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China

Indian Ocean could get choppy without regional security cooperation

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Author: Peter van der Hoest, GRIPS

The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) is home to 75 per cent of the world’s oil, iron and tin reserves. India, Japan and China have all contributed to what they consider their national interest to keep these maritime trade routes open. All three nations have emphasised the strategic imperative of keeping sea-lanes secure in their various high-level strategic policy documents.

The Chinese and Japanese openly state that the main task of their anti-piracy efforts is to look after their own merchant vessels. The Indian Navy asserts that it aims to provide assurances to both Indian and foreign merchant vessels alike. Yet all three navies have greatly contributed not only to the protection of their own merchant fleet but also to securing the global common that is the Indian Ocean.

As piracy has hampered the free flow of goods and services in the region, many countries have participated in policing operations — bringing about a steady decline in piracy activity. The International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau reported a drop in piracy of 40 per cent worldwide between 2011 and 2013 with incidents around the coast of Somalia dwindling from 237 to 15.

Approximately half of the vessels given patrol protection by China were from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao. Of the approximately 3000 ships escorted by the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces, around 600 were Japan-owned or operated by Japanese shipping companies. And of the more than 2200 vessels escorted by India, a mere 269 were Indian-flagged.

Shipping companies do not have the time or the financial ability to pay for their ships to wait in ports for a convoy to become available. Merchant shipping requires navies operating in the area to adjust and cooperate wherever possible. China, Japan and India realised this when the three navies decided to work together by sharing information on their patrol movements and escort schedules in January 2012. This came about as part of the Shared Awareness and Deconfliction initiative in an effort to greatly enhance the number of patrolled merchant vessels travelling through the Indian Ocean waters.

It is this kind of cooperation that is needed in the ongoing struggle against piracy. Despite a fall in the number of hijackings, piracy remains a source of concern. Pirates are mobile and flexible, and so the response must be too. And it is not just pirates that pose dangers to maritime security in the IOR: risks also include terrorism, smuggling, illegal fishing, sea levels rising and natural disasters.

The problem is that as long as it is perceived that navies come to the IOR to protect and advance their own national and strategic interests, the presence of national navies will be seen as competition at best or at worst as rivalry or as a threat. Yet collaboration between the navies is crucial in order to effectively advance their shared commitment to maritime and sea-lane security. China, India and Japan have the capability and interest to achieve this goal. But they need to institutionalise their commitment. The countries involved in the anti-piracy operations can work out best practices; discuss their priorities and modus operandi; build confidence; and find common understanding on risks and threats in the maritime domain.

Currently there are some regional maritime institutions such as the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS). But these institutions remain weak. They are not inclusive, not properly funded and staffed and they shy away from hard security issues. The IORA has recently begun to address maritime security but Japan and China, two countries with a huge stake in this, only have observer status.

The IONS aims to be the Indian Ocean equivalent to the Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS), providing a platform for regional navies to discuss maritime issues. China and Japan are currently not included but, given their sustained presence in the IOR, should be invited to join this forum. It is no coincidence that the first meeting between the Japanese and Chinese navy chiefs in almost five years occurred during the April 2014 WPNS. Without consultation and dialogue as a careful first step, any progress towards a comprehensive approach of maritime security is unlikely to take off.

The Indian Navy prides itself as being the most powerful and important navy in the region. It is time for the new Indian Navy Chief Robin Dhowan to build a more inclusive approach to security architecture in the IOR. He could start by proposing that Japan and China join the IONS.

Peter van der Hoest is a PhD candidate at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), Tokyo and currently a visiting international fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. The views expressed are his own.

 

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Indian Ocean could get choppy without regional security cooperation

China

Revealing the Encouraged Industries of Hainan in 2024: Unlocking Opportunities

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The 2024 Hainan Encouraged Catalogue, issued by the NDRC, MOF, and STA, aims to boost industries in the Hainan Free Trade Port. It prioritizes sectors like tourism, modern services, and high technologies, offering incentives for foreign investment and market access expansion since 2020. The Catalogue includes 176 entries across 14 categories, with 33 new additions focusing on cultural tourism, new energy, medicine and health, aviation, aerospace, and environmental protection.


The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the State Taxation Administration (STA), has issued the Catalogue of Industries Encouraged to Develop in Hainan Free Trade Port (2024 Version), hereinafter referred to as the “2024 Hainan Encouraged Catalogue.” The updated Catalogue took effect on March 1, 2024, replacing the previous 2020 Edition.

Beyond the industries already addressed in existing national catalogues, the new entries in the 2024 Hainan Encouraged Catalogue are based on practical implementation experiences and the specific needs within Hainan, prioritizing sectors such as tourism, modern services, and high technologies.

The Hainan FTP has been providing incentives to draw investors to invest and establish businesses in the region, especially foreign investment. Alongside a phased approach to opening the capital account and facilitating free capital movement, Hainan has significantly expanded market access for foreign enterprises since 2020, particularly in sectors such as telecommunications, tourism, and education.

The Hainan Encouraged Catalogue comprises two main sections:

Similar to the approach adopted by the western regions, foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) should always implement their production or operations in accordance with the Catalogue of Encouraged Industries for Foreign Investment.

On top of the industries already addressed in existing national catalogues, the 2024 Hainan Encouraged Catalogue encompasses 14 distinct categories and a total of 176 entries especially encouraged in the region, including 33 new additions compared to the 2020 Edition. These new entries predominantly span cultural tourism, new energy, medicine and health, aviation and aerospace, and ecological and environmental protection, among others.

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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Key Guidelines for Companies in Compliance Audits for Personal Information Protection Standards

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China’s standards authority has released draft standards for personal information protection compliance audits, potentially making them mandatory for companies in 2023. The audits will require companies to undergo annual or biennial checks based on the number of people’s information they handle. The draft standards outline the audit process and requirements, seeking public feedback until September 11, 2024.


China’s standards authority has released draft standards for conducting personal information protection compliance audits. Regular compliance audits to ensure compliance with personal information protection regulations may become a requirement for companies in China under draft measures released in 2023. We explain the audit processes and requirements proposed in the draft standards.

The Standardization Administration of China (SAC) has released a set of draft standards for conducting personal information (PI) protection compliance audits. Under draft measures released by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) in August 2023, companies that process the PI of people in China are required to undergo regular compliance audits.

Specifically, companies that process the PI of over one million people must undergo a compliance audit at least once a year, while companies that process the PI of under one million people must carry out an audit at least once every two years. 

While the draft measures stipulate the obligations of the auditing body and the audit scope, the draft standards outline the specific audit process, including evidence management and permissions of the audit organization, as well as the professional and ethical requirements of auditors. 

The Secretariat of the National Cybersecurity Standardization Technical Committee is soliciting public feedback on the draft standards until September 11, 2024. Public comment on the draft measures released in August last year closed on September 2, 2023, but no updated document has yet been released. 

The draft standards outline five stages of the PI protection compliance audit: audit preparation, implementation, reporting, problem rectification, and archiving management. 

Auditors are required to accurately document identified security issues in the audit working papers, ensuring that the records are comprehensive, clear, and conclusive, reflecting the audit plan and its execution, as well as all relevant findings and recommendations. 

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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A Comprehensive Guide to China’s Expanded 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit Policy at 37 Ports

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China has expanded its 144-hour visa-free transit policy, allowing travelers from 54 countries to visit certain areas without a visa. Zhengzhou in Henan Province and eight cities in Yunnan Province are now included. The policy aims to promote people-to-people exchange and requires travelers to meet specific requirements.


China has expanded the 144-hour visa-free transit policy, which allows people from certain countries to enjoy six days of travel to select areas of the country without applying for a visa beforehand, to cover 54 countries and 37 ports. Zhengzhou in Henan Province and eight more cities in Yunnan Province can benefit from this policy as of July 15, 2024. Amid China’s continuous efforts to promote people-to-people exchange, we explain who is eligible for the 144-hour visa-free transit and where in China you can travel on this special entry permit.

The National Immigration Administration (NIA) has expanded China’s 144-hour visa-free transit policy to 37 ports as of July 15, 2024. Zhengzhou aviation port in Henan now offers this policy, with the stay limited to the administrative region of Henan Province. The stay range of Yunnan Province’s policy has been expanded from Kunming to eight other cities (prefecture-level) including Lijiang, Yuxi, Pu’er, Chuxiong, Dali, Xishuangbanna, Honghe, and Wenshan. Additionally, Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport, Lijiang Sanyi International Airport, and Mohan Railway Port have been added as ports applicable to the 144-hour visa-free transit policy.

In this article, we explain how this 144-hour visa-free transit policy works and summarize some frequently asked questions.  

Under the 144-hour visa-free transit policy, foreign travelers can enjoy a six-day stay in certain Chinese cities without a visa, provided they come from 54 eligible countries, enter and exit China from eligible ports, stay within the allowed cities and regions, as well as satisfy other requirements.  

To obtain this visa exemption, the foreign national must have a valid passport from one of the 54 countries, which are: 

As per the requirements of China’s National Immigration Authority (NIA), people applying for 144-hour visa-free transit must have: 

You may also be required to answer some questions at immigration control upon arrival.  

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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