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Hopes rise for trade deal; CEWC concludes; Goodies for Macau as Xi to visit

President Trump teased the markets about the trade talks earlier today:

The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that a deal is close, and from what I have been picking it does sound like Trump wants a deal announced by Sunday, but as as CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla reminds he has teased us like this before:

The Central Economic Work Conference (CEWC) has concluded, and unsurprisingly stability is a key term in the official readout.

The readout (see #2 in the essential eight), laid out 6 key tasks:

一是坚定不移贯彻新发展理念 First, we will unswervingly implement the new vision for development;
二是坚决打好三大攻坚战 Second, we will resolutely fight the "three tough battles";
三是确保民生特别是困难群众基本生活得到有效保障和改善 Third, we will ensure that people's well being, especially the basic living standards of those in need, are effectively guaranteed and improved;
四是继续实施积极的财政政策和稳健的货币政策。Fourth, we will continue to implement a proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy;
五是着力推动高质量发展 Fifth, we will work hard to promote high-quality development;
六是深化经济体制改革 Sixth, we will deepen economic restructuring

It also reiterated that houses are for living in, not for speculating on “要坚持房子是用来住的、不是用来炒的定位”

It is interesting that the Central Economic Work Conference went ahead before there was a resolution to the phase one trade deal discussions. I will guess that they decided to plan for the worst for 2020, thus the phrase in the readout from the meeting “We need to be well prepared with contingency plans”. Any positive developments in the US-China trade relationship will then be upside, at least on the margin.

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The Essential Eight

1. US-China

Trump Says U.S. Is ‘Very Close to a Big Deal' With China on Trade - WSJ $$

U.S. negotiators have offered to slash existing tariffs by as much as half on roughly $360 billion of Chinese-made goods as well as to cancel a new round of levies set to take effect on Sunday, according to people briefed on the matter...

The tariff-reduction offer was made in the past five days or so, the people said, and in exchange, the U.S. side has demanded that Beijing make firm commitments to purchase large quantities of U.S. agricultural and other products, to better protect U.S. intellectual-property rights and to allow greater access to China’s financial-services sector. Should China not carry out its pledges as part of the potential deal, the tariff rates would return to their original levels, a clause known in trade negotiations as a “snapback” provision.

High-stakes White House meeting expected Thursday to debate U.S.-China tariffs: sources - Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to meet with top trade advisers on Thursday to discuss planned Dec. 15 tariffs on some $160 billion in Chinese goods, three sources familiar with the plans said, as markets braced for potential negative impacts...

Comment: Today's meeting was the reason for my comment in yesterday's newsletter: "My speculation on those talks is that the fate of the current phase will be announced via a presidential tweet, quite possibly as early as Thursday."

Ron Vara, A.K.A. Peter Navarro, Highlights Case for More China Tariffs - The New York Times

Mr. Navarro harnessed his literary muse, Ron Vara, in a memo that is circulating in Washington. Sent from an email address purportedly belonging to Ron Vara, the memo highlights public commentary in favor of keeping the pressure on China with more tariffs...

Comment: Sounds like Navarro was trying to rally outside forces to pressure the president because he knew he was losing internally

China welcomes more contributions from U.S. enterprises to bilateral ties: vice premier - Xinhua

Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua Thursday voiced the hope that U.S. enterprises in China will continuously participate in China's reform, opening up and modernization process, so as to make greater contributions to Sino-U.S. cooperation.

Hu made the remarks in a speech delivered at the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) China 2019 Annual Appreciation Dinner and 100th Anniversary Celebration in Beijing

Comment: Interesting signal, the most senior PRC official to attend this event in over a decade I believe

The Pentagon's Top Asia Policy Expert Randy Schriver Resigns Amid Friction With Trump Administration

Schriver’s decision to leave the job is months in the making. It comes amid friction with the Pentagon’s policy shop, led by Undersecretary of Defense for Policy John Rood, according to multiple sources. Schriver was frustrated by not being able to push policy initiatives through the department and the White House, said one former defense official.

Schriver also spearheaded a campaign to strengthen relationships with Taiwan, but his efforts were often at odds with President Donald Trump’s trade relations with China, the former defense official said. Schriver has been described as one of Taiwan’s strongest supporters in the Trump administration.

Comment: A trade deal and the resignation of Randy Schriver in the space of a few days would be disheartening to some “hawks” in DC .

China Threat: U.S. Bets on Old Ideas in a New Package - Bloomberg - Hal Brands

A fresh doctrine — “pluralism” — aims to help allies and friends balance Beijing in the Indo-Pacific.


2. Central Economic Work Conference

China holds key economic meeting to plan for 2020 - Xinhua

Facing the complicated situation of mounting risks and challenges at home and abroad in 2019, China has maintained sustained and sound economic and social development and made key breakthroughs in the "three tough battles," seeing notable progress in targeted poverty reduction, effective prevention and control of financial risks, and general improvement in the environment, according to a statement released after the conference.

Meanwhile, the country's progress in achieving the major tasks of the 13th Five-Year Plan met expectations, and new major steps have been made toward finishing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

"The root cause is that we have upheld the centralized and unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee, maintained strategic resolve, kept pursuing progress while ensuring stability, deepened reform and opening-up, and given full play to the enthusiasm of central and local governments," the statement said...

The country faces rising downward economic pressure amid intertwined structural, institutional and cyclical problems, according to the statement.

The global economy continues to slow down, the world is still undergoing in-depth adjustments due to the global financial crisis, profound changes are accelerating, and sources of turbulence have substantially increased, the statement said. "We need to be well prepared with contingency plans."

Given this situation, the conference pointed out that the basic trend of the Chinese economy maintaining steady growth toward long-term sound development remains unchanged.

"We can overcome all risks and challenges," the statement said.

To achieve the expected targets for 2020, China will make ensuring stability a top priority, and uphold the policy framework of stable macro policies, flexible micro policies, and social policies that ensure basic needs are met.

The conference underscored sustained vigorous efforts in deepening supply-side structural reform, and ensuring reasonable growth and steady improvement of the economy.

China to focus on economic ‘contingency plans’ to battle growing pressures in 2020 | South China Morning Post

It is the first time since 2013 that the planners have explicitly cited the need to ensure stability in their goals for the coming year, in parallel with other goals including promoting reform, structural adjustment, improving people’s living standards and risk prevention, although the broad sense of stability has often been cited by Communist Party leaders in the last several years...

Thursday’s statement did not reveal the specific economic targets for 2020, which will only be officially disclosed in Premier Li Keqiang’s government work report in March at the “two sessions” meetings of the National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

中央经济工作会议在北京举行 习近平李克强作重要讲话栗战书汪洋王沪宁赵乐际韩正出席会议--时政--人民网

会议强调,在充分肯定成绩的同时,必须清醒认识到,我国正处在转变发展方式、优化经济结构、转换增长动力的攻关期,结构性、体制性、周期性问题相互交织,“三期叠加”影响持续深化,经济下行压力加大。当前世界经济增长持续放缓,仍处在国际金融危机后的深度调整期,世界大变局加速演变的特征更趋明显,全球动荡源和风险点显著增多。我们要做好工作预案。

中央经济工作会议在北京举行_CCTV

Top 12 Minutes of the Thursday CCTV Evening News on the CEWC

重磅解读来了!稳字当头!中央经济工作会议定调2020,部署明年六项重点工作稳健的货币政策灵活适度 深化金融供给侧结构性改革_本报关注_中国金融新闻网

The PBoC's China Financial News notes that "stability" is a key word for 2020

人民日报社论:坚决夺取全面建成小康社会伟大胜利

People's Daily Editorial that will run in the 12.13 paper on the CEWC - "We will resolutely win the great victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects"

一图了解中央经济工作会议精神——中央纪委国家监委网站

If you want to dig into the messaging for cadres, the CCDI has posted an infographic highlighting the key takeaways

Xinhua Headlines: Key meeting readies China for home stretch to 2020 milestone - Xinhua

The meeting called for resolute efforts in the "three tough battles" against major risks, poverty and pollution.

On improving the people's well-being, the meeting underscored ensuring a stable workforce and improving the structure and quality of employment.

The country will continue to implement a proactive fiscal policy and prudent monetary policy. The quality and effect of the fiscal policy must be enhanced with more efforts on structural adjustment, while the monetary policy should be pursued with moderate flexibility to maintain market liquidity at a reasonably ample level.

The growth of credit and social financing should be in keeping with economic development, social financing costs should be reduced, and the supply-side structural reform of the financial sector should be deepened, said the statement.


3. Hong Kong

Nice scoop by Reuters, makes a lot of sense for Beijing to hedge, but will global capitals markets players ever take Macau seriously given its history? Regardless, this is just another sign of the inevitable downgrading of Hong Kong.

Exclusive: Protest-free Macau to win financial policy rewards from China - Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Macau next week to announce a raft of new policies aimed at diversifying the city’s casino-dependent economy into a financial center, according to over a dozen interviews with officials and corporate executives...

“The financial industry used to be an idea that we reserved for Hong Kong,” said one Chinese official who requested anonymity. “We used to give all the favorable policies to Hong Kong. But now we want to diversify it.”

Xi’s trip to mark the 20th anniversary of Macau’s return to China comes as the central government has praised the city for upholding the “one country, two systems” framework that governs both Hong Kong and Macau...

Chinese officials, and bankers in Hong Kong, say the push to develop financial infrastructure in Macau is part of a plan to avoid any major market disruption in Hong Kong that could impact Chinese businesses.

The idea is not for Macau to replace or undermine Hong Kong but for China to have a contingency plan in case the situation in Hong Kong worsens, they said

On Zhang Xiaoming's article in the Wednesday People's Daily - Passing Article 23 an urgent mission for Hong Kong: official - People's Daily Online

Chinese experts said that publishing such an article at this time while Hong Kong is still suffering turmoil and Macao is waiting for the upcoming celebration of the 20th anniversary of returning to China, is delivering a signal that China is reviewing its policies and principles on governing SARs and it is trying to clarify some misunderstanding as well as introducing solutions and plans to solve long-existing problems and newly emerged challenges.

Crowds Mark Six Months of Hong Kong Protests, Pay Respects to Student Who Died - RFA

Tens of thousands of people gathered in downtown Hong Kong on Thursday to mark six months since the pro-democracy protests began

Hong Kong’s protesters need a leader now more than ever | Financial Times - Jamil Anderlini $$

This leaderless movement needs to find a leader; one who can eschew violence in favour of non-violent direct action. The cause of the demonstrators is righteous and just — they are asking only for what they were promised under the terms of the former British colony’s return to China in 1997. But some of their methods, including widespread vandalism and attacks on ordinary citizens who disagree with them, are neither.


4. Xinjiang

How China Persuaded One Muslim Nation to Keep Silent on Xinjiang Camps - WSJ $$

A year ago, clerics here in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country expressed alarm over China’s treatment of ethnic-minority Muslims—around a million of whom have been detained in re-education camps, according to human-rights groups...

Soon after, Beijing sprang into action with a concerted campaign to convince Indonesia’s religious authorities and journalists that the re-education camps in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region are a well-meaning effort to provide job training and combat extremism.

More than a dozen top Indonesian religious leaders were taken to Xinjiang and visited re-education facilities. Tours for journalists and academics followed. Chinese authorities gave presentations on terrorist attacks by Uighurs and invited visitors to pray at local mosques. In the camps they visited classrooms where they were told students received training in everything from hotel management to animal husbandry.

Views in Indonesia changed.

China's Xinjiang Moves Uighurs From Camps to Forced Labor - Foreign Policy - Adrian Zenz

Since spring 2017, the Chinese government has placed vast numbers of Turkic minorities into internment camps, which it refers to as “reeducation camps,” in the northwestern Xinjiang region. This March, it claimed that these supposed students would gradually be released into work placements. Data such as this supports this claim, but not in the way that the government is trying to sell it. Rather, it is part of a rapidly growing set of evidence for how Beijing’s long-term strategy to subdue its northwestern minorities is predicated upon a perverse and intrusive combination of coercive labor, intergenerational separation, and complete social control.

Beyond the Camps: Beijing’s Long-Term Scheme of Coercive Labor, Poverty Alleviation and Social Control in Xinjiang | Adrian Zenz

the author identifies three distinct flow schemes by which the state seeks to place the vast majority of adult Uyghurs and other minority populations, both men and women, into different forms of coercive or at least involuntary, labor-intensive factory work. This is achieved through a combination of internment camp workshops, large industrial parks, and village-based satellite factories.

Forum enriches human rights - Global Times

Mushahid Hussain Sayed, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Pakistan Senate, said on Wednesday that some Western countries use human rights as a political weapon on Xinjiang or Hong Kong issues.

"We in Pakistan fully stand by China on the issues of Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet and Taiwan. We regret US interference in the internal affairs of China using human rights as a political weapon because this interference is a violation of international laws," Sayed said.

"There are also double standards. US-launched wars have destroyed the Middle East, but it still has the nerve to talk of human rights," he said.

Chinese paramilitary conduct anti-terror drill in Xinjiang mountains - Reuters

Chinese paramilitary troops staged high altitude, anti-terror training in the Pamir mountains in the restive Xinjiang region in western China, according to a video broadcast by state television on Thursday.

China dismisses U.S. claim of Uygur harassment in Australia - CGTN

Addressing a regular press briefing on Thursday, China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying dismissed allegations made by U.S. Ambassador to Australia Arthur Culvahouse who claimed that China was harassing members of the Uygur community in Australia...

"This just makes me want to laugh. Are the Chinese police stupid, or the Australian police incompetent, or is the U.S. ambassador to Australia stupid?" Hua responded.


5. New US report on foreign research in the New Era

U.S. scientists who hide foreign ties should face research misconduct sanctions, panel says | Science | AAAS

U.S. scientists who violate government rules on disclosing foreign research ties should be investigated for research misconduct, says an independent group of prominent scientists asked to examine the threat of foreign influences on the U.S. research enterprise. Although the report concludes that the threat is real, it says the government should not impose new restrictions on the pursuit of basic research in the name of protecting national security.

These and other recommendations come from Jason, a free-standing group based in McLean, Virginia, that has advised the government on national security issues since the early days of the Cold War. The National Science Foundation (NSF) hired Jason to tackle the politically sensitive issue of foreign influence on U.S.-funded research amid calls from Congress and the White House to crack down on the open exchange of scientific information.

Open international research collaboration essential, must have safeguards, independent report finds | NSF - National Science Foundation


6. Huawei

China’s Huawei may need two to three years to recover from U.S. trade ban, CEO says - The Washington Post

In an interview at Huawei headquarters in southern China, Ren Zhengfei said the U.S. ban has had a “pretty big impact” on the company, forcing it to scramble to redesign products to try to eliminate U.S. parts.

He said Huawei is now producing telecom network equipment without U.S. chips or components, and it has shipped such gear to more than 40 telecom companies, including some in Europe. Huawei has also reduced U.S. parts in its cellphones, he said.

Merkel Faces Revolt Over Huawei as Lawmakers Seek Full Ban - Bloomberg

A bill drafted by lawmakers in Merkel’s ruling coalition stipulates that German authorities should be able to exclude “untrustworthy” 5G equipment vendors from “core as well as peripheral networks.” That goes beyond previous calls that sought to ban the Chinese firm from the more sensitive core network alone...

While negotiators haggle over a final draft, the stringent security standards set by lawmakers in Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union-led bloc and in the Social Democratic party illustrate the momentum building against the Shenzhen-based technology giant. CDU lawmakers approved a motion at a party convention last month calling for further restrictions.

Abe sees China's 5G lead as 'economic security' threat - Nikkei Asian Review

By encouraging companies to use only "trusted" telecommunications equipment, Abe hopes to both prevent Chinese companies from dominating Japan's next-generation networks and to help Japanese players expand market share.


7. Phase two of the South-to-North Water Diversion project

China to Expand World’s Largest Water Diversion Project - Bloomberg

The second phase of the South-to-North Water Diversion project will cover both the eastern and middle routes. The eastern route will raise annual delivery capacity from 8.77 billion cubic meters to 16.5 billion cubic meters, and will supply water to Shandong and Anhui provinces and increase supplies in Tianjin, Beijing and Hebei, said Shi Chunxian, head of the ministry’s planning department. A new 1,785 kilometer-long water channel will be built with 25 pump stations.

For the middle route, several reservoirs will be built to store water to ensure there is continuous supply and connect the Han and Yangtze rivers, Shi said.

Shi played down the ecological impact on the Yangtze River of the expansion of the project and said China transfers less than 2% of the river’s flow.

Xi Focus: How China is tackling its water stress - Xinhua

So far, the middle and eastern routes have delivered nearly 30 billion cubic meters of water to the north, benefiting over 120 million people, according to information released Thursday at a press conference of the Ministry of Water Resources.

In the capital city of Beijing, more than 70 percent of its drinking water in the major urban areas came through canals and pipelines from the south, benefiting over 12 million residents, over half of the city's total population...

The country has around 20 percent of the world's population, but only 6 percent of its freshwater resources. Its per capita water availability is just one-fourth of the world average...

The international definition of water scarcity is 1,000 cubic meters of usable water per person per year. Beijing, even after receiving supply from the south, has only less than one-sixth of that amount.

Comment: Water may be an even bigger risk to the great rejuvenation than debt and demographics


8. China pushes for relaxing some UN sanctions on North Korea

It must be another brutal winter in North Korea, as China argues its case in the Security Council and blames the US for the increase in tensions again.

Statement by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the Security Council Open Briefing on Discussing the Korean Peninsula Situation

The situation on the Korean Peninsula has recently taken a twist, leading to renewed tensions between the DPRK and the United States and bringing the Peninsula's situation to yet another critical juncture. China has noted that on 7 December, the DPRK conducted a test and, in relation to it, made a public statement. So far, the details of the DPRK's test -- what it involved, as well as other specifics -- have yet to be established, in which case the Security Council should not jump to hasty conclusions. The DPRK has taken a series of positive steps on denuclearization, but its legitimate concerns and aspirations in respect of security and development have not been given such attention as is commensurate with its effort, and remain unanswered. This is an important reason behind the current deadlock in dialogue and the tensing up of the situation...

It is imperative that the Security Council take action and invoke the reversible provisions in the DPRK-related resolutions as soon as possible in the light of the evolving situation on the Peninsula, and make necessary adjustments to the sanctions measures prescribed in those resolutions, especially in areas where the DPRK people's livelihood is at stake. This is in line with the spirit of the resolutions, conducive to the easing of the humanitarian and livelihood-related situation in the DPRK, conducive to creating a favourable atmosphere for dialogue, conducive to encouraging the DPRK to take greater strides in the direction of denuclearization and conducive to creating conditions and lending impetus to the political settlement of the Peninsula issue.

China's U.N. envoy says 'imperative' Security Council ease sanctions on North Korea - Reuters

China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun said it is “imperative” that the United Nations Security Council ease sanctions on North Korea in a bid to support talks between Pyongyang and the United States and “head off a dramatic reversal” of the situation.


Business, Economy and Trade

Chinese Steel Production Expected to Surge 6.5% This Year - Caixin Chinese steel production is expected to maintain rapid growth even as the country’s economy slows, increasing 6.5% to hit 988 million tons this year, and 981 million next year, suggesting efforts to curb excess capacity in the sector may have slackened.

China's Steel Price Rally Isn't a Sign of Economic Stimulus - Bloomberg What appears to be happening is that the shaky economic outlook in China in recent months has left production short even of the limited levels needed to tide the industrial sector through the slow winter months. Mills are seeking to top up their supplies in case they run short, and are rushing to secure iron ore inventory. This rally should be little more than a blip.

China’s Insurers Squeal as Swine Fever Hits Profits - Caixin Firms are under growing pressure due to a surge in the number of farmers making claims partly due to the reluctance of local governments to classify hog deaths as being caused by the disease in order to avoid paying out subsidies, Lin Changqing, a deputy general manager at the agriculture insurance department of People’s Insurance Co. of China (PICC), told a forum in Beijing this week...The loss ratio on hog insurance has risen to around 130%, meaning that for every 100 yuan collected in premiums, companies are paying out 130 yuan, several industry insiders told Caixin on the sidelines of the forum. Before the outbreak of the disease, the payout ratio ranged from 50% to 60%.

Yicai Global - China's Zhangjiagang City Does U-Turn on Property Resale Ban Day After Lifting It The two-year prohibition on reselling property is still in effect, online news outlet The Paper reported today, citing the same insider at the city's property registration center who had yesterday received verbal notice that the ban would be lifted. Any official cancellation must come in writing from the authorities, he added.

Chinese Chip Makers Get Biggest State Boost, Report Finds - WSJ $$ Chinese semiconductor companies receive a disproportionate amount of government support and involvement compared with rivals in other countries, according to a new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. // The paper: Measuring distortions in international markets: The semiconductor value chain

China hit by biggest dollar bond default by state company in two decades | Financial Times $$ China’s Tewoo Group has forced investors to take losses on a US dollar bond, marking the largest failure to repay dollar debt by a state-owned company in two decades and provoking fears of a wave of defaults.

‘LVMH of China’ faces pressure over bond repayments | Financial Times $$ The Chinese conglomerate that owns luxury UK clothing maker Aquascutum and Savile Row tailor Gieves & Hawkes has come under increased pressure as a December 19 bond repayment draws near and rating agencies downgrade or withdraw their ratings. Moody’s downgraded Shandong Ruyi’s corporate rating on Thursday deeper into speculative grade territory to Caa1 from B3.

Horrible Year for China IPOs in U.S. May Get Worse - Bloomberg Cloud fintech platform OneConnect Financial Technology Co., owned by Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. and backed by Softbank Group Corp., almost halved its planned U.S. IPO size, meaning the company is now likely to go public at a valuation that is less than half of what the Japanese tech investment giant paid in 2018.

Beijing Outlines Plans for Yangtze Delta Tech Hub - Caixin While low on specifics, the document [中共中央 国务院印发《长江三角洲区域一体化发展规划纲要》 ], co-published by the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and the State Council, the country’s cabinet, is chock full of the latest high-tech buzzwords. It outlines a blueprint to transform the area into a research and development hub for big data, cloud computing, blockchain, internet of things, artificial intelligence, and satellite navigation technologies, especially smart vehicles and self-driving cars.

In Depth: Artificial Intelligence Startups Face Genuine Hurdles to Going Public - Caixin The CEO of an AI voice recognition company told Caixin that AI firms’ sales growth in the last few years has been mostly driven by government security investment...As the tide of public security investing gradually goes out, struggles in maintaining high-speed business growth will become a reality for these firms. One Megvii executive told Caixin that he expected at least two of the four biggest Chinese facial recognition firms — Megvii, SenseTime Group Ltd., Yitu Technology, and Yuncong — to go bust in the next two years.

Yicai Global - Pingan Capital Buys Into Leading Chinese Financial Data Cruncher Wind Information Neither party has officially announced this transaction and the amount of investment and price are thus far unknown.

Yicai Global - Ganfeng Lithium, BMW Sign Five-Year Supply Deal With this order "BMW Group is securing 100% of its lithium hydroxide needs for fifth-generation battery cells in its high-voltage batteries," said Dr. Andreas Wendt, member of Munich-based BMW's board of management and in charge of the company's purchasing and supplier network, per the BMW statement.

iPhone shipments fall 35% in China, Credit Suisse says - CNBC iPhone shipments in China dropped 35.4% in November compared to the same time last year, the analysts wrote in a note Thursday, despite a slight increase in the Chinese smartphone market at the same time. The analysts said Chinese iPhone sales declined 10.3% year-over-year in October, making this the second straight month of double-digit percentage drops.

China has 'important concerns' about Boeing 737 MAX design changes: regulator - Reuters China has raised “important concerns” with Boeing Co regarding design changes proposed to end the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX airliner, Beijing’s aviation regulator said on Thursday, declining to say when it might fly in China again.

Lufax CEO Greg Gibb Says China's Fintech Companies Will Drop from Thousands to Several Hundreds - China Banking News “Be­fore re­struc­tur­ing started, there were thou­sands of com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing in the fin­tech space,” said Gibb. “That num­ber is go­ing to come down to about a cou­ple hun­dred.”  Gibb made the re­marks at the Com­mit­tee of 100 Greater China Con­fer­ence and Gala 2019, held at the Ritz-Carl­ton Shang­hai, Pudong.

CSRC Establishing New Regtech Department, Ex-Central Banker Yao Qian Appointed as Head - China Banking News The China Se­cu­ri­ties Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion (CSRC) is cur­rently in the process of es­tab­lish­ing a tech reg­u­la­tory de­part­ment (科技监管局) ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­port from Na­tional Busi­ness Daily.

China's Steel Price Rally Isn't a Sign of Economic Stimulus - Bloomberg What appears to be happening is that the shaky economic outlook in China in recent months has left production short even of the limited levels needed to tide the industrial sector through the slow winter months. Mills are seeking to top up their supplies in case they run short, and are rushing to secure iron ore inventory. This rally should be little more than a blip.

China Vehicle Sales to Fall 8% This Year in Second Straight Drop - Bloomberg The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers gave the estimate on Thursday in Changsha, China. The drop compares with about a 3% decline in 2018, when sales fell for the first time since 1990

Politics and Law

Fugitive Executed 19 Years After Beating Three Family Planning Officials to Death In 2000, Wang beat three rural officials to death with a hammer as they drove him and his wife, surnamed Li, to arrange a “family planning operation” — a commonly used euphemism for sterilization surgery — following the birth of their second child. Wang then absconded from justice for 17 years until he was arrested in 2017 and convicted the following year.

(CDB Forum 2019) Lu Xuan - How Overseas NGOs Can Work Legally in China - China Development Brief The speaker, Lu Xuan, is the chairman of Shanghai’s Legal Centre for NGO (上海复恩社会组织法律研究与服务中心). In this talk, entitled “the operational compliance of overseas NGOs under the new law”, Mr. Lu interprets the Overseas NGO Law from a legal perspective, covering some of the main points of confusion that can arise for international NGOs that want to work in China under the current legal framework.

Xinhua unveils state key laboratory of media convergence - Xinhua The laboratory, constructed by Xinhua, targets the need for development in the all-media era with advanced technologies to promote media convergence. With a focus on the use of AI in news production, the laboratory emphasizes research on basic theories and innovations of key technologies concerning media convergence in the directions of trans-media information analysis and human-computer collaboration, focusing on complicated issues. // Remember this from the September 19 newsletter "The People's Daily has established the "People's Daily Intelligent Media Research Institute""

Foreign and Defense Affairs

7 Chinese military officers promoted to rank of general - Xinhua The promoted officers are Commander of the Eastern Theater Command of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) He Weidong, Political Commissar of the PLA's Eastern Theater Command He Ping, Political Commissar of the PLA's Southern Theater Command Wang Jianwu, Commander of the PLA's Northern Theater Command Li Qiaoming, Commander of the PLA Rocket Force Zhou Yaning, Commander of the PLA Strategic Support Force Li Fengbiao, and head of the PLA's Academy of Military Sciences Yang Xuejun. 中央军委举行晋升上将军衔仪式 习近平颁发命令状并向晋衔的军官表示祝贺

Analysing Wang Liqiang’s claims about China’s military networks | The Strategist the most valuable part of Wang’s story has eluded attention—his accusation that Xiang Xin, a Hong Kong businessman he claims to have worked for, sits at the centre of a People’s Liberation Army network. Many of Xiang’s reported military links have already been uncovered by Taiwanese media...A large body of open-source information also points to Xiang’s network. Aside from the steering committee’s three generals, at least six of Xiang’s associates can be linked to COSTIND

Revealed: 'Spymaster' linked to Australian defector has deep links to defence industry The first name on the steering committee list was Nie Li, the daughter of one of the Chinese revolution’s most lauded marshals who had herself risen to military greatness, becoming China’s first female lieutenant general. General Nie Li was also the former deputy director of the Chinese People's Liberation Army's technology agency, the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (COSTIND). As an impeccably well-connected member of China’s elite, General Nie has overseen the Chinese military’s development of supercomputers, radar systems and naval armaments...The businessman who announced General Nie’s appointment in 2008 was Xiang Xin.

US military flights over South China Sea common but not publicized, Pacific Air Forces commander says - Stripes There’s more media coverage of warships operating in the disputed territory, where China has built up and militarized tiny islets and reefs, because the Navy often advertises those operations in press releases.

Facebook, Google face sweeping regulation as Morrison government responds - Sydney Morning Herald Responding to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) landmark digital platforms inquiry, the government committed to a series of reforms to address the tech giants' market power, boost transparency and ensure fair competition. // Question: Will they apply to Wechat running over Australian networks?

China-Canada ties to get frostier after call to leave AIIB, analysts say | South China Morning Post The already icy relationship between China and Canada is set to get even frostier, analysts said, after lawmakers in Ottawa on Tuesday approved the creation of a special committee to review ties with Beijing and called for the country to withdraw from the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). “Ties are already freezing,” Liang Yunxiang, an international affairs expert at Peking University, said. “If Canada left the AIIB it would only make things worse.”

China rifts put pressure on Canada’s foreign minister | Financial Times $$ Mr Trudeau’s recent appointments — including Mr Champagne’s — signal an effort to return Canada-China relations to the status quo of before Ms Meng’s arrest, according to foreign policy experts. The prime minister tapped Mr Barton, a former McKinsey managing director and longtime China enthusiast, to become ambassador. He gave the job of international trade minister to Mary Ng, whose campaign director Michael Chan has praised China’s handling of the Hong Kong protests.

Prague to ink partnership with Taipei after snubbing Beijing - AP The city of Prague, the Czech capital, approved Thursday a partnership agreement with the capital of Taiwan, Taipei

3rd National War Game Simulation Competition concludes - China Military Themed “Focusing on Military Intelligent Competition and Promoting Innovation of National Defense Education,” this year’s competition aimed to become a cradle for future military officers and attract more juveniles to participate in the national defense cause and grasp knowledge of military science and technology.

美国究竟要建立哪门子国际秩序?(国际论坛) People's Daily page 3 "What kind of international order has the us established?"--"The United States is not only breaking treaties and withdrawing from international security, but also in other areas. The withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations human rights council, UNESCO, the Paris agreement on climate change and other important international mechanisms has long been known and despised. At the world trade organisation, the appellate body has been paralysed by years of us obstruction of new judges."

外交部发言人:“对华恐惧偏执症”是病,但并非无药可治-新华网 Foreign ministry spokesperson: "china-phobia and paranoia" is a disease, but it is not incurable in comments she made praising recent articles by James Curran (Our China panic is stepping into the world of paranoia) and Fareed Zakaria ( The New China Scare). Hua also said China is big but nonthreatening like a panda

National religious groups meet in Beijing - Xinhua China's national religious groups gathered in Beijing Thursday to discuss ways of better telling the country's religious stories so as to present a true picture of China to the world...some forces in the world do not want to see new changes take place in China, the statement said, adding that such forces openly smear and contain China. They ignore the facts, confuse right and wrong, and label China as a "persecutor of religion," in an attempt to damage China's international image and undermine religious harmony in the country, said the statement.

France’s Indo-Pacific strategy: inclusive and principled | East Asia Forum France’s Indo-Pacific strategy departs substantially from the US strategy, which tends to be both confrontational and over-militarised. As in the case of the recent trade conflict, France may agree with the United States on the reality of the threat coming from China, but certainly not on the responses that the United States has given. - Françoise Nicolas is Director and Senior Research Fellow of the Center for Asian Studies, the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI), Paris.

SCO anti-cyber-terrorism drill held in China - Xinhua Eight Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) countries and the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) held a joint drill on countering cyber-terrorism in Xiamen, southeast China's Fujian Province on Thursday. Attended by delegates from the SCO members and the RATS executive committee, the drill was based on a scenario in which an international terrorist group posted information of infiltrating into SCO countries, spreading terrorism through cyberspace and planning terrorist attacks.

China, South Sudan vow to cement ties - Xinhua The pledge was made in Juba on Tuesday during talks between South Sudan President Salva Kiir and a high-level Chinese delegation led by Liu Xincheng, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Liu conveyed Chinese President Xi Jinping's cordial greetings and best wishes to the South Sudanese president, saying that China and South Sudan are good friends and good partners.

Dim Sums: Rural China Economics and Policy: China-Africa: "Huge" Ag Cooperation Potential According to China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, 500 representatives from African countries and international organizations attended the meeting hosted by the Ministry and the Hainan Provincial Government in the provincial capital of Sanya, December 9. Attendees heard speeches from China's Minister and Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the Hainan governor, and African leaders. China's ag minister emphasized the "huge potential" for China-Africa cooperation in agriculture in the "new era" proclaimed by Xi Jinping. The focus of cooperation will be on food security, poverty alleviation, agricultural science and technology, agricultural modernization, and giving developing countries a stronger "voice" in global food and agricultural governance.

Sport: Beijing offer sports scholarships to Fijian athletes | RNZ News Beijing Sports University is offering five scholarships to Fijian athletes in a bid to encourage international enrolments. The so-called 'Belt & Road' scholarships are being offered in three categories; bachelors, masters and doctorate. Students who are not fluent in Chinese will be sponsored to study Mandarin for a year.

Taiwan

坚定推进祖国和平统一进程(深入学习贯彻党的十九届四中全会精神) Liu Jieyi, Director of the Taiwan Affairs Office, gives his take on "peaceful reunification" as part of the People's Daily series of officials writing on the 4th Plenum and their areas of responsibility

Taiwan investigates exchange programmes ‘used for illegal visits by mainland Chinese government officials’ | South China Morning Post At least 20 Taiwanese travel agencies have been found to have arranged “exchange visits” to the island by more than 5,000 mainland citizens between 2017 and 2019, using invitation letters issued by a number of shell companies or organisations registered in Taiwan, prosecutors and government officials said on Thursday.

Tech and Media

Two of China's largest tech firms are uniting to create a new 'domestic OS' | ZDNet The two companies are China Standard Software (CS2C) and Tianjin Kylin Information (TKC), two of China's largest software firms, with known ties to the Beijing government.

Jiayang Fan on China Correspondence – China Channel Jiayang Fang, a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2016, discusses her career path that lead her to becoming one of the most prolific Chinese-American storytellers writing today. She talks to host Lev Nachman about the challenges of being a Chinese-American journalist, and offers advice for up-and-coming journalists interested in covering contemporary China, as well as to other Chinese-Americans who want to write in-depth stories about the nation:

Nio and Xpeng join forces on charging station network expansion · TechNode The collaboration—aimed at widening the charging pile network—highlights a lack of support for the EV industry from China’s slow pace of public charging facility construction. Low charging facility penetration rates is seen as a significant barrier for EV purchases.

China Tech Talk 87: China tech through the lens of Bytedance · TechNode Using Bytedance as a lens, they explore the disruptive power of new companies, Bytedance’s successes and challenges outside of China, as well as what the world is learning from China tech.

Nintendo Switch China Sales Could Reach 4 Million Units by March - Bloomberg Nintendo could sell as many as four million Switch units in China in the fiscal year ending March and 12 million units of software, London-based tech equity researcher Pelham Smithers wrote in a note to clients. That could add as much as 23 billion yen ($212 million) to the Kyoto-based company’s full-year operating profit, Smithers said.

Food and Travel

Caviar 'queen': Chinese roe reigns around the world - AFP The caviar on the menu of Michelin-starred restaurants may come from an unexpected place - China. The country has endured embarrassing food scandals in recent years, but its sturgeon eggs have gained the respect of caviar connoisseurs around the world.

Rural and Agricultural Issues

China Bans Cattle Imported From India Amid ‘Lumpy Skin Disease’ Outbreaks | Sixth Tone China Customs has issued an import ban on cattle from India as the South Asian country grapples with several recent outbreaks of “lumpy skin disease,” an infection related to smallpox that causes weakness, reduced milk production, infertility, and sometimes death in affected animals.

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