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Geo-Strategic Trend

Pro-Beijing Chinese Group Sues Kazakhstan Human Rights Organization

Chinese authorities have drawn global attentions for building re-education camps in Xinjiang. Atajurt Kazakh Human Rights, a Kazakh civil organization, has volunteered to disclose the inside stories about the Xinjiang Re-education camps and to assist the Kazakh, Uighur, and Kirgiz people in Xinjiang in finding missing or imprisoned relatives and friends. Recently, a pro-Beijing local Chinese group in Kazakhstan filed a lawsuit against Atajurt, charging the organization and its founder Serikzhan Bilash with “destroying the friendship between China and Kazakhstan.” It asked the court to declare Atajurt an illegal organization.

According to Radio Free Asia, Atajurt obtained a plethora of information regarding the Chinese government’s ethnic policies and practices in Xinjiang, including burning The Koran, demolishing mosques, prohibiting ethnic minorities from holding traditional weddings or funerals, and even sentencing Imams or causing Imams to die in prison. This information has drawn attention from the United States, the United Nations, and the European Union.

It has been said that the 37-member “patriotic overseas Chinese” group has close ties with the Chinese Embassy. According to Serikzhan, these people have participated in a number of social events that the Chinese Embassy organized in Kazakhstan, such as the annual “National Day” dinner, and they also attended the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (held in Beijing). He said that, “Their purpose is to stop us from organizing activities and stop us from continuing to collect information and evidence about the Xinjiang ‘re-education’ concentration camps.”

Source: Radio Free Asia, February 13, 2019

Lawsuit against State Enterprise in China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” Project

China’s “Belt and Road” port project is involved in a legal dispute in Djibouti in the Gulf of Aden in Africa. China’s listed state-owned company China Merchants Port (SEHK: 144) was charged with ignoring the port operator’s franchise agreement and investing in the construction of a new terminal in Djibouti. This is the first time that a multinational company has filed a lawsuit against a Chinese state-owned enterprise in Hong Kong for its “Belt and Road” project.

In August last year, Dubai-based global port operator DP World filed a lawsuit in the Hong Kong High Court against China Merchants Port, that China Merchants Port, knowing that the Djibouti government and DP World had already signed a 30-year port franchise, still unlawfully procured and/or induced Djibouti’s breach of its agreement with DP World.

According to the indictment, the Djibouti government signed an agreement with DP World in 2004 that DP World would enjoy a 30-year franchise for the Doraleh Container Terminal (DTC), which was put into operation in 2009. However, three years later, China Merchants Port proposed cooperation with the Djibouti government and finally built a new “Doraleh Multi-purpose Terminal” next to the local Chinese People’s Liberation Army base. In 2017, the Djibouti government and China Merchants Port signed another agreement to build the “Doraleh International Container Terminal.”

This is the first time that a multinational company has sued a Chinese state-owned enterprise in relation to the “Belt and Road” project in Hong Kong. The case is viewed as a test of Hong Kong’s judicial independence.

Source: Radio Free Asia, February 11, 2019

EU May Ban Huawei Equipment to Please the U.S.

Well-known Chinese news site Sohu recently reported that, according to four European Union officials, the European Commission is considering amending the 2016 network security law in order to stop EU companies from using Huawei’s next generation mobile network equipment. Anonymous sources said this plan is still in an early stage but good enough to demonstrate a “change in the EU position.” Apparently, this will please the United States. However, the new policy will face difficulties in real life even if it gets established, as some of the countries, such as Germany, have already issued their 5G permits. At the moment, most of the EU countries, except Britain, Germany, France, and Poland, do not have a ban on Huawei products. Interestingly, Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia hold the vast majority of the global 5G market. The United States doesn’t even have a presence there.

Source: Sohu, January 31, 2019

Claws of the Panda: Canadian Journalist Warns of China’s Influence and Infiltration

At a time of tense relations between Canada and China, Jonathan Manthorpe, a long time a foreign correspondent and international affairs columnist, published a new book on February 2, “Claws of the Panda: Beijing’s Campaign of Influence and Intimidation in Canada.” The book portrays how the Chinese Communist Party has used a number of different means to infiltrate Canada and other Western countries.

Manthorpe said that Canada has had wrong expectations of China over the past 40 years. He said that Canada has two major blind spots on China. The first is the thought that, with the integration of China into the global economy, it will become a country that values democracy, human rights, and freedom. The second is the belief that China has no ambitions and it will not use its hegemonic powers to suppress other nations. Today, the Meng Wanzhou incident is only a tipping point for the outside world to see the true nature of the Chinese Communist Party.

Manthorpe said, “We can see how China is trying to be able to influence public life, business life and academic life in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Canada. The bits and pieces disclosed in the Meng Wanzhou incident are exactly the same as what was mentioned in the book. This invisible penetration of Western countries is terrible. Do you ask me whether China is dangerous? I said that the Chinese people are not dangerous, but the Chinese Communist Party is absolutely dangerous and terrible.”

“This (Meng Wanzhou incident) is a very important and positive wake-up call for Canadian political leaders and ordinary Canadians, that we have to adjust and revisit our relations with China. Dealing with China should depend on reality and cannot be based on our own expectations.”

A typical example in the book is how China stole Canada’s nuclear research program, the Slowpoke nuclear reactor. This nuclear reactor was a unique research innovation of Canada in the 1970s. But over the years, the details of this nuclear research were leaked to China bit by bit. Later, when a Canadian researcher visited China, he was surprised to find that China was stealing, copying, and reproducing the Canadian technology. In this competition of nuclear research, China completely defeated Canada.

Source: Radio Free Asia, February 2, 2019

CNA: Hong Kong Working on Law with Potential Three Years in Prison for Insulting China’s National Anthem

Central News Agency (CNA) of Taiwan reported that the Hong Kong government is working on a draft law for the National Anthem. A person will face a maximum of three years in prison and a HK$50,000 (US$6,500) fine if he shows disrespect  for China’s national anthem.

The new law also requires that all students in Hong Kong must learn the Chinese national anthem, its history, and its spirit.

The Economists reported that, though Hong Kong was handed over to Beijing in 1997, Hong Kong soccer fans have maintained a tradition of making noises when China’s national anthem is played in the field. Some fans wave the flag of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region (instead of China’s flag), and some even wave the Hong Kong flag from the era when it was under the U.K.’s control.

Currently, Beijing influences the Hong Kong government. Beijing is happy to see that the Hong Kong government is working on this law.

CNA warned that the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) promise cannot be trusted. Its “one country, two systems” policy means “one country under one party’s rule and two systems with one system dominating the other one.” “Hong Kong’s national anthem law is a warning to Taiwan of its possible future (if Taiwan chooses to unite under the CCP).”

Source: CNA, January 24, 2019

Russia Continues to Be China’s Largest Oil Supplier

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that, based on data from China’s General Administration of Customs, Russia was China’s largest oil supplier in 2018, reaching 1.49 million barrels. This represents a 19.7 percent year-over-year increase. Russia has owned the top supplier title for the past three consecutive years. Russian oil represented 15.5 percent of China’s total oil imports last year. For many years, Saudi Arabia was China’s largest oil provider. However, starting in 2015, Russia expanded its reach into the Chinese market, especially in the segment of local smaller refineries. Also, the second Russia-China oil pipeline was formally put in use in January 2018. Saudi Arabia remains as China’s second largest oil provider. China used to be one of the biggest oil buyers for the United States. However, last December, China did not import any oil from the U.S.

Source: Sina, January 25, 2019