INDUS News special on COVID-19

Gilbert on INDUS News, again. A Skype interview for the INDUS News special on COVID-19.

For a “change” talking about the virus. Indus News is the first international news channel of Pakistan.

Watch here: https://youtu.be/9XG9-8CYcsU

Talking about the EU Climate Law

On 10 March I was talking about the EU Climate Law on Indus News, the Special with Meshal Malik. It is the TV station from Pakistan. Interview by Skype, from my Beijing office.

The link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qP3B3XAoYzI

China and The World

Gilbert on CGTN

Here is the online link of the “China and the World” documentary. CGTN broadcasted it at 11:08 am on 27 December 2019, and replayed it at 03:08 am on 28 December, and it also launched it on the CGTN new media platform. My part starts from 18:25 to 20:58. Renaat Morel is also featured. As you can see the “answers” I provided and were retained are not that close to the questions. As a matter of fact many of my comments were not considered, too much self-censorship… I even taught they would not show me… maybe I said too much with honesty…
The link works on Safari, not on Firefox in my case.

https://s-url.cgtn.com/m/fDFHIA

The questions

See the introduction by CCTV, CGTN is the international channel of CCTV.
To celebrate the 70 anniversary of PRC, CCTV is making a special documentary about the personnel exchange. We would like to invite you to join us to talk about China’s development and the exchanges between China and the rest of the world from the perspective of foreigners.
Questions:

  1. What is your initial impression of the Chinese people? Where does it come from and what new discoveries have been made after dealing with the Chinese people?
  2. What are the characteristics and cultural differences of Chinese people studying and working abroad?
  3. Among the Chinese studying abroad, a considerable proportion of them remain working and living abroad. Is this a drain of resources or a channel for China to export influence?
  4. What changes have China’s national image experienced since the 1970s? In your opinion, what aspects of China’s influence on the world are the most significant?
  5. In your opinion, what does reform and opening up mean to China?
  6. Compared with the 1990s, more Chinese graduates have returned to China for development. What’s your take on that?
  7. Nowadays, many foreigners come to China to work and start businesses. How far is China from becoming an international human resources market?

Visiting my office

On 22 August 2019 the CGTN team visited my office where part of the interview was shot. Later we walked to Morel’s Restaurant where we had lunch.

See the pics at my office and screenshots of the online interview. Some nice shots of myself. They used another angle to shoot, unlike all other TV crews.

My view on the Belgian mission

The mega mission

I already gave a short overview on the visit. Here my view on the Belgian mission, personal observations.
As I was rather unhappy with the way preparations were carried out and what happened, so I skipped the huge reception in Kempinski Hotel in the evening of 18 November. I did not miss much, too many people, the VIPs too far away, no contact.
Anyway I already had met the Princess, on 5 September 2008, in the embassy. See one of the pictures (in wheelchair Tennis player Marie Annick Sevenans) and a media article:

Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid of Belgium, accompanied by Prince Lorenz, will arrive in China for a few days. Her main objective is to attend Saturday’s Paralympic Opening Ceremony and wholeheartedly encourage the 20 Belgian athletes participating in the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. The Princess will personally attend the wheelchair tennis competition on  Monday, September 8. Ms. Julie FERNANDEZ-FERNANDEZ, State Secretary for the handicapped, attached to the Minister of Social Affairs and Public Health, will also attend the Paralympics and will represent Belgium at the Closing Ceremony.

And I met earlier Jan Jambon as mentioned, thanks in part to Peter Ritzen.

Media comments, in Dutch

Achter de schermen van handelsmissie China: “Wij maken geen stofzuigers, onze technologie kunnen ze niet snel kopiëren”
https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/nl/2019/11/18/achter-de-schermen-van-de-grootste-belgische-handelsmissie-ooit/

Achter de schermen van de Belgische handelsmissie in China (deel 2) : peren, studenten én voetbal
https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/nl/2019/11/21/achter-de-schermen-van-de-chinese-handelsmissie-peren-voetbal/
In Shanghai is de Belgische handelsmissie in China afgesloten. Meer dan 630 deelnemers trokken 5 dagen door het land in de hoop een nieuwe afzetmarkt te vinden voor onze producten en expertise. Maar wat gaat dat op termijn opleveren? En was zo’n missie wel gepast op het ogenblik dat het democratisch protest in Hongkong de kop in werd geslagen?

The hacking

The hacking story received a lot of comments, some found it to be naive and out of context. Of course we know the Chinese will hack and spy but the “expert” proved to be rather naive indeed. See comment from VRT.

Just curious I checked my desktop (iMac) that is pretty well protected by its firewall and other basic tricks. Yes, there were some attempts of intrusions but overall it seemed pretty lame. See the screenshot.

As for the impact, I have my doubts.

Yes, a mission led by the Princess can indeed open doors and has a positive effect. However:

– Such a big delegation floods the Chinese administration and business world. As a result meetings can be too superficial and unfocused, and done in a rush.
– Many still have unrealistic and naive expectations in this market. A lot of noise concerning a “new platform to import Belgian products such as beer, cookies, Belgian fries and other”. Good luck with that. Many tried, most failed for a variety of reasons I don’t want to explain here.
– The proof will be: let’s see after one year what became of all the “signed deals”.

Preparation of the mission was in my view disappointing. People with proven local expertise were ignored. No further comments.

TV interview

I was interviewed by Bart Aerts of VRT NWS, we finally agreed on the location: Morel’s Restaurant. I understand the interview would come out in February 2020.

Present were Renaat Morel, Bart Aerts, Karl Lagatie en Vlad Vanderkelen.

Big Data issues

Indus News again

Another Indus News interview, this time on Big Data issues.
The topic:
Big data and its future: With governments all over the world focusing on the collection of data for a plethora of reasons, we discuss in the show how important big data is in fact in the modern world. Why is there so much emphasis on its collection? How is this data utilized and for what purposes is it used. How is the collection of big data shaping the future of politics and international relations?

My suggested talking points:
– Big Data has become very important in many industries and will grow, it is unstoppable even more with the Internet of Things (everything is connected).
– Regulations need to be in place to address privacy concerns and to protect the vulnerable such as children and others, such as the elderly.
– Companies must clarify what data they gather and how they process and store them.
– Some even think companies should in a way pay for the data, now they harvest free of charge.
– A big concern is the misuse by authoritarian governments, they could use the data for political purposes against dissidents and others, especially if the data collected can be traced to individuals. An example is the Chinese Social Credit System that can trace anything about an individual: website visits, online purchases, online comments, anything.

Oops Internet gone

In the middle of the interview Skype stopped. First I thought there was problem on my side but soon it was clear Indus “was gone”. Soon I got a message through WhatsApp that the studio in Lahore had its Internet cut off… Anyway they still managed to send out the interview, with pieces missing from my side (YouTube):

 

Some more comments on Big Data issues

Big Data is yes, a big issue…

It is being used in so many industries and business: medical, warehousing, inventories, fraud detection, name it. With the increasing computing power and Artificial Intelligence, the sky is the limit…

One major application is to detect trends, in whatever field: in fashion, consumer attitudes, entertainment, politics, opinion on international trade issues, tourism, …. you can basically think about anything.
An example could be: What are the views on the U.S. – China Trade issues? Sources can be the media, in any form, also like Facebook, Twitter, ….