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Ungleichheit
Sep 6th, 2017 by Gao

Sidney Leng: China’s dirty little secret: its growing wealth gap (South China Morning Post)

China’s wealth gap has widened for the first time in five years, a fact Beijing chose not to mention in this year’s economic report.
The Gini coefficient, a gauge ranging between zero and one that measures income equality, increased slightly to 0.465 last year, from 0.462 in 2015, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) this week…
A study from Peking University last year found that the poorest 25 per cent of mainland households owned just 1 per cent of the country’s aggregate wealth, while the richest 1 per cent owned a third of the wealth.

He Huifeng: In China’s richest province, a yawning gap exists between the haves and the have-nots (South China Morning Post)

The coexistence of great wealth and abject poverty in Guangdong shows why narrowing the income gap is a priority of China’s leadership…
Shenzhen’s per capita GDP is now on par with Portugal’s, but the per capita GDP in Qingyuan … was less than a quarter of Shenzhen’s last year, and lower than the national average. Eleven other cities in Guangdong … were also below the national average last year, and in Meizhou, Heyuan, Shanwei and Yunfu per capita GDP was even lower than in Guizhou, China’s most impoverished province…
Guangdong’s wealth gap has grown in the past couple of years, according to Zheng Zizhen, a sociologist and economist with the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences, a government think-tank in Guangzhou.
“The wealth of families in [major] cities is soaring, driven by the rapid growth in residential property prices,” he said. “But the poorer areas of Guangdong lack the ability to attract enough capital and talent to bring an industrial boom.”
By the numbers, the Pearl River Delta, which includes some of China’s most developed cities, including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan and Foshan, covers only 23 per cent of the province but last year it accounted for 79.3 per cent of Guangdong’s economic output, according to official data, up from 79.1 in 2015. The province’s 12 impoverished cities reported average GDP growth of 7.4 per cent last year, according to the provincial development and reform commission, while the Pearl River Delta’s grew by 8.3 per cent.

Zhang Pinghui: Why Xi Jinping cares so much about ending poverty in China: the political significance behind the campaign (South China Morning Post)

Wukan
Dez 28th, 2016 by Gao

China jails nine over protests in Guangdong “democracy” village (South China Morning Post)

Nine Guangdong villagers have been jail for up to 10 years for taking part in protests in September in a community once seen as a symbol of grass-roots democracy in China.
Villagers in Wukan, 170km northeast of Hong Kong, expressed frustration over the sentencing, which critics said was a warning to others not to stage similar demonstrations.

Wong Lok-to, Ding Wenqi: China Jails Nine Protesters From Guangdong’s Rebel Village of Wukan (Radio Free Asia)

Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong have handed down jail terms of up to 10 years to nine residents of the rebel village of Wukan following months of mass protests earlier in the year.
Wei Yonghan, Yang Jinzhen, Hong Yongzhong, Wu Fang, Zhuang Songkun, Cai Jialin, Li Chulu, Chen Suzhuan, and Zhang Bingchai stood trial on Dec. 17, mostly on a variety of public order charges, former Wukan resident Zhuang Liehong told RFA.
They were handed prison sentences in on Monday ranging from two to 10 years, he said.
Prosecutors said fellow protester Zhang Bingchai had „published false information via WeChat and manufactured rumors, which had a deleterious effect in the community.“
Wei Yonghan and Yang Jinzhen were found guilty of „organizing and inciting the villagers of Wukan to attend illegal meetings, demonstrations.“
Wei was also convicted of inciting villagers and „other members of the public“ to confrontation with police, throwing stones and bricks at them, and injuring police officers on duty.
Meanwhile, protesters Li Chulu, Cai Jialin, and Zhuang Songkun „rode their motorcycles to intercept passing vehicles, causing serious disruption to traffic,“ according to an indictment notice issued by the Haifeng District People’s Court, which tried them.

Jeffrey Wasserstrom, David Bandurski: From Diamond Village to Wukan (Los Angeles Review of Books)

Protests broke out again in Wukan a couple of months ago after the democratically elected leader of the village, Lin Zulian, was jailed for corruption. He made a public confession on Chinese state television. When the villagers staged more protests in response to what all signs point to as a spurious prosecution and a forced public confession, riot police moved in, arresting villagers. Anxious to avoid a repeat of events in 2011, the authorities were also far more aggressive in dealing with foreign journalists trying to cover the story. I think this was retribution, four years delayed, against the village of Wukan for an experiment many Communist Party leaders surely saw as a dangerous precedent.
This experiment was, in my view, doomed from the start. How could the elected leaders possibly hope to resolve these land issues when leaders at every level over their heads had been complicit, and not only hoped their experiment would fail but had a clear interest in seeing land deals of this kind continue? The Financial Times reported in 2011 that 40 percent of local government revenue in this part of Guangdong came from land financing, basically the sale of cheap village land to property developers. In many cities, the percentage is even higher, and the incentive to take village land for profit is a huge driver of the kinds of cases of abuse and resistance I document.

Qiao Long, Zhuang Liehong: ‚We Called on Trump For Justice in Wukan‘ (Radio Free Asia)
Rammie Chui, Zoe Lai: Behind the scenes: The mainland journalist who writes about China’s human rights (Hong Kong Free Press)

Wukan | neue Linke
Jul 4th, 2016 by Gao

Revisiting the Wukan Uprising of 2011. An Interview with Zhuang Liehong (Chuang)

Zhuang Liehong was one of the four main leaders of the 2011 uprising in Wukan Village, China’s most widely publicized rural struggle of the past decade. Born in 1983, he left home after junior secondary school, like most teenage villagers, to work in the nearby Pearl River Delta (PRD). After a few years of saving up money, he became a shopkeeper in Foshan. Over the course of a series of land grabs in his home village (taking place since 1993), his parents lost their farmland, thus reducing their income to remittances from Zhuang and one of his brothers. With the economic slowdown after 2008, however, Zhuang’s business barely managed to make ends meet, so when fellow villagers began protesting the land grabs in 2009, he joined their cause, teaching himself to use video equipment and co-producing two short documentaries about the dispute. When the conflict escalated in September 2011, Zhuang again rushed home to play an active role in the struggle, being elected to serve as one of 13 delegates to negotiate with the officials. On December 3, he was arrested for circulating a manifesto that helped turn the protest into a mass movement. In response, villagers took several officials hostage, demanding Zhuang’s release. After the movement finally ousted Wukan’s ruling clique and organized the village’s first democratic election in March 2012, Zhuang became one of seven members of the new Village Committee (equivalent to a village-level government).

Inheritance and Situation: Interview with New Generation of Revolutionary Marxists in China (Left Voice)

Sex | Streiks | Staatsbetriebe
Mrz 1st, 2016 by Gao

Alexandria Icenhower: What China’s sexual revolution means for women (Brookings)

While Chinese women today have increased freedoms, there is still a long way to go before gender equality is realized. Civil unrest concerning gender inequality recently made headlines in China and abroad when a group of five female protesters in China were arrested and jailed for publicly demonstrating against gender inequities, such as inequality in higher education and domestic violence. …
China’s first and leading sexologist, Li Yinhe, delivered a keynote address that emphasized that when it comes to sex, China is in the midst of an “era of important changes.” Li explained that all sexual activities before marriage were illegal in China before 1997 because of a “hooliganism law,” and a woman could be arrested for having sex with more than one man. Thus, premarital sex was forbidden. In surveys in 1989, only 15% of citizens reported having premarital sex—and “most of them were having sex with their permanent partners,” Li said. That law was overturned in 1997, and recent surveys show that 71% of Chinese citizens admit to having sex before marriage. This is a dramatic change in a short period of time, and marks what Li asserts is a sexual revolution for Chinese citizens. …
Pornography isn’t considered to be protected as it is in the U.S. In contrast, Chinese law strictly prohibits creating and selling porn. …
Prostitution is another activity affected by outdated laws in China, where any solicitation of sex is strictly illegal. In the early-1980s through late-1990s the punishment for facilitating prostitution was severe. In 1996, a bathhouse owner was sentenced to death for organizing prostitution. Now, prostitution is widely practiced and the most severe punishment for organized prostitution is that those managing sex workers are ordered to shut down their businesses. …
In regards to homosexuality, Li was quick to note that China’s view of homosexuality is historically very different from Western views. For example, in some U.S. states, laws “criminalized or deemed homosexual activities illegal.” But throughout China’s history, there were not severe repercussions or the death penalty for homosexuality, and it “was never illegal.” However, this is not the case for same-sex marriage. Li thinks it will be “hard to predict” when same-sex marriage might be legalized.

Sarah Buckley: China’s high-speed sexual revolution (BBC)

Over the last 20 years, Chinese attitudes to sex have undergone a revolution – a process carefully observed, and sometimes encouraged, by the country’s first female sexologist, Li Yinhe.
„In the survey I made in 1989, 15.5% of people had sex before marriage,“ says Li Yinhe. „But in the survey I did two years ago, the figure went up to 71%.“
It’s one of many rapid changes she has recorded in her career. She uses the word „revolution“ herself and it’s easy to see why. Until 1997, sex before marriage was actually illegal and could be prosecuted as „hooliganism“.

Simon Denyer: Strikes and workers’ protests multiply in China, testing party authority (Washington Post)

Strikes and other labor protests have spiked across the country as manufacturing plants lay off workers and reduce wages in the face of mounting economic head winds. But the unrest is particularly intense in the southern province of Guangdong, the vast urban sprawl bordering Hong Kong that is the heart of China’s export industry — and its economic success story.

Exklusives Gerücht von „zwei zuverlässigen Quellen mit Verbindungen zur Führung“:
Benjamin Kang Lim, Matthew Miller, David Stanway: China to lay off five to six million workers, earmarks at least $23 billion (Reuters)

The hugely inefficient state sector employed around 37 million people in 2013 and accounts for about 40 percent of the country’s industrial output and nearly half of its bank lending.
It is China’s most significant nationwide retrenchment since the restructuring of state-owned enterprises from 1998 to 2003 led to around 28 million redundancies and cost the central government about 73.1 billion yuan ($11.2 billion) in resettlement funds.
On Monday, Yin Weimin, the minister for human resources and social security, said China expects to lay off 1.8 million workers in the coal and steel industries, but he did not give a timeframe…
The government has already drawn up plans to cut as much as 150 million tonnes of crude steel capacity and 500 million tonnes of surplus coal production in the next three to five years.
It has earmarked 100 billion yuan in central government funds to deal directly with the layoffs from steel and coal over the next two years, vice-industry minister Feng Fei said last week.

Verhaftungswelle
Jan 3rd, 2016 by Gao

The Guangdong Six and the rule of law (of value): Preliminary theses on the December 3 crackdown (Chuǎng)

Why should we focus on supporting “reformist NGO staff” when workers and peasants are regularly arrested, beaten and sometimes killed for participation in forms of resistance more likely to improve their conditions or lead to more transformative movements? Also, how could we support these detainees in ways that might hasten their release, affect the legal precedent being set by this crackdown, or increase international solidarity among workers—as opposed to the merely symbolic actions proposed so far? …
1. This crackdown is unprecedented in the number of workers’ organizations and individuals targeted at the same time, and in the severity of criminal charges being brought against them. …
2. While both the mainstream media and initiators of the solidarity campaign have been calling the detainees “labor rights NGO staff,” these groups must also be understood as workers’ organizations, mainly formed and run by workers to support workers’ struggles. …
3. However, these organizations’ relationships with the state have been typical of NGO-type organizations in their ambiguity, at times collaborating in certain ways, while at other times encountering repression—not only now, but repeatedly over the past few years. …
4. Among possible reasons for the crackdown, crucial determining factors were the slowing of economic growth (in China and globally) and industrial relocation away from the PRD (Pearl River Delta). At the same time, the militancy of workers has been growing in this region, with the number of recorded strikes doubling since last year. …
5. Many commentators have emphasized the role of Xi Jinping’s distinctively authoritarian mode of governance, but that mode itself might be better understood as a response to these changing economic and social conditions. In contrast, we would rather highlight similarities between this increasing repression in China and developments in so-called “democratic” polities. …
6. Several commentators have described the crackdown as unlawful, or as undermining the rule of law. …
7. The crackdown hurts not only these particular organizations, activists, and the workers whose struggles they have been supporting. If the detainees are pronounced guilty and stay locked up, this could set a precedent for further persecution of other workers’ organizations, and discourage other workers and their supporters. …
8. If the charges are dropped, there is a chance that the channeling of workers’ struggles into reformist directions will increase. … However, this would still be less discouraging for workers and their supporters than the alternative. …
9. The international solidarity campaign to release these detainees is probably the largest international effort to support Chinese workers’ struggles in decades, but so far it hasn’t been framed as such, or surpassed typical activist methods.

Free Chinese labour activists now 馬上釋放中國勞權人士 (auf Facebook)

Christoph Plutte, Daniel Reineke: Weihnachten in Chinas Weltmarktfabriken bedeutet Knast für ArbeiteraktivistInnen (Vice)

Anfang Dezember begann in den Städten Guangzhou und Foshan, im größten Industriegebiet Südchinas, die—geht man nach Anzahl der betroffenen Personen und der Härte der Vorwürfe—bisher schärfste Verhaftungswelle gegen Arbeiterorganisationen und UnterstützerInnen von Arbeitskämpfen. Am 3. Dezember wurden bei Polizeirazzien in vier Organisationen 21 Personen festgenommen und verhört, sowie Büros und Wohnungen durchsucht, Akten und Computer beschlagt. Insgesamt befanden sich bis Anfang Januar mindestens 40 Personen zumindest kurzfristig in Polizeigewahrsam. Sechs AktivistInnen sind weiterhin in Untersuchungshaft, gegen sie wird strafrechtlich ermittelt.

Ellen David Friedman, Ashley Smith: Caught in China’s crackdown on labor radicals (Socialist Worker)
Sweeping the house clean—clean of labor NGOs (Chuǎng)
The criminalization of strikes since 2012 (Chuǎng)
No Way Forward, No Way Back: China in the Era of Riots (Chuǎng)
Labour activists detained for doing the job of the trade union (China Labour Bulletin)
Michelle Chen:  China’s Latest Crackdown on Workers Is Unprecedented (Nation)
China Detains Labor Activists as Authorities Sweep Industrial Hub (Wall Street Journal)

Arbeiterbewegung | Xinjiang | Verschuldung | Yanhuang Chunqiu | Polizeigewalt
Mai 30th, 2015 by Gao

Five years on, Nanhai Honda workers want more from their trade union (China Labour Bulletin)

Five years ago, on 17 May 2010, more than a thousand workers at the Nanhai Honda automotive components plant in Foshan walked off the job, initiating a high-profile, ground-breaking strike that came to symbolize the rise of the workers’ movement in China.
The strike secured the workers a 35 percent (500 yuan per month) pay increase plus the promise of more effective union representation after the official trade union was humiliated in its attempts to get the strikers back to work.
This week, China Labour Bulletin returned to Foshan and talked to some of the strike veterans about what has changed over the last five years and what still needs to be done.

Top China official’s criticism of labour policy sparks controversy (South China Morning Post)

In a speech to students of Tsinghua University’s School of Economics and Management on April 24, Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said China had a 50 per cent chance of sliding into the middle-income trap within the next five to 10 years when its annual gross domestic product growth slows to 5 per cent.
The middle-income trap refers to a situation where a country that has achieved stable growth becomes stuck at that level.
Comprehensive reforms were desperately needed to raise the urban labour supply in order to avoid falling into the trap and to ensure an annual 6.5 to 7 per cent GDP growth in the next few years, Lou said …
China’s labour contract law was flawed as it „reduced the labour market’s liquidity and flexibility“ by not allowing bosses to fire their workers, he said…
„That’s why many investors chose to leave China,“ Lou said.
In response, contributor Huang He wrote on Ground Breaking, a website focused on China’s disadvantaged group: „I understand his point is to meet the demand of capital increment by sacrificing workers‘ interests.
„[But] such a solution leaves Chinese labourers mired in low income and benefits capitalists in developed countries [instead].“
Lou also said China should cut farmers‘ subsidies, liberalise rural labour from farmlands, and improve its residence registration system so urban areas could have bigger labour populations.

Eset Sulaiman: Passports in Xinjiang’s Ili To Be Handed Into Police Stations: China (Radio Free Asia)
Emma Graham-Harrison: Chinese police order Yining residents to hand in passports in latest crackdown (Guardian)

A district of 5 million people in China’s restive far west has demanded that residents hand in their passports to the police for indefinite safekeeping, the latest government crackdown in an area where Beijing has declared a “people’s war” on violent separatists.
A notice posted in Yining city, nearly 2,000 miles west of Beijing and near the country’s border with Kazakhstan, said all passports should be surrendered by 15 May.
“Those who do not hand in their passports on time will be reported to the entry and exit bureau and, according to the relevant regulations, their passports will be cancelled,” the memo from a local police station said.

Fast wörtlich derselbe Bericht:
Edward Wong: Chinese Police Order Residents in a Xinjiang Prefecture to Turn In Passports (New York Times)

Enda Curran, Tu Lianting: China Has a Massive Debt Problem (Bloomberg)

Johnny Erling: Chinas mutigstes Reformmagazin steht vor dem Aus (Standard)

Chinas Führung will die einzige politische Reformzeitschrift des Landes zum Schweigen bringen, die sich traute, die Verbrechen Maos aufzudecken, und die KP-Diktatur zur Verfassungsherrschaft umwandeln möchte. Die „Yanhuang Chunqiu“ (China in allen Jahreszeiten) konnte sich ihrer Gleichschaltung 24 Jahre lang entziehen, weil ihre Autoren selbst einst allerhöchste Parteifunktionäre, Politiker oder bekannte Intellektuelle waren, die sich zu Radikalreformern gewandelt hatten. Peking hat die Juni-Nummer nun unter Vorzensur gestellt.

AP: Chinese policeman guns down unarmed traveller in front of his three children and elderly mother (South China Morning Post)

Railway police said the officer pulled the trigger after Xu Chunhe, 45, attacked him and tried to seize his gun on May 2.
But a private video clip circulating online shows the policeman using a long stick to beat Xu, who tried to dodge the blows and pull the stick away from the policeman. Local authorities have refused to release the full surveillance footage of the shooting…
Xu grew upset when he and his family were barred from boarding the train.
Impoverished and ill, Xu was travelling to Beijing to seek government assistance for his elderly mother and three children, which would have drawn unwelcome scrutiny on the local government.

Streik bei Cuiheng | Mindestreservesatz | Dokument Nr. 9
Apr 20th, 2015 by Gao

At the sharp end of the workers’ movement in China: The Zhongshan Cuiheng strike (China Labour Bulletin)

A month-long strike at a Japanese-owned bag manufacturer in the Pearl River Delta town of Zhongshan has been characterized by police violence, arrests and intimidation, and the absolute refusal of the boss to negotiate. Welcome to the sharp end of the workers’ movement in China.
The strike broke out in mid-March. The roughly 200 workers at Cuiheng Co. were unhappy at low-pay and the refusal of the company to pay social security and housing fund contributions, year-end bonuses and other benefits.

Tom Barnes, Kevin Lin: China’s growing labour movement offers hope for workers globally (Conversation)

Reuters: China’s central bank cuts reserve ratio (Guardian)

China’s central bank has cut the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves on Sunday, the second industry-wide cut in two months, adding more liquidity to the world’s second-biggest economy to help spur bank lending and combat slowing growth.
The People’s Bank of China lowered the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for all banks by 100 basis points to 18.5%, effective from Monday, the central bank said in a statement on its website.

Angus Grigg: China frees up $200b to stoke economy (Financial Review)

The RRR cut is expected to release around 1 trillion yuan ($208 billion) of capital into the economy.

China Steps Up Economy Help With Reduced Bank Reserve Ratios (Bloomberg)

The reserve-requirement ratio was lowered 1 percentage point Monday, the People’s Bank of China said. While that was the second reduction this year, the new level of 18.5 percent is still high by global standards. The cut will allow banks to boost lending by about 1.2 trillion yuan ($194 billion)…
The reserve ratio will be reduced by another percentage point for rural financial institutions, two additional percentage points for Agricultural Development Bank and a further 0.5 percentage point for banks with a certain level of loans to agriculture and small enterprises.
Those extra reductions give the move a “reformist flavor,” wrote Bloomberg economists Tom Orlik and Fielding Chen. Still, with growth weak and small companies most at risk, it’s understandable banks see state-owned firms as safer bets.
“As ever, the price of stronger growth is slower progress on structural reform,” they wrote.

Document 9: A ChinaFile Translation (ChinaFile)

This weekend, China’s leaders gather in Beijing for meetings widely expected to determine the shape of China’s economy, as well as the nation’s progress, over the next decade. What exactly the outcome of this Third Plenum of the Eighteenth Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party will be remains shrouded in no small measure of secrecy, like most matters of high politics in China. President Xi Jinping has signaled that a significant new wave of economic liberalization may be in the works. But in the realm of political reform, Xi also has signaled a deep reluctance. In fact, many of the actions taken and techniques used under his year of leadership suggest a return to ideas and tactics that hark back to the days of Mao Zedong.
One such signal came during this past spring, when reports began to appear that the Party leadership was being urged to guard against seven political “perils,” including constitutionalism, civil society, “nihilistic” views of history, “universal values,” and the promotion of “the West’s view of media.” It also called on Party members to strengthen their resistance to “infiltration” by outside ideas, renew their commitment to work “in the ideological sphere,” and to handle with renewed vigilance all ideas, institutions, and people deemed threatening to unilateral Party rule. These warnings were enumerated in a communiqué circulated within the Party by its General Office in April, and, because they constituted the ninth such paper issued this year, have come to be known as “Document 9.”

Daniel A. Bell: Teaching ‘Western Values’ in China (New York Times)

Nobody is surprised that the Chinese government curbs “Western-style” civil and political liberties. But it may be news to some people that the government has recently called for the strengthening of Marxist ideology in universities and a ban on “teaching materials that disseminate Western values in our classrooms.” On the face of it, such regulations are absurd. It would mean banning not just the ideas of John Stuart Mill and John Rawls, but also those of such thinkers as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

Reporters Without Borders reveals state secrets in reaction to Gao Yu’s sentence (Reporters Without Borders)

Brian Eyler: China’s new silk roads tie together 3 continents (China Dialogue)

China recently unveiled an action plan for its controversial One Belt, One Road initiative to link its economy with the rest of Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Known as the ‘new silk roads’, it combines new infrastructure networks of roads, railway lines, ports to strengthen trade, investment, and people-to-people cooperation.

Feministinnen | Streik bei Cuiheng
Apr 19th, 2015 by Gao

Edward Wong: China Releases 5 Women’s Rights Activists Detained for Weeks (New York Times)
Sui-lee Wee: China frees five women activists on bail after outcry (Reuters)
5 feminists released! Also: environmental struggles and the Great Cannon (Chuang)

China has unexpectedly released five women activists on bail, two lawyers said on Monday, after a vocal campaign against their detention by the West and Chinese rights campaigners.
The women were taken into custody on the weekend of March 8, International Women’s Day, and detained on suspicion of „picking quarrels and provoking trouble“. They had planned to demonstrate against sexual harassment on public transport.

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian: Online Support — and Mockery — Await Chinese Feminists After Release (Foreign Policy)
Detention of Five Chinese Feminist Activists at the Juncture of Beijing+20 – An Interview with Gender Scholar Wang Zheng (China Change)

Professor Wang Zheng (王政), of the University of Michigan, is a scholar whose research focuses on the modern and contemporary history of Chinese women and gender, and Chinese feminism in the era of globalization. Since 1993, Professor Wang has been working with Chinese domestic feminist scholars to promote feminist scholarship and establish courses in women studies and gender studies. She has also participated in the feminist movement itself in China over the years. On April 3rd, Professor Wang gave a speech at Brookings Institute in Washington, DC, about the recent arrest of the five Chinese feminists (starts around 48:00). On April 7th, the editor of this website talked to Professor Wang, further discussing the Chinese and global background of the incident and how it will impact the women’s rights movement in China.

Alexandria Icenhower: What China’s sexual revolution means for women (Brookings)
张红萍:1913 被抓捕的女权主义者们(法制网)

这些1905年就加入同盟会的女会员们,革命多年,并于辛亥革命时穿行于枪林弹雨中。昨日她们还是巾帼英雄,今日她们就成了国家的罪犯。当通缉令张贴满北京的大街小巷时,“女子参政同盟会”的女子们黯然神伤,挥泪告别她们的聚集地,结束了1904年她们就开始从事的女权运动

Josh Chin: A Reduced Sentence Shines Light on China’s Little-Known Opposition Parties (Wall Street Journal)

High profile strike at Zhongshan bag manufacturer enters tenth day (China Labour Bulletin)
Worker activism is now the new normal as strikes and protests erupt across China (China Labour Bulletin)

Dinny McMahon: Economists React: China’s Economic Growth Slows (Wall Street Journal)

Heather Timmons: Asia’s largest IPO this year is the latest sign that Chinese investors are ignoring reality (Quartz)

China’s stock markets have become completely detached from economic fundamentals in recent months, and that insanity is rapidly spilling into Hong Kong’s Stock Exchange. The latest evidence of irrational exuberance comes from the $3.6 billion IPO of GF Securities, a Chinese broker whose stock started up 40% in its Hong Kong trading debut today, in Asia’s largest listing this year.

Taxi drivers in Xiangtan create their own company in push for industry reform (China Labour Bulletin)

Andrew Browne: Vietnam’s Impossible Bind: How to Stand Up to Beijing (Wall Street Journal)

China’s military development a key theme in defense paper (Japan News / Yomiuri Shimbun)

Xu Beina: Media Censorship in China (Council on Foreign Relations)

Ian Johnson: China: What the Uighurs See (New York Review of Books)

Xinjiang is one of those remote places whose frequent mention in the international press stymies true understanding. Home to China’s Uighur minority, this vast region of western China is mostly known for being in a state of permanent low-grade conflict, with terrorist attacks and a ferocious government crackdown, even against moderate Uighur academics. To the outside world, Xinjiang conjures up a series of stock adjectives or phrases: “restive,” “Muslim,” “oppressed,” and—as the misleading titles of more than one recent book have it—China’s “Wild West.”
And yet few outsiders spend much time there. Foreign academics have largely been barred from research, with several prominent scholars of Xinjiang banned from entering China. Foreign journalists tend to fly in and out for a dateline and an interview. The American photographer Carolyn Drake is an exception.
Drake has been traveling to Xinjiang since 2007, when she began photographing Central Asia from her base in Istanbul. Over the years, she has come to know the region well, and struggled to break free from its clichés. The summation of her work is Wild Pigeon, an ambitious, beautiful, and crushingly sad book.

Arbeitskämpfe bei Tongxin Jewellery
Feb 17th, 2015 by Gao

Foshan jewellery workers end strike after collective bargaining with management (China Labour Bulletin, 28. August 2014)

A two-month-long strike by 59 workers at Tongxin Jewellery in Foshan ended on 27 August after management, which had initially refused to negotiate, finally made concessions during negotiations with the workers’ democratically-elected representatives.

Foshan jewellery workers put pressure on factory union to do its job (China Labour Bulletin, 20. Oktober 2014)

The Foshan Federation of Trade Unions agreed on 20 October to investigate the enterprise trade union at Tongxin Jewellery after a group of workers there lobbied for better trade union representation at the factory.

Factory workers sacked for demanding a representative trade union go to arbitration (China Labour Bulletin, 4. Februar 2015)

A group of 35 workers from the Foshan Arts and Crafts factory (also known as Tongxin Jewellery) attended two separate arbitration hearings on 2 February claiming they had been illegally dismissed after engaging in collective bargaining and demanding that the enterprise trade union better represent the workers.

Foxconn | Liu Han | Hongkong | Xinjiang
Feb 11th, 2015 by Gao

Yi Xi: Four years later, still a graveyard of Chinese youth (libcom.org)

In 2014, on the eve of China’s national day celebrations, scenes recalling those of four years ago appeared in Chinese headlines. Foxconn became known to the world four years ago when thirteen of its young workers jumped to their deaths in quick succession. The death of young Foxconn worker and poet Xu Lizhi reminded us that in this Fortune 500 company that produces some 40% of the world’s electronics, the cruelty and hopelessness of workers‘ situation has not changed. But most of us are unaware that Xu is not alone. At least five other workers, and likely more than that, have joined him this year. Many other workers have taken their own lives since the famous 13.

Yi Xi: Union Official Links Foxconn Deaths to Excessive Overtime (LaborNotes)

The All-China Federation of Trade Unions—never distinguished for its advocacy protecting workers—has taken the unusual step of publicly criticizing Foxconn for excessive overtime.
Foxconn, the largest private employer in China, employs 1.2 million workers and produces a huge share of the world’s electronics.
On February 2, ACFTU Party Secretary Guo Jun publically criticized Foxconn’s excessive overtime work arrangements. Guo connected these problems to the series of worker suicides and deaths by overwork at its massive factory complex.
In an open letter response on February 3, Foxconn had the audacity to claim that “there is no relationship between constant overtime and incidents of death from overwork or suicide,” and referred to its infamous 2010 serial suicides as “unfortunate incidents with a few individual workers.”

Chun Han Wong: China Labor Ties Fray as Grievances Rise, Economic Growth Slows (Wall Street Journal)

For four years, a labor-research center here in the heart of China’s southern manufacturing belt helped to drive scholarship and debate on industrial relations in the world’s second-largest economy.
Then late last year, the International Center for Joint Labor Research, the first institute of its kind in China, was shut down, with little warning or explanation, people familiar with the situation said.
Its demise has alarmed labor experts, including some union officials, who see it as a setback for industrial relations just as China is dealing with rising worker grievances and slowing economic growth.

China executes mining tycoon Liu Han, who had links to ex-security tsar Zhou Yongkang (South China Morning Post, auch via Google News)

A Chinese mining tycoon linked to former security tsar Zhou Yongkang has been executed, according to state media.
Sichuan native Liu Han, 48, was found guilty of 13 charges – including murder, organising casinos, running a mafia-style gang and illegally selling firearms – and sentenced to death in late May.
He was executed on Monday morning together with his younger brother Liu Wei and three associates, Tang Xianbing, Zhang Donghua and Tian Xianwei, Xianning city intermediate court in Hubei province said.

AP: China executes mining tycoon Liu Han (Guardian)

Ernest Kao: Pepper spray and arrests as Tuen Mun parallel trader protest ends in chaos (South China Morning Post; auch via Google News)

Justine Drennan: Is China Making Its Own Terrorism Problem Worse? (Foreign Policy)

Beijing says radicalized members of its Uighur minority are terrorists with ties to the Islamic State and al Qaeda, but its repressive policies may be helping to fuel the violence.

Und außerdem:
Grace Tsoi: Taipei’s Fiery New Mayor Knows Whose Culture Is Best (Foreign Policy)

“For the [world’s] four Chinese-speaking regions — Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Mainland China — the longer the colonization, the more advanced a place is. It’s rather embarrassing. Singapore is better than Hong Kong; Hong Kong is better than Taiwan; Taiwan is better than the mainland. I’m speaking in terms of culture. I’ve been to Vietnam and mainland China. Even though the Vietnamese are seemingly poor, they always stop in front of red traffic lights and walk in front of green ones. Even though mainland China’s GDP is higher than that of Vietnam, if you ask me about culture, the Vietnamese culture is superior.”

David Volodzko: Was Colonialism Good for Asia? (Diplomat)

In controversial remarks, Taipei’s new mayor argued that colonialism is the secret to “more advanced” culture today.

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