Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Girl held after inking Xi Jinping poster

Girl held after inking Xi Jinping poster

Dong Yaoqiong disappeared the day she inked Xi Jinping.
Dong Yaoqiong disappeared the day she inked Xi Jinping.
  • AFP July 18, 2018



A woman who live-streamed herself throwing ink on to a picture of Chinese President Xi Jinping has been detained, according to activists who accuse authorities of suppressing speech to protect a cult of personality around the country’s leader.
The US-based Chinese Human Rights Defenders network said authorities had also taken the woman’s father and a Chinese artist into custody after they sought to publicise her plight on social media.
The woman, who has been identified as 28-year-old Dong Yaoqiong, went live on Twitter on July 4 in a video in which she ­accused the ruling Chinese Communist Party of employing “oppressive brain control”.
In the video, retweeted tens of thousands of times, Ms Dong splashes ink on a poster bearing Mr Xi’s image in Shanghai’s financial district, saying defiantly: “Xi Jinping, I’m right here waiting for you to arrest me”. CHRD said Ms Dong is believed to have been arrested later that day and that her Twitter account was deleted hours after the incident.
Her final tweet included a photograph of several uniformed men outside her flat. CHRD said authorities were “suppressing freedom of speech to protect Xi Jinping’s cult of personality”.
Twitter is blocked by China, along with other foreign social media sites such as Facebook, but can be accessed via easily available censor-evading software.
Chinese authorities swiftly punish those who deface leaders’ images and other Communist symbols. Ms Dong’s act comes at a particularly sensitive time as the regime aggressively nurtures a cult of personality around Mr Xi, especially since he strengthened his hold on power during a CCP congress late last year.
A statement attributed to her father Dong Jianbiao that circulated on Twitter called his daughter’s detention an “act of kid­napping like bandits, an act of the law enforcement breaking the law”. He and artist Hua Yong both had since disappeared in the past few days after calling on social media for the woman’s release, ­activists said.
Ms Hua was detained last year after documenting the mass eviction of migrants in Beijing.
Shanghai police denied knowledge of the case.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

HNA Group chairman Wang Jian dies in 15-metre fall onto rocks while posing for a photo in France

HNA Group chairman Wang Jian dies in 15-metre fall onto rocks while posing for a photo in France

Police describe death as accidental, say businessman lost his balance while standing on a wall overlooking cliff
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 July, 2018,

The chairman of Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, Wang Jian, died from injuries sustained after falling 15 metres (50 feet) onto rocks while posing for a photograph during a visit to France, local police said.

The incident happened in the village of Bonnieux in the Provence region, an officer from the nearby town of Pertuis told the South China Morning Post in a telephone interview.
HNA Group had earlier issued a statement saying the 57 year old had been on a business trip. It did not give the circumstances of Wang’s death or provide an exact location.
The police officer, who declined to be named, said Wang climbed onto a “small wall” for a photograph but lost his balance and fell. The incident happened just before 11am, he said.
A colonel with the Vaucluse gendarmerie, which is responsible for security in the region, told the Post that the wall was about 1.2 metres high and overlooked a cliff. Wang was standing on it when he tumbled 10-15 metres to the rocks below, said the officer, who also declined to give his name.
He said an autopsy had been carried out and that “nothing suspicious has been found”.
Wang had been travelling with four other people and a tour guide, the colonel said, adding that the Chinese consulate in Marseille had been notified.
A clerk at the Chinese embassy in Paris earlier told the Post she had no information on the case.
Witness accounts seemed to confirm Wang’s death had been accidental, according to a Reuters report that cited Lt Colonel Hubert Meriaux of the Vaucluse gendarmerie.
As well as the short statement announcing Wang’s death, senior executives from HNA Group, including co-founder Chen Feng and chief executive Adam Tan, issued a statement in English offering their condolences to their colleague’s family.
“HNA Group extends deepest condolences to Mr Wang’s family and many friends,” it said. “Together, we mourn the loss of an exceptionally gifted leader and role model, whose vision and values will continue to be a beacon for all who had the good fortune to know him, as well as for the many others whose lives he touched through his work and philanthropy.”
The company also published its website in monochrome as an apparent mark of respect.
Wang was one of the driving forces behind the massive expansion of HNA Group.
As co-founders, he and Chen transformed a regional airline based in China’s tropical island province of Hainan into a conglomerate with US$230 billion in assets.
Sources close to the company said Wang took a hands-on approach to running the company although Chen tended to be its public face.
Wang’s death came just over a month after HNA Group denied rumours that Chen had died.
HNA had been on a leveraged shopping spree around the globe until about a year ago, spending an estimated US$40 billion since 2015 on a 25 per cent stake in the Hilton hotel group, shares in Deutsche Bank, several golf courses, and four pieces of land in Hong Kong that sold for record prices.
That all ended, however, when the Chinese government moved to curb overseas investment by private conglomerates as part of a wider campaign to contain financial risk. In less than a year, HNA went from buyer to seller. In the past few months, it has completed several major deals, including the disposal of its 25 per cent stake in Spain’s NH Hotel Group for US$726 million and the sale of an office tower in Minneapolis, Minnesota for US$320 million.
According to a statement released by the company in July last year, Wang and Chen were identified as its largest individual shareholders, with each holding a near-15 per cent stake. They and 10 other individuals own a combined 47.5 per cent of the company.
According to a pledge signed by the 12 stakeholders, in the event of any of them leaving the group or dying while in employment, their shares will be shared among the New York and Hainan branches of the Hainan Cihang Charity Foundation.

How wealthy Chinese move hundreds of billions abroad to buy assets

How wealthy Chinese move hundreds of billions abroad to buy assets

Capital flight remains a concern for the authorities. But experts think the government has it under control, for now
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 August, 2016

Since China abruptly depreciated its currency last August, the country’s wealthy have been trying to bypass the strict capital controls and transfer money abroad in many inventive ways, in search of better-yield investments.
But analysts say the capital flight could stabilise, if the central bank effectively increases two-way flexibility of the exchange rate and tames the expectations of a falling yuan.
As of Monday, the yuan’s official mid-point rate against the US dollar had plunged 9 per cent since August 11, 2015, when the People’s Bank of China stunned markets by lowering the daily fixing by 1.9 per cent, the largest cut ever.
The yuan has also slumped against most of its major currency rivals, down more than 10 per cent and 30 per cent respectively against the euro and the yen in the past 12 months.
Expectations of a declining yuan, combined with the gloomy economic outlook, have sparked unprecedented capital outflows.
The most recent data shows China’s FX reserves declined by US$4.1 billion in July to US$3,201 billion. Compared with the end of July in 2015, the reserves have shrank by US$450 billion.
“Although the capital outflow pressure has eased from 12 months ago, it still persists,” said Larry Hu, an analyst for Macquarie Research.
“A considerable portion of the outflows may be due to Chinese residents’ buying overseas assets, as they seek better and safer investments amid the decline of the home currency,” he added.
China does not publish detailed figures about its capital outflows. But according to an estimation by Goldman Sachs in July, there were US$372 billion in outflows by Chinese residents spent on foreign assets in the second half of last year, and another US$108 billion left the country in the first quarter.
Separately, net capital outflows amounted to US$123 billion in the first quarter, compared with US$504 billion in the second half of last year.
“In Q1 this year, ... and in H2 last year,... residents buying foreign assets accounted for around 70 per cent of the outflows,” they added.
The official methods of Chinese residents’ accumulation of FX assets include outward direct investment, portfolio investment assets, and other investment assets, according to the headline reported data from SAFE.
However, Goldman analysts add the negative numbers in “net errors and omissions” might also represent disguised capital outflows, as that number ballooned in the third quarter of last year (See below chart).
China imposes strict capital control on residents, only allowing each individual to buy no more than US$50,000 in overseas assets annually.
Nonetheless, “there are some policy loopholes which people use to disguise their capital flight,” Hu from Macquarie said.
“A widely used method is to fake invoices, such as overstating the value of imports,” he said.
For example, a Chinese company imports a machine and invoices it at US$1 million, while it’s actually worth US$500,000. The company pays the actual amount and puts the rest of the money in offshore bank accounts or invests it in other overseas assets.
Although the Chinese banking regulator has tightened the scrutiny of residents’ overseas transactions, “ it’s hard to eliminate those activities, ” Hu said.
And Hong Kong is being used to disguise such capital outflows, experts say.
“Much of that money feeds through Hong Kong,” said Victor Shih, a professor at University of California, San Diego.
Although the capital outflow pressure has eased from 12 months ago, it still persists
LARRY HU, ANALYST AT MACQUARIE RESEARCH
Imports from Hong Kong have surged since December, official statistics from China show.
In July, imports from Hong Kong grew 143 per cent year-on-year. In June and May each, imports from Hong Kong soared 144 per cent and 243 per cent.
Chinese customs officials had previously attributed much of the surge to China’s increasing imports of gold from Hong Kong.
However, analysts say the figures still look a little suspicious.
“Growth momentum like this looks very unusual, given the overall grim picture of imports and exports, though the base was comparatively small in 2015,” said Andrew Collier, managing director of Orient Capital Research.
He said he’s been told by industry insiders that the number was likely inflated by bogus transactions that served as capital flight, a common practise among importers.
“In addition, more than half of imported goods from Hong Kong are jewellery, precious metals and related products. These low-weight but high-value commodities are ideal for virtual-high price quotations,” he said.
Other methods of disguising capital flows include overstating the amount of an overseas M&A, Collier added.
“Chinese enterprises made outward direct investments totaling US$118 billion across all industries in 2015, up by 14.7 per cent from the previous year,” he said.
“However, much lower-than-expectation profitability of these overseas projects is what truly defines the nature of China’s ODI largely as capital flight.”
But for individuals who want to sneak out more than US$50,000 to buy overseas assets, such as a house in New York or Vancouver or Sydney, a popular way is to pool quotas of a group of family members or friends, with each person transferring US$50,000 out of the country.
The process is called “smurfing” in the banking industry, or “ants moving their house” in Chinese.
Another widely known method by individuals is to use underground private banks, which are popular in China’s southeastern provinces such as Guangdong.
A Chinese resident can deposit 1 million yuan in his account in a domestic private bank, and take out the same value of money in foreign currencies, such as Hong Kong dollar or US dollar, in the overseas branches of the bank as quickly as within hours.
Regardless of the methods being employed, however, Hu from Macquarie Research says the underground outflow to Hong Kong is still “manageable” for Chinese regulators, as total imports from Hong Kong are relatively small compared with overall imports.
He also expects the capital flight to moderate, as the yuan has stabilised in recent months and the market has also reacted more calmly to the currency’s depreciation.
“If the PBOC can introduce more two-way flexibility of the exchange rate and effectively manage market expectations, residents will probably reduce their bets on the yuan’s decline,” Hu added.
He expects the yuan to reach between 6.6 to 6.8 against the US dollar by year-end, albeit “with more fluctuations”.

Monday, July 16, 2018

How China is Emerging as the Leading Global Player in the Arab World

How China is Emerging as the Leading Global Player in the Arab World


Image result for How China is Emerging as the Leading Global Player in the Arab World

China is stepping up cooperation with the Arab world. The recent China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF) was aimed at deepening economic and security cooperation between Beijing and Arab countries of the Middle East and North Africa within the framework of the One Belt, One Road project, analysts told Sputnik.
China has outlined a "future-oriented strategic partnership of comprehensive cooperation and common development" for Arab countries — something that no other country has offered to the region — during the eighth ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF) that was held on July 10 in Beijing.
"The Chinese leader [Xi Jinping] has put at the forefront the maintenance of security in the region, which is significant," Maria Pakhomova, a researcher at the Institute for Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) told Sputnik China. "The fact that [China] made the security issue a priority, in particular, the resolution of the Syrian, Yemeni, Palestinian crises, the provision of financial aid to meet humanitarian needs of these countries, indicates China's need for stability in the region. As for proposals in other areas of cooperation voiced by China, none of the external players has made such attractive offers to Arab countries."
Thus, Beijing has offered Arab states a $20 billion loan for the industrial development and restoration of their economies. China is due to create a Sino-Arab interbank association, which will allocate $3 billion for the financial sector.
The Russia academic emphasized Xi's idea of the unified fate of China and the Arab countries: "There was no such a wording before, as there was no such a large package of final documents," Pakhomova noted, referring to the Beijing Declaration, the Action Plan for 2018-2020 and the Declaration of Action on China-Arab States Belt and Road Cooperation.
According to The South China Morning Post, "Beijing will also further explore the possibility of free-trade deals with each of the 22 states in the Arab League," a regional association of Arab states in North Africa, the Horn of Africa and Arabia.
Speaking to Sputnik, Wang Zhimin, director of the Center for Globalization and Modernization at China's Institute of Foreign Economy and Trade, underscored that Sino-Arab cooperation goes on "within the framework of the implementation of the Belt and the Way," adding that "China attaches great importance to this project."
"In his speech, Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed that China promotes economic recovery through industrial revival and grants loans to Arab countries on a commercial basis to implement trade and economic projects," Wang pointed out.
The Chinese scholar explained that the One Belt, One Road initiative is primarily focused on the development of cooperation in the field of transport, communications and energy. He added that the Arab countries' need for industrial development further increases the potential of Sino-Arab cooperation.
At the same time, China's position regarding the provision of loans or assistance to other countries differs a lot from the perspective of Western countries, Wang insisted.
"Our philosophy is this: 'jointly discuss, jointly build and share.' Cooperation between China and Arab countries does not inflict any economic harm on them being based on mutual benefits, overall gains, openness and inclusiveness," the Chinese scholar emphasized.
Meanwhile, it was announced that Syria, Jordan and Yemen would receive humanitarian aid of $90.5 million from Beijing, while $15 million would be provided to the Palestinians in the form of economic and humanitarian support. At the same time, Beijing promised that it would assist the Palestinian National Authority in promoting its diplomatic interests at the United Nations.

China Has Been Preparing For A Trade War For Over A Decade

China Has Been Preparing For A Trade War For Over A Decade


The crash of 2008 brought with it a host of strange economic paradigms rarely if ever seen in history; paradigms which have turned normal fiscal analysis on its head. While some core fundamentals remain the same no matter what occurs, the reporting of this data has been deliberately skewed to hide the truth.
But what is the truth? Well, at bottom, the truth is that most economies around the world are far weaker than the picture governments and central banks have painted. This is especially true for the United States.
That said, one country has been pursuing an opposite strategy for many years now — meaning, it has been hiding its economic preparedness more than its weaknesses. I am of course speaking of China.
When we mention China in the world of alternative analysis, several issues always arise: China’s expanding debt burden, government spending on seemingly useless infrastructure programs like “ghost cities,” China’s central bank and its corporate subset misreporting financial figures regularly, etc. All of these things fuel the notion that when a global fiscal disaster inevitably takes place, it will emanate first from China. They also give the American public the false impression that a trade war against China will be easily won and that China will immediately falter under the weight of its own veiled instabilities.
However, if one actually studies China’s behavior and activities the past decade, they would see a method to the apparent madness.
In fact, some of China’s actions seem to suggest that the nation has been preparing for years for the exact geopolitical conditions we see today. It’s as if someone warned them ahead of time...
In terms of prepping for a trade war with the U.S., China has implemented several important steps. For example, for at least the past 10 years the country has been shifting away from a pure export economy and reducing its reliance on sales of goods to the U.S. In 2018, Chinese consumer purchases of goods are expected to surpass that of American consumers. For the past five years, domestic consumption in China accounted for between 55% to 65% of economic growth, and private consumption was the primary driver of the Chinese economy — NOT exports.
The argument that China is somehow dependent on U.S. markets and consumers in order to keep its economy alive is simply a lie. China is now just as enticing a retail market as the U.S., and its domestic market can pick up some of the slack in the event that U.S. markets are suddenly closed to Chinese exports.
The problem of swiftly growing Chinese debt is presented often as the key argument against the nation surviving a global economic reset or trade war, with its “shadow banking” system threatening to unleash a long hidden credit crisis and stock market plunge. But this is not the complete story.
The exact amount of fiat printing that China’s central bank undertook after the 2008 crash is not known. Some estimates calculate China’s debt to now sit at around 250% of its gross domestic product. By normal standards this would suggest a credit crisis is imminent. But was China’s sudden interest in debt expansion a reactionary matter, or was it part of a bigger plan?
Just after 2008, a common argument against China’s resilience was the notion that China was dependent on holding U.S. dollar reserves in order to keep its own currency weak. Meaning, Chinese companies had to sell goods to the U.S. in exchange for dollars, which they then exchanged to the central bank for Yuan. China’s central bank then held those trillions of dollars in reserve as a means to keep the dollar artificially stronger on the global market, and the Yuan weaker, thus supporting and perpetuating the old export model.
Obviously this argument is no longer applicable, or outright absurd.
China’s own debt expansion and Treasury bond issuance actually started way back in 2005 under the “Panda Bond” program. At the time it was treated like a novelty or a joke by the mainstream economic community. Today, it is a powerhouse as Yuan denominated assets are spreading around the world.
China no longer needs to hold dollars or dollar denominated assets in order to keep its currency weaker for export markets. It can simply inflate and monetize its own debt, just like the U.S. does. But why would China bother to do this at all? Why jump into the same debt game that has caused so much trouble for western nations?
Perhaps because they know something we don’t. During the initial phase of the derivatives crisis, the possibility of China joining the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights basket leaped to the forefront. With the Yuan as an SDR basket member, its potential to become a financial center for global trade rather than just an export and import hub would be assured. But the IMF set certain requirements before China could join.  One of these requirements was far greater currency liquidity and a more “freely usable” Yuan market. In other words, for China to join the SDR basket they would first need to go into considerable debt.
This is exactly what they did; not to prop up their banking system (though this made for a valid excuse) or to necessarily prop up their stock markets. Rather, China wanted a seat at the table of the “new world order,” and they bought that seat through massive debt expansion. China was officially included in the SDR basket in 2016.
China has been a very vocal proponent of the SDR basket system, and it becomes clear why if you understand what the globalists intend for the future of the world’s monetary framework. This plan was first outlined in the globalist controlled Economist magazine in 1988 in an article calling for the beginnings of a global currency in 2018. The article states that the U.S. economy and the role of the dollar as world reserve would have to be diminished, and that the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights basket could be used as a bridge to set up a single currency for all the world’s economies.
This currency would of course be administered and controlled by the banking elites at the IMF.
Since 2009, China’s central bank has called for the SDR to become a “super-sovereign reserve currency,” in other words, a global currency system. In 2017, the vice governor of China’s central bank stated that central banks should increase their use of the SDR as a unit of account and that greater SDR liquidity should be encouraged. In 2015, China’s central bank suggested that the SDR system should “go digital,” creating a digital version of the reserve so that it could spread quickly.
It should come as no surprise that the IMF is in full agreement with this plan and has even suggested in recent articles on its website that cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are the future evolution of the monetary system.
Notorious globalist George Soros revealed a few darker details of what the IMF calls the “global economic reset” in an interview in 2009; these details included a diminished American economy, a diminished dollar and for China to become a new economic engine for the world.
Finally, China has clearly been prepping for a considerable crisis in the dollar or in the world’s economic stability as shown in its sudden and aggressive stockpiling of gold reserves the past decade. Only recently surpassed by Russia in purchases, China is one of the most aggressive national buyers of gold. An expanding gold stockpile would be an effective hedge against a collapsing dollar market. If the dollar loses its world reserve status, nations like China and Russia are placed well to mitigate the damages. Considering the fact that the IMF officially holds around 3,000 tons of gold, the globalists are also well placed for a dollar crash.
It would appear that China has been included at many levels in the plan for the global reset. All of the previously mentioned actions suggest foreknowledge of a dramatic shift in the dollar model. The trade war itself provides perfect cover for the economic reset, as I have been warning in my latest articles. China would play an important role in the reset, as they have the ability to dump U.S. Treasuries and the dollar as world reserve, causing a chain reaction through global markets as their trading partners follow along in a domino chain.
They will likely do this quietly (as Russia recently did), in order to pawn off their T-bond holdings before news of a Treasury dump hits the mainstream. The primary beneficiaries of this act will be the globalists, while China has placed itself to survive (not necessarily to thrive) during the chaos. The same cannot necessarily be said for the U.S., which suffers from the Achilles Heel of total dependency on the dollar’s primacy.