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Briefings

Nearly One-third of China’s Cities See Shrinking Population

The population of nearly one-third of China’s cities is shrinking. This is based on a study that the research team at Tsinghua University in Beijing conducted between 2013 and 2016. The South China Morning Post said in a report that, through satellite, researchers had monitored the light density of more than 3,300 Chinese cities and counties.

Long Ying, a city planning scholar at Tsinghua University, led this study. Long said that the population of 938 cities in China has shrunk. This was more than any other country in the world. One interpretation of the results could be that the economic engine of nearly one-third of China’s cities is slowing down. Official statistics show that China is facing huge economic and demographic challenges.

Source: Central News Agency, March 19, 2019
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/acn/201903190162.aspx

LTN: China’s February Mobile Phone Sales Dropped to Three-Year Low

Major Taiwanese news network Liberty Times Network (LTN) recently reported that, according to China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, in February, China’s domestic mobile phone market suffered a year-over-year decline of 19.9 percent. This is the lowest point in three years. China’s February handset shipment volume was 14.51 million; 96.4 percent were 4G phones. The 4G market declined by 20.2 percent, year-over-year. When combining January and February total sales, the year-over-year decline was 15.1 percent. Market analysts generally agreed that this is a clear sign that the Chinese mobile phone market has become significantly saturated. Before new technologies like 5G and foldable cellphones are widely available, growth seems to be very limited. In the first two months of this year, the Chinese market had 73 new mobile phone models. This was a year-over-year reduction of 42.1 percent. This means the mobile phone vendors are also taking a conservative approach and hoping new technology may bring new opportunities.

Source: LTN, March 12, 2019
https://ec.ltn.com.tw/article/breakingnews/2724711

China Economy: Suspension of Importation of Canadian Canola Is Normal Procedure

China Economy recently reported that Lu Kang, the spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, commented in a press conference on the decision to suspend the importation of Canadian canola. This was in response to the article that the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail, published saying that the suspension had nothing to do with canola; rather, it had everything to do with pressing Canada on the Huawei CFO case. Lu said China recently discovered harmful pests multiple times in canola imported from Canada during the standard customs quarantine inspections. Chinese customs did communicate the decision to the Canadian authorities in a timely fashion. It is the Chinese government’s responsibility to safeguard the products sold to the Chinese consumers. China’s quarantine process is perfectly legal and normal, and it is scientific to weed out the potential risks.

Source: China Economy, March 12, 2019
http://www.ce.cn/xwzx/gnsz/gdxw/201903/12/t20190312_31658284.shtml

German Foreign Minister Warns against Being Naive When Dealing with China

In a discussion on the EU’s China strategy at the EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels, the German Social Democratic Party’s Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, said that, in order to defend its own interests and values, it is important for the EU to develop relations with China in a united fashion, instead of each country acting in its own way.

In view of China’s efforts to participate in important infrastructure projects in Europe, Maas warned that one should not be too naive. He said, of course, people should see that “China is also pursuing its strategic interests through economic policies.”

Maas’s remarks are a warning regarding China’s telecom giant Huawei’s participation in 5G construction. He may also be critical of Italy. Following some smaller EU economies, Rome announced that it will reach a framework agreement with China on the Belt and Road Initiative. Through this project, China hopes to open up trade routes to Europe and Africa. Rome, on the other hand, hopes to promote China’s investment in ports such as Genoa and Taranto.  Several EU countries criticized Rome’s move.

Source: Radio France International, March 18, 2019
http://rfi.my/3pHG.T

CNA: Strengthening the Promotion of Marxism on College Campuses Seems to Be Effective

Since a commemorative meeting of the 200th anniversary of Marx was held in May 2018, the Chinese Communist Party has been increasing the promotion of Marxism among college students in China. The Central News Agency reported that, according to an article that China Youth Daily published, at the recent Second Session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference that was concluded on March 13, the Chinese National Committee published a survey report. The survey participants were university leaders, teachers, and students from 24 universities and colleges in Hunan and Hubei provinces. The article said that the survey results found that, among some young students, there has been a “significant improvement in the atmosphere of promoting Marxism.” The study results also showed that the propaganda campaign has “greatly promoted the spread of Marxism.” The teachers in the ideological and political class at the university felt a more “professional sense of honor,” that “the spring of ideological politics is coming,” that “the teachers of the ideological and political class were feeling a greater and greater sense of accomplishment, and that they could work and live in a more dignified way.” According to the survey, 83.4 percent of the students affirmed the effect of the Young Marxist Training Project that the party initiated in 2007. About 32 to 36 percent of the students surveyed said that they discuss Marxist theory with family and friends, or participate in Marxist academic societies and reading clubs. The report also said that there has been an increased exposure of the Communist Youth League on WeChat, B station, Zhihu, fasthand, vibrato, QQ, and other social media platforms, promoting the connection of Marxist theory with the youth so as to “motivate young students, make classrooms more lively and improve the quality of teaching.”

Source: Central News Agency, March 14, 2019
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/acn/201903140092.aspx

Global Times: U.S. Acting Defense Secretary Banking on the “China Threat”

Global Times recently reported that anti-China U.S. acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan was once again singing the old-fashioned song of the “China Threat.” In his U.S. Senate hearing speech, Shanahan used four pages out of his 20-page report to address the “threat” from China, in terms of nuclear growth, space advances, and military investments. Apparently, many of these were just Mr. Shanahan’s personal imagination with absolutely no supporting material. In fact the Pentagon just submitted another increased defense budget, which is a continuation of the past three years. Even the U.S. media have been saying he was just looking for justification for more money. Thus China and Russia suddenly became scapegoats again. It would be a lot better if the U.S. government officials could look into win-win situations rather than creating new enemies.

Source: Global Times, March 16, 2019
http://world.huanqiu.com/exclusive/2019-03/14553799.html?agt=15422