National China News

Date: August 7, 2020
By: Helen Regan, CNN

Canadian and Chinese flags are seen at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on December 5, 2017, in Beijing, China.

(CNN)A Canadian citizen in China has been sentenced to death for transporting and manufacturing illegal substances, a Chinese court announced Friday.

The Intermediate People's Court of Foshan City in Guangdong Province said Ye Jianhui was given the death sentence for "for the crime of transporting and manufacturing drugs," according to a court statement released on Friday.

Ye is the second Canadian national in two days to receive the death penalty for narcotics charges in China.

According to court documents, Ye and his associates were part of a criminal drug racket, operating from May 2015 to January 2016, that manufactured and intended to distribute a substantial amount of amphetamine.

Authorities seized 218 kilograms (480) pounds of amphetamine from a room the court said was used by the defendant. A smaller amount of the drug was seized in a bag and residence, the court statement said.

Another man, identified by the court as Lu Hanchang, was also sentenced to death for transporting and manufacturing illegal substances.    [FULL  STORY]

Move comes amid rising US-China tensions over TikTok and WeChat apps that White House says are ‘significant threats’

The Guardian
Date: 6 Aug 2020
By: Lily Kuo in Beijing and Reuters

Google has deleted 2,500 YouTube channels as part of its investigation into ‘influence operations’ linked to China. Photograph: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images

Google says it has deleted more than 2,500 YouTube channels tied to China as part of its effort to weed out disinformation on the video-sharing platform.

The Alphabet-owned company said the channels were removed between April and June “as part of our ongoing investigation into coordinated influence operations linked to China.“

The channels generally posted “spammy, non-political content,” but a small subset touched on politics, the company said in a quarterly bulletin on disinformation operations.

Google did not identify the specific channels and provided few other details, except to link the videos to similar activity spotted by Twitter and to a disinformation campaign identified in April by social media analytics company Graphika.    [FULL  STORY]

Beijing denounces ‘megaphone diplomacy’ over jailed Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, and arrest of Huawei executive

The Guardian
Date: 28 Jun 2020

Supporters of detained Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor at an extradition hearing for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver this year. Photograph: Canadian Press/REX/Shutterstock

China has sharply criticised Canada over its comments about two Canadians charged with spying, blaming its leaders for “irresponsible” statements and calling on Ottawa to end its “megaphone diplomacy”.

Chinese prosecutors this month charged Canadians Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, and Michael Spavor, a businessman, over allegations of espionage and providing state secrets.

In response, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau called on Beijing to cease the “arbitrary detention,” and US secretary of state Mike Pompeo also called for their release.

But a statement posted on the website of the Chinese embassy in Ottawa on Saturday said the evidence against the two Canadians was “solid and sufficient”.

The two were arrested in December 2018 – a few days after Canada detained the financial director of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, at the request of the US judicial authorities.

The charges against the two Canadians have been criticised as being retaliation for Meng’s arrest. China denies the allegation, while Trudeau has repeatedly called the detention of the two men “arbitrary”. 

Case typifies how Chinese educational institutions work with individuals to erode intellectual property

Taiwan News
Date: 2020/06/28
By: Chris Chang, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Tianjin University allegedly supported Zhang in IP theft (Wikimedia Commons photo)

Tianjin University allegedly supported Zhang in IP theft (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The U.S. Department of Justice announced the conviction of Zhang Hao (張浩), who stole trade secrets from two U.S. tech companies and enabled China's Tianjin University (TJU) and his own firm to unfairly compete in the multi-billion-dollar market for radio frequency filters on electronic devices.

According to the department, the two U.S. companies that Zhang stole trade secrets from are California-based Avago and Massachusetts-based Skyworks. The former designs and supplies a broad range of analog, digital, and mixed-signal components with a focus on semiconductor design and processing, while the latter is specialized in high-performance analog semiconductors.

Zhang targeted the well-developed technologies owned by these two companies, specifically the Film Bulk Acoustic Resonators (FBAR), which are applied to eliminate interference and improve other aspects of device performance.

Back in 2006, Zhang launched a business in China while working for Avago at the same time; his accomplice, Pang Wei (龐慰), worked for Skyworks. The two later became professors at TJU and cooperated with the school to form another company, Novana, in 2009, using key information they stole from the U.S. entities.    [FULL  STORY]

Global Times
Date: 2020/6/8

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday signed a crucial defense pact to upgrade bilateral ties into a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, according to media reports.  

Whereas this accord is set against the backdrop of escalating border tensions between China and India, this intensifies friction between Beijing and Canberra. Some analysts regard this move as a joint effort between India and Australia to counter China.  

It is true that China has had some frictions with both counties recently. Australia, which relies on the US for security and China for economy, has always struck a balance between the two sides. However, as one of the US' closest allies in the Asia-Pacific region, Canberra has coordinated with Washington closely in the latter's recent ramping up of attacks on Beijing. The land down under has recently adopted a tougher stance toward the world's second-largest economy upon which it depends.

After Chinese President Xi Jinping and Modi held their first informal summit in Wuhan in 2018, China and India have evidently improved bilateral ties. They have acted prudently to cope with sensitive issues, including border disputes.

Prime minister condemns Beijing for linking its 2018 detention of two Canadians with arrest of Huawei executive

The Guardian
Date: 21 May 2020
By: AFP in Ottawa

 Meng Wanzhou, seen in January, was arrested in Vancouver in 2018. Photograph: Jennifer Gauthier/Reuters

Beijing’s linking of its detention of two Canadians in China to the arrest of a Chinese executive in Vancouver shows it does not understand the meaning of an independent judiciary, Justin Trudeau said on Thursday.

China detained the former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor in December 2018, nine days after the arrest on a US warrant of the Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver.

“We’ve seen Chinese officials linking those two cases from the very beginning,” Canada’s prime minister said.

“Canada has an independent judicial system that functions without interference or override by politicians.

“China doesn’t work quite the same way and doesn’t seem to understand that,” he said, calling the linkage of the cases “distressing” while vowing to continue to press for the release of the two Canadians.

The arrests led to the worst-ever crisis in relations between the two nations, with accusations of “arbitrary detentions” and hostage diplomacy met with trade sanctions and suspended consular visits.    [FULL  STORY]

“Everything they’re doing is a full-court press,” one expert told Vox.

Date: Apr 28, 2020
By: Alex Ward 

 Nemanja Cabric/Xinhua via Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic that rages across the globe is a fire China helped light. And now, while Beijing grasps a fire hose with two hands, it’s also planting a boot on the world’s neck.

The Chinese government spent weeks denying and downplaying the severity of its growing coronavirus outbreak that eventually spread to the rest of the world. That obfuscation cost nations crucial time in preparing for and potentially curbing the damage of Covid-19. Some experts Vox spoke with believe President Xi Jinping’s regime should be held accountable for the more than 3 million infections and 200,000 deaths that have taken place worldwide.

But China isn’t letting the crisis go to waste. Instead of looking to make amends, Beijing is taking advantage of the chaos to pursue its long-term foreign policy goals more aggressively.

“When it sees opportunities, China moves to exploit them,” said Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington, DC. “And we are in a moment where the Chinese definitely see opportunities.”

China has capitalized on the world’s distraction to claim sovereignty over disputed islands in the South China Sea, intimidate Taiwan, and assert more authority over Hong Kong in an attempt to quash the pro-democracy movement there.

It’s taken advantage of vulnerable countries in Africa that are struggling to cope with the coronavirus and its economic impact by offering much-needed debt relief — but only if those countries provide lucrative national assets as collateral.

And after the US suspended funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) for allegedly being too cozy with Beijing, the Chinese government pledged millions of dollars in additional support for the organization, giving China even more influence in the global health agency and allowing the country to portray itself as the new champion of multilateralism.    [FULL  STORY]

Date: APRIL 24, 2020

FILE PHOTO: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks as he takes part in a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) in this image released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 11, 2020. KCNA/via REUTERS/File Photo

BEIJING/SEOUL (Reuters) – China has dispatched a team to North Korea including medical experts to advise on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, according to three people familiar with the situation.

FILE PHOTO: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks as he takes part in a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) in this image released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 11, 2020. KCNA/via REUTERS/File Photo

The trip by the Chinese doctors and officials comes amid conflicting reports about the health of the North Korean leader. Reuters was unable to immediately determine what the trip by the Chinese team signaled in terms of Kim’s health.

A delegation led by a senior member of the Chinese Communist Party’s International Liaison Department left Beijing for North Korea on Thursday, two of the people said. The department is the main Chinese body dealing with neighbouring North Korea.

The sources declined to be identified given the sensitivity of the matter.

The Liaison Department could not be reached by Reuters for comment late on Friday. China’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment late on Friday.

Daily NK, a Seoul-based website, reported earlier this week that Kim was recovering after undergoing a cardiovascular procedure on April 12. It cited one unnamed source in North Korea.

South Korean government officials and a Chinese official with the Liaison Department challenged subsequent reports suggesting that Kim was in grave danger after surgery. South Korean officials said they had detected no signs of unusual activity in North Korea.    [FULL  STORY]

National Review
Date: April 24, 2020
By: Tobias Hoonhout

President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019 (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019 (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Financial records show that President Trump still owes the state-owned Bank of China millions from a $211 million loan that he used to refinance his 30-percent stake in a New York City skyscraper.

Politico reported Friday that Trump’s investment in 1290 Avenue of the Americas, a 43-story building adjacent to the Trump Tower in Manhattan, is a passive one, with Vornado Realty Trust holding the majority stake — 70 percent — in the skyscraper, which has a market value of over $1 billion.

In a 2012 refinancing of the building, the Bank of China became the first Chinese lender to join the U.S. commercial-mortgage-backed securities market by providing a $211 million loan. Vornado and Trump are due to pay back the loan by November 2022, with Chinese experts warning that Beijing could have compromising financial information on the president.

Trump has mentioned the investment in the past, saying when he announced his candidacy in 2015 that he owns “a big chunk” of the building “that I got from China in a war.” The New York Times reported in 2016 that Trump received his 30 percent share in the building in a court order, after suing former Hong Kong business partners for cash, who he argued had committed a “staggering breach” of fiduciary duty for not consulting him on a real-estate development sale.

“Through more luck than talent, I ended up much better because the buildings have increased in value,” Trump said at the time. “In the end, it was fine.”   

Fox News
Date: March 31, 2020
By: Louis Casiano | Fox News

China's COVID-19 death toll in Wuhan seems false to locals

Funeral homes that serve Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, have been handing out the cremated remains of about 500 people to their families every day. However, residents say those numbers put the 2,500 death toll the Chinese government has claimed into question.

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Months after the coronavirus began to surface in China, the outbreak has spread across the world, killing thousands and prompting governments to enact unprecedented containment measures.

Beijing says it's slowly beginning to emerge from the crisis that originated on its soil, while putting its propaganda machine to work to craft a favorable narrative. Weeks after announcing the outbreak, some governments — particularly the United States — are accusing China of purposely failing to inform the public, thereby exacerbating the crisis.

A Chinese doctor who has since died of the virus tried sounding alarms during its early stages. Li Wenliang — who worked in a Wuhan hospital and has since been hailed as a hero —  was detained with eight other doctors for posting information about patients with respiratory problems on WeChat, a Chinese messaging platform.

Authorities claimed the doctors were spreading "unverified information" as reason for their detention. Other doctors were reprimanded and told to stop posting online about the virus. Li was released after signing a document admitting he committed "illegal acts."

He eventually contracted the virus and died in February.

“If society had at the time believed those ‘rumors,’ and wore masks, used disinfectant and avoided going to the wildlife market as if there were a SARS outbreak, perhaps it would’ve meant we could better control the coronavirus today,” the Supreme People’s Court said of Li's detention. “Rumors end when there is openness.”    [FULL  STORY]