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  William Vocke    Special to The China Post
Once again, the Roman Catholic Church is in conflict with the Communist Party of China, with the newly ordained auxiliary bishop of Shanghai having publicly repudiated the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, which was established by the Chinese government to exercise supervision over the nation's Catholics.
The sight evokes a feeling of shock and disbelief. There, down the side of the old Bank of China building in Hong Kong, hangs a huge red banner, just like during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s, when China sought to be the leader of world revolution.
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The installation of Leung Chun-ying on Sunday morning as Hong Kong's third leader since the 1997 handover was followed that afternoon by tens of thousands of protesters taking to the streets calling on him to step down.
Five months ago, Beijing's Environmental Protection Bureau, spurred on by data released by the United States Embassy, adopted tightened standards and began disseminating information on extremely fine particles in the air capable of penetrating deeply into the lungs — particles that have been linked to respiratory diseases and lung cancer.
“Stability is of overriding importance” was a phrase used by Deng Xiaoping many times in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square military crackdown in 1989. The then paramount leader felt that China's top priority was economic development, and that nothing should be allowed to get in the way.
When Barack Obama visited China in 2009, the U.S. leader made it a point to publicly declare himself “a big supporter of non-censorship” and said that criticism made him a better president.
All signs are that president Ma Ying-jeou's second term, which began May 20, will continue to see a strengthening of cross-strait economic relations but political talks between the two sides, even if they are held, are unlikely to be productive.
Beijing has scored points in its handling of the case of the Chen Guangcheng, first by agreeing to guarantee his safety by relocating him and his family to another city where he can study law and then, after the blind activist changed his mind and decided to go abroad, by publicly saying that he has the right of any “regular citizen” to travel and issuing him a passport.
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The appearance in the Hong Kong legislature of filibustering — the practice of allowing one or more members to delay or prevent a vote on a proposal by limitless speechifying — signals the danger that the former British colony may embrace extreme forms of democracy without the rules and regulations that Western parliaments have developed.
In 2001, when it made a successful bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympics, Beijing promised there would be complete freedom for the foreign media to report in China. While this did not occur, more liberal rules were introduced, such as not requiring official permission before conducting interviews.
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