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China Reform Monitor - No. 1230

CCP threatens tighter regulations on media;

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
July 13, 2016

June 13:

After six months of in-orbit testing, China's first high-orbit remote sensing satellite, Gaofen-4, is now operational."Gaofen-4 is China's first geosynchronous orbit high-definition optical imaging satellite and the world's most sophisticated," 
the official PLA Daily reports. Gaofen-4 orbits at 36,000 km and moves synchronously with the earth allowing it to capture "grand scenarios." Low orbit satellites like Gaofen-1 and Gaofen-2, by contrast, can see more detail at faster speed. Gaofen-4 was launched in December 2015 and has a lifespan of eight years, compared to other remote sensing satellites which remain in service for three to five years. China started the Gaofen project with the launch of Gaofen-1 in April 2013 and aims to launch seven high-definition observation satellites before 2020. Gaofen-3 is scheduled to be launched in August 2016.

June 17:

The USS John C. Stennis was joined in the South China Sea by the USS Ronald Reagan, allowing the two 100,000-ton Nimitz class aircraft carriers to carry out dual flight operations, the 
official website of the U.S. Commander of the Pacific Fleet reports. The two carrier strike groups demonstrated the U.S. navy’s ability to operate two carrier groups in tandem in the Western Pacific and conduct joint training"in a high end scenario," said Rear Adm. John Alexander, commander of the Reagan carrier strike group."We must take advantage of these opportunities to practice warfighting techniques that are required to prevail in modern naval operations," he said."No other Navy can concentrate this much combat power on one sea or synchronize the activities of over 12,000 sailors, 140 aircraft, six combatants and two carriers," said Rear Adm. Marcus Hitchcock commander of the Stennis strike group.

June 19:

official People’s Daily published an op-ed arguing that China is engaged in an ideological struggle with the West, which is"conspiring" to divide China. The article, which was written by Tian Jin, the assistant bureau chief at China’s State Administration of Press Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), argues that either media outlets promote the Communist Party line or be banned from broadcasting."The conspiracy among foreign enemies to use force to divide and westernize us has yet to end. The international notion that ‘The west is strong, China is weak’ has not fundamentally changed. News and public opinion sits at the forefront of this ideological struggle," Tian wrote."Programs that mock pertinent societal issues, ridicule national policy, disseminate misleading viewpoints, promote extreme views, deliberately go against societal order will soon find themselves resolutely stopped and managed seriously." 

[Editor’s Note: Tian’s comments re-enforce SARFT’s tightening control over the media. In March, SARFT published new rules calling for the ban of, among other things, homosexuality, superstitions, and anything that"harms public morality" from media,
Quartz reports.]

June 20:

The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) shadowed the USS John C. Stennis daily during its recent cruise through the South China Sea, reports the Washington Post. Rear Adm. Marcus Hitchcock said that the PLAN was a constant presence, but that he didn’t know what ships had been tailing the strike group or their purpose."We did see the (PLAN) ships quite routinely throughout the South China Sea. We were in constant visual contact with at least one PLAN ship at any given time, 24-7," Hitchcock said. Interactions between the two navies were"safe" and"professional," he said:"We had a way to communicate effectively with each other and we didn’t have any misunderstandings. They maintain a respectful distance and they haven’t tried to interfere with our operations. So they’re just a presence there and we’ve been able to conduct anything we’ve wanted to throughout the entire time." Despite mutual suspicions, the two navies have gradually expanded contacts and agreed on protocols to avoid unintended incidents at sea.

June 21:

For the seventh year in a row China has built the world’s fastest supercomputer, but for the first time it uses only Chinese-designed processors instead of U.S. technology,CNBC reports. The Sunway TaihuLight at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, Jiangsu beat out a computer at the U.S. government's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee for first place. The TaihuLight is capable of 93 petaflops, or quadrillion calculations per second, making it about five times faster than Oak Ridge's Titan. It is used in research including climate, weather, life sciences, designing nuclear weapons, analyzing oilfields, advanced manufacturing and data analytics. This year China also displaced the U.S. for the first time as the country with the most supercomputers in the top 500 – China has 167 such systems, the United States has 165, Japan has 29, Germany has 26, France has 18, and Britain has 12. Supercomputers are among the technologies Beijing has targeted for development and provided substantial financial support. "Considering that just 10 years ago, China claimed a mere 28 systems on the list, with none ranked in the top 30, the nation has come further and faster than any other country in the history of supercomputing," the competition’s organizers said in a statement.


Related Categories: China; China and East Asia Program

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