Dazed and confused: NPC & CPPCC 2016

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“Influenced by certain events, everyone is a bit dazed and doesn’t want to talk too much,” said Jiang Hong, a delegate of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), in an interview that captured the mood of this year’s Two Sessions and defined an increasingly acrimonious skirmish between the government and media figures and organizations that are seeing their autonomy dwindle amid an increasing restricted information environment. The interview with Jiang, published in Caixin, came after the CPPCC delegate proposed an amendment to protect free speech in response to the surge in censorship of content on the internet and Wechat. With a tinge of irony, the interview was censored by the Cyber Administration of China (CAC) soon after, triggering a rare remonstration from Caixin in the form of a story on its English-language website taking note of the story’s removal. Caixin is known as being a smooth operator in China’s oblique media environment, making the media outlet’s protest more notable — nor was the reaction isolated. The English-language edition of the nationalistic Global Times also covered Jiang Hong’s proposed law.

General Highlights

China’s Premier Li says confident in economy, vows no hard landing – Reuters “We are confident that as long as we continue to reform and open up, China’s economy will not suffer a hard landing,” Li said at a news conference at the end of the parliament meeting. […] China’s “supply-side reforms”, which include tax cuts, will unleash fresh economic growth drivers, Li added, at his one news conference of the year, a staged event where journalists are often pre-selected to ask questions.

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 12.26.07 PM[Related] Chinese Premier’€™s Annual Work Report – The New York Times Text of Li Keqiang’s work report.

向总理提问:为“总理记者招待会“你嘴关心的问题投票 Survey conducted by the China Daily and Jinri Toutiao polled 24 million people on which issues are most important to them. 

聚焦中国“两会”:解读五大热词 - FTChinese 

1.五大发展理念

2.工匠精神

3.供给侧结构性改革

4.简除烦苛,禁查非法

5.部长通道

“两会”闭幕中纪委再打虎 辽宁省人大副主任王阳落马_政经频道_财新网

省委书记们在全国两会上痛批过哪些人?- 政事儿

Net Users Criticize NPC Delegates for Wearing Mao, Xi Badges – Caixin Tibetan delegates to a meeting of China’s top legislature have restarted a fashion that dates back to the era of Mao Zedong by wearing badges showing the faces of current and past leaders in what they say is a show of gratitude.
However, Internet users have reacted with unease, saying it appears to be a return to the cult of personality crafted by Mao and employed during the violent Culture Revolution (1966-76).

Minitrue: 21 Rules on Coverage of the Two Sessions – China Digital Times The Central Propaganda Department issued 21 rules for reporting on the annual “Two Sessions” of the legislative National People’s Congress and advisory Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, which convened in Beijing last week.

At China’s Legislative Meeting, ‘Fake Foreign Media’ Take a Lower Profile – Wall Street Journal Whereas in past years reporters from an Australian radio outfit affiliated with state-run China Radio International have caused a stir, this time around the news outlet, Global CAMG Media Group, seems to have taken a lower profile. China Real Time didn’t find any examples of CAMG journalists asking questions this year in transcripts from the session. A person answering the phone at the company’s Beijing office said he didn’t know whether the firm sent any reporters to cover this year’s meetings.

Dissent at Two Sessions

_88650417_f6a57779-9c6a-490d-b296-7937845e22d1Chinese Publication, Censored by Government, Exposes Article’s Removal – The New York Times  On Tuesday, the influential and respected news organization Caixin Media posted an article on its English-language website reporting that the country’s Internet regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China, which it called “a government censorship organ,” had deleted a March 3 article on Caixin’s Chinese-language website because it contained “illegal content.” Caixin protests after interview with Jiang Hong is deleted.

[Related] Caixin Challenges Censors After Xi Demands Loyalty – China Digital Times Jiang Hong, a CPPCC delegate from Yangchun, in the southern province of Guangdong, who advises the government on economic policy, said in an article that appeared on Caixin’s Chinese-language site on March 3 that advisors should be free to give Communist Party and government agencies suggestions on economic, political, cultural and societal issues. “However, influenced by certain events, everyone is a bit dazed and doesn’t want to talk too much,” he said in the article. “That’s what the atmosphere is like now.” Cache of original Caixin interview stored here.

[Related] Rare act of dissent at China’s annual parliament – BBC News “If a society only listens to one voice, then mistakes can be made,” he told us. […] Before we could finish our interview, Jiang Hong was hurried away by an official who insisted that we would make him late for his meeting – something other media outlets have experienced amid reports that delegates have been advised against impromptu discussions with the foreign media. BBC interviews Jiang Hong after Caixin interview is deleted.

[Related] Advisor mulls freedom of speech proposal – Global Times A national political advisor was considering making a proposal to the national legislature in a bid to ensure citizens’ legal right to self expression after a report about his remarks on this topic was blocked on China’s social media, he told the Global Times on Sunday. The English-language edition of the Global Times surprisingly covered Jiang Hong’s proposal. Despite its hardline nationalistic bent, the Global Times also protested the tightened restrictions around the media space.

Lawyers’ Proposals Raised & Rebutted at Two Sessions – China Digital Times (CDT) Dissent over televised confessions and unfair trials also expressed at Two Sessions.

[Related] ‘Pull plug on China’s televised confessions’ urges top political adviser ahead of meeting of country’s legislature – SCMP Zhu Zhengfu, deputy chairman of the All-China Lawyers Association and a delegate to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, criticised televised confessions by suspects before they had gone to trial, Caixin reported.

[Related] 朱征夫 嫌犯电视里认罪不等于真有罪 – 新京报 昨晚,全国政协委员、全国律协副会长朱征夫在接受新京报记者专访时表示,让犯罪嫌疑人上电视认罪要慎重。朱征夫认为,让犯罪嫌疑人在电视上认罪,容易导致“舆论审判”,不利于法院的独立审判,也不利于司法公正。

[Related] 朱列玉代表:防止冤假错案应将看守所剥离公安 – 财新 【财新网】(记者 单玉晓)“冤案可以昭雪,生命却不可以重来。一系列冤案爆发凸显出中国现行看守所管理体制的弊端。”3月5日,全国人大代表、广东国鼎律师事务所主任朱列玉接受财新记者采访时提出上述问题,并认为实现“侦押分离”才能从根本上预防冤假错案,做法是将看守所脱离公安机关管辖,划归司法行政部门管理。

[Related] Chinese Judge Criticizes Televised Confessions – Wall Street Journal  “Outside of a court, no one has the right to decide whether someone is guilty of a crime,” said Zhang Liyong, chief judge of the High People’s Court in central China’s Henan province. “The police aren’t qualified to say someone is guilty. Prosecutors aren’t qualified to declare someone guilty. News media are even less qualified to determine guilt.” Zhang Liyong comments on forced confessions to WSJ’s Josh Chin.

No More Drama: China’s TV Insiders Lash Out at Censorship During Legislative Gathering – China Real Time Report – WSJ
The Chinese public is mourning the government’s recent tightening of restrictions on TV content — and so are several of the country’s most famous TV professionals, who are voicing their frustration during China’s annual legislative meetings in Beijing.