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Vatikan | Wukan | Ai Weiwei und Liao Yiwu | Hongkong
Sep 12th, 2016 by Gao

Emanuele Scimia: Possible Sino-Vatican entente will raise a diplomatic storm over Taiwan (Asia Times)

Taiwanese Vice President Chen Chien-jen says Taipei remains an indispensable ally of the Roman Church after his recent trip to the Vatican. But Vatican is moving closer to Beijing and if it decides to cut diplomatic ties with Taipei, small countries in Latin America, Africa and Oceania that maintain formal relations with the island nation might decide to switch to China. The Roman Church will then have to reshape its relationship with Taiwan on a non-diplomatic basis. This will lead to deterioration of the current cross-strait status quo…
Recent news from Hong Kong and Italy, as well as official overtures from Beijing, hint at the possible finalization of an agreement between the Chinese leadership and the Apostolic See that would allow Pope Francis to ordain, with some limitations, bishops in China.

Kevin Lui: Anti-Establishment Hong Kong Legislator Flees Home After Receiving Death Threats (Time)

On Sunday, he received the highest number of votes in the democratically elected half of Hong Kong’s legislature.
But now, Eddie Chu — dubbed the “king of votes” after receiving 84,121 votes in the territory’s Legislative Council election, the most among all candidates running in the five geographical constituencies — has moved out of his home, fearing for the safety of himself and his family.

Wong Lok-to, Yang Fan, Luisetta Mudie: China’s Rebel Village Protests Jailing of Its Former Leader For ‚Bribery‘ (Radio Free Asia)

Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong have jailed the head of a grassroots democracy movement on „bribery“ charges after he planned to relaunch a campaign of petitioning over his village’s lost farmland.
Lin Zuluan, former ruling Chinese Communist Party secretary for Guangdong’s rebel village of Wukan, was handed a 37-month jail term and a U.S.$60,000 fine after a court in Foshan city found him guilty of taking bribes and of other charges…
Lin admitted taking bribes in a televised „confession,“ but few in Wukan believed it to be genuine, as the authorities had also prevented him from meeting with lawyers hired by his family to defend him.

Jörg Hänztschel: Ai Weiwei: “All I ask for is a normal life” (Süddeutsche Zeitung)

Everybody was surprised by the news that you were allowed to travel. Just recently hundreds of human rights lawyers were detained in China.
Yes, there are some cases where the authorities act quite totalitarian. But it’s very different from when I was detained. Today, when they detain you, they come with arrest orders. Courts decide what kind of treatment these people will get. They follow procedures. And if there is not enough proof they release you. The tactics are not as unlawful as a few years ago. Of course the police have the right to arrest you if they think you’re suspicious. Although I think this is also used as a tactic to control these people.
Still, it looked like the dawn of a new era of repression.
The reason is the anti-corruption campaign by president Xi Jinping. That creates a lot of tension, so they want to make sure they don’t lose control. If they see any sign of unrest they do whatever it takes to stop it. By the way: The anti-corruption campaign was very necessary. It was completely rotten. It was a urgent step to clean up this huge mess.

Angela Köckritz, Miao Zhang: „Kein Grund zu weinen“ / 没有理由去哭 / “There’s no point crying” (Zeit)

Der chinesische Künstler Ai Weiwei hat seine Regierung stets stark kritisiert. Jetzt klingt er plötzlich anders.

Ian Johnson: ‘I Try to Talk Less’: A Conversation with Ai Weiwei and Liao Yiwu (New York Review of Books)

In late July, Chinese authorities renewed travel privileges for conceptual artist and political activist Ai Weiwei, ending a five-year prohibition following his arrest in 2011. He promptly flew to Munich and then Berlin, where he has accepted a three-year guest professorship at the city’s University of the Arts.
After arriving in Germany, Ai gave two interviews that aroused some controversy, telling the Süddeutsche Zeitung and Die Zeit that repression in China is bad but not as bad as in the past—defensible positions, especially if comparing today’s China to the Cultural Revolution or the period immediately after the 1989 Tiananmen massacre, but still surprising to some who had come to expect extremely pointed and uncompromising statements from Ai.

中国国际航空访问伦敦提示引发愤怒反应(BBC)

中国国际航空公司(Air China)警告旅客在访问伦敦“有些印巴聚集区和黑人聚集区”时要多加小心,在伦敦引起轩然大波。
这家航空公司在自己的空中月刊《中国之翼》中提示,“到伦敦旅行很安全,但有些印巴聚集区和黑人聚集区相对较乱。夜晚最好不要单独出行,女士应该尽量结伴而行。”

Matthew Weaver: Air China magazine condemned over ‚racist‘ guide to London (Guardian)

MPs have urged China’s UK ambassador to intervene in a row over racist comments reportedly issued by a Chinese airline about ethnic minority areas of London.
An image of text from an inflight Air China magazine posted on social media prompted outrage after it warned passengers that “precautions are needed when entering areas mainly populated by Indians, Pakistanis and black people”.

Taiwan
Aug 29th, 2016 by Gao

丘琦欣:華文世界中的「左獨」與「左統」(破土) Brian Hioe: The pro-independence left versus the pro-unification left in the Sinophone world (New Bloom)

目前,隨著社會民主黨、時代力量黨、自由台灣黨等第三勢力左傾政黨先後成立,似乎已經開啓了一個台灣左翼復興的時代,或許也是台灣歷史上政治左翼第一次成為可能。畢竟,經過威權時期國民黨長期動用國家力量強制推行,將共產中國呈現為1949年至今台灣主權存續最大威脅的反共教育,台灣社會對於任何自我標榜為政治左翼的團體都是很有敵意的。

With the rise of new, Left-leaning third parties as the Social Democratic Party, the New Power Party, and the Free Taiwan Party, the present seems like an era of a resurgent Taiwanese Left. Or perhaps the present represents an era in which a political Left seems possible for the first time in Taiwanese history. After all, after so many years of state-enforced anti-communism at the hands of the KMT during the authoritarian period, and that has Communist China presented the most pressing threat to Taiwan’s continued sovereignty since 1949, Taiwanese society was rather hostile towards any self-proclaimed political Left.

洪凌:秩序之虐:太陽花/大腸花的排遺與孽瘴(苦勞網)

約莫在3月20日,佔領立法院行動第三天,我的情人(香港公民,堪稱良善自由主義者與中產階級,對於香港近年來的反中驅蝗動員極度不安且不贊成)詢問我,是否支持這場異議與激化的佔領。從反服貿的起初動員到近期的佔領立院,只要稍微有注意到相關脈絡與背後的意識型態操作,很難不得知是在反中恐共、型塑強烈異族恐懼的基礎上,進行政治正確的排拒強權大國(super power)之名。不過,「攻堅佔領」國家機器代議廳堂的動作,畢竟讓人驚訝且精神一振,甚至連我也不例外;再者,當時攻入的成員包括我認識的許多性/別異議者與激進社運成員。於是,距今三個星期以前,我告訴情人的答案是:「或許在主導意識形態戰場上,這是和我並不契合的戰役,但樂見騷亂體制的渾沌能量捲起更多的辯論與異質行動。」

Lehrer | Zhou Yongkang | Australien | China Airlines
Jun 20th, 2016 by Gao

China’s teachers: The unsung heroes of the workers’ movement (China Labour Bulletin)

Images of worker activism in China tend to be dominated by factory workers and, more recently, coal miners and steel workers. However, some of the largest, best organized and most determined worker protests of the last few years have been staged by teachers.
Teachers make up less than two percent of China’s overall workforce but they account for about four percent of the strikes and protests recorded on China Labour Bulletin’s Strike Map. Moreover, unlike workers in privately-owned factories, most teachers are employed by the state and their protests often pose a direct challenge to local government officials and administrators.

Xinhua: Son of Zhou Yongkang sentenced to 18 years in prison (China Daily)

A court in central China’s Hubei Province on Wednesday sentenced Zhou Bin, son of Zhou Yongkang, to 18 years in prison for taking bribes and illegal business operations.
Zhou Bin was also fined 350.2 million yuan (53 million U.S. dollars) and all of his illegally obtained assets will be confiscated, according to the verdict of Yichang City Intermediate People’s Court.

Liam Ward: Radical Chinese labour in Australian history (Marxist Left Review)

Flick through any mainstream book on Australian history and chances are you’ll find some version of the phrase “cheap Chinese labour”. Historians usually employ it to explain the alleged centrality of the organised working class in establishing racist anti-Chinese immigration laws, particularly the cluster of federal government legislation broadly known as the White Australia policy. This competition from pliant non-union labour was interpreted through the racial supremacist ideas of the time and, so the argument goes, prompted unionists to respond with vociferous calls for the total exclusion of non-white immigrants.
But a subtle shadow tracing through the history books suggests a problem with the argument. Time and again, often without any significant conclusions being drawn, we see passing reference to Chinese workers in Australia organising, striking and generally giving hell to their employers. These are fleeting glimpses of a neglected history of class struggle waged by Chinese workers whose memory continues to be dismissed as both separate from and somehow a threat to the workers’ movement.

Nele Husmann: China Airlines darf nicht nach Athen fliegen (AeroTelegraph)

Die griechische Regierung hat China Airlines eine Absage erteilt: Ihre Flugzeuge dürfen nicht in Athen landen. Das angespannte Verhältnis zwischen Taiwan und der Volksrepublik China ist wohl der Grund.

Walder | Žižek
Jul 10th, 2015 by Gao

Ian Johnson: Andrew G. Walder on ‘China Under Mao’ (New York Times)

Q. You write that about 1.1 million to 1.6 million people died during the Cultural Revolution.
A. In the literature, the number ranges from 40,000 to eight million. So it’s a relatively conservative estimate. But as a percent of the population, 750 million, that’s about one-fifth the death rate of Stalin’s Great Terror. Some people are annoyed that I’m minimizing the violence, but I’m trying to put it in perspective.
Another point was that in the Cultural Revolution, most killing wasn’t by the students or Red Guards, but by the government.
We focus on students killing their teachers. That touches a nerve. Or we focus on armed conflict between rebel groups. But most of the killing occurred when order — in quotation marks — was restored. It was not the rampaging Red Guards, even though those deaths were the most dramatic. It was the military restoration of order. The cure was far worse than the disease.

Slavoj Žižek: Sinicisation (London Review of Books)

An exemplary case of today’s ‘socialism’ is China, where the Communist Party is engaged in a campaign of self-legitimisation which promotes three theses: 1) Communist Party rule alone can guarantee successful capitalism; 2) the rule of the atheist Communist Party alone can guarantee authentic religious freedom; and 3) continuing Communist Party rule alone can guarantee that China will be a society of Confucian conservative values (social harmony, patriotism, moral order). These aren’t simply nonsensical paradoxes.

Arbeitsmigration | Verschuldung
Apr 27th, 2015 by Gao

Bernice Chan: How modern-day Chinese migrants are making a new life in Italy (South China Morning Post)

Work Tensions Rise in China, Despite Calls for Harmony (Wall Street Journal)

Labor disputes continued to swell in China over the first three months of this year, government data showed Friday, as slowing growth in the world’s second-largest economy puts more pressure on workers.
Roughly 190,300 labor-arbitration cases were filed from January to March, up 16.8% from the same period a year earlier, said Li Zhong, a spokesman for the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, in a news briefing. Those cases involved some 275,600 people, up 24.8% from a year earlier, he added.
The first-quarter increase in arbitration cases outpaced the 12.6% on-year rise logged in the previous three months, according to ministry data. The rise in the number of affected workers was also faster than the 15.5% on-year increase seen in the fourth quarter.

Neil Gough: China’s Economy Puts New Pressure on Its Lopsided Job Market (New York Times)

趙平復:「萬隆會議精神」實際內涵和當代意義(苦勞網)

Geoffrey Crothall: Is Li Keqiang more at home in Davos than in Beijing? (China Labour Bulletin)

Mr Li was in his element at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos this January where he gave a keynote address, and in the interview with the Financial Times on 31 March, in which he outlined his vision of China as an integral part of the global financial and economic system. The Davos crowd speak the same language as Mr Li; they are concerned with same issues, and basically want to see the same thing – stable and balanced global economic growth led by innovation and free markets.

„Youwei“: The End of Reform in China (Foreign Affairs)

Since the start of its post-Mao reforms in the late 1970s, the communist regime in China has repeatedly defied predictions of its impending demise. The key to its success lies in what one might call “authoritarian adaptation”—the use of policy reforms to substitute for fundamental institutional change. Under Deng Xiaoping, this meant reforming agriculture and unleashing entrepreneurship. Under Jiang Zemin, it meant officially enshrining a market economy, reforming state-owned enterprises, and joining the World Trade Organization. Under Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, it meant reforming social security. Many expect yet another round of sweeping reforms under Xi Jinping—but they may be disappointed.

Ian Johnson: Lawsuit Over Banned Memoir Asks China to Explain Censorship (New York Times)

Though China’s censorship of the Internet is widely known, its aggressive efforts to intercept publications being carried into the country have received less notice.

Mike Bird: China just let part of a state-owned company default for the first time ever (Business Insider)
Enda Curran, Lu Lianting: China Has a Massive Debt Problem (Bloomberg)

China has a $28 trillion problem. That’s the country’s total government, corporate and household debt load as of mid-2014, according to McKinsey & Co. It’s equal to 282 percent of the country’s total annual economic output.

Christopher Langner, Lu Lianting: We’re Just Learning the True Cost of China’s Debt (Bloomberg)
Mia Tahara-Stubbs: China bad debt spikes by more than a third (CNBC)
Laura He: China government firm’s default shocks market — Is more to come? (Markte Watch)

Russell Flannery: China Now Has A Record 400 Billionaires And Billionaire Families; Greater China 500+ (Forbes)

P S Ramya: China’s Myanmar Conundrum ()

Myanmar’s domestic politics are central to China’s strategic interests, and are testing Beijing’s core principles.

Gray Tuttle: China’s Race Problem (Foreign Affairs)

Nick Davies: Vietnam 40 years on: how a communist victory gave way to capitalist corruption (Guardian)

After the military victory, Vietnam’s socialist model began to collapse. Cut off by US-led trade embargos and denied reconstruction aid, it plunged into poverty. Now its economy is booming – but so is inequality and corruption

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