Ge Changyin, Associate Professor of Accounting at the China Agricultural University, in Jiemian (December 22, 2021)
Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Weibo)
China is the fastest-growing and largest market for livestreaming e-commerce in the world. While livestreaming services prosper through their innovative business models, how they earn their income differs from that of other traditional enterprises.
Viya and Li Jiaqi are superstar influencers in this market. The Zhejiang Provincial Tax Service recently disclosed that Viya had evaded taxes amounting to RMB643 million and underpaid RMB60 million in taxes between 2019 and 2020. She was fined RMB1.3billion, representing the largest penalty issued to a livestreamer and sending a clear message that the government will not tolerate tax evasion.
Here are some ways to address the emerging problems:
First, it is important to acknowledge that the obligation of taxpayers is to pay their taxes according to the law. One of the main functions of taxation is to address income disparity, and the Viya case is a lesson for every taxpayer. Second, the nature of livestream e-commerce should be categorized as business income rather than individual income, with a maximum tax rate of 35 percent. Third, local commercial departments should bear the responsibility of ensuring compliance of registered companies so that they are not used for tax avoidance.
To crack down on evasion, China’s taxation authorities should thoroughly investigate these livestreaming businesses and introduce targeted provisions where necessary.
Zhang Yangai, macroeconomics researcher, in Jiemian (December 6, 2021) Summary by Alan Yang Gregory
The outlook for China’s domestic exports was pessimistic during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. The economy, however, has subsequently outperformed, with the year-on-year growth rate for exports (in US dollars terms) increasing from 0.5 percent in 2019 to 3.6 percent in 2020 – and 32.3 percent in January-October 2021. Contrary to the mainstream view that China's export growth rate will decline significantly, exports will maintain double-digit year-on-year growth in 2022 for the following three reasons:
First, the pandemic’s trajectory remains uncertain. Despite the rapid increase in global vaccination coverage, the number of new confirmed cases observed worldwide continues to rise and fall in waves every 3-4 months. The recent emergence of the Omicron strain has triggered panic in global capital markets. If there is a super mutant strain in 2022, the recovery of overseas production will continue to be limited, which will increase import demand for Chinese goods.
Second, the safety and stability of China's industrial chain has been well demonstrated throughout the pandemic. This is conducive to boosting the popularity of Chinese enterprises to overseas customers and increasing exports, with the automobile industry serving as an example.
Third, the pandemic has given many Chinese products opportunities to go global. The label “Made in China” is constantly improving, and Chinese brands are more and more associated with affordable quality. As the pandemic has limited some overseas production, some customers have been "forced" to buy Made-in-China products, highlighting China’s cost-effective advantage. This trend can be expected to continue in 2022.
Overall, assuming the global pandemic continues throughout 2022, the market share of Chinese exports may expand. This will mean that the export industry chain will continue to play an important role in China’s economic growth, supporting stable employment while also managing the risk of renminbi depreciation.
Qian Hao, Professor and Director of the Centre for Canadian Studies at the Shanghai International Studies University, and President of the Association for Canadian Studies in China, in Global Times (September 23, 2021)
Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Martin Chevalier/Le Journal de Montréal/Press pool)
Justin Trudeau has won a third term as Canada’s prime minister, with his Liberal Party forming another minority government. What does this mean for China-Canada relations?
Canada’s China policy was one of the issues in the campaign debates. The "3Ms Case" (referring to Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou detained in Canada and the two Canadians who were arrested in China, Michael Kovrig, Michael Spavor) is likely to have affected voting preferences.
Whether China-Canada relations can recover now that the election is over depends on the diplomatic agenda of the two countries. Trudeau promised that he would bring back the two Michaels from China. Yet Meng's return is still a prerequisite for improving China-Canada relations. The Canadian side hopes that the United States will lift the charges against Meng. This, however, depends on the diplomatic skills of Canadian policymakers.
According to data from the China-Canada import and export trade index for the three years from January 2018 to December 2020, China-Canada trade volume was not affected by the deterioration of diplomatic relations. This offers clear evidence that Canada is different from Australia. In addition, Canada, as a member of the Five Eyes alliance, is the only country so far that has not blocked Huawei from participating in 5G contracts.
It is possible that Trudeau will continue to work hard to improve China-Canada non-governmental relations during the term of his new government, particularly in areas such as environmental protection and energy. The governments of China and Canada should adopt a positive dialogue, seek common ground while understanding differences, and deepen cooperation.
Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: CCTV screenshot from YouTube)
Hao Min, Vice Dean of the Department of International Politics at the University of International Relations, in Global Times (July 16, 2021)
Academic cooperation and scientific and technological exchanges are an important channel for engagement between China and the United States. In response to the nonsensical American government’s presidential proclamation barring certain Chinese students and researchers from entering the US as non-immigrants, over 1,000 Chinese students from eight top science and engineering colleges in China are initiating a class-action lawsuit requesting that the administration of Joe Biden revise or rescind the executive order.
Signed by Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, in May 2020, the order was ostensibly aimed at "protecting intellectual property rights" and "preventing spies from stealing advanced American science and technology". It completely runs counter to the values of "openness and freedom" in academia that Americans defend.
Students should be aware of the following:
First, the large-scale refusal of visas is an extension of the US investigation of Chinese researchers. The vast majority of those scrutinized have been shown to have nothing to do with the "technical espionage" alleged by the US. This illustrates that the US government is determined to curb China's high-tech development for national strategic purposes.
Second, the vague term "military-civil fusion" has become a gimmick used by the US to suppress China. Students (even those from the arts or social sciences) who were refused visas came from science and engineering colleges considered by Washington to be involved in military-civil activities and to have a connection to the People’s Liberation Army. It should be noted that many American laboratories are funded by the US military.
Chinese students must be prepared for a protracted legal battle. Litigation in the US is costly and could last months to years. Even though many American colleges and universities have responded positively to the views of Chinese students, none have been willing to support the case against the government.
Yang Xiyu, senior fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, in Global Times (August 11, 2021)
Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Republic of Korea Navy)
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, easing of relations between North and South Korea, and public sentiment in South Korea, many people expected that joint US-South Korea military exercises would be postponed or even cancelled. The fact that they have proceeded on schedule demonstrates the influence of the US. It also reveals that the essential nature of the military exercises is indispensable in the US toolbox against North Korea.
The US has expressed its position more than once, stating that all options for its North Korea policy remain on the table. In this sense, the US-South Korea military exercises on the Korean Peninsula have always had a special political angle unique to its specific geopolitical environment.
China clearly opposes such military exercises because it has become a major obstacle to the settlement of the peninsula issue. This kind of institutionalized “military exercise” is not for the sake of peace and stability on the peninsula, or even for the security of South Korea. Instead, it only makes the North and the South sink deeper into their security dilemma, which can only be resolved by enhancing mutual trust between North and South.
Moreover, behind the US’s insistence on holding the military exercises, there are hidden plans to expand the US-South Korea alliance or include it in its so-called "regional security pillar". As such, the interactions between the US and South Korea, including joint military exercises, are harmful to the security of the whole of East Asia.
Xie Nan, associate researcher at the Institute of Taiwan Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, in Global Times (August 2, 2021)
Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Chad J McNeeley/US Department of Defense)
In a move to provoke China, the US House of Representatives passed a spending bill that forbids the use of any funds to create, procure or display maps that depict Taiwan as part of China. Similar provocations include the American TV network NBC showing an incomplete map of China during the Olympics opening ceremony.
Many believed that President Joe Biden would work to ease the tense Sino-American relationship, and that Washington’s Taiwan-related policies would be revised. It is now clear, however, that little has changed and that these petty US provocations on Taiwan matters are in line with the overall strategy of putting pressure on China.
The US State Department Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell stated that the US did not support Taiwan independence. Washington is skilled at sending signals through petty provocations to suggest that the relationship between Taiwan and the US will continue to be strengthened. This allows the separatist forces on Taiwan to continue to dream of independence.
Some Taiwan voices have pointed out that the Biden administration’s China policy has simply focused on managing crises and avoiding conflicts. The US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated in Singapore that he did not want conflict with China and "is committed to establishing a constructive and stable relationship". Meanwhile, he has repeatedly claimed that he will continue to support Taiwan’s self-defense.
Taiwan has paid tens of billions of dollars in "protection fees" to Washington for the purchase of military equipment. Yet, there is still no defense guarantee or even a "Taiwan-US economic and trade cooperation agreement" to show for it.
While these petty provocations at most create some noise, they cannot shake the mainland's dominance in the development of cross-strait relations. The one-China principle will only become stronger internationally and will not be shaken.
Shen Yi, Associate Professor in the School of International Relations and Public Affairs at Fudan University, in Guancha (February 14, 2021)
Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Georgina Coupe/Number 10)
According to a report, the UK’s plans to convert the G7 alliance of developed nations into an anti-China democratic alliance called the D10 (through the inclusion of Australia, South Korea and India) has been suspended. Various factors had prompted the UK to shift back to that classic Cold-War mentality. Constructing a political quasi-alliance that targets China and demonstrates the values of “Western democracy and freedom” was Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s attempt to save face by creating a distraction from domestic problems.
The collapse of the D10 plan was inevitable due to the decline in the status of the G7. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the G7 was arguably at the center of the world. According to data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, by 2021, the global share of nominal GDP of the G7 had fallen to are 46 percent. When considering purchasing power parity, this figure decreases to just 32 percent. In sharp contrast, China’s volume, proportion and role in the global system have all shown significant improvement and growth. According to the IMF, China already accounted for roughly 18 percent of the world’s GDP in 2019.
Facing such a shift in the international system, the US and Western countries have two approaches to consider. First, a pragmatic approach would consider the huge benefits brought by the global production system. The alternative approach involves a bizarre ideology based upon throwing around ideas such as the D10 and repeatedly chanting a few catchwords in the hope of restoring the lost old days. Ultimately, the world should have no interest in such plans. After all, there are far more important issues to solve such as the Covid-19 crisis, the need for sustainable economic development, and climate change.
Yan Yan, Director of the Research of Oceans Law and Policy at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, in Global Times (February 10, 2021)
Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: US Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau)
China's new Coast Guard Law took effect on February 1 with much scrutiny from the international community. Some have raised questions over whether the Chinese Coast Guard will become a “second navy", the conditions in which the Chinese Coast Guard use force, and whether the new legislation conforms with international law. Some have claimed the measures would increase regional tensions.
The Chinese Coast Guard has both administrative law-enforcement and military attributes, which are similar to those in many countries in the world such as the US, Australia, the Philippines and Malaysia. The provisions on the use of force and the use of weapons neither violate the rules of international law nor go beyond current state practice. In the South China Sea, the competition for fishery resources has always been associated with the potential for conflict and has been a serious challenge to maritime security. Unlike other countries, China’s maritime law enforcement has never used force against ordinary fishermen of other countries who are operating in the surrounding waters.
The issue of the use of force in maritime law enforcement is particularly sensitive as it tends to intensify wider conflicts in the area. As such, some fear the new law will lead to China using force to consolidate its control over disputed seas. In fact, international law does not prohibit the use of force in law enforcement in disputed waters. Nevertheless, China's maritime law-enforcement forces have maintained goodwill and restraint in maritime operations for many years and will continue not to violate the principle of necessity and proportionality in the future.
Rather than displaying hypocrisy, the international community should take the implementation of the Coast Guard Law as an opportunity to engage with China in good faith and with a positive attitude.
Meng Yueming, researcher at the Northeast Asia Institute of the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, in Global Times (December 16, 2020)
Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: goleiro35 / Shutterstock.com)
Covid-19 is a threat to not only human life but also economic growth, regional cooperation and effective global governance. China, Japan and South Korea initially established a similar approach to tackling the pandemic. Due to the arrival of winter and the colder climate, South Korea and Japan are now seeing a resurgence in Covid-19 cases. As such, building a closer anti-Covid-19 alliance in Northeast Asia is the best way forward.
As all three countries were relatively successful in the early stages of managing the pandemic, they established an agreement for business exchanges to continue. Trade and economic cooperation also saw a recovery, notably supported by the formal signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), allowing the three countries to establish bilateral tariff reduction deals for the first time.
The three countries should strengthen their coordination capabilities for controlling the spread of Covid-19 by employing thee following mechanisms:
First, the ‘business tracks” already in place are an effective means to maintain economic and trade cooperation and people exchanges. The arrangement was successfully maintained during a second wave of the virus in South Korea and should be kept up. Meanwhile, business cooperation models such as cross-border e-commerce, digital economy and video conferencing that adapt to the situation should also be enhanced.
Second, all three countries should continue to develop emergency response mechanisms, implement joint prevention and control measures, and strengthen the exchange of information. Cooperation in the fields of diagnosis and treatment programs, vaccine research and development should be maintained.
Finally, we will have to live with the virus for a long time before effective vaccines are deployed globally. China, Japan and South Korea, therefore, should conduct further joint prevention and control measures, share experiences, provide assistance, carry out scientific and technological research, and establish more regional public-health cooperation mechanisms.
Sun Chenghao, professor at the Institute of American Institute, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, in Global Times (December 19, 2020)
Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: G7 UK)
The British government issued invitations to India, South Korea and Australia to participate in the G7 summit in 2021 and form a so-called "Democracy 10" (D10). Although there has been no mention of China, many are speculating that responding to the “China challenge” will be a key issue addressed at the summit.
The G7, which is dominated by the US and Europe, is full of differences which cannot be resolved, even with Joe Biden taking office. The differences will become unavoidable challenges.
First, the US and Europe have completely different perceptions of the world situation. The Trump administration’s judgment of the international situation was extremely pessimistic and perceived the world as facing fierce economic and political challenges. Europe, however, still optimistically believes in the benefits of international cooperation.
Second, there is an inconsistent view of security. The Trump administration listed China and Russia as strategic competitors. Europe, meanwhile, believes the main security threats facing the world are transnational issues such as terrorism, infectious diseases, and climate change.
Third, the US emphasizes hard power while Europe stresses soft power. Biden supports strengthening the US military. Europe, however, believes that it should exert regulatory power in international affairs rather than pursue military force.
The main objective of the US is to maintain its hegemony, while Europe is more concerned about the peaceful environment needed for its own development, upholding its values and taking care of the concerns and interests of its allies. On the issue of competition with China, these two approaches clash. The three Indo-Pacific countries invited by the UK to the G7 summit also have their own unique views, making it even more difficult for this improvised alliance to form an “anti-China” consensus.
Wang Yiwei, Professor, School of International Studies, Renmin University of China, in Guancha (December 31, 2020)
Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: European Council President)
The China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) has finally been reached, illustrating three key points:
First, the completion of the negotiations means that China-EU cooperation has transformed from a rivalry in the industrialized era to a broad partnership in the post-carbon and digital age. The agreement will help European companies better enter the world's fastest-growing market and participate in fair competition. It will also provide the same guarantee for Chinese companies operating in the EU.
Second, the agreement shows that ideology can be a productive force. The EU is aware that ideology in the traditional sense has not brought substantial benefits. Instead, the EU has become a victim of confrontation between China and the US and between Russia and the US. Drawing lessons from history, China and the EU eliminated ideological interference, cooperated pragmatically and hedged against global uncertainty. Furthermore, ideological differences can be resolved through conversation rather than confrontation.
Third, the agreement illustrates that while both China and the EU both respect relations with the US, they will neither wait for nor be subject to the US. The EU desires to be a geopolitical player rather than merely a chessboard. The EU has chosen to reduce its dependence on American technology and work with China to develop future multilateral investment and trade rules.
While the European side initially attempted to push various demands on China, an agreement was successfully reached. This shows that the EU has become more and more pragmatic in the face of the strategic anxiety produced by global changes. The end of the Trump era combined with the completion of the China-EU investment agreement, the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership have created some much needed optimism for a global economy suffering under the strains of the Covid-19 pandemic.
John Ross (known in China as Luo Siyi 罗思义), senior fellow, Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China, and from 2000 to 2008, director of economic and business policy for the mayor of London, in Global Times (January 4, 2021)
Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China)
UK relations with China have gone from the best in Europe to among the worst. Meanwhile, the EU rejected US pressure over the EU-China investment treaty.
The US has launched aggressive policies to block China's national rejuvenation and has subsequently forced other countries to adopt similar measures. Yet, these measures also damage the countries pursuing them. The risks in doing so have been made worse by the recession caused by Covid-19. The International Monetary Fund forecasts that, in the period up to 2025, China will account for 31 percent of world growth, with the US at only 11 percent.
Any country subordinating its economic policy to the US is therefore aligning itself with a relatively stagnant economy. While it is clearly economically irrational for any country to give into US pressures, a number of countries such as Australia and Canada are constrained by their political and military links with the US. In many developing countries, however, governments are successfully refusing to adopt anti-China policies.
Between these contrasting extremes, Europe presents a complex situation. Economically, it is logical for the EU to seek good relations with China. Yet, the EU also believes it must rely on the US for military protection. The EU has attempted to establish a path where it follows an independent economic policy, which has led to a successful investment treaty with China, while refusing to be drawn into any political clash between Beijing and Washington.
Historically, London has been far more subordinate to Washington. Today, the UK’s medium-sized economy is unable to pursue an independent path from the two huge economies of the US and EU. As US-EU tensions mounted, Britain once again chose Washington. If the US is hostile to China, the UK will inevitably follow suit. The EU, however, will follow its own path.
Peng Nian, Deputy Director and Associate Fellow at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, in Global Times (November 14, 2020)
Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: ASEAN Secretariat)
Even during the pandemic, China’s commitment to strengthening economic and trade cooperation with ASEAN countries remains strong. In the first half of 2020, ASEAN surpassed the EU to become China's largest trading partner. This boom reflects not only the huge potential of economic cooperation between the two sides but also the strong foundation of mutual cooperation maintained through the pandemic despite shrinking global market demand and increasing protectionism. Nevertheless, the United States still seeks to disrupt China-ASEAN cooperation. China should address the following issues to reduce the impact of such interference.
First, due to Covid-19, ASEAN countries have experienced a decline in economic growth and reduced market demand. China should seek to meet the needs of ASEAN countries while recognizing the needs created by the epidemic, especially through cooperation in the digital economy. China should also promote the establishment of a regional China-ASEAN public-health cooperation mechanism based on the joint fight against Covid-19 and use this as an opportunity to implement the "Health Silk Road" initiative.
Second, to strengthen the foundations of cooperation, both sides should jointly resolve problems, especially those created by the pandemic. While China should continue to encourage domestic companies to invest in ASEAN countries, they should also fulfill their social responsibilities and ensure that investment supports the development of the local economy and society.
Third, China and ASEAN should avoid maritime crises through regular dialogue and collectively oppose any forms of foreign interference. Since the outbreak of the Covid-19, the US has attempted to turn ASEAN countries against China by stirring up the South China Sea issue. China and ASEAN should accelerate the negotiation of the code of conduct in the area and steadily carry out pragmatic maritime cooperation. This will create a peaceful environment for China-ASEAN to deepen economic cooperation and trade.
Zhou Zhihuai, Executive Director, National Society of Taiwan Studies, in Global Times (September 21, 2020)
Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Office of the President, Taiwan)
After Tsai Ing-wen and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the 2020 Taiwan elections, the debate over the issue of "peace and war" across the Taiwan Strait has become a prominent topic. Maintaining peace and ensuring the peaceful development of cross-strait relations have been consistently upheld by the Communist Party of China and its leadership. This highlights the mainland’s sincere desire for future generations on both sides to share a beautiful life in long-term peace
But this must be based on the common political foundation of "the mainland and Taiwan belonging to one China" and requires opposing "Taiwan independence". The mainland is resolutely against this precisely to avoid war and ensure that the country can achieve peaceful reunification. Ever since Lee Teng-hui came to power in 1988, conflicts in the political, foreign affairs and military fields have always stemmed from separatist activities.
After Tsai came to power, the situation has entered a new period of danger and peace has been increasingly challenged. While Tsai's administration has acted recklessly, "independence" forces have received strong external support. Since 2016, the US has strengthened its influence over Taiwan in terms of local politics and the military. It has used Taiwan as a “pawn” against China and tried to undermine any form of peaceful reunification. The long-term involvement of foreign forces is therefore a serious threat to peace.
Historically, people in Taiwan held no sense of the value of cross-strait peace, but now they are equally insensitive to the evolving crisis. Once peace is lost, neither the DPP nor external forces will be able to piece together the broken pieces. Peace on both sides of the strait is what the people want. Only when the Tsai can reaffirm the 1992 Consensus can the two sides resume dialogue to strengthen peace.
Yu Pengkun, writer, in Guancha (September 17, 2020)
Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Theoden sA)
The pandemic has affected universities around the world. While China has been able to control the spread of the virus and reopen campuses, in the US, the UK, Australia and many other countries, the epidemic has not been be controlled, and universities have generally been encouraged to open up as soon as possible. As a result, many universities in these countries have been pushed to the brink of bankruptcy.
This year, almost all Australian universities have relaxed academic requirements for international students. Meanwhile, it has been reported that many prestigious universities in the US could close down.
Chinese cannot understand this phenomenon. During the epidemic period, students at universities in China took classes online so the only drop in revenue was from accommodation fees and canteen contract payments. The commercialization of education, which is common overseas, makes students and parents behave like consumers and, as a result of high tuition fees, many perceive the value of online teaching to be less than that of in-person instruction. There is still a strong belief that the epidemic is not to be taken seriously and that virtual learning is not necessary. This a result of anti-intellectual thinking encouraged by political elites.
The UK, the US and Australia have been unable to control the epidemic. As relations with China become more strained, Chinese parents and students must consider all possible risks and also whether distance learning is really worth the tuition. But why are prestigious universities facing serious financial difficulties with a drop in tuition fees in just one year? Ultimately, the commercialization of higher education is to blame. Over the past 20 years, China has also already experienced a certain degree of commercialization so attention must be paid by relevant departments to learn from problems in other countries.