The Sinocism China Newsletter 01.18.17-Trump, Davos, Ideological Tightening

I wish I could tell you what the incoming Trump administration intends for China but so far there is a lot of noise and uncertainty, including around who will actually be driving and implementing policies that affect the relationship. It certainly looks like we should expect a much tougher line, something that could be constructive as long as there is a strategy, proper sequencing, and some sobriety behind all the bluster. So far those things are not apparent.

One move that would be a sign of just how much animosity the Trump folks feel towards China would be announcing things sure to upset Beijing on the evening of January 27, or on January 28, Chinese New Year’s Eve and Chinese New Year’s Day.

Meanwhile back in Beijing we see continued ideological tightening with more emphasis on ideological conformity and obedience as well further moves to crackdown on “historical nihilism”, especially when it comes to Chairman Mao. 2017 is shaping up to be a very tense year inside the PRC, and expect it to only get worse if tensions with the US increase.

Today’s Links:

AnchorTHE ESSENTIAL EIGHT *

1. Zhou Qiang on judicial independence, the separation of powers, and constitutional democracy | REACH In his address, Zhou Qiang pointed out to the need to “raise the sword” against the ideologies of judicial independence, separation of powers, and constitutional democracy. His speech was summarized by the China News Agency (Zhongxingshe). The China News Agency placed the need to deny the organizing principles of Western political systems in the broader context of protecting the reputation of national heroes, and punishing those conducts which, by spreading false news, lead the public to commit offences against public order. Here’s a translation of the China News Agency article

Related:  China’s Chief Justice’s Extraordinary Statement: The Most Enormous Ideological Setback for a Professional Judiciary — Jerome A. Cohen It is much more threatening to the judicial cadres than the usual recitation about the importance of following the Party line. It focuses almost exclusively on “morality” and political reliability.  Its reference to heroic historical figures is surely bizarre and suggests that the recent investigation of the Supreme People’s Court by the Central Discipline Inspection Commission must have uncovered judges’ lack of reverence for Chairman Mao as well as their continuing desire for judicial independence from Party interference. This statement is the most enormous ideological setback for decades of halting, uneven progress toward the creation of a professional, impartial judiciary. It has already provoked some of China’s most admirable legal scholars to speak out in defiance, and, despite their prominence, I fear not only for their academic freedom and careers but also for their personal safety.  I see Zhou’s statement as possibly necessary in order for Zhou Qiang, an enlightened and progressive Party leader,  to have his appointment renewed by the 19th Congress. There is immense dissatisfaction among many judges, especially the younger judges, over Xi Jinping’s restrictive, anti-Western legal values being imposed on them, contrary to their largely-Western-type legal education.

Related:  Senior official urges law enforcement to counter hidden risks – Xinhua Meng Jianzhu, head of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks during a central conference on political and legal work held on Thursday and Friday. Meng asked the agencies to improve their political alertness and capabilities of prediction and early warning. Judicial and law enforcement agencies should detect hidden dangers and risks and employ effective measures, to protect national political security, especially the security of the regime and system, Meng said. // Comment: Xinhua report 孟建柱在中央政法工作会议上强调;增强政治责任感 提高工作预见性;为党的十九大胜利召开营造安全稳定的社会环境  There was a post going around Wechat claiming Meng said insulting Mao equates with wanting to subvert the nation. Here are the purported (it could be fake news!) comments that I posted to Twitter 

Related: 中央政法工作会议精神系列解读:防范风险化解矛盾维护社会稳定 会议要求,在工作中,政法机关要坚持专群结合、善用众力众智,通过加强综治中心建设,深入推进网格化管理,统筹好政法、综治、维稳、信访等部门力量,运用好企事业单位、社会组织等资源,进一步拓宽人大代表、政协委员、律师、法学和法律工作者等第三方参与社会矛盾化解的制度化渠道,构建调解、仲裁、行政裁决、行政复议、诉讼等有机衔接、相互协调的多元化纠纷解决体系,增强化解社会矛盾的实

Related: CPC stresses loyalty, professionalism of judicial, law enforcement staff – Xinhua A document issued by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee called on all judicial and law enforcement workers to be loyal to the Party and improve their professionalism. The document, published on Wednesday, said the country’s judicial and law enforcement staff should protect social stability, and promote social justice and fairness. // 中共中央印发《关于新形势下加强政法队伍建设的意见》

Related: 中央17年后再次下文加强政法队伍建设,有何用意? Xinhua tries to explain the meaning behind the updated opinion on construction of judicial and law enforcement workers

Related: 打好新形势下维稳主动仗(深入学习贯彻习近平同志系列重要讲话精神)–时政–人民网 Comment: the deputy director of the central stability maintenance office wrote this on p7 of 1.13.17 People’s Daily. It gives insight into what the ccp is worried about/what they are going to crack down on. It looks to be another nasty year, doesn’t it?  //  中新社北京1月14日电 (记者 张子扬)中国最高人民法院党组书记、院长周强14日在北京谈及全国各级法院做好意识形态工作必须掌握的几项内容:要坚决抵制西方“宪政民主”、“三权分立”、“司法独立”等错误思潮影响,旗帜鲜明,敢于亮剑,坚决同否定中国共产党领导、诋毁中国特色社会主义法治道路和司法制度的错误言行作斗争,决不能落入西方错误思想和司法独立的“陷阱”,坚定不移走中国特色社会主义法治道路。 当日上午,周强在出席全国高级法院院长会议时,提出了如上要求。

2. Chinese official fired after calling Mao Zedong ‘a devil’ | South China Morning Post Official at media censor in Hebei province latest to be sacked in China for criticising the former Chinese leader

Related: 党刊最新一期痛批袁腾飞:影响极其恶劣 Comment: CASS researcher takes to red flag manuscript attacks yuan tengfei and historical nihilism

Related: Fei Chang Dao: Government Calls Out Sina Blogs for “Distorting Party History” On January 7, 2017, the the Cyberspace Administration of China published a notice on its website entitled “Sina, Global Times, China.com, and Other Websites Post Harmful Information in Violation of Rules, Get Reported by China’s Internet Users”

3. In Era of Trump, China’s President Champions Economic Globalization – The New York Times In myriad ways, Mr. Xi is a strikingly ill-fitting steward of openness and connectivity. Under his direction, China’s Communist Party has clamped down severely on civil society, tightening restrictions on the internet and jailing scores of lawyers focused on using the country’s own laws to defend the rights of aggrieved people. He has projected China’s navy into contested waters in the South China and East China Seas. Throughout his speech, Mr. Xi carefully used the phrase “economic globalization,” while avoiding unqualified “globalization,” reflecting China’s spurning of an open internet, universal human rights and free elections.

Related: President Xi’s speech to Davos in full | World Economic Forum Here is the full transcript of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech to Davos

Related: 习近平出席世界经济论坛2017年年会开幕式并发表主旨演讲国际新闻环球网 Comment: Transcript of Xi’s Davos speech

Related: China unveils new plan to further open economy to foreign investment | Reuters China will lower restrictions on foreign investment in banking, securities, investment management, futures, insurance, credit ratings and accounting sectors, the State Council said in a statement posted on its website. No further details were provided, nor a timetable for their implementation //  Comment: Nicely timed with Xi’s Davos appearance

Related: No longer welcome? American companies fear China’s turning its back on them. – The Washington Post In Davos, Xi made a vigorous defense of free trade, arguing that “pursuing protectionism is like locking oneself in a dark room” in the hope of avoiding danger but, in doing so, cutting off all “light and air.” “No one will emerge as a winner in a trade war,” Xi said. But while American companies definitely do not want Trump to start a trade war with China, they are increasingly unhappy with the way Beijing is treating them. They argue that Xi’s government is turning more toward protectionism as its economic growth slows.

Related: AmCham China Releases 2017 Business Climate Survey – Press Center | AmCham China The 2017 Business Climate Survey found that 72 percent of respondents feel that a positive bilateral relationship between the U.S. and China is critical for business, yet 83 percent of respondents expect bilateral relations to remain the same or to deteriorate this year

4. Trump team struggles for cohesion on tougher China policy | Reuters A Trump transition adviser told Reuters that Tillerson, Trump’s pick to be America’s top diplomat, did not mean to suggest the new administration would impose a naval blockade, which would risk armed confrontation with China, something the new administration was not seeking. But another official authorized to speak on behalf of the transition team pushed back on that view, saying Tillerson “did not misspeak” when he said China should be barred from its man-made islands.

Related: Commerce Secretary Nominee Wilbur Ross Offers Preview of Trade Policy – WSJ A top Trump trade adviser on Wednesday emphasized tougher enforcement of existing rules as a way to confront China and other countries, reassuring some lawmakers worried by President-elect Donald Trump’s talk of broad tariffs on U.S. imports.

Related: Trump Aide Sells China an Entree to Wall Street Hedge Funds – WSJ Anthony Scaramucci, a loyal Trump surrogate known as “The Mooch,” is selling his controlling stake in SkyBridge Capital—which manages roughly $12 billion—to Chinese conglomerate HNA Group and investment partner RON Transatlantic EG in a deal that values SkyBridge at around $200 million, according to people familiar with the situation. // Comment: No conflict no interest?

Related: China’s Top Economic Official Braces for Possible Trade War – The New York Times Over the last year, Liu He, a soft-spoken, American-educated technocrat, has consolidated his status as President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser, amassing influence that some believe rivals that of the prime minister. But as his star has climbed, Mr. Liu has struggled to overcome resistance to a program of measured economic liberalization and more open markets that he argues is critical to China’s long-term economic health — and that is generally favored by Washington.

Related: Alibaba’s Ma says no chance of U.S. trade war with China | Reuters “China and (the) U.S. will never have a trade war. Give Trump some time. He’s open minded,” Ma told a panel at the meeting of business and political leaders in the Swiss Alps.

Related: Chinese billionaire Jack Ma says the US wasted trillions on warfare instead of investing in infrastructure Ma says blaming China for any economic issues in the U.S. is misguided. If America is looking to blame anyone, Ma said, it should blame itself. “It’s not that other countries steal jobs from you guys,” Ma said. “It’s your strategy. Distribute the money and things in a proper way.” He said the U.S. has wasted over $14 trillion in fighting wars over the past 30 years rather than investing in infrastructure at home.

Related: The Top Six Chinese Retaliation Targets–Mad Hedge Fund Trader it behooves us to analyze which companies will suffer the most from any deterioration in the US-Chinese relationship before markets figure this out. The Chinese are not interested in any “America First” policy in any way, shape, or form.

Related: Chinese CEOs Brush Off Trump Risks Over Breakfast With U.S. Execs – Bloomberg That’s the conclusion from some of the 13 chief executive officers of Chinese state-owned enterprises who met Wednesday over breakfast with leaders from some of the biggest U.S. companies at the annual World Economic Forum conclave. Senior executives of International Business Machines Corp., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., General Electric Co. and Cisco Systems Inc. were among those who attended the meeting in Davos, Switzerland, while participants from China included heads of CRRC Group and China National Machinery Industry Corp.

Related: With their threats to China, Trump and Tillerson are making rookie blunders that will only hurt US credibility | South China Morning Post Hugh White says their ill-considered words over the South China Sea and ‘one China’ policy, which underline how little they understand China, will most probably reveal themselves to be empty threats

5. The U.S. Media’s Unfortunate Obsession with One Beijing Rag | Foreign Policy Global Times is best thought of as Beijing’s unrestrained id, breathing a reliable stream of fire and invective in the United States’ direction, and, thus, providing nearly endless potential fodder for U.S. journalists.

6. President Trump Can Legally End the One China Policy and Station U.S. Troops in Taiwan – Lawfare – Julian Ku In this brief post, I will avoid discussion of the wisdom of such a shift (I will simply note that discussions during my recent trip to China suggest to me that the Chinese will not take such a shift well).  But I want to focus here on the legality, both domestic and international, of U.S. abandonment of the One China policy in favor of some form of increased support or even recognition of Taiwan.  My unsurprising conclusion: Neither U.S. nor international law prevents President Trump from abandoning the One China policy, recognizing Taiwan as a separate country, and even stationing U.S. troops and military assets there.

Related: Revisit the ‘One-China Policy’ – WSJ Comment: John Bolton OpEd // America could enhance its East Asia military posture by increasing U.S. military sales to Taiwan and by again stationing military personnel and assets there, probably negotiating favorable financial terms. We need not approximate Douglas MacArthur’s image of Taiwan as an “unsinkable aircraft carrier,” or renegotiate a mutual defense treaty. Basing rights and related activity do not imply a full defense alliance. Our activities would not be dissimilar to Singapore’s, although they could be more extensive. The Taiwan Relations Act is expansive enough to encompass such a relationship, so new legislative authority is unnecessary.

7. Dim Sums: Rural China Economics and Policy: Rural Land Cooperatives Keep Communist Officials Relevant Communist party officials view themselves as necessary intermediaries to engineer structural transformation of the countryside. The Ministry of Agriculture’s description of the Taozhuang land cooperative concludes by pointing out that the cooperative arrangement revives the relevance of village communist party officials. According to the description, “In the past it was said, ‘after distributing land to households the [village] communist party branch was no longer needed.” But the Ministry says that communist party officials are now of central importance in the village:

8. Opinions concerning Stimulating the Healthy and Orderly Development of the Mobile Internet « China Copyright and Media Following the swift development of information network technology and the broad popularization of smart mobile terminals, mobile Internet has, with its prominent advantages of broad availability, connectivity, smartness and universality, powerfully promoted a profound convergence between the Internet and the real economy, it has become a new area for innovative development, a new platform for public services, and a new channel for information sharing. In order to deeply implement General Secretary Xi Jinping’s thinking about the strong cyber power strategy, and stimulate the orderly and healthy development of our country’s mobile Internet, the following opinions are hereby put forward.

AnchorBUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE *

U.S. affirms finding of China steel plate dumping, subsidies | Reuters The finding followed an investigation prompted by a petition from Nucor Corp and U.S. subsidiaries of ArcelorMittal SA and SSAB AB.

SEC.gov | SEC Charges Businessman With Misusing EB-5 Investments The SEC alleges that Thomas M. Henderson and his company San Francisco Regional Center LLC falsely claimed to foreign investors that their $500,000 investments would help create at least 10 jobs within several distinct EB-5 related businesses he created, including a nursing facility, call centers, and a dairy operation.  This would qualify the investors for a potential path to permanent U.S. residency through the EB-5 program. // Comment: Once again, sounds like lots of Chinese scammed–2013: Tom Henderson’s Chinese empire 

China’s Found a New Way to Pump Record Credit Without the Side Effects – Bloomberg Banks’ required reserve requirements haven’t changed for almost a year. Instead, the central bank has used short-term lending channels to add almost six times as much funding than would have been added by lowering banks’ RRRs by half a percentage point. With the new tool playing its part in stabilizing the economy — data Friday is estimated to show a 6.7 percent expansion for 2016 — the People’s Bank of China is switching its focus to risk management. Another advantage of targeted lending: it adds funds without signaling broad easing that adds to downward pressure on the yuan and fuels further capital flight.

Chinese Mogul Advises Trump Against Scrutinizing Media Deals – Bloomberg “If the U.S. blocks Chinese capital, China can retaliate with protectionist measures. This won’t be good for anyone,” Dalian Wanda Group Co.’s billionaire Chairman Wang Jianlin told Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait during a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “Let’s not fight over entertainment.”

China’s Central Bank Pumps Out a Record $60 Billion Before Holidays – Bloomberg China’s benchmark money-market rate jumped the most in two years, with record central bank cash injections being overwhelmed by demand before the Lunar New Year holidays. The People’s Bank of China put in a net 410 billion yuan ($60 billion) through open-market operations on Wednesday, the biggest daily addition since Bloomberg began compiling the data in 2004

China Home Prices Rose in Fewest Cities in 11 Months Amid Curbs – Bloomberg New-home prices in Shenzhen, the nation’s hottest market early last year, fell 0.4 percent in December from November, the third straight monthly decline, the data showed. Prices in Beijing and Shanghai dropped 0.1 and 0.2 percent respectively, after snapping a 20-month streak of gains in November. Values in Guangzhou added 0.7 percent.

Sinopec Gets Approval for Stake in Securities Firm – Caixin As a state-owned enterprise, Sinopec of course would want to expand into the securities sector to meet the growing demand for financial services, sources at several securities firms said. And Sinopec appears to be lagging behind China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), another Chinese state-run oil and gas producer and supplier, which has extended its reach to a wide range of financial business — including banking, insurance, securities, and fund management — through its capital investment subsidiary.

Foxconn Billionaire Assuages China About U.S. Investment Plans – Bloomberg China’s government has conveyed its concern over Foxconn Technology Group billionaire Terry Gou’s plan to expand the Apple Inc. assembler’s operations in the U.S. after President-elect Donald Trump takes office, people familiar with the matter said. A high-ranking Chinese official recently expressed Beijing’s concerns directly to Gou, the people said

China’s First Freight Train To The U.K. Rolls Into London : The Two-Way : NPR The train, which set out from the eastern Chinese city earlier this month, inaugurated a direct freight train service between the two countries with its arrival in east London’s Barking terminal Wednesday

China steps up capital controls, tightens investment rules for state firms | South China Morning Post The State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (Sasac) said it would step up supervision on outbound investments, two documents on its website showed. The regulator also said it would establish a negative list of investment projects that centrally controlled state firms would not be allowed to invest in. It was not clear if local government firms were excluded from the new rules 国资委设定央企内外投资红线

China hits back at Wahaha tycoon over claims of excessive fees | South China Morning Post In a statement published by the National Development and Reform Commission yesterday, Beijing said it “only” charged ­Wahaha 317 types of fees in 2015, fewer than the roughly 500 types of fees that company chairman Zong Qinghou complained about publicly at the end of last year. The latest response follows criticism from various Chinese entrepreneurs over high taxes and fees that they say are hurting the country’s industrial economy, particularly manufacturing that has already suffered from rising labour and land costs.

China’s Central Bank Finds Bitcoin Exchanges Out of Step on Regulation – CoinDesk the report concludes that the companies were found to be carrying out margin trading activities, though no details on any punishments were issued. The reports, by China-based news source Hexun and Jiefang Daily, further state that the platforms were also found to be operating outside of anti-money laundering rules, an area of concern the PBOC previously highlighted in public releases.

AnchorPOLITICS AND LAW *

Liaoning Government Admits False Growth Data from 2011-14 – Caixin The disclosure came after a large number of officials in the province, including ex-provincial party chief Wang Min, fell last year on a vote-rigging scandal. City and county officials in Liaoning made false claims about fiscal revenues and other data from 2011 to 2014, said Chen Qiufa, who became head of the provincial government in 2015.

China’s Top Prosecutor Takes Aim at Corrupt Village Officials over Rural Land Grabs – Caixin State prosecutors should reach out to local legislators, government advisers and public representatives to help settle disputes linked to forced relocation in rural areas, Cao Jianming told the heads of prosecutor’s offices from around the country at a meeting in Beijing on Saturday. Lawyers should be allowed to play a bigger role to help address such problems, which have become a major cause of social unrest in China, Cao said at the meeting without elaborating.

China tightens party loyalty requirements in sensitive year | Reuters Chinese public sector managers in education and media must adhere to new rules of party loyalty and “socialist statesmanship” to keep their jobs, the latest move to limit dissent in a sensitive leadership transition year.

全国组织部长会议在京召开 刘云山出席会议并讲话_CCTV Liu Yunshan on Wednesday called for improved Party building and for officials to be selected and promoted in an orderly manner. Liu..made the remarks during a meeting attended by leading officials of the Party’s organization departments from across the country.-English 

A Fourth Update on Lawyer Li Chunfu’s Situation: ‘What Are You Hiding From Me?’ « China Change Since Li Chunfu was released from the custody of China’s security forces on January 12, his family has been providing updates on his condition to the outside world. Their notes make clear that Li was left a broken man, suffering both physically and mentally.

AnchorFOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS *

父亲是老革命儿子是“包工头”:上将王建平落马记_环球人物杂志 Comment: Long article on the fall of General Wang Jianping  //  在王建平落马前,武警部队就有一批“老虎”被查处,包括武警交通指挥部原司令员刘占琪、原政委王信、原总工程师缪贵荣、原副司令员瞿木田,以及武警部队原副司令员牛志忠。武警交通部队主要承担公路、港口及城建等施工任务。 知情人士说:“王建平的儿子能接到武警的工程,很可能就与刘占琪有关。未必是王建平主动找的刘占琪,可能刘占琪给他儿子好处,他也就默许了。”

China’s veteran generals fading out in massive PLA reshuffle | South China Morning Post Changes to come ahead of 19th National Congress as President Xi Jinping consolidates his power

Navy man tipped to command PLA’s key southern region | South China Morning Post If the proposal was adopted, Vice Admiral Yuan Yubai, a deputy commander of the Northern Theatre Command, appeared to be the front runner to head the southern command, the sources said.

Meet China’s Sharp Sword, a stealth drone that can likely carry 2 tons of bombs | Popular Science The Sharp Sword UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), China’s stealthy attack drone, just won second place in the National Science and Technology Advancement Prizes. Considering the secrecy surrounding stealth drones to come out of China—there are relatively few photos of the Sharp Sword available, particularly as opposed to, say, the J-20 fighter—the Sharp Sword’s victory is pretty noteworthy. The drone, known as “Lijian” in Mandarin Chinese, is being paraded as a huge win for Chinese aviation technology. And it is.

An ‘Old Friend Of China’ Prepares To Bridge Differences At A Fraught Time : Parallels : NPR there may be no more challenging time than now to be U.S. ambassador to China. And, says Peking University professor Zha Daojiong, the role of the U.S. ambassador has never been more confusing to China’s leadership. “What kind of role is he here to play?” asks Zha. “Is he here to represent a voice from the administration? Or is he going to be functioning as a bridge of sorts?” American ambassadors to China in the 1980s and 1990s were descendants of missionaries in Asia, so-called “old China hands” with the ability to see China through the lens of history, philosophy and civilization. Then, around the turn of the century, a more politically savvy batch of top diplomats arrived with close connections to Washington.

‘Be prepared to throw punches’: Chinese military raises alarm over rising threat from spying | South China Morning Post According to a PLA Daily commentary, a number of incidents indicated that the risk from foreign reconnaissance was cause for alarm. 对军事“盯梢”者应予当头一棒

NSG membership not Obama’s farewell gift: China hits back at US for backing India – India Today China today voiced its displeasure at the United States and at the outgoing Barack Obama administration for suggesting Beijing was blocking India’s Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) bid, saying the matter was not “a farewell gift” to be given by Washington.

Modi Takes Shots at China, Says No Talks With Pakistan – Bloomberg The Indian prime minister also made a rare, veiled reference to Beijing’s $46 billion investment in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, which passes through parts of the disputed region of Kashmir that are administered by Pakistan but claimed by India.  The remarks come after the failure of Modi’s diplomatic attempts to soothe relations with both Pakistan and China over the last two-and-a-half years

China Brief – Jamestown Comment: This issue devoted to PRC-India relations

AnchorHONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN *

China urges U.S. to bar Taiwan delegation from Trump inauguration | Reuters A Taiwan delegation, led by former premier and ex-ruling party leader Yu Shyi-kun, and including a Taiwan national security adviser and some lawmakers, will attend Friday’s inauguration, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said this week. It is typical for Taiwan to send a delegation to U.S. presidential inaugurations.

Taiwan carries out drills amid rising fears of Chinese invasion | World news | The Guardian The island’s armed forces gathered in Taichung, central Taiwan, for annual drills that saw troops test their combat readiness with tanks, attack helicopters and artillery. Skydivers, known as Team Mighty Dragon, also demonstrated their precision landing skills. The operation mimicked a scenario where Chinese war vessels had crossed over the middle line of the Taiwan strait.

ARATS: 1992 Consensus touchstone for Taiwan authority’s goodwill – Xinhua The mainland has reiterated that the ARATS’ negotiation and contact mechanism with its counterpart in Taiwan, the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), will only be resumed if the latter is authorized to confirm adherence to the 1992 Consensus, which sets out the one-China principle, it said.

AnchorTECH AND MEDIA *

Thomas Tull to Exit Legendary Entertainment (Exclusive) | Hollywood Reporter Tull founded the studio in 2005 and sold to China’s Dalian Wanda Group for $3.5 billion in 2016. // Comment: Take the Chinese money and run…

Baidu’s New President to Take Over Day-to-Day Management – WSJ The new president, Qi Lu, was a key deputy to Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella and oversaw the Office products and Bing search engine. “I want to gradually shift the day-to-day management work from my own shoulders,” Mr. Li, 48, said at a press conference on Wednesday. He said he planned to spend more time on general strategy and investment decisions for the company.

In 2017, China Is Doubling Down on AI-MIT Technology Review The country’s Internet giants are focusing on AI research, and domestic venture capital funding is pouring into the field.

Report: Chinese chemical firm acquires Talking Tom developer Outfit7 | PGbiz Chinese chemical firm Zhejiang Jinke Entertainment Culture has acquired Talking Tom developer Outfit7 for €1 billion, according to reports. Multiple news sites in Slovenia, where the developer has an office though its HQ is based in the UK, claim the deal took place in late December 2016 at a price of $100 per share

This startup connects China’s LGBT community for marriages of convenience – TechNode We have seen many LGBT startups in China in the past years, such as Blued, Lesdo, and The L. While these apps connect same-sex homosexuals, one startup set out to connect different sex homosexuals to solve their real problem. iHomo, a Beijing-based startup is now helping out LGBT community to find a beard to ward off increasing pressure from family members.

Chinese Tech Workers Blame Trump for Job Cuts | Sixth Tone An image of a giant red banner with white Chinese characters circulating on social media reads: “Moving the labor force to please Trump! We are against Oracle discrimination against Chinese workers by cold-bloodedly cutting jobs ahead of the new year.”

AnchorSOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY *

A Scar on the Chinese Soul – The New York Times – Helen Gao the party, whose legitimacy and image remain inextricably tied to Mao, has refused to fully reckon with his historical sins. And with public discussion of the Cultural Revolution’s legacy still largely forbidden, it remains difficult to gauge one of the most serious consequences of the tumultuous period: its impact on the Chinese soul.

AnchorENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH *

China Cancels 103 Coal Plants, Mindful of Smog and Wasted Capacity – The New York Times China is canceling plans to build more than 100 coal-fired power plants, seeking to rein in runaway, wasteful investment in the sector while moving the country away from one of the dirtiest forms of electricity generation, the government announced in a directive made public this week.

Closer Look: Challenges Loom to Adding Smog Filters to Northern China’s Public Schools – Caixin The local legislatures in pollution-choked Hebei province and Tianjin, both of which border the Chinese capital, have in recent weeks proposed installing similar systems in local schools. However, academics have expressed concerns about whether programs to equip schools with such expensive ventilation systems can be sustained in the long term, as smog is a chronic problem in northern China. They are also questioning whether such facilities would be made available to all students and how money can be allocated efficiently without a standardized, nationwide funding system.

China sets up lifelong accountability system to control soil pollution – Xinhua From July, polluters, both companies and individuals, will be responsible for restoring contaminated land, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said on Wednesday.

AnchorFOOD AND TRAVEL *

Forget Wine. China’s Booze Market Is All About ‘Liquid Cake’ – Bloomberg Yellow rice wine, sometimes known as liquid cake, dates back to the Shang Dynasty more than 3,000 years ago. It is the fastest growing mass-market alcoholic drink in China, with sales volume estimated at 8 percent last year, according to China International Capital Corp.

AnchorJOBS AND EVENTS *

Hearing on Chinese Investment in the United States: Impacts and Issues for Policymakers | U.S.-CHINA Thursday, January 26, 2017   Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 419 Washington, DC

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