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US-China Relations - 2. page

China’s Wanda Gave up Control over AMC

Well-known Chinese news site Sina (NASDAQ: SINA) recently reported that AMC, the largest movie theater chain in the United States, just revealed that China’s Wanda Group has given up its control of the company after AMC’s record loss of US$4.6 billion in 2020. The Wanda Group acquired AMC in 2012 with US$3.1 billion. Now Wanda’s holds only 9.8 percent AMC’s shares with voting power. However, Wanda still keeps two seats on the AMC board and remains the largest shareholder. Currently AMC has no controlling shareholder. Last year due to the deep impact of Covid-19, AMC attendance dropped by 90 percent. Since last December, AMC has raised more than $1 billion to sustain its operations. With the AMC acquisition, Wanda once planned to grab 20 percent of the global movie theater market. Later it also acquired Odeon & UCI, Nordic and Carmike. However, the situation has gone downhill since 2017. Citing high operating costs. Wanda has been losing money across all of its businesses and started selling off all its assets outside of China.

Source: Sina, March 16, 2021
https://finance.sina.com.cn/roll/2021-03-16/doc-ikkntiam2977248.shtml

Xinhua: The U.S. Considers Rebuilding First Fleet

Xinhua recently reported, based on various U.S. media sources, that the United States Navy is considering rebuilding the Naval First Fleet, in order to counter China’s growing maritime power. General Philip Davidson, commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, said that General Aquilino, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, is studying the pros and cons of rebuilding the U.S. First Fleet. In November last year, Kenneth Braithwaite, then U.S. Secretary of the Navy, stated at a Senate hearing that he would rebuild the First Fleet and deploy it to the Indo-Pacific region. Currently the Seventh Fleet, headquartered in Japan, is largest frontline fleet of the U.S. and is the only one stationed in the Asia-Pacific region. The First Fleet was founded in 1947 and discontinued in 1973. American military experts expressed the belief that, if the First Fleet is rebuilt, Singapore or Australia would both be good choices for its home base. The Spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Defense commented that the U.S. is once again playing the old game of establishing a fake enemy in order to get more funding. China firmly opposes this Cold War mentality. He also called for US-China military cooperation and proper management of differences.

Source: Xinhua, March 16, 2021
http://www.xinhuanet.com/mil/2021-03/16/c_1211069110.htm

Xinhua: China Has a Red Line that Cannot Be Touched

On March 20, 2021, Xinhua reported an article from Anchorage, Alaska with the title, “China Has a Red Line that Cannot Be Touched.” The red line is the ruling position of the Communist Party of China.

 

Xinhua reported that from March 18 to 19, China and the United States held a high-level strategic dialogue in Anchorage, Alaska. “The two sides conducted candid, in-depth, long-term and constructive communications on their respective domestic and foreign policies, Sino-US relations and major international and regional issues of common concern.”

 

“The Chinese side emphasized that the ruling position of the Communist Party of China is the choice of history and the choice of the people. China’s development is inseparable from the leadership of the Communist Party of China. This represents the high degree of consensus of the Chinese people and reflects the common understanding of the international community. The socialist system with Chinese characteristics is the system most in line with China’s national conditions and the “code” for China’s development. It has been proven that socialism with Chinese characteristics is a correct path, and we will continue to walk along this broad road.”


“The ruling position of the Communist Party of China and the security of the system must not be compromised. It is an untouchable red line. The leadership role of the Communist Party of China and the core position of the Party’s leader are based on past arduous practice, and have received the heartfelt support of 1.4 billion Chinese people. This collective will is as firm as a rock and will not waver.”


Source: Xinhua, March 20, 2021

http://www.xinhuanet.com/world/2021-03/20/c_1127235796.htm

Peoples’ Daily Strikes Back at State Department’ Sanctions of Chinese Officials over Hong Kong

On March 18, People’s Daily, the mouthpiece newspaper of Chinese Communist Party, published an editorial titled, “Advice to the U.S. to put away the tricks of political intimidation.” The editorial was a counterattack against the State Department’s sanctions of 24 Chinese and Hong Kong officials one week after China’s ceremonial legislature approved a plan to reduce the number of Hong Kong lawmakers elected by the territory’s voters.

The article starts, “On March 17, the U.S. State Department issued a so-called statement denigrating the adoption of the relevant decision by China’s National People’s Congress to improve the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and threatening to impose financial sanctions on Chinese personnel. The U.S.’s bullying and interventionist behavior on issues related to Hong Kong is a serious violation of international law and basic norms of international relations. It represents a serious interference in China’s internal affairs and a full exposure of its sinister intentions to disrupt Hong Kong and obstruct China’s stability and development, which is disgraceful.”

The article continues, “The U.S. side is trying to resort to political intimidation by wielding the baton of sanctions, but this nasty behavior cannot stop the general trend of Hong Kong to move from chaos to order. In recent years, under the guise of “human rights,” “democracy,” and “freedom,” the U.S. side has been wielding the baton of sanctions and sparing no effort to back up anti-China and anti-Hong Kong forces. It is a vain attempt to create chaos in Hong Kong and undermine its prosperity and stability, but the facts prove that the so-called declaration of sanctions is just a piece of scrap paper. Since China enacted and implemented the Hong Kong national security law, the law and order in Hong Kong have been maintained, the human rights of Hong Kong residents have been effectively protected, the international community has become more optimistic about the prospects of Hong Kong’s prosperous and stable development, and the confidence of foreign investors in Hong Kong has increased.”

“Hong Kong is China’s Hong Kong, and how the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is designed and improved is purely China’s internal affair and no country has the right to say anything or interfere with it. Over the past few days, nearly 100 countries have reiterated their support for China’s implementation of ‘one country, two systems’ in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region at the UN Human Rights Council, stressing that non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states is an important principle of the UN Charter and a basic norm of international relations, and that one should effectively respect China’s sovereignty and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, including those of Hong Kong. This shows that the Chinese government’s position on Hong Kong-related issues is widely understood and supported by the international community.”

The article ends, “China’s determination to implement the ‘one country, two systems’ policy fully and accurately is unwavering, as is its opposition to any outside interference in Hong Kong’s affairs and China’s internal affairs. Any interference or slander will not shake China’s strong will to safeguard the national sovereignty, security, interest, prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, nor will it stop the firm pace of Hong Kong’s transition from chaos to order and China’s development and growth. In one sentence, the U.S. should put away its tricks of political intimidation as soon as possible.”

Source: People’s Daily, March 18, 2021
http://paper.people.com.cn/rmrb/html/2021-03/18/nw.D110000renmrb_20210318_2-03.htm

Ex-Official Calls for Attention to Chinese Encroachment on U.S. Territories

Guam and Saipan, the largest islands in the Northern Mariana Islands, are both well-known destinations for Chinese tourists. However, in recent years, China’s malicious acts have affected both U.S. territories.

Guam, only about 1,500 miles from Japan, is home to roughly 7,000 U.S. military personnel, including a U.S. Navy attack submarine squadron, a ship repair facility, and a major U.S. Air Force base. More than once, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has rehearsed attacks on Guam. This is why the Commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command, Adm. Phil Davidson, has recently urged very strongly that the Senate approve the installation of the latest generation of the Aegis Ashore land-based anti-missile defense system in Guam to counter the Chinese missile threat.

Alexander B. Gray is a Senior Fellow in National Security Affairs at the American Foreign Policy Council. From 2018 to 2021, he served on the staff of the National Security Council, including as Director for Oceania & Indo-Pacific Security. He said, “I think with what the Chinese know about Guam, if they could, they would use the same thing they did with the Northern Mariana Islands on Guam which is to undermine the United States from within the U.S. overseas territories. If they could, that would include politically corrupt activities, malicious economic practices, and propaganda infiltration. So I would say that Guam itself is not only a military target. The U.S. must also think about how to protect the territory from infiltration by spies.”

The U.S. territories in the Pacific include Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and American Samoa. In the Caribbean are Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). Additionally, the U.S. administers nine possessions in the Pacific and one disputed possession in the Caribbean (Navassa Island).

Gray cited the infamous scandal that broke on Saipan in 2018. That involved the Chinese-owned company Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd. committing alleged bribery and hiring illegal Chinese laborers to build a casino.

Bloomberg reported in 2018 that Saipan has become the most China-like U.S. territory. The island has become a mecca for Chinese money laundering due to the relaxation of restrictions on gaming investments due to fiscal issues. 2017 saw a Chinese illegal worker killed, protests over unpaid wages, and the FBI’s investigation.

“The CNMI, for instance, has been inundated by the “birth tourism” phenomenon emanating from China and encouraged by a parole visa program initiated under the Obama administration. Birth tourism has overwhelmed the CNMI’s medical capacity, and, in recent years, foreign births have exceeded native ones there. At the same, four of China’s largest construction firms and a major casino operator were found by U.S. authorities to be persistently paying local workers below the minimum wage.”

Gray published an article at Real Clear Defense, pointing out that “the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of all U.S. territories and possessions totals over 1.3 million square miles, with the U.S. possessions in the Pacific totaling over 750,000 square miles by themselves.” “China’s global approach to strategic competition has shown no signs of respecting U.S. territories or possessions, however. Indeed, given the relative neglect U.S. territories receive at the highest levels in official Washington, these small islands are even more vulnerable to Beijing’s predations.”

Gray suggested enlargement or establishing of a permanent base for the U.S. Coast Guard in Guam and American Samoa. “The U.S. Coast Guard is the entity most capable of enforcing U.S. sovereignty and safeguarding vital interests across the territories and possessions. Whether it is enforcing EEZs in the Minor Outlying Islands, preventing illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing across the Pacific, or countering narcotics and human trafficking in the Caribbean, the Coast Guard is an essential tool in blunting Beijing’s assault on U.S. territories.”

“The NSC (National Security Council) could create a Director-level position responsible for integrating U.S. territories and possessions into the broader national security discussion across regional and functional areas. Having an official inside the White House complex directly accountable for the integrity of U.S. territories would generate needed energy across the U.S. government.”

Roughly 3.5 million Americans live in the five U.S. Territories as citizens or nationals. U.S. Census data indicates that the population of Puerto Rico alone (estimated at 3.2 million as of 2019) is larger than that of 20 states.

Source: Radio Free Asia, March 11, 2021
https://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/junshiwaijiao/rc-03112021093613.html
Real Clear Defense, March 11,
https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2021/03/11/us_territories_the_frontlines_of_global_competition_with_china_767683.html

China Speeding up Legal Activities to Cut off Foreign “Long Arms”

Well-known Chinese news site Sina (NASDQ: SINA) recently reported that the Chinese Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress plans to speed up the process of creating new laws that focus on anti-sanctions, anti-interference, and anti-long-arm-jurisdiction. This was in response to the call Xi Jinping made in November 2020, asking law makers to “push forward” on the front of the “foreign-related rule of law.” With the background of the U.S. rallying allies together against communist China, international political analysts expressed the belief that part of China’s strategy is to “use the rule of law to oppose the rule of law.” China expects its new “legal weaponry” will “deter” the West. One of the biggest legal problems China faces today is the application of the U.S. domestic law in China, such as in the case of Huawei. It appears that the new “legal battlefield” is now open for business in the U.S.-China strategic competition.

Source: Sina, March 10, 2021
https://finance.sina.com.cn/jjxw/2021-03-10/doc-ikknscsi0440686.shtml

RFI Chinese: LinkedIn Announced Pause in Adding New Chinese Members

Radio France Internationale (RFI) Chinese Edition recently reported that Microsoft-owned professional social network LinkedIn announced on March 9 that it will pause in accepting new Chinese members into the network. The announcement also said the decision had nothing to do with the recent major state-sponsored attack on Microsoft’s email products from Chinese hackers. LinkedIn explained that the company is reviewing legal compliance requirements for its Chinese version of services. However, no details on the legal front have been provided. LinkedIn is one of the very few international social networking platforms that survived the Chinese market, while China’s Great Firewall bans networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram in the name of national security. Microsoft’s Bing search engine is also banned in China. LinkedIn started its Chinese version in 2014, before Microsoft acquired it. LinkedIn decided to obey the Chinese censorship at the time in exchange for expanding its business in China. Currently LinkedIn has around 50 million Chinese users (Editor’s note: LinkedIn global user population is estimated to be 760 million). LinkedIn has received wide criticism for its deletion of accounts of Chinese political dissidents and its removal of politically sensitive content.

Source: RFI Chinese, March 10, 2021
https://bit.ly/3rN49sN

FCC Names Five Chinese Telecom Companies as Threat to National Security

On Friday March 12, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a list of five Chinese manufacturers of telecom equipment and services that pose a threat to national security. The list is consistent with requirements in the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019. The list includes Huawei Technologies Co., ZTE Corp., Hytera Communications Corp., Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co., and Dahua Technology Co.

“This list is a big step toward restoring trust in our communications networks,” said Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel. “Americans are relying on our networks more than ever to work, go to school, or access healthcare, and we need to trust that these communications are safe and secure. This list provides meaningful guidance that will ensure that, as the next-generation networks are built across the country, they do not repeat the mistakes of the past or use equipment or services that will pose a threat to U.S. national security or the security and safety of Americans.”

The Secure Networks Act requires the Commission to publish and maintain a list of communications equipment and services that pose an unacceptable risk to national security or the security and safety of U.S. persons.

Source: FCC, March 12, 2021
https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-releases-list-equipment-services-pose-security-threat