China 2020 – 2018 – the latest information and some analysis
see also introduction here
Chronology of events
(including some comments, many by X, who has made himself familiar with developments in China for many many years)
Please note: this page only goes back to the beginning of 2018; the rest of the chronology going back to 2013 has now moved here
Also note that information about Hong Kong is now being posted in “Hong Kong latest!” , which also includes much about China’s technology of social control, as do the comments boxes below the text “Hong Kong – its relevance to the rest of us”
And information and critique concerning the Coronavirus, though not exclusively about China, can be found here
“…the southeastern city of Suzhou is trying to build on the trend with a “civility code” app that tracks denizens’ good and bad deeds, from running red lights to doing volunteer work, and then allow privileges accordingly. Both the health codes and civility score echo some aspects of the frequently misunderstood social credit pilot schemes seen from Chinese companies and local governments in recent years. A recent trial-run of the “Suzhou City Civility Code” was met with outrage and comparisons to dystopian fantasies. “
This, added to the existing point system for grading citizens politically, fine-tunes the modalities of totalitarianism and makes it even more “intimate.”
X writes: In this collection of documents, we find Xu Zhangrun referring to Mao’sideology as “Legalist Fascist Stalinism” in his written address “To My Dear Friends at Harvard University,” dated August 19th of this year
The introduction is rather deterministically wishful-thinking, tempered slightly by more realistic fears – “It is inevitable that the present conflagration ignited by the Communist pyromaniacs will end in smoldering embers and cold ash. Just as Mao’s shade lingers on decades after his death, it is far from certain that Xi Jinping’s shadow will lift from China in the foreseeable future. However, there is no doubt that, just as tens of millions of Mao’s works were pulped in the late 1970s and early 1980s to make way for a national rebirth, there is no doubt that the dead letter of Xi Jinping’s oeuvre will similarly be consigned to the pulping mills of history.” Nothing is inevitable and there certainly is a doubt about what may happen and what may not. Whilst there’s resistance amongst sections of the Chinese ruling class to Xi Jinping’s “legalist fascist Stalinism”, it’s neither inevitable that these reformists will win nor that any potential reform will be much less repressive. It largely depends on whether his brutal methods heap rewards on the ruling class, that a significant section of the population will gain something (in particular, greater consumer power and the identification with a growing super-powerful nation as a vicarious substitute for individual and communal impotence) from his domestic vice-like hold and his global strategy for the economic advancement of China. If he provokes more resistance from Chinese people outside the Communist Party (and not just the poor) that could possibly upset his strategy then maybe Xi Jinping’s thoughts and practices will be consigned to the pulping mills of history. But the comparison with the epoch following Mao’s death is ahistorical: global crisis and competition is far nastier and more technologically equipped in a world accelerating towards the abyss like never before. And the post-Mao epoch had to grant a margin of freedom for capital accumulation to develop outside the constraints of a narrow ideology. Whilst now as ever, nothing is inevitable because events are invariably a question of what choices significant amounts of people make, the opportunity of advancing the rulers’ economy through highly repressive methods is not at all the same as the repressive methods during Mao’s reign, which were often so ideologically-led that they made little capitalist sense. Whereas now, Xi’s strategy could possibly work. Optimistic pronouncements of “inevitability” in the face of a suffocatingly scary scenario may seem morale-boosting but struggling to develop a realistic assessment of situations is far more useful.
X writes on this subject: “…the odds for an “inevitable fall” of the Xi Jinping regime are rather slight given the weakness of its strategic competitors and the virtual collapse of internal opposition from any sector of Chinese society. If there is a collapse from ascertainable causes today, it will be through the economic exhaustion of the system, the failure to extend the “Belt and Road” system to the extent required, the reaching of insurmountable limits in the feeding and fueling of the new Chinese Empire and the resistance of the “little people” in Sri Lanka, Baluchistan and the Amazon Basin – the only ones (at least in the first two instances) showing even the weakest signs of such resistance at present – and on a far larger scale than what we have observed up to now.
We have seen a number of generations of so-called resistance in the CCP, from reformists like Hu Yaobang down to the present former head of the CCP’s party school, now a resident of the US where she can safely make defiant remarks. They are adept at cutting a fine figure, but little else, when they turn on the system they have spent most of their lives propping up. Likewise the Chinese intelligentsia puts on a good show, but there is nothing there when it comes to actually disabling the machinery of rule. This must come from elsewhere and to date it has not.”
S. writes (largely in response to “…the present conflagration ignited by the Communist pyromaniacs will end in smoldering embers and cold ash.” ): “Well, the whole metaphor is a bit vague. It is literally inevitable that every fire will end in cold ash. When and how is another question. It is too early even now to say that the conflagration ignited by Mao has ended. Xi is his direct descendent and his party is still in control of the country. Both the party and the country have changed considerably but that´s what fire does — radically transform its source materials…”
Mass Protests Erupt as China Moves to End Mongolian-Medium Teaching in Schools…China offers reward to snitches
“Chinese police are offering cash rewards for clues that could lead them to more than 100 people, as public demonstrations swept through cities in Inner Mongolia over the introduction of the Mandarin language in some school lessons…The police bureau of Tongliao, a city in the autonomous region bordering Mongolia and Russia, published photos and detailed descriptions of dozens of people they accused of “picking quarrels and causing troubles” starting Wednesday. They said the people had committed the crimes between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1, the same period the unrest broke out. Horqin district police issued a separate notice calling for information on dozens of people. The search comes as government efforts to change the language of instruction of some subjects to Mandarin from Mongolian have prompted parents and students to boycott classes and take to the streets in protest. Similar measures have raised concerns about the dilution of cultures in Tibet, Xinjiang and Guangdong. Videos from human rights groups showed people chanting demands in Tongliao, which has a significant Mongolian population. The rollout of Mandarin-language classes kicked off Tuesday, beginning with language and literature classes for selected grades. It will later cover two other subjects — morality and law, and history. President Xi Jinping has urged the overhaul of education in the three subjects where changes have taken place in Inner Mongolia in a bid to “safeguard ideological security.” Local education authorities said in a statement on Monday that Mandarin would only be used to teach the three subjects that are part of the new rollout, and that the current bilingual system of instruction had not been changed. One man wanted by the police has been accused of “breaking police cordons” on Aug. 31 in the city’s Economic and Technology Development Zone, according to one of the notices. A separate notice issued by the Horqin district police via their official WeChat account sought information on 129 people for the same accusation of “picking quarrels and causing troubles.” The notices all promised cash rewards of 1,000 yuan ($146) for anyone who provided reliable information on their identities. Tongliao police also urged the people to surrender themselves. China’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday referred to reports of the protests as “political hype with ulterior motives.” “The common language of a country is a symbol of sovereignty,” ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily briefing in Beijing. “Learning and using the common language of a country is both the duty and the right of our citizens.”
A great many years ago I had said that the great achievement of China in Tibet was to have concocted a regime so vile and terroristic that the world would forget how truly bad the feudal regime of the lamas was.
Now I can say without hesitation thatthe newest achievement of the PRC is to create a Han supremacism against which the white supremacism of the US, even stoked as it has been by its giant orange Pustule-in-Chief, pales.
A monstrous monoculture, compared to which the whitebread America of the 1950s appears as the most tentative prototype, is in the making.
Having been allowed by the rest of the world to get away with genocide against first the Tibetans and then the Uyghurs, the Han supremacist government of the CCP is now sufficiently confident to begin new campaign of genocide against the Mongolian people of Inner Mongolia. To their credit, the people of Mongolia itself have already begun demonstrating on their behalf. But I think we can depend of the global dictatorship of the marketplace to see the the PRC carries out its campaign without significant interruption. Yet another massive crime carried out under our very noses, and yet the assets, institutions and personnel of this presently most criminal of criminal enterprises remain unconfiscated, undemolished and unharmed everywhere throughout this foul global “civilization.”
It is something of a testimony that the PRC felt it had to shut down Tibet on the 60th anniversary of the Chinese takeover – this after turning the place into a gigantic prison camp – in some ways the model for Xinjiang, until it was superceded. They are still uneasy with their conquest.
Trigger warning: you may want to pull the trigger the next time you see a Chinese bureaucrat or a westerner who makes apologies for “doing business” with the PRC regime. I think this is the most harrowing account I have seen yet, which is saying quite a lot. ..Just to note the general nature of this kind of genocidal enforcement of a Han Supremacy that is at least the equal of the evil perpetrated in the name of the white so-called race: I believe I sent out a notice that Tibet had been closed off for another round of state-sponsored terror against the indigeneous population, but did not include an article that noted that recently in Inner Mongolia, elementary education was suddenly changed so that it was conducted in Mandarin only, causing numerous Mongolian families to keep their children home from school. I suspect you can hazard a guess as to what will eventually happen to them.
Deng Yuwen, “Chinese Statism, the Transitional Nature of Xi Jinping’s Regime, and America’s Response”
Haven’t yet read most of this, but it looks like it’s pretty informative even if somewhat dry.
“The piece is a good representation of what we consider to be the most fruitful left-wing current in contemporary China, which concerns itself primarily with worker inquiry and the transmission of workers’ stories between factories. At times, writing from this current can produce a “workerist” form of analysis that sometimes risks missing the forest of capitalism in the trees of individual factory struggles, and which can occasionally even fail at its own allotted tasks when its descriptions of events are too banal to hold the interest of anyone aside from other similarly workerist activists. The piece below, however, is a high-caliber example of the genre. It not only succeeds in framing the overall dynamic across regions and beyond individual struggles, but also hints at the potentials hidden in some of the pandemic organising that extended outside the workplace alone. Altogether, the result is an excellent overview of organising among Chinese workers (and students) under the lockdown and in the midst of the re-opening. Most striking here are a few of the telling contrasts with conditions in Europe and, in particular, the United States. “
” ‘The Revenant Han Fei’ is Part III of ‘China’s Heart of Darkness’, Jianying Zha’s coruscating reflections on the legacy of the ancient thinker Han Fei and the Legalist school in Xi Jinping’s China. It follows on from ‘Qin Shihuang + Marx’, ‘The Dark Prince’ and ‘Mao’s Abiding Legacy’.”
For those who may have had their few free online visits to this site (The New Republic) and now face a paywall, you can read this article here on this site. Not something I normally do but the information here is useful
Disclosure of Xinjiang Re-education Camp China Will Sue German Scholars?
German scholar Zheng Guo’en’s persistent research has made the scale of Xinjiang’s re-education camps and Uyghur’s encounters valued by the international community. Now there are Chinese official media claiming that China is considering suing Zheng Guoen and an Australian think tank for defamation.
… On July 8, the English version of the Global Times quoted sources as saying that China is considering suing German scholar Adrian Zenz and think tank agency Australian Institute for Strategic Policy (ASPI), alleging its release and Spreading false information about China constitutes defamation.
Zheng Guoen has been concerned about human rights issues in Xinjiang in recent years. In May 2019, he concluded through data research that the scale of detention in Xinjiang re-education camps may reach 1 million. Since then, the results of his research have become the basis for public opinion and government criticism of China’s human rights policies in the West. His research also pointed out that the Chinese government has imposed mandatory sterilization, abortion and restricted births on Uyghurs and other minorities living in Xinjiang in order to control the non-Han population.
At a regular press conference of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on July 9, a reporter asked questions to verify. Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, “If the relevant reports are true, I am not surprised.” He said: “As we all know, Zheng Guoen and the Australian Institute of Strategic Policy have consistently concocted China-related lies and slander China. The statements they made about China have long been ruthlessly slapped in front of facts and truth, and proved to be lies and false information.”
China Peking Neuer Außenministeriumssprecher Zhao Lijian (picture-alliance/AP Photo/A. Wong)
“Any malicious defamation should be condemned and prosecuted. This is common sense.” Zhao Lijian also said: “I advise the relevant parties to commit suicide if they do a lot of wrongdoing. They should return to the shore as soon as possible.” The Australian Institute of Strategic Policy was accused by the Chinese media in Australia Spread the “China threat theory.”
Zheng Guoen tweeted the Global Times report, saying it was a “direct threat” by the Chinese government to a foreign researcher. He wrote in a tweet on July 8: “This is an unprecedented threat to a foreign scholar. And it seems to be intended to intimidate the media and other people who collaborate with me, or those who work on similar topics.” He believes this is “trying to isolate me (and the Australian Institute of Strategic Policy)”.
According to a comment published on July 4 by the Global Network, an article on the “gray zone” of the American independent news website revealed that “Zheng Guoen is a far-right fundamentalist Christian and evangelical religious fanatic, and a far-right wing established by the US government in 1983. The so-called senior researcher on China issues that organized the’Communist Victims Memorial Foundation’ is also the backbone of the’Xinjiang Education Training Center Research Group’ established by the US intelligence agency.”
Zheng Guoen once taught at the European Academy of Culture and Theology (ESCT) in a small town in Bavaria, Germany, an evangelical institution. Currently, he is a Chinese researcher at the American Communist Victims Memorial Foundation. He does not deny that he is a devout Christian. He told the Frankfurt Reporter that his work was “guided by God.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian has repeatedly attacked Zheng Guoen’s religious background, calling him an “anti-China scholar” who created “false information”. Zheng Guoen told De Guanglian earlier this year: “He tried to confuse my academic research with religious enthusiasm. This is clearly an attack on me in order to make my research results credible. After all, my research results have made China Very embarrassing.”
Adrian Zenz, an expert on Xinjiang’s issues, released a new research report on Monday (June 29), which revealed that the Xinjiang government has forced Uyghur women to undergo sterilization on a large scale, and even put Uyghurs who do not want to follow the instructions into re-education. camp. He said that this approach is like a “population extinction” for certain races. (30.06.2020)
From re-education camps to forced labor, at least 290,000 Uighurs are implicated
CCTV released a report on May 13 that revealed that the Xinjiang government has started forced labor policies for Uyghurs since early 2020. At least 292,000 people are known to have participated in the plan. Experts say that forced labor has become an extension of Xinjiang’s re-education camps, and the participating Uyghurs have no right to choose where to work and what kind of work to do. (21.05.2020)
In recent days, the Xinjiang issue has once again become a topic of concern to international public opinion. Some legal experts believe that even according to Chinese law, such re-education camps that deprive people of their personal freedom are not allowed.
“…information from the Chinese side of my field of vision has become nigh unto overwhelming, like the floodwaters of the Yangtze themselves, and there are two crises, and one very important theoretical development that need to be of more general knowledge so as to allow one to get a grasp of the broader trends driving immediate events.
A week or so ago, there were reports on the the large extent of flooding downstream of the Three Gorges Dam that suggested that the source of the flooding was ultimately the release of large volumes of water from the dams upstream that were no longer able to hold back any more water. This story seems to support the idea that this crisis is still unresolved and the heavy rainfall that is behind it, continues unabated.
The comments of hydrologist Wang Weiluo, both pertaining to the dams and the reservoirs behind, and to the information management style behind this developing emergency are illuminating. The same way that news of the coronavirus outbreak was first staunched by a combination of silence by official sources and muzzling of those in the know who attempted to break the news to their colleagues and eventually the public at large, is now being applied to the situation on the Yangtze River basin. It may well be that the consequences of the hydrological crisis there overcome the efforts of the Xi Jinping regime to contain them, possibly with catastrophic results. It is highly suggestive, and very much to the credit of hydrologist Wang, both as regards his bravery and insight, that he should quote the late Dr. Li Wenliang of Wuhan in saying that “A healthy society should not only have one voice,” and amplify it in the present situation by going on that “In China, there is only one voice of the central meteorological station and when that one is wrong, everyone gets the wrong information [one is irresistibly tempted to draw comparisons with the unilateral intervention of that other authoritarian centralizer of state power, Donald Trump, during hurricane Dorian].”
The connection between the authoritarian, and inevitably over-centralized, management of society, and the calamitous results that ensue from this system of control whenever it encounters a situation it hasn’t foreseen, is unmistakable. The sooner this civilization of pseudo-rational pseudo-control is comprehensively eliminated, the better.”
X writes: “Worth noticing, both for the situation of Chinese financial insititutions in general and for the identity of the new class of financial bureaucrats rising in “socialism with Chinese characteristics”, specialising in “risk disposal”.
X writes: “Apparently the Japanese media are saying things that haven’t seen the light of day yet in English: it is said that senior CCP officials are unhappy with Xi Jinping because he hasn’t been firm enough in Hong Kong to restore “stability”…and now that we have seen what “stability” looks like in Xinjiang, it’s kind of difficult to imagine that that would be a preferable situation either. Could be that the Chinese bureaucratic capitalism of the present era has just encountered its built-in structural limits, as it did in earlier epochs, but with the difference that this is all occurring on a far greater scale,, with possibly even greater negative consequences when the crash, whether economic or social, comes. HK is putting the pressure on in a positive way, and Xinjiang in the negative, and together they define the present boundaries of the bureaucratically possible.”
“The measures targeting Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang have triggered ‘widespread discontent among Han Chinese officials and citizens,’ a source close to the central government told the South China Morning Post. The source said Chinese President Xi Jinping was aware of the problem because he had been briefed by the country’s chief Xinjiang policy coordinator, Wang Yang. . .The number of Han Chinese in Xinjiang stood at 8.83 million, or about 40 per cent of the region’s population, in 2010. The figure fell to 8.6 million in 2015, or about 36 per cent, according to the latest population census, indicating that Beijing’s policy of encouraging more Han Chinese to move to the region is not working. “
I put ‘Han’ in inverted commas because Han is pretty much a fake ‘ethnicity’, since its name originally comes from the emperor’s dynasty. It’d be a bit like saying that ‘Tudor’ or ‘Stuart’ or ‘Windsor’ were ethnic groups.
China, Wenlou: clashes between residents and state in demos against transformation of land meant to become park into a crematorium
China accused of genocide over forced abortions of Uighur Muslim women as escapees reveal widespread sexual torture “Some [of the escapees] said they were forced to undergo abortions in China’s Muslim-majority province of Xinjiang, others that they had contraceptive devices implanted against their will while in detention. “One reported being raped. Many said they were subjected to sexual humiliation, from being filmed in the shower to having their intimate parts rubbed with chili paste. . . . While the experiences described could not be independently verified, local rights groups and lawyers say they are common and reveal a wider pattern of abuse directed specifically against women, aimed at curbing their ability to reproduce.”
Whilst repression in mainland China is extended to Sunni and Sufi forms of Islam – https://www.npr.org/2019/09/26/763356996/afraid-we-will-become-the-next-xinjiang-chinas-hui-muslims-face-crackdown – DNA sampling extends to China’s non-Muslim regions:
“Authorities in the southwestern Chinese region of Guangxi have called on local residents to present themselves for DNA collection over a three-month period lasting until the end of this year, RFA has learned. Police stations in Guangxi’s tourist destination of Guilin have written to local residents calling on them to undergo blood tests and DNA sampling between Sept. 20 and Dec. 31, according to a copy of the notice seen by RFA. The request was being made to “complete minimum data requirements for policing” and to “improve population management and control,” the notice said. An officer who answered the phone at Guilin’s Beimen police station on Thursday said at least one male from each family is expected to leave a DNA sample with police. A notice issued by the Guiqing police station in the same city titled “Regarding the collection of DNA and blood samples from male family members,” claimed that the data would “enable us to better serve the welfare of the people.”
Meanwhile in Xinjiang, this report in Mandarin – https://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/shaoshuminzu/ql2-09262019084115.html gives accounts by released Kazakhs recounting details of Xinjiang’s camps: Cages, unidentified “vaccines,” and a facility built deep underground –
Radio Free Asia, September 26, 2019.
China is building a global coalition of human rights violators to defend its record in Xinjiang; what is its endgame? “China’s approach has been to engage with the UN’s human rights bodies to impose its own narrative, which misinterprets sovereignty as being distinct and above human rights. The Chinese government persistently reacts to any criticism of China by labelling it interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. In doing so, it ignores repeated emphasis in international human rights law that human rights depend on one another. The exercise of one right, such as the right to sovereignty, cannot allow the violation of another, such as the right not to be tortured.”
Police remove fences and bus stops from near Hong Kong march site ahead of extradition bill protest planned for Sunday
Hong Kong police demand march organisers answer 32 questions before getting go-ahead, prompting fears freedom of assembly is being undermined
Hong Kong anti-extradition law demo set for Sunday, as pro-Beijing lawmakers urge gov’t to ban protests till Sept
What Hong Kong’s man without a mask wants you to know
Report flags how China conducts influence operations in Singapore
China, Hong Kong (Sha Tin): more clashes “Some protesters placed traffic cones on the street, dismantled roadside metal barriers and set up makeshift barricades to separate themselves from police, who formed into a line. Protesters then became locked in a standoff with police officers in riot gear. Those standing near the police line put on goggles, face masks and helmets and armed themselves with umbrellas in case police used pepper spray.”
China, Hong Kong: more clashes…Sheung Shui: clashes with mainland traders “…the focus again turned away from downtown Hong Kong to Sheung Shui, a town close to the border where so-called “parallel traders” from the mainland buy bulk quantities of duty free goods which they then carry into China to sell. The small-time mainland traders have long been a source of anger among some in Hong Kong who argue that they have fuelled inflation, dodged taxes, diluted the town’s identity and caused a spike in property prices.” Of course dodging taxes and diluting a town’s identity are typical hypocritical petty petit-bourgeois concerns (at least when it’s others who are doing the tax dodging and identity-diluting), whereas fuelling inflation and causing a spike in property prices are not just petit-bourgeois issues. This article also refers to a protest a week ago ” against middle-aged mainland women …accused of brashly singing and dancing to pop songs in Mandarin, which many locals considered a nuisance”, whereas another article I’ve seen refers only to the very noisy level of these diva performances, a fair enough target in my opinion, though I imagine there’s an HK nationalist element to this, as I’ve not heard of protests against other ear-deafening concerts. The HK movement, like many movements throughout history, seems to have unleashed a pent-up anger which hits out in any direction, sometimes pretty petty. More here about protests spreading. “Such frequent protests are rare in Hong Kong, where people are known for their stoical work ethic in a city that has some of the highest property prices in the world and little social welfare provision. Many interviewed by the Observer in the Sheung Shui protest on Saturday said the millions-strong anti-extradition protests last month had become a lightning rod for them. Many have been accumulating pent-up anger against the government for policies they felt they had endured long enough….“The anti-extradition protests have heightened our awareness over community issues. Instead of waiting for the government to do something, we may as well take it into our own hands,” said Vincent Yeung, a man in his 20s.”
Re-Xicling “The Chinese leadership has been on a mission to promote the country’s reputation for environmental sustainability, from being a leader on climate change to promoting an “ecological civilisation” at home to address the environmental impacts of the country’s rapid growth. Chen said the result was often little more than “window dressing”. … trash sorting has so far relied on coercion. Residents face fines of 200 yuan ($30) for individuals while companies could be fined between 50,000 to half a million yuan for violating the rules. Within the first week of the new policy, 190 fines were doled out as well as more than 3,000 “rectification notices” to individuals and businesses. Some residential communities are giving outbags with barcodes to scan so they can assess the participation of different households in the compound. Residents could have their social credit scores lowered and in serious cases be placed on a “public credibility platform” list….Residents have also come up with a rule of thumb to make categorising waste simpler. If a pig can eat it, it goes into the wet bin. If a pig cannot, it is dry waste. If a pig is likely to die from eating it, the waste is hazardous. If you could sell it and buy a pig with the funds, it is recyclable waste. “
China, Wuhan: more clashes In one of the videos on this site there appears to be not just armoured vehicles but also a tank aimning to scare the shit out of the Wuhan protesters. However, it is not a tank per se. It is probably a ZBD-04 mechanized infantry combat vehicle – basically a cross between a tank and an armoured personnel carrier. These differ from tanks in that they can carry a squad or so of completely equipped infantry within the hull of the vehicle. They also usually have a main armament that is slightly inferior to that of a main battle tank (in this particular case, a 100mm main gun, versus the 125mm gun of the Type 99 main battle tank, though this is not always the case – eg the Israeli Merkava). It differs from the older-paradigm “Armored personnel carrier” in that it carries its own gun armament in addition to giving its infantry passengers the ability to fight from within the vehicle with their own weapons, usually augmented by a heavy machine gun (this would be the formerly ubiquitous US M113 series APCs) or a small-caliber cannon (the formerly West German HS. 30, for example). This allows the MICV to fend for itself in ways that were impossible for the older APC. [thanks to X for this information]
The above video, though apparently available on Youtube, is not – maybe because the Chinese state has managed to censor it..?
Report on the changing pattern of workers’ protests and strikes “The large-scale strikes and protests by factory workers that highlighted labour activism five years ago, are becoming less and less visible today. Labour activism is now far more fluid and transitory and as such presents new challenges to both grassroots organizers and China’s official trade union. Around 95 percent of the 712 collective protests recorded on China Labour Bulletin’s Strike Map in the first half of 2019 involved less than 100 workers, and were predominately in the construction industry, services and transport. There were no protests with more than 1,000 workers during the first half of the year….”
Hong Kong: city inundated with post-it notes “All across the city’s districts—from its financial hub to the suburbs neighboring mainland China and outlying islands—walls big and small covered with colorful pieces of paper with the thoughts and wishes of Hong Kong people are sprouting up. Their inscriptions range from inspiring quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr. to expletive-laden calls for death to police. It’s the latest in a strategy protesters are calling “flowers blossoming everywhere,” a Chinese saying appropriated to signify that the recent protest movement in Hong Kong has now spread far from its downtown epicenter to neighborhoods everywhere…”
Hong Kong: movement uses AirDrop app to breach China’s Great Firewall “Hong Kong’s protesters are using AirDrop, a file-sharing feature that allows Apple devices to send photos and videos over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, to breach China’s Great Firewall in order to spread information to mainland Chinese visitors in the city. Leaving AirDrop settings open allows anyone in the vicinity to send files to your device. A protest held yesterday (July 7) in Tsim Sha Tsui, one of Hong Kong’s most popular tourist districts, had a clear aim: to tell people from mainland China about the city’s opposition to a hated extradition bill…news of the protest has been heavily censored in mainland China, with any mention of the mass movement wiped off the Chinese internet. Even songs alluding to the city have been scrubbed. As such, many Chinese tourists were visibly confused by the large march, which organizers say drew an estimated 230,000 people. Hong Kong’s protesters have therefore turned to Apple’s AirDrop feature to get their message across to their mainland Chinese compatriots. That the messages are written in simplified Chinese—Hong Kongers use traditional Chinese—confirm that the intended audience is Chinese tourists…“ …protesters make connection with Wuhan anti-incinerator protests“The Chinese police are beating protesters and blocking information” in Wuhan, said Gladis Au, a 28-year-old executive who attended the Hong Kong march. “I think we need to come out today, otherwise we will become Wuhan someday.” And here “Hong Kong protesters focused on spreading the word to mainland Chinese today. Just got off the subway in Kowloon & within 1 min was airdropped 3 times abt the extradition law, recent protests in Wuhan & detentions of human rights lawyers/Marxist students/Uighur activists in China”… More here“Late into the evening, protesters continued to march down Nathan Road, the main thoroughfare in Kowloon, occupying half a street. They chanted slogans as they marched northwards, passing Yau Ma Tei and heading towards Mong Kok. After reaching Mongkok, police in riot gear formed into a line to stop protesters from advancing and demanded that they left. “Cruel police! Cruel police!” chanted protesters, wearing goggles, masks and holding up umbrellas to shield themselves in case police shot tear gas. ” This is the first demo in Kowloon, the city’s most densely populated area, since the protests began a month ago. For a breakdown of the miserable cost of “living” there see this for prices, and this for income. Example: 50% of the population earn HK$34,622 or less per month, of whom 25% earn HK$17647 or less per month, whilst the minimum wage is HK$4594; monthly rent in a “normal” area averages at HK$14,376 for 45M2.
Sina Weibo, one of China’s largest social media platforms, goes ultra-puritan “Earlier this week, the administration of Sina Weibo announced a special summer holiday crackdown on “vulgar content,” including “pornographic novels, erotic anime, pictures or videos.” In a public announcement that was posted on July 4th, the Weibo administration writes that the primary goal of this campaign is to “create a healthier, more positive environment for underage users” during the summer break period….The censorship plan is titled “Project Deep Blue” (or: “Project Sky Blue”) (蔚蓝计划), and will use filter systems, human moderators and user reports to censor more content for the upcoming two months….”
More on the advanced state of Chinese surveillance architecture This partly involves methods of manipulating people’s consumption habits, hyped up as also conducive to making a cleaner safer environment in lots of different ways:
“Dalian Wanda Group upgraded its property management platforms at two Wanda Plazas by installing cameras that use behaviour-recognition technology to track shoppers’ movements inside the mall, such as how long a person lingers in a store and whether they walk out with a bag in their hand. The technology, from Wanda’s Huiyun management system, allows the group to capture and analyse a person’s age, gender and shopping patterns, letting the landlord better optimise merchant layouts. Shoppers don’t know it, but they’re also assigned a computerised ID so they’re recognised upon their next visit. Sensitive information, including people’s facial images, isn’t stored to prevent the risk of personal privacy infringement issues and potential legal disputes, the company says….the system has trimmed labour costs on facilities maintenance by as much as 62 per cent….What does Longfor do with the employees its technology has put out of work? The company uses them to provide next-level service for residents. An executive who travels a lot can ask these newly trained butlers to feed her fish while she’s away, or elderly people can be walked outside in their wheelchairs every morning. Residents can even rate these stewards, as Longfor calls them, using an app….First-time visitors can enter their mobile number at a fourth-floor screen to link to their WeChat account, giving Shui On access to their buying habits on Tencent Holdings, WeChat’s parent company. Immediately, discount coupons are sent direct to a person’s WeChat Pay wallet, making a cup of coffee cheaper or car parking free. The screen also offers brand suggestions based on previous shopping habits. The whole process is pared with facial recognition technology, so second-time visitors need only to stand still in front of the screen….video surveillance cameras capture footage three times a minute, gathering real-time pictures ranging from what guards are doing to whether non-residents are intruding upon private property….”
10 years after – “requiem for the living dead”, on the massacre in Xinjiang…Report on the spark that set genocide ablaze in Xinjiang ten years ago, apparently “Two Uyghur workers were killed by an angry mob at a factory in Shaoguan, Guangdong following false rumors that the Uyghurs had sexually assaulted Han women. When images of the fight spread online, protests erupted in Urumqi, the regional capital, against the treatment of the Uyghurs at the factory and more broadly in Chinese society. As the protests turned violent, an estimated 200 people were killed. …In the days after the violence on July 5, 2009, Beijing had sent in thousands of troops to restore order. For weeks, they fired tear gas, raided businesses and swept through Uighur neighborhoods to arrest hundreds, many of whom were punished with decades in prison. The entire region of 20 million people was cut off from the Internet for nearly a year …in one township alone more than 400 children have lost not just one but both parents to some form of internment, either in the camps or in prison.… Government propaganda extols the virtues of boarding schools as helping to “maintain social stability and peace” with the “school taking the place of the parents….Boarding schools provide the ideal context for a sustained cultural re-engineering of minority societies”
China, Shanghai: brave young woman sprays ink on poster of Xi Jinping “The woman, surnamed Dong, stood in front of a Shanghai building on the morning of July 4, local time, to protest against Xi’s “autocratic rule and tyranny.” She then splashed ink on the president’s “Chinese Dream” poster which was installed on the opposite side of the HNA Building in Lujiazui. “I oppose Xi Jinping’s autocratic rule and tyranny!” Shanghaiist quoted Dong, who livestreamed the act”. This reminds me of the attack on Mao’s portrait in Tiananmen Square, 30 years ago, an action that was betrayed by the official student movement, who handed those who did it over to the state, one of whom spent 20 years inside:
According to this, the Wuhan incinerator protests (see entry for 3/7/19 below) involved as many as a million people “Some media said that the number of protesters exceeded one million. …The Central News Agency reported that this large-scale protest in Wuhan has appeared since June 28. On July 2 and 3, the scale has continued to rise, and the image of resistance has spread on the Internet, receiving a lot of attention. According to images and photos taken by the public, the resistance of Yangluo residents continued from day to night, thousands of people were crowded in local roads, and a large number of armed police guards were kept on the side. After the conflict between the two sides, many people were towed away by the police, and some people were beaten and wounded and their heads were broken….The local people complained that the project is located in a gathering area of 300,000 people and there are two universities and colleges in the district. However, the authorities did not communicate with the public… Once built, the local air would be full of carcinogens, seriously affecting the health of future generations.“…Video here showing cops marching in army-type formation, armoured vehicles and even a tank. More here: “[Protesters] shouted slogans such as “Give the green mountains and clear waters back to us” and “Garbage burning plant get lost from Yangluo.” […T]housands of protesters – about 10,000, according to one source – marched last weekend, leading to some arrests, although those detained were released later, protesters said. After minor protests on Monday and Tuesday, residents gathered in greater numbers in Yangluo on Wednesday and Thursday nights, met by a heavy police presence. Videos seen by the South China Morning Post show hundreds of riot police marching through the streets, equipped with helmets, shields and batons….“The people’s government of the district fully guarantees the participation rights and supervision rights of the masses,” read a statement from the Xinzhou district in eastern Wuhan, the site of the proposed incinerator. But the statement also warned, “Public security organizations will resolutely crack down on illegal criminal acts such as malicious incitement and provocation.” […] Hundreds of people milled quietly around on sidewalks on either side of an avenue, sullenly eyeing more than a dozen large black police vans and buses with tinted windows. The show of force and the earlier detentions intimidated possible protesters to avoid further confrontations, residents said. Many plainclothesmen were evident. Numerous young men in short haircuts stood at each street corner after sunset and watched the crowd while wearing identical outfits: black trousers, black T-shirts and bright red vests incongruously labeled “Civilized Construction Tour Guide….The protests also indicated the depth of anger about environmental problems that directly affect people’s quality of life, after decades in which Chinese authorities sacrificed the nation’s environment, air, soil and water for the sake of breakneck economic growth….. Although news of the protest in Wuhan is largely censored in China, some has made its way outside the Great Firewall and is circulating on Twitter: Pretty unbelievable footage coming out of the protest in Wuhan. You read about protests taking place in the mainland all the time over local grievances, but it’s surreal to see this kind of video footage of it actually happening. https://t.co/kSKrtk58kn pic.twitter.com/Ie7wvNrTAr ”…
China, Wuhan: about 10,000 protest waste incinerator “Authorities in the central Chinese city of Wuhan have detained around 20 people in a crackdown this week on a mass street protest at plans to build a new waste incineration plant…Amid chants of “Give us back our clean environment!”, an estimated 10,000 residents from apartments near the Yangluo industrial development area in Wuhan’s Xinzhou district turned out against the plan on Tuesday and Wednesday…The local government dispatched around 1,000 riot police to disperse the crowd, with large numbers of injuries reported…Many of the arrests were of social media users for posting or forwarding information about the protests via the closely controlled platform WeChat. A Xinzhou resident surnamed Xu said the protest was a spontaneous action by local people, who are angry that local officials are ignoring their health concerns. “The site was originally a landfill,” Xu said. “The air quality is already very poor in Yangluo and the groundwater has been polluted for more than a decade.” “Now they say they have to build a waste incineration power plant, which is a threat to our lives,” he said. The waste incinerator plan comes after the Chenjiachong landfill site in Xinzhou exceeded its capacity just five years after its opening in 2007. Local residents… first learned of the renewed incinerator plan in mid-June, and immediately organized a petition against it. The government responded by having around 20 of the petitioners detained. This week, the authorities blocked the mobile phone signal, as well as sending in police to beat up and detain protesters. According to Xu, the government feared the Wuhan protesters would communicate with anti-extradition protests in Hong Kong. A local resident surnamed Zhang said the Xinzhou district government had responded to the protests by saying that it would consult more widely with local people, and that the project won’t go ahead without the consent of the local community. But Zhang said many local residents simply don’t believe this. “They tried to start a project like this here before, and the people kicked up a huge fuss, and it was shelved,” Zhang said. “But less than six months later, the old district governor was transferred away, and the new one reapplied for the project as soon as he took up his post.” A resident who declined to be named said it was unacceptable to build a waste incinerator in a densely populated residential area. “There are many ways in which this will have an impact on people’s lives: the air pollution, the harm to health, all of that,” the resident said. “But what government really speaks up for the people? None of them do. If they did, then no garbage incinerators would be built in residential areas,” he said. Last month, tens of thousands of residents of Yunfu city in the southern province of Guangdong also took to the streets to protest against plans for a waste incinerator in Mintang village. Three days later, the government announced the project would be canceled at the selected site. And on June 26, authorities in Xiantao city in the central province of Hubei announced they would initially shelve, and then cancel altogether, a similar project following mass protests by local residents. Decades of breakneck economic growth have left China with a seriously degraded environment, with regular environmental protests emerging among the country’s middle class. Previous attempts to build similar plants elsewhere across China have drawn widespread criticism over local government access to the huge potential profits linked to waste disposal projects.” [SF note: emphases in bold are mine]
“Among the graffiti on the wall, one said: “People will rise up when the authorities pushed them to the brink.” A black banner displayed at the front of the chamber read: “There are no rioters, only violent regimes.”…Others messages scrawled on the walls demanded the government implement universal suffrage, withdraw the extradition bill, refrain from calling the 12 June protest a riot, drop charges against protesters and investigate alleged police brutality. “The spraypainting was meant to be an insult to the government and the legislative system,” said the young man, insisting that protesters had been making a political statement but had not looted the place. He said he had left money for drinks he took and urged others not to wreck interior decorations.” – here. More here and here
Sad to see such faith in Brutish democracy in the form of the old colonial flag (and sad to see such an image-conscious goody-goody attitude of paying for drinks that the HK bureaucrats “paid” for from expropriation and exploitation of the dispossessed of HK)…live streaming of what’s going on … See also ‘Hong Kong – its relevance to the rest of us…its resistance to the science & technology of social control’ and ‘Hong Kong: Anarchists in the Resistance to the Extradition Bill’
Hong Kong students with May ’68 slogan (“Be realistic – demand the impossible”), back on 29th April 2014
(translation: “let’s fight for ourselves”)
We Have Been Harmonised: Life in China’s Surveillance State “The first stage is to disconnect citizen/subjects from truth and reality. For this, it’s necessary – as George Orwell noted in Politics and the English Language – to invent a new language by appropriating the existing vernacular so that words cease to have their original meanings and take on interpretations more congenial to the state. The prime objective at this stage is not so much to deceive as to intimidate potential critics or opponents…Having hijacked language and legitimised lies, the next stage is to sow confusion. “If everybody always lies to you,” Arendt once said, “the consequence is not that you believe the lies, but rather that nobody believes anything any longer.” With such a people, she added, “you can then do what you please”. This is made easier by deploying the coercive power of the state to eliminate dissent. In Xi’s China this is largely done by using the law – which only applies to the subject, not the state. In the old days this used to involve show trials; nowadays they are supplemented by televised “confessions”. …Another requirement of totalitarians is the fostering of collective amnesia. ….We thought that if the Chinese wanted to modernise, they would have to have capitalism. And if they had capitalism, they would have to have democracy. And if they wanted to have the internet (and they did), they would have to have openness, which would eventually lead to democracy. All of which turned out to be baloney.” The false dichotomy between democracy and totalitarianism needs further analysis, which of course such an article linked to above cannot do.
Interesting but scary story of man tried secretly for resisting eviction and killing 2 people who’d beaten him up, classified legally as “endangering state security” “Wei’s arrest came amid clashes between local residents and forced eviction and demolition gangs in Hangji township last October, with the authorities waging a campaign of intimidation against anyone trying to speak to the media, local residents said at the time. The clashes came after a forced demolition team and a team of government-hired thugs visited the home of Wei Gang in Hangji, they said. Local people had rioted for two days, with local military officers involved in negotiating some kind of settlement with the government, according to unconfirmed reports. Wei was also among a group of PLA veterans to organize protests over local governments’ failure to deliver promised demobilization benefits across China in recent months.“
China, Hong Kong: miserable development (fortunately only involving “hundreds”). See also ‘Hong Kong – its relevance to the rest of us…its resistance to the science & technology of social control‘ and ‘Hong Kong: Anarchists in the Resistance to the Extradition Bill’
Tiananmen: The People Versus the Party Documentary broadcast in the US about the events just over 30 years ago. X writes: “…definitely worthwhile. Interviews with some of the the student leaders (unfortunately not Han Dongfang, who went on from being one of the Beijing Autonomous Workers’ Federation to being an in-exile founder of China Labour Bulletin – this although I’m sure I would disagree with his opinions) – Wang Dan, Wuer Kaixi, Shen Tong and others, as well as some of the best Sinologists and China observers/writers around at that time – Andrew Nathan, Perry Link, and Robin Munro (missing is Geremie Barmé, whose involvement in a rival reading of the 6/4 Incident, Gate of Heavenly Peace, which seemed much more wide of the mark. Not to say that the doc wasn’t without its flaws. Conspicuously absent are some of the more glaring contradictions in the movement, or any critique of the arrogance and high-handedness of the student movement and its leaders, or of the signal acts of splattering the idealized portrait of Chairman Mao, and the contemptible act of the students who turned the brave young men from Hunan who did it in to the filth. What was exemplary was the depiction of an urban population that was transformed in the most noble way by this struggle and the culture of solidarity which grew up with it (including the mention of the thieves’ resolution not to steal while the movement was underway). The statement that this was a self-actuated, self-organized movement, too, was unequivocal. Not enough time was given to the resistance of the people especially in the working-class suburbs, against the PLA [People’s Liberation Army], but mention was given to the resistance of the Beijing-based Commander of the 28th Army and his men to the orders to implement martial law. No mention, on the other hand, was made of the soldiers who handed out their weapons to people in the crowds. Neither was there any mention of those who attacked PLA vehicles with molotov cocktails, although evidence of their work was on the morning of June 4th, inescapable, or of any of the reported sniping attacks made still later against the PLA.“
“Don’t forget our arrested comrades”
China, Hong Kong: anti-extradition protesters block main road “Protestors in Hong Kong have blocked a key road through the city centre and massed outside police headquarters to demand the total withdrawal of a controversial extradition law, the release of detained activists and apologies for police brutality.”
China, Hong Kong: protesters bed in for a night around government HQ as over 25% of the population demonstrate Doubtless some ultra-leftists will point out the obvious – the ideological illusions in bourgeois democracy. However, this is a movement against things getting considerably worse, rather than a clearly positive pro-democracy movement. Apart from the fact that HK is hardly a bourgeois democracy insofar as only half of the deputies are elected, fantasies that the West are in any way on their side other than with their vapid words are not that prominent as far as I can see. Hopefully the masses in Hong Kong will eventually realise that the bourgeois democracies are only too happy to collaborate with China (see this, about George Bush snr. collaborating with China shortly after the Tiananmen Square massacre, or this recent report on the Belgian state’s collaboration with the Chinese state’s repression of Muslims). The main danger now is that the release from prison of one of the 2014 Umbrella Movement leaders could well mean he’ll be used to pacify the most radical section of youth, which so far has rejected leadership.
Belgium collaborates with China’s repression of Uighurs “Belgian officials say their small country can’t risk offending China“
Video showing cops forced, at one time, to retreat
More here “Riot police turned downtown Hong Kong into a tear-gas covered battlefield as they pushed back against protesters who tried to storm Hong Kong’s Legislative Council. The protesters, angry at an extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial, hurled bricks, bottles and umbrellas as they clashed with the police, as the demonstrations intensified on Wednesday afternoon.” More here “Protesters were seen wearing helmets, goggles and heavy-duty workman’s gloves, and pulling bricks from the sidewalks…dear my hong kong, you’re particularly beautiful today….a young person on the frontline: “We can’t lose again, because if we do, we lose everything!” And then he charged forwards….When protesters stormed the barricades outside the LegCo building, police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, leading to at least 72 hospitalizations….Tear gas grenades extinguished almost immediately with water….Angry auntie shout at the police…Cops tried to pacify her with some snacks but she refused to take it…she’s asking if the police want to send her back to china, and when he tried to offer her a snack cos she’s “tired” she said “i don’t take things from running dogs”
For greater details about what’s happening see:
“Why Hong Kong is protesting” “At the Hong Kong literary festival in November, a friend accompanied me at all times, for fear I’d be secretly kidnapped and smuggled to China. If the extradition law passes, any critic of Xi’s regime could be legally, openly abducted….It’s not only “Hong Kong people” whose fate is at stake here. Anyone passing through Hong Kong airport could be detained and sent to China (compare the Huawei Vancouver extradition case). Even people who have been extradited by a third jurisdiction to Hong Kong could be subject to re-extradition to China…Some alleged offenders are never brought to trial in China. Think former Party General Secretary Zhao Ziyang, detained without any legal process for the last 16 years of his life!!…The feeling in #HongKong is that the police have “gone crazy”, are “out of control”….In Hong Kong’s hybrid political system — a result of British colonial tradition as much as Communist control — only half the seats in the legislature are filled by popular elections. Most of the other half of the seats are filled by industry and business groups, and China’s booming economy means Beijing enjoys greater leverage over the Hong Kong economy now than it did even a decade ago, especially in finance.“
Young, leaderless demonstrators learn lessons from the past “…unlike five years ago, the protesters – a majority of whom seem to be in their early 20s – were noticeably more leery of cameras, either of police officers or journalists. They repeatedly reminded each other to put on face masks “to protect themselves”, reluctant to have their pictures taken, even less their identity revealed while being interviewed. Over the past week in the lead-up to the protests, tens of thousands of Hongkongers exchanged tactics on how to block lawmakers from scrutinising the embattled extradition bill on Wednesday through several encrypted channels on Telegram….a 31-year-old freelancer…said the lack of a clear leader or organiser this time actually allowed people from a broader swathe of society to make common cause again….”Unlike the Occupy days when there was a lot of finger-pointing, we have now come to respect each other more.””
More here “…people were reluctant to reveal their identity to reporters, refusing to be photographed and mostly declining to give their names and ages. When a Guardian reporter was interviewing a teenager in an underground station on Wednesday, his friends swiftly pulled him away…. knowing that the government often ignored peaceful expressions, the youngsters increasingly believed they had no choice but to resort to radical actions.”
Surveillance Fears Shadow Hong Kong Protests “Hong Kong’s protesters had mobilized on Wednesday as if they’d been trained for years. Anyone who needed a helmet, mask, or umbrella would yell to the sky. Those around them would stop, passing the message instantly through the crowds with unified chants and matching hand motions: patting their heads for a helmet, cupping their eyes for goggles, rolling their arms for cling wrap, which they were using to protect exposed skin from tear gas and pepper spray….Many of the protesters are college-aged and digitally savvy. They took pains to keep from being photographed or digitally tracked. To go to and from the protests, many stood in lines to buy single-ride subway tickets instead of using their digital payment cards, which can be tracked. Some confronting the police covered their faces with hats and masks, giving them anonymity as well as some protection from tear gas….On Wednesday, several protesters shouted at bystanders taking photos and selfies, asking those who were not wearing press passes to take pictures only of people wearing masks. Later, a scuffle broke out between protesters and bystanders who were taking photos on a bridge over the main protest area….At some point people called for drones being on the air. Everybody opened their umbrellas. I’m amazed by the level of organisation… Having been in hundreds of protests myself, this is the first time I felt protestors know what they’re doing….“Those who did 2014 know that peaceful methods are not working”
For more information & analysis on China see this.
Massive demo against extradition law “…suspicions that the initiative for the law had come from Beijing were bolstered last month when Politburo member Han Zheng voiced his support for it and revealed that its targets included foreigners who had committed crimes against Chinese national security outside China and who had passed through Hong Kong.”
New repressive developments in Hong Kong “…the city’s legislators are pushing ahead with the controversial extradition law that will give mainland China the right to request the transfer of alleged criminals….”
(an action that was betrayed by the official student movement, who handed those who did it over to the state, one of whom spent 20 years inside)
This report shows that the Chinese state murdered at least 10,000 in Beijing back in 1989. « China’s statement at the end of June 1989 said that 200 civilians and several dozen security personnel had died in Beijing following the suppression of “counter-revolutionary riots” on 4 June 1989. » X writes : « No one went into the working class suburbs where resistance was the most intense. And look at this pic –
– they Luau’d the fuckers in their own APC. That should give some idea of how people fought back against their far better armed enemies. Long live the snipers of working class Beijing. Long live the mutinous soldiers who refused to fight and handed their weapons to people in the crowd. »
Shallow report on 70th anniversary of “Communist” Party control – e.g. this: “Chen is quick to stop comparisons between student activists like himself and previous generations who called for democracy and other freedoms, such as the student protesters of 1989, many of them also from Peking University. “We do not discuss 4 June because we understand the patriotism and feelings of students, but we do not support their thoughts and behaviours,” he says. But he believes the student movement today is not dead. “I believe that the future must belong to the Chinese working class and progressive youth.” The fence-sitting here, and the complicity in the repression of memory (“We do not discuss 4 June“) does not come from fear of worse state repression – Chen is a pseudonym, so no excuse for such evasive bullshit. It comes from the Maoist ideology of these “serve the people” students (Chen earlier says, “I wanted to cultivate myself, and contribute to the country, to serve the motherland and the people.”), the ideology that led to 38 million people being killed in Mao’s Great Leap Forward, that led to the power battles between Mao and most of the rest of the Stalinist bureaucracy of the Cultural Revolution (considered largely inexplicable in this shallow report), that eventually led to the brutal repression of June 4th 1989. One wonders how on earth so many people can be uncritical of the ideological stance of the students who support the Jasic workers’ struggle, as if they’re heroes because they’ve suffered horrendous state repression: remember – Stalin too suffered state repression under the Tsar. Amnesia supported by statist ideology can only weaken the struggles of the future and once again lead them up the garden path of yet another failed movement resulting in even worse disasters. But this is a specifically Chinese instance of a general global repression of memory and escape from striving to understand the strengths and weaknesses of past struggles, an essential part of any practical hope for the future.
More on student activism and critique “…China’s so-called socialism with Chinese characteristics are two different things. They sell fascism as socialism, like a street vendor passes off dog meat as lamb.”
Report on Current Situation Facing Chinese Youth Activists (pdf) X writes: “Two memorable citations from this:
p. 29 : The extinction-level crackdown on all sorts of activist groups has given the majority of activists personal experience of just how little possibility there is for civil society in China right now.
p. 27 (a quote from an activist): “For the mainland, if you don’t take any violent action, if you don’t make any sacrifice of blood, then you can’t really accomplish anything.”
Article on the centenary of the May 4th movement X writes: “The absence of the the anarchists from this little chiding mini-essay, shows once again the pernicious influence of the religion of the bureaucratic class. Chen Duxiu is supposed to matter; Tsai Yan-pei and Liu Shifu are supposed to remain invisible.”
Report on further developments in predictive policing in Uighur region “The report’s findings, arrived at through a yearlong project reverse-engineering a policing app used by Xinjiang authorities, help explain how police interface with the “Integrated Joint Operations Platform” (IJOP), a predictive policing system that examines residents’ behavior to determine who should be interrogated and potentially detained. (HRW described the IJOP at length in a 2018 report.) At The Guardian, Simina Mistreanu summarizes the report: Data collection, including people’s blood type, height and religious practices, has been central to the crackdown, which started in late 2016, the rights group says. “[…] The app targets 36 “person types” to whom officials must pay special attention. The categories include seemingly harmless behaviours such as “does not socialise with neighbours, seldom uses front door”; “suddenly returned to hometown after being away for a long time”; “collected money or materials for mosques with enthusiasm”; and “household uses an abnormal amount of electricity.”…“Psychologically, the more people are sure that their actions are monitored and that they, at anytime, can be judged for moving outside of a safe grey-space, the more likely they are to do everything to avoid coming close to crossing a moving red- line,” Samantha Hoffman, an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s International Cyber Policy Centre, told AFP. “There is no rule of law in China, the Party ultimately decides what is legal and illegal behaviour, and it doesn’t have to be written down.”…Authorities appear to be using Xinjiang as a pilot region to test cutting-edge, high-tech surveillance and policing methods that could later be used in other locales, domestic and foreign. …“This is not just about Xinjiang or even China — it’s about the world beyond and whether we human beings can continue to have freedom in a world of connected devices,” Wang said. “It’s a wake-up call, not just about China but about every one of us.”…Gohar Abbas interviewed Pakistani men whose Uyghur wives were recently released from the camps. The men relay their wives’ tales of being forced to betray their faith: “[…T]he men [said] their partners were forced into acts that are haram, or forbidden, to followers of Islam — both in the camps and now they’ve been freed.“She said they had to eat pork and drink alcohol, something she still has to do,” one merchant, who recently visited his wife at her parents’ house in Xinjiang told AFP, on condition of anonymity. “She was told that she had to satisfy the authorities that she no longer possesses radical thoughts if she does not want to go back,” he explained, adding that she had given up praying and the Quran had been replaced by books on China at his in-laws home…” More here
Everyone loves Big Brother “I couldn’t tell which terrified me more: China’s all-encompassing network of facial recognition surveillance cameras, or that my countrymen were proudly cheering them on… Many people in China seem to be happy about the physical security promised by the surveillance network. Our mind-set, long ago, was wired to see safety and freedom as an either-or choice. Huawei’s Hong-Eng Ko put the public safety argument more bluntly this week, arguing that “if privacy wins, criminals win.” The acceptance Qian describes is mirrored in widespread public support for China’s various emerging social credit systems as mechanisms of accountability for untrustworthy behavior, as found by Genia Kostka through surveys and Manya Koetse through analysis of social media discussion.”
X writes: “The final subhuman product of the system: docile cattle who are nervous if they don’t think they are being supervised. They need to be slaughtered to understand what is going on, and when that happens, they’re quickly far beyond being able to understand anything at all. How thoroughly contemptible. One of the first orders of any revolution is to make this type of subhuman impossible and to spare no instance in which they can be denounced, pilloried, demeaned, caricatured, denigrated, and subjected to condescending pity, while taking every pain to praise and encourage them at whatever acts of rebellion they may belatedly engaging in. and understanding that this is something that regularly happens to all of us because it is embedded in the civilization that we must destroy.[wasn’t it Wilde who said that the first revolutionary act is disobedience?]…“
Journalist writes of new “cultural revolution” During the 60s so-called “cultural revolution”, the reason the kids were “sent down to the countryside” was that the Red Guards were escaping from the control of their handlers in the Gang of Five, writing things like “Whither China“ and fighting the army and the security goons. It’s hard to know the extent to which this, or some similar evidence of “uncontrollability”, allows us to see a comparable trajectory in the present that has provoked this extreme policy (with its attendantly greater risks). Of course it is possible to see in this measure something similar to the program of putting Han snitches in Uyghur households as they do in Xinjiang, but maybe there’s some other kind of explanation lurking somewhere, maybe something that forced the bureaucracy, or sections of it, to try to re-direct/recuperate energy that posed something of a threat to its monopoly of control.
From Uncle Joe to Grandpa Xi – The Little Red Book takes a great leap forward to become The Little Red App “Schools are shaming students with low app scores. Government offices are holding study sessions and forcing workers who fall behind to write reports criticizing themselves. Private companies, hoping to curry favor with party officials, are ranking employees based on their use of the app and awarding top performers the title of “star learner.” Many employers now require workers to submit daily screenshots documenting how many points they have earned.“
Nanjing: sanitation workers now have to wear GPS tracking bracelets “…sanitation workers in Nanjing, China’s Hexi district were being required to wear GPS-tracking smart bracelets to not only monitor their location at all times, but audibly prod them if they stopped moving for more than 20 minutes…. public pressure had mounted to the point that the local sanitation company decided to walk things back a bit — but only by removing the most obnoxious part of the system. Now, the bracelets will no longer say “please continue working” if a worker decides to stay in one place, but they’ll reportedly still track workers just the same.”
Hong Kong: sad sacrificial notion of Occupy Hong Kong as city awaits result of trial of activists For details about Occupy Hong Kong, see July 2014 to December 2014 here
France, Nice: Xi Jinping on fire…? A fire – almost certainly arson – of a dozen or so cars in a car park under, or nearly under, the hotel where Xi Jinping was staying in Nice on Saturday 23rd. Not sure that it was directly under the hotel but certainly very close. This was shortly after a yellow vest woman, amongst about only 30 yellow vests who’d decided to demonstrate despite the ban on demos there on the eve of Macron’s visit with XJ, fell and cracked her skull following a crazy charge (against 30 unarmed peaceful demonstrators) by riot cops (she’s now in a coma). No-one’s talking about the fire as an attack on XJ (in fact, the fire’s hardly been talked about at all) but it seems like quite a coincidence.
US tech companies supply intensified surveillance technology to China as China exports this self-same technology to other states “The SenseNets database logged exact GPS coordinates on a 24-hour basis and, using facial recognition, associated that data with sensitive personal information, including national ID numbers, home addresses, personal photographs, and places of employment. Nearly one-third of the individuals tracked were from the Uighur minority ethnic group. In a bizarre juxtaposition of surveillance supremacy and security incompetence, SenseNets’ database was left open on the internet for six months before it was reported and, according to the researcher who discovered it, could have been “corrupted by a 12-year-old.” The discovery suggests SenseNets is one of a number of Chinese companies participating in the construction of a technology-enabled totalitarian police state in Xinjiang, which has seen as many as 2 million Uighurs placed into “re-education camps” since early 2017.“
Yet another horrific ‘accident’ “Public anger over safety standards has grown in China over industrial accidents ranging from mining disasters to factory fires that have marred three decades of swift economic growth.”
New book on China’s growing influence on the internet and surveillance technology – “The Great Firewall of China” “Besides chronicling past developments within China, the book stands as the latest in a growing chorus of warnings about the expanding global reach of China’s digital controls and its role as a source of inspiration and technology to other countries.”
Report on jailed Uighur singer A bit heavy on the hero worship, but somewhat understandable considering what Heyit has been up against and for how long.
Depressing report on the rise of Maoism inside China and elswhere X writes: Even as the shootings in Christchurch emphasize the power of the ultra-right, it is good to be reminded of the power of fascism’s left wing. Both of these phenomena are examples of the same thing: rising authoritarianism in the world, increasing frustration with existing dispensation, and absence of an anti-authoritarian anti-capitalist critique.
Report on Uighur poet Hardly a surprise, but this puts the lie to claims of the Chinese state that the wholesale incarceration of Uyghur and other Muslim populations of China’s far west is about “extremism,” or some kind of fundamentalist threat. What Han supremacy is doing in Tibet and Turkestan is just as vile, indeed made worse with the dark technology of our time, as the expressions of genocidal colonialism were in the Americas beginning five hundred years ago, or the efforts of the NSDAP to make Germany, in the words of Turning Point USA, “great again.” And the rest of the world passes judgment on itself with its obscene avidity in wanting to “do business” with the monsters making this all happen. But then, just a few months after the massacre in Tiananmen square, when the world’s capitalists temporarily boycotted Chinese products, it was all back to business-as-normal.
Rap eulogy to Chinese state achievements “What we are seeing is the inevitable outcome of a propaganda system that is cash-rich and culturally and intellectually bankrupt”
Report on protests by workers at online 2nd hand car dealership made recently redundant “… the sudden sacking of staff at second-hand car sales platform, RenRenChe, after the Lunar New Year holiday led to protests in at least six cities across the country….Around 100 workers staged a protest at the company’s headquarters in Beijing on the morning of 19 February. The workers demanded payment of their February salary, performance bonus and lay-off compensation after the company suddenly announced redundancies the day before. The company promised to come up with a compensation plan by ten o’clock but failed to deliver. In response, the workers blocked the outer doors of the office building to prevent managers from leaving. Security guards initially prevented staff from entering the building but the workers eventually forced their way in and jumped the barriers….”
After Repression, Revolt? More on Xi Jinping
Famous Uighur musician probably killed by state in internment camp X: “This concerns the fate of Uyghur musician Adbulrehim Heyit, who among his other “crimes” composed a song about an obstinate “guest” who overstays his welcome. The Chinese have issued a vid which resembles their forced-confession vids of human rights activists and dissidents shown on TV, and rather than shutting down the critical comments, this has sparked a strong reaction, even from the recent recipient of 3.6 billion dollars worth of “aid” from the Chinese, Turkey. The Chinese, correctly as irony would have it, have called the Turks hypocrites (and isn’t everybody?), but this still seems to a number of the commentators to be a kind of turning point in international perceptions of the Chinese and, it would seem, a possible threat to the “Road and Belt” initiative with which they were planning to secure their hold on the Eurasian continent.”
Blood plasma scare We can see here some aspects of growing totalitarianism and its practice of micromanaging appearances, which necessarily means the appearance of total control – which relates to the such regimes in general and not just this local (Chinese) example. ThIs paragraph is most revealing: “The story’s political sensitivity is amplified by its resonance with two others. It follows a series of public outcries over tainted or otherwise substandard vaccines or other medical products: last month, a city-level media directive from Huai’an, Jiangsu urged strict control of “calls to action or inflammatory information” following protests after 145 children received expired polio vaccines. Staff were also asked to gather links and screenshots of examples outside the local jurisdiction, apparently for referral to relevant authorities. Last July, a case involving 250,000 doses prompted a national directive to limit front-page coverage to reprints of official material, with other content given less prominent placement, special topic pages and links to earlier stories forbidden, and “comments attacking the system” targeted for deletion.
As Council on Foreign Relations and Seton Hall University health expert Yanzhong Huang relates in the extended quotation that follows: “…As sociologist Dingxin Zhao has argued, a state can justify its power in essentially three ways: by appealing to shared values, to the sanctity of of an electoral process and the rule of law, or to its own performance. In China , the CCP’s hold on power today isn’t based on popular elections or the rule of law, and the party can no longer appeal to the superiority of communism as a holistic political theory. So it must justify its continued rule by consistently delivering public goods, such as economic growth or better standards of living.
[…] In a top-down, state-dominated political system, the link between performance and legitimacy is dangerously tight. When I was conducting research about health effects of pollution in China last summer, I was amazed to hear many people, academics and ordinary Chinese, treat a policy failure (like a food safety crisis) or an economic problem (like rising income inequality) as failures of the ‘system’ (tizhi) itself.”
New Zealand researcher into Chinese government’s propaganda & intimidation methods becomes victim of Chinese government’s intimidation “Beginning in late 2017, Brady has had her home burgled and her office broken into twice. Her family car has been tampered with, she has received a threatening letter (“You are the next”) and answered numerous, anonymous phone calls in the middle of the night, despite having an unlisted number. The latest came at 3am on the day her family returned home after a Christmas break. “I’m being watched”, she says.” X says: “Something the present regime and the Maoists have in common, historically. And so it leads one to ask whether the Jasic Maoists are offering the Chinese anything better than another serving of dog shit.”(reference to this)
China plays the race card against Canada X writes:
“Here’s a laugh: Han supremacists calling out the (presently) more circumspect white supremacists of Canada for having a “double standard.” The Canadians should comply with Chinese demands – and treat Princess Meng the way the Han treat the Uighurs in those “education centers” of theirs, or possibly render to her the kind of justice the Tibetans have experienced. Or perhaps she would instead prefer the treatment meted out to the Falun Gong and be farmed for her internal organs. Yes, we know the elites of the world and their insistence on “rule of law,” and we know this law for what it is: the law of the jungle.”
As China threatens Taiwan, it seemed useful to provide some information about naval developments in the region:
Country’s first Chinese-built aircraft carrier launched on 18/5/18 A small selection of various kinds of pieces illustrating the nature of China’s naval power development and contrasting it to the other powers of East Asia. See also this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Izumo-class_helicopter_destroyer
“The rise of Chinese naval power has prompted the Japanese to build these two “destroyers” whom anyone with a lick of familiarity with the subject would call straight-up aircraft carriers, although not the kind capable of launching fixed-wing aircraft. With the trials of the new Chinese carrier being conducted right now, the Japanese have committed to building their first (true) aircraft carrier since 1945. No information yet on how large it will be The Izumos are in the 20,000 ton category, and the new Chinese ship is the same size as the US Forestal super-carrier of the late 1950s, just short of 60,000 tons – in other words, the same size as the UK’s new Queen Elizabeth class ships.“
See also this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dokdo-class_amphibious_assault_ship X writes: “Here is another “aircraft carrier by any other name” recently built in East Asia, this one by the South Koreans. The expansion of Chinese naval power has already triggered an arms race.”
“A general overview of the Japanese navy. It is interesting to note the comments of the Wiki staff regarding the Maya, Atago and Kongo classes of guided missile destroyers – which the Wiki says more resemble cruisers. Although this is a general trend among the world’s guided-missile destroyers, in the case of these three classes, the names are also associated with previous historical (Imperial Japanese Navy) cruisers and battlecruisers. Also, indicating the relative increase in importance of submarines, the adoption of the names of former Japanese aircraft carriers for the most recent class of submarines is a reflection of their assumption of the role of “capital ships.”
See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_003_aircraft_carrier
“This is the kind of aircraft carrier the PLA is currently aiming for – something that is roughly the equivalent of the US Nimits-class of today in general capabilities and dimensions.”
“Here it is noteworthy that the PLA is consistent with realizing its threats against Taiwan building a large number of amphibious warfare vessels, along with sophisticated destroyers and escort vessels. Also of note is the existence of Chinese ballistic missile submarines.”
From the introduction above:
“The possibility that China might become the architect of a new global system is not based on economic growth or military power. It doesn’t have to win a war against the US, so long as it has military autonomy in its own corner of the world; all previous global architects won defensive wars against the earlier global leader decades before ascending to the role themselves, and China already did this in the Korean War. Rather, it would have to make itself the center for the organization of global capitalism.”
Report on one of the founders of Hong Kong’s 79-day Occupy movement before he went on trial X writes: “This allows us a somewhat lengthy look into the mind of a Chinese democrat, and a reminder that the Chinese intelligentsia still has a tendency to succumb to Confucian behavioral norms.”
Recent developments in censorship X writes: “The fact that compliance with the orders to excise the more than 100,000 sensitive words and their more than 3 million derivatives is costing these scum at a time when buyers are spending less freely, is at least mildly amusing. The idea that the Party’s demands on language are so stringent and cover such an expanse of behavior and history – and the degree to which this is unknown (like June 4th for goodness sake), also shows the effects as mentioned before, of the Party’s clear-cutting of social knowledge. A certain kind of idiocy is being assiduously cultivated and the Maoist ‘workers’ support’ groups (supporting the working class with the ideology of its enslavement) are of course the best illustration of how this hobbles any serious opposition. Thinking outside the box, is, by definition, discouraged…and so there goes technical innovation too, to some extent, and with it the ability to compete with the more “open” capitalism of the West. The inherent structural problems of bureaucratic capitalism recapitulate themselves on a higher plane.”
Economy in crisis? “….as the world’s second-largest economy experiences its worst downturn since the 2008 global financial crisis…. China faces not just a slowing economy but also a protracted trade war with the US, a pile of debt that threatens the world economy along with the Chinese financial system, and a populace demanding better environmental, labour, and health protections. Next year, China’s leaders face some of the most difficult policy decisions they have had to make in years. Analysts say they are confronting a choice between pushing headline growth through Beijing’s traditional levers of infrastructure spending funded by debt, or painful reforms that lower financial risk but raise the possibility of unemployment, and ultimately social instability. Officially, China’s economy is humming along. Economic growth is expected to slow to 6.3% next year, after reaching 6.6% in 2018. The economy expanded by 6.5% in the third quarter, the country’s slowest quarter since 2009. Yet economic indicators from auto sales to manufacturing activity are all flashing red. In November, growth in China’s manufacturing sector stalled for the first time in more than two years. Annual auto sales in the world’s largest car market are on track to contract for the first time since 1990. Chinese stocks, more a measure of confidence than the real economy, have been some of the worst performing this year, losing $2tn (£1.58tn) in value. Factories have dismissed workers months early for the Chinese New Year holiday in February. Real estate, one of the few areas in which regular Chinese people can invest, has also suffered, causing developers to slash prices…”
School uniforms now have tracking devices “Each uniform has two chips in the shoulders which are used to track when and where the students enter or exit the school, with an added dose of facial recognition software at the entrances to make sure that the right student is wearing the right outfit (so you can’t just have your friend, say, wear an extra shirt while you go off and play hooky). Try to leave during school hours? An alarm will go off…the chips can apparently detect when a student has fallen asleep in class, and allow students to make payments (using additional facial or fingerprint recognition to confirm the purchase). “
Article on how well-known veteran dissidents are “touristed” “Recently, the Beijing police took my brother sightseeing again. Nine days, two guards, chauffeured tours through a national park that’s a World Heritage site, visits to Taoist temples and to the Three Gorges, expenses fully covered, all courtesy of the Ministry of Public Security. The point was to get him out of town during the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, held in early September. The capital had to be in a state of perfect order; no trace of trouble was permissible. And Zha Jianguo, a veteran democracy activist, is considered a professional troublemaker…”
Maoist gets arrested on his way to the 125th birthday party of his God X writes:“A real sign of the malignant stupidity of the times. When critical discourse is silenced, this is what happens. Don’t these stupid fuckers have any idea what happened to students and others who started “Marxist study groups” during the Mao era? The same bloody thing! To think the most savage counterrevolutionary ideology that ever was (and please correct me if I’m wrong, but is there any other ideology you know of that goaded people into eating each other?) is somehow revolutionary takes a sustained and determined ignorance that is truly jaw-dropping. This is how far the students of China have sunk. Again, what is needed is a demonstration demanding that the repression cease because Marxist ideology is no threat to Xi Jinping thought, the State or bureaucratic capitalism. This is an interreligious squabble that the CCP wants to treat as an existential threat: a virtuous circle of bureaucratic revalorization then; the repression against the Chinese Maoists, gives the anti-intellectual anti-proletarian ideology of Maoism the patina of “oppositional thought,” while the inevitable journey of the the young Maoists into the bureaucracy eventually gives new life-blood to the bureaucratic class.”
The Chinese bureaucracy’s model of social control goes global “One of the most striking aspects of Xi Jinping’s “New Era” is the rapid externalization of systems and policies previously only applied, for the most part, domestically. This external activism is of course a reflection of the CCP’s new effort to utilize the “historic window of opportunity” in international relations, identified by Xi as one of the defining characteristics of the “New Era.” The advancement of the PRC’s global interests, in particular through Xi’s ‘Belt and Road’ and other geopolitical initiatives, includes the extraterritorial expansion of social control mechanisms once mostly reserved to the PRC. These mechanisms comprise cooptive and coercive tactics: United Front work and repression, both intensified under Xi….The CCP’s Leninist model of governance applies several basic mechanisms to maximize control over a vast population by a small “vanguard” without the explicit consent of the governed masses. The model is onion-shaped, made up of three concentric layers of governance. The tools to control these three realms are, to echo a Maoist simile, “three magic weapons” (三大法宝): Party building, armed struggle (succeeded by state violence) and cooptation tactics (the United Front). The inner realm is the Party itself, the “vanguard” of China’s working class, the Chinese people and the Chinese “nation” (民族), controlled by the party discipline imposed by its core leadership. Resuming a trend often encountered in Communist history, Xi as the Party’s “Core” (核心) has been consolidated as a potentially perpetual dictator. Party discipline is mostly enforced through extra-legal bodies, notably the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI, 中央纪律检查委员会), prominent in Xi’s “anti-corruption” campaign. When these instruments are not deemed sufficient and discipline loosens, the Party is brought under control again with periodic purges. Individual Party members enjoy various privileges and certain career paths are only open to them, but at the same time are bound by strict Party discipline that subjects them to more direct control by the Core than any other social group.”
“Thou shalt have no other religions before me” says the god-king Xi X writes: “Interesting, but not surprising, that unauthorized “house churches” come in for the worst of it. There have been a number of cases where the communism of house churches such as the “Jesus Family” very clearly demonstrates how different communism can be from the totalitarian state capitalism of the “communist ” party.”
How dissidents are being ‘mentally-illed’ “A tense to be reckoned with for all us teachers of languages: the “involuntary passive.” It is no surprise to see its roots in Maoism or to see these roots running unbroken to the present. This is the authentic expression of the opposition, not the unconsciously self-parodic militantism of the neo-Maoists. China is an example of a place where Authority has turned all of politics into an irradiated zone.”
Google steps back from its Big Brother collaboration with the Chinese bureaucracy X writes: “The main point being that were it not for the principled individuals within the company who exposed the machinations of the Google techno-authoritarians, this would be unknown to us yet as anything more than the certainty that developments of this kind are expressions of core capitalist values and should be expected by all those who have an inkling of how the system works. The other half of the subject matter covered in this article illustrates the degree to which capital has become entangled with the business of legitimizing authoritarianism…openly, on a contractual basis…the pigs looking in the mirror (to borrow from Orwell) are beginning to realize that it was not a mirror after all; they were simply looking through a piece of transparent glass at each other.“
China, Jiangsu: 1000s of striking brewery workers clash with cops “Workers at a major brewery in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu faced off with police and security guards over the weekend after thousands went on strike over pay and conditions. Thousands of workers at the Yanghe Brewery in Jiangsu’s Suqian city tried to storm management headquarters on Sunday, but were headed off by dozens of police and security personnel, who shut the gates to stop them. Video footage of the confrontation showed hundreds of mostly female workers clad in white coats and hats running for the gates, but being overtaken by personnel in uniforms. The Shenzhen-listed brewery promised to hike wages in a statement on Sunday evening after reaching a negotiated settlement with workers. … the strike at a major local employer had made Suqian city leaders very nervous, and that they had imposed an information blackout on online news or content related to the protests. …A Yanghe Brewery worker who gave only a surname, Liao, said police have now locked down the Yanghe Brewery site, and are preventing workers from entering or leaving. He said the strike had been sparked by what workers said were unreasonable demands of the work force, including a production target of 8,000 cases per nine-hour working shift, which he said was “extreme,” and was accompanied by no additional pay….Liao said management at the factory were also flouting health and safety regulations, including depriving workers of rest breaks. “The strike isn’t over; we’re not back at work yet … there are about two or three thousand of us”…The strike began on Dec. 15 in a bid to protest “the disparity between rich and poor,” and to “defend the rights of thousands of people,” a statement from the workers posted to social media said. It said the dispute is more than a decade old, with bosses making large fortunes from the factory while exploiting generation after generation of its workers.”
The would-be totalitarian vice clamps down even on weak (ie artistic and only implicit) criticism of an aspect of their brave new world X writes: “The self-contradictory nature of the bureaucratic capitalist project is more sharply visible than elsewhere when it comes to the production of cultural values.”
China: report on truckdrivers’ strike “Several major cities and provinces in China have banned trucks with dangerously high exhaust emissions in a bid to tackle air pollution during the winter months. A notice issued by the Jiangsu provincial government, for example, identified diesel trucks as the major cause of air pollution in the region and said that tough restrictions on China 3 and China 4 standard diesel trucks were necessary in order to defend the blue sky. While many drivers agree that measures have to be taken to combat air pollution, they point out that the new measures place all the burden on them, with no assistance offered by the government. After the bans were introduced in November, drivers experienced a sharp drop in income and were quick to respond by staging strikes and protests in several different cities…“
Report on China’s influence on the USA X writes: “I notice with regret the names of Orville Schell (who once spoke to me appreciatively of the “No More Emperors” poster when we met mutual friend J W) and Elizabeth Economy, who ought to have taken a more critical attitude far earlier, based on what they knew and published long ago.”
Disappearance of a Leader (to be accompanied by this) “When she couldn’t sleep, she’d lustily sing “Che Guevara.” She loved photographing scenery that harmonized with Chairman Mao’s “wait ‘til bright mountain flowers are in full bloom” season.” X writes: “All the evil stupidities of Maoist “culture” and authoritarian psychology seem to be returning in this mirror-image opposition to the official hero-worship of Xi. It is amazing how the anti-authoritarian implications of feminism are ignored in this pathetic idolization of vanguard bureaucrats. It is time we asked “where are the actual Chinese revolutionaries while this pseudo-revolutionary shit-show is going on?” They are unlikely to be sticking their heads out now; we must look for them if they exist, because these avant-garde bureaucrats are certainly not them. …authoritarian behavioral norms (always, but increasingly so now) have infiltrated the ideas and norms of those seeking to overthrow the existing order now … in spades.”
Report on The Ministry of Truth’s latest memory hole actions “Regarding mass incidents involving veterans, all websites and new media must not interview, report, comment, or reprint without unified arrangements…. the party frets that veterans’ complaints will put off new recruits at a time when it is busily trying to raise their calibre. It fears that veterans’ protests will harm the morale of those serving now—especially of police or soldiers who are asked to help contain them. “
X writes: “Check the wooden prose and the uncritical identification of the greatest mass-murderer of proletarians in history with something “revolutionary.” And we’re supposed to be enthusiastic about this shit? This is just the revalorization of bureaucratic power.”
Review critical of Maoist myths in book on China X writes: “Even with the feeble critical ammunition at his disposal Friedman makes a number of telling points. But of course we can see huge opportunities this limited critical perspective neglects.”
Interpol resigns itself to the arrest of its boss by Chinese authorities Now obviously I don’t care about this guy at all but it seems extraordinary that this has received very little publicity compared, for example, with the murder of the Saudi Arabian journalist. Doesn’t this indicate something truly “alarming and new”, and at an international level – ie the enormous power China wields amongst the international bourgeoisie such that even a head of Interpol could “disappear”, and that his wife gets anonymous threats, whilst the secretary general of Interpol says “There’s no reason for me to suspect that anything was forced or wrong”. (see Interpol president “disappears” in Hong Kong here and here).
Yet another new technological development useful for the state “Chinese authorities have begun deploying a new surveillance tool: “gait recognition” software that uses people’s body shapes and how they walk to identify them, even when their faces are hidden from cameras….Gait analysis can’t be fooled by simply limping, walking with splayed feet or hunching over, because we’re analyzing all the features of an entire body…Shi Shusi, a Chinese columnist and commentator, says it’s unsurprising that the technology is catching on in China faster than the rest of the world because of Beijing’s emphasis on social control. “Using biometric recognition to maintain social stability and manage society is an unstoppable trend,” he said. “It’s great business.” X writes: “Just to note that the statement “Using biometric recognition to maintain social stability and manage society is an unstoppable trend” and the immediate addition that it is “great business” rather succinctly expresses the merging into a single identity of commercially-motivated totalitarianism (monitoring employee/consumer behavior) and politically-motivated totalitarianism.” But, like all “great business”, this is hyped up with lots of advertising of its perfection so as to sell it: “gait” is hardly like a face or iris or fingerprint. It may be that “you are totally unique in the way you walk” (though personally I doubt it), but actors know full well that walks can be altered and not just by limping. This is more a way of terrifying people with the invincibility of the state than a genuine expression of its apparent invincibility, as well as a marketing ploy.
Interview with a professor on his latest book about China: ‘The Perfect Dictatorship” Whilst this is informative, some of what the guy says is very much a product of an ivory tower separation from reality when it comes to looking at democracies – eg this bit of nonsense: “…now China is one of the most unequal societies in the world. And I think this is part of the reason for the dictatorship, because these are realities that could not be maintained under a democratic system ––the combination of very heavy taxes and very inferior services.” [my emphasis] Equally, his comparison of “Marxist internationalism” under Mao and “Chinese nationalism” under Xi ignores the reality of this previous “internationalist” discourse, which in practice had nothing internationalist about it (eg Mao’s deal with Nixon in 1972) – but always aimed at an “internationalism” useful for the Chinese nation.
Report on crackdown on student discussion groups etc. “Two Nanjing University students were assaulted this week for protesting against administrators’ refusal to recognize a Marxist student group. The incident is the latest in a series of events that highlight the further erosion of academic freedom on college campuses nationwide. In August, students from Nanjing University, Peking University, and Renmin University were detained after they traveled to Shenzhen to support worker efforts to form a union at Jasic Technology factory. Student participants from Renmin University were punished for their activism, with authorities putting students on blacklists and ordering protesters to be sent home.” See this on the Jasic workers’ struggle
Anti-China art exhibition in Hong Kong closed following threats from Beijing This is certainly not to defend the ideology and practice of “art”, but to illustrate how the bureaucracy’s hierarchical censorship is extending itself to the supposedly more ‘open’ Hong Kong area.
As Camps Expand in Xinjiang, Dispossession Breeds Discontent “….the crackdown in Xinjiang is part of a broader regressive move toward repression throughout China under Xi Jinping; “What we are witnessing, in short, is not a continuation of China’s oppressive status quo but the onset of something alarming and new”
Chinese internet censorship exported throughout world “Report on 65 countries finds global internet freedom has declined for eighth consecutive year. Chinese officials have briefed 36 of the nations assessed on controlling information”
Big Brother is Watching….Big Brother “A nationwide “early warning system” is collecting data on government officials to predict delinquency….“Total Coverage” Monitoring of Public Officials at All Levels:
- Monitor records of public officials’ cell phone, computer and online activities; emails and chats sent and received; bank, credit, and online transactions; commuting and travel; ID registration…
- Collect and report online commentary involving public officials in real time.
- Implement full coverage of public officials both online and offline, during and outside of “9-to-5.”
- “Pinpoint corruption” with early warning of possible work-related crimes through analysis of officials’ activities…”
Liars losing themselves in the labyrinth of lies ” Xi is conceited and refuses to listen to second opinions. He has chosen to live in an isolated space, surrounded by flatterers. He has no idea what is going on in the real world.” X writes:The liars have lied so much that within the circumscribed universe of the acceptable bureaucratic truth, contact with the real world has been broken to the point where the factuality no longer exists to make rational, objectively based decisions….The saturation point of ideology.
Report on State spies posted in Uighur homes & villages “…The village children spotted the outsiders quickly. They heard their attempted greetings in the local language, saw the gleaming Chinese flags and round face of Mao Zedong pinned to their chests, and knew just how to respond. “I love China,” the children shouted urgently, “I love Xi Jinping.”…Much reporting has focused on the unprecedented scale and penetration of the surveillance technology deployed to carry out this campaign and on the ways China’s government has pressured other countries to assist in the work of forcibly repatriating Uighurs living abroad. But less attention has been paid to the mobilization of more than a million Chinese civilians (most members of the Han ethnic majority) to aid the military and police in their campaign by occupying the homes of the region’s Uighurs and other Muslim minorities, and undertaking programs of indoctrination and surveillance, while presenting themselves as older siblings of the men and women they might then decide to consign to the camps….the big brothers and sisters feared the Uighurs might be slippery, that however cheerfully they might open their houses or declare their loyalty to the Chinese nation, beneath their smiles and gestures of wholesome secularism there might lurk darker allegiances, uncured attachments to their “diseased” religious ways. But there were simple ways to test for this kind of thing. One could offer a host a cigarette or a sip of beer; a hand could be extended in greeting to a little sibling of the opposite gender, staying alert for signs of flinching. Or one could go out to the market for some freshly ground meat and propose that the family make dumplings. And then wait and watch to see if the Uighurs would ask what kind of meat was in the bag. All of this was valuable evidence. Everything that could be detected would be recorded, go into notebooks and onto the online forms. Everything would be factored into the recommendations the big sisters and brothers would make about which of their hosts would be allowed to remain at home in their villages, with their children, and which ones should be sent away to have their defects repaired by the state.“
Report on Xi Jiping Thought and non-Xi Jiping Thought Thought Crimes “Just last week, Zhao Siyun of Zhejiang University of Media and Communications received an official reprimand for a speech advocating the ideal of the “public intellectual” who comments on national affairs. Such matters, I assume, are now the sole purview of Xi himself.” There seems to be a self-contradiction in the demand for this ideological servitude, since such a stultifying environment means repressing any innovative ideas that could help with the accumulation of capital. Given the endgame of capital, with impending disasters (financial, environmental, etc.) on the horizon, the only perspective left for many of those in control of statist and monetarist terror is repression repression repression, particularly when authoritarianism is their only reflex. But there’s probably a limit to how far this can help them: an element of recuperative reform is necessary just to make people feel that they have a bit to gain from suggesting ideas to their masters that could be beneficial to them. If the state can’t bend it could easily break. In the 2nd half of the 1960s, in the Cultural Revolution, ideology reached its explosion point. At that time there were many Red Guards who, following Mao’s words but not his practice, tried to base their struggle on the Paris Commune, complete with revocable mandated delegates (with the ensuing repression by Mao, trying to reign unintended results of his power struggle within the bureaucracy, some fled to Hong Kong to form the anarchist Minus group; see also this). The same sort of thing that happened with the Red Guards shows at least some slight indication of happening with the Jasic workers’ support group. Perhaps Xi and his buddies think they’ve got it wired this time, because they think they’ve got a qualitative improvement, especially technological, in the means of social control.
Death of of Ideology-Salesman “Hu was a well-known figure in the party’s tightly controlled official media and propaganda system, where many people suffer mental strain from having to repeat the party line rather than reporting on the issues of the day. … “Depression is very common in the media, because the amount of fakery we have to write gets to us psychologically,” she said. “Maybe she felt that she was still a person of conscience. Who knows? It’s complicated.”
Chinese bureaucracy fiercely defends totalitarian repression in Xinjiang with newspeak etc. X writes: This has got some funny lines, especially Shelly Zhang’ “don’t forget the non-cultural-genocide bread!”. I believe they missed one opportunity though. In one pic the state has this frightened puppet saying he makes 1300 Yuan a month and sends money home to his family. We have seen reports saying that people were rounded up and sent to the camps for sending money to their families (presumably outside China)…so does this mean that the man in question is going to be there for a second “tour of duty” until he stops sending money home?
Notice especially the comment by a former employee about the enthusiasm with which certain members of the Google leadership expound the rationales allowing them to continue working for the genocidal Chinese police state. Also notable is the opposition still within the company.
Key fact: only non-Uyghurs are allowed to study the Uyghur language
Pingdu: riot of war vets over health and pension benefits (report from 11/12/18) “The government refused to confirm the Pingdu riot at the time and censored reports about it on the Internet. The official Xinhua News Agency reported that around 60 people among the 300 who gathered assaulted officers and smashed a police van and three civilian vehicles using axe handles and fire extinguishers. A total of 34 policemen and others were injured during the disturbance, it said.“
Right after the fuckers opened the high-speed rail line from the mainland so they can run heaps of pigs into the city at a moments notice – the same way they sent (some of the) soldiers into Beijing in 1989. More on the high speed railway line opening ceremony
Not much difference between the surveillance the Chinese state imposes on its citizens and that which Google imposes on its workers.
Popular Chinese film star “disappears” “Fan has not been seen in public or made any public statements since 1 July when she visited a children’s hospital in Shanghai. An article in the official Securities Daily in August said she had been “placed under control and will accept legal judgement”. The story was quickly removed, and any mentions of it were scrubbed from Chinese social media along with Fan’s name. Companies and brands have distanced themselves from her. Her fiancé, another Chinese actor, has erased all photos or mentions of Fan this year from his profile on Weibo. A cameo by Feng Xiaogang, a director Fan works with, was cut from a Chinese film screened in Beijing on Sunday.” This seems extraordinary, a delirious result of despotism so paranoid & rigid that it can’t even bear a non-political focus of people’s focus, however passive. I doubt Stalin or Hitler would have dreamt this one up.
X: The microstructure of a totalitarianism which has married its archaic ideological roots (the Marxism-Leninism some conservative activists persist in thinking is, at this very late day and age, “radical”) to cutting-edge information storage and sharing, with omnipresent surveillance technology, to produce the truest expression of the totalitarian ethos today.
China’s Little-Noticed ‘New Police Law’ Gives Vastly Expanded Legal Powers to Public Security Apparatus
Note from the photo – the old monster who launched the world’s most comprehensive speed-up and then persecuted the people who patched up the economy after it all went wrong is still featured as a “workers’ icon”. Pathetic. It’s no good for the workers and intelligentsia creating an allegedly “new political language for the world’s largest working class” if it still brandishes the iconography of red fascism.
China: report on increased state repression of strikes “The harsh police response to the ongoing Jasic Technology workers’ campaign in Shenzhen seems to coincide with a recent surge in swift police intervention to dissolve workers’ collective actions in the past month, and this new phenomenon is not geographically confined to Shenzhen or Guangdong province. Between July and August 2018, CLB’s Strike Map recorded 12 cases of police intervention out of 279 workers’ collective actions; meanwhile, between January and June, police intervened in a total of 17 cases out of 907. Arrests quickly spiked from 1.8% in six months -or at an average of 0.3% per month- to 4.3% in just one month.” See also entries on this site for 24th, 23rd & 15th August 2018. And discussion on Jasic workers strike above (below 28/9/18).
China, Hunan province: 30 cops injured as parents resist transfer of kids to private boarding schools “30 officers wounded in clashes involving hundreds of people outside the Leiyang public security bureau headquarters in Hunan province…The incident was triggered by a provincial order to cut class sizes at schools in the city’s stretched education system to a maximum of 66 pupils by relocating all fifth and sixth graders to a private campus. The teachers would be transferred with the pupils and no extra fees would be charged but the children would have to live in dormitories during the week….The change would affect nearly 10,000 pupils who are due to start the new school year on Monday…In online posts that have since been deleted ,parents complained that some dormitories were unfinished and smells in the newly refurbished buildings raised concerns about indoor pollutants. On Saturday, some parents mounted protests at their schools in central Leiyang, blocked a national highway and demonstrated outside the Leiyang government offices. Police detained five people and cleared the road …demonstrators mounted another protest outside the city’s public security bureau headquarters to demand the release of the five detainees…… protesters threw water bottles, bricks, fireworks and petrol bottles at government officials and police officers, wounding the 30 officers and damaging the police building and vehicles…the clashes were brought under control early Sunday morning…“What led to it was not just education policies but discontent with local governance”…Beijing-based political commentator Hu Xingdou said parents had mounted similar protests in other parts of the country in the last two years and this incident showed how easy social unrest could erupt over mishandling of a seemingly small issue. “Local governments have to face the challenge because they are the ones dealing with residents and face the consequences of social unrest, especially in the social media age and when society is in transition,” Hu said. “Discontent can snowball and turn into big protests. Local authorities must improve governance from simply imposing blocks, such as deleting online postings, to … governing in accordance with the law.”
China, Shenzhen: over 50 support group students and workers have their rooms broken into by SWAT police and are dragged away, location unknown See entries for 23/8/18 and 15/8/18 below. And 3/9/18 above.
More flotsam rises to the surface as evidence of Chinese genocide in their western provinces (the ones they promised self-governance when they were Long Marching through that same countryside in the late 1930s, one might recall). You expected this – but to find complicity in this gargantuan state crime by the NBA (that’s right, the US National Basketball Association!!!), is thoroughly stunning, and to find them clamming up when asked about it…perhaps the sporting associations just need to clarify their relationship with bully culture just a little bit more…
China, Shenzhen: report on factory struggles and repression of independent trade unions More here and here. For latest twitter updates on labour conflict there, see the following Chinese twitter accounts:
https://twitter.com/2b0bKXcWuXpoNbb (Support Group Twitter); https://twitter.com/yuexinmutian (Support Group Organizer Yue Xin’s Twitter). And this: https://twitter.com/olRbaEHNMNWLwWj
X (a contact) wrote about this report from 10/8/18 of old guard Maoists supporting this struggle: “The militant reformist wing of the bureaucratic class. The avant-garde of recuperation, a faction of which let itself be used by Xi Jinping himself, not so very long ago. Flagrantly opportunistic.” The development of trade unions invariably tends towards the development of a bureaucracy from within (as opposed to bureaucracy imposed from outside). Nevertheless it’s important to distinguish between how these unions develop in formally democratic countries like the UK or France and those that develop in far more overtly autocratic countries like China. In the former they tend towards a repetition of something close to 200 years of labour struggles with all their contradictions yet this time quickly arriving at banality: absolute collaboration with the ruling society. However in countries where non- statist unions are illegal, things are more complex and not as predictable. Which is not to ignore how such organisations could develop; after all, trade unions were originally forbidden in dictatorial countries like South Africa under apartheid. The current president started as a union organiser for the miners in the early 1980s and yet later lead to him ordering the massacre of miners at Marikana in August 2012, and is now one of Africa’s richest men, worth over half a billion dollars. Not saying that the same trajectory will play out in China at all, just that it’s naive to not be cautious about even independent trade unions as a vehicle for independent struggle.
Dissident artist’s studio destroyed Not so much a critique of art, more a way of reducing art to anything that flatters the elite.
Liberal intellectual fears about totalitarianism Obviously nothing radical about it but indicative of the growing anxieties about growing repression.
X: Some memorable euphemisms for being sent to the camps: he’s “gone back to Xinjiang” – if he lived in some other part of China. He’s been placed “behind the black gate,” or “he’s got another home” now….
X writes: Note that Tibetans still have to deal with a higher ratio of cops to people than the Uighurs. Now the “Han” [I put this in inverted commas because, contrary to the dominant ideology, Han is no more an ethnic category than “Tudor” or “Windsor”] overlords forbid any initiative for the promotion of local language and culture, or for the protection of the local environment whatsoever. So these genocidal vermin are what the UK has selected to run a huge nuclear power plant in Britain, and no one says that the gov’t of the UK is complicit in crimes against humanity…
Story about doctor who criticised private pharmaceutical company’s snake oil medicine being imprisoned and how mention of his PTSD is censored
Developments in China’s Social Credit system “the SCS (Social Credit System) is, or has the potential to become, the Orwellian nightmare many fear it to be: an omniscient machine hoovering up the massive amounts of data individuals generate as they plod through their lives, processing it to deliver a quantified score that creates an ideological and consumerist straightjacket for every Chinese citizen”
On the Chinese state propaganda machine’s falsification of the misery of Ethiopian workers working in a Chinese shoe factory
China censors humour app More detailed report here At least the article in China Change about Neihan Duanzi is somewhat encouraging, although the parallel they draw between the sloppy corruption of the Egyptian forces of repression and the near-Singaporean level of “squeaky clean” police state competence one is likely to encounter in China may preclude an “Arab Spring”-type outcome – especially since the regime of Xi Jinping has already had the dress-rehearsal of the “Jasmine” movement to practice-up on.
Report on a vile little shit who hoped to cash in on extraditing Chinese dissident from US Impalement is too good for him: he’s beyond the pale
Scary use of facial recognition cameras “Chinese police have used facial recognition technology to locate and arrest a man who was among a crowd of 60,000 concert goers…China has a huge surveillance network of over 170 million CCTV cameras.“
China: as 120,000 Uyghurs are forced into “re-education camps… the intensification of totalitarian social control spreads beyond China A contact writes: “The poison spreads. … a very long time ago (1964-1965) there was, on the ground-breaking and often quite excellent science-fiction series “Outer Limits” an episode titled “O.B.I.T.” In it a spying technology at a highly secret US government department is used to check on individuals at any time the operator choses. Anxieties about infidelity and other kinds of disloyalty drive operators to destroy the fabric of their lives and finally, to murder. An investigation is held and the creator of the technology, a character who looks remarkably like Edward Teller [creator of the H-bomb], is revealed to be an alien who says this technology, now that it has been released and has metastasized, will undermine human solidarity destroy its institutions and render the planet ripe for invasion. It’s been decades since I’ve seen it, but revisiting that territory might yield some further ideas, metaphors, possible agitational means of mobilizing the public imagination, etc., to augment the critiques we might already have.”
Due to technical problems, this Chronology continues here