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Duowei News: Xi Jinping to Amend Constitution: “The Party’s Leadership Is the Most Essential Feature of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics”

Duowei reported that, in addition to the elimination of term limits, Xi Jinping also recommended that the Constitution be amended to include the following language: “Chinese Communist Party leadership is the most essential feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics.” Regarding what was delivered in his political report at the 19th National Congress held in October 2017, Xi Jinping reiterated that, “The Chinese Communist Party leadership is the most essential feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics.” The greatest advantage of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics is that the Chinese Communist Party leads it; that China must uphold the party’s leadership over all work; and that the party is leading everything.” It is expected that the amendment will be passed during the National People’s Congress which started on March 5. According to Duowei, in 1982, Deng Xiaoping deleted the phrase, “The Chinese Communist Party is the core leadership of the entire Chinese people” from the Constitution. Deng believed that there were too many disadvantages to having the party take the leadership of everything indicating, “An over-concentration of power could turn into leadership by an individual.” The article went on to state, “However, 36 years later, the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party will very likely to be written into the constitution again.”

Source: Duowei, March 2, 2018

Beijing to Clean up Internet Audio-visual Program Service Websites

Xinhua reported that Beijing will increase its efforts to “clean up internet audio-visual program service websites to ensure that the chief editor is held accountable for the contents, to impose zero tolerance of any violations, and to apply tighter control over programs from overseas.” According the article, in 2017, The Beijing Bureau of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) shut down 501 programs due to different violations and cleaned up 280,000 postings that contained inappropriate sexual and violent video postings. Meanwhile the Beijing Cultural Law Enforcement Team inspected 20 video sites, social media, live and short video websites including ifeng, Sina Weibo, AcFun, Miaopai, and Huajiao and shut down 31 unlicensed sites.

Source: Xinhua, March 6, 2018

Global Times: China’s Nuclear Aircraft Carrier Plan Officially Confirmed

Global Times recently reported that the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) just released its strategic development roadmap. The roadmap describes the plans to accelerate the process of developing a nuclear aircraft carrier, as well as new models for nuclear submarines and quiet submarines. The strategic roadmap is to align with the Chinese Navy’s “Deep Blue” strategy that aims to transform the Navy to deploy to far seas by the year 2025. This is the first official confirmation of the existence of the plan for building nuclear aircraft carriers. CSIC also mentioned that the nuclear design still requires much research and development work. It appears the nuclear technology, along with Electromagnetic catapult design, may be deployed on the second or the third China-made carrier down the road. The vision of the Chinese nuclear aircraft carrier is to support large Navy fleets for missions far from bases and for a long period of time. This is more and more of a requirement to protect China’s international interests.

Source: Global Times, February 28, 2018

Li Shufu Became the Largest Shareholder of Daimler

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that, based on official government documents dated February 23, Li Shufu, founder and chairman of China’s Geely Automobile, acquired 9.69 percent (around US$9 billion) of German automaker Daimler AG, thus becoming its largest shareholder. Daimler is one of the world’s top ten automakers, the world’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer, and the world’s second largest truck manufacturer. It is also famous for its Mercedes-Benz product line. Geely Automobile is China’s largest privately-owned automaker. Li Shufu, currently also the owner of Volvo, described his strategic vision as forming an alliance with Daimler to become the “final two or three” automakers that will dominate the global market in the future. Daimler did not disclose whether Li will be on the Board of the company or not. However, Brigitte Zypries, Minister for Economics and Energy in the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel, commented on February 26, that the German government will look carefully into this deal and will seek an explanation from Daimler. She expressed the concern that it is troublesome to see Daimler have a competitor sit in its Board of Supervisors.

(1) Sina, February 24, 2016
(2) Reuters Chinese, February 26, 2016

China’s Domestically Manufactured Mainline Aircraft C919 Acquired More Orders

China’s financial news network, A Finance, recently reported that China’s state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. (COMAC) just landed a new contract to sell 30 C919 aircraft. This new deal enabled COMAC’s C919 sales record to reach 815. COMAC is the company formed to realize China’s strategic goal of domestically designing and manufacturing mainline large-capacity commercial passenger aircraft. C919 directly competes with the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320. COMAC currently has contracts from 28 buyers globally, most of whom are Chinese organizations. The C919 project was part of a national effort to develop domestic high-end manufacturing equipment and products to compete eventually in the global high-end industrial market.

Source: A Finance, February 26, 2018

Russian Energy Expert: Power of Siberia Natural Gas Pipeline Project Was a Costly Mistake

According to an article that Radio Free Asia published, Mikhail Krutikhin, a Russian expert with 25 years of experience in the energy field, recently stated that the Power of Siberia, the natural gas pipeline under construction in Eastern Siberia, represents the complete failure of Putin’s Asia policy. Krutikhin’s comments indicated that, as Beijing is abandoning Russia as a supplier of natural gas and has turned to the U.S. for natural gas imports, the official project launch date in May of 2019, would be postponed. Even if it weren’t postponed, the total volume would be less than the original projection. Power of Siberia, which is worth US$4 billion is a natural gas project for which an agreement was signed in May 2014. Due to Beijing’s lack of trust, Putin didn’t build a pipeline that directly connected to the pipeline from China but rather built a pipeline for China that was part of the pipeline that expands around the Russia-China border connecting to Vladivostok. Unlike what was officially communicated, the current project has two pipelines. One of them has a source of natural gas which is almost depleted and the other one does not even have a customer. The timing, however, is ironic in that, just when the Siberia natural gas pipeline project was about to be completed, the U.S. succeeded in its shale oil technology and China turned to the U.S. for its natural gas, which increased its domestic natural gas supply. The article stated that, meanwhile, oil prices have continued to be weak, which means that Russia may not be able to recover its investment on this project.

Source: Radio Free Asia, February 28, 2018

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