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Briefings - 4. page

Huawei Faked Performance Data for Multiple Phone Models

Chinese technology news site Leiphone recently reported that well-known U.S. technology monitor Anandtech discovered that Huawei crafted cheating logic in its smartphone models that faked “high performance” behavior when it detects performance benchmarking software is running. UL Benchmark, the company behind widely-used benchmarking software 3DMark, delisted multiple Huawei smartphones with “suspect benchmark scores.” These include Huawei’s P20 Pro, Nova 3, and its Honor Play. Huawei’s head of software division admitted a “different experience” between benchmarking and real user experience. However, he emphasized that other companies did the same thing as well. Huawei has been caught creating false advertising many times before. For example, not long ago, it was found using photos taken with professional cameras in smartphone commercial videos. In the second quarter of this year, Huawei surpassed Apple to become world’s second largest smartphone vendor (in terms of units sold), after Samsung.

Source: Leiphone News, September 7, 2018

Beijing News: Half a Trillion Spent on Urban Railways in 2017; Four Cities Break Even; 30 Run at a Loss

Beijing News recently reported that, according to a report that the Chinese Urban Rail Transit Association just released, China spent RMB half a trillion (around US$73.2 billion) in 2017 alone to build urban rail transit systems. By the end of 2017, a total of 34 cities completed their systems, with an operational railway length of 5,033 kilometers. At the same time, there are another 56 city systems still under construction, with a planned total length of 6,246 kilometers. With the massive expansion of urban rail projects, more and more issues and risks have started to occur and the government has called off some projects. These city rail transit systems imposed a major burden on the local budget of the cities. At the same time, the systems are largely under-utilized. Among the completed 34 rail transit systems, only Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Wuhan broke even financially. All of the other 30 cities run their systems at a loss.

Source: Beijing News, September 6, 2018

China to Build a Red Online Army of Commentators

The senior officials in the judicial circle of the Chinese Communist Party held a meeting on September 4th, mapping out a work plan related to the Internet and new media. Chen Yixin, Secretary-General of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, encouraged all personnel in the profession to open their online media accounts, in a sense to build an army of online commentators.

The meeting reportedly encouraged legal professionals and police officers to use new media to set the agenda for public discussion, create hot topics, and become effective online communicators. Chen talked about the transformation of the media and asked if he could be the first responder and agenda setter when a major event breaks out. Chen added that judicial personnel have the additional responsibility of using the pen and “are proactively sharing the burden for the Party.”

The “50 Cent Party” was also part of the discussion at the meeting. The 50 Cent Party, or 50 Cent Army (Chinese: 五毛党), is the colloquial term for Internet commentators who Chinese authorities have hired in an attempt to manipulate public opinion to the benefit of the Chinese Communist Party. Pointing out that the 50 Cent Party is low in quantity, poor in quality, and poorly organized, the meeting asked for a transition toward a “powerful red online army.” To this end, it is necessary to “discover and gather a group of talented original writers with positive energy.” The compensation for the 50 Cent Party was also put on the table. The meeting acknowledged that “not enough attention and support” has been provided to them in the past. Therefore, it was proposed to “explore the incentive mechanism and build a talented team.”

The meeting proposed to foster a group of WeChat public accounts of millions of followers, Weibo accounts of tens of millions of followers, and a web platform with millions of subscribers.

After the meeting, Chinese judicial and legal authorities may require all personnel to open online media accounts. If other professions follow suit, China will see a humongous size of government backed online red army commentators.

Source: Central News Agency, September 7, 2018

ABC News Chinese: China Blocked ABC News but Still Claims “Openness”

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) News Chinese Edition recently reported that China has blocked its website since the day after Australia banned Huawei and ZTE from participating in the national 5G communications infrastructure initiative. In the past Chinese readers could freely access ABC NewsChinese Edition via its website and mobile app without blockage from China’s “Great Firewall.” Under high pressure, the Chinese government explained that China’s internet is always “sufficiently open.” However, “some foreign websites” may be banned if the content violates Chinese laws, such as distributing information promoting pornography, gambling, and activities threatening Chinese national security. There was no example of any content in ABC News that met such criteria. In the meantime, other Australian news websites are still accessible from within China. ABC News English Edition is occasionally available in China. ABC News is a public broadcasting organization established under the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act of 1983.

Source: ABC News Chinese, September 3, 2018

Deutsche Welle: The Number of Death Penalty Executions in the World Is Decreasing. China Still Tops the List.

Deutsche Welle reported that, according to Amnesty International’s 2017 annual report on the death penalty around the world, over two-thirds of the countries, or 142 countries, have abolished the death penalty or stopped the practice. Guinea and Mongolia are the latest two countries that have abandoned the death penalty. However there are 23 countries that still carry out the death sentence. China is the country that has the highest rate of death executions in the world. In 2017, 23 countries carried out 993 death sentences, down four percent from 2016 and down 39 percent from 2015. This number does not include China. Amnesty International believes that the death sentence in China was in the thousands but the real number remains a “state secret.”

Source: Deutsche Welle, September 7, 2018

Hong Kong Billionaire Businessman Tortured to Death in China While in Custody

Hong Kong Central News Agency quoted Sing Tao Daily and reported that, on March 19, 2017, Hong Kong billionaire businessman Liu Xiyong allegedly died during an interrogation while he was in custody. Liu was arrested in March of 2017 for bribery. A copy of the court indictment paper circulating on the internet cited seven prosecutors who were involved in Liu’s case. They were accused of “extorting a confession by torture, negligence of duty, and intentional assault.” The case is currently being tried in the Tianjing Intermediate Court. The court paper stated that, during the four days while Liu was in custody, he was only allowed to rest for two hours. He spent the rest of the time tied up in the interrogation chair. The autopsy report indicated that a number of torture methods were used on Liu. He suffered a broken sternum and fractured ribs and he died of suffocation.

Liu Xiyong, 60 years old, was from Fuzhou, Fujian Province. He was among the first group of students in the mainland to have studied abroad where he attended Harvard University. He obtained a permanent resident status in Hong Kong and became the agent representing three major US chain stores on the mainland:  Walmart, JC Penney, and Sears. He was also the clothing supplier for JC Penny. Liu owned the Hong Kong Junyi hotel and the Hong Kong Xin Liji International Group and was a “financial crocodile” with billions of dollars in assets. In November 2016, Liu Xiyong was wanted for making fraudulent loans from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China for more than 200 million Hong Kong dollars (US$25 million). He was detained in Beijing initially and was secretly transferred to the Yanbian Prefecture Detention Center in Jilin Province in March 2017. On March 19, Liu died during the investigation of the Jilin Yanbian State Procuratorate. Liu’s death is speculated to have had deep political connections. Liu’s wife, Li Fangfei, is a famous TV host for CCTV. An online posting also disclosed that the media has been instructed not to report, forward, or comment on the trial.

1. Central News Agency, September 8, 2018
2. Have8.TV, September 9, 2018

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