China Reform Monitor - No. 1289

Lawyers petition against systematic torture;
Ford moving Focus plant to China


July 6, 2017


June 13:

Inspectors from the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Communist Party's top discipline watchdog, have criticized the Cyberspace Administration for failing to quickly or enthusiastically enforce President Xi Jinping's policies on cyberspace. The criticism comes after a month-long inspection of the internet regulator that ended in April. Ning Yanling, the head of the inspection team, said the internet regulator had "not carried out General Secretary Xi Jinping's important instructions and requirements resolutely and promptly enough." Ning said the internet regulator had not done enough to "safeguard political security," lacked "a sense of political responsibility," and failed to implement policies on cyberspace in a satisfactory manner. He did not specify which of Xi's instructions the office had failed to observe,
the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reports.

[Editor's Note: In April last year, Xi, who heads a leading group on cybersecurity, chaired a meeting attended by officials and internet tycoons calling for the construction of a "good online ecology" by strengthening government restrictions over content and directing public opinion. He stressed the need to improve the construction of online content and build a "positive, healthy, uplifting and benevolent" online culture and said any opinion that spread subversion, ethnic separatism, religious extremism or terrorism should be crushed.]

June 19:

In the past few months, hundreds of mainland lawyers have signed an online petition calling on Beijing to investigate torture claims made by more than one dozen recently- released rights lawyers and activists who were detained in a massive crackdown in 2015. Despite China ratifying the UN Convention against Torture in 1988, physical abuse remains common against people in police custody and in detention centers,
the SCMP reports. Former rights activist Wang Qingying, who was arrested in 2014 along with former rights lawyer Tang Jingling and activist Yuan Chaoyang in Guangzhou, said investigators abused him from the beginning: "On the first day, Guangzhou security agents forced a water pipe into my rear end...with both male and female policemen mocking me on the scene. I was often given only mouthfuls of water a day. I was tied to a chair [and] had to relieve myself in one pair of pants for eight days in a row," Wang said, adding that he was beaten repeatedly and still cannot sit properly. Teng Biao, an exiled legal scholar, said "there's no sign of easing" torture on the mainland: "Torture in China is institutional, rather than an individual practice of certain law enforcement officers."

June 20:

A group of Kazakhs scholars have held a news conference in Astana to denounce the "persecution" of ethnic Kazakhs in Xinjiang "including the confiscation of passports and green cards," and called on China to guarantee their rights. "The Kazakh foreign ministry and leaders at the ministry of civil affairs, politician, and the whole social elite are very concerned that Kazakhs in Xinjiang lead miserable lives,"
said an anonymous Kazakh source to Radio Free Asia. "We protest the atrocities committed against Kazakhs in China by the Chinese government. We call on the Kazakhstan foreign ministry to contact the Chinese government to guarantee the freedoms of this country's permanent residents, so that Kazakhs in China are able to cross the border freely and visit their families. There are countless cases of them being treated very cruelly."

June 21:

Ford Motor Co. will transfer partial production of its Focus vehicle to China months after the American automaker canceled plans to relocate the plant to Mexico. The Focus is now made in Michigan, and that plant will be converted to produce the Ranger midsize pickup truck and the Bronco midsize SUV. The transfer, slated for 2019, will save Ford $500 million,
the company said in a statement: "No U.S. hourly employees will be out of a job tied to the new manufacturing plan for the Focus." Still, the potential to increase job opportunities in the U.S. is eliminated and it will widen China's already massive trade surplus with the U.S. Ford's plan to move the production facility to China will also weaken its profitability since any foreign carmaker in China must form a joint venture with a Chinese firm and own no more than 50% of the joint company, the official Caixin reports
.

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