Skip to content

All posts by LCG - 3. page

Shanghai’s Infectious Disease Expert Calls on Authorities to Stop “Zero-COVID” Policy

On April 27, Epoch Times reported that Miao Xiaohui, a leading infectious disease expert in Shanghai, issued a post on April 23 calling on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities to stop its “zero-COVID ” policy, so as to reduce the secondary disasters that the approach has caused.

Miao was the vice president of Changzheng Hospital, which is affiliated with the Second Military Medical University of China. Concurrently he was the director of the Department of Infectious Diseases at the University. He made it clear that the “zero-COVID ” approach was ineffective and lacked any scientific basis. He said that a number of neighborhoods in Shanghai had been locked down and controlled for nearly one month, that that period exceeds the three longest incubation periods for the Omicron virus and is “completely inconsistent with the basic laws of infectious disease epidemics.”

The “zero-COVID ” approach has triggered a large number of secondary disasters. One example is that many people’s deaths should not have occurred. “Let’s stop it!” He appealed.

As early as April 8, Miao even publicly pointed out that, under the strict lockdown, the “zero-COVID ” policy will lead to a run-on medical resources. He called for concern about the additional deaths and for settling the situation as soon as possible. He believed that, during the Shanghai lock-down period, because of the run-on medical resources, a number of chronic non-infectious diseases, infectious diseases, and acute diseases, plus a 66 percent increase in the suicide rate due to psychological stress, will result in a severe number of additional deaths that should not be ignored.

(Since the lockdown of Shanghai, many hospitals have been closed. This has led citizens to lose access to basic medical services and, as a result, many have lost their lives due to the lack of timely treatment. Some people spontaneously counted the list of dead persons in Shanghai who “died not from the COVID-19, but because of it.” By April 27, the number of deaths reached 176. For example, Yu Hongsan, a senior notary at the Shanghai Oriental Justice Office, suffered an asthma attack and passed away on March 19 because an ambulance could not get to him in time. By April 28, The total death toll from COVID-19 in Shanghai was 337 .)

The need for and the cost of the “zero-COVID ” approach and the lockdown of the city should be considered carefully, Miao stated. In order to reduce the crowding for the use medical resources, he suggested that asymptomatic infected people may be isolated at home; re-checked as to whether the universal nucleic acid testing is absolutely necessary; and hospitals should not be closed completely. It should be noted especially that nucleic acid testing can increase the problem of cross-infection.

On April 24, Ding Xian, former Party Secretary of the Jing’an Branch of the Shanghai Huashan Hospital, also pointed out the shortcomings of the “zero-COVID” strategy:  “Repeated nucleic acid testing, overwhelming burdening of staff, and a most serious cross-infection pattern, where science has been thrown in the trash.”

Yin Youkuan, the former deputy director of the Department of Infectious Diseases at Huashan Hospital of Shanghai indicated in an April 22 post that the number of positive cases will increase by 3 to 4 percent for every full staff nucleic acid test done. He took a community in Shanghai as an example where originally there were no positive cases. However, after a few days of nucleic acid testing, 83 positive cases emerged. He pointed out,”That’s what the staff brought in.”

At present, Shanghai has implemented a so-called “Hard Quarantine” in a closed and controlled area. This means that the doors in the whole building are locked from the outside and residents can only move around inside their own apartments.

Source: Epoch Times, April 27, 2022.                                                                                                                                

Chinese Foreign Ministry Reiterates: Three “No Limit”s for China-Russia Cooperation

On March 30, Radio France Internationale (RFI) reported that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in China to participate in the third meeting of the foreign ministers of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries. The meeting was to be held in Tunxi, an ancient town in East China’s Anhui Province. At a press briefing held on the same day, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said, when answering a Reuters reporter’s questions: There is “no limit to China-Russia cooperation, no limit to our pursuit of peace and maintaining security, and no limit to our opposition to hegemony.” China-Russia relations are non-aligned, are not confrontational and do not-target any third country.

The foreign ministers of Pakistan, Iran, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan or their representatives will attend the meeting from Wednesday to Thursday. Qatar and Indonesia will attend as guests. Lavrov will participate in two multinational conferences on Afghanistan along with representatives from Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. This is his first visit to China since Moscow began its invasion of Ukraine last month.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the Russian Foreign Minister will also attend a separate Troika meeting with the Chinese and U.S. envoys on Afghanistan. Wang Wenbin said of the Troika meeting, “China, the United States, Russia and Pakistan are all countries with significant influence on the Afghan issue,” 

Unlike many Western countries, China has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion into Ukraine and has lagged behind many others in providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine. Also, China does not recognize the Taliban government in Afghanistan, but has ignored harsh criticism from the United States and other countries. It has kept its embassy in Kabul open and has not commented on Taliban moves to restrict girls’ education and other human rights violations.

Successive Afghan governments have always regarded the country’s mineral resources – estimated at $1 trillion – as a key to a prosperous future, but none have been able to exploit them amid ongoing conflict and violence. Now, several countries including Iran, Russia and Turkey, are seeking to invest in order to fill the vacuum left by the U.S. withdrawal last year.

Alexander Cooley, a humanitarian Columbia University political scientist and expert on Central Asia stated that, at the week’s conference, China will seek to position itself as the leader in humanitarian aid and economic development programs in Afghanistan. It will  also call publicly on the United States to unfreeze the Afghan government’s assets and accounts. Cooley told the Associated Press that, “China is quietly asserting itself as the leading outside force in the region.”  “In doing so, it will position itself as a critic of the U.S. regional policy and as the alternative leader to the humanitarian coalition of Afganistan’s neighbors.”

Source: RFI March 30, 2022

Zheng Yongnian: Revelation for China from Russia-Ukraine Conflict – Open up More

In an exclusive interview with the Global Times on March 18, 2022, Zheng Yongnian, a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen) and the Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Global and Contemporary China, said that the revelation for China from the Russia-Ukraine conflict is that China should open up more. The economic ties with the West will make it difficult for the parties involved in the sanction to sustain it. Here are some main points from Professor Zheng’s statement: 

The Russia-Ukraine conflict may have an important effect on the international order

Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. has become more and more contemptuous of Russia, considering it a “troublemaker,” It considers China to be a major competitor or even an enemy. Therefore, over the past years, the U.S. has been building an “Asian mini-NATO” against China. The U.S. strategic focus is increasingly shifting from Europe and the Middle East to the Asia-Pacific region. 

In general, the post-World War II international order is in the process of rapid disintegration. Many countries are seeking their own geopolitical sphere of influence. They are hoping to establish an international order that is beneficial to themselves.

What the United States is doing in Asia now is no different from what NATO did back when it was formed. The actual “Asian version of a NATO” prototype already exists. The reason why the conflict between the “Asian version of NATO” that the United States is trying to form and China has not escalated sharply is entirely because China does not want to follow the example of the former Soviet Union to form its own group. After the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the trend of Asia becoming the center of the world economy will become more obvious and U.S. involvement in Asia will further expand. 

Three Important Revelations for China from the Russia-Ukraine Conflict

The revelations for China from the Russia-Ukraine conflict have been huge. The biggest difference between China and Russia is that Russia is only a military power without  being a strong economic power, while China has both sufficient military power for self-preservation and it also has strong economic power. In addition, it has close economic ties with the West. Therefore, in the eyes of the American elite, China poses a far greater challenge to the United States than Russia does to the United States. (The following are the three revelations:) 

  1. China should open up more and Chinese companies must overcome all difficulties and continue to work hard to go global. Economic interdependence cannot absolutely prevent the outbreak of war, but it can moderate the intensity of the war. If the economic sanctions that the United States and Europe imposed on Russia are “to kill a thousand enemies, while only having a loss of five hundred oneself,” then supposedly to sanction China, which has an open and strong economy, that will become “to kill a thousand enemies, meanwhile having a loss of a thousand” oneself. So, it is difficult to sustain such sanctions. A mutually bound economy between China and the West has already caused the West real pain. 
  2. China cannot accept that the West completely binds China and Russia together, nor can it allow the United States to “kidnap” Europe. China and Europe have huge common interests but without geopolitical disputes. The ideological differences are entirely possible to bridge. Although the current security concerns of Europe override its economic considerations to a certain extent after the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, Europe is still an object for China to pursue.
  3.  How should China handle the relationship between “opening up” and “security”? Security is always a relative concept, and non-opening provides the biggest insecurity. What we should do is to explore our own security mechanism in an open state, rather than stop opening up to the outside world for the sake of so-called absolute security. 

Source: Global Times, March 18, 2022 

China Encounters Obstacles in Global Race for Cobalt 

At the beginning of March, a Congolese court ordered Chinese Molybdenum Co. (Luoyang Luanchuan Molybdenum) to cede control temporarily (for approximately six months) of the cobalt mine –Tenke Fungurume. The state-owned miner Gécamines SA of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) accused Chinese Molybdenum of trying to evade paying millions of dollars in royalties by under-reporting reserves. China Molybdenum acquired the mine from Freeport McMoRan Inc. in 2016 for $2.65 billion. The investigation has been extended to several other Chinese companies there. That extension threatens to affect China’s global competition in cobalt. 

The DRC’s cobalt belt is the world’s richest source of cobalt. It has become critical to the global transition to cleaner energy. Cobalt can boost charge rates and has a stabilizing effect, extending battery life and preventing cathode corrosion that can lead to battery fires. Just one electric vehicle can require between 10 and 30 pounds of cobalt to build its battery, depending on the manufacturer.  

China has been using electric vehicles as a breakthrough point to catch up with the Western auto industry. It has not only included them in the ten key areas of “Made in China 2025” but has also laid out a big plan to monopolize cobalt by investing heavily in Africa. China’s interest includes areas from   cobalt mining to the generation of lithium batteries. It also includes cobalt refining, manufacturing battery cells, integrating battery modules and assembling batteries. China is trying to control the entire ecosystem. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that, for more than a decade, Chinese companies have spent billions of dollars buying out U.S. and European mines in the DRC’s cobalt belt. 

According to the estimates by Darton Commodities, Chinese refineries supplied 85 percent of the world’s battery cobalt in 2020. Most of this cobalt came from the DRC. Last year the DRC accounted for 70 percent of the world’s total cobalt production. Chinese companies dominate nearly 70 percent of the country’s mining industry. 

The DRC is one of the world’s poorest countries. More than 60 percent of its 90 million people live on less than $1.90 a day. According to the World Bank, the DRC’s annual budget is about $7 billion. In the middle of last year, during a visit to mining areas, DRC President Félix Tshisekedi vowed that his government would continue to review mining contracts to ensure that the Congolese people benefit from their vast extractive industry and finally break the so-called resources curse by paying higher wages and royalties. 

Euractiv even reported that the Congolese workers of Sicomines who are employed by a company a Chinese consortium owns claim that they do the same work as Chinese workers do but are paid much less than Chinese and their Chinese supervisors subject them to degrading treatment. 

Source: Epoch Times, March 12, 2022

China’s Small and Medium-sized Private Enterprises Shrink Rapidly: Forcibly Demolished or Had to Establish a CCP Branch

At the end of 2021, the South China Morning Post reported that small businesses, the perennial backbone of China’s economy, are shrinking at a rapid pace. During the first 11 months, 4.37 million small businesses were written off, while only 1.32 million were registered. This is the first time in many years that the number of small business cancellations in China has exceeded the number of registrations.

On March 1, the National Bureau of Statistics of China released the PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index) operation of February 2022.  In terms of enterprise size, the PMI for large and medium-sized enterprises was 51.8 percent and 51.4 percent respectively, up 0.2 percent and 0.9 percent compared to that of the previous month. However, the small enterprises PMI was 45.1 percent, down 0.9 percent  from last month. This was lower than the critical point. (a PMI below 50 indicates that the economy is in contraction.)

Mr. Li (a pseudonym), a small private enterprise boss from Taizhou, Zhejiang Province, has been uprooted from his hometown and displaced overseas for more than 2 years. He had 10 stores in Xiaoxie old industrial park at Lu’nan Street, Taizhou. In 2018, the Taizhou government demolished four to five hundred enterprises in the industrial park under the name of old city renovation and took away the related land.  The vast majority of those small enterprise owners were not given resettlement funds.

Mr. Li said, “The local government offered a very low price for compensation. That’s ridiculously low, just like a robbery! If you did not agree, the government could use tax, public security, fire, or environmental protection . . . from six or seven departments to deal with you.” Now the industrial parks have moved to remote places, like the new Binhai Industrial Park. He’s not able to afford even one store. “There is no way for the business to go on. Now some people still go to Beijing in order to petition, but the suppression is very serious,” Mr. Li started In1992. They were led to the Xiaoxie industrial park as private enterprises. It’s because the land has appreciated in value, an incrrease of probably dozens or up to a hundred times. The government wants to take the land back forcibly for commercial development and make a big profit. A similar event happened in the Shuanggang Industrial Park in Quzhou, Zhejiang Province. Those companies were auctioned off at low prices, and the owners ended up not having enough money to cover their debts. Some of them even committed suicide with hatred (in their hearts).

Mr. Li revealed, “When they get bigger, the enterprises are forced to establish CCP (Chinese Communist Party) branches ” (the CCP controls everything in China.). There are three purposes: one is to organize some CCP’s activities in two in three days. Its aim is for brainwashing; the second is for donating money easily when necessary; and the third is that the enterprise’s patents will belong equally to the state.

For example, one of  Mr. Li’s friends runs a large enterprise. A few years earlier the local CCP committee let him establish a party branch. He had been shirking it. Later, the CCP’s street office, the mayor and secretary of the town and the party union organizations came to him together. Mr. Li’s friend said that although he had a hundred employees, there were no CCP members in his factory. It’s not enough to set up a branch. (To set up a party branch needs three party members at least). Unexpectedly, they said — it’s okay. We will assign CCP members to you.

Mr. Li also mentioned that another friend’s enterprise produces high-end products directly required by the CCP for military use. It wants the technology. Some private enterprises also have a lot of things that the CCP does not have. So, the friend’s enterprise was acquired by the CCP with generous conditions and enough money. However, his freedom is gone, — two CCP persons were assigned to him plus two armed police officers to be his servants — driving his car and even opening the door for him.

Source: Epoch Times, March 9, 2022

China Has World’s Largest Robotics Market but it Has No Core Technology

China is the world’s largest production base and consumer market in the field of industrial robots, but it has almost no pricing rights. The reason is that its key technologies are in the hands of other countries.  

At the end of 2021, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China said that China has been the world’s largest consumer of industrial robots for the last eight consecutive years. The density of robots in manufacturing reached 246 per 10,000 people in 2020. That is nearly twice the global average.  

To carry out each motion a robot makes, it needs a core controller, a servo driver and a servo motor to work together. The core controller is the “brain” of the industrial robot, which directly affects the stability and accuracy of the machine.

The Chinese financial media, Chinese Business Strategies, said in a commentary article in February of this year that the biggest reason that China-made robots are inferior to those of other countries is the “algorithm gap” in the core controller system, which is not only reflected in the core controller, but also slows down the response speed of the servo system. 

Last June, a Chinese Academic Group, The Automation Committee, published an op-ed article, “A Panoramic Analysis of the Industrial Robot Industry Chain.” The article said that the high-end market is also mainly monopolized by international companies. Imported products account for more than 70 percent of China’s industrial robot servo market. A total of 85 percent of the precision reducers necessary for manufacturing industrial robots in China are also manufactured by foreign investors. These are mainly from Japan, Europe and the United States. Therefore, China has almost no pricing power in the field of industrial robots. 

China-made industrial robots are reluctantly used to produce those products with low precision requirements. High-end fields such as aerospace and the military industry have to rely on imported robots. The failure rate of Chinese-made robots is possibly several times higher than the failure rate of imported machines. Chinese companies would rather buy second-hand products from other countries at a high price than buy low-priced Chinese products.  

Source: Epoch Times, Feb. 27, 2022