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Phoenix News: China May Launch Third Aircraft Carrier This Year

Phoenix New Media (NYSE: FENG), a pro-mainland news company headquartered in Hong Kong, recently reported that China’s third aircraft carrier (serial number “003”) may launch this year and the expected Navy deployment will be around 2025. Based on the photos that the Chinese magazine Military Industrial Technology released, the new carrier seems to be bigger and is equipped with an electromagnetic catapult, which opens the door for carrying tankers, anti-submarine aircraft, transport aircraft, and AEW (Air Early Warning). The 003 uses a modular architecture and took a shorter time than 002 to assemble. After the launch, it typically takes two years for equipment installation (including radar, various sensors and the catapult), static tests and sea tests. Some said the 003 aircraft carrier measures up to the U.S. Kitty Hawk class, with the displacement exceeding 80,000 tons. However, the Chinese Navy did not reveal any official details on the specifications.

Source: Phoenix News, January 18, 2021

China Constructed a Village on a Disputed China-India Border

According to an exclusive news report that NDTV India published, China built a new residential village in Arunachal Pradesh (known as southern Tibet) on the eastern part of the disputed border between India and China. It has caused the tension between India and China to escalate again. A satellite photo from NDTV showed there were no villages in the Arunachal Pradesh area in August 2019 but as of November 2020, there were 100 residential buildings.  Before the end of the year, the Indian Army decided to withdraw from its station in the northeast which was dealing with counter-insurgency and will redeploy 10,000 soldiers to respond to Chinese threats.

An official document from 2017 advised that, to ensure political stability in Tibet, Beijing authorized the construction of 624 residential buildings in the disputed area along the China and Indian border as part of the Tibetan poverty alleviation plan.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying reiterated at a regular press conference on January 21 that China does not find anything illegal as “China’s normal construction on its own territory is entirely a matter of its sovereignty.”

Source: Liberty Times News, January 25, 2021

Beijing to Give PLA Officers 40 Percent Pay Raises in 2021

The Hong Kong “South China Morning Post” quoted sources as saying that Beijing is expected to raise the salaries of its PLA officers by 40 percent this year. Among them, young officers stationed in Tibet, Xinjiang, the East China Sea, the South China Sea and other border troops will benefit the most. This is part of the military modernization reform that Xi Jinping has promoted. The purpose of this move is to attract and retain talented soldiers and to give the young soldiers confidence in the ongoing reforms.

A veteran PLA officer confirmed that veterans will also receive higher pensions based on the length of service. However, he said that both active and veteran military officers are worried about the strong influence the Central Military Commission has and the lack of transparency in the system. He also said, “The Central Military Commission issued over 10 new policies but those are only available to officers of a certain rank and can’t be disclosed to the general public.”

Source: Central News Agency, January 23, 2021

Xi Jinping Calls Party Cadres to “Exercise Political Judgment”

In the past one month, Xi Jinping called for “political judgment, political insight, and political execution” three times on different occasions.

On January 22, Xi Jinping stated at the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Commission for Discipline Inspection that strict governance of the party must first be done from a political point of view. “Continuously improve political judgment, political understanding, and political execution.”

The first time that Xi brought up those words was at the Politburo Democratic Meeting held from December 24 to 25, 2020. Xi Jinping asked the Politburo members to “be good at grasping the overall political situation and continuously improve political judgment, political understanding, and political execution.”

The second time was at the provincial and ministerial-level major leading cadres’ seminar on January 11, 2021. Xi Jinping asked leading cadres at all levels, especially senior cadres, to “improve political judgment, political understanding, and political execution continuously and execute the decisions that come from the CCP’s top leaders.”

It could suggest that the CCP is unsure of the COVID 19 development at home or U.S.-China relationship under Biden’s administration. Therefore, senior cadres are required to improve their political judgment and be capable of understanding the directions from the top. Another China scholar also told the Epoch Times that China is facing unprecedented threats in 2021. There is rampant corruption and power infighting between the political and economic forces. They are impossible to resolve and imposed political pressure would only make it worse.

Source: Epoch Times, January 23, 2021

China Builds its Own Value Chain: Will Overtaking on a Curve Work?

Wu Jiemin, a researcher at the Institute of Sociology, Taiwan Academia Sinica, won the “Humanities and Society Academic Award” issued by the Academia Sinica for his book Rent-Seeking Developmental State in China: Taiwan businessmen, Guangdong Model and Global Capitalism. The book discusses in great detail the connections between China and global capitalism.

In an interview with Voice of America, Wu Jiemin said that China is trying to bypass the global value chain system controlled by Western countries to build a value chain system that Chinese capital can control on its own. The U.S.-China confrontation situation cannot be changed in the short-term. If China wants to succeed in the challenge, it must make a big breakthrough in science and technology. However, scientific and technological development is closely related to academic and free speech and China is currently under a highly authoritarian rule. Without freedom of thinking and speech, Wu doubts such “overtaking on a curve” would be successful.

According to Wu, one of the key features in China is a massive systematic and collective rent seeking undertaking. The so-called rent-seeking is a term in economics. The country is not directly engaged in production activities but intervenes in the industrial chain to extract a certain amount of interest. This interest is called economic rent or political rent.

Wu said that China has a special system design for extracting benefits, including value-added fees, management fees, approval fees for leased land, and social security fees. Further, local governments play an important and unique role. Rent-seeking activities in China are rampant.

“The local government acts like an intermediary or broker, which is to integrate the resources needed in various production processes to a certain extent. … In this process, the local government also obtains a lot of tax benefits from the manufacturers, including economic rents obtained from foreign capital and local manufacturers. This revenue becomes an additional income for the local government outside of its budget. Part of it goes to the hidden coffers for the officials, some goes to the personal pocket of the official and the rest becomes tax revenue to fund construction.” On the other hand, foreign investors in China are disgusted by the rent-seeking behavior of local officials, but they have to deal with them and seek their protection.

Wu believes that in the past 10 years, the Guangdong model transformation and the Chinese model transformation have focused on bypassing global value chain hegemony and trying to build a value chain system that Chinese capital can control by itself.

In Wu’s opinion, one side of China’s development model is its biggest gain in foreign exchanges and fiscal revenues that it has spent on the military, economic modernization, and urbanization. China’s subways, high-speed rails, and highways are examples. However, Wu said that the other side of China’s development model is high exploitation of labor, low welfare, and lack of human rights.

Source: Voice of America, January 20, 2021

Canada Bans Import of Forced Labor Products from China

In response to China’s violations of the human rights of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, the Canadian government introduced a series of new measures this week, including prohibiting domestic companies from doing business with companies that are involved in the forced labor of Uyghurs.

The series of measures include banning the importation of the products of forced labor and requiring Canadian companies to ensure that they do not export to China any products that may possibly be used for surveillance and the infringement of human rights. Canada will provide business consultation on Xinjiang related issues and conduct investigations on forced labor and supply chain risks.

A poll conducted at the end of December 2020 showed that 45 percent of Canadian respondents believed that Canada should reduce trade with China. Only 10 percent believe that trade with China should be increased.

Source: Voice of America, January 15, 2021


Twitter Refuses to Delete Hua Chunying’s Fabricated Xinjiang Propaganda

On Thursday, January 14, Hua Chunying, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Communist China, circulated a propaganda video on human rights in Xinjiang on Twitter. The propaganda denied the CCP’s forced labor policy against the Uyghurs and accused the United States government of spreading rumors. In response, a Twitter spokesperson said on Friday, January 15, that the tweets of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not violate their company regulations.

The spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hua Chunying, issued a series of tweets on Thursday that the existence of forced labor in Xinjiang “is the biggest lie of this century. It aimed at restricting and suppressing Chinese (CCP) authorities and Chinese companies and curbing China’s development.”

However, according to reports from multi-party investigations, in recent years, the Chinese Communist Party has intensified its crackdown on Uyghur ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. The actual evidence exposed the mass detention of approximately 1 million people, the mandatory re-education programs, the highly invasive surveillance, the religious suppression, the forced sterilization of women, and the forced labor.

The Associated Press has conducted extensive investigations on this, including first-hand interviews with about 30 former CCP’s detainees, and found that the CCP authorities had conducted pregnancy tests on thousands of Uyghur women and forced them to undergo forced abortions and sterilization.

The Chinese Communist regime has consistently denied these allegations on Twitter and claimed that the place where these detainees were held was a vocational training center aimed at curbing religious extremism and preventing terrorism.

One of Hua Chunying’s tweets on Thursday also accused the United States of fabricating lies and using “bad actions” to violate international trade rules and “damage the interests of global companies and consumers including those in the United States.”

A promotional video was attached to the tweet, with the title of smiling workers working in Xinjiang factories, spreading the message, “Many of our living habits have been changed and improved.” This video became the latest propaganda material that the Chinese Communist regime used to whitewash its repressive actions in Xinjiang.

A Twitter spokesperson told Fox News that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Chinese Communist’s denied having a forced labor policy in Xinjiang, accused the U.S. of disinformation on Twitter and said China did not violate their company’s regulations.

The Chinese Communist Party has banned one billion ordinary people from using Twitter, but it seems that officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the party’s media are not restricted.

Source: China News, January 15, 2021

Sichuan Professor Fell to Death, in Protest of Forced Demolitions

Tuo Jiguang, a professor at Sichuan Normal University, fell from a campus building around 8 o’clock on the morning of Monday January 18 2021. His friends said that Tuo, after experiencing 10 years of forced eviction and different forms of suppression, finally chose to fight with death.

Professor Tuo Jiguang was a doctor of literature, a postdoc in journalism and communication, and a postdoc in law. Before teaching at Sichuan Normal University, Tuo worked as a reporter and editor at the two largest local newspapers, West China Metropolis Daily and Chengdu Economic Daily.

In October 2020, Tuo Jiguang, filed a public complaint against Pu Fayou, head of Chengdu’s Chenghua District, for abusing power and violently demolishing citizens’ legally owned property. Tuo mentioned in the complaint letter that, since 2011, his two residences in Chenghua District had been subjected to the immediate danger of demolition. During the process, the demolition staff resorted to a number of means such as threats, pressure from his workplace and online defamation to force him into an agreement. “But the family finally withstood the pressure and did not succumb.” In the end, Pu Fayou presided over an executive meeting of the district government and ordered the two houses to undergo “violent demolition.”

Mr. Chen, one of Tuo’s friends, told Radio Free Asia that the reason for his suicide was because the Chenghua District government demolished his two houses. These two houses were his legal residences. He has been defending his rights since 2011. Mr. Chen also pointed out that even with dual post-doctoral degrees and qualifications as a lawyer and journalist, under the suppression of government agencies, social elites like Tuo Jiguang can only be forced to fight with death.

In 2009, Li Chuncheng, then head of Chinese Communist Party committee of Chengdu city, carried out massive demolition and triggered intense government-civilian confrontation. A woman named Tang Fu-zhen burned herself to death in protest of the forced demolition, drawing widespread attention. Tuo is another tragic case of human death due to “forced demolitions” which are rampant across China.

Source: Radio Free Asia, January 18, 2021