Danwei Week: Xi Jinping’s family fortunes and demonstrations in Shifang
This is the Danwei Week, a summary of the most important China stories from the last seven days. We’ll choose a maximum of five topics per week, and try to link to the best coverage of them in English. If this new weekly feature works, it will become a standard part of the Sinica podcast.
Xi Jinping’s family fortunes
Xi Jinping himself may have a reputation for clean government, but his extended family’s business accounts reveal all too clearly the way that coming from a politically powerful family translates into economic gains. Bloomberg have meticulously traced Xi’s extended family’s interests, including investments in companies with total assets of $376 million, an 18 percent indirect stake in a rare-earths company with $1.73 billion in assets and a $20.2 million holding in a publicly traded technology company. Although the article mentions clearly that there is no evidence of Xi or his immediate family’s direct involvement in these revelations, Bloomberg’s website was blocked in China soon after the article was published.
Happy Anniversary, Mr Hu
Hu Jintao’s visit to Hong Kong to celebrate the 15th anniversary of its handover from Britain, as well as the inauguration of the territory’s new Chief Executive, C.Y. Leung, was met with huge protests on a scale not seen since 2004. A march that lasted five and a half hours and involved ten of thousands of people ran for six kilometers and encompassed a diverse range of different pressure groups. This followed a recent public opinion poll that showed 64% of respondents to be of the opinion that Hong Kong has become a worse place since the handover.
From the Wall Street Journal:
Quiet returns to once-restive shifang
Police in the southwestern Chinese city of Shifang released 21 people detained during violent environmental protests, as tensions appeared to ebb on Wednesday following a local government pledge to scrap a planned metals plant.
A government statement said a total of 27 people were detained in the protests, and six remained in custody for their part in the demonstrations. Protesters numbered in the thousands on Tuesday, and authorities said in recent days some protesters smashed police vehicles and stormed a government office building.
The best coverage and commentary of the protests is in these four postings:
China Media Project: Shifang protests: “permission denied” (see also China’s malformed media sphere)
China Digital Times: Han Han — The Liberation of Shifang
Offbeat China: Traces on Weibo — How a NIMBY protest turned violent in a small Sichuan city?
Economist Analects blog: Act locally