Global Times recently published a commentary right after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Taiwan Travel Act. The Act encourages exchange visits between the United States and Taiwan on “all levels.” If this Act were to be signed into law, it would signal a fundamental change in U.S. Taiwan policies. It would allow high ranking Taiwanese government officials, such as the President, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Minister of Defense to visit the United States. The current law in effect, the Taiwan Relations Act, has governed the flexible relationship between the States and Taiwan for decades. It does ban the high-level exchange visits of government officials. Although the Senate has not yet passed the Taiwan Travel Act, the fact that it was even discussed in the House used to be flat out unimaginable. A lot of “power players” in the U.S. wish they could reactivate the Taiwan issue to gamble with China. However, the time for the U.S. to dominate Taiwan Strait affairs has long ended. The new law could lead to a broken balance that would force China to take actions big enough to cause the same level of damage to the U.S. In fact, a potential military move could destroy Taiwan.
Source: Global Times, January 10, 2018
Major Taiwanese news network Liberty Times Network (LTN) recently reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin visited a train cabin manufacturer on January 10. Putin revealed during the visit that he had ordered the Russian Ministry of Transportation to ban the import of China-made train cabins. He also asked the Russian government to budget for purchasing Russian made cabins in order to protect domestic manufacturing and to facilitate the process of exporting Russian train cabins. The Russian federal authorities sponsored a study on train accidents that occurred in the past several years and found a critical part made in China caused most of the accidents. Since last May, the federal government banned the import of some Chinese parts that easily broke due to violation of required manufacturing procedures. In the latest move, Russia has banned the import of all train cabins made in China.
Source: LTN, January 11, 2018
Xinhua recently published a report focusing on China’s observation of how the North Korean media reported the globally watched Inter-Korean Talks on the Winter Olympics. Starting January 3, almost the entire world media, especially in South Korea, began covering the Inter-Korean Talks. Although the talks started on January 9, there was no mention of the event across the North Korean media, even after hours into the talks. Typically, major North Korean media such as the central television has 5:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m., and 10:00 p.m. time slots for critical news. For major events such as nuclear tests, there would be a 3:00 p.m. breaking news report. However, there was no report or any direct mention of the talks. Instead, since the beginning of the new year, the North Korean media circulated blanket-coverage of Kim Jong-un’s New Year’s Greetings Speech. Xinhua published the photos of the January 9 front pages of all major North Korean newspapers and none showed any report of the Inter-Korean Talks.
Source: Xinhua, January 9, 2018
According to an article that Xinhua published, in 2002, only 11 Chinese companies made the Fortune Global 500 list, but, in 2017, 115 Chinese companies made the list compared to 132 U.S. companies. Most of the Chinese companies are from the bank, insurance, telecommunication, and electric grid industries while 60 percent of the companies were SOEs (state owned enterprises) and accounted for over 80 percent of the net capital and total income. However the article called these SOEs “big but not strong.” They lacked the ability to be competitive, especially in value creation ability. The article stated that the Chinese companies lagged behind in Internet, information technology, pharmaceutical, automotive, military, semiconductor, and chip industries when compared to the Western companies. Among those 109 Chinese companies on the Global Fortune 500 list, the Return of Asset rate was only 1.65 percent compared to 4.79 percent for the U.S. companies. Chinese SOEs are behind in the high end core technology and the spare parts industry and there are no companies that are even comparable with the Western companies in the pharmaceutical and semi-conductor industries. The article reported that the Chinese SOEs need to make breakthroughs in renovation and resource dependency and to rely less on core product imports while improving on brand position and quality.
Source: Xinhua, January 15, 2018
Aboluowang published a commentary article in which it reported that any speculation that Xi Jinping might push for a term change during the upcoming central committee plenary session might have come from Jiang’s faction for the purpose of creating negative media trouble for Xi.
According to the article, the second plenary session of the 19th Party Central Committee will be held from Jan. 18 to 19 in Beijing. The major agenda of the meeting will be to make small changes in the constitution. A number of different media outlets, including Deutsche Welle, Bloomberg News, and Mingbao speculated that Xi Jinping might want to incorporate a change in the term limit for the Presidency into the constitution because he has apprehended large number of corrupt officials and, during his term, has touched the core interest of Jiang’s faction. Once his term ends, he and his family could face danger. However, based on Xinhua’s report that there will be a small change made to the constitution during the plenary session, it is unlikely that a change in the term limit will be made this time. It is likely that some additional “Xi Jinping Thought,” which was added into party constitution last year, could be included in the constitution this time. The Aboluowang commentary suggested that the Chinese Communist Party always plays black box politics and there has been no defined rule regarding its succession plan. There can be many different forms if one wishes to stay in power, just as how Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin continued to exercise their influence after they stepped down from their post. Currently Xi’s control over power is not yet complete. It is unlikely for him to push for a term change and invite more trouble for himself. Therefore the faction that Jiang leads could have made up much of the speculation out there in order to create negative media trouble for Xi.
Source: Aboluowang, January 14, 2018
In a recent news report, Duowei stated that the Marriott Hotel chain violated the Internet security and advertising law in China when it listed Taiwan, Macau, Taiwan, and Tibet as countries. The Shanghai Huangpu District Internet Information Office has, currently, placed the Marriott under investigation. According to the report, on January 9, the Marriott issued an apology on its official Weibo account saying it was a system error. On January 10, the Shanghai Huangpu District Internet Information Office issued a notice stating that they have met with the representatives of the Shanghai Marriott twice and requested it to take down the incorrect information from its website and cell phone apps immediately to “eliminate the negative influence.” According to Duowei news, in addition to the Marriott, the official websites of other luxury brands, including Audi, Cartier, Hermes, Burberry, and Armani also listed Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan as countries.
Source: Duowei News, January 10, 2018