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All posts by RWZ

BBC Chinese: China Seems to Be Planning to Ban VPNs

BBC Chinese recently reported, based on a number of media sources, that the Chinese government appears to have become much stricter on domestic Internet access control. The three primary Chinese communications companies have been ordered that, by February 2018, they must ban Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) on their Internet networks. VPN refers to the technology to form an encrypted secure channel to go across the public Internet. This is the primary technology for Chinese netizens to access the free Internet outside of China’s “Great Firewall.” It has been estimated that over 30 percent of the 700 million Chinese Internet users depend on VPN technology to break the government’s firewall to visit banned websites such as Facebook and Twitter. It is technically challenging to fully ban VPN usage. At the same time, it may also impact the international companies that use VPN technology for their secure connections to their headquarters’ networks for legitimate business purposes. The VPN ban will further limit Chinese scientists, researchers, and scholars from their day-to-day research work and their communications with foreigners in the same field. Experts expressed their belief that this recent VPN ban demonstrates the Chinese government’s desperation in its attempt to obtain tight Internet control.

Source: BBC Chinese, July 12, 2017

Caixin: Chinese International Travelers Significantly Changed Their Spending Pattern

The well-known Chinese financial news media group Caixin recently reported that Chinese international travelers have been labeled as major spenders. The United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) 2016 numbers showed that Chinese consumer’s international spending reached US$261 billion, which was more than twice the U.S. total (the U.S. spending was ranked number two). However, international consulting company Oliver Wyman just released a study showing some significant changes in the pattern of Chinese’ international spending habits. The report showed that, starting in 2016, Chinese international tourists spent only 33 percent in their total overseas expenditures on buying physical products. The same number was 41 percent in 2015. The statistics also showed that those who are still interested in buying physical products are among the lower income population. The spending trend is shifting to the categories of “Sightseeing” (ranked number one) and “Entertainment” (ranked number two). The research also showed that Chinese travelers depend heavily on Chinese language website reviews and on security incident news about the destination countries.

Source: Caixin, July 12, 2017

China’s First Overseas Military Base Caused U.S. Worries

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that China’s first military base outside China was officially established on July 11. The Chinese Naval Base at Djibouti is currently serving as a logistics supply provider for the Chinese Navy. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized that the Djibouti Base is only a small scale logistics base for peace-keeping missions. It cannot be compared with full-blown military bases that the U.S., France, and Japan have nearby. However, some Chinese analysts have been reading the language between the lines in the U.S. media such as the New York Times for concerns. The analysts expressed their belief that the U.S. was worried about the short distance to the nearby U.S. Camp Lemonnier, which is one of the largest U.S. permanent overseas military bases. Secondly, the U.S. may be worried about its dominant status in the region.

Source: Sina, July 12, 2017

SARFT Banned Some TV Show Categories before Communist Party Conference recently reported that the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) just sent out notifications on guidelines for TV contents suitable for the upcoming 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party and the Ninetieth Anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The guidelines listed 42 TV shows as recommended for celebrating the party conference and 26 shows for the PLA. SARFT required that the Central Television and provincial satellite TV stations air the recommended shows during the peak hours of the “celebration season.” The guidelines also banned shows that fell into the category of ancient costume plays and the category of idol dramas. These categories were considered “too entertaining” and not “suitable for the serious atmosphere.” SARFT also asked provincial news, publication, film, and television administrations to take action to ensure the “proper” shows are aired on time and other categories of shows that may be “too entertaining” are taken out as well. The “official” TV stations are urged to purchase the shows on the recommended list quickly.

Source:, July 7, 2017

BBC Chinese: 6-Month Implementation of China’s New NGO Law Brought Disruption

BBC Chinese recently reported that China’s new NGO (Non-Government Organization) law that went into effect on January 1 resulted in disruption. A large number of NGOs suspended operations, cancelled activities, or lost sponsorship. The new law required that all NGOs, including those dedicated to environmental protection and charitable activities, must register with the police before they can operate. The police maintain a list of organizations that help overturn the government or support separatists. Financial and operations audits are needed before registration. It is estimated that there were around 1000 permanent NGOs in China and around 6000 NGOs working on short-term projects. So far only 139 NGOs have officially registered. Many NGOs refused media interviews, citing concerns about blockage from the police. Some anonymous NGOs mentioned “major bureaucracy” in the registration process. China’s Ministry of Public Safety refused to comment on this matter.

Source: BBC Chinese, July 7, 2017

BBC Global Survey: China’s International Image Worsens

BBC Chinese recently reported that the BBC World Service just completed its global survey of country images among people from 19 nations. Compared to the same survey done in 2014, the number of people with positive views on China declined from 43 percent to 41 percent, and those with negative views grew by two percent to 42 percent. On a country level, Canada, the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Turkey, Indonesia, and India have negative views on China, while Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Greece, Russia, Nigeria, Kenya, and Pakistan hold positive views on China. According to the survey, people from the U.S. have the highest percentage of negative views on China (70 percent). In some countries, negative views grew significantly, such as India (from 35 percent to 60 per cent). For the first time, Indonesia has more negative views (50 percent) than positive (28 percent). In the meantime, 61 percent of the people in China gave the U.S. negative views. They gave Russia 74 percent positive views and Britain 73 percent positive views (this was after Brexit, with a 34 percent increase from 2014). China also gave North Korea 76 percent negative views and Japan 75 percent negative views (from 90 percent in 2014). China’s negative views against South Korean changed dramatically, from 32 percent (in 2014) to 71 percent.

Source: BBC Chinese, July 6, 2017

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