DCB #114: Do Not Forget Liu Xiaobo

To support us with a donation? Click here!Dialogue China BriefingTalking About China NowIssue 114 – August 15, 2022In This IssueThe articles shared here do not necessarily reflect the views of the briefing or Dialogue China. All articles sourced from WeChat public accounts unless otherwise noted.I. Dialogue China Opinions1. Do Not Forget Liu XiaoboII. Policy2. The History of the “Evolution” of the “Internet Water Army”* (Cyber Army): The Victim Does Not Know Who They Are Being Attacked By3. Restructuring of Provincial Level Public Security Officials. Many Leave Public Security System to Take Up Positions in New Locations and FieldsIII. Politics4. Why Is Northeast Asia Able to Maintain a Minimum Level of Peace?5. Reasons For and Effects Of the Rapid Shift in Taiwan’s Unification and Independence ForcesIV. Finance and Business6. “No Resumption of Construction, No Repayment of Mortgage Loans.” The New Game of Chess the Owners of Unfinished Apartments Are PlayingDialogue China Opinions1. Do Not Forget Liu XiaoboWang Dan – Radio Free Asia Commentary – July 7, 2022As a personal friend of Liu Xiaobo’s, I certainly miss him more strongly on this, the five year anniversary of his death. At the same time, I greatly regret to see that the international community’s memory of Xiaobo seems to be gradually fading. Not only are there fewer articles of remembrance and nostalgia on the Internet, but among the many dissident organizations overseas – apart from an online memorial service in Europe – there are no more memorial events to be seen. This must be considered a very regrettable thing. I am sorry not only for Liu Xiaobo personally, but also because in the face of the current situation in China, commemorating Liu Xiaobo today has a special meaning.
This is particularly significant in two ways: First, Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was seriously ill in prison but was denied proper medical treatment until the end of his life, when he was denied permission to leave the country for specialized cancer treatment. It is no exaggeration to say that he was deliberately murdered by the Chinese Communist authorities. This is not only unprecedented in the history of the Nobel Peace Prize, but is also a heinous act of human rights persecution, wicked conduct that makes one bristle with anger. Yet today, the international community seems to have taken little effective action against the Chinese Communist Party for such a grave evil. When Xiaobo died, there was a proposal in the United States Congress to rename the road in front of the Chinese Embassy in the United States “Liu Xiaobo Square.” But until now this proposal has not been acted on.
The reason for not forgetting Liu Xiaobo is not only to commemorate a hero who sacrificed his life for democracy, but also to remind the world that the Chinese Communist Party has repeatedly crossed the bottom line of the civilized world and has repeatedly committed unprecedented and terrible atrocities. We should not forget what the Chinese Communist Party has done because of the passage of time. The outside world should more importantly realize that as long as China remains under the totalitarian rule of the Chinese Communist Party, the tragedy of Liu Xiaobo will be repeated in the future. Do not forget Liu Xiaobo, and remind the world not to think that Xi Jinping did all these bad things single handedly. You should know that the arrest of Liu Xiaobo and the heavy prison sentence he was given took place when Hu Jintao was Communist Party leader. While we are denouncing Xi Jinping orally and in writing for pushing his reactionary policies, some people are beginning to miss the Communist Party rule of Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. If you still remember the person who initiated the death of Liu Xiaobo, you will know that the evil of the Chinese Communist Party is not only a personal problem, but also a systemic one. As long as the system of single party dictatorship is not confronted and resolved, no one can improve the human rights record of China.
Second, Liu Xiaobo should not be forgotten because he has symbolic significance. He represents the kind of force of civil society that has grown tenaciously in between the cracks of brutal state violence over the past 40 years. With the Liu Xiaobo initiated Charter 08* as a standard, we have seen the growth of popular resistance in China. After Xi Jinping came to power, he dealt a crushing blow to civil society in China, leaving many people without any hope for civil resistance in China. But if we understand Liu Xiaobo’s process of personal struggle, we will know that even in the most difficult and darkest period after the June 4, 1989 Tiananmen Massacre, the fire of resistance has never been extinguished among the Chinese people. The fact that Liu Xiaobo has received the highest recognition by the international community shows that the power of Chinese civil society was once generally acknowledged by the outside world.
* Charter 08 is a manifesto initially signed by 303 Chinese dissident intellectuals and human rights activists. It was published on December 10, 2008, the 60th anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopting its name and style from the anti-Soviet Charter 77 issued by dissidents in Czechoslovakia led by eventual President Vaclav Havel. Since its release, more than 10,000 people inside and outside China have signed the charter. After unsuccessful reform efforts in 1989 and 1998 by the Chinese democracy movement, Charter 08 was the first challenge to single party rule that declared as its goal the end of Communist Party dictatorship. It has been described as the first one with a unified strategy. In 2009, one of the authors of Charter 08, Liu Xiaobo, was sentenced to eleven years’ imprisonment for “inciting subversion of state power” because of his involvement. A year later, Liu was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Seven years later in July 2017, he died of terminal liver cancer in prison after having been granted medical parole., the fire of resistance has never been extinguished in China’s civil society.
Although the present situation is more perilous than ever, we can see from the Chinese Internet that civil discontent still exists, and the power of Chinese civil society has never disappeared. The Chinese Communist Party can eliminate one Liu Xiaobo, but China cannot have just this single courageous person. Not only should we not lose confidence in the forces of domestic resistance in China, but we should actively support the domestic resistance movement. As the most symbolic representative of China’s resistance movement, commemorating Liu Xiaobo is a process of constantly inspiring new Liu Xiaobos to emerge. Therefore, I believe that it is critical to not forget Liu Xiaobo.【Back to TopPolicy2. The History of the “Evolution” of the “Internet Water Army”* (Cyber Army): The Victim Does Not Know Who They Are Being Attacked ByJiang Bowen – Southern Weekend – July 6, 2022Why Read This?
In the early days, Internet water army crimes were concentrated in Beijing. The staff of central media websites, Internet portals, and chat forums were the targets of their operations. In the era of the streaming economy, water army mercenaries were located throughout the country, sometimes profiting from bulk postings alone. The Internet water army is constantly “evolving” and legal regulations struggle to “keep up with the times.” In the past, most of the charges involved were occupational offenses, but in recent years cases constituting cyber crimes were gradually disclosed. In the past three years, the public security authorities, relying on the “Net Purification” series of special operations, have detected more than 600 cases related to the Internet water army and arrested more than 4,000 suspects.
* An Internet water army (網絡水軍; wǎngluò shuǐjūn) is a group of users with vested interest who are paid to post online comments on Chinese language websites. Internet water armies started in the early 2010s. They post news, comments, gossip and disinformation on online platforms like Weibo, WeChat and Taobao [China’s eBay-like platform]. In this astroturfing technique for public relations and media manipulation, online Chinese companies employ people to post on social media to change public opinion. It has been developed into an industry in which a company specializing in internet water armies can earn ¥7.6 million yuan within three months and has made over 2,500 transactions. The private Internet water army operations parallel the official 50 Cent Party [五毛黨] internet commentators hired by the government of the People’s Republic of China or the Chinese Communist Party to spread propaganda. The most prominent group is Li Yi Bar.
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Back to topPolicy3. Restructuring of Provincial Level Public Security Officials. Many Leave Public Security System to Take Up Positions in New Locations and FieldsZhai Xingli – Southern Weekend – July 11, 2022Why Read This?
Since May 2022, China’s provincial government level public security officials have undergone an intensive round of restructuring, with the former heads of public security in Jiangsu, Hebei, Hunan, Anhui, Gansu, and Tianjin transferring out of their own provinces and cities. The common denominator is that they were transferred across provinces, and after taking up deputy positions in the government, they did not serve as heads of public security departments but were responsible for other areas of work. This was relatively rare in the past. After this round of restructuring, seven provinces have produced new public security department and bureau chiefs, including two born in the 1970s who have been working in the public security system for a long time.(Read the full text

Back to topPolitics4. Why Is Northeast Asia Able to Maintain a Minimum Level of Peace?Singh B – National Politics Scholar – July 20, 2022Why Read This?
This paper begins with the premise that since the peaceful transition from the Cold War to the post-Cold War period, Northeast Asia has realized a minimal level of peace as a prerequisite. This hard earned peace is explained by a liberal realist framework consisting of three factors – United States hegemony, strong economic interdependence among Northeast Asian states, and a stable and continuously developing institutional rules-based structure in Northeast Asia.(Read the full text

Back to topPolitics5. Reasons For and Effects Of the Rapid Shift in Taiwan’s Unification and Independence ForcesZhe Xia – Analysis of Current Affairs – July 11, 2022Why Read This?
In recent years, Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) ruling administration has been “relying on the United States for independence” and “resisting China and refusing reunification” in an aggressive manner. On the one hand, it puts Taiwan in the “most dangerous place in the world.” But on the other hand, we seldom see resistance activities like we did when Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian were in power. On the contrary, the political ecology of the island shows the phenomenon of support for “independence” rising and reunification declining. In addition, various public opinion polls show that the public’s favorable opinion of the Democratic Progressive Party is much higher than that of Lee and Chen’s administrations. So, what are the factors that led to the rapid shift of the reunification and independence forces in Taiwan?(Read the full text

Back to topFinance and Business6. “No Resumption of Construction, No Repayment of Mortgage Loans.” The New Game of Chess the Owners of Unfinished Apartments Are PlayingXu Tingfang – Southern Weekend – July 15, 2022Why Read This?
As of the publication date of this article, more than 100 real estate projects in Shaanxi, Henan, Hubei, Jiangxi, Guangxi and other provinces have encountered suspension of mortgage payments by apartment owners because the projects have stopped construction and remain unfinished. For example, the relevant leaders of the Housing Management Bureau in a recent meeting told apartment owners that they were attempting to get ¥122.5 million [US$18.14 million] of the Greenland Group’s funds frozen by the Wuhan Central Court. The story of developers and “unfinished construction” is not uncommon in China’s domestic real estate industry. So why has there not been a massive suspension of mortgage payments in the past? The key reason may still be real estate price expectations.(Read the full text

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