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WASHINGTON — The nation’s leading technology companies were lectured and hectored yesterday by lawmakers accusing them of collaborating with Chinese censors.
Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Cisco sat through almost two hours of opening statements – almost all them blisteringly critical of the Internet powerhouses — by a House subcommittee on human rights.
And that was before the lawmakers even began to ask questions, most of which turned out to be pointed and insulting.
“American technology and know-how is substantially enabling repressive regimes in China and elsewhere in the world to cruelly exploit and abuse their own citizens,” Subcommittee Chairman Chris Smith (R-N.J.) said.
“U.S. companies like Google, Yahoo, Cisco and Microsoft have compromised both the integrity of their product and their duties as responsible corporate citizens.”
All four companies have come under intense fire over the last few weeks for their activities in China. Yahoo is known to have turned over the name of at least one cyber dissident to Beijing who subsequently was jailed.
Microsoft recently pulled a blog – at the request of the Chinese government – critical of Beijing. Google agreed to Chinese censorship requirements in return for operating a local Chinese search engine. Cisco sells the majority of routers and switches in China.
All claim they are simply complying with the laws of a country they do business with.
“Instead of using their power and creativity to bring openness and free speech to China, they have caved in to Beijing’s outrageous but predictable demands simply for the sake of profits,” Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) said.
“My message to these companies today is simple: Your abhorrent activities in China are a disgrace. I simply do not understand how your corporate leadership sleeps at night.”
Lantos added that the four companies need to show more “virtual backbone. What Congress is looking for is real spine and a willingness to stand up to the outrageous demands of a totalitarian regime.”
Smith said he plans to introduce legislation in a few days to bar U.S. employees from turning over identifying information to a “repressive” government and to require Internet companies doing business with Beijing to locate their servers outside of China.
Smith also likened the tech giants’ cooperation with Beijing to IBM’s alleged ties with Nazi Germany, which were recently cited in the book IBM and the Holocaust by Edwin Black.
“Thanks to IBM’s enabling technologies, from programs for identification and cataloging to the use of IBM’s punch card technology, Hitler and the Third Reich were able to automate the genocide of the Jews,” Smith said.
“U.S. technology companies today are engaged in a similar sickening collaboration, decapitating the voice of the dissidents.”
“When Yahoo! China in Beijing was required to provide information about the user, who we later learned was Shi Tao, we had no information about the nature of the investigation,” Yahoo general counsel Michael Callahan said. “Indeed, we were unaware of the particular facts surrounding this case until the news story emerged.”
Callahan added: “Failure to comply in China could have subjected Yahoo! China and its employees to criminal charges, including imprisonment. Ultimately, U.S. companies in China face a choice: comply with Chinese law, or leave.”
The Shi Tao case, he said, was “distressing to our company, our employees and our leadership.”
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China and Africa: A Love Story? Envoy says investment boom makes up for lost time
Ambassador Zhong Jianhua, China’s special representative for African affairs, addressed an overflow crowd on September 21 in the Metcalf Trustee Ballroom. Photo by Don West ©
The international press has called him China’s “Mr. Africa.” He is Zhong Jianhua, the recently appointed People’s Republic of China special representative for African affairs, and on September 21 he paid a visit to BU as a guest of the African Presidential Center.
The former Chinese ambassador to South Africa, Zhong is the second appointee to serve in the post of special representative, created in 2007 to promote Chinese investment in Africa, defend that investment before its international critics, and troubleshoot in regions where African civil conflicts jeopardize China’s economic interests. Addressing an overflow crowd in the Metcalf Trustee Ballroom, Zhong defended his nation’s position in Africa and called on the international community to be fair. Africans, said Zhong, “should be allowed to choose their own path of development.”
These are boom times for the Chinese in Africa. Africa’s biggest trading partner, China buys a third of its oil from the continent and its investment in mines and textile factories has pumped life into the economies of African republics large and small, among them Kenya, Sudan, Angola, Ethiopia, Zambia, Gabon, South Africa, and Namibia. According to The Economist, manufacturing’s share of total Chinese investment, 22 percent, is catching up with that of mining, which as of 2011 amounted to 29 percent. The Heritage Foundation estimates that from 2005 to 2010 nearly 14 percent of China’s investment abroad was in sub-Saharan Africa, and China’s loans to poor countries, most in Africa, exceed the amount allotted by the World Bank. Facing little or no competition, China’s broad reach in Africa translates into billions in new infrastructure, finance, and free-trade ports.
But increasingly, many Africans are displeased with what they believe are shoddy business practices and worker exploitation on the part of China, which has also drawn international criticism for its role in the illegal trade in elephant ivory. “Once feted as saviors in much of Africa, Chinese have come to be viewed with mixed feelings, especially in smaller countries where China’s weight has been felt all the more,” The Economist reported.
BU Today sat down for a conversation with Zhong about the challenges, rewards, and public perception of China’s expanding role in Africa.BU Today: What is your chief mission as China’s special envoy to Africa?
Zhong: There are two parts of my job. The first and most important part is to handle matters people don’t like to handle, like the Sudan conflict. We have interests there, particularly the Chinese Petroleum Company. So we are trying to do our best to promote peace. I traveled to Juba in South Sudan recently to offer help for a peaceful settlement, and I could sense a kind of progress. I was also in Somalia.
The second part of my job is public diplomacy, including answering your questions and meeting with media, including Chinese and foreign media.How do the Chinese people view their nation’s expanding role in Africa?
People in the Chinese press ask why the Chinese are investing in Africa, and I respond that the Chinese were in Africa a long time ago. It’s not like we just discovered it. I have to introduce to the Chinese people why Africa is important. On the China side, we have a long way to go. For many, all they know about Africa is there are black people living there.
Chinese people are quite conservative. For centuries we called ourselves the Middle Kingdom, the center of the world, and felt we don’t have to care about other guys beyond our borders. That’s why China was beaten so soundly in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the globalized world we are being humiliated for not knowing about the outside world. There is a lot of work to do to make the general public understand why we need Africa.How much do Chinese media report on Africa?
Not as many as I’d expect. And it’s not only a problem of media. It’s a problem of the readers: if they are not interested, there’s no coverage. Chinese media are also being affected by economic factors. If you want success, you better carry news of man bites dog, not dog bites man—carry news of crime committed against Chinese in Africa. According to statistics I have, Chinese are much less likely to be victims of crime compared to local people in Africa. It’s reported that every day is dangerous for Chinese in Africa, and it’s not true.What is being done to counter these stereotypes?
The Chinese embassies have a big task to educate people about what they are going to expect, how to respect the local people, and how to do business under the local law. For those who are already in Africa, there is a need to understand what kind of market they’re in. China is backward in doing business. We are only one generation along in the reform of our policy, compared with more than 10 generations in other countries.You have a lot of love for the African people.
Yes. Africans are the most honest people I’ve ever known. Before I went to Africa I was in Los Angeles. I enjoyed my posting and had a lot of friends there. And then I went to South Africa and had a better relationship with the local people. In 2008, at the start of the Beijing Olympics, we had a reception for Chinese National Day in Pretoria. Every ambassador came forward to congratulate us, but the African ambassadors said, “I am really happy because this is the success of my brother.” That’s the feeling you get from African people, almost all over Africa.What are some of the major success stories of Chinese investment in Africa?
Though it was built in the 1970s, I’d say one of the biggest is the railway between Zambia and Zimbabwe—not just economically, though it was made to transport copper from Zambia. It was built to go around South Africa, which was still under the apartheid regime, so this was not only for transport of minerals but a practical project to help frontier countries be economically independent from apartheid. The project involved about 60,000 Chinese technicians and engineers, and more than 100,000 local people joined the project.
Nowadays we have signed deals employing more than 2,000 local people in South Africa mines, with only seven people from China, an investment of $400 million U.S. dollars. And there’s Hisense, a Chinese brand for electrical appliances, such as refrigerators and TV sets. They have trained more than 2,500 local South Africans to work on the assembly line, and the company accounts for about 40 percent of the South African TV market and also supplies neighboring countries. And we have IT companies working around the continent.How do you respond to Western concerns about the explosion of Chinese investment in Africa?
The fact is that the Western interests have been in Africa for over 500 years. They have established their influence in that continent. But some Western people probably have that feeling like, this is my backyard, what are you doing here? But I don’t know why they regard it as their backyard. This attitude is embarrassing for the local people.Outside of economics, what is China’s political bond with Africa?
In those struggle years, the 1960s and 1970s, there was the fight against colonialism. China supported those national liberation movements. Unfortunately, it mingled with the Cold War, but China supported them, particularly in South Africa, and some of the liberation fighters were trained in China to fight guerrilla wars. And during the Cold War they supported us, when we were under pressure. It was quite a comradeship, as we would call it. After the finish of the Cold War, we’re facing our own challenges. We learned we have to open to the world, participate in the world economic system. So we went around the world, and also to Africa. And that led to our new relationship with Africa.Is African culture traveling back to China in any way; for example, do Chinese listen to African music?
There are fans of African arts and music, and you go to some places in China and find that people have started to become fascinated with African cultural discovery. But it’s not that popular yet. For the general public, most are quite ignorant about Africa.Have the Chinese encountered conflicts involving resource development in protected African preserves or parklands?
We always regard Africa as Africans’ Africa. It’s up to them to decide which part should be national park. We obey the law. There’s no argument on that. This is not the way Chinese do things. We never override what they have decided. We always have respect. The Chinese have been humiliated by other countries, and we don’t want to do that to people in Africa.
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Apple has just opened its first direct – sale Apple Store in India. At the same time, the production capacity of some main products such as the iPhone has also begun to shift to Indian factories. For the next quarter, Apple hinted that if the external economic environment does not continue to decline, it will be basically the same as this quarter. At the same time, Cook stated that he would not consider the use of large – scale layoffs as the last resort.
Apple is doing quite well in India at the moment. In the first quarter of this year, its sales in India grew by nearly 50% in the year through March 2023. It had a revenue almost hitting $6 billion. This is well above the $4.1 billion that it got in the past year.The Prospect of Production of
India, the second – largest mobile phone market in the world after China, has seen huge progress from Apple, one of the most valued firms in the world. As supply chains shift away from China, the company has been scaling up its ad efforts in India, which has also become a major strategic target for Apple. Apple stated in Sept. 2023 that it would produce the iPhone 14 in India as it shifts production away from China due to economic issues and political concerns that have upset many sectors’ supply networks.Why India is so important to Apple
India is in a prime position for Apple to gain ground by scaling up marketing efforts due to its vast population and growing economy. India might play the same role in Apple’s business that China has over the past 15 years. It is a sizable market with a growing middle class to drive sales growth, and possibly a basis for the manufacturing of millions of Apple products. According to corporate docs in India that were reported on by local media, Apple’s sales there were over $4 billion in fiscal 2023. The company also had sales of almost $6 billion for the fiscal year that ended in March.Gizchina News of the week
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Apple’s interest in India has been greatly influenced by the “Made in India” project, which the Indian govt started in 2014. The project urges foreign brands to produce their goods in India in an effort to turn India into a major global manufacturing hub.Benefits of manufacturing Apple products in India
A huge market share for the Apple iPhone in India has been hard to achieve due to cheaper mobile phones from rivals. Apple’s manufacturing in India will enable them to lower product prices and increase product appeal in the Indian market.Challenges that Apple may face in India
While there are lots of benefits to producing Apple products in India, there may also be a lot of issues for the company. First, it may be tough for Apple to set up its production plants in India due to India’s lesser network than China. Also, it might be hard for Apple to manage its staff in India due to the country’s complex labour laws and history of labour unrest. There is also the issue of a notably slow bureaucracy in India. This ould make it tricky for Apple to get the licences and permits it needs to set up its manufacturing facility there.
India’s standing base, notably its transport and logistics networks, are often backed up and below par. Delays and defects in the supply chain may result from this. Also, India’s power grid can often be erratic, very poor and could be totally out. This can result in factory halts and higher backup generator costs. Even though the Indian govt has made great efforts to improve the business climate, there are still legal and office issues that can make it tough for foreign brands to operate in India. Also, there are issues with the rule of law and corruption, which can be risky and uncertain for foreign investors.Final Words
The chance of Apple products being made in India is a big step forward for the company. India is in a prime position for Apple to gain ground by scaling up its efforts due to its vast people and growing economy. The making of Apple products in India has various pros for the company, including reducing its reliance on China, cutting costs, and meeting the growing need in the nation for its goods. However, the company could face a number of issues in India due to the country’s weak infrastructure, complex labour laws, and tedious bureaucracy. In general, the prospect of the making of Apple products in India is a good move for the company.
It will be great to see how Apple handles any issues it runs into there. The company is quite tough and it has a huge warchest. Thus, it should do well in India. However, Apple will most likely not fully leave China.
Many Eyes in One
Hyperspectral cameras, such as this one launched in 2008 on the HJ-1B microsatellite, share technology with spectrometers, which measure the material composition of objects through the unique signature that each material has to a certain EM wavelenght.
Electro-optical devices like cameras and infrared sensors generally observe only one band in the electromagnetic spectrum, i.e. cameras observe the band visible to human eyesight and infrared cameras view the infrared band. Hyperspectral cameras and sensors, on the other hand, can simultaneously view hundreds of electromagnetic bands for a single image, building a layered ‘cube’ of the image in different electromagnetic wavelengths. The use of such a wide range of wavelengths provides the ability to observe objects which conceal their emissions in one part of the spectrum (i.e. stealth aircraft and thermally suppressed engines) or are hidden (such as underground bunkers).
Chang’e 1 Lunar Scans
The Chang’e 1 lunar orbiter used a hyperspectral camera to identity different layers of mineral deposits in the lunar crust.
Since the 1970s, China has a strong history of scientific and civilian utilization of hyperspectral imaging. Space-based platforms include the Chang’e lunar missions and Earth-observation from the Tiangong space station and HJ-1 small satellite. Aircraft-mounted hyperspectral imagers are used for tasks such as environmental surveys, oil prospecting, disaster relief and crop measurement. As computer processing power improves and hyperspectral sensors get smaller, Chinese civilian and military applications are likely to expand.
The CCRSS’s hyperspectral camera will be a powerful civilian one in orbit, with a 15 meter resolution across 328 electromagnetic bands, once launched later this year.
A key in this program is the China Commercial Remote-sensing Satellite System (CCRSS), to be launched later this year. It can collect data on 328 electromagnetic bands, offering very high resolution of up to 15 meters, according to the researchers from the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth in Beijing. In comparison, the U.S. TacSat 3, launched in 2010, collects several hundred electromagentic bands, though at a higher resolution of 4 meters. While it is being launched for commercial users, like most other Chinese earth-observation satellites, it would also be available for military use.
Professor Xiang Libin, of the Shanghai Engineering Center for Microsatellites, shakes Chinese President Xi Jinping’s hands after received an unspecified decoration in the 2023 National Science and Technology Awards.
Notably, on January 8, 2023, hyperspectral expert Professor Xiang Libin of the Shanghai Engineering Center for Microsatellites received an award from President Xi Jinping during the 2023 national science and technology awards ceremony, for an unspecified project. Interestingly, Professor Xiang’s non-mention on the awards program mirrors the scrubbing of a 2023 Feng Ru aeronautic award handed out to Professor Wang Zhengguo for developing China’s first scramjet hypersonic engine.
You Can’t Hide
U.S. Army troops already use hyperspectral imagery (often obtained from aircraft) to locate hidden hazards like IEDs (across many different EM wavelenghts, IEDs and other man-made objects give off a different imagery from natural features).
Note: This is an updated version from original Jan. 25 post, reflecting the proper resolution of the TacSat 3. HT to Andrew Erickson for the aid.
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Good to know: learn how to back up your registry in Windows.1. Reset Individual Group Policy Settings
If you’ve only made a couple of changes, then you can reset the Group Policy settings individually. This can be done via the Local Group Policy Editor.
From the “Local Computer Policy” section on the left, expand “Computer Configuration,” open “Administrative Templates,” and select “All Settings.”
Reboot your computer for the changes to take effect.
You can repeat the same steps for another Group Policy and reset everything one by one.
Tip: need to access BIOS on your PC? Learn several ways to do it.2. Bulk Reset Group Policy Settings
If you are not sure which policies you’ve changed or when there are too many changes and it is not feasible to find and change them one at a time, you can just delete the folders where the policy settings are stored. This will bulk reset the group policy settings to their default values. You can use Windows Terminal to do this. By the way, if Windows Terminal is not opening for you, you can take these steps to fix it.
Paste the following command line into PowerShell and press Enter:
Execute one more command in PowerShell:
End with this and press Enter:gpupdate.exe
Reboot your computer to apply the changes.3. Reset Local Security Policy Settings with Windows Terminal
Resetting the Local Security Policy settings can be a good idea to ensure no misconfigurations remain in this part of the system.
These settings are in a separate console, and you can reset them using Windows Terminal with administrative rights.
Type the following command line into PowerShell and press Enter:secedit
/db chúng tôi
Reboot your computer so that the changes will take effect.
Tip: getting a “This installation is forbidden by system policy” error on your Windows PC? Learn what to do about it.Frequently Asked Questions How can I manually refresh Group Policies?
You must refresh Group Policies after you’ve edited a Group Policy Object (GPO) to save the new configurations. To do so, enter gpupdate.exe /force into a Command Prompt and press Enter, then reboot your computer for the changes to take effect.Why do I get “gpedit.msc not found” in a Windows error message?
If you or someone else reconfigured the Local Group Policy incorrectly, there’s a good chance it’s the main reason you are seeing this error message when trying to open the Group Policy Editor in Windows. Try using the methods described in this guide to reset your policy.
Malicious software is another possible reason behind the “gpedit.msc not found” error. Make sure that you have an antivirus active on your PC, even if it’s just Windows’s built-in Defender.
Note that third-party programs are not always safe to use. Sometimes they can cause conflicts with the Local Group Policy and result in data corruption. Therefore, if you’ve installed a program recently, uninstall it.
If you’ve recently installed your Windows operating system and are getting this error, you may have had an incorrect Windows installation.
Image credit: Pexels. All screenshots by Farhad Pashaei.
As a technophile, Farhad has spent the last decade getting hands-on experience with a variety of electronic devices, including smartphones, laptops, accessories, wearables, printers, and so on. When he isn’t writing, you can bet he’s devouring information on products making their market foray, demonstrating his unquenchable thirst for technology.
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New Guest Policy Means More Power, More Responsibility Students say they’re ready for change
Under the proposed new guest policy, students in Warren Towers would be able to obtain guest passes with their roommates’ written consent. Photo by BU Photo Services
Students responded to the proposed new guest policy with enthusiasm and relief yesterday, expressing confidence in their ability to handle the responsibilities that would come with the proposal’s new freedoms.
“It’s about time — I just wish it had come sooner,” said Emeri Burks (CAS’08), who lives at 575 Commonwealth Ave. “I think the administration should trust us enough to make our own decisions.”
The proposed new policy, which Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore announced to the Student Union on Wednesday night, would eliminate several restrictions on access to BU’s residence halls and would place greater emphasis on student responsibility and communication between roommates. Under the proposed new guidelines, students currently living in a campus residence would use their BU ID to swipe into any residence hall between the hours of 7 a.m. and 2 a.m., and students would be able to sign in guests with photo identification at any time, day or night. To obtain an extended visitor’s pass, a student would need to obtain verbal or written permission from his or her roommate.
The rule about finding a co-host to sign in visitors of the opposite sex would no longer be in effect.
“I think the policy is both good and bad,” said Adrienne Golden (SED’09), the secretary of the residence hall association at 575 Commonwealth Ave. “One of the great things will be the ability to sign into another dorm up until 2 a.m., but I think roommate conflicts will definitely come to the forefront.”
“The guest policy is one of the reasons I moved off campus,” said Lauren Richler (SAR’07). “I’m from Boston, and I wouldn’t be able to have friends over because they’d call to tell me they were in town that same night.”
Elmore said on Wednesday that the proposal had been developed throughout months of meetings with students, administrators, and the Faculty Council. It is intended to give students both greater freedom in their experience in the residence halls and greater responsibility for the conduct of their guests.
“This is about responsibility, communication, and maturity,” said Elmore. “We are clearly saying, ‘We trust you not to compromise other people’s safety.’”
Students interviewed yesterday said that they understood the need for added security on an urban campus, but believed that the proposed new policy, which requires visitors to leave a photo ID at the building’s residential safety desk, will be more than adequate. “You still know who’s in the building, because you have to leave your ID,” said Abigail Terry (COM’08), who lives at 10 Buick St.
The new policy outlines slightly different procedures for large residence halls, 10 Buick St., and the South Campus and Bay State Road residences, and does not allow students living off-campus swipe access at any time — a provision that some students find shortsighted. “I think the new guest policy sounds great — if you don’t live off-campus,” said Shyang Puri (CFA’10), who lives in Brookline. “I just worry students living off-campus will still be treated like second-class citizens.”
Although the proposal’s status will not be determined for several weeks, some students said it could influence their housing choices for next year, and all felt that it was a step forward for the University’s administration.
“Finally, they’re treating us like adults,” said Rose Aplustill (CAS’09). “We are adults — we’re in college.”
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