Posts tagged ‘Tiananmen Square’

03/09/2015

China military parade commemorates WW2 victory over Japan – BBC News

China has held a lavish parade in Beijing to mark the defeat of Japan in World War Two, showcasing its military might on an unprecedented scale. President Xi Jinping in his opening speech paid tribute to “the Chinese people who unwaveringly fought hard and defeated aggression” from Japan. He also said the People’s Liberation Army would be reduced by 300,000 personnel, but gave no timeframe.

Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) march at the beginning of the military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, in Beijing, China, 3 September 2015

China’s growing military power is being keenly watched amid regional tensions. China has several territorial disputes with neighbours in the South China Sea, as well as with Japan in the East China Sea. Ahead of the parade, the US said five Chinese ships had been spotted in the Bering Sea off Alaska for the first time. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is the world’s largest military, with 2.3 million members. China also has the second biggest defence budget after the US.

Source: China military parade commemorates WW2 victory over Japan – BBC News

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06/06/2014

China frees three activists after Tiananmen anniversary | Reuters

China released on Thursday three activists who had been detained for a month for attending a meeting to commemorate the military suppression of pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989, their lawyers said.

A police car guards in front of a giant portrait of China's late Chairman Mao Zedong at Tiananmen Square in Beijing June 4, 2014. REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic

The activists were freed a day after the 25th anniversary of the bloody crackdown, marked by tens of thousands of people in Hong Kong, even as Chinese authorities sought to whitewash the event in the mainland.

Two of their peers remained in custody.

via China frees three activists after Tiananmen anniversary | Reuters.

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09/05/2014

Literary Leaders: Why China’s President is So Fond of Dropping Confucius – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Generous girths aside, Winston Churchill and Chinese President Xi Jinping would seem to have little in common. One was popularly elected, while the other gained power by means of a shadowy process few understand. One was a giant who made his name leading his country through war, while the other’s legacy is still very much in the making.

But the two do share one characteristic besides their robust builds: a fondness for literary allusions.

In the same way Churchill littered his legendary speeches with references to the Bible and nods to Shakespeare, Mr. Xi has displayed a tendency to lard his writings and public statements with quotations from classical Chinese literature.

Xi Jinping Getty Images

On Thursday, the overseas edition of the People’s Daily devoted itself to cataloging the Chinese leader’s literary references, running a full-page spread dedicated to explaining 13 allusions spanning the later part of Mr. Xi’s career. The aim, it said, was to explain the Chinese leader’s thoughts on “the question of cultivating morality among leading cadres.”

Some analysts have interpreted Mr. Xi’s embrace of the classics as a move akin to Churchill’s borrowing from “Henry V” in his World War II speeches: an effort to use pride in a venerable cultural tradition to rally the nation at a time of crisis.

China is not facing war, but Mr. Xi and other Chinese leaders have portrayed the Communist Party as facing a raft of daunting challenges: endemic corruption, hostility abroad and an exceedingly tricky economic transition opposed by entrenched special interests. Having long ago traded in Marxism for the market, analysts say, the party is now trying to shore up its legitimacy by associating itself with a Confucian tradition it once lambasted as feudal and backwards.

Some of Mr. Xi’s references cited by the People’s Daily have more obvious resonances with today’s politics than others.

One quote Mr. Xi used from the Confucian “Book of Rites” in a 2007 essay speaks directly to his current efforts to clean up the behavior of China’s wayward bureaucrats: “Nothing is more visible than what is hidden, and nothing is more obvious than what is minute. Therefore a gentleman is careful of himself even when alone.”

In other instances, however, Mr. Xi’s allusions are less pointed, instead evoking an inchoate political anxiety. Such was the case during a 2013 visit to the Central Party School, when he quoted a line from the “Book of Songs,” another Confucian classic: “In fear and trembling, as if walking on thin ice, as if approaching a deep abyss.”

Mr. Xi is by no means the first Chinese leader to weave classical literature into his essays and speeches. Nor is he the first to attempt to leaven the Communist Party’s rhetoric with a sprinkling of Confucianism. Mr. Xi’s predecessor Hu Jintao similarly borrowed from Confucius when he introduced the notion of a “harmonious society” more than a decade ago, notes Sam Crane, a professor of Asian Studies at Williams College. But Mr. Xi, Mr. Crane says, “is being more explicit and direct in his classicism.”

The People’s Daily spread, he adds, is “a rather obvious attempt to bolster [Xi’s] image as a proper gentleman in old Confucian terms: well read, morally upright and finding moral inspiration in the classic texts.”

In a country where even mundane conversations are often shot through with pithy aphorisms taken from classical literature, it makes sense for Mr. Xi show off his sophistication. Yet there could be some danger in reviving the classical texts, which are often vague, shot through with allegory and open to a wide range of interpretations.

Take, for example, this famous quote from Confucius’ Analects that appears in an essay by Mr. Xi on poverty alleviation: “It’s easier to rob an army of its general than it is to rob a common man of his purpose and will.”

According the People’s Daily, Mr. Xi intention in evoking the passage was to encourage officials to cultivate the willpower necessary to “push ahead in the face of innumerable challenges.” But Mr. Crane notes that it might be read differently, particularly in light of the upcoming 25th anniversary of the crackdown on student protesters in Tiananmen Square.

“We should not assume that the state is the articulator of those purposes and will,” he says. “And, indeed, 25 years ago there was a rather massive divergence in the expression of popular purposes and state power.”

via Literary Leaders: Why China’s President is So Fond of Dropping Confucius – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

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07/05/2014

China detains five activists before 25th anniversary of Tiananmen crackdown | Reuters

China on Tuesday detained five rights activists, three lawyers and a rights group said, after they attended a weekend meeting that called for a probe into the suppression of pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Chinese lawyer Pu Zhiqiang (R) speaks to journalists outside a courthouse in Chongqing municipality, December 28, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer

Among those held was Pu Zhiqiang, a prominent free-speech lawyer, who has represented many dissidents, including artist Ai Weiwei and an activist of the “New Citizens’ Movement”, a group that urges Chinese leaders to disclose their assets. He was detained on a charge of “causing a disturbance”, two lawyers said.

He has also opposed the system of forced labor camps, which the government has abolished, and featured prominently in state media for that campaign – unusual for a government critic.

Also detained were dissident Liu Di and Xu Youyu, a professor with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think-tank, rights lawyer Shang Baojun said, citing conversations he had with family members of Liu and Xu.

Shang said he did not know what charge Liu and Xu would face as the families have not received their detention notices.

Dissident Hu Shigen and Hao Jian, who teaches at the Beijing Film Academy, were also detained, according to Chinese Human Rights Defenders, a China-based rights advocacy group.

The detentions raised the stakes in a crackdown on dissent and underscored the sensitivity of Chinese leaders to criticism ahead of the 25th anniversary of the crushing of demonstrations around Tiananmen Square in Beijing on June 4, 1989.

via China detains five activists before 25th anniversary of Tiananmen crackdown | Reuters.

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01/12/2013

Xinjiang college says approved political views needed to graduate | Reuters

College students in China\’s restive western Xinjiang region will not graduate unless their political views are approved, a university official said, as the country wages what school administrators called an ideological war against separatism.

A Uighur student attends a lesson at the Xinjiang College of Uighur Medicine in Hotan in the southwestern part of China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region September 15, 2003. REUTERS/Andrew Wong

Xinjiang is home to the Muslim Uighur ethnic group, many of whom resent controls imposed by Beijing and an inflow of Han Chinese migrants. Some Uighur groups are campaigning for an independent homeland for their people.

University officials from Xinjiang said their institutions were a frontline in a \”life and death struggle\” for the people\’s hearts and a main front in the battle against separatism, the ruling Communist Party\’s official newspaper in the region, the Xinjiang Daily, reported on Tuesday.

\”Students whose political qualifications are not up to par must absolutely not graduate, even if their professional course work is excellent,\” said Xu Yuanzhi, the party secretary at Kashgar Teachers College in southern Xinjiang, which has been an epicenter for ethnic unrest.

It is unclear if such a policy has been officially implemented throughout the region.

\”Ideology is a battlefield without gun smoke,\” Xinjiang Normal University President Weili Balati said.

\”As university leaders, we have the responsibility to do more to help students and teachers properly understand and treat religion, ethnicity and culture and help them distinguish between right and wrong,\” he said.

China blamed the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) for an attack on October 28, when a vehicle ploughed through bystanders on Tiananmen Square in Beijing and burst into flames, killing three people in the car and two bystanders.

Uighur exiles, rights groups and some experts have cast doubt on the official accounts of what China has deemed terror attacks and foreign reporting of the incident has discussed whether it was motivated by punitive ethnic policies.

An Islamist militant group has released a speech claiming responsibility for the incident, which China\’s Foreign Ministry said should silence those who are skeptical about the threat of terror within China\’s borders.

The Uighurs are culturally closer to ethnic groups across central Asia and Turkey than the Han Chinese who make up the vast majority of China\’s population.

via Xinjiang college says approved political views needed to graduate | Reuters.

25/11/2013

No. 2 Most-Wanted Tiananmen Dissident Wu’er Kaixi Tries to Turn Self in, Gets Sent Home – China Real Time Report – WSJ

In his fourth attempt to surrender himself to Chinese authorities, exiled Tiananmen Square dissident Wu’er Kaixi on Monday flew to Hong Kong to seek extradition to mainland China. But Hong Kong officials denied his request, and quickly put him a plane back to Taiwan.

Mr Wuer, a former student leader of the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square who now resides in Taiwan, boarded a Cathay Pacific Airways flight from Taipei on Monday morning to Bangkok, with a stopover in Hong Kong. He made use of the stopover to turn himself into Hong Kong authorities. He believes he remains on a wanted fugitive in China for his role in the 1989 student protests.

In the immediate aftermath of the June 4 crackdown on the protests, he was No. 2 on China’s list of most-wanted dissidents.

In an online statement posted on his blog, Mr. Wu’er urged the city’s government to arrest and extradite him to the Chinese authorities during. However, Hong Kong officials chose to deport him back to Taiwan Monday afternoon, according to Kenneth Lam, a Hong Kong-based solicitor who assisted Mr. Wu’er at the Hong Kong airport.

A spokesman at Hong Kong’s Immigration Department said it won’t comment on individual cases but said immigration officers may examine any visitor on arrival to the city to determine whether the person meets standard immigration requirements.

Mr. Wu’er has tried several times to attempt a re-entry to China. In 2009, he flew to Macau but was detained at the airport and deported. In 2010, he tried to enter the Chinese embassy in Tokyo and in 2012, he entered the Chinese embassy in Washington D.C., but both attempts to turn himself in were unsuccessful.

Mr. Wu’er said Monday the latest move was a “last resort” as Chinese authorities have refused to issue passports for his family members to visit him since he fled into exile shortly after the Tiananmen crackdown.

“I miss my parents and my family, and I hope to be able to be reunited with them while they are still alive ,” Mr. Wu’er said in the statement, noting that his parents are old and in ill health.

via No. 2 Most-Wanted Tiananmen Dissident Wu’er Kaixi Tries to Turn Self in, Gets Sent Home – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

09/11/2013

China’s Coming Terrorism Wave | China Power | The Diplomat

Prediction time: China will experience unprecedented terrorism over the next few years.

China

On October 27, a carload of Xinjiang residents made headlines by crashing into a Tiananmen Square crowd, killing two people while injuring 38. Then, on Wednesday, a series of explosions rocked the provincial Communist Party headquarters in Shanxi province, killing one person while injuring 8.

This recent uptick in political violence is not an anomaly for China, but a harbinger of terrorist violence to come.

Several long-term trends put China at risk.

China’s footprint on the world stage is growing while the United States is retrenching internationally. The recent travel schedules of Xi Jinping and Barack Obama are telling. At a time when Barack was cancelling trips to attend the APEC Summit in Indonesia, the East Asia Summit in Brunei, and his planned visits to the Philippines and Malaysia, Xi was wrapping up tours of Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia, Tanzania, South Africa, the Congo, Mexico, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kurdistan, and Turkmenistan. Look for Xi and he’s probably overseas. Look for Obama and he’s probably at home, wrangling with Congress.

Historically, Americans have been the preferred target of international terrorism, while China has been virtually spared. Americans have been the most popular target because of their country’s hegemonic position around the globe, which inevitably breeds mistrust, resentment, and ultimately counterbalancing. Professor Robert Pape at the University of Chicago has found that foreign meddling is highly correlated with incurring suicide terrorist campaigns. With its comparatively insular foreign policy, China has understandably elicited less passion and violence among foreign terrorists.

But the trajectories of the U.S. and China are now inverting. Reeling from its botched counterinsurgency campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States is engulfed in an unmistakable wave of isolationism. Meanwhile, China is rapidly converting its rising economic power into ever greater international leverage. This newfound orientation makes sense geopolitically, but will not come without costs.

Moving forward, China will contend with not only international terrorism, but also the domestic variety. This is because China is likely to follow (albeit belatedly) the post-Cold War Zeitgeist towards democratization. China will neither become a Jeffersonian democracy nor continue to disenfranchise political dissidents. Instead, it will inch closer to a “mixed” regime, a weak democratic state. This regime type is precisely the kind that sparks domestic political unrest. Such governments are too undemocratic to satisfy citizens, but too democratic to snuff them out.

Add to this brew globalization and the government’s critics at home and abroad will be better informed about both Chinese policy and how to mobilize against it, including violently.

via China’s Coming Terrorism Wave | China Power | The Diplomat.

06/11/2013

Blasts at China regional Communist Party office kill one – BBC News

A series of small blasts have killed at least one person outside a provincial office of the ruling Communist Party in northern China, state media report.

The blasts in Taiyuan in Shanxi province appeared to have been caused by home-made bombs, Xinhua reported.

It said eight people had been injured and two cars damaged.

Photos posted on social media showed smoke and several fire engines at the scene of the incident, which happened around 07:40 local time (23:40 GMT).

No immediate explanation has been given for the incident. There have been occasions in the past where disgruntled citizens have targeted local government institutions.

They do not often make the headlines but explosions in China\’s cities are not unheard of. Earlier this year, in another part of Shanxi Province, Chinese media reported that a bomb exploded outside the house of a local law official, killing his daughter. The culprit was a pensioner enraged by a court ruling against him.

Last year the BBC reported on a suicide bombing in Shandong, carried out by a disabled man upset by lack of compensation for an industrial accident. Every year there are examples of attacks with crude weapons or explosives, carried out by the desperate, the dispossessed and the disturbed, usually triggered by a dispute with some arm of local government or a local official.

It\’s too early to say whether the explosions on Wednesday follow the same pattern. But some details will worry the authorities: the ball bearings apparently placed inside the bombs, increasing their destructive power; the fact that witnesses reported several explosions over a period of time. And the bombs were placed outside the local Communist Party headquarters – was the party itself the target, or was this just the product of a local dispute?

The authorities will especially be nervous after last week\’s apparent suicide attack outside the gates of the Forbidden City, especially as the capital also prepares to host a meeting of China\’s Communist Party elite on Saturday.

Tensions are also high in the wake of last week\’s incident in Beijing. A car ploughed into a crowd in Tiananmen Square in what the authorities said was a terrorist attack incited by extremists from the western region of Xinjiang.

Later this week, the Communist Party\’s top officials will meet in Beijing to start a major economic planning meeting.

via BBC News – Blasts at China regional Communist Party office kill one.

04/11/2013

In China’s Xinjiang, poverty, exclusion are greater threat than Islam | Reuters

If the analysis in this report is correct, then it is good news for China and Xinjiang. Alleviating poverty is difficult, but far easier than eliminating religious extremism.

“In the dirty backstreets of the Uighur old quarter of Xinjiang\’s capital Urumqi in China\’s far west, Abuduwahapu frowns when asked what he thinks is the root cause of the region\’s festering problem with violence and unrest.

A police officer stops a car to check for identifications at a checkpoint near Lukqun town, in Xinjiang province in this October 30, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/Files

\”The Han Chinese don\’t have faith, and the Uighurs do. So they don\’t really understand each other,\” he said, referring to the Muslim religion the Turkic-speaking Uighur people follow, in contrast to the official atheism of the ruling Communist Party.

But for the teenage bread delivery boy, it\’s not Islam that\’s driving people to commit acts of violence, such as last week\’s deadly car crash in Beijing\’s Tiananmen Square – blamed by the government on Uighur Islamist extremists who want independence.

\”Some people there support independence and some do not. Mostly, those who support it are unsatisfied because they are poor,\” said Abuduwahapu, who came to Urumqi two years ago from the heavily Uighur old Silk Road city of Kashgar in Xinjiang\’s southwest, near the Pakistani and Afghan border.

\”The Han are afraid of Uighers. They are afraid if we had guns, we would kill them,\” he said, standing next to piles of smoldering garbage on plots of land where buildings have been demolished.

China\’s claims that it is fighting an Islamist insurgency in energy-rich Xinjiang – a vast area of deserts, mountains and forests geographically located in central Asia – are not new.”

via In China’s Xinjiang, poverty, exclusion are greater threat than Islam | Reuters.

01/11/2013

Tiananmen crash ‘incited by Islamists’ – BBC News

China\’s top security official says a deadly crash in Beijing\’s Tiananmen Square was incited by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement.

The crash occurred on Monday when a car ploughed into a crowd then burst into flames, killing three people inside the vehicle and two tourists.

Police have arrested five suspects, all from the western region of Xinjiang, home to minority Uighur Muslims.

Security has also been tightened in Xinjiang, which borders Central Asia.

China often blames the ETIM group for incidents in Xinjiang. But the BBC correspondent in Beijing says few believe that the group has any capacity to carry out any serious acts of terror in China.

Uighur groups claim China uses ETIM as an excuse to justify repressive security in Xinjiang.

via BBC News – Tiananmen crash ‘incited by Islamists’.

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