1. Qiushi, March 1, 2021
2. Radio Free Asia, March 2, 2021
On Tuesday March 2, Navy Rear Admiral Michael Studeman, the director of intelligence for the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, told a virtual conference that, “We have a taste of what it means to be led by China or to have China deeply influence us.”
He said, “You’re going to find a very global, expeditionary Chinese military that will be there to step in anywhere they think China’s interests are jeopardized.” “Anywhere globally, when China feels like its development interests are threatened, what you’ll find is that they will end up sending out the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] more and more often.”
Although U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has repeatedly called China the “pacing threat” [which refers to a competitor making significant progress toward challenging U.S. defense strategy] for the Pentagon, and even U.S. President Joe Biden has sought to rally global support to push back against Beijing, Studeman, of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, said U.S. officials believe China has established a clear pattern of how it will seek to assert its dominance based on developments with Hong Kong and Taiwan.
“What you’ve seen is essentially the strangulation of freedom, the death of autonomy,” the top intelligence officer said.
“That’s occurred because of how the Chinese have crushed dissent through structural, legal security measures that have essentially clamped down,” he added. “That’s the China of today. That’s what you get.”
Studeman also described how China has steadily increased pressure on Taiwan, flying drones and what he described as special mission aircraft into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone on what has become a daily basis.
The goal, he said, was to stress the Taiwanese military and to “establish a new norm with their military presence around Taiwan.”
There are concerns that current efforts to push back, like recent, so-called freedom of navigation operations, are having little impact at the moment on Chinese decision-making.
The Pentagon on Monday convened its first meeting of the newly created China Task Force, charged with reviewing Washington’s current China strategy and making recommendations within the next four months.
Source: Voice of America, March 2, 2021
Microsoft issued a release on Tuesday March 2 stating that a China-linked cyber threat actor has been exploiting loopholes in its email server to steal data from emails remotely.
Microsoft said that the targets of hacking include “infectious disease researchers, law firms, higher education institutions, defense contractors, policy think tanks and NGOs.”
Microsoft has detected four exploits being used to attack on-premises versions of the Microsoft Exchange Server. The hacker organization is called Hafnium, a state-sponsored actor based in China. It conducts its operations primarily from leased virtual private servers (VPS) in the United States. Microsoft only recently discovered Hafnium’s activities. It has briefed the U.S. government agencies on this activity.
This is the eighth time in the past 12 months that Microsoft has publicly disclosed nation-state groups targeting institutions critical to civil society. Other activities have targeted healthcare organizations fighting Covid-19, political campaigns and others involved in the 2020 elections, and high-profile attendees of major policymaking conferences.
Source: Radio Free Asia, March 3, 2021
Microsoft, March 2, 2021
Radio Free Asia (RFA) Chinese Edition recently reported that the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee swiftly passed the American Values and Security in International Athletics Act, proposed by Michael McCaul, Republican senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The Act includes a call for boycotting the Beijing Winter Olympics, a condemnation of China and the Hong Kong government’s human rights violations, and a requirement for the Secretary of State to warn the participants in the international games held in communist countries or countries with human rights violation concerns 180 days ahead of the games. The Act intends to inform the American athletes of the games host country’s human rights, privacy and security risks. A similar bill passed unanimously in the previous term of the House, but did not survive the Senate. The House is expected to pass this new Act very quickly. The Beijing Winter Olympics is coming closer. Many U.S. lawmakers proposed bills and wrote to the White House calling for a boycott. Senator Rick Scott, who proposed a similar bill in the Senate asked the White House to discuss China’s human rights records and called the International Olympics Committee for a change of location of the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Source: RFA Chinese, February 25, 2021
Global Times recently reported that, according to Indian media, India just established a new government organization called the Defense Space Agency (DSA), based on the fact that China is pushing hard on space technology explorations. Two years after demonstrating India’s anti-satellite technologies, the Indian military created the DSA to start the programs officially in order to strengthen its capacity to respond to space-oriented threats. In mid-2019, the Indian Ministry of Defense approved the proposal to establish the DSA. The new agency is an organization involving the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. Air Force General SP Dharkar is its leader. The DSA has been working with the related industrial companies on Space Situation Awareness (SSA) technologies, which are set to detect, recognize and trace enemy assets in space. SAA is also designed to provide early alerts on attacks from space. The DSA also focuses on obtaining the capability to integrate monitoring data from various space-based sensors with land, sea and air based combat systems. Though all these had nothing to do with China, the Indian media continues to associate military activities with China.
Source: Global Times, February 23, 2021
Radio France Internationale (RFI) Chinese Edition recently reported that Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping met with the crew of the Chinese moon explorer Chang’e 5, which had just completed a mission to the moon and brought back surface samples. Xi acknowledged the major achievements of the mission and the crew and praised the developments under the Chinese space exploration program. Xi also credited the centralized planning and government sponsorship model for the accomplishments made in the space program. However, right after Xi’s speech, two major Chinese space companies, AECC Aviation Power Co. (Shanghai Stock Exchange 600893) and AVIC Shenyang Aircraft Company Limited (Shanghai Stock Exchange 600760), saw their stock prices fall significantly by 8.39 percent and 7.93 percent, respectively. Both companies have market values above RMB 100 billion (around US$15.4 billion).
Source: RFI Chinese, February 22, 2021
On Wednesday, February 24, the “International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China” (ETAC) hosted a seminar on the CCP’s live organ harvesting. 117 people including legal experts and elected officials from the U.S., Canada, the UK, the EU, and Australia attended the seminar.
One of the keynote speakers was Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, a prosecutor at the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the Chair of the China Tribunal (Forced Organ Harvesting from Prisoners of Conscience in China.) Nice said that forced organ harvesting is the worst crime since World War II. On June 17, 2019, after a five-day hearing with over 50 witnesses, medical experts, and investigators, the China Tribunal released a 60-page summary and confirmed that crimes against humanity, including forced organ harvesting, have been committed in China.
Sean Lin, former lab director for the viral diseases branch at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, said Falun Gong practitioners have been persecuted by the CCP for many years and they are the primary targets of organ harvesting. Dr. Lin said that, after the CCP started to suppress Falun Gong in 1999, the number of organ transplants in China saw a dramatic increase, from military hospitals to large size hospitals, across the country. The crime still continues today. When investigators contacted hospitals in China, they were told the wait time for organs is very short. Apparently, a large organ donor supply exists in China. For cultural reasons voluntary donations in China hardly exist at all. He said that “as indicated by the China Tribunal, the international community should demand the CCP take immediate actions to stop this atrocity instead of simply conducting more investigations. … Forced organ harvesting is not only a crime against humanity but it is also a form of genocide.”
International human rights lawyer David Matas proposed legal action such as the Magnitsky Act to sanction communist China. Wendy Rogers, a Professor of Clinical Ethics at Macquarie University in Australia proposed that more institutions and scientific organizations could press the CCP and ban doctors involved from attending international conferences or publishing papers. Overseas patients should also be restricted from going on medical trips to China to receive organs harvested from living Falun Gong practitioners.
A number of countries have spoken against the forced organ harvesting. The annual human rights report from the U.S. Department of State quoted the judgment from the China Tribunal and also recorded the deaths of 96 Falun Gong practitioners in China that year, caused by the suppression. On December 16, 2020, U.S. Senator Tom Cotton, together with House representatives Chris Smith and Tom Suozzi, introduced a bill to stop forced organ harvesting in China. Known as the Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act, this bill aimed to prevent the Chinese Communist Party from harvesting organs from prisoners of conscience. According to Marilou McPhedran, MP from Canada a measure called S-240 had been introduced to amend the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (trafficking in human organs). On February 22, Canadian MPs voted unanimously to pass a motion from the Conservative Party that designated communist China’s treatment of Uyghurs as genocide.
According to information from the Minghui, over 4,000 Falun Gong practitioners have lost their lives to the persecution in China. At least 84 died in 2020 alone. Due to information censorship, the real number of victims could be much higher. Furthermore, a large number of practitioners have gone missing in the 21-year-long persecution since 1999.
Source: Minghui.org, February 26, 2021
Phoenix Satellite TV, established in Hong Kong in 1996, has always used its status as a media outlet in Hong Kong to cover up its ties with Beijing. However, the latest high-level personnel change at Phoenix TV suggests that CCP party officials are officially directly in charge of Phoenix TV.
China Caixin.com reported that Sun Yusheng, the former deputy director of CCTV, will become the vice president of Phoenix Satellite TV. Prior to this, there was unconfirmed news that the former deputy director of the Shanghai International Communication Office would take over as the chairman of Phoenix Satellite TV. According to the organization announcement, Sun Yusheng will be responsible for Phoenix TV program planning, style, content, production, and coordination among its various channels. Caixin also quoted people familiar with the matter as saying that Sun is expected to become the CEO of Phoenix Satellite TV in the future.
Hu Ping, the Chief Editor of Beijing Spring magazine said that Phoenix played two roles in the past. One was to be an outlet to provide propaganda to overseas audiences. It portrays itself as an unbiased media, but, when needed, it would defend and speak for the CCP. The second was that Beijing does not control it as tightly as other media, although people on the mainland can also watch it. In the past, the CCP could not directly exercise its control in Hong Kong out of the concern for the “one country, two systems” policy but now it no longer needs to do so.
Source: Radio Free Asia, February 25, 2021