Skip to content

Hot Topics

September 22, 2021, Pandemic Report: COVID Is Spreading in China

COVID-19 continues to spread in Fujian Province, with an accumulative 418 confirmed cases from September 10 to September 21. The two major cities impacted are Xiamen and Putian. For the past four days the number of cases in Xiamen has surpassed the number in Putian. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is known for hiding the details about the actual spread of COVID in China, so the actual number of infections is unknown.

Vice Premier Sun Chunlan visited Xiamen and Putian on September 18. Sun usually represents the central government to visit locales about their COVID-19 work only when the local pandemic situation has become extremely severe.

Also, Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province reported eight confirmed cases from September 21 to September 22. The CCP Harbin Municipal Committee Secretary Wang Zhaoli said that the current situation in Harbin is severe and complex.

Related postings on Chinascope:

1. Radio Free Asia, September 22, 2021
2. China’s government site, September 20, 2021
3. Lianhe Zaobao, September 22, 2021

Military: Huanqiu Report: “PLA Warships Appeared Near the U.S. Coast”

Huanqiu reported that the U.S. Department of Defense revealed, on September 12, that China’s warships appeared near the U.S. coast. The U.S. posted a picture which showed that, on August 30, the U.S. Coast Guard patrol ship USCGC Bertholf was conducting “close surveillance” of Chinese naval vessels entering international waters in the U.S. exclusive economic zone near the Aleutian Islands. The Chinese vessels included a Type 055 destroyer, a Type 052D destroyer, and a replenishment ship.

Though Huanqiu quoted a Chinese military expert as stating that “this might be a routine ocean-going training exercise and that there is no offensive implication,” the hottest comments in this article by the Chinese netizens overwhelmingly suggested that they view it as an answer to the U.S. naval ships sailing in the South China Sea. While Beijing claims the waters there to be China’s waters, the international community does not.

Some of the comments were:

“China’s freedom of navigation has begun, and the U.S. needs to get used to it!”

“Right, we should knock on the U.S. door to see if the American Empire is home.”

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you! You Yankees can sail freely, why can’t China sail freely? This is the best answer to you Yankees.”

“It is to provoke (confrontation). So what!”

“It’s just free sailing. Chinese warships are brave adolescents who like to wander around to any location in their own territory. So what if you don’t like it?”

Source: Huanqiu, September 14, 2021

Leadership: Fantasia Holdings, a Business of Zeng Qinghong’s Niece, Is in Trouble

Zeng Baobao, the niece of Zeng Qinghong, owns Fantasia Holdings. Zeng Qinghong is a retired Chinese Communist Party (CCP) top official. He is former CCP head Jiang Zemin’s right-hand man, the Vice President of China, and a CCP Politburo Standing Committee member. He is still believed to have considerable political influence in China. Many media have reported him as heading a CCP faction that is against Xi Jinping.

Zeng Baobao established Fantasia Holdings in 1996. The company went IPO in Hong Kong in 2009. Its main business is real estate development.

Recently, Citibank and Credit Suisse gave a zero loan value to Fantasia’s notes, meaning that their private wealth management customers can no longer use Fantasia’s notes as collateral for loans. On September 14, S&P Global Ratings announced a negative outlook on the company and affirmed a “B” rating, as the company’s large foreign debt maturity will weigh on its financials.

Many real estate companies in China are facing cash flow problems. However, the fact that Fantasia Holdings is facing trouble may also carry a political message. It may mean that Zeng Qinghong is likely to be in bad shape. He is not able to save his family’s company.

1. Liberty Times, September 7, 2021
2. Sina, September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021, Pandemic Report: COVID Spreading in China

On September 10, Beijing announced that there were two COVID-19 cases in Fujian Province. From then until the end of September 13, that is within 4 days, Fujian Province reported a total of 139 cases. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is known for hiding the details about the actual spread of COVID in China, so the real number of infections is unknown.

The infection in Fujian Province started in Putian City and quickly spread to Quanzhou City and Xiamen City. Many children have been infected. Among the 85 positive cases in Putian City, 36 are students. The number includes 8 kindergarteners and 28 elementary school students.

Related postings on Chinascope:

Source: China News Service, September 15, 2021

U.S.-China Relations: Huanqiu’s Editorial on the U.S.-Taiwan Connection

Huanqiu published an editorial regarding two developments in U.S.-Taiwan relations. The first was a report that the U.S. is considering Taiwan’s proposal to rename Taiwan’s representative office in Washington from the “Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office” to the “Taiwan Representative Office.” The second development was that senior U.S. officials had an in-person meeting with the Taiwan Foreign Minister in Annapolis, MD, which is a one hour drive away from Washington, DC.

Huanqiu’s editorial said,

“The U.S. side is well aware that this is not a trivial matter, and they are now in the stage of releasing information and testing the reaction of mainland China.

What is there to test? They want to push the matter to the tipping point of a showdown. Mainland China has no choice but to meet the challenge and prepare for a showdown with them.

If the U.S. changes the name of the Taiwan Representative Office, the mainland’s diplomatic response will not be lower than our response to Lithuania at all. It can fully expected that China will recall its Ambassador from the U.S.

Having only a diplomatic response is obviously not enough. If the U.S. and Taiwan rename Taiwan’s office, they have violated the red line of (China’s) Anti-Secession Law. Mainland China needs to take severe economic and military measures to combat the arrogance of the U.S. and Taiwan. The mainland should apply severe economic sanctions against Taiwan or even impose an economic blockade, depending on the situation.

Militarily, mainland warplanes should fly over the sky of the Taiwan island and include Taiwan’s airspace as part of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA’s) cruising patrol. This is a step that mainland China must take sooner or later, and the office renaming will provide a sufficient reason for the mainland to assert its sovereignty over Taiwan. We expect that the Taiwanese military will dare not stop the PLA warplanes from flying over Taiwan. If they dare to open fire, let us deliver a decisive and devastating blow to the ‘Taiwan independence’ forces without hesitation.

Actually, the Taiwan issue is a willpower contest. Since Beijing has declared that Taiwan is China’s core interest, we will act resolutely to guard this bottom line of our national interest and pay any price for it.

It seems that sooner or later, a big, earth-shaking storm will come to the Taiwan Strait. Even if the U.S. and Taiwan retreat their foot this time, their foot will cross the line the next time. Now we need to get ready to ‘break their legs’ in the Taiwan Strait at any time.”

Source: Huanqiu, September 12, 2021

Diplomacy: CCP’s Domestic Report on “Xi Jinping’s Talk with Biden”

China Central Television (CCTV) reported that Xi Jinping talked to Biden on September 10. It reported that Xi Jinping criticized the U.S. for bringing difficulties to the U.S.-China relationship  and that Biden expressed that the U.S. is willing to bring the relationship back so it is on the ‘right track.’

“Xi pointed out that for a period of time, the U.S. policy towards China has brought serious difficulties to the Sino-U.S. relationship and that this does not meet the fundamental interests of the peoples of the two countries nor the common interests of the world. China and the United States are the largest developing country and the largest developed country, respectively. Whether China and the United States can handle their relations is critical to the future of the world, (and thus it) is the question of the century that both sides must answer well. If China and the U.S. cooperate, the two countries and the whole world will benefit; if China and the U.S. confront each other, then the two countries and the whole world will suffer. The relationship between China and the U.S. is not a multiple-choice question of whether it should be good, but rather a must-answer question on how to make it good.

“Biden said there is no reason for the two countries to get into conflict due to competition. He added that the U.S. has no intention of changing its ‘one-China’ policy. The U.S. is willing to engage in more frank exchanges and constructive dialogue with China, identify key and priority areas where the two sides can cooperate, avoid misunderstandings and miscalculations and accidental conflicts, and push the U.S.-China relations back to the right track.”

Source: CCTV, September 10, 2021

Pandemic – Many Learned of the COVID-19 Virus in China Weeks before the CCP’s Report

The Daily Mail, a British newspaper, reported that Ian Lipkin, one of the world’s top epidemiologists and a professor at Columbia University, said on numerous occasions that he learned about the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China on December 15, 2019. He repeated the date in a documentary film by the director Spike Lee. He also told Columbia University Medical Center that he first heard about the outbreak “in the middle of December 2019” from his friends at the China’s Center for Disease Control.

Beijing hid the outbreak news for quite a while. Dr. Li Wenliang revealed the information in a Wechat discussion group on December 27, after which the police admonished him. That was the first occurrence in which the Chinese talked about the virus.

The report also listed other sources that indicated the outbreak was earlier:

The academic in charge of collating official data told a Chinese health journal of a suspected fatality of a patient who fell ill in late September in 2019, followed by two more cases on November 14 and 21.

Connor Reed, a 25-year-old Briton teaching in Wuhan, said he fell ill on November 25.  Two months later, a hospital confirmed that his debilitating sickness was  the new coronavirus.

Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law in Washington, said he learned of the disease in mid-December, telling the Los Angeles Times he heard “from a friend in Wuhan that there is a novel coronavirus and it looks very serious.”

Dutch virologist Ron Fouchier told a documentary that he discussed the outbreak in the first week of December with his colleague Marion Koopmans, a member of the WHO inquiry team.

Source: Daily Mail, September 4, 2021

Pandemic Diplomacy: South Africa Rejected China’s Vaccine

The COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) program under the World Health Organization (WHO) plans to distribute 100 million doses of Chinese COVID vaccines to countries in Africa and Asia. These vaccines are made by China’s two vaccine producers Sinovac Biotech and Sinopharm.

South Africa was given 2.5 million dozes of the Sinovac vaccine (CoronaVac). Its officials rejected these vaccines. Nicholas Crisp, Deputy Director-General in South Africa’s National Department of Health, overseeing its COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, said, “There is not enough information on the effectiveness of these vaccines against the Delta variant, nor is there information on the efficacy of the Sinovac vaccine in HIV-infected populations. We did not accept the Sinovac vaccine from COVAX because it was not mature enough in our evaluation and planning process.”

Algeria, which was given 8 million dozes of Sinopharm’s vaccine, is also cautious and said that vaccine is a “possible” choice.

Related postings on Chinascope:

Source: Taiwan Apple Daily, August 29, 2021