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According to Bowen Press, the Chinese military will implement a new ranking system on August 1, 2017. The main changes include the abolition of senior colonel, grading the Generals, and the addition of the level of Brigadier General. In the reform of the military structure, the division and the regiment will be abolished. The division will be replaced by the brigade; under brigade will be the battalion. The ranking reform is to be in line with international standards and to broaden the avenue for the promotion of military officers.
After the reform, the new military ranking system will include three ranks and 12 levels, i.e., Lieutenants (Second Lieutenant, First Lieutenant, Captain); Colonel Officers (Major, Lieutenant Colonel, Colonel); Generals (Brigadier General, Major General, Lieutenant General, General. General is also divided into General, General tier II and General tier I).
Source: Bowen Press, November 23, 2016
The Chinese media Bowen Press reported that, in addition to its disarmament reform program of 300,000 layoffs, the Chinese army will further reduce the scale of its ground forces, substantially cutting one army group in each of the five combat regions. The current 300,000 army layoffs mainly involve non-combat troops, including administrative organs, logistics, schools, hospitals and other functions. However, structurally, the ground forces among the five military entities are still too large as there are 18 army groups of 800,000 members, which accounts for one third of the total of all PLA troops.
Source: Bowen Press, November 24, 2016
Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that, last month, the China Electric Power Construction Group and the Malaysian government jointly held a groundbreaking ceremony to kick off the Melaka Gateway construction project. Melaka Gateway is expected to be a deep water port located on the west coast of the Malay Peninsula south of Kuala Lumpur. The plan is to make this new port city, composed of three islands, the “Number One Port at the Strait of Malacca.” The Strait is one of the most critical military and commercial pathways in the world. However, Singapore media have been criticizing the new port plan ever since the idea was announced. As the key holder of the Strait of Malacca, Singapore questioned the usefulness of having another nearby port city. Given the increasingly more military activities China held jointly with Malaysia, as well as China’s 99-year operational lease of the new port Melaka Gateway, Singapore expressed its doubts about China’s real purpose in helping to build the port. Recently, Singapore has been siding with the United States on containing China’s expansion in the region.
Source: Sina, November 21, 2016
Xinhua recently published a commentary analyzing the drivers behind the U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s decisive cancellation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, which excludes China and was a major agenda item for President Obama. The commentator expressed the belief that, overall, Trump is not a big fan of free trade, especially for “unfair” trade deals that will cost American jobs. He has called TPP a “potential disaster.” Another reason identified in the commentary was Trump’s campaign promises, since he would like to appear to keep the promises made to his voters in the “Rust Belt” states, who were the forces that defined this past election. However, the whole world is now taking a wait-and-see attitude on Trump’s proposed alternative – bilateral trade agreements. Many analysts have expressed a concern over the potential loss of U.S. leadership in the Pacific region as an outcome of the new policy, which brings a lot of uncertainty.
Source: Xinhua, November 22, 2016
Well-known Taiwanese technology news site IT Home recently reported that Facebook is quietly developing content filtering technology to comply with China’s censorship requirements. According to anonymous sources inside Facebook, this initiative has strong support and supervision from CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The new technology was constructed in exchange for being given permission to enter the Chinese market. However early signs show that the mechanism was designed in such a way that it will be operated by a third-party partner rather than by Facebook itself. China’s Facebook is currently blocked by China’s “Great Firewall.” The spokesperson for the company commented that Facebook has always been interested in the Chinese market, which has a population of 1.4 billion. Many observers in the industry expressed their concern over how many of its principles Facebook is willing to give up.
Source: IT Home, November 23, 2016