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Yunnan Built Big Data Center for Police Force

People’s Daily reported on April 9 that, since 2018, China’s Yunnan province has been vigorously promoting the construction of big data centers for the police force. The local government has invested 514 million yuan (US$ 76.5 million) to promote border defense technology, video surveillance, vehicle checkup, facial recognition and capture, and mobile phone hotspots. With 130,000 sets of equipment, the police are able to collect 140 million records of data on a daily basis. Yunnan has built a three-dimensional smart network to monitor blind spots effectively.

The Yunnan provincial Police Department also has developed seven categories for a 25 machine learning intelligent module system, including hundreds of professional application models and more than 1,500 combat simulation tools.

Source: People’s Daily, April 10, 2019
http://paper.people.com.cn/rmrb/html/2019-04/10/nw.D110000renmrb_20190410_5-10.htm

Oracle May Close Down China Development Center

Well-known Chinese news site Sohu recently reported that the U.S. software giant Oracle is in the middle of downsizing its workforce and that the plan may include eliminating its entire China Development Center (CDC). This may impact around 1,600 staff members currently working at that Center. According to information that some Chinese staff at CDC revealed, the first phase of the layoff includes 500 people from CDC; of those, 130 to 190 are cloud computing staff. Cloud computing is the area Oracle claimed to focus on for a greater head count instead of a reduction. CDC internal staff also described that the layoff was delivered in a very “rude” way and team after team were let go in bulk. However, Oracle does not officially acknowledge the downsizing and the only public communication indicated that the company was going through a re-organization process to shift the business focus on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI).

Source: Sohu, April 5, 2019
http://www.sohu.com/a/306138940_468650

Apple Daily: The Muslim Countries Stopped Criticizing China

Major Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily recently reported that, under Beijing’s pressure, the Muslim countries have stopped criticizing China. The article questioned, “Who is there to help Xinjiang?” The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, with 57 member countries was, not long ago, still airing their concerns about the human rights conditions of Xinjiang Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities. However, that position has changed since last month. The Foreign Ministers Council passed a resolution in March praising China’s efforts to help its Muslim citizens. The resolution further expressed its expectation to deepen cooperation with China in the future. The change of position resulted in unhappiness among human rights groups. The Pakistani Prime Minister even said he was unclear about the Muslim situation in China. It appears China is mounting a lot of pressure on Islamic countries. Many of the members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation are involved in China’s One Belt One Road plan.

Source: Apple Daily, April 7, 2019
https://hk.news.appledaily.com/china/realtime/article/20190407/59458664

Global Times: The EU Should Not Be Marginalized by the U.S.

Global Times recently published an official commentary suggesting that, in the West, the United States is marginalizing the European Union. The article indicated that the combined size of the EU economy is not only larger than China’s, but also outweighs the U.S. economy. However, the EU’s international influence is far weaker than that of the U.S. and its international competitiveness is far behind the U.S. as well. It is obvious that the EU’s weakness is the result of a lack of cohesion. The EU members sometimes act on their own. How can the EU improve? First, the EU should not be “constrained” by the U.S. and it should have an independent opinion. Second, the EU has a very weak military position and it has a high dependency on U.S. military protection. The EU’s own security is like a sand castle on the beach. Third, the idea that the EU and the U.S. share the same common values is in fact not true. It is because a lot of these “values” are there to serve the U.S.’ national interests, not the EU’s. The EU has become numb due to long “U.S. rule.” In the meantime, it has become very sensitive about the rise of China. The EU should adjust its strategy and prevent itself from being lost.

Source: Global Times, March 25, 2019
http://opinion.huanqiu.com/editorial/2019-03/14607756.html?agt=15422

Chinese High-Tech Workers Launched Online Protest against Long Working Hours

A cyber campaign to protest the long working hours of Chinese high-tech employees spread rapidly on the Chinese Internet. On github.com, the campaign called “996.icu” may not be as big as it was initially, but now it is quickly spreading on the Chinese version of Twitter (Weibo), becoming a hot topic, with more than 500,000 page views of just one post.

Chinese programmers came up with an ironic name, “996.icu.” It means that if you work six days a week, from 9 am to 9 pm every day, you will end up being taken to the intensive care unit of the hospital. Although the campaign is aimed at some of China’s largest technology companies and includes a blacklist detailing employee benefits, campaign organizers have been very cautious in dealing with this issue. The campaign stated in its summary of the principles and purposes: “This is not a political movement. We firmly uphold the labor laws. We require employers to respect the legitimate rights and interests of employees.”
The Chinese Labor Law stipulates that employers can require employees to work overtime for one hour or even three hours a day, but the total overtime for one month cannot exceed 36 hours. 72 hours a week is clearly far beyond this standard. However, labor activists and lawyers point out that companies have many ways to circumvent the law.

According to “996.icu,” the 72-hour work system has been “secret” for a long time. However, more and more companies have been discussing this arrangement publicly. The “996.icu” protest movement also pointed out that e-commerce company, J.D. Com, said in March that some departments have begun to discuss the “996” or “995” work system. Other companies made similar decisions earlier this year. When JD commented on its “996” work system, it said that it was not a mandatory policy, but all employees should be fully devoted to their work.

A key goal of the anti-“996” campaign is to get employers to join the campaign and show their support for labor standards by attaching an anti-“996” license to the software. Reports indicate that this initiative has achieved some results. Next, moving activities offline (and discussing them openly) will be a huge challenge. It is also unclear how long this network movement can last in China’s strictly controlled cyberspace. Internet users have reported that some Chinese-made browsers have blocked access to “996.icu” on Github.

Chinese state media seem to support young high-tech workers and their long-term concerns. A publication in China’s official newspaper, China Youth Daily, described young science workers as being trapped by the “996” work system. The article believes that the labor inspection department should pay more active attention and arrange more intervention. The article also pointed out that today’s “996” work system is not only a problem that high-tech employees face; employees in other industries face the same problem.

Source: Voice of America, April 4, 2019
https://www.voachinese.com/a/china-tech-labor-996-20190404/4862315.html

Chairman of Three-self Church Threatened to Eliminate Western Influence

China News Agency reported that Xu Xiaohong, chairman of the China Three-Self Church, threatened to eliminate the foreign influence on churches in China. The Three-Self Church is the full name of the Chinese Christian Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee. It is politically obedient to the political leadership of the Chinese government and its ruling party. It is not subject to the management and intervention of foreign churches. It implements “autonomy, self-support, and self-promotion” and is regarded as a “Christian church with Chinese Characteristics.”

According to the Sing Tao Daily report, Xu Xiaohong, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, spoke at the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference on March 11. In his speech, Xu emphasized the elimination of the “foreign flavor” of Chinese Christianity. He criticized (Christians in China) who “receive foreign infiltration and continue to have private gathering sites.” He said that “the Western anti-China forces have attempted to subvert the Chinese regime through Christianity and (we) firmly support the country in bringing them to justice.”

Xu Xiaohong later said in an interview with Sing Tao Daily that the Qiuyu Church in Chengdu, which was banned last year, is a church that the “anti-China forces” have influenced  and that “there are more of those remaining” throughout China. According to the article, Xu Xiaohong said, “The anti-China forces in the West are attempting to continue to influence China’s social stability and even use Christianity to subvert China’s political power. It is doomed to fail. We firmly support the country to bring those to justice who use Christianity as a cover for their involvement in subverting national security.”

In December 2018, members of the Qiuyu Church in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, were arrested on a large scale. The pastor Wang Yi and his wife were accused of inciting subversion of state power. Their whereabouts are still unknown. Qiuyu Church is one of China’s well-known family churches. The Chinese government considers it illegal because it has not been officially registered.

According to statistics, more than half of China’s 60 million Protestants are worshiping in unregistered churches.

Source: China News Agency, March 12, 2019
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/acn/201903120052.aspx