Asia Communique

China’s mega technology regulation — Modi wishes Dalai Lama, China stays mum — China's crackdown on LGBTQ social media accounts — CCTV military reports

My latest column: How Xi’s China did a nationalist song & dance to mark CCP centenary and attract the youth — The Print

China’s mega technology regulation

Last week started with a crackdown on the ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing. The company is accused of storing the personal data of customers in the US.

“After checks and verification, the Didi Chuxing app was found to be in serious violation of regulations in its collection and use of personal information,” 

“Like many overseas-listed Chinese companies, Didi stores all domestic user data on servers in China. It is absolutely impossible to pass data on to the United States,” Didi’s VP Li Min said.

“Chinese regulators ordered app store operators in the country to remove the mobile app of Didi Global Inc.’s China service on Sunday, dealing a second blow to the ride-hailing giant less than a week after its U.S. stock market debut”, reported WSJ.

The Central Cyberspace Administration revised the “Cyber ​​Security Review Measures” and announced that any company listed abroad with data of over 1 million users will be investigated.

“Operators who have personal information of more than 1 million users going to list abroad must report to the Cyber ​​Security Review Office for a cybersecurity review”

There are hundreds of such companies in China and which suggests the crackdown will be widespread.

Another interesting aspect in the review:

“When an operator purchases network products and services, it shall predict the national security risks that the products and services may bring about after they are put into use. Those that affect or may affect national security should report to the Cyber ​​Security Review Office for a cybersecurity review”

China is concerned about its own NYSE listed will companies hand over data of Chinese citizens to the US government. The US-China competition over data is now playing out in China with its own flavour.

“The Cyberspace Administration of China, which reports to a central leadership group chaired by Mr Xi, is taking a lead role in Beijing’s just-announced push to strengthen interagency oversight of companies listed overseas, especially those traded in the U.S., and to tighten rules for future foreign listings, according to people with knowledge of the matter” reported WSJ.

“China's antitrust regulator is poised to order the music streaming arm of Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700.HK) to give up exclusive rights to music labels, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said on Monday”, reported Reuters.

“China said on Friday it resolutely opposed what it said was the United States’ tendency to politicise economic issues after a major U.S. shares index removed more Chinese stocks following an executive order by the Biden administration”, reported Reuters.

The news from China about the data privacy debate has started a churn in DC.

“Europe’s way ahead of us. China is about to go ahead of us. The rest of the world is leaving us behind,” said Senate Commerce Consumer Protection Chair Richard Blumenthal.

“Some only get moving when they receive written edicts issued by the leadership and they would do nothing without such instructions,” said Xi Jinping in January. Xi Jinping’s comments were published by SCMP citing a book by the Central Party Literature Press.

“In January, Xi expressed frustration at a lack of initiative among officials at an internal meeting in January and complained that too many waited for instructions from the top before acting”

The book also reveals what Xi Jinping had said about promoting democracy with the party three years ago: “These weird comments are made by people who are either confused, have ill intentions or are dirty themselves”.

“In the largest study of its kind, a team of academics from four US and Canadian universities said they were able to determine the size of China’s Great Firewall internet censorship capabilities,” said The Record.

“Using GFWatch, researchers said they tested 534 million distinct domains, accessing around 411 million domains daily to record and then verify that the blocks were persistent”, added The Record.

“Nasdaq-listed Weibo Corp's (WB.O) chairman and a Chinese state investor plan to take China's answer to Twitter private, sources told Reuters, sending its shares as much as 50% higher on Tuesday.

A deal could value Weibo at more than $20 billion, facilitate shareholder Alibaba's exit and see Weibo eventually relist in China to capitalise on higher valuations, the sources said,” reported Reuters.

Xi Jinping wants tight control of the private sector. The recent actions seem to be inspired to reign in the tech companies and their largesse.

Full Text: Keynote address by Xi Jinping at CPC and World Political Parties Summit — Xinhua

Modi wishes Dalai Lama, China stays mum

On July 6, PM Modi wished HH Dalai Lama on his birthday. The tweet was widely reported in Indian media, and there was an expectation that China might respond to this tweet. But instead, the Chinese foreign ministry decided to remain silent on the issue.

Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of Global Times, wrote a post on Weibo about the Modi wishing Dalai Lama. The same post was later translated and published in English.

Birthday greetings to Dalai Lama, a futile attempt to show attitude to China — GT

Though I’m not particularly eager to pay as much attention to Hu Xijin, there was so little published in response to the tweet that this commentary is worth reading.

China is focusing on the poverty alleviation campaign and building the railway network in Tibet. There is a campaign to promote China-appointed Panchen Lama. Perhaps, China feels confident that they can appoint a Dalai Lama, and there wouldn’t be any adverse reaction by the Tibetan population within Tibet.

“Chinese nationals displayed banners in protest from across the Indus river, close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC), when Indian villagers were celebrating the birthday of the Dalai Lama in Demchok in eastern Ladakh” reported The Hindu.

Censorship of LGTBQ accounts in China

China has shut down a dozen WeChat accounts run by LGBTQ groups in China.

“There is a tendency in China for some people to relate homosexuality and LGBT people to Western lifestyles or capitalistic, bourgeois decadence, so this was in line with a moral panic,” said Hongwei Bao, an associate professor of media studies as quoted by SCMP.

We should note that a large number of these accounts were associated with university groups. The Communist Youth League members are said to be the source of this decision to shut down social media pages.

Xi promotes PLA generals

Xi Jinping promoted four senior officers to the rank the general on 5 July.

Promoted generals:

Southern Theater Commander Wang Xiubin, Western Theater Commander Xu Qiling, Army Commander Liu Zhenli, and Strategic Support Force Commander Ju Gansheng.

The most notable promotion was that of Western Theater Commander Xu Qiling. Xu has been the commander of the Western Theatre Army and the deputy commander of the Western Theatre Command since 2 June 2020. We know this because of a WeChat post by the Western Theater Command. The most recent commander of the Western Theater Command, Zhang Xudong has promoted to the rank of general in December 2020 but has now mysteriously disappeared after serving as commander for a short period in 2020. I haven’t come across any news disciplining of a commander or a senior officer. So we don’t know yet what happened to Zhang Xudong.

Xi Jinping also awarded the medal to a special detachment of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region special unit. Xi Jinping gave the honorary title of “ anti-terrorism squadron” to the unit from Xinjiang.

CCTV military reports

A century of struggle and a new journey, keeping in mind the original mission, striving for greater glory, and casting loyalty to the party at the Karakorum — 11 July

Since the centenary celebration, the number of these reports on CCTV has gone down. But the summer exercises are underway, we might again see an upsurge of the military reports in the coming days.

“The secret project, funded by the military, was partially declassified last week with the publication of a paper that gave a rare glimpse into a field test of the unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV), seemingly in the Taiwan Strait, more than a decade ago” reported SCMP.

Philippine Coast Guard has discovered that the voices of female marine operators are far more effective at countering incursions by Chinese vessels.

“Ensign Acuario demonstrated what the coast guard had suspected for a while: that its women are more effective with the spoken word than its men,” said The Economist.

“We want our Angels of the Sea to become the voice of peaceful and rules-based order at sea, especially in our country’s sensitive maritime frontiers,” said Philippines Vice-Admiral Leopoldo Laroya.

“China is pushing to develop antisatellite weapons with capabilities from “dazzling to jamming, to kinetic kill-from-the-ground, from space -- all that, they’re on the march,” Rear Admiral Michael Studeman said this week during an intelligence-security trade group’s webinar” reported Bloomberg.

Pakistan may purchase 36 F-10C fighters to tie with F-16 in confrontation — Sina Military

Don’t Miss Out

“China sent a flight to bring home 210 of its nationals from Afghanistan, state media reported Friday, as the U.S. military prepares to leave the country and the security situation grows increasingly fraught”, reported Associated Press.

“The People’s Bank of China will reduce the reserve requirement ratio by 0.5 percentage point for most banks, according to a statement published Friday. That will unleash about 1 trillion yuan ($154 billion) of long-term liquidity into the economy and will be effective on July 15, the central bank said,” reported Bloomberg.

“German authorities arrested a former spy for Germany’s secret service on suspicions that he conducted “intelligence agent activities” for China, the federal prosecutor’s office said Tuesday.

“It would buy you a year of study at Harvard University, a couple of luxury boxes at the Yankee Stadium in New York or a lengthy stay at London’s Ritz Hotel. But Chinese citizens might soon be able to do something different with the $50,000 they are permitted to take out of the country annually: invest it. In February, Ye Haisheng, a Chinese official at the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (Safe), said the government was researching whether the allowance — which has been unchanged since 2007, requires no specific approvals and is spent mainly on travel and education — could also be used to purchase overseas securities and insurance” reported Financial Times.

According to a press release from the prosecutor’s office, the man — named only as Klaus L. — allegedly supplied the Chinese secret service with information for almost a decade, starting in 2010,” reported Politico.

“The Prime Minister told MPs that he had asked the National Security Adviser, Sir Stephen Lovegrove, to assess the £65m sales of Newport Wafer Fab to Nexperia, a Dutch company owned by China’s Wingtech” reported The Telegraph.

“On July 8, 2021, China-South Asian Countries Poverty Alleviation and Cooperative Development Center were officially launched in Chongqing. Assistant Foreign Minister Wu Jianghao, Chongqing Vice Mayor Cai Yunge, Supervision Officer of National Administration for Rural Revitalization Li Yue, and ambassadors of South Asian countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh to China attended and addressed the ceremony” said Chinese foreign ministry.

“Prosecutors claim HSBC relied on Meng’s word in deciding to continue handling Huawei’s financial transactions, putting the bank at risk of a reputation loss and prosecution for violating the same sanctions. The prosecutors in court have admitted the documents show HSBC executives were provided sufficient information to make them understand the true relationship, but no evidence that the executives actually reached that understanding” reported Guardian.

“When the 603 people polled in Australia were asked whether they thought China would launch an armed attack on Australia, 6% said soon and 36% said some time – totalling 42%”, reported Guardian.

“Recently, more than 500 Chinese students who had received offers to pursue postgraduate studies as STEM majors (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) at US universities saw their hopes dashed when they were denied visas by the US government, sources say” reported China Daily.

“Montenegro is weeks away from securing a deal to either swap or refinance with European and US banks nearly US$1 billion in debt owed to China, and hopes to reduce the interest rate on the debt to below 1 per cent, Economy Minister Jakov Milatovic said” reported Reuters.

Off Track Reads

The Meeting of East and West — The Wire China

Why China Surpassing America’s Economy Isn’t a Sure Thing — Bloomberg

The Man Behind China’s Aggressive New Voice — NYT

Wikipedia wars: How Hongkongers and mainland Chinese are battling to set the narrative — Hong Kong Free Press

Movers and Shakers

India has a long way to go in confronting China — HUSAIN HAQQANI AND APARNA PANDE

Business Street

Chinese investors miss out on record year for Indian tech fundraising — FT

Zomato IPO opens next week. GMP, expectations and what lies ahead — Live Mint

Beijing's Didi blast shakes $2tn of China stocks in US — Nikkei Asia Review

Upcoming Watch

The 44th session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO will start on July 16 in Fuzhou, Fujian province.

Australian Defence Force’s biggest bilateral military training activity with the US well underway this week. South Korea is participating in the exercise for the first time. Military personnel from India, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK will also participate.

Foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will gather to discuss the fate of Afghanistan on July 13.