Police in Beijing to Clear Tiananmen Square For Centenary Run-Through

The rehearsals point to a centenary performance unseen in the city since the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic.

Police in Beijing to Clear Tiananmen Square For Centenary Run-Through

The ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on Thursday issued plans for mass rehearsals of its July 1 centenary parade, cordoning off large swathes of downtown Beijing over the coming weekend.

The rehearsal will take place throughout June 12 and 13, taking up all of the area within a 500-meter radius of Tiananmen Square, the Beijing municipal police department said in a press release printed in full by the Beijing Daily newspaper.

"Vehicles and pedestrians are prohibited from the area, with the exception of vehicles and personnel with special permits for the exercise," the notice said. "No parking will be allowed."

Beijing Metro exits that fall within the area will also be shut off, it said.

Beijing dissident Zha Jianguo said most of the CCP's political focus in recent years has been on the centenary celebrations.

"There will be a mass staged event on Tiananmen Square of a kind not seen since the 70th anniversary celebrations of the founding of the People's Republic of China," Zha said.

"This has already begun with the drive to study CCP history last year," he said. "There has been mobilization of all organizations and media at all levels, on an unprecedented scale."

He said the CCP under general secretary Xi Jinping will be keen to make a display of unity in the face of worsening relations with the United States and its allies over Beijing's human rights record and an ongoing trade war.

"[The centenary] is important for consolidating the leadership of the party in a new Cold War era," Zha said.

Rounding people up

Beijing dissident Ji Feng said celebrations will also be held in other locations important to the history of the CCP, including Zunyi, Jinggangshan and Yan'an.

"The CCP veterans will all turn out on Tiananmen Gate," Ji said, referring to the podium overlooking Tiananmen Square above the portrait of late supreme leader Mao Zedong.

"There'll probably be a bunch of primary school students wearing red Youth League scarves and performing," he said. "They'll probably broadcast the whole thing live."

Police in Beijing have already begun detaining migrant workers and petitioners from temporary accommodation in the city's suburbs, local residents told RFA.

"The operation started on May 20, with a lot of people arrested," a resident of the southern district of Fengtai said.

"Police are going house to house looking for petitioners from other areas of China, at the request of the local police departments."

"They are also checking rental agencies and workplaces, and telling people that they have to go home, and that they can come back to Beijing after July 1 [when the centenary is over]," the resident said.

The preparations come after the CCP canceled a conference of prominent Maoist ideologists slated for May 16, the anniversary of the start of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), suggesting that CCP leader Xi Jinping is unwilling to allow the faction to increase its power base in a possible challenge to his "core" leadership.

While many commentators have noted an apparent shift towards political practises and ideological tropes that echo the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) under late supreme leader Mao Zedong in recent years, it appears that Xi is unwilling to allow actual Maoists free rein under his rule.

Authorities in the eastern province of Shandong are detaining Maoist activists ahead of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) centenary celebrations on July 1, Taiwanese media reported.

Police in Shandong's Jining city are running a nationwide operation targeting leftwingers in a bid to "maintain stability" ahead of the politically sensitive anniversary in a largely secret operation that began on May 12.

Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

Source : Radio Free Asia More   

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China Passes Law Countering Foreign Sanctions Over Rights Abuses

The ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) sends  a 'strong message' to the international community ahead of the G7 summit.

China Passes Law Countering Foreign Sanctions Over Rights Abuses

China has passed a tit-for-tat law allowing targeted sanctions against foreign individuals and organizations following a slew of sanctions targeting ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials over human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong.

The country's rubber-stamp parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC), passed the law on Thursday, with state media reporting it as a move intended as a counter to recent sanctions from the U.S..

It comes after CCP general secretary Xi Jinping called last November for the government to use "legal means" to defend China's interests amid growing international criticism of its rights record and overseas propaganda and infiltration operations.

China's state broadcaster CCTV made the announcement ahead of the three-day G7 leadership summit, which opens in the U.K. on Friday.

Chinese political commentator Wu Qiang said the passing of China's Anti-Sanctions Law sends a strong message to the international community.

"China is trying to respond to the sanctions imposed on it by the international community," Wu said.

"Escalating the current standoff will exacerbate its isolation and the rift between China and the international community," he said. "It is not trying to find ways to communicate, [or move] towards mutual alignment."

He said further tensions could emerge around the U.S. insistence that the origins of the coronavirus that led to the COVID-19 pandemic be investigate, amid further unconfirmed reports of a possible leak from a top-security viral research laboratory in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the pandemic first emerged.

Coordinated sanctions over Uyghurs

Last week, the Biden administration banned U.S. investment in around 60 companies in China’s defense or surveillance technology sectors in a bid to limit the flow of money to firms that undermine U.S. security or “domestic values,” which allows listings for human rights abuses.

On March 22, the European Union, U.S., Canada, and the U.K. sanctioned Chinese officials and security entities as part of a multilateral approach to hold to account those responsible for Beijing’s policies of oppression against Uyghurs in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

China has already leveled retaliatory sanctions against Western officials and scholars in response to U.S. and European measures over rights abuses in the region.

Some sanctions target the Political and Security Committee of the Council of the European Union, the Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament, the Mercator Institute for China Studies in Germany, and the Alliance of Democracies Foundation in Denmark.

China's Foreign Ministry has also designated members of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Canadian lawmaker Michael Chong and the House of Commons Foreign Affairs subcommittee on human rights for retaliatory visa and financial sanctions related to Xinjiang.

And on March 17, one day before a high-level bilateral meeting in Alaska, U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken announced sanctions against 24 Chinese officials for their efforts "to unilaterally undermine Hong Kong's electoral system" by enacting amendments to screen legislative candidates for their allegiance to Beijing.

Feng Chongyi, Chinese studies professor at the University of Technology Sydney in Australia, said China has adopted a tit-for-tat approach to respond to foreign sanctions, but often overestimates its own strength.

"They tend to greatly overestimate Xi Jinping's power and prestige, and China's strength," Feng said. "They believe they are really powerful, to the point of self-delusion."

"They impose sanctions on Australia and the European Union because they believe that the EU and Australia are heavily dependent on China," he said.

Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam, who has reportedly been forced to use cash after sanctions hit her credit card accounts, said on June 7 that her government supports the new law.

Reported by Qiao Long and Chingman for RFA's Mandarin and Cantonese Services. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

Source : Radio Free Asia More   

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