Countering Myanmar

 

Myanmar Air Force

Chinese media reported that air strikes conducted by the Myanmar Air Force, purportedly in their efforts to suppress ethnic Chinese Kokang rebels in the country’s northeast, mistakenly struck a sugarcane field across the border in China’s Yunnan province, killing four and wounding an additional nine. The incident represents the most serious cross-border escalation of Myanmar’s internal crisis and has drawn a sharp reaction from China, which warned Myanmar as early as March 10 to ensure that no bombs cross the border. On March 14, members of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army establishment chimed in with their views on the situation. As expected, senior PLA officials were outraged and expressed, in no uncertain terms, the need for Myanmar to treat this situation seriously. This has been causing panic towards people affected in the sudden attack of Myanmar.

General Fan Chanlong

General Fan Changlong, vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC), China’s apex military leadership body, told Min Aung Hlaing, the commander-in-chief of Myanmar’s armed forces, that the situation was entirely unacceptable and that Myanmar ought to “seriously control” its military. Fan additionally told the Burmese commander that such an incident could never be allowed to take place again. Beyond his condemnation of the Myanmar armed forces, Fan continued and issued a warning, noting that should Chinese civilians face harm as a result of Myanmar armed forces’ actions, the “Chinese military will take resolute measures to protect the safety of Chinese people and their assets.” The statement of General Changlong suggests that the PLA could move to make a military action against Myanmar. This is going to be difficult especially the longstanding relationship of Myanmar and China. The fighting in northeastern Myanmar is beginning to spiral out of control for China. For the past few weeks, over 30,000 Myanmar citizens, most ethnically Chinese, crossed the border into Yunnan, seeking refuge from the fighting. The Myanmar government has additionally accused China of providing covert intelligence and material assistance to the Kokang rebels — a charge China has vehemently denied. Recently, a Chinese general was sacked as part of Xi Jinping’s sweeping anti-corruption campaign in the military after he was accused of leaking state secrets to the Kokang rebels back in 2009.

Images by Wikipedia

China’s oil reserve

Crude oil reserve base

The Chinese media supports the need to boost China’s oil reserves following comments by President Xi Jinping on the need to “safeguard the country’s energy security”.In remarks to senior officials on Tuesday, Mr Xi called for work to improve China’s oil reserve systems to be speeded up.He also urged close monitoring of the global energy market, the accelerated development of non-conventional forms of energy and reforms to gas, oil and energy pricing, according to the official news agency Xinhua. There would be a need for China to look for ways in improving their oil reserve systems for they are heavily reliant on it. The China Daily reports that China quickly ramped up crude oil imports for its strategic reserves last year, when world oil prices started to plunge.

China’s oil demand is high

Lin Boqiang, an energy expert with Xiamen University, tells the China News Service that the country needs to seize the opportunity of low prices to boost reserves, while working to increase its own influence over international oil prices.A commentary in the Haiwai Net, however, notes that the oil sector in China is monopolized by state-owned companies, leading to corruption, and suggests the state “loosen some of its grip” on the market. The continuous dipping of oil prices endangers the oil reserves. China is also concern in trying to reduce its reliance from oil. China has been looking for other countries producing it and not only relying to the main producers of oil. China has been protecting their oil-sources such as Nigeria. However the country is suffering from the increasing presence of militants in their country. This prompted China into giving out help in order to sustain the partnership between the two when it comes to oil. Nigeria’s economy heavily relies on oil. China would also need to try to reduce its usage of oil because of the need to reduce the pollution produced by the industries. It is still unclear how China would survive the scuffle but at the very least it looks favorable for them.

Images by China Daily and Ejinsite

China’s military parade

China’s military parade

Newspapers have denied the allegations that China targeted Japan during its military parade. Several media outlets are abuzz with discussion about the parade after an article in the People’s Daily revealed that China will hold a ceremony to demonstrate its military might while marking the 70th anniversary of World War Two.The article says that the parade will “show China’s determination to maintain the post-war world order” and also prove to be a “deterrence force against Japan”. Describing the wide attention over the news as a “fuss” and “farce”, a China Daily article stresses that China is a “peace-loving country” and says the parade is “not aimed at planting hatred”.”China has no intention to taunt Japan by showing off its military might, even when Japanese politicians’ words and actions have intensified tensions in East Asia,” says the daily. The paper has been trying to protect any wrongdoings being done by the Chinese government. The paper reminds readers that Japanese politicians have attempted to “whitewash Japan’s war crimes in past years”.

China has been growing closer to South Korea

 

China and Japan are currently fighting over a territory, Senkakou Islands. Beijing also accuses Tokyo of glossing over its war actions.China’s papers have cast doubt over Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s sincerity after he pledged earlier this month that he would “express remorse” over wartime history.Echoing similar sentiments, experts tell the Global Times that the parade will “send a signal to Japan to not stray from the pacifist path”. A Global Times editorial expects the scale of the parade to be smaller than the National Day military parade held once every 10 years.A large-scale parade was last held in 2009, marking the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.”While the National Day military parade should keep an authoritative display of China’s defensive power… the anti-fascist parade must stress the interconnection between China’s military power and the determination to keep world peace,” it says.

Images by Joe Chan and China Daily

 

Media Diplomacy

Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping set to meet in May

The relations between China and India have been improving due to the increase in economic activities done by both countries. The two countries have been benefitting from the economic growth the other is experiencing. In fact Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi plans to visit China in May. The preparations have already started and Chinese President Xi Jinping met Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj. The meeting of the president and the foreign minister has been deemed by the media to be rare. This is because a top Chinese leader had never took the time to meet up with a visiting foreign minister ever before. Foreign Minister Swaraj also met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrovas part of the RIC (Russia, India, China) group’s summit.

India and Vietnam improving their relations

The Xinhua News Agency saw the diplomacy being done by India as “pragmatic” and one which has the “intention to seek a balance”. India is known for attempting to increase its influence in the global arena. Xinhua Agency sees such pragmatic move of India is seen to be strategic. This move would allow India to branch out its networks aside from looking to Western countries. India has been trying to improve its relations with its neighbors. There are speculations that China has been insecure and anxious of the growing strength of India. However, the Chinese edition of the Global Times dismisses such assumptions. The meeting happened right after the clear display of good relations of United States and India when President Barack Obama visited India. India is also trying to branch out its relations to Southeast Asia. India had expanded their strategic partnership from energy and trade to defense and space. India views Vietnam as an essential partner for its Act East Policy. Vietnam is also trying to strengthen its position by trying to give reparations for the Vietnam comfort women.

Images by: Tibetan Review and MEA photo gallery

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

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

 

China’s over control

China's daily publications

China’s daily publications

China has been on the verge of emerging its political discussion with the media. Chinese officials are more willing to get opinions from the majority in order to improve its services. Such action is commendable for the ability of the Chinese people to be nor involve in the various issues which has an implication on their lives. Majority of the time in history people have not been able to dissent from various laws being passed by the government. The participation of the public has only been up to knowing the law after it was passed by the government. What was more harmful is the fact that some information has been distorted or the truth has been concealed from the many. Only those who were directly affected know the truth about some questionable actions of the government.

 

Chinese media

Chinese media

Public officials have made sure that the public will be unable to influence other people in terms of how they view the government. It was important for them that the image of the government will not he tarnished by some rumors spread by people who are angry at the government. Some human rights violations were hidden from the public despite the importance of them knowing. The government even silenced unknown critics of the officials through employing people who would monitor the internet. Anywhere the government has been able to infiltrate the media. The rising trend of activists however is resorting into going to SMS, government regulated forum or leftist media. People who would dissent are already growing in numbers. There are various exposes done by the activists. The government makes sure that they look like a fool. Discredit whatever grievances they have against the government. This doesn’t benefit people into making it known to the people the government’s faults. Thus, the necessity for some people to brave out into various platforms.

Images by China Digital Times and CNN

Platforms for Public Opinion

There are multiple platforms for political discussion

There are multiple platforms for political discussion

The suppression of information by the Chinese government would no longer work at the present time due to the ability of the public to obtain information through different means. The people have now different platforms wherein they could obtain information. Such information is important in facilitating a discussion that could help shape the discourse over a certain issue. Government does not have the full control over issues such as implementation of law. People could get to monitor the government’s implementation and even coming up with a certain law. In the involvement of the public the government is now more careful with their actions. Although majority of the time people would be disregarded. At the very least, people could now have avenue to express themselves.

Political communication in China

Political communication in China

Discussion could happen in online blogs. This is a popular platform among activists. Blogging is an easy way to publish articles with little interception from the government. It allows for a faster way of publishing valuable information. In addition to the publication of articles, blog sites has an added feature of providing online forums to people. The free exchange of idea gives the author a network of people who has the same political opinions. In here it allows for people to come together and come up with a more coherent argument against a particular political issue. Another outlet could be the Chinese version of Twitter. Such platform allows a faster exchange of information.Unlike the blog sites, the Chinese version of Twitter lets you establish first your network. It also gives you more audience to read such opinion in an instant. However, it limits the words you get to publish. The advantage is that you could give a live feedback of a fresh issue happening in an instant. Lastly, people could brave out to traditional newspapers. In here it provided more legitimacy to the publisher.

Images by Conquer China and China Sourcing

Increasing importance of blogs

Blogging has been important platform to criticize the government

Blogging has been important platform to criticize the government

The proliferation of news sharing in various blogs has been helpful towards making Chinese citizens informed. However there have been claims wherein newspapers is still the most important source of information. The availability of such sources to Chinese citizens plays a role on increasing their knowledge. The role of online media is still at its early forms. It has just begun playing an important role in Chinese politics in 2003. Daily newspapers in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou have constantly criticizing the Chinese government since the 1980s. Newspapers have been publishing extensive analysis of the different actions done by the government.

Various political blog sites have been active since 2006

Various political blog sites have been active since 2006

Blogging has gained its popularity in China last 2006. Bloggers have increased to 16 million, which is 32 times the number of blogs in early 2005. Just like newspapers, blogs also publish criticisms towards government officials and their various policies. The difference of blog from newspapers is the ability of writers to voice out their criticisms without the pressure of a publisher dictating the content. Bloggers does not have any incentive to prioritize the welfare of the media agency. They do not depend upon the direction that the company dictates them to write about. In fact bloggers have the ability to write about anything and also publish their posts whenever they want.

It is interesting for readers to see such articles because majority of bloggers publish controversial claims against the government. Such sites are not immune from the potential backlash of the government. The blog could still go down however the creators could just easily put up another site and publish again. Newspapers do not have the luxury to anger the government that much because of the fear of them getting close down or possibly journalists getting fired for writing controversial articles. In the end, the ability to read out various opinions by Chinese citizens is greatly needed in today’s political landscape.

 

Images by Political System and Elizabeth Dalziel

Impact of Political Blogs

Chinese officials conducting online chats to answer questions about the government

Chinese officials conducting online chats to answer questions about the government

Chinese government officials recognize the value of allowing political debates to take place in the Internet. Despite the limitations of the government in the usage of the Internet, it has been a place wherein different conception of values such as industrialization, urbanization and liberalization developed. The Party knows the importance of allowing public opinion to continuously be published in various websites. Thus, the Party has been working on trying to also include forums on the websites of the provincial, municipal and central government.

Chinese officials has been widely criticize for its censorship

Chinese officials has been widely criticize for its censorship

In the past, Chinese officials created a program wherein Internet users were given the opportunity to speak directly to the head of the state at the time, Hu Jintao. Users sent our inquiries in advanced and then the government chose most of the topics being talked about by the writers. Then such topics were discussed in a real-time online chat room. It has attracted so many viewers that it crashed the web site. Hu Jintao talked about how it was important to address various comments and suggestions regarding Party business. Such comments allow officials to formulate government policies. This move was claimed to be a strategic move of the Party to maintain its influence over the Internet community. It was a way of appeasing the users to decrease the animosity against the government and make them feel how their views are important to the officials.

Despite claims of the Internet not influencing the decision making of the central government, there has been one significant event that had an impact in the political decisions. During the announcement of the pre-installed filter software in summer 2009, Chinese bloggers immediately counter against such policy. The software, which was called the Green Dam Youth, was said to protect children and young people from international criticism. Due to the magnitude of the protest, the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Technology abandoned such plans. This shows the importance of online sites in voicing out your views in various policies.

Images by Pang Xinglei and Andy Wong