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China’s Vaccine Crisis: Over 100 Children Administered with Expired Vaccines

According to Chinese media, in the past month, at a health center in Jinhu County, Jiangsu Province, 145 infants and young children were vaccinated with an expired polio vaccine. After vaccination, a number of children developed adverse reactions. The batch number of the vaccines was 201612158 and was valid only until December 11, 2018. However, until one month after the expiration date, infants were still being administered the batch of polio vaccine.

One child’s mother said that, after her child was vaccinated, the child’s “fever ran as high as 39 degrees (Celsius) for half a month, together with coughing, catching a cold, and mild vomiting.” Other parents said that children showed rashes, a high fever, and other symptoms.

On January 10, the County authorities dismissed the responsible persons, including the deputy director of the local center for disease control, and launched an investigation into five of the medical staff.

The batch in which the polio vaccine in question was involved is a bivalent oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV), commonly known as “small sugar pill,” which is a free vaccine that China provides.

Since 1978, China has gradually implemented the “National Immunization Program” to determine vaccine varieties and programs according to different provinces and regions and to administer vaccinations among the population. At present, China provides free vaccinations for first class vaccines such as polio, hepatitis B, and DTP across the country. Hepatitis A, chickenpox, and rabies vaccines are second-class paid vaccines.

However, whether free or paid vaccines, there have been repeated safety incidents in China. Only six months before this incident, in July of last year, Chinese vaccine giant Changchun Changsheng was exposed over a fraud scandal involving the rabies vaccine.

In March 2016, in Shandong, 25 kinds of vaccines for children and adults were sold to 24 provinces and cities without the use of strict cold chain storage and transportation.

In March 2010, nearly 100 children in Shanxi either died or were disabled after vaccinations, causing widespread concern.

Source: BBC Chinese Channel, January 11, 2019
https://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/simp/chinese-news-46834106

Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan Residents Must “Support the Communist Party” to Be a Teacher in the Mainland

On January 10, China’s Ministry of Education, Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office and the Taiwanese Affairs Office issued a joint notice to approve Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwanese to apply for primary and secondary school teaching positions in the Mainland, and allow them to work in schools in the Mainland. However, the notice listed a series of requirements: “support the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party,” “adhere to the direction of socialist education,” and “implement the party’s educational policy.”

Bruce Lui, a senior lecturer at the Hong Kong Baptist University, said that the measures exemplified the united front work to win over the education sector in Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. Some international schools in the mainland love to hire Hong Kong teachers who speak better English. Hong Kong people have worked in universities and higher education institutions in the Mainland for many years, but the authorities did not previously have the above political requirements for them. “These demands are undoubtedly asking Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan people who are teaching in primary and secondary schools in the Mainland to listen to the party and follow the party. These go against the principles of the education of each independent personality and of free thinking.”

Source: China News Service, January 10, 2019
http://www.chinanews.com/gn/2019/01-10/8725384.shtml

Two Chinese Netizens Punished for Using VPN

China uses the Great Firewall to shield (its Netizens) from foreign websites. As a result, a large population of Chinese people use circumvention technologies to connect to the rest of the world. One of them is the Virtual Private Network (VPN), which extends a private network across a public network and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network.

On January 4, a resident in Shaoguan City, Guangdong Province, was charged with “creating and using illegal channels to connect to the  international network without authorization” and was fined 1,000 Yuan (US$ 148). A police “Administrative Penalty Decision” was spread online, showing that during the period from August to December 2018, the offender installed the Lantern Pro application on his mobile phone, connected to the broadband network at home to circumvent the Internet blockade, and logged on 487 times in the week before the punishment. Around the same time, another netizen in Chongqing received a notice form local police for the same charge.

Jyh An Lee, a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said this is the not first case of punishment. Since 2017, there have been a number of such stories.

According to Article 6 of the Interim Provisions on the Administration of International Network Management of the Computer Information Network of the People’s Republic of China (hereinafter referred to as the “Interim Provisions”), “To carry out international networking of computer information, the output and input channels that the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications provides in its public telecommunication network shall be used. No unit or individual may establish or use other channels for international networking. The public security organ may give a warning to those who violate this regulation and impose a fine of up to 15,000 yuan.

On January 22, 2017, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued a notice and decided to inspect the network infrastructure, network address, and broadband access network resources from the same day to March 31, 2018.

On July 1, 2017, GreenVPN, a brand name VPN service provider with a large number of users, stopped service. Later, more VPN service providers terminated their operations at the request of the regulatory authorities, including Tianhang VPN and Cloud Wall VPN. In 2017, Apple took down 674 VPN applications in the China Store app using the excuse that it was breaking Chinese law.

Lee said that the only legal channel to connect to overseas servers is through the three major telecom operators (China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom). Other forms of connection are illegal channels according to the “Interim Regulations.”

Lee added that the Chinese authorities used to technically block IP and it has now begun to enforce it legally.

According to conservative estimates, there are currently 20 to 30 million Chinese Internet users using VPN. Lee said that, for such a large population, the measures that the authorities take are selectively enforcement and depend upon the behavior’s impact on the government and the extent to which the government feels sensitive.

Source: BBC Chinese, January 10, 2019
https://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/simp/chinese-news-46823319

China Tightened Regulations for Online Short Video Platforms

On January 9, 2019, China Netcasting Services Association (CNSA), a government-led industrial association, issued regulations to cover online short video platforms.

According to The Paper, a mainland news portal, the regulations require the platforms to be proactive in introducing mainstream news media and institutions such as the communist party, the government, and military organizations. The purpose is to open accounts to “improve the supply of positive and quality short video contents.” The content layout is required to focus on promoting the “core values of socialism.”

It also requires that the short video platforms establish a system of editorial responsibility for the contents. All short video and audio broadcasts on the platforms “should be reviewed before broadcasting, including the title of the program, the introductory section, bullet screens, and comments.”

According to the regulation, the platform should “establish a team of auditors with high political quality and professional competence.” The provincial or higher level radio and television administrative authorities should train the auditors and the number of auditors should match the number of short video programs uploaded and streamed. In principle, the number of auditors should be more than one-thousandth of the daily number of new short video and audio broadcasts on the platforms.

Source: Central News Agency, January 9, 2019
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/acn/201901090316.aspx

1.73 Million Corruption Cases of Party Members and Cadres in 2018

According to a Chinese government website, in 2018, the national disciplinary and supervision agencies received a total of 3.44 million complaints and reports, and 16.67 million different leads. The authorities have conducted 341,000 interviews, placed 638,000 cases on record, and punished 621,000 officials (including 526,000 who received party disciplinary measures). Among these officials, there were 51 at the provincial and ministerial levels, 3,500 at the bureau level, 26,000 at the county and department levels, 91,000 at the village and branch levels, and 500,000 at lower levels or who were with nongovernmental organizations.

The discipline inspection and supervision organs also were severe in investigating public servants (both officials and nonofficial) who violated party discipline last year, handling a total of 1.73 million cases.

Source: Radio France International, January 9, 2019
http://rfi.my/3XpP.T

PLA Strategist: What Is the Sino-US Trade War?

Luo Yuan, a Rear Admiral and military strategist for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), gave a speech recently on the Sino-US Trade War, analyzing it from the angle of China’s national strategy, why it happened, and how China should respond to it.

Luo’s speech was in three parts: What is it, why did it happen, and how to deal with it? The following are his main points:

What is it?

The U.S. has recently made six strategy changes: One, “America First” is officially a part of its national security strategy. Two, the U.S. has taken China as its number one threat and main competitor. Three, the Trump administration has adopted a “competition strategy” instead of Obama’s “engagement strategy.” Four, the U.S. has been following the “Indo-Pacific” strategy instead of the “Asia-Pacific Rebalance” strategy. Five, the Trump administration uses “Rebuilding America’s Military” strategy to replace the automatic reduction approach. Six, the U.S. has changed its nuclear weapons strategy.

Therefore, the trade war between China and U.S. is not a simple trade conflict but rather a major strategic issue, due to the U.S. national strategy change.

Why did it happen?

Luo said that he has had many discussions with other Chinese experts and concluded that the entire U.S., from top to bottom, has some strategic worries about China: One, China is likely to surpass the U.S. in GDP output someday. Two, China’s socialist model will surpass the U.S. model which is based on free, capitalist-styled competition. Thus, the Americans are concerned about the ideology and system rules. The Sino-U.S. trade war is the competition for national interest, system structure, and ideology.

How to respond?

One school of thought is for China to go back to the previous taking-a-low-profile approach. However, Luo argued that this won’t work any longer. The U.S. is demanding a full opening up, including the Internet. Luo warned that the communist party won’t be able to protect its ideology if the Internet is fully open.

The second school of though is to fight back. Luo argued that the symmetric counterattack approach (if the U.S. imposes tariffs on US $50 Billion worth of goods and if China imposes tariffs on an equal amount) will not work for China. He advocated the asymmetric counterattack, that is, to attack the enemy’s weak points.

Luo further stated that it may not be easy to find the U.S.’ weak points, but it can start from the U.S.’ strong points. Once China breaks the U.S.’ strong areas, the U.S.’s weak areas will be exposed. Luo listed the five strong areas of the U.S. and China’s counter measures:

  • One, a strong military power. China can increase military spending and develop its own killer weapons. The U.S. has 11 aircraft carriers. China does not need to match that number to compete with it. Instead, China can use its missiles to sink one or two, which will totally change the game play.
  • Two, the US dollar’s dominance in international trading. China should make the renminbi an international currency.
  • Three, a great pool of talent. China should develop its own high-tech industries.
  • Four, a vote-based system. China can target U.S. politicians’ voter bases by restricting the import of certain goods produced in some particular regions. There are three product lines in which China can have a good leverage: soil beans, cars, and airplanes.
  • Five, creating an enemy to keep itself strong. Since the U.S. takes China as its enemy, China can just be an “enemy” that it cannot defeat. China should also make more and more friends so as to leave the U.S. with fewer and fewer allies.

Source: Kunlunce.com, December 24, 2018
http://www.kunlunce.com/gcjy/quanqiuzhanlue/2018-12-24/130131.html