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Huanqiu: 14 African Countries to Include the RMB as a Reserve Currency

Huanqiu reported that, according to a statement that MEFMI (Macroeconomic and Financial Management Institute of Eastern and Southern Africa) issued, on May 29 and 30, during a forum held in Harare, capital of Zimbabwe, 17 officials from the central bank and government of 14 Africa countries were going to discuss the feasibility of using the RMB (Chinese Yuan) as a reserve currency. The spokesperson of MEFMI said that China has become the largest trading partner for more than 130 countries and regions. Most of the MEFMI members received loans or donations from China; therefore using the RMB for repayment was economically significant. The Huanqiu article also quoted reports from Reuters that China’s strategic goal is to make the RMB the world’s major foreign reserve currency and to help increase foreign investors’ purchases of Chinese bonds and stocks. Earlier this year several central banks in European countries made the RMB part of their foreign reserve. According to the Huanqiu article, over 60 countries and regions have included the RMB as their reserve currency.

Source: Huanqiu, May 30, 2018
https://3w.huanqiu.com/a/a-XDHTCG28521A4D935603B3?agt=11

VOA: Tibetan Monk’s Testimony Describes Torture and Sexual Abuse Inside a “Re-education Camp”

In the same week that the U.S. State Department issued the “International Religious Freedom Report for 2017,” VOA published an article reporting that the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy published the testimony of a Tibetan monk who, for four months, had been forced to take the “patriotism” and “legal education” training in a “political re-education center” in Tibet. The monk’s testimony recounted that what went on behind the hidden walls included torture and sexual abuse. According to the monk, those who had to attend the center had to buy their uniforms with their own money. Just like the rest of the participants, the monk had to acknowledge that he believed in the Communist Party. They all had to sing red songs and deliver a “self-criticism” speech in front of each other. The political re-education training included courses to learn mandarin and the law, but the majority of the contents was material that defamed the Dalai Lama. Those who attended had to take military training during the day and participate in meetings organized in the “Cultural Revolution” style at night. If the elderly nuns or monks were late or missed an activity, they were beaten. Sexual abuse of the nuns was common. Other inhuman treatment included forcing them to eat stale food, collective punishment, deprivation of food and sleep, and beating them with electric batons.

Source: Voice of America, June 1, 2018
https://www.voachinese.com/a/tibetan-monks-torture-sexual-abuse-china-reeducation-center-20180601/4420431.html

Apple Daily: China’s Vice Premier Liu He and His Negotiation Position

Major Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily recently published an analysis which senior Chinese journalist Lu Yue authored on China’s Vice Premier Liu He and his position on trade. Liu is currently the Special Envoy of President Xi Jinping and China’s Chief Negotiator for trade negotiations with the United States. Liu was a two-time student (1994 and 2002) at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he obtained his Master’s degree in Public Administration. Liu was also Xi’s economic adviser for ten years when Xi was the government official in Fujian Province. This background gives Liu the unquestionable justification to take the lead position in the on-going US-China trade negotiation. In the Chinese leadership domain, he is regarded as “half a Standing Committee Member” of the Communist Party’s Politburo.

In the current “trade war” with the United States, China’s top leadership did not step out and make any direct comment on any tactics. The ones making noise are the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Commerce, Customs, and the Chinese media. A careful examination reveals that not all of these entities are in the domain that reports to Liu. Liu is essentially against taking on a full-blown trade war with the U.S. because it might result in a loss that could trigger a total collapse of the Chinese economy. Liu built his judgment on three factors: First is the fact that China did not fulfill the promises it made to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Second, China can sustain the trade war only to US$150 billion, which is the total amount that China imports from the U.S. The third factor is that the United States can find a substitute elsewhere for all goods that the U.S. imports from China, while most of the goods that China imports from the U.S. are critical at the life-line level. This is especially so in the high-tech product category. China, as an information society, may cease to function if the U.S. expands its export ban on ZTE to all Chinese buyers. It would be a better situation for China to accept Trump’s conditions and then use those as a driver to push much needed internal reforms.

Liu’s current negotiation strategy is “overall compromise coupled with partial discussions.” He is extremely good at working out convincing details in the numbers, which was the reason his 15-minute meeting with Trump got extended to 45 minutes. As an example, Liu offered US$60 billion worth of agricultural purchases when the U.S “ask price” was US$30 billion. China’s refusal to commit to $200 billion in trade deficit reduction was largely a PR show.

Source: Apple Daily, May 31, 2018
https://hk.news.appledaily.com/local/daily/article/20180531/20406367

Xinhua: We Must Keep the Alarm on after the ZTE Shock

Xinhua published an article on its WeChat Official Account discussing the lesson learned from the ZTE incident after the U.S. Department of Commerce issued the notice on May 25, 2018, regarding the lifting of the ban on ZTE’s sales. Below is an excerpt from the article:

ZTE escaped the disaster, but the Americans almost stripped it alive by taking off one layer of its skin. The hard-earned money that ZTE made over the past few years was all made for the Americans. The lesson is very, very painful. The lesson is at least three-fold:

First, Chinese companies cannot have the slightest mentality of taking chances. In particular, in some countries, politicians have already made Chinese companies their special targets. If they try to take all kinds of chances, sometimes they don’t even know how they became dead.

Second, there is no line that the United States won’t cross today. To be fair, ZTE committed some wrongdoings, but were they absolutely worth the death penalty? However, the United States killed it with one strike. Its intention is self-evident. This also helped the world to poke through an illusion. In the past, it was always thought that the United States would not be unreasonable to the point of wiping the opponent out, similar to the practice of “trade terrorism.” However, the reality is cruel. There is nothing that the United States will care not to break. Fair trade? Fundamental principles? Everything can be thrown out of the window.

Third, it is still the word: core technology, core technology, and core technology.

Although ZTE escaped the disaster, it is believed that the psychological shock brought to the Chinese people is still quite far-reaching. We must be clear-headed. In many areas, we have indeed achieved amazing results. We must also know that, in some areas, we still have a big gap.

Especially in the area of core technology, Chinese leaders warned that core technology is the country’s most important device. If a house is built on someone else’s foundation, it may not be able to survive storms. The core technology under other people’s control is our biggest hidden danger.

The last point in particular means we must keep the alarm on!

This point, we must remember that knowing shame is akin to courage!

We must also thank the Americans for reminding us of this point!

Source: Xinhua, May 26, 2018
http://www.xinhuanet.com/world/2018-05/26/c_1122892029.htm

Quotes from Xi Jinping’s Speech at the 2018 Meeting of Academicians from the Chinese Academy of Sciences

On May 28, 2018, the 19th Meeting of Academicians from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the 14th Meeting of Academicians from the Chinese Academy of Engineering were held in Beijing, where Chinese President Xi Jinping gave a speech. Xi’s major points (dubbed as golden quotations) were summarized in the Forum of Powerful Nations section of the People’s Daily website. Below are the first six quotations.

1. For China to flourish and rejuvenate, we must vigorously develop science and technology and strive to become the world’s major scientific center and innovative high ground.

2. The situation is pressing, the challenges are pressing, and the mission is compelling. The majority of scientific and technological workers in our country must grasp the general trend, seize the first-mover advantage, face the problems and difficulties, aim for the cutting edge in science and technology in the world, and lead the direction of technological development.

3. We must soberly realize that some historical intersections may have resonance with each other, and some historical intersections may pass us by.

4. Practice has repeatedly told us that we cannot expect to acquire the critical core technology through request, purchase, or begging.

5. (We should) make great efforts in the key areas and areas that have high barriers, gather elite forces, and make strategic arrangements to make breakthroughs as soon as possible.

6. (We should) take the key common technology, leading-edge technology, modern engineering technology, and disruptive technological innovation as breakthrough points and strive to be able to own and control the critical core technologies so that we can firmly hold the controlling power over innovation and development in our own hands.

Sources:
1. Sina, May 29, 2018,
https://news.sina.cn/2018-05-29/detail-ihcffhsu8968435.d.html?vt=4&pos=108&his=0
2. Xinhua, May 28, 2018,
http://www.xinhuanet.com/politics/2018-05/28/c_1122901308.htm

RFA: Beijing Legal Evening News Went Through Internal Personnel Shakeup

Radio Free Asia reported that, after its new publisher took office in January, Beijing Legal Evening News went through an internal personnel shakeup. It closed its “In Depth News” division which resulted in losing four of its reporters. According to an anonymous source, over 40 news editors and reporters resigned to protest the internal personnel cleanup. It drove the internal workforce to shrink drastically and its original news coverage decreased as well. The new Publisher only has an accounting background in his previous role with Beijing Youth Daily and has no experience in running a news media. According to the article, in the past few years and before the loss of personnel, Beijing Legal Evening News had published a number of in depth coverage articles that gained widespread public attention. Some reporters complained that the loss of personnel would result in the loss of a large number of its readers.

Source: Radio Free Asia, May 29, 2018
https://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/meiti/ql1-05292018102708.html

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