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Six Deaths among 323 Wuhan Coronavirus Cases in 13 Chinese Provinces

The number of confirmed cases in China of the Wuhan pneumonia has exceeded 300. According to China’s official media, as of 7:00 am on January 22, a total of 323 cases of the Wuhan pneumonia had been diagnosed in mainland China, spreading over 13 provinces. There have been six deaths,

The distribution of the pneumonia patients infected with the new coronavirus is as follows: 270 cases in Hubei Province, the origin of the outbreak, 10 in Beijing, 17 in Guangdong, six in Shanghai, five in Zhejiang, one in Yunnan, two in Sichuan, two in Tianjin, one in Henan, five in Chongqing, one in Shandong, one in Hunan, and two in Jiangxi. Most patients have a history of having traveled to Wuhan city in Hubei province. As of 2:40 am on January 22, Hubei Province launched a secondary emergency response mechanism for public health emergencies, requiring strict implementation of isolation measures and strengthened prevention and control over the region.

After a visit to the city of Wuhan to investigate the epidemic on December 31 last year, Wang Guangfa, a member of China’s National Health Committee and the chief physician at Peking University First Hospital, was confirmed, on January 21, as having been infected with the Wuhan pneumonia. So far a total of 14 medical staff members have also been infected.

Source: Central News Agency, January 22, 2020
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/firstnews/202001220019.aspx

Unknown Severe Pneumonia Case Showed up in Shenzhen

Recently, after the outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan, Hubei Province, Shenzhen also  found a case of severe pneumonia of unknown origin. The government announced on Sunday (January 12) that the possibility of SARS and a coronavirus infection have been ruled out. However, due to the authorities’ manner of epidemiological investigation, coupled with the opaqueness of government information, the people’s distrust has continued to spread.

A hospital in Shenzhen issued a notice Sunday about a 41-year-old female patient who is of Indian nationality and teaches at a local international school. The notice stated that, after Shenzhen did some testing, CDC, influenza, bird flu, SARS, Middle East respiratory syndrome, and the new coronavirus that was recently discovered in Wuhan have been ruled out.

To this end, Radio Free Asia called the hospital in question, but the doctor declined to be interviewed on the grounds that the situation was unclear. The local district health bureau in Shenzhen said that the above-mentioned pathogens have been ruled out, but it did not say that it was a new type of pneumonia; it was just a case of severe pneumonia. At present, the pathogen of this severe pneumonia case does not have a clear target, so it is not possible to sequence the pathogen genetically. The only conclusion is that it is a severe pulmonary infection. The official also said that, due to the rapid development of the disease, screening was performed for several known conditions. He was not sure that they belonged to a specific disease.

In order to achieve social control, the Chinese government controls important information releases, including any animal epidemic disclosures. Thus this has, by law, been classified as a state secret. Based on the logic of maintaining stability, concealment of information about the epidemic has become the norm. The government’s concealment of the SARS epidemic in 2003 led to catastrophic consequences.

Source: Radio Free Asia, January 13, 2020
https://www.rfa.org/cantonese/news/cn-shenzhen-01132020101348.html

RFA Chinese: Chinese Local Governments Lose Control over Deficits

Radio Free Asia (RFA) Chinese Edition recently reported that, based on the numbers that the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics released, as of November, provincial governments had across the board deficits, including some wealthy provinces. Even Shanghai, the most financially sound city, had a deficit of RMB 40 billion (around US$5.8 billion). Beijing had a deficit of over RMB 100 billion. The worst cases were Sichuan and Henan provinces. Each had a deficit that was five times that of Beijing’s. Several provincial governments have already issued internal orders to reduce spending immediately. The city of Shenzhen (part of Guangdong Province) which is not yet on the deficit list, is also cutting government spending drastically. Most of the items on the budget were forced to take a minimum ten percent cut. In practice, however, many local government branches have found it really hard to reduce spending. Some have even requested budget increases.

Source: RFA Chinese, January 10, 2020
https://www.rfa.org/mandarin/Xinwen/wul0110b-01102020042302.html

UDN: China’s Office Building Vacancy Rate Dangerously High Since the Global Financial Crisis

United Daily News (UDN), one of the primary Taiwanese news groups, recently reported that commercial real estate, especially office buildings, have been suffering the highest vacancy rates lately across all Chinese major cities. According to data that China Finance Online (NASDAQ: JRJC) provided, the city of Shenzhen suffered a top-tier office building vacancy rate of 22.4 percent in the third quarter of 2019. In some areas the vacancy rate reached 50 percent. In the first half of 2019, in the most valuable locations of Shenzhen, the vacancy rate, at one point, reached 65.7 percent. For decades, Shenzhen has been the most rapidly growing Chinese city. For Q3 of 2019, the vacancy rate for Beijing was 19.5 percent and it was 10.9 percent in Shanghai. For the same period of time, it was 4.8 percent, 4 percent, 3.8 percent and 0.7 percent for Singapore, London, San Francisco and Tokyo, respectively. Analysts expressed the belief that the US-China trade war was the issue. The result was that, in major Chinese cities, a large number of companies have held back from renting offices. Second-tier cities suffered more. Key provincial capital cities typically saw office buildings having average vacancy rates above 30 percent.

Source: UDN, January 8, 2020
https://opinion.udn.com/opinion/story/120611/4275380

Ten Chinese Technology Brands That May Face Obstacles in the World in 2020

The Epoch Times listed ten high-tech companies in China that may face a boycott in the world in 2020, due to their colluding with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and violating citizen’s human rights.

  1. Huawei, the long arm of the CCP with a strong connection to China’s military.
  2. WeChat, which has become a tool for the CCP to monitor, control, and suppress the Chinese people.
  3. Hikvision, which exports its AI and facial recognition technology and monitoring equipment to the entire world.
  4. DJI drones, which might steal data and take aerial photographs. Its users operate the drone to take pictures and gather information which they then pass on to the CCP’s intelligence organ.
  5. TikTok, which collects user’s data and sends it back to its headquarters in China.
  6. CRRC Group, which offered a “super low” price to bid on mass commuter rail contracts in the U.S.
  7. BYD, which sells electric buses in the U.S., while receiving both a CCP subsidy on the manufacturing automotive end and a U.S. subsidy on selling the automotive part (double-dipping).
  8. SenseTime, an AI technology company that offers facial recognition technology to the monitoring system of the CCP’s police.
  9. Megvii, an AI technology company that offers facial recognition technology to the monitoring system of the CCP’s police.
  10. YITU Technology, an AI technology company that offers facial recognition technology to the CCP’s police.

Source: Epoch Times, December 30, 2019
http://www.epochtimes.com/gb/19/12/30/n11755421.htm

Renmin University of China: the U.S.-Sino Trade War’s Impact on China’s Employment

On December 13, 2019, the School of Applied Economics at Renmin University of China published a report called, “An Analysis of the Impact of the Sino-U.S. Trade War on Employment.” The analysis surveyed 800 companies in three well developed provinces in China, including Guangdong, Fujian, and Zhejiang. There was a burst in exports in early 2018 after the U.S. announced that it would increase tariffs. Then a year later, the exports dropped significantly.

However, unemployment did not increase sharply. The analysis reported that many local governments have provided policies to keep the employment rate stable. For example, they refunded the company’s social security payments if it did not lay off employees, offered employment subsidies, or deferred the increase in the minimum wage. Some companies also reduced their employee’s work hours instead of reducing the employee headcount.

The report called this “sacrificing employment quality for a temporary stabilization of employment, or a hidden unemployment. If the U.S. continues to increase tariffs to the point that it forces companies to stop manufacturing, then many companies will take the staff reduction option.

The report also showed that, though the trade war created challenges to companies, the companies’ largest pressure came from within China; financing, environmental protection, land, and other costs are too high for companies to bear. Thus, even if there were no trade war, companies would still be struggling.

Source: Pincong.rocks website, December 16, 2019
https://pincong.rocks/article/10978

A Chinese Province Declares a .01 Percent Poverty Rate

The Chinese government proposed a national poverty alleviation plan five years ago and vowed to make China a xiaokang society. A Confucius term from 3000 years ago, xiaokang means a condition of moderate prosperity. Recently, the Jiangsu Provincial Poverty Alleviation Office announced amazing results. The province’s poverty alleviation rate had reached 99.99 percent. That means that only .01 percent of the population is living under the poverty line. A progress report released on Tuesday January 7 announced that there were currently six households and 17 people in the province who had not “extricated themselves from poverty.” However, the news resulted in widespread suspicion. People expressed doubt and thought that it was another official propaganda fraud like the “Great Leap Forward” in the 1950’s.

Hu Jia, a longtime human rights activist in Beijing, pointed out directly that the government is lying, that the public knows that the government is lying, and that the government, knowing that the public knows that it is lying, still chooses to lie.

Hu Ping, Editor-in-Chief of the overseas political magazine Beijing Spring said, “Chinese-style poverty alleviation is a poverty alleviation as established in the books. The actual situation is a different matter. When the leader has a goal, the subordinates will come up with a figure.”

In 2015, as one of his political legacies, Chinese President Xi Jinping promised that the entire rural population would be lifted out of poverty by 2020. Soon afterwards, local government offices across the country announced that they would strictly implement the standard of an annual per capita net income of 4,000 yuan (US$576) and do a good job of poverty alleviation in 2020.

Source: Radio Free Asia, January 8, 2020
https://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/shehui/hj-01082020113236.html

The Nikkei: China’s Government Subsidies to Companies Doubled in Five Years

The Nikkei, Japan’s largest financial newspaper, reported that, in 2018, China’s government subsidies to companies had reached 156 billion yuan (US $22.4 billion), about five percent of the net profit of all publicly traded companies in China. That subsidy amount doubled from the amount five years earlier in 2013.

Government subsidies in the first nine months of 2019 increased 15 percent from the same period a year ago. Out of the 3,748 companies that were included in the statistical calculations, 3,544 companies (over 90 percent of the total base) have received government subsidies.

Sinopec received the largest amount of subsidies, followed by Guangzhou Automobile Group, and then Shanghai Automobile Group. Among the top ten most subsidized companies, four are auto makers. Several electronic companies are also in the top ten list, including BOE Technology Group (#4), TCL Group (#6), and Gree Electric (#7).

Source: The Nikkei, December 27, 2019
https://cn.nikkei.com/china/ccompany/38619-2019-12-17-10-37-58.html

2019 Bond Defaults Topped 143.258 billion Yuan

China Finance Online Co., Ltd, which provides web-based financial services in Mainland China and Hong Kong, reported that, In 2019, bond defaults among Chinese companies continued to surge.

JT², an asset management technology platform under JD Digital Technology, conducted intelligent analysis and research of public data and found that, as of December 23, 2019, a total of 177 bonds had defaulted in the bond market in 2019, involving 143.258 billion yuan.

Forty issuers defaulted for the first time on the bond market in 2019. Most of these issuers were private enterprises in a number of different industries and regions.

During the six years from 2014 to the present, be it the first-time defaulting companies, the number of newly added defaulting bonds, or the size of funds as a whole, all have shown an upward trend. Specifically, the number of bond defaults in 2019 increased by more than 6 times compared to 2014; the actual sum of what was in default amounted to more than 10 times the amount from five years ago.

Source: China Finance Online, December 31, 2019
https://finance.jrj.com.cn/2019/12/31160028610736.shtml

Lianhe Zaobao: Chinese International Acquisitions Fell to Ten Year Low

Singapore’s primary Chinese language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao recently reported that China saw its lowest level of overseas acquisitions in 2019, with a total value of US$41 billion. This is half the size of the 2018 volume and less than 20 percent of the volume for the peak year of 2016. The acquisitions in the U.S. declined by 80 percent in 2019, year-over-year. Analysts in the global banking industry expressed the belief that the sharp overseas acquisition decline was the direct result of the U.S.-China trade war and the significantly tightened government regulatory measures imposed in many countries against Chinese buyers. In the meantime, with the economic slow-down in China, the Chinese government is also strictly controlling the volume of capital flowing out of China, making Chinese investors work much harder than before to shrink the debt level. It is especially difficult for Chinese investors to pay back the debts acquired overseas. It is expected that more domestic investments will be seen in China than overseas.

Source: Lianhe Zaobao, December 31, 2019
https://www.zaobao.com.sg/realtime/china/story20191231-1017412