Chinese wholesalers have set up shop in the Moroccan port of Casablanca, causing a wave of panic among local traders fearful of competition. \n"Chinese wholesale centre," reads a sign in Arabic, French and Chinese at one Chinese trader's shop. \n"I don't speak English and French very well, and Arabic is difficult," said Lin Xue-yun, 32, who manages a shop selling mirrors, sandals, shoes, chessboards and electronic toys. \nLanguage is the main obstacle for her and her compatriots who arrive unable to converse in Morocco's main languages, Arabic and French. Moroccan nationals are employed in an intermediary role in their shops. \n"I've only been here for four months," Lin said. "I have an 11-year-old son I left in Fujian," the province most wholesalers originate from. \n"Watch out, the Chinese are landing!" headlined the daily newspaper Aujourd'hui Le Maroc last week, saying "an army of Chinese businessmen (estimated at 1,200) has decamped in the kingdom's main towns and villages." \n"Business in Casa is good," said Yen Tieh, 39, in halting English, a sxi-months resident in Morocco. \nGhita, 21, a Moroccan employed in a Chinese shop in Derb Omar, the bustling trading area of Casablanca, said she was happy working where she was. "We sell sandals, photo and picture frames, and small gifts," she said, adding that her wages were "very satisfying." \nBut Nadia, writing out a bill on the counter of her neighboring shop, railed against the Chinese influx, claiming the new traders had "destroyed the economy and job market" in Casablanca. \n"The product for which I pay 25 dirhams in duty, they sell at 10 dirhams. They could sell sandals for only 18 dirhams (US$1.95)." \n"Their products are of a very bad quality," Nadia said, adding that some Chinese traders were going "door-to-door, suitcase in hand." \nSalah, a fellow Moroccan worker in Derb Omar, added: "I've seen them unload their own container at Casablanca port." \nThe Moroccan association for game importers says Chinese traders are engaged in "unfair and anti-competitive practices." \nIn a recent statement, the association said it wanted to "sound the alarm bell." \nShop manager Fatima Lmoussi, however, disagrees: "Trade is open to all. The arrival of the Chinese is even positive, because it creates a business dynamic." \nAccording to one taxi driver, the Chinese came across as "nice, extremely polite, and they pay the Moroccans they employ very well."
SURPRISE GUEST: Media reports identified the visitor as Admiral Michael Studeman, director of the J2, which oversees intelligence at the US military’s Indo-Pacific Command A two-star US Navy admiral overseeing US military intelligence in the Asia-Pacific region has made an unannounced visit to Taiwan, two sources told Reuters on Sunday. The sources, who include a Taiwanese official familiar with the situation, said the official was Rear Admiral Michael Studeman. They were speaking on condition of anonymity. After initially saying on Sunday night that it had no comment about the report, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it welcomed the visit of an “unidentified US official,” but declined to give more details because the trip “has not been made public.” Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) yesterday
AUTUMN STRUGGLE: The KMT and TPP set up stages on the rally’s sidelines, while Want Want boss Tsai Eng-meng said the DPP was curtailing freedom of speech Tens of thousands of people in Taipei yesterday took part in the “Autumn Struggle” (秋鬥) — an annual protest march by labor groups — but with this year’s focus on rejecting the government’s plan to allow imports of US pork containing ractopamine residue. “Against poisonous pork, against double standards, against a party-state,” the protesters, mostly wearing black, chanted in front of the rally’s main stage on Ketagalan Boulevard at about noon, before a parade set off at 2pm. Autumn Struggle spokesperson Lee Chien-cheng (李建誠) said this year’s march was divided into three teams, with the first team urging food safety and labor
DEFENSE: The construction of indigenous submarines will be a testament to the nation’s commitment to safeguard its sovereignty, President Tsai Ing-wen said President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday presided over a ceremony to mark the start of construction of the nation’s first indigenous submarine at state-run shipbuilder CSBC Corp’s (台灣國際造船) shipyard in Kaohsiung. “This submarine is an important part of allowing our navy to develop asymmetric warfare and to intimidate and block enemy ships from surrounding Taiwan’s main island,” Tsai said. “With the construction of the submarine to its future commission, we will certainly let the world know our persistence in safeguarding our sovereignty.” Tsai has made boosting the nation’s indigenous defense capacity a central pillar of her defense policy. She recently relaunched the
ESPIONAGE CHARGE: A TAO spokesperson said that the rights of Shih Cheng-ping were ‘fully safeguarded’ during the hearing, which handed him four years in prison China sentenced Shih Cheng-ping (施正屏), a former National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) professor, to four years in jail for espionage, officials said yesterday. The ruling came a month after Shih made a televised “confession” on state media. Shih, who is also a former chief economist for Chinese conglomerate Huaxia Group (華夏集團), was found guilty by a Chinese court on Tuesday, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) told a news briefing. Shih — who vanished after traveling to China in August 2018 — was among Taiwanese who China Central Television (CCTV) last month showed confessing to spying. CCTV often broadcasts suspects admitting to crimes, even