Surge in false online videos of Chinese military crackdown in Hong Kong

30 July 2019 11:40 AFP3 min read

Videos falsely claiming to show a Chinese military crackdown against pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong have flooded social media over the past week, according to an AFP investigation that has debunked multiple posts.

The videos, which have been viewed millions of times, have compounded fears about China’s potential intervention into a two-month crisis that has seen increasingly violent confrontations between protesters and Hong Kong’s police.

Some of the false posts appeared shortly after a Chinese defense ministry spokesman last week highlighted during a press conference a law that allows troops to be deployed across Hong Kong at the request of the city’s government.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has maintained a garrison in Hong Kong since the former British colony was returned to China in 1997.

A Hong Kong government fact sheet on the law, which includes an estimate of 8,000-10,000 PLA troops in Hong Kong, is available online.

But those troops generally keep a low profile and are rarely seen in uniform in public.

And while various senior Chinese government officials and Hong Kong’s leaders have voiced outrage at the protesters, city authorities have also repeatedly denied that PLA troops have been deployed.

AFP has, however, detected posts on Facebook, Twitter, Weibo and other social media platforms with millions of views or interactions that claim to show masses of Chinese soldiers on foot and in tanks across Hong Kong.

For your own safety all the HK residents are asvised (sic) not to go to public places and sea sides for next 48 hrs and avoid gatherings as PRC army is taking control of HK,” said one purported Hong Kong government announcement posted on Facebook five hours after the Chinese defense ministry’s comments on July 24.

The Hong Kong government has issued no such announcement. And the video used in the post to purportedly show the crackdown was actually of Chinese military vehicles driving through the Hong Kong city of Kowloon in 2018.

In another piece of misinformation that emerged within hours of the Chinese defense ministry spokesman’s comments, a tweet shared footage of PLA troops walking at a train station alongside a claim they were “entering Hong Kong.”

By Tuesday afternoon, the video had been viewed more than 1.4 million times.

AFP found the video was actually filmed in the Chinese mainland.

Other videos posted on July 24 had the same claims of Chinese troops “entering Hong Kong” while using video from other situations to mislead.

Source: HKFP “Surge in false online videos of Chinese military crackdown in Hong Kong”

Note: This is HKFP’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

China’s J-20 deployed as Taiwan waits for F-16s

Missiles in the weapons bay of a J-20 at the 2018 Zhuhai Airshow. Photo: Weibo

J-20 now ‘combat-ready’ in PLA’s Eastern Theater Command before US could formally approve F-16 sale

ByK.G. Chan July 29, 2019

Chinese party mouthpieces including the Global Times and PLA Daily have again talked up the might of the J-20, the People’s Liberation Army’s fifth-generation stealth fighter.

They warned that the fighter jet designed for supremacy in the air could fly close to Taiwan to fend off “adversaries from near and far” and reclaim and guard the “Chinese island.”

The warning came after the PLA confirmed the combat-ready deployment of the J-20 in the air wing of the force’s Eastern Theatre Command, a military region headquartered in Nanjing tasked with recapturing Taiwan, which Chinese media often describe as a renegade province that must be put back under Beijing’s rule.

The Eastern Theatre Command encompasses Taiwan and the East China Sea. The distance between Nanjing and Taipei is a little more than 800 kilometers and the J-20 could also be based and serviced on a number of strategically-located airbases in Shanghai, Ningbo and along the coastline of southeastern Fujian province.

A white paper on China’s defense policy published last week also contained a salvo of similar threats: secessionists in Taiwan are the PLA’s bete noire, more so than those troublemakers in Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet, and the PLA has been ready for a swift takeover of the self-ruled island in the eventuality of a war.

A day after the paper was released, however, a US warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait, amid continuing overflights above strategic areas such as the South China Sea.

Stationing the J-20 close to the frontier facing Taiwan would give more substance to Beijing’s protest against Washington’s upcoming sale of 66 F-16V fighters to beef up Taiwan’s air-defense.
The fourth-generation F-16V is seen as “outmoded” and would hardly stand a chance in a dogfight against the more advanced, highly maneuverable J-20, according to the Chinese media.

Previous reports have hinted that one or two J-20s could have already buzzed vessels in the Taiwan Strait close to a tacit line delineating Chinese and Taiwanese airspace.

An F-16 fighter in service with the Taiwanese Army takes off from a highway in Changhua country during an anti-PLA invasion drill. Photo: Reuters

Meanwhile, in Taiwan, some observers have lashed out at President Tsai Ing-wen’s “silly” decision to shell out billions of dollars on the F-16s, a deal that not only irked Beijing but also drew the closer deployment of the J-20 and other PLA assets.

But sources close to the island’s defense ministry noted that Taiwan had first opted for the F-35, arguably the most formidable fifth-generation aircraft from Lockheed Martin, a proposal snubbed by the Pentagon.

The ministry insisted that Taiwan would never sit idle and let itself be bludgeoned into “reunification” with China and that its army had the capabilities to defend itself should hostilities break out in the Taiwan Strait.

Source: Asia Times “China’s J-20 deployed as Taiwan waits for F-16s”

Note: This is Asia Times’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

Elite Wing of Chinese Air Force Fully Equipped with J-20s says in its article “A certain elite brigate of Chinese air force has its fighter jets replaced by J-20s; the new planes formally commissioned in operational combat unit!” that an air force regiment well-known as “Wanghai Wing” has formally entered the era of fifth-generation fighter jets as it has now been equipped with J-20s. That means that J-20 has obtained full combat capability and there are a considerable number of them for actual combat.

Though J-20 fighter jets has already commissioned in Chinese air force since 2018, they first entered test and training unites instead of first-line combat units as they were regarded as highly sophisticated rare weapons. Their number was small.

As J-20 production capacity grows, a whole regiment can be equiped with J-20s. According to foreign media’s estimate, more than 50 J-20s will be commissioned in 2019. It is expected that there will be further increase in their number as production has been quickened due to expansion of scale and maturity of technology. Moreover, the commissioning of J-20s in a whole air force regiment means that all systems of J-20 have passed various tests.

Summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the article in Chinese, full text of which in Chinese can be viewed at

China Belt and Road power investments surge from 2014-2019: study

July 30, 2019 / 12:12 PM / Updated 3 hours ago

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese equity investment in solar, wind and coal power projects in Belt and Road countries has surged from 2014 to 2019, with planned capacity up more than tenfold compared to the previous five-year period, environmental group Greenpeace said.

The Belt and Road initiative is a Beijing-led program to boost economic and trade ties in dozens of countries in Asia, Europe and beyond, mostly through investments in energy and infrastructure.

According to a study published by Greenpeace on Monday, China’s wind and solar power investments in Belt and Road countries amounted to 12.6 gigawatts (GW) since the initiative was launched in 2014. It had invested in just 0.45 GW of solar prior to 2014.

The country has also invested in 67.9 gigawatts of new coal-fired power in Belt and Road countries since 2014, but Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner Liu Junyan said the increase in the share of renewables should be welcomed.

Chinese investors’ ratio of coal to solar is now the same at home and abroad – both are still six-to-one (in favor of) coal, unfortunately, but I’m amazed to see what five years of equity investment in solar made possible,” Liu said.

China has been building dozens of new renewable energy projects at home to reduce the share of coal in its total energy mix to 59% by the end of last year. It has also been encouraging its existing coal-fired power plants to install ultra-low emissions technology.

But China has been criticized for funding coal-fired power projects overseas that would not meet its own emissions standards, with a study published earlier this year saying it is supporting more than a quarter of all new coal-fired plants worldwide.

China is expected to put another 40 GW of solar power capacity in operation at home this year, energy officials said on Friday.

China’s total coal-fired capacity also expected to rise by another 45 GW this year, with the total eventually expected to peak at around 1,300 GW, up from 1,140 GW at the end of last year, researchers from China’s State Grid said this month.

Reporting by David Stanway; editing by Christian Schmollinger

Source: Reuters “China Belt and Road power investments surge from 2014-2019: study”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

China to Restore Socialist Camp

Communists Fight for Communism in Spite of Changes in Concept of Communism
Xi Jinping is a communist. The concept of communism and the way to attain communism have to change along with the changes of times, but Xi remains unchanged as a communist that has sworn to fight for communism all his life.

He wants not only himself but also all the CCP members to fight for communism all their lives as they have sworn to. Therefore, the theme of his report to 19th CCP Congress starts with “Remain true to our original aspiration and keep our mission firmly in mind”. The original aspiration is to fight for communism all one’s life in the oath each and every CCP member takes when he/she joins CCP.

However, the concept of communism has changed along with the times. For Marx fighting for communism was to resolve the principal contradiction of capitalism that production is carried out for the public but the means of production are owned privately. It means a violent revolution to turn private ownership of means of production (enterprises) into public ownership and capitalist free economy into planned economy.

However, monolithic public ownership and planned economy have been proved inefficient by Socialist camp and China’s experience. Socialism with Chinese characteristics encourages both state-owned (with public ownership) and private enterprises (with private ownership).

The concept of communism has changed, but resolving the principal contradiction of the society remains communists’ task. For China now the principal contradiction is not that of capitalism that Marx wanted to resolve. Xi Jinping has made clear in Xi Jinping Though on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era that the principal contradiction now is that between China’s unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life.

Socialism Revives with Enormous Vigor like Phoenix after Being Burnt by Fire
When the Soviet Union collapsed, most socialist countries in Socialist Camp have switched to Western capitalism with the exception of only China, Vietnam, North Korea and Cuba. At that time, China was poor and backward while the other 3 were not only poor and backward but also small and weak. The West believed at that time that socialism and communists had finished in the world. China’s reform and opening-up made the West believe that China was pursuing Western capitalism. They have been waiting for China’s total Westernization, i.e. China’s transformation into a Western multi-party democracy. That is what the West regards as China’s political reform. China’s establishment of the rule of law, development of mass line democracy for people to supervise officials, abolition of re-education-through-labor system, reform of letters and calls system are all not regarded by the West as political reforms. Only the switch to multi-party democracy is regarded as political reform.

However, China has not and will not conduct that switch. It has overcome orthodox socialism and creatively developed its own special socialism with Chinese characteristics. At first as China kept a low profile, it had not attracted West’s attention. However, when the US found China’s continuous rise may threaten its world leadership, former US President Obama began his pivot to Asia to contain China.

China Encircled by Hostile Western Democracies
As Japan stopped rise after three decades of tremendous economic growth, people believed that China would also did so. However, China’s socialism has proved superior to Western democracies in achieving economic and technological progress. It has enabled China to surpass Japan and become the second largest economy in the world. Judging by China’s economic growth rate, China might surpass the US to become the largest economy in the world in a decade or so.

That has caused the US to fall into Thucydides trap and launch a trade war to stop China’s rise. It also scared other Western democracies. Will China’s rise mean the recovery of socialism to replace their capitalist systems, they wonder. EU began to regard China as a systemic rival while Japan, Australia and Canada are all politically and ideologically hostile to China though they all want to benefit by their economic, especially trade relations with China.

The Chinese model of one-party democracy proves superior to Western multi-party democracy. Its attractive impact on developing countries has roused Western democracies’ greatest concerns. Moreover, they even fear that China may cause their political system to collapse. That is why EU regards China as a systemic rival. However, Chinese leader has made very clear that China has no intention to export its model. In addition, facts have proved that China has never interfered in other countries’ internal affairs. Still their fear is natural. Since it is natural for them to export their system through regime change by whatever means including military ones why shall China not export its system?

Cold War has ended but Cold War mindset remains. Due to that mindset, Western democracies believe like the Soviet Union, China, when strong, will conduct an international revolution to change their system.

However, China’s own and Soviet experience has proved that it is impossible to export social system, even by force. The Soviet Union may force Eastern European countries to accept socialism but as soon as Soviet military pressure had been lifted after the collapse of the Soviet Union, all those countries switched to Western capitalism. Western experience of regime changes brought about by the West by military and other means have also proved that. US invasion of Iraq, West’s attack at Libya, etc. have succeeded in bringing about regime changes but failed to turn those countries into Western-style democracies.

Simply, Chinese is not so stupid as to pursue world revolution, which will hinder instead of facilitate China resolving its principal contradiction through balanced and adequate development to satisfy people’s ever-growing needs for a better life.

The Need and Potential to Restore the Socialist Camp
Therefore, China has to restore the socialist camp to show to the world that China’s socialism means pursuit of economic development to raise people’s living standards instead of violent international revolution. By so doing, China will break West’s encirclement of China and make its model popular in the world.

Xi is a Chinese President quite different from his predecessors. He is much more active than them in conducting diplomacy that he can be regarded as China’s major diplomat.

Why has he been so busy a diplomat?

He has the vision to see China’s rise may cause the West to encircle it to hinder China’s rise. The description of the above section precisely proves that. The restoration of the socialist camp will enable China to break the encirclement.

Moreover, Western liberal democracy seems the only good system in the world. China’s socialist democracy, though proved by fact to be much more successful and more beneficial to the people than Western liberal democracy, has always been denounced by the West as an autocracy. The success of all the members of the socialist camp will prove the superiority of socialist democracy to Western liberal democracy.

That will be especially convincing if China is able to make North Korea give up orthodox socialism and copy China’s reform and opening-up. If North Korea that has been notorious for its famine and backwardness, has been able to obtain fast economic growth and substantially raise its people’s living standards, it will have shocking impact not only on developing countries but also on developed Western democracies.

In June 2019, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited North Korea. In his speech at the banquet given by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in his honor, he pointed out that under Kim’s leadership North Korean is implementing a new strategic line to focus on economic development and improving people’s livelihood. Xi obviously supports Kim’s efforts because the obstacles to Kim’s copy of Chinese model has been removed.

Previously North Korea could not follow China’s model as its conservatives regard China’s reform as capitalist in nature. Chinese Communist Party recently has adopted Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era that holds that the Chinese model is socialist in nature.

In Kim’s speech, he said that through four meetings, Xi Jinping and Kim have confirmed that persisting the socialist system is the core of the maintenance of Korea-China friendship. He meant that North Korea had admitted that China’s system was a socialist system so that North Korea was willing to copy Chinese model.

The timing is good for North Korea as US tariff hikes on steel import from developed European countries, China, Japan, etc. facilitate North Korea’s development of steel production as no high tariff will be levied on its export of iron and steel. Kim said in his speech that North Korea had been stepping up coal mining and improving the technology and equipment for the production of iron and steel. China can help North Korea by transfer of its surplus iron and steel production capacity.

North Korea’s change will make other socialist countries follow Chinese model. Vietnam has already conducted some reforms similar to China’s but its liberalization of economic resources is still limited. Foreign enterprises are still unable to own land there. Many Chinese enterprises that have moved there for cheap labor and land wanted to move back to China as they should have a Vietnamese partner to own the land they use, which is quite risky for them. Moreover, labor costs have risen quite sharply to make moving to Vietnam not cost effective.

Vietnam has further needs to copy China’s reform. The United States has been exploiting China’s maritime border disputes with Vietnam to pit Vietnam against China, but Trump’s trade war attacks at Vietnam will push Vietnam to Chinese side as after all good relations with a rich neighbor like China may bring much more benefits to Vietnam.

Cuba may be better than Vietnam in switching from orthodox socialism to Chinese style of socialism. It is seeking Russian and Chinese investment in its infrastructures.

The socialist camp will not be restricted to the four countries China, North Korea, Cuba and Vietnam.

Russian can also be regarded as a socialist country as it also has both state-owned and private sectors. Moreover, though it conducts multi-party election with universal suffrage, it is not regarded by the West as a democracy. Some Former Soviet Central Asian countries are similar. They may declare that they remain socialist. Multi-party democracy may also be socialist when the parties upholding socialism are in power. When their new socialism is popular, the parties upholding socialsm will remain in power and those countries may remain socialist.

If Russia and those Central Asian countries join the socialist camp, the socialist camp will be larger and stronger.

What about communists’ international obligations for international revolution?

That will be dealt with in my later posts.

Article by Chan Kai Yee

Is the US Even a Nominal World Leader?

Defense One’s article “No One’s Joining Trump’s ‘Maximum Pressure’ Coalition” may be an answer to the question, full text of which is reblogged below:

No One’s Joining Trump’s ‘Maximum Pressure’ Coalition

About that Counter-Iran Coalition…

By Jon B. Alterman

The Trump administration called for help, but Washington’s friends have shrugged and calculated it is safer to stay away from “maximum pressure.” There is a better way.

What if the United States threw a party and no one came? It is finding out in the Persian Gulf, where Trump administration’s calls to unite to counter Iranian aggression are being met with caution, circumspection and shrugs.

The reason is not fear of the Iranians. Instead, it is a calculus by Washington’s allies and partners that they may be safer staying far away from whatever the United States really intends and what they might be drawn into.

The Iranian government seems to be pursuing a policy that keeps tensions in the Gulf simmering but not boiling. The goal is to create a crisis but not a war. Iran is trying to force the world to engage with it and seeking to thumb its nose at the U.S.“maximum pressure” campaign that threatens any multinational that does business with the Islamic Republic.

That Iran has any hope of success is a historic change. In years past, the United States would be expected to use its dominant position in the Gulf — built upon its naval base in Bahrain and the Fifth Fleet — to rustle up an alliance. With tens of thousands of sailors, more than one dozen ships, and pervasive intelligence capabilities, the United States would bear the heaviest burden but allies also would contribute ships, aircraft, and personnel. The show of force would matter, but even more important would be the show of unity and resolve.

But this is not years past. Tweeting on June 24, President Trump argued that each country should look after its own ships in the Gulf, arguing “We don’t even need to be there in that the U.S. has just become (by far) the largest producer of Energy anywhere in the world!” The next day, he tweeted a warning to Iran that “Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force,” implicitly shoving allies out from under a U.S. security umbrella.

The president’s approach was soon reflected in policy. After Iran seized a British oil tanker on July 19, Secretary of State Pompeo shrugged off a U.S. obligation to respond, saying, “The responsibility in the first instance falls to the United Kingdom to take care of their ships.” That same day, U.S. Central Command announced it was forming a multinational maritime coalition called Operation Sentinel. But nobody is coming to the Operation Sentinel party. The UK, reportedly already stung from being kept in the dark about abortive U.S. plans to strike Iran earlier in the month, set out to create its own Gulf coalition. The UK had had more luck than the United States is at this point, eliciting clear interest from France, Italy, and Denmark (although newly installed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson may have a very different concept in mind). The country most clearly in the U.S. camp is South Korea, which has limited ability to project naval forces into the Gulf but is deeply beholden to the Trump administration as the United States pursues negotiations with North Korea.

On Thursday, just hours after taking office, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper faced Pentagon reporters who pressed him about the competing U.S. and European efforts. “I describe as complimentary, if you will,” he said, spinning the situation favorably, “whether we do that as one big group or as subgroups.”

But it really does matter how this is organized. The U.S. proposal is reportedly for the United States to share intelligence, while relying on countries to protect their own ships. As such, it represents the worst of all possible worlds. The United States seeks to lash partner countries to U.S. policy without any extension of U.S. protection. If the United States has a military confrontation with Iran, associated countries would face guilt by association and effectively have to go along for the ride. With little confidence in either the U.S. approach of “maximum pressure” nor in Iranian restraint, they justifiably fear things could get ugly fast.

Even absent direct U.S.-Iran hostilities, partner countries aligning with the U.S. and with limited capacity to defend themselves would make their ships more vulnerable to Iranian attack. For the Iranians, provoking weaker powers is far safer than provoking more powerful ones, and singling out smaller countries serves the dual purpose of avoiding warfare while deterring others from uniting with the Americans.

Seen from an Iranian perspective, this turn of events is delightful. The U.S. inability to mount a coalition in the Gulf helps split the United States from its allies and weakens international solidarity more broadly. It encourages the Russians and Chinese even more. Three countries that essentially have no allies are thus able to level the playing field after struggling for decades with broad U.S.-led coalitions.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper was surely right when he said on Thursday, “A strong network of like-minded nations that are willing and able to fight together is an advantage that our adversaries do not possess.” He was also right when he continued, “But this means that allies and partners must contribute more equitably to our shared security.”

The problem is trying to treat the security environment in the Gulf as a transaction. It is not. Security in the region affects global security and the global economy, and the United States’ ability to lead regional security efforts over decades has advanced U.S. interests the Gulf and around the globe. One can make a reasonable argument that, over time, other countries should take the lead for some security responses, and the U.S. role should shift. Yet, doing so suddenly at a time of rising tensions invites chaos, torpedoes U.S. influence, and advances the interests of U.S. adversaries. The immediate task is to work in solidarity with others, and the longer-term task is to thrust more responsibility on them. The administration’s approach has the order of operations reversed, and doing so undermines both objectives.

Jon B. Alterman holds the Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy and directs the Middle East program at CSIS. Full bio

Source: Defense One “No One’s Joining Trump’s ‘Maximum Pressure’ Coalition”

Note: This is Defense One’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.

China rejects U.S. lawmaker’s comments on HK protests, human rights

July 28, 2019 / 5:20 PM / Updated 21 hours ago

BEIJING (Reuters) – China said it strongly opposes what it calls “erroneous” claims made by Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs Eliot Engel, who criticized China’s Communist Party over its position on protests in Hong Kong.

Engel said in a statement on Friday that he was “deeply concerned” by reports of police brutality in Hong Kong and criticized Beijing’s “increasingly harsh responses and propagandic depictions” of the protesters.

China’s Foreign Ministry Office in Hong Kong responded on Sunday with a sharply-worded statement, saying it “urges foreign politicians to stop sending the wrong signals over this violent behaviour”.

What are the qualifications of American politicians to criticise Hong Kong’s human rights, freedoms and the rule of law?” it said.

It’s the latest in a series of sharp rebukes by China aimed at U.S. and UK politicians who have criticized Hong Kong authorities’ responses to the protests, as well as Beijing’s growing influence in the independently governed city.

The Hong Kong protests, which have surged again in recent days, were initially against an extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China, but have since broadened into calls for wider democratic reforms.

Protesters are also seeking independent inquiries into police use of force and are calling for the resignation of Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam.

China recently said it believes U.S. officials were behind the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and asked the United States to “withdraw their black hands”.

Reporting by Cate Cadell; Editing by Sam Holmes

Source: Reuters “China rejects U.S. lawmaker’s comments on HK protests, human rights”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

Bad News: China is Building Three Huge Helicopter ‘Aircraft Carriers’

What will Beijing do with them?

by Sebastien Roblin

July 27, 2019

Along the Huangpu River in the Hudong-Zhonghua shipyards in Shanghai, the hull modules of two huge new vessels have been captured in photographs taken by passengers in overflying airliners. Then early in July 2019, ground-level images of the construction leaked onto Chinese social media.

Measuring the length of two-and-half football fields and estimated to displace between 30,000-40,000 tons once in the water, the vessels appear to be the first of three Type 075 Landing Helicopter Docks (LHDs), essentially moving naval bases that can carry dozens of helicopters and launch amphibious landing craft from their floodable well deck.

In 2017, the Type 075 was detailed (and speculatively illustrated) in a South China Morning Post article by Minnie Chen. It would be the first ship of its type to serve in the PLA Navy—and the largest deployed outside of the United States, which currently operates eight 40,000-ton Wasp-class LHDs and one 45,000-ton America-class ship.

The PLA Navy already has commissioned five smaller 25,000-ton Type 071 Yuzhao-class amphibious transport docks (LPDs), with two more under construction. These can carry hundreds of troops, with supporting tanks and armored vehicles, and up to four Type 726 air-cushion landing craft (LCACs) to ferry them ashore. Four SA-321 helicopters give the Type 071 a limited vertical lift capacity.

By contrast, the Type 075 will be able to carry thirty helicopters, six of which can be taking off or landing at the same time, allowing it to rapidly deploy troops and supplies onto improvised forward landing zones. Meanwhile, its well deck could still accommodate two LCACs to land armored vehicles and larger cargoes.

Chinese internet articles furnish additional unconfirmed details, including claims the Type 075 will be powered by a 65,000-horsepower diesel engine and has a maximum speed of 22-24 knots.

The Type 075 isn’t meant put itself in the line of fire, however. It reportedly will be only lightly armed with two 30-millimeter Gatling-style cannons and two short-range HQ-10 missiles launchers for close protection from incoming missiles and aircraft, meaning it would realistically depend on escorting vessels to provide layered air defenses. Given the increasing capability of modern anti-ship missiles, some question the viability of large vessels like the Type 075.

This begs the question: what roles could huge helicopter carriers play for the PLA Navy?

Supporting an Amphibious Invasion

LHDs are a type of “amphibious assault ships”—vessels that help land and supply troops onto hostile shores. That’s a task a vessel like the Type 075 could perform very efficiently with its capacious hold and large helicopter wing.

Indeed, the People’s Liberation Army maintains significant amphibious warfare forces. Its Marine Corps recently tripled in size to 40,000 personnel, while the PLA Ground Forces also maintain tens of thousands of troops specialized in amphibious warfare, equipped with amphibious Type 63 and ZTD-5 tanks and ZBD-5 fighting vehicles.

These formations are foremost maintained with an eye to being able to credibly threaten an invasion of Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade province.

China also has disputes with Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam over other islands—and even fought two naval battles with the latter for control of the Paracel and Spratly islands in 1974 and 1988 respectively.

But the transport capacity to deploy Chinese troops on hostile beachheads is limited. Thus vessels like the Type 075 will significantly improve the PLAN’s amphibious-landing “bandwidth.”

Chinese military and paramilitary forces are also building a network of island bases across the western Pacific, many hosting surveillance radars, airfields, docks and missile batteries. Supplying and reinforcing these often isolated island bases poses logistical challenges that LHDs could greatly alleviate.

Countering the Submarine Threat

Helicopters equipped with dipping sonars are particularly effective at detecting and engaging submarines. An LHD with abundant helicopters to deploy could provide a “bubble” of anti-submarine coverage and be deployed on missions to interdict likely submarine transit lanes, escort vulnerable task forces and convoys, and chase down suspicious sonar contacts.

This mission is particularly vital for the PLA Navy because U.S. and Japanese submarines have major advantages in acoustic stealth over their Chinese counterparts and would not have their freedom of maneuver constrained by long-range, land-based anti-ship missiles the way hostile surface ships would be. Thus, Chinese profiles of the Type 075 have stressed its application in anti-submarine warfare.

To a lesser extent, Airborne Early Warning (AEW) helicopters onboard LHDs could also provide forewarning of hostile aerial activity to the benefit of nearby ships. However, LHDs and their helicopters would depend on other assets to actually intercept aerial contacts.

Disaster Relief, Anti-Piracy and Foreign National Evacuation

In the hopeful absence of a major conflict with the United States, Chinese LHDs and their onboard helicopters would be extremely useful for disaster relief missions, expatriate or medical emergency evacuations, anti-piracy and smuggling patrols, and peacekeeping deployment. Such contingencies seem likely to occur as China’s commercial, political and military influence continues to expand across Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent and Africa.

Maritime Strike

Chinese sources have also noted the Type 075 could carry helicopters armed with air-to-surface missiles. This is undoubtedly true but must be appreciated in context: most helicopters lack strike range and survivability versus adversaries with significant air range defenses. However, in hypothetical littoral or archipelago-style battle spaces where the anti-air threat is more limited, maritime strike helicopters could usefully chase down hostile vessels, perform strikes against fixed positions, and provide air support for landed troops.

Chinese Naval Helicopters

One of the early benefits of China’s warming relations with the West in the 1970s was the acquisition of French helicopters. China eventually began license manufacturing its own versions, the Z-8 (based on the SA-320 Super Frelon) and the Z-9, based on the AS-565 Panther, all of which are operated by the PLA Navy.

The three-engine Super Frelons and Z-8s are large and fast. Capable of carrying up to twenty-six troops at once, some are also equipped with torpedoes and dipping sonars for anti-submarine warfare, or specially adapted for search-and-rescue and medical evacuation roles.

China has also evolved the Z-8 into the larger Changhe Z-18. China’s first aircraft carrier, Liaoning, currently operates Z-18F Sea Eagle anti-submarine helicopters and the Z-18J Bat AEW choppers, which have extendible flat-panel active-electronically scanned array radars in their bellies.

The medium-sized Z-9 helicopter family includes models outfitted for anti-submarine warfare, and an AEW variant with a K-Band radar. While the PLA Navy lacks an equivalent to the U.S. Marine Corps’ Sea Cobra gunships, the missile-armed Z-9WA model could conceivably be adapted for shipboard operations.

Finally, the PLAN also operates nineteen bizarre-looking Ka-27 “Helix” anti-submarine helicopters bought from Russia as well as nine Ka-31 AEW choppers, distinguished by their contra-rotating rotors.

However, the PLAN conspicuously lacks two types of aircraft that significantly enhance the combat power of other amphibious assault ships across the globe.

First, China has no tilt-rotor aircraft like the V-22 Osprey, helicopter/airplane hybrids with vertical takeoff capability of the former, and improved range and speed of the latter.

More importantly, the PLAN has no vertical-takeoff capable jump jets like the Harrier or F-35B, which would not only give Chinese amphibious carriers air defense capability but also greatly improve their surface-strike capacity. The PLAN will be particularly keeping an eye on F-35Bs deployed on Japanese—and likely South Korean—carriers. For now, there’s no indication China is seeking to develop such technically challenging (and often accident-prone) aircraft.

According to Rick Joe of The Diplomat, the lead Type 075 may launch late in 2019 or by mid-2020. All three of the initial flights may be launched by 2022 given the current apparent pace of construction, and Joe estimates additional LHDs, possibly of a revised and enlarged configuration, are likely to follow.

Sébastien Roblin holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring.

Source: National Interest “Bad News: China is Building Three Huge Helicopter ‘Aircraft Carriers’”

Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.

Xinjiang letter signatories blast West’s bias

By Liu Xin in Urumqi Source: Global Times
Published: 2019/7/26 20:06:03

It’s time Xinjiang people’s own voice is heard by outside world: expert

Yeerkexi Kuerbanbaike, vice president of Xinjiang Writers Association. Photo: Liu Xin/GT

Government officials, scholars and religion experts from Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region defended the country’s counter-terrorism and de-radicalization policies in the region against groundless accusations from the US and other Western countries.

China’s State Council Information Office (SCIO) released a white paper on Sunday to clarify major historical matters on Xinjiang, like it has never been “East Turkistan” and the Uyghurs are not descendants of the Turks.

In response to US State Secretary Mike Pompeo’s recent criticism of China’s policies in Xinjiang, close to 100 scholars and religious experts released a joint letter on July 19 to express their discontent.

Two experts who signed the letter spoke with the Global Times, sharing stories behind the public letter and their opinions on the latest white paper.

Wanting to be heard

Yeerkexi Kuerbanbaike, vice president of the Xinjiang Writers Association, said she learned of Pompeo’s accusations from the news and her first reaction was, “Why did a country’s senior official make such groundless and irresponsible remarks on China’s regional situation and policies in Xinjiang?”

“China is the home of all ethnic groups living here. We have the ability to solve problems that happen within our family, and we are doing quite well on this,” Yeerkexi told the Global Times on Thursday.

“Why would anyone eavesdrop on others and spread rumors and criticism based on guesswork? It’s like the sound of scratching glass with nails, which is deplorable,” she said.

Anger and disappointment with Pompeo inspired a few scholars to pen the letter, and many others echoed their feelings and joined them in the letter’s composition.

“We felt it is time to make our voice heard by the outside world. For foreigners who have never been to Xinjiang, the information about this place has mostly come from the media. However, false stories from Western media and their hysteria over the policies will demonize Xinjiang,” Yeerkexi said.

“We don’t want our home, a place of rich culture and with people from different ethnic groups who live in harmony, to be known or remembered by the outside world that way,” she added.

This is not the first time Xinjiang scholars have written an open letter. After the riots in Urumqi in 2009, they wrote several letters condemning the terrorists.

More than 200 writers and poets of the Uyghur ethnic group released a letter on June 25, 2014 calling for unity and a fight against terrorism and extremism, reported.

Five terrorists drove two cars into a crowd and detonated a bomb in Urumqi, killing 39 and injuring 94 on May 22, 2014. A few weeks earlier, terrorists carried out a suicide attack at a railway station, killing three and injuring 79, according to a white paper released by the SCIO in March.

Abudurekefu Tumuniyazi, head of the Xinjiang Islamic Association and the Xinjiang Islam Institution, was the first religion expert to sign the letter.

“I am also angry with Pompeo’s remarks. China has repeatedly explained its policies on religious protection, ethnic groups, and the development of Xinjiang on many occasions, and foreign diplomats and media have been invited to Xinjiang. What Pompeo and other US politicians have done neglects the truth and is nonsense,” said Abudurekefu.

In January, Abudurekefu sent a letter to the US Ambassador to China, expressing his opposition toward the false accusations about the Xinjiang policies.

He also sent the letter to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) during their representatives’ trip to the region.

“I wanted them to know the US was talking nonsense and what the OIC saw in Xinjiang was the truth,” he told the Global Times.

In response to rumors that they signed the open letter under political pressure, Yeerkexi and Abudurekefu said that was nonsense and slanderous.

“Many scholars reached out to me after the letter was released and offered advice on how to perfect it. They also expressed their willingness to sign it,” Yeerkexi said.

Abudurekefu Tumuniyazi (center), head of the Xinjiang Islamic Association and the Xinjiang Islam Institution, discusses China’s religion protection policies to foreign visitors in July 2018. Photo: Liu Xin/GT

Responding to concerns

Yeerkexi said that while writing the letter, a few scholars insisted on mentioning the vocational training and education centers as Western media have distorted such issues.

The training centers play an essential role in Xinjiang’s de-radicalization efforts.

“The training centers offer people who have been influenced by extremism a platform to learn national laws, standard Chinese, and some vocational skills, so they can understand their responsibilities within society and not be influenced by terrorists,” Yeerkexi told the Global Times.

When discussing extremism, Yeerkexi recalled when she worked in Maigaiti county, and saw how it affected young people and children.

Three children were not allowed to attend school by their parents influenced by extremism. It was not because the government didn’t provide educational opportunities; it was because of extremism.

“After recent de-radicalization efforts, children are enjoying their right to education. They are learning various subjects, and their eyes are glowing,” Yeerkexi said.

“Look what the US did after 9/11 against terrorism. When it comes to China implementing counter-terrorism and de-radicalization methods, why does the US criticize China for similar purposes? Isn’t this a double standard?” Abudurekefu asked.

Not for human rights

In response to Western media accusations over human rights violations, Abudurekefu said, “What is human rights protection? Isn’t it protecting human rights to ensure people live a happy life in a stable and safe environment? Isn’t it protecting human rights to let people enjoy religious freedom?”

“Does protecting human rights include doing what Western countries tell us to do? For some Western countries and media, they say human rights not out of real care but out of some political purpose, which is to contain China,” he said.

Abudurekefu met with reporters from the UK at the Islamic Institute in Urumqi in May. He invited the reporters to watch a student prayer meeting.

The reporters declined and said they had a flight to catch. Ten minutes later they returned because, and as they explained, someone had forgotten a notebook. Instead of searching for the missing notebook, they started taking videos of the praying students.

“Eventually, they said they were going to leave. After noticing my insistence in helping them find their missing notebook, a reporter took a notebook from their car and said he had found it,” Abudurekefu recalled, noting how some Western media still remained biased even after witnessing the real situation in Xinjiang.

“Will some Western media and countries think Xinjiang is ‘normal’ when violent attacks happen in the region now and then, and parents worry about the security of their children at work or school every day?” Yeerkexi asked.

“I hope more people read our letter and hear from those who are living in Xinjiang. I welcome everyone to Xinjiang to see what is happening here. They would gain a new perspective on the policies,” Yeerkexi said.

Recently, 37 countries sent a joint letter to the UN Human Rights Council in support of China’s Xinjiang policies, in response to 22 Western countries that had sent a joint letter criticizing China on this issue.

“Many of the 37 countries are Muslim majority countries. Their support for China reveals that they know the country’s de-radicalization efforts are to help differentiate extremism from religion and to protect the religious rights of believers,” Abudurekefu said. .

Photo: Screenshot of the joint letter by nearly 100 Xinjiang scholars and religious leaders to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

A true Xinjiang

Alwardawy, a journalist from Egyptian media Algoumhuria Newspaper, who just finished a trip to Xinjiang, told the Global Times that the letter from the scholars and religious personnel is the true voice of people who live in Xinjiang and have a sense of the justice there. The voice comes from people who cannot tolerate lies, and it should receive support from the international community.

The reporter also said that what he saw in Xinjiang fits the descriptions in China’s newly released white paper – people of different ethnic groups living in harmony, the security situation in the region is maintained well, the cultures of ethnic groups have been protected and mosques can be seen in many places.

He said he has witnessed the white paper’s image of Xinjiang.

Gerhard from Germany works at a motor company and has traveled to the company’s branch in Xinjiang several times. He said that he has seen the economic development and improvement of people’s lives there in recent years.

Some politicians in Western countries and anti-China groups have intentionally distorted what is happening in Xinjiang. The newly released white paper can give a full picture to foreigners of a true Xinjiang and the policies in the region.

Source: Global Times “Xinjiang letter signatories blast West’s bias”

Note: This is Global Times’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

China Outlines Space War Plans

PLA white paper confirms space operations a strategic priority for confronting U.S.

China’s heavy-lift carrier rocket Long March-5 blasts off / Getty Images

Bill Gertz – July 26, 2019 5:00 AM

China’s strategy for developing advanced space weapons were disclosed this week in Beijing’s first defense white paper issued in years.

The defense strategy report produced by the People’s Liberation Army was made public Wednesday and drops earlier veiled references by bluntly identifying the United States as Beijing’s main adversary that is undermining world peace.

The report—part policy statement and part propaganda—also claims the United States seeks “absolute military superiority.”

“The U.S. has adjusted its national security and defense strategies, and adopted unilateral policies,” the report said. “It has provoked and intensified competition among major countries, significantly increased its defense expenditure, pushed for additional capacity in nuclear, outer space, cyber and missile defense, and undermined global strategic stability.” (This blogger’s note: That is but a statement of the fact.)

Chinese propaganda outlets sought to portray the white paper as furthering Beijing’s questionable assertion that the large-scale buildup of conventional, nuclear, space, and cyber weapons poses no threat. (This blogger’s note: No threat to any other countries but a threat to US hegemony)

The white paper, however, bluntly warned that China is set to use military force against Taiwan if the self-ruled island seeks formal independence. (This blogger’s note: That is nothing new. It has been a warning for decades.) Taiwan is a quasi-U.S. ally and the United States is obligated under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act to defend it from mainland attack. (This blogger’s note: The US does not openly support Taiwan independence. However, if it supports, when China uses force to deter Taiwan independence, the US has to fight a war with China. No wonder China has to develop capabilities to deal wih such a potential danger. Therefore, the arms race has been caused by US threat. Everybody is aware of that; therefore, China’s military modernization threatens no one but those who support Taiwan independence.)

Beijing, in another threatening announcement, said this week the PLA is prepared to dispatch forces to Hong Kong (This blogger’s note: Beijing says nothing about that. However, PLA has always been prepared to help Hong Kong maintain stability as provided by the Basic Law. There is no need to make announcement about that), the former British colony that has been rocked by anti-Beijing protests over a new extradition law seeking to undermine democratic rule. (This blogger’s note: This article seems a propaganda to support a small number of Hong Kong people to splatter black ink on Chinese national emblem. It can spread lies to demonize China but cannot insult China in that way though it will be glad to.)

On space warfare, the PLA report states that threats to space “loom large” and as a result space security is now among eight vital Chinese strategic interests. (This blogger’s note: That is a factual description of US plan to set up US space force.)

Other key interests include deterring attacks, opposing Taiwan independence, and “safeguarding national political security”—a reference to the PLA’s ultimate mission of keeping the ruling Communist Party of China in power.

“Outer space is a critical domain in international strategic competition,” the report said.

While insisting China favors the peaceful use of space, the white paper states that China is developing “relevant technologies and capabilities” for safeguarding satellites while maintaining the ability to safely enter, exit, and openly use space.

Army Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, was asked during a security forum in Colorado last week if the United States is falling behind China and Russia in military space systems.

“I can’t tell you who’s in front and who’s behind,” Ashley said of the space weapons race.

Chinese ASAT missile / DIA report

Space has become contested and China and Russia have direct ascent ASAT missiles that “literally can go up and target a satellite,” Ashley said July 18.

On the threat from co-orbital satellites, Ashley said small satellites are being outfitted with robotic arms.

“If that satellite nestles up against yours, then you have the ability to damage a sensor,” he said. “You can cut lines. You in fact could disable that with a co-orbital satellite.”

Other space weapons involve the use of electronic warfare that can jam synthetic aperture radars and other kinds of satellites from both the ground and space.

“So we’re seeing a period of great competition that is moving its way into space, and the risks there are obviously from war fighting standpoint is precision navigation and timing,” Ashley said. “We have great dependence on that.”

Weather satellites and missile early warning satellites also could be targeted in a future conflict.

“There’s a multitude of things that are potentially at risk,” the DIA chief said, declining to discuss U.S. efforts to harden satellites against attack, and to stockpile rapidly deployable replacements. “And that is being addressed,” he said.

The PLA report made no mention of China’s space weapons or anti-satellite (ASAT) missiles, like the ground-fired missile used to destroy a Chinese weather satellite in a 2007 test, leaving thousands of pieces of dangerous floating debris that threaten both manned and unmanned spacecraft.

China has developed several types of anti-satellite missiles, including DN-2 and DN-3 missiles capable of attacking orbiting satellites in both high and low orbits.

China’s other space weapons include ground-based lasers that blind or damage orbiting satellites, and orbiting robot satellites capable of grabbing and crushing satellites. (This blogger’s note: All those weapons are described by this article instead of China’s defense white paper, how can the article says, “China’s strategy for developing advanced space weapons were disclosed this week in Beijing’s first defense white paper issued in years.” The paper has disclosed nothing about China’s advanced space weapons so that the article’s statement is a pure lie.)

“China continues development of multiple counterspace capabilities designed to degrade and deny adversary use of space-based assets during a crisis or conflict,” the Pentagon’s most recent annual report on the Chinese military states.

According to the 2019 report, Chinese military writers have stated the goal of PLA space warfare is “destroying, damaging, and interfering with the enemy’s reconnaissance … and communications satellites” along with navigation and early warning satellites. The objective is to “blind and deafen the enemy.”

The PLA air force is in charge of integrating air and space forces and “coordinating offensive and defensive operations,” the PLA report said, adding that the service is “accelerating the transition of its tasks from territorial air defense to both offensive and defensive operations,” the white paper says.

China also has created a Space Corps within a new service-level Strategic Support Force. The corps is believed to be the key space warfighting unit.

China space ops control station / DIA report

The Pentagon is establishing its own Space Force that will be under the Air Force.

However, the United States appears to be lagging behind China in developing space weapons. An anti-satellite missile program was killed in the 1980s. However, a Navy anti-missile interceptor was used to shoot down a falling U.S. satellite in 2008, demonstrating some ASAT capabilities.

By contrast, a 2018 intelligence report by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) stated that China is among the most advanced nations in building space weapons.

“Through military reforms, China and Russia have organized new military forces devoted to the employment of space and counterspace capabilities and regularly integrate them into military exercises,” the report said.

“Meanwhile, these countries continue to develop, test, and proliferate sophisticated anti-satellite weapons to hold U.S. and allied space assets at risk.”

The weapons include kinetic kill interceptors that destroy satellites by slamming into them at high speeds. Other space weapons include satellites armed with radiofrequency jammers, lasers, chemical sprayers, high-power microwaves, and robotic arms.

Orbiting satellite maintenance and debris removal systems now in the testing and research phase could be used to damage satellites, the report said.

Steve Lambakis, a former official at the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, said a key PLA objective is to use space weapons to cripple operations of the Hawaii-based Indo-Pacific Command during a future conflict by attacking American satellites.

“These operations would likely start with disruption and destruction of [command, control, communications, and intelligence] capabilities with cyber and kinetic attacks on satellites and ground assets in support of other Chinese kinetic capabilities,” Lambakis said

Michael J. Listner, a China expert who specializes in space issues, said the latest white paper continues the earlier theme of outer space as a “commanding height” for the PLA but with the new facet identifying space as a critical domain for strategic competition.

The section on space in the white paper appears to be part policy and part propaganda in response to the United States’ labeling of space as a domain of warfare. (This blogger’s note: The article has to admit the fact that what the white paper says is but a response to US labeling of space as a domain of warfare.)

“In doing so, the defense white paper overtly points to the United States as the aggressor in outer space, which is a common refrain of western, non-governmental organizations focused on outer space security, and postures its outer space capabilities as a deterrent response as opposed to an active counterspace capacity,” said Listner, principal with Space Law and Policy Solutions, a think tank.

The PLA also is employing lawfare—legal warfare—techniques in promoting Beijing’s claims to be adhering to four major space law treaties and agreements.

“As with all policy positions taken in other domains, the PRC’s true intents in outer space are better gauged by its actions as opposed to its words,” Listner said. (This blogger’s note: That proves that the article is spreading fake news by saying, “China’s strategy for developing advanced space weapons were disclosed this week in Beijing’s first defense white paper issued in years.”}

The white paper states that China is seeking international dialogue and agreements setting rules for space.

The NASIC report on space said establishing international norms for military activities space “remain elusive” and that China’s efforts regarding space arms control are duplicitous.

“China and Russia continue to endorse a draft ‘Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force Against Outer Space Objects (PPWT),” the report said.

“While this draft promotes ‘no first placement’ of weapons in space, it fails to address a variety of anti-satellite weapons and lacks meaningful verification mechanisms,” the report said. “Furthermore, despite publicly insisting that space is a peaceful domain, these competitors are continuing development of several anti-satellite weapons.” (This blogger’s note: The report has to admit the truth in the above paragraphs though with groundless qualifications.)

In addition to space weaponry, China also is building cyber warfare capabilities and the white paper notes that cyber security “poses a severe threat to China.”

“China’s armed forces accelerate the building of their cyberspace capabilities, develop cyber security and defense means, and build cyber defense capabilities consistent with China’s international standing and its status as a major cyber country,” the report said.

Source: Washington Free Beacon “China Outlines Space War Plans”

Note: This is Washington Free Beacon’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views. In fact I have added quite a few notes to show my views on it.