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Friday, April 30, 2021

India tops 18 million Covid-19 cases, learn from India's crisis!

A patient suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) receives treatment inside the emergency ward at Holy Family hospital in New Delhi, India, April 29, 2021. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui



Govt denies reports of problems with its vaccine campaign

BENGALURU: India’s total Covid-19 cases passed 18 million after another world record daily infection, as the government rejected reports of problems with its vaccine campaign.

India reported 379,257 new Covid-19 cases and 3,645 new deaths yesterday, according to health ministry data. It was the highest number of deaths reported in a single day in India since the start of the pandemic.

India’s best hope to curb its second deadly wave of Covid-19 was to vaccinate its vast population, said experts, and on Wednesday it opened registrations for everyone above the age of 18 to be given jabs from tomorrow.

But the country, which is one of the world’s biggest producers of vaccines, does not have the stocks for the estimated 600 million people who will be eligible.

Many who tried to sign up said they failed, complaining on social media that they could not get a slot or they simply could not get online to register as the website repeatedly crashed.

“Statistics indicate that far from crashing or performing slowly, the system is performing without any glitches,” the government said in a statement on Wednesday.

The government said more than eight million people had registered for the vaccinations, but it was not immediately clear how many had got slots.

About 9% of India’s population have received one dose since the vaccination campaign began in January with healthworkers and then the elderly.

The second wave of infections has overwhelmed hospitals and crematoriums and prompted an increasingly urgent response from allies overseas sending equipment.

“India’s outbreak is a humanita­rian crisis,” US Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren said on Twitter.

“I’m leading a letter to @moderna_tx, @pfizer, and @jnjnews to find out what steps they’re taking to expand global access to their vaccines to save lives and prevent variants from spreading around the world,” she said.

Two planes from Russia, carrying 20 oxygen concentrators, 75 ventilators, 150 bedside monitors, and medicines totalling 22 metric tonnes, arrived in the capital Delhi yesterday.

Delhi is reporting one death from Covid-19 every four minutes and ambulances have been taking the bodies of Covid-19 victims to makeshift crematorium facilities in parks and parking lots, where bodies burned on rows and rows of funeral pyres.

The US State Department issued a travel advisory warning on Wednesday against travel to India because of the pandemic and approved the voluntary departure of family members of US government employees in India.

A country of nearly 1.4 billion people, India thought the worst was over when cases ebbed in September.

But mass public gatherings such as political rallies and religious events that were allowed to continue, and relaxed attitudes on the risks fed by leaders touting victory over the virus led to what now has become a major humanitarian crisis, health experts say.

New variants of the virus have also partly led the surge.

Amid the crisis, voting for the eighth and final phase of the West Bengal state elections began yesterday, even as the devastating surge of infections continues to barrel across the country with a ferocious speed, filling crematoriums and graveyards.

More than eight million people are expected to vote in at least 11,860 polling stations across the state. A commission said distancing measures would be in place.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party have faced criticism over the last few weeks for holding huge election rallies in the state, which health experts suggest might have driven the surge there too.

Other political parties also parti­cipated in rallies.

The state recorded more than 17,000 cases in the last 24 hours – its highest spike since the pandemic began. — Agencies




Adham: Learn from India's crisis


Space issue: A file photo of Serdang Hospital, which is now at 80% capacity. 


Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Digital way to declare and pay income tax

e-Filing counter facilities are no longer available since last year following the new norm SOP.

 LET’S Click HASiL is a convenient programme for taxpayers to declare their income and pay taxes to the the Inland Revenue Board (IRB).

What is Let’s Click HASiL

Let’s Click HASiL enables taxpayers to submit their income tax return or make payment through the convenience of the easy, accurate and secure MyTax app.

MyTax is the primary access to ezHASiL services such as e-Filing, e-Register, ByrHASiL and other services accessible to all taxpayers with a single sign-on.

Taxpayers can file their return form electronically while ensuring the details are accurate.

Additionally, the programme also provides advice to taxpayers through virtual briefings held in accordance with new norm SOP set by the government.

Submission deadline

The Let’s Click HASiL programme runs from March 1 to June 30,2021.

For individuals without business income, they have until April 30 to submit their BE Form.

People who receive income from business have until June 30 to submit their B Form.

However, e-BE submission via e-Filing allows taxpayers to submit the form by May 15 – an extended period compared to paper submission by April 30, while the deadline for e-B is July 15.


Tax refund

For individuals without business income, their employer would have made monthly tax deduction off the monthly salary, reducing the burden of employees as they don’t have to pay a lump sum for their annual income tax.

You are eligible to receive a tax refund if you have paid excess monthly tax deduction than the actual tax levied. The income tax imposed can be reduced through tax reliefs and tax rebates.

The e-Filing service gives taxpayers the advantage of receiving their tax refunds within 30 working days as opposed to 90 days for form submissions by post or hand delivery.

ezHASiL simplified taxation

ezHASiL enables taxpayers to manage their taxation online through e-Filing, e-Register, e-Update, e-Ledger and ByrHASiL without having to visit IRB branches physically.

e-Filing counter facilities are no longer available since last year following the new norm SOP.

The e-Filing system can be accessed via the IRB’s official website at > MyTax > ezHasil Services > e-Filing.

First-time users are required to obtain the PIN number by filling in the feedback form on the website.

Once you have the PIN number, you can start your e-Filing, make payments using ByrHASiL, access payment review through e-Ledger or update personal details via e-Update.

Declare and pay your income tax at Let us all do our part to ensure prosperity for the country.

Inquiries can be made through the Customer Feedback Form or call the HASiL Care Line (03-8911 1000). Visit for further information.

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Taxpayers under amnesty programme still need to meet cobditions says LHDN 

LHDN: No audit on those under SVDP amnesty but they must fellow guidelines 

Groups_ Stick to promise and not penalise taxpayers _ The Star

Monday, April 26, 2021

The world hijacked by Washington’s selfishness, Should India thank US' belated aid?

 llustration: Chen Xia/GT 



Bagaimana Tsunami Covid Di India Boleh Berlaku


  China and India should put their differences aside and join forces in fighting pandemic


 Now the whole world is talking about how selfish the US is regarding COVID-19 vaccines. The most developed country in the world that talks about human rights the most refuses to export vaccines to other countries that are severely hit by the pandemic. Washington is determined to let its citizens get vaccinated first before it shares vaccines with others.

More than a quarter of Americans are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus now, while about 40 percent of people in the US have received at least one shot. Not everyone wants to get vaccinated, so it is predicted that there will be a surplus of vaccines in the country after mid-May. At the same time, many developing countries are suffering vaccine shortage. In Namibia, an African country with a population of 2.5 million, only 128 people have received two doses of a vaccine until now.

The ugly "America First" doctrine on vaccines was fully revealed by the coronavirus outbreak in India. A humanitarian disaster has developed in the country. However, India's call for Washington to ease curbs on the export of vaccine raw materials was rejected. US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Tuesday that the priority of the country is "ensuring the distribution of a safe and effective vaccine to millions of Americans, to all Americans who are able to take advantage of it." Washington also turned down calls from India, South Africa and others to waive patents on COVID-19 vaccines.

To date, the US has made almost no actual contribution to the global fight against the pandemic. As the most developed country in the world, it did a poor job in the epidemic fight, failing to contribute any positive experiences to other countries. The country imported a huge amount of supplies such as masks and ventilators that were in short supply in the world last year. Washington undermined global cooperation against the virus by attacking the World Health Organization for quite a long time. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is Washington's most important product to fight against the pandemic. But until now it has been used primarily to protect Americans and a limited number of US allies.

"America First" is a very crude principle. It has become a practical guide to bipartisan actions in the US. The former administration of Donald Trump had both said and acted according to this principle. Although the Biden administration hasn't talked about it, it is in fact also acting in line with the principle.

Transmitted to the political center through each American constituency, the US' selfishness has formed a kind of "rightfulness" under American democracy. Meanwhile, Washington is keen to promote its idea of "human rights" to the world. It acts like it has compassion for all humanity, and surprisingly, it does not feel awkward about it at all.

The world cannot allow the US to abuse the right to define international justice. Washington has refused to share vaccines with developing countries proportionally. The world should jointly condemn it, making Washington bend its head, like a rat scurrying across the street with everybody chasing it. However, till today, the US is still arrogantly claiming it is a global moral leader. It even accuses China and Russia's efforts to share vaccines of being "vaccine diplomacy." The US has totally called white black and black white.

The US has misled and hijacked various countries' national security concept. This is where its arrogance comes from. The world is in an era of peaceful development, but US elites have successfully fanned many countries' anxieties over geosecurity, as the US is the one who has the most abundant resources to play the geopolitical game. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest security shock that countries have encountered in recent years, but many countries have deeply fallen into the geopolitical myth and been hijacked by Washington. Therefore, they indulged Washington's misdeeds.

India in fact has become a victim of the US tricks. India already had an economic slump before the outbreak of the pandemic. India's relations with China have been manipulated by the US so severely that even its vaccine assistance provided to other countries took China as a target. However, now India has suddenly become the epicenter of the global pandemic. It is caught in a predicament where it is unable to deal with the situation by itself, receives no support from the US, while it is too embarrassed to accept China's help.

In short, the US has caused harm to the whole world in recent years. Despite being a self-proclaimed world leader, it failed to act as a responsible power in terms of economy, security and the anti-pandemic fight. However, Washington has managed to keep the "moral high ground" and issue orders. It is fair to say that it is the world, including countries like India, that has indulged it. We are suffering a tragedy caused by ourselves.

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 Should India thank US' belated aid?

Multiple funeral pyres of COVID-19 victims burn at a site converted for mass cremations in New Delhi, India on Saturday.  Indian authorities are scrambling to get medical oxygen to hospitals when the country reported a new global daily record of more than 346,000 infections for a third straight day. Photo: AP

Multiple funeral pyres of COVID-19 victims burn at a site converted for mass cremations in New Delhi, India on Saturday. Indian authorities are scrambling to get medical oxygen to hospitals when the country reported a new global daily record of more than 346,000 infections for a third straight day. Photo: AP

Under great pressure from international public opinion, US President Joe Biden said on Monday the US is determined to "help" India. It's reported that more than 300 oxygen concentrators have been dispatched from New York on Sunday morning and are supposed to arrive in New Delhi on Monday. This was in sharp contrast with the US' negative attitude toward assisting India until last week. 

US allies including the UK, France, and Germany also announced to offer assistance to India on Sunday, which left people with an impression that Washington has coordinated with them. 

Many Indians are complaining that the US aid comes way too late and is more of symbolic significance. Several hundred oxygen concentrators are inadequate for India. What the country needs now are tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands. The US will immediately deploy supplies and other assistance, including raw materials for COVID-19 vaccine, to India, the White House said, following a Sunday call between US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval. But the US will still have reservations over the quantity of material exports, and the implementation process will face challenges.   

Biden's approval rating stands at only 52 percent after almost 100 days in office, the third-lowest since tracking began in 1945, following Donald Trump and Gerald Ford. Biden is facing enormous pressure from the Republicans and some Democrats. "America First" has been deeply embedded into the values of the US and has become a red line that Biden dares not touch. 

There are two reasons for the US' strategic selfishness. First, this is the inherent nature of the US system, which is prone to amplify individual selfishness rather than restrain and counterbalance such selfishness. Second, the US has become relatively weak, and it cannot meet its "leadership role." India is a country with an enormous population. In the long run, it will cost US much more to "lead" India than any of its other allies.   

One unhealthy aspect of the global anti-pandemic fight is that science and humanitarian logic have failed to truly dominate the fight on the international stage. Geopolitical thinking has never been away from the fight. It has disrupted the pandemic fight from time to time, and even managed to play a dominating role at some moments. India has been struggling in a critical situation, but geopolitical clues are still evident in its epidemic-related information. This is regrettable. COVID-19 patients are dying in batches, but some people are still debating which country's assistance India should take and what it would mean for international relations in future. 

Whatever happens, we hope India could curb its epidemic as soon as possible. Mankind is a community with a shared future when it comes to the fight against the pandemic. As India is a large country¸ the raging epidemic in India inevitably means increasing risks for other countries and regions. How India can realize a soft landing with a lower death toll will offer useful experience for other developing countries.  

The new coronavirus variant detected in India seems to be able to ferociously spread with the approach of summer, which requires higher international vigilance. India's tsunami-like COVID-19 wave warns us that fighting the coronavirus pandemic is a long-term "world war" and many unexpected new battlefields and new battles may await us. We can never let our guard down.

Countries with a strong capability to resist COVID-19 have to assume greater responsibility. It is vital that the US joins them. The US has made little positive contribution to the global fight against the pandemic. Lending a helping hand to India can be seen as the first US attempt to play such a role. We hope it will be Washington's turning point. The US has gravely dragged the global fight against the pandemic, and it is supposed to proactively make up for it.

Since last year, the novel coronavirus pandemic has hit many countries and regions in the world, resulting in unbelievable deaths and economic losses. But some countries are still building their national security in traditional ways. This is a strategic mistake, at least to some extent. Washington has played a misleading role in this regard. In other words, if the US is drunk, many other countries may not be able to remain sober.



America, it's time to cleanse your own stains

The US is a country that boasts of its so-called deep-rooted ideal of democracy, rights, liberty, opportunity and equality. But how can a self-portrayed perfect country become one of chaos, division and inequality as we see today? Is it because ...


Friday, April 23, 2021

China calls for building a community for man and nature at US-held climate summit

The Leaders' Summit on Climate is convened on Thursday. Photo: Xinhua

 Climate could be ‘competition hot spot’ due to US uncertainty


During a US-led global climate summit in which Washington seeks to shore up global leadership on the issue, Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated China's goal of reaching carbon neutrality in 2060, a goal that is hailed by analysts as most ambitious in terms of time duration compared with developed countries; and the president's proposal of "jointly building a community for man and nature" was praised by observers as "putting up a new rule for human being's new civilization."

Addressing the summit, Xi said from Beijing via video link that in the face of unprecedented difficulties in global environmental governance, the international community must take unprecedented ambitions and actions, bravely shoulder responsibilities, and work together to build a community for man and nature.

US President Joe Biden pledged in his opening remarks at the summit to cut US greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 compared to 2005 levels, a target that would nearly double America's previous commitment when signing the Paris Agreement, which was to reduce its emissions about 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

By inviting leaders of some 40 state leaders to attend the summit and announcing an unbinding yet ambitious goal, Biden eyed a high-profile comeback for the US in the global climate framework, after four years of the Trump administration's unvarnished climate denial landed a heavy blow to international efforts to combat climate change, observers said.

China's ambition, devotion

Xi said at the summit that China welcomes the US coming back to the multilateral governing process on climate issues, and China and the US just issued a joint statement on responding to the climate crisis. He also urged countries to stick to their promises, instead of walking back against their commitment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India made no new commitment. Only US allies, including Canada and Japan, announced their new goal in climate change. Canada vowed to cut its greenhouse emissions by 40 to 45 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, compared with its previous target of a 30 percent emissions reduction in the same time frame.

Some Western media, including the Associated Press, reported previously that Biden's proposal of a new climate goal is to prod countries to further cut their emissions. Yet Chinese climate observers lashed out at such intention, saying that being the country investing the highest in clean energy, China is doing its utmost to curb emissions; and its determination in this area won't be pressured by countries with about-faces on this issue.

Xie Zhenhua, China's special envoy on climate change, said at a press conference held after Xi's speech that although China did not put forward a specific plan for 2030, China's current goal is very ambitious.

The EU's per capita carbon dioxide emissions reached 7.9 tons from 1990 to 1992 when the bloc realized carbon peaking, and the figure was 19.9 tons for the US when its carbon emissions peaked in 2007, said Xie, noting China's carbon dioxide emissions per capita will be 7.2 to 7.5 tons when its emission peaks in 2030, far below that of the US.

He said that China will realize its goals set previously, and is making plans and investments. "China made an ambitious plan and will stick to its word… Its ambition needs not be questioned," said the envoy.

"China would not bring forward new goals, but China will gradually detail its existing goals, such as the coal industry reaching the carbon emissions peak earlier," Li Junfeng, former director general of China's National Center of Climate Change Strategy Research under the National Development and Reform Commission, told the Global Times on Thursday.

China will include carbon emissions peak and carbon neutrality into the country's whole layout of building an eco-civilization, and is working on plans of carbon emissions peak, said Xi.

In the post-industrial era, tackling the climate issue also means changing the way of thinking and the way of production as well as the way of life. It's an ambitious plan for China as the country has to catch up and even exceed other developed countries in reaching the goals that developed countries took many years to reach, Wang Yiwei, director of the institute of international affairs at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Thursday.

According to Wang, China would only spend 30 years to reach the carbon emissions peak to carbon neutrality as the largest developing country with the largest population. "China is committed to achieving the goals which will greatly contribute to the global fight against climate change, inspiring more developing countries to make utmost efforts."

During the summit, Xi also put forward a six-point proposal on building a community of life for man and nature. To build such a community, we must be committed to harmony between man and nature, green development, systemic governance, a people-centered approach, multilateralism, and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, Xi said.

Xi's proposal of the term sets a new rule for human civilization, and if the biggest developing country can realize such goal, China will galvanize other developing countries to follow suit. By doing this, China is also meant to serve as a bridge between developed and developing countries, which is to infuse the green notion and technology used in developed countries to third world countries.

Cooperation or contest?

By enticing leaders to participate in the summit, the US, which had hindered global climate efforts, aims to shore up leadership in the field and demonstrate its determination by upping the ante of its emissions goal, Yang Fuqiang, a research fellow at Peking University's Research Institute for Energy, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Yet the expert said the US' seemingly ambitious yet unbinding promise is "symbolic." "The US has let its emissions rise unrestrained after its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. Now, it is setting a target compared with the start point, but who is going to fix the few year's gap left by the US, and why does Washington still believe it has the legitimacy to prod other countries to set an ambitious goal after its flip-flop has diminished global efforts in fighting climate change?"

The US Environmental Protection Agency's February data shows the country's carbon emissions rose during the first three years after former US president Donald Trump decided to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement.

The country's total emissions in 2019 were still 121 MMt above where they were in 2017 when Trump took office, marking the highest level of carbon pollution the US generated in five years.

Unlike China, which has a smooth and efficient system of implementing orders from above, Biden's climate plan is facing a filibuster dilemma, mostly from Republicans who oppose his plan, and will eventually cripple the US president's plan of pushing forward his clean energy project, Li said.

The US also targeted the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), trying to throw mud at China's efforts in tackling global warming. While campaigning for the US presidency, Biden criticized China for financing dirty fossil fuel projects around the world through the BRI - and essentially "outsourcing" Chinese carbon pollution to other countries.

"Developing countries in the BRI prioritize boosting the economy, which results in large amounts of carbon emissions. But without the help from China's technology and capital, the emissions will be larger than the current level," said Yang.

Xi also vowed at the summit to prioritize ecological civilization into the BRI. China has launched a green action proposal and is taking green infrastructure, energy, transportation, finance and a slew of other green measures to benefit people of BRI countries.

China has worked together with BRI countries to elevate their ability to cope with climate change, and has build low-carbon demonstration areas with countries such as Cambodia and Laos.

In contrast, the US has invested large amounts of money to support overseas fossil fuel projects. US public finance for overseas fossil fuel projects averaged more than $4 billion annually over the past decade, at times exceeding $10 billion in a single year, according to Washington-based Oil Change International, an advocacy group opposing fossil fuels.

Some Western media and organizations also pressured China to further eliminate emissions, saying China's energy-related carbon emissions accounted for about 28.8 percent, while the US accounted for 14 percent.

Yang called such comparison "oversimplified." "We have to take into account historical emissions since the industrial revolution; countries' carbon dioxide emissions per capita and talk of realizing peak carbon emissions," Yang said.

The US has emitted more carbon dioxide than any other country to date: at around 400 billion tons since 1751, it is responsible for 25 percent of the historical emissions; that is twice more than China, according to data portal Our World in Data.

From realizing peak carbon emissions to carbon neutrality, it will take China 30 years, but the US would take 43 years for the same goal. Developed countries had caused the bulk of the historical accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Climate change has been the hot spot for countries to underscore global governance, as well as to showcase national image. It's not a bad thing that the US seeks to undertake leadership, yet its about-faces have left severe consequences, Yuan Zheng, deputy director and senior fellow of the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday. He noted that the US government hopes to use the climate issue to serve its own strategic goals, but it would be very hard for it to completely lead other countries of great influence, including China, France and Germany.

The US is "walking against the deal at will, and wants to lead others when it's back." This has deeply hurt other countries. A mere summit is impossible to fix its image, according to Yuan.

Li Haidong, from the China Foreign Affairs University, pointed out that US climate policy lacks continuity. Biden's policy is likely to be thwarted by Republicans when the latter takes office. "It is difficult for the climate issue to be the long-term glue of China-US cooperation."

He said that as the US eyes climate issues to shoulder global leadership, the topic may become a target of strategic competition between the US with China and Russia. "So in the long run, the climate issue may be the hot spot for China-US competition."

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'Forced labor’ lies and plots target solar energy industry



中美高层战略对话在即 美不行待客之道 中方严正回应! 20210319 |《今日关注》CCTV中文国际 中国核心利益没有退让余地 中美需避免零和博弈管控分歧 20210320 |《今日关注》CCTV中文国际  

Chinese diplomats state China's position in the opening remarks of the China-US high-level strategic dialogue in Anchorage, Alaska, on T.

  People march in downtown Montreal, Canada during a demonstration against anti-Asian racism on March 21, 2021

Saturday, April 17, 2021

'Forced labor’ lies and plots target solar energy industry

.A worker installs a solar power unit at the construction site of a 300-MW photovoltaic electricity project of the China Datang Corporation Ltd. (Xinhua/Zhang Hongxiang) 

Xinjiang PV enterprise refutes unfounded Bloomberg report on irresponsible accusation of ‘forced labor’, plots ‘industry stifling’ in Xinjiang, this time targets solar energy industry - Global Times

First it was cotton; now it's Xinjiang's solar panels that are being targeted. Both are pillar industries of Xinjiang in Northwest China, and they have become the target of what appears to be a malicious campaign launched by Western anti-China forces to destroy Xinjiang's rapidly ascending economy and ultimately obstruct the development of China.

These forces behind the campaign position themselves as saviors and claim to counter a "genocide" in Xinjiang, but what they are doing is essentially attempting to wipe out the industries and the bread and butter of over 25 million people in Xinjiang, locals, businesses and experts said.

Unlike the campaign against Xinjiang's cotton, which was led by political forces, the latest campaign against the photovoltaic (PV) industry appears to be pushed by forces within the PV industry that have been overwhelmed by Chinese firms, including those in Xinjiang, for years, in an apparent ill attempt to use politics to crack down on what they can't compete with in the market, analysts pointed out. Such a shift in trend poses a serious threat for other industries in Xinjiang and around the country and demands forceful countermeasures, they said.

As the debate on the so-called forced labor issue in the Chinese solar energy industry has been hyped up lately following the West's groundless smearing on Xinjiang cotton, Chinese experts and solar energy insiders warned that the US is setting a trap and a pattern, step by step, to destroy Xinjiang's competitive industries, even with an aim to bring about the collapse of Xinjiang's economy and local people's livelihood.

. Once finding the approach of giving a bad name to the Chinese industry useful by citing "human rights abuses" or "forced labor," capital and interest groups may copy the smearing and boycott approach to stifle Xinjiang's industries, experts warned.

The Global Times interviewed a local polysilicon giant and found that the so-called forced labor in the region's PV industry is simply another lie created by certain media outlets, US trade groups and politicians.

"The workers from ethnic minority groups are mainly hired online, from universities and colleges, talent markets and by employee referrals. They enjoy paid annual leave, home visits with subsidies, wedding cash gifts, year-end bonuses and holiday gifts," Zhang Longgen, deputy chairman of Xinjiang Daqo, one of the four major Chinese polysilicon manufacturers, told the Global Times, denying any employment from Xinjiang's vocational education and training centers as reported by Bloomberg, the New York Times, POLITICO and so on.

Xinjiang Daqo's production accounted for around 15 percent of the global market share in 2020. "Silicon wafer producers are the customers of polysilicon. Around 97 percent of the global silicon wafers are made in China. All our products are sold in China," Zhang said.

"The ridiculous thing is that the US forcibly distorts facts and smears all the good things we have done that benefited the ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang," Zhang said.

By doing so, the US would strike a blow to China's, even the world's, solar energy sector and hurt the interests of ethnic groups in Xinjiang, he said.

At Xinjiang Daqo, 18 out of 1,934 workers are from ethnic minority groups. The average monthly salary at Xinjiang Daqo is 7,300 yuan ($1,118), compared with the average monthly salary of 6,617 yuan in Xinjiang's non-private sector and 3,825 yuan in the private sector in 2019.

"The proportion of labor costs in our company is less than 7 percent, so polysilicon manufacturing is not a labor-intensive industry," Zhang pointed out.

Dismissing a Bloomberg report on Tuesday which said "there's no freedom to refuse to sign factory contracts" for workers in Xinjiang, Zhang said some Western media's reports on Xinjiang came out of the reporters' "fertile imagination."

"Forced labor is not only unethical but also illegal in China. We have examined our suppliers recently and found no behavior of 'forced labor,'" Zhang said, adding the company's employee turnover rate is less than 3 percent.

"Anyone who tries to put a label of 'forced labor' on the Chinese PV enterprise should show their evidence. For example, who is forced to work in which enterprise? Without giving any testimony, such a claim is very irresponsible," Zhang said.

In a Bloomberg report, it said "guards in brown camouflage ordered away would-be observers" at the Xinjiang Daqo facility. The company told the Global Times it has been always open for visitors, but the coronavirus reduced such activities in the past year. "Bloomberg contacted us before Spring Festival this year, but China's epidemic control and prevention was strict at that time. That's why we didn't host it.

Echoing Zhang, a 39-year-old ethnic Mongolian worker named Bajin, said the so-called forced labor has never existed in the factory since he came to work for the company in May 2011, and none of his friends have ever complained about being forced to work in Xinjiang.

"I work eight hours per day and get two days off per week. I feel workers from ethnic minority groups at our company can even get extra care from our supervisors. So the Western countries' smearing is intentional to disturb ethnic unity in Xinjiang as well as our country's fast development," Bajin told the Global Times.

"For people at my age in Xinjiang, we all long for a good life, by farming, working or running our own businesses to improve our life quality. 'Forced labor' doesn't exist," he said, adding he earns 9,000 yuan per month as a production safety management staff member.

Smearing campaign

Zhang said he had smelled the conspiracy in the air for months, as he noticed that the share price of the US-listed Daqo New Energy Corp, the parent company of Xinjiang Daqo, dive from $130 to the current $67, dropping by approximately 52 percent in just two months.

Another Chinese PV giant Jinko Solar also suffered from short selling at the US stock market.

"We expressed strong condemnation to the groundless and irresponsible media reports that turned things upside down," Zhang noted.

The pace interestingly is in line with a report released in a publication by consulting firm Horizon Advisory in January, which claimed that "forced labor" is being used in the Chinese PV supply chain.

On top of that, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the US national trade group, urged its members to move their supply chains out of Xinjiang. More than 170 companies have signed a nonbinding pledge to avoid the so-called forced labor.

Xinjiang produces around 45 percent of the world's polysilicon supply - a type of upstream raw material in the photovoltaic (PV) industry, according to Dai Yanling, a veteran PV practitioner in China. Requiring intensive energy, such material is largely churned out in places that have large amounts and cheap electricity, thermal power and PV energy. That made Xinjiang, Southwest China's Yunnan, as well as North China's Inner Mongolia appealing in polysilicon manufacturing. China accounts for more than 85 percent of the world's polysilicon supply.

"Polysilicon manufacturing is not a labor-intensive industry anymore. Labor costs are not a key factor," Dai said.

US Senators Marco Rubio, Rick Scott and others introduced the so-called "Keep China Out of Solar Energy Act" at the end of March in quick succession, banning US federal funds from being used to buy solar panels from companies based in China.

It is clear that the US has a map to crack down on China's PV industry, as it first started from a trade group's instigation, then to a further upgrading by US politicians, and "the reason behind it is that China's rapid growth in the solar energy sector moved the cheese of US companies," Dai said.

Dai said that before 2010, the polysilicon used in global solar energy had been monopolized by US and German enterprises, which had profiteered Chinese PV firms by forcing the them to sign long-term contracts (some are 10 years) with them.

Over more than a decade after China ramped up efforts in developing the PV industry, the price of polysilicon has dropped from $400-500 per kilogram in foreign companies before 2010 to $20 per kilogram in Chinese companies now, the practitioner noted.

Even if the US is the place of origin of PV technologies, its current PV sector lags behind when compared with developed countries like Germany, Japan and developing countries like China. Such a situation worried the US PV practitioners, Dai added.

To beat down the Chinese PV industry, the US government has taken different actions, such as in 2012, the US Department of Commerce imposed levies of 31.14-249.96 percent anti-dumping duties on Chinese PV cells while China's growth in solar energy was forging ahead.

Global Times reporters also found out over the past two years that many US business and trade representatives have cited the PV industry as a "classic case" when talking about the China-US trade frictions.b

The duties and crackdown policies have not beaten down China's PV industry, which disappointed the US.

According to the SEIA, the US PV industry was at a standstill during the Trump administration, with its PV install capacity dropping in the first two years during his term of office. After the relevant taxation reducing policy, the PV industry recovered a little in the US.

The first thing pushed forward by the incumbent US President Joe Biden was to get back to the Paris Agreement and set strategic goals in the energy sector.

Analysts said that in addition to strengthening the efforts to combat climate change, his aim was also to catch up the pace in the PV sector with other countries and even regain an upper hand, as major countries around the world embrace a green future in front of the crisis of global warming and climate change.

What also concerned the US businessmen is the US' high dependency on China in the PV supply chain, as Chinese companies have both lower costs and technological superiority, particularly in large size silicon wafers and granular silicon.

According to a report by McKinsey & Co in 2018, China's PV industry competitiveness surpassed the US by a lot. Among the top 10 global PV modules enterprises in 2020, three came from China and only one came from the US.

Zhang also cited statistics from the China Photovoltaic Industry Association to prove the country's PV supply could make tremendous contributions to the world's renewable energy transformation: Chinese raw material of silicon accounts for 67 percent of global share, wafers 97 percent, solar cells 79 percent and PV modules 71 percent.

Workers at a cotton textile factory in Aksu City, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, northwest China, March 29, 2021. (Photo/CGTN)

Workers at a cotton textile factory in Aksu City, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, northwest China, March 29, 2021. (Photo/CGTN)

Destroying value chain

It looks like the tactics of the PV industry have some water splash.

In a list of questions regarding alleged "forced labor" in Xinjiang, several members of the Dutch parliament urged the Netherlands government to explain if it is aware that solar PV panels and other components imported from China may contain raw materials from Xinjiang, according to local media reports.

They also asked the government to explain the possible impact on Dutch and European renewable energy markets in such situation as imports of Xinjiang-produced solar modules would be suspended.

Regarding the previous action on Xinjiang cotton, and now the PV industry, which accounts for 80-90 percent of the world's PV modules supply, Chinese experts warned that other industries, such as mechanical and electrical products, electric power and petroleum, could also be the next targets, and the US government is trying to suffocate or even kill Xinjiang's outstanding industries, with the help of some other Western countries.

Graphic: GT
"It looks like the US wants Xinjiang's competitive industries to die out in the region, so far namely cotton and solar energy, but in fact, it is destroying China's participation in the global value chain," Wang Yao, a research fellow specializing in border areas at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

The exports of mechanical and electrical products in Xinjiang are also vibrant, and countries along the Belt and Road are the main buyers. In 2019, mechanical and electrical products championed the most popular exported goods in Xinjiang, with the export value hitting 33.79 billion yuan, accounting for 27 percent of the region's total exports.

Last but not least, they are copying the smearing approach on Xinjiang cotton onto the PV industry after the first trial was testified effective, Wang noted. "If so, China's PV sector may be kept out of the door by the US, even the world."

However, the tactics being used by US interest groups in slandering Xinjiang's PV sector is a little different from that for cotton. Unlike the crackdown on Xinjiang cotton which was initiated by politicians, the suppression of the PV sector began from companies and industry groups that initiated the accusation, then US politicians stepped in, showing the voluntary collusion between industrial capital and politicians in their mutual objective of cracking down on China's development, experts said.

Last year, amid the reports of alleged "forced labor," the US Fair Labor Association wrote a report on such a topic in January 2020. At that time, the Shanghai office of Switzerland-based Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) had examined cotton factories in Xinjiang and found no forced labor.

Clothing brands such as Adidas and H&M, which have cooperation with BCI, also conducted examinations in Xinjiang. H&M had stated that it found no clue of "forced labor" in factories in the Aksu Prefecture.

But on October 21, 2020, BCI announced on its website to cease all field-level activities in China's Xinjiang region.

Such a move was driven by pressure from outside, as well as other interests. Since member fees are the main financial source for BCI, brand members, including Nike, LEVIS, or GAP from the US, have a significant influence on BCI. The US Agency for International Development was once a council member.

After suffering pressure from multiple sources, including the US government, popular clothing brands declared they refused to source any cotton production from Xinjiang.

After seeing fruitful results of slandering Xinjiang cotton, the cards of Xinjiang human rights and "forced labor" might be a "master key" for the US to hit any industry of Xinjiang, Wang warned, saying electric power and petroleum are very likely to be the next targets.

"The choice of polysilicon is different from that of cotton, as the costs of cotton produced in China remain higher than that produced in the US, Brazil and Australia. That means, with the lower-cost advantage of PV products, this round of crackdown on Xinjiang polysilicon will not succeed," Gao Lingyun, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing who closely follows China-US bilateral trade, told the Global Times on Friday.

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The photovoltaic industry appears to be the latest target caught up in the political farce orchestrated by anti-China .


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