Asia Communique — Week 16

India to return Chinese soldier — Chinese state media reaction to DC insurrection — India-France strategic dialogue — Hong Kong mass arrests

‘US biggest threat to itself’ - People’s Daily

A commentary published by People’s Daily went with a headline “The biggest threat to the United States is precisely the United States itself”. 

The Chinese Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection published a commentary by columnist Lan Linzong who called the chaotic events in DC “a beautiful sight”. Other social media users have also repeated this phrase. 

Chinese state media and Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs focused on comparing the events in DC to Hong Kong protests. 

“You mentioned the unrest in Hong Kong. In July 2019, radical and violent protesters in Hong Kong broke into the Legislative Council, ransacking the main chamber, smashing facilities, tossing toxic liquid and powder at police officers, and even biting off one police officer's finger and stabbing another. But the Hong Kong police showed maximum restraint and professionalism and no protester ended in death. However, as you mentioned, there are already four deaths in Washington of which the situation is less violent and destructive than that in Hong Kong” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson. 

Interestingly, the story about protests and chaos in DC didn’t figure prominently on Chinese social media platforms such as Weibo and Weibo. No major trends related o to US Capitol insurrection featured in the top 10 list on these platforms. 

A hashtag “Americans took to the streets to demand Trump’s removal” trended on Weibo in the last few hours. 

China Is Already Using the Storming of the US Capitol for Propaganda - The Diplomat.

Chinese soldier found on Indian side

“The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday said that India and China have maintained communication links at the ground level to avoid any misunderstandings, even as the two sides are waiting for the next round of senior commander-level talks with respect to the military standoff in eastern Ladakh” reported Indian Express. 

“During early hours of 08 January 21, a Chinese soldier was apprehended on the Indian Side of the LAC, in Ladakh, in area South of Pangong Tso lake. The PLA soldier had transgressed across the LAC and was taken into custody by Indian troops deployed in this area,” an official told NDTV

Translation of the text: 

“In the early hours of January 8, a soldier of China's border defence forces was lost due to dark, complex terrain and other reasons. After the incident, the Chinese border forces immediately informed the Indian side of the situation and hoped that the Indian side would assist in the search and rescue. Nearly two hours later, the Indian side made a clear reply to find a Chinese soldier who was lost and return it to the Chinese side after asking for instructions from the superior. Individual Indian media have some hype on this matter, which is inconsistent with the facts. India should strictly abide by the relevant agreements between the two countries, hand over the lost personnel to China as soon as possible, add positive factors to the current situation on the border between China and India, and jointly safeguard peace and tranquillity in the border area”

“India presents great opportunities for sustained growth to Taiwanese investors, who in turn can impart their world-renowned manufacturing skills and know-how necessary for India's rapid transformation” said Gourangalal Das, director-general of the India Taipei Association, India’s de facto embassy in Taiwan.

Over 53 arrested in Hong Kong under Nat Sec Law

“Police say 53 Hong Kong democrats and activists were arrested on Wednesday morning for alleged violations of the national security law.

According to media reports and social media posts, the opposition figures were arrested over their organisation and participation in the primaries for the postponed 2020 Legislative Council Election last year” reported Hong Kong Free Press. 

profile in Guardian of some of the leaders arrested. 

Where is Jack Ma? 

“China’s government has told the country’s media to censor reporting on an antitrust probe into tech group Alibaba, whose founder Jack Ma has disappeared from public view as misfortunes mount for his business empire, according to people familiar with the matter” according to an exclusive by Financial Times. 

“China’s regulators are trying to get Jack Ma to do something the beleaguered billionaire has long resisted: share the troves of consumer-credit data collected by his financial-technology behemoth.

Mr. Ma has little room to bargain after the business empire he has built over decades has landed in the crosshairs of regulators and even President Xi Jinping, partly reflecting Beijing’s concern that the flamboyant entrepreneur has been too focused on his business fortunes rather than the state’s goal of controlling financial risks” reported Wall Street Journal.

India-France strategic dialogue

“India and France discussed key issues such as counter-terrorism, maritime security and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region at their annual strategic dialogue and vowed to accord high priority to their partnership, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Friday” reported Times of India. 

“On each topic, the two sides noted the high degree of convergence of views and agreed on concrete steps to further enhance their cooperation. In particular, they reiterated their attachment to an inclusive, rules-based Indo-Pacific which contributes to a multipolar Asia in a multipolar world,” a statement by French Embassy in New Delhi said.

Wang Yi in Africa 

“Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will pay official visits to Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Botswana, Tanzania and Seychelles from January 4-9.

During the visits, Wang Yi will push forward the implementation of the important consensus reached by the Chinese and African leaders and the outcomes of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit and the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit On Solidarity against COVID-19, according to Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin” reported CGTN.

“We believe that Seychelles will also continue to support China on issues concerning China's core interests. We are ready to take the opportunity of jointly building the Belt and Road and implementing the outcomes of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit to take our cooperation to a new level and build a community with a shared future for both sides in light of the economic and social development needs of Seychelles," said Wang during a stop in Seychelles

“We will continue to strengthen anti-pandemic cooperation and firmly support each other until the pandemic is completely overcome; we will set up an intergovernmental committee to be led by the two countries' foreign ministers that will coordinate and advance mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields; we will deepen the Belt and Road cooperation by closely aligning China's new development paradigm with Nigeria's new national development plan; we will vigorously promote the construction of key projects in Nigeria so as to help Nigeria accelerate industrialization and improve its independent development capabilities; we will continue to extend cooperation into areas including digital economy and green economy so as to achieve diversified development; we will deepen military and security cooperation in efforts to enhance Nigeria's capacity for safeguarding national security; and we will closely coordinate regional and international affairs, practice multilateralism, and safeguard the common interests of developing countries” said a statement by Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari Meets with Wang Yi -Chinese Foreign Ministry

Don’t Miss Out

“Chinese electric vehicle (EV) maker Nio Inc on Saturday launched its first sedan model, eyeing a greater share of the world's largest car market.

The launch of the ET7, at an event in the western city of Chengdu, came as rival Tesla started selling its China-made Model Y sport-utility vehicle in the Chinese market reported Reuters. 

Off-Track Read

China’s Top Spy is a Working Class Hero — Spy Talk

Movers and Shakers

INDIA-CHINA RELATIONS TO STAY CONTRARIAN IN 2021 - Jagganath Panda 

Business Street 

China’s Baidu Teams With Geely on Electric Cars - Bloomberg 

NIO, the Chinese Electric-Vehicle Startup, Unveils New ET7 Sedan — WSJ

Upcoming Watch 

US Ambassador to the UN will visit Taiwan from January 13-15. 

“We wish to remind the United States that whoever plays with fire will burn himself. The United States will pay a heavy price for its wrong action,” China’s U.N. mission said in a statement in response to Kelly Craft’s planned visit.