The China Story Dossier is a frequently updated archive of texts, links, news summaries and miscellanea connected to the China Story.

Zhou Yongkang: A big tiger is caged

On 29 July, Beijing, China’s state-run news agency Xinhua announced Zhou Yongkang 周永康, a former member of the Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee, is under investigation for serious disciplinary violations. The short statement ends more than a year of speculation about Zhou’s fate, during which many senior officials and people with close relationships with Zhou were probed or detained.

Zhou is the first Politburo Standing Committee member since 1949 who has been subject to such an investigation. The Party mouthpiece People’s Daily commented ‘No matter how big the tiger, if it commits evil and violates Party discipline, it won’t be able to escape the cage’.

Chart showing Zhou Yongkang relationships from Caixin
Chart above showing Zhou Yongkang relationships from Caixin

The announcement was made on International Tiger Day, a commemoration began in 2010 to support tiger conservation. Xinhua posted three pictures on its mobile website of caged tigers less than a hour after the announcement.

Zhou’s fall brings the total of ‘officials fallen from their horses’ (落马官) to 375 this year as Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign to root out ‘tigers and flies’ intensifies.

Links and sources
Xinhua: 中共中央决定对周永康严重违纪问题立案审查, CPC to hold key session on rule of law, 盘点20年历次四中全会都研究啥
People’s Daily: 从严治党坚定不移
Caixin: 周永康案全记录
Caixin: 老虎家族——周永康案关系网(The tiger family-Network of Zhou Yongkang)
Hong Kong Wenhui Po: 破「刑不上常委」「大老虎」终就擒周永康被查
Global Times:
The Beijing News:
审查周永康坚定反腐信心
Beijing Youth Daily: 堵住“苍蝇”长成“老虎”之路
Financial Times: Timeline: The downfall of China’s security chief
CNPC website: 中石油党组坚决拥护党中央决定
PLA website: 全军官兵坚决拥护党中央的正确决定
Netease: 传前央视女主播沈冰因周永康案被调查

Report: Mobile now most used platform for going online in China

Source: Want China Times

Source: Want China Times

On July 21, 2014, the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) released the 34th Statistical Report on Internet Development in China (hereafter “the report”) in Beijing. According to the report, by the end of June 2014, the proportion of mobile Internet users reached 83.4%, surpassing the number of users of traditional PC terminals for the first time.

The semi-annual report shows that the proportion of mobile Internet users rose from 81.0% at the end of 2013 to 83.4%, with the total number of mobile users reaching 527 million, an increase of 26.99 million over the past six months. The utilization ratio of PC terminals has dropped to 80.9% over the same period. On average, Chinese netizens spend 25.9 hours per week online, a 0.9 hour growth from the second half year of 2013.

The total number of China’s Internet users reached 632 million by the end of June, an increase of 14.42 million compared with the end of last year, and the Internet penetration rate has increased to 46.9% from 45.8%. China remains the country with the largest number of online users.

Under the backdrop of the overwhelming popularity of the mobile Internet and its social applications, growth of once dominant social platforms on PC, e.g. websites, blogs and microblogs, have been relatively flat over the past half year, with user numbers and utilization rates all continuing to slide.

By contrast, mobile applications have expanded rapidly in e-commerce and business fields to emerging areas like financial and medical treatment services. Mobile e-payment applications is the fastest-growing category and witnessed rapid growth of 63.4%, promoting a booming mobile commercial market for shopping, group buying, travel booking, etc. (more…)

Party watchdog releases details of corrupt activities of four officials

Fazhi Wanbao Jul 29, 2014Yesterday’s front page of Beijing’s Mirror newspaper (法制晚报) reads: “Central Commission for Discipline Inspection reveals details of senior officials before they fell from power”. The article quotes statements by various officials at the Central Commission for Disciplinary Inspection (CCDI), the Party’s internal disciplinary watchdog, and includes revelations on the corrupt activities of four particular officials.

Xie Guanghui 谢光辉, deputy director of the CCDI’s Clean Government Research Center (中纪委廉政理论研究中心), states that the many “achievements” in the anti-corruption campaign from the November 2012 18th Party Congress onwards are due to the fact that the utmost resources have been devoted to investigating and punishing corrupt officials. Xie also revealed that the CCDI now has 14 different sections for carrying out its duties – including one for overseeing the investigators themselves – an increase from only eight sections in August last year.

The head of the CCDI office for Party and government work styles supervision (中纪委党风政风监督室), Fang Wenbi 方文碧, describes the “unhealthy tendency” of official corruption to be very well concealed. Officials will engage in profiteering and misuse of government funds that will tend, according to Fang, to spread insidiously “like a tumor” if not caught in time.

Based on information provided by CCDI officials, the newspaper recounts details of the corrupt activities of four officials who are now all under investigation.

Ni Fake 倪发科, former official from Anhui province. Ni essentially become entirely besotted with precious stones, appointing himself as the head of Anhui province’s society for precious stones and jewels and accepting gifts and bribes of stones. Ni’s infatuation apparently got so bad that he would always have some of the stones in his hands and around his neck, and would on weekends display and savor the stones in his collection.

Wan Qingliang 万庆良, former Party secretary of Guangzhou. After new disciplinary regulations came into effect, Wan regularly frequented “private associations”, and a few days before an investigation on his behavior was initiated, Wan was seen “eating and drinking big”.

Tan Li 谭力, former official from Hainan province. Shortly before being investigated by the CCDI, Tan was playing golf with the boss of a private company at a golf course in a different province. After being transferred from a post in Sichuan to Hainan, Tan brought photographic equipment worth 800,000 yuan with him to his new post, as he was fond of taking pictures of the seaside. Tan lived an extravagant life, according to the CCDI investigation, and started to build for himself a large studio complex in Sichuan in 2007.

Han Xiancong 韩先聪, former official from Anhui province. Han was fond of entertaining important guests at private associations, and was also involved in corrupt real estate dealings. (more…)

Xi Jinping visits Venezuela and Cuba

Today’s People’s Daily frontpage shows Xi Jinping shaking hands with Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro during the former’s state visit to Venezuela on July 20. People’s Daily reports that Xi made four proposals during talks with the Venezuelan leader:

  1. Take hold of the present situation to deepen bilateral relationsrmrb2014072201_b
  2. Focus on practical results, with a a strong focus on cooperation on natural resources and financial mechanisms. The two sides should as soon as possible move on to cooperating in the fields of agriculture, building of infrastructure, and China hopes to soon transfer satellite technology to Venezuela. Xi also expressed the hope that Chinese companies will participate in the construction of special economic zones in Venezuela
  3. Expand interaction between the two countries in the fields of culture, education, tourism, and media
  4. Keep an eye on the overall situation by having bilateral relations contribute to the development of the global situation and world peace

People’s Daily also points out that Xi Jinping was awarded a Liberator Medal by president Maduro, the highest Venezuelan award given to foreign leaders.

During his state visit to Venezuela, Xi signed a series of oil and mineral deals with his Venezuelan counterpart, including a US$ 4 billion credit line in return for Venezuelan crude and other products.

On Monday July 21, Xi Jinping arrived in Cuba for the last leg of his four-country trip. (more…)

Xi all over Latin America

21 July 2014 — Newspaper front pages and website top headlines feature a variety of different stories, although as per recent custom, all except Tencent’s QQ News feature Xi Jinping as the main item:

Xinhua reports on Xi Jinping getting a Venezualean ‘Liberator’ award while the People Daily headlines with China and Venezela agreeing to raise their relationship to that of ‘comprehensive strategic partners’. Baidu News leads with news about itself: ‘Brazil and Chinese heads of state attend launch of Baidu’s Portuguese language search engine for Brazil’. Netease News leads with Xi’s arrival in Caracas.

Only QQ News is different, headlining with a package of stories titled ‘Who “killed” Malaysian Airlines flight MH17?’

Below the links is the front page of the People’s Daily from last week Friday.

Links and sources
Xinhua: 习近平接受委内瑞拉“解放者”勋章
People’s Daily: 中委元首:将两国提升为全面战略伙伴关系
Baidu News: 中巴两国元首共同出席百度巴西葡语搜索引擎启动仪式
QQ News: 谁“杀死”了马航MH17
Netease News: 习近平抵达加拉加斯开始对委内瑞拉进行国事访问

People's Daily front page 18 July 2014.

People’s Daily front page 18 July 2014.

Central Organization Dept: ‘Do not become parrots of Western moral values’

The Central Organization Department has circulated a notice calling on all government officials to guard against becoming mouthpieces for or parrots of Western moral values. The notice has been widely circulated in official media including Xinhua, the People’s Daily, and the WeChat group account Communist Party Members (共产党员).

Links and sources
People’s Daily: 中组部:防止干部成为西方道德价值的“应声虫”

Banks and Internet sovereignty at the BRICS meeting in Brazil

Xi Jinping's Latin American sojourn 2014 (Image source)

Xi Jinping’s Latin American sojourn 2014 (Image source)

Xi Jinping missed the World Cup during his visit last week to Brazil, but attended a meeting of the BRICS countries, the grouping of Brazil, Russia, India and China, joined in 2013 by South Africa. Although named after a concept made up by a Goldman Sachs analyst, the Chinese government has enthusiatically embraced the concept as an alternative multilateral organization where developing countries can shape the agenda.

On July 15, the BRICS countries jointly announced the formation of a US$100bn development bank and an emergency reserve fund.

Xi Jinping also made a speech about Internet sovereignty, and continues his Latin American tour with stops in Cuba, Argentina and Venezuela.

Links and sources
Xinhua: 习近平在巴西国会的演讲, 习近平巴西谈互联网治理, BRICS tour minisite (image source)
People’s Daily: BRICS tour minisite
Netease: 习近平巴西演讲 提出建多边民主互联网治理体系
Want China Times: Beijing dominates voting rights of BRICS reserve pool
Yahoo: China’s Xi hails ‘new horizons’ in ties with Argentina
HRW.org: Dispatches: How the BRICS Can Run a Rights-Respecting Development Bank
Iol.co.za: Brics bank based in China
Reuters: China lends Argentina $7.5 billion for power, rail projects
Rediff: Did India gain anything from Modi-Xi meeting?

Xi at BRICS meeting in Brazil, has phone call with Obama, meets Putin and Modi

July 15 — Today’s front pages and news portals are of course again dominated by Xi Jinping. Xi is in Brazil for the BRICS Summit:

From Xinhua:

FORTALEZA, Brazil, July 14 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived here on Monday for a summit of the BRICS countries.

The sixth summit of the BRICS, which consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, will be held in Brazil from Tuesday to Wednesday.

Upon arrival, Xi noted that BRICS is an important force in international relations and an important constructor of the international system, adding that China firmly supports and actively participates in cooperation among BRICS countries.

The People’s Daily leads with a story on Xi meeting Russian prisident Vladimir Putin in Brazil. Xinhua’s top story reports on a phone call Xi made to US president Barack Obama urging efforts to build a new type of great power relations (新型大国关系). Netease News and Baidu News lead with Xi’s meeting with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and his urging that the two countries settle their border disputes as early as possible.

QQ News leads with an anti-corruption story: The former vice head of the Hunan People’s Political Consultative Conference Yang Baohua has been found guilty of serious disciplinary infractions and expelled from the Party.

Link and sources
People’s Daily: 习近平会见俄罗斯总统普京
Xinhua: 习近平:愿同美方一道 为构建中美新型大国关系不懈努力 — 习近平同美国总统奥巴马通电话
Baidu News: 习近平会见印度总理莫迪
Netease News: 习近平会见印度总理莫迪 谈及边境问题
QQ News: 湖南政协原副主席阳宝华严重违纪违法被开除党籍
The Hindu: China’s Xi invites Modi to visit, calls for ‘early’ border settlement

CCTV news anchor Rui Chenggang detained in corruption investigation

Image of Rui from article titled 'CCTV celebrity Rui Chenggang: Jaguar is my beloved companion' (央视名人-芮成钢:捷豹是我钟爱的"伴侣")

Image of Rui from article titled ‘CCTV celebrity Rui Chenggang: Jaguar is my beloved companion’ (央视名人-芮成钢:捷豹是我钟爱的”伴侣”)

Caixin, the People’s Daily, Tencent News and various online media have reported that Rui Chenggang 芮成钢, a prominent TV news anchor best known for his successful online campaign to get a Starbuck branch removed from the Forbidden City in 2007, was detained on Friday July 11 by police as part of an investigation into corruption at state broadcaster CCTV.

Rui’s show was one of the more popular on CCTV’s financial news channel. Aside from the Stabucks affair, Rui is famous for asking a question to US President Obama at the 2010 G20 Summit in Seoul: Obama had asked for a question from a Korean journalist; Rui said ‘I’m actually Chinese. But I think I get to represent the entire Asia.’ in 2011 at the World Economic Forum in Dalian, China, Rui asked Gary Locke, then the United States ambassador: “I hear you flew here coach. Is that a reminder that U.S. owes China money?”

Links and sources
Caixin: 央视反腐掀二波 李勇芮成钢被检方带走, CCTV Financial News Anchor Rui Chenggang Is Detained
Tencent: 芮成钢曾参股爱德曼公关子公司 为央视提供服务

Xi in Greece, PLA Second Artillery Corps pledges loyalty to Xi

July 14 — Today’s news headlines are again dominated by Xi Jinping. The People’s Daily newspaper and website, Xinbua home page and major news portals all feature top stories about Xi’s visit to Rhodes Island, Greece and his meeting with Greek president Greek counterpart Karolos Papoulias.

QQ News leads with pledges of loyalty from PLA Second Artillery Corps in the wake of the corruption investigation and expulsion from the Party of General Xu Caihou and the vow to draw a line around the discgraced military leader.

Links and sources
People’s Daily: 习近平会见希腊总统帕普利亚斯
Xinhua: 习近平会见希腊总统帕普利亚斯
Baidu News: 习近平会见希腊总统帕普利亚斯
Netease News: 习近平在罗德岛会见希腊总统帕普利亚斯
QQ News: 二炮司令员政委齐称与徐才厚案划界限