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Open Letter Denounced Chinese Communist Party’s Accusation that Australia’s Foreign Interference Bill Is Racist

On March 27, The Epoch Times reported on a bill on foreign interference that was introduced in Australia on December 7. A week ago, a group of Chinese scholars demanded that the Australian government withdraw the bill. The group claimed that the bill is a “threat to academic freedom. … The statement that a foreign force would interfere in Australia is over-the-top and is racist. … It could create hostility toward the Chinese population.” In responding to the demand, a group of 27 scholars in Australia published an open letter stating that the fact that the Chinese Communist Party is exercising its influence in Australia is unacceptable and warned that (those making the demand) are using racism as an accusation to end the open debate about the activities that the Chinese Communist Party has been conducting in Australia. The open letter included a list of espionage activities that the Australian government needs to be aware of and stated, “In recent years the CCP’s efforts to influence and interfere in Australia have become increasingly bold, including an overt agenda to influence Chinese communities in Australia. … The CCP seeks to position itself as the protector of overseas Chinese and drive a wedge between Chinese communities and the rest of Australia. … This debate is valuable and necessary.”

The scholars who signed the response include James Leibold, Associate Professor of Politics and Asian Studies, La Trobe University; Feng, Chongyi, Associate Professor in China Studies, University of Technology, Sydney; and Kevin Carrico, Lecturer, Chinese Studies, Macquarie University.

Source: The Epoch Times &, March 27, 2018

Bank of China Double Leadership Named to Ease Conflict and Minimize Financial Risk

The Epoch Times published an article reporting that the Bank of China will have two leaders: Guo Shuqing who will be the party secretary and Vice Governor and Yi Gang who will be the Governor and deputy party secretary. Guo Shuqing is also the chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC). Guo will be in charge of human resources, party affairs and reform while Yi will be in charge of operations. Both Guo and Yi report to Liu He, Vice Premier and economic counsel to Xi Jinping. The Epoch Times reported that, since the China Securities Regulatory Commission was separated from the Bank of China in 2003, the relationship between the two has not gone well. The recent new appointment which involves having two leaders managing the Bank of China is unprecedented and is meant to minimize the conflicts that have existed between two agencies. It will also ensure that there is no overall financial risk as it is currently placed as one of the main obstacles that Xi Jinping has to face in the next three years.

Source: The Epoch Times, March 26 & 27

China’s State Grid Unable to Buy Stake in 50Hertz, a German Electricity Network

According to an article The Epoch Times published on March 23, Belgium’s Elia System Operator issued an official announcement that it has decided to buy a 20 percent stake in 50Hertz, a German Electricity Network from IFM, an Australia investment group. Elia System Operator currently has 60 percent of the ownership and will thus end up owning 80 percent of the stock while IFM will keep the other 20 percent. The article stated that the decision has officially ended China’s bid to be a potential shareholder of 50Hertz, which is one of the four transmission system operators in Germany. It plays a key role in the renewable energy field. The article reported that China’s intent to buy a 20 percent stake in 50Hertz raised serious concerns among politicians in Germany as they feared that China would gain control of Germany’s sensitive infrastructure technology. An article that Radio France Internationale published quoted a source from the German Handelsblatt Newspaper that the German Ministry of Economics even approached Elia to buy a stake in 50Hertz. This is not the first time that China State Grid failed in a foreign investment. Two years ago, the Belgium intelligence agency blocked China State Grid when it intended to buy into another Belgium Energy company, Eandis. It cited China State Grid’s close ties with the Chinese government and the Communist Party as well as concerns over maintaining customer information confidentiality. Currently China State Grid has stock ownership in electric grid companies in Portugal, Italy, and Greece.

Source: The Epoch Times & Radio France Internationale, March 24, 2018

In the Trade War, China Should be Careful about a United West

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently published an online commentary analyzing the roles played internationally in the upcoming “trade war” that U.S. President Trump started. It seems Mr. Trump’s card of steel and aluminum duty exemptions was designed to force the traditional allies to align with the U.S. position against China. Although the EU governments have not made any announcements, yet some EU media are already setting the stage for a “United West.” For example, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ, the German national daily newspaper) came out in favor of standing “shoulder to shoulder with Washington.” At the same time, Finanz und Wirtschaft (the Swiss financial newspaper published in Zurich) also published an article, pointing out that the EU faced the same “admission to market” barriers in China that the United States faced. Handelsblatt (Germany’s largest financial newspaper) published its commentary describing Trump’s trade war as “not intended to fire at Europe,” saying that the EU should find a “common ground” with the U.S. to battle China’s unfair trade tactics. Looks like the EU countries are forming their strategy based on choosing an ally. At this historic moment, shouldn’t China take some action?

Source: Sina, March 26, 2018

FT Chinese: China Asked Chinese Hackers not to Participate in Competitions

Financial Times Chinese recently reported that the Chinese government has asked Chinese hackers not to participate in global hackers’ competitions. Instead, the Chinese hackers are required to report the bugs they have discovered to China’s national security government branches or to the original technology vendors. China has been tightening up its control of technology and information. Experts expressed their belief that China wants to expand its technical intelligence “reserve.” Some said China could see the bugs as opportunities to explore back doors to systems. This recent move is in line with other new requirements, such as requiring foreign vendors to store domestically collected data locally in China. Another effect of asking the Chinese hackers not to join the global events is to ensure that some important (Chinese) technicians be absent from many international gatherings that are typically considered an important venue to root out dangerous technical vulnerabilities. Chinese hackers have discovered many known system vulnerabilities. Although the Chinese government has not publicly announced anything yet, no Chinese hacker showed up at the Black Hat global conference held in Singapore a few weeks back. This largest global hackers’ conference used to be packed with Chinese hackers.

Source: FT Chinese, March 28, 2018

China May Start Paying for Oil Imports with Chinese Yuan

Well-known Chinese news site Sohu recently reported that, based on what sources told Reuters, China may have taken the initial steps to use its own currency to pay for imported oil. Some actions may be taken as early as the second half of this year. This is a critical step on the path to RMB internationalization. The Chinese authorities have informally notified multiple financial organizations to get ready for oil transactions to be priced in Chinese yuan. China is now the world’s second largest oil consumer. In 2017, China surpassed the United States to become world’s largest oil importer. China’s demand for oil is now an important factor that determines the global price of oil. Based on the current plan, Russia and Angola could be the first two “trial sources” for China to pay in RMB. The two countries are both key suppliers for China, and both of them want to avoid settling in U.S. dollar as well. If this plan succeeds, the same rules can apply to the transactions for other natural resource imports.

Source: Sohu, March 29, 2018

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