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Tycoon Donates $100 million for Taiwan’s Defense

After the departure of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Chinese government started live-fire military exercises against Taiwan. Robert Tsao, founder and honorary chairman of United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC), a major Taiwanese semiconductor company, announced on August 5 that he will donate $100 million to assist Taiwan in its national defense.

On the second day after the Chinese military fired off 11 missiles, Tsao held a press conference to criticize the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for its reckless behavior. “Today I am announcing a donation of NT$3 billion (about US$100 million) to help strengthen our national defense. I hope to awaken the people of Taiwan not to  be greedy for money or afraid of death, and to rise up and fight to defend freedom, democracy and human rights.”

“Some people in Taiwan have an ostrich mentality, thinking that if they bury their heads in the sand and don’t mess with them, the other side won’t make a move. Others are capitulationists, who think, “Since I can’t win anyway, I might as well surrender and survive.” Tsao added, “The worst are those in favor of reunification, thinking they can realize the xenophobic so-called China dream,”

As for those people in Taiwan who are still unwilling to “resist China and defend Taiwan,” Robert Tsao said that these people, perhaps because of ignorance, timidity, cowardice, or being bought, are unwilling to see or admit that the Chinese Communist Party is essentially a group of gangsters. “The People’s Republic of China is a triad organization masquerading as a national state. A normal civilized country promotes the rule of law, democracy, and freedom, but a fakery state like the Chinese regime worships totalitarianism, deception, hatred, and violence.”

UMC established an 8-inch wafer fab in Suzhou, China, through its subsidiary back in 2001. Tsao lamented, “If we could have done it all over again, I wish we hadn’t gone to China to help set up the fab.”

Tsao proposed that the $100 million be used to fund individuals and groups to promote national defense education and boost public morale. The money will fund research and publications to counter the CCP’s cognitive warfare against Taiwan, handle activities related to the CCP’s deterrence and infiltration of Taiwan, develop or trace sources, counter the dissemination of controversial messages by hostile forces outside Taiwan; and develop countermeasures against the CCP’s cyberattack and hacking activities against Taiwan.

Source: Radio Free Asia, August 5, 2022

JCCIC Demands Fair Treatment from Beijing’s Tightened Tech Control

he Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China (JCCIC),  Which Japanese companies stationed in China have formed, published a position paper on July 29, expressing the wish that the Chinese government improve its business environment. As China tightens control over high-tech products and data processing, the JCCIC asked Beijing not to exclude foreign companies, but to treat them as fairly as domestic companies.

The paper asks for the permission of foreign companies to participate in the stipulation of high-tech-related standards and to disclose product information. Takashima Ryusuke, vice president of JCCIC and director-general for the Beijing Office of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), who also participated in putting together the paper, stressed at a press conference that “one cannot set standards that treat foreign companies in a discriminatory manner.”

Noting that Chinese government procurement is dominated by domestically produced goods, Takashima demanded that, “imports (from Japan) be able to participate on an equal footing.”

China’s Personal Information Protection Law prohibits the provision of domestically collected data to foreign countries, but has yet to offer detailed regulations. Takashima said Japanese companies are concerned about the application of the law, and called for rules to be established and made public as soon as possible.

Source: Kyodo News, July 29, 2022

Before 2025, China’s Population Will Shrink

China’s National Health Commission (NHC), the country’s top agency overseeing the public health, has revealed that the total population will show negative growth during the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025). The statement was made in an article published in Qiushi magazine on August 1. Qiushi is the flagship publication of the Central Committee of Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

According to the NHC’s 2021 survey, women of childbearing age continue to show a low desire to have children. The average number of planned childbirths per woman is 1.64, down from 1.76 in 2017 and 1.73 in 2019. The measure is only 1.54 for Chinese women born in the 1990s, and 1.48 for those born in the 2000s.

As population growth has slowed down significantly, the fertility levels have fallen, with the total fertility rate, or the average number of children per woman, dropping to below 1.3 in recent years. It is estimated that the population will fall during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025).

NHC observed that the population distribution will show three major characteristics. First is a seriously aging society. It is expected that around 2035, the proportion of people over 60 years old will exceed 30 percent of the total population. Second is the smaller household size. The average household size will show a drop to 2.62 persons in the figures for 2020, a decrease of 0.48 persons compared to 2010. Third, there will be an uneven regional development.

Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), August 1, 2022

Xi Jinping Gives Instructions on Uniting Global Ethnic Chinese

On July 29th and 30th, the United Front Work Conference of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was held in Beijing. Xi Jinping delivered a speech.

Xi said, “Promoting the great unity of the Chinese people is the historical responsibility of China’s patriotic united front work in the new era. To do this job well, we must . . .  truly unite all Chinese people in different parties, nationalities, classes, groups, and with different beliefs, and those who are living under different social systems.”

Obviously, “those who are living in different social systems” refers to ethnic Chinese who are living outside of China.

“(We ought to) strengthen the overseas patriotic forces, building up the cohorts who know and befriend China.”  … Xi added, “We must do a good job in our united front work in cyberspace,”

The CCP’s united front work strives to track down, maintain relationships with, influence and sway prominent people and groups both inside and outside of China. It focuses on individuals or groups outside the CCP, particularly in the community of overseas Chinese, in an effort to make sure that they support or serve the CCP’s goals. The CCP’s central committee has a United Front Work department.

Source: People’s Daily, July 31, 2022

One Year after “Double Reduction” Policy, China’s Tutoring Industry Goes Underground and Is Unreachable

China attempted to regulate the tutoring industry with a “double reduction” policy to reduce the burden on both students and parents. A year later, the tutoring industry has not disappeared, but has gone underground, with higher tuition fees and more hunting efforts that end up redistributing resources to middle and upper-class families.

For example, a parent surnamed Wu in Beijing said her child’s English class used to cost about $20,000 a year before the “double reduction,” but now it’s twice as much due to a special arrangement for a private tutor. She estimated that her daughter’s extracurricular learning costs are more than $10,000 a month. Such tutoring expenses are affordable for the Wu family. However, most Beijing families earn only a quarter of her family’s income.

Another parent in Shanghai, surnamed Fan, said her daughter can only attend a tutorial class that has been converted to a non-profit organization due to the “double reduction” policy. To cut costs, the classes have switched from physical to online. Her child has not gained much and her grades have slipped.

Fan said that although she saved money on tutoring, she had to spend more time teaching her daughter. She found she could not teach as systematically as the tutoring class and she also said it was difficult for her to find underground tutoring as other parents have been reluctant to share their information. In some cases, parents worry someone might tip off the authorities. In others, it’s because the competition at their children’s schools is so fierce. They don’t want other children to have access to the same tutor.

Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), July 26, 2022

Number of Japanese Companies in China Reaches Ten-year Low

According to a survey released by a Japanese data provider, as of June 2022, the number of Japanese companies in mainland China was 12,706, the lowest for the past 10 years. The survey points out that the “Zero Covid” policy has added to the risk of doing business in China. It also points to a trend involving the growing  exodus of companies from China.

Compared to the last survey conducted in February 2020, there were 940 fewer Japanese companies (about 7 percent less). Among all the previous surveys, the year 2012 saw the highest number (14,394) of Japanese companies in China.

Among all the cities, Shanghai hosts the largest number (6,028) of Japanese companies. However, the number is 272 lower than it was in the previous 2020 survey. Since late March, and for about two months, Shanghai has been under lockdown and has been closed. Factors such as a delayed supply of parts have dealt a huge blow to the operations of Japanese companies.

The data provider, Imperial Database, observes that the extended lockdown under the “Zero Covid” policy has led to work stoppages, production shutdowns, and logistics and supply chain disruptions. There is an ongoing movement of European and American companies leaving China, with Japanese companies also pushing for supply chain adjustments.

Source: Kyodo News, July 23, 2022

Proof of Grandparent’s Vaccination Required for Students’ Admission

Due to the low vaccination rates among the elderly population, there have been reports in China that the country sometimes uses unconventional means to add incentives for the senior population to be vaccinated.

The Chinese cybersphere recently circulated the story that a middle school in Jiangsu Province requires newly admitted students to provide proof that their grandparents have had the COVID-19 vaccination. Those who fail to submit the proof will not be eligible to register for the new semester.

The story sparked widespread discussions. According to officials from Xuelang Middle School in the city of Wuxi, the school at the center of the controversy, the purpose of the requirement was for “the students to have a safe environment.” After the exposure of the story, the school has dropped the requirement that grandparents must offer proof of vaccination. However, it is still required that negative PCR test results are provided for family members living with the student.

Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), July 26, 2022

Banks in Multiple Chinese Provinces Restrict Depositors’ Withdrawals

Following the protests of thousands of depositors in Henan Province as they could not withdraw their money from a local bank, people in China have discovered that the difficulty in withdrawing money has also occurred in other provinces and cities.

According to China Times, a newspaper based in Beijing, one depositor from Shaanxi province, who opened an account at a Hainan branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), recently found he was unable to withdraw, transfer or spend money from his account. Another depositor from Hunan province also said that he had his bank card frozen after taking out a loan from a bank.

Another mainland Chinese newspaper, Securities Daily, reported that similar cases also took place in Beijing and in Shandong province. In response to media inquiries, the bank involved said the operation was a risk control measure taken by officials to prevent accounts from being used for money laundering.

Source: Radio France International, July 20, 2022