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Geo-Strategic Trend

Beijing Funds a Professorship at Distinguished University in Germany

Recently, several alumni from the Free University of Berlin (FUB) published an open letter to Germany’s Federal Minister of Education and Research, the Mayor of Berlin, and the President of FUB, calling for clarification on the issue of China funding a German professorship position in the East Asian Studies Department. They called for an immediate end to such a practice. The advocate of the open letter, David Missal, had been deported from China in August 2018 for following the story of a Chinese activist lawyer who the regime had suppressed.

According to the Berlin based Daily Mirror newspaper, the Chinese government agency Hanban has being funding a professorship at FUB. The professor will create a Chinese teaching program while, at the same time, serving as the head of the Confucius Institutes in Berlin. The newspaper also reported that the German government was aware that Hanban is a cultural institution under the Propaganda Department of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and that China and the CCP are trying to exert influence on Germany’s China scholars through the activities of the Confucius Institutes, which have close ties with Hanban. Signatories of the open letter are worried that such a language teaching program will exclude articles that are critical of the CCP. Because this professorship receives funding from China, it faces a greater risk of self-censorship. One cannot even rule out the possibility that the CCP will fund political science professorships in the future.

The open letter made four requests. These include the exposure of the contents of the contract signed between Hanban and the FUB on the professor position; clarification of the channels via which such an agreement was reached; an announcement of the measures planned to prevent Hanban and the CCP’s influence on teaching contents; and a request that either Hanban’s contract for this new professor position be terminated immediately or the position be funded through other channels.

The Daily Mirror reported in December of last year that the Liberal Democratic Party’s parliamentary group warned against China’s influence over German universities through cultural institutions. There are currently 19 Confucius Institutes in Germany, most of which cooperate with German universities. The Confucius Institute at the Free University of Berlin started in 2006. It is the first Confucius Institute in Germany.

Source: Deutsche Welle, January 21, 2020
https://p.dw.com/p/3WYFM

China Regretted that Europe Started a Conflict Resolution Process on the Iranian Deal

The Chinese Central Government Official Website recently reported that the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs commented on the new development in the Iranian Nuclear Deal. He made these comments at a press conference when he was asked for China’s position on the joint announcement of the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. The three countries had started a conflict resolution process regarding the Iranian Nuclear Deal. China recognized that the reason for Iran to cut back on fulfilling its responsibilities under the Deal was that the United States exited the Agreement. The U.S. pressed Iran to the extreme and obstructed other parties from performing their commitments. China expressed the belief that the UN Security Council officially acknowledged the Iranian Deal and that all parties should attempt to resolve the issues via dialogues that could restore the balance. China will continue to communicate actively with all parties and push for a peaceful diplomatic solution.

Source: Chinese Central Government Official Website, January 15, 2020
http://www.gov.cn/xinwen/2020-01/15/content_5469552.htm

Sputnik Chinese: China Launched Satellites for African and Latin American Countries

Sputnik Chinese, the news agency that the Russian government owns, reported that, on December 20, 2019, China launched an Ethiopian satellite and a Brazilian satellite with its Long March 4B rocket.

The Ethiopian satellite was the country’s first satellite. China designed and built it. Out of the total cost of US$ 7 million, China paid US$ 6 million for it.

The Brazilian satellite was the country’s sixth satellite. It is part of a joint Sino-Brazilian project.

A little earlier, China also sent two more Beidou Satellites of its own into space. It thus completed the 24-satellite setup of the Beidou global navigation system. 24 satellites are what is needed to provide full global coverage; both the U.S.’ GPS system and the Russian navigation system also use 24 satellites.

In 2019, China made 30 launches; it has sent over 50 spacecraft into space leading Russia and the U.S.

Source: Sputnik Chinese, December 21, 2019
http://sputniknews.cn/science/201912211030290947/

Kuomintang Collaborated with the CCP in Attempt to Use Chinese Spy to Influence Outcome of Taiwan Election

The Australian newspaper The Age reported that a Taiwan politician, Alex Tsai, and a China-based businessman Sun Tianqun tried to threaten and induce Wang Ziqiang, the Chinese spy who confessed to the Australian authorities, to make a false statement in order to help the Kuomingtang (KMT) in the Taiwan Presidential election.

Alex Tsai is a former legislator and the current Deputy Secretary of the KMT. The KMT is the main party opposing the governing party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and President Tsai Ing-wen. The KMT was trailing the DPP in the Presidential election race.

Mr. Wang revealed the messages that he had received from Alex Tsai and Sun since Christmas eve. They included a photo from Tsai of Tsai meeting with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping.

Mr. Wang was given a script to read. He was to say that a person from the DPP had “promised me . . . that the Democratic Progressive Party would guarantee that it would give me a large sum of money and sort out my asylum application in Australia or help me settle in Taiwan.”

In return, Alex Tsai and Sun promised, “If you take up the offer, then by the end of this month, everyone will help ensure that you safely return to mainland China. At the same time they will help you resolve all your debts.” Another message said, “The KMT has agreed that they can let you freely settle in Taiwan.”

Sun also warned that Mr. Wang could be extradited to China and killed or his family on the Chinese mainland punished if he did not co-operate.

The Australian police are investigating the case.

After the case was reported, Alex Tsai held a press conference acknowledging that he had contacted Mr. Wang but stressed that he didn’t threaten him.

A DPP legislator called this an international scandal that a Deputy Secretary of a Taiwan party collaborated with the CCP.

On January 11, Tsai Ing-wen (DPP) won the Taiwan election with 57.1 percent of the votes and the KMT candidate Han Kuo-yu got 38.6 percent of the votes.

Sources:
1. The Age, January 8, 2020
https://www.theage.com.au/national/recant-or-die-alleged-threat-to-self-confessed-chinese-spy-wang-liqiang-20200107-p53pkl.html
2. Deutsche Welle, January 9, 2020
https://www.dw.com/zh/王立强案现罗生门-台湾两大党出面回应/a-51935865
3. Chinascope, December 2, 2019

Who is Wang Liqiang?

LTN: Taiwan Legally Recognized the Wuhan Pneumonia as a New Infectious Disease

Major Taiwanese news network Liberty Times Network (LTN) recently reported that the Taiwan Center for Disease Control officially announced that the widely reported Wuhan pneumonia will very soon be recognized legally as a new severely infectious disease caused by a new virus. The legal process is nearing its completion. The Taiwanese government already asked the Mainland to provide the gene sequencing of the virus and has been arranging to send experts to Wuhan to make an on-site examination. The Taiwanese authorities have also established special procedures on monitoring and communication matters as well as airport and in-flight quarantine operations. All currently identified patients have been cleared. The government repeatedly warned the people not to visit Wuhan and the nearby regions. If anyone has to visit these places, it is strongly recommended that they avoid contact with livestock and frequently wash their hands. Since December 31, the Taiwanese port authorities have checked 17 flights which included 1819 passengers and crew members.

Source: LTN, January 10, 2020
https://news.ltn.com.tw/news/life/breakingnews/3036015

Beijing’s Response to the Taiwan Election

The Chinese regime regards Taiwan’s election as a very sensitive topic. For example, the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda authority warned Phoenix New Media, a Hong Kong based and Beijing controlled media, about setting up a special web page for Taiwan elections and broadcasting the news live. The website was told to remove the pages about this news topic immediately.

China’s official Global Times warned in a commentary on Saturday that “‘Don’t be flippant’ should be the motto of Tsai Ing-wen and the Democratic Progressive Party.” The article made the comment that, “Tsai’s reelection will increase the uncertainty in the situation across the Taiwan Strait.”

Another opinion that Beijing’s mouthpiece, the Xinhua News Agency, published said, “As people on the island and in the media have noted, this is obviously not a normal election. Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP used deceit, suppression, intimidation, and other dirty methods to obtain votes, which fully exposed their selfish, greedy, and evil nature.”

“The Tsai Ing-wen regime has proactively cooperated (with the U.S.), promoted “reliance on the United States against China,” including using the situation in Hong Kong to fan the flames and mislead the people of Taiwan. Obviously, external dark forces have largely manipulated this internal election in the Taiwan region.”

Sources:
1. Radio Free Asia, January 11, 2020
https://www.rfa.org/cantonese/news/censor-01112020072051.html
2. Voice of America, January 12, 2020
https://www.voachinese.com/a/Taiwan-Leader-Reelection-As-Voters-Back-Tough-China-Stance-20200111/5241592.html
3. Xinhua, January 11, 2020
http://www.xinhuanet.com/tw/2020-01/11/c_1125450579.htm