By A. Freeman
As of March 23, 2020, the number of people around the world who had contracted the coronavirus exceeded 350,000. Continue reading
Global Times recently reported that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recommended ending the authorization granted to China Telecom (Americas). The authorization permits China Telecom to operate in the U.S. for international communications. DOJ’s recommendation to the FCC cited national security and law enforcement risks. The DOJ’s recommendation was based on an investigation that proved China Telecom violated conditions in a 2007 signed agreement, which required transparency on the location where U.S. customer information is stored as well as network security details. The DOJ expressed the concern that, under Chinese laws, China Telecom may spy on U.S. communications traffic and provide sensitive information to the Chinese government. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs commented in a press conference that China is strongly against this recommendation. China asked the U.S. government to stop politicizing normal market-based commercial operations and to provide Chinese companies a fair environment for doing business.
Source: Global Times, April 10, 2020
Global Times recently published a commentary written by Ni Guangnan, one of the founding members of the China Engineering Academy and the former Chief Engineer of the Legend Group. Ni said that the United States seems to be preparing to mount more sanctions on computer chip exports to China. The new plan may cut off chips manufactured by China’s primary overseas chip supplier TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company). Though this plan can significantly damage China’s high-tech industry, yet China does have some counter measures. One example is to ban U.S. 5G chips or products with U.S. 5G chips from the Chinese market. The potential damage on just Apple and Qualcomm alone will be around US$70 billion. China can also set limitations on government procurement of U.S. IT products, which will severely damage the U.S. Wintel ecosystem. Apparently, the U.S. is not just aiming at Huawei, but at the entire Chinese high-tech industry.
Source: Global Times, April 3, 2020
Major Taiwanese news network Liberty Times Network (LTN) recently reported that officials in the U.S. Trump administration have agreed to take new steps to reduce the global chip supply to Huawei significantly. The plan directly points to Huawei’s largest chip supplier TSMC. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is the world’s largest dedicated independent semiconductor foundry, headquartered in Hsinchu, Taiwan. According to the newly proposed rules, the United States will have to certify any foreign companies that use U.S. chip-making technology or equipment before they can sell chips to Huawei. According to anonymous sources, the new effort was designed to stop TSMC from manufacturing chips for Huawei. It is still unclear whether President Trump gave the OK to this plan or not. He may have some hesitation because the implementation of this plan may not only hurt TSMC, but may also impact U.S. companies. Huawei refused to comment on the news and TSMC said it cannot comment on hypothetical questions and won’t discuss matters regarding any specific customer.
Source: LTN, March 27, 2020
Major Taiwanese news group Eastern Media International recently reported that, on March 26, U.S. President Donald Trump signed the Taipei Act into law. Mainland Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a press conference that China urged the United States to correct its mistake and stop the implementation of this wrongful bill. The United States should not set roadblocks for other countries that want to develop a relationship with China. Otherwise, Geng emphasized, the United States will have to face China’s decisive retaliation. Geng said the so-called Taipei Act is yet another example of a serious violation of the One-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US joint communiques, a serious violation of international law and basic norms of international relations, and a gross interference in China’s internal affairs. According to the Taipei Act, the United States will reduce the economic, security and foreign relation ties with the countries that bring severe damage to Taiwan. The Act also supports Taiwan’s observer status in international organizations.
Source: Eastern Media International, March 27, 2020
The ongoing pandemic has taught us a hard-learned lesson. The fact that China is an authoritarian regime that refuses transparent governance and freedom of speech, compounded by the reality that it is deeply ingrained in the global economy, makes the current crisis a worst-case scenario.
If China were more isolated, the outbreak in Wuhan might not have escalated into a once-in-a-century catastrophe. When the SARS epidemic burst out in November 2002, the government did not acknowledge it until five months later. When the disease was finally contained in July 2003, a total of 8,000 cases were confirmed, resulting in 774 reported deaths in 17 countries. That pales in comparison to the Wuhan virus. As of today, there have been over 30,000 reported deaths among 650,000 confirmed cases in more than 170 countries, and the figures continue to climb by leaps and bounds. The high fatality rate of SARS may have been attributed to the slow transmission, but one cannot overlook the fact that China’s interaction with the world was relatively inconsequential back then. Only one year into the WTO, China’s share of the world economy was 4 percent instead of the 16 percent it is today; and its position as the world’s factory hadn’t taken shape.
If Beijing were transparent and allowed freedom of speech, the situation could also have been different. A March study by researchers at the U.K.’s University of Southampton showed that, if an intervention took place just three weeks earlier, 95 percent fewer people would have been infected. Three weeks is exactly the time period between the end of December, when the whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang and his colleagues sent out warnings on social media, and January 23, when a lockdown of Wuhan was ordered. By January 20, the official word was that the disease “doesn’t spread from person to person.” In early January, according to the Chinese media Caixin, the Health Commission of Hubei province ordered medical institutions and professionals to destroy all samples of the Wuhan pneumonia virus and not to share the information with the public. On January 3, the National Health Commission issued a notice stipulating that “biological samples and related information must not be provided to other institutions and individuals without approval.” It is less likely that a democratic government in an open society would cover up such a major epidemic and miss the best time to contain the virus.
Unfortunately, neither of these suppositions is true. The world faces high stakes when an anti-democracy regime that routinely suppresses the free flow of information is also an important component of the global economy.
Based on an unproven idea that trade and economic prosperity promote freedom and democracy, the West has, for decades, provided China money, technology, and market access. Be it an excuse for the corporations to profit from the country’s cheap labor or policymakers’ naivety and wishful thinking, the theory turned out to be wrong. China’s economy has grown, but so has the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) domestic control and its global ambitions. People in China shun and shy away from sensitive political topics on social media. “Spreading rumors” or “groundless criticism of the central authority” is a crime punishable by years in jail. Overseas, the regime has been trumpeting its “Belt and Road Initiative,” an infrastructure investment project and a vehicle to expand its ideological influence. In a word, the West’s trade and investment has built a most formidable authoritarian machine. With a larger economy, greater global influence, and a strong position as the world’s factory, Beijing has little to fear when resisting Western ideas.
China has therefore refused to change. In its handling of infectious diseases 17 years ago, it covered up SARS and arrested Dr. Jiang Yanyong, who exposed the outbreak to the outside world. 17 years later, it covered up the Wuhan virus, silenced Dr. Li Wenliang, and detained activists who leaked uncensored coverage of the disaster. Even worse, China denied the cover-up, fueled anti-American propaganda, expelled the journalists who could report to the rest of the world, and blamed the U.S. for originally spreading the virus, while not providing any evidence.
The West must come to terms with the reality that the Chinese regime has not changed and will never change. If another epidemic happens, it will still cover it up and deny all responsibility for it. Delinking China may be the only option to protect ourselves and mitigate the potential damage to the world. If history has proven that the engagement policy is wrong, why not correct it by reversing course? Why should we make friends with someone who refuses to share our values? Why should we trust someone who has repeatedly lied to the world? Why continue to allow a bad government to hold the world hostage? These are all the million-dollar questions we need to ask ourselves.
It’s time to give up the fantasy and learn the lesson that is being taught to us at such a great cost of human lives. If we cannot change China, we should stay away from it!
On March 12, Zhao Lijian, Spokesman & Deputy Director General of the Information Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, accused the United States of being the origin of the novel coronavirus, tweeting, “It might be the US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent!”
Twitter account @LandofYelang tweeted on March 13, 2020:
“Facts have shown that this is definitely not Zhao Lijian’s personal behavior, but rather an (event) planned by an organization.”
It then showed a tweet response quoting a WeChat posting by the People’s Daily Party Construction Cloud account, with the title of “The United States Owes Us an Explanation.”
The tweet response was to a tweet from Global Times, a media under the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) mouthpiece People’s Daily. The tweet said:
“As the US #COVID19 situation becomes increasingly obscure, the Chinese public shares the suspicion raised by Zhao Lijian @zlj517 that the US might be the source of the virus and that the US is subject to questioning and is obliged to explain to the world. https://globaltimes.cn/content/1182511.shtml…”
The account @LandofYelang again tweeted on March 16, 2020:
“This is a state action. According to incomplete statistics, Chinese ambassadors or embassies in South Africa, the Philippines, Pakistan, Botswana, Jordan, France, Iran, Chad, and Uganda have all forwarded Zhao Lijian’s tweet.”
He also provided screenshots of Chinas’ ambassadors retweeting Zhao’s tweet. These ambassadors include Lin Songtian, Ambassador to South Africa, Zhang Lizhong, Ambassador to Maldives, Zhao Yanbo, Ambassador to Botswana, and Chang Hua, Ambassador to Iran.
Related postings on Chinascope:
— 夷长 (@LandofYelang) March 13, 2020
As the US #COVID19 situation becomes increasingly obscure, the Chinese public shares the suspicion raised by Zhao Lijian @zlj517 that the US might be the source of the virus and that the US is subject questioning and is obliged to explain the world. https://t.co/aYXDh3Xc1H https://t.co/9W9v5ysufh pic.twitter.com/bbeqiy42iu
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) March 13, 2020
— 夷长 (@LandofYelang) March 16, 2020
The BBC published an article in which experts stated that they do not see China’s model to control and prevent coronavirus fit for other countries, because the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) actions violated human rights significantly and also had an economic and social impact.
Freddie Gomez, a famous Filipino medical program host and otolaryngologist, believes that China’s strict measures of forced-quarantine and complete lockdown are hard for other countries to accept. “Official’s sudden visits, neighbor’s monitoring each other, and monopolizing information all obviously violate human rights.”
Lawrence Gostin, global public health specialist at Georgetown University, said, “China has a special political system in which it can force its citizens to follow strict measures. However, this kind of state control and monitoring does not suit other countries.”
Professor Robert Dingwall, public health expert and professor at Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom, pointed out that, though the CCP has the capability and resources to force the lockdown of the city and forcibly quarantine individual confirmed patients, that will jeopardize the legitimacy of its rule. Also, locking down streets will have a direct impact on society. Hong Kong citizens stuck in Wuhan told the media in mid-February that the city did not have a sufficient supply of medicine and of food.
Related postings on Chinascope:
On March 12, Zhao Lijian, Spokesman & Deputy Director General of the Information Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, accused the United States of being the origin of the novel coronavirus, stating, “It might be the US army that brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent!”
On March 16, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of the United States called Yang Jiechi, Director of the Office of Foreign Affairs of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). He asked that the CCP put a halt to spreading disinformation through its propaganda outlets claiming that the U.S. Army first spread the novel coronavirus in China.
According to a statement that the State Department issued, Secretary Pompeo “conveyed strong U.S. objections to the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC’s) efforts to shift blame for COVID-19 to the United States.” “The secretary stressed that this is not the time to spread disinformation and outlandish rumors, but rather a time for all nations to come together to fight this common threat.”
Reuters reported that, according to China’s state-run television, Yang told Mr. Pompeo that any attempt to smear China for its efforts to counter the coronavirus “would not succeed.” The Chinese senior diplomat also threatened unspecified retaliation about what he said were U.S. politicians’ efforts to denigrate China’s efforts to fight the virus.
Related postings on Chinascope:
Source: Washington Times, March 16, 2020
Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that the U.S. Dollar Index has frequently reached highs when the financial market saw free falls across the globe. Key non-U.S. currencies suffered most, including the Euro, the British Pound, the Canadian Dollar, and the Australian Dollar. The Japanese Yen followed the U.S. Dollar’s growth, but with heavy fluctuations. With this background, central banks like the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England have been lowering interest rates and pushing new easing plans. However, these activities have not made much of a difference. The U.S. Dollar remained outstanding among all of this bad news and appears to be able to hold its position to serve as a safe harbor for money looking for a place to park. The coronavirus situation continues to spread fear in financial markets globally. That, coupled with the Saudi-Russia oil price war, means that the future remains uncertain for the time being. Major economies are expected to have a new round of announcements regarding their poor economic data.
Source: Sina, March 14, 2020