Asia Communique - Week 5; Australia to join MALABAR naval exercise, Chinese people’s "calves will not tremble," says Xi

Commemorating Korean War - India returns Chinese soldier - New Export Control Law

China’s New Export Control Law

The 13th National People Congress’s (NPC) Standing Committee held its 22nd meeting in Beijing from October 13-17.

The NPC passed an Export Control Law [出口管制法] which will restrict the sale of "dual-use items, military items, nuclear items and other goods, technologies, services and items relating to the maintenance of national security and national interests."

Full text with translation of the Export Control Law.

The law will also restrict the sale of certain user data and source code related to controlled items. The Export Control Law could potentially have a say in restricting the sale of source code powering technology companies such as TikTok.

The NPC also approved amendments to Patent Law, National Flag, National Emblem Laws, and Election Law Amendment. The NPC also passed a new Biosecurity Law.

India returns Chinese soldier

On October 19, India Today reported that a People’s Liberation Army soldier was detained by the Indian Army close to the Demchock area of Eastern Ladakh.

China’s Western Theatre Command spokesperson Colonel Zhang Shuili confirmed the story in a statement saying the Indian Army detained the soldier while "helping herders find their lost yaks."

Indian TV channel NDTV’s Vishnu Som tweeted on October 20 saying "The Chinese soldier apprehended yesterday in Eastern Ladakh won't be released "for the next few days," say my sources. He is being questioned by China experts before his return."

Chinese Ministry of Defense spokesperson said on October 21 that the PLA soldier detained by India had been returned.

Times of India reported that the detained soldier was a Corporal in PLA and belonged to Shangxizhen town of Zhejiang province in China. 

The search term "Chinese soldiers lost their way in the China-India border area" was the 3rd trend on the Chinese language search engine Baidu.

According to state-owned CCTV, China’s Tibet Military District may have deployed "a new, longer-range rocket with modified PHL-03 multiple rocket launchers."

Chinese smartphone brand Oppo’s vice-president recently said that the company might invest in India despite the military build-up at the Line of Actual Control, according to SCMP.  

Chinese people’s "calves will not tremble" – President Xi Jinping

"In the face of difficulties their calves will not tremble," Xi Jinping said at a meeting in Great Hall of the People in Beijing to mark 70 years of the Korean war, according to the state-news agency Xinhua.

According to the official Communist Party of China’s propaganda, the war of 1950 in Koreas was an "effort to resist US aggression."                     

State media widely used a quote from Xi Jinping’s speech:


"Chinese people do not cause troubles and are not afraid of them. In the face of any difficulties and risks, their calves will not tremble, and their waists will not bend. The Chinese nation cannot be frightened or overwhelmed!"

Another quote about the wider geopolitical significance of the 1950s Korean war, as interpreted by the party’s narrative:


"After this war, the strategic pattern of Asia and the world after the Second World War was deeply shaped, and the justified cause of the oppressed nations and peoples in the world to strive for national independence and people’s liberation was greatly encouraged."

"He’s [Xi Jinping] hitting the stand-up-to-America theme pretty hard now. It’s getting intense." John Delury, a professor of Chinese studies at Yonsei University, told the New York Times.

Xi’s speeches are targeted at the local audience in China. Many experts have said that the narrative of the US’s aggressive action was very pronounced.

"domestic audience is less likely to swallow such one-sided message." an article in South China Morning Post (SCMP) said, citing experts.

Australia to join MALABAR naval exercise

On October 19, Australia accepted India’s invitation to participate in the MALABAR naval exercise.

"High-end military exercises like MALABAR are key to enhancing Australia's maritime capabilities, building interoperability with our close partners, and demonstrating our collective resolve to support an open and prosperous Indo-Pacific," Australia’s Minister of Defense Reynolds said in a statement.  

A panelist on a CCTV segment about MALABAR naval exercise said, "We have to look at the case of the Philippine government that failed to align with the US. I want to clarify that the United States just wants to create challenging conditions for China. Many countries are aware of this agenda, it will only hurt regional security and stability. Therefore, after seeing that there was no response from regional countries, this time the US has turned its attention to Australia."

In 2008, Australia made a mistake by walking out of the Quad and the MALABAR exercise, Australia’s High Commissioner to India Barry O’Farrell told The Hindu.

"I don’t think the invitation came about because of activities over the last couple of months [at the LAC], I think it's been the changing environment in which we live, and the recognition by countries like India and Australia, that they have to step up in the neighborhood to deliver the sort of world we want," Barry O’Farrell added.  

Recently, Indonesia denied the US’s request to refuel the P-8 surveillance plane, according to an exclusive by Reuters.

US approves $1.8 billion in arms sales to Taiwan

According to Reuters, the US State Department approved the potential sale of three weapon systems to Taiwan, which could add up to a total value of $1.8 billion. The weapon systems included in the sale are likely to include sensors, missiles, and artillery. The $1.8 billion weapon systems sale will include135 AGM-84H cruise missiles.

Reuters had earlier reported that the White House was moving forward with the process of selling military equipment to Taiwan worth $5 billion.

Experts have said that 135 AGM-84H cruise missiles have a range of 270 km, and the missile can reach the Chinese mainland, according to SCMP.

The total sale of military equipment could amount to $5 billion, according to Reuters.

Social Talk

On Sina Weibo, the hashtag "Huawei Conference" was viewed by over 1.25 billion users and discussed over 233,000 times as of October 24 at 11:00 EST. Huawei released a new series of Huawei Mate 40 Pro 5G handset. Many Weibo users posted their first reaction to the new Huawei handset series and compared the series with the recently released iPhone 12.

Another hashtag, "Commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Volunteer Army to Resist U.S. Aid Korea," trended widely on Sina Weibo. The hashtag was viewed by over 590 million Weibo users and discussed over 134,000 times as of October 24 at 11:00 EST.

On October 19, China’s Cyberspace Administration announced that the "mandatory following" of certain social media accounts of government agencies and influencers would be brought to an end. The decision came after certain prominent Weibo and WeChat accounts had exchanged hands, and other businesses or entities were using these accounts. The Cyberspace Administration fears that these accounts could be used to spread "rumors."

From Movers and Shakers

Uniting the Techno-Democracies — Jared Cohen and Richard Fontaine

Off-Track Reads

Kicked off Weibo? Here’s what happens next – Rest of the World

TikTok battles to stay ‘apolitical’ ahead of US election – Financial Times

Surprise! India Is Leaping Ahead in Clean Energy — Foreign Policy

Apparatchiks and academics alike struggle to take China’s pulse — The Economist

Business Street

Jio’s smartphone push not as big a threat as geopolitics to Chinese brands in India - SCMP

Ant Group’s Giant IPOs Set to Launch After Regulators Clear the Way – WSJ

India’s Flipkart buys $204 million stake in Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail – Tech Crunch

Upcoming Watch

Secretary Michael Pompeo will travel to New Delhi, Colombo, Sri Lanka, Male, Maldives, Jakarta, and Indonesia from October 25 – 30. A report by Reuters about what may be on the agenda during this visit.

The 5th plenum of the 19th CPC Central Committee will be held in Beijing from October 26-29. The meeting is likely to discuss the "Plan for Economic and Social Development and future targets for 2035, " according to Xinhua.

According to a notice issued by Tangshan Maritime Safety Administration, China’s People’s Liberation Army will conduct a military exercise in the Bohai sea from October 23 to November 10.

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Have a great weekend!