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Former Armed Police Chief of Xinjiang Named the New Military Commander of Hong Kong

For the first time, Peng Jingtang, who comes from the Armed Police Force and has experience in Xinjiang, replaced the commander of the Chinese military forces in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong media analyzed this as a signal that Beijing believes that, after the implementation of the national security law, it is still necessary to prevent the Hong Kong version of a color revolution.

On January 10, the Hong Kong media Hong Kong 01 cited public information that Peng Jingtang served as a brigade commander of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Jinan Military Region, and was a director of the military training division of the PLA Jinan Military Region Command, chief of staff of the Armed Police Force in Xinjiang, and deputy chief of staff of the national Armed Police Force

. In July 2018, Peng was promoted to the rank of Major General.

Hong Kong 01 commented that Peng’s appointment indicates that the dust has not settled in Hong Kong with the passage of the National Security Law. For Beijing, it is still necessary to prevent Hong Kong from becoming a base for opposition to the Chinese regime, and to avert a Hong Kong version of the color revolution. The appointment of Peng Jingtang, a veteran counter-terrorism leader, as the commander of the PLA in Hong Kong is both a deterrent and a precautionary measure.

Source: Hong Kong 01, January 11, 2022
https://www.hk01.com/深度報道/722361/反恐幹將接掌駐港解放軍-傳遞三大信號

70 Percent of Tsinghua Graduates Look for Jobs in the State Sector

Mainland Chinese newspaper The Paper reported that there were 7,441 graduates from the country’s prestigious Tsinghua University class of 2021, a slight increase of more than 400 over the class of 2020. 3,669 of them signed a “tripartite employment agreement.” The tripartite employment agreement refers to the agreement signed by graduates, employers and schools to guarantee the rights and obligations of the student. Among those, 15.8 percent secured their first jobs in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and in government organizations, 30.3 percent found jobs in institutions such as universities and research units, and 23.8 percent in state-owned enterprises. In short, a total of nearly 70 percent entered the state related sector.

In comparison, in year 2019 and 2020 respectively 61.2 percent and 64.9 percent of Tsinghua graduates found their jobs in the state sector. The proportion in 2021 is not only higher, but also growing at an accelerated pace.

As a matter of fact, the high percentage of graduates from China’s top universities looking for government related jobs is no small number. For example, 50.05 percent of graduates from Shanghai Jiaotong University entered CCP and government organs, institutions, state-owned enterprises and the military, while the percentage from Xiamen University graduates was nearly 60 percent.

As the economy slows down, new graduates prefer the state sector, so they have stable jobs. This is a manifestation of people’s assessment on their prospects for the near future. According to China’s Ministry of Education, there will be 9.09 million college graduates in 2021, a year-over-year increase of 350,000, and another 10.76 million college graduates in 2022, an increase of 1.67 million. Tackling unemployment is a major challenge for the Chinese government.

Source: The Paper, January 3, 2022
https://www.thepaper.cn/newsDetail_forward_16131271

China Launches New Rounds of Infrastructure Projects in 2022

As China’s economy is plagued by sagging demand, the uncertainty of supplies and lower expectations, the government once again has

resorted to massive infrastructure projects to stimulate growth. After only 10 days into 2022, China has already started over 5,000 major infrastructure projects, with a total investment of more than 3 trillion yuan (US$ 0.47 trillion).

At an Economic Work Conference in December 2021, the central government proposed to “deploy infrastructure investments ahead of the time,” implying an increase in infrastructure investments in 2022. At the time, the Ministry of Finance issued an added quota of 1.46 trillion yuan (US$ 0.23 trillion) for the special debts in 2022.

At the beginning of the year, several provinces disclosed plans to issue local government bonds in the first quarter, on the scale of about 800 billion yuan (US$125 billion), including over 550 billion yuan (US$86.3 billion) in new special bonds. Other financing tools are also being promoted, including real estate investment trusts (REITs) in the infrastructure sector, the green government-social capital cooperation (or Public-Private Partnership PPP) projects.

The Securities Times, a mainland based financial news outlet, reported that as of January 10, at least 11 provinces have held project start-up activities, involving more than 5,000 major projects with a total scale of investment of more than 3 trillion yuan (US$0.47 trillion). This compares to the level of 1.2 trillion yuan (US$0.19 trillion) from January of 2021. The key areas of investment include 5G network, industrial Internet, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and big data center.

Source: Securities Times, January 11, 2022
https://www.stcn.com/stock/djjd/202201/t20220111_4058632.html

China Revises Cybersecurity Review Measures

The Cyber Administration of China (CAC) announced on its website on January 4 that the agency, as well as 12 other government bodies, including the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of State Security, have revised the “Cybersecurity Review Measures.”

The original regulation already took effect in June 2020. CAC pointed out that the revision is due to the implementation of the “Data Security Law” in September 2021, which requires that the state establish a data security review system.

After the revision, article 7 of the Measures stipulates that online platform operators that possess personal information about more than 1 million users must report to the Office of Cybersecurity Review when they go public abroad.

The Measure also specifies that operators of “critical information infrastructures” such as transportation, communications, and finance must also apply for security a review when purchasing network products and services that may affect national security.

It also lists key national security risk factors, including illegal control, the interference or disruption of “critical information infrastructure, possible disruption of product services due to political, diplomatic and trade factors, and the possibility of core data or substantial personal data being influenced, controlled and maliciously used by “foreign governments.”

The revised regulation is to be effective on February 15. It also adds the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) to the cybersecurity review mechanism.

Source: Cyber Administration of China, January 4, 2021
http://www.cac.gov.cn/2022-01/04/c_1642894602144070.htm

Qiushi Publishes Xi’s Speech at CCP Plenary Session

Qiushi, the flagship publication of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) central committee, recently released a talk that Xi Jinping gave at a meeting of the sixth plenary session of the 19th CCP Central Committee that took place in November 2021. Xi demanded that the all CCP members be loyal to the Party and that those who “run political gangs and interest groups inside the Party” should be disciplined without mercy.

Xi Jinping said that the “historical resolution” passed by the sixth plenary session emphasized the importance of the “centralized and unified leadership of the Party” which “requires the entire body of CCP members unite under the Party’s banner into ‘a piece of solid steel’ and move forward in unison.”

Xi added that the risks and challenges facing the CCP on its “new journey” will only become more and more complex and will even include unimaginable shock waves. “Different struggles . . . will accompany the whole process of achieving the ‘second century’ goal.” The second centenary goal is Xi’s ambition to build China into “a great modern socialist country in all respects” by 2049. That date is 100 years from the time of the 1949 revolution that put the CCP in power. The related first century goal, which was to double the 2010 GDP and double the 2010 income of both urban and rural residents by 2020 is about 100 years from the date of the founding of the CCP in 1921.

Xi concluded by saying that, at the centennial year of the Party, it is important to be vigilant, to look out for danger in times of peace, and to be on guard at all times against the possibility of the CCP becoming old and sick. “It should neither be slow to react to its own problems, nor be soft to fix them. Otherwise eventually the policies will die as the person-in-charge dies.”

Source: Qiushi, January 1, 2022
http://www.qstheory.cn/dukan/qs/2022-01/01/c_1128219233.htm

Chinese Student Wanted for Acquiring Japanese Security Software under False Identity

Japanese media including NHK and Yomiuri News reported on December 28 that Japanese police have identified a Chinese student who entered Japan and was suspected of attempting to  purchase Japanese high-tech security software illegally. He was apparently under the command of a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) officer. The Japanese Police Department has obtained an arrest warrant for the student and will soon issue an international warrant.

Police investigators say the Chinese student, in his 30s, is suspected of having attempted the purchase used the name of a fictitious Japanese company and the person who was in charge in November 2016. The PLA officer who contacted him belonged to China’s “61419th Army,” a unit believed to be the Chinese hacking group Tick, which is responsible for cyberattacks on Japanese companies and research institutions.

Fortunately, the transaction was not concluded because the software company found it suspicious. As the Chinese student has returned to China, Japanese police have received permission to arrest him on suspicion of fraud. They will soon issue an international warrant through Interpol. The Japanese police believe that China is trying to buy Japanese high-tech security software to analyze the weaknesses of Japanese companies’ systems and collect intelligence to carry out cyberattacks.

Source: Radio Free Asia, December 28, 2021
https://www.rfa.org/cantonese/news/japan-12282021094647.html

Pay Cuts and Hiring Freezes as Fiscal Deficits Plague Local Governments

The government of Hegang, a city in China’s northwestern province of Heilongjiang, announced on December 23 that, “Due to the fiscal restructuring plan, the financial situation has changed significantly.” As a result, the city government of Hegang decided to suspend the recruitment of grassroots-level staff.”

The web announcement, according to the mainland newspaper National Business Daily, shows income has shrunk. The result is an ever-widening gap between revenues and expenditures. Debt financing has become the survival mode for some local governments.

As of October 2021, the balance of total local government debt in China reached 29.65 trillion yuan (US$ 4.65 trillion). Only five provinces – Shanghai, Guangdong, Beijing, Zhejiang and Jiangsu – have a debt-over-GDP ratio below the red line of 100 percent. Four provinces, including Qinghai, Heilongjiang, Ningxia and Inner Mongolia, have local debt ratios over 300 percent, with Qinghai being above 500 percent.

Days ago, the Hong Kong media also reported that a number of provinces and cities in China have cut the pay of civil servants at a rate between 20 and 30 percent.

Source: Central News Agency, December 28, 2021
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/acn/202112280146.aspxD

Communist Party’s Rural Work Conference Emphasizes Food Security

China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported that the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) Central Rural Work Conference took place in Beijing on January 25 and 26. The agenda focused on agriculture and rural areas in the year of 2022. CCP Chairman Xi Jinping said at the meeting, “The rice bowl of the Chinese people must be firmly in their own hands at all times.”

The meeting highlighted two issues:  food security and no falling back into poverty on a large scale. Emphasis was put on grain production and on the supply of important agricultural products to ensure at least 650 billion kilograms of total output in 2022.

China is the largest buyer of U.S. soybeans. On December 22, the Chinese website of Japan’s Nikkei cited a projection from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that China’s reserve of corn and other major grain stocks will account for more than half of the world’s total. With a population that is less than 20 percent of the world, China’s massive hoarding of grain is quite eye-catching.

Source: People’s Daily, December 27, 2021
http://papTer.people.com.cn/rmrb/html/2021-12/27/nw.D110000renmrb_20211227_1-01.htm