19th Party Congress and Xi Thought one year on; US-China trade talks hit a "Great Wall"; US Treasury says RMB not manipulated; Controlled Cultural Revolution in Xinjiang; China's strange charm offensive towards Japan
It is hard to believe but we have hit the one year anniversary of the 19th Party Congress. Fortunately the propaganda organs have launched a massive propaganda effort to remind us in case we forgot.
Some of the things on my radar today:
Based on the recent comments from President Trump and US officials we should temper expectations for any near-term breakthrough in the trade war;
US and PRC defense chiefs met in Singapore as US again flew B-52s over the South China Sea. The Chinese decided it was important to talk even though they are very angry about the Russia-related sanctions;
The US Treasury declined to name China as a currency manipulator;
Regulators look increasingly worried about forced selling of shares pledged as loan collateral. Beijing is the latest local government to start propping up stocks;
Japan’s Prime Minister Abe is due in China in a week but Beijing seems to be having a hard time turning on the charm.
Remember that Bloomberg report claiming a PLA hardware attack using compromised server motherboards? I am increasingly convinced those reporters were played, though have not figured out by whom. But it may not matter, as the damage is done and the idea of such a hack fits well within the broader environment.
The US-China trade war is just one dimension of increasingly competitive and contentious relationship. There is a chance President Trump and General Secretary Xi Jinping may cut a deal around the G20 at the November, but whatever they may agree to will not arrest the structural shift underway in the US-China relationship. Vice President Pence made clear in his recent speech on China that we are in a new era of US-China relations.
The near destruction of ZTE earlier this year reiterated Xi’s point that China needs to develop its own core technologies and Xi and the CCP system have now decided that America’s real goal in the trade war is to "thwart China's rise".
At the end of September Xi made an inspection tour of Northeast China and among his key messages was self-reliance, in agriculture and in technology:
“Xi…said during a field inspection to Heilongjiang province that unilateralism and trade protectionism are forcing China to take a path of self-reliance, which, he said, “is not a bad thing”.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to gain access to leading technologies and key technologies internationally, and China will ultimately rely on itself, Xi said...
He stressed the importance of ensuring China’s food security so that the country can always control its own food supply.”
Meanwhile, the more hawkish members of the Trump Administration want US firms to reduce supply chain reliance on China. The Bloomberg story last week claiming that server motherboards were hacked by Chinese military intelligence, whether true or not, will add pressure on US technology firms to decouple their supply chains from China, as painful and expensive as that might be.
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The Essential Eight
1. Xi Thought and the New Era turn 1
A year since President Xi Jinping announced that socialism with Chinese characteristics has "crossed the threshold into a new era", China has shown the world its resilience against challenges and resolve to pursue its goals...
Marking the 40th anniversary of the landmark reform and opening-up drive this year, the country is determined to push forward reforms in all areas.
Steered by the CPC Central Committee with Xi at the core, a series of reform plans were unfurled, including those to streamline Party and state institutions, establish the southern island province of Hainan as a pilot free trade zone, develop Xiong'an New Area and carry out the rural vitalization strategy. These measures injected vigor in industries, better-regulated service sectors, and improved people's livelihood.
So will there be a 4th Plenum before the end of the year? So far there has been no announcement, holding it December 18 to December 22 would be fitting as that would be the 40th anniversary of the 3rd Plenum of the 11th Party Congress that marked the start of the reform and opening era...
The massive original Xinhua propaganda spectacular on the anniversary..潮起东方万象新——以习近平同志为核心的党中央团结带领全党全军全国各族人民贯彻落实党的十九大精神纪实
From the outside, Xi Jinping Thought might seem like authoritarian banality mixed with a growing personality cult. That’s why I was so excited to learn this August of a new course offering on the edX website, a U.S.-based learning platform: Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism With Chinese Characteristics for a New Era—the official full name of Xi Jinping Thought. The instructor was none other than the Tsinghua University professor Hu Angang, known for his close links to senior government leaders and his claims that China has already overtaken the United States as the primary global superpower
The course on edX- Xi Jinping's Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New era|习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想 Free but $49 if you want a certificate...
2. US-China talks "hit a Great Wall"?
The White House was pessimistic Wednesday on whether progress could be made with China on trade issues, saying no future talks have been set and that Beijing has shown no willingness to budge on its policies.
President Trump, when asked on the Fox Business Network whether there is hope for a breakthrough, said he didn't see any. "I don't think so. I mean, I told them 'They want to make a deal?' I said you guys aren't ready yet. You're just not ready."
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow noted that Trump would "probably" meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping next month at the G20 summit in Argentina. "We will see whether that person-to-person diplomacy brings any benefits. I think it is always better to talk than to not talk," Kudlow said on Fox Business, but added he had become "very cynical because we have given our ask and China does not respond. I worry that they are moving in the wrong direction."
The Fox Business News interview with Kudlow- video
Will the US agricultural sector's China growth prospects ever return, or is the damage already done?
As a result of the Trump administration’s clash with Beijing over trade, China’s tariffs on U.S. pork have climbed as high as 70%, making U.S. imports more expensive. At the same time, an outbreak of African swine fever in China has increased demand for imported pork.
To fill the void, Chinese customers are increasingly looking to companies in Europe and South America to fill their orders—and those companies aim to turn that opportunity into long-term business. The shift raises the prospect of not just a short-term hiccup for American hog farmers, but a fundamental realignment in the global supply chain in one of the world’s hungriest markets.
China’s soybean purchases of around 24 million tonnes in the fourth quarter of last year were more than triple 2006 levels, climbing for 10 out of 12 years, according to the country’s customs data.
The estimated decline of 4 to 6 million tonnes in October-December this year would be the biggest fall since at least 2006.
These comments from Fan Gang are reflective of one important school of thought, and I hope the one that wins. But note that he is also very clear the US has its real goal to "contain China's rise". --Beijing must win the hearts of US businesspeople amid trade war, China policy adviser says | South China Morning Post:
“Trump would love to see [China] make trouble for US firms,” Fan Gang, a former member of the monetary policy committee of the People’s Bank of China, said in a speech at Tsinghua University in Beijing on Wednesday.
“The business community is now the only voice [in the US] that may speak for China,” Fan said. “If we target them, then we may really lose the trade war.”..
Yet, Fan also called the trade war part of a bigger plan by Washington to contain China’s rise.
“We must have long-term preparations,” Fan said. “The real intention of the US is not to reduce the trade deficit but to contain China’s development – in particular, China’s technological advancement.”
Fan said China will never sell off its US treasury holdings to hit back at the US amid the trade war because the move would hurt China more than the US. China is the single biggest foreign holder of US government debt.
The additional U.S. tariffs cover two-thirds of China’s exports of mechanical and electronic goods to the United States, according to a report released by the China Chamber of Commerce for the Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products.
Based on last year’s trade volumes, this means that 10% of China’s total exports of machinery and electronics will be hit by the additional U.S. taxes, the report found
3. US Treasury says China not manipulating the RMB
In a report released Wednesday, Treasury said it has found no major trading partner met the criteria to be designated as intentionally manipulating its currency. But it kept China on a watch list along with Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Korea and India.
Still, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sent a warning about the lack of transparency and the relative weakness of China’s currency, the renminbi.
“Those pose major challenges to achieving fairer and more balanced trade, and we will continue to monitor and review China’s currency practices, including through ongoing discussions with the People’s Bank of China,” he said in a statement.
Markets are fixated on 7.00 as an important threshold for $/CNY. Against the backdrop of escalating trade tensions, a move above this level is seen as competitive devaluation. But the fundamentals of China and the US are diverging, not least since the trade dispute is increasingly weighing on the activity picture in China. In such circumstances, any freely floating currency would depreciate, and the RMB should be no different. Moving above 7.00 will simply reflect diverging fundamentals and not competitive devaluation. Delaying or preventing such a move risks markets becoming only more fixated on this number, raising the potential for capital flight when such a move eventually comes. In the bigger picture, holding $/CNY below 7.00 could undo some of what has been achieved since August 2015, when the surprise de-peg from the Dollar injected volatility and uncertainty into the path of the RMB, an important step in desensitizing people to moves in China’s currency. Fundamentals, not competitive devaluation, are currently pressuring the RMB downward, and such a move is consistent with greater flexibility in global exchange rates, which has been a US policy objective for many decades.
4. Mattis and Wei Fenghe meet
Randall Schriver, a U.S. assistant secretary of defense who helps guide Pentagon policy in Asia, said Mattis and Wei largely restated differing views on thorny security disputes but agreed on the need for durable ties.
“Both acknowledged that the meeting itself was significant and that high-level communication can help,” Schriver said. “So I think it was productive in that regard.”
Schriver said making military-to-military ties with China less brittle would be crucial to helping reduce the chances of a devastating conflict...
A few more details from the USS Decatur close encounter:
Mattis, speaking to reporters as he flew to Asia this week, rejected Chinese claims that the United States was acting aggressively and pointed the finger at Beijing.
“When the Chinese ships are putting bumpers over the side ... You don’t do that when you’re out in the middle of the ocean, unless you’re intending to run into something,” Mattis said.
The two US Air Force bombers departed from the Anderson Air Force Base in Guam as part of a “routine training mission in the vicinity of the South China Sea”, the Pacific Air Forces said in a statement on Thursday.
Tuesday’s operation was part of the US Indo-Pacific Command’s continuous bomber presence operations since March 2004, and was “consistent with international law and [a] long-standing commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” it said.
Ni Feng, deputy director of the Institute of American Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday that China is not likely to counter US military actions with military actions.
"A military confrontation can easily trigger domestic hostility in the US, which may result in more serious consequences than the trade dispute," Ni warned, noting that China does not want to see the issue get out of control.
There is finally an appointee for the job Susan Thornton did not get at the State Department--President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Personnel to Key Administration Posts | The White House:
David Stilwell of Hawaii, to be an Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the Department of State.
Mr. Stilwell is an Air Force veteran with more than 35 years of experience as a pilot, commander, and Korean linguist. He retired in 2015 with the rank of Brigadier General. Currently, Mr. Stilwell is the Director of the China Strategic Focus Group at the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Headquarters in Hawaii and an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the East West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. Previously, he served as Staff Officer for Joint Staff Plans and Policy (Asia) at the Pentagon and Defense Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. Mr. Stillwell earned his B.S. from the U.S. Air Force Academy, and M.A. degrees from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, U.S. Air Command and Staff College, and the U.S. Army War College. He is the recipient of the Department of Defense Superior Service Award and speaks Korean, Chinese, and limited Japanese.
Some background on Stilwell - Retired Air Force general in contention to lead Pompeo’s Asia team - The Washington Post from July:
Experts and former officials said Stilwell is widely regarded as a deep strategic thinker on competition with China and also has a strong sense for the role of allies and the unique position of Taiwan.
“Stilwell would be a great pick,” said Eric Sayers, who until recently was a special assistant to Harris at Pacific Command, which was subsequently renamed Indo-Pacific Command. “Beijing would not like the move, which is why it’s probably the right choice for the administration.”
5. Forced selling accelerating in Chinese stock markets?
Regulators are clearly worried
Fears of widespread margin calls fueled a 3 percent tumble in the Shanghai Composite Index, which sank to a nearly four-year low as more than 13 stocks fell for each that rose. Efforts by local governments to shore up confidence in smaller companies failed to boost sentiment. The yuan sank beyond its closely watched August low after the U.S. Treasury Department stopped short of declaring China a currency manipulator, a move that some interpreted as giving Beijing breathing room to allow a weaker exchange rate.
Haidian District government in Beijing will put up to 10B RMB into the A-share market to support listed Haidian firms, to help them defuse risks from shares pledged as collateral--北京海淀区政府拟向A股输血百亿元 十余家上市公司或率先受益_中国经济网:
A document issued by the Beijing branch of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) shows that it asked 28 creditors of Beijing Orient Landscape & Environment Co. (002310.SZ), including CITIC Securities Co. (600030.SS) to be “prudent” in their disposal of shares pledged for loans by Beijing Orient’s controlling shareholder at a recent meeting, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.
6. Controlled Cultural Revolution in Xinjiang
A commentary published in the Qiushi Journal, which is affiliated to the CPC Central Committee, on Monday said multiple regions and ethnic groups have co-existed in Xinjiang's history, with one or two major religions, but others existed simultaneously. Interfaith harmony has been the mainstream between different religions.
However, "three forces" have come and denied the situation, insisting that the Uyghur people only should believe in Islam, not other religions, the article said.
It says any incitement to believe in only one religion has ulterior motives.
The original Qiushi piece-交融共存是新疆地区宗教关系的主流
A Uyghur who got his PhD at Tsinghua and who is now a teacher at the Xinjiang Communist Youth League School writes that Xinjiang is undergoing a thought emancipation campaign and it is what the Uyghur youth want--新疆共青团- 清华博士：维吾尔族青年要做解放思想的先锋:
This sure sounds like a controlled Cultural Revolution in Xinjiang...
The blue circle is the building appeared in CCTV. The red line is the dorms and teaching buildings. The yellow line is the factories or so called training & practice center.
Kazakh national Omir Bekali was asked to travel to Washington in September by the chairs of the Congressional-Executive Committee on China. He said his application was rejected by the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 after he was questioned about his employment status.
Bekali was one of the first people to speak out publicly about his experience in a camp in China’s Xinjiang region, where an estimated 1 million Muslims, mostly from the Uighur and Kazakh ethnicities, are being detained.
Two twitter threads on the CCTV report from one of the camps are quite illuminating:
7. China struggling with charm offensive towards Japan
Prime Minister Abe is scheduled to visit China starting a week from today.
I am not expecting many breakthroughs around Abe's visit, even is China thinks it needs a better relationship with Japan to help counter the US...the PRC government just can't seem to get out of its own way when it comes to wooing Japan...
Tokyo lodged an official protest with Beijing Wednesday after Chinese ships cruised around disputed islands, days before a historic summit between the leaders of the Asian rivals.
China on Wednesday firmly opposed recent actions by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, urging Japan to squarely face up to and earnestly reflect upon its history of aggression.
The remarks were made by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang at a daily press briefing when asked to comment on Abe sending ritual offerings to the Yasukuni Shrine earlier that day.
Nearly a month ago, the governments had agreed Abe would arrive in Beijing on Oct. 23 for a three-day visit. During his stay, Abe would tour Shenzhen, China's tech hub and the home of Huawei Technologies and Tencent Holdings.
The date was fitting. On Oct. 23, 1978, Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping had visited Japan to sign the Sino-Japanese peace and friendship treaty. After arriving in Beijing, Abe would be welcomed with a lavish gala to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the treaty. The plan looked pitch perfect.
But the Chinese side had overlooked another anniversary that falls on Oct. 23.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of Japan's Meiji Restoration...
The Japanese leader is now scheduled to visit on Oct. 25-27. The new itinerary will allow China to call off the visit at the last minute if Abe dares to provoke China in his Meiji speech.
For the long-term, whether the United States wants to be involved in writing trade rules remains in question. What is not in question is that, while China injects investment into trade-related projects, Japan is hoping the US will come back into the fold.
8. Deep dive into China's mobile phone industry
Many experienced Android users in the West who try out Chinese phones, including reviewers here at The Verge, often find themselves unable to get over an immediate stumbling block: the software. For the unfamiliar, Chinese phone software can be garish, heavy-handed, and quite unlike anything installed on phones that are popular outside of Asia. If there’s anything that’s going to turn you off the brand-new Huawei Mate 20 Pro, for example — unsubstantiated Cold War-esque paranoia aside — it’s likely to be the software.
But for the last year-plus, I’ve used almost every major Chinese phone extensively, traveled to the country several times, and met with dozens of people at its biggest phone manufacturers. This experience hasn’t altogether stopped me from feeling that most Chinese phone companies have a long way to go in many areas of software development. No one has a great answer for why everyone copies the iPhone camera app so embarrassingly. But I have learned a lot about the design principles behind many of these phones, and — as you ought to expect — there does tend to be a method behind what some may assume to be madness.
Chinese users often choose app stores by picking whatever is the most convenient, meaning that often times, they will use whatever comes preinstalled on their phones. China’s major smartphone makers — Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi — all include their own app stores on their devices. In the gray market, where phones are sold without official government licenses, they’re sometimes preinstalled with less popular app stores, which accounts for much of the fragmentation in market share. Only 15 percent of Chinese users in 2012 bought their phones directly from the manufacturer, according to Nielsen.
Business, Economy, Finance And Trade
‘Made in China 2025’: How 5G could put China in charge of the wireless backbone and ahead of the pack | South China Morning Post China’s plan for an aggressive 5G roll-out is in line with the MIC2025 road map. Initially, this focused on the domestic telecoms sector’s ability to increase broadband penetration nationwide to 82 per cent by 2025 as part of a push for industrial modernisation. Another objective was to see local suppliers making 40 per cent of all mobile phone chips used in the domestic market.
Under an updated version published in January, Beijing now wants China to become the world’s leading maker of telecoms equipment. Two of the world’s biggest telecoms gear suppliers, Shenzhen-based Huawei and ZTE, have helped lead China’s 5G research and development efforts.
Yields on Bank Wealth Management Products Decline for Seventh Consecutive Month in September - China Banking News The “2018 September Bank Wealth Management Market Analytical Report” (2018年9月银行理财市场分析报告) released by Rong360 indicates that the average expected yield for bank WMP’s was 4.58% last month, for a 0.09 percentage point decline compared to August and the lowest level tapped in a year.
Canada seeks Australia's help on trade war, but US and China not invited - Sydney Morning Herald Australia has been called on by Canada to help "save the WTO", with the Morrison government preparing to attend a meeting next week that deliberately excludes trade war combatants the United States and China. In a sign of the political sensitivity of moves to reform the World Trade Organisation, which Donald Trump has threatened to quit, Trade Minister Simon Birmingham is exected to represent Australia at the Ottawa Ministerial on WTO Reform on October 25.
Why Economists Are Chewing Over China’s Instant Noodle Sales - SixthTone In the first half of 2018, China’s two largest instant noodle companies — Master Kong and the Taiwan-based Uni-President Enterprises Corporation — reported year-over-year sales increases of 8.5 percent and 6 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, the country’s online food delivery sector — the rise of which has occasionally been listed as a reason for declining instant noodle sales— grew by just 18.4 percent over the same time frame, marking the lowest rate on record. It may not be a coincidence that this revival comes at a moment when anxieties over a spiraling trade war and falling housing prices are beginning to creep into the popular discourse.
China Is the World’s Retail Laboratory - Bloomberg Companies are testing a range of concepts, from facial-recognition payment systems to fully automated convenience stores.
Exxon Mobil bets big on China LNG, sidesteps trade war | Reuters Exxon Mobil Corp is placing big bets on China’s soaring liquefied natural gas (LNG) demand, coupling multi-billion dollar production projects around the world with its first mainland storage and distribution outlet. Its gas strategy is moving on two tracks: expanding output of the super-cooled gas in places such as Papua New Guinea and Mozambique, and creating demand for those supplies in China by opening Exxon’s first import and storage hub, according to an Exxon manager and people briefed on the company’s plans
Chinese court blacklists former AC Milan owner Li Yonghong over US$10 million debts | AFP The Chinese former owner of AC Milan has been added to China’s blacklist of untrustworthy individuals over millions of dollars in unpaid debts, according to a local court, which ordered that his passport be confiscated.
With few buyers, Iranian oil armada heads to China ahead of U.S. sanctions | Reuters An unprecedented volume of Iranian crude oil is set to arrive at China’s northeast Dalian port this month and in early November before U.S. sanctions on Iran take effect, according to an Iranian shipping source and data on Refinitiv Eikon.
Mills in China's top steel city boost output despite winter ban start | Reuters Steelmakers in Tangshan, China’s biggest steel producing city, are boosting output as local officials have failed to issue precise orders on output curbs even though the city’s winter pollution restrictions took effect two weeks ago.
Opinion: Short-Term Economic Stabilization Proves Counterproductive - Caixin Global Recent policy trends have hinted at easing as a way to cope, with subtle changes in rules seeming to imply a shift in policy fundamentals. In an oversold market like China’s, these trends, combined with the recent and prudent release of liquidity by the central bank, may technically stimulate the market’s rebound. But it will still be difficult to change the overall downward trend. Hong Hao is the chief strategist of BOCOM International Holdings Co. Ltd
China's fiscal revenue growth slows in September - Xinhua China's fiscal revenue rose 2 percent year on year to 1.3 trillion yuan (about 187.4 billion U.S. dollars) in September, data showed Thursday. The growth narrowed from a 4-percent gain in August, according to the Ministry of Finance.
Saudi Aramco Backs $25 Billion Teapot Refinery - Caijing Aramco will take over the 9% stake currently owned by the Zhoushan government in Zhejiang Petrochemical Co. Ltd., the private refiner developing the project, Caixin learned from Abdulaziz M. Al-Judaimi, Saudi Aramco’s senior vice president. While the value of the deal has not yet been revealed, a 9% stake would correspond to about 2.14 billion yuan ($309.0 million), Caixin calculated.
刘鹤主持召开国务院促进中小企业发展工作领导小组第二次会议_国务院副总理刘鹤_中国政府网 Liu He chaired the second meeting of the Promotion of the Development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises small leading group, discussed improving financing for SMEs, more tax cuts and better implementation of existing ones
Politics, Law And Ideology
Funeral of former senior legislator held in Beijing - Xinhua Ismail Amat, also vice chairperson of the 7th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and former state councilor, passed away due to illness at the age of 84 in Beijing on Oct. 16. Xi Jinping, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji, Han Zheng, Wang Qishan, Hu Jintao and other senior officials paid their final respects at the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery in Beijing Thursday. // Comment: Thursday CCTV Evening News 4 minute report on the funeral 司马义·艾买提同志遗体送别在京举行 Hu Jintao was there, shown n the report paying his respects just after Wang Qishan, showed wreath from Jiang Zemin after those from PBSC +Wang Qishan, the wreath from Hu Jintao came after Jiang's. Li Keqiang is out of town so didn't make it
意识形态工作强起来的战略任务 - 《求是》2018/20 作者： 甄占民 Central Party School vice president Zhen Zhanmin in the latest Qiushi on the strategic task of strengthening ideological work, coming out of the recent national conference on ideology/propaganda thought work
中国纪检监察报 - 深刻把握伟大斗争的政治内涵 实现伟大梦想，必须进行伟大斗争。我们党团结带领人民所进行的伟大斗争，其斗争本身不是目的，而是为了增进人民福祉、实现民族复兴，我们党要团结带领人民有效应对重大挑战、抵御重大风险、克服重大阻力、解决重大矛盾，必须进行具有许多新的历史特点的伟大斗争，才能走向胜利彼岸。// Commentary by Party School Professor Zhang Xheng on "Deeply grasping the political meaning of the great struggle"..is this a sign there is ideological resistance?
对北京市工商行政管理局海淀分局拟吊销北京天则所咨询有限公司执照的意见 looks like Unirule Institute is about to have its business license revoked..
Serve the people. Innovation and IT in China’s social development agenda, | Mercator Institute for China Studies: A new MERICS report, “Serve the people. Innovation and IT in China’s social development agenda,” examines new social policy approaches in all these areas – from the provision of affordable urban housing to the alleviation of poverty in rural areas. As with the economic reform in the past, local experimentation plays a major role in shaping these policies. Digital solutions are encouraged as a way to connect remote communities to labor markets or to high-quality medical care.
Jamestown China Defense & Security Conference Video-Youtube China Defense & Security Conference - Panel 1: The Trade War’s Impacts on PRC Domestic Politics
法治的细节︱警惕“计算机流氓罪” _澎湃研究所_澎湃新闻-The Paper Luo Xiang, a criminal law professor from China University of Political Science and Law, argues that most of the recent cases involving defendants selling or using VPN and proxies to access blocked content are technically handled illegally...Most of the defendants have been sentenced to no more than three years in prison and demanded to pay a heavy amount of fine for “providing software and tools used to hack and illegally control computer and information systems” 提供侵入、非法控制计算机信息系统程序、工具罪. Yet selling and using VPN to access blocked sites actually doesn’t fit the description of this charge. In fact, there is no charge in the criminal law that can be applied to these cases related to VPN and proxies. The professor also warns that this charge is increasingly being used as a “pocket charge” 口袋罪 (like “picking quarrels and provoking trouble 寻衅滋事”, “assembling a crowd to disrupt social order” 聚众扰乱社会治安 and “inciting the subversion of state power” 山东颠覆国家政权 in real world) to cover all the crimes related to computer in the virtual world.
Foreign and Military Affairs
China donations claims throw New Zealand politics into turmoil | Financial Times $$ Simon Bridges, leader of the National party, on Wednesday denied allegations he had attempted to conceal a NZ$100,000 (US$65,900) donation by Zhang Yikun, a Chinese businessman and community leader in Auckland. The allegations were reported to New Zealand police by National MP Jami-Lee Ross, who released a secretly recorded telephone conversation between himself and Mr Bridges discussing a NZ$100,000 donation and the possibility of recruiting more Chinese as election candidates. The tape also contains disparaging comments made by Mr Bridges against fellow National MPs
India-China rivalry looms over Bhutan election - Washington Times Bhutanese voters have already decided to oust their current leaders, voting out their prime minister and his political party in the first round of parliamentary elections last month. Now many voters of this tiny, ancient kingdom hope that whoever wins the second round Thursday will renegotiate their lopsided longtime alliance with India and make nice with rival China.
‘China calls it fishing, Indonesia calls it crime’: Pudjiastuti finds her target for Oceans summit | This Week In Asia | South China Morning Post The Indonesian fisheries minister – known for her penchant for blowing up wayward vessels – sets her sights on Chinese habits ahead of an international conference that will tackle overfishing
Sri Lanka chooses India over China in US$300 million housing deal U-turn | Reuters Sri Lanka has reversed a decision to award a US$300 million housing deal to China in favour of a joint venture with an Indian company, the government said, ahead of a visit by the prime minister to its South Asian neighbour.
President Xi meets Russian presidential administration chief - Xinhua Xi asked Vaino to convey his greetings and warm wishes to Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying he and President Putin had maintained close contacts, which played a guiding role in the in-depth development of China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination. Sino-Russian relations are at their best period in history. Under the current world situation, China and Russia should cherish the bilateral mature and solid partnership and unswervingly deepen cooperation in various fields, said Xi. Xi called on the two sides to promptly implement the consensus reached between the two presidents, deepen the cooperation in such areas as energy and innovation, accelerate the synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union, and intensify communication and coordination in international affairs.
China, Belgium to strengthen cooperation - Xinhua China is ready to work with Belgium to strength cooperation and exchanges at all levels, said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday. Li made the remarks in Brussels when holding talks with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel during a working visit to the country. // Comment: So the extradition to the US of the MSS officer is not a huge irritant?
点赞中国丨解放军蛙人南海演习画面曝光 特殊子弹抢镜 video of a PLA frogmen exercise somewhere in the South China Sea
(2) Jamestown China Defense & Security Conference Video-Youtube Panel 3: The United Front and CCP Overseas Influence
Xi congratulates Taihu World Cultural Forum - China Daily esident Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to the fifth annual conference of the Taihu World Cultural Forum which opened in Beijing on Thursday. The conference, themed "Dialogue of Civilizations: Building a Community With a Shared Future for Humanity," should help improve understanding, accumulate consensus, deepen cooperation and promote exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations, Xi said in the letter.
Hong Kong, Macao
President Xi Jinping expected to attend opening ceremony of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge – but not to visit Hong Kong | South China Morning Post Another source disclosed that Hong Kong police would still mount a land and sea security operation during the official opening, even though Xi was not expected to visit the city. The source said that marine police launches would patrol waters on the Hong Kong side, and that observation posts would be set up at Chek Lap Kok, which overlooks the artificial island housing local immigration and customs facilities for the bridge.
Tech And Media
China’s hottest new game is a wuxia universe created by an amateur coder | South China Morning Post During a weeklong public holiday in China that ended on October 7, The Scroll of Taiwu ranked among the top five most played games on Steam, with a peak of some 72,000 users playing simultaneously. Last week the Chinese-only game still had a peak simultaneous player number of 61,000, surpassing big names like Assassin's Creed Odyssey.
JD.com founder Liu and wife attend Princess Eugenie’s wedding amid US rape case | South China Morning Post Liu, 45, donned a black morning suit with bright pink tie and held hands with 24-year-old Zhang, who wore a matching pink dress and hat, as they made their way with other guests to St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. The live-streamed video of the British royal nuptials showed Zhang briefly speaking with Liu before she took out her smartphone to take a panoramic photograph of the castle grounds.
Chinese Tech Media Firm 36Kr Establishes $144M Venture Capital Fund – China Money Network The fund aims to support early and mid-stage companies in the field of consumption upgrade, high-tech, medical, cultural, besides others. The company has been running the fund since last 11 months and has invested in nearly 25 projects in the areas of news consumption, enterprise services and smart manufacturing. Among them, Junengwan, Yinian, Fmeime, Yuelin and Shiyunji have completed a new round of financing.
China's internet speeds lag far behind developed peers, recent report shows · TechNode In terms of average fixed connection speed, mainland China ranks 20th, with an average speed of 80.44 Mbps (10.1 MB/s), Tencent News reports. That’s well above the global average of 49.26 Mbps, but significantly behind the top six regions (which includes Hong Kong), which all averaged about 100 Mbps.
Tencent and Huawei lead Chinese companies in building coinless ‘Ethereum-killer’ A consortium backed by major Chinese corporations Tencent and Huawei will debut its new open source “blockchain ecosystem” FISCO BCOS at the Singapore Fintech Festival next month. BCOS is geared towards providing enterprise-grade distributed ledger (DLT) solutions. Much like the Ethereum-based Hyperledger Fabric, its completely coinless.
Struggling Tencent seeks to heal internal rifts | Financial Times $$ Part of Tencent’s problem is a common one: its success. “They’ve been too comfortable,” said the industry executive. “WeChat has been such a strong product and they just harvest that track and don’t think about the fundamental tech.” A new tech committee, designed “to enhance open-source collaboration, innovation, and more efficient use of technologies across the company” will address this problem, Tencent said in a statement.
U.S. Startup Accuses China’s Huawei of Trying to Steal Semiconductor Technology - WSJ $$ The ongoing legal dispute is an unusual example of a Chinese company attempting to use the U.S. court system to access technology it claims had been stolen from it by an American firm.
Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History
China reflects after woman kills herself and family when husband 'faked death' | The Guardian The suicide of a woman in Hunan province who drowned herself and her two children after believing her husband had died has shocked China, prompting a national debate about life in rural areas for women. The husband, a man by the surname He, had allegedly faked his own death to escape financial debt and secure an insurance payout for his family. He is being held on suspicion of destruction of property and insurance fraud after handing himself in to police.
Potala Palace denies rumors of sinking and closure - ECNS The Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, has denied online rumors that the 1,300-year-old palace will be closed in 2020 due to building subsidence. The palace has cooperated with Beijing Jiaotong University since 2011 and installed structural monitoring equipment to protect the main building, its administrative office said in a statement, adding that no sign of sinking has been found.
China Unprepared for Aging Society - Caixin A statement issued Wednesday after the latest meeting of the Aging Society Forum of 30 said “that the range and scale of aging has increased in speed and degree,” and that China will need to make policy adjustments to address, among other things, “age discrimination, intergenerational conflict, imbalances in supply and demand, and development constraints.”
Energy, Environment, Science And Health
People who attack medical staff to be blacklisted - China Daily Those who receive punishments such as administrative detention from the public security authorities, or criminal punishment by judicial organs, for offenses such as purposefully injuring medical staff in hospitals or carrying weapons into hospitals illegally, will be put on the blacklist, said the circular, which was approved by 28 central government departments. Information about those on the list will be shared among the 28 departments, including the National Health Commission, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Transport, the circular said. They will face punishment including restrictions in getting government subsidies, seeking government employment, and traveling in first-class sections on planes and high-speed trains.
Mysterious Qiantang River whirlpool caused by subway construction - ECNS A mysterious whirlpool in Qiantang River, which created an online sensation on Wednesday, was the result of naturally occurring methane gas and foaming agents used in the construction of a subway tunnel, according to experts. Water rose from the riverbed to the surface, and white foam accumulated and spread across an area of 800 square meters in the Hangzhou City river, sparking speculations that ranged from it being a water monster to a stealthy discharge of polluted water to a safety incident related to the nearby Metro Line 5 construction site.
Chinese vice premier stresses clean energy use for winter heating - Xinhua Han, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the remarks at a symposium held during his research trip to Shijiazhuang, capital of north China's Hebei Province. China should ensure that people in north China will be kept warm and safe in winter while at the same time making progress in improving air quality, Han said.