Staff

Freezing Out Discussion of Winter Heating

After a blaze swept through a dense residential area populated by migrant workers on the outskirts of Beijing, killing at least 19 people, there was speculation online that the fire might have been caused by the use of electrical heating owing to a recent government ban on the residential burning of soft coal. News coverage has been severely curbed in the wake of the tragedy, with only a smattering of reports outside those of the official Xinhua News Agency. Cylinders of soft coal like those in the image above have for decades been an essential source of heating fuel...

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Online Sharks

A report released in 2016 in China about the protection of internet users’ rights said that 37 percent of web users had suffered some sort of “economic loss” as a result of fraudulent activities online. Meanwhile, 84 percent of web users had experienced “harmful effects” as a result of having personal information leaked online. Despite serious problems — including the elephant in the room, the government’s own draconian use and plans for personal information — China does not yet have a Data Protection Law. The above cartoon, by Yi Zhengyi (尹正义), somewhat incongruously illustrates the issue of personal data...

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Locking Away the Questions

On November 6, 2017, the Legislative Affairs Commission of the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress released a draft National Supervision Law that spells out the powers of a new anti-corruption body, the National Supervision Committee. The new law, which is expected to take effect in March 2018, has come under criticism over the past week — with some experts in China and beyond arguing that the law risks replacing an abusive shuanggui system — which for many years has invited rampant abuse of suspects under secret detention — with a new liuzhi system that still offers, some...

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The Party, At the Helm

At the recent 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, where Xi Jinping demonstrated that he had concentrated power to a degree unprecedented in China’s reform era, one of the most outstanding themes was the need to strengthen the power and authority of the Party itself. The need to “strictly govern the Party,” or congyan zhidang (从严治党), has been one of Xi’s most consistent themes. And it was inspiration earlier this year for the following series of cartoons by Tian Cheng (天呈) posted to the website of Shanghai’s Liberation Daily. The cartoons are very direct, and perhaps quite...

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An Unwelcome Joke

Over the past five years under Xi Jinping, China has become far more direct about how the control of the press, internet and public opinion are crucial in order to maintain social and political stability. Xi has said the media must “be surnamed Party” — that is, follow the Party’s line and policies, and not do the kind of reporting that works against them. He has pressured the traditional media so hard that coverage across the country can often look identical. But still, outright criticism of China’s press as being too unified is not at all welcome. Which is...

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Pu Zhiqiang on Trump’s Arrival in Beijing

Since January this year, former CMP fellow Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强), one of China’s most prominent civil rights lawyers, has been more active on Twitter. This follows a hiatus of nearly three years since his detention in May 2014. In a post earlier today, just as U.S. President Donald Trump was arriving in Beijing for an official three-day visit, Pu offered — with the help of a VPN — bitter remarks on the US-China relationship, indirectly highlighting the way human rights are not just sidelined but invisible. Pu closes his post with the wish that America might also achieve “great...

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