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RFI Chinese: 17+1 Summit Showed Less Enthusiasm for China

Radio France Internationale (RFI) Chinese Edition recently reported that the just-finished 17+1 Summit between China and the Central and Eastern European countries is showing a changing relationship. There are now 15 European countries that are connected to China via railway for cargo transportation. It takes only 15 to 20 days to travel by rail from Xi’an or Chongqing to Europe, which is half of the time required by sea. This made the railway topic a major item on the 17+1 Summit agenda. Even with the rapid growth of the railway business, the Europeans didn’t show much warmth toward Xi Jinping. One week ago, Romania launched a regulatory procedure that excluded Chinese companies from its national construction projects. Estonia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania only sent ministers to this summit. Hungary is the only country that clearly expressed its friendship toward Beijing. Last April, it reached an agreement with China on the funding of the Budapest-Belgrade railway. However, the content of the agreement will be kept confidential for ten years. Russia is still a real threat in the region, so the United States remains a natural ally. It appears that the Baltic states care more about their transatlantic relationship. The Central and Eastern European countries have begun to feel tired of China’s “promises” and its potential. China’s investments have been on the decline since 2016.

Source: RFI Chinese, February 10, 2021

BBC World News Banned in China

People’s Daily reported on February 11 that the Chinese State Administration of Radio and Television announced a ban on BBC World News in China, citing “serious violations” of the Radio and Television Administration Regulations. China said BBC’s false and unfair reporting “harms China’s national interests and undermines China’s national unity.”

BBC News Chinese Edition reported on February 12 that the BBC officially expressed its disappointment regarding China’s decision. The BBC explained that the BBC is a globally trusted source of news with principles of fearless and unbiased reporting. British authorities cancelled the broadcasting license of China’s CGTN in early February, citing the Chinese Communist Party’s controlling power over CGTN content. This caused China’s strong reaction. The Hong Kong’s government-owned local radio station RTHK also announced on February 12 that it will no longer carry BBC International and BBC’s Cantonese programming.

Deutsche Welle Chinese Edition reported on February 12 that, with the cancellation of CGTN’s British license, CGTN’s German broadcasting permission is automatically cancelled at the same time. Vodafone Germany stopped the CGTN programming due to the fact that its license was granted under a 1989 European license-sharing agreement. Vodafone is currently working with the German authorities to clarify legal matters.

(1) People’s Daily, February 11, 2021

(2) BBC Chinese, February 12, 2021

(3) DW Chinese, February 12, 2021

Chinese Communist Document Highlights Red Gene: Kids Must Follow the Party

Approaching the centenary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Central Committee of the CCP issued an official document, “The Central Committee’s Opinions on Comprehensively Strengthening the Work of the Young Pioneers in the New Era.” The document reemphasizes that the Young Pioneers are a reserve team for accomplishing communism. The kids ought to “listen to the party and follow the party.”

The Young Pioneers is a youth organization in China for children aged six to fourteen; it is like many that exist in Communist countries around the world. It provides organizational structure for the CCP to indoctrinate children with Communist ideologies at a very early stage in their life. Established in 1949, the Young Pioneers now have over 100 million members.

The “Opinions” document states that the CCP has always regarded cultivating good children as a strategic and basic work so that the “red nation will never change its color.”

In the CCP’s documents for the past four decades, such discussions about the Young Pioneers are very rare. The document also mentioned that it is necessary for the Young Pioneers to strengthen exchanges and cooperation between the children’s organizations in Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan, and strengthen friendly exchanges with children’s organizations and institutions in countries around the world, especially those related to the “Belt and Road Initiative.”

Source: Radio Free Asia, February 4, 2021

Report Reveals Beijing’s Sponsorship of High-Technology Research in Leading UK Universities

Civitas, a London based think tank, recently released a report titled, “Inadvertently Arming China?: The Chinese military complex and its potential exploitation of scientific research at UK universities.”

The report found that there is a ‘pervasive presence of Chinese military-linked conglomerates and universities in the sponsorship of high-technology research centres in many leading UK universities.’

The report, by Radomir Tylecote and Robert Clark, finds that at least 15 UK universities have productive research relationships with Chinese military-linked manufacturers and universities. The UK taxpayer sponsors much of the research at the university centres and laboratories through research councils, Innovate UK, and the Royal Society.

In many cases, these UK universities are unintentionally generating research that China’s military conglomerates sponsored and which may be of use to them, including those with activities in the production of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) and also including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) as well as hypersonic missiles and research in which China is involved in a new arms race and seeks ‘massively destabilizing’ weaponry.

This report analyses the relationships that at least 15 UK universities have established with 22 Chinese military-linked universities as well as weapons suppliers or other military-linked companies. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) deems many of these Chinese universities to be ‘Very High Risk.’

Sponsorship of high-technology research in UK universities covers areas such as:
▪ Metals and alloys;
▪ Aerospace physics and hypersonic technology;
▪ Ceramics, piezoelectrics and rare earths;
▪ Drones and radar;
▪ Shipbuilding;
▪ Data science, AI, and facial recognition; and
▪ Robotics (land, sea and space)

The report recommends the UK government should list all those Chinese military-linked companies and institutions that it wants to bar from sponsoring science research in UK universities and from research cooperation in general.

The authors also suggest the UK set up a new government organization similar to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), whose role would include monitoring and assessment of university sponsorship.

Source: Civitas, February, 2021

Inadvertently Arming China?

China-Pakistan Military Exercise Base Found Expanding

Well-known Chinese news site Sina (NASDQ: SINA) recently reported that, according to a number of Indian media sources, the strategic Pakistani Air Force Base (PAF) Bholari has gone through several rounds of upgrades. The PAF Bholari is located in Sindh Province, northeast of Karachi, Pakistan. It is located near the India-Pakistan border. Satellite images show numerous instances of new construction on that base. In December 2020, Pakistan and China had a joint air force exercise. The Pakistan Air Force chief said that joint exercises played a very important role in improving the combat capabilities of the Pakistan Air Force. Some of the recent base upgrades appeared to include supporting bases and the Combat Command Building. PAF Bholari was put into service in December 2017 and it is one of Pakistan’s most modernized military bases. PAF Bholari is positioned to support ground forces, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and some of the Pakistan Navy operations. China also has helped Pakistan jointly develop the JF-17 fighter jets.

Source: Sina, February 2, 2021

Chinese Ships Enter Senkakus for Two Days Since New Law Allows Use of Arms

On February 7, the Japanese Coast Guard announced that two Chinese Coast Guard vessels entered the Japanese territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands at about 3:50 am. The ships turned towards a Japanese fishing boat, about 22 kilometers south of Taisho Island, and made an attempt to approach. Since China’s new law, effective starting this month, allows its coast guard to use military force in waters the country claims, the Chinese government ships have sailed into the Japanese territorial waters near the Senkakus for two consecutive days.

According to the Japanese Coast Guard, the Japanese fishing boat had five people onboard, and Japanese patrol boats were deployed to ensure its safety. Japan’s Coast Guard also issued a warning and demanded the Chinese Coast Guard vessels leave their territorial waters. The two ships left one after another around 9:10 am and sailed to the contiguous area outside the territorial waters.

It is the fifth day this year that a Chinese official ship entered Japanese territorial waters near the Senkakus. Two additional Chinese Coast Guard vessels were sailing in the contiguous area outside the territorial waters, one sporting a cannon-like weapon. The vicinity of the Senkakus, including the contiguous area, has seen Chinese official ships for nine consecutive days.

China’s new coast guard law has stoked concern in Japan, with some in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party urging bolstered measures in the area such as joint military exercises between the Self-Defense Force and the U.S. military near the Senkakus.

The islets sit in the rich fishing waters of the East China Sea and are believed to be home to vast mineral and gas deposits.

The new law allows the Chinese Coast Guard to take “all necessary measures,” including the use of weapons, against foreign organizations or individuals that violate Chinese sovereignty or China’s jurisdiction.

Source: Kyodo News, February 7, 2021

RFI Chinese: Number of HK Residents Moving to Taiwan Sets New Record

Radio France Internationale (RFI) Chinese Edition recently reported that the Taiwanese authorities announced that, in 2020, around 11,000 Hong Kong residents were granted permission to stay in Taiwan. With the background of the Mainland pushing the new Hong Kong National Security Law, this new number doubled the 2019 total and set a record high. In the meantime, 1,576 Hong Kong residents received Taiwan’s permanent resident status. The previous record was set in 2014, with 7,506 Hong Kong residents allowed to stay in Taiwan. At that time, the “umbrella Movement” was taking place in Hong Kong, which was a massive movement against Mainland communist rule. To support the freedom movements in Hong Kong, the Taiwanese government established a special office to handle immigration requests from Hong Kong. The Office is considering easing the restrictions on work permissions for young Hong Kong college graduates and other Hong Kong residents with special skills. However, the Taiwanese authorities are also on high alert to keep Mainland spies from penetrating Taiwan via the immigration process.

Source: RFI Chinese, February 3, 2021

Global Times: The UK and Japan 2+2 Meeting Expressed Concern about China Seas

The Chinese government backed newspaper Global Times recently reported that the Foreign Ministers and Defense Ministers of Great Britain and Japan met online. They issued a joint announcement after the meeting expressing “serious concerns” about the situation in the East China Sea and the South China Sea. The ministers also said they are against any intent to change the status quo. They reemphasized the importance of maintaining freedom both of navigation and of flying over the South China Sea, and urged all parties to exercise restraint. Britain, as an outsider, has been raising its voice on the issue of the East and South China seas. Last December, the British Navy announced that it would send the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier to the South China Sea. The Chinese Ministry of Defense spokesperson said that countries from far far away coming to the South China Sea to show military muscle is the true militarization of the South China Sea and that the Chinese military will take necessary measures to resolutely defend China’s sovereignty.

Source: Global Times, February 4, 2021