China wants to tame Internet algorithms. It’s all about national security

Screen shows Xi Jinping speaking at a light show marking the centenary of the Chinese Community Party in Hong Kong, China on July 1, 2021 | Photographer: Chan Long Hei | Bloomberg

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In this week Chinascope, we will examine Chinese propaganda on the Galwan shock, the hidden debt, the control of algorithms, the investigation against the former Minister of Justice and other highlights.

China during the week

Chinese state media produced a Martyrs Day propaganda program in remembrance of the PLA soldiers who died in the clashes in the Galwan Valley on June 15, 2020. Since 2014, China has marked September 30 as Martyrs Day to remember the Chinese soldiers who fought Japan and Korea in the 1950s.

PLA soldiers visited the Galwan Valley front line in Ladakh, where they sang the Chinese national anthem. The theaters on the border were supposed to send a message to India.

Following on from the imposition of control over algorithms, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has set a three-year deadline to tame the algorithms used on Internet platforms. The CAC opinion is entitled “Strengthening the Comprehensive Management of Internet Information Services Algorithms”.

“In three years, gradually establish a comprehensive algorithm security governance system with a strong governance mechanism, a strong oversight system and a standardized algorithm ecology,” said the opinion.

The regulation is aimed at Internet companies and has a national security and ideological angle. Beijing justifies the national security argument of controlling the algorithm by drawing a parallel between membership in the Communist Party and its ideology of China’s long-term “prosperity”.

The Chinese Communist Party’s internal disciplinary body is investigating former Justice Minister Fu Zhenghua.

Chinese state media reported Zhenghua’s detention for “serious violations of discipline and the law.” He became deputy director of the Social and Legal Affairs Committee of the National Committee of the CPPCC.

In 2018, he was appointed Minister of Justice despite rumors implicating him in corruption scandals. Xi Jinping had entrusted Fu with an investigation of former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang in 2013, a case that has been the most discussed within the anti-corruption movement. News of the investigation was a major trend on the Baidu search engine and social media platform Weibo.

Last week, AidData – a research lab at William and Mary University – revealed the increase in China’s “hidden debt” offered by banks and state-owned enterprises. The research uncovered $ 385 billion in external debt owed by 42 countries, which represents 10% of these countries’ GDP.

AidData’s Bank on the Belt and Road report provided for the first time a comprehensive view of China’s “hidden debt”. Much of the funding offered is classified as Belt and Road (BRI) funding by China. The BIS is China’s flagship development finance project that critics say is designed to “trap” developing countries into unsustainable levels of debt.

China responded to the revelations without mentioning the AidData report.

“All major indicators of external debt were within internationally recognized thresholds, and China’s external debt risk is under control,” the State Administration of Foreign Exchange said on Saturday.


Read also : China has just promoted a military general targeted at India. And Weibo talked about Modi in the US


In related news, Goldman Sachs revealed that Chinese local government debt reached $ 8.2 trillion by the end of 2020. Debt accounts for nearly 52% of China’s GDP.

During the week, real estate giant Evergrande missed another $ 47.5 million debt payment due Wednesday. In the latest edition of Chinascope, we told you about Evergrande’s persistent debt problems.

And, in the week, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) celebrated its 72sd National Holiday. The PRC was founded on October 1, 1949, after Mao Zedong’s speech in Tiananmen Square.

On the PRC National Day, Beijing set a record by sending 38 jets through the Taiwan Strait. The People’s Liberation Army air force broke into Taiwan’s ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone).

After the record incursion, the PLA broke into Taiwan’s ADIZ again on October 2. The APL set a new record with two sorties across the Taiwan Strait. The Oct. 2 sorties tally added to the 39 PLA planes crossing the Taiwan Strait for the.

“The Taiwanese Air Force responded by deploying planes to monitor Chinese planes, issuing radio warnings and mobilizing air defense assets,” Taiwan’s defense ministry said.

China faces an energy crisis due to the coal supply shortage and Beijing’s commitment to carbon neutrality.

Factories in 20 of China’s 31 provinces have suffered power cuts and have to shut down production for a few hours – even cities have faced power cuts. Power generation became expensive due to the trade struggle, after which China banned the import of coal from Australia.

Beijing wants strict control over the narrative surrounding Xi Jinping’s “common prosperity” campaign. An article by blogger Li Guangman, who made the news because of his radical tone, continues to annoy Beijing. Chinascope explained the controversy over the article.

“A Beijing-based media source told the South China Morning Post earlier about verbal instructions from media regulators that Li’s article had too negative an impact and should be mitigated, ”wrote SCMP reporter Jun Mai.

As the origins of the Covid-19 virus continue to be debated, Xi Jinping called for improved biosecurity control during the first Politburo study session.

“Traditional biosecurity issues and emerging biosecurity risks overlap; foreign biological threats and internal biological hazards are closely related and coexist. Biosafety risks have many new features, China’s system of biosafety risk prevention and control and governance still has gaps and weaknesses, ”said a summary of Xi Jinping’s remarks at the study session. .

China criticized the United States’ call for an investigation into the origins of Covid-19 in the city of Wuhan and instead suggested that the investigation should have a global focus.


Read also : China to target cosmetics industry after gambling crackdown


China in the world news

The Joe Biden administration is expected to unveil its trade policy in China next week. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai will speak at the Center for International and Strategic Studies in Washington DC, where she will announce the policy.

Tai recently said Politics in an interview that the Biden administration will “build” on the tariffs imposed by the Donald Trump administration as part of the “trade war” with China.

China has supported North Korea’s call to review international sanctions imposed on the DPRK. Hua Chunying called on the United States to “review the sanctions related to humanitarian aspects.”

North Korea recently tested a hypersonic missile, a capability that only a select group of countries have deployed so far. China is one of the candidates who may have helped North Korea with its hypersonic missile program – the others being Russia and Iran.

What you need to read this week

Evergrande is a convenient villain for Xi – Richard McGregor

How a forgotten religion shaped China – Mao Ming

A History of the Islamic State’s Media War on China – Lucas Webber

The Inner History of the Peace Corps in China – Daniel Schoolenberg

Expert conference

“After Japan returns to the era of ephemeral regimes, one of the biggest problems is that relations with neighboring countries will continue to deteriorate and the Japanese state will become increasingly isolated in East Asia. East, ”said Chen Yan, executive dean of the Japan Enterprise Research Institute (China).

India in China

A video of the farmers’ protest in Barnala (Punjab) has been viewed 60,000 times on Weibo. Indian farmers waved ‘anti-Modi, anti-imperialist and anti-business capitalist’ slogans at the rally, said the account that posted the video.

Podworld

How the Chinese state is dealing with social unrest, with Manfred Elfstrom – Sinica Podcast

Key takeaways from AidData’s new report on how China finances the BRI – China in Africa podcast

Upcoming watch

China will mark the 110e anniversary of the Xinhai revolution on Sunday. The Xinhai Revolution of 1911 ended the last Chinese imperial dynasty.

This is a weekly roundup that Aadil Brar will write on what’s hot in China. This will soon be available as a subscriber-only product.

(Edited by Prashant)

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