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Posts from the ‘Crime and corruption’ Category

Police bust PR companies for illegal deletion of news and social media postings

On December 5, the People’s Daily published a report about a police investigation into companies that offer services to delete news items and social media postings from the Internet.

The article does not, of course, mention that the biggest deleter of information from the Internet is the government itself and that because of censorship and self-censorship, deleting news articles and social media posts is entirely natural behavior for editors and other staff of Chinese Internet companies.

Nonetheless, it’s worth a read to get a sense of how filthy the Internet PR business is in China. And to permit ourselves some self-promotion, paid deletion and spam are key reasons that why Danwei’s social media tracking and media monitoring services do not rely only on automated, technical solutions and always have experienced human editors checking all of our findings.

The original Chinese report is here, below is a translation.

China’s biggest case of illegal operations by Internet PR company cracked

Charging fees from clients and bribing website administrators: Recently, Bejing police discovered a website that provides illegal services with unlawful revenues exceeding 10 million yuan, making it the largest Internet PR company on record that has engaged in illegal activities since the Supreme Court released the latest interpretation regarding Internet crimes.

Recently, in the nationwide campaign against organized online rumor mongering and other Internet crimes, Beijing police discovered that six PR companies including Beijing Koubei Interactive Marketing (北京口碑互动营销策划有限公司) have engaged in paid information deletion and other illegal activities. Under the unified directions of the Ministry of Public Security, police authorities of more than ten provinces made scores of arrests, with 10 million yuan of illegal revenues seized. Read more

Will a tax rebate rejuvenate China’s restaurant industry?

According to a Southern Daily 南方日报 report, Wang Huiying (王惠英), vice inspector of the “Trade in Services and Commercial Services Department” of Ministry of Commerce, revealed that the Ministry is seeking to lower the business tax rate for restaurants from the current level of 5% to 3%. Speaking at a recent restaurant industry conference, Wang also said that the ministry also seeks to lower the fees that banks charge for credit card transactions.

The restaurant industry has been struggling because of rising wages and rents as well as government’s austerity policies. Worth noting is that Wang said the tax reduction will likely to only apply to low-and middle-end restaurants, so at least for the more expensive ones, now is still not the time to celebrate the end of austerity.

Links and sources
New Express: 商务部:拟下调餐饮业营业税银行刷卡费率

If you’d like to hire Danwei to track your company, investment or other topic of interest in China, please write to danwei@danwei.com and tell us what you want to follow.

Courier companies exposed selling delivery addresses to telemarketers

Economic Information Daily 经济参考报, a business newspaper managed by Xinhua News Agency, published an investigative story on  the business of selling names, addresses and contact information extracted from the addresses of senders and recipients on courier packages packages. Courier (kuaidi 快递)services have become indispensable for companies in China when delivering physical deliveries both within and between Chinese cities, with typical delivery fees under ten yuan even for deliveries between cities as far as Guangzhou and Beijing.

The article says that courier receipts including personal information are sold online for prices ranging from 0.4 to 1 yuan per sheet according to the level of details. The information is typically bought by telemarketers and sales people. The article blames the information leakage from courier companies on the loose organization and management of by franchise model used by several courier companies including YTO Express, Shentong Express and Yunda Express, which the article says have the biggest problems with such breachers of customer confidentiality. In the contrast, the article says that companies using  a regular chain model rather than franchise system such as S.F. Express and EMS from the China Post have much tighter control and management over their customer information.

Companies and brands affected
YTO Express (Privately held)
Shentong Express (Privately held)
Yunda Express (Privately held)
S.F. Express (Privately held)
EMS (Owned by state-owned China Post)
IPO rumors for all five companies listed above have been reported since 2012.

Links and sources 
快递单信息买卖形成“灰色产业链”

If you’d like to hire Danwei to track your company, investment or other topic of interest in China, please write to danwei@danwei.com and tell us what you want to follow.

It’s the law: Chengguan in Guangzhou now have to be nice

Better late than never: new regulations in force from today in Guangzhou require all chengguan in the city to be courteous in the enforcement of their duties and to use words like “please”, “thank you” and “I’m sorry”. The new regulations, entitled “Guangzhou Metropolitan Comprehensive Law Enforcement Work Standards” (广州市城市管理综合执法工作规范), state clearly that chengguan may not use profane or threatening language while enforcing their duties, may not damage private property, and may not use any form of violence or intimidation. As is well known, the chengguan can definitely do with some anger management (see for example previous Danwei post here).

The front page of today’s Information Times (信息时报) has the story, and on page 3 the newspaper has included a helpful graphic with correct and incorrect speech bubbles to ensure there can be no misunderstanding of the new regulations. Also, on page 5 the newspaper has today printed mugshots of the 30 most wanted criminals in Guangdong (see below). Read more

Satan Lucky’s Floating World

Satan Lucky is the pen name of cartoonist and illustrator based in Beijing. He publishes some of his work on Weibo. His style is based on Ukiyo-e — literally “pictures of the floating world”, the traditional Japanese style of woodblock prints and paintings of nature, history, scenes from the theater and of geishas and other urban decadences.

Some of Satan Lucky’s cartoons depict fantastic beats that seem to have no connection with contemporary reality, while others can be read as critical commentary In the gallery below, for example, 404 (the error number most Web browsers indicate when trying to access a blocked site in China) is depicted as a beast that sits on the computer, blocking access to Youtube and Facebook, while Flesh Net Beggar refers to the way in which resourceful people can avoid paying fines to the Flesh Net Beggar and “jump over” the Great Firewall.   Read more

Bo Xilai outshone by “people’s judge” Zhai Shuquan

Yesterday, August 22nd, Bo Xilai’s trial got underway in Jinan, Shandong Province. Accused of accepting bribes, corruption, and abuse of office, Bo gave a spirited defence of himself while frequent posts on the court’s official Weibo feed sparked animated discussions of the case in the international press corps. The same vivacity has not appeared in today’s domestic coverage of the case. Nonetheless, a speech made by Zhou Qiang, Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court, has also made headlines today. Zhou announced that Zhai Shuquan, who hails from rural Nongan County in Jilin province, should be held up as a “model” and a “people’s judge” for his incorruptible comportment and his toughness on corruption regardless of who is in the dock. Read more

Chengguan go easy on man who constructed Beijing’s “most awesome illegal building”

The news has been dominated in recent days with stories relating to the somehow sudden discovery of a three-story villa covered in shrubbery sitting atop a 26-story building in western Beijing. Now, as construction (or rather, deconstruction) workers set about removing grapevines from atop the villa, the Beijing Times reports that the chengguan, China’s notoriously thuggish “urban management officers”, have adopted a softer approach to the man behind Beijing’s “most awesome illegal building”. Danwei readers will remember the chengguan for their recent killing of a melon vendor in Hunan. This time, according to the Beijing Times’ feature report, “the chengguan will not issue a fine as the villa owner has already commenced demolition.” Read more

Bo Xilai indicted: “No-one is above the law”

Disgraced former Chongqing Party boss Bo Xilai was indicted yesterday on charges of accepting bribes, corruption, and abuse of official power. Today, Chinese newspapers have responded. The People’s Daily (人民日报) published a strongly-worded editorial under the headline “No one is above the law, and no one is exempt from the fight against corruption.” The Liberation Daily (解放日报), also a conservative paper, published a short article detailing the charges on which Bo was indicted and reprinted the People’s Daily article.

The same approach was taken by editors at the Beijing Daily (北京日报), while the Xinhua Daily (新华日报) devoted very little of its front page to the indictment. The Global Times (环球日报), a commercially run tabloid with a jingoistic and nationalist bent, broke slightly from the coverage of other papers, running a prominent title down one side of the front page, which read, “Prosecution of Bo Xilai shows China’s determination in its fight against corruption.” The Global Times also carried a full-page report on its back cover, detailing the background behind the case, as well as the response from the foreign media, which, according to Global Times journalists, “emphasizes that the Communist Party will show Bo no mercy.” Read more

Chengguan kill melon vendor with his own measure weights

Yesterday’s front page of the Hainan-based Business Daily of International Tourism Island reported on the latest incident of violence involving chengguan, those city management officials tasked with enforcing regulations on local-level law and order, traffic, sanitation, and the environment. Yet this particular incident in Hunan province seems even more grimly odder than usual because the chengguan killed a melon vendor with his own measure weights.

Read more

Chinese journalists attacked by profiteers in Hainan

Journalists from the Nanguo Metropolis Daily 南国都市报 from Hainan went yesterday to investigate claims of fraudulent activities by a company in Hainan. They emerged with only a few scratches to their cameras, but their colleague from Hainan Live TV was not so fortunate, sustaining injuries to his face and hands after being beaten up when attempting to record an interview at the company’s offices.

Today the front page of the Nanguo Metropolis Daily from Hainan published a large picture of the fallen journalist with a headline screaming, “Journalists mobbed during interview.” Read more