China will loosen its decades-old one-child policy and abolish a much-criticized labor-camp system, the ruling Communist Party said Friday.
The official Xinhua news agency said the party announced the changes in a policy document after a key, four-day meeting of party leaders that ended Tuesday in Beijing.
Under the new family-planning rules, couples may have two children if just one of the parents is an only child. China’s one-child policy currently limits most urban couples to one child and allows two children for rural families if their firstborn is a girl. Previously, both parents had to be only children to qualify for a two-children exemption.
The labor camp — or “re-education through labor” — system was established to punish early critics of the Communist Party but now is used by local officials to deal with people challenging their authority on issues including land rights and corruption.
Under the system, people can be sent for up to four years of “re-education” by a police panel, without a trial or even court appearance. It was introduced in 1957 as a faster method of handling minor offenses.
A 2009 United Nations report estimated that 190,000 Chinese people were locked up in such facilities.
Life in the camps can vary widely, but many prisoners face extremely long work days manufacturing goods or doing agricultural work, the Duihua Foundation, a U.S.-based rights group, said in a report.
From the video description,
Beijing is being gassed with “crazy bad” air pollution. Did I say air pollution? I meant to say, “heavy fog.” That’s what China’s media calls it. But don’t think that doesn’t mean the Chinese regime isn’t doing anything about it! The smog has made it next to impossible to spy on people! What good are China’s network of more than 20 million cameras if they can’t see through toxic clouds of smog that can be seen from outer space?!
Photo Credit: Feng Li/Getty Images
Man, this makes me feel sorry for the average person living in China right now. Despite the nature of a regime, that based on this video alone doesn’t seem to care much about the well being of its own people, you’d think that things like money from potential tourists would encourage them to solve this problem, but apparently no.
Veteran US journalist Paul Mooney had his visa application rejected by the Chinese government after waiting nearly eight months to begin his new reporting job for Thomson Reuters in China, according to the New York Times, around the same time that China’s government has begun enforcing stricter visa regulations and cracking down on online media censorship, resulting in escalating tensions between the Chinese government and foreign media outlets.
Mooney said that the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday told Reuters that it wouldn’t grant him a resident journalist visa but would not give an explanation why. His previous visa, sponsored by the South China Morning Post, had expired last year.
China’s new administration continues in its quest to control the message.
The car explosion which killed five people Monday, including the three occupants of the car, was a terrorist attack, Chinese authorities say. Five suspects have been arrest ed in connection with the blast.
The car’s occupants and the five other suspects are all Uyghurs from the western province of Xinjiang, according to Chinese state media.
Police had alerted hotels in the capital to look out for eight suspects from China’s restive Xinjiang region after the incident, which killed two tourists and injured dozens in the symbolic heart of the Chinese state.
The suspects appeared mostly to be from China’s mainly Muslim Uighur ethnic minority, who are concentrated in far-western Xinjiang, and the names CCTV gave for the three people in the vehicle appeared to be Uighur.
Beijing has blamed Uighur groups for what it calls “terrorist” attacks in Xinjiang, but details of alleged incidents are hard to confirm, and exile groups accuse China of exaggerating the threat to justify religious and cultural restrictions.
The explosion near the entrance to the Forbidden City also killed a Chinese man and a Filipina woman, both tourists. Several other bystanders were injured.
With China’s version of Twitter, Sina Weibo, effectively silenced, it’s hard to tell if the government is telling the truth, but authorities claim Monday’s car explosion near Tiananmen Square was a suicide attack.
Uyghurs from Xinjiang province are the suspects, according to official reports. But take that with a grain of salt. Given the unrest in Xinjiang, Chinese police may be looking for scapegoats as a pretext for further actions in the province.
In the past, Weibo users would have posted possibly more accurate reports, but new laws imposed in September have effectively suppressed Weibo users’ ability to counter government reports.
Censors on Monday rushed to delete comments on Chinese social media, allowing almost exclusively Beijing police and Xinhua updates to circulate online.
On Tuesday, the Global Times, a Communist Party-run paper, said in its English-language version that police had linked the incident to suspects from Xinjiang. The Chinese language version did not mention Xinjiang.
A police notice circulated widely online on Monday evening asked hotels in Beijing for information on two male suspects with Uygur names and four Xinjiang car number plates in a “major case”.
Hotels were asked to provide information on the two suspects and the number plates “to prevent […] further crimes,” the notice read.
Ilham Tohti, a prominent Uygur intellectual, cautioned against using the Tiananmen incident to stigmatise the ethnic group or imposing tighter controls in the region, according to an article on his web portal Uighurbiz.net.
Hey guys, I created by first page at LGF
Check out this fascinating story by Alan Levinovitz over at Slate!
In case you missed it, Oct. 7-13 was designated Naturopathic Medicine Week, according to a Senate resolution sponsored by Sen. Barbara Mikulski and passed by the Senate with unanimous consent. Among the reasons the Senate cited:
Naturopathic physicians can help address the shortage of primary care providers in the United States.
The profession of naturopathic medicine is dedicated to providing health care to underserved populations.
Naturopathic medicine provides consumers in the United States with more choice in health care.
Mikulski and the rest of the Senate may be surprised to learn that they were repeating 60-year-old justifications of Chinese medicine put forward by Chairman Mao. Unlike Mikulski, however, Mao was under no illusion that Chinese medicine—a key component of naturopathic education—actually worked. In The Private Life of Chairman Mao, Li Zhisui, one of Mao’s personal physicians, recounts a conversation they had on the subject. Trained as an M.D. in Western medicine, Li admitted to being baffled by ancient Chinese medical books, especially their theories relating to the five elements. It turns out his employer also found them implausible.
HONG KONG — The police in Beijing have formally arrested a prominent Chinese businessman who turned his energies and wealth to supporting human rights causes, his lawyer said on Monday. The arrest of the businessman, Wang Gongquan, was another step in the Communist Party’s drive to deter dissent, supporters said. Notice of the decision comes a day before China is scheduled to defend its human rights record at a United Nations hearing.
Mr. Wang’s lawyer, Chen Youxi, said in a brief telephone interview that a police officer had called him to say that on Sunday Mr. Wang had been formally arrested on charges of “assembling a crowd to disrupt order in a public place.” Mr. Wang was detained on the same charges last month, and the decision to formally arrest him will give the police more time to hold him and to build a case, on that or other charges.
Wang is the second prominent user of the Twitter-like service, Sina Weibo, to be arrested under new Internet restrictions. Charles Xue was arrested in August on sex crimes charged, and appeared a month later on national TV to recant his outspoken criticism of the government on Weibo.
Meanwhile, the state TV office has told local broadcasters to significantly reduce the number of foreign-made TV shows and boost the amount of “morally beneficial” programming. It’s another sign of the new Party leadership’s plan to circle the wagons and fend off liberalizing attitudes and influences.
When China’s Sichuan province was hit by a major earthquake in April 2012, users of China’s Twitter clone, Sina Weibo, lit up the Internet with tweets about the disaster.
In 2011, when one of China’s high speed trains crashed into another train, and plunged off a viaduct in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, killed 40, hundreds of Weibo users tweeted photos and accusations that authorities were trying to cover up malfeasance by burying some of the damaged cars.
Earlier this month, Typhoon Fitow flooded Yuyao, a medium-sized city in Zhejiang. Sina Weibo was comparatively quiet, probably because of new government efforts to stifle expression on the service.
But that was then. On Oct. 7, Typhoon Fitow hit China’s eastern coast, bringing the heaviest rainfall in a century down on Yuyao, a city of over 800,000 people in wealthy Zhejiang province. More than 70 percent of the city’s downtown lay submerged, according to state media. Authorities immediately dispatched disaster relief teams after the flood hit, providing emergency generators for hospitals and feeding displaced locals, though some residents in rural parts of Yuyao reportedly went days without aid. But, oddly, they didn’t take to Weibo to gripe. With Yuyao, China’s once-powerful social media seems to have lost its voice. While the 2012 Sichuan Earthquake, which killed at least 180 people, drew an estimated 5 million comments on Weibo, the flooding in Yuyao generated only an estimated 170,000 posts on the same platform.
What happened? An ongoing government crackdown on online expression — including a Sep. 9 law that expands the definition of defamation to include vaguely defined “online rumors” read 5,000 times or shared more than 500 times — has raised the stakes for online expression. Meanwhile, Beijing is trying to bolster trust in traditional media, which it largely controls. To do this, it is trying to sideline influential Weibo users like investor Charles Xue (11.9 million followers) and former Google China chief Kai-Fu Lee (51.8 million followers), both of whom have commented frequently on politics and current affairs.
Xue was detained in August, accused of sex crimes. He later appeared on national TV, apologizing for “spreading rumors” and overstepping his responsibilities as a citizen. techinasia.com His arrest and recantation was to serve as an example for other, less influential micro-bloggers. Don’t criticize the government, or else.
From the Financial Times:
Washington’s debt brinkmanship has provoked deep anger in Beijing and bolstered its resolve to lessen the world’s reliance on the dollar, according to current and former Chinese government advisers.
Political leaders in the US have intensified talks about their fiscal stand-off, fuelling hopes that Washington will raise its debt ceiling before next week’s deadline.
However, the prospect of last-minute negotiations will test already-frayed nerves in China, the biggest foreign holder of US government debt.
“You can’t hijack the global economy through political struggles. It’s not responsible,” says Yu Yongding, a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a leading government think-tank.
“We are angry but are not panicked. The consequences are bad for the reputation of the US because the credibility of debt is so important,” says Mr Yu, who is also a former adviser to the central bank’s monetary policy committee.
Apparently our ignorant Teahadis don’t realize that being the world’s reserve currency is as important a power source as our military; they’re willing to toss that away for short-term domestic political gain. And then they do it so badly they don’t even get the short-term domestic political gain out of it.
The little successful entrance of Shell’s exploration of American shale gas is one of the things that Peter Voser , the outgoing chief executive of Shell , is not very happy about, as he said in an interview with the Financial Times this Sunday .
Shell has invested at least $ 24 billion in the exploration of so-called “unconventional” oil and gas resources , writes Financial Times . But the investment has so far produced little result . ” The unconventional sources have not yielded what was planned ,” said Voser .
The oil company announced last August to a depreciation of $ 2.1 billion on operations in the U.S. and announced the U.S. shale gas portfolio to be evaluated.
Warning for too much optimism
Voser warned on for too much optimism about the exploration of shale gas elsewhere in the world . The idea that the size of the finds in the U.S. can be equaled elsewhere, Voser called ’ hype ’ . In China 22 wells have been drilled by Shell but the outcomes are still uncertain . The cost of exploration in China , according to voser are higher than in the U.S..
Furthermore Voser said the problems in Alaska were a great personal disappointment for him . Shell has encountered many problems with the technology, with environmental and other regulations since the past few years. According to the CEO , it is uncertain whether there will still be any drilling in the problem area in Alaska ” in 2014 or 2015 ‘.
Voser departs Shell at the end of this year as CEO. He is succeeded by Ben van Beurden , who was responsible for the division Downstream ( refining and marketing ) .
Well I’ll be damned. Only a hint of the environmental problems in this bulletin. All that’s important is the result shale gas drilling will give. And things are not looking well. Let’s hope the other companies will take heed and see where this is going. Shale gas is a road to nowhere.
Translated from an article in the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant.