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An American in China

Archive for January 1st, 2011

Death Penalty in China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on January 1, 2011

Shackles, convulsions and sheer terror: life on death row in China

By Clifford Coonan

Monday, 28 December 2009

Aprisoner is escorted for execution at a public rally in Zhanjiang in China?s Guangdong province AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Aprisoner is escorted for execution at a public rally in Zhanjiang in China’s Guangdong province

However limited Akmal Shaikh’s mental capacities, the 4kg of heroin that he brought into Urumqi Airport in 2007 means that he faces a truly terrible fate.

In China, he is far from alone. Some 68 crimes carry the death penalty, including corruption and tax fraud as well as murder; more people are executed by the state here than in any other country. While some Chinese provinces have switched to the lethal injection as a means of execution, Xinjiang province has not and Mr Shaikh will be executed by a bullet to the back of the neck.

The blog testimony of one worker closely involved in the execution process gives a grisly insight into exactly how executions happen in China. It’s a nightmare world he describes, in which a disconsolate, condemned man sitting in handcuffs, with fetters on his feet, discusses funeral arrangements with his relatives, before the police take him off to the place of execution.

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“Arriving at the execution ground, the majority of death-row inmates can’t stand, and have incontinence,” the witness writes. “Legal police force lift them from the truck down to the ground. Then they are dragged to the execution location. Armed police jump from the truck. One armed police officer puts the gun three inches away from the back of his head.

“When the execution officer gives the order, the soldier pulled the trigger. After the gunshot, the condemned man fell forward, and a pool of blood splashed out.”

The blog posting goes on: “If the condemned has convulsions, another soldier shoots again into the back of the brain. The coroner turned the body around. The condemned man’s forehead was shattered, and anyone watching it would definitely vomit. The coroner, the courts, the prosecutors, anyone involved would definitely have vomited. After death is confirmed, the two sides sign a death certificate, the police take off the handcuffs and the shackles.”

Despite those horrors, the death penalty is popular in China, where it is viewed as a successful deterrent to serious crime. But the Chinese people are gradually becoming more sceptical, and many new judicial rules are aimed at stopping the police extracting confessions by torture. The Chinese media reports that the Supreme People’s Court overturned 15 per cent of death sentences handed down in 2007 and 10 per cent in 2008. But even if things are changing in China, it will matter little to Akmal Shaikh.

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Huawei, ATT and The USA

Posted by w_thames_the_d on January 1, 2011

Here is more on the Chinese networking company Huawei an fears of their allegiance to China’s communit party.

” Last year, as AT&T was preparing for a million dollar deal, one of its senior executives received a call from the National Security Agency. The subject was AT&T’s desire to give a Chinese firm a contract to supply some of the equipment. The message from the NSA — the US’s electronic spying

agency — was simple: If AT&T wanted to continue its lucrative business with the US government, it had better select a supplier other than Huawei, said several people with knowledge of the call. In February, AT&T announced that it would buy the equipment it needed from other companies. The NSA called AT&T because of fears that China’s intelligence agencies could insert digital trapdoors into Huawei’s technology that would serve as secret listening posts in the US communications network, said the sources.

The trust gap between US and China is a major obstacle for China and its companies as they seek to enter more sensitive parts of the global economy. But if the aborted AT&T deal was a setback for Huawei, the history of the company and its founder demonstrates a determination to prevail.

Huawei sells equipment, and services to 35 of the world’s 40 biggest telecom companies. It supplies one-third of the telecom equipment used in China.

Still, US senators are lobbying against another potential big Huawei sale. Huawei is being accused of links to the People’s Liberation Army and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps.

Although Huawei is technically a private firm, it has long benefited from an intimate relationship with the Chinese state.

Hence Huawei has been dogged by accusations that it would ultimately serve the interests of the Chinese Communist Party, not its customers or the market. Huawei reject such charges

Founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei writes, “China-US relations will continually have twists and turns, but that shouldn’t stop us from learning from the American spirit of innovation so that we can become richer and more powerful ever faster.”

In an exclusive partnership with The Washington Post, for additional content visit www.washingtonpost.com.”

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China’s Huawei – Rejects Claims of Communist Party Ties

Posted by w_thames_the_d on January 1, 2011

China’s Huawei is a networking company started by an ex officer of the Chinese Red Army. They have been accused of spying and having ties to the communist party (both claims they deny), here is a little more on them….pretty scary.

Unravelling the structure of the world’s fastest growing networking vendor.

While no direct ties between Huawei and the Chinese military and Communist Party have ever been established beyond CEO Ren Zhengfei’s past ties to both, the fast-growing telco supplier’s ownership structure is still fascinating, strange and tricky for Western observers to understand.

Huawei was founded in 1988 but remains a private company to this day, despite revenues of A$26.8 billion last year and a compound annual growth rate of 33 percent.

Huawei staff are evasive when asked why the company hasn’t listed.

“We will choose the most suitable model for Huawei at varied developmental stages,” a company spokesman told iTnews.

One of China’s richest men – with an estimated net worth of US$450 million – CEO Ren Zhengfei is content with a mere 1.42 percent of shares in Huawei.

The rest – some 98.56 per cent – is owned by employees, according to the company.

However, this arrangement is not as straightforward as it may sound. The employee shareholding scheme is implemented through the Union of Shenzhen Huawei Investment Holdings Co Ltd.

To further complicate matters, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd itself is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shenzhen Huawei Investment & Holding Co Ltd.

According to a company spokesman, Huawei Holding is solely owned by employees of Huawei, without any third parties (including government bodies) holding any of its shares.

In other words, Huawei employees own both the company they work for, and the company that owns Huawei itself.

This convoluted ownership by the employees is controlled by the company’s management.

Employees cannot buy shares, but are instead allocated shares annually on the basis of work performance, duties and capabilities for the position and on future development potential.

Huawei would not disclose how many shares any single employee can own. Dividends, however, are paid to employees, to complement Huawei’s incentive scheme that includes performance bonuses and annual salary reviews.

The shares themselves are known by the Huawei internal term “Virtual Restricted Shares”, but according the company spokesman, this is “just a technical name” for otherwise “normal” shares.

Only Chinese employees are allocated shares in Huawei.

“Huawei is headquartered in China and due to prevailing Chinese legal issues, overseas employees cannot, unfortunately, own shares,” the spokesman said.

Presently, Huawei says that out of some 95,000 employees, 61,457 hold shares in the company.

Employees allocated shares have to return these when they leave Huawei’s employ, according to the spokesman. The shares are bought back by the company at their current value, the company spokesman said, but he wasn’t prepared to reveal how much each share is valued at currently.

“The stock ownership plan will help us attract and retain talent, and keeps employee benefits in line with company performance,” the spokesman said.

The Union of the Shenzhen Huawei Investment and Holding Company is not a trade union, but a shareholders’ one, according to the spokesman, and it appears to form the cornerstone of Huawei corporate governance.

This union “is the highest authority of the company”.

A “small committee” of 33 union members are elected by other shareholders employed by Huawei to make decisions.

In turn, the committee elects nine candidates to the Huawei board that is appointed at the general annual shareholder meeting.

Huawei won’t disclose who runs the Union of SHIH or who sits on the committee, but says it would consider establishing an independent board of directors “when the condition is permitting”.

Judging from the present list of board members, they are highly ranked executives rather than shop floor employees. Apart from CEO Ren and chairwoman Sun Yafang, the other board members currently include:

  • Ms Ji Ping, Vice President
  • Mr Guo Ping, Executive Vice President
  • Mr Xu Wen Wei, Senior Vice President
  • Mr Hu Hou Kun, president of Global Strategy and Marketing
  • Mr Fei Min, President of Products and Solutions
  • Mr Hong Tian Feng, President of Operation and Delivery
  • Mr Xu Zhi Jun, Chief Marketing Officer

Huawei’s ownership arrangements are “completely opaque” says David M Webb, an independent commentator on corporate and economic governance, based in Hong Kong.

“My guess is that the candidates for election are tightly controlled – it’s not like an employee can just run for election with the support of his colleagues.”

Webb said it is not clear there is any capital gains earned when an employee leaves Huawei.

He suspects that the shares are simply a profit-sharing mechanism. Shares in the bonus pool or “dividends” are allocated and withdrawn at management discretion, and probably do not carry any equity value, he said.

According to Webb, the “employee-owned” structure appears to be an attempt at distancing Huawei from its PLA (People’s Liberation Army) roots.

“Huawei does business in a sensitive sector because its equipment is at the heart of telecommunications networks,” Webb said.

“It is easy for opponents to suggest that Huawei, the PLA, or the Chinese government might be able to intercept communications or remotely cripple networks, regardless of it being true or not,” says Webb.

“Unless and until Huawei becomes a stand-alone widely held listed company with employees free to trade their shares and without a controlling shareholder, these suspicions and allegations will likely continue,” he said.

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China Shot- Cops Keeping an Eye Out for Illegal Cabs

Posted by w_thames_the_d on January 1, 2011

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Wells Gone Dry In China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on January 1, 2011

Beijing has had no measurable snowfall as of yet. It would appear that China’s ecological system is in a bad way. In Shandong province, 338 small reservoirs have gone dry. After a monster drougth ealier this year in China, it appears that their economic rise has left China with land that is fast becoming a wasteland….

“JINAN, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) — Lingering drought has left 338 small reservoirs in east China’s Shandong Province dry, authorities said Friday. The ground-water level in Shandong has fallen 0.43 meters to an average 5.42 meters since Sept. 1, said Yin Changwen, spokesman for the Shandong Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

The water yield of nearly 30,000 electromechanical wells has significantly declined, Yin added.

Since Sept. 23, Shandong has received an average of 9 millimeters of rain, 86 percent below previous years’ average.About 240,000 people in the province are short of drinking water, and about 27.58 million mu (1.84 million hectares) of croplands are suffering from drought.

The dry spell in Shandong is likely to continue, with no rain or snow forecast for the near future.”

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The Coming Ecological Disaster in China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on January 1, 2011

Lacking adequate laws and enforcement of environmental protection, the country’s land is in dire straights. If they do nothing then it is only a matter of time till disaster strikes.

“BEIJING, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) — China experienced the most frequent and severe weather during 2010, compared to weather in other years of the past decade, a weather official said here Thursday. Chen Zhenlin, a spokesman with the China Meteorological Administration (CMA), said the numbers of extremely high temperature days and extreme precipitation cases that China experienced in the year were rarely seen in history, as was the intensity and area effected by this weather.”

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Quote on China and Governance- Is this True Today…

Posted by w_thames_the_d on January 1, 2011

Here is a qquote from around 1880. After reading this, would you say it still holds true, even today?

The Civilization of China (Herbert Allen Giles)

The nominal form of government, speaking without reference to the new constitution which will be dealt with later on, is an irresponsible autocracy; its institutions are likewise autocratic in form, but democratic in operation. The philosopher, Mencius (372-289 B.C.), placed the people first, the gods second, and the sovereign third, in the scale of national importance; and this classification has sunk deep into the minds of the Chinese during more than two thousand years past. What the people in China will not stand is injustice; at the same time they will live contentedly under harsh laws which they have at one time or another imposed upon themselves.”

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