May 17, 2012
How Chen Guangcheng escaped
Here's an account (in Chinese - sorry, no time to translate) from iSun Affairs magazine (a web-based journal) of how Chen Guangcheng escaped from Dongshigu Village. As we might have guessed, he had help from various people but also had to rely on himself quite a bit. The account is quite detailed and names names. Apparently the editors decided to include these details because the authorities had already figured out the people involved.
Here's a video interview with Chen's brother, Chen Guangfu, about what happened to him afterwards.
May 15, 2012
Executive summary of 2011 CECC report on China now available in Chinese
The Executive Summary of the 2011 Annual Report of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China is now available in Chinese. Here are relevant documents:
May 13, 2012
News from the Chronicle of Higher Misinformation
A colleague recently brought to my attention this short piece in the web version of the Chronicle of Higher Education:
‘New York University’ Is Added to China’s List of Banned Internet Search Terms
May 11, 2012
China’s Internet censors have added “New York University” to their list of blocked search terms, reports China Digital Times. Last week, NYU’s law school offered the blind civil-rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng a visiting-scholar position. Previously, Mr. Chen had taken refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing after escaping from house arrest. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused American officials of interfering in China’s domestic affairs. NYU’s offer helped solved the diplomatic impasse. On the popular Sina Weibo microblogging service, searches for “New York University” drew denial-of-service messages on May 10, reports China Digital Times. <remainder omitted>
This report makes outright misstatements of fact and is seriously misleading.
First, the source is a report from China Digital Times (a reliable source) about Sina Weibo. But the headline and the first sentence use that to support a claim about the Internet. Sina Weibo is not the Chinese Internet; it's just the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.
Second, there has been no blocking of "New York University" or "NYU" on either Sina Weibo or the internet generall. What has been blocked is the Chinese term for "New York University" (纽约大学).
Bottom line: All that has been blocked in any way, on any platform or medium, are searches for the Chinese term for NYU. And such searches have been blocked only in the sense that if you search for tweets on Sina Weibo using that Chinese term, your results will be blocked. But if you are looking for information about NYU using any internet search engine, even a Chinese one based in China such as Baidu, you still get results as usual, and the NYU site itself is not blocked.
In short, this measure seems to be solely about suppressing discussion of Chen Guangcheng's visiting scholar offer from NYU on the Sina Weibo platform; it is not about punishing NYU for making the offer. Anyone in China who wants to search the web for information on NYU or visit its web site can do so just as before.
China and US reach preliminary agreement in WTO audiovisuals case
China and the US have announced a preliminary agreement in "China — Measures Affecting Trading Rights and Distribution Services for Certain Publications and Audiovisual Entertainment Products" dispute at the WTO. I don't have a text of the actual memorandum of understanding (yet), but here's the text of their joint communication to the WTO:
WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION
WT/DS363/1911 May 2012
CHINA -- MEASURES AFFECTING TRADING RIGHTS AND DISTRIBUTION SERVICES FOR CERTAIN PUBLICATIONS AND AUDIOVISUAL ENTERTAINMENT PRODUCTS
Joint Communication from China and the United States
The following communication, dated 9 May 2012, from the delegation of China and the delegation of the United States to the Chairperson of the Dispute Settlement Body, is circulated at the request of those delegations.
As noted at the meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body on 22 February 2012, China and the United States have made progress toward a resolution of the dispute China -- Measures Affecting Trading Rights and Distribution Services for Certain Publications and Audiovisual Entertainment Products (WT/DS363) as it relates to films for theatrical release through preliminary arrangements set forth in a Memorandum of Understanding. China and the United States would like to inform the Dispute Settlement Body that the Memorandum of Understanding includes the following key elements and that the opportunities provided by these elements are available to all WTO Members:
1. China confirmed that enhanced format films (such as 3D and IMAXfilms) are not subject to the 20-film commitment set forth in the Additional Commitments under Sector 2.D. of its GATS Schedule and agreed that China will allow the importation of at least 14 enhanced format revenue-sharing films per calendar year beginning in 2012.
2. China agreed that, in a contract for the distribution of an imported revenue-sharing film, the producer of the imported revenue-sharing film will be allocated 25 percent of gross box office receipts, and the Chinese side shall be responsible for the payment of all taxes, duties and expenses.
3. In a contract for the distribution of an imported film other than a revenue-sharing film, where the two sides are not both private enterprises, China agreed that the contract will be based on commercial terms, consistent with the terms prevailing in countries whose markets are comparable to Chinaâ€™s market based on annual box office revenue, number of screens, annual admissions and admissions per screen.
4. China confirmed that any Chinese enterprise is eligible to apply for and be granted a license to distribute imported films and that nothing in Chinaâ€™s laws, regulations or government rules prevents any eligible Chinese enterprise from applying for and receiving a license to distribute, and operating as a distributor of, these films. China further agreed that it will promote reform in the distribution of imported films and will actively encourage more Chinese enterprises, including private enterprises, to obtain licenses and to participate in the distribution of these films.
5. China agreed that the licensing of distributors would be conducted in a non-discretionary and non-discriminatory manner, that contracts for the distribution of imported films would reflect standard industry practices, and that other Chinese government policies or practices would not undermine the provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding.
6. After five years, China and the United States will engage in consultations regarding key elements of the Memorandum of Understanding and to discuss the matter of China implementing the DSBâ€™s recommendations and rulings with regard to films in DS363.
We request that you circulate this information to the Members of the Dispute Settlement Body.
(Signed) Yi Xiaozhun
For the United States:
(Signed) Michael Punke
Draft revisions to Civil Procedure Law
I just discovered that I never got around to posting the draft amendments to the Civil Procedure Law that were issued last October. Since one purpose of this blog is to be an easy source for important documents, I'm going to post the link here even though this is old news. Here it is, and here's some commentary from the Beijing Lawyers' Association.