January 7, 2022- Stealth War 70: China and 6G Tech; Unrest Threatens China’s Interests in Kazakhstan; Tesla’s Urumqi Showroom Opening Stokes U.S.-China Tensions; FM Wang Yi in Damage Control Mode on Africa Visit; China Drafts New Regulations on Online Applications that Influence Public

By: Jamestown Foundation

Tue January, 2022, Age: 1 year



January 7, 2022

Welcome to the Stealth War Newsletter, a collection of the top 5 recent news items, collected on The Jamestown Foundation’s website, stealth-war-org.cdn-pi.com. To continue to receive this weekly collection, click the button below to subscribe. 

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Strategic Indicator
This issue’s number to watch19.64 Billion 
Approximate total value of Chinese investment and construction contracts in Kazakhstan from 2005-2021 (source: China Global Investment Tracker)

This Week:

*  Chinese Lab Announces Breakthrough in 6G Mobile Technology

*  Unrest Threatens China’s Economic Interests in Kazakhstan

*  Tesla’s Urumqi Showroom Opening Stokes U.S.-China Tensions Over Xinjiang

*   Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Damage Control Mode on Africa Visit

*  China Drafts New Regulations on Online Applications that Influence Public Opinion

Top Stories

Chinese Lab Announces Breakthrough in 6G Technology

Yesterday, Purple Mountain Laboratories, a high-tech Chinese lab located in Nanjing, announced a major breakthrough in sixth generation (6G) mobile technology. The lab reported  it had achieved a 6G-level wireless transmission with a speed of up to 206.25 gigabits per second, setting the world record for real-time wireless transmission in the terahertz frequency range. The lab collaborated with China Mobile and Fudan University to complete the project, which was funded by the Chinese government. 6G wireless communication technology has a transmission rate that is 10-20 times higher than 5G networks. Purple Mountain claims that the 6G technology provides a wide variety of benefits, including expanding both outdoor and indoor high-speed wireless access and replacing cables in data centers to cut down on costs and power consumption. In terms of defense and security applications, 6G technology can be used in satellites and unmanned airships. 

The breakthrough reinforces China’s dominance in wireless telecommunication, especially in the 5G wireless network sect=or. However, it also comes amidst global power tensions over the technical standards that support 6G frequencies, signal modulations, and waveforms, which have yet to be determined. Strict implementation of these standards is key, particularly as Chinese telecommunications companies have been accused of supporting the government’s surveillance program. Commercialization of 6G technology is expected as early as 2030.

(source: CGTN)

 Unrest Threatens China’s Economic Interests in Kazakhstan

On Wednesday, January 5, Kazakhstan declared a state of emergency after violent protests broke out in the city of Almaty due to surging gas prices. Local police resorted to using tear gas and stun grenades against civilians threatening assault against government and political buildings, including the mayor’s office.

Kazakhstan remains essential to Chinese economic advancement as a key source of imports and a key neighboring trading partner. Additionally, since 2005, China has invested approximately U.S. $20 billion in various economic projects in Kazakhstan, including acquiring stakes in the Kashagan oilfield. As a result, the current volatile environment in Kazakhstan presents serious security challenges for China’s ongoing investments in the area through the Belt and Road Initiative. However, the nationalist paper the Global Times claims that Kazakhstan’s civil conflict does not pose a likely threat towards the China-Kazakh economic partnership as seen by the China-Central Asia Gas Pipeline, which has continued undisrupted supply of  natural gas to China. Regardless, Chinese state media have neglected to mention the mass protests against BRI projects and China’s expanding economic clout, which flared up in cities across Kazakhstan in late 2019.

(source: Global Times)

Tesla’s Urumqi Showroom Opening Stokes U.S.-China Tensions Over Xinjiang

This week, US human rights and trade groups criticized Tesla for opening a showroom in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, which the company announced on December 31. One of the groups, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the largest advocacy organization for Muslim civil rights, said Tesla was “supporting genocide” and called for it to close the showroom. The showroom is the latest move in Tesla’s rapid expansion into China’s domestic electronic vehicle market, where it has over 200 stores in 60 cities across mainland China. In response to the rising demand for electric cars among Chinese consumers, Tesla increased the price of its Shanghai-made models, 3 and Y. 

Xinjiang remains at the forefront of tensions between Western governments and China. The U.S. Congress passed legislation banning the import of goods made in Xinjiang, which Beijing responded to with retaliatory sanctions, which President Biden signed into law in December as the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act . Regarding Tesla’s new showroom, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki reaffirmed, “companies that fail to address forced labor in the supply chains…face serious, reputational, and customer risks.” Chinese media called the attacks “bottomless and immoral,” which “not only made Washington lose face, but is also related to Washington’s ill-intentioned plot of ‘using Xinjiang to check China.’” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin also accused the U.S. of using its strong stance against human rights abuses in Xinjiang for “economic coercion and political repression” aimed against China.

(source: Global Times)

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Damage Control Mode on Africa Visit 

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi just completed a three day diplomatic tour of East Africa visiting Eritrea, Kenya, and Comoros. Wang’s visit occurs as China’s Belt and Road Initiative faces a growing backlash in Africa. Wang’s stated objectives for the visit were three-fold: 1) help African nations combat Covid-19, 2)  streamline the implementation of agreements resulting from the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), particularly as they relate to China’s so called “nine programs” which outline the goals of cooperation over the next three years, and 3)  pursue common Africa-China interests by practicing, “true multilateralism and safeguard international fairness and justice,” while coordinating to resist, “power politics, hegemony, and bullying,” and safeguarding international norms and interests via the UN. In addition to various trade, development, and security cooperation agreements, the trip resulted in China announcing the appointment of a “special envoy” to the Horn of Africa.

The three nations visited by Wang are each of strategic importance to China. Eritrea is located just north of Djibouti where China maintains its only official overseas military base. Eritrea is notoriously closed off to outsiders, often called “the North Korea of Africa,” but recently it has slowly begun opening up for trade, and between its anti-Western sentiments and diplomatic history with China, Eritrea is keen to make China its primary great power partner. Excluding South Africa, Kenya is the largest economy on Africa’s east coast. In spite of a long history of close relations with China, Kenya has been concerned about Chinese debt traps and domestic backlash over Chinese relations. Nonetheless, the current Kenyan government generally praised its history with China and agreed to a variety of financial, agricultural, and digital innovation deals. Finally, Comoros is a small, oft ignored, island nation about midway between the northern tips of Mozambique and Madagascar, and about 1,036 km southeast of Kenya’s capital. Between its strategic location with air and sea ports, potential fossil fuel reserves, fishing, and historical ties to France and India, Comoros has attracted Chinese investment over the last decade. In turn, domestic resentment of China has grown, especially due to overfishing by Chinese vessels. In sum, Wang Yi’s trip, and his rhetoric concerning the need to make Africa understand how much China has helped it, appear to have been more about public relations damage control than making deals.

(source: New China)

China Drafts New Regulations on Online Applications that Influence Public Opinion 

This week, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) imposed new regulations governing mobile applications including requiring a security review for apps with the potential to influence public opinion. A particular concern for authorities is to eradicate content that could have a detrimental impact on China’s national security. The announcement also included notice of an additional CAC requirement that Chinese internet companies with over one million users seeking to list overseas must first undergo a security assessment. Per the new regulations, Users must also sign up to apps using their real identities. CAC stated the rules will come into force this year, but no exact date has been set yet.

The CAC’s recent regulatory actions build on a trend of growing efforts by the Chinese state to “clean up,” and eliminate “impure” or politically sensitive content in cyberspace. In May, CAC launched Operation ”Qinglang” which cracked down on online fan cults, harmful financial information and other kinds of misinformation. Tightened regulations will likely only further strengthen government control of the internet in China, which is already among the most heavily monitored and censored cyberspace environments in the world. 




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