jeudi 6 juillet 2017

Fu Manchu's Soft Power

Liars, cowards and hypocrites infest Beijing, and Canada politely looks away
By Terry Glavin

Liar, coward or hypocrite? 
It’s hard to say, given the amusing discrepancies between the official embassy translator’s account of the inanities People’s Republic of China ambassador Lu Shaye uttered during an interview last Friday with Canadian Press reporters Mike Blanchfield and Andy Blatchford, and the account contained in the official transcript of the conversation the embassy later produced.
Besides, lying, cowardice and hypocrisy — all three — are the key prerequisites for the job Lu occupied immediately prior to his appointment to Ottawa in February. 
He was the Director General of the Policy Research Bureau of the Foreign Affairs Department of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. 
So he would know what he was doing, and how to do it.
The gist of Lu’s long complaint, going by the reliably stenography-standard Canadian Press account: powerful, ill-informed and “even prejudiced” Canadian journalists persist in taking an unfairly dim view of the Beijing dictatorship, and Canadian politicians “bow before media,” and so the prospects for a Canada-China free-trade agreement (a third round of “exploratory” talks resume in a few days) are being unduly impaired by the clutter of backchat about democracy and human rights.
China’s Ambassador to Canada Lu Shaye participates in an interview at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Canada, in Ottawa on Thursday, June 29, 2017. 

For argument’s sake, and to give Lu the benefit of any doubt, let’s take the embassy’s word for it. Let’s rely on its own official transcript for an understanding of what Lu was trying to get across about Beijing’s superior approach to the matter of human rights, democracy and free speech: “Why do you think China can make so many great achievements with so high efficience? It’s because the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government are good at listening to the public opinion and mobilizing and guiding the public for common cause.”
Now let’s look at what that means within Beijing’s sphere of influence. 
We’ll stick to the most recent examples.
Three months ago, Xi Jinping, who has taken on greater dictatorial powers than any Chinese tyrant since Mao Zedong, instructed China’s major news organizations that the “news” they produce must express “total loyalty” to the Communist Party. 
A flurry of complaints was made to quickly disappear. 
The business magazine Caixin published three articles about censorship in a row, all deleted by Beijing’s censors.
On June 1, the new rules laid down by the Cyberspace Administration of China came into effect: editorial managers overseeing online media platforms — websites, web logs, discussion forums, search engines, messaging applications and news distribution — must be approved by Beijing. Editorial staff are to undergo training by central government authorities to ensure their party loyalty. 
June 4, the anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre passed with little notice, because public discussion of the 1989 slaughter of demonstrators is banned. 
The microblogging site Weibo was cut off from the outside world for three days.
Thug-in-chief Xi Jinping speaks after administering the oath for the Hong Kong’s new Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Saturday, July 1, 2017.

In Xinjiang, homeland of the Muslim Uyghurs — who are prohibited from growing long beards or giving their children overtly-pious Muslim names — the authorities ordered restaurants to remain open to discourage the practice of dawn-to-dusk fasting during the month of Ramadan. 
Xinjiang is like occupied Tibet, but without the Dalai Lama to plead its case.
Last week, Beijing banned any depictions of gay people in online videos, extending last year’s ban on any television depictions of same-sex relationships. 
Beijing’s censors consider homosexuality as “abnormal” as incest. 
Gay “conversion therapy” is commonplace in China, and the popular lesbian social media platform Rela was shut down.
Also last week, China’s culture ministry told the e-commerce and internet giants Alibaba and Tencent, along with the Baidu search engine, to shut down more than 200 mobile video platforms — it isn’t easy to monitor and censor “livestreaming” applications. 
A few days earlier, Beijing’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television ordered Weibo, iFeng and ACFUN to shut down all their video and audio streaming platforms. 
Weibo alone hosts 340 million users.
Following orders from Beijing, one of China’s biggest virtual private networks (VPNs), Green VPN, ceased its operations on Monday. 
Like other Chinese VPNs, Green was being used to access news and information on the free-world side of Beijing’s “Great Firewall,” like The New York Times and Facebook.
A pro-democracy activist is detained by police officers after he climbed up to a giant flower statue bequeathed by Beijing in 1997 in Golden Bauhinia Square of Hong Kong Wednesday, June 28, 2017.

Last Friday, The Hong Kong Journalists Association issued its annual report, titled “Two systems under siege: Beijing turns the screws on Hong Kong media.” 
The HKJA noted that a flood of “red capital” into the media sector is, predictably, stifling honest journalism. 
Takeovers by mainland Chinese interests over the past year have placed eight of Hong Kong’s 26 major media organizations under Beijing-beholden ownership and control, determined to “muzzle dissenting voices.”
A Reporters Without Borders analysis released last week concluded that media freedom in the former British colony “has never been so low.” 
In the organization’s World Press Freedom Index, Hong Kong has fallen from 18th place in 2002 to 73rd place today.
Whatever rich fantasy life Lu might want us to inhabit, to say there is some super-influential anti-China faction within Canada’s news media is to tell a preposterous lie. 
If anything, the main tendency in the Canadian news media has been to serve as an active accomplice in the normalization of business-class intimacies between Canada’s corporate deal-hustlers and the gangster princelings whose boots tread heavier on the necks of the Chinese people as the days pass.
It is a lie and a dirty hypocrisy to insinuate that it is somehow “prejudiced” to express solidarity with Chinese journalists. 
Or with Chinese workers in their attempts to organize independent unions. 
Or with the Chinese Nelson Mandela, Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Peace Prize winner now dying of liver cancer after spending eight years in a Chinese prison for signing a declaration asserting that the Chinese should be entitled to vote, to form their own political parties, and to speak their minds without fear.
Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia.

Perhaps it was because we were all so riveted by the July 1 Canada 150 spectacle on Parliament Hill, but Canadians weren’t exactly rabble-roused by the CBC’s minute-by-minute reports of the 60,000 brave Hongkongers who, that same day, marked with a pro-democracy march the 20th anniversary of British handover of its former colony.
The marchers endured an unprecedented security clampdown and the mobilization of 11,000 police and a disgusting show of force by the People’s Liberation Army, all to the benefit of the visiting thug-in-chief Xi Jinping, and the swearing-in of his new Hong Kong comprador, Carrie Lam, as chief executive.
When Chinese foreign ministry big shot Lu Kang declared that the Sino-British Joint Declaration guaranteeing Hong Kong’s autonomy “no longer has any practical significance,” the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union expressed disgust. 
Canada was politely quiet.
Speaking of anniversaries, it’s 110 years since the 1907 riot and rampage through the streets of Vancouver’s Chinatown, and this year is the 70th anniversary of the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act, in 1947 — from which the pampered merchant class that Lu so ably represents was politely exempted. 
That was the year that Chinese-Canadians were told they were at last allowed to vote.
Voting is a right that Chinese people have yet to wrest from Lu’s parasitic Communist Party ruling class. 
It’s no mystery as to why this is so. 
It is because should that day come, Lu’s Central Committee cronies — all the liars, cowards and hypocrites, right up to Xi Jinping — would be thrown in prison, where they belong.

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