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Chinese Refugee Recalls Harassment Call From China

On September 27, Ding Yiduo, a refugee from China, shared with the Epoch Times about a harassment phone call he received from China.

In 2019, prior to China’s National Day, Ding posted comments in his WeChat account to support the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement. He was detained, interrogated and threatened. After his release, Ding worked as crew member for a Chinese ocean carrier. In 2020, when he was on a business trip to the US, Ding decided to stay and seek refugee protection.

On September 25, Epoch Times published an interview with Ding about his experience in China. Two days later, Ding received a call from the chief of his village back home. The village chief called Ding a traitor and accused Ding because he vilified China and the party. He told Ding that if Ding can’t control the damage from the  Epoch Times‘ report, Ding’s name will be removed from his family’s genealogy.

Ding believes that the CCP public security bureau must have ordered the village chief to make the call, which was full of CCP propaganda and manipulation. He told Epoch Times he became more disappointed about CCP regime after the call. He thinks that he should do more to expose the evil nature of the CCP.

Source: Epoch Times, September 29, 2021

Party Officials Take the Tang Ping Attitude

“Tang Ping” has become a social buzzword in China. It refers mainly to the younger generation, to those who choose to take a passive attitude toward life and to stay away from the fierce competition in China. This vast form of passive civil disobedience came at a time when the communist regime was promoting “working and consuming” to keep the economy running, as it faces international isolation. At the beginning of this year, the CCP’s mouthpiece People’s Daily issued number of articles urging young people to abandon this idea.

Recently, however, it appears that CCP party officials have taken on the “Tang Ping” attitude at work. On September 27, People’s Daily published an article that the CCP organization department in Longwan district, Wenzhou city of Zhejiang province wrote. The article highlighted a phenomenon that some party officials are holding a “Tang Ping” mentality because of re-election. It cited that some officials have stopped doing their jobs or taking any responsibilities because they feel they have reached their retirement age or they have little chance of being elected or promoted. The article appealed to the officials to change their attitude and not to “Tang Ping.” It asked them to change their mentality for the sake of the party and the nation and to put self-interest behind the bigger goal (of the party).

Source: People’s Daily, September 27, 2021

Xi Jinping’s Latest Power Purge: Two Former Security and Justice Officers Ousted

Within a two day period, two high ranking officials in the public security sector in China were ousted. This move indicates Xi Jinping is continuing to purge his political opponents prior to the Chinese communist party’s 20th Congress in 2022. Xi has determined that, by 2022, he must completely secure the power of his leadership.

On October 2, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection issued a short statement that Fu Zhenghua, the former Minister of Justice, is being investigated. The Commission didn’t provide further details. Just two days earlier, on September 30, the Commission issued a separate notice announcing Sun Lijun, the former vice-minister of Public Security, would be prosecuted for fraud, being too politically ambitious, and damaging the party’s unity.

Between 2013 and 2018, both Fu and Sun held several official positions. One was the head of the 610 Office—an extralegal secret police force akin to Nazi Germany’s Gestapo, which has been implementing Beijing’s persecution policies against Chinese citizens who practice Falun Gong, a spiritual practice that involves meditation exercises and moral teachings.

In 2012, Xi Jinping began a relentless “anti-corruption campaign” to eliminate his political opponents. Since then, more than 100 “tigers and flies”— high- and low-ranking officials — have been purged for crimes of corruption such as bribery and embezzlement. There has been some speculation that, following the removal of Fu and Sun, another bigger “tiger” could be ousted next.

Source: Epoch Times, October 2, 2021

Electricity Prices Increase Following Recent Power Cuts

Since August, over 20 provinces in China have issued notices to limit electricity usage. This has caused blackouts in certain regions. The power plants are faced with increased electricity demand while there is a coal shortage and thus coal prices are higher. They are operating at a loss because the electricity price is set according to State Council guidelines.

Starting in July, over eight provinces have increased the price of electricity, but they are still within the 10 percent ceiling previously required by the State Council. Several provinces introduced peak demand pricing to normalize the usage. Currently the electricity price increase is aimed at business electricity consumption rather than at residential use.

On September 29, the National Development and Reform Commission issued a notice calling for increased coal production while enabling the coal power plants to set a price that is market driven and reflects the changes in demand and cost.

The central authorities said it is expected that this wave of price increases will continue to expand.

Source: Central News Agency, October 1, 2021

Cost of Ocean Freight from China to U.S. Up Tenfold Due to Container Shortage

Because of a container shortage, the cost of ocean freight from China to the U.S. has soared tenfold since August and reached a record high.

The price of a 40-foot container from China to the U.S. used to cost between US$1,000 and US$2,000, but since August it has risen to a record US$20,000. COVID shutdowns in ports in certain cities in China and other countries as well as a shortage of drivers at the port are the main culprits. It has a domino effect on the downstream supply chain, particularly in September and October when most of the goods entering the North American and European markets are for the upcoming Christmas shopping season.

Even though Chinese container manufacturers have increased their capacity to build more containers, it will still take some time to ease the constraint. Therefore, the container shortage will last for a while.

Source: Epoch Times, September 28, 2021

Local Governments Face Fiscal Constraint as Land Sales Slow Down

Since Beijing introduced policies to curb the overheated housing market, land sale activities have also been slowing down. This is happening in Hangzhou, Shenyang, and Hefei where, last week, there was a significant drop in transactions involving the sale of land. According to statistics, in June and July of this year, nearly 500 parcels of land that were for sale in small to mid-sized cities, had no buyers. If this trend continues, local governments, which have been relying on land sales as part of their fiscal income, will face financial constraints.

Since the 1990s, China has embarked on large-scale construction in urban areas. Most of the land resources have come from rural areas. Local governments have benefited the most from it. In 2020, local governments received 8.4 trillion yuan (US$1.3 trillion) from selling land, up 16 percent from a year earlier. However, in June, all local governments were required to transfer the power for collecting land sales revenue to the tax authorities under the State Taxation Administration (STA). This has allowed the central government to take control over local finance.

Source: Radio Free Asia, September 20, 2021

Party Branches Established in China’s Film and Television Production Center

Hengdian World Studios in Zhejiang Province is China’s film and television production center; it is also known as China’s Hollywood. Temporary Chinese Communist Party (CCP) branch offices have been established in 11 cast teams that are currently filming TV and movie dramas. One of the party branches consists of the party members from the production, photography, editing, sound and explosion visual effects departments. Each of the 11 teams will conduct a regular study session on the party’s history and an understanding of the recent cultural and entertainment industry rectification directives from the central administration. Their goal is to further strengthen the party’s  leadership, plan party building activities and recruit more party members.

Source: China News, September 21, 2021

Kyodo News: 31 Japanese Universities Stepped Up Vetting of International Students to Prevent Technology Leaks

The Japanese government is tightening its control over sensitive technology leaks through international students. Universities in Japan will need to come up with measures to face the challenge. Kyoto News recently conducted a survey of 56 private or public universities that have either an affiliation with Chinese universities that have ties with the military or that have a large number of foreign students. Among them, 31 universities have implemented or are considering stricter identity checks on international students who are majoring in sensitive technology studies.

The results showed that only 24 universities would implement or consider implementing the vetting of students who signed an agreement not to take controlled technology out of Japan. Also, only a few universities disclosed whether they have received any foreign funding. All of these are indications that there is a lack of effective responses to the risk of technology leaks.

The Japanese government announced in June that it would strengthen export controls over sensitive technology and adopt a licensing program for universities that receive research funding from foreign governments or allow foreign students to access technologies.

Surveys show that more than half of the universities have or are considering increased identity checks on past academic qualifications, work resumes, and other areas of concern. Ten universities have asked their international students to answer whether they intend to join military-related organizations, and 14 universities now validate the details of financial support from foreign institutions.

The Japanese government is also urging the control of Japanese scholars to get them to take part in joint overseas research. According to the survey, less than 30 percent of the universities have a filing mechanism to report the joint research. There are currently 14 universities that have Confucius Institutes. One university said it was considering a restructure of its operations.

As of last May, the number of international students in Japan was about 280,000. China is the largest by nationality, accounting for more than 40 percent of the total.

Source: Kyodo News, September 7, 2021