This past weekend, the Jinan Intermediate People’s Court found Bo Xilai guilty bribetaking, embezzlement and abuse of power. The trial has been widely publicized and discussed in China, with netizens on the blogsphere commenting from almost every angle, some in support of Bo, some in disgust of his alleged actions, and others neutral and looking at the bigger picture (see e.g. also this report). South China Morning Post has this short summary of the court’s point-by-point verdict against Bo.
The Jinan Intermediate People’s Court accepted just two of the points former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai made in his defence as it jailed him for life yesterday. The court, in a transcript released on its official weibo account, set out its point-by-point rebuttal of Bo’s defence. It also detailed ways in which he abused his power after the crimes of his wife, Gu Kailai, and the attempted defection to the US by his key lieutenant, Wang Lijun.
Bo’s claim: I confessed under duress.
The court said: Under Chinese law, the use of corporal punishment, corporal punishment in disguised form, or spiritual torture to interrogate and extort confessions is illegal. The “pressure” Bo faced did not involve any such act.
Bo’s claim: I did not know that [Dalian -based billionaire] Xu Ming was paying the expenses for my wife and son [Bo Guagua].
The court said: Bo’s denial in court is invalid as his written statements before the trial matched the testimony of Xu Ming and others, showing he not only knew that Xu Ming was financing Bo Guagua’s study abroad but also understood well their deal – exchanging power for money. Whether Bo knows the exact amount or not makes no difference.
Bo’s claim: I had no knowledge of the villa in France [bought on behalf of Bo’s family with cash from Xu Ming].
There has been terrible violence in India’s Assam region recently and the violence has spread to other parts of India. Since this is a blog on China, not India, I am not going to dig too much into the cause or even meaning of the riots. But I do want to point out the relatively “favorable” coverage India is getting.
In almost all reports I see, India is cast as the force of stability (and humanity), with the forces of conniving politicians and ethnic-based politics the root of instability. By comparison, when ethnic violence occurs in China, the opposite story is told, with ethnic-based politics held in high regard (under the guise of “human rights”) and any efforts to stabilize the situation seen as somehow oppressive and barbaric.
You see this fairly uniformly across Western media in all Western countries, including even self-professed “independent” news sources such as the global post. Here is a recent article global post had on Tibetan self immolations – which place the blame squarely on China. The Tibetans who burned themselves – and by extension the Tibetans who rioted in 2008 – were seen as oppressed people who had a right to riot, to fight back and were cheered on for their presumptive courage. There was never a reference to the official Chinese perspective on what’s really going on. Continue reading Riots in Assam→
China Daily has just reported the Longyan Municipal Intermediate People’s Court upholding a prior Xinluo District Court ruling fining Zijin Mining for $4.6 million in damages and sentencing the company’s former vice president, Chen Jiahong, the company’s environmental protection officer, Huang Fucai, and three other company managers to three-year sentences. Zijin Mining was found guilty of leaking acid into the Tingjiang River in Fujian Province killing fish and contaminating water.
Last month, Xinhua News had an interesting piece of “被时代” – which translates roughly to “era of being forced” or “era of acceptance.” 被 (bei) in Chinese indicates a passive clause. Thus when you get hit (撞), you say 你被撞了.
According to an Internet poll, the most popular Chinese character of 2009 was “被.” Why? Part of the reason is that living in a society charging full steam ahead, many Chinese no doubt feel they are losing control of their lives. But the more important reason is that it provides a satirical platform for many to express the indignity many average Chinese have suffered at the hand of social inequity and irresponsible governance. Here is a rough translation of the Xinhua article. Continue reading Translation: Living in an Era of Change – Era of Acceptance→
In the continuing saga that is Chen Shui Bian’s colorful life, a trial court in Taipei sentenced Chen to life in prison yesterday as the first phase of his dramatic corruption and embezzlement trial came to an end. Chen’s wife, Wu Shu-chen, received a life sentence on corruption charges. Their son and daughter-in-law, convicted of money laundering, received relatively lenient 2 1/2 – and one-year terms. Continue reading Chen Shui Bian Gets Life→
Well … we’ve had several discussions (in the comments section recently) on political reform and the CCP. Here is an interesting article I ran across today at Asia Times on people’s perception of government officials in China:
Events of the last week in Iran have been widely reported by the world press. Not long before, the press also reported on the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square incident of 1989. Were these two distinct events reported in a similar manner or were they treated as different and unique events? Let’s take a look at each and see what we can find.
1) Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys?
Based on the coverage I’ve seen, both governments were cast as being in the wrong and both protest movements as in the right. In the case of China, the government sent in tanks and used live ammunition to break up a protest movement that was alleged to have turned violent. Most of the reporters in the world press were located in or near the same area, and their reports reflected what occurred in that vicinity. Analyzes of this event in most cases pointed to the government as the culprit and the demonstrators as being victims and responding in a suitable fashion. Is this an accurate assessment? The Chinese government attempted to confiscate film of the event from foreign sources but those attempts were successfully evaded in most instances.
It is often said that to be successful in the Chinese officialdom, you have to acquire a thick face, and a black heart (厚黑, there is an English book if you want to learn more about 厚黑学) .
Nine years ago, the director of Jiangsu Provincial Department of Construction, Xu Qiyao (徐其耀), was arrested for taking bribes of over 20 million yuan. He also distinguished himself among other corrupted officials by having extramarital affairs with 146 women, including a mother and her daughter. Recently, a letter to his son, allegedly found in his diary during the investigation, is circulating on the internet. In that letter, he demonstrated his theoretic superiority in the application of “thick face, black heart.”
[NOTE] This is a translation of a report filed by (王和岩) Wang Heyan in (财经网) Caijing Net two days ago. The content of this report has been making quick rounds in various Chinese Internet forums. It was also picked by othernewsmedias.
The Communist Party Group of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Committee (CPPCC) is staying at the Friendship Hotel. The members of this group are mostly current and former chairmen of CPPCC at province, city and regional levels. They are all experienced officials. [Note: CPPCC is generally where officials are parked after losing or retiring from power (i.e., active party or government positions).] Since they are no longer in the administrative structure and are not constrained in what they can say as before, I had high hopes to dig out something interesting from them.
However, things didn’t exactly go as I planned. Even though they are no longer in power, they kept their arrogance dignity intact, and are simply inaccessible.
A couple of days ago, the Beijing News reported how local officials in Xintai – a city in the eastern province of Shandong – locked up citizens in mental hospitals to prevent them from making journeys to Beijing to alert central government officials of local injustices going on in Xintai (see original story – and english version translated by Global Voices). Continue reading The Xintai Mental Institute Scandal→
New Zeland recently granted honorary citizenship to Yan Yongmin(闫永明), ex-CEO of Golden Horse Pharmaceutical, wanted for embezzling 100 million RMB (20 million RMB was finally returned by NZ authority after 4 years.)
what happened? It seems Falun Gong NZ, who is on the take from Yan, claims he might be persecuted if returned, and worked with couple NZ politicans, who are also on the take from Yan, to work the magic.
Many discussions involving China and the West end up being a competition: you have this, but we have that.
Here is one very popular competition, passed around in different forms on numerous Chinese internet forums for many years. It’s about the glory of our government buildings. The captions below are translated from the Chinese original:
The city hall in Marion, Iowa. In China, this kind of building would’ve been torn down long ago.
Government offices for the Fangshan District of Beijing. It’s far from the downtown area; a relatively poor mountain area!
For average Chinese, one of the most common complaints about the Chinese government is the pervasive spread of “gray income” corruption in many government departments. At all levels of government, officials have opportunity to benefit themselves using public taxpayer money. Many officials eat and drink outrageously with public funds. Some officials are given the right to a government car plus driver, and use them regularly to run personal errands.
Because these stories surround us every day, it’s a constant reminder of special privileges for officials, and increasingly a source of real public anger. The most recent example comes from Holhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia. This story has drawn attention in the state press, which probably implies some sort of punishment will be coming to the officials involved.
Roland at ESWN provides this translation of an excellent Southern Metropolis story about the local government’s promises to fully investigate school collapses in the area.
Many Chinese netizens in recent days have aimed a flood of scorn and vitrol towards local Mianyang party secretary Jiang Guohua, accusing him of being involved in local corruption, and then trying to cover up the scale of the disaster from higher levels of government. The picture of him kneeling will bring cheers from many people.
I don’t know the truth of these accusations, and I will not convict Jiang Guohua on the basis of accusations alone. But if the Deyang city government (one level up from Mianyang) follows through on its promises, then China will have taken another major step forward in the long march towards rule of law.
The Red Cross corruption story yesterday was only the tip of the iceberg. A number of subsequent stories have since floated to the surface; in some cases, there have been been clashes between police and angry citizens.
For the many Chinese critical of their government, their number one concern isn’t “human rights” or “freedom of expression”… instead, it’s corruption pervasive throughout Chinese society. In the aftermath of the earthquake, this issue is again on prominent display.
The Chinese Red Cross is playing a critical role in managing relief donations for victims of the earthquake. However, along with great authority comes great responsibility. The Red Cross is now being hit with allegations of corruption from every corner.