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China Mobile Phone Makers Gain Market Share in the West Following Huawei’s Setback

A number of Chinese mobile phone manufactures have become the most active players in the world’s mobile phone market. They capitalized on the opportunity from the recent setbacks that Huawei suffered and have begun to gain market share in the Western world. According to an article in the economics section of the French Le Monde published on Thursday October 15, following two of the Chinese mobile phone manufactures, Oppo and Xiaomi, Vivo, based in Guangdong province of China, has begun to enter the European market. Vivo will debut in France on October 20th. In 2019, Vivo sold 110 million smartphones and ranked fifth in the world, with most of these sales made in Asia. Vivo has close to 10,000 engineers in research and development. Its team in France is recruited mostly from Samsung, Honor, Huawei, Nokia and other companies. Vivo has established partnerships with other telecom communication companies and large retailers, and has planned to rely on word of mouth to break ground. It may also soon announce a partnership with a popular sports event.

In a similar situation, Oppo has greatly benefited from its partnership with sports events this year. Following its advertising during Laurent Garros Tennis Tournament, Oppo’s online search volume quickly rose. Oppo was launched in France two years ago. From January to July of this year, its sales volume increased by 350 percent compared with the same period last year. It has since relocated its customer service department to France. The sale of another Chinese brand, Xiaomi, has experienced a similar growth in France. It entered the French market a little earlier than Vivo, and it predicts that its sales growth this year will be a little over 100 percent.

Source: Radio France Internationale, October 16, 2020
http://rfi.my/6h51.T

India warned Amazon and Flipkart about Products’ Country of Origin

The Indian government issued warning letters to Amazon’s Indian unit and Walmart’s Flipkart, stating that the two e-commerce companies did not indicate the country of origin for the goods sold on their platforms, a violation of government regulations.

Reuters reported on Saturday, October 17, that at a time of intense India-China relations, the letter that the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution issued on Friday showed that the Indian government has strengthened the implementation of the regulation as one of its attempts to slash imports of goods made in China.

The Ministry gave these two companies 15 days to explain why the goods sold on the platform did not indicate the country of origin, and threatened that it would then take action. However, the letter did not mention the specific actions to be taken, referring only to legal actions that have provisions for fines.

After the bloody border conflict between India and China broke out in June of this year, relations between the two countries have continued to escalate. India has since blocked at least 177 mobile applications from China, and Chinese products exported to India have also met with additional inspections and delays.

Source: Voice of America, October 17, 2020
https://www.voachinese.com/a/amid-tensions-with-china-india-warns-amazon-flipkart-over-country-of-origin-rule-20201017/5625414.html

Concerns over China and UN’s Joint Data Center

China’s investment in data collection has increased in recent years, with its tentacles extending around the globe. There have been concerns about the news that China will cooperate with the United Nations to establish a data center.

Xi Jinping, the head of Chinese Communist Party, said at the general debate of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, “China will set up a UN Global Geospatial Knowledge and Innovation Center and an International Research Center of Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals to facilitate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

According to the Chinese government website and state media, as early as April last year, the Ministry of Natural Resources signed a memorandum of intent with the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs in Beijing to initiate preparations for the establishment of a United Nations Global Geospatial Knowledge and Innovation Centre in Deqing, Zhejiang. The work aims to share global geospatial data and promote exchanges and cooperation among UN member states in the field of geographic information. In addition, the National Bureau of Statistics of China and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs will jointly establish the big data research institute which will also be located in Hangzhou, less than an hour away from Deqing.

Ms. Rosett, an adjunct fellow with the Hudson Institute, wrote a Wall Street Journal opinion article in which she stated, “Mr. Xi’s promised U.N.-China geospatial and big-data complex would allow for detailed mapping of everything from topography and infrastructure to human behavior, across time and around the globe. China under its own steam is already collecting and in some cases pilfering troves of data world-wide. However, the U.N. badge of legitimacy would make it easier for Beijing to secure flows of data from member states, influence U.N. standards and norms for such data collection, shape the results, feed them into the U.N. system—and project the Chinese Communist Party’s techno-tyranny around the world.”

Source: Radio Free Asia, October 14, 2020
https://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/junshiwaijiao/hj-10142020135400.html

Hong Kong Government Requires New Civil Servants to Swear Allegiance

In response to the demonstrations reflecting the anti-extradition law amendment movement, the Hong Kong government now requires new civil servants to swear allegiance to the Basic Law and the Special Administrative Region (SAR).

The SAR Government announced on October 12 that civil servants appointed on or after July 1 of this year will have to declare their support for the Basic Law, swear loyalty to the Hong Kong SAR and vow to be accountable to the SAR government.

A spokesperson for the Civil Service Bureau (CSB) said that the move is to strengthen civil servants’ awareness of the expectations and responsibilities of public office, help further maintain and promote the values that civil servants should abide by, and ensure that the Hong Kong government has effective governance.

After the outbreak of the anti-extradition law amendment movement in Hong Kong last year, some civil servants who participated were punished. According to the figures, as of July, 46 civil servants had been arrested in the demonstrations.

Source: Central News Agency, October 12, 2020
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/acn/202010120207.aspx

China’s Draft Data Security Law: Foreign Companies Caught in the Middle

In July of this year, the Chinese government introduced the Draft Data Security Law. Article 2 of that law states that the law’s jurisdiction extends to “organizations and individuals outside of” China who engage in data activities that harm China’s national security or the public interest of the Chinese people. It is expected that the law will take effect after being discussed and passed at the National People’s Congress next year.

Observers pointed out that the Chinese government may use Article 2 of the law, which extends the legal responsibility for data security to other parts of the world, to achieve its political purposes.

James Andrew Lewis, senior vice president and director of the Technology Policy Program at CSIS, (The Center for Strategic and International Studies) told Voice of America, “The bill gives Chinese authorities the ability to regulate data controllers, whether they are in China or outside of China, so it has an extra-territorial effect.”

Dr. Lynette Ong, an associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto, said that the draft law is certainly a deterrent to foreign companies, just like the Hong Kong National Security Law. “In fact, the effect of this law is to legalize their (the government’s) actions … but this does not mean that, without this law, no action would be taken. If any foreign organization’s actions harm China’s interests, they would also take action, even if there were no such law.”

In addition, under Article 32, as long as the police or another law enforcement agency adheres to relevant law and procedures vis-à-vis a request to access data, data holders will be obliged to cooperate.

Professor Ong said that this legal provision may worry the chief executive of a foreign company. “If I were the chief executive officer of a data company, I might be worried about whether to continue to operate in China. I think data companies are particularly sensitive, because their customers have high expectations for data security. Therefore, if a certain standard cannot be met, they may leave mainland China completely. In fact, this will have a certain impact on the Chinese economy.”

 

In 2005, Shi Tao, a Chinese journalist, writer and poet, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for releasing a document of the Communist Party to an overseas Chinese democracy site. Yahoo!-China was later discovered to have facilitated his arrest by providing his personal details to the Chinese government.

Source: Voice of America, October 12, 2020
https://www.voachinese.com/a/China-data-security-law-its-impact-on-foreign-companies-in-China-20201012/5618170.html

Public Security Officer Questioned Chinese Citizen for Ordering American Flags

The local public security bureau officers questioned a Chinese citizen from Chongqing city for placing an online order for American flags.

On October 2, after President Trump tested positive for COVID 19, a group of Chinese citizens in Chongqing city wished to express their support for Trump. They planned to have a gathering with American flags in the background, take pictures, and then post them on the Internet. On October 6, the officers from the local public security bureau questioned Huang Yang, who was in charge of ordering the American flags, for four hours. They asked Huang about ordering American flags and threatened him. It was obvious that the public security bureau taped the conversation of Huang Yang with his friends and that was how they learned about the information. Huang challenged the officers and asked why the authorities were scared when he only placed an online order for American flags. He wondered which law he violated. Some local residents who knew about the story joked that for the evil CCP regime, the American flags are talisman that will drive away any ghosts. They thought, “Since they are afraid, why don’t we buy more?”

Source: 6do.news, October 10, 2020
https://6do.news/article/3272651-61

China Tightens Control of Muslims and Bans Private Hajj Affairs

On October 12, the United Front Work Department of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) released the “Administrative Measures for Islamic Hajj Affairs” on its WeChat public account and announced that it will be implemented in December. According to the new regulation, except for the Islamic Association of China (IAC), the government organization of Muslims, no one else can organize Hajj activities. Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest city for Muslims. Hajj is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey and can support their family during their absence.

The “Measures,” consisting of seven chapters and 42 articles, specifies that Chinese citizens who believe in Islam can only participate in the activities that the IAC has organized if they want to participate in the Hajj. The activities have to be organized and planned in an orderly manner, and proceed in accordance with the law. Except for the IAC, no other organization or individual may organize Hajj activities.

The “Measures” declares that those who organize citizens’ Hajj affairs without authorization or who provide resources for illegal Hajj activities shall be punished. If a crime is committed, criminal responsibility shall be investigated and pursued.

The “Measures” also mentions that people who intend to participate in the Hajj must register in advance with the religious affairs office in the location of their household registration. After unqualified applicants are reviewed and eliminated through screening, the provincial governments will announce the province’s approved list. “Patriotism, being law-abiding, and having good character” are the top qualifications for applicants.

The “Measures” require relevant government bodies to carry out the administrative work, stop illegal Hajj activities, and also oppose religious extremism.

Source: Central News Agency, October 12, 2020
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/acn/202010120217.aspx

China Claims it Will Build a Space Station within two years

During China’s National Day, the state media revealed much information about China’s construction of the space station “Tiangong-1.” China claims it will complete the construction of the space station within two years.

The Chinese state media reported on this space station project in detail, including the construction schedule, timetable, multiple components under construction and astronaut training. China stated that it will complete 11 intensive lift-offs within two years, using the “Shenzhou” manned spacecraft and the “Tianzhou” cargo spacecraft to deliver astronauts and multiple space station modules into space.

The Long March 5-B rocket is planned to launch at the Wenchang Launch Center in Hainan province in the first half of 2021 to carry the “Tianhe” core cabin module. The Long March 2-F rocket will subsequently launch at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu province, carrying the “Shenzhou” manned spacecraft.

China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) announced on October 1 that 18 astronauts will participate in the program, including seven pilots, seven aerospace engineers and four payload specialists, one of whom is a female.

China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation once stated that the mission life of China’s “Tiangong-1” space station will last about 15 years, which can accommodate three astronauts in orbit for a long term station with a half-year rotation, and a short-term stay of six people for ten days.

In June this year, Chinese state media announced it was partnering with 23 entities from 17 countries, including France, Germany, Japan, Kenya, and Peru, to carry out scientific experiments on board.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently issued a warning that China’s space station program may threaten the U.S. space superiority, after the International Space Station is decommissioned. Administrator Jim Bridenstine told the lawmakers this was critical to maintaining US space supremacy in the face of a planned Chinese space station that Beijing hopes will be operational by 2022.

The first parts of the International Space Station were launched in 1998 and it has been lived in continuously since 2000. The station, which serves as a space science lab and is a partnership between the US, Russia, Japan, Europe and Canada, is currently expected to be operated until 2030.

“In order to be able to have the United States of America have a presence in low Earth orbit, we have to be prepared for what comes next,” he added.

To that end, NASA has requested $150 million for the 2021 fiscal year to help develop the commercialization of low Earth orbit, defined as 2,000 km or less from the planet’s surface.

“China is rapidly building what they call the ‘Chinese International Space Station,’ and they’re rapidly marketing that space station to all of our international partners,” said Bridenstine. “It would be a tragedy if, after all of this time and all of this effort, we were to abandon low Earth orbit and cede that territory.”

Source: Voice of America, October 9, 2020
https://www.voachinese.com/a/Chinese-media-touts-its-space-station-program-20201009/5615428.html