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Pandemic: Status of COVID-19 in China as of February 4, 2021

The COVID-19 virus has continued to spread in China. Both Beijing and Shanghai have reported cases.

As of February 4, 2021, the Chinese government published 10 high-risk areas and 51 medium-risk areas, in Beijing, Shanghai, the three provinces: Hebei, Heilongjiang, and Jilin.

High-risk areas are in five cities:

  • Beijing (with 1 high risk area)
  • Shijiazhuang City, Hebei Province (1)
  • Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province (4)
  • Suihua City, Heilongjiang Province (3)
  • Tonghua City, Jilin Province (1)

Medium-risk areas are in the following cities:

  • Shanghai (with 3 medium-risk areas)
  • Shijiazhuang City, Hebei Province (3)
  • Xingtai City, Hebei Province (2)
  • Baoding City, Hebei Province (1)
  • Qiqihar City, Heilongjiang Province (1)
  • Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province (21)
  • Suihua City, Heilongjiang Province (19)
  • Changchun City, Jilin Province (1)

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Pandemic: Fake Vaccine in China

China reported a case involving fake COVID-19 vaccine. The public security authorities recently cracked a case involving counterfeit vaccine. The authorities arrested more than 80 suspects and seized more than 3,000 sticks of fake vaccine which were filled with physiological saline.

The case involved police from Beijing, Jiangsu Province, and Shandong Province. The suspect has been selling the fake vaccine since September 2020.

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Military: China’s Airplanes Practiced Missile Attack on U.S. Carrier

According to intelligence from the U.S. and its allies, Chinese bombers and fighter jets carried out a simulated missile attack on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in the South China Sea.

They conducted the exercise in Taiwan’s air defense airspace on January 23, after China sent 13 warplanes into Taiwan’s southwestern air defense zone and the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command dispatched the USS Theodore Roosevelt battle group into the South China Sea.

A U.S. official, who asked not to be named, said the Chinese aircraft did not come within 250 nautical miles of U.S. Navy ships.

Another person familiar with the matter said the Chinese planes had been staying about 250 nautical miles from the USS Roosevelt battle group. Dialogue between the pilots of the Chinese H-6 bombers showed that the planes were conducting a mock locking down and releasing anti-ship missile against the U.S. aircraft carrier.

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Military: The PLA Equipped Soldiers in Tibet with Self-Destruct Helmets

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) equipped its soldiers stationed in Tibet with new helmets that have a self-destruct button. The button would trigger an embedded bomb to go off, killing the soldier.

The state-run media China Observer reported on Dec. 27, 2020, “At a battalion or brigade level command center, a commander uses a navigation system to monitor the soldier who is far away. The commander can activate the self-destruct function on the soldier’s helmet if he is unable to contact him.”

The report stated that soldiers can also press the button themselves. “If a soldier is seriously wounded and doesn’t want to be captured, he can activate the self-destruct function himself. This can maintain his dignity, as well as prevent the enemy from obtaining this system.”

The new helmet is part of an “individual soldier digital combat system” given to troops in the Tibet theater command. They face Indian troops at the border, where there were recent skirmishes over disputed territory in the Ladakh region.

The system includes an antenna and bomb, night-vision multifunctional glasses, and a digital control terminal that can be worn on the arm.

After being equipped with the system, soldiers at the frontline can communicate with the battalion commander at the command center via radio. Meanwhile, the commander can see the frontline via video footage captured by the soldier’s camera-equipped jacket. The footage can help the commander to make decisions such as ordering the soldier to fire artillery targeting Indian soldiers.

Soldiers in special forces units, the squad infantry, as well as the artillery, aviation, and armor divisions will be equipped with this system.

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Source: The Epoch Times, January 11, 2021
https://www.theepochtimes.com/china-develops-helmets-for-military-soldiers-with-self-destruct-button_3651136.html

Military: China Tested the Biden Administration’s Position on Taiwan

On January 23, China sent 13 warplanes into Taiwan’s southwestern air defense zone. China’s planes included eight nuclear-capable bombers, four fighter jets and an anti-submarine patrol aircraft. In response, Taiwan’s air force warned away the Chinese aircraft and deployed missiles to monitor them.

After the incident and on the same day, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command dispatched an aircraft carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt into the South China Sea to promote “freedom of the seas” in the waterway.

Also on the same day, the U.S. State Department released a statement confirming its support for Taiwan. The statement asserted,

“The United States notes with concern the pattern of ongoing PRC attempts to intimidate its neighbors, including Taiwan. We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan’s democratically elected representatives.

We will stand with friends and allies to advance our shared prosperity, security, and values in the Indo-Pacific region — and that includes deepening our ties with democratic Taiwan. The United States will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues, consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people on Taiwan. The United States maintains its longstanding commitments as outlined in the Three Communiqués, the Taiwan Relations Act, and the Six Assurances. We will continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability. Our commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region.”

However, on the next day, Beijing sent another 15 aircraft to break into Taiwan’s airspace.

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy Framework that the Trump administration declassified stated the following:

“Objective: Deter China from using military force against the United States and U.S. allies or partners, and develop the capabilities and concepts to defeat Chinese actions across the spectrum of conflict.”

One action toward this objective is: “Devise and implement a defense strategy capable of, but not limited to: (1) denying China sustained air and sea dominance inside the “first island chain” in a conflict; (2) defending the first-island-chain nations, including Taiwan; and (3) dominating all domains outside the first island-chain.”

Sources:
1. New York Post, January 23, 2021.
https://nypost.com/2021/01/23/china-sends-warplanes-into-taiwans-airspace-report/
2. State Department, January 23, 2021.
https://www.state.gov/prc-military-pressure-against-taiwan-threatens-regional-peace-and-stability/
3. New York Post, January 25, 2021.
https://nypost.com/2021/01/25/china-sends-warplanes-into-taiwan-airspace-for-2nd-straight-day/

 

Economy: How Much Did China Buy from the U.S. in 2020 to Fulfill Its Trade Agreement Promise?

The United States and China signed the Phase I Trade Agreement on January 15, 2020. Washington agreed to reduce some added tariffs in exchange for Beijing, in the years of 2021 and 2022, agreeing to buy an additional total of $200 billion in goods and services from the U.S., over and above China’s purchases from the U.S. in 2017.

A year after the agreement, China didn’t reach its purchase target and the U.S. trade deficient from China increased again.

China agreed to buy around $159 billion in American goods. However, according to a report from the Peterson Institute for International Economics, by November 2020, China’s actual purchases were around $82 billion, or 52 percent of the target.

China fulfilled 67 percent of its purchase goal on agricultural products, 52 percent on manufacturing goods, and 31 percent on energy products.

On the other hand, China kept increasing its exports to the world. Beijing stated on January 7 that leading with the strong export of medical supplies, China’s trade surplus with the world has increased to $535 billion, the new high from 2015.

The U.S. also tried to remove structural blocks that American companies faced in China in the Phase I Trade Agreement, in the areas of protecting intellectual property, avoiding forced technology transfer, and easing restrictions on market entry to China.

Last June, China announced it would open its $45 trillion financial market to the world. It also granted American Express a license for clearing house transactions. In September, China issued a draft regulation on protecting business secrets. However, these actions have not materially changed the real situation in China.

Some analysts think that the positive side of the trade agreement is that the Trump administration changed people’s view of China in the economic field and made companies rethink their dependence on the supply chain from China.

Doug Barry, the spokesperson of the US-China Business Council told VOA, “I hope the new administration can support the successful completion of the Phase I agreement and reach an accord with China to start the work of Phase II, which will focus on resolving China’s subsidies to state-owned enterprises, opening more economic fields to foreign competitors, and other trade issues.”

Source: VOA, January 16, 2021
https://www.voachinese.com/a/china-trade-economy-tariff-20210115/5739614.html

CCP’s Coverup – Hebei Province Reported False COVID-19 Counts

Hebei Province is one of areas in China that has the highest infection of COVID-19. It is not clear how many people have been infected since the Chinese Communist Party is known for hiding such information and for reporting a much smaller count. However, even the government’s numbers show false reporting.

  • On January 14, Longrao County, Hebei Province reported that its massive test of the country residents was negative for everyone. However, on January 17, the country reported 2 confirmed cases and 1 asymptomatic case. The local government then blamed the company conducting the tests for reporting the result before receiving test results.
  • On January 16, Meng Xianghong, Deputy Governor of Heber Province, stated at a news briefing, that Shijiazhuang City had completed its second round of nucleic acid testing on January 14 and found 247 positive cases. However, on January 15, Hebei Provincial Health Commission reported that on January 14, the province had 90 newly confirmed cases, including 84 cases from Shijiazhang. The number 84 was much smaller than 247 – the number of positive cases that the Deputy Governor mentioned.
  • Netizens found that the Hebei Provincial Health Commission had been reporting the same infection count on three out of four consecutive days: January 12 – 90 count, January 13 – 81, January 14 – 90, and January 15 – 90. Some people posted under China Central Television microblog page: “Why did Hebei report 90 cases on each of those days? Is it a coincident or because they did not dare to report more?”
  • A netizen posted a list of COVID-19 patient names on January 3, including six confirmed cases in Shizjiazhang city. On that same day, the government reported only 1 confirmed case.

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