In January 2017, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued a document about monitoring the grey area of using a virtual private network (VPN) to break China’s “firewall.” On March 27, China’s Chongqing Municipality re-issued a revised version of the “Guidance for Administrative Punishment for Chongqing Public Security’s Internet Supervision.” The revised document stipulates that anyone falling within the jurisdiction of Chongqing who uses tools to break the information firewall of the Chinese authorities to visit websites outside the wall may be fined.” Those whose acts are deemed to have constituted a crime shall be held for having criminal responsibility.”
For mainland Internet users, the VPN is no stranger. It is seen as an effective tool to break the firewall in China, making the visit to the outside world over the wall simple and inexpensive.
Source: Duowei, March 28, 2017
China’s state media Global Times published a commentary about a report from the Asian Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI). The commentary stated that AMTI is trying to reignite the international media’s attention in its focus on the “militarization of the South China Sea,” saying that AMTI reported that “China’s military project on the Nansha (Spratly) Island reef has been completed, ready to deploy fighters and missiles and other equipment at any time.” The article labeled AMTI as the think tank that has always been stirring up problems about the South China Sea issue.
The article said, “At present, the situation in the South China Sea is calm and tranquil. This makes some Americans rather anxious, frequently trying to stir up disputes in the South China Sea. The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a regular press conference on (March) 28 whether China does or doesn’t deploy necessary national defense equipment in its own territory is a matter within the scope of China’s sovereignty; it is also a sovereign state’s right of self-defense and self-protection bestowed by international law.”
In commenting on the U.S. military’s response to the report, the article said that the U.S. military changed its past pattern of fanning the flames following such a report but obviously still agreed with the conclusion. It quoted Pentagon spokesman Ross’s statement that “more and more evidence shows that China continues to militarize the construction in the South China Sea,” and “China continues to take one-sided actions, resulting in increased tensions in the region.”
Source: Global Times, March 29, 2017
On March 25, Oriental Daily reported, “Beijing has started a new cleanup campaign aimed at the financial oligarchs who have super powers in order to prevent a political economic coup and safeguard the upcoming 19th Communist Party’s National Congress (later this year).”
On March 27, Beijing Business Today, a daily newspaper affiliated with the Beijing Daily Newspaper Group, reported on its front page that housing authorities in China’s capital tightened regulations on commercial real estate projects.
Late Sunday, the city’s housing, urban planning, industry and commerce, and banking authorities released an official statement that new commercial real estate projects — including those converted from office buildings to individual units — may be sold only to qualified enterprises, public institutions, and social organizations. In addition, the smallest unit for sale should not be less than 500 square meters.
Moreover, personal loans for the purchase of commercial real estate have also been suspended. The statement also said that second-hand commercial housing can only be sold to individuals who have paid their income taxes or social insurance for five consecutive years and have no houses under their names in Beijing.
Prior to this new round of strict tightening, commercial real estate converted for residential use has been a viable alternative given Beijing’s prohibitively high housing prices, despite the fact that the children of the residents are not qualified to attend school near where they live. In the past few years, 50 to 60 percent of commercially developed real estate has been sold to individuals for (residential) living.
Housing market analysts expect the new regulations will slow down the commercial real estate market significantly and reduce the number of units changing hands by over 30 percent.
According to 21st Century Business Herald, a Guangzhou-based national newspaper, the tightened restriction has the purpose of slowing down population growth in Beijing, as well as preventing a negative impact that the rising cost of office space will have on business activities.
Beijing Business Today, March 27, 2017
21st Century Business Herald, March 28, 2017
BBC Chinese recently reported that Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen officially announced that, due to the increased threats from the Mainland and the effort the Mainland put in place to prevent Taiwan from purchasing foreign submarines, Taiwan decided to construct its own submarines. The submarine project has been assigned to a joint team from both the Chungshan Institute of Science and the CSBC Corporation Taiwan (CSBC is China Ship Building Corporation). Earlier, Taiwan had sent mission groups to Europe to acquire submarine design blueprints and patents. However, many potential partners declined their request. Taiwan currently has four outdated submarines. They bought two of them from the United States in 1973; these had a 1940’s design. They bought another two submarines from Holland in the 80’s. Several Taiwanese shipbuilders claimed they were fully capable of building submarines. President Tsai’s plan is to launch the new submarines in eight years.
Source: BBC Chinese, March 21, 2017
Radio Free Asia (RFA) recently reported that, according to Microsoft, a joint effort between Microsoft and its Chinese partner has been completed. The project was to customize the Windows 10 operating system to comply with the requirements that the Chinese government imposed. Experts expressed their belief that this new accomplishment may improve the weak sales situation of Microsoft products in the Mainland China market, which has heavily regulated and controlled the Internet market landscape. The customized Windows 10 version is designed specifically for government purchases instead of for the consumer market. Many international technology companies had to do the same thing. Qualcomm, Intel, and IBM all took the same approach. However, Microsoft did not reveal what they did for the Chinese government. The customization was required under the Chinese government’s worry about “back doors.” This task was challenging because Microsoft had to satisfy China’s requirements while protecting its core intellectual properties as well as ensuring that the Chinese government would not monitor the company.
Source: RFA, March 22, 2017