September 29, 2018

‘Doomsday chemical’ seized, ‘US-hating’ scholar arrested

Pradip Thakur | TNN | Updated: Sep 30, 2018, 04:09 IST

TNNPhoto used for representational purpose


Nine kilograms of a deadly synthetic opioid, fentanyl, that could have potentially killed 4-5 million people, was recovered in an illegal laboratory in IndoreThe laboratory was run by a local businessman and a “US-hating” PhD “scholar chemist”The discovery has baffled scientists because manufacturing the drug requires the kind of expertise

NEW DELHI: In an operation spread over a week, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) with the help of a team of scientists from Defence Research & Development Establishment busted an illegal laboratory in 


 and recovered 9 kg of a deadly synthetic 



, that could have potentially killed 4-5 million people.

Run by a local businessman and a “US-hating” PhD “scholar chemist”, the fentanyl seizure, first in India, has raised security concerns in Delhi as the chemical can cause large-scale casualties if used in 

chemical warfare

, a scenario reminiscent of the plot in Alistair Maclean’s thriller “Satan Bug”. A Mexican national has also been arrested.

“Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than 


 and even inhaling its particles can be fatal. This is the first significant seizure of Fentanyl by any law enforcement agency in India. It is a landmark and unique seizure as DRI has been able to thwart first attempts to manufacture this toxic drug in India,” said D P Dash, DG, DRI.

The discovery has baffled scientists because manufacturing the drug requires the kind of expertise which is available only to trained scientists and high-end research laboratories. It is a controlled substance used with other medication for anaesthesia and pain relief.

The drug spreads easily. Absorbed through the skin or inhaled accidentally, just 2mg two milligrams of Fentanyl is enough to kill a person.

A team of experienced scientists dealing with protection against chemical and biological warfare were called from the DRDE, a defence laboratory of the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), to confirm and authenticate the seizure of Fentanyl last week.

A 100 times stronger than 


, the value of the narcotic seized is Rs 110 crore. Usually Fentanyl is trafficked by drug syndicates to US where it fetches a high street price and is sold as pills mixed with other chemicals.

Sources said, quoting estimates made by US authorities, that more than 20,000 people have died by overdose of Fentanyl in US in 2016. “The common street names of Fantanyl pills is Apache, China Girl, China Town,” said agency sources.

Recently, the Mexican drug cartels have started using India as a base to manufacture the lethal drug, shifting operations from China where a crackdown has begun.

Indian authorities are tracking the procurement of precursor chemical 4ANPP which is used to manufacture the deadly Fentanyl. Till recently it was smuggled from China but it is not known how this has infiltrated into the illegal Indian market. “If 4ANPP is not available, Fentanyl can be manufactured using another precursor chemical NPP but it requires advanced skills,” sources said.

Machine Learning Algorithms and Police Decision-Making: Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Challenges


Alexander Babuta, Marion Oswald and Christine Rinik
Whitehall Reports, 21 September 2018

This report seeks to critically assess the use of machine learning algorithms for policing, and provide practical recommendations designed to contribute to the fast-moving debate over policy and governance in this area.

 Download the report here

Executive Summary

This report explores the applications of machine learning algorithms to police decision-making, specifically in relation to predictions of individuals’ proclivity for future crime. In particular, it examines legal, ethical and regulatory challenges posed by the deployment of such tools within an operational policing environment.

In the UK, the use of machine learning algorithms to support police decision-making is in its infancy, and there is a lack of research examining how the use of an algorithm influences officers’ decision-making in practice. Moreover, there is a limited evidence base on the efficacy and efficiency of different systems, their cost-effectiveness, their impact on individual rights and the extent to which they serve valid policing aims. Limited, localised trials should be conducted and comprehensively evaluated to build such an evidence base before moving ahead with large-scale deployment of such tools. 

There is a lack of clear guidance and codes of practice outlining appropriate constraints governing how police forces should trial predictive algorithmic tools. This should be addressed as a matter of urgency to enable police forces to trial new technologies in accordance with data protection legislation, respect for human rights and administrative law principles.

While machine learning algorithms are currently being used for limited policing purposes, there is potential for the technology to do much more, and the lack of a regulatory and governance framework for its use is concerning. A new regulatory framework is needed, one which establishes minimum standards around issues such as transparency and intelligibility, the potential effects of the incorporation of an algorithm into a decision-making process, and relevant ethical issues. A formalised system of scrutiny and oversight, including an inspection role for Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services, is necessary to ensure adherence to this new framework. 

There are various issues concerning procurement contracts between the police and private sector suppliers of predictive policing technology. It is suggested that all relevant public procurement agreements for machine learning algorithms should explicitly require that it be possible to retroactively deconstruct the algorithm in order to assess which factors influenced the model’s predictions, along with a requirement for the supplier to be able to provide an expert witness who can provide details concerning the algorithm’s operation if needed, for instance in an evidential context. 

The legal and ethical issues concerning the use of machine learning algorithms for policing are complex and highly context-dependent. Machine learning algorithms require constant attention and vigilance to ensure that the predictions they provide are as accurate and as unbiased as possible, and that any irregularities are addressed as soon as they arise. For this reason, multidisciplinary local ethics boards should be established to scrutinise and assess each case of algorithmic implementation for policing. Such boards should consist of a combination of practitioners and academics, and should provide recommendations to individual forces for practice, strategy and policy decisions relating to the use of algorithms. 

A collaborative, multidisciplinary approach is needed to address the complex issues raised by the use of machine learning algorithms for decision-making. At the national level, a working group consisting of members from the fields of policing, computer science, law and ethics should be tasked with sharing ‘real-world’ innovations and challenges, examining operational requirements for new algorithms within policing, with a view to setting out the relevant parameters and requirements, and considering the appropriate selection of training and test data. 

Officers may need to be equipped with a new skill set to effectively understand, deploy and interpret algorithmic tools in combination with their professional expertise, and to make assessments of risk using an algorithmically generated forecast. It is essential that the officers using the technology are sufficiently trained to do so in a fair and responsible way and are able to act upon algorithmic predictions in a way that maintains their discretion and professional judgement.

BANNER IMAGE: Courtesy of Pexels/Florian Weihmann


September 28, 2018


4:48 PM 09/28/2018

Lawrence Sellin | Retired Colonel, U.S. Army Reserve


During his recent visit to Saudi Arabia, newly-elected Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan invitedthe kingdom to become the third major partner in the Beijing-funded, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

If accepted, it would be a strategic game-changer.

BRI, China’s blueprint for global domination, is a development plan; a program of infrastructure projects and a network of commercial agreements designed to link the world directly to the Chinese economy through inter-connected land-based and maritime routes.

BRI is soft power projection with an underlying hard power component, a comprehensive China-centered economic, financial and geopolitical web with far-reaching, cascading consequences affecting American national interests. It is not just resource acquisition or utilization of China’s industrial over-capacity, but its projects are specifically designed to ensure economic and, eventually, military supremacy.

CPEC, the linchpin of BRI, provides a major transportation route that connects China to the Pakistani ports of Gwadar and Karachi on the Arabian Sea.

Pakistan has asked Saudi Arabia to establish an ‘oil city’ in its southwestern province of Balochistan, preferably in Gwadar, to secure China’s oil and gas supply from the Middle East and the Persian Gulf to its western regions, particularly Xinjiang.

Probably linked to that objective, is China’s plan to establish a naval base on the Jiwani peninsula, just west of Gwadar and within easy reach of the strategically important Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. That military facility would complement China’s already operational naval base in Djibouti located at another strategic chokepoint, the entrance to the Suez Canal.

No doubt Saudi Arabia views an investment in CPEC within the context of its conflict with Iran, but it largely ignores the cascading geopolitical consequences for the United States, especially in regard to China’s ambition for global hegemony.

In the short term, such a move would make the U.S. negotiating position in Afghanistan even weaker than it already is. In the long term, Saudi participation in CPEC could ensure its success and, therefore, contribute to China’s domination of South Asia.

China is pursuing opportunities to displace the U.S. from Afghanistan and remove American influence from South Asia, which China sees as an obstacle to BRI expansion.

China is already Afghanistan’s biggest investor. In 2007, it took a $3 billion, 30-year lease for the Aynak copper mine. China and Pakistan have offered to extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan. Some have concluded that the CPEC invitation was a prelude to positioning China as a mediator to end the Afghan conflict.

In that regard, a second meetingof the foreign ministers of Afghanistan, Pakistan and China will be held in Kabul in the near future, the first having occurred less than a year ago in Beijing. Although not officially announced, expect the Taliban to become involved in the Chinese-led negotiations, based on the secret meetings between the Taliban and China conducted in Beijing during the past year.

There have also been a flurry of events reflecting growing Afghan-Chinese ties.

Afghan Second Vice President Sarwar Danish recently stated that Afghanistan and China will become a connecting point for Europe, Africa and Asia through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

In late August, a 12-member Chinese high-level delegation metthe newly appointed Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib and Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Hekmat Khalil Karzai in the Afghan capital to discuss bilateral cooperation in counterinsurgency and economic matters.

During that meeting, the Chinese asked the Afghans to sign a security agreement to train Afghan forces, presumably as part of the proposed Chinese military facilityin Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province and the deployment of hundreds of Chinese troops there, all of which can be linked to the objectives of BRI.

The enormous geopolitical challenges posed by the rapidly changing strategic conditions in South Asia begs the question: Is U.S. policy about to be overtaken by events?

Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired US Army Reserve colonel, an IT command and control subject matter expert, trained in Arabic and Kurdish, and a veteran of Afghanistan, northern Iraq and a humanitarian mission to West Africa. 

‘Screws that never rust’ — top state media stories today

The Global Times English website today highlights a story about Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 saying China will unswervingly support the private sector, recycled from yesterday’s feed. However, there is this interesting story about the commemoration of foreign organ donors in China.

Xinhua’s English and Chinese home pages and the People’s Daily lead with a similar report on a Xi speech at the end of his short tour of the northeastern Heilongjiang, Liaoning, and Jilin provinces.

Global Times’ Chinese-language site has gone full retro Communist today, with the top headline: “Xi Jinping urges us to become ‘screws that never rust’” (习近平号召“做一颗永不生锈的螺丝 Xí Jìnpíng hàozhào “zuò yī kē yǒng bù shēng xiù de luósīdīng”).

“Screws that never rust” is, of course, a reference to everyone’s favorite Communist boy scout, devoted Maoist, and semi-fictional soldier: Léi Fēng 雷锋, the original revolutionary screw that never rusted.

Xi went to Lei Feng’s “second hometown” of Fushun, Liaoning, where he visited the Lei Feng Memorial Hall and said that the Lei Feng spirit is eternal, and that Party members should integrate his lofty ideals into their daily work life, and be screws that never rust in service of the people.Who exactly is Lei Feng? The story is that he was orphaned at a young age. He had a short life of good socialist deeds, selfless devotion to Chairman Máo Zédōng 毛泽东, and service to a transport brigade of the People’s Liberation Army. Then Lei was killed at the age of 21 by a falling telephone pole.Lei Feng’s Diary 雷锋日记 was published in 1963 and the “Learn from Lei Feng” propaganda campaign began in earnest.The Lei Feng propaganda engine has been revved up periodically since then. See, for example, these links (all to my old website,, except where noted):2006 Lei Feng to star in internet game2007 Another year, another Lei Feng2009 Lei Feng an 60th Anniversary FashionLei Feng heritage for the whole world2010 Kneel before Lei Feng2012 The legacy of Lei Feng / CCTV2014 China strength / CCTV

Why now? It’s not March 5, the traditional Lei Feng remembrance day. And that Global Times story is originally from Xinhua, so the Lei Feng stuff is coming from the central propaganda authorities, not just from a Global Times columnist. I can speculate on two reasons, aside from the fact that Xi happened to be in the northeast near the “birthplace of Lei Feng Spirit.” Let me be frank, I’m just dumping my thoughts here:

1. “Martyrs’ Day” falls this weekend.

Xinhua reports that senior Party leaders “will pay tribute and lay flowers at the Monument to the People's Heroes in Tiananmen Square on Sunday morning.”

Martyrs’ Day was inaugurated on September 30, 2014, “to commemorate those who lost their lives for national independence and prosperity.” That year, an official told the New York Times (porous paywall) that “the holiday should help people remember their history.” However, the same article said that “some analysts see the holiday as part of an effort by the Communist Party to enshrine itself as the nation’s guardian against invaders and as the arbiter of who is considered a martyr.”

Resuscitating the old Fengster seems of a piece with the Martyrs’ Day coverage and propaganda we can expect this week.

2. Preparing for tough times

Lei Feng was promoted as a selfless hero during some tough times: Nobody but a tiny privileged few in China in the 1960s lived in material comfort. Perhaps, with economic clouds ahead, Xi is warning Party members to prepare for some suffering.

Other Lei Feng oddities (if you have not had enough of Lei Feng yet):

You can't be Lei Feng all the time /
“You can only come here to learn from Lei Feng when the government organizes you to do so. If they don't organize you to learn from Lei Feng then you can't come. Learning from Lei Feng is not something you can do anytime you wish."A Chinese propaganda icon loses a layer of myth / NYT (porous paywall)
“Among the stories that have filled Chinese newspaper and television reports daily is one claiming that even cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point are studying Lei Feng.”Lei Feng condoms / Asia Sentinel via Google CacheWhy are there so many freakin' photographs and stories about Lei Feng?/

—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief

AXIOS: but global supply lines are entangled

Huangpu port in China. Photo: VCG/Getty Images


As Axios' Erica Pandey wrote earlier this week, the Trump administration is not only seeking what it calls fairer trade with Beijing, but much more — to upend the bedrock of the Chinese economy by forcing out the chain of manufacturing supply from the country, and pushing it elsewhere.

Why it matters: There are doubts about this end game of Trump's trade war. After decades of development and tens of millions of dollars of investment, few U.S. companies seem likely to move their manufacturing facilities out of China.

"It can’t be a replay of the Cold War division between the West and the Soviet Union — industries were nationally based back then and innovation wasn’t global.  All this changed after 1990."

— Jim Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies

China has been the world's biggest exporter for almost two decades and has poured millions into its logistics network so global companies can quickly move goods from factories to cargo ships. China also has one of the best-trained manufacturing workforces in the world.

U.S. companies can consider moving production from China to Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam or elsewhere — both to dodge tariffs and avoid the threat of intellectual property theft, But elsewhere, they face other disadvantages like dirt roads between factories and ports and inexperienced workers, the New York Times reports.And China has levers to make sure it isn't frozen out of global supply chains, Lewis says. For example, it could threaten to take away a foreign company's access to its massive market.

Yes, but: Some companies are at least putting a halt to new Chinese production capacity.

Feng Tay Enterprises, a Taiwanese footwear manufacturer that services Nike and Adidas, stopped building up Chinese production over 10 years ago, per Nikkei Asian Review. It's now adding capacity in India and Southeast Asia.Foxconn, the iPhone and laptop maker, earned kudosfrom Washington for promising to bring a chunk of production to Wisconsin.

What to watch: If a few big names try to cut reliance on China — even if they don't move out entirely — Xi could make concessions to avoid disrupting the interconnected supply chain.

For now, that's unlikely to happen with Xi. "He’s overestimated China’s ability to make advanced technology without Western help, but it will take a while for him to admit this," Lewis says

Hyderabad Lancers did India proud at Haifa

K. S. S. Seshan06 OCTOBER 2017 , The Hindu


Unlike most British battles during World War I, the one at Haifa, in present Israel, was fought by Cavalry of Indian Native States and not the British army

The visit of Indian Prime minister to Israel, particularly to the cemetery of Indian soldiers at Haifa, the third largest city in Israel, revived memories of the role of Hyderabad’s Lancers Regiment in the liberation of the region from the clutches of the Ottoman Turks in 1918, during the course of World War I.

The Hyderabad Lancers along with the Mysore and Jodhpur Lancers went along with the British Indian Regiments and brought laurels to India by achieving a stunning victory at the battle of Haifa in September, 1918.

The capture of Haifa was of great significance to the allied powers for, the Ottomans, though supported by the Nazis, suffered an irreparable setback and the region, now Israel, got rid of four centuries of oppressive Ottoman occupation.

When the First World War broke out in 1914, England declared Egypt as its protectorate. Therefore it was the responsibility of the allied powers to safeguard Suez canal, the lifeline for the British ships to reach India.

England decided to send a contingent of troops to the Middle East to protect its interests from the surging German invaders.

A large Indian cavalry brigade along with armies of few Native States was constituted to fight the combined forces of Turks and the Nazis in the Middle East.

The three Indian native states that sent their armies were Hyderabad, Mysore and Jodhpur. These armies were of Lancers as those mounted army men normally used spear-like lances and swords as their weapons.

The Hyderabad Lancers along with Mysore and Jodhpur formed part of the 15th Imperial Special Cavalry Division under the command of General Arthur Watson.

The entire Indian brigade with the horses, in a convoy of seven ships, left Bombay [Mumbai] in November, 1914 and after embarking in Suez, moved to Moascar where it underwent systematic war training.

In early February, 1915, a contingent of Hyderabad Lancers under Major Mirza Kader Beg is reported to have successfully destroyed the water supply line used by the Turks, causing great dislocation to the enemy.

In November, 1917, the Hyderabad contingent was entrusted with the task of pursuing the enemy during which large amounts of arms and ammunition of the Turks were captured. Hyderabad soldiers were engaged in heavy fighting in the hills around Jerusalem.

In appreciation of the way the Hyderabad Lancers fought, General Harboard, the Corps Commander, in a letter to the Commander of Hyderabad forces wrote: “They were often under heavy fire, but I did not see a single instance of shirking or alarm. In fact they acquitted themselves as old and tried soldiers should, and made me proud to command them”.

There was, by then, nearly 12 thousand German and Turkish prisoners of war with the Indian contingent.

The task of transporting these POWs away from battle scene was entrusted to the Hyderabad Lancers in August 1918.

This enabled Jodhpur and Mysore Lancers to concentrate on the imminent engagement with the enemy. Hyderabad regiment was to oversee any rising on the way and establish communications for the rest of the army. It was a strategy hit upon by Edmund Allenby, the British commander. On 23 September, the Indian troops led by Major Dalpat Singh charged the Turkish positions and successfully captured Haifa the major port city.

Forty-four Indian soldiers were martyred in the battle. It is in an Indian cemetery that these warriors lay buried at Haifa.

Every year on September 23, the Indian army celebrates ‘Haifa Day’ in remembrance of the battle of Haifa, one of the bravest battles of the First World War.

After successfully capturing Haifa, Indian contingents saw action in several other places in the Middle East. There are today nearly 800 graves of Indian soldiers who died in various battles during the war in present day Israel alone.

Among the Hyderabad Lancers, 12 warriors were killed in action. Four more members of the force died of wounds, seven went missing while 47 were wounded.

On their return to Hyderabad after the conclusion of the war, several in the contingent were decorated with honours.

Chief among them were Col. Sir Afsar-ul-Mulk, Major Ahmed Azamthulla, and Capt. Mirza Kadar Beg. Azamthulla was later conferred the prestigious Order of British India (OBI).

The names of the Hyderabad Lancers who laid their lives are mentioned along with the warriors of other regiments in the Teen Murthy memorial in New Delhi.

Teen Murthy Memorial

The memorial monument, facing Teen Murthy Bhavan, the erstwhile residence of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, in which the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) is set up, was built in 1922 to commemorate the services of the Lancer regiments of the native states, that formed part of the 15th Imperial Special Cavalry Brigade of the Indian army.

The three bronze statues of the warriors holding lances, in turbans and native uniforms, symbolise the brave men of Hyderabad, Mysore and Jodhpur who fought in the battle fields of Sinai, Palestine and Syria, besides Haifa.

In Hyderabad, a modest, but well-maintained memorial monument for the Lancer Regiment, indicating all the major battles it fought in Egypt, Palestine, Gaza and Suez, is set up at Muhammadi Lines (MD. Lines) near Golconda, where most of the descendants of the erstwhile Lancer Regiment, live.

Israel fondly remembers

After Israel became an independent country on 14 May, 1948, the nation remembers with gratitude the services rendered by the Indian army during World War.

Indian soldiers are lauded in the school text books in Israel for freeing Haifa city.

The Haifa Historical Society, an affiliate of the Israel Historical Society, has been engaged in researching and documenting the particulars of the role of Indian soldiers in this region.

There is yet another reason for the Israelites to remember the help of Indian soldiers during the war.

Immediately after the victory at Haifa, the Indian soldiers were also successful in rescuing the spiritual leader of the Bahai community, Abdul Baha.

Alarmed at his immense popularity, the Turkish authorities threatened to crucify Abdul Baha whom they had taken captive. But the In dian Lancers took the combined German-Turkish forces by surprise and in a flash attack secured the safety of the saint.

The magnificent Lotus temple in Delhi built by the Indian Bahai community and the followers of Abdul Baha is an expression of their gratitude to India and its brave soldiers.

The Hyderabad Lancers Regiment, after the conclusion of the war was renamed as Deccan Horse and for its exemplary performance, the suffix, Royal was added. In 1950, after India became a Republic, the Hyderabad Lancer Regiment, however, was disbanded.

Probable petitions in the Supreme Court in the days to come!

🤐 Footwear should be allowed inside the temple.

🤐 The definition of the word "sanctum", "sacred" etc to be reviewed & redefined.

🤐 Devotees should be able to offer Puja 24x7

🤐 Garbagruha should be expanded so that it can include, one & all.

🤐No restrictions on the type of clothing to be worn inside the temple


SC decides who will enter

1b. Masjids/Haji Ali/polygamy/3 Talaq/Halala/Sharia - Internal matter of Ms

2a. Height of Dahi Handi - SC will give you inch tape

2b. Slow & painful Halal slaughter of animals - Internal matter of Ms

3a. DJ on Ganesh Visarjan - Ganesh doesn't need DJ

3b. Loudspeakers from Masjids 5 times a day x 365 days - Their God has hearing issues. Internal matter of Ms

4a. Crackers on Diwali - SC will decide decibel limit, pollution and finally ban it

4b. Blood on Bakr Eid - Peaceful festivals are internal matter of Ms

5a. Durga Puja immersion - Water pollution, traffic jams

5b. Bloodshed on streets on Muharram - Internal matter of Ms

6a. Kashmiri Hindu massacre - SC doesn't have time to reopen 'old and irrelevant' cases

6b. Adultery - SC says there is nothing like adultery. All polygamous Jihadis must have right to target & trap Hindu married women and their kids.

Day is not far when

Massacre of Hindus is declared internal matter of Ms. Till then, enjoy IPL, Bollywood & 'we respect all religions'.

Courtesy: Suresh Babu svs

10 Years after Lehman – Does another Economic Crisis loom?

(Part 1)
What are the central causes of an economic crisis?

1 September 2018

Aditya Vyas / Unsplash – Unsplash License,

In September 2008, the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers triggered the worst economic slump since the global economic crisis in the 1930s. Both crises were triggered by the bursting of a speculative bubble and the associated stock market crash. Unfortunately, the basic conditions for such a crash are once again in place.  Learn in this post which factors lead to an economic crisis.

What is an economic crisis: Excess liquidity and bubbles

Economic crises are defined as sharp declines in production and employment, i.e. a decline in real gross domestic product (GDP) and an increase in unemployment. The abrupt and massive decline in GDP often follows a phase of strong economic recovery. This upswing is generally the result of exaggerated optimism about the future and high liquidity.

In short, an economic crisis is the result of a burst speculative bubble. The causes of this bubble can be very different: revolutionary innovations, real estate, equities, currencies of emerging economies, government bonds or precious metals. In the first documented bubble – the Dutch Tulip Mania (1634 to 1637) – tulip bulbs were the object of speculation and the cause of the ensuing crisis.

No matter what the object of speculation is: It is crucial that a critical number of investors believe that the purchase of a certain asset is worthwhile because over time there will be higher price that will result in an increase in the wealth of the investor.

In addition to these optimistic expectations, high liquidity is required. Liquidity can have different sources: an expansionary monetary policy by central banks, money supply through the system of commercial banks or permanent current account surpluses leading to corresponding currency reserves in the surplus countries. The only decisive factor is that the liquidity increases provide the monetary basis for a speculative bubble.

However, an endless rise in price rise is impossible. At some point investors no longer believe in further price increases. They sell the assets for which there are no more buyers. The result is a rapid fall in prices, i.e. the speculative bubble bursts.

Effects of a Stock market crash and economic slump

stock market crash leads to an every increasing cycle of declining production and employment:

The bursting of a speculative bubble is linked to a loss of wealth among those who own the object of the speculative bubble. and the consumption by them decreases. That declining consumer demand reduces the sales and profit prospects of companies in the consumer goods sector, causing their stock prices to fall, leading to a further loss of wealth and reduction in consumption.The general slump in stock prices causes a general crisis of confidence. The increasing uncertainty leads many consumers to save more for an uncertain future (saving for fear). This reduces consumer demand further.The crisis of confidence also affects confidence in the security of savings deposits. Customers withdraw their savings deposits and thus reduce the banks’ financing capabilities. Overall, credit lending declines because banks no longer trust that their loans will be repaid in the future.The crisis of confidence causes a decline in expected returns on upcoming investment projects. As a result, demand for machinery and production equipment falls.The decreasing willingness to provide loans reduces the supply of loans to the economy as a whole, so interest rates rise. Rising interest rates push down investment. The diminishing demand for capital goods reduces the sales and profit prospects of companies in the capital goods sector, limiting production and employment there.The general decline in demand for goods reduces overall economic production and GDP. This is accompanied by an increase in unemployment. As a result, income falls and consumer demand shrinks.In addition, investment declines because it is not worth expanding production capacities.The rise in unemployment causes the government to spend more money on social security. At the same time, tax and social contribution collection falls due to declining employment leading to a decline in government demand for goods.

As a result, the asset losses resulting from the bursting of a speculative bubble cause an economic downturn and an increase in unemployment (see Figure 1).

September 27, 2018

Tech Firms Are Boosting China’s Cyber Power

  Tech Firms Are Boosting China’s Cyber Power

Cooperation, often mandatory, carries risks as well as benefits.

by Sarah Cook 

Last fall, the Chinese Communist Party declared its goal of turning China into a “cyber superpower,” with improved capabilities and influence in areas ranging from domestic censorship to global internet governance. The regime has made important progress since then, often with the help of Chinese and foreign corporations. But these gains come with a cost, not only to human rights and internet freedom, but also to the cooperating technology firms’ profits and reputations.

Cutting-edge censorship and surveillance 

Some aspects of the government’s innovation drive have clear public benefits. In August, for example, state-owned China Unicom successfully launched and tested its first high-speed 5G mobile network in Beijing, which it plans to roll out across the city by next summer. 

But other advances are more problematic. An August 14 report by the Toronto-based Citizen Lab revealed two forms of image censorship being deployed by the mobile application WeChat: One tool filters images containing sensitive text, and the other snags those that are visually similar to images already on a blacklist. Social media users have long posted images to circumvent censorship of simple text, and these new capabilities could close that loophole.

Tencent, WeChat’s parent company, has taken a number of other steps since May to meet the government’s censorship demands. It has barred users from linking to external videos in chat groups, deleted large numbers of audio and video clips (including those deemed to “distort history”), and banned users from making changes to their profile pictures or user names—a common form of commentary—during the June summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the regional security bloc led by China.

In the realm of surveillance, the western region of Xinjiang has become a laboratory for testing big-data, facial-recognition, and smartphone-scanner technologies that can eventually be deployed across China and beyond. Several firms have emerged at the cutting edge of this effort, including CloudWalk, Hikvision, Dahua, SenseTime, and Yitu. Although the work entails complicity in the oppression of Xinjiang’s Uighur Muslim population, it could give the companies a competitive edge on the international market, partly because access to large amounts of data can help train artificial-intelligence algorithms. For example, data and images of ethnic Chinese, Turkic Uighurs, and—under a new deal with Zimbabwe’s government—sub-Saharan Africans could collectively enable developers to correct common race-related errors in facial-recognition software and gain market share in other parts of the world. Chinese firms are already expected to control 44 percent of the global market for such technology by 2023. 

Toeing the line

Chinese firms seek to expand in a wide range of other areas. A report published by Hong Kong–based Abacus in July shows how Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent have been investing in or acquiring dozens of companies within China and abroad, from e-commerce and ride-sharing apps to blockchain developers and makers of self-driving cars. These tech giants are private enterprises, and they may have their own reasons for making such investments, but they also remain beholden to the government and its strategic goals. As the report notes: “Success or failure in China’s internet landscape is contingent upon government authority.” 

Evidence of this reality has been abundant in recent months. In May, after a brief suspension by regulators, Toutiao overhauled the content and messaging of its popular personalized news app, altering its mission statement to include spreading “correct public opinion orientation.” Also that month, industry leaders joined in the creation of a new China Federation of Internet Societies (CFIS), directed by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). Individuals like Tencent chairman Pony Ma, Alibaba founder Jack Ma, and Baidu chairman Robin Li were appointed as vice presidents. One of the CFIS’s inaugural commitments was to “conscientiously study and implement the spirit of Xi Jinping’s Strategic Thought on Building a Cyber Superpower.”

Foreign tech firms 

Chinese tech firms are not the only ones eager to please the leadership in Beijing. The government is adept at using the lure of its enormous domestic market—now consisting of over 800 million internet users—to extract concessions from foreign firms, including assistance with its censorship and surveillance system. The recent controversy surrounding Google’s plans to develop a censored search engine for the Chinese market is only the latest among many examples of such cooperation. 

But in a newer and more disturbing development, the Chinese government has used market leverage—and in some cases arbitrary blocking and other regulatory actions—to spur censorship of information available to people outside China. In a spate of incidents over the spring and summer, hotel, airline, and automobile companies changed their presentation of content on topics like Tibet or Taiwan to fit Beijing’s political positions. A piece of code in Apple’s iPhone operating system that was meant to prevent Chinese users from displaying the Taiwan flag emoji recently caused phones with China location settings to crash, even if the device was being used in San Francisco. Apple is now weighing the inclusion of China’s Beidou navigation system on the next generation of iPhones; one can already imagine how its maps will handle Beijing’s territorial claims.

The costs of compliance

As Chinese and foreign companies take more steps to appease the regime, the human toll will continue to mount. Censorship and surveillance on sensitive topics like Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang, Falun Gong, and the 1989 Tiananmen massacre either whitewash or exacerbate large-scale human rights violations—including mass detentions, torture, and extrajudicial killings. Beyond that, annual Freedom House analysis of leaked censorship directives has repeatedly shown that a broad range of breaking news topics are targeted for control, including vital information on public health and safety. 

But ironically, the complicit companies themselves are also important victims of the government’s repressive measures, enduring a number direct and indirect costs as a result of state abuses.

First, the arbitrary nature of Chinese regulatory decisions can wreak havoc on the best-laid business plans and nascent successes. In July, it seemed briefly that Facebook had gained government approval to open a subsidiary and innovation hub in Zhejiang Province, no doubt after long and arduous negotiations. But within hours, the registration announcement disappeared and was censored in Chinese media, apparently because the CAC vetoed the local government’s decision.

Second, the Chinese government’s ever-increasing censorship and surveillance demands reduce profit margins. Actions like moving data service centers from overseas to China and partnering with local companies—as required under the new Cybersecurity Law and implemented by companies like Apple and Evernote—are not inexpensive endeavors. Neither is rapid expansion of censorship staff, as Toutiao announced following its suspension in April; the company increased the number of editorial monitors from 6,000 to 10,000 and established a special committee to manage a politicized content overhaul.

Third, while close government ties are a necessity in China, they provoke scrutiny, distrust, and skepticism abroad. More foreign governments and civil society groups now object when Chinese firms seek to build critical infrastructure or provide important technology and services. Last month, Australia blocked Huawei and ZTE from building the country’s 5G network, citing security risks. A U.S. defense spending bill signed into law on August 13 banned federal agencies from purchasing equipment made by Hikvision, Dahua, Huawei, or ZTE. And on September 18, broadcasters in Ghana raised concerns about the government’s talks with a Chinese company on a contract to build the country’s digital television infrastructure. Meanwhile, Google’s reputation has taken a hit from the revelations about its Chinese search engine project, with some top employees resigning in protest. 

Both Chinese and foreign firms are caught between a rock and a hard place. As they compete for profits and market share, they must navigate between the legal regimes and political demands emanating from Beijing on the one hand and democratic societies on the other. The Chinese Communist Party has laid out its own plans and ambitions, and it shows every sign of implementing them to the fullest. The question is whether the United States, other democracies, tech entrepreneurs, and investors will assert their own principles—including freedom of expression, free enterprise, and the rule of law—with equal determination. If they do not, technology companies will lead the world down a path charted by Beijing, and the freedom of all people will suffer for it.

Sarah Cook is a senior research analyst for East Asia at Freedom House and director of its China Media Bulletin. This article was also published in the Diplomat on September 25, 2018.

China's Plan to Dominate the Global Electric Vehicle Supply Chain

By Zongyuan (Zoe) Liu

Since the emergence of the electronics industry in the 1980s, companies in South Korea and Japan have dominated the production of rechargeable batteries for portable electronic devices. Some of these companies have gained worldwide recognition, such as LG, Samsung, SKI, and Panasonic. But China has been catching up. In 2013, China overtook Korea to become the world’s largest manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries for electronic devices. More recently, Chinese battery manufactures have also capitalized on the rapid growth in demand for electric vehicles (EV). Within the past five years Chinese EV battery producers have become major battery suppliers in the global EV industry supply chain (see Figure 1).
The growth of the EV battery industry has followed in the wake of overseas acquisitions of natural resources by Chinese firms. China is not only motivated by securing access to resources, but also by improving its position global supply chains. Dominating the global supply of rare earth minerals such as cobalt is key to Beijing’s ambitious plan to reshape the global battery market, ensuring that China is well situated to benefit from rising global demand for electric vehicles. Under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, China plans to become an indispensable component of the world's electric vehicle supply chain.

Figure 1: Global EV production by battery cell suppliers

Source: “Power Play: How Governments are Spurring the Electric Vehicle Industry

A Highly Competitive Domestic Market

China’s EV battery market has recently undergone a rapid consolidation. Two major producers, Ningde-based Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) and Shenzhen-based Build Your Dream (BYD) have emerged as the dominant manufactures in China. In 2017, five firms controlled 62% of the domestic Chinese market, led by BYD and CATL (29% and 16% respectively, see Figure 2). By the first half of 2018, CATL grew to 42% with the top five producers controlling 77% market share (see Figure 3). This consolidation trend is likely to continue in the coming years, and the winners—the dominant Chinese EV battery manufacturers—may soon expand overseas.

Figure 2: China EV Battery Producer's Market Structure (2017)

              Source: 真锂研究

Figure 3: China EV Battery Producer's Market Structure (July 2018)

              Source: 中国储能网新闻中心


CATL is one such example. Founded in December 2011, CATL was listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in June 2018 in an IPO valued at $12.3 billion. In 2017, CATL surpassed Panasonic as the world’s largest supplier of EV batteries by sales, with shipments of 12 gigawatt hours (GWh) in battery capacity. One gigawatt will power about 100 million LED lights. While CATL is the largest manufacturer of batteries for all electric-vehicle types, Panasonic is still the leader in batteries for a narrower category of regular-sized electric cars, also known as highway capable passenger electric vehicles, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
CATL established its first overseas branch in Germany in 2014 and expanded into France, the US, Canada, and Japan in 2017. In July 2018, CATL made its first step towards production in Europe. During a visit to Germany, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang signed a contract to build a new CATL plant in Germany’s Thüringen. The CATL factory will create about 600 jobs and produce about 14 gigawatt hours (GWh) of battery capacity by 2022.
CATL has become the unicorn of China’s EV battery market. Its customers include not only domestic Chinese automobile companies such as Yutong (宇通客车), the world’s largest electric bus manufacturer, but also global automobile brands such as Volkswagen, BMW, Nissan Motor, Hyundai Motor and BMW. CATL may be the first Chinese EV battery manufacturer to establish an overseas factory but it will likely not be the last. Domestic competitors BYD, Lishen, and others have announced similar plans.

Control Cobalt, Control the Supply Chain

It is not news that Chinese firms have been aggressively securing overseas resources. However, when it comes to cobalt, Chinese companies do not control it solely for the purpose of reversing their position as price-taker, but rather in order to control the global supply chain of a state-chosen industry. In the case of China’s rapidly growing EV battery industry, Chinese firms’ control of global cobalt supplies is a sign that China is on pace to dominate the global EV supply chain.

Cobalt, sometimes called the “blood diamond” of batteries, is a rare-earth mineral and an essential input for the production of high-energy density, low-weight lithium-ion batteries. Today, most cobalt is used to produce batteries for portable electronic devices, like smartphones. In the near future, greater adoption of electric vehicles and the batteries to power them will drive even greater demand for this scarce resource. EV batteries require nearly 1,000 timesmore cobalt than a battery for a typical smartphone. By 2030, global demand for cobalt is estimated to be 47 times greater than in 2017, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
China has the largest cobalt refining business in the world with half of global refined cobalt coming from China. However, China does not have rich reserves of cobalt itself and has been a price-taker on the global import market. As China’s cobalt reserves make up only about 1% of the global total, about 90% of cobalt used in China today must be imported. Such a high rate of import dependence has driven Chinese firms to secure overseas cobalt resources.
In 2016, China Molybdenum bought a 56% equity stake in Tenke Fungurume Mining (TFM), one of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) largest mines, for $2.65 billion. This deal would give China access to about 16% of global cobalt reserves. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Chinese companies control a network of brokers who purchase cobalt from freelance miners in the DRC, the country that provides about 54% of the global supply. Chinese companies produce about 77% of refined cobalt, a key ingredient in the first step of the lithium-ion battery production process.
Industrial sector adjustment and structural changes to its economy will continue to drive changes to China’s demand for commodities. The key to satisfying that demand will be large overseas acquisitions of strategic resources. The rise of China’s EV battery industry alongside an increasing number of acquisitions aimed at securing access to cobalt shows that China is making steady progress towards control over the global battery supply chain, and therefore potential influence over the entire global electric vehicle market.

A Matter of Industrial Policy and More

The rapid development of the EV battery industry is closely linked to China’s state’s industrial policy. Promoting the development of the EV industry is one of the ten strategic industrial goals in an industrial strategy that the government has dubbed “Made in China 2025.” It aims to transform China from a low value-added manufacturer to a high value-added product developer. If China is to achieve this in the electric vehicles market, then the development of EV battery technology will play a critical role. Increasing R&D spending on EV batteries and lowering the unit production cost of EV batteries are key objectives listed in the EV Battery Industrial Development Action Plan (促进汽车动力电池产业发展行动方案). This plan, published in February 2017, is the product of collaboration between four government agencies: the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and the Ministry of Science and Technology. The plan sets a target of EV battery production totaling 100 gigawatt hours (GWh) of capacity by 2020 while reducing costs to under one RMB per watt/hour, improving the overall quality and competitiveness of the industry.
The sense of urgency the Chinese government has demonstrated in the development of electric vehicles and batteries is more than just a matter of swift policy execution. A key motivating concern of China’s policymakers has been how electric vehicles and batteries can contribute to the country’s broader plan to reduce air pollution and fight climate change. Promoting the development of EV battery technology in order to support the electric vehicle industry is a critical first implementation step in President Xi Jinping’s new energy strategy, which prioritizes reducing hydrocarbon consumption. China’s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), released in March 2016, sets a goal to achieve a 15% reduction in energy intensity and an 18% reduction in carbon intensity compared to 2015 levels.


China’s industrial policy, including financial support and subsidies, has fostered a flourishing domestic EV battery market. Fierce domestic competition has resulted in market consolidation. The large manufacturers that have emerged are poised to seize not only a significant share of the global EV battery market but also are preparing to expand production overseas. In light of the growing strength of Chinese manufactures, the government has removed restrictions on foreign battery producers supplying the domestic Chinese market. In another sign of growing confidence, the government has laid out a schedule to gradually remove state subsidies to the electric vehicles industry. Both changes are aimed at encouraging further competition and greater efficiency among Chinese battery makers.
China’s approach to promoting the development of its domestic EV battery industry mirrors the approach it took a decade ago in developing its solar panel industry into the global leader. Chinese solar panel manufacturers came to dominate the global market by lowering production costs—the cost of solar power today is about one-eighth as much as a decade ago. The solar panel industry has developed a mature supply chain with China at its center. The Chinese government hopes it can repeat this success by applying a similar strategy to the EV battery industry.
The development of the EV battery industry is essential if the Chinese government is to realize its stated goals of reducing hydrocarbon intensity, fighting air pollution, and improving the quality of the environment. This is perhaps the most important reason that the government has decided that electric vehicles and EV batteries are strategic industries with great potential to impact domestic society. As the Chinese economy enters a “new norm” of slower, steadier growth, the Party can no longer rely upon breakneck economic growth as the source of its political legitimacy and authority. Instead, the way for the Party to continue to demonstrate its strong leadership is to solve the serious environmental problems facing China through revolutionizing China’s energy consumption structure.

 Zongyuan Liu is a PhD Candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) specializing in International Political Economy with regional expertise in Asia. Her research focuses are Asian energy security, political risk in Asia, China-Middle East relations, and China’s overseas infrastructure investment.

Western Civilization: What we could have absorbed

What we could have absorbed from Western civilization*

1) solid work ethic
2) high personal ethics
3) high level of hygiene
4) organization skill & team work
5) extreme punctuality
6) solid respect for fellow citizens & very polite talk
7) respect for rules & laws
8) meritocracy
9) focus on wealth generation for all
10) awareness to establish great institutions
11) awareness to create a grad narrative and market it for domination
12) control over own ecosystem and putting own people & civilization interest above all
13) focus on physical fitness
14) respect for pleasing senses and enjoying life
15) creating diversity without losing political control
16) independence at early age and ownership of actions and words
17) communication skills
18) marketing skills
19) penchant for solid ethical scientific  approach to all subjects and using that to further collective interest

What people absorbed from Western civilization instead

1) fake feminism
2) obesity generating fast food
3) getting drunk like sophomore and falling apart in clubs
4) silly fetish for skimpy clothes
5) servile obsession for foreign language
6) dressing up like a Santa Claus & jumping up & down with kids on Christmas & silly costumes on Halloween and cursing own festivals
7) faking accent
8) self destructive human rights & environmental activism
9) kiddish consumerism and addiction to brands
10) creating cheap labor chop shops instead of value and wealth
11) dumb reality TV shows
12) harmful to environment and violent beef eating & meat eating
13) wastefulness in precious resources
14) casual sex, shaky relationships
15) easy divorces and commitment phobia
16) juvenile religions with perpetually angry regressive God
17) racism & differentiation based on lightness of skin
18) plagiarism of stupid reality shows
19) toxic Marxist based leftism

September 26, 2018

Effecting Change: Excerpt from FEE booklet

*1. Politics is not True.* most books on world history, and most
political science classes, wildly exaggerate the role that political
leadership and institutions play in shaping history. It’s too easy
to tell a story of a people in a way that blames or credits powerful
personal forces – as if leadership designs and dictates social
results – but much more difficult to tell the real story of history
in terms of ideas, culture, and technology. Societies can succeed
without brilliant leaders in government, and often do so precisely
because of their absence. Even in American history, the
highest period of innovation and wealth creation occurred
under presidents whose names are now largely forgotten.

*2. Politics is ineffective.* People want to rely on the political process
for all sorts of things: creating jobs, fixing infrastructure,
securing the country, bringing justice, boosting education.
But it’s the wrong means. These things can happen despite the
state, and not because of it. No politician or party has achieved
anything comparable to Amazon, YouTube, Apple, Uber, or a
million other enterprises. The best way for a state to promote the
good of society is to decline to interfere in people’s life, liberty,
and property. The only real good that can come of political
activism is to limit the state’s power as much as possible, but
it so happens that everything in politics conspires to break
those limits.

*3. Politics crushes ideals.* You begin your political activism
thinking that this is the way you make a difference but it turns
out to be a ruse: your views do not matter and your vote counts for little. You are trying to control a machine that is out of your
control. Now, you face a choice: keep playing the game even
though it is failing your ideals or move on to a sector of life in
which you can keep your principles and make genuine change
happen, sectors such as education, culture, technology, faith,
and enterprise. The main (and maybe only) thing you can really
control is yourself, so here is your primary obligation: gaining
more skills, knowledge, wisdom, strength of character, and
mastery of your domain.

*4. Politics can make you immoral.* The state sector produces
nothing on its own; it lives off the rest of the society, and thrives
on deception. There is no large state not guilty of doing terrible
things to people, things that if we did to each other we would
be regarded as criminals. Moreover, everyone who has ever
been there can tell you there is no such thing as an efficient
bureaucracy, “clean” politics, or programs built solely by public-
spirited activists. The truth is grittier and uglier than anyone
from the outside can ever believe. Discovering this, what do you
do? Some people are drawn to it precisely for the moral nihilism
it unleashes: if nothing else, the machinery can be used to crush
my enemies. It’s like low-grade war in this way.

*5. There is a better way.* In fact, there are a million better ways. You
can still be a libertarian (or whatever you think of yourself) and
do other things with your life besides political agitation. Regimes
come and go but technology and ideas last. They are also more
powerful than tanks, armies, and bombs: ideas are bulletproof.
Make beautiful art, write great prose, compose music, establish
productive businesses, save lives in medicine or therapy, or be a
great spouse, parent, and friend. They are all better uses of our
time on this earth. Understanding the way human liberty works
helps you see this. These pursuits need not sacrifice your ideals.

'Kashmir is an integral part of India': Why and How

Ira Pande retd as Chief Editor from the Publicity Div of IIC, New Delhi.

Her article amply highlights the dilemma of our *'intelligentsia', which has NOT been able to rid of the pernicious vestige of decrying Indian heritage/legacies!*_
On Kashmir... Ira Pande*

'Kashmir is an integral part of India'. I have heard this line parroted by leaders of all political hues. It has always sounded like an arbitrary statement designed to rebuff Pakistan, and to reaffirm India's military might over a coveted geographical area.

*Recently I came across facts that have changed my perspective on Kashmir totally.* Facts that have astounded me.. But more than that baffled me, for they reveal *glaring lacunae in the history we have been led to believe* so far.

Understandable that the *British established a syllabus for us that was designed to obliterate glories and inculcate shame for all things Indian. But, 70 years past independence, we are guilty of still toeing their line.*

The facts I speak of are proof that *Kashmir is the fountainhead from which flows our culture,in fact, everything that defines our identity as Indians.*

Due to my education at an elite school, I had considered myself reasonably well informed.

*Yet, I had no clue at all about the significance of Kashmir vis a vis Indian history and that it was home to Panini, whose *Ashtadhyayi* is considered the most *scientific and flawless treatise on grammar* in the world..

*Patanjali, who gifted to humanity his Yog Sutra.*

*Sharangdev, considered the father of both Hindustani and Carnatic music.*

*Acharya Abhinav Gupt*, one of the greatest scholars of all times, *who wrote 46 literary classics,* including the renowned Abhinav Bharti.. *His principles of Ras are being taught in 80 universities around the world.*

*Kashmir was considered the abode of Saraswati, the highest seat of learning in India* and was also referred to as Sharda Peeth. So much so that *when students graduated from Kashi, they took 4 symbolic steps towards Kashmir, denoting their aspiration for higher learning.*

Almost the *entire body of Sanskrit literature* has its origins in Kashmir.

Rajtarangini, an authoritative *historical tome on the royal lineage of Kashmir,* written by Kalhans in the 12th century, outlines the greatness of *King Lalitaditya,* possibly the most powerful Indian Emperor of all times, whose *kingdom in the 8th century extended* from the Caspian Sea in the North to the Kaveri basin in the South, and included Assam in the East.

*How many Indians* have even *heard his name?*

How many of us know that *Srinagar* was *established by Ashoka?*

That *Mahayana Buddhism was spread* across Mid Asia, China and Japan *by Kashmiri monks?*

Who are these *educationists* who are *deliberately withholding such vital slices* of history from our textbooks?

How will the present as well as future generations realize that *Kashmir is the keystone of our heritage* through millennia, finding mention even in our oldest scriptures?

*It is not just a piece of land. It is the abode of the soul of India

"Kashmir is an integral part of India" now has a new meaning for me. It is no longer a statement, but an impassioned understanding of its importance."

September 25, 2018

Djibouti’s Attempts to Vanquish Dubai Ports Operator Spells Trouble for Washington

Geopolitical Monitor

Djibouti’s Attempts to Vanquish Dubai Ports Operator Spells Trouble for Washington

OPINION - September 20, 2018

By Malik Ibrahim

Last week, Djibouti upped the stakes in its long-running dispute with DP World, Dubai’s state-owned ports authority, as the tiny east African country bids to pry one of its key shipping hubs out of Emirati hands.

At first glance, this might seem like nothing more than an emerging, ambitious state attempting to free itself from a constrictive contract. Yet in fact, the spat has major geopolitical implications, particularly for the United States. By bloodying the nose of DP World, Djibouti risks upsetting the balance of power in one of the world’s most politically sensitive regions and giving a major boost to China, at a time when the frostiness between Washington and Beijing is fueling talk of a new cold war.

Djibouti has been trying to get rid of DP World since February, when it terminated the company’s joint venture contract on its Doraleh Container Terminal and seized control. DP World has since secured an injunction from a UK tribunal ruling the seizure illegal, and won a separate verdict from London’s High Court preventing Doraleh’s majority shareholder, Port de Djibouti SA, from ejecting it. Yet now the Djibouti government has responded by nationalizing PDSA, effectively taking Doraleh out of commercial hands.

Officials briefing on behalf of Djibouti’s president, Ismail Omar Guelleh, say the government is simply trying to protect “national sovereignty and economic independence.” The battle with DP World is certainly consistent with Guelleh’s aggressive economic policy, which seeks to exploit Djibouti’s position as a gateway to the Red Sea and Suez Canal. Almost all maritime trade between Europe and Asia, worth some $700 billion per year, brushes the country on its way through, and Guelleh’s administration wants to turn Djibouti into a regional trading hub – not dissimilar, in fact, to Dubai. He’s launched a frenzy of development projects, opening three new ports in the past year alone – and he’s planted a huge new free trade hub on the disputed Doraleh terminal, expected to be the largest such facility in Africa.


A Hidden Hand

But behind the Djiboutian government’s bombastic rhetoric, it’s clear to see the influence of a hidden hand – and it extends from Beijing. China is building a global trade network through its $1 trillion ‘Belt and Road’ investment program and sees Djibouti as a key piece of the jigsaw, a conduit to Africa and specifically to Ethiopia, one of its keyinvestment destinations. Chinese banks have lentDjibouti over $1.4 billion in the last two years, more than 75% of its GDP, and financed a number of those infrastructure projects, notably the railway to Addis Ababa. Crucially, the new free trade zone at Doraleh has been built with Chinese money and manpower, and it will be operated in a joint venture with the state-owned China Merchants Holdings.

Unsurprisingly, this has infuriated DP World, which has threatened China with legal action over what it sees as an attempt to cut it out of the Doraleh deal. But the opprobrium isn’t solely confined to Dubai; concern is also being felt in Washington, where lawmakers have discussed in worried terms the possibility that Guelleh will give the entire Doraleh port to China as a gift. Were this simply a commercial matter, it probably wouldn’t warrant a Congressional hearing. But it’s far more than just a commercial matter: China has already built a military base at Doraleh, next door to the container terminal, and this spells trouble for the U.S., whose own military installation, the massive Camp Lemonnier, is just a short walk away.


Debt Diplomacy

China, of course, insists Belt and Road is simply about building a 21st century trade network, and President Xi Jinping assures us he will treat Djibouti as an equal partner. But to the critics, China’s expansion in Djibouti is straight from an extremely cynical playbook, one in which Beijing lures its poorer ‘partner’ into a debt trap with cheap loans before snapping it shut to snare a strategically vital asset. This gift-wrapped clientelism has already yielded a number of key foreign facilities, notably the port of Hambantota in the Indian Ocean, which was greedily gobbled up by China Merchants on a 99-year-lease after the Sri Lankan government buckled under its repayment plan.

With Djibouti’s debt-to-GDP ratio already up to 85%, thanks largely to the Chinese loans, it’s easy to see why critics believe Doraleh will go the same way. And if this were to happen, it could be disastrous for the US, which has already hit out at China for pointing military-grade lasers at its fighter pilots over Djibouti. American military leaders fear that, if China had full control of Doraleh, it could prevent American ships from refueling there, effectively imposing a chokehold on Camp Lemonnier.

As Donald Trump bids to bring China to heel with a fresh round of sanctions, this threat is particularly unwelcome, and could serve to undermine Washington’s leverage in its deepening stand-off with Beijing. What’s more, it comes at a time when the Somali government is threatening to fall apartand the Yemeni civil war, a proxy power struggle between Saudi Arabia and America’s Iranian nemesis, continues to rage. Camp Lemonnier serves as a jump-off point to both Somalia and Yemen; the US needs full and unimpeded access to Camp Lemonnier, now more than ever.

Guelleh and his colleagues might claim China’s growing involvement poses no threat to the U.S., but that olive branch is unlikely to convince its intended recipient. After years of encouraging foreign powers to set up camp in the country, Djibouti has created a potential powder keg, and now holds the match in its hand. Some might suggest Djibouti is too small, too insignificant, to spark a confrontation between the US and its eastern foe. But then, they probably said the same about the Bay of Pigs.


The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed by the authors are theirs alone and don’t reflect the official position of or any other institution.

People’s passionate opinions

FEE’s Essential Guide to Navigating the News

Excerpts from 👆

People’s passionate opinions are not really their opinions. They are just copying their ideological tribal peers so they can share the pleasure of hating and venting their frustrations onto someone else. That is not a defect in our modern democratic process. That is its masterful design working perfectly.

Humans have always found unity and satisfaction in finding a common villain to scandalize. This ganging up and shaming and pouring every ounce of wrath in oneself onto a common enemy is an ancient practice that dates back to the very origin of human culture. Evidence of ritual human sacrifice is as ubiquitous to archaic sites as Tools and fire-making.

September 24, 2018

CHINA:  Party Watch Weekly Report

CHINA:  Party Watch Weekly Report 1|46  9.15.2018-9.21.2018
By David Gitter, Julia Bowie, Nathanael Callan, Brock Erdahl, Ann Listerud, and Sandy Lu


Xi Jinping delivered an important speech at a meeting of the Central Commission for Comprehensively Deepening Reform (see Senior Leaders section).

In the wake of protests and demonstrations by military veterans in recent months, the Central Propaganda Department and Ministry of Veterans Affairs jointly released a notice on launching a propaganda campaign called “The Most Beautiful Veterans” (最美退役军人) (see Propaganda Work section).

Cyberspace Administration of China Director Zhuang Rongwen laid out a plan for controlling information dissemination on the Internet in a Qiushi article (see Propaganda Work section).

The CCP held a 2018 World Peace Day commemorative event in Nanjing, presumably organized by the International Department, and attended by current and former world leaders (see International Liaison Work section).

Senior Leaders

Han Zheng Visits Russia, Co-Chairs China-Russian Bilateral Meetings
9.16-18  Politburo Standing Committee member and Vice Premier Han Zheng (韩正) visited Russia and met Russian President Vladimir Putin. During his meeting with Putin, Han said that “China is willing to work with Russia on … implementing the important consensus reached by the two countries’ leaders in all respects and promoting bilateral investment and energy cooperation.”  
Han also co-chaired the China-Russia Investment Cooperation Committee 5th meeting with Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Anton Siluanov and the China-Russia Energy Cooperation Committee 15th meeting with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak during his visit.
Li Keqiang Delivers Special Speech at World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2018
9.19  Li Keqiang delivered a special speech at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2018 in Tianjin.
According to Xinhua, Li used the speech to emphasize that “the rules-based multilateral trading system is economic globalization and free trade’s cornerstone. Its authority and effectiveness should be respected and protected. Unilateral methods are unable to resolve problems.”
Li also indicated that “Chinese economic development is in a crucial period of shifting from old to new drivers.” He stated that China will pursue three broad measures “to push the economy to maintain a medium to high rate of growth and industries to move toward a medium- to high-end level,” namely promoting reform and opening up, making structural adjustments, and stimulating innovation.
Xi Jinping Presides over Fourth Meeting of Central Commission for Comprehensively Deepening Reform, Delivers Important Speech
9.20  Xi Jinping presided over and delivered an important speech at the fourth meeting of the Central Commission for Comprehensively Deepening Reform (中央全面深化改革委员会). Politburo Standing Committee members Li Keqiang and Wang Huning (王沪宁) attended the meeting.
According to Xinhua, Xi emphasized that “the importance and difficulty of reform both lie in implementation.” He added that “favorable conditions for reform and implementation are increasingly numerous.”  
The meeting reviewed documents on promoting high-quality development, establishing more effective mechanisms for regionally coordinated development, supporting deepened trade and innovation in free trade trial areas, improving the oversight of systemically important financial institutions, reforming and improving the vaccine supervision system, integrating planning systems to give better play to their strategic guidance role in national development planning, and promoting links between small farming households and modern agricultural development. 

Propaganda Work

Editorial: Promote the Comprehensive Development and Common Prosperity of Disabled People
People's Daily
9.15  People’s Daily published an editorial “enthusiastically congratulating” the China Disabled Persons’ Federation for the opening of its seventh national congress on 14 September. It stated that “since the 18th Party Congress, the Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core has been extremely concerned about the disabled community and attached a high-level of importance to projects for disabled people” before outlining a series of related achievements that have been made “under the strong leadership of the Central Committee” over the last five years.
The editorial called on “Party committees and governments at all levels to attach a high-level of importance to projects for disabled people.” It concluded with a call to “join hands and stand shoulder to shoulder with [our] numerous disabled brothers and sisters” to “jointly struggle for obtaining victory in comprehensively establishing a moderately prosperous society, seizing a great victory for socialism with Chinese characteristics in a new era, and realizing the China Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
Zhong Sheng: Create a New Blueprint for Sino-Russian Regional Cooperation
People's Daily
9.15   People’s Daily used its “Zhong Sheng” (钟声) column, which authoritatively transmits the official positions of the People’s Daily on matters of international affairs, to praise Sino-Russian regional cooperation. It described “Sino-Russian cooperation in Far East development” as a “brilliant calling card for regional cooperation between the two countries” and demonstration of “the good phase of large-scale flourishing in Sino-Russian regional cooperation.”
The article noted that this year and next are “years of Sino-Russian regional cooperation and exchange” before detailing examples of the “continuous expansion of Sino-Russian regional cooperation.” It subsequently called for “using well the two major cooperative mechanisms of the ‘Northeast-Far East’ and ‘Yangtze River-Volga River’” and establishing other “developmentally strategic links” between various Chinese and Russian regions “to make regional cooperation extend from the border region to the interior.”
Continued PD Commentator Series on Xi Jinping’s Speech at National Education Conference
People’s Daily
9.15-18  People’s Daily continued its commentator series on Xi Jinping’s speech at the national education conference from last week.
The third article of this series focused on how to cultivate builders and successors of socialism. The article highlighted the six aspects that Xi emphasized in his speech, namely consolidating ideals and beliefs, growing patriotism, reinforcing morality, increasing knowledge and experience, fostering the spirit of struggle, and strengthening comprehensive quality. It stressed that the people cultivated must “establish a common ideal for communism and socialism with Chinese characteristics” and “never forget that they are Chinese.”
The fourth article emphasized the importance of “building a team of high-quality and professional teachers.” It urged to “expand teachers’ cultural perspectives and increase their comprehensive quality” and make them “disseminators of advanced thoughts and cultures, firm supports of the Party’s ruling, and guides for students’ healthy growth.”
The fifth article stressed that “the key tasks for deepening reforms on education system must be firmly implemented to carry forward vigorously the innovation of education system reform.” The article urged the necessity of overcoming the “pernicious diseases” of only focusing on scores, diplomas, and theses and to “increase education’s ability to serve the development of the economy and the society.”
The sixth article called for maintaining “the Party’s comprehensive leadership over education.” It emphasized that “ideological and political leadership matter above all else” in accomplishing this task. To this end, the article declared that “education departments and Party organizations at all levels and types of schools must… consciously maintain a high-level of uniformity with the Party Central Committee in political position, orientation, principles, and path.”  
Zhong Sheng: Join Hands to Promote the Forward Development of Northeast Asian Regional Cooperation
People’s Daily
9.16  People’s Daily published an article through its “Zhong Sheng” column to stress that “China is a ‘doer’ (行动派) that lives up to its word.” It said that “China, as an important member of the Northeast Asian region, has always devoted itself to participating in regional cooperation, promoting exchanges and dialogues between countries, and building a harmonious and friendly environment.” The article especially pointed out that “the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China is injecting a new force into advancing Northeast Asian regional cooperation.”
Zhuang Rongwen: Scientifically Understand the Rules of Internet Dissemination, Strive to Improve Internet Governance
9.16  The newly-appointed head of the Cyberspace Administration of China, Zhuang Rongwen (庄荣文), penned an article in Qiushi, the CCP Central Committee’s theoretical journal, on strengthening Internet governance, referring to Xi Jinping’s speech at the recent National Conference on Propaganda and Ideological Work as guidance.
In the essay, Zhuang enumerated the challenges facing propaganda and ideology work due to the development of the Internet. As the the Internet has strengthened “social mobilization capability” (社会动员能力), he stated, the Internet has become an “transmitter and amplifier of all kinds of risks.” Because the Internet disseminates “diverse and ever-changing social thoughts,” it has “become more difficult for the Party’s ideological departments to lead ideological and theoretical dissemination in a unified manner or to implement the ‘two consolidations’ [of ideological work]” (consolidating the guiding position of Marxism in the field of ideology and consolidating a common ideological basis for the united struggle of the entire Party and the whole nation). Furthermore, as new media has become the main channel for information dissemination, thinking about “how to use new media to consolidate and strengthen positive propaganda has become a major issue.” Zhuang stated that the reality of “everyone having a microphone” has undermined the media management system centered on editorial rights (采编权).
In response to these challenges, Zhuang laid out a plan for establishing a comprehensive Internet management system based on the Party “firmly grasping leadership over ideological work.”
Among other points, he advocated upholding unity of thought and political leadership by “giving full play to the guiding role of the Internet… consciously arming the mind, guiding practice, promoting work, and pushing the entire party and whole society to take Xi Jinping thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era as its backbone and fixed star...”  
Further, he argued for “the promotion of positive energy” and “fostering a positive Internet culture,” while “suppressing negative factors” by “dependably regulating online discussion of key social problems, sensitive events, and emergencies, promptly refuting incorrect thoughts, resolutely controlling the distortion of Party history, national history, and military history, negation of Party leadership or the socialist system, attacks on Party lines, guidelines, or policies, destructive political information that slanders Party leaders’ thought or images, comprehensively cleaning up online rumors, violent audio and video and other harmful information.”
He explained that the Internet has become the “main front” and “main battlefield” of propaganda and public opinion work, and advocated for “giving full play to the role of netizens in fighting a people’s war for ecological Internet governance.”
Zhong Sheng: Once Again Reflecting on the International Financial Crisis
People’s Daily
9.17  People’s Daily’s “Zhong Sheng” published an article a few days after the 10th anniversary of Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy on 15 September. It stressed that the “sequelae of the global financial crisis has become a new challenge that the international community faces,” saying that anti-globalism is getting restless and trade friction is escalating. It warned that “an unstable US is bringing the world anxiety,” listing out that the US has made “uncertainty” its new normal, dropped from various international organizations and multilateral agreements, made enemies everywhere on trade issues, and impacted the international political and economic orders. The article concluded by saying that “the lesson of history must be learned” and that “only with the spirit of cooperation… can common development and prosperity be realized.”
Propaganda Department and Ministry of Veterans Affairs Jointly Release Notice on Launching “Most Beautiful Veterans” Study and Propaganda Campaign
PLA Daily
9.18  In the wake of protests and demonstrations by military veterans in recent months, the Central Propaganda Department and Ministry of Veterans Affairs jointly released a notice on launching a propaganda campaign called “The Most Beautiful Veterans” (最美退役军人). The notice emphasized the need to “use Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as guidance to thoroughly implement the spirit of the national conference on propaganda and ideological work” and “establish a group of examples for excellent veterans that proactively respond to the Party’s call and make distinct achievements in and outstanding contributions to building the economy and society.”
The Central Propaganda Department and Ministry of Veterans Affairs will create and release a list of the achievements accomplished by the “most beautiful veterans” to “make being a soldier an honorable occupation in society.”
PD Editorial: Make the Pearl of the Ningxia Yellow River Plain More Resplendent
People's Daily
9.20  People’s Daily published an editorial celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, which it described as the start of a “new era” for Ningxia’s prosperity and development.
The editorial argued that Ningxia’s “developmental achievements are the result of the correct leadership of the Party Central Committee, pioneering efforts of people of all ethnicities of the whole region, and kind support and selfless aid of people of all ethnicities of the whole country.” It elaborated that “the path of resolving ethnic issues with Chinese characteristics (中国特色解决民族问题的道路) is correct and accords with our country’s national circumstances and people of all ethnicities’ fundamental interests.”
The editorial advocated “strengthening education on the advancement of ethnic unity, making all ethnic groups firmly establish the idea in their minds that the Han are inseparable from minority ethnic groups, minority ethnic groups are inseparable from the Han, and all minority ethnic groups are inseparable from one another.”
Zhong Sheng: Reform and Opening Up Writes a New Chapter for Chinese Human Rights
People's Daily
9.21  People’s Daily used its “Zhong Sheng” column to draw attention to the “widespread interest” that China’s progress in human rights since reform and opening up reportedly received at the 39th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The article argued that reform and opening up wrote a “brand new chapter in the development of human rights” since it helped China to “reduce its impoverished population by over 700 million, realize universal coverage in nine-year compulsory education, establish the world’s biggest universal medical insurance and social security systems, and increase the disposable income of national residents by nearly 10,000 percent.”
The article declared that “the right to life and right to development are the fundamental human rights of the utmost importance” and “the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese government have always put the people’s right to life and right to development in the first place.” It added that China’s experience shows that “there really is not just one way to guarantee human rights. Every country can use its national circumstances and people’s needs to find a method for guaranteeing human rights that suits itself.”

United Front Work 

Eighth “Zhongshan-Huangpu Cross-Strait Feeling” Forum Held
Tuanjie Bao
9.16  The 8th “Zhongshan-Huangpu Cross-Strait Feeling” (中山·黄埔·两岸情) Forum was held in Beijing. The forum was organized by the Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang (RCCK) and Alumni Association of the Huangpu Military Academy. Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Vice Chairman and RCCK Central Committee Executive Vice Chairman Zheng Jianbang (郑建邦) spoke at the forum.
Leaders from the CPPCC, RCCK, State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, China Overseas Friendship Association, Alumni Association of the Huangpu Military Academy, and China Association for Promotion of Culture attended the forum. Several retired Taiwanese military officers, descendants of well-known Huangpu Academy graduates, and famous scholars also attended.
Wang Yang: Firmly Grasp the New Direction and New Mission of the CPPCC in a New Era
9.18  Politburo Standing Committee Member and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee Chairman Wang Yang (汪洋) convened a meeting in Beijing, where he emphasized the centrality of theoretical study to the work of CPPCC members. His remarks followed Xi Jinping’s speech on propaganda and ideology work on August 21st. He told the body that “without correct theoretical guidance, it is impossible to stand tall and look far, and it is impossible to act resolutely and forcefully.” Theory should be used to “arm the mind, guide practice, promote work, and better grasp the new orientation of the times.”
Wang also stated that “the prospects of the CPPCC’s undertaking in a new era are vast and that the study and research of theory is well worth doing.” He announced that a seminar on theoretical and ideological work would be held by the CPPCC at the end of November.

Party Discipline

12th CPPCC National Committee Standing Committee Member Sun Huaishan Convicted of Bribery
9.17  Former member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee and head of the Committee for Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan Compatriots and Overseas Chinese of the CPPCC National Committee Sun Huaishan (孙怀山) was convicted of bribery and sentenced to 14 years in jail. He was also fined 3 million RMB and required to return the bribes he received and the interest they generated over time. According to the Intermediate People’s Court of Hulunbuir, Sun was given a lenient punishment according to the law due to the fact that he confessed to his crime and demonstrated regret.
Former Ministry of Finance Deputy Head and Party Leadership Group Deputy Secretary Expelled from Party and Dismissed from Public Office
9.20  The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and National Supervisory Commission recently launched an investigation into former Ministry of Finance (MOF) deputy head and MOF Party Leadership Group deputy secretary Zhang Shaochun (张少春). The investigation concluded that Zhang had violated political discipline and the spirit of the eight-point guidelines (中央八项规定). He was found to have used his position to seek benefits for others and receive large bribes in return. He was expelled from the Party and dismissed from public office.
National Energy Administration Head Put Under CCDI and NSC Investigation
9.21  National Energy Administration (NEA) head and NEA Party Leadership Group Secretary Nur Bekri (努尔·白克力) is currently under the investigation of the CCDI and NSC for serious violations of discipline and the law. Bekri also served as the deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission and a member of its Party leadership group.

Central Military Commission 

Jun Sheng: Remember History and Safeguard Peace
PLA Daily
9.18  PLA Daily published an article using the byline “Jun Sheng” (钧声) to commemorate the 87th anniversary of the Mukden Incident. The commentary stated that "remembering history is not for getting bogged down in a quagmire of hatred but… avoiding repeating tragedy.” It warned that, in the past six years, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been attempting to obscure Japan’s role as an aggressor in World War II, and that, in recent years, Japan has been trying to “accelerate its military expansion.” However, in its conclusion, the article also noted that “this year is the 40th anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between China and Japan” and that Sino-Japanese relations have been improving thanks to the joint efforts of both countries.
Zhang Youxia Meets Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa
PLA Daily
9.18  Central Military Commission (CMC) Vice Chairman Zhang Youxia (张又侠) met Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa in Beijing. During the meeting, Zhang said that China and Pakistan are “all-weather strategic cooperative partners” and that “China is willing to jointly inherit and pass on friendly relations with the new Pakistani government and fully advance the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.”
Bajwa expressed Pakistan’s appreciation for China supporting its efforts to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and said that the Pakistan army “is willing to continuously reinforce pragmatic cooperation in anti-terrorism, equipment technology, personnel training, and other fields with China.”

Comprehensively Deepening Reform

There is No Risk of Stagflation for China’s Economy
China Economic Daily
9.15 At a press conference held by the State Council Information Office, National Bureau of Statistics spokesperson Mao Shengyong (毛盛勇) said that throughout this year China’s macroeconomic indicators have remained “stable” (平稳) and there is no danger of stagflation. The word “stable” (稳) was used in the article 11 times. Though variables in the external environment are increasing, China’s economic adaptability and capability to withstand external risks are strong.
Mao explained there were no risks of either inflation or stagnation - and especially no risk of stagflation. Recent changes to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) are due to an increase in the price of pork and vegetables, which is mainly the result of seasonal factors. Industrial consumer goods remain abundant and non-food prices will remain stable. Additionally, monetary policy is still stable and neutral. These factors combined indicate no risks of inflation and prices will not rise significantly. Mao said also China’s GDP has remained in the medium-to-high speed range of 6.7%-6.9%, clearly showing no signs of stagnation. Therefore stagflation does not exist in China at this time.
Ensure Farmers Do Not “Have Trouble Selling Grain”
China Economic Daily
9.16  The State Grain and Reserves Administration (国家粮食和物资储备局) alongside eight other departments jointly issued a notice on thoroughly conducting well the acquisition of grains in autumn 2018 (关于切实做好2018年秋粮收购工作的通知), requiring local governments to organize and guide market transition from policy-based purchases and storage to market-based acquisitions and purchases. Doing so will cultivate “high-quality grain projects” (优质粮食工程), brand building, and expansion of the grain market. At the same time, local governments must ensure smooth, stable and safe purchases of grains, and that farmers do not “have trouble selling grain” (卖粮难).

International Liaison Work

Wang Qishan Delivers Speech at Opening Ceremony of 2018 World Peace Day Commemorative Event
9.19  Vice President Wang Qishan (王岐山) delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the 2018 World Peace Day commemorative event in Nanjing. The speech called on all countries and people to “pursue peaceful ideals, be devoted to waking the path of peaceful development, and act as defenders and promoters of peace and supporters and practitioners of the path of peaceful development.”
Xi Jinping and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres respectively sent a congratulatory letter and congratulatory video to the opening ceremony. Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee Vice Chairman and Chinese People's Association for Peace and Disarmament Vice President Ma Biao (马飚) also participated in the event.
During the event, Wang collectively met with several foreign guests of honor, including Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia Enkhtuvshin Ulziisaikhan, former President of Costa Rica Óscar Arias, former Prime Minister of Japan Yukio Hatoyama, former Prime Minister of France Dominique de Villepin, former Prime Minister of Nepal Pushpa Kamal Dahal, and Mexican National Regeneration Movement President Yeidckol Polevnsky Gurwitz.
International Department
9.14-9.16  At the invitation of the French Communist Party (PCF), Deputy Party Secretary of Fujian Province Wang Ning (王宁) visited France as a representative of the CCP to attend the annual festival of the PCF newspaper L'Humanité. While there, he separately met with PCF National Secretary Pierre Laurent, Director of L'Humanité Patrick Le Hyaric, and Head of International Affairs for La République En Marche Astrid Panosyan.
9.16-9.18  At the invitation of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), a CCP delegation led by Organization Department Deputy Head Wu Yuliang (吴玉良) visited Malawi. While there, Wu met with President Arthur Peter Mutharika and DPP Secretary General Grizelder Jeffrey.
9.17-9.18  On 17 September, International Department Minister Song Tao (宋涛) and Vice Minister Guo Yezhou (郭业洲) met with a National League for Democracy (NLD) cadre study group from Myanmar led by Chief Minister of Mandalay Region and Second Vice Chairperson of the NLD U Zaw Myint Maung.
The following day Politburo member and Propaganda Department Head Huang Kunming (黄坤明) and Guo Yezhou separately met with the NLD delegation.
9.17  Song Tao and International Department Vice Minister Qian Hongshan (钱洪山) met with the Moldovan Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Tudor Ulianovschi.
9.17-9.18  On 17 September, Song Tao and Qian Hongshan participated in the third theoretical seminar of the CCP and Communist Party of Cuba (PCC). Before the seminar, Song met with a PCC delegation led by PCC Secretariat member and head of its Department of International Relations José Ramón Balaguer Cabrera.
The following day CCP Secretariat member and United Front Work Head You Quan (尤权) also met with the PCC delegation.
9.17  Guo Yezhou met with African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde Leader and former Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau Domingos Simões Pereira.
9.17  Guo Yezhou met with a British House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee delegation led by Committee Chair Tom Tugendhat.
9.17  Guo Yezhou met with the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham.
9.18  International Department Vice Minister Li Jun (李军) met with an Iraqi Badr Organization cadre study group led by Central Consultative Committee member and Organizational Affairs head Abdul Hussein Azerjawi.
9.18  Qian Hongshan met with a People's Democratic Party of Tajikistan (PDPT) cadre study group led by PDPT Deputy Chairwoman Ranokhon Bobojoniyon.
9.18  Song Tao met with Nepal Communist Party Co-Chairman and former Prime Minister of Nepal Pushpa Kamal Dahal in Nanjing.
9.18  International Department Vice Minister Xu Lüping (徐绿平) met with a SWAPO Party of Namibia delegation led by SWAPO Deputy Secretary-General Marco Hausiku.
9.19  Song Tao met with the Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia Enkhtuvshin Ulziisaikhan in Nanjing.
9.20  Qian Hongshan met with a Nepal Communist Party (NCP) delegation led by NCP Secretariat member, NCP spokesman, and former Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha.
9.21  Qian Hongshan met with a Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) cadre study group led by an adviser to the Prime Minister of Croatia.

Organization Work

9.16  The China Disabled Persons Federation (CDPF) announced the following changes to its leadership:Deng Pufang (邓朴方) was elected the seventh honorary chair of the CDPF.Zhang Haidi (张海迪) was elected the chair of the seventh presidium of the CDPF.Zhou Changkui (周长奎) was elected director general of the seventh implementation council of the CDPF. 
9.17  Zhang Yalin (张雅林) was appointed chairman of Xinxing Cathay International Group and secretary of its Party committee.
9.17 The State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission announced changes to the leadership of 14 state-owned enterprises:Shao Fei (邵飞) was appointed secretary of Sinopharm’s discipline inspection commission.Li Rongting (李荣庭) was appointed secretary of Sinosteel’s discipline inspection commission.Li Yaoqiang (李耀强) was appointed chairman of China National Salt Industry Group Corporation and secretary of its Party committee.Xiao Xiangli (肖祥立) was appointed secretary of China National Salt Industry Group Corporation’s discipline inspection commission.Zhang Shaoming (张少明) was appointed chairman of China Iron & Steel Research Institute Group and secretary of its Party committee.Zhao Xiaochen (赵晓晨) was appointed chairman of General Research Institute for Nonferrous Metals and secretary of its Party committee.Hu Shanting (胡善亭) was appointed chairman of China Coal Technology & Engineering Group and secretary of its Party committee.Peng Bihong (彭碧宏) was appointed a standing committee member of China Communications Construction’s Party committee.Fu Junyuan (傅俊元) was appointed a standing committee member of China Poly Group’s Party committee. 
9.17  Zhang Chunhe (张春和) was appointed chief justice of the Guangzhou Internet Court.
9.19  Song Xin (宋欣) was appointed a board member of China National Machinery Industry Corporation and deputy secretary of its Party committee.
9.19  Gao Yan (高燕) was appointed chair of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.
9.20  Ke Ruiwen (柯瑞文) was appointed general manager of China Telecom.
9.21  Chen Wenhui (陈文辉) was appointed deputy director general of the National Council for Social Security Fund.
9.21  Shi Jun (侍俊) was appointed deputy head of the United Front Work Department.

9.21  Gao Anming (高岸明) was appointed deputy head of the China Foreign Languages Publishing Administration.