The case of the missing booksellers

I have to shoulder my own liability, and I’m willing to be punished, said a tearful Gui Minhai, during an interview with CCTV, aired on Sunday night. Photo: SCMP Pictures

The case of the Hong Kong booksellers

The Guardian: Thousands of Hong Kong protesters gather to demand release of booksellers
  • Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Hong Kong to demand the release of a group of political booksellers they suspect were abducted by Chinese security forces and are being held in mainland China.
Hong Kong FP: Chinese police confirm missing bookseller Lee Bo is in mainland, 17 days after HK enquiry
  • The Hong Kong police received a reply from the Guangdong police on Monday evening confirming that missing bookseller Lee Bo is in mainland China. The message was received 17 days after an enquiry was made.The Interpol Guangdong Liaison Office of Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department stated that it “understood that Lee Po [sic] is in the mainland”.
Zonaeuropa: The Case of Gui Minhai
  • Summary of media posts.
Washington Post: Hong Kong bookseller’s televised ‘confession’ was absurd and incoherent — and that’s the point
  • But that may be the point. Televised confessions don’t tend to trade in logic, or truth. They trade in fear. What happened on CCTV last night was terrifying precisely because it was so far-fetched, so unbelievable. Gui made his living selling books about China’s ruling elite. Now the ruling elite seems to be sending a message to people like him: We control the story. And if you question it, we will get to you, wherever you are.We will find a charge. Emily Rauhala on Gui’s confession.
South China Morning Post Hong Kong bookseller’s televised ‘confession’ was absurd and incoherent — and that’s the point
  • One of the five booksellers who had mysteriously disappeared in recent months appeared in an interview on state media on Sunday night, saying he had surrendered to the mainland authorities after being on the run for more than 12 years.

China calls for prosecution of German comedian

Feichangdao: State Media Publishes Calls for German Christoph Rehage to be Prosecuted for Insulting Mao Zedong
  • Translated excerpts from Chinese media.
New York Times: A German’s Video Likens Mao to Hitler, and China Wants Him Punished
  • An influential Communist Party website called for him to be punished under Chinese law, despite the fact that Mr. Rehage lives in Hamburg. Coupled with events like the recent disappearances of five people connected to a Hong Kong publisher of books critical of Beijing, the episode has raised questions about China’s reach across borders.

The Manchu language

The New York Times: Manchu, Former Empire’s Language, Hangs On at China’s Edge
  • “Imagine if you studied the classics and went to Rome, spoke Latin and found that people there understood you,” said Mark C. Elliott, a Manchu expert at Harvard University who said he remembered his first encounter, in 2009, with an older Xibe man on the streets of Qapqal County. “I asked the guy in Manchu where the old city wall was, and he didn’t blink. It was a wonderful encounter, one that I’ll never forget.”

Labor activists

Financial Times: China police arrest activists in campaign against labour unrest
  • The level of the clampdown in the country’s southern industrial powerhouse, amid official jitters over a slowing economy and growing labour unrest, was “unprecedented”, a labour rights activist in Guangdong, said. “In the past, they would give us verbal warnings or put pressure on our landlords. But they had not used legal charges in their intimidations.”

Porn online

Wall Street Journal: The Porn Trial That’s Captivating China’s Internet
  • The porn industry is known for driving innovation online. After the live-streamed trial on pornography charges of four Chinese Internet executives went viral over the weekend, it’s now driving an unusually vigorous debate in China over how the Internet should be managed. At the center of the debate is Wang Xin, the CEO of Shenzhen Qvod Technology Co. Ltd., which is best known for running the widely used online video player called Kuaibo. Mr. Wang spirited self-defense in the face of allegations he helped disseminate thousands of sex videos has turned him into something of a Chinese Larry Flynt.

Constitutionalism and censorship

Los Angeles Review of Books: OUT OF AUTOCRACY, OFF THE SHELVES
  • It is an unfortunate axiom of publishing in China that the best way for your book to gain international attention is to have the Chinese government make it unavailable to domestic readers. Such is the fate of Out of Imperial Autocracy (Zouchu dizhi), the latest book by the eminent public intellectual and economic historian Qin Hui, published earlier this year.

TV star purged for controversial remark

China Daily: Hong Kong star cut from TV show over controversial comments
  • CCTV removed Wong’s appearances in Sunday’s show after he was accused by Huang An, a self-confessed anti-Taiwan independence singer, on the Twitter-like Weibo of “blaspheming against Premier Zhou.” Huang An strikes again

DPRK

Xinhua: U.S. responsible for deterioration of Korean Peninsula nuclear issue — experts
  • Increased security tensions on the Korean Peninsula following a nuclear test by North Korea are a consequence of Washington’s antagonistic policies toward Pyongyang. Therefore, the United States should bear much of the blame for a deteriorating nuclear issue, experts say.

Repression

The Guardian: Wife of Chinese human rights lawyer missing for six months tells of despair
  • Six months after her husband was spirited into secret detention by security forces, the wife of one of China’s top civil rights lawyers has spoken of her grief and despair. Li Heping, a 45-year-old attorney, disappeared on 10 July last year after security officials came to his home at the start of what activists call an unprecedented government crackdown in which more than 240 lawyers and activists were detained or questioned. Exactly six months on, up to 35 lawyers and activists, including Li, are still missing or in custody, according to the Hong Kong-based China Human Rights Lawyers’ Concern Group which has monitored the government offensive.

Swedish human rights activist detained

Channel News Asia: China detains Swedish human rights worker: Group
  • A Swedish man working for a human rights group in China has been detained on suspicion of endangering state security, another advocacy organisation said Tuesday (Jan 12), as Beijing steps up controls on civil society. A man known as Peter Beckenridge, who worked for the Chinese Urgent Action Working Group, was detained at a Beijing airport on January 4, a spokeswoman for US-based charity Chinese Human Rights Defenders told AFP, citing associates of the man.

Yu Jie’s book left unpublished after publisher bulks to pressure

Hong Kong FP: Publisher suspends launch of dissident’s new book on Xi Jinping due to ‘fear and pressure’
  • “The difficulty of publishing political books in Hong Kong is already in the international spotlight. People in the industry are feeling great fear and pressure; they want to stay out of trouble so that they won’t be the next one [to disappear]. I received many calls from friends and family trying to persuade me. Because of that, we decided after much deliberation to suspend the publication of your work,” Jin wrote.

State media on visa denial to Miss Canada

Feichangdao: State Media Supports Banning Canadian Beauty Queen for Criticising China
  • Translated excepts of Chinese state-media response.

China launches system to check authenticity of living buddhas

Xinhua: China launches system to check authenticity of living buddhas
  • China launched an online system to check the authenticity of living buddhas of Tibetan Buddhism on Monday, as a growing number of fraudulent buddhas swindle money. The inquiry system can be found at the official website of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, www.sara.gov.cn, and www.tibet.cn. The first group of 870 verified living buddhas was published on Monday.

Ideology

Love thinking: 郑永年:中国必须避免和西方的意识形态冷战 (Zhang Yongnian: China must avoid a cold war with Western thinking)
  • 对中国的外交来说,最重要的莫过于中美之间是否能够避免陷入“修昔底德陷阱”了,即两国之间的争霸战争。尽管历史上一而再、再而三地发生大国之间的争霸战争,但人们有充分的理由相信,直接的军事冲突和战争发生在中美两国之间的可能性很低。这里有几个很重要的因素在发生作用。首先是中国领导层的清醒意识。习近平多次强调中国要避免陷入“修昔底德陷阱”,并且提出了要和美国建立“新型大国关系”,意在避免两国陷入这一陷阱。尽管美国对中国的这一概念并非照单全收,但也的确意识到中美两国关系的复杂性,并且表示乐意做这样的努力。不管怎样,中美之间的和平也是符合美国的利益的。
FTChinese: 重申共和国这一伟大理念 (reaffirming the republic is a worthy idea)
  • 过去一年,一个最为严重的现象是,有关“文革”或者“文革式的社会政治状态”是否死灰复燃卷土重来这一疑虑,不知不觉,有迹无形,如雾霾袭来,慢慢沉重地压在亿万人心头。如果说市民阶级依旧沉浸在反腐的“老炮儿”式复仇快感中,那么,政商学三界,尤其是知识界,春江水暖,对此趋势之忧虑愈深,忐忑不安,实为二十多年来所未之有也。
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