Archive for the Special Economic Zones Category

Journalists rebel in Guangzhou as right wing in China raises its voice [Workers World]

Posted in Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, China, Corporate Media Critique, Corruption, CPC, Deng Xiaoping, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Journalism, Mao Zedong, Marx, Reform and opening up, Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, Special Economic Zones, Taiwan, USSR on January 29, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

I am posting this article as an alternative to the capitalist press regarding the recent censorship kerfluffle at ‘Southern Weekend’ in China. I am totally grossed out by pork sausage/dandruff shampoo/toothpaste-shill Yao Chen quoting Solzhenitsyn on her blog in response to that as reported here. I am obligated to reprint the article entire, and at this time will restate my blog’s caveat that posting does not constitute full endorsement of the opinions expressed by the writer. – Zuo Shou

by Fred Goldstein

Jan. 14, 2013

Those in China who advocate bourgeois democracy, deepening capitalist reforms and opening up further to imperialism staged a journalists’ rebellion the first week of January at the nationally circulated magazine Southern Weekend, based in Guangzhou. Guangzhou, which is across the bay from Hong Kong, is the capital of Guangdong province, the stronghold of capitalism in China.

The mini-rebellion took the form of a near strike and protest when the Propaganda Department of the Guangdong branch of the Chinese Communist Party intervened at the last minute to prevent a New Year’s editorial from going to press.

The editorial, which was severely modified by the authorities, was entitled “My Dream, the Dream of Constitutionalism.” While the English translation has not been published in any of the Western media, numerous sources reported it stressed “political reform.”

In the context of the present-day political struggle in China, “political reform” is code for creating openings for the bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeois intelligentsia to organize politically, either through the governmental electoral process, within the party, or both.

In fact, one of the few practical applications of “political reform” took place in Guangdong on an experimental basis under the guidance of its previous “reform” leader, Wang Yan. Wang preached democracy — but the class orientation of his democracy was illustrated by an experimental local election he authorized in the city of Dudan in September 2011. Fewer than 7,000 local inhabitants were reportedly allowed to vote, while 60,000 sweatshop workers who had immigrated from other Chinese provinces were disenfranchised. (The Economist, Nov. 26, 2011)

The Southern Weekend, with a circulation of 1.6 million, has been a leading voice for bourgeois liberalism in China. The confrontation of the editors and sections of the staff with the CCP became a cause célèbre of the right. Demonstrations were organized for “democracy,” “freedom of the press” and political reform.

* Protesters hail Tiananmen Square *

This incident served as a message and a challenge from the right to the incoming leader of the CCP, Xi Jingping, who will become China’s president in March.

The capitalist media swung immediately behind the protest. The Financial Times of Jan. 11 reported: “‘This feels exactly like the beginning of [the Tiananmen student movement in] 1989,’ said Yu Gang, a 44-year-old democracy campaigner who took part in the Tiananmen protests. He made pro-democracy speeches outside the Southern Weekend headquarters until police broke up the protest on Thursday.” A pro-Mao counter-demonstration also took place.

The right-wing blogosphere went into gear as well. A nationally known movie actor went one step beyond raising the 1989 counter-revolutionary uprising at Tiananman Square. Yao Chen, who has the the country’s most-followed Twitter-like microblog, quoted Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s saying that “One word of truth outweighs the whole world.”

The Financial Times continued, “Ms Yao sent the former Soviet dissident’s words with the logo of Southern Weekend, the paper respected as the vanguard of Chinese investigative journalism and for its probing stories but now involved in a rare open fight with censors. Her post marks a warning to China’s new leadership under Xi Jinping, the new Communist party chief who took over from Hu Jintao in November..” (Financial Times, Jan. 11, 2013)

Solzhenitsyn was a counter-revolutionary novelist in the USSR who depicted the tsar’s family in a sympathetic light in his book “1914.” Even war criminal Henry Kissinger once described him as “to the right of the czar.” He was jailed by Soviet authorities and eventually given a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970. He is identified with the overthrow of socialism in the USSR.

* Xi’s trip to Shenzen heartens the right *

Following the protest, an open letter in defense of Southern Weekend and signed by 16 reactionary professors, authors and journalists from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan was addressed to the Guangdong Provincial Party Committee. It demanded the dismissal of the official they claimed was responsible for censorship.

The letter was a virtual manifesto which referred to the trip made by Xi to Shenzen in Guangdong province in December of last year — his first trip after being elected the new head of the CCP. The trip was a replica of one made by Deng Xiaoping in 1992 on his “southern tour” to promote the further opening up to capitalism and imperialism, under the slogan “opening up and reform.” That trip led to the rapid development of Guangdong province as an export/sweatshop center of China. On his recent trip, Xi laid a wreath dedicated to Deng and promised to pursue “reform” and “opening up.”

This trip undoubtedly strengthened the right and was probably partly responsible for the brazen challenge by the Southern Weekend group.

The China Media Project, based in Hong Kong, wrote on Jan. 7: “In China today, the lingering sense of rise and regeneration relies to a great extent on Guangdong. For Xi as for Deng before him, southern tours marked great events that began in Guangdong. The entire nation, and people both here at home and overseas, regards Guangdong as the most crucial touchstone of reform and opening. The power of this one province ripples across our whole country, and the contributions of Southern Weekly are an undeniable part of that.”

The manifesto ended with praise for the magazine as “one of the country’s top groups … closely connected with the current of reform and the spirit of opening up” and condemned the propaganda official, asking if he “did not harbor such hostility for reform and opening, would things have come to this point.”

But these mouthpieces for the bourgeoisie have things completely backwards. If the reactionaries of Southern Weekend were not so fervently dedicated to the deepening of capitalism, widening imperialist penetration and promoting political openings for the bourgeoisie, if they had not made such a brazen move to test the Xi leadership, then would things ever “have come to this point”?

* Challenge to Xi *

Until now the magazine has harassed the government with exposures of abuses of workers, damage to the environment and official corruption. Thus, it has curried favor with the populace, using progressive exposures to foster its reactionary program of undermining the CCP from the right.

Because of the CCP’s policy of so-called “market socialism,” permitting capitalist development, violation of workers’ rights, corruption and the growth of the very capitalist class championed by Southern Weekend, the party is vulnerable to justifiable criticism. The right wing collects the grievances of the masses and uses them as a battering ram against the party.

But with the New Year’s message, the right wing went over the line. Southern Weekend has been under heavy censorship from party propaganda authorities because of its openly bourgeois liberalism. The magazine, according to most accounts, has been adept at pushing a right-wing line without making any major confrontational challenges to the party. But this time they upped the ante.

The right surfaced for the moment. The dispute spread to Beijing News. A web publication run by a party official was shut down for backing the right wing. A Confucian grouping issued a reactionary manifesto.

* Bo Xilai and defeat of the Chongqing model *

At this point it is necessary to put this struggle in the context of the suppression of Bo Xilai. Bo was the head of Chongqing province. The struggle against him was popularly regarded, on one level, as one between the Chongqing model and the Guangdong model.

Bo had promoted state economic development as the instrument for achieving the welfare of the masses. He built quality, low-cost housing for the workers. He increased social benefits. He made it easier for the rural population to obtain urban status and the benefits that come with that. He waged a campaign against the axis between corrupt party officials and capitalists with criminal elements.

Bo also promoted Maoist culture, songs and sayings, and shifted Chongqing television from a commercial station to a public station. This station was nationally broadcast and allowed an egalitarian message to get wide exposure, such as the message of “Red GDP” — development through state investment, rather than private investment, that gives greater priority to the welfare of the masses.

The Guangdong model, by contrast, emphasized economic development, mainly by capitalist means and relying on exports. The social rights of millions of immigrant workers from the interior of the country took a back seat. In general, the bourgeois spirit is dominant in the Guangdong model.

The detention of Bo last spring and vilification of the Chongqing model represented a defeat for the left within the framework of the party leadership. It represented a victory for the Guangdong model, the model promoted by Southern Weekend and its bourgeois allies. The victory was achieved by a bloc of the center and the right. Now that the challenge from the left has been temporarily suppressed, the right wing has gained confidence and courage.

This is not to say that the Southern Weekend incident represents any serious immediate threat to the party. But it represents a future danger and has brought to the surface a thoroughly reactionary current that, despite its limited numbers, occupies strategic positions in the media, the universities, communications and, of course, business.

It should be noted that when Bo was detained and his spouse, Gu Kailai, put through a show trial, these forces made no defense of the democratic rights of these leaders.

* Political contradictions of ‘market socialism’ *

There are many contradictions to so-called “market socialism” or “socialism with Chinese characteristics,” as it is euphemistically referred to by the leadership. The principal one, which is developing irresistibly, is the contradiction between economics and politics.

The mainstream of the top party leadership is trying to hold on to the socialist side of the economy: the state-owned enterprises, economic planning through “guidance,” and development and control of the commanding heights and strategic sectors of the economy. This is what has enabled the Chinese economy to weather the world capitalist crisis so far and continue its forward development. This is presumably the “socialist” side of the “socialist market economy.”

On the “market” side, the party has promoted the private sector, allowed private money to penetrate the public sector, and let the imperialists have a significant presence in the economy. It has let the rights of the working class that should be guaranteed under socialism go by the boards in the interest of economic development through capitalism, and has made many other economic concessions.

This has led to the growth of a capitalist class and the equally dangerous growth of a capitalist-minded petty bourgeois elite that is spread throughout the professions. This stratum provides mouthpieces for the bourgeoisie, promoting its ideology and its political interests.

As long as the CCP leadership promotes the capitalist market, which is diametrically opposed to socialism, the spirit of capitalism will continue to pervade society. It is in the very nature of the bourgeoisie, of capital, to expand. This not only manifests itself on the enterprise level as a desire to expand profits and accumulation. It also expresses itself on a class level, as a desire to expand its political influence commensurate with its economic development.

Both the state and the private sectors have grown in the last decade. Which has grown the stronger is a matter of dispute. But what is indisputable is the growth of the corporate and financial bourgeoisie.

In this latest dispute, one publication loyal to the party line warned the authorities at Southern Weekly that there is “no special political zone.” This refers to the special capitalist economic zones in Guangdong.

Here is where the problem lies. You cannot give the bourgeoisie more and more special economic zones without them demanding commensurate political influence. Marxists know that politics is concentrated economics. The economics of the bourgeoisie leads inevitably in the direction of trying to transform China’s political structure into a bourgeois political democracy.

Only a thoroughgoing return to proletarian democracy and the political, economic and social empowerment of the workers, as envisaged by Mao and his collaborators, can put an end to the political grasping by the bourgeoisie.
Articles copyright 1995-2013 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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Oil tank fire extinguished in northeast China’s Dalian [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Dalian, Environmental protection, Liaoning Province, Special Economic Zones on August 30, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

DALIAN, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) — Firefighters have extinguished a diesel oil tank fire that ignited around 10 a.m. in Dalian, a coastal city in northeast Liaoning Province, according to municipal authorities.

The blaze, at a refinery owned by PetroChina, one of the country’s leading oil producers, demanded a force of 296 firefighters and 65 fire trucks, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Public Security.

A blast in the pipeline linking two oil tanks triggered the fire, the statement indicated.

No casualties have been reported, officials said.

The potential existed for a worse fire due to its close proximity to tanks of liquefied petroleum gas, aviation gasoline and other oil tanks.

Firefighters remain on the scene to guard against any further hazard.

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Protesters force closure of Dalian chemical plant [People’s Daily]

Posted in Dalian, Liaoning Province, Natural disaster, Oil spill, Police, Pollution, Special Economic Zones on August 15, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Although I didn’t turn up any evidence that chemicals leaked during the recent typhoon landing, people should know that Dalian has been rattled over the past year or so by seemingly continuous round of environmental, industrial and civic-related accidents, including a major oil spill. The contradictions of a city trying to play a dual role as a showcase beach resort and booming Special Economic Zone is stirring residents into major protest. – Zuo Shou

August 15, 2011

* Excerpted *

A chemical plant in Dalian in northeast China has been ordered to shut immediately after 12,000 residents took to the streets over concerns of potential toxic chemical leaks.

Dalian authorities yesterday also pledged to relocate the controversial Fujia Chemical Plant, in a statement issued just six hours after the protest began in the port city.

A small crowd gathered in front of government buildings at around 10am yesterday and quickly grew from there.

Protesters chanted “Fujia, get out!” and “Serve the people,” sang the national anthem and displayed banners printed with the phrases “We want to survive” and “We want a good environment.”

There were scuffles with police, although there were no reports of injuries. At one point, protesters threw bottles of mineral water at police who had tried to cordon off a section of a main road that passes near the square.

Before giving the order to shut the plant, Dalian’s Communist Party chief Tang Jun and Mayor Li Wancai had tried to appease the crowd by promising to move the plant, but protesters demanded a clear timetable for relocation.

The plant is a producer of paraxylene (PX), a carcinogenic petrochemical used to create raw materials for the production of polyester film and fabrics.

Calls to relocate the plant mounted last week after waves whipped up by tropical storm Muifa breached a dike built to protect the plant from floodwaters. Residents were concerned that a flood could damage the plant and cause it to release toxic chemicals.

The breached dike has been repaired and no chemical leaks have been reported, but demands for relocation still gathered steam. Calls for street protests rapidly circulated on the Internet…

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Joint Sino-Korean Special Economic Trade zone to boost DPRK economy [China Daily]

Posted in China, Dandong, DPR Korea, Sino-Korean Friendship, Special Economic Zones on July 17, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Bao Chang, Zhu Chengpei and Ding Qingfen (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-06-25

DANDONG, Liaoning – A free-trade area and a tax-free zone will be set up as part of the first special economic zone straddling the mainland and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), a Chinese government official told China Daily.

Dai Yulin, secretary of the Dandong committee of the Communist Party of China, said the area will help boost foreign direct investment, turning the zone into a hot investment destination.

In early June, China and the DPRK agreed to build three special economic zones to enhance China-DPRK economic and trade cooperation and promote economic relations with the rest of the world.

A free-trade area of 20,000 sq m will be established on Hwanggumpyong Island, an undeveloped DPRK island adjacent to China’s border city of Dandong, Liaoning province, where a tax-free zone of 10 sq km will be set up.

“Hwanggumpyong Island and Dandong city will become the hot ground for investors worldwide, as vast business opportunities exist on the island, DPRK’s first open zone where international trade projects related to the DPRK will be developed,” Dai said.

He said both domestic and foreign investors have shown great interest in joining the economic zone.

“Projects in sectors of marine engineering, special steel, colored steel and car audio will soon settle in Hwanggumpyong Island and Dandong city,” he said.

Those economic zones will be followed by development of the Rason and Wihwa Island economic zones.

According to Li Wei, an economist from Standard Chartered Shanghai, establishing these zones will have a positive impact on the economies of both the DPRK and China’s northeast region.

“Prosperity in the DPRK will help stabilize the economic and political situation in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.

Companies are also expressing their interest in the DPRK.

“We can grasp more investing opportunities in both the Hwanggumpyong zone and the DPRK, as more business laws and market regulations are set up to complement the international economic environment in the DPRK, which is still in its infancy in terms of attracting foreign investment,” said a permanent delegate at China Aerospace Beijing Changfeng Co Ltd’s Pyongyang office, who declined to be named.

The DPRK announced it would open up to the outside and promote local economic growth after leader Kim Jong-il visited China from May 20 to 26, signaling Pyongyang’s approach to studying China’s development and attracting more Chinese investment.

“Pyongyang is now increasing its efforts to develop the economy. Kim’s visit helped promote the construction of the highway connecting China’s Hunchun city and Najin in the DPRK and a new bridge across the Yalu River, projects which can help attract more Chinese investment to the DPRK,” said Hu Mingyuan, an assistant research scholar with the Center for Northeast Asian Studies, a research institution in Jilin province.

“We expect to see details about rules and regulations tailored for the special economic zone and the free trade zone. A stable investment environment is the most important thing,” said Zhang Xiaoji, senior researcher at the Development Research Center of the State Council.

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Fire on leaked NE China petrochemical device under control, no casualties reported – Dalian’s latest in string of environmental accidents [Xinhua]

Posted in China, Dalian, Environmental protection, Liaoning Province, Special Economic Zones on July 16, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Man, with the worst oil spill in Chinese history one year ago, multiple offshore oil spills in the vicinity ongoing at this time, the under-construction subway put on hiatus this year because of multiple street cave-ins and now this, what in the heck is wrong in the Dalian Special Economic Zone?? – Zuo Shou

DALIAN, July 16 (Xinhua) — Fire on a leaked petrochemical device has been put under control with no casualties reported in Dalian, a coastal city in northeast China’s Liaoning Province, company sources said Saturday evening.

The fire was triggered off by leak in a distillation device at the Dalian Petrochemical Company of PetroChina, a leading onshore oil producer of the nation, at around 2:25 p.m. Saturday.

But experts said the fire would continue for a certain period of time as the device still had about 100 metric tons of inflammable matter.

There is no explosive factor surrounding the device on fire, according to company sources.

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Shenzhen’s subway Line 4 goes into operation, connects Shenzhen with HK [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Special Economic Zones, Transportation on June 18, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

June 17, 2011

The southern Chinese city of Shenzhen’s Line 4 subway went into operation Thursday afternoon, seamlessly connecting Shenzhen and Hong Kong for the first time.

The 20.5-km subway line starts at Qinghu Station in north Shenzhen to Futian Port Station in the south. The Futian Port station connects to Hong Kong’s East Rail Line.

Passengers can also use the subway line’s Shenzhen North Station to connect to the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong high-speed railway and the Xiamen-Shenzhen dedicated passenger line.

Xu Qin, mayor of Shenzhen, said on Thursday at the line’s opening ceremony that the opening of the line will have great significance for regional economic development.

Henry Tang Ying-yen, chief secretary for administration of the Hong Kong SAR, said the new line is conducive to further cooperation in economy and people’s livelihoods between Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

The subway line was built and is operated by the Hong Kong MTR Corp., Ltd. The line was built at a cost of 6 billion yuan over the course of 6 years.

Source: Xinhua

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A glimpse of Boten, Golden Triangle special zones in Laos [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Hong Kong, Laos, Special Economic Zones, Thailand, Vietnam on February 7, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

February 1, 2011

Two People’s Daily resident reporters in Thailand have come to the Boten and Golden Triangle special economic zones in northern Laos to witness what thing are like there, and the following are some scenes they have come across in the province, where business activity is up to 99 years for concession projects.

All this is in Lao territory; the Boten and Golden special economic zone is a 20 square mile area leased by a land-based Hong Kong company from the Laotian government for 99 years starting in 2003.

At present, the development is in an initial stage at the Boton special economic zone, which lies in proximity to the Kunming-Bangkok Expressway in northern Laos, close to China.  Two newly-built avenues are lined with many stores and Chinese restaurants.  Some shops have gone into business, two hotels are unique in style, a few business-residential high-rises have sprung up and a commercial center is being built.

The main body of a land border checkpoint funded by a land-based Hong Kong company has completed, and its interior uplifting is well under way, and it is said to put to use in April.  The designs of small tinkling bell on the crown tower at top represent an important symbol of Laos.

Laotian Kip, China’s RMB yuan and Thai Bhat are mainly being used and circulated in Shopping at stores of the Boton special zone. Economic development in cities in northern Laos are less developed nevertheless; some shops and streets at old port cities along the Thai-Laotian border look deserted, and a gas station and a motorcycle repair center are also inactive.  But it is bustling with business activities, with instant, continuous flows of vehicles in front of the Buton customs, and stores and restaurants are booming.

The priority orientation of the special zone in years ahead is to set up four central function areas, according to Huang Yuanshui, manger of the special zone business corporation.  The first and foremost is to develop a warehouse and distribution center by capitalizing on the geographical adjacent advantages to China; the second is to build customary duty-free zone for selling electronic products and equipment or apparatus, the third is to develop a vacation and convention center and, fourthly, to build a major travel and shopping center.

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