【新唐人2013年1月13日訊】【世事關心】(244)「南周」「勞教」與習近平的自我定位:從近期重大事件管窺習近平的內心世界。(English script included below)

“Southern Weekend Magazine”, “Labor Camp" and Xi Jinping’s Self-positioning

旁白:2013年開啟不到10天,中國政壇和民間就出現了好幾件讓人震驚的事。首先是1月3號,南方周末的新年獻詞被廣東省宣傳部長庹震刪改,引起軒然大波,隨後炎黃春秋網站又被關閉。1月5日,四川省委人事異動,原四川省長蔣巨峰辭職,其職務由副省長魏宏接替任代省長。1月7號,中國官方媒體一度報導,中央政法委書記孟建柱宣布”中國今年內停止勞教制度“,但是此說法旋即又在官媒被刪除。

蕭茗:這一系列官場和民間的突發事件和特殊變動毫無疑問折射的是中共高層在18大之後依然沒有落幕的權力鬥爭和中國社會愈演愈烈的矛盾沖突。這一點並不奇怪。但是,我們現在所處的時間點有一些特殊,習近平上任不到兩個月,他身上的那層神秘面紗還沒有完全退下。西方世界有個慣例,在每一個新的中國領導人上臺的時候,他們都會揣測這位領導人的內心世界。也就是這個人對中國現狀的真實判斷,以及基於這個判斷之上的他對自己的定位,再下來才談的上他的施政方向,才能理解他的政策出發點。 當下發生的這幾件事恰恰是可以管窺習近平內心世界的一個機會,從另外一個角度講,也是檢驗他的一個機會。 習近平的自我定位,他的政治抱負,以及他在這場博弈中所處的位置和他面對的真實的中國,這是我們今後需要持續探討的問題, 今天就讓我們從最近發生的這幾件大事開始說起。

字幕: “南周”抗議,炎黃春秋被封

旁白:1月3日,南方周末網絡微薄以報紙編輯部落款署名發出消息,指南方周末剛剛發出的2013年新年賀詞“我們比任何時候都更接近夢想”不是本報編輯審定的稿件。一時間一石激起千層浪。隨後有消息爆料,《南方周末》新年獻詞的起草過程一直受到中共廣東省委宣傳部的幹預,報社編輯定稿簽發的版本未通過審查,遭到撤稿。最後發表的賀詞出自廣東省委宣傳部長庹震之手。

據稱原本題為“中國夢,憲政夢”的新年獻詞呼應習近平最近提出的“中國夢”。指出中國需要憲政改革,希望中國走上一條憲政之路。但是被庹震改成了一篇為中共歌功頌德的馬屁文章。

1月4日《南方周末》前雇員聯署公開信,要求廣東省委宣傳部長庹震引咎辭職。並指庹震的做法“越界”、“擅權”和“愚昧”。

1月6日,《南方周末》官方微博發出一篇“致讀者”,文中說“本報1月3日新年特刊所刊發的新年獻詞,系本報編輯配合專題‘追夢’撰寫,特刊封面導言系本報一負責人草擬,網上有關傳言不實。”

但是隨後,一份由十多人署名的“南方周末經濟部全體編采人員共同聲明稱,“十萬火急!經過一天的攻防過後,南方周末官微失守!所做聲明不能代表南方周末采編人員態度,為有關當局施壓南方周末管理層的結果。”

1月7日,多家媒體報導,此前保持沈默的中共中宣部發出通知,力挺宣傳官員庹震。中宣部就此事定性嚴厲,傳達了三點,首先,黨管媒體是不可動搖的基本原則;南方周末此次出版事故與庹震無關;最後,此事有境外敵對勢力介入。中宣部還要求各地媒體、網站8日起轉載《環球時報》批評南方周末的社評《南方周末“致讀者”實在令人深思》,

但是1月8號,大家發現全國很多媒體並未轉載《環球時報》的文章。有些媒體甚至公開抵制,《新京報》傳出因為不願意轉載《環球時報》的文章,社長直接冷言回應北京宣傳部長,以口頭辭職作為抗議。南周事件繼續發酵,1月7、8日連續兩天,大陸民眾自發到南周總部獻花聲援,表達對《南方周末》的支持,並自制各種各樣的抗議標語在現場展示,要求捍衛新聞自由。據民眾目擊,現場人數有3-400人。中國社會各界,學生、學者、律師,甚至海外的各種聲援也此起彼伏。

值得註意的是,除中宣部控制的《環球時報》外,中共的另外幾大喉舌-《人民日報》,新華社和中央電視臺迄今為止沒有對南周事件表態, 而《人民日報》日前還發出了評論,呼籲中共各地宣傳戰線管理者,要[踏準中央的節拍,順應時代的節奏],要[與時俱進]。香港蘋果日報援引背景政治學者,趙紫陽時代中共中央智囊吳稼祥的觀點說:“《南周》事件中中共表現兩種互相矛盾的處理手法,實為[有兩個中央在運作],學者指,《人民日報》可視為是中共總書記習近平的「喉舌」,其評論就是對廣東省委宣傳部的批評;

1月8號,路透社引述接近中共廣東省委的人士透露,胡春華親自介入目前的僵局,提供解決方案。根據這一方案,報社員工結束罷工,恢復正常工作,本周報紙照常出版;不搞秋後算賬。該報主編黃燦和廣東省委宣傳部長庹震將被撤換。但為了官方的面子,庹震不會立即離職。1月10號,南方周末如期正常出版。

幾乎和南方周末事件同時發生的是大陸知名刊物“炎黃春秋”的網站在1月4號被關閉,炎黃春秋是由一些中共黨內元老,作家和學者等創辦的一個具有改革派色彩的綜合月刊。 刊物多刊登有關中共黨史敏感事件的評論和時評文章,而文章不時和官方的歷史結論有出入,或者主張黨內各項改革,因此受到關註。1月初,《炎黃春秋》網站發表題為《憲法是政治體制改革的共識》的新年致辭,與《南方周末》希望實現憲政改革夢想的新年致辭相似,1月4號,網站遭到關閉,一直到現在。

蕭茗: 南周事件持續發酵,延續到今天它的影響已經擴展到中國社會各界以及海外,發自各個階層的聲援,要求新聞自由的呼聲此起彼伏。那麽,接下來事態還將如何發展,對南周事件的處理方式是否可以折射出習近平的政改走向?就這些問題我稍早采訪了本臺資深評論員橫河。一起來聽一下。

蕭茗:在南周的問題上,這個環球時報和中共的其他的幾個喉舌媒體確實是態度不一樣的,那麼習近平控制的人民日報前幾天還發表了一個評論,是呼籲中共各地的宣傳戰線的管理者,要踏準中央的節拍,順應時代的節奏要與時俱進,那麼這個評論呢就被解讀為,是對廣東省委宣傳部的一個批評。
你認為就是習近平他在處理南周這個問題上,他會是把握了一個甚麼樣的尺度呢?

橫河:我認為是這樣的,就是習近平他上臺以後呢,現在面臨的兩大挑戰,就是中共統治的,一個槍桿子、一個筆桿子都面臨著很大的挑戰,那麼在槍桿子方面呢就說暴力鎮壓方面,是一個勞教制度很可能他會選做一個,就是改變形象的地方。

另外一個呢,就是誰都沒有想到的出了這個南周事件,那麼南方周末這個事件呢,主要是就是並不是宣傳口,控制媒體本身他們認為有問題,因為中共它一直在控制,而是說他控制的方式,和這個自己走到臺前去了,本來他們是在幕後的,走到臺前去了。那麼這一點呢,可能說引起了民憤,那麼對於習近平來說的話呢,這就是一個很重要的一個地方,他必須去處理,不能迴避的。

那麼我想呢就是說,人民日報的這篇文章,其實並沒有說,這個宣傳部門控制媒體是錯的,他只是說,你們的作法不要給中央添亂。所以從這個角度上來說的話,我覺得他們很可能是在手法上要做得更隱蔽, 或者是更不讓人發現。而不是說就從這個控制媒體的領域退出來了。

蕭茗:如果這樣說的話,因為現在外界很關註就是對於南周事件的處理方式,是不是可以折射出習近平他的政改的走向?那按照您的說法,其實他是換湯不換藥了,
您覺得有沒有可能在一定程度上,這件事情的處理方式,能夠折射出習近平的政改的走向呢?

橫河:我覺得現在這個南周事件的處理方法,還是停留在就是危機應對的這種處理方法,就是說他並沒有動這個宣傳口的一個最基本的東西,而是說怎麼樣在這個情況下,既不丟宣傳口的整體的面子,就包括宣傳部門和中共的宣傳一貫的這種做法,不丟這個面子。另外一方面呢,又讓南周人能夠妥協,還有一個呢要讓大家平息下去,那麼這幾個呢實際上是都是在一個操作層面,所以我把它叫做危機應對。而真正說要反應他的所謂政改的走向,或者是政改的路怎麼走的話呢,我覺得通過這一個處理危機的方式,可能還不容易體現出來。

filler

蕭茗: 在南周事件發生幾天,事態還在發展的時候,北京又傳出了另一個驚人的消息。 中央政法委書記孟建柱突然在全國政法工作電視電話會議上宣布”中國今年內停止勞教制度“,但是,這個消息被中共各大官媒報導了一天後,又被拿下了。具體情況我們請雪莉來給我們介紹一下。

雪莉:好的蕭茗。北京時間1月7日,中國多家官方媒體報導,中央政法委書記孟建柱當天上午在全國政法工作會議上提出將進一步推進勞動教養、涉法涉訴信訪工作、司法權力運行機制、戶籍制度的改革,“四項改革”被確定為2013年工作重點。會上,孟建柱還宣布,中央已研究,報請全國人大常委會批準後,今年停止使用勞教制度。

從南都網這篇報導所給出的網絡截圖可以看到,當初報出這個消息的中共官方媒體包括“新華網”和“央視新聞”。

但是,一天以後,中共官方媒體引述的孟建柱關於”中國今年內停止勞教制度“的話被刪掉了。只剩下了“深化四項改革”的內容。“今年內停止勞教制度“這句話只有在一些官方色彩不太濃的網站,例如騰訊網,南都網,鳳凰網,以及新華社的英文推特網頁上還被保留。

中國的勞教制度臭名昭著,早就被海內外學者廣泛詬病。2012年12月4日,中國著名民生問題學家、北京理工大學經濟學教授胡星鬥,將兩份長達2,300字、69名專家學者簽名的,建議對“勞教制度”進行違憲審查和廢止的司法建議書,通過特快專遞形式寄往全國人大常委會和國務院。

有意思的是,同一天,習近平在首都各界紀念中國憲法公布施行30周年會上發表講話說:“憲法的生命在於實施,憲法的權威也在於實施,要堅持不懈抓好憲法實施,把全面貫徹實施憲法提到新水平”,他強調:“要堅持依法治國、依法執政。” 很顯然,勞教制度就是中共司法體系中公然違反憲法的部分。如果習近平真的在做一個憲政夢的話,他是繞不過勞教制度的。

於此同時我們還看到,孟建柱的“今年停止使用勞教制度”這番話發表的時機也非比尋常。有消息說,關於勞教制度,公安部之前曾經承諾,在年內拿出一整套取消勞教的“漸進方案”,原計劃從明年一月開始,在兩年的“內部掌握的過渡期”最後清理勞動教養問題。然而,上周末,中辦突發指示:“不要過渡期,今年內必須停止。”

那麽,是什麽使這個計劃突然提前了呢?在時間上,我們確實看到了這樣一種巧合,就是這番話發表在習近平南巡之後,江澤民抵制“習八條”、“南周”和“炎黃春秋”關於憲政的言論被刪改和封殺之後。這一組時間上的巧合也確實耐人尋味。蕭茗。

蕭茗:謝謝雪莉。對於“停止使用勞教制度”這件事的解讀,我們再來聽一下橫河先生的看法。

蕭茗:之前有報導說呢,公安部他原本是打算年內拿出一個方案,然後兩年之內清理勞教問題,但是後來呢,這個方案就突然就被要求提前了,所以才有孟建柱突然宣布今年停止使用勞教制度,那這條消息是被中共的官媒廣泛的報導,但是很快又被拿下,那您覺得是一個整個的過程中,出現的這種比如說提前哪然後又反覆呀!這是到底是怎麼回事呢?

橫河:是這樣的,公安部呢他準備一個兩年的方案,這是相對來說比較正常的,因為勞教制度本身並不是一個,嚴格的說不是一個法律,是公安部門打給國務院的一個報告國務院批準了,是一個試行辦法,所以由公安部出面來再打一個報告,國務院批準說停止使用,這是最正常的。但是呢公安部本身就是取消勞教制度,廢除勞教制度最大的障礙,所以等不到公安部兩年以後的事情,那現在呢是從去年 18大之前呢出了兩大事件,一個呢就是重慶的村官任建宇,另外一個呢就是湖南的那個唐慧。

這兩起勞教事件呢,引起了全國非常非常大的反應,從司法界和普通民眾都非常憤怒,那麼再加上今年呢,突然之間又出了一個,馬三家勞教所的這個求援信,在國際上引起軒然大波,那麼這幾件事情呢,我覺得導致習近平必須快速做出一個決策來,就是說原計畫是兩年的,現在馬上就宣布,這樣的話呢可以在某種程度上,挽回一下個新政權的面子,儘管說有些事情是舊政權留下來的,但是現在 你在位置上,人家就要拿你是問,就要把責任由你來承擔,所以呢我覺得他是在快速的去想調整一下,把這個事情提出來。

那麼剛開始的時候呢,提出來是停止使用,這和廢除其實是差別非常大的,廢除至少有一個就是表明,這個制度本身是不合理的,或者是壞的,有帶貶意。而停止使用呢,不帶貶意,這兩者之間的差別呢,就在於要不要承認錯誤,要不要清算的問題。

蕭茗:但是就勞教制度本身來說,大家其實都對勞教制度是很了解的,而且眾所周知就是,勞教制度它是公然違反憲法的,中國憲法的。所以說現在大家都在說習近平,他是不是在做一個憲政夢,如果他要做憲政夢的話,他就沒有辦法繞過這個勞教制度,所以現在的問題就是,你覺得習近平是不是真的在做一個憲政夢,他的憲政夢的具體內容是什麼?

橫河:這個我倒不覺得他真的是在做一個憲政夢,所謂憲政的話,實際上從1百多年前,清朝末期的時候,大家就在做這個憲政夢,那麼這個憲政呢,其實和現在習近平所提出來的一整套的方式,一整套的所謂政治體制改革的這個方案來說的話,我覺得還談不上是憲政,因為到目前為止,它提出來的所謂十八條啊,或者是以前依法治國啊,這些具體的一些作法呢,其實往往還是限制在一個行政體制改革方面,也就是說是完全是在,你像習八條事件就是一個廉政建設,它並沒有觸動到最基本的制度,更不要說是這個所謂開放黨禁、報禁啊、信仰自由啊,更談不上這些東西,那麼實際上是侷限在一個範圍,到目前為止,像反腐啊它都是屬於這種行政方面的,一些小打小道的這一類東西,所以我不能肯定的說,它的憲政目是甚麼,但是至少它現在的行動,和人們所期待的所謂憲政,是差距是有相當差距,但是它不管怎麼樣它提到了憲政,然後它提到了一個憲法的基礎地位,如果是這樣的話,在加上它之前說的這個,勞教制度要被停止,就是說如果它真的要想在司法公正這個層面,做一些甚麼事情的話,你覺得除了廢止,就是除了停止這個勞教制度之外,還應該包括甚麼呢?

這包括的事情非常多,第一個就是應該解散政法委,讓司法相對的從中國共產黨的控制下獨立出去,就是司法獨立這是第一位。第二呢在立法當中,惡法必須取消。
你像甚麼73條,就是刑訴法的73條,就是說把這個強制失蹤變合法化,像這一種的惡法必須取消。

另外呢就是,法外的懲罰系統全部要取消,你除了這個勞教所以外,還有黑監獄,還有甚麼洗腦班,這些都要取消。

那就勞教制度本身而言,我覺得當務之急,現在勞教所裡面關的絕大部分都是良心犯,而不是說真正的罪犯,所以曾經有過統計說是,法輪功學員就占了一半。那麼還有甚麼家庭教會成員啊,一些維權人士啊。首先就要把這些良心犯,沒有違法的所有的人要釋放。釋放出去以後呢,你要國家賠償。

另外呢,還有一個呢,就是在因為它是一個非法之法,非法的一個規章,那麼在這個執法的過程,在執行的過程當中,就有很多人是這樣子違法的,包括從上層到下層,那麼這個呢既然是違法的,你要法制,你就必須把這些人,用現有的中國法律,我們還不講是國際法,也不講是人權條約。就是說,用現有的法律體系,來追究他們的刑事責任,那麼至少要先做到這幾點,然後我們才能談,你能不能對司法體制進行改革,就是對現有的,違法的執法,執法當中違法的人,進行懲罰,對打錯了的人國家賠償。

filler

蕭茗:我們在節目開始的時候說過,習近平對中國現狀的真實判斷,以及基於這個判斷之上的他對自己的定位,是今後探討中國問題時我們需要考慮的前提。那麽,從最近發生的這些事情中,我們是否可以管窺到習近平的真實想法呢?下面我們就來和兩位評論員探討這個問題。

蕭茗:雖然這個問題是最後提出來的,但是我想您在回答前面,具體的問題的時候,應該也是建立在對這個問題的,一個基本的看法之上,所以呢我首先就是想問的就是,您認為習近平對中國現狀的一個真實的判斷是甚麼?他是不是認為,中共通過改良還可以走過這場危機?

橫河:從這個中共高層領導來說的話,其實他們的信息量,比起我們所知道的,所想像的要多得多。對於中共目前所面臨的危機,中共高層領導要比一般的民眾知道的要多得多,這就是為甚麼在很多高層會議上,提出來的危機:亡黨、亡國,而有很多基層的民眾還沒有看到這一點,事實上他們知道共產黨面臨的危機,是他們統治以來最嚴重的,而且說很難有解的,但是呢習近平他將面臨的問題是有幾個。

他有幾個選擇,一個呢就是徹底的改,就是像當年國民黨在臺灣那樣子,那麼最終國民黨通過那樣子的改,就是說走向憲政,然後呢走向民主自由,最終他們被選上去了,可是又被選回去了,就是說它被保留下來了,這是一種。像緬甸現在它走的也是類似的路。

那另外一種呢,就是說保留現有的體制不變,也就是說你剛才說的改良的路,那麼習近平目前的作法,就是說共產黨跟別的黨不一樣就是,它欠下的債實在太多,就是說它本身已經是,已經沒有辦法救了,在這種情況下呢,如果說就像一個病得快死的病人,非得用非常重的藥,要 重藥了,因為他已經快死了,再下重藥他可能立刻就死了。

中共現在面臨的就是這麼一個問題,

蕭茗:那你認為習近平呢?他是打算進行小救小補,還是他打算就是大動幹戈呢?

橫河:現在看來他的是不是小救小補,是中救中補,但是呢他不會大動幹戈,大動幹戈的話呢,牽涉到多方面的問題,就是說包括中共整個領導階層,整個統治階層是不會同意的,因為他們都在這條船上,他們還繼續的想,在這條船上掠奪更多的東西,因此呢就是說,大動不是說小動不小動的問題,而是中等的動,小動呢其實大家已經看到了,小救小補是沒有用的,所以他可能會在稍微大一點的這個層次上,選一些特別名分大的,而且呢糾正起來又不動,真正不對統治集團傷筋動骨的一些項目上,可能會大動一下,那麼但是呢,他只是具體的項目的大動,我認為習近平將來可能在,目前可以看見的將來,所走的可能是這條路,

蕭茗:不同人對中國社會現狀和中共通過改革是否能再次度過危機有不同的看法。其實,中國現在的情況確實非常復雜,如果從不同的角度,從各方實力的角度,從人心向背的角度,從實施難易的角度,從操作可能性的角度出發,可能都會得出不盡相同的結論。但是,換一種思維看,這件事又變得非常簡單。因為天道大於任何人間的規律。善惡有報就是天道。中共在歷史上犯下了滔天的罪行,直到現在還在繼續迫害著法輪功修煉者。它早已經失去了上天曾經給予它的挽回的機會,解體是它面臨的必然。但是中共的解體,並不意味著中共內部的所有成員都沒有希望了。上至國家主席,下至普通官員,在這個歷史的關鍵時刻,誰能面對真相,順應民心,善用權力為民眾做好事,作出正確的選擇,那才是真正的識實務者。同時,他的作為神也會看到。

=============

“Southern Weekend Magazine”, “Labor Camp" and Xi Jinping’s Self-positioning

Narrator: Shortly after 2013 began, several startling events took place in the Chinese political arena and within Chinese society. The first event took place on January 3, when Southern Weekend magazine’s New Year message was revised by Tuo Zhen, the Guangdong Province propaganda minister. This immediately caused an uproar. Afterward the Yanhuang Chunqiu magazine website was shut down by authorities. On January 5, some personnel changes took place in Sichuan Province. The former governor of Sichuan Province, Jiang Jufeng, resigned, and Deputy Governor Wei Hong succeeded him as acting governor. On January 7, the government’s official media reported that Meng Jianzhu, the Secretary of the Central Politics and Law Committee, announced that China would end its re-education through labor system in 2013. However, this statement was immediately removed.

Simone Gao: This series of conflicts between government officials and the Chinese people coupled with unusual personnel changes is undoubtedly a reflection of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) top level leaders’ power struggles, which didn’t end after the 18th National Congress, as well as the intensifying conflicts within Chinese society. This is not at all surprising. However, the current time period is a bit special. Xi Jinping took office less than two months ago. His veil of mystery has not been completely lifted. When a new Chinese leader comes into power, Westerners usually speculate on this leader’s inner world. The inner world refers to this new leader’s judgment regarding China’s status quo, his self-positioning based on his judgment, and his administration’s policy direction. By understanding all these, the people are able to understand the starting point of his policies. Several events that recently occurred are an opportunity for the world to have a glimpse of Xi Jinping’s inner world. Talking from another perspective, this is also an opportunity to test him. Xi Jinping’s self-positioning, his political ambitions, his position in this political game played by the CCP’s top officials and the real China he faces are the topics, which we will continuously explore in the future. Today, let’s start our discussions on recent major events.

Subtitle: Southern Weekly protests; Yanhuang Chunqiu is shut down

Narrator: On January 3, Southern Weekend magazine website’s micro-blog published a message presumably written by the magazine’s editorial department. The message pointed out that the New Year message on Southern Weekend recent issue was not approved by the magazine’s editors. The New Year message was titled We are Closer to Our Dream than Ever Before. This quickly became a news flash. News soon spread indicating that the Southern Weekend magazine New Year message’s drafting process had always been subject to interference from the CCP’s Guangdong Provincial Party Committee Propaganda Department. The New Year message’s final version, which was approved by the editors, fell foul of the censors. As a result, the magazine had to withdraw the final draft. The New Year message that was eventually published was written by Tuo Zhen, the Guangdong Provincial Party Committee Propaganda Minister.

The original New Year message was allegedly titled ‘Chinese Dream, Constitutional Dream’, echoing Xi Jinping’s recently mentioned “Chinese dream". The article pointed out the need for constitutional reform in China and wished that China embark on a constitutional path. However, the message was changed by Tuo Zhen into a flattering article singing the Party’s praises.

On January 4, Southern Weekend magazine’s former employees jointly signed an open letter to demand the resignation of Tuo Zhen, the Guangdong Provincial Party Committee Propaganda Minister. They said Tuo Zhen’s misdeed was “crossing the line", “without authorization" and “ignorant".

On January 6, Southern Weekend magazine’s official micro-blog issued an open letter titled To Our Readers. The letter stated that the New Year message published on the January 3 New Year special issue was written by the magazine’s editorial department, in accord with the featured topic “Dream Chasing”. It said that the special issue’s introduction was drafted by a magazine director, and all the online rumors were false.

However, immediately afterwards, a joint statement signed by more than a dozen people claiming to be the entire editorial staff of Southern Weekend’s economic affairs department was issued. It read, “Urgent! After one day of being hacked, Southern Weekend’s official micro-blog crashed! The declaration made earlier does not represent Southern Weekend magazine’s editorial staff. It was the result of the magazine’s management being pressured by the authorities.”

On January 7, a number of media reported that the previously silent Central Propaganda Department issued a notice to strongly support Guangdong’s propaganda official, Tuo Zhen. The Propaganda Department classified the incident as severe. It also conveyed three points to its subordinate departments: first, the communist Party’s control over the media is the unshakable fundamental principle; second, Southern Weekend’s publication incident has nothing to do with Tuo Zhen; third, some Simone Gaoile foreign forces had intervened in this incident. The Central Propaganda Department also urged all media to publish the CCP-controlled Global Times’ editorial criticizing Southern Weekend. The editorial was titled Southern Weekend Magazine’s To Our Readers Article is Indeed thought-provoking.

However, on January 8, people discovered that many mainland Chinese media outlets had not published the Global Times editorial. Some media companies even openly boycotted it. It was said that The Beijing News didn’t want to reprint the Global Times editorial. The newspaper’s president even responded coldly to Beijing’s propaganda minister and mentioned he would resign in protest. The Southern Weekend incident continued to develop. On January 7 and 8, people spontaneously went to the magazine’s headquarters to present bouquets of flowers in support of the magazine. They also made various protest slogans to display at the scene. The crowd demanded freedom of the press. According to some witnesses, 300 to 400 people were at the scene. Chinese people from all walks of life, including students, academics, lawyers and even overseas Chinese, expressed their support for the magazine, one after another.

It is worth noting that except for the Global Times, which is directly controlled by the Central Propaganda Department, several other major CCP mouthpieces, including the People’s Daily, Xinhua News Agency and CCTV, haven’t expressed their stance on the Southern Weekend incident. People’s Daily has also recently published some comments, calling for the people in charge of the CCP’s various “propaganda fronts” to “follow the central government’s pace and to conform to the era’s rhythm, as well as to “advance with the times”. Hong Kong’s Apple Daily newspaper quoted political scientist Wu Jiaxiang, who was the CCP Central Committee’s think tank during the Zhao Ziyang era, as saying, “The CCP government’s two conflicting ways to handle the Southern Weekend incident reflects the fact that there are actually two operating central governments.” Some political scientists pointed out that the People’s Daily can be seen as the mouthpiece of the CCP’s General Secretary, Xi Jinping. People’s Daily’s comments are critical of the Guangdong Provincial Party Committee propaganda Department.

On January 8, Reuters quoted sources close to the CCP’s Guangdong Provincial Committee as saying that the Guangdong Provincial Party Committee Secretary Hu Chunhua personally intervened in the current impasse to provide solutions. According to his proposed solutions, the newspaper staff should end their strike and resume working; the newspaper should be published as usual; the people involved in the incident won’t be punished or retaliated against afterwards. Huang Can, the newspaper’s editor and Tuo Zhen the Guangdong Provincial Party Committee Propaganda Minister will be both replaced. However, in order to save the government’s face, Tuo Zhen will not immediately leave his post. On January 10, the new issue of Southern Weekend was published as scheduled.

Almost simultaneously, on January 4, well-known mainland magazine Yanhuang Chunqiu’s website was shut down. Yanhuang Chunqiu monthly magazine was founded by some CCP elders, authors and academics, and is viewed as reformist. The magazine often publishes commentaries on sensitive events regarding the Communist Party’s history. Occasionally its articles make conclusions on historical events which differ from the CCP’s official conclusions, and its articles frequently advocate various reforms within the Party. Because of this, the magazine has attracted people’s attention. In early January 2013, Yanhuang Chunqiu’s website published a New Year message titled The Constitution is Consensus of Political Reforms, which was very similar to Southern Weekend’s New Year message about the constitutional dream. On January 4, the website was shut down, and still remains closed.

Simone Gao: The Southern Weekend incident continues to develop. Today, its influence has expanded to all walks of Chinese society as well as overseas. There has been support from all Chinese social strata. The people have now formed a chorus, calling for freedom of the press. So, how will the event develop next? Can the way the Southern Weekly incident was handled reflect Xi Jinping’s political reform direction, if any? Regarding these questions, I interviewed NTDTV’s senior commentator Heng He. Let’s listen to his comments.

Simone Gao: On the Southern weekend issue, the Global Times attitude is indeed different from the attitude of the other CCP’s mouthpiece media outlets. A few days ago, the Xi Jinping-controlled newspaper People’s Daily published a commentary, calling for the people in charge of the CCP’s propaganda fronts across China to follow the central government’s pace, to conform to this era’s rhythm, and to advance with the times. This commentary has been interpreted as a criticism of the Guangdong Provincial Party Committee Propaganda Department. In your opinion, in dealing with the issue of Southern Weekend, how does Xi Jinping grasp the scale of unfolding events?

Heng He: I think this is the case. After coming to power, Xi Jinping now faces two major challenges. That is, the CCP’s gun barrels, on which its political power is based, and their pens (i.e. official direction of public opinion) are both facing great challenges. In terms of the gun barrels, which are the violent suppression (of the dissenting people), he may choose the “re-education through labor” system as the area in which he wants to change the regime’s image.

The other challenge is the Southern Weekend incident, which no one had foreseen. In dealing with this Southern Weekend incident, the CCP’s top leaders don’t think that the government’s propaganda departments’ control of the Chinese media is the problem, because the CCP has always been in control of the media. The CCP leaders think that the propaganda departments’ way of controlling the media is problematic. In the past, these government agencies had always remained behind the scenes. However, this time they have gone out onto the stage, which may have infuriated the people. To Xi Jinping, this is a very important area. He must face it and handle it, it is unavoidable.

So, I think that the article published by People’s Daily did not actually say that the propaganda departments’ control of the media is wrong. It just said that the departments’ method of media control should not bring troubles to the central government. Therefore, from this perspective, I think that they will likely use more concealed methods or avoid being detected by people in the future. This is not to say that the propaganda departments will cease their control of the media.

Simone Gao: The outside world is very concerned about the way the CCP regime handles the Southern Weekend incident. Can Xi Jinping’s way of handling this issue reflect the direction of his political reforms (if any)? According to your statements, in fact, this is just a change in form but not in content. Do you feel it is possible that to a certain extent, the way Xi Jinping approaches this incident can reflect his direction of political reform?

Heng He: I think that the handling of the Southern Weekend incident is still the model of his crisis response. That is, Xi Jinping did not touch upon the fundamentals of the propaganda departments. All he tried to do is, that under these circumstances, how to save the entire government propaganda system’s face, including the government propaganda departments’ unswerving alignment with the CCP’s propaganda, while making the Southern Weekend employees compromise. Another issue is calming down people’s agitation. Since all these are actually done at an operational level, I collectively call them a crisis response. Does this reflect his so-called political reforms, or how to go down the path of the political reforms? I don’t think this can be easily reflected by this method of handling a crisis.

Simone Gao: A few days after the Southern Weekend reporting event happened, another surprising piece of news came out of Beijing. Secretary Meng Jianzhu of the Central Politico-Legal Committee suddenly announced: “China will stop the forced labor camp system by the year’s end” during the TV and Telephone Meeting on China Political-Legal Work. But, this news lasted only one day after being reported by all CCP official media, and then it was taken off. Let’s ask Xueli to brief us on some actual facts.

Xueli: OK, Xiaoming. On January 7, many Chinese official media reported that Secretary Meng Jianzhu suggested further changes to forced labor camps, legal complaints by letters or visits, legal power carrying mechanisms, registered permanent residence system in the China Politico-Legal Meeting. The “Four Changes” were determined as the 2013 work emphasis. During the meeting, Meng Jianzhu also announced that the central government had studied and got approval from the standing committee of the Chinese People’s Congress that the forced labor camp system would be stopped by the year’s end.

From past webpage reporting on nandu.com, we can see that the news reporting included CCP official media such as “xinhua.net” and “central government TV news.”

However, a day later, CCP media deleted its reporting on Meng Jianzhu’s “China will stop forced labor camp system by the year end,” and only “Deepen Four Changes” contents were left. “Stop forced labor camp system by year end” only appears on webpages which do not contain much official news as their central news. For example, qq.com, nandu.com, ifeng.com, and xinhua English tweeter pages still kept reporting it.

The Chinese forced labor camp system is notorious, and has been widely denounced by several researchers. Professor Hu Xinduo, China famous researcher on people’s life problems and an economy professor at Beijing Institute of Technology, mailed a 2,300-word letter suggesting legal system changes on “stop forced labor camp system” to the standing committee of China People’s Congress and the State Council by express mail. The letter was signed by 69 famous specialists and researchers.

Interestingly, during the capital 30th year celebration meeting of China Constitution announcement and enforcement that day, Xi Jingping said: “The importance of the Constitution depends on enforcement. The power of the Constitution also depends on enforcement. We need to continuously enforce the Constitution, and deepen the enforcement of the Constitution to a new level.” He emphasized: “We should govern by law, and govern by law to be in power.” Obviously, the forced labor camp system contradicts the Constitution in the CCP’s own legal system. If Xi Jingping truly had a dream to have a constitutional government, he could not get around the forced labor camp system.

At the same time, we also see that the timing of Meng Jianzhu’s “stop forced labor camp system by year end” is extraordinary. News came that the Ministry of Public Security had previously promised to produce a set of “gradual plans” in order to eliminate forced labor camp system by year’s end. The previous plan was to begin in January next year, and clear out forced labor camp problems within the two year “interim period with internal rules.” But suddenly last weekend, the central office directed: “We do not want an interim period. The system must be stopped by year’s end.”

Then, what caused the plan to change ahead of schedule? We can see a coincidence in timing. The reporting was published after Xi Jingping’s southern tour. Jiang Zheming resisted “Xi’s eight stipulations,” and the Southern Weekend’s and yhcqw.com’s reporting on constitutional government were deleted then. The timing was really interesting and raised a lot of curiosity. Xiaoming.

Simone Gao: Thank you, Xueli. Let’s listen to Huanhe’s comments on reading into “stop forced labor camp system.”

Simone Gao: Previously, there were reports saying that the Ministry of Public Security originally intended to come up with a plan in 2013 to remove the “reeducation through labor” system, and to clean up the labor camp issue within two years. However, the plan was later suddenly requested to be completed ahead of schedule. Therefore, the CCP’s Central Politics and Law Commission Secretary, Meng Jianzhu made the announcement to stop the use of the re-education through labor system in 2013. This piece of news was first widely reported by the CCP’s official media, but it was quickly removed from it’s media’s websites. In your opinion, throughout the entire process, why was the plan due date moved up, and why was the process then reversed? What happened in the end?

Heng He: It is relatively normal for the Ministry of Public Security to prepare a two-year program (to get rid of the labor camps), because the reeducation through labor system is not, strictly speaking, legal. It was a report submitted by the Public Security Department to the State Council. The proposal was approved by the State Council, so it became a trial implementation. So, it is most appropriate for the Ministry of Public Security to submit another report to be approved by the State Council to halt the use of this system. However, the Ministry of Public Security itself is the largest obstacle standing in the way of abolishing the re-education through labor system. So, before the Ministry of Public Security’s two-year deadline comes due and before the CCP’s 18th National Congress took place in late 2012, two major events regarding re-education through labor erupted. One case involved the Chongqing village official Ren Jianyu, and the other involved Hunan resident, Tang Hui.

Speaking of these re-education through labor incidents, both have evoked large repercussions across China. From the judiciary system to the average Chinese, many people were infuriated. Then suddenly in early 2013, a letter from the notorious Masanjia Labor Camp pleading for help caused an uproar in the international community. I think that these events prompted Xi Jinping to make a quick decision. The original plan was to be completed in two years. However, the new plan was immediately announced, thus to a certain degree, attempting to restore the face of Xi’s new regime. Even though some issues were left behind by the old regime, since now you are in the top position, people will call you into account and make you bear responsibility. So I think that Xi wanted to quickly make adjustments and to talk about this (i.e. the abolishment of the re-education through labor system). In the beginning, it was proposed to stop using the system, which is in fact, very different from repealing the system. Repealing it would at least show that the system itself is unreasonable or wicked, and it has derogatory implications. However, if the system simply stops being used, there is no derogatory sense to it. So, the difference between both terms is whether or not to admit the regime’s mistakes and to settle the accounts.

Simone Gao: Talking about the re-education through labor system itself, nearly all Chinese people know about the CCP’s re-education through labor system, and it is well known that this system is a blatant violation of the Chinese Constitution. Now everyone is discussing whether Xi Jinping is having a constitutional dream. However, if he wants to have a constitutional dream, there is no way for him to bypass the issue of the labor camp system. Now the question is, do you think that Xi is really having a constitutional dream? If so, what is the specific content of his constitutional dream?

Heng He: I don’t think that he is really having a constitutional dream. In fact, more than 100 years ago, near the end of the Qing Dynasty, people were having this constitutional dream. The constitutional government put forward by Xi Jinping and his entire set of so-called political reforms, in my opinion, are not really a constitutional government. This is because, so far, the specific practices proposed by Xi Jinping, such as the so-called Xi’s “Eight New Articles” or the rule of law mentioned in the past, are in fact still within the limits of the administrative system reform. For example, the eight new articles are actually about the construction of a clean government. They don’t touch the most fundamental system, not to mention the so-called lifting the ban on political parties, lifting the ban on newspapers or granting freedom of belief, etc. Then, all the new practices are actually confined to a certain range. So far, the policies, such as anti-corruption, all belong to the administrative aspect. They are things carried out on a small scale. Therefore, I cannot say for sure what Xi’s constitutional purpose is about. However, at least, there is a considerable gap between his current actions and what the people are looking for in a so-called constitutional government.

Simone Gao: However, in any case, Xi mentioned the constitutional government. Then he mentioned the foundational status of the constitution. Combined with the prior news of the possible repeal of the reeducation through labor system, if he really wants to do something in the area of judicial fairness, besides halting the use of the re-education through labor system, what else should be done?

Heng He: Many things can be done. The first is to dissolve the Politics and Law Commission, so that the judiciary can be independent from the CCP’s control. Therefore, judiciary independence should be the priority. Second, in terms of legislation, immoral laws must be removed. For example, Article 73 of the Criminal Code legalizes the forced disappearances. Such an immoral law must be removed. In addition, all extrajudicial punishment systems should be abolished. Besides the labor camps, there are the black jails (i.e. illegal prisons) and the brainwashing centers, which should all be abolished. Talking about the reeducation through labor system per se, I think the most urgent task is to free the prisoners of conscience in the labor camps. Inside these camps, the vast majority of inmates are prisoners of conscience, they are not criminals. Some past statistics state that Falun Gong practitioners accounted for half of the camp inmates. There are also house church members and some human rights activists. First, you need to release these prisoners of conscience who have never violated the law. After they are released, the state also needs to compensate them, since it is after all, an illegal law, an illegal regulation.

Then, during the “law enforcement process”, many people violated the real laws. These violaters range from people in the upper government levels to the lower levels. Since what they did is illegal, and you want to implement the rule of law, you have to punish these people with existing Chinese law. And we are not even speaking of international laws, or human rights treaties. That is, they should use the existing legal system to investigate and hold the lawbreakers liable for their crimes. At least they should achieve these issues. And then we can talk about whether they can reform the judicial system or not. They have to punish the people that violate the law during the law enforcement process. Also, the state must compensate the people that have been wronged.

Simone Gao: At the beginning of this program we said, Xi Jingping’s true judgment on China’s current situation and how he positions himself based on his judgment are the consideration precondition in our discussion of China Issues. Then, considering what happened recently, can we get some hints on Xi Jingping’s true thinking? Let’s discuss this question with two critics.

Simone Gao: Although this problem is raised now, I think that in answering the others’ questions I asked previously, you should base your views on the answer to this question. Therefore, I would like to ask, in your opinion, what is Xi Jinping’s judgment on China’s current situation? Does he believe that the CCP can survive this crisis through implementing reforms?

Heng He: The CCP’s top leaders’ extent of information is, in fact, much larger than what we know or imagine. The CCP leadership knows much more about the intricacies of the crisis the Party currently faces than the general public. That is why during many high-level meetings, the crisis is brought up: death of the Party and the demise of the nation. Many people at the grass-roots level haven’t seen this yet. In fact, the top leaders know the depth of the crisis the CCP faces. It is the most critical one they’ve faced since they started ruling China. It can also be said that the crisis is impossible to resolve. Xi Jinping will face several problems.

He has several options. One is to completely change, just like the Kuomintang did in Taiwan. In the end, the Kuomintang changed and embarked on the path of constitutionalism, and then it moved towards democracy and freedom. Ultimately, they were elected by the people but were later voted out. This political party continued to this day. This is one option. Myanmar now is following a similar path.

Another option is to keep the existing system unchanged, which is the reform approach that you just mentioned. The CCP is different from the other political parties, because it has too much debt. That is, there is no way to save it. Under these circumstances, just like a gravely ill patient on the verge of dying, you have to administer heavy doses of medicine. However, since he is dying, administering heavy doses may immediately kill him. The CCP is now facing this problem.

Simone Gao: What do you think Xi Jinping will do? Does he intend to carry out minor repairs or large changes?

Heng He: It seems that he is not carrying out minor repairs, but medium repairs. However, he will not implement any large changes. If he carries out large changes, it will involve many issues. The CCP’s entire leadership and the entire ruling class will not agree to it. This is because they are all in the same boat, and they want to continue plundering more wealth from the boat. Therefore, he will not carry out large changes or small moves, but medium changes. Everyone has seen that small repairs are not effective at all. Therefore, he may select cases that have roused many people’s anger on a slightly larger scale, but when correcting these problems he will ensure that the reigning elite’s interests will not be touched. However, Xi Jinping will just carry out large changes on specific projects. In my opinion, Xi Jinping may pursue this route in the foreseeable future.

Simone Gao: People have differing opinions on whether CCP can pass its crisis through change. In fact, China’s situation is really complicated. Looking at from different angles, from the angle of various power, from the angle of mass public disapproval, from the angle of difficulty of execution, from the angle of operational feasibility, we can reach various conclusions. But, if we think about it in a different way, the whole situation can become very simple and easy because natural law is above all human laws. That good deeds will be rewarded and bad deeds will be punished is natural law. The CCP has committed numerous crimes in its history. Until today, it still continues its persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. Long ago, it lost the opportunity God offered it. Dissolving it is inevitable, unavoidable, and something it must face. But, dissolving the CCP does not mean that there is no hope for its members. From the national Chairman to a low ranking official, at this historically critical moment, whoever can face the truth, follow the people’s hope, do the right thing for the public, and make the right decisions, is the person who really knows and is following the public’s interests. His deeds are being observed and will be seen by God.

評論