A China Coast Guard ship (top) and a Philippine supply boat engage in a stand off as the Philippine boat attempts to reach the Second Thomas Shoal, a remote South China Sea a reef claimed by both countries, on March 29, 2014. (Jay DirectoJ/AFP/Getty Images)A China Coast Guard ship (top) and a Philippine supply boat engage in a stand off as the Philippine boat attempts to reach the Second Thomas Shoal, a remote South China Sea a reef claimed by both countries, on March 29, 2014. (Jay DirectoJ/AFP/Getty Images)

In October 2015, the Philippines filed a pending arbitration case against China through the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, arguing that the Chinese regime’s claims to the South China Sea violate international law.

As a decision on the South China Sea looms in international court, the Chinese regime has done all it can to avoid the case—from stating it will not participate, to making threats against the Philippines, to rallying African nations so as to claim a base of support.

Yet with the ruling now just around the corner, the Chinese regime is pulling one last card out of its sleeve.

As Mark Eadas writes on Foreign Policy Association, Chinese state media and the South China Morning Post (which has been brought more deeply under Party control), announced a new “legal challenge” and “fresh uncertainty” on the case, submitted by a legal organization called the Asia-Pacific Institute of International Law (APIIL) in Hong Kong.

The APIIL submitted a “friend of the court” brief that avoids the issue of whether the Chinese regime has legal rights throughout the South China Sea, and instead claims the court itself lacks jurisdiction for a ruling. Eadas notes the brief hasn’t yet been made public, so its full details aren’t clear.

The claim itself may be interesting for anyone watching the South China Sea dispute, given that it suggests the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) doesn’t seem to believe its claims of “historical sovereignty” will hold up.

But what’s really interesting about the new development isn’t the claims themselves, but instead what’s really behind the organizations making the claims.

As Eadas notes, the Chinese state media left out an important detail on the APIIL. As he puts it, the organization “hardly exists,” as it was only registered as a business two months ago in Hong Kong, and “no website or public contact information, no prior history of legal practice, and no names associated with it other than ‘chairman’ Daniel Fung.”

Before we go any further, Fung claims objectivity on the South China Sea dispute. He told the state-run Xinhua news outlet he only wants to “maintain the perfection of the international law system.” He just doesn’t want to see “the international law system being jeopardized or its reputation being damaged.”

But as Eadas notes, Fung’s allegiances already lie elsewhere. He has a long track record of supporting the CCP’s stances going back to at least 1997; and Chinese state media also missed the crucial detail that Fung is a delegate of the CCP’s Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing. In 2010 he was found guilty in Hong Kong for professional misconduct.

Paramilitary guards walk in Tiananmen Square outside the Great Hall of the People during a press conference of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) on March 2, 2013. The CPPCC is under the United Front Department, which is one of the Chinese regime's key spy departments. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

Paramilitary guards walk in Tiananmen Square outside the Great Hall of the People during a press conference of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) on March 2, 2013. The CPPCC is under the United Front Department, which is one of the Chinese regime’s key spy departments. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

Fung’s position with the CPPCC also opens its own can of worms. According to an October 2011 report from the Europe China Research and Advice Network, the CPPCC’s members “are not elected but hand-picked by the Chinese Communist Party.”

The report also notes that the CPPCC is directly operated by the CCP’s United Front Department, which is one of the Chinese regime’s main spy organizations and focuses specifically on infiltrating power structures abroad to expand the CCP’s control of foreign politics, business, and public thought.

Epoch Times has deeply exposed the United Front Department over the years, along with its sister spy department, the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office.

And the strings that pull Fung don’t end there. Eadas writes that Fung is also a founding governor of the China-United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF), which poses as a non-political and non-governmental organization. Yet, Eadas cites former deputy assistant to the vice-president of the United States for national security affairs Aaron Friedberg stating that it has ties to the CCP and to the Chinese military.

As opposed to its claims to be “non-political” and “non-governmental,” Friedberg states the CUSEF “is supported and advised by government-linked entities including the Shanghai Institute for International Studies and the [People’s Liberation Army] Academy of Military Science.” Friedberg also notes the CUSEF is “is funded by Hong Kong tycoons and [Chinese] state-owned enterprises .”

Eadas sums up the CCP’s new “legal challenge” noting it is “evidently nothing but a cheap trick to delay the court ruling with a fake ‘legal organization’ thrown together by a pro-Beijing shyster lawyer solely for that purpose.”

And the case also shows a level of fear and doubt among the Chinese regime’s leaders, facing a pending case that will officially expose the falsehood of their claims to the South China Sea and give international backing to nations that oppose them.

Read the full article here

This news analysis was originally dispatched as part of Epoch Times China email newsletters. Subscribe to the newsletters by filling your email in the “China D-brief” box under this article.
The Chinese regime’s mad creation to its east may have finally turned on its master, and it appears that Chinese leaders aren’t ready to accept the fact.
North Korea’s all-girl Moranbong Band was set to hold three invitation-only “friendship performances” in Beijing, starting Saturday night. Yet, on the afternoon before the performances, the group went to the Beijing airport where they caught the first flight back to Pyongyang.
North Korea’s actions were allegedly in response to a small Chinese delegation, which was sent to protest a claim from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last week that he now has a hydrogen bomb.
The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Foreign Ministry didn’t seem to take offense—as they likely would have if any other nation pulled such a move. According to Reuters, its spokesman, Hong Lei, said the CCP still wants cultural exchanges with North Korea, and the shows were cancelled due to “communication issues at the working level.”
One of the CCP’s mouthpiece newspapers, the Global Times, published a similar claim, saying the cancellation was a “glitch” that wouldn’t have any long-term effects on the CCP’s ties to North Korea.
The “glitch,” however, was just one of many that has taken place recently in the CCP’s relations with North Korea. And in all cases, the CCP’s response has shown a level of muted restraint you’d be hard-pressed to find it showing anywhere else.
North Korea has been on a witch-hunt for Chinese spies. By October, the North Korean National Security Department had allegedly arrested, imprisoned, or executed more than a hundred Chinese nationals.
Some of the Chinese nationals were accused of being spies. Others were accused of illegally spreading videos, supporting “defectors,” working as money carriers, or holding religious activities.
The campaign didn’t end in October, either. DailyNK, a Seoul-based news source on North Korea, reported on Dec. 14 that even the Chinese ambassador to North Korea has been placed under investigation and is being monitored.
North Korea’s campaign against Chinese nationals, it reports, are part of an “emergency investigation” in every part of the country.
An unnamed source in North Korea told DailyNK that the campaign may be the Kim regime’s way of striking out at the CCP for getting too close to South Korea.
“Some Party cadres have even speculated that this move will spell the beginning of the end for Sino-North Korean relations,” it states.
The response from the Chinese regime has been uncharacteristically mild—at least when you consider how it would react if any other nation were to lash out against the CCP in such a manner.
Yet, the CCP’s mild response isn’t without reason. North Korea’s dictatorship is a product of Chinese intervention in the Korean War, and to this day the North Korean communist regime is sustained almost entirely by support from the CCP.
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the CCP is North Korea’s main source of food, weapons, and energy. It states the CCP has helped sustain the regime by opposing “harsh international sanctions on North Korea in the hope of avoiding regime collapse and a refugee influx across their border.”
The CCP doesn’t support North Korea out of some benign sense of kinship, either. If that were the case, you’d likely see the CCP giving similar support and tolerance for its much-less-crazed communist neighbor in Vietnam.
Rather, it uses North Korea as a political tool—valuable inside China for propaganda, and valuable outside China as a tool for diplomacy.
In China, the CCP uses North Korea as a sort of reminder of the past—a preserved image of what China was like in the days of Mao. It reminds the Chinese that things could be worse.
Outside of China, North Korea serves other uses.
When North Korea makes its occasional threat of nuclear holocaust on South Korea, Japan, or elsewhere, the CCP can then approach these countries to help as an intermediary. This in turn, helps the CCP with diplomacy—particularly with South Korea.
Yet, it seems that under the hermit regime—where the drug methamphetamine is “offered as casually as a cup of tea,” according to Los Angeles Times—the air of paranoia is finally taking its toll.
And just like a drug dealer trapped in the same room with a junkie going through a psychotic episode, the Chinese regime has found itself the target in this latest bout of madness from the very thing it helped create.

Read the full article here

President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the White House on September 25, 2015 (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the White House on September 25, 2015 (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

The cybersecurity deal between the United States and China is a deal without trust. With the United States threatening sanctions and declaring that its patience for Chinese cyberattacks had reached an end, the leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Xi Jinping, agreed to end cyberattacks that have been stealing trillions in value annually from the U.S. economy.

The agreement is being viewed with a sort of pessimistic hope in the cybersecurity community.

“My opinion is, I’ll believe it when I see it,” said Darren Hayes, director of cybersecurity and an assistant professor at Pace University, in a phone interview.

While some experts believe the threat of sanctions against Chinese companies is too large for the CCP not to comply, the CCP has a track record of saying one thing and doing another.

“I know it’s a priority for the U.S. government, because they estimate that trillions of dollars have been stolen, but this agreement lacks credibility,” said Hayes.

Obama and Xi announced the agreement during a joint press conference on Sept. 25, and drew a distinction between spy operations meant for economic gain, and those meant solely for espionage.

They agreed, Obama said, that neither country will “conduct or knowingly support cyberenabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information for commercial advantage.”

Obama said he told Xi “the question now is, are words followed by actions.”

Oversight for Cyberspies

The cyberagreement will establish a system for high-level dialogue between the United States and the CCP. On the U.S. side, this will include U.S. secretary of homeland security and the U.S. attorney general.

The CCP will assign an official at the ministerial level. Other departments, including the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and Chinese offices with similar roles, will take part.

According to a White House fact sheet, this biannual dialogue will be used as a mechanism “to review the timeliness and quality of responses” if an incident takes place. In other words, if the United States detects a cyberattack being used to steal from a business, they will alert the CCP, and participants in the dialogue will review whether the CCP did anything about it.

Despite the oversight, on the surface the agreement appears to be toothless. Yet, deep down this may not be the case.

The context of the agreement is what’s important, according to Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder and CTO of Crowdstrike, a cybersecurity technology company.

The CCP realized, he said in a phone interview, “if they didn’t concede on these points that sanctions would have been put on Chinese companies.”

While it doesn’t appear sanctions are mentioned directly in the agreement, the United States is reserving them as an option if the CCP’s use of cyberattacks for theft continue.

Obama hinted at this during the joint press conference with Xi. He said, “We will be watching carefully to make an assessment as to whether progress has been made in this area.”

If the CCP doesn’t comply, Obama said, sanctions and other retaliatory options are still on the table. He said, “I did indicate to President Xi that we will apply those and whatever other tools we have in our toolkit to go after cybercriminals, either retrospectively or prospectively.”

New Targets

One of the main problems the CCP faces is that its systems for economic theft are massive, and deeply entwined with its programs for economic growth.

Epoch Times recently exposed this system in an investigative report. The CCP’s economic theft is directed by legislation, and carried out by large-scale networks of military and private hackers. Stolen information is reverse engineered by a network of hundreds of “technology transfer centers” under government and academic offices. The system is also supported by more than 3,200 military front companies operating in the United States.

“We’re talking about tens of thousands of people involved in doing this for the Chinese government, and to say this is going to stop today or tomorrow is absurd,” said Hayes.

President Barack Obama (L) shakes hands with Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping at the White House on Sept. 25. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama (L) shakes hands with Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping at the White House on Sept. 25. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

According to Alperovitch, however, the CCP may not need to dismantle this system. He believes the program could solve the problem of economic theft in the United States, but said Chinese hackers will still have plenty of targets to choose from.

Alperovitch said the CCP is unlikely to dismantle its network of military hackers. Instead, “They’re just going to give them new tasks.”

“It’s not going to cut down on all espionage,” he said, noting that we will likely see an increase in cyberattacks that fall under conventional espionage—and there will likely be an increase of Chinese cyberattacks against other countries.

The issue rests in two key elements of the agreement. First off, the agreement is currently only between the United States and China—and the CCP’s operations to steal intellectual property could simply turn their sights on businesses outside the United States.

Second, the agreement doesn’t cover cyberattacks that fall under the definition of old-fashioned espionage.

“The line is it has to be for commercial benefit,” Alperovitch said.

This means that cyberattacks stealing U.S. military blueprints, personal data on federal employees, and cyberattacks monitoring U.S. officials and other persons of interest will not only not end, but may even increase.

“I think the hope was just to curtail commercial espionage,” Alperovitch said. “There’s absolutely nothing you could do to stop the Chinese from stealing the blueprints from the F-35 [fighter jet].”

Obama emphasized this key difference in operations during a Sept. 16 business roundtable.

He said the United States has told the CCP, “We understand traditional intelligence gathering functions that all states, including us, engage in,” yet noted “that is fundamentally different from your government or its proxies engaging directly in industrial espionage and stealing trade secrets.”

Read the full article here