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Sputnik Chinese: China Launched Satellites for African and Latin American Countries

Sputnik Chinese, the news agency that the Russian government owns, reported that, on December 20, 2019, China launched an Ethiopian satellite and a Brazilian satellite with its Long March 4B rocket.

The Ethiopian satellite was the country’s first satellite. China designed and built it. Out of the total cost of US$ 7 million, China paid US$ 6 million for it.

The Brazilian satellite was the country’s sixth satellite. It is part of a joint Sino-Brazilian project.

A little earlier, China also sent two more Beidou Satellites of its own into space. It thus completed the 24-satellite setup of the Beidou global navigation system. 24 satellites are what is needed to provide full global coverage; both the U.S.’ GPS system and the Russian navigation system also use 24 satellites.

In 2019, China made 30 launches; it has sent over 50 spacecraft into space leading Russia and the U.S.

Source: Sputnik Chinese, December 21, 2019
http://sputniknews.cn/science/201912211030290947/

Xi Jinping Hosted Democratic Life Meeting to Strengthen Party Ideology and Leadership Control

Xinhua reported that, on December 26 and 27, 2019, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Politburo held a specific Democratic Life Meeting (民主生活會) on the topic of “Don’t forget our original intention and keep our mission in mind.” Each of the 25 Politburo members took turns giving their individual reports to compare and inspect (their actions and thoughts) as required.

(Editor’s Note: A Democratic Life Meeting is a periodic gathering of cadres of the CCP who engage in criticism and self-criticism. It is one of the means by which the party forces each member to report his thoughts and receive criticism from the leader or other party members.)

At the meeting, each Politburo member spoke about seven areas. The first was maintaining a firm belief (in the CCP). The second was improving the “four consciousnesses” (consciousness of the need to maintain political integrity, to think in big-picture terms, to follow the leadership core, and to maintain alignment (with the top leader)), fostering the “four confidences” (confidence in the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics), and carrying out the “two upholds” (upholding Xi’s position as the core of the party and upholding the CCP Central Committee’s authority and its centralized, unified leadership). The third was reporting on one’s own work performance; fourth was fulfilling the original goal of “serving the people;” fifth was supporting the authority of the (communist) system; sixth was executing power cleanly without corruption; and seventh was offering consideration and suggestions about the party’s and the nation’s work.

Xi Jinping hosted the meeting and gave a key speech. In his speech, Xi pointed out that some party members and cadres deliberately do not perform, perform slowly, or fake the performance their job duties. Xi also asked the Politburo members to conduct self-discipline, stay clean, and “control their relatives, friends, and the staff members around them.”

Source: Xinhua, December 27, 2019
http://www.xinhuanet.com/politics/leaders/2019-12/27/c_1125397179.htm

Kuomintang Collaborated with the CCP in Attempt to Use Chinese Spy to Influence Outcome of Taiwan Election

The Australian newspaper The Age reported that a Taiwan politician, Alex Tsai, and a China-based businessman Sun Tianqun tried to threaten and induce Wang Ziqiang, the Chinese spy who confessed to the Australian authorities, to make a false statement in order to help the Kuomingtang (KMT) in the Taiwan Presidential election.

Alex Tsai is a former legislator and the current Deputy Secretary of the KMT. The KMT is the main party opposing the governing party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and President Tsai Ing-wen. The KMT was trailing the DPP in the Presidential election race.

Mr. Wang revealed the messages that he had received from Alex Tsai and Sun since Christmas eve. They included a photo from Tsai of Tsai meeting with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping.

Mr. Wang was given a script to read. He was to say that a person from the DPP had “promised me . . . that the Democratic Progressive Party would guarantee that it would give me a large sum of money and sort out my asylum application in Australia or help me settle in Taiwan.”

In return, Alex Tsai and Sun promised, “If you take up the offer, then by the end of this month, everyone will help ensure that you safely return to mainland China. At the same time they will help you resolve all your debts.” Another message said, “The KMT has agreed that they can let you freely settle in Taiwan.”

Sun also warned that Mr. Wang could be extradited to China and killed or his family on the Chinese mainland punished if he did not co-operate.

The Australian police are investigating the case.

After the case was reported, Alex Tsai held a press conference acknowledging that he had contacted Mr. Wang but stressed that he didn’t threaten him.

A DPP legislator called this an international scandal that a Deputy Secretary of a Taiwan party collaborated with the CCP.

On January 11, Tsai Ing-wen (DPP) won the Taiwan election with 57.1 percent of the votes and the KMT candidate Han Kuo-yu got 38.6 percent of the votes.

Sources:
1. The Age, January 8, 2020
https://www.theage.com.au/national/recant-or-die-alleged-threat-to-self-confessed-chinese-spy-wang-liqiang-20200107-p53pkl.html
2. Deutsche Welle, January 9, 2020
https://www.dw.com/zh/王立强案现罗生门-台湾两大党出面回应/a-51935865
3. Chinascope, December 2, 2019

Who is Wang Liqiang?

Unknown Severe Pneumonia Case Showed up in Shenzhen

Recently, after the outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan, Hubei Province, Shenzhen also  found a case of severe pneumonia of unknown origin. The government announced on Sunday (January 12) that the possibility of SARS and a coronavirus infection have been ruled out. However, due to the authorities’ manner of epidemiological investigation, coupled with the opaqueness of government information, the people’s distrust has continued to spread.

A hospital in Shenzhen issued a notice Sunday about a 41-year-old female patient who is of Indian nationality and teaches at a local international school. The notice stated that, after Shenzhen did some testing, CDC, influenza, bird flu, SARS, Middle East respiratory syndrome, and the new coronavirus that was recently discovered in Wuhan have been ruled out.

To this end, Radio Free Asia called the hospital in question, but the doctor declined to be interviewed on the grounds that the situation was unclear. The local district health bureau in Shenzhen said that the above-mentioned pathogens have been ruled out, but it did not say that it was a new type of pneumonia; it was just a case of severe pneumonia. At present, the pathogen of this severe pneumonia case does not have a clear target, so it is not possible to sequence the pathogen genetically. The only conclusion is that it is a severe pulmonary infection. The official also said that, due to the rapid development of the disease, screening was performed for several known conditions. He was not sure that they belonged to a specific disease.

In order to achieve social control, the Chinese government controls important information releases, including any animal epidemic disclosures. Thus this has, by law, been classified as a state secret. Based on the logic of maintaining stability, concealment of information about the epidemic has become the norm. The government’s concealment of the SARS epidemic in 2003 led to catastrophic consequences.

Source: Radio Free Asia, January 13, 2020
https://www.rfa.org/cantonese/news/cn-shenzhen-01132020101348.html

RFA Chinese: Chinese Local Governments Lose Control over Deficits

Radio Free Asia (RFA) Chinese Edition recently reported that, based on the numbers that the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics released, as of November, provincial governments had across the board deficits, including some wealthy provinces. Even Shanghai, the most financially sound city, had a deficit of RMB 40 billion (around US$5.8 billion). Beijing had a deficit of over RMB 100 billion. The worst cases were Sichuan and Henan provinces. Each had a deficit that was five times that of Beijing’s. Several provincial governments have already issued internal orders to reduce spending immediately. The city of Shenzhen (part of Guangdong Province) which is not yet on the deficit list, is also cutting government spending drastically. Most of the items on the budget were forced to take a minimum ten percent cut. In practice, however, many local government branches have found it really hard to reduce spending. Some have even requested budget increases.

Source: RFA Chinese, January 10, 2020
https://www.rfa.org/mandarin/Xinwen/wul0110b-01102020042302.html

UDN: China’s Office Building Vacancy Rate Dangerously High Since the Global Financial Crisis

United Daily News (UDN), one of the primary Taiwanese news groups, recently reported that commercial real estate, especially office buildings, have been suffering the highest vacancy rates lately across all Chinese major cities. According to data that China Finance Online (NASDAQ: JRJC) provided, the city of Shenzhen suffered a top-tier office building vacancy rate of 22.4 percent in the third quarter of 2019. In some areas the vacancy rate reached 50 percent. In the first half of 2019, in the most valuable locations of Shenzhen, the vacancy rate, at one point, reached 65.7 percent. For decades, Shenzhen has been the most rapidly growing Chinese city. For Q3 of 2019, the vacancy rate for Beijing was 19.5 percent and it was 10.9 percent in Shanghai. For the same period of time, it was 4.8 percent, 4 percent, 3.8 percent and 0.7 percent for Singapore, London, San Francisco and Tokyo, respectively. Analysts expressed the belief that the US-China trade war was the issue. The result was that, in major Chinese cities, a large number of companies have held back from renting offices. Second-tier cities suffered more. Key provincial capital cities typically saw office buildings having average vacancy rates above 30 percent.

Source: UDN, January 8, 2020
https://opinion.udn.com/opinion/story/120611/4275380