Man held in attempt to set fire to Mao portrait in Beijing

2007-05-15 13:26:00
Chinese police on Saturday arrested a man who allegedly tried to set fire to the giant portrait of Chairman Mao Tse-tung in Tiananmen Square, the official New China News Agency reported. A man threw a homemade object at the painting of Communist China's founding father, causing smoke and fire to break out briefly on the bottom left-hand corner of the iconic portrait, which looms above the entrance to the Forbidden City. Workers in a crane climbed up to sweep Mao's right shoulder with water and a broom. A black burn mark remained on the Great Helmsman's trademark gray suit. A new portrait was scheduled to be put up Saturday night, the news agency said.

Google's 'evil' agenda exposed in new book

Supports Democratic Party, bans 'democracy' searches in China
Posted: March 20, 2007

China jails online editor for subversion

Published: Monday, March 19, 2007
BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese court jailed an editor of a news portal for six years on Monday for
inciting subversion by publishing anti-government essays, his lawyer said, the latest case in a
government crackdown on dissent.

The Intermediate People's Court in Ningbo in the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang convicted Zhang
Jianhong, better known by his pen name is Li Hong, of "inciting to subvert state power," lawyer
Li Jianqiang told Reuters.

"The sentence is too heavy," the lawyer said by telephone. "The accusations that Li Hong attacked
the government through his essays is total nonsense. All he did was to exercise his freedom of
speech guaranteed in China's constitution."

China Bans 'Teletubbies,' 'Mary Poppins'--Not Spielberg

Greg Levine, 02.23.06,
New York - China's ancient culture has outlasted famine, Mongol hordes, the British Empire, opium wars and Japanese militarism.

So why is Beijing scared of Tinky Wink?

That's the member of U.K. kids' favorite Teletubbies, which aroused the ire of televangelist Jerry Falwell. Now the animated gang has fallen afoul of Communist China--although not for the preacher's reasons.

See, Teletubbies is a mixed media show, in that it blends cartoons with live action. And that melange is now officially banned by Beijing.

The People's Republic of China has declared verboten TV shows and movies that blend hand or computer drawings with breathing human actors, in a drive to nurture home-grown animators--and perhaps wean the nation off of foreign cartoons.

The Associated Press quotes a statement by China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television as explaining that the ban is geared to "promote the development and prosperity of the cartoon industry in China."

China already limits foreign cartoons on TV to 40% of all cartoons aired. It has hinted it might embargo all foreign cartoons from prime-time TV--once the quantity and quality of domestic productions is considered adequate.

So what will get caught in the totalitarian net?

The list might include The Walt Disney Co. (nyse: DIS - news - people ) property Mary Poppins, which features beloved Dick Van Dyke cutting a rug with make-believe penguins. A Time-Warner (nyse: TWX - news - people ) pick could make the rogues' gallery: Space Jam (1996), which features hoops legend Michael Jordan saving the Earth with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck--although aficionados say shelving this one might be for the best anyway. Pugnacious Brit Bob Hoskins interacted with cartoon mobsters and a saucy songstress in 1988's Who Framed Roger Rabbit. And perhaps most dangerous to China's economy, the mystery-solving azure pooch and live human pal of TV's Blue's Clues.

Here's an irony: Shark Tale would make the grade. From the Steven Spielberg-founded DreamWorks Animation SKG (nyse: DWA - news - people ), it has no live action. Unfortunately for Chinese kids, it's just awful.

China Announces Clampdown On News Coverage of Courts

By Maureen Fan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, September 14, 2006; Page A16

BEIJING, Sept. 13 -- A new effort to punish anyone who leaks information from China's courts is part of a
clampdown on the news media ahead of a leadership conference next year, experts said Wednesday.

China's highest court announced rules this week under which officials who give journalists "improper" news
will face severe punishment, the official New China News Agency said. Information will be released only through
a newly created system of court spokesmen.

New rules in China help shut out foreign press

Sep. 11, 2006. 01:57 PM

SHANGHAI, China?Xinhua News Agency, long a mouthpiece for China's ruling Communist party, is getting
a boost from the Beijing government in its quest to become an international media power.

New rules that Xinhua issued Sunday in the name of China's Cabinet appear designed to shut out foreign
news agencies such as the Associated Press and Reuters that have been seeking wider access to
the fast-growing Chinese market in the run-up to the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

The regulations give Xinhua a virtual monopoly over the distribution inside China of news, information
and other services from foreign agencies. Their release comes as the communist leadership has clamped
down on mainstream media and the Internet, firing and even arresting aggressive reporters and editors.

But business, not politics, are driving the new rules, industry executives said.

Media in Maoist China

By Mohammed A.R. Galadari
14 September 2006
CHINA has angered international rights groups and media organisations with its new curbs on
foreign journalists and news agencies. In a new order issued on Sunday with immediate effect,
the Chinese authorities have announced ‘rules’ requiring foreign media to get the approval of
the government news agency, Xinhua, before releasing or distributing any news reports, pictures
and graphics within China.

The new rules empower Xinhua to censor and/or delete any content that it sees as a ‘threat’
to national security and unity. In fact, Chinese parliament is currently deliberating a bill that would
fine domestic and foreign media if they broke news on natural disasters and other mergencies without

The move also affects international financial information agencies such as Reuters and Bloomberg
and bars them from selling news services directly to Chinese customers such as banks and brokerages.

Old China News Agency

Word Count: 524
China's state-run news agency, Xinhua, literally means "New China." How ironic, given
its very old business tactics.
Xinhua has released a sweeping update to a 1996 law on foreign news agencies that smacks
of expropriation and may violate China's World Trade Organization commitments. The document
asserts the Chinese government's right to broadly censor foreign news companies' content over
a range of sensitive subjects, including "sovereignty" (read: Taiwan), "religion" (Falun Gong), or
China's "interests" (Iran, Burma, Sudan). Article 12 of the new regulations gives Xinhua "the right
to select the news and information released by foreign news agencies" and to "delete" ...

Wall street journal September 12, 2006

Tiananmen film gets director 5-year ban

By Jonathan Landreth
Monday, September 4, 2006; 6:59 PM
BEIJING (Hollywood Reporter) - China has banned acclaimed director Lou Ye from making movies for five years as
punishment for sending his latest film "Summer Palace," an erotic love story set against the backdrop of the bloody
crackdown in Tiananmen Square, to the Cannes Film Festival without government approval, official media reported Monday.

Lou, who suffered a two-year blacklisting in 2000 for his Rotterdam Film Festival winner "Suzhou River,"
could not be reached for comment.
In a telephone interview, the film's French co-producer called the decision by the State Administration of Radio
Film and Television "shameful."

China to tighten control over foreign surveying, mapping

China will step up supervision of foreigners who conduct surveys and map areas of the country.

Foreign organizations and individuals, who engage in surveying and mapping in scientific research and teaching programs, travel or exploration, must obtain approval from the government and accept supervision,
the State Bureau of Survey and Mapping said.

The number of foreigners conducting surveying and mapping in China is on the rise and many field projects have
been carried out illegally, which have threatened the security of the country, according to the state bureau.

Chinese court jails New York Times researcher

Jonathan Watts in Beijing
Saturday August 26, 2006
The Guardian
Chinese court sentenced a New York Times researcher to three years in prison for fraud yesterday.
But, in a rare and embarrassing setback for the state security ministry, it dismissed more serious
charges of leaking national secrets.
The jailing of Zhao Yan comes amid a crackdown on civil rights campaigners, lawyers and journalists
in an apparent attempt to crush dissent before attention shifts to Beijing for the 2008 Olympics.

China hires 'cyber-agents'

19/05/2005 20:50 - (SA)
Beijing - The Chinese government has started using "cyber-agents" to spread positive political messages on the internet and better control public opinion, reported state media on Thursday.

Several cities had set up special "online propaganda troops" who posed as ordinary internet users in chatrooms and other cyber-forums as they spread favourable spin for the government, said the Southern Weekend newspaper.

According to the paper, one example was Suqian city in eastern Jiangsu province, which set up its own 26-member propaganda force late last month, recruiting mainly officials with previous experience in public relations.

A member of a newly established force Lu Ruchao said: "Chatrooms are centres for public sentiment. It's very worthwhile for opinion workers to pay attention to these places."

Positive views on law enforcers

The paper cited an example of how the force works in practice, saying it might react to online criticism of the police force by posting positive views on the law enforcers.

Ruchao said: "The police is working under the threat of knives and guns, so how can people criticise them? Of course we should step in and turn around public opinion on this issue."

Suqian was by no means the only place where such online propaganda warriors had been put to work.

The paper said that in Jiangsu province alone, the cities of Nanjing and Wuxi had set up similar groups already last year.

According to the paper by the end of 2004, a total of 127 officials from all parts of China had received special training in Beijing on how to form and steer public opinion on the internet.

Access to unrestricted news

The report might indicate a new chapter had opened in the Chinese government's protracted struggle to come to terms with the internet.

The country was estimated to have a total of about 100 million internet users, meaning an unprecedented number now had access to a relatively free and unrestricted exchange of news and opinions.

Although the government had closed down thousands of cyber-cafes, it had realised that choking the internet was not the answer, since access to online content also had huge advantages in terms of giving people technical skills.

Immigration a Family Affair for Many Asians

"There's a general apathy among Chinese immigrants because they come from societies where they were not allowed to vote or voice their opinions," said Daniel Huang, 38, an Alhambra immigration attorney whose clients are mainly from China and Taiwan.

"If you criticize the government or march in the streets in China, you're harshly punished. The last time they did that, they were run over by tanks," he said,
referring to the Chinese government's violent suppression in 1989 of pro-democracy activists in Tiananmen Square.

A Chinese Journalist in Jail

Mr. Zhao, 44, is a seasoned journalist who was well known for covering rural issues before he joined the Times bureau in April 2004.
He was arrested shortly after The Times published an article in September of that year predicting, correctly, that the former president, Jiang Zemin,
would retire from his last official post. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/24/opinion/24fri3.html

Lies, damn lies and Chinese statistics

By Florence Chan
HONG KONG - In China, one's political career is always pegged to his or her performance,
which is mostly assessed by the growth of gross domestic product (GDP) within the person's
jurisdiction. To win promotion, local authorities are tempted to doctor local GDP figures.
Though Beijing has made it clear that development should be sustainable and scientific,
governments at local levels still engage in a GDP growth race that seems unlikely to slow
significantly until the 17th Chinese Communist Party National Congress in 2007, which might
witness some important reshuffles.

Weekly supplement of China Youth Daily shutdown+

China bans Wikipedia

Submitted by Editor on Fri, 2005-10-21 09:21. Internet
Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia that is quickly becoming on of the most comprehensive knowledge
bases on the Internet. As of October 18, 2005 the Chinese government has started blocking the Wikipedia
website in several provinces including Shanghai. This move comes at the heels of the government releasing
a whitepaper which made it very clear that the Communist party's dictatorship was the only permissible option.
The Chinese government is censoring Wikipedia the same way that it blocks access to tens of thousands of
websites with information that does not toe the official party line.

The Chinese government already employs thousands of personnel who monitor online communities and websites,
looking for offending information and often trying to entrap citizens who speak out. They recently set guidelines for
news organizations and have also been requiring website owners and bloggers to register with the government.
For the most part, the world community has largely been absent when it comes to expressing opposition against these
draconian Chinese policies.

China's Web Watchers Monday, Oct. 03, 2005
The Internet was supposed to be immune to censorship, but Beijing has found ways to stifle online dissent

CHINA: China tightens controls on Internet

CHINA: Chinese censors block chat rooms

China seizes books from Japan school because of Taiwan map

Wednesday, June 29, 2005 at 07:12 JST
TOKYO ― China confiscated 128 educational books for a Japanese school in China after complaining about its depiction of Taiwan, and ordered the school to pay a fine, officials at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing said Tuesday.

According to embassy officials, the supplementary texts for history and civics lessons sent from Japan to the Japanese school in the northeastern Chinese city of Dalian were confiscated in mid-April. In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said the books were seized because a map showed Taiwan in a different color from China. He said the Japanese government has no other details. (Kyodo News)

China to shut down all unregistered web logs

Chinese Target Web's 'Prohibited Language' Tuesday, June 14, 2005

China turns blind eye to foot and mouth allegations

25/05/2005 - Officials continue to remain tight-lipped over reports of a foot and mouth (FMD) outbreak outside Beijing – as the country takes precautions to avoid another bird flu pandemic, Tom Armitage reports.

Officials at the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture told the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post that they were not aware of any outbreak of the highly contagious disease, despite reports suggesting the contrary.
Indeed, over 2,000 cattle have reportedly been slaughtered in Yanqing (a district to the northwest of Beijing) and quarantine conditions have subsequently been put in place.

Despite recent pledges from the Chinese authorities to be more open in reporting infectious disease outbreaks, the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and also Beijing’s Office of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine have not yet been notified.

In 2003, the country's government was widely criticised for failing to report the full scale of an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) - after which it issued an uncharacteristic public apology.

China goes undercover to sway opinion on Internet

San Diego Union Tribune, CA - May 19, 2005
BEIJING – China has formed a special force of undercover online commentators to try to sway public opinion on controversial issues on the Internet, a newspaper said on Thursday.

China has struggled to gain control over the Internet as more and more people gain access to obtain information beyond official sources. The country has nearly 100 million Internet users, according to official figures, and the figure is rising.

A special force of online commentators had already been operating in Suqian city in the eastern coastal province of Jiangsu since April, the Southern Weekend said.

Their job was to defend the government when negative comments appeared on Internet bulletin boards and chatrooms, the weekly quoted local officials as saying.

Suqian city's propaganda department recruited the commentators from among government officials, the weekly said, adding that they must 'understand (government) policies, be versed in (political) theories and be politically reliable'.

'They will guide public opinion as ordinary netizens. This is both important and effective,' Ma Zhichun, one of the recruited commentators, was quoted as saying.

Zhan Jiang, dean of journalism at China Youth University for Political Sciences, did not approve of Internet special forces writing anonymously on the Internet.

'It's okay if they voice their opinions on the government Web sites as officials, but it is suspicious if they do it this way,' Zhan told Reuters. 'It's not good for the natural expression of public opinion.'

But city governments in at least three provinces were recruiting online commentators, the weekly said.

'We are not the first and won't be the last (to have online commentators). The whole nation is playing the same game,' Ma was quoted as saying.

The Communist Party's top disciplinary and supervision body trained 127 officials for such jobs last year to 'strengthen Internet propaganda on its anti-corruption undertaking', the weekly said.

Beijing has created a special Internet police force believed responsible for shutting down domestic sites posting politically unacceptable content, blocking some foreign news sites and jailing several people for their online postings.

In March, bulletin boards operated by the country's most prominent universities were blocked to off-campus Internet users as part of the campaign to strengthen ideological education of college students.

In China, a new way to spread news

By Jim Yardley The New York Times

BEIJING The thousands of people who poured onto the streets of China for the anti-Japanese protests that shook Asia this month were bound by nationalist anger but also by a more mundane fact: They are China's cellphone and computer generation.

For several weeks, as the protests grew larger and more unruly, China banned almost all coverage in the state media. But it hardly mattered. An underground conversation was raging via e-mail, text message and online messaging that inflamed public opinion and served as an organizing tool for protesters.

The underground noise grew so loud that last Friday the government moved to silence it by banning the use of text messages or e-mail messages to organize protests. It was part of a broader curb on the anti-Japanese movement but it also seemed that the Communist Party had self-interest in mind.

"They are afraid the Chinese people will think, 'O.K., today we protest Japan; tomorrow, Japan,"' said one Asian diplomat who has watched the protests closely. "But the day after tomorrow, how about we protest against the government?" Other nondemocratic governments are already learning that lesson. Cellphone messaging is providing an important communications channel in nascent democracy movements in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East. Ukraine's Orange Revolution used online forums and messaging to help topple a corrupt regime.

Few countries censor information and communications as tightly as China, which has as many as 50,000 people policing the Internet. Yet China is now the largest cellphone market, with nearly 350 million users, while the number of Internet users is roughly 100 million and growing at 30 percent a year.

The result is a constant tension between a population hungry for freer communication and a government that regards information control as essential to its power. Anti-Japanese protesters have been able to spread information and loosely coordinate different marches in a country where political organizing is illegal.

"That has to put the government on guard," said Xiao Qiang, director of the China Internet Project at the University of California at Berkeley, who said the organizing effort was even more notable because no one had been able to identify any leaders

China Jails Reporter for Leaking 'State Secrets'

BEIJING (Reuters) - A court in south China jailed a Chinese journalist for 10 years on Saturday
for illegally providing state secrets to overseas organizations, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said in February that China had the most
journalists in prison, 42, of any country for the sixth year in a row.

Prosecutors in Hunan province told the Intermediate People's Court that Shi Tao, 37, a former news
editor for the Contemporary Business News in provincial capital Changsha, e-mailed notes he took
at an April 2004 internal newspaper meeting to an unnamed overseas publication, Xinhua said without
naming the publication

A confidential "important document" had been read out at the meeting and several overseas Internet
portals published the content of Shi's e-mail time and again, Xinhua said. It did not reveal the contents
on the e-mail.


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