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China Reform Monitor - No. 1195

China warns foreign spy agencies targeting Tibet;
Beijing watching Myanmar elections with unease

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
December 4, 2015

November 9:

Chinese cyber spies have attempted to hack into the top -secret details of Australia's future submarine fleet, with Beijing believed to have mounted repeated cyber attacks in recent months. The hacking attempts have targeted submarine builders in Germany, France and Japan bidding for a $20 billion Australian contract to build the new fleet,
The Australian reports. The bidders are holding highly sensitive information about the Royal Australian Navy's technical requirements for its new-generation submarines. All three foreign bidders privately believe China is leading the push to glean information about the submarine project. A representative at the German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp's submarine shipyard in Kiel said:"We have about 30 to 40 (hacking) attempts per night, that's what our IT people say." 

November 10:

According to a new estimate, if global temperatures rise 4 degrees Celsius, 145 million Chinese people – 45 million people in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tianjin alone – will be displaced as China's east coast slips under the waves. Globally, land currently occupied by more than 600 million people will be submerged, but China would be the country with the highest population affected. A 2-degree rise in temperatures would affect some 280 million people globally, and displace an estimated 64 million Chinese,
the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reports

November 13:

"Many overseas intelligence agencies have targeted Tibet as a critical battleground for espionage activities, taking advantage of the active ethnic separatists in the area to provoke conflict and turmoil," 
the official Global Times reports. Monks and nuns from three temples in Nyingchi, Tibet close to the Sino-Indian border have received a three-hour anti-espionage lecture from local security officials."Nyingchi is of special importance to anti-espionage efforts because there are many military sites," said Penpa Lhamo of the Tibet Academy of Social Sciences. An anonymous official with the religious affairs office of the United Front Work Department said he had not heard of such lectures, but that they are necessary. Li Wei of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations adds:"Tibetans are good targets for foreign intelligence agencies. The monks and nuns are considered vulnerable to espionage activities, as many senior officials in China often visit eminent monks. And temples have always been a focus of government [efforts] to maintain stability." 

Myanmar's first free election in a quarter century has been met with skepticism and insecurity in China. An editorial in 
Hong Kong's Apple Daily said::"The Chinese Communists are the ones facing a dilemma. As Myanmar has successfully held a democratic election, it has posed a dilemma to the Communists' theory of quality of democracy. We can see their smiles as they queue to cast their vote. Will Myanmar's people be better than us?" Meanwhile, on the other side of the political spectrum, an editorial the official em>Global Times said::"Many developing countries have come up with pirated versions of democracy. Some have worked, but most have not, leading the country through rocky political paths. China's democratization must be a process of expanding and enriching democratic systems, rather than an examination of how much we can 'Westernize' ourselves." 

November 14:

After booming under a rejuvenation scheme earlier this century, Heilongjiang is now China's slowest growing province. Since the first quarter of 2014, Heilongjiang's official GDP growth rate has been between 4-5% – well below the 7% national estimate. Russia's economic woes and failure to develop transport facilities on its side of the border are hampering bilateral trade."How can you increase the volume [of trade] if many border crossings are seasonal and remain idle in the winter?" Lu Hao, governor of Heilongjiang, recently asked his Russian counterparts. Heilongjiang's oilfields are past peak output, and are far less lucrative with oil prices down. Another economic pillar, the coal industry, is suffering from overcapacity thanks to slumping demand as China's growth slows. In September, Longmay Group, one of the province's largest employers, announced that after cutting thousands of jobs last year it would reduce its 240,000-strong mining workforce by another 100,000 within three months, 
theEconomist reports

Related Categories: China; China and East Asia Program

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