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Survey Shows High Suicide Rate in China’s Electronics Industry

Two non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Hong Kong and the Netherlands issued a joint investigation report on Wednesday November 14. The report investigated 167 suicides and attempted suicide incidents in China. The results showed that the suicide rate is extremely high among Chinese workers in the high-tech electronics industry as they were struggling due to a fast-paced environment, fear of losing their job, and worries about being punished.

The report lists the main reasons for suicide, including pressure from their superiors, unfair punishment, denial of bonuses, and the fear of losing their jobs.

The frequent suicides in the Chinese electronics industry highlight the lack of independent workers unions to speak for the employees.

China’s electronics industry employs tens of millions of migrant workers. Non-governmental organizations often condemn employers for violating labor laws. In October, the Apple Group launched an investigation into a supplier in China, which was accused of hiring students and forcing them to assemble smart watches as if they were robots.

According to a survey that the Dutch NGO Electronics Watch released in 2016, Chinese workers in the electronics industry often work more than 80 hours a week, almost double the 44-hour working week that the law stipulates.

Source: Radio France International, November 14, 2018
http://rfi.my/3KaA.T

RFA: Silicon Valley Said No to Wuzhen

Radio Free Asia (RFA) recently reported that the Fifth World Internet Conference was held in Wuzhen, Zhejiang Province, starting on November 7. Other than the CEO of Qualcomm, a U.S. chip maker, who attended the Conference and delivered a speech, no high-ranking officers from Silicon Valley showed up. Apparently, this was due to the trade war between China and the U.S. In fact, many of these companies were very upset about China’s continuous dishonest behavior, such as stealing intellectual property from them. This is one of the main triggering causes of the trade war. Some experts expressed the belief that it’s ironic for China, a country that blocks billions of netizens from freely accessing international websites, to host the international Internet conference year after year. Bill Xia, the President of a U.S. internet freedom product (Freegate) company, commented in an RFA interview that China has been hiding behind the ridiculous excuse of “internet sovereignty” to hammer freedom of speech and to apply tight controls over its own citizens.

Source: RFA Chinese, November 8, 2018
https://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/meiti/nu-11082018094230.html

The Canton Fair Showed a 30 Percent Decline in Exports to the U.S.

Sofreight, a Chinese national logistics and shipping information site, recently reported that, when the 124th Canton Fair (also known as the China Import and Export Fair) closed, it showed a decline of over 30 percent, to US$279 million, in the level of exports to the United States. Also, in addition to the decline of U.S. buyer attendance, the attendance of buyers from other major economies also saw a significant decline. Compared to last year, European Union buyers declined by 3.93 percent, the U.S. buyers declined by 4.07 percent, and Hong Kong declined by 6.34 percent. The Canton Fair has historically been the primary barometer to measure China’s international trade health. The export level reflected in the Fair was in line with what was demonstrated in the recent Chinese export PMI numbers. In October, the Chinese export orders index under its PMI score reached the lowest point since 2016. According to a Fair internal survey conducted by the Zhejiang Province delegation among their own 4,690 companies that participated in the Canton Fair, over 60 percent of the companies have 10 percent or more revenue dependency on exports to the U.S. Around 15 percent of companies have over 80 percent dependency on U.S. exports. Around 66 percent of the companies surveyed expected an export decline of 10 percent or more.

Source: Sofreight, November 9, 2018
http://www.sofreight.com/news_28534.html

BBC Chinese: Asian Stock Markets Declined after China’s New Promises

BBC Chinese recently reported that the China International Import Expo (CIIE) started on November 5. In a keynote address, Chinese leadership made promises to open up the country’s domestic market and to lower tariffs. China intends to broaden its imports and strengthen the protection of intellectual property. In the next 15 years, China expects to import over US$30 trillion worth of goods and US$10 trillion worth of services. However, many experts pointed out that China’s promises lacked tangible action items and a clear timetable. The nearby Asian stock markets reflected the concerns of the analysts. Immediately after the CIIE opening keynote address, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 2.65 percent, while both the Shanghai Composite Index and the Shenzhen Component Index fell more than 1 percent. The Tokyo stock market fell 1.3 percent, and Singapore fell 1.8 percent. Right before the CIIE, these stock markets all increased due to the fact that U.S. President Trump commented positively on an on-going dialogue with China. However, the Chinese message appeared to be disappointing.

Source: BBC Chinese, November 5, 2018
https://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/simp/chinese-news-46094238

China’s Increasing Presence in European Electricity Sector

Le Figaro, a French daily newspaper, recently carried an article on China’s increasing influence over the European electric power supply network. The article quoted from the World Energy Markets Observatory (WEMO) report of 2018, that Capgemini, a French consulting firm headquartered in Paris, had published. China, according to the report, is “the world’s second largest consumer of energy, the leading emitter of Greenhouse Gases (GHG), a significant energy equipment supplier, and a key player in critical resources. It has also become an important investor in electric companies.”

The report pointed out that a key strategy of Chinese expansion in Europe is to increase its control or influence over the continent’s electric power supply network. Chinese investment has already gained access to the electric sectors of Portugal, Italy, Greece, Malta, and the United Kingdom. It was due to the opposition of the German government that China did not have success in Germany. For energy experts, the control of the power supply network is of great strategic importance. Moreover, China is the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels, and is in a leading position in the field of wind energy. The Chinese government is currently investing in large-scale research and development of electricity storage and aims to export Chinese-made batteries to the world in the near future.

However, the problem is that in the process of producing the above-mentioned green energy products, Chinese companies will emit a large amount of greenhouse gases. In addition, China also exports a large number of its own thermal power plants. In addition, the Chinese government will obviously be unable to achieve its goal of CO2 reduction, which is the total coal-fired power generation of less than 1,100 gigawatts, by 2020.

Source: Radio France International, November 6, 2018
http://rfi.my/3Ihk.T

A Large Amount of Gold Is Flowing into China

Taiwanese online news site Tech News recently reported that multiple wealth management providers have been recommending to nearly all of their wealthy Chinese clients to stock up on gold. According to Swiss Customs data, in September, Switzerland imported 223.3 tons of gold and exported 118 tons. Both were peak points in the past two years. Most of the Swiss gold that was imported (around 70 percent) was from London and New York. The destinations for Swiss exports were mainly in Asia. India is one of the largest gold consumers; its September gold imports decreased by 115 tons. Unexpectedly, exports to Hong Kong alone increased from 3.3 tons to 28.7 tons. China and Hong Kong together saw that gold imports increased by 160 tons. Typically, gold stays in London and New York for banks to trade among themselves. However, this time physical gold has been flowing out and has never circled back.

Source: Tech News, October 30, 2018
https:// technews.tw/2018/10/30/china-rich-people-gold/