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Briefings - 4. page

Classic Showcase of the CCP’s Sophism in the TV Anchors’ Dialog

On May 29, Chinese Global Television Network’s (CGTN’s) TV anchor Liu Xin had a debate (or dialog as some people called it) with Fox’s Trish Regan. Epoch Times Chinese published an article suggesting that Liu Xin’s arguments were a classic demonstration of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) sophistry. The CCP is a great con artist that, despite having a clear understanding that the party itself is at fault, is able to use fallacies to make arguments from nothing, to confuse, deceive, spoil the discussion, and keep itself from falling further into a weaker position.

The article highlighted the following sophistry tricks that the CCP often uses:

1. “I’m the Same as You”

Liu Xin started out saying that she is not a CCP member. She thereby portrayed herself as if she were the same as Trish or other people in the U.S. who express their own ideas. However, the U.S. TV anchor is free to criticize her President, the Republic Party or the Democratic Party in the U.S. Can the CCTV anchor criticize the CCP or its leaders? Will it make a big difference if Liu is a CCP member or not a member? Does she have any choice but to be a party mouthpiece and speak the voice of the party?

2. “I’m Making the Mistake That Everyone Makes”

A highlight was that Liu Xin admitted that the CCP has conducted theft of intellectual property. Then she argued that this is a common practice happening all around the world, including among U.S. companies. Her logic was, “All companies, including U.S. companies have been doing this; so are we. We are bad, but everyone is bad. So why do you criticize us?”

3. “We Are Rich, but We Are Poor”

Liu Xin explained why China is the world’s second largest economy but still should enjoy being treated as a developing country. The CCP’s logic is this: when it needs to show its “muscles,” China is the second largest economy; when it is time to shoulder responsibility or to give aid, China is a developing country. Which side of the story should the CCP tell? It all depends on the need. Following the CCP’s logic, almost all of the developed countries can find some angle to justify that they also qualify as a “developing country.”

4. “Whatever President Clinton Did, We Will Do”

Throughout the questions and answers, Liu Xin did not give any positive solutions or recommendations. Actually, the CCP’s goal is not to have a clear black-and-white debate to see who is right, but rather to use gray answers to muddy the waters and create an ambiguous situation. The author linked this to a joke widely spread in China, “When facing tough questions, (Beijing) can give a straight, definitive answer. ‘Whatever President Clinton did, we will do.’” On the surface, the CCP has given a clear answer. However, on thinking it over, people are not sure what the answer is. “What exactly did President Clinton do?”

5. Change the Fight to a Chat

Another point worth mentioning is that the CCP successfully changed the debate to an interview or dialog, putting itself in a position where it would never lose. It is hard to imagine that, without the CCP’s prior manipulation, the two hostile TV anchors would switch to a friendly chat format. The CCP has done this kind of change many times before. When the European countries were about to criticize the CCP’s human rights records after the Tiananmen Massacre, the CCP, via manipulation, changed it to “discuss human rights issues privately.” It did a similar thing to the U.S. The end result was that the CCP continues its human rights violations. The U.S. and Europe criticize the CCP, but the Chinese people continue to suffer. Many years later, the Western countries came to a realization: the CCP has fooled us.

Source: Epoch Times, June 1, 2019.

Chinese Official Manufacturing PMI Number Fell below 50 Percent

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that China’s National Bureau of Statics just released its May Manufacturing PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) number. The PMI index for the Chinese manufacturing sector turned out to be 49.4 percent. The key sub-indexes that brought down the overall number were New Orders (49.8 percent), Raw Material Inventory (47.4 percent) and Employment Level (47.0 percent). These meant that the market demand for manufacturing products is weak and the manufacturers are consuming existing material for production while unemployment is increasing in the sector. Among the different sizes of the companies, large scale manufacturers are doing relatively well (50.03 percent), medium and small scale manufacturers are suffering declines (48.8 percent and 47.8 percent, respectively). PMI is an indicator of financial activity reflecting purchasing managers’ acquisition of goods and services. A PMI number below 50 typically reflects a decline.

Source: Sina, May 31, 2019

CNA: The Pope Chases the China Dream; What about the Underground Churches?

Primary Taiwanese news agency CNA (The Central News Agency) recently reported that, in a press interview, the Pope again brought up the China Dream, without mentioning the struggling Mainland underground churches that the communist government is suppressing. He explained that the China-Vatican agreement “has no issue” and the opposition is minor. This was a strong blow to the feelings of the Mainland underground church members, since the Pope always used to mention their sacrifice while discussing the need to have a dialogue with the Chinese government. The Pope changed his tone this time by saying the agreement is supported by “all” Chinese believers. He indicated that only a few underground church leaders opposed the agreement, feeling excluded from the decision-making. However, these were the people who had been jailed for decades for safeguarding their belief. The Pope’s dismissal of the “minority” is more of a political angle rather than a soul-saving angle. The Chinese communists are sill, today, demolishing legal churches, removing crosses, and deleting words like “Bible” and “God” from textbooks.

Source: CNA, May 29, 2019

China Times: U.S. Blockage of Huawei Did Not Impact iPhone Negatively in China

Major Taiwanese newspaper China Times recently reported that, according to research that the Bank of America Merrill Lynch just conducted, potential Chinese mobile phone buyers surveyed preferred Apple iPhone over Huawei. It was widely discussed and anticipated in the media both domestically in China and internationally that the U.S. sanctions on Huawei would trigger Chinese mobile phone buyers’ patriotic sentiments and they would thus switch to Huawei while waving goodbye to the iPhone. The newly released study report, however, showed just the opposite. Around 29 percent of Chinese shoppers surveyed in May picked the iPhone which represents a 3 percent increase from April. The same report showed the intent to buy Huawei dropped from 28 percent in April to 25 percent in May. Both JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs indicated earlier that iPhone Chinese sales would see a free fall of around 30 percent. However, the latest research does not really validate that expectation.

Source: China Times, May 31, 2019

RFI: Beijing Issued White Paper and Blamed U.S. for Failed Trade Negotiation

On June 2, the State Council Information Office issued a White Paper entitled, “China’s Position on the China-US Economic and Trade Consultation.” It claimed that the U.S. bears the responsibility for the setback on Sino-US talks. It criticized the U.S. for instigating trade frictions with China, condemned the U.S. for its inconsistency and dishonesty and for claiming that China will not give ground on issues of principle while also leaving room for future negotiation.

Radio France Internationale (RFI) stated that the White Paper may appear to refute the accusations of the U.S. while shirking responsibility for the failed negotiations. It also seems to help Xi Jinping to shut down criticism from his domestic political opponents.

The White Paper criticized Trump’s “America First” and unilateral policy, which imposed tariffs on China. It accused Washington of “turning a blind eye to China’s unremitting efforts and remarkable progress in protecting intellectual property and improving the business environment for foreign investors,” of launching the “301 investigation” in August 2017; of imposing tariffs and trade restrictions on investments; and of inciting Sino-US trade friction.

The White Paper claims that “US-imposed tariff measures harm others and are of no benefit to itself.” On the one hand, China’s exports to the United States have declined for five consecutive months, and were down 9.7 percent in the period of January through April 2019, compared to the same period in 2018. It also increased the production costs of US companies and the cost of domestic goods. U.S. consumers had to pay an additional US$4.6 billion per year. Meanwhile U.S. exports of agricultural products to China decreased by 33.1 percent year-over-year.

The White Paper also criticized the United States for “backtracking on commitments and for a lack of honesty” and cited three examples to use to accuse Washington. The White Paper stated that “China is committed to credible consultations based on equality and mutual benefit. China will not bow under pressure and will rise to any challenge coming its way. China is open to negotiation, but will also fight to the end if needed.”

Source: Radio France Internationale, June 2, 2019

Nikkei Asian Review: Chinese Manufacturers Use Different Channels to Sell to the U.S.

Japan Nikkei Asian Review reported that, in order to bypass the tariffs, China made goods were found to have been shipped to Taiwan, Vietnam, or Mexico before they were sold to the U.S. In the first quarter of 2019, China’s exports to the U.S. dropped $15.2 billion or 12 percent. At the same time, goods sold by China to Taiwan, Vietnam, or Mexico increased significantly.

Nikkei Asian Review analyzed the data from the U.S. International Trade Commission and the International Trade Centre. It looked at the flow of goods in the U.S., China, and the rest of the world, especially the five categories that had the largest export declines from China to the U.S. These included machinery and parts, electronic equipment, furniture, toys, and automotive equipment and parts. It found that in the first quarter of 2019, China’s exports to the US in these five categories dropped US$12.2 billion or 16 percent. However the number of goods that China sold to developing countries and that then went from developing countries to the U.S. increased substantially, especially from Taiwan, Vietnam, and Mexico. The article reported that some companies in China shut down or reduced direct exports to the U.S. but they then sent raw materials and parts to other Asian countries or Mexico for final assembly or repackaging so they would have a different country of origin. Then they sold (these goods) to the U.S. The increased cases have concerned some Asian countries. In September last year, the Vietnamese authorities confiscated products that were actually “Made in China” but were labeled as “Made in Vietnam” which had a U.S. destination. On May 31, Trump announced an increase in tariffs on all imported goods from Mexico, partly due to the significant increase in the volume of goods that Mexico sold to the U.S.

Nikkei Asian Review concluded that Beijing may eventually lose the trade war due to changes in its production lines, personnel and supply chain. In April, China’s total exports fell by 3 percent. It is very difficult to make up for the decrease by increasing exports to countries in Asia and other regions.

Source: Aboluowang, June 2, 2019