Thursday, May 5, 2016

Party Puts Ren Zhiqiang on One Year Probation for Online Posts

On March 1, 2016 the state sponsored China Daily published an article entitled “Beijing CPC Committee Vows Punishment for Ren Zhiqiang.” Some excerpts:
A Beijing district committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) pledged severe intraparty penalties for Ren Zhiqiang, a celebrity blogger and property developer whose accounts were closed for allegedly spreading illegal information.

The Xicheng district committee of the CPC on Monday issued a circular saying Ren, "as a CPC member, has been releasing illegal information and making inappropriate comments online, resulting in a vile influence and damage to the party image."

The committee, where Ren's CPC membership is registered and managed, said it would punish him strictly according to party rules.
On March 4, 2016, the official website of the Beijing Xicheng District government published a notice entitled "The Fourth Party Branch of Beijing Xicheng's Department of Security Oversight Launches Study Project on Party Political Discipline and Political Norm Compliance" (西城区安全监管局第四党支部开展遵守党的政治纪律和政治规矩专题学习). Here is a full translation:
Recently, the Fourth Party Branch of Beijing Xicheng's Department of Security Oversight launched study project on Party political discipline and political norm compliance. They communicated the major themes of the "Beijing Xicheng Party Central Committee Notice Regarding Correctly Recognizing Ren Zhiqiang's Severe Discipline Issues, and in addition organized study sessions of the "Central Party's Eight Rules," "Chinese Communist Party Standards for Honesty and Self-discipline," and "Regulations on Chinese Communist Party Disciplinary Sanctions." Through these study sessions, vast numbers of cadres were abel to correctly recognize the problems associated with Ren Zhiqiang's severe violations of Party political discipline, draw lessons from the instruction, and learn a great deal. Their consciousness of discipline compliance and norm compliance was strengthened, particularly as it relates to insisting upon prioritizing the Party political discipline and political norms, remaining steadfastly idealistic, and maintaining a firm political stance, building a firm political conciseness, and an awareness of the overall situation, the bottom lines, the model behaviors, and the red wall [N.B. - a reference to Zhongnanhai], as well as the need to maintain a high degree of consistency with the central Party in their thoughts, politics, and deeds.

In early May 2016, the same website published an undated notice entitled "Beijing Xicheng District Central Committee Issues Notice on the Status of Cases Involving Four Incidents of Party Cadre's Discipline Violation" (西城区委通报4起党员干部违纪案件处理情况). An excerpt:
Comrade Ren Zhiqiang, former chairman and deputy Party secretary of the Huayuan Group did, on several occasions, publicly post erroneous statements in micro-blogs, blogs, and other online platforms and public venues that went against the four basic principles and the Party line. His actions severely violated Party political discipline, and it is hereby decided that Ren Zhiqiang shall be placed on Party probation for one year.

Additional Background: Cyberspace Administration of China Orders Websites to Shut Ren Zhiqiang's Accounts

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Former Party Official Censured for Sina Weibo Statements, Online Essay That "Severely Damaged the Party's Image"

On April 22, 2016, the state sponsored media outlet "The Paper" published an article entitled "Wenling Communist Party Official Censured by Party for Publishing and Reposting Erroneous Statements" (浙江温岭一党员公开发布、转载错误言论,被党内严重警告处分).  According to that report, Mu Yifei, a former official a Party School in Wenling, Zhejiang, had been censured by the Communist Party for violating Article 133(2) of the 2016 "Regulations on Chinese Communist Party Disciplinary Measures" and Article 46 of the 2003 "Regulations on Chinese Communist Party Disciplinary Measures" by publishing and reposting statements that were inconsistent with the Party orthodxy, thereby "severely damaging the Party's image."

On April 28, 2016, the China Youth Online website (sponsored by the Chinese Communist Party Youth League) published an article entitled "A 'Retired But Not Resigned' Official Gets Punished, Why Are Internet Users Protesting an Injustice?" (“休而不退”的公务员被处分,网民因何为其鸣不平?).

That article included images of Sina Weibo posts which it claimed showed Internet users criticizing Mu Yifei. In the example below from 2013,  Mu had reposted a comment by another user regarding a book on reform by Hu Deping - the son of Hu Yaobang and former vice chairman of All-China General Chamber of Industry & Commerce. The Weibo user said:
Is there anything in there about multi-party systems, constitutional governance, freedom of association, independent judiciaries, press freedom, or private publishing? I fear there is not a single sentence, nothing about opposition parties, as there’s only one party, and just the illusion of reform.
To which another Weibo user responds:
What is goal of multi-party systems, constitutional governance, freedom of association, independent judiciaries, press freedom, or private publishing? You are an instructor at a Party school, what do you think you're doing reposting this?
According to images of the Party Decision posted online:
On April 6, 2016, Mu Yifei published an article entitled "The Profound Regrets of Someone 'Retired But Not Resigned'" in the Information Times, a portion of which included erroneous content. It was reposted by many websites, and created a wave of discussion, causing a severely harmful influence.

Below is a full translation of that article, which has since been deleted from the Information Times website.
I've been thinking about writing this article for quite some time. Today I saw a news report from Hunan that made me take up pen. According to the report in the "Outlook" weekly recently in certain places in Hunan there have been some younger "officers" and "hands" whose main job is to provide reports to superiors calling for "public officials over 50 to step aside and enjoy better compensation than they do at their post" and voluntarily apply for "early retirement" and become "ex-officials" who are "retired but not resigned."

I happen to be one of these "ex-officials." I'm from Zhejiang, and in 2008 I took up the life of a "ex-official." Today I'm official retired. Even if I wanted to rectify my mistakes, I no longer have the opportunity, and I therefore can only write this guilt-stricken essay.

First, I feel shame for every penny of my not-insignificant salary. For a period of 8-9 years I did nothing. I collected my salary as usual, and enjoyed substantial benefits. And my salary was no small thing, along the lines of what an individual taxpayer earning over 120,000 yuan would get. Even though it wasn't like I didn't want to do anything, but my hands were tied by policies. But after all is said and done I was dining out on someone else's dime, and the salary I was getting was somewhat impractical.

Second, I feel shame for all the hardships endured by the workers. They work from dawn to dusk, doing the hard labor, and the money they struggle to earn - why should that be going to feed those like us who have jobs but do no work? Are they perfectly content to go on feeding and clothing us like this? Has anyone bothered to seek out their views on this? If we feel no shame before them, then that itself is something to be ashamed of.

Third, I feel shame of those labored 9-5 under me. Those who qualify for "early retirement" are inevitably those who fulfilled unimportant posts. To put it another way, if after you've retired the post can be left, only then do you qualify for "early retirement." Those subordinates of a similar age to me who do not qualify for "early retirement" have no option but to keep clocking in. When things get tense they they have no choice but pop a pill and work overtime. It is hard not to feel somewhat ashamed as I sit back and watch their busy lives.

Everyone knows that workers are best when they are in their 50s, when their experience is high, their energy is strong, and their worries are few. Furthermore, someone who gets by at an unimportant lower level post will usually have some skills. There can be no doubt that it is a waste to allow such people to get a substantial salary while sitting at unemployed. I see my colleagues everywhere raising birds and walking dogs, others sit around every day watching TV, other are fond of playing online games. Those who don't create problems for others and aren't corrupt are already considered outstanding. So who cares if they feel like a candle that's been snuffed out before its burned halfway down?

How many such unemployed people are there around the country? How many financial resources are being used to keep them feed and clothed? An accounting is due. If this is being done to foster new cadres, vacating space for them to occupy, then I have to ask, what's the point of fostering so many new cadres if your not utilizing the cadres you've already fostered? So many highly experienced public officials in the prime of their lives are being set aside, so what is the point of bringing in so many new officials every year? If the only purpose is to solve the employment issue, then is the cost-to-benefit ration for this approach too low? Relevant laws and regulations restrict early retire to those with at least 30 years of work experience, but some localities have taken it on themselves to lower it from 30 to 20. Should that not be suspected of violating the law?

I have been tardy in writing this essay before, mainly because I feared people would say I was reluctant to leave my post, even one so unimportant. Now I am fully retired, so I have no fear of what others may say behind my back. I feel that I must get this long-buried shame off my chest, and in the unlikely event that it offends someone, there is nothing I can do about that.








These screenshots show that article originally appeared on page A26 of the April 6 edition, but that entire page was subsequently removed from the Information Times' website.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

State Media: "Constructiveness of Journalism is More Important than Press Freedom"

On April 21, 2016, the state sponsored Global Times published an editorial entitled “Press Freedom Index Hides Absurd Logic.” Some excerpts:
Journalism advocacy group Reporters Without Borders (RWB) released its World Press Freedom Index Wednesday, ranking China fifth from bottom, and Vietnam just one place higher. The group, while criticizing Asian countries, including South Korea and Japan for deteriorating press freedom, has mainly pointed the finger at China.
. . . .
The constructiveness of journalism is more important than press freedom to developing countries. This constructiveness includes press freedom and supervision of the media, however it must incorporate understanding of different local political and economic development. The purpose of journalism is not to advocate its absolute freedom, but to help advance societal progress in a suitable way.

This theory, seemingly going against press freedom, could easily be misunderstood, but it has been repeatedly proved in the price paid by developing countries.

Admittedly, there is still a lot of room for improvement in China in the expanding scope of news reporting and enhancing information transparency. But when we make progress, we need to get rid of ways of thinking and logic that the West imposes on us.
These screenshots were taken on April 27, 2016, and show that both Baidu and Sina Weibo were censoring search results for “Reporters Without Borders” (无国界记者).

State Media: "Western Speech Freedom Not Fit for China"

On March 11, 2016, the state sponsored Global Times published an editorial entitled “Western Speech Freedom not Fit for China.” Some excerpts:
China is different. It is a communist country and this status quo, as a fundamental political norm, is written into its Constitution. Any denial of this norm is illegal and should be opposed. Some people argue that it is acceptable in the Western world that people can launch verbal attacks on their government and even their presidents, so why is this not allowed in China? The argument seems ostensibly reasonable, but the same activities are usually regarded differently in two divergent political and legal systems.
. . . .
[R]egrettably, some influential activists in public opinion abuse their freedom and propagate some subversive and destructive ideas, which have damaged the country's unity and caused some instability within the society. Measures to address these problems are inevitable.
. . . .
Some argue that it is a test of the authorities' openness, but actually, it needs all of society to draw lessons and experiences from the process.
 These screenshots were taken on April 27, 2016, and show that Baidu had banned users from establishing PostBar (贴吧 Tieba) forums about "Freedom of Speech" (言论自由), "Constitutions" (宪法), and "Communism" (共产主义).

Monday, April 18, 2016

Baidu and Sina Begin Censoring Search Results for "Rui Chenggang" - Former CCTV Anchor

On April 12, 2016, the state sponsored Global Times published an article entitled “Former CCTV Star Anchor Rui Chenggang’s Graft Case to be Heard.” Some excerpts:
Rui, a popular host of financial and news programs on CCTV, was taken away by prosecutors on July 11, 2014 together with Li Yong, deputy director of the business channel and another unnamed producer, following the detention of Guo Zhenxi, director of CCTV's business channel, for allegedly receiving bribes in June 2014.

At least 10 CCTV employees were reportedly involved in corruption that year.

Investigations into CCTV corruption cases allegedly often involved movie stars whom police sought to assist in the investigation, said the newspaper, which has removed the article from its website as of press time.
These screenshots show that two days after the publication of the Global Times’ article, both Sina and Baidu began censoring search results for “Rui Chenggang” (芮成钢).