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Halifax International Security Forum: Chinese Communist Party Is the Virus that Endangers the World

On November 16, the Halifax International Security Forum (HFX), a think tank based in Halifax, Canada, published a Handbook for Democracies to support a shared understanding of the challenge that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) poses to freedom around the world. The title of the Handbook is China vs. Democracy: The Greatest Game.

“The year 2020 witnessed a paradigm shift in the democratic world’s understanding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP),” said Peter Van Praagh, HFX President. “The 2020 paradigm shift in people’s attitudes toward China was a concrete change from the old conventional wisdom that an economically vibrant China would progress toward more freedom for its people, to the new conventional wisdom that the Chinese Communist Party is, in fact, the virus that endangers the world.”

The report said, “HFX spent the past decade calling attention to the challenge China poses through panel discussions at our annual Forum in Halifax. It was not until 2020, however, with the emergence of the global coronavirus pandemic that began in Wuhan, China, and all the uncertainty that accompanied it, that people around the world began to understand the real threat—to our supply chains, to international organizations, to the open exchange of information, to the protection of confidential information, and to freedom of the seas and skies.”

To compile the report, HFX, between February and October 2020, conducted in-depth interviews with more than 250 global experts and policy-and decision-makers.

The report states, “Accordingly, the PRC is intent on undermining democracy abroad. While the CCP continues to target democracies such as the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, India, Japan, and Australia, it is Hong Kong and Taiwan that stand on the front-line of the PRC’s global assault on democracy; their very existence as democracies now hangs precariously in the balance.”

The report also states, “The PRC has committed to modernizing its military while growing bolder and more assertive geostrategically—and not just in Asia. What may sometimes look like innocent and incremental steps risk developing into a pattern that, in a decade or two, could transform the balance of military power as well as the relevance of alliances and partnerships among democracies.”

The report calls on the world’s democracies saying that they “must pursue a carefully considered yet robust push back—a push back that Xi’s China has brought upon itself. The CCP must recalibrate its global ambitions and step back from its ongoing assault on the world’s democracies.”

The handbook also features a set of principles that HFX will champion around the world to defend the values that underpin democratic societies. At the end of the handbook, it placed a list of practices that undermine its values and way of life and that the democratic world should defend itself from doing:

Ignoring China’s attempts to interfere with democratic societies;

Submitting to, collaborating with, or participating in any censorship or self-censorship of ideas, writings, artistic endeavors, or statements related to the People’s Republic of China;

Participating in any business or technology-related practices or exchanges that aid and abet Chinese Communist Party oppression of its own people;

Neglecting to oppose attempts by the People’s Republic of China to bring global governance of the internet and technological standards into alignment with its own authoritarian values and ambitions;

Supporting or engaging in any kind of punishment or sanction of anyone for engaging in criticism of china;

Failing to support democratically-minded people and governments around the world who the People’s Republic of China pressures or intimidates;

Knowingly buying or trading in Chinese products or services made with forced labor, or that are the result of criminal activities like counterfeiting or intellectual property theft.

Source: Halifax International Security Forum, November 16, 2020
https://halifaxtheforum.org/hfx-publishes-handbook-for-democracies-to-meet-china-challenge/

China’s Response to the “Five Eyes Alliance” Statement Concerning Hong Kong: Watch Out for Your Eyes

At the regular press conference of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China on the 19th, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian answered questions from reporters regarding the “Five Eyes Alliance” statement on Hong Kong, China-Australia relations, and U.S. documents on China.

A reporter asked: The foreign ministers of the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom issued a joint statement requesting the Chinese government to reconsider its actions against Hong Kong legislators and immediately restore the relevant membership qualifications. How does China respond to this?

Zhao Lijian said, “The Chinese never cause trouble, nor are they afraid of trouble. Regardless of whether they have ‘five eyes’ or ‘ten eyes,’ as long as they dare to harm China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, they should watch out for their eyes, or they will be pricked blind.”

Source:
China.com, November, 19, 2020
http://news.china.com.cn/txt/2020-11/19/content_76928439.htm

Must Religions in China Follow the Party Line?

No religious groups in China can escape the CCP’s control. On November 6, the Great Ci’en Temple in Xi’an organized sessions to study the key points from the fifth plenary session so its members could “maintain a high degree of compliance with Xi Jinping’s dictates while cultivating and practicing core socialist values and steadily promoting the process of the Sinicization of Buddhism.” In November 2019, nuns from the Thousand Buddha Pagodas of the Cloud Gate College of the Guangdong Buddhist University completed a similar session following the CCP’s fourth plenary session. According to a public announcement that the London-based human rights organization, Tibet Watch, made last month, at least two monastery management committees in the Tibet Autonomous Region forced monks to study the messages from the Seventh Tibet Work Forum.

Even though the constitution guaranteed the Chinese people freedom of religion, the reality is that religion is being further limited in its development in China. In 2017, the State Council issued a revised “Regulations on Religious Affairs,” which imposed tighter reviews on religious groups. The newly revised “Regulations” not only emphasizes restrictions on the setup of religious schools and the distribution of foreign religious books; it also clearly stipulates that all religious groups must register with the government and go through a strict financial auditing of its books. They are also required to be vigilant to restrict foreign forces from using religion to infiltrate China.

According to the statistics in a White Paper, “China’s Policies and Practices to Guarantee Freedom of Religious Belief,” which the State Council released in 2018, there are nearly 200 million religious believers in China, about 5,500 religious organizations, and more than 10,000 students in religious schools.

Source: Radio Free Asia, November 11, 2020
https://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/shehui/bx-11112020094152.html

New Indicator of CCP Official’s Performance Evaluation — Safeguarding Xi’s Core Position

China’s state media Xinhua News Agency reported on November 5 that the Organization Department of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) Central Committee has issued the “Notice on Improving the Performance Evaluation to Promote High-Quality Development.” The item listed in the notice requires CCP cadres to implement the “two safeguards” as a basic criterion for evaluating an officials’ performance. The so-called “two safeguards” are the slogans that the authorities put forward after Xi Jinping took office: “Safeguard Xi Jinping’s core position in the CCP Central Committee and the entire party; safeguard the authority of the CCP Central Committee and centralized leadership.”

According to the report, this notice required all regions and units to implement “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era,” and implement the “Regulations on the Evaluation of the CCP and the Government’s Leading Cadres.”

The CCP Central Committee issued the full text of its “Work Regulations” in mid-October. This regulation requires that the Central Committee, the Politburo and their members take the lead in safeguarding “General Secretary Xi Jinping’s core position in the Central Committee and the entire party.”

Source: Central News Agency, November 5, 2020
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/firstnews/202011050337.aspx

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Demands Hong Kong Radio Stations Play China National Anthem

Under pressure from the Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region) government, all three major Hong Kong radio stations announced that they will start playing the China  national anthem in the morning. Radio Hong Kong announced that it plans to start broadcasting the Chinese national anthem on its radio channels at 8 am starting on the 16th of this month. Commercial Radio and Metro Radio also said today that they will play the national anthem at 8 am.

In addition, the Education Bureau issued a notice to primary and secondary schools, telling the schools to organize activities to promote the “National Constitution Day” on December 4. The request received some concerns that the schools are already overloaded due to COVID and the request was merely a political task.

Source: Radio Free Asia, November 7, 2020
https://www.rfa.org/cantonese/news/htm/hk-anthem-11072020065629.html

Chinese Officials Sacked for “Carrying Politically Problematic Books”

China’s Hunan provincial government website announced on October 29 that Chen Zehui, a former deputy mayor of Changsha city, was expelled from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and transferred to the procuratorial organ for investigation and prosecution. The notice alleges that Chen violated political discipline and that he purchased books and periodicals from abroad, which had serious political problems, stored them privately, and read them for a long time. Other charges include the violation of the CCP’s code of conduct, the acceptance of gifts of particularly large amounts, and suspicion of taking bribes.

A highlighted charge is about purchasing and reading “banned books.” A civil rights activist Huang Xiaomin told Radio Free Asia that, “The purpose is definitely to nip it in the bud and punish a few individuals as an example to others. It is to intimidate officials who wanted to spread views dissenting from those of the CCP.  …  One main reason is that some open-minded officials are increasingly aware of the problems in the current Chinese society.”

Similar incidents occurred in Huainan city of Anhui province. According to the Supreme People’s Procuratorate’s website, in June, Li Zhong, the former deputy mayor of Huainan City along with a member of the CCP committee of the city government, were investigated and disciplined for violating political discipline, bringing in books and magazines with serious political problems into the country without permission, as well as embezzling public funds.

Another mainland Chinese newspaper Beijing News reported in March that Li Bin, a mid-level officer at Chongqing city’s police bureau, was probed for “serious violation of discipline and the law.” The authorities accused Li of “losing his ideals and secretly bringing books with serious political problems into the country and reading and storing them.”

Source: Radio Free Asia, November 2, 2020
https://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/zhengzhi/QL-11022020035358.html

Jiang Jinquan – New Chief Advisor to CCP Leaders

On October 30, 2020, at the press conference of the CCP Central Committee for the 5th Plenary Session of the 19th CCP National Congress, Jiang Jinquan appeared for the first time as Director of the CCP Central Policy Research Office. His appearance confirms that he has been promoted from Deputy Director.

Jiang’s predecessor, Wang Huning, held the position since 2002 and served three CCP Secretaries, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, and Xi Jinping. For 18 years, Wang had been the chief advisor to the CCP leaders.

Jiang was the focus of the press conference on October 3 as the new Director of the CCP Central Policy Research Office.

The CCP Central Policy Research Office is the highest level think tank of the CCP and an agency directly under the CCP Central Committee. It is dedicated to researching political theories and policies, and to drafting documents for the Politburo. Its functions mainly include “drafting the work report of the Central Committee of the National Party Congress” and “participating in drafting the documents for large-scale Central Committee meetings.”

Jiang Jinquan has been a veteran at the CCP Central Policy Research Office reaching the position of Deputy Director in 2016. In 2018, he was seen accompanying Xi Jinping together with CCP senior leaders, above the CCP provincial heads. He was thus viewed as a member of the core Xi Jinping group.

Jiang Jinquan is an expert on CCP party development. He specializes in the theory of party development in the Central Policy Research Office. He first summarized Deng Xiaoping’s theory on party building, then studied Jiang Zemin’s party-building ideas, and later systematized Hu Jintao’s party-building activities. He was a member of the document drafting group of the 19th CCP National Congress and a member of the CCP Charter revision group. Currently, he is also a member of the CCP Central Party-Building Work Leading Group and head of its secretary group. He has been regarded as a key assistant to Wang Huning.

Source: The Storm Media, October 30, 2020
https://www.storm.mg/article/3159738