Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Wacko People's Republic of China

Xi'an, China Window cleaners in Shenyang, China
Shenyang, China

There are a spate strange stories came from China or about China recently and I start to wonder if the official name of that country ought to change from The People's Republic of China to The Wacko People's Republic of China.

Last year, Chinese Communist Party had a new Secretary General and new crop of Politburo and now they are having the so called "Two Conferences" (两会) - The National People's Congress and The National People's Political Consultation Conference - the rubber-stamping parliament and a broader-based conference, designed for selected people to vent a little and to show support to the (Communist) Party.  

These Conferences change their members every five years and within those five years periods, the members meet a couple weeks a year, receiving the government report from the Prime Minister and State Council, and duly approve it, plus other bills miraculously appeared to be duly approved.

The Representatives of the Congress and the Consultants are picked and duly "elected" from all sectors to represent their fields, and not to leave their jobs as athletes, actors, merchants, clerks, farmers, soldiers and officials, etc., therefore more or less guaranteed that those Representatives would not be able to have true grasp of politics and policies and at the best they could throw out some harmless bills, whose chances of becoming laws are nil.

One of such Representatives, SHEN Jilan (申纪兰), of farmer origin, in recent years has attracted much attention by being the only person who had been a Representative since the first congress in 1954 through now, and the only person who had always cast yeses in all 12 congresses (many others only votes yes but not in all of the conferences), and her fantastic speeches and commentaries.

In 2010, she pronounced: "I support the Communist Party very much. Being a representative is to listen to the party, [therefore] I have never voted no (“我非常拥护共产党。当代表就是要听党的话,我从来没有投过反对票)." - [source: “最老”人大代表申纪兰:55年从没投过反对票]

She does not use internet and does seem to understand internet much, though not without opinions.  She said that 
I have an idea, someone should supervise the internet and it cannot be used by anyone at will, just like the People's Daily. Foreigners' blindly tampering with internet, and we cannot do it that way; we are to have principles, and should turn good things bad; and we should not say whatever we think - we are the socialist country under the leadership of the Communist Party.  (我有个想法,网也应该有人管,不是谁想弄就能弄,就跟人民日报一样,外国那些人那是瞎弄的,咱不能这样,咱要按照原则去弄,不要好的弄成坏的了,想说什么就说什么,咱是共产党领导下的社会主义国家。)
Continuing on the internet issue, she said that "on this network, can anyone who wants to use it use it? Or is it to be approved by establishments? (这个网,你谁想上就能上?还是要组织批准呢? )"

She believed that during the Representative's selection process, it is improper for the Representatives to interact with voters.  She said that "we have democratic elections.  I do not interact with voters." (人大代表在选举过程中与选民交流不合适,“我们是民主选举 我不跟选民交流。) - [source: 申纪兰:要给人民办事才能当人民代表. 中国网. 2012]

If Shen's speeches were ridiculous, opinions and bills from others seems to aim at becoming the most entertaining and outrageous.

A Consultant, Ms. NI Ping, an entertainer, was asked once if she had ever voted no and she answered that she had never voted no or abstain from voting, because "I (considered) national interests, I love this country. Principles of her participation of politics was not to add trouble. (因为“我是(考虑)国家利益的,我热爱这个国家”。她的议政原则是“不添乱”。)

A Representative to the Congress, ZHU Lieyu (朱列玉), proposed to reduce the punishment of embezzlement of more than 100,000 Yuan from 10 years and above to 1 year and above.  Inflation concern?

Another Consultant, CHEN Guangbiao (陈光标), claimed that the Family Planning Policy should change.  People who do not have 9 years' education ought not to have children.  People who had studied in high school can have one child, and people have higher education could have unlimited number of children.

Another Representative, ZHOU Sen (周森), Vice president of the China Charity Federation, proposed that "every citizen must donated a portion of wages for charity (每一位公民必须从工资捐出一部分用于慈善)”。

The last comment reminded me to the story took place in the US.  "A 19 year old Chinese national who faces a vehicular-homicide charge for a Nov. 10 accident that left one woman dead and three injured in Des Moines has been freed on bail after his family posted a $2 million cashier’s check."  According to Seattle Times, "During a bail hearing Friday, Xu’s mother produced a cashier’s check for the total amount, said Ian Goodhew, deputy chief of staff for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Once the funds were verified by the county jail, he was released at 8 that night.  'Rarely is a bail of that amount posted,' Goodhew said."

China reached its glaring income inequality in a remarkably short time and their government approved charities are practically without accountability and could easily become someone's private wallets.  The report from Bloomberg a year ago revealed the depth of wealth inequality, which only gets worse:
The richest 70 members of China’s legislature added more to their wealth last year than the combined net worth of all 535 members of the U.S. Congress, the president and his Cabinet, and the nine Supreme Court justices.

The net worth of the 70 richest delegates in China’s National People’s Congress, which opens its annual session on March 5, rose to 565.8 billion yuan ($89.8 billion) in 2011, a gain of $11.5 billion from 2010, according to figures from the Hurun Report, which tracks the country’s wealthy. That compares to the $7.5 billion net worth of all 660 top officials in the three branches of the U.S. government.

The income gain by NPC members reflects the imbalances in economic growth in China, where per capita annual income in 2010 was $2,425, less than in Belarus and a fraction of the $37,527 in the U.S. The disparity points to the challenges that China’s new generation of leaders, to be named this year, faces in countering a rise in social unrest fueled by illegal land grabs and corruption.
The wackiness of China does not remain within its border.  The death of the president of Venezuela Hugo Chavez has been blamed on the US by certain sectors but if that accusation has not been taken seriously by  many people, it has been reported in China by its largest newspapers with straight face.

NBC News reported this accusation as this:
Hours before Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died, his second-in-command accused enemies of giving him cancer and announced the expulsion of two U.S. diplomats for an alleged plot to destabilize the government.

"There's no doubt that Commandante Chavez's health came under attack by the enemy," Vice President Nicolas Maduro said in an address to the nation from the presidential palace.

State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said in a statement it was "absurd" to suggest that the U.S. was somehow involved in Chavez's illness.

Chinese media also took the opportunity of the resignation of Pope Benedict to educate Chinese on the issue of churches and the Catholic Church in particular.

An article appeared on The Global Times, the leading Maoist newspaper, told the readers that Vatican was the only European country had no formal diplomatic relationship with China.  It said that in 1952, China suspended all official relations with the Vatican, and banned the Catholic Church (中国中断了与梵蒂冈所有官方关系,取缔了天主教堂).  "Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association" was founded in 1958. "Chinese Catholic Bishops College, established in 1982, is the head of the Chinese Catholic parish. (“中国天主教爱国会”于1958年成立。1982年组建“中国天主教主教团”,为中国天主教各教区的领导机构。) 

The article emphasized on the independence of Chinese Catholic Church.  It continued with a question and "answer":
Some people may ask: Does Chinese church have autonomy? Yes, of course. Anglicanism is the obvious example... King of England named himself the supreme leader of the church. So far, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II retains the title of "Christian protector". (有人会问:中国有办理教会的自主权吗?当然可以。英国国教就是明显例证... 英国国王把自己封为教会的最高领导人。迄今,英国女王伊丽莎白二世还保留着“基督教保护者”头衔。)
Naturally, they made no difference between Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England and those people are the ones claim that the twenty-first century is the Chinese Century.

Global warming?  I'm shuddering.

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