Three legislators of Taiwan, Hsu Yung-ming, Yu Wan-ju, and Chang Hung-lu led the march to United Nations Headquarters during the Sept. 16 ‘Keep Taiwan Free’ march. Hundreds of activists held a rally in New York City on Saturday afternoon to protest Taiwan’s exclusion from the United Nations. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)Three legislators of Taiwan, Hsu Yung-ming, Yu Wan-ju, and Chang Hung-lu led the march to United Nations Headquarters during the Sept. 16 ‘Keep Taiwan Free’ march. Hundreds of activists held a rally in New York City on Saturday afternoon to protest Taiwan’s exclusion from the United Nations. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of activists held a rally in New York City on Saturday afternoon to protest Taiwan’s exclusion from the United Nations and other international organizations. Taiwanese Americans, Chinese dissidents, and international supporters of Taiwan joined force with activists and politicians from Taiwan to push for Taiwan’s international participation as U.N. General Assembly started its new session.

China’s role in excluding Taiwan from the international community of nations was highlighted as activists kicked off their march to the UN Headquarters from the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Hell’s Kitchen. In support of the rally prominent Chinese dissidents Yang Jianli and Teng Biao gave speeches in front of the consulate.

“China’s relentless and increasingly oppressive tactics to exclude Taiwan from the global community have only harmful consequences for mankind,” said Yang Jianli, who was jailed by the Chinese government from 2002 to 2006 for his pro-democracy activism. “Surely Taiwan has much to contribute to the world, and the UN should open its doors to the vibrant democracy of 23 million people.”

Chinese dissident Yang Jianli gives a speech on Sept. 16 in front of China's Consulate General Office in New York City to protest China's blocking of Taiwan from the United Nations and other international organization. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

Chinese dissident Yang Jianli gives a speech on Sept. 16 in front of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in New York City to protest China’s blocking of Taiwan from the United Nations and other international organizations. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

The “Keep Taiwan Free” rally was organized by the New York-based Committee for Admission of Taiwan to the UN and was held to coincide with the 72nd Regular Session of the UN General Assembly, which convened on Sept. 12 and runs through Sept. 25. Among those attending was a delegation from the Taiwan United Nations Alliance (TAIUNA)—a Taiwanese NGO that for 14 years has organized an annual trip to the United States to work for Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN.

A crowd of 600 participated in the event, according to organizers. Starting at 4 pm, the marchers walked across Manhattan and eventually reached the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in front of the UN Headquarters at around 5pm. The march was peaceful and caught the attention of many New Yorkers who were strolling through midtown on Saturday afternoon.

Hundreds of activists held a march on Saturday afternoon from the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Hell's Kitchen to the UN Headquarters on the other side of the Manhattan, to protest Taiwan's exclusion from the United Nations and other international organizations. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of activists held a march on Saturday afternoon from the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Hell’s Kitchen to the UN Headquarters on the other side of the Manhattan, to protest Taiwan’s exclusion from the United Nations and other international organizations. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

Ting, a Taiwanese student studying in America, said that she participated in the rally because she wants her country to be recognized by other people, and she feels strongly about Taiwan having such an identity. An estimated 57,000 Taiwanese students are studying internationally around the world, most of them are in countries that don’t recognize Taiwan’s statehood diplomatically, including the United States, where 21,000 Taiwanese students are believed to be studying.

TAIUNA President Michael Tsai, who is also a former Minister of Defense of Taiwan, said that no one should be barred from participation in the UN. Tsai argued that even Palestine, held to be a “non-state entity” by many, was able to join the U.N. as an observer two years ago. So, “why can’t Taiwan?”

Michael Tsai (middle), Taiwan's former Minister of Defense and president of the Taiwan United Nations Alliance, said that no one should be barred from participation in the UN. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

Michael Tsai (middle), Taiwan’s former Minister of Defense and president of the Taiwan United Nations Alliance, said that no one should be barred from participation in the UN. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

Hsu Yung-ming, a Taiwanese legislator from the New Power Party flew from Taiwan and joined the rally. “Many people say the push for UN membership is impossible for Taiwan, but they fail to see what’s at stake here,” said Hsu. “Taiwan needs to make its voice heard by the international community. We need to make this an issue, and for the world to see there are 23 million people currently being excluded from the UN.”

Chang Hung-lu and Yu Wan-ju, two other legislators from the Democratic Progressive Party—the current ruling party of Taiwan—also joined the rally. “The fact that China has the power to exclude others from the United Nations is a violation of its founding philosophy, which is supposed to include everyone,” said Yu.

June Lin, one of the young Taiwanese Americans during the Sept. 16 'Keep Taiwan Free' march, gave a speech at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza next to the UN Headquarters. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

June Lin, one of the young Taiwanese-Americans during the Sept. 16 ‘Keep Taiwan Free’ march, gave a speech at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza next to the UN Headquarters. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

At Dag Hammarskjold Plaza next to the UN Headquarters, activist students took turns giving speeches supporting Taiwan’s return to the UN. June Lin, one of the young Taiwanese-Americans, said that the recent trial of Lee Ming-che, a Taiwanese citizen imprisoned by China, is the latest example why Taiwan needs to make its voice heard on the international stage.

Taiwan under the name “Republic of China” was kicked out of the UN by the 1971 General Assembly Resolution 2758 to make way for the People’s Republic of China. Taiwan has tried without success to reenter the U.N. since 1993.

 

 

 

 

Read the full article here

WeChat, the most popular messaging app in China, now warns users that it actively stores a whole range of private data and will readily share them with the Chinese authorities if needed. (Matthew Robertson/Epoch Times)WeChat, the most popular messaging app in China, now warns users that it actively stores a whole range of private data and will readily share them with the Chinese authorities if needed. (Matthew Robertson/Epoch Times)

China’s most popular messaging app WeChat now warns users in a privacy statement about how much of their private data the company shares with the Chinese regime. To no one’s surprise, it’s just about everything users type into the app.

Developed by the Chinese internet company Tencent, WeChat is China’s equivalent of WhatsApp and is used by 662 million mobile users, which makes it the dominant messaging app in China and one of the largest in the world.

WeChat users who updated to the latest patch are greeted with a new prompt that requires them to accept the privacy policy in order to continue using the app. Upon careful reading, the new privacy policy acknowledges that WeChat collects a whole range of data from its users, and to comply with “applicable laws or regulations” would readily share them with the Chinese regime.

Private log data from users such as “information about what you have searched for and looked at while using WeChat,” and “people you’ve communicated with and the time, data and duration of your communications” are among the things that WeChat freely stores and uses to customize advertisement and direct marketing.

WeChat users who updated to the latest patch are greeted with a new prompt that requires them to accept the privacy policy in order to continue using the app. (Screenshot captured by Twitter user @lotus_ruan)

WeChat users who updated to the latest patch are greeted with a new prompt that requires them to accept the privacy policy in order to continue using the app. (Screenshot captured by Twitter user @lotus_ruan)

WeChat also admits that it would “retain, preserve or disclose” users’ data to “comply with applicable laws or regulations.” Because China’s law enforcement agencies and security apparatus do not need a search warrant to seize a citizen’s property or private data, the Chinese regime would essentially have access to just about everything WeChat users send through the app.

Users who refuse to accept the latest privacy policy would be unable to access WeChat with their accounts, until they change their mind and click the “accept” button. However, because users can resume using the app anytime with their pre-existing data intact, WeChat likely plans to store all the data for a prolonged period, even when a user explicitly refuses to let WeChat manage his or her own data anymore.

The new privacy policy contains few surprises for those that have long been criticizing WeChat for lacking privacy and security protections for its users. After all, observers have attributed the dominance of WeChat in China to the company’s close collaboration with the Chinese regime in implementing self-censorship and surveillance mechanisms in the app.

WeChat certainly got an assist from the Chinse regime when it started a partial blocking of WhatsApp in July. The blocking of WhatsApp eliminated one of the few remaining messaging apps available for users in China that was not controlled by the authoritarian regime.

The Chinese regime also recently announced on Sept. 7 a new regulation mandating that the participants of WeChat message groups be responsible for managing the information posted in their respective groups. Essentially, this means that a user in a message group could be held liable and even persecuted for information that others post in the group.

It has long been noted that WeChat is among the most heavily censored messaging apps. A 2016 survey done by Amnesty International that ranks the world’s most popular messaging apps in terms of privacy protection for users gave WeChat a score of 0 out of 100, meaning that users of WeChat receive little or no encryption protection for their communications and the app is completely exposed to censorship and surveillance by the Chinese regime.

Read the full article here

Top graft buster Wang Qishan attends opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference on March 3, 2016 in Beijing, China. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)Top graft buster Wang Qishan attends opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference on March 3, 2016 in Beijing, China. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Wang Qishan, China’s most powerful official after Communist Party leader Xi Jinping, has made a series of public appearances recently, after having disappeared from public view for months. Wang’s absence from the media led to speculation about his political future, to which he retorted with three appearances in the space of a week. Such appearances are bellwethers of political vitality in China’s opaque political system.

Footage from state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) showed Wang, who heads the Communist Party’s anti-corruption agency, attending a national disciplinary inspection assembly on Sep. 8.

At the meeting, Wang stressed the importance of reflecting on the results of anti-corruption work carried out since Xi Jinping took power in 2012, and expressed resolve to continue with “unremitting efforts.”

“Party Central fully affirms the disciplinary inspection work,” Wang said.  

Observers of Chinese politics closely watch signs of Wang’s presence (or absence) in the media for hints on whether he will continue to serve in the Politburo Standing Committee after the leadership reshuffling at the Communist Party’s 19th National Congress. The Standing Committee is the Party’s executive leadership and is composed of seven cadres, including Wang and Xi, who heads the body.  

According to an unofficial convention of the regime, members of the Standing Committee who reach the age of 68 at the time of the Party Congress are expected to retire; officials aged 67 or younger may stay for the next five-year term. Wang Qishan, who is a key ally for Xi Jinping in his anti-corruption campaign, turned 69 this July.

Two days before Wang appeared on television, he attended a political seminar honoring his late father-in-law, the former vice premier Yao Yilin. Wang was accompanied by his wife and eldest grandson.

Besides the presence of four Politburo members, the Hong Kong-based Oriental Daily took special notice of two officials—Xi Yuanping, younger brother of Chinese president Xi Jinping, and Li Zhanshu, Xi’s right-hand man. “Xi Jinping sent two representatives to the meeting, one official and one personal…to show his respect,” the report says.

Wang was also addressed, apparently for the first time by Chinese state media, as the leader of the “Central Leading Group for Inspection Work.”

From Sept. 3 to 5, Wang also paid a three-day visit to the central Chinese province of Hunan where he held a discipline inspection symposium, as reported both on CCTV and the official website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection that Wang heads.

Given Wang’s tendency to keep a low profile, the prominent media exposure is highly unusual, and has been seen as a pointed rebuttal of rumors that he has been diagnosed of late stage liver cancer. Independent political commentator Zhou Xiaohui says the media reports should also be read as a hint that Wang remains in Xi Jinping’s favor.

Since May, Guo Wengui, a fugitive Chinese billionaire who resides in an $67 million luxury apartment in Manhattan overlooking Central Park, has made various unproven corruption charges against Wang and his family members using social media. Guo has been linked with the political network grouped around former Party leader Jiang Zemin; the anti-corruption campaign under Xi and Wang has targeted hundreds of cadres aligned with Jiang. Guo faces a number of lawsuits from Chinese officials, actresses, and businesses for unpaid debts and defamation.  

Xin Ziling, a retired official at the National Defense University, believes that Wang’s political position is protected on account of the indispensable role he plays in Xi’s administration.

“Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, and Wang Qishan are going to be the core in the 19th National Congress,” Xin told The Epoch Times. Li Keqiang is the premier. “If they take down Wang Qishan, it’s effectively saying that Xi’s anti-corruption effort was wrong.”

“Once you shoot the arrow, there’s no getting it back,” Zhou Xiaohui said. “The tone coming from state media has been that anti-corruption is going to continue, and Xi would be handicapping himself if he loses Wang Qishan.”

Wang’s absence has typically been associated with the purge of “big tigers”—the Chinese term for high-ranking corrupt officials. The last time Wang returned to public view after 40 days of silence, the authorities announced the investigation of prominent Chongqing Party secretary Sun Zhengcai, extinguishing the hopes in some quarters that he would be a candidate for succeeding Xi Jinping in the leadership.

Read the full article here
  • Tags:, , ,
  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/eva-fu/" rel="author">Eva Fu</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

In a video released by the Chinese court, a visibly shaken Lee Ching-yu can be seen reading out a statement in court that admits his guilt for “subverting” the Chinse government. Lee’s wife can be seen sitting in the last row of the court room. (Weibo Screenshot/Yueyang Intermediate People's Court)In a video released by the Chinese court, a visibly shaken Lee Ching-yu can be seen reading out a statement in court that admits his guilt for “subverting” the Chinse government. Lee’s wife can be seen sitting in the last row of the court room. (Weibo Screenshot/Yueyang Intermediate People's Court)

The Chinese regime held a show trial to convict Lee Ming-che, a Taiwanese human rights activist who has been imprisoned in China since March of this year under charges of “subversion.”

Lee is the first Taiwanese citizen ever to become a political prisoner in China, and the case has attracted considerable international attention. Human rights groups and Lee’s wife blasted the Chinese regime’s treatment of Lee and have criticized the trial as a mockery of justice.

Lee Ming-che disappeared in late March 2017 when he attempted to enter China via Zhuhai, Guangdong, from Macau. The Chinese regime later confirmed that Lee was detained and charged with “subversion.” Lee’s alleged crimes consisted of sending books and materials to friends in China who are interested in human rights, and engaging in online chat group discussions with other Chinese human rights advocates.

After 170 days in jail, the 42-year-old Lee went on trial in Yueyang Intermediate People’s Court in Hunan on Sept. 11. The hearing was broadcast live on the court’s Weibo (China’s equivalent of Twitter), supposedly to demonstrate that the trial was fair and open. Lee was tried along with his co-defendant Peng Yuhua who allegedly also participated in the “subversive” online chat group.

In the video, a visibly shaken Lee pleaded guilty to charges of “subverting state power,” and can be seen reading out a statement in court that blamed “false portrayals of China in Taiwanese media” for his action. He also expressed his “gratitude” to the Chinese authorities and said he saw how “fair and civilized” China’s justice system is.

As is typical with China’s judicial system, nowhere in the recorded video of the proceeding did Lee’s court-assigned “attorney” speak in Lee’s defense, nor make any statement contradicting the prosecutors’ charges. The trial ended with both Lee and Peng’s “confessions,” and the court announced that a hearing on sentencing will be held in future date.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Lee’s wife Lee Ching-yu who was allowed to travel to China and attend the court on Monday, released a statement asking the Taiwanese people to forgive her husband for the “embarrassing confession” he made in court under duress. Chinese authorities only allowed Lee to enter court in the middle of the proceedings, and she was seen sitting in the last row of the court room.

The court’s Weibo published several photos of the trial, including one that shows Lee Ching-yu reunited with her husband and holding his hands.

Since his arrest in March, Lee Ming-che was not allowed any communication with the outside world—not even his wife and family. Lee’s wife later posted on Facebook that she felt Lee was afraid of saying anything in front of her, and all that the couple could do was to hold hands and look at each other.

“I am proud of you, Lee Ming-che!” Lee’s wife Lee Ching-yu posted a photo on Facebook showing support for her husband prior to Monday’s court trial. (Lee Ching-yu’s Facebook)

Lee Ching-yu has launched a relentless and high profile public campaign to seek her husband’s release. Previously, Lee attempted to travel to China in April but was rejected from boarding at the Taoyuan airport as her travel permit to mainland China was cancelled by the Chinese regime. She later traveled to the United States in May and testified at a U.S. Congressional hearing. She also met with various human rights NGOs and Trump administration officials.

The Taiwanese public has reacted to the trial with anger. Many Taiwanese netizens have been using the hashtag “We are all Lee Ming-che” on Facebook and other social media to express their solidarity with Lee.

Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, which serves as the country’s official agency dealing with the mainland Chinese regime, dispatched a team of advisors and assistants to accompany Lee Ching-yu to China. Tt also released a statement after Monday’s trial that says that it is “disappointed” that the Chinese government did not observe due process in the trial.

Despite this, many inside Taiwan still perceive the government’s response to the case as too weak and insufficient to demonstrate Taiwan’s resolve.

Previously, Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen administration had sought to minimize confrontation with the hostile Chinese regime on the other side of the strait. After reports surfaced that there was some friction between Lee Ching-yu’s high profile campaign and the Taiwanese government’s low profile approach to the case, the Tsai administration publicly pledged to ramp up efforts to rescue Lee Ming-che,

Lee is notable for being the first ever Taiwanese citizen to be recorded as a political prisoner in China by the political prisoner database maintained by U.S. Congressional Executive Commission On China (CECC).

Read the full article here

Senator Anderson speaks in front of the Chinese consulate in San Francisco during a rally to protest the Chinese regime’s interference in California’s legislature, on Sept 8, 2017 (Lear Zhou/Epoch Times)Senator Anderson speaks in front of the Chinese consulate in San Francisco during a rally to protest the Chinese regime’s interference in California’s legislature, on Sept 8, 2017 (Lear Zhou/Epoch Times)

SAN FRANCISCO—A rally was held outside the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on the morning of Sept. 8 to protest the Chinese regime’s interference in California’s legislature.

The rally was sparked by a letter sent from the Consulate to all members of the California Senate that warned that support of SJR 10—a resolution sponsored by Senator Joel Anderson that condemns the Chinese Communist Party for its ongoing persecution of Falun Gong practitioners—would harm relations between the two governments.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient Chinese spiritual practice in the Buddhist tradition.  It consists of living according the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance and performing gentle, meditative exercises.

In 1999 there were 70 million people practicing Falun Gong in China, according to a survey done by the Chinese state, or 100 million, according to Falun Gong practitioners.  In July 1999, however, then-Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin banned the peaceful practice and enlisted the nation’s entire security apparatus, media, and judiciary to participate in a massive persecution campaign that continues to this day.

Falun Gong practitioners hold banners in front of the San Francisco Chinese consulate during a rally to protest the Chinese regime's interference in California's legislature, on Sept 8, 2017 (Lear Zhou/Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners hold banners in front of the San Francisco Chinese consulate during a rally to protest the Chinese regime’s interference in California’s legislature, on Sept 8, 2017 (Lear Zhou/Epoch Times)

Organ Harvesting

The most disturbing element in this brutal campaign is the compelling evidence that shows Falun Data prisoners of conscience are murdered to supply organs for transplantation in China.

The China Organ Harvesting Research Center reports, “China now performs more organ transplants than any other country in the world, despite having few donations.” The Center asks where all of these organs come from.

In 2016 former Canadian Secretary of State (Asia/Pacific) David Kilgour, investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann, and international human rights lawyer David Matas released “Bloody Harvest/The Slaughter: An Update,” which offers “a meticulous examination of the transplant programs of hundreds of hospitals in China, drawing on media reports, official propaganda, medical journals, hospital websites and a vast amount of deleted websites found in archive”, according to the report’s website.

The report shows that the Chinese regime is performing 60,000 to 100,000 transplants per year as opposed to 10,000 per year (the Chinese claim). The Chinese regime has engaged “in the mass killings of innocents, primarily practitioners of the spiritually‑based set of exercises, Falun Gong, but also Uyghurs, Tibetans, and select House Christians, in order to obtain organs for transplants.”

Also in 2016 the U.S. House of Representatives passed H. Res. 343, “Expressing concern regarding persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in the People’s Republic of China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups.”

Pulling the Resolution

SJR 10 takes note of H. Res. 343 and condemns the Chinese Government “for any government-sanctioned persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in the People’s Republic of China.” With both Democratic and Republican co-sponsors, it was unanimously approved last week by the Judiciary Committee. The next step should have been a vote on the Senate Floor.

Unexpectedly, the Senate voted to refer SJR 10 back to the Rules Committee-essentially blocking it from coming to a vote in the Senate.

Speaking at the rally, Senator Anderson blamed the shelving of his bill on a “a vicious letter sent by the Chinese Consulate to discredit Falun Gong Practitioners.” The letter threatened that SJR 10 “may deeply damage the cooperative relations between the State of California and China.”

Senator Anderson speaks in front of the Chinese consulate in San Francisco during a rally to protest the Chinese regime's interference in California's legislature, on Sept 8, 2017 (Lear Zhou/Epoch Times)

Senator Anderson speaks in front of the Chinese consulate in San Francisco during a rally to protest the Chinese regime’s interference in California’s legislature, on Sept 8, 2017 (Lear Zhou/Epoch Times)

Dated Sept. 1, the letter was sent to all California Senators the day after 200 human rights activists gathered at the State Capitol to support the unanimous approval of SJR 10 by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The same day this letter was received, Senate Pro Tem Kevin de Leon moved to pull the resolution from the floor.

Phone calls and emails from the Epoch Times to Jonathan Underland, press secretary to Senator De Leon, asking for the Senator’s comments about this issue were not returned.

Outraged that his bill was not allowed even to be heard, at the rally on Friday Senator Anderson decried this “alarming interference with our legislative process by a foreign power has silenced the voice of human rights.”

Other states—Minnesota, Illinois, and Pennsylvania—have each passed resolutions similar to SJR 10 within the past few years.

Against Genocide

Senator Anderson said, “We should stand together against genocide. This is not a party issue, it’s a human rights issue.”

Speaking on the Senate floor every day the week of Sept. 4-8, he attempted to attach SJR 10 to other measures, including a similar bill that condemns the Chechnya government’s persecution of the LGBT community. He was not alone in this attempt. Noting California’s long history of showing support for human rights resolutions, Senator Stone, a Republican from Temecula, urged his colleagues to let SJR 10 be heard.

“We commonly do resolutions in support of human rights.  I think that this is a missed opportunity—one that makes us look hypocritical—that murder in one sense is justified as opposed to murder in another,” Stone said on the Senate floor.

Their pleas fell on deaf ears.  SJR 10 remained shelved.

To explain the apparent hypocrisy of the California Senate’s condemning persecution of citizens in Checnya, but not in China, Anderson believes one has to follow the timeline:

  1. With bi-partisan support, SJR 10 passed the Judiciary Committee unanimously.
  2. A threatening letter was received from the Chinese Consulate.
  3. The resolution is shelved without ever being heard on the Senate floor.

Chinese Regime Threats

Threats and intimidation from the Chinese regime to American politicians are not new.

The U.S. Congress passed two resolutions—H Con ResR 188 in 2002 and H Con ResR 304 in 2004—that called for the Attorney General to investigate reports of Chinese Consular officials illegal acts of attempting to intimidate elected officials who showed support for Falun Gong practitioners. The resolutions also urged local governments to report to Congress, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of State any incidents of pressure or harassment by Chinese agents.

Activities coordinator, Alan Huang speaks in front of the Chinese consulate in San Francisco during a rally to protest the Chinese regime's interference in California's legislature, on Sept 8, 2017 (Lear Zhou/Epoch Times)

Activities coordinator, Alan Huang speaks in front of the Chinese consulate in San Francisco during a rally to protest the Chinese regime’s interference in California’s legislature, on Sept 8, 2017 (Lear Zhou/Epoch Times)

Outraged that the Chinese Government’s power to suppress free speech extends beyond its own borders to California’s Senate Leadership, Senator Anderson has vowed to continue pleading for his bill until it is allowed to be heard.

In an appeal to his colleagues’ consciences, he said: “We should be standing strong against genocide anywhere in the world. There were those who denied the Holocaust. There is no excuse with what we know today to deny the holocaust that is going on in China against Falun Gong practitioners. We need to stand up and say that nobody’s body parts should be harvested for their religious beliefs.”

He addressed directly the citizens of California, asking those who believe the Senate should be on record voting against genocide to call their legislators and tell them they want to see a vote on SJR 10.

Read the full article here

This picture from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) taken on August 29, 2017 and released on Aug. 30, 2017 shows North Korea's intermediate-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 lifting off from the launching pad at an undisclosed location near Pyongyang. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)This picture from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) taken on August 29, 2017 and released on Aug. 30, 2017 shows North Korea's intermediate-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 lifting off from the launching pad at an undisclosed location near Pyongyang. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

The Chinese regime is on high alert for radiation seeping into China from North Korea’s latest nuclear test.

The test took place less than 50 miles from China’s border. The magnitude-6.3 earthquake could be felt by locals and Chinese hundreds of miles away as the nuclear test went off. A smaller tremor followed. It could be from a structural collapse after the first earthquake. The worry is that radiation was emitted into the atmosphere due to underground shifting, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The Chinese regime said that testing centers haven’t detected radiation yet. Soil, air, and water will continue to be tested. Seismologist Steven Gibbons told WSJ that it may take days or weeks to detect radiation. An environmental issue could become a political issue if the regime thinks that it is being perceived as weak on North Korea.

Chinese officials are reported to have told South Korea’s former President Park Geun-hye that North Korea’s nuclear testing in 2013 contaminated the Yalu River, which runs across the border between China and North Korea. Chinese officials neither confirm nor deny the comment, but since 2013 China has added several radiation-monitoring stations.

China had planned to add at least two more monitoring stations, to come some time after the latest nuclear test. This sixth test was the largest out of North Korea and 10 times bigger than last year’s test blast. A potential radiation leak is a great concern to the 100 million residents of China’s northeastern provinces. Exposure to the radioactive elements emitted in a blast could cause cancer or even death.

“If it turns out that there is fallout, and some leaking that threatens northeastern China, it will likely change China’s stance,” said Zhu Feng, an expert from Nanjing University. “It would need to tell people that it will keep [North Korea] under check.” China is North Korea’s biggest trade partner, aid donor, and investor.

Nuclear tests are conducted underneath a large mountain. The North Korean state-run news agency stiffly stated that the test went off without a problem. “There’s a lot of mountain to go before you reach air,” said Gibbons. But Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization head Lassina Zerbo said that a leak could spread over northeastern China and then into far eastern Russia over the week.

There is also worry that the nuclear tests could set off a volcano on the border that is known as Mount Changbai to Chinese and Mount Paektu to Koreans. Chinese locals near the Korean border are worried about the panic continued testing could create. The last test was already a huge shock.

Kim Jong Un has bragged about having the capability of reaching the United States with a nuclear-tipped ICBM. The United States has systems in place to detect any such launch, Fox New reported. Military spy satellites can pick up a heat and plume signature of a launched missile. The detection can be transferred to NORAD and to U.S. Strategic Command.

Missile defense can then be put into action by ground-based interceptors on the U.S. West Coast.

From NTD.tv

Read the full article here
  • Tags:, ,
  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/colin-fredericson/" rel="author">Colin Fredericson</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

Dan Blumenthal (center), Director of Asian Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, speaks at a discussion on U.S-Korea relations at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, on Sept. 5, 2017, in Washington. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)Dan Blumenthal (center), Director of Asian Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, speaks at a discussion on U.S-Korea relations at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, on Sept. 5, 2017, in Washington. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

WASHINGTON – In the aftermath of last week’s nuclear test by North Korea that allegedly detonated a hydrogen bomb, experts suggest that the time is now for the United States to apply overwhelming pressures on China so as to force it into giving up the rough Kim regime and put an end to its seemly-endless provocations and aggressions.

Dan Blumenthal, Director of Asian Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, said on Tuesday that it is possible for the United States and China to reach an agreement over the future of the Korean Peninsula, provided that United States “makes China feel so much pain over its relationship with North Korea” so that China would eventually give up its support for the totalitarian Kim Jong-un regime.

Among a panel of experts that participated in the discussion on U.S.-South Korea strategy hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on Sept. 5, all agreed that a unification of the Korean Peninsula under the democratic rule of the South Korea should be desired “end goal” for both the United States and South Korea. However, Dan Blumenthal was the most vocal when it came to advocating a hardline policy against China over its support for North Korea.

“What we need to do, and what we have done effectively, is to scare China,” said Dan Blumenthal, “[The United States should] make China very scared, and on its heels about what we are going to do, and what we are capable of doing.”

Blumenthal also said that Trump’s approach to North Korea is more or less on the right trajectory: “The policy adopted by the Trump administration right now is to tie North Korea as a liability for China, to make China feel so much pain for its relations with North Korea,” said Blumenthal, “at some point China would say, enough is enough.”

“China will help get rid of Kim regime, and give him a nice villa in Shenyang, with Dennis Rodman as his companion,” said Blumenthal.

After North Korea’s sixth nuclear test on Sunday, President Trump vowed that the United States will stop all trade with any country doing business with North Korea. China is currently North Korea’s biggest trading partner. Previously Trump has said many times that he was “disappointed” in China for not helping stop North Korea’s nuclear aggressions.

A B-1B long range strategic bomber in a file photo. In July this year the U.S. flew two of the bombers over the North Korean penninsula in a demonstration of force. Michael Green, the senior vice president for Asia and Japan Chair at CSIS, said that China needs to be compelled to change through a forcible approach, such as building the fear of a U.S. attack on North Korea in the minds of the Chinese regime rulers. (Courtesy USAF/Getty Images)

A B-1B long range strategic bomber in a file photo. In July this year the U.S. flew two of the bombers over the North Korean penninsula in a demonstration of force. Michael Green, the senior vice president for Asia and Japan Chair at CSIS, said that China needs to be compelled to change through a forcible approach, such as building the fear of a U.S. attack on North Korea in the minds of the Chinese regime rulers. (Courtesy USAF/Getty Images)

Michael Green, the senior vice president for Asia and Japan Chair at CSIS, said that he would substitute the word “incentivize” for the word “scare.” However, Green also acknowledged that China needs to be compelled to change through a forcible approach, such as building the fear of a U.S. attack [on North Korea] in the minds of the Chinese regime rulers.

Other experts expressed more doubt over the possibility that the Chinese regime’s behavior could be changed. Laura Rosenberger, Director of Alliance for Securing Democracy said, “I am more pessimistic on it. We forget that [the Chinese regime] has a communist party leadership. That’s an existential issue.”

Read the full article here

The Communist Party of China's new Politburo Standing Committee, the nation's top decision-making body (L-R) Liu Yunshan, Zhang Dejiang, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Zhang Gaoli, Yu Zhengsheng and Wang Qishan meet the press at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Nov. 15, 2012. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)The Communist Party of China's new Politburo Standing Committee, the nation's top decision-making body (L-R) Liu Yunshan, Zhang Dejiang, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Zhang Gaoli, Yu Zhengsheng and Wang Qishan meet the press at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Nov. 15, 2012. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

China’s ruling Communist Party will hold its national congress, which takes place once every five years, starting on Oct. 18, state media said last week. It’s leader Xi Jinping’s chance to secure his hold on the party—if he can get his allies into key positions.

The currently seven-member, Politburo Standing Committee has been the Chinese regime’s top decision-making body for decades. Thus, the major factions and powerful elders of the Communist Party have strived to secure seats for their protégés in the larger 25-member Politburo before the National Congress, as future Standing Committee members are drawn from this pool.

The leadership shuffle of top party officials at every party congress often reveals the state of power struggles between different factions within the communist party. A key measure of Xi’s power will be how many of his supporters are installed in the Politburo and Politburo Standing Committee.

Here are five things to look out for at the upcoming 19th party congress.

1. Will Xi’s Top Ally Break The Age Barrier?

Anti-corruption chief Wang Qishan at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 5, 2014. Recently, anti-corruption investigators criticized the 610 Office, an extralegal Party organization that oversees the persecution of Falun Gong, in a feedback report. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

Anti-corruption chief Wang Qishan at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 5, 2014. Recently, anti-corruption investigators criticized the 610 Office, an extralegal Party organization that oversees the persecution of Falun Gong, in a feedback report. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

Wang Qishan, 69, currently serves as Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. He has been the top enforcer of Xi’s anti-corruption campaign since 2012 and is widely seen as Xi’s most crucial ally.

Wang has overseen the punishment of hundreds of thousands of officials during Xi’s corruption crackdown. Even senior officials have been jailed, including Zhou Yongkang, China’s once-feared domestic security chief who oversaw an internal security apparatus that controlled the courts, prosecution agencies, police forces, paramilitary forces, and intelligence organs and rivaled the military in its budget.

He also oversaw an extrajudicial Gestapo-like apparatus, called the 610 office. Its primary function was to carry out the persecution of the Falun Dafa spiritual practice.

Former leader Jiang Zemin made an unwritten rule that anyone over 68 had to retire rather than start a new five-year term on the standing committee. He used this to stack the committee in his favor when he retired as leader in 2002, allowing him to maintain influence behind the scenes for another decade.

Some expect Xi will ignore the convention and keep Wang in position.

2. Will The Standing Committee Shrink?

Speculation has been rife that with five of the standing committee’s members up for retirement, Xi could shrink the committee down to five members from its current seven.

Xi could challenged in this if he uses the age policy to push some out but keeps Wang on the committee.

The size of the committee has ranged from three to eleven members. Jiang expanded it to 9 members when he retired in 2002.

(L-R) Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Qishan, National People's Congress chairman Zhang Dejiang, Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, Politburo Standing Committee member Liu Yunshan and Politburo member Zhang Gaoli at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 3, 2017. (Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images)

(L-R) Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Qishan, National People’s Congress chairman Zhang Dejiang, Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, Politburo Standing Committee member Liu Yunshan and Politburo member Zhang Gaoli at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 3, 2017. (Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images)

The committee was reduced to seven members when Xi took power in 2012 and he may attempt to get it down to five, so he needs only two allies to have a majority on the committee.

Only Xi and Premier Li Keqiang are under 68-years-old.

3. Will The Constitution Be Changed?

Besides a large turn over in senior party officials, the National Congress is also a time when the party’s constitution is updated or modified. Past leaders have put their own ideas and theories into the constitution. Xi may do the same.

Xi has been an avid globalist, pushing for China to play a leading role in the international order.

He’s also spoken forcefully about the rule of law and has given judges unprecedented freedom to hear cases about party officials.

But he has also been a party stalwart. 

It remains to be seen how these and other inclinations may translate into his attempt at adding to party dogma.

4. Will Xi Get A Successor?

Based on recent precedent, Xi is expected to step down at the 2022 congress after a decade at the top. If Xi does not choose a successor at the 19th Party congress, it would suggest he plans to stay on, though perhaps in another post.

Xi’s time at the helm of the party began with party rivals immediately trying to undermine his authority—even, according to some sources, attempting a coup. 

Xi’s entire anti-corruption campaign is seen by many analysts as a way to purge the party of former leader Jiang Zemin’s influence. Jiang fostered rampant corruption as a way to buy loyalty from political allies. 

If Xi feels that his work is not over, and his retirement could be followed by payback from his rivals, he may try to stay on in some capacity as leader.

5. Will The Chairman System be Restored?

Xi may bring back the position of Chairman of the Communist Party, a position abolished in 1982 in an attempt to keep any future leader from rising above the party as dictator Mao Zedong had.

Currently, the seven-member standing committee is supposedly run by consensus rather than majority rule. If Xi were to resurrect the chairman position, he would have effective control over the standing committee. This could lead him down the road to dictator, as happened with Mao, and place him at the head of a violent regime plagued by corruption and public scorn. 

Alternatively, it could give Xi the authority necessary to make greater changes within the party, including shifting the regime away from communism towards a presidential system.

NTD TV contributed to this article.

Read the full article here
  • Tags:,
  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/matthew-little/" rel="author">Matthew Little</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

Yao Gang.Yao Gang.

The former high-flying vice chairman of China’s top body for regulating stocks has been brought down, an action experts believe is preparation for the pivotal 19th Party Congress in October.

Yao Gang, 55, was targeted in November 2015, five months after the mid-year stock crash. He is one of the highest-ranking officials disciplined for alleged stock manipulation.

In mid-June of 2015, the stock market that had seen a long bull run lost nearly a third of its value in three weeks. Shanghai and Shenzhen stock indexes plummeted more than 40 percent during the summer.

The procuratorate stated that Yao was subject to “coercive measures,” but did not spell out the details. In an earlier statement issued by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, China’s topmost anti-graft agency, Yao was accused of “resisting investigation,” “disrupting the order of the capital market,” and “sabotaging political ecologies in the security regulation department.”

Yao was expelled from the party and dismissed from office on July 20, 2017. On Aug. 31, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate announced he has been placed under investigation for taking bribes.

‘King of IPOs’

Known as the “King of IPOs” at China’s Securities Regulatory Commission (CRSC), Yao had been in charge of public offerings of A shares—stocks of mainland-based companies—since 2002.

Yao enjoyed a lengthy and cushy career in the security regulation sector. He had been the vice director in the futures administration department in 1993, and ended up presiding over the China Securities Commission as deputy director in 2008. In Nov. 2015, he was investigated on suspicion of “serious breaches of Party discipline,” a phrase commonly used for bribery probes in China.

Chinese news portal Tencent suggested that Yao might be connected to Ling Jihua, a former top aide to the previous Party leader Hu Jintao. The CRSC office over which Yao presided approved six requests for public listings from Ling’s fugitive brother Ling Wancheng, including one for the little known company LeTV.

Huijin Lifang Capital, a private equity firm controlled by Ling Wancheng, amassed 1.4 billion yuan ($225 million) from an initial public offering, according to Caixin. Ling Jihua was arrested for corruption on July 2015, and given a life sentence the following year.

Following Yao’s downfall in July, some Chinese media have criticized him by calling him a “stock traitor” who “colluded with domestic and foreign forces to short the Chinese stock market.” Ifeng reports that some high officials in CSRC transferred a large amount of capital to Hong Kong and Singapore during the rescue of the market, citing Hong Kong media. At least seven of Yao’s associates in the security regulation system have been placed under investigation, according to Xinhua.    

A Warning

The same day that Yao was put under investigation, Beijing also confirmed the date of the 19th Party Congress. Some analysts believed that making the two announcements on the same day was a subtle hint that Xi’s corruption campaign might be focusing on the financial sector.

“Xi’s biggest concern is the financial sector that has been secretly doing sabotage,” the political commentator Tang Jingyuan told The Epoch Times. “By striking a blow at the tycoons and punishing tigers in the financial sector like Yao Gang, Xi Jinping is giving a warning to those bigwigs and corruption groups who still have strength to challenge him.”

“Everyone understands that the economy is the biggest pillar of the Chinese government’s legitimacy to govern and win over popular sentiment,” Chen Jieren, a Beijing-based political commentator, told The New York Times in a 2015 interview.

Chen said that a declining economy would put more pressure on the leadership. “If the economy falters, the political power of the Chinese Communist Party will be confronted with more real challenges…and Xi Jinping’s administration will suffer even more criticism.”

Yao was one of the five officials disciplined over the past month in the latest anti-corruption probe of China’s financial sector. Zhang Yujun, the former assistant head of the China security watchdog; and Yang Jiacai, the ex-assistant chairman of China Banking Regulatory Commission, were placed under investigation on July 21 and Aug. 1 respectively.  

According to Beijing News, China has ousted over 60 officials and senior managers in the financial sector since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012.

Read the full article here

Yang Huanning spoke in a conference on April 6, 2014. (cpd.com)Yang Huanning spoke in a conference on April 6, 2014. (cpd.com)

Liu Jingming, a procurement officer at the Qiqihar Hospital of Traditional Medicine, was well-liked by his colleagues and considered a “model worker” by his superiors: he was incorruptible and full of cheer, and on one occasion used his own paycheck to fix the hospital’s water faucets.

In February 2007, Liu was arrested for his beliefs and tortured to death. He was 39 years old, and died only 46 days after being detained. His family saw bruises and cuts across his swollen face, and a two inch hole in his right thigh, above a broken knee. Liu was a practitioner of Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese practice of meditation that was targeted for persecution in 1999.

Now, one of the officials responsible for the death of Liu has been purged from the system he thrived in for so long.

Yang Huanning, the chief of the Chinese Communist Party’s security committee in Heilongjiang Province from 2005 to 2008, was removed from office on Aug. 22 and put under investigation for corruption and “violations of Party discipline.” At the time he was purged he was in Beijing as the director of the State Administration of Work Safety.

Yang, 60, had spent 32 years in the Communist Party’s fearsome public security system, and was one of the officials eager to accumulate political capital by lashing out at Falun Gong, under the orders of former Party leader Jiang Zemin in 1999.

Heilongjiang, an industrial province in China’s northeast, was the epicenter of the Party’s anti-Falun Gong campaign.

Falun Gong is a spiritual discipline that espouses the teachings of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance and includes five slow-moving exercises. Liu took up the practice in 1995, becoming one of the between 70 and 100 million Chinese to adopt the practice in the 1990s, according to estimates from official and Falun Gong sources.

The anti-Falun Gong campaign that erupted in July of 1999 was an opportunity for many officials to profit from the budgets allocated toward it, and to gain promotions on the back of violent persecution.

Yang worked closely with then-security chief Zhou Yongkang, who played a key role in carrying out Jiang’s persecution orders. Zhou was purged in 2014.

Yang worked under Zhou as the vice director at Ministry of Public Security—the regime security apparatus that Zhou headed—from 2001 to 2005. In April 2008, Yang was transferred to Beijing as the ministry’s second-in-command, overseeing security work during the Olympics. Yang reportedly observed the day-to-day operations so closely that he even looked at the menu in each canteen, Gao Guangjun, a New York-based lawyer and a classmate of Yang in college, told the overseas Chinese-language media Mingjing.

During a national teleconference on political and legal work in 2009, Yang called on party officials to “be on strict guard, crack down ruthlessly,” and marked the persecution of Falun Gong as one of their six key tasks, according to Minghui, a clearinghouse that collects first hand accounts of persecution. At the time Yang was head of the State Office for Social Stability Maintenance, one of the security organs charged with carrying out the persecution.

Liu Jingming, the hospital procurement officer, was not the only Falun Gong practitioner to be killed under the reign of Yang Huanning in northern China. Minghui also documents the case of Xu Hongmei, 37, and Shen Zili, 49, two friends from the city of Qiqihar. They were arrested on Jan. 13, 2007, and both died of brutal beatings around a month later.

Their family members were allowed to see them unconscious, just before they died, describing them as emaciated and swollen, according to Minghui. The police demanded the families to pay 20,000 yuan before discharging them. The family refused to pay the exorbitant charge — equivalent to over a year’s annual income — and the police said they’d rather see the practitioners die there than set them free.

Minghui reports that 4,126 practitioners have been confirmed to have died from torture or beatings in custody over the past 18 years. In Heilongjiang, at least 537 practitioners are confirmed to have died from torture, forced labor, or detention, according to Minghui’s documentation. The real figures are likely much higher. It is unclear how many of these deaths Yang is directly responsible for.

Yang was transferred to head the State Administration of Work Safety in October 2015, four months after Zhou was purged for corruption in 2015.  

Mainland Chinese media have speculated on Yang’s downfall since July, when his official biography suddenly vanished from the Administration of Work Safety’s website, following three months of his disappearance from public view. Within a few days, he was placed under investigation, demoted to non-leadership positions, and stripped of title as delegate to the 18th National Congress. The formal announcement of his investigation shortly followed.

Read the full article here
  • Tags:,
  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/eva-fu/" rel="author">Eva Fu</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

A man rests beside a house in Elishku in China’s western Xinjiang region. Elishku was the scene of a bloody clash in July 28, 2014 between villagers protesting against the Chinese regime’s restrictions during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and the government troops. (Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images)A man rests beside a house in Elishku in China’s western Xinjiang region. Elishku was the scene of a bloody clash in July 28, 2014 between villagers protesting against the Chinese regime’s restrictions during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and the government troops. (Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images)

Globe and Mail journalist Nathan VanderKlippe, who was briefly detained by Chinese police earlier this week, says he travelled to Elishku in China’s volatile Xinjiang region to find out more about a 2014 violent confrontation between Chinese authorities and the ethnic Uyghurs that exiled groups say resulted in 2,000 deaths.

VanderKlippe, the Globe’s Beijing correspondent, was detained on Wednesday evening, Aug. 23, just as he arrived in Elishku. He had his laptop confiscated by the secret police and was released early Thursday morning.

Similar to Tibet, Xinjiang is a very sensitive region for the Chinese communist regime due to the minority group’s dissatisfaction and occasional protests over the Chinese regime’s suppression of their rights and customs.

The Chinese Communist Party stifles the minority Uyghur group’s Islamic religious activity. Instances include barring Muslims from observing Ramadan, requiring men to shave their beards, forcing women to remove their veils, and coercing them to raise pigs, considered unclean in Muslim culture.

Not much is known about what happened on July 28, 2014, at the end of Ramadan in Elishku. China’s official accounts claim that the violent confrontation was in response to knife- and axe-wielding Uyghurs on a rampage, and put the official death toll at close to 100.

Exiled Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer, however, cited evidence from the ground that at least 2,000 Uyghurs had been killed in what she called a massacre. Kadeer told Radio Free Asia that this was the highest reported casualty count in the history of Xinjiang violence.

Kadeer said evidence includes “recorded voice messages from the people in the neighbourhood and written testimonies on exactly what had taken place in Elishku township of Yarkand County during this massacre.”

Suppression of independent reporting of events is all too common in China. There is still no clear account of the death toll of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing, with the Chinese regime putting the death toll between 200 to 300 while other estimates put the toll at well over 1,000.

Deteriorating Conditions

According to a survey report by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC), conditions for international press in China continue to deteriorate.

The FCCC’s 2016 survey indicates 98 percent of foreign journalists report that conditions rarely meet international standards and that they face growing cases of harassment, obstruction, and intimidation of sources and local staff.

Close to 60 percent of journalists reported that they had personally experienced some form of interference, harassment, or violence while reporting in China.

Throughout his encounter with the authorities, VanderKlippe said he reminded the police that Chinese law allows him to report and interview anyone who gives consent. But his captors told him that Chinese law doesn’t apply to secret police, and even less so does it apply to a sensitive region like Xinjiang.

VanderKlippe wrote in a report for the Globe that his ordeal offered “a window into the ways China’s laws are regularly reduced to guideposts that can be ignored in service of broader objectives, and the contortions authorities take to reconcile the two.”

“It also illuminated the measures Chinese officials take to suppress unauthorized accounts of a region where the harsh policies of an authoritarian state have limited a minority people’s ability to conduct life on their own terms.”

Last June, Canadians saw a glimpse on their own soil of how China treats journalists when Chinese minister of foreign affairs Wang Yi scolded a Canadian journalist for asking a question related to China’s human rights record during a joint conference with then-Canadian foreign affairs minister Stephane Dion in Ottawa.  

In December 2015, China deported French reporter and veteran China journalist Ursula Gauthier for her reporting in which she denounced Chinese state-media coverage that equated the Uyghurs’ protests with the Nov. 15, 2015, Paris terrorist attacks.

Read the full article here

The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain is seen with a hole on its portside after a collision with an oil tanker outside Changi naval base in Singapore on Aug. 21, 2017. An admiral in the PLA Navy celebrated the collision, which involved loss of American life. (ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain is seen with a hole on its portside after a collision with an oil tanker outside Changi naval base in Singapore on Aug. 21, 2017. An admiral in the PLA Navy celebrated the collision, which involved loss of American life. (ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Both a Chinese navy admiral and a regime-sanctioned commentator with millions of online followers in China publicly celebrated the collision between a U.S. navy destroyer and a tanker on Aug. 21 that left 10 U.S. sailors dead or missing. The comment is the latest example that at least a portion of the leadership of the Chinese regime and its military harbor hostile intent toward the United States and show no sympathy for even the casualties of a peacetime accident.

The USS John S. McCain, an Arleigh-Burke class destroyer, collided with the Liberian-flagged oil tanker Alnic MC east of Singapore before dawn on Monday, with the destroyer suffering significant damage. The bodies of several of the ten missing sailors are reported to have been found.

The collision is the second incident in just two months involving a U.S. Navy destroyer and a merchant vessel in the hotly contested Asian waters. USS Fitzgerald, another destroyer of the same class as the McCain, collided with a Philippine-flagged merchant vessel on June 17, leaving seven U.S. sailors dead.

Zhang Zhaozhong, a Chinese navy admiral who openly celebrated the Aug. 22 collision between the USS John S. McCain and a tanker that left 10 U.S. sailors dead or missing. (screenshot/CCTV)

Zhang Zhaozhong, a Chinese navy admiral who openly celebrated the Aug. 22 collision between the USS John S. McCain and a tanker that left 10 U.S. sailors dead or missing. (screenshot/CCTV)

Zhang Zhaozhong, a rear admiral of China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy and a professor at the PLA National Defense University, wrote about the McCain crash in an Aug. 22 post on Weibo (China’s equivalent of Twitter). With 8 million followers on his Weibo, Zhang has been described as the “No. 1 military commentator of China,” and he frequently posts bombastic comments belittling the U.S. military.

“What goes around, comes around,” says Zhang’s Weibo post, referring to the frequent freedom of navigation operations conducted by the U.S. Navy in the contested waters. “The USS John S. McCain has been making a lot of trouble in the South China Sea.”

Zhang brags that he had previously made a policy recommendation to convert the outdated PLAN Type 051 destroyers and use them to ram U.S. Navy ships conducting operations in the South China Sea.

In reference to the USS John S. McCain’s and USS Fitzgerald’s collisions with merchant vessels, Zhang says that the expensive U.S. warships have proved to be nothing more than “pretty decorations” and “paper tigers.”

A screenshot of Zhang Zhaozhong's Aug. 22 Weibo post. Zhang, an admiral in the People's Liberation Army Navy, openly celebrates the Aug. 21 collision between USS John S. McCain and a tanker which left 10 U.S. sailors dead or missing.

A screenshot of Zhang Zhaozhong’s Aug. 22 Weibo post. Zhang, an admiral in the People’s Liberation Army Navy, openly celebrates the Aug. 21 collision between USS John S. McCain and a tanker which left 10 U.S. sailors dead or missing. (Epoch Times)

Earlier on Monday Beijing’s English-language state-run newspaper Global Times also published an unsigned editorial saying that there is widespread “applause” among Chinese netizens who are openly celebrating the accident. “This reflects the sentiment of Chinese society,” says the editorial of the Beijing mouthpiece. Unlike Zhang however, the Global Times editorial nevertheless stresses that the missing and injured U.S. sailors “deserve sympathy.”

While there is no opinion polling to indicate whether Chinese society at large feels the same way, Zhang’s Weibo post seems to provide evidence of hyper-nationalist commentators in China who would openly celebrate any tragedy involving the U.S. military or the United States at large.

Read the full article here
  • Tags:, ,
  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/stephen-gregory/" rel="author">Stephen Gregory</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

Dr. Torsten Trey, the spokesperson for Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (Chen Baizhou/The Epoch Times)Dr. Torsten Trey, the spokesperson for Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (Chen Baizhou/The Epoch Times)

China’s media eagerly touted reforms in the nation’s organ transplant system following a major transplant conference in the city of Kunming in southwest China from Aug. 3 to 5. Chinese officials claimed China’s organ transplant system now sources only from voluntary donations, rather than from prisoners who have been executed.

But experts have pointed out glaring statistical discrepancies that suggest the claims may not be all they seem.

The supposed reforms equate to “attempts by a mass murderer to cover its tracks,” said Dr. Torsten Trey, the executive director of Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH), in an email interview.

Since China’s transplant system began its period of rapid growth in the year 2000, researchers believe that the main source of organs used to supply the industry have been practitioners of Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline that has been brutally persecuted by the Chinese regime since 1999. Criminal prisoners who have been executed have always been used.

Dr. Trey said there is no evidence that these practices have ceased. “It is commendable, if China, or any other country, makes genuine reforms to meet ethical standards. But it would be a fatal mistake to applaud such reforms if they are only covering up more severe crimes against humanity.”

Holes in the Data

For many years the Chinese authorities denied that it harvested organs from executed prisoners. In 2005, Huang Jiefu, then deputy health minister, disclosed to the international community that prisoners were indeed used, as a matter of policy in China since 1984. He was referring to prisoners who have been sentenced to death after being convicted of crimes.

In 2006, allegations arose that the human rights abuses involved in organ transplantation were far more egregious than previously imagined: the Chinese regime was harvesting organs from living prisoners of conscience—people imprisoned for their beliefs rather than for actual crimes. An independent investigation by Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas and Canada’s former Secretary of State (Asia Pacific) David Kilgour found the allegations to be true.  

The Chinese regime never admitted to these crimes, but following intense international pressure, it announced a ban on organ transplants from executed prisoners starting on Jan. 1, 2015. But the 1984 regulations were not abolished.

China now claims to have built a voluntary transplantation system operating just like that in the United States or other advanced countries. They claim an exponential increase in voluntary organ donations, despite the country being still highly culturally averse to organ donation (because it violates a Confucian tradition of keeping the body whole after death).

There were only 130 voluntary organ donations as of August 2009, according to Professor Chen Zhonghua of the Institute of Organ Transplantation in Tongji Hospital, in an interview with state-run media.

Yet Chinese officials claim that they had procured organs from over 4,000 organ donors in 2016 alone. In contrast, the UK, where 21 million people have registered to be donors, only had 1,364 people be the source after their deaths for organs in 2016. The United States, which has 140 million registered donors, had only 15,951 individuals provide organs after their deaths. Registered donors, also known as designated donors, are the number of people who, while alive, have expressed their willingness to donate their organs upon death (assuming they die in a manner that makes them eligible to donate.)

China claims to have signed up 300,000 registered donors. Based on Dr. Trey’s estimates, if only the registered donors are supplying organs, China should only have 20 to 40 people a year donating, a far cry from the claimed figure of over 4,000 in 2016.

Using a death rate of 7 out of every 1,000 people, Dr. Trey estimated about 2,100 of China’s 300,000 registered donors pass away every year. And only 1 to 2 percent of them have organs suitable for transplantation, as is observed in the United States and the UK. The vast majority do not qualify because of the illnesses the donors died from, their unhealthy lifestyles, their age, or the time gap between death and organ retrieval.

And China does not need to only procure organs from registered donors; Chinese medical officials must also gain permission from the family. In China, a single family member can overrule the decision of the donor to donate, adding another obstacle to the process.

The additional difficulty of getting permission on each occasion, especially when any family member can derail the consent to donate, raises questions about how genuine China’s official numbers are, Dr. Trey said.

In February, the medical journal Liver International retracted a scientific paper from Chinese researchers who were unable to prove they had ethically procured the organs used in their research. The paper referred to 564 liver transplants at The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University between April 2010 and October 2014. But Huang Jiefu, China’s organ transplantation spokesperson, stated that the First Affiliated Hospital received 166 liver donations between 2011 and 2014, leaving 398 livers of unknown origins.

DAFOH, which kept tabs on the number of organ donor registrations, found that at the end of both 2015 and 2016, there was a sudden spike in the number of registered donors. At the very end of December 2015, the numbers increased by exactly 25,000 people in one day.

The same phenomenon occurred again in December 2016, with an increase of over 86,000 donors in one week, ostensibly because they had combined two organ donation systems.

“China knows that its figures of registered donors are too small to yield more than 4,000 organ donors per year, thus it was necessary to increase the numbers. According to China’s official numbers, about 50% of all registered donors signed up in 7 days alone—within four years. That is inconceivable and unprecedented, ” Dr. Trey said.

China’s ‘Chameleon-Like’ Organ Transplant Chief

The face of China’s organ transplant reforms is Dr. Huang Jiefu, China’s organ transplant spokesperson. He is the chairman of China’s National Organ Donation and Transplantation Committee and head of the China Organ Transplant Development Foundation.

Although Huang was formerly the deputy minister of China’s Ministry of Health, he does not currently hold any official government position. Yet he has become the de facto spokesperson for China’s organ transplant system.

“What he says has no binding power on the Chinese government,” said Dr. Trey.

Dr. Trey pointed out that the organ transplant foundation Huang heads is private, like the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) in the United States. “But the difference is, in the U.S., UNOS is not involved in making announcements on behalf of the government.”

Although Huang ostensibly speaks for the Chinese regime and is now touting reform in China’s organ transplant system, his words have no legal authority. And he has rapidly shifted his position based on the situation.

In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 2013, he was asked about the practice of harvesting organs from executed prisoners, to which he replied, “Why do you object?” But following widespread criticism, he said at a conference soon afterwards that the practice was unethical.

In 2015, Huang said in several newspaper interviews that death row prisoners would be treated as citizens with the “right” to donate organs.

But after a firestorm of criticism that prisoners who were killed for their organs would simply be reclassified as voluntary organ donations, Huang told The New York Times his statement was only from a “philosophical level.”

Huang’s statements are “chameleon-like,” Dr. Trey said. “He seems to say whatever is needed to either obey pressure at home or to please the requests for ethical standards from the international community.”

Dr. Trey said his statements about reform of China’s organ transplant system similarly cannot be trusted.

“If reforms are praised while the hidden forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners and prisoners of conscience continues, then we find this devastating situation where this applause resounds while innocent people are slaughtered for their organs,” said Dr. Trey.

Read the full article here

(L-R) Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Qishan, National People's Congress chairman Zhang Dejiang, Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, Politburo Standing Committee member Liu Yunshan and Politburo member Zhang Gaoli at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 3, 2017. (Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images)(L-R) Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Qishan, National People's Congress chairman Zhang Dejiang, Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, Politburo Standing Committee member Liu Yunshan and Politburo member Zhang Gaoli at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 3, 2017. (Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images)

News Analysis

The Politburo Standing Committee has been the Chinese regime’s top decision-making body in recent history. Thus, Communist Party factions and powerful elders have strived to secure committee seats for their protégés before the National Congress, a crucial political meeting held once every five years during the fall season, where the Party’s top officials are announced.

This fall, however, the committee might no longer be a key factor in elite Chinese politics.

Since the end of July, Chinese leader Xi Jinping has carried out several moves that appear to lend credence to speculation from earlier this year that he intends to break current leadership succession norms and even abolish the committee.

If Xi continues along the current trajectory of power consolidation, the Chinese regime is set to shift at the 19th National Party Congress from rule by a “collective leadership” to a rule of one.

‘Unimaginable’ Reform

Xi Jinping has spent the bulk of his first five years in office consolidating control over the Chinese regime, which had for nearly two decades been dominated by former Party boss Jiang Zemin and Jiang’s powerful political faction.

Over 1 million Chinese officials and military officers have been purged under Xi’s anti-corruption campaign, according to the Party’s anti-corruption agency. Many of the purged officials are members or supporters of the Jiang faction. Xi’s sweeping military reform was also partly aimed at ending Jiang’s control over the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

By late 2016, Xi appeared to have arrived at a watershed moment when he took on the mantle of Party “core” leader, a symbolic title held by former paramount leaders (except for Hu Jintao). While official titles aren’t always synonymous with a Chinese leader’s power, Xi’s “core” status at least suggested that he was “first among equals” on the Politburo Standing Committee.

This May, the reputable Hong Kong magazine Yazhou Zhoukan (Asia Weekly) ran an article about the Chinese regime’s research into abolishing the committee. Citing a source close to high-level Chinese officials, Yazhou Zhoukan claimed that if Xi was able to resist internal Party pressure and control the appointment of top personnel, he would be able to push “reform that will seem unimaginable to outsiders,” such as scrapping the committee, changing senior official retirement age norms, and ending the practice of allowing retired Chinese leaders to dictate a successor.

Since the publication of the Yazhou Zhoukan article, Xi appears to have made sizeable headway on reining in internal adversaries and regulating the reshuffle of personnel.

Following a rash of appointments of top provincial bosses and deputies in the first half of 2017, there are now slightly more elite provincial officers who are loyal to Xi than to Jiang. Xi has also replaced all provincial Political and Legal Affairs Commission chiefs who came to office with him in 2012. The commission is a small but powerful Party organ that oversees the domestic security and legal apparatuses, and was long controlled by the Jiang faction.

In late July, Sun Zhengcai, a former Politburo member thought by a number of observers to be the Jiang faction’s de facto successor in the Chinese leadership, was suddenly investigated, stunning observers.

On Aug. 1, Xi promoted 138 generals, further weakening Jiang’s lingering influence in the military while extending Xi’s control. In a parade to mark the anniversary of the PLA’s founding, the troops greeted Xi with “Hello Chairman” instead of “Hello Commander”—a curious title choice that emphasized Xi’s political power.

Power Consolidation

Leaked information from the corridors of the Party’s headquarters in Zhongnanhai suggests that Xi has finally accrued enough power to revert the regime’s leadership structure from the collective decision-making of the Politburo Standing Committee back to a single authoritarian figure.

There was no informal meeting at Beidaihe, the seaside resort where serving and retired Party elites gather every summer to decide on policy and personnel, according to two sources cited by the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post. “Someone has already mustered full control and elders’ politics has [sic] faded out,” one of the sources said, which hints at Jiang Zemin’s waning power.

A source close to the Xi leadership told The Epoch Times that Hu Chunhua, the only candidate in the current Politburo with the credentials to become successor of the Chinese leadership, has made an internal declaration that he has no ambitions for the top job. The source added that Xi has almost fully consolidated power.

Three paths are open to Xi once he brings back one-man rule, according to Ming Chu-cheng, a political science professor at National Taiwan University.

“The first path is Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore model, but that is nearly impossible in today’s China,” which suffers from intractable systemic corruption, Ming said. “The second path is that of [former Taiwan leader] Chiang Ching-kuo, and the third is that of [the last Soviet leader] Mikhail Gorbachev.” Both Chiang and Gorbachev abandoned one-party rule for democratically oriented reform, albeit under very different circumstances.

Ming notes that Xi has made moves that set him apart from previous generations of Chinese leaders, but it is yet unclear which way he would go. The Xi leadership has banned Party cadres from having a religion, yet Xi himself said, “The gods are watching,” in a speech to top Chinese officials—an uncharacteristic choice of words for the leader of the atheist Communist Party.

Ji Da and Wu Minzhou contributed to this article.

Read the full article here
  • Tags:, ,
  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/larry-ong/" rel="author">Larry Ong</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

People watch a television screen showing a video footage of North Korea's latest test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), at a railway station in Seoul on July 29, 2017.
(JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)People watch a television screen showing a video footage of North Korea's latest test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), at a railway station in Seoul on July 29, 2017.
(JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

News Analysis

President Donald Trump’s warning to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, promising “fire and fury,” gained much attention around the world, but tough presidential talk has not dissuaded North Korea from building a nuclear arsenal in the past.

The Kim family previously ignored tough statements from former U.S. presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and forged ahead with its testing of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.

North Korea’s recent nuclear history has indicated that it is developments in elite Chinese politics, not bellicose talk from U.S. presidents, that will ultimately determine whether or not Pyongyang pushes its nuclear brinksmanship to a higher level.

To better gauge the threat of nuclear escalation on the Korean peninsula, closer attention should be paid to Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s moves against a political faction led by former Communist Party boss Jiang Zemin—which has close ties with the Kim dictatorship—in the lead-up to a key political conclave in China near the end of the year.

The Kim–Jiang Connection

Since taking office in 2012, Xi has been trying to consolidate control over the regime and eliminate Jiang’s faction, which enjoyed nearly two decades of dominance in the Chinese regime.

China during the Jiang era (1989–2012) was marked by long periods of booming economic growth, but was also characterized by corruption, kleptocracy, and the brutal persecution of Falun Gong, one of China’s largest spiritual communities, beginning in the 1990s.

Perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of the Jiang era was the warm personal relations Jiang cultivated with Pyongyang.

The late North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il met Jiang in Beijing in 2004, and the two communist leaders were photographed in fraternal embrace. In 2010, then-security czar and top Jiang lieutenant Zhou Yongkang reviewed a military parade in North Korea. The three Jiang faction members in the current Politburo Standing Committee—Zhang Dejiang, Zhang Gaoli, and Liu Yunshan—have made high-profile diplomatic trips to North Korea and two of the three even attended college there.

Former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin at the Great Hall of the People  in Beijing on Nov. 8, 2012. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

Former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Nov. 8, 2012. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

Jiang appears to have leveraged his personal relations with the Kim family and the Chinese regime’s traditional “big brother” status with North Korea to influence the timing of Pyongyang’s nuclear tests to coincide with instances when the Jiang faction is trying to divert internal political pressure away from its members, or avoid international scrutiny of its human rights abuses (see sidebar for details).

According to China affairs expert Don Tse, “Jiang Zemin has made use of the nuclear threats from North Korea to distract American attention from Chinese human rights violations, as well as resist political attack from factions within the Chinese Communist Party.”

In contrast to the Jiang faction, Xi has not received or visited the current North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but has met several times with Park Geun-hye, the recently ousted South Korean president. American officials say that Xi “openly disparaged” Kim during the meeting between Xi and Trump in April, according to The New York Times.

The Xi leadership’s disassociation with the Kim leadership and good relations with the Trump administration appear to account for the Chinese regime’s willingness to stop importing North Korean coal—a crucial economic pillar of Chinese–North Korean trade—and support a U.N. Security Council resolution that would cut North Korea’s $3 billion annual export revenue by a third.

Factional Struggle and Nuclear Escalation

In preparation for fully consolidating his control over the Chinese regime at the Chinese Communist Party’s 19th National Congress this fall, Xi has made several big moves aimed at further weakening the Jiang faction’s influence.

Following a flurry of political appointments in the first half of 2017, more than half of China’s provincial leaders and deputies are now Xi’s supporters. By contrast, at the start of Xi’s term in 2012, Jiang’s associates dominated the provincial leadership ranks.

Then in late July this year, Xi ousted Sun Zhengcai, a Politburo member and the Jiang faction’s designated successor for the position of Chinese leader. Days later, Xi promoted 138 military generals and held a big military parade in a training facility without the presence of Party elders—moves aimed at strengthening his control over the formerly Jiang-dominated military and at showing the Chinese officialdom who is boss.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping walk together at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Fla., on April 7. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping walk together at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Fla., on April 7. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

The Jiang faction, which increasingly is being pushed to the brink, may attempt to talk Kim Jong Un into further nuclear provocations in a bid to embarrass the Xi leadership, who many observers feel actually has some control over Pyongyang. The belief that Xi can rein in North Korea if only he so chooses might have inspired Trump to take trade action against the Chinese regime via an inquiry into China’s alleged theft of intellectual property.

Trump’s inquiry, however, could be leveraged by the Jiang faction to unify internal dissenting voices inside the Party—mainly disgruntled Party elites and officials forced to live less ostentatiously due to the anti-corruption campaign—against Xi.

Xi’s Aug. 11 telephone call to Trump to discuss the North Korean issue was likely aimed at forestalling American trade action until Xi has quelled the Jiang faction.

As Xi takes further action against the Jiang faction over the next two months, expect North Korea to resort to more nuclear brinksmanship.

Read the full article here
  • Tags:,
  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/larry-ong/" rel="author">Larry Ong</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General