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German Foreign Minister Warns against Being Naive When Dealing with China

In a discussion on the EU’s China strategy at the EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels, the German Social Democratic Party’s Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, said that, in order to defend its own interests and values, it is important for the EU to develop relations with China in a united fashion, instead of each country acting in its own way.

In view of China’s efforts to participate in important infrastructure projects in Europe, Maas warned that one should not be too naive. He said, of course, people should see that “China is also pursuing its strategic interests through economic policies.”

Maas’s remarks are a warning regarding China’s telecom giant Huawei’s participation in 5G construction. He may also be critical of Italy. Following some smaller EU economies, Rome announced that it will reach a framework agreement with China on the Belt and Road Initiative. Through this project, China hopes to open up trade routes to Europe and Africa. Rome, on the other hand, hopes to promote China’s investment in ports such as Genoa and Taranto.  Several EU countries criticized Rome’s move.

Source: Radio France International, March 18, 2019

CNA: Strengthening the Promotion of Marxism on College Campuses Seems to Be Effective

Since a commemorative meeting of the 200th anniversary of Marx was held in May 2018, the Chinese Communist Party has been increasing the promotion of Marxism among college students in China. The Central News Agency reported that, according to an article that China Youth Daily published, at the recent Second Session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference that was concluded on March 13, the Chinese National Committee published a survey report. The survey participants were university leaders, teachers, and students from 24 universities and colleges in Hunan and Hubei provinces. The article said that the survey results found that, among some young students, there has been a “significant improvement in the atmosphere of promoting Marxism.” The study results also showed that the propaganda campaign has “greatly promoted the spread of Marxism.” The teachers in the ideological and political class at the university felt a more “professional sense of honor,” that “the spring of ideological politics is coming,” that “the teachers of the ideological and political class were feeling a greater and greater sense of accomplishment, and that they could work and live in a more dignified way.” According to the survey, 83.4 percent of the students affirmed the effect of the Young Marxist Training Project that the party initiated in 2007. About 32 to 36 percent of the students surveyed said that they discuss Marxist theory with family and friends, or participate in Marxist academic societies and reading clubs. The report also said that there has been an increased exposure of the Communist Youth League on WeChat, B station, Zhihu, fasthand, vibrato, QQ, and other social media platforms, promoting the connection of Marxist theory with the youth so as to “motivate young students, make classrooms more lively and improve the quality of teaching.”

Source: Central News Agency, March 14, 2019

Global Times: U.S. Acting Defense Secretary Banking on the “China Threat”

Global Times recently reported that anti-China U.S. acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan was once again singing the old-fashioned song of the “China Threat.” In his U.S. Senate hearing speech, Shanahan used four pages out of his 20-page report to address the “threat” from China, in terms of nuclear growth, space advances, and military investments. Apparently, many of these were just Mr. Shanahan’s personal imagination with absolutely no supporting material. In fact the Pentagon just submitted another increased defense budget, which is a continuation of the past three years. Even the U.S. media have been saying he was just looking for justification for more money. Thus China and Russia suddenly became scapegoats again. It would be a lot better if the U.S. government officials could look into win-win situations rather than creating new enemies.

Source: Global Times, March 16, 2019

Apple Data Center in China’s Ulanqab Breaks Ground

The Apple (Ulanqab) Data Center Project held a groundbreaking ceremony on March 15 in Ulanqab, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The data center is Apple’s first data center in northern China and will use 100 percent renewable energy. In February 2018, Ulanqab City and Apple held a ceremony for the signing of a cooperation agreement of the iCloud China North Data Center Project. The project is scheduled to be completed and put into operation in 2020.

The Chinese government believes that, in the future, Ulanqab will take advantage of the data center to promote the penetration of big data into a number of fields, and deeply integrate with various industries to form a big data and cloud computing ecology.

Source: China News Service, March 16, 2019

China to Pilot Facial Recognition Payment System in Shenzhen Subway

Radio France Internationale reported that, according to an article in the South China Morning Post, the Futian Metro Station in Shenzhen plans to introduce a facial recognition payment system. The pilot version of the facial recognition payment system to be operated at the Futian Station is a system in which passengers can pay for their transportation expenses through their personal account when they scan their faces on a large screen. The launch date of the system has not been disclosed. The advantage of the facial recognition system is that people can travel on the subway efficiently during the rush commuting hours. The number of people that take the Shenzhen Metro is five million per day. The facial recognition system has been put into use in all corners of Chinese society except the subway system. Radio France Internationale also quoted Pressecitron, a French media which stated that there may be technical problems in the event of a twin or body double. In addition, people’s daily routes are being recorded which causes concerns over security issues and the breach of personal information.

Source: Radio France Internationale, March 16, 2019