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China

Chinese firm helps websites push pro-Beijing content: research

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A Chinese company in the southern city of Shenzhen has assisted at least 123 websites operating in China but posing as local media outlets in 30 countries across Europe, Asia and Latin America to disseminate disinformation, according to a recent study. 

The research lab at the University of Toronto found that Shenzhen Haimaiyunxiang Media Co. (Haimai), a public relations firm, was behind the push to promote pro-Beijing business and political “propaganda,” and vilifying reports of former United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen meeting when U.S.-China and cross-strait relations were in a highly-sensitive state.

The researchers used the Domain Name System to track down these websites in a campaign named Paperwall, and to dig up the information on Haimai, which has a commercial registration in Shenzhen. 

While the report is absolutely credible, it is only part of the truth based on his personal experience, Victor Ho, the former editor-in-chief of the British Columbia version of Sing Tao Daily, told Radio Free Asia.

Beijing has a long history of fighting public opinion wars overseas. There are many seemingly neutral Chinese-language media in Canada that promote Beijing’s “big foreign propaganda,” but it is difficult for ordinary people to discern, he pointed out.

Ho said Canada has numerous so-called pro-Chinese Communist Party media, or media that seem to have no relationship with the CCP, such as Ming Pao, Sing Tao Daily, Today Commercial News, Chinese Canadian Times, Dawa News, Health Times and New Star Times. 

“These are all localized names in Canada. There are 20 to 30 CCP’s foreign propaganda media outlets in Canada, shaping the impressions of the Chinese community and many overseas Chinese, or Chinese Canadians, of the CCP,” said Ho. 

“If you are new here and undiscerning, you could be watching the CCP’s ‘big foreign propaganda’ all the time, but thinking you are watching Canadian Chinese media. This is quite scary and shocking.”

The Paperwall report found that approximately 100 domains backlinked to Times Newswire, a “supposed newswire service.” 

The discovered “fake news” network is huge, 32 of which are targeting readers in South Korea and Japan, 11 are British media, and the rest cover about 30 countries around the world. 

Most of the “fake news” comes from Times Newswire, which RFA noticed dispatches press releases and news reports written in multiple languages, such as Korean, Japanese and French, covering politics, economy, culture, current affairs, and sports.

For instance, Roma Journal, which targets Italians and is not legally registered as a news outlet in Italy, often publishes information about U.S. President Joe Biden’s foreign visits. It also republished a large volume of news from Chinese mouthpiece CGTN before and after Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August 2022, with headlined articles like “Pelosi is short-sighted and selfish, endangering Sino-U.S. relations.” In addition, there was a video that vilified Tsai Ing-wen titled “Undercovering the Tsai scam,” and an unverified article that Taiwanese military officers only visited the U.S. to eat and have fun.

Another media, Conan Finance News, targeting British audiences, reprinted articles about Hong Kong, including those promoting the “one country, two systems.” 

Researcher and author of the report Alberto Fittarelli wrote: “While the campaign’s websites enjoyed negligible exposure to date, there is a heightened risk of inadvertent amplification by the local media and target audiences, as a result of the quick multiplication of these websites and their adaptiveness to local languages and content.”

Haimai did not respond to inquiries and a listed phone number was unreachable, according to a Reuters report. The Chinese Embassy in Washington told the news agency in an email that calling pro-China content and reports “false information” and anti-China content and reports “true information” was “typical prejudice and double standards.”

Translated by RFA staff. Edited by Taejun Kang and Mike Firn.

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Lingang New Area in Shanghai Introduces Whitelists for Data Export to Enhance Cross-Border Data Flows

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The Lingang New Area in Shanghai has introduced trial general data lists to simplify data export procedures for companies in automotive, biopharmaceuticals, and mutual funds sectors. This aims to reduce regulatory burdens and facilitate cross-border data flows, following efforts to improve business environment for foreign companies.


The Lingang New Area in Shanghai has introduced trial general data lists aimed at simplifying data export procedures for companies in the automotive, biopharmaceuticals, and mutual fund sectors. These lists outline specific scenarios where businesses can export data out of China with reduced regulatory burdens, bypassing more stringent compliance requirements.

The Lingang New Area of the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) has released the first batch of trial lists of general data for three sectors, facilitating cross-border data flows for companies operating in the area. This announcement closely follows the release of the Tianjin FTZ’s Negative List, which similarly seeks to facilitate cross-border data flows for companies operating in the FTZ by specifying the types of data that are restricted from being exported without certain approval procedures.

The first batch of general data lists has been provided for the fields of intelligent connected vehicles, biopharmaceuticals, and mutual funds, three sectors with a significant presence in the Lingang New Area. The general data lists are scenario-based, meaning they outline various situations in which data export is required and freely permitted. These include scenarios, such as multinational production and manufacturing of intelligent connected vehicles, medical clinical trials and R&D, and information sharing for fund market research.

The general data lists will be implemented for a trial period of one year from their date of implementation, May 16, 2024.

In January 2024, the Lingang New Area announced a new system for data management and export in the area, which included the release of two data catalogs, one for “important” data and one for “general” data. This new system will help facilitate cross-border data transfer (CBDT) for key sectors in the area by delineating the types of data that are restricted or subject to additional compliance measures to be exported (through the important data lists) and data that can be more easily exported (through the general data lists).

In March, the area released the Measures for the Classification and Graded Management of Data Cross-border Flow in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone Lingang Special Area (Trial) (the “Lingang CBDT Management Measures”), which outlined the rules and requirements for this new system, including how companies can use the general data lists.

These developments follow many months of efforts by the central Chinese government as well as local authorities to improve the business environment for foreign companies in particular, a core part of which has been resolving headaches surrounding data export.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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The New Company Law brings substantial changes with implications for new and existing foreign invested enterprises and stakeholders. Foreign investors must assess if adjustments to existing structures

Despite recent economic challenges, many organizations’ China operations provide unparalleled access to one of the world’s largest and most competitive global supply chains. Over the past 30 years, a significant number of foreign invested enterprises (FIEs) have been established in China. As of the end of 2022, the number of FIEs operating in China had exceeded 1.12 million.

Compared to their domestic counterparts, FIEs demonstrate greater caution regarding legal revisions and are diligent in making swift adjustments. This stems not only from the closer scrutiny FIEs face from regulatory authorities but also from their commitment to compliance and maintaining a competitive edge.

Clearly, there has been a shift in China’s corporate regulations—from merely encouraging an increase in the number of companies to focusing on attracting mature enterprises and higher-quality investments. While the transition from a broad approach to a more refined one may cause short-term challenges, it ultimately benefits the company’s long-term development. By returning to the original intent of setting registered capital, it not only protects the interests of creditors but also shields shareholders from the operational risks of the company.

In China’s foreign investment landscape, while most FIEs exercise commercial prudence in determining registered capital—factoring in capital expenditures, operational costs, and setting aside surplus funds—some opt for higher registered capital levels to avoid future capital increase procedures. This typically involves lengthy document signing and registration changes, lasting 1-2 months.

Joint ventures (JVs) often impose stricter payment deadlines for registered capital in their articles of association to ensure both parties’ simultaneous contributions align with operational needs. Conversely, wholly foreign-owned enterprises (WFOEs) tend to favor flexibility in payment deadlines, often allowing full payment before the company’s operational period expires.

Given these circumstances, despite the generally stronger capital adequacy among foreign companies compared to domestic entities, many FIEs could be affected by the new capital contribution rules.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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Foreign Tourist Groups on Cruise Ships Fully Permitted Visa-Free Entry in China

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China will allow visa-free entry for foreign tourist groups arriving by cruise ship at 13 ports along the coast, starting May 15, 2024. Visitors must stay with the same ship and in permitted areas for up to 15 days. This policy aims to boost tourism and facilitate high-quality development in the cruise industry.


China’s immigration agency announced that it will grant a visa-free policy for foreign tourist groups to enter China by cruise at all cruise ports along the coast of China, starting May 15, 2024. The tourist group must remain with the same cruise ship until its next port of call and stay within permitted areas for no more than 15 days.

Effective May 15, 2024, the National Immigration Administration (NIA) has officially implemented a visa-free policy for foreign tourist groups entering China via cruise ships. This progressive move aims to enhance personnel exchanges and foster cooperation between China and other nations, furthering the country’s commitment to high-level openness.

Under this policy, foreign tourist groups, comprising two or more individuals, who travel by cruise ship and are organized by Chinese domestic travel agencies, can now enjoy visa-free entry as a cohesive group at cruise ports in 13 cities along the Chinese coast.

The tourist group must remain with the same cruise ship until its next port of call and stay within China for no more than 15 days. The eligible areas for this policy are coastal provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) and Beijing.

Furthermore, to support cruise tourism development, seven additional cruise ports—Dalian, Lianyungang, Wenzhou, Zhoushan, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Beihai—have been included as applicable ports for visa-free transit.

The recent implementation of the visa-free policy for foreign tourist groups entering China via cruise ships is poised to have several significant effects. The policy will provide crucial support for the cruise economy and the overall cruise industry. By facilitating smoother travel for foreign tourist groups, it acts as a catalyst for high-quality development in this sector.

Additionally, under this policy, international cruise companies can strategically plan their global routes by designating Chinese port cities, such as Shanghai, Xiamen, and Shenzhen, as docking destinations. This move is expected to attract more cruise ships to Chinese ports, ultimately bringing in a larger number of international visitors to the Chinese market.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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