In this file:
· FJ: Will China Change Its Fundamental Business Practices? Probably Not.
· WaPo: Poland detains employee of Chinese tech giant Huawei on spying charges
· NYT: Twitter Users in China Face Detention and Threats in New Beijing Crackdown
Will China Change Its Fundamental Business Practices? Probably Not.
By Rhonda Brooks, Editor, Farm Journal Magazine, Editorial Director, Farm Journal Media (FJ)
via AgWeb - Jan 10, 2019
Tom Vilsack served as the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017. He currently serves as president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. He spoke with Farm Journal Editor Rhonda Brooks earlier this month about his trade outlook. The following are four questions she asked and the answers that Mr. Vilsack provided.
1. What can farmers expect to see happen with exports, once the trade tariffs with China are removed?
Once the tariffs are removed, we’ll all work very hard to put this chapter behind us. Still, I think the big question here is the extent to which the United States genuinely wants significant changes in the way China does business. If it's about protecting intellectual property, if it's about more foreign investment being authorized, I think China can do those things relatively easily and are probably willing to do those things. The challenge is going to be when you ask them to change their rules for the joint ventures and partnerships requiring Chinese control, when you essentially ask them to reduce the way in which they subsidize state-owned enterprises. That's more fundamental to the way they do business. Whether or not they're willing to make those changes, in my view, is still a question. If I'm right about this, that the Chinese are not willing to make those rather fundamental changes, then it's going to be a question of whether President Trump sees enough sales and protections for U.S. intellectual property to be able to declare victory, and we move on? I think that's the fundamental question that still has to be answered.
2. What’s your perspective on our new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico?
With regard to Canada, I think we need some reassurance that the terms and conditions of the agreement are actually implemented. Canada has to be more transparent with its activities relative to the dairy market. We've seen for far too long Canadians agreeing to do one thing, and then utilizing a loophole or utilizing some tactic to basically sort of disregard what they've previously agreed to. We need to have a better understanding of exactly what the Canadians were doing in terms of the class seven elimination. It's great that it's going to be eliminated, but it's been replaced with something. The question is, can that something be maneuvered and manipulated to the point that it's a class seven by a different name? And so, we need greater transparency. If we don't have that kind of reassurance, then that obviously gives us pause for concern. The same thing is true with market access; do we really have that market access? Are we going to play some of the same games that have been played before? For example, when we had a quarter for fluid milk, the Canadians would essentially say, ‘The milk that's coming across the border from our customers going into American grocery stores counts toward the fluid milk quota.’ No one's keeping track of all those customers coming across the border. Why are they coming across the border? Well, because dairy products are a lot less expensive in America, because we don't have the supply management system, they have a Canada. So you know, with that kind of situation I think we want to be very wary of how hopeful we are. With Mexico, it continues to be a strong market for us, our No. 1 market, and we’d like to see the retaliatory tariffs lifted in Mexico now.
3. What trade priorities do you believe the U.S. should have, moving forward, with countries other than China, Canada and Mexico? ...
4. In closing, is there anything else you would want to share with American farmers? ...
Poland detains employee of Chinese tech giant Huawei on spying charges
By Michael Birnbaum, The Washington Post
January 11, 2019
BRUSSELS — Polish authorities detained an employee of Chinese tech giant Huawei and charged him with spying on behalf of China, amid growing global concerns that the company is tied to Chinese intelligence agencies, Polish authorities said Friday.
The arrest of Huawei’s local sales director in Poland comes a month after the company’s chief financial officer was detained in Canada at the U.S. government’s request. Those charges were related to breaking sanctions against Iran, but the Polish move reflects long-standing suspicions by Washington and its allies that Huawei could be used as an arm of Chinese intelligence services.
U.S. officials have long warned that the technology sold by Huawei — which ranges from the infrastructure that powers cellular networks to computers and phones — might be mobilized by the Chinese government as a powerful way to spy on people across the world. The company has defended itself in part by pointing to the absence of formal, public evidence of such activities.
Huawei has sought to help develop a new generation of high-speed European cellular networks, but Western intelligence agencies have slowed its expansion efforts.
Poland’s counterintelligence agency searched Huawei’s Polish offices on Tuesday, seizing documents and electronics, Polish state media reported. The agency also searched the house of the suspect, a Chinese national.
In addition to the Chinese sales director, authorities detained and charged a Polish citizen who once worked for a Polish intelligence agency and now works for Orange, a European cellular carrier.
Both men have denied the charges and have refused to cooperate...
Twitter Users in China Face Detention and Threats in New Beijing Crackdown
By Paul Mozur, The New York Times (NYT)
Jan. 10, 2019
SHANGHAI — One man spent 15 days in a detention center. The police threatened another’s family. A third was chained to a chair for eight hours of interrogation.
Their offense: posting on Twitter.
The Chinese police, in a sharp escalation of the country’s online censorship efforts, are questioning and detaining a growing number of Twitter users even though the social media platform is blocked in China and the vast majority of people in the country cannot see it.
The crackdown is the latest front in President Xi Jinping’s campaign to suppress internet activity. In effect, the authorities are extending their control over Chinese citizens’ online lives, even if what they post is unlikely to be seen in the country.
“If we give up Twitter, we are losing one of our last places to speak,” said Wang Aizhong, a human-rights activist who said the police had told him to delete messages criticizing the Chinese government.
When Beijing is unable to get activists to delete tweets, others will sometimes do the job. Mr. Wang refused to take down his tweets. Then, one night last month while he was reading a book, his phone buzzed with text messages from Twitter that contained backup codes to his account.
An hour later, he said, 3,000 of his tweets had been deleted. He blamed government-affiliated hackers, although those who were responsible and the methods they used could not be independently confirmed.
A Twitter spokeswoman declined to comment on the government campaign.
China has long policed what its citizens can see and say, including online, but the recent push shows that Beijing’s vision of internet control encompasses social media around the world. Messages on WhatsApp, which is blocked in China, have begun to appear as evidence in Chinese trials.
The Chinese government has increasingly demanded that Google and Facebook take down content that officials object to even though both companies’ sites are inaccessible in China. After the exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui used the platforms to lob graft accusations at top Chinese leaders, Facebook and Twitter suspended his accounts temporarily, citing user complaints and the disclosure of personal information...