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Freedom House Report: China’s Internet Freedom Worst in the World

Radio Free Asia (RFA) Chinese Edition recently reported that Freedom House just released its 2019 annual Internet freedom Report, which shows China ranked last on the list as the worst country in violating cyber freedom. This is the fourth consecutive year for China to rank at the bottom. This year is the thirtieth anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre and there are massive protests currently going on in Hong Kong. The Chinese government has further intensified its Internet control. The Freedom House ranking is mainly based on Internet connection barriers, restrictions on contents, and the protections of netizens’ rights. China scored zero on protection of netizens’ rights. The Report indicated that China utilizes cutting-edge data analytics technology to monitor people online. Many netizens have been arrested as a result of speaking up online. The Freedom House report also shows that, for the past nine consecutive years, cyber freedom has been on the decline around the globe. Even the United States suffered a decline. More and more countries are monitoring and even manipulating social media.

Source: RFA Chinese, November 5, 2019
https://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/meiti/rc-11052019112038.html

Media: Why Did the CCP Politburo Study Blockchain

Recently, at the Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee, Xi Jinping stressed that there should be a focus on blockchain technology. The CCP Politburo also held a group study on blockchain’s status and trends related to blockchain. Some media interviewed China experts on why the CCP is eying blockchain.

Deutsche Welle interviewed a senior IT practitioner in China who stated, “In fact, China has long been talking about digital finance. In 2014, People’s Bank (China’s Central Bank) created a group to research the feasibility of issuing digital currency. In January 2017, it officially established the Digital Currency Institute. Maybe it is to help People’s Bank launch the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP).

Blockchain relies on 5G technology to provide fast transportation speed.

VOA interviewed an economics observer, “This policy is more for the political agenda. There are three reasons for the CCP to promote blockchain.”

First, the CCP wants to participate in this “de-centralization” technology early so that it can participate in and control the standard settings and data control areas.

Second, the CCP has the financial ambition to promote a national digital currency. It has been trying to promote China’s national digital currency via the Belt and Road Initiative so as to further compete with the U.S. for financial control.

Third, blockchain can be extended to finance, to supplying China, to manufacturing, and to military areas. Having a first mover advantage or having greater power in controlling and implementing these technologies will help the CCP to reach its ambition of world domination.

Sources:
1. Deutsche Welle, October 28, 2019
https://www.dw.com/zh/专访中共中央政治局为什么学区块链/a-51022583
2. VOA, October 29, 2019
https://www.voachinese.com/a/voaweishi-20191029-voaio-is-xi-blockchain-as-new-impetus-for-economy/5143899.html

China Times: TSMC Responded to the Plan to Manufacture Chips in the U.S.

Major Taiwanese newspaper, China Times, recently reported that the Taiwanese chip maker TSMC officially responded to the question of whether it has a plan to invest in new manufacturing capabilities in the U.S. TSMC is the world’s top chip maker with 7 nano-meter manufacturing technology. It receives orders from leading companies such as Apple and Huawei and holds a massive global market share. TSMC also makes chips which the U.S. military uses in high volume. The news triggered a number of reports that TSMC is under heavy pressure from the U.S. Department of Defense to make chips in the United States, citing national security concerns. TSMC clarified that it has no immediate plan to open new factories in the States, but the company is continuously looking into this option. TSMC did admit that it is producing military chips. The primary challenge for manufacturing in the U.S. is cost. The company hinted that it would need a substantial subsidy. However, the new announcement also indicated that, to solve the national security issues that some customers have, the company is devoted to developing traceable chips.

Source: China Times, October 31, 2019
https://www.chinatimes.com/realtimenews/20191031004013-260410?chdtv

Beijing’s Subway System to Use Facial Recognition for Security Checks

The Beijing Subway Company announced that it plans to use facial recognition technologies to perform security checks and establish a database. Beijing Metro will also establish a passenger “white list,” which enables the company to enforce the notorious social credit system.

An official with the Beijing Metropolitan government observed that the current method of security inspections is inefficient, considering the massive volume of passengers using the rail transit. In addition to continuously optimizing security inspection equipment, the Beijing Subway will also apply facial recognition technology to classify passengers and do research to establish “personnel classification criteria” to build a corresponding “facial database.” The facial recognition system will screen the passengers and tell the security personnel what different measures to take .

The Beijing Subway currently has 21 routes with a total operating mileage of 699 kilometers. The annual transportation volume is 3.848 billion riders, with an average daily ridership of approximately 10.54 million.

Source: Central News Agency, October 29, 2019
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/acn/201910290107.aspx

Xinhua: Xi Jinping Asks for Innovation in Blockchain Technology

Xinhua recently reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized, in the eighteenth Collective Study of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party Central Committee, that blockchain technology should be a focal core innovation area for the Chinese industrial development strategy. It should be treated as a break-through point. Xi asked for a clear development direction, coupled with heavy investments, and to push forward the industrialization of a set of core blockchain technologies. Xi mentioned that blockchains are penetrating various key economic areas like digital finance, the Internet of things (IoT), smart manufacturing, supply chain management, and digital asset trading. Leading countries in the world are all strategically developing blockchain technology, and China should quickly improve technological support on blockchain standardization, application, innovation, and commercialization. Xi wants to improve China’s say in international collaborations and rule-making. Connecting blockchain technology and artificial intelligence and big data technologies was specifically mentioned. Deploying blockchains in all aspects of society is also being planned.

Source: Xinhua, October 25, 2019
http://www.xinhuanet.com/politics/2019-10/25/c_1125153665.htm

The Paper: China Organized 2019 World Young Scientist Summit

The Paper recently reported on the World Young Scientist Summit, which was held in Wenzhou city on October 26. The China Association of Science and Technology, the Zhejiang Provincial People’s Government, the Zhejiang Science and Technology Association and the Wenzhou Municipal People’s Government hosted the summit. This summit involved the strategic cooperation agreement signed between the China Association for Science and Technology and the Zhejiang Provincial Government. It is a high-level and international talent exchange that the China Association for Science and Technology and the Zhejiang Provincial Government created. One-hundred nine domestic and foreign academicians attended the summit, including four Nobel Prize winners, one Turing Award winner, 57 overseas academicians, 52 domestic academicians, 269 overseas representatives, and 475 young science and technology professionals from 102 countries, regions, and international organizations. According to the article, the summit will set up a young scientists’ network to enable commercialization of scientific inventions and projects, set up new business funding and introduce a talent acquisition policy.

Source: The Paper, October 26, 2019
https://www.thepaper.cn/newsDetail_forward_4783203