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HKET: Apple Removed HK Police Tracking App Again

Hong Kong Economic Times (HKET), the leading financial daily in Hong Kong, recently reported that Apple once again unlisted the popular app from its AppStore. The app tracks, in real-time, the police activities around Hong Kong. It’s highly valuable at a time when the police are brutally cracking down on demonstrators in the city who are demanding freedom and democracy. Apple earlier unlisted the app once already, citing legal reasons. However, critics around the globe pointed out the decision was not aligned with Apple’s image of defending the rights of freedom-loving people. Soon after that Apple put the app back into the AppStore, which caused the Mainland Chinese media such as People’s Daily to issue major warnings. The Chinese official newspaper asked Apple, in an open commentary, to think really hard on whether this was good for its business or not. Apple then removed the app for the second time from the AppStore. The explanation was that it was supporting the Hong Kong police. The app has remained unavailable since then.

Source: Hong Kong Economic Times, October 10, 2019

Samsung Closed Its Last Handset Factory in China

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that Samsung announced on October 2 that it stopped its manufacturing work in the factory located in Huizhou, Guangdong Province. It is the last handset factory Samsung has in China. Samsung started to lay off its workers in the Huizhou factory in June and all manufacturing lines were closed by the end of September. The company used to have three factories in China. Samsung closed its Shenzhen (Guangdong Province) factory in April, 2014. The Tianjin factory was closed in December, 2018. This newly closed Huizhou factory was established in 1992 with an initial investment of US$190.7 million. Its monthly smartphone manufacturing capacity was 400,000. Samsung has been shifting its investments from China to Vietnam. In the past ten years, Samsung’s total investment in Vietnam grew from US$630 million to US$17.3 billion, with eight factories. Also, Samsung has its largest handset factory in India, producing 120 million handsets per year. Analysts pointed out that, given the growing cost of labor in China, Samsung has little reason to manufacture there.

Source: Sina, October 2, 2019

Aboluowang: China’s Internet Users Say Invention to Break VPN Technology is “Inhuman”

Many internet users in China use VPN (Virtual private network) to break the fire wall in order to access the websites overseas. Three teachers and students from the Beijing Institute of Technology invented the latest method of making it more difficult for people to use VPN in China. According to an article from Aboluowang, three teacher and students from the Beijing Institute of Technology recently invented a technology which uses online memory to detect and follow VPN identity. In March of 2019, the team filed a patent application. However, Internet users in China widely criticized their actions calling it an “inhuman and immoral invention.” Some online experts who saw the patent application also noticed that it didn’t detail the core technology. They speculated that there was a possibility that the application was submitted to deceive people in order to swindle them out of some research funds. Some Internet users are also optimistic and believe that even if the patent turns out to be useful, there will be a corresponding technology to break it.

Source: Aboluowang, October 6, 2019

China Times: Huawei Will “Optimize” Its Workforce

Major Taiwanese newspaper China Times recently reported that, according to Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, to ensure competitiveness, Huawei must refresh ten percent of its upper management every year. The goal is to replace all the “lazy people” on the management team in three to five years. Also, according to leaked internal news, Huawei is planning to lay off around 6,000 people by the end of September, under the name of workforce optimization. Multiple Huawei employees confirmed that they themselves were asked to leave the company by the end of September. Some internal sources also said that new college graduates hired by Huawei with less than one and a half years of service time would be fired directly. Every day, the company’s internal employees’ forum is full of negative discussions. Huawei declined to make an official comment. Founder Ren Zhengfei suggested that, those who may be laid off can make themselves useful. For example, they can join new product development “death squads” for a final chance.

Source: China Times, September 17, 2019

DW Chinese: Global Times Chief Hu Xijin Complained about the Great Firewall

Deutsche Welle Chinese Edition recently reported that Global Times (Huanqiu) Editor in Chief Hu Xijin just posted a complaint on social media Weibo that it has been really hard to get onto the “foreign Internet.” Hu and the Global Times are strong defenders of the Communist Party’s propaganda policies and Internet access control policies. However, they were often given privileges to get outside the Great Firewall to speak for the Party. Hu has been actively posting pro-Mainland messages on twitter for over a year now. It appears he just lost his access to the outside Internet world. China is currently in preparing for the celebration of the Communist government’s 70th anniversary. Internet access controls have been tightened up. Within two hours, Hu’s complaint on Weibo was quickly deleted. Chinese President Xi Jinping recently pointed out that the Chinese internet needs to be “safe and controllable.” China has also been cracking down on VPN providers recently. Hu Xijin also defended the Great Firewall himself when he had an interview with Hong Kong TVB, saying controlling access to outside networks is necessary.

Source: DW Chinese, September 18, 2019

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