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China Reform Monitor - No. 1257

Senior Chinese security official named head of Interpol;
New anti-corruption body formed

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
November 23, 2016

November 4:

The Cyberspace Administration, China's most powerful internet regulator, has issued new regulations requiring live-streaming services to censor live content before broadcasting it. Live-streaming news and entertainment content platforms must now have a license, and get official permission to operate, 
the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reports. The more than 300 organizations that live-stream news and entertainment programs must have an editor-in-chief and censors to manage their live comment sections and "bullet screens." A statement from the administration blamed services that "try to catch eyeballs with vulgar content and those that engaged in news broadcasting without approval. The regulations are to strengthen online streaming management and promote the healthy and orderly development of the sector." 

[Editor's Note: These regulations come several months after China's press and entertainment watchdog, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, ordered live-streaming platforms to apply for a "network broadcasting license" to operate. But the Cyberspace Administration is more powerful and its directives carry more weight.]

November 6:

Interpol President Mireille Ballestrazzi has rejected Taiwan's request to attend the organization's general assembly meeting, 
SCMP reports. The Republic of China (ROC-Taiwan) Ministry of Foreign Affairs said having no access to Interpol undermined Taiwan's crime-fighting operations. Taipei was forced to withdraw from Interpol in 1984 when Beijing joined. For the first time in 32 years, last month Taipei applied to participate as an observer at the Interpol annual general assembly next week in Bali, Indonesia. Taipei expressed its appreciation for U.S.' support. In March, the U.S. Congress passed, and President Barack Obama signed, a law requiring the U.S. Secretary of State to develop a strategy to help Taiwan obtain observer status in Interpol. 

November 9:

The National People's Congress (NPC) has announced plans to create a new anti-corruption body, the Investigation Committee. A trial run will first be rolled out in Beijing, Shanxi, and Zhejiang. The new commission will have officials appointed by the NPC, run in parallel with the government, and remain subordinate to the Communist Party. Wang Qishan, head of China's top anti-graft watchdog, is likely to head the new commission, Ming Pao reportsThe Beijing Times described the new commission as the mainland version of Hong Kong's graft buster, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). "A mechanism that makes it impossible and discourages officials from bribing will ultimately add to the success of this mainland Chinese counterpart of ICAC," the paper says in an editorial.

November 10:

The Ministry of Civil Affairs has changed the criteria for "left-behind children" in the latest census, which now shows 9.02 million "left-behind children" - 50 million less than in 2013. 
The Beijing Times reports that the previous criteria defined a child as being "left-behind" if any one of his or her parents worked in another city and if he is under 18 years old. But under the new definition, a child is "left-behind" only if both parents work in another city and he or she is under 16. An editorial in the official Guangming Daily warned of a "game of numbers." "Such incredible achievement within a year is simply illogical - the problem would have been solved long ago if it was such an easy task. Such an approach isn't objective. There are also signs that it is done for officials to flaunt their efforts. If most of the 52 million children that have disappeared from government statistics can be portrayed as the result of the government's effort by means of changing the criteria, such figures will simply lose relevance to reality."

November 11:

Interpol's new chief is China's Vice Minister for public security, Meng Hongwei. Meng, who is the first Chinese national to head the global police body, has sparked concerns among rights groups that he will facilitate efforts to target Chinese dissidents living overseas. "This is extraordinarily worrying given China's longstanding practice of trying to use Interpol to arrest dissidents and refugees abroad," Amnesty International's Regional Director for East Asia, Nicholas Bequelin said in 
comments carried by TIME. The official Beijing Youth Daily, by contrast, was pleased: "There is no doubt that Meng's appointment is linked to China's increasingly important role in upholding regional and global peace and stability." Meng's appointment may help with China's attempts to repatriate officials accused of corruption that have fled overseas, Ming Pao notes

Related Categories: China; China and East Asia Program

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