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Geo-Strategic Trend

HKEJ: Italy Vetoed Third Attempted Chinese Acquisition of an Italian Company This Year

The Hong Kong Economic Journal (HKEJ) recently reported that the administration of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has vetoed a Chinese acquisition of an Italian company. This was the third veto since Draghi took office in February this year. The Shenzhen Stock Exchange had listed Zhejiang Jingsheng Mechanical (300316.SZ). It issued a notice stating that a joint venture with Applied Materials Hong Kong Branch planned to acquire the Italian branch of a U.S. display printing equipment company. At a Cabinet Meeting on November 18, the Italian government vetoed the deal. Italian Industry Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti favored the use of the veto power, saying the transaction may have an impact on the semiconductor industry. The semiconductor industry is regarded as one of the strategic industries in Italy. Italy enacted the “Golden Powers Bill” in 2012 to prevent non-EU companies from acquiring companies in strategic industries. Since then, this is the fifth time that relevant powers have been exercised. The first four times involved Chinese companies, and the Draghi administration made three of those decisions.

Source: HKEJ, November 24, 2021

CCP Imposed Hefty Fines Because a Company Supported the DPP in Taiwan

The Far Eastern Group is one of the biggest conglomerates in Taiwan. It has made substantial investments in mainland China. Recently, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) targeted the company and fined it 36.5 million yuan (US$5.7 million), because of its support for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan.

Xinhua News Agency reported on November 22nd that the authorities in five provinces, including Shanghai, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Hubei, and Sichuan, inspected Far Eastern Group’s chemical fiber textile and cement companies in their regions and found a series of violations in environmental protection, land use, employees’ occupational health, safety production, firefighting, taxation, and product quality. Authorities imposed fines, recovered taxes, and took back unused land that was given to the company.

Zhu Fenglian, the spokesperson from China’s Taiwan Affairs Office connected the fine to Taiwan independence activists. She said the mainland will absolutely not allow people supporting Taiwan independence to make money in the mainland and “eat the food and destroy the pot” – meaning to get benefits from the mainland while damaging it. She stated, “Taiwanese businessmen and companies (operating in mainland China) should discern right from wrong, stand firm, draw a clear line (separating them from) the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces, and take practical actions to safeguard the cross-strait relations.”

The Far Eastern Group has made legal contributions to politicians from both the DPP and the Kuomintang, with more money to the DPP side. The CCP has been trying to collaborate with the Kuomintang and suppress the DPP.

Source: Radio Free Asia, November 23, 2021

The Fourth World Media Summit

The “United Front” is both a strategy and an ecosystem of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).  It is a guided or CCP-controlled group charged with advancing both China’s domestic control and its international influence. The media represent an important front. Beijing’s “World Media Summit” is an annual platform to influence overseas media.

According to China’s official Xinhua news agency, the fourth World Media Summit was held in Beijing on November 22. Huang Kunming, a member of the Political Bureau of the CCP Central Committee and head of Central Propaganda Department, attended the plenary session and read the CCP Chair Xi Jinping’s congratulatory letter and delivered a keynote address.

Huang pointed out that Xi Jinping’s congratulatory letter fully affirmed the achievements of the summit and placed great expectations on the global media to shoulder their social responsibilities and promote the building of a “community of human destiny in a better way.”

Huang told the media “to adhere to objectivity, truthfulness, and scientific and rational judgment; to oppose rumors and bias, and to be responsible in disseminating public information.” Huang then went ahead with the party line: “The CCP and the State have made historic achievements and have made important contributions to the peaceful development of the world.”

Xinhua news agency hosted this year’s summit. Nearly 400 Chinese and foreign guests from more than 260 media and institutions in nearly 100 countries and regions attended the meeting online and in person.

Source: People’s Daily, November 23, 2021

Nepali Secret Document Details Chinese Intelligence Officials’ Role against MCC

Nepal, a country that borders Tibet, is giving consideration to joining the U.S. Millennium Challenge (MCC) aid program. Local media have recently exposed a classified report from Nepal’s national security authorities that revealed that  China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) has a long history of intelligence espionage and would stop at nothing to thwart the program.

Khabarhub, a Nepali English language media, revealed the classified report on November 12. “Khabarhub obtained the document on the condition of confidentiality and anonymity. It covered in detail the Chinese intelligence apparatus, its modus operandi inside Nepal, and the people involved in it.” “The report also included details about intelligence officials working as diplomats, journalists, and even businessmen.”

“The document states that China is ‘playing a role’ in souring Nepal’s relations with third countries, particularly with the United States, and is currently actively propagating, lobbying and spending against the MCC.”

“The 50-page confidential intelligence document also details all of China’s intelligence priorities, objectives, networks, and individuals in Nepal. Many details of the past are also mentioned in the document.”

“Nepali security forces have concluded that the Chinese intelligence officials’ top priority is to invalidate MCC at any cost. The security authorities have also concluded that the Chinese intelligence agency is actively involved in lobbying against MCC and is disseminating disinformation.”

“Nepali security and intelligence officials warn that the rapid advance and increased Chinese intelligence volume could even play a role in changing Nepal’s political position.”

“Lately, besides gathering intelligence, the Chinese are actively influencing and spending money on Nepali politicians, journalists and even businessmen.”

The report also identifies a Chinese national, Ning Lin, a name at the top of the security authorities’ list of those involved in crafting anti-MCC rhetoric in Nepal. Lin, (also known as “Oscar Ning”), a Chinese intelligence agency (MSS) official, carries two passports and is said to have come from the Chinese province of Hubei.

Source: Khabarhub, November 12, 2021

Nepali security authorities identify a Chinese intelligence agency official involved in anti-MCC propaganda

RFI Chinese: China Shocked the United States by Building A Military Port in the Persian Gulf

Radio France Internationale (RFI) Chinese Edition recently reported that, according to people familiar with the matter, U.S. officials believe China is secretly constructing military installations at a port about 50 miles north of the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi. China’s secret port project in the Persian Gulf shook the U.S. relations with the UAE. The UAE government does not seem to be aware of the military nature of Chinese activities. The UAE is the host country where the U.S. military is stationed in the region and is seeking to purchase advanced U.S. fighter jets and drones. Around one year ago, confidential satellite imagery led U.S. officials to conclude that the Chinese are building some kind of military facility in the port. At some point, the construction site was covered. The Biden administration is trying to persuade the UAE government to block the construction of the base. Beijing denied all the accusations. U.S. officials recently inspected the site and expressed the belief that the construction has stopped. A senior UAE official lamented last month that the UAE was caught in a duel between the United States and China.

Source: RFI Chinese, November 20, 2021

Lianhe Zaobao: Senior Chinese Public Security Official Competes for INTERPOL Executive Position

Singapore’s primary Chinese language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao recently reported that a senior official at the Ministry of Public Security of China is seeking to compete for a post in the Interpol Executive Committee. INTERPOL will hold a conference in Istanbul from November 23 to 25, and will elect the new members of the executive committee, including two executive committee members from Asia. Hu Binchen, deputy director and First-Grade Inspector of the International Cooperation Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security of China, is one of the candidates for the member from Asia. The INTERPOL Executive Committee consists of 13 members, responsible for overseeing the daily work of the Secretary-General and the General Secretariat. Meng Hongwei, former deputy minister of the Ministry of Public Security of China, was elected as the president of INTERPOL in 2016. However, in 2018, Meng disappeared after returning to China. He was later sentenced to jail for 13.5 years. In March 2019, China’s official anti-corruption agency reported that Meng had “refused to implement the decisions of the Party Central Committee.”

Source: Lianhe Zaobao, November 16, 2021

Global Times: Russia Started Delivering S-400 Missiles to India

Global Times recently reported that, according to Russian and Indian media reports, Russia has begun to deliver the S-400 air defense missile system to India, and will complete the delivery of the first batch of S-400 missiles when Putin visits India next month. The United States wants to impose sanctions on India for this, but it also fears that, as a result, India may fall to Russia. Recently, The U.S. has been trying to engage India as an ally. Nonetheless, this Russian deal did bring serious obstacles to strengthening political and military relations between Washington and New Delhi. It is puzzling that India is buying the same system that China also bought. It thereby suffers the risk that China will have full knowledge of the system’s technical details. On the other hand, it is understandable that most of India’s current mature air defense systems are medium and short-range missiles. There are not many choices for missiles with a maximum range of 250 kilometers in the market. The S-400 makes sense when India wants to establish multi-source weapons procurement channels.

Source: Global Times, November 15, 2021

India Says China Is its No. 1 Security Threat

On Thursday, November 11, multiple Indian media reported that  the Indian government told the country’s Supreme Court  that the Indian military needs to expand the roads along the India-China border to meet the need to transport the army’s current state-of-the-art BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles and other military equipment. Earlier India’s Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat told a forum that China has become India’s number one security threat.

The move came after India unveiled an INR120 million strategic project to connect four pilgrimage sites in North Akhand with a 900-kilometer highway. The government on Thursday petitioned the Supreme Court to revise the plan, as Attorney General K. K. Venugopal reportedly claimed that local terrain conditions were harsh and that the 5.5-meter-wide road was insufficient to transport the 12.8-meter-long BrahMos missile and its launcher. If the Indian military cannot transport the device and other heavy mechanical equipment to the northern border of India and China, it will be difficult for India to respond in the event of war.

The BrahMos missile is the most advanced long-range supersonic missile of the Indian military. Rawat said that the Indian military has prepared for “any misadventure.” “If a Galwan [Editor: referring to the place of a previous clash] were to happen again, it would not be in our hands; it is up to the Chinese. They can carry out a Galwan again but should they do it, they will get in the same coin they got last time.”

Source: Radio Free Asia, November 13, 2021