Skip to content

Briefings - 3. page

On Eve of Qingming, Wuhan Ran out of Chrysanthemum

This year, the Qingming Festival fell on Sunday April 4. It is an important date in the traditional Chinese lunar New Year calendar as that is when millions travel to tend to the graves of their ancestors and family members, offering flowers and burning incense.

Xiaoxiang Morning News, an influential local newspaper in Hunan province, reported that 320,000 people packed the mausoleums and grave yards in Wuhan city on the eve of the Qingming Festival. The report also said that in order to buy a bunch of chrysanthemum, a traditional funeral flower, Wuhanese came out early in the morning and waited in long lines, even though there was a short of supply and the price was high. With too many people buying the flower, Wuhan ran out of chrysanthemum. When a Chinese writer Yan Xiaoyi shared the story on her social media account, someone reported her and her account was banned.

According to official figures, as of April 16 last year, the number of deaths from the Corona virus in China was 3,869; Wuhan accounted for nearly two-thirds of the total number of infections and more than three-quarters of the deaths.

The Civil Affairs Office of the Hubei province government released the information that, in the first quarter of last year, more than 150,000 seniors in the province suddenly disappeared from the list of benefit recipients. The authorities refused to offer an explanation, and forbade the media or individuals from collecting statistics on funeral related information.

Source: Radio Free Asia, April 5, 2021
https://www.rfa.org/cantonese/news/tomb-04052021042615.html

FCC Commissioner Carr Called for New Rules to Fully “Cut Off” Huawei and ZTE

Well-known Chinese news site Sina (NASDAQ: SINA) recently reported that Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioner Brendan Carr called for new rules to ensure that Huawei and ZTE telecommunications technology and equipment will not enter the U.S. telecom network. Carr also proposed that the FCC should not allow equipment made with “forced labor” to enter the United States. The FCC set a rule in 2020 to ban the use of government funds to buy Huawei and ZTE equipment but allowed the telecom operators to use their own money to acquire such equipment. Carr described this as an “obvious loophole.” A spokesperson said that the FCC is working hard at addressing Carr’s concerns. At the end of 2020, the FCC asked American telecom operators to replace the acquired equipment. Congress also agreed to fund this plan with US$1.9 billion.

Source: Sina, April 1, 2021
https://finance.sina.com.cn/jjxw/2021-04-01/doc-ikmyaawa3399310.shtml

Global Times: Blinken Reiterated HK No Longer Enjoys Special Treatment

Global Times, a daily newspaper under the auspices of the Chinese Communist Party‘s flagship newspaper, People’s Daily, recently reported that U.S. Secretary of State Blinken reiterated the Trump administration’s determination last year that Hong Kong no longer enjoys the autonomous trade and financial special treatment it had after the handover of sovereignty in 1997. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying responded on April 1st that Hong Kong’s development has never been the result of foreign gifts. The cancellation or threat of cancellation of the so-called special treatment by the United States cannot stop Hong Kong’s direction towards prosperity. She said the U.S. position disregarded basic facts, made groundless accusations against the Chinese Central Government and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, and seriously interfered with China’s internal affairs. Hong Kong is on its path to merging into its motherland. She also called for an immediate stop to the U.S. intervention in Hong Kong’s affairs in order to establish better conditions for the return of a healthy and stable U.S.-China relationship.

Source: Global Times, April 1, 2021
https://world.huanqiu.com/article/42Xn7nVMpHS

Global Chip Shortage Pressured the West to Reconstruct Supply Chain

Popular Chinese technology news site CNBeta recently reported that a global chip shortage has intensified since the end of last year and has heavily impacted most of the major automobile manufacturers across the board. The British market research firm IHS Markit expected that, for the first quarter of this year, around one million automobiles will suffer delivery delays due to a car chip shortage. Analysts expressed the belief that the imbalance of supply and demand that the pandemic brought about was the main cause of the semiconductor shortage. The stay-home orders created a large wave of chip demand on personal computers, cellphones, game stations and other consumer electronic products that shifted chip production from automobiles to home devices. The recent fire at the Japanese chipmaker Renesas and the extreme weather in Texas contributed to the chip shortage as well. This trend is pushing the U.S. government and the European Union to start investments in domestic semiconductor manufacturing capabilities. Intel just announced a US$20 billion investment in Arizona for a new factory. Even South Korea, as one of the world’s biggest chip exporters, is forming an alliance with Samsung, SK Hynix and Hyundai to expand its domestic car chip manufacturing.

Source: CNBeta, March 31, 2021
https://www.cnbeta.com/articles/tech/1109051.htm

Remin University Professor: Goal of Belt and Road Initiative Is to Internationalize the Renminbi and Replace the U.S. dollar

Di Dongsheng is a professor and vice dean of the School of International Studies (SIS) at Renmin University and deputy director and secretary-general of the China Center for Foreign Strategic Studies. Di is known for a public speech he made last November in which he boasted that China has influence in the U.S. political circles. [Editor’s note: That article “CCP Scholar: CCP Can Use Wall Street to Influence the U.S. Political Circle, December 6, 2020, can be seen at http://chinascope.org/archives/25265]

In a video published in February this year, Di gave another talk titled, “Belt and Road 2.0 in the Post COVID 19 Era: Exporting China’s Governance Experience and Capability.” In this talk, Di stated, “The goal of the Belt and Road initiative is to internationalize the Renminbi (Chinese Yuan) and replace the U.S. dollar.”

Di said that the Belt and Road initiative is not about (controlling) resources, in fact it is about defining the value of the RMB: “We go after the younger generations in the belt and road countries. They don’t have money but they want to buy things. We loan money to them. We invest in them. We hire them. Once they have income and money, they will buy products made in China. We will continue to use the money and loan it to them and eventually we will let the people in those countries be part of the Renminbi currency cycle.” Di proposed a model in which Beijing would build special zones (like the Shenzhen special economic zone) in the belt and road countries and then the Chinese people would migrate there. Beijing would still hold the governing power over the Chinese migrants and the local ethnic population in the zone. He also claimed that, “China’s national debt will become the global value-based benchmark. The Chinese people’s consumption power will give birth to the world’s largest market and the Renminbi will become the future world’s currency.

Gong Shengli, a Chinese economist, slammed Di’s statements saying it was merely empty talk because there is lack of trust in the Renminbi in the world and in China’s one-party political system. Gong questioned how many countries have purchased Chinese bonds and where  the economic return is from the Belt and Road Initiative. A Taiwanese economist Wu Jialong said that Di’s statements were simply to please Beijing which is in line with China’s rising power narrative.

Sources:

1. NTDTV, April 2, 2021
https://www.ntdtv.com/gb/2021/04/02/a103087367.html
2. Guan Video, February 3, 2021

Can’t Afford to Die – China’s Funeral Expenses Average 45.4 Percent of Annual Salaries

April 4 is the day for the Qingming Festival, also known as Tomb-Sweeping Day when Chinese families visit their ancestors’ graves.

The data released by the China Funeral Association in 2014 show that funeral services reached 200 billion yuan in 2014. The funeral industry has developed into a booming sector.

According to analysts, China’s funeral industry’s market size was about 263.8 billion yuan in 2020 and may reach 411.4 billion yuan by 2026. Based on the data available, the gross profit margin of leading funeral service companies has been over 80 percent, far exceeding that of leading real estate companies in China, which hovers between 22 and 25 percent.

Behind the funeral industry’s profits are the public’s concerns that the rising cost of funerals means that people will soon be unable to afford funeral services.

A survey report on global funeral expenses by the British life insurance agency SunLife shows that the average funeral expenses worldwide are about 10 percent of the annual income of the local people. For China, however, funeral expenses (37,375 yuan or around US $5,690.90) account for about 45.4 percent of the average annual salaries, ranking second globally.

Source: Tencent, April 3, 2021.
https://new.qq.com/omn/20210402/20210402A0DMAL00.html

Chinese Official Media Highlight 20th Anniversary of Hainan Island Incident

China’s official media have recently publicized and commemorated the death of People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) pilot Wang Wei, who was killed 20 years ago in a collision between the United States Navy EP-3E ARIES II signals intelligence aircraft and a PLAN J-8II interceptor fighter jet. Against the backdrop of the tense confrontation between the two countries, the move is seen as a tactic to rally anti-American sentiment.

On April 1, 2001, the EP-3 was operating about 70 miles (110 km) away from the PRC island province of Hainan, and about 100 miles (160 km) away from the Chinese military installation in the Paracel Islands, when it was intercepted by two J-8 fighters. A collision between the EP-3 and one of the J-8s caused the PRC pilot to go missing (later presumed dead), and the EP-3 was forced to make an emergency landing on Hainan. The J-8 pilot, Lt. Cdr. Wang Wei, was posthumously honored in China as a “Guardian of Territorial Airspace and Waters.” His widow received a personal letter of condolence from President George W. Bush.

An official account on WeChat posted an article titled “April 1, the Most Complicated Day for Chinese People.” The article listed a number of incidents that occurred on April 1, the first of which was Wang Wei’s death in service. The article extrapolated from the incident and emphasized that the event has prodded Chinese to work harder and prepare for a comeback. Twenty years later, China is no longer the same China. It also criticized the United States for acting unilaterally, imposing sanctions at will, and for pointing and poking fingers. “The world is scared when the U.S. gets mad.”

On March 31, the Communist Party’s mouthpiece China Global Television Network (CGTN) and Xinhua News Agency also covered the news in high profile. The reports emphasized that Wang was killed because the U.S. military violated China’s territorial airspace. In addition, news media with a military background such as PLA Daily, 81.cn, have also carried articles in memory of Wang.

With no apparent easing of tension between China and the United States, Chinese netizens have paid considerable attention to this incident. Many have left comments criticizing the U.S. for being hegemonic and using its fists to force people into compliance. Some netizens also said, “Today’s China is no longer the China of 20 years ago that would only take orders from the United States,” and “China’s military strength has gradually caught up with that of the United States.”

Source: Central News Agency, April 1, 2021
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/acn/202104010137.aspx

CCP Installed a Committee in Alibaba’s Beijing Headquarters

According to a recent report in Chinese media, Alibaba has recently established a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) committee at its headquarters in Beijing. Previously, the company only had a CCP committee at its Hangzhou headquarters. After the implementation of the “dual headquarters” in Beijing and Hangzhou in 2016, the company only had a CCP branch, instead of a CCP committee in Beijing, where CCP members accounted for more than 30 percent of its employees. The establishment of the CCP committee at its Beijing Headquarters has elevated the CCP’s organizational footprint in China’s largest e-commerce company.

1.585 million, or more than 40 percent of private enterprises in China have internal CCP organizations.

Hu Jia, a Chinese social activist, told Voice of America that, since coming to power in 2012, Xi Jinping has built up CCP organizations within the state sector. Against the current backdrop of the severe international situation, the CCP wishes to extend its tight grip over private enterprises. “The most valuable ones are those of the unicorn type, which have new technologies and the capacity to innovate in the Internet economy. Such enterprises are capably of wealth creation and societal control, and can also participate in the international economic and technological competition and even confrontation. The CCP would like to have more power over these entities.”

The expansion of CCP committees in Alibaba is also seen by public opinion as a sign that the CCP is short of money and technology and wants to use private enterprises to “feed” state-owned enterprises. Sang Pu, a commentator, told the American media Sound of Hope that the party actually controls and manipulates private enterprises in mainland China. The reason why the CCP is strengthening the Party’s leadership is that it is short of money and needs to take further action against these tech giants.

The Constitution of the CCP and China’s Corporate Law allow the establishment of CCP organizations in private enterprises. As part of its United Front Work, the CCP proposed to “establish a modern private enterprise system with Chinese characteristics” and emphasized that the party should have three privileges in private enterprises: human resources, surveillance and audit, and the leadership over trade unions.

“To be successful under the CCP’s rule, private companies must have official support and maintain some kind of intimacy with the government. From the perspective of private enterprises, they have their own considerations. If you don’t have a CCP committee, and if you don’t give sufficient convenience for CCP members to conduct party activities, you will always have the feeling that big brother is watching you, and that your wealth and business are often in an unstable and insecure state. That is because officials can control you by any means, such as tax inspections, firefighting, public health and other channels.” Hu Jia said that Chinese private enterprises somehow have to show loyalty in order to have the opportunity to survive and thrive.

Source: Voice of America, April 2, 2021
https://www.voachinese.com/a/CCP-within-Alibaba-20210402/5838104.html