The video of yesterday’s panel On the Road to the 19th Party Congress: Elite Politics in China Under Xi Jinping is online at the CSIS site. I think it was a good panel, and thanks to everyone who stopped by to say hello. You will be hard pressed to find smarter Western observers on elite PRC politics than Chris Johnson and Professor Joe Fewsmith. It was a real honor to be on the panel with them.
Guo Wengui (郭文贵, Miles Kwok) did come up. His wife and daughter are now in the US he announced Thursday in his daily webcast, and his comments in recent webcasts and on today’s show (Youtube-郭文贵5月18日报平安视频直播 意外状况下的沟通方式) indicate to me that he cut a deal with Xi’s office to get them out. We shall see, Guo is clearly worried about something happening to him as this morning he talked at length about his preparations for that scenario, including having a mechanism to release his remaining files. Guo knows better than most that any deal with Beijing, if there in fact is one, should be viewed very cautiously.
I will guess that:
- Guo’s allegations against Wang Qishan and HNA have some bite and will dramatically reduce the probability that Wang will break the unwritten age guidelines and join the 19th Party Congress Politburo Standing Committee;
Xi likely believes there is a “black hand” encouraging and assisting Guo, and if he believes Zeng Qinghong is somehow involved the CCDI may finally move against that large “tiger”;
If Guo has now agreed to limit his allegations to lower-level targets, the damage to Xi’s 19th Congress preparations will be small, and Xi may instead find a way to use them to his advantage.
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The Essential Eight
1. Chinese, S. Korean officials meet in attempt to repair ties – AP Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met Thursday with a special envoy sent by new South Korean President Moon Jae-in as the two countries attempted to mend a rift in ties over the deployment of a high-tech American missile defense system in South Korea to guard against North Korean threats. Wang and former South Korean Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan were expected to discuss ways of containing North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons activities as well as the economic fallout over the deployment in South Korea of the U.S. missile defense system called THAAD.
Related: Can South Korea and China patch things up over THAAD? – CNN Moon will be attempting to start the healing process Thursday, when South Korean special presidential envoy Lee Hae-chan meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and two more senior officials Friday. A liberal democrat who lost narrowly to now impeached President Park Geun-hye in 2012, analysts say Moon has an opportunity to draw a line under his predecessor’s damaged relations with Beijing and start afresh.
Related: Lotte’s Chinese Web site Reopens in Possible Easing of Tensions-KBS However, many Lotte Mart stores in China remain closed and it could take some time before business returns to normal. Lotte has borne the brunt of anger by Beijing over THAAD
Related: Trump willing to make peace through engagement with N. Korea: S. Korean envoy-Yonhap U.S. President Donald Trump told a special envoy of South Korean President Moon Jae-in that he looks forward to working closely with Moon to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue and is willing to make peace through engagement with Pyongyang if conditions are right, the envoy said. Trump also told special envoy Hong Seok-hyun during their 10-minute meeting at the White House that he won’t hold talks with North Korea for the sake of talks, the envoy told reporters. Also in attendance in the 10-minute meeting were Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.
2. China deleveraging to continue as goals not yet achieved: state paper | Reuters China’s financial deleveraging will continue given that a regulatory clampdown on risky lending hasn’t “achieved its goals”, a state-run newspaper said in a commentary on Wednesday. The Economic Daily, which is run by China’s cabinet, published the article just days after Premier Li Keqiang said
Related: China’s Leverage Campaign Is Turning Bond Market Upside Down – Bloomberg China’s anti-leverage campaign is causing a distortion that hasn’t happened in the nation’s $9 trillion bond market in at least a decade. The five-year sovereign yield is now higher than that on debt due in a decade, the first time the curve has inverted for the tenor in data going back to 2006. This is due mainly to a surge in the shorter-term yield because of a deleveraging campaign, and a limited advance in the 10-year cost as economic growth concerns raise demand for safety.
Related: PBOC Trying to Keep It Simple With Spotlight on Two Rates – Bloomberg The People’s Bank of China said late last week that it will now mainly use seven-day reverse-repo operations and the one-year mid-term lending facility for short- and medium-term liquidity demand. It also indicated a range it deems as stable for the seven-day interbank interest rates — between 2.6 percent and 2.9 percent — a band much narrower than the broader rates corridor implies.
Related: China Creates Own Insurance Monster – Bloomberg Gadfly Foresea Life is warning of mass defaults and social unrest (Chinese Insurer Warns of Liquidity Crunch -Caixin) unless the nation’s insurance regulator lifts that new-policy sale ban, according to a letter seen by the Financial Times. The unit of conglomerate Baoneng Group said it expects 60 billion yuan ($8.7 billion) in redemptions this year and might not be able to meet payouts unless it can sell fresh policies // Comment: China Securities Journal on the increasing insurance sector crackdown 强监管“排雷” 险资投资或趋谨慎
Related: China’s Using the Yuan to Combat Risk of a Wider Market Meltdown – Bloomberg With stocks and bonds in retreat amid anxiety over Beijing’s deleveraging campaign, officials have been guiding the yuan higher against the dollar in a move that’s caught market watchers by surprise. After meeting expectations earlier in the year, the reference rate used by the People’s Bank of China to manage the yuan has come in stronger than the forecasts of four banks who regularly track the measure on 24 of the past 31 trading days
3. Housing Restrictions Stepped Up in Key Cities in Beijing-Tianjin Area – Caixin Global Public documents reviewed by Caixin showed that more than 20 small and midsize cities across China have mapped out similar restrictions since mid-March. Most of these cities require owners to hold on to their new property at least three years after the initial purchase. Currently, Chinese new-home buyers must wait up to two years to obtain property deeds after a purchase, which means the period for newly purchased homes to change hands could be even longer.
Related: China’s home prices continue to stabilize – Xinhua Dozens of Chinese cities have implemented tougher cooling measures to limit price gains since mid-March, following Beijing’s unprecedented harsh curbs that lifted the down payment ratio for second homes to 60 percent.Meanwhile, China’s central bank has also urged banks to strengthen mortgage risk management and crack down on market irregularities such as fake divorces to skirt high down payment requirements.
Related: Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei act on realty speculation-China Daily Tongzhou district, Beijing’s subsidiary administration center, is forming a realty regulation enforcement alliance with Tianjin’s Wuqing district and Langfang in Hebei province－the two latter areas within easy reach of the capital－to target market speculators and errant property agencies. 环京津楼市调控全面升级 将设通武廊房地产治理工作组
4. Xi congratulates CASS on 40th anniversary – Xinhua Xi asked CASS staff and the country’s philosophers and social scientists to uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics while sticking to the guiding status of Marxism. He said they should study issues concerning the country’s reform, development and stability, as well as promote the global influence of Chinese philosophy and social sciences. // Comment: 5.19.17 Page 7 People’s Daily piece on this by Wang Weiguang王伟光, head of CASS 繁荣中国学术 发展中国理论 传播中国思想（深入学习贯彻习近平同志系列重要讲话精神）——学习贯彻习近平同志致中国社会科学院建院40周年贺信精神
Related: Scholars told to boost influence of China’s philosophy – China Daily President Xi Jinping called on the country’s scholars and researchers on Wednesday to make more contributions to improving the global influence of China’s philosophy and social sciences.
Related: Senior CPC official calls for innovation in philosophy, social sciences – Xinhua Improved abilities to develop original theories is important to the formation of philosophy and social sciences with Chinese characteristics, Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, said at a symposium.
5. When Chinese Rights Activists Were Jailed, Their Wives Fought Back – The New York Times Ms. Chen’s evolution was part of a startling outcome of China’s crackdown on outspoken rights lawyers and advocates that began in July 2015 — the spouses who resisted. She and other wives of rights advocates held in China described their experiences to a congressional subcommittee in Washington on Thursday.
Related: The video Chinese police released to dispel claims of rights activist’s torture | South China Morning Post Police in central China have released a video of a detained former human rights lawyer to try to quell claims that he was being tortured in custody. But the authorities continued to ignore his lawyer’s requests to see him.
Related: Lawyers in Chinese megacity the new front in Communist Party’s push for greater control | South China Morning Post Tianjin will be the first city in China to have commissars in professional groups not directly under the government’s authority, reflecting a tighter grip by the party on the public sphere. While it is still unclear whether other cities will follow suit, Tianjin has been playing a pilot role in political developments for rest of the country since Li Hongzhong became its party boss in September 2016. Li has been one of the most vocal advocates of “absolute loyalty” to President Xi Jinping.
6. Adrift in the South China Sea | Foreign Affairs-Foreign Affairs-By Mira Rapp-Hooper and Charles Edel The Trump administration has not yet carried out any FONOPs in the South China Sea, giving up one of the essential tools the United States can use to protest China’s expansive territorial claims there. By failing to send U.S. ships and planes past Chinese outposts in the waterway, Washington has neglected to remind Beijing that it does not regard China’s position there as legal or legitimate. It is possible that U.S. officials have scaled back their focus on the South China Sea as part of a broader gambit to gain China’s favor, perhaps hoping to secure Beijing’s cooperation on North Korea and concessions on trade. Such a transaction, however, would undermine the United States’ position in Asia. And even if that is not the Trump administration’s reasoning, pausing the FONOPs will still have serious costs.
Related: China, ASEAN countries agree on COC framework – Xinhua The meeting, co-chaired by Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin and Singapore’s Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs Chee Wee Kiong, was held ahead of the upcoming China-ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting in July. The approval of the framework was reached earlier than scheduled, Liu told the press after the meeting, adding that according to the work plan, China and ASEAN countries were expected to finish consultation on the draft framework for the COC by the first half of this year.
Related: China, ASEAN agree on framework for South China Sea code of conduct | Reuters China and the members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) had been hoping to this year agree on the framework, 15 years after committing to draft it. Some ASEAN diplomats have expressed concern about whether China is being sincere, or whether ASEAN has enough leverage to get China to commit to a set of rules.
Related: China installs rocket launchers on disputed South China Sea island: report | Reuters The state-run Defense Times newspaper, in a Tuesday report on its WeChat account, said Norinco CS/AR-1 55mm anti-frogman rocket launcher defense systems with the capability to discover, identify and attack enemy combat divers had been installed on Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands. Fiery Cross Reef is administered by China but also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.
7. Taiwan’s Failure to Face the Threat From China – The New York Times OpEd Taiwan also effectively abolished conscription. Since 2000, the leaders have cut the length of mandatory service from two years to just four months and introduced “alternative services” to allow young men to fulfill their obligations at civilian ministries and private enterprises…We seem to expect American sons and daughters to risk their lives to protect our home, while relieving our own of that very duty. ..The military has struggled with scandals ranging from abuse to graft to espionage. (In November last year, more than 30 retired generals caused a public uproar when they were shown on Chinese state television at a speech in Beijing by the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping.)–Enoch Y. Wu, a former noncommissioned officer in the Taiwanese Army special forces, is a member of the defense policy advisory committee of the New Frontier Foundation, a think tank affiliated with the Democratic Progressive Party
Related: The man who helped prevent a nuclear crisis – BBC News In 1988 Taiwan was racing to build its first nuclear bomb, but one military scientist put a stop to that when he defected to the United States and exposed those plans. This is the story of a man who insists he had to betray his country in order to save it. To this day, critics consider Chang Hsien-yi a traitor – but he has no regrets. “If I can ever do it all over again, I will do it,” says the calmly defiant 73-year-old, speaking from his home in the US state of Idaho.
8. Murder case highlights property money trail from China to US-FT $$ Ms Li’s mother, Li Jihong, made her initial fortune in Beijing in the 1980s by entering joint ventures with construction companies directly owned by the powerful General Logistics department of the People’s Liberation Army, according to corporate records and court cases. By the 1990s, the elder Ms Li’s property development company had snapped up desirable plots in the high-rent business district around the China World Hotel
Related: Prosecutors: Hillsborough woman planned boyfriend’s death | KRON4.com Keith Green was a popular but troubled Northern California high school football star who had recently washed out of college when he met Tiffany Li. Li was a pretty, jet-setting daughter of a rich and powerful Chinese family who was born in Beijing and grew up in Silicon Valley. She changed his life. Then, according to prosecutors, she orchestrated his murder last year when she fell in love with another man after more than six years with Green.
Business, Economy And Trade
China Unicom Says It Uncovered Massive Revenue Falsification in Shaanxi Unit – Caixin Global An internal investigation by China United Network Communications Group Co. Ltd. determined the falsification in the north-central province was systemic, reaching up to the highest levels of management in individual cities where the fraud occurred, the sources told Caixin. Much of the investigation was detailed in an internal memo, which included reflection on why such massive internal data falsification had occurred, they added. Over a five-year period, Unicom’s Shaanxi unit reported 5 billion yuan ($726 million) in revenue, of which 1.8 billion yuan — or about a third — was faked, the sources said, citing an internal message from CEO Wang Xiaochu.
Trump Trade Reboot Spurs U.S. Push by China’s Sovereign-Wealth Fund – WSJ In an interview, CIC President Tu Guangshao says fund hopes to “significantly increase” direct investments in U.S.
Legislation Review: China to Revamp Standardization System – NPC Observer as the Chinese Government itself has recognized, the current standardization system—established in the late 1980s with the enactment of the Standardization Law (1989 Law)—no longer meets actual needs and has even slowed development. In an effort to modernize the system, earlier this year the State Council submitted to the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) a draft revision to the Law (Draft), which the NPCSC reviewed last month. The Draft essentially aims at restructuring the existing standardization system, and below we provide a summary of its core content.
Shanghai Orders Clean Sweep of Converted Commercial Properties – Caixin Global According to a statement on the municipal government’s website, nearly 17 million square meters of such developments — apartments built on land that had been designated for commercial use — will be subject to a regulation issued Wednesday under which developers must roll back all unsanctioned modifications to their original designs in about 12 million square meters yet to be released to buyers.
China Railway Opens Door for Alibaba to Join Share-Holding Reform Plan – Caixin Global CRC is working on a stake-holding reform plan, which includes securitization and capitalization of its assets, General Manager Lu Dongfu said earlier this week when he met with Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma. Lu welcomed Alibaba to be part of the reform plan.
Politics And Law
Former senior Jiangsu official sentenced to four years for bribery, illegal foreign exchange purchase – Xinhua Zhao Shaolin, a former provincial-level official in east China’s Jiangsu Province, was sentenced by a court in Zhejiang Province to four years in prison Thursday for graft and illegally purchasing foreign exchange…The court issued a lesser punishment because Zhao was an accessary to the crime of purchasing foreign exchange through deception, moreover, he confessed to his crimes, cooperated with the authorities to recover his illicit gains, and informed on other major offenders. // Comment: He must have performed very meritorious service 立了大功. Have the “other major offenders” on whom he informed all been detained?
Late former Vice Premier Qian Qichen cremated – Xinhua Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli, as well as former leaders Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao either visited Qian while he was in hospital or offered their condolences after his death. // Comment: CCTV Evening News report, Hu Jintao attended 钱其琛同志遗体在京火化
Report Kids Born Out of Wedlock, Beijing Tells Officials-Sixth Tone Government officials in Beijing with children born outside of marriage have been told they must report them to the Communist Party under strict new vetting regulations designed to combat corruption, The Beijing News reported Wednesday. // Comment: Awkward, especially if the kids were already registered under someone else’s name
Duihua-Reference Materials: Phan-Gillis Case Highlights Deportation of Foreigners in China The adjudication of the Sandy Phan-Gillis case by the Nanning Intermediate People’s Court has drawn attention to the supplemental punishment of deportation under Chinese law. Ms. Phan-Gillis, a prominent American businesswoman, was convicted of espionage by the court on April 25, 2017. She was sentenced to three and one-half years in prison and deportation. She was deported on April 28 without serving her prison sentence.
Foreign And Defense Affairs
Abe urges Xi to consider shuttle diplomacy to further relations：The Asahi Shimbun In a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proposed that the two leaders engage in regular shuttle diplomacy to iron out problems in bilateral relations and move them forward. The letter was delivered by Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, who met Xi at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse here May 16.
社评：日本的对华态度正在微妙变化评论环球网 日本政府的对华姿态像是在发生微妙变化。派代表出席“一带一路”高峰论坛，释放参加亚投行的可能性，被不少人看成是安倍政府在向北京示好。那么是什么推动了这些新姿态的出现呢？ 这些调整有一定的试探性，而且是安倍政府在现实压力之下做出的
U.S. Pacific commander visits Japanese East China Sea listening post | World | Reuters Admiral Harry Harris visited the Yonaguni Coast Observation Unit on the southernmost of the Ryukyu Islands at the invitation of the chief of staff of Japan’s self-defence force, Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano, the U.S. Pacific Command said. The visit was the first by either official to the camp, Pacific Command said in a statement, which added that in discussions in // Comment: MoFa not amused Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying’s Regular Press Conference on May 18 美太平洋司令称将像守护北海道般守护钓鱼岛 中方回应
Japan protests to China over drone flight near disputed islets | Reuters Japan on Thursday lodged a protest with China after four Chinese coastguard vessels entered what Tokyo considers its territorial waters near disputed East China Sea islets and a drone-like object flew near one ship, the Japanese government said.
Chinese propagandists are using adorable kids to take on Donald Trump – The Washington Post “Having China be the world’s leading advocate for globalization is like having Al Capone be put in charge of tax reform,” said Scott Kennedy, deputy director of the Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank. “It is beyond ironic,” he added.
Treasury Sanctions Iranian Defense Officials and a China-Based Network for Supporting Iran’s Ballistic Missile Program OFAC designated Chinese national Ruan Runling and three associated Chinese companies for proliferation activities in support of a key designated Iranian defense entity.
China’s Trillion-Dollar Foreign Policy – The New York Times Like most of its Western allies, the United States has been wary of Mr. Xi’s initiative. While Mr. Putin sent himself, it was only at the last minute that the Trump administration upgraded its delegate to the forum from a Commerce Department functionary to Matthew Pottinger, Mr. Trump’s senior Asia adviser. American companies eager for a share of the One Belt, One Road business hope for greater enthusiasm going forward so their interests will be protected. Whatever obstacles lie ahead for One Belt, One Road, it is no exaggeration to say that if the United States and its Western allies turn inward, Mr. Xi could prevail by default.
What Belt and Road snub means for Singapore’s ties with China | South China Morning Post Lion City’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was not among the many heads of state invited to a summit for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s new Silk Road, suggesting Beijing is still smarting from a protracted diplomatic spat
FrontPageAfrica Newspaper – China Announces 30,000 New Scholarships For African Students The Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges of China’s Ministry of Education has disclosed that 30,000 new scholarships will be granted to African students for the next three years.
军报推出“砥砺奋进的五年”专栏：火箭军勠力建设世界一流战略军种 – 中国军网 自今天起，解放军报推出“砥砺奋进的五年”专栏，集中刊发一批“军字头”标志性成果，立体式、多侧面展示党的十八大以来国防和军队建设各领域的辉煌成就，以激励广大官兵更加满怀信心、脚踏实地地投身强军实践，以奋进的姿态迎接党的十九大胜利召开。
Acting Assistant Secretary Thornton’s Travel to Manila and Beijing Acting Assistant Secretary for the East Asian and Pacific Affairs Bureau Susan Thornton will travel to Manila, Philippines, to attend Senior Officials Meetings for the East Asia Summit, ASEAN Regional Forum, and Lower Mekong Initiative. She will then travel to Beijing, China, on May 25-26 to discuss bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest with Chinese officials. // Comment: A good podcast with Thornton from last month
Sinica Podcast: Joseph Nye, Jr.: Chinese power in the age of Donald Trump What are the continuing roadblocks to China’s progress in building soft power? How is Donald Trump affecting the balance of such power between the U.S. and China? Are both countries headed toward an inevitable great power conflict — also known as the Thucydides Trap — in which an established power’s fear of a rising power escalates toward war? And has the meaning of the term soft power changed in the last 25 years, between 1990 and 2015, when Nye published his most recent book, Is the American Century Over?
Hong Kong, Macao And Taiwan
How the Communist Party plans to win young Hongkongers’ hearts and minds | South China Morning Post The Chinese Communist Party’s youth wing aims to stir national and cultural identity beyond the mainland with plans to offer business and job opportunities to young people in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau. The economic incentives are part of the league’s first mid and long-term youth development plan covering the spectrum, from rights and education to marriage and social security.
Opinion: The identity of TVB’s true controller lies bare for all to see | South China Morning Post According to agreements seen by Money Matters, Chinese media mogul Li Ruigang owns 79 per cent of the non-voting shares — which should be counted the same as voting shares — giving him 20 per cent of TVB.
Fiji is closing its representative office in Taipei – The China Post Officials from Fiji have cleared out of their representative office in Taipei, which the South Pacific island nation is shutting down, Kuomintang Legislator Lu Shiow-yen revealed Wednesday. Lu said the move had been orchestrated by China to embarrass Taiwan, and that attempts by Taipei to convince Fiji to leave just one or two officials in Taiwan were unsuccessful.
China’s Isolation of Taiwan Poses Risks For Global Health | Time On May 15, Taiwanese Vice President, Chen Chien-jen, sat down with TIME at the presidential office in central Taipei to explain why he believes Taiwan has a “fundamental right” to attend. Not only has Taiwan contributed over $6bn to international health, he says, benefiting more than 80 countries since 1996, but it has made significant medical breakthroughs it would like to share. Chen also warns that disease knows no borders.
China denounces name change of Taiwan body in Japan -Xinhua A ceremony was held in Taiwan Wednesday announcing the change of name from the Association of East Asian Relations to Taiwan-Japan Relations Association. Head of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Mikio Numata, who is also Japan’s chief representative to the island, attended the ceremony. “There is only one China and Taiwan is a part of China,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a daily press briefing.
Tech And Media
With almost 1 billion WeChat users, Tencent’s Q1 revenue beats estimates | South China Morning Post Sales at China’s largest social network operator jumped 55 per cent in the first quarter on mobile games and online advertising.
Alibaba Profit Lags Estimates on Tax as Sales Defy Slowdown – Bloomberg China’s biggest e-commerce company posted adjusted earnings-per-share of 4.35 yuan, missing the 4.51 yuan average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg. That came even as revenue rose at a faster-than-expected 60 percent to 38.6 billion yuan ($5.6 billion).
A new search engine from WeChat could change China’s internet — Quartz WeChat has plenty of data to draw from to build and perfect a search engine. With 938 million registered monthly users, it not only knows who your friends are (more than Baidu or Google do), it knows what they read and share, and what you read and share. It knows where you and your friends are located, and what you buy. And it’s addictive—50% of WeChat users spend more than 90 minutes per day on the app.
Ant Financial Steams Into Uncharted Waters of Global Markets – Caixin Global Expanding cross-border cash flows have fueled risk concerns. A bank executive said each money transfer handled by banks for Alipay is usually packed with thousands of small transactions involving numerous individuals and small vendors, which poses a great challenge for banks to check the authenticity of every transaction. “Some of these transactions may involve money laundering risks,” the bank executive said. Last week, the central bank imposed 30,000 yuan ($4,300) fines on Alipay and its major rival, Tenpay, operated by messaging giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., for failing to ensure that at least 90% of its users are registered with real identification based on the rule set by a 2016 document for non-bank payment companies.
Central Bank Cashes Out Six More E-Payment Licenses – Caixin Global No explanation was given for the six licenses’ cancellations, all of which were dated May 15. The six names bring the total number of license revocations to 10, including one as early as August 2015 and two last year.
Huawei Loses Ex-Apple Designer Hired to Revamp Smartphone Software — The Information former longtime Apple designer who joined Huawei two years ago with much fanfare to help improve the oft-criticized user interface of the Chinese company’s smartphones, has recently quit. Abigail Brody’s departure highlights the risks and challenges facing Chinese technology giants as they step up their recruitment in Silicon Valley.
China Brands Dial Up More Than Half of India Smartphone Market – Caixin Global The Chinese brands took 51.4% of the market in the first three months of the year, representing a gain of 16.9% from the fourth quarter and more than double their share from a year ago, according to IDC.
WeChat allows content sharing with banned Facebook, Twitter | South China Morning Post Internet giant Tencent Holdings has enhanced the functions for domestic Chinese WeChat users by allowing them to synchronise their Moments contents simultaneously to Facebook and Twitter, which are banned on the mainland.
Video Platform Lures Homemade Content-Producers With Huge Bounty – Caixin Global The booming market for short original videos has manifested in capital gushing into the mobile-friendly entertainment format. In September, Huoshan parent company Toutiao, valued at $11 billion in April, announced it will offer up to 1 billion yuan in payments for its video channel, which offers three-to-five-minute homemade videos.
Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History
Dickensian Tale Propels Maid to Literary Stardom, Spotlights Those Living on China’s Margins – Caixin Global The Picun community in the northern outskirts of Beijing is no different from other slums in big cities that are home to rural migrants. Its dirt roads littered with rubbish lead to shabby farmhouses, where nearly 10,000 residents live cheek by jowl in makeshift rooms. But a literature club in the village that brings together construction workers, kitchen helpers and maids to listen to poetry, discuss fiction and hone their writing skills has suddenly pushed this squalid corner into the national spotlight. It all happened after an essay by one of its regular participants, Fan Yusu, went viral on Chinese social media in late April.
China’s Youth League Wants Singles to Find the One-Sixth Tone The CYL plans to help young people develop a “correct” attitude toward marriage, He said, arguing that both the utilitarian views on marriage in recent years as well as the “outdated marriage customs” of rural China have had a bad influence on young couples. He said marriage agencies and similar services need to be regulated, and vowed to crack down on their “deceptive tactics”
Online Construction Worker Database Seeks to Solve Wage Arrears-Sixth Tone An online registry that keeps track of construction workers’ hours and salaries was launched on May 11 in a bid to safeguard their labor rights, Party newspaper People’s Daily reported Wednesday.
Energy, Environment, Science And Health
China succeeds in mining combustible ice in South China Sea – Xinhua This is China’s first success in mining flammable ice at sea, after nearly two decades of research and exploration, the minister said at a trial mining site in the Shenhu area of the South China Sea Thursday. Combustible ice usually exists in seabed or tundra areas, which have the strong pressure and low temperature necessary for its stability. It can be ignited like solid ethanol, which is why it is called “combustible ice.” // Comment: This news getting huge propaganda play in Chinese media, including the top left of the front page of today’s People’s Daily
The College Ghostwriting Industry: Inside the Rotten System | China Deep Diver – Elephant Room: Make China Relatable Placing fake orders on Taobao, online typing and ghostwriting are the most common online part-time jobs for university students. Wang Ying, about to finish postgraduate study, started her writing career during her second semester of junior year, after she saw ghostwriting on a part-time job forum. After getting in touch with the agency on QQ, Wang Ying received a test which required her to write a case analysis about 3000 words on integrated marketing communication. “At first, I took it seriously and carefully, and I’d do research in accordance with the course requirements, then carry out theoretical analysis,” she recalled, thinking how naive she was at that time.
How Cash For Good Grades Fixes Rural Education-Sixth Tone Improving basic education in southern Sichuan, therefore, requires action on two fronts. First, we must strengthen parents’ dedication to their children’s education. Second, we must motivate the students themselves. Conditional transfer payments are one method worth examining. For families whose flagging devotion to education stems from entrenched poverty, we have implemented cash rewards for scholastic achievements. This encourages the children of Yi families to complete their studies, ultimately raising the area’s academic track record and overall educational level.
Food And Travel
Goodbye, Dali: Hip Tourist Spot Turns Into Ghost Town as Sewage Scare Prompts Shutdown – Caixin Global $$ Owners were given 10 days’ notice to cancel bookings and wind down operations after authorities announced on March 31a sweeping review of the waste disposal systems of businesses around China’s second-largest highland lake. It is not clear how long the review will last, and the government has not announced any compensation for losses accrued. The drastic move was prompted by a three-month-long algae outbreak on the river in late fall, which reappeared in January and lasted until the end of Lunar New Year at the end of the month.
Yulin in China to ban sale of dog meat ahead of annual dog meat festival, say Chinese animal-rights activists | South China Morning Post Guangxi city’s new Communist Party secretary said to be behind move to prohibit selling of dog meat; animal-rights activist hails compassion of ‘the younger generation in Yulin and in China’
北京总规将报中央审定 中央政务区呼之欲出？- 财新网 《北京城市总体规划（2016年-2030年）（送审稿）》为中央政务区在空间上预留了位置，或并非行政区概念。中央政务区设立及规划，需要中央部门研究定夺 // Comment: Beijing government submits its urban plan to the central government for approval. Caixin discusses the possibility it may may include plans for a “Central Government Affairs District”