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All posts by RWZ

RFI Chinese: Xinhua Being Investigated for Anti-Xi Jinping Activities

Radio France Internationale (RFI) recently reported that anonymous sources disclosed that the Chinese Communist Party has started an internal investigation of the Xinhua News Agency, which is the official communications authority for the Chinese government and the Party. The incident that triggered the investigation was that the Xinhua English News Bulletin recently published the constitutional amendment changing the status of the term limits for the President ahead of schedule. The Chinese leadership may have found this leak to be suspicious. The investigation team was composed of members from the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the Central Propaganda Department of the Communist Party. Sources also indicated that all bureau director levels of Xinhua personnel have been banned from international travel. A few other unexpected incidents of a similar kind occurred last year as well.

Source: RFI Chinese, March 17, 2018

VOA Chinese: Australian Department of Defense Banned WeChat

Voice of America (VOA) Chinese recently reported that the Australian Department of Defense has decided to ban the use of Chinese instant messaging app WeChat across all of the Department’s mobile devices. In the Department’s announcement, WeChat was described as “unauthorized software.” However, in the same announcement, the Department allowed limited use of the U.S. social app Facebook. It is also evaluating the security profile of WhatsApp. The  U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee held a hearing in which the U.S. CIA Director explained that he was very much concerned about the communications products from countries with a different social value system. Apparently, the Australian Department of Defense shares the same concern. Australian network security experts have expressed their observation that the Department not only worries about the close relationship between WeChat vendor Tencent and the Chinese government, but also believes apps like WeChat have very strong capabilities of collecting and monitoring information. Since last December, the Indian Department of Defense has also banned all Chinese communication software.

Source: VOA Chinese, March 13, 2018

China’s Largest Battery Manufacturer Took Control of a Canadian Lithium Mine

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that China’s largest lithium manufacturer, CATL, recently acquired a controlling interest of over 90 percent of Canadian lithium mine owner, North American Lithium. The Quebec government also owns five percent of the shares. CATL is rapidly expanding its capacity to manufacture electric car batteries, aiming to become the largest battery manufacturer in the world. Industrial analysts expressed their belief that CATL’s recent move is to secure the supply of raw resources needed for its products. This deal is still pending approval from the Chinese government and the Quebec government. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is also currently performing its assessment. The mine is capable of producing 23,000 tons of battery-grade lithium carbonate. In terms of global lithium resource control, China is currently ahead of the United States and Europe.

Source: Sina, March 13, 2018


LTN: China’s One Belt One Road Plan Brought Economic Trouble to Eight Countries

Major Taiwanese news network Liberty Times Network (LTN) recently reported on China’s grand One Belt One Road plan, which involves a potential investment total of US$8 trillion and involves 68 countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe. The report showed however, that it actually has brought an economic crisis to eight countries: Djibouti, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Maldives, Mongolia, Montenegro, Pakistan and Tajikistan. Not long ago, the Center for Global Development (CGD) published its analysis on the impact of One Belt One Road. The analysis indicated that many countries developed significant dependency on China and their debt level increased significantly. For example, the African country Djibouti’s Chinese debts are now as large as 91 percent of its GDP. Another example is Pakistan’s development plan of its Port of Gwadar. Now China has pocketed around 91 percent of the Port’s income with only 9 percent left for Pakistan. The income was obtained significantly based on the deep tax cut that Pakistan offered. Sri Lanka had to rent its port city Hambantota to China for nearly one century due to the fact that the government could not pay back its debt (US$1 billion) to China.

Source: Liberty Times Network, March 6, 2018

VOA Chinese: In 2017, Mainland China Supplied the Most Counterfeit Goods to the U.S.

Voice of America (VOA) Chinese recently reported that, according to the U.S. Customs and the U.S. Border Protection Agency (BPA), the number of import seizures increased from 31,560 in 2016 to 34,134 in 2017. Most of the counterfeits were jewelry; the second largest number consisted of bags and wallets, followed by consumer electronics. Including all imported counterfeit items, the Chinese Mainland had a share of 46 percent, followed by Hong Kong’s 32 percent. Of all those supplying counterfeit goods to the United States, Mainland China remains the largest. In 2017, the U.S. imported goods that violated intellectual property rights increased by eight percent overall. The U.S. authorities arrested 475 people last year and filed 288 legal cases.

Source: VOA Chinese, March 9, 2018

Xinhua: Trade War Casts Shadow over EU-US Relationship

Xinhua recently published an analysis article discussing the intensified tough relationship between the European Union and the United States. As soon as U.S. President Trump announced the U.S. hike in the tariffs on steel and aluminum, the EU immediately described its counter measure to increase its tariffs on U.S. products such as Jeans and Harley-Davidson Motorcycles. However, Trump responded with threats against EU automobiles. The EU then promised to hold a “firm position” on defending EU interests. The French President even confirmed the position to take the fight to the WTO. Germany, the nation having the largest surplus with the U.S. in the EU, stated that “protectionism is the wrong path.” However, the U.S. is the EU’s largest trade partner. Just for the automobile and parts industry, the EU has a near US$40 billion trade surplus. The EU may not want to engage in an actual trade war against the U.S. or at least hopes to contain the conflict to a manageable level. Chinese analysts expressed their belief that Germany may not agree with the EU Council on increasing tariffs. The EU should also worry that its counter measures may end up pushing the U.S. to leave the WTO – if Trump actually delivers on his campaign promises. This may cause a global chain reaction leading to greater chaos. At the moment, with the EU-US strategic alliance relationship still in place, trade conflicts could be the new norm between the two in the years to come.

Source: Xinhua, March 8, 2018

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