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2.5 Provincial- and municipal-level governments
2.6.3 Constraints on democratization
Xiao, who has Canadian citizenship, was taken across the border by Chinese police. The tycoon had business dealings with relatives of high-ranking Chinese leaders, including Xi Jinping’s brother-in-law. Xiao’s disappearance is part of a series of possible cross-border abductions that have raised concerns about the SAR’s autonomy and the safety of Hong Kong’s residents.
2.3.2 Party congresses and ballots
The establishment of a new national anti-corruption commission by the NPC paves the way for limiting the areas of responsibilities of the CCDI. In future, the CCDI will be primarily responsible for investigating corruption cases of CCP members. The instruments of the CCDI to discipline individual cadres will be limited to verbal warnings and criticism, demotion and other disciplinary actions. The new working areas of the CCDI has been documented in the regulation on intra-party inspection (中国共产党党内监督条例) passed at the 6th Plenum of the 18th Central Committee in October 2016.
2.11.3 Courts and judges
On January 14, Zhou Qiang, president of the SPC, openly denounced the idea of an independent judiciary and other liberal principles long cherished by many Chinese lawyers, warning judges not to fall into the “trap” of “Western” ideology. Lawyers and observers both at home and abroad were shocked.
2.11.6 Criminal law and the penal system
On January 28, the EU issued an open statement calling on China to investigate the reported torture of three mainland human rights lawyers. The three lawyers were detained in July 2015 in a nationwide campaign known as the “709 crackdown on lawyers”. They face trials on subversion charges and were reported to be subject to various forms of torture in residential surveillance.
2.12 The military and politics
The Politburo has decided on January 22 to set up a new Central Commission for Integrated Military and Civilian Development (中央军民融合发展委员会). The new body will be headed by Xi Jinping. Exploiting cutting-edge technologies, like artificial intelligence, robotics, big data and nanotechnology, is viewed by the Chinese leadership as crucial for modern warfare. The new commission is expected to facilitate the transfer of innovative developments from technology companies and national research institutes to the military.
1.4 Utilizing information and data from China
The provincial government of Liaoning admitted that it falsified data on fiscal revenue between 2011 and 2014. Governor Chen Qiufa admitted that revenues were inflated by up to 20 percent. Without going into the specifics, it was also revealed that other economic data had been inflated. Liaoning’s economy has been amid the worst performing provinces in China in recent years, registering negative quarterly GDP growth in 2016.
Following the latest blow to the reliability of Chinese statistical data, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announces that it will introduce steps to reduce the reliance on provincial level statistical bureaus. Among other steps NBS employees will no longer work within provincial level statistics bureaus and move into separate facilities. Under the proposed changes, the NBS will expand its own capacity to collect and verify data.
2.1.2 Ideology and legitimation in transition
The Xinhua News Agency published “Guidelines for party members and cadres on using WeChat” (党员干部微信朋友圈使用指南) on January 22. In these guidelines, private circles of friends on WeChat are declared as part of the “public space.” Party members are encouraged to “employ their red beliefs as weapons to counter the diffusion of Western ideology,” to push back against “negative” and “black” energy and to educate their friends accordingly.