These are regular summaries of breaking news, important commentaries and other tidbits from Chinese media, translated with background by CMP staff.
- People’s Daily: Cautions on WeChat
― In an article on page five of the Chinese Communist Party’s official People’s Daily newspaper today, new media expert Xu Danei (徐达内) addresses the benefits and disadvantages of the WeChat platform, focusing on the conversations happening in private chatrooms. The piece, which begins by enumerating the new conveniences offered by WeChat, quickly moves on to the risks — rumours and unverified information. It concludes: “Of course, Tencent has been advancing the platform all along, with the reporting and complaints function on the backend constantly improving. Recently, the ‘original content’ label (原创标签) has also been tested, and can be seen as a further effort at advancement on Tencent’s part. I’m sure that as a mature internet company, it can continue to do better and better.”
- SIIO Director Lu Wei: Choice Quotes on Internet Controls
― On October 30, 2014, at a press conference ahead of the World Internet Conference in Zhejiang, State Internet Information Office head Lu Wei (鲁炜) — the hardline internet chief that lead the crackdown on the “Big V” account holders on Sina Weibo in 2013 — was asked why sites like Facebook were shut down in China. He responded: “I haven’t used these websites [like Facebook] before, and I don’t know whether or not they’ve been shut down. But as to there being some websites that cannot be visited, I think this is situation probably exists. However, I want to say that our management [of the web] is all done according to the law, and all of the measures we take are to protect China’s national security and the rights Chinese consumers in accord with the law.” Lu also used the metaphor of the home to explain China’s information restrictions: “Your websites are in your home. How can I shut down shut down sites in your home? China is friendly, but it has a choice on which guests can visit.”
- Xinhua Releases Full Version of "Decision" from the 4th Plenum
― Here is a full version from the official Xinhua News Agency of the “Decision” on “rule of the country according to the law” issued from the 4th Plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the CCP. It begins: “In order to implement the Party’s strategic deployments at the 18th National Congress and accelerate the building of a socialist nation governed by rule of law, the Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee issues the following decision after researching the comprehensive advancement of the major issue of ruling the nation by law.” China Copyright and Media has done a full translation of the “decision” in English, available here: http://bit.ly/1tfQ4Rn
- Xinhua Commentary: "Let Faith in Rule of Law Put Roots Down in the People’s Hearts"
― In a commentary posted to the internet late this afternoon, and said to reflect the “spirit” of the recent Fourth Plenum, China’s official Xinhua News Agency said that “the authority of the law lies in its being truly believed and treasured in the hearts of the people.” The commentary said there was a need to foster widespread “faith” in the law among both leaders and ordinary people. At one point the commentary even used the word “citizens,” or gongmin (公民), which has grown somewhat less common in state media over the past year as it is associated with the idea of “civil society.” The Xinhua piece said: “Of all laws the most important laws are not those engraved on marble or etched in copper, but those inscribed on the hearts of citizens.”
- Xi Jinping: Thoroughly Promoting Governing of the Nation By Law Also Requires Deepening Reforms
― Topping most major internet sites in China today (presumably by order) as well as the People’s Daily, an official news release summarizes an “important speech” made by President Xi Jinping yesterday at a Work Group on the Deepening of Reform. In the speech Xi sought to integrate that objectives of the recent Fourth Plenum with the decision on deepening reform introduced at the Third Plenum. He emphasizes that the promotion of “rule of the nation according to the law (依法治国), the focus of the Fourth Plenum “decision,” is a critical step in the deepening of reforms in China.
- Xinhua Editorial: For the Struggle for Rule of Law in China
― In an official commentary posted to the internet late last night and promoted to the top of its web portal site on Friday, Xinhua News Agency said the recent Fourth Plenum of the 18th CCP Central Committee held in Beijing was “a historic milestone in the building of rule of law in China.” The “Decision” (决定) emerging from the plenum, Xinhua said, “clearly and thoroughly promoted the overall objective of ruling the nation in accord with the constitution, setting major tasks and making a series of new judgements and new deployments” for achieving this objective. Nevertheless, the overarching power of the Party was made clear: “In handling China’s matters well,” said Xinhua, “the crux lies with the Party; and in promoting rule of the nation in accord with the law, the most fundamental guarantee is the Party.”
- Fourth Plenum Communique in a Single Picture
― Following the release yesterday of the communique from the Fourth Plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, China’s Xinhua News Agency ran an infographic it says sums up the important business being handled at the meeting of senior Party leaders. The focus of the communique is the “building of a socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics.” According to some commentators in Chinese, this is the first time “rule of law” has been the theme of a plenary session of the CCP Central Committee.
- Xinhua: Hong Kong SAR Government Working on Talks With Federation of Students
― In a piece that remained at the top of the front page news feed at Xinhua Online on October 16, China’s official news agency reported on Wednesday, October 15, 2014, that the government of the Hong Kong SAR was seeking to re-open dialogue with student leaders of ongoing protests in the territory. The Xinhua report quoted remarks made by Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam (谭志源) that day, in which he said he hoped the government and student leaders could meet soon . But Xinhua emphasized that, in Tam’s words, that discussions of political reform had to move forward on “a legal basis, namely in line with the Basic Law and relevant decisions from the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.”
- CY Leung: "Occupy Central" Cannot Resolve the Question of Universal Suffrage
― According to China’s official Xinhua News Agency, CY Leung, the chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, said late Wednesday that Hong Kong should “handle the question of universal suffrage in a practical, rational, peaceful and legal manner.” Xinhua also reported Leung as saying that the Occupy Central movement had “impacted Hong Kong’s international reputation, its economic activities, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses, and the normal lives of citizens.” Xinhua made no mention of allegations of financial impropriety recently made against Leung, a topic that has lately dominated Hong Kong coverage in the territory and overseas.
- Xi Jinping Addresses Forum on Literature and the Arts
― The official Xinhua News Agency reports that Chinese President Xi Jinping gave an address on Wednesday, October 15, 2014, to a forum on literature and the arts (文艺工作座谈会). At the meeting, which was attended by Chinese representatives from diverse creative enterprises, including literature, drama, music, dance and film, Xi Jinping stressed that “a flourishing culture” was an integral part of “realizing the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese people.”
- SARFT Cuts Down on Singing Competition Programs for Summer Satellite TV
― Xinhua News Agency reports that China’s State Administration of Radio Film and Television has imposed new regulations on song competition programs on satellite television, citing the need to promote more efficient use of resources. There are currently nine song competition programs being aired on satellite television in China for the summer season. This will now be reduced to seven, with only three programs airing during primetime.
- QQ Special Coverage Page on Wang Lin Scandal
― As the frenzy continues in China’s media over the disgraced Qigong master Wang Lin, QQ.com has set up a special news pages aggregating coverage of the scandal.
- Jiangxi Daily Celebrates Listing on China’s First Top 100 Newspaper List, Cites Self-Discipline
― Jiangxi Daily, the official Party-run newspaper of Jiangxi province, reported today that it made China’s list of top 100 newspapers along with its sister publication, Jiangnan Metropolis Daily, after a strict assessment by the government’s General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP). This is the first time GAPP has released its own top 100 list. The list is decided on the basis of "originality, social impact and economic benefit." Jiangxi Daily noted that publications in its group had "strictly adhered to correct guidance of public opinion" — that they had done their best, in other words, to uphold the Party line.
- Seeking Truth to Internet Users: Stop Griping and Get to Work
― Seeking Truth, an official journal of the central CCP leadership, has run a new piece criticizing the use of the internet to attack the government and spread negativity about China. The piece concludes: "We must have an accurate grasp of online public opinion. The government must . . . see online public opinion as a way to understand the popular mood . . . At the same time, we must recognise that China’s mainstream are those who are busy going to work everyday, those employees busy at their jobs; they are those men and women pushing their carts at the supermarket; they are those strolling at the park on the holidays. In the online world, they are the silent majority, and they are the principal part of our modern society. . . When a voice emerges, one must ask who that voice represents, and how many people it can represent. One cannot listen to the wind and simply assume there is rain." Seeking Truth, however, seems not to realize those people at the supermarket are using smartphones.
- Liu Xia: must the "Chinese dream" become a "Chinese nightmare"?
― On June 9, 2013, Liu Hui (刘晖), the younger brother of Liu Xia (刘霞), the wife of jailed dissident and Nobel Prize recipient Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波), was sentenced to 11 years in jail on a criminal fraud charge that legal experts in China have said was a miscarriage of justice. In an open letter today, Liu Xia appeals directly to Chinese President Xi Jinping. She writes: "I believe the verdict of the court is entirely unjust. . . Mr. Chairman, you talk about the Chinese dream and how it must be realized through every Chinese citizen. I hope this Chinese dream does not become a ‘Chinese nightmare’ for individuals like me."