Posts Tagged ‘Chinese Communist Party’

China: Could the world’s new superpower be on the verge of collapse? — China must step up

June 21, 2017

By Paul Wilson

COULD China be witnessing the beginnings of its own end?

The vast majority of commentators say chances are slim. Most are as dismissive of China-sceptics as Nikita Krushchev was of USSR doom-mongers in the late fifties. Yet within three decades of “We will bury you!” Krushchev was proved wrong. History was not on his side and the only grave being dug was for the Soviet Union itself.

But, surely, this is the beginning of the great “Chinese Century”? The People’s Republic is completely different to the USSR? It’s all about economics now? Well, yes and no …

Historical map of China. Picture: Thinkstock

Historical map of China. Picture: Thinkstock Source:News Limited


Pull out a map of the Orient. Not a Chinese Communist Party standard issue, but one from history. Whether you go back a hundred years or a thousand, the image that greets you is strikingly similar: a far, far smaller “China”, centred on the old Han Chinese heartlands. Much of what lies within “Chinese” borders today was not so long ago a mosaic of very separate, non-Chinese states, only absorbed by force.

Travel around China, and as you leave the booming cities of the east, the picture becomes clear. Fewer people look “Chinese”, speak Chinese (either Mandarin or Cantonese), or act “Chinese” (mosques instead of Mao, chortens instead of chopsticks). It is not so much “ethnic minorities” living in “autonomous zones”, more non-Chinese majorities whose homelands have been swiped from beneath their feet. The contrast with Beijing and Shanghai is stark, despite millions of Han Chinese families being forcibly relocated to live in these regions, or bribed with government jobs.

If it was inevitable Soviet Republics like Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan would one day seek self-determination, is it so hard to believe Tibetans and Uighurs won’t do the same? Or that Inner Mongolians wish reunification with their “Outer” cousins?

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull inspects the troops with Premier Li Keqiang outside Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on his first official visit to China. Picture: Stephen Cooper

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull inspects the troops with Premier Li Keqiang outside Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on his first official visit to China. Picture: Stephen CooperSource:News Corp Australia


China may not face the threat of a cold war, yet it is still embroiled in major conflict. Trump, Putin, even Kim Jong-un could be roll-called as potential adversaries, but foreign opponents are the least of Party Leaders’ worries. The reality is they are already at war on three home fronts:


This is the Mandarin name for the enormous province that makes up northwest China. However, a significant minority of the region’s (primarily Muslim) inhabitants use “East Turkestan” or “Uighurstan”. The area’s history is of mixed fortune but for much of the past it was made up of rich independent kingdoms like Khotan or Kashgar. As recently as 1949, East Turkestan existed as an independent republic. Today, the largest ethnic group is the Uighurs, and many are in conflict with Beijing. Suicide bombings, embassy attacks and plane hijackings are regularly carried out by groups demanding their own nation state. A 2014 attack at the Kunming Railway station killed 31 and injured 141.


The Tibetan struggle may be the most peaceful “war” on the planet, but this does allow the Dalai Lama to retain broad international sympathy. Historically, Tibet also included much of the modern Chinese provinces of Qinghai and Sichuan, and ethnically and culturally Tibetans have always been completely at odds with their Chinese neighbours. This whole region is still primarily “Tibetan”, despite 150,000 Tibetans living in exile. Recent protests have turned violent, sometimes deadly.


Technically, China is not at war with this nation but that is only because Taiwan has never formally declared nationhood. If Taipei does, Beijing has vowed it will launch an immediate military attack. As recently as March 2017, Taiwan’s Defence Minister talked of “warfare” against mainland China. With hostilities in the South China Sea steadily increasing, and Washington using Taiwan as a bargaining chip in its negotiations with Beijing, developments in Taipei could yet be a major catalyst for change.

Workers install the ‘Golden Bridge of Silk Road’ outside a summit showcasing President Xi Jinping's signature foreign-policy plan ‘One Belt, One Road’. Picture: AP

Workers install the ‘Golden Bridge of Silk Road’ outside a summit showcasing President Xi Jinping’s signature foreign-policy plan ‘One Belt, One Road’. Picture: APSource:AP


If economics as much as politics proves instrumental in the unravelling of modern China, Hong Kong holds the key. Beijing has made every effort to integrate the former colony into the mainland economy, but fundamental obstacles remain. Uncompromising protests frequently denounce Beijing for reneging on promises, with many “islanders” demanding full democratic rights and an end to the one-party system.

Dissent is spreading across southern China and many protesters, like their Hong Kong counterparts, are Cantonese — or Hokkien-speaking Han. Those south of the Yangzte River may share ethnic and cultural ties with their Mandarin-speaking cousins in the north, but they have long considered themselves different. Traditionally this might have only been a preference for rice over noodles, but increasingly debate is about more than what food’s on the table.

Will China collapse? Ask this guy.

Will China collapse? Ask this guy.Source:AP


The world’s new “superpower” hopes investment in the provinces will convince locals that life under CPC rule is preferable to any breakup. In particular, President Xi Jinping is staking billions on his “One Belt, One Road” policy, aimed at creating a “New Silk Road” to bring trade and prosperity. Nevertheless, the economy is increasingly volatile. Could a 9/11-type terrorist event cause it to implode? Under such circumstances, might the Han Chinese call for their Uighur, Tibetan and Mongol “compatriots” to be cut loose? This is a country famous for turning its back on the outside world.

Tellingly, the Kremlin also ordered mass migrations. Stalin sent thousands of native Russians to “modernise” his newly created Soviet Republics, yet following the breakup of the USSR the vast majority quickly returned. Successive leaders tried similar “economic solutions” but the likes of Perestroika and Glasnost proved too little too late.

Will China collapse tomorrow? Probably not. In the next 30 years? Ask Mikhail Gorbachev.

Paul Wilson has been travelling through Central Asia and China since the late 1990s. His book, The Silk Roads (Trailblazer), is in its third edition. He is a regular speaker at the UNWTO’s Silk Road Programme and Open Central Asia Literary Festival.

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China’s “Belt and Road” plan would be the world’s largest infrastructure program.


 (The “Project of the Century” is, at heart, an imperial venture.)


Guo Wengui Exposes China’s Corruption

May 31, 2017

The biggest political story in China this year isn’t in Beijing. It isn’t even in China. It’s centered at a $68 million apartment overlooking Central Park in Manhattan.

That’s where Guo Wengui, a billionaire in self-imposed exile, has hurled political grenades at the Chinese Communist Party for months, accusing senior leaders of graft using Twitter as his loudspeaker. He escalated his attack by claiming that members of the family of China’s second most powerful official, who oversees the country’s anticorruption effort, secretly own a large stake in a major Chinese conglomerate.

The Chinese government responded by unleashing the state-controlled media to enumerate Mr. Guo’s alleged frauds, and asking Interpol to put out a global warrant for his arrest.

But then something unexpected happened. China stood down. The state media campaign against him tapered off. In mid-May, Mr. Guo announced on Twitter that his wife and daughter — previously barred from leaving China — had been allowed to visit him in New York.

“We need to root out some of the robbers of this country,” Mr. Guo, referring to China, told two New York Times reporters this month at his apartment. To emphasize the point, he wrote it out in Chinese in a notebook. “We are against using corruption to root out corruption.”

Mr. Guo’s allegations are unproved, and some of his claims have been outlandish and easily debunked. Yet amid his barrage of charges about China’s powerful and wealthy are claims that have turned out to be accurate. And the government’s treatment of Mr. Guo, whose former political patron was one of China’s highest-ranking intelligence officials, suggests he may be taken seriously, perhaps even supported, by some officials in Beijing.



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China’s Belt and Road to Nowhere — Can anyone just say no? — Cutting through China’s propaganda

May 22, 2017
Shanghai at night. Pixabay/Public domain

Beijing’s mixture of political and economic priorities may not result in an overall Belt and Road policy formula that is workable.


May 21, 2017

A great deal of attention is being paid by Western media to China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, the most ambitious foreign-policy initiative yet for paramount leader Xi Jinping. Launched in 2013 under the slogan “One Belt, One Road,” the effort involves China spending billions of dollars on infrastructure projects in countries along the old Silk Road linking it with Europe.

The ambition of Xi is immense, but it is largely driven by insecurity. Western media parrots China’s propaganda about the Belt and Road Initiative. “Its ultimate aim is to make Eurasia (dominated by China) an economic and trading area to rival the transatlantic one (dominated by America),” reports the Economist.

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But in fact the motivations for China are far more simple and direct than this grandiose vision suggests. Viewed through the prism of China’s economic progress over the past decade, the Belt and Road program is merely a continuation of China’s massive internal investment in infrastructure—only on a larger scale.

China is spending roughly $150 billion annually to build roads, rail lines and other infrastructure in sixty-plus countries that have signed up to the scheme. The obvious question is whether China can support such a gigantic effort.

In 1958, Mao announced the “great leap forward,” a program grounded upon the Marxian prescription for the advancement of industrial technology which ultimately resulted in the deaths of between twenty million and forty million Chinese nationals. Christopher Balding, writing for Bloomberg View, questions the financial logic of Xi’s version of the “great leap forward” of the Maoist period:

China’s just-completed conference touting its Belt and Road initiative certainly looked like a triumph, with Russian president Vladimir Putin playing the piano and Chinese leaders announcing a string of potential deals and massive financial pledges. Underneath all the heady talk about China positioning itself at the heart of a new global order, though, lies in uncomfortable question: Can it afford to do so?

Foreign analysts often try to understand Chinese thinking and priorities using the commercial and economic logic of the West, but, in fact, asking whether China can afford the Belt and Road effort is to ask the wrong question. In the minds of China’s leaders, who fear political instability above all else, the real question is whether China can afford not to spend more tens of billions on infrastructure projects to keep the country’s restive population under control.

Going back to President Xi’s meeting with President Donald Trump earlier this year and his carefully scripted defense of free trade, the Chinese leader is clearly focused on creating new channels to absorb China’s massive overcapacity. “Trade is the important engine of economic development,” Xi said at a summit of world leaders in Beijing that was largely ignored by the United States, European nations and India.

But, in fact, it is investment flows, not trade, that dominates the economic relationship between the United States and China. The key challenge facing China is not how to generate greater trade flows, especially away from its primary partner the United States, but how to allocate investment flows given the dearth of attractive investment opportunities in China.

Just as Germany channeled its surplus savings to the nations of Southern Europe, China has been allowing its citizens to invest trillions of dollars in the United States, Canada and other nations, often focused on direct investment in companies and real estate. Over the past five years, for example, Chinese nationals ploughed $1 trillion into foreign real estate and other assets.

“The most important economic truth to grasp about the U.S. trade deficit is that it has virtually nothing to do with trade policy,” noted Daniel Griswold of the Cato Institute in testimony before Congress two decades ago. “A nation’s trade deficit is determined by the flow of investment funds into or out of the country. And those flows are determined by how much the people of a nation save and invest—two variables that are only marginally affected by trade policy.”

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Thus, when we look at China’s massive investment in infrastructure outside of its own borders, we see the imperative of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), namely political stability. Measured in economic terms, many of China’s supposed “investments” along the Silk Road don’t make a great deal of sense.

But viewed from the political perspective of employing China’s people and the accumulation of unused capacity inside the Chinese economy, the Belt and Road makes perfect sense. Beijing’s mixture of political and economic priorities will not necessarily result in an overall policy formula that is actually workable. Note for example, the November 2016 decision to impose barriers on foreign investments by private individuals and companies.

The de facto currency controls are slowing the outward flow of investment—and dollars—from China, a change that has negative implications for the value of the U.S. currency, the United States real estate market and also implies a weaker Chinese renminbi (RMB).

As we have noted in previous articles for the National Interest, the Chinese RMB has been under pressure to depreciate against the dollar. China’s central bank sold over $1 trillion in U.S. Treasury bonds to provide the dollars to slow down the decline (by buying RMB). Indeed, over the past several years China’s massive foreign currency reserve shrank from $4 trillion to $3 trillion as the country’s nationals went on a spending spree acquiring real estate and commercial assets in the United States and other nations.

With the imposition of currency controls last year, however, China’s posture as a net investor around the world is changing. The propaganda headlines of the Belt and Road Initiative suggest a massive capital outflow to other nations, but, in fact, just the opposite is the case. Indeed, the South China Morning Post reports that Beijing’s strict capital controls are delaying private investments that are part of the Belt and Road project.

First and foremost the importance of China’s Belt and Road Initiative is political, namely to show President Xi Jinping in control of China’s command economy as he consolidates political power as dictator of China and the unquestioned leader of the CCP. Under Xi, the era of collective leadership in China is well and truly at an end.

But second—and more important—the continuing effort by China to “pump prime” internal economic activity via gargantuan infrastructure projects, both at home and abroad, reveals a basic flaw in the Chinese economy. Only when the political monopoly of the CCP has ended and China’s people are truly free to make economic and political choices will the country be able to provide sufficient investment opportunities at home so that desperate measures such as the Belt and Road spectacle will no longer be necessary.

Christopher Whalen is senior managing director and head of research at Kroll Bond Rating Agency. He is the author of Inflated: How Money and Debt Built the American Dream (Wiley, 2010) and the coauthor, with Frederick Feldkamp, of Financial Stability: Fraud, Confidence and the Wealth of Nations(Wiley, 2014). His website is

Image: Shanghai at night. Pixabay/Public domain



Global Decline in Press Freedom Also Hits China — “Robot journalists are leading the way and fully compliant with party controls”

May 3, 2017

By China Digital Times

’s newly released Freedom of the Press 2017 report found that there has been a drastic global decline in over the past year amid growing media threats in both democratic countries as well as authoritarian states. China remains “not free” in terms of its status, receiving a total score of 87 out of 100, with 100 being the least free. The following are key developments that have shaped the legal and political environment for the Chinese media in 2016:

  • Xi Jinping, the state president and leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), made high-profile visits in February to key state media outlets, where he called for all media to demonstrate strict adherence to the party line.
  • The government adopted a new cybersecurity law in November, and a series of other regulations that increased restrictions on internet communications, online publication, and video streaming were issued over the course of the year.
  • Authorities tightened control over news dissemination channels, including social media and mobile-phone applications, and suspended permission for websites to repost content from the prominent news site Caixin.
  • Although the total of 38 behind bars at year’s end represented a slight decrease compared with 2015, at least 111 , bloggers, online writers, activists, and members of religious or ethnic minorities were sentenced during 2016 to prison terms of up to 19 years for alleged offenses related to freedom of expression or access to information. [Source]

Full regional reports measuring levels of press independence will soon become available for Taiwan and Hong Kong. Media freedom in the latter has steadily deteriorated over the last several years as a result of growing pressure from Beijing and local authorities alike.

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also released its 2017 World Press Freedom Index this week, ranking China as the world’s fifth-worst country for press freedom and the “leading prison for citizen journalists.” Hong Kong currently stands at 73 out of the 180 countries surveyed after moving down four spots on the ranking list. Meanwhile, Taiwan’s rating has improved markedly with the nation now occupying the 45th position, up six places from last year. Findings from the Index suggest that attacks on the press have become increasingly commonplace in today’s world. Growing suppression of media freedom has been especially prevalent in democracies, with countries such as the United States and Finland falling in the Index. Countries that have previously received low rankings have also registered declines in press freedom, with the media environment in Burundi, Egypt, and Bahrain now classified as “very bad.”

As a part of grim developments in the country, journalists in China could soon face financial penalties as the Chinese government makes plans to link journalists’ online postings with their credit rating. Yaqiu Wang reports for the :

The creation of China’s system of credit scoring, which will be implemented in stages, could result in scenarios in which journalists who write or speak critically of the government face direct, personal financial consequences. Those consequences could be life-altering: A journalist whose social media post is deemed a “rumor” by the government could see her credit score lowered, resulting in her being denied a loan or saddled with a high interest rate.

[…] In June 2014, the State Council, the administrator of the Chinese central government, issued a planning document that sets forth the creation of a nationwide “Social Credit System” to monitor and rate the “social credibility” of individuals, private companies, government agencies and non-governmental organizations based on information from various government agencies and private institutions. Such information could include criminal records, tax documents, employer evaluations, purchasing preferences and online activities. The document states that the system would evaluate the credit history and online activities of internet users and blacklist “individuals engaging in online swindles” and “rumormongering.” The document also calls for adopting “measures against subjects listed on black lists,” including restricting their online activities, barring sectoral access and reporting them to corresponding departments for exposure.

[…] Journalists told CPJ the online credit system is a significant concern because it represents a new way of linking a person’s speech with other aspects of their lives. Censorship in China already goes beyond the usual tactics of removing journalists’ and writers’ social media accounts, shutting down news websites, and jailing journalists; it also involves thwarting journalists’ other daily activities, denying them career opportunities and banishing them from mainstream social engagements. [Source]

Read more about China’s nascent social credit system in a CDT interview with Shazeda Ahmed. As a censorship tactic, the development of the social credit system can be seen as part of a larger trend in which state actors are increasingly making use of innovative ways to control information. Joel Simon at the Committee to Protect Journalists discusses three categories of strategies that various governments and non-state actors have developed in recent years to control and manage information.

Repression 2.0 is an update on the worst old-style tactics, from state censorship to the imprisonment of critics, with new information technologies including smartphones and social media producing a softening around the edges. Masked political control means a systematic effort to hide repressive actions by dressing them in the cloak of democratic norms. Governments might justify an internet crackdown by saying it is necessary to suppress hate speech and incitement to violence. They might cast the jailing of dozens of critical journalists as an essential element in the global fight against terror.

Finally, technology capture means using the same technologies that have spawned the global information explosion to stifle dissent, by monitoring and surveilling critics, blocking websites and using trolling to shout down critical voices. Most insidious of all is sowing confusion through propaganda and false news.

These strategies have contributed to an upsurge in killings and imprisonment of journalists around the world. In fact, at the end of 2016 there were 259 journalists in jail, the most ever documented by CPJ. Meanwhile, violent forces–from Islamic militants to drug cartels–have exploited new information technologies to bypass the media and communicate directly with the public, often using videos of graphic violence to send a message of ruthlessness and terror. [Source]

For academic scholars in China, speaking to foreign press is becoming increasingly costly as universities tighten relevant regulations discouraging such conduct. Te-Ping Chen at The Wall Street Journal Reports:

Wu Qiang, a former politics lecturer at Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua university, said in an interview on Thursday that he was repeatedly scolded by university officials bearing printed-out copies of reports in which he was cited by foreign media. Mr. Wu said he eventually grew more cautious about granting interviews but continued to speak to foreign reporters. As a scholar, he said, “I’ve always felt the responsibility to do so.”

Mr. Wu, who first began his tenure at the university in 2009, said the university declined to renew his contract in 2015. While no reason was cited, he says, he believes it pertained both to his repeated interactions with foreign media and the nature of his research into social movements.

[…] Mr. Wu said he was never shown any written guidelines banning communication with foreign media. But other universities have recently posted regulations online requiring approval by school authorities before speaking to foreign media.

“When accepting interviews from foreign media,” one such notice advises, “you must earnestly work to prevent leaking secrets.” [Source]

At The New York Times, Beijing bureau chief Jane Perlez spoke of the ongoing technological challenges of reporting in China where the Great Firewall poses a constant hurdle to online information access. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Russia is now attempting to imitate China’s model of internet control with increased online censorship.

In addition to these developments in press freedom conditions, China Media Project’s David Bandurski writes that the media industry in China is also currently undergoing a millennial shift, one that is characterized by the “progressive loss of professional capacity” as the industry turns increasingly into a “rice bowl” profession for the young. Low pay and censorship are cited as the key factors driving away talent as old hands get pushed out of the industry and replaced by younger and less experienced journalists.

Many factors have driven an exodus of older talent from China’s media, from poor pay and the digital transformation of the industry — now hitting traditional Chinese media that for many years had seemed protected from the storms buffeting media elsewhere in the world — to the vagaries of censorship, which can sap the professional spirit. But the net effect of this shift is the progressive loss of professional journalism capacity in China’s media.

[…] Falling pay (relative to cost of living) and rising pressure mean the entire journalism profession is skewing younger in China. A 2016 survey by PR Newswireshowed that more than 80 percent of the “front-line journalists” reporting the news in China were born after 1985, meaning they were 30 years old or younger. By contrast, a survey of journalists in the U.S., conducted in 2013 by the School of Journalism at Indiana University, showed the median age had risen from 41 to 47 since 2002.

[…] Last month, the youthfulness of China’s journalists became a topic of renewed debate on social media in China after former FT China editor-in-chief Zhang Lifen (张力奋) said at the Bo’ao Forum for Asia Annual Conference that while the journalism profession anywhere in the world must rely on cumulative experience, journalists in China treat the job as a “young rice bowl” profession — in other words, as something to be endured only for a few years early in a career before one moves on to a job with real pay and a real future.

[…] The discussion inside China of the reasons for journalism’s flagging appeal among older — even just slightly older — professionals tends not to dwell on censorship, the elephant in the room. But the fact is that media controls, now more stringent and more effective than at any time in the past two decades, have a constraining effect on all aspects of the profession. [Source]

Meanwhile, The Guardian’s Tom Phillips reports that a new generation of international war correspondents has emerged in China as a result of the state media’s effort to expand its global reach.

Shixin Zhang, the author of a book on Chinese war correspondents, said China’s race to the front began a little over two decades ago when editors in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou began sending journalists to conflicts including the Gulf War and Kosovo.

In 2008 that race became a stampede after Beijing announced it would pump 20bn yuan (£2.3bn) into key state-media outlets such as Xinhua, CCTV, China Radio International and Communist party mouthpiece the People’s Daily in a bid “to get its message across to the outside world”. “The current struggle between East and West is mainly for the right to be heard,” Huang Youyi, the vice president of China International Publishing Group, said at the time.

Privately-owned newspapers and television channels have also joined the rush, hoping to boost ratings and sales. In 2011, dozens of reporters jetted into Libya to witness Colonel Gaddafi’s downfall, reputedly the largest Chinese contingent ever to cover a single conflict. [Source]

Also at The Guardian, Wang Zhen looks at what a day on the job is like for Yuan Wenyi, one of China’s few female war reporters.

The 36-year-old reporter remembers her action-packed debut as a conflict reporter as a “sheer delight”. But her first experience of war was almost her last.

[…] “Run! Run! Run!” she recalls screaming at the station’s cameraman, Li Yanjun, as a shell exploded not far from their filming position, sending them scrambling back towards their vehicle.

As they raced away from the action, bullets whizzing through the air, Yuan remembers worrying that the car might explode: “I felt so desperate … All the blood rushed up into my forehead. I totally lost my voice.”

[…] Female voices are still a rarity among China’s new generation of war correspondent. But Yuan said she hoped Chinese newsrooms would gradually shake off the outdated idea that war zones were for men. “Work is work – it’s just the same for me as for everybody else.” [Source]

Elsewhere, SupChina reports that Chinese state media Xinhua News Agency has debuted its first robot reporter in a live interview with Kevin Kelly of Wired magazine.


China tightens rules for online news providers

May 3, 2017


© AFP/File | Sites blocked due to their content or sensitivity, among them Facebook and Twitter, cannot be accessed in China without special software that allows users to bypass the strict controls

BEIJING (AFP) – China has issued new internet regulations increasing Communist party control over online news providers, the latest step in the country’s push to tighten its policing of the web.

The ruling party oversees a vast apparatus designed to censor online content deemed politically sensitive, maintaining that such measures are necessary for the protection of national security.

Sites blocked due to their content or sensitivity, among them Facebook and Twitter, cannot be accessed in China without special software that allows users to bypass the strict controls.

New regulations released by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) Tuesday will increase party control over who can publish what online, taking effect June 1.

All websites, apps, forums, blogs, microblogs, social media accounts, instant messaging and live streaming platforms and other entities that select or edit news will need a license to post reports or commentary about the government, economy, military, foreign affairs, and social issues, the CAC said.

Such online news service providers must “correctly guide public opinion” and “serve the cause of socialism” while “safeguarding national and public interests”, it said.

Business and editorial operations must be kept separate, and those who do not receive public funding will not be allowed to conduct original reporting, it added.

Staff at online outlets must undergo governmental training and assessment, and receive official accreditation, while top editors must be approved.

Additionally, no Chinese outlets may set up a joint venture with a foreign partner without undergoing a “security assessment” through the State Council Information Office.

Online news providers who fail to comply with the new regulations will have their licenses revoked and receive fines of up to 30,000 yuan ($4,352).

The new guidelines come after the passing of a controversial cybersecurity bill last November, which also tightened restrictions on online freedom of speech.

Paris-based monitoring group Reporters Without Borders last week ranked China as the fifth worst country in the world for press freedom, coming in 176th out of 180 countries, just one place ahead of war-torn Syria.

China Moves to Discredit Tycoon’s Claims of Communist Party Corruption

April 21, 2017

BEIJING — China on Friday sought to discredit billionaire businessman Guo Wengui, painting him as a “criminal suspect” whose allegations of corruption within the highest levels of the Communist Party should not be believed.

Guo, a flamboyant property mogul who has held close ties to disgraced former Chinese intelligence official Ma Jian, has courted international attention with his explosive claims, most recently aired during a live television interview with the U.S government-funded Voice of America (VoA) on Wednesday.

 Exiled businessman Guo Wengui. Photo: Handout

China said on Wednesday that Guo was subject to an Interpol “red notice”, a fact Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang reiterated at a regular press briefing in Beijing on Friday.

“If you are willing to believe what he said then that’s your business,” Lu said. “We don’t believe it.”

The Chinese government had pressed VoA to cancel the interview ahead of time, including by summoning one of the broadcaster’s Beijing-based correspondents to a meeting on Monday, sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The ministry’s comments come amid an apparently concerted damage-limitation effort within China highlighting Guo’s reputation as an unreliable narrator.

A 23-minute video, purportedly of Ma Jian confessing in detail to accepting 60 million yuan ($8.72 million) in bribes from Guo, has circulated on Chinese social media since Wednesday night without being removed by government censors who are often quick to delete politically sensitive posts or unsubstantiated rumors.

The video, which was produced and posted online anonymously, has also been reported on widely by mainland media outlets, all of which are regulated by the government. Reuters was unable to independently verify the veracity of the video.

The widely read Beijing News newspaper, and the respected financial magazine Caixin, also published lengthy investigations into Guo’s business dealings and ties with Ma, a disgraced former state security vice-minister who was first detained in early 2015 and expelled from the Communist Party in December last year.

Guo has said he left China in late 2014 after being tipped off about Ma’s imminent arrest, and has not returned since his company premises were raided amid a heated dispute with state-backed Founder Securities.

Since leaving, he has spent most of his time in the United States.

After laying low for two years, Guo resurfaced in February and has since made wide-ranging but unverified allegations of corruption against several top Communist Party officials – past and present – and their families.

He says the information was obtained from Ma, whom he concedes he held a close relationship with but denies bribing.

At Friday’s Foreign Ministry briefing, Lu rejected suggestions the timing of the Interpol red notice was connected to the airing of the VoA interview.

“Interpol has been around for 100 years and has 190 member states,” he said. “For this kind of international organization we think their actions are solemn.”

(Reporting by Philip Wen and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)



China launches unprecedented international publicity war against wanted tycoon Guo Wengui (He says he has evidence of corruption at the top of China’s leadership)

April 20, 2017

Mainland officials launch unusually savvy media and cyberspace campaign at home and abroad, outside the official firewall

By South China Morning Post

Thursday, April 20, 2017, 3:52pm

China needs a new grand strategy

February 18, 2017

CLAREMONT (California) • The Cold War ended in December 1991, when the Soviet Union disintegrated. The post-Cold War era ended in November last year , when Mr Donald Trump won the United States presidency.

It is impossible to predict all of what the Trump era will bring, not least because of Mr Trump’s own capriciousness. But some consequences are already apparent. In just a couple of weeks, his presidency has upended the key assumptions underpinning China’s post-Cold War grand strategy.

The first assumption is ideological. The ostensible triumph of Western liberal democracy in 1989 imbued that system with a kind of dominance. It was, therefore, assumed to pose an existential threat to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

In the economic realm, China expected continued Western leadership on economic globalisation. So China’s government developed close commercial relationships with the West – relationships that supported China’s economic growth and development, strengthening support for the CCP at home and bolstering the country’s influence abroad.

Regarding national security, China assumed that the US did not pose an imminent threat. Though the US and its allies enjoy overwhelming technological advantages – a reality that had long worried Chinese leaders – China took it almost as a given that the US would continue to place a high priority on conflict avoidance.

All in all, China’s leaders had come to terms with the dual nature of America’s hedging strategy, whereby the US engaged with China economically and diplomatically, while maintaining a robust security posture vis-a-vis China, to deter expansionism. And they had developed a strategy of their own that aimed to make the most of this relatively peaceful operating environment to pursue their main objective: rapid economic development.

A port in Lianyungang, China. De- globalisation now seems to be a given, which is profoundly worrying for China, the world’s largest exporter by volume, says the writer. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE- PRESSE


Now, however, that operating environment has changed; in fact, the foundations of the post-Cold War order were fraying long before Mr Trump arrived on the scene. Among other things, the 2008 global financial crisis and America’s strategic stumbles in the Middle East since the terrorist attacks of Sept 11, 2001 substantially weakened the West’s capacity to maintain the international rules-based order and provide global public goods.

None of this is news to China, which has been pursuing incremental adjustments to its grand strategy, in order to seize the opportunities created by the West’s relative decline. For example, while the US was distracted by the Middle East’s protracted and fluid conflicts, China tested the country’s resolve by flexing its own muscles, most obviously in the South China Sea.

But, overall, the changes were marginal; the strategy’s fundamentals stayed the same. That is no longer an option. With Mr Trump in the White House, China’s grand strategy will have to be completely redrafted according to a new set of assumptions.

Ideologically, China can breathe a sigh of relief. The advent of the Trump era – together with the Brexit vote in Britain and the rise of right-wing populism in other European countries – seems to herald the precipitous decline of liberal democracy’s ideological attraction.

On the economic front, however, the new operating environment is likely to be difficult. De-globalisation now seems to be a given. That is profoundly worrying for China, the world’s largest exporter by volume and arguably globalisation’s greatest beneficiary.

Given China’s dependence on exports, even the best-case scenario is likely to lead to some decline in China’s potential growth. But what has China really worried are the worst-case scenarios. Economic interdependence between China and the US buffers their geopolitical and ideological rivalry. Should Mr Trump make good on his threat to tear up trade agreements and unilaterally impose punitive tariffs, the existing global trading regime will unravel, with China as one of the biggest casualties.

But the most acute danger may lie in the realm of national security. Mr Trump’s statements and actions since the election, together with his broader reputation as an impulsive bully and apparent belief that the world is a Hobbesian jungle, have convinced the Chinese leadership that he is itching for a fight.

Mr Trump has not only threatened to defy the “one China” policy, which has formed the foundation of US-China relations since 1972, but he has also vowed to build up US naval capabilities with the explicit goal of opposing China. His courting of Russian President Vladimir Putin has only exacerbated concerns among Chinese leaders that the US is preparing to challenge China.

These new assumptions provide some indication of the way forward for China, as it develops a new grand strategy. And yet plenty of unknowns remain. If, for example, Mr Trump decides to take on Iran and subsequently gets sucked even deeper into the Middle East quagmire, China might get some breathing room. But if he opts to confront China in the South China Sea or abandons the “one China” policy, US-China relations could be tipped into free fall, raising the frightening prospect of a direct military conflict.

Barring that, Mr Trump’s ascent to the presidency may usher in a new Cold War pitting the US against China. This may seem unthinkable to many. But so was Mr Trump’s victory – until it happened.

  • The writer is a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College and the author of China’s Crony Capitalism.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 18, 2017, with the headline ‘China needs a new grand strategy’.

China Tested ICBM With 10 Warheads

January 31, 2017

By Bill Gertz

China flight tested a new variant of a long-range missile with 10 warheads in what defense officials say represents a dramatic shift in Beijing’s strategic nuclear posture.

The flight test of the DF-5C missile was carried out earlier this month using 10 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles, or MIRVs. The test of the inert warheads was monitored closely by U.S. intelligence agencies, said two officials familiar with reports of the missile test.

The missile was fired from the Taiyuan Space Launch Center in central China and flew to an impact range in the western Chinese desert.

No other details about the test could be learned. Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Gary Ross suggested in a statement the test was monitored.

“The [Defense Department] routinely monitors Chinese military developments and accounts for PLA capabilities in our defense plans,” Ross told the Washington Free Beacon.

DF-5C launch

DF-5 launch

The test of a missile with 10 warheads is significant because it indicates the secretive Chinese military is increasing the number of warheads in its arsenal.

Estimates of China’s nuclear arsenal for decades put the number of strategic warheads at the relatively low level of around 250 warheads.

U.S. intelligence agencies in February reported that China had begun adding warheads to older DF-5 missiles, in a move that has raised concerns for strategic war planners.

Uploading Chinese missiles from single or triple warhead configurations to up to 10 warheads means the number of warheads stockpiled is orders of magnitude larger than the 250 estimate.

Currently, U.S. nuclear forces—land-based and sea-based nuclear missiles and bombers—have been configured to deter Russia’s growing nuclear forces and the smaller Chinese nuclear force.

Under the 2010 U.S.-Russian arms treaty, the United States is slated to reduce its nuclear arsenal to 1,550 deployed warheads.

A boost in the Chinese nuclear arsenal to 800 or 1,000 warheads likely would prompt the Pentagon to increase the U.S. nuclear warhead arsenal by taking weapons out of storage.

The new commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, Air Force Gen. John Hyten, stated during a Senate confirmation hearing in September that he is concerned about China’s growing nuclear arsenal.

“I am fully aware that China continues to modernize its nuclear missile force and is striving for a secure second-strike capability,” Hyten told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“Although it continues to profess a ‘no first use’ doctrine, China is re-engineering its long-range ballistic missiles to carry multiple nuclear warheads and continues to develop and test hyper-glide vehicle technologies,” Hyten added.

“These developments—coupled with a lack of transparency on nuclear issues such as force disposition and size—may impact regional and strategic stability and are cause for continued vigilance and concern.”

The 10-warhead missile test comes amid heightened tensions with China. State-run media in recent weeks has carried reports calling for China to expand its nuclear forces. A broadcast report showed that new long-range mobile missiles could strike the entire United States.

The Chinese state television channel CCTV-4 last week broadcast nuclear threats, including graphics showing new DF-41 missiles deployed in northern China and graphics showing the missiles’ strike path into the United States. The Jan. 25 broadcast included a graphic of a 10-warhead MIRV bus for the DF-41.


The Chinese Communist Party propaganda newspaper Global Times, known for its anti-U.S. stance, issued stark calls for China to build up its nuclear arsenal for use against the United States. On Jan. 24, the newspaper said China’s strategic forces “must be so strong that no country would dare launch a military showdown.”

“China must procure a level of strategic military strength that will force the U.S. to respect it,” the newspaper said.

The same state-run organ criticized President Donald Trump in an article on Dec. 8 and said China should use its wealth “to build more strategic nuclear arms and accelerate the deployment of the DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile.”

“We need to get better prepared militarily regarding the Taiwan question to ensure that those who advocate Taiwan’s independence will be punished, and take precautions in case of U.S. provocations in the South China Sea,” the newspaper said.

China conducted a flight test of the DF-41 in April.

Trump in December called for boosting America’s aging nuclear arsenal.

“The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” he stated in a tweet.

Military analysts said the large number of warheads is unusual for the Chinese nuclear program.

Rick Fisher, an analyst with the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said the multi-warhead missile test appears to be aimed at sending a signal to the new Trump administration.

Trump has tangled with China in opposing its military buildup on disputed South China Sea islands and on U.S. policy toward Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a renegade province and not an independent country.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the United States is prepared to block China’s access to reclaimed islands he said are located in international waters and not China’s sovereign maritime domain.

“This test of the 10-warhead DF-5C is China’s latest nuclear intimidation exercise aimed at the new Trump administration,” Fisher said.

“China’s nuclear intimidation signals have included the public revelation in late December via Chinese websites of the new DF-41 ICBM in Heilongjiang province, plus articles in China’s state-controlled media touting the need for China to increase its nuclear forces to intimidate Washington,” Fisher added.

China’s known force of around 20 D-5 missiles were deployed with large single warheads in the past, while some were upgraded with three-warhead top stages.

In September 2015 China revealed for the first time during a military parade that it had deployed a new DF-5B multi-warhead missile. Unofficial published reports suggested the DF-5B carries between six and eight warheads.

“The revelation that China has tested a new version of the DF-5 carrying ten warheads constitutes a very strong indication that China has produced a smaller warhead to equip its MIRV-capable ICBMs,” Fisher said.

Some analysts speculate that the recent test of the DF-5C used the older missile as a test platform for a new warhead delivery bus that will be used on the new DF-41.

French China watcher Henri Kenhmann reported on his website East Pendulum that a Chinese missile test was to be carried out Jan. 15, based on air closure notices issued by the Chinese government for areas around Taiyuan and a missile impact range in western Xinjiang Province.

Analysis of the impact range suggests the test would include multiple test warheads.

“The point of impact is located south of the Taklamakan desert, in the former ballistic range of Minfeng,” Kenhmann said, noting the Chinese had imposed an unusually large air exclusion zone of 125 miles around the impact zone.

“It should be noted that this zone of ballistic impact is abnormally large,” he stated, a sign the large area would be used for multiple dummy warheads.

‘The size of this impact zone could indicate testing several MIRVs,” he said.

A similar Chinese test of the DF-41 in April involved two MIRVs that were fired to a much smaller impact area of 60 miles by 37 miles.

The Pentagon’s latest annual report on the Chinese military said Beijing continues to upgrade its nuclear forces by enhancing silo-based missiles and adding new road-mobile missiles.

“China’s ICBM arsenal to date consists of approximately 75 to 100 ICBMs, including the silo-based CSS-4 Mod 2 (DF-5) and multiple independently-targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV)-equipped Mod 3 (DF-5B); the solid-fueled, road-mobile CSS-10 Mod 1 and 2 (DF-31 and DF-31A); and the shorter range CSS-3 (DF-4),” the report said.

The DF-5 is a two-stage, liquid-fueled missile with a range of around 8,000 miles.