Hong Kong Protesters Call on America for Protection

Protesters gathered at central Hong Kong on Monday, asking American lawmakers to process legislation that supports the territory’s democratic freedom and punishes those who try to stop it.

Crux of the Matter
  • This demonstration was the first approved by the authorities after ban on masks.
  • Instead of discussing demands, government retaliated with more police and imposed more restrictions.
  • More than 2,500 people have been arrested.
  • “Our citizens do not have any kind of power to fight against the government,” said Crystal Yeung, 23, a protester. “We are relying on the U.S. to punish those who are trying to breach the Hong Kong law.”
  • The protesters are hoping for Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act to be discussed thoroughly.

The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 is a bicameral and bipartisan American legislation that reintroduced the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act in light of the 2019 Hong Kong extradition bill proposal and the ensuing protests against it. The act “directs various departments to assess whether political developments in Hong Kong justify changing Hong Kong’s unique treatment under U.S. law.” Read More

Saudi Aramco IPO: China Weighs in to Expand Political Muscle

In the sale of a 2% stake through IPO, Saudi oil giant Aramco is in talks with China for a $10 bn investment. Providing the throttle for the IPO, China has beneficial stakes in ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative and increasing oil prices, creating a win-win situation for both the countries.

Crux of the Matter
  • Amidst the Aramco valuation issues – Crown Prince estimates it to be $2 trillion – the IPO selling company’s 2% stake will come out at the end of 2019.
  • China’s Sinopec Group, China Investment Corp., Silk Road Fund, and other investors in talks with Aramco to acquire $5 – $10 bn stake in the IPO.
  • Aramco also reached out to Malaysia’s Petronas, offering them participation in the IPO.
  • The triangular situation created from the Aramco-Reliance deal and China-Aramco is yet to provide a clear image of the impact on India-Saudi-China ties.

Silk Road Economic Belt – Xi Jinping visited Astana, Kazakhstan, and Southeast Asia in September and October 2013, and proposed jointly building a new economic area, the Silk Road Economic Belt. Essentially, the “belt” includes countries situated on the original Silk Road through Central Asia, West Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. The initiative would create a cohesive economic area by building both hard infrastructure such as rail and road links and soft infrastructure such as the trade agreements and a common commercial legal structure with a court system to police the agreements. Read More.

MX Player Raises $111M from Tencent

Chinese Giant Tencent has invested $110M into the video OTT (over the top) platform MX Player. This is it’s first external fundraising after acquisition by Time’s internet.

Crux of the Matter
  • MX Player is the second most used OTT in India after Hotstar.
  • It has 175 Million active users in India and 275 million active users worldwide.
  • MX Player would utilize the money to curate more content of varying genre.
  • “Our vision is to be one of the world’s largest entertainment platforms , serving our users across their online entertainment needs starting with streaming video and beyond,” said Karan Bedi, CEO MX Player

Tencent Holdings Limited is a Chinese multinational conglomerate holding company founded in 1998, whose subsidiaries specialise in various Internet-related services and products, entertainment, artificial intelligence and technology both in China and globally. Its twin-skyscrapers headquarters Tencent Seafront Towers (also known as Tencent Binhai Mansion) are based in Nanshan District, Shenzhen. Tencent is the world’s largest gaming company, one of the world’s most valuable technology companies, one of the world’s largest social media companies, and one of the world’s largest venture capital firms and investment corporations. Its many services include social network, music, web portals, e-commerce, mobile games, internet services, payment systems, smartphones, and multiplayer online games, which are all among the world’s biggest and most successful in their respective categories. More Info

China Starts Regulating Digital Encryption

China is pushing legislation to govern the use of cryptography for data privacy for both government and private players. Under these measures, China will encourage the use of modern encryption technology for commercial usage as long as its sovereign interests are not compromised.

Crux of the Matter
  • The new cyber security laws will take effect from January 2020.
  • The law mandates that all state secrets have to stored and transmitted using secure encrypted channels. Private players working in encryption have to give guarantees on their security management systems.
  • Private encryption developers cannot be compelled to handover sensitive information. If someone spots vulnerabilities and does not report them, they are liable to be punished.
  • This move is expected to protect the business interests of Chinese tech companies.
  • China conducts mass surveillance on digital platforms on a mammoth scale and strongarms companies to store data locally and wields the power to shutdown players that do not comply with their requests.

The Great Firewall of China is the combination of legislative actions and technologies enforced by the People’s Republic of China to regulate the Internet domestically. Its role in Internet censorship in China is to block access to selected foreign websites and to slow down cross-border internet traffic. The effect includes: limiting access to foreign information sources, blocking foreign internet tools (e.g. Google search, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia and others) and mobile apps, and requiring foreign companies to adapt to domestic regulations. Besides censorship, the GFW has also influenced the development of China’s internal internet economy by nurturing domestic companies and reducing the effectiveness of products from foreign internet companies. The Great Firewall is part of the Golden Shield Project. Since 2013, the firewall is technically operated by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), which is the entity in charge of delining the Communist Party of China’s will into technical specifications. More Info

Siachen Glacier Now Accessible to Tourists

Siachen glacier, famous for punishing cold temperatures and being the highest battlefield in the world, is now accessible to tourists. Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister of India announced that the Siachen area is now open for tourists and tourism.

Crux of the Matter
  • Tourists can now travel to Kumar Post from base camp at Partapur at 11,000 feet.
  • A permit will be required to access these areas.
  • At the inauguration of Colonel Chewang Rinchen Bridge at Shyok River in Ladakh the defence minister said that Ladakh had tremendous potential for tourism. “Better connectivity in Ladakh would certainly bring tourists in large numbers.”
  • When asked about Indo China relations, Rajnath Singh commented “There are perceptional differences between both the countries on the boundary issue but the issue has been handled with great maturity and responsibly.”

Aksai Chin is a disputed border area between China and India. It is claimed by India as a part of the Ladakh region of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. China also claims it as part of Hotan County, which lies in the southwestern part of Hotan Prefecture of Xinjiang Autonomous Region in China, with a small portion on the southeast and south sides lying within the extreme west of the Tibet Autonomous Region. In 1962, China and India fought a brief war in Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh, but in 1993 and 1996, the two countries signed agreements to respect the Line of Actual Control. More Info