leaders in Taiwan:

  • //台灣總統蔡英文總統和前總統馬英九周日都發表對六四的評論,呼籲中共當局平反六四、給人民更多的權力,以贏得國際上的尊敬。國民黨主席洪秀柱也發表對六四的評論表示,期盼大陸在走向富強的道路時,讓全體中華兒女共享因自由、民主所帶來的彼此尊重、包容彼此的生活,無論實踐的程度如何,的確看到兩岸社會朝這個理想前進。// Source: BBC, 04 June 2016.

2. Repeal of high-school cirriculum change after year-long controversy

The DPP-led government recently announced suspending the fine-tuning exercise of high-school curricula of subjects such as language, history, geography, citizens and society. The fine-tuning exercise stirred up controversies since its introduction in early 2014 when the KMT-led government pushed forward the reform.

  • //Taiwan’s new government has repealed controversial changes to the high school curriculum that led to widespread protests last year over what critics said was “China-centric” education. The order to overturn the changes comes less than two weeks since the China-sceptic Democratic Progressive Party was sworn in, replacing the Beijing-friendly Kuomintang (KMT) government. […] Education ministry officials said the decision on the curriculum, made late Tuesday, had been taken in response to public sentiment.// Source: Hong Kong Free Press, 01 June 2016.
  • //教育部長潘文忠上任時就宣示將廢止微調課綱,今天教育部發出公告,正式廢止2014年2月10日修正發布的國文、歷史、地理、公民與社會微調課綱。從105學年度開始,回復到2008、2011年發布的舊版課綱。潘文忠在就任記者會時指出,103高中國文及社會微調課綱,因參與研修人員的代表性不足,程序不正義,破壞了國人的共識和信賴,也引發了高中生反黑箱課綱微調運動,教育部尊重立院決議,近日內將完成行政程序,廢止103高中國文及社會微調課綱。// Source: United Daily News, 31 May 2016.
  • //中國國台辦日前曾批評新政府撤銷微調課綱,聲稱這是台獨勢力的分裂活動,並要民進黨政府「後果自負」,今日陸委會在記者會中回應,表示撤銷微調課綱不涉及去中國化,並要國台辦尊重台灣民意的感受。// Source: Liberty Times Net, 02 June 2016.

Background of the curriculum controversy:

  • //Dozens of angry students broke in to the education ministry in central Taipei last July over amendments to the curriculum brought in by the KMT, which they said favoured China‘s view of the island’s history. Taiwan split from China in 1949 after a civil war and is self-ruling, but Beijing still sees the island as part of its territory awaiting reunification — by force if necessary. Arrests of the protesting students sparked demonstrations across the island, stoked by the suicide of one young activist. At least 100 protesters were camped out at the ministry for six days. Deputy education minister Lin Teng-chiao told AFP Wednesday the panel that had made the original changes was “not representative” of the island and the procedure was “not proper”. The protests over the curriculum came as concerns grew, especially among the young, over increased Chinese influence. Curriculum changes disputed by protesters included a reference to Taiwan being “recovered by China” instead of “given to China” after the end of Japanese occupation in 1945. The 50-year period of Japanese rule is also referred to as an era when “Japan occupied” the island, replacing the previous phrase “Japan governed”.// Source: Hong Kong Free Press, 01 June 2016.

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