Some Tuesday China links:
It probably won’t be as nifty as the Batmobile, but Hong Yuan Lan Xiang (HYLX), an electric car company in China, is trying to register a new trademark for the “Snowden” automobile, named after NSA leaker Edward Snowden who first took refuge in Hong Kong after fleeing the United States. South China Morning Post reports that the “little known” company claims to have made secret breakthroughs on environmental-friendly electric power that are “as dramatic as Edward’s Snowden’s leaks.”
China Real Time notes that in addition to censoring criticism of the Communist Party on social media websites, as well as employing an army of 50-centers, “Beijing has also pursued a more proactive strategy: encouraging government agencies and individual officials to open social media accounts using their real names and to engage online criticisms of the government directly.”
On the other hand, the New York Times reports that the top leadership has been lecturing cadres nationwide on the contents of a new memo, Document No. 9, which warns that Western values like democracy, a free media, and universal human rights pose to a threat to the CCP’s one-party rule. The article goes on to opine that Xi’s strategy of clamping down on political rights while pushing ahead with economic reforms poses risks, because among China’s elites “proponents of deeper Western-style economic changes are often allied with those pushing for rule of law and a more open political system, while traditionalists favor greater state control of both economic and political life.” The statement seems odd in light of Deng Xiaoping and China’s trajectory over the last thirty years.
Also from the New York Times, ahead of his father’s trial this Thursday, Bo Guagua, the son of Bo Xilai and Gu Kailai, broke his silence on Monday by issuing a statement to the NYT.
The statement begins: “It has been 18 months since I have been denied contact with either my father or my mother. I can only surmise the conditions of their clandestine detention and the adversity they each endure in solitude. I hope that in my father’s upcoming trial, he is granted the opportunity to answer his critics and defend himself without constraints of any kind.”
The choice of publishers is somewhat fitting and not only because little Bo’s law school is located in New York City. Rather, the NYT is a fitting choice because China has been blocking the New York Times’ website ever since it published a story exposing that former Premier Wen Jiabao’s family got enormously wealthy while he was in power. Premier Wen was one of the elder Bo’s fiercest rivals and it was Wen’s speech at the end of the National People’s Congress in 2012 that made it apparent to all that Bo Xilai’s political career was nearing its end.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, which cites a Bloomberg Index, Wang Jianlin, the chairman of China’s largest commercial property developer Dalian Wanda Group, is the richest person in China.
RocketNews24 has pictures of some of the stunning 3D street art being painted on the streets of Beijing as part of The Fourth Qianmen Historical & Cultural Festival. Banksy would be impressed with the art, but probably would prefer a more political message.