On October 25, at the 2nd Bund Finance Summit in Shanghai, Mu Changchun, director of the Digital Currency Research Institute of the Bank of China, disclosed that counterfeit digital currency has appeared in pilot cities such as Shen Zhen, Suzhou, Xiong’an New Area, and Chengdu. The central bank is facing issues with the prevention of people counterfeiting digital currency. The general public was shocked about the news. People commented that they believe that paper money is much safer than digital currency because digital currency is easier to counterfeit than paper money and the cost of counterfeiting is lower. The Central Bank rushed to introduce digital currency even though the technology is still pre-mature.
The Bank of China has been studying digital currency since 2014. They kept a low profile from the outside world for a number of years. However, as more information has been made public recently, it has triggered high expectations on the launch of digital currency. Even though the officials have repeatedly emphasized the advantages of digital currency over traditional paper money, they have obviously ignored the problems that would come with the digital currency.
Source: Radio Free Asia, October 28, 2020
The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) cyber censorship authorities have further tightened their grip on the media in order to create a stable and peaceful political and public opinion atmosphere for the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the CCP held in Beijing between October 26 and 29.
On October 22, China Digital Times, a California-based bilingual news website covering China, published the instructions that Beijing had issued for the Fifth Plenary Session.
This notice issued to the media detailed the requirements for propaganda control. It covered five concerns: “political rumors,” “national leaders,” “ideology,” “stability maintenance,” and “others.” The topics under close scrutiny included “harmful political rumors and information involving slander and attacks from abroad,” “exploitation of high-level infighting and power struggles, the next generation leadership, information on the successor (to Xi Jinping),” “harmful information that attacks, ridicules, and spreads rumors about leaders and important speeches,” “harmful information about leadership personnel changes, such as factional infighting, and the inner circle of Xi Jinping,” “publishing information on Hong Kong independence, Taiwan independence and the speeches of people supporting Hong Kong and Taiwan independence,” “harmful information that attacks our country’s political system, social system, the Party and the state,” and “Complaints about the Fifth Plenary Session.”
The notice also prohibits Internet platforms from highlighting reports involving vicious criminal cases, massive social unrest, campus incidents, as well as unauthorized use of overseas news.
Source: Voice of America, October 27, 2020
Several videos posted on Twitter show that the retail stores on the street or in shopping malls in large cities like Shanghai, Guangdong, and Shenzhen are closed. At the same time, the once officially banned street vendors have begun to re-appear in the larger cities like Beijing, an indication that the Chinese economy is heading towards depression.
The videos were posted on different twitter accounts. They show that many retail stores on Nanjing Road in Shanghai and Luohu Commercial City in Shenzhen are closed due to an increase in e-commerce shopping and the COVID 19 pandemic. The once prosperous commercial districts that used to be packed with retail stores are like empty cities right now. In Yiwu City, Zhejiang Province, there were not only few visitors and customers at an annual International Commodity Fair, but also, few exhibitors participated in the fair. The organizers had to use cardboard to block sight of the empty booths. In Heilongjiang in the northern part of China, a video showed a street with few people. The person who was taking the video said, “What happened? It is only five or six o’clock in the afternoon right now. All the stores are closed. There are not that many people on the street.” In Beijing, the city started to allow street vendors to sell on the street again even though the city was previously against the street vendor idea. One economist commented that allowing street vendors means that the economy is not doing well. Even though these street vendors will not help to improve the overall economy, if the street vendors were still not allowed, there would be more people unemployed. They could become a possible source of social instability.
Source: New Tang Dynasty Television, October 26, 2020
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed to adopt a new rule that will require that, if a foreign government sponsors any content in a TV or radio station, the station must make a public disclosure.
The decision was announced on Monday October 26. The Commission’s statement said, “the American people deserve to know when a foreign government has paid for programming, or furnished it for free, so that viewers and listeners can better evaluate the value and accuracy of such programming.”
The new rule “requires a specific disclosure at the time of broadcast if a foreign governmental entity has paid a radio or television station, directly or indirectly, to air material, or if such an entity has provided the programming to the station free of charge as an inducement to broadcast the material.” While the Commission’s current rules require a sponsorship identification when a station has been compensated for airing particular material, the rules require disclosure of the sponsor’s name and usually do not require that a station determine whether the source of the programming is in fact a foreign government or mandate that the connection to a foreign government is disclosed to the public at the time of broadcast.
Jessica Rosenworcel, an FCC commissioner, said in her written statement, “Right now, we are awash in reports that foreign actors are attempting to influence our political process and democratic elections in the United States. We also know that foreign entities are purchasing time on broadcast stations in markets across the country, including Russian government-sponsored programming right here in our nation’s capital. But it’s mindboggling that the FCC has yet to update its policies … to ensure that the public knows when foreign actors who may wish to do us harm are paying to access our airwaves and influence our citizens.”
In September, the FCC’s chair Ajit Pai proposed rules to ensure transparency of foreign government sponsored broadcast content. He said, “with some station content coming from the likes of China and Russia, it is time to update our rules and shed more sunlight on these practices.”
“Today we begin to fix this situation. We propose to adopt specific disclosure requirements for broadcast programming that is paid for or provided by a foreign government or its representative. This is about basic transparency and it frankly shouldn’t have taken us so long.” said Rosenworcel.
Source: FCC, October 26, 2020
On October 26, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the country’s top Internet censorship authority, made an announcement on its Wechat account that a campaign is underway to shake up the mobile browsers, that is, the web browsers designed for use on mobile phones. The first batch of targets includes eight popular mobile browsers in mainland China: UC, QQ, Huawei, 360, Sogou, Xiaomi, vivo, and OPPO.
The announcement vowed to focus on three prominent problems. “The first is about online news and information that the ‘self-media’ illegally edited and published. The second is sensational headlines that feature malicious exaggeration, smear campaigns, and publicity stunts. The third is harmful information that violates ‘socialist core values.’”
Between October 27 and November 9, those who operate the browsers are required to “conduct in-depth self-inspection and rectification according to the list of issues and submit a rectification report and standard of contents to the cybersecurity authorities by 5:00 pm November 9.”
The cybersecurity regulators will inspect and reevaluate the self-inspections by the operators. For the mobile browsers that have outstanding problems after the inspection, there will be punishment as serious as the suspension of business.
Source: Cyberspace Administration of China, October 26, 2020
Major Taiwanese news network Liberty Times Network (LTN) recently reported that, according to Italy’s largest newspaper, Corriere della Sera, the Vatican is renewing its two-year agreement with the Chinese government on the appointment of bishops. Both sides refused to comment on this matter. The content of the agreement remains secret. The Vatican’s internal evaluations did not really conclude that this agreement was a good one. However, the attitude was, a bad agreement is better than nothing. The Vatican has been keeping largely silent on China’s human rights violations in Xinjiang, Hong Kong and in the religious communities in China. Some said there is a possibility that Vatican and China may establish a formal relationship in two years. Sources in the Vatican also revealed that China was pleased with the fact that the Pope refused to see U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Source: LTN, October 19, 2020
Well-known Chinese news site Tencent News recently reported that it is widely acknowledged that the United States is behind in the global 5G competition and is not able to dominate the technological standards. Those in the U.S. have come up with a new strategy. They are skipping 5G and going straight to 6G. The top three American communications companies, together with Qualcomm, Microsoft, Samsung and Nokia have initiated a new 6G alliance to develop the next generation telecommunications technology. The intent of the alliance is to maintain U.S. leadership in the field. Apparently, Chinese companies like Huawei are excluded from the club. It is unclear at this point what the new 6G alliance will do and what exactly its goals will be. Professor Lu Tinjie, Standing Director of the International Telecommunication Union, said space Internet is not the true direction of the future. Instead, people should focus on computing-everywhere. The Americans can’t just bypass things.
Source: Tencent News, October 19, 2020
Hong Kong Economic Times (HKET), the leading financial daily in Hong Kong, recently reported that anonymous sources revealed that Huawei is leading several large Chinese technology companies in lobbying the Chinese government to block Nvidia’s acquisition of ARM. Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) is one of the world’s largest chip makers headquartered in Silicon Valley. ARM is the British company whose chip architecture is the basis for nearly all commercial mobile CPUs (Central Processing Units). Along with other Chinese smart device manufacturers, ARM has also licensed Huawei’s mobile CPU chip design. If Nvidia, an American chip maker, acquires ARM, the U.S. government may require Nvidia to cut off supplying (and licensing) to its Chinese customers. Around 20 percent of ARM’s income comes from the Chinese market and around 95 percent (over 200 companies) of Chinese SoC (system on a chip) providers are based on ARM architecture. Huawei is urging the Chinese government to block this merger under the Chinese antitrust laws.
Source: HKET, October 22, 2020