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Hong Kong Government: School Libraries Can’t Have Books that Violate National Security Laws

Hong Kong’s Education Secretary Kevin Yeung said that local school libraries cannot have books that violate the National Security Laws.

At an event, a reporter asked about some local secondary schools that used “self-censorship” and removed some books from the library. He wondered whether the authorities have a regulation for providing library collections to secondary schools and how the terms of the national security law apply. Yeung said that as part of the implementation of the National Security Law, schools have the responsibility to ensure that their libraries do not contain books that are harmful to national security. Yeung added, “Books, like textbooks, can influence the ideas or thoughts of young students.”

He said that after the implementation of the National Security Law, schools cannot allow any incident that endangers national security, and that the National Security Law also mentions the responsibility of schools to promote national security education.

Source: Central News Agency, June 6, 2022

China’s Shenzhen and Many Other Wealthy Cities and Provinces Will Cut Salaries While Foreclosures on Houses Soar

According to several mainland media reports in May, Shenzhen, the richest city of China, is facing a second wave of significant salary cuts for civil servants. The annual salaries will be reduced to less than 160,000 yuan a 36 percent drop (6.65 Chinese yuan = 1.0 US $). Last year, (2021) the salary was down to 250.000 yuan from the original amount of 300,000 yuan. Many foreclosed house will instantly appear in the Shenzhen property market.

On May 26, a netizen who is a first-level Chinese teacher in Shenzhen Middle School posted,  “Our company asked each of us to fill out a form this morning that we would, in principle, voluntarily reduce our wages.”

Not only Shenzhen, but many other of China’s wealthiest cities and Provinces in China also had already implemented a salary cut plan for civil service positions in 2021. The hearts of government officials have begun to fluctuate. Especially since last December, civil servants in Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Guangdong, Fujian, Shanghai and other provinces and cities have successively received notices of salary reductions, with a drop of about 20 to 30 percent.

The current wave of salary cuts is not only for civil servants, but also for teachers and other positions within the system. In addition, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Qingdao and other coastal cities within the system have also reduced salaries. This wave of pay cuts are universal, and the higher the income, the greater the reduction.

Due to the extreme COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control measures, China’s economy has suffered a sharp downturn and the finances are tight. The epidemic prevention has lasted for several years and most enterprises have stopped production. Therefore, they will report the loss of production, and they will not pay taxes. Real estate is also all but dead.

The COVID-19 epidemic has caused sluggish consumption, disrupted supply chains, and has had a huge impact on both production and demand, which has been reflected in finances. In April 2022, the national fiscal revenue was about 1.2 trillion yuan, a sharp drop of 41.3 percent from the same period last year. Among them, tax revenue fell sharply by 47.3 percent year-on-year.

The fiscal revenue has decreased by a large amount, and the epidemic prevention funds have increased by a large amount, so the government must reduce expenditures. The massive pay cuts have not only caused turmoil in the hearts of the people, but also highlighted the sluggishness of China’s economy. The closely related effect of salary reductions suggests a wave of mortgage breaks is coming! At the beginning of 2022, 200,000 homeowners abandoned their houses and stopped paying their mortgages.

There were 9,000 foreclosed homes in 2017. By the end of 2021, the total number of foreclosed homes has soared to 1.68 million.

Real estate is deeply tied to the economy and household wealth, and the resulting financial risks are growing. A downturn in the economy, lower personal incomes or job losses make it a desperate choice for those who have a mortgage. Should they abandon a home and cut off mortgage payments?

The massive wave of salary cuts in Shenzhen and Shanghai, the regions with the highest fiscal revenues in China, as well as in the Pearl River Delta and Yangtze River Delta has made it possible for the outside world to conclude that both the central and local finances of the CCP regime are in serious trouble, with revenues falling short of expenditures, (i.e., People are running out of money).

From the published fiscal revenue in April this year, only 6 out of 21 provinces and municipalities had increased revenue year-on-year. Most of them are mineral resource-rich areas. 14 provinces and municipalities, mostly economically developed manufacturing and service industries, had decreased revenue; and only one province Fujian had remained flat.

The precipitous economic decline caused by the CCP’s harsh COVID-19 control has resulted in the finances of both the central and local governments of the CCP to fall short of their budgets, which has forced them to introduce salary cuts, although that may likely to spark public anger.

The authorities and institutions that have been increasing their salaries and benefits for more than two decades and have had years of living a good life are now preparing for hard times. The first step is to reduce salaries and benefits and compress the administrative expenses. If they still can’t break even, the second step will be to lay off employees just like many enterprises have done in recent years.

Source: Aboluowang, June 4, 2022.

Global Times: U.S. Overtakes China to Become India’s Largest Trading Partner

Global Times recently reported that, according to the latest statistics from India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the United States has surpassed China to become India’s largest trading partner in the 2021-22 fiscal year.The bilateral trade volume reached US$119.42 billion. In the previous fiscal year, India’s exports to the U.S. increased to about $76.11 billion from about $51.62 billion  while imports rose to about $43.31 billion from about $29 billion. The Vice-Chairman of the Federation of Indian Export Organizations said India is becoming a trusted global trading partner. Global companies are reducing their single dependence on China and settling in India to diversify their businesses. India has joined the US-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, a move that will further strengthen economic ties between the two countries. Indian media reported that the U.S. is one of the few countries with whom India has a trade surplus of $32.8 billion in the 2021-22 fiscal year. In the meantime, the trade volume between India and China is also rising steadily. There is no “decoupling of trade with China” as previously hyped by the Indian media. India still has a large trade deficit with China, which is much higher than it was in the previous three years. India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry said that India’s imports from China are showing a declining trend.

Source: Global Times, May 30, 2022

Kishida Expected to Attend NATO Summit

Primary Malaysian Chinese language newspaper Oriental Daily recently reported that Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida plans to attend the NATO summit scheduled for late June in Spain. This move will make him the first Japanese leader to attend this Western alliance meeting. Whether Kishida will actually attend the June 29-30 meeting in Madrid depends on the domestic political situation. The timing may conflict with the political campaign season for the July 10 Senate election. Kishida’s participation in the NATO summit is expected to strengthen the coordination with the United States and European countries to deal with Russia’s war in Ukraine and possible emergencies in the Taiwan Strait. Kishida plans to travel to Spain on June 26 after attending the three-day G7 summit in Germany. Australia, New Zealand and South Korea were also invited to the NATO summit as Asia-Pacific partners. The involvement of Japan and other non-NATO countries will send a strong message of solidarity to the international community in the Ukraine crisis. However, some Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers believe that Kishida, who already has a relatively high approval rating, should concentrate on campaigning before the Senate election.

Source: Oriental Daily, June 4, 2022

China’s Think Tank Report on Sino-U.S. Relations after the Russian-Ukraine War

The Chongyang Institute of Finance at Renmin University of China published a research report on May 30, titled. “The Great Siege: An Assessment of the Progress of U.S. Policy Toward China Since the Russia-Ukraine Conflict and China’s Response.” The report said that the Russia-Ukraine Conflict didn’t delay the United States from implementing comprehensive competition against China. The U.S. recently adopted an “integrated deterrence” strategy against China  and has sped up its strategic containment of China. By May 16, the U.S. had taken  24 actions to suppress China in the fields of the economy and trade, finance, ideology, military technology, and geo-politics. Though the U.S. called its strategic competition “integrated deterrence,” it has actually been conducting a “great siege” against China.

It listed five points related to the U.S. actions:

  1. Speed up building a small “Indo-Pacific economic and trade circle” (excluding China).
  2. Apply financial pressure on Chinese companies listed on the U.S. stock markets; threaten to freeze China’s assets outside China, and restrain American companies from investing in China.
  3. Attack China on the grounds of ideology .
  4. Stir up the Taiwan issue using the “salami slicing” method (advancing the U.S. position in small increments).
  5. Suppress China’s advancement in the military technology field.

Overall, the Biden Administration defines the Sino-U.S. relations as competition and its hard-line position will not change in a short period. The chance of a China-U.S. collision is increasing. There are three possibilities for the China-U.S. game:

  1. A high intensity game: China and the U.S. have a A full military confrontation.
  2. A mid-level intensity game: China and the U.S. gradually decouple.
  3. A low intensity game: The tension between China and the U.S. becomes the norm.

The report made the following recommendations:

  1. Create an anti-blockade and anti-sanction plan in the economic, trade, and finance fields. Develop Asia-Pacific regional cooperation to counter the U.S. Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).
  2. Create a strategy to strengthen domestic finance.
  3. Speed up progress toward energy independence  and create a strategy to build self-sustained energy.
  4. Proactively define the agenda to lead the rhythm of the Sino-U.S. media fight.
  5. Talk to the world about the damage that would result from “Taiwan Independence” to prevent the U.S. from playing the Taiwan card against China.

It calls on China to give up the illusion that it can avoid strategic competition against the U.S., develop a bottom-line plan in case of a military showdown with the U.S., and proactively build the Sino-U.S. relations while adapting to the new norm of tense relations.

Sources: SINA, June 1, 2022,

Nikkei Chinese: Kishida Cabinet Approval Reached New High Since Taking Office

Nikkei Chinese Edition recently reported that the Nihon Keizai Shimbun and TV Tokyo conducted a joint public opinion survey from May 27 to 29. According to the survey, the approval rating for Fumio Kishida’s cabinet has reached 66 percent, the highest since taking office in October 2021. The result of the last survey in April was 64 percent. The disapproval rating for the cabinet was 23 percent. Regarding the summit between Fumio Kishida and U.S. President Joe Biden, 61 percent gave it a favorable rating. Regarding the Kishida government’s response to the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, 69 percent gave their approval. Some analysts expressed the belief that Japan’s Covid situation is gradually easing. Improved diplomatic and security measures have resulted in a higher approval rating. Regarding the policies that the voters want the government to prioritize, the number one was “recovering the economy” (40 percent). In terms of reasons for disapproval, ranked at the top were “the Liberal Democratic Party centered cabinet” and “lack of leadership” (both were at 35 percent).

Source: Nikkei Chinese, May 30, 2022

China’s Attempts to Influence the Pacific Islands

China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, visited the Pacific Islands from May 26 to June 4. However, Beijing failed to convince the island countries to sign key cooperation treaties at the Second China-Pacific Islands Foreign Minister Meetings on May 30.

Reuters reported that China drafted two treaties for the meeting. One was the “China-Pacific Islands Countries Common Development Vision.” The second was a five-year development plan. China said it will provide millions of dollars in aid to the ten island countries and establish a free trade agreement (FTA) to let them enter China’s market of 1.4 billion people. In return, China will have a big influence over these countries. China will train police for these ten countries, set up forensic labs, participate in local network security work and intelligent customs, develop political connections, conduct sensitive marine mapping, and obtain more local natural resources.

On May 20, Micronesia’s President Panuelo sent a letter to state heads of 21 countries in the Pacific. He said that his cabinet asked him to carefully consider Beijing’s suggestion and considered that China’s FTA recommendation was dishonest. President Panuelo warned in his letter that China’s recommendation will in essence tie the economy and the society of the island countries to Beijing.

The foreign ministers of these islands countries didn’t sign China’s two documents on May 30.

In the past, China has been working on the Pacific Islands:

  1. In 2002, China convinced Nauru to cut its diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
  2. China set up an economic office in the Pacific Islands to secure economic and trade relations, as well as its fishing business with these countries.
  3. China, through the military medical system, gradually provided equipment and built medical facilities in the name of military medical humanitarian aid in the three countries that have defense departments: Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and the Kingdom of Tonga.
  4. China has built a large number of tourist hotels in the Federated States of Micronesia and Fiji.
  5. China has gradually taken control the mines in these countries.
  6. In April this year, China signed a secret treaty with the Solomon Islands which allowed China to have police exchanges and a possible naval base on the Solomon Islands.

1. BBC, June 1, 2022
2. Epoch Times, June 4, 2022

Public Opinion: Shanghai Entrepreneurs’ Open Letter: Lying Flat and Not Producing Anything

Lately, multiple media have reported that Shanghai entrepreneurs published an open letter in response to the government’s order to resume production. They announced that they will “lie flat.” They will resume work but will not produce anything. They were frustrated with the government’s lockdown of the city for two months. People’s living condition have deteriorated significantly, the government’s credibility has been swept away, the manufacturing orders have been reduced, foreign capital has been leaving China, and exporting goods has become much more difficult.

However, there were questions on the authenticity of this letter since big entrepreneurs have their own channels to share their opinions with high-ranking officials and will not challenge the authorities so openly.

In any case, the letter, regardless of whether it was true, expressed the public opinion that people are dissatisfied with the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) policies. The following is an excerpt from the open letter.

Compatriots from Shanghai and across China:

During the two-month-long city lockdown, we were repeatedly threatened by the subdistrict administrative offices (街道办事处), residential Committees (居民委员会), police stations, and unidentified people, for quarantine and door-to-door sterilization, which made us completely sober and even woke us up. We, several business owners and investors living in adjacent areas of Shanghai had to suspend our work, study the situation and reach some initial consensus — to lie flat and clear, resume our work but not do any production!

In response to the impending economic crisis, we would like to announce to society that we have made the following collective decisions:

  • To abolish redundant departments and streamline operations.
  • To sell off non-performing assets and prepare for a cold winter of our economy.
  • To not plan or be unable to hire college graduates in the next few years.
  • To encourage existing employees to voluntarily reduce their salaries and work together to overcome the difficulties of the times.
  • To expand overseas markets for rebuilding the domestic economy in the future.

We hope that the CCP’s 20th National Congress will bring us the following:

  • It is urgent to reform the political system and release the political shackles on economic development.
  • To punish severely all levels of government and grass-roots officials who violated the law and disregarded public opinion during the COVID prevention and control period, so as to restore the government’s image and rebuild the government’s credit.
  • To redress wronged cases such as the case against Ren Zhiqiang and Sun Dawu and recover the losses of the wronged entrepreneurs.
  • To release and redress prisoners of conscience, ideological prisoners, and political prisoners who are the backbone and treasure of the nation.
  • To release and redress those citizens who were politically and judicially persecuted for speaking out for the people or defending their rights and interests during the pandemic; to clean up the law enforcement team and restore the hearts of the people.
  • To establish the sanctity of private property and, especially to establish the private residences as freehold (the last refuge of the family).
  • To return the power to the people, reformulating the Constitution, removing the ban on parties and newspapers, eliminating the privileged class, and abolishing feudal systems such as household registration, political trials, and all other unreasonable systems that violate human morality and conscience.

We are eagerly waiting for entrepreneurs and investors from all over the country, scholars from colleges and universities across the country, elites from all walks of life and industrial and commercial people to express your opinions and support our initiatives and propositions.

Some entrepreneurs and investors in Shanghai

May 30, 2022

Related postings on Chinascope:

Source:  Ipkmedia (光传媒), May 31, 2022.