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Well-known Hong Kong pro-mainland TV station and news site Phoenix New Media recently reported on some leaked information on China’s “Project 048,” which is China’s roadmap plan for developing its aircraft carriers. The project was finalized in August of 2004; hence the name “048.” According to the leaked roadmap, the carrier building plan consists of three phases. Phase one is to build two mid-sized carriers within 10 years; phase two is to build two large scale carriers in the next 10 years; phase three involves building large nuclear-powered carriers. The ultimate goal is to have 10 carriers by the year 2049. A model “001A” carrier is almost completed and will soon be launched in the city of Dalian. The building process on the Model “002” carriers started in 2015. They are large scale ships still using conventional power and a catapult take-off. Model “003” carriers aim to be the equivalent of the U.S. nuclear-powered Nimitz-class carriers. According to Project 048, China is improving its steam catapult so that it is one third more efficient than the U.S. equivalent. It is estimated that the Chinese Model “003” nuclear carrier will have electromagnetic catapult take-off capabilities on the same level as the U.S. Ford-class, and will launch in the year 2030. At the current pace of parallel design and building of multiple models, the year 2030 target should be reached three years earlier.
Source: Phoenix New Media, January 17, 2017
China News recently reported that Zhou Qiang, Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court and the Communist Party Secretary of the Supreme Court Branch, delivered a speech at the National High Court Chiefs’ Conference. He called for “clearly and firmly standing up against” wrongful Western thoughts such as “Constitutional Democracy, the Separation of Powers, and Judicial Independence.” Zhou also called for putting up a decisive fight against the idea and the people with the idea of dismissing the leadership of the Communist Party and the Socialist system. He required the high courts of all provinces to set these tasks as the highest priority on their work agenda. Zhou also asked all courts to include these requirements in the human resources systems to measure candidates in their performance review and promotion processes. Monitoring and accountability mechanisms must also be established.
Source: China News, January 4, 2017
Radio Free Asia (RFA) and the Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily each reported recently that the Chinese environmental protection agency asked the owner of the mobile app “Air Matters” to “fix” the app so that it will not display the air pollution index numbers once they reach a certain level. The app displays air pollution index values based on officially released government data. However, the app did make it significantly easier for average citizens to obtain pollution level information. The app uses Chinese standard measures to display the data and it is also capable of interpreting the data using other standards such as the U.S., the British, and even the Indian standards. The Chinese authorities have been saying that it is “obviously unreasonable” to use a foreign standard to measure Chinese data. The event triggered a massive discussion online among Chinese netizens. Most posted comments such as, “The government is unable to fix the smog pollution over a long period of time; however, it can fix the app writer’s <ability> to show the pollution level very swiftly.” The government has subsequently also blocked any comments on this news.
Radio Free Asia, January 9, 2017
Apple Daily, January 8, 2017
BBC Chinese recently reported that local residents in port Hambantota, Sri Lanka, clashed with the police. A groundbreaking ceremony triggered the incident. In an agreement, the government granted full management rights of the port to a Chinese company to build an industrial park. The rental agreement is for a period of 99 years. The conflict happened when Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Yi Xianliang, were attending the groundbreaking ceremony for the industrial park. According to the development agreement, thousands of villagers had to move out. The opposition complained that the agreement is turning the port into a “Chinese colony.” However, the government said all impacted villagers will be given new land. China has been investing in Sri Lanka on a large scale since 2009, when the nation’s civil war ended. This recent conflict resulted in 21 injured and 52 arrested. Sri Lanka is strategically located in the so-called “String of Pearls” in South Asia.
Source: BBC Chinese, January 7, 2017
People’s Daily recently published an analysis article evaluating whether there is a chance that manufacturers in China can be attracted to the United States, which is a critical cornerstone of Trump’s strategy. However, capital always seeks low-cost, high-profit destinations. The most profitable industry for the U.S. is the financial industry instead of manufacturing. The last three projects Trump had before he won the presidency resulted in U.S. manufacturers losing at least US$350 million to low-cost Chinese products. Trump’s campaign T-Shirts were made in China and Honduras. Robots can help, but that won’t add more jobs. The U.S. may be able to improve on the high-end manufacturing as a high-tech power, but that won’t significantly improve employment. The article also identified the lack of blue collar labor resources in the U.S. population as a major problem to re-establish manufacturing on a large scale. Manufactures are more likely to move to India, Vietnam, Myanmar, or Cambodia instead of the U.S. Another immediate obstacle the U.S. will face is that the United States no longer has the full supply chain from the natural resource to supporting parts suppliers. The author concluded that Trump was just bragging – the best case is that he could move manufacturers out of China, but not into the U.S.
Source: People’s Daily, December 31, 2016