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China Cancels Entrance Exam for Foreign Students amid Concerns over Brainwashing

Undergraduate programs in a few top universities in China are canceling their entrance exams for foreign students. Parents of domestic students feel angry; others believe that, as Beijing’s Confucius Institute program faces growing resistance overseas, this is a way to work around to the brainwashing of foreign kids.

In early May, Peking University posted on its website a “Notice on the Adjustment of the Undergraduate Entrance Examination Program for International Students in 2020.” It had an explanation that remote interviews, instead of written exams, would be used to admit students, citing concerns about the ongoing epidemic. A few top tier universities, including Tsinghua University, Renmin University of China, and Shanghai Jiaotong University, copied the practice.

Chinese netizens are angry. While Chinese kids have to take a tough college entrance examination, why is it so easy for foreign students to go to a good university? Ms. Zhu told Radio Free Asia (RFA), “As prestigious universities in China, they should give priority to Chinese kids. It is a shame for the Chinese Communist Party to do this.”

Shi Dajun, a Chinese education scholar, believes this policy has everything to do with the resistance that Confucius Institutes (CIs) have received in recent years. “Not only Tsinghua Peking University, but many schools are exempting admission exams for foreign students. After the CIs have been defeated abroad, this is a new direction.”

Mr. Cai, a retired professor from Lanzhou University, told RFA that it may be a strategic measure to attract foreign students, so that China’s totalitarian ideas can be planted in the minds of young Westerners. China provides students in Africa and countries along the “Belt and Road” an annual stipend of 300,000 yuan (US$42,000). “This is a way to bring up a whole pro-China generation and lay a good foundation for friendly relations with these countries. One can say that the state spares no expense in this regard, and is doing something we cannot see.”

Shi Daijun added, “Originally, Beijing wished to use the Confucius Institute to push the patriotic education abroad, as a way to brainwash foreigners. The brainwashing of Chinese people is now almost done. They feel it more urgent to brainwash foreign young people.”

According to the Ministry of Education, the budget for foreign students in China in 2019 was 3.92 billion yuan (US$ 0.55 billion), an increase of 18.1 percent over 2018.

Source: Radio Free Asia, May 11, 2020

“Wuhan Pneumonia” and Academic Freedom in Taiwan

On April 10, a student from mainland China, who was attending the Chung Yuan Christian University in Taiwan, wrote to the university authorities to protest that his professor mentioned the “Wuhan pneumonia caused by the covid-19 virus” in class. He pressed the charge of discrimination. Ming-Wei Chao, the associate professor from the Department of Bioscience Technology, apologized in class and said, “As a professor of the Republic of China, I will not discriminate against the students.” The university, four days later, asked professor Chao to issue another apology for the using the wording “the Republic of China.”

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), Taiwan’s cabinet-level agency handling the cross-strait relations, stepped in and launched an investigation. MAC emphasized that institutions of higher education can allow neither self-censorship and interference of teachers’ freedom in conducting lectures, nor measures that hurt the dignity of the nation. MAC said it will work with the Ministry of Education to find out the facts and adopt appropriate administrative actions to safeguard academic freedom.

Source: Central News Agency, May 11, 2020

Beijing Forces Hong Kong and Taiwan Entertainers to Hold Correct Political Views in Order to Work on the Mainland

Beijing has once again tightened its ideological control over the film and television circles in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Recently, it has been reported that the China Film Administration, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television and other movie and television authorities have verbally ordered major film and television companies, including Tencent, iQiyi and other audio-visual companies, to try not to use those Hong Kong or Taiwanese entertainers or behind-the-scenes personnel who have an unknown political view. For those who are hired, they must sign a statement claiming that they will hold the correct political views for the next 10 years, which means that they must show they are patriotic towards the mainland and the party with their word and actions. Otherwise they must be responsible for the financial loss if they are banned from performing because of their political views.

People in Taiwan’s film and television industry have determined that it is likely that the film and television industry is actively cooperating with the party’s political censorship. It is too early to know how the policy will be carried out, but it may put pressure on those celebrities who have depended on the mainland market for a long period of time. If forced to make a political statement, they could become a puppet for the CCP’s propaganda which suppresses personal conscience and freedom of speech.

Taiwan ’s Mainland Affairs Council called on Beijing to respect creative freedom, and not impose the party’s motivation on performing arts and cultural works. The Taiwan Ministry of Culture pointed out that China’s political review system runs against the universal values of respecting freedom of artistic expression and also suppresses creative content, which the world will not accept.

The CCP mouthpiece Global Time reported that the spokesperson for the China State Taiwan Affairs Office had previously clarified that the 10-year political review order was “pure fabrication,” but she also pointed out that China “does not allow a few people to make money on the mainland while supporting the separatist activities of Taiwan independence and it does not want cross-strait exchanges in the movie and film industry be tainted by Taiwan independence forces.”

Source: Voice of America, May 6, 2020

Tanzania Reportedly Terminated 10 Billion Belt and Road Loan Agreement

China’s “Belt and Road” economic strategy faced a setback. African media reported that Tanzanian President John Magufuli terminated the US $10 billion loan with China that was to be used to expand the Bagamoyo port.

China originally planned to provide the loan to Tanzania to expand the port of Bagamoyo, on the condition that China was granted the right to lease the port for 99 years. The Tanzanian government would not have the right to comment on China’s activity during this period. The agreement was signed by former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, but the media report quoted Magufuli as saying, “Only a drunk person would accept some of those terms.”

According to the report, since taking office in 2015, Magufuli decided to resume negotiations with China hoping to reduce the lease term from 99 to 33 years. In addition, China must obtain permission in advance to carry out related business activity in the port. Now because China has not started the talks within the deadline that Magufuli provided, Tanzania announced the termination of the agreement.

The China Merchants Group managed the Bagamoyo Port project.  The Oman Sovereign Fund and the Tanzanian government jointly developed it. A memorandum of cooperation was signed in March 2013, and a groundbreaking ceremony was held on October 16, 2015. It was originally scheduled to be in use between 2020 and 2021.

Source: Hong Kong Oriental Daily, April 24, 2020

Multiple Swedish Cities Terminated Sister City Agreement with China

Recently after Sweden closed its last Confucius Institute, Goteborg, Sweden ’s second largest city, also announced that it has decided not to renew its sister city agreement with Shanghai.

According to a report from Dagens Nyheter, Sweden ’s largest newspaper, on April 22, following Linköping, the fifth largest city in Sweden, and Örebro, the seventh largest city also announcement the termination of their sister city relationships with their counterparts in China, shortly after the city of Goteborg announced the suspension of its sister city relationship with Shanghai.

According to related reports, Shanghai and Gothenburg established a “friendly exchange relationship” in 1986. The two sides also signed an agreement to become sister cities on October 23, 2003. At the time, Gothenburg became the 51st “international friendly city” for Shanghai. Over the years, the two cities have conducted exchanges and cooperation in the fields of urban public transportation, water treatment, environmental protection, and port management. The agreements between Shanghai and Gothenburg officially expired at the end of 2019. The ruling Swedish Social Democratic Party suggested that the renewal be considered in the future, but other parties thought that the agreement should be terminated. Although the sister city relationship between the two cities no longer exists, the Trade Bureau and Port Authority of Gothenburg will be allowed to continue to maintain its original relationship with Shanghai and China.

While Gothenburg is another Swedish city that has announced the end of its sister city agreement with Chinese cities in the past few months, Linköping City previously terminated its agreement with Guangzhou City. Luleå and Xi’an, Västerås and Jinan have also terminated their sister city programs. Larks Vikinge, the mayor of Linkoping, told Sweden’s Dagens Samhalle in February this year that “as the Chinese embassy threatened the Swedish government, we decided to discontinue all political ties with China.” He also said that a Guangdong delegation was originally scheduled to visit the city in December 2019, but it was told it would not to be welcomed.

In February this year, Mayor Anders Teljeback of Westeros told the Financial Times that he decided to stop cooperating with Chinese cities because “in the past few years, China has escalated domestic Suppression of its people.

It is worth mentioning that the official website of the Chinese Embassy in Sweden posted an article written by Ambassador Gui Congyou, which Sweden Daily originally published. The article criticized “some moderate Swedish politicians use of COVID 19 to make wrong remarks about China and said the remarks were full of false facts, absurd logic and evil intentions.”

Source: Radio France Internationale, April 20, 2020

Beijing News: We Must Stay Alert on Post-Pandemic Desinicization

Beijing News recently published an important interview with Cao Dewang, Chairman of the Fuyao Group, which is the world’s largest automobile glass manufacturer. According to Cao, the de-globalization trend will be unavoidable after the pandemic concludes. The countries will seek to establish a more independent, complete, and safe industrial chain. The current situation fully exposed the high risk of having a long global industrial chain. It will introduce more distrust among nations, which will justify policy adjustments to simplify the industrial chain structure. China must stay vigilant to the fact that most nations may start to reduce their dependency on China. However, it will be very hard for countries like the U.S. and those in the EU to re-establish a fully self-sufficient industrial chain due to a lack of investors, the lack of low-cost labor, the lack of qualified managers in manufacturing, and the lack of money. Additionally, labor unions will add to the difficulties. In regions like Southeast Asia, infrastructure challenges will make building a new factory take two to three years. So, in the short term, China is irreplaceable. However, it is time to do some introspection on China’s long-term risks.

Source: Beijing News, April 13, 2020

Diplomacy: France Called in China Ambassador Because of Chinese Embassy’s Remarks

Radio France International reported that France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called in China’s Ambassador Lv Shaye for publishing articles criticizing France and Western countries for slandering China.

The Foreign Minister said that he expressly disagrees with some of the recent remarks of the People’s Republic of China’s Ambassador to France. He said that some publicly expressed opinions are not in line with the good bilateral relations between France and China. The French Minister of Foreign Affairs said that some comments were related to the containment of the new coronavirus.

On April 12, China’s Embassy in France published an article, “Reverse the facts that had been reversed – the observations on the novel coronavirus epidemic by a Chinese diplomat in France.” The article praised China because it had implemented the most comprehensive, most complete, and most strict measures to contain the coronavirus. It also criticized “certain self-claimed objective media, experts, and politicians in the West who did not contribute ideas to contain the virus in their country or the world, but spent their time on slandering and attacking China.”

The article said, “We see that, in Western countries, politicians attack each other for their votes; (some country) proposed a ‘group immunization’ strategy to leave the public to resist the slaughter of the virus on their own; (some countries) grabbed other’s epidemic prevention materials; (some countries) bought epidemic prevention materials with public money and sold them to private companies for profit; (some countries) let the elderly in nursing homes sign the ‘Consent to Give up Emergency Rescue;’ nursing home staff members collectively fled from their duties without permission, causing many elderly to starve and to die; (one country) fired an aircraft carrier captain for requesting that infected sailors be permitted to land ashore for treatment… But we didn’t see any major Western media reports on them or provide in-depth investigations that reveal the truth. Where is the conscience of these fair and objective media and experts? Where are their professional ethics?”

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Epoch Times: Mainland Deployed Liaoning Carrier to Taiwan Strait Region

On April 10, China sent an H-6 jet bomber, KJ-500 airborne early warning and control aircraft and a J-11 jet fighter into the Southwest ocean region of Taiwan and conducted training. On April 11, the China Liaoning Carrier also reached the eastern ocean region outside of Taiwan together with four battleships and one replenishment oiler. On both days, the US RC-135U reconnaissance aircraft was spotted in Bashi Channel south of Taiwan along with the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer passing through the Taiwan Strait in international waters. This marks the 6th time this year that the mainland aircraft came close to Taiwan.

Source: Epoch Times, April 12, 2020

Beijing News: China and EU Decided to Set-up Temporary Appeal Arbitration Arrangement

Beijing News recently reported that, according to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, China and the European Union, along with more than ten other WTO (World Trade Organization) member countries decided to establish a temporary appeal and arbitration arrangement while the official WTO appeal mechanism cannot function. The new arrangement will perform the WTO article 25 process to settle appeal and arbitration cases among participating countries. The dispute settlement mechanism is one of the core functions of the WTO. The official unit stopped functioning after December 11, 2019, due to certain member country blocking the judge selection process. China and other WTO member countries are working hard to notify the WTO of this new arrangement and welcome more countries to join. The participating countries in the temporary arrangement issued a Minister-level joint announcement on March 27, 2020.

Source: Beijing News, March 27, 2020

Taiwan Liberty Times Net: Taiwan Launched Joint Air Defense Exercise in Response to the Threat the PLA Poses

Taiwan Liberty Times Net reported that, since the beginning of this year, despite the on-going spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus, the PLA has performed night time training activities and even flew across the Taiwan Straits Midline a minimum of five times. In response to the threat, on the morning of March 24, the Taiwan Ministry of National Defense launched the “Lianxiang” joint air defense combat training. The upgraded F-16V fighter was reported to have participated in the training. The “Lianxiang” exercise is normally done quarterly each year however it was performed specifically to target the excessive military actions that the PLA has performed.

Source: Taiwan Liberty Times Net, March 25, 2020