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Defense/Military

China Adopts Anti-espionage Regulation Targeting “Hostile Forces”

On April 26, 2021, China’s Ministry of State Security released a new anti-espionage regulation, which was to be effective immediately. The regulation allows the national security authority to draw up lists of companies and organizations susceptible to foreign infiltration, treating a broad range of entities, including potentially universities and private businesses, as if they are sensitive government agencies.

The regulation specifies that agencies, social groups, enterprises, public institutions, and other social organizations are primarily responsible for the unit’s anti-espionage security work.

On April 26, 2021, officials from the Ministry of State Security explained to the press, “Overseas espionage and intelligence agencies and hostile forces have intensified their infiltration into China, with more diverse methods and in broader fields, which pose a serious threat to China’s national security and interests.”

At the same time, “the core and vital areas still have issues such as which organizations bear the primary responsibilities for anti-espionage security and prevention measures that are not institutionalized.”  Officials from the Ministry of State security said that the regulation clarifies “what, who and how” to guard against foreign espionage.

According to the regulation, the Ministry of State Security will provide companies and organizations susceptible to foreign infiltration with work manuals, guides, and other publicity and education materials. The authorities will also issue written guidance, organize trainings, hold work meetings, and supervise anti-espionage work using different methods such as reminders and advice.

Under the regulation, the companies, organizations, or social groups have the responsibility of rolling out detailed measures against foreign espionage. The measures identified in the regulation include arranging their working staff to sign letters of commitment before taking up posts, reporting their activities related to national security, briefing personnel ahead of their trips overseas, and interviewing them after their return to China.

Sources:
1. People’s Daily, April 26, 2021
http://legal.people.com.cn/n1/2021/0426/c205462-32088423.html

2. Xinhua, April 26, 2021
http://www.xinhuanet.com/2021-04/26/c_1127376250.htm

Chinese Military Suspected of Being behind Cyberattacks against Japanese Companies

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and many defense-affiliated companies have been subjected to large-scale cyberattacks. Japanese police believe that hacker groups may have carried out these attacks at the behest of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

JAXA suffered a cyberattack in 2016. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department found that the attack used a server rented in Japan, and that a Chinese man in his 30s was in Japan at the time and had rented the server five times under a false name. The man, a Chinese Communist Party member, is a systems engineer. It was reported that the ID information needed to log in to the server was passed to a Chinese hacker group called “Tick.”

Police found that another Chinese man also rented a server in Japan under a false name at the behest of the People’s Liberation Army’s “Unit 61419,” a group that specializes in cyberattacks.

The police believe that the hacker group “Tick” carried out the “cyberattacks at the behest of the PLA. The 2016 attack targeted about 200 research institutions and companies, including powerful defense-related companies, in addition to the one against JAXA.

Source: NHK, April 19, 2021
https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/zh/news/295247/

BBC Chinese: Record Number of Chinese Military Aircraft Entered Taiwan Air Defense Area

BBC Chinese Edition recently reported that, according to the Taiwanese authorities, on April 12, the number of Chinese military aircraft entering the Taiwanese air defense identification area reached a single-day record of 25 aircraft, including fighter jets and bombers with the capability of carrying nuclear bombs. This happened when the United States warned that China has become more and more aggressive. The Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense also confirmed that the Taiwanese Air Force did send fighter jets to warn the Chinese aircraft and started missile defense system tracking and monitoring of the Chinese activities. Some analysts expressed the belief that this could be a response to the increased U.S. Navy’s activities in the region. It could also be utilized to prepare the public opinion, especially inside Mainland China, for potential military actions against Taiwan. China never made the promise that it would not invade Taiwan militarily.

Source: BBC Chinese, April 13, 2021
https://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/simp/chinese-news-56734011

China to Strengthen Military Training for High School Students

China’s Ministry of Education and the office of National Defense Mobilization under the Central Military Commission of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) released a “Syllabus for the Military Training of High School Students.” It will be implemented on August 1, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CCP. The syllabus specifies that the military training curriculum for Chinese high school students should not be less than 56 class hours or 7 days in total.

According to the official website of the Ministry of Education, the preamble of the syllabus, which was released nationwide on March 26 and only announced on April 13, emphasizes that the syllabus was developed in order to implement fully “the Party’s education policy,” implement “the fundamental requirements of the goal of strengthening the military,” comprehensively regulate the organization and implementation of military training for high school students, and “strengthen the building of national defense reserve forces.”

The syllabus emphasizes that the organization of student military training is a “mandatory educational activity” in high schools, and is an important measure that will implement comprehensively the “Party’s education policy,” the “strategic military policy for the new era and the overall national security concept.” It will also strengthen national defense education, the building of the national defense reserve force and the quality of education for young students.

The syllabus specifies that the military training for Chinese high school students consists of two parts: “basic military knowledge” and “basic military skills.” The teaching time ranges from 7 to 14 days, with a total of no less than 7 days and 56 class hours (one “class hour” means one class period including the class break).

Among them, “basic military knowledge” includes 24 class hours, of which 12 hours are compulsory training and 12 are of optional training. “Basic military skills” has 88 class hours, including 44 hours of compulsory training and 44 of optional training.

This syllabus strictly orders that all types of high schools should not reduce the content of military training and the required hours. Schools are also encouraged to offer courses on military knowledge and skills training to broaden the content of military training.

Source: Central News Agency, April 13, 2021
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/acn/202104130343.aspx

Financial Times Suggests Xi Jinping Ready to Attack Taiwan

The British Financial Times mentioned the assessment of the Biden administration about Xi Jinping’s possible move on Taiwan. A senior U.S. official revealed that China’s recent actions reflect Xi Jinping’s “big hand shaping his own historical image and positioning.” Taiwan officials warned that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) might attack Taiwan in 2022, when Xi Jinping is re-elected as president or 2027, when the People’s Liberation Army was founded 100 years ago.

The official told Financial Times, “China appears to be moving from a period of being content with the status quo over Taiwan to a period in which they are more impatient and more prepared to test the limits and flirt with the idea of unification.” “As we prepare for a period in which Xi Jinping will likely be entering his third term, there’s concern that he sees capstone progress on Taiwan as important to his legitimacy and legacy,” the official added. “It seems that he is prepared to take more risks.”

Last Friday (March 26) Taiwan and the United States signed the “Memorandum of Cooperation in Maritime Patrol.” On that day, the CCP sent 20 PLA aircraft to disrupt Taiwan.

When reporting to the US Senate and Congressmen, John Aquilino, who is about to take over as the U.S. Indo-Pacific Commander, pointed out that the CCP’s attack on Taiwan is more urgent than many people understand. Aquilino emphasized that China’s actions in the Sino-Indian border conflict are aggressive, and all signs show that China is becoming more and more unscrupulous. Aquilino told the Senate Armed Services Committee, “What we have seen is what we did not expect.” He also called on Washington to “be prepared.”

The US Indo-Pacific Affairs Officer (Kurt Campbell) believes that China’s actions in different areas are provocative, with Taiwan being the toughest. China’s actions in the South China Sea, economic pressure on Australia, the launch of “wolf war diplomacy” with Europe, and the outbreak of border conflicts with India, are all signs that show that China is “showing its strength” to the world.

Taiwan’s national security officials warned that Xi Jinping might launch an offensive against Taiwan at two times. One is in 2022, during the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China through which he will enter his third term; the other is the centenary of the People’s Liberation Army in 2027.

Source: Radio Free Asia, March 28, 2021
https://www.rfa.org/cantonese/news/attack-03282021090731.html

Indian Air Force Will Soon Have 14 Dassault Rafales Fighter Jets

Well-known Chinese news site Sina (NASDAQ: SINA) recently reported that by mid-April, the Indian Air Force will receive several shipments more of Dassault Rafales fighter jets from France . India will own at least 14 Dassault Rafales. The full contract calls for 36 in total with expected delivery to be fulfilled by the year 2023. Currently a group of Indian pilots has arrived at Merignac Air Force Base in Bordeaux, France. They plan to fly the new fighter jets directly back to India, with air refueling. The Indian government has high expectations for these Dassault Rafales jets. It even has the hope that they can actually face the Chinese J-20 fighter jets. Some Indian media even reported that “China is very much worried about India’s Dassault Rafales.” However, the J-20 is a fifth-generation stealth heavy fighter which can carry a large number of weapons as well as more powerful radar. It is the equivalent of the U.S. F-22.  The French Dassault Rafales is in the category of light fighters, and is considered to be the four-and-half generation, so, these two models are not even comparable. The Indian Dassault Rafales jets are expected to be deployed to the Ambala Air Force Station and Hasimara Air Force Station.

Source: Sina, March 27, 2021
https://mil.news.sina.com.cn/china/2021-03-27/doc-ikknscsk2265664.shtml

British General Warns of the Advantage Russia and China Have in Cyberspace

On March 13, Patrick Sanders, the head of the Strategic Command of the British Armed Forces, wrote an article for the Times. In the article he stated, “We are ceding the strategic initiative to our rivals. For all we herald the return of great power competition, the truth is it has never ended. While we drained our strength in interventions like Iraq, others have used the time and space to further their interests more strategically.” Sanders wrote for the Times, “China has pursued a strategy of winning without fighting, changing the terms of the international order; Russia has combined military and non-military means to alter the map, attempting to change the balance of power and undermine the cohesion of our societies through disinformation. Both are gaining a decisive advantage in information age military technologies.”

The senior military officer further stated, “The consequence has been a succession of strategic surprises, the erosion of strategic advantage and the loss of initiative. Unchecked it is not unthinkable that we will find ourselves vulnerable in time to a fait accompli, where as a nation we have capitulated without a shot being fired.”

Sanders listed a three-pronged integrated strategic response, including Defense Intelligence, Information Age warfare by deploying artificial intelligence systems, and growing grey zone capabilities to secure networks and data and regain the edge in electronic warfare.

Source: The Times, March 13, 2021
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/china-and-russia-have-seized-the-initiative-in-battle-for-cyberspace-fq87vg8dn

China to Increase Military Budget by 6.8 Percent in 2021

On March 7, at the 4th Session of the 13th National People’s Congress, Wu Qian, spokesperson for the PLA and the Armed Police Force delegation said that China’s defense expenditure would be 1,379.544 billion yuan (US$212.4 billion) in 2021, an increase of 6.8 percent over the previous year.

In explaining the reason for the steep increase in the military budget, Wu said, ”A strong country must have a strong army, and a strong army can ensure national security. National defense is as important as sunlight and air. At present, the instability and uncertainty of international security have become more prominent. The Covid-19 epidemic is raging around the world. Hegemonism, power politics, and unilateralism are on the rise from time to time. Regional conflicts and local wars exist continuously. The international security system and order are under attack. The risks and challenges in homeland security that China is facing cannot be ignored. Land border disputes have not yet been completely resolved; island territorial issues and maritime delimitation disputes still exist; the DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) authorities stubbornly adhere to the separatist stand of “Taiwan independence,” which is the biggest real threat to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. In view of the current complex situation, it can be said that the world is not peaceful, and national defense must be strong.”

Source: website of Chinese Defense Ministry, March 8, 2021
http://www.mod.gov.cn/topnews/2021-03/08/content_4880597.htm