Saturday, April 1, 2017

Interview with VOA about arrest of Lee Ming-che 美國之音採訪:李明哲被抓事件

Below is a March 31 article from Voice of America (Chinese) on Taiwanese human rights activist Lee Ming-che, who was arrested while visiting China in March and who remains in pre-trial detention. VOA interviewed me for the story, quoting my analysis of the reasons behind his arrest.

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台灣李明哲案 將引發更多境外非政府組織警惕


沉默一段時間後中國政府終於在星期三確認,台灣非政府組織、民主活動人士李明哲“因涉嫌從事危害國家安全活動”被拘留,人權組織和觀察人士擔憂中國正在擴大對NGO活動人士的攻擊,希望當局對李明哲受到的指控提供進一步細節,否則就應立即將他釋放。


目前在台北文山社區大學工作的李明哲自3月19日從澳門入境中國大陸後就失去音訊,他的家屬、同事和台灣政府多次向中國政府詢問都未獲回音,星期三,中國國台辦發言人馬曉光在例行記者會上證實,李明哲因涉嫌從事危害國家安全活動正接受相關部門調查。


國際特赦組織東亞部主任林偉星期三在一個聲明中指出,中國當局對李明哲有關“涉嫌從事危害國家安全活動”的指控過於空泛,這可能引發對中國是否正在擴大對合法NGO活動人士攻擊的擔憂,如果李明哲遭拘留“只是單純與他合法的活動主義有關”,那麼當局應該立即、無條件將他釋放。


林偉說,李明哲因定義不明的“國家安全”理由被拘留,將使那些與中國境內NGO合作的人產生警惕,因為“當局現在針對NGO及它們合作夥伴所具有的不受監督權力,已經大到令人害怕的程度。”


美國時政評論人士史凱文在接受美國之音採訪時說,從李明哲和最近幾個與中國“危害國家安全”有關的案例,例如瑞典人權工作者彼得達林、澳大利亞學者馮崇義等境外人士被抓捕或限制離境的情況來看,中國正在擴大國家安全的範圍和定義,儘管一般境外普通民間人士到中國祇是開會而非搞活動或抗議,都有可能被認為是觸及國家安全的範圍。


史凱文猜測,李明哲被抓可能有3個原因,第一個就是李明哲的背景。他說,客觀而言,李明哲並非一般台灣公民,而是一個“關心中國民主”的台灣人,他是一個NGO工作者,而且還是前民進黨黨工,因此對中國而言,李明哲是一個“有政治色彩背景”的台灣人。其次可能與中國年初開始實施的《境外非政府組織境內活動管理辦法》有關。


史凱文說:“這個法也是中國公安部管理的,公安部是國家安全的管轄權,有可能他是因為這個原因被抓的;第3,最近新聞報導說李明哲跟中國大陸很多NGO有交流,我們不知道他到底和哪些NGO和人士交流,有可能是比較敏感和所謂的敏感人士,有可能是跟他們的案子有關。”


對於台海兩岸目前官方交流中斷的情況下,台灣應該如何在李明哲案施力或協助家屬,史凱文認為,單方面施壓較為困難,台灣政府應該透過國際社會發聲,讓北京知道人權是普世價值,任意抓捕公民是非法的。


史凱文說:“單方面施壓中國很難,但是這應該變成一個國際社會的問題。總體來說,國際社會重視民主,重視民間社會、公民社會。基於這些原則,還有人權的普世價值,整個國際社會應該強調,你這樣抓捕人是不對的,按照國際法是非法的,台灣政府可能只能基於這些倡導或行動去幫助李明哲。”


此為,史凱文也表示,中國國內有其法律程序,或許有人權律師願意協助如今自己都成為敏感人士的李明哲,不過他說,“這種法律程序都是假的”,最後是否能真正幫到李明哲他感到悲觀。


台灣“關懷中國人權聯盟”理事長楊憲宏告訴美國之音,李明哲在台灣經常參與關心中國民主運動的活動,他所做的事在全世界民主國家,包括台灣,都合乎情理法,但只有在中國會被抓。


楊憲宏說,如果中共認為這是境外反華勢力入侵,那麼兩岸關係“根本走不下去”,因為李明哲是堅持民主自由價值的2千3百萬台灣人其中一個,抓一個李明哲等於告訴全台灣人,中共是與台灣價值和全球價值為敵,因此他說,“習近平不下令放人,就是首惡。”


[來源:https://www.voacantonese.com/a/taiwan-activist-detention-china-20170331/3790691.html]

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

在美国之音电台谈总统候选人首场辩论 Discussing the first presidential debate on Voice of America

昨天我参加了美国之音电台中文频道的一个交谈节目,讨论了美国总统候选人川普和克林顿首场辩论,节目完整视频在下面。

Yesterday I was invited to participate in a discussion of the first presidential debate between candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Voice of America's Chinese-language channel. The full video is below. It is in Chinese without subtitles.




Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Conversation: How Should the Republican Party Approach China Policy?

President Nixon and Premier Zhou Enlai toast in Beijing (February 25, 1972)

ChinaFile hosted a conversation during the Republican National Convention on Trump's China Policy. It was kicked off with comments from his advisor Peter Navarro, a business professor at University of California Irvine. Along with others, I took part in the conversation. My comment is copied below. The conversation can be found here


For starters, Republicans should stop seeking out the next war. Historically, Bush II was good at war-making—though maybe not war-winning. The fear and simplistic narrative of war, splitting the world into ‘us’ versus ‘them,’ can be an effective tool to mislead and corral the public. Such a tool is especially potent in a national campaign during a time when people are struggling economically and told to dread impending, random violence. Donald Trump now looks to formulate another war, a trade war with China. The narrative is custom-made to evoke fear and nationalism: A far-off country with an authoritarian government and a bone to pick is maliciously stealing your livelihood and weakening your country.

There is considerable imprecision, narrowness, and risk in Trump’s China narrative.

First, an examination of history will teach us that manufacturing began declining in the U.S. in the 1970s, long before China came on the scene as an industrial powerhouse. Huge structural shifts were caused by our North American allies via N.A.F.T.A., but we are not declaring “war” (i.e., needlessly demonizing) Canada and Mexico because of their economic impact on the U.S. (But based on Trump’s wall and immigration rhetoric, we cannot seriously doubt that he would not escalate conflict with America’s southern neighbor.)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Fortune story on China Labor Watch report

Fortune reported on the investigation of China Labor Watch into widespread and serious labor rights violations in Chinese toy factories supplying to top global toy brands. Forbes received responses from a number of the implicated toy brands. The beginning of the story is below. 


Hasbro, Mattel Toy Suppliers Slammed In Labor Report
November 22, 2015
by Claire Groden

China Labor Watch released results of undercover investigation.

Laborers at some toy factories in China work without adequate protection, toiling long hours with few, if any, breaks. Many facilities lack proper fire safety measures and subject workers to poor living conditions. For some, quitting means giving up earned wages. According to a new report by China Labor Watch, which investigated five major factories that supply toys to Hasbro and Mattel, labor violations are rampant in Chinese toy factories.

China Labor Watch sent undercover investigators to the factories, which altogether employ about 20,000 laborers. “Over the past 20 years, toy brands and retailers have reaped tremendous benefits from the labor and sometimes even the lives of Chinese workers,” China Labor Watch Program Coordinator Kevin Slaten said in a press release, “yet these companies fail to respect labor rights and to ensure that workers also enjoy the fruits of the toy industry’s success.”

The report found instances of hiring discrimination, mandatory and excessive overtime work, unpaid work, broken labor contracts, poor safety measures and few paths for laborers to seek recourse. Many of these issues also break Chinese labor law.

Read the rest of the Fortune story.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Lessons of the Tianjin Explosion

Aftermath of the Tianjin chemical explosion. Source: VOA

Below is my contribution to a conversation on ChinaFile about the destructive Tianjin chemical explosion. The entire conversation can be viewed here.

Five days before the terrifying and deadly Tianjin explosion was the first anniversary of the Kunshan Zhongrong Metal Products incident, where a massive metal dust explosion and fire killed at least 146 workers. In a report I wrote for this website about a month after the tragedy, I cited the latest casualty figure: 75. I also explained how the government apparently had deemed the incident a sensitive topic, censoring conversation and reporting. It was only in December, 2014, four months later, after the immediate shock had subsided, that the State Administration of Work and Safety revised the death toll in Kunshan to 146 people.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Is China's Reform Era Over and, If So, What's Next? (ChinaFile)

Fordham Law School professor Carl Minzer's article in the Journal of Democracy sparked a conversation on ChinaFile about the future of China's political landscape. Minzer's argument traces the political evolution of the Communist Party in the "Reform Era", when Deng Xiaoping took over the reigns of power in 1978, to the current day, a time when Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign and re-entrenchment of nationalist rhetoric has set the Communist Party and China on a new path, which Minzer suggests constitutes a post-reform deliberalizing era. But where this path will ultimately lead currently remains a matter of oracle bones.

I had the chance to participate in the discussion at ChinaFile, which can be viewed here.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

No. 2 U.S. Sinologist Predicts "Endgame of Chinese Communist Rule Has Begun"

Photo credit: Kevin Poh. Creative Commons.

In January, researchers at China's Foreign Affairs University (外交学院) published the "American China School Assessment Report" (Chinese link), rating the top U.S. sinologists based on a number of broad measures: a person's influence on actual U.S. China policy, academic influence, and social influence. Specific sub-measures include a sinologist's publications, testimony in relevant congressional hearings, social network and affiliations, etc.