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China says US agrees to remove some tariffs; Fentanyl case; TikTok a sideshow compared to WeChat

Gao Feng, spokesman for the PRC Ministry of Commerce, seemed to confirm that the US has agreed to proportionally remove existing tariffs as part of a phase one trade deal, as we discussed in the newsletter earlier this week. The markets got very excited about this statement, but so far I have not see any official confirmation from the US side. Perhaps it will come in a presidential tweet at some point.

We may also see presidential Twitter praise for the PRC’s public trial and sentencing of several fentanyl traffickers. Cracking down on fentanyl has been a core US demand, and this move by the Chinese government will be seen as a sign of good faith towards satisfying something President Trump has wanted very badly.

So overall the optimism for a phase one trade deal does not look unreasonable, but talk of that deal somehow putting a floor under the declining trajectory of the US-China relationship does.

Bytedance’s TikTok app has had a rough week in the US media and US legislature. As a parent of teenagers I dislike the app for the content cesspool it is, but the regulatory ire is about the safety of Americans’ data stored by a PRC firm, and the risk of that firm censoring or using its massive reach for CCP influence or interference operations.

I am not saying those are not risks, but when it comes influence and interference in the political processes of foreign governments I think TikTok is a sideshow compared to WeChat. WeChat’s overall user base in foreign countries may be small, but it is massive among the overseas Chinese diaspora, many of whom use WeChat as a key if not the primary information channel. Australia and Canada have already seen issues around elections from disinformation via WeChat.

Isabelle Niu has a good report on Quartz about this challenge from WeChat, with a focus on Australia-Is China’s messaging app WeChat a problem for democracies?:

In this latest episode of Because China, we go to Australia to understand how China’s “super app” could affect elections and democratic processes of another country. We break down how misinformation travels within the WeChat’s unique information ecosystem and why the app is a channel for Beijing to extend its censorship beyond China’s borders. 

We also talk to people who are pushing back against the norm, urging lawmakers in Australia and beyond to include WeChat in the ongoing conversation about how to regulate global tech companies, prevent the spread of misinformation, and protect citizens’ privacy online. 

The US government may be able to curb or kill TikTok in the US through the CFIU process. Ben Thompson explained how the US government might review the Bytedance acquisition of Musical.ly that drove the evolution of the TikTok product and its success in the US:

Those violations were actually committed by Musical.ly, the app TikTok acquired in November 2017; it is that acquisition that I suggested the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) review. Several folks wondered if that was even possible, given that Musical.ly was actually a Cayman Islands corporation with its principle place of business in Shanghai. In fact, though, CFIUS can block the acquisition of U.S. subsidiaries, or simply not allow acquired companies to operate in the U.S. (for example, late last year CFIUS blocked the Chinese acquisition of an Italian company from its Japanese owner; the Italian company derived a third of its revenue from the U.S.). In this case the Musical.ly app was operated by Musical.ly, Inc., a wholly-owned California corporation based in Santa Monica, and did a large portion of its business in the United States

What legal authorities could the US or other Western governments use to curb or block WeChat?

Thanks for reading, and remember you can always view this newsletter in a browser by clicking on the headline above.


The Essential Eight

1. US-China

U.S., China to Remove Tariffs Bit by Bit if Partial Deal Clinched, Says Beijing - WSJ $$

“If the phase-one deal is signed, China and the U.S. should remove the same proportion of tariffs simultaneously based on the content of the deal,” spokesman Gao Feng said at a regular press briefing Thursday. “This is what [the two sides] agreed on following careful and constructive negotiations over the past two weeks,” he said.

Beijing has typically declined to characterize the amount of progress on trade talks, but the officials on Thursday depicted a phasing out of tariffs as a hard-won result. What’s unclear is whether what the Chinese officials described can be considered a compliance mechanism, as the White House has said it demands.

As of Thursday evening Beijing time, the White House and U.S. Trade Representative had yet to respond to the Chinese side’s announcement.

Transcript of Gao Feng’s comments 商务部召开例行新闻发布会(2019年11月7日)

【高峰】:关于你的第一个问题,目前我没有信息可以透露。如果有进一步信息,我们会及时发布。

关于你的第二个问题,如果双方达成第一阶段协议,应当根据协议的内容同步、等比率取消已加征关税。这是达成协议的重要条件。谢谢...

【高峰】:过去两周,双方牵头人就妥善解决各自核心关切进行了认真、建设性的讨论,同意随协议进展分阶段取消加征关税。这么做有利于稳定市场预期,有利于中美两国经济和世界经济,有利于生产者,也有利于消费者。谢谢。...

【高峰】:中方对于关税问题的立场是一贯的、明确的。贸易战由加征关税而起,也应由取消加征关税而止。至于第一阶段取消多少,可以根据第一阶段协议的内容来商定。谢谢。

China sentences fentanyl smuggler to death in joint effort with US police - Global Times

Xingtai intermediate court in North China's Hebei Province sentenced one man to death for producing and selling fentanyl, and his two accomplices were given life sentences, which show China's "zero-tolerance" policy toward drug-related crimes.

The group manufactured fentanyl in China and then smuggled the drugs to the US to meet the demands of US buyers.

Chinese and US law enforcement agencies exchanged information frequently, and China successfully traced down the group thanks to the US tip-offs. After three months' hard work and tens of thousands miles of travel, China finally arrested more than 20 suspects and confiscated 11.9 kilograms of fentanyl, 19.1 kilograms of alprazolam and other drugs.

The US notified China when they got the information, which propelled China to take swift action, and China also provided information of suspicious parcels to the US so they checked those parcels at the customs.

中美两国联合成功破获首起芬太尼走私案件 全链条摧毁一犯罪团伙、缴获芬太尼11.9公斤--法治--人民网

Xinhua - China and the United States have successfully cracked the first smuggling case involving fentanyl, destroying a criminal gang and seizing 11.9 kilograms of fentanyl

]刘勇等九被告人贩卖 制造芬太尼等毒品案一审宣判_CCTV

Thursday CCTV Evening News has a 51 second report on the Fentanyl sentencing, says it is the first Fentanyl smuggling case cracked with US-China cooperation

Cramer: Trump sees China fentanyl sentencing as good for trade talks - CNBC

The collaboration of the U.S. and China on a fentanyl crackdown is a key step in trade negotiations between the world’s two largest economies, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Thursday.

“This is what President Trump was waiting for,” Cramer said of China’s decision to send nine people to prison, one of whom received a suspended death sentence, for smuggling fentanyl into the United States.

China considers removing restrictions on U.S. poultry imports - CGTN

China is currently considering removing restrictions on poultry imports from United States, said the General Administration of Customs of China and Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs on Thursday.

China’s Currency Rallies on Trade Deal Optimism - Caixin

The onshore yuan appreciated to 6.9732 yuan to the U.S. dollar Thursday afternoon, according to Bloomberg data. The yuan has strengthened 2.9% against the greenback since hitting a recent weak point of 7.1789 per dollar on Sept. 3.


2. Hong Kong

China still counting on Hong Kong to enact its own national security law ‘or the city will face unbearable cost’, says Beijing adviser | South China Morning Post

Beijing is still counting on Hong Kong to enact a national security law by itself, a heavyweight adviser on Beijing policy for the city has said, amid fears that the central government could take more direct action on the controversial issue.

“For more than 20 years, Hong Kong still has not completed legislation and law enforcement on national security,” Wang Zhenmin, director of Tsinghua University’s Centre for Hong Kong and Macau Research, said on the sidelines of an event for business leaders hosted by Beijing think tank Centre for China and Globalisation.

“This is the constitutional responsibility of the special administrative region for all stakeholders.”

Beijing gives Greater Bay Area fresh push as Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam reveals 16 new measures including easing of restrictions on buying homes and school enrolment | South China Morning Post

Beijing has promised to make it easier for Hongkongers to buy a home and send their children to local schools in the nine Guangdong cities under the Greater Bay Area integration plan, as Hong Kong’s embattled leader announced a raft of measures on Wednesday to push forward the scheme.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, speaking in Beijing, also made it clear that Hong Kong’s role under the ambitious national development project had not lessened, even though the city has been plagued by almost five months of social unrest

Chen Zimou, mainland Chinese student, sentenced to six weeks prison for Hong Kong protest - The Washington Post

A 24-year-old mainland Chinese music student living in Hong Kong became on Thursday among the first to be convicted on a charge related to the months-long protests in the city, receiving six weeks in prison for carrying an expandable baton.

The student, Chen Zimou, is also the first mainland Chinese person to be charged with a protest-related offense — a reality that has put him and his family under intense pressure from Chinese authorities and Chinese nationalists online who have attacked him as a traitor.

【央视快评】凝聚起止暴制乱的强大力量_CCTV

Thursday CCTV Evening News weighs in on the Junius Ho stabbing with a commentary, calls on everyone who loves Hong Kong and the nation to unite to stop the violence and end the chaos

Concerns grow over election safety, fairness amid escalated violence in Hong Kong - Xinhua

An increasing number of candidates have suffered varying degrees of threats, doxxing and online bullying ahead of the polling day, highlighting the urgency of ensuring a safe, clean and peaceful election.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) said last week that by the end of October, it has received 77 complaints in relation to the district council election, of which 28 cases involved use of force or duress against candidates.

Starry Lee, chairwoman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), said the fairness of the elections was seriously jeopardized as many candidates from the political group suffered from various degrees of harassment from besieging to setting fires.

'Heaven slays the Communist Party': Hong Kong university students protest at graduation ceremonies | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

A group of Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) students have marched on the campus ahead of a graduation ceremony to support arrested students. Although the ceremony itself went ahead uninterrupted, the event was suddenly cut short after degrees were conferred.

Students also protested at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)’s graduation ceremony on Thursday.

Hong Kong gov't bans dry goods, including satirical items, at Lunar New Year fairs | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

In recent years, dry good stalls at Lunar New Year fairs have become known for selling items related to current affairs, such as decorations and t-shirts. Political parties and groups usually attend to fundraise through the sale of goods.

In Divided Hong Kong, Apps Help to Avoid Eating With the Enemy - WSJ $$

With apps and social-media groups, shoppers and diners can search color-coded maps to see if users think an establishment is yellow (supports the protests) or blue (is pro-government). A neutral stance, in some, is green.

Hong Kong protesters rack up 'enormous' vandalism repair bill incl. HK$10.5m in property maintenance costs, gov't says | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

Responding to a question from pro-Beijing lawmaker Kenneth Lau, the Secretary for Security John Lee said on Wednesday that, up until October 29, 85 of 93 MTR stations and 60 of 68 Light Rail stops have been damaged to some degree. Meanwhile, the Highways Department had incurred a cost of over HK$10 million in maintenance and replacement work, while the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) spent HK$0.56 million to reinstall 670 damaged litter containers, typically used by protesters to form makeshift roadblocks.

Can Hong Kong’s Film Sector Stand Up to China? | Hollywood Reporter

"Studios don’t care about Hong Kong society," one veteran producer told THR when asked if Hong Kong studios and established filmmakers might consider making films for the local market. "They care about making money at the box office. Experienced writers are mostly in their 60s. If you tell them to make films for Hong Kong, they’d ask, 'Why not make movies for China instead?' Most Hong Kong filmmakers started their careers in commercial films; their values can’t be easily changed."


3. 20 measures to spur and safeguard foreign investment

China to further utilize foreign investment - Gov.cn

The State Council released the opinions on further improving the utilization of foreign investment on Nov 7, with the aim of promoting high-quality development and unlocking market vitality.

The document puts forward 20 opinions in four aspects to safeguard a more “fair, transparent and predictable” business environment for foreign-invested enterprises.

Among the highlights:

China will move faster to further open up the financial industry, eliminate all restrictions on the scope of business for foreign banks, securities companies and fund management companies, and remove requirements on total assets for the establishment of foreign-funded banks.

Quantitative entry conditions will be reduced for foreign investors in banking and insurance industries. The requirements for total assets and operation time will be removed for foreign insurance brokerage companies, enabling business expansion in China...

This does not mean the market is opening for foreign Internet and entertainment firms:

To build a fair business environment, more efforts will be taken to eliminate institutional obstacles. The business scope for domestic and foreign enterprises should be unified, and the regulations for foreign investors in offering internet and entertainment services should be perfected.

They really want/need foreign investment:

China will move faster to further open up the financial industry, eliminate all restrictions on the scope of business for foreign banks, securities companies and fund management companies, and remove requirements on total assets for the establishment of foreign-funded banks.

Quantitative entry conditions will be reduced for foreign investors in banking and insurance industries. The requirements for total assets and operation time will be removed for foreign insurance brokerage companies, enabling business expansion in China.

This should also help meet some of the US demands:

China will fully implement the foreign investment law, and establish and improve institutions for accepting complaints.

The country will also strengthen the standardization of the implementation of regulatory policies and make the formulation of regulatory documents more transparent. Forced transfer of technology will be strictly banned.

China will fully uphold the role of judicial protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), improve the IPR protection mechanism and establish a comprehensive and diversified resolution mechanism for intellectual property disputes.

The opinion - 国务院关于进一步做好利用外资工作的意见(国发〔2019〕23号)_政府信息公开专栏


4. Blockchain with Chinese characteristics

From Pigs to Party Fealty, China Harnesses Blockchain Power - Bloomberg

Call it blockchain with Chinese characteristics. Many of the applications have little reason to be decentralized -- a key merit, if not requisite for a blockchain to be tamper-proof. A flurry of gimmicks could just be the first-rush response to Xi’s call to no longer play second fiddle to the U.S., as Beijing stakes a claim on the technology -- but doing so in a way that’s a far cry from the vision of the technology’s creator Satoshi Nakamoto.

“I can’t see them doing much decentralization at this point, without the blockchain players being under the watchful eye of the government,” said Martin Chorzempa, research fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “If we have blockchain with these Chinese characteristics, we eschew the central ethos of cryptocurrency and blockchain and the technology that underlines it.”

Success for Shanghai's 'single window' blockchain application - SHINE News

At a press conference held on the third day of the second China International Import Expo, Shanghai promoted several achievements of the "blockchain plus" application at the city's "single window" service platform for international trade...

Experts from the World Bank spoke highly of Shanghai's single window platform, saying that it ranks among the best in the world in terms of diversity of functions and amount of business processing. They added that such platforms can be promoted to other countries.

Chinese Agency Scraps Plan to Eliminate Bitcoin Mining Industry - CoinDesk

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), a top-level economic planning agency under China’s State Council, published a finalized new Catalog for Guiding Industry Restructuring on Wednesday that will take effect from Jan 1, 2020.

In the final version, which will replace the current one published in 2011, the agency has removed bitcoin mining or other virtual currency mining activities from the initially proposed category of industries that should be eliminated from China. Description related to virtual currency or bitcoin mining can’t be found in the finalized catalog.

Chinese cryptomining giant Bitmain’s civil war breaks into open | Financial Times

“As Bitmain’s founder and largest shareholder, it’s embarrassing that I never knew a government registered legal representative of a firm could suddenly be changed when he was away on a business trip and without him knowing anything,” Mr Zhan wrote. 

Last week his co-founder Wu Jihan returned to the company after an absence and replaced Mr Zhan’s name on the company’s registration documents with his own. Mr Wu also threatened employees with punishment if they continued to meet or communicate with Mr Zhan or carry out any of his instructions. 

Mr Zhan told Bitmain staff and shareholders in his letter he would take all legal measures to come back to the company as soon as possible...

“Everyone is on Wu Jihan’s side except for Zhan’s assistant. People in the bitcoin circle believe in blockchain and cryptocurrency, not AI, and they blame last year’s mass lay-off on Zhan Ketuan,” said Liu Feng, editor-in-chief of Chinese crypto news outlet ChainNews. 


5. Another firm outed for censoring in China

Shutterstock Employees Fight Company’s New Chinese Search Blacklist-The Intercept

The publicly traded company built a $639 million-per-year business on the strength of its vast — sometimes comically vast — catalog of images depicting virtually anything a blogger or advertiser could imagine. The company now does business in more than 150 countries. But in China, there is now a very small, very significant gap in Shutterstock’s offerings. In early September, Shutterstock engineers were given a new goal: The creation of a search blacklist that would wipe from query results images associated with keywords forbidden by the Chinese government. Under the new system, which The Intercept is told went into effect last month, anyone with a mainland Chinese IP address searching Shutterstock for “President Xi,” “Chairman Mao,” “Taiwan flag,” “dictator,” “yellow umbrella,” or “Chinese flag” will receive no results at all. Variations of these terms, including “umbrella movement” — the precursor to the mass pro-democracy protests currently gripping Hong Kong — are also banned...

The photo company’s relationship with China dates back to at least 2014, when it struck a distribution deal with ZCool, a Chinese social network and portfolio site for visual artists. Last year Shutterstock announced a $15 million investment in ZCool, noting that owing to the partnership, “Shutterstock’s content now powers large technology platforms in China such as Tencent Social Ads,”..

Shutterstock’s founder and CEO Jon Oringer replied to the petition several days later...“Do we make the majority of our content available to China’s 1.3 billion citizens or do we take away their ability to access it entirely? We ultimately believe, consistent with our brand promise, it is more valuable for storytellers to have access to our collection to creatively and impactfully tell their stories.” Shutterstock with a bespoke censorship feature was “more empowering” and “will better serve the people of China than the alternative,” Oringer continued.

Comment: If you choose to launch your services in China then you have to do this. The only way to avoid making these compromises is to forgo the PRC market. Maybe I am too jaded but a Shutterstock tool that limits this censorship to PRC IP addresses sounds like a reasonable solution for a firm whose leadership has decided to move forward with the China compromise.

Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Other Apple Services Blocked in China - Bloomberg

Apple services such as the App Store, digital books, news, video, podcasts and music, put the company in the more precarious position of information provider (or at least overseer), exposing it to a growing online crackdown by China’s authoritarian government.


6. Today in the US-China tech struggle

Exclusive: ASML chip tool delivery to China delayed amid US ire - Nikkei Asian Review

As the world's sole supplier of the so-called extreme ultraviolet lithography chip tool, or EUV, the delayed shipment is a blow to Beijing's aspirations to achieve self-sufficient, technological supremacy. However, ASML's use of the word "delay" suggests that eventual shipment has not been ruled out.

"ASML has decided for now to hold back delivery of the EUV equipment as it does not want to make the U.S. government upset that it ships the most advanced chip tool to China" right now, said one of the sources with knowledge of ASML's thinking.

"But at the same time it [ASML] does not want to make China and its Chinese customers feel bad [about the delay] as that is its fastest-growing [tech] market," the source added...

ASML also made clear that its near-unique EUV machine is subject to the so-called Wassenaar Arrangement -- a multinational export control protocol designed to stop the spread of advanced technologies that can be used for military ends -- but that it had an exemption from the Dutch and European authorities to sell the machine to Chinese customers. The permit appears to have now expired.

Securing Our 5G Future | Center for a New American Security - Elsa B. Kania

5G has emerged as a key front in U.S.-China rivalry. Although the advent of 5G could greatly benefit the global economy and produce positive-sum outcomes, and its realization will require international cooperation and coordination to sustain global interoperability, it is undeniable the stakes are high. The outcome of this competition could shift the global center of gravity for growth and innovation. As a rising power, China has prioritized efforts to challenge American leadership in innovation. If successful in realizing its 5G ambitions, China could be poised to reshape the international technological ecosystem and capture major strategic dividends that will enhance its global power and influence. To compete, the U.S. government can and must contribute to catalyzing American innovation.

US–China Strategic Competition: The Quest for Global Technological Leadership | Chatham House

The current dispute between the US and China goes far beyond trade tariffs and tit-for-tat reprisals: the underlying driver is a race for global technological supremacy. This paper examines the risks of greater strategic competition as well as potential solutions for mitigating the impacts of the US–China economic confrontation.

America’s War on Chinese Technology by Jeffrey D. Sachs - Project Syndicate - Jeffrey Sachs

The decision to invade Iraq followed the illogic of then-US Vice President Richard Cheney, who declared that even if the risk of WMDs falling into terrorist hands was tiny – say, 1% – we should act as if that scenario would certainly occur.

Such reasoning is guaranteed to lead to wrong decisions more often than not. Yet the US and some of its allies are now using the Cheney Doctrine to attack Chinese technology. The US government argues that because we can’t know with certainty that Chinese technologies are safe, we should act as if they are certainly dangerous and bar them...

That is what US leaders are doing again: creating a panic over Chinese technology companies by raising, and exaggerating, tiny risks. The most pertinent case (but not the only one) is the US government attack on the wireless broadband company Huawei.

Turmoil at China’s silicon chip champion rocks self-reliance plans | Financial Times $$

Tsinghua Unigroup, long thought to have ironclad backing from the government, went out of its way on Thursday to trumpet that support after market turmoil. Unigroup said it had not defaulted on any bonds and had ample cash “in and outside” the country in a statement issued by a listed subsidiary.

The share price of one of its Shenzhen-listed subsidiaries plunged by the 10 per cent limit on Wednesday while the price of its dollar-denominated bond due in 2021 fell sharply. The statement appeared to reassure investors and shares of its listed units nudged upwards while its dollar debt was also largely steady on Thursday.


7. National Livelihood Satisfaction Survey 

Chinese Journal Review: National Livelihood Satisfaction Survey Released, Rural Professional Associations and Farmer Incomes

In October, the State Council’s Development Research Center published the results of its 2018 annual Livelihood Satisfaction survey in Management World journal. Researchers surveyed 51,606 people, including 64.5 percent in urban areas and 35.5 percent in rural areas.

Some highlights:

Overall satisfaction declining. 49.6 percent of residents in urban and rural areas sampled said they were “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with their overall quality of life, down from 52.8 percent in 2017. Residents who said they were “relatively dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” with their quality of life increased to 13.4 percent, up from 12 percent in 2017.

Confidence in the future declining. 68.9 percent of respondents said they were “confident” or “very confident” in the future, which the authors reported was down from 2017, and 10.2 percent of respondents said they had “little” or “no” confidence in the future, an increase over 2017 levels. (Note: The authors did not report 2017 levels for this indicator).

75 percent of respondents saw no increase or a decrease in income...

Expenditures increasing...

High levels of satisfaction with government services

The Party pays a lot of attention to these surveys

This free newsletter, Chinese Journal Review, is very interesting.


8. Hong Kong booksellers

Swedish publisher detained in China to publish poems smuggled out of jail - Reuters

Chinese-born Gui Minhai, a Swedish citizen based in Hong Kong who has published books critical of China’s leaders, was abducted in Thailand in 2015 and later appeared in custody in mainland China.

The book, called “I draw a door on the wall with my finger”, will be released in May next year on Gui’s 56th birthday.

“We were contacted by his daughter Angela and she wondered if we wanted to publish the poems, which we very much wanted,” said Martin Kaunitz of Kaunitz & Olsson. “He had them smuggled out to Angela and he wrote the poems during his first stay in prison.”

Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee who fled to Taiwan says he’s ready to reopen in Taipei | South China Morning Post

Lam Wing-kee, the Hong Kong bookseller who moved to Taiwan in April – three years after claiming he had been kidnapped by Chinese agents for selling books banned across the border – says he plans to reopen his store, Causeway Bay Books, in Taipei early next year.

The shop would sell books about Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China, and cater to “free souls” so they could understand the increasingly complex situation facing the three territories, he said.


Business, Economy and Trade

China’s Foreign Reserves Post Small Increase on Weaker Dollar - Bloomberg The small rise in the holdings suggests capital outflows remain muted, even with some signs of hidden outbound cash. Fluctuations in the stockpile this year have been mainly driven by valuation effects caused by changes in the dollar index and Treasury yields.

China Reboots Plan to Attract Tech IPOs - WSJ $$ China is making a fresh attempt to attract technology listings, after previous plans to connect overseas-traded behemoths including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. with mainland investors fizzled...Under the new system, foreign companies and Chinese businesses that are incorporated abroad will be able to list in mainland China, the people added. Many Chinese companies are incorporated in offshore locations such as the Cayman Islands. That allows them, for example, to obtain venture-capital funding from international investors, which would otherwise be restricted under Chinese laws on foreign ownership.

China Is Said to Mull Wave of Bank Mergers to Bolster Stability - Bloomberg Problematic banks with less than 100 billion yuan ($14 billion) of assets would be urged to merge or restructure under a plan being discussed by financial regulators, people familiar with the matter said. Local governments would be held responsible for dealing with troubled lenders, with the central bank providing liquidity support if necessary, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private information.

China’s Gold Buying Spree Comes to a Halt After 10 Months - Bloomberg The People’s Bank of China kept holdings level 62.64 million ounces in October, unchanged from a month earlier, according to data on its website on Thursday. That holding pattern follows 10 straight months of accumulation that have boosted the nation’s stockpile by more than 100 tons

Foreign holdings of China equities at record - Reuters By end-Sept, Chinese equities held by foreigners were at a record of 1.77 trillion yuan ($253.14 billion) after having risen for four straight months, up nearly 40% in a year, the latest data from the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) shows.

Alibaba cuts fundraising target for delayed Hong Kong listing | Financial Times $$ Alibaba has slashed its fundraising target for a secondary listing in Hong Kong to as little as $10bn — half its original goal — as it tries to push through a deal by the end of the year.

China set to make new offer to EU as agriculture chief Phil Hogan admits there has been ‘limited progress’ on investment deal | South China Morning Post Phil Hogan, currently the EU Agriculture Commissioner, said on Thursday that both sides needed to redouble their efforts to reach a deal next year. “I got a sense during my visit that China wants to work with Europe closely and I will bring the message back to Brussels”, he told reporters at a press conference in Beijing.

刘强东因个人原因请辞全国政协委员 据《新闻联播》报道,11月7日, 政协第十三届全国委员会常务委员会第九次会议在京闭幕,会议接受刘强东因个人原因请辞第十三届全国政协委员 JD founder Liu Qiangdong (Richard Li) resigns as a CPPCC delegate, for "personal reasons"

Yicai Global - China's Trip.Com Forms JV With TripAdvisor, May Name Person to US Firm's Board Shanghai-based Trip will own 60 percent of TripAdvisor China, with its US partner holding the rest. The deal will give both access to each other's inventory, help Trip with its globalization plans and strengthen TripAdvisor's status as a global travel leader, they said in a joint statement yesterday.

Money-Losing Letting Agency Raises Only Half of What It Wanted in U.S. IPO - Caixin Money-losing letting agency Q&K International Group Ltd. has raised $45.9 million in its initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq, less than half of its original fundraising target.

Industrial Giant Gets Stay of Execution on Debt Repayment - Caixin A private placement bond manager familiar with Xiwang Group told Caixin the company “is being proactive and investors have no better option than to agree with the extension as the commercial paper is already in default.”..The company, which is controlled by businessman Wang Yong, is based in the Shandong city of Zouping and speculation had grown that the local government would get involved in a bailout.

Tmall Global Wants to Build an Ecosystem of Global Influencers | Alizila.com Kim Kardashian West, the reality TV star, social media icon and businesswoman, sold out of her stock of 15,000 bottles of her name-brand KKW perfume in just a few minutes during a livestream with China’s top key opinion leader, Viya Huang, on Wednesday, drawing 13 million viewers to mark her entry into the China market via cross-border e-commerce site Tmall Global. To Tmall Global, Kardashian and Huang are wangzi, “mega-popular influencers” in Chinese.

Presale figures of “Double 11” reveal improved consumption power of Chinese - People's Daily Online According to statistics released by Tmall, an online shopping platform under e-commerce giant Alibaba, 64 brands had made it into the 100-million-yuan ($14.3 million) club for their presale performance by Oct. 31, double the number last year. For instance, Estee Lauder’s presale volume hit nearly 500 million yuan in the first 25 minutes, exceeding the 24-hour figure last year. In addition, the first half-hour presale figures of phone makers, including Huawei, OPPO, VIVO and Xiaomi also surpassed those made in a day in 2018.

Politics and Law

应知应会!十九届四中全会超全学习资料包--独家稿件-人民网 People's Daily page with links to all the resources a good cadre needs to study the Fourth Plenum

Senior CPC official urges publicizing spirit of key Party plenum - Xinhua Wang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and a member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks at a meeting to rally morale for the lecturers to publicize the spirit of the plenary session, which was convened from Oct. 28 to 31 in Beijing. He asked the lecturers to develop an in-depth understanding of the plenary session spirit to better serve the publicity works. //CCTV Evening News report on the meeting 学习贯彻党的十九届四中全会精神中央宣讲团动员会在京召开 王沪宁出席并讲话

National religious groups vow to implement spirit of key CPC session - Xinhua China's national religious groups on Thursday gathered to study the spirit of the fourth plenary session of the 19th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee. Calling the session a groundbreaking and milestone event, attendees of the meeting said the session showed the new requirements for the development of the country's causes in the new era and the new expectations of the people.

Foreign and Defense Affairs

Xi to visit Greece, attend BRICS summit in Brazil - Xinhua At the invitation of Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro, Chinese President Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to Greece and attend the 11th BRICS summit in Brasilia, the capital city of Brazil, from Nov. 10 to 15, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying announced in Beijing on Thursday.

Europeans look to China as global partner, shun Trump's US - AP Macron portrayed himself as an envoy for the whole European Union, conveying the message that the bloc has largely given up on Trump, who doesn’t hide his disdain for multilateralism. Just as the Trump administration formally launched the process of pulling out of the 2015 Paris climate agreement , France and China issued a “Beijing call” on Wednesday for increased global cooperation in fighting climate change and better protecting biodiversity. Both countries have deplored the U.S. withdrawal.

Chinese top legislator meets Czech parliament speaker - Xinhua Chinese top legislator Li Zhanshu met with Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Radek Vondracek in Beijing on Thursday...Vondracek said the Czech Republic is willing to seize the important opportunity provided by China's development and further opening-up, enhance high-level exchanges, promote practical cooperation and explore the Chinese market. The Czech Republic will continue to uphold the one-China principle, he said.

SecDef: China Is Exporting Killer Robots to the Mideast - Defense One China is exporting drones that it advertises as having lethal autonomy to the Middle East, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Tuesday. It’s the first time that a senior Defense official has acknowledged that China is selling drones capable of taking life with little or no human oversight.

President Xi calls to use Military World Games experience for national rejuvenation - Ministry of National Defense The success of the 7th Military World Games has not only shown the image of China in the new era to the world, but also demonstrated the country's stance of peaceful development, Xi noted. Xi urged all relevant parties to draw on the experiences from the successful hosting of the Military World Games and contribute to realizing the "Chinese Dream" of rejuvenating the nation. The 7th Military World Games, the biggest ever "Olympics for the military," was held from October 18 to 27 in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. China collected 239 medals including 133 golds, the first time in the history of the event that a country has won over 100 gold medals.

Chinese defense minister meets Bangladesh chief of army staff - China Military Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe on Wednesday met with Chief of Bangladesh Army Staff Aziz Ahmed in Beijing

Illustrations showing ballistic missile on H-6N bomber not real: insider - Global Times Recent images in the Chinese magazine Modern Ships that show an H-6N bomber carrying an air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM) are not official confirmation of the H-6N's ALBM capability, a magazine insider said. The images are computer generated, merely conceptual and have no official background, the insider told the Global Times.

China starts UN tsunami warning center - Global Times A tsunami alert center established by China in the South China Sea area has begun operating, reflecting the nation's contributions to regional peace and the region's recognition of China's technologies.  The South China Sea Tsunami Advisory Center (SCSTAC),the latest addition to the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), is hosted and funded by China's National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center in Beijing.

China and France to jointly repair Notre Dame de Paris - China Daily With President Xi Jinping and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron's presence during the latter's state visit to China on Wednesday, the declaration was signed by Liu Yuzhu, director of the National Cultural Heritage Administration and Franck Riester, the French minister of culture, in the Great Hall of the People. "A loss of cultural heritage means the disappearance of a period of history and culture," Liu says in a written statement. "It also teaches us a lesson about ensuring the safety of cultural heritage, and prompted us to set red lines for the future that must not be crossed." // Did France offer to send experts to help repair churches and mosques damaged in China's crackdown on religion?

China space agency shares satellite data - ECNS China will share data from its Gaofen (GF) satellites free to the public on the website www.cnsageo.com, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced at a meeting of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) in Canberra, Australia. The China High-resolution Earth Observation System aims to build up an observation system based on satellites, aircraft and ground systems. Several satellites including the GF-1 and GF-6 have been launched under the system’s framework. // CNSA GEO Home 

There may be a message behind the new Chinese ambassador's clothing choices | CBC News When former Chinese ambassador Lu Shaye presented his credentials to Governor-General David Johnson in March 2017, the dapper diplomat opted for a dark grey western business suit with a pink tie. On Friday, his replacement Cong Peiwu met Governor-General Julie Payette wearing an austere black Mao suit. It's an outfit similar to the one worn by China's supreme leader Xi Jinping recently to mark the 70th anniversary of Communist Party rule in China.

Taiwan

Taiwan warns of possible attack if China's slowdown 'becomes serious' - Reuters In an interview with Reuters, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu drew attention to China’s slowing economy amid its bitter trade war with the United States. “If the internal stability is a very serious issue, or economic slowdown has become a very serious issue for the top leaders to deal with, that is the occasion that we need to be very careful,” Wu said on Wednesday. “We need to prepare ourselves for the worst situation to come...military conflict.”

Tech and Media

China’s State Administration of Press and Publication releases new notice on preventing addiction among minors in online games. – Niko Whilst spending limits for minors has been an option in past games via parental control apps for game publishers like Tencent and NetEase, we note that this is the first time there is an official policy on the subject. As per the notice, game publishers are required to block all payment options for players under the age of 8. For players between 8 and 16 years old, game publishers are required to implement a limit of RMB 50 on single transactions and RMB 200 each month. Players between 16 and 18 years old will have a limit of RMB 100 on single transactions and a limit of RMB 400 each month.

China officially launches 6G research and development - People's Daily Online While addressing a gathering on Sunday, vice-minister of science and technology Wang Xi said worldwide knowledge about the technology is still in an exploratory stage, without consensus over its definitions and applications. He said the ministry will work with relevant departments to roll out a plan for 6G development, and work towards breakthroughs regarding its basic theories, key technologies and standards.

The wonderful world of Chinese hi-fi - The Verge Online, the phenomenon is known as “Chi-fi” — a mashup of “Chinese” and “high-fidelity.” It’s usually used to refer to portable audio gear — they’re almost always earbuds, which sit outside the ear canal like AirPods, or in-ear monitors (IEMs), which have squishy tips and actually go inside the ear canal — that come from essentially anonymous Chinese companies.

China’s ‘Enter the Forbidden City’ to Get U.S. Release – Variety Directed by female filmmaker Hu Mei and written by Zou Jingzhi (Zhang Yimou’s “Coming Home,” Wong Kar Wai’s “The Grandmaster”), the historical epic won the Chinese American Film Festival’s top prizes for best director and best feature film Tuesday night at an awards ceremony in Los Angeles. Hu is one of China’s so-called Fifth Generation directors.

专访《我和我的祖国》总出品人傅若清:打造不一样的主旋律电影_周刊精选_经济网_国家一类新闻网站 China Economic Weekly interviews Fu Ruoqing, head producer of the film "Me and my Motherland", on why it was successful, and a different kind of propaganda film

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

Questions Swirl Around China’s New Alzheimer’s Drug - Caixin News that China’s medical regulator conditionally approved a novel, locally made drug to treat some symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease raised the hopes of many and prompted plenty of patriotic chest-thumping. But while the drug’s mechanism sounds promising and reflects current research trends, questions persist over the scant evidence provided for its effectiveness and safety, drawing skepticism from industry insiders and researchers alike.

China has 10 mln e-cigarette smokers: expert - Xinhua About 10 million Chinese aged 15 or above are using electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), according to Xiao Lin, a researcher at the Tobacco Control Office at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The vaping rate among young people was higher than other age groups, with those aged 15 to 24 the highest, said Xiao at an online discussion panel on the website of China's National Health Commission (NHC).

E-commerce marketplaces struggle to comply with e-cigarette sales ban · TechNode Nearly a week after the ban, related government authorities on Tuesday summoned executives from major e-commerce platforms, search engines, and social platforms to accelerate implementation of the ban.

Countdown starts for China’s big mutant crop space mission in race for food security | South China Morning Post China plans to launch a recoverable satellite that will carry half a tonne of life forms into space to see if better crops can be produced there, according to scientists involved. The “passengers” on the satellite, which could be launched early next year, will include more than 240kg (530lbs) of seeds and plants, as well as other forms of life such as bacteria.

The satellite images that help explain why Delhi’s air remains toxic and Beijing’s is getting better - The Washington Post In a study published last year, a team of researchers found that the number of burning spots during fall had plummeted across China between 2015 and 2017. Overall, crop burning remained a pollution factor, however, as some farmers appear to have resorted to burning cropland during other seasons. In comparison, India’s democratic government has struggled to confront the problem with the same efficiency as China’s authoritarian state. Farmers account for a significant share of Indian voters in some states, which has slowed the country’s response.

Study reveals how Tibetan people adapt to high altitude - Xinhua They also found that a gene named MKL1 shows large divergence between highland Tibetans and lowland Han Chinese. The difference is associated with lower systolic pulmonary arterial pressure, one of the key adaptive physiological traits in Tibetans.  Compared to other East Asian genomes, the researchers found that the Tibetan genome has more shared gene sequences with archaic humans like Neanderthal and Denisovan, noting that the unique genomic composition is associated with better lung function in Tibetans.

Food and Travel

北京城管查处胡同“自产”糖葫芦 黑枣发霉!山楂不洗!-中国长安网 inspections of tang hulu sellers in Beijing find dirty fruit, mold...i miss these, as do my kids ad spouse. Haw fruit brings back many happy memories

Rural and Agricultural Issues

Why Some Rural Families Have Stopped Trying for Sons - SixthTone Between 2004 and 2012, I spent a total of 17 months living in rural northeastern Liaoning province, conducting research into locals’ lives, childrearing practices, intergenerational relations, marital transactions, and traditions of ancestor worship in an effort to understand the socioeconomic and cultural forces driving this change in reproductive preferences. I found that significant transformations were taking place within Chinese families which, combined, were engendering a willingness to have only one daughter. To start, young couples in the village had adopted a new ideal of happiness, one defined by material consumption and leisure. A few young villagers used the phrase “life is to be enjoyed” to describe the new mindset. Thanks to a burgeoning market economy, villagers had access to a wide variety of consumer goods. To afford them, many took jobs in factories, restaurants, and construction sites outside their home villages, while devoting their limited free time to playing mahjong or visiting friends after work.—Shi Lihong is an associate professor in the department of anthropology at Case Western Reserve University.

China's soybean yield sets new record - Global Times Chinese researchers have set a new record in soybean yield, according to the Jiamusi Branch of the Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences. The new record was set in test fields in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which achieved a yield of 447.47 kg of soybean per mu (about 0.07 hectares).

Fourth Plenum; 5G launches; Shanghai shuts online P2P lending; Pompeo's series of speeches on China

The Fourth Plenum has concluded, there was no announcement of any personnel changes other than the automatic ascension to full membership of the two alternate Central Committee members discussed yesterday.

Sinocism readers were right to be very skeptical of the rumors going around, though the lack of any public sign of pressure on Xi by way of enlarging the Politburo Standing Committee or making clearer signals about anointing successor will probably not stop the rumors that Xi is under pressure, weakened by missteps over Hong Kong and the relationship with the US, or facing a backlash that would force him to share more power. Seek truth from facts as they say in Beijing, and right now the facts as I can observe them are not pointing towards a weakened Xi.

The Plenum Communique reiterated that China is facing many risks, as one would expect given that nine months ago Xi convened a three day meeting of just about the same audience on risks; it articulated the advantages of the PRC’s system of socialism with Chinese characteristics; it emphasized that the Party needs to lead everything, and discussed further refinements to the “Party eats the State” reforms from last year’s Third Plenum, again not a surprise given that three months ago Xi convened a three day meeting of just about the same audience to discuss the progress of those reforms from the Third Plenum.

Item 1 below has a long excerpt of the Xinhua English summary (it is important to read what they say). Over the coming days I and others will be digging into the communique and so hope we will have better insights about what it means for future policies. On the first couple of passes the document and its goal of advancing the modernization of China's system and capacity for governance reads a bit like a top-level roadmap for a highly functioning authoritarian superpower.

Thanks for reading.


The Essential Eight

1. Fourth Plenum Communique

19th CPC Central Committee concludes fourth plenary session, releases communique - Xinhua

The session reviewed and adopted the CPC Central Committee's decision on some major issues concerning how to uphold and improve the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and advance the modernization of China's system and capacity for governance. Xi explained the draft document to the plenary session....

The session fully affirmed the work of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee since the Third Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee, acknowledging its endeavors that led to major achievements in various causes of the Party and the country despite complicated situations marked by increasing risks and challenges at home and abroad....

The communique said China's state and governance systems enjoy notable strengths in the following aspects:

-- Upholding the centralized and unified leadership of the CPC, following the CPC's scientific theories, maintaining political stability and ensuring that the country keeps advancing in the direction of socialism;

-- Seeing that the people run the country, promoting the people's democracy, maintaining close ties with the people and relying on them to push forward the country's development;

-- Ensuring law-based governance in all fields, building a country of socialist rule of law, and guaranteeing social fairness and justice and the people's rights;

-- Ensuring the whole country works together and stimulating the enthusiasm of all aspects to mobilize resources for major undertakings;

-- Upholding equality between all ethnic groups, creating a strong sense of community for the Chinese nation to work jointly for common prosperity and development;

-- Upholding the dominant role of the public sector and common development of economic entities under diverse forms of ownership, the distribution system whereby distribution according to labor is dominant and a variety of other modes of distribution exist alongside it, the synergy between the socialist system and the market economy, and continuously unlocking and developing the productive forces;

-- Upholding common ideals and convictions, values, and moral standards, promoting China's fine traditional culture, revolutionary culture and advanced socialist culture, as well as inspiring the people to embrace shared ideologies and mindsets;

-- Adhering to the vision of making development people-centered, and continuously guaranteeing and improving people's livelihoods and improving people's wellbeing to achieve common prosperity for everyone;

-- Continuing reform and innovation, moving with the times, and promoting self-improvement and development to build a society full of vitality;

-- Selecting officials based on integrity and ability and on the basis of merit regardless of background to cultivate more talented individuals;

-- Keeping the armed forces under the Party's command and ensuring that the people's armed forces are completely loyal to the Party and the people so as to safeguard China's sovereignty, security and development interests;

-- Upholding the principle of "one country, two systems," maintaining lasting prosperity and stability in Hong Kong and Macao, and promoting the peaceful reunification of China;

-- Adhering to the unity of independence and self-reliance and opening up to the rest of the world, taking an active part in global governance, and continuing to make contributions to the building of a community with a shared future for humanity.

"All these notable strengths are the fundamental basis for fostering stronger confidence in the path, theory, system and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics," the communique said.

The original Chinese version, along with the CCTV Evening News report on the Plenum and communique - (受权发布)中国共产党第十九届中央委员会第四次全体会议公报

China’s Communist Party Concludes Conclave in Strong Support of Xi - WSJ $$

Chinese President Xi Jinping emerged from a Communist Party conclave with a resolute endorsement of his leadership, despite a slowing economy, a bruising trade war with the U.S. and unrest in Hong Kong.

The party’s governing Central Committee also signaled a firmer stance on Hong Kong, calling for stronger safeguards for China’s national security in the city—a formulation that some experts say foreshadows new legal powers to squelch dissent against Beijing’s authority...

Rather than chart new policies, the goal of this year’s meeting appears to have been providing “affirmation of Xi’s brand of personalized authoritarianism and his approach to governance,” said Wu Qiang, a Beijing-based commentator on Chinese politics and a former political-science lecturer at Tsinghua University.

Question: did anyone have any evidence to support a belief that Xi would emerge from this plenum without an endorsement of his leadership?

聚焦十九届四中全会公报高频词:“制度”出现77次--独家稿件-人民网

People's Daily word map pf the 5000+ character communique. The word that appeared the most, 77 times, was "制度 system". "人民 the people" was second at 53, and "治理"governance was third at 41...by my count "党 Party" appeared 68 times, but perhaps since the Party is everywhere and leads everything you don't really count its mentions, just as you don't really count air molecules?

一文速览!十九届四中全会公报要点摘编--独家稿件-人民网

via People's Daily online, the "new era study xi studio" provides a distillation of the main points of the communique

Party meeting focuses on better economic governance - China Daily

China is likely to see breakthroughs in improving its business environment and the rule of law in economic fields to better unleash the country's growth potential and ensure high-quality development

CCTV interviews Plenum delegates - ]迈向“中国之治”新境界的重要里程碑——与会代表坚决拥护十九届四中全会《决定》_CCTV

与会代表们表示,中国特色社会主义制度是当代中国发展进步的根本保障,推进国家治理体系和治理能力现代化,体现了以习近平同志为核心的党中央高瞻远瞩的战略眼光和强烈的历史担当,对全面建成小康社会,巩固党的执政地位,确保党和国家长治久安具有重大而深远的意义。

China Says It Will Roll Out ‘National Security’ Steps for Hong Kong - The New York Times

China would “build and improve a legal system and enforcement mechanism to defend national security in the special administrative regions,[建立健全特别行政区维护国家安全的法律制度和执行机制]” the meeting summary said.

The vague language leaves plenty of guesswork about what the Chinese leaders may have in mind. Some pro-Beijing hard-liners in Hong Kong have suggested the time may have come for the Chinese authorities to impose new security legislation on the territory, which Britain returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.


2. US-China trade

This story seems to have moved markets but I have no idea why anyone would be surprised - Trade Talks Latest: China Doubts Deal Possible With Donald Trump - Bloomberg

In private conversations with visitors to Beijing and other interlocutors in recent weeks, Chinese officials have warned they won’t budge on the thorniest issues, according to people familiar with the matter. They remain concerned about President Donald Trump’s impulsive nature and the risk he may back out of even the limited deal both sides say they want to sign in the coming weeks...

The people familiar with China’s position said the tariffs don’t all have to be removed immediately, but they must be part of the next stage. China also wants Trump to cancel a new wave of import taxes due to take effect Dec. 15 on American consumer favorites such as smartphones and toys as part of the phase one deal, the people said.

Comment: Just read the Plenum communique for a reminder that Xi and the CCP are not going to budge on issues like SOEs

China, U.S. will continue to advance consultations: MOC - Xinhua

The two sides will continue to advance consultations as planned, and the Chinese and U.S. chief trade negotiators will hold a phone conversation again on Friday, said the spokesperson.

Trade war: China and US to hold phone talks on Friday after Apec setback | South China Morning Post

A commentary by Taoran Notes, a social media account affiliated with state-run Economic Daily, said that the phone call on Friday meant the negotiations were not affected by “external factors”, and that the suggestion a deal could be signed in Macau was “groundless speculation”.

The latest, and brief, Taoran Notes - 智利突然放弃APEC,中美磋商进展顺利按原计划推进-新

President Trump tweets that the search is underway for an alternative site for the phase one signing:

U.S.' Mnuchin says ag sales to China will 'take time to scale up' to $40-50 bln - Reuters

“This is built on a bottom-up basis of both what we think we can deliver and what they think they need,” Mnuchin said. “It’s a one-year target, but obviously it’s going to take some time to scale up.”

The Sino-U.S. Phase One Trade Deal Is an Imperfect Painkiller. What's Next?

The decided lack of details on the scope, timing and mechanics of the phase one announcement is an indication of just how preliminary the agreement is. Second, Beijing remains unwilling to make more substantive concessions on core structural issues, ranging from its preferential treatment of its state-owned enterprises to a credible commitment that it will protect the intellectual property of foreign companies. Finally, even if phase one comes to fruition, this won’t do much to reduce the uncertainty that likely will define the U.S.-China relationship for years to come, as both countries begin to openly acknowledge that they are entering a period of prolonged strategic rivalry.

In Depth: Why China Is Still Hooked on U.S. Soybeans - Caixin

Without a breakthrough in soybean production technology, it will be impossible to keep increasing domestic production, according to the Soybean Industry Going Out Strategy and Policy report released by the Ministry of Agriculture in February to encourage the industry to expand overseas in countries, including Russia.

To become self-sufficient in soybeans, China would require 115.3 million acres of land, more than five times the current acreage and more than one-third of the country’s entire available arable land, said Jiang Lianzhou, dean of the College of Food Science and Nutritional Engineering at the Northeast Agricultural University.


3. US Secretary of State Pompeo launches series of speeches on the “China Challenge”

No wonder Xi keeps warning about struggle, and why Mao's "protracted war" is still relevant. Are the US and other Western countries prepared for a protracted struggle with China? Is Pompeo's goal with these speeches to increase awareness of and intensify preparations for that struggle?

US has woken up to how ‘truly hostile’ China is towards Western values, says Secretary of State Mike Pompeo | South China Morning Post

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo started a series of speeches on “the challenge of China” on Wednesday by saying that Beijing’s policies were hostile to Western interests...

Pompeo said he planned to give a series of addresses and remarks in the months ahead, outlining the challenge of China on topics such as the “competing ideologies and values” that drew distinctions between it and the US.

“The Chinese Communist Party is a Marxist-Leninist party focused on a struggle, and world domination. We need only to listen to the words of their leaders,” Pompeo said...

Points in his speech included Beijing’s intelligence gathering and its campaigns to shape public world opinion; China’s effect on the international order; its economy and how that distorted others, and its military strength.

Pompeo's speech - The China Challenge - United States Department of State

In the coming months, I’m going to give a series of sets of remarks. I’m going to talk about each of these in some more detail.

I’ll talk about the competing ideologies and values and the impact that has on America and the world. The Chinese Communist Party is a Marxist-Leninist Party focused on struggle and international domination. We need only listen to the words of their leaders.

I’ll discuss too how they interfere with the things we take most for granted here in the United States. The party’s intelligence agencies, the United Front Work, and its propaganda outlets have embarked on a global campaign to change public opinion in favor of Beijing. We want to preserve our freedoms – our freedom of speech and we want to make sure that information flows freely everywhere.

And I’ll discuss too the impact on the international order. Beijing is actively creating its own international space and it participates in international organizations to validate its authoritarian system and spread its reach. We in the United States, and I think the good people who are part of the Hudson Institute, want to preserve the existing free and open international order that the United States has helped create and continues to lead.

And I’ll too – talk too about the economy. China has engaged in unfair predatory economic practices and it’s utilizing state assets to build its economic footprint all around the world. We want China to be successful. We want it to have a successful economy. We want a transparent, competitive, market-driven system that is mutually beneficial for all involved...

And I’ll get a chance too to talk about how our militaries compete and the capabilities that China has built up that far exceed what they would need for self-defense.

Comment: This next part only happens with fundamentally change in the Communist Party, or its replacement by some other ruling party. US officials say they do not want to overthrow the CCP but viewed from Beijing that what US officials like Pompeo are really saying.

We don’t want a confrontation with the People’s Republic of China. In fact, we want just the opposite.

We want to see a prosperous China that is at peace with its own people and with its neighbors.

We want to see a thriving China where the Chinese business community transact business with the rest of the world on a fair set of reciprocal terms that we all know and understand.

And we want to see a liberalized China that allows the genius of its people to flourish.

And we want to see a China that respects basic human rights of its own people, as guaranteed by its own constitution.

MFA spokesman Geng Shuang did not enjoy Pompeo's speech - 外交部回应美国务卿蓬佩奥消极言论:暴露的是傲慢与恐惧--国际--人民网

蓬佩奥上述讲话恶毒攻击中国共产党和中国政府,挑拨中国共产党同中国人民的关系,蓄意歪曲诬蔑中国内外政策,充分暴露了美国一小撮政客根深蒂固的政治偏见及其阴暗的反共心理。这种言论体现的不是自信和力量,暴露的是傲慢与恐惧。

In his remarks, Pompeo viciously attacked the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government, played the Communist Party of China against the Chinese people, deliberately distorted and stigmatized China's domestic and foreign policies, and fully exposed the deep-rooted political prejudice and dark anti-communist mentality of a small group of US politicians. This kind of speech shows not confidence and strength, but arrogance and fear.

US Assistant Secretary of Sate for East Asia David Stilwell Remarks at Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia - United States Department of State

I’d like to make special note here of the central role of governance in our vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific. At the national level, “free” certainly means good governance and the assurance that citizens can enjoy their fundamental rights and liberties...

Nations that respect religious freedom, and respect their peoples’ right to the free expression of religion, tend also to respect their neighbors and the international rules we all cherish. Nations that suppress religious freedom, and repress their peoples’ right to the free expression of religion, tend also to disrespect their neighbors’ interests and challenge the free and open international norms we all cherish...

US grounding of Chinese drones shows decoupling intention: analyst - Global Times

China urged the US to stop cracking down on Chinese firms and ditch its cold-war mindset after the US Department of Interior (DOI) reportedly grounded Chinese-made drones by citing national security reasons.

Geng Shuang, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said at a regular briefing on Thursday that it hoped that the US could stop citing the general concept of national security and rendering the "China threat theory", while providing a just, fair and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese firms that have business operations in the US.

China should retaliate against US politicians behind Xinjiang ‘human rights abuse’ bill: analysts - Global Times

Anti-China forces in the US have been active in recent years, especially politicians and members of the US Congress who have close interactions with separatists from Taiwan and Xinjiang, Zha Xiaogang, a research fellow at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, told the Global Times.

US decoupling benefits none, expert says - China Daily

The US is seen as having "attacked China in areas such as trade, science and technology and people-to-people exchanges", but both countries need to understand that their development complements and reinforces the other, said Zeng Peiyan, chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

The center is hosting the two-day symposium jointly with the National University of Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and the Brookings Institution of the US.

Inside the Newsroom Podcast #54 — Bill Bishop (Sinocism)

we discuss why tensions between the U.S. and China are so bad right now, how bad they are in a historical context, and we also discussed what might or might not happen in the latest debacle between the two countries involving the NBA.


4. Hong Kong

Hong Kong court order bans posting and spreading of online messages inciting violence as anti-government protests continue | South China Morning Post

Mr Justice Russell Coleman of the High Court issued the order to restrain members of the public from “wilfully disseminating, circulating, publishing or republishing” any material on platforms online such as popular Reddit-like forum LIHKG and messaging app Telegram that “promotes, encourages or incites the use or threat of violence”.

The court order, in response to an application filed by the secretary for justice, bans such acts that would cause “bodily injury to any person unlawfully” as well as “damage to any property unlawfully”.

Hong Kong Protests Force City Into Recession With ‘No Recovery in Sight’ - WSJ $$

Hong Kong’s economy shrank 3.2% in the July-to-September quarter from the period just before, according to data released Thursday. That is the worst quarter-to-quarter drop since 2009. On a year-over-year basis, the economy shrank 2.9%.

If anything, the figures undersell the speed and severity of the downturn for shopkeepers, restaurant owners and others with consumer-facing businesses.

Comment: A slowdown in Hong Kong does not hurt the Party center in Beijing, and I am guessing they believe increasing pain as one of the contradictions in Hong Kong that as it worsens will cause support for the protestors to wane

Hong Kong police arrest over 70 in Tuen Mun protest against tear gas smell | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

At the lobby of Yat Sang House in Siu Hin Court, police ordered residents to kneel down with their hands in the air or behind their backs...

Some residents shouted, “Corrupt cops, may your whole family die!”...

At around midnight, protesters hurled petrol bombs at the police base, prompting the police to fire three bean bag rounds from inside the facility, which narrowly missed nearby reporters.

Hong Kong protesters turn to traditional Chinese medicine - Los Angeles Times

The two doctors treat patients as part of a new underground network of traditional Chinese medicine practitioners in Hong Kong willing to render aid to injured protesters too afraid to go to hospitals because they may be arrested. Organized via Telegram, an encrypted messaging app popular with the protesters, the network has more than 50 doctors across all 18 districts of Hong Kong who have treated hundreds of protesters.

Halloween is the latest victim of Hong Kong’s crackdown on masked protesters - The Washington Post

When more marchers arrived to join the crowds in Lan Kwai Fong, police held them back, cordoning off most of the major streets in the party district. Onlookers and tourists drank beer in the streets as they took in the scene, while traffic was gridlocked behind them. Some stopped to snap selfies in front of police. At one point, police arrested a woman in black angel wings and a red dress who screamed for an ambulance...

In anticipation of demonstrations, police closed a number of roads surrounding the area and shuttered three subway stops early. Hong Kong’s subway network, run by the MTR Corp., has for weeks enforced the early closure of all stops, citing extensive repair works after protester vandalism. The effect has been a de facto curfew in Hong Kong, most intensely felt right after a wave of spontaneous and violent protests in early October, kicked off by the government’s decision to implement the mask ban.

Hong Kong unmasked: how the protests hit home in one neighborhood - Reuters

The struggles of the people who live in the concrete towers of a Kowloon working-class district are woven into the soul of the city. As protests pit neighbor against neighbor, residents face a test of what locals call “the Lion Rock spirit” – a sense of unity and grit in the face of hardship...

Wong Tai Sin had long tended to vote for pro-Beijing candidates in local elections given its older populace and deep-rooted ties to patriotic Chinese political groups in the area. In Hong Kong, such China and government supporters are described as being in the “blue” camp. Yet the recent unrest has seen lots of residents turn against the police given the perceived excessive violence. They’ve shifted to the “yellow” camp of the protesters and democracy advocates, including those who supported the Occupy movement, which spearheaded pro-democracy protests in 2014.


5. Did America try to recruit Song Xinning?

Chinese professor accused of spying by Belgium, barred from entering Schengen Area | South China Morning Post

Song Xinning, former director of the [Confucius] institute at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), said he had been accused by authorities in Belgium of supporting Chinese intelligence activities in the city – an accusation he denied...

The Belgian newspaper De Morgen reported on Tuesday that VUB had ignored a warning from the State Security Service about the institute’s activities. The article said also that Song had acted as a recruiter for Chinese intelligence services and hired informants from the Chinese student and business communities in Belgium...

He said he suspected the decision to impose the ban had been influenced by the United States, claiming it was made after he had rejected an offer by an American diplomat to “cooperate with American intelligence units”...

“I was warned at the meeting [with the American diplomat] that if I did not cooperate, there would be serious consequences,” he said. “So obviously this is the result. I was prepared.”

China denies reports of professor spying in Belgium - AP

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said some Western media have published “false reports of distortions about the Confucius Institute.”

“This is completely untrue and has ulterior motives. We resolutely oppose this behavior that hinders normal exchanges and educational cooperation projects,” Geng told reporters at a daily briefing.

Chinese academic suspected of espionage banned from Belgium - Reuters

Belgian media reported last year that VUB, a Dutch-speaking research university based in Brussels, had been warned by Belgium’s intelligence agency about the risk of espionage being conducted from Confucius Institute. The agency declined to comment on any issue related to Song...

Its press officer, Sicco Wittermans, also said the university is now working closely with Belgium’s intelligence agency on matters related to the Confucius Institute.

“For instance, for the appointment of the new director, we consulted the state security department,” Wittermans said, adding that the contract with the institute expires next year and “the eventual continuation of the collaboration will be critically looked at.”


6. 5G launches in China

China launches 5G service, showing that the U.S. won't hold it back - The Washington Post

“The commercialization of 5G technology is a great measure of [President] Xi Jinping's strategic aim of turning China into a cyber power, as well as an important milestone in China’s information communication industry development,” said Wang Xiaochu, president of China Unicom...

China is forecast to spend between $130 billion and $217 billion on 5G between 2020 and 2025, according to a study by the state-run China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.

China Launches 5G with Monthly Plans as Low as $18 - Caixin

China Mobile, the country’s largest carrier, said it will provide 5G services in more than 50 major cities across the country, and will expand to prefecture-level cities next year.

China had initially planned to launch 5G services in 2020, but decided to accelerate that time line as other countries scramble to launch service earlier. South Korea started 5G commercial operations in April, and some areas of the U.S. have also introduced the service.

China debuting 5G service 2 months ahead of schedule · TechNode

During a launch ceremony at the PT Expo China in Beijing on Thursday morning, Chen Zhaoxiong, the country’s vice-minister of industry and information technology, announced the official rollout of China’s 5G service.

The ceremony was also attended by executives from China’s three major carriers: China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom.;

China will establish 130,000 5G base stations by the end of the year to provide full coverage in major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, Chen said at the event;

The three carriers revealed their 5G data packages after the launch event with China Mobile providing the cheapest monthly plan, offering 30 gigabytes of 5G data priced at RMB 128 (around $18.2) per month.

US lags behind 5G race because of mind-set - Global Times

Such narrow-minded zero sum thinking conflicts with the inherent open nature of 5G technology. As a result, China is leading in 5G development. If the US always opts for dirty tricks against China instead of how to conduct healthy competition with China and develop its own 5G based on the technological achievements China has made, this will lead to nothing but a larger gap between China and the US.


7. Shanghai shuts online P2P lending

China’s P2P Hub Said to Order Online Lenders to Exit Business - Bloomberg

Some of the nation’s biggest platforms including Ping An-backed Lufax and Dianrong.com have been told in recent meetings with Shanghai’s financial services bureau to stop issuing new products and to wind down existing peer-to-peer lending services, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private.

The development indicates China’s determination to overhaul an industry that had more than $150 billion of loans outstanding and upwards of 50 million investors at its peak, but was plagued by fraud and defaults

This was in yesterday's newsletter, either they were in the dark or were lying:

虚惊一场!湖南、山东之后,上海也要全面清退P2P?协会紧急澄清_证券时报网

The Shanghai Internet Finance Industry Association officially denies rumors that Shanghai is going to follow Hunan, Shandong and other provinces and officially ban P2P platforms

In Depth: China’s Big Data Clampdown Leaves Online Lenders in a Bind - Caixin

Authorities have come down much harder on the industry this time around. Since early September, multiple big data and data-scraping companies, as well as online lenders, in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hangzhou have come under investigation, with even company executives and founders getting caught up in probes, the sources said. That’s different from in the past, in which investigators mostly just questioned lower-level employees.

The intensifying crackdown is significant because of the role that these big data companies have played in gathering borrowers’ personal information — some of which has been obtained illegally — that has at times been used by debt collectors that employ shady practices.


8. PRC overseas surveillance efforts

Is there any reason we should expect the PRC to have lesser ambitions than the US NSA when it comes to global surveillance efforts?

A Chinese hacking group breached a telecom to monitor targets' texts, phone metadata - Cyberscoop

Chinese hackers primarily have been scanning for military or intelligence keywords, tracking how subjects are reacting to protests, such as those in Hong Kong, and analyzing victims’ opinions of world leaders, Steve Stone, advanced practices director at FireEye, told CyberScoop...

“APT41 is able to do very specific targeting at scale,” said Stone, who previously served as a senior analyst in the Department of Defense. “They’re able to say ‘let’s take potentially thousands of numbers, and look for those and see when those numbers start having these specific kind of keyword conversations and then pull that out.”

FireEye declined to identify the surveillance targets. Stone said only that the hacked telecom was located in a country that is a “strategic competitor” to China.

MESSAGETAP: Who’s Reading Your Text Messages? | FireEye Inc

FireEye Mandiant recently discovered a new malware family used by APT41 (a Chinese APT group) that is designed to monitor and save SMS traffic from specific phone numbers, IMSI numbers and keywords for subsequent theft. Named MESSAGETAP, the tool was deployed by APT41 in a telecommunications network provider in support of Chinese espionage efforts...

Similarly, the keyword list contained items of geopolitical interest for Chinese intelligence collection. Sanitized examples include the names of political leaders, military and intelligence organizations and political movements at odds with the Chinese government. If any SMS messages contained these keywords, MESSAGETAP would save the SMS message to a CSV file for later theft by the threat actor.

In addition to MESSAGETAP SMS theft, FireEye Mandiant also identified the threat actor interacting with call detail record (CDR) databases to query, save and steal records during this same intrusion. The CDR records corresponded to foreign high-ranking individuals of interest to the Chinese intelligence services.


Business, Economy and Trade

Bond Traders Wait Again And Again For China to Inject More Cash - Bloomberg The central bank said in April it would add cash to the financial system with a targeted monetary tool at the beginning of each quarter. It followed through with that in April and July, priming bond traders to expect the same this month. But it’s the last day of October, and markets are still waiting.

Swine fever pushes Chinese pig farmers to record quarterly profits - Reuters The huge profits underline how the fatal pig disease, which has killed millions of hogs across Asia and left many small farmers bankrupt, has proved a major opportunity for the leading producers in the world’s largest but highly fragmented hog sector. // Question: when will Beijing forces these producers to return some of these profits in the form of price cuts?

Price cuts, iPhone 11 timing drive Apple's uncertain China rebound: analysts - Reuters Apple said sales in greater China fell 2.4% in its fourth quarter ended Sept. 30, a far cry from the 27% drop it saw in the first quarter this year - a fact that Chief Executive Tim Cook played up on the company’s post-earnings call on Wednesday.

Faraday Future’s still haunted by the past of its billionaire founder - The Verge FaradayFaraday Future, once the most hyped electric vehicle startup following in Tesla’s wake, is now known for its money troubles, if it is known at all. Flashy hires — from SpaceX, Tesla, Apple, and Ford — have mostly moved on. The $2 billion it has spent to develop a luxury SUV hasn’t paid off; the vehicle is still not in production. This is all thanks to the company’s founder, a man who ran from China in 2017 to escape billions of dollars of debt, only to declare bankruptcy in the US this month: former Faraday Future CEO Jia Yueting.

Explaining Blockchain to Xi Jinping Brings $1.7 Billion Windfall - Bloomberg Xinhu Zhongbao Co. holds nearly half of a firm whose chairman briefed Xi and other top officials about the technology last week. The property developer has risen the 10% daily limit four straight days after ending last week near 2019’s multi-year low. This week’s jump, which has added $1.7 billion to Xinhu’s market value, has shares again up 46% for the year and near 2019’s high. Volume on Thursday was nearly triple the daily average of the past three months.

Half China’s investment in Kazakhstan is in oil and gas | China Dialogue The Kazakhstan government has finally published a list of the 55 projects its neighbour China has invested in. About half of the investment total of US$27.6 billion is in oil and gas projects. An itemised list of the projects and their cost has been made available in Kazakh and Russian. Only a summary is available in English.

Last-Minute India Demands Jeopardize 16-Nation Asian Trade Pact - Bloomberg Chief negotiators are still confident they can reach a broad agreement on the deal to reduce tariffs, known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), during a planned meeting on Thursday in Bangkok, the people said.

Chinese Central Bank Intervenes to Stem Bank Run in Henan Province - China Banking News The Peo­ple’s Bank of China (PBOC) and the China Bank­ing and In­sur­ance Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion (CBIRC) said that they would adopt “force­ful” mea­sures to main­tain the or­der of the fi­nan­cial sys­tem, af­ter Yichuan Rural Com­mer­cial Bank was hit with spike in re­quests for the with­drawal of sav­ings de­posits on Tues­day.

Chinese Bank Run Extends to Third Day - WSJ $$ Local cadres, business leaders and banking executives rallied Thursday at the main branch of Henan Yichuan Rural Commercial Bank, just outside the central Chinese city of Luoyang. One by one, they stood before a microphone to pledge their backing for the bank, as smiling employees brandished wads of cash before television cameras.

China must relax residency curbs, land rights to offset effect of trade war, former finance minister says | South China Morning Post In an article published on Tuesday, Lou Jiwei, who led China’s Ministry of Finance between 2013 and 2016, urged the central government to undertake rapid reform of the two systems in the face of rising populism and anti-globalisation.

AIIB headquarters to open in Beijing in early 2020 - Xinhua The headquarters is located in Beijing Olympic Park in Chaoyang District, eastern Beijing, and the AIIB and some policy banks will be the first batch of organizations moving into the newly-built building. Five buildings, including the AIIB headquarters, are set to open in the park early next year, covering a total rental area of more than 500,000 square meters, which will house international organizations and enterprises in the fields of high-end services, fintech and culture and sports.

China manufacturers divert cash into financial products | Financial Times $$ Manufacturers listed in mainland China increased their investments in financial products by nearly one-third in the first 10 months of this year compared with full-year 2018 to Rmb2.5tn ($353bn), according to East Money Information, a financial data provider.

China’s surveillance industry plays down US blacklist at annual expo designed to showcase its technology | South China Morning Post The expo, which alternates each year between Shenzhen and Beijing, this year attracted a record number of buyers from over 150 countries and regions despite the cloud over the business from the imposition of sanctions that prevent the companies from buying American technology without approval.

China Tax Cuts Bring Big Savings - Caixin The Chinese government’s pledge in March to slash taxes and fees by 2 trillion yuan this year has already led to savings of more than 1.5 trillion yuan ($213 billion) for companies and individuals, the country’s tax administration said on Wednesday.

China Envisions ‘Shared Factories’ in Achieving ‘Made in China 2025’ - Caixin Global “Shared manufacturing,” where the sharing economy model is applied to assembly lines, would aggregate and make use of idle capacity, optimize resource allocation, raise production efficiency, and is necessary in energizing and bringing flexibility to the sector, according to a Tuesday directive from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

Politics and Law

高素质高颜值的厦门答卷——写在习近平总书记考察福建5周年之际_新闻中心_厦门网 Xiammen Net runs a piece celebrating the 5th anniversary of Xi's inspection tour in Fujian, refers to the talk Xi gave to the Fujian delegation at the March 2019 NPC meeting as "in all aspects manifesting the acute foresight of the people's leader and the feelings toward the people of the Great Leader". -参加十三届全国人大二次会议福建代表团审议时的重要讲话、对福建对厦门工作的一系列重要指示批示,处处彰显了人民领袖的高瞻远瞩、处处体现了伟大领袖的人民情怀。- Xi served in Fujian for over 17 years, the provincial Party Secretary is Yu Weiguo, who is very tight with Xi. Earlier this week we had the Tianjin Party Secretary Li Hongzhong use "people's leader". There was nothing about people's leader in the plenum communique, but its continued, sporadic usage is interesting, as I have discussed on several occasions.

Beijing to use facial recognition technology in metro security checks - state media | AFP Beijing will use facial recognition tools to speed up security checks in the city’s overcrowded metro, using a ‘credit system’ to sort passengers into different channels, state-run media reported on Wednesday. Long queues and commuters arguing with staff over slow security procedures are common sites during rush hour in the metro system of the 20 million-strong metropolis.

Clarified rules on handling online information crime to take effect - Xinhua ISPs refusing to fulfill their duty concerning information network security may face jail if they cause leaks of over 500 pieces of users' communication content, location, credit or property information in China, according to a judicial interpretation by the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

Foreign and Defense Affairs

Kiwi academic Anne-Marie Brady hits back at Chinese Ambassador's claims | Newshub Prof Brady at the time said the break-ins were "intended to intimidate" her, after she published a 2017 paper laying out what she called the Chinese Communist Party's plans for attaining worldwide influence. On Thursday, Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand Wu Xi dismissed Prof Brady's claims in a rare TV interview on The AM Show.

Israel panel to monitor Chinese investments following U.S. pressure - Haaretz.com Although the proposal is framed as 'supervision over foreign investment,' the real goal is create a mechanism for screening investments by Chinese companies and investment funds in strategic Israeli assets

Podcast: How Is Russia's Pivot to Asia Working Out? - Carnegie Moscow Center - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Alex Gabuev and Vita Spivak discuss Russia-China relations in this inaugural episode of the Carnegie Moscow Center English-language podcast

Vancouver school cancels assignment after backlash over Chinese propaganda - The Globe and Mail A teacher at a Vancouver-area high school has cancelled an assignment asking students to discuss trailers for a film dedicated to the founding of the People’s Republic of China after complaints that the movie was “pro-China propaganda.” In several Mandarin classes at Steveston-London Secondary School in Richmond, B.C., a teacher showed Grade 10 to 12 students trailers for My People, My Country, a film celebrating the 70th anniversary of the PRC.

Canadian veterans of People’s Liberation Army form association, sing of China’s martial glory | National Post The recital earlier this month at the Centre for the Performing Arts in Richmond Hill, Ont., was not offered by a visiting martial choir from Beijing. It was the work of a surprising new Canadian association, dedicated to retired troops of the China’s People’s Liberation Army or PLA — China’s armed forces — who are now settled in this country.

Karoline Kan Wins 2019 Young China Watcher of the Year Award | YCW She is being recognized for her contributions to telling her story—and the story of Chinese millennials—to an international audience. Karoline is the Beijing editor at China Dialogue and author of Under Red Skies: Three Generations of Life, Loss, and Hope in China—an account of Karoline’s family that covers three generations.

Mongolia arrests 800 Chinese citizens in cybercrime probe - Reuters The arrests took place after police raided four locations on Tuesday, and followed two months of investigations, Gerel Dorjpalam, the head of the General Intelligence Agency of Mongolia, said at a media briefing on Wednesday. He did not go into specific details of the offences but said they involved illegal gambling, fraud, computer hacking, identity theft and money laundering.

India, China clash over Kashmir as it loses special status and is divided - Reuters India engaged in a diplomatic war of words with China over Kashmir on Thursday as it formally revoked the disputed state’s constitutional autonomy and split it into two federal territories in a bid to integrate it fully into India. // 印度将中国领土划入所谓"直辖区" 外交部回应:无效

Premier to visit Uzbekistan, Thailand - China Daily Premier Li Keqiang will travel to Uzbekistan and Thailand to attend a number of multilateral meetings and pay officials visits next week, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Friday. The five-day trip will start November 1

Wang Qishan helds talks with South African Vice President Mabuza and co-chaired the seventh plenary meeting of the China-South African Bilateral National Committee Wang Qishan and Mabuza listened to the reports of the six sub-committees of the China-South African Bilateral National Committee on diplomacy, economy and trade, science and technology, energy, education, and minerals. The two sides reviewed the progress made since the last meeting, fully exchanged views and reached extensive consensus on the full implementation of the outcomes of the meeting between the heads of state of the two countries and the FOCAC Beijing Summit, as well as promoting the practical cooperation. The two sides agreed in principle to formally establish a marine economic sub-committee as soon as possible and to promote relevant cooperation.

Macron Goes to China: For Europe or for France? - Carnegie Europe - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Off goes French President Emmanuel Macron to Beijing on November 4, just two months after Angela Merkel made her twelfth visit to the country since becoming German chancellor back in 2005. There had been hopes about a future joint visit by the French and German leaders. That would have sent a strong signal to Beijing about the common stance of the EU’s biggest economies toward China. Such hopes have come to naught.

Taiwan

Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) compares Taiwan-China ties to 'bastard and daddy relationship' | Taiwan News "Cross-strait relations are like a bastard and daddy relationship. Is this impressive enough? Very impressive, this sentence. What is a bastard? I curse you as a bastard. What's called a daddy. Daddy gives anything [you] want. Isn't this easy to say? But what good is it for you? What good is it for 23 million people?"

Taiwan invites US to help gauge its military strength as analysts warn of growing threat from mainland China | South China Morning Post It is the first time the self-ruled island has publicly invited America to help assess its combat potential and was announced as defence analysts warned that rapid military reforms undertaken by the People’s Liberation Army in recent years posed a growing challenge to the Taiwanese military.

Tech and Media

Chinese netizens are protesting Notepad++ over its support for Uighurs - The NextWeb Text editors are typically apolitical affairs. Developers use them to write code, and that’s about it. But yesterday, the makers of the popular open-source text editor Notepad++ released an update with the codename: “Free Uighur.” This fateful decision has incensed many Chinese netizens

Nintendo moves closer to China Switch launch after nod for first game sale - Reuters The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television announced on its website on Tuesday approval for the Japanese gaming firm’s hit “New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe” title to be sold in China.

Education

Student burden-easing scheme gets mixed feedback - Global Times A father in Nanjing with a sixth grader said that the city has implemented a new round of burden alleviation measures. "Homework is reduced," he said. "I want my child to be healthy and relaxed with less study tasks, but the reality is we must do more exercises to surpass others and enter great schools. You lessen the burden but others are still striving."

Fourth Plenum; China pushing for all tariffs to be removed before phase one deal?; Business environment

The Politburo met today and the official readout informed us that the Fourth Plenum will start next Monday and run four days until October 31.

There are some interesting (crazy?) rumors about possible personnel changes at the Plenum next week. I am not convinced by any of them, and so will not repeat them here. I expect more of a boring meeting, with the focus on approving “a document on the CPC Central Committee's decision concerning how to uphold and improve the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and modernize China's system and capacity for governance.” I would be happy to be wrong and have some public excitement thrust back in CCP elite politics.

I will go out on a limb and make the assumption that key to upholding and improving the system will be a bigger role for the Party and even more focus on Party construction.

As I wrote Monday, in spite of the twenty month gap between the Third and Fourth Plenums I am skeptical of claims it was “delayed:

I am not seeing any public evidence that is the case. The Party is required to hold a plenum once every calendar year, and with the Fourth scheduled for this Fall the schedule is back on track. Since the Third Plenum Xi has convened two extraordinary meetings of all the top Party, State and Military leaders [the one on risks in January and the one in July to go over progress in the reforms pushed through at the Third Plenum]. That convening ability, along with the early the Third Plenum last year, sure look like signs of the power and authority of the “People’s Leader”.

One thing I am very curious about is whether or not Xi will be called “People’s Leader 人民领袖” after the Plenum. That title was first use for Xi in early 2018, sparking all sorts of concerns and speculations. Then it disappeared for over a year. The “core” appellation” for Xi went through a similar cycle of appearing then disappearing, though for a shorter period, then re-emerging as an official formulation used today.

“People’s Leader 人民领袖” reappeared in page 1 People’s Daily article 人民领袖爱人民 on August 25th this year, and discussed in the August 26th newsletter. But then it mostly disappeared again, as discussed in the September 30 newsletter. If Xi does not get it we may have to wonder what is going on in the background. The things we have to get excited about when trying to figure out CCP elite politics…

US Vice President Pence’s long-awaited speech on China is live streaming here, starting just about as this newsletter goes out to you.

Thanks for reading.


The Essential Eight

1. Fourth Plenum

Xi Focus: 19th CPC Central Committee to hold fourth plenary session from Oct. 28 to 31 - Xinhua

The fourth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) will be held from Oct. 28 to 31 in Beijing, according to a decision made at a CPC Central Committee Political Bureau meeting on Thursday...

At Thursday's meeting, members of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau discussed important issues concerning how to uphold and improve the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and modernize China's system and capacity for governance, according to a statement issued after the meeting.

They were briefed about the opinions solicited from in and outside the CPC about a document on the CPC Central Committee's decision concerning how to uphold and improve the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and modernize China's system and capacity for governance, the statement said.

They decided that the document will be revised based on the discussion at Thursday's meeting and submitted to the fourth plenary session...

The meeting underscored upholding and improving the major institutions that underpin the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

It called for developing a set of institutions that are well-conceived, fully built, procedure-based and efficiently functioning...

Calling upholding and improving the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and modernizing China's system and capacity for governance a major strategic mission for the CPC, the meeting stressed that the efforts must be carried out under the unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee.

中共中央政治局召开会议 讨论拟提请十九届四中全会审议的文件 中共中央总书记习近平主持会议--时政--人民网

会议指出,坚持和完善中国特色社会主义制度、推进国家治理体系和治理能力现代化,是全党的一项重大战略任务。必须在党中央统一领导下进行,科学谋划、精心组织,远近结合、整体推进。各级党委和政府以及各级领导干部要切实强化制度意识,带头维护制度权威,做制度执行的表率,带动全党全社会自觉尊崇制度、严格执行制度、坚决维护制度。

Communist Party elite to meet from Monday to set China’s agenda | South China Morning Post

It is the first full meeting of the Central Committee in nearly 20 months, the longest interval between two plenums – as they are officially called – in recent decades...

The main agenda is to “discuss important issues concerning how to uphold and improve the socialist system with Chinese characteristics and how to make progress in modernising the country’s governance system and capacity” – a mouthful even by the party’s standards. But analysts say it ultimately translates into the party’s determination to further strengthen its rule at all levels and in all aspects of governance, in the face of challenges at home and abroad.

“The point of this plenum is to institutionalise the party’s effort to strengthen its absolute and comprehensive leadership of the country and society since the 19th party congress,” said independent political analyst Chen Daoyin, referring to a key party meeting in October 2017 that kick-started Xi’s second term in power.

《学习文选》:聚焦国家治理体系和治理能力现代化--理论--人民网

for those who want to dig deeper into the main theme of the upcoming 4th Plenum, here is a "study guide compilation" on modernizing governance system and capacity, courtesy of People's Daily


2. US-China

US China Trade War News: China May Buy $20 Billion in Farm Goods - Bloomberg

China aims to buy at least $20 billion of agricultural products in a year if it signs a partial trade deal with the U.S., and would consider boosting purchases further in future rounds of talks, people familiar with the matter said...

The $20 billion would take its imports of U.S. farm goods back to around the level in 2017, before the U.S. began imposing tariffs. In the second year of a potential final deal when all punitive tariffs are removed, those purchases could rise to $40-$50 billion, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing the private talks.

Comment: Huh, that does not seem to be in line with what President Trump said Tuesday. This is likely part of China's attempt to get all the tariffs removed before signing the Phase One deal, something I and others expect they will at least make a play for. Whether they will overplay their hand is the real question, and I would not rule it out. Here is what Trump said Tuesday:

THE PRESIDENT: Well, one little example is the farmers. So they were told and I was told, if we could get $20 billion a year in purchase — the biggest they’ve ever done is $16 [billion], is what I’ve heard and what they’ve said. If we could get $20 billion a year from China — that China purchases $20 billion a year of agricultural product — that would be a great thing. So my people had $20 billion done. And I said, “I want more.” They said, “The farmers can’t handle it.” I said, “Tell them to buy larger tractors. It’s very simple.” (Laughter.) “They’ll buy more land and they’ll buy larger tractors. But I want more.”

And I said, “We want $60 billion to $70 billion.” And we agreed to $40 [billion] to $50 billion. So they wanted $20 billion, and I got $40 [billion] to $50 billion. And they’ve already started buying. And that’s just the way it goes. So I want to thank China for that.

And they have started the buying. So while we’re papering the deal — and that’s going well — we hope to sign it probably in Chile, when we have a summit in Chile, or wherever that may be.

White House aide: Phase one U.S.-China trade deal targets intellectual property - Reuters

“The good news about this phase one ... is it adopted virtually the entire chapter in the deal last May that they reneged on for IP,” Navarro told Fox Business Network in an interview. “Practically it means, if they steal our IP we’ll be able to take retaliatory action without them retaliating.”

China gives on key US trade-war demand | Fox Business

China has passed a new law that it says will protect the intellectual property rights of foreign businesses operating in the country.

Trump tries to outflank Congress as pressure grows on China - POLITICO

taking a hard line on China has emerged as one of the few areas of clear bipartisan consensus. Lawmakers from both parties have introduced more than 150 bills in the current Congress aimed at pushing back against the Chinese government.

While Trump has appeared tough on China’s trade policies after imposing tariffs on roughly $350 billion worth of goods, he has been accused of turning a blind eye to Beijing’s human rights abuses while offering praise to the country’s communist regime and its leader, Xi Jinping. The escalating tensions over Hong Kong protests have led to a sense of urgency among lawmakers to step in where the administration won‘t.

Trump Officials Battle Over Plan to Keep Technology Out of Chinese Hands - The New York Times

President Trump and many of his top advisers have identified China’s technological ambitions as a national security threat and want to limit the type of American technology that can be sold overseas. But a plan to do just that has encountered stiff resistance from some in the administration, who argue that imposing too many constraints could backfire and undermine American industry...

Some analysts say the fight goes beyond any specific technology and encompasses a broader debate echoing from the halls of Congress to the White House about how to revise American policy to confront a rising China. While many in Washington see Beijing as its biggest long-term rival, China is also the United States’ largest trading partner and crucial to industries like agriculture and manufacturing.

“It’s more than just a battle in the Commerce Department,” said Derek M. Scissors, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. “This is industry pushing back against the Congress.”

UK chip software company ARM says it will keep working with Chinese partners as its tech is not US origin | South China Morning Post

Allen Wu, chief executive of ARM China, said the company would keep licensing its technologies and providing service support to Chinese customers after an assessment by its legal department concluded that both its v8 and v9 architecture – blueprints that phone companies and chip makers use to design processors to power smartphones and other devices – are UK-origin technologies.

He stressed that ARM is the only non-US platform, with all the other computing architectures available on the market being of US-origin, according to a sina.com report. ARM China did not immediately respond to a request to confirm the report.

Axios Markets - The trade war is killing U.S.-China business deals

"M&A has been one of the areas hit hardest by the trade war, with deal value for North American target companies with a Chinese acquirer on pace to fall by over 90% since peaking in 2016," a new report from PitchBook finds.

China Has ‘Concerning’ Leads Over U.S. in Tech, Defense Department Official Says - WSJ $$

Mr. Brown in 2017 co-authored a Defense Department paper that cautioned Chinese investment in private tech startups gave China access to the “crown jewels” of the U.S. and opportunities to spy or steal that technology. The paper was followed by new policies restricting Chinese investments in startups and was also criticized as stereotyping Chinese investors as potential spies...

“The concern I have is that [the paper] is used too much as a justification for protectionist ideas and not enough for stimulus for further investment,” he said.

Physics Prize Awarded to Chinese-Born U.S. Professor Wrongly Accused of Espionage

Chinese-born American physicist Xiaoxing Xi was awarded the American Physical Society’s Andrei Sakharov Prize on Tuesday for “steadfast advocacy in support of the U.S. scientific community and open scientific exchange.”

In May 2015, Xi, a professor and then chair of the physics department at Temple University in Philadelphia, was arrested by the U.S. Department of Justice on espionage charges

US Navy secretary says countering China will require ‘all of government’ response | South China Morning Post

The secretary of the US Navy said on Wednesday that for the US to meet the challenge of countering the threat of China, it would need to take a page from China’s playbook and employ an “all of government” approach.

Additionally, Richard Spencer said, that approach required a larger reliance on US allies in the Indo-Pacific region.

Servicemen’s Savings Shouldn’t Fund Russia and China - WSJ OpEd by Richard Spencer, Secretary of the US Navy

Imagine retiring after a long career serving in uniform, only to learn that your savings all those years had helped fund advanced weapons systems for America’s adversaries. This tragedy will soon become reality unless a decision by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board is immediately reversed...

Set to take effect next year, the transition will force the FRTIB to invest about $3.3 billion of federal employees’ savings in state-owned and state-directed firms in China, and hundreds of millions more in Russian firms.

Disney's Bob Iger refuses to weigh in on China: Can't 'harm our company' | Fox News

Appearing at the Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live conference on Tuesday, Iger was asked about his stance on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, but subtly referenced the turmoil that the NBA has faced in recent weeks as a reason to refrain from offering an answer.

“What we learned in the last week -- we’ve learned how complicated this is,” Iger said. “The biggest learning from that is that caution is imperative. To take a position that could harm our company in some form would be a big mistake. I just don’t believe it’s something we should engage in in a public manner.”

U.S. Fears Mass Boycott as Chinese Turn to Homegrown Brands - Bloomberg:

Across all categories on Tmall, three-quarters of brands incorporated the phrase “Made in China” on their product pages, up from less than half in 2017, according to research firm Gartner L2. Another study from researcher Nielsen in August showed that 68% of Chinese consumers preferred homegrown brands.

MacRitchie, of the Australian talent agency, has learned that to appease his Chinese clients he has to stay away from American spokespeople


3. Improving China’s business environment

The propaganda is in full force around the legislation to improve the business environment. It may make things much better, and the World Bank says it is easier to do business in China than 159 other countries, but as always what is in the law and what is actually implemented may be entirely different. That said, China more than ever needs to improves the business environment so perhaps this time there will be a smaller gap between the law and implementation?

China passes new law to help foreign firms after positive feedback from US in trade talks | South China Morning Post

The law on optimising China’s business environment, which will come into effect on January 1, 2020, was provided in draft form to US trade negotiators in Washington earlier this month and received a warm response, Ning Jizhe, who was a member of China’s delegation at the talks, said at a press conference in Beijing...

The draft regulation, which was released for feedback in July, was among a number of policy documents China exchanged with US negotiators to show Beijing was taking steps to streamline its business environment and become more friendly to foreign firms, Ning said...

But by taking steps to enhance intellectual property rights and become more business friendly, China is expecting Washington to reciprocate by improving its treatment of Chinese businesses in the US, Ning said.

Doing business in China becomes easier after cutting red tape | Financial Times $$

China has leapfrogged France, the Netherlands and Switzerland as a place to do business according to a flagship annual ranking produced by the World Bank, after slashing red tape by expanding the use of technology by its bureaucracy. 

Its advances, which propelled it from 46th place last year to 31st place out of 190 countries, are part of a broader trend of convergence in regulatory and administrative practices between emerging markets and advanced economies.

Economic Watch: New regulation a milestone in China's stride to better business environment - Xinhua

"It's a systematic project to optimize the business environment, and providing legal and institutional safeguards is a significant part," said Zhang Yaobo, an official with the Ministry of Justice.

According to Zhang, the regulation shows China highly values the improvement of the business environment and is determined to continue its efforts, which will stabilize market expectations and reinforce the confidence of market entities.

China’s new law aimed at equal market treatment draws scepticism from observers | South China Morning Post

“Because there is a strong government and a centralised system in China, [the government] controls key resources for production and allocation,” said professor Li Jianwei from the Civil, Commercial and Economic Law School at the China University of Political Science and Law.

In reality it was not possible for there to be fair play among state-owned, foreign and private companies in China, he said at a forum on state sector reform in Beijing on Wednesday.

“If private businesses want to flourish, they will always have to depend on political will.”

中国的民营企业为什么要加强党的建设?--时政--人民网

Before you get too excited about the improving policy environment check out this article and the accompanying video explainer that appeared on People's Daily Online on October 15 explaining the benefits of private enterprises strengthening Party Construction within their organizations

Among the entrepreneurs appearing in the video are the secretary of the Party committee at US-listed online travel firm Tuniu, the deputy editor in chief of US-listed online video firm iQiyi, a manager from US-listed TAL Education Group.


4. Hong Kong

Joshua Wong’s Long Campaign for the Future of Hong Kong | The New Yorker - Megan Stack

This year’s demonstrations are the latest outbreak of a fundamental clash that will keep flaring in different forms, shaping the lives and possibilities of Wong’s generation into old age. Wong is the child of past spasms of unrest and a likely architect of those to come.

“As long as Xi”—Jinping—“rules China, we don’t see the endgame. We don’t see the end of Xi,” Wong told me this summer. “It seems to be an infinity war. It’s our infinity war.”..

When I asked Wong about this fall’s growing violence, he bristled. “That’s the incentive of self-defense and self-protection,” he said. “I think how the Hong Kong police attempt to murder people and to attack journalists and first-aid workers, and the arbitrary arrest, search, and crackdown on people, is far worse than anything done by protesters.”

A tweet from one of Jimmy Lai's top executive after a visit to Congress in DC cautions about the impact of the violence on Congressional perceptions:

China denounces Pelosi's remarks on supporting 'non-violent' protests in HK - CGTN

Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said U.S. politicians like Pelosi publicly condoning violence in Hong Kong is emboldening rioters and illegal violence.

"It's 100-percent street violence and illegal actions in Hong Kong, that's common facts, crystal clear," Hua pointed out at Thursday's daily briefing after Pelosi called what happened in Hong Kong "non-violent protest."

Hong Kong protests will have ‘unbearable and devastating consequences’, Chinese state media says | South China Morning Post

Opposition lawmakers in Hong Kong have been “using filibustering ways to hijack the Legislative Council since its reopening, trying to paralyse the governance” of the city, Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily said in a commentary published on its website.

“They and the radical protesters shouted slogans like ‘liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times’, demanded the dissolution of the Legislative Council, the disbandment the police force, and even the setting up an interim government, to keep putting pressure on Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to resign,” it said.

“All these have exposed their real intention, and that is they want to mess up Hong Kong, overthrow the special administrative region government and seize power.”

Hong Kong’s police associations slam Chinese University head Rocky Tuan for ‘biased’ statement based on students’ accounts of alleged assaults by officers | South China Morning Post

Hong Kong’s police associations on Wednesday slammed the head of Chinese University for his “biased” statement that spelt out the alleged assaults and mistreatments some students claimed to have faced upon arrest for taking part in anti-government protests...

“[You] have said nothing about the serious crimes the arrested students were suspected of committing,” said the statement by the Superintendents’ Association, the Police Inspectors’ Association, the Overseas Inspectors’ Association and the Junior Police Officers’ Association.

Hong Kong Police Already Have AI Tech That Can Recognize Faces - Bloomberg

Police have been able to use the technology from Sydney-based iOmniscient for at least three years, and engineers from the company have trained dozens of officers on how to use it, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The software can scan footage including from closed-circuit television to automatically match faces and license plates to a police database and pick out suspects in a crowd.

Hong Kong's China critics face targeted 'white terror' attacks | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

Since late August, eight well-known dissidents have been beaten by unknown assailants as fear swirls that some “triad” crime networks have flocked to Beijing’s cause after five months of pro-democracy protests...

In recent weeks, crowds of pro-democracy supporters have savagely beaten people who vocally disagree with them – although those fights tend to be spontaneous outbursts of mob anger during protests.

Pro-democracy figures, however, have been attacked in a noticeably more targeted way.

A REPORT OF THE 2019 HONG KONG PROTESTS: Asian Affairs: Vol 0, No 0

This article is written by a former Royal Hong Kong Police officer whose service included Special Branch engaged in counter-terrorism intelligence, and who is currently resident in Hong Kong. It offers a detailed chronological overview of the development of the 2019 protests in Hong Kong; analyses the problems with the political response on the part of the Hong Kong and Beijing governments; it also looks at the tactics employed by the protesters, and critically examines the tactical and strategic response to the protests by the Hong Kong police. It also discusses the broader social and economic causes of the protests, and how the Hong Kong government might best respond to these challenges

Umbrellas Up - This American Life

For over 100 days now, protesters in Hong Kong have taken to the streets every weekend. What it’s like to live through that.


7. Inside the campaign to win the election of the UN FAO head

China Routs the United States at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization - Foreign Policy

China’s bid to place one of its own top officials at the head of the Rome-based U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which helps direct agricultural and food security policies worldwide, offered an early test, Moley noted. The election was still some five months away. But Moley, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs, made clear that defeating China would become a key U.S. foreign-policy goal.

“It was all China, China, China,” recalled a source familiar with the exchange. “‘We have to do anything to beat the Chinese,’” the source recalled Moley as saying.

Five months later, the race ended in a stinging defeat for the United States. Beijing’s candidate, Qu Dongyu, the vice minister of agriculture and rural affairs, overwhelmingly won the June 23 election with 108 out of 191 votes from the organization’s 194 member countries. U.S. diplomats initially anticipated their favored candidate, a former Georgian agriculture minister, receiving at least 60 votes. He ended up getting 12.

Qu does seem qualified:

The son of a rice farmer, and an agricultural scientist by background, he had worked his way up the career ladder in Chinese academic and government circles to become vice minister of agriculture and rural affairs, overseeing agricultural initiatives under the Belt and Road Initiative and Beijing’s agricultural modernization plans in Africa.

China wanted to make sure countries that said if would support Qu actually did:

Before the vote, U.S. and European delegations picked up rumors that China had instructed its supporters to take a screenshot of their ballots to prove they had voted for Qu. They proposed imposing a ban on the use of cell phones in the voting booth and having U.N. security enforce it. But China, backed by Iran and other supporters, opposed the rule. In the end, they reached a compromise. Cell phones would be barred, but there would be no measures to enforce the ban.

Still, on the day of the vote, FAO security had to “shoo away” Chinese representatives who were trying to peer over the top of the voting booths and take photos, according to two diplomatic sources. And some delegates divulged having taken screen shots of their ballots, according to diplomatic sources.


6. How will the PRC try to influence the 2020 Taiwan election?

China's Information War on Taiwan Ramps Up as Election Nears - Bloomberg

After decades of China’s veiled threats to invade and a long-running campaign to get Taiwan’s allies to shift their diplomatic allegiance to Beijing, researchers, government officials, and lawmakers in Taipei all say that China is pursuing a new tactic in the runup to Taiwan’s Jan. 11 presidential vote: election meddling. “China is following the steps from Russia,” says Tzeng Yi-suo, head of cyberwarfare at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, which is advising Taiwan’s government on ways to counteract the interference. “In our election campaign periods, there is a most striking influence campaign coming from the Chinese Communist Party.”..

Puma Shen, an assistant professor at National Taipei University, has spent months analyzing the spread of disinformation from China with a team of researchers at DoubleThink Labs..

At a presentation to government officials and foreign diplomats in Taipei in September, Shen said that while China lacks Russia’s sophistication, it’s rapidly advancing.

Blinding the Enemy: CCP Interference in Taiwan’s Democracy – Global Taiwan Institute

Co-authored by American Enterprise Institute Resident Scholar Gary Schmitt and GTI Senior Non-Resident Fellow Michael Mazza, the report provides a detailed overview of how the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is interfering in Taiwan’s democracy and provides recommendations for ways to counter Chinese Communist Party (CCP) influence operations on the island.

Taiwanese Opposition to Political Union With China Surges - Bloomberg

Nearly 90% of Taiwan’s public opposes unification with China under the “one country, two systems“ model adopted by Hong Kong when it returned to Beijing’s rule in 1997, according to a survey published by Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council Thursday. That’s an increase of 13.9% percentage points since January to 89.3%.


7. 39 Chinese dead in UK truck

Essex lorry deaths: all 39 victims were Chinese nationals | The Guardian

The trailer had arrived in the UK from Zeebrugge early on Wednesday morning and Belgian authorities released details about the trailer’s journey as UK police pressed ahead with a murder investigation.

The Belgian federal prosecutor announced on Thursday it had opened an inquiry into the deaths of the 39 people, to focus on all parties involved in the transport.

Essex lorry deaths: 39 found dead were reportedly Chinese nationals - China Daily

Essex police confirmed they are Chinese.

Of these, 38 are believed to be adults, and one is a young adult woman. We previously reported that she may have been a teenager. We have since confirmed that eight of the deceased are women and 31 are men and all are believed to be Chinese nationals. We arrested a man on suspicion of murder, who remains in custody, according to the police website.

Essex lorry deaths: 39 found dead 'were Chinese nationals' - BBC News

The 39 people found dead in a refrigerated trailer in Essex were Chinese nationals, it is understood...

Essex Police said it was the largest murder investigation in the force's history and the victims were all "believed to be Chinese nationals".

It said formal identification of the 39 people, one of whom is a young adult woman, "could be a lengthy process".


An awful, tragic reminder that as big and powerful China is there are still people desperate to leave, however they can

But Hu Xijin of the Global Times blames the UK:

China in process of confirming identity of 39 who died in UK truck - Global Times

The news garnered more than 250 million views and 950,000 comments within one hour on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo social media platform.

Net users expressed condolences for the victims and called for a comprehensive investigation. Many wondered where the victims were from and why they were on the truck.

微博搜索 - #英国货车39具尸体为中国公民#

610 million views, 149 thousand comments so far on the Weibo topic about the truck tragedy


8. Huang Wenxiu, Lei Feng for the New Era?

Making Political Mythology | China Media Project

Earlier this month, Xi Jinping issued “important comments,” or zhongyao zhishi (重要指示), declaring that Huang Wenxiu (黄文秀), a young village leader in rural Guangxi who died in a flash flood on June 16, had been designated a “national outstanding CCP member” (全国优秀共产党员) by the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party — a figure to be celebrated as an exemplar for China’s younger generation.

Like Lei Feng before her, Huang Wenxiu represents the loftiest goal of life: sacrifice for the Chinese Communist Party. After earning her graduate degree in Beijing, said Xi, Huang had “given up work opportunities in the big city and resolved to return to her hometown, joining the front lines of the attack against poverty, sacrificing herself, dedicating her beautiful youth to the original mission of the Chinese Communist Party, composing a spring song of youth for the New Era.”..

Finally, on July 1, the Central Propaganda Department officially designated Huang Wenxiu as a “Model of the Era” (时代楷模) in a ceremony on national television, bringing her father and sister out on stage...

The emergence of the myth of Huang Wenxiu offers a fascinating modern-day glimpse into the process of manufacturing political mythology in China — a process not greatly changed from the days of Lei Feng.


Business, Economy and Trade

Huawei Defies Trade War Angst with Strong Yuan Bond Debut - Bloomberg The parent of tech giant Huawei Technologies Co. priced a 3 billion yuan ($425 million) three-year bond at 3.48% on Wednesday, according to people familiar with the matter who aren’t authorized to speak publicly and asked not to be identified. It’s the lowest coupon for three-year domestic bonds issued by privately-owned companies this year, Bloomberg data show.

Yicai Global - Overfull Trucks Toppled Bridge in Wuxi, China's Transport Ministry Says Severely overloaded vehicles likely caused the collapse of a section of bridge in the eastern Chinese city of Wuxi two weeks ago, according to the initial findings of an investigation by the transport ministry

国资委酝酿深化混改政策指引 _ 经济参考网 _ 新华社《经济参考报》官方网站 Economic Information Daily says SASAC will soon release more guidance on mixed ownership reform, based on the experience of current pilots 临近年底,地方国企混改明显提速。《经济参考报》记者获悉,国资委正在加紧对于前期双百行动和混改试点中好的改革经验进行归纳总结,将出台一些比较有针对性的政策指引,更好地推动和促进改革。

More Property Developers Cut Prices to Raise Cash as Demand Flags - Caixin Sunac China Holdings Ltd., the country’s fourth-biggest real estate group in terms of sales, has reduced prices for properties in a development in Tianjin, a coastal city some 100 kilometers southeast of Beijing, by 30% in the past two months, according to one homeowner who bought his apartment in September. The resident, who declined to be named, said he paid 16,000 yuan ($2,260) a square meter for his property, but the price for apartments in a newly released block has been reduced to 12,000 yuan. Prices for parking spaces have fallen by as much as 50%. Homeowners are furious and nearly 100 have protested to the company about the cuts. They have refused to accept the developer’s explanation that it had to make the move due to poor sales and feedback from buyers that the layout of apartments was poor, the resident said.

State-Owned Oil Giant Gets New Chairman - Caixin China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC), announced the news on Thursday afternoon. Wang is to replace Yang Hua, who resigned as CNOOC’s chairman in early September when he was made chairman at another state-owned giant, chemical manufacturer Sinochem Group.

Financial Giant Ping An Appoints First New President in Eight Years Hong Kong- and Shanghai-listed Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd. promoted Senior Vice President Xie Yonglin to president at a board meeting on Thursday, according to its filings to the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges. Xie will officially replace Ren Huichuan upon approval from the country’s top insurance regulator, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, the conglomerate said in the filings, adding that Ren has been appointed its vice chairman.

Charles Barkley on NBA-China standoff: ‘I hope it goes away’ - The Washington Post Morey has the right to freedom of speech, but he also has to understand that he works for the Houston Rockets. That’s the No. 1 brand in China for the NBA because of their affiliation with Yao Ming. You can’t insult a foreign country and go make money there. If he believes that [tweet] so much, he should not work for the Rockets. Everybody in this country does business in China. All of a sudden, these people want to get on LeBron and Adam Silver for trying to protect their money. Why should [James] sacrifice his money because of some tweet this fool put out? Why should [the NBA] sacrifice their billions?

25 million Chinese fans streamed the NBA's opening game on Tencent | South China Morning Post While state broadcaster CCTV has continued its ban on airing NBA games, Tencent seems to be reaping the benefits of showing the games for the regular season

More comedic skewering of PRC influence over US institutions, this from the Late Show with Stephen Colbert:

China’s STAR Market Is Falling to Earth - WSJ $$ So far, the new board is following a familiar pattern for China’s efforts to launch a domestic capital market to rival the U.S.’s Nasdaq. Like the Shenzhen Stock Exchange’s SME Board and ChiNext, STAR Market was launched to fanfare, booming volumes and hopeful commentary about the development of China’s capital markets. But so far, none of the Chinese alternatives have produced the goods.

China Bonds Sell at Record 97% Discount in Anonymous Auction - Bloomberg The sale is a sign of investors’ increasing tolerance of risk in China’s nascent distressed debt market amid a broader boom in onshore high yield trading. Policymakers have been encouraging a market-oriented approach in the country’s credit markets since 2014 when authorities first started allowing companies to default. The total number of defaults in 2019 is on track to eclipse last year’s record.

The quiet failure of a Chinese developer’s ‘Manhattan in Africa’ | The Guardian Despite announcing the start of construction, and with some infrastructure being built, the project stalled. Dai announced he was leaving property development and moving into the art market. He later set up a 10bn-yuan (£1.1bn) peer-to-peer lending business, handing himself in last month to Chinese police investigating accusations of illegal fundraising. Zendai Group sold Modderfontein to China Orient Asset Management Corporation, which manages non-performing assets. They in turn sold the site to Pretoria-based developer M&T.

Returns on Chinese Bank Wealth Management Products Decline for 19th Consecutive Month in September - China Banking News A re­port from Se­cu­ri­ties Daily in­di­cates that the rate of re­turn on bank WM­P’s in China posted a 2 ba­sis point month-on-month de­cline in Sep­tem­ber to 3.84%.

Tencent Says Libra Would Pose Serious Threat to Alipay, WeChat Pay - CoinDesk In a blockchain whitepaper published in Chinese this week, Tencent said Facebook’s Libra initiative seems “bold and radical” but is actually a “prudent and rational” move for the Silicon Valley giant. The Libra coin could quickly win market share in countries that do not have a credible local currency of their own, or in places where people do not have access to basic financial infrastructure, it continued. But that would be direct competition the Chinese companies could not replicate. “Any internet company that has a relatively mature digital payment system, such as WeChat Pay and Alipay, would be threatened by the stablecoin if it is ever launched,” the whitepaper reads. // Tencent's white paper 2019 腾讯区块链白皮书

Outsourcing to Debt Collection Agencies Behind 51 Credit Card Police Raids - China Banking News Ac­cord­ing to an of­fi­cial po­lice cir­cu­lar Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties re­ceived a large vol­ume of com­plaints about 51 Credit Card’s busi­ness prac­tices, which in­clude “en­trust­ing debt col­lec­tion com­pa­nies with pre­tend­ing to be gov­ern­ment au­thor­i­ties, and the use of soft vi­o­lent meth­ods for the col­lec­tion of debts, in­clud­ing in­tim­i­da­tion and ha­rass­ment.”

China’s Official GDP Growth Rate Does Not Agree With Reality « China Change - Xiang Songzuo According to official data, China’s GDP growth rate in the third quarter fell to 6 percent, and will likely fall below that in the fourth. Next year, it is sure to enter the era of 5 percent. If you look at corporate profits, fiscal revenue and other indicators, things don’t add up and the official GDP growth rate is clearly inflated. In the areas of fiscal revenue and corporate profits, it’s most negative growth. National tax revenues also experienced negative growth in the first three quarters. How can it be possible that GDP grew by 6 percent? When I went to places to observe, research, and talk to people, the local government officials are much more frank about the fact that their regions are experiencing negative growth. And the government even claimed that there’s “progress in stability” and that “things are getting better as they remain stable.” But this doesn’t agree with reality. //Comment: Xiang has fans in the White House

Politics and Law

Former general manager of China's state-owned power company investigated - China daily Yun Gongmin, former general manager of China Huadian Corporation Ltd., is being investigated for suspected serious violations of discipline and law, the top anti-graft body said Thursday.

China to set up leading group on poverty relief inspections - Gov.cn Vice-Premier Hu Chunhua will assume leadership of the group. Set at the National Bureau of Statistics, the group’s office will be headed by Li Xiaochao, NBS deputy chief, and Ou Qingping, deputy director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development.

Readings | Getting China Right: China in the World We asked conference participants to recommend one or two works—a book, journal article, book chapter, or unpublished paper—that they consider a “must read” for a graduate seminar on Chinese politics. We also asked them to explain in a few sentences the reason for their choice or choices. Here are results to date.

Dui Hua Human Rights Journal: Leftist Dissent Under Xi: The Old Leftists, Part I despite this leftist revival, many adherents of Mao who are nostalgic for his egalitarian ideals continue to find themselves disillusioned with Xi’s “new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics,” largely due to pervasive corruption and social inequality. They make up a large pool of leftist dissenters who refuse to acknowledge the achievements made by the CCP over the 40 years of economic reform. Leftist dissent, however, is far from being monolithic. The dissenters are from diverse backgrounds, have assorted motives, and use different means to channel discontent. There is also a generational divide within this group.

Police detain Chinese #MeToo activist Sophia Huang Xueqin on public order charge | South China Morning Post Two sources said Sophia Huang Xueqin, a key figure in the #MeToo movement in China, was formally arrested a week ago on charges of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” – an offence often used by police to detain dissidents and social activists, and that can attract a prison sentence of up to five years.

Foreign and Defense Affairs

Ilham Tohti wins 2019 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought | | European Parliament Ilham Tohti, an Uyghur economist fighting for the rights of China’s Uyghur minority, is the winner of the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2019...Tohti is a proponent of dialogue and advocate for the implementation of regional autonomy laws in China. In 2014, he was sentenced to life imprisonment on separatism-related charges. Despite this, he remains a voice of moderation and reconciliation. Since 2017, more than one million Uyghurs have been detained in a network of internment camps. // Comment: In retrospect his detention will likely be seen as the clearest signal of the start of the ongoing cultural and ethnic genocide of the Uyghurs

China’s attacks on Uighur women are crimes against humanity - The Washington Post Even if the camps are disbanded, China’s gendered policies would remain. In addition to demanding that the Chinese government close the internment camps, the U.S. government — and the rest of the world — must insist that the government end the abuse of Uighur women as well.

Fears Australian toddler caught up in Beijing's 'hostage diplomacy' - Australian Broadcasting Corporation Lutfy is an Australian citizen with an Australian passport and his mother Nadila Wumaier has a valid Australian visa but the Chinese Communist Party has banned them from leaving. They are trapped in Xinjiang

Chinese private investment leading Beijing's push into the Pacific - Australian Broadcasting Corporation Australia and the United States have been worried about the growing level of Chinese government interest in Vanuatu and the Pacific more broadly, but private investments from China like Rainbow City are booming. And for locals, it is the most direct source of disquiet and discomfort about the future of their island homes.

Roger Uren, former ASIO official, arrested by AFP for breaching secrecy laws - Sydney Morning Herald The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald can reveal that Roger Uren was arrested and charged last week with multiple counts of engaging in the unauthorised handling of classified material in breach of the intelligence services act...It’s understood Mr Uren’s charges were authorised by Attorney-General Christian Porter, according to sources familiar with the matter. Mr Uren, who was released on bail last week, is married to Chinese-Australian lobbyist and suspected intelligence operative Sheri Yan.

Roger Uren's wife defends former intelligence officer, says he is loyal to his country - Sydney Morning Herald Uren had been planning for his wife, Sheri Yan, and her elderly parents to move to Canberra from Beijing when he was arrested last week. "All his life - he joined DFAT when he was young - he has been very loyal to his country. He cares about Australia," Yan told The Sydney Morning Herald andThe Age in Beijing, where she has been living in an apartment with her parents, aged 90 and 88, and caring for them.

China Routs the United States at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization China’s bid to place one of its own top officials at the head of the Rome-based U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which helps direct agricultural and food security policies worldwide, offered an early test, Moley noted. The election was still some five months away. But Moley, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs, made clear that defeating China would become a key U.S. foreign-policy goal…Five months later, the race ended in a stinging defeat for the United States. Beijing’s candidate, Qu Dongyu, the vice minister of agriculture and rural affairs, overwhelmingly won the June 23 election with 108 out of 191 votes from the organization’s 194 member countries. U.S. diplomats initially anticipated their favored candidate, a former Georgian agriculture minister, receiving at least 60 votes. He ended up getting 12.

China's new rifle to help create future ‘super soldiers’ - Global Times China's recently revealed new service rifle is reliable and comfortable, and "super soldiers" are in the making when paired with an advanced individual soldier combat system, said a senior Chinese light arms developer...Accompanying the new rifle is an individual soldier combat system, which integrates dozens of advanced devices, including an information exchange interface packed up on the chest of a soldier, the CCTV report said.

China could tap North Korea rare earth mine in exchange for solar investment: report - Reuters North Korea plans to grant China access to a rare earth mine in exchange for investment in solar energy that could ease its chronic power shortages, a Chinese industry association website reported on Thursday.// Or not? See next item-

China unlikely to trade with North Korea for rare mine: insider - Global Times A reported deal under which China could tap a North Korea rare-earth mine in exchange for solar investment appears unlikely, as the deal is not "an optimal one" for China in terms of business aspects, industry insiders told the Global Times on Thursday. Insiders also pointed out that even if the deal materialized, it would not mean that China has violated UN sanctions on North Korea, and an industry insider stressed that China will invest and trade with North Korea within the scope of UN regulations

Japan and China hold first joint maritime drills in eight years in sign of warming ties | South China Morning Post The Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (MSDF) destroyer Samidare carried out a series of radio communication and coordination exercises with the Chinese guided-missile destroyer Taiyuan in waters south of Japan on October 16, Japanese national broadcaster NHK reported on Tuesday.

China-basher or bridge builder? What can we expect when Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro visits Beijing? | South China Morning Post The right-wing populist frequently attacked China on the campaign trail, accusing it of “buying up the country” and angered Beijing by visiting Taiwan in February last year. But he has since changed tack, saying he welcomed Chinese investment and trade just before taking office at the start of the year.

On Russia’s Vast Frontier, Lots of Free Land and Few Takers - WSJ $$ Three years ago, Russia set out a bold plan to revive its vast Far East, handing out free land to reverse depopulation in an area rich in timber, minerals and oil that has drawn interest from Chinese investors and businesses. But the ambitious program to arrest the decadeslong outflow of residents to the bright lights of big cities, including Moscow and St. Petersburg, hasn’t lived up to expectations. Pioneers of this five-year pilot program now in its third year have been stymied by poor transportation, meager power links and unexpected costs, leaving some locals worried they will be unable to keep up with the Chinese economic juggernaut.

Vladimir Putin opens first ever Russia-Africa Summit | DW The Russian president has welcomed thousands of African leaders to discuss politics and business "worth billions of dollars." Unlike China, Putin has promised to refrain from "political or other" influence.

Chinese orienteering team disqualified at World Military Games for cheating – shanghaiist Orienteering involves using a topographical map and a compass to navigate from point to point as fast as you can in diverse and typically unfamiliar terrain. In the Middle Distance competition on Sunday, Chinese runners finished in first, second, and fourth place among women and second among men. This impressive result was quickly thrown into question, however, when a protest was filed by the national teams from Austria, Belgium, France, Poland, Switzerland, and Russia. According to the International Orienteering Federation (IOF), it was discovered and proven that Chinese runners had “received illegal assistance both by spectators in the terrain, markings and small paths prepared for them and which only they were aware of.”

Chinese ship heads away from Vietnam after disputed surveys in South China Sea - CNA A Chinese oil survey vessel that has been embroiled in a tense standoff with Vietnamese vessels in the South China Sea left Vietnamese-controlled waters on Thursday (Oct 24) after more than three months, marine data showed.

Malaysia bans controversial belt and road comic for cultural insensitivity, promoting communism | South China Morning Post A comic book championing China’s Belt and Road Initiative and written by a controversial Malaysian activist was on Wednesday banned by the Home Ministry for cultural insensitivity and promoting communism after a week of widespread criticism. “This publication tries to, among other things, promote the ideology of communism and socialism and has spread incorrect, confusing facts about communists while trying to raise support and sympathy for the communist struggle,” the ministry said in a statement.

Explain how Hew’s comic ended up in Chinese president’s hands - MCA MCA has questioned how a copy of controversial Belt and Road Initiative for Win-Winism comic, which Putrajaya has since banned, was handed to Chinese President Xi Jinping. MCA president Wee Ka Siong said he wanted Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah and Malaysian Special Envoy to China Tan Kok Wai to explain the matter.

Xi's leadership helps reach agreement on common concerns among nations - China Daily Editor's note: Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy is the fundamental guideline for China's diplomatic work in the new era. China Daily is publishing a series of stories to examine how Xi's proposals have become internationally accepted and made great contributions to world peace and human progress—Dedication to peaceful dialogue, evolving approaches for guarding rights and interests, sincerity for win-win cooperation and improved publicity worldwide have contributed to China's progressing diplomacy aimed at handling thorny territorial issues, senior diplomats and experts said.

Assistant Secretary David R. Stilwell Travels to Japan, Burma, Malaysia, Thailand, Seoul and China - United States Department of State Assistant Secretary Stilwell will stop in Beijing on November 7, where he will meet with U.S. Embassy staff and Chinese government officials

Tech and Media

E-Commerce Power Couple Untying the Knot?   - Caixin Li Guoqing announced the split from wife Peggy Yu on his Weibo microblog on Wednesday. He revealed he submitted a divorce petition to a court in July. But he said that earlier this month Yu declined the request by saying the relationship wasn’t broken. In a more recent post on Thursday, Li said that Yu told him that she would agree to the divorce only if she is allowed to keep 75% of their shares as part of their divorce settlement. Li’s post didn’t specify shares in what, but it may refer to splitting up the Dangdang e-commerce company the two co-founded

Long-Delayed Film ‘Better Days’ Gets Surprise Release in China - SixthTone The highly anticipated teen drama “Better Days” is set to hit theaters on the Chinese mainland Friday after having its previously planned premiere canceled in June. // Comment: Approvals loosening up now that the 10.1 celebration has passed?

Onmyoji server shut down in Vietnam for violating local sovereignty laws | GamesIndustry.biz NetEase-developed RPG Onmyoji appears to have been shut down in Vietnam, following an update to the game that introduced a map change violating Vietnamese sovereignty laws.

Chinese-Owned Teen Sensation TikTok’s Appeal Waning - Bloomberg Because they cut ad spending? // According to Sensor Tower, TikTok was the top app-install advertiser on Facebook in the U.S. for four quarters in a row -- until it dropped out of the Top 10 in the second quarter. That coincided with a sharp plunge in new user growth in the country -- from the first quarter’s 182% year on year to just 16% in the second quarter.

China Drafts Cyber Regulations to Revise Laws Protecting Minors - Caixin Online product and service providers should avoid offering content that may lead to addiction among minors and should limit usage time, privileges and the ability to spend money, according to an article on the draft law posted on the official website of the National People's Congress (NPC). However, citing online games, China’s top legislative body said that concrete regulatory measures were up to the State Council, China’s cabinet. 未成年人保护法修订草案增设“网络保护”,哪些看点值得关注?

RWR Advisory Group launches the "Huawei Risk Tracker"

Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

Fifa under fire after announcing China will host 24-team Club World Cup | The Guardian Human rights organisations have condemned Fifa’s decision to stage a revamped version of the Club World Cup in China. World football’s governing body has confirmed that an expanded version of its showpiece event, featuring 24 teams, will take place there in June and July 2021

The Artist Snapping China’s Alienated Young Clubbers - SixthTone The haunting scene is part of photography series “Noon Club” by Chen Wei, a Chinese artist who has spent much of his career trying to capture the restlessness of life in modern Beijing. For Chen, China’s contradictory capital — oppressive and alienating, yet a magnet for young creatives — creates a subconscious tension in the minds of those who flock there, which comes to light after dark.

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

Stable demand, supplies expected for natural gas seen for ’19 winter - Global Times Following a 2017 winter gas shortage that left some households in freezing cold, China's three state-owned majors are describing supplying sufficient gas supplies for the region a "political task." Jin Lei, an associate professor at the China University of Petroleum, said overall gas consumption during the upcoming winter will still increase but growth will be subdued, due to slower economic expansion and what's forecast to be a relatively warm winter.

Chinese marine research vessel returns after deep-sea exploration - Xinhua According to the GMGS, the mission has carried out a comprehensive geological and geophysical survey in some areas of the Northwest Pacific Ocean and obtained sediment samples rich in rare earth elements, laying a foundation for the scientific research on deep-sea ecosystems and evaluation of new resources.

China winter smog targets not enough to offset last year's surge: data - Reuters In an action plan for October 2019 to March 2020, China said 28 smog-prone northern cities, including the capital Beijing, would have to curb emissions of lung-damaging small particles known as PM2.5 by an average of 4% from a year ago...However, the targeted decrease is 1.5 percentage points lower than an earlier draft, and would not be enough to reverse a 6.5% surge throughout the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region over the same period last year.

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