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Geo-Strategic Trend - 2. page

Chinese Ambassador Admitted Personal Involvement in Cancelling Shen Yun Performance

Epoch Times reported that, according to a recent investigation, Lu Fan, China’s Ambassador to Spain, admitted that he pressured a Spanish theater into cancelling a performance that Shen Yun Performing Arts had booked with the theater.

“Lu admitted in a phone call, that he personally put pressure on the Royal Theater in Madrid to cancel its contract with Shen Yun Performing Arts. By using the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) control of the large Chinese market as an enticement, Lu and the theater’s director jointly planned to cancel the Shen Yun performances under the pretext of “technical difficulties.” After the case was reported, Lu and the theater continued planning on how to respond.”

Shen Yun Performing Arts is a New York-based independent performance troupe specializing in classical Chinese dance. Its many companies have tours around the world every year in as many as 130 major cities. It has, for years, been the target of the CCP, which uses Chinese embassies and consulates to try to disrupt the performances. The World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG), a non-profit organization that investigates human-rights abuses perpetrated against Falun Gong adherents, has been following such incidents.

A WOIPFG investigator, who, posed as a high-level Chinese government official, called Lu Fan directly and got him to reveal the details of how he intervened in Spain. Lu Fan directly called the Royal Theater and requested that it cancel the Shen Yun performance that had been scheduled for January 31 to February 2 this year.

In the investigator’s phone call, Lu admitted that the theater’s general manager was initially reluctant to carry out the embassy’s request because the theater had already sold nearly 900 tickets. “I directly talked to him,” said Lu, “On this issue, you cannot think only about the economic gains, but you also need to consider the politics. You are working with China and have signed the ‘International League of Theaters of the Silk Road.’ There is a great market potential for you to collaborate with China. You should not lose the Chinese market because of (the Shen Yun performance).” China has been promoting the “International League of Theaters of the Silk Road” agreement for exchanges in the field of performing arts as part of its “One Belt and One Road” initiative.

Lu also stated in the call that he worked closely with the theater’s general manager to come up with a good reason (claiming technical difficulty and a time shortage) for cancelling the show. The theater then used that excuse to cancel the performance.

Lu also stated that, after Shen Yun reported the cancellation in a local newspaper, he worked with the theater to come up with responses. “Our initial thought was to avoid making it a hot issue. Stay with the technical reason.”

The recorded phone conversation with Lu Fan is available on the Epoch Times’ website.

Source: Epoch Times, January 28, 2019

World’s Second Largest Mobile Operator Put Huawei Equipment on Hold

Well-known Chinese news site Sohu recently reported that (the British conglomerate) Vodafone, the world’s second largest mobile network operator, announced its policies on Huawei equipment. It will put all the core network deployment of Huawei equipment on hold until the western countries resolve their issue and concerns on Huawei products. However, Vodafone also explained that if a permanent ban on Huawei is put in place, the impact on the European communications industry will be quite tangible. It may cause increased costs and delays on network deployments. A Huawei’s spokesperson expressed his understanding of Vodafone’s temporary decision and his appreciation of Vodafone’s support. The two companies started their partnership in 2007. It seems Vodafone is surrendering to the pressure from the governments. Vodafone’s 2018 third quarter performance was not satisfactory.

Source: Sohu, January 27, 2019

CNA: The U.S. House Unanimously Supported Taiwan’s Return to WHO

The primary Taiwanese news agency CNA (The Central News Agency) recently reported that the U.S. House of Representatives just passed a resolution unanimously supporting Taiwan’s return to the World Health Organization (WHO). The resolution is still pending in the Senate. The resolution asked the Secretary of State to assist Taiwan to regain its observer status with the WHO. Since 2017, Taiwan has not been invited to the World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer. The resolution required the Secretary of State to explain the reason if Taiwan is not invited. The U.S. Department of State has been sticking to the principle of supporting Taiwan’s effort to participate in international organizations. Last year when the U.S Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, attended the WHA, he pointed out that Taiwan should not be excluded from WHO and he also expressed his disappointment.

Source: CNA, January 23, 2019

Chen Zhu: WRSA to Strengthen People-to-People Diplomacy

The Western Returned Scholars Association (WRSA), also known as the Overseas-educated Scholars Association of China (OSAC), is a Chinese government-affiliated entity consisting of over 40,000 Chinese scholars and researchers who have studied outside of China. The Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCCCP) heads the WRSA and the CCCCP‘s United Front Work Department now manages it.

On the evening of January 25th, Chen Zhu, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and the president of WRSA, attended WRSA’s 2019 New Year’s Gala and delivered a speech.

Chen said that, in 2018, WRSA did many explorations into carrying out people-to-people diplomacy and promoting China’s opening up policy to the world. At the “Third Sino-French Cultural Forum” in Xi’an, more than 600 representatives from various circles of China and France attended and reached a consensus on the “One Belt, One Road” initiative. The 16th “21st Century China Forum” was held in Switzerland, where the Chinese and Swiss guests had in-depth exchanges about the “Innovation, Cooperation, and Community of a Shared Future for Mankind.” The first Sino-German Science and Technology Forum in Germany proactively promoted the further pragmatic cooperation between China and Germany in science and technology.

Chen added, “At present, the world is facing a change that hasn’t happened over the past 100 years. The countries around the world are increasingly interdependent and form a Community of a Shared Future for Mankind in which we all have a stake in each other’s future. In 2019, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, WRSA will vigorously carry out brand name people-to-people diplomatic activities. They include the 4th Sino-French Cultural Forum in France; the 17th “21st Century China Forum” in the UK; the 2nd International Think Tank Forum in Beijing; and the China-US Economic and Trade Forum in Guangzhou. At the same time, we will further strengthen foreign exchanges and increase connections, communication, and cooperation with foreign embassies, consulates, NGOs, and chambers of commerce.”

In 2013, Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, attended the 100th anniversary of the establishment of WRSA and required that the WRSA become the “fresh blood of people-to-people diplomacy.” Subsequently, in 2016, the General Office of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCCCP) issued the “Opinions on Strengthening the Development of the Western Returned Scholars Association (Overseas-educated Scholars Association of China,” a very first and milestone document that the CCCCP issued regarding the work of overseas students.

Source: The Paper, January 26, 2019

CNA: In 2018, Taiwan Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau Uncovered 52 Cases of Mainland Espionage

Central News Agency reported that, in 2018, Taiwan uncovered 52 mainland espionage cases involving 174 people. According to Taiwan Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau, mainland spies use exchange activities as a cover to spy on Taiwan, to collect intelligence, to infiltrate, to recruit members, or to develop organizations in Taiwan. The Taiwan Mainland Affairs Council disclosed that mainland China has never stopped collecting important security information such as military secrets, information on politics, and social information. It has asked all relevant departments to continue to strengthen espionage prevention and safeguard national security.

Source: Central News Agency, January 11, 2019

VOA Chinese: Mayor of Quebec City Cancelled Trip to China

Voice of America (VOA) Chinese recently reported that Régis Labeaume, the mayor of Quebec City, cancelled his trip to China originally planned for March. The mayor explained that he cancelled the scheduled trip due to the political tension between China and Canada. The Canadian government recently and repeatedly has issued travel warnings asking travelers to China to use extreme caution. The government warning indicated that travelers may face arbitrary enforcement of local laws and other culture related punishments on issues concerning death penalties and drug dealing. The mayor originally planned to visit Shanghai and Xi’an. Quebec City became a sister city with Xi’an in 2001. Ever since Canada arrested Huawei’s CFO last December based on a U.S. request, the Canada-China relationship has suffered a free fall. China has thus far arrested multiple Canadian citizens travelling or working in China.

Source: VOA Chinese, January 20, 2019