Monday, December 9, 2013

Chinese Web Sites Censor General Liu Yazhou, Again (and Again)

On November 17, 2013, the state sponsored Global Times published an article entitled "'Silent Contest' Silenced." Some excerpts:
Recently, a 92-minute documentary, Silent Contest (较量无声), allegedly produced by the Chinese PLA National Defense University (NDU), has caused wide speculation online. The film is an exploration of the belief that the US remains China's enemy and has never stopped its strategies to westernize and divide China.
The film warns Chinese nationals, especially political and military officials, to keep on high alert against alleged US ideological infiltration and political subversion.
The video was first circulated among military fans and netizens in late October.
On October 31, at a regular press conference, when asked to verify the video, Ministry of National Defense's spokesperson Yang Yujun said "we will not comment." Efforts to reach the NDU information office failed.
But since that day, the film has become unavailable on domestic websites.
. . . .
According to the subtitles of the film's end, the film was produced by the NDU's political commissar Liu Yazhou and president Wang Xibin, and made by the university's information management center in June 2013.
. . . .
"A regime that is in self-denial instead of self-improvement, refuses to make progress, does not trust people's power but trusts the myth of the West, and loses its ruling foundation, decline and fall step by step are inevitable," the film said.
It claims that since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, China has become the major target for the US to carry out "political genetic modifications."
"They [the American elites] confidently believe that only by approaching, contacting and accepting China, and incorporating it into the US-led system of international political economy, can they better fragment and undermine China. This is the best option with minimum strategic cost and price," Liu Yazhou says in the film.
This is not the first time Liu Yazhou's (刘亚洲) work has been censored. In August, 2013, images of a document began circulating on the Internet entitled "A New Perspective on China's Political Reforms - Liu Yazhou's Internal Talk" (中国政治改革新思维 刘亚洲内部讲话). Some excerpts:
From the highest levels of government to the average people in villages, China remains stuck with a cold war mindset. As a result, as far as China's reform has come, it really remains somewhat stuck in the middle of the river, amidst deep and roiling waters, unstable and inharmonious. Cadres and officials at the grassroots levels are clashing with people, with no recourse but to mobilize military police to suppress them by force, seeing every difference of opinion as "enemy forces." The average person has absolutely no confidence in their local officials, and not only resort to petitioning to higher levels, but violent mass protests have become commonplace. Today there is no trace of the old propaganda slogan "as close as fish and water." 
As for those born to special privilege, the so-called "Red Princelings," this sticking to the old ways of thinking is creating irreconcilable differences. Wasn't there a rumor on the web saying that there was a debate amongst the Red Princelings, with some believing that constitutional governance would bring down the Communist Party, that the Red Princelings should safeguard the eternal rule of the Communist Party, and pursuing constitutional governance would be a violation of faith in the Communist Party. The "Universalist Constitutional ism Faction" of the Red Princelings, represented by Qin Xiao, believes that the only way to do what's best for the nation is to implement constitutional governance, that there is no other option. Qin Xiao believes that, he himself sincerely wants to improve the Communist Party, and questions a certain Red Princeling who oppose constitutional governance, why does he send his own wife and child to America? The implication is that he is hypocritical critic of constitutional governance, letting his own family enjoy the blessings of democratic freedoms, while he himself enjoys the special privileges afforded by those inside an autocratic system. That infuriated the Red Princeling who opposes constitutional governance, who cursed him as a sonofabitch.
. . . .
We have a series of anti-corruption measures and agencies, so why is it that incidences of corruption have not only not been eliminated, but have in fact become exacerbated? I believe that we should strengthen the Party's Discipline and Inspection Commission and the government's Procuracy. There are two models we can refer to. One is Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Corruption, whereby we first establish a clean agency directly under the central government. Before it is set up we first take the time to let officials clean up their act, hand over their ill-gotten gains to their superiors and consider that the cost of getting clean government and let bygones be bygones. Then there is the American model. Besides police (like our public security), and the CIA (like our state security), it also has the FBI. We could establish a "political security bureau" that is dedicated to carrying out investigations of corrupt activity by Party and government officials. This law enforcement agents of this "political security bureau" would be under the central government, and would not be subject to restraint by Party or government officials at any level. Corruption would certainly be eliminated with strong measures like this system in place.
. . . .
Today what I want to say is, the ancients had an expression: "Silencing the people is like damming a river. Many may be harmed when a river bursts its banks, such is it when the people are silenced.  Thus is it that those who rely on rivers seek to guide them on their path, and those who rely on the people declare that they should speak." Today our Communist Party cadres are not the equal of those ancient millennia ago. Nor is the era where everything under heaven is unified by traditional newspapers, telephones, and television. With the appearance of the Internet anything can spread across the globe within minutes. How would you stop it? 
We have not only brought traditional media under our control, the last two days have seen a domestic crackdown on Internet rumors, as if we're once again starting another political movement. As I understand American law, the online rumors we're witnessing should belong in the category of civil defamation, and in America it would be up to the victim to take the rumormonger to court. How is it that in China that has been turned into law enforcement agencies showing up to arrest people, with the media conducting attacks like its a "movement"? If the target of "defamation" is a famous figure or government official, then it still enjoys the protections of free expression provided for in the Constitution. This kind of law is what ensure that average citizens can use public opinion to oversee famous people and government officials. If we undertake this kind of attacks as if this were a political movement, won't this completely eliminate the possibility of supervision by public opinion? I'm using American law as an example here, because I think the American justice system is extremely independent. In fact its also this way in Taiwan. This is an important goal for us in the future. 
因为中国从执政高层到乡间百姓都还是冷战思维模式,所以中国的改革走到今天,确实有点船到江心,水深浪急,无法稳定,无法和谐了。基层的党政官员面对官民冲突,只会调用军警进行强力打压,视一切持不同看法的士为“敌对势力”,而老百姓对地方官员也完全不听不信,除了越级上访外,暴力反抗的群体事件屡见不鲜,过去宣传的“鱼水情深”已经毫无踪影。
  
而出身特殊的一代,也就是所谓的“红二代”之间,也因为这样的守旧思维而发生不可调和的冲突。网上不是有传言:在一宪政问题的争论中,红二代之间有人认为宪政就是让共产党下台,红二代应该捍卫中共的永远执政,搞宪政就是违背中共的信仰;而红二代中的“普世宪政派”,以秦晓为代表,则认为要想国家好,只有实施宪政,别无选择。秦晓认为,自己是真诚的想改良中共,并追问那位反对宪政的红二代,为什么把自己妻子孩子送到美国?言下之意讽刺他是虚伪的反宪政派,让自己家人享受民主自由之福,而自己却在专制的体制中收获特殊利益。这激怒了那位反宪政的红二代,破口骂娘。
。 。 。 。
我们有一系列的反腐措施和机构,但是为什么腐败现象不但不能消除,反而越演越烈?我认为现有的党内纪委和政府监察应该强化。有两个模式可以参考,一个是香港的廉政公暑模式,成立一个直属中央的廉政机构。成立之前,给一个时间段,让官员自清,上缴贪腐的钱物,作为廉政的经费并既往不咎。或者参照美国模式。美国除了警察,类同我们的公安、中央情报局CIA,类同我们的国安,还有一个联邦调查局FBI。我们也不妨成立一个“政安局”,专门针对党政官员的贪腐行为进行调查。这个“政安”系统的警察,也是直属中央的,不受地方各级党政官员的辖制,有了这样的体制上的强化措施,贪污腐败一定可以根除。
。 。 。 。
今天我想说,古人言:“防民之口,甚于防川,川壅而溃,伤人必多,民亦如之。是故为川者,决之使导;为民者,宣之使言。”我们今天的共产党官员,却不如几千年前的古人。而且,现在不是传统的报纸电话电视台一统天下的时代了。网络出现后,不到几分钟就传遍全世界,你怎么防堵。
  
我们不但对传统的媒体进行控制,这两天又看到国内打击网络谣言,仿佛又一场运动开始了。根据我了解的美国的法律,现在看到的网络谣言,应该属于民事侵权案件中“DEFAMTION”,就是“诽谤”,在美国应该由受害人到法院去起诉造谣者,在中国怎么就变成公安机关出面抓人,媒体一起进行抨击的“运动”呢?如果“诽谤”针对的是名人或官员,那么在美国还享有宪法规定的言论自由的保护。这样的法律,就是保证普通民众以舆论的方式对名人和官员进行监督。我们这样进行运动式打击,不是彻底消灭了舆论监督的可能性吗?我这里以美国的法律举例,因为我认可美国的司法是相对独立的。其实台湾也是这样,这是我们将来的主要目标。
These screenshots were taken on August 31, 2013, and show:
  • Baidu had banned users from setting up a PostBar (Tieba 贴吧) forum about Liu Yazhou;
  • Baidu and Qihoo were both censoring searches for "Liu Yazhou Internal Talk" (刘亚洲内部讲话); and
  • A search on Baidu for "A New Perspective on China's Political Reforms" (中国政治改革新思维) returned no results, just a censorship notice.


For another example of censorship of Liu Yazhou, see this post on the censorship of his article entitled "Western Discourses" (西部论)  here - http://blog.feichangdao.com/2012/08/liu-yazhou-censored-by-baidu-and.html.

Translation: Huang Xuqin and Wang Jianbing Inciting Subversion Indictment

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