The Chinese entrepreneurs chasing an Afghan ‘gold rush’

The Chinese entrepreneurs chasing an Afghan ‘gold rush’ | 101 East Documentary

Al Jazeera English – 24 thg 11, 2022

When the Taliban returned to power in August 2021, most foreigners and multinational companies had already packed up and left Afghanistan.

Going against the stream of foreigners fleeing the country was a group looking for “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunities: Chinese entrepreneurs.

Despite the ongoing unrest, an economic crisis and United Nations’ concerns over human rights, more Chinese citizens are joining the country’s “gold rush”. Once a small minority, Chinese nationals now make up Afghanistan’s biggest group of expatriates.

With exclusive access to leading Chinese investors, 101 East investigates their growing influence across Afghanistan’s business and media sectors.

Tự lực tự cường và chip bán dẫn

NGUYỄN TRUNG DÂN 10/11/2022 07:49 GMT+7

TTCTSau gần 10 năm, cuộc đua trong lĩnh vực phát triển và sản xuất chip bán dẫn của Trung Quốc đã thành bại ra sao

Tự lực tự cường và chip bán dẫn - Ảnh 1.

Triển lãm chip của Tsinghua Unigroup. Ảnh: AFP

Sau gần 10 năm, cuộc đua trong lĩnh vực phát triển và sản xuất chip bán dẫn của Trung Quốc đã thành bại ra sao, và con đường sắp tới sẽ thế nào, khi Tổng bí thư Tập Cận Bình lại vừa kêu gọi đất nước của ông “phải giành chiến thắng trong cuộc chiến công nghệ cốt lõi”?

Năm 2020, Trung Quốc chi 350 tỉ USD cho nhập khẩu chip bán dẫn, trong khi tiền nhập dầu mỏ chỉ có 200 tỉ USD, theo số liệu hải quan. 

Việc Trung Quốc, vốn cung cấp cho thế giới hầu như tất cả các mặt hàng từ lao động thủ công rẻ tiền cho đến cả các mặt hàng công nghệ cao, là nước nhập khẩu dầu mỏ và nhiên liệu lớn nhất thế giới không có gì lạ. 

Song phải chi nhập chip nhiều hơn mua dầu thì đáng chú ý, nhất là khi tính đến 2021 các chính sách chạy đua trong lĩnh vực phát triển và sản xuất chip của nước này đã đi được hơn 7 năm.

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Anti-Xi protest spreads in China and worldwide as Chinese leader begins third term

By CNN Staff

Updated 11:20 PM EDT, Sat October 22, 2022

Anti-Xi posters on a notice board at a university campus in London.

CNN — 

Jolie’s nerves were running high as she walked into the campus of Goldsmiths, the University of London, last Friday morning. She’d planned to arrive early enough that the campus would be deserted, but her fellow students were already beginning to filter in to start their day.

In the hallway of an academic building, Jolie, who’d worn a face mask to obscure her identity, waited for the right moment to reach into her bag for the source of her nervousness – several pieces of A4-size paper she had printed out in the small hours of the night.

Finally, when she made sure none of the students – especially those who, like Jolie, come from China – were watching, she quickly pasted one of them on a notice board.

“Life not zero-Covid policy, freedom not martial-lawish lockdown, dignity not lies, reform not cultural revolution, votes not dictatorship, citizens not slaves,” it read, in English.

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China’s corporate debts

See more: STATE-OWNED FIRMS BEHIND CHINA’S CORPORATE DEBT

qz.com

Published October 28, 2021Last updated July 21, 2022

China has a massive amount of corporate debt. At $27 trillion, it boasts a debt-to-GDP ratio of 159%, almost 60% higher than the global rate and nearly twice that of the US, according to research published this month by S&P Global Ratings.

“China’s growth has been largely driven by two contours: One is credit, and the other is carbon,” says Eunice Tan, one of the report’s lead authors and head of credit research for S&P Global Ratings’ Asia-Pacific region.

Beijing now wants to tame both those economic engines—credit and carbon—while maintaining stability and control, and while continuing to hit GDP growth targets. On the carbon front, it has released a high-level policy framework outlining a path to peaking carbon emissions by 2030. On the credit front, the central bank has sought to tame debt in the property sector and shield banks from exposure to troubled developers.

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‘Walled-in’ China under Xi Jinping poses long-term global challenges

Steven Jiang, Beijing Bureau Chief   ‘Walled-in’ China under Xi Jinping poses long-term global challenges     ----------
Analysis by Steven Jiang, Beijing Bureau Chief, CNN
Updated 4:54 AM EDT, Mon October 17, 2022

Xi Jinping delivers a report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on behalf of the 19th CPC Central Committee at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 16, 2022. The 20th CPC National Congress opened on Sunday.

Editor’s Note: A version of this story appeared in CNN’s Meanwhile in China newsletter, a three-times-a-week update exploring what you need to know about the country’s rise and how it impacts the world. Sign up here.

BeijingCNN — 

During China’s National Day holiday in early October, several expatriate friends and I took our young children – who are of mixed races and tend to stand out in a Chinese crowd – to the Great Wall on the outskirts of Beijing.

As we climbed a restored but almost deserted section of the ancient landmark, a few local families on their way down walked past us. Noticing our kids, one of their children exclaimed: “Wow foreigners! With Covid? Let’s get away from them…” The adults remained quiet as the group quickened their paces.

That moment has lingered on my mind. It feels like a snapshot that illustrates how China has changed since its strongman leader Xi Jinping took power a decade ago – it’s become an increasingly walled-in nation physically and psychologically – and such transformation will have long-term global implications.

Understanding the big picture is timely as Xi is poised to break convention to assume a third term as the head of the Chinese Communist Party – the real source of his power instead of the ceremonial presidency – at the ruling party’s twice-a-decade national congress, which opened in Beijing on Sunday.


The view of the Great Wall of China on October 7, 2022.
The view of the Great Wall of China on October 7, 2022.
Steven Jiang/CNN

The Great Wall, a top tourist attraction that normally draws throngs of visitors during holidays, stood nearly empty when we went thanks to Xi’s insistence – three years into the global pandemic – on a policy of zero tolerance for Covid infections while the rest of the world has mostly moved on and reopened.

China’s borders have remained shut for most international travelers since March 2020, while many foreigners who once called the country home have chosen to leave.
With the highly contagious Omicron variant raging through parts of the country, authorities had discouraged domestic travel ahead of National Day holiday. They are also sticking to a playbook of strict quarantine, incessant mass testing and invasive contact tracing – often locking down entire cities of millions over a handful of cases.
Unsurprisingly, holiday travel plummeted during the so-called “Golden Week” along with tourism spending, which fell to less than half of that in 2019, the last “normal” year.

And it’s not just one industry: Pessimism blankets other sectors, from automobile to real estate, as the world’s second-largest economy falters.


Children visit the Great Wall of China on October 6, 2022.
Children visit the Great Wall of China on October 6, 2022.
Steven Jiang/CNN

Xi’s biggest challenge

The Chinese economic slowdown poses a massive political challenge for Xi, whose party’s legitimacy in the past few decades has relied on rapid growth and rising incomes for 1.4 billion people. It’s also a harsh reality check for the international community: the world’s longtime growth engine is sputtering, just as the prospect of a global recession emerges.

But Xi’s costly “zero-Covid” intransigence is a natural outcome of the unprecedented amount of power he has amassed. For many Chinese officials, this policy is less about science and more about political loyalty to the country’s most powerful leader in decades.

Online videos abound of local health workers swabbing fruits, animals and even shoes for Covid testing despite the absence of sound scientific basis. China’s only Covid-related deaths in September were 27 people who were killed when their bus crashed on its way to a quarantine facility. Still, officials nationwide have doubled down on enforcing draconian rules, especially ahead of the party congress, helped by the world’s most sophisticated surveillance technologies.

China had boasted more security cameras than any other country even before Covid. Now, in the age of smartphones, mandatory apps allow the government to check people’s Covid status and track their movement in real time. Authorities can easily confine someone to their home by remotely switching the health app to code red – and they did just that on several occasions to stop potential protesters from taking to the streets.

Whether physical lockdowns or digital manipulation, these measures born out of “zero-Covid” have proven such effective means of control in a system obsessed with social stability that many worry Xi and his underlings will never ditch the policy.
A series of recent articles published by the party’s mouthpieces had reinforced such concern by stressing the policy’s “correctness” and “sustainability,” even before Xi hailed “zero-Covid” as a resounding success story in his two-hour speech Sunday. And state media fills its coverage with depictions of the “grim reality” in foreign countries where leaders supposedly turn a blind eye to mass fatalities and suffering caused by Covid – in contrast to China’s apparent triumph in saving lives with “minimal overall cost.”

For years, Xi’s cyber police have been fortifying the country’s so-called “Great Firewall” – perhaps the world’s most extensive internet filtering and censorship system that blocks and deletes anything deemed “harmful” by the party. Now supported by artificial intelligence, censors quickly scrub clean any posts seen as contradicting the party line – including on Covid.

This potent mix of propaganda and control under Xi appears to have had its desired effect on a large segment of Chinese society, creating a buffer for the leadership by convincing enough people of the superiority of China’s system even as millions of their fellow countrymen grow resentful of “zero-Covid.” But this approach, combined with prolonged border closure and escalating geopolitical tensions, also provides fertile ground for xenophobia.

The local child’s remarks on the Great Wall reflected that. But the true danger of the “blame the foreigners” sentiment comes when adults in powerful positions take advantage of it in the face of mounting pressure on the domestic front.
screengrab xi speech 2021

Here’s Xi Jinping’s vision to make China great again
03:04 – Source: CNN

Make China great again?

Since his ascent to the top in 2012, Xi’s ruling philosophy has become increasingly clear: Only he can make China great again by restoring the party’s – thus his – omnipresence and dominance, as well as the country’s rightful place on the global stage.

With China’s increasing economic and military might, coexistence with the West has given way to confrontation with the United States and its allies. Gone are the days of “hiding your strength and biding your time” – Chinese diplomats under Xi are proud warriors training fire on anyone who dares to question their government.

Underpinned by rising nationalism, China has started flexing military muscle beyond its shores. Tensions over Taiwan poses a real threat of war in Asia, as few doubt that “reunification” with the self-governed democratic island – long claimed by the Communist leadership despite having never ruled it – would be seen as the crown jewel of Xi’s legacy.

That outward power projection goes hand in hand with China’s sense of besiegement in a US-led world order, which Xi has made no secret of trying to reshape along with other autocrats like Russian President Vladimir Putin. Until that happens, though, the Chinese strongman’s instinct and demand for total control at home seem to have meant the erection of ever-higher barriers – in the real world and cyberspace – to keep out pesky outsiders, the perceived source of dangerous viruses and ideas.

A history paper released recently by a government-run research institute has gone viral as it, like Xi, upended a long-held consensus. Instead of denouncing the isolationist policy adopted by China’s last two imperial dynasties as a cause of their backward turn and eventual collapse, the authors defended its necessity to protect national sovereignty and security when faced with Western invaders.

The emperors of those dynasties, who also rebuilt parts of the Great Wall, failed to reverse their country’s decline back then. But the tools at their disposal were no match to the high-tech ones in the hands of China’s current ruler. Xi seems confident that his “walls” – among other things – will help him realize his oft-cited ultimate goal: the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

Whether or not he succeeds, the world will feel the impact for years to come.

The Emperor is Wearing No Clothes: Beyond Hydrocarbons in the South China Sea


asiapacific.ca

Published:October 3, 2022 – Author: Tabitha Grace Mallory

Feature Map: Biodiversity in the South China Sea

Read the full report

We need only call to mind the first half of 2022 for an array of the extreme, energy-related global challenges we all face. Around the world, local versions of climate change effects—the temperatures, wildfires, droughts, storms, flooding—underscore how important it is for us to transition away from our overdependence on fossil fuels. And our energy sources don’t just have environmental implications but security ones as well. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is the latest rendition of the resource curse. At the heart of it all, fossil fuels are what enabled and amplified the murderous narcissism we see in Vladimir Putin and created a country with an unbalanced and unhealthy domestic economy able to profoundly destabilize energy flows and prices around the world.

The South China Sea (SCS) brings together its own assortment of these complex challenges and factors. Competing security concerns, resource needs, and nationalisms shape the motivations of the claimants. Much of the attention and conflict has centred on the oil and gas in the seabed. Estimates of SCS hydrocarbon volumes vary; only some of these resources are proven reserves that have been confirmed and measured, and are actually recoverable. But even in more generous assessments, the SCS only provides us with a small percentage of the global total of oil and gas reserves, and even less of the overall energy mix if we include non-fossil-fuel energy sources.

Beyond hydrocarbons, in a two-way tie with the adjacent Coral Triangle, the SCS has the highest level of marine biodiversity in the world. SCS fisheries feed and employ millions of people in the region. It’s true that conflict over these living marine resources also drives the territorial disputes in the region, and a wide variety of human activity degrades the SCS ecosystem. Yet drilling for hydrocarbons in the SCS threatens this vulnerable marine habitat even more, while also clearly contributing to geopolitical and security tensions in the region—and to climate change.

Given how destabilizing oil and gas pursuits have been for the SCS since the 1970s, we might ask ourselves whether we want to keep drilling for fossil fuels there. Do the costs and risks outweigh the benefits?

Download this 21-page report (button above) from Dr. Tabitha Grace Mallory, an inaugural John H. McArthur Research Fellow, an initiative of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, and the Founder of China Ocean Institute and Affiliate Professor, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington.

Below, explore the rich marine biodiversity of the South China Sea, one of the most hotly-contested maritime jurisdictions on the planet, in this original map created by the author and APF Canada graphic designer Chloe Fenemore, based on historical and contemporary maps cited in the full report.

Feature Map: Biodiversity in the South China Sea

https://www.asiapacific.ca/sites/default/files/Map%20of%20Biodiversity%20in%20the%20SCS.svg

Tabitha Grace Mallory

Tabitha Grace Mallory is the Founder of China Ocean Institute and Affiliate Professor, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington. Dr. Mallory specializes in Chinese foreign and environmental policy. She conducts research on China and global ocean governance and has published work on China’s fisheries and oceans policy.

Dr. Mallory is an inaugural John H. McArthur Research Fellow, an initiative of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada launched in 2021 to provide research opportunities for exceptional, mid-career scholars who are working on programs and research areas with direct relevance to Canada and Canada’s interests in Asia.

Professor accused of selling secrets to China sues the U.S. government

USnews.com

Temple Prof Seeks Reinstatement of Damage Claims Against FBI

A Temple University physicist who was charged with sharing scientific technology with China only for the case to collapse before trial and be dismissed by the Justice Department is asking a federal appeals court to reinstate his claims for damages against the FBI agent who investigated him.

By Associated Press

The Associated Press

FILE – An American flag flies outside the Department of Justice in Washington, March 22, 2019. A Temple University physicist who was charged with sharing scientific technology with China only for the case to collapse before trial and be dismissed by the Justice Department is asking a federal appeals court to reinstate his lawsuit against the FBI agent who investigated him. Lawyers for Xiaoxing Xi and his wife say in a brief filed Monday with a Philadelphia-based appeals court that a judge erred last year when he dismissed their claims for damages. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

By ERIC TUCKER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Temple University physics professor who was charged with sharing scientific technology with China only for the case to collapse before trial and be dismissed by the Justice Department asked a federal appeals court on Monday to reinstate his clams for damages against the U.S. government.

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China to Latin America: All your fish belong to us

The Manila Times

The Manila Times

Opinion by Ben Kritz – Monday

React381 Comments|942

AS if communist China was not already doing enough to degrade the rest of the world’s quality of life for its own gain, recent news from South and Central America further reinforces the impression that its rapaciousness knows no bounds. China’s Southeast Asian neighbors, particularly the Philippines, are already familiar with the Red Menace’s greediness when it comes to marine resources, but on the other side of the world, a massive, well-organized, industrial-scale effort to carry out illegal fishing on both sides of Latin America is threatening to wipe out fish stocks for a dozen countries.

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US inspectors arrive in PwC, KPMG offices in Hong Kong to review Chinese companies’ audit records, sources say

scmp.com

Teams of inspectors arrived this morning at the Central offices of PwC and KPMG to start reviewing the audit records of US-listed, China-based companies
The PCAOB has high standards and will perform a ‘very detailed’ inspection, which will take ‘as long as needed’, former SFC chairman says
The Hong Kong island skyline, showing the Central business district, pictured on June 6, 2022. Photo: EPA-EFE

The Hong Kong island skyline, showing the Central business district, pictured on June 6, 2022. Photo: EPA-EFE

Teams of US audit inspectors arrived at the Central offices of accounting firms PwC and KPMG this morning to begin a historic review of the audit records of US-listed, China-based companies, two sources told the South China Morning Post.

The inspectors from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) arrived in Central on Monday morning to work at the Hong Kong offices of PwC in the Prince’s Building and Edinburgh Tower as well as KPMG’s office in the Prince’s Building, the sources said.

Both accounting firms have reserved rooms for the inspectors to perform their review. The two firms have also already prepared the paper and electronic audit materials of the selected clients named by the PCAOB.

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China’s power crisis adds to headaches ahead of the 20th Party Congress

Wendy Wu, SCMP <wendy.wu@e.scmp.com> Unsubscribe  

Was this newsletter forwarded to you? Sign up here First China’s zero-Covid policy, then property woes, now a power crisis tests Beijing ahead of key event Andrew MullenDeputy Editor, Political Economy  10 September 2022

Welcome to our 869 newly joined SCMP Global Impact readers who signed up in the past week.

Dear Global Impact Readers,

The adage goes “with great power comes great responsibility”, but who is responsible when the great power needed to light up and drive the world’s most populous nation runs out?

At the moment, Mother Nature is the main suspect behind China’s second power crisis in less than a year, having hit the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan in July and August after drought wreaked havoc on the hydropower-reliant region. In this issue, Wendy Wu, the Post’s economy editor, looks back at the latest crisis and asks what is next for China as it seeks energy security. In other news, we will be taking a break from our regular schedule in the coming weeks as China’s 20th party congress looms into view. Given the magnitude of the five-yearly event where major leadership changes are announced, and where Xi Jinping is expected this year to secure a third term as party’s leader, we will be focusing the coming issues on the key event that gets under way in Beijing from October 16. As the Post always looks to provide our readers with a window into China, given the 20th party congress will take up so much of the view over the next couple of months, we felt it only right we devote our flagship newsletter to such a key event to bring the latest news and analysis from our team of reporters in China and around the world straight into your inbox each week.

Andrew Mullen
Deputy Editor, Political Economy

Challenges ahead for China

When the Baihetan Dam, the world’s second-largest hydropower plant, located in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan, became fully operational in July and began sending electricity more than 2,000km across China – eastward to Jiangsu province via a newly established ultra-high-voltage grid – few could have foreseen that a drought-induced power crisis was looming on the horizon.
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China on campus

China on campus | 101 East

Al Jazeera English – 13-2-2020

Australia’s universities are embroiled in a growing geopolitical storm.

In recent months, pro and anti-Beijing groups have clashed on campuses amid rising concerns over the Chinese government’s expanding power abroad.

Universities earn billions of dollars a year from student fees and research collaborations with China, but there are growing fears these lucrative arrangements may be putting academic institutions, and even national security, at risk.

As government ministers warn that the country faces an “unprecedented level of threat” from foreign interference, 101 East investigates the infiltration of Australia’s universities by Beijing.

Road to nowhere:China’s Belt and Road Initiative at tipping point

Pakistan, Sri Lanka debt crises threaten Beijing’s regional influence

asia.nikkei.com

By Adnan Aamir, Marwaan Macan-Markar, Shaun Turton and Cissy Zhou – AUGUST 10, 2022

The drive to Pakistan’s port of Gwadar takes seven and a half hours from Karachi via the Makran coastal highway. Much of the 600-km route is deserted, with no restaurants, restrooms or even fuel stations. On a recent journey, around 200 vehicles in total could be counted during the entire drive.

Arriving in the city on Pakistan’s Indian Ocean coast, Chinese and Pakistani flags are ubiquitous, and Chinese-financed construction projects loom, but the city is spookily devoid of economic activity. Near the seafront, broad avenues are curiously empty of vehicles. Inside the city center, the roads are narrow, congested and covered with foul smelling drain water, with few multistory buildings aside from the Chinese-built port compound. 

It is hard to visualize Gwadar as the launch pad of a new global paradigm, but that is what Beijing would have the world believe.

Nine years ago it was plucked out of obscurity —  a backwater in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan region — and presented as China’s commercial window onto the Indian Ocean, a hub for regional integration under the Belt and Road Initiative, which was to harness the juggernaut of the Chinese economy to the goal of Asian economic development. 
 

The BRI is an audacious program of lending, aid and infrastructure contracts totaling over $880 billion, according to the American Enterprise Institute.

The initiative, which includes pledges to 149 countries, aims to promote Chinese-led regional integration — and sow economic dependence on Beijing.

First announced in a speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 as the “Silk Road,” the BRI was fleshed out in April 2015 with the announcement of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), stretching from Gwadar to the Chinese city of Kashgar, in Xinjiang. The CPEC showcased the China-Pakistan “all-weather friendship” with $46 billion in pledged funds that has since grown to $50 billion. It was to be the backbone of the now renamed Belt and Road Initiative.

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Slow water: can we tame urban floods by going with the flow?

As we face increased flooding, China’s sponge cities are taking a new course. But can they steer the country away from concrete megadams?

Written by Erica Gies, read by Andrew McGregor and produced by Tony Onuchukwu. The executive producers were Max Sanderson and Isabelle Roughol.

the guardian – Fri 17 Jun 2022 05.00 BST

  • Read the text version here
  • Listen here
WEIHUI, CHINA - JULY 26: Aerial view of rescue team using inflatable rafts evacuate residents from flooded area after heavy downpour, on July 26, 2021 in Weihui, Xinjiang City, Henan Province of China.
 Photograph: China News Service/Getty Images

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Asia Stream: the struggle for Hong Kong’s identity

25 years after taking control of the territory, how is Beijing trying to change Hong Kong — and how is Hong Kong pushing back?

Nikkei staff writersJuly 2, 2022 07:23 JST

Nikkei

NEW YORK — Welcome to Nikkei Asia’s podcast: Asia Stream.

Every other week, Asia Stream tracks and analyzes the Indo-Pacific with a mix of expert interviews and original reporting by our correspondents from across the globe.

Listen on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | YouTube

This episode, we take measure of the economic impact of China’s stringent laws in Hong Kong and then take a deep dive into the social and political costs of Beijing’s crackdown on the special administrative region.

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