Speaking in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, at the start of the week-long 19th party congress, Xi told delegates that thanks to decades of “tireless struggle” China stood “tall and firm in the East”.
Now, Xi said, it was time for his nation to transform itself into “a mighty force” that could lead the world on political, economic, military and environmental issues.
“This is a new historic juncture in China’s development,” China’s 64-year-old leader declared in his bold 3hr 23min address outlining the party’s priorities for the next five years.
“The Chinese nation … has stood up, grown rich, and become strong – and it now embraces the brilliant prospects of rejuvenation … It will be an era that sees China moving closer to centre stage and making greater contributions to mankind.”
Xi warned that achieving what he has dubbed the “China Dream” would be “no walk in the park”: “It will take more than drum beating and gong clanging to get there.”
“[But] our mission is a call to action … let us get behind the strong leadership of the party and engage in a tenacious struggle.”
Xi became the Communist party’s general secretary – and thus China’s leader – at the last party congress in 2012, and has since emerged as one of China’s most dominant rulers since Mao Zedong.
In the surprisingly long speech – titled “Secure a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and strive for the great success of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era” – Xi struck an upbeat tone that contrasted with the grey skies and drizzle outside.
“The Chinese nation is a great nation; it has been through hardships and adversity but remains indomitable. The Chinese people are a great people; they are industrious and brave and they never pause in pursuit of progress,” he said.
“The Communist party of China is a great party; it has the fight and mettle to win.”
Xi warned that corruption remained the greatest threat to the party’s survival despite a five-year war on graft that he claimed had been “built into a crushing tide”. “We must remain as firm as a rock … and secure sweeping victory,” he said, warning that “pleasure-seeking, inaction and sloth” were no longer acceptable. “We must … rid ourselves of any virus that erodes the party’s health.”
Xi, who has sought to portray himself as a strong and stable international statesman since last year’s election of Donald Trump, also painted China as a responsible global power that was committed to tackling shared dangers such as climate change.
“No country alone can address the many challenges facing mankind. No country can afford to retreat into self-isolation,” he said.
Without directly mentioning Trump, he noted how China had “taken a driving seat in international cooperation to respond to climate change”. He added: “Only by observing the laws of nature can mankind avoid costly blinders in its exploitation. Any harm we inflict on nature will eventually return to haunt us. This is a reality we have to face.”
Xi took a harder line on Hong Kong, which witnessed an unprecedented 79-day pro-democracy occupation and the birth of a nascent independence movement during his first term.
He vowed that Beijing would not allow the “one country, two systems” model, under which the former British colony has operated with relative autonomy from the mainland since handover, to be “bent or distorted”. Nor would independence activists be tolerated. “We will never allow anyone, any organisation, or any political party, at any time or in any form, to separate any part of Chinese territory from China.”
Xi was similarly uncompromising on China’s overall political model, offering no hint that democratic reform was on the horizon or that the party was considering loosening its grip on power. “No one political system should be regarded as the only choice and we should not just mechanically copy the political systems of other countries,” said Xi, who has overseen one of the most severe political chills in recent Chinese history. “The political system of socialism with Chinese characteristics is a great creation.”
Xi insisted China did “not pose a threat to any other country” but his speech chimed with the increasingly assertive - some say domineering - foreign policy that has emerged on his watch. He cited Beijing’s highly controversial island-building campaign as one of the key accomplishments of his first term. “Construction on islands and reefs in the South China Sea has seen steady progress.”
Beijing did not seek global hegemony but “no-one should expect China to swallow anything that undermines its interests”.
More than 2,200 delegates have poured into Beijing for the week-long gathering, bringing with them an effervescence of political tributes.
“This is a joyous occasion,” Hu Xiaohan, the director of the Congress’ media centre, enthused at a reception on Monday night.
“Great changes have occurred in China and we are so proud of it,” said Xue Rong, a delegate who had travelled to the capital from Henan province. “Xi Jinping is a great man. He is down-to-earth, too. He carries the people in his heart.”
Zhao Yongqing, the propaganda chief of the north-western region of Ningxia, told the Guardian he had been inspired by Xi’s opening pitch to the congress. “I feel a big responsibility. As a delegate, I must study and understand Xi’s speech thoroughly, and publicise and implement it well when I return home.”
The event, which Xi will use to pack the Communist party’s upper ranks with allies, marks the official end of what is expected to be the first of his two five-year terms in power.
For some though it has come to represent the advent of a new political era that could extend well beyond the originally anticipated end of Xi’s second term, in 2022.
Chen Daoyin, a Shanghai-based political scientist, said he believed the congress heralded the start of China’s third great political epoch since Mao Zedong’s communists seized power in 1949.
The first epoch was Mao himself, a revolutionary standard-bearer who helped the country find its feet; then came Deng Xiaoping, the reformer who masterminded China’s economic opening and helped it grow rich. “Now it’s Xi Jinping’s turn to usher in … the Xi Jinping era,” said Chen.
He predicted Xi would be remembered as the leader who made China a strong and powerful nation: “Being strong first of all means being a global power: being a world leader and therefore leading the world. It also means that the Communist party must be strong, and that it must maintain one-party rule.”
Elizabeth Economy, the director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, said she also considered Xi a transformative figure who saw himself in the same tradition as Mao and Deng.
“I don’t think there’s a lack of confidence in Xi Jinping,” said Economy, who is writing a book on the Communist party leader called The Third Revolution.
“I think he believes that in order to reclaim China’s historic greatness, its centrality in the world, that China needs a strong leader – and he is the person for the job.”
Economy compared Xi’s bold political vision to a pyramid: “Xi Jinping sits on top of the Communist party, the Communist party sits on top of China, and China sits on top of the world.”
OP note: since my new/current home is mainland China, i thought i should post something about this. This week's developments are likely to be dull but important. By the end of the Congress it should be clearer what path Xi and his conservative wing of the Party are going to push over the next 5 years and beyond. Here are some other articles that may interest you guys...
- China congress: How authorities censor your thoughts - BBC talks about content control and the Great Firewall
- Guo Wengui, the maverick Chinese billionaire who threatens to crash Xi's party - the Graun reports on the the sleazy 1%er palling around with Steve Bannon
- Amid strained ties, North Korea congratulates China on party congress - Reuters suggests that Kim Jong-un may behave instead of lobbing another missile during the Congress like some predicted
From my perspective i would suggest taking a lot of the breathless/alarmist opinion pieces from the western media with a grain of salt. The Chinese government is definitely problematic, but it's not a country full of a billion brainwashed drones. Similarly HK is not a city/state full of ten million people clamoring for independence. If you don't mind a paywall (or only getting weekly updates), i recommend subscribing to the Sinocism newsletter for a fairly balanced selection of articles.
Chris Slavin was in an elevator a couple years ago with Earle, her yellow lab service dog, sitting calmly beside her wheelchair. The elevator doors opened and in walked a woman holding a purse. In the purse was a teacup poodle the color of apricots.
The doors closed just as the poodle spotted Earle. That’s when the trouble started. In an instant, the poodle leaped from the purse, flung himself at Earle, and clamped his teeth into the bigger dog’s snout, leaving Earle bleeding onto the elevator floor.
“As soon as this occurred the woman said the poodle was a service dog,” said Slavin, who has a severe spinal injury that requires use of the wheelchair. “She then said he wasn’t a service dog but an emotional support dog. Finally, she admitted he was a pet she just wanted to bring in the building with her.”
Incidents like that one in Reading, Massachusetts, not far from where Slavin lives in Danvers, have spurred 19 states to enact laws cracking down on people who try to pass off their pets as service animals. The push has been gathering steam in recent years: Virginia implemented its new law in 2016, and Colorado followed suit this year. Massachusetts is now considering a similar proposal.
“Today, any pet owner can go online and buy a vest for a dog to pass it off as a service animal to gain access to restaurants, hotels and places of business,” said Republican state Rep. Kimberly Ferguson, who introduced the Massachusetts bill. “Their animals aren’t trained and end up misbehaving in these public places, which gives real service dogs a bad name.”
Service dogs, which are trained to perform tasks for a person with a disability, were first used by people with vision and hearing impairments. They are now also used by those who use wheelchairs or have other impairment in mobility, people who are prone to seizures or need to be alerted to medical conditions, like low blood sugar, and people with autism or mental illness. The American Humane Association, which promotes the welfare and safety of animals, says there are 20,000 service dogs working in the U.S.
Supporters of the new laws compare those misbehaving dog owners to people who acquire handicap signs so they can park in spaces intended for disabled people. The laws make it a misdemeanor to represent an untrained dog as a service animal, and usually come with fines of no more than $500 for an incident.
But because there is no certification or official national registry of legitimate service dogs, there is no way to verify whether a dog has undergone rigorous training to become a service animal.
That makes it hard to enforce the laws, said David Favre, a law professor at Michigan State University College of Law and editor of its Animal Legal and Historical Center website, which follows public policy issues related to animals. He said he’s not aware of anyone who has been prosecuted anywhere for violating them.
Rather, he said, the laws are largely symbolic, and meant to educate dog owners as well as people who let pets into spaces where they don’t belong. “Maybe you can scare some people into being honest.”
People who pass off their dogs as service animals in order to take them into stores, restaurants, libraries, sporting events and offices are a real problem, he said, for the proprietors of those establishments, their customers and disabled people who genuinely rely on the help of their service dogs.
“A service animal is trained to be in public and to be under control and non-intrusive and not bark,” Favre said. “They are trained not to be a nuisance in any way. You should hardly even know they are there.”
Because of Earle’s training as a service dog, Slavin said, when the poodle attacked him, “My dog never moved, never retaliated, never barked.” He did nothing. That is the way a service dog is trained. They are not going to ever be aggressive. Ever.”
"Four on the Floor’
Earle performs many functions for Slavin. He picks up items she drops, retrieves keys, opens doors, puts objects like library books on counters that Slavin can’t reach, and returns change or credit cards to her after purchases. She credits Earle with “enabling me to truly become part of my community.”
Service dogs receive up to two years of training, which can cost more than $40,000. Before they are placed, their new owners are often required to live at the training center for a week or two to learn about caring and interacting with their dogs. Many training centers provide the dogs free of charge to disabled clients, defraying their costs through fundraising. The waiting time for a service dog is often two years or longer.
But for people who want to pass off their pet as a service dog, it’s easy enough to be convincing. Anyone can go online and purchase for about $20 the types of vests that legitimate service dogs usually wear.
The vests may help the fake service dogs gain entry, but their behavior, and that of their owners, often gives them away. Trained service dogs don’t go off-leash, bark, knock things off shelves, jump on people, play or fight with other dogs, or grab food off tables, trainers say.
And owners of real service dogs don’t carry them in shopping carts or purses. “The rule is four on the floor,” with all four feet on the ground except when a dog is performing a task, said Katelynne Steinke, a paraplegic in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, with her own yellow lab service dog.
The problem is that the proprietors of establishments where people bring their dogs have no way of determining whether a dog is a real service animal.
The American with Disabilities Act requires all places open to the public, such as businesses, government agencies and entertainment venues, to give access to service dogs and their owners. And it permits them to ask only two questions: whether the dog is required because of a disability and what tasks the dog is trained to perform. It is illegal to request documentation for the dog or to ask the nature of the owner’s disability.
There’s another complication: the growing use of “emotional support dogs,” which are intended to provide comfort to those with anxiety or other emotional problems. Some of them may have received special training, although nothing as rigorous as the training for service dogs. (Emotional support dogs are not covered under the ADA and can legally be denied access.)
Some service dog owners say many businesses, unable to tell fake service dogs from real ones, allow all of them in. Many owners of service dogs avoid those places for fear of exposing their animals to danger from untrained dogs. Other businesses, they say, simply bar all dogs from the premises, even if it violates the ADA.
The National Disability Rights Network, which advocates on behalf of people with disabilities, is sympathetic to those who want to crack down on pet owners who misrepresent their dogs as service animals. But Ken Shiotani, a senior staff attorney with the organization, said the laws should aim to educate, rather than punish, and the penalties for violations should be minimal. “We want to have a positive impact on people to help them realize that what they’ve done has this very negative effect.”
Advocates for the laws agree.
Cathy Zemaitis, who helped draft the Massachusetts bill and is director of development for National Education for Assistance Dog Services, a Massachusetts group that says it has trained over 1,700 dogs since 1976, said the laws should launch a national effort to teach people not to put dogs in situations they are not trained for — and to educate the public on the need for legitimately trained dogs.
The long-term goal, Zemaitis said, is the creation of a national certification program and registry for legitimately trained service dogs. “This is the beginning of a much larger conversation we need to have.”
( But. (Spoilers, particularly after the first three paragraphs.) )
Over at my main blog, I wished my readers a...
Happy National Liqueur Day! I could have also wished my readers a Happy National Dictionary Day or a Happy National Department Store Day when I wanted to take a break from recapping the News and Documentary Emmy winners, but I decided to do something easy and familiar. If my readers wish to celebrate those other days instead, they can go right ahead.
I'll wish my readers here a Happy National Dictionary Day and a Happy Happy National Department Store Day anyway.
And then I will cry exactly the same way I cry every time I watch Third Watch's finale and it ends with Bosco still doing his thing. Every time.
(Apparently I cry thinking about that, too. Wow. Misty eyes over here, hello.)
In fact, I reject any other ending to this series.
ETA: No, wait, I know what it'll be: ( Read more... )
- Former 49ers QB has been out of league following his anthem protest
- Many believe player has been deliberately kept out of league
Colin Kaepernick is yet to find a new team this season.
Colin Kaepernick, who many believe has been blackballed by the NFL following his protest against racial injustice in the US, is reportedly set to file a lawsuit against the league’s team owners.
According to Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback has hired attorney Mark Geragos and will claim NFL owners have colluded to keep him out of the league. Under the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement teams and the NFL are forbidden from coming together to deprive a player of employment.
ABC obtained a copy of the court filing, which states that NFL team owners: “colluded to deprive Mr Kaepernick of employment rights in retaliation for Mr Kaepernick’s leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice.”
Kaepernick chose to kneel last season during the national anthem. He was joined by other NFL players and the protests have continued into this season: on Sunday seven San Francisco 49ers players knelt during the anthem.
The movement has angered Donald Trump, who ordered Vice-President Mike Pence to leave a game last week in which players were protesting.
The protests have also been blamed for falls in the league’s TV ratings this year, although other factors, such as the decline of television viewership in general, could also be at play. Surveys have found the majority of white fans are opposed to the protests while most black fans support them.
Kaepernick, who led the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013, left San Francisco last season and has not been picked up since. The fact that many teams with a need for a quarterback have passed up the chance to sign Kaepernick left many to believe owners are either punishing him for his stance or believe his presence would alienate fans.
“It’s difficult to see because [Kaepernick] played at such a high level, and you see guys, quarterbacks, who have never played at a high level being signed by teams. So it’s difficult to understand,” said Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman earlier this year.
“Obviously he’s going to be in a backup role at this point. But you see quarterbacks, there was a year Matt Schaub had a pretty rough year and got signed the next year. So it has nothing to do with football. You can see that. They signed guys who have had off years before.”
Another potential opening for Kaepernick appeared on Sunday when the Green Bay Packers lost their star quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, to a broken collarbone.
I'll never not fixate on the moment during the raid where Brenda's trying desperately to figure out where the suspect went and Sharon is the one who asks the questions that focus Brenda. First of all, I find it interesting that the men who work with Brenda every day can't or don't do this, but the woman who is an outsider steps in. Second, I love it because it's who the characters are: Brenda is disorder and Sharon is order. But this time, there was a new thing I noticed -- the drastic shift from the last episode they shared, Dead Man's Hand. That episode shows us what it looks like when Brenda's thinking gets muddied by her feelings toward Sharon. It straight up tells us, multiple times, that a guy dies because Brenda lets her judgement get so clouded by her dislike of Sharon. And we go from that to Brenda saving multiple young women because Sharon gives her clarity. So I'm just a little 😍 over here.
On my blog's Facebook page, I wrote the following a week ago:
Crazy Eddie's Motie News was feeling confused.*
The bot traffic, which stopped August 17th, has returned to the blog. At least I won't have to worry about making my page view goal this month (1173 page views per day for a total of 36,393 page views), but at what cost?**
*I chose confused because perplexed and paranoid weren't available on Facebook. They aren't available here, either, but at least I can write in my own choice, which is "suspicious."
**I made that page view goal on the 11th. The blog currently has 44,616 page views for October with the month less than halfway over and 53,700 for the past 30 days. As for the cost, it's wondering who or what is reading my blog and for what purpose. I can say that it's coming from inside the U.S. The Russians aren't nearly as interested as they were before the election.
President’s tweets warn aid can’t continue ‘forever’, and the mayor of San Juan responds ‘You are incapable of empathy and frankly cannot get the job done’
People affected by Hurricane Maria bathe in water piped in from a mountain creek, in Naranjito, Puerto Rico, amid concerns about islanders’ exposure to contaminated water.
Donald Trump has seemingly threatened to pull federal emergency support from Puerto Rico a day after his administration reported that desperate people in the US territory have been drinking from contaminated wells due to a lack of water.
In a series of tweets sent on Thursday morning, Trump said: “We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. Forever!”
The president preceded this with tweets that stated “Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes” in Puerto Rico and quoted a TV host who said of the territory that “a financial crisis looms largely of their own making”.
There are currently more than 1,400 Fema personnel in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands responding to the humanitarian crisis that has erupted following hurricanes Maria and Irma.
On Thursday, Fema said it had expanded its leadership team in Puerto Rico following the “unprecedented destruction” from the hurricanes.
Sufficient aid has yet to reach many people in Puerto Rico, three weeks after much of the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria. More than 80% of the island is without electricity and nearly half of all people are still cut off from communication.
The water situation has become particularly dire, with the state department estimating that about a third of Puerto Ricans are without potable water. This has led to some people attempting to access wells that have been sealed due to toxic pollution, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
On Wednesday, the EPA said it has “reports of residents obtaining, or trying to obtain, drinking water from wells at hazardous waste superfund sites in Puerto Rico”. Superfund sites are heavily polluted areas that have been designated for federal cleanup.
The environmental regulator said it was working with Fema to get drinking wells functioning and urged people to not tamper with locked wells or drink their contents. The EPA added that Puerto Ricans should not use water from rivers or streams for drinking or bathing without boiling it first because “raw sewage continues to be released into waterways and is expected to continue until repairs can be made and power is restored.”
The death toll from Hurricane Maria jumped to 45 people this week, and 113 people remain unaccounted for. The Centro de Periodismo Investigativo, a local investigative journalism project has estimated that the real total is likely to be much higher.
Trump’s comments prompted a furious reaction from Puerto Rican leaders.
New York congresswoman Nydia Velásquez said on Twitter that the president’s comments were “outrageous, indefensible and irresponsible. We will not allow our gov’t to abandon our fellow citizens.”
“America does not abandon fellow citizens during crises!!” she wrote.
Governor Ricardo Rossello followed suit, saying that the state, home to 3.4 million US citizens, was “requesting the support that any of our fellow citizens would receive across our Nation”.
Carmen Yulín Cruz, mayor of San Juan – an outspoken critic of Trump’s response to the disaster – said in a statement addressed to the president that Trump’s tweets and comments about Puerto Rico “underscore the inadequacy of your government’s response to this humanitarian crisis.”
“It is not that you do not get it, it is that you are incapable of empathy and frankly simply cannot get the job done,” she wrote.
“Puerto Ricans have suffered greatly in the past month. Two hurricanes devastated our homes and our electrical infrastructure leaving us without the essentials to survive: drinkable water, food and medicine.
“But perhaps more frustrating has been the devastating actions, time after time, by a President whose tweets, comments and actions seem to be taken out of a book on ‘how to add insult to injury’ rather than a book on ‘how to help during a humanitarian crisis’.”
Another relevant link: 'Life or death as Puerto Rico's older people go without essentials'.
OP: Trump's response to this has been truly disgusting.
Today is National Fossil Day, exactly the kind of holiday I'd celebrate at Crazy Eddie's Motie News except that I'm in the middle of featuring the News and Documentary Emmy winners in science, space, and medicine. Maybe next year. So, I'm observing it here by sharing a video I'll get around to posting at the main blog eventually, An Asteroid Didn’t Kill the Dinosaurs, Here’s a New Theory About What Did from Seeker.
Actually, the asteroid did kill the dinosaurs, just much more indirectly than originally thought.
One of the things that the trailer makes clear is that the show takes place in a post-apocalyptic future, something I pointed out in a a comment on The Worlds That Never Were on Greer's Ecosophia blog: "It may not be immediately clear in the books, but in the opening credits and scenes of the TV series, it's explicit that the stories are set in a post-nuclear-war future where the elves, dwarves, and trolls evolved from humans in a radioactive environment and where ruins of our current civilization dot the landscape."
Watch the opening to see.
Here's to the second season being as fun to watch as the first.
I'm single-handedly keeping alive a fake holiday called Wester, which is the first Sunday following the first Full Moon after the Autumnal Equinox... The holiday has its own animal mascot, the Wester Squirrel, which goes around and gathers goodies to hide instead of hiding goodies to pass out like the Easter Bunny.
Over at the main blog, I have videos of squirrels stealing each others' nuts and squirrels using a tactic from "The Walking Dead" to evade snakes. Here, I have flying squirrels going for distance from National Geographic. Hey, it's football season!
Predictions: "Battle of the Sexes" will be nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Comedy Movie. Emma Stone will be nominated for Best Actress in a Comedy Movie. Steve Carell will be nominated for Best Actor in a Comedy Movie. With three months of releases still to go, it's too early to post odds on their winning. It's also too early to make bets on their Oscar prospects.
"Hummingbirds are amazing creatures to behold. They are the tiniest of birds, yet possess natural born super powers that enable them to fly backwards, upside-down, and float in mid-air. Their wings beat faster than the eye can see and the speed at which they travel makes people wonder if it was indeed a hummingbird they actually saw. They also are only found in the Americas. These attributes have both intrigued scientists and made it challenging to study the species, but with the latest high-speed cameras and other technologies, Super Hummingbirds reveals new scientific breakthroughs about these magical birds" -- Nature on PBS
'Sonic Sea,' a triple nominee, and its competitors
"Sonic Sea ( http://www.sonicsea.org ) is a 60-minute documentary about the impact of industrial and military ocean noise on whales and other marine life. It tells the story of a former U.S. Navy officer who solved a tragic mystery and changed forever the way we understand our impact on the ocean" -- Natural Resources Defense Council.
Space, Ebola, volcanoes, stroke, and human expansion the topics of Science and Technology Documentary nominees
"On March 27, 2015, astronaut Scott Kelly began a historic year in space. Follow Scott and his identical twin Mark Kelly as the two-part program tells the story of what it takes, mentally and physically, to spend a year in space" -- PBS.
Extinction, water, astronomy, and HIV among 2017 Emmy nominees for Outstanding Science, Medical and Environmental Report
"We're entering the Earth's sixth era of extinction -- and it's the first time humans are to blame. CNN introduces you to the species that are already going" -- CNN.
'Body Team 12' and 'Extremis' both nominated for Outstanding Short Documentary plus other science, health, and environment nominees
"Body Team 12 follows a team of Liberian Red Cross workers tasked with collecting the dead during the height of the Ebola outbreak. The story is told on the ground in Monrovia, Liberia, through the eyes of the only female member of the team, who reveals the lifesaving work of removing bodies from family and loved ones in order to halt transmission of the disease" -- RYOT.