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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Review: China in 2008– the CCP started to lose its stranglehold (2)

Posted by Author on December 29, 2008

The Diplomat, Australia, 24-Dec-2008 –

Government insider turned dissident writer Jennifer Zeng asks whether 2008 will be remembered as the year the CCP started to lose its stranglehold over China


Pollution, corruption, food adulteration

The Paralympics had barely drawn to a close when news of the poisoned milk powder broke. If the Sanlu Group had not been partly owned by New Zealand’s Fonterra and launched an investigation, thousands more babies might be dying from the results of melamine poisoning. The authorities had known there was a problem since December 2007, but it was all hushed up because of the Olympics.

Food and water contamination is a massive problem in China. Zhou Qing, award-winning author of What Kind of God – A Survey of the Current Safety of China’s Food, warned years ago that food security could ultimately spark the collapse of the CCP, and there are increasing signs that the people are less accepting of the situation. Certainly the statistics make sobering reading.

Over 40 per cent of drinking water in rural China falls short of government standards, animal feed is almost universally tainted with melamine, excessive pesticides and chemical fertilisers are used to boost yields, and harmful antibiotics are widely administered to control disease in seafood and livestock. Talcum powder is routinely added to flour and rice is chemically whitened. And yet, miraculously, the CCP is still able to ensure access to the best-quality organically grown produce for party officials.

Throughout 2008, the CCP has used the global financial crisis to reinforce the superiority of the country’s social system. In reality, though, China is far from immune. Its stock market has plunged by nearly two-thirds in the 11 months to September and the economy remains sluggish, with large numbers of factories going bankrupt as international demand for Chinese-made consumer goods slides. According to the State Planning and Development Commission, nearly 70,000 small- to medium-sized companies went out of business in the first half of 2008.

It is these factors and their associated social repercussions that most threaten the CCP’s monopoly on political power. As well as the poor and hungry, beneficiaries of Party patronage, who had grown extremely rich in previous years, are known to be unhappy that their worth has been cut by 50 per cent of late.

Meanwhile corruption, rampant throughout the financial markets, has reached epidemic levels among government officials, and people have finally had enough. In August, 28-year-old Yang Jia allegedly broke into the Zhabei Branch of Shanghai’s Bureau of Public Security, where 2700 police officers were working, and stabbed six policemen to death and wounded four more.

In any normal society, this would be horrific news. Yet 90 per cent of bloggers and Internet users in China showed sympathy and support for Yang after rumours spread that he had been badly treated by police in the past. At his second trial in October, in a display of public dissatisfaction with the regime, more than 1000 supporters gathered outside the court to support Yang. One man held a huge banner that read, The knight-errant will endure forever. Many others shouted, ‘Overthrow the fascist government! Overthrow the Chinese Communist Party! Yang Jia is a hero!’ A small group was even bold enough to wear T-shirts displaying Yang Jia’s photo. The protests were to no avail, however, as Yang was executed in November.

It is a measure of the level of anger at social injustice and the bias of the judicial system that so many people, including ‘Bird’s Nest’ Olympic Stadium designer Ai Weiwei, should publicly support a suspected cop-killer. And the prevailing mood of dissatisfaction is growing. Riots are now a daily occurrence, including in June when an attempted police cover-up over the assault and death of a teenage girl triggered large-scale violence in Guizhou Province. Up to 100,000 are reported to have participated in the riot, with 160 office buildings and 40 cars torched. (to be cont’d)

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The Diplomat

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