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Lawsuit against State Enterprise in China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” Project

China’s “Belt and Road” port project is involved in a legal dispute in Djibouti in the Gulf of Aden in Africa. China’s listed state-owned company China Merchants Port (SEHK: 144) was charged with ignoring the port operator’s franchise agreement and investing in the construction of a new terminal in Djibouti. This is the first time that a multinational company has filed a lawsuit against a Chinese state-owned enterprise in Hong Kong for its “Belt and Road” project.

In August last year, Dubai-based global port operator DP World filed a lawsuit in the Hong Kong High Court against China Merchants Port, that China Merchants Port, knowing that the Djibouti government and DP World had already signed a 30-year port franchise, still unlawfully procured and/or induced Djibouti’s breach of its agreement with DP World.

According to the indictment, the Djibouti government signed an agreement with DP World in 2004 that DP World would enjoy a 30-year franchise for the Doraleh Container Terminal (DTC), which was put into operation in 2009. However, three years later, China Merchants Port proposed cooperation with the Djibouti government and finally built a new “Doraleh Multi-purpose Terminal” next to the local Chinese People’s Liberation Army base. In 2017, the Djibouti government and China Merchants Port signed another agreement to build the “Doraleh International Container Terminal.”

This is the first time that a multinational company has sued a Chinese state-owned enterprise in relation to the “Belt and Road” project in Hong Kong. The case is viewed as a test of Hong Kong’s judicial independence.

Source: Radio Free Asia, February 11, 2019

LTN: World Freedom Report Ranked Taiwan High and Mainland China Low

Major Taiwanese news network Liberty Times Network (LTN) recently reported that Freedom House just released its annual Freedom in the World report. The 2019 Report showed a decline in freedom in 68 countries and improvements in 50 countries. Among all 195 countries, 86 were classified as “free countries,” 59 were considered to have “partial freedom,” and 40 were “not free.” Above all, as a trend, the world is seeing a decline in democracy. The United States earned a score of 86 (out of 100), which is below the above-90 countries like France, Germany and Britain. In Asia, among “free countries” Japan scored 96, Taiwan scored 93, South Korea scored 83, and India scored 75. “Partial Freedom” Asian counties include Indonesia 62, the Philippines 61, Hong Kong 59, and Singapore 51. As “not free” Asian countries, Thailand earned 30, Vietnam got 20, and North Korea had a score of 3. China scored 11. The report indicated that, following China’s lead, more and more countries are aiming to put more controls on their citizens living overseas.

Source: LTN, February 5, 2019

China Times: Chinese Investments in Silicon Valley Dropped Sharply in 2018

Major Taiwanese newspaper China Times recently reported that, as the China-U.S. trade war intensifies, Chinese capital that used to flow continuously into U.S. high-tech companies, in 2018 started to see a dramatic decline. According to Forbes, last year China invested a total of around US$2 billion in the U.S. high-tech field. That was an 80 percent drop from 2017. More and more U.S. start-up companies are avoiding Chinese investments since many U.S. investors are concerned about the additional risks that these Chinese partners may bring to the venture. The Canadian detention of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou could further cool down the willingness of Chinese investors. According to several experts monitoring the trade war, in the long run, the conflicts in trade will not have a major impact on business activities between China and the Silicon Valley. However, all experts agreed that the era of close cooperation between China and the United States is over.

Source: China Times, February 2, 2019

FBI Detained Chinese Engineer for Stealing Apple Intellectual Property

Well-known Chinese news site Tencent News recently reported that the FBI detained a second Chinese engineer (Chen Jizhong), who worked at Apple, for stealing classified information on Apple’s self-driving car technology. A further search found more unauthorized photos in Chen’s hard disk. Chen admitted that he planned to return to China and work for Xiaopeng Automobiles, a Chinese smart car manufacturer. Xiaopeng later commented on the story and said the company had never interviewed this individual. Last July the FBI arrested another Apple Chinese engineer (Zhang Xiaolang) for stealing self-driving car information. Zhang did join Xiaopeng Automobiles. Xiaopeng later refused to acknowledge that they had any awareness of Zhang’s illegal activities. According to the FBI, Apple confirmed that the materials Chen stole would have been “extremely damaging” if handed to competitors. Apple’s self-driving car team suffered quite a few setbacks in the past and Apple has laid off many people.

Source: Tencent News, January 31, 2019

The Author of Bloody Red Land: Violence in Chinese Communist Party’s Land Reform; Passed Down through Today

Around Chinese New Year, a new book:

  • The Bloody Red Land – a Collection of Interviews on the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) Land Reform was published outside of  China. The author, Tan Song, a former professor at Chongqing Normal University, is now living in exile in Los Angeles. Tan was expelled from school in 2017 for conducting research on and publicizing the truth about the history of the CCP’s land reform. Over a period of 14 years, Tan interviewed over a hundred Sichuanese who had personally experienced the land reform that took place between 1950 and 1952. Radio Free Asia interviewed Tan on his new book.

The last question the reporter asked was, “What do you think is the main purpose of the CCP’s launch of land reform, what are the methods it used, and what kind of impact has it had on China today?”

Tan replied, “To put it simply, one purpose was to have the people of China, that the CCP just conquered, submit themselves to the rule of the party. The CCP handed out both favors and terror. The favors had to do with the land they gave. Where did the land come from? They did not have either. They would grab it from the landlords. A large number of farmers were thus grateful to this regime. At the same time, it made them scared. The land reform movement was a violent movement and a very bloody movement.”

“There was another purpose. The CCP needed money too much. The CCP took away the landlords’ assets, mainly gold, silver, and treasures. This solved a major financial problem and these were not distributed to the farmers.”

“At the same time, the land reform strengthened the CCP’s rule over the countryside. It established CCP branches in every remote mountain village.”

“The CCP also fulfilled the purpose of eliminating the carrier of the traditional Chinese culture in the countryside – the country gentlemen. The reason was that it needed the Marxist-Leninist culture to govern the countryside.”

What is the relationship between land reform and today’s China? Tan observed, “I think this is the best question and best research topic. In fact, the methods of land reform are basically the same as what it uses today. In the land reform, three methods were used: deception with lies, violent suppression, and buying off with material interest. These three methods are still in use today. There has been no change. The brutal methods in the land reform have been passed down. You can see this from the Cultural Revolution and the suppression of Falun Gong. These cruel and inferior methods are in the same vein and have not changed. Moreover, its nature of robbing the riches from the landlords and distributing their property has not changed at all.”

Source: Radio Free Asia, February 8, 2019

Chinese Commentator on the CCP’s Fear

Yuan Bin is a regular commentary writer for the Epoch Times Chinese. He recently wrote two articles commenting that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has recently been having intensified fear for the regime’s future.

On February 3, Yuan commented on Xi Jinping’s speech marking the 40th anniversary of former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping’s decision to “reform and open up.” Xi used a term which is unusual. The term was “unimaginable perils and dangers” to describe what the CCP currently faces. Time Magazine called that sentence a key note in Xi’s speech and translated it as, “Every step in the course of reform and opening up is not easy, and we will face all kinds of risks and challenges, even some unimaginably rough waves.”

Yuan suggested that the term “unimaginable” had three meanings: One, even the CCP does not know how big the risk  of those “rough waves” is and how severe their effect will be. Two, the CCP does not know when the “rough waves” will arrive. Three, the CCP does not know what form the “rough waves” will take. “The ‘rough waves’ are already very scary for the CCP. It is even more scary to the CCP that it cannot accurately predict them.”

On February 4, Yuan commented in the news that, on February 1, Xi Jinping visited the joint combat command center of the Beijing Public Security Bureau (Police Department). Yuan indicated that it is the CCP’s convention that its officials will visit some places during the Chinese New Year (February 5 this year), to show that they care about the people. However, which places they visit conveys a very important political message. Normally they are the regions or industries on which the CCP wants to focus.

In the six previous years, Xi visited a different province each year. This year was abnormal. Xi stayed in Beijing instead and visited the police station. Yuan viewed this as a clear political message that the CCP is going to strengthen its rule of the country via the police system. The CCP’s focal point for this year is stability. Recently, the government also increased police officers’ salaries by 38 percent.

Yuan observed, “However, the more the CCP relies on the police, the more it strengthens its rule of the country via the police system, the more it demonstrates how unstable the regime is, the more severe the crisis is that it faces, and the closer the day is that it will fall!”

1. Time Magazine, December 20, 2018
2. The Epoch Times, February 3, 2019
3. The Epoch Times, February 4, 2019