Friday, January 27, 2017

Hong Kong, and China: rule-of-law, freedom & democracy tracking


To me, the critical values a society has to protect above all are related to democracy. The rule-of-law (justice), independent judiciary/legislative/executive, separation of church and state, freedom of the press, protection of private property, freedom of travel, thought and expression. And once these are secured, the freedom for each citizen to elect who is going to represent them in government.

However, and maybe as a result, I also believe that equality of outcomes is not as important (if at all important) as providing equality of opportunities. Equality before the law trumps order. Opportunities to dream and be free to pursue these dreams more important than social normalization.

With the fall of the U.S.S.R., and the opening-up of China, the world could have hoped to reach, as Francis Fukuyama puts it, the "end of history"; liberal democracies as the final stage of society's evolution.

I still firmly believe in that vision but it is being threatened by autocratic populists on both side of the political spectrum, herding people, with comforting lies, ever closer towards the questioning of the democratic institutions.

However, I believe that the democratic culture will ultimately prevail in countries that have built it over centuries.

I am not sure that the same can be said of the countries that have, through hundred of years, been dominated by supreme rulers or single party systems.

I thought that the rise of the Chinese middle-class would also see the rise of the political will for change. However, it seems that repression and the CCP's propaganda machine have managed to shut dissent effectively

I believe that the Chinese Communist Party is the greatest threat to the global freedom of individuals, and a major impediment to democracy's progress. I also believe that a rational look at the behavior and outcomes of the actions of the CCP is the best way to make sure that the Chinese people demand change for their governance and ultimately break the one party system.

I will use this entry and update it as I find more information which I consider important in that reflection on the suppression of the democratic thought process by the CCP, as well as events that are impacting Hong Kong's democratic institutions and aspirations.

-------------------------------
2017-AUG-23
Cynical seems to be the only way

Philip Bowring's cynical look at Hong Kong circa August 2017. I am copying it all here without permission. Hope that's fine.
Will take it down if I'm being asked.

"Philip Bowring says social order and political stability have been ensured for the city, with student activists jailed, the opposition decimated, business as usual for vested interests, and resolve demonstrated to higher powers

Hurrah! Hong Kong is one step further towards matching Singapore’s standard of judicial independence. The punishment should not be designed to fit the crime but to teach lessons, and enable the teacher to demonstrate resolve to the headmaster.

Hence, a wise appeals court agreed this week with the government. It replaced soft community service with substantial jail terms for 13 activists and three student leaders involved in separate 2014 protests. The sophistication and cost of the judicial process should also ensure that four elected politicians ousted earlier from the legislature are bankrupted by their failure to pay government legal costs. Serves them right.

There can be no greater threat to social order and political stability than for spoiled youths to stir up opposition to progress and profit, joining with ignorant New Territories villagers who stand in way of the future, as though their crumbling old houses should be favoured over a Great Leap Forward for the Pearl River Delta region.
These counter-revolutionaries would sooner sacrifice the exclusive acres of the Hong Kong Golf Club or build homes on the beautiful New Territories scrapyards and container parks, the land banks on which the future wealth of our famous companies depend. Be thankful that our ministers knew whose interests they represent.

True to the Marxist theory and Leninist spirit of our national leaders, the march of history is towards ever more concentrated ownership of capital, ever rising profits which limit the middle and lower classes wasting their wages on comforts. The party is combining with the forces of monopoly capital. This is surely the “end of history” as predicted by our sages. The achievement is a tribute to the genius of the Chinese people and shows why their superior system is rewriting history to ensure that all neighbouring territories were always its vassals.

The tribute sought from the neighbours is, however, a trifling sum compared with what most of the businesses and people of Hong Kong pay to sustain and enhance the traditional local balance of wealth – as enshrined in the Basic Law. The genius of this document is many-sided. Equality of the sexes and equality before the law are listed as goals. But, naturally, some people are far more equal than others. Thus, for example, the local aborigines, unlike their oppressed brethren in Australia and Taiwan, have special land ownership rights.

These sacred sites for worship of ancestors and prayer for wealth date back for as long as the aborigines care to remember – it was 1972 when government officials recognised the utility of such rights in buying the support of patriotic aborigines for colonial projects. These temples are also only open to males, as is appropriate in a China which cleverly melds Confucius with the ever-changing theories of Communist Party leaders. Here there is no fuss about equal rights, gay rights or other impediments to social order.

The notion of legal equality would also have prevented the emergence of the many companies, great and small, built on acquisition of agricultural land, putting it to more profitable use pending eventual development. The wisdom of the government is shown in not enforcing petty laws which are inconvenient for corporate owners, its own departments’ grand development plans, and civil servants’ hopes for early-retirement employment in the private sector.

The people’s government knows that ever higher land prices are also beneficial. These enable it to record fiscal surpluses that are the envy of the world, while also financing global cost-per-kilometre records for building bridges and tunnels. Additionally, they ensure that civil servants’ generous pensions are underwritten by the public whose own pension fund is guaranteed to keep improvident provider institutions from collapsing under the weight of management bonuses.

Naturally, little Hong Kong cannot absorb all the profits generated by the great companies that own its land and utilities. So, instead of frittering it away on the hare-brained schemes of would-be entrepreneurs in IT, AI, etc, they are safeguarding the people’s future with such forward-looking investments as waterworks in Britain and coal-fired power stations in Australia. Meanwhile, the grand families can still have their fun on the local stock market, playing weighted-dice games of snakes and ladders with local punters, alternately buying and selling bits of the empires they themselves control.

Social stability is further enhanced by the lack of possibility of upsetting the status quo. Executive-led government means exactly that: the executive leads the judiciary. The executive also ensures that legislative troublemakers are unwelcome, as in any well-managed club, and must be blackballed. The other members can then get on with ensuring that the key economic and commercial interests, such as taxi ownership and agriculture, are protected from welfarism and other anti-Confucian concepts.

The system also provides for some of these honourables to keep foreign rights of abode while invoking the spirit of patriotism and love of “one country”. A monastery would be proud of their daily unison singing of the “Belt and Road” mantra.

The Lord be praised that we live in Hong Kong 2017 and have a leader who commands the respect of the judiciary."

2017-JUL-15
Liu Xiaobo

As the Wumaos and other CCP apologists would have you believe, Liu Xiaobo didn't deserve our respect because he supported the various U.S. wars and made some statement about China requiring 300 years of colonization to get its affairs sorted out.

My reaction is "So what if he had opinions about the war that I don't agree with and, to a certain extent, that I find despicable?". Because it is not the point at all. The point is that Xiaobo was jailed for 11 years because he (non-violently) proposed changes to the way his country is run.
Did he break the law? Of course! Because the law was written by the Chinese communist party to protect itself and against its citizen. Laws that do not have their roots in an open system of government are, by definition, autocratic and the argument of breaking the law is circular and irrelevant.

What people should, and are remembering, is Xiaobo's fight for a democratic, multi-party Chinese government which follows the principles of the rule-of-law, and respects basic freedoms.

A few elements for further pondering:

"China’s censors raced Friday to scrub social media networks of candles, RIP and other tributes to Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo as they seek to silence discussion about the prominent dissident’s death.
(...)
A search for news of his death on Chinese search engine Baidu turned up no results and China’s Twitter-like Weibo blocked the use of his name and initials “LXB”.
Even the most obscure homages to Liu on Weibo were removed.
One user who posted “RIP” was advised it had been deleted “because it violated relevant laws and regulations” — even though the post did not mention the activist by name.
RIP is now among the search terms blocked on Chinese social media networks."

2017-JUL-12
Liu Xiaobo

"Liu Xiaobo (Chinese: 刘晓波; pinyin: Liú Xiǎobō; born 28 December 1955)[1] is a Chinese literary critic, writer, human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate who called for political reforms and the end of communist single-party rule.[2] He was incarcerated as a political prisoner in Jinzhou, Liaoning.[3][4][5] On 26 June 2017, he was granted medical parole after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer.[6]
Liu served as the President of the Independent Chinese PEN Center, from 2003 to 2007. He was also the president of Minzhu Zhongguo (Democratic China) magazine since the mid-1990s. On 8 December 2008, Liu was detained due to his participation with the Charter 08 manifesto. He was formally arrested on 23 June 2009 on suspicion of "inciting subversion of state power".[7][8] He was tried on the same charges on 23 December 2009,[9] and sentenced to eleven years' imprisonment and two years' deprivation of political rights on 25 December 2009.[10]
During his fourth prison term, Liu was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for "his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China."[11][12][13][14] He is the first Chinese citizen to be awarded a Nobel Prize of any kind while residing in China.[15] Liu is the third person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize while in prison or detention, after Germany's Carl von Ossietzky (1935) and Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi (1991).[16] Liu is also the second person (the first being Ossietzky) to be denied the right to have a representative collect the Nobel prize for him."


"Charter 08 is a manifesto initially signed by over 350 Chinese intellectuals and human rights activists.[1] It was published on 10 December 2008, the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopting name and style from the anti-Soviet Charter 77 issued by dissidents in Czechoslovakia.[2] Since its release, more than 10,000 people inside and outside China have signed the charter.[3][4][5]
One of the authors of Charter '08, Liu Xiaobo, was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize."

2017-JUN-27
Human Trafficking Offender


""The U.S. State Department has issued highly public criticism of China in its latest annual report on the global state of human trafficking.
China is among the worst offenders of human trafficking, according to the Trafficking In Persons report. It's now lumped in with 'Tier 3' offenders such as Syria, Iran, Russia and North Korea — the worst designation.
Tier 3 is used to describe countries that are making no significant effort to comply with international standards. The last time China was ranked part of this group was in 2013, and since then it had moved up a half-notch.
'China was downgraded to Tier 3 status in this year's report in part because it has not taken serious steps to end its own complicity in trafficking, including forced labors from North Korea that are located in China,'"
http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/06/27/534547998/china-back-on-state-department-list-of-worst-human-trafficking-offenders
2017-JUN-24
Terrible week in Hong Kong for democratic institutions

Well, first, in mainland China, more of the same with more repression of freedom of expression:
"China’s media oversight body announced Thursday that it has ordered three prominent Internet companies to terminate their video and audio streaming services.
The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television said in a statement that the sites — including the massively popular Sina Weibo microblogging platform, iFeng.com and ACFUN — did not possess the permits required for providing their audio-visual streams.
The sites featured 'many politically-related programs that do not conform with state rules and social commentary programs that propagate negative remarks and opinions,' the statement said.
It added that authorities have been ordered to shut down the offending audio-visual services 'so as to create a cleaner cyberspace'."
https://www.hongkongfp.com/2017/06/23/china-orders-halt-video-streaming-major-websites-weibo-ifeng-acfun/
Yeah, so, for sure, the CCP has full intentions to respect Hong Kong's institutions past-2047...


"'It would not be appropriate for us to go into the mainland or challenge what happens on the mainland,' said Carrie Lam
(...)

Lam told CNN that the bookseller case "has to be dealt with in accordance with the mainland's system."
http://edition.cnn.com/2017/06/22/asia/hong-kong-carrie-lam-gui-booksellers/index.html
Remember that despite the mainland's authority forced confessions, the booksellers were abducted in Hong Kong.
Carrie Lam makes her position clear that her administration will kowtow to Bejing

"Police officers have been instructed to crack down on sensitive slogans and images in order to avoid “embarrassing” the country’s leaders during President Xi Jinping’s visit next week, according to sources cited by Ming Pao"

https://www.hongkongfp.com/2017/06/23/hk20-hong-kong-police-crack-sensitive-slogans-images-avoid-embarrassing-xi-jinping-visit-report/

"Hong Kong’s journalism watchdog has penned an open letter to the government, expressing concern that the personal details of reporters covering official events at the 20th anniversary of the city’s transfer of sovereignty may be shared with the police.

Consenting to sharing details with law enforcement agencies is a new requirement from the Information Services Department (ISD), said the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA)"




2017-JUN-20
The view of LocalStudioHK


2017-MAY-15
C.Y., the C.E (corrupt executive)

"A document on a select committee investigation into Australian firm UGL’s HK$50 million payment to Leung was seen by HKFP. It was submitted by Pro-Beijing DAB party lawmaker Holden Chow Ho-ding to the Legislative Council’s secretariat.

The document contains at least 34 edits made on April 21 and 22 by a user named “CEO-CE,” which stands for the Chief Executive Office. The committee discovered the document’s edit history at a closed door meeting on Monday."

2017-MAY-05
Economic and social freedom trends

I was reading the drivel of a commentator of Hong Kong politics who was stating that since Hong Kong was consistently named the number 1 freest region in the world, why be worried about China?
While it is true that think-thanks such as the FraserInstitute have rated Hong Kong has the freest economy in the world for quite a while now, it is not rating items such as 'freedom of speech', or 'freedom of the press'. So, let's see where Hong Kong and China have scored over the years on economic, but also wider measures of freedom.
One thing for sure is that China is always at the bottom of the pack, in all of these indices. Why would anybody think that getting a more integrated Hong Kong into China politics be good for Hong Kong's freedom is beyond belief.

Fraser Institutes economic freedom index
Hong Kong (#1 in 2014): 8.34/10 in 1970, 9.11/10 in 1995. Constant progression until  after the 1997 handover to China, at which point, went up and down but never exceeded pre-handover.
China (#113 in 2014): 3.64/10 in 1980 to around 6/10 in 2000 as a result of Deng Xiaoping's reforms and opening up of the economy. Not much variation since.
https://www.fraserinstitute.org/economic-freedom/map?year=2014&page=map

Cato Institutes Human Freedom index
Hong Kong (#1 in 2014): At 9.06/10, Hong Kong is #1 in Cato's Human Freedom index. However, that's because the economic freedom component of the index is much higher than its closest competitors. However, Hong Kong falls to the 20th place when it comes to Personal freedoms.
China (#141 in 2014): China's ranking is propped up by its 114th position in Economic Freedom, while it is at position 148 out of 159 countries on the Personal Freedom scale. And China's score actually went down between 2008 (5.07) and 2014 (4.81).
https://www.cato.org/human-freedom-index

Freedom House's Freedom index
Hong Kong: At 61%, Hong Kong is ranked 'Partly free'.
China: At 15%, China is considered 'Not free'. China was also considered 'Not Free' in 1998.

https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/freedom-world-2017

Reporters Without Borders Freedom of the Press Index
Hong Kong went down 8 spots between 2014 and 2016 in Reporter Without Borders' World Press Freedom Index (61st to 69th position). China went from 175th, to 176th.https://rsf.org/en/ranking/2016
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/25/south-china-morning-post-china-influence-hong-kong-newspaper-confession
http://hongwrong.com/blog-mirror-of-paul-mooneys-scmp-whistle-blower-article/

Social Progress Index
Hong Kong is not listed as an individual area but China lists about halfway down the list, just after North-Korea!
http://www.socialprogressimperative.org/global-index/

Corruption Perception Index
With a score of 77 (mostly unchanged in the past 5 years), Hong Kong is listed at position 15th least corrupt.  China is 79th on the 2016 corruption index
http://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2016
World Justice Project's Rule-of-Law Index
With a score of 0.77, Hong Kong is listed at position 16th of strongest adherence to the rule-of-law principles. At 0.48, China is in the bottom 1/3
http://data.worldjusticeproject.org/
2017-MAY-05
Propaganda

2017-MAY-04
Will the Hong Kong model survive

"The US Congressional-executive Commission on China heard from four witnesses at a hearing on Hong Kong’s autonomy on Thursday.

Former colonial Hong Kong governor Chris Patten, democracy icon and barrister Martin Lee, activist and Demosisto Secretary-General Joshua Wong, bookseller Lam Wing-kee and writer Ellen Bork gave testimony"


2017-APR-28
Corruption runs deep

"Chinese human rights lawyer Li Heping has been handed a three-year suspended prison sentence for subversion of state power, a Tianjin court has announced.
The trial was conducted on Tuesday in secret, and received no media coverage prior to Friday’s sentencing.
(...)
The ruling added that Li had collaborated with illegal religious figures, professional petitioners and minority lawyers in order to subvert state power."


2017-APR-10
Corruption runs deep



2017-APR-9
Dictatorships supporting each other

“How North Korea makes its money: Coal, forced labor and hacking"
China is North Korea's economic bedrock, accounting for more than 80% of its smaller neighbor's foreign trade
(...)
"Its biggest source of foreign currency is believed to come from the millions of tons of coal it sells to China every year. They accounted for about a third of official exports in 2015
(...)
North Korea also exports other commodities, and basic goods such as iron ore, seafood and clothing, to China
(...)
Even assuming China gets tough on trade, North Korea is thought to have racked up hefty rainy day funds from booming coal sales to China, particularly during the spike in global commodity prices in the previous decade.
Harvard's Park says he believes Pyongyang has kept very large sums in China that the regime can use to buy what it wants for its weapons programs.
By keeping the money in China, North Korea can more easily dodge sanctions aimed at cutting it out of the global financial system.
Restricting Pyongyang's access to that cash 'boils down to the political will of the Chinese authorities to use domestic law to track down these funds, Park said"

Freedom of the press

It is regrettable that the Davos forum is providing a platform to a dictator in such a laudatory manner when human rights are being suppressed more in China now than they have for the past two decades,” said Benjamin Ismaïl, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk

How can these comments be regarded as sincere when freedom of the press, information and expression are missing from any dialogue with China? How can China be regarded as a development model when its censors permit no public debate about its environmental problems, and when the Chinese education system, the state media and Internet companies erase events such as the Tiananmen Square massacre from Chinese history, thereby keeping most of the public in ignorance?


2017-APR-1
Little Mao

"Communist Party chief Xi Jinping could see his name enshrined in the party’s theoretical pantheon this autumn, sources say, with an eponymous ideological 'banner term' likely to be written into the party’s constitution at its national congress.
Such a move would place Xi on a par with late leaders Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, and analysts said that would speak volumes about his consolidation of power."

2017-MAR-31
Dangerous slide

"Over 200 scholars from local and overseas universities have signed a joint statement criticising the prosecution of Hong Kong activists for their leadership role in the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy protests.
'We are alarmed and outraged,' the statement read. 'We strongly oppose the Hong Kong government’s decision to charge these scholars and activists for their non-violent fight to realize Hong Kong people’s right to universal suffrage.'”

"Two activists who voiced support on social media for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Occupy protests in 2014 have been sentenced to jail terms by a court in Guangdong, south China, on Friday.
Su was found guilty of 'incitement to subvert state power' by the Foshan Intermediate Court and sentenced to three years imprisonment. She was also stripped of her political rights for three years."
"Amnesty International researcher Patrick Poon told HKFP: 'Su Changlan and Chen Qitang shouldn’t have been detained in the first place. They were just exercising their freedom of expression. The definition of ‘inciting subversion of state power’ is extremely vague. It’s just difficult to imagine how writing articles online and posting messages in chat groups can incite people to subvert a state power which has been ruling China for over 60 years.'"




2017-MAR-28
2-bit dictatorship tactics


"An undercover reporter from television network i-Cable has filmed supporters of Chief Executive-elect Carrie Lam appearing to receive HK$600 after attending Sunday’s election day event.
Video footage showed a man paying two supporters and the reporter a sum of money, after they reportedly attended a rally in support of Lam outside Wan Chai’s Convention and Exhibition Centre."

2017-APR-08
No freedom of speech



"US satirical news show China Uncensored says that the Apple TV app store has blocked users from accessing it not only in mainland China, but also in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

'I totally understand why we’re blocked in mainland China. We’re clearly disrupting the Communist Party’s harmonious propaganda,' said host Chris Chappell in a Tuesday press release"



2017-MAR-19
Great firewall of shame


"Chinese scientists have periodically spoken out against the national web filtering system, often termed “the Great Firewall,” which blocks and censors web traffic from overseas websites. It damages research, they say.
But their voices have been dismissed — and deleted — again and again.
The latest criticism came from Luo Fuhe, vice-chair of the national advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC)."


2017-MAR-09
Propaganda

For a on mainland China resident, this is just hilarious. What is sad is that it is the kind of information mainland Chinese have to deal with all the time...

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2017-03/09/c_136115481_3.htm


2017-MAR-07
Corruption

Hong Kong is in the top20 perceived as least corrupt

China is within the half of countries perceived as most corrupt
http://www.transparency.org/cpi2016
Unfortunately, the situation is getting worse

https://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_in_asia_pacific_what_20000_people_told_us

2017-MAR-04
No Freedom of the Speech
"Authorities in Beijing have conducted a widespread crackdown on dissent across the capital ahead of the annual meetings of China’s parliament and advisory body this weekend"
https://www.hongkongfp.com/2017/03/04/authorities-crack-down-on-petitioners-in-beijing-ahead-of-top-political-meetings/
2017-MAR-03
No Freedom of the Press
"A crew of BBC reporters in China was attacked by a mob and later forced to sign a police confession for attempting an “illegal interview”, the British broadcaster said Friday.
The journalists were trying to reach a woman in Xinhua county in southern Hunan province, who claims her father was killed during a land dispute, when a group of men confronted them on Sunday, in an incident later condemned by China’s foreign correspondents’ association"


2017-FEB-16
You will be assimilated



"The pro-Beijing Sing Pao Daily has claimed that its staff are being targeted after the Chinese-language paper ran numerous stories critical of China’s no. 3 official Zhang Dejiang, Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and the China Liaison Office, Beijing’s organ in the city.

It said threats against its staff have recently intensified and its employees sought police assistance four times within a week. The latest report filed to police was made in the early hours of Sunday, after the apartment door of a Sing Pao’s senior editor was smeared with red paint."


2017-FEB-16
Do Beijing's bidding, get rewarded with cushy job



"Outgoing Chief Executive Leung Chun- ying is reported likely to be appointed a vice chairman of China's highest political advisory body within the year.

If Leung is appointed, Hong Kong could have two vice chairmen in the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

First chief executive Tung Chee-hwa is one of 21 CPPCC vice chairpersons and is the only vice chairman representing Hong Kong.

The central government could nominate Leung as a CPPCC delegate as early as March, news portal HK01 reported.

Beijing is determined to promote Leung this year, the report added."



2017-FEB-04
No Freedom of the Press


Hong Kong went down 8 spots between 2014 and 2016 in Reporter Without Borders' World Press Freedom Index (61st to 69th position). China went from 175th, to 176th.

https://rsf.org/en/ranking/2016


2016-FEB-01
One country, Two systems transgressions
"Xiao, who is usually looked after by a group of female bodyguards, was led away from an apartment at the hotel by Chinese security agents, the Financial Times reported, citing a person familiar with the investigation.
(...)
It is against Hong Kong’s constitution for mainland agents to operate in the territory"


2017-JAN-27
Concentration of Power


"President now has 12 posts that give him control and oversight over most areas of government, the economy and the military"

2017-JAN-27
No rule-of-law, no freedom of speech


"It has been a year since Dahlin became one of the first foreign victims of President Xi Jinping’s war on dissent.

On 3 January 2016 Chinese security agents encircled the activist’s Beijing home and spirited him and his Chinese girlfriend, Pan Jinling, off to a covert interrogation centre he now calls 'The Residence'.

(...)

The political situation, which some call the most dire since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, has deteriorated so fast under the current leadership that one scholar claims Xi has built “the perfect dictatorship” – an ever-more repressive system that nevertheless avoids major international censure."





2017-JAN-05

Fakes

"The newspaper estimated that around 50 family-run factories had been making fake condiments and seasonings for as long as a decade, producing up to 100 million yuan ($14 million) of them every year. Materials were often stored in the open next to rubbish dumps, it reported"
http://money.cnn.com/2017/01/18/news/china-fake-food-seasoning-factories/index.html


2017-JAN-05

Media Control



"Apple has confirmed to The New York Times that it recently removed the paper’s app from the Chinese version of the App Store. The removal was made at the request of the Chinese government, which began blocking the Times’ website in 2012 after the paper published a series of articles on the “billions in hidden riches” amassed by the family of the then-head of state, Wen Jiabao"

2017-JAN-02
Corruption and Power struggles

"Chinese President Xi Jinping has accused five disgraced Communist Party heavyweights of ­involvement in 'political conspiracies', signaling power struggles – and not just corruption – led to their downfalls.
In a keynote speech to party leaders in October, Xi said Zhou Yongkang, Bo Xilai, Guo Boxiong, Xu Caihou and Ling Jihua “all engaged in political conspiracy activities”, according a copy of the address published by Xinhua on Sunday."

2016-DEC-20
The Bootlickers

“We are not denying the importance of democracy, but we are definitely wrong if we consider competitive elections to be a main – or the only – component of democracy,” he said on Monday. (...) If competitions become politicized – coupled with a lack of common beliefs and national consciousness in society – competitive elections will very likely turn into conflicts among tribes, races, religions and ethnic groups, or between the rich and the poor. They will eventually lead to clashes among various camps and even separation of the country.
(...)
The Chinese government has become more open and transparent, while being subjected to a stricter system of checks and balances”

These are the comments of Tung Chee Hwa made during his "China’s successful governance model". They are obvious and easily demonstrable falsehoods.
Tung Chee Hwa was the first Chief Executive and President of the Executive Council of Hong Kong from the transfer of sovereignty in 1997. He resigned in 2005. Unsurprisingly, he unsuccessfully tried to push Article 23 of the basic law, an anti-sedition clause meant to control and limit what Hong Kong people can say and do.
2016-DEC-12
Hong Kong longing for Democracy


"Pro-democracy camp takes record quarter of seats on Election Committee that will choose Hong Kong’s leader"




2016-DEC-12
Control

Google Signs Deal With Cuba to Speed Services

"Alphabet Inc.’s Google completed a deal with Cuba to place computer servers on the island to speed Google services there, a pact that officials hurried to complete before President Barack Obama leaves office next month.
Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt signed an agreement in Havana on Monday with Cuba’s state telecommunications company, La Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba SA, concluding months of talks
(...)
Google, which has long had an obsession with the speed of its internet services, operates servers around the globe to accelerate speeds for local users, including in Greenland, Somalia, Yemen and the Gaza Strip, said Doug Madory, an internet-infrastructure analyst at Dynamic Network Services Inc. The shortlist of countries without Google servers includes China, Iran, Syria and North Korea, among others, Mr. Madory said"

2016-NOV-10

Backlash to dictatorship


"After four years of ruthlessly cementing his authority, Xi Jinping has established himself as one of the most powerful men in modern Chinese politics. The irony is that the president's pursuit of power has created a backlash that could threaten to undermine his entire regime.
Particularly worrying for Xi, this backlash is coming not only from activists in Hong Kong, but even from the mainland, where disgruntled bureaucrats are staging a silent rebellion against their supreme leader"


2016-OCT-17
One country, Two systems transgressions


https://www.hongkongfp.com/2016/10/17/the-last-missing-bookseller-one-year-on-the-anniversary-of-gui-minhais-abduction-demands-action/


2016-NOV-24

No human-rights protection


"Since the previous Universal Periodic Review (UPR), human rights conditions and safeguards in China have slightly improved in some limited areas. However, the overall human rights situation has worsened over the past three years.
Out of the total number of 252 UPR recommendations, there were 236 that made actionable and measurable suggestions relevant to promoting human rights. Our assessment shows that of these actionable recommendations, the Chinese government did “not implement” 190, “partially implemented” 43, and only “implemented” 3."

“'We documented a very serious deterioration in China’s human rights record in these past three years. This essentially confirms the Chinese government is just using the UPR process as a window dressing while it slides backwards on human rights,' Frances Eve, a researcher at NCHRD, told HKFP
(...)
The report’s findings contradict claims by the Chinese government that it has “accepted” 81% of the the UPR recommendations, Eve said. “Accepting recommendations and not following through on implementation displays a lack of cooperation with the UN. This is especially disappointing, as China is a member of the Human Rights Council and members are expected to uphold the highest standard of human rights.”
The propaganda machine of the CCP bragging about its human rights record:
"It said that in recent years, especially since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), progress has been made in modernizing the system and capacity of state governance. The country has effectively protected the people's rights and freedoms in an extensive array of fields in accordance with the law, while its people duly fulfill their obligations"

2013-MAY-14

If you had any doubts about how evil the CCP is, and what is more or less guaranteed to happen in Hong Kong post 2047 unless the 'One Country, Two Systems" get permanently enshrined with stronger protection of the Hong Kong system,  have a read at the content linked-to below. Here are some excerpts:

"Western Constitutional Democracy has distinct political properties and aims. Among these are the separation of powers, the multi-party system, general elections, independent judiciaries, nationalized armies, and other characteristics. These are the capitalist class’ concepts of a nation, political model, and system design"

"Advocates of civil society want to squeeze the Party out of leadership of the masses at the local level, even setting the Party against the masses, to the point that their advocacy is becoming a serious form of political opposition"

"Some people, under the pretext of espousing “freedom of the press,” promote the West’s idea of journalism and undermine our country’s principle that the media should be infused with the spirit of the Party"

"We must uphold strict and clear discipline, maintaining a high-level unity with the Party Central Committee under the leadership of General Secretary Xi Jinping in thought, political stance, and action. We must not permit the dissemination of opinions that oppose the Party’s theory or political line, the publication of views contrary to decisions that represent the central leadership’s views, or the spread of political rumors that defame the image of the Party or the nation"

"The [principle of the Party’s control of media] stems from our political system and the nature of our media. We must maintain the correct political direction. We must firmly hold fast to the principle of the media’s Party spirit and social responsibility, and that in political matters it must be of one heart and mind with the Party. We must persist in correct guidance of public opinion, insisting that the correct political orientation suffuse every domain and process in political engagement, form, substance, and technology. We must give high priority to building both the leadership and rank and file in the sphere of media work. We need to strengthen education on the Marxist perspective of media to ensure that the media leadership is always firmly controlled by someone who maintains an identical ideology with the Party’s Central Committee, under General Secretary Xi Jinping’s leadership"

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/14/world/asia/chinese-leaders-warn-of-dangerous-western-values.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Document_Number_Nine
http://www.chinafile.com/document-9-chinafile-translation

2016-AUG-10
The Chief Autocrat


"President Xi Jinping will probably seek to extend his term to more than 10 years, analysts say, the first Communist Party chief to do so since Deng Xiaoping.

The ruling party's leaders have reportedly gathered at their secretive annual Beidaihe retreat, where discussions are expected to focus on the composition of its next Politburo Standing Committee"


2016-AUG-02
The Bootlickers

Hong Kong government force candidates to sign a form pledging allegiance to the Basic Law
http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/1997682/declaration-form-legco-election-both-unnecessary-and-illegal
https://johnib.wordpress.com/2016/08/02/216459/


2016-APR-21

Only getting worse



"...not since the 1970s when Mao still reigned and the Cultural Revolution still raged has the Chinese leadership been so possessed by Maoist nostalgia and Leninist-style leadership."



"At the center of this retrograde trend is Xi’s enormously ambitious initiative to purge the Chinese Communist Party of what he calls “tigers and flies,” namely corrupt officials and businessmen both high and low. Since it began in 2012, the campaign has already netted more than 160 “tigers” whose rank is above or equivalent to that of the deputy provincial or deputy ministerial level, and more than 1,400 “flies,” all lower-level officials. But it has also morphed from an anticorruption drive into a broader neo-Maoist-style mass purge aimed at political rivals and others with differing ideological or political views."



"Media organizations dealing with news and information have been hit particularly hard. Pressured to conform to old Maoist models requiring them to serve as megaphones for the Party, editors and reporters have found themselves increasingly constrained by Central Propaganda Department diktats. Told what they can and cannot cover, they find that the limited freedom they had to report on events has been drastically curtailed."



"But what has been perhaps most unexpected about this trend is the way that Beijing has begun to extend its claim to control people and organizations beyond its borders. Despite its stubborn defense of the sanctity of sovereignty, its agents have begun reaching overseas to manipulate the foreign dialogue by setting up hundreds of Confucius Institutes, newspapers, magazines, and even TV networks that answer to the Central Propaganda Department and the CCP.

The Chinese government is also denying visas to “unfriendly” (buyouhao) foreign journalists and scholars; blocking foreign websites with which it disagrees; demanding that public figures like the Dalai Lama, Hong Kong activists, or Chinese dissidents be refused foreign platforms; threatening the advertising bases of overseas media outlets that challenge its positions; and now even abducting foreign nationals abroad and “renditioning” them back to China where it forces them into making televised confessions."







2016-JAN-30
Only getting worse


"The main reason for the spate of confessional television in China is, in fact, political: it is a conscious policy of the regime of Xi Jinping, China’s ruler for the past three years. In an illuminating essay last March, David Bandurski of the China Media Project at the University of Hong Kong pointed out that what he called “China’s confessional politics of dominance” has its roots in the Communist Party’s own history, and in the Soviet influences that helped shape it before it took power. Confession and self-criticism have been part of its ruling strategy since its revolutionary leaders lived in caves in Yan’an and plotted against their neighbouring cavemen.
Virtually everybody in China—even Deng Xiaoping and, almost certainly during Mao’s rule, Mr Xi himself—has written at least one piece of selfcriticism. At the other end of the scale, even Banyan has done it, when he was a student and later reporter in China, with a few eloquent selfflagellations— now (he hopes) gathering dust in some forgotten archive.
Imagine a boot stamping on a human face–for ever In writing self-criticism, the secret is to ponder not truth, justice or cultural norms, but what your reader wants. As Mr Bandurski put it: “As in the past, today’s culture of confession is not about accountability, clean government or a rulesbased system. It is about dominance and
submission.” Mr Xi’s revival of this culture is not accidental. It is a reminder that his party’s tolerance for dissent is lower now than at any time since the early 1990s. One symptom of this is its insistence that China’s people—and foreigners working in the country—must accept that, even if they cannot love him, Big Brother is right."


2016
No Rule of Law

"Effective rule of law reduces corruption, combats poverty and disease, and protects people from injustices large and small. It is the foundation for communities of peace, opportunity, and equity – underpinning development, accountable government, and respect for fundamental rights"

http://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/media/wjp_rule_of_law_index_2016.pdf

While Hong Kong is still a shining example of rule of law in Asia (only 4 Asian entries in the top 30), China is at the bottom of the ranks, in terrible company. So, there are ample reasons to be concern about the "one country, two systems" scheme ending in 2047.

2016

Mainland Chinese don't give to charity, don't help others as much

2012-OCT-25

Corruption

"BEIJING — The mother of China’s prime minister was a schoolteacher in northern China. His father was ordered to tend pigs in one of Mao’s political campaigns. And during childhood, “my family was extremely poor,” the prime minister, Wen Jiabao, said in a speech last year.

But now 90, the prime minister’s mother, Yang Zhiyun, not only left poverty behind, she became outright rich, at least on paper, according to corporate and regulatory records. Just one investment in her name, in a large Chinese financial services company, had a value of $120 million five years ago, the records show.

The details of how Ms. Yang, a widow, accumulated such wealth are not known, or even if she was aware of the holdings in her name. But it happened after her son was elevated to China’s ruling elite, first in 1998 as vice prime minister and then five years later as prime minister.


Many relatives of Wen Jiabao, including his son, daughter, younger brother and brother-in-law, have become extraordinarily wealthy during his leadership, an investigation by The New York Times shows. A review of corporate and regulatory records indicates that the prime minister’s relatives — some of whom, including his wife, have a knack for aggressive deal making — have controlled assets worth at least $2.7 billion."