China has long been requesting U.S. diplomats to report and get approval from the Chinese government for meetings with local officials or educational and research institutions in China. As a reciprocal response, on October 16, the U.S. State Department issued a new rule that Chinese diplomats in the U.S. will now have to report meetings with state and local officials, as well as visits to educational and research institutions.
China’s Embassy to the U.S. responded on Twitter: “The US State Department’s latest restrictions on Chinese diplomats are in violation of the Vienna Convention. So far, the Chinese side does not place similar requirements on American diplomats and consular officers in China.”
The U.S. Embassy to China responded on Twitter on October 18: “@AmbCuiTiankai’s Twitter is an example of the open information environment in the U.S. In China, access to Facebook, Twitter & YouTube is blocked and the PRC prevents our diplomats from using Chinese social media. China, why not unlock @USA_China_Talk so your people can see it?”
Source: Epoch Times, October 18, 2019
Objecting to the Chinese Communist Party’s “One China” condition in its sister city agreement, the government of Prague decided to terminate the sister city relationship with Beijing.
The two cities signed the sister city agreement when Xi Jinping visited the Czech Republic in 2016. The third article of the agreement stated that Prague promised to respect the “one China” policy and acknowledged that “Taiwan is an inseparable territory of China.”
Prague is also the sister city of Taipei.
Prague wanted to annul this “one China” article and contacted Beijing multiple times this year in an attempt to do so, but Beijing never provided any response. Therefore, the city of Prague opted to terminate the relationship.
Beijing did criticize the Prague governor’s trip to Taiwan made last March. Also, early this year, China cancelled the tours to China of four Czech performance troupes, including the Prague Philharmonic, the Pražák Quartet, the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Guarneri Trio of Prague.
Source: Oriental Daily, October 7, 2019
On October 8, 2019, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) of China released the full text of the draft of the Law on Disciplinary Rules for Civil Servants (government employees). According to the draft, Chinese government employees must be politically correct and those who oppose the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will be fired.
This is the first time that the Chinese government put into law that the disciplinary scheme for CCP members will apply to all government employees.
Under Article 30, those who publish articles, speeches, statements, declarations, or anything else opposing the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, the socialist system or the reform and opening, will be dismissed. Whoever engages in the following will also be disciplined and subject to actions up to dismissal: spreading speech that is harmful to the reputation of the CCP or the State; refusing to implement directives and policies of the CCP and the State or the major decisions and deployments of the CCP Central Committee.
Under Article 31, those who organize or participate in strikes, protests, and demonstrations, or who organize or exploit religious activities to undermine ethnic unity and social stability will be dismissed.
The NPC is soliciting public comments on the draft which may be submitted through November 6, 2019. Per statistics published in 2016, there are 7.16 million civil servants in China.
Source: Xinhua, October 8, 2019
Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that the U.S. Republican National Committee (RNC) just reported the highest-in-history monthly campaign fund raising record of US$27.3 million. It did so while the competition was busy impeaching Trump. Its third quarter reported a total of US$126 million. In the meantime, the Democratic National Committee reported a debt of US$7.3 million. It appears the Republican supporters did not change their minds even with all the stories in the media on Ukraine Gate, the withdrawal from Syria, and even the impeachment. With ample funds in the bank, the Republicans started a new campaign against the Democrats called “Stop the Madness,” spending millions of dollars. The new campaign focuses on urging the voters to contact their Democratic representatives and demand tangible results that will directly benefit the people. According to RNC spokesperson Rick Gorka, the goal is to take back control of the House of Representatives.
Source: Sina, October 18, 2019
Deutsche Welle Chinese Edition recently reported that, according to a research report that the Australian Strategic Policy Research Institute published, Beijing is establishing a global data collection network. The approach is to work actively with Chinese companies and foreign universities. The goal is to influence global online public opinion and even to exert control. China is quietly penetrating the higher education systems in Britain, the U.S. and Australia. The effort is not done in an aggressive fashion. For example, Global Tone Communications Technology Co. provides advanced online software for translation, voice recognition, and video recognition. In the meantime, it collects online information across 65 language areas globally. This company belongs to the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. It works with many universities around the world, such as The University of New South Wales in Australia. Its data is shared with big data Artificial Intelligence Company Haiyun Data, which is the company accused of monitoring the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. Similarly, in addition to software and online services, China is using other channels of communication and networking hardware layers such as products offered by Huawei.
Source: DW Chinese, October 16, 2019
China just announced that the GDP growth rate in the third quarter was six percent, but Xiang Zuoxiu, a professor at Renmin University who is the deputy director of the International Monetary Research Institute, publicly questioned the number and stated that it was seriously overestimated.
On October 18th, the National Bureau of Statistics announced that GDP in the third quarter increased by six percent year over year, which was the lowest since 1992 and below the expected rate of 6.1 percent. In his Wechat account, Xiang Zuoxiu stated that the official GDP growth rate was “obviously overestimated.” He said that most of the fiscal revenue and corporate profits show negative growth. In the first three quarters the national tax revenue also showed negative growth, so how could the GDP growth rate be six percent? He analyzed that even if the tax cuts lead to a fiscal decline while GDP still maintains a growth rate of six percent, then either the corporate profits would grow rapidly or the income of the people would grow rapidly. However, neither of them happened. This indicates that the GDP growth is not so rapid.
Xiang spoke to the Executive Class of Renmin University in December last year. His speech was bold and blunt. It spread widely on the Internet but the officials also censored what he said. In his speech, Xiang pointed out that China’s economy is now in serious decline. The GDP growth rate was not 6.5 percent as the statistics bureau’s said. Instead, it was 1.67 percent, and might even be negative. He also pointed to many problems facing the current Chinese economy and society. The biggest obstacle that the companies have to deal with is that the government lacks credibility. Xiang proposed that only tax reform, political reform, and state governance system reform could solve the fundamental problems.
Source: Aboluowang, October 19, 2019