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Global Times: Huawei Bought Fake Review Posts on Best Buy

Global Times recently reported that top Chinese smart phone manufacturer Huawei admitted to the U.S. media Android Authority that an earlier report on Huawei buying fake user reviews was true. The incident started with the U.S., when some media sites found a large number of buyers’ reviews on the Best Buy website praising the latest Huawei smart phone model, which, at the time, had not even been released. It turned out that Huawei went through a promotion campaign using a Facebook group offering “trial opportunities” under the condition that participants post five-star reviews on the Best Buy site. Huawei explained this was a “misunderstanding” that the promotion intent was to ask fans to post positive comments on Facebook. However, the Huawei social media manager “incorrectly” asked for reviews on Best Buy’s site. A total of 108 5-star Best Buy reviews were posted even before the product release time and only a few people had actually tested the phone. Since then, Best Buy has deleted 105 reviews.

Source: Global Times, February 14, 2018

CNA: Florida University Discontinued Contract with Confucius Institute

Primary Taiwanese news agency CNA (The Central News Agency) recently reported that the University of West Florida just released a statement that it would discontinue its contract with China’s Confucius Institute in May when the contract expires. The spokesperson for the university said the school made the decision last fall. The decision was based on a formal review that the university had done. The review process did not receive sufficient positive feedback from the student body. The university has informed its Chinese partners of the decision. Dr. Joseph Nye, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, former Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, and former Dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, who initially introduced the concept of “Soft Power,” recently expressed his belief that the Confucius Institute interfered with academic freedom. Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out in a conference not long ago in January that the Confucius Institute should, “serve the purpose of strengthening national power with the socialist culture and serve the mission of establishing a powerful diplomacy with Chinese characteristics.”

Source: CNA, February 7, 2018

China Is Set to Start Trading Crude Oil Futures in Shanghai

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that the China Securities Regulatory Commission just announced the schedule for China’s crude oil futures trading. The Shanghai Futures Exchange will open the trading on March 26. The Exchange will allow locking in crude oil futures in local currency – the Chinese currency RMB. In 2017, China became the world’s largest oil importer. The Chinese authorities have been working on setting up the oil futures exchange since 2012. Currently world oil futures are traded under two base standards, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) at the New York Mercantile Exchange and Brent at London’s Intercontinental Exchange Europe (ICE). Today, most of the global oil trading is settled in U.S. Dollars. The RMB settlement currency of the Shanghai Crude (coded INE) may eventually introduce the acceptance of RMB as the global settlement currency for oil, which could ultimately lead to more pricing power over oil.

Source: Sina, February 9, 2018

Chinese Companies Dominate Top 2018 German Awards for Plagiarism

Radio Free Asia reported on Aktion Plagiarius, a German organization, that publishes the Plagiarius Award list each year to recognize those companies that produce counterfeit products that are “deceptively similar to the original product and that show absolutely no creative or constructive personal contribution.” It just published its 42nd Plagiarius Award list in which Chinese companies dominated the top three spots. A company from Zhejiang Province won the top prize for plagiarizing a kitchen cutting device “Nicer Dicer Plus,” that a German company had actually made. The other two companies also plagiarized products that a German company made. The second prize winner plagiarized an inflatable water Park “Wibit Sports Park XL” and the third prize winner plagiarized PUKY Racer.

Source: Radio Free Asia, February 12, 2018

200,000 Security Officers Patrol the Streets in Beijing after Man Used Knife to Kill People in Shopping Center

The Epoch Times reported that, at around 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon on February 11, a man used a knife to attack people in the “Joy City” shopping center in Xi Dan district of Beijing. He killed one woman and injured 12 other people. The suspect was arrested on the scene. He was identified as a 35 year old male from Henan Province and allegedly used the knife to attack people to vent his personal anger. Beijing raised the security alert to level 1. Starting at 9:00 p.m. on the same day, 200,000 police were seen patrolling the streets overnight, especially in populated areas such as at public transportation stops, stores open for 24 hours, and businesses open late at night. The next day, over 700,000 people wearing red armbands, a red hat and “Chaoyang resident (indicating a security force consisting of common people)” could be seen patrolling the streets throughout Beijing. People’s online comments following the official media report expressed concerns for public safety and questioned why 200,000 security forces needed to be mobilized to patrol the streets. Other than the official news report on the incident, the rest of the online postings, videos, or news were blocked.

Source: Epoch Times, February 11, 2018

Xinhua: Public Security Bureau Cracks Down on “Internet Water Army”

According to an article that Xinhua published, since May 2017, the Public Security Bureau has been cracking down on the “Internet Water Army” which is a group of Internet ghostwriters who are paid to post online comments with a particular content {to “flood” the Internet}. The article stated that the Public Security Bureau has successfully solved 40 criminal cases with hundreds of millions of yuan in operation, arrested over 200 people, confiscated 5,000 online accounts and over ten thousand online websites and hundreds of thousands of online postings. The article reported that the “Internet water army” operates like an “Internet mafia.” It uses stolen personal information to send spam text or emails, gambling messages, to spread rumors in social media or to make up fake news using contents that slander others illegally or to manage online postings to make money.

{Editor’s note: The vigor of the crackdown suggests that there may be a large practice of disseminating information on the Internet that the government wants to control. The government calls all of it “faking or manipulating public opinion on the Internet.” The government is cleaning up the privately-run practices, but the CCP itself still manages the largest group, which is infamously known as the “Fifty Cent Party.” The name originated in the early days when the government paid each participant fifty cents for each posting of an article or comment that followed scripts that the CCP officially provided.}

Source: Xinhua, February 4, 2018

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