China’s steps in being powerful

Chinese officials has been boasting the country's growth

Chinese officials has been boasting the country’s growth

The international community view China as nonconformist when it comes to the political system and ideology. China only has North Korea, Vietnam and Cuba as its ideological allies. Due to the sudden rise of China, most countries are either openly or secretly considering how to restrain or limit China. However people are quite off with their focus on what to focus on. Instead of thinking about how to restrain China, it is necessary to think about how to deal with China’s behavior after it has risen. China has been growing confident ever since the start of its rise. China’s current leaders always see to it that in their speeches during international forum would contain China’s peaceful rise and promise that China will never seek hegemony. They continuously emphasize this and try to gain the support of the public. It has been a good strategy for trying to assure China’s position in the international community.

Chinese officials needs to focus on improving diplomacy

Chinese officials needs to focus on improving diplomacy

Some critics however think that China will sooner or later dissent. The dissent will be due to the interruption of some sudden crisis. It would hurt China and leave them with no control. This however could be prevented if China will be contained with its changing of behavior. It would be necessary for China to be able to manage its politicians in order to maintain its power. China should not however allow for other countries to bully them. It needs to have proper diplomacy in trying to deal with other countries. It would also be helpful if China continues to strengthen the nationalist sentiments in its country. More than that China needs to obtain the trust of most countries in the world. One of the most important factors in the limitation and use of power is the unique core value system of the country. China needs to approach diplomacy through respecting every kind of political system.

Images by AP

Cyberattack on Outlook’s users

Microsoft cyberattack

Microsoft cyberattack

China has started a cyberattack on users of Microsoft Outlook’s email services. They would want to spy on the communication of Outlook users according to a Chinese Internet monitoring group. The hackers employed by Chinese officials were attacking users that accessed their account on January 17. Chinese users that has an account on Outlook, Hotmail or Live accounts were subjected to a “man-in-the middle” (MITM) attack wherein the attacker hijack a highly secure system. The hackers were able to bypass the system and successfully monitored activities of the users according to a report by GreatFire.

China is trying secure the Internet for users

China is trying secure the Internet for users

The Chinese Internet monitoring group had been exposing the various illegal monitoring of Chinese government over Internet users. They believe that China attempted to intercept and spy on communications that it can’t easily monitor. Users were curious thus about the error messages they saw when they were trying to connect their email to Outlook’s servers via IMAP and SMTP. However users that use connections to outlook.com and login.live.com were not affected according to a test performed by GreatFire. The group suspects that Lu Wei and the Cyberspace Administration of China were behind the attacks or somehow approved the attack that happen. The attack signals that Chinese officials are looking into investigating or cracking down communication methods they cannot readily monitor.

The attackers disguised into self-signed certificates likening it to the Outlook’s server. The Internet certificates are being used to affirm the identity of a website or a server and to ensure that the connection is secure and private. These certificates are only being issued by official and trusted certificate authorities. At times, such certificates could be issued by a site or service certifying its own identity which are known as the self-signed certificates. These certificates prompt browsers and email clients to display a warning, since a self-signed certificate can be a sign of an MITM attack.

Images by Times of India and The Guardian

China’s take on Charlie Hebdo

Charlie Hebdo

Charlie Hebdo

In the midst of debating over freedom of speech is important, Chinese media took advantage of the Charlie Hebdo situation and promote its own belief. Everyone was shocked with the shootings at Charlie Hebdo, Montrouge and the kosher market in Porte de Vincennes. It has been the bloodiest terrorist attack in France since the 1961 Vitry-Le-Francois train bombing. There were about 20 people dead from the recent shootings that occurred in France. Despite the public support towards the creator of what was deemed to be an offensive cartoon, Chinese media thinks that the cartoonists should be blamed. The Chinese even suggest for a restriction of freedom of speech in order to better protect the citizens. The government-run Xinhua News commented how Charlie Hebdo has been too persistent in mocking the Muslim extremists.

Increasing pluralism means the need to be careful over the things published

Increasing pluralism means the need to be careful over the things published

In the article released by the news agency, they say that due to the increasing pluralism in our community “freedom of press should be limited” and “for the sake of peaceful coexistence, there must be mutual respect”. They say how Charlie Hebdo is “unbridled, unprincipled, satire” and even argues that while “cartoons bring about laughter in people, firstly they should not hurt others”. The views of the Chinese media with regards to Charlie Hebdo are valid on some points. However it undermines the ability of satire to expose immorality in order to make people move and do something about the situation. The news agency misses the point of satire. Satire should be able to cut across people and in fact hurt people’s sensibilities in order to send its message. Although it is still contestable on whether or not Charlie Hebdo did the right thing. It is true that they have somehow go out of line towards the Muslim and in fact somehow bullied Muslim people. However this should not justify the attacks of the Muslim extremists towards them.

Images by Michel Euler and Conquer China

Chinese spies imprisoned

President Xi Jinping targetting spies

President Xi Jinping targetting spies

President Xi Jinping has targeted China’s powerful intelligence-gathering apparatus. The deputy minister at the Chinese State Security apparatus has been detained for a case of corruption. Deputy Minister Ma Jian had been arrested last January 11. It shocked a lot of people due to the fact that China is known to be quite lenient with government officials involved in such things. The arresting of Ma Jian symbolizes the change in the Chinese government. It shows how the government is more serious with regards to its anti-graft campaign. Over the years China’s spy agency is known to be the most politically protected entities in the country. This shows progress of President Xi Jinping and his colleagues over trying to clean up the problems in corruption in the government. They have been trying to plan this action for over 18 months now. Before, Chinese leaders took the work of their intelligence services very seriously. Under Hu Jintao and the pro-stability strategy, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of State Security became influential in the country. In fact last 2007, Zhou Yongkang became influential due to the political support he gained.

Targeting spies

Targeting spies

The intelligence organization had been experiencing multiple problems in the past. It has been poorly managed and the constant waste of resources. It is also where majority of corruption happens. Despite the fact intelligence agencies are known to be a political tool for some, Chinese officials see to it that the institution should change. Throughout the years MSS have seen a domestic industry of intelligence production. Some technical areas, MSS has become even more active, with scientists and those viewed as holding useful information sometimes targeted both inside and outside the country. However, when MSS is becoming over powerful and over confident, Chinese officials felt that there is a necessity to reform China’s spies and to see to it that they stay on budget.

Images by Confucius Institute and Elizabeth Dalziel

Maritime Consultative Mechanism

Disputed islands of Senkakou/Diaoyu

Disputed islands of Senkakou/Diaoyu

Representatives of China and Japan would have talks with regards to managing the tensions in the East China Sea. These officials are tying to finalize details regarding the communication line that the leaders would use in case of an emergency. They would also further discuss precautionary measures in avoiding accidents in the sea and air. This step of managing the tensions through coming up of a maritime consultative mechanism eases people’s tension with regards to the East China Sea. The Senkakou/Diayou had been contested by China and Japan due to the potential bemefits it could give to these two countries. They have reached an agreement before to form the maritime consultative mechanism back in 2012. However, the relations between the two had been in the rocks lately ever since Japan started its campaign for nationalism over the Senkakou. China is not the only one who had tense relations with Japan. In fact, until now, Korea still demands for Japan to be responsible over their involvement on Korean comfort women. The last talks about the maritime consultative mechanism were held in May 2012. People fear that there might be a conflict that could arise due to the lack of communication between China and Japan for the last few years and an increase in patrol in the disputed area.

Relations between China and Japan went sour in 2012

Relations between China and Japan went sour in 2012

Communication between the two was renewed last year in September when the Chinese Foreign Minister for Boundary and Ocean Affairs Yi Xianliang and Japanese Foreign Minister for Boundary and Ocean Affairs Makita Shimokawa met and had discussions about the disputed islands. In that meeting the two representatives agreed in principle to resume the talks about maritime communication mechanism. The goal of Japan is to first secure the management mechanism by the end of 2015. The renewed relations allows for a better communication lines through the discussion about the technical details, including what common radio frequency vessels and aircraft from both sides should use in the area surrounding the disputed islands.

Images by AP and Pichi Chuang

China on the Sony cyber attack

Sony Hacking incident

Sony Hacking incident

The hacking of Sony Pictures last December has been done by the North Korea. This was in response to the release of the Interview, which tries to mock the North Korean government. United States officials believe that North Korean government orchestrated the cyber attack. President Obama called for China to help out in preventing future cyber attacks from North Korea. The United States government wants a blocking action “something that would cripple their efforts to carry out attacks”. The reason why the United States is seeking the help of China is that North Korea’s telecommunications networks are closely linked to China. Majority of Chinese companies operate almost all of North Korea’s networks. The United States officials believe North Korea often either routes its hacking attempts through Chinese servers or sends hackers to China to conduct operations.

Chinese officials doesn't want to help US

Chinese officials doesn’t want to help US

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying denounced the Sony attack saying to reporters that “China is against all forms of cyber attacks and cyber terrorism, including cyber attacks launched by any country or individual by using facilities beyond its own national borders against a third country.” This statement assures that the Chinese did not help out North Korea in conducting the cyber attack. The Chinese Foreign Minister is believed to be communicating with Secretary of State John Kerry about the cyber security issues. However China did not state whether or not they would help out United States with regards to stopping North Korea. They just question the claim of United States on the involvement of North Korea on Sony cyber attack. In the statement made by the foreign minister “We need sufficient evidence before drawing any conclusion,”. North Korea has denied any involvement in the hacking attack. They said in a statement “We do not know who or where they are but we can surely say that they are supporters and sympathizers with the DPRK,”.

Images by Reuters and Jason Lee

China-South Korea Bilateral partnership

Improvement on China-South Korea relations

Improvement on China-South Korea relations

Over the past few months ,we have seen the improvement in relations of China and South Korea. It has been surprising for some because of the differences in the ideology of South Korea and China. In fact it is more apt for South Korea to Japan however this is not the case. The three countries in East Asia had been disputing due to the changing of some historical narratives. China had been siding with South Korea with regards to the atrocities made by Japan during the World War II. This endangers the situation in East Asia because it allows China to establish a stable partnership with South Korea. China however is perfectly playing the act of diplomacy. After fixing its relations with Japan last September when they agreed in principle over the way to improve communication lines, China has further strengthen its relations with South Korea. The two countries decided to move towards launching a free trade area. In the news released by the Xinhua News Agency, the agreement is to “enhance bilateral market connectivity and all-round communication”. It is expected to become into force in the second half of this year.

 

Minister Yang Yihang

Minister Yang Yihang

The talks over the creation of the free trade area started last May 2012. Over the years, both countries have presented their particular needs and then agreed to proposed measures. The talks concluded just last November. Both sides have already reached agreements covering sectors including services, investment, finance and communication according to the Chinese Minister of Commerce, Yang Yihang. According to the minister, when he had conducted talks in a China-South Korea industrial cooperation, the agreements would provide fresh opportunities for bilateral enterprises and market connectivity. Minister Yang proposed to continue promoting bilateral investment in advanced manufacturing, film, and TV production, cultural creativity and medical care. South Korean trade official Hong Chang said how they look forward with this bilateral agreement and believes FTA would boost bilateral investment in tourism, logistics and encourage increased cooperation in renewable energy, environmental protection and the automotive industry.

Images by RFA and Ministry of Commerce

Messaging Apps

More from the youth are increasingly consuming the product.

More from the youth are increasingly consuming the product.

Messaging apps are becoming more famous in the world right now. In fact a number of users of mobile voice-over-internet protocol (mVoIP) is set to reach 1 billion by 2017 (or one in seven subscribers), according to Juniper Research. These apps are also known as over-the-top services, it allows consumers to bypass traditional voice calls and text messaging. Unfortunately it is slowly disrupting the telecommunications ecosystem. People are attracted in using these particular apps because of the various features it offers to users. It is in fact less costly and even more efficient in sending your messages to your loved ones. It also allows for an easier connection to users who would love to communicate in-group messages. According to Arthur Little that the mVoIP market will increase between $14-100 billion in 2016 (2 to 20% of total voice revenues). This would leave the other forms of messaging and voice calls to be in danger from this type of apps. Skype was already deemed to be “the most powerful disruptive force”. Traditional SMS messaging is already on the decline the developed world.

China had one of the biggest population of mobile phone usage.

China had one of the biggest population of mobile phone usage.

In October 2014, Whatsapp, created by Brian Acton and Jan Koum, became the most globally popular messaging app with more than 600 million active users. In India Whatsapp have about 70 million users. Then the Chinese created WeChat. It has about 468 million active users. It has been popular in Asian countries. Viber follows WeChat with having 209 million active users. Japan also created its own messaging app which is LINE (with around 170 million active users). This instant messaging app for smartphones operates under a subscription business model enables users to use the internet to transmit communication. In addition to text messaging, it can be used to send images, videos and audio media messages. Locations can also be shared through the use of integrated mapping features.

Images by Business Week and China Daily

 

Chinese shutting foreign firms

Chinese officials shutting down foreign firms

Chinese officials shutting down foreign firms

The Chinese government is seeking to eliminate foreign tech firms by 2020. They want to let Chinese technologies to prosper in China. They want these domestic companies to have a place in banks, state-owned enterprises, key government agencies and the military. According to the report of Bloomberg China has been campaigning to strengthen domestic companies ever since. This report proves that China was looking to replace foreign technology firms with domestic ones, both for security reasons and as a part of China’s push to ramp up domestic innovation in the high-tech sector. The administration of President Xi Jinping has been seeking to give Chinese Internet users a secure connection. They have started to call for the development of domestic technologies and ensuring cyber security back in February 2014. They think that these two things are crucial parts of China’s cyber strategy moving forward. President Xi believes that China could only best attain cyber power when they develop their own technology.

Chinese users offered with domestic products

Chinese users offered with domestic products

It has been an urgent goal for China ever since Edward Snowden revealed the US cyber espionage on Chinese institutions. It became clear for Chinese to not rely on foreign firms like Microsoft and IBM for its technology needs. It seems that it would not be impossible for China to strengthen its domestic technology due to the past developments. They are confident that the domestic alternatives available could potentially match the needs of Chinese Internet users. Beijing banned the use of Windows 8 on government computers and encouraged Chinese banks to switch away from IBM servers. Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, and other firms came under heavy fire as national security risks. The Chinese government had done this due to the indictment of five PLA officers on charges of economic espionage. Part of China’s plan to strengthen its economy is to not rely on top global brands.

Images by Pang Xinglei

Change for international Internet users

Usage of Internet

Usage of Internet

China just recently hosted the first World Internet Conference wherein they introduced Internet czar Lu Wei to the international community. In the conference, Lu Wei took advantage the situation by introducing his international agenda. Lu Wei has been interested in trying to expand his engagement towards foreign regulators and companies. He has been an established figure in the Internet community of China. He focused on engaging with domestic agencies and online service and information for the first two years. Lu wants to establish a national Internet sovereignty, international adoption of the Chinese regulatory model and continued gate keeping of international online companies. This proposal would be difficult for Hong Kong citizens due to the controlling of international Internet information.

CEO of Alibaba

CEO of Alibaba

It is not going to be difficult for Lu to implement such plan in the Chinese Internet community. He has close ties with President Xi Jinping and the Party. This means that his proposal could represent what the Party wants in the international stage. International community will not be able to write him off due to his influence. Other Chinese online giants such as Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent are also supporters of the Party for the last two years. They agree with what Lu Wei wants for the future of the online world. It has been easier for the Chinese Internet to develop into something that government’s agenda are aligned with. It poses a threat to foreign companies or regulators who would want to push China to play the online game on their terms.

Lu Wei’s agenda would be trying to establish international recognition for China’s sovereignty over its own cyberspace. It would be difficult for companies and government to endorse China’s right to continue to regulate. The second objective would be taking China’s national sovereignty global. It aims to build credence for the broader global adoption of a Chinese styled regulatory environment. Lu promised that it will make Internet safe for users, government and corporate entities.

Images by CNME and Reuters