Tag: Chinese

A Chinese city is handing out $1.5 million in digital ‘red envelopes’ to lottery winners to trial a cashless society



a view of a city with tall buildings in the background: Futian district in Shenzhen, China. A different district, Luhou, took part in the digital currency pilot. Prisma by Dukas/Universal Images Group via Getty Images


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Futian district in Shenzhen, China. A different district, Luhou, took part in the digital currency pilot. Prisma by Dukas/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

  • Authorities in Shenzhen, southern China, have handed out $1.5 million of a new digital currency as part of a trial of a cashless society.
  • Last Friday authorities gave 50,000 lottery winners the equivalent of $30 each to spend digitally by October 16, the state-run China Daily reported Monday.
  • The digital currency is not like a cryptocurrency, and is issued and controlled by China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China.
  • The PBoC said it plans to formally launch the digital payment system in late 2020, according to the BBC.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A Chinese city has handed out 10 million yuan, or $1.5 million, in digital currency to trial what citizens would do in a cashless society.

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On Friday, 50,000 people living in the Luhou district of Shenzhen were given digital “red envelopes,” each containing around 200 yuan ($30) worth of the digital currency, the state-run China Daily reported Monday.

The digital currency not a cryptocurrency, like bitcoin or ethereum, but a digitized version of the country’s renminbi currency that is run by China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China.

The country’s four largest state-owned banks are taking part in the Shenzhen trial, China Daily reported.

The trial requires people to download the government’s digital currency app and spend their money between October 12 and October 16 in 3,000 participating stores in the district, CNBC and China Daily reported. One of those participating stores is Walmart, CNBC reported, citing the Shenzhen government.



a statue in front of a building: A pedestrian walks past the headquarters of the People's Bank of China in Beijing on February 3, 2020. The PBoC is in charge of issuing the digital currency. Reuters


© Reuters
A pedestrian walks past the headquarters of the People’s Bank of China in Beijing on February 3, 2020. The PBoC is in charge of issuing the digital currency. Reuters

So far, around 113,300 such digital currency apps — or “digital currency wallets” — have been set up in various pilot programs across China, with more than 1.1 billion yuan ($163 million) of transactions carried out so far, Fan Yifei, the PBoC’s deputy governor, told China Daily.

The Shenzhen pilot scheme appears to be the country’s largest so far, according to CNBC. Shenzhen is China’s tech hub, and home to companies like Tencent and Huawei.

According to The Guardian, some 2 million people in Luhou had applied to be part of the trial before 50,000 were selected.

The PBoC said it will formally launch the digital currency late this year, the BBC reported, but is yet to confirm a date.

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Disney Defends ‘Mulan’ Credits That Thanked Chinese Government Entities Involved in Human Rights Abuses

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Disney’s president of film production Sean Bailey defended the controversial credits for the new live-action “Mulan” film, which thanked Chinese government entities directly involved in perpetuating human rights abuses in Xinjiang, as being part of “standard practice across the film industry worldwide,” according to a letter addressed to and posted online by prominent British politician Iain Duncan Smith.

The choice to film in the region was made for reasons of “authenticity,” Bailey explained.

Disney made global headlines when “Mulan,” released to streaming on its Disney+ platform Sept. 4, gave “special thanks” during the film’s end credits to eight different Chinese government departments in Xinjiang, a number of which are directly involved in the campaign that critics have deemed a cultural genocide. They include the Turpan Bureau of Public Security, which was last October sanctioned by the U.S. Commerce Department for engaging in “human rights violations and abuses in implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups.”

In the letter dated to Oct. 7 on official Disney letterhead, Bailey wrote, in Disney’s defense: “It is standard practice across the film industry worldwide to acknowledge in a film’s credits the cooperation, approvals, and assistance provided by various entities and individuals over the course of a film’s production. In this case, the production company Beijing Shadow Times provided our production team with the list of acknowledgements to be included in the credits for ‘Mulan.’”

To bolster his point, he included “examples of credits from other films shot in international locations” in further pages that were not posted online, concluding: “I hope this clarification puts this issue in the proper perspective.”

The remarks rank among the very few that have emerged from any Disney executive since the “Mulan” release. Disney’s CFO Christine McCarthy echoed Bailey’s explanation at an unrelated conference in early September, saying that filming in China requires government approvals and “it’s common to acknowledge in a film’s credits the national and local governments that allowed you to film there.”

Disney has not issued a formal statement or apology on the matter, and has told creatives involved in “Mulan” to steer clear of the subject.

In the Thursday tweet in which he publicized the letter, Conservative member of parliament Duncan Smith called Bailey’s reply “very weak and full of platitudes.”

“The reality is that Disney simply does not want to offend China, and have given in to China’s demands and will not stand up to them,” he wrote. “Disney’s corporate policy does not appear to care about the human rights issues affecting the #Uighurs. It seems human rights come second to the corporate policy of not upsetting China.”

In June,

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lying Huawei works for Chinese government

Britain’s parliamentary Defense Select Committee has a new report, The Security of 5G, which exposes Huawei.

The Chinese telecommunications company has faced significant Trump administration restrictions in response to its covert support of Chinese government interests. After previously authorizing Huawei to help build out its 5G network, the British government reversed course earlier this year, requiring Huawei to suspend all U.K. 5G operations by 2027. The Defense Committee report says that the government should consider expediting its 2027 timetable. Huawei, the committee says, is clearly just an arm of the Chinese government.

This finding is not anything new per se. The evidence of China’s funding and direction of Huawei is mostly classified but overwhelming in evidentiary quality. Sometimes it is obvious and quite amusing. But the basic point is that Beijing intends to use Huawei’s access to global 5G networks to advance its market dominance in critical economic sectors, and to conduct espionage operations on a massive scale. Huawei’s technology is designed with deliberate flaws with which to provide deniable access by People’s Liberation Army and Ministry of State Security intelligence officers. Moreover, Huawei’s officers are sometimes given specific Chinese government missions to that effect.

The committee addresses these concerns by noting “that Huawei is strongly linked to the Chinese state and the Chinese Communist Party, despite its statements to the contrary.” That reference of “statements to the contrary” serves to emphasize Huawei’s lies in its testimony before the committee. A criminal offense. The report continues, observing that are preferable alternatives to using the company for 5G network services. It explains that “the presence of Huawei in the UK’s 5G networks posed a significant security risk to individuals and to our Government. There is no doubt that Huawei’s designation as a high-risk vendor is justified… Whilst Huawei is a market leading company, we do not believe it to be higher in quality or more functional than its rivals, Nokia and Ericsson.” But the Committee also observes that Huawei has benefited from up to $75 billion in Chinese government subsidies, which allows it to offer very cheap prices!

The Parliamentarians note that China, predictably, hasn’t taken Britain’s reassessment of Huawei very well. “Pressure has been exerted by China on the UK Government to retain the presence of Huawei in its 5G infrastructure through both covert and overt threats.” The report continues, “More recently, following the Government’s announcement for the long-term withdrawal of Huawei from its 5G network, China has threatened to withdraw from the UK’s economy, including in critical infrastructure such as nuclear.”

That blackmail effort speaks to the nature of Xi Jinping’s investments. They always come with unpleasant political strings attached. This is something that former Prime Minister David Cameron never understood as he sought to maximize Chinese investment in Britain. Put simply, a deal with the Chinese Communist dragon will always ultimately burn you. Fortunately, Britain appears to have woken up in the nick of time.

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Messner’s law firm represented state-run Chinese insurer

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Republican Senate candidate Corky Messner takes a hard line against China in his campaign, but his law firm once represented an insurance company run by the Chinese government that sued a U.S. manufacturer.



This 2020 photo provided by his campaign shows Bryant "Corky" Messner, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in the Sept. 8, 2020, New Hampshire primary election.(Amanda Biundo/Corky for Senate Campaign via AP)


© Provided by Associated Press
This 2020 photo provided by his campaign shows Bryant “Corky” Messner, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in the Sept. 8, 2020, New Hampshire primary election.(Amanda Biundo/Corky for Senate Campaign via AP)

Messner, who hopes to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen next month, is a founding partner of Messner Reeves, a Denver-based law firm with offices in five states. On the campaign trail, he is a frequent critic of China, blaming it for the coronavirus pandemic and calling it a rogue country that has damaged U.S. manufacturing.

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“We need to bring back the economy so our families can preserve the American dream,” he says in a recent ad touting his economic plan. “In my USA Plan, we can provide incentives to American business to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States from China – and create manufacturing jobs here in New Hampshire.”

In 2016, Messner Reeves attorneys represented China Export and Credit Insurance Corp. when it sued The Carlstar Group, a Tennessee-based maker of specialty tires, and several of its partner companies.

China Export and Credit was seeking $1 million it claimed was owed to a Chinese exporter, while The Carlstar Group said its payments were diverted after hackers breached the exporter’s data network. The suit was dismissed in 2017 after the two sides reached a settlement.

Asked about the lawsuit, Messner’s senior campaign adviser, Mike Biundo, said Monday it is impossible for Messner to know the inner workings of each case, given that he built a national law firm with thousands of clients.

“Further, it would not be appropriate for his business to make political decisions about what clients the firm engages with. Our republic is built on the premise that everyone is entitled to lawyer,” he said in an email.

Biundo also took a swipe at Shaheen, via her husband, attorney Billy Shaheen, whose law firm has represented clients accused of sexual assault, stalking and other crimes.

“If the Shaheen campaign would like to discuss the questionable clients Shaheen & Gordon has served, we’d welcome that discussion,” Biundo said.

Josh Marcus-Blank, spokesperson for Shaheen’s campaign, said the senator is not involved in her husband’s law firm. And he sought to contrast Shaheen’s record of standing up for New Hampshire small businesses with what he called “Messner’s willingness to cash in with the communist Chinese government against an American business.”

“Messner is conflating an American’s right to legal representation with shaking down an American company on behalf of a foreign government,” he said.

In addition to bringing back jobs from China, Messner’s USA, or “Unleashing the Strength of America,” plan also calls for legislation to ensure that government pension funds divest from companies controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.

In May, the Federal Retirement

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Messner’s Law Firm Represented State-Run Chinese Insurer | New Hampshire News

By HOLLY RAMER, Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Republican Senate candidate Corky Messner takes a hard line against China in his campaign, but his law firm once represented an insurance company run by the Chinese government that sued a U.S. manufacturer.

Messner, who hopes to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen next month, is a founding partner of Messner Reeves, a Denver-based law firm with offices in five states. On the campaign trail, he is a frequent critic of China, blaming it for the coronavirus pandemic and calling it a rogue country that has damaged U.S. manufacturing.

“We need to bring back the economy so our families can preserve the American dream,” he says in a recent ad touting his economic plan. “In my USA Plan, we can provide incentives to American business to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States from China – and create manufacturing jobs here in New Hampshire.”

In 2016, Messner Reeves attorneys represented China Export and Credit Insurance Corp. when it sued The Carlstar Group, a Tennessee-based maker of specialty tires, and several of its partner companies.

China Export and Credit was seeking $1 million it claimed was owed to a Chinese exporter, while The Carlstar Group said its payments were diverted after hackers breached the exporter’s data network. The suit was dismissed in 2017 after the two sides reached a settlement.

Asked about the lawsuit, Messner’s senior campaign adviser, Mike Biundo, said Monday it is impossible for Messner to know the inner workings of each case, given that he built a national law firm with thousands of clients.

“Further, it would not be appropriate for his business to make political decisions about what clients the firm engages with. Our republic is built on the premise that everyone is entitled to lawyer,” he said in an email.

Biundo also took a swipe at Shaheen, via her husband, attorney Billy Shaheen, whose law firm has represented clients accused of sexual assault, stalking and other crimes.

“If the Shaheen campaign would like to discuss the questionable clients Shaheen & Gordon has served, we’d welcome that discussion,” Biundo said.

Josh Marcus-Blank, spokesperson for Shaheen’s campaign, said the senator is not involved in her husband’s law firm. And he sought to contrast Shaheen’s record of standing up for New Hampshire small businesses with what he called “Messner’s willingness to cash in with the communist Chinese government against an American business.”

“Messner is conflating an American’s right to legal representation with shaking down an American company on behalf of a foreign government,” he said.

In addition to bringing back jobs from China, Messner’s USA, or “Unleashing the Strength of America,” plan also calls for legislation to ensure that government pension funds divest from companies controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.

In May, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board said it would halt its decision to invest billions from the retirement assets of federal government employees in what Shaheen and others called “opaque Chinese firms engaged in human rights

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Former Chinese government official ran TikTok’s content policy as app went global

A former Chinese government official in his late twenties was in charge of deciding what content should be allowed on TikTok as the short-video app became a smash hit around the world, according to two people close to the company.

Cai Zheng, who worked in China’s embassy in Tehran for four years according to a now deleted LinkedIn profile, ran ByteDance’s global content policy team in Beijing until early this year, when the company accelerated a move to let its biggest markets make their own decisions about what videos should be removed. 

The revelation that Mr Cai was at the heart of TikTok’s policymaking team raises questions about repeated denials from ByteDance, the app’s Beijing-based owner, that the Chinese government has any influence over TikTok’s operations. 

TikTok has been painted as a security threat to the US by Donald Trump and the app is trying to restructure its ownership and operations in partnership with Oracle and Walmart to avoid a total ban. It has been banned in India, previously its largest market by number of users.

Mr Cai joined ByteDance in 2018, at a time when the company was under intense scrutiny by Beijing for the videos it was running on TikTok’s Chinese sister app, Douyin, among other issues. The pressure forced chief executive Zhang Yiming to issue an apology and to tack closer to the government line. 

The former diplomat sat within ByteDance’s global trust and safety team in Beijing and wrote guidelines for what videos were acceptable on TikTok and other international apps including Helo and Vigo Video.

According to the people close to the company, Mr Cai was far from being a Communist Party ideologue, but his background and training may have influenced how he, and a team of young mostly Chinese policy analysts, implemented a strategy to keep controversial content off the short-video app.

During his stint, TikTok was accused of suppressing videos that upset Beijing’s sensitivities, including one by a teenage American girl which sought to raise awareness of the mass imprisonment of Uighur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region. TikTok has denied suppressing politically sensitive videos and said the video was removed in error. 

Last September, documents leaked to the Guardian newspaper, and confirmed as authentic by the people close to the company, suggested that TikTok banned videos about Tibetan and Taiwanese independence, the Tiananmen Square massacre, and the Falun Gong movement.

TikTok said these policies were out of date and the documents were labelled as historical, although one person said content moderators still had access to them at the time of the leak.

“Cai Zheng was not involved in developing the policies [ . . .] as these policies predated him,” said a TikTok spokesperson. “He worked with our growing regional and local teams on localisation of our early content policies.”

Mr Cai could

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