Posts Tagged ‘Chinese government’

Apple, Facebook find something to praise China for amid Internet clampdown — “The Chinese government … doing a fabulous job on that.”

December 5, 2017

WUZHEN, CHINA (REUTERS) – Top executives at Apple Inc and Facebook Inc managed to find something to praise Beijing for at an Internet conference in China this week, even as its Communist Party rulers ban Western social media and stamp on online dissent.

China’s World Internet Conference attracted the heads of Google and Apple for the first time to hear China vow to open up its Internet – just as long as it can guard cyberspace in the same way it guards its borders.

The tacit endorsement of the event by top US tech executives comes as China introduces strict new rules on censorship and data storage, causing headaches for foreign tech firms permitted to do business in China and signalling that restrictions banning others are unlikely to be lifted any time soon.

“I’d compliment the Chinese government in terms of leadership on using data,” Facebook vice-president Vaughan Smith said on Tuesday (Dec 5), citing government bodies such as the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) and Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

“The Chinese government, the CAC and MIIT are doing a fabulous job on that.”

Facebook and Google are not accessible in China behind the country’s Great Firewall, along with major Western news outlets and social media sites, while Apple is subject to strict censorship. The US firm removed dozens of popular messaging and virtual private network (VPN) apps from its China App Store this year to comply with government requests.

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“The theme of this conference, developing a digital economy for openness and shared benefits, is a vision we at Apple share,” Apple chief executive Tim Cook said on Sunday. The audience cheered him twice – once when he reached the podium, and again when he bowed.

China cracks down on any sign of online criticism of the government which it sees as a threat to social stability and one-party rule.

Some embassies, business groups and foreign firms steer clear of the highly choreographed Internet event, analysts say, because of the perceived propaganda.

But diplomacy seemed to rule the day at the conference, held in the ancient scenic city of Wuzhen in the eastern province of Zhejiang, and neither Smith nor Cook addressed issues of censorship or cyber regulation.

Cook has made frequent trips to China over the past year, as the firm has looked to revive sales in the market and make a push into services that require working with local partners on data storage.

“Companies that have sent high-level delegations to this conference in Wuzhen in the past have often done so because there is some type of significant issue with their access to the market,” said an industry source familiar with the event who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

At the event itself, conference guests were treated to a bubble of uncensored Internet in hotels, including access to Google, Facebook and foreign news outlets with specialised codes handed out to guests.

In discussions on topics such as artificial intelligence and tech innovation, overseas executives generally skirted the topic of regulation, though it surfaced at times.

“More people come to Facebook than are in China,” said Facebook’s Smith at a talk on digital economy on Tuesday. “(But) I realise not everyone in the room is familiar with Facebook.”

Jack Ma, chairman of China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd which owns Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, said that foreign tech firms wishing to enter the China market should abide by its laws.

“(Foreign companies) are determined to come. Follow the rules and laws and if you’re unhappy, leave,” said Ma. “This is not a market (where) you can come and go.”

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Europe Set to Award China `Holy Grail’ With Tariff-Rules Revamp

December 3, 2017

Bloomberg

By Jonathan Stearns

  • European industries face greater onus in winning import duties
  • Biggest change to EU trade regime to take effect in December

European industries from steel to solar are bracing for a new set of tariff rules that may make it harder to fend off low-cost imports from China and other foreign countries.

 Image result for china imports to europe, by ship, photos

European Union governments are due on Monday to rubber-stamp the biggest revamp of the bloc’s method for calculating duties aimed at countering below-cost — or “dumped” — imports. The move is a response to longstanding Chinese government demands for more favorable treatment while stopping short of saying those shipments are fairly priced.

The overhaul will end an EU presumption that Chinese exporters and those in nine other members of the World Trade Organization operate in non-market conditions. That approach, which has allowed for higher European anti-dumping duties, is being replaced by a more opaque procedure for determining whether imports unfairly undercut domestic producers.

“There’s going to be much more work for European industries to make their dumping cases,’’ said Laurent Ruessmann, a partner and trade expert in the Brussels office of law firm Fieldfisher LLP. “There’s a lot of discretion for EU trade authorities in the new system. The question is how that discretion is used and what the political influence will be.’’

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Political, Economic Rewards

The EU carrot to China comes as both seek to claim a global leadership role in trade amid U.S. President Donald Trump’s protectionist stance, which has shaken the post-World War II commercial order. The U.S. has taken a different tack from the EU, rejecting China’s claim of market-economy status and refusing to alter how it calculates anti-dumping duties.

Europe is offering political and economic rewards to Beijing by removing China from the European list of non-market-economy countries in dumping investigations. While being the EU’s No. 2 trade partner behind the U.S., China is grouped with the likes of Belarus and North Korea in lacking market-economy designation by Europe and faces more European anti-dumping duties than any other country.

To read more about trade tension between the U.S. and China, click here

Such EU levies cover billions of euros of Chinese exports such as reinforcing steel, solar panels, aluminum foil, bicycles, screws, paper, kitchenware and ironing boards, curbing competition for producers across the 28-nation bloc.

“China has coveted market-economy status as the ultimate recognition from the West,” said Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, director of the European Centre of International Political Economy in Brussels. “It’s their holy grail.”

European Protection

The EU has traditionally used other nations’ figures to calculate anti-dumping levies against China on the grounds that Chinese state intervention artificially lowers domestic prices and makes them an unreliable indicator of a good’s “normal value.” This practice, known as the analogue-country model, has resulted in higher EU duty rates against Chinese exporters and — by extension — more protection for European manufacturers.

China’s agreement on joining the WTO 16 years ago made it harder for the EU to justify using the analogue-country model against Chinese exporters after a specific provision expired in December 2016. To drive home the point, Beijing filed a complaint the same month against the EU at the Geneva-based global trade arbiter, hastening European deliberations over an overhaul of anti-dumping rules.

EU legislators negotiated a deal in October and the full European Parliament offered its endorsement the following month, leaving national governments to give their final approval on Dec. 4.

The legislation, due to be published on Dec. 18, features elements of compromise between free-trade governments in northern Europe allied with China and more protectionist member countries in the south.

‘An Elegant Solution’

“It’s quite an elegant solution,” said Lee-Makiyama. “The EU has found a near-impossible compromise between the demands of European industry that thinks China is the enemy and the bloc’s legal obligations under the WTO. There remains plenty of scope to defend manufacturers in Europe because, in a way, Europe is abolishing the diploma just as China graduates.”

To ease the impact of the new system on European manufacturers, the EU will have recourse to a special formula for calculating anti-dumping duties against countries whose markets are deemed to have “significant distortions’’ resulting from state intervention. Under the new rules, the EU will be able to construct the normal value of a good in an exporting country using undistorted costs.

In a sign of the balance that the new system strikes, the Chinese government is sending out skeptical signals about the EU changes.

The Ministry of Commerce in Beijing said in mid-November the notion of significant market distortions will cause “serious damage” to the WTO’s anti-dumping legal system. The ministry also said “China reserves its rights under the WTO dispute-settlement mechanism and will take the necessary measures to protect the rights of Chinese companies.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-03/europe-set-to-award-china-holy-grail-with-tariff-rules-revamp

China’s military met with Zimbabwe army chief before coup

November 18, 2017

UPI

By Elizabeth Shim

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) and Zimbabwean counterpart Robert Mugabe (R) maintained close relations until the coup that placed Mugabe under house arrest this week. File Photo by Aaron Ufumeli/EPA

Nov. 17 (UPI) — Africa’s no. 1 foreign investor could have had a hand in the military-led coup in Zimbabwe that placed former President Robert Mugabe under house arrest.

Constantino Chiwenga, Zimbabwe’s army commander, met with senior Chinese military officials before he led the Zimbabwean military to seize control of power in Harare and detain Mugabe, CNN reported Friday.

Speculation is growing Beijing’s Gen. Li Zuocheng, who met with Chiwenga, may have backed the coup, after Li told Chiwenga Zimbabwe and China are “all-weather friends,” according to the report.

Since the meeting and the coup, China has not publicly condemned the ousting of Mugabe from power, according to The Guardian.

Wang Xinsong, an analyst on policy at Beijing Normal University, said the Chinese government has been carefully watching domestic infighting among Zimbabwe’s factions and was concerned about friction building up in the Mugabe regime.

China, which owns many assets in Zimbabwe, may have been nervous following the introduction of an “indigenization” law that would have allowed the Zimbabwean government to seize foreign-owned assets in the country, according to the report.

“Since Mugabe took power, he has been consistently supported by the Chinese government. China has become the second-largest trading partner with Zimbabwe and has invested very largely in the country,” Wang said.

But the increasingly powerful Grace Mugabe, the first lady, may have been making Beijing nervous.

G40, the faction supporting Grace, was believed to be creating instability in the country.

China could have used its powerful economic leverage to control the situation, Wang said.

Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980, and may have assets hidden away in Hong Kong, a favorite shopping destination of the first lady, according to The Guardian.

Topics: Robert Mugabe

Surveillance Cameras Made by China Are Hanging All Over the U.S.

November 13, 2017

Company 42%-owned by the Chinese government sold devices that monitor U.S. Army base, Memphis streets, sparking concerns about cybersecurity

The Memphis police use the surveillance cameras to scan the streets for crime. The U.S. Army uses them to monitor a base in Missouri. Consumer models hang in homes and businesses across the country. At one point, the cameras kept watch on the U.S. embassy in Kabul.

All the devices were manufactured by a single company, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology. It is 42%-owned by the Chinese government.

Hikvision (pronounced “hike-vision”) was nurtured by Beijing to help keep watch on its 1.4 billion citizens, part of a vast expansion of its domestic-surveillance apparatus. In the process, the little-known company has become the world’s largest maker of surveillance cameras. It has sold equipment used to track French airports, an Irish port and sites in Brazil and Iran.

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Hikvision’s rapid rise, its ties to the Chinese government and a cybersecurity lapse flagged by the Department of Homeland Security have fanned concerns among officials in the U.S. and Italy about the security of Hikvision’s devices.

“The fact that it’s at a U.S. military installation and was in a very sensitive U.S. embassy is stunning,” says Carolyn Bartholomew, chairwoman of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which was created by Congress to monitor the national-security implications of trade with China. “We shouldn’t presume that there are benign intentions in the use of information-gathering technology that is funded directly or indirectly by the Chinese government.”

Some security vendors in the U.S. refuse to carry Hikvision cameras or place restrictions on their purchase, concerned they could be used by Beijing to spy on Americans. The General Services Administration, which oversees $66 billion of procurement for the U.S. government, has removed Hikvision from a list of automatically approved suppliers. In May, the Department of Homeland Security issued a cybersecurity warning saying some of Hikvision’s cameras contained a loophole making them easily exploitable by hackers. The department assigned its worst security rating to that vulnerability.

Hikvision’s heat-mapping technology can be used for crowd counting and data collection.Photo: Hikvision

The artificial-intelligence camera uses facial and behavior-recognition technology.Photo: Hikvision

The concerns about Hikvision are reminiscent of the controversy surrounding Chinese technology giant Huawei Technologies Corp., whose telecom gear was effectively banned in the U.S. after a 2012 congressional report raised fears that its networking equipment could be used to spy on Americans. The company, founded by a former Chinese army engineer, has repeatedly dismissed such concerns.

Hikvision says its equipment is safe and secure, that it follows the law wherever it does business and that it worked with Homeland Security to patch the flaws the agency cited. It says it “cannot in any way access and control the content of the video cameras.” It says the vast majority of its products are sold through third-party vendors, meaning it often doesn’t even know where they wind up. It declined to comment on Ms. Bartholomew’s remarks.

“Hikvision is a business,” said Chief Executive Officer Hu Yangzhong, one of several Hikvision executives interviewed for this article. “It would be impossible for us to add a backdoor to our cameras, as that would damage our business.”

Once the stuff of science fiction, facial-scanning cameras are becoming a part of daily life in China, where they’re used for marketing, surveillance and social control. Video: Paolo Bosonin. Photo: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

Vulnerabilities in surveillance cameras have become more of a concern as internet-connected devices become more prevalent. Cameras can be a weak link in an organization’s information-technology network, potentially opening “backdoors”—ways to gain access by bypassing security mechanisms—for hackers, including state-backed ones.

Last year, hackers took control of hundreds of thousands of cameras, including many made by a Chinese rival of Hikvision, to launch a huge “denial of service” attack that security experts said made sites run by Amazon.com Inc., PayPal Inc. and Twitter Inc. unavailable for hours.

Hikvision grew out of a government laboratory started a half-century ago to develop military and industrial technologies. Its largest shareholder is China Electronics Technology Group Corp., or CETC, a state-owned defense and military electronics manufacturer. Its biggest individual shareholder is Gong Hongjia, a Hong Kong billionaire and university classmate of top Hikvision executives. Some executives are Communist Party members also employed by subsidiaries of CETC, according to securities filings in China.

Mr. Gong said in an interview that he provided capital to help found Hikvision in 2001, in an arrangement that gave the government-backed lab a 51% stake. Although the size of that stake has since declined, the government only began to more actively aid the company in the past few years. “The government can’t help you sell in overseas markets,” Mr. Gong said. “That was all thanks to the years the company spent investing in expanding our presence.”

CETC didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Contracts from Chinese government agencies propelled the company’s rise. It helped with security at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In 2011, the company said the value of contracts for its “safe city” camera project in Chongqing, a large city in China’s southwest, reached $1.2 billion. Its cameras are now ubiquitous on the city’s streets.

Hikvision helped with security at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Contracts from Chinese government agencies propelled the company’s rise.Photo: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

China’s President Xi Jinping, who has made high-tech security a priority, visited the firm’s headquarters in 2015. Since that year, Hikvision has received major loans from two of China’s three policy banks, which finance state development goals.

Zheng Yibo, a Hikvision vice president, says CETC has no role in Hikvision’s day-to-day operations. He declines to say how much revenue comes from the Chinese government, but says its “government-sales portion isn’t high.”

Hikvision’s head of research, Pu Shiliang, holds a leadership position at a Hangzhou laboratory run by the Ministry of Public Security, China’s police force. The lab explores ways authorities can leverage data gathered by the company’s cameras and other sources to improve policing, according to the lab’s website.

Chinese authorities are encouraging new surveillance projects in China to feature artificial-intelligence capabilities, Mr. Pu told an audience in Beijing in September. Scores of high-tech companies have emerged to address the government’s call for more innovative surveillance techniques.

China has been rolling out new technologies to monitor its people in ways that would unsettle many in the U.S. and the West. Unfettered by privacy concerns or public debate, Beijing’s authoritarian leaders have introduced facial-recognition technology and other surveillance measures in a vast experiment in social engineering. Their goal is to influence behavior and identify lawbreakers.

At Hikvision’s Hangzhou showroom, walls are lined with monitors and video cameras that employ artificial intelligence to recognize objects and sounds from afar and to produce visible images despite pollution or darkness. Hikvision’s “Darkfighter” thermal camera enables it to record under ultralow light conditions, the company says. Its “Blazer Pro” server, it says, allows license-plate recognition. It says its dome-shaped “bullet” cameras are explosion-proof, and it offers camera-equipped drones and cameras programmed to alert authorities to large gatherings.

The Darkfighter camera can turn dark into light. This split screen shows the illuminating effect.Photo: Hikvision

‘Defog’ cameras use algorithms to sift through atmospheric interference such as fog or pollution.Photo: HIKVISION

The company’s consumer camera line, called “EZVIZ,” can sync with a smartphone app. One softball-sized device can detect noises—a dog barking loudly or the sound of a door opening—and automatically direct its lens at the source of the disturbance, sending an alert to the phone.

Global sales of surveillance equipment has increased 55% in the five years through 2016, according to consulting firm IHS-Markit. By pricing cameras below those made by Western competitors, Hikvision has become the top seller of surveillance equipment in Europe and No. 2 in the U.S., according to IHS-Markit and other industry analysts. Its cameras frequently are sold without the Hikvision name and are rebranded by U.S. distributors—a frequent practice in the industry.

This year, Hikvision opened research-and-development offices in Silicon Valley and Montreal. It plans to employ 350 people in North America by year’s end and 800 by 2022, the company says.

Its shares have risen sharply since its initial public offering on Shenzhen’s stock exchange in 2010, and they have more than doubled this year, giving the company a valuation of $56 billion, close to that of Sony Corp.

Fort Leonard Wood, an Army base in Missouri’s Ozarks, uses Hikvision cameras in its security system, according to the Chinese company and NexGen Integration, a U.S. company that handled the installations. The base offers basic combat training and includes a school for chemical, biological and nuclear-defense drills.

Fort Leonard Wood, a U.S. Army base in Missouri’s Ozarks, uses Hikvision cameras in its security system.Photo: Orlin Wagner/Associated Press

To win the contract with the Army, Hikvision says, it had to show its cameras could stream at 30 frames per second, providing sufficiently fast motion detection. It custom-built some of the technology to accommodate the base’s limited internet bandwidth.

Chris Nickelson, NexGen’s owner, says none of his customers have raised any issues about Hikvision gear. The army base referred questions to the U.S. Army’s installation management command public affairs office, which said it doesn’t discuss equipment or capabilities, but added that “any equipment or software that goes on a military network is thoroughly tested for security vulnerabilities.”

At the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Hikvision cameras were installed “to monitor nonsensitive electrical closets for theft prevention,” says a State Department spokesperson, referring to closets housing electronics equipment.

Last year, the security-industry trade publication IPVM published a procurement order for several dozen Hikvision cameras, revealing their presence in the Kabul embassy. The government canceled the order in September 2016 and removed the Hikvision cameras already in the embassy.

A State Department official says that was because security officials at the department, who are supposed to be notified of new security-related installations, weren’t given a heads up about the purchase. The department wouldn’t comment on whether security concerns were a factor in the removal of the existing cameras.

In a written statement, Hikvision said it had no knowledge of the Kabul project’s particulars “on the end-user level,” and that “accepting or removing particular products is always at the discretion of the end-user.”

Surveillance equipment and other gear is on display at Hikvision’s office in Hangzhou.Photo: Xinhua/ZUMA PRESS

Shortly thereafter, the General Services Administration removed Hikvision from a list of automatically approved suppliers, companies that make their products in countries that have certain trade agreements with the U.S. The agency says it nixed the firm after it was alerted the products were manufactured and assembled in China, which isn’t on the list. U.S. government agencies that want to buy Hikvision gear can’t go through the GSA system, but have to take extra steps such as showing the items are fairly priced.

Hikvision says its gear was listed on the GSA by two resellers, which it says it hadn’t authorized. Hikvision says it asked the resellers to remove the products from the GSA list.

In January, Italy’s government awarded a $49 million contract to a supplier in a deal that included the installation of Hikvision cameras at some state buildings. The deal was publicly questioned in June by Italian legislator Arianna Spessotto, who said the cameras “could pose a risk to national public security” and asked how the government planned to verify the cameras’ safety.

A spokesman for Italy’s government procurement agency said the supplier “guaranteed a level of security appropriate to the risk,” but that “no one can be absolutely sure that a participating firm has not surreptitiously inserted backdoor devices and security vulnerabilities for malicious purposes.”

Hikvision says the Italian legislator’s concerns about security risk are “totally unfounded and absurd.”

Hikvision cameras are ubiquitous on the streets of Chongqing, a large city in China’s southwest.Photo: Prisma Bildagentur/UIG/Getty Images

Nathan Brubaker, an analyst at U.S. cybersecurity firm FireEye Inc., says the software vulnerabilities identified by the Department of Homeland Security could make those Hikvision cameras prone to a hacking attack similar to the “Mirai” denial-of-service attack on the internet last year.

“Camera security is often poor’’ across the industry, says Marco Herbst, chief executive of Dublin-based Evercam, which develops camera software. “You’re dealing with a device that in many cases is sloppily installed with default passwords that are publicly available on the internet.”

Security experts say backdoors that allow outsiders to bypass security protections are often difficult to identify. Such vulnerabilities can be accidental—the result of flaws in the software’s original design or in updates.

The Hikvision flaws identified by the Department of Homeland Security affected more than 200 camera models and potentially tens of millions of shipped devices, estimates John Honovich, editor of IPVM. They made it possible for outsiders to hack into internet-connected Hikvision cameras in just a few steps, according to Mr. Honovich and FireEye, the cybersecurity firm. Hikvision acknowledged the flaws affected some cameras, but dismisses Mr. Honovich’s assertions as “unfounded insinuations and hearsay.”

Hikvision says it cooperated with the DHS to fix the problem and directed customers to a software fix. “This issue did not cause a noticeable impact on Hikvision’s overseas business,” a company spokeswoman says.

Genetec, a Canadian security company with a U.S. presence, requires customers who want to buy Hikvision cameras to sign a waiver disclaiming Genetec of liability in the event of a security breach. Pierre Racz, the Montreal-based company’s chief executive officer, says concern over cameras made by “companies owned or controlled by the Chinese government” and “Beijing’s reputation for aggressive cyberespionage” led him to require the waiver.

Hikvision says “linking Hikvision with espionage is simply outrageous and completely unfounded.”

Surveillance cameras hung near Tiananmen Gate in Beijing in 2013.Photo: Ng Han Guan/Associated Press

Hikvision has been selling cameras to the Memphis police department since 2007. Lieutenant Joseph Patty II, who manages the system, says cameras became more essential after the police department lost 500 officers—about one-quarter of the force—because of budget cuts three years ago. Officers can observe streets from a central command center. Some devices use advanced lighting technology to produce clear images even in the middle of the night.

“We probably make up to 100 arrests every year” because of the cameras, including for car theft, robbery and murder, says Lt. Patty. The cameras have been used to monitor Black Lives Matter protests and recent demonstrations surrounding Memphis’ Confederate monuments, he says.

He says the city started using the cameras long before concerns about hacking came into play. The department uses a decentralized network where cameras aren’t connected to the police mainframe computer, he says.

“At the end of the day, they are the No. 1 camera manufacturer in the world,” says Lt. Patty. “They make a lot of cameras and many people use them, even if they don’t say Hikvision on the product.”

—Liza Lin and Wenxin Fan contributed to this article.

Write to Dan Strumpf at daniel.strumpf@wsj.com

Philippines: President Duterte says Philippine foreign policy is to be friends with everyone for our own self-interest

November 4, 2017

With his trip to Japan President Duterte has fulfilled his promise that from hereon, Philippine foreign policy will be friends with everyone for its self-interest. But I have my reservations on just how the Philippines-China-Japan (with the United States behind it) will play out. There are deep historical reasons why China and Japan cannot be friends yet.

Duterte’s trip to Japan is already being talked about how it may be a clever maneuver to bring the Philippines back to the American fold because Japan is the US ally in its pivot to our region.

There is a dark side to the relations between China and Japan worth remembering as we enter into the changing geopolitical era. I remember what Martin Jacques, author of the international best seller When China Rules the World told me. It is a very deep historical hurt between the two countries not easy to dismiss.

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Duterte’s new diplomacy comes right smack in the middle of this abiding conflict.

True, the Japan-China rivalry is in the past but there are vestiges of anger that come up every now and then between the two especially because China is now recognized as a world power.

The enmity cannot be measured by events. I am talking about the hurt from the Nanking massacre that Chinese families to this day will not forget. It cropped up again in the conflict over Senkaku island which is part of the wider South China Sea conflict. It is not in the past yet.

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The Duterte factor can open up new rivalries between the two powers in the region. Who will have the bigger aid for Marawi, how fast will delivery come and how well will it be done? In the past few days that rivalry was brewing again with China’s ship full of construction material already on its way to Marawi when Duterte was still in Japan signing contracts. The competition will be good for us but no one can tell what dangers lurk in the background of this ancient rivalry and with America not far behind as an agent provocateur.

It takes very little to ignite the rivalry. A mere visit by Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi to the Yasakuni shrine to honor Japanese war criminals so angered both the Chinese and the South Koreans. The Chinese were so incensed they threw stones at Japanese stores. Before then Japanese business in China was quietly thriving.

What more of a Chinese-Japanese rivalry on who would deliver faster and bigger aid to the Philippines? Japanese nationalism will be challenged. It will be challenged by the role China will play in the reconstruction of Marawi. It will be a sensitive issue.

A word on why the Nanking Massacre is unforgettable as far as the Chinese are concerned.

“The Nanking Massacre was an episode of mass murder and mass rape committed by Japanese troops against the residents of Nanjing (Nanking), then the capital of the Republic of China, during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The massacre is also known as the Rape of Nanking or, using Pinyin romanization (Chinese writing), the Nanjing Massacre or Rape of Nanjing.

The massacre occurred over a period of six weeks starting on Dec. 13, 1937, the day that the Japanese captured Nanjing. During this period, soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army murdered Chinese civilians and disarmed combatants who numbered an estimated 40,000 to over 300,000, and perpetrated widespread rape and looting.

Since most Japanese military records on the killings were kept secret or destroyed shortly after the surrender of Japan in 1945, historians have not been able to accurately estimate the death toll of the massacre. The International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Tokyo estimated in 1946 that over 200,000 Chinese were killed in the incident. China’s official estimate is more than 300,000 dead based on the evaluation of the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal in 1947. The death toll has been actively contested among scholars since the 1980s.

The event remains a contentious political issue and a stumbling block in Sino-Japanese relations. The Chinese government has been accused of overly exaggerating aspects of the massacre such as the death toll while historical negationists and Japanese nationalists go as far as claiming the massacre was fabricated for propaganda purposes. The controversy surrounding the massacre remains a central issue in Japanese relations with other Asia-Pacific nations as well, such as South Korea and the Philippines.

Although the Japanese government has admitted to the killing of a large number of non-combatants, looting, and other violence committed by the Imperial Japanese Army after the fall of Nanking, and Japanese veterans who served there have confirmed that a massacre took place, a small but vocal minority within both the Japanese government and society have argued that the death toll was military in nature and that no such crimes ever occurred. Denial of the massacre and revisionist accounts of the killings have become a staple of Japanese nationalism. In Japan, public opinion of the massacres varies, but few deny outright that the conflict occurred. “ (Wikipedia)

MISCELLANY: I was taking my usual walks around Alabang Town Center when I saw a crowd milled around what looked like telescopes. Strange that there should be telescopes in a mall but stranger still were the orderly crowds who queued to take a peek at the skies.

The founders call themselves Manila Street Astronomers and have been going around malls to promote the sky. If you are patient you will see something you have never seen in a mall – the craters of the moon. I was able to talk to one of the founders , Gary Andreassen and asked him whatever led him to this very worthwhile occupation.

“I wanted to show the public the immensity of God’s creation but people don’t go to observatories they go to malls.”

From Filipinos in San Francisco this column received pictures of paintings by a kababayan, Jessie Marinas who said “faith and pain go together” that is why he is painting. In an interview with Rose Albano Risso, he showed her “Eaglehearts” painted in 20×60 acrylic which he said came from the deep emotional pain he felt for a close friend who lost his son in Afghanistan.

http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2017/11/04/1755378/duterte-wades-between-china-and-japan

Beijing Pushes for a Direct Hand in China’s Big Tech Firms

October 12, 2017

Government regulators have discussed stakes in Tencent, Weibo and an Alibaba subsidiary

The Chinese government is pushing some of its biggest tech companies—including Tencent, Weibo and a unit of Alibaba—to offer the state a stake in them and a direct role in corporate decisions.

Wary of the increasing power of private businesses, internet regulators have discussed taking 1% stakes with social-media powers Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Weibo Corp. and with Youku Tudou, a YouTube-like video platform owned by e-commerce titan Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. , according to people close to the companies.

While the authoritarian government already exerts heavy sway over businesses through regulation, a management role would give Beijing a direct hand in innovative companies that service hundreds of millions of Chinese.

The biggest of these companies have expanded beyond their original niches into finance, health care and transportation, collecting data that give them unparalleled insights into people’s lives. Some companies privately say they are wary of the move.

The new steps come as pressure on China’s tech companies is rising. Regulators last month fined social-media platforms owned by Tencent, Weibo and Baidu for hosting pornography, fake news and other banned content. After the Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily attacked Tencent’s top game, “Honor of Kings,” for being too addictive for younger Chinese, the company’s share price fell 4% in one day, wiping $14 billion off its market value.

An initial rollout of what the government calls “special management shares” started with two internet media startups. Regulators and the People’s Daily website are taking stakes of less than 2% in mobile news platform Yidian Zixun and Beijing Tiexue Tech Co., operator of a patriotic news site.

In exchange, the investors get to appoint a government official to the companies’ boards and have a say over their operations, people familiar with the deals said.

Internet regulator Cyberspace Administration, a chief force in the government’s management share plans and a stakeholder in Yidian Zixun, referred queries to the Propaganda Department, the Communist Party’s press office, which didn’t respond to a request for comment. Nor did two other internet regulators.

Yidian Zixun and Beijing Tiexue declined to comment. Tencent, Weibo and Alibaba didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The Communist Party expropriated private businesses in the 1950s. Though the ban on private ownership was lifted in the 1980s, the relationship between businesses and Beijing remains fraught. Still, the party gave private enterprises some space to prosper as the leadership believed they needed economic growth to justify their legitimacy. Then Xi Jinping took power five years ago.

President Xi has fostered a more forceful role for the party in society, and the government has intervened in markets and businesses.

Beijing this summer clamped down on large private conglomerates pushing a wave of aggressive deal making overseas, leading to the detention of at least one Chinese tycoon and causing some companies to scrap deals and sell assets.

A document released by China’s leadership last month to encourage entrepreneurship instructs entrepreneurs to put patriotism first and follow the party’s guidance. At Mr. Xi’s urging, a campaign is under way to set up party units in private companies.

Alibaba’s annual cloud computing conference in Hangzhou, which highlights the company’s technical achievements, driven by cloud computing and big data, started Tuesday. The company’s founder is setting up a foundation to create opportunities for the poor.Photo: Getty Images

Tech has flourished in China over the past decades, in part, indu stry executives say, because the sector was new and seen as too risky by state companies and the government, which, in a way, shielded it from too much government regulation and crackdowns.

As their companies’ reach has grown, tech entrepreneurs have worked to retain room to maneuver while maintaining Beijing’s favor.

Alibaba founder Jack Ma, one of China’s richest men, is setting up a foundation with a goal of raising 100 billion yuan ($15.2 billion) from fellow entrepreneurs to create opportunities for the poor—a priority for President Xi.

“It’s like spending 100 million yuan to buy a talisman,” says a businessman who knows Mr. Ma.

Alibaba declined to comment on the foundation.

The usually press-shy co-founder of Tencent, Pony Ma, also took up a government cause this year, advocating for southern China’s greater economic integration with Hong Kong, the former British colony where a protest movement has challenged Beijing’s rule.

Alibaba, Tencent and search engine company Baidu Inc., along with others, agreed this summer to invest $11.7 billion in wireless carrier China Unicom, furthering a government goal of bringing private-sector money into state companies.

Related Reading

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  • In China, Surveillance Feeds Become Reality TV (Aug. 10)
  • China Toys With an Internet Lockdown (July 25)
  • China’s Stopchat: Censors Can Now Erase Images Mid-Transmission (July 18)

Beijing began floating the idea of special management shares in the spring of 2016, circulating a draft proposal suggesting a 1% government stake in exchange for board representation. Some companies thought the plan would fizzle, in part because of the potential for shareholder lawsuits and the high cost of shares. A 1% stake in Hong Kong-listed Tencent, for example, would cost over $4 billion. Others privately worried that bringing the government onboard would jeopardize their relative independence and affect innovation.

“This is the thing that keeps Pony up at night,” says a Tencent executive about Mr. Ma, the company’s chief executive.

People.cn, the website of People’s Daily, is paying 7.2 million yuan for a 1.5% stake in Beijing Tiexue, operator of the nationalistic military portal and forum site Tiexue.net, according to regulatory filings. People.cn will appoint a board member to Tiexue.cn and will review all content on the site, a service for which Tiexue.cn will pay, according to the filings.

“Every company will have to do it eventually, so the earlier you get in, the more competitive advantage you’ll gain,” says a person familiar with the deal. The person says the arrangement should help Beijing Tiexue secure “all kinds of licenses.”

News app Yidian Zixun, which is owned by New York-listed Phoenix New Media and smartphone makers Xiaomi Corp. and Oppo Electronics Corp., agreed to government investment to secure licenses for video content, according to people familiar with the matter.

Beijing city’s internet regulator and an investment fund jointly started by the Finance Ministry and Cyberspace Administration paid 70 million yuan for a 1% stake, according to one of the people. A midlevel official from the Beijing internet regulator now works as a special board member out of Yidian Zixun’s Beijing office with veto rights over the platform’s editorial decisions, according to the person.

These deals will likely provide a template for future deals, says a person who sits on the boards of several media companies and was consulted by the government on the management share plan.

Small startups will get direct investment from state-owned firms, while larger deals will be done by government-backed funds. For the biggest companies, he says, it is possible that they will “donate” shares to the government or government funds.

Write to Li Yuan at li.yuan@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/beijing-pushes-for-a-direct-hand-in-chinas-big-tech-firms-1507758314

The Big Winner From China’s Foreign-Aid Frenzy: China

October 11, 2017

Beijing’s development assistance generally also lands deals for the country’s companies

No automatic alt text available.

BEIJING—When Ghana sought to build a hydroelectric dam in the early 2000s, it failed to get World Bank backing. Then China stepped forward.

The Bui Dam was built through China’s brand of foreign aid: roughly half of the $600 million cost came as aid-like financing on favorable terms; the other half, commercial loans to be repaid with the proceeds from cocoa production.

China’s blurring of charity and business was examined in a new study from AidData, a research center based at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, which tallied 4,400 Chinese foreign-development projects from 2000 to 2014. AidData estimates one-fifth of the $362.1 billion took the form of Chinese government grants or other aid. Another one-fifth was too murky to determine whether it was aid or business. The remaining transactions were mostly commercial in nature.

China’s hybrid development model is playing a growing role, as Beijing begins its enormous “Belt and Road” infrastructure push across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. At $1 trillion, its projected cost is more than seven times that of America’s Marshall Plan for Europe’s post-World War II reconstruction, in today’s dollars.

Helping Hand? / China overseas development funding, 2000-2014. Source: AidData

Beijing’s ambition has funded pricey projects that might otherwise draw few backers, such as the Gwadar port in Pakistan and a data center in Djibouti, home to China’s first overseas naval base. But China has drawn criticism for financing authoritarian regimes and countries with unsustainable debt, such as Venezuela.

China has cast Belt and Road as a humanitarian effort, as well as a means to forge trade routes and strategic alliances. In May, China said it would spend 60 billion yuan ($9.1 billion) on assistance to Belt and Road countries in the next three years, including on emergency food aid and poverty alleviation.

The U.S. and other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries define foreign aid, or “official development assistance,” as transactions that are at least 25% grant.

May 15: China is trying to build excitement around Xi Jinping’s ‘Belt and Road’ plan to expand trade with roads, railways and ports. Photo: Thomas Peter/Reuters

But for China, development assistance generally also lands business for its companies—a dual role that Beijing views as a win-win rather than a conflict, says Evan Ellis, a U.S. Army War College professor who studies China’s engagement in South America.

“The Chinese don’t just give loans,” he said. “They are almost all tied to using Chinese companies as subcontractors.”

China’s commerce ministry and the Export-Import Bank of China didn’t immediately reply to requests for comment. China has said its foreign assistance is based on mutual benefit and noninterference in the internal affairs of the recipient countries.

The U.S. and other member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a Paris-based research body, agreed in 1978 to restrict the practice of requiring aid recipients to purchase goods and services, and to limit how aid can be mixed with commercial financing, said Brad Parks, AidData’s executive director. China isn’t a member of the OECD, so isn’t bound by the agreement.

Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference—a political advisory body that includes some of China’s wealthiest businesspeople—and Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama cutting a ribbon at the opening of a gas project in the Ghanaian capital of Accra in April of 2016.Photo: Ju Peng/Zuma Press

“This practice has raised serious alarm among countries that do not blend their development finance and trade finance,” said Mr. Parks.

The U.S. Export-Import Bank warned in its annual competitiveness report this summer that the agreement may suffer from China’s use of “mixed credits,” which combine regular export credits with aid or aid-like loans.

Image may contain: mountain, sky, ocean, outdoor, nature and water

Bui Dam under construction

The result is financing packages that countries adhering to the OECD agreement can’t match, the report said.

Deborah Brautigam, director of the China Africa Research Initiative at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, said the U.S. had used foreign aid to boost exports for many years before unlinking the two areas.

China Reaches Out

  • Western Firms Bet Big on China’s Multibillion-Dollar Infrastructure Project (May 14, 2017)
  • Tightened Belt: China Skimps on Its Grand Trade Plan (May 9, 2017)
  • Beijing Spins a Web of Chinese Infrastructure (Jan. 16, 2017)
  • China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ Takes to Space (Dec. 28, 2016)
  • China Builds First Overseas Military Outpost (Aug. 19, 2016)
  • Chinese-Pakistani Project Tries to Overcome Jihadists, Droughts and Doubts (April 10, 2016)
  • China Makes Multibillion-Dollar Down-Payment on Silk Road Plans (April 21, 2015)
  • China Readies $46 Billion for Pakistan Trade Route (April 16, 2015)

“We know these tricks,” said Ms. Brautigam. “These are all the same tricks that we had used.”

Defenders of China’s development model say countries gain valuable infrastructure that otherwise might not have been funded.

 Image may contain: 1 person, smiling

When Ghana sought to build its first dam in the 1960s, the U.S. and World Bank mobilized for the project, fearing in those Cold War days that the mineral-rich area would fall under Soviet sway. But by the early 2000s, public opinion in the West had turned against dam-building, making the World Bank reluctant to take on new projects like Ghana’s second dam, said Julian Kirchherr, an assistant professor in sustainable development at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

China’s Sinohydro Corp. completed Ghana’s Bui Dam in 2013. In August, the Ghana Cocoa Board told the country’s parliament it was in financial distress due to obligations that including servicing the Bui Dam loan.

—Xiao Xiao and Yang Jie contributed to this article.

Write to Eva Dou at eva.dou@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/when-it-comes-to-foreign-aid-chinas-taking-care-of-business-1507694463

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© AFP/File | Iranian President Hassan Rouhani shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) during a welcoming ceremony on January 23, 2016 in the capital Tehran

 (Enslavement Project?)

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China is the nation gaining the most, so China should step up to pay for a greater share of the planned railway network, the Thai transport minister said less than a month agao

China leads the way: Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai inspecting a model at the launch of China High Speed Rail Exhibition at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre in December last year. It is undeniable that China garners the most support in the bid for the HSR project, beating countries such as Japan.

China leads the way: Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai inspecting a model at the launch of China High Speed Rail Exhibition at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre in December last year. It is undeniable that China garners the most support in the bid for the HSR project, beating countries such as Japan.

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Pressure Mounts at the Top of Deutsche Bank

October 8, 2017

CEO John Cryan’s resistance to engage with HNA has irked Chairman Paul Achleitner, who helped woo the big shareholder

Most CEOs are zealous about meeting and courting their largest shareholder.

Not Deutsche Bank AG’s John Cryan. He’s made a point of avoiding his.

That owner happens to be Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co., a controversial actor on the global scene, which in the spring built its stake in the German lender to nearly 10%.

Mr. Cryan has told associates he wanted nothing to do with the Chinese conglomerate. The iciness has raised eyebrows among Deutsche Bank supervisory-board members and clients, say people close to the bank. And it has irked Paul Achleitner, the company chairman who helped woo HNA. Mr. Achleitner doesn’t like executives airing negative views of individual shareholders, people close to the bank say.

The tensions between HNA, Mr. Cryan and Mr. Achleitner come as Deutsche Bank has struggled for most of a decade to revive profits and bring stability in its upper ranks. Undermining those rebuilding efforts are a slow turnaround and internal clashes over style and strategy that have spilled into meetings with clients and regulators, according to people close to the bank.

More on Deutsche Bank

  • Deutsche Bank’s Big Shareholder Heavily Financed Its New Stake (May 10)
  • Chinese Conglomerate HNA Becomes Deutsche Bank’s Biggest Shareholder (May 3)
  • Meet the CFO-Banker Who May Be Next to Run Deutsche Bank (March 22)
  • Deutsche Bank to Tap Market for $8.5 Billion (March 5)
  • Deutsche Bank’s CEO Struggles With Overhaul (March 31, 2016)

At the center is Deutsche Bank’s chief executive, Mr. Cryan, a Briton overseeing Germany’s largest lender. Mr. Cryan has had to mediate between German and U.K. managers vying for money and staffing in the bank’s reconfiguration for a post-Brexit world. He’s under pressure from investors to cut costs, update technology and resuscitate investment-bank profits. And in the background, he has shunned HNA.

Mr. Achleitner was the primary architect of Deutsche Bank’s existing executive suite and is known as a hands-on chairman. Some senior executives at times have bypassed Mr. Cryan to appeal to Mr. Achleitner for support on high-level decisions, people close to the bank say.

Early on, this muddied the management waters for Mr. Cryan, people close to the two men say. A bank spokesman says it is normal for a German chairman to have “regular interaction with all management board members.” Mr. Achleitner supports Mr. Cryan, and it is good for them to disagree at times, some of the people close to them say.

Over the past year, Deutsche Bank has survived legal battles that threatened its stability in the eyes of investors and clients, and raised $8.5 billion in capital. It also has flip-flopped on major strategy decisions, such as splitting and then recombining its trading unit and investment bank.

Deutsche Bank agreed to settle mortgage-backed securities claims with the U.S. Justice Department.
Deutsche Bank 

But this year brought other, fresh complications. Mr. Achleitner helped Deutsche Bank court HNA, before and during the German lender’s capital hike in March and April, people close to the bank say.

Mr. Cryan and HNA CEO Adam Tan haven’t met, the people close to the bank say. Mr. Achleitner and HNA representatives tried to bring the two together, but Mr. Cryan prefers to focus on clients and regulators, people close to the Deutsche Bank CEO say.

“Yes, he hasn’t met him, but of course he will,” a Deutsche Bank spokesman said.

HNA has drawn scrutiny well beyond Deutsche Bank. German and European regulators are reviewing the company, its funding and its Deutsche Bank holding, including what influence HNA might have over the bank as its largest shareholder. The closely held company had faced mounting questions about its ownership and potential ties to the Chinese government as it has ramped up overseas investment.

In the U.S. and elsewhere, some investment banks eager to profit from HNA’s deal fervor by funding and advising on mor e of its acquisitions have hit pause, people close to the firms say.

HNA uses derivatives to limit losses and gains on its Deutsche Bank holding. Mr. Cryan views the structure HNA used to invest in the lender as speculative, saying it creates risks for the lender and investors, people close to the bank say.

HNA said through a spokesman that it “continues to view Deutsche Bank as an attractive investment opportunity” and is “committed to supporting Deutsche Bank’s long-term success.” The company said it complies and cooperates with regulatory authorities and its relationship with banks remains strong. HNA has taken steps to restructure its ownership, including by setting up a New York foundation intended to be its biggest shareholder. The company spokesman said the foundation “looks forward to sharing more about its activities and ambitions in time.” A person familiar with HNA said the Chinese government doesn’t own a stake in HNA and none of its shareholders hold shares for any Chinese government officials.

HNA first disclosed in mid-February that it held a 3.04% stake in Deutsche Bank through Austrian asset manager C-Quadrat Investment AG . On March 5, Deutsche Bank announced plans to raise $8.5 billion through a share sale. HNA’s widely known interest in increasing its stake helped the capital hike go smoothly, by signaling support from a big new shareholder, bankers and investors say. This can encourage other potential new investors to follow suit.

On March 14, Mr. Tan had dinner in Frankfurt with Mr. Achleitner, Deutsche Bank’s then-Chief Financial Officer Marcus Schenck and a C-Quadrat executive, according to people familiar with the dinner. At the time, the HNA contingent expected Mr. Cryan to attend, some of the people say. He ended up not being in Frankfurt that night, according to people familiar with his schedule.

Two days later, Deutsche Bank announced that its supervisory board would nominate two new members, including one proposed by HNA: C-Quadrat’s CEO, Alexander Schütz. Mr. Schütz was advising HNA on other potential deals and had sold part of his firm to HNA.

In early May, HNA disclosed details of its nearly 10% Deutsche Bank holding in a regulatory filing. It showed that HNA used more than $2.8 billion in financing, mainly from UBS Group AG, to help purchase shares worth about $3.8 billion at the time. It also did a derivative deal with UBS. One portion of that deal protected HNA if the shares fell below €15. They have been below €15 since early August and closed Friday at €14.72.

Most Deutsche Bank executives learned about the structure from the filing, the people close to the bank say. HNA acquired most of its shares in the market, limiting Deutsche Bank’s control over the process, according to regulatory filings and the people close to the bank.

Mr. Cryan, a former UBS finance chief, told some people close to the bank that it couldn’t be certain how HNA is funded and that he didn’t like that the investor bought the bank’s shares and effectively bet against them.

On May 18, at Deutsche Bank’s annual meeting, shareholders overwhelmingly voted Mr. Schütz onto the supervisory board. While in Frankfurt, the board gathered for dinner. Afterward, chauffeured cars waited to take them to their homes and hotels.

Mr. Schütz was perplexed when no car appeared for him, and he caught a ride with a fellow board member, according to a story he and others recounted over the next few days. The ensuing banter was that someone at Deutsche Bank must have wanted the HNA guy to walk. Another version of events is that Mr. Schütz had declined a car, so Deutsche Bank planners hadn’t booked one.

Mr. Schütz tried again to arrange a dinner between Messrs. Cryan and Tan, suggesting they could meet in New York. Mr. Cryan didn’t respond to the invitations, people familiar with the matter said.

Write to Jenny Strasburg at jenny.strasburg@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/pressure-mounts-at-the-top-of-deutsche-bank-1507460401

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The Telegraph reports that Deutsche Bank investors are losing patience over the time it is taking boss John Cryan to turnaround the lender, with one top shareholder warning he will feel the heat if things don’t move forward in the next six months.

John Cryan, who took on the chief executive job in 2015, has been under increasing pressure to restore profits in the German lender’s investment bank following years of legal investigations and fines for misconduct.

However, exasperation is growing after the bank, which slumped to a €1.4bn net loss in 2016 and in March embarked on an €8bn rights ­issue to bolster its finances, was downgraded by ratings agency Fitch last Thursday.

Investors urged Cryan to get a move on over the weekend, with one of the company’s largest shareholders warning that the management board will come under intense pressure if they don’t see results soon.

http://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2017/10/02/telegraph-pressure-mounts-on-top-firm-boss/

Hit the link below to access the complete Telegraph article:

Pressure mounts on Deutsche chief as investors lose patience

Robot revolution to boost jobs in London but not in the North

Chinese Fugitive Guo Wengui Amasses War Chest to Battle Beijing — “The U.S. is the last land of justice”

October 3, 2017
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Guo Wengui said he has set aside $150 million to advance his campaign against the Communist Party and fight Beijing’s attempts to discredit him

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Guo Wengui, an exiled Chinese businessman living in New York who has accused some of China’s leaders of corruption and other misdeeds, said he has prepared a war chest to advance his vocal campaign against the Communist Party and fight Beijing’s attempts to discredit him.

Mr. Guo, who last month applied for political asylum in the U.S., told The Wall Street Journal he has set aside over $150 million for legal fees and other expenses that he expects to incur over the next few years as he battles defamation and other lawsuits and steps up his antigovernment rhetoric.

“Nothing can stop me,” Mr. Guo said in an interview in his luxury apartment overlooking Manhattan’s Central Park recently. He said he is confident the U.S. will grant him asylum and will confront what he called Chinese government efforts to “silence” him.

“The U.S. is the last land of justice,” Mr. Guo said. “I would not be alive were it not for the U.S.”

Exiled Chinese businessman Guo Wengui spoke to The Wall Street Journal at the Sherry-Netherland hotel in Manhattan, where he lives. Photo: Natalie Keyssar for The Wall Street Journal

Mr. Guo—who also calls himself Miles Kwok —is a self-made Chinese property tycoon who has lived in the U.S. since 2015. He has said he fled China after learning that a state-security official he had ties to was going to be detained as part of a government anticorruption campaign.

Over the past nine months, Mr. Guo has captivated some politically minded Chinese citizens and vexed the Chinese government with a barrage of tweets, online videos and social-media posts alleging corrupt links between China’s political and corporate elites. He has pledged to release documents detailing Chinese politicians’ wealth and ownership of luxury real estate overseas—information he claims to have obtained through past work with Chinese state security and private investigators he hired to explore leads.

Mr. Guo has stepped up his attacks in recent weeks. He recently wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Times criticizing the “leviathan Chinese Mafia state” and made plans to give a speech Wednesday at the Hudson Institute, a Washington-based think tank. He said he will talk about China’s political ambitions and the impact of Chinese investments on U.S. national security. “China is at a very dangerous crossroads now,” Mr. Guo said.

Beijing has dismissed Mr. Guo’s allegations as falsehoods and seeks his arrest. Chinese courts have jailed and fined some of Mr. Guo’s former subordinates for crimes including fraud and embezzlement. Chinese media have published articles portraying him as unscrupulous.

Many of Mr. Guo’s allegations are hard to independently ver ify. Even his age—he told the Journal that he was likely born in 1967 or 1968—has been a matter of some debate, as he previously said he was born in 1970. Yet his allegations have the potential to intrude upon the ruling Communist Party’s plans for a carefully choreographed leadership transition this month.

At the twice-a-decade congress, Beijing’s ruling elite will name President Xi Jinping’s new leadership benchfor the next five years. Mr. Guo’s attacks on certain high-ranking officials could affect behind-the-scenes jostling among senior officials vying for promotions and key positions.

In August, Chinese officials told the Associated Press that Mr. Guo was being investigated in at least 19 major criminal cases that involve bribery, kidnapping, fraud, money laundering and rape. Several Chinese companies and individuals have recently sued Mr. Guo in U.S. courts. Among the pending cases against Mr. Guo is a defamation suit from acquisitive conglomerate HNA Group Co., which he has accused of having ties to a high-ranking Chinese official in the Communist Party. Another civil case was filed in New York by a Chinese woman who has accused Mr. Guo of raping her when she worked as his personal assistant.

Guo Wengui.  Photo: Natalie Keyssar for The Wall Street Journal

Mr. Guo denied the allegations, saying the they were part of a misinformation campaign being waged by Chinese officials.

“It has nothing to do with who I am and what I have done. They haven’t publicly disputed anything that I have disclosed so far,” Mr. Guo said, referring to the Chinese government. Sipping tea in a long black Chinese gown next to a fireplace in his apartment adorned with a Lego brick model of the London bridge, he challenged his detractors to produce evidence that he is wrong.

Mr. Guo’s supporters say Beijing is trying to frustrate his efforts to reach audiences in China. Several recent disruptions to the WhatsApp messaging service in China coincided with Mr. Guo’s live video broadcasts and interviews with U.S.-based Chinese media. The Cyberspace Administration of China has said “all companies are responsible for blocking illegal information, and so is WhatsApp.”

Over the weekend, a Facebook account used by Mr. Guo was taken down. A person familiar with the matter said Facebook disabled the account because it was used to share personal-identification information, in violation of terms of service barring unauthorized disclosure of such data.

Asked about the disabling, Mr. Guo said he believed it was the work of his opponents, and called the move “despicable” in a Twitter post.

—Alyssa Abkowitz in Beijing contributed to this article.

Write to Cezary Podkul at cezary.podkul@wsj.com and Chun Han Wong at chunhan.wong@wsj.com

 https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinese-fugitive-amasses-war-chest-to-battle-beijing-1507023004
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Facebook blocks Chinese tycoon Guo Wengui’s pages — His sensational corruption allegations shows why he’s a wanted man in Beijing

October 2, 2017

Social network takes down two pages associated with businessman who has made string of sensational corruption allegations against officials

South China Morning Post

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 October, 2017, 1:14pm
UPDATED : Monday, 02 October, 2017, 1:27pm

Facebook has blocked two pages in the name of Guo Wengui, the fugitive Chinese tycoon who has been making corruption accusations against senior officials in recent months, according to a report by The New York Times.

The social media network said it had blocked a profile under Guo’s name and taken down another page associated with him, adding that both pages had included someone else’s personal identifiable information.

Facebook acted after receiving a complaint, said a spokeswoman.

“We want people to feel free to share and connect on Facebook, as well as to feel safe, so we don’t allow people to publish the personal information of others without their consent,” Charlene Chian, a spokeswoman for the social network, said.

Guo appeared to confirm the deletion of his Facebook pages on his Twitter feed with a link to The New York Times report. He blamed pressure from the Chinese government without elaborating further and did not respond to the newspaper’s requests for comment.

The incident took place at a sensitive time for China, as later this month it will host a five-yearly party congress meeting, which will see a major reshuffle in the top leadership of the Communist Party.

President Xi Jinping, who is sure to be confirmed in a second term as the general secretary of the party, is also expected to further consolidate his power by bringing his proteges into the top leadership, and writing his name in the party constitution.

 Guo Wengui has claimed asylum in the United States. Photo: Handout

Guo has made a number of corruption allegations against senior Chinese officials in recent months, including Wang Qishan, the party’s most senior anti-corruption official, who is considered an ally of Xi and the country’s second most powerful man.

But Guo has barely provided any hard evidence to back up his claims.

Beijing has previously filed an Interpol red notice requesting Guo’s arrest on bribery charges.

The Chinese authorities have also indicated they will file a second red notice concerning a rape alleged to have been committed outside China.

Last month a former employee of Guo’s also lodged a civil suit in the New York courts alleging he had raped her and seeking damages of US$140 million.

Guo has claimed political asylum in the United States, which does not have an extradition treaty with China.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2113651/facebook-blocks-fugitive-chinese-tycoon-guo-wenguis

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Facebook Blocks Chinese Billionaire Who Tells Tales of Corruption

HONG KONG — A Chinese billionaire living in virtual exile in New York, Guo Wengui has riled China’s leaders with his sometimes outlandish tales of deep corruption among family members of top Communist Party officials.

On Saturday, his tales proved too much for one of his favorite platforms for broadcasting those accusations: Facebook.

The social media network said it had blocked a profile under Mr. Guo’s name and taken down another page associated with him. Facebook said the content on both pages had included someone else’s personal identifiable information, which violates its terms of service.

Facebook investigated the accounts after receiving a complaint, according to a spokeswoman.

“We want people to feel free to share and connect on Facebook, as well as to feel safe, so we don’t allow people to publish the personal information of others without their consent,” the spokeswoman, Charlene Chian, said. She declined to say who had complained.

Mr. Guo did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The profile under Mr. Guo’s name was not verified.

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