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Huawei in the Submarine Fiber Optic Cable Market

Submarine fiber optic cables are considered one of the most important infrastructures in the digital age. They carry almost all Internet information transmissions around the globe. In recent years, China has risen rapidly in this field, which Western companies have traditionally dominated. Among the 400 some submarine optical cables in the world, the Chinese telecom company Huawei Marine has constructed or upgraded 105 of them.

TeleGeography, a Washington based telecommunications market research and consulting firm, has been mapping the world’s submarine cables. The latest statistics show that there are currently 406 submarine cables in the world. Alan Mauldin, the company’s research director, told Voice of America (VOA) that although China’s Huawei Marine has a relatively small market share, it has become one of the world’s four largest submarine cable contractors and has constructed most of the world’s submarine cables. The other three are SubCom in the U.S., the Alcatel Group in France, and NEC in Japan.

Huawei Marine was once a subsidiary of Huawei. After the U.S. launched a series of sanctions against Huawei in June of last year, Huawei sold the company to Hengtong, China’s other top fiber optic cable manufacturer. Hengtong claims to be a private enterprise. Its founder, Cui Genliang, is both the chairman of the group and the head of the company’s Chinese Communist Party (CCP) committee.

According to data from Huawei Marine’s official website, the company has so far built or upgraded 105 submarine cables around the world. One recent project in December 2015 was the upgrade of the West Africa Submarine Cable System (WACS) that provides high-speed network access for 14 countries along the west coast of Africa from South Africa to the United Kingdom.

China’s state media People’s Daily reported last week that Chinese companies have not only become important global integrators in the construction of submarine cables, but also possess the world’s leading optical communication technology in submarine cable transmission, with “the production and sales of optical fiber cables accounting for more than half of the world’s market share.”

Compared with Huawei’s mobile communication equipment, the security risks posed by China’s submarine cable business have rarely been mentioned. However, in recent months there have been signs that the United States has begun to pay close attention. In April this year, the U.S. Department of Justice rejected the inclusion of Hong Kong in a fiber optic cable network across the Pacific Ocean due to national security considerations. The project, Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN), involves a number of technology companies in the United States, including Facebook and Google. The original plan for the optical cable’s landing station in Hong Kong was to be operated by China’s Chengdu Dr. Peng Telecom & Media Co., Ltd. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said in a press release: “Routing undersea cables through Hong Kong would provide the People’s Republic of China with a strategic opportunity to collect the private information of our citizens and sensitive commercial data. Hong Kong is subject to intrusive Chinese government laws that put the Chinese Communist Party’s demands for information ahead of the privacy of U.S. consumers.”

Earlier this year, the U.S. State Department put forward an initiative to protect network infrastructure, which also included submarine cables in the five major clean areas. So far, more than 40 countries have responded to the US’s “Clean Network” initiative.

In addition, a member of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently called for a more rigorous review of submarine cables. Geoffrey Starks, who once served in the U.S. Department of Justice, said the FCC “must ensure that adversary countries and other hostile actors can’t tamper with, block, or intercept the communications they carry.”

Source: Voice of America, October 31, 2020

Grain Companies Issued Notice of Increase in the Price of Rice

Two price increase notices that the grain companies in Hunan and Jiangxi provinces issued in October have been circulating on the Internet. A notice from Jiangxi province stated that COVID 19 and natural disasters this year affected several major grain producing areas across the country Some areas had rain for two consecutive months prior to the harvest season, so overall rice production dropped by about 30 percent compared to previous years. The notice predicted that the minimum increase per ton of rice would be between 200 and 500 yuan (US$30-75). A notice from a grain company in Hunan province stated that the reduced grain production output has resulted in the price being highly competitive. Therefore, the purchase price of the rice will be based on the market rate on the day of the purchase.

Due to flooding in dozens of provinces across the country, along with pest infestation, droughts, and hail this year, China has seen much lower grain production compared to prior years. The grain that the state-owned grain warehouse received was only two-thirds of last year’s level. The official CCTV reported that in previous years farmers would go to the market to sell their grain, but this year the grain merchants have been visiting the farmers homes to buy grain. The price for corn even reached 2600 yuan (US$389) per ton, the highest in the last four years.

According to China’s agricultural commodity futures website, China recently granted a rice import license to 43 rice companies in Myanmar. The reason it switched from its major rice importing countries such as India, Vietnam and Thailand this year was because these countries have either refused to sell, have restricted grain exports, or have increased the price.

Source: Aboluowang, October 31, 2020

Jiang Jinquan – New Chief Advisor to CCP Leaders

On October 30, 2020, at the press conference of the CCP Central Committee for the 5th Plenary Session of the 19th CCP National Congress, Jiang Jinquan appeared for the first time as Director of the CCP Central Policy Research Office. His appearance confirms that he has been promoted from Deputy Director.

Jiang’s predecessor, Wang Huning, held the position since 2002 and served three CCP Secretaries, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, and Xi Jinping. For 18 years, Wang had been the chief advisor to the CCP leaders.

Jiang was the focus of the press conference on October 3 as the new Director of the CCP Central Policy Research Office.

The CCP Central Policy Research Office is the highest level think tank of the CCP and an agency directly under the CCP Central Committee. It is dedicated to researching political theories and policies, and to drafting documents for the Politburo. Its functions mainly include “drafting the work report of the Central Committee of the National Party Congress” and “participating in drafting the documents for large-scale Central Committee meetings.”

Jiang Jinquan has been a veteran at the CCP Central Policy Research Office reaching the position of Deputy Director in 2016. In 2018, he was seen accompanying Xi Jinping together with CCP senior leaders, above the CCP provincial heads. He was thus viewed as a member of the core Xi Jinping group.

Jiang Jinquan is an expert on CCP party development. He specializes in the theory of party development in the Central Policy Research Office. He first summarized Deng Xiaoping’s theory on party building, then studied Jiang Zemin’s party-building ideas, and later systematized Hu Jintao’s party-building activities. He was a member of the document drafting group of the 19th CCP National Congress and a member of the CCP Charter revision group. Currently, he is also a member of the CCP Central Party-Building Work Leading Group and head of its secretary group. He has been regarded as a key assistant to Wang Huning.

Source: The Storm Media, October 30, 2020

Michael Lin Connected Biden with Beijing

After the New York Post reported that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) funneled money to Hunter Biden and his family, Apple Daily reported that Michael Lin (林俊良) was the broker who connected Hunter Biden with Beijing.

Lin is a talented but low-key Taiwanese businessman. He was born in a normal family and graduated from Yale University. He has worked in multiple investment firms in the U.S., mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. One of his China experiences includes working in the Internal Investment Department of the Peking University Founders Group, a large technology conglomerate in China which has the backing of Peking University and a good connection with high-ranking CCP officials.

Lin has a good connection with both the Kuomintang (a political party in Taiwan) and the CCP in Beijing. He moved to live in Beijing in 2005.

Lin co-founded the Thornton Group with James Bulger, son of William Bulger, an American former Democratic politician who served the President of the Massachusetts Senate for 18 years.

Lin was also the head of the Asian operations of the State Legislative Leaders Foundation (SLLF). He used both the Thornton Group and the SLLF to conduct business in China, leveraging his connection between the Founder Group and Peking University, then to the National People’s Congress, and then to the top CCP leaders and officials in charge of Foreign Affairs.

Lin arranged Hunter Biden, the Vice President of Rosemont Seneca, to visit China in 2010. This was Hunter’s first trip to China. Hunter met several high-ranking officials in China’s financial institutions. Many of them later became Hunter’s business partners.

The most successful deal that Lin brokered for Hunter was the BHR Partners; that is Bohai Harvest RST (Shanghai) Equity Investment Fund Management Co., Ltd.

According to the person who supplied the information, Lin is still actively connected with the Biden family.

Source: Apple Daily, October 17, 2020

NY Times Chinese: China’s “Yiwu Index” Points Straight to a Trump Win

The New York Times Chinese Edition recently published an in-depth report on the campaign product sales level now widely recognized as the unofficial political indicator named the “Yiwu Index.” The NYT reporter visited the unusual markets in the Chinese town of Yiwu, where the world’s largest wholesalers of small goods are located. According to some wholesalers who were willing to talk to American media, Trump’s campaign products, from hats and banners to cups – anything that can have a logo printed on it – are selling crazily, while Biden products have nearly no orders. Sales person Ge Lu, who represents around 100 flag wholesalers, said he has received four or five Trump flag orders (per month) with each order buying thousands of flags. However, for the whole year, only one buyer has asked about Biden flags. Ms. Dai, who manufactures hats, has sold tens of thousands of Trump hats and a few thousand of Biden’s. Halloween product wholesaler Gigi Zhang has sold out all his Trump masks and so far no one has bought a single Biden mask. Yiwu has an annual small goods sales level of US$60 billion, with 70,000 wholesalers. It correctly predicted the 2016 U.S. presidential election outcome, among other elections in various countries. All Yiwu Index believers are confident about a Trump win.

The Chinese government has applied controls on displaying political campaign product samples.

Source: New York Times Chinese, October 28, 2020

Chinese Workers Inundate Vietnam; Beijing Builds Border Wall to Stop them from Escaping

A Large number of foreign companies are exiting China lately and many Chinese companies are also relocating their factories to Vietnam to lower the costs. These companies have also attracted Chinese workers to work for them in Vietnam. A video posted on twitter showed that on October 20, nearly a thousand Chinese high-tech workers were gathering at the Sino-Vietnamese border in Guangxi and were ready to cross the border. All of them were supervisory level technicians. Vietnamese companies that the mainland or Taiwanese businessmen set up were the ones that hired them. A Taiwanese businessman living in Vietnam said that the Vietnam government restricts workers from China and it is not easy for people to find jobs in Vietnam. A Chinese businessman told Radio Free Asia that Vietnam is almost a democratic country now. It’s just like Shenzhen in the old days, but its policies, business environment, and the openness are much better than it is in the mainland and it draws many workers to work in Vietnam.

As a result, China is building a two-meter-high wall along the Sino-Vietnamese border to prevent Chinese residents from leaving China. The Sino-Vietnamese border runs about 1300 kilometers (808 miles). People commented that the “US is building a wall to prevent people from entering (illegally), while the CCP is building a wall to prevent people from escaping!”

Source: Radio Free Asia, October 22, 2020

Chinese Netizen Punished for Accessing Wikipedia Website

Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported a social media post showing the screenshot of a notice from China’s Zhejiang provincial government that penalized a netizen for bypassing the great fire wall to browse the Wikipedia website. The police were able to locate and arrest the individual.

The facts, as shown in the notice, are about Zhang Tao, was the netizen who the police charged with the illegal activity. “From the first half of 2019 to October 2020, Zhang searched and downloaded the circumvention software LANTERN, with which he repeatedly bypassed the fire wall to access the Wikipedia website illegally to query information.”

The notice also stated that on Saturday October 24, the police seized Zhang and took him from a building for investigation. The police believed that Zhang used mobile circumvention software to access international networks in order to obtain information. It was an “unauthorized use of illegal channels for international networking.” The police imposed administrative penalties on Zhang under article 6 and article 14 of China’s “Implementation Rules for Provisional Regulations of the Administration of International Networking of Computer Information.” The police also issued an admonition and warning to him, ordering him to disconnect from the international network immediately.

The RFA reporter called the Zhejiang provincial government and asked, “How can you tell whether an Internet user was browsing the Internet illegally?” The answer was, “All activities circumventing the fire wall to browse anti-Party and anti-social content” are illegal.

The California-based China Digital Times found that there were nearly 70 cases of punishment for “bypassing the fire wall” as shown on the Zhejiang provincial government’s website.

Source: Radio Free Asia, October 29, 2020

Counterfeit Digital Currency Surfaced in Pilot Cities

On October 25, at the 2nd Bund Finance Summit in Shanghai, Mu Changchun, director of the Digital Currency Research Institute of the Bank of China, disclosed that counterfeit digital currency has appeared in pilot cities such as Shen Zhen, Suzhou, Xiong’an New Area, and Chengdu. The central bank is facing issues with the prevention of people counterfeiting digital currency. The general public was shocked about the news. People commented that they believe that paper money is much safer than digital currency because digital currency is easier to counterfeit than paper money and the cost of counterfeiting is lower. The Central Bank rushed to introduce digital currency even though the technology is still pre-mature.

The Bank of China has been studying digital currency since 2014. They kept a low profile from the outside world for a number of years. However, as more information has been made public recently, it has triggered high expectations on the launch of digital currency. Even though the officials have repeatedly emphasized the advantages of digital currency over traditional paper money, they have obviously ignored the problems that would come with the digital currency.

Source: Radio Free Asia, October 28, 2020