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World Journal: Fitch Lowered Hong Kong’s Rating Twice

Well-known U.S. Chinese language newspaper, World Journal , recently reported that global ratings company, Fitch Ratings, has lowered Hong Kong’s sovereign rating twice since last September. The rating factored in the impact of the Hong Kong National Security Law that the central government imposed. Also aspects that were included in and influenced the rating were the risks in Hong Kong’s legislative system and the position that the United States has taken. If, in the future, local and international investors lose confidence in Hong Kong’s environment and its way of doing business, it is possible the rating could go down further. It is too early to draw a conclusion and the situation remains to be examined in the near future. Currently Hong Kong’s sovereign rating is only one step higher than Mainland China. It appears the Hong Kong society is steadily merging into Mainland China’s administrative system. However, the Chinese government said Hong Kong’s status remains very stable.

Source: World Journal, June 23, 2020
https://bit.ly/2A81KmS

Lianhe Zaobao: The Canton Fair Ended with Signs of Risks

Singapore’s primary Chinese language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao recently reported on China’s largest trade show. The China Import Export Fair (also known as The Canton Fair), just concluded on June 24. This Canton Fair was held online as a virtual fair. According to the official report, the Fair attracted buyers from 217 countries or regions. Around 26,000 domestic and foreign companies participated as suppliers. However, no official numbers on sales were announced, which is very unusual. Traditionally the Canton Fair host always announces the total turnover on the last day of the Fair. According to the spokesperson for the Fair, the outcome of this Fair demonstrated China’s export future is facing increased uncertainty, with “extremely complex and serious” risks and challenges. The Chinese suppliers are focusing on innovations in the areas of smart manufacturing, distribution channels, business models, and service systems. The spokesperson emphasized that the overall long-term trend of the Chinese exports remains positive and unchanged.

Source: Lianhe Zaobao, June 26, 2020
https://www.zaobao.com.sg/realtime/china/story20200626-1064203

UDN: Poll Showed 56 Percent of HK Locals Oppose the National Security Law

United Daily News (UDN), one of the primary Taiwanese news groups, recently reported that the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute (PORI) just released the results of a poll that Reuters commissioned on the National Security Law that the Mainland communists imposed on Hong Kong. Around 56 percent of the people polled were against the new law. Among them, 49 percent were “strongly against” it. Around 34 percent of the sample supported the new law. The last 10 percent were undecided or had no opinion. The survey was conducted a few days before the Mainland revealed the content of the new law, which allows the City Chief Executive to appoint judges for national security cases. The Poll also showed that there is a steady support of 21 percent for an independent Hong Kong. On September 6, Hong Kong will hold the next election of the members of the Legislative Council. Neither the Office of the Hong Kong Chief Executive nor the Mainland Hong Kong and Macau Office responded to an inquiry for comment on the poll results. The poll was based on a sample size of 1,002 local residents.

Source: UDN, June 26, 2020
https://udn.com/news/story/121127/4660973

Heavy Flooding Affected Tens of Millions of People in 26 Provinces in China

On June 23, the National Flood Control and Drought Relief Department hosted a video conference and disclosed that, as of June 23, flooding was reported in 26 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) including Guangxi, Guizhou, Guangdong, Hunan, Jiangxi, and Chongqing. There were 11.22 million people affected. Among them, 571,000 people were relocated; 213,000 people needed emergency assistance; more than 9,300 houses collapsed; 171,000 houses were damaged to varying degrees; 861,000 hectares of crops were affected; and direct economic losses were estimated to be 24.1 billion yuan (US$3.4 billion).

In a news article, The Epoch Times reported that there was different video footage that showed the flooding in many regions where streets were flooded, cars trapped, railroads suspend their service, and schools were closed.

Yichang City, 20 kilometers (12 miles) away from the Three Gorges Dam is the first city downstream of the Three Gorges Dam. Local residents told The Epoch Times that it had been decades since they had seen flooding that was over 3 feet deep. They suspected that there had been an emergency flood discharge from the Three Gorges Dam but they didn’t receive any advanced warning from the government.

It has been over one month since the flooding was first reported in China. However, the heavy rainy season in the middle and lower stream of the Yangtze River has yet to come.

Source: The Epoch Times, June 27 & 28, 2020
https://www.epochtimes.com/gb/20/6/27/n12216263.htm?utm_source=dable
https://www.epochtimes.com/gb/20/6/28/n12217383.htm

Xinhua Reporter Blocked Australian Reporter’s Camera and Did Not Want to Be Videotaped

The Daily Telegraph of Australia reported that, during a news conference in Australian that Prime Minister (PM) Morrison held in Canberra, a news reporter from Xinhua was photographed as she was stepping forward to block the camera of a reporter from SBS News and asked the photographer to stop videotaping her. After she realized that her move caught the attention of other reporters and the federal police officers, the Xinhua reporter immediately left the conference. According to the report, a female photographer was accompanying the reporter from Xinhua at the moment. She was seen to have videotaped other reporters at the news conference. She was carrying an “escorted pass” not a formal “press pass” and also refused to answer which media she worked for. John Lyons, Executive Editor of ABC News, tweeted the following: “A Chinese official, or journalist, told SBS that they couldn’t film her. Whoever she was, she needs to understand that in Australia, if you turn up at the PM’s news conference, you can film & be filmed. This (sort of problem) happens regularly in China. It should not happen here.”

Source: SBS News, June 27, 2020
https://www.sbs.com.au/language/cantonese/zh-hans/chinese-state-owned-media-xinhua-sparks-a-scuffle-at-australian-prime-minister-s-press-conference

SIPRI: China Added at Least 30 Nuclear Warheads in 2019

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a Swedish think tank, recently released reports, showing a total of 13,400 nuclear warheads worldwide as of January 2020, distributed among the USA, Russia, UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. China currently has a stockpile of 320 warheads in its arsenal, compared to 5,800 in the United States and 6,370 in Russia. However, “in 2019 China and India were, respectively, the second- and third-largest military spenders in the world. China’s military expenditures reached $261 billion in 2019, a 5.1 per cent increase compared with 2018, while India’s grew by 6.8 per cent to $71.1 billion.”

SIPRI pointed out that “China is in the middle of a significant modernization of its nuclear arsenal. It is developing a so-called nuclear triad for the first time, made up of new land- and sea-based missiles and nuclear-capable aircraft.” According to sources from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), China added at least 30 nuclear warheads in 2019, some of which are already ready for deployment. As it is difficult to tell China’s intentions, its unrestricted arsenal has become a threat to many countries. The latest advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have also contributed to nuclear risks.

The specifics of the nuclear tactics of the PLA, including its weapons manufacturing and the capability of its buildup and deployment, have always been the focus of foreign observers, who believe that the Chinese military has hidden nuclear warheads in many inland provinces, especially Xinjiang. China is believed to have conducted test explosions in the enclosed areas of Xinjiang, Sichuan, Qinghai, and Inner Mongolia.

“SIPRI’s estimates suggest that China is the second-largest arms producer in the world, behind the United States and ahead of Russia. All four of the profiled companies would have been ranked among the 20 largest arms-producing and military services companies globally in 2017, with three—AVIC, NORINCO, and CETC—in the top 10.”

SIPRI’s database shows that China was the fifth largest exporter in 2015–19, following the United States, Russia, France, and Germany. The large buyers of Chinese weapons include Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Algeria. According to SIPRI, “Most of these countries are considered friendly or are allies of China.”

So far, China has not signed the 2013 United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) or any relevant international agreement. The United States insists that China should join the nuclear arms reduction talks, but China has repeatedly refused. The U.S. has insisted that China join future nuclear arms reduction talks—something that China has categorically ruled out.

Sources:
1. Radio Free Asia, June 26, 2020.
https://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/junshiwaijiao/cl-06262020125541.html
2. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, June 15, 2020
https://sipri.org/media/press-release/2020/nuclear-weapon-modernization-continues-outlook-arms-control-bleak-new-sipri-yearbook-out-now

People’s Liberation Army’s Website Information Raises Suspicion about Plan for Nuclear-powered Aircraft Carrier

On June 23, the website of the “Military Weapon and Equipment Procurement Information Network” (http://www.weain.mil.cn/), headed by the Equipment Development Department of the Central Military Commission, released “nine new procurement needs and 53 procurement announcements.” One of the procurement announcements was for a “ship with a nuclear power system analysis model development project.” The announcement that was circulated among mainland military fans was that the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) nuclear-powered aircraft carrier has entered into the evaluation stage.

The PLA already owns two non-nuclear-powered aircraft carriers: the Liaoning and the Shandong. A third larger and more modern aircraft carrier is being built in Shanghai’s Jiangnan Shipyard. According to media reports, this ship, code-named 003, is still using traditional power.

Although the PLA wanted to build a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, it has not been able to make a breakthrough in the nuclear power system technology. The PLA already owns ten nuclear-powered submarines, but it is much more difficult to develop a nuclear reactor for larger ships.

Source: Central News Agency, June 25, 2020
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/firstnews/202006250166.aspx

China to Abolish Mongolian Language in Schools in an Inner Mongolia City

The Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region is a Chinese province where most ethnic Mongols live and Mongolian has been the native language throughout its history.

Recently officials from the education bureau of Tongliao, a city in eastern Inner Mongolia, passed verbal notices to local schools that, starting from the second half of this year, all courses will stop using Mongolian as the major language for academic activities, except the Mongolian language course. The issue went viral among schools and local residents. Parents worry that, in the future, their children will not understand Mongolian.

A former teacher in Hohhot, the capital city of Inner Mongolia, told Radio Free Asia that most courses taught in the Mongolian language will disappear beginning on September 1st. The authorities will dispatch personnel to strengthen the supervision, and push through Chinese language education in the Mongolian region. In short, the mother tongue education in Inner Mongolia is facing an unprecedented crisis. Although China’s own Law on Regional National Autonomy guarantees the freedom to use its own native language for education, people are concerned that the policy will lead to the “disappearance” of the Mongolian culture.

The Inner Mongolian authorities have long intended to abolish education in the native language. At the end of 2018, due to the protests by the parents of students, the government aborted its plan to enforce Chinese language teaching in East Ujimqin Banner of Xilinguole League, in the northeast area of the Inner Mongolia. In mid-December 2017, the Bayinguoleng Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region suddenly stopped all courses taught in Mongolian, triggering strong dissatisfaction among the local Mongolians.

Source: Radio Free Asia, June 24, 2020
https://www.rfa.org/cantonese/news/language-06242020071829.html

Samsung Started Moving Monitor Manufacturing Lines to Vietnam

Well-known Chinese news site Sohu (NASDAQ: SOHU) recently reported that Samsung just announce that it will move its computer monitor manufacturing facilities from China to Vietnam. Vietnam’s state-run newspaper Vietnamese Youth confirmed the news. Most of Samsung’s Chinese manufacturing capabilities will be relocated to its HCMC CE Complex (SEHC) factory. Samsung expects to complete the move by the end of 2020. Samsung is currently Vietnam’s largest foreign investor, with a total investment value of US$17 billion. The monitor manufacturing move will turn Vietnam into Samsung’s largest monitor supplier in the world. According to U.S. researcher IDC, starting with the first quarter, Samsung held 34 percent of Vietnam’s 24 inch or above monitor market. With the growth of the demand on large screen monitors, the latest move will significantly benefit the region on new monitors.

Source: Sohu, June 20, 2020
https://www.sohu.com/a/403096949_161062