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October 10 2019

mr-absentia

Six arrested after refusing to participate in CCP celebrations

«Contact between Free Tibet’s research partner, Tibet Watch, and confidential sources in Tibet revealed that Tsegyal, Yangphel, Dudul Lhagyay, Norsang, Shewang Namgyal and Sithar Wangyal were arrested in Tarchen Township in Nagchu, central Tibet, on 20 September.

The six defied instructions to wave Chinese flags, sing patriotic songs and praise the ruling Chinese Communist Party in the run up to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

According to sources, family members of the six have asked local authorities to permit them to hand over food and blankets. The authorities have rejected these requests and issued threats that they will extend the detention period of those arrested members if they continue to insist.»

mr-absentia
mr-absentia

October 09 2019

mr-absentia

@tictoc: The NBA isn't the only business in hot water with China

October 08 2019

mr-absentia
mr-absentia
mr-absentia

Joe Tsai is on Facebook - When I bought controlling interest in the Brooklyn Nets in September, I didn’t expect my first public communication with our fans would be to comment on…

«Fans in China are calling for an explanation – if they are not getting it from the Houston Rockets, then it is natural that they ask others associated with the NBA to express a view.

The NBA is a fan-first league. When hundreds of millions of fans are furious over an issue, the league, and anyone associated with the NBA, will have to pay attention. As a Governor of one of the 30 NBA teams, and a Chinese having spent a good part of my professional life in China, I need to speak up.

What is the problem with people freely expressing their opinion? This freedom is an inherent American value and the NBA has been very progressive in allowing players and other constituents a platform to speak out on issues.

The problem is, there are certain topics that are third-rail issues in certain countries, societies and communities.

Supporting a separatist movement in a Chinese territory is one of those third-rail issues, not only for the Chinese government, but also for all citizens in China.»

September 30 2019

mr-absentia

Hong Kong Is Winning the Global Public-Opinion War With Beijing - The Atlantic

«The relative success of Hong Kong’s protest movement is all the more significant because it’s occurring alongside Beijing expanding its propaganda efforts globally, as state-owned outlets trumpet China’s vision of the world in multiple languages. This global campaign is the biggest challenge to China’s rulers by the territory since 1989, when, still a British colony, its residents took part in demonstrations in solidarity with protesters in Tiananmen Square, while also providing financial and material support.

From Oslo to Osaka, Congress to the United Nations, Taiwan to Twitter, Hong Kongers have taken their DIY approach to protest to a global audience. Celebrity supporters testify in high-profile settings; highly targeted, crowdfunded media campaigns aim to keep the issue in the spotlight; and viral videos, catchy slogans, and even a movement anthem and flag help magnify the message on social media.»

«…the tendency of Chinese nationalism to backfire on the foreign stage has hampered the Communist cause. Among these incidents are violent Chinese-student reactions to pro–Hong Kong demonstrations at Australian universities, with the Chinese embassy expressing support for the students’ actions on social media afterward. Debate in Australia regarding the ability of China to control public speech there has since intensified. Elsewhere, Montreal’s Pride parade excluded Hong Kong participants after receiving threats from “pro-Communists.” At the parade, many onlookers were aghast when, during the moment of silence for those who have died from HIV/AIDS, Chinese participants sang their national anthem.

“The most basic weakness of the external communications of the Chinese party-state is the fact that foreign audiences, and their values and interests, are never truly considered,” David Bandurski, co-director of the China Media Project, told me. “Sure, the messages are directed at foreigners, but the language is still the internal and insular language of the party-state.”

In this sense, Bandurski said, these propaganda efforts are not really external at all.

“Try as it might to raise the volume on China's singular, restrained voice, the party-state is still talking to itself, or shouting at its own wall,” Bandurski said. “The louder that voice becomes, the more uncompromising and aggressive it sounds.”»

September 27 2019

mr-absentia
mr-absentia
Money vs Integrity. When governments all choose to look the other way, it is up to the people to monitor and penalize the government officials who fail to speak up against these severe violations of human rights.
— @hoccgoomusic’s comment on NYT report China Wants the World to Stay Silent on Muslim Camps. It’s Succeeding.
mr-absentia

NYT: China Wants the World to Stay Silent on Muslim Camps. It’s Succeeding.

«The private account by the Malaysian diplomat, reviewed by The New York Times, contradicted China’s contention that the Uighurs were voluntarily attending the re-education centers.

“Delegates could actually sense fear and frustration from the students,” the Malaysian wrote after his December visit with a dozen other diplomats from mostly Muslim nations. “China may have legitimate reasons to implement policies intended to eliminate the threat of terrorism, especially in Xinjiang. However, judging by its approach, it is addressing the issue wrongly and illegitimately, e.g. preventing Muslim minors from learning the Quran.”

The diplomat referred to two cities in Xinjiang — once-bustling Kashgar and Hotan — as “zombie towns,” saying the streets were virtually empty and that China was probably “using the threat of terrorism as an excuse to ‘sanitize’ Uighur Muslims until they become acceptable Chinese citizens.”

The report was never made public. At the time, Malaysia was working hard to repair relations with China over a troubled infrastructure deal. It has also become increasingly dependent on China for purchases of palm oil, its biggest export.

“The $100 billion in annual bilateral trade is enough to focus the minds of Malaysian policymakers,” said Shahriman Lockman, a senior analyst at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies in Kuala Lumpur. “China is too big a market to lose.”»

September 24 2019

mr-absentia

news.com.au: Chilling video shows Chinese police transferring hundreds of blindfolded, shackled prisoners

«The footage, which could not be independently verified, was published to YouTube last week by a newly created account calling itself War on Fear. Clips were also posted to Twitter by the handle @warcombatfear.

“Our aim is to fight fear,” the video description said.

“The people of today’s society always live under the supervision of the government with high technology. People lose their freedom. The leaders of the Communist Party of China called them patriotic and loved the people. In fact, they only love the party and only love power.”

It added, “These videos were taken in China. This is the long-term suppression of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Chinese government in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.”»

mr-absentia

@HongKongFP: A video verified by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute shows up to 600 Uighur Muslim prisoners shackled and blindfolded in Korla, Xinjiang, China. Sky News reported that the footage is thought to have been shot earlier in 2019.

Chinazi concentration camp exposed? Watch video on this Twitter page. If the footage is authentic, the situation is truly horrific…

Reposted byfinkregh finkregh
mr-absentia

China Scores Businesses, and Low Grades Could Be a Trade-War Weapon - The New York Times

«Beijing is increasingly amassing information now divided among various government agencies and industry associations — including court decisions, payroll data, environmental records, copyright violations, even how many employees are members of the Communist Party — and using it to grade businesses and the people who run them, according to state media, government documents and experts.

Companies that get low grades can be banned from borrowing money or doing other essential tasks. Their owners or executives could have their bank accounts frozen or be forbidden from traveling.

It isn’t just aimed at Chinese businesses. In letters sent to the companies, officials have threatened to give United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines black marks on their records if they don’t bend to Beijing’s wishes. FedEx could face a similar punishment.

China calls it the social credit system. By next year, Chinese leaders had hoped to start an ambitious nationwide program focused on punishing or rewarding individuals. It was aimed at replicating the credit scoring system common in the United States and other places, as well as taming behavior in a country where laws are inconsistently enforced.

Civil libertarians warned that it would create a digital Big Brother that would intrude into everyday Chinese life. But the system has yet to materialize for individuals on a mass scale.

For many businesses, however, social credit has become a fact of life. In September, China’s central economic planning agency announced that it had completed a first evaluation of 33 million businesses, giving them ratings from 1 for excellent to 4 for poor. China hopes it will someday become a nationwide regulatory tool, harnessing the country’s growing skills in big data and automation, to help the Communist Party keep the business world in line.

“It’s supposed to affect the decision making of businesses to conform to what the party wants,” said Samantha Hoffman, a fellow at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a think tank.

Loren Fei, the 30-year-old-daughter of a silk factory owner, has been added to a blacklist of businesses and their owners. Because her father couldn’t pay his bills, she said, her bank accounts have been frozen and she lost her job and her ability to travel.

“My family really wants to pay back the money, and the system is making it impossible,” Ms. Fei said.

The authorities are testing the system as a tool to bend foreign companies to the Communist Party’s political views.

United, Delta and American received letters last year from Chinese aviation officials saying their social credit score could be hit unless their websites labeled Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan as part of China. Lower scores would lead to investigations, the possibility of frozen bank accounts, limitations on local employees’ movement and other punishments, according to a letter sent to United and seen by The New York Times.

Representatives of United, Delta and American Airlines confirmed changing their websites but declined to comment specifically on the matter.

Social credit is one aspect of the Communist Party’s efforts under Xi Jinping, its top leader, to strengthen its hold over the country. The authorities are installing separate facial-recognition technology and other monitoring systems to quell dissent as well as stop crime. They have taken a tougher line on media and worked to give the party a greater role in offices and classrooms.»

September 22 2019

mr-absentia

Between Washington and Beijing

«Hong Kong exists between two global ambitions — Chinese state capitalism and Western neoliberalism. To fight for self-determination is to confront both, and to do so, Hong Kongers must engage internationally, seeking allies not only in China and the West, but beyond all borders in order to build a broad anticapitalist movement.

This is especially important in combating Chinese colonial influence through projects like the Belt and Road Initiative, which promotes new forms of economic imperialism and infringes on people’s right to self-determination. Kenyan coal miners and indigenous groups in Southeast Asia like the Dumagat people are examples of communities at the front-lines of the struggle against Chinese capital and the exploitation of their land and labor. As Hong Kongers in the city and abroad, we hope to learn from and foreground these voices.

Furthermore, as Hong Kong looks to the United States for support, we urge protesters to refuse alliances with right-wingers like Marco Rubio and instead build connections between oppressed groups. Police brutality is one example of an issue that creates an opening for solidarity. Considering how opposition to violence from the Hong Kong Police Force is now at the heart of the city’s struggle, we want to draw connections between police brutality and other forms of state oppression in the United States with what’s happening in Hong Kong. We want to help build alliances between marginalized groups and facilitate a cross-border solidarity grounded in skill-sharing and meaningful dialogue.

Finally, we want to connect Hong Kong’s fight for self-determination and anticapitalist struggles to places like Kashmir, Sudan, Palestine, Tamil Eelam, Kurdistan, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico. Lausan 流傘 is invested in the fight to establish other forms of community not necessarily based upon nation-state sovereignty, and not based upon borders or capitalism’s imperatives. A lot more work needs to be done on this front.»

mr-absentia

A Crackdown on Islam Is Spreading Across China - The New York Times

«Islam has had followers in China for centuries. There are now 22 to 23 million Muslims, a tiny minority in a country of 1.4 billion. Among them, the Hui and the Uighurs make up the largest ethnic groups. Uighurs primarily live in Xinjiang, but the Hui live in enclaves scattered around the nation.

The restrictions they now face can be traced to 2015, when Mr. Xi first raised the issue of what he called the “Sinicization of Islam,” saying all faiths should be subordinate to Chinese culture and the Communist Party. Last year, Mr. Xi’s government issued a confidential directive that ordered local officials to prevent Islam from interfering with secular life and the state’s functions.

Critics of China’s policies who are outside the country provided excerpts from the directive to The Times. The directive, titled “Reinforcing and Improving Islam Work in the New Situation,” has not been made public. It was issued by the State Council, China’s cabinet, in April of last year and classified as confidential for 20 years.

The directive warns against the “Arabization” of Islamic places, fashions and rituals in China, singling out the influence of Saudi Arabia, the home of Islam’s holiest sites, as a cause for concern.

It prohibits the use of the Islamic financial system. It bars mosques or other private Islamic organizations from organizing kindergartens or after-school programs, and it forbids Arabic-language schools to teach religion or send students abroad to study.

The most visible aspect of the crackdown has been the targeting of mosques built with domes, minarets and other architectural details characteristic of Central Asia or the Arabic world.

Taken in isolation, some of these measures seem limited. Others seem capricious: some mosques with Arabic features have been left untouched, while others nearby have been altered or shut down.

But on a national scale, the trend is clear. Mr. Cui, the poet, calls it the harshest campaign against faith since the end of the Cultural Revolution, when so-called Red Guards unleashed by Mao Zedong destroyed mosques across the country.»

«In an interview, Mr. Ma, the Frostburg State scholar, said the current leadership viewed religion as “the major enemy the state faces.” He said senior officials had studied the role played by faith — particularly the Catholic Church in Poland — in the collapse of the Soviet Union and its dominion in Eastern Europe.»

September 21 2019

mr-absentia

BBC News: Hong Kong protests: The Taiwanese sending 2,000 gas masks

«Slowly but surely, the people of Hong Kong and Taiwan see their fate as tied. They are the only two places in Greater China that have tasted freedom - and some believe by joining forces, they could show the Chinese leadership and people how much democracy is worth fighting for.»

Reposted bymushu mushu

September 24 2019

mr-absentia

China Scores Businesses, and Low Grades Could Be a Trade-War Weapon - The New York Times

«Beijing is increasingly amassing information now divided among various government agencies and industry associations — including court decisions, payroll data, environmental records, copyright violations, even how many employees are members of the Communist Party — and using it to grade businesses and the people who run them, according to state media, government documents and experts.

Companies that get low grades can be banned from borrowing money or doing other essential tasks. Their owners or executives could have their bank accounts frozen or be forbidden from traveling.

It isn’t just aimed at Chinese businesses. In letters sent to the companies, officials have threatened to give United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines black marks on their records if they don’t bend to Beijing’s wishes. FedEx could face a similar punishment.

China calls it the social credit system. By next year, Chinese leaders had hoped to start an ambitious nationwide program focused on punishing or rewarding individuals. It was aimed at replicating the credit scoring system common in the United States and other places, as well as taming behavior in a country where laws are inconsistently enforced.

Civil libertarians warned that it would create a digital Big Brother that would intrude into everyday Chinese life. But the system has yet to materialize for individuals on a mass scale.

For many businesses, however, social credit has become a fact of life. In September, China’s central economic planning agency announced that it had completed a first evaluation of 33 million businesses, giving them ratings from 1 for excellent to 4 for poor. China hopes it will someday become a nationwide regulatory tool, harnessing the country’s growing skills in big data and automation, to help the Communist Party keep the business world in line.

“It’s supposed to affect the decision making of businesses to conform to what the party wants,” said Samantha Hoffman, a fellow at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a think tank.

Loren Fei, the 30-year-old-daughter of a silk factory owner, has been added to a blacklist of businesses and their owners. Because her father couldn’t pay his bills, she said, her bank accounts have been frozen and she lost her job and her ability to travel.

“My family really wants to pay back the money, and the system is making it impossible,” Ms. Fei said.

The authorities are testing the system as a tool to bend foreign companies to the Communist Party’s political views.

United, Delta and American received letters last year from Chinese aviation officials saying their social credit score could be hit unless their websites labeled Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan as part of China. Lower scores would lead to investigations, the possibility of frozen bank accounts, limitations on local employees’ movement and other punishments, according to a letter sent to United and seen by The New York Times.

Representatives of United, Delta and American Airlines confirmed changing their websites but declined to comment specifically on the matter.

Social credit is one aspect of the Communist Party’s efforts under Xi Jinping, its top leader, to strengthen its hold over the country. The authorities are installing separate facial-recognition technology and other monitoring systems to quell dissent as well as stop crime. They have taken a tougher line on media and worked to give the party a greater role in offices and classrooms.»

September 22 2019

mr-absentia

Between Washington and Beijing

«Hong Kong exists between two global ambitions — Chinese state capitalism and Western neoliberalism. To fight for self-determination is to confront both, and to do so, Hong Kongers must engage internationally, seeking allies not only in China and the West, but beyond all borders in order to build a broad anticapitalist movement.

This is especially important in combating Chinese colonial influence through projects like the Belt and Road Initiative, which promotes new forms of economic imperialism and infringes on people’s right to self-determination. Kenyan coal miners and indigenous groups in Southeast Asia like the Dumagat people are examples of communities at the front-lines of the struggle against Chinese capital and the exploitation of their land and labor. As Hong Kongers in the city and abroad, we hope to learn from and foreground these voices.

Furthermore, as Hong Kong looks to the United States for support, we urge protesters to refuse alliances with right-wingers like Marco Rubio and instead build connections between oppressed groups. Police brutality is one example of an issue that creates an opening for solidarity. Considering how opposition to violence from the Hong Kong Police Force is now at the heart of the city’s struggle, we want to draw connections between police brutality and other forms of state oppression in the United States with what’s happening in Hong Kong. We want to help build alliances between marginalized groups and facilitate a cross-border solidarity grounded in skill-sharing and meaningful dialogue.

Finally, we want to connect Hong Kong’s fight for self-determination and anticapitalist struggles to places like Kashmir, Sudan, Palestine, Tamil Eelam, Kurdistan, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico. Lausan 流傘 is invested in the fight to establish other forms of community not necessarily based upon nation-state sovereignty, and not based upon borders or capitalism’s imperatives. A lot more work needs to be done on this front.»

mr-absentia

A Crackdown on Islam Is Spreading Across China - The New York Times

«Islam has had followers in China for centuries. There are now 22 to 23 million Muslims, a tiny minority in a country of 1.4 billion. Among them, the Hui and the Uighurs make up the largest ethnic groups. Uighurs primarily live in Xinjiang, but the Hui live in enclaves scattered around the nation.

The restrictions they now face can be traced to 2015, when Mr. Xi first raised the issue of what he called the “Sinicization of Islam,” saying all faiths should be subordinate to Chinese culture and the Communist Party. Last year, Mr. Xi’s government issued a confidential directive that ordered local officials to prevent Islam from interfering with secular life and the state’s functions.

Critics of China’s policies who are outside the country provided excerpts from the directive to The Times. The directive, titled “Reinforcing and Improving Islam Work in the New Situation,” has not been made public. It was issued by the State Council, China’s cabinet, in April of last year and classified as confidential for 20 years.

The directive warns against the “Arabization” of Islamic places, fashions and rituals in China, singling out the influence of Saudi Arabia, the home of Islam’s holiest sites, as a cause for concern.

It prohibits the use of the Islamic financial system. It bars mosques or other private Islamic organizations from organizing kindergartens or after-school programs, and it forbids Arabic-language schools to teach religion or send students abroad to study.

The most visible aspect of the crackdown has been the targeting of mosques built with domes, minarets and other architectural details characteristic of Central Asia or the Arabic world.

Taken in isolation, some of these measures seem limited. Others seem capricious: some mosques with Arabic features have been left untouched, while others nearby have been altered or shut down.

But on a national scale, the trend is clear. Mr. Cui, the poet, calls it the harshest campaign against faith since the end of the Cultural Revolution, when so-called Red Guards unleashed by Mao Zedong destroyed mosques across the country.»

«In an interview, Mr. Ma, the Frostburg State scholar, said the current leadership viewed religion as “the major enemy the state faces.” He said senior officials had studied the role played by faith — particularly the Catholic Church in Poland — in the collapse of the Soviet Union and its dominion in Eastern Europe.»

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