Posts Tagged ‘Chinese Communist Party’

China Moves to Discredit Tycoon’s Claims of Communist Party Corruption

April 21, 2017

BEIJING — China on Friday sought to discredit billionaire businessman Guo Wengui, painting him as a “criminal suspect” whose allegations of corruption within the highest levels of the Communist Party should not be believed.

Guo, a flamboyant property mogul who has held close ties to disgraced former Chinese intelligence official Ma Jian, has courted international attention with his explosive claims, most recently aired during a live television interview with the U.S government-funded Voice of America (VoA) on Wednesday.

 Exiled businessman Guo Wengui. Photo: Handout

China said on Wednesday that Guo was subject to an Interpol “red notice”, a fact Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang reiterated at a regular press briefing in Beijing on Friday.

“If you are willing to believe what he said then that’s your business,” Lu said. “We don’t believe it.”

The Chinese government had pressed VoA to cancel the interview ahead of time, including by summoning one of the broadcaster’s Beijing-based correspondents to a meeting on Monday, sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The ministry’s comments come amid an apparently concerted damage-limitation effort within China highlighting Guo’s reputation as an unreliable narrator.

A 23-minute video, purportedly of Ma Jian confessing in detail to accepting 60 million yuan ($8.72 million) in bribes from Guo, has circulated on Chinese social media since Wednesday night without being removed by government censors who are often quick to delete politically sensitive posts or unsubstantiated rumors.

The video, which was produced and posted online anonymously, has also been reported on widely by mainland media outlets, all of which are regulated by the government. Reuters was unable to independently verify the veracity of the video.

The widely read Beijing News newspaper, and the respected financial magazine Caixin, also published lengthy investigations into Guo’s business dealings and ties with Ma, a disgraced former state security vice-minister who was first detained in early 2015 and expelled from the Communist Party in December last year.

Guo has said he left China in late 2014 after being tipped off about Ma’s imminent arrest, and has not returned since his company premises were raided amid a heated dispute with state-backed Founder Securities.

Since leaving, he has spent most of his time in the United States.

After laying low for two years, Guo resurfaced in February and has since made wide-ranging but unverified allegations of corruption against several top Communist Party officials – past and present – and their families.

He says the information was obtained from Ma, whom he concedes he held a close relationship with but denies bribing.

At Friday’s Foreign Ministry briefing, Lu rejected suggestions the timing of the Interpol red notice was connected to the airing of the VoA interview.

“Interpol has been around for 100 years and has 190 member states,” he said. “For this kind of international organization we think their actions are solemn.”

(Reporting by Philip Wen and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Related:

 

China launches unprecedented international publicity war against wanted tycoon Guo Wengui (He says he has evidence of corruption at the top of China’s leadership)

April 20, 2017

Mainland officials launch unusually savvy media and cyberspace campaign at home and abroad, outside the official firewall

By South China Morning Post

Thursday, April 20, 2017, 3:52pm

China needs a new grand strategy

February 18, 2017

CLAREMONT (California) • The Cold War ended in December 1991, when the Soviet Union disintegrated. The post-Cold War era ended in November last year , when Mr Donald Trump won the United States presidency.

It is impossible to predict all of what the Trump era will bring, not least because of Mr Trump’s own capriciousness. But some consequences are already apparent. In just a couple of weeks, his presidency has upended the key assumptions underpinning China’s post-Cold War grand strategy.

The first assumption is ideological. The ostensible triumph of Western liberal democracy in 1989 imbued that system with a kind of dominance. It was, therefore, assumed to pose an existential threat to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

In the economic realm, China expected continued Western leadership on economic globalisation. So China’s government developed close commercial relationships with the West – relationships that supported China’s economic growth and development, strengthening support for the CCP at home and bolstering the country’s influence abroad.

Regarding national security, China assumed that the US did not pose an imminent threat. Though the US and its allies enjoy overwhelming technological advantages – a reality that had long worried Chinese leaders – China took it almost as a given that the US would continue to place a high priority on conflict avoidance.

All in all, China’s leaders had come to terms with the dual nature of America’s hedging strategy, whereby the US engaged with China economically and diplomatically, while maintaining a robust security posture vis-a-vis China, to deter expansionism. And they had developed a strategy of their own that aimed to make the most of this relatively peaceful operating environment to pursue their main objective: rapid economic development.

A port in Lianyungang, China. De- globalisation now seems to be a given, which is profoundly worrying for China, the world’s largest exporter by volume, says the writer. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE- PRESSE

 

Now, however, that operating environment has changed; in fact, the foundations of the post-Cold War order were fraying long before Mr Trump arrived on the scene. Among other things, the 2008 global financial crisis and America’s strategic stumbles in the Middle East since the terrorist attacks of Sept 11, 2001 substantially weakened the West’s capacity to maintain the international rules-based order and provide global public goods.

None of this is news to China, which has been pursuing incremental adjustments to its grand strategy, in order to seize the opportunities created by the West’s relative decline. For example, while the US was distracted by the Middle East’s protracted and fluid conflicts, China tested the country’s resolve by flexing its own muscles, most obviously in the South China Sea.

But, overall, the changes were marginal; the strategy’s fundamentals stayed the same. That is no longer an option. With Mr Trump in the White House, China’s grand strategy will have to be completely redrafted according to a new set of assumptions.

Ideologically, China can breathe a sigh of relief. The advent of the Trump era – together with the Brexit vote in Britain and the rise of right-wing populism in other European countries – seems to herald the precipitous decline of liberal democracy’s ideological attraction.

On the economic front, however, the new operating environment is likely to be difficult. De-globalisation now seems to be a given. That is profoundly worrying for China, the world’s largest exporter by volume and arguably globalisation’s greatest beneficiary.

Given China’s dependence on exports, even the best-case scenario is likely to lead to some decline in China’s potential growth. But what has China really worried are the worst-case scenarios. Economic interdependence between China and the US buffers their geopolitical and ideological rivalry. Should Mr Trump make good on his threat to tear up trade agreements and unilaterally impose punitive tariffs, the existing global trading regime will unravel, with China as one of the biggest casualties.

But the most acute danger may lie in the realm of national security. Mr Trump’s statements and actions since the election, together with his broader reputation as an impulsive bully and apparent belief that the world is a Hobbesian jungle, have convinced the Chinese leadership that he is itching for a fight.

Mr Trump has not only threatened to defy the “one China” policy, which has formed the foundation of US-China relations since 1972, but he has also vowed to build up US naval capabilities with the explicit goal of opposing China. His courting of Russian President Vladimir Putin has only exacerbated concerns among Chinese leaders that the US is preparing to challenge China.

These new assumptions provide some indication of the way forward for China, as it develops a new grand strategy. And yet plenty of unknowns remain. If, for example, Mr Trump decides to take on Iran and subsequently gets sucked even deeper into the Middle East quagmire, China might get some breathing room. But if he opts to confront China in the South China Sea or abandons the “one China” policy, US-China relations could be tipped into free fall, raising the frightening prospect of a direct military conflict.

Barring that, Mr Trump’s ascent to the presidency may usher in a new Cold War pitting the US against China. This may seem unthinkable to many. But so was Mr Trump’s victory – until it happened.


  • The writer is a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College and the author of China’s Crony Capitalism.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 18, 2017, with the headline ‘China needs a new grand strategy’.
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China Tested ICBM With 10 Warheads

January 31, 2017

By Bill Gertz

China flight tested a new variant of a long-range missile with 10 warheads in what defense officials say represents a dramatic shift in Beijing’s strategic nuclear posture.

The flight test of the DF-5C missile was carried out earlier this month using 10 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles, or MIRVs. The test of the inert warheads was monitored closely by U.S. intelligence agencies, said two officials familiar with reports of the missile test.

The missile was fired from the Taiyuan Space Launch Center in central China and flew to an impact range in the western Chinese desert.

No other details about the test could be learned. Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Gary Ross suggested in a statement the test was monitored.

“The [Defense Department] routinely monitors Chinese military developments and accounts for PLA capabilities in our defense plans,” Ross told the Washington Free Beacon.

DF-5C launch

DF-5 launch

The test of a missile with 10 warheads is significant because it indicates the secretive Chinese military is increasing the number of warheads in its arsenal.

Estimates of China’s nuclear arsenal for decades put the number of strategic warheads at the relatively low level of around 250 warheads.

U.S. intelligence agencies in February reported that China had begun adding warheads to older DF-5 missiles, in a move that has raised concerns for strategic war planners.

Uploading Chinese missiles from single or triple warhead configurations to up to 10 warheads means the number of warheads stockpiled is orders of magnitude larger than the 250 estimate.

Currently, U.S. nuclear forces—land-based and sea-based nuclear missiles and bombers—have been configured to deter Russia’s growing nuclear forces and the smaller Chinese nuclear force.

Under the 2010 U.S.-Russian arms treaty, the United States is slated to reduce its nuclear arsenal to 1,550 deployed warheads.

A boost in the Chinese nuclear arsenal to 800 or 1,000 warheads likely would prompt the Pentagon to increase the U.S. nuclear warhead arsenal by taking weapons out of storage.

The new commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, Air Force Gen. John Hyten, stated during a Senate confirmation hearing in September that he is concerned about China’s growing nuclear arsenal.

“I am fully aware that China continues to modernize its nuclear missile force and is striving for a secure second-strike capability,” Hyten told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“Although it continues to profess a ‘no first use’ doctrine, China is re-engineering its long-range ballistic missiles to carry multiple nuclear warheads and continues to develop and test hyper-glide vehicle technologies,” Hyten added.

“These developments—coupled with a lack of transparency on nuclear issues such as force disposition and size—may impact regional and strategic stability and are cause for continued vigilance and concern.”

The 10-warhead missile test comes amid heightened tensions with China. State-run media in recent weeks has carried reports calling for China to expand its nuclear forces. A broadcast report showed that new long-range mobile missiles could strike the entire United States.

The Chinese state television channel CCTV-4 last week broadcast nuclear threats, including graphics showing new DF-41 missiles deployed in northern China and graphics showing the missiles’ strike path into the United States. The Jan. 25 broadcast included a graphic of a 10-warhead MIRV bus for the DF-41.

cctv-warheads

The Chinese Communist Party propaganda newspaper Global Times, known for its anti-U.S. stance, issued stark calls for China to build up its nuclear arsenal for use against the United States. On Jan. 24, the newspaper said China’s strategic forces “must be so strong that no country would dare launch a military showdown.”

“China must procure a level of strategic military strength that will force the U.S. to respect it,” the newspaper said.

The same state-run organ criticized President Donald Trump in an article on Dec. 8 and said China should use its wealth “to build more strategic nuclear arms and accelerate the deployment of the DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile.”

“We need to get better prepared militarily regarding the Taiwan question to ensure that those who advocate Taiwan’s independence will be punished, and take precautions in case of U.S. provocations in the South China Sea,” the newspaper said.

China conducted a flight test of the DF-41 in April.

Trump in December called for boosting America’s aging nuclear arsenal.

“The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” he stated in a tweet.

Military analysts said the large number of warheads is unusual for the Chinese nuclear program.

Rick Fisher, an analyst with the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said the multi-warhead missile test appears to be aimed at sending a signal to the new Trump administration.

Trump has tangled with China in opposing its military buildup on disputed South China Sea islands and on U.S. policy toward Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a renegade province and not an independent country.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the United States is prepared to block China’s access to reclaimed islands he said are located in international waters and not China’s sovereign maritime domain.

“This test of the 10-warhead DF-5C is China’s latest nuclear intimidation exercise aimed at the new Trump administration,” Fisher said.

“China’s nuclear intimidation signals have included the public revelation in late December via Chinese websites of the new DF-41 ICBM in Heilongjiang province, plus articles in China’s state-controlled media touting the need for China to increase its nuclear forces to intimidate Washington,” Fisher added.

China’s known force of around 20 D-5 missiles were deployed with large single warheads in the past, while some were upgraded with three-warhead top stages.

In September 2015 China revealed for the first time during a military parade that it had deployed a new DF-5B multi-warhead missile. Unofficial published reports suggested the DF-5B carries between six and eight warheads.

“The revelation that China has tested a new version of the DF-5 carrying ten warheads constitutes a very strong indication that China has produced a smaller warhead to equip its MIRV-capable ICBMs,” Fisher said.

Some analysts speculate that the recent test of the DF-5C used the older missile as a test platform for a new warhead delivery bus that will be used on the new DF-41.

French China watcher Henri Kenhmann reported on his website East Pendulum that a Chinese missile test was to be carried out Jan. 15, based on air closure notices issued by the Chinese government for areas around Taiyuan and a missile impact range in western Xinjiang Province.

Analysis of the impact range suggests the test would include multiple test warheads.

“The point of impact is located south of the Taklamakan desert, in the former ballistic range of Minfeng,” Kenhmann said, noting the Chinese had imposed an unusually large air exclusion zone of 125 miles around the impact zone.

“It should be noted that this zone of ballistic impact is abnormally large,” he stated, a sign the large area would be used for multiple dummy warheads.

‘The size of this impact zone could indicate testing several MIRVs,” he said.

A similar Chinese test of the DF-41 in April involved two MIRVs that were fired to a much smaller impact area of 60 miles by 37 miles.

The Pentagon’s latest annual report on the Chinese military said Beijing continues to upgrade its nuclear forces by enhancing silo-based missiles and adding new road-mobile missiles.

“China’s ICBM arsenal to date consists of approximately 75 to 100 ICBMs, including the silo-based CSS-4 Mod 2 (DF-5) and multiple independently-targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV)-equipped Mod 3 (DF-5B); the solid-fueled, road-mobile CSS-10 Mod 1 and 2 (DF-31 and DF-31A); and the shorter range CSS-3 (DF-4),” the report said.

The DF-5 is a two-stage, liquid-fueled missile with a range of around 8,000 miles.

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/china-tests-missile-10-warheads/

Netflix to air film on Hong Kong Democracy activist Joshua Wong — “The power of the Hong Kong people will be sufficient to win the day in the David and Goliath struggle with Chinese rule.”

January 25, 2017

Documentary Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower recently premiered at Sundance

By Raquel Carvalho
South China Morning Post

Wednesday, January 25, 2017
 Image may contain: 2 people, people on stage and concert

A documentary on 20-year-old Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung, which made its world premier last Friday at the Sundance Film Festival, will be available on Netflix later this year.

The streaming service, which has about 93 million members in 190 countries, has acquired Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower, a film on the student leader who played a key role in the 2014 civil disobedience movement Occupy Central.

Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower is a filmmaking triumph,” Lisa Nishimura, Netflix’s vice-president of original documentaries, said in a statement.

The film was directed by Joe Piscatella and produced by Andrew Duncan, Matthew Torne and Mark Rinehart. Alex Saks is the executive producer.

“Piscatella has woven together the complex and inspirational story of an unlikely activist, whose acts of bravery and conviction need to be seen around the world,” Nishimura noted.

“In an era where we are witnessing heightened civic participation and freedom of expression, we are pleased to offer a global platform for audiences to engage on these issues,” she said.

The film’s synopsis on the Sundance website and in the Netflix statement said: “When the Chinese Communist Party threatens its promise of autonomy to Hong Kong, teenager Joshua Wong decides to save his homeland. Rallying thousands of kids to skip school and occupy the streets, Joshua becomes an unlikely leader in Hong Kong and one of China’s most notorious dissidents.”

Wong founded student-led activist group Scholarism in 2012, when he was in secondary school. His arrest, along with those of two other activists, following a class boycott in 2014 prompted thousands to take to the streets demanding “genuine universal suffrage”.

Protesters blocked different areas of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon for 79 days.

Piscatella said that the Netflix partnership would help the documentary “reach millions of young people who will find inspiration in Joshua’s story”.

Duncan noted that the deal would allow the filmmakers “to share Joshua’s message about the importance of due process of law and freedom of speech with a worldwide audience”.

A review in film magazine Screen Daily said: “In an earlier age, Joshua Wong might have been the perfect Frank Capra hero. An idealistic, unassuming student activist, he is driven by a staunch belief that the power of the Hong Kong people will be sufficient to win the day in the David and Goliath struggle with Chinese rule.”

The magazine described the film, which played at Sundance’s World Documentary Competition, as “absorbing”, noting that it had “a particular resonance as we approach the 20th anniversary of the British handover of Hong Kong to China”.

http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/2065270/netflix-air-film-occupy-activist-joshua-wong

Russian Efforts Have Worked So Well on U.S. That China Ramps Up Its Own: Says Trump’s Pick of Rex Tillerson “Better Watch His Mouth.” — Threats to block China in the South China Sea are fighting words.

January 13, 2017

AFP

© AFP | Advertisements for a magazine showing various cover stories, including ones featuring US President-elect Donald Trump, at a newsstand in Shanghai

BEIJING (AFP) – Prospective US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson better watch his mouth, angry Chinese media said Friday, warning Donald Trump’s nominee that his threats to block China in the South China Sea are fighting words.

The comments came after the former ExxonMobil CEO told US senators that he would seek to deny Beijing access to the artificial islands they have been building in the South China Sea.

China’s actions in the region are comparable to Russia’s invasion of Crimea, he said, a comment that did not sit well with the nuclear-armed Asian giant.

If Tillerson acted on his threats, Chinese state-owned China Daily warned “it would set a course for devastating confrontation between China and the US.”

Satellite photos show China has been hard at work building military facilities in the contested waters, which are also claimed by the Philippines and Vietnam, among others.

Under US President Barack Obama, Washington has claimed Beijing’s activities in the region threaten freedom of navigation and overflight through the commercially and strategically vital waters.

But is has not taken a position on the ownership of the islets, reefs and shoals that sit in one of the world’s hotspots.

Tillerson, however, explicitly said that the territories “are not rightfully China’s.”

“Unless Washington plans to wage a large scale war in the South China Sea, any other approaches to prevent Chinese access to the islands will be foolish,” the nationalistic Global Times wrote in an editorial.

The paper, which is thought to have some insight into the thinking of more hawkish members of Chinese Communist Party, added that Tillerson better “bone up on nuclear power strategies if he wants to force a big nuclear power to withdraw from its own territories.”

It has previously called on Beijing to increase its nuclear arsenal after Donald Trump threatened to upend decades of US policy on Taiwan by suggesting he could recognise the island, which China regards as an indisputable part of its sovereign territory.

China’s official reaction to the comments was muted, with foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang politely urging Washington to mind its own business.

“The South China Sea situation has cooled down and we hope non-regional countries can respect the consensus that it is in the fundamental interest of the whole world,” he said.

Both papers, despite their warnings, agreed that it was too early to tell if Tillerson’s words were more bark than bite.

“It remains to be seen to what extent his views against China will translate into US foreign policies,” the China Daily said.

But, the Global Times warned, that does not mean that the Trump administration should think Beijing has not heard his team’s outspoken anti-China rhetoric.

The president-elect has filled his team with hardliners like Peter Navarro, the author of “Death by China”, and has threatened to declare Beijing a currency manipulator and slap it with 45 percent tariffs.

China is letting those comments slide for now, the Global Times wrote, but “if Trump’s diplomatic team shapes future Sino-US ties as it is doing now, the two sides had better prepare for a military clash.”

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Rex Tillerson’s South China Sea Remarks Foreshadow Possible Foreign Policy Crisis

HONG KONG — Rex W. Tillerson’s call for China to be denied access to its artificial islands in the South China Sea, made Wednesday during his confirmation hearing for secretary of state, set the stage for a possible crisis between the world’s two biggest economies should his comments become official American policy.

Mr. Tillerson told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday that China’s multibillion-dollar island-building campaign in the oil-and-gas rich sea was illegal and “akin to Russia’s taking of Crimea.”

“We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops,” Mr. Tillerson told the senators. “And second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed.”

Should those words be translated into action after Donald J. Trump assumes the presidency on Jan. 20, it would be a remarkable change in the American approach to Beijing’s island-building in the South China Sea, which is transforming the area into what one Washington think tank said would by 2030 become “virtually a Chinese lake.” China asserts sovereignty over most of the South China Sea despite competing claims by countries including Vietnam and the Philippines and an international ruling rejecting most of Beijing’s assertions.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/12/world/asia/rex-tillerson-south-china-sea-us.html

China’s digital dictatorship — Worrying experiments with a new form of social control — Time to turn the spotlight on the rulers, not the ruled?

December 19, 2016

WHEN communism crumbled in the Soviet Union, 25 years ago this week, the Chinese Communist Party seemed to many to be heading irreversibly downwards. Yes, the tanks had left Tiananmen Square after crushing a revolt in 1989, but the war appeared lost. Even China’s breakneck growth, which took off a year after the Soviet collapse, looked likely only to tear the party further from its ideological bedrock. In 1998 President Bill Clinton intimated that he foresaw an inevitable democratic trajectory. He told his Chinese counterpart, Jiang Zemin, that China was “on the wrong side of history”.

Yet, while the West has suffered from the financial crisis and the fallout after a failed attempt to implant democracy in the Middle East, China’s Communist Party has clung on to its monopoly of power. Its leaders behave as if China will never have to undergo the democratic transformation that every rich country has passed through on the way to prosperity. Instead they seem to believe that the party can keep control—and some officials are betting that the way to do so lies in a new form of digital dictatorship.

Under its leader, Xi Jinping, the party looks from the outside to be stronger than at any time in decades. Since Tiananmen, stale apparatchiks have been replaced by bright technocrats—and even entrepreneurs. Citizens enjoy freedoms unimaginable a generation ago—to do business, to travel abroad and to pursue freewheeling lives. Using Western techniques of public relations, the party reminds ordinary Chinese how everyone, thanks to mass consumerism, is having a jolly good time.

And yet the party is still profoundly insecure. During the past few years it has felt the need to impose a fierce clampdown on dissidents and their lawyers. It is bullying activists in Hong Kong who challenge its authority and is terrorising restless minorities. Rapid economic growth has created a huge new middle class who relish the opportunity to get rich, but who are also distrustful of everything around them: of officials who ride roughshod over property rights, of a state health-care system riddled with corruption, of businesses that routinely peddle shoddy goods, of an education system in which cheating is the norm and of people whose criminal and financial backgrounds are impossible to assess.

The party rightly worries that a society so lacking in trust is unstable. So it is experimenting with a striking remedy. It calls this a “social-credit system” (see article). It says the idea is to harness digitally stored information to chivvy everyone into behaving more honestly, whether fly-by-night companies or tax- and fine-dodging individuals. That sounds fair enough. But the government also talks about this as a tool of “social management”: ie, controlling individuals’ behaviour. This is a regime that already tries to police how often people visit their parents. How much further could it go? Citizens’ ratings are to be linked with their identity-card numbers. Many fear that bad scores might result in sanctions, such as being denied a bank loan or permission to buy a railway ticket, even for political reasons. They have reason to worry. The government decreed this year that the system should record such vaguely defined sins as “assembling to disrupt social order”.

In the West, too, the puffs of data that people leave behind them as they go about their lives are being vacuumed up by companies such as Google and Facebook. Those with access to these data will know more about people than people know about themselves. But you can be fairly sure that the West will have rules—especially where the state is involved. In China, by contrast, the monitoring could result in a digital dystopia. Officials talk of creating a system that by 2020 will “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.”

So far, the scheme is only experimental, in about 30 areas. The government itself seems unsure how far to take it. There has been much debate about how to ensure that citizens can challenge their ratings. Indeed, attempts to use the system to give the party more muscle are meeting opposition. Official media have reported misgivings about one experiment in which citizens visiting government offices to complain about miscarriages of justice were punished with poor scores. The media have even quoted critics comparing such tactics to the Japanese handing out “good citizen” certificates to trusted Chinese during the imperial army’s hated wartime occupation.

That the party has given publicity to such concerns suggests it may heed some of them. But it is just as likely that the experiments mark the beginning of something bigger and more sinister. They are of a piece with China’s deep-seated bureaucratic traditions of coercion and paternalism. The government feels that it has a right to intrude on citizens’ lives. Public resentment has made no difference to brutal, ill-judged efforts to dictate how many children families can have. Whenever Mr Xi is challenged, his instinct always seems to be to crack down. The routine succession of threats any government faces is more likely to lead to oppression than to a free, informed debate or a decision that the state should forsake the digital tools available.

Turn the spotlight on the rulers, not the ruled

Instead of rating citizens, the government should be allowing them to assess the way it rules. Vast digital systems are not needed for that. For all democracy’s weaknesses, the ballot box can still work. Too much to ask for in China, perhaps? Not if the government is to be taken at its word. Its outline of the social-credit scheme grandly calls for “complete systems to constrain and supervise the use of power” and steps to “broaden channels for public participation in government policymaking”. That sounds a lot like democracy.

Sadly, Mr Xi shows little interest in experiments of that kind. Witness the thugs who were recently deployed outside the home of a Beijing citizen who dared to try to stand in a local election without the party’s permission. Instead Mr Xi continues to develop digital tools and systems for controlling people. That will fuel anger and resentment towards the government. In the long run it will prove that Mr Clinton was right.

China Increases Internet Control — China criminalizing people reporting on ethnic conflict — “That’s fake news” — China’s creeping control of the Internet

December 10, 2016

URUMQI, China — The regional government of China’s far western region of Xinjiang, which has grappled with ethnic violence, has put into effect strict regulations that punish people for spreading “false information” online.

The regulations appear to be aimed at criminalizing people living in Xinjiang who make online postings about ethnic conflict or tensions, as well as related violence and terrorism.

In recent years, Xinjiang and central government officials have said they are concerned about the spread of online material that might incite attacks by citizens. In areas of Xinjiang where there is a significant population of ethnic Uighurs, there have been notable incidents of violence, including here in Urumqi, the regional capital.

In 2009, ethnic rioting in Urumqi resulted in about 200 deaths — officials said most of the victims were ethnic Han, the dominant group in China — and a harsh security crackdown on Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking people who mostly practice Sunni Islam. Since then, violence has flared in southern oasis towns in Xinjiang, with Chinese officials attributing much of the bloodshed to “religious extremists” or “separatists.”

Xinjiang Daily, an official newspaper, said Wednesday that the purpose of the new rules was to “prevent and punish the crime of spreading false information that disturbs social order, and to protect the legal interests of citizens, legal representatives and other organizations.”

The central government has also been issuing regulations that try to control the spread of “false information.” In July, the Cyberspace Administration of China said it would punish website operators who post “directly as news reports unverified content found on online platforms such as social media.” Officials had already been punishing people in recent years for making a variety of posts said to be based on rumors.

Critics of the Communist Party’s systems of control say such bans are an attempt to stop the spread of ideas that officials think may weaken the party’s rule or legitimacy. (In the United States, a different political conversation about the spread of  “fake news” online has been unfolding since last month’s presidential election.)

Read the rest at the source: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/10/world/asia/xinjiang-china-uighur-internet-controls.html?&moduleDetail=section-news-1&action=click&contentCollection=Asia%20Pacific&region=Footer&module=MoreInSection&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&pgtype=article

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China Could Control the Global Internet 
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The handover of ICANN, the body that governs domain name registration, fits into a strategy by the Chinese regime to determine how the internet is run
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