China issued a new regulation to better protect whistle-blowers who report work-related crimes. Among the provisions are several articles that not only prohibit retaliation, but also, for the first time, describe the many forms it can take and provide greater detail on how the government should prevent and address reprisals.
China is increasing spending on the World Expo in an attempt to confirm the country's arrival on the world stage, but there is also a far darker side to China's rapid development and to the Expo itself: the silencing of a growing number of protesters. Police brazenly warned Shanghai's most famous dissident, Feng Zhenghu, to keep quiet or be "disappeared" like Gao Zhisheng.
The already tense atmosphere in the East China Sea ratcheted up a notch this past week when China declared a new air defense identification zone. The United States’ flight of a pair of B-52 bombers through that zone on Monday further highlighted the potential for conflict in the contested area.
Beijing’s hardline stance has set the stage for a dramatic showdown with Hong Kong’s democrats. After months of mobilization and counter-mobilization by democrats and anti-democrats, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) has finally spoken on Hong Kong’s chief executive electoral arrangements for 2017.
China’s human rights lawyers are currently experiencing unprecedented persecution. Over the past 40 days, six lawyers have been taken away by the police and disappeared. Dozens of other rights defenders, activists and dissidents have also been taken away; and one of the lawyers has resurfaced under circumstances suggesting that he was badly tortured.
The first anniversary of the tragic May 12 Sichuan earthquake is an occasion for evaluating the Chinese government’s performance in meeting the horrendous challenges presented. In many respects, it seems to be doing a commendable job.
When on July 5 China detained four Shanghai employees of Rio Tinto, a prominent Anglo-Australian company, on charges involving state secrets, the world immediately took note. While global media scrambled to decipher the ramifications of invoking “state secrets” under Chinese criminal procedure, a related story was quietly unfolding. China’s National People’s Congress had just released for public comment a draft revision of its 1989 Law for Protecting State Secrets.
“The Chinese people have stood up!” Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong’s dramatic declaration in establishing the People’s Republic of China sixty years ago has surely been vindicated. Today’s celebrations in Beijing and throughout the country reflect the nation’s tremendous economic and social progress, especially during the past thirty years, and its increasing power and influence on the world scene.
The application for early release on medical grounds of the imprisoned activist-critic Hu Jia offers China’s leaders a golden opportunity to begin repairing their criminal justice system — the weakest link in their campaign to bolster the country’s “soft power”.
The most formidable challenge to China’s establishment of a credible “rule of law” is neither the quality of its legislation nor the professional competence of its judges, prosecutors, lawyers and police. Laws and the skills of those who apply them have both witnessed substantial progress in the People’s Republic during the past three decades.