CEFC

Press Highlights 16 JANUARY 2015

Keywords: Taxi driver strikes, CY Leung’s policy address, anti-graft campaign, rule of law, Zhao Ziyang

Politics

Taxi driver strikes erupted across China, shedding lights on worker activism

  1. Strikes by taxi drivers began in Nanjing two weeks ago, then in Changchun earlier last week, and later spread to other cities including Chengdu and Nanchang. They were seemingly spurred by complaints about mistreatment by their companies and excessive fees as well as the growing competition from ride-sharing apps, and enabled by social media.
    // Taxi drivers in a half-dozen cities across China have gone on strike in recent days to protest what they say are soaring expenses, shrinking incomes and the competition presented by a spate of new ride-hailing apps. […] Although taxi strikes in China are not new, the cascade of copycat protests around the country highlights the organizational power of social media, presenting a challenge to a government that has little tolerance for labor unrest. According to China Labor Bulletin, […], worker activism has surged over the past year, with 569 episodes counted in the final quarter of last year, or three times the number in the same period in 2013. The group said the increase in protests and strikes by truck drivers, construction workers and miners was probably because of a slowing economy, but also because of the spread of inexpensive smartphones that have allowed organizers to spread the word about unpaid wages, broken contracts and other labor complaints. // Source: New York Times
  2. The central government recently introduced new rules to prohibit privately owned vehicles from using ride-hailing apps to offer rides. // China has banned drivers of private cars from offering services through ride-hailing apps, throwing up a new hurdle to Uber Technologies Ltd.’s global expansion. Only licensed taxis may use ride-hailing apps, the Ministry of Transport announced Friday. Such apps are hugely popular in China, and the ministry said it needed to protect users. The ruling could be a setback for Uber, which faces legal challenges in South Korea, India, Europe, California and other markets for using drivers who lack taxi licenses. // Source: New York Times, Xinhua
  3. // […] Geoffrey Crothall of China Labor Bulletin said the news media’s focus on ride-hailing apps obscured the main complaint of the Chinese taxi drivers: that rapacious fleet companies charge onerous rental fees that leave drivers with little to show for their work. “Drivers are basically held hostage to the companies, and they are constantly getting squeezed,” he said. “But the discussion of these apps seems to have encouraged taxi drivers to press their case and try to draw attention to their longstanding grievances.” // Source: New York Times
  4. Crothall goes further in his CLB blog. // The cab companies can arbitrarily raise the monthly fee, while the driver has to cover the costs of fuel, maintenance and repairs. Drivers are often considered to be self-employed and get few if any employee benefits. In major cities the leasing fee can be around 10,000 yuan a month, which means drivers have to work 12 hours a day, every day of the week just to get by. If business is slow, as was the case during the government crackdown on prostitution in Dongguan last summer, drivers can sometimes take home less than a local factory worker. With earnings so low, drivers understandably get angry when their business is poached by unlicensed cabs that are not subject to same burdensome regulations as they are. A brief examination of the hundreds of taxi strikes over the last few years shows that competition from unlicensed cabs has been one of the primary causes of protest. The use of taxi apps is merely the latest manifestation of unfair competition in the transport industry. // Source: China Labour Bulletin

 Maoists in China, Given New Life, Attack Dissent

  1. Chris Buckley and Andrew Jacobs argue that an ongoing crackdown on speech and dissent in China since Xi Jinping came to power has empowered leftists in the country. // China’s Maoist ideologues are resurgent after languishing in the political desert, buoyed by President Xi Jinping’s traditionalist tilt and emboldened by internal party decrees that have declared open season on Chinese academics, artists and party cadres seen as insufficiently red. […] The latter-day Maoists, whose influence had faltered before Mr. Xi came to power, have also been encouraged by another internal document, Document No. 30, which reinforces warnings that Western-inspired notions of media independence, “universal values” and criticism of Mao threaten the party’s survival. […] China’s old guard leftists are a loose network of officials and former officials, sons and daughters of party veterans, and ardently anti-Western academics and journalists. They look back to the precepts of Marx, Lenin and especially Mao to try to reverse the effects of China’s free-market policies and the spread of values anathema to party tradition. And while their direct influence on the party leadership has been circumscribed, they have served as the party’s eager ideological inquisitors. Their favorite enemies are almost always members of China’s beleaguered liberal circles: academics, journalists and rights activists who believe that liberal democracy, with its accompanying ideas of civil society and rule of law, offers the country the best way forward. // Source: New York Times

 Anti-graft new focus in 2015: senior officials, state firms, fugitives

  1. // China’s top corruption eradication authority on Wednesday put forward seven priorities for 2015, including tighter scrutiny of senior officials and intensified efforts to track down corrupt fugitives hiding abroad. A communique, issued after the fifth plenary session of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), which ended on Wednesday, listed the priorities as follows:
    The top task for 2015 will be the tightening up of internal management and ensuring central leadership policies are implemented. The CCDI demanded that senior officials “toe the line” and that cronyism, fakery and sycophancy would not be tolerated.
    — All state-owned enterprises (SOEs) under the care of the central government will be subject to inspections and supervision will be tightened on SOEs across the board.
    The heads of Party and government departments, and state-owned enterprises will be held accountable for any serious corruption cases that happen under their charge.
    — The rooting out of harmful working practices, including abuse of public money and bureaucracy, will continue.
    Officials in key positions who use their influence in infrastructure projects and public land deals, embezzle state-owned assets, or buy and sell government posts will face serious penalties.
    — Disciplinary inspection organs will strengthen international cooperation in the hunt for fugitive officials and asset recovery.
    — The CCDI will build a loyal, clean, responsible discipline inspection team. Incompetent inspectors will be replaced and those who look the other way would be punished. // Source: Xinhua
  2. Communiqué in Chinese available here
  3. Seems that SOE inspection will be a key focus for CCDI in 2015: // Following an important review meeting on corruption efforts that concluded on Wednesday, anti-graft authorities have been set the task of inspecting all major state-owned enterprises (SOE) this year, a communique issued after the meeting said. […] Inspectors must also step up supervision on SOEs across the board, the document said. The document did not explicitly define the SOEs to be inspected. Normally the term is used to refer to 153 state-owned enterprises supervised by the State Council’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, as well as state-owned banks and other financial institutions supervised by State Council commissions. […] Six SOEs under the care of the central government have been inspected and in the latest round eight more were scrutinized. Internal inspections have led to several inquires into SOE executives, including Ren Yong, assistant general manager of Dongfeng Motor Corp.; and China Southern Airlines’s vice general manager Chen Gang and its operations director Tian Xiaodong. // Source: Xinhua
  4. Pressure spreads as State Council also implements anti-corruption instructions. // At the meeting, the State Council ordered authorities to advance the frugality campaign and strengthen management over the funds used for public vehicles, receptions and trips. Further cuts in administrative approval are planned along with clarification of the rights of various departments to clean “the soil breeding corruption.” Government affairs should be more transparent and audits on public funds should ensure the funds’ safety. The meeting decided to quickly prepare a third State Council work conference on clean government. // Source: Xinhua
  5. There are signs that anti-corruption drive in the PLA is just starting, as PLA discipline and inspection officers attended CCDI’s meeting, which was unprecedented. // 列举一下数据:十八届中央纪委一次全会,应到130人,出席129人;二次,出席129人,列席295人;三次,出席128人,列席299人;四次,出席123人;五次,出席125人,列席365人。出席人数中减少的,有两个是因为落马——申维辰和梁滨,之前都是中纪委委员,在本次全会上被确认开除党籍。而列席的人数则大幅增加,比此前列席最多的一次还多了66人。大幅增加的列席人数从哪儿来?今天参会的“党报评论君”透露了消息——“会的京西宾馆人来人往之中多了些身着戎装的们显得格外醒目。工作人表示次的中委全会邀军纪委成参加而此前并未出似情况。也就是多出来的人数很多来自军队// Source: com
    i. The PLA announced the names of 16 generals who were put under investigation for graft, including the deputy head of its nuclear forces. // Some of those targeted have been under investigation for months and the People’s Liberation Army took an unusual step of releasing their names in a public statement on its official website. “This is the first time in the PLA’s history it has announced more than a dozen senior officers’ corruption cases in a single public statement,” said Yue Gang, a retired PLA colonel. “It shows military corruption is in such a critical condition that Xi has to make these cases public to seek the support of the people.” // Source: Bloomberg
    ii. A report on Caixin lauded the new display of transparency in military graft crackdown. Source: Caixin
    iii. Another aspect of military corruption crackdown is to fix housing perks in the military: // 经中央军委主席习近平批准,总政治部、总后勤部、军委纪委日前联合发出通知,决定利用两年时间,在全军和武警部队组织开展经济适用住房建设项目专项清理整治,旨在妥善解决住房建设管理中存在的遗留问题,彻底纠治住房方面的腐败问题和不正之风,坚决维护政策纪律的权威性和严肃性。1999年军队住房制度改革以来,通过组织建设经济适用住房,全军和武警部队广大官兵、职工住房条件得到了明显改善,对于凝聚军心、稳定部队发挥了重要作用。但由于执行政策不严、监管力度不够,也出现了超计划超面积建房、低价内售和违规外售等问题,扰乱了住房建设管理秩序,影响了部队风气建设,必须下大力坚决予以纠治。// Source: 腾讯网
    iv. At the same time, Willy Lam at Jamestown argues that Xi is consolidating power by promoting alumni of the Nanjing Military Region. Source: Jamestown Foundation
  6. The CCDI is investigating a top security official: // A senior official in China’s Ministry of State Security faces investigation by the Communist Party’s central anticorruption agency, the agency announced on Friday, breaching the wall of secrecy that usually protects the powerful ministry. The investigation of the official, Vice Minister Ma Jian, was the latest demonstration of President Xi Jinping’s drive to consolidate his control of the levers of Communist Party power. The inquiry was disclosed in a single-sentence announcement on the website of the party’s anticorruption agency, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. Mr. Ma was suspected of “grave violations of discipline and the law and is currently under organizational investigation,” said the statement, using the party’s customary euphemism for an inquiry into official graft and abuses of power. It gave no details of the allegations against Mr. Ma. // Source: New York Times
  7. State authorities pleaded public support for corruption crackdown but warned against mass movements: // The session reviewed the anti-corruption work in 2014 and said that the achievements were made with the Party’s firm leadership, joint efforts by all Party organizations and members, the public’s support and the hard work of discipline inspectors. The communique said the campaign required political composure, restraint and patience, but stressed that it was not just a “whirlwind campaign” and efforts should not spur “mass movements” that disturb social order. // Source: Xinhua

China says the Charlie Hebdo attacks show needs on limiting press freedom

  1. While the attacks inspired an international wave of support for press freedom, China’s state media have repeatedly used the killings to call for limits on it in the past weeks. An article on the Wall Street Journal highlighted a commentary by Xinhua’s Paris bureau chief Ying Qiang, for example: // “Charlie Hebdo had on multiple occasions been the target of protests and even revenge attacks on account of its controversial cartoons,” […], adding that the magazine had been criticized in the past for being “both crude and heartless” in its attacks on religion. […]“Many religions and ethnic groups in this world have their own totems and spiritual taboos. Mutual respect is crucial for peaceful coexistence,” the commentary said. “Unfettered and unprincipled satire, humiliation and free speech are not acceptable.” // Source: Wall Street Journal
  2. Another commentary on Xinhua carried similar argument: // Any killings or violence related to terrorism should be condemned and the perpetrators be brought to justice. However, it is high time for the Western world to review the root causes of terrorism, as well as the limitation of press freedom, to avoid more violence in the future. An armed attack on a media organization is shocking, but it is not even the first time Charlie Hebdo has been the target of terrorist attacks. // Source: Xinhua
  3. The Economist looks at China’s own problems of multiculturalism in light of its Uighur and Tibetan population: // But two ethnic groups, whose members often chafe at Chinese rule, are bucking this trend. Uighurs and Tibetans are staying on the farm, often because discrimination against them makes it difficult to find work in cities. As ethnic discontent grows, so too does the discrimination, creating a vicious circle. Breaking this circle is crucial to China’s efforts to defuse unrest in Xinjiang, Tibet and Tibetan-inhabited areas of other provinces, which collectively account for nearly one-third of China’s land area. In Xinjiang, Uighur grievances have triggered numerous outbreaks of violence. On January 12th, in what appeared to be the latest such example, six people were shot dead after allegedly attacking police in Shule, a town near China’s border with Central Asia. Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking, mostly Muslim, minority who number about 10m in Xinjiang. In 2000, 80% of them were farmers; ten years later 83% of them were. // Source: Economist
  4. Meanwhile, violence in Xinjiang went on, with six “mobsters” shot dead in a business district in Kashgar, after trying to set off an explosive device reportedly. Source: Reuters
  5. The Ming Pao reported how a mosque in a remote Yunnan county has more power than the local government, and how that changed after the March 1 terrorist attacks. Source: Mingpao

 Hundreds gather at memorial for late liberal reformer Zhao Ziyang

  1. // Hundreds of mourners gathered to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of late liberal Communist Party chief Zhao Ziyang at his home in Beijing under the careful watch of the authorities. But Zhao’s family said surveillance was lighter than in other years. Several old friends and former senior party officials, as well as Hong Kong media, were allowed to attend the memorial in the courtyard of the home at No6 Fuqiang Alley. Radio Free Asia estimated 600 mourners attended the event, a much larger number than in previous years. // Source: SCMP
  2. Global Times published an editorial about Zhao’s death 10 years ago. In the article entitled 对一些人和事,官方沉默也是态度, the author argues that officials’ silence on Zhao could be seen as a way to prevent “misinterpretation” and repercussions. // 中国官方2005年以后像那之前的很长时间一样,一直避免谈论赵,这种沉默通常也被认为是“一种态度”。今年是胡耀邦诞辰100周年,官方已宣布将举行隆重纪念活动。但对赵紫阳逝世10周年,直到昨天官方没有提及。这让人想到,2005年官方对他的评价大概也是今天的态度。从1989年夏天至今过去了25年多,这期间中国变化很大,社会更加自信,对历史人物的宽容度大体都在增加。比如华国锋在《邓小平》一剧中的镜头很多,反映了社会对他记忆的微妙变化。随着时间的拉长,这是很正常的现象。然而赵紫阳似乎是个特例。为什么会这样?官方没说,从民间的角度,可有如下分析。一是官方对他的评价很稳定,没有通过某种表态向社会发出调整信号的需求。二是的事情一旦出现误读,会有一定的现实牵动性。25年前中国社会迈过了那场危机,但中国内外一直都有人希望那样的危机能够重来,并且为此不遗余力地寻找机会做意识形态铺垫。25年来中国按照赵和他智囊们在重大关头所反对的政治路线和哲学,成为了世界第二大经济体。对最敏感的问题,中国奉行“不争论”政策,中国把行动和不断取得的成就作为了对那些问题的回答。不仅官方,随着时间推移,中国社会看二三十年前的事情也有了更多成熟和理性。对中央关于赵做过“有益贡献”和“在关键时刻犯了严重错误”的评价,社会的认同度越来越高,中国这二十几年的高速发展,也无声地支持了这一评价。未来修改这一评价的空间,很可能远远小于因时过境迁事情被淡化、人们更多记住一位老同志曾经所做好事的空间。很重要的一点是,这种变化只有中国长期保持社会主义制度的情况下才会有可能。如果真像少数人联手境外势力所鼓吹的那样根本改变中国的政治制度,整个中国的改革开放都将被妖魔化。 // Source: Global Times

Hong Kong

Policy Address 2015

  1. CY Leung’s policy address, entitled “Uphold the Rule of Law, Seize the Opportunities, Make the Right Choices”, focuses housing supply, the retired poor and attracting talent: // [Leung] pledged to boost long-term land supply to ease the housing crunch and announced new measures to attract talent from the mainland and overseas in his third annual policy address. Those measures include a pilot scheme “to attract the second generation of Chinese Hong Kong permanent residents who have emigrated overseas to return to Hong Kong” and the suspension from tomorrow of the capital investment entrant scheme. […]In a speech that went over many initiatives on housing already spelt out earlier, Leung hinted that the government may also have to reconsider country parks as it scours for more developable land. […] On public housing, Leung announced a new type of subsidised housing, as reported by the South China Morning Post, that those in the Public Rental Housing scheme (PRH) can buy their own flats with “prices set at a level lower than those of the Housing Ownership Scheme”. The Post earlier reported that this could be at a discount as high as 50 per cent. A key plank of Leung’s speech was on the poor and elderly and their need for enhanced welfare measures [, including] earmarking HK$50 billion for elderly retirement needs. // Source: SCMP
  2. Highlights of the policy address can be found at the government’s website
  3. Leung also took an unusual move by beginning the policy address with a long section on politics to reframe the city’s ties with the mainland under the “one country, two systems” principle, which Leung said was to clarify the constitutional arrangements between Hong Kong and China. // “Hong Kong’s autonomy under the ‘one country, two systems’ is a high degree of autonomy, not absolute autonomy. It is not … one based on any arbitrary interpretation,” he said. Addressing the hot issue of constitutional development – as debate rages over how the chief executive will be chosen in 2017 – Leung noted that it was the Basic Law, not the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, that stipulated the city’s leader would one day be elected by all. // Source: SCMP//
    i. The Basic Law specifically provides for the relationship between the Central Authorities and the HKSAR. Hong Kong’s power originates from the Central Authorities, and the delegation of power from the Central Authorities to Hong Kong is provided in the Basic Law. Hong Kong’s autonomy under “One Country, Two Systems” is a high degree of autonomy, not an absolute autonomy. It is a high degree of autonomy specifically provided for in the Basic Law, not one based on any arbitrary interpretation. The formulation and development of our political structure must be based on the Basic Law and the relevant Interpretation and Decisions of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC). Under the Basic Law, the Chief Executive is accountable to not only the HKSAR, but also the Central Government.
    The Chief Executive, whether returned by an Election Committee or by universal suffrage, and the Principal Officials nominated by the Chief Executive, are all subject to appointment by the Central Government. The selection of the Chief Executive comprises both the elements of election and appointment. // Source: Policy Address 2015
  4. Leung took a rare move in the Policy Address as he // accused the University of Hong Kong student union’s official magazine, Undergrad, of “advocating independence” and “putting forward fallacies” in an article last February and in a book it published last September entitled Hong Kong Nationalism. Leung’s comments sparked a rise in sales and the book sold out in many bookstores around the city that day. Another 3,000 copies […] will go on sale soon after it almost sold out. // The three biggest bookstores in Hong Kong, including Commercial Press and Joint Publishing, which are controlled by a Chinese company, have reportedly banned the books in their bookstores. Source: SCMP
  5. Leung was compared to Mao by pan-dems in the Legco: // Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was compared to Communist strongman Mao Zedong on Thursday as he exchanged fire with pan-democratic lawmakers over critical comments he made about a student magazine in his policy address. Pan-democrat lawmakers boycotted Leung’s policy speech yesterday, but changed tactics in their attempts to embarrass the chief executive during a 1 ½ hour question-and-answer session in the Legislative Council. // Source: SCMP
  6. Commentaries on the Policy Address
    i. Joseph Wong argues that Leung’s petty politics distracts from pragmatic policies: // Why did Leung choose to use his policy address to slam the “fallacious” views put forward by some students? (For the record, Hong Kong Nationalism also contains articles that argue against self-determination). He could have chosen to write to Undergrad, as governor Sir David Trench did 40 years ago when he disagreed with certain views expressed in the student publication. Sir David ruled Hong Kong during the 1967 riots, a time when many students sympathised with the anti-colonial movement. Yet, the colonial government did not flex its muscle and launch an open attack against a student magazine. If the students are now even more convinced that the chief executive is no more than a Beijing mouthpiece, they should not be blamed for their view after his comments. What Leung did was not unlawful, but it would be viewed, fairly, by university staff and students as putting pressure on them for expressing views contrary to the official position. It also makes a mockery of Leung’s pledge to uphold Hong Kong’s core values, including freedom of expression, mentioned in the policy address. // Source: SCMP
    ii. Joseph Lian on HKEJ《造福青年誠子虛烏有 施政報告變施壓報告》: // 梁特發表佔中之後的首份《施政報告》,事前已經吹風說要重視青年問題,結果,「重視問題」原來首先是要對學生和學生領袖發警告、出控告。「引言」的第11段 指學生的政改要求是「緣木求魚」(這點也許沒錯),不過卻一口咬定己是而學生非。如此家長式態度,等於是關上對話大門。第12段則更直截 了當,瞄準港大學生會會刊《學苑》去年2月號探討香港民族自治自決的專題文章及其後出版的有關專書,毫無理據即指是「錯誤主張」,並「要求」與學運領袖有 密切關係的政界人士勸阻。這是非常劃時代而霸道的說話方式。首先,在行政長官最高規格的公開發言平台(立法院內宣讀《施政報告》)以「九五之尊」對幾個年 輕人作泰山壓頂式的指控、施壓,就算不是本地開埠以來所未有,也是七十年代香港進入殖民時代後期以來所無。其次,如果學生刊物裏的思想言論犯法了,就應該 由律政司提出檢控;如果沒有犯法,特首根本沒有權力強指學生的主張是錯的,更沒有權力「要求」別人出面阻止學生發表有關言論。梁特的態度,無疑反映特府正 在引入大陸那套思想箝制手法。// Source: HKEJ
    iii. Alan Au: //這是梁振英自救,也是配合內地官媒以國家機器全力「污名化」香港的重要一步,官媒的宣傳口徑,早已把香港描繪成「大逆不道」、「有恩不報」、「寵壞了的孩子」;梁振英在「港獨」上大力加一腳,提供彈藥;「港獨」的故事,直接挑戰內地民眾深受教育的「國家統一」與「民族復興」的教條;「外部勢力干預」的故事,則喚起內地建構數十年的「外國欺凌、列強屈辱」故事。「港獨」故事,港人之「叛逆」,從內地網站與官媒反應可見,有如「執到寶」,大受吹捧,只得一方聲音,正是梁振英計算之內。// Source: His blog

 Hong Kong leaders publish public sentiments report and insist election will follow Beijing’s rules

  1. // The Hong Kong government vowed on Tuesday to press ahead with an election proposal that ignited months of street protests last year, using a report originally offered as a concession to student demonstrators to warn that the authorities would not shift course from plans laid down by Beijing. The report, which was presented by the local government as a summary of the protests that erupted in late September and the state of public opinion in the city, was released as the police told organizers and prominent supporters of the protests to prepare for arrest. And the city’s chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, warned against any attempt to repeat street blockades. // Source: New York Times
  2. // The government report supposedly reflecting Hongkongers’ sentiments on Beijing’s rulings on political reform has been dismissed by pan-democrats as “economical with the truth”. Pan-democrats yesterday accused the government of intentionally distorting public views with the “unsubstantiated” conclusion that “it is the common aspiration” of Hongkongers to have universal suffrage in 2017 “as scheduled and strictly in accordance with the Basic Law and [Beijing’s rulings]”. // Source: SCMP
  3. Report (only in Chinese) available here

 Hong Kong’s legal big guns tussle over rule of law

  1. // The fierce debate over the rule of law – that began in earnest when tens of thousands took to the streets in late September and stayed there for 79 days – spilled over into yesterday’s annual gathering to launch the start of the new legal year. Paul Shieh Wing-tai, outgoing chairman of the Bar Association, slammed officials’ explanations of what constituted the rule of law […]. “There was an increasing tendency on the part of the executive … to emphasise the ‘obey the law’ aspect,” he said. “To the untrained mind or the unsophisticated, this may sound very respectful to the concept of the rule of law. However, in my view and in the view of the Hong Kong Bar, ironically that could have the opposite effect of misleading the public.” He said that citing the need to “do things according to the law creates the misconception that many phenomena in society are the inevitable consequences of adhering to the law when plainly they are not. Law had become the scapegoat or excuse”. Shieh said rule of law also covered respect for individuals’ rights and liberty. He went on to say that Beijing’s framework on Hong Kong’s political reform was “unreasonably restrictive” but did not justify breaking the law.
    His address followed a speech by Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung. The city’s top legal official said: “Unfortunately, the rule of law in Hong Kong is facing significant challenges. The recent Occupy movement … brings about blatant challenges to the rule of law.” He described the rule of law as “the bedrock of democracy and universal suffrage”. He added: “Constitutional development or universal suffrage without the rule of law is no different to a house without foundations.” People convicted for their part in the protests who were claiming that they were victims of political retribution were trying to gain “political mileage”, Yuen said. The pursuit of universal suffrage or social justice “cannot and should not be used” as a justification to act in the detriment of rule of law, he added.
    Hong Kong’s top judge also joined in the debate in his speech. Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma Tao-li said: “There can be no compromise as far as the rule of law is concerned. It is not something from which there can be any deviation nor can there be any room for bargaining in relation to it.” Speaking afterwards, Ma maintained that the public respected the rule of law, now and throughout the recent turbulence. “Overwhelmingly, most people respect the rule of law,” he said. “They respected the rule of law before the Occupy movement, and they respect the rule of law after the Occupy movement. // Source: SCMP
  2. Paul Shieh’s full speech is available on HKBA’s website
  3. A summary coverage on the Financial Times
  4. Qian Gang at the China Media Project argues that China’s death sentence on “judicial independence (sifa duli 司法独立) sends a worrying signal for rule of law in the country. // On January 7, more than 100 websites in China re-posted an article from the Party’s official People’s Daily called “Our Rule of Law Cannot Travel the Same Road as the West’s ‘Judicial Independence’” (我们的法治不能走西方“司法独立”的路子). The article, written by politburo member Zhang Chunxian (张春贤), the top leader of China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, kicked up a storm of confusion on China’s internet. Over the past three decades of reform, the slogan “judicial independence” has been consistently upheld as something positive. Why, now, were the tables turning? […] They talk about “governing in accord with the law” (依宪执政), but they can’t talk about “constitutionalism” (宪政); they talk about the “independent exercise of the powers of trial and prosecution” (独立行使审判权、检察权), but they can’t talk about “judicial independence” (司法独立). Guided by such logic, how will they approach rule of law? How will they approach human rights? // Source: China Media Project

 United front in Hong Kong

  1. Mingpao looked at how in recent years a number of lineage and civic groups had been set up to serve united front purposes. Source: Mingpao
  2. A new Hong Kong army cadet is set up. // A mysterious uniformed group that aims to make Hong Kong’s youngsters “aware of their responsibilities and obligations as Chinese citizens” was inaugurated yesterday, with the city’s first lady said to be the group’s “commander-in-chief”. But the newly formed Hong Kong Army Cadets Association has already come under criticism for its secretive handling of the inauguration ceremony. Only a few media outlets – including pro-Beijing newspaper Wen Wei Po and state broadcaster China Central Television – were allowed to cover the event. Some also fear the group, registered as a non-profit company last Thursday and claiming to be Hong Kong’s first uniformed group to train members in “Chinese-style military foot drills”, will be used to “indoctrinate” young people. // Source: SCMP

 National education debate

  1. Top Beijing advisor says Hong Kong must consider national interest in education policy. // Chen Zuoer, head of a semi-official think tank and a former deputy director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, said the government should take into account national sovereignty, safety and other interests when it makes education plans, including curriculum design. […] as he gave a stern reminder that the city’s top official in charge of schooling was “under the supervision of the central government”. He also said a distinct lack of national civic awareness and knowledge of history and culture among Hong Kong’s youth made changes to the city’s education urgently needed. […]Chen said the secretary for education was “under the supervision of the central government and Hong Kong society at all times”, citing articles 48 and 104 of the Basic Law, which say the official, and other political appointees, have sworn to uphold the Basic Law and swear allegiance to Hong Kong. “We believe the secretary for education and the education administration as a whole will actively make use of the wealth of resources and correctly guide school sponsoring bodies and consulting groups, along with many other educators, so that they stand loyal to the sacred task of nurturing good inheritors, builders and creators of civic society,” he said. The remarks came after Rao Geping, a Basic Law Committee member and law professor at Peking University who advised the mainland on Hong Kong affairs, said yesterday that the government should try again to introduce national education into Hong Kong schools, with the emphasis on Chinese culture rather than ideology. […]
    A series of mainland figures have spoken recently of the need for a better understanding of national identity among Hong Kong youngsters. Zhang Rongshun, vice-chairman of the legislative affairs commission under the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, last month called for Hongkongers to be “re-enlightened” about the Basic Law. He expressed concern that many in the city “cannot find an identity with the country”. // Source: SCMP

Publications

      1. Goodreads’ interview with Yu Hua: // The Beijing-based author talks to Goodreads (via translator Allan H. Barr) about realism in the face of absurdity, growing up across the street from a mortuary, and searching for reading material during the Cultural Revolution. //
      2. 秦晖:中国知识分子大都在讨论假问题

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