Asia Communique

China sends a message on Galwan anniversary — Guangdong nuclear plant leak — Trade network disrupted in Southern China — CCTV military reports

China sends a message on Galwan anniversary

The reaction to the Galwan valley clash's one-year anniversary was limited to a few posts on Weibo and WeChat. The posts on Weibo remembered the four PLA soldiers whose names China has announced in public. But there was no noticeable attempt to promote the Galwan clash-related trend on Weibo, Baidu, WeChat or other platforms.

State-run Global Times tweeted an April story about the tomb-sweeping ceremony. These pictures of the Wang Zhuoran’s family sweeping his tombs in April were shared on Weibo by some of the accounts.

But there was another message sent to India that wasn’t visible on Chinese social media platforms and wasn’t reported by English language media. The message may have been drafted for the domestic audience, but China surely knew the Indian administration would watch it as well.

State-run Chinese broadcasters CCTV did broadcast a segment which shows PLA soldiers at the Qiudijiangela 秋迪检格拉 post next to lake Pangang Tso.

[Military report] Struggle for a hundred years, set sail for a new journey, learn party history, understand ideas, do practical things, open a new game, the Karakorum has a “party flag on the mountain” — (15 June)

Since CCTV is widely watched in China, the message must have reached every home. But the broadcast and the images from this segment on CCTV weren’t shared on Weibo or WeChat. Another sign that Chinese censors didn’t want too much attention on the first anniversary. The CCTV report also shows the images of the four PLA soldiers who died in Galwan.

I recently wrote in an op-ed for The Print about a 2021 article published on the Tibetan regional government and party related websites.

“The border is full of party’s banners, and the history of the Communist Party is glorious,” said the title of the 2021 article. The Chinese Communist Party’s flag painted on a hillside was both a message sent to Beijing about fulfilling the vision laid out by Xi Jinping and a message to India. China wants to tell India that they are still there and not going anywhere.

‘“The low-profile memorial indicates that Beijing doesn’t want to incite national hatred between China and India, a vulnerable wound that has lasted for decades,” Zhou said. “Provoking national hatred will only lead bilateral relations to a dead end.”’ reported SCMP citing opinions of experts.

I had previously tweeted about the Qiudijiangela post after Chinese blogger Eva Zheng shared a few photos.

The anniversary was widely discussed in India on Twitter. Hashtags such as #Galwan, #GalwanHeroes were used, along with photos of the Indian soldiers who died in the clash.

“The two countries can gradually improve bilateral ties and promote pragmatic cooperation by managing the border issue and preventing differences from escalating into disputes, the Chinese ministry said in a statement exclusively shared with Hindustan Times in context of the deadly June 15 clash, which left soldiers on both sides’ dead” reported Hindustan Times.

I wrote an op-ed for The Print on the first anniversary: Borders are at the heart of Xi Jinping’s ‘new era’.

Xi Jinping, members of the Politburo standing committee, and other CCP leaders took an oath to uphold the party's mission. The party leader's oath was the same oath that they had to swear when they joined the party.

“I have to work hard to see this exhibition. It will take more than an hour to walk around. But, if you look at it carefully, it will be enlightening and instructive. It's good for us to study party history and come here to study it,” reported Xinhua.

CCP will mark its 100 anniversary on July 1.

“China’s Communist Party once did in the Soviet Union, has a history of manipulating the historical record. Photos were altered to emphasize Mao’s presence or excise purged officials, and history texts and museums were reworked to promote new priorities,” wrote Chun Han Wong and Keith Zhai in WSJ.

Financial Times has provided a unique behind the scenes look into the workings of state-run news organisation CGTN.

‘In Beijing, “the face of censorship in the newsroom is the laoshi,” says Anglebrandt, a view confirmed by another former producer and a news anchor. “There are always two or three in the broadcast newsroom, and all scripts go from the Chinese writers to the foreign copy editors who make [the English] sound more natural and then to the laoshi who checks it for political correctness,” he adds’ said FT’s interview with Gary Anglebrandt who worked for CGTN between 2016-19.

Behind the scenes at China TV: soft power and state propaganda — Financial Times

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Guangdong nuclear plant leak

CNN reported on June 14 about an investigation of a potential leak at the Taishan nuclear power plant in Guangdong. The power plant is jointly owned and run by Guangdong Nuclear Power (GNP) and Électricité de France.

“The warning included an accusation that the Chinese safety authority was raising the acceptable limits for radiation detection outside the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in Guangdong province to avoid having to shut it down, according to a letter from the French company to the US Department of Energy obtained by CNN” reported CNN.

“China is pledging to harshly punish anyone responsible for major industrial accidents or outbreaks of violence in coming days as the ruling Communist Party prepares lavish celebrations for its centenary on July 1”, reported Associated Press.

The Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) responded to CNN’s report and said, “The MEE said there has been an increase in the coolant radioactivity level of the primary circuit in the No.1 unit due to fuel rod damage, which is a common phenomenon at nuclear plants”

“The meeting pointed out that recent safety accidents have occurred one after another, and the situation of production safety is grim. All regions, departments and units should strengthen their political sensitivity and sense of political responsibility, adhere to the people first and life first, coordinate development and safety, ensure the safety of people's lives and property, and achieve "two maintenance" with practical actions” reported Xinhua.

COVID-19 disrupts trade network

The COVID-19 situation in Southern China has caused havoc to the key trading route at the international shipping industry node. But Chinese state media have reported artificially low COVID-19 cases.

“A coronavirus outbreak in southern China has clogged ports critical to global trade, causing a shipping backlog that could take months to clear and lead to shortages during the year-end holiday shopping season. 

The chaos began unfolding last month when authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong — home to some of the world's busiest container ports — cancelled flights, locked down communities and suspended trade along its coastline to bring a rapid spike in Covid-19 cases under control” reported CNN.

“Shenzhen's airport cancelled hundreds of flights and tightened entry controls on Saturday after a restaurant employee tested positive for the Delta coronavirus variant.
Anyone entering the facility must show a negative virus test from the last 48 hours, Shenzhen Airport Group said in a statement on its official WeChat social media account,” reported RTHK.

“No new locally transmitted confirmed COVID-19 cases or asymptomatic cases were reported in south China's Guangdong Province on Saturday, the provincial health commission said on Sunday,” reported Xinhua.

The newly reported cases are related to the Delta variant, as suggested by Chinese state media.

“On June 18, Shenzhen, Guangdong, reported 2 confirmed cases of COVID-19, one of which carried the Delta mutant strain. Furthermore, on June 11, the State Council's joint prevention and control mechanism press conference reported that the Delta mutant also caused the recent new round of epidemic in Guangzhou,” said a post on Weibo.

“2 cases in Shenzhen infected with Delta mutant,” said a hashtag that was viewed 190 million times on Weibo.

“Wolf Warriors” holding strong

Whoever thought China’s “wolf warrior” was about to go away because of international pressure, they haven’t been paying attention — or not reading the original Chinese sources.

“China's "wolf warrior diplomacy", an aggressive and often abrasive stance adopted by its diplomats since 2020, is simply "justified defence" against attacks by a West determined to contain it, one of Beijing's most outspoken ambassadors said” reported Reuters.

“In the eyes of the Westerners, our diplomacy is on the offensive and aggressive, but the truth is, it is them who are on the offensive and aggressive," Lu Shaye, China's envoy to France, said.

“Did you know that between 2012 and 2017, Beijing nearly doubled its spending on diplomacy to $7.8 billion? In 2019, its diplomatic network overtook that of the United States, with 276 embassies and consulates worldwide,” reported The Wire China quoting Peter Martin’s new book.

If you are still not convinced, I will urge you to read Peter Martin’s new book “China's Civilian Army: The Making of Wolf Warrior Diplomacy”.

Taiwan reported a large incursion on June 15.

Macao will close their Taiwan office similar to Hong Kong. As a result, Taiwanese officials in Hong Kong are being forced to return home.

“Recorded Future’s Insikt Group has identified ties between a suspected Chinese state-sponsored threat activity group we track as RedFoxtrot and the Chinese military-intelligence apparatus, specifically People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Unit 69010 located in Ürümqi, Xinjiang. This activity offers a glimpse into PLA operations following a major organizational restructure beginning in 2015 and follows a period where public reporting has largely concentrated on groups affiliated with China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS),” said a report published by threat assessment group, Recorded Futures.

Threat Activity Group RedFoxtrot Linked to China’s PLA Unit 69010; Targets Bordering Asian Countries — Recorded Futures

CCTV military reports

A new type of vehicle-mounted howitzer to practice "vertical hair" on the 4600-meter plateau! — June 21

[Military report] Struggle for a hundred years, set sail for a new journey, learn party history, understand ideas, do practical things, open a new game, the Karakorum has a “party flag on the mountain” — June 15

China’s Third Aircraft Carrier Takes Shape — CSIS


Don’t Miss Out

“A World Bank-led project declined to award a contract to lay sensitive undersea communications cables after Pacific island governments heeded U.S. warnings that participation of a Chinese company posed a security threat, two sources told Reuters,” reported Reuters.

“Policymakers are discussing the possibility of fully doing away with birth restrictions by 2025, the end of the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s current five-year economic plan, according to one of the people. According to that person, China will likely begin by eliminating birth restrictions in provinces where the birthrate is the lowest before enacting nationwide changes,” reported WSJ.

‘North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has said his country needs to prepare for both "dialogue and confrontation" with the US, and "especially to get fully prepared for confrontation”,’ reported the BBC.

“The White House will consider arranging talks between President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, as the two countries spar over issues including human rights, a top U.S. official said on Thursday,” reported Reuters.

“ByteDance Ltd., the owner of popular short-video app TikTok, told employees that its revenue last year more than doubled to $34.3 billion, underscoring why the Chinese technology giant is one of the world’s hottest startups”, reported WSJ.

“One of China’s leading nuclear scientists, Zhang Zhijian, has died after falling to his death from a building, Harbin Engineering University has announced.

Zhang, who was vice-president at the university, was found dead on Thursday,” reported SCMP.

“In parts of rural China where bat guano is collected from caves and used as fertiliser, people were carrying antibodies to those viruses, indicating the previous infection. In other words, a spillover event could have happened without the involvement of any lab,” reported Guardian, arguing that new studies point away from lab leak theory.

“President Joe Biden’s executive order aimed at safeguarding Americans’ sensitive data would force some Chinese apps to take tougher measures to protect private information if they want to remain in the U.S. market, according to people familiar with the matter”, reported Reuters.

India’s Covid calamity exposes weakest link in US-led ‘Quad’ alliance — FT


Movers and Shakers

Washington’s Dangerous New Consensus on China — Bernie Sanders

Is the Chinese Communist Party Ready for the Future? — Jude Blanchette & Evan S. Medeiros

Negotiation and Negation: India’s Post-Galwan Diplomacy vis-à-vis China — Jagannath Panda

The Chinese Communist Party at 100 — The Wire China


Commanding the Mirror’s Reflection — David Bandurski

Off Track Reads

Line in the sand: Chinese dredgers are stealing Taiwan, bit by bit — Nikkei Asian Review

Wu Qiang – the Chinese intellectual refusing to be silenced — AFP


Overcoming Emperor’s Dilemma — Pekingology (CSIS)

India and China, One Year After the Galwan Clash — The Diplomat

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