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BBC Chinese: Africa Begins to Say No – Sierra Leone Called off Chinese Investment Project

BBC Chinese recently reported that the West African country Sierra Leone just announced the cancellation of an airport construction project that China was to fund. The government of Sierra Leone explained that the project is “not economical.” However, the project has already begun and it is unclear if China will, at this time, ask for a fine for breaching the project contract . This is the first instance of an African country announcing the cancellation of a China One Belt One Road project. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) both warned earlier that this project may bring an unnecessary debt burden to Sierra Leone. The Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone told the press that the announcement won’t hurt the relationship between the two countries because China’s principle has always been to look for win-win arrangements. Only last month, China invited a large number of African leaders to China and announced a US$60 billion “aid” plan to Africa. China is currently the largest financial supplier to Africa. The current government of Sierra Leone was newly elected in March.

Source: BBC Chinese, October 12, 2018
https://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/simp/world-45819693

Second Season of Marx’s Theory Ideology TV Program Started on October 9

People’s Daily reported that, on October 9, Inner Mongolia Satellite TV and People’s Daily aired “Learn Now” ( 《马上学习》), which is the second season of the “Marx’s Theory is Reliable” (《马克思靠谱》) television series. The Publicity Department of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Party Committee, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences: Xi Jinping Socialist Thoughts with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era Research Center, the Inner Mongolia Radio and Television Station, and the People’s Daily all jointly produced the program. The series consists of ten episodes with each episode lasting about 45 minutes. Based on the People’s Daily article, the series started with “Marx’s great thoughts and daily stories, focused on Xi Jinping’s new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics, combined China’s stories on the essence of Marxism, revisited Marx’s lofty spirit and brilliant thoughts, and studied Xi Jinping’s thoughts in the new era which is the essence of socialist ideology with Chinese characteristic, as well as 21st century Marxism and contemporary Chinese Marxism.”

The first series called “Opening the Book Is Reasonable” was aired on May 5, 2016, Marx’s 198th Birthday. The People’s Daily article claimed that for more than two years, “Opening the Book” has been in an important position for carrying out major themes, studying and implementing Xi Jinping’s new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the key messages from the 19th Party Congress.

Source: People’s Daily, October 8, 2018
http://theory.people.com.cn/n1/2018/1008/c40531-30328580.html

Xinhua Rebuttal Commentary: Five Misconceptions in U.S. Leader’s Speech

Since Vice President Pence delivered a speech on China policy at the Hudson Institute on October 4, Xinhua has published a number of rebuttal commentaries on its website. Below is the translation of one of the Commentaries which is titled “Five Misconception in the U.S. Leaders’ Speech.”

In the past few days, the U.S. government has been expressing negative words and gestures about Sino-US relations, especially the U.S. leader’s speech on China policy, which has arbitrarily accused and maliciously attacked China from a number of viewpoints. All of sudden, the noise of the hawk’s “China Containment Policy” has intensified. The uncertainty of Sino-US relations has risen. People who are hoping that Sino-US relations will achieve long term stability are worried.

The speech of the U.S. leaders collectively reflect the “Anxiety Disorders about China” that many parties in the U.S. have displayed: from complaining about U.S. companies having a lack of “market access” in China to attacking China’s “stealing” of U.S. intellectual property rights; from blaming China for the so-called “propaganda war” to rumors that China is interfering in the U.S. midterm elections and the presidential election. … All of these false claims make people who are familiar with Sino-US relations feel that the U.S. leaders are ridiculous because they disregard the facts. They look foolish because of these unfounded counter-charges. Throughout the history and reality of Sino-US exchanges, these smear claims are simply untenable. At least they are reflected in the following five fallacies.

Fallacy 1: The U.S. leader constantly voices and emphasizes how much China has benefited from the “favors” that the U.S. has given. He claims that the rapid development of the Chinese economy in recent decades can be attributed to assistance from the U.S. He even threw out the ridiculous theory that the U.S. has “re-built China.” China’s development from an impoverished country to the world’s second largest economy relies on the hard work of hundreds of millions of Chinese people. It relies on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics; it relies on reform and opening up; and relies on mutually beneficial cooperation between China and foreign countries. Over the years, the international community has issued countless positive and objective evaluations on “China’s miracle achievement” and the U.S. has been blind to this. The U.S. claims the results from decade of the bloodshed and sweat of the Chinese people is attributable to its own glory and there is no more contradictory fact than this. There is no logic funnier than this.

Fallacy 2: The U.S. leadership constantly claims that China is continuing a so-called “military expansion.” It is a false claim because China was exercising justice to safeguard its core interests and territorial sovereignty. It is the U.S. that has repeatedly manipulated the Taiwan issue and sold firearms to Taiwan. It also uses the so-called “freedom of navigation” and frequently has broken into the territory adjacent to the South Island Reef. All these practices show the U.S.’s hegemonic mentality and arrogant stance with which it disregards the rights and the interests of other countries.

Fallacy 3: The U.S. leader constantly states that China and the U.S. need “fair trade” and complains that the U.S. has been suffering “losses.” However, they turn a blind eye to the huge profits that the American companies and people gained in the economic and trade exchanges between the two countries. Sino-US economic and trade cooperation has promoted China’s economic development and the improvement of people’s livelihood. It has also enabled the companies from the U.S. to obtain a large number of business opportunities to invest in and to enter the Chinese market. It has played an important role in US economic growth, consumer welfare, and economic structural upgrading. The rendering of the theory that “the U.S. is suffering a loss” is more about playing dumb and concealing the essence of the mutual benefit between China and the U.S.’ trade exchange.

Fallacy 4: The US leadership has constantly questioned China’s reform and opening up, but has turned a blind eye to China’s efforts and actions to comprehensively deepen reforms and expand openness. For a period of time, there were efforts to streamline administration, delegate powers, and improve regulations and services; reduce taxes and fees on companies; speed up the implementation of the “negative list system,” loosen up market access, and reduce tariffs. … Even if the external environment changes, China will still follow its own plan and pace and firmly promote opening up and reform efforts. China’s recent series of measures to deepen reform and opening up have fully proven China’s determination and sincerity in promoting the cause of reform and opening up. The door to China’s opening up will not be closed, but will only open even more than before.

Fallacy 5: The US leader constantly accused China of “exercising its influence” in the U.S. and attempting to “interfere” in U.S. elections, but it does not talk about how, under the U.S. law, foreign countries can purchase media advertisements or television time. While flaunting the so-called freedom of the press, they are worried that the American people will gain more understanding from the truth. More importantly, China has always adhered to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, and is unwilling and uninterested in interfering in the “domestic affairs” of the U.S. Even U.S. Homeland Security Minister Nelson and the New York Times and Wall Street Journal and other mainstream U.S. media have admitted that the U.S. has no real evidence of China’s involvement in the interference in elections.

At the end of the speech, the U.S. leader said that he hoped that Sino-US relations would be “based on fairness, reciprocity, and respect for sovereignty,” but forgot that his entire speech was almost a deviation from this statement. It should be noted that behind the recent intensive U.S.’ criticism of China, it is the U.S. that feels uncomfortable with China’s rapid development, the current international power structure, and the evolution of the international platform. Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said recently that in dealing with China, the Trump administration “thinks too little about diplomatic relations and thinks too much about hostile relations.” This trend has caused deep concern in the international community.

Sino-US relations are one of the most important bilateral relations in the world today. China has always been committed to working with the U.S. to uphold the concepts of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect, Win—Win Cooperation, and to enhance mutual trust, expand cooperation, control differences, and safeguard the healthy and stable development of Sino-US relations. U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo said during his recent visit to China that he is looking forward to establishing a “constructive, results-oriented” bilateral relationship with China. However, it must be made clear that this “result” should not be a result that is unilaterally designated by the U.S., but only the result of joint consultation and mutual recognition between China and the U.S.

Next year is the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the U.S. The development history of the past 40 years has repeatedly proven that a good relationship between China and the U.S. will benefit both countries. The U.S. should objectively and rationally view the reality of China’s peaceful development, respect the development path that the Chinese people have chosen, and abandon the mentality that the U.S. is the “savior” and stop the wrong practice of rejecting or accusing China. The U.S. should work with China towards the same goal and make the due efforts of big countries for the common well-being of the two countries and the people of the world.

Source: Xinhua, October 12, 2018
http://www.xinhuanet.com/2018-10/12/c_1123551875.htm

Scholar Disciplined for Encouraging Independent Personality

On Friday October 13, the university’s Party committee disciplined  Zhao Siyun, deputy dean at the School of Liberal Arts of Communication at the University of Zhejiang, also known as Zhejiang University of Media and Communications (ZUMC), with a “severe warning,” for mentioning the social responsibility of citizens and intellectuals in his speech at the commencement ceremony.

According to the disciplinary decision from the ZUMC Party committee, Zhao Siyun’s commencement speech at the College of Liberal Arts on September 30 contained inappropriate words. In addition, between 2013 and 2015, Zhao reposted and made “wrong statements” that had a negative impact.

At the welcoming ceremony for new students on September 30, Zhao Siyun delivered a speech in which he encouraged the students to embrace an independent personality. He also inspired qualities such as self-discipline, self-respect, human dignity, critical thinking and a moral obligation, and called for the students to shoulder responsibility for the country and the nation. Zhao later posted the speech to his personal blog on his WeChat account. On October 8, a local newspaper Qianjiang Evening News also carried the article.

In recent years, China has continued to cleanse colleges and universities under a left-wing ideology. So far, several scholars including Yang Shaozheng from Guizhou University and Tan Song from Chongqing Normal University have been expelled from school. Since the beginning of this year, students have reported several college teachers who were punished for delivering speeches that were out of line.

Source: Radio Free Asia, October 12, 2018
https://www.rfa.org/cantonese/news/university-10122018071015.html

Two Chinese Officials Plagiarized Speeches “Clashed” at a Meeting

According to a local government newspaper, Jiangxi Daily, on October 11, when an inspection team from the Guangchang County Party Committee was meeting with the county’s Party History Office and the Housing Management Bureau, the speech delivered by the Party chief of the Party History Office sounded almost exactly the same as that of the Party chief of the Housing Management Bureau. Both officials’ speeches were stopped on the spot.

A comparison of the wording that the two officials submitted showed that they were “perfectly identical,” except for a difference in the titles and the names of the office. As a matter of fact, the two officials’ speeches were copied from the Internet and were not original works by themselves. Unexpectedly, these two almost identical speeches “clashed” at the same meeting.

This was not an isolated case. Three officials’ speeches from another area, Zixi County in Jiangxi Province were also exposed as having been copied from the Internet.

Recently, the Zixi County government was conducting a series of interviews with county level Party officials for a performance review and anti-corruption investigation. Every official was required to make statements on their job performance. It was found that many paragraphs in the statements that the lower-level township, County Urban Management Bureau, and the County Traffic Police Brigade gave were both very similar.

Some overseas observers commented that many officials will hire other people to write their reports, and then read them in public. Even the officials do not know how much content is true and how much is fiction.

Source: Jiangxi Daily, October 11, 2018
http://www.jxnews.com.cn/jxrb/system/2018/10/11/017160395.shtml

Rejecting Corruption from China, Maldives to Abort “Belt and Road” Projects

Maldives, a tropical nation in the Indian Ocean, has just had a presidential election. With a looming sentiment to get rid of China’s control, the new government is about to cancel the “Belt and Road” projects that China has promoted, just like the Malaysian government.

According to an October 9 report in the Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun, Maldives’ general election took place in September 2018. The pro-China leader Abdulla Yameen stepped down; Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, a politician in favor of cooperation with India, gained support from the opposition and won an overwhelming victory. The election shows a strong nationwide mentality of rejecting China.

In fact, the increasingly corrupt politics that was due to the close ties between Yameen and China pushed the Maldivian people to the limit.

Twice after Yameen was elected as president in 2013 and consolidated his power, he arrested former president Maumoon Gayoom in the name of a “state of emergency,” while suppressing the opposition in the country. The media criticized that Yameen while supporting the Chinese government, learned how not to allow the opposition to speak.

After the election, Yameen was found to have engaged in corruption. In many countries, this has become a common phenomenon for local ruling personnel who got involved in “Belt and Road” projects.

News also emerged that Yameen received $1.5 million in bribes before the election; those who committed the bribery are still unknown. However, the fact that China’s “Belt and Road” projects could go on unimpeded in the Maldives is closely related to Yameen’s having given a green light all the way.

In addition to corruption, being too close to the Chinese government is also a major cause of public dissatisfaction. In the years under Yameen, massive Chinese infrastructure projects were launched. For the Maldives airport expansion project alone, the investment amounted to $830 million. Another project that connects the airport to the sea crossing bridge also cost $200 million. Maldives ended up having deep financial problems.

As of the present time, the Yameen administration has brought Maldives financial liabilities of $1.4 billion, accounting for one-third of the country’s GDP. Seventy-five percent of the debt was generated from the “Belt and Road” projects.

Solih will take office in November 2018. It is widely expected that he will implement a new policy of getting rid of China’s influence, but the huge debt makes the prospect of abandoning the “Belt and Road” project unclear. Leasing individual ports to China, like what Sri Lanka did, may be the last resort.

Solih’s campaign slogan, however, was against Yameen’s China policy and won him public support. How to get rid of China’s huge influence will be a test for Maldives’ new government.

Source: Duowei News, October 9, 2018
http://news.dwnews.com/global/news/2018-10-09/60089553.html

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