Chinese Authorities Wrongfully Imprisoned Huang Qi and Should Release Him

(Chinese Human Rights Defenders—July 30, 2019) Chinese authorities should overturn the conviction of human rights defender Huang Qi (黄琦) and free him immediately. Mianyang Intermediate Court in Sichuan convicted Huang of “intentionally leaking state secrets” and “illegally providing state secrets to foreign entities” on July 29 and handed him a 12-year combined sentence and 20,000 RMB ($2,900 USD) fine. The court did not inform Huang’s mother of the hearing or sentencing. Huang Qi has been persecuted solely for the exercise of his right to freedom of expression and his work as a citizen journalist and activist. He has been denied the right to a fair trial, including being denied access to his lawyers, and has been subjected to torture. Authorities have deprived Huang of adequate medical treatment in detention and his health has deteriorated to such a degree that the 12-year prison sentence handed down yesterday could effectively be a death sentence.

The conviction and sentencing of Huang comes after a closed-door trial on January 14, a hearing which violated international standards for a fair trial. For the first 10 months of detention, police did not allow Huang any access to a lawyer. Once granted access to his attorneys, Huang reported to them that authorities had tortured him to try and force him to confess, which he refused to do. Judicial authorities have disbarred two of his lawyers, Sui Muqing (隋牧青) and Liu Zhengqing (刘正清), and Huang dismissed the other, Li Jinglin (李静林), during the January trial to protect Li from reprisals. Authorities deniedlawyer Zhang Zanning (张赞宁), hired by his mother in February 2019, the right to meet with Huang and it is unclear if Huang had access to any legal counsel during the sentencing hearing.

Huang has been deprived of adequate medical treatment for kidney disease, accumulation of fluid in the brain, heart disease, and dangerously high blood pressure while being held at Mianyang City Detention Center. His health had deteriorated to such a degree that 14 human rights NGOs and 4 UN independent human rights experts issued statements at the end of 2018 calling for Huang’s release over concerns he could die in detention. Several human rights defenders and ethnic and religious minorities have died in detention in recent years due to a lack of prompt medical treatment, including Ji Sizun, who died earlier this month, and Liu XiaoboCao ShunliYang Tongyan, and Tenzin Delek Rinpoche. Huang and defenders like Hu Shigen, and Li Yuhan are listed on CHRD’s medical watch list alongside 7 other HRDs who are being tortured by being deprived of adequate medical treatment in Chinese detention centers and prisons.

In April 2018, the independent experts on the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention determined that Huang’s detention was arbitrary and issued an opinion stating that the government must release him and provide him with state compensation for the harm done to him. Chinese authorities have defiantly ignored this opinion.

Huang Qi’s mother Pu Wenqing has suffered retaliation from authorities for her efforts to campaign for the release of her son. Police disappeared Pu, who is 86, from early December 2018 to January 21, after which she has faced strict controls on her movement and communications. She is followed 24/7 by police and restricted from giving interviews and speaking with friends and supporters. Pu’s health is extremely poor and she was recently diagnosed with lung cancer.

Police initially detained Huang in November 28, 2016 and arrested him the following month on charges of “illegally providing state secrets to foreign entities.” Authorities scheduled a trial for June 20, 2018 but then suspended it without providing a reason. In October 2018, police added an additional charge of “intentionally leaking state secrets.” The so-called “states secrets” in the case are believed to be a document from Mianyang City government and party officials that listed Huang Qi and 64 Tianwang as targets for a government crackdown, which Huang posted on their website in April 2016. Government officials then retroactively classified the document as “top secret,” taking advantage of criticized loopholes in China’s state secrets legislation. This is not the first time Chinese authorities have retroactively classified information when convicting someone.

Huang Qi established China’s first-known human rights monitoring website in 1998, disseminating reports about Chinese individuals who had been trafficked and disappeared. Huang has already served two prison sentences, totalling eight years, in reprisal for his human rights work, and was often tortured and otherwise ill-treated. Born in 1963, Huang Qi graduated from Sichuan University and was formerly a businessman. His work in citizen journalism has received international awards, including two from Reporters Without Borders, which awarded 64 Tianwang the Press Freedom Prize in 2016, and the Cyber-Freedom Prize in 2004.


A Great Shift Unseen Over the Last Forty Years

Xiang Songzuo, December 28, 2018

On Dec. 16, Prof. Xiang Songzuo (向松祚) of Renmin University School of Finance and former chief economist of China Agriculture Bank, gave a 25-minute speech during a CEO class at Renmin Business School that was apparently applauded by the audience but immediately censored over the Chinese internet. Singling out 2018 as the year when China comes to a large shift unprecedented over the past 40 years, the speech can be seen as a landscape survey of Chinese economy, and obliquely, also of politics. Just as Tsinghua law professor Xu Zhangrun’s (许章润) broadside “Imminent Fears, Immediate Hopes”, which was superbly translated and widely talked about among China watchers, Prof. Xiang’s speech is another rare burst of Chinese intellectuals’ discontent with the direction the country is taking under Xi Jinping. With this unauthorized translation of the speech, China Change wishes our readers a happy New Year! — The Editors

I want to share two characters with my fellow alumni here. I hope that everyone present, every entrepreneur here, can reflect together with me. These two characters are fan si (反思, reflect). What do we reflect on?

China’s economy has been going downward this year, as everyone knows. The year 2018 is an extraordinary year for us, with so many things taking place. But the main thing is the economic slowdown.

How bad are things? The number that China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) gives is 6.5 percent, but just yesterday, a research group of an important institution released an internal report. Can you take a guess on the GDP growth rate that they came up with using the NBS data?

They used two measurements. Going by the first estimate, China’s GDP growth this year was about 1.67 percent. And according to the other calculation, the growth rate was negative.

Of course, my main point here is not about the accuracy of these calculations, or which one is more credible. But this year, there have been three issues regarding China that we either failed to consider, or about which we have made serious misjudgments.

First, the trade war between China and the U.S.. Did we make some inaccurate assessment? Did we underestimate the severity of the situation? Let’s recall some slogans from the mainstream media at the beginning of the year: “In the trade war between U.S. and China, the Americans are lifting rocks only to smash them on their own feet, China is sure to win.” “China will win the trade war without a doubt, be the battles big or small.”

What’s behind this kind of thinking? To this day, we keep suffering from a cognitive dissonance between our understanding of the Sino-U.S. trade war and the international reality. This calls for deep reflection.

Second, what was the cause for the economic downturn? Why did private enterprises suffer setbacks in 2018? Looking at the data, investment by private businesses has dropped substantially, so what made private business owners lose confidence? On November 1, the national leaders convened a high-profile economic conference, which some interpreted as a signal that the government wants to win back the confidence of private businesses as the economy worsens.

Since the beginning of the year, though, all kinds of ideological statements have been thrown around: statements like “private property will be eliminated,” “private ownership will eventually be abolished if not now,” “it’s time for the private enterprises to fade away,” or “all private companies should be turned over to their workers.” Then there was this high-profile study of Marx and the Communist Manifesto. Remember that line in the Communist Manifesto? Abolition of private property. What kind of signal do you think this sends to private entrepreneurs?

This is why we need to reflect on China’s economic downturn, the pressure on Chinese economy, and the trade war between the U.S. and China that is escalating with every passing day. We need to reflect on what we did wrong, on how to revive the economy as we walk into the future, and what steps we should take to ensure that China’s economy maintains its steady rate of growth.

Xiang Songzuo, 民营企业家.png

You might not agree with what I say, and please feel free to give your opinions. But I hope that you can think in a sober manner after we finish today’s seminar. Why do I say this? Because the problems that we face are our own doing, and there are a lot of them. But many of them have been addressed in superficial terms only.

At the symposium on the private sector, General Secretary Xi Jinping talked about six issues. Among them I am most concerned about the sixth: the protection of personal safety and property. Think about it. In a country with robust rule of law, where everyone is equal before the law, shouldn’t these basic rights be properly guaranteed for everyone, entrepreneurs and  commoners alike?

It has been four decades since the reform and opening up, yet the General Secretary still feels a need to specifically promote entrepreneurs’ rights to personal safety and the security of their property. This reflects the gravity of the issues facing the governance of Chinese society and state. In my view, China’s economy will face six internal challenges that deserve our serious consideration. Due to time constraints, I won’t be able to get through all of them.

In addition to this, there are three major external challenges. The first is the trade war, which is in fact no longer a trade war but rather a clash between two opposed value systems. It can be said with certainty that the Sino-U.S. relationship has come to a crossroads right now and faces significant historic challenges. What are we to do? To be honest, I don’t think we have really found much of a solution.

You are aware that Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou was recently detained in Vancouver. In the past two days, mainstream media such as BBC and CNN have been reporting on how the U.S. is going at Huawei on all fronts. What this tells us is that this issue is not simply about trade or economics.

We used to speak of “China’s period of strategic opportunity for economic growth.” Does this period of strategic opportunity still exist? Personally, looking at the international situation, I think this period of strategic opportunity is fading quick.

Xiang Songzuo, online.jpg

Let’s think about what “international period of strategic opportunity” means. It means that in the past, international regulations have been favorable to us; we had open access to technology, capital, talent, and markets. Because of the imminent changes we face on the domestic and international fronts, I have titled today’s speech “the great shift unseen over the last forty years.” (四十年未有之大变局)

Have we really given the problems due consideration? Of course the short-term problem we are looking at is economic decline; the preponderance of data demonstrating this point needs no introduction here. Data concerning performance in November hasn’t been released, but you can extrapolate based on the October figures: there’s been a decline across virtually all sectors, from consumption in retail, autos, or real estate. Just look at China’s exports. Who can say that the trade war didn’t impact China and that China is sure to win the war no matter how big it is? Why don’t the people who were saying this kind of thing in April and May stand by their words now?

Why did we made such mistakes in assessing the international circumstances?

Look at these numbers. That China faces a long-term economic downturn is not a problem by itself. But you may have noticed that the consumption and the service sectors now make up 78.5 percent of GDP. Going by the government’s logic, this should be a good thing, since it means the economic transition to a consumption economy has been successful: we used to rely on investment and export, now we rely on consumption and the service sector. This sounds reasonable, but think about it: in a country like China, as investment slows dramatically, how can we maintain economic stability by solely relying on consumption?

The fact that consumption and services comprise 78.5 percent of GDP may be good news to some extent, but is far eclipsed by the negative implications. Take a look at investment. More importantly, can consumption alone support faster economic growth?

In the four decades following the economic reform, we have undergone five phases of consumption. The first was to solve the food problem, the second was the “New Big Three” [新三大件, short for refrigerator, color TV, and washing machine], the third was the consumption of information, the fourth was automobiles, and fifth was real estate.

But these five waves have essentially all come to an end. Car sales have dropped sharply and real estate spending is also substantially decreasing, so we are facing serious problems. This is the crux of the six stabilities called for by the Politburo called for [stable employment, stable finance, stable foreign trade, stable foreign investment, stable investment and stable expectations], or as some internet users have joked, the six “tender kisses” [吻, kiss, is a homophone for 稳, stability].

Now, let me give you three more “kisses”: stable reserves, stable exchange rates, and stable housing prices.

It should be fairly obvious that these stabilities are difficult to achieve. For now it looks that “stable foreign investment” and “stable foreign exchange rates” shouldn’t be a problem. Foreign investment is basically stable. But how can you stabilize investment, exports, real estate market, and employment? The reason that I want to share the word “reflect” with everyone today is that we need to reflect on why this happened, and on how to find an appropriate solution.

As economy slows, financial risk escalates and shadow banking shrinks rapidly. Some say that the president of China’s central bank has come out to apologize, saying that their prior policy was not well thought out, lacked coordination, and wasn’t properly implemented, that these, coupled with the effects of overbearing regulations, caused credit to recede. This is certainly an important reason, but it’s not the fundamental issue.

We can see that the direct financing market, whether the bonds or stock market, has been cut in half in 2018 and that many companies have defaulted. Total debt due to default has exceeded 100 billion RMB ($14.5 billion) for the first three quarters.

According to data provided by the government, the corporate debt default could exceed 120 billion RMB, and many businesses have gone bankrupt. As Cao Dewang (曹德旺) put it, companies are collapsing in droves; not even state-owned enterprises are spared this phenomenon. Bohai Steel, once listed in the Fortune Global 500, was 192 billion RMB in debt when it bankrupted; the real number could be as high as 280 billion RMB.

Local debt is a big problem in China’s financial market. As for the actual number, the National Audit Office claims it to be about 17.8 trillion RMB, while He Keng (贺铿), vice director of National People’s Congress Financial and Economic Affairs Committee, thinks it’s over 40 trillion RMB. Worse yet, not one local government intends to pay back its debts.

So this is the larger context. Then there’s also the stock market crash. My friend Mr. Jin Yanshi  (金岩石) will share with you shortly his thoughts about an impending stock market rebound, but in my opinion, it’s far from forthcoming. You can look at the history: only the Wall Street Crash of 1929 can compare to the steep decline that the Chinese stock has experienced this year. Many stocks are down 80 or even 90 percent.

So here’s a problem that we need to think about today: we know China’s stock market is feeling the pain, but what exactly is hurting?

Some people blame the securities regulators, Chairman Liu (刘主席), or this and that, but I think they are going after the wrong people. The problem lies in regulatory policy, which I fear may be lacking. The absence of comprehensive stock regulation might be an important issue, but it’s not the crucial one.

Look at our profit structure. To put it plainly, China’s listed companies don’t really make money. Then who has taken the few profits made by China’s more than 3,000 listed companies? Two-thirds have been taken by the banking sector and real estate. The profits earned by 1,444 listed companies on the SME board and growth enterprise board are not even equal to one and half times the profit of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. How can this kind of stock market become a bull market?

When we buy stocks, we are buying the profits of the company, not hype and rumors. I recently read a report comparing the profits of China’s listed companies with those in the U.S. There are many U.S. public companies with tens of billions dollars in profits. How many Chinese tech and manufacturing companies are there that have accomplished this? There is only one, but it’s not listed, and you all know which one that is. [Xiang is referring to Huawei, the Chinese tech company.] What does this tell us? As Yale professor Robert Shiller said: stock market performance may not work as a barometer of the economy in the short run, but it does for sure in the long run.

So I think that the terrible stock performance only demonstrates one thing, which is that the real economy in China is in quite a mess. Where is the stock market rebound? I think it’s obvious that investor confidence has yet to recover.

A number of policies came out on October 19 and 20, and Vice Premier Liu He (刘鹤) personally gave a speech to pledge results, but what of it now? The SSE Index fell to 2600 points by last Friday, and just stayed there, barely alive. When is the market rebound coming? Real estate is not showing much cause for optimism right now, but I won’t go into details for lack of time. You can take a picture of the data for your reference.

That’s why China wants to fight the three tough battles. China’s economic decline indicates that there is a major issue with the focus on expansion and growth:  It has deviated from the fundamental and moved to speculation. These are the words of former chief of China’s central bank, Zhou Xiaochuan (周小川).

What are our current financial risks? They are hidden, complex, acute, contagious, and malevolent. Structural imbalance are massive, and violations of law and regulations are rampant. There are black swans to prevent, and gray rhinos to stop. A reporter once asked Zhou, “Where are the black swans? Which ones?” Zhou smiled and did not answer.

The black swans are right next to you. The P2P lending, blockchain, Coin Circle, aren’t all these black swans? But you can’t see them. As for the gray rhinos, they can charge at any time. The biggest of them is real estate.

We have rampant speculations everywhere, in too many aspects. In short, it’s arbitrage.

During the national finance work conference last year, the General Secretary and the Premier strongly criticized the Chinese financial sector with a pile of literary-sounding polemics, saying that they were entertaining themselves without the slightest consideration for reality, and that the financial sector was in chaos and was a horrible sight to behold.

Apart from this financial arbitrage, what do most businesses do with their money? Forty percent of it goes to the stock market, speculation, and buying stocks of financial companies, but not investment into primary business. Then can this be considered a good situation for listed businesses? You can say goodbye to the the equity pledges, game over. As an economist, I am opposed to the government bailing out the market. If stock pledges collapse, let it be: what’s the point in bailing them out? What are you doing using stock pledges for other purposes anyway? What did you do with the loans you get from stock pledges?

I’m acquainted with many bosses of listed companies. Frankly speaking, a large part of their equity pledge funds did not go into their primary business, but used on speculation. They have many tricks. They buy financial products; they buy housing. The government said listed companies have spent 1-2 trillions on speculative real estate. Basically China’s economy is all built on speculation, and everything is over leveraged.

Starting in 2009, China embarked on this path of no return. The leverage ratio has soared sharply. Our current leverage ratio is three times that of the United States and twice that of Japan. The debt ratio of non-financial companies is the highest in the world, not to mention real estate.

Having shared all this data with you, shouldn’t we be arriving at a conclusion now?

“The swallows come back every three years.” [This is a reference to the three years of RMB growth between 2005 and 2008.] Now they are back again. The economic decline has created a lot of pressure, so now the government brings back its old set of tricks: relaxed currency regulations, aggressive monetary policies, relaxed financial policies, and aggressive capital financing policy.

But now I want to ask a question. Everyone in the audience is an alumnae of Renda business school and capable of thinking independently, so give it some thought: Will these policies work? Can they solve China’s fundamental problems? It’s not that our currency regulation this year was not relaxed enough—we released 400 billion yuan in liquidity, 2.3 trillion yuan in hedging or medium-term lending facilities. 2.3 trillion times the money multiplier is about a dozen or so trillion.

Three monetary policy “arrows” have been fired, also known as “Bank Chief Yi’s three arrows.” The first is loans, the second is issuing debts, the third is to solve the problem of stock pledges. Even more mind-blowing was the “125 Target.” [Guo Shuqing (郭树清), CCP committee secretary of the People’s Bank of China and chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, said in November that banks’ lending to private companies need to meet the “125 Target,” which means that in new corporate loans, the big banks should issue no less than one-third of the loans to private firms, medium and small banks should issue no less than two-third of the loans to private firms, and in three years the goal is for banks to lend no less than 50 percent of its loans to private enterprises among their loans to new companies.]

We recently went to the Pearl River Delta and some other regions to conduct field research, and locals told us that the local officials invited the bank chiefs over to meetings and told them which banks to turn to for loans. What is this nonsense?

So we need to reflect on our current problems: can these policies of ours solve the deeper issues?

As for the debt-for-equity swap, the capital market has issued many policies but I don’t see any of them will really be useful. It’s been another two months since October 19, have they been effective? So we have to ask ourselves: What has really gone wrong with our economy?

My own reflection has reached its conclusion: The problem with the Chinese economy is no longer speed or quantity, but quality.

The official report of the 19th Party Congress is an excellent report. So is the report of the Third Plenum of the 18th Party Congress. All of these major decisions were beautifully written and made all the right points. Sadly, they have not been followed through. The structural problems we face as a country, the “Six Big Imbalances,” are not sufficiently addressed. Think about it, entrepreneurs and alumni of Renda business school in the audience, can any radical credit policy or monetary easing solve these problems?

Moreover, these credit and monetary policies can only make short-term adjustments that are incapable of fundamentally solving the “imbalances” I mentioned earlier. We are still trapped within the box of the old policy and the old way of thinking. The key to whether transformation will be successful is the vitality of private enterprises—that is, whether policy can stimulate corporate innovation.

We have been making a game of credit and monetary tools for so many years. Isn’t this the reason we are saddled with so many troubles today? Speculation has driven housing prices sky-high.

The problems that private business actually faces are not difficulties in financing. What is it then? They are afraid of unstable policy and the government not keeping its word.

The leader of the State Council said it clearly in a meeting of the Standing Committee: in China, the government is what can be least trusted. Therefore, in order to solve the debt problem, first, the government has to pay back debts it owes businesses, the state-owned enterprises have to pay back debts they owe private enterprises, and large private enterprises have to pay back debts they owe smaller ones. The three costs keep going up [production cost, transnational cost, and systematic cost], therefore tax cut and fee reduction is the primary appeal.

My basic assessment of the overall issue is that these short-term monetary credit schemes are wholly incapable of solving the problem. For the Chinese economy to continue growing in a truly stable fashion, and extricate itself from its present quagmire, it must implement the following three essential reforms: tax system, reform in the political structure, and reform in state governance.

How to reduce taxes and fees? The structure of the government must be streamlined by cutting large numbers of staff. Personnel must be let go and expenditures have to drop, which means that structural reforms have to be carried out.

Professor Zhou Qiren (周其仁) of Peking University is someone I respect and admire deeply. All these years, he has been saying: what is China’s biggest problem? The costs of societal administration are too high.

Then there are the matters of governmental  reform and reforms in the structure of state governance. Of course, there’s also reform of academia and research.

I hear that the day after tomorrow, there’s going to be a grand conference to mark the 40th anniversary of the “reform and opening up.” I sincerely hope that we’ll hear something about further deepening of reforms at that conference. Let’s wait and see if any real progress can be made on these reforms.

If this doesn’t happen, let me conclude on these words: the Chinese economy is going to be in for long-term and very difficult times.


Defrauded P2P Investors’ Protest Quashed in Beijing

In recent months, the collapse of China’s peer-to-peer (P2P) loan industry has eradicated the life savings of many individuals who had put their money in the high-risk, high-return schemes. Once valued at 1.3 trillion yuan (US$191 billion),  loans grew quickly in recent years and became a popular way for individual investors and small businesses to be connected with borrowers or lenders. But the industry has not been well-regulated, and a recent government  and decreased liquidity have led to the collapse of hundreds of P2P platforms. New government regulations required P2P platforms to undergo a review and registration in June, but many failed to do so. In July, 165 lending platforms stopped allowing withdrawals, while other platform owners disappeared with investors’ money.

On Monday, thousands of P2P investors gathered in Beijing from around the country to protest outside the offices of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, but were quickly intercepted and put on buses by police who had been awaiting their arrival.

Xi Jinping sbeffeggiato in diretta TV

Schedatura di massa camuffata da programma sanitario

La denuncia di Human Right Watch

(New York) – Chinese authorities in Xinjiang are collecting DNA samples, fingerprints, iris scans, and blood types of all residents in the region between the age of 12 and 65, Human Rights Watch said today. This campaign significantly expands authorities’ collection of biodata beyond previous government efforts in the region, which only required all passport applicants in Xinjiang to supply biometrics.

For all “focus personnel” – those authorities consider threatening to regime stability – and their family members, their biometrics must be taken regardless of age. Authorities are gathering the biodata in different ways. DNA and blood types are being collected through a free annual physical exams program called Physicals for All. It is unclear if the participants of the physicals are informed of the authorities’ intention to collect, store, or use sensitive DNA data.

“Xinjiang authorities should rename their physical exams project ‘Privacy Violations for All,’ as informed consent and real choice does not seem to be part of these programs,” said Sophie Richardson, China director. “The mandatory databanking of a whole population’s biodata, including DNA, is a gross violation of international human rights norms, and it’s even more disturbing if it is done surreptitiously, under the guise of a free health care program.”

The biometric collection scheme is detailed in an official document called “The [Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous] Region Working Guidelines on the Accurate Registration and Verification of Population” (全区人口精准登记核实工作指南, “The Population Registration Program”), available in full on the government website of Aksu city in Xinjiang (an unofficial translation is available below).

The guidelines are undated, but the Aksu government’s notice distributing it to lower-level offices was dated July 2, 2017. According to state media reports, the Xinjiang government authorized the Population Registration Program in February 2017, and specified that it would be carried out “in stages.” A county government in Tacheng prefecture, for example, has a timetable that states it began collecting biodata around mid-June and completed it by end of November 2017. The Xinjiang-wide Physicals for All program started around July and was completed October 2017.



According to the guidelines, different authorities are responsible for different types of biometric collection. Party cadres and police officers are responsible for collecting pictures, fingerprints and iris scans, and “household registration” (or hukou) information using mobile apps designed for such purpose either during home visits, or by setting up central collection points. Local health authorities are responsible for collecting DNA and blood type information “as part of” the Physicals for All program, according to the guidelines. The collected blood type information is directly sent to the police, while the “blood cards for DNA collection will be sent to the county police bureaus for profiling.” All of this information is stored and linked to an individual’s national identification number.

The guidelines say the biometric collection will be comprehensive: officials have “to ensure that [information from] every household in every village, every person in every household, every item for every person” will be collected. There is no indication that people can opt out of the collection, or any requirement of informed consent.

While media reports and official implementing documents about Physicals for All outline a range of medical tests involved, including ultrasounds, electrocardiograms, and “routine blood works,” they give no indication that DNA will be collected as part of the tests. It also does not appear that the government has disclosed to the public or to participants the full range of how collected medical information will be used and disseminated or how long it will be stored. While official media reports stress that participation in the Physicals for All program should be voluntary, it appears that in practice people are expected – and sometimes pressured – to participate.

One Uyghur who participated in the 2016 Physicals for All program in Kashgar in western Xinjiang told Human Rights Watch that his neighborhood committee “had demanded that they [people in his neighborhood] must participate in the physicals.” He did not think he had a choice in the matter, as “not participating would surely be seen as a sign of ‘thought problem,’” a shorthand for “political disloyalty,” a dangerous label in the repressive region. He said the health authorities had not told him afterward the results of his physical.

“China has few meaningful privacy protections and Uyghurs are already subjected to extensive degrees of control and surveillance, including heavy security presence, numerous checkpoints, and routine inspection of smartphones for ‘subversive’ content,” Richardson said. “In this context, compulsory biodata collection has particularly abusive potential, and hardly seems justifiable as a security measure.”

An October 2017 report by the Ili health authorities says the government “has to ensure that those who should participate in the physicals do participate.” While a June 2017 report by the Ili Evening Post says “for those unwilling to participate in the physicals…cadres have to…work hard to convince them to participate,” suggesting that officials may put pressure on residents who refuse to take part. This practice is not consistent with international human rights norms which require that medical interventions, including medical tests, be conducted only with the free and informed consent of the individual.

A Xinhua article dated November 1, 2017, states that 18.8 million people participated in the Physicals for All program in 2017.

The guidelines suggest that biometric collection is a permanent measure. Police are now required to ensure that all such information is collected from anyone in Xinjiang before they conduct any “hukou-related business,” such as enrolling in public schools and applying for passports. Even people who have Xinjiang hukou but live outside the region are required to submit such information to “the Xinjiang Population Services and Management Committee(s) in the Mainland.”

A number of local governments in different parts of Xinjiang – Yining countyTacheng prefectureTiemenguan city (which is part of the Xinjiang Military Corps), Korla city, and Jinghe county – have issued local versions of the directives instructing the collection of biometrics. The directives in Ili and Tacheng largely reproduce the provincial-level guidelines verbatim. In Tiemenguan, though, the collection of DNA is limited to those aged 14 to 65. The Tiemenguan directive also instructs the propaganda authorities to be responsible for “monitoring public sentiments on the internet” about the biometric collection and to “guide and handle negative information.”

La Cina Comunista rifiuta i "lavoratori di fascia-bassa",  "low-end population"

Un tempo si chiamavano "proletari" ed erano i protagonisti delle visioni politiche dei movimenti marxisti, dalla rivoluzione industriale a quella cinese di Mao.

Chi sono i migrant workers

Ora sono una presenza necessaria, perché sfruttati, ma da nascondere, come gli appestati, e il regime di Xi Jinping cerca di cacciarli dalla vista dei cittadini "normali": sono i lavoratori migranti, 280 milioni di cinesi strappati dalle terre e portati a lavorare nei megacantieri delle metropoli o nelle fabbriche più pericolose per i lavori più sottopagati.

Esistono da sempre, sono gli schiavi che da Deng a Xi Jinping hanno costruito fabbriche e città dove non c'era nulla, nascosti agli occhi dei turisti e alle telecamere, ma il 18 novembre sono tornati alla ribalta per un episodio che il regime ha considerato come un pretesto per cacciarli dalla capitale Pechino.

Un incendio di vaste proporzioni distrugge un palazzo-fabbrica e provoca 19 morti.

Le autorità danno la colpa alle migliaia di "low-end population" che vivono ammassati nelle baraccopoli attorno ordinano uno sfratto di massa, ovvero una deportazione, per decine di migliaia di essi, dopo aver raso al suolo le baracche.

Nasce una protesta spontanea e diffusa sui social che la censura blocca immediatamente.

Ecco un  frammento sfuggito ai censori

Twitter user @alicedreamss shared a clip from the television talk show “Laborers Poems and Songs” (劳动者的诗与歌), in which several young  affected by the crackdown recite a poem by Yu Xiuhua rejecting the “low-end” label. Yu Xiuhua is one of China’s most widely-read sometimes referred to as China’s Emily Dickinson. CDT has translated @alicdreamss tweet and Yu Xiuhua’s poem below:

The Youth of Picun Village

Hi everyone:

I am Xiao Hai (小海) from Poems and Songs of Laborers. A big fire has affected each and every one of us. Moving, relocation, and eviction have left us with no place to go. Whenever such major accidents happen, we see tremendous contrast between the confidence of those who post public notices and the distressed, panicked, helpless, and numb expressions on the faces of fellow workers who are busy moving out. I feel that we, who have existed in these narrow spaces, have kept our silence for too long. We too must make our voice heard. Where on earth can we go? Reality does not happen in grand offices or in conference rooms. Reality happens in crowded places, in the cold wind, in the streets!

Now, together with my fellow workers, I will read a poem called “Let’s Go, Children, with the North Wind of Beijing,” by Ms. Yu Xiuhua (余秀华):

Leave the sunshine to tomorrow
Leave it to the high-end people to glorify
Leave the happiness to tomorrow
Leave it to the high-end people
Leave the hope to tomorrow
Leave it to the high-end people

But let despair stay
The despair that is left to stay
Will be high-end despair

We have no place to go
But we are on the territory of the motherland
Wearing thin clothes in the cold
We are on the territory of the motherland
We own nothing at all

The motherland is all we have
The motherland in the Beijing accent
The motherland in dialects
The motherland in office buildings
The motherland in rental rooms
This motherland also belongs to them
To those who post the notices
To those who break the windows
To those who rob us when we are in a plight

Children, you must trust me
We live in a low place
But it is not low-end
You don’t attend aristocratic schools
But it is not low-end
Even though you are in rags
You are still not low-end

The low-end owns the narrow-mindedness of the low-end people
The kind-hearted have the tolerance of the kind-hearted people.

Nectar Gan in the South China Morning Post reports on one NGO worker who provides services to Beijing’s migrant population:

The municipal authorities have denied the most recent sweep targets the so-called low-end population of migrant workers and their families, insisting the main goal is to tackle threats from unlicensed buildings.

But the effect has been to force men, women and children onto the street at the start of winter.

That prompted Yang, 43, to swing into action. In March he had opened the drop-in centre called Tongzhou Home, meaning “in the same boat”, providing a range of free services such as movie nights, haircuts and table tennis for migrant workers – all supported by donations from the public.

That night, as he waited for word to spread, Yang was visited by police officers who told him to cease and desist. The officers watched as he deleted the online appeal, returning the next day to tell him to shut down Tongzhou Home. [Source]


Chinese poet Langzi detained after commemorating late Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo

HKFP - 7 September 2017 09:30  Catherine Lai

A well-known poet from the southern province of Guangdong has been detained after he helped produce an anthology of poems commemorating the late Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo.

Wu Mingliang, who is better known by his pen name Langzi, was taken from his home by police officers and criminally detained on August 18 upon suspicion of illegal business operations, according to Amnesty International.

Chinese feminists in Times Square demand that Weibo stop its

“They Target My Human Rights Work as a Crime”

Annual Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in China (2016)

Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) February 2017




Zhou Youguang è morto all'età di 111 anni

Linguist Zhou Youguang, the man who helped invent the Pinyin system used for writing Chinese worldwide before becoming an outspoken critic of the communist government died Saturday in Beijing. He was 111.

Zhou, who was probably China’s oldest dissenter, died Saturday at his house in the country’s capital, a day after having celebrated his 111th birthday, state media said.

“He lived through many eras and helped enlighten ordinary people,” the Communist Party mouthpiece the People’s Daily said.

Zhou is commonly known as the “father of Pinyin”, a system for transliterating Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet introduced in the 1950s and now used by hundreds of millions of language learners in China, as well as abroad. premiato da Reporters Sans Frontiers

Paris-based press freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and France's TV5 Monde awarded the Press Freedom Prize to detained citizen journalists Lu Yuyu and Li Tingyu at a ceremony in Strasbourg on Tuesday.
The "64Tianwang" website won the media category, because its reporters take great risks to keep the Chinese people informed about the country's civil rights movement, RSF said in a statement.
It cited the detention of five of Tianwang's citizen journalist contributors ahead of the G20 leadership summit in the eastern city of Hangzhou in September.
"But their determination does not flag," RSF said, adding that none of Tianwang's contributors has signed a "confession" proffered by the authorities in 18 years of activity.

Arrestato per colpa della T-shirt di Xitler

China Detains Jilin Activist For Wearing Anti-Xi Jinping T-Shirt

Chinese authorities have secretly detained a graduate of a U.S. university who supported human rights and pro-democracy campaigns after he told friends he would wear a T-shirt merging the name of President Xi Jinping with Hitler's.

Ethnic Korean Quan Ping, whose name is also spelled in its Korean form, Kwon Pyong,  is being held by police in his hometown of Yanji city in the northeastern province of Jilin, and has been incommunicado for more than a month, RFA has learned.

Kwon Pyong's detention came after he posted a selfie outside a government building while wearing a T-shirt with banned keywords linked to President Xi, including the word "Xitler." He also told a friend he planned to walk around wearing it on Oct. 1, the anniversary of the founding of communist-ruled China.

A vociferous next-generation rights activist and graduate of Iowa State University, Kwon, now 28, traveled to take part in the 2014 Occupy movement for fully democratic elections in Hong Kong.


Wukan 16 sept 2016

Members of the Democratic Party demonstrate in from of the Hong Kong Central Government office on behalf of local reporters detained and beaten covering protests in Wukan, China, Sept. 15, 2016.

Five Hong Kong journalists have been detained, dragged into interrogation rooms for hours and expelled by authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong after they tried to cover a crackdown by armed police on the rebel village of Wukan following weeks of peaceful protests.

The journalists had been sent to cover clashes between riot police and local residents in the village, where thousands of local people have been protesting the jailing of their former leader Lin Zuluan on "bribery" charges.

Ming Pao staff association chairwoman Phyllis Tsang said two of the newspaper's reporters had traveled to Wukan alongside a reporter for the English-language South China Morning Post newspaper.

They were all detained, she said.

Wukan 13 Sept 2016


The People in Retreat, di Ai Xiaoming

Film documentario in cinese con sottotitoli in cinese 

Wukan 08-sept-2016


Ai Weiwei's statement on being removed from the MoCA Yinchuan Biennale: