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Chinese Mobile Phone Manufacturers Jointly Build Google Play Competitor

Chinese technology news site My Drivers recently reported that four major Chinese mobile phone vendors, Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo, jointly formed a platform named Global Developer Service Alliance (GDSA). The new alliance was established with an aim to compete against Google Play, which is Google’s online flagship app store. GDSA is to combine services for app development, marketing, distribution, and monetization for markets outside China. So far, the alliance covers nine regions including India, Indonesia, Russia, and Malaysia. Huawei will utilize the new platform for the European market. The platform planned to go live in March. However, it has been postponed due to the Coronavirus situation. All four vendors refused to comment on the news. Since Google revoked Huawei’s Android license, Huawei mobile phones are not able to use Google Play. Huawei has been developing an App Gallery as a replacement, but it has been difficult for a single vendor to combat Google’s market dominance. By the end of 2019, Chinese mobile phone vendors held 40 percent of the global handset market.

Source: My Drivers, February 7, 2020
https://news.mydrivers.com/1/671/671019.htm

Coronavirus Outbreak Hits Real Estate Market Hard

Sina.com reported that real estate in China has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak. Expectations that people would buy real estate when returning home for the Chinese New Year did not materialize. Statistics show a difference for the period from late January to early February when compared to the same period in previous years. The new home transaction volume of most real estate developers dropped 95 percent and the market has basically fallen to the freezing point.

As a result of the coronavirus outbreak as well as the Chinese New year, in 18 major metropolitan arias, transactions for existing houses fell 38 percent compared to the previous month.

The housing market also suffered from the suspension of construction and sales. On January 26, the China Real Estate Industry Association called for “real estate development enterprises to suspend sales activities temporarily at sales offices and to resume after the epidemic is over.”

Experts believe that this will undoubtedly increase the cash flow pressure on small and medium-sized real estate companies and that some may not receive any investments.

The suspension of construction will inevitably have a direct negative impact on investments inreal estate developments. Due to the quarantine measures, residents’ enthusiasm for house purchases has dropped significantly. Sales are expected to stagnate and short-term inventory will increase. Until the outbreak is fully under control, real estate developments and sales will continue to be hit hard and the recovery will be subject to how quickly the outbreak is controlled.

Source: Sina.com, February 5, 2020
http://news.dichan.sina.com.cn/2020/02/05/1270453.html

Chinese Government Issued Nationwide Guidance on New Labor and Banking Rules

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security just released new regulations to relax certain labor laws for the period when the nation is combating the coronavirus. The new regulations prohibit laying off workers or stopping their pay if the workers are not able to work due to government bans. Companies should provide a minimum living payment to those who are not able to perform work. For the same cause, if one who is involved in the rescue activities of the epidemic temporarily loses income and is not able to pay off credit card debts or a mortgage, this will not be recognized as a breach of contract. Delayed payments should be allowed. The State Grid for electricity also issued announcements that allow customers to continue to use electricity even if their payment is past due. In the meantime, the Grid will provide capabilities for customers to do business remotely online without visiting local offices.

Source: Sina, January 27, 2020
https://finance.sina.com/gb/chinamkt/chinanews/2020-01-27/doc-ifzsynat0750373.shtml

A Chinese Student Sentenced for Six Months for Posting Cartoon Making Fun of Xi Jinping in the U.S.

During his studies at the University of Minnesota, Luo Daiqing, from China, posted Cartoons on Twitter. After he returned to China, he was arrested and later sentenced for his posting.

Luo posted Lawrence Limburger, the primary villain of Cartoon Biker Mice from Mars, along with quotes from Xi Jinping’s speech given in October 2018. In the Chinese government’s view, Lawrence Limburger, who is similar to Winnie the Pooh, is taboo because that is considered to be the same as referring to Xi Jinping.

Luo visited his home in Wuhan City, Hubei Province in May 2019. He was called into the police office for questioning on July 12. Then he was put under administrative detention for 10 days. He was formally detained after the administrative detention was over. He was approved for arrest on August 29 and sentenced to six months in prison on November 5, 2019.

The verdict that the Wuchang District Court, Wuhan City, released on January 22, 2020, claimed, “(Luo) used the Internet to post fake images and words to defame the national image and damage the order of social management.” He was charged with creating a disturbance under Article 293 of the Criminal Law.

A student commented that, since Luo did the posting on a U.S. website when he was in the U.S., this case showed that the Chinese Communist Party is imposing Internet control over the U.S. network and managing people’s speech in the United States.

Source: Radio Free Asia, January 23, 2020
https://www.rfa.org/cantonese/news/pooh-01232020082715.html

Xinhua: U.S. Middle East Proposal Received Mixed Reactions

Xinhua reported, one day after U.S. President Trump announced the new Middle East peace agreement, that the key players had mixed responses. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu stood behind the U.S. and supported the proposal. The Palestinians clearly refused the proposal in full, since they were not at all involved in drafting the deal. The UN Secretary General supported the “Two Nations” strategy since it had been determined in a number of UN resolutions. The Arab League said the U.S. plan will result in the loss of many rights on the Palestinian side and called for compliance to international laws and standards. Egypt urged a dialogue between Palestinians and the Israelis to offer their thoughts on the Trump proposal. Turkey, however, described the U.S. proposal as already dead. Iran asked all Islamic countries to stand up against the U.S. “shameful agreement.” Jordan in the meantime supported all peaceful efforts and suggested a swift start of proper negotiations. The European Union needed more time to look carefully at the new proposal but was willing to help in the negotiation. The French government will also carefully study the agreement and stick to a “Two Nations” solution. The Germans said only an agreement accepted by both sides can lead to long-lasting peace. The British government welcomed the U.S. proposal, but emphasized the importance of having the buy-in of both the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Source: Xinhua, January 29, 2020
http://www.xinhuanet.com/2020-01/29/c_1125511294.htm

Global Times: U.S. Department of the Interior Grounded Its Drone Fleet

Global Times recently reported that the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) just announced that its drone fleet is formally grounded. This is due to the fact that many of these drones use China made parts that potentially can be used for spying. However, exceptions can be granted if there is a natural disaster or another similar emergency. This is in fact an extension of an order from last year, which paused the use of the DOI drone fleet. Many analysts pointed out that the biggest party impacted will be the Chinese drone manufacturer DJI, which is a big supplier to the DOI fleet. DJI later expressed deep regrets over this decision. It suggested that the decision was politically motivated so as to reduce DJI’s market share in order to support U.S. manufacturers. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked the U.S. government to give up such an outdated cold war mentality. The DOI fleet has around 800 drones that were either made in China or made with Chinese parts.

Source: Global Times, January 31, 2020
https://world.huanqiu.com/article/9CaKrnKp7KO

Lianhe Zaobao: High Profile International Companies Suspended Chinese Operations

Singapore’s primary Chinese language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao recently reported that, with the spread of the coronavirus across China, several high profile international companies have suspended their Chinese operations. Google closed all of its outlets in Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. IKEA closed all its 30 stores in Mainland China. IKEA earlier only planned to close half of its stores. McDonald’s closed all its 300 branches in Hubei Province. Multiple airlines decided to reduce or close their flights to and from China. Air Canada cancelled a full month of all flights to Beijing and Shanghai; Lufthansa, Swissair, and Austrian Airlines cancelled two weeks; Air France reduced flights for a week; British Airlines cancelled all flights to all Chinese cities. American Airlines and Delta both reduced flights. Lion Air Indonesia cancelled all of its flights to China. Indian’s IndiGo Air stopped flights to Chengdu, China, and Hong Kong. China has so far closed more than ten cities. Local spending saw a significant reduction in China. This might also be a reason to suspend retail activities.

Source: Lianhe Zaobao, January 31, 2020
https://beltandroad.zaobao.com/beltandroad/news/story20200131-1025165

Patients of Coronavirus Ended Their Lives to Avoid Infecting Family Members

As the Wuhan hospitals are packed and short of medical supplies, many patients of coronavirus who weren’t able get a hospital bed had to go back home for self-quarantine. Out of the fear that they would pass the virus on to their beloved ones at home, some of them chose to end their lives.

An eyewitness saw a patient crying on a bridge in great grief and desperation. The patient left home for fear of infecting his wife and child. The hospital had no room for him, so he rented a room where he could stay. He had to walk a long distance between his rental place and hospital when seeking treatment as the public transportation has stopped. He had no energy to walk anymore and had no food. He jumped off the bridge. Police came and told the eyewitness not to mention it on the Internet.

Another person posted on WeChat that her neighbor, an older gentleman, was diagnosed as a suspect of the coronavirus, without confirmation. He hanged himself so as not to trouble others.

Another person revealed on WeChat that an older woman in his classmate’s community had a fever for a few days. The hospital couldn’t confirm her case and just asked her to go home for self-quarantine. Worrying she might infect her family, she jumped off of the building.

Source: Secret China, February 3, 2020
https://www.secretchina.com/news/gb/2020/02/03/921721.html

China’s Ambassadors Failed to Raise Money from German Businesses for a Pro-China Portal

German national television recently reported that two of China’s Ambassadors to Germany asked German businesses for money to finance a portal supporting Beijing.

The idea of the portal, named “China reporter,” was from Wolfgang Hirn, editor of Manager magazine and Georg Blume, a free-lance writer for Times and Der Spiegel. Both are viewed as “experts on China” in the German media circle.

Shi Mingde, the previous Chinese Ambassador to Germany, had been trying to raise money for this project. On February 28, 2019, his last day as Ambassador, he even wrote fund-raising letters to large foundations and companies listed on Dax.

His successor Wu Ken sent his letter on December 4, 2019, a few days after the media exposed the Communist regime’s systematic arrests of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. “Since the German media did one-sided reporting (criticizing the CCP), it has become a more urgent need to spread a full and better image of China.”

According to the German media’s investigation, none of the foundations or companies that received the Ambassador’s letters provided funds. However, it is quite shocking that the CCP even asked German businesses for money for it to influence public opinion in Germany.

Source: Epoch Times, January 21, 2020
https://www.epochtimes.com/gb/20/1/20/n11808274.htm

Why WHO Praised Beijing’s Response to the Coronavirus

On January 28, when the situation of the Wuhan coronavirus continued to worsen, the World Health Organization director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, traveled to Beijing to meet with Chinese president Xi Jinping and other Chinese Communist Party leaders. Tedros gave high praise to the commitment of the Chinese government to combat the transmission of the virus very highly.

As multiple governments, including the U.S., France, Japan, South Korea, and Russia, have implemented or planned to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan, WHO advised against it, expressing full confidence in the Chinese government’s capabilities.

Earlier on January 23, WHO decided not to declare the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, or PHEIC. On January 28, WHO admitted an error in its risk assessment. The Geneva-based UN agency said in a situation report that the risk was “very high in China, high at the regional level and high at the global level,” and that it had stated things “incorrectly” in its previous reports on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday that the global risk was “moderate.”

Records of donations of WHO member states (to Who) show China’s payments rose from sixth place in 2016-2017 with a share of 5.14 percent, to the third place in 2018-2019 with a share of 7.92 percent, second only to the 22 percent from the U.S. and 9.68 percent from Japan.

Lin Shih-chia, Chief Executive Officer of the non-government organization Foundation of Medical Professionals Alliance in Taiwan (FMPAT), told Radio Free Asia that it was not surprising that the WHO gave priority to politics over professional judgment. Lin, who has been advocating Taiwan’s participation in WHO for 25 years, recalls that, although the mission of the WHO should prioritize the health of all human beings, Taiwan’s experience over the past few years has shown that WHO placed politics high on its agenda. From 2009 to 2016, Taiwanese delegates were able to attend the World Health Assembly as an observer. However, after Tsai Ing-wen, a leader unfavorable to Beijing, was elected, Taiwan was no longer qualified as an observer.

According to Chen Chien-jen, Taiwan’s vice president and epidemiologist, during the SARS epidemic in 2003, Taiwan was blocked from immediate notification of the situation because Taiwan was not a WHO member state. 37 Taiwanese died from SARS.

Jessica Drun, a researcher at the Project 2049 Institute, told RFA that, “China’s influence in the United Nations and international organizations is ubiquitous. … When political considerations are given priority (over public health considerations), health care across the region and the world is at risk.”

Source: Radio Free Asia, January 28, 2020
https://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/huanjing/jt-01282020122829.html