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Geo-Strategic Trend

World Journal: Fitch Lowered Hong Kong’s Rating Twice

Well-known U.S. Chinese language newspaper, World Journal , recently reported that global ratings company, Fitch Ratings, has lowered Hong Kong’s sovereign rating twice since last September. The rating factored in the impact of the Hong Kong National Security Law that the central government imposed. Also aspects that were included in and influenced the rating were the risks in Hong Kong’s legislative system and the position that the United States has taken. If, in the future, local and international investors lose confidence in Hong Kong’s environment and its way of doing business, it is possible the rating could go down further. It is too early to draw a conclusion and the situation remains to be examined in the near future. Currently Hong Kong’s sovereign rating is only one step higher than Mainland China. It appears the Hong Kong society is steadily merging into Mainland China’s administrative system. However, the Chinese government said Hong Kong’s status remains very stable.

Source: World Journal, June 23, 2020

UDN: Poll Showed 56 Percent of HK Locals Oppose the National Security Law

United Daily News (UDN), one of the primary Taiwanese news groups, recently reported that the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute (PORI) just released the results of a poll that Reuters commissioned on the National Security Law that the Mainland communists imposed on Hong Kong. Around 56 percent of the people polled were against the new law. Among them, 49 percent were “strongly against” it. Around 34 percent of the sample supported the new law. The last 10 percent were undecided or had no opinion. The survey was conducted a few days before the Mainland revealed the content of the new law, which allows the City Chief Executive to appoint judges for national security cases. The Poll also showed that there is a steady support of 21 percent for an independent Hong Kong. On September 6, Hong Kong will hold the next election of the members of the Legislative Council. Neither the Office of the Hong Kong Chief Executive nor the Mainland Hong Kong and Macau Office responded to an inquiry for comment on the poll results. The poll was based on a sample size of 1,002 local residents.

Source: UDN, June 26, 2020

Xinhua Reporter Blocked Australian Reporter’s Camera and Did Not Want to Be Videotaped

The Daily Telegraph of Australia reported that, during a news conference in Australian that Prime Minister (PM) Morrison held in Canberra, a news reporter from Xinhua was photographed as she was stepping forward to block the camera of a reporter from SBS News and asked the photographer to stop videotaping her. After she realized that her move caught the attention of other reporters and the federal police officers, the Xinhua reporter immediately left the conference. According to the report, a female photographer was accompanying the reporter from Xinhua at the moment. She was seen to have videotaped other reporters at the news conference. She was carrying an “escorted pass” not a formal “press pass” and also refused to answer which media she worked for. John Lyons, Executive Editor of ABC News, tweeted the following: “A Chinese official, or journalist, told SBS that they couldn’t film her. Whoever she was, she needs to understand that in Australia, if you turn up at the PM’s news conference, you can film & be filmed. This (sort of problem) happens regularly in China. It should not happen here.”

Source: SBS News, June 27, 2020

Samsung Started Moving Monitor Manufacturing Lines to Vietnam

Well-known Chinese news site Sohu (NASDAQ: SOHU) recently reported that Samsung just announce that it will move its computer monitor manufacturing facilities from China to Vietnam. Vietnam’s state-run newspaper Vietnamese Youth confirmed the news. Most of Samsung’s Chinese manufacturing capabilities will be relocated to its HCMC CE Complex (SEHC) factory. Samsung expects to complete the move by the end of 2020. Samsung is currently Vietnam’s largest foreign investor, with a total investment value of US$17 billion. The monitor manufacturing move will turn Vietnam into Samsung’s largest monitor supplier in the world. According to U.S. researcher IDC, starting with the first quarter, Samsung held 34 percent of Vietnam’s 24 inch or above monitor market. With the growth of the demand on large screen monitors, the latest move will significantly benefit the region on new monitors.

Source: Sohu, June 20, 2020

BBC Chinese: China Brought Spy Charges against Two Canadians

BBC Chinese Edition recently reported that, right after the Canadian British Columbia High Court approved the extradition proceedings of the Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, China’s Supreme Prosecutor’s Office announced that it has filed charges of spying against former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor. After Meng Wanzhou was arrested by the Canadian authorities based on a U.S. request, on December 10, 2018, the Chinese authorities detained Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. This move was widely considered as hostage diplomacy. Not long ago, Canada also participated in the G7 announcement urging China to stop the Hong Kong’s National Security Law, which will allow residents of Hong Kong to be secretly extradited to the Mainland for trial under the name of national security. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs refused to associate the current spy suit with the Meng Wanzhou’s case. The Canadian Consular Staff in China cannot visit the two Canadian citizens at this moment.

Source: BBC Chinese, June 19, 2020

FCC Rejects Phoenix TV’s Application

On Monday June 22, the Federal Communications Commission said it rejected the request of a radio station in Mexico to continue broadcasting Mandarin Chinese language programs to southern California and ordered it to cease operations within 48 hours. The statement reads, “The application was dismissed because the parties failed to include in their application a key participant, Phoenix Radio, which produces the Mandarin programming in its studio. Phoenix Radio is partially owned by two entities with Chinese government ownership, Extra Steps Investment Limited and China Wise International Limited. The parties have 48 hours to cease broadcast operations related to this application.”

After the rejection, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) issued a statement applauding the FCC’s decision. “Today’s decision sends an important message to the world that the U.S. will not allow China to exploit FCC loopholes and spread its propaganda over our airwaves. More importantly, this decision is a critical step in countering the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to control what Americans see, hear, and ultimately think.”

Source: VOA, June 22, 2020

Communist Parties of China and Nepal Hold Joint Seminar

People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), reported on June 19, that the CCP and the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) organized an opening session of the video seminar series on the governance of the party and the country. Song Tao, head of the CCP’s Department of External Relations, and Wu Yingjie, head of CCP Committee of Tibet, participated and gave speeches. Speakers also included Pushpa Kamal Dahal, aka Prachanda, head of the CPN and the former Prime Minister of Nepal, Ishwar Pokhrel, a current Secretariat member of the CPN and Nepal’s Minister of Defense. Other attendees included over 100 people from the CPN central committee, heads of the Nepal government agencies and the CPN committees of seven Nepal provinces.

Song Tao said that China and Nepal are “good neighbors, friends, and partners for generations.” Last year, CCP head Xi Jinping visited Nepal and reached an “important consensus” on strengthening exchanges of political experiences between the two parties. The joint seminar was supposed to implement the “important consensus,” to deepen mutual trust, and to promote high-quality cooperation in the areas of the “Belt and Road” project.

In return, Prachanda and Pokhrel “spoke highly of the great achievements of the CCP for leading the Chinese people in epidemic prevention and control, as well as economic and social development.”

Source: People’s Daily, June 20, 2020

HKSAR Strengthens Nationalism Education: Schools Must Raise the National Flag and Play the National Anthem

The Education Bureau of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) recently issued guidelines to primary and secondary schools that require raising China’s national flag and letting it flow and playing the national anthem on three holidays: New Year’s Day, the HKSAR’s Establishment Day on July 1, and Chinese National Day on October 1.

A Hong Kong radio station reported that the education bureau also announced that it will implement “national anthem” education in the music classes from the first grade of elementary school to the third grade of junior high school.

In particular, the education bureau also pointed out that if students exhibit “abnormal behavior” while singing the national anthem, the school should handle it through counseling and if the situation is serious and involves illegal behavior that cannot be handled by the school, it may consider seeking police assistance.

Source: Central News Agency, June 18, 2020

EU Considers Tightening Up Foreign Investment Rules

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that the European Union is considering further tightening up foreign investment policies. It is aiming at the Chinese government’s subsidies to Chinese companies’ international acquisitions. The EU is preparing investigations into the conduct of the Chinese investors. This new plan is supplemental to the EU’s foreign investment review mechanism passed in April. Another important driver behind this new action is to address the wary when some EU companies become the target of acquisitions in the current coronavirus environment. The European Commission has informed the member countries about this intent to establish a new legal tool, designed to ensure a fair competitive environment. The EU April Foreign Investment Review Policy already allowed member country governments to step in to foreign acquisitions on strategic assets. The new rule will focus on subsidies.

Source: Sina, June 6, 2020

Chinese Communists’ Video Conference with Communist Leaders in Latin America

According to the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) mouthpiece newspaper People’s Daily, on June 9, the CCP’s International Liaison Department held a video conference with leaders of Communist Parties in Latin American. The paper reported that the meeting discussed issues such as adhering to the mission of Communists, cooperation in battling the epidemic, and opposition to using the epidemic to stigmatize the party. Attendees included communist leaders from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

Song Tao, head of the International Liaison Department promised continued assistance to those countries. In return, “The Latin Communist leaders spoke highly of the CCP’s leadership in the fight against the epidemic and thanked the CCP for its assistance through inter-party channels. They also condemned individual countries’ attempts to politicize the epidemic and stigmatize China. In addition, they affirmed their support for the ‘one China’ and ‘one country, two systems’ principles, and opposed any external forces that interfered in China’s internal affairs.”

Source: People’s Daily, June 10, 2020