Bill Bishop's Sinocism China Newsletter provides analysis, commentary and curated links to the important English and Chinese news of the day.

Join thousands of other subscribers and gain valuable insights into China and its role in the world.

“Sinocism is the presidential daily brief for China hands.”

Hong Kong protests as "terrorism"; RMB & the start of “financial war”?; China Development Bank scandal

The situation in Hong Kong over the weekend worsened significantly. The violence intensified, the Hong Kong Police appear to have been unleashed, the airport shut down Monday afternoon due to protests and Beijing and its propaganda organs are signaling a tougher line.

In perhaps the most chilling developments that look to be pointing to an increasing possibility of intervention from Beijing:

  • The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office held another press conference and for the first time likened the protests to terrorism;

  • An official of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region said (Xinhua) that “Hong Kong will slide into a bottomless abyss if the terror atrocities are allowed to continue”;

  • Official media are also using “terror” to describe the situation and promoted a video showing People’s Armed Police moving into Shenzhen:

  • Discussions critical of the Hong Kong protests are among the top trending topics on Weibo (Twitter).

Perhaps Beijing is bluffing as it ramps up the condemnations and propaganda work over Hong Kong. We should all hope that the Hong Kong police and government can find a way to calm things down and satisfy at least some of the key demands of the protestors, but that seems increasingly hard to see given the brutality and growing numbers of arrests, and I would not want to bet on Beijing just bluffing.

Xi Jinping should reappear publicly later this week from his Beidaihe interlude. While there have been fewer rumors this year than in previous ones I would still caution against the idea that somehow the mess in Hong Kong and the worsening US-China relationship will weaken Xi. The idea that hostile foreign forces are trying to foment a color revolution in Hong Kong with the goal of spreading it into mainland China as part of a broader plot to thwart China’s ‘National Rejuvenation” is one that will not seem far-fetched to many if not all in the leadership, and it could lead to a decision to “clean up” Hong Kong by any means necessary before the October 1 70th Anniversary celebration, as well as be used by Xi to double down on his anti-foreign and specifically anti-American policies.

The recent escalation of the US-China trade disputes will likely also give Xi more cover, if he even needs it, against any grumbling that he has mishandled the US-China relationship. It should be easy to argue that: the US pressure is just more evidence of America’s plan to keep China down; since no one can manage Trump those trying to blame Xi must have other, ulterior motives and, even if China agrees to humiliating concessions there is no guarantee the US side would keep its word.

If the unthinkable happens and there is a violent crackdown in Hong Kong then China’s relationships with the US and its allies will likely get much worse. I hate to be so negative but it does feel like we are approaching the precipice of something very worrisome.

I am going on vacation tomorrow, with a scheduled return for the newsletter on August 26. However, if there are major developments and I have Internet I will chime in in the interim.

Thanks for reading, and let’s all hope for a peaceful way out of the situation in Hong Kong.


The Essential Eight

1. Hong Kong

Central government spokesperson strongly condemns HK rioters' petrol bomb attacks on police - Xinhua

A spokesperson for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council on Monday strongly condemned the acts of a very small number of rioters in Hong Kong who on Sunday hurled petrol bombs at the police, causing injuries.

"We express extreme anger and strong condemnation against such atrocious and reckless acts of severe crime," said spokesperson Yang Guang...

The radicals, who repeatedly attacked police officers with extremely dangerous tools, showed a tendency of resorting to terrorism, he said, calling it a gross trampling on rule of law and order in Hong Kong, a serious threat to residents' life and safety, and a serious challenge to Hong Kong's prosperity and stability.

Such violent crimes should be cracked down upon in accordance with the law and without mercy, he said, stressing that the central government supports Hong Kong law enforcement and judicial agencies to enforce the law and bring offenders to justice as quickly as possible.

Hong Kong protests: Flights canceled as protesters shut down airport - The Washington Post

China’s state broadcaster, CCTV, issued a commentary Monday night headlined: “Alert! There are signs of terrorism on the streets of Hong Kong.” 

It warned: “No country can accept terrorist acts in its own country. . . . Hong Kong has reached an important juncture. ‘End violence and restore order’ is the most important, urgent and overriding task of Hong Kong at present!”..

Officers disguised themselves as protesters to arrest suspects, launched tear gas inside a subway station and fired on protesters at close range with less-than-lethal ammunition. One young woman was shot in the face with what appeared to be a bean bag round, severely injuring her eye. Police said Monday that the videos and photos had to be verified and that they could not confirm “the reasoning behind this lady’s injury.”

[视频]【央视快评】依法严惩恐怖暴行 坚决恢复香港秩序

CCTV evening news commentary said the protesters using gasoline bomb were trying to murder the police and this “obviously has the color of terrorism”, and therefore must be stopped and punished.

新华时评:必须将乱港暴徒绳之以法!

Extremely angry commentary by Xinhua vowing to punish the Hong Kong rioters, who it said are hurting the interests of Hong Kong public.

Airport Looks to Reopen Early Tuesday Morning: Hong Kong Update - Bloomberg

The Civil Human Rights Front, a group that has organized some of the largest rallies during 10 weeks of protests, announced that it would hold another “mass march” on Sunday, Aug. 18. The group will brief reporters on Tuesday.

How the Hong Kong Protests Are Discussed on Chinese Social Media | What's on Weibo

Although discussions on the Hong Kong protests were initially silenced on Chinese social media, the demonstrations are now trending all over Weibo, with state media propagating hashtags and illustrations in favor of Hong Kong government and in support of the Hong Kong Police Force.

Video: Hong Kong police make bloody arrest, assisted by officers suspected to be undercover as protesters | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

Beijing’s new weapon to muffle Hong Kong protests: fake news | The Guardian

Observers see the shift as a way to prepare the public for more drastic action Beijing or the Hong Kong government may take toward the protesters as well as a chance to push China’s view of events.

Comment: Watch for a surge in CCTV reporters and personnel going into HK.

侠客岛:一个暴徒手中拿着疑似M320榴弹发射器

Several state-run news outlets reported that one rioter was using US-made M320 grenade launcher to attack the police.

#香港黑衣人打中自己人#【香港示威女子被“猪队友”击中眼睛 视力受损】

CCTV said the woman whose eye was badly injured by Hong Kong police was actually injured by other protesters. The report also posted a picture suggesting the woman was handling out cash to other protesters. 

Hong Kong police top brass face barrage of questions over use of weapons, injuries, undercover tactics | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

Deputy Commissioner of Police Tang Ping-keung admitted that police officers disguised themselves as “different characters” during the Causeway Bay operation on Sunday, but refused to say how many were involved and when the undercover operation first began...

Hong Kong protests: brutal undercover police tactics spark outcry |The Guardian

Footage of helmeted protesters suddenly making arrests causes concern after weekend of intense clashes

Apple Daily founder expelled from family clan for bringing chaos to HK: reports - Global Times

Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, founder of Hong Kong-based newspaper Apple Daily, has reportedly been expelled from his family clan for supporting rioters and bringing chaos to Hong Kong, local media reported.

Lai, whose ancestral home is Shunde in South China's Guangdong Province, was cast out from the family clan for actions that brought chaos to Hong Kong and shame to his family, Hong Kong-based Ta Kung Pao newspaper reported Sunday, citing an online statement allegedly from Lai's family clan.

US urges increased caution for Americans visiting Hong Kong - AP

“I don’t think that leaking an American diplomat’s private information — pictures, names of their children — I don’t think that’s a formal protest,” spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus told reporters.

She added: “That’s not how a responsible nation would behave. Releasing any of that personal information of an American diplomat is completely unacceptable. That’s not a protest. That’s what a thuggish regime does.

Cathay Pacific must face up to safety issues - Global Times

The airline downplayed these abominable actions, severely undermining the trust of the industry and the public. Some Cathay Pacific employees have shown extreme political inclinations and bluntly defied the rule of law. The company's safety controls have been greatly disrupted by political factors. Whether it can ensure the highest standard of flight safety and services quality in the future has become unknown.

Comment: Dangerous logic and precedent for the CAC. If political beliefs are a measure of safety and confidence certain foreign governments in disputes with China could decide to question whether any crew member of a PRC airline who is also a CCP member might not also show "extreme political inclinations and bluntly def[y] the rule of law".

Chinese State-Run Firms Tell Workers Not to Fly Cathay Pacific - Bloomberg

Chinese state-run companies have told employees to avoid taking Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. flights, according to people familiar with the matter, widening the fallout for Hong Kong’s dominant air carrier after workers took part in anti-Beijing protests and strikes.

Coach, Givenchy in hot water over China T-shirt row:Reuters

Italian luxury label Versace and its artistic director, Donatella Versace, apologized on Sunday after one of its T-shirts, depicting the territories of Hong Kong and Macau as countries, was criticized on Chinese social media.

Coach's China ambassador, supermodel Liu Wen, said on Weibo on Monday that she had severed her endorsement deal with the New York-based label over a similar T-shirt, which also listed Taiwan as a country even though Beijing says the self-ruled island is a renegade province.

Moscow calls for joint cooperation with Beijing against U.S. interference - Xinhua

Russia and China should exchange information on the interference of the United States in the internal affairs of the two countries, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday.

The ministry's spokesperson Maria Zakharova said at a news briefing that Moscow is aware of Chinese statements that the United States interferes in Hong Kong affairs and it treats this information "with all seriousness."

The Best China – China Heritage

Hong Kong Apostasy This feature takes as its focus the 2019 Hong Kong Protest Movement


2. RMB designation the start of a “financial war”?

New IMF report doesn’t back Trump’s currency manipulation charge against China - POLITICO

In an annual review of China’s economic policies, the IMF said Beijing actually took steps last year to prop up the value of its currency after the renminbi declined against the dollar between mid-June and early August 2018.

Overall, the currency “was broadly stable” in the past year, depreciating by just 2.5 percent against a basket of foreign currencies used as a benchmark, the IMF said.

The report: People’s Republic of China : 2019 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; Staff Statement and Statement by the Executive Director for China

IMF报告充分说明中国不是“汇率操纵国”(钟声)

CCTV evening news and Zhongsheng of People’s Daily have not stopped in lambasting the US for designating China as a currency manipulator. They cited IMF, and US economists such as Jeffery Sachs in saying the US designation a farce, and it hurts the US economy as well.

周小川:有人抬高关税壁垒,我们也要进行反向制裁

Former central banker Zhou Xiaochuan said in the Yichun conference that the economists had a closed meeting discussing policies on trade war. Zhou didn’t specify on this, but suggested China retaliate the US for its sanctions.

陈元:“汇率操纵”和中美货币关系

Chen Yuan, son of Chen Yun and former Chairman of China Development Bank gave a speech saying the US designation of China as currency manipulator is just the start of a China-US “financial war”, and he suggests China’s foreign exchanges should shift away from USD.

China Ex-Central Bankers Warn of Long Currency War With U.S. - Bloomberg

The U.S.’s labeling of China as a currency manipulator “signifies the trade war is evolving into a financial war and a currency war,” and policy makers must prepare for long-term conflicts, Chen Yuan, former deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, said at a China Finance 40 meeting in Yichun, Heilongjiang.

Former PBOC Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said at the gathering that conflicts with the U.S. could expand from the trade front into other areas, including politics, military and technology. He called for efforts to improve the yuan’s global role to deal with the challenges of a dollar-denominated financial system.

Weaker Yuan Tests China’s Ability to Prevent Capital Flight - WSJ $$

“The willingness of the Chinese authorities to allow the yuan to weaken suggests that they are comfortable with the ability of existing administrative measures to prevent large capital outflows,” said Khoon Goh, head of Asia research at ANZ in Singapore, in a note to clients.

In May, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange publicized 17 cases in which individuals or businesses were punished for violating foreign-exchange rules. The publicity highlights how keen authorities are to discourage this behavior—and the range of tactics they are confronting.


3. US-China

Trump suggests September trade talks with China may not take place - POLITICO

"We're not ready to make a deal, but we'll see what happens," he said. “We'll see whether or not we keep our meeting in September."..

Speaking to reporters outside of the White House, Trump also said the administration would not grant licenses for U.S. companies to resume certain types of transactions with blacklisted Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.

Trump has directly connected the administration's treatment of the company to the broader trade talks. Industry sources told POLITICO that the U.S. easing up on Huawei would likely only happen if China agreed to resume purchases of U.S. agricultural goods.

US-China cooperation not a priority for either side, says Beijing academic | South China Morning Post

Shi Yinhong, international relations professor at China’s Renmin University, who also advises the government, said cooperation was not currently a priority for the Chinese government or US President Donald Trump, with almost all areas where they could have worked together overwhelmed by confrontation...

“With both China and the US committed to putting their countries first, nationalism in both nations is getting stronger, making them more confrontational to each other,” Shi said.

“The chances for cooperation are very limited. The issues that China believes it can work on with the US are not given priority in Trump’s diplomatic agenda,” Shi said. “And these issues are also not the priority on China’s agenda.”

五月荷:世界应当共同抵制偏执极端之祸(国际论坛)

Wuyuehe of People’s Daily on Saturday singled out Peter Navarro and continued the attack on US for protectionism. Interesting that it said the recent WSJ editorial bashing Navarro sounds just like People’s Daily, and this shows people of the US and China both oppose Navarro’s protectionist policies. 

国内某著名学者说“看不到美国干涉香港的证据”

Zhu Feng of Nanjing Univ has been labeled as traitor in China after being quoted in saying there is no evidence of CIA involvement in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, the US canceled Zhu's visa not too long ago.

Guam-based Navy helicopter squadron rescues Chinese mariner — its 16th save this year - Stripes: 

It happened during stormy weather after U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam alerted the squadron to a “distressed mariner” aboard the Chinese-flagged oil tanker CSC Brave, according to the statement. Within two hours, a squadron search and rescue crew left Andersen Air Force Base aboard an SH-60 Seahawk to rescue the person from the tanker.


4. Huawei launches HarmonyOS

Huawei announces its first operating system, HarmonyOS | Ars Technica

Ever since the Trump administration's export ban on Huawei threatened the company's Android phones, Huawei has been making claims that it didn't really need Android and could start its own operating system if it needed to. Today, Huawei's saber-rattling reached a new volume with the announcement of "HarmonyOS," Huawei's home-grown operating system. At the "Huawei Developer Conference 2019," Huawei gave a Chinese-language presentation on HarmonyOS, which included only a vague overview of the OS and no screenshots or demos.

HarmonyOS isn't quite targeting smartphones yet, and the OS will first debut on the "Honor Smart Screen" (which sounds like an Echo Show or Google Home Hub) and Huawei TVs. Huawei said an expansion to smartphones could happen sometime over the next three years, but for now, it wants to stick with Android.

Huawei's HarmonyOS Is No Android Replacement | WIRED

While there’s no reason to doubt that Huawei can put HarmonyOS on a smartphone—Chinese media says it’s already in the works—the mere presence of an operating system doesn’t make a device usable, any more than the presence of a big tent guarantees a circus performance. Without apps, HarmonyOS has very little to offer. And despite Huawei announcing a billion-dollar investment in getting developers on board, those apps may be hard to come by. Developers will be able to port Android apps over to HarmonyOS, but that process may not be worth it for many.

任正非签新电邮:过去是为赚点小钱, 现在要战胜美国

In a purported internal speech in July, Ren Zhengfei of Huawei vowed to build its own supply chain after being put on the US entity list. Ren said for Huawei who is targeted by the US, being able to survive is victory, and the company will not pursue high profit at the moment.

Comment: Another reminder that any US reprieve for Huawei will just be giving the company time and revenue as its tries to decouple from US supplies

A U.S.-China Tech Cold War Could Cripple the Global Economy - Bloomberg

Bloomberg Technology's Emily Chang hosts a special broadcast for the Bloomberg New Economy. The panel discussion explores what is at stake if a Silicon Curtain falls between the U.S. and China, with Samm Sacks, Susan Shirk, Joy Tan (SVP Huawei USA), Ken Wilcox

Huawei closes research centre in Victoria blaming 'negative environment' - Sydney Morning Herald

As debate intensifies in Australia over how to respond to the rise of China, Huawei quietly announced it would close its research and development centre in Burwood next month, with the loss of 15 highly specialised jobs.

Opinion | Trump Has Succeeded. Now Lots of Chinese People Are Buying Huawei Phones. - The New York Times - Yasheng Huang

Huawei "s a genuinely private company, owned by its employees."...


5. Letter condemning racial profiling of Chinese studying in the US

US academics condemn ‘racial profiling’ of Chinese students and scholars over spying fears | South China Morning Post

A letter urging the government to “tread carefully” has been signed by 19 universities and associations including the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U), and Scholars at Risk, an international network of academic institutions that supports academic freedom. It was also signed by PEN America, a non-government organisation that promotes free expression through the advancement of literature and human rights.

The letter - Government Must Tread Carefully When Monitoring Chinese Scholars:

Some recent incidents suggest concern with the mounting global reach of Beijing’s tech-enabled authoritarianism is valid; but calls to monitor individuals solely based on their country of origin violate norms of due process and should raise alarms in a democracy. If there are articulable concerns about specific individuals because of their activities and affiliations, those should be pursued without regard to the individual’s country of origin. Disclosure requirements, information sharing and export control enforcement all offer powerful means to protect against intellectual property theft and espionage without resorting to tactics that cast suspicion on potentially hundreds of thousands of students and scholars. Federal agencies need to clarify and specify their concerns, and ensure that their efforts do not trample on individual rights nor on the principle of free and open academic inquiry and exchange.

发展美中关系最好的方式是交流——访美国哈佛大学荣誉退休教授傅高义

Guangming Daily interviewed Ezra Vogel of Harvard, who urged China and US have more people-to-people exchanges so to know each other better. In the interview Vogel criticized the Trump and FBI to blocking such exchanges, but he also said he hopes China would allow such exchanges to continue.


6. CCP propaganda in Taiwan media

Paid 'news': China using Taiwan media to win hearts and minds on island - sources - Reuters

The placement of the articles was part of a broader campaign by China to burnish its image in the Taiwanese media as part of efforts to win hearts and minds in Taiwan for China’s “reunification” agenda.

Reuters has found evidence that mainland authorities have paid at least five Taiwan media groups for coverage in various publications and on a television channel, according to interviews with 10 reporters and newsroom managers as well as internal documents reviewed by Reuters, including contracts signed by the Taiwan Affairs Office, which is responsible for overseeing China’s policies toward Taiwan.

These efforts have been going on since China and Taiwan deepened their economic collaboration nearly a decade ago, but details like the financial arrangements of such partnerships had not previously been reported.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen warns citizens to be on guard against China-backed media ‘infiltration’, citing Reuters report | South China Morning Post

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen urged citizens to stay on alert for Chinese-financed media “infiltration” after a Reuters report of a Beijing-backed media campaign in the self-ruled island which China considers its own.

Tsai said on Saturday the Reuters report confirmed growing concerns over Chinese attempts to influence press coverage on the island.

“The story to some extent confirmed that these concerns aren’t baseless,” Tsai told reporters in the southern city of Kaohsiung.


7. Caixin on the collapse of controls at CDB and the Hu Huaibang case

In Depth: Former Policy Bank Chief Used Personnel Shifts, Strong-Arm Tactics to Funnel Loans - Caixin Global

Hu Huaibang, who retired as CDB chairman in September, would resort to tactics that included removing, transferring or simply overruling underlings who opposed his efforts to funnel huge amounts of letters of credit to CEFC China Energy Co. Ltd., the fallen energy and financial conglomerate controlled by secretive tycoon Ye Jianming. Ye himself has also been under investigation since last year.

Hu’s efforts also helped to fuel the meteoric rise of HNA Group Co. Ltd. which went on a multibillion-dollar global buying spree but is now selling many of its purchases to pay down massive debt...

To make sure Ye got the loans he wanted, Hu engineered major personnel changes within the bank, involving more than 50 people, a former senior CDB executive told Caixin. The shuffling included key positions such as directors of the loan committee, the credit review department, the risk management department and the loan management department.

“From the beginning to the end of the loan review process, it was Hu’s own people,” a person from CDB told Caixin. The source added that the whole process under Hu — from credit approval to final lending — fundamentally changed the systems that had been in place at the bank for years...

When things started going bad for some loans, Hu would install people he trusted to lead core departments to try to mask the situation. “The huge changes in personnel were mainly emergency cover-up measures to stave off internal disputes,” a CDB source familiar with the matter said.

Comment: But someone more senior than Hu Huaibang or fallen Gansu Party Secretary Wang Sanyun must have known what Hu was doing and given him the confidence to be so brazen. Who, when? And given the total collapse of internal controls at CBD, imagine what it must be like at smaller banks. No wonder there is so much concern about grey rhinos…

【特供】特别报道|胡怀邦陷落_财新数据通频道_财新网

The original Chinese story from Caixin on Hu Huaibang, now behind its 998/RMB per year paywall. It reads like Caixin got the case files from CCDI…

Among the details is this link to the recently rescued Hengfeng Bank. Hu's son Hu Xiaodong worked at Hengfeng, appears to also have been detained along with his mother/Hu's wife.

 胡怀邦夫妇有一子胡啸东,现年37岁,曾任职恒丰银行资产管理部副总经理。胡啸东曾在建行、中信证券供职,此后加入恒丰银行,曾和蔡国华等人一起,通过高管持股平台持有恒丰银行股份。2016年11月,财新独家报道蔡国华调动恒丰银行的资金违规曲线MBO(管理层收购)(参见本刊2016年报道“恒丰银行股权控制术”),直至2017年11月,蔡国华被查。在此期间,胡怀邦曾亲自带着儿子去中央纪委投案,退掉了相关股份,此后胡啸东就没在恒丰银行露面。目前,胡啸东的手机呈关机状态。有国开行内部人士称,胡怀邦一家三口都被查。

Exclusive: Another Lender Gets State Lifeline - Caixin

Hengfeng Bank, one of China’s 12 national joint-stock lenders, will receive a 30 billion yuan ($4.3 billion) investment from an entity controlled by the Shandong provincial government, making the entity the biggest shareholder of the Shandong-based bank once the deal is done, multiple sources told Caixin.

Meanwhile, Central Huijin Investment Ltd., a domestic arm of China’s sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corp., will also become a strategic investor. Central Huijin has yet to do its due diligence on the bank, a senior Hengfeng Bank executive told Caixin.


8. Australia’s debate about China

Australia to redirect $500 million in foreign aid to new Pacific projects - Sydney Morning Herald

Pacific Island leaders held a climate roundtable ahead of the forum in Funafuti, the capital of Tuvalu, on Monday, highlighting the need for Australia play a bigger role to address the issues many low-lying nations face through climate change.

The historic meeting took place amid growing concern by Western nations over China's influence in the region as Beijing attempts to buy favour with massive foreign aid projects in return for bolstering its military presence.

Hastie's awakening to Xi's bid for total control of China - and beyond - Sydney Morning Hearld

The former soldier started reading a speech the former journalist had delivered to an internal federal government seminar hosted by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in August 2017. It was titled Engineers of the Soul: what Australia needs to know about ideology in Xi Jinping's China.

Comment: I published the speech here on Sinocism earlier this year. One of the reasons I wanted to publish it is that I knew it had had an impact on policymakers in capitals around the world

In defence of Andrew Hastie - AFR - Rory Medcalf

Hastie’s article drew a political analogy, not with the Nazis but with the ruthlessness of Stalin’s Soviet Union: an inspiration that Mao and Xi would not disown. His only German reference was based around the folly of not anticipating a determined and fast-moving strategy. 

Yes, the article equated this with the failure to understand the extent and significance of Chinese Communist Party operations today. But it avoided any parallels with the evil of National Socialism. The word Nazi did not appear once.

China debate is one we have to have, but let's do it sensibly - Sydney Morning Herald

The timing of Hastie’s intervention in the China debate for a Prime Minister preparing for a visit to Washington in which managing China’s continued rise – and resisting American anti-China pressure – will dominate discussion is, well, inconvenient. 

Morrison brushed off Hastie’s intervention in the hope no doubt that his hawkish backbencher’s words would quickly get lost in the swirl of events. "I don’t really think it’s offering anything new," he said.

Former US Pacific Fleet commander praises Australia for 'refreshing' debate on China

In an interview ahead of his flight to Australia for a security summit in Perth, Admiral Swift also told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that stinging criticism of China by Liberal MP Andrew Hastie "should be taken seriously".

"I didn't have a lot of quibbles with it," Admiral Swift said of Mr Hastie's intervention, which has sparked a furious rebuke from China and divided senior Morrison government ministers.


Business, Economy and Trade

China's July new loans dip more than expected, further policy easing seen - Reuters Broad M2 money supply in July grew 8.1% from a year earlier, central bank data showed, below estimates of 8.4% seen in the Reuters poll. It rose 8.5% in June. Outstanding yuan loan grew 12.6% from a year earlier. Analysts had expected 12.8% growth, slower than June’s 13.0%

Govt rolls out key tasks on administration streamlining for better business environment - Gov.cn The circular, as a follow-up to a national teleconference on the issue addressed by Premier Li Keqiang on June 25, laid out key tasks for the National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Finance, State Administration for Market Regulation, and other related departments. Among the tasks, market access will be further eased with a shorter negative list, and no restrictions are allowed beyond the list. Led by the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce, revision of the new negative list for market access will be completed by the end of September.

In Depth: The High Cost of a Free Lunch for a State Financial Firm - Caixin The White Horse Wine deal is only part of a tangled web of Shaanxi Financial’s transactions that have triggered probes by Chinese authorities. Investigators have detected 1.8 billion yuan of risky loans, with an additional 3 billion yuan in potential danger, sources close to the matter said. Shaanxi Financial’s exposure to suspicious loans could be even higher if nonbank borrowings are included, the sources said.

Q&A: Central Bank Deputy Pan Gongsheng Says Defaults Are Good for China’s Bond Market - Caixin Bond defaults are normal, and it’s unhealthy for a market not to have any defaults. In the past, many investors believed that bonds could not default and thus invested in bonds regardless of their ratings. However, now that the implicit guarantee — that investments will be bailed out if they sour — is broken, the pricing mechanism in the bond market can be corrected to truly reflect credit risks. We should view the default situation in an objective manner, as defaults are beneficial to the long-term development of the bond market and to a more efficient allocation of financial resources.

In China’s Credit Ratings, Democracies Pay a Price – Foreign Policy there’s one possibility nobody has considered: a ratings war, where China tries to persuade the world to take on its own assessments of sovereign debt. That’s mostly because no one takes China’s credit ratings seriously, least of all Chinese debt issuers and investors. But although the prospect of dueling ratings isn’t likely anytime soon, some countries are increasingly comfortable with the Chinese rulebook.

State-owned investors dominate China’s new tech exchange | Financial Times $$ Of the first 25 companies — from microchip component makers to new energy companies — listed on Shanghai’s Star board, 14 report state-owned investors among their top-three shareholders, according to Financial Times analysis. The first 25 listings, which raised Rmb37bn ($5.2bn), shed light on the activities of the hundreds of state-run venture capital funds, also known as “guidance funds”

Central Bank’s Digital Currency to be Issued Soon: PBOC Official - Caixin The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has opted not to pursue a predetermined technological approach to its digital currency and electronic payment system — dubbed “DC/EP” — and will not rely exclusively on blockchain technology, Mu Changchun, a deputy director of the PBOC’s payment and settlement department, said at a seminar in Northeast China’s Heilongjiang province. The PBOC will stick to centralized management on digital currency and issuance will be based on a “two-tier” operational structure, meaning the currency will be issued by both the PBOC and commercial banks, Mu said.

57 Chinese Bankers Barred from the Banking Sector for Life since Start of 2019 - China Banking News infractions in relation to real estate funding figuring prominently.

Tsinghua University Group Abandons Plan to Sell Stake in Domestic Chipmaker - Caixin A business group founded by prestigious Tsinghua University has just abandoned its plan to sell most of its stake in a major domestic chipmaker to a Shenzhen state-owned investment company due to the deteriorating market environment.

Shanghai Disney sued for snack food policy - Global Times Four Chinese university students are suing Shanghai Disney Resort for banning visitors from taking food into the park, local media has reported. In January, a student and her friends were stopped by Shanghai Disney staff from entering the resort carrying snacks, which the staff said is against resort regulations, the Shanghai Observer reported on Saturday.

Shanghai Disneyland faces backlash over ticket refunds as typhoon hits - Global Times Due to inclement weather conditions, Shanghai Disney Resort including Shanghai Disneyland was closed on Saturday. Guests with tickets for Shanghai Disneyland on Saturday may choose to visit the park on any other day within the next six months (by February 10, 2020), according to a notice released on the official Weibo account of Shanghai Disney Resort on Friday. Consumers were quick to complain that the company did not specify whether ticket buyers could obtain refunds if they skip their tours.

Politics and Law

Chinese online literature favors more realistic themes - Xinhua "The increase of realistic works should be attributed to the encouragement of the people-oriented perspective in artistic works," said Wang Yefei, head of Beijing's press and publication administration, at a seminar at the China Online Literature+ Conference which opened Friday.

Xinjiang: What China shows world vs. what former detainee describes - Nikkei Asian Review Detainees were also given unknown medications and injections. Mehrigul said she felt "tired for about a week, lost my memories and felt depressed." Doctors in the U.S. later said that she had been sterilized. She was discharged four months later after being diagnosed as mentally ill, but was "under 24-hour surveillance."

Xinhua Headlines: Serving the people -- unswerving mission of CPC - Xinhua "Serving the people wholeheartedly" is the motto of the Communist Party of China, which originated from a speech by Chairman Mao Zedong in memory of a soldier, Zhang Side. Zhang is renowned for his lofty morality of serving the people wholeheartedly. His stories have been eulogized by generations of Chinese, and his spirit has been passed on...In an education campaign themed "stay true to our founding mission", which has been carried out nationwide in May, all CPC members and officials are required to bear in mind the phrase and act accordingly.

Foreign and Defense Affairs

长安街知事:张汉晖履新中国驻俄大使,前任李辉获普京授予友谊勋章 China appoints Zhang Hanhui, a vice foreign minister as the new ambassador to Russia. Zhang was ambo to Kazakhstan. Zhang and Le Yucheng co-authored the first Belt and Road strategy document when Xi visited Kazakhstan in 2013. Story notes that Cui Tiankai is now the only vice-minister-level ambassador that is above the 65-year-old retiring age limit.

China’s ‘outspoken’ Lu Shaye leaves Canada to become ambassador to France | South China Morning Post The foreign ministry announced on Thursday that Lu would be posted as Chinese envoy to France on Thursday, after months of speculation over his next appointment. // Comment: Watch for the next job for former DCM to Pakistan Zhao Lijian. Won't be surprised if he ends up working on the social media front for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Chinese FM holds talks with Indian external affairs minister on ties - Xinhua Wang stated China's principled position on India's recent unilateral move on the Kashmir issue, said that China hopes India will play a constructive role in regional peace and stability, according to the press release. Jaishankar explained India's stance, noting that India is willing to exercise restraint and improve relations with Pakistan. India will also abide by the consensus reached with China on maintaining peace in the border and continue to work with China to properly solve the border issue through consultations, said the press release.

China demands justice for death of Chinese worker in Las Piñas - Rappler China is demanding justice for the death of a Chinese citizen who was allegedly handcuffed by his employer and fell to his death in Las Piñas City. In a statement on Monday, August 12, the Chinese embassy in Manila said it was "closely following" the death of a 27-year-old Chinese man identified as Yang Kang, who fell out of a window from the sixth story of a building in Las Piñas.

China revises rules for commending martyrs - Xinhua The revised regulation adjusts the procedure for identifying a martyr and entrusts a national commission in charge of Party and state honors to review the list of martyrs identified by the Ministry of Veterans Affairs, according to the statement.

Steady as She Goes: China’s New Defense White Paper - War on the Rocks - Dennis J. Blasko Finally, the authors append the term “with Chinese characteristics” to many phrases in the document, such as “Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) with Chinese characteristics,” “a modernized military force structure,” “the system of socialist military policies and institutions,” and a “military legal system.” This suggests that while the PLA has learned from the United States and other militaries and has adapted many lessons in reforms, it does not intend to replicate the structure and doctrine of any other military because of factors unique to China. Outsiders might see many developments that look like parts of the American system, but analysts must resist the temptation to mirror-image U.S. capabilities and intentions onto China.

Unlocking the Gates of Eurasia: China's Belt and Road Initiative and Its Implications for U.S. Grand Strategy - Texas National Security Review - Thomas P. Cavanna while some aspects of the Belt and Road Initiative must be steadily opposed, U.S. leaders should acknowledge that Beijing has made some positive contributions in the developing world and that their own policies toward those countries have not always been particularly benevolent or flawless. A more open stance may yield Chinese concessions on debt, job creation, and environmental questions, and open up more business deals for American companies. By contrast, systematic attempts to portray Belt and Road as a predatory scheme are likely to isolate the United States.

Web users cheer PLA's 92nd birthday - China Military DF Express, a Sina Weibo account of the PLA Rocket Force, announced Thursday that the shooting of the first TV drama on the PLA Rocket Force -The Glory of Youth - starring Chinese actor Li Yifeng will start soon.

'Why I translate all of Trump's tweets into Chinese' - BBC News They are all Trump supporters that are critical of the Chinese government and hope to "spread Trump's messages in the Chinese-speaking world", says Ding. The account, which translates as "Trump's Chinese synchronous tweets" in English, notes its mission is to help followers "understand the theories of governance through Trump's tweets".

Taiwan

Taipei protests over UN Women listing Taiwan as province of China | South China Morning Post Taipei has protested against a UN Women decision to describe the self-governing island as a province of China in a social media article on marriage equality, saying Beijing has trampled on human rights and does not recognise same-sex marriage.

Ex-officials to be barred from China events from Sept. 1 - Taipei Times Starting on Sept. 1, people who have held office as a deputy minister or higher and military officials who have held the equivalent rank of major general or higher are to be banned from attending political events in China or risk losing their pensions and benefits, the Ministry of the Interior said yesterday.

Bringing Political Science to the Taiwanese Masses – China Channel Lev Nachman talks to Yen Wei-ting, founder and contributor to the blog and book, “Who Governs?”...I think the whole purpose of democracy is to open up that process so people can contribute, or at least understand how to contribute. Its every citizens right to choose whether or not to engage, but you are going to be impacted by the process regardless.” Yen’s desire to start such a blog was inspired by the 2014 Sunflower Movement

Tech and Media

Chinese Director Says He’s ‘Truly Sorry’ for Sci-Fi Flop - SixthTone Teng Huatao, the director of “Shanghai Fortress,” on Saturday expressed his “extreme sadness” over myriad memes joking that the movie had “closed the door” on expectations for Chinese sci-fi. While such films have performed poorly in recent years, the runaway success of February blockbuster “The Wandering Earth” had ushered in a surge of excitement and optimism about the genre’s future — that is, until now.

Schoolchildren in China work overnight to produce Amazon Alexa devices | The Guardian Leaked documents show children as young as 16 recruited by Amazon supplier Foxconn work gruelling and illegal hours

Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

From Bob Marley to Peter Tosh: the reggae empire built by a Chinese-Jamaican family | South China Morning Post the half-Chinese, half-Indian Chin, who was born on the Caribbean island of Jamaica, knows just about everything there is to know about reggae. She and her late husband, Vincent “Randy” Chin, helped build the nascent reggae music scene in the late 1950s from their home in Kingston, Jamaica, along with the likes of the legendary Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

The Cost of Ethiopia's Booming Economy - The Atlantic In 2006, hundreds of miles upstream, the Ethiopian government began constructing Africa’s tallest and arguably most controversial dam, known as Gibe III, with the help of a Chinese loan. The dam has the capacity to increase national energy output by 85 percent. It has another, more far-reaching, purpose as well. By regulating the river’s flow, it will feed the continent’s largest-ever state agricultural program, the Kuraz Sugar Development Project (KSDP)—almost as large as the total irrigated land area of neighboring Kenya. Together, Gibe III and KSDP represent the pinnacle of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front’s (EPRDF) development ambitions. But by ending the Omo’s annual flood and, as a result, rupturing the fragile ecosystem on which the valley’s tribes depend, the project also raises a troubling question: Can the imperatives of a national economy ever outweigh the rights of a small minority to preserve its traditional way of life?

Education

PKU enrolls low-scoring students amid controversy - Global Times "Our previous rejection was irregular and we decided to admit the two candidates." The announcement came after local media beginning around August 6 reported the university rejected two Henan students although they met PKU's enrolling requirement in Henan under a governmental "national special project."

Rural and Agricultural Issues

China cuts 2019/20 corn use forecast by 2 million tonnes due to African swine fever - Reuters The ministry said corn consumption was now seen 2 million tonnes lower than last month’s forecast at 280 million tonnes because a huge fall in the pig herd was reducing demand for feed.

Loading more posts…