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RFA: Engineering Is a Trendy Field in China but Humanities and Social Sciences Are Falling Behind

According to Radio Free Asia, a research report on the world’s scientific research trends from 2000 to 2016 found that engineering has become the latest trend in China, second to medical research. According to the High Council for the Evaluation of Research and Higher Education in France, in China, engineering has replaced physics, chemistry, and biology and has become the subject that has the second largest number of published papers, next to medical science. At the same time, the research work being done on the humanities and on the social sciences is falling behind. RFA quoted comments from one of the experts who stated that the humanities and social sciences are a potential means for nurturing social unrest, which might bring too much risk to the Chinese government. On the other hand, science and technology, engineering, and mathematics research are seen as conducive to maintaining economic growth, and to maintaining social and political stability.

Source: Radio Free Asia, September 10, 2019

Top Apple Supplier Foxconn Will Build Two New Factories in India

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that Foxconn just announce that it plans to build two new factories in India. In the meantime, the company will also expand its current factories in India. Foxconn currently has two factories there. The goal of the new factories is to manufacture more iPhones. Foxconn’s chief of Indian operations Josh Foulger said that the strategy is to avoid putting all of its eggs in one basket. The factories that replace the ones in China must meet the criteria of being competitive. The Indian government is implementing policies similar to China’s in order to ease the process of establishing new factories for foreign investors. Foxconn opened its first Indian factory in Sri City in 2015. According to undisclosed sources, Foxconn has started the manufacturing of high-end iPhone models in India. The assembly lines for now can produce a maximum of one million iPhones. Foxconn also makes other smart phones in India. For example, it manufactures three times more Xiaomi phones than iPhones. Despite long preparation, at the moment it is still challenging to make high-end iPhones in India due to workers lacking the required skills.

Source: Sina, August 30, 2019

Huawei Founder: Harmony OS Won’t Work on Phones Anytime Soon

Major Taiwanese newspaper China Times recently reported that Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei made a comment not long ago on Huawei’s much hyped operating system called Harmony OS. Ren stated, in a BBC interview on September 6, that “it’s unclear” how Huawei’s natively developed operating system Harmony can be migrated to phones. It may need a few years of research and development. Under the U.S. sanction, Huawei runs the risk of losing the capability of using Google’s Android operating system for phones. According to Ren, Huawei’s Harmony OS was designed for low-latency Internet of Things (IoT) types of use cases, such as watches and TVs. His position is different from what Huawei Consumer Business CEO Yu Chengdong said on a number of occasions in the past several months. However, Ren criticized the United States, saying that Huawei cannot be blamed for the failure that the U.S. has suffered in leading the communications industry. He said, “The U.S. took the wrong path on communications technology.”

Source: China Times, September 7, 2019

A Chinese University to Introduce Extensive Use of Facial Recognition Technology on Campus

Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine (NJUCM), a university located in Nanjing city in China’s Jiangsu province, announced that it will adopt a “pilot program” in the new semester of 2019 to install a facial recognition access control system at the school gate, the entrance to the student dormitory, the library, and the laboratory building. The school said that, by storing student and faculty information in a back-end database, students and faculty can swiftly pass the gate access control by “showing their faces.” which is more convenient and safer than the legacy system.

The surveillance cameras in the classroom, said the school, will automatically capture the student’s faces. In addition to helping improve the attendance rate, the system can also monitor the student’s class performance, including whether they are listening, how many times they look up (to the teacher), whether they are playing with their phone, and whether they doze off. NJUCM said that the intention is to remedy the situation of students skipping classes, being late, or leaving early. It will even eliminate the practice of hiring others to take classes.

Regarding the concerns over students’ privacy, NJUCM said it has consulted with the police and legal authorities. As the classroom is a public place, there is no issue of an infringement on privacy.

Chiu E-ling, secretary-general of the Taiwan Association for Human Rights (TAHR), pointed out that this kind of comprehensive surveillance of students violates their human rights and is unnecessary. Chiu also questions how the collected data will be used.

Source: Radio Free Asia, September 3, 2019

Mingpao: China Assessing the Level of High-Tech Dependency on the U.S.

Mingpao, one of the primary Hong Kong newspapers, recently reported that the Chinese government is assessing the dependency level that Chinese domestic high-tech vendors have on U.S. technologies. The goal is to evaluate the capabilities China has to sustain the trade war. It is also to be better prepared for a Chinese blacklist of U.S. companies. The China National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and the Ministry of Commerce are jointly leading this effort. The process aims to minimize domestic damage while maximizing the strength of the attacks against the United States. Government officials have already contacted many Chinese companies, such as Xiaomi and Oppo, on their supply chain details. Some Chinese companies have already started moving away from U.S. suppliers. According to a June survey that the US-China Business Council conducted, most of the U.S. companies in China did not have the intent to withdraw from China completely.

Source: Mingpao, September 1, 2019

Hong Kong’s Forum Server under Attack, Chinese Authorities Suspected Using Telegram to ID Protesters

Many of Hong Kong’s “anti-extradition law” protesters use a Hong Kong based online discussion forum, LIHKG, to mobilize and organize their actions. LIHKG announced around 6 am on Sunday that the “LIHKG has been under (un)precedented DDoS attacks for the past 24 hours. We have reason to believe that there is a power, or even a national level power, behind the organization of such attacks as botnets from all over the world were manipulated in launching this attack.”

“The enormous amount of network requests has caused Internet congestion and has overloaded the server, which has occasionally affected the access to LIHKG. The website data and members’ information have been unaffected.”

In addition, British media quoted people familiar with the matter as saying that Telegram, a U.K. based instant messaging service, recently detected that Hong Kong or the mainland Chinese government may have uploaded a large number of phone numbers to the application, trying to identify the demonstrators using its matching function. Telegram software will automatically match the members of the communication group by phone number. The Chinese government only needs to ask the local telephone company to find out the true identities of the Telegram users. It is unclear whether the Chinese government has successfully identified the demonstrators.

Telegram is working on a fix to allow the users to disable the matching by phone number, so as to protect the privacy of Hong Kong protesters.

Source: Radio Free Asia, August 31, 2019