Category Archives: Communism

Chinese ex-police locked up for fighting corruption

Chinese soldiers march past the Great Hall of the People after a pre-opening session of the National People’s Congress, China’s parliament, on March 4, 2013 in Beijing, China.  Getty Images

NBC News | Mar 5, 2013

By Le Li

BEIJING — The call came late on Monday night.

“More than 70 police raided our (guest house),” said former policeman He Zuhua. “Police are everywhere.”

His voice shook and he soon hung up, fearing that authorities would trace the call to the public telephone on the capital’s ragged outskirts. NBC News has been unable to reach him since.

He says he and a handful of former police officers are being pursued and detained by authorities after traveling to the capital to help shine a light on corruption within their ranks. The officers have joined droves of unhappy citizens who annually converge on Beijing in the hopes of petitioning their leaders for help during the annual National People’s Congress which started Monday. Each spring scores of petitioners are pulled from buses, trains, sidewalks, and simple hotels and locked up in secret locations, known as “black jails.”

The police stand out because all were once part of the justice system they seek to reform. According to two members of the group of 14 hoping to press for change, all of them are former police officers claiming to be themselves victims of pervasive corruption.

Their plight underscores how hard it is to combat patronage and graft in China, and how easy it was for insiders to fall from grace, said Hu Xingdou, a professor at Beijing Institute of Technology.

“In a country that lacks legal protection, it is not safe for anyone,” he said. “In China the judiciary, which is the base of anti-corruption, is not just.”

“Anyone can fall into a disadvantaged group from an advantaged group,” he added.

The crackdown on police petitioners came after China’s new leader Xi Jinping declared war on corruption, staking his name to promises that he would root out graft that infests everything from kindergarten admissions to the highest levels of government. He has called for anti-corruption campaigns ranging from banning luxury banquets to prohibiting floral displays and red carpet treatment for the official delegations.

According to He, he and the other former police officers from around the country were first rounded up on Feb. 24 as they ate together in a restaurant in Beijing. After 24 hours, three of the petitioners were taken from the detention facility with officials from their home provinces, He said. The rest “escaped,” he said.

“Corruption in the judicial system is the cause of all corruption,” he said before the Feb. 24 incident. “If we cannot change this, then China will collapse.”

Police officials contacted by NBC News denied any knowledge of a raid involving former officers.

He says he had worked in a county investigation unit in China’s central Henan province until 2002 when he refused to give false evidence in a trial involving local officials. He was sentenced to a year in prison on charges of corruption, He says.

Senior officials in Henan told him that his case lacked the proper evidence and promised a new investigation, He says. A decade after He lost his job and nothing had been done about the case.

Both of the police officers NBC News interviewed said they had traveled to Beijing to protest corruption within the judicial system, and hoped to present an open letter asking the delegates of the NPC to address the issue.

The NPC, made up of nearly 3,000 candidates is vested with lawmaking powers. In reality, it has acted mainly as a rubber stamp for the ruling Communist Party decisions. Over time, however, votes on measures or candidates nominated by the party have stopped being unanimous, signaling growing diversity if not the emergence of an opposition. Petitioners come from all over the country seeking redress for wrongs.

Tian Lan says she was once an award-winning senior police officer. After exposing a corruption scandal among local police in Northern Hebei province in 2002, Tian says she was jailed and tortured for a year. A Guangping court in Hebei charged Tian with six crimes including passing on states secrets, but the court failed to present evidence.

Since then Tian says she has been a petitioner. She says that to prevent her from petitioning, the local government has refused to renew her national identity card, which she needs to apply for a new job. Sometimes Tian has had to beg for food, she says.

“If people like me, who are inside the system, are mistreated like this, can you imagine how average citizens are treated?” Tian asked in tears.

Tian and He are not unique.

In the vast central city of Chonqqing, over 1,000 policemen, were recently given back their jobs as redress for mistreatment suffered at the hands of notoriously heavy-handed deposed police chief Wang Lijun. Wang has since been charged with crimes of abuse power for his role in a scandal that brought down charismatic Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai.

Before their arrest Tian and He told NBC they knew they might be detained before their demonstration.

“We are not here out of personal interest, but to fight against this nation’s corruption,” said He. “This country must change.”

China cracks down even harder on Tibet

China Tibet protests
Ethnic Tibetan monks demonstrating in Qinghai province: nearly 100 people have set themselves on fire since 2009 in protest at Chinese rule. Photograph: Free Tibet/EPA

Beijing arrests 70 in ethnic Tibetan areas as it steps up efforts to blame Dalai Lama for self-immolations in protest at Chinese rule | Feb 8, 2013

China‘s government says it has detained 70 people in ethnic Tibetan areas as it cracks down on self-immolation protests against Chinese rule.

Beijing has stepped up its efforts to blame the exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama, for the protests, in which nearly 100 Tibetan monks, nuns and lay people have set themselves on fire since 2009.

The harsh measures are a sign new Chinese leaders installed in November are not easing up on Tibet despite international condemnation.

The protesters are calling for Beijing to allow greater religious freedom and the return from exile of the Dalai Lama, who lives in India.

The latest detentions took place in an ethnic Tibetan area of Qinghai province, which borders Tibet, the government’s Xinhua news agency announced late on Thursday. It said 12 of those detained were formally arrested but gave no details of the charges.

Beijing has responded to the protests by sending in security forces to seal off areas and prevent information from getting out, arresting protesters’ friends and seizing satellite TV dishes. Despite that, the pace of self-immolations accelerated in November as the ruling Communist party held a leadership transition.

The government has blamed the burnings on hostile foreign forces that want to separate Tibet from the mainland.

The burnings have galvanised many Tibetans, who see them as selfless acts of sacrifice, making it hard for authorities to denounce the immolators.

On Thursday, Voice of America, a US-government-financed broadcaster, denied accusations by Chinese state television and a government newspaper that it encouraged the burnings. The US state department has expressed concern about the “deteriorating human rights situation in Tibetan areas” and the use of criminal laws against people associated with protesters.

“Our concern is that there are deep grievances within the Tibetan population which are not being addressed openly and through dialogue by the Chinese government,” said a department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland.

Nuland said Washington urged Beijing to “engage in a substantive dialogue” with the Dalai Lama. “We continue to call on Chinese government officials to permit Tibetans to express their grievances freely, publicly and peacefully, without fear of retribution,” she said.

Communist party cancels Chinese New Year celebrations to quiet public outrage over extravagance

Bars and restaurants in the Xicheng District, Beijing, China. Photo: ALAMY

Some of Beijing’s most sumptuous restaurants and hotels are facing an uncertain future after a new Communist Party austerity drive robbed them of their best customers.

Telegraph | Feb 8, 2013

By Malcolm Moore, Beijing

For years, many of Beijing’s finest establishments have paid premium rents to be close to government ministries and state-owned monopolies.

They were rewarded, especially in the month leading up to Chinese New Year, the country’s biggest holiday, with bookings for extravagant banquets for Communist Party officials.

High-end restaurants can rake in more than a third of their annual income in the month leading up to the New Year, which falls on Sunday.

Restaurants like Xiang E Qing, near a hub of government departments in Beijing’s Xicheng district, would normally be full to bursting and loud with carousing, drunk officials.

But this year, the order has gone out for all departments to cancel their celebrations and to demonstrate more humility after public anger that the Party was splurging some £60 billion, the equivalent of the official Defence budget, on “entertaining”.

A waitress said the restaurant had been subdued, “definitely more quiet than usual”. At Shiji Tanfu, which claims recipes passed down from the Qing dynasty, a waitress said that usually its tiny, but exclusive, set of nine private rooms would all be booked out. “But this year, we still have plenty of space,” she said.

Party planners have also seen their blue-chip government clients cancel their New Year parties.

“Our business has dropped by a third,” said a spokesman for Zhaoshun Cultural Communications, a major events planning agency. “Pretty much all the government departments have cancelled and we are thinking of changing our business model”.

Mr Wei, the manager of the Jiutian Heming party planning agency, said all his national-level state-owned companies had called off their parties. “The few that are going ahead have slashed their budgets pretty steeply”.

The gift hamper business is also down. At Tuangouba, a company that delivers nuts, olive oil and organic foods, a spokesman said government clients made up half their sales and that this year was looking bleak indeed.

Meanwhile, delegates to this year’s People’s Congress in Beijing will find that potted plants, flowers, fruit and yogurt have been banned. “We will have buffet lunches, not banquets,” said Liu Weilin, a spokesman for the city.

Perhaps the worst hit are the drinks companies, who make huge sums from lubricating government dinners. “We have had to discount heavily,” said one alcohol wholesaler to the Beijing Evening News. “My clients are mainly the army and the restaurants next to government ministries. But even the army has stopped drinking!” he lamented.

On the day that the army announced it was entering prohibition, the stock market value of Moutai, the most prestigious brand of Chinese spirits, dropped by 12.5 billion yuan (£1.25 billion).

However, enforcing the new austerity outside China’s capital has been more difficult. Xinhua, the official news agency, reported that local governments were still holding lavish parties inside their head offices or discreetly renting out function rooms inside hotels.

“Sometimes the food in these internal canteens is even more expensive than in a five-star hotel,” wrote the Beijing News. “Some big parties have also been broken up into lots of smaller ones, and registered under secret names,” it added.

Meanwhile, to comply with orders not to eat out, some ministries have apparently started building new staff restaurants.

“I was doing some work for a government department recently,” said Xu Hefeng, an employee of the China Real Estate Information Company. “They said since there are orders from the top not to hold banquets, they had decided to build a new canteen, which was astonishingly luxurious.”

One-Child policy enforcers crush baby to death with their vehicle

For many in China, the story brings back uncomfortable memories of Feng Jiemei, who last June posted gruesome photographs of her lying in a hospital bed next to her 7-month-old force-aborted fetus.

NBC News | Feb 5, 2013

By Ed Flanagan

BEIJING – A 13-month-old child was fatally crushed by a car containing Chinese officials after they went to collect a fine from the parents for breaching the country’s one-child policy, according to Chinese state media.

The incident reportedly occurred Monday in Dongshantou village near Wenzhou city in the eastern province of Zhejiang, after a delegation of 11 officials from the Ruian Town birth control office drove out to get the unspecified fine.

This did not go down well with the father, Chen Liandi, 39, and the conversation got heated.

According to a briefing given by the Ruian Municipal Propaganda Department and reported by state media, the officials convinced Chen’s wife, Li Yuhong, to accompany them back to Ruian to talk over the couple’s options.

The baby was reportedly left in the hands of his father and the group got back into their cars to leave.

What happened next remains unclear – perhaps due to the politically sensitive nature of this story – but the boy was then found crushed underneath a car.

He was rushed to the Third People’s Hospital in Ruian, but could not be saved.

‘You were too careless’
On China’s Twitter-like service, Weibo, users expressed frustration over the vague account given by Ruian officials and demanded more information, but no other Chinese press have printed much beyond the official government account.

For many in China, the story brings back uncomfortable memories of Feng Jiemei, who last June posted gruesome photographs of her lying in a hospital bed next to her 7-month-old aborted fetus.

Feng’s story created a social firestorm for Beijing when word got out that the 22-year-old mother had been forced to have the abortion because she did not have enough money to pay the $6,400 fine for having a second child.

“I told you, $6,400, not even a penny less. I told your dad that and he said he has no money,” a family planning official wrote to Deng in a blunt text message that quickly went viral. “You were too careless, you didn’t think this was a big deal.”

Feng was grabbed from her home and taken to a local hospital in her native Shaanxi province where she was blindfolded, thrown on a bed and forced to a sign a document she couldn’t read. Thirty hours later, her baby girl was aborted.

China has long defended its one-child policy as a way to prevent overpopulation and to help raise living standards across the country.

However, some experts in China and abroad argue that the policy has outlived its usefulness and may instead be a detriment to future growth.

Others in China have pointed out the abuses meted out in cases like Feng Jiemei’s show that it causes more social harm and have called on Beijing to remove it.

‘Stalin Buses’, Soviet Tanks and Military Parades Celebrate Dictator’s Victory at Stalingrad

Five coaches bearing portraits of the moustachioed dictator have been allowed to operate in ‘Stalingrad’ (Victory Bus)

Volgograd renamed Stalingrad to celebrate key WWII battle against Nazis in 1943 | Feb 1, 2013

By Umberto Bacchi

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of a key World War II victory Russian lawmakers have renamed Volgograd as Stalingrad (Vicory Bus)

On Saturday, visitors to Volgograd are to experience a trip back in time of 60 years as buses painted with images of Joseph Stalin are driven around the southwestern Russian city, temporally renamed Stalingrad in honour of the Communist dictator who more than any other moulded the Soviet Union.

A military parade led by an old T-34 Soviet tank will also rally in the city centre.

Russian city gets to play ‘Stalin wasn’t so bad’ six days a year

Stalin gets his city back as Russians celebrate dictator’s triumph over Nazis

‘Stalin buses’ to mark 70th anniversary of Battle of Stalingrad in Russia

On 2 February, 1943, the Red Army won the decisively battle of Stalingrad, turning back Nazi forces after about six months of fighting.

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the key World War II victory, regional lawmakers decided to use the city’s Communist-era name in for the day and on other key anniversaries through the year.

Five coaches bearing portraits of the moustachioed dictator will operate as part of the “Victory Bus” initiative.

It is a controversial move. Nostalgics credit him with leading the country to victory in World War II and making it a world superpower but to many others he is a hate figure for his genocide of millions of fellow countrymen and for his repressive regime.

“It’s blasphemous to rename the great Russian city after a bloody tyrant who killed millions of his fellow citizens,” said Nikolai Levichev a senior federal lawmaker with the leftist Just Russia party.

“This is an insult to the memory of those who died,” Russia’s human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin told Interfax news agency.

The city was renamed Volgograd in 1961 as part of the Soviet Union’s rejection of the Stalin personality cult.

“Our people won under the lead of Joseph Stalin and there is nothing about our supreme commander to be ashamed of,” reads a statement by the Victory Bus.

“We don’t paint swastikas. Thank God, Communist ideology and Stalin’s image have not been officially condemned. We only urge the preservation of memory of the WWII victory and people who contributed to it,” organiser Aleksey Roerich told Izvestia.

Roerich said the buses are from private firms funded by the Communist party and private donors.

The so-called “Stalinobuses” will operate in Volgograd until 9 May when Russia celebrates the final victory of the so-called Great Patriotic War. Stalin’s image will also appear on vehicles in the streets of St Petersburg and Chita.

Stalin led the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death in 1953.

China May Perform Some Cosmetic Reforms on Gulag System of ‘Re-education’ Camps

child prisoners re-education
A Chinese policewoman guards child prisoners as they participate in a meeting to mark the 10-year anniversary of a re-education program at a youth jail in Guangzhou, back in 2002 Photo: REUTERS

“The risk is we’ll get re-education lite — a system that perpetuates the ability of police to deprive people of liberty for significant periods of time without trial or judicial oversight,” said Nicholas Bequelin, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. “My fear is that such a system would end up being harder to do away with.” | Jan 7, 2013


BEIJING — China will start overhauling its draconian system of re-education through labor in the coming year, according to the state news media, signaling the incoming leadership’s determination to alter one of the government’s more widely despised cudgels for punishing petty criminals, religious dissidents, petitioners and other perceived social irritants.

The brief announcement on Monday, by the official Xinhua news agency, lacked details, but legal advocates said they were hopeful that the five-decade-old system for locking up offenders without trial would be significantly modified, if not abolished altogether.

“If true, this would be an important advance,” said Zhang Qianfan, a law professor at Peking University who has long pushed for the system’s demise. “It’s a tool that is widely abused.”

Established by Mao Zedong in the 1950s to swiftly neutralize political opponents, re-education through labor has evolved into a sprawling extralegal system of 350 camps where more than 100,000 people toil in prison factories and on farms for up to four years. Sentences are meted out by local public security officials, and defendants have no access to lawyers and little chance for appeal.

Since the 1980s, legal scholars and human rights advocates have been urging an end to the system and urging that the prosecution of minor offenses be shifted to criminal courts. The campaign has been re-energized in recent months by several cases, widely promoted in the news media, in which people were consigned to the camps for criticizing or simply annoying local party officials.

Among the more notable cases was that of Ren Jianyu, a college graduate turned village official in southwestern China who was sent to a work camp for “subversion” after investigators found in his closet a T-shirt that declared “Freedom or death.” In November, local officials, apparently cowed by a welter of condemnation in newspapers and on the Internet, cut short his two-year sentence.

A similar backlash also persuaded officials in Hunan Province last summer to free a woman, Tang Hui, who was given an 18-month sentence after she repeatedly protested that the seven men who had raped and forced her 11-year-old daughter into prostitution had been treated too leniently.

But any jubilation that the system might be on its way out was tempered by the manner in which the news emerged. Details of a conference held by top judicial and legal officials were reported online on Monday by a number of news media outlets — including word that the party would “stop using the system” within a year. Those accounts, however, were later deleted, leaving only the brief Xinhua account.

Chen Dongsheng, a bureau chief for the official Legal Daily who listened to a closed-circuit telecast of the meeting, told The Associated Press that Meng Jianzhu, chief of the Communist Party’s politics and law committee, had pledged to end the system, saying it had “played a useful role in the past, but conditions had now changed.”

But Mr. Chen’s microblog postings on the subject promptly disappeared, and he could not be reached for comment.

In its own report, Xinhua used the word “reform,” suggesting the changes to the system labor might be less than sweeping. Such changes could involve giving the system the legislative authority it currently lacks and subjecting decisions to some level of judicial review, although China’s party-controlled courts rarely rule in favor of defendants.

In a separate account of the same meeting, Xinhua included comments by Mr. Meng and Xi Jinping, the incoming president, but left out any mention of re-education through labor. Mr. Xi, who has promised to strengthen the nation’s legal system since his elevation to party secretary in November, reiterated his support for greater rule of law, saying the government should “improve empathy and public credibility of legal affairs work, striving to ensure that the public feels that justice is served in every law case.”

Rights advocates are pleased that the issue is on the leadership’s agenda but said that the devil would be in the details. Previous proposals for change, they noted, have included an 18-month cap on sentences, weekend furloughs for prisoners and access to lawyers for defendants. But such modifications alone, they said, would leave intact the bones of a system that violates international legal conventions as well as Chinese law.

“The risk is we’ll get re-education lite — a system that perpetuates the ability of police to deprive people of liberty for significant periods of time without trial or judicial oversight,” said Nicholas Bequelin, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. “My fear is that such a system would end up being harder to do away with.”

Pravda: Americans never give up your guns

What they hate is guns in the hands of those who are not marching in lock step of their ideology. They hate guns in the hands of those who think for themselves and do not obey without question.

Pravda | Dec 28, 2012

By Stanislav Mishin

gunThese days, there are few things to admire about the socialist, bankrupt and culturally degenerating USA, but at least so far, one thing remains: the right to bear arms and use deadly force to defend one’s self and possessions.

This will probably come as a total shock to most of my Western readers, but at one point, Russia was one of the most heavily armed societies on earth. This was, of course, when we were free under the Tsar. Weapons, from swords and spears to pistols, rifles and shotguns were everywhere, common items. People carried them concealed, they carried them holstered. Fighting knives were a prominent part of many traditional attires and those little tubes criss crossing on the costumes of Cossacks and various Caucasian peoples? Well those are bullet holders for rifles.

Various armies, such as the Poles, during the Смута (Times of Troubles), or Napoleon, or the Germans even as the Tsarist state collapsed under the weight of WW1 and Wall Street monies, found that holding Russian lands was much much harder than taking them and taking was no easy walk in the park but a blood bath all its own. In holding, one faced an extremely well armed and aggressive population Hell bent on exterminating or driving out the aggressor.

This well armed population was what allowed the various White factions to rise up, no matter how disorganized politically and militarily they were in 1918 and wage a savage civil war against the Reds. It should be noted that many of these armies were armed peasants, villagers, farmers and merchants, protecting their own. If it had not been for Washington’s clandestine support of and for the Reds, history would have gone quite differently.

Moscow fell, for example, not from a lack of weapons to defend it, but from the lying guile of the Reds. Ten thousand Reds took Moscow and were opposed only by some few hundreds of officer cadets and their instructors. Even then the battle was fierce and losses high. However, in the city alone, at that time, lived over 30,000 military officers (both active and retired), all with their own issued weapons and ammunition, plus tens of thousands of other citizens who were armed. The Soviets promised to leave them all alone if they did not intervene. They did not and for that were asked afterwards to come register themselves and their weapons: where they were promptly shot.

Of course being savages, murderers and liars does not mean being stupid and the Reds learned from their Civil War experience. One of the first things they did was to disarm the population. From that point, mass repression, mass arrests, mass deportations, mass murder, mass starvation were all a safe game for the powers that were. The worst they had to fear was a pitchfork in the guts or a knife in the back or the occasional hunting rifle. Not much for soldiers.

To this day, with the Soviet Union now dead 21 years, with a whole generation born and raised to adulthood without the SU, we are still denied our basic and traditional rights to self defense. Why? We are told that everyone would just start shooting each other and crime would be everywhere….but criminals are still armed and still murdering and too often, especially in the far regions, those criminals wear the uniforms of the police. The fact that everyone would start shooting is also laughable when statistics are examined.

While President Putin pushes through reforms, the local authorities, especially in our vast hinterland, do not feel they need to act like they work for the people. They do as they please, a tyrannical class who knows they have absolutely nothing to fear from a relatively unarmed population. This in turn breeds not respect but absolute contempt and often enough, criminal abuse.

For those of us fighting for our traditional rights, the US 2nd Amendment is a rare light in an ever darkening room. Governments will use the excuse of trying to protect the people from maniacs and crime, but are in reality, it is the bureaucrats protecting their power and position. In all cases where guns are banned, gun crime continues and often increases. As for maniacs, be it nuts with cars (NYC, Chapel Hill NC), swords (Japan), knives (China) or home made bombs (everywhere), insane people strike. They throw acid (Pakistan, UK), they throw fire bombs (France), they attack. What is worse, is, that the best way to stop a maniac is not psychology or jail or “talking to them”, it is a bullet in the head, that is why they are a maniac, because they are incapable of living in reality or stopping themselves.

The excuse that people will start shooting each other is also plain and silly. So it is our politicians saying that our society is full of incapable adolescents who can never be trusted? Then, please explain how we can trust them or the police, who themselves grew up and came from the same culture?

No it is about power and a total power over the people. There is a lot of desire to bad mouth the Tsar, particularly by the Communists, who claim he was a tyrant, and yet under him we were armed and under the progressives disarmed. Do not be fooled by a belief that progressives, leftists hate guns. Oh, no, they do not. What they hate is guns in the hands of those who are not marching in lock step of their ideology. They hate guns in the hands of those who think for themselves and do not obey without question. They hate guns in those whom they have slated for a barrel to the back of the ear.

So, do not fall for the false promises and do not extinguish the light that is left to allow humanity a measure of self respect.

China’s Communist Party: Tibetans are contented as happy cows in practically utopian conditions, self-immolations aside

“The sky is the bluest, the clouds are the whitest, the water is the cleanest and the people are the happiest, and there are harmonious ethnic relations.” | Nov 9, 2012

BEIJING — As far the Communist Party is concerned, Tibet is the happiest place in China and dissatisfaction is stirred up by outside agitators.

So pronounced Tibet’s top delegates at the 18th Communist Party congress, which is convening this week in Beijing. They dismissed the rash of self-immolations by young Tibetans and accompanying protests by thousands of students as the work of outsiders manipulating Tibetans for political gain.

Since Wednesday, at least six Tibetans, mostly teenagers, have set themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule.

“Overseas separatists entice victims. Those people who support Tibetan independence call their deeds a heroic act and these people heroes,” said Lobsang Gyaltsen, vice governor of the Tibet Autonomous Region, which is under Chinese rule. He blamed the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, for the immolations. “It is actually an act of murder to entice somebody to commit suicide …. The Dalai Lama group is sacrificing other people’s lives to achieve their evil goals.”

In a conference room of the Great Hall of the People, decorated with fanciful floor-to-ceiling Tibetan landscapes, Tibetan delegates praised the Communist Party for raising living standards, bringing electricity, running water, television and free education to formerly nomadic people. Though Tibetans, the delegates identified themselves by their Chinese names and spoke with reporters at the news conference only in Chinese. The Communist Party secretary for Lhasa, Che Dalha, said the Tibetan capital had been voted the happiest city in China, and recited lyrics of a song.

“The sky is the bluest, the clouds are the whitest, the water is the cleanest and the people are the happiest,” he said, adding, “and there are harmonious ethnic relations.”

In protests against Chinese rule in Tibet, nearly 70 Tibetans have immolated themselves since last year. Eight cases have taken place in the Tibetan Autonomous Region, and the rest in Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu provinces which have equally large Tibetan populations.

On Friday, more than 1,000 Tibetans, mostly students and young monks, marched through the central square of the western Chinese town of Tongren — Repkong in Tibetan — to commemorate an 18-year-old former monk who had immolated himself Thursday afternoon. It was the second day of large protests in the town.

Tongren, home of a 600-year-old monastery, lies at the eastern edge of the Tibetan plateau in Qinghai province, where the collision of Chinese culture has piqued Tibetans’ fears of losing their identity. In 2010, there were major protests in the town as well about the reduction of Tibetan language education in the schools. There have been three self-immolations in the town this month alone, including that of a 23-year-old young mother who left behind a 5-year-old son.

Earlier this month, a U.N. human rights envoy, Navi Pillay, urged China to allow independent human rights monitors to visit Tibet. That suggestion was promptly rejected by the Chinese government.

“We welcome everybody to Tibet, but if people investigate issues like human rights, we don’t think that is appropriate,” said Lobsang Gyaltsen, the vice chairman.

Tight security as Chinese Communist Party elite prepare to anoint new dictator

New leader: Vice President Xi Jinping is set to take over the leadership of the Communist Party and become the new President

The leader of China is elected every ten years by senior party members

    The announcement will be made at the end of a week-long party conference in Beijing

    It is all but confirmed that it will be current Vice President Xi Jinping

Daily Mail | Nov 7, 2012

By Peter Simpson

China’s Communists leaders will gather amid tight security in Beijing tomorrow to begin a week-long, tightly choreographed display of power and unity – at the end of which they will unveil the mysterious men tasked to lead the world’s second largest economy for the next ten years.

In stark contrast to the nail-biting US election, just who will govern the world’s most populous country has been decided in advance and behind closed doors by the authoritarian regime.

It is almost certain that vice-president Xi Jinping, 59, one of the select group of ‘princelings’ descended from former party grandees, will be appointed Party Secretary and replace current president Hu Jintao.

The other members chosen to serve on the all powerful Politburo Standing Committee remain unknown, though it has been indicated that no women will be among them.

They grip the reins of power facing a slew of challenges – including a slowing economy, rampant corruption, environmental degradation, growing public dissent and the ever restive Tibet and Muslim-populated Xinjiang.

Many observers believe sweeping political reform is vital to keep China stable and prevent an economic meltdown sending the world economy into another tailspin.

‘What they do economically is of vital significance to the world,’ said Jonathan Fenby, the head of China analyst firm Trusted Resources and the author of several books on China.

‘China’s rise has made it the global game changer with the second biggest economy, foreign reserves of more than £2.5 trillion and investments ranging from Thames Water and Heathrow airport to huge holdings in raw materials producers around the planet,’ he added.

But fears are growing the murky power play and jockeying among two cliques has seen hard-lined conservatives smack down liberal reformers.

The toxic run in to the once-in-a-decade power transition has been played out against China’s worst political scandals since the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy massacre.

Disgraced senior party member Bo Xilai, whose wife Gu Kailai was convicted of murdering of British businessman Neil Heywood, has been expelled from the party and awaits trial on a raft of charges, including covering up the murder of the Briton.

Earlier this week it was claimed the Chinese government believed Heywood – who had close links with the Bos– was an MI6 informant.

Senior propaganda official: Communist party’s iron-fisted rule ‘suits China’s national reality’

Mr Cai was adamant that the 2,268 Communist party members chosen to come to Beijing for the Congress were able to represent the views of 1.3 billion Chinese Photo: Lintao Zhang/GETTY

The Communist party will begin its once-in-a-decade change of leaders today by insisting that its iron grip on power “suits China’s national reality” on the eve of its 18th national congress.
Communist party rule ‘suits China’s national reality’

Telegraph | Nov 7, 2012

By Malcolm Moore, Beijing

The leading position of the Communist party in China is a decision made by history and the people,” said Cai Mingzhao, one of the Party’s most senior propaganda officials.

Mr Cai had been asked, on the eve of the 18th Party Congress, whether the elite conclave that anoints China’s leaders might one day choose to give more power to the people.

Earlier in the day on Wednesday, news of the American election and images of jubilant crowds had been broadcast on Chinese television.

But Mr Cai was quick to rule out any such scenario in China.

“China has scored world renowned achievements and it speaks fully to the leadership of the Communist party,” he said. “The political system suits China’s national reality. We have to unswervingly stick to the right path blazed by the Party.”

He spoke in the Great Hall of the People, after a dress rehearsal for the opening day of the Congress.

Outside, the vast expanse of Tiananmen Square presented a stark contrast to the celebrations on the other side of the world. It was cold, windswept and entirely empty.

Closed to the public for security reasons ahead of the Congress, it was being used as a car park for the sleek black cars of senior Party cadres.

On Thursday, Hu Jintao will open China’s most important political meeting with an address summing up his achievements as president.

A week of closed-door meetings will then take place followed by the unveiling of a new Politburo Standing Committee, China’s equivalent of the Cabinet. The Congress will close next Wednesday.

A survey published in the Global Times, a state-run newspaper, yesterday suggested that eight out of 10 Chinese want greater political reform and two-thirds feel the government should face more public scrutiny.

But Mr Cai was adamant that the 2,268 Communist party members chosen to come to Beijing for the Congress were able to represent the views of 1.3 billion Chinese. “They know their jobs and they know what the people want,” he said.

He added that the Party would embrace both “centralism and democracy” in the way it ran the country, which would grant citizens both “discipline and freedom”.

And while the Party would embrace more “intra-Party democracy”, giving each Communist party official the right “to elect and be elected”, he refused to disclose details of how the Congress would choose its new leaders. “It is a secret ballot,” he said.