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Lou Jiwei: China Faces Serious Fiscal Challenges

Lou Jiwei, a prominent politician, and currently the director of the 13th CPPCC Foreign Affairs Committee, warned that China’s fiscal situation is facing serious danger and challenges. Lou Jiwei made a speech on December 22, 2020, on the topic at the Fifth Forum on Finance and National Governance (2020) and the 40th Anniversary Seminar of “Financial Research.” The full text was published in “Financial Research” 2021 (Issue No. 1).
 
Lou said, “We (China) are facing major changes unseen in a century. The major changes in the internal and external environment, whether it is changes in the domestic economic and social situation, the global economic downturn, high government debt, and global trade frictions, will make our country’s fiscal sustainability face huge uncertainties and severe challenges.”

“The contradiction between fiscal revenue and expenditures is extremely acute, and fiscal pressure is increasing. Since April 2020, the national fiscal expenditure growth rate has continued to accelerate and has greatly exceeded the growth rate of fiscal revenue. Local fiscal pressure has continued to increase. The fiscal deficits of different regions have maintained an expansion trend. In the medium and long term, due to the impact of the (covid-19) epidemic, the decline in the potential economic growth rate, and the global economic downturn, total national fiscal revenue is expected to remain at a low level over the next five years, while the pressure on fiscal expenditures will remain relatively high. Although the optimization of the fiscal expenditure structure can release part of the financial resources, the expansion of fiscal expenditures has not changed. There is little room for the government to reduce general expenditures. It can be said that financial difficulties are not only near-term and short-term issues, but also very difficult in the medium term.”

“From the perspective of debt, the problem of government debt has increasingly become an important factor affecting future fiscal stability and economic security. From 2009 to 2020, the proactive fiscal policy has been implemented for 11 years, the fiscal deficit has continued to expand, and the debt scale has expanded accordingly. The proportion of debt interest payments in the general public budget expenditures continues to rise. The growth rate far exceeds the growth rate of total expenditures. 2017, 2018 and 2019 exceeded the total expenditure growth rate of the year by 16, 10 and 4.5 percent respectively. From January to November 2020, debt interest payments increased by 16.1 percent over the same period in the previous year, which exceeded the growth rate of total expenditure by 15.4 percent. In 2019, the central government debt interest payment accounted for 13 percent of the central government’s expenditures. It is expected to have risen to about 15 percent for 2020. The problem of local debt is even more prominent, and the accrued local government debt has been increasing rapidly. Although increasing debt in the short term can alleviate the pressure of fiscal shortages, it poses greater challenges to the sustainability of local finances in the future. During the “14th Five-Year Plan” period, the debt sustainability of most provinces and municipalities is worrisome. About a quarter of the provincial fiscal revenues will be used for debt service and interest payments. The local government debt problem not only affects the local government’s public service supply capacity, but also accumulates fiscal and financial risks.”

“Aging will also bring severe challenges to the sustainability of our country’s finances. Statistics show that in 2019, (China) had a population of 253.88 million people aged 60 and above, accounting for 18.1percent of the total population, of which 170.03 million were 65 years old and above, accounting for 12.6 percent of the total population. The aging society is accelerating.”

“At the same time, affected by the global economic downturn and global risks, the external uncertainty of fiscal reform and development has increased. … At present, affected by the impact of the epidemic and the spillovers of major countries’ macroeconomic policies, emerging market countries are facing a double blow from the economy and finance. Economic risks are transformed into fiscal risks and financial risks. The risk of falling into a debt crisis is increasing.”

Source: NETEASE, February, 24, 2021
https://www.163.com/dy/article/G3KU1S9Q0531SRGP.html

China’s Military Newspaper Reported Details of Border Clash with India, Claiming Victory

China’s top military newspaper PLA Daily published articles on February 19, which reported in detail the whole process of the military clashes between China and India last year at the West border area of the Karakoram Plateau. The report stated, “Since April 2020, the relevant foreign (India) troops have seriously violated the agreement between our two countries by building roads, bridges and other facilities in the Kalwan Valley area toward the border, deliberately provoking incidents, trying unilaterally to change the status quo of the border control, and even violently attacking China.” The report further disclosed that four Chinese military officers and soldiers died in a fierce fight in June 2020, after the negotiations failed.

The article claimed that the Chinese military came out victorious, “Under the circumstances of unbearable tolerance, the border officers and soldiers resolutely responded to the violent acts and achieved major victories, effectively defending national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

On February 10, 2021, China’s Defense Ministry’s spokesperson declared that, after 8 months of confrontation, both sides have started to retreat from the border simultaneously.

Sources: PLA Daily, February 19, 2021;
http://www.81.cn/yw/2021-02/19/content_9987403.htm
Sohu, February 10, 2021
https://www.sohu.com/a/450383357_120504280

Twitter Refuses to Delete Hua Chunying’s Fabricated Xinjiang Propaganda

On Thursday, January 14, Hua Chunying, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Communist China, circulated a propaganda video on human rights in Xinjiang on Twitter. The propaganda denied the CCP’s forced labor policy against the Uyghurs and accused the United States government of spreading rumors. In response, a Twitter spokesperson said on Friday, January 15, that the tweets of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not violate their company regulations.

The spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hua Chunying, issued a series of tweets on Thursday that the existence of forced labor in Xinjiang “is the biggest lie of this century. It aimed at restricting and suppressing Chinese (CCP) authorities and Chinese companies and curbing China’s development.”

However, according to reports from multi-party investigations, in recent years, the Chinese Communist Party has intensified its crackdown on Uyghur ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. The actual evidence exposed the mass detention of approximately 1 million people, the mandatory re-education programs, the highly invasive surveillance, the religious suppression, the forced sterilization of women, and the forced labor.

The Associated Press has conducted extensive investigations on this, including first-hand interviews with about 30 former CCP’s detainees, and found that the CCP authorities had conducted pregnancy tests on thousands of Uyghur women and forced them to undergo forced abortions and sterilization.

The Chinese Communist regime has consistently denied these allegations on Twitter and claimed that the place where these detainees were held was a vocational training center aimed at curbing religious extremism and preventing terrorism.

One of Hua Chunying’s tweets on Thursday also accused the United States of fabricating lies and using “bad actions” to violate international trade rules and “damage the interests of global companies and consumers including those in the United States.”

A promotional video was attached to the tweet, with the title of smiling workers working in Xinjiang factories, spreading the message, “Many of our living habits have been changed and improved.” This video became the latest propaganda material that the Chinese Communist regime used to whitewash its repressive actions in Xinjiang.

A Twitter spokesperson told Fox News that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Chinese Communist’s denied having a forced labor policy in Xinjiang, accused the U.S. of disinformation on Twitter and said China did not violate their company’s regulations.

The Chinese Communist Party has banned one billion ordinary people from using Twitter, but it seems that officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the party’s media are not restricted.

Source: China News, January 15, 2021
https://news.creaders.net/china/2021/01/15/2311011.html

A Number of Provincial Military Commands, Municipal Garrison Commands and Beijing Garrison Commands across China Held Meetings

Recently, a number of provincial party committee secretaries participated in meetings of the Provincial Military Commands, Municipal Garrison Commands and Beijing Garrison Commands.

From January 6 to 7, the Beijing Garrison Command, the Chongqing Garrison Command, the Zhejiang Provincial Military Command, the Jiangxi Provincial Military Command, the Guizhou Provincial Military Command, and the Yunnan Provincial Military Command all held expanded meetings of party committees.

The Secretary of the provincial party committee attended the meetings. All 31 provincial administrative regions are equipped with corresponding provincial military commands.

Source: Sohu, January 9, 2021
https://www.sohu.com/a/443423849_221650

Epoch Times: China’s Provincial Authorities Set Quantitative Standards for Obtaining Overseas Advanced Technologies for Job Performance

Epoch Times obtained an internal document from the Hebei (Province) authorities. The document revealed that the provincial authorities set quantitative standards for obtaining advanced overseas technologies as job performance indicators. Moreover, institutions under the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Communist Party of China are directly involved.
The document was the “Provincial Budget Project Performance Evaluation Form” (issued on November 17, 2020) by the Hebei International Talent Exchange Association. It shows that the organization’s “performance indicators” include four components: expanding at least 50 cooperation channels; organizing no less than four international scientific and technological cooperation activities; preparing no less than 50 foreign technology projects in reserve, achieving no less than five cooperation intentions; and adding 60-80 foreign technology experts into the reserve.

Its “output indicators” include: introducing foreign advanced scientific and technological innovations and realizing technology transfer, with the number being equal to or greater than 50; the introduction of 3 high-end talent teams in areas of information and communication, biotechnology, medicine and health, new materials, advanced manufacturing, energy, aerospace, and artificial intelligence; signing at least five relevant agreements with friendly groups, expert organizations, research institutions, and universities in the world.

The Hebei International Talent Exchange Association (International Technology Transfer Center) was established in 1988. It has more than 200 technical projects and more than 300 experts, covering more than 10 categories including artificial intelligence, information communication, biotechnology, medicine and health, new materials, modern services and more.

In its “Application Report of Establishing the International Technology Transfer Center by the Hebei International Talent Exchange Association” on November 21, 2020, it is revealed that the focus of the association’s work is to “introduce advanced scientific and technological innovations from abroad and realize technology transfer.”

In its “Presentation of Achievements, it stated that the association and multiple institutions jointly initiated the “Alliance of International Science and Technology Innovation Cooperation.”

So far, this alliance has won the Israeli agriculture project, the production of nanocarbons from waste plastics project, the Hungarian energy grass project, German industrial wastewater treatment technology, South Africa quinoa seed and planting technology, South Africa glaucoma treatment technology and more.

Source: Epoch Times, December 11, 2020
https://www.epochtimes.com/gb/20/12/11/n12612099.htm

Xinhua: Shanghai Begins Vaccinations against New Coronavirus among High-Risk Personnel in Key Positions

According to China’s state news agency Xinhua, the Shanghai Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that Shanghai has successively started vaccinations against the New Coronavirus (covid-19 virus), using vaccines of the inactivated whole virus.
  
It is reported that this emergency vaccination in Shanghai mainly involves personnel in key positions with a higher risk of contracting the new coronary pneumonia. Specifically, the front-line customs inspection and quarantine personnel at the port involved in imported cold chain items, port loading and unloading, handling, transportation and other related personnel; international and domestic transportation personnel; personnel to work and study overseas; border port staff who are facing a higher risk from overseas epidemics; medical and health personnel; workers at government agencies and departments of public security, armed police, fire fighters, those in community service; water, electricity, gas and other related personnel; personnel at transportation, logistics, elderly care facilities, sanitation, funeral, communications and other related areas.
  
In due course, Shanghai will launch the new coronavirus vaccination for people going abroad for private purposes.

Source: Xinhua, December 26, 2020
http://www.xinhuanet.com/local/2020-12/26/c_1126910999.htm

Skynews: Major Leak ‘Exposes’ Members and ‘Lifts the Lid’ on the Chinese Communist Party

Sharri Markson, the host of the Australian media, Sky News, reported that a major leak has occurred. The leak contains a register with the details of nearly two million Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members – exposing members who are now working all over the world. The leak also lifts the lid on how the party operates under Xi Jinping. Ms. Markson said the leak is a register with the details of Communist Party members, including their names, party position, birthday, national ID number and ethnicity. “It is believed to be the first leak of its kind in the world,” the Sky News host said. “What’s amazing about this database is not just that it exposes people who are members of the communist party and who are now living and working all over the world, from Australia to the US to the UK,” Ms. Markson said. “But it’s amazing because it lifts the lid on how the party operates under President and Chairman Xi Jinping.” Ms. Markson said the leak demonstrates that party branches are embedded in some of the world’s biggest companies and even inside government agencies. “Communist party branches have been set up inside western companies, allowing the infiltration of those companies by CCP members – who, if called on, are answerable directly to the communist party, to the Chairman, the president himself,” she said. “Along with the personal identifying details of 1.95 million communist party members, mostly from Shanghai, there are also the details of 79,000 communist party branches, many of them inside companies.” Ms Markson said the leak is a significant security breach likely to embarrass Xi Jinping. “It is also going to embarrass some global companies who appear to have no plan in place to protect their intellectual property from theft, from economic espionage,” she said. Ms. Markson said the data was extracted from a Shanghai server by Chinese dissidents, whistleblowers, in April 2016, who have been using it for counter-intelligence purposes. “It was then leaked in mid-September to the newly-formed international bi-partisan group, the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China – and that group is made up of 150 legislators around the world. “It was then provided to an international consortium of four media organizations, The Australian, The Sunday Mail in the UK, De Standaard in Belgium and a Swedish editor, to analyse over the past two months, and that’s what we’ve done.” Ms. Markson said, “It is worth noting that there’s no suggestion that these members have committed espionage – but the concern is over whether Australia or these companies knew of the CCP members and if so have any steps been taken to protect their data and people.”

The Chinese Newspaper Epoch Times further identified that the list also included members who worked for the 610 office (an extrajudicial entity set up specifically for the purpose of persecuting Falun Gong).

Sources:
1. Skynews, December 13, 2020; The Epoch Times, December 16, 2020
https://www.skynews.com.au/details/_6215946537001
2. The Epoch Times
https://www.epochtimes.com/gb/20/12/16/n12623600.htm

U.K. Daily Mail Reports Information from Leaked Data Base: Massive CCP Infiltration of UK Firms

The U.K. Daily Mail reported that a leaked database revealed that loyal members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have conducted a massive infiltration of British consulates, universities and some of the UK’s leading companies.

The database was originally leaked on the Telegram, the encrypted instant messaging app. Then in September a Chinese dissident passed it to the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), which comprises more than 150 legislators around the world who are concerned about the influence and activities of the Chinese government.

The leaked database of 1.95m registered party members reveals how Beijing’s malign influence now stretches into almost every corner of British life, including defense firms, banks and pharmaceutical giants.

According to a report from The Epoch Times, an analysis of the database further revealed that the list included members who worked for the 610 office (an extrajudicial entity set up specifically to persecute practitioners of Falun Gong).

Sources:
1. U.K. Daily Mail, December 14, 2020.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9046783/Leaked-files-expose-mass-infiltration-UK-firms-Chinese-Communist-Party.html
2. The Epoch Times, December 16, 2020.
https://www.epochtimes.com/gb/20/12/16/n12623600.htm