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Pharmaceutical Companies Gaze on China’s Medical Data

In order to take advantage of China’s medical data, global pharmaceutical giants are pursuing cooperation with local Chinese companies. The Japanese pharmaceutical company Shionogi has established a joint venture with China’s Ping An Insurance, including a research base in Shanghai.

Ping An Insurance has a focus on life insurance and a related financial business that utilizes the latest technology, and is involved in online diagnosis and treatment. Shionogi hopes to use artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze the big data obtained through cooperation to facilitate drug research.

China is burdened with a rapidly aging population, leading to an excessive waiting time in hospitals and high medical expenses. Pharmaceutical giants hope to gain a foothold by working with local companies that have an established customer base.

Eisai, another Japanese pharmaceutical giant, also announced in October last year that it had established a joint venture with, a top Chinese e-commerce company. In 2021, it plans to launch online diagnosis and treatment for patients with dementia. German pharmaceutical giant Merck has also decided to cooperate with Alibaba Health Information Technology (AliHealth), a subsidiary of the Alibaba Group, in the field of artificial intelligence.

Source: Kyodo News, January 22, 2021

Global Times: U.S. Accused China of Having Missile Tests Despite the Pandemic

Global Times recently reported that the U.S. President’s Special Envoy for Arms Control Affairs accused China of conducting numerous missile tests in year 2020 and that there were over 250 missiles, despite the widespread Covid-19 pandemic. The total missiles used in testing exceeded China’s records in 2018 and 2019. The U.S. and its allies won’t turn a blind eye to it. Global Times requested comments from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ministry’s spokeswomen, Hua Chunying, responded that China firmly opposes the baseless accusations that frequently come from the United States. China is only conducting activities that sustain China’s minimum national security needs for the sole purpose of self-defense. The United States is in fact the country that has actually been conducting unrestrained military developments, which have posed a threat to regional and global peace.

Source: Global Times, January 19, 2021

LTN: Beijing Attempting to Open New Dialog with the U.S.

Major Taiwanese news network Liberty Times Network (LTN) recently reported that, according to some anonymous insiders, Beijing is working hard to re-establish dialogs with high level U.S. officials in order to improve the relationship between the two countries. Another goal of this initial attempt was to explore the possibility of having a summit between Xi and Biden. However, the Chinese Embassy in the United States officially denied this attempt. The anonymous sources also revealed that the Biden Whitehouse is not in a hurry to meet with high-ranking Chinese officials since Biden’s National Security team has not been fully established. Some key cabinet members that China is interested in talking to, such as Secretary of State and Treasury’s Secretary are not yet confirmed. Sources said China intended to send Yang Jiechi, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party Central Committee, to visit the U.S. first, and his focus will not be on trade. Instead, it will be climate changes and the pandemic. China plans to work jointly with the U.S. to standardize Covid-19 vaccine certificates, under the umbrella of the WHO (World Health Organization). However, China has been very careful, though Beijing was eager to repair the near frozen relationship under President Trump.

Source: LTN, January 24, 2021

Phoenix News: China May Launch Third Aircraft Carrier This Year

Phoenix New Media (NYSE: FENG), a pro-mainland news company headquartered in Hong Kong, recently reported that China’s third aircraft carrier (serial number “003”) may launch this year and the expected Navy deployment will be around 2025. Based on the photos that the Chinese magazine Military Industrial Technology released, the new carrier seems to be bigger and is equipped with an electromagnetic catapult, which opens the door for carrying tankers, anti-submarine aircraft, transport aircraft, and AEW (Air Early Warning). The 003 uses a modular architecture and took a shorter time than 002 to assemble. After the launch, it typically takes two years for equipment installation (including radar, various sensors and the catapult), static tests and sea tests. Some said the 003 aircraft carrier measures up to the U.S. Kitty Hawk class, with the displacement exceeding 80,000 tons. However, the Chinese Navy did not reveal any official details on the specifications.

Source: Phoenix News, January 18, 2021

China Constructed a Village on a Disputed China-India Border

According to an exclusive news report that NDTV India published, China built a new residential village in Arunachal Pradesh (known as southern Tibet) on the eastern part of the disputed border between India and China. It has caused the tension between India and China to escalate again. A satellite photo from NDTV showed there were no villages in the Arunachal Pradesh area in August 2019 but as of November 2020, there were 100 residential buildings.  Before the end of the year, the Indian Army decided to withdraw from its station in the northeast which was dealing with counter-insurgency and will redeploy 10,000 soldiers to respond to Chinese threats.

An official document from 2017 advised that, to ensure political stability in Tibet, Beijing authorized the construction of 624 residential buildings in the disputed area along the China and Indian border as part of the Tibetan poverty alleviation plan.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying reiterated at a regular press conference on January 21 that China does not find anything illegal as “China’s normal construction on its own territory is entirely a matter of its sovereignty.”

Source: Liberty Times News, January 25, 2021

Beijing to Give PLA Officers 40 Percent Pay Raises in 2021

The Hong Kong “South China Morning Post” quoted sources as saying that Beijing is expected to raise the salaries of its PLA officers by 40 percent this year. Among them, young officers stationed in Tibet, Xinjiang, the East China Sea, the South China Sea and other border troops will benefit the most. This is part of the military modernization reform that Xi Jinping has promoted. The purpose of this move is to attract and retain talented soldiers and to give the young soldiers confidence in the ongoing reforms.

A veteran PLA officer confirmed that veterans will also receive higher pensions based on the length of service. However, he said that both active and veteran military officers are worried about the strong influence the Central Military Commission has and the lack of transparency in the system. He also said, “The Central Military Commission issued over 10 new policies but those are only available to officers of a certain rank and can’t be disclosed to the general public.”

Source: Central News Agency, January 23, 2021

Xi Jinping Calls Party Cadres to “Exercise Political Judgment”

In the past one month, Xi Jinping called for “political judgment, political insight, and political execution” three times on different occasions.

On January 22, Xi Jinping stated at the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Commission for Discipline Inspection that strict governance of the party must first be done from a political point of view. “Continuously improve political judgment, political understanding, and political execution.”

The first time that Xi brought up those words was at the Politburo Democratic Meeting held from December 24 to 25, 2020. Xi Jinping asked the Politburo members to “be good at grasping the overall political situation and continuously improve political judgment, political understanding, and political execution.”

The second time was at the provincial and ministerial-level major leading cadres’ seminar on January 11, 2021. Xi Jinping asked leading cadres at all levels, especially senior cadres, to “improve political judgment, political understanding, and political execution continuously and execute the decisions that come from the CCP’s top leaders.”

It could suggest that the CCP is unsure of the COVID 19 development at home or U.S.-China relationship under Biden’s administration. Therefore, senior cadres are required to improve their political judgment and be capable of understanding the directions from the top. Another China scholar also told the Epoch Times that China is facing unprecedented threats in 2021. There is rampant corruption and power infighting between the political and economic forces. They are impossible to resolve and imposed political pressure would only make it worse.

Source: Epoch Times, January 23, 2021