Archive for the Law enforcement Category

Chinese detained for posting rumors on foreign website [Xinhua]

Posted in Anti-China propaganda exposure, Black propaganda, China, Law enforcement on May 21, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, May 13 (Xinhua) — A Beijing resident was detained for posting false information on a foreign website for payment, seriously harming the country’s image, police said Tuesday.

Xiang Nanfu, 62, has published numerous false stories on the website “Boxun” since 2009 under the username “Feixiang” — “flying” in Chinese.

Fabricated information included the claim that “the Chinese government harvested organs from living humans and buried people alive, causing mass protest outside United Nations organizations in China,” as well as false reports about land expropriation and violence by police and beating of a petitioner, according to the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau.

Xiang’s actions were instigated and highly paid with U.S. dollars by a man surnamed Wei who was in charge of the website, police said.

The false information has seriously misled the public and Internet users and denigrated the image of the state, police said.

Police put Xiang in custody on May 3. He has confessed to his crimes and has repented, police said.

Xiang said he deeply regretted the serious harm he caused to people and the country and pleaded for a lenient punishment, police said.

JOBLESS “SENIOR REPORTER”

Xiang graduated from a junior school and was jobless. He had committed crimes several times before, including being sentenced to nine years in prison for theft.

Xiang published an article about dissatisfaction with government compensation for demolition of his house on “Boxun” in 2004 and came to know Wei.

Wei suggested Xiang publish more “complaining” articles and promised high payment.

“I know he (Wei) was using me to make trouble to the government on the Internet, while I wanted to earn some money and gain reputation,” Xiang said.

He started fabricating rumors about confrontations between the government and the public in 2009 and was authorized by “Boxun” to publish stories as a “senior reporter.”

Xiang posted more than 1,300 articles in 2013, nearly one-third of the total on “Boxun.” The number was increased in 2014, police said.

The so-called “media supervision” and the identification as “senior reporter” have deceived many petitioners who regarded him as an “able person” and provided him with daily necessities and money…

Excerpted; full article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-05/13/c_133330170.htm

Cooking the Books: The Federal Bureau of Narcotics, the China Lobby and Cold War Propaganda, 1950-1962 [Asia-Pacific Journal / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in "War on Drugs" pretext, Afghanistan, Anti-China propaganda exposure, Anti-communism, Black propaganda, China, China-bashing, CIA, Colombia, Connection to drugs and narcotics, Cuba, Hong Kong, Iran, Japan, Karzai puppet regime corruption, Korean War, Law enforcement, Media smear campaign, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Panama, PLA, Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, Venezuela on April 20, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 37, No. 1, September 14, 2013.

Jonathan Marshall

As influential contributors to national policy, intelligence professionals inevitably face strong political and bureaucratic pressures to shape their assessments to fit official or factional policy. In the modern era, such pressures have contributed to costly, even disastrous, escalations of the Vietnam War, the arms race, and, most notoriously, Washington’s conflict with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.2

Intelligence on the international narcotics menace has been particularly subject to such pressures ever since U.S. leaders vowed to wage “war” on the illicit drug trade more than a half century ago.3 In recent years, influential interest groups and policy makers have leveled epithets like “narco-terrorism” and “narco-communism” against targets such as Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran, Panama, Syria, the Taliban, and Venezuela to justify harsh policies ranging from economic sanctions to armed invasion, while ignoring or downplaying evidence implicating U.S. allies (the Nicaraguan Contras, the Afghan mujahedeen and Karzai administration, the Colombian military, and so forth).4 Given the stakes, critical scrutiny of such claims, and rigorous attention to de-politicizing intelligence on international narcotics matters, may be as vital to preventing foreign policy disasters as is ensuring sound intelligence on more traditional matters of national security.

To shed historical light on the dangers of turning international drug enforcement into a political weapon, this paper re-examines a classic case of alleged manipulation of narcotics intelligence: the vilification of Communist China by U.S. Commissioner of Narcotics Harry J. Anslinger at the height of the Cold War. His inflammatory rhetoric denouncing the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as an evil purveyor of narcotics went largely unchallenged in the Western media during the 1950s and early 1960s, when Anslinger acted as America’s leading drug enforcement official and its official representative to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). As we shall see, his charges strongly reinforced Washington’s case for diplomatic isolation of China, including its exclusion from the United Nations.

In 1971, as relations between Washington and Beijing began to thaw, the official U.S. line on China’s responsibility for drug trafficking abruptly reversed. At about the same time, a young scholar named Alfred McCoy published an authoritative volume on the modern history of the international heroin trade, contesting Anslinger’s claims and pinning blame for much of the traffic on U.S. military allies in Southeast Asia.5 Since then a number of historians have endorsed McCoy’s conclusions and characterized Anslinger’s conduct as the work of a master bureaucrat (or ideologue) bent on augmenting his agency’s prestige and power by inflating Cold War stereotypes of the PRC.6

This paper reexamines and extends their work by asking the question made famous by Tennessee Sen. Howard Baker during the Watergate hearings: What did he know, and when did he know it? As Kevin F. Ryan has observed, “it is unclear how much the FBN actually knew about [China’s involvement in] the international narcotics trade (and how much was simply convenient rhetoric) . . .”7 McCoy and most subsequent historians have relied on ex post rejections of Anslinger’s claims by U.S. and foreign law enforcement officials in the aftermath of the opening to China. But can we be sure Anslinger had no evidence to support his charges? If so, did Anslinger simply invent his claims, or did other interested parties feed him misleading or false information? And, equally important, what did Anslinger know but choose to ignore about drug trafficking by American allies, including those covertly backed by the Central Intelligence Agency?

New evidence, including recently declassified files of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Central Intelligence Agency, along with overlooked public materials from that period, sheds important new light on the state of Anslinger’s knowledge and probable motives. The records, unavailable to or unused by previous historians, provide strong new confirmation of Anslinger’s manipulation of intelligence to serve both his agency’s bureaucratic interests and a militantly anti-Communist foreign policy agenda at the expense of genuine narcotics enforcement. They leave open the possibility that Chinese traffickers continued to smuggle opiates out of the mainland into the 1950s, but do not challenge what is widely accepted today about the communist government’s attempt to suppress cultivation and trafficking…

— Anslinger’s Questionable Sources: the SCAP Connection —

…In reassessing the credibility of Anslinger’s claims, one of the most striking facts to note is that Anslinger had no full-time agents stationed in the Far East until 1962.37 (The U.S. Customs service had jurisdiction over narcotics investigations in the region, with offices in Hong Kong and Japan.)38 He thus depended heavily on agents of friendly governments — and particularly on partisan intelligence sources connected with U.S. occupation forces in Japan (SCAP) and Nationalist China.

Anslinger acknowledged that SCAP intelligence provided among “the first reports we received about the Communist narcotic smuggling in the Far East.”39 He made a SCAP account of heroin trafficking in Japan the centerpiece of his first all-out assault against Communist China before the CND in May 1952.40 The report declared that “Investigations, arrests, and seizures in Japan during 1951 proved conclusively that communists are smuggling heroin from China to Japan, and are using the proceeds from the sale thereof to finance party activities and to obtain strategic materials for China.” In support of that strong claim, it [among other allegations] cited one seizure of heroin that carried the seals of a pharmaceutical laboratory in northern China. But more than a half dozen other cases cited in the document simply involved heroin smuggled into Japan from Hong Kong — typically by Chinese from Taiwan (“Formosans”). Evidently, for Anslinger, heroin carried from British-controlled Hong Kong by smugglers from Nationalist-controlled Taiwan was proof of a Communist conspiracy…

…neither SCAP intelligence nor its sources could ever be considered “reliable,” except politically…42

–Anslinger and the China Lobby–

Many of Anslinger’s detailed allegations about large opium-growing regions in China, heroin laboratories in Chinese cities, and smuggling directives by Chinese government agencies originated from Nationalist China, whose representative to the CND issued grandiose allegations against the mainland’s new Communist masters.55 In 1951 Nationalist China provided the CND laboratory with its only “authenticated” samples of opium from the mainland. These samples were in turn used to implicate the PRC whenever the lab found a chemical match with opium seized by a member nation, including the United States. This stunning conflict of interest — perhaps fraud is not too strong a word — was uncovered only in 1963 following an inquiry by the Polish representative to the CND.56

Anslinger’s uncritical reliance on intelligence from Nationalist China was all the more irresponsible because he knew all about that regime’s own sordid history of profiting from the drug trade. Throughout much of the 1930s, a senior Treasury agent based in China sent Anslinger voluminous, detailed reports implicating senior government officials in opium trafficking. Indeed, history Chiang Kai-shek rise to power was smoothed by the muscle and financial support of China’s most infamous criminal syndicate, the Green Gang.57

In the 1950s, Anslinger collaborated closely with the “China Lobby,” a network of Nationalist Chinese officials and American supporters who sought to maintain high levels of aid to Taiwan while denying diplomatic recognition to the PRC…

…Anslinger helped the China Lobby in another key respect — by delegitimizing serious charges that some of its own personnel were tainted by the illegal drug trade. In 1960, Anslinger helped the Taiwan regime suppress publication of the first scholarly study of the China Lobby, because it contained the sensational claim:

There is . . . considerable evidence that a number of [Nationalist] Chinese officials engaged in the illegal smuggling of narcotics into the United States with the full knowledge and connivance of the Nationalist Chinese Government. The evidence indicates that several prominent Americans have participated in and profited from these transactions. It indicates further that the narcotics business has been an important factor in the activities and permutations of the China Lobby…61

–The FBI, Customs and CIA v. Anslinger–

Most Americans were in no position to question Anslinger’s assertions about China. Out of public view, however, many official experts in the U.S. and allied governments rejected his claims—including some in his own bureau.

The British Foreign Office, for example, dismissed his sources, which included Nationalist Chinese press accounts and claims by arrested traffickers in Japan, as “very dubious.” British Home Office official John Henry Walker privately derided Anslinger’s “annual onslaughts on Red China” as largely unsubstantiated and speculated that Anslinger sought to grab headlines because he was “under pressure in Washington and having to fight to keep his job…”70

–What the FBN Knew about the CIA and the Golden Triangle Drug Trade–

[I’ve excerpted this particularly sensational section which is quite long, but highly recommend reading it in its entirely – Zuo Shou]

It is notable that the single biggest redaction from the 1956 CIA study, when it was quietly declassified several decades later, concerns Thailand. For it was the CIA’s assets in Thailand who bore more responsibility than any other group in the “Golden Triangle” for the resurgence of the opium trade after the Communist victory in China in 1949. It is thus critical to explore what Anslinger must have known but chose not to disclose about the CIA’s drug-trafficking allies in the region.

Several excellent studies of the Golden Triangle in the 1950s provide rich background — without necessarily answering the question of what Anslinger knew.79 In brief, by January 1950, the People’s Liberation Army had driven thousands of Chinese Nationalist soldiers from the Eighth and Twenty-Sixth armies out of Yunnan province into Burma and French Indochina. In northeast Burma, more than 10,000 men under the command of General Li Mi found sanctuary in the wild hill country settled by minority peoples, many of whom cultivated opium as a traditional cash crop. Having themselves profited from opium for many years in Yunnan, the KMT forces — named for the Kuomintang party that ruled Nationalist China — began trafficking once again from Burma, both to make ends meet and to finance their schemes to reconquer China.

Washington’s interest in using Li Mi’s forces to contain the Chinese Communists soared after the start of the Korean War. By direction from President Truman in December 1950, the CIA secretly began supplying the KMT by air and with ground caravans through Thailand.80 Security was provided by the CIA-backed Thai national police, who in turn were eager to market the KMT’s opium to the legal Thai national opium monopoly and to international traffickers.

After several hapless forays by the KMT into southern China in 1951 and early 1952, Washington gave up serious hope of using them to roll back Communism in China. Meanwhile, as the CIA’s “covert” mission became widely known, U.S. relations with Burma worsened and Washington grew alarmed at the possibility of a retaliatory invasion by Communist China.81 The United States tried in vain to persuade the KMT forces to decamp for Taiwan, but the Chinese insisted on staying put — and in the words of one U.S. ambassador, “continuing nefarious operations in Burma and Thailand including opium smuggling racket.”82 Tabling preparations for war, they focused instead on building a drug empire that helped boost the region’s opium exports from an estimated 40 tons before World War II to more than three hundred tons by 1962.

Washington’s role in this trade was much more than incidental.83 As U.S. officials understood early on,84 the Thai national police, under the ruthless and brutal General Phao Sriyanon, “had become the largest opium-trafficking syndicate in Thailand,” in McCoy’s words. He adds:

CIA support for Phao and the KMT seems to have sparked . . . a ‘takeoff’ in the Burma-Thailand opium trade during the 1950s: modern aircraft replaced mules, naval vessels replaced sampans, and well-trained military organizations expropriated the traffic from bands of illiterate mountain traders.

Never before had [Burma’s] Shan States encountered smugglers with the discipline, technology, and ruthlessness of the KMT. Under General Phao’s leadership Thailand had changed from an opium-consuming nation to the world’s most important opium distribution center. The Golden Triangle’s opium production approached its present scale . . .85

The Golden Triangle would remain the world’s largest exporter of opiates until supplanted in the 1980s by a new set of CIA allies in South Asia, the Afghan mujahedeen and Pakistani military intelligence.86

All of this was top secret—so much so that the very existence of the operation to support the KMT guerrillas was kept from the CIA’s deputy director for intelligence, most or all top State Department officials, and the U.S. ambassadors to Burma and Thailand.87 The CIA went to especially great lengths to hush up the drug-related murder of one agent and widespread opium trafficking under its auspices.88 So is it fair in retrospect to hold Anslinger responsible for ignoring or underplaying the U.S.-Thailand drug connection?

Washington’s lies fooled no one on the scene and could not have fooled Anslinger. A review of the often-overlooked public record shows that Anslinger must have known more than to sound the alarm about the emergence of the KMT and its U.S.-supported Thai allies as one of the world’s largest narcotics-trafficking syndicates. Ignorance was simply not a credible excuse.

As early as May 1950, the New York Times reported on the presence in Northeast Burma of “an aggregation of refugee Nationalist troops” who “operate pretty much as a law unto themselves” and “have been engaging extensively in opium dealing.” The story noted that the United States planned to open a consulate “at the little northern Thailand city of Chiangmai to watch American interests in an area of increasing importance in Southeast Asia,” a tip that U.S. authorities were in touch with the KMT.89

Less than two years later, the respected London Observer accused “certain Americans” of joining Thai officials and KMT officers in “making large profits” from the “guns for opium trade.” The story pointed to the large quantities of American-made weapons and ammunition flown to General Li Mi “from a certain trading company in Bangkok in which Americans have an interest.” (As we will see, that was a reference to the CIA’s Sea Supply Company.) Amazingly, the American embassy in Bangkok confirmed the allegation. “It cannot be denied that we are in the opium trade,” one U.S. diplomat told the reporter.90 In case Anslinger missed the story, the Washington Post made it the subject of an editorial: “It is somewhat startling to read the allegation that in supporting the Chinese Nationalist effort in northeastern Burma to harass the Chinese Communists, Americans have gone into the opium business!…”91

…Anslinger could hardly deny the obvious any more. The narcotics commissioner now acknowledged publicly that, “More opium moves to and around Chiengrai in northern Thailand than any other place in the world in illicit traffic.” But he still blamed Red China, choosing not to draw attention to the pro-American parties responsible for bringing the drugs to the world market.101 “By an accident of history,” wrote one journalist friendly with Anslinger who nonetheless appreciated the irony, “the middlemen between Yunnan and Thailand are anticommunist Chinese. . . . They grow opium and add it to the supplies they get from China and neighboring tribal villages of Laos and Burma…”102

–Conclusion–

Anslinger’s sweeping rhetoric against “Red China” today strikes most historians—rightly so—as an anachronistic product of the McCarthy era. But the long litany of arrests, interrogation reports and statistics that Anslinger cited to back up his claims sounded authoritative and proved persuasive to Westerners all through the 1950s and into the 1960s…

…Anslinger, however, went far beyond…limited claims [of PRC involvement in illegal narcotics trade] to condemn the Beijing regime as a uniquely grand and evil purveyor of narcotics. Such strong charges demanded equally strong evidence. Anslinger never provided it and almost certainly never had it. With the opening of FBN records, we now know that its Communist China files hold no credible reports implicating the Maoist regime in drug smuggling. Furthermore, other U.S. and British officials privately called Anslinger on the matter at the time, savaging the credibility of his sources. The CIA’s definitive study of the question in 1956 demonstrates that Anslinger pushed his incendiary charges at the United Nations and in the media despite clear intelligence to the contrary. At the same time, Anslinger ignored or downplayed readily available public and private evidence that America’s allies — and its own officials — were contributing far more than Communist China to the growth of the Far East drug trade and the expansion of the world heroin market.

Clearly, the FBN chief chose to put anti-communism, national security [sic], and bureaucratic self-interest ahead of his agency’s declared mission. These disparate values meshed seamlessly. By serving up a steady supply of lurid claims to feed the propaganda mills of professional Cold Warriors and China Lobbyists, Anslinger bought protection against budget cuts, premature retirement, loss of authority to rival agencies, and any weakening of the nation’s drug laws. Today one must agree with the British Home Office official who concluded disparagingly in 1954 that Anslinger had “strong motives for emphasizing the responsibilities of other countries for illicit traffic in the United States and for attributing this traffic to Communist sources.”129 Anslinger’s deplorable record should remind us today of the need for critical scrutiny of claims related to drug trafficking to avoid letting our own era’s propaganda warriors generate fear and revulsion to escalate international conflicts.

Excerpted; full article (with notes) link: http://japanfocus.org/-Jonathan-Marshall/3997?utm_source=September+16%2C+2013&utm_campaign=China%27s+Connectivity+Revolution&utm_medium=email

Xinhua Insight: China struggles to tame illegal foreign laborers [Xinhua]

Posted in China, Employment, Guangzhou, Labor, Law enforcement, Vietnam on March 28, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

NANNING, March 19 (Xinhua) — Braving the windchill [sic] by a highway in Baise City of south China’s Guangxi, 18-year-old Vietnamese Lau Mi Lenh and his family desperately tried to hitch a lift to their dreamland [sic] of neighboring Guangdong Province.

Hailing from a village in the Vietnamese province of Nghe An, Lau and his eight relatives had sneaked [sic] into China by themselves, hoping to find a job in Guangdong, as he had heard that the bustling coastal province could guarantee a handsome income for people like them.

It wasn’t to be, and the illegal immigrant told Xinhua his tale from a Chinese jail cell.

He is among booming numbers of people without valid entry and employment paperwork, particularly from southeast Asia, that are flooding into the country’s eastern seaboard, a part of China that is increasingly looking to the black market to fill gaps in affordable labor.

The issue is once again in the spotlight after two groups of Vietnamese stowaways, a total of eight people, were detained by local police in Baise on Friday.

Regional border control police of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region intercepted 4,500 illegal foreign laborers in 2012, and though the number dipped to a little over 3,500 in 2013, police say there are “definitely ones that are at large.”

The illegal laborers, taking advantage of the many trails that snake through the China-Vietnam border area, stick their necks out to bypass the checkpoints in Guangxi to reach the eastern paradise of their dreams.

Mi Lenh said that his family moved heaven and earth to get to Baise, eventually enduring an anxious 24-hour ride in a minivan to get there.

“I was prepared to labor in jobs planting eucalyptus or sugarcane even in the countryside of Guangdong,” he explained.

ILLEGAL CHAIN

China’s black market of foreign labor is booming on the back of a shift in the country’s own labor forces from east to west, driving human traffickers, or “traders” as they are dubbed, to transport cheap labor from abroad into the eastern areas like Guangdong, Fujian and Zhejiang.

Ah Xiang, a trader detained by police in Guangxi, said that they usually lure poverty-stricken foreigners willing to work in China with blandishments about the working opportunities, then charge “registration fees” before transporting them into Chinese factories.

“We would negotiate with the factory owners in advance to remove any possible stumbling blocks, and then the procedures would go smoothly,” she said.

According to Ah Xiang, foreign laborers are becoming increasingly popular in factories in the east, as domestic workers are thin on the ground, while foreigners tend to be cheaper, more “well-behaved” and “quiet.”

But the opportunities to make more money in China are often outweighed by terrible working and living conditions, Ah Xiang added, pointing out that it is hard to guarantee the rights of the illegal workers.

Experts attribute the phenomenon to a wide range of factors, including rising labor costs in China as well as loose supervision.

One of the underlying reasons for the rampant black market in foreign labor is that China’s coastal cities have come under pressure from a severe shortfall in labor resources, according to Yu Yimao, captain of Baise’s border control police.

In February, a survey by the Guangzhou Human Resource Market Service Center showed a shortfall of 123,300 workers in Guangzhou, capital city of Guangdong. A similar warning was issued later by the Fujian provincial government, cautioning that the province needs 80,000 laborers to fill the gap.

Meanwhile, the cost of domestic labor is on the rise.

Construction worker Li Deqin said that the daily salary for people like him used to be about 80 yuan (13 U.S. dollars), but now they command at least 180 yuan.

That is a huge contrast to many foreign workers like Mi Lenh, who barely makes 50 yuan each day in Vietnam.

“I heard that even stowaways can make more than 100 yuan a day in China,” the young Vietnamese said.

While his dreams have now become castles in the air, many others are still falling for the bait, and authorities have called for a taming of the black market with a spate of proposed legal measures.

Xu Ningning, deputy secretary-general of the China-ASEAN Business Council, said that China needs to ramp up supervision to tackle the problem, for that is in the interest of both foreign workers and domestic factories.

“I think that the government could work with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to figure out a mechanism to ease the labor pressure and guarantee the rights of workers,” Xu said.

He suggested that the problem could be solved by qualifying and legalizing more foreign laborers to work in China under government supervision.

Editor: Zhu Ningzhu

Full article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2014-03/19/c_133197781.htm

Xinhua Insight: At least 29 dead, 130 injured in Kunming railway station violence [Xinhua]

Posted in Beijing, China, Law enforcement, Xinjiang on March 2, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

KUNMING, March 2 (Xinhua) — Twenty-nine civilians were confirmed dead and more than 130 others injured Saturday in a railway station attack in southwest Chinese city of Kunming, authorities said.

Police have shot dead at least four attackers whose identities are yet to be confirmed and are hunting for the rest.

It was an organized, premeditated violent terrorist attack, according to the authorities.

Chinese president Xi Jinping has urged the law enforcement to investigate and solve the case of Kunming terrorist attack with all-out efforts and punish the terrorists in accordance with the law.

More than 10 terrorist suspects attacked people at the square and ticket hall of Kunming Railway Station at 9:20 p.m. Saturday, killing at least 28 civilians and injuring 113 others.

Xi stressed the careful rescue and treatment of the injured civilians and proper handling of the dead.

He called for full awareness of the grave and complicated situation of anti-terrorism and effective measures to crack down violent terrorist activities in all forms.

Xi has assigned officials, including Meng Jianzhu, head of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, and member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, and Guo Shengkun, Chinese state councilor and minister of public security, to go to Yunnan to guide work and visit injured civilians and relatives of the victims.

Premier Li Keqiang asked relevant departments to catch and punish the terrorists, and public security departments at all levels to strengthen prevention and control measures to guarantee the safety of public places.

A Xinhua reporter on the spot said that injured people have been rushed to more than 10 local hospitals for treatment.

A doctor with the Kunming No.1 People’s Hospital told Xinhua over the phone that medical workers of the hospital are busy treating the injured.

According to Xinhua reporters at the hospital, a dozen of bodies were seen at the hospital. As of 0:00 a.m. Sunday, more than 60 victims in the attack have been sent to the hospital, emergency registration records showed.

Liu Chen, a 19-year-old student from Wuhan City of central China’s Hubei Province, was traveling in Yunnan. Liu and her friend were at the station for tickets to the tourism city of Lijiang when the attack suddenly happened.

“At first I thought it was just someone fighting, but then I saw blood and heard people scream, and I just ran,” Liu said.

Chen Guizhen, a 50-year-old woman, told Xinhua at the hospital that her husband Xiong Wenguang, 59, was killed in the attack.

“Why are the terrorists so cruel? ” moaned Chen, holding her husband’s blood-stained ID card in shaking hands.

The couple, both farmers from the Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture, bought Sunday tickets to the eastern province of Zhejiang for their new urban jobs and planned to stay over in the waiting room.

“I found his ID card on his body. I can’t believe he has just left me,” she cried.

Yang Haifei, a local resident of Yunnan, told Xinhua that he was attacked and sustained injuries on his chest and back.

Yang said he was buying a ticket when he saw a group of people rush into the station, most of them in black, and start attacking others.

“I saw a person come straight at me with a long knife and I ran away with everyone,” he said, adding that people who were slower were severely injured.

“They just fell on the ground,” he said.

At the guard pavilion in front of the station, three victims were crying. One of them named Yang Ziqing told Xinhua that they were waiting in the station square for a 10:50 p.m. train to Shanghai, but had to escape when a knife-wielding man suddenly came at them.

“My two town-fellows’ husbands have been rushed to hospital, but I can’t find my husband, and his phone went unanswered,” Yang sobbed…

…The latest violent terrorist attack that caused most civilian deaths happened in June last year in Lukqun Township of Turpan Prefecture in farwest [sic] China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

A total of 24 people were killed and 23 others were injured in the attack.

On October 28 last year, a jeep crashed at downtown Beijing’s Tian’anmen Square, causing five deaths and 40 injuries. Police found gasoline, two knives and steel sticks [sic] as well as a flag with extremist religious content in the jeep.

The police later identified the deadly crash as a violent terrorist attack.

Excerpted; full article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2014-03/02/c_133152792.htm

Chinese tycoon brothers Liu Han and Liu Wei facing charges of running mafia-like gang [China.org]

Posted in China, Corruption, Law enforcement on February 22, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

[Shanghai Daily]

February 21, 2014

Two brothers, well-known business tycoons and philanthropists in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, have been accused of running a mafia-like gang that attacked and killed business rivals and bribed officials and police.

They are among 36 people being prosecuted yesterday on charges involving nine deaths.

Liu Han, 49, founder of the Hanlong Group, the biggest private company in Sichuan, and Liu Wei, 44, boss of Yiyuan Industrial Co Ltd based in Sichuan’s Guanghan City, are alleged to have been the gang’s kingpins.

The brothers are charged with 15 crimes, including leading mafia-type gangs, murders, operating casinos, illegally holding firearms and interfering with government affairs.

The gang’s alleged criminal activities, dating back to 1993, helped them amass 40 billion yuan (US$6.5 billion) in assets with businesses in finance, energy, real estate and mining, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.

The gang was said to own a fleet of several hundred cars that included Rolls-Royces, Bentleys and Ferraris.

Prosecutors said the illegal activities dominated several industries and reaped huge profits, while bribes were paid to government officials for immunity.

Their business empire seemed well protected until a daylight shooting on a busy street in Guanghan in 2009.

Witnesses watched as a car drew up outside an open-air teahouse in downtown Guanghan and several men got out. More than 10 shots were fired before they got back in and the car sped away. Three people lay dead.

“It was so fast,” Xinhua quoted a witness as saying. “It was like watching a movie.”

One of the dead men was Chen Fuwei, leader of another criminal gang and said to have had a long-time grudge against Liu Wei.

In 2008, Chen was released from prison, threatening to take revenge on the Liu brothers. Liu Wei is said to have instructed two gang members to “get rid of Chen.”

The uproar that followed the shootings sent shock waves all the way to the central authorities.

Two suspects, Yuan Shaolin and Zhang Donghua, were soon captured and they had little hesitation in naming Liu Wei as the man behind the killings.

Liu Wei went into hiding, allegedly harbored by his brother, and he became a class-A man on China’s wanted list.

Both were detained in March last year…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.china.org.cn/wap/2014-02/21/content_31548497.htm

Also see: “Xinhua Insight: Details of suspected crimes by gangster-turned billionaire” — news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2014-02/20/c_133131218.htm

Holiday fireworks lose their sparkle amid smog [China Daily]

Posted in Beijing, China, Environmental protection, Law enforcement, Qingdao on January 30, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

2014-01-27
By Zheng Xin

Public enthusiasm for fireworks seems to be fizzling out in the face of concerns over air pollution, with many people posting online messages calling for restraint in celebrations during Spring Festival.

Posts are circulating on Chinese social media platforms, including Sina Weibo and WeChat, calling for people to scale back on the use of fireworks during the holiday, which runs from Jan 31 to Feb 6. Many have greeted the posts favorably.

“Fighting against sooty air is the responsibility of every resident,” said Peng Xiao, a 32-year-old resident in Beijing’s Chaoyang district. “You can’t blame the government for the air quality while making things worse yourself.”

Nor is it just air pollution, she said. Noise pollution is also a factor, as fireworks also set off car alarms.

However, others have pointed out that fireworks are an essential part of celebrating big events, like weddings and holidays…

…Setting off fireworks is an integral part of Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations, with the noise traditionally believed to ward off evil spirits and bad luck. However, with China suffering from heavy smog in recent years, the contribution of fireworks to air pollution has drawn widespread attention from the public and authorities.

A recent online survey on Sina Weibo showed that more than 60 percent of participants would be happy not to use fireworks during the holiday, while the remaining 40 percent were adamant that they will stick to the traditional methods of celebration.

Alternative ways to celebrate are being suggested.

The Beijing Consumer Association on Thursday urged residents to replace fireworks with flowers and electronic substitutes.

A statement issued by the association advised consumers to refrain from celebrations with fireworks and firecrackers or only use environmentally friendly products to avoid “rubbing salt into the wound” of the city’s already severe air pollution.

The city governments of Hefei, Qingdao, Shenzhen and many other cities have tried to persuade residents to give up fireworks during the holiday.

According to Beijing’s administration office for fireworks and firecrackers, the city has 515,000 boxes of fireworks in stock for this year’s festival, down from 710,000 boxes in 2013 and 810,000 in 2012. The number of retail outlets for firecrackers across the city has also been reduced by 13 percent.

Fireworks went on sale on Saturday (until Feb 14) but early indicators suggest that sales have been slow to take off.

“The public is not as enthusiastic as in the past because they are more aware of the importance of environmental protection and health,” said Song Yang, an official with the fireworks administration office.

A female seller in Chaoyang district surnamed Wang said that she was not sure she could sell all her merchandise…

…Fireworks are forbidden after Feb 14 this year within the fifth ring road, and violators will face a hefty fine, the city’s fireworks office said.

The office and the local public security bureau will also collect fireworks-related litter after the holiday to reduce hazards to the public.

Companies producing fireworks in the city have little reason to celebrate.

“We have reduced our inventories by 40 percent this year, and still we are not confident about the market,” said Wu Liyu, head of the Beijing Fireworks Co, a State-run company. “The market has shrunk significantly over the past few years.”

Pan Di, head of Panda Fireworks, one of the three major fireworks manufactures in the capital, said the company has some 250,000 boxes of fireworks in stock this year, a 20 percent reduction on last year.

The fireworks have even undergone modifications to make them more environmentally friendly.

“All the fireworks this year will have fewer paper scraps and emit less smoke, and 25 percent of them are free of sulfur and contain less heavy metal materials,” she said.

Another pollution-busting trend appears to be a preference for public firework displays rather than the use of fireworks by individuals and small groups.

“In the future, people might give up setting off fireworks themselves and resort to collective fireworks displays,” said Pan.

Feng Yongfeng, founder of the Green Beagles, a Beijing-based environmental protection NGO, said that despite the reduction of harmful materials, fireworks are still a polluting factor and a public nuisance.

“Fireworks, especially large ones, contain too much gunpowder and are too loud,” he said.

According to the city’s fireworks office, a ban on fireworks will be put into effect if the city issues “red” or “orange” air pollution alerts during the festival, signifying severe levels of air pollution.

The government will inform the public of the alerts through text messages and television and radio alerts.

Excerpted, full article link: http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/2014-01/27/content_17259970.htm

Zhang Yimou facing fine of US$1.15m for extra births [People’s Daily / Sweet & Sour Cinema]

Posted in China, Family planning policy, Law enforcement, Sweet & Sour Cinema, Zhang Yimou 张艺谋 on January 7, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Gao Changxin (China Daily)
December 30, 2013

The Chinese director who dazzled the world in 2008 with his Beijing Olympics opening ceremony apologized on Sunday for violating the nation’s family planning policy.

Zhang Yimou, 62, who also directed the blockbusters Red Sorghum, Raise the Red Lantern and House of Flying Daggers, admitted in a video interview with Xinhua News Agency that he had “done wrong” and that the incident has harmed his reputation “tremendously”.

“I have done wrong and won’t blame anyone else. I will cooperate fully with family planning authorities in the city of Wuxi,” Zhang told Xinhua.

The media interview was Zhang’s first since online reports surfaced in May accusing him of having fathered at least seven children with multiple women and saying he faced a fine of 160 million yuan ($26.4 million).

In November, the family planning authority in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, where Zhang’s children’s hukou — household registration — is located, said they were unable to find Zhang. Meanwhile, the authority faced growing public pressure over “fairness” in handling Zhang’s case.

On Dec 1, in a statement published through his studio, Zhang acknowledged that he and his wife, Chen Ting, gave birth to two sons and a daughter, and he is willing to pay fines.

On Dec 10, Yao Hongwen, spokesman for the National Health and Family Planning Commission, promised that Zhang will receive no favoritism, adding that “nobody is entitled to give birth to more children than allowed”.

Zhang, who has a daughter with his ex-wife, told Xinhua that he had three children with Chen because he followed his father’s wish to have sons to continue the family bloodline.

Zhang’s three children with Chen were born in 2001, 2004 and 2006 in Beijing, before the couple married in 2011. Chen told Xinhua that they fell in love in 1999 and were not willing to register as husband and wife for fear of media exposure.

Chen denied media reports that Zhang had at least seven children with multiple women, calling it a rumor “that has hurt the family”.

The incident, coupled with Zhang’s aversion of the media, stirred a heated discussion online. At the center of the discussion was whether it is fair for wealthy citizens to buy their way out of the one-child policy.

A recent online survey by ynet.com found that about 70 percent of people are unsatisfied with Zhang’s apology, saying it is unfair that Zhang can buy privileges with money.

Zhou Haiwang, deputy director of the Institute of Population and Development under the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, told China Daily that the family planning policy doesn’t favor the rich because the fine is set based on personal income.

Xinhua cited lawyers representing the Wuxi authority and Zhang on Sunday as saying Zhang might need to pay a fine of at least 7 million yuan.

Zhou added that Zhang’s high-profile case serves as a warning to the rest of the country.

“When people see the government gets tough on celebrities, they know they can’t get away with it,” he said.

On Saturday, the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature, formally allowed couples in which either parent has no siblings to have two children, as the nation faces looming demographic challenges, including a rapidly growing elderly population, a shrinking labor force and male-female imbalance.

Article link: http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90882/8498764.html