Date of this Version
August 29, 2009 in The China Beat http://www.thechinabeat.org/
1. Hu Jintao has made a trip to Xinjiang, his first since riots there in July. Xinjiang was in the news earlier this week as well, when international news organizations picked up a story, first reported in Monday’s China Daily, which announced that trials would begin shortly for more than 200 people arrested in connection with the riots. The regional government, however, quickly denied that any trials have been scheduled, and stated that only 83 people have been officially arrested to date. Over at the Wall Street Journal’s China blog, Sky Canaves writes on this story and what it reveals about the media landscape in China today:
Regardless of which account is accurate, the episode appears to be yet another reminder of the unofficialness of much of what is still often called China’s “official” media. Once upon a time, China Daily (and much of the rest of the country’s state-run media), could be relied on to dutifully relay the government’s pronouncements – especially on sensitive issues – and to do little else. But in today’s increasingly competitive media landscape, China Daily and other publications often doing their own reporting – with all the potential that brings for publishing things that don’t accord with the official line. It can be confusing for readers to discern the difference.
2. Another post by Sky Canaves at the WSJ blog discusses the release of Xu Zhiyong from custody on Sunday morning. Xu was granted qubao houshen, or “obtain a guarantor while pending trial”–not exactly bail, but closer to non-custodial detention or probation. Although Xu’s supporters are calling this a victory, Canaves reports that Chinese authorities can use qubao houshen to their advantage as well:
Unlike in the United States, where bail is routinely granted in cases where the suspect doesn’t pose a major flight risk or a danger to society, qubao houshen is rarely granted to Chinese suspects, who are generally held in custody until trial. China’s legal activists have long called for authorities to increase the availability of bail to suspects in criminal cases, especially when relatively minor crimes are involved.