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China Concedes in Dispute with Lithuania over Taiwanese Representative Office, Lifts Sanctions

China recently lifted the severe trade restrictions imposed on Lithuania after the Baltic state established a “Taiwanese Representative Office” in late 2021.

The sanctions were part of Beijing’s vigorous efforts to prevent  other countries around the world from establishing diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Representatives of the Chinese government said that it would only be permissible for the Taiwanese office in Lithuania to be referred to as a “Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office,” and that the terminology “Taiwanese Representative Office” was unacceptable. Under normal diplomatic relations between sovereign states, a similar outpost of one country within another would be called an “Embassy.”

German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung quoted Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis on the new development in China-Lithuania relations: the Chinese government has ended its attempt at “economic coercion,” and the name “Taiwanese Representative Office” will remain despite Beijing’s criticism. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung praised Lithuania, saying that the small country had won the principles-based fights.

Lithuania conducts trade with China worth tens of millions of euros. China’s restrictive measures led to an 80% drop in Lithuania’s 2022 exports to China. The EU raised the issue of Chinese-Lithuanian trade with the World Trade Organization at the end of 2022.

Many EU countries, including Eastern European countries, no longer see China as a favorable partner. Last year, Baltic countries Latvia and Estonia followed Lithuania’s lead in withdrawing from the China and Central and Eastern European Countries (China-CEEC) initiative, also known as the 14+1 initiative (formerly 17+1). These Baltic states have established trade offices with Taiwan. The Czech Republic also got closer to Taiwan, deviating from its historically-close ties with China. China’s support of Russia during the Russia-Ukraine war further alienated many countries in the EU.

Facing serious economic challenges domestically, China now seeks to ease relations with Western countries. This recent move on trade with Lithuania is one such effort, potentially lightening tensions with the European Union (EU) ahead of the upcoming China-EU Summit. In another such effort, Beijing has cancelled travel visa requirements for citizens of five different EU countries, enabling easier travel to China.

Source: Back China, December 3, 2023

Canadian Intelligence: China Attempting to Recruit Canadian Government Employees

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) warned that China is plotting to recruit Canadian scholars and government officials. It has issued an alert to federal employees, warning of a large-scale email campaign from Beijing attempting to lure Canadian employees into participating in an overseas “talent program.” The alert included a photo of a recruitment email with the subject “2024 Invitation for Overseas Talents to Apply for the China Global Excellent Scientists Fund.” The CSIS stated that the email requested that recipients supply “significant” personal information and promised salaries ranging from 95,000 Canadian dollars to 374,000 Canadian dollars.

Source: Radio France International, November 25, 2023国际/20231125-加情报部门警告中国针对加拿大政府雇员的招聘活动

China’s Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Denounces the U.S.

China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin denounced the U.S. in the routine press conference on November 28, shortly after the Biden-Xi meeting at the APEC Summit in San Francisco. The following is a translation of the transcript published on China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry website:

Reuters Reporter: According to a report from The New York Times, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and other intelligence agencies have issued warnings regarding the collaboration between the UAE company G42 and large Chinese enterprises, including Huawei. The U.S. stated that these collaborations pose a security threat. U.S. officials are concerned that advanced technologies may flow to Chinese companies or  the [Chinese] government. The report even suggests that the U.S. is considering imposing sanctions on G42. Has the UAE company [G42] raised these issues with the Chinese side? Have Chinese companies informed the Chinese government about the situation? Does China have any comments on this report?

Wang Wenbin: I am not aware of the specific situation you mentioned. What I want to emphasize is that the U.S. has repeatedly obstructed the cooperation between Chinese companies and other countries with unfounded security reasons. This is a form of economic coercion. When the relevant countries asked for credible evidence of the “security threats,” the U.S. response has been evasive and vague.

China consistently opposes the U.S. generalizing the concept of national security, politicizing, weaponizing, and broadly securitizing economic issues, and hindering normal investment and business activities between industries and companies. The actions of the U.S. seriously undermine the international economic and trade order, and they disrupt the stability of the global industrial and supply chains. They are not well-received, nor will they achieve their agenda.

Source: China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry website, November 28, 2023

Consular Volunteer Programs: Another of the CCP’s Long-Armed Control Mechanisms

According to a report by Spain-based human rights organization Safeguard Defenders, Beijing has established a “Consular Volunteer” mechanism over the past decade. The Consular Volunteer Programs, which operate out of Chinese consulates in foreign countries, engage in information gathering, infiltration, and surveillance globally. Beijing does not notify host countries about such programs, violating the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The report follows Safeguard Defenders’ disclosure last year of over 100 overseas police stations established by the Chinese government in more than fifty countries.

Such “Consular Volunteer networks” have been established in several dozen Chinese overseas communities, including in the U.S., Belgium, Sweden, Italy, the U.K., Spain, Greece, Portugal, France, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Turkey, Chile, Malaysia, Japan, the UAE, South Africa, and other countries across five continents. The report by Safeguard Defenders has released an investigative report titled “China’s Consular Volunteers.”

According to the report, the programs would recruit Chinese overseas individuals, some unpaid but provided with operational expenses directly managed by the consulate. Working as “volunteers,” these individuals are controlled by the Chinese government to engage in the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) united front work.

The CCP’s integraiton of overseas united front networks with consular services has enabled it to systematically obtain personal information, home addresses, and contact details of different targets. The gathered information may be used to systematically harm or manipulate overseas groups or use coercive means against those who have political views unaligned with Beijing.

The Safeguard Defenders report noted that the G7 group issued a joint statement after its May 2023 summit in Hiroshima, explicitly demanding that China comply with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Just a few months later, China’s State Council promulgated a set of “Consular Protection and Assistance Regulations,” effective starting September 1, 2023, which encouraged Chinese overseas consulates to recruit volunteers and to recognize and reward the volunteers’ performance.


Radio Free Asia, November 22, 2023, November 21, 2023

China’s Seafood Imports from Japan Dropped by More Than 99 Percent

China responded angrily when Japan discharged treated nuclear wastewater into the sea near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, imposing a comprehensive suspension of Japanese seafood imports since August. The General Administration of Customs of China reported that the total value of seafood imported from Japan to China in October 2023 was 2.4 million yuan (US$ 339,000), a significant decrease of 99.3 percent compared to the same month last year.

The recently-released statistics did not include data regarding September imports specifically. However, subtracting the cumulative value of January to August from the cumulative value for January to September, the remaining amount (which represents September’s seafood imports) was only 60,000 yuan, a drastic year-on-year reduction of 99.98 percent. The drop for August was 67.6 percent.

China has made up for the reduced imports by using domestic products or importing from other countries instead.

Source: Kyodo News, November 19, 2023

Market for Falsified Chinese Birth Certificates Comes to Light

Numerous Chinese medical institutions have recently been exposed for illegally selling birth certificates, revealing their pivotal role in an underground market for baby trafficking and surrogacy. Recent arrests in Xiangyang City, Hubei Province, and reports from Nanning City, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and Foshan City, Guangdong Province, highlight a widespread issue.

The birth certificate market has historical roots, enabling families to violate family planning policies (e.g. the one-child policy) or helping human traffickers to create identities for abducted children. There is an increasing trend of parents selling their biological children for profit.

Surrogacy fees range from 400,000 to 550,000 yuan (US$ 56,000 to 78,000), with an additional 10,000 yuan cost for birth certificate processing. This market involves forged documents, misrepresented information, and collaboration between medical institutions and intermediaries. In some cases, corrupt regulatory bodies are implicated as well.

Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), November 20, 2023

Pro-CCP Crowd Attacked Anti-CCP Protesters During Xi Jinping’s Visit to San Francisco

Chinese Embassies and Consulates in the United States organized many Chinese associations and student associations to welcome Xi Jinping when he attended the APEC meeting and the Biden-Xi Summit in San Francisco from November 15 to 17. These pro-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) people outnumbered the anti-CCP protesters by several times. Over a dozen incidents were reported where pro-CCP people attacked anti-CCP protesters and injured them.

A representative of the Chinese Democratic Party, which opposes the CCP and is banned in mainland China, said that 24 of the group’s members were assaulted by individuals associated with pro-CCP overseas groups, resulting in several injuries. The China Democracy and Human Rights Alliance, as well as the Democracy Front, reported that several of their protesters were also assaulted.

Protester Jia Junwei told Voice of America that “They chased me continuously. After surrounding me with the Chinese flag, a woman in her forties or fifties knocked me down. Then, they kicked my head, and used the flagpole to attack my head. Later, I was taken to the hospital.” Hong Kong protester Zhou Qihong, 74, was assaulted twice on November 15 and 17 in different locations by pro-Communist thugs. Topjor Tsultrim, a member of the Free Tibet organization, informed Voice of America, “At least 30 Tibetan protesters were beaten by pro-CCP groups. The attack at the airport protest site on November 17 was the most intense one against the Tibetan protesters. Three young Tibetan university students were attacked by over 20 Chinese individuals with metal rods, resulting in head injuries and broken bones. Eventually, they had to be taken to the hospital. On the same day, several Tibetans were struck with flags, stabbed with iron rods, and women’s hair was pulled. One of our activists was recording everything when her phone was snatched from her and thrown into the river.”

The San Francisco police didn’t arrest any pro-CCP persons. They did arrested protester Jie Lijian, however.

Jie was released from the San Francisco County Jail without bail on November 20. He told Voice of America, “We were peacefully protesting, and people from Chinese overseas groups attacked my back and head with flagpoles and steel pipes. I began vomiting and needed to use the restroom. In the process of finding a restroom, I was isolated and arrested by the police in an alley.” Jie also said, “If I didn’t defend myself in a situation where my head was being attacked with steel pipes, I wouldn’t be here speaking with everyone. I might have been beaten to death by the other party.”

Many human rights activists believe these attacks should not be allowed to happen in the U.S. They show the CCP’s long-armed influence on U.S. soil. Chinese human rights groups and pro-democracy activists have kept tally of beatings and injuries by the pro-CCP groups; they are planning to provide evidence criminal conduct to the FBI and Congress.

Source: Voice of America, November 22, 2023

CCP’s United Front Minister Meets Future Elite Thai Leaders Trained by China

On November 23rd, a high-level Chinese Communist Party (CCP) official met with representatives of the “Thailand-China New Era Leadership Elite Training Program” in Beijing. The official, Shi Taifeng, is a CCP Politburo member and Minister of the CCP’s United Front Work Department. Shi promoted China’s ideology of the “China-Thailand Community for a Shared Future for Mankind” and the CCP’s “Belt and Road Initiative.” On the same day, Wan Lijun, Chairman of the CCP’s Overseas Chinese Affairs Office, also met with the visiting Thai delegation. Sahathai Maneechot, former Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, expressed intention to strengthen close ties with the CCP’s Overseas Chinese Affairs Office and to collaborate on the CCP’s “Community of Shared Future for Mankind.”

The “Thailand-China New Era Leadership Training Program” started as early as 2018, initiated by the Chinese Association in Thailand. It is held several times a year, with high-ranking figures from Thailand’s political, military, business, and academic sectors participating.

At the annual summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China in September of this year, China’s Premier Li Qiang announced the “Ten Thousand People Training and Seminar Program,” in which China will train 10,000 talents for ASEAN countries in the fields of governance, anti-corruption, and green development.

1. Epoch Times, November 25, 2023
2. Chinascope, September 15, 2023

Li Qiang Announced China’s Leadership Training Programs for ASEAN Countries