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Japan Can Shoot at Foreign Official Vessels Landing on Senkaku Islands

At a Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP’s) defense and security panel on February 25, Japan’s government officials said, amid rising concerns about the escalation of the Sino-Japanese rivalry surrounding the Senkaku Islands, that if a foreign official ship were to forcibly land on the Senkaku Islands (called the Diaoyu Islands in China), the Japanese coast guard might consider this as a vicious crime and might use weapons to suppress the opponent’s resistance. Analysts believe that this is a reaction and measure to strengthen deterrence against Chinese coast guard vessels entering Japanese territorial waters.

According to the LDP members at the meeting, this is the first time government officials have referred to the coast guard’s possible firing on foreign official vessels aiming to land on Japanese territory.

The interpretation (of the LDP’s response) is partly based on applying the use of the police power under a police law to the coast guard. Earlier Japan’s coast guard was only allowed to fire weapons directly at foreign vessels in cases of self-defense and emergency escape.

In addition, the government also stated that, when a foreign government ship takes away any Japanese citizens, the Japanese coast guard can board the opponent’s ship and retake the hostages. For small drones flying around territorial waters, the self-defense forces can regard it as a violation of airspace and respond with actions that including shooting them down.

Source: Kyodo News, February 25, 2021

Miles Yu: The World Must Awaken to China’s Genocide and Bullying Behavior

Both Wang Yi, the State councilor of the People’s Republic of China and Cui Tiankai, China’s Ambassador to the U.S. have called on the Biden administration to respect China’s interests and its red lines. In speaking with Radio Free Asia and American Thought Leader, Miles Yu, former adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said that China has no red lines and it is just like what the Chinese are saying, “thief calling to catch a thief (賊喊捉賊).”

Yu said that Wang Yi’s remarks sound illogical. What China is facing is not simply that “the U.S. can’t stand China” but rather that “China can’t stand the world.” However, China has always been faulting the U.S for everything. It is irrational. China does not have red lines when it comes to Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Taiwan. But it has set up red lines for the international community, which means that nobody is allowed to criticize China. Anyone who does so is not showing respect. He is crossing a red line. The Chinese red line is the Chinese Communist Party’s red line. It’s not a red line based upon international law or international conventions. In fact, this is a bullying behavior. The world needs to wake up to it and the U.S. shouldn’t acknowledge China’s red lines. The International community has long established that rule; it has been in effect since the 1940s. China has signed on to it, but China never follows it. China cannot kill people and commit genocide in the name of sovereignty. If China wants respect from others, it must first follow international law. China calls for “mutual respect” only to ask the international community to turn a blind eye to its violations of international law, which is unacceptable. Those tones are outdated. The U.S. government cannot walk back its China policy.

1. Central News Agency, February 23, 2021
2. American Thought Leader, February 2021

Huawei Smartphone Sales May Drop by 60 Percent in 2021

According to reports, Huawei expects that its smartphone shipments this year will drop by more than 60 percent to about 70 million units. Huawei’s smartphone shipments in the fourth quarter of 2020 fell by 40 percent. With the U.S. sanction in 2020, Huawei has faced unprecedented challenges in chip supply. Huawei’s suppliers had been notified to cut production.


According to Huawei’s report, Huawei’s revenue comes from operators’ businesses, companies’ businesses, and consumer’ businesses. The Consumer businesses that are represented by smartphones are an important part of Huawei’s revenue. According to Huawei’s 2020 semi-annual report, the 255.8 billion yuan sales from the consumer business accounted for half of the total sales revenue of 454 billion yuan in the first half of 2020. 


Recently, Huawei senior executive Duan Anguo stated that Huawei has launched a smart pig farming program. He believes that the breeding industry is moving toward digitization, intelligence, and unmanned operations. Huawei plans to apply machine vision and artificial intelligence technologies to pig farming.


Source: Finance and Economics, February 21, 2021

China’s Fertility Rate Continues to Fall

On February 8, 2021, China’s Ministry of Public Security released the 2020 annual report based on household registration information. The report stated that, as of December 31, 2020, there were 10.035 million newborns in 2020 registered with the public security departments. The number fell by 14.89 percent year-on-year, compared to the 2019 annual report. There were a total of 11.79 million newborns in 2019 registered with the public security departments.

The decline is also seen in the numbers released by the National Bureau of Statistics. The number of newborns in 2016 was 17.86 million, 17.23 million in 2017, and 15.23 million in 2018. On January 17, 2020, the National Bureau of Statistics announced that the total number of newborns in 2019 was 14.65 million.

In his article entitled, “The Implementation of the National Strategy for Active Response to the Population’s Aging,” China’s Minister of Civil Affairs, Li Jiheng expressed his concern about the substantial decline in the population base.

In his article, Li Jiheng said that under the influence of a number of factors, Chinese people are less willing to have children. The total fertility rate has fallen below the warning line and the population’s development has entered a critical transition period.

Source: Guancha, February 8, 2021

Beijing’s Infiltration in Action: Purchase of British Private Schools

The British newspaper the Daily Mail reported on February 21 that “Hundreds of independent schools left in dire financial straits by the coronavirus pandemic are being targeted by Chinese investors.” “Nine of the 17 schools under Chinese control are owned by firms whose founders or bosses are among China’s most senior Communist Party members.”

“One firm admitted its acquisition of British schools is aimed at supporting China’s controversial Belt and Road strategy, which aims to expand Beijing’s global influence.”

As companies controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are seeking to expand their influence on the British education system, the public is concerned that Beijing’s tentacles are reaching British classrooms.

“Schools are using educational tools for teaching children a ‘whitewashed’ view of China.”

Ma Jian, a Chinese-born British writer, told Radio Free Asia that the CCP is pursuing Xi Jinping’s “Chinese Dream” and its next target is the young generation of democratic nations. “Britain has basically turned itself into a trading branch of China. Not only has it coupled with China in business, economy, and trade, but also in cultural affairs. You will find that universities, research institutes, middle schools, and elementary schools have got a lot of money from China. Companies are implementing of Xi Jinping’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ and ‘Chinese Dream’ by means of the acquisition of these private schools. The education deals are aiming at the next generation.”

Wang Jianhong, a scholar who has been concerned about the human rights situation in China, also believes that these Chinese companies are controlled by Beijing. Taking advantages of the rule that democratic countries cannot interfere much in market transactions, the Chinese government has been promoting its global expansion. After years of infiltration into the British academic community, the academia has seen the trend of self-censorship and even whitewashing for the CCP. “The CCP has been stepping up its investment in Britain’s private schools and education system. How could an ordinary Chinese company buy British private schools? They definitely have government background. As the basic education in the UK is directly owned by companies controlled by the CCP, we are worried about the ideological infiltration into the curriculum. Even if you have got rid of the Confucius Institute, the CCP has all kinds of methods, including the acquisition of private schools.”

Some British politicians expressed a sense of concern. Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said: “China’s strategic understanding and reach means that they have an advantage in seeking to influence others and using established brands, including some of our own, to achieve that position. … We need to decide what it is we are prepared to defend, but before that we would need to understand what it is we want.”

Reported by the Daily Mail, “A key player in the market is Bright Scholar, which bought a number of schools and colleges in 2018 and 2019, including Bournemouth Collegiate School, St Michael’s School in Llanelli, Carmarthanshire – where Justice Secretary Robert Buckland and singer Cerys Matthews were once pupils – and Bosworth Independent College in Northampton. … Bright Scholar is owned by Yang Huiyan, who is reportedly worth £20 billion, making her Asia’s richest woman, and was founded by her father Yang Guoqiang, a member of the Communist Party’s highest- ranking advisory council.”

“The Wanda Group, which invests in technology, real estate, hotels and the media, bought the schools in 2017 through City of London based asset manager London & Oxford Group. … It was founded by Wang Jianlin, a former People’s Liberation Army soldier who is worth an estimated £10 billion and is a member of China’s senior Communist Party advisory council.

“Two more schools – Kingsley School in Bideford, Devon, and Heathfield Knoll School in Worcestershire – are owned by China First Capital Group, which has senior Communist Party members on its board.”

“Riddlesworth was bought by the Confucius International Education Group in 2015 and its website lauds its links with the late Princess. … The firm’s owner, Kong Lingtao, who claims to be a direct descendant of the Chinese philosopher Confucius, also boasts of his visit to Buckingham Palace in 2014, when he met Prince Philip.”

Another company, the Ray Education Group, bought Adcote School for Girls near Shrewsbury, Shropshire, and Myddelton College in Denbigh, Wales, in 2018.

“On its website, Ray Education details plans to use its British schools to help expand to other countries as part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road strategy to boost China’s global economic and political influence.”

Source: Radio Free Asia, February 22, 2021
Daily Mail, February 20, 2021

Explosion Reported Near CCP Headquarters in Beijing’s Zhongnanhai District

On February 23, an explosion was reported at a restaurant 650 meters (0.4 miles) away from the CCP headquarters in the Zhongnanhai district in Beijing possibly causing one death, while six people were injured. The video and pictures from the scene showed that the restaurant had turned into rubble. Doors and windows of nearby residential areas and the windows of roadside vehicles were shattered. The drivers inside the nearby parked cars were injured. The official media reported that the explosion happened during the installation of a gas tank that had been delivered to the restaurant. The restaurant was still on Chinese New Year shutdown and was not open to public. The official media reports on the explosion included CCTV, Sohu, Sina and The Paper. However, as of February 24, the relevant media reports had been removed from the Internet.

The timing of the incident was also sensitive. Beijing will be holding the 2021 two sessions on March 4 and 5. At present, Beijing has entered a high-level security stage. There is tight security screening of pedestrians, vehicles, parcels and the mail. There is a visible police force deployed to guard the area surrounding the Zhongnanhai compound.

1. China News, February 23, 2021

2. Epoch Times, February 24, 2021

Banks Backed by Ant and Tencent to Join China’s Digital Currency Pilots

China Securities Journal  reported that Zhejiang E-Commerce Bank Co., Ltd., (MYBank) backed by the Ant Group and WeBank backed by Tencent may participate in the digital currency pilot projects of six state banks. The status of the two private banks is “coming soon.” 


Beyond these two private banks, most urban small and medium-sized banks in China will connect to the central bank digital currency infrastructure via City Bank Clearing Services Co., Ltd. (“City Bank Clearing”). Rural Credit Bank Clearing will provide a conduit for rural banks to access the digital currency infrastructure. The Digital Currency Research Institute of the Bank of China entered into agreements with the two intermediaries last fall.


The digital currency is issued and regulated by China’s central bank. All transactions will be completely under China’s central bank’s supervision. In contrast, transactions through Alibaba Group’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay are electronic payments controlled by the companies. 


Source: The Paper, February 20, 2021

Chinese Hackers Exploit NSA-linked Tools to Attack U.S. Targets

On February 22, Check Point Research, an American-Israeli cybersecurity company, published an exhaustive report discussing certain cyber tools. The report stated that cyber tools that the Equation Group, a group believed to be affiliated to the Tailored Access Operations (TAO) unit of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), had fallen into the hands of a Chinese hacker group, which then repurposed them in order to attack U.S. targets.

In 2014, the Chinese group APT31 (APT is abbreviation of Advanced Persistent Threat), also known as Zirconium or Judgment Panda, made a replica of an exploit originally attributed to the Equation Group, known as EpMe. An exploit is a hack that leverages a security hole or flaw, as opposed to a hack that requires installing malware. The Chinese hackers then used that tool, which Check Point has named “Jian” or “double-edged sword,” from 2015 until March 2017, when Microsoft patched the vulnerability it attacked.

Check Point pointed out, “Both exploit versions for APT31’s “Jian” or Equation Group’s “EpMe” are intended for … elevating the privileges of the attacker in the local Windows environment.” “The tool is used after an attacker gains initial access to a target computer — say, via zero-click vulnerability, a phishing email, or any other option — to give the attacker the highest available privileges, so they could “roam free” and do whatever they chose on the already infected computer.”

Check Point believed that the Equation Group exploit samples could have been acquired by the Chinese APT in one of these ways:

Captured during an Equation Group network operation on a Chinese target.
Captured during an Equation Group operation on a 3rd-party network which was also monitored by the Chinese APT.
Captured by the Chinese APT during an attack on the Equation Group infrastructure.

The research report also mentioned that APT31 used “Jian” to conduct network attacks from 2015 to March 2017 until Microsoft patched the vulnerabilities.

APT31, a state-sponsored hacking collective, is alleged to conduct reconnaissance operations at the behest of the Chinese Government, specializing in intellectual property theft and credential harvesting, with recent campaigns targeting U.S. election staff with spear-phishing emails containing links that would download a Python-based implant hosted on GitHub, allowing an attacker to upload and download files as well as execute arbitrary commands.

Sources: Check Point Research, February 22, 2021
WIRED, February 22, 2021