November 12, 2021- Stealth War 63: Chinese Official Attacks US Democracy; China-Pakistan Naval Sales; US Winter Olympics; China’s Singles’ Day Slump; US Huawei Sanctions

By: Jamestown Foundation

Wed November, 2021, Age: 2 months

 

 


November 12, 2021

Welcome to the Stealth War Newsletter, a collection of the top 5 recent news items, collected on The Jamestown Foundation’s website, stealth-war.org. To continue to receive this weekly collection, click the button below to subscribe. 

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Strategic Indicator
This issue’s number to watch10

 Number of times the term “Nation Rejuvenation” is invoked in the communique summarizing the Resolution on Party History passed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee’s 6th Plenum, which convened in Beijing this week. The resolution elevates Xi Jinping to the level of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping in the CCP political canon.  [The full text of the resolution is pending, but a translation of the Communique can be accessed here]. 

This Week:

*  Chinese Official Assails Western Democracy Immediately After CCP Conclave Sets Xi Jinping up to Rule for Life

*  China Delivers First of Four Frigates to Pakistan

*  On Eve of Xi-Biden Virtual Summit, US Still Non-committal on Winter Olympics Participation

*  Singles’ Day Sales in China Slump as Anti-Consumerism Gains Traction

As U.S. Restrictions Pinch, Huawei Pivots

Top Stories

(source: Global Times

Chinese Official Assails Western Democracy Immediately After CCP Conclave Sets Xi Jinping up to Rule for Life

This week, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee passed a Resolution on Party History, which is intended to bolster General Secretary Xi Jinping’s power and legitimacy over the next decade and beyond. However, another Senior Chinese official, Jiang Jinquan, Director of the Central Committee’s Policy Research Office, made headlines with his claim that the United States is not a true democracy, and that “the electoral democracy of Western countries are actually democracy ruled by the capital, and they are a game of the rich, not real democracy.” Jiang’s remarks came at a press conference to recap the Central Committee’s 6th Plenum, which resulted in the passage of the aforementioned historical Resolution that many observers believe establishes Xi to rule for life.

Jiang called the upcoming US-led “summit of democracies”, which is scheduled for next month, “a huge irony” that seeks to revive democracy from its decay. Jiang cited several US media reports including a National Public Radio (NPR) poll, which found that 81 percent of US adults believe that the future of democracy is under threat. Jiang claimed, by contrast, that the vast majority of Chinese citizens are satisfied with CPC rule.

China Delivers First of Four Frigates to Pakistan

The Pakistan Navy received the first of four multi-role, guided missile and air defense frigates on order from China. The new Type 054A/P frigate was commissioned on Monday at the Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding yard in Shanghai. The ship, which is the largest and most capable naval vessel exported by China to date, is equipped with long range radar, and a launch system that can fire air defense, anti-ship and land attack missiles. The acquisition of new frigates from China is part of a broader effort by Islamabad to bolster its surface ship fleet through purchases of foreign built warships. The Pakistan Navy has also purchased frigates from Turkey, and has established a joint venture with Turkish defense firm ASFAT to co-manufacture corvettes.

Pakistan’s acquisition of warships from China and Turkey will boost its naval capabilities versus India, but will not entirely close the major naval gap between the two South Asian rivals. For example, India has thirteen destroyers, including the new Visakhapatnam class guided missile destroyers, whereas Pakistan only has two aging ex-UK Royal Navy frigates, which it classifies as destroyers. The PLA Navy has grown in strength, but due to its lack of an Indian Ocean basing network, and vulnerability to Indian missiles and land-based aircraft, it remains to be seen how well China and/or Pakistan would fare against Indian forces in an Indian Ocean maritime contingency.

(source: Twitter).

On Eve of Xi-Biden Virtual Summit, US Still Non-committal on Winter Olympics Participation 

The long-awaited virtual summit meeting between US President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping is tentatively scheduled for this coming Monday, November 15. During the meeting, US officials expect that Xi will formally invite Biden to the Beijing Winter Olympics, which are scheduled for February 2022.

Although the 2022 games are rapidly approaching, US officials have eschewed making a firm commitment to participate. As Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently revealed in an interview with the New York Times, “We are talking to allies, to partners, to countries around the world about how they’re thinking about the Games, how they’re thinking about participation. It’s an active conversation. We’re coming up on the Games, but let me leave it at that for today.” Bliken’s remarks occur in the context of growing pressure in democratic countries to boycott the games. For example, a group of US Senators have called for a boycott, as has the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, which comprises more than 100 parliamentarians from 19 countries.

(source: Contagious)

Single’s Day Sales in China Slump as Anti-Consumerism Gains Traction

Singles’ Day, which is often described as a Chinese “Black Friday-equivalent” shopping holiday that celebrates China’s bachelors and bachelorettes ahead of the holiday season, has boasted double digit sales growth each year since its inception. Although, Chinese companies are publicizing a new record sales number of $84.5 billion, 2021 is the first year of single digit Singles’ Day sales growth. The culprit? Many are pointing to anti-consumerism sentiment among Chinese millennials. 

A report by McKinsey in March revealed that over 60% of young Chinese people intend to reduce their consumption and practice more conscious spending habits, both to reduce environmental waste and to slow the growth of massive debt incurred by many individuals through credit companies such as Alipay. Furthermore, more younger Chinese believe that shopping holidays like Singles’ Day, which was given national prominence by Alibaba in 2009, have been imposed by corporations in an attempt to “brainwash” young people into a consumerist mindset.

Economic researchers also theorize that the anti-consumerism movement in China is a response to the country’s rapid economic growth and shifting political culture. An economic slowdown is certainly not in the best interest of the CCP, but the government has yet to express its concern over the trend. 

(source: Xinhua)

As U.S. Restrictions Pinch, Huawei Pivots

On Thursday, U.S. President Joe Biden signed the Secure Equipment Act, which prevents tech companies that are considered potential security risks, including Huawei and ZTE Tech, from receiving Federal Communications Commission (FCC) equipment licenses. In October, Congress overwhelmingly passed the bill banning Huawei and ZTE from receiving FCC licenses, with the Senate voting unanimously to approve it. In March, the FCC labeled five Chinese technology firms as national security threats, while in June it approved a ban on equipment approvals for the five companies in advance of the passage of the Security Equipment Act.

Due to the pressure from current U.S. sanctions, Huawei has started talks to sell its x86 server business. The US blacklist of Huawei has also prevented the tech giant from acquiring processors from Intel Corporation. Parties to the sales talks include a government-backed group, Henan Information Industry Investment Co. Ltd. and Huaqin Technology Co. Ltd. Last year, Huawei sold its smartphone brand Honor to a group backed by the Shenzhen provincial government after the United States banned the sale of key components to Huawei, including chips. At the end of October, Huawei reported that its third-quarter revenue dropped by 38 percent, its fourth quarter in a row of declining sales.


 


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