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Duowei: Chinese Arms Sales in Thailand Harbor Beijing’s Geo-Strategy

As an important neighbor of China, Thailand has purchased a variety of weapons and equipment from China, including the S-26 conventional submarine, VN-1 eight armored combat vehicles, Kashi-1C air defense missiles, guards-1B long-range rockets and more. On April 4, Thailand decided to purchase 10 more China VT-4 main battle tanks. It is less than a year since the last time Thailand bought China’s main battle tanks. In fact, not long ago, Bangkok, to a large extent, still chose to buy defense equipment from the United States and its Western allies.

China’s arms sales to this U.S. ally, Thailand, is intended to convey its strategic intentions to the United States: It is important for China to maintain the stability of the surrounding areas, including the stability of the South China Sea. China’s arms sales to Thailand cannot fundamentally change America’s Asia-Pacific policy, but such sales can be used as a means to show China’s attitude towards U.S. Asia-Pacific policy. Its political significance is far greater than its economic and military significance.

China’s military exchanges with Thailand, as well as with other countries and regions at different levels also show the outside world that China has the intention to bear more responsibility to maintain regional security.

The China-Philippines Scarborough Shoal incident, the Sino-Japanese Diaoyu Islands conflict, the China and South Korea “THAAD” dispute, and the Sino-U.S. “freedom of navigation” incident in the South China Sea all have made China’s peripheral security situation deteriorate. The United States’ shadow in these events was everywhere. In the military field, although China has made progress, the gap between the two countries is still very big. In order to encourage the United States to accept China’s rise, it is not enough to stay at the level of being firm strategically. Perhaps more and more intensive arms trades will show that China’s desire to play a more leading role in regional security is not only at the stage of having the idea, but has been put into action.

Source: Duowei, April 5, 2017

Duowei News: More Shakeups in Financial Industry Expected Prior to 19th Congress

Duowei News published an article reporting that, on April 9, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection took down two senior officials in the financial industry due to corruption charges: Xiang Junbo, Chairman of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission and Li Changjun, director of the Beijing branch of the Export–Import Bank of China. According to the article, the move is an indication that Beijing has reached its limit in dealing with financial disasters that have taken place in the past and which have caused quite an embarrassment. It has determined that, prior to the upcoming 19th National Congress, it will shake up the financial industry to ensure that it “maintains the same understanding as the Central Administration.” The article stated that the Chinese official media praised the Party’s determination in its anti-corruption effort. The Hong Kong media, however, indicated that these two individuals were targeted because it was their “inside job” in the financial industry which caused a number of financial disasters over the past years: the stock market crash in 2015 and the battle between Vanke and Baoneng over stock ownership in 2016. The article further explained that, “The analysis shows that reforming the Chinese financial market is no less complex than unifying ideology within the Party or reforming the military… it is expected that Beijing will launch an anti-corruption effort on an even larger scale to eliminate completely any inside dealings that are contrary to its direction.”

Source: Duowei News, April 10, 2017

Statistics Show More Party Officials Committed Suicide after 18th National Congress

Radio Free Asia carried an article which quoted statistics from Lianhe Zaobao a Singapore based Chinese language newspaper. The article pointed out that the number of Chinese Party officials who committed suicide grew significantly in 2014, which was the third year after the Party’s 18th National Congress held in October 2012. The article reported that, according to the statistics that the Chinese Academy of Sciences released, from 2009 to 2016, the number of Party officials who committed suicide was as follows: 21, 25, 22, 17, 10, 59, 50, and 39. While the article pointed out that in 2013, the second year following the party’s 18th National Congress, the number dropped to 10, it grew five times to 59 in 2014. Even though the number has decreased since 2014, it was still significantly higher than the numbers before 2012. Reports indicate that the corruption scandal and inadequate personal ability are blamed as the main cause for the stress which led to depression. The most common suicide choice was jumping off buildings.

Source: Radio Free Asia, April 10, 2017

Xinhua: Citizens Who Report Tips on Spying Activities Will Receive a Monetary Award

Xinhua reported that, on April 10, the Beijing Public Security Bureau issued a notice which announced that it will issue a 100,000 to 200,000 yuan (US$14,485 to $28,971) award to any citizens who provide tips that will prevent spying activities that endanger China’s security. The notice listed a number of ways to report the tips, including telephone and mail. It also stated that the Public Security Bureau will ensure the confidentiality of those who provide tips while providing protective measures for those who might face risks to their personal safety. The notice also advised that those who provide fake or false information that endangers the safety of other individuals will be subject to legal responsibility.

Source: Xinhua, April 10, 2017

SPIC: Still Evaluating Westinghouse’s Bankruptcy

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that the Chairman of China’s State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC) visited Japan and had a discussion with its parent company Toshiba about the future of Westinghouse. He told the media that SPIC was still evaluating Westinghouse’s ownership structure. SPIC has not yet made a decision on whether to acquire it. China’s third generation nuclear power plants use Westinghouse’s AP1000 nuclear technology. Based on U.S. media reports, the Trump administration has been very much concerned about the potential possibility of Chinese capital acquiring Westinghouse. Westinghouse, with its 130 years’ history, is widely recognized in the world as the original inventor of nuclear power generation. SPIC paid a lot of attention to Westinghouse’s bankruptcy before it was even filed. SPIC said the restructure of Westinghouse should not concern the U.S. government, since it has already been sold several times previously. However, sources revealed that the U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry has taken actions to seek the elimination of any Chinese connection among the potential buyers. Westinghouse owns a large number of military technologies as well.

Source: Sina, April 8, 2017

Global Times: India Could Be the Winner in the Trade War between China and the U.S.

Global Times recently reported that the anticipated trade war between China and the United States has been discussed around the world as the source for warnings of global economic risks. However, India may have a different opinion. Some members of India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National Executive Committee recently expressed the belief that the U.S. threats to punish Chinese manufacturers may result in China’s need for India’s large domestic market. China’s need to maintain growth can actually provide India a new leverage to play in the regional strategic balance. China’s manufacturing advantage depends on large export markets. Since the United States may no long be there for China, the largest market in Asia for exports is India. In fact, in its relations with both China and the United States, India’s large domestic market can be an advantage. It seems a United States under protectionism can create more trouble for China than for India.

Source: Global Times, April 8, 2017

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