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China Escalates its Control over Lawyers

The All-China Lawyers Association (ACLA) issued new regulations for lawyers and law firms banning them from discussing cases in public in the latest move to tighten control over lawyers.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) established the ACLA in July 1986 and placed it under China’s Ministry of Justice.  under the ACLA Charter Article 3. The ACLA follows Xi Jinping and the CCP’s leadership and practices law according to China’s socialist rule of law. All lawyers in China are members of the ACLA.

On October 20, 2021, the ACLA issued the “Rules on Prohibiting Violations and Speculation on Cases.” The Rules require that lawyers and law firms shall not “spread violations of the [CCP’s] party line, principles, and policies,” “oppose the leadership of the Communist Party of China,” or “incite complaints against the Party and the government.”

The new ACLA regulations also require that lawyers and law firms not hype up cases through joint signatures, open letters, and online gatherings to show solidarity. They also ban posting comments on cases on social media.

In addition, the ACLA stipulates that, for publicly heard cases, the undertaking lawyers shall not disclose or disseminate important information and evidence materials obtained through client interviews, file reviews, investigations, and evidence collection “that may affect the handling of the case.” For cases that are not heard publicly, lawyers cannot disclose or disseminate case information and materials.

However, some of these bans are causing grave concerns among rights lawyers in China.

Since July 9, 2015 (7-09), the police in over 20 provinces and cities throughout China have conducted a crackdown. They have arrested, summoned, criminally detained, taken away, disappeared, or interrogated hundreds of Chinese human rights lawyers, civil rights activists, petitioners, and their relatives. The charges against them have included: “inciting subversion,” “disturbing a court order,” “picking quarrels, provoking troubles,” and many other examples. At least 280 people were detained during the crackdown.  The authorities banned them from the practice of law and continued to monitor and harass them after their release.

The CCP touted the 7-09 crackdown on lawyers as its significant achievement in 2015. During the following year’s 3rd Plenary Session of the 5th Session of the 12th National People’s Congress on March 12, 2016. Zhou Qiang, President of the Supreme Court, and Cao Jianming, President of the Supreme Procuratorate, made special mention of the crackdown.

Sources:

1. The All China Lawyer Association, October 20, 2021
http://www.acla.org.cn/article/page/detailById/32079

2. U.S. Department of State, July 8, 2021
https://www.state.gov/on-the-6th-anniversary-of-the-709-crackdown-in-china/

Beijing Updates Approved Media List, Tightening Control

On October 20, 2021, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) published an updated list of approved news sources. The list contains Internet news providers from which other sites can reprint contents.

Compared to the 2016 list, the updated list of 1,358 news sources includes more public and social media accounts based on how they followed the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) directions in the past. According to the CAC, the update also eliminated media from the previous 2016 list because those media “no longer meet the requirements, have a poor daily performance, and lack influence.”

Caixin, one of China’s best-known outspoken business publications, was eliminated from the 2021 list.

Despite increasingly tight control under China’s Xi Jinping, the privately funded Caixin has published many articles that the CCP does not like and has become influential as a result. That influence is a challenge for the CCP.

People currently subscribe to Caixin reports because Caixin has a strong team of investigative reporters known for their exclusive reports. The extent to which the removal from the 2021 news source list may impact Caixin’s business remains to be seen.

CCP controlled media must publish in accordance with CCP’s agenda. Everyone is a reporter or photographer in the Internet age, a reality that the CCP cannot change. It is questionable whether the CCP’s updated approval of the media list will effectively shut down different voices.

Source: Cyberspace Administration of China, October 20, 2021
http://www.cac.gov.cn/2021-10/20/c_1636326280912456.htm?showOutlinkMenu=1&hgWebShareTitle=

Second Baby Boomer Generation Enters Sixties in an Aging China

On October 14, 2021, China Business News ran a feature on the second baby-boomer population. The article was based on an interview with Yuan Xin, professor at the School of Economics of Nankai University, Tianjin, China.

 

Since 1949, China has experienced three “baby boomer periods.” They were from 1950 to1958, 1962 to 1975, and 1981 to1997. Those born during the three “baby boomer periods” will enter their 60s in 2010 to 2018, 2022 to 2035, and 2041 to 2057. These periods will bring three “shock waves” to China’s economy. 

 

Next year, China’s second baby-boomer population will officially become 60 years old.

 

Yuan said that at the end of the 21st century, the population of 60 and above will remain at 400 million and account for over 37 percent of the entire population in China.

 

Yuan said that, compared with other countries in the world, China’s elderly population has four unique characteristics.

 

One, China has a large number of older people who are 60 and above. According to the United Nations (UN) “World Population Prospects 2019,” forecast data shows that in 2052, China’s population of people at age 60 and above will reach the peak of 490 million people. One out of every four older people in the world will live in China.

 

Two, China is aging at an unprecedented rapid speed. Yuan said that the average annual growth rate of China’s elderly population far exceeds the average annual growth rate of the total population. The rate of population aging in China is faster than in countries with more than 100 million people.

 

Three, China has a larger share of the population aged 60 and above in its total population. In 2000, ten percent of its total population were 60 and above (aging country). The 2020 national census shows that the figure has reached 18.7 percent. It will exceed 20 percent in 2025 (making China a deeply aging country) and 30 percent in 2041 (making it a severely aging country), according to the United Nations. This means that it will take China 25 years from 2000 to transition from an aging country to a deeply aging country in 2025. That is 45 to 50 years faster than the average of developed countries. 

Further, it will take merely 16 years for China to transition from a deeply aging country in 2025 to a severely aging country in 2041, 14 years faster than the average of developed countries. In 2041, China will have  one of the oldest populations in the world.

 

Four, China is a super-stable aging country. When the rapid aging process is over, China will be a super-stable aging country in the second half of the 21st century due to its large senior population. By then, the size of China’s elderly population will remain between 400 million and 480 million, which is between 35 percent and 38 percent of its total population. 

 

Source: China Business Network, October 14, 2021

https://www.yicai.com/news/101197277.html

Communist Party Political Inspectors Arrive at Top Financial Institutions

Political inspectors from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have kicked off the eighth round of inspections since Xi Jinping took office as the CCP General Secretary of the 18th National Congress. A month ago, the CCP Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) announced political inspections of 25 financial institutions.

Recently, the Second Inspection Team arrived at the Bank of Communications Co., Ltd. and the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The Fourth Inspection Team came to the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC); and the Fifth Inspection Team was at the China Everbright Group Co., Ltd. Each inspection will take about two months.

The Bank of Communications Co., Ltd. is among the top 5 leading commercial banks in China. It is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the Shanghai Stock Exchange. In addition to over 2,800 branches in China, it has 23 overseas subsidiaries, branches, and representative offices in Hong Kong, New York, San Francisco, Tokyo, Singapore, Sydney, Frankfurt, London, Paris, and Johannesburg, as well as other cities.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange is the world’s 3rd largest stock market by market capitalization at US$7.62 trillion as of July 2021. It is also Asia’s largest stock exchange. According to its website, “Under the strong leadership of the CPC [the Communist Party of China] the Central Committee and the State Council and under the direct guidance of the CSRC [the China Securities Regulatory Commission], along with fervent support from all sectors of society, the Exchange makes it its mission to serve the nation’s reform and development initiatives.” CBIRC is a state agency under China’s State Council. It is the main regulator of the banking and insurance institutions.

China Everbright Group Corporation is a state-owned financial conglomerate listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, with alternative asset management as its core business. During the kick-off at these institutions, the Inspection Teams emphasized that the inspection is “an important measure to uphold and strengthen the Party’s overall leadership over financial work, promote the Party building, especially political development; and an important measure to safeguard national economic security and promote the financial industry.” It is also “an important measure to strengthen the comprehensive and strict governance of the Party in the financial sector and promote the deepening of the anti-corruption struggle.”

The Inspection Teams urged the Party committees at these financial institutions to “improve their political positions and re-enforce their political responsibilities.”

The Inspection Teams have set up inspection hotlines and mailboxes for complaints and will receive letters and visits until December 15, 2021.

Source: Beijing News, October 13, 2021
https://www.bjnews.com.cn/detail/163408805114960.html

 

China to Increase Investment in Research and Development Significantly by 2025

At the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Talent Work Conference held in Beijing on September 27 and 28, 2021, Xi Jinping said that China’s competition for national power is a competition for talent. The top echelons of the CCP leadership attended the conference.

 

Xi said that China is currently embarking on a new journey to a modern socialist country in which high-level technological self-reliance is the key. “Competition for comprehensive national power is, in the final analysis, a competition for talent.”  Xi laid out a timetable for China to become a leading world power in science and technology within two decades, with world-class talent.

 

By 2025, China’s investment in research and development should have increased substantially, with major progress made in building up top-notch scientists for scientific and technological innovation. 

 

By 2030, China should have established a talent system that can adapt to the needs of high-quality development. The system should have significantly improved the ability to train and attract innovative world-class talent.

 

By 2035, China should have attained a competitive advantage in the competition for talent in various fields and should rank among the leading countries in the world for its strategic and technological strength, with an army of top-notch talent.

 

On October 2, 2021, People’s Daily issued an editorial promoting Xi’s remarks on the importance of recruiting, training, and using talent to build up national power. 

 

Sources:

1. The People’s Government of China, September 28, 2021 

http://www.gov.cn/xinwen/2021-09/28/content_5639868.htm

2. People’s Daily, October 2, 2021

http://www.gov.cn/xinwen/2021-10/02/content_5640810.htm

Huawei to Recruit More Foreign Talent for Research

Ren Zhengfei, the founder of the Chinese telecommunications equipment giant Huawei, proposed that the company would hire more foreign talent and turn its U.S. R&D centers into “recruitment agencies.” He also stated that Huawei’s R&D centers in other countries should also step up talent recruitment.

Huawei made an  announcement on September 28, 2021. It stated that Ren made the above remarks on August 12, 2021, at a Huawei meeting on how to recruit foreign talent.

At that meeting, Ren pointed out that Huawei is at a critical stage of strategic survival and development. It must be more active in acquiring the best talent in the world. In addition to recruiting the top talent in China, it must increase the recruitment of overseas Chinese students.  More importantly, Huawei should step up its efforts to hire foreign talent and increase the budget for Huawei’s overseas R&D centers.

He expressed that the United States imposes restrictions on some Master’s and Ph.D. student visa applications. Chinese students returning from studying in the United States will gradually decrease in the future. Therefore, Huawei must find ways to attract talent from other countries who are studying and working in Europe and the United States.

Ren asked that Huawei’s overseas R&D centers take responsibility and carry out the mission of recruiting talent. “It is necessary to turn the North American R&D centers into talent recruitment agencies.” Ren emphasized that all overseas R&D centers must do the same in order to build a global talent network for Huawei.

Ren said, “We need to recruit some ‘high noses’ [foreigners] that know how to use ‘foreign guns and cannons.’ It may take three to five years to move gradually from the approach of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) army [against Japan in World War II] to an internationalized approach. In particular, we must attract outstanding talent from other countries who have studied or worked in the United States and Europe to work in China.”

Ren further stated that overseas R&D centers are primarily for research, not product development and that Huawei should encourage those currently engaged in product development to work in China for some time.

Ren believed that it is necessary to support some outstanding Ph.D. candidates to join Huawei in China and do post-Doctoral studies in coordination with Chinese universities.

Source: Huawei, September 28, 2021
http://xinsheng.huawei.com/cn/index.php?app=forum&mod=Detail&act=index&id=6466593

Beijing Orders Inspections of 25 Financial Institutions

On September 26, 2021, the CCP Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) announced that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will conduct political inspections of 25 financial institutions.

Zhao Leji, a CCP politburo standing committee member and head of the CCDI, stressed, during a conference ahead of the inspections, that it will be a thorough disciplinary inspection of the 25 financial institutions. He said that the inspections are to ensure political supervision and serve as a means of “tightening the rule of the Party.” The inspections will be conducted from a political perspective. He called for in-depth reviews to uncover any political deviations by CCP organizations at these financial institutions.

The 25 financial institutions include state-owned banks, stock exchanges, regulatory commissions, insurance companies, asset management companies, and other financial institutions that invest in private companies. The complete list follows: People’s Bank of China, China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, China Securities Regulatory Commission, the Administration of Foreign Exchange, China Investment Corporation, China Development Bank, the Export-Import Bank of China, the Agricultural Development Bank of China, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Agricultural Bank of China, the Bank of China, China Construction Bank, the Bank of Communications, CITIC Group, the Everbright Group, the People’s Insurance Group of China, China Life Insurance, China Taiping Insurance Group, China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation, the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, China Huarong, China Great Wall Asset Management, China Orient Asset Management, and China Cinda Asset Management.

Last month, on August 17, 2021, Xi Jinping presided over the tenth meeting of the CCP Central Finance and Economics Committee and emphasized that it is necessary to coordinate the prevention and resolution of significant financial risks, punish financial corruption, and prevent and control financial risks.

Recently, the CCP investigated and disciplined several CCP officials from financial institutions at the central level, including the China Development Bank, the Agricultural Development Bank of China, and the Bank of Communications.

It is noted that China’s financial system has traditionally been controlled by the CCP “princelings,” the second generation of the CCP’s top families. This includes former president Jiang Zemin and his faction.

This inspection is the eighth round of inspections and the largest financial inspection since Xi Jinping took office as the CCP General Secretary of the 18th National Congress. The previous seven rounds of inspections occurred in February 2018, October 2018, April 2019, September 2019, May 2020, October 2020, and May 2021.

Sources:

CCP Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, September 26, 2021

https://www.ccdi.gov.cn/toutiao/202109/t20210926_251273.html,
https://www.ccdi.gov.cn/toutiao/202109/t20210926_251271.html

China Buys Nearly a Quarter of the World’s Exported Whole Milk Powder

According to a Russian report, in 2020, China bought nearly a quarter of the total of all global exports of whole milk powder and in 2021, China has continued to expand its imports of whole milk powder. 

On September 14, 2021, the Agricultural Products Export Development Center of the Russian Ministry of Agriculture released a report. According to the report, the total exports of whole milk powder in 2020 was 2.745,900 metric tons. China bought 23 percent of those exports. 

From January to July 2021, China’s total whole milk powder imports increased by 34 percent from 455,000 metric tons compared to the same period last year. The total reached was 609,000 metric tons. New Zealand exported 561,000 metric tons to China during this period. 

In addition, the Russian report also mentioned that, in 2020, China bought 13 percent, 9 percent, and 4 percent of global exports of skimmed milk powder, butter, and cheese. The Russian government is currently negotiating with the Chinese government on the milk powder supply. Recently, on August 7, 2021, the two sides held talks on this issue.

Source:

Liberty Times, September 16, 2021
https://ec.ltn.com.tw/article/breakingnews/3673306