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July 26, 2019

  • ​Playing Defense

    China's Ministry of National Defense released a white paper this week on China's national defense strategy for the first time since 2015. The report, titled "China's National Defense in the New Era", accused the United States of trying to destabilize regional order, and argued that hegemonism, power politics, unilateralism, and ongoing wars are undermining global security. China also took aim at Taiwan, warning that Beijing would not hesitate to use military force in the region. In his latest op-ed for China-US Focus, Ted Carpenter writes that Washington is not taking Beijing seriously on its threats to use hardline tactics in Taiwan. 

    The rhetoric in the white paper reflected the escalating tension in the region, a marked shift from 2015 when the report called for increased military cooperation and exchanges. Beijing has also announced an intensified military cooperation with Moscow, after conducting a joint air patrol over the Sea of Japan that raised U.S. concern over China-Russia ties. China's Defense Ministry spokesman said that the two countries will strengthen their cooperation relating to their "core interests" and act as partners, rather than allies.

  • ​On the Move

    A report this month shows that the car market in China continues to worsen, as the country saw sales drop more than 12% in the first half of 2019, despite a series of policy changes designed to bolster passenger car sales. The findings, released by the government-affiliated China Association of Automotive Manufacturers, follow a disappointing 2018, when China recorded its first annual decline in automobile sales since the consumer boom of 1990. The Chinese economy has slowed significantly, and consumer confidence is down, leading to an overall slump in both domestic and foreign car sales. Ford Motor Co. has seen sales in China fall 27% in the first six months of 2019 from 2018, derailing its global ambitions and calling its future in China into question.

    China's vehicle woes also extend to the United States, where the U.S. Congress is attempting to ban Chinese buses and railcars from being purchased with federal funds, out of espionage and sabotage concerns. China has been trying to gain entry in the U.S. public transit system, but a ban in Congress would stymie those efforts and put a further strain on already fractious trade negotiations ahead of resumed bilateral negotiations next week.

  • ​Dissident or Spy?

    In a head spinning turn of events, a Chinese asylum seeker and a member of the Mar-a-Lago club has been accused of spying for the government he purports to want exile from. 

    Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui fled to the United States four years ago after an associate was arrested on corruption charges in Beijing. In 2017, the self-proclaimed dissident teamed up with Steve Bannon to attempt to expose corruption in China. The Chinese government has since made several extradition requests, which have been rejected, partly due to the fact that Guo is a member of President Trump's exclusive Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

    But now, in US federal court papers, Guo is accused of spying for Beijing and trying to obtain information on Chinese nationals that may have been helping the United States in national security investigations. Guo's lawyers deny the allegations, saying they lack credibility.

About China This Week

Prepared by China-US Focus editorial teams in Hong Kong and New York, this weekly newsletter offers you snap shots of latest trends and developments emerging from China every week, while adding a dose of historical perspective.

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