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Video killed the PLA Star: Cartoons and popstars last resort to attract 'baby' soldiers

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It happens but rarely that a totalitarian regime accepts its mistakes publicly, and that too when the eyes of the entire world are fixated on its smallest of steps.  So when the latest population census shows a massive decline in births across China, it is reason to be worried. The CCP has long tooted its own horn about the success of its One Child policy which ‘stabilized’ their population at 1.4 billion. But large numbers have their own Malthusian logic, writes Henry St George.

Though seemingly counterintuitive, a large population is a boon for any country, provided it is handled properly. Now the same all-knowing party has been forced to retract its past statements and false proclamations and forced to ‘liberalize’ their child-rearing policy to allow upto three children per family. Unfortunately, birthing cannot be increased at the push of a button, nor can it be planned at five year intervals. Coercion, the preferred policy of the CCP in all its foreign and domestic dealings, has no major impact on this aspect.

The CCP’s policy of restricting the fertility rates for Chinese women in 1979 led to a decline from 2.75 in 1979 to 1.69 in 2018 and finally 1.3, as per the latest census. For a country to remain in that ‘optimal’ zone of balancing between the youth and the aged, the rate needs to be near or equal to 2.1, a distant target to achieve in the short term, regardless of incentives. The CCP modified their policy in 2013 when they allowed couples, themselves single children, to have two children. This bizarre restriction was removed entirely in 2016 and now the policy allows up to three children. This is in total contrast to the inhuman efforts by the CCP to curtail the birth rates of Uighur women in the Xinjiang region. Using vasectomy and artificial implements forcefully, the Uighur population rate has been reduced to its lowest since 1949, which is nothing but genocide. To put a number on it, Chinese birth control policies could cut between 2.6 to 4.5 million births of the Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in southern Xinjiang within 20 years, up to a third of the region's projected minority population. Already, official birth rates have dropped by 48.7% between 2017 and 2019.

The drop in population has been so severe that President Xi Jinping had to hold an emergency meeting of the Political Bureau of the CCP’s Central Committee on 01 June where he attempted to incentivise birth of more than one child in the upcoming 14th Five Year Plan (2021-25). However, the wordings in the conference and the policy decisions point to a dictatorial way of implementing this so called incentivisation. “Education and Guidance” will be provided for family and marriage values and a national long and medium term “Population Development Strategy” will be implemented. This policy has been trolled heavily on Weibo where the ordinary Chinese citizens have decried the rising cost of education and living, supporting ageing parents, lack of day care facilities and excessively long working hours.

The impact of this policy has been felt the most in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Though it has left no stone unturned to showcase its disruptive potential against the US and India, in terms of an ‘informationised’ and ‘intelligentised’ warfighting potential, the truth is that it is struggling to retain recruits of adequate intellect and technical skills. Most Chinese youth with even an iota of scope for job opportunities in tech companies, stay miles away from the PLA. The PLA has had to resort to movie-making, producing rap videos and requesting support of movie stars in order to attract and retain Gen Z youth in its ranks. Unlike the previous generations of PLA recruits, most of whom were from peasant families and used to hardships and following orders without questioning them, the new recruits are tech-savvy and are the only ones with capability to operate PLA’s new military toys, whether they are AI, hypersonic missiles or drones. Due to the emphasis on civil-military fusion, PLA has been able to modernise its military rapidly but has forgotten that the military is as good as its soldiers and officers. The desperation for recruitment can be made out of the fact that height and weight norms have been diluted, professional psychotherapists are being brought in to counsel them and exo-skeletons and drones are being used to ensure that the troops face minimal hardship. All these are excellent training methods for a peacetime army but such ‘mollycoddling’ and degraded physical standards will lead to a rout during wartime.

The One-Child policy of 1979 also implies that more than 70% of PLA troops are from one-child families and this number increases to 80% when it comes to combat troops. Though it is an open secret that more than four PLA soldiers died in the Galwan Valley clash with Indian troops last year, the CCP has managed to keep this fact a secret, aware of the possibilities of social and political disturbances that may mar its successful hold on information dissemination. Even the death of the four soldiers created a huge uproar on social media websites in China despite being heavily censored. Bloggers and journalists arguing to the contrary have either been jailed or disappeared. This is a natural reaction of a society which has been kept in an information vacuum for the past 20 years, and which has been diet-fed the myth of its own invulnerability and invincibility. The last war that China fought was in 1979 and that too with hardened Mao-era soldiers intoxicated with Communist ideology. The modern Chinese society has not seen war or its after-effects. When their own ‘precious’ children start to fall, the wailing will shock the CCP out of power.

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China denounces G7 statement, urges group to stop slandering country

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A G7 logo is seen on an information sign near the Carbis Bay hotel resort, where an in-person G7 summit of global leaders is due to take place in June, St Ives, Cornwall, southwest Britain May 24, 2021. Picture taken May 24, 2021. REUTERS/Toby Melville
A Chinese national flag flies from the Bank of China in the financial district of the City of London, Britain January 7, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

China denounced on Monday (14 June) a joint statement by the Group of Seven leaders that had scolded Beijing over a range of issues as a gross interference in the country’s internal affairs, and urged the grouping to stop slandering China, Reuters.

The G7 leaders on Sunday (13 June) took China to task over human rights in the heavily Muslim region of Xinjiang, called for Hong Kong to keep a high degree of autonomy and underscored the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait - all highly sensitive issues for Beijing.

China's embassy in London said it was strongly dissatisfied and resolutely opposed to mentions of Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan that distorted the facts and exposed the "sinister intentions of a few countries such as the United States".

With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging and global economy sluggish, the international community needs unity and cooperation of all countries rather than "cliquey" power politics sowing division, it added.

China is a peace-loving country that advocates cooperation, but also has its bottom lines, the embassy said.

"China's internal affairs must not be interfered in, China's reputation must not be slandered, and China's interests must not be violated," it added.

"We will resolutely defend our national sovereignty, security, and development interests, and resolutely fight back against all kinds of injustices and infringements imposed on China."

Taiwan’s government welcomed the G7 statement, saying the Chinese-claimed island will be a “force for good” and that they will continue to seek even greater international support.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday’s statement from G7 was a significant move forward for the group as leaders rallied around the need to “counter and compete” with China on challenges ranging from safeguarding democracy to the technology race.

China's embassy said the G7 should do more that is conducive to promoting international cooperation instead of artificially creating confrontation and friction.

"We urge the United States and other members of the G7 to respect the facts, understand the situation, stop slandering China, stop interfering in China's internal affairs, and stop harming China's interests."

The embassy also said work on looking at the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic should not be politicised, after the G7 in the same statement demanded a full and thorough investigation of the origins of the coronavirus in China.

The joint expert group on the virus between China and the World Health Organization has been conducting research independently and following WHO procedures, the embassy added.

"Politicians in the United States and other countries ignore facts and science, openly question and deny the conclusions of the joint expert group report, and make unreasonable accusations against China."

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Lithuania turns against China’s aggression

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It has recently become known that Lithuania has decided to quit the '17+1' economic and political co-operation format between China and Central and Eastern European countries, as it believes the format is divisive, writes Juris Paiders.

The Lithuanian minister of foreign affairs told the media: “Lithuania no longer sees itself as a member of '17+1' and will not take part in any of the format’s activities. From an EU viewpoint, this is a divisive format, therefore I would like to urge all member states to strive for a more effective cooperation with China as part of the '27+1' [format].”

The 17+1 format was established to further cooperation between China and 17 European nations – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czechia, Greece, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary and North Macedonia. Lithuania joined the format in 2012.

Critics of the format believe that it undermines EU unity, while its supporters say it is a valuable instrument for maintaining relations with China, as Lithuania doesn’t have the same capabilities of maintaining high-level bilateral contacts with Beijing as the larger European countries have. It’s unnecessary to add that the welfare of the supporters of the format directly depends on Beijing’s money.

China’s investments in Lithuania and bilateral trade aren’t very substantial, but last year saw an unprecedented increase in China’s cargo flows via Lithuanian railways.

Lithuanian intelligence services have warned that China wants to increase its global influence by securing foreign economic support for political issues that are important to Beijing. All three Baltic states have publicly expressed similar sentiments regarding China’s activities in the region.

In mid-May, The European Parliament (EP) decided to not discuss the investment contract between EU and China until the sanctions imposed by China against MEPs and scientists remain in force.

The Lithuanian Parliament passed a resolution condemning crimes against humanity in China and the Uyghur genocide.

Lithuania has also urged the UN to launch an investigation into the Uyghur “re-education camps” in Xinjiang, as well as asked the European Commission to review the relations with China’s communist leadership.

In response, the Chinese embassy expressed that the aforementioned resolution is a “low-grade political charade” that is based on lies and misinformation, also accusing Lithuania of meddling in China’s internal affairs. However, China is also using Lithuania’s marginal media outlets to paint itself in a positive light. In the following weeks, we can expect that the remaining Baltic states and Poland will also withdraw from the 17+1 format, which will undoubtedly provoke a negative reaction from Chinese embassies.

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TMview database expands to Chinese market

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On 19 May, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) officially launched the inclusion of Chinese trade marks into TMview. Following the signing of the Agreement on Exchange of IP information by the parties in September 2020, intense technical cooperation between the EU and China intellectual property offices made the launch possible. Over 32 million registered Chinese trade marks are now available online under the TMview one-stop shop.

CNIPA Commissioner Shen Changyu and EUIPO Executive Director Christian Archambeau held a virtual meeting to celebrate the inclusion of Chinese trade marks into TMview.

Archambeau said: "The go-live of Chinese trade mark data in the TMview database is a tribute to the mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Europe in general, and more specifically between the China National Intellectual Property Administration and the European Union Intellectual Property Office.

"This is a welcome step forward in the efficiency and transparency of the global trade mark system since about 28 million Chinese trade marks are now accessible for a free, multi-lingual search via the internet. This will help Chinese and European businesses, of all sizes, including the small and medium-sized enterprises who are increasingly tackling global markets."

TMview currently covers the EU and other regions across the world. Following the inclusion of Chinese registered trade marks, TMview will increase from over 62 million to more than 90 million items from 75 IP Offices. In other words, around 28 million trade marks registered in China will be available in the global TMview database.

The inclusion of Chinese trade marks into TMview was possible thanks to the support of IP Key China, an EU-funded project that promotes intellectual property rights in China and cooperates with local authorities.

About TMVIEW

TMview is an international information tool used by the IP community to search trade marks in given countries. Thanks to TMview, businesses and practitioners can consult details of a trade mark such as the country, goods and/or services, type and registration date.

TMview contains the trade mark applications and registered marks of all EU national IP offices, the EUIPO and a number of international partner offices outside the EU.

About the EUIPO

The EUIPO is a decentralized agency of the EU, based in Alicante, Spain. It manages the registration of the European Union trade mark (EUTM) and the registered Community design (RCD), both of which provide intellectual property protection in all EU member states. The EUIPO also carries out cooperation activities with the national and regional intellectual property offices of the EU.

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