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UDN: Kim Jong-un Changed the English Translation of His Title

United Daily News (UDN), one of the primary Taiwanese news groups, recently reported that North Korea is changing the official English translation of the title of the country’s top leader. Up until January 22, the North Korean official news agency KCNA (Korean Central News Agency) was using “Chairman of the State Affairs Commission” as the title for Kim Jong-un. However, starting on February 11, the translation was officially changed to “President of the State Affairs.” The international community typically uses the word “president” to indicate the top leader of a county. This new move appears to be an effort to emphasize that North Korea’s leader is also an international leader. North Korea did not have an official explanation for this latest change. In the meantime, the Chinese translation and the Russian translation remain unchanged. In recent years, socialist countries like China also switched the translation from chairman to president. However, Xi Jinping’s official title in Chinese remains Chairman. The North Korean Constitution clearly designates the Chairman of the State Affairs Commission as the highest leader of the nation. Kim Jong-un has two other titles.

Source: UDN, February 20, 2021

Global Times: Tom Cotton Announced His Plan to Give China a Total Screw-Up

Well-known Chinese news site Sina (NASDQ: SINA) recently republished an article published under Global Times’ official social media account, analyzing U.S. Senator Tom Cotton’s new report called “Beat China.” The article labeled Senator Cotton as a “Trump enthusiast,” a “right-wing extremist,” an “anti-China extremist,” a “daydreamer” and a “liar.” It called Cotton’s latest “Beat China” report a plan to “screw up China big time,” to start an economic cold war no smaller than the cold war against the Soviet Union, and to decouple the U.S. completely from China. The Cotton Report focused on two major topics: one is how to decouple and beat China to the ground and the second is how to minimize the damage to the U.S. in this war. In the first part, Cotton suggested further tightening up high-tech exports to China from the U.S. and U.S. allies, while also cutting off research cooperation with China as well as talent exchanges. Cotton also called for a significant reduction in U.S. dependency on Chinese rare earths. In the second part of the Report In the second part Cotton called for damage control. He called for developing new markets for U.S. products and forming a new anti-China trade alliance. In the meantime, the U.S. should act to “retake” control of international organizations like the WTO, or create new ones. Global Times thinks this whole narrative is just “wishful thinking.” However, it is worth noting that even some U.S. media and influential individuals on the left thought Cotton had some points “worth considering.” The Global Times article described Tom Cotton as “setting himself up as a 2024 presidential candidate.”

1. Sina, February 20, 2021
2. Beat China: Targeted Decoupling and the Economic Long War Prepared by the Office of
Senator Tom Cotton

DW Chinese: Chinese Spokeswoman Questioned Why Chinese People Cannot Use Twitter and Facebook

Deutsche Welle Chinese Edition recently reported that the Hua Chunying, the spokeswoman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, provided a surprising answer when a foreign reporter asked her at a press conference to comment on the fact that the Chinese Ministry’s number of Twitter and Facebook accounts increased by three and two times, respectively. Hua claimed in her response that many western media reporters and diplomats heavily use Chinese social media apps like Weibo and WeChat. Then she questioned the foreign reporter who asked for her comments earlier, “Foreigners can use Chinese social media, why can’t Chinese people use Twitter and Facebook?” This “official” answer and the video went viral across Chinese online communities. Massive numbers of Chinese netizens joined the “discussion” with comments like “I was wondering about that too!” “Great question!” “Now I finally understand it’s the West that blocked our access.” “Hua asked the question we Chinese did not dare to ask.” “So we are not Chinese people …” Some explained that “Hua meant to say Chinese reporters and diplomats should be able to use Twitter and Facebook just like foreign reporters and diplomats can use WeChat.” China’s Great Firewall blocks all foreign social media. Nearly all Chinese netizen have no access to Twitter and Facebook, except for privileged figures like Hua herself.

Source: DW Chinese, February 20, 2021

Chinese Defense Companies and the Burmese Military Regime

Although China has repeatedly denied assisting the Burmese (Myanmar) military in launching its February coup, many people believe the opposite. Recently, a Burmese citizen’s group disclosed in a report that five Chinese companies have long been selling weapons to the military government.

The civil organization “Justice for Myanmar” recently disclosed in a report that 16 foreign companies supplied conventional weapons and equipment to Tatmadaw (the official name of the armed forces of Myanmar). Among them there were five Chinese firms, namely China North Industries Group Corporation Limited (Norinco), Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), and China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC). India, Israel, Russia, and Singapore, each have two companies on the list.

Zhang Shengqi, chairman of the Myanmar-Burma Assistance Association, told Radio Free Asia on Thursday, February 18, that Chinese companies have been selling weapons to Myanmar for a long time, and that this is no longer a secret. Zhang said, “It is no secret that China provides arms to the Burmese government forces. The Burmese military is a military ally of China in the south. Ten years ago, the Chinese government moved its security line from southern Yunnan province to southern Myanmar. The whole country of Myanmar is regarded as within the security line of China’s defense. The stability of Myanmar directly affects China’s interests and national security. If Myanmar chooses to have a pro-US, instead of pro-China, stance, Myanmar will once again fall into an endless civil war.”

In recent years, China invested in the Kyaukpyu deep-water port in the western Rakhine State of Myanmar, a US$ 1.3 billion project. After completion, it will become China’s gateway to the Indian Ocean. In addition, the US$ 8.9 billion Mandalay high-speed rail project will connect northern Myanmar with southwest China. In the future, China may transport energy and materials without relying entirely on the Malacca Strait.

Zhang Shengqi expressed the belief that China has huge economic and strategic interests in Myanmar and that geopolitics doomed the special relationship between the two countries. “The military port and China-Myanmar oil pipeline in the Bay of Bengal are the lifeblood for the Chinese military’s energy. China has to protect its military investment and presence in Burma and support Burma’s stability. … The Burmese people have no choice.”

Source: Radio Free Asia, February 17, 2021

Retired Chinese Professor Making Frequent Anti-US Comments Lives in Texas

Chen Ping, a retired Professor from Fudan University is a well-known “anti U.S. professor” in China. Chen received his PhD in Physics from the University of Texas in Austin. He is famous for his speech made during a forum at Tsinghua University last year. Chen said that people earning a monthly salary of 2,000 yuan (US$310) in China would be much happier than those who make US$3,000 a month in Los Angeles. However, during the recent winter storm power outage in Texas, people found out that Chen has been living in the U.S. for a while. Many Chinese netizens felt they had been misled and called him a hypocrite.

Cheng posted a picture of himself in a residential area in Austin Texas in Weibo. He complained about U.S. government policy and also accepted an interview with a Chinese media. Chen told, he is prepared for water and electricity shortages and telecommunication disruption. He said that people won’t survive if there is no power and the Texas government has abandoned its homeless people. He said “The US military boasted that it would fight a nuclear war with China and Russia, but the U.S. can’t even make it through a winter storm that crippled the power grid and traffic in nearly half of the coastal lines of the U.S.”

Chinese netizens made the following comments on Chen’s Weibo posting: “Teacher Chen, did you buy the wrong airline ticket? Why did you go to Texas?”  “Making anti-U.S. comments is his job but living in the U.S. is his life.” Sure enough, patriotism is for business only; the dude is faking patriotism just to fool us.
1. Wenxuecity, February 17, 2021
2. NTDTV, February 17, 2021

Stanford University Researcher Faces Expanded Federal Charges

According to the Department of Justice, Office of Public Affairs announcement Friday, February 19, 2021, “A federal grand jury issued a superseding indictment charging Chen Song,” who described herself as a neurologist coming to the United States to conduct research at Stanford University related to brain disease, with visa fraud, obstruction of justice, destruction of documents, and false statements in connection with a scheme to conceal and lie about her status as a member of the People’s Republic of China’s military forces while in the United States.

“We allege that while Chen Song worked as a researcher at Stanford University, she was secretly a member of China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army,” said U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson for the Northern District of California. “When Song feared discovery, she destroyed documents in a failed attempt to conceal her true identity. This prosecution will help to protect elite institutions like Stanford from illicit foreign influences.”

Assistant Director Alan E. Kohler Jr. of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division stated, “Members of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army cannot lie on their visa applications and come to the United States to study without expecting the FBI and our partners to catch them.” “Time and again, the Chinese government prioritizes stealing U.S. research and taking advantage of our universities over obeying international norms.”

If convicted, she faces a maximum statutory penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for the visa fraud count; up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for each of the obstruction and alteration charges; and up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for the false statements charge. In addition, the court may order additional terms of supervised release.

Source: Department of Justice, February 19, 2021.

Nominating a Liquor Engineer for an Academician Title – An Insult to the Honor?

Nominating a chief engineer of a liquor company for academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the highest honor in the field, has caused controversy in China. People think it is an insult to the honor because they wonder how an engineer in the wine and liquor industry can represent China’s strategy to be “invigorating through science and technology” and whether the liquor technology can have a significant impact on the progress of mankind. People also feel that the academician election process lacks transparency and could be compromised.

On February 17, Guizhou Maotai, a well-known Chinese liquor brand, announced on its official public account that Wang Li, Chief Engineer and Chief Quality Officer of the Maotai Group, was nominated to qualify for 2021 academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

This is not the first time that the Chinese Academy of Engineering had a controversial academician nominated in an election. In 2011, a deputy dean and researcher at the Zhengzhou Tobacco Research Institute of the China National Tobacco Corporation was elected as an academician of the Academy of Engineering. Over 100 academicians co-signed a letter to the presidium of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, questioning the qualification of the candidate and requesting that the presidium withdraw the decision, but their objection failed.

In 2015, People’s Daily published an article exposing the inside story during the academician election process claiming it involved personal connections and bribery with money. The article said that it was disappointing and sad to see that the really talented who are not well connected weren’t even given a chance to be nominated, whereas people who were less academic but had good connections would win.

There have been many disappointments in academician elections in the past and China ended up losing those talents to the U.S. One example is Yan Nieng, a structural biologist at Tsinghua University. She didn’t win the academician title in 2017. Yan left Tsinghua University and joined Princeton University. Yan has received many awards while working at Princeton and, in April 2019, was elected as a foreign associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Xu Chenyang, a math genius, is another example. In 2012, after receiving a doctoral degree and a number of academic awards, Xu went back to China. Xu failed to win the academician title. He left China and went to work for MIT. In 2021, Xu received the 2021 Col Algebra Prize award.

The academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering is the highest academic title in engineering science and technology in China. The academician election is conducted using a committee voting on a list of nominated candidates once every two years. It is a lifetime honor and is supposed to be awarded to scientists who have made a significant contribution in the scientific field. Earlier this year, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering announced that they have started the 2021 academician election and they will elect no more than 88 academicians this year.

1., February 18, 2021
2. Sina, February 20, 2021

China’s Military Newspaper Reported Details of Border Clash with India, Claiming Victory

China’s top military newspaper PLA Daily published articles on February 19, which reported in detail the whole process of the military clashes between China and India last year at the West border area of the Karakoram Plateau. The report stated, “Since April 2020, the relevant foreign (India) troops have seriously violated the agreement between our two countries by building roads, bridges and other facilities in the Kalwan Valley area toward the border, deliberately provoking incidents, trying unilaterally to change the status quo of the border control, and even violently attacking China.” The report further disclosed that four Chinese military officers and soldiers died in a fierce fight in June 2020, after the negotiations failed.

The article claimed that the Chinese military came out victorious, “Under the circumstances of unbearable tolerance, the border officers and soldiers resolutely responded to the violent acts and achieved major victories, effectively defending national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

On February 10, 2021, China’s Defense Ministry’s spokesperson declared that, after 8 months of confrontation, both sides have started to retreat from the border simultaneously.

Sources: PLA Daily, February 19, 2021;
Sohu, February 10, 2021