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CNA: Northeast China Environment Monitoring Stations on Alert

The primary Taiwanese news agency CNA (The Central News Agency) recently reported that the Mainland’s Ministry of Environmental Protection sent internal orders to environment monitoring stations in Northeast China to establish 24-hour on-duty monitoring schedules for radioactive pollution signs. The scope of the internal orders covers the provinces of Jilin, Liaoning, Tianjin, Hebei and Shandong. According to leaked internal information, the Chinese government expected the upcoming sixth North Korean nuclear test to be several times the scale of the fifth. There is a good possibility that the North Koreans may test some new technologies, which have a higher risk of failure. Also, over 200 high ranking military officials were called to report to the Northern Military Theater Joint Command Center. The Military Theater has already come up with several detailed combat plans to respond to the North Korean crisis.

Source: CNA, April 17, 2017

International Professional Journal Tumor Biology Retracted 107 Chinese Papers

Well-known Chinese financial news media group Caixin recently reported that the professional international journal Tumor Biology not long ago officially announced the retraction of 107 Chinese papers that had been published between 2012 and 2016, citing fraud that had occurred during the peer review process. The action was taken based on the recommendations that the global Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) had made. According to the publisher of Tumor Biology, Springer, the authors of these papers created fake email addresses using the names of specialists and experts in the field in order to provide positive reviews for these papers, without the knowledge of these specialists. The authors of these papers are from famous hospitals, universities, and institutes from several major cities in China. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the SCI (Science Citation Index) fraud that originated in China. Another example is, in 2015, the British journal BioMed Central retracted 43 papers, 41 of which were from China. Last year, Caixin sent undercover reporters to investigate the underground SCI fraud market and found that some Chinese journal networks that had ties with SCI member magazines actually conduct this type of fraud for profit.

Source: Caixin, April 21, 2017

Adidas Moved More Manufacturing Work from China to Germany

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that the sports product vendor Adidas decided to move a portion of its Chinese manufacturing work back to its robotic German facility, expecting reduced costs. Adidas entered China in 1997 for its manufacturing needs. However, starting in 2012, Adidas closed its Suzhou factory in Eastern China and began its strategy of leaving China due to increasingly higher labor costs. According to the International Labor Organization, the cost of labor in China has doubled since the year 2006. Compared to previous Adidas move-away directions, typically Southeast Asia countries, this time the manufacturing work moved to its home base in Germany, where automated robotic manufacturing lines only needed 160 people. Adidas is also developing equipment that can manufacture custom shoes right at their retail locations. In recent years, big-ticket brands such as Nike and New Balance have all focused on customization, which is not suitable for traditional labor-intensive factories. Another reason for Adidas to leave China was that German workers have much higher productivity. More and more companies are moving their manufacturing capabilities out of China. Adidas’ archrival Nike started its exit move in 2009. The same thing is occurring not just in the sports product category, but in the apparel industry as well, with brands like Zara and H&M. It seems China’s labor costs no longer matter.

Source: Sina, April 12, 2017

Apple Daily: PLA Lifted Readiness Level – Potentially Sending Troops to North Korean Border

One of the primary Hong Kong newspapers, Apple Daily, recently reported that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Northern Military Theater lifted its combat readiness level to Level Four. At the same time, part of the troops in the Middle, Eastern, Southern, and Western Theaters also lifted their combat readiness to the same level. The 40th Infantry Brigade from the Southern Theater, the 9th Armored Brigade from the Western Theater, the 3rd, the 196th, and the 77th Motorized Infantry Brigade from the Eastern, Middle, and Northern Theaters, respectively, were required to be prepared to deploy to the North Korean border. If the order is given, they may take four to twelve days to reach their designated positions. The number of troops totaled 25,000. Apple Daily reported based on information that the the China Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy released. A third party has not confirmed the information.

Source: Apple Daily, April 11, 2017

Global Times: China Increased its Investments in Pakistan

Global Times recently reported that China has approved a proposal to increase its investments in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to around US$62 billion. When the project was first kicked off, the original investment level was US$46 billion. There was one increase to US$55 billion. Pakistani officials also revealed the information at an infrastructure investment conference. According to the Economic Corridor Plan, most of these investments will be spent in the areas of electricity generation and distribution. The newly approved additional investments will be directed to various different industries, including constructing industrial parks. At the same time, talks are still underway to include the City Ring Railway of Karachi within the scope (of its investments).

Source: Global Times, April 14, 2017

SPIC: Still Evaluating Westinghouse’s Bankruptcy

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that the Chairman of China’s State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC) visited Japan and had a discussion with its parent company Toshiba about the future of Westinghouse. He told the media that SPIC was still evaluating Westinghouse’s ownership structure. SPIC has not yet made a decision on whether to acquire it. China’s third generation nuclear power plants use Westinghouse’s AP1000 nuclear technology. Based on U.S. media reports, the Trump administration has been very much concerned about the potential possibility of Chinese capital acquiring Westinghouse. Westinghouse, with its 130 years’ history, is widely recognized in the world as the original inventor of nuclear power generation. SPIC paid a lot of attention to Westinghouse’s bankruptcy before it was even filed. SPIC said the restructure of Westinghouse should not concern the U.S. government, since it has already been sold several times previously. However, sources revealed that the U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry has taken actions to seek the elimination of any Chinese connection among the potential buyers. Westinghouse owns a large number of military technologies as well.

Source: Sina, April 8, 2017

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