China Begins Steps To Enforce Law That Would Leave You Shocked

China’s state media reports that the parliament is considering jail terms of up to three years for people who disrespect the national anthem or flag in public.


Recall that in September, China passed a new law mandating up to 15 days in police detention for those who mock the “March of the Volunteers” national anthem, a law that also covers the Chinese territories of Hong Kong and Macau.


Parliament is now looking at whether to amend China’s Criminal Law to include criminal penalties for disrespect of the national anthem, including intentionally distorting the lyrics or tune, Xinhua said.  The tougher penalties also apply to a desecration of the national flag, or emblem, including burning, defacing or trampling on it in public, the report said.


China’s Curious Engagements In Africa

The offer by the Peoples Republic of China to build the 3,050 megawatts Mambilla hydropower plant at minimal initial monetary commitment to Nigeria is raising some curious discussion points again about China’s constructive engagements in Africa and indeed Nigeria that led Africa to declare boldly to the West on January 11, 1976 that, “Africa has come of age.”

The terms agreed to reflect the positive role that the Peoples Republic of China continues to play in the development of critical infrastructure in the country. According to Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, China would under an import-export financing arrangement, contribute 85 percent and Nigeria would pick up the remaining 15 percent of the $5.72 billion cost. Besides, the interest on the long tenor –up to 20 years- project loan could be as low as 2 percent. It must be noted though, that this financing model also grants that the lending country supplies companies, equipment, and workers for the project. This may not be quite in line with the local content policy of the Nigerian government. But it would be reasonable to expect that the general and long-term benefits of the deal on Mambilla power plant outweigh the immediate concerns.

Coming from an experience of oppression and balkanization by foreign powers that is similar to the imperialism and colonialism suffered by nations of Africa, China’s role in the development of Nigeria as well as Africa, is a story of collaboration, economic assistance, and even diplomatic support that predates independence. And this relationship has been consistently underpinned by an attitude of mutual respect. As China’s economy grows stronger and bigger, its vast financial and human and natural resources have enabled it to relate more confidently with greater impact upon other nations at political, economic, and cultural levels.

The Nigeria – China relations have, in recent years been substantial- but not limited to- economic activities such that, trade has grown into multi-billion dollars level. In 2014, China exported into Nigeria $10.2 billion worth of goods (about 22 percent of total imports but took goods worth only $1.67 billion from here (about 1.7 percent of total exports). Recent figures from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics indicate that China is the leading exporter of goods into Nigeria. In the fourth quarter of 2016, alone N404 billion worth of Chinese goods (17.5 percent of the total) came into this country. But that country did not even feature in the top five importers of Nigerian goods within the same period. Import was valued at over 1 billion dollars. This figure compares –unfavourably, it must be admitted – with Nigeria’s export of only hundreds of millions of dollars to China in the same period. Even now, while China ranks as the highest exporter to Nigeria, that country is not in the top four importers of Nigerian goods. Trade imbalance against Nigeria dates far back into the 1970s when, in 1972 – 74, Nigerian exports were worth a mere $14 million while its imports were worth $249 million.

A glaring and perennial trade imbalance, especially since a fall in oil export to China, raises the question whether China is a colonising power in another garb or is indeed a genuine partner for development and mutual benefits between both countries. The point to keep in mind is that nations relate with others on the primary basis of self-interest, and secondary basis of mutual interest. This is to say it would be naïve to expect China to do business with this country, or indeed any other country, except that its interest is first and foremost served thereby. This should be the article of faith that drives Nigeria as it interacts with China. On balance, however, Nigeria, like other African countries, has benefitted immensely from relations with China.

Nigeria has much to learn from a People’s Republic of China that came into existence only 68 years ago-just a decade earlier than Nigeria as a self-governing state. Besides its thousands of years of history and sophisticated culture, China has gained from a strong, focused, and uncompromisingly patriotic leadership that, in the face of foreign interference and opposition, forged a collective will to survive, thrive, and hold its own in the community of nations, the harnessing of its immense human and natural resources to feed itself, industrialise, and become lately, the second largest economy in the world. It is important to say too that China has extremely low tolerance for that value-corroding, socially destructive cankerworm called corruption.

Nigeria – China relations are similar in several respects, to China dealings with other African countries for the obvious reason that they face largely similar challenges and have basically similar development needs.

China has, historically, been a friend of Nigeria and Africa generally, and has demonstrated this in material and non-material support especially in the post-war economic needs of Nigeria. But the point must not be lost to anyone that China relates with Nigeria- and Africa in a strategic, long-term view manner. Its national leaders visit African countries often, while its envoys regularly relate with local traditional, political, and business leaders on a wide range of platforms. China makes large and small donations such as the $260 million African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, and cottage hospitals in Nigerian villages. It invests in the land for agricultural and other purposes. It establishes industries through a combination of state-funded large projects on the one hand, and small and medium private commercial and other forms of business. And its citizens mix enough with the local populations to reside and do business in nearly every nook and cranny of their host countries.

Besides, China has established the Confucius Institute in selected Nigerian universities and elsewhere, to encourage the learning of its official language and to spread its culture abroad. It will be no exaggeration to say that the country is in Africa for the long haul. This being so, it behoves Nigeria and Africa to similarly engage China through a most rigorous strategic thinking that ensures maximum benefits and respect in both the short and long terms. One example: while China is one powerful country with a unified, focused and coordinated external policy, Africa is a fragmentation of 54 sovereign countries neither quite united nor sufficiently coordinated in foreign policy to advance the best interests of the continent.

Notwithstanding the best of motives, the one is likely to outsmart the other in a thinking-intensive game of negotiation. The obvious good that Africa derives from this partnership does not mean that everything is fine and flawless. Not at all! Complaints against China’s practices in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa range over many issues. These include the violation of local labour laws in Chinese industrial businesses, the dumping in Nigerian markets of sub-standard, or cheap, or even fake products; the use of Chinese hands where local hands can well serve the purpose; discriminatory pay structures between indigenous and Chinese staff and the ill-treatment of local employees, are some of the unacceptable features.

What is more, Chinese imports on a large scale have also rendered locally produced goods uncompetitive leading to the closure of local industries and job losses. But, according to the former deputy prime minister of Zimbabwe, Prof. Arthur Mutambara, Africa must not blame China but must take responsibility for its own problems – including Chinese misdemeanour – and solve them.

Notwithstanding the reservations about China, there is no doubt that Nigeria – and Africa in general – have much to learn from China, a nation taken in under 70 years from the fourth world level to the first world category, thanks to consistent visionary, fiercely patriotic leadership on the one hand, and a willing, determined, and enduring followership on the other. Besides, China takes the education of its citizens very seriously. The Asian country takes research and development in all areas of knowledge seriously. It also makes sense to remember that China takes the core values that sustain and promote national interest as a fundamental objective of state policy. And it bears repeating: China has extremely low tolerance for corruption in high places. These are the examples African countries must emulate to take a great leap into this very competitive global village.

With China and indeed, any other trading partner, Africa must avoid a repeat of the colonial agenda that maintained it as merely a source of raw materials in one direction and a consumer of finished goods in the other. The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) remains a good ‘win-win partnership’ platform upon which Africa – China relations must be continually refined to serve the best interests of the two sides. It is said that one who outthinks you will outsmart you. Africa must first assume full responsibility for its development and prosperity before it relies upon outside help. A thoughtful Africa must define in all ramifications, the nature, purpose and method of its relationship with China. The African Union has a duty to set out and continually review the overarching parameters of Africa-China relations such that the continent would never again suffer foreign domination and plunder. While it may be admitted that relations between nations are perpetual work in progress, the point should ever be in focus that a win-win partnership must remain the guiding principle and the watchword of both parties in Africa-China relations. That is the only way we can walk our vaunting that Africa has indeed come of age!




Source: The Guardian

After China’s Uncertainty, Now Russia Threatens To Ban Facebook In 2018

Facebook users in China recently complained about the application been unavailable to some due to the country’s security protocol, Russia has just said it will ban Facebook in 2018 if the social network fails to comply with local data storage laws.

Alexander Zharov, head of communications regulator Roskomnadzor, was quoted by official state media outlets saying “the law is obligatory for all. In all cases we will make sure the law is complied with, or the company will stop working in the Russian Federation. There are no exceptions here.”

Russia’s law on personal data storage came into effect in September 2015 and It requires companies that collect the personal data of citizens to store the information on Russian soil.

Zharov said his agency has not been in contact with Facebook but added that the company needs to comply with the law soon. “In 2018, we will think about it, and maybe we will check,” Zharov told state media that Roskomnadzor had received a letter from Twitter saying it would comply with the data storage law starting in 2018.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Facebook is a commercial enterprise earning money in Russia, and therefore it must comply with the law.

The Drama WhatsApp Users Face In China

Osun Defender has learnt that WhatsApp has been suffering serious disruption in China. According to the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), network measurement data suggests that Chinese internet service providers started blocking access to WhatsApp on Saturday. Public reports on Twitter indicate that WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, became inaccessible for some people a week ago.

In China on Tuesday, users reported intermittent service on the messaging platform. Over the last few months, there have been a number of WhatsApp disruptions in China. WhatsApp declined to comment on its status there.

The most recent move to censor the encrypted messenger comes ahead of next month’s 19th National Congress of the ruling Communist Party. At the sensitive gathering, which takes place once every five years, the government will select leaders and determine policy priorities.

Usually, China regularly tightens its internet restrictions in the lead-up to major Communist Party meetings.

“Typically, in the run up to Party Congresses, we’ve seen blocking, filtering, restrictions on the internet, and that’s what we’ve been seeing in the last couple months,” said Adam Segal, director of the Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The Chinese government runs a huge apparatus of internet filters known as the Great Firewall, which it uses to censor content that it deems harmful.

However, the latest move against WhatsApp is also part of a wider trend of tightening controls and restrictions under President Xi Jinping, Segal said. China has reinstated WhatsApp access after past disruptions.

WhatsApp users on international SIM cards and data plans have not experienced the same problems. The restrictions appear to specifically target China-based users.

China’s internet regulator did not respond to a request for comment.

WhatsApp’s difficulties cast a shadow over Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s longtime efforts to make Facebook services available in China.

Big U.S. companies have been shut out of China’s market for years, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google. Some people access these services through virtual private networks, or with tools that disguise internet traffic to circumvent censorship. But the Chinese government has been cracking down on VPNs this year.

According to Timothy Heath, senior international defense research analyst at the RAND Corporation, the Chinese government does not like that WhatsApp uses strong encryption.

“The government wants to monitor internet communications, and therefore it’s trying to steer its people to use technology that can be accessed and monitored by the government,” Heath told CNN Tech.

Earlier this month, WeChat, a popular chat service with hundreds of millions of users in China, notified customers of its policies to comply with government requests for information.

Chinese Consortium To Build $5.8bn Mambila Hydroelectric Power Project In Nigeria

China Gezhouba Group’s consortium has secured a contract to build $5.8bn Mambila hydroelectric power project in Nigeria.

Upon completion, the hydroelectric projects will have a power generation capacity of 3,050MW.

The hydroelectric power plant will be located in Gembu, Taraba state, Nigeria. It is claimed to become the largest plant in Nigeria after completion.

The hydroelectric power project will include construction of four dams and 700km of transmission lines.

It will also feature two connecting roads with a total of 15.9km, two total 6.8km of diversion tunnel, two total of 7.6km tailrace tunnel, underground powerhouse, 12 impact water turbine and power generation system, 27,000 tons of gold knot security, and 184km approach road.

Under the terms of the contract, Nigeria will contribute about $870m to the project, representing 15% of overall cost.

The remaining cost of the project will be met by the China Energy Engineering through funding from the China Exim Bank.

Nigeria’s hydro power capacity is expected to exceed 4,500MW after the completion of the Mambilla power project.

In August, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) of Nigeria approved the development of the hydroelectric power project.

Due to funding constraints, the project faced many delays even as it was first conceived in 1982.

Responding to the executive council’s approval to the project last month, Nigeria Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola was quoted by Nigeria Today as saying: “Several efforts had been made to bring it to reality but I’m happy to announce that this government approved the contract today to joint ventures of Chinese Civil and Engineering company for the engineering and turn-key contract, including civil and electro-mechanical works for $5.792bn.”

Source: Energy Business Review

N’Korea Nuclear Issue Must Be Resolved – China

Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, told his Russian counterpart during a meeting at the UN, that the North Korean nuclear issue must be resolved peacefully, China’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

The U.S. and South Korea, and separately Russia together with China, started military drills on Wednesday in a show of force against North Korea, which repeatedly defied the UN to conduct nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

Wang said in a meeting with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Monday that China would strictly implement UN Security Council sanctions and stressed that “parties directly involved” must also take action and responsibility.

“The current deepening vicious cycle must be broken. Resuming peace talks is an equally important step in implementing Security Council resolutions,” Wang said, according to a statement on the foreign ministry website.

Russia has supported China’s “suspension-for-suspension” proposal, where the U.S. and South Korea would agree to halt joint military drills while North Korea halted missile and nuclear tests.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump spoke about keeping the pressure on North Korea using economic sanctions imposed through the UN, the White House said on Monday.

Trump and Xi spoke on the phone days after Trump and his aides publicly discussed potential military action against North Korea.

Trump said on Friday he was “more confident than ever that our options in addressing this threat are both effective and overwhelming”.

Pyongyang carried out the latest in a rapid series of missile launches by firing another mid-range ballistic missile over Japan on Friday, soon after its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3, in defiance of UN sanctions and other international pressure.

Russia, China In Joint Naval Drills Near North Korea

China and Russia began naval drills near North Korea on Monday amid continuing tensions over the isolated state’s nuclear ambitions and ahead of a United Nations General Assembly meeting this week, where North Korea is likely to loom large.

North Korea launched a missile over Japan last Friday, its second in the past three weeks, and conducted its sixth and by far most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3, in defiance of international pressure.

The official Xinhua news agency said the joint exercises will take place between Peter the Great Bay, just outside of the Russian far eastern port of Vladivostok, not far from the Russia-North Korea border, and into the southern part of the Sea of Okhotsk, to the north of Japan.

The drills are the second part of China-Russian naval exercises this year, the first part of which took place in the Baltic in July. The report did not directly link the drills to current tensions over North Korea.

According to TASS, Russia and China will deploy 11 ships and two submarines during the drill that will run till 26 September.

“The second stage of the international Russian-Chinese Maritime Cooperation-2017 exercise will involve 11 surface ships, two submarines, two deep-submergence rescue vehicles, four anti-submarine warfare aircraft and four shipborne helicopters,” spokesman Vladimir Matveyev said.

Russia will send the Admiral Tributs Udaloy-class destroyer, the Sovershenny corvette and the Igor Belousov rescue ship, carrying the AS-40 deep-submergence rescue vehicle and the R-11 missile corvette. In addition, the Pacific Fleet will also be represented by the Sovetskaya Gavan Grisha-class corvette, the Viktor Faleyev hydrographic survey vessel, the MB-93 sea tug and two diesel-electric submarines that were not named.

The four-vessel Chinese task force will be led by the Shijiazhuang destroyer.

“In addition, the naval phase of the exercise will involve the training of ship-aircraft coordination. This element will involve two Il-38 planes, two Tu-142M3 planes, a Ka-27PS and a Ka-27 helicopters of the Pacific Fleet’s naval aviation. The aviation of the Chinese Navy will be represented by Z-9C and Z-9D shipborne helicopters,” Matveyev said.

Both China and Russia have repeatedly called for a peaceful solution and talks to resolve the North Korean issue.

The international community must remain united and enforce sanctions against North Korea after its repeated launch of ballistic missiles, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in an editorial published in the New York Times on Sunday.

Such tests are in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and show that North Korea can now target the United States or Europe, Abe said.

Diplomacy and dialogue will not work with North Korea and concerted pressure by the entire international community is essential to tackle the threats posed by North Korea, Abe wrote.

A week ago, the 15-member U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted its ninth sanctions resolution since 2006 over North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

On Monday, the official China Daily said sanctions should be given time to bite but that the door must be left open to talks.

“With its Friday missile launch, Pyongyang wanted to give the impression that sanctions will not work. Some people have fallen for that and immediately echoed the suggestion, pointing to the failure of past sanctions to achieve their purpose,” it said in an editorial.

“But that past sanctions did not work does not mean they will not. It is too early to claim failure because the latest sanctions have hardly begun to take effect. Giving the sanctions time to bite is the best way to make Pyongyang reconsider.”

Pyongyang has launched dozens of missiles as it accelerates a weapons programme designed to provide the ability to target the United States with a powerful, nuclear-tipped missile.

North Korea said on Saturday it aimed to reach an “equilibrium” of military force with the United States.

Nigeria Announces $5.8bn Deal For Record-Breaking Power Project

The government of Nigeria has announced the award of a $5.8 billion contract to build what will be the largest power plant in the country.

The 3,050-megawatt Mambila hydroelectric power project in the state of Taraba will be delivered by a consortium of Chinese state-owned construction firms.
The megaproject will feature four dams between 50 and 150 meters tall, and take six years to complete, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, told reporters in Abuja.
The Chinese Export-Import Bank will finance 85% of the development, with the Nigerian government contributing 15%.
Minister Fashola claimed the project will deliver far-reaching benefits.
“(Mambila) will have a transformational effect on all of Nigeria’s socio-economic development,” he said through a government spokesman, “It will have considerable positive impact on electricity supply nationwide, productivity, employment, tourism, technology transfer, rural development, irrigation, agriculture and food production.”

False starts

The Mambila hydropower plant has been in development for over 30 years, but previous administrations have made little progress.
In 2007, the Nigerian government awarded a $1.4 billion contract to two Chinese construction firms for a 2,600-megawatt plant, but the agreement broke down soon after.
Attempts were made to revive the deal without success. But the deadlock was broken by conversations between the presidents of China and Nigeria in 2016, according to the spokesman of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The major breakthrough in the execution of this project was achieved when President Muhammadu Buhari initiated discussions at the level of the President of the Peoples Republic of China in the course of his State Visit (in 2016),” wrote government official Garba Shehu.
The meeting resulted in the creation of a consortium of Chinese companies to deliver the project, according to Shehu, and an agreement that the Chinese government would commit finance to it.

Power shortage

Despite being one of the largest economies in Africa, over 40% of Nigerians live without access to electricity, according to World Bank figures.
Hydropower, one of the cleanest and cheapest forms of power, is a key target for development as Nigeria is currently exploiting just a fraction of its potential resources.
The country is also seeking to shift away from oil dependency, after plummeting oil prices triggered a recession.
The clear need for the Mambila project could make it more likely to succeed, some analysts believe.
“The prospects of project implementation starting are perhaps stronger than in previous decades,” says Elizabeth Donnelly, deputy head of the Africa Programme at UK think tank Chatham House. “Nigeria continues, albeit slowly, with its complex power sector reform and badly needs to generate – and more importantly distribute – more power for its 180 million people.”
“Hydroelectricity is an important part of this mix, particularly for rural electrification.”

Risk factors

The location of the development could lead to complications.
“There is strong competition for land in Taraba state, which regularly sees outbreaks of ethno-religious violence,” says Donnelly. “Such a project, with its need to resettle people, could considerably worsen the conflict dynamics and humanitarian situation in the state.”
Environmental groups have also raised concerns about the potential impact.
“If the Mambila dam project does continue, it could mean disastrous environmental and social impacts for those already living in poverty along the banks of the Benue River,” warned NGO International Rivers,
The Nigerian government says that 100,000 people will be displaced by the development, and has pledged to resettle and compensate them.
Taraba state Governor, Darius Dickson Ishaku, has welcomed the project for its potential to boost tourism and agriculture.

Chinese interests

The power plant is one of several major Chinese investments in Nigeria, including multiple railway projects.
In January, Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi announced plans to invest a further $40 billion in Nigeria.
“Nigeria is seen as an important power that China wants good relations with,” says Yun Sun, a scholar of Chinese foreign policy at US think tank, The Stimson Center.
Sun adds that the primary motivation is financial. Investments such as the Mambila power plant make good business sense.
“Nigeria is using Chinese banks to hire Chinese companies for the project, which will create profits and jobs,” she says. “China also wants to identify large projects that make it look good and (Mambila) falls into this category.”
But while China is likely to gain from the deal, Sun sees higher risk on the Nigerian side.
“I am less optimistic about the financial impact on the Nigerian economy as the project is very large and there is a question about how Nigeria will repay the 85% finance from the Export-Import Bank,” she says. “There could be implications for the national debt.”
Source: CNN

North Korea Nuclear Test Rocks Parts Of China

North Korea’s nuclear test Sunday was widely felt in northeast China and rocked some cities for as long as eight seconds, according to reports and accounts on social media.

The tremor was felt as far away as the city of Changchun around 400 km (250 miles) northwest of the North’s test site at Punggye-ri, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

In the small city of Yanji, some 20 km from the border, some people reported the shaking was so intense that they fled their homes.

Jiemiao Cangxin, a commentator on the Chinese microblog Weibo, said his building swayed so much that “I put my underpants on and I just ran, and when I reached the first floor I can say I wasn’t the only one running away with just my underpants on!”

“In Yanji, we felt the shaking for ten seconds,” said Weibo user Buziranshaonv.

“I was lying down and sleeping when the tremor woke me up. At first, I thought it was a dream,” said another.

The test, North Korea’s sixth, was substantially larger than previous ones, measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale according to US monitors.

That would make it between five to six times larger than Pyongyang’s previous effort in September last year, according to South Korea’s weather agency.

The North called it a test of a hydrogen bomb which was a “perfect success”.

Reports of the explosion also provoked widespread concern further away in China, with many commentators speculating about the timing of the event — just hours before Chinese President Xi Jinping is due to open a summit of BRICs nations in southern China.

“An earthquake happened in North Korea, everyone thinks at once it is a nuclear test,” said one user, cheekily adding “is it a form of greetings for the summit in Xiamen?”


‘Untold Story’: Would China’s 72-Year Old Potter Get A Successor?

In China, there is a 72 year old man, Mr. Zu who has a 59 years experience in making beautiful pots from clay.


Since adolescence, Zu has been a Potter breaking new grounds and making waves with his business.


A Potter of distinct attributes, The 75 year old Chinese is capable of making a beautiful pottery from clay within 3 to 4 minutes.


He works in Pinglu, Shanxi province, in China.


With all these attributes Zu has, he is yet to have a successor.


As it is with old age, death might come anytime soon but his agony and biggest challenge however at this time is not death, but a worthy successor.


Indeed, whoever succeeds Zu has all it takes to become If one of the greatest potters in the world.


Watch video of Zu’s handiwork below:


China Lifts 13.9 Million People Out Of Poverty Each Year

China lifted 13.91 million people out of poverty each year from 2012 to 2016 according to a report from the State Council on Tuesday.

Similarly, the annual per capita income in impoverished rural areas has grown to 10.7 per cent every year.

The report on poverty relief work was submitted for review at a five-day bi-monthly session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, which opened on Monday.

“The State Council has always put a lot of effort into poverty relief.

“The government work reports in the past four years all promised to lift at least 10 million out of poverty,’’ said Liu Yongfu, Director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development.

As of the end of 2016, there were 43.35 million people in China living below the country’s poverty line of 344.30 U.S. dollars of annual income as constant with 2010 prices, accounting for about 3 per cent of China’s population.

About 775,000 officials have been sent to impoverished areas for poverty relief work, said the report.

China has set 2020 as the target year to complete the building of a “moderately prosperous society,’’ which requires the eradication of poverty.

To achieve the target, China needs to bring more than 10 million people out of poverty every year, meaning nearly one million people per month or 20 people per minute.