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SWIFT: RMB Global Presence Sliding Further Down

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) mentioned in its October report that the global usage of the Chinese currency continues to decline. The report shows that the volume of RMB international transactions fell to 1.46 percent in October. The RMB is now ranked number seven among all currencies, down from number six in October 2016. This is the lowest point since April 2014. The top three most widely used currencies are the US Dollar (39.79 percent), the Euro (33.05 percent) and the British Pound (7.71 percent). The Chinese RMB is now between the Canadian Dollar (1.60 percent) and the Australian Dollar (1.43 percent). The US Dollar also reached its lowest point since November 2013.

Source: Sina, November 30, 2017

The Reason behind the Abdication of the Japanese Emperor

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently summarized a discussion and a commentary that appeared on Chinese Central Television (CCTV) on the topic of the Japanese Emperor’s abdication. In addition to the typical age discussion, CCTV focused on the fact that the sitting Emperor may be in disagreement with Japanese Prime Minister Abe on the agenda for amending the constitution. The article mentioned that the Emperor has consistently talked about the “deep reflection” needed in Japanese society over many years and he has never set foot in the Yasukuni Shrine. The CCTV commentary quoted the “Japanese media” which called the Emperor a “strong protector of the constitution.” Prime Minister Abe is widely considered to be an “amendment advocate.” Given the strong influence the Emperor has, those who want to amend the constitution have tried very hard to push the Emperor to support their agenda. CCTV noted that, apparently, their agenda is against the will of the Emperor.

Source: Sina, December 1, 2017

Deutsche Welle: Do not Force German Companies to Form a Communist Party Branch Office within the Company

Deutsche Welle recently published an article reporting that Delegations of the German Industry and Commerce {which represents the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce in China} is increasingly concerned that German companies in China are facing increased pressure from the communist party to form a party branch office within the company. The party branch office in the company is also expected to expand its influence in the company’s decision making process. The German Commerce also stated that it can’t rule out the possibility that German companies may consider leaving China or seek other investment options as a result of (the pressure).

On November 24, Delegations of German Industry and Commerce published an official statement on its website which stated that the Commerce Delegation has learned of an increasing number of cases in which the Chinese Communist Party intends to expand its rights in foreign investment companies in China. The Commerce believes that the foreign companies are not obligated and there are no legal grounds to form a party branch office and that whether to form a party branch office should be decided by the company. The company should not be required or actively promote the establishment of a party branch office. However according to article 19 within the “Company Law” in China, as long as there are over three party members in a company, a party branch office can be formed. The Company Law applies to State Owned Enterprises, Foreign Investment Companies, and joint venture companies operated in China. A Huanqiu article on November 30 reported about the topic and stated that, “If China continues to force a party branch to be within German companies, to infiltrate upper management, and to interfere with the company’s decision-making policy, German companies will Leave China.”

According to the statistics that the Ministry of Organization Department published, by the end of 2016, there were communist party branch offices set up in 70 percent of the foreign companies in China. The party claims that a party branch office can “assist the company to understand the Chinese government, resolve labor disputes, and provide positive energy for the company’s growth.” A Huanqiu commentary from October also denied that there have been reported incidents of conflict between the party branch and the company’s management.

Source: Deutsche Welle, December 1, 2017别逼德国在华企业成立党支部/a-41616925?&zhongwen=simp

Huanqiu Opinion: China has Fulfilled Its Responsibilities. It Is time for the U.S. and South Korea to Pay for Their Trouble

On December 2, Huanqiu published an opinion article about China’s role in dealing with North Korea. Below are some of the key points from the article.

China is still one of the few countries that, to date, has insisted on maintaining a friendly policy toward North Korea. Even though China has participated in the sanctions that the United Nations has imposed against North Korea, China remains as North Korea’s largest trade partner. During a number of UN Security Council debates, China has strongly opposed total economic sanctions against North Korea. China has stressed that the sanctions should only target the department or areas that are related to its nuclear projects and shouldn’t impact the livelihood of the North Korean people. In order not to make the North Korean people suffer from the sanctions, China has endured tremendous pressure from the U.S. and the western media.

China has done all it can for the U.S. The root cause of the North Korean nuclear crisis is the worsened hostile relationship between the U.S., South Korea, and North Korea. The mentality that (the remedy) is “China’s responsibility” is wrong. China has fulfilled its responsibility to impose sanctions against North Korea as defined in the UN Security Council resolution. As a result, we have sacrificed the relationship between China and North Korea. The U.S. and South Korea have not fulfilled their responsibility to ease the tension and promote a dialogue with North Korea. They put most of their hope on China to force North Korea to change its position.

For a period of time, the U.S. has somewhat threatened China to get China to increase sanctions against North Korea. China has done its best to excise patience in negotiating with the U.S. on our position. In the fierce conflicts between the U.S. and North Korea, China has played a key role which has prevented the situation from breaking down. As the U.S. is increasing its pressure on North Korea, it is unquestionable to believe that the loss that China will suffer will be tremendous.

As the Korean Peninsula conflict escalates to another level, most of the pressure will continue to shift to China. However, to the U.S. and South Korea: please be clear. You created this trouble so you must take the responsibility. China can’t bear that for you.

North Korea continues to violate the UN Security Council Resolution and launched a ballistic missile. It should be prepared for more sanctions. China has no reason to pay for their mistake and bear the responsibility for them. Regardless of what mistakes North Korea has made, it is wrong to impose complete economic sanctions or discontinue the diplomatic relationship and isolate North Korea. China has no responsibility to cooperate with the U.S. to fulfill this unrealistic plan. The U.S. has no command power over China and the UN Security Council.

Pyongyang should be more and more clear that, as long as it continues to conduct nuclear tests, China will not help it to be spared from future punishment. The chances that a war might break out in the Korean Peninsula are growing, but whether a war will start or not is not dependent on what China will do. The big policy for China is to maintain its independence, encourage the Security Council to come up with a reasonable policy and not give in to the excessive requests from the U.S. and South Korea.

If the situation suddenly gets even worse, China would have to deal with it.

Source: Huanqiu, December 2, 2017

VOA: Low-end Population – the Most Variable Factor in China’s Politics?

VOA published an interview with some guest speakers, who discussed Beijing’s sudden eviction of tens of thousands of its “low-end population” when the weather was very cold. The “Low-end population” refers to people who do work that requires low skills and who do not hold residence status in Beijing. Below is a selection from the guest speaker’s comments.

1) It is hard to accept the term “low-end population” because it grades people into different categories. Of course, in sociology, people are divided into different social classes: the bottom, middle, and upper classes. The Chinese Communist Party claims that the proletariat is the master of China but in reality the five percent who are the elite class in China are the real master. The party follows Social Darwinism, which seeks the end result but not the means. The elite can hurt others for their gain. As a matter of fact, their authority has completely deviated from the rule by law they have been promoting. The Party Secretary of Beijing knows how propaganda works and understands the impact the media has. Therefore it is not that he chose to issue the eviction order but he had no other option. He had to force the action and couldn’t wait. It could be that the party thinks that China’s economy will collapse in the next six to 12 months. If large numbers of people are unemployed and unable to survive, it is obvious that these people could pose a huge threat to their authority. These (low-end) people still have work right now. Even though they were evicted they wouldn’t rebel. If they were unemployed, however, it is very unlikely that they wouldn’t leave even if the authorities used guns to chase them out. This is the reason that the authorities do not want to disclose right now.

2) The real reason is that the highest leader became so powerful that he has lost his judgment. He has been successfully suppressing different voices in the past few years, including social group, rights lawyers or rights activists. He feels that he has invincible power now and that he can do anything. Therefore he used a radical approach in urban management and didn’t realize that he is facing fierce resistance from the international society and his own citizens.

Source: VOA Chinese, December 1, 2017

Beijing Official: Take Real, Rough, and Quick Action to Demolish Buildings

{Editor’s Note: A fire on November 18, 2017, at an apartment in Daxing District, Beijing caused 19 deaths. The Beijing government responded swiftly with a city-wide campaign to fix the “hidden dangers to safety.” The authorities forcibly expelled people from buildings that they declared unsafe and then immediately demolished those buildings. Continue reading

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