Posts Tagged ‘Communist Party’

China’s Economy Slowed Again in November

December 14, 2018
“China won’t have double-digit growth like in the past years.”
  •  Industrial output, retail sales weaker than forecast in Nov.
  •  Communist Party to meet next week for Economic Work Conference

China’s economy slowed again in November as retail sales and industrial production weakened, creating a challenging backdrop for policy makers who gather next week to set the tone for the year at their annual Economic Work Conference in Beijing.

Image result for china, stock markets, photos
China’s stock market — FILE photo — Photograph by ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

Industrial production growth decelerated to 5.4 percent, below all 38 economists’ estimates. Retail sales — formerly a pillar of support for the economy — posted the weakest performance since May 2003, rising 8.1 percent from a year earlier . Chinese stocks fell along with the currency as data signaled a deepening slowdown.

It wasn’t all bad news though. Fixed-asset investment growth firmed, expanding 5.9 percent in the first eleven months of the year, and the surveyed jobless rate dropped marginally to 4.8 percent. That suggests stimulus to cushion the slowdown is beginning to take root.

The data point to a continuation of 2018’s targeted approach to support growth. People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang indicated as much late Thursday, saying that monetary policy will remain supportive. Economists expect such support to involve another 200 basis points of reduction to the required reserve ratio for major banks, a measure that’s been used several times this year, according to Bloomberg survey published Friday.

“With consumers cutting back, and output sputtering, the need for stabilization measures is becoming more pressing,” said Frederic Neumann, co-head of Asian economics research at HSBC Holdings Plc in Hong Kong. “Even if the clouds on the trade front lift, at least temporarily, softening domestic demand continues to weigh on growth. Further policy easing will be necessary to arrest the slide.”

Continued Slowdown

Industrial output, retail sales expand at slowest pace for at least a decade

Note: Usually no data in January or February due to lunar new year.

Source: National Bureau of Statistics

The one-year lending rate, which has a broader influence on the economy, is forecast to remain unchanged at 4.35 percent through the first quarter of 2021, according to the Bloomberg survey, signaling that the central bank is expected to avoid adding downward pressure on the currency.

Looming over this year’s economic policy meeting is the urgency of reaching a sustainable agreement on trade with the U.S. before a deadline for higher tariffs expires on March 1. China may see the need to announce further measures aimed at answering U.S. criticism, such as steps to open up protected markets.

China’s Economic Policy Summit Nears, Overshadowed by Trade

Bloomberg’s monthly collation of early indicators correctly predicted the grim November numbers. An expected tapering of strong exports as the ‘front loading’ effect caused by the trade war fades means the first quarter is set to be challenging too.

“The worst is yet to come,” said Sue Trinh, head of Asia FX Strategy at RBC Capital Markets in Hong Kong. “Policymakers will be very worried, particularly with consumption growth falling off a cliff.”

That said, there’s increasing evidence that investment has stabilized. Manufacturing investment growth accelerated for the eighth straight month in November, with state firms leading the way. While that mightn’t be enough to brighten the current picture, it shows that stimulus measures announced during the year are having some effect.

That may encourage more, even as officials work continue to curb financial-sector risks.

What Our Economists Say…

Activity data for November show further weakening in the Chinese economy — with flagging private consumption the most worrying sign. That’s reflected in a notable slowdown in retail sales growth. Stable demand for consumer staples paired with waning demand for consumer discretionary goods suggests that the slowing economy has undermined confidence.
— Chang Shu and David Qu, Bloomberg Economics
For the full note click here

At a meeting of the Politburo led by President Xi Jinping, top leaders signaled that campaigns announced last year against financial risk, pollution and poverty will continue. The nation should further stabilize employment, finance, trade, foreign investment and boost market confidence in 2019, according to a statement published by the official Xinhua News Agency.

On Thursday, the PBOC’s Yi highlighted the balancing act that officials face — supporting growth while refraining from launching large-scale stimulus that would spur financial-sector bubbles and destabilize the economy.

“China won’t have double-digit growth like in the past years,” and it’s stayed around its potential growth rate in recent years, he said.

 Updated on 

— With assistance by Matthew Boesler, Natalie Lung, Yinan Zhao, and Kevin Hamlin



China’s “Quit the [Communist] Party” movement may be more than 321 million people

December 12, 2018

“When you are an illegitimate regime, you have a problem; and that is fear of your own people.”

While the less-than-peaceful rise of communist China and its dream of reshaping the world order have alarmed the world in recent years, a grassroots movement has taken shape that could peacefully disintegrate the Chinese Communist Party, say human-rights experts. Yet this movement has gone unnoticed by many.

By Jennifer Zeng
Epoch Times
December 11, 2018

Now the number of Chinese people who have published declarations with the Tuidang (meaning “Quit the Party”) movement—and thus have renounced all association with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its affiliated organizations—has topped 321 million. Last week, the Global Service Center for Quitting the Chinese Communist Party brought together a panel of experts and human rights activists to discuss what the Tuidang movement means to China and the world.

Averting World War III

Trevor Loudon, a New Zealand expert on socialism and contributor to The Epoch Times, spoke to the Dec. 4 forum on Capitol Hill via telephone, saying that “out of all the beautiful movements of the world right now,” the Tuidang movement “is the most important, because the Communist Party in China is the No. 1 threat to global peace.”

“If people were saying ‘Get out of the Nazi party,’ ‘Don’t join the Nazi party,’ ‘Abandon the Nazi party,’ if we had such a movement in those days, we possibly could have avoided WWII,” Loudon said.

“This is the situation we are in right now. The CCP today is the Nazi party of the 1930s.

“The only movement in the world that is trying to stop the CCP is you people. … If you can keep on making more and more people desert the party, then we can peacefully avert World War III. We can avert what I think is one of the greatest looming disasters that we face, and that is a global war involving China and its allies against the West.”

One of the Greatest Human-Rights Stories

Jeffrey Imm, founder and director of Responsible for Equality and Liberty, noticed that the number of people who have quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations is almost equal to the population of the United States.

Jeffrey Imm, founder and director at R.E.A.L. (Responsible for Equality and Liberty), speaks at the Deteriorating Human Rights and Tuidang Movement in China forum on Capitol Hill in Washington on Dec. 4, 2018. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

“Consider any other human-rights movement the size of the U.S. who would leave a totalitarian ideology,” Imm said. “It is one of the greatest human-rights stories in history.

“The world must not surrender to the CCP’s regime. The Communist regime doesn’t intend to limit its control to only China, only to the people it persecutes in the Falun Gong, the Tibetan Buddhists, the Uyghur Muslims, the Christians, minorities, and other Chinese it persecutes. The Chinese Communist Party doesn’t plan to stop just there. It plans to target the world.”

‘Spiritual Abandonment’ of the Chinese People

“I always thought it was a mistake for us to believe that we could turn communist China against the Soviet communists, and thereby, in some kind of 19th-century balance-of-power policy,” said John Lenczowski, founder and president of the Institute of World Politics, who has sharply criticized U.S. policy on China in the past.

John Lenczowski, president of the Institute of World Politics, speaks at the Deteriorating Human Rights and Tuidang Movement in China forum on Capitol Hill in Washington on Dec. 4, 2018. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

“[That] ended up, in my view, creating a moral confusion, saying that there were bad communists in the Soviet Union and good communists in China, which I think has turned out to be a conceptual problem that has really produced a strategic disaster for the United States and the world and a huge spiritual abandonment of so many people in China.

“Now, we are seeing a rise of tensions between Communist China and the U.S., and between Communist China and many of its neighbors in East Asia. We are seeing a rising colonialist foreign policy by China. The strategic direction, the vast military build-up, the huge espionage operation, the intellectual property theft is all implicitly related to the fundamental nature of that regime.”

Lenczowski said the CCP’s expansionist and imperialist policy is directly related to the illegitimacy of the regime. “When you are an illegitimate regime, you have a problem; and that is fear of your own people,” he said.

“It’s a massive internal security problem. So everything, from the system of informants, the laogai, the various different types of punishments, persecutions, the organ harvesting and so on, everything that we’ve been hearing about today, all of this is part of the internal security system to protect … its power and the wealth of the gang that is in charge.”

Deter the CCP

Dr. Charles Lee, director of public awareness of the Global Service Center for Quitting the Chinese Communist Party, released a 79-page “Comprehensive Report on the Tuidang Movement” at the forum. He urged the public to see through the “inherited genes” of the CCP, which he says include evilness, deceit, and incitement, and not to harbor any illusion that the Party can be changed for the better.

Charles Lee, director of public awareness at the Tuidang Center, speaks at the Deteriorating Human Rights and Tuidang Movement in China forum on Capitol Hill in Washington on Dec. 4, 2018. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

The report on the Tuidang movement says: “The U.S. lost many chances to defeat the CCP in the past and instead, helped the CCP out of several big crises and even with its economic ‘miracle.’ While the U.S. has been suffering from the economic invasion and other invisible wars by the CCP, it is also losing ground from within, due to the communist infiltrations. … The time has come to turn it around, and the Tuidang movement can and will help the U.S. to deter the CCP and to decommunize the USA.

“This is the biggest grassroots movement that deserves the most support from the U.S.”

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), speaks at the Deteriorating Human Rights and Tuidang Movement in China forum after receiving an appreciation award from the Global Service Center for Quitting the Chinese Communist Party, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Dec. 4, 2018. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

Letters of support for the Tuidang movement by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) were read at the forum. In addition, Tunne Kelam, member of the European Parliament, and the International Society for Human Rights (the largest human-rights organization in Germany) also sent supporting letters and called for the U.S. Congress to pass House Resolution 932, introduced by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) in June, to show solidarity with the Tuidang movement. Rohrabacher, who is leaving Congress after 30 years in the House, was honored with an award presented by the Global Service Center for Quitting the Chinese Communist Party.

Photographer Missing in China — After Being Invited to Xinjiang, State Security Picked Him Up

December 9, 2018

Lu Guang’s images have shown the world China’s dark side:  AIDS, environmental destruction, pollution and poverty

For five weeks, the world has had no idea where Lu Guang is.

A factory worker in Wuhai City, Inner Mongolia, in 2005. Due to a lack of environmental safety standards they would get ill after one or two years on the job.CreditCreditPhotographs by Lu Guang/Contact Press Images

Lu Guang is an internationally acclaimed photographer from China, and he has been my friend for more than 15 years. I’m proud that the agency I co-founded represents and distributes his work. We first met in Beijing in 2002. He was already a well-known and widely awarded documentary photographer in his country, and he would soon win a slew of international awards, including some of the world’s most prestigious.

By Robert Y. Pledge
The New York Times

Five weeks ago, he was invited to travel to Urumqi, the regional capital of Xinjiang, in Western China. He went there to share his passion for photography by leading an informal, weeklong workshop with local photographers. The Chinese government has been conducting what it describes as a large-scale antiterrorism campaign in Xinjiang, targeting the Uighur ethnic group.

According to local sources, the security services detained Lu Guang, along with his local host, on or about Nov. 3. He was supposed to travel a day or two later to Sichuan Province, where he regularly does charity work. He never made it.

Lu Guang lives with his wife, Xu Xiaoli, and their son, Michael, in New York, where they are permanent United States residents. Xu Xiaoli has attempted multiple times to learn about her husband’s status and his health from the Chinese authorities, calling officials both in Xianjing and in Lu Guang’s hometown province, Zhejiang. The Chinese authorities have not responded to her.

Lu Guang is a deeply concerned citizen. He works almost solely in China, for both linguistic and cultural reasons. His photographs have depicted some of the harsher sides of life in China — AIDS, environmental destruction, pollution and poverty.


See also:

22 Photos That China Don’t Want You To See By A Photojournalist Who Just Vanished In China

(A heavy truck carrying coal and lime drives away, causing dust to fly and harming the nearby residents. Image credits: Lu Guang)

(Eleven-year-old Xu Li of Hutsou is diagnosed with bone cancer. Image credits: Lu Guang)

(Children also live in the industrial district. China is now the world’s second-largest economy. Its economic development has consumed lots of energy and generated plenty of pollution. Image credits: Lu Guang)

(On 16 July 2010, the pipeline of the Newport Oil Wharf of Dalian Bay exploded, sending lots of oil into the sea. Many fishing boats were assigned to clean up the oil contamination for 8,150 times. Image credits: Lu Guang)

(Gao Rongsheng (13) at the grave of his parents. Image credits: Lu Guang)

(A woman carrying her severely ill grandson implores the sky to prevent the devil of pain returning. Image credits: Lu Guang)

(Disabled orphans adopted by charitable farmers. Image credits: Lu Guang)

(Children with cerebral palsy licks milk powder off a bed to feed. Image credits: Lu Guang)

(Laseng Temple has an over 200-year-old history, which includes the study of Mongolian medicines. It was seriously polluted by the surrounding factories, so few pilgrims go there now. Image credits: Lu Guang)

(Many factories have been moved from the country’s east to its central and western parts. Employees work in the dust. Image credits: Lu Guang)

(The Baotou Steel plant dumps mineral processing sewage into the tailings dam. Image credits: Lu Guang)

Image credits: Lu Guang

(The chemical industrial park of Yanwei Port in the city of Lianyungang dumps sewage in the sea. Image credits: Lu Guang)

(In the jeans-producing village of Xintang Town, in Guangdong, workers gain the stone for grinding the denim every morning. Image credits: Lu Guang)

Image credits: Lu Guang

(A wife cares for her dying husband. Image credits: Lu Guang)

(Qi Guihua, held here by her husband, fell ill when she returned to the village from Beijing to celebrate the Spring Festival. She died two hours after this photograph was taken. Image credits: Lu Guang)

(Families such as this one have sold almost everything valuable in their home to help meet medical expenses. Image credits: Lu Guang)

(A young girl warms her hands in winter. Her father is infected with HIV and still cares for five children and his elderly parents. Image credits: Lu Guang)

(Two girls prepare for the funeral of their six-year-old brother, who died from AIDS. Image credits: Lu Guang)

China forms new body to review ethics risks of video games

December 9, 2018

China still worried about video game addiction — Online Games Ethics Committee has rejected nine of an initial batch of 20 titles it reviewed

South China Morning Post

China has established a new body that reviews ethical issues in video gaming, marking the country’s latest attempt to tighten control over the world’s biggest games market.

The recently formed Online Games Ethics Committee has so far evaluated an initial batch of 20 video game titles, according to a report on Friday from state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV). This was the first time the committee’s existence was made public.

Image result for china, video games, photos

Without elaborating, the CCTV report said the ethics committee rejected nine games for publication in the domestic market, while ruling that certain content be modified in the 11 other games that were reviewed.

The report neither revealed which government department the ethics committee was directly under nor identified the 20 games that the body processed.

The creation of the Online Games Ethics Committee has come amid concerns over internet addiction, childhood myopia and unsuitable content in China’s US$38 billion video games market, which has led Beijing to tighten its control over the industry and freeze the approval of new titles this year.

With the pause in game approvals as well as a reshuffle of the departments responsible for regulating the industry, total first-half revenue of the domestic gaming sector rose 5 per cent year on year to US$15 billion – the slowest growth rate in at least a decade, according to data from research firm CNG.

All that uncertainty has put the country’s major video games publishers and developers on edge.

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Publishers in China are required to submit games for review to authorities so these can be sold in the domestic market. This process typically takes months to complete, and games with the slightest violent or sexual content are likely to get rejected.

The State Administration of Press and Publications (SAPP), the country’s video games regulator, could not be reached for comment regarding the new ethics committee. The regulator has yet to establish a website or make public its contacts since it was formed in April.

Tencent Holdings, which runs the world’s biggest video games business by revenue, declined to comment on the new game ethics body, referring the Post’s questions to the SAPP.

NetEase and Perfect World, the No 2 and No 3 video gaming companies in China, did not immediately reply to requests for comments.

The SAPP, which falls under the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda department, has not awarded licences to any new game titles since it was established as part of a broader government regulatory restructuring.

The halt on new game approvals is expected to extend to as late as February, pending the completion of a new licensing system, a government source told the Postpreviously. It is unknown whether the ethics committee’s duties are a part of or separate from that system.

In October, Tencent announced its use of facial recognition technology to detect minors playing its games in response to government concerns over video gaming addiction. The Hong Kong-listed internet giant has also made age-verification mandatory to those who log into its blockbuster mobile game Honour of Kings, which limits playing time for minors.

Against that backdrop, Chinese game developers have ramped up efforts to publish their new titles overseas, while some independent labels have sought to reach domestic audience via US personal computer games distribution platform Steam, which has an estimated 30 million users in China.

Wall Street Journal: The ethics committee, which falls under the Communist Party’s Propaganda Department, will review games for content and set out guidelines for companies on how to “abide by social morality,” according to a Friday report from Xinhua News Agency.


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American Entrepreneurs Who Flocked to China Are Heading Home, Disillusioned

December 7, 2018

Worsening costs, taxation, tech transfer and regulation prompt foreign-owned businesses to throw in the towel

Image result for Xi Jinping, waving, photos



SHANGHAI—Fifteen years ago in California, a tall technology geek named Steve Mushero started writing a book that predicted the American dream might soon “be found only in China.” Before long, Mr. Mushero moved himself to Shanghai and launched a firm that Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. certified as a partner to serve the world’s biggest internet market.

These days, the tech pioneer has hit a wall. He’s heading back to Silicon Valley where he sees deeper demand for his know-how in cloud computing. “The future’s not here,” said the 52-year-old.

For years, American entrepreneurs saw a place in which they would start tech businesses, build restaurant chains and manage factories, making potentially vast sums in an exciting, newly dynamic economy. Many mastered Mandarin, hired and trained thousands in China, bought houses, met their spouses and raised bilingual children.

Now disillusion has set in, fed by soaring costs, creeping taxation, tightening political control and capricious regulation that makes it ever tougher to maneuver the market and fend off new domestic competitors. All these signal to expat business owners their best days were in the past.

The Trump administration is making a hard-nosed challenge to China using trade tariffs, investment controls and prosecution of technology thieves, and many in American business are cheering, if silently, having soured on the market after years of trying.

At a curry luncheon hosted a few times a year by Steven Bourne, a law professor and 13-year resident of Shanghai from Massachusetts, guests these days chew over shrimp samosas and exit plans. On a recent Friday, a Swedish maker of beauty products said he would move his family to Hong Kong, where regulations are clearer and taxes are lower. An American art dealer who suffered when his rich clients got pinched by currency controls was headed to California.

Another, Jack Tung, a 47-year-old who grew up near Philadelphia and had the costumes made for Hollywood movies like “The Painted Veil” and “The Great Wall,” said absorbing a sixfold rise in tailoring rates since 2003 changed China into a high-cost, low-profit, stressful hardship. He lost the feeling “it’s all happening” in Shanghai and will try Thailand.

Expats always ebb and flow, said Mr. Bourne, but for entrepreneurs “it’s harder for them to live here now.”

Bob Boyce at the opening party for one of his Blue Frog restaurants in Shanghai in 2007.
Bob Boyce at the opening party for one of his Blue Frog restaurants in Shanghai in 2007. PHOTO: CHARLIE XIA

Relocations firm Santa Fe Group A/S said it moves more families out of China than into it these days. Enrollment at Shanghai American School—where annual tuition tops $30,000—is nearly 17% off its peak five years ago. The American Chamber of Commerce in China said 75% of its members are feeling less welcome. Its Shanghai chapter lost over 600 members in recent years, while a poll of U.S. businesses by the organization in manufacturing-heavy Guangdong found 70% may delay China investment or shift it overseas.

“How can it be that those who know China best, work there, do business there, make money there, and have advocated for productive relations in the past, are among those now arguing for more confrontation?” former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson asked at a November conference in Singapore.

Many mark a turn in the climate for foreign businesses at around 2012. China was reckoning with how boom times had weighed it down with debt and overcapacity plus widespread corruption and appalling pollution. When Xi Jinping became Communist Party leader, he used the power of the state to shore up employment and living standards. Government-owned companies shielded from daily business hassles were in favor.

Authorities stepped up scrutiny of visas and actively enforced pollution controls. A new social security law lifted local wages and made it tough to fire workers, so much that some employers called the policy a modern “iron rice bowl.” Mr. Xi reinforced China’s Great Firewall of internet controls; big domestic tech firms thrived while laws excluded foreign rivals or pressured them to share technology.

About 20 years ago, when China fever was building, Bob Boyce’s hankering for an affordable beer and burger in Shanghai prompted him to “jump into the sea,” as locals then called starting a business. The Montanan’s bar and grill featuring $5.80 burgers proved an immediate hit.

“It was a time in China if you made some effort, people responded well and you could figure things out,” said Mr. Boyce.

Mr. Boyce targeted China’s white collar crowd, which was taking off along with the economy. The Beijing Olympics in 2008 seemed to crystallize China’s ascendancy. Money was pouring in. Foreign direct investment topped $100 billion for the first time in 2008, helped by new spending by Boeing Co. , Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. and Microsoft Corp.

Mr. Boyce at the construction site for a Blue Frog restaurant in Chengdu, China, around 2014.
Mr. Boyce at the construction site for a Blue Frog restaurant in Chengdu, China, around 2014.PHOTO: BOB BOYCE

Over the years, Mr. Boyce expanded his single burger joint into a 10-city, $70 million chain of restaurants under the names Kabb and Blue Frog. He figures they employed a total of 12,000 over the years, some of whom went on to launch their own restaurants.

Still, he said, “the label of ‘foreigner’ is always on your forehead.”

Health inspectors were initially so unfamiliar with Western kitchens that he said they nitpicked—he was cited for out-of-date dried oregano—then new rules started cropping up. Officials required restaurants to dedicate a separate space of exactly 8 square meters to prepare salad, not a staple of Chinese cooking. After a retired Chinese leader moved in near his original Blue Frog outlet, police checked noise levels nightly and the restaurant closed in 2012.

“China started to become less clear about what the endgame was for foreigners,” said Mr. Boyce. Last year, he decamped to Seattle after selling his chain to a European company.

From Silicon Valley in 2003, Mr. Mushero felt China’s rumblings and started writing his book, “Off-Shoring the Middle Class.” He saw U.S. companies save money by shifting accounting, X-ray evaluations and other technical jobs overseas. China, he thought, was becoming globalization’s “one-stop-shop” for manufacturing, basic tech work and advanced research.

He predicted a broad shift to China of not only factory work, but U.S. white collar jobs, too. “Imagine these people’s surprise to be out of work, having lost their job to a young Chinese girl earning 25% of their salary,” he wrote.

In 2004, he ran into a friend working at International Business Machines Corp. who asked: “Have you thought about living in Shanghai? We’re hiring like mad.”

An Alibaba office at the internet giant’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China.
An Alibaba office at the internet giant’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China. PHOTO: WANG HE/GETTY IMAGES

By September 2005, he was in Shanghai to pursue consulting leads. His first night, Mr. Mushero was on the terrace of a riverside nightclub chatting with his mother by mobile phone when a burst of fireworks lighted the skyline. “Awesome, they’re celebrating my arrival,” Mr. Mushero told her.

A few evenings later, Mr. Mushero attended an American Chamber of Commerce mixer where he met two future business partners: an American techie, James Eron, and a local businesswoman, Gu Yinan, whom he would marry.

The first foreigner hired at a video sharing service called, a China version of YouTube, Mr. Mushero got a fast education about keeping a site functioning on China’s rough-and-tumble internet. One duty involved locating clips of pornography hidden in uploaded cat videos.

He wondered: “What is everybody else doing?”

At a Starbucks in mid-2008, he sketched out “a napkin business plan” for a new company called ChinaNetCloud (Shanghai) Co. with Mr. Eron. China was overtaking the U.S. as the biggest internet market, and the partners would trail-blaze into cloud services by managing the online operations of local businesses. To a Silicon Valley investor named Dave McClure known for early bets on tech trends, ChinaNetCloud was a proxy for “the exploding Chinese internet market,” he said in a 2010 blog, and he pumped in $200,000 for his first China investment.

Companies such as Alibaba and Tencent Holdings Ltd. soon harnessed cloud technology and today deliver on-the-go shopping, gaming, payments and other consumer services. When Alibaba and Amazon Web Services began selling enterprise cloud space in China, each certified ChinaNetCloud to configure and monitor software for their corporate clients.

Tougher regulations and competition deterred foreign players. China’s reputation for technology theft kept many out of the market, which reduced the number of Mr. Mushero’s potential clients. In 2013, the American Chamber of Commerce said only 10% of its members trusted data security enough to consider cloud services in China.

A night view of Shanghai in 2005, when new companies launched by foreigners were soaring.
A night view of Shanghai in 2005, when new companies launched by foreigners were soaring. PHOTO: CANCAN CHU/GETTY IMAGES

Walt Disney Co. tapped ChinaNetCloud to manage the computers hosting some interactive games in 2012, including one based on its hit movie “Frozen.” Mr. Mushero looked forward to more work with the U.S. entertainment giant, but Disney scrubbed the gaming push in mid-2014. Disney declined to comment. Online gaming in China is dominated by big domestic tech companies; it is derided by regulators as chaotic and harmful and hit regularly with new rules.

Soon another customer, British online retailer ASOS PLC, pulled out of China after three years trying to compete in a market dominated by giants Ailbaba and Inc. ASOS didn’t respond to questions.

Mr. Mushero pushed on, setting his sights on taking ChinaNetCloud public, after Alibaba’s $25 billion initial public offering in 2014 boosted investor enthusiasm for Chinese tech.

ChinaNetCloud lifted staffing to 125 and fancied up its offices in a high-tech zone with a second floor that featured colorful wall-size monitors Mr. Mushero likened to the Starship Enterprise. He hung up the napkin business plan and hired lawyers, figuring the company was worth $60 million.

Mr. Mushero in 2008 at ChinaNetCloud.
Mr. Mushero in 2008 at ChinaNetCloud. PHOTO: STEVE MUSHERO

As a foreign-owned company, ChinaNetCloud couldn’t easily raise money from local investors, and rules blocked listed Chinese companies from buying it before it was profitable. Foreign investors, meanwhile, were uneasy about China’s tightly regulated internet sector. “We were too Chinese for the Americans and too American for the Chinese,” said Mr. Mushero.

When China’s stock markets crashed in mid-2015 so did ChinaNetCloud’s fundraising hopes. The setback left Mr. Mushero and his co-founder, Mr. Eron, personally liable for a $6 million loan from local firms. Mr. Eron quit and returned to the U.S.; he declined to comment.

Lacking funds, ChinaNetCloud later restructured into Shanghai YunChang Network Technology Ltd. to become a fully China-registered company instead of a foreign enterprise. Mr. Mushero’s wife, Ms. Gu, took over as chief executive, while he stuck to technology.

In August 2017, Ms. Gu appeared on the season finale of China’s version of Shark Tank, a TV show where entrepreneurs try to sell famous investors on their business plan. Ms. Gu raced through the story of the company’s early success and more recent money challenges. When a panelist asked about juggling family and work, Ms. Gu broke down in sobs.

“We have been struggling for nine years. Nine years,” she said. The panelist leapt up to hug a trembling Ms. Gu. Soon, all five investors were wiping away their tears as they pledged Ms. Gu the equivalent of $1.5 million. “We’re very touched by your story,” one said.

Still only occasionally profitable and down to about 40 employees, the company in October fled the tech-zone for a cramped office near a railway station. The Shark Tank funding wiped away Mr. Mushero’s debt but slashed the company’s valuation.

On a recent drizzly afternoon, flanked by framed commendations from Amazon and Microsoft for his firm’s achievements in China, Mr. Mushero said that after New Year’s he will head back to California, where he sees burgeoning demand for corporate online services, to market the company’s cloud-management tools. China is big, messy and complicated, he said. “We have been out there in the trenches for many years.”

Write to James T. Areddy at

Ex-Prisoner Says China’s ‘Vocational Training Centers’ a Complete Lie

December 7, 2018
The ongoing repression in China is about “protecting the Chinese Communist Party.”
Uyghur Reveals Chinese Communist Party’s Crimes in Xinjiang

December 6, 2018

China’s claims that Xinjiang’s mass internment camps—where at least one million predominantly ethnic Uyghurs are being held—are “vocational training centres” are completely “fake and made up,” a former Uyghur camp detainee has told The Epoch Times.

Countering claims made by the China’s ruling Communist Party, who in October described the facilities as “free vocational training centers” that make life more “colorful,” the former detainee, Gulbukhar Jalilova, said “they are lying through their teeth,” adding that she “never saw a single classroom.”

Xinjiang governor Shohrat Zakir told state-run Xinhua news agency that people detained in the camps “will advance from learning the country’s common language to learning legal knowledge and vocational skills.”

Xinjiang governor Shohrat Zakir

But 54-year-old Gulbukhar said instead of learning vocational skills, “I moved from camp to camp, room to room, and never saw anybody spending any time learning something.”

Gulbukhar, a Kazakhstan national and businesswoman, was held in an all-female camp in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, for just over 15 months before she was released in September this year. She was detained after being falsely accused of transferring $17,000 into a company called Nur. She was released by officials after they said they had been told she was innocent.

She was tricked into traveling to Urumqi after receiving a phone call from her business associate’s daughter. She was told there were “big problems” and that she needed to come to the capital immediately from her home in Kazakhstan. She was arrested upon her arrival.

Uyghur woman Gulbukhar Jalilova who was released from Xinjiang reeducation camp
Businesswoman Gulbukhar Jalilova, 54, a former Uyghur detainee in Xinjiang, China. (Gulbukhar Jalilova)

The CCP’s narrative of providing detainees with “vocational skills” to help with employment does not add up, the 54-year-old said, because the types of women held in camp with her were “very rich, educated people,” such as “businesswomen, doctors, nurses and teachers.”

“They weren’t homeless people or those with no money who needed training—that’s a lie from the CCP,” she told The Epoch Times.

“They could afford to go overseas and then when they came back, they were detained.”

But amongst the claims Zakir made, as the CCP moved to legalize the facilities, is that detainees are offered “practical opportunities,” such as learning about “businesses in garment making, mobile phone assembly, and ethnic cuisine catering.”

The CCP has long justified its measures against Uyghurs, the majority of whom are Sunni Muslim, saying the facilities aim to “educate and transform” those that it deems at risk of the “three evil forces” of “extremism, separatism, and terrorism.”

Uyghurs, alongside other ethnic minorities like the Tibetans, as well as faithful believers who remain outside state control, including house Christians and Falun Gong, have long been targeted by the CCP for transformation through “re-education.”

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV aired a 15-minute segment in October, offering a glimpse into life inside one of the centers—the Hotan City Vocational Skills Education and Training Center.

The “trainees” can be seen reading from large textbooks in the clip and are shown learning various skills such as baking, woodworking, sewing, and cosmetology.

“Whatever the CCP shows on TV and videos—it’s all fake and made up. There are no classrooms. We just sit in our rooms and stare at the wall. The door only opens to punish you, that’s it,” Gulbukhar added.

While China’s state TV footage showed rooms with air conditioning, decorated with bunting and balloons, Gulbukhar said it is a depiction far from reality. Detainees are confined to their rooms, poorly treated, and kept in shackles in overcrowded conditions, she said.

Those in her camp were forced to ingest unknown medicine daily and were injected with a substance every month which “numbs your emotions.” They were also subject to various forms of torture including food and sleep deprivation, physical punishments, while some were even killed, she said.

Chairing a Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) hearing on Nov. 29, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio said given the daily realities in communist China, where “Uyghur Muslims are rounded up and interned in camps, Tibetan monks and nuns are forced to undergo political re-education sessions, Falun Gong practitioners are reportedly sent to legal education centers for indoctrination, and Christian believers are harassed and imprisoned,” many observers are describing the current wave of repression in China as “the most severe since the cultural revolution.”

Rubio added he believes the CCP’s motivation behind the escalating crackdown “is an obsessive desire … to create a sort of unified, national identity, which must be stripped of anything that competes with it—ethnicity, religion, ethnic cultural tradition.”

China analyst Dr. Samantha Hoffman from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute added at the hearing that the ongoing repression in China is about “protecting the Chinese Communist Party.”

The CCP’s “concept of what we would call national security I think is better translated as party state security,” she said. “[T]here are dimensions … dealing with the internal struggle for power … and then dealing with everything outside the party; controlling the narrative, controlling the ideological space.

“That means that the state security methods extend far beyond China’s borders and that’s why you see the harassment of overseas Chinese.”

China is ‘going further backwards’ under Xi Jinping — Chinese people do not benefit from his rule

December 3, 2018

Exiled Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng has lived a good life in the United States for more than 20 years.

But the man often called the father of his country’s modern democracy movement still welcomes visitors the Chinese way — by offering them a cigarette.

Wei Jingsheng

Chinese Human Rights activist and dissident Wei Jingsheng speaks during an interview with AFP on November 28, 2018 in Fort Washington, Maryland, near Washington DC. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP.

In a lengthy interview with AFP at his home in a Maryland suburb south of the US capital, he lights one for himself — and starts unleashing harsh criticism of the “one-party dictatorship” in power in Beijing.

It’s a familiar battle cry: for four decades, Wei has railed against state oppression of the Chinese people’s democratic aspirations.

That battle cost him 18 years of his life, spent in a series of prison cells. In 1997, after international pressure — including a plea from then US president Bill Clinton — he was released, ostensibly on medical grounds, and put on a plane to America.

Now 68, Wei is hooked on Gauloises — strong French cigarettes that are hard to find in the US — but is otherwise in good shape. He runs his namesake foundation from his home, battling for human rights in China.

On Wednesday, he will mark a landmark anniversary — on December 5, 1978, he posted “The Fifth Modernization” on a wall in Beijing.

The essay said that Deng Xiaoping’s “Four Modernizations” did not go far enough, and called for democracy to be a goal for China alongside the four Deng cited: the development of industry, agriculture, science and technology, and national defense.

Deng is considered the architect of China’s opening up to the world.

But Wei, whose essay landed him in prison, says that Deng gets too much credit.

Reforms only went ‘halfway’ 

“I should correct a popular saying, both inside China and internationally, which claims that Deng Xiaoping is responsible for the opening-up and the reform,” he said, speaking in Mandarin.

Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping. File photo: S.Africa Gov’t.

“This reform only went halfway, economically but not politically,” he lamented.

“Now, in the Xi Jinping era, politically it is even going further backwards,” he added, referring to the ongoing offensive against rights activists.

In the post-Mao era that began in the late 1970s, China’s opening-up was prompted by a broad popular movement, supported not just by Deng but by other senior Communist Party leaders.

In the end, Wei said, “communist China is a mix between a one-party dictatorship and capitalism.”

“When they suppress the people, it’s more severe than anywhere else,” he charged.

Famous faces 

Sipping black tea from China’s southeastern Fujian province, Wei did not hold back in his biting criticism of those who have followed Deng to the heights of power in Beijing.

An electrician by trade — he once worked at the Beijing Zoo — Wei accused former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin of exploiting cheap labor at home and high prices in the West to reap huge profits that he shared with Western creditors.

“During the Mao Zedong years, China was a poor socialist country. Now China is a poor capitalist country. Overall, the average Chinese did not get the benefit,” he said.

As for Xi, who has a clear path to staying in power longer than the habitual 10 years, now that the ruling party plans to abolish term limits, Wei did not mince words.

“Xi Jinping doesn’t just want to become emperor after 2023,” when his first 10 years in office will end, he said, speaking Mandarin. “He wants to be the emperor now.”

Wei, who repeatedly said that the Chinese government “never follows the rules,” has gained traction in Washington’s political circles.

On the walls of his home, perched above a tributary of the Potomac River, are huge photographs of him with former US presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush.

But Wei, the winner of multiple human rights awards including the Sakharov prize, said he doesn’t venture into the US capital too often anymore.

“The American government and European governments are concerned over my safety,” he said, without further explanation.

Hong Kong people to China: Heed public opinion

December 1, 2018

Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region since 1997 after being a British territory for over 150 years, is the one part of China where opinion polls can still be done freely—hopefully, until at least 2047.  The foremost polling institution is the University of Hong Kong’s Public Opinion Program (HKUPOP), established in 1991 by Dr. Robert Chung, and directed by him to this day.

Robert Chung has been an icon for pollsters worldwide since 2000, when he formally complained that Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Tung Chee-Hwa, was pressuring the university’s top officials to discontinue his opinion polls about Tung and his government.  After 11 days of open hearings, an HKU legal panel concluded that Chung was telling the truth and his opponents’ witnesses were not.  The saga closed with the resignations of the HKU vice-chancellor and pro-vice-chancellor just before the university council met to vote to accept the panel’s report (Wikipedia).

Philippine Inquirer

Robert and I are old friends. We were, for many years, the World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR) representatives for Hong Kong and the Philippines. He is president of the regional chapter, WAPOR-Asia, organized in 2017.

When I met him last June in Hong Kong, and discussed the SWS surveys as of that time, he readily saw that polls on the South China Sea disputes, which involve many countries, are proper for WAPOR-Asia. He expressed willingness for HKUPOP to survey the matter in Hong Kong, if a sponsor could be found. Since Hong Kong is an international city by tradition, he says its people may look at territorial disputes differently from people living in the mainland.

I assisted by introducing him to Albert del Rosario, the former foreign affairs secretary of the Philippines, whose advocacy is well-known. Mr. Del Rosario subsequently made a modest grant to HKUPOP to ask five basic questions on the topic, with HKUPOP maintaining academic

freedom to design the questionnaire, analyze the data, and report the findings. On Nov. 1-6, 2018, HKUPOP interviewed a sample of 1,000 adult Cantonese-speaking residents of Hong Kong (for an error margin of plus/minus 3.2 percent), by landlines and mobile phones.

“Most Hong Kong people hope to see different governments follow the opinion of the people in settling the South China Sea disputes.” This was the main heading of the HKUPOP report that came out last week ( Its terms “governments” and “a government” refer to parties in the dispute, without identifying any one. But, of course, China would be uppermost in the respondents’ minds.

The sequence of five survey items and their surface findings are:

(1) 70 percent of Hong Kong people were aware of the disputes. (2) 16 percent of them claimed to have extensive/adequate knowledge of the disputes. (3) 58 percent of them considered it important for a government to follow its people’s opinion in settling these disputes; 5 percent said “half-half,” and 18 percent considered it not important. (4) 47 percent considered it important for a government to follow public opinion in the world in settling these disputes; 9 percent said “half-half” and 30 percent called it not important. (5) 51 percent were aware of the ruling of an international tribunal in 2016 regarding the South China Sea disputes.

These items support the theme that public opinion in countries directly concerned, and in the world as a whole, has a role in settling cross-country disputes.

Until genuine survey freedom comes to China, the true opinions of the Chinese people cannot emerge and be known to all. Meanwhile, as pollsters in the Philippines and Hong Kong are joined by their freedom-loving colleagues in Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam, what will happen to world opinion?


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China’s campaign to undermine U.S., democratic values sparks controversey

November 30, 2018

Chinese media on Friday hit back at a U.S. academic report which urged the United States to engage in “tit-for-tat” retaliation to counter what it said was China’s widening campaign for influence which threatened to undermine democratic values.

The 213-page report, published by the U.S. think tank Hoover Institution on Thursday, said China’s ruling Communist Party had in recent years “significantly accelerated” both the investment and intensity of its global influence-seeking efforts.

Image result for china, u.s., flags, pictures

The report was penned by a group of more than 30 prominent Western experts, such as Orville Schell, director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society in New York, many whom had long advocated for closer engagement with China.

The sharper tone comes as President Xi Jinping has increased repression at home and adopted what the report describes as an “increasingly forward and aggressive posture on the global stage”.

China’s state-run Global Times said the report’s threat assessment was unfounded.

“We believe the Chinese infiltration into the United States the report describes does not match up with China’s objective aspirations,” the newspaper said in an editorial.

The report, however, found that there was now a “surprising” level of bi-partisan scepticism about China’s intentions and a willingness to push back against its “predatory” policies.

“China is exploiting America’s openness in order to advance its aims on a competitive playing field,” it said. “Once largely a form of economic competition, China’s recent turn to military and political rivalry with the United States has changed the whole equation of the bilateral relationship.”

In order to counter China’s activities, the report makes a series of suggestions for United States lawmakers, institutions and businesses that it said could help ensure “transparency, integrity and reciprocity”.

It recommends denying U.S. visas to Chinese journalists and having scholars affiliated with the Chinese government-run “Thousand Talents Programme” registered as a foreign agent.

The report also lauded recent legislation that strengthened the review process by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an interagency panel that assesses the national security implications of investment.

Legislation passed in June by U.S. President Donald Trump was a “substantial improvement” that closed loopholes that China had been exploiting, it said.

The authors also included a note of caution that China’s efforts should not be exaggerated.

“China has not sought to interfere in a national election in the United States or to sow confusion or inflame polarization in our democratic discourse the way Russia has done,” it said.

Reporting by Christian Shepherd and Philip Wen; Editing by Michael Perry


In China, your car may be spying on you for the government

November 29, 2018

Global automakers are feeding real-time location information and dozens of other data points from electric vehicles to Chinese government monitoring centers, potentially adding to China’s rich kit of surveillance tools as President Xi Jinping steps up the use of technology to track Chinese citizens. Generally, it happens without car owners’ knowledge, The Associated Press found.

More than 200 automakers selling electric vehicles in China — including Tesla, Volkswagen, BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Mitsubishi and U.S.-listed start-up NIO — send at least 61 data points to government-backed monitoring platforms, under rules published in 2016.

Automakers say they are merely complying with local laws, which apply only to alternative energy vehicles. Chinese officials say the data is used for analytics to improve public safety, facilitate industrial development and infrastructure planning, and to prevent fraud in subsidy programs.

But critics say the information collected exceeds those goals and could be used to undermine foreign carmakers’ competitive position, or for surveillance. Under Xi’s leadership, China has unleashed a war on dissent, marshalling big data and artificial intelligence to create a more perfect kind of policing that can quickly neutralize perceived threats to the stability of the ruling Communist Party.

There is also concern about the precedent these rules set for sharing data from next-generation connected cars, which may soon transmit even more personal information.

“You’re learning a lot about people’s day-to-day activities and that becomes part of what I call ubiquitous surveillance,” said Michael Chertoff, who was secretary of the Department of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush and wrote a book called “Exploding Data.” “Companies have to ask themselves, ‘Is this really something we want to do in terms of our corporate values, even if it means otherwise forgoing that market?’”

At the Shanghai Electric Vehicle Public Data Collecting, Monitoring and Research Center, a wall-sized screen glows with dots. Each represents one of more than 222,000 vehicles connected to the system, coursing along Shanghai’s roads to create a massive real-time map that could reveal where people live, shop, work, and worship.