Automation of Telephone Call Monitoring in China

[ After writing this blog article, I got an interesting tweet from China about phone monitoring. 重要对话用 @telegram 端对端加密,电话短信早就被监控着了。” For important conversations use Telegram Messanger ( https://telegram.org/ )with its end-to-end encyption. Telephones and instant messaging have been being monitored for quite a while.”]
 The Economist on January 27 published the article “In China, consumers are becoming more anxious about data privacy — will this impede government snooping” about how Chinese are getting more concerned about data privacy.  China has some of the most active e-commerce websites in the world with much of the activity coming from the smartphones in the hands of hundreds of millions of Chinese.

Consumers in China have good cause to worry. Data collected through one medium can often end up in another. A man who talked on his mobile phone one day about picking strawberries said that when he used his phone the next day to open Toutiao, a news aggregator driven by artificial intelligence (AI), his news was all about strawberries. His post on the experience went viral in January. Toutiao denied it was snooping but conceded, blandly, that the story revealed a growing public “awareness of privacy”.

In the United States, at least until very recently, most people have generally been much more concerned about government snooping about their phone calls and internet data than with corporate snooping.  When they sign up to use many free smartphone applications, people often sign off to access to many functions (microphone, camera) to the app sponsor without considering how much of their privacy they are giving away to a corporation that might well sell it on to some other data aggregator.

I wonder how that works in China?

Telephone Monitoring and Me in China

I have always been curious about telephone monitoring since I was the object of telephone monitoring during the ten years I worked in China as a U.S. diplomat.  For the first month while I was at U.S. Embassy Beijing in 1996, my telephone had a funny humming noise.  I wondered whether that was because the monitoring people had bad equipment or because they thought they could intimidate me that way.  The funny hum went away after a month.  I supposed that the monitors must have decided that I was actually just a boring diplomat instead of somebody more exciting like a spy.

 

After that I only heard the funny home on my cellphone when I was travelling — but never while I was home in Beijing.  I always wondered — could the monitoring equipment be that bad or did they want to remind me that my conversations were being recorded. From an intelligence collection perspective, reminding me with that helpful hum that my phone calls were being recorded wouldn’t be a good idea.  One of the things I learned during my career is not to be too quick to think people are out to get you when incompetence is often a perfectly plausible explanation.  I never figured out just what was going on.

There were huts on top of all the buildings in the Tayuan Diplomatic Compound in Beijing where we lived. One time on of my colleagues told me how his five year old son was walking on the stairway when he saw that the door to the stairway leading to the roof hut was open.  He later told his father that he walked up the stairway and saw a man inside “with all kinds of computers and stuff”.  Perhaps that was someone changing tapes or adjusting the recordings.  Next to the compound was a five-story telephone exchange building — I imagined that there must be many people in there listening to phone calls in many foreign languages.

Ten years later, when I was working at the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu,  I was walking with my friend, the now-deceased Chengdu writer Yin Shuping, past a very big telephone exchange building in the county seat city where he lived.   I said I was surprised at how large the building was.  Yin answered, “That’s because they need a lot of room for all the people listening in on telephone calls. Every county seat in China has a big telephone exchange building for that.”

I have always been astonished at the size of China’s domestic security workforce. For example, I remember when President Clinton visited China in 1998, his motorcade drove past my apartment at the Tayuan Diplomatic Compound there were miles and miles of  Chinese plainclothesmen every three feet or so.  They made it clear that they didn’t want to be in my photos either. So I figured they must be real plainclothesmen and not just some random people helping out.

In China the size of the police response to say a few demonstrators seemed wildly disproportionate to the number of protesters. Maybe they were worried that a “single spark can light a prairie fire” like Chairman Mao used to say. China’s domestic security spending exceeds China’s total military spending.  In the U.S., total annual spending on policing is over USD 100 billion while total military spending (2015) was about USD 600 billion. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so astonished since the U.S. military is so large and since I live here I consciously and unconsciously take the U.S. experience as a reference point.  I wonder what the ratio of police to military spending is in other countries.

Voice Recognition as a Tool for the Authorities in China

I wonder if this means there is widespread use of voice recognition technology on phone calls in China?  Perhaps voice recognition technology is lightening the phone call monitoring load for the Party.  Monitoring conversations in the various dialects of Mandarin and indeed the many different languages — Shanghaiese, Cantonese, Fuhouhua, Chaozhouhua, Minnanyu etc. — in the Chinese language family must be quite a challenge!

Looking around online, I saw a website offering a Chinese language voice recognition product that claimed to be suitable for generating transcripts of courtroom proceedings — actually saying it is for “intelligent courtrooms”.  One would hope that all courtrooms are intelligent courtrooms so perhaps a better translation would be cyber-augmented or something.   I hope the automatic court transcript generating system is reliable!

From https://cloud.tencent.com/product/asr

语音识别ASR

语音识别(Automatic Speech Recognition)服务,应用业界最先进的深度学习算法,具备出色的语音转文字、关键词检索、静音检测、语速检测、情绪识别能力。全面满足电话录音质检、实时语音输入、直播字幕及审核等多种场景下的语音处理需求。
随着人民法律意识的提高,人民法院的案件审理数日益增加,庭审效率亟待提高,而庭审现场记录的百分百还原,一直以来都无法实现。通过在法庭现场应用语音识别,可以将法官、原告、被告等各角色的现场发言实时转写成文字笔录,并对录音及文本进行存储,减轻书记员工作负担的同时实现了庭审现场的百分百还原。专业法务领域定制化引擎,有效应对法律专业术语。支持自定义热词,提升人名、机构名、公司名等词汇识别准确率。个案定制话模型,满足物理、化学等专业领域司法案件的高准确率需求。私有化部署,保证人民法院的数据安全性。
Looking further I found a discussion of voice recognition technology in connection to the case cited in The Economist article above. The gist of the article: the Chinese corporate website belonging to a company in the Alibaba e-commerce group said, ‘No,  it isn’t true, that just isn’t possible with current technology. But the journalist asked a university prof expert on voice recognition technology Professor Xu Mingxing of Tsinghua University who said just the opposite “Current technology makes this automatic voice recognition of a phone conversation in this case entirely possible.”

Excerpt from the article  百度读取通讯录被告 今日头条陷“窃听风云”(Baidu Accused of Monitoring Record of Communications,  Jinri Toutiao Is Caught up in the “Bugging Cloud” Controversy)                    http://azcnews.org/20180107/%E7%99%BE%E5%BA%A6%E8%AF%BB%E5%8F%96%E9%80%9A%E8%AE%AF%E5%BD%95%E8%A2%AB%E5%91%8A-%E4%BB%8A%E6%97%A5%E5%A4%B4%E6%9D%A1%E9%99%B7%E7%AA%83%E5%90%AC%E9%A3%8E%E4%BA%91/

— “声音识别技术窃听用户隐私  (Using Voice Recognition Technology for Surreptitious Monitoring Invades User Privacy)
根据手机百度官方网站的资料,手机百度“是一款有7亿用户在使用的手机‘搜索+资讯’客户端”。无独有偶,几乎同一时间,用户数达6亿的手机软件“今日头条”APP也遭网友指控涉嫌透过手机麦克风窃听用户隐私,并推送相关新闻和广告。网民“互联网络人”在新浪微博帖文中说:“妻子元旦去摘草莓,一没在头条搜索草莓,二没在头条看草莓类资讯,隔天就收到了和草莓有关的推送文章。”这位网民表示,事后发现“今日头条”使用了手机麦克风的权限。有网民反映,在和朋友讨论西餐厅哪家好,但从未在其它APP或者浏览器上做任何搜索,“今日头条”会马上推送与西餐相关的广告和资讯。有网民说,她在微信上问朋友元旦去的温泉叫什么名字,然后“今日头条”马上推荐温泉酒店。还有网民表示:“我发现过很多次讲话的东西被推荐。”

除了“今日头条”的“窃听风云”,淘宝网也被认为是窃听“重灾区”。据科技新报网报导,近年来,不断有网民反映,与朋友聊天聊到的某类产品,很快会出现在淘宝推荐中,而之前自己从未在淘宝上搜索此类产品。

1月4日,“今日头条”官方回应,称从技术上看,目前声音信息的处理,远达不到通过麦克风去获取个人隐私的水平。但是有声纹处理专家却持不同看法。

据雷锋网1月5日报导,公众号“雷锋网”就该技术求证清华大学—得意音通声纹处理联合实验室副主任徐明星,他认为,从技术上讲,手机APP是完全能私自录制用户日常语音的。把语音数据传给语音识别引擎,语音数据就可以被记录、传输和保存。“以目前的自动语音识别水平,可以胜任面向广告推送的关键词抽取,然后经过文本自然语言理解的一些技术,就能掌握用户的一些个人需求,从而推送相应的广告。”

有网民表示,手机乱七八糟的程序很多,看手机设置里就知道。很多程序都会获取手机识别码,获取手机联系人,可以监听、拍照、录像,一些常用程序如微信更甚。所以,用手机通话,没有任何私密性可言。“手机就是一个安全部的窃听器。”

1月3日,阿里巴巴集团旗下的软件支付系统支付宝年度账单捆绑推广芝麻信用被曝光,支付宝年度账单的首页通过默认同意的方式,让部分用户在不知情的情况下“被同意”接受芝麻信用,个人的金融信息被搜集处理。芝麻信用随即发表致歉声明并修改页面。

I wonder how effective this automated monitoring is?  Does it just pick out and flag some key words or does it do get enough of a conversation to do more useful monitoring that can pick out from many thousands of telephone calls the several that are worth the time of a human operator?   Background noises and the different dialects and languages spoken by people on the phone make monitoring more difficult.  I imagine with the massive investments now seen in China for domestic political security there must be quite a bit of work underway to develop these systems.
With the parallel applications developed for market research in the shopping trends of hundreds of millions of Chinese customers, there must be many commercial applications that are finding domestic security applications with the authorities, both in China and in other countries.
Improved technology now means that China can now cut its telephone monitoring workforce or it can now monitor a much higher proportion of all phone calls.
Maybe the next time I go to China I should talk on the phone in Pig Latin. Maybe there is not a voice recognition app for that yet!
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The Rectification of Names and the Party United Front Work Department Takeover of Religious Affairs and Overseas Chinese Affairs

The March 4, 2018 the Chinese Party Central Committee “Decision on the Deepening of Reform in Party and State Organizations” [中共中央关于深化党和国家机构改革的决定] includes among many other abolition of state organizations and the assumption of their responsibilities by Party organizations, the assumption of integrated leadership of the Chinese Communist Party United Front Work Department over the State Ethnic Affairs Commission, the State Administration for Religious Affairs, and the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office.

In the case of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission, the commission will remain a State Council organization albeit led by its Party counterpart.

The other two however, the the State Administration for Religious Affairs and the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office, will be bodily assumed into the United Front Work Department, retaining merely the names of the former State Council institutions only for the purpose of contacts with foreigners.

中共中央统战部统一领导国家民族事务委员会,国家民族事务委员会仍作为国务院组成部门

中共中央统战部统一管理宗教工作,将国家宗教事务局并入中央统战部,中央统战部对外保留国家宗教事务局牌子。不再保留单设的国家宗教事务局。

中共中央统战部统一管理侨务工作,将国务院侨务办公室并入中央统战部,中央统战部对外保留国务院侨务办公室牌子。不再保留单设的国务院侨务办公室。

Sources:

The Decision states that this change was brought on by Xi Jinping’s updating for the new era of Deng Xiaoping Theory.

I suppose the name plates of the State Council organizations are retained so as not to confuse foreigners who might otherwise wonder if they are talking with an official representative of China.

The question arises then when foreigners refer to these organizations, shouldn’t they be called organizations of the Chinese Communist Party United Front Work Department?

Wouldn’t Confucius’ principle of the Rectification of Names 正名 demand that of us as we try to properly understand the Party-State of China?

Just what all this means I am not sure since Party leadership – the people’s democratic dictatorship under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party – has been bedrock since the Party founded New China in 1949.

Perhaps it is just part of the normal changes in leadership in a Party General Secretary second term since only then can the top leader install their preferred people. At the start of the first term, the new leader has to work mostly with the leaders put in place by the previous leadership. 

Wouldn’t regulations promulgated by a government bureau disappear (having now no regulatory agency) when the agency is bodily assumed (raptured?) into a Party organization.  A colleague mentioned that 对外 towards the outside has a more general meaning of those outside the organization rather than just foreigners as I understood it. Maybe it means “those foreign to the organization”!

 I await further guidance from the Party on this matter.

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Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department 统战部

United Front work, like propaganda, and the political and legal affairs committees exists at every level of Communist Party organization in China mirrored all the way down reporting to both the local Party leader and the corresponding organization at higher levels.

For example the Sichuan Provincial Communist Party Committee also has a United Front Work Work Department.  Their website is at http://www.sctyzx.gov.cn/   The Communist Party Committee of Chengdu, the provincial capital, also has a UFWD which handles topics such as religious and minority affairs, contacts with people who are within the PRC but outside of the mainland area — considered to be Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan — as well as foreigners, intellectuals outside the Chinese Communist Party, and relations with the (marginal) political parties allowed to exist that are “under the leadership of the Communist Party”.

To get into more detail on UFWD work at the local level, here is a translation of part an article on the work Chengdu City Communist Party Committee UFWD 中共成都市委统战部 is described on the Baidu  online  encyclopedia at 中共成都市委统战部   :

 

The Chengdu City Committee of the Communist Party of China is responsible for coordinating, supervising and inspecting the work of the united front of the city; organizing the implementation of the principles and policies of the central and provincial and municipal governments on the united front, and investigating the theory and principles and policies of the united front; carrying out united front work and suggestions; check the implementation of the united front policy, take the lead in coordinating the handling of major issues in united front work, the management of relevant cadres, the organization of the united front of the major activities and other related work.

Principal Functions:
(1) to coordinate, supervise and inspect the united front work of the entire city; to organize the implementation of the principles and policies of the CPC central, provincial and city committees on the united front, and to inform the Chengdu CPC committee about  the comprehensive situation of the united front; to offer opinions and suggestions to the CPC city committee on united front work; to monitor the implementation of united front policy, take the lead in coordinating the handling of major issues in united front work, the management of relevant cadres, the organization of the united front of the major activities.

(2) to be responsible for contact with the democratic parties and people not affiliated with any party, to keep abreast of their situation and to pass along their opinions and suggestions; to study and implement the multi-party cooperation and political consultation system under the leadership of the Communist Party of China and the policies and policies of the democratic parties; Provincial and municipal governments on the work of democratic parties and non-partisan representatives to participate in political affairs and democratic supervision of the work of the municipal government with the political parties to do a good job in organizing political relations; on behalf of the city party committee, inform the democratic parties, non-partisan about the thinking of the city party committee; to support and help the democratic parties to strengthen their own construction, selection, training a new generation of representatives; to help the relevant departments to help democratic parties to improve working conditions.

(3) To be responsible for investigating, coordinating and examining major policies and policies on ethnic and religious work; responsible for making arrangements and presenting to the leadership groups of patriotic religious groups; to contact representatives of ethnic minorities and religious circles; to assist the relevant departments on the training of national minority cadres and work recommendations; lead responsibility for coordinating the relevant departments to deal with national and religious work in the major issues.

(4) to be responsible for carrying out united front work in the area of reunification of the motherland; to contact Hong Kong, Macao and overseas associations and representatives; to manage the work with Taiwan’s opposition parties and political groups; to assist relevant departments in their work with the representatives of companies from foreign countries and HK/Macao/Taiwan companies investing in the city; do work related to Taiwan compatriots and Taiwan affairs; organize and coordinate overseas friendship activities; and manage foreign affairs work within the system. 

(5) to be responsible for the political arrangements for non-party people; do perform well its task of giving counsel to non-party members who serves as representatives to the People’s Congresses, to Chinese People’s Consultative Congress, and to the city government as well as to make arrangements for non-party members doing historical or literary research;  to work together with the relevant departments to do a good job training, inspection, selection, of non-party members to government and judiciary leadership positions;  do a good job outside the reserve cadres and the new representative team building work; on behalf of the Chengdu City Communist Party Committee to lead the inter-party group of the city united industrial and commercial organization; commissioned by the municipal government, leading the Municipal Federation of Industry and Commerce;  lead the party organization of the Municipal Socialism Institute; to assist the non-CPC Democratic Party municipal Party committee and the Federation of Industry and Commerce to do a good job in managing their cadres; coordination and guidance of the Municipal Bureau and the Municipal Overseas Chinese Affairs Office work; contact, guide the united front groups and people groups (including Taiwan compatriots Association) ;  to help other city departments involved in united front work to select their cadres; to assist the relevant departments manage the united front work department leader at the city district and county subordinate to Chengdu city levels of united front work.

(6) To investigate, research, and inform the city party committee about the the situation of representatives of the private economic sector, to develop relationships with them, to make policy suggestions, to work to unite with the Party, to help, to guide and to educate representatives of the private economic sector, and to actively carry out ideological and political work. 
(7) to investigate and examine the situation of non-party intellectuals, to reflect opinions to the city party committee, to coordinate relations, to make policy recommendations; to work with relevant departments guide the work of non-Party intellectuals; to contact and foster the development of representative non-party intellectuals.
(8) to carry out propaganda work on the united front work both at home and abroad; to coordinate with the united front work of the relevant departments of the government;  guide the united front work of the district (city) and subordinate county party committees and the cadre training of the united front system of the entire city;
(9) to undertake other matters as assigned by the municipal party committee.

The Financial Times recently ran an article about the United Front Work Department of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee.  The  CPC CC’s United Front Work Department sponsors activities all over the world through instrumentalities like the Hanban that operates the Confucius Institute cultural institutes that are being incorporated into the bodies of many institutions of higher learning around the world.

In July, the Jamestown Foundation published Marcel Angliviel de la Beaumelle’s

“The United Front Work Department: “Magic Weapon” at Home and Abroad”  (Jamestown China Brief Volume: 17 Issue: 9)


 United Front work is about as old a story as there is, in Party terms, but now that China has much more resources and is becoming more asserted as Deng’s policy of ‘biding our time’ seems to have expired the Xi Jinping revision of Deng Xiaoping theory,  it will be getting more interesting, especially as how it might manifest itself in other countries.  Something more than the Alliance Francaise on steroids I expect!

This seems only fair with the outside world working so hard these days to influence China and Chinese people.  Some of those foreign influences being quite influential — consider Marx, Engels and Lenin, though they are today in China anyways not thought to be  poisonous weeds.  China is working on its “soft power” so the influences will be more of a two way street.

 

United Front work is about as old a story as there is, in Party terms, but now that China has much more resources and is becoming more asserted as Deng’s policy of ‘biding our time’ seems to have expired the Xi Jinping revision of Deng Xiaoping theory,  it will be getting more interesting, especially as how it might manifest itself in other countries.  Something more than the Alliance Francaise on steroids I expect!
I did some searches with the Google Oracle on the United Front Work Department 统战部,
Lately the United Front Work Department has been soliciting articles about good United Front Work by that exemplar of United Front Work cleverness Zhou Enlai to celebrate Zhou’s 120th birthday coming up on March 5, 2018!
Get the full story below.  Your essay  should be 2000 characters or less.  Should be inspired by the spirit of proletarian internationalism.
 

【关注】“周恩来与统一战线”主题征文活动正式启动!

发布时间:2017-09-13
来源:津门统战
【字体: 

纪念周恩来同志诞辰120周年

“周恩来与统一战线”征文启事

活动介绍

2018年3月5日是周恩来同志诞辰120周年纪念日。为纪念、缅怀周恩来同志在党的统一战线事业中作出的丰功伟绩,宣传、弘扬和学习周恩来同志统一战线光辉思想,现面向全社会开展“周恩来与统一战线”主题征文活动。

主题:周恩来与统一战线

主办和承办单位

主办单位:中央统战部宣传办公室,中共江苏省委统战部

承办单位:中共淮安区委

参与征文媒体

《人民政协报》《团结报》《中华工商时报》《中国统一战线》《新华日报》等。

The FT article reminded me of one of my escapades when I was working in China a few years ago. I ran into a Kunming City propaganda guy and asked him about a party propaganda book I had just read. We were sitting near one another in a MacDonald’s and I was reading the party propaganda book and he was staring at me in amazement so we go to talking! He said the book I had was too theoretical and not very useful in actual propaganda work.   Read the full story elsewhere on this blog at the URL below.

I Ran Into the Propaganda Department While Eating a Hamburger at MacDonald’s in Kunming! 我在昆明麦当劳吃汉堡时候碰到宣传部!

Highlights of 2003 “Practical Manual for Party Propaganda Work”

In 2007 I bought the 2003 edition of the “Practical Manual for Party Propaganda Work” in a Kunming bookstore.   Wouldn’t you know it,  I was innocently munching a hamburger in a Kunming MacDonald’s nearby and starting reading it.   The fellow next to me was looking at me with a surprised look on his face. Turns out that that fellow was from the local Communist Party Propaganda Department.   A practicioner you would have to say.  He told me that book is much too abstract and really isn’t of any use!   我2007年在昆明新华书店逛书的时候偶尔看到2003年红旗出版社出的“党宣传工作试用手册“。因为我对中国媒体制度,对中国怎么抵抗从我们美国来的精神污染感兴趣,我买了一本。我到了附近的麦当劳一边吃汉堡,一边吸收党的路线。当然因为我很难脱离资本主义社会中产阶级思想,我读了比较慢。座在我旁边的人看我,好像我奇怪的样子。他自我介绍,说他是昆明市党委宣传部门的工作人员。他说你读的那本太抽象,没有用。他介绍他的宣传工作。

人生很奥妙。如果没有买那本书,没有倒卖当劳我就不会与昆明市党委宣传部碰头。

 

More at https://gaodawei.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/%E6%88%91%E5%9C%A8%E6%98%86%E6%98%8E%E9%BA%A6%E5%BD%93%E5%8A%B3%E5%90%83%E6%B1%89%E5%A0%A1%E6%97%B6%E5%80%99%E7%A2%B0%E5%88%B0%E5%AE%A3%E4%BC%A0%E9%83%A8%EF%BC%81/

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Poster: Chinese Communist Party’s New Politburo

Just saw a poster of the new Chinese Communist Party Politburo on the Twitter feed of Matthew Pang https://twitter.com/pangjiaoming

Suitable for framing!

The seven members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party plus the eighteen other non-standing committee Politburo members.

Their backgrounds are all philosophy, politics (several international relations), economics and law/jurisprudence 法学 .  China used to have a very technocratic leadership — a great many were trained as engineer.  I remember reading an article about then-Premier Wen Jiabao in a Chinese magazine ten or so years ago.  The article quoted someone who knew Wen Jiabao during his early career as a mining engineer in Ningxia as saying “Wen Jiabao was an outstanding mining engineer.  He was a walking encyclopedia of the mineral resources on Ningxia!”.

The proportion of engineers has been declining the last few Politburos.  This Politburo Standing Committee has no engineers.    An older group than usual.

  • Xi Jinping, 64
  • Li Keqiang, 62
  • Li Zhanshu, 67
  • Wang Yang, 62
  • Wang Huning, 62
  • Zhao Leji, 60
  • Han Zheng, 63

The China biographical site China Vitae is a good resource for getting more information about the background of these and other Chinese leaders.

Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang are the only holdovers from the previous Politburo Standing Committee.

But don’t miss David Zeig’s article in the South China Morning Post:

A new era dawns for Xi Jinping’s China, but what will it mean for the rest of the world?

Some commentators report the arrival or Xi Jinping Thought.  I think that Xi’s ambitions don’t extend to become a latter-day demigod.  This is about updating Deng Xiaoping Theory — about China become more willing to recognize its own strengths and to assert itself more

Some people made a lot of an English translation of a Chinese news agency report about Xi Jinping Thought mentioning  as “Xi Jinping Thought for the New Era of Socialism With Chinese Special Characteristics”.   {习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想}

Could just be just the translation.  The French language page from the China Internet Information Center has
En réponse aux développements contemporains et en intégrant la théorie à la pratique, les communistes chinois, avec M. Xi, qui est également président de la Chine, ont donné forme à la Pensée Xi Jinping sur le socialisme aux caractéristiques chinoises pour une nouvelle ère depuis le 18e Congrès national du PCC, indique la résolution.
习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想  Reading the Chinese, I come out the same place as the French language translator:   “Xi Jinping’s thinking on socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era”.  Much less dramatic I fear.   More like specific thoughts on how to update Deng  Xiaoping Theory   (good Marxists are supposed to be updating all the time!) than making him an all-round Thought Helmsman like Mao Zedong.
The English translation but not the Chinese text or the French translation give me a feeling of an all round thinker in the mould of the Thought Helmsman.
Xinhua made a cute video about how all the translators were wonderfully moved by Xi’s speech.   Maybe one or the other translator went a bit too far!   See video attached to Xinhua’s tweet https://twitter.com/XHNews/status/921321512573038593

 

DNCJf00V4AAQwdB

中国共产党第十九届中央委员会第一次全体会议公报
(2017年10月25日中国共产党第十九届中央委员会第一次全体会议通过)
文章来源:新华网 [作者:]  发布时间:2017-10-25
 http://www.ccps.gov.cn/xxgcsjdjs/201710/t20171025_97987.html

  中国共产党第十九届中央委员会第一次全体会议,于2017年10月25日在北京举行。

  出席全会的有中央委员204人,候补中央委员172人。中央纪律检查委员会委员列席会议。

  习近平同志主持会议并在当选中共中央委员会总书记后作了重要讲话。

  全会选举了中央政治局委员、中央政治局常务委员会委员、中央委员会总书记;根据中央政治局常务委员会的提名,通过了中央书记处成员,决定了中央军事委员会组成人员;批准了十九届中央纪律检查委员会第一次全体会议选举产生的书记、副书记和常务委员会委员人选。名单如下:

  一、中央政治局委员

  (按姓氏笔画为序)

  丁薛祥 习近平 王晨 王沪宁 刘鹤 许其亮 孙春兰(女) 李希 李强 李克强 李鸿忠 杨洁篪 杨晓渡 汪洋 张又侠 陈希 陈全国 陈敏尔 赵乐际 胡春华 栗战书 郭声琨 黄坤明 韩正 蔡奇

  二、中央政治局常务委员会委员

  习近平 李克强 栗战书 汪洋 王沪宁 赵乐际 韩正

  三、中央委员会总书记

  习近平

  四、中央书记处书记

  王沪宁 丁薛祥 杨晓渡 陈希 郭声琨 黄坤明 尤权

  五、中央军事委员会主席、副主席、委员

  主 席 习近平

  副主席 许其亮 张又侠

  委 员 魏凤和 李作成 苗华 张升民

  六、中央纪律检查委员会书记、副书记、常务委员会委员

  书 记 赵乐际

  副书记 杨晓渡 张升民 刘金国 杨晓超 李书磊 徐令义 肖培 陈小江

  常务委员会委员(按姓氏笔画为序)

  王鸿津 白少康 刘金国 李书磊 杨晓超 杨晓渡 肖培 邹加怡(女) 张升民 张春生 陈小江 陈超英 赵乐际 侯凯 姜信治 骆源 徐令义 凌激 崔鹏

  (网络编辑:郭佳舒)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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U.S. Cyber Vulnerability Data Base Lags Chinese Counterpart by Two Weeks — Inadvertently Broadcasting U.S. Vulnerabilities

U.S. vulnerability reporting lag adds to vulnerabilities. According to the Recorded Future research report copied at bottom, ”

  • The U.S. National Vulnerability Database (NVD) trails China’s National Vulnerability Database (CNNVD) in average time between initial disclosure and database inclusion (33 days versus 13 days) — China isn’t directly integrated in managing CVEs, but are still able to report vulnerabilities more rapidly than the U.S.”
This is something you can study directly by looking yourself at the U.S. and Chinese databases.

Cyber security web links:

 U.S.:

U.S. National Vulnerability Database NVD   https://nvd.nist.gov/   at U.S. Department of Commerce National Institute of Standard and Technology

China:

国家信息安全鼠洞库 [Chinese National Vulnerability Database of Information Security  CNNVD]  http://www.cnnvd.org.cn/ 
After running the home page of the CNNVD website through Google Translate (it may take a minute for the translation to come up)
国家信息安全鼠洞库
I notice that if I clicked on headings and subheadings on the page, I would often automatically get an English translation.  On individual items, often not, so those URLs would need to be entered separately into Google Translate to get a translation from Chinese of those pages.
If this report is correct (I haven’t done my own comparison)  perhaps some companies in the U.S. and elsewhere might want to watch the Chinese database using Google Translate or other machine translation tool if their technical people don’t read Chinese?   Watching the Chinese database could help them reduce their own vulnerabilities by getting warnings as much as two weeks earlier. 

Two other national cyber security response units at the U.S. and Chinese Computer Emergency Readiness Teams
  U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team            https://www.us-cert.gov/
Chinese National Computer Emergency Readiness Team  (English language page)  http://www.cert.org.cn/publish/english/index.html

Read the October 23, 2017 Bloomberg Businessweek story

The U.S. Lags Behind China in Spotting Cyberthreats

 Hackers have a head start in exploiting system flaws.
 
In March, the Apache Software Foundation announced it had discovered a critical flaw in its software, one now famous as the unpatched Achilles’ heel of Equifax Inc. that allowed hackers to make off with sensitive information on 145 million Americans. We don’t yet know who got into Equifax, but we do know Chinese hackers looking to exploit the bug, and Chinese companies defending against attacks, had a head start. Details of the flaw were published to China’s National Vulnerability Database within a day of Apache’s announcement. It didn’t show up in the official U.S. database for three days. By then, researchers were already documenting a wave of global attacks exploiting the faulty code.
Read the rest of the story on the Bloomberg Businessweek website at

The  Recorded Future report on which the Bloomberg story is based is on the Recorded Future Blog at https://www.recordedfuture.com/chinese-vulnerability-reporting/

The Dragon Is Winning: U.S. Lags Behind Chinese Vulnerability Reporting

Click here to download this article as a PDF.

Key Takeaways

  • Organizations need access to the latest vulnerability (CVE) information to manage their exposure to risk.
  • The U.S. National Vulnerability Database (NVD) trails China’s National Vulnerability Database (CNNVD) in average time between initial disclosure and database inclusion (33 days versus 13 days) — China isn’t directly integrated in managing CVEs, but are still able to report vulnerabilities more rapidly than the U.S.
  • CNNVD actively gathers vulnerability information across the web. NVD should do this but instead waits for voluntary submission by vendors.
  • NVD’s mission should aim to be truly comprehensive, and the U.S. could improve by simply incorporating content from China’s CNNVD — 1,746 CVEs are currently in CNNVD and absent in NVD.

Executive Summary

Vulnerabilities are continuously found in all software and organizations need access to the latest vulnerability information to manage their exposure to risk. Because organizations use systems provided by dozens of software vendors, they require access to a centralized source of vulnerability information across all vendors to prioritize which to address next.

Background

In prior research we took a close look into software vulnerability (CVE) disclosure and learned that there were unexpectedly large gaps between public disclosure of a vulnerability and inclusion in the U.S. National Vulnerability Database (NVD). Concerned about this performance, we compared NVD CVE reporting times to what we observe on China’s National Vulnerability Database (CNNVD).

 

Read the rest of the report on the Recorded Future blog.

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Süddeutsche Zeitung: Updating the Chinese Dictatorship

The Google Translate robot told me about this commentary by Kai Strittmatter in the “South German Times” —  Kai Strittmatter, Süddeutsche Zeitung: Update der chinesischen Diktatur   (Updating the Chinese Dictatorship)

In German:  http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/china-totale-kontrolle-1.3717154

Google Translated into English:

October 21, 2017, 1:21 pm

Party Congress of the Communist Party in Beijing:  Updating the Chinese Dictatorship

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 Xi Jinping Party Congress of the Beijing in Beijing The Chinese President Xi Jinping at a military parade in July. (Photo: AP)

The Communist Party crowns its chief to the Emperor. Xi Jinping has given her full rule again and wants to create a monitoring state. Europe needs to be careful.

Commentary by Kai Strittmatter

It’s time to listen. And to watch. China. There is something that does not exist yet. The Communist Party crowns its party boss Xi Jinping to the Emperor and reinvents the dictatorship. In competition with the systems of the West. This has huge implications for the democracies of the earth.

Xi presented his vision this week at the Beijing Congress in Beijing. He has drawn a country that is capable of leading the world as a “powerful power” until 2050. And a party that reigns unrestrictedly. The party thanks Xi, in which she takes him into the pantheon of her great thinkers.

The propaganda now celebrates the “Xi-Jinping thoughts”. This honor was recently given to Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. Xi’s slogan of the “New Age of Socialism of Chinese Embossing” is at least one true: China is entering a new era. After the Mao Zedong era and the Deng Xiaoping era, the Communist Party gave the country the Xi Jinping era. It was not that Xi would oppress this party, but on the contrary: he executes his most secret desires with force.

In the Center: Political Control

The West must now abandon the wishful thinking that a wise author unmasked years ago as a “Chinese imagination”: the notion that economic opening-up and growing prosperity automatically bring about a political liberalization of China. Change through trade. For many years, this was a practical and calming idea.

After all, during the past decades there have been reforms, debates, experiments, at least in the underpinnings of the country and the party. This is no longer the case in Xis China: he has laid them dry, the non-orthodox currents. Disciplinarian Xi is struggling to prove that an autocracy is much better suited to make a country like China big and powerful. Yes, the realization of his “Chinese dream” requires the strong dictatorship of the party.

Xi puts an end to the premises of Deng Xiaoping’s reform and opening policy. His China is no longer a state that subordinates economic success. At the center is the political control. His party is no longer a task, to the state, to companies, to NGOs. Every spot of China should obey her again. Xi has stifled the growing diversity of opinion and made the most of many parts of civil society. Xi disciplined party and nation with such verve that some say China will become “North Korea light”. This impression of images from kindergartens, where four-year-olds sit tightly in a circle, Xi’s three-and-a-half hour long party congress speech, and the propaganda that Xis wisdom is also celebrated in Albanian translation.

So it is a big step backwards. A re-ideologizing and rhetoric, which some seduces to compare with Mao, a comparison that lags: In many, the control and stability feticist Xi is the antithesis to Mao, who loved chaos.

It is true, two experiments from Mao’s heritage are just coming back: the thought control by the party apparatus and the attempt to form a new human being. This time, the Communist Party believes the chances are much better: China’s dictatorship has just been updated with the instruments of the 21st century. It marches with giant steps into the future, puts on big data, on artificial intelligence and new technologies like no second government.

It thinks it can create the perfect monitoring state. Even better, one who is often not even watched because he transposes them into the lives and minds of the subjects themselves. This new China is not supposed to be a huge military camp, as it is in Mao, but rather a mixture of George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Beautiful New World”, where man is self-sufficient with commercialism and pleasure. For example, the “social credit system”, which will reward every Chinese for each of his actions with positive points from 2020 or punish with point deduction. With the help of artificial intelligence, the system is designed to create socially functioning and politically submissive subjects who censor and sanction themselves.

No New Cold War – but a Competition of Systems

If Xi’s Communist Party had success with its plans, it would be the return of totalitarianism in digital garb. Can this work in a country whose society is diverse today? The Communist Party is faced with enormous challenges, and the division of the country into rich and poor is one of them. And Xi’s autocracy holds its own risks: it makes a system, which until recently has been remarkably flexible, rigid and unresponsive to criticism and new ideas. She gives him enemies in his own ranks. Xi knows the problems. That is why he gives his people the national grandmother’s imagination. And a new ideological enemy: the West. Of all the ways, the nation to one, these are the cheapest.

It is also those who should give the West the most thought. After years in the defensive the Communist Party proudly propagates the supposed superiority of their system. The self-dismantling of the USA under Donald Trump is a gift to it. It is quite possible that China finds a market in parts of the world for its dictatorship 2.0. No, a new cold war is far from the truth, but the competition of the systems is back.

Europe has to face it. The liberal democracies must find a voice opposite the new China. Of course, we can and should continue to cooperate with China, whether on the North Korean problem, climate change or global financial system. But the Europeans must do this in the knowledge of China’s inner constitution and its possible intentions. It is time for Europe to abandon its ignorance and naivete. And that it can no longer be divided. One thing is certain: the biggest challenge for the democracies of the West in the coming decades will not be Russia, it will be China.

 

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Joyce Wang Yale Thesis on Henan HIV Crisis: “A Pint of ABO The Currency of Life and Death in China’s HIV Epidemic”

This remarkable thesis on Henan’s HIV epidemic in the 1990s, based on primary sources and interviews with key figure Dr. Wang Shuping, is available online at http://hshm.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/Wang%2C%20Joyce%20(Yuexin)%20-%20Senior%20essay.pdf

Joyce Wang Henan HIV thesis

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