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Briefings

Duowei: China’s Rise May Be Entering a Bottleneck Period; Two High-Level Officials Disclosed “Internal and External Problems”

Recently, the “2018 China Enterprise Credit Development Forum and the 9th Public Welfare Ceremony for Integrity” were held in Beijing.

He Zhen, former Deputy Chairman of the NPC Financial and Economic Committee, said in a speech at the forum that China’s local debt is estimated to be about 40 trillion yuan ($6.24 trillion). Although the scale is still within the acceptable range, none of the local governments want to repay their debts. “Now, if you want someone to repay these debts, he will say that we don’t even have the money to pay wages; we are having big financial difficulties. What are we going to do? Therefore, regarding those debts that are owed at present, before any mention is made about paying down the principal, they can’t even pay the interest that is due.”

He believes that China has issued too much currency. The data shows that, at the end of 2017, M2 was 167.68 trillion yuan , ($26.158 trillion), which is 25 percent of what China’s GDP was that year and is higher than any other country in the world.

At another conference, Li Ruogu, President of the China Export-Import Bank, expressed his views on China’s external situation. He specifically mentioned that the U.S.’s judgment about China has undergone a fundamental change. Sino-U.S. trade friction is essentially a controversy on the direction of China’s development.

Li Ruogu said that Sino-U.S. relations will not continue along the path they have taken over the past 40 years. Specifically, in the United States, no matter what party or class, most of them advocate a tough attitude towards China. This allows the U.S. to move beyond the partisan line on its China strategy and operate quickly and effectively.

Source: Duowei News, May 22, 2018
http://news.dwnews.com/china/news/2018-05-22/60059651.html

Duowei: Xi Jinping Talked about ZTE on Five Occasions and Warned the Military Not to Fall behind in Technology

In April, 2018, the Trump administration announced that it would implement an embargo prohibiting U.S. companies from selling core components, including semiconductor chips, to the Chinese company ZTE. {The company was punished because it violated the United States sanctions against Iran and North Korea and then lied about it.} ZTE’s main business became paralyzed at once. China’s neck was being chocked in the area of core technology. This instantly sent a shockwave across China’s ruling circles and society. In the short one month period since the incident took place, Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, has spoken out about it five times. He said that “a great power can’t rely on other people for important tools.” He issued a call to catch up with the core technology.

As the whole country talked about the ZTE incident and disputed the policies over {the development of technology}, China’s official press published Xi Jinping’s new book, Excerpts from Xi Jinping’s Discussion of the Overall National Security Concept. In the book, Xi raised the core technologies issue to the level of national security. The book stated, even before the recent ZTE incident and the Sino-U.S. trade friction, that Xi had decided that China should have control of its own chips, operating systems and other core technologies. In his two speeches in July and August, 2013, Xi claimed that having the advantage of core technologies is essential to gain a strong international presence. “We must make great efforts in key areas and areas where our necks can be choked. This is also true for the military.” Although China has spent a lot of money on upgrading its military, in a speech in 2014, Xi still warned the military because it lagged behind in technology.

On April 17, 2018, the official media People’s Daily published an article responding that China “will increase its investment in chips at any cost.” The media then published news that China would increase capital by another 500 billion yuan (US $78 billion) for a special fund that had first been established in 2014, which will focus on supporting China’s domestic chip production and technology. The support will target three areas, including memory chips, integrated circuit designs, and compound semiconductors.

On May 16, 2018, Xi Jinping inspected the Academy of Military Sciences and re-emphasized the acceleration of independent innovation to achieve breakthroughs in core technologies as soon as possible. In connection with Xi’s recent formation of the Military and Civil Integration Development Committee, this seems to indicate that Xi’s intention is to have the military and military departments take the lead in catching up with China’s core technology.

Source: Duowei News, May 22. 2018
http://news.dwnews.com/china/news/2018-05-22/60059635.htmlfo

Huanqiu Opinion Article: It’s about Time to Let Australia Pay the Price

Duowei News reported that, on May 22, the Guardian reported that Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop raised objections to China’s military activity in the South China Sea during the G20. On May 22, Huanqiu published an opinion article which stated “It’s about time to let Australia pay the price.” According to the article, last year Australia and China’s relationship hit rock bottom. Australian officials have constantly complained to the media about China’s infiltration and interference in Australia. All the negative media coverage not only hurt the relationship of these two countries but also damaged the living environment of the overseas Chinese living in Australia. The article went on to state, “It is about time to show China’s position and make Australia pay the necessary price for its past attitude toward China.” The article further stated that in order to teach Australia a lesson, China could substitute other trade imports for certain imports from Australia, such as wine and beef. If China could reduce its imports by US$10 billion from total imports of US$76.4 billion, it would shock the Australians. The article went on, “We need to teach them a lesson. Also we can let the outside world understand that it is not a good thing for them to pick a fight with China.”

Sources:
1. Huanqiu, May 22, 2018
http://opinion.huanqiu.com/editorial/2018-05/12076890.html
2. Duowei News, May 22, 2018
http://news.dwnews.com/global/news/2018-05-22/60059706.html

VOA: U.S. and Australian Airlines Refuse to Cave in to Beijing’s Request

VOA reported that on April 25, the Beijing Civil Aviation Administration informed 36 foreign airlines that they could no longer list Taiwan as a country on their websites or in their marketing materials. If they did, their service in China would face termination. Despite the fact that the White House blasted the request as “Orwellian nonsense,” about 20 airlines including Air Canada, Lufthansa, and British Airways, chose to comply with Beijing’s request. However, some major U.S. airlines and one Australian airline have still not caved in. They include United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, Hawaiian Airlines and Qantas Airways.

Source: VOA, May 22, 2018
https://www.voachinese.com/a/airline-20180522/4405392.html

RFA: Suicide Rate among Municipal Officials Is Rising

According to an article published in RFA, on May 21, Wang Xiaoming, the deputy secretary-general of the Beijing municipal government, committed suicide by jumping off the building. Medical records indicate that Wang had been suffering from depression for a long period of time. The article reported that, in China, it is not uncommon for government officials to commit suicide. Statistics show that from 2009 to 2016, 243 municipal officials committed suicide. They range in age was from 45 to 55 years old. Most of them suffered from depression. The article quoted a few comments which revealed that government officials work under high pressure. They work in what is considered a high risk profession. If they don’t have the correct background, they have to pay a high price in order to get promoted. If they are the subject of an investigation, they usually don’t have many options because they know China does not operate under the rule of law. Thus the anti-corruption campaign has resulted in an increase in suicides. Corrupt officials choose suicide for three reasons: to eliminate criminal evidence and protect their peers; to protect the vested interests of their family members; and to protect their reputations.

Source: RFA, May 22, 2018
https://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/zhengzhi/yf2-05222018101629.html

Zhu Min: China’s Debt Level Is at 220 Percent

Well-known Chinese news site Sohu recently reported that Zhu Min, the former Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and current Director of Tsinghua University’s National Institute of Financial Research, delivered a speech on financial openness at a global finance forum conference held in Beijing. Zhu emphasized that at the core of the openness is the establishment an internationalized Chinese financial market. International investments currently have a share of 1.26 percent in China’s banking market, a share of 1.15 percent in China’s stock market, a share of 2.44 percent in China’s bond market, and a share of 6.1 percent in China’s insurance market. At the same time, China’s debt level has reached 220 percent. Japan suffered a financial crisis at 220 percent, Thailand’s financial market crashed at 180 percent, and the United States had its financial crisis at the debt level of 180 percent. China’s loan efficiency dropped 75 percent in the last five years. He called for opening up the Chinese financial market in order to improve the domestic financial system with healthy competition.

Source: Sohu, May 19, 2018
http://www.sohu.com/a/232164447_100160903?_f=index_betapagehotnews_1