Archive for ‘Governance’

12/03/2019

Congress working committee meeting LIVE| ‘Unemployment highest in 45 years’: Rahul Gandhi at Gujarat rally

CWC meeting LIVE: Congress is launching its Lok Sabha election campaign from Ahmedabad in Gujarat, the home state of PM Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah with a meeting of its top leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh.

The Congress is launching its Lok Sabha election campaign from Ahmedabad in Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah with a meeting of its Congress Working Committee (CWC) and a public rally by its top leaders.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party general secretaries, including Priyanka Gandhi, will be among the senior leaders of the party attending the meeting.

The Congress Working Committee, the highest decision-making arm of the party, would seek answers to failures and unfulfilled promises of the Modi government on governance, agrarian distress, economic issues, unemployment, national security and women’s safety, according to party leaders.

Hardik Patel, a prominent young leader of Patidars, who is leading a movement for reservation in jobs and education for their community, is likely to join Congress and contest the Lok Sabha elections on a party ticket, according to sources.

Source: Hindustan Times

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12/12/2018

China establishes governance principle of respecting, protecting human rights: white paper

BEIJING, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) — A white paper released Wednesday by the State Council Information Office said China has firmly established a governance principle of respecting and protecting human rights.

“It is the determination and ultimate goal of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese government to respect and protect human rights,” said the document, titled “Progress in Human Rights over the 40 Years of Reform and Opening Up in China.”

Since the launch of reform and opening up in 1978, “respecting and protecting human rights” has been written into the reports to CPC National Congresses, the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, the Constitution of the CPC, and strategies and plans for national development, becoming an important principle of governance for the CPC and the Chinese government, it said.

According to the white paper, that the state respects and protects human rights has been established as an important principle of the Constitution of China.

Also, the CPC pursues human rights protection in its governance, the document said.

The white paper noted that it has become a core goal of national development to respect and protect human rights.

07/03/2014

China’s restless West: The burden of empire | The Economist

After a brutal attack in China, the Communist Party needs to change its policies towards minorities

A GROUP of knife-wielding assailants, apparently Muslims from western China, caused mayhem and murder on March 1st in the south-western Chinese city of Kunming, stabbing 29 people to death at the railway station and injuring 140 others. The attack has shocked China. The crime against innocents is monstrous and unjustifiable, and has been rightly condemned by the Chinese government and by America. But as well as rounding up the culprits, the Communist Party must face up to an uncomfortable truth. Its policy for integrating the country’s restless western regions—a policy that mixes repression, development and Han-Chinese migration—is failing to persuade non-Han groups of the merits of Chinese rule.

The party says the attackers were “Xinjiang extremists”, by implication ethnic Uighurs, a Turkic people with ties to Central Asia who once formed the majority in the region of Xinjiang. The killers may have been radicalised abroad with notions of global jihad. Whatever the truth, there is no doubt that Uighurs are committing ever more desperate acts. Scarcely a week passes in Xinjiang without anti-government violence.

The party claims that Xinjiang has been part of China for 2,000 years. Yet for most of that time, the region has been on the fringe of China’s empire, or outside it altogether. An attempt to incorporate these lands began only with the Qing dynasty’s conquests in the mid-18th century. (The name Xinjiang, “new frontier”, was bestowed only in the 1880s.) During the chaos of the 1940s, Uighurs declared a short-lived independent state of East Turkestan. But from 1949 the Communists began integrating Xinjiang into China by force. Demobbed Chinese soldiers were sent to colonise arid lands, the state repression of Uighurs drawing heavily on the Soviet tactics for handling “nationalities”. Uighur resentment of the Han runs deep. The feeling is mutual. Many Chinese are openly racist towards Uighurs, and the government thinks them ungrateful. In 2009 hundreds of people were killed during street fighting between Uighurs and Han, who now make up two-fifths of Xinjiang’s population and control a disproportionate share of its wealth.

Identity crisis

The Kunming killers’ motives may never be known. But fears of militant Islamism arriving at the heart of China must not obscure the broader problem of Chinese oppression in Xinjiang. Recent crackdowns hit at the heart of Uighur identity: students are banned from fasting during Ramadan, religious teaching for children is restricted, and Uighur-language education is limited. Many Uighurs, like their neighbours in Tibet, fear that their culture will be extinguished. Xinjiang and Tibet (and Inner Mongolia) are still China’s colonies, their pacification under the Communist Party a continued imperial project. Were it not for the Dalai Lama’s restraining influence, violence in Tibet might be as bad as it is in Xinjiang. As it is, over 100 Tibetans have burned themselves to death in protest at Chinese rule.

There is a large military presence in China’s west. The government seems to believe that unless Uighurs and Tibetans are held in check by force, the western regions could break away. That is always a danger. But suppression, which leads to explosions of anger, may increase the risk, not mitigate it.

The only way forward is to show Uighurs (and Tibetans) how they can live peacefully and prosperously together within China. The first step is for the party to lift the bans on religious and cultural practices, give Uighurs and Tibetans more space to be themselves, and strive against prejudice in Chinese society. Economic development needs to be aimed at Uighur and Tibetan communities. Otherwise, there will be more violence and instability.

via China’s restless West: The burden of empire | The Economist.

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24/07/2013

Sri Lanka teams up with Chinese firm for $1.4 billion port city

Reuters: “Sri Lanka has finalized a $1.43 billion deal with China Communications Construction Co Ltd (601800.SS) to build a city on a 230 hectare site that will be reclaimed from the sea, the head of the state-run Ports Authority said on Wednesday.

A general view of the Colombo South Harbor at Colombo Port July 24, 2013. REUTERS-Dinuka Liyanawatte

The site is next to the island nation’s main Colombo port and Colombo‘s historic Galle Face Green seafront. It is also close to where Shangri-La Hotels Lanka Ltd, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Shangri-La Asia Ltd (0069.HK), is building a 500-room hotel.

“The Chinese firm will invest in reclaiming the land and infrastructure of the port city,” Priyath Wickrama, chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority, told reporters. “It will be given around 50 hectare of reclaimed land on a 99-year lease for its investment.”

The 39-month long construction project will start in September, Wickrama said, adding the city would include eco-parks, residential areas, offices and shopping malls.

Since the end of a nearly three-decade war in May 2009, the Indian Ocean island nation has been spending heavily on infrastructure, including ports to attract foreign investments to its $59 billion economy.

It has already created new land near the proposed port city as part of its expansion of the Colombo port to double its capacity by 2015.”

via Sri Lanka teams up with Chinese firm for $1.4 billion port city | Reuters.

26/06/2013

Violence in China’s Xinjiang ‘kills 27’

BBC: “Riots have killed 27 people in China’s restive far western region of Xinjiang, Chinese state media report.

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The violence broke out in Turpan prefecture early on Wednesday.

Police opened fire after a mob armed with knives attacked police stations and a local government building, Xinhua news agency quoted officials as saying.

There are sporadic outbreaks of violence in Xinjiang, where there are ethnic tensions between Muslim Uighur and Han Chinese communities.

Confirming reports from the region is difficult because information is tightly controlled.

China’s state media have been quick to issue an official version of events regarding the latest round of violence in Xinjiang, but it will be tough to verify those reports.

Xinjiang lies on China’s remote north-west border and it is difficult for foreign media to travel there. Many people on both sides of the conflict are reluctant to speak to visiting journalists for fear of reprisals if they dispute the government’s stance.

Unfortunately Xinjiang usually hits international headlines when violence flares between the region’s minority ethnic Uighur Muslims and the majority Han Chinese. Many Uighurs contend that their language and religion are being smothered by an influx of Han Chinese migrants.

Xinjiang is a large geographic area rich in oil and gas deposits. Soon it will also become a major supplier of coal to China’s energy-hungry cities. The region’s fertile land also grows produce that is shipped to the rest of the country. The Han Chinese who move to Xinjiang hope to benefit from the region’s untapped resources.

The violence occurred in Turpan‘s remote township of Lukqun, about 200km (120 miles) south-east of the region’s capital, Urumqi.

The Xinhua news agency report, citing local officials, said rioters stabbed people and set police cars alight.

Seventeen people, including nine security personnel and eight civilians, were killed before police shot dead 10 of the rioters, it said.

At least three others were injured and were being treated in hospital, it added.

The Xinhua report did not provide any information on the ethnicity of those involved in the riot or on what sparked it.

But Dilxat Raxit, a spokesperson for the World Uighur Congress, an umbrella organisation of Uighur groups, told the Associated Press news agency the violence had been caused by the Chinese government’s “sustained repression and provocation” of the Uighur community.

In 2009 almost 200 people – mostly Han Chinese – were killed after deadly rioting erupted in Urumqi between the Han Chinese and Uighur communities.

In April an incident in the city of Kashgar left 21 people dead.

Uighurs and Xinjiang

Uighurs are ethnically Turkic Muslims. They make up about 45% of the region’s population; 40% are Han Chinese

China re-established control in 1949 after crushing short-lived state of East Turkestan. Since then, large-scale immigration of Han Chinese. Uighurs fear erosion of traditional culture.

The government said the violence began when “terrorists” were discovered in a building by officials searching for weapons.

But local people told the BBC that the violence involved a local family who had a longstanding dispute with officials who had been pressurising the men to shave off their beards and the women to take off their veils.

Uighurs make up about 45% of Xinjiang’s population, but say an influx of Han Chinese residents has marginalised their traditional culture.”

via BBC News – Violence in China’s Xinjiang ‘kills 27’.

See also: https://chindia-alert.org/political-factors/chinese-tensions/

01/05/2013

* China’s new mental health law to make it harder for authorities to silence petitioners

SCMP: “The director of Xinjiang‘s largest mental health institution has welcomed a new law, which went into effect on Wednesday, banning involuntary inpatient treatment for many people deemed mentally ill.

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“Seventy to 80 per cent of the patients have been forcibly admitted to the hospital,” said Xu Xiangdong, director of the Fourth People’s Hospital in the regional capital Urumqi, the Yaxin online news portal reported on Monday.

“Because of this increased consideration for patients’ rights, [the figures] will change fundamentally,” he said, adding that it would put an end to frequent episodes of people being wrongfully declared mentally ill.

The new law, which has been debated for a quarter of a century, is meant to crack down on local authorities aiming to silence petitioners and troublemakers by arbitrarily declaring them mentally ill and locking them up in mental health wards.

Under the law, patients must first give their consent to being hospitalised, except in cases in which they could harm themselves or others.

If patients are still forcibly confined, they or their guardians have the right to seek a second opinion. Forced hospitalisations for reasons other than severe mental illness are banned.

Last week about 200 health practitioners from the region were sent to Xu’s hospital to be trained in the new provisions on patients’ rights stipulated by the new law, the Xinjiang Daily reported.

Two million people in Xinjiang live with mental disabilities, Xu estimated, amounting to more than 9 per cent of the population in the economic backwater of China’s remote northwest.

That compares with almost 8 per cent of China’s population diagnosed with some form of mental illness, according to the Ministry of Health in 2011. A largescale 2009 study estimated a much higher national average at 17.5 per cent.

In Xinjiang, authorities have not been able to provide adquate resources to deal with the increasing number of people living with mental disorders. Xu told the Yaxin portal in 2011 that the number of mentally ill patients had increased by 20 to 30 per cent annually over the last years.

In Monday’s report, he said less than 5 per cent of the two million mentally ill could receive treatment because of a lack of resources and trained staff.

Two years earlier, the regional government had reported plans to build 15 new mental hospitals and to expand current ones. Until now, only one additional hospital in Kashgar has been completed, the Yaxin report said.

In March, a gruesome murder of a seven-year-old Uygur boy by a Chinese man has caused tensions among ethnic communities in the Turpan prefecture east of Urumqi. The man had been declared mentally ill to prevent ethnic revenge attacks, locals told Radio Free Asia.”

via China’s new mental health law to make it harder for authorities to silence petitioners | South China Morning Post.

20/01/2013

* In China, Discontent Among the Normally Faithful

NYT: “Barely two months into their jobs, the Communist Party’s new leaders are being confronted by the challenges posed by a constituency that has generally been one of the party’s most ardent supporters: the middle-class and well-off Chinese who have benefited from a three-decade economic boom.

A Jan. 9 demonstration in Guangzhou, where people protested the censorship of a paper known for investigative reporting.

A widening discontent was evident this month in the anticensorship street protests in the southern city of Guangzhou and in the online outrage that exploded over an extraordinary surge in air pollution in the north. Anger has also reached a boil over fears concerning hazardous tap water and over a factory spill of 39 tons of a toxic chemical in Shanxi Province that has led to panic in nearby cities.

For years, many China observers have asserted that the party’s authoritarian system endures because ordinary Chinese buy into a grand bargain: the party guarantees economic growth, and in exchange the people do not question the way the party rules. Now, many whose lives improved under the boom are reneging on their end of the deal, and in ways more vocal than ever before. Their ranks include billionaires and students, movie stars and homemakers.

Few are advocating an overthrow of the party. Many just want the system to provide a more secure life. But in doing so, they are demanding something that challenges the very nature of the party-controlled state: transparency.

More and more Chinese say they distrust the Wizard-of-Oz-style of control the Communist Party has exercised since it seized power in 1949, and they are asking their leaders to disseminate enough information so they can judge whether officials, who are widely believed to be corrupt, are doing their jobs properly. Without open information and discussion, they say, citizens cannot tell whether officials are delivering on basic needs.

“Chinese people want freedom of speech,” said Xiao Qinshan, 46, a man in a wheelchair at the Guangzhou protests.”

via In China, Discontent Among the Normally Faithful – NYTimes.com.

13/01/2013

Prof Chovanec is based in China and has great insights about all matters relating to China. This time about the likelihood of revolution in China.

Patrick Chovanec

A surprising number of people in China have been writing and talking about “revolution”.  First came word, in November, that China’s new leaders have been advising their colleagues to read Alexis de Tocqueville’s classic book on the French Revolution, L’Ancien Régime et la Révolution (The Old Regime and the Revolution), which subsequently has shot to the top of China’s best seller lists.  Just this past week, Chinese scholar Zhao Dinxing, a sociology professor at the University of Chicago, felt the need to publish an article (in Chinese) laying out the reasons China won’t have a revolution (you can read an English summary here).  Minxin Pei, on the other hand, thinks it will.

In the midst of this debate, I happened across an interesting set of passages in retired Harvard professor Richard Pipes’ slender volume Three “Whys” of the Russian Revolution.  The first “why” he…

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03/11/2012

* From lawyer to leader, Li Keqiang will be best-educated leader yet

For 20 years, the top Chinese leaders were mostly engineers (or scientists).  The president-to-be is Xi Jinping is a chemical engineer by training; and the Premier-to-be Li Keqiang holds postgraduate degrees in law and economics. We shall soon see who are the other members of the central committee of the Politburo and what are their backgrounds. But I am certain engineers will not be in the majority. If I am correct, then as nothing significant in China happens by accident, the shift from engineers to a wider set of backgrounds probably means a shift from concentrating on infrastructure and engineering-oriented enterprises to wider investments and concerns.

South China Morning Post: “The next premier is likely to be the best educated since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, with Vice-Premier Li Keqiang , who holds postgraduate degrees in law and economics from prestigious Peking University, due to succeed Premier Wen Jiabao in March.

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At university, Li studied the ideas of leading British judges and mixed with democracy advocates, leading some to hope his premiership will herald significant political change in the world’s last major communist-ruled nation.

Li is the first senior central government leader to hold a PhD in economics and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in law, all earned at a university that was a hotspot of dissent, and his liberal studies background contrasts strongly with the engineering backgrounds of those who have run China recently.

A member of the first group of students admitted to university after late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping ordered the resumption of the university entrance exam in 1977, following the chaos of the Cultural Revolution, Li studied law under Professor Gong Xiangrui , an expert on Western constitutional law who had studied in Britain in the 1930s. Li followed that with a PhD in economics under Li Yining , the mainland’s market reform guru.

Kerry Brown, head of the Asia programme at the Chatham House think tank in London, said Li was the first lawyer to become a member of the party’s supreme Politburo Standing Committee and he would be the first lawyer to become premier.

“He typifies the new leaders inasmuch as he is not a technocrat, has a PhD from Peking University and had a long period of training in the provinces before elevation to executive vice-premier in 2008,” Brown said.

Li is one of the few top leaders fluent in English, surprising observers during a visit to Hong Kong last year when he broke with protocol and addressed an event at the University of Hong Kong in English. His wife, Cheng Hong, is a linguistics professor and an expert on American literature who has translated several modern American works into Chinese.

Brown praised Li for having an engaging public manner, something he said was shown in Li’s visit to Hong Kong last year.

“He is not afraid of using English in public, though the heavy treatment of protesters and journalists at the time caused much criticism,” Brown said.

Most of China’s leaders over the past couple of decades have been engineers-turned-bureaucrats, trained in an education system heavily influenced by the Soviet Union.

But 57-year-old Li, like many of his contemporaries, brings a markedly different mindset to the problems facing the nation.

via From lawyer to leader, Li Keqiang will be best-educated leader yet | South China Morning Post.

See also: https://chindia-alert.org/2012/02/18/chinese-leadership-are-mostly-engineers/

22/10/2012

* China leftists urge parliament not to expel Bo Xilai

Reuters: “A group of Chinese leftists has issued a public letter calling on the country’s largely rubber stamp parliament not to expel disgraced former top leader Bo Xilai from its ranks, saying the move is legally questionable and politically motivated.

China's former Chongqing Municipality Communist Party Secretary Bo Xilai (L) and former Deputy Mayor of Chongqing Wang Lijun (R) attend a session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) of the Chongqing Municipal Committee, in Chongqing municipality, January 7, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer

Stripping membership from Bo – the one-time Communist Party chief of Chongqing who is accused of abusing power, taking huge bribes and other crimes – also removes his immunity from prosecution, and paves the way for formal charges against him.

Bo’s ouster has exposed deep rifts in the party between his leftist backers, who are nostalgic for the revolutionary era of Mao Zedong, and reformers, who advocate for faster political and economic reforms.

The letter, carried on the far-left Chinese-language website “Red China” and addressed to the parliament’s standing committee, says the party is fuelling doubts about the accusations against Bo by refusing to discuss them publicly.

“What is the reason provided for expelling Bo Xilai? Please investigate the facts and the evidence,” says the letter. “Please announce to the people evidence that Bo Xilai will be able to defend himself in accordance with the law.”

Parliament and its members are there to provide oversight and make laws, not to “act as a rubber stamp” for attacks on people for personal reasons by political factions, it added.”

via China leftists urge parliament not to expel Bo Xilai | Reuters.

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