Wall Street Journal Chinese recently reported that the Chinese government is considering investing in one or two percent of the shares, called “special administrative stock” in Chinese domestic high-tech companies. Trials have started in two companies. This ownership investment is intended to acquire one or more seats on the board of privately owned large high-tech companies in order to participate in their management and operations. Over the past 20 years, Chinese high-tech companies have enjoyed massive growth and obtained significant shares in critical industries such as financial, insurance, transportation, communication and entertainment. These companies also own a large amount of data regarding the day-to-day behavior of the Chinese population. Examples of these companies are Tencent and Alibaba. Owners of these companies privately expressed their deep concerns about this potential move, since this type of government stock ownership may result in lawsuits for those companies that trade overseas. For the Chinese government, the cost is also a concern. For example, just to hold one percent of Tencent will require US$4 billion. The biggest worry among shareholders and the company owners is the potential to lose independence as well as the capability of innovating.
Source: WSJ Chinese, October 12, 2017
Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that SINOPEC (China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation) is looking for buyers for its assets in Argentina. The primary asset is located in the Santa Cruz region and is priced at US$0.75~1 billion. This asking price is not even half of the cost SINOPEC paid in 2010 when it first bought this asset from U.S. Occidental Petroleum at US$2.45 billion. SINOPEC has been losing money (around US$2.5 billion as of 2015) in Argentina and it is also facing labor troubles. It is estimated that there may be 15 potential buyers mainly from the U.S., Europe, Africa, and Latin America. However, Russia and Mexico are also interested. The SINOPEC selling plan has not yet been announced publicly, so all information sources remain anonymous. New oil fields have been found near the SINOPEC fields that sold recently. This may further hurt SINOPEC’s deal. SINOPEC is the largest oil refiner in Asia.
Source: Sina, October 9, 2017
Immediately after U.S. President Donald Trump announced he would refuse to certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement, the Global Times published a commentary. The commentary stated that Trump is determined to go down the path of unilateralism and once again triggered a global disagreement with the EU, Britain, France, Germany, and Russia. The Agreement is the fruit of negotiations between six countries (the U.S., China, Britain, France, Russia, and Germany) and Iran. The final agreement was a UN registered international multilateral agreement. However, since day-one, the United States has treated it like a deal in which the U.S. can do anything it wants. If a single country can easily overturn an agreement, it will set a poor example for the North Korean issue, which may never arrive at a trust-worthy deal. The commentator questioned the benefit of driving Iran to restore its nuclear program. Isn’t the nuclear threat from North Korea bad enough?
Source: Global Times, October 14, 2017
According to an article that Guangming Daily published, 30 million people in China who are between the ages of 20 and 60 suffer from depression. Depression is ranked at the top in the occurrence rate of mental illness. In addition, over 80 percent of mental health patients do not receive proper treatment due to a lack of medication, an insufficient treatment plan, and the frequent switching of medications. These people suffer from slow reactions, memory loss, delusions, suicidal tendencies, anxiety, and insomnia. Currently, mental health treatment facilities are lacking in rural areas. Experts are calling for more community based facilities to be built to help these patients.
Source: Guangming Daily, October 13, 2017
Duowei News reported that, prior to the 19th National Congress, Beijing required that the streets, especially in Tiananmen Square must be cleaned and the dust level must be kept at less than 5 kilograms anywhere a person sits. It has also increased its security measures, which include that no self-service is allowed in gas stations; highly dangerous chemicals must be reported; using a drone for commercial advertising and using firecrackers are banned; nearby factories, especially chemical plants, were ordered to shut down to ensure that blue skies could be seen during the conference.
Source: Duowei News, October 14, 2017
Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported that, as part of China’s increased security measures, Chinese authorities have installed facial recognition video cameras on street corners or in stores to monitor public activities. Manufactured in Shanghai and Hangzhou, the cameras are equipped with a resolution capability of tens to millions of pixels and can isolate individual faces and automatically enable their surveillance capabilities. The cameras were installed in major cities in China prior to the 19th National Congress. In Chongqing city alone, during the trial period of less than one month after the cameras were installed, over 40 suspects were arrested. The article also reported that, based on an internal document that RFA obtained, the Chinese authorities have been collecting people’s online comments, income, and the frequency of their vacations in order to analyze their professional and financial situation so they could determine whether the individual belongs to a “target interest group.” A petitioner told RFA that, in order to ensure there would be no disruptions during the 19th National Congress, Beijing has tightened up security measures including more frequent inspections of people’s personal identification cards. The eating establishments for the businesses along Chang An street were ordered to shut down starting October 10.
Source: Radio Free Asia, October 13, 2017