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Government: Authorities Used the Health Code against People Defending Their Rights

Chinascope pointed out in its analysis, “China’s Zero-COVID Strategy: Part II,” that the communist regime in China can abuse the Health Code App, a tool it developed to track people’s COVID-related health condition, to control people’s movement. The authorities can use its backdoor access to the app to freeze political dissidents or anyone they don’t like, anywhere and anytime.

A recent incident shows exactly how this abuse can be used.

A few days ago, a few local private banks in Henan Province were reported for massively stealing their customers’ money. They offered high interest rates to attract over 400,000 customers who are now facing the potential loss of a total of 40 billion yuan (US $6 billion). The government that was supposed to oversee the banks claimed that it was not responsible for the loss.

Some people then went to Henan to try to get their money back. But they surprisingly found that their Health Code apps were all turned Red (in the COVID procedure, it means the phone holder is either a COVID patient or has close exposure to a COVID patient and needs to be quarantined). Henan officials visited those who arrived there and offered them two options: either stay in Henan for quarantine (their code will remain Red and they cannot go out to talk to anyone about their bank account problem) or return home.

Those bank customers who did not go to Henan also found their code had turned Red, which then completely prevented them from travelling, or even going out of their homes.

China.com, the website managed by the State Council’s China Internet Information Center, said it was Henan Province that manipulated the health code of those bank customers even though they were not in Henan.

Related postings on Chinascope:

Sources:
1. BBC, June 14, 2022
https://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/simp/61794310
2. China.com (owned by China Internet Information Center of the State Council), June 15, 2022
http://finance.china.com.cn/news/20220615/5827254.shtml

The CCP’s Solution to College Graduates’ Unemployment: Send Them to a Remote Farmland

Chinese college graduates have faced a severe job shortage for years. The National Bureau of Statistics reported in May that the nationwide unemployment rate in April was 6.1 percent. It was 18.2 percent for people whose ages were between 16 and 24. Things will be even worse when 10.76 million students graduate from college in the upcoming two months.

The Chinese Communist Party’s solution is to send the college graduates to farmlands. Recently, the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security jointly issued a notice to guide college graduates to work or establish their own business in remote towns or rural communities and ask villages to “actively absorb college graduates to serve as village workers.”

The government will provide incentives to small businesses that employ college graduates in villages, home services, and elderly care. However, Chinese college graduates prefer to work for high-paying companies in large cities, and there is a wide income gap between rural and urban areas.

People compare this government initiative to the “Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside (上山下乡)” movement that Mao Zedong initiated for the city teenagers during the Cultural Revolution. During that campaign, Mao sent several millions of teenagers from the cities to live in remote farmland for ten years, separating them from their families and ruining their lives.

Source: Epoch Times, June 13, 2022
https://www.epochtimes.com/gb/22/6/13/n137588in57.htm

Beijing Asked Foreign Investment Banks To Cut Pay to Their Executives in China

Bloomberg recently reported that China’s regulatory authorities summoned foreign investment banks, including Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, and UBS.  Beijing asked them to lower the total compensation to their executives in China and defer their bonus payments for over three years. The Chinese authorities said their substantial compensation is opposed to the “common prosperity” policy that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) promoted last year.

These foreign investment banks often hire top CCP officials’ children or grandchildren so that they can use their parents’ or grandparents’ power and influence to bring big business to the firm. In return these financial firms pay them decently and feel that pay is well worth it.

Source: Liberty Times, June 14, 2022
https://ec.ltn.com.tw/article/breakingnews/3959213

Leadership: CCDI Criticized Several Prime Ministers in Chinese History

Recently, Chinese-language media outside China reported heavily on the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) in-fighting between Xi Jinping and an anti-Xi group. Chinascope is unable to verify some of the claims but will report on these happenings.

The CCP’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) recently published two articles mentioning some prime ministers in China’s history. The CCP has a tradition of hinting about today’s politics using historic stories.

On June 1, The China Discipline Inspection and Monitoring Magazine, a semi-monthly publication by the CCDI, published an article titled “Abandoning Exquisite Egoism.” It criticized two prime ministers: Li Si (李斯) of the Qin Dynasty and Li Linfu (李林甫) of the Tang Dynasty, calling them out for using their skillful acting and carefully created justifications cleverly to conceal their selfish and greedy nature.

On June 7, the CCDI official website published an article titled, “Knowing How To Stop In Front of Your Own Desires.” It asked officials “always to cultivate the virtue of governance, always to think about the harm of greed, always to be disciplined, and always to give up improper ambitions.” It praised two prime ministers Xiao He (萧何) of Han Dynasty and Li Hang (李沆) of Song Dynasty and criticized two prime ministers Yan Song (严嵩) of Ming Dynasty and He Shen (和珅) of Qing Dynasty.

Related postings on Chinascope:

Sources:
1. The China Discipline Inspection and Monitoring Magazine, June 1, 2022
http://zgjjjc.ccdi.gov.cn/bqml/bqxx/202206/t20220601_196499.html
2. CCDI official website, June 7, 2022
https://www.ccdi.gov.cn/pln/202206/t20220607_197538.html

Communist China’s Propaganda Messages Lead the Search Engines’ Results

Brookings Institution and the Alliance for Securing Democracy reported in May that many of Beijing’s propaganda messages have shown up often at the top of search engine results. A report can be found: https://www.brookings.edu/research/winning-the-web-how-beijing-exploits-search-results-to-shape-views-of-xinjiang-and-covid-19/

The researchers collected search results on two topics that are critical to Beijing’s agenda: Xinjiang and the COVID-19 pandemic. They were collected from five different search engines, Google Search, Google News, Microsoft’s Bing Search, Bing News, and YouTube. The data was collected daily from Nov. 1, 2021, until Feb. 28, 2022.

Chinese state media sends a consistent stream of narratives to the web. They are free of charge and easily available to search. Beijing-backed narratives also take advantage of the algorithms in most search engines that prioritize “freshness.” These contents are also amplified by a huge number of Chinese state actors on social media. For example, they use hashtags like #covid19 and #Xinjiang.

As a result, Chinese state media content frequently appeared in top search results. If one searches for the keywords “Xinjiang,” “terrorism,” or “Xinjiang debunked” on the above platforms, Chinese state media contents appear every day on the first-page of the search results, with the exception of YouTube search, where two days out of the 120 days, it appeared on the second page of the search results.

For neutral terms, such as “kashgar,” “Urumqi,” or “Xinjiang,” ( Kashgar and Urumqi are cities in Xinjiang) Chinese state media content still appeared almost every day on news searches and YouTube searches..

The communist regime also uses influential Westerners  who have lived in China and claim themselves to be “China experts,” to defend Beijing and criticize “Western injustices and biases.”

The report also found a surprisingly large number of seemingly independent news outlets that routinely reposted CCP media reports. The top ten sources that often repost Beijing’s contents are Finland’s helsinkitimes.fi, the UAE’s bignewsnetwork.com, the USA’s msn.com, Pakistan’s dailytimes.com.pk and bolnews.com, Chad’s alwihdainfo.com, India’s indianexpress.com, Ukraine’s ukranews.com, Bangladesh’s tbsnews.net, and Zambia’s iol.co.za.

The report said that, in the early months of 2022, search engines enacted measures to limit the reach of the Russian state media. However, little has been done regarding the Chinese state media.

Source: Epoch Times, May 31, 2022
https://www.theepochtimes.com/mkt_app/beijing-remarkably-effective-at-exploiting-search-engine-results-report_4501074.html

Global Times: It Is Not Russia Who ‘Weaponizes’ Food

China’s state media Global Times published an opinion article by Zheng Fengtian, the director of the Rural Development Institute of Renmin University of China, stating that it is not Russia who weaponizes food.

The article said, “Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with the media that the West is trying to ‘shift’ the responsibility for problems in the world’s grain market to Russia. Ukraine, however, has multiple food transportation channels to choose from. Also, Russia will not stop Ukraine’s grain shipments from being shipped out. At the same time, he also announced that Russia’s wheat exports in the next agricultural year will increase to 50 million tons.”

The article continued, “Following its strategic needs, the United States and the West put the responsibility for this global food crisis on Russia and use a number of means to put pressure on Russia to release food. Putin, however, retorted when he had a phone conversation with Italian Prime Minister Draghi. He said, ‘It is groundless for the West to blame Russia for the supply of agricultural products in the international market.’ Putin attributed the current crisis to the sanctions that the United States and the West imposed on Russia. It is the anti-Russian restrictions imposed by the US and the EU that make the situation worse. Indeed, it is precisely because of these economic sanctions that the global food supply chain has been disrupted and food prices have soared. Instead of providing a viable solution, the United States and its allies are currently escalating conflicts by increasingly providing  new weapons and equipment, which will only increase future global food security risks.

“When the Russian side expressed its willingness to provide 50 million tons of grain to ‘help overcome the food crisis,’ the United States and the West accused it of ‘blackmail’ because the Russian side proposed that ‘sanctions against Moscow should be lifted.’ A U.S. Pentagon spokesman said Russia weaponized food. In fact, ‘weaponizing food’ is a common practice of the United States. It is precisely because the United States has used grain as a “weapon” many times that grain has become a main source of the problem in the current global trade. Even the developed countries dare not freely hand over grains to the international market.

“On the one hand, the United States continues to add fuel to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and intensifies sanctions against Russia. On the other hand, the United States has made arrangements in its own country ahead of schedule to grab Russia’s share of the world’s food market. According to reports, U.S. President Biden has increased the number of counties eligible for “double crop insurance” nationwide by 681 to 1,935, and the federal government’s investment in domestic fertilizer production has increased from $250 million to $500 million, to stimulate fully the export of American agricultural products and increase the external dependence on American food. It seems that the real intention of the United States is to expand its hegemonic advantages to the field of food security.”

Source: Global Times, June 6, 2022
https://opinion.huanqiu.com/article/48J1rhGFuKN

Ministry of State Security Offers Rewards (Up to $15,000) for Reporting National Security Cases:

China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) recently promulgated new rules to encourage citizens to report acts that “endanger national security.” It offered  different amounts as rewards, depending on the level of contribution, with the highest reward being 100,000 yuan ($15,000) or more.

On June 6, MSS, a CIA type agency, issued the “Rules for Rewarding Citizens for Reporting Acts that Endanger National Security.” The rules went into effect on the same day.

The MSS official said in a press session that China’s national security is facing a serious and complex situation, “especially as the infiltration and theft activities of foreign espionage and intelligence agencies and various hostile forces against us have significantly intensified.” The purpose for the new regulation is to mobilize public support for national security work.

The public is encouraged to report through a phone number, website, letter and in person. The national security authorities will issue spiritual (award certificates) or material awards (bonuses) depending on the situation. The bonus is divided into four levels according to the degree of contribution, with the lowest being less than 10,000 yuan ($1,500) and the highest more than 100,000 yuan ($15,000).

Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), June 7, 2022
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/acn/202206070222.aspx

Hong Kong Government: School Libraries Can’t Have Books that Violate National Security Laws

Hong Kong’s Education Secretary Kevin Yeung said that local school libraries cannot have books that violate the National Security Laws.

At an event, a reporter asked about some local secondary schools that used “self-censorship” and removed some books from the library. He wondered whether the authorities have a regulation for providing library collections to secondary schools and how the terms of the national security law apply. Yeung said that as part of the implementation of the National Security Law, schools have the responsibility to ensure that their libraries do not contain books that are harmful to national security. Yeung added, “Books, like textbooks, can influence the ideas or thoughts of young students.”

He said that after the implementation of the National Security Law, schools cannot allow any incident that endangers national security, and that the National Security Law also mentions the responsibility of schools to promote national security education.

Source: Central News Agency, June 6, 2022
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/acn/202206060176.aspx