State Media Advocates Democratic Decision-making


Foreign agencies report from Beijing and SCMP says in its report entitled “Listen to protesters, authorities told” that after weekend riots, China’s “top Communist Party mouthpiece yesterday urged authorities to listen to people’s concerns about pollution, after fears over a new industrial waste water pipeline sparked weekend riots.

“‘The public’s awareness of environmental issues and their rights is increasing at a rapid pace,’ said a signed commentary in People’s Daily.”

China “should strive to ‘establish an open and transparent decision-making mechanism, and build a tolerant environment for public opinion’, it said.

“Authorities in Qidong, in the eastern province of Jiangsu, agreed on Saturday to cancel plans to build the pipeline after thousands of local people took to the streets, overturning cars and ransacking government offices.

“They were concerned that the pipeline, from a Japanese-owned paper factory, Oji Paper, would pollute a nearby fishing port.

SCMP says, “Many of the projects that have been the focus of citizen protests had been approved by the local government without sufficient consultation with residents,” said the commentary.

“Such high-profile protests highlighted the need ‘to promote interaction between citizens and government’ when assessing the environmental impact of proposed industrial projects, the commentary added.

“‘Being a responsible government means to make oneself independent of the specific entanglements of economic interests and become the implementer of the public interest, and the balancer of economic interests,’ it said.”

People’s Daily’s commentary clearly indicates Hu Jintao’s wisdom in exploiting public anger to initiate his democratic political reform. Now, after advocating democracy in his swansong, he uses the media to publicly denounce local government’s despotic decision-making and thus take a step forward for democratic decision-making.

This is not the first time central leaders exploiting the problem emerged to promote their reform. I mentioned in my previous posts that they exploited the serious unemployment of migrant workers caused by the world financial tsunami in 2008 to conduct the third round of economic liberalization to remove quite a few barriers in various industries for private enterprises to enter such industries.

In my book, I oppose any violent revolution for overnight achievement of democracy and point out that history has proved democracy cannot be achieved overnight that way. At present, it is absolutely impossible to replace current one-party autocracy with a multi-party democracy in China as the party’s central authority is too wise, too powerful and too popular.

However, that precisely provides Chinese fighters for democracy and human rights the opportunity for the political reform in the direction of a democratic transformation.

Since local despotic governments are unwilling to have democratic decision-making, Chinese people are justified to fight for their rights of protests and demonstration for democratic decision-making. Such rights have, in addition, already been written in China’s constitution.

Therefore, I believe that Chinese democratic fighters shall join force with enlightened Chinese leaders in fighting for their common goals of the rule of law and democratic decision-making. Just as I point out in my book “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements” Chinese people shall learn from Martin Luther King Jr. to conduct non-violent struggle for their civil rights that have already been provided in their constitution.

I believe, with the super wisdom of Chinese leaders and democracy fighters, China will certainly obtain a true democracy gradually through persistent non-violent struggle.

I especially admire blind activist Chen Guangcheng’s courage when he said that he would return to China to fight for the rule of law in China.

Related post:

Hu Jintao’s Swan Song on Economic, Political Reform dated July 25

Successor Ignores Hu Jintao’s Call for Democracy dated July 25

Democracy Conspicuously Missing in Xinhua Commentary on Hu’s speech dated July 27

China says Gu Kailai a mother protecting her son in Heywood murder dated July 30

For details of SCMP’s report entitled “Listen to protesters, authorities told”, please visit SCMP’s website at:

http://www.scmp.com/portal/site/SCMP/menuitem.2af62ecb329d3d7733492d9253a0a0a0/?vgnextoid=98e37173029d8310VgnVCM100000360a0a0aRCRD&ss=China&s=News

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SCMP: Cross-Strait Political Talks Get Closer after Forum


SCMP’s Lawrence Chung reports from Taipei, “Cross-strait talks are set to approach the so-called ‘deep water zone’ after complex political issues were raised for discussion for the first time in a recent partisan meeting in Harbin, capital of northeastern Heilongjiang province.

 

Drawing concerns was the ‘mainland and Taiwan belong to the same country’ proposal raised by Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, during their meeting held jointly by the Communist Party and Taiwan’s Kuomintang.”

 

According to the report, “As the content of these KMT-Communist Party ‘partisan’ meetings have long been seen as a pointer for cross-strait talks between the semi-official bodies of both sides – Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation and the mainland’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait – Jia’s remarks triggered grave concerns in Taiwan.

 

“The pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party yesterday accused the government of mainland-friendly Ma of selling out the island to Beijing. ‘Not only that [KMT honorary chairman] Wu Poh-hsiung failed to reject such a proposal, but Ma Ying-jeou, being both the president and the chairman of the KMT, also failed to reject this immediately,’ said DPP legislator Chen Ting-fei. ‘This is tantamount to Ma collaborating with the Communist Party in staging a show to sell out Taiwan,’ she said.”

via SCMP.com – Political talks get closer after forum.


SCMP: Border protection emblem unveiled


SCMP’s Teddy Ng reports from Beijing, “Beijing will officially launch a national emblem for border control and coastal defence on Wednesday as part of the country’s overall effort to strengthen sovereignty claims over the disputed territories.

 

“The emblem, unveiled yesterday, bears the national flag, the Great Wall, an anchor, ocean waves, a shield and olive branches with the title ‘China border control and coastal defence’ in Chinese and English.

 

“The emblem will be displayed by the State Commission of Border and Coastal Defence at all levels across the country and at its affiliated offices and facilities, the People’s Liberation Army Daily reported yesterday.

 

It will also be used in a wide range of activities organised by the commission, including military drills, training and foreign affairs. Organisations and units involved in border defence can also use the emblem in their patrols and law enforcement actions, according to the report.”

via SCMP.com – Border protection emblem unveiled.


China says Gu Kailai a mother protecting her son in Heywood murder


It was widely reported on July 29 that Bo Xilai’s wife Gu Kailai has accepted for her defense the two lawyers assigned to her by the government.

Is the girl crazy?

This is not a naive young girl. She is a well-experienced lawyer and the daughter of a high-ranking general. She has the connections to get the best lawyers for her defense.

However, she knows well that the verdict of her case has already been decided by the party’s top authorities in light of the results of the power struggle between various powerful factions that has caused her husband Bo Xilai’s downfall. Her case is merely a byproduct of the power struggle and has certainly to be determined by the results of the power struggle.

That means that the verdict has already been decided internally. It has been common knowledge in China since the founding of the People’s Republic that when  something has been “Neiding” (decided internally), one cannot change it whatever efforts one makes unless one has the connections to affect the internal authority.

Since she cannot affect what has already been decided internally by top authority, she certainly knows that the trial will only be the procedure to show the party’s respect of the rule of law. In such case, she has to cooperate with the authority in order to get as lenient a verdict as possible. In fact the authority has already provided an excuse for lenient judgment according to Xinhua report.

What is most interesting is that Gu’s case gives us the best clue in understanding the power struggle.

To facilitate our analysis, I provide below a full-text translation of the party’s official media’s report on Gu being prosecuted:

“Xinhua Net dispatch from Beijing on July 26

“Regarding Bo Gu Kailai (Gu gets her husband’s surname before her name according to Chinese tradition) and Zhang Xiaojun’s case of suspected intentional homicide, the people’s procuratorate of Hefei City, Anhui Province has filed a public prosecution at Hefei City Intermediate People’s Court. In the period of investigation and initiation of the prosecution, the procuratorate informed the two defendants and their relatives of the rights of litigation they enjoy, interrogated the defendants and listened to their counsels’ opinions.

“It is found through investigation that the defendant, Bo Gu Kailai, and her son, Bo so and so, had conflicts with the British citizen Neil Heywood due to economic interests. Believing that Neil Heywood was a threat to Bo so and so’s personal safety, Bo Gu Kailai, therefore, fatally poisoned Neil Heywood together with Defendant Zhang Xiaojun. The facts of the two defendants’ crime being clear and the evidence, irrefutable and sufficient, criminal responsibility for intentional homicide shall be affixed in accordance with the law. Now, Hefei City   Intermediate Court has taken the case according to law and will select a day to hold the trial.”

We see from the report that now Gu Kailai has the ground of protecting her son in killing Heywood. She did not kill Heywood to prevent him from revealing her hidden wealth abroad as disclosed by foreign media! Instead of hating someone who exploited her husband high official post to make a huge fortune, people shall have sympathy for a mother who has killed a foreign national to protect her son.

You bet Gu will get a lenient verdict, which will be much better than any defense lawyers can obtain.

As for the power struggle, such a verdict indicates that the reformists have not won an overwhelming victory over the conservatives and that the conservatives will still be able to hinder to some extent China’s further economic liberalization and political reform to establish the rule of law. Bo Xilai does have fallen into disgrace, but his faction’s influence in the party remains.


SCMP: Beijing Flood: Victims Condemn Relief Failings


 

SCMP says, “Victims of last weekend’s flooding in Beijing said authorities cared more about their own image than people’s suffering as public anger over the official response to the disaster showed no signs of abating.

 

 

 

“State media reported relief work was being carried out smoothly, but many people had their doubts, especially those in the outlying Fangshan district, which was the area hardest hit by last weekend’s rainstorm the worst in 60 years.

 

 

 

“Residents said the government had moved too slowly in cleaning up their neighbourhoods and had failed to reassure the public about the potential risk of water-borne diseases.

 

 

 

“Residents in Shengshuiyu village, in Fangshan, were still largely cut off from the outside world. Roads and communications remained cut yesterday.”

 

 

 

According to SCMP, “Shengshuiyu village took its first shipment of relief supplies, mostly instant noodles and bottled water, on Wednesday.

 

 

 

“Villager Ma Yanru said the community had yet to receive clean clothes, blankets or tents, which they desperately needed.”

 

 

 

Ma and another village Lin “complained about the lack of transparency in how the relief materials were being distributed. ‘Frankly, we don’t trust the cadres and how they distribute relief materials,’ Ma said.

 

 

 

“Lin said local cadres did not take people’s suffering seriously. ‘My only wish is that the government help us rebuild our lives. But when I made the request to our village cadres, they told me we were not their priorities and they did not have time to discuss aid or rebuilding.’”

 

via SCMP.com – Victims condemn relief failings.


SCMP: Beijing Flood: Migrant workers lose fruits of their labor


In Wajing village, less than an hour’s drive from downtown Beijing, dozens of prefabricated homes – home to migrant truck drivers and their families – used to dot one of the fields.

 

 

 

But after last weekend’s flood, all that remains is a single shed, surrounded by twisted scraps of metal and splintered wood.

 

 

 

Mr Li, a truck driver, is washing dishes in a large basin using recently restored tap water. Ms Li, no relation, is handing out watermelons to children and adults.

 

 

 

Ms Li arrived from her hometown of Jilin just before the flood hit last Saturday. She was taking her child and other truck drivers’ children from Jilin to the capital to enjoy the summer holidays.

 

 

 

“I arrived in the morning with the children and the flooding started that night,” Ms Li said. “Had I known what was going to happen, I would have never have brought them here.”

 

 

 

As soon as the floodwaters began to lap at the entrance of their homes, the drivers fled to the safety of their trucks. The rising waters washed over the field, and the flimsy walls of the prefabricated homes collapsed.

 

 

 

“What we need most is a place to live,” Ms Li said, and then turned to Mr Li to ask: “Where did you spend last night?”

 

 

 

“Someone’s home,” he joked.

 

 

 

In fact, Mr Li and many other drivers slept in their trucks while their families stayed at the home of the company boss. Business for the truck drivers has stopped, leaving them with little to do all day but sit around and chat with family members, eating watermelon or staring blankly into the distance.

via SCMP.com – City scraps waste pipeline after thousands protest.


SCMP: Qidong scraps waste pipeline after mass protest


SCMP gives greater details on the mass protest in Qidong yesterday: “A city in eastern China scrapped an industrial waste pipeline after tens of thousands of anti-pollution protesters ransacked the local government headquarters, clashed with riot police and tore off the shirt of a Communist Party boss.

 

“Computers were smashed, police cars overturned and police officers beaten up. Bloodied protesters were seen leaving the scene of the protest in Qidong, Jiangsu province, an hour’s journey from Shanghai, but police rejected rumours that some had been killed.

 

“The demonstration was the latest in a string of protests sparked by fears of environmental degradation and underscores the social tensions confronting the central government as it approaches a once-in-a-decade leadership transition this autumn.

 

“Shouting slogans, the demonstrators began gathering in the city’s Yongan Square at 5am, protesting that the waste-water pipeline from a Japanese-owned paper factory would discharge a huge amount of effluent into the sea every year, poisoning coastal waters.

 

“Protesters pulled down the main gate of the government headquarters and rushed inside. They threw documents out of windows and seized luxury cigarettes and bottles of wine from offices. They confronted the city’s party boss, Sun Jianhua, in his office, tore off his shirt and tried to get him to wear a red T-shirt with the slogan “Strongly resist sewage from Oji”, a reference to the Oji Paper Group, the company behind the factory and planned pipeline.

 

Police escorted Sun from the scene. Photographs of him fleeing shirtless from the crowd were widely circulated online.

 

Six hours after the protest began, Zhang Guohua, the mayor of Nantong, which has jurisdiction over Qidong, announced the scrapping of the pipeline plan.

Related post: Thousands Protesters Occupied Qidong Government Office dated July 28

via SCMP.com – City scraps waste pipeline after thousands protest.