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Kyodo Chinese: Japan Approved TSMC Plant Construction Plan

Major Japanese news agency Kyodo News recently reported in its Chinese edition that the Japanese government announced, based on the relevant laws,  to support the construction of semiconductor factories in Japan. The global semiconductor giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and others have been approved to build factories in Kumamoto Prefecture. The Japanese government will give a subsidy of up to 476 billion yen (about US$3.5 billion). TSMC will join hands with the Sony Group and Denso to manufacture mainly in order to supply Japanese customers. The factory is expected to make its first shipments in December 2024. The monthly production capacity of semiconductors in the 10 to 20 nanometer scale will reach about 55,000 pieces. According to the plan, the factory covers an area of about 213,000 square meters and employs about 1,700 people. The government believes that TSMC has met the conditions of continuous production for at least 10 years and supplies more than half of the materials purchased in Japan. The Minister of Economy and Industry said at a press conference that the government looks forward to enhancing the resilience of the semiconductor supply chain.

Source: Kyodo Chinese, June 17, 2022–4760.html

DW Chinese: Russia Became China’s largest Crude Oil Supplier

Deutsche Welle Chinese Edition recently reported that, in May of this year, China’s crude oil imports from Russia hit a new high, an increase of 55 percent over the same period last year. So far, Russia has replaced Saudi Arabia as China’s largest crude oil supplier. Chinese customs data showed that, despite sanctions from the West, Russia has been able to find Chinese buyers for its crude, but has had to cut prices. Though China’s demand for crude oil has fallen due to Covid, yet companies such as PetroChina and Zhenhua Oil have increased imports of cheap Russian crude. Saudi Arabia is China’s second-largest oil supplier. Its daily supply to China fell to 1.84 million barrels in May from 2.17 million barrels in April. Chinese customs data also showed that China imported 260,000 tons of crude oil from Iran in May of this year, which is the third batch of Iranian crude oil China has imported since December of last year. Despite U.S. sanctions on Iran, China typically imports Iranian oil through third countries, with Iranian crude accounting for 7 percent of China’s total imports. Chinese customs data also showed that China imported 400,000 tons of Russian LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) in May of this year, a 56 percent increase from May of last year. In the first five months of this year, China’s LNG imports from Russia increased by 22 percent year-over-year to 1.84 million tons.

Source: DW Chinese, June 20, 2022

Lianhe Zaobao: Tencent Plans More Layoffs

Singapore’s primary Chinese language newspaper, Lianhe Zaobao, recently reported that, in the second half of this year, Chinese Internet giant Tencent will continue to lay off staff. All business groups will reduce their staff by at least 10 percent and will start laying off more staff from the management levels. In the first half of this year, Tencent “optimized” the personnel of each business group. In the second half of the year, the whole company will continue to lay off employees on the same basis as in the first half of the year. The proportion of layoffs in the different sub-divisions of the Platform and Content Business Group will even reach 40 to 50 percent. A few business groups will face discontinuation. Tencent’s core business groups, including the WeChat Group and the Gaming Group were not touched much in the first half. However, in this upcoming new round, 10 percent or more will also see layoffs. Tencent is currently at a low point in its performance. According to Tencent’s financial report for the first quarter of this year, Tencent’s adjusted net profit fell by 23 percent year-over-year and its net profit has declined for three consecutive quarters.

Source: Lianhe Zaobao, June 23, 2022   already

The CCP’s Confucius Institutes that Infiltrate U.S. College Operations Just Rebranded

During a June 21 press conference, the National Association of Scholars (NAS) announced that the Chinese government-backed Confucius Institute (CI) program that infiltrates U.S. colleges has been rebranded as a purported Chinese language learning center in order to circumvent U.S. policy. The previous CI’s parent organizaton, Hanban under the Chinese Ministry of Education, was also rebranded as the Center for Language Exchange and Cooperation (CLEC).

In the past four years, 104 of the 118 Confucius Institutes at American universities have closed. Yet many of the colleges’ CIs have shifted to become Chinese language learning centers in universities. In reality, however, nothing has changed except the name.

Rachelle Peterson, senior research fellow at NAS, told reporters during a press conference, “We looked at all 118 Confucius Institutes that have ever existed in the United States. At least 28 that closed as CIs were replaced with something similar, usually operated in partnership with CLEC.”

Peterson told reporters that, under the guidance of the CLEC, at least 58 schools maintained a relationship with their Chinese sister universities and at least five schools recruited a new host location for their CI program in order to maintain the relationship.

As an example, the report cites Northern State University in South Dakota, which signed an agreement with the CLEC after closing the CI in 2019. Peterson said The center sends Chinese language teachers and pays their salaries and travel expenses, while Northern State University provides classrooms, teacher housing and health insurance, exactly the same arrangement as for the CI program. “Nothing has changed except the name.”

The CCP has said that Confucius Institutes were established to promote Chinese language and culture. The official website of Hanban published a report on Nov 28, 2012, when Li Changchun, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CCP Central Committee, visited the CI headquarters. Li said that the Confucius Institute is a brand that, “has an affinity in itself” and is a “pure culture.” In an earlier official Xinhua report, Li also indicated that the CI is “an important part of the CCP’s grand foreign propaganda pattern.”

CIs have a lot of requirements for their host Western universities. For example, they require the host university to sign a confidentiality agreement not to disclose the amount of funding, and to follow the Chinese version of the supplied textbook. The CI  basically conducts self-censorship. Increasingly, critics see it as an overseas political propaganda machine for the CCP, and a tool to monitor and interfere with overseas campus speech and activities. For example, in 2009 North Carolina State University canceled a plan to invite the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, to speak at the university because the CI protested this action.

The 2020 U.S, Department of State designation of CI as a “foreign mission” was bolstered by the passage of the Confucius Act in March 2021. The act stipulated that schools which maintain CI programs were ineligible to receive most Department of Education funds.

U.S. Republican Congressman Jim Banks (R-IN) said in a recent report released on the CIs that although most of the CIs in American universities have been closed, the CCP’s United Front Work Department continues to promote influence on U.S. college campuses, and he called on Congress and the Administration to take the China threat seriously.

“The mission of the CCP’s United Front Work Department is to influence foreigners and foreign institutions, especially those in the United States, whose work is visible on college campuses across the United States. CIs and Chinese universities establish partnerships with U.S. universities to receive research funding from (Chinese) government agencies. Rep. Banks said that most of the partnerships are not random, and China’s United Front Work Department has specifically targeted university institutions with strong STEM programs, and in recent years, there have been many espionage operations.”

China has always insisted that CIs and similar cultural exchange programs should not be politicized. The CCP’s media Global Times said in an editorial that CIs and similar institutions are a “platform for a comprehensive and objective understanding of China, and China firmly opposes the politicization of academic and cultural exchange activities.”

1., June 23, 2022.                                                                                                                                                     
2. Daily Caller, June 22, 2022.



China Russia Interactions

While the Western world has imposed tough sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, China and Russia held a series of activities recently.

  1. On June 10, the Heilhe-Bragoveshchensk road bridge officially opened. Hu Chunhua, China’s Vice Premier, attended and addressed the online opening ceremony.
  2. On June 15, Putin called Xi Jinping on Xi’s birthday.
  3. On June 17, Xi Jinping attended, online, and addressed the plenary session of the 25th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia.
  4. Russia and China sent naval ships which separately sailed around the Japanese archipelago.
  5. On June 17, China’s Ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui said that China is ready to provide airplane parts to Russian Airlines. The Western sanctions ban exporting airline parts and leasing or supplying airplanes to Russia.
  6. On June 20, Russia’s St. Petersburg Stock Exchange started trading 12 stocks listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, including Tencent, Alibaba, Meituan, Xiaomi, and Jingdong.

1. China’s Government Website, June 10, 2022
2. China’s Foreign Ministry Website, June 17, 2022
3. Net Ease, June 23, 2022
4. Epoch Times, June 21, 2022
5. Net Ease, June 17, 2022

Pandemic: Chinese Doctors Found Zero Severe Illness Cases for Young People Catching Omicron

On June 18, China CDC Weekly published a research paper by Zhang Wenhong, the leading medical expert from the Shanghai COVID control and prevention group. This research looked at 33,816 omicron infected patients who, between March 22 and May 3, started with light COVID symptoms. A total of 22 patients, all in the high-risk group, had developed a serious illness. That represents 0.065 percent of the total population, or 0.238 percent of the high-risk population. No person, or zero percent, in the low-risk group had a serious illness. The high-risk group is defined as people who were over 60 or had underlying diseases such as a cardiovascular disease (including hypertension), chronic lung disease, diabetes, chronic liver disease, kidney disease, a tumor, or immune deficiency.

With the data showing a low health impact from the Omicron virus, people might question the validity of the government’s “Zero-COVID” and lockdown policy.

Source: Sina, June 19, 2022

Pandemic: WHO Director-General Privately Said COVID Virus Was Leaked from China’s Lab

The British media The Daily Mail reported that Director-general Tedros Adhanom of the World Health Organization (WHO) had recently confided to a senior European politician that the most likely explanation for the origin of the COVID virus was a catastrophic accident at a laboratory in Wuhan, from which the infections first spread during late 2019. Officially, Dr. Tedros said that, “We do not yet have the answers as to where it came from or how it entered the human population.”

Some of the Western intelligence services questioned that the Wuhan Institute of Virology had been doing research with the virus and leaked it.

Source: Daily Mail, June 18, 2022