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China Reform Monitor - No. 1291

Beijing tightens screws on social media;
New rocket launchers deployed to China

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
July 12, 2017

May 17:

China has deployed “anti-frogmen” rocket launchers on one of its man-made islands in the South China Sea,
the Japan Times reports. Norinco CS/AR-1 55-mm rocket defense systems were installed on Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratlys a few days after Beijing and Hanoi agreed to "manage and properly control" their maritime disputes. The system has the capability to discover, identify and attack enemy combat divers. A similar system known as the DP-65 anti-diver grenade launcher was deployed on Fiery Cross in 2012. The report comes just two days after the rivals released a joint communique claiming they agreed to "manage and properly control maritime disputes, not take any actions to complicate the situation or expand the dispute, and maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea."

May 18:

China has collected samples of combustible ice, a type of natural gas hydrate, in the South China Sea in a breakthrough that may lead to a global energy revolution, Minister of Land and Resources Jiang Daming said. After nearly two decades of research and exploration, on May 10 China achieved the breakthrough at a mining site 1,266 meters underwater in the Shenhu area of the South China Sea, 320 kilometers southeast of Zhuhai, Guangdong. An average of 16,000 cubic meters of high purity gas has been extracted each day,
the official Beijing Review reports. Natural gas hydrate is an efficient, abundant, and clean energy source important for future global energy development, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council said in a congratulatory letter. "Many countries along the Maritime Silk Road have a demand for combustible ice mining. With the advanced technology we could help resolve the energy resource problem and boost economic development and exchanges between countries," said Qiu Haijun, director of the trial mining commanding headquarters.

May 25:

The head of Journalism at the School of Journalism and Communication at Wuhan University, Xia Qiong, has posted her resignation letter and other comments on her
WeChat social media feed. “During my 12 years serving as the head, I accomplished nothing and made no contributions to the school so I asked for the school’s approval of my resignation.” In a later post Xia elaborated: “After fighting for years against a flawed higher-education administration system that has no respect for teaching, tramples on teachers’ dignity, and undervalues students’ intelligence, I eventually realized that all my efforts are meaningless and of no value. It’s extremely difficult to be a dedicated teacher.” The letter was circulated and discussed widely on the Chinese internet and in an interview with the official Beijing News, Xia added that “publishing in journals has become an industrial chain.”

June 8:

China's Cyberspace Agency has closed about 60 social media accounts on major platforms amid a crackdown on celebrity news and gossip,
Radio Free Asia reports. The new cybersecurity law, which came into effect on June 1, contains a clause stipulating that online content mustn't breach privacy. Internet platforms Weibo, Tencent, NetEase and Baidu were warned that they must enhance censorship of user accounts offering celebrity gossip: "Websites must adopt effective measures to keep in check the problems of the embellishment of private sex scandals of celebrities, the hyping of ostentatious celebrity spending and entertainment, and catering to the poor taste of the public.” They must also "actively propagate core socialist values, and continue to create a more healthy environment for mainstream public opinion," the Beijing office of the Cyberspace Administration of China announced.

[Editor’s Note: China's new cybersecurity law "monitors, defends and handles cybersecurity risks and threats originating from within the country or overseas sources." Under the new law, websites, forums, blogs and social media platforms must have an internet news providers' license to transmit or post any news not already produced by state media. Under the new blanket ban service providers must delete posts about breaking news from the scene of an event regardless of their content. Only state enterprises can run online news and editorial services and they must to collect and record data on accounts that break the cyber security law and report it to authorities.]

June 11:

In their latest round of inspections, the 12th and final round for 18th CPC Central Committee, discipline inspectors have found officials faked economic data and misused poverty-relief funds,
the official Global Times reports
. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said in a statement that the re-examination of four provincial-level regions found that some local governments and enterprises in Jilin Province have faked economic data. The statement also criticized local authorities of Inner Mongolia for weak implementation of the CPC Central Committee's policies and decisions, accused authorities in Yunnan of failing to clean up the negative influence of corrupt officials, and officials in Shaanxi have had problems in official selection and promotion.

Related Categories: China; China and East Asia Program

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