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Posts tagged ‘Communist Party of China’

APC And Its Web Of Deceit By Ogunjimi James Taiwo.


By Ogunjimi James Taiwo

I always tell people that when you define some terms, always know that for every term that exists, there’s a separate Nigerian definition. It’s in Nigeria that you fight inflation by producing 5000 notes. It’s in Nigeria that you want to reduce child mortality rate and you’re not building hospitals. It’s in Nigeria that you want to reduce crime on the streets and you’re taking people’s means of livelihood. It’s in Nigeria that you want your schools to be among top schools in the world and you’re not funding education.

In the same vein, when people talk about APC and its attempt to revamp Nigeria’s democracy, I can only laugh. APC? They want to evolve our democracy? The same people label themselves progressives yet they wine and dine with agents of backwardness. Do they even know what it means? Abegiiii…

You can only call APC progressive if progressive means bringing together strange bedfellows. APC can only be progressive if progressive means accepting every tom, dick and harry all in an attempt to build strength. I say APC can only be progressive if progressive means inviting enemies of the masses to join up and lead them.

If anybody thinks APC is taking us anywhere good, I say dream on. The only place APC will take Nigerians is to push more people down the poverty line. Using LASU as case-study, the only place APC is taking Nigerians is a place where only the rich can afford to send their children to school. Using Lagos state as example, the only place APC is taking Nigerians is a place where you will all be told to go back to your villages and live in the forest if you can’t meet up with their pace? Using 2011 Presidential election (where Tinubu betrayed Ribadu and sold South-west to Jonathan) as case study, the only place APC is taking Nigerians is a place where leaders betray their followers when juicy deals come their way. Using Senator Yerima (and the overwhelming support of the defunct CPC senators for child marriage) as case-study, the only place APC is taking us is a place where we marry off our daughters from the cradle. Using Alli Ndume as case-study, the only place APC is taking us is a place where sponsors of terrorist organisations are granted bail even in the face of overwhelming evidence.

Other countries may have passed through this stage and now enjoy ‘democracy’ today, but Nigeria won’t. The mistake people who refer to this make is that they forget that those countries differed on policies; their disagreements weren’t about who could loot the most, their wranglings weren’t about taking in every enemy of the masses in the name of building strength. Their disagreements bordered on policies, their disagreements bordered on agenda and its workability. That is why they scaled through. The only thing Nigerians will be left with after ignorantly experimenting with APC is disappointment and a taste of defeat at having been used to achieve selfish aims.

A party that accepts everybody and brings in people who destroyed their own party, a party that brings in sworn enemies of the masses is a party that has nothing good to offer.

My only prayer for Nigerians is that we will awake on time and free ourselves from the web of deceit that APC has weaved before we mortgage our future and that of our children and before we sacrifice our survival on the altar of power play and greed.

The way forward? We begin to plan towards a people’s revolution. We begin to put platforms in place. We begin to educate the masses. We begin a vigorous campaign to rid the ignorant of their ignorance. We begin a reeducation drive aimed at changing the orientation of the masses. A recycling of politicians won’t take us anywhere; only a total overturn of the current system of governance can bring a lasting change to Nigeria, reclaim the nation from those who have made it their birthright and give Nigerians back their nation.

Down with failed politicians! Down with parties of deceit! Onward to a people’s revolution!

Ogunjimi James Taiwo
December 2013

Follow me on Twitter: @hullerj. Google +: James Ogunjimi

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

LIGNET: In Bo Xilai Trial, Communist Party May Be Biggest Scandal of All.


Image: LIGNET: In Bo Xilai Trial, Communist Party May Be Biggest Scandal of All

Bo Xilai, former secretary of the Chongqing Communist Party, attends the closing session of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 13, 2012. He has not been seen since then. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

The filing of corruption charges against high-ranking party leader Bo Xilai is likely to prove a double-edged sword for the Chinese Communist Party. On one hand, it shows that China is prepared to take action against high-level officials. On the other hand, the trial is likely to expose the depth of corruption in China’s communist system, particularly since some of the accusations against Bo go back 20 years.

Click here to read the full analysis from top intelligence officials at LIGNET.com
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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By LIGNET Wires

China Response to Pentagon Report: US the ‘Real Hacking Empire’.


EIJING — China Wednesday accused the United States of sowing discord between China and its neighbors after the Pentagon said Beijing is using espionage to fuel its military modernization, branding Washington the “real hacking empire.”

The latest salvo came a day after China’s foreign ministry dismissed as groundless a Pentagon report, which accused China for the first time of trying to break into U.S. defense computer networks.

The Pentagon also cited progress in Beijing’s effort to develop advanced-technology stealth aircraft and build an aircraft carrier fleet to project power further offshore.

The People’s Liberation Army Daily called the report a “gross interference in China’s internal affairs.”

“Promoting the ‘China military threat theory’ can sow discord between China and other countries, especially its relationship with its neighboring countries, to contain China and profit from it,” the newspaper said in a commentary that was carried on China’s Defense Ministry’s website.

The United States is “trumpeting China’s military threat to promote its domestic interests groups and arms dealers,” the newspaper said, adding that it expects “U.S. arms manufacturers are gearing up to start counting their money.”

The remarks in the newspaper underscore the escalating mistrust between China and the United States over hacking, now a top point of contention between Washington and Beijing.

A U.S. computer security company, Mandiant, said in February a secretive Chinese military unit was likely behind a series of hacking attacks that targeted the United States and stole data from more than 100 companies.

That set off a war of words between Washington and Beijing.

China has said repeatedly that it does not condone hacking and is the victim of hacking attacks — most of which it claims come from the United States.

“As we all know, the United States is the real ‘hacking empire’ and has an extensive espionage network,” the People’s Daily, a newspaper regarded as a mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, said in a commentary.

The article — which was published under the pen name “Zhong Sheng,” meaning “Voice of China” — said “in recent years, the United States has continued to strengthen its network tools for political subversion against other countries.”

“Cyber weapons are more frightening than nuclear weapons,” the People’s Daily said. “To establish military hegemony on the Internet by repeatedly smearing other countries is a dangerous and wrong path to take and will ultimately end up in shooting themselves in the foot.”

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: NEWSmax.com

China: Woman Dies After Forced Sterilization.


Shen Hongxia
Shen Hongxia is the latest victim of forced sterilization in China. (Women’s Rights Without Frontiers)

A mother of two died after a forced sterilization, which took place against a doctor’s orders, Women’s Rights in China reports.

On March 19, a doctor at Tongshan County warned that sterilizing Shen Hongxia would be life-threatening. Nevertheless, local Family Planning Officers forcibly sterilized her, in order to avoid an “illegal pregnancy.” Shen Hongxia, 42, died, leaving behind her husband and two children, one of whom is two years old.

The Family Planning Bureau and the Village Committee attempted to cover up their criminal responsibility by making an agreement to compensate the family by installments, and to build them a house. Family members felt forced to sign the agreement, as they saw no other way to seek relief.

“Women’s Rights Without Frontiers strongly condemns forced sterilization and all coercive family planning in China,” says Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers. “The fact that Shen Hongxia’s doctor had clearly warned that sterilizing her could kill her makes her death the responsibility of the Family Planning Officers who forced this violent surgery upon her. Compensating her family with money is not enough. Those responsible for her death should face serious criminal charges.”

This is the second death related to forced sterilization in March alone. In the other case, a woman who had been forcibly sterilized twice was found hanging in her local Family Planning Office, under suspicious circumstances.

“The Chinese Communist Party recently admitted to performing 196 million sterilizations. These sterilizations too often leave women butchered and maimed, and can at times be deadly,” says Littlejohn. “I first learned of the brutality of China’s One Child Policy by representing a woman who had been forcibly sterilized. Family Planning Officials literally dragged her out of her home kicking and screaming, held her down to a table and cut her open with no anesthesia. She said it felt like someone was burning her insides with a blowtorch. Since then she has lived in chronic pain. We need to fight forced sterilization as much as forced abortion in China.”

Sign a petition against coercive family planning here.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

China Dashes Growing Hopes for Democracy in Hong Kong.


BEIJING — China won’t allow Hong Kong to choose a chief executive who opposes Chinese government rule, as some lawmakers in the former British colony demand universal suffrage earlier than planned in 2017.

The leader of Hong Kong “can’t plot to overthrow the rule of the Chinese Communist Party,” Qiao Xiaoyang, chairman of the law committee of the National People’s Congress, said in a March 24 speech, according to a transcript posted online Thursday.

“Opposition isn’t defined to mean criticizing Beijing. If it’s for the good for the country, any sort of criticism is allowed.”

Qiao’s comments to Hong Kong lawmakers have sparked criticism from politicians including Albert Ho, who had unsuccessfully contested last year’s chief executive race, criticizing the criteria.

Declassified: 
‘Financial War’ Could Wipe Out 50% of Your Wealth

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was picked by a committee of billionaires, professionals, and lawmakers in 2012 as the last selected Hong Kong leader, with China earlier pledging universal suffrage in 2017.

Consultations about political reform in the city shouldn’t start until that principle is agreed upon, Qiao said in the speech, which was posted on the website of the Chinese government’s office in Hong Kong.

Foreign investors will leave Hong Kong if conflict between the chief executive and Beijing leads to political instability, and Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center will be in question, Qiao said.

Benny Tai Yiu-ting, an associate professor of law at the University of Hong Kong, said Wednesday he would organize protesters to block traffic in the city’s business district in July next year unless the government delivers a blueprint for universal suffrage that meets international standards, the South China Morning Post reported Thursday.

© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.
Source: NEWSmax.com

China leaders pledge clean government, less waste.


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BEIJING (AP) — China’s new leaders struck a populist tone Sunday as they got down to the painstaking work of governing, promising cleaner government, less red tape and more fairness to enlarge a still small middle class and help struggling private businesses.

In appearances that mark the completion of a months-long, orchestrated leadership transition, President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang stressed the urgency of reining in runaway official corruption to restore the Communist Party’s frayed public credibility.

Li made specific pledges to slash official perks and government extravagance to free up money for social welfare programs at a time of slower economic growth. He said a ban will be put on building new government offices, government payrolls will be reduced, as will spending on banquets, travel and cars — behavior that has fueled public anger and protests.

“If the people are to live a good life, their government must be put on a tight budget,” Li said in his first news conference as premier after the end of the annual session of the national legislature.

Earlier, in addressing the nearly 3,000 legislative deputies in the Great Hall of the People, Xi promised to root out “corruption and other misconduct in all manifestations.” He said people’s own aspirations must be part of “the Chinese dream” — a signature phrase he has used to invoke national greatness. “Each of us must have broad space to diligently realize our own dreams,” he said.

Though Xi and Li were installed as Nos. 1 and 2 in the party leadership in November, Sunday’s closing of the legislature means their government is now fully in place. The legislature appointed Cabinet ministers, named Li premier, gave Xi the ceremonial title of president and thereby relieved their predecessors of office.

The legislature’s close — and their appearances — also brought a concerted push to burnish the leaders’ image before a public that has grown more demanding as it has become more prosperous and better connected by the Internet and cellphones. Expectations have run high in recent months that the new leadership would address social sore-spots: close a wide wealth gap, curb the often capricious use of official power and clean up an environment degraded by the headlong pursuit of growth.

Both Xi’s speech and Li’s news conference were nationally televised. In them, they showed personality differences with their predecessors. Xi appeared more commanding and comfortable with his authority than his predecessor, Hu Jintao. Li was more direct and plainly spoken if less sympathetic than the grandfatherly Wen Jiabao, who larded his news conferences with references to classical poetry.

Li also gave a hint of his fluency in English. At one point he corrected a translator for saying “thank you” at the end of a translation when Li had not said it. The 57-year-old also recalled having been exiled to work in a poor rural village in his teens in the 1970s, like many in his generation under Mao Zedong’s radical rule, before market reforms and the reopening of universities brought change.

The reforms, he said, “have lifted hundreds of millions of peasants out of poverty and it has changed the life course of many individuals, including me.”

Both events were heavily scripted. Questions by Chinese and foreign reporters at Li’s 115-minute news conference were largely prearranged and pre-screened. Still, in a system where interactions between the leadership and the media are rare, the premier’s sole news conference of the year provides a window into the leaders’ personalities and thinking.

“It takes time to see if he can do a good job or not, but the language, logic and way of expression finally rid themselves of the shadow of old times. It’s not easy,” Xie Wen, a technology entrepreneur, said on his Sina Corporation micro-blog, which has 164,000 followers.

In talking tough about corruption, Li did not mention calls from experts to introduce public disclosure of official assets nor media reports about the huge wealth amassed by the family members of many in the communist elite.

“Clean government should start with oneself. Only when one is upright in oneself can he or she ask others to be upright. This is an ancient adage, but also the truth,” Li said. “Since we have chosen government service we should give up the thought of making money. We will readily accept the supervision of the whole society and the media.”

More striking was a vision Li outlined of a more limited government and its ties to reducing graft and unleashing the dynamism of entrepreneurs, migrant workers and the middle class. To do so will require taking on vested interests, he said, without identifying by name the powerful state-run enterprises and well-connected businesses.

“The government should be the guardian of social fairness. We need to work hard to create equal opportunities for everyone,” Li said. “So that people’s hard work will be duly rewarded, and that whatever type of wealth creator you are — a state-owned enterprise, a private enterprise or individually run business — as long as you compete on level playing and conduct business in a clean and honest way then you will be able to taste success.”

Li said that a government restructuring approved by the legislature is intended to streamline decision-making and limit interference in people’s lives. He promised to reduce by at least a third the 1,700 approvals required by the State Council, or Cabinet, for financing of projects and other work.

“We need to leave to the market and society what they can do well, and on the part of the government we need to manage well the matters that fall within its purview,” Li said.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By CHARLES HUTZLER | Associated Press

China’s leaders move to fill top government posts.


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BEIJING (AP) — The Chinese Communist Party‘s No. 2 leader was confirmed Friday as premier, tasked with addressing a slowing economy and defusing public anger over corruption, pollution and a growing gap between rich and poor.

China‘s rubberstamp legislature appointed Li Keqiang to the premiership as a long-orchestrated leadership transition neared its end. Final touches take place Saturday with selections of vice premiers, a central bank governor and finance and other ministers, and the legislature wraps up on Sunday.

Party chief Xi Jinping was appointed Thursday to the ceremonial post of president, completing his ascension as China’s pre-eminent leader after being promoted last November to head the Communist Party and the military.

Though the outcome of the legislative session was a foregone conclusion, it’s the result of years of fractious behind-the-scenes bargaining. They hail from different factions: Li Keqiang (pronounced lee kuh chee-ahng) is a protege of the now-retired President Hu Jintao while Xi Jinping (pronounced shee jin ping) is the son of a revolutionary veteran with backing among party elders.

Xi cuts an authoritative figure with a confidence and congeniality that was lacking in his predecessor, the aloof and stiff Hu. New Premier Li, from a mid-level official’s household, has appeared to be a cautious administrator, like Hu, and has not been associated with particular policies on his rise.

Evidence of their and their patrons’ ability to forge consensus will be seen Saturday when appointments to the Cabinet and other top government posts are announced.

As China’s top economic official, Li faces politically fraught challenges in keeping growth strong and incomes rising.

China’s leaders say they want more sustainable growth based on domestic consumption and technology instead of trade and investment. They have lowered annual growth targets to emphasize the shift. But consumer spending is rising only slowly, which has forced Beijing to keep pumping money into investment to support a sluggish economic recovery.

“If the official data is to be believed, China has been moving in the wrong direction for the past decade – towards ‘more investment, less consumption,'” wrote Standard Chartered economists Stephen Green and Wei Li in a research note. “This could create problems.”

Reformers say Communist leaders have to curb state companies that dominate industries from energy to telecoms to banking, and encourage free-market competition or growth could sink to 5 percent or lower by 2015, raising the risk of job losses and unrest. That will require Li, who has shown little appetite for confrontation, to challenge politically powerful corporate bosses.

China’s leadership is consensus-oriented, so governing the country is often sluggish business because none of the leaders are politically strong enough to prevail independently.

Wu Xiangdong, chairman of a wine company in central Hunan province and one of the congress delegates who poured out of the vast, ornate Great Hall of the People after Friday’s vote, said expectations were high for Li, the new premier.

“We are very excited and look forward to the premier and the new generation of leaders to be better able to work on the economy, food safety, the environment and improving social equality,” Wu said.

The National People’s Congress endorsed Li for the post with a vote of 2,940, with three opposed and six abstaining.

In some intriguing signs of the new leadership’s direction, the congress on Friday appointed as supreme court president Zhou Qiang, a provincial party secretary with a reputation as a progressive and a former aide to a well-known legal reformer. On Thursday, another liberal-minded reformer and a close ally of Hu, Li Yuanchao, was named vice president, breaking with the practice of recent years because he is not in the party’s seven-member ruling inner sanctum.

The new government will be expected to carry out promises outlined in a policy program delivered last week, including cleaning up the country’s environment, fighting graft and improving the social safety net.

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Associated Press writer Joe McDonald contributed to this report.

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Follow Gillian Wong on Twitter at twitter.com/gillianwong

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By GILLIAN WONG | Associated Press

China’s new leadership faces myriad challenges.


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BEIJING (AP) — China named the Communist Party’s No. 2 leader,Li Keqiang, premier on Friday as a long-orchestrated leadership transition nears its end, leaving the new leaders to confront uneven economic growth, unbridled corruption and a severely befouled environment that are stirring public discontent.

The rubber-stamp legislature endorsed Li for the post, voting 2,940 in favor, with three opposed and six abstaining. A day earlier, the legislature similarly appointed Xi Jinping to the ceremonial post of president, making him China’s pre-eminent leader following his ascent last November to head the Communist Party and the military.

Though the outcome of the legislative session was a foregone conclusion, it’s the result of years of fractious behind-the-scenes bargaining. They hail from different factions: Li Keqiang (pronounced lee kuh chahng) is a protege of the now-retired President Hu Jintao while Xi Jinping (pronounced shee jin ping) is the son of a revolutionary veteran with backing among party elders.

After Li’s selection was announced, he and Xi shook hands and smiled for photographers in the Great Hall of the People. Evidence of their and their patrons’ ability to forge consensus will be seen Saturday when appointments to the Cabinet and other top government posts are announced.

The son of a revolutionary veteran, Xi cuts an authoritative figure with a confidence and congeniality that was lacking in his predecessor, the aloof and stiff Hu. New Premier Li, from a low-level officials’ household, has appeared to be a cautious administrator, like Hu, and has not been associated with particular policies on his rise.

Together, Xi and Li now steer a rising global power beset with many domestic challenges that will test their leadership. Chief among them are a sputtering economy that’s overly dominated by powerfulstate industries.

Chinese leaders want to nurture self-sustaining growth based on domestic consumption and reducing reliance on exports and investment. Consumer spending is rising, but not as fast as Beijing wants, which has forced the government to support an economic recovery with spending on public works and investment by state companies.

“If the official data is to be believed, China has been moving in the wrong direction for the past decade — towards ‘more investment, less consumption,'” wrote Standard Chartered economists Stephen Green and Wei Li in a research note. “This could create problems.”

An increasingly vocal Chinese public is expressing impatience with the government’s unfulfilled promises to curb abuses of power by local officials, better police the food supply and clean up the country’s polluted rivers, air and soil.

“What do ordinary people care about? Food safety, and smog if you are in a big city, and official corruption,” said Chinese author and social commentator Murong Xuecun, the pen name of author Hao Qun. “They just want to have a peaceful, stable and safe life. To have money and food, and live without worry of being tortured, or having their homes forcefully demolished.”

“The entire country is watching for Xi’s next step,” the writer said.

Wu Xiangdong, chairman of a wine company in central Hunan province and one of the congress delegates who poured out of the vast, ornate Great Hall of the People after Friday’s vote, said expectations also were high for Li, the new premier.

“We are very excited and look forward to the premier and the new generation of leaders to be better able to work on the economy, food safety, the environment and improving social equality,” Wu said.

Xi’s accession marks only the second orderly transfer of power in more than six decades of Communist Party rule. Underlining that transition, after the result of Thursday’s vote was announced, the 59-year-old Xi bowed to delegates and turned to his predecessor, Hu. The two shook hands and posed for photos.

Governing China is often plodding as leaders, none of them politically strong enough to prevail individually, forge consensus with their colleagues in the collective leadership.

In some intriguing signs of the new leadership’s direction, the congress on Friday appointed as supreme court president Zhou Qiang, a provincial party secretary with a reputation as a progressive and a former aide to a well-known legal reformer. On Thursday, another liberal-minded reformer and a close ally of Hu, Li Yuanchao, was named vice president, breaking with the practice of recent years because he is not in the party’s seven-member ruling inner sanctum.

Early indications of the new government’s priorities came in a policy program delivered during last week’s opening of the legislative session. It pledged to clean up the country’s environment, fight pervasive graft and official extravagance and improve welfare benefits for the poor.

The report promised to give private companies a fairer chance to compete, but did not say how Beijing would deal with big state companies controlling most of China’s industries that economists have warned need to be curbed in order to preserve future growth. Many experts fear the government will be too hamstrung by powerful interest groups, linked to state industries, to be able to make these changes. But few doubt the urgency of the reform that’s needed.

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Follow Gillian Wong on Twitter: http://twitter.com/gillianwong

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By GILLIAN WONG | Associated Press

If You’re a Chinese Hacker, You Probably Hate Your Job.


This great profile of a one-time Chinese military hacker in the Los Angeles Times makes one thing clear about China’s military cyber hacking unit: It ain’t exactly Mission: Impossible.

Here’s a rundown of the soul-crushing tedium—based in part on a blog written by a hacker named Wang—that any cubicle-dwelling worker drone would recognize:

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The pay is lousy. Wang complained constantly about how little he made, particularly compared to his private-sector former classmates, and appeared to earned only enough to cover his expenses. The LA Times also highlights how cached evidence suggests that Wang’s colleague, Mei Qiang, posted ads online offering to write Trojan viruses for money (pdf, p.58).

The location, hours, and perks all suck. The hackers lived in a dorm on the distant outskirts of Shanghai, where they wore military uniforms, worked overtime and sustained themselves on instant noodles. The opportunities for distraction were minimal. “They should at least take us young people into consideration,” wrote Wang. “How can passionate young people like us handle a prison-like environment like this?”

Your boss cheats on his expenses, but won’t approve yours. Wang’s boss expensed a $100 bottle of liquor—a popular form of gift given to advance business relationships—while he was denied reimbursement for a $1 bus ticket to attend a conference.

You get punished just for trying to do a good job. Hackers commonly use phishing emails to invade their targets’ computers. And in order to get a native English-speaker to open your email, is has to be Chinglish-free. So Wang tried to spiff up his language by reading The Economist and Harvard Business Review—only to have his boss chide him for spending too much time reading foreign papers.

You have to toe the company line. As Time recently detailed, the Chinese government censored the personal blog of an unofficial Chinese hacker named Wan Tao, and ordered him to delete xenophobic posts when it needed to quell the 2005 anti-Japan riots. After 20 hours of deleting comments, Wan was hospitalized for exhaustion.

These last points are a reminder that it’s not merely run-of-the-mill bureaucracy that makes the life of a Chinese military hacker so humdrum. These hackers have mastered the open networks that depend on the free exchange of information—exactly what the Chinese Communist Party wants to keep under wraps. In that sense, the party’s ideological rigidity is probably its biggest weakness—as these hackers’ accounts show, it eventually starts to chafe. It’s telling that Wang’s favorite pastime was watching the US television “Prison Break.”

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By Gwynn Guilford, Quartz | National Journal

China says 14 guilty of pollution protest violence.


BEIJING (AP) — Fourteen people pleaded guilty to encouraging a riot in eastern China last year in which the local Communist Party chief was stripped half-naked in a mass protest that ultimately forced the local government to scrap a wastewater treatment project.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the defendants were prosecuted Wednesday on charges of encouraging mass violence against government buildings and intentionally damaging property in the city of Qidong in Jiangsu province north of Shanghai. Scores of police were hurt in the melee.

The sentences will be announced later, Xinhua said.

The case has prompted accusations that authorities are retaliating against the protesters after initially conceding to their demands by canceling the project.

“We admit that radical acts were committed, but that was because mere protesting would not have forced the government to change,” said Zhang Peihong, a Shanghai-based lawyer who represents defendant Zhu Baosheng.

Zhu is accused of smashing a clock in the lobby of the municipal government’s office building, pouring looted liquor from the roof of a car and forcing a city official to wear a shirt emblazoned with pro-environmental slogans.

Zhang said he argued in court that the case failed to take into account negligence on the part of local officials.

“We see no sincerity on behalf of the state,” the lawyer said.

Government actions leading up to such protests need to be examined and wrongdoing exposed, said Liu Shanying, a political scientist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

“You must investigate both sides, but in this case, we haven’t seen any scrutiny directed at the officials involved,” Liu said.

Despite that, unlawful acts such as assault and destruction of property must be punished, he added. “You should defend your rights within the law.”

Pollution has become a major cause of unrest in China, where the growing middle class have become more outspoken in their opposition to environmentally risky projects.

Last year, the Chinese also staged large-scale protests against a proposed copper plant in the southwestern province of Sichuan and a planned expansion of a petrochemical factory in the eastern province of Zhejiang. Like the Qidong project, the other two were eventually scrapped.

In Qidong, thousands of people upset with the wastewater treatment project stormed the Qidong municipal government compound and turned at least one police car on its side at the protest on July 28.

Citing court documents, the state-run Southern Metropolis Daily from southern China said the defendants forcibly broke through the police cordon to attack and to smash government buildings, injuring at least 90 police officers, damaging several cars and causing property loss of more than 230,000 yuan ($37,000).

It also said the city’s party chief was stripped half-naked after he refused to wear a T-shirt boycotting the project while the mayor was forced to wear such a T-shirt.

The protesters were worried that the wastewater from the Japanese company Oji Paper in upstream Nantong city would not be cleaned enough before being discharged into the sea near Qidong, although Oji had assured the wastewater would be properly treated.

The grass-roots protests reflect the balancing act Chinese leaders are performing between maintaining public stability and pushing economic growth, and between local officials who want to attract industry and a public who do not want it in their neighborhoods.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By DIDI TANG | Associated Press

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