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China Reform Monitor - No. 1309

Beijing slaps new regulations on the practice of Buddhism;
China eyes new Central Asian rail link

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
December 27, 2017

November 23:

Local governments should not fuel "religious crazes"to boost tourism, according to guidelines for Buddhist and Taoist temples released by the State Administration of Religious Affairs (SARA). Local governments also should not charge high entrance fees to religious sites, erect large religious effigies, build temples to attract tourists, hire fake monks, or hold fake rituals to gain donations. Temples can sell books or religious objects, but only to support maintenance or charity programs. Religion has seen a revival in China in the last 30 years, and Buddhism and Taoism now have tens of millions of followers. Some temples have been converted into museums so visitors must buy tickets. Other times, local officials and developers build parks and lakes around temples and require the monks to share entrance fee revenues,
Reuters reports.

November 27:

U.S. prosecutors in Pittsburgh have charged three Chinese nationals, Wu Yingzhuo, Dong Hao and Xia Lei, of Guangzhou Bo Yu Information Technology Company Ltd, also known as Boyusec, with hacking into Siemens AG, Trimble Inc. and Moody's Analytics to steal business secrets. Between 2011 and 2017, the hackers monitored the email correspondences of an unidentified Moody's economist; stole data from transportation, technology and energy units at Siemens; and targeted Trimble as it developed a new global navigation satellite system, the indictment said. Boyusec is affiliated with China's People's Liberation Army Unit 61398, and most if not all its hacking operations are state-sponsored. According to an unidentified U.S. government official: "Gleaning precise locations from mobile phones and other devices is valuable to the Ministry of State Security for monitoring dissidents as well as foreigners."The data collected from Moody's could help identify people that could be vulnerable to commercial or government exploitation, blackmail or bribery,
Reuters reports.

November 28:

At a meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan, the countries of China, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran signed an agreement to increase rail cargo shipments along a route known as the China-Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran (CKTI) rail,
the Iran Daily reports. According to one Kazakh transport official, the deal the formation of stable container traffic, the development of a client and freight base, and the application of approved tariff rates for container service along the CKTI. The CKTI was officially launched in February, when a container train successfully went from Turkmenistan to Iran. The CKTI route is about 10,000 km long, and the journey from China to Iran takes about two weeks.

November 29:

About 106,000 companies with foreign investment in their operations had set up party units by the end of 2016, according to Qi Yu, Vice Minister of the Central Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee. That figure has more than doubled since 2011, when the figure was 47,000, bringing the total number of party branches to 750,000 – or 70 percent of all foreign-funded firms in China. "The majority of [senior executives at foreign-invested companies] welcome and support party organizations carrying out activities in their companies,"Qi said.

However, the claim has been challenged by the Delegations of German Industry and Commerce in China, which issued a statement warning that German firms may pull out of China if they are forced to set up party cells, the South China Morning Post reports. "We do not believe that foreign-invested companies generally should be required to promote the development of any political party within company structures. Should these attempts to influence foreign-invested companies continue, it cannot be ruled out that German companies might retreat from the Chinese market or reconsider investment strategies,"the statement said.

December 2:

A memo from August has surfaced from the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau, revealing that China-based drone manufacturer Da Jiang Innovations (DJI) is stealing sensitive data on critical U.S. infrastructure and law enforcement and covertly sending it back to Beijing. The list of information forwarded to the PRC includes data on railroads, utilities, drinking water systems, and hazardous material storage facilities,
Tech Spot reports
. The report concludes "with high confidence that the company is selectively targeting government and privately owned entities within these sectors to expand its ability to collect and exploit sensitive U.S. data."

Related Categories: Europe; Central Asia; China; China and East Asia Program

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