Information and Threats from China: November 28-30, 2019

From Asia Times: Huawei chips away at US ‘security’ ban

“Huawei might be persona non grata in the United States but not in the capitals of the European Union. The heavyweight high-tech group has edged closer to playing a key role in 5G infrastructure projects planned by France and Germany despite Washington pressure on Paris and Berlin.”

“’We do not target one equipment maker,’” Agnes Pannier-Runacher, a junior economy minister in French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe’s government, said earlier this week. ‘There are three equipment makers active in France. Huawei has a 25% market share, there is also Nokia and Ericsson. Samsung is not active yet in France but is interested by 5G. The government will not exclude anyone. We are not following the position of the United States. We will proceed on a case by case basis,’ she added.”

From the Australian Broadcasting Corporation: ‘No rights, no games’: IOC pressured to relocate China Olympics

“Groups supporting China’s Uighur minority have called on the International Olympic Committee to find a new location for the 2022 Winter Olympics, unless China improves its human rights record. When China last hosted the Olympics in 2008, Beijing promised to improve human rights. Just this week, however, leaked Chinese documents have provided unprecedented insight into the scale of mass Uighur detention camps in Xinjiang.”

From Yahoo! News Tech: TikTok apologizes for removing viral video about abuses against Uighurs, blames a “human moderation error”

“In the video removed by TikTok, Aziz begins by telling viewers to use an eyelash curler, before telling them to put it down and ‘use your phone, that you’re using right now, to search up what’s happening in China, how they’re getting concentration camps, throwing innocent Muslims in there, separating families from each other, kidnapping them, murdering them, raping them, forcing them to eat pork, forcing them to drink, forcing them to convert. This is another Holocaust, yet no one is talking about it. Please be aware, please spread awareness in Xinjiang right now.’”

“[TikTok is owned by ByteDance and the video’s removal led to claims that the Beijing-based company capitulated to pressure from the Chinese Communist Party (Douyin, ByteDance’s version of TikTok for China, is subject to the same censorship laws as other online platforms in China).”

From The Hill: China’s ‘fifth modernization’ shows its intent to lead the world

“This a harbinger for new era in which China is about to implement what we term the ‘Xi Doctrine’ to achieve and legitimize the party-state’s hegemony by exporting China’s totalitarian political system and socialist market economic model to the world.
The document expounds 13 ostensible superiorities of the Chinese socialist system, which the CCP believes can be used to replace the inferior Western liberal democracy system.

“In fact, the fifth modernization is not about closing the gaps or catching up to the West, as were the previous four, but instead is a path to global governance — in other words, to use China’s socialist system to end capitalism. When Xi Jinping took power at the end of 2012, he abandoned Deng Xiaoping’s strategy of ‘hiding our capability, biding our time’ to make China a great power. Xi assumed a more aggressive stance to provide a greater role for China in international politics, one that would equal and then surpass the United States.”

From Reuters: Exclusive: U.S. weighs new regulations to further restrict Huawei suppliers

“The U.S. government may expand its power to stop more foreign shipments of products with U.S. technology to China’s Huawei, amid frustration the company’s blacklisting has failed to cut off supplies to the world’s largest telecoms equipment maker, two sources said.”

“Under current regulations, key foreign supply chains remain beyond the reach of U.S. authorities, prompting inter-agency discussions within the administration of President Donald Trump about possible changes to two key rules that could expand U.S. authority to block more foreign shipments to the company, giving more teeth to Huawei’s blacklisting, according to two people familiar with the matter.”

“The expansion of the rules is being considered even though the Trump Administration last week agreed to grant some reprieves on the existing ban and continues to seek a deal to de-escalate a bitter trade war.”

From Yonhap News Agency: N. Korea’s trade reliance on China surges fivefold since 2001

“North Korea’s trade with its traditional ally China has jumped more than fivefold since 2001, data showed Sunday, highlighting Beijing’s status as a key patron for the cash-strapped regime under biting international sanctions. China’s proportion of the North’s overall external trade rose to 91.8 percent last year, compared with 17.3 percent in 2001, according to the data from an analysis report of the Korea International Trade Association (KITA).”

From The Telegraph: China makes face scanning compulsory for mobile phone owners

“China has made it a legal requirement for people signing up to new mobile phone and data plans to have their faces scanned, raising concerns that the country is slowing turning into a surveillance state. The new rules, outlined by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), came into effect on Sunday.”

“The MIIT said the move was made ‘to safeguard the legitimate rights and interest of citizens in cyberspace’, and would help protect phone users from fraud. With Chinese authorities cracking down hard on online dissent and arresting government critics, there are concerns that the regulations mark the next step in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) turning China into an authoritarian surveillance state.”

From The Australian: ASIO takes lead as spy agencies are put on war footing

“An elite intelligence taskforce led by ASIO, the Australian Signals Directorate and Defence intelligence will be created to put the country on a virtual war footing to combat national security threats from an unprecedented level of foreign interference and espionage.”

“The move will see the role of ASIO expand for the first time to share classified intelligence with Australian Federal Police on foreign interference. The pooling of intelligence — through security investigations conducted by ASIO and criminal investigations under the AFP — will help determine whether charges are laid against foreign targets or whether they are quietly thrown out of the country.”

“The secretive Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation, which uses satellite and aerial imagery for primarily military purposes, will also join the taskforce. The statement to be released on Monday says the taskforce will be an advancement in intelligence sharing and capabilities in tackling what ASIO has repeatedly warned has become the most prolific level of espionage activity since the height of the Cold War.”

From Business Insider India: TikTok parent company ByteDance is working with China’s Communist Party to spread propaganda on Xinjiang

The company that owns the viral video app TikTok is working closely with China’s government to facilitate human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in the western autonomous region of Xinjiang, according to a new report by The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI).

“The report, titled ‘Mapping China’s Tech Giants,’ looked at the way major Chinese tech companies were involved in state-sanctioned surveillance and censorship using artificial intelligence packaged as popular apps and websites. ByteDance, the parent company of viral video sensation TikTok, was mentioned in the report alongside other major Chinese tech companies including Huawei, Tencent, Alibaba and others, which ASPI claims ‘are engaged in deeply unethical behavior in Xinjiang, where their work directly supports and enables mass human rights abuses.’”

From Radio Free Europe: Iran Says Joint Naval Maneuvers With Russia, China To Start In December

“The commander of Iran’s navy has confirmed that his forces will participate in joint exercises with Russia and China beginning later this year. Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi on November 30 said the maneuvers will be held in the northern Indian Ocean from December 22 to January 20. The admiral’s statement did not give a specific location for the maneuvers, although some media reports said they would be in the Gulf of Oman, site of several recent naval incidents and where Western escort missions are active or about to start.”

From the Daily Mail: British Army creates TikTok account to recruit young people despite spying fears over Chinese app

“The British Army has started using Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok to recruit youngsters despite fears it could be used for spying purposes. Using the handle BritishArmyHQ, the Army is using the teenagers’ platform to post videos of soldiers taking part in training exercises and tanks firing guns.” 

“Both the Army and the Guards Division now have accounts, which have accumulated more than 50,000 followers in total, and feature soldiers operating tanks and answering questions on life in the forces. The US Army has banned personnel from the app after using it to recruit young people. They fear tech bosses are forwarding data to the Chinese Government and have opened an investigation.” 

Example From ASPI: Mapping China’s Tech Giants, DJI

Example From ASPI: Mapping China’s Tech Giants, SenseTime

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