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CAAM: China’s January Automobile Sales Declined Significantly

Xinhua recently reported that, according to the data that the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) just released, January Chinese national automobile manufacturing volume declined 33.5 percent, month-over-month, and 24.6 percent, year-over-year. The sales volume declined 27 percent, month-over-month and 18 percent, year-over-year. Passenger car sales declined 27.1 percent month-over-month and 20.2 percent, year-over-year. New energy source automobile sales declined 54.4 percent year-over-year. According to CAAM officials, the coronavirus impact started later in January, so the numbers do not yet reflect the pandemic. February numbers are expected to be much worse, as they will start to show the impact of the virus on market activities, manufacturing capacity, export limitations, financial bottlenecks and tougher government regulations. In the near term, the Chinese automobile market may have further significant landslides.

Source: Xinhua, February 13, 2020
http://www.xinhuanet.com/auto/2020-02/13/c_1125568965.htm

Locust Plague, the Next Disaster to Hit China?

The desert locust (scientific name “Schistocerca gregaria”), the type of locust that is most destructive to human beings, has been spreading in Africa, the Middle East, India, and Pakistan. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has warned about a possible food crises in countries that they have invaded.

Two of China’s neighboring countries, Pakistan and India, are suffering from its attacks. Pakistan has entered a state of emergency; its government expressed that the country will end up with no harvest at all this year if it doesn’t get the pest under control. Some Indian scholars predicted the locust plague will cause a 30 to 50 percent reduction in India’s food growth this year.

Kang Le, an Ecologist and Entomologist, and an Academician at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told China Science News, during his interview with the newspaper, that the desert locusts will not impact China.

Kang said, “The current Locust plague is caused by the Schistocerca gregaria type. Its distribution region does not include China. Some scientists reported that the Schistocerca gregaria type was discovered in Yunnan Province in the early 1900’s but that claim was not confirmed. Therefore, Schistocerca gregaria will not create a severe threat to China.”

Kang also said that China has had a good experience in treating types of migratory locusts in China. However, that experience cannot easily be applied to the desert locust. “Since the desert locust has different characteristics and lives in a different environment from China’s types of locusts, it is not practical to apply China’s experience to the desert locust directly.”

On the other hand, Twitter has posted that the desert locusts have already arrived in Xinjiang.

Sources:
1. 163.com, February 15, 2020
https://news.163.com/20/0215/16/F5EJFM1M0001899O.html
2. Twitter

Leadership: Xi Not Happy with Tough Measures to Contain Coronavirus When Measures Harm Economy

The  Chinese edition of BBC tweeted on Tuesday, February 11 that, after making an appearance in Beijing’s residential community and hospital on Monday February 10, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, warned Chinese officials that their excessive measures to contain the coronavirus could harm the economy,.

China’s Xinhua News Agency reported that Xi chaired a Politburo Standing Committee meeting on February 12, and noted “positive changes” with “positive results” in containing the coronavirus, while acknowledging that containing the outbreak has entered a critical stage.

Li Keqiang, China’s premier also held a State Council meeting on February 11, calling for orderly pushing companies outside Hubei province, where the coronavirus first erupted, to allow workers to go back to work.

Related postings on Chinascope:

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Coronavirus Outbreak Hits Real Estate Market Hard

Sina.com reported that real estate in China has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak. Expectations that people would buy real estate when returning home for the Chinese New Year did not materialize. Statistics show a difference for the period from late January to early February when compared to the same period in previous years. The new home transaction volume of most real estate developers dropped 95 percent and the market has basically fallen to the freezing point.

As a result of the coronavirus outbreak as well as the Chinese New year, in 18 major metropolitan arias, transactions for existing houses fell 38 percent compared to the previous month.

The housing market also suffered from the suspension of construction and sales. On January 26, the China Real Estate Industry Association called for “real estate development enterprises to suspend sales activities temporarily at sales offices and to resume after the epidemic is over.”

Experts believe that this will undoubtedly increase the cash flow pressure on small and medium-sized real estate companies and that some may not receive any investments.

The suspension of construction will inevitably have a direct negative impact on investments inreal estate developments. Due to the quarantine measures, residents’ enthusiasm for house purchases has dropped significantly. Sales are expected to stagnate and short-term inventory will increase. Until the outbreak is fully under control, real estate developments and sales will continue to be hit hard and the recovery will be subject to how quickly the outbreak is controlled.

Source: Sina.com, February 5, 2020
http://news.dichan.sina.com.cn/2020/02/05/1270453.html

China’s Ambassadors Failed to Raise Money from German Businesses for a Pro-China Portal

German national television recently reported that two of China’s Ambassadors to Germany asked German businesses for money to finance a portal supporting Beijing.

The idea of the portal, named “China reporter,” was from Wolfgang Hirn, editor of Manager magazine and Georg Blume, a free-lance writer for Times and Der Spiegel. Both are viewed as “experts on China” in the German media circle.

Shi Mingde, the previous Chinese Ambassador to Germany, had been trying to raise money for this project. On February 28, 2019, his last day as Ambassador, he even wrote fund-raising letters to large foundations and companies listed on Dax.

His successor Wu Ken sent his letter on December 4, 2019, a few days after the media exposed the Communist regime’s systematic arrests of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. “Since the German media did one-sided reporting (criticizing the CCP), it has become a more urgent need to spread a full and better image of China.”

According to the German media’s investigation, none of the foundations or companies that received the Ambassador’s letters provided funds. However, it is quite shocking that the CCP even asked German businesses for money for it to influence public opinion in Germany.

Source: Epoch Times, January 21, 2020
https://www.epochtimes.com/gb/20/1/20/n11808274.htm

China Revised Down Its 2018 GDP Numbers to Show Growth in 2019

Recently Beijing “uniformly” arranged its work to review and revise its 2018 economic data fully, so that the GDP number in 2019 could still show growth.

On January 22, the Tianjin Statistics Department published Tianjin’s GDP in 2019 as 1.41 trillion yuan (US $200 billion). It also had a small footnote: “According to the National Statistics Bureau’s uniform arrangement, Tianjin’s GDP in 2018 is revised to 1.34 trillion yuan.” That was a dramatic cut of 29 percent from the previously claimed number of 1.88 trillion yuan. This revision gave Tianjin 5.5 percent GDP growth in 2019. (Editor’s note: However, the sharp drop in the 2018 number would mean Tianjin’s GDP growth from 2017 would be quite negative, unless the authorities revised down the 2017 number, and then as a chain reaction, revised down the 2016 number. … Anyhow, this showed that China’s GDP number and its impressive high growth could just be a mirage that the communist regime created.)

The Jilin Provincial Statistics Department reported a GDP of 1.17 trillion yuan in 2019. It cut its 2018 GDP number down by 25 percent to 1.13 trillion yuan, so that it could show a 4.2 percent increase in 2019.

Shandong Province revised down its 2018 number by 13 percent. The Liaoning Province reduction was 7 percent. Heilongjiang Province was down 21.5 percent.

Source: Epoch Times, January 23, 2020
https://www.epochtimes.com/gb/20/1/23/n11815506.htm

CCP’s Mouthpiece Media Cared More about Party Event Than Wuhan Epidemic

Voice of America reported that the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) main media covered quite a lot about the party event on celebrating the Chinese New Year, while it paid very little attention to the Wuhan lockdown and the coronavirus epidemic. On January 24, the first day that the Chinese media took the time to report on the Wuhan lockdown, the front page of People’s Daily didn’t mention Wuhan or the epidemic at all. Instead it covered the CCP Central Committee’s celebration of the Chinese New Year and Xi Jinping’s speech at the celebration. Xi didn’t mention Wuhan in his speech either. Neither did the second and third pages mention Wuhan.

The fourth page had an article about the epidemic on the lower part of the page. The main point was, “From the CCP Central to the local area, from the medical staff to the general public, with the common goal of conquering the epidemic, people have formed a strong force to prevent and control it.” It also said that there are plenty of supplies, food, and medical materials for Wuhan. It didn’t mention the number of infected cases, the latest developments in the epidemic, or what measures the government plans to take to control the epidemic.

Guangming Daily, another party mouthpiece, Economic Daily (under the State Council) and PLA Daily all had a similar focus in their reporting. Wuhan was only mentioned on a not-so-important page.

Unlike the communist media, the Western media have maintained a main focus on the Wuhan lockdown and on the epidemic. On January 23, the Wall Street Journal had a Wuhan epidemic image in the center of its front page, with the title, “China Locks Down City of 11 Million Where the Virus Originated.” The New York Times had, “China Closes off City at the Center of Virus Outbreak” on its front page. Financial Times also gave the news a significant focus. On January 24, Financial Times, the Washington Post, and the New York Times put the epidemic on their front pages.

Hu Ping, a Chinese political commentator said this shows that the media outside of China truly cares about Wuhan and its people.

Xi Jinping gave an important direction on January 20 regarding the epidemic: “(We) must strengthen the guidance of public opinion, strengthen the spreading and explanation of relevant policies and measures, and resolutely maintain the stability of society to ensure people remain calm and peaceful during the Chinese New Year holidays.”

Source: Voice of America, January 25, 2020
https://www.voachinese.com/a/wuhan-coronavirus-party-newspaper-20200124/5259482.html

Chinese Public Hurls Anger at Hubei Officials

Hubei Province, the province where the epidemic is most severe, held a press conference on January 26. Governor Wang Xiaodong, the Wuhan city mayor Zhou Xianwang, and other officials spoke at the conference. A series of mistakes they made at the press conference angered many Chinese netizens.

Governor Wang Xiaodong didn’t wear a mask at the press conference. This was a violation of Wuhan’s regulation that wearing a mask in a public area was compulsory. Netizens also pointed out that the Wuhan mayor, Zhou Xianwang, wore his mask incorrectly. It was inside out. People were critical of the mayor. If the mayor does not know how to wear a mask, “how could ordinary people know?” Some even called these officials “incompetent and irresponsible politicians.”

In China, criticisms of politicians are often quickly removed from cyberspace, but this time the speed of angry comments from the people even exceeded the speed of the online censorship. One online post criticizing the press conference received more than 680 million views on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform.

Netizens also focused on the inaccuracies in governor Wang’s speech. When referring to the annual output of masks in Hubei Province, he repeatedly revised the data first from 10.8 billion to 1.8 billion and then he reduced it to 1.08 million. One netizen was puzzled, “As the governor, how can you not know how many masks Hubei produces?”

Hubei Province is the epicenter of the outbreak. Wuhan pneumonia has reportedly killed at least 81 people and infected more than 2,700 people worldwide, including in the United States, Australia and Taiwan.

Source: Central News Agency, January 28, 2020
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/acn/202001280006.aspx

The First Confucius Institute in the U.S. Will Close

The University of Maryland announced that it will close its Confucius Institute when the 2019-2020 school year is over. The university’s President Wallace Loh stated that this decision was due to a Federal law. The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) requires that the Department of Defense stop funding the Chinese Flagship Program at U.S. colleges that have Confucius Institutes, unless they receive an exemption.

The Confucius Institute at the University of Maryland was established in 2004. It is the first one in the United States. Confucius Institutes have received many criticisms for spreading the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) ideology and political control throughout the hosting country.

The University of Missouri also announced that it will close its Confucius Institute in August.

Source: Epoch Times, January 18, 2020
http://www.epochtimes.com/gb/20/1/18/n11803287.htm

RFA: Muslims in Xinjiang Are Forced to Drink Alcohol

The Islam doctrine prohibits Muslims from smoking and drinking. However, as part of their efforts to get them to leave the Islam religion, some local governments in the Yili region of Xinjiang have tried to make the Muslims smoke and drink.

The communist authorities target people who do not drink and beat them or arrest them. However, when they see a Muslim drink, they also provide encouragement. Because of the government’s position of supporting drinking, the police will let those who drive under the influence of alcohol go without any punishment.

“In their eyes, whoever drinks is a good person.” Serkjan, the founder of a human rights organization in Kazakhstan said, “People who do not drink or smoke are those who have religious beliefs and must be arrested. The police do not dare to arrest those who are drunk, even if they are creating trouble.”

Source: Radio Free Asia, January 17, 2020
https://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/shaoshuminzu/ql2-01172020104835.html