Saturday, September 9, 2006
While the Chinese government constantly invokes the need for stability and harmony, more and more it appears that real stability and a modicum of harmony cannot be achieved without significant political reforms. This is shown by the extraordinary demonstrations that periodically burst out, provoked by single incidents of suspected official wrongdoing that in other countries might elicit angry editorials or letters to the editor but would scarcely bring tens of thousands onto the streets. The public simply has very little confidence in the competence and integrity of government officials.
The latest example is the case of Dai Haijing (戴海静), a teacher in Ruian, Wenzhou, who died after falling from a building. The police ruled her death a suicide caused by depression; her students, her family, and many townspeople suspect a cover-up in order to protect her wealthy husband. Needless to say, I have no idea of the merits of the controversy; for all I know, popular anger could as easily lead to the punishment of the innocent as to the unmasking of the guilty. But there is probably no leader in Wenzhou with the public standing to say, "Trust me on this," because there is no leader that ever had to be accountable to the public.
The full story, with photos of the demonstrations (including overturned and vandalized cars) is on the EastSouthWestNorth blog here.
The China Institute is sponsoring a seminar entitled "China's Draft Bankruptcy Law and Distressed Investment Market" on Sept. 14th in New York City; details here: chinas_new_bankruptcy_law.pdf. Speakers include Prof. Li Shuguang (李曙光), one of China's leading bankruptcy experts.
Friday, September 8, 2006
Thursday, September 7, 2006
I have received the following announcement from the CECC:
The Congressional-Executive Commission on China will hold a full Commission hearing entitled "Human Rights and Rule of Law in China," on Wednesday, September 20, 2006 from 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. in Room 138 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Senator Hagel will preside.
All CECC hearings are open to the public and the press. Members of the public who wish to attend do not need to respond to this message or otherwise register. News media representatives should see the final paragraph of this announcement.
The witnesses are:
Jerome A. Cohen, Professor of Law, New York University School of Law
John Kamm, Executive Director, The Dui Hua Foundation
Minxin Pei, Director, China Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Xiao Qiang, Director, China Internet Project, University of California at Berkeley
Monday, September 4, 2006
I last posted here on the defamation lawsuit brought by Foxconn (or its Shenzhen subsidiary - the news reports are not clear). The plaintiff's retreat (it lowered its compensation demand to a symbolic one yuan) has now become a rout; the Financial Times reports that it has withdrawn its suit altogether.