China’s Ruling Communist Party Aims To Be World’s Strongest Political Party
The Communist Party of China, which has over 89.48 million members, aims to be the world’s strongest political party, the state-media reported today while identifying corruption as a major challenge facing the party that has ruled the country since 1949. Ahead of the 19th CCP National Congress, where the party will unveil the new leadership that will rule the world’s second largest economy, Xinhua news agency said the global attention has once again shifted to China with the CCP as the center of that attention. While Communist Party leader Xi Jinping, 64, is sure to get another five-year term as the General Secretary of the CCP at the Congress, China watchers say the meeting, slated for sometime in the fall, is an opportunity for him to install loyalists at key positions and shore up his legacy. Over the years, the CCP has established an efficient organizational structure and strict party discipline, which helped it survive wars and revolutions and to continue to thrive after almost a century, Xinhua commented.
“China Has Conquered Kenya”: Inside Beijing’s New Strategy To Win African Hearts And Minds
Jonathan Kaiman, THE LA TIMES
Although StarTimes—a privately owned, Beijing-based media and telecommunications firm—is virtually unknown in the West, it has been sweeping across Africa since 2002, overhauling the continent’s broadcast infrastructure and beaming Chinese content into millions of homes. It has subsidiaries in 30 African countries, including such war-torn states as the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. “Our aim is to enable every African household to afford digital TV, watch good digital TV and enjoy the digital life,” StarTimes Vice Chairman Guo Ziqi told China’s official New China News Agency in December. But there’s a catch. StarTimes has substantial backing from the Chinese state—and an explicit political mandate. Beijing has invested billions of dollars into “soft power” campaigns aimed at convincing the world that China is a cultural and political success story. Yet beyond China’s borders, its heavily censored state media broadcasts go mostly unwatched; its newspapers go unread; and outsiders often continue to associate China with pollution, opacity and repression.
China Warns Officials To Behave Online As Two Universities Fire Lecturers
RADIO FREE ASIA
As the ruling Chinese Communist Party gears up for an all-important political congress later this year, the administration of Communist Party leader Xi Jinping has issued new rules aimed at limiting what party members can do online. In an “opinion” issued this week, the party’s powerful Central Propaganda Department warned its more than 60 million rank-and-file members not to engage in any “illegal” online behavior. In a hint that the president is concerned about dissent within party ranks, forbidden online actions include not organizing or participating in any form of political opposition, including via forums, social media, or live chat. Party members are also to stay away from any form of online religious or “cult” activities, as well as refrain from “conniving” with religious extremists, separatists, and terrorists, it said. The browsing of “illegal and reactionary” websites is also forbidden, as well as “using the internet to divulge party and state secrets.” “Online behavior is an important part of party members and cadres’ work, and [they] should play an exemplary role,” the opinion said. It said party members and government officials should “adhere to political discipline and political rules” online, and “resolutely safeguard the authority of the Party Central Committee … with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core.”
Cuba Orders Closure Of Fast-Growing Accounting Cooperative
ST. LUCIA TIMES
Cuban authorities have ordered the closure of one of the island’s fastest-growing cooperatives, days after announcing that they would stop issuing new permits for some private enterprise. Scenius, which provides accounting and business consulting services, will have until Dec. 31 to completely liquidate, the cooperative’s founder and director Luis Duenas told The Associated Press on Saturday. Duenas said the Ministry of Finances and Prices told him the decision to close Scenius was “based on an analysis of our social purpose, or of the activities that we have approved.” Duenas called the decision an “error” that has no place in the policy of economic opening announced by Cuban officials. On Tuesday, Cuba’s government said it would suspend the issuance of permits for a range of occupations and ventures, including restaurants and renting out rooms in private homes. The suspension included the growing field of private teachers as well as street vendors of agricultural products, dressmakers and the relatively recent profession of real estate broker. The announcement did not say when the issuing of permits would resume and said that enterprises already in operation can continue.
Cuba Bars Pastor From Church Leadership As Punishment Amid House Arrest For Homeschooling Children
Anugrah Kumar, THE CHRISTIAN POST
The Cuban government has told Pastor Ramón Rigal, who is being punished for homeschooling his two children, that he is no longer allowed to work as a church leader. The pastor has instead been assigned a new job, checking if the water supply of local houses has any mosquitoes. Officials in Guantanamo Province have told Pastor Rigal, of the Church of God in Cuba, that he is no longer permitted to work as a church leader, and that his new job is to check for mosquitoes in the water supply of local houses, according to the UK-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide. In April, a Cuban court sentenced Pastor Rigal to a year in prison, and his wife, Adya, to spend a year under house arrest. Rigal said at the time that Cuban authorities used the three-hour trial more as a platform for denouncing alternatives to state education than as a venue for delivering justice. However, the pastor’s sentence was later reduced to house arrest on the provision that his children return to state school in September. He has since been told he cannot work as a pastor. “This is a longstanding tactic of the government to ratchet up the pressure on church leaders and activists who are considered a ‘problem,'” CSW said.
North Korean Consulate Workers In China Called Home For Review
RADIO FREE ASIA
North Korean staff assigned to consulates in China are being called back to Pyongyang for questioning on their political views, with some officials ordered home not returning to their posts, sources say. The recall order, which began in April, is the largest in recent memory, a Korean-Chinese source in Shenyang city in China’s Liaoning province told RFA’s Korean Service. “The summoning of consulate staff back to Pyongyang began all at once in many cities in China, including Beijing, Shenyang, Dandong, and Shanghai,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The reason for the mass recall seems to be to a review of the staffers’ ideology, though some say this may just be part of a North Korean plan to replace them all.” Some of those called back have not been seen again, the source said. “One North Korean staffer that I know was summoned to Pyongyang, but I haven’t heard from him for months. His wife and daughter, who had been studying at Liaoning University, went back with him.” “A number of people from the Shenyang consulate have been called home, and they are reportedly being subjected to an intensive ideological review,” the source said, adding that some younger staffers have been sent out to replace them, though not all posts have been filled.
North Korea Threatens “Thousands-fold” Revenge Against US For Sanctions
Jane Onyanga-Omara, USA TODAY
North Korea said Monday it will launch “thousands-fold” revenge against the United States, after the United Nations imposed new sanctions on Pyongyang for its nuclear and missile programs. The statement came after the UN Security Council unanimously approved tough new US drafted sanctions Saturday, including a ban on coal and other exports worth over $1 billion. “We are ready to retaliate with far bigger actions to make the US pay a price for its crime against our country and people,” the reclusive nation warned, the official Korean Central News Agency reported. It said it would take a “stern action of justice.” North Korea regularly uses flamboyant language to make threats against the US and the West. Tillerson and his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong Ho both attended the ASEAN summit on Sunday, but avoided any direct contact.
A Majority Of Americans Favor Deploying US Troops If North Korea Attacks South Korea, Poll Finds
Adam Taylor, THE WASHINGTON POST
A large majority of Americans consider North Korea’s nuclear weapons program a critical threat toward the United States, according to a new poll. However, they remain divided on which policy would best contain that threat—and for the first time in almost 30 years, a majority of Americans were found to support military action if North Korea attacked South Korea. The poll, conducted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, offers a glimpse of how Americans are responding to the rapidly evolving threat from Pyongyang. Just two years ago, 55 percent of Americans listed North Korea as a critical threat facing the United States. Now 75 percent do, making it among the greatest perceived threats in the poll. And notably, while many analysts now suggest that convincing North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons may be impossible, few Americans think that should be an option. Only 21 percent say they would support an agreement that saw North Korea halt its nuclear program but not give up its existing weapons (17 percent of Republicans and 26 percent of Democrats).
Trump Challenging China On Trade Would Spark “Very Aggressive” Response, Expert Predicts
Tom Phillips, THE GUARDIAN
Moves by Donald Trump to confront China on trade would elicit a “very aggressive” response, a former top US trade negotiator has predicted, as Beijing said an upcoming visit from the US president would help “map out” the next half century of ties between the world’s top two economies. There has been speculation since last week that Trump—who is due to travel to China this year—is preparing to launch a potentially incendiary investigation into its alleged abuse of intellectual property rights. After China’s decision to back a UN security council resolution against North Korea on Saturday, some reports suggested that inquiry might have been put on ice. The Financial Times called the anticipated move “the trade diplomacy equivalent of a wooden club” and warned it could provoke “a full-blown trade war.”
Maduro Says “Truth” Panel To Punish For Unrest
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says a “truth commission” created by the new, all-powerful constitutional assembly will ensure that those responsible for the current wave of unrest face justice. Maduro announced on his weekly Sunday broadcast that the commission was setting up its offices at the Casa Amarilla, an historic building in Caracas that also houses the Ministry of Foreign Relations. He added that the new assembly is considering a law against “hate, intolerance and fascism” that would try and immediately punish those found liable for the troubled nation’s recent upheaval. Maduro frequently refers to opposition leaders and protesters as “fascists.” He singled out the president of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, Julio Borges, warning him, “Justice is coming for you.”
The Guns Of Venezuela
Mary Anastasia O’Grady, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
In a video posted on the internet Sunday morning, former Venezuelan National Guard captain Juan Caguaripano, along with some 20 others, announced an uprising against the government of Nicolás Maduro to restore constitutional order. The rebels reportedly appropriated some 120 rifles, ammunition and grenades from the armory at Fort Paramacay in Valencia, the capital of Carabobo state. There were unconfirmed claims of similar raids at several other military installations including in Tachirá. The Cuba-controlled military regime put tanks in the streets and unleashed a hunt for the fleeing soldiers. It claims it put down the rebellion and it instructed all television to broadcast only news of calm. But Venezuelans were stirred by the rebels’ message. There were reports of civilians gathering in the streets to sing the national anthem in support of the uprising. Note to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: Venezuelans want to throw off the yoke of Cuban repression. They need your help.
Military Base Attackers Will Get “Maximum Penalty,” Says Maduro
President Maduro vowed that a band of anti-government fighters who attacked a Venezuelan army base will get the “maximum penalty” as his administration roots out his enemies. Troops killed two of the 20 intruders who slipped into the Paramacay base in the central city of Valencia early Sunday, apparently intent on fomenting a military uprising, Maduro said in his weekly broadcast on state television. One of the invaders was injured, seven captured and 10 got away, the embattled leader said. “We know where they are headed and all of our military and police force is deployed,” Maduro said. He said he would ask for “the maximum penalty for those who participated in this terrorist attack.”