2nd Anniversary of Xi's Big Cyber Speech; ZTE Fallout; US-China Trade; CCP Cells In US Universities; AI And 6 Billion Cockroaches Might Do Some Good

There is no question ZTE violated the agreement with the US government and deserved punishment. But was an effective corporate death sentence proportional to the violations, or was it imposed in part due to political considerations around the deepening US-China trade conflict? Some ZTE investors seem to have hope the US will reconsider and lessen the punishment, but I would not bet on that.

The ZTE smackdown has real propaganda value to Beijing. The timing of the announcement, right before the second anniversary of Xi’s April 19, 2016 speech at the very important Work Conference for Cybersecurity and Informatization, only serves to strengthen the point Xi and the Party have been making about the need to reduce reliance on foreign, and especially American, technologies. They can not do that overnight but they are closer than they were two years ago, and the ZTE decision, especially in the context of the worsening structural problems in the US-China relationship, will lead to a redoubling of the PRC’s efforts to de-Americanize its core IT stack.

The excerpts in today’s “Essential Eight” are a bit longer than usual but I think they are worth the time.

Thanks for reading.

The Essential Eight

1. Technology Security And The 2nd Anniversary Of The Work Conference for Cybersecurity and Informatization

PRC media has lots of coverage of 2nd anniversary of Xi's 4.19.2017 speech at the Work Conference for Cybersecurity and Informatization--网络强国的中国实践——写在习近平总书记“4·19”重要讲话发表两周年之际 

Page 1 People's Daily--网络强国的中国实践——写在习近平总书记“4·19”重要讲话发表两周年之际--新闻报道-人民网

2018年3月,中共中央印发的《深化党和国家机构改革方案》,揭开了国家网信事业的新篇章——中央网络安全和信息化领导小组改为中央网络安全和信息化委员会,负责这一领域重大工作的顶层设计、总体布局、统筹协调、整体推进、督促落实。

这是以习近平同志为核心的党中央对国家网信事业的深谋远虑,也是对习近平总书记在网络安全和信息化工作座谈会上发表的重要讲话的贯彻落实。

党的十八大以来,习近平总书记准确把握时代大势,积极回应实践要求,深刻审视社会主要矛盾新变化,就网信事业发展发表一系列重要讲话,鲜明提出了网络强国的战略思想。

Xi really does look prescient in warning about the risks of reliance on foreign technology.

Core technology depends on one's own efforts: President Xi - People's Daily Online:

Since 2012, President Xi has highlighted the importance of scientific innovation and mastering core technology. His message has been that there are hidden risks that come with core technologies not being mastered domestically.

Here are some of President Xi's statements on technology innovation in recent years:

"Our dependence on core technology is the biggest hidden trouble for us; therefore, having a good command of core Internet technology is our mission. Heavy dependence on imported core technology is like building our house on top of someone else's walls: No matter how big and how beautiful it is, it won't remain standing during a storm."

-- Symposium on cyber security and informatization, April 19, 2016

"It is hard for China at this stage of development to acquire crucial core technology from other countries, because Western countries believe that the master will starve if he passes on his knowledge to his apprentice. So we must focus on our own innovation."

-- Panel discussion with deputies from Shanghai at the third session of the 12th National People's Congress, March 5, 2015

"Only by mastering crucial core technologies with our own hands can we truly seize the initiative in competition and development, and fundamentally safeguard our national economic security, national security, and security in other areas. You can't always rely on the scientific and technological development of others to improve your own level of development. We shouldn't always follow in the footsteps of others."

-- The biennial conference of the country's two top think tanks, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering, June 9, 2014..

"We should stop the illusion that we can bring in new high technology from overseas. Money can't buy us core technology, especially when it is related to national defense. How could other countries offer us what they are anchored by and rely on? We should master our own crucial technologies to compete with other countries as well as to safeguard our national security."

-- Discussion with CPPCC members from China Association for Science and Technology and those in the tech sector during the first session of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), March 4, 2013

China Copyright and Media posted the original Chinese and English translation of the publicly released version of the 4.19.2016 speech. It is worth re-reading. Some excerpts:

Internet core technology is the greatest “vital gate”, and the fact that core technology is controlled by others is our greatest hidden danger. An Internet enterprise, however great its size is, however high its market cap is, if it critically relies on the outside world for core components, the “vital gate” of the supply chain is grasped in the hands of others, this can be compared to building a house on another person’s foundation, however large or beautiful it is, it might not stand the wind or the rain, or might even collapse at the first blow. We must control the initiative of our country’s Internet development, guarantee Internet security and national security, therefore, we must make breakthroughs in this difficult area of core technology, and strive to realize “overtaking on a twisting road” in a number of areas and aspects...

What are core technologies? As I see it, there are three areas that we can grasp. The first is basic technology, commonly used technology. The second is asymmetric technology, or “trump card” technology. The third is advanced technology, or disruptive technology. In these areas, we are at the same starting line with the outside world, if we are able to take the lead in deployments and concentrate on our attack, we might well be able to realize a transformation from running at their heels to running abreast with or even ahead of them... 

At present, there are two kinds of viewpoint concerning technological development that merit attention. One kind of viewpoint believes that we must close ourselves off, make a fresh start, thoroughly shake off our reliance on foreign technology, and rely on indigenous innovation to pursue development, otherwise, we would always follow in the footsteps of others, and would never be able to catch up. Another viewpoint believes that we must have open innovation, develop our own technology by standing on the shoulders of giants, as we would not be able to catch up otherwise. Both viewpoints have a certain point, but they are also a little too absolute, they do not deal with the problem in a dialectical manner. On the one hand, core technology is a national treasure, and we must rely on indigenous innovation, self-reliance and self-strengthening concerning the most crucial and the most core technologies. Market exchange does not bring core technology, we can also not buy core technology with money, we must rely on our own research and our own development. On the other hand, when we stress indigenous innovation, it does not mean that we close the doors to do research and development, we must absolutely persist in open innovation, only if we follow spar with aces will we be able to know the difference, we cannot allow self-deluded conceit.

Page 5 People's Daily 4.19 comment China's need to develop its own core technologies--评论员观察:强起来离不开自主创“芯”--理论-人民网

禁售7年对应的正是2025年,美国如此行事,真正的用意昭然若揭。如《纽约时报》所说,美国的真正考量是要遏制中国制造业升级,拖慢“中国制造2025”这一强国战略

“不能总是用别人的昨天来装扮自己的明天”“只有把核心技术掌握在自己手中,才能真正掌握竞争和发展的主动权,才能从根本上保障国家经济安全、国防安全和其他安全。”回看前路,习近平总书记的告诫可谓刻骨铭心。核心技术靠化缘是要不来的,也是花钱买不来的。中国经济发展的下半场重点是实现高质量发展,实现核心技术的自主创新。这条路很长,但只有靠我们自己走下来。

The cyber work conference was not just about core tech, it was also about ensuring proper control and management of public opinion, as Wang Yibiao, deputy editor in chief of the People's Daily and chairman of People's Daily Online reminds readers in a 4.9 People's Daily page 7 piece—新时代呼唤构建良好网络舆论生态--理论-人民网:

建设良好网络舆论生态,既要依靠主力军主阵地打好“阵地战”,也要深入社交平台、移动应用程序等各种生态子系统中,依靠广大网民打好“特种战”。只有当网民能理性看待网上舆论时,他们才会自觉维护网络空间的清朗,成为网络舆论生态建设的强大力量。比如,针对网上“高级黑”刘胡兰、狼牙山五壮士等历史虚无主义言论,广大网民义愤填膺,用自己多种多样的方式表达正义感、传递正能量。有什么样的网络,就有什么样的青少年;有什么样的青少年,就有什么样的未来。现在的大学生、中学生等“网生代”,对于网络可谓无人不会、无人不用。要切实教育和引导好我们的下一代,做到青少年在哪里、工作重点就在哪里。


2. Is There A Plausible, Win-win Resolution To The Expanding US-China Trade Dispute?

Still no talks over trade dispute between China, U.S.: MOC - Xinhua:

There have not been any bilateral talks over trade frictions between China and the United States, China's Ministry of Commerce said Thursday.

The United States submitted a file to the World Trade Organization on April 17 claiming that they are willing to negotiate over the trade dispute with China.

The U.S. move follows WTO procedures, which order members to respond to a request for settlement from another member within ten days, said MOC spokesperson Gao Feng...

Gao said the two sides have not yet held any bilateral talks over the U.S. Section 301 investigation and the proposed U.S. tariff list on Chinese goods.

Trump’s ‘coordinated chaos’ may be part of a grand strategy, one that doesn’t bode well for China | Scott Kennedy South China Morning Post

If the goal is to have China surrender before the US fires a shot, this approach is misguided and has failed spectacularly. But there are two other explanations, both of which are ominous for China and the bilateral relationship.

The administration may have concluded that it would require the imposition of massive unilateral measures before Xi would make major concessions in turning China into a market economy. This suggests a lengthy conflict and financial markets may need time to adjust to this new normal without tanking. Hence, it makes sense to have threats to China writ large but also to soothe markets and butter up Xi

The other option is that Team Trump actually isn’t in a negotiating dance with Team Xi, but rather has concluded that China is an implacable strategic rival whose growing strength threatens the United States.

If so, the moves towards protectionism aren’t meant to be temporary and removed should China liberalise, but rather are intended to be permanent, aimed to weaken China and to disengage the economies of the two countries.

China and the U.S. Seek Allies to Strengthen Sides in Trade Tussle - Bloomberg:

“There’s a competition” between the world’s two-largest economies to garner backing for their respective positions, said David Dollar, who was the U.S. Treasury’s economic emissary to China from 2009 to 2013 and is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

The concerted attempts at coalition-building suggest that neither nation believes that a quick resolution of their various disputes is a given. Such a festering could act as a damper on global stock markets and the world economy by making investors and businesses more cautious about the outlook.

“I’m deeply concerned” about the relationship, said National Committee on U.S.-China Relations President Stephen Orlins, who worked on the normalization of ties between the two countries while at the U.S. State Department from 1976 to 1979. “Over the next 12, 18, 24 months it may be deeply, deeply disrupted.”

Michael Bloomberg vows to lobby hard to prevent a US-China trade war, while his editor in chief leaves Boao impressed.

US media mogul Michael Bloomberg vows to stop Donald Trump’s trade war with China | South China Morning Post:

“Leaders in Washington are considering new trade policies that would unfortunately harm our economy, would kill jobs, would slow innovation, and strain ties with nations around the world, including China, and we cannot let that happen,” the business community leader said on Wednesday.

Bloomberg said he would travel to Washington “to see people tomorrow and that will be my message, that we just have to find ways to work together. Other countries around the world, again, including China, are responding with their tariffs and we don’t need a trade war.”

Stiglitz Says True U.S.-China Trade Accord ‘Almost Impossible’ - Bloomberg:

Q: Can China and the U.S. reach a lasting trade deal?

Stiglitz: There are fundamental problems that are going to make reaching a true agreement almost impossible. There may be a face-saving agreement, but it will not solve the trade tensions. The U.S. refuses to recognize that China is a developing country. Different countries are at different stages of development. It is fundamental to the establishment of the WTO. I was there at the creation and very aware. You would never have had developing countries sign onto the WTO if you didn’t recognize their right to development. It is a fundamental right and they are not going to give up that right. We see China as a big country and refuse to recognize their right to development.

John Micklethwait, editor-in-chief of Bloomberg, on the financial reforms announced after Boao----The Big Bang Transformed Britain. Now It’s China’s Turn - Bloomberg:

In 1984, I came to China as a grumpy, uninquisitive backpacker, dragged from crowded bus to uncomfortable hostel to inedible meal by two student friends who spoke Mandarin. The highlight of my trip was a visit to Maxim’s, supposedly the only Western restaurant in Beijing. The coffee tasted like nectar, and I survived another week. The idea that China was five years into Deng Xiaoping’s great opening shamefully passed me by.

I thought of Maxim’s as I waited for a plane at Haikou Meilan International Airport earlier this month, nursing a cappuccino at yet another Starbucks; opposite me was a Jimmy Choo shop, each shoe worth several times the cost of a hostel three decades ago; on the other side stood a mountain of Lindt chocolate. These Western luxuries weren’t there for international visitors. Haikou is a provincial airport—the place China’s middle classes pass though on their way to the beach….

The technocrats are extremely clever, but they’re not politicians. Their mandate comes not from the ballot box, but from the permission of one man. Xi has given them autonomy. A big bankruptcy, a securities scandal, or even just the arrival of Wall Street salaries may make him pause. He wouldn’t be the first ruler to make scapegoats out of his know-it-all grand viziers.

Has Xi really given them autonomy? Did no one brief Mr. Micklethwait on the recent 3rd Plenum?

So China’s Big Bang may splutter a bit. But once you begin these things, they create their own momentum. Thatcher was fond of saying, “There is no alternative.” China has an aging population that needs products such as pensions and life insurance. What may soon be the world’s biggest economy needs a financial sector to match—and a financial center. It would be odd if one of the main impacts of Trump’s trade war ends up being the growing sophistication of finance in his main opponent. But as anyone who went to the Beijing branch of Maxim’s in 1984 will tell you, things can change a lot.

I hate to be snarky (OK maybe I don't really) but Mr. Micklethwait might need to change "Maxim's to “Marxism” to get a better sense of Xi's China...


3. ZTE Fallout

U.S ban on sales to ZTE triggers patriotic rhetoric in China - Reuters:

In one widely circulated photograph online, an unidentified restaurant erected a banner with patriotic slogans calling for solidarity and offering ZTE employees free meals.

“If it were not because of ZTE’s strength and ability to represent China, it would not have been punished like this,” the banner said.

A photograph purportedly showing ZTE’s 76-year-old founder Hou Weigui with senior executives at a mainland airport about to catch a flight to the United States also prompted a torrent of messages of support.

“Trying so hard, bearing so much, all to fight for China’s interest - how touching!” said one popular comment that played on a comparison with a late Qing dynasty official, Li Hongzhang, a chief negotiator in the first Sino-Japanese war...

Nineteen stocks related to semiconductors listed on the mainland rose by their daily limit on Wednesday

Speculators are betting, probably correctly, that the state will pour even more money into indigenous tech development. Whether the firms succeed in the near-term is besides the point; the fat times are here for a while. 

Li Zheng of the Ministry of State Security-affiliated think tank CICIR writes that by building China into a cyber superpower the country will not need to fear America's "trade blackmail"-- 把网络强国搞上去,就不怕美国的贸易讹诈_观点库_观点中国:

2年前,习近平总书记在北京主持召开网络安全和信息化工作座谈会并发表重要讲话。这次讲话对我国网信工作提出了六个主要工作目标,确立了中国网信战略的宏观框架,明确了中国网信事业肩负的历史使命,指明了推进网络强国战略的前进方向。

此次讲话掀起了我国网信事业的又一次腾飞期,我国在习近平总书记所指出的诸多网络领域短板上有显著飞跃,正一步步落实习近平总书记定下的宏伟蓝图,成为我国社会主义现代化建设的重要动力。

最近,中美之间的贸易摩擦更证实了习近平总书记战略设计的前瞻性和预见性。在此次中美贸易战中,美国方面把中国高科技产业作为主要针对目标,试图阻止中国高科技产品进入美国市场。美国政府刚刚决定对中兴通讯实施零部件出口禁运,就是想借中国信息产业零部件依赖进口之机,给一些中国高科技产业以致命一击。

而在2年前,习近平总书记在讲话中就把发展和掌握核心技术作为中国网信工作最重要的任务之一。习近平总书记指出,市场换不来核心技术,有钱也买不来核心技术,必须靠自己研发、自己发展。这些话如今显得更加语重心长、掷地有声。

“芯病”还需“芯药”医-中青在线:

4月18日晚,中国计算机学会青年计算机科技论坛(CCF YOCSEF)临时举办一场特别论坛,专门讨论这一话题。不少与会专家谈到,发生这类事件并不偶然,美国政府出台这一处罚措施并不是针对中兴通讯这一家企业,而是针对全部中国企业,这也给国产芯片的研发和使用敲响了警钟:在芯片这类核心、底层的科技领域,我国还存在着人才储备和培养少、技术基础较薄弱等问题,但要善于利用这次危机,加强国内通用芯片的技术研发和应用。

中国工程院院士、中国计算机学会名誉理事长李国杰表示,经过多年发展,中国企业在芯片领域已有不少经验积累,但相比国际先进水平仍存在不小差距,在很多具体工作中,国产芯片还不能完全替代国外企业所生产的芯片。

China: Qualcomm plan 'has difficulty' resolving concerns - AP:

The spokesman gave no details of what Qualcomm proposed to satisfy Chinese competition concerns or why regulators found problems with it.

Gao didn’t respond to a reporter’s question about whether the review was influenced by the dispute with Trump or Washington’s decision to penalize a Chinese tech company this week over sales to Iran and North Korea.

ZTE replaced chief compliance officer after company admitted to lying to US government | South China Morning Post:

The company removed Cheng Gang, a senior vice-president, from his roles as chief compliance officer and chief legal officer, according to an internal human resources notice dated March 8 that was seen by the South China Morning Post. Cheng was also removed from his role overseeing intellectual property at China’s biggest listed telecommunications equipment maker. He was replaced by Wang Dong, who was appointed to the rank of senior vice-president, according to the memo...

The replacement is among the steps that ZTE have taken in the wake of the ban by the US government. ZTE chairman Yin Yimin said in an internal memo to employees that the company has set up a crisis management team and appealed for calm among its 80,000-strong staff

U.S. will hurt itself with action on ZTE: MOC - Xinhua:

China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Thursday that the U.S. action against China's leading telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp will damage itself.

"The action targets China, however, it will ultimately undermine the United States itself," MOC spokesperson Gao Feng told a press conference.


4. Booming PRC Investment Into US Biotech

Will this sector end of on the list of proposed investment restrictions?

Chinese Money Floods U.S. Biotech as Beijing Chases New Cures - Bloomberg:

Venture-capital funds based in China poured $1.4 billion into private U.S. biotechnology firms in the three months ending March 31, accounting for about 40 percent of the $3.7 billion that the companies raised in the period overall, according to data provider PitchBook. At the same time a year earlier, Chinese funds invested $125.5 million, only about seven percent of the total.

Policy makers want to encourage more innovation in China’s manufacturing-intensive economy. By allowing more investment in U.S. biotechnology companies, the country can gain earlier and easier access to novel therapies typically brought to market first in the West -- and share in the potential high returns that can come with them.

The Washington DC area saw an interesting PRC biotech deal last month, quite the list of blue chip, connected investors--Chinese investors pump new dollars into Maryland’s pharmaceutical industry - The Washington Post:

A consortium of Chinese private equity funds are investing up to $250 million to create a biotech firm that seeks to build on the work of Gaithersburg-based MedImmune, bringing 100 jobs to Montgomery County’s biotechnology corridor.

Investment companies Boyu Capital, 6 Dimensions Capital and Hillhouse Capital announced last week that they have teamed up with MedImmune, the research and development arm of AstraZeneca, to spin off six of the firm’s drug candidates into a new company focused on severe autoimmune diseases.

MedImmune Senior Vice President Bing Yao will become chief executive of Viela Bio, which will also base its operations in Gaithersburg.


5. Taiwan Live-Fire Drills Not That Big A Deal

Taiwan says Beijing 'saber rattling' as China starts military drills - Reuters:

“The Chinese communists have been using cheap verbal intimidation and saber rattling on every aspect of the Republic of China in the hope of affecting our morale or creating social unease,” said defense ministry spokesman Chen Chung-chi.

Describing as “nonsense” some Chinese commentaries that the drills this time are larger than usual, Chen said they were only a short-range shooting exercise close to the China coast, not military drills in the Taiwan Strait.

“That’s why we say it’s a verbal intimidation and saber rattling...using public opinion to exaggerate the falsity...and playing up an exercise into unification of Taiwan by force.”

China’s Live-Fire Drill in the Taiwan Strait: A Case Study in Psychological Warfare – Taiwan Sentinel:

The main reason why the Taiwanese are not panicking, and why much of the international media reporting on today’s military exercises completely misses the mark, is that they have gotten used to this kind of propaganda and therefore can easily shrug it off. Not only does this strategy fail to coerce the Taiwanese public or make them less supportive of the liberal-democratic way of life they cherish, it actually backfires, compounding their alienation from China. Moreover, the growing frequency of PLA live-fire exercises and passages near Taiwan — many of them in the West Pacific — in recent years, has, ironically, diluted the effectiveness of such propaganda efforts. Thus, if the aim is to spark a panic in Taiwan, Beijing is failing miserably.

PLA's live-fire drills in Taiwan Straits a warning to ‘independence groups,’ US - People's Daily Online:

The duration and location, which was relatively closer to Fujian Province than Taiwan, and scale of the drills were limited, according to information released by the Fujian MSA, so it shows that the mainland doesn't want to create too much tension to cross-Straits relations, Yu noted.

Cui Tiankai, Chinese ambassador to the US, said that the message delivered by the military exercises is clear: "China will firmly safeguard its national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and will realize reunification."

"We still hope we can realize it peacefully, but if anyone tries to separate Taiwan, we will do everything we can to safeguard our national sovereignty and territorial integrity."

China air force again circles Taiwan in 'sacred mission' - Reuters:

In a statement on its microblog, the Chinese air force said H-6K bombers had “recently” flown a patrol around Taiwan.

“The motherland is in our hearts, and the jewelled island is in the bosom of the motherland,” an H-6K captain, Zhai Peisong, was quoted as saying in the statement, using another name for Taiwan.


6. Chinese Communist Party Cells In US Universities

The Chinese Communist Party Is Setting Up Cells at Universities Across America – Foreign Policy:

The overseas party branches are typically established by a group of Chinese exchange students or visiting scholars at the direction of their home institution’s party committee, according to articles and reports viewed by Foreign Policy. Each cohort forms its own cell, which is typically then disbanded when the group returns to China.

The party isn’t shy about the purpose of these new branches. “The rising number of overseas party branches is a new phenomenon, showing the growing influence of the [Chinese Communist Party] and China,” according to a November 2017 report in the party-aligned Global Times newspaper. “Overseas party cells are also responsible for promoting party and government policies.”

Are they part of an overall approach to monitor PRC citizens studying in the US and squelch any dissent? If they are then I imagine the FBI would be interested…


7. More On The Magical, or Poison, Medicinal Liquor Case

Chinese Doctor Arrested, Then Applauded, for Criticizing a Popular Elixir - The New York Times:

“It was right to write this essay,” Dr. Tan said in a video interview produced by Beijing News, a newspaper and a website. “You must speak the truth a couple of times in your lifetime, and especially if a doctor doesn’t speak the truth and lets these ads about miracle cures run rife, they’ll hurt even more people.”

For the Hongmao company, its attempt to silence Dr. Tan has backfired monumentally.

Almost overnight, he has become a public hero for challenging the company, which is the mainstay of the economy in Liangcheng County in Inner Mongolia, a region in northern China where it is based. Some seemed to allude to broader lessons about China’s tight restrictions on public debate and criticism.


8. AI And 6 Billion Cockroaches Might Do Some Good

This story may not be easy to read (28,000 roaches per square foot!!), but if cockroaches have medicinal value and can be bred in massive quantities for harvesting then why not? Better these bugs than rhino horns or totoba fish swim bladders, among other increasingly endangered creatures. I do hope they don't get embedded with AI chips just before they escape the breeding facility right near the airport....

A giant indoor farm in China is breeding 6 billion cockroaches a year. Here's why | South China Morning Post:

The world’s largest cockroach farm is breeding six billion adult cockroaches a year and using artificial intelligence to manage a colony larger than the world’s human population – all for medical use. It is part of the production process for a “healing potion” being consumed by millions of patients in China, according to the Chinese government. There are many cockroach breeding facilities in China, for use as an ingredient in medicine or as a source of protein for livestock feed. But no other facility can match the productivity of the farm in the city of Xichang, in the southwestern Sichuan province...

Nearly 28,000 full-sized cockroaches per square foot were being produced there annually, the Sichuan government said in a report submitted to Beijing early this year...

Professor Zhu Chaodong, the Institute of Zoology’s lead scientist in insect evolution studies at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, said it would be a “catastrophe” if billions of cockroaches were suddenly released into the environment – be it through human error, or a natural disaster such as an earthquake that damaged the building.

To Xichang’s near-800,000 inhabitants, one such accident could be “terrifying”, Zhu said. The farm is also located close to Xichang’s Qingshan airport...

The Chinese government funded nationwide studies into cockroaches’ medical value that, after more than two decades of laboratory investigation and clinical trials, had discovered or confirmed dozens of disease-fighting proteins and biochemical compounds with huge potential value in medicine.


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

China to promote lifelong professional skills training - Xinhua With the goal of promoting employment and entrepreneurship, a lifelong professional skills training system will be established and supported to provide equally accessible skills training to all the workers in both urban and rural areas in the entire course of their career, according to a decision at the meeting. The training system, which also aims to instill craftsmanship and quality awareness, will help alleviate the structural shortage of skilled talents, improve total factor productivity and move the economy to the medium-high end of global value chain

China reports steady growth in fiscal revenue - Xinhua The fiscal revenue rose 13.6 percent year on year to 5.05 trillion yuan (more than 800 billion U.S. dollars) in the January-March period, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said at a press conference Wednesday. MOF official Lou Hong attributed the increase mainly to strong tax revenue, as businesses saw better performance amid a solid economy in the first three months. Revenues rose 28 percent in consumption tax, 21.1 percent in commercial value added tax and 14.4 percent in import tax. Business and individual income taxes went up 11.7 percent and 20.7 percent respectively.

China eyes early accession to WTO Government Procurement - ECNS China will actively participate in negotiations over the country's accession to the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA), said an official from the Finance Ministry's National Treasury Department.

The Trophy Homes Linked to Chinese Conglomerate HNA Group - WSJ As Chinese conglomerate HNA Group works to raise capital, its executives and a company headed by the CEO’s brother own trophy homes throughout metro New York, including four pricey residences at One57

China slaps anti-dumping measures on some synthetic rubber imports - Reuters China will impose temporary anti-dumping measures on halogenated butyl rubber imported from the United States, European Union and Singapore, the commerce ministry said on Thursday.

Sky-High Rents at Vanke Rental-Only Project Raise Eyebrows - Caixin Global “Such expensive monthly rent is almost as high or even higher than the monthly mortgage payment on many properties,” Kong Dan, an analyst with real estate agency 5i5j Group, told Caixin, adding that he believes that housing of the kind advertised at Jade College will struggle to find tenants at the price currently set because no one “wants to pay more money than a mortgage to rent an apartment.” Vanke, one of China’s largest developers, said the minimum lease term will be three to five years, while the longest lease will be 10 years. Tenants who choose the 10-year lease will have to pay the decade’s rental fees upfront, which amounts to 1.8 million yuan, based on the minimum monthly rent.

Crop Targeted by China Is One It Only Started Buying 5 Years Ago - Bloomberg The Asian nation made waves beginning in late 2013 when it began buying U.S. sorghum as a livestock-feed substitute for pricey domestic corn, and demand soared through 2015. While purchases have waned since, China remains America’s largest foreign market by a wide margin.

Alibaba Makes Rural E-Commerce Push With $716 Million Deal - Caixin Global Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s latest push to access the country’s vast rural market has arrived in the form of a 4.5-billion-yuan ($716 million) investment in an e-commerce firm that focuses on people living in villages. Alibaba is poised to join hands with Huitongda Network Co. Ltd. to explore partnerships across supply chain management, e-commerce technology know-how, warehousing and logistics that will “help build an ecosystem and commerce infrastructure servicing rural areas,” Alibaba said in a statement to Caixin on Tuesday.

Travel Agency Abandons IPO After Bout With Buddhists - Caixin Global The tourism company associated with one of four Chinese mountains considered sacred by Buddhists has postponed its initial public offering (IPO) in the wake of a controversy over commercializing the country’s religious sites...Company spokesperson Gao Li said Putuoshan Tourism withdrew its IPO application to comply with a request by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), according to a CSRC statement published late Wednesday. The request was based on 2017 national guidelines for regulating commerce at Buddhist and Taoist temples in China.

Economic Planner to Cut Areas Closed to Foreign Investment - Caixin Global Besides the finance and automobile sectors, China will also lower barriers for investment in sectors such as energy, natural resources, infrastructure, transport as well as logistic and services in the new negative lists, Yan Pengcheng, spokesman for the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said during a press conference Wednesday, without providing more details.

 

Politics, Law And Ideology

十九届中央国安委首会,习近平压实责任-新华网 more on the National Security Commission meeting //4月17日,习近平主持召开十九届中央国家安全委员会第一次会议并发表重要讲话,精辟论述了全面贯彻落实总体国家安全观的必要性,为开创新时代国家安全工作新局面压实责任。新华社《学习进行时》原创品牌栏目“讲习所”今天推出文章,为您解读。 4月17日,中共中央总书记、国家主席、中央军委主席、中央国家安全委员会主席习近平主持召开十九届中央国家安全委员会第一次会议并发表重要讲话...全面贯彻落实总体国家安全观,努力开创新时代国家安全工作新局面,习近平强调了5个“坚持”:坚持统筹发展和安全两件大事;坚持人民安全、政治安全、国家利益至上的有机统一;坚持立足于防,又有效处置风险;坚持维护和塑造国家安全;坚持科学统筹。这几个“坚持”,也就是国家安全工作中的几组重大关系。

China Detains Founder, Members of Prisoner Support Chat Group - RFA Authorities across China have criminally detained several members of a social media support group for the families of prisoners of conscience, and called several others in for questioning by their local state security police, RFA has learned. Guo Qingjun, who founded the group and moderates it on the popular WeChat app, was detained by police in Jiangxi's Ganzhou city on April 11 on suspicion of "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble," according to a copy of his detention notification.

赖小民和他的朋友们 - 21经济网 21st Century Business Herald with some details on what may be behind the investigation of Huarong's Lai Xiaomin...lots of sketchy dealings with private companies  //  此前,坊间就盛传,赖小民将“出事”。21世纪经济报道记者从不同的渠道获悉,赖小民的“落马”或是由于赖小民本人与几家民企涉嫌存在的利益输送。在此之前,中纪委巡视组已进驻中国华融。 还有多名消息人士向21世纪经济报道记者确认,与赖小民一同被带走的还有香港一家上市公司中国港桥(2323.HK)的董事会主席兼行政总裁刘廷安。赖小民于1983年毕业于江西财经大学国民经济计划专业,而刘廷安也是该校同级同系毕业生,两人为同学。 此外,还有一位民营企业家宁夏天元锰业集团的董事长贾天将,也和上述两人关系密切。据官方新闻稿,2017年7月18日,赖小民曾率领中国华融90余人到天元锰业集团进行调研,并参加大客户现场座谈会。除了合作设立基金、利用信托给天元锰业输血,中国华融旗下的多家子公司也和这刘廷安、贾天将控制的公司有千丝万缕的股权关系。 4月18日上午,在港上市公司中国华融(02799.HK)、华融投资(02277.HK)、华融金控(0993.HK)均临时停牌。

明日起北京启用20套“声呐电子眼” 违法鸣笛将被罚款100元 - 图片新闻 - 新京报网 The Beijing News has a story today about horn detectors with cameras being installed at intersection in parts of the city that will detect the beepers and fine them 100rmb...probably long planned but interesting in light of the Neihan Duanzi shutdown and Duanyou Hui car honking...

City installs water-spraying poles to stop pedestrian traffic violations - ECNS Daye City in Central China's Hubei Province has added water-spraying poles to stop pedestrian traffic light offences. Local police have installed lines of yellow poles on two sides of a zebra crossing, which can spray water on pedestrians who ignore red lights. The system also gives the warning of "please obey traffic rules."

中共中央办公厅、国务院办公厅印发《中央团校改革方案》_滚动新闻_中国政府网 《方案》强调,中央团校改革要牢牢把握团校姓党的根本原则。要坚持党的领导,坚定正确的政治方向,坚决维护以习近平同志为核心的党中央权威和集中统一领导,自觉在政治立场、政治方向、政治原则、政治道路上同党中央保持高度一致。要坚持以马克思主义为指导,始终高扬理想旗帜,把用党的科学理论特别是习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想武装团干部作为根本任务,加强对团干部的党性培养和作风锻炼。要坚持从严治校,以团的领导干部为主要对象,以政治培训为主要内容,以建设政治强、业务精、作风好的师资队伍为保障,严以治校、严以治教、严以治学,努力把中央团校办成党培养团干部和年轻干部的阵地。

江西省投资集团公司原党委书记、总经理姚迪明被查 据中央纪委国家监委网站消息,江西省投资集团公司原党委书记、总经理姚迪明涉嫌严重违纪违法,目前正在接受纪律审查和监察调查 //  Yao Diming, party secretary/CEO of the Jiangxi Investment Group is under investigation

 

Foreign and Military Affairs

Acting Assistant Secretary Susan Thornton Travels to Seoul and Tokyo Acting Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton will travel to Seoul, Republic of Korea, April 22-24, followed by Tokyo, Japan, April 24-27. During her visits to our treaty allies in Northeast Asia she will reaffirm U.S. alliance commitments and coordinate on issues of importance for the maintenance of security and prosperity in the region. She will also discuss cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region and the continued close coordination on the DPRK.

PLA Political Work in Cyberspace | Party Watch Initiative What precisely is political work, and how is the PLA attempting to innovate in it? According to the 2009 PLA Political Work Regulations (中国人民解放军政治工作条例), it involves the “ideological work and organizational work of the CCP in the military,” constituting “the fundamental guarantee of the Party’s absolute leadership over the Army and the Army’s performance of its functions.” Within this framework, the focus on ideological and political education is undertaken in accordance with the Party’s line, intended to ensure patriotism, collectivism, and “revolutionary heroism.” Also as of 2009, the PLA’s Ideological and Political Education Outline (解放军思想政治教育大纲) included a call for the use of the PLA’s political work network and units’ local area networks for online learning exchanges, interactive activities, guest interviews, etc. in order to “strengthen and advance the reach and timeliness of ideological influences.” Confronted with an ‘Internet generation’ of Chinese millennials who have have grown up online, the PLA is attempting, often with a degree of awkwardness, to leverage the Internet in order to engage, educate, and influence them.

Chinese vice president meets with foreign minister of Nepal - Xinhua Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan on Wednesday met with Foreign Minister of Nepal Pradeep Kumar Gyawali in Beijing, vowing to promote bilateral ties to a new high. During the meeting, Wang said China-Nepal relations enjoyed healthy development with steady progress in bilateral cooperation in various fields.

Zhong Sheng: Chinese delegation's DPRK visit implements consensus reached by Xi and Kim - People's Daily Online Under new circumstances in the new era, giving bigger play to the important role of high-level and party-to-party exchanges will help promote China-DPRK exchanges and cooperation in various aspects, deepen mutual understanding and mutual trust between the two peoples and seek common security and prosperity for countries in the region. Conducting in-depth exchanges of views on major issues is a glorious tradition of the two parties. During Song’s visit to the DPRK, the two sides also exchanged views on international and regional issues of common concerns.

China, Britain agree to further promote golden era of bilateral ties - Xinhua Chinese President Xi Jinping and British Prime Minister Theresa May agreed on Thursday to further promote the "Golden Era" of bilateral ties between the two sides. The two leaders reached the agreement during a telephone conversation, and they also exchanged views on the situation in Syria and global trade. Xi told May that the alleged chemical attack in Syria needs a comprehensive, just and objective investigation, whose results should withstand the test of history, so as to solve the Syrian crisis through political means as soon as possible.

 

Taiwan

Taiwan actor Chang Chen on Cannes Film Festival jury, but they call him Chinese, prompting Taiwan to request correction | South China Morning Post The prestige of actor’s appointment to the festival jury is tempered by the festival saying he is from China, prompting Taiwan’s foreign affairs ministry to request a correction

 

Tech And Media

Ke Jie to battle Chinese AI Go program - China Daily Ke Jie, one of the world's best Go players, will compete against another artificial intelligence Go program, China's Golaxy, on April 27 in Fuzhou, East China's Fujian province, according to chinanews.com.

China to start testing 5G in 16 major cities · TechNode Chinese regulators have given the green light to Chinese telecom operators to test 5G in major cities local media is reporting (in Chinese). State-run operators, also the largest three in China—China Unicom (中国联通), China Mobile (中国移动), China Telecom (中国电信)—will begin setting up 5G networks in 16 cities for testing. It is unclear when the tests will actually start.

Tencent Tops Video-Game Deal-Making Leaderboard - Caixin Global Tencent Holdings Ltd. was the world’s biggest investor in video game companies in the 12 months ending March 31, an industry report said. “Tencent led or participated in over $4 of every $10 invested in games companies worldwide” in the period, a report from Digi-Capital said Wednesday.

 

Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

Chinese police break up underground dog-fighting ring run by pensioners | South China Morning Post Over 200 policemen surrounded a fight earlier this month, arresting 92 people for taking part in illegal gambling activities, after a six-month investigation, according to the Southern Legal Newspaper. Police also seized 32 dogs and over 320,000 yuan (US$51,000) in cash. The ring was set up in an agricultural district on the edge of Shantou city in Guangdong province and has been in operation since last May under the pretence of an “elderly person’s clubhouse”.

The Waning History of Russians in Xinjiang - Sixth Tone Last September, I traveled through Xinjiang to document people of Russian descent who live within Chinese borders. Today, Russians are one of China’s 55 officially recognized ethnic minorities. Two large Russian communities, comprising around 15,000 people in total, are located thousands of miles apart: About 40 percent live in the far northeastern province of Heilongjiang, while the majority reside in Xinjiang. The Russian communities of Heilongjiang comprise descendants of Russian merchants, engineers, laborers, and soldiers who migrated to China at the beginning of the 20th century, many of whom built the grand stretches of railway that linked Moscow to the Far East.

 

Energy, Environment, Science And Health

Famous Brands Litter China's Beaches - Caixin Global China’s first brand-based coastal waste report was published Tuesday by nonprofit Shanghai Rendu Ocean NPO Development Center, which conducted 40 beach-monitoring operations in Shanghai and 11 other Chinese cities. Researchers selected beaches that usually see relatively little human activity, and picked up over 82,000 waste items — 75% of which were plastic.

 

Food And Travel

Chinese men stole pet cats to make ‘dragon and tiger soup’ | South China Morning Post The men detained in Lushan county in Sichuan province were intending to sell the animals so they could be cooked in a traditional dish – “dragon and tiger soup” – also made with snake, Thecover.cn reported.