fredag 20. oktober 2017

Liu Xia, widow of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, ‘forced to travel’ ahead of China’s key Congress meeting, says NGO

Liu Xia, the widow of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, has reportedly been taken away from Beijing “to travel,” ahead of the Chinese Communist Party’s 19th National Congress this Wednesday.Liu has been under house arrest for years since her husband was jailed in 2008 after co-writing the Charter 08 manifesto, which called for democratic reforms. He died in July while under surveillance at a hospital in Shenyang. On Monday, the Hong Kong-based NGO Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy cited an unnamed family member as saying that Liu Xia was in fine health, but she had been “forced to travel” away from the capital.

Democracies have found it difficult to deal with the great dictatorships. So now with China.

In his first five years, Xi Jinping has reshaped the Chinese state so radically that he has taken the People’s Republic into the third phase in its historic march, after the ideological madness of Mao and the economic pragmatism of Deng Xiaoping and his followers. He inherited a state intent on economic advancement, and has turned it into one intent on political control.

His reign has imposed a relentless concentration of power, in the country to Beijing, in Beijing to the Party and in the Party to the leader. When he speaks, his message is invariably Party discipline. There has been a step-by-step tightening of repression against human rights lawyers and political and religious activists. Ethnic minorities suffer under cultural persecution. Censorship is harder. Political education, mass campaigns and thought-work are back with a vengeance, as is ideology in Xi’s narrative of national greatness in his “China Dream.”

UN tells China to release human rights activists and pay them compensation

The United Nations has demanded that China should immediately release prominent human rights activists from detention and pay them compensation, according to an unreleased document obtained by the Guardian.

The report, which has not been made public, from the UN’s human rights council says the trio had their rights violated and calls China’s laws incompatible with international norms. Christian church leader Hu Shigen and lawyers Zhou Shifeng and Xie Yang were detained and tried as part of an unprecedented nationwide crackdown on human rights attorneys and activists that began in July 2015. The operation saw nearly 250 people detained and questioned by police. Hu was jailed for seven and a half years and Zhou was sentenced to seven years on subversion charges, while Xie is awaiting a verdict.

“The appropriate remedy would be to release Hu Shigen, Zhou Shifeng and Xie Yang immediately, and accord them an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations,” said the UN report seen by the Guardian, adding that China should take action within six months.

torsdag 19. oktober 2017

Tillerson raps China as 'predatory' rule breaker

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson rebuked China on Wednesday for subverting the global order, undermining the sovereignty of its neighbors and for being an irresponsible international actor prone to predatory economic policies. "China, while rising alongside India, has done so less responsibly, at times undermining the international rules-based order," the top US diplomat said in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies about US-India ties.

Be in no doubt, Xi Jinping wants to make China great again

It was long, very long. And, as with previous iterations, Xi Jinping’s speech to the Chinese Communist Party’s five yearly national congress was a mix of party slogans, Marxist jargon, subtle signalling and long to-do lists.

Given the density and length of the speech it will repay careful scrutiny, particularly given its political function within the party-state. But on first impression a number of interesting developments were immediately evident. One of these could be found at the end of speech’s title, itself a typically catchy CCP number: “Secure a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and strive for the great success of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era.” 

Read more

Xi Jinping tests eyelids – and bladders – with three-and-a-half hour speech

Some call Xi Jinping  a Chinese Putin. Others a 21st-century Mao. On Wednesday morning he was China’s  Hugo Chávez, testing his comrades’ eyelids – and their bladders – with a three-and-a-half hour, 65-page sermon in which he outlined his brave new vision for the Communist party, and the world.

“The Chinese dream is a dream about history, the present and the future,” Xi declared towards the end of his unexpectedly long-winded address to the opening of China’s 19th party congress. By the conclusion of this eastern answer to Aló Presidente! more than a few of Xi’s audience appeared to have entered a dreamlike state.

'A huge deal' for China as the era of Xi Jinping Thought begins

China’s communist leader, Xi Jinping, looks to have further strengthened his rule over the world’s second largest economy with the apparent confirmation that a new body of political theory bearing his name will be written into the party’s constitution.

On day two of a week-long political summit in Beijing marking the end of Xi’s first term, state media announced the creation of what it called Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. “The Thought is … a historic contribution to the party’s development,” Zhang Dejiang, one of the seven members of China’s top ruling council, the politburo standing committee, told delegates at the 19th party congress, according to Beijing’s official news agency, Xinhua.

onsdag 18. oktober 2017

Professor Stein Ringen: A dazzling spectacle of China’s totalitarianism

When the Congress of the Chinese Communist Party convenes in Beijing on Wednesday, the world will be served up a dazzling spectacle of power and procedure. The Great Hall of the People will be swathed in red banners, golden insignia and a sea of flowers. There will be reports, decisions and elections. Thousands of delegates will gather in imposing assembly, some in traditional dress, some in military uniform, the majority in black suits — almost all men, almost all with obligatory jet black hair with not a strand out of place. There will be order.

Xi Jinping’s quest to revive Stalin’s communist ideology

Central to Stalin’s teaching is the idea that the creation of enemies is essential for sustaining the rule of a revolutionary party. Since taking power in 2012, Xi has found new enemies everywhere. He has launched the fiercest crackdown against dissent since the 1989 suppression of pro-democracy protests. Party members are urged to maintain vigilance against the plots of Western liberal democracies who Xi has argued are dedicated to derailing China’s revolution.

Arveprinsen Xi Jinping

I 2013 lanserte Xi Jinping slagordet «Den kinesiske drøm». For hans egen del ser drømmen ut til å handle mest om personlig makt, skriver Aftenpostens kommentator Therese Sollien.

tirsdag 17. oktober 2017

Torbjørn Færøvik: Når selv fluene blir redde

I nedstøvede bøker leser vi om hvordan audiensene hos Kinas keiser artet seg. «Han satt urørlig i sin tronstol, mens ministre og embetsmenn knelte og bukket for ham,» heter det i en beretning. «Frykten var så lammende at selv fluene sluttet å summe.»

Det kinesiske keiserstyret ble offisielt avskaffet i 1911, men ennå lever det. Med kommunistenes makterobring oppkastet Mao seg til landets nye keiser, om ikke i navnet så i gagnet. Den ufeilbarlige formannen lot seg hylle i samfulle 27 år, og den som trosset ritualene, risikerte fengsel og død.

Dagens leder, Xi Jinping, er dyktigere enn Mao. Han kan mer om det meste, ikke minst om økonomi, og han dreper langt færre. Men styresettet han står som eksponent for, er stort sett det samme som før. Beviset får vi om noen dager, når kommunistpartiet åpner sin 19. kongress i Beijing. For straks Xi inntar podiet, reduseres de 2.300 delegatene til en grå, servil masse. De er der bare for å lytte til keiserens ord, og for å godkjenne resolusjoner som for lengst er vedtatt på bakrommet.

As U.S. Confronts Internet’s Disruptions, China Feels Vindicated

In the United States, some of the world’s most powerful technology companies face rising pressure to do more to fight false information and stop foreign infiltration. China, however, has watchdogs like Zhao Jinxu. From his small town on the windswept grasslands of the Inner Mongolia region of China, Mr. Zhao, 27, scours the internet for fake news, pornography and calls to violence. He is one of a battalion of online “supervisors” whom Weibo, one of China’s biggest social media platforms, announced last month it would hire to help enforce China’s stringent limits on online content.

For years, the United States and others saw this sort of heavy-handed censorship as a sign of political vulnerability and a barrier to China’s economic development. But as countries in the West discuss potential internet restrictions and wring their hands over fake news, hacking and foreign meddling, some in China see a powerful affirmation of the country’s vision for the internet.

China and the World After 19th Party Congress

On October 18, the Chinese Communist Party will begin its 19th Party Congress to install the country’s next generation of leaders. This twice-a-decade leadership transition is particularly noteworthy given China’s expanding economic ambitions and increasingly active role in global governance. It also comes ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s highly anticipated first visit to the region, at a time when tensions are reaching a climax on the Korean Peninsula. More than usual, the international community is watching to see how China, under President Xi Jinping’s leadership, will chart its future course.The personnel appointments to China’s top political body will provide indications of Xi’s consolidation of power and the popularity of his policy agenda.

China's 'stability maintenance' agents move to silence critics before party congress

They came for Yu Wensheng last Tuesday. Their message: stay silent and obey. “They told me not to give any interviews ... and asked me to sign a letter of commitment to ensure I wouldn’t get them into any trouble,” the Beijing-based human rights lawyer recalled of the visit he received from members of China’s vast “stability maintenance” apparatus.

Yu, an outspoken attorney, is one of hundreds, possibly thousands of Chinese activists and petitioners coming under pressure in the run-up to a key political summit – the 19th Communist party congress – which kicks off in the capital on Wednesday. Beijing wants no surprises during the twice-a-decade gathering, which marks the end of Xi Jinping’s first five-year term as China’s top leader, and in recent weeks security agents have been fanning out across the country to quell even the slightest hint of dissent.

mandag 16. oktober 2017

The ideological war playing out on China's internet

As China's leaders gather in Beijing this week for the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), an ideological war is under way on the country's internet. Some experts predict President Xi Jinping will use the meeting to establish a level of control and influence over the Party not seen since Mao Zedong, the strongman founder of the People's Republic. While the internet has always been a key battleground for the Party, the past 12 months have seen a marked increase in censorship, with new laws and regulations targeting online expression even in areas or on certain topics where dissent was once tolerated or passed undetected.

China has a new richest man after his company stock soared 450%

There's a new face at the top of China's wealth tree. Real estate tycoon Xu Jiayin, founder of China Evergrande (EGRNF), is now the country's richest man after his wealth ballooned to $43 billion, according to the latest Hurun China Rich List. Xu, also known as Hui Ka Yan, dethroned real estate and entertainment magnate Wang Jianlin in the closely watched list. Wang, who owns Dalian Wanda, plummeted to fifth place as his wealth shrunk by almost 30%.

Guo Wengui, the maverick Chinese billionaire who threatens to crash Xi's party

He paints himself as the Che Guevara of Chinese crony capitalism, a billionaire insurgent vowing to bring down the system from the comfort of his $68m New York home. “My only goal is to change China,” Guo Wengui, an eccentric and exiled Chinese property magnate, declared earlier this month on the eve of a key political convention in Beijing that he is promising to disrupt with electrifying revelations of skulduggery at the pinnacle of Chinese power.

This Wednesday the curtains go up on the 19th Communist party congress – a week-long eruption of socialist pomp and circumstance marking the end of Xi Jinping’s first term as China’s commander-in-chief. 
As more than 2,200 delegates flock to the capital for this intensely choreographed display of political theatre, Guo, who also uses the name Miles Kwok, is by far the most unusual figure threatening to rain on Xi’s parade.

Bonfire of the freebies: China officials forgo free fruit and haircuts in Xi austerity drive

For China’s Communists, the party is finally over. No free fruit or free haircuts and prawns and sea cucumbers are off the menu as the Communist party congress, set to usher in a second five-year term for president Xi Jinping, promises to be an austere affair. In a break with previous years, officials attending the meeting will not be welcomed by large banners and extravagant flower arrangements, according to Wang Lilian, who managed delegate hospitality for the three previous party congresses.