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Beidou and the “Space Silk Road”

On Wednesday September 19, China launched two Beidou navigation satellites so as to join the network with the previously launched Beidou-3 navigation satellite. By 2020, Beidou is expected to boast of having 35 satellites covering the earth. This year alone, China has launched more than 10 Beidou satellites.

The Beidou navigation system has seen an increasing application in China. In Ningxia, farmers use it to provide navigation for unmanned agricultural machinery; in Inner Mongolia, herders in remote areas can send text messages through Beidou, and remotely control the water supply for livestock. In Beijing, 33,500 taxis and 21,000 buses have already installed Beidou chips. The Chinese government has set a goal to install Beidou chips in all new cars by 2020.

China is keen to upgrade its technological capabilities. After completing the global network by 2020, the Beidou system is expected to be a world-class navigation system and comparable to the U.S. GPS system.

Beidou was originally designed for the Chinese military to reduce its dependence on the U.S. GPS system. With the expansion of its coverage, business opportunities have also emerged.

Beidou’s ambitious expansion is coupled with China’s foreign policy. By the end of 2018, Beidou will cover the countries along the “Belt and Road,” and create a “Space Silk Road.” At present, Beidou covers 30 countries along the route, including Pakistan, Laos, and Indonesia. If these countries join the “Space Silk Road,” they could become dependent on the space services that Beijing provides, which will have more influence on their policies.

Three other satellite navigation systems are currently in place – Glonass in Russia, Galileo in Europe, and GPS in the United States. Blaine Curcio, founder of Hong Kong-based space and satellite consulting firm Orbital Gateway, said that we may see the world gradually split into “pro-China” and “pro-U.S.” camps. Those who are “pro-China” may be less likely to trust the satellite navigation services of the U.S. or the EU, and would therefore choose Beidou.

The Beidou chips have been widely deployed in Chinese made mobile phones, such as Xiaomi, Huawei and OnePlus, although Apple hasn’t incorporated Beidou in its latest iPhone which was released on September 12. Chinese official media said that this choice “does not rule out political reasons.”

Source: BBC Chinese, September 21, 2018

Chinese Ministry of Justice: CCP to Cover the Lawyer’s Profession

China’s Ministry of Justice recently held a working meeting to promote the party’s development work among all lawyers across the nation, signaling a trend in which the Chinese Communist Party will play a more dominant role in the legal profession.

The national party development conference took place in Kunming on September 17. It emphasized the need to “adhere sincerely to the party’s all-around leadership in the lawyers’ profession” and demanded “the implementation of the tasks of party building work among lawyers.” The mandate was that, by the end of this year, the CCP organizations should achieve 100 percent coverage in the field of lawyers businesses.

In addition, on Tuesday, China’s Supreme People’s Court issued the “Work Plan for the Full Implementation of the Socialist Core Values in Judicial Interpretation (2018-2023),” which, for the next five years, is to serve as a guiding opinion for the judicial interpretation of the court. It seems that the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, also known as Xi Jinping Thought, is no longer propaganda, but is a major basis for the future of legal and judicial development.

Source: Radio Free Asia, September 18, 2018

People’s Daily on CCP’s Comprehensive Leadership in Education

A recent official People’s Daily editorial re-emphasized the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership role in the education sector.

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered an “important speech at the National Education Conference.” “Starting from the overall development of the party and the state, he emphasized the importance of strengthening the party’s leadership in doing a good job in education and gave clear mandates on strengthening the party’s overall leadership in education.”

“To achieve the Party’s comprehensive leadership over education, ideological and political leadership is the number one issue. Marxism is the fundamental guiding ideology for the party and the country. We must always adhere to the guiding position of Marxism and carry out ideological and political work throughout the entire process of school education and administration, so that education becomes a strong battleground for upholding the party’s leadership.”

“To uphold the party’s leadership over the cause of education, the key is the details. Whether the party’s leadership can be effectively achieved depends on whether the party’s organizations in the education sector are sound and perfect and whether the Party’s development work is well done. Party organizations at all levels and schools must take the school’s party development work as a basic skill. The party’s education policy ought to be fully implemented in every aspect of school work.”

Source: People’s Daily, September 18, 2018

One Third of U.S. Companies in China Postponing or Cancelling Investment Plans

Well-known online Chinese news site Sina recently reported on a study report that the American Chamber of Commerce in China just published. The report shows that the tariff war between China and the United States has impacted two thirds of the U.S. companies in China. The next wave affecting US$200 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports will bring the impact scope to above 70 percent. Most of the impacted areas involve cost increases (47.1 percent) and reduced demand (41.8 percent). Around one third of those surveyed U.S. companies plan to postpone or cancel investment plans. Also, around one third of the companies will adjust supply chains. The most popular countries for the new suppliers are Southeast Asian counties and Indian subcontinent countries. The survey was conducted around the beginning of September. Over 430 Chamber member companies responded. Around 61 percent of these companies are in the manufacturing industry.

Source: Sina, September 13, 2018

CNA: China Plans to Create New Regulations to Restrict Online Religious Information

The primary Taiwanese news agency CNA (The Central News Agency) recently reported that the China National Religious Affairs Bureau is introducing a draft proposal under the name of Administrative Regulations of Internet Religious Information Services. The draft was published on September 10 for general public comments. The full set of the Regulations contains 35 items. The essence of the new Regulations is to require that the provincial or above government must issue a permit before any individual or organization can publish religious information online. Another new restriction is to require the requester to have Chinese citizenship or the requesting organization must be a registered Chinese organization headed by a Chinese citizen. Foreign individuals and organizations are banned from providing any religious information services online. The permit will expire after three years. The new Regulations also restrict the allowed religious “services.” For example, the service cannot “incite” under-aged youth to participate in any religious activities. The service cannot feed live or recorded text, audio or video content about burning incense, ordination, chanting, worship, mass, and receiving baptism. All publishers must use their real names.

Source: CNA, September 11, 2018

Underground Church Frustration on the Rumored China–Vatican Deal

It has been reported that China and the Vatican will soon sign a bishop appointment agreement. Members of the underground church responded with dissatisfaction. Some question whether the government will need to approve the content of the future priest’s sermons; some priests expressed that if there is no underground church, they will quit being priests.

The expectation was that, with the deal inked at the end of the month, Beijing would recognize the Pope as head of China’s Catholics in return for the Vatican’s recognition of excommunicated Chinese bishops. In addition, the Pope also has a veto power over the appointment of Chinese bishops and China will promote the integration of the official church and the underground church.

Some Chinese underground churches believe that the appointment of bishops is one of the most important and sacred powers of the Holy See. The Pope sharing this power with an atheistic government is not in line with Catholic teachings. Moreover, the Vatican’s move may be seen as the acquiescence to Beijing’s increasingly austere religious policy.

One priest from an underground church in Shanghai said that, “It’s impossible that China and Vatican could reach an agreement” on the grounds that the Chinese Communists oppose foreign forces from interfering in religious affairs, but in the event of an agreement, “I don’t need to be a priest since there will be no underground church.”

A Beijing Catholic Church member questioned whether the content of the priest’s preaching would require government approval. He feared that this would lead to the splitting of the Catholic Church. At present, in the officially recognized churches in China, the content of the sermon of a pastor or a priest must be submitted for official approval beforehand.

Although the Vatican may wish to use this agreement to guarantee the religious rights of Catholic Church members in China, China’s ultimate goal is to establish diplomatic relations with the Vatican, digging away Taiwan’s last diplomatic ally in Europe.

Zhang Ming, a professor at Renmin University of China, said that the compromise between the mainland and the Vatican was “more importantly in consideration of Taiwan.” As long as the bishop’s appointment deal is negotiated, the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries “will have no major obstacles.”

Source: Central News Agency, September 16, 2018

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