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Geo-Strategic Trend - 2. page

Visa Application Suspected to Support Work of Chinese Intelligence Agency

An internal analysis report from the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz in Germany or BfV), Germany’s domestic security agency, pointed out that German tourists and business travelers visiting China are facing the threat of Chinese intelligence agencies eavesdropping on them. The internal report warned that, since May 2019, new regulations which open the door for Chinese intelligence agencies have been introduced into China’s visa application. “At the visa application stage, the intelligence agency can screen the targets for eavesdropping based on the applicant’s information.” BfV believes that the new application form for Chinese visas has added a great number of questions, thus facilitating espionage.

Deutsche Welle also checked application forms on the China’s Visa Application website and found that the newly added contents were mainly professional information compared to the previous versions. The new form requires a complete detailing of professional experience, including the contact details of the companies and also the name and contact information of the direct supervisor. In addition to the educational history, the new form also requires information on language skills. Information on military service, past experience abroad, special skills such as explosives, nuclear engineering, participation in charitable organizations, and the history of any mental illness.

In contrast, Chinese citizens who apply for a short-term in Germany and are issued a visa to the Schengen Area are not required to provide such detailed information. However, for Chinese citizens to apply for a visa to the United States, the information required is much more detailed.

The German language Focus magazine that obtained the above mentioned BfV report revealed that the BfV report pointed out that the personal sensitive information that the applicants fill out for a Chinese visa will help Chinese intelligence agencies to be able to prepare better for potential eavesdropping. “China has been installing comprehensive monitoring facilities in public in recent years. This further facilitates the surveillance.” “If the visitor is selected in advance, the intelligence agency will immediately put him through comprehensive and nonstop monitoring as soon as he enters the country.” It is “almost unavoidable” that his paper materials and digital information on smartphones and computers will be subject to inspection.

The report also emphasized, “The greater the risk, the more caution should be taken when staying in the concerned country.” BfV suggested that the less sensitive the information is that German travelers carry to China, the better. “It’s best to carry a brand new phone for one-time use, instead of a smartphone that stores sensitive information.” The laptop one carries should also not contain important company data.

Source: Deutsche Welle, October 9, 2019

Prague to End Sister City Relations with Beijing

On Monday, October 7,the Czech Republic’s capital city of Prague decided to end the sister city relationship that it started with Beijing three years ago. After the current mayor Zdeněk Hřib took office, he requested that the “one China principle” term in the sister city agreement be removed. In response, China has repeatedly cancelled the Czech orchestra’s trips to China.

The city councilor of Hara, Kordová Marvanová, proposed the bill to end the sister city relationship with Beijing. She believed that the agreement of the sister city relationship should not contain a declaration of a political position. In addition, Prague should not support an authoritarian regime in this way.

In March 2016, when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the Czech Republic, the two countries signed a number of treaties and agreements, including the establishment of a sister city pairing between Prague and Beijing. The agreement stated that Prague was committed to abiding by the “one China principle” and recognized that “Taiwan is an inalienable territory of China.” It was the mayor of Prague, Adriana Krnáčová, who, at that time, pushed the agreement.

In November 2018, 37-year-old Zdeněk Hřib, a strong supporter of Taiwan, succeeded Krnáčová as the current mayor. Starting in January of this year, Hřib has called on Beijing to remove the “one-China” clause from the sister city agreement. Hřib visited Taiwan in March. Hřib said that Prague only wants to focus on cultural cooperation, not politics. On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the riots in Tibet on March 10 of this year, many buildings including the Prague City Hall raised the snow lion flag of the Tibetan government in exile.

In retaliation, over the past six months, China has cancelled the itineraries of the Prague Philharmonic, the Pražák Quartet, the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Guarneri Trio Prague in coming to China. The cancellations caused dissatisfaction in the Czech Republic’s political and cultural circles. Last month, the Czech Culture Minister Lubomír Zaorálek summoned Zhang Jianmin, the Chinese ambassador to the Czech Republic, to criticize the Chinese side for canceling the performance of the Czech orchestra as “seriously hurting China’s image.” Zaorálek said that bilateral cooperation can only be based on mutual respect, and China’s behavior is not in line with that. He was frightened that China would stop at nothing in order to force the outside world to accept its political views. Zaorálek added that if the Beijing authorities continued this behavior, the Czech Republic would stop the cultural exchanges with China.

Source: Deutsche Welle, October 7, 2019

Xinhua: Japanese Prime Minister Abe Promised to Improve China-Japan Relationship

Xinhua recently reported that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in his speech to Japan’s congress that Japan intends to “start a new era” for the Japan-China relationship and to push for a “new stage” in that relationship. Abe also mentioned that, in addition to improving leadership level visits, Japan plans to expand exchanges on both the economic level and the youth relationship level. In his speech, Abe also discussed critical topics such as an amendment to the constitution, a consumer tax hike, and social security reform. The speech was delivered to the temporary congressional assembly, which ends on December 9. Abe just restructured his cabinet on September 11.

Source: Xinhua, October 4, 2019

Samsung Closed Its Last Handset Factory in China

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that Samsung announced on October 2 that it stopped its manufacturing work in the factory located in Huizhou, Guangdong Province. It is the last handset factory Samsung has in China. Samsung started to lay off its workers in the Huizhou factory in June and all manufacturing lines were closed by the end of September. The company used to have three factories in China. Samsung closed its Shenzhen (Guangdong Province) factory in April, 2014. The Tianjin factory was closed in December, 2018. This newly closed Huizhou factory was established in 1992 with an initial investment of US$190.7 million. Its monthly smartphone manufacturing capacity was 400,000. Samsung has been shifting its investments from China to Vietnam. In the past ten years, Samsung’s total investment in Vietnam grew from US$630 million to US$17.3 billion, with eight factories. Also, Samsung has its largest handset factory in India, producing 120 million handsets per year. Analysts pointed out that, given the growing cost of labor in China, Samsung has little reason to manufacture there.

Source: Sina, October 2, 2019

Xinhua Calls Hong Kong’s Last British Governor “Unreasonable, Hypocritical, Paranoid, Cold-blooded, and Shameless”

On October 8, China’s official Xinhua News Agency published a commentary titled, “Chris Patten, a Synonym for Being Unreasonable, Hypocritical, Paranoid, Cold-blooded, and Shameless.” Chris Patten was the last Governor of Hong Kong from July 19, 1992, until the end of British administration over the territory on June 30, 1997. The Xinhua article is supposedly a response to Patten’s recent comments on the Hong Kong’s mask ban. The following are some excerpts from the Xinhua commentary.

“However, some Western politicians deliberately turned a blind eye and deliberately reversed black and white. For their own ulterior political conspiracy, they ignored the legal principles, social justice, and humanity, and defended the violence and the violent mobs. The “last-generation governor,” who has been unwilling to be neglected, is one of the “best examples.” He recently claimed that the Hong Kong SAR Government’s face mask ban is a “crazy” move and has turned himself into the synonym for being unreasonable, hypocritical, paranoia, cold-blooded, and shameless.”

“Patten has completely ignored the atrocities committed in Hong Kong and completely ignored the serious threats to the safety of the public in Hong Kong. He described the mob as a “people” and called the SAR government’s righteous action of formulating the anti-mask ban to end the violence and protect the people as being “absolutely crazy.” Of course, anyone who has the least bit of rationality can clearly see that what this person said from beginning to the end is baseless and confuses right and wrong. Like those thugs, this person is a cold-blooded madman who is the enemy of the peace of Hong Kong, the well-being of the Hong Kong people, and justice and humanity.”

“Chris Patten publicly beautified the violence, exonerated the violent members, and reserved black and white in order to attack the SAR government and the Chinese government. These unreasonable, shameless, and fallacious comments about Hong Kong only once again show its ugly political character, and once again fully expose the rudeness, barbarism, and vicious motivation of the Western anti-China forces.”

Source: Xinhua, October 8, 2019

Student Government of Canadian University Banned Chinese Student Organization

McMaster University, a reputable university in Canada, recently disqualified the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) from having an official club status. The reasons were that it interfered with the freedom of speech of the students on campus and that it has a close connection with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Rukiye Turdush, a Uyghuer activist, was invited to attend an event on February 11 at McMaster University that was related to Xinjiang’s “Re-education Camps.” Some unhappy Chinese students yelled loudly at the event and were suspected of swearing.

As Deutsche Welle reported, the WeChat screenshots that anonymous students provided showed that the Chinese students had been in contact with the Chinese Embassy regarding Turdush’s participation in the campus event. The Chinese Embassy asked the students to report on the situation and on the attendees, and hoped that the students would bring the case to the university. The CSSA subsequently issued an open letter opposing the university’s invitation given to Turdush to give a speech, criticizing it as a “ridiculous anti-China speech.” The letter charged Turdush with “publicly promoting East Turkistan separatist activities, promoting national hatred, and attacking the Chinese government.” After the Student Representative Assembly (SRA) at McMaster University, conducted an investigation, it decided that the behavior of the CSSA was in violation of the rules. On the 28th, the SRA voted to disqualify the CSSA as an official club.

Before the vote, Simranjeet Singh, one of the members of SRA, said that many students stood up to express their concerns about the CSSA. He said, “Although we do not have the ability to change what is happening in China, we have the ability to protect students at McMaster University.” After it loses its status, the CSSA will lose the funds that the Student Union allocated to it, the privileges of booking school classrooms, and the channels for publicity and promotion.

Source: Central News Agency, September 30, 2019