Xi Jinping, CPC want more control over private firms in China

The Communist Party of China (CPC) under President Xi Jinping is seeking to have expanded control on China’s private sector as Beijing issues new guidelines and widens the role of the United Front which handles the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce.

The said plan gives the CPC the upper hand over private businesses in China. In a 5-000 word statement, Beijing mandated that all regions and departments in China should follow the new guidelines.

It added that this is “to better focus the wisdom and strength of the private business people on the goal and mission to realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”

The set of guidelines also aims to establish another “united front” between private companies and government-owned businesses in the East Asian country. With this, private firms need to employ a certain number of CPC-registered employees even in smaller companies.

“Unify members of the private sector around the party, and do better in promoting the healthy development of the private economy,” Xi said as quoted by People’s Daily, the main newspaper of the Communist Party.

The said move might raise concerns and negative reactions from critics of Beijing, particularly the Trump administration, about private firms in China, which companies from other countries have business with, adhering to the orders of the CPC.

China ‘ready for war’ after US carried out huge military exercises in Indo-Pacific

China said that it is “militarily and morally ready for war” after the United States sent a fleet of 11,000 soldiers to the Indo-Pacific region to perform a massive military operation.

The US Army recently began a 10-day operation in Guam dubbed as the Exercise Valiant Shield involving land, sea, and air drills. The activity aims to train American soldiers to defend the Pacific island, alongside the US’s largest warships and 100 planes.

The Exercise came almost at the same time when China-backed publication The Global Times urged citizens to prepare for war, adding that the Beijing government has “territorial disputes with several neighboring countries instigated by the US to confront China.”

The US has been increasing its military exercises in the Indo-Pacific region, an area where China is continually claiming territories for reef reclamation and militarization, including the West Philippine Sea, which was declared by an arbitral ruling by The Hague as part of the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.

China’s activities in the disputed waters of the Indo-Pacific region has brought not just the United States but other countries like Australia, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom airing their disagreement with what Beijing has been doing, urging China to comply with international laws.

Taiwan denies shooting down Chinese Su-35 warplane

The Taiwanese Ministry of Defense has issued a statement denying that it perpetrated the shooting of a Chinese Su-35 warplane on September 4, calling the dissemination of the false information on the Internet as a “malicious act” and an “attempt to “confuse the audience.”

Social media users went abuzz after multiple videos circulated on social media platforms like Twitter, showing allegedly a warplane manned by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army covered in thick smoke trespassing Taiwan’s Strait.

This incident came just weeks after reports of Beijing’s plan to invade Taiwan amid calls in the US for the establishment of new laws that would allow American troops to defend Taiwan in case of China’s takeover.

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu previously said that China has been consistently sending planes near the country on an almost daily basis.

Indian military accuses Beijing of making ‘provocative’ movements in eastern Ladakh

The Indian military accused China of carrying out “provocative” movements at the contested Himalayan border near where 20 Indian troops were killed in a skirmish back in June.

In a statement, the defense ministry said the activity happened in eastern Ladakh on Saturday night but did not indicate whether there was a new clash. It added that Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops “carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo” at the border.

New Delhi and Beijing have been blaming each other for the frontier tensions since they started a border war in 1962. The Chinese and Indian militaries have poured tens of thousands of troops into the region since the June fighting, although their military and diplomatic talks indicate an apparent stalemate.

Indian military added that Chinese troops “violated the consensus” to ease border tensions.

China bolsters efforts to control US presidential election in November — US intelligence official

China has boosted its efforts to influence the US presidential election in November and wants President Donald Trump to lose because it sees him as “unpredictable,” according to a top US intelligence official.

“We assess that China prefers that President Trump — whom Beijing sees as unpredictable — does not win reelection. China has been expanding its influence efforts ahead of November 2020 to shape the policy environment in the United States, pressure political figures it views as opposed to China’s interests, and deflect and counter-criticism of China,” said William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center.

Citing China’s criticism of Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the closure of China’s Houston consulate, and the US administration’s stances on Chinese actions in Hong Kong and the West Philippine Sea, Evanina added: “Beijing recognizes that all of these efforts might affect the presidential race. China would love us to have an election where Donald Trump lost to sleepy Joe Biden. They would dream, they would own our country,” he added.

Evanina, the top intelligence official monitoring threats to the election, giving no details on the outside interference, further stressed: “Foreign efforts to influence or interfere with our elections are a direct threat to the fabric of our democracy.”

Xi Jinping will ‘bring Taiwan back into China’ in mid-January 2021, ex-US officials say

In an essay published by the United States (US) Naval Institute, former Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Michael Morell and former Admiral James Winnefeld warned that with the West distracted by the US election and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese President Xi Jinping will “bring Taiwan back into China” in mid-January 2021 in just three days.

Morell and Winnefeld paint a worst-case scenario. They predict the operation will unfold quickly, “beginning on the evening of 18 January” before the US presidential inauguration. China will also carry out cyberattacks to cripple the country by disabling the national power grid and other essential utilities, followed by a swift sea and air blockade, with several People’s Liberation Army (PLA) submarines joining in the action.

China will send stern warnings to the US, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and other Taiwanese allies not to intervene. Global stock markets will crash on the second day and world leaders will condemn the attack, but nothing more. Bogged down by multiple issues, Washington will be unable to react. On the third day after the attack, Morell and Winnefeld believe it will be too late for Washington to reverse the damage. Xi will then whitewash the invasion by telling the world that the “Chinese Dream” has been fulfilled and “welcome the people of Taiwan home.”

Chinese hackers infiltrate at least 10 Taiwan gov’t agencies, gain access to 6,000 email accounts

A top Taiwanese cyber official bared that Chinese hackers infiltrated at least ten Taiwanese government agencies and gained access to around 6,000 email accounts in an attempt to steal data, with the full impact still being assessed and the damage done was “not small.”

Since 2018, two well-known Chinese hacking groups — Blacktech and Taidoor — have been targeting government departments and information service providers, as per Taiwan Investigation Bureau’s Cyber Security Investigation Office.

“We know for sure that these 6,000 emails have been compromised. We are still assessing the extent of the damage. As far as we know, the damage done by this infiltration is not small. We are making this public because we want to alert everyone of the threat and stop further damage,” the office’s deputy director, Liu Chia-zung, said.

Since 2016, Taipei has been accusing Beijing of stepping up a cyber campaign when Taiwan elected President Tsai Ing-wen who refuses to acknowledge Beijing’s insistence that the self-ruled democratic island is part of “one China,” viewing Taiwan as a de facto independent. Tsai won re-election by a landslide in January in what was seen as a strong rebuke to Beijing’s campaign to influence the island.

With this, Beijing has ramped up diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan. It also recently increased military drills near the island, including its jets breaching Taiwan’s air defense zone with unprecedented frequency in recent weeks.

US scores a point with China finally becoming nosy about joint drills in West Philippine Sea

For some time now, China has been declaring its anger toward the United States (US) when it discovered that military exercises have been happening in the West Philippine Sea (WPS). These activities clearly undermine the Asian giant’s capabilities as a powerful nation claiming the entirety of disputed waters.

The US Navy must be having a good laugh now with China not being invited to the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2020, a maritime exercise joined by ten countries, including the Philippines. While RIMPAC is based in Hawaii, China will follow all the joint maneuvers of the US’s friends and allies on the sidelines or after the exercise, particularly in the WPS. Beijing’s interest and suspicion over joint drills in the disputed waters became more apparent when it lauded President Rodrigo Duterte’s ordered the Philippine Navy not to participate in such exercises.

Bolstering RIMPAC’s message to China is US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s earlier declaration tagging China’s vast maritime claims in the WPS as illegal and false. Pompeo’s statement against Beijing has ended Washington’s claim of neutrality over the issue of the WPS, with the region becoming a focal point of the Trump administration’s strategic rivalry with Xi Jinping’s regime.

PH Navy joins RIMPAC amid Duterte ban on West Philippine Sea drills

The Philippine Navy (PN) has joined the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise, the world’s largest international maritime exercise spearheaded by the United States (US). The Philippines took part in the event amid President Rodrigo Duterte’s order not to participate in joint exercises in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), and the growing tension between the US and China in the region. RIMPAC is ongoing until August 31 near Hawaii.

Under the leadership of PN Chief Vice Admiral Giovanni Bacordo, the Philippine RIMPAC delegation consists of 125 personnel and one ship, the BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) guided-missile frigate, the country’s first purpose-built warship. BRP Jose Rizal’s presence at RIMPAC marks its maiden mission in an exercise joined by other US allies like Australia, Brunei, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and Singapore.

“This is one of the most important exercises. Aside from the level of training, they will get to be exposed to the other foreign navies,” said Bacordo. “Aside of the strong alliance with the US, this is also to ensure that our ships are interoperable with the US and other foreign navies participating. We have to ensure that our communications are interoperable, our techniques, tactics, procedures are in sync.”

US terminates bilateral agreements with China-controlled Hong Kong

The United States (US) government has terminated bilateral agreements with Hong Kong linked to extradition and tax exemptions after President Donald Trump signed an executive order ending the special status the US gave to the island city in diplomatic and trade relations.

“The Chinese Communist Party chose to crush the freedoms and autonomy of the people of Hong Kong,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Twitter. “Because of the CCP’s actions, we are terminating or suspending three of our bilateral agreements with the territory.”

The move is the latest in the series of measures imposed by the Trump administration amid the growing tension between the two superpowers in regional issues, concerning China’s imposition of the national security law in Hong Kong, harassment over Taiwan, and growing presence in the West Philippine Sea.