Monday, August 31, 2020

China's fascist use of drones for spying on public now used worldwide...

China's fascist use of drones for spying on public now used worldwide...Communism/Fascism is spreading globally.

Huawei Fallout—Serious New China Threat Strikes At Samsung And Apple


Huawei Fallout—Serious New China Threat Strikes At Samsung And Apple

From adversity comes opportunity, they say, and that thought will be weighing on the minds of Huawei execs in Shenzhen right now—because their adversity is quickly opening doors for others, and there’s no guarantee there will ever be a return to business as usual. We are still reeling from the devastating escalation in U.S. sanctions against Huawei, announced last week, but some of the ramifications are now starting to become clearer. Right now there’s no obvious escape route for China’s leading tech player, and others are circling.

Ahead of Trump’s blacklist, Huawei had overtaken Apple for global smartphone sales and was on course to overtake Samsung as well. Despite the blacklist, Huawei kept ahold of the world’s number two slot and did actually overtake Samsung in the second quarter this year, as the market reeled from the impact of coronavirus. But that will not last—the latest set of U.S. sanctions will heavily impact Huawei sales next year. But, putting Huawei to one side, Apple and Samsung now have a new China threat striking at their otherwise duopolistic dominance of global sales.

I’ve singled out Xiaomi before as the real beneficiary from Huawei’s decline in key overseas markets—especially in Europe. The domestic rival to Huawei remarkably bettered Huawei sales in Europe for the first time in the second quarter this year, growing revenues 65% as Huawei shrunk 17%. Xiaomi moved up to third place behind Samsung and Apple—Huawei dropped to fourth.

That gloomy picture for Huawei is now much worse. In its second-quarter results, issued this week, Xiaomi may have reported modest annual revenue growth (up 3.1%), but it was all about the detail. Xiaomi’s export markets have recovered to pre-coronavirus levels, with a major boost in higher-end smartphone sales—the exact segment where it needs to unseat Huawei. According to Xiaomi, “in overseas markets, shipments of our premium smartphones with a retail price of €300 or more went up by 99.2% year-over-year.”

The manufacturer—which has built its brand in the budget segment, has been upping its game to take Huawei market share outside China, replicating its larger rival’s lower priced / higher quality strategy to tackle aspirational markets in Europe in particular. This was the battleground where Huawei made its name as an export giant. Xiaomi’s strategy is clear—become the new Huawei. Industry analysts suggest Xiaomi is now on course to become one of the top-three global smartphone makers, overtaking Apple and ultimately targeting Samsung—if it can genuinely execute a new Huawei strategy.

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Those second quarter Europe numbers darkened Huawei’s celebrations on overtaking Samsung for global smartphone sales for the same quarter—a result driven by Huawei’s lock on its domestic market as Samsung recovered from the Covid-19 sales hits in other markets. It was always going to be short-lived. And that was all before Trump signalled a seismic shock to Huawei Smartphone sales from next year, denying the company access to the high-end chipsets it needs to power its flagship devices, to compete with other market-leaders.

Xiaomi has no such restrictions—and it still offers non-Chinese customers the full-fat Android experience, without the loss of Google software and services that had already hit Huawei so hard before the latest ramp-up in U.S. action.

“Our overseas business achieved robust growth against market headwinds and obtained remarkable results across key markets,” Xiaomi said in its results announcement. “Our smartphone shipments in the European market grew by 64.9% year-over-year, attaining a top three position in terms of market share for the first time.”

Of Huawei’s domestic rivals, Xiaomi was the one to recognise the staggering opportunity to fill the vacuum that Huawei would leave in overseas markets. Until this month, that was all about Google. Predicting that non-Chinese consumers would be reluctant to shift from full-fat Android to a new, Huawei alternative without their staples, Xiaomi plugged the gap. It had already proven its mettle in India, where it leads the market. It’s now picking up millions of Huawei users in Europe and elsewhere.

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Huawei’s future as a premium smartphone brand is uncertain—at least in the short to medium term. That will throw open the Chinese market and threaten Huawei’s lock. But in China, Xiaomi has Oppo and Vivo to contend with—the playing field is fairly level. Overseas, though, Xiaomi has been honing its approach. It’s nicely primed.

And so watch with interest over the next 2-3 quarters’ results—will Xiaomi continue to grow strongly in Europe and how much further will Huawei decline as its next flagship—the Mate 40—also launches absent Google and the pre-blacklist P30 gets that little bit older?

And then to next year, where at some point—perhaps fairly early—Huawei will exhaust its stockpile of chipsets, which will then heavily impact its ability to ship devices, both domestically and to export markets. If Xiaomi can position itself as the leading value for money premium device, then it has the chance to accelerate that growth and to expand its footprint into other markets. Huawei leveraged its strategy to break-up the Samsung and Apple market lock and there’s no reason Xiaomi cannot pick up where it’s larger domestic rival left off. If anything, the ground has been cleared and it will be easier this time around.

“Looking forward to the next decade,” Xiaomi told me in a statement, “we will firmly adhere to our ‘three guiding principles’ – never cease to explore and innovate, continue to offer products with strong price-to-performance ratio, and seek to make the coolest products, so as to let everyone in the world enjoy a better life.” Heavily funded R&D fueling cool products at the right price-performance-ratio—precisely what Huawei managed so successfully.

Meanwhile, we await some insight from Huawei as to what its chipset mitigation strategy is likely to be. The Huawei Developer Conference comes up next month—perhaps we will get some answers then.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Why China Will Not Save Huawei From Trump’s Devastating New Blow

Why China Will Not Save Huawei From Trump’s Devastating New Blow

Aug. 29, 2020 

There’s a surprise twist in the aftermath of Trump’s ramp-up of his sanctions against Huawei—China’s relative silence. A week on from the U.S. administration issuing what some analysts have described as a “death sentence,” Huawei is fast realizing that China is not about to fire a silver bullet to turn this situation around.

China denounced Trump’s latest attack as “stark bullying” and “shameful,” with a government spokesperson telling the media that “the Chinese government will continue to take necessary measures to safeguard Chinese companies' legitimate rights and interests.” But there were no bombastic threats or retaliation against U.S. firms operating in China. The comments were notably muted.

Perhaps Beijing is waiting for November’s election, hoping (likely naively) that a change in U.S. leadership will sharply reverse policy, fearing that an unpredictable president eyeing his electorate might announce further ad hoc measures. The more Trump paints Biden as China’s friend, the more unlikely this becomes. It’s actually more that the U.S. has successfully called China’s bluff this time around, with huge ramifications for the global tech sector and spelling potential disaster for Huawei.

If you believe the U.S. has been on a mission “to stop Huawei,” as some reports have put it, for fifteen-plus years, then the question is why it didn’t think of this latest move sooner. A year on from restricting Huawei’s access to U.S. components, the Trump administration upped the stakes in May, prohibiting Huawei from using custom chipsets designed or manufactured with the help of U.S. tech. Huawei admitted this would seriously damage the company and reached for Plan B—reverting to the standard chipsets others could buy as well.

And then came America’s deathblow—Huawei would be prohibited from those standard chipsets as well. In effect, the company would not be allowed to buy any of the silicon required to power its consumer devices, cloud servers and 5G network equipment. Any supplier would need a license to sell to Huawei or risk sanctions of their own, no industry player—even in China—will take that risk. MediaTek—which had been set for a huge boost in sales to Huawei—has applied for a license to continue those supplies. Others will follow suit. Should the U.S. grant those licenses, though, it will raise a fundamental question as to what was the point of this latest action.

So—again, given how effective this last move has been, why didn’t the U.S. go there before? Perhaps it needed to test the envelope of Beijing’s resistance. A year ago, after the initial sanctions, China threatened to reciprocate against U.S. companies—but nothing has been done. Alternatively, maybe Washington was genuinely caught by surprise at how Huawei has managed to thrive under the blacklist.

Here’s another theory. China is the ultimate long-game pragmatist. It’s fairly obvious that it can’t win the short-term battle over Huawei—not the way the U.S. is playing its hand. Trump has risked repercussions against U.S. companies selling into or manufacturing in China, he’s upped the stakes, blacklisting dozens of other Chinese companies, and now he’s taken on social media giants WeChat and TikTok.

Trump’s calculation is a fairly simple: Who needs who more? And Beijing has calculated the same—China’s government said as much in its state-controlled media, in the aftermath of Trump’s initial threat to ban TikTok. “Washington is well aware,” the China Daily opined, “that Beijing will be cautious about retaliating like-for-like as it values foreign investment in China, and the sizeable U.S. investment in China is of more importance to the Chinese economy than the much smaller and shrinking Chinese investment is to the U.S. economy.”

That message was specifically around the forced sale of TikTok’s U.S. entity, now seemingly nearing its endgame. But it was also an interesting public insight into Beijing’s mindset. Huawei watchers (and one can assume Huawei itself) are surprised that Beijing has not done more given the materiality of the latest attack. Perhaps the message from Beijing it more expansive than it seemed.

Huawei is a strategic asset to Beijing in the way that TikTok is not. But breaking that down, and if you put aside U.S. allegations of state-sponsored espionage on Huawei’s part, Beijing needs Huawei to build out its own 5G infrastructure along with the likes of ZTE, to further investments in AI and autonomous machines, to continue a game of R&D catchup with the west.

Beijing is less concerned with the sale of snazzy smartphones that compete with Samsung Galaxy and Apple iPhone devices. Huawei has reportedly stockpiled more of the chipsets it can use in network kit than those for its premium smartphones. And, beyond that, the reality is that China’s race to de-Americanize its silicon supply chain will replace the chipsets in 5G base stations long before it matches the tech in Apple and Samsung smartphones. Bad for Huawei’s bottom-line, maybe, but better for Beijing.

We still await Huawei’s perspective—there's a media vacuum right now, with plenty of speculation but no counter view from Shenzhen. As the South China Morning Post put it, “with the latest move by Washington to tighten its grip over Huawei's access to U.S. core tech... the company is literally facing a life or death situation... so far Beijing has not retaliated with anything other than fiery rhetoric.”

Playing the long game, China clearly sees itself building up a domestic silicon industrial base which is not reliant on U.S. tech. But, even if that’s possible, it will take years. Huawei will not survive in its current form until then, not unless there is some easing of sanctions, some respite. Either that or it will need to change its form, its focus. There’s no equivalent of a TikTok sale to solve this problem.

Underneath it all, there’s a dark irony to China’s lack of action right now. As the SCMP points out, “the fact that the Chinese government is not helping in the company’s fight with the U.S. must be a bitter pill for Huawei, which got into trouble with Washington in the first place because of its perceived ties to Beijing, an allegation it has always denied.”

Thursday, August 27, 2020

China is paving its 'belt and road' to British Columbia

China is paving its 'belt and road' to British Columbia

Surrey warehouse part of China's Belt and Road Initiative, say its proponents
Renderings of a warehouse and trade centre now under construction in Surrey. The World Commodity Trade Centre has the backing of the Chinese Communist Party, as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, a global trade initiative of China. Photo by

A major warehouse facility under construction in Surrey is not just paving the way for more trade between B.C. and China. It could be helping pave Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative to Canada.

The massive $190 million, 470,000-square-foot complex, dubbed the “World Commodity Trade Center,” is a joint venture between a Chinese state-sponsored company and a local development firm. The centre, first conceived in Beijing, has four warehouses and two large exhibition halls — to be lined with Chinese and Canadian flags — strategically located in the Campbell Heights industrial zone between Vancouver International Airport and the United States border.

The centre is purported to be one of several non-Chinese import-export facilities servicing a central commodities hub on the outskirts of Beijing, called Yanjiao International Trade City, being developed by brand company World Commerce Valley, a division of Hong Kong-based trading firm Shing Kee Godown Group. The centre is being developed through Canadian subsidiaries North America Commerce Valley Development Ltd. and Shing Kee Godown (Canada) Holdings Ltd. and in partnership with local development firm Pollyco Group.

The centre’s proponents say it will facilitate the packaging, processing and storage of outgoing Canadian commodities and incoming Chinese products, to be showcased at exhibition hall events and trade conferences — all driven by an e-commerce trade model. Its detractors believe it is the thin edge of the wedge in facilitating a stronger presence of Beijing-directed business in the region.


The Yanjiao International Trade City diagram shows the Beijing-area import-export "mother centre" and the foreign hub cities, including Surrey, B.C. that will service it. Photo by World Commerce Valley,

A trailblazing memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) between the B.C. government and Guangdong province in 2016 precedes the project. This MOU, signed by former BC Liberal Premier Christy Clark, is the only such one in North America. Most Western jurisdictions have been apprehensive of Xi’s aspirations of emboldening China’s national and economic interests on a global scale, via the BRI’s foreign infrastructure investments and overseas financial, social and cultural programs, which initially targeted developing Asian countries.

Ground broke on the facility on October 7, 2018, with China’s consul general Xiaoling Tong taking centre stage, flanked by local politicians, development partners and associates of the United Front Work Department, a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) agency that political analysts say promotes China’s interests among Chinese diasporas, often by persuading local Chinese organizations that may be sanctioned or supported by the department itself.

In interviews with political and trade experts, concerns have been raised over such foreign influence activities, as well as the potential cumulative impact of additional such trade facilities, which on their own do not meet the threshold for a federal government foreign investment review.

“Certainly the Chinese government develops these projects with a strategic mandate,” said Charles Burton, associate professor of political science at Brock University and senior fellow at the Canadian think tank MacDonald Laurier Institute.

BRI brand important in Beijing

A prominent figure of the United Front in B.C. is leading the project.

Guo Taicheng is chairman of Shing Kee Godown Group. The businessman is also executive vice-president of the China Federation of Overseas Chinese Entrepreneurs, which is part of the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese (AFROC) of the CCP’s United Front.

Guo — who says he is a permanent resident of Canada, who splits his time between Beijing and Vancouver, where his family lives — markets the centre as a BRI project, however in an interview with Glacier Media, via a translator, he distances the project from Xi’s ambitious plan for global hegemony, first announced in 2013.


Guo Taicheng is chairman of Hong Kong-based trading firm Shing Kee Godown Group. The businessman is also executive vice-president of the China Federation of Overseas Chinese Entrepreneurs, which is part of the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese (AFROC) of the United Front, an agency of the Chinese Communist Party. Photo by Ina Mitchell

“The belt and road initiative only provides an opportunity, but the idea started from many years ago,” he said. “Whether or not there’s a belt and road or whether or not it comes to North America doesn’t concern us [Shing Kee].”

In November, 2014, Shing Kee and Pollyco signed a framework agreement on the centre at a Vancouver investment summit. In 2015 Shing Kee took part in an agricultural trade conference with B.C. and Canadian agriculture and trade officials in attendance.

Guo envisions Canadian food producers as key warehouse tenants. The Surrey facility, he said, will lease space to small to medium sized Canadian businesses and “offer them entry to the Chinese market.”

Guo said the market would dictate what comes back to Canada, suggesting at this time Chinese-manufactured personal protective equipment could be a hot import upon opening. (Following the COVID-19 pandemic, Xi announced intentions of a China-led “health silk road,” as part of the increasingly broad BRI mandate.)

Guo confirmed associations such as AFROC require approval from the Chinese government and “to join the association will certainly bring opportunities.”

But he said he is not a member of the CCP and the party “does not tell [him] what to say or not to say,” despite his standing in the organization. Rather, his sole focus is on improving his business, and that means increasing trade.

However, Guo evokes nationalist rhetoric espoused by Xi, when speaking about the trade centre, which his company asserts is to serve the Yanjiao “mother centre.”

As reported in Chinese state media, Guo told a trade conference in December 2017 that, “The current new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics is a new era for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and a new era for overseas Chinese and overseas Chinese.”

When asked why it is important for his company to focus on the BRI and purported CCP achievements, Guo said, “It’s just to follow the local rules because in China you have to show this type of picture and play by the rules.

And, “How the government views this [trade centre] plan is not up to us,” added Guo, who met with China’s Consul General Tong Xiaoling in Vancouver to discuss the BRI in February 2018, according to the consulate’s website.

China’s inroads to Canada should be more closely monitored, experts say

Former ambassador to China Guy Saint-Jacques says while many development proposals in China may provide more rhetoric than substance, it is clear this one has some degree of support from the Chinese government — although time will tell whether or not Yanjiao is a “pie in the sky.”

Regardless, he said CCP-sponsored activity in Canada requires a closer examination.

“We should be worried about the activities of the United Front,” said Saint-Jacques.

Of some concern is the degree to which local projects, such as the trade centre, may be controlled in a manner to favour China’s interests over Canada’s, said both Saint-Jacques and Burton.

“I would be interested to look at the contracts the Canadian companies will be asked to sign. If the Chinese are forcing to sign long-term exclusive rights, then I’d be concerned. Companies should learn from the ongoing crisis from China they need to diversify their markets.

“I would be concerned if these guys are saying, for instance, we will become your exclusive exporter to China for your cherries, for example,” said Saint-Jacques.

Pollyco’s manager Hugh Carter told Glacier Media in an interview his company is tasked with marketing the development whereas Shing Kee brings “users who fit into the trading centre.”

But Carter said while the company was aware the trade centre was billed back in China as a BRI project, it is his understanding any Canadian business may lease warehouse space and exporting products to China is not a requirement.

If that is the case, Saint-Jacques said there’s little to worry about with this project specifically.

“Unless this facility offers some kind of advantage or premium for shippers to use it [to export to China], I don’t think this will be significant,” he said.

Burton said he would be particularly worried if Chinese companies bought or built several such facilities in the Lower Mainland.

“That would give China an advantage in sourcing goods to put [Canadian companies] in a position where we couldn’t diversify to other competitors. Arguably, the whole BRI is about re-orienting the global economy to China, because all the belts and roads go to China. No belts and roads go other places,” said Burton.

This could be done without any Canadian government oversight. And so, a failure to understand China’s cumulative impact on commerce in Canada can jeopardize Canadian interests, Burton asserted.

Part of the BRI strategy, said Burton, “involves keeping under the thresholds for government regulation.

“In other words, several projects involving the same investment that put together would cross the threshold for government examination of national security implications. I think that’s part of the strategy,” Burton added.

Presently, Canada has certain federal thresholds for foreign investment reviews: For a member of the World Trade Organization, such as China, any state-owned investment over $428 million requires a review. And the review for the private sector is $1.075 billion — far above the Campbell Heights project, which is larger than Amazon’s regional warehouse in South Delta.

Saint-Jacques is calling on the Canadian government to update its China engagement strategy, which should take a full look at China’s existing assets in Canada and include plans to diversify trade away from the authoritarian regime.

“This review will make sure we aren’t getting into any situation where national security would be at risk,” he said.

Washington, DC-based think tank RWR Advisory, which publishes the monthly Belt and Road Monitor, also states China’s economic policies pose national security risks to the United States and other Western jurisdictions.

That’s why all foreign investment should be tracked, even at the local government level, said RWR analyst Claire Chu.

“Being aware of the money flowing in and out of their territory — I think that’s really important,” said Chu.


Vancouver-area businessman Guo Taicheng speaks in 2018 to the All-China Federation of Overseas Chinese association in China. On February 28, 2018 Chinese Consul General Xiaoxiao Ling met with Guo in Vancouver. "The two sides exchanged views on issues such as promoting China-Canada trade and investment cooperation and participating in the 'Belt and Road' international cooperation," according to the consulate's website (Google Translate).

Chu said United Front activity can be a harbinger for China’s BRI objectives since these CCP-backed groups play a key role in business arrangements at the local government level.

“That’s increasingly a way China is influencing people from the bottom up and also getting into projects without having to wrangle with the central government,” said Chu, who describes a “huge network” of business people, community leaders and students.

“The idea of the United Front organization is to achieve influence, spread propaganda, spread Chinese government thoughts all over the world — and so a lot of [local groups] are called friendship societies or friendship organizations. They are active all over the world.

“This is not to cast a wide net of suspicion on a group of people, rather to explain that a lot of friendship associations will receive funding from these United Front organizations. It doesn’t mean they’re working for the [Chinese] government, but it does mean they’re more susceptible to government influence, government ideas and participating in government projects,” said Chu.

A tough critic of the CCP, Burton describes a muzzling effect on Canadian citizens and companies.

“The Chinese companies involved cannot be separated from other aspects of the Chinese regime in the sense they need permission from the regime to engage in trade and development projects. The condition is they support the other goals of the Chinese regime,” said Burton.

In turn, the local Canadian companies involved with such Chinese companies would likely need to fall in line with China’s interests, Burton asserted.

“None of the representatives in the (Canadian) companies would be likely to express concern, say, over the national security law related to Hong Kong even though they could well have strong Hong Kong connections and strong feelings …anyone who articulates such a position would likely lose the opportunity to engage in the economic benefits of a project because the Chinese partners would know if they co-operated with people seen as unfriendly to the Chinese regime, then they would suffer in their ability to function,” explained Burton.

Canada lacks foreign influence laws to register and regulate groups acting in the interest of foreign states, noted Burton at a February 24 meeting for the House of Commons Special Committee on Canada-China Relations.

“Australia’s 2018 Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Act should be examined carefully by this Committee. Canada needs to come to terms with Chinese money benefiting Canadian political campaigns and rewarding Canadian politicians and public servants who are seen as ‘friends of China,’” said Burton.

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians 2019 annual report spells out much of the concern over CCP activity in Canada.

B.C. MOU first paved way for belt and road

Australia is also home to another rare MOU on the BRI in the West. Its pro-Beijing state government of Victoria signed one in October 2018, however its premier Daniel Andrews has since faced a substantial outcry for doing so, especially following Australia’s concerns over China’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak.

British Columbia’s foray into China’s Belt and Road Initiative began with senior provincial politicians — namely then International Trade Minister Teresa Wat and Premier Christy Clark — hosting their “sister province” counterparts from Guangdong, including some senior CCP officials, at the May 2016 China-Canada Economic and Trade Cooperation Conference — One Belt One Road Initiative Workshop, held in Vancouver. Clark told the conference she looked forward to “building a one road, one belt policy between our two countries our two provinces.”

The objective of the MOU, stated internal memos from B.C. government staff, “is to strengthen cooperation between the provinces to jointly examine mutually beneficial opportunities presented by China’s One Belt One Road Initiative and British Columbia’s Pacific Gateway Strategy: to enhance maritime connectivity and expand two-way investment and trade in goods and services from energy and natural resources to value added products, professional services, international education and tourism.”


Former BC Liberal premier Christy Clark and her international trade minister Teresa Wat attempted to form deeper connections to China during the 2013-2017 term in office. Here they are shown welcoming Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei to B.C. as part of a project with Telus in 2015. In 2016, Clark, Wat and then advanced education minister Andrew Wilkinson (now leader of the opposition) signed an MOU on China's Belt and Road Initiative. Photo by BC Government.

Pacific Gateway is a multi-billion dollar network of road, rail and port infrastructure aimed at increasing exports overseas. It includes prominent projects such as the Port Mann Bridge, Fraser Perimeter Highway, Deltaport Terminal expansion, Vancouver International Airport expansion and the Site C dam to provide electricity for increased LNG production for export — with China being the main buyer.

A ministerial backgrounder for Wat stated that “Chinese officials have repeatedly noted that Canada can participate, especially as an investor or a partner …but observers say Ottawa’s decision last year to not join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) severely hampers Canadian business chances.” (In March, 2017, Canada’s new Liberal federal government signed on to the AIIB, a Chinese state-backed development bank that is a component of BRI.)

Wat told the B.C. Legislature in April, 2018, “This memorandum meant much more than just another agreement between the two provincial governments. It was a pivotal step in extending the belt and road initiative to North America, which was not originally covered.”

No one contested Wat’s statement and NDP Premier John Horgan declined to comment on his government’s continued support for China’s BRI. Wat and Clark also declined interviews.

Wat is MLA for Richmond North Centre, which holds the most concentrated population of Mainland Chinese residents in Canada. She is a frequent attendee of events held by China’s consul general in Vancouver and she heavily promoted trade with China during her 2013-2017 tenure as provincial trade minister. In this time Wat and Clark also touted more international students from China, Huawei’s entrance into Canada’s 5G network and led B.C. to become the first jurisdiction outside China to issue Renminbi bonds.

All this was done in the absence of a free trade agreement between China and Canada. B.C. bureaucrats did raise internal questions about provincial/federal mandates, however.

“We do not need approval from the federal government for the MOU or the Joint Declaration. We simply need our BC Ministry of Justice to review and approve the documents,” wrote Donald Haney, executive director, Economic Policy and Asia Pacific Relations, Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat.

Global Affairs Canada, Canada’s ministry in charge of international trade, declined to comment on what position the country takes on the Belt and Road Initiative, which is strongly rebuked by the United States. A Global Affairs spokesperson added, “the federal government does not tell provinces and territories what they can and cannot do within their own jurisdictions.”

Saint-Jacques said because the MOU is not a legally binding agreement he takes no issue with it; in fact the MOU is a “good move” to signal investment interest from B.C.

B.C.’s MOU, “remains general in nature,” said Saint-Jacques.

“The hope is it would lead to some [BRI] contracts for Canadian companies. But in practice it remains very difficult for Canadian companies to get business,” said Saint-Jacques, noting despite Canada pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the AIIB, Canadian companies have reaped nothing, to date.

However, there is more acute concern over BRI in places such as Greece, said Saint-Jacques, where the Greek government has allowed China to own and effectively control its ports, and in turn force Greece’s hand at the European Union, leading Greek officials to “water down language and avoid direct criticism of China.”

Saint-Jacques said any concerns B.C. is too close to Beijing can nevertheless be put on pause momentarily, given the deteriorating diplomatic and trade situation between the two countries since the December, 2018, arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou.

Chinese-only signage on platform of Richmond’s SkyTrain station

Chinese-only signage on platform of Richmond’s SkyTrain station

The city claims it’s making progress on encouraging businesses to include English on signage in Richmond, however its message doesn’t appear to have gotten through to at least one large telecommunications company.

CTExcel, (China Telecom) has taken out a large ad at the Aberdeen SkyTrain station platform promoting its new phone service.TransLink not considering English on its ads | Richmond News

Richmond Chinese community express gratitude to Canada | Richmond News

Despite city policies (non-enforceable) that encourage English on 50 per cent of all types of signage, the ad is only in Chinese, irking residents who have long argued that Chinese-only signage, “sows discord” in the community.

City to begin public consultation on foreign language signs | Richmond News

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) on Twitter: "Are you travelling  during Spring Break? Make sure you have a transportation plan before you  leave! We're expecting over 75,000 passengers a day.…"

YVR Airport Vancouver BC Canada....? Why

But while it goes against policy, there is little the city can do, according to City of Richmond spokesperson, Kim Decker.

 “The City of Richmond does not regulate, and has no control over, the signs in Canada Line stations or on Translink buses,” said Decker.

Meanwhile, a media statement from Translink states that “Translink has no authority to deny advertising on the basis of language.

“If people want to advertise, as long as it meets our own advertising guidelines, we accept it. TransLink does not regulate language on advertising to avoid limiting freedom of expression in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Ads without English on the system are rare and there haven’t been a large number of complaints about them,” the statement continued.

The city has been actively educating businesses on the updated sign bylaw since 2016, which includes a variety of updates to address wording related to clutter, according to Decker.

866 - 6288 NO. 3 ROAD, Richmond | Expired, R2362237 |

Chinese Cultural Centre Museum and Archive (Vancouver) - All You Need to  Know BEFORE You Go - Updated 2020 (Vancouver, British Columbia) -  Tripadvisor

Chinese Cultural Centre Museum and Archive (Vancouver) - All You Need to  Know BEFORE You Go - Updated 2020 (Vancouver, British Columbia) -  Tripadvisor

“Part of this ongoing education is to encourage businesses who advertise in another language, to also advertise in English, to broaden their customer base and help the community understand what their business is.

“The city has multi-lingual bylaw officers who visit businesses and ensure they know the sign bylaw provisions,” said Decker.

And, over the past few years, most business owners have seen the benefits of including English on their ads, she added.

“Anecdotal reports indicate an increase in English speaking customers to those businesses,” noted Decker.