Oh, Christmas! Let’s have some fun!

 

 

 

BEIJING

Oh, Christmas!

Let’s have some fun!

 

By Liu Lu, Wang Jian, Wang Di, Yu Li, Cao Ting and Liu Mingyang

 

Although a majority of Chinese people do not have a Christmas break, the country’s youth have been increasingly getting into the holiday spirit.

Different from family reunions that often mark the celebration in the west, Chinese observe the day by getting together with friends, shopping, giving gifts and romance.

 

SANTA CLAUS COMING INTO TOWN

 

On Wednesday of December 24, 7-year-old Guo Xunyu’s primary school teacher is throwing a party to celebrate the western holiday. The children will sing songs, eat snacks and play games with her classmates at primary school.

“It is a wonderful time for our kids to sit around, as well as for us parents to communicate,” said Gao Yajie, one of the parents who helped arrange the activity. “After all, the children are too busy with their daily school work.”

In a community in north Beijing, 26 male volunteers will dress up as “Santa Claus” to deliver gifts to about 260 homes.

According to Meng Jin, an organizer of the activity, the 26 Santa Clauses plan to knock at the door to surprise kids with their presents.

“We aim to leave a wonderful childhood memory for children in our community and Christmas eve is just the right time when the festive atmosphere is everywhere,” she said.

“Many families have registered to get a present for their child, we are recruiting more Santa Clauses for the eve,” she added.

 

CELEBRATION AROUND THE COUNTRY

 

In a remote village at an altitude of 3,000 meters on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in northwest China, a Tibetan woman, Tsering Amon, is busy rehearsing a dance performance for a show on Christmas eve.

Knowledge about the western holiday spread to the Tibetan village through children who learnt about it in school and people who work in big cities. Now, more people in the small village enjoy the jubilant atmosphere when the eve falls.

“Since Christmas celebrations began in 2009, people in the neighborhood have enjoyed it very much. This year, the celebration will last about two hours, including singing, dancing and mini-dramas,” said Tsering Amon.

“We have bought costumes, Christmas hats, masks and presents such as apples for the seniors and pencils and erasers for the children,” she said.

On Christmas, people will send blessings via cellphone, wishing friends and family “merry Christmas,” “good luck,” and “wish you health.”

Last month, construction began on a Santa Park in Chengdu in southwest China’s Sichuan Province.

Scheduled to open in 2016, it is jointly built by both China and Finland and will become the first authentic Finnish Santa Park in Asia.

The park, covering about 10,000 square meters, will include scores of entertainment events related with Christmas with a total investment of nearly 200 million yuan (32.7 million U.S. dollars).

Paula Parvianien, deputy head of the Embassy of Finland in Beijing, said that the Santa Park will be a platform for Sino-Finnish culture exchange, and help promote the cultural and economic cooperations between the two countries.

Across the Taiwan Strait, various activities will also be held on the island, including live-shows and carnivals, and local churches will be filled with people to sing anthems and exchange presents.

 

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY

 

The commercial importance of Christmas in China is obviously increasing.

Walking into a restaurant or shopping mall during the holiday season, Christmas decorations are often be spotted and christmas carols heard. Many businesses have their staff dress up in Santa hats and put on a more chipper attitude.

Near Sanlitun and Worker’s Stadium in Beijing, a nightlife hotspot for both locals and foreigners, restaurants and night clubs host special events on Christmas Eve.

Zhang Hong, a staff in a law firm in Beijing, has scheduled to meet three friends to see a cross talk on Christmas Eve.

“We celebrate Christmas as it is a chance to hang out,” said Zhang. “We make reservations beforehand, as it will be people everywhere when the day comes.”

 

 

 

 

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Jenny Lang Ping leads China to surprising resurgence

 

 

Photo taken on May 17, 2013 shows Lang Ping, the new head coach of the Chinese women’s

volleyball team, training the players before the match against Porto Rico at the 2013 China

International Women’s Volleyball Tournament held in Ningbo, east China’s Zhejiang Province.

Photo by Xu Yu

 

 

Jenny Lang Ping

leads China to surprising resurgence

 

By Wang Jingyu

 

About one year ago, coach and volleyball legend Jenny Lang Ping and her Chinese national women’s volleyball team were struggling to recover from their disappointing fourth finish at the Asian Championships. At the same time this year, they can look back upon the wonderful moments they had at the World Championships with joy and smiles.

It had been 16 years since China last stepped foot on the podium at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship, but their success at Italy 2014 offers much encouragement for Jenny and the young stars under her guidance.

Although they lost to the United States in the final – a team Jenny had coached to the silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games – coming away with second place has been deemed a great success for a side who recorded their worst ever result in the tournament when they finished 10th four years ago. This fact is not lost on the 53-year-old.

“The World Championship is the first ‘Big Three’ tournament in the new Olympic circle and the silver medal was a very good encouragement to our young team,” said Jenny, who took the helm early last year.

“The result was a bit surprising to us. We have fought very hard to make the final and get the silver medal. Generally speaking, we have played over the bar at this tournament. We have seen our improvement, our potential and the things we need to work on from the games we played in Italy.

“After the semifinals, we found that we had a chance to go for the gold medal. Maybe we were the underdogs in the final, but for sure we had a chance. Why didn’t we get it? It’s just because we were not good enough. We need to work harder.”

The Chinese women have now reached the final of the World Championship five times with only Russia and Italy ahead of them on nine and six appearances respectively. The current world No. 3 landed the title in 1982, 1986 and finished runners-up in 1990, 1998 and 2014 and it is a testament to Jenny’s talents as both a player and a coach that she was with the team on every occasion.

“Time flies! I have taken part in so many World Championships, more than Olympic Games and World Cups,” said Jenny.

The former ace spiker was nicknamed “Iron Hammer” when leading the Chinese team to consecutive titles at the 1982 World Championship, 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games and 1981 and 1985 World Cups. She became coach after retiring and led the Chinese women to win silvers at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and 1998 World Championship and bronze at the 1995 World Cup in her first spell as national team coach which sadly came to an end in early 1999 due to health problems.

However, she was parachuted back in after the Asian powerhouse’s lackluster performance at the London 2012 Olympic Games where they finished fifth. And Jenny admits that she already has one eye on the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in two years’ time.

“Every team is thinking about the Rio Games,” she revealed. “From this World Championship, it’s easy to find that the competition among women’s volleyball teams has become closer than ever. All the teams have brought their best players to Italy and displayed how well they could play. I think those teams who improve faster in the next two years will have a good chance in Rio. For us, if we don’t work harder, we will be surpassed.”

China’s improvement over the last few seasons – which include a silver at the 2013 World Grand Prix and gold at the 2014 Asian Cup – has not gone unnoticed by Jenny’s peers either. Chinese Volleyball Association vice president Pan Zhichen was one of many people who convinced Jenny to return to the national team after 14 years and he has praised her influence so far.

“Jenny has played the most important role in the coaching team,” he said. “She is a world class coach and has been doing a great job.”

Pan was especially impressed by the young players including teenager stars Zhu Ting and Yuan Xinyue. The 19-year-old Zhu was included in the World Championship Dream Team as outside spiker and Yuan was also one of the stars of the tournament as she made her debut as middle blocker.

“The young players have improved very quickly under Jenny’s guidance and I think they will help bring a brighter future to our team.”

The impressive performance of the Chinese team at the World Championship also helped remove the pressure Jenny faced after the team’s disappointing fourth place finish at the Asian Championship last autumn and she is now determined to stick to her way of coaching, adding youth and continuing to develop the side into world beaters.

“I will continue to recruit young talented players and give them opportunities to play for the national team,” she asserted. “Our second string players have done a good job at the Asian Games, winning the silver also. Quite a few players from that team have participated in our training camp early this year. The more players we can use, the better our future will be.”

The 2014 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship have also witnessed many teams record their best ever performance.

USA, who were crowned the new world champions in Italy, had never won gold before in the tournament. Their amazing first place improved on their previous best of second – which the Americans had achieved twice, in 1967 and 2002. USA have now become one of only six countries to have claimed FIVB trophies with the others being Russia (including the Soviet Union), Japan, Cuba, China and Italy.

“We came here to make history and we made it,” said USA coach Karch Kiraly.

“It feels really good, it’s awesome. I am so proud of these people I work with in this program every day. The 50 athletes who wore a USA uniform this year at some point and all the contributions they made and make on a daily basis.”

The Dominican Republic have truly shattered all their historical records, rising high above any expectations and astonishing even their most optimistic of fans.

The “Queens of the Caribbean” came within one set of a semifinal berth when they led China 2-0 (and just needed to win by any score) in their last match of Round 3. They finished fifth, a huge leap from their previous best of 11th in 1998. They were 17th in the last two editions.

Third place for Brazil, though, was a disappointment for the Olympic champions. The South Americans were chasing the only major title that still eludes them. They lost to Russia twice in tie-breaks in their previous two attempts in 2006 and 2010 and riding on the momentum of their 2012 Olympic gold, they were tipped as favorites to win the World Championships this time around. The bronze medal they ended up with doesn’t improve on their previous bests.

The success of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship 2014 is proof that the sport is heading in the right direction according to President Dr. Ary S. Graca.

“The global spread of volleyball has been made evident by the Championships this year – which have been the most successful in FIVB history,” he said.

“The fact that world No. 10 the Dominican Republic got so far through the competition demonstrates how the sport is developing beyond the usual stars in Russia and Brazil. We are seeing new stars emerging all the time from every corner of the world and this assures me that we are heading in the right direction as a federation.”

He also said that volleyball is in fine health as the sport begins to turn its attention to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

“After over 50 years, volleyball will be coming home to Rio in 2016, where fans will see the sport’s most spectacular show yet – both in our fully-packed stadiums and on Rio’s iconic Copacabana beach.”

 

 

 

A visitor poses for photos with a wax figure of volleyball legend Lang Ping at the Madame

Tussauds Wax Museum in Beijing on May 31, 2014.   Photo – Xinhua

 

 

 

 

China’s train ticket competition intensifies ahead of Spring Festival

 

 

Photo – Internet

 

China’s train ticket competition

intensifies ahead of Spring Festival

 

By Zhong Qun, Cao Ting, Liu Jingyang, Xiong Lin, Qi Zhongxi and Chen Guozhou

 

The Chinese Lunar New Year is almost two months away, but Mr Ji and his wife, who live in Shanghai, have already bought 21 train tickets to their hometown Harbin in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province.

They don’t plan on making 21 journeys to home and back. Rather, the couple have been hoarding train tickets, which went on sale on December 7, in order to choose the most ideal time for their journey home during the travel rush, or “chunyun”.

“We have no choice, because we do not know which day we could go home,” said the husband surnamed Ji. With all the tickets in store, Mr Ji said he could choose the best and return the rest “without any charges”.

“Chunyun”, often referred to as the world’s largest human migration, is the hectic travel period surrounding Chinese New Year. Last year, the period saw about 266 million rail trips made, up 12 percent from the previous year. This year, the annual 40-day travel period will begin on February 4 and last until March 16.

With the Spring Festival approaching, the train ticket rush is already heating up, with the public frantically purchasing tickets in the lead-up to the hectic travel period.

On Friday, China sold more than 9.56 million train tickets, a new high for daily sales, as tickets became available for Feb. 16, 2015, three days ahead of the Spring Festival.

A total of 5.64 million tickets, or 59 percent of the total, were sold online on the same day, also hitting a historic high. The official ticket-selling website, 12306.cn, saw a record high of 29.7 billion page views on Friday, the Institute of Computing Technology under the China Academy of Railway Sciences said Sunday.

In an effort to facilitate a smooth travel peak, railway authorities made train tickets available 60 days in advance this year instead of 30 days as in previous years. Tickets can also be refunded 15 days before the train departs without any service charges.

The extension of the purchasing period and the refund policy have led to “ticket hoarding”, with some residents like Mr Ji trying to snap up as many tickets as possible because they are unsure of their returning dates .

At Beijing South Railway Station, one of Beijing’s busiest, dozens of passengers can be seen queuing outside the refund office to return purchased tickets.

One of the travellers told Xinhua that she came early to get refunds for the tickets she had hoarded, but many came even earlier.

Hoarders are not only the ones stirring up the ticket battle. Scalpers are making the situation even more difficult, according 12306.cn.

“Scalpers now use high-end software to snap up tickets, burdening 12306.cn,” a representative of the website told Xinhua.

Chinese rail police have launched a campaign targeting train ticket scalping by pledging to crack down on online scalping with a special squad of investigators.

Police have also increased patrols around railway stations. Meanwhile, they encourage the public to report scalpers to them.

But still, the problem remains rampant, as scalpers resort to new methods to reap huge benefits.

According to China’s state-broadcaster CCTV, some scalpers use software that can buy tickets within seconds of being posted on 12306.cn. Software that can automatically produce ID numbers and fake names such as the Chinese translation of “Kobe Bryant” are also applied.

“Because the website is not connected with the country’s public security system, scalpers can easily get the tickets,” an engineer told CCTV.

Scalpers then sell the tickets to those in dire need at much higher prices, and put the rest back into the ticket system. After that, they repeat the whole process.

With more people choosing to buy tickets on the Internet or via mobile applications, obtaining a ticket is increasingly difficult for Chinese migrant workers, who make up the bulk of the Chunyun travellers but do not have proper resources to purchase tickets with computers or cellulars.

To ease the problem, volunteers in a number of localities have gone out of their way to help migrant workers purchase tickets online.

Li Long, a senior student with City College of Science and Technology under Chongqing University, recently started a campaign, calling on his fellow students to help migrant workers buy tickets online.

“My parents are migrant workers, so I know how difficult it is to buy a ticket to go home,” Li told Xinhua.

On microblog Sina Weibo, Li’s campaign has drawn much attention, with many students voicing support.

But such help is only a drop in a bucket, said Huang Shaohua, a professor with Philosophy and Sociology School of Lanzhou University.

Huang suggested railway authorities reserve a certain number of tickets for migrant workers to ease the problem.

“The government should also restrict the IDs that frequently purchase train tickets online to eradicate ticket hoarding and scalping,” Huang added.

 

 

 

 

Landmark lawsuit victory inspires China’s gay community

 

 

 

Landmark lawsuit victory

inspires China’s gay community

 

By Wang Ruoyao, Yuan Suwen and Mou Xu

 

A Beijing court backed a gay man’s demands for compensation and an open apology from a clinic that tried to “turn him straight”.

The landmark “gay conversion” case has inspired the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

The Haidian District People’s Court on Friday of December 19 ordered the Xinyupiaoxiang Clinic, which performed hypnosis and electric shock treatment on Xiao Zhen, 31, (not his real name), to cover his therapy-related costs of 3,500 yuan (563 U.S. dollars).

The court stated that homosexuality was not a mental disorder and the clinic’s claim that it could “treat homosexuality” was false advertising.

“This victory tells us that we should speak up in the face of unfairness and discrimination, and that the legal system works,” said Nan Feng, who heads a grassroots AIDS/HIV organization in southwest China’s Chongqing City, where the clinic is based.

Nan Feng said the clinic’s director had used entrapment techniques, on a bulletin board set up by the organization, to attract young gay men and subsequently get them to sign up to his clinic for conversion treatment.

Despite homosexuality becoming more socially accepted, especially after it was removed from the Chinese Classification of Mental Disorders in 2001, many LGBT struggle with family pressure and social stigma.

Therefore, there has been a rise in “homosexuality treatment”, said Hu Zhijun, executive director of PFLAG China, an organization aimed at eliminating the stigma attached to sexual minorities.

Hu said although this one case would not put an end to this lucrative business, it would deter practitioners, promote public understanding of sexual minorities and prevent aversion therapy.

“It can serve as a powerful reference for gay children feeling pressure from their families to undergo such therapy,” Hu said, adding that parents were easily misled by the “curing” aspect of such clinics since they placed more trust in “professionals” than their own children.

 

“TRAUMATIZED”

 

Unlike those who undergoes electric shock treatment in an effort to be straight, Xiao Zhen, who has worked for a Beijing-based gay rights group since 2010, said he did so to make his parents understand that he could not change his sexual orientation.

“I didn’t believe it would work, but my parents insisted. They need a clear answer, so I tries,” he told Xinhua, describing the treatment he had in February as “traumatizing”.

The clinic’s director first hypnotized Xiao Zhen for 20 minutes while preaching on the harms of sexuality. Then Xiao Zhen was asked to imagine homosexual activity while being electrocuted.

“I was unprepared and frightened, so I shouted out. [The doctor] smiled and said my reaction was just what he expected,” Xiao Zhen said.

Xiao Zhen’s experience cost 500 yuan, however, the clinic offers a 30,000-yuan package of five-stage treatments, which includes about 100 electric shocks.

“It was really terrifying. When I recounted the experience in the court in July, my body was shaking, even five months after! Fortunately I’ve recovered and it’s okay to recall the experience now,” he said.

Xiao Zhen secretly recorded his treatment on his cell phone.

“It was the first time I had visited a psychological clinic. I did the recording in case something bad happened,” he explained.

After he returned to Beijing from Chongqing, he learned that many gay men had undergone the same horrific treatment. “They said if they refused, their parents would cut their financial support or disown them.”

Xiao Zhen was the first to take legal action against “gay conversion” therapy, said Hu Zhijun, “the majority [won’t take the issue to court] over privacy concerns. But the younger generation are braver than their older gay peers.”

Gay rights advocates are anticipating further success.

A gay man in Shenzhen City, in south China’s Guangdong Province, is suing a local design company that dismissed him after an online video clip “exposed” his sexual orientation in November.

Billed as the country’s first case involving job discrimination based on sexuality, it was accepted by the city’s Nanshan District People’s Court on Monday.

Discrimination against the gay community remains acute in employment and health care, said Nan Feng.

“Some who revealed their sexual orientation in the workplace said they had no choice but to quit, because they could not bear the behavior of their colleagues toward them,” he said.

 

 

 

 

Chinese state-owned aerospace giant seeks private partnership

 

 

 

NINGBO

Chinese state-owned

aerospace giant

seeks private partnership

 

 

By Cao Kai, Ji Shaoting, Huang Shengang, Ren Qinqin, Yu Fei and Quan Xiaoshu

 

In a move to spur innovation, state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CASC), the major contractor for China’s space program, invited 1,300 private enterprises to a forum it co-hosted in the eastern city of Ningbo.

The 2014 China (Ningbo) international forum on advanced aerospace materials and commercialization, which ended on Wednesday of December 17, signals a shift in the once restricted sector to a more-open working style that encourages collaborative practice with private entities.

The CASC’s ice-breaking initiative aims to foster development in the Chinese manufacturing sector, said head of the CASC-affiliated China Academy of Aerospace Systems Science and Engineering, Wang Kunsheng,

Wang Yongru, vice president of Ningbo Jintian Copper Co. Ltd., one of the largest copper processing companies in China, said that for the private sector, the opportunity to collaborate with state-owned entities would advance the practical application of innovation already in use by other sectors.

China’s commercial development of its space sector lags behind the United States. For example, innovation resulting from the Apollo Project drove development in the private sector, said Ba Risi, CASC chief engineer.

Private enterprises have capital but lack concrete application, the combination of space innovation and the private economy will cultivate a fertile market for the Chinese manufacturing industry, said Ba.

Jintian is among five local private enterprises to sign technical service agreements with CASC. Ningbo is a major new material manufacturing base with an annual new material output of 100 billion yuan (16 billion U.S. dollars).

Wang Yongru hopes to develop functional materials that could be used in the manufacturing of magnetic materials through the cooperation with CASC.

China has independently developed a number of world-level new material technologies during its space exploration research, including artificial crystal materials that are expected to have a market demand of 5 billion yuan and super-strength steel that will have an annual output value of 100 billion yuan by 2020, said Wang Kunsheng.

The partnership with private sector can also benefit research in space technology, said Sun Yantang, deputy head of the Xi’an Aerospace propulsion Institute, another CASC affiliate.

The CASC has offered 30 areas to the private sector for developmental partnership, including high-performance metal, organic polymer and electronic information.

In the future, it will also promote the commercialization of satellite application, clean energy, energy conservation and high-end equipment technologies.

CSAC was established in 1999. It has a number of subordinate entities which design, develop and manufacture a range of spacecraft, launch vehicles, as well as strategic and tactical missiles. It also provides international commercial satellite launch services.

 

 

 

 

Innocence announced 18 years after man executed for rape, murder

 

 

Zhao Jianping (2nd from left), deputy head of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regional Higher

People’s Court, transfers 30,000 yuan (4,849 U.S. dollars) personal donation by Hu Yifeng,

head of the court, to Li Sanren and Shang Aiyun, parents of Huugjilt who was executed in a

controversial 1996 rape and murder case, in Hohhot, capital of north China’s Inner Mongolia

Autonomous Region, on December 15, 2014.   Photo by Ren Junchuan

 

Li Sanren (center) and Shang Aiyun (3rd from left), parents of Huugjilt who was executed

in a controversial 1996 rape and murder case, sign the legal document on retrial in Hohhot,

capital of north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, on December 15, 2014.  

Photo by Ren Junchuan

 

Li Sanren (2nd from left) and Shang Aiyun (3rd from left), parents of Huugjilt who was

executed in a controversial 1996 rape and murder case, sign the legal document on retrial

in Hohhot, capital of north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, on December 15,

2014.   Photo by Ren Junchuan

 

Shang Aiyun, mother of Huugjilt who was executed in a controversial 1996 rape and 

murder case, cries in Hohhot, capital of north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region,

on December 15, 2014.   Photo by Ren Junchuan

 

 

HOHHOT

Innocence announced

18 years after man executed for rape, murder

 

By Fang Ning, Yu Jia, Zhang Lina and Luo Sha

 

Li Sanren (2nd from right) and Shang Aiyun (2nd from left), parents of Huugjilt who 

was executed in a controversial 1996 rape and murder case, mourn their son in front 

of his grave in Hohhot, capital of north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, 

on December 15, 2014.   Photo by Ren Junchuan 

 

A man sentenced to death and executed in a controversial 1996 rape and murder case was acquitted of his crimes 18 years later in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on Monday of December 15.

Huugjilt (呼格吉勒图), who was 18 at the time of his conviction and execution, had his innocence officially announced by Zhao Jianping, deputy chief judge of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regional Higher People’s Court, who also apologized to his parents.

Huugjilt was found guilty of raping and murdering a woman in a public toilet in Hohhot on April 9, 1996. He was sentenced to death and executed in June 1996.

Zhao bowed low to the tearful couple as he handed the court order over to them

Shang Aiyun, 62, mother of the dead Huugjilt, said she would copy the court paper, and burn the print in front of her son’s grave to “comfort his spirit that has been suffering from the pain of a wrongful charge.”

The couple, unwavering in their belief in their son’s innocence, have been petitioning to the country’s supreme court and the region’s higher court since 2006.

 

TRIAL REVIEW

 

Yan Feng, a friend and colleague of Huugjilt, tells how they heard someone cry out in a women’s toilet as they passed by. Huugjilt asked Yan to go with him into the toilet to see what had happened. There they saw a woman’s body and immediately ran out. Huugjilt then reported it to police despite Yan’s attempts to persuade him to keep quiet.

A month later, Huugjilt was sentenced to death by the Hohhot Intermediate People’s Court. His appeal was rejected, the death penalty was approved by the region’s higher court and Huugjilt was executed on June 10, 1996.

It only took 61 days from the case to be reported to the man’s execution. This happened amid China’s sweeping national campaign to strike hard against criminal activities, when public security, procuratorial organs and courts were encouraged to take swift and severe measures in dealing with criminal cases.

Official figures suggested in the year 1995 alone, public security departments nationwide handled 1.5 million criminal cases, many involving illegal use of guns, drug and organized crime.

“The crackdown played a big role in maintaining social stability in the time of economic and social transformation from a planned economy to a market-oriented economy, but the legal departments’ work had serious flaws,” said Ai Guoping, a lawyer from Hohhot.

Detectives working in the Hohhot public security bureau at the time admitted that during the campaign their work performance was rated by an annual quota on how many criminal cases they uncovered. They were “eager to wind up a case, and the use of illegal punishment and inducement on suspects existed in case investigations.”

Under the circumstances, the swift settlement on Huugjilt’s case was approved by the higher court despite the fact evidence was “questionable or inadequate,” according to the retrial.

Doubts on the case emerged in 2005 when another alleged serial rapist and killer, Zhao Zhihong, confessed to the murder of the woman. Zhao allegedly raped and killed 10 women and girls between 1996 and 2005. He stood trial in late 2006 and no verdict has yet been issued.

Deputy chief judge Zhao said the legal department had learned a “grieved and profound lesson from the erroneous judgement of Huugjilt’s case.”

“The court is applying for national compensation for Huugjilt’s wrongful sentence,” he said.

Through the years, the Inner Mongolia autonomous regional political and legal departments have organized several reviews of the case. In 2011, the regional higher court assigned five judges to form a review penal to prepare for the retrial.

Public consensus was also an important driving force for the court to conduct the retrial and self-inspection.

On Monday, spokesman of the Inner Mongolia higher court Li Shengchen said a group has been set up to seek those responsible for the initial verdict.

 

SIMILAR CASE

 

On Friday of December 12, a similar review of a 1994 rape and murder case that took place in north China’s Hebei Province began in east China’s Shandong Province. The off-site review was aimed at clearing doubts about the trial for Nie Shubin, who was convicted and executed for the crime in 1995 at the age of 21.

Like Huugjilt’s case, another man, Wang Shujin, apprehended by police in 2005, confessed to the rape and murder in Hebei’s capital of Shijiazhuang.

Since 2005, Nie’s mother, Zhang Huanzhi, already in her 70s, visited Hebei Provincial Higher People’s Court countless times, demanding a review of the case in order to prove the innocence of her son.

Shang Aiyun, Huugjilt’s mother, said she has been keeping in touch with Zhang, encouraging the grieved mother to be strong to continue the fight for her son’s justice.

 

 

 

 

HOHHOT | 2014-12-16 21:56:26

 New rape, murder prosecution after wrongful execution

By Lü Qiuping and Jia Lijun

A man is to be prosecuted for a 1996 rape and murder after the teenager executed for the crime was found not guilty in a retrial, the procuratorate of north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region announced on Tuesday of December 16.

Zhao Zhihong was apprehended in 2005 and confessed to 17 rape and murder cases, including one in a public toilet in Hohhot in April 1996.

Zhao stood trial in late 2006 for the rape and murder of 10 women and girls between 1996 and 2005. No verdict has yet been issued.

Huugjilt, 18 at the time, was sentenced to death for the 1996 Hohhot crime and executed two months later in the middle of a sweeping national campaign to strike hard against violent crime. At that time, public security bureaus, procurators and courts were encouraged to take swift and severe measures in such cases.

On Monday, Huugjilt was acquitted of the crime because the evidence was questionable and inadequate. The prosecution of Zhao for the same offences was announced.

The procuratorate statement also established an investigation into the procuratorate staff responsible for their roles in the wrongful conviction 18 years ago.

 

 

 

CHINA VOICE

Justice comes too late for Huugjilt

 

By Ren Ke

 

Justice may have arrived too late for Huugjilt, who 18 years ago was wrongly sentenced and subsequently executed for rape and murder, but on Monday of December 15 China’s legal system proved the truth will out.

The Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regional Higher People’s Court officially announced that Huugjilt had not raped and murdered a woman in a public toilet in Hohhot on April 9, 1996.

He was sentenced to death and executed in June the same year. He was only 18 years old.

Although justice has finally been served, it has come too late for the innocent boy, and his family will continue to suffer under the dark cloud that their innocent son was snatched from their lives.

As China works toward building a country governed by rule of law, such delayed justice with irretrievable cost cannot be tolerated and false judgments show the need for further judicial reform.

Even though his parents are entitled to financial compensation, what is money when compared to Huugjilt’s life?

For police officers, procuratorates and judges, it is only a judicial case, but for the people involved, it has an effect on their lives and the lives of those around them.

The acquittal came after persistent petitioning by Huugjilt’s parents, and journalists that had petitioned to bring the false judgment to the attention of superior authorities. However, it was also made possible by a paradigm social shift.

In the last two years, a series of wrongful judgments have been corrected. Both the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate issued guidelines and implemented systems to prevent wrongful judgments.

In early 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping said all judicial organs must focus on ensuring fairness and justice in every case.

Zhou Qiang, president of the SPS and China’s chief justice, said in an article published last month that justice delayed is justice discounted, and it affects the authority and accountability of the rule of law.

In late October, the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) convened a key meeting, during which it established a new blueprint for rule of law, and promised judicial reform.

The reform plan includes the guarantee of independence for courts and prosecutors, preventing intervention by senior Party and government officials.

Next on the agenda should be the naming and shaming of those officials involved in the influencing of false judgments.

More important is finding a way to prevent officials from abusing their power in this way in the future.

 

 

 

 

HOHHOT | 2014-12-18 20:28:03

 Policeman responsible for wrongful conviction investigated

By Sun Xiaozheng, Tang Ji and Jia Lijun

A police officer who was in charge of the case of a teenager wrongfully accused of murder and executed has been placed under investigation, local procuratorate said on Thursday of December 18.

Feng Zhiming, now a deputy director of the Public Security Bureau of Hohhot City, capital of north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, was investigated for suspected crime of taking advantage of duty.

On Monday, the Inner Mongolia Higher People’s Court overturned the conviction of Huugjilt, who was 18 years old when he was sentenced to death and executed in 1996 over the killing of a woman in a public toilet.

A serial rapist and murderer confessed to the killing in 2005.

 

 

 

HOHHOT | 2014-12-22 20:40:10

 Chinese couple demand compensation for wrongly-executed son

By Li Laifang and Yu Jia

A couple in north China on Monday of December 22 announced that they would seek state compensation for the wrongful conviction and execution of their son in 1996.

Li Sanren, father of Huugjilt, who was 18 when he was executed for rape and murder, said on Monday that his family had assigned two lawyers to handle the compensation. The deadline for submitting their compensation claim had not been set, he explained.

On December 15, 2014, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regional Higher People’s Court, quashed Huugjilt’s previous conviction and ruled he was innocent of rape and murder, citing that the facts of his case were unclear and evidence was inadequate.

The Intermediate People’s Court of Hohhot found Huugjilt guilty of raping and murdering a woman in a public toilet in Hohhot on April 9, 1996. He was sentenced to death and executed in June of the same year.

Doubts began to emerge in 2005 when alleged serial rapist and killer, Zhao Zhihong, confessed to the murder.

Zhao allegedly raped and killed 10 women and girls between 1996 and 2005, he was tried in late 2006 but no verdict has been issued.

 

 

 

 

President Xi attends China’s first state commemoration for Nanjing Massacre victims

 

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the Standing Committee

of the National People’s Congress, attend a state commemoration for China’s first National

Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims in Nanjing, east China’s Jiangsu Province,

on December 13, 2014.   Photo by Lan Hongguang

 

Honor guards lay wreaths at the state ceremony for China’s first National Memorial Day

for Nanjing Massacre Victims at the memorial hall for the massacre victims in Nanjing,

east China’s Jiangsu Province, on December 13, 2014.   Photo by Li Tao

 

The state ceremony for China’s first National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims

is held at the memorial hall for the massacre victims in Nanjing, east China’s Jiangsu Province,

on December 13, 2014.   Photo by Li Tao

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left), along with Xia Shuqin (center), an 85-year-old massacre

survivor, and a school child, dedicates a “ding,” a type of ancient Chinese cauldron

symbolizing state power and prosperity, to the Nanjing Massacre victims during the state

ceremony for China’s first National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims at the

memorial hall for the massacre victims in Nanjing, east China’s Jiangsu Province,

on December 13, 2014.   Photo by Ma Zhancheng

 

 

NANJING

President Xi attends

China’s first state commemoration

for Nanjing Massacre victims

 

By Li Zhihui, Cheng Lu and Bai Xu

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses a state commemoration for China’s first National

Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims in Nanjing, east China’s Jiangsu Province,

on December 13, 2014.   Photo by Li Xueren 

 

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Saturday of December 13 that denial of the Nanjing Massacre will not be allowed by the Chinese people or peace-loving people anywhere in the world.

The Nanjing Massacre, committed by Japanese aggressors, was one of three major massacres during WWII. It was an atrocious anti-human crime and a dark page in the history of humanity, Xi said while addressing a state commemoration for China’s first National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims.

“Anyone who tries to deny the massacre will not be allowed by history, the souls of the 300,000 deceased victims, the 1.3 billion Chinese people, and all people who love peace and justice in the world,” Xi said.

The ceremony, presided over by Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), was held at the memorial hall for the massacre victims in the east China city of Nanjing.

Japanese troops captured Nanjing, then China’s capital, on Dec. 13 of 1937 and started a 40-odd-day slaughter. More than 300,000 Chinese soldiers, who had laid down their arms, and civilians were murdered and about 20,000 women were raped.

The memorial ceremony started at 10 a.m. A total of 10,000 representatives of all walks of life present at the ceremony paid silent tribute for one minute to the massacre victims as sirens howled over the city.

Sixteen honor guards laid eight wreaths in memory of the victims while the national flag flew at half-mast to mourn the victims. Seventy-seven students read the declaration of peace.

Xi, along with Xia Shuqin, an 85-year-old massacre survivor, and a school child, unveiled a memorial “ding,” a type of ancient Chinese cauldron symbolizing state power and prosperity, during the ceremony. The three-legged bronze ding will be permanently placed at the square of the hall.

Xi, who wore a white flower on his lapel, said the ceremony was held to commemorate innocent victims in the massacre, compatriots killed by Japanese aggressors, as well as revolutionary martyrs and heroes who devoted their lives to victory in the war against Japanese aggression.

“The purpose of the memorial ceremony for Nanjing Massacre victims is to recall that every good-hearted person yearns for and holds a firm stance of peace, but does not try to prolong hatred,” Xi said.

“Only if everyone cherishes and safeguards peace, and only if everyone remembers the bitter lessons of war can there be hope for peace,” he said.

The Chinese and Japanese people should live in friendship from generation to generation and make joint efforts to contribute to the peace of humanity, he said.

“We should not bear hatred against an entire nation just because a small minority of militarists launched aggressive wars. The responsibility for war crimes lies with a few militarists, but not the people. However, we cannot at any time forget the severe crimes committed by aggressors,” he said.

People who love peace and justice must remain highly cautious and firmly oppose words and actions that glorify war, he added.

In his speech, Xi expressed thanks to the foreigners who protected Nanjing residents and recorded the atrocities of the Japanese invaders, despite the risks.

German businessman John Rabe, Bernhard Arp Sindberg from Denmark, and U.S. priest John Magee were among the foreign friends.

“The Chinese people will never forget their humanitarian spirit and brave and righteous acts,” Xi said.

Xi also noted that today’s China has become a great country capable of guaranteeing a peaceful life for the people. The time has gone when the Chinese nation was bullied and humiliated by other countries.

The Chinese people will also declare to the international community that today’s China is a firm advocate and strong defender of world peace, Xi said.

In February 2014, China’s top legislature designated December 13 as the National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims to mourn those killed by Japanese invaders and expose war crimes committed by the Japanese.

According to the decision passed by the NPC Standing Committee, the move was aimed at remembering the calamities the war caused the Chinese people and people around the world and conveying the Chinese people’s firm stance against aggression and in favor of human dignity and world peace.

After Xi finished speaking, six representatives struck the Bell of Peace and 3,000 doves signifying peace flew over the memorial hall.

More than 200 journalists, including those from China, Japan, South Korea, the United States and Russia, reported on Saturday’s event.

It is the third time this year President Xi has attended high-level activities related to Japanese aggression toward China.

He attended a ceremony on July 7 to mark the start of the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression in 1937, as well as a victory day celebration on Sept. 3 for the 69th anniversary of the victory against Japanese aggression.

On the Sept. 3 victory day, Xi criticized some Japanese political organizations and politicians who have challenged human conscience by denying the crimes, paying homage to the spirits of war criminals, and glorifying aggression and colonial rule.

China has never blamed the Japanese people for the war, but China demands the Japanese government and politicians show a minimum of respect to the people of neighboring countries and acknowledge the millions of victims in the war, he noted.

Japan invaded northeast China in September 1931, followed by a full-scale invasion that started on July 7, 1937. Around 35 million Chinese soldiers and civilians were killed or injured during the Japanese occupation, which continued until 1945.

Video |  http://www.icrosschina.com/2014/1213/6455.shtml

 

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping (2nd from right) and Zhang Dejiang (1st from right), chairman

of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, meet with survivors and

relatives of victims of Nanjing Massacre at the memorial hall for the massacre victims

in Nanjing, east China’s Jiangsu Province, on December 13, 2014.   Photo by Lan Hongguang

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping (1st from left) and Zhang Dejiang (2nd from left), chairman of

the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, meet with survivors and relatives

of victims of Nanjing Massacre at the memorial hall for the massacre victims in Nanjing,

east China’s Jiangsu Province, on December 13, 2014.   Photo by Lan Hongguang

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) and Zhang Dejiang (center), chairman of the Standing

Committee of the National People’s Congress, visit an exhibition on Nanjing Massacre

at the memorial hall for the massacre victims in Nanjing, east China’s Jiangsu Province,

on December 13, 2014.    Photo by Lan Hongguang

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping (1st from right) and Zhang Dejiang (2nd from left), chairman

of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, visit an exhibition on Nanjing

Massacre at the memorial hall for the massacre victims in Nanjing, east China’s Jiangsu

Province, on December 13, 2014.   Photo by Li Xueren

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Zhang Dejiang (center), chairman of the Standing

Committee of the National People’s Congress, visit an exhibition on Nanjing Massacre

at the memorial hall for the massacre victims in Nanjing, east China’s Jiangsu Province,

on December 13, 2014.   Photo by Lan Hongguang

 

 

 

HONG KONG

Nanjing Massacre

National Memorial Day

observed in Hong Kong

 

By Zhao Jingjing

 

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying presents a wreath to mourn victims of the

Nanjing Massacre during China’s first National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims

in Hong Kong, south China, on December 13, 2014.  In February 2014, China’s top legislature

designated December 13 as the National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims to

mourn those killed by Japanese invaders and expose war crimes committed by the Japanese.  

Photo by Liu Yun 

 

People mourn victims of the Nanjing Massacre during China’s first National Memorial Day

for Nanjing Massacre Victims in Hong Kong, south China, on December 13, 2014.   

Photo by Liu Yun

 

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government on Saturday of December 13 held a ceremony to mark China’s first Nanjing Massacre National Memorial Day to memorialize victims slaughtered by Japanese aggressors in World War II.

Led by Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, about 100 people, including senior government officials, judicial officers, Legislative Council members and representatives of war veterans attended the ceremony.

Vice-Chairman of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Tung Chee-hwa and head of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong Zhang Xiaoming, as well as representatives from the People’s Liberation Army Garrison in Hong Kong, were also among the attendees.

The ceremony commenced at 9:00 a.m. local time at Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defense. All participants paid two-minute silent tribute before Leung laid a wreath to the massacre victims.

The participants then visited a photo exhibition of the Nanjing Massacre, which records the atrocities that Japanese aggressors committed against the Chinese people.

Lin Zhen, 79, who started fighting Japanese invaders as a soldier of the Hong Kong guerrilla at the age of nine, recalled the sufferings of Hong Kong people during the war.

“The same as Nanjing Massacre victims, many Hong Kong people were slaughtered by Japanese aggressors. We can feel their pains. We will never forget that part of history,” she said.

“The ceremony is very meaningful. The young generation of Hong Kong can have a better understanding of the Nanjing Massacre,” said Ng, a student from Hon Wah College.

“The past tells us how important we should cherish peace.”

Japanese troops captured Nanjing, then China’s capital, on Dec. 13, 1937 and more than 300,000 unarmed Chinese were murdered and about 20,000 women were raped within six weeks.

In February 2014, China’s top legislature designated Dec. 13 as the National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims to mourn those killed by Japanese invaders, and to reveal war crimes committed by the Japanese.

The move was aimed at remembering the calamities the war caused for the Chinese people and people around the world, conveying the Chinese people’s firm stance of resisting aggression and safeguarding human dignity and world peace, according to the decision passed by the top legislature.

 

 

 

 

MACAO

 

Edmund Ho Hau Wah (1st from right), vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese

People’s Political Consultative Conference, bows to mourn victims of the Nanjing Massacre

during China’s first National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims in Macao Special

Administrative Region, on December 13, 2014.   Photo by Cheong Kam Ka

 

Fernando Chui Sai On, chief executive of Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR), tidies

the ribbon on a flower wreath to mourn victims of the Nanjing Massacre during China’s

first National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims in Macao Special Administrative

Region, on December 13, 2014.   Photo by Cheong Kam Ka

 

Edmund Ho Hau Wah, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s

Political Consultative Conference, tidies the ribbon on a flower wreath to mourn victims

of the Nanjing Massacre during China’s first National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre

Victims in Macao Special Administrative Region, on December 13, 2014.  

Photo by Cheong Kam Ka

 

Front row: Edmund Ho Hau Wah (2nd from left), vice-chairman of the National Committee

of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Fernando Chui Sai On (3rd from left),

chief executive of Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR), Li Gang (2nd from right),

Director of Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Macao, Hu Zhengyue (1st

from left), Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Macao SAR, and Wang Wen

(1st from right), commander of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Garrison in Macao

Special Administrative Region, mourn victims of the Nanjing Massacre during China’s first

National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims in Macao Special Administrative Region,

on December 13, 2014.   Photo by Cheong Kam Ka

 

 

 

 

TAIPEI

Taiwan leader urges

Japanese to admit mistakes

 

By Wang Di and Chen Binhua

 

Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou on Saturday night of December 13 urged Japanese who deny the Nanjing Massacre to face the history and acknowledge the mistake.

In a statement released by his office, Ma said it is regretful that some Japanese people still dodge, play down and even deny the massacre committed by invading Japanese troops during World War II.

Lessons drawn from the history should never be forgotten, Ma said.

He urged countries to treasure the peace in East Asia and try to avoid escalating conflicts in an effort “to spare our offspring the cruelty of war and to stop recurrence of such tragedies.”

Japanese troops captured Nanjing, then China’s capital, on Dec. 13 of 1937 and started a 40-odd-day slaughter. More than 300,000 Chinese soldiers, who had laid down their arms, and civilians were murdered and about 20,000 women were raped.

Chinese mainland held a state commemoration for the first National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims on Saturday. Similar ceremonies were held in Hong Kong and Macao.

 

 

 

 

 

CHINA VOICE

Remember Nanjing Massacre

to better embrace peace

 

By Wu Chen

 

China observed the first National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims on Saturday of December 13. It is a day to reflect on the past and look forward to the future, and a day to make people more aware of the significance of peace.

Invading Japanese troops captured Nanjing, then the capital of China, on Dec. 13, 1937 and started a bloody campaign lasting more than 40 days. More than 300,000 Chinese civilians and unarmed soldiers were killed and about 20,000 women were raped.

Seventy-seven years later, the deep wound may be healed, but the scar has always been there. Chinese people cannot and should not forget those dark and miserable moments in their history.

That is why in February, China’s top legislature decided to designate Dec. 13 as the National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims, along with Victory Day of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression on Sept. 3.

The memorial day is no different from how Americans remember the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Allies mark the D-Day invasion of Normandy.

Observing the day is of great significance, especially as some people in Japan, which committed the brutal crime, are still trying to deny the facts. It urges Japanese right-wingers to stop distorting the country’s history of aggression.

History will not change due to the changing times. Facts will not disappear because of clever denial.

The remembrance of the massacre victims is a warning to the world about the brutality and destructivity of war. Peace cannot be achieved and maintained by a single party. What Japan should do is reflect on its history of aggression, correct its mistakes and change its course.

The day is meant to remind the Chinese people and all peace-loving people around the world to be cautious about Japan’s history of militarist aggression and safeguard the WWII victory and post-war international order.

Overcoming one and a half centuries of humiliation by invaders dating back to the Opium War (1840-1842), China is sober-minded that it must become stronger through remembrance of the massacre victims in order to avoid stepping on the old path.

People who experienced the torment of war are deeply eager for peace. The Nanjing homage day also gives China determination to pursue the road of peaceful development and contribute to, rather than threaten, regional and world peace.

The Chinese remember history not out of hatred, but of love — the love of peace, and love for humanity.

 

 

 

TOKYO – Interview

Scholar:

Denying Nanjing Massacre

violates Japan’s post-war commitment

 

By Zhu Chao and Liu Xiuling

 

Denying the Nanjing Massacre violates Japan’s post-war commitment, tramples the dignity of the victims and hurts their families’ feelings, according to Motokazu Nogawa, a lecturer of Nihon University.

Nogawa, a researcher on historical revisionism issue of Japanese right-wing forces, said Japanese nationalist right-wing groups always deny the Nanjing Massacre, citing Nagoya mayor Takashi Kawamura who claimed that the Nanjing Massacre was entirely fabricated.

“In fact, their real purpose is to get dominance in the political field rather than the academic field,” Nogawa said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua on the eve of China’s first National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims on Dec. 13, which also marks the 77th anniversary of the mass-slaughter.

On Dec. 13, 1937, Japanese troops captured the then Chinese capital Nanjing, killing some 300,000 unarmed people within six weeks.

According to Nogawa, Japanese right wingers use all kinds of communication tools to deny the Nanjing Massacre. On the contrary, few impartial stories about the massacre could be heard from Japanese media. “This kind of imbalance makes it difficult for the public to have access to historical facts,” he said.

“The Nanjing Massacre trampled the victims’ dignity and hurt their families’ feelings deeply. However, a majority of media organizations focus on interpretation that the incident is simply ‘a block against Sino-Japanese relations’ or ‘a controversial topic between right and left wing forces’.”

“Meanwhile, some intellectuals in Japan know the historical facts, but choose to keep silent. Most of them have a good knowledge about Western countries’ firm attitude toward the massacre of the Jewish population, when it comes to the Nanjing Massacre, however, they are excessively tight-lipped,” Nogawa said.

The International Military Tribunal for the Far East, established for war crimes and other wartime atrocities after World War II, ruled the Nanjing Massacre was among war crimes.

To Nogawa, recognizing the verdict constitutes the premise of Japan’s return to the international community in the post-war era and the signing of the China-Japan Joint Statement.

In the statement signed in 1972, the Japanese government expressed its “deep introspection” on Japan’s responsibility for the enormous losses sustained by the Chinese people as the result of the war and expressed its stance to strictly follow the ” Potsdam Proclamation”.

So, Nogawa said, on China’s side, denying the Nanjing Massacre not only means denial of Japan’s war crimes, but also goes against Japan’s commitment to the international community.

He also suggested that the Chinese side emphasize to Japanese citizens “Japan’s recognition of the Nanjing Massacre is a symbol of reconciliation in bilateral relations.”

Regional prosperity cannot be achieved without peaceful co- existence and full awareness of the past, Nogawa said, adding “I hope nationals of the two countries to remember those Chinese people who have suffered from the war and honor the victims of the massacre.”

 

 

 

TOKYO – Interview

Historian:

Japan should take history seriously,

apologize for wartime brutality

 

 By Liu Tian

 

It is utterly regrettable that the Japanese society is taking backward steps regarding its perception of the wartime history as a number of politicians and ordinary people avoid facing up to or even deny the country’s past atrocities, a Japanese veteran historian, Hisashi Inoue, said.

Inoue, a professor in the faculty of law at Surugadai University, made the remarks in an exclusive interview with Xinhua on the eve of China’s first National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims on December 13, which also marks the 77th anniversary of the mass-slaughter.

Japanese troops captured Nanjing, capital of China at the time, on December 13, 1937. There then followed more than 40 days when more than 300,000 people were murdered and about 20,000 women raped.

The professor noted that as far as in Japan’s wartime history is concerned, there is an underlying ethos that an increasing number of people would prefer to live in ignorance or denial rather than face the fact, particularly the Nanjing Massacre.

“Taking history seriously and making sincere apologies to the victims of the massacre and other acts of wartime brutality is of paramount urgency for Japan to do,” said Inoue, also known as an active researcher on the Nanjing Massacre.

In today’s Japan, growing nationalism is evidenced by numerous best-selling books and publications carrying disparaging content about South Korea and China, available in high street bookstores. Such xenophobic literature, known here as “kenchu-zokan,” meaning “dislike China and hate South Korea,” was placed among Japan’s top 10 best sellers last year.

“Japan is becoming less tolerant of different cultures and divergent viewpoints,” said the professor.

“National headaches such as the aging society and low birthrate, sluggish economy and Fukushima nuclear crisis have catalyzed Japan ‘s eagerness to regain its self-confidence. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s slogans like ‘toward to a beautiful Japan’ and ‘making Japan a shining country in the world’ have bridged the gap increasingly. ”

“However, the Japan that Abe and his right-wing fellows want to bring back is the Dai Nippon, or the Empire of Japan, and what they are doing initially is trying to justify the country’s past actions. It is totally wrong,” Inoue pointed out.

He said the prime minister is planning to invalidate the “Kono Statement,” which offers an official apology to “comfort women” — a euphemism used in this case for the victims of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery system as it has, according to some ultra nationalist factions, sullied Japan’s reputation.

The professor noted that such backtracking on irrefutable historical facts has affected the direction of young history researchers’ studies in Japan, as they thought subjects like the Nanjing Massacre could not provide them with a better opportunity to be promoted in terms of their future career and academic achievements.

“Only a small number of researchers are working on the issue,” he said.

A recent Xinhua interview outside Shibuya Station, a popular downtown shopping district in Tokyo, revealed how ordinary Japanese look at the Nanjing Massacre.

When asked whether or not they know anything about the Nanjing Massacre recently, many avoided answering the question and the majority of respondents said they simply just didn’t know.

“When I looked into references about the Nanjing Massacre, I found that a lot of historical materials say the incident never happened, but we Japanese have been described ‘cruel’ due to the incident,” said a college student in his 20s majoring in history, requesting his name be withheld.

“There is a predominant viewpoint that leans toward believing the Nanjing massacre possibly never occurred. So, I think those who claim the incident happened and therefore insist Japanese are cruel are ignorant and I think they should research more carefully and express their thoughts once they’re better informed,” he said.

“Schools should have greater responsibility to deliver real, unadulterated historical education,” Inoue emphasized.

“The biggest problem is that Japanese younger generation has little access to this period of history, especially to the Nanjing Massacre, and the lack of related common sense makes the youngsters credulous of the right-wing propaganda as they could find no reason or facts to refute it.”

He said, in Japan, there are two factions that question the Nanjing Massacre, — one group that blatantly denies the existence of the mass-carnage without any study of it and the other questions the official number of victims after insufficient studies.

“It is difficult to verify the exact number of victims, but whatever it is, the incontestable fact is that the Japanese Imperial Army conducted the mass-slaughter in Nanjing, killing captured and innocent civilians indiscriminately and raping numerous women,” said the professor.

“Massacres were not only limited to Nanjing, but also happened in other parts of China occupied by Japanese troops,” he added.

Compared with European countries that legally ban speeches denying or justifying the Nazi’s wartime wrongdoings, Inoue said that implementing legal measures could be the first step for Japan to face up to its past villainy.

In this regard, he said, the more pressing issue is to cultivate a social consciousness that respects real, verifiable history and stands against those who refute the country’s war crimes only as a means to revive the Empire of Japan.

“Japan has to admit the historical facts, as other countries like Germany has done. You look at the historical facts, the massacre is undeniable, its simply a fact, albeit a truly regrettable and disturbing one,” said the professor.

He stressed that enhancing mutual understanding at both official and civil levels is key to improving strained relations between Japan and China.

 

 

 

LONDON

Yasukuni Shrine film

explores Japan’s post-WWII “syndrome”

 

 By Zhang Jianhua

 

“Yasukuni,” an award-winning documentary about a controversial war shrine in Japan, held its British premiere in London Friday on the eve of China’s first national memorial day for the victims of the Nanjing Massacre.

The Nanjing Massacre (Nanking Massacre) was started from December 13, 1937, the day that Japanese troops took hold of the Chinese capital at that time. During the six weeks that followed, the Japanese invaders killed about 300,000 unarmed people.

The two-hour documentary, directed by Chinese-born director Li Ying, aims to probe the controversy around Japan’s Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japan’s war dead, including 14 convicted Class-A war criminals in WWII.

The Yasukuni Shrine is a big issue in Japan’s political relations with its neighbors.

Describing his film as one exploring “war and peace,” Li said he hoped the documentary could spark discussion in Japan about the Yasukuni Shrine and Japan’s role in WWII so that people will challenge nationalism and reflect on the tragedy of war.

Li, born in China in 1963, attended Sun Yat-sen University and worked as a documentary director before moving to Japan in 1989 to study cinema.

Having lived in Japan for more than 20 years, Li said he wanted his film to help cure what he described as Japan’s post-war “syndrome.”

“It is a sickness — this ambiguity toward the people responsible for the war. I hope my film can help cure this syndrome. I think it will be good for the health of the Japanese nation,” he said.

Li spent nearly 10 years in making the film, which sought to present a powerful study of the shrine that has served as Japanese emperors’ altar for wars and Shinto’s so-called “sacred grounds” since the Meiji period.

The documentary was partly based on his extensive interviews with 90-year-old Naoji Kariya, the last living swordsmith at the Yasukuni Shrine, which portrayed Japan’s nationalists, right-wing politicians, xenophobes as well as soul-searching opponents of the shrine.

Charles Shaar Murray, a British author and broadcaster, said he was already aware of Japanese crimes in the Nanjing Massacre and elsewhere before watching the documentary in London with around 200 filmgoers on Friday.

“The Japanese level of denial and official denial concerning what happened in WWII … I didn’t quite understand the depth of that,” he told Xinhua after seeing the film.

The film debuted in Japan in 2008. It had been screened at the Pusan International Film Festival in 2007, the World Cinema Documentary Competition of Sundance Film Festival and Berlin Film Festival in 2008, and won a best documentary award at the Hong Kong International Film Festival in 2008.

It is scheduled to be screened in London, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Leeds, and Glasgow till January 9, 2015.

 

 

 

BEIJING

China’s state memorial service

for Nanjing Massacre victims

gains global media attention

 

By Xiong Ping

 

China on Saturday of December 13 observed its first National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims, and the commemorative service gained worldwide media attention.

Singapore’s South China Morning Post reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping unleashed at a solemn ceremony some of his sharpest words to date against Japan’s wartime atrocities in China more than seven decades ago.

Xi and others gathered at a memorial hall in Nanjing, where 77 years ago invading Japanese soldiers slaughtered more than 300,000 people, mostly unresisting civilians, the newspaper said.

The newspaper quoted Xi as calling the massacre “a horrendous crime against humanity and a very dark page in the history of mankind” and stressing that history should not be altered with the passing of time, and facts not erased by crafty denial.

French news agency AFP noted that China for the first time held a national day of remembrance for the Japanese military rampage that killed 300,000 people, and cited Xi as saying that no one can deny the Nanjing Massacre.

The crowd, who attended a ceremony in Nanjing to mark the 77th anniversary of the massacre, sang China’s national anthem and observed a moment of silence as a siren symbolizing grief blared and the Chinese national flag flew at half-mast under clear skies, AFP noted.

In an online report, BBC said Xi criticized Japanese nationalists for denying Japan’s wartime atrocity in Nanjing.

Xi told survivors that to deny a crime was to repeat it, but he insisted that the ceremony was to promote peace, not prolong hatred, BBC said.

Japan’s Kyodo News Agency noted that in preparation for the state commemoration, the city of Nanjing decorated its streets with enormous banners, urging the public to “Inscribe history in your memory” and “Never forget our national humiliation.”

Japan’s Asahi Shimbun said on its website that in February, China designated Sept. 3 as the Victory Day of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, and Dec. 13 as the National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims, which shows that China attaches great importance to that part of history at a national level.

The Associated Press (AP) reported that Xi and other Chinese leaders attended a ceremony on the 77th anniversary of the Nanking Massacre to preserve memories of Japan’s brutal invasion.

Addressing soldiers, students and survivors of the December 1937 killings carried out by occupying Japanese troops, Xi slammed Japanese ultra-nationalists who seek to deny the massacre, AP noted.

Invading Japanese troops captured Nanjing, then China’s capital, on Dec. 13, 1937, and started a 40-odd-day slaughter. More than 300,000 Chinese civilians and unarmed soldiers were murdered and about 20,000 women were raped.

“Anyone who tries to deny the massacre will not be allowed by history, the souls of the 300,000 deceased victims, the 1.3 billion Chinese people, and all people who love peace and justice in the world,” Xi said.

“Only if everyone cherishes and safeguards peace, and only if everyone remembers the bitter lessons of war, can there be hope for peace,” he said.

Meanwhile, Xi said the Chinese and Japanese people should live in friendship from generation to generation and make joint efforts to contribute to the peace of humanity.

“We should not bear hatred against an entire nation just because a small minority of militarists launched aggressive wars. The responsibility for war crimes lies with a few militarists, but not the people. However, we cannot at any time forget the severe crimes committed by aggressors,” he said.

People who love peace and justice must remain highly cautious and firmly oppose words and actions that glorify war, he added.

 

 

 

 

“Sandbag father” pains China

 

 

Photos http://szb.northnews.cn/bfxb/html/2014-12/04/content_1163421.htm

 

 

“Sandbag father”

pains China

 

By Zhong Qun, Zhou Wenqi, Pei Chuang, Lin Miaomiao and Yu Jian

 

A Chinese man who acted as a “human sandbag” outside a busy Beijing subway station to raise medical fees for his son has evoked both sympathy and reflection across the country.

In late November, Xia Jun (夏军), from Nanchong City, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, decided to ask for donations in Beijing to make up for huge medical charges needed to treat his son, Haohao, who suffers from leukemia. The 31-year-old had sold his property in Nanchong, but still failed to gather enough money to cover his son’s chemotherapy.

A picture of Xia standing in front of a collection box and two solitary photos of his two-year-old, chubby-cheeked son, found its way on microblog Sina Weibo last week. Xia was seen standing quietly in front of the bustling Guomao station, one of Beijing’s busiest, in the cold as commuters passed by. Words on his white T-shirt read: “Human flesh sandbag: 10 yuan (1.62 U.S. dollars) per punch.”

In an increasingly well-off society, with improving social welfare, Xia’s deeds touched and pained many, while prompting an outcry for help on the Internet.

“It got me tear-eyed, this is truly paternal love,” read one Weibo comment.

“What’s his bank card number? I would like to help,” commented another.

Xia, whose son is currently being treated in a Beijing hospital, told the media that he had prepared for the worst: being hit by people and finding another way to raise money. “My baby’s life is more important than my dignity,” he said in a Sunday interview with CCTV, China’s state broadcaster.

But in the past several days, he experienced no violence. The only “punch”, he said, was from people who went over to pat him on his shoulders and asked him to stay strong.

In the ensuing days, more strangers came to donate, with the total sum eventually exceeding 680,000 yuan. Xia has since urged the public to stop donating, as there is already enough to support Guoguo’s medical treatment.

Despite the bittersweet ending, many questioned China’s basic social assistance system, which is still flawed in handling cases like Xia’s.

Xia told Xinhua that even though a medical insurance system has been set up, about half of his son’s leukemia expenses could not be reimbursed because “there are so many restrictions.”

According to a report published by Red Cross Society of China, actual reimbursement for major illness in China is limited. Meanwhile, an uneven distribution of resources force many patients to seek medical help in bigger cities, further complicating reimbursement procedures.

Le Zhang, a professor with Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, said the government needs to further lift restrictions for reimbursements so patients can enjoy more benefits.

Non-government organizations should ramp up their efforts in China’s social assistance system, said Luo Jiaojiang, head of the Institute of Social Development Studies under Wuhan University.

The State Council, China’s Cabinet, caught wind of the problem and demanded governments at local levels to establish a temporary assistance mechanism by the end of 2014, bringing more hope for families like Xia’s.

 

 

 

 

Chinese vow to strengthen work style construction after Zhou’s fall

 

 

 

Chinese vow to strengthen

work style construction after Zhou’s fall

 

By Ren Ke

 

Both citizens and officials from across the country voiced support following the central authority’s decision to arrest Zhou Yongkang and investigate his crimes.

On Friday of December 5, the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee decided to expel Zhou Yongkang, a former member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, from the CPC. His suspected crimes will be transferred to judicial organs to be handled in accordance with the law.

The Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) also decided to open an investigation into Zhou Yongkang’s suspected crimes and arrest him according to the law.

The decisions have demonstrated the strong will of the Communist Party of China (CPC) when managing the Party and punishing corruption.

 

STRENGTHEN BELIEFS

 

Gan Wudong, head of the organizational department of the CPC Committee of Huzhou City, Zhejiang Province, said Zhou’s serious discipline violations were rooted deeply in his belief and values, taking advantage of the power endowed by the Party and the people in order to seek personal gains and put himself above party discipline and laws.

“Zhou’s case showed that some cadres have weakened their awareness of the Party’s aim, a problem that exist also on the grassroots level,” said Zhang Jianxing, a Party disciplinary official from Pinghe County, Fujian Province.

“In its almost century of history, the CPC’s series of successes lie in firm belief and strict discipline,” Zhang Pingjun, a professor from the Party school of CPC Gansu Provincial Committee. He suggested that cadres strengthen their education of Party spirit and socialist ethics.

 

WORK STYLE CONSTRUCTION

 

Chen Liang, a citizen in Haikou City, Hainan Province, said the bad work style of cadres are hotbeds for unhealthy practices and evil influences, and building of work style concerns the ruling foundation of CPC.

Zhou’s case raised alarm bells for the Party and showed that efforts to advance work styles have no end.

“The central authority’s decisions have strengthened our determination to follow the Party. Only with good work style and benign atmosphere can we fulfil our responsibility with more confidence,” said Zhang Guang, head of a township in Xigaze City, Tibet Autonomous Region.

Wu Yaqin, a community Party chief in Changchun City, Jilin Province, said due to weak work style construction, some Party cadres lost spirit and violated Party discipline, severely undermining the people’s interests.

“Only with good work styles can we win support from the masses,” said Wu.

 

STRICTER PARTY DISCIPLINES

 

Zhou, as a top official who violated Party’s disciplines and abused his power, brought the seriousness of such violations to the attention of all the other Party members and cadres.

“Party discipline guarantee its survival and development. Lack of discipline results in lack of Party spirit and disintegration of the whole organization,” said Zhong Xiaoyong, head of the political and legal affairs commission of Changning District, Shanghai Municipality.

“Due to his high position and enormous power, Zhou brought a major negative impact to the Party,” Zhong added.

“Zhou’s fall will definitely promote a stricter discipline and benign atmosphere in the Party,” said Zhou Yawei, vice mayor of Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province.

News about the central authority’s decisions on Zhou is going viral on the Internet. People believe that the case showed the courage of CPC to self-renovate and self-purify, and also its resolution to fight against corruption.

 

 

 

 

China’s supreme court

voices support of decisions

to handle Zhou Yongkang

 

By Wang Xiaopeng

 

The Supreme People’s Court (SPC) on Monday of December 8 supported the decisions to expel Zhou Yongkang from the Communist Party of China (CPC) and to arrest him.

The Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee on Friday decided to expel Zhou, a former Standing Committee member of the bureau, from the CPC and pass his case on to the judiciary.

Zhou Qiang, president of the SPC, stressed that the SPC supports the decisions, according to a statement issued after a meeting of the SPC on the decisions regarding Zhou’s case.

The statement said the decisions uphold the principle that every person is equal before law, and will have a far-reaching impact on implementation of the rule of law. Judges must improve their work and combat judicial corruption.

The statement also said the SPC will change the judicial system to ensure that justice is felt in every case.

 

 

 

 

China sends more fresh water to thirsty Maldives

 

 

Soldiers unload drinking water at an airport in Male, capital of Maldives, early on Monday

morning of December 8, 2014. Two Chinese military aircraft carrying 40 tonnes of drinking

water arrived in water-starved Maldives on Monday. Photo by Yang Meiju

 

A Chinese Air Force Aircraft carrying drinking water arrives at the airport in Male, capital

of Maldives, early on Monday morning of December 8, 2014. Two Chinese military aircraft

carrying 40 tonnes of drinking water arrived in water-starved Maldives on Monday.

Photo by Yang Meiju

 

 

BEIJING

China sends more fresh water

to thirsty Maldives

 

By Xiong Zhengyan2121

 

China has offered another 65 tonnes of fresh water to the Maldives via civil airplane, the Foreign Ministry announced on Monday of December 8.

The fresh water was donated by the Chinese government and the Chinese businesses in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, which have already sent 20 tonnes of fresh water via civil airplane to the archipelago, the ministry said in a statement.

A fire at the Maldives Water and Sewage Company Thursday damaged some of the company’s equipment and forced suspension of water supplies to about 150,000 residents of Male, capital of the Maldives.

A Chinese navy rescue vessel shipped nearly 700 tonnes of fresh water to Male Sunday night and the desalination facility on board helped with shortage.

Two planes with the Chinese Air Force flew 40 tonnes of fresh water to Male Monday.

China will continue assist the Maldives until their fresh water situation is remedied, the ministry statement added.

 

 

 

MALE

Maldives president admits

no backup plan for water crisis,

thanks donor countries

 

By Uditha

 

Maldives President Abdulla Yameen has acknowledged his capital’s water crisis was caused by lack of preparedness but insisted his government has done well to bring the situation under control, local media reported on Monday of December 8.

President Abdulla Yameen spoke to the public for the first time on Sunday regarding the Mal water crisis, saying that there could have been no fall back plan for such a crisis.

“We did not have any fall back plan for any disaster of this magnitude. However, we have done extremely hard work to try and bring the situation back to normal,”said the president.

He acknowledged the extremely low odds of such an incident occurring had prevented the state-owned Mal Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC) from making plans to deal with the current situation.

Yameen said that five of the nine panel boards at the MWSC had now been fully repaired, estimating that the full effort would cost 20 million U.S. dollars, which is currently being raised by the government.

China on Sunday donated 500,000 U.S. dollars to the effort.

The Maldives’ capital was plunged into crisis last Thursday as a fire at MWSC gutted the desalination plant, leaving 130,000 people without running water, leading to the dwindling of bottle drinking water. “I am not trying to make any excuses for the disaster at MWSC but the company was formed in the early 1980s. The design of the company and the water demand have changed with the population increase in Male.” “There should be no difficulties with obtaining drinking water. However, there are problems with getting water for washing up and cleaning for people in high rise buildings,”said Yameen.

Large amounts of fresh water have been supplied by China, India and Sri Lanka, who were thanked by the president. “I would like to point out, many nations are aiding the country in this heart wrenching time.”

“The government will look into various ways to prevent such an occurrence maybe by dividing up the water grid by wards.”

Meanwhile, members of the task force have told local media that the problem could not be fixed within a”politically desirable” timeframe.

In an interview with local media outlet Haveeru, Minister of Defence Mohamed Nazim said that it would take two weeks to completely recover from the crisis, saying that 50 percent of this would be achieved by the end of the week.

The 130,000 residents of Mal consume around 14,000 metric tonnes of water a day, with the fully functioning plant able to produce around 20,000 tonnes.

The Maldives National Defence Force, working alongside volunteers from the public and civil society, continues to distribute water brought from abroad and from desalination plants on nearby islands.

Bangladesh became the latest country to announce it would send naval vessels with fresh water and desalination capacity, following the arrival of two Indian ships as well as the expected arrival of the Chinese navy.

China has also airlifted water on commercial flights heading to Male and has pledged to continue assistance till the issue is fully resolved.