National China News

Taiwan News
Date: 2018/10/10

Grace Meng, the wife of former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei. (By Associated Press)
LYON, France (AP) — The call came at night and was chilling.

“You listen, but you don’t speak,” the man on the other end said. “We’ve come in two work teams, two work teams just for you.”

In her first one-on-one interview since her husband’s disappearance in China, the wife of the former head of Interpol described the threatening phone call that prompted authorities in the French city where the international law enforcement agency is headquartered to place her under police protection.

French authorities are still trying to determine whether China did indeed, as the mysterious caller menaced, dispatch agents to get to Grace Meng, the wife of Meng Hongwei. But she has good reason to be fearful: Speaking out about the fate of her high-profile husband risks China’s ire and, she said, is putting her “in great danger.”

However, she hopes that doing so will help other families in similar circumstances.

“He has disappeared for so long and nobody has given me any information or told me where he has gone. This is very common now in China,” she told The Associated Press during an interview. “I feel like I have a responsibility to stand up. Only when you’ve been through this much pain can you understand that even more people have been suffering.”

Meng Hongwei — who was China’s vice minister of public security while also leading Interpol — vanished while on a trip to China late last month. A long-time Communist Party insider with decades of experience in China’s sprawling security apparatus, the 64-year-old is the latest high-ranking official to fall victim to a sweeping purge against allegedly corrupt or disloyal officials under President Xi Jinping’s authoritarian administration.

Speaking to the AP late Monday at a hotel in Lyon, the French city where she lives and Interpol is based. Grace Meng said she had put their two boys to bed when she got the threatening call. It was one week after her last contact with her husband. On Sept, 25, he sent her from China an emoji of a knife — suggesting to her he was in danger.

The man who called her on her mobile phone spoke in Chinese, she said. She said the only clue he gave about his identity was saying that he used to work for Meng, suggesting that the man was part of China’s security apparatus. He also said he knew where she was.    [FULL  STORY]

Date: Oct. 5, 2018
By: Matthew C. Klein

We’re starting to see the implications of China’s lessening dependence on the rest of the world.

Chinese living standards plunged from about 50% of Western levels in the early 1800s to just 8% by the 1970s—a consequence of almost constant upheaval from war, colonialism, and revolution. By the 1980s, the Communist Party had concluded that stability was needed for development. In addition to ending the self-imposed chaos of the Mao era, this meant “keeping a low profile” in international affairs.

Joel Arbaje

A peaceful external environment encouraged foreign investment in China’s productive capacity and ensured ample export markets for China’s new industries. Within the past few years, however, China has become markedly less dependent on the rest of the world. This may have altered its leaders’ strategic thinking.

Consider the recent allegations, reported by Bloomberg Businessweek, that the People’s Liberation Army had inserted specialized spying chips into motherboards bound for servers around the world. While the potential intelligence gains could have been enormous—Businessweek claims the tampered motherboards could have gotten inside the Central Intelligence Agency and onto U.S. Navy ships—the operation would have risked annihilating the commercial reputations of Chinese electronics manufacturers.

If the story is broadly correct, no respectable Western or Japanese company should be willing to tolerate any Chinese presence in its supply chain. Even though the cost of relocating would be incredibly expensive—American companies alone have spent more than $250 billion investing in China over the years—it would probably be worth the trouble to maintain customer confidence. That would leave many Chinese companies and workers in the lurch.    [FULL  STORY]

Taiwan News
Date: 2018/10/05
By: LORI HINNANT , Associated Press,Associated Press

PARIS (AP) — A French judicial official says the president of Interpol has been reported missing after traveling to China.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity for an ongoing investigation, said Meng Hongwei’s wife reported him missing on Friday.

The official said the Interpol chief left France, where the international police organization is based, and arrived in China at the end of September. She said there had been no news of him since.

The 64-year-old Meng Hongwei was elected president of Interpol in November 2016. His term is due to run until 2020.    [FULL  STORY]

  • Google’s human resources department reportedly told employees to delete a memo that was circulating with details about the company’s secretive plans to launch a censored search app in China, according to The Intercept.
  • The memo reportedly appeared to contradict comments from Google CEO Sundar Pichai that the project was in its early stages.

Date: September 21, 2018
By: Jillian D’Onfro | @jillianiles

Google scrambled to delete an internal memo circulating among employees with details about its

Stephen Lam | Reuters
Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks on stage during the annual Google I/O developers conference in Mountain View, California, May 8, 2018.

proposed censored search app for China that showed that plans were farther along than company executives had previously indicated, The Intercept reports.

The memo, written by a Google engineer who was asked to work on the product, started circulating earlier this month, before human resources contacted employees believed to have read or saved it, and told them to immediately delete any copies. The document reportedly highlighted that information about the project on internal company networks seemed to contradict recent comments from Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

“We are not close to launching a search product in China and whether we would do so or could so so is all very unclear,” Pichai said at an internal all-hands meeting in mid-August, according to a transcript obtained by CNBC. “But the team has been in an exploration stage for quite a while now, and I think they are exploring many options.”

However, the memo indicated that employees working on the project were told in late July to prepare to get it in “launch-ready state” to roll out upon approval from Beijing officials, according to The Intercept.    [FULL  STORY]

GOOD PARTNER: The CDC has provided the US with samples from last year’s case of a patient who contracted a mutated form of the H7N9 virus that was resistant to drugs

Taipei Times
Date: Sep 03, 2018
By: Wu Liang-yi, Lin CHIA-NAN and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

China has refused requests from the US and other fellow WHO members for more than a year to

Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Philip Lo is pictured in Taipei on July 10.  Photo: Lin Hui-chin, Taipei Times

provide lab samples from its outbreak of H7N9 avian influenza last year, in contravention of the organization’s regulations, while non-member Taiwan has shared its sole mutated strain of the H7N9 virus with researchers in the US.

WHO regulations stipulate that member states should provide samples and information about diseases that could become pandemic, but media reports say Beijing has been refusing repeated requests made by the US and others, even though this particular strain has killed 40 percent of the people who contracted it, the New York Times reported on Monday last week.

The Times said some US scientists are worried that US-China trade tensions could slow the exchange of medical supplies and information, thereby impeding efforts to prepare for potential biological threats.

At least four US research institutions have been relying on a small group of H7N9 samples from cases in Taiwan and Hong Kong, the newspaper said.    [FULL  STORY]

Shenzhen’s tech workers face burnout striving for their entrepreneurial dream, highlighting the need for effective unionization.

The News Lens
Date: 2018/06/25
By: China Labour Bulletin

Photo Credit: CLB

At 10 o’clock in the evening on most weeknights, row upon row of employees can be seen still hard at work, anchored to their desks and clearly illuminated inside the glass-fronted skyscrapers of Shenzhen’s Nanshan district, home to many of China’s major technology companies.

Some staff do leave these buildings around 6.30 p.m. but most do not go home; they simply head to one of the many conveniently located restaurants or cafes for dinner or go to the gym for a quick workout before returning to their work station.

It is the same scene at weekends: Shenzhen’s integrated urban design and efficient transport network makes it very easy for staff to just drop by the office for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. Those living further afield can of course work at home if they wish, and many choose to do just that. For the young tech workers of Shenzhen’s Silicon Valley, the boundaries between work and leisure time seem to be permanently blurred.

Java engineer is currently by far the most competitive job in Shenzhen with a staggering 14,409 applicants per day.

Overtime is not compulsory but workers accept that working long hours are the only way to get ahead in the tech industry. If you don’t work as hard as your colleagues you will soon get left behind or replaced by one of the thousands of other people clamoring for your job.

NPR News
Date: June 2, 2018
By: Shannon Van Sant

From left, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Japan’s Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and China’s People’s Liberation Army’s Academy of Military Science Deputy President He Lei pose for photos at a ministerial roundtable on the sidelines of the 17th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-la Dialogue.  Yong Teck Lim/AP

Defense Secretary James Mattis is warning China there will be consequences if it continues its military buildup in the South China Sea. In comments at the Shangri-La Dialogue, an international security forum in Singapore over the weekend, Mattis said Beijing’s moves were designed to intimidate other countries in the region.

“China’s policy in the South China Sea stands in stark contrast to the openness that our strategy promotes, it calls into question China’s broader goals,” Mattis said.

China has built artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea, and the U.S. military says there is a high possibility that China has installed anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles, as part of military exercises. Airstrips have already been constructed, and in May, China landed nuclear capable bombers on contested islands in the area.

“The placement of these weapon systems is tied directly to military use for the purpose of intimidation and coercion,” Mattis said, adding, “China’s militarization of the Spratlys is also in direct contradiction to President Xi Jinping’s 2015 public assurances in the White House Rose Garden that they would not do this.”    [FULL  STORY]

REDUCED RAPPORT: Beijing would pay for antagonizing its neighbors militarily and through the debt incurred by its Belt and Road Initiative, the US defense leader said

Taipei Times
Date: Jun 03, 2018
By: Bloomberg

The world has to deal with China’s militarization of the South China Sea for now, but Beijing

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis addresses the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore yesterday.  Photo: Bloomberg

would face “larger consequences” in the long term that could persuade it to change track, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said yesterday.

Beijing’s deployment of missile batteries and bombers to outposts in disputed areas appear aimed at intimidating its neighbors, Mattis told delegates at the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

Such moves had caused the US to reconsider its “cooperative stance” and disinvite China from the Rim of the Pacific Exercise later this month, he added.

That was a relatively small penalty for China to pay and the region would be “dealing with the reality” of its territorial claims over a vital global shipping route, Mattis said.

“I believe there are much larger consequences in the future, when nations lose the rapport of their neighbors,” Mattis told reporters after his speech.

He also attacked what he said were excessive loans made under China’s Belt and Road Initiative that were binding smaller nations in debt.    [FULL  STORY]

Date: May 28, 2018
By Chris Uhlmann • Nine Network Political Editor

A top-secret Government report has uncovered a decade-long attempt by the Chinese Communist Party to compromise Australia’s major political parties.

9NEWS has confirmed the report says the CCP’s operations are aimed at all levels of government and designed to gain

Efforts to intervene in Australia’s politics have become increasingly brazen under President Xi Jinping, according to former advisor to the PM, John Garnaut. Picture: AAP

access and influence over policy making.

Malcolm Turnbull commissioned the joint investigation in August 2016, combining the resources of domestic spy agency, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), and the department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The departmental effort was led by one of the Prime Minister’s former advisers, John Garnaut.

Mr Turnbull had seen enough of what the investigation had turned up by May 2017 to order the Attorney General to significantly toughen Australia’s laws on espionage and foreign interference.

It is those proposed laws – and the commentary around them – that have been a major factor in the recent chill in the relationship between Australia and China.

The Prime Minister referred to the existence of the secret report when he tabled the foreign interference bills in December.    [SOURCE]

 Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said that China trying to extract oil and gas from the South China Sea was one of several actions Duterte forbade
South China Morning Post
Date: 29 May, 2018
By: Associated Press

The Philippines has warned China that it will go to war over natural resources in the South China Sea – and it identified other “red lines”, or actions, Manila would find unacceptable, the foreign ministry said on Monday.

Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said that among the territorial issues discussed with China were construction activities at a disputed shoal and the unilateral extraction of oil and gas in the South China Sea.

China ‘installs cruise missiles on South China Sea outposts’

“Nobody can extract natural resources there on their own,” Cayetano said. “The president has declared that. If anyone gets the natural resources in the West Philippine Sea-South China Sea, he will go to war.”

Critics and left-wing groups have slammed President Rodrigo Duterte for not publicly raising the alarm over recent Chinese actions, including the reported installation of missile defence systems on its newly constructed islands.

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