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All posts by RWZ

CNA: Chinese Pension Financial Gap Is Growing

Primary Taiwanese news agency Central News Agency (CNA) recently reported that, according to a report that the IAC (The Insurance Association of China), issued, China’s pension fund’s financial gap has widened. In the next five to ten years, the IAC expects that the financial gap for the Chinese pension fund will reach RMB eight to ten trillion yuan (around US$1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion), and it won’t stop there. In the past few years, the Chinese pension gap has been a major concern among China’s elderly and even among middle-aged people. After 40 years of the birth control policy, the Chinese society is now aging very quickly. Those who pay into Social security are decreasing while the number of those receiving pensions is on the rise. The current Chinese pension system depends on social security, employers and personal funds. However, the system is not mature and lacks a managed investment market that is deep enough.

Source: CNA, November 20, 2020

HKET: China’s Q3 Debt Level Increased to 335 Percent of GDP

Hong Kong Economic Times (HKET), the leading financial daily in Hong Kong, recently reported that, according to a report that the Institute of International Finance (IIF) released, Chinese debt saw a rapid increase in the third quarter to 335 percent of its GDP. The same ratio was 302 percent at the end of last year. The total debt of the Emerging Countries grew to 250 percent of GDP. The IIF report points out that non-financial sector debts in Lebanon, China, Malaysia and Turkey had the biggest increase. Unlike previous years, non-financial corporate debts have been the main cause of China’s debts this year. By the third quarter, Chinese non-financial corporate debts reached 165 percent of China’s GDP, up from 150 percent for same quarter last year. With the coronavirus, China did not take the route of large-scale government-sponsored stimulus plans. Instead, the Chinese government allowed the companies to enlarge their borrowing scale. It appears China is asking the companies to channel through corporate bonds instead of bank loans. However, recently, many major Chinese companies have defaulted on their bonds.

Source: HKET, November 19, 2020

NHK Chinese: Japan-US Jointly Developed ICBM Interceptor Had a Successful Test

NHK Chinese Edition recently reported that the U.S. Department of Defense announced the successful initial test of a new ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) interceptor. The interception test was the first real-world use of the newly developed SM-3 Block IIA interceptor missile. On November 16, the interceptor correctly blocked an ICBM near Hawaii. The target ICBM for the test was launched in the Marshall Islands over 4,000 kilometers away. The United States Navy identified the target with high-performance radar and launched the interceptor from a warship equipped with the Aegis Combat System. Before this, the same model interceptor was only attempted on MRBMs (Medium-Range Ballistic Missiles). This was the first experiment on an ICBM. Currently North Korea has gained significant improvements with their ICBM technology. The United States has been very much concerned. This new success demonstrated that the U.S. has also significantly improved its defense capability. Japan is also planning to deploy the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor on its Aegis ships to improve the level of its defense.

Source: NHK Chinese, November 18, 2020

RFI Chinese: Chinese Ministry of Education Urgently Issued New Rules for College Teachers

Radio France Internationale (RFI) Chinese Edition recently reported that, after several incidents of graduate school students committing suicide this year, the Chinese ministry of Education urgently issued The Code of Conduct for Graduate School Teachers. The new code of conduct established ten rules on what a graduate school professor cannot do. These rules mainly include that the professor cannot neglect academic supervision and guidance, cannot require students to participate in activities unrelated to their academic or research topics, cannot delay students’ graduation time, cannot violate established academic norms and cannot damage students’ academic rights. The report gave a few examples of graduate students committed suicide in Dalian on October 13, 2020, in Beijing on May 1, 2020, and in Nanjing on December 15, 2019. These all involved graduate school professors’ misconduct in not providing academic advice, delaying final graduation grading, and personality insults over a long period of time. Some of these professors reportedly have been punished.

Source: RFI Chinese, November 11, 2020

The Paper: 15 Countries Will Sign the RCEP Agreement

Well-known new Chinese news site The Paper recently reported that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement is set to be signed at the Fourth RCEP Leadership Summit on November 15 in Hanoi, Vietnam. The 10 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries initiated RCEP. Six dialogue partner countries including China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and India were invited to participate. The aim is to reduce tariffs and non-tariff barriers and establish a 16-nation free trade agreement with a unified market. The negotiations started in November 2012 and covered over ten trade areas including small and medium-sized enterprises, investment rules, economic and technical cooperation, as well as trade in goods and services. However, In 2019, India decided to withdraw from the negotiation citing unresolved important issues. The 15 signing countries account for 30 percent of the world’s population and just under 30 percent of the global GDP.

Source: The Paper, November 14, 2020

China Built a New Tunnel in the Doklam Region between China and India

Well-known Chinese news site Sina (NASDAQ: SINA) recently reported, according to Indian media, that new satellite images showed China has built a new tunnel in the Doklam region where China and India had more than 70 days of military confrontation in 2017. The new tunnel is around 500 meters and will ensure smooth winter time military deployments. In winter, for several months, the Doklam region is often fully covered with heavy snow. If there were no such tunnel, entering that region could be significantly disrupted. China constructed this critical tunnel while having another military conflict with India in the eastern Ladakh region. So far China and India have conducted eight rounds of negotiations without reaching an agreement. There is no plan to disengage on either side. It appears that the current military confrontation will continue through the entire winter. While China was improving road conditions, India also strengthened its road quality in the Doklam region to ensure swift military operations. In the past three years, China more than doubled the number of air force bases, air defense positions, and helicopter airports. As soon as the construction is completed, these facilities will provide strong support for the Chinese military  .

Source: Sina, November 12, 2020

LTN: China’s Control over the Video Game Market Brings Greater Risks than TikTok

Major Taiwanese news network Liberty Times Network (LTN) recently reported that U.S. information security specialists and the U.S. think tank Center for a New American Security (CNAS) pointed out Chinese technology companies pose a bigger threat than the damage that comes from using TikTok. In the past ten years, Chinese tech giant Tencent invested in or acquired multiple major world-class video game makers like Activision Blizzard, Riot Games, Epic Games and Supercell. Americans spend much more time on the video games these vendors have developed than they do on TikTok and WeChat. The Chinese “soft power” reflected in these video games includes monitoring user behavior, blocking players with certain political positions and controlling video game story lines. Beijing may actually be able to read the content on millions of the computers that run these games. China can also obtain a player’s personal information as well as payment channel information. A number of experts suggested Washington should take immediate action before it’s too late.

Source: LTN, October 31, 2020

British Intelligence Agencies Are Focusing on China

Well-known Chinese news site Sina (NASDAQ: SINA) recently reported that, based on British media reports, UK intelligence agencies MI5, MI6 and GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) are establishing a new program that is currently hiring “mandarin linguists.” The goal of the program is to respond to the “intelligence threats from China.” GCHQ job postings have been listed on its website and the employees will be stationed in London, or Cheltenham, where the GCHQ monitoring and surveillance center is located. GCHQ is one of the largest linguist employers in Britain, and this new effort requires the applicants to perform “accurate analyses” and discover the “insights of the intelligence information.” They will be part of the “core functions” of the intelligence work. China’s intelligence operations now have a very large scale, and the British intelligence community is considered “far behind.” So in addition to hiring more hands, the new program also plans for a new round of technology upgrades. The British intelligence community is set to deepen the cooperation with the “Five Eyes” alliance member countries as well as the European Union.

Source: Sina, October 30, 2020