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Duowei: Why Beijing Reversed Its Plan to Set Up an Environmental Monitoring Station at Scarborough Shoal

On March 11, Xiao Jie, the Party Secretary of Sansha City in Hainan Province revealed that, in 2017, Sansha City will start an early operation to set up an Environmental Monitoring Station at Scarborough Shoal. However, at her regular press conference on March 22, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying denied the news, saying that the report regarding the monitoring station at the Scarborough Shoal was false and there is no such a plan.

What caused China’s sudden change of plans for Scarborough Shoal?

First of all, a breakthrough is expected soon on the negotiations on the South China Sea code of conduct. China’s aggressive actions at Scarborough Shoal at this time would surely raise concerns among ASEAN countries.

Second is the Philippines factor. After Duterte took office, Sino-Philippine diplomatic relations began to warm up. If China were to take action at Scarborough Shoal at this time, it would inevitably affect the development of bilateral relations.

Third is the U.S. factor. Scholars of Sino-U.S. strategic relations have a saying, “The day when China works on Scarborough Shoal is the day that China and the United States have a showdown in the South China Sea.” The current tension in the South China Sea dispute has led both China and the United States to strengthen military deployment in the South China Sea. So far, China’s island expansion and the United States’ military patrols to maintain freedom of navigation are controlled below the limit of any direct conflict. Scarborough Shoal seems to have become a red line in the South China Sea.

In addition, Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit the United States next month. Any move at Scarborough Shoal at this time would destroy the friendly atmosphere of the Sino-U.S. meeting.

Source: Duowei News, March 24, 2017
http://global.dwnews.com/news/2017-03-24/59807107.html

People’s Daily: The Chinese Navy Needs at Least Six Aircraft Carriers

Structural construction has almost been completed on China’s first domestic aircraft carrier and it is expected to be launched this year. In the future, China’s aircraft carrier manufacturing plan will not stop here. In an interview with CCTV, military experts said that China will need at least six aircraft carriers to meet operational requirements and that the aircraft carrier should develop in the direction of being large-scale.

Military expert Cao Weidong said that China’s maritime boundary is very long and China faces serious threats from the sea. China desperately needs a large-scale combat platform such as the aircraft carriers. Therefore, China should not stop at one or two aircraft carriers. Nuclear-powered aircraft carriers represent the future direction of development, with bigger tonnage and stronger combat capability. (China) should build ejection take-off aircraft carriers and have fixed-wing early warning planes on the aircraft carriers.

Military expert Yin Zhuo said that Chinese army must have aircraft carrier battle formations in the direction of both the East China Sea and the South China Sea. Each aircraft carrier battle team should be at least a double aircraft carrier battle group. In general, three aircraft carriers are needed in order to maintain a double aircraft carrier battle group. Thus, the Chinese Navy will need at least six aircraft carriers to meet operational requirements.

Source: People’s Daily, March 22, 2017
http://military.people.com.cn/n1/2017/0322/c1011-29160065.html

China Telecom’s Former Chairman Chang Xiaobing Prosecuted

On March 9, The Supreme People’s Procuratorate of China released the news that Chang Xiaobing, the former Chairman of China Telecom Group was prosecuted for “bribery.”

Prosecutors from Baoding in Hebei Province revealed that the litigation against Chang Xiaobing was for making illegal profits for other people and taking bribes while on his post as Deputy Director of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, Chairman of China Unicom.

Chang Xiaobing was the Chairman of China Unicom for 11 years before being transferred to China Telecom Group in August of 2015. It is widely known that Chang Xiaobing is a close associate of Jiang Mianheng, Jiang Zemin’s eldest son. “Jiang Mianheng is considered China Unicom’s “boss” behind the scenes.”

Source: Sina, March 9, 2017
http://www.sina.com.cn/midpage/mobile/index.d.html?docID=fychhus0251466&url=tech.sina.cn/t/2017-03-09/detail-ifychhus0251466.d.html

Global Times Proposes to Enhance China’s Nuclear Weapons to Counter U.S.-Korean “THAAD” Deployment

As elements of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense “THAAD” anti-missile system, such as the launch pad and other equipment, have been shipped to South Korea, China’s sanctions against South Korea have also become more earnest. However, the United States is the initiator and the biggest promoter of “THAAD” in Korea. How to deal with the U.S.’s strategic attack on China is a more critical question. It is difficult for China to implement economic sanctions against the United States. To punish the “THAAD” producer, Lockheed Martin, is also beyond reach. If China targets the U.S. economy, China is in the strategic disadvantage in the fight. The U.S. economy is too large in scale.

Korea and the United States are completely different objects. South Korea’s economy is small and highly dependent on China. It has a big trade surplus with China. China has numerous ways to launch sanctions against Korea. Economic sanctions are always a tool a big country uses to target small countries. We will target whoever is weaker.

However, the United States is deploying the anti-missile system at China’s doorstep. It must pay the price. So how can we make the United States pay?

China’s counter measure is to let Washington feel the strong deterring power of our nuclear weapons. China only has a small number of nuclear warheads and is the only country that has declared that it will not be the first to use nuclear weapons. However, China has ample financial resources to expand its nuclear arsenal. Our more advanced strategic missiles continue to come out. The United States comes to the door of China to engage in an anti-missile game. It has broken the original strategic balance. Then China should curb the U.S. with a larger number of nuclear warheads and with strategic nuclear missiles that have a more penetrating ability. We should not only recoup the loss that “THAAD” has caused and restore the balance; but also create a new surplus of our strategic nuclear forces.

Beijing should clearly tell Washington that deploying the “THAAD” anti-missile system around China will lead to China’s increase in nuclear power. If the United States anti-missile action and strategic suppression intensifies, China may also need to reconsider the basic national policy not to be the first to use nuclear weapons.

Source: Global Times, March 9, 2017
http://opinion.huanqiu.com/editorial/2017-03/10277556.html

New Regulation Prohibits Sale or Purchase of Foreign Publications through Taobao Online Platform

On March 3, Taobao, a popular Chinese online merchant platform which the Alibaba Group founded and which is similar to Amazon , released a notice about a new rule for online customers. The rule prohibits the sale or purchase of foreign publications through the Taobao platform. The provisions will be effective on March 10, 2017. The notice shows that all publications outside the mainland are regarded as foreign publications, including those from Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and other overseas regions. In addition, those sellers who have licenses for publication businesses cannot post any advertising related to the sale or purchase of overseas publications.

Source: Sohu, March 5, 2017
http://news.sohu.com/20170305/n482408257.shtml

CPPCC Vice Chairman Criticizes China’s Online Review System

In a joint interview with the media in Beijing on March 1, Luo Fu, Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), pointed out some of the problems that result from China’s online censorship rules.

Luo said that the speed of visits to overseas websites in China is becoming ever slower. This will greatly impact economic development and scientific research in China. It should garner a high degree of concern. Luo gave multiple examples that require attention. Some foreign university sites take more than half an hour to open; many domestic scholars and graduate students have to buy special software to get around the firewall for their scientific research needs. Some students in China cannot complete the relevant forms for online filing because they cannot open the university sites in foreign countries; some experts in China need to travel to Hong Kong on weekends or holidays and other places in order to visit overseas sites to research needed Information; some foreign enterprises in China also complain about the speed of visits to overseas websites. In recent years, some Taiwan delegations who visited the CPPCC also complained that there are a lot of websites they cannot normally enter while in the mainland. In addition, some well-known foreign search engines cannot normally be opened in China.

Luo believed that the main reasons for the problems are not enough bandwidth for an international port, limited online service providers, and online regulations that are too strict.

Luo’s interview was initially published on the CPPCC website and later withdrawn.

Source: Sohu, March 4, 2017
http://news.sohu.com/20170304/n482358871.shtml

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