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Coordination and Promotion of Military-Civilian Integration and the “One Belt and One Road”

{Editor’s Note: In recent years, since Xi Jinping took office, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been pursuing a strategy of integrating military with civilian usage. It is taking civilian technologies and transforming them so they can be used for military purposes on a massive scale. In a way, a large number of civilian enterprises have thus been tinted with a military color. At the same time, economic development has also been taking the factor of war into account, especially in the manufacturing industry. When needed, a civil society can quickly be mobilized to serve military purposes. The article below is a policy proposal from a Chinese Academy of Social Sciences scholar. It advocates the expansion of the military-civilian integration to the countries and regions along the “One Belt and One Road.” In a sense, the idea would turn the “One Belt and One Road” country bloc into a certain type of cooperation in military technologies.

The following is a translation of selected excerpts from the article.} {1}

Coordination and Promotion of Military-civilian Integration and the
“One Belt and One Road”

April 25, 2017

Red Flag Manuscript

By Shen Yanxin

The strategy issue is a fundamental issue for a political party and a country. General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that “military-civilian integration is a national strategy that concerns the overall security and development of our country. It is a move to rejuvenate the nation as well as a strategy for strengthening the military.” Promoting military-civilian integration and strengthening the military through technology “must be coordinated within the overall national strategic layout in line with the national strategic plan.” “The construction of the ‘One Belt and One Road’ is also a major strategic decision that the Party’s Central Committee made. Both are part of the national strategy. It is a topic worthy of in-depth research on how to ensure that both the strategic military-civilian integration and the “One Belt and One Road” work hand in hand to achieve coordinated progress and mutual reinforcement.

I. With “One Belt and One Road,” the military-civilian integration has made significant progress.

“Defense technology and munitions are the focus of the military-civilian integration, as well as an important indicator for measuring the level of military-civilian integration.” {2} The implementation of the “One Belt and One Road” initiative has pushed forward military technology exchanges and cooperation between China and the countries along the route so that the integration takes place on a larger scale, at a higher level, and goes deeper. The national defense technology industry is a natural carrier for military-civilian integration. So far, with the promotion of the “One Belt and One Road,” international exchange and cooperation in the national defense technology industry have achieved important results.

International cooperation in the field of nuclear technology has also deepened. At present, “nuclear power” has become the representative “business card” of China, just like the “high-speed rail.” Since the launch of the “One Belt and One Road” initiative, China’s nuclear power technology has seen steady breakthroughs. Statistics show that among the countries and regions along the “One Belt and One Road,” in addition to China, there are 19 countries and regions already equipped with nuclear power and more than 20 countries and regions are planning to develop nuclear power. China has already signed cooperation agreements with Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, France, Jordan, Armenia, and other countries. It is estimated that a total of 240 nuclear power units will be built by 2030, 80 percent of which will be built in the neighboring countries along the “One Belt and One Road.” China alone is striving to build about 30 nuclear power units in the countries along the “One Belt and One Road” by 2030.

Aerospace multilateral (bilateral) international scientific and technological cooperation has advanced and delivered results. With the opportunities derived from the “One Belt and One Road,” China’s aviation industry is further integrated into the world aviation industrial chain. In the aerospace field, China has signed space cooperation agreements with more than 30 countries, and established good government and commercial cooperation mechanisms with countries along the “One Belt and One Road,” thus laying a good foundation for the promotion and application of spatial information technology. At present, on the southern route of the “One Belt and One Road,” China promotes technical cooperation with Asian and African countries on helicopters, regional aircraft, and general aviation industries. It also promotes the development of the aviation industry in relevant countries through the establishment of customer service bases. On the northern route of the “One Belt and One Road,” China and Russia will cooperate on wide-body aircraft and heavy-duty helicopters, and will make it an important achievement in Sino-Russian cooperation in the field of equipment manufacturing.

The spatial information corridor of the “One Belt and One Road” has been developed and promoted. In 2016, the State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND) and the China National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) issued the “Guiding Opinions on Accelerating the Development and Application of the “One Belt and One Road” Spatial Information Corridor.” The spatial information corridor is mainly based on communication satellites, navigation satellites, and remote sensing satellite resources that are in orbit or in the planning stage. These appropriately complement the space-based resources and the ground information sharing network to form a four-in-one spatial information service system of “sensation, transmission, knowledge, and use.” The spatial information service system provides spatial information service capabilities for countries and regions along the “One Belt and One Road” to achieve information interconnection.

In addition, the implementation of the “One Belt and One Road” initiative and especially the development of the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road,” have also brought about important strategic opportunities for Chinese shipping companies, the munitions industry, and electronic technology. The achievements in military-civilian integration have been remarkable.

III. Specific proposals for the coordination and promotion of military-civilian integration and the “One Belt and One Road”

3. Strengthen the coordination of science and technology and strive to improve the innovation ability of the military-civilian synergy.

Scientific and technological innovation have always played a leading role in the development of the “One Belt and One Road.” With the continuous advancement of science and technology, “national strategic competitiveness, social productivity, and military combat effectiveness are becoming more and more intertwined; the defense economy, the social economy, along with military and civilian technology have become more and more integrated.” {3} Therefore, the two strategies of promoting the military-civilian integration and the “One Belt and One Road” have highlighted an urgent need for scientific and technological innovation.

We should take advantage of the “One Belt and One Road” innovation platform in a comprehensive way to accelerate the innovative military-civilian integration. In September 2016, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Commerce jointly issued the “Special Plan for Promoting the ‘One Belt and One Road’ to advance Cooperation in Scientific and Technological Innovation.” This set forth proactive measures for the “One Belt and One Road” technology innovation cooperation: together with countries along the “One Belt and One Road,” China will build a number of research laboratories, joint research centers, technology transfer centers, and advanced technology demonstration and promotion bases to promote the interconnection and service sharing of data and technology resources and to strengthen the application of new technologies in smart grids and information communication networks. The establishment of such an open platform infrastructure will help promote the two-way transfer and transformation of military and civilian technologies, benefit joint research, and enhance research on basic, cutting-edge, and key technologies.

We should comprehensively take advantage of the “One Belt and One Road” talent platform to serve the military-civilian integration. The Communist Party and the State have proposed to improve the military personnel’s support system and train new military talent in large numbers and of high-quality. The “Special Plan for Promoting the ‘One Belt and One Road,’ and to Develop Scientific and Technological Innovation Cooperation” clarifies the talent training goal for scientific and technological innovation cooperation: in three to five years, the exchanges and cooperation between science and technology personnel will be substantially improved and over 150,000 scientific and technical personnel will come to China for exchange training. More than 5,000 outstanding young scientists will be working in China. This provides the possibility for the integration of educational resources for the military-civilian integration. At present, to achieve the coordination of science and technology resources, we need to build a policy regime for the “One Belt and One Road” related resources available to provide services for the military-civilian integration.

Author: Associate Research Fellow, Department of Political History, Institute of Contemporary China, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

{1} Red Flag Manuscript, Shen Yanxin, “Coordination and Promotion of Military-Civilian Integration and the “One Belt and One Road,” April 25, 2017.
{2} A quote from a speech given by Xi Jinping.
{3} Ibid.

Pro-Beijing Chinese Group Sues Kazakhstan Human Rights Organization

Chinese authorities have drawn global attentions for building re-education camps in Xinjiang. Atajurt Kazakh Human Rights, a Kazakh civil organization, has volunteered to disclose the inside stories about the Xinjiang Re-education camps and to assist the Kazakh, Uighur, and Kirgiz people in Xinjiang in finding missing or imprisoned relatives and friends. Recently, a pro-Beijing local Chinese group in Kazakhstan filed a lawsuit against Atajurt, charging the organization and its founder Serikzhan Bilash with “destroying the friendship between China and Kazakhstan.” It asked the court to declare Atajurt an illegal organization.

According to Radio Free Asia, Atajurt obtained a plethora of information regarding the Chinese government’s ethnic policies and practices in Xinjiang, including burning The Koran, demolishing mosques, prohibiting ethnic minorities from holding traditional weddings or funerals, and even sentencing Imams or causing Imams to die in prison. This information has drawn attention from the United States, the United Nations, and the European Union.

It has been said that the 37-member “patriotic overseas Chinese” group has close ties with the Chinese Embassy. According to Serikzhan, these people have participated in a number of social events that the Chinese Embassy organized in Kazakhstan, such as the annual “National Day” dinner, and they also attended the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (held in Beijing). He said that, “Their purpose is to stop us from organizing activities and stop us from continuing to collect information and evidence about the Xinjiang ‘re-education’ concentration camps.”

Source: Radio Free Asia, February 13, 2019

Party’s Mouthpiece Newspapers Are Growing in Spite of the Trend

Because online media have had an effect, many media in China have been unable to make ends meet due to the drop in advertising revenue. Around New Year’s Day 2019, more than ten paper-based media such as Beijing Morning Post, Beijing Suburban Daily and Heilongjiang Morning News had ceased publication. Another reason for the suspension is related to the authorities’ tightened control over what the reporters can cover.

A political observer published an article on Monday February 11, pointing out that the Internet is “killing” traditional media. In particular, the popularity of smartphones and social media has led to a “free fall” in the circulation and advertising volume of newspapers and magazines. The advertising revenue of Chinese newspapers has shrunk from 41 billion yuan (US$60.6 billion) in 2012 to 10.2 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion) in 2016, a drop of three-quarters in just four years. This is also comparable to the decline in the American newspaper industry.

A unique phenomenon in the decline of traditional media in China is that most of the publications that went down or died are local morning and evening newspapers concentrating on stories about local people and events, while the party’s mouthpiece newspapers have not stopped their publications but have generally exhibited a trend of growth. Researchers found that the party’s mouthpiece newspapers have a variety of new sources of income, including local governments’ direct subsidies. For example, Guangzhou Daily, the mouthpiece for the Guangzhou Chinese Communist Party Committee, received a subsidy of 350 million yuan (US$52 million) in 2016. Local governments also put a number of advertisements in the party newspapers to promote their political achievements. Amid the current wave of anti-corruption campaigns, officials dare not put money into their own pockets, but choose to spend money on party newspaper advertisements in order to benefit their careers. In addition, officials need to read the party newspapers to understand the policy trends. They can also showcase their political awareness by subscribing to many party newspapers. All these have led to an increase in the circulation of party newspapers.

An observer told Radio Free Asia, “Because the media is controlled, the media that the party runs still relies on fiscal expenditures. On newspaper subscriptions, every year the provincial government and the provincial propaganda department issue directives to tell us which newspapers we need to subscribe to. People’s Daily and Beijing Daily, (we have to subscribe to them).”

Yang Shaozheng, a former professor at Guizhou University, told RFA that, in mainland China, there is no real market-oriented media. All media have the surname of “party,” but some media are more market-oriented. The cessation of the metropolitan and local newspapers is a good thing for the Chinese Communist Party. “In that case, the Communist Party can shrink the battle’s front line and make sure all the mouthpieces have one voice, which is the voice of the party. The whole country’s ideologies are unified.”

Source: Radio Free Asia, February 13, 2019

Chinese Couple Fined for Having a Third Baby

Currently China allows couples to have two children and many local governments are also lenient about couples having a third child. However, recently, a couple in Shandong Province gave birth to their third child and was fined.

Wang and his wife, who lived in Chengwu County of Shandong, gave birth to their third child on January 5, 2017. The Local Health and Family Planning Bureau imposed a fine of 64,626 yuan (US$9,548) in social maintenance fees, also known as the fine for breaking the family planning policy.

Although the Wang couple could not afford the fees, the county court issued an administrative ruling in June 2018 to demand that the Wang couple pay the fees. On January 10, 2019, the court enforced the ruling by freezing all of the couple’s bank deposits. As of the enforcement date, the couple’s bank balance was only 22,957.68 yuan (US$3,392). This included the balance of 131.68 yuan (US$19) in a WeChat payment, which the court also froze.

The incident received much attention in cyberspace. One netizen said that the local government needs money. “This is the latest madness and whoever knows China will understand.”

Source: Central News Agency, February 12, 2019

Lawsuit against State Enterprise in China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” Project

China’s “Belt and Road” port project is involved in a legal dispute in Djibouti in the Gulf of Aden in Africa. China’s listed state-owned company China Merchants Port (SEHK: 144) was charged with ignoring the port operator’s franchise agreement and investing in the construction of a new terminal in Djibouti. This is the first time that a multinational company has filed a lawsuit against a Chinese state-owned enterprise in Hong Kong for its “Belt and Road” project.

In August last year, Dubai-based global port operator DP World filed a lawsuit in the Hong Kong High Court against China Merchants Port, that China Merchants Port, knowing that the Djibouti government and DP World had already signed a 30-year port franchise, still unlawfully procured and/or induced Djibouti’s breach of its agreement with DP World.

According to the indictment, the Djibouti government signed an agreement with DP World in 2004 that DP World would enjoy a 30-year franchise for the Doraleh Container Terminal (DTC), which was put into operation in 2009. However, three years later, China Merchants Port proposed cooperation with the Djibouti government and finally built a new “Doraleh Multi-purpose Terminal” next to the local Chinese People’s Liberation Army base. In 2017, the Djibouti government and China Merchants Port signed another agreement to build the “Doraleh International Container Terminal.”

This is the first time that a multinational company has sued a Chinese state-owned enterprise in relation to the “Belt and Road” project in Hong Kong. The case is viewed as a test of Hong Kong’s judicial independence.

Source: Radio Free Asia, February 11, 2019

LTN: World Freedom Report Ranked Taiwan High and Mainland China Low

Major Taiwanese news network Liberty Times Network (LTN) recently reported that Freedom House just released its annual Freedom in the World report. The 2019 Report showed a decline in freedom in 68 countries and improvements in 50 countries. Among all 195 countries, 86 were classified as “free countries,” 59 were considered to have “partial freedom,” and 40 were “not free.” Above all, as a trend, the world is seeing a decline in democracy. The United States earned a score of 86 (out of 100), which is below the above-90 countries like France, Germany and Britain. In Asia, among “free countries” Japan scored 96, Taiwan scored 93, South Korea scored 83, and India scored 75. “Partial Freedom” Asian counties include Indonesia 62, the Philippines 61, Hong Kong 59, and Singapore 51. As “not free” Asian countries, Thailand earned 30, Vietnam got 20, and North Korea had a score of 3. China scored 11. The report indicated that, following China’s lead, more and more countries are aiming to put more controls on their citizens living overseas.

Source: LTN, February 5, 2019