Search

 

Cablegate: Drl Officer Chang East China Visit

VZCZCXRO9352
RR RUEHCN RUEHGH
DE RUEHGH #0357/01 1590717
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 080717Z JUN 07
FM AMCONSUL SHANGHAI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5926
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1182
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 0730
RUEHGZ/AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU 0710
RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG 0732
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0840
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 0602
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 6346

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 SHANGHAI 000357

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/CM, DRL/PRU
LABOR FOR ILAB - ZHAO LI
USDOC FOR 4420/ITA/MAC/MCQUEEN, MELCHER AND DAS KASOFF

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM ELAB KJUS CH
SUBJECT: DRL OFFICER CHANG EAST CHINA VISIT

1. (SBU) Summary. During his May 21-24 visit to Shanghai and
Hefei, Anhui Province, DRL Program Officer met with DRL grantee
organizations International Bridges for Justice (IBJ) and SE
Consortium for International Development/Global Suppliers
Institute (SECID/GSI), as well as academics and students at
Fudan University Journalism School and the Shanghai Municipal
People's Congress (SMPC) Legislative Affairs Office. While IBJ
appeared to be thriving in Anhui and having some impact on legal
aid in the area, SECID/GSI had just begun its training programs
and had not yet assessed the effect of the program on labor
practices of local suppliers. Fudan University Journalism
School and SMPC were generally pleased with their cooperation
with the U.S.-China Educational Trust (USCET) but wanted more
depth of content in their activities. SMPC provided a briefing
on its efforts to increase transparency through public hearings
and said it was were eager for more exchanges with U.S.
counterparts. End Summary.

IBJ Legal Aid Project
---------------------

2. (SBU) Chang and Consulate FSN Rule of Law Coordinator (ROLC)
visited IBJ offices in Hefei, Anhui province on May 21 and met
with four local lawyers trained by IBJ. IBJ provides training
and mentoring to a core team of private and governmental legal
aid lawyers in Anhui Province, who then pass on this training to
colleagues. The lawyers at the meeting praised IBJ's project
and said that the training they received had helped them to
improve their criminal defense skills. They added that this
training was having an impact in Anhui as more and more legal
aid lawyers received training.

3. (SBU) Cheng and ROLC also visited the Hefei Municipal Legal
Aid Center and received a briefing from the Center's Director
and Hefei Bar Association Criminal Defense Chairman Liu Tao.
Liu said that the Legal Aid Center's cooperation with IBJ had
been very helpful and the center had opened an office at the
local detention center to provide free legal advice to people
detained at the center. He added that his office not only
provided legal aid for people in Hefei, but also provided legal
services to migrant workers from Hefei who were working outside
the city. For example, he assisted a migrant who stood trial in
Hangzhou. Liu added that the center has had to limit the number
of migrant worker cases it could accept since such cases were
very costly. He said the center's biggest challenge was finding
financial support for its operations.

SECID/GSI: Waiting For an Assessment
-------------------------------------

4. (SBU) On May 22, State DRL Program Officer Samuel Chang,
Consulate's Poloff and FSN Political Assistant visited
South-East Consortium for International Development's (SECID)
Global Supplier Institute (GSI) China Project office in
Shanghai. GSI Senior Project Manager Stella Wang briefed
participants on the project. She said the purpose of the
project was to provide training to companies operating in China,
particularly those supplying products to multinational companies
(MNCs), on how to improve their business and labor practices.
GSI contracted Suzhou-based educational investment consulting
company BOLD to provide the training. GSI had contracts with
three companies in Changzhou, Suzhou, and Wuxi.

5. (SBU) Before the training began, GSI had performed on-site
assessments to determine the companies' training needs. Both
sides then worked together to design "tailor-made" training.
For example, GSI ran three programs at a Changzhou-based garden
tool company including visual management, quality control and
production standardization to improve workplace safety. For the
Suzhou digital technology company, the program focused on how to
improve workplace ergonomics and reduce overtime. After the
training program was decided, GSI agreed to deliver a package of
services to the companies, including three on-site assessments,
a six-day customize training program, and, at least six progress
reviews. The training cycle lasted six months. Wang said that
all three projects were still in the initial stages and there
were no assessments yet on the projects effectiveness.

6. (SBU) GSI team assigned to a company consisted of a trainer
and at least two interns. The interns were recruited from local
graduate schools and all had an undergraduate background in

SHANGHAI 00000357 002 OF 003


engineering. The interns worked with the trainers to collect
data and monitor how well the companies implemented concepts or
practices they learned from the training. The intern program
lasted 12 weeks and interns spent two days a week on the
project, providing project updates every two weeks. Wang was
very proud of the internship program and said it provided many
interns with hands-on management experience. She hoped that
these interns would take the skills they learned during the
internship and apply them at their future jobs as factory
managers.

7. (SBU) According to Wang, GSI had developed a productive
relationship with local governments and the American Chamber of
Commerce (AmCham) in Shanghai. Wang said Suzhou Industry Park
Administrative Committee encouraged companies to attend GSI
training because it believed the training would increase
productivity. AmCham's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
and Government Relations Manager Oliver Ye Yang added that
Amcham companies were interested in the project since it could
help suppliers meet labor standards. He noted, however, that
Amcham companies were still waiting to see the results of the
assessments before signing on. Yang was also concerned that the
project appeared to be limited in scope. Currently, the project
focused on high-tech or equipment manufacturing companies. Yang
said it was unlikely that the more labor-intensive industries
such as the textile sector would be interested in such a program
as there was intense pressure on these types of companies to
skirt labor laws to produce cheap goods at low prices. Although
the training would increase productivity, most companies in the
textile sector were focused on cost issues. He noted that local
governments were more interested in auditing or inspections, GDP
growth and tax revenue. As long as companies passed
governmental audits, labor violations could be tolerated. Wang
and BOLD Training Director CK Tan admitted that GSI's approach
to addressing labor violations was indirect but maintained that
it would ultimately improve workplace conditions.

Shanghai Municipal People's Congress
------------------------------------

8. (SBU) SMPC Legislative Affairs Commission provided a
briefing on its cooperation with USCET and its efforts to
increase public participation. SMPC Legislative Affairs
Commission Vice Secretary General Zheng Hui generally praised
USCET and Ambassador Julia Bloch. He said that in cooperation
with USCET, Fudan University Professor Sun Zhe and Peking
University Professor Cai Dingjian, SMPC held an international
conference last year on Mine Safety Legislation at Fudan
University. Conference participants included representatives
from 16 provincial people's congresses, the National People's
Congress, the State Council and U.S. mine safety experts. Zheng
said the conference was successful and useful. The SMPC even
broadcasted a mock trial of a case using U.S. mine safety
legislation on its website, which received lots of good
comments. Representatives appreciated the conference and the
Chongqing People's Congress held a similar conference on
Consumer Rights Protection this April. SMPC was currently
discussing with USCET the possibility of holding an
international conference on energy saving and environmental
protection in 2008. Zheng said that the purpose of the
exchanges was not to transplant American experiences or systems
into China. U.S. and Chinese cultures were quite different and
two countries' democratic processes were also different.
However, it was important to broaden legislators' knowledge
about the experiences and practices of other countries. Despite
the positive aspects of cooperation with USCET, Zheng noted that
USCET's programs were somewhat "ABC-ish" in nature and needed to
be deeper in content rather than reintroducing basics.

9. (SBU) Noting Shanghai's Open Government Information Act,
Zheng said open information was a crucial basis of the rule of
law and transparent government. Governments should be open,
otherwise they would become "tyrant" governments. He added that
Premier Wen Jiabao also stressed the importance of open
government information. The SMPC held public hearings on draft
legislation five times this year. These drafts dealt with the
protection of historical buildings, greening the city, labor
contracts, and school safety. SMPC held four additional
hearings, which he called "supervisory" hearings, to solicit
views from the community on the work of local government
agencies. Zheng said that the latest supervisory hearing was

SHANGHAI 00000357 003 OF 003


about employment promotion?. According to Zheng, citizens had
to register and be selected by the SMPC to attend these
hearings. The government often took out ads in local newspapers
or posted information on the hearings on its websites. Local
citizens could then register for the hearings and SMPC would
hold a lottery to select participants. Zheng noted that only
10-15 citizens were allowed to attend each hearing.

10. (SBU) According to Zheng, Shanghai was able to implement a
large number of experimental projects for three reasons. First,
China's new administrative punishment law provided the legal
basis for public hearings. Secondly, many people in the
Legislative Affairs Commission were legal experts and professors
and they brought many advanced ideas to the commission. Third,
Shanghai's Municipal Government had the courage and willingness
to make changes and carry out experimental projects. Both Zheng
and SMPC Foreign Affairs Office Director Xiang Yang expressed
their strong interest in having more cooperation and exchanges.
Xiang hoped that there would be more cooperation between U.S.
legislative bodies and the SMPC. SMPC was particularly
interested in having exchanges on how to strengthen
Congressional bodies' control of governmental budgets. Xiang
added that SMPC employees already had basic knowledge of U.S.
laws and regulations and what was really needed was more
detailed and technical information about U.S. legal practices.

Fudan University Journalism School
----------------------------------

11. (SBU) Fudan University Journalism School Dean Yu Zhenwei
and Program Assistant Li Na were effusive about the school's
relationship with USCET. Two journalism students who
participated in the USCET programs also attended the meeting.
According to Li, Fudan had two programs with USCET, Journalist
In Residence (JIR) and Financial Media Institute (FMI). Under
the JIR program, USCET paid for a high-level U.S. journalist to
lecture at Chinese universities, including Fudan University.
Former JIR Journalists included David Broder and William
Raspberry. Li and the journalism students were pleased with the
JIR program and the access it provided students with to meet
high-level U.S. journalists. They had no preferences on the
type of journalist they wanted to participate in the program and
could not provide any concrete recommendations for what type of
information they needed about journalism in the United States.
All they wanted was a well-known journalist that could attract a
large crowd. The FMI program focused on financial reporting.
One student said that the FMI taught him more about
professionalism and helped him to appreciate the differences
between American and Chinese journalism but was limited in its
impact because it lasted only ten days.

12. (SBU) Another journalism student noted that the most
surprising thing he learned from the programs was that there was
also censorship or at least self-censorship in the United States
because many journalists chose not to write about certain issues
during the Iraq war. She also said she learned that journalists
should think creatively and write about issues in which they
were personally interested. She noted that it was difficult for
students in China to think creatively because they were used to
just accepting information from superiors, such as the
government and their parents. Dean Yu, Li and the students all
played down the role of the Internet on the media and said that
they did not believe much of the information on the Internet.
They agreed that Chinese journalists should be better paid to
avoid the common practice of taking hongbao, or cash-filled
envelopes, for favorable press coverage.

13. (U) DRL/P Chang cleared this message.
JARRETT

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

New IPCC Report: ‘Unprecedented Changes’ Needed To Limit Global Warming

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C will require “far-reaching and unprecedented changes,” such as ditching coal for electricity to slash carbon emissions, says a special report that finds some of the actions needed are already under way, but the world must move faster… More>>

ALSO:

Jamal Khashoggi: UK, France, Germany Join Calls For Credible Investigation

Germany, the United Kingdom and France share the grave concern expressed by others including HRVP Mogherini and UNSG Guterres, and are treating this incident with the utmost seriousness. More>>

ALSO:

MSF Not Wanted: Nauru Government Shows Continued Callousness

The Nauruan Government’s decision to ask Doctors Without Borders to immediately leave shows continued callousness towards asylum seekers desperately seeking a safe place to call home, Green MP Golriz Ghahraman said today. More>>

ALSO:

Sulawesi Quake, Tsunami: Aid Response Begins

Oxfam and its local partners are standing by to deploy emergency staff and resources to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, as an estimated 1.5 million people are thought to be affected by the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit on Friday. More>>

ALSO:

Decriminalising Same-Sex Relationships: UN Rights Chief Applauds Indian Decision

“This is a great day for India and for all those who believe in the universality of human rights," Bachelet said. "With this landmark decision, the Indian Supreme Court has taken a big step forward for freedom and equality...” More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC