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Song by Namewee Offended Communist China but Went Viral Everywhere Else

A song, “It might Break Your Pinky Heart” by Malaysian songwriter Namewee and Australian singer Kimberley Chen reached 16 million views on YouTube in 10 days. The music video uses pink as the theme color. The footage and lyrics contain underlying sarcasm about communist China which is “too fragile” to allow any criticism. The song was taken off the shelves in China immediately after it went live. Both singers’ Weibo accounts were suspended. On Youtube, there were hundreds of thousands of comments. One viewer from mainland China wrote: “Thank you for singing loud for us because We don’t dare to speak out ourselves. Yet this is the reality in China.” Namewee wrote on his Facebook page on October 25 that the song was not that powerful. It was famous because people have awakened.


1. Epoch Times, October 27, 2021
2. Youtube,

Beijing Cracks Down on TV Stations for Producing too Many Entertainment Programs

Beijing continues to crack down on the entertainment industry and the star-chasing culture. The latest target is the top four TV stations in Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Hunan. These stations produce popular entertainment programs and bring in 25 percent of China’s national advertising revenue.

On October 29, Xinhua News reported that the Central Propaganda Department and the General Administration of Radio and Television recently told these four stations that they can’t have too many entertainment and star-chasing programs. Instead, they need to “operate by following the political principles and promote the core values of socialism.”

On the same day, the General Administration of Radio and Television also announced that from October this year until the end of 2022, the National Radio and Television and Internet Audiovisual Program Service will launch an “Our New Era” theme campaign to “display fully the great achievements and historical experiences of the Chinese Communist Party’s century-old struggle and display fully the new era of Xi Jinping’s socialist ideology with Chinese characteristics.”

The recent events are the continuation of Beijing’s three-month crackdown on the entertainment industry. Back on August 27, the Cyberspace Administration and the General Administration of Radio and Television issued a notice to ban star-chasing behavior and celebrities who have scandalous records. In September, the General Administration of Radio and Television issued another notice to ban cyber-celebrity programs. It also required that the celebrities who are invited to join the programs must be politically aligned with the party.

Source: Epoch Times, October 29, 2021

Zhongwang, Asia’s Largest Aluminum Extrusion Manufacturer Is in Serous Operational Trouble

On October 15, Zhongwang, the Hong Kong-listed Chinese aluminum extrusion manufacturer, suddenly announced that its subsidiaries had encountered serious operational issues. Three of the independent non-executive directors resigned. The Zhongwang Group is Asia’s largest manufacturer of industrial aluminum extrusion products and a Chinese Communist-controlled military-civilian fusion company.

The Zhongwang Group was formed in 1993 in Liaoning province. In 2009, the holding company, China Zhongwang Holdings Limited, was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. In 2017, Zhongwang acquired Una Aluminum, a high-end German aluminum extrusion company, and Silver Yachts, an Australian all-aluminum super yacht maker. On August 30, Zhongwang suspended trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange after it failed to release its financial results by the day they were due.

In 2014 through 2017, Forbes and Hurun named Liu Zhongtian, founder of the Zhongwang Group, the richest man in Liaoning province and the richest man in Northeastern China. He was once worth nearly 30 billion yuan (US$4.7 billion). In 2020, Zhongwang’s share price dropped below 10 billion yuan (US$1.57 billion). In 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted Liu for an alleged scheme to avoid payment of $1.8 billion in custom duties.

Source: Epoch Times, October 21, 2021

Civil Service Employee – the Most Competitive Position in China

On October 22, China’s 2022 National Civil Service Examination registration was closed. Preliminary statistics suggest that the number of applicants this year has increased by more than 200,000 compared to last year. Many jobs are highly competitive. For example, a position at the Tibet Post Office Administration attracted applications from 15,000 people.

It is expected that the unemployment number in China will continue to rise this year due to COVID 19, government policies to curb after-school tutoring programs and the over-heated housing market. Even though there are more open positions this year, the number of applicants has also surged.

Registration for the national exam for Civil Service applicants began on October 15. By 4:00 pm on October 16, the central agencies and the subsidiaries had received 778,000 applications, 200,000 more than last year. The job pool includes 312,000 positions from 75 departments and 23 direct agencies.

Source: Central News Agency, October 24, 2021

Court Rules Hungarian Government Must Make China-Hungarian Railway Contract Public

In 2020, Hungary received a US$1.9 billion 20-year-term loan from China for a railway construction project. Hungary’s foreign ministry said that the contract agreement with China must be kept confidential. If it were not, it would be detrimental to the national interest. On October 7, 2021, a Hungarian court ruled that the government must make the contract public by October 22.

In 2014, Hungary, China and Serbia signed the original memorandum of understanding to rebuild and expand the railway line between Budapest, the Hungarian capital, and Belgrade, the Serbian capital. The long-stalled project, which has been on hold since 2017, is planned to rebuild and expand the 150-kilometre (93 miles) line between Budapest and Kelebia (a village in Southern Hungary). Construction in Serbia will begin in 2018. China is to provide 85 percent of the financing in the form of loans and Hungary will provide 15 percent.

In 2020, Hungary received the 20-year loan of $1.9 billion of the from China. In April of the same year, the Hungarian parliament voted to keep all details of the railway project confidential, including a feasibility study of its profitability, stressing that it was necessary in order to obtain the loan from the Bank of China.

Bernadette Szel, a member of Hungary’s independent opposition party, filed a lawsuit to make the Chinese loan agreement public. On October 7, Szel won the second appeal. The court ruled that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had not attached any credible evidence that the issuance of the contract would harm Hungary’s national interests. and that the documents must be published within 15 days.

According to Reuters, the railway project, part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, will be China’s first major infrastructure project in the European Union. The aim is to help transport Chinese goods from Greece to Western Europe. It is viewed as Beijing’s efforts to open new foreign trade links within the EU. The Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, has been a strong supporter of the project.

Source: Radio Free Asia, October 20, 2021

Financial Experts: Increase in Cost of Electricity Would Be Devastating to High Energy Consumption Industries

To deal with a power shortage, the National Development and Reform Commission announced on Tuesday that it will, in an orderly manner, lift the electricity price restrictions and will not cap the price increase for high energy consumption companies. Financial experts believe that if China continues to ban coal imports, the coal shortage will remain an issue. It will also have a devastating impact on the high energy-consuming industries such as steel and chip manufacturing.

As price restrictions are lifted, the government is hoping that it will give coal manufacturers and power companies more incentives to find coal. Beijing has imposed a restriction on coal imports from Australia. China imported 780,000 tons of coal from Australia in the first half of the year, down 98.6 percent compared to the same period last year. Meanwhile the price of coal has risen by more than 100 percent.

The electricity price increase will not only impact high energy consumption industries but also residential consumers. In China, industrial electricity consumption is close to 70 percent while residential electricity consumption is about 14 percent. Even though the head of the Commission gave his assurance that the increase in the price of electricity will not impact residential consumers, Huaxi Securities previously predicted that the rise in electricity prices will directly and indirectly affect the consumer price index.

Since late September, a number of cities in three northeastern provinces suddenly had power outages for as short as 5 hours or as long as more than 10 hours. Power outages have caused an inconvenience to people’s lives as many people complained that they couldn’t charge their phones and couldn’t make online payments or contact their relatives and friends. Some areas even had a water outage as well and the schools were forced to close. Later on, the power crisis was extended to 20 provinces throughout the country.

Source: Radio Free Asia, October 12, 2021

“Workers’ Lives Matter” Gains Popularity in China

An online survey “Worker’s Lives Matter!” is gaining popularity in China. It is a collection of the working hours for employees who work for high tech and other well-known companies. The survey is sparking a debate about the so-called “overtime culture” in China.

“Worker’s Lives Matter!” – Workers also need to live was launched by four recent college graduates. They posted a form on GitHub for tech company employees to fill out listing their company’s name, their position, and their daily working hours.

By last Thursday, more than 4,000 people had signed up to share their data. The companies they work for include high-tech Internet companies such as Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent and Tik Tok.
The collected information shows that most businesses require a five-day work week, but employees actually work between 10 and 12 hours a day.

Working long hours has been a hot topic in China’s high-tech companies and in other white-collar jobs. In 2019, tech company employees launched a similar online initiative to bring the 996 model to the public’s attention for the first time. 996 means employees work from 9 in the morning till 9 in the evening, six days a week.

In recent months, criticism of overtime has been growing. The government’s recent crackdown on high-tech companies has also begun to focus on the treatment of their employees. This year, Internet companies such as Tik Tok, Kuaishou and Meituan have begun cutting their mandatory weekend overtime. In August, China’s Supreme Court ruled that the 996 model is illegal.

Source: Deutsche Welle, October 14, 2021

Taiwan Business Investment In Mainland Dropped by Half in Past Decade

Taiwan business investments in mainland China have dropped by almost half from 61.2 per cent to 33.3 per cent in the past decade. This suggests that Taiwanese businesses are fleeing China in large numbers. Those who are still doing business in China face mounting business risks.

Lin Zonghong, a researcher at the Institute of Sociology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Taiwan recently spoke at an online forum regarding Taiwan business investment risks in the mainland. According to Lin, Taiwan business investment in the mainland can be divided into three stages. The first stage was from 1992 to 2007. That was when Taiwan’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the mainland kept rising. By 2002, it passed 60 percent of its total FDI. From the 2008 global financial crisis to 2014 when the Sunflower Student Movement broke out in Taiwan, FDI from Taiwan in Mainland reached its peak. The Sunflower Student Movement refers to a movement in which a coalition of students and civic groups organized  to protest the passing of the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA) by the then ruling party, the  Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). The third stage is post 2015 when Taiwan investments were withdrawn from the mainland and shifted to other southeast Asian countries and the U.S..

Lin believes that China’s FDI has been overstated because it includes investments from Hong Kong, which accounts for 75-80 percent of the total. Those investments from Hong Kong were originally from the mainland. They were re-directed through Hong Kong into the mainland just to qualify for foreign investment tax incentives. If the inflow from Hong Kong was excluded, China would have seen a negative FDI.

Since 2007, Taiwan businesses have been losing tax and labor benefits that they used to receive on the mainland. Many of them ended up moving to middle or western regions in China. In 2007, there were still 356 Taiwanese businesses in the mainland. By 2017, the number was 124. By 2020, only 108 were left. Also compared to Taiwan, business costs are higher in the mainland. The data suggests that the gross profit for Taiwan businesses operating in the mainland is less than it is for those operating in Taiwan.

Since Taiwan businesses entered the mainland in 1998, Taiwan has seen factory closures, unemployment, low wages among the younger generation and an increase in poverty. Lin reiterated that Taiwan businesses must understand the business risks in the mainland and look at the current business environment in the mainland as a warning for future business decisions.

Source: Epoch Times, October 17, 2021