Skip to content

RFI: Canada Is No Longer Training with the PLA

On December 10, Harjit Sajjan, Canada’s Minister of National Defense, said that Canada is no longer training with the Chinese military. Prior to this, James Bezan, Opposition Critic for National Defense, questioned why Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would maintain such a relationship with China.

According to the Globe and Mail, the Trudeau administration invited the PLA to a joint military exercise at the Canadian Forces Base in 2019. The exercise was called off following the arrest of two Canadian citizens in China because Canada detained Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s  Chief Financial Officer. Trudeau reportedly raged at the cancellation of the military exercises. For decades, the Canadian armed forces have participated in various joint and regional military exercises with more than 20 Pacific Rim countries. It is unknown whether Canada would consider a joint training with the PLA in the future. The statement that Sajjan issued stated that “our government always stands up for Canadians at home and abroad and this includes our relationship with China, but let me be very clear. We we do not train with the Chinese military.”

The disclosed document also suggested that Trudeau’s administration was concerned that China would take the cancellation “as a retaliatory move related to the Meng Wanzhou case” and it “could also damage Canada’s long-term defense and security relationship with China”

At the same time, the military exercise drew criticism from the Conservative Party. Michael Chong, the foreign affairs critic of the opposition Conservative Party, and James Bezan, the defence critic, said the documents showed a “stunning lack of leadership” from Trudeau and the Liberal government. They said in a statement, “Clearly, the Prime Minister and the Liberal ministers are more concerned about how Beijing might react than they are in defending Canadian interests. The Liberal government has become so timid that it can’t even say no to Chinese soldiers arriving on our territory.”

According to a disclosed memo, the U.S. Pentagon had already pressed the Canadian Armed Forces to rethink interactions with the PLA because that the PLA would benefit from it.

The Canadian Forces Base is located in Petawawa, Ontario, bordering the states of New York, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Source: Radio France Internationale, December 12, 2020

Professor Claims Chinese Academy of Sciences Developed Hypersonic Jet Engine

At the end of November, the team of Professor Jiang Zonglin of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Mechanics published a research paper in the Chinese Journal of Aeronautics, a peer-reviewed academic publication. In his paper, he claimed that the Academy has developed a “standing oblique detonation ramjet engine,” or sodramjet for short. The team said that the engine could take a flight at up to 16 times the speed of sound and an aircraft powered by such an engine could reach anywhere in the world within two hours.

According to the South China Morning Post, the sodramjet was an American idea. An engineer named Richard Morrison came up with the idea and presented it in a 1980 paper that can be downloaded from NASA’s website.

Dr. Uzi Rubin, founder and first director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization, an expert in hypersonic missiles, said the new design was still “very experimental” and its advantages still remained uncertain. He said, “Even though it looks promising … it will take about a generation for it to be used commercially.”  “I believe that hypersonic human flight is not imminent, if it can be done at all.”

Source; Radio Free Asia, December 6, 2020

RFA: Ministry of Public Security Announced Internet ID Card Pilot Program

The Ministry of Public Security recently announced that China has launched a new pilot program on “Internet ID Cards” in Fujian and Guangdong provinces. Instead of using the personal ID to register for internet service, the new technology uses the applicants’ biometrics. To obtain a certificate, the applicant must provide the police with biological and personal data such as face, fingerprint and ID card chip. After verification, the Ministry of Public Security will issue a certificate. When netizens open or use different online services, they can use the certificate instead of entering identity information for authentication. According to the official statement, the network card is linked to the applicant’s biometrics and ID card, and has multiple passwords. It is extremely difficult to be forged.

The Ministry of Public Security chose Guangdong and Fujian as the pilot sites for network ID cards.

Source: Radio Free Asia, November 27, 2020

China Held the 3rd China Think Tank Forum on International Influence in Beijing

On December 5, “The 14th Five-Year Plan and a Powerful Country in Thought—the 3rd Forum on the International Influence of China’s Think Tanks and the 6th Symposium on the Construction of New Types of Think Tanks” was held at the Renmin University of China. More than 200 well-known think tank scholars, social elites and media professionals gathered together to discuss strengthening the international influence of think tanks, enhancing the global distribution of Chinese think tanks and promoting an effective way to build a community with a shared future for mankind by means of a country that is powerful in thought.

Liu Yuanchun, vice president of Renmin University of China, pointed out in his opening speech that the Chinese communist Party’s “14th Five-Year Plan and 2035 Vision” put forward new requirements for “newly improved national governance efficiency” and “newly improved social civilization.” The vision also proposed the research direction and mission for the work of Chinese think tanks in the new era. To this end, the Forum concluded that Chinese think tanks in the new era should increase China’s international influence in the dissemination of results, promote international cohesion in the setting of initiatives, and form international synergy in the implementation of plans.

Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng also delivered a keynote speech.

Source: China News, December 6, 2020

Chinese Arms Companies’ Sales Increased by 4.8 Percent in 2019

On December 7, 2020, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) issued a report on the state of the global arms industry in 2019. “The data showed that arms sales of the world’s 25 largest arms-producing and military services companies (arms companies) totaled US$361 billion in 2019.”

“12 U.S. companies appear in the top 25 for 2019. They account for 61 percent of the combined arms sales of those top 25.”

“The top 25 also includes four Chinese companies. Three are in the top 10: Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC; ranked 6th), China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC; ranked 8th) and China North Industries Group Corporation (NORINCO; ranked 9th). The combined revenue of the four Chinese companies in the top 25—which also includes China South Industries Group Corporation (CSGC; ranked 24th)—grew by 4.8 per cent between 2018 and 2019.”

SIPRI Senior Researcher Nan Tian said, “The Chinese arms companies are benefiting from military modernization programs for the People’s Liberation Army.”

“After the USA, China accounted for the second largest share of the 2019 arms sales of the top 25 arms companies. Its share was 16 percent.”

Source: SIPRI, December 7, 2020

EU Adopts its Own ‘Magnitsky’ Act to Sanction Human Rights Abuses

The European Union has agreed to enact a measure similar to the Magnitsky Act in America that will allow the 27 member bloc to sanction those responsible for human rights abuses.

The decision came at a meeting of the European foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday and will allow the EU to freeze assets and impose travel bans on individuals involved in serious human rights abuses.

The new framework is modeled after the Magnitsky Act, a U.S. law named for investor and activist Bill Browder’s late attorney Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Russian jail after uncovering a massive fraud scheme allegedly involving government officials.

The EU said in a statement that the move allows the bloc “to target individuals, entities and bodies — including state and non-state actors — responsible for, involved in or associated with serious human rights violations and abuses worldwide, no matter where they occurred.”

Concretely, the 27 EU nations could ban targeted people from traveling in Europe and freeze the assets of both officials and “entities” such organizations, companies or banks. Europeans will also be forbidden from making funds available to them.

The sanctions would apply to acts like genocide, crimes against humanity, serious human rights violations or to abuses such as torture, slavery, extrajudicial killings, and arbitrary arrests. Other violations can be punished if they are “widespread, systematic or are otherwise of serious concern.”

Source: Radio Free Asia, December 7, 2020

Global Times: German Government Called Off Chinese Acquisition

Global Times recently reported that, in the name of national security, the German government prohibited the Chinese acquisition of a German satellite technology company IMST. IMST developed the critical components of Germany’s TerraSAR-X observation satellite. The acquisition would have resulted in intellectual property loss, which would have benefited the Chinese military. The German government also explained that this acquisition would also damage Germany’s “technological sovereignty” in the future mobile wireless communications field. IMST’s achievements benefited from government public funding. It is problematic to sell China a company funded by tax payer money. However, IMST plans to take this matter to court. The company is strongly against classifying IMST as a military supplier. IMST sold 22 percent of its voting rights to China in 2018. However, starting in 2018, the German government tightened the bar for government intervention from 25 percent to 10 percent of a company’s stake.

Source: Global Times, December 5, 2020

LTN: Huawei Western Europe Sales Are in Free Fall

Major Taiwanese news network Liberty Times Network (LTN) recently reported that, according to the latest numbers from IDC, Huawei sold 2.5 million smartphones in the Western Europe market, representing a year-over-year free fall of 58.7 percent. Huawei sold 6.2 million smartphones in the same period last year. This was the largest decline in history. Given the U.S. sanctions, Huawei could not have built-in Google services, which hold a high market share in Europe. Google also took extra steps to prevent end users from manually installing its services by checking the smartphone processor model. This sales result led Huawei’s market share in Western Europe to fall from 20 percent to 8.8 percent. In the meantime, the Apple iPhone 11 obtained a 1.1 percent growth, with a total output of 8.2 million smartphones sold. This was achieved without the help of iPhone 12. With the free fall of Huawei’s market share, other Chinese brands, Xiaomi and OPPO achieved a 151.6 percent and a 566.2 percent growth, respectively. Xiaomi is now the number three smartphone vendor in Western Europe, after Samsung and Apple.

Source: LTN, November 30, 2020