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People’s Daily: U.S. Tax Cuts Provoke “Tax War”

People’s Daily published an article commenting on the U.S. tax cuts reform program. The article stated that (the purpose of) the tax cuts is to start a tax war (in the world). It said, “With U.S. tax reform, taxpayers will benefit. Who will lose? Apparently it is the U.S. federal government and other countries that will possibly be affected.”

From the perspective of other countries, the U.S. tax cuts are actually provoking a tax war. In response, some powerful countries will join the competition. They will either be competing with their tax cuts, offering benefits at the expense of their neighbors, or setting up tax havens. At present, such signs are showing in Britain, France, and other developed countries. This will not only throw the international tax order into chaos; it will also diminish the results of the anti-international tax vicious competition that the ‘tax base erosion and profit transfer (BEPS) action plan’ under the G20 and other international economic policy coordination framework previously achieved. In addition, the U.S. tax reform will directly damage the export-oriented countries that are unable to engage in tax competition.”

“Overall, even if the U.S. tax reform program passes in Congress and moves forward smoothly, it will need to work well with other countries in international tax coordination so as to prevent mutual harm and endangering the global economy.”

Source: People’s Daily, April 28, 2017

China’s Spokesperson on North Korean Ships Unloading Coal in China’s Ports

While the United Nations has passed a resolution to restrict North Korea’s coal exports, there have been reports that China allowed some North Korean ships to dock or to unload their coal in China’s ports. China’s spokesperson gave an explanation for two incidents.

Geng Shuang, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on April 26, 2017:

Question: “According to what we know, six ships carrying coal from North Korea unloaded the coal in Tangshan port last week. This seems to contradict the Chinese government’s claim that China has not imported any North Korean coal since February 18. Could you please provide more information and explanation?”

Answer: “Due to the fact that some ships that carried North Korean coal were severely short of supplies, out of humanitarian consideration, China allowed them to unload the cargo. However that was not to allow its importation. Unloading and importing are two different things.”

Huang Songping, spokesperson for China’s General Administration of Customs, on April 13, 2017:

Lianhe Zaobao news reported that it asked about 10 North Korean ships that were allowed to dock at China’s port, which made observers wonder if (it meant that) China has not enforced the UN’s embargo.

Huang said that China’s Customs did not let that North Korean coal go through the import process. “Since China’s Customs did not allow the import, how to deal with the coal involved in shipping is something that is up to companies themselves to handle.”

1. Sina, April 26, 2017
2. Lianhe Zaobao, April 14, 2017

China Consolidates 18 Armies into 13

At a news conference on April 27, Yang Yujun the Spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Defense confirmed that China consolidated 18 of its armies into 13.

The new armies are given the numbers from 71 to 83, which are brand new designations. China’s armies were named up to 70 in the past.

Consolidating the army is part of Xi Jinping’s 300,000 military cut which he announced in late 2014. He also reduced the number of military regions from seven to five.

Source: Sina, April 28, 2017

Chinese Family Pays Record Bail Amount

(In Hillsborough, California, in the United States) after Tiffany Li’s family provided a bond worth over US$70 million to bail Tiffany, 31, out while she was going through a murder trial, Tiffany Li and her family were exposed as having ties to a former top Chinese General.

Tiffany Li and her boyfriend were charged with the murder of Li’s ex-boyfriend, Keith Green, who was found dead last May. The judge granted Li’s motion for bail in the amount of US$35 million. Li’s family provided 13 real estate properties as collateral (collateral needs to be twice the required cash amount). Li was then freed on bail.

This bail amount was a record high for San Mateo County, California and ranked eighth highest bail in U.S. history ever to be posted in a state court.

People started to dig into Tiffany Li’s background. It was found that her mother Li Jihong was the sister of Li Jinai (李继耐), former People’s Liberation Army (PLA) General and Director of the PLA’s General Political Department. An unofficial report indicated that the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection had been investigating Li Jinai for corruption since August 2016.

Li Jihong, 62, immigrated to the U.S. many years ago. In 1992, she founded Top Toyo Lotus Construction Development, Inc. in the U.S. Top Toyo Lotus invested $2.4 million in a joint venture (Ji Tai Construction & Installation Company) with a military construction unit, to conduct a real estate development business in China.

Source: Duowei, April 20, 2017

Oriental Daily: Police Search ICBC’s London Branch

Popular Hong Kong newspaper Oriental Daily recently reported that British law enforcement acknowledged a search of the London branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). The search was part of an investigation of money laundering and tax evasion activities that Chinese criminal organizations had been operating. The British Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) refused to comment. ICBC refused to respond either. EU officials suspected that, since 2013, some Chinese criminal groups had illegally imported goods into EU countries via Britain. The total damage to the EU was estimated at around 42.5 billion euro (US$46.38 billion). Spanish police searched ICBC’s Madrid Branch last year. The Luxembourg authorities also searched ICBC’s EU Headquarters. ICBC ranked number one in China’s banking industry in terms of corporate loans and corporate deposits. Oriental Daily has been Hong Kong’s number one newspaper in circulation since 1976, with a record readership of over 3,100,000.

Source: Oriental Daily, April 27, 2017

LTN: 2017 Press Freedom Index Put Mainland China Near the Bottom

On April 16, major Taiwanese news media, Liberty Times Network (LTN), reported on the 2017 Press Freedom Index that Reporters Without Borders recently released. Taiwan was ranked number 45, a 6-step improvement from last year’s rank. Taiwan’s rank is now at the top of Asia. The five countries at the bottom of the global list are China, Syria, Turkmenistan, Eritrea, and North Korea. According to Reporters Without Borders, the ranking was based on assessments in multiple categories like media diversity, the degree of media independence, and reporter security. Reporters Without Borders pointed out that freedom of the press has never faced such a threatening level as it does today. Even in democratic countries, press freedom is becoming more and more fragile. Reporters Without Borders also announce that the organization is giving up on Hong Kong and decided to move its Asian branch office to Taiwan. In the 2017 report, the top five countries are Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and the Netherlands. The United States is ranked at 43 and Hong Kong is 73.

Source: Liberty Times Network, April 26, 2017

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