Alaska meeting; EU sanctions; Dates set for Kovrig and Spavor trials; WHO-China report

The upcoming Blinken/Sullivan-Yang/Wang meeting in Alaska looks like it may be even tougher than was the Pompeo-Yang Hawaii meeting last year. In the last 24 hours:

  • The US announced enhanced sanctions on PRC officials over Hong Kong;

  • Foreign Minister Zhao Lijian blasted the US and Japan for their statements about China;

  • The US Department of Commerce served subpoenas on multiple, unnamed Chinese companies that provide information and communications technology and services (ICTS) in the United States;

  • The Federal Communications Commission revoked the US operating licenses of two Chinese telecom firms.

UU officials gave a background briefing to reporters ahead of the meeting. The readout of that meeting makes it clear that the US expectations are quite low, there are no expected outcomes beyond letting each side reiterate their positions and there will be no joint statement at the conclusion.

Today’s Essential Eight items:

  1. Atmospherics ahead of the Alaska meeting

  2. US sanctions over Hong Kong

  3. Commerce and FCC actions

  4. EU Sanctions

  5. Dates set for Kovrig and Spavor trials

  6. China previews upcoming WHO-China report

  7. Wang Yang inspects Xinjiang

  8. Trying to grow global discourse power through print

I will be participating in an Asia Society event Thursday Evening New York time to discuss US China relations:

In this special webcast, Rudd joins a conversation with Bill Bishop, author of the influential Sinocism China newsletter, and Susan Jakes, editor of ChinaFile and Senior Fellow at Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations, on what happened in 2020 and where U.S.-China relations are likely headed in 2021. Rudd will begin the discussion with a keynote speech on Beijing’s early reactions to the Biden administration.

It is free to watch, you just need to register here.


The Essential Eight

1. Atmospherics ahead of the Alaska meeting

Senior Administration Officials Preview of National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken’s Trip to Anchorage, Alaska - United States Department of State

We think it’s really important that our Chinese interlocutors hear from Secretary Blinken and from National Security Advisor Sullivan directly about our priorities and about our intentions. We know that sometimes there is a sense, potentially a perception, or maybe it’s a hope, in Beijing that our public message is somehow different than our private message. And we think it’s really important that we dispel that idea very early and that we’re very clear with delivering the same messages in private that you have heard from us in public. That includes making very clear our deep concerns about a range of issues, whether it’s Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Chinese economic coercion of our allies and partners, China’s increasingly aggressive activities across the Taiwan Strait. We will absolutely make those points very clear. But this is really about having a broader strategic conversation, it’s about communicating the areas where we intend to take steps, and it’s about understanding where our Chinese interlocutors are at.

Let me just make a couple of other specific points on the meeting itself and the goals around it. I know you’ve heard this from folks already, but just to reinforce it, that this really is a one-off meeting. This is not the resumption of a particular dialogue mechanism or the beginning of a dialogue process. This is very much about sitting down, getting an understanding of each other, and then taking that back and taking stock. Many of you know that we are in the middle of a pretty extensive China strategy development process, and the inputs that we’re getting from our allies and partners are really core to that understanding where we have some opportunities to work together and where we can best build shared leverage. But in putting where our Chinese interlocutors are at as well, what we will hear from Yang Jiechi and Wang Yi in this conversation will be important to informing where we go in our China strategy going forward. And so we think it’s really important to get that.

I also want to underscore one point, which I know that this is a little bit of a unique configuration. We’ve not had the national security advisor and secretary of state meet together with their Chinese interlocutors previously, and we actually think that this is really important, not just in terms of something for show; but rather, we’ve seen a track record from China in the past of attempting to try to play favorites within an administration and, in particular, to play the secretary of state and national security advisor off each other...

The last thing I would say before turning it over to [Senior Administration Official Two] is that I know there is a lot of questions from folks about whether we’re going to get into detail of negotiating some of the specific issues that are outstanding in the U.S.-China relationship. And our own view is that we’re simply not there yet...

I think [Senior Administration Official One] did a great job of laying out what we expect to get out of Anchorage. The only point I would add on that is the – Beijing has been talking about its desire to change the tone of the relationship, and of course, we’re going to be looking at deeds, not words on that front. And we’re of course coming to these discussions with a very clear-eyed view about the PRC’s pretty poor track record of keeping its promises...

…our view is, listen, we’re not asking the PRC to do anything other than abide by the international rules of the road, to honor its obligations, and to take – as [Senior Administration Official One] said, take actions consonant with their words. They talk about being a responsible champion of the multilateral system, but their deeds fall far short of that in many, many respects.

Xinhua Commentary: Positive China-U.S. signal should be translated into positive outcome - Xinhua

The time is right to seek to revive China-U.S. relations from their historic low.

As China's top diplomats will hold a high-level strategic dialogue with their U.S. counterparts in Alaska starting Thursday, many observers are holding their collective breath, eager to see whether their cautious optimism can translate into concrete outcomes.

The latest development comes 50 years after Dr. Henry Kissinger's legendary initial trip to Beijing. The vision and courage of political ice-breaking of that kind are still needed to ensure one of the world's most important bilateral relationships, which now stands at a new crossroads, can return to the right track at an early date.

The Chinese side has been reiterating that China and the United States should build strategic trust, avoid strategic miscalculation and manage differences. Communication and dialogue, on the basis of mutual trust and on an equal footing, are effective vehicles to achieve such aims.

The two countries need to return to normal engagement at all levels. That is the best way to reduce strategic miscalculation and doubts...

To reset China-U.S. relations, the U.S. government should also be more pragmatic. Its deep-rooted prejudices against China should be discarded.

The short-sighted China approach and old-fashioned mindset of a zero-sum game between major powers adopted by the previous U.S. administration should have long been abandoned.

Striving for the sustained and healthy development of bilateral relations, the two sides should respect each other's core interests and major concerns. They should also refrain from interfering in each other's internal affairs. China's position on its own internal affairs related to Xinjiang and Hong Kong has been consistent and clear. It will unwaveringly defend its sovereignty, security and development interests.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on March 17, 2021

Reuters: You said just now that issues with regard to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang are China's domestic affairs. Does that mean that China is not willing to discuss such topics at the upcoming talks or will all topics that the US is willing to talk about be on the table?

Zhao Lijian: I'd like to stress that this high-level strategic dialogue is proposed by the US side and the "2+2" format is also its idea. We hope that, through this dialogue, the two sides can follow through on the consensus reached between President Xi Jinping and President Joe Biden in their phone call, focus on cooperation, manage differences and bring China-US relations back to the right track. We didn't say that Taiwan, Hong Kong- and Xinjiang-related issues cannot be discussed during the dialogue. We will brief the US side on the relevant situation and express our solemn position. But the US moves to sway public opinion in the run-up to the dialogue in an attempt to pressure China is futile and doomed to fail. China will always firmly uphold its sovereignty, security and development interests. We ask the US side to abide by norms governing international relations and refrain from doing things that undermine China's core interests.

China urges U.S., Japan to stop interfering in China's internal affairs - Xinhua

The United States has always followed double standards, applying international laws and rules when they suit its own interests and abandoning them when they don't, according to Zhao. The United States has not been at war for only 16 years of its nearly 250-year history, and it has hundreds of military bases worldwide.

"The international community will have a fair judgement on who is the biggest threat to world peace," Zhao said.

Third, China's position on issues related to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, the South China Sea and the Diaoyu Islands is consistent and clear, and China is firm in safeguarding its sovereignty, security and development interests...

Fourth, the United States and Japan are sticking to the Cold War mentality, deliberately engaging in group confrontation and trying to create an anti-China encirclement.

Zhao’s original comments - 外交部:敦促美日立即停止搞针对中国的“小圈子”-新华网


China blasts US 'evil past of genocide' at UN rights body - AP

China on Wednesday blasted the United States’ human rights record, citing what it called U.S. failures against COVID-19 that cost “hundreds of thousands of lives,” as well as racial discrimination, police brutality, and an “evil past of genocide.”

Jiang Duan, a counsellor at the Chinese mission in Geneva, voiced the criticism at the end of an examination of the U.S. rights record at the Human Rights Council, part of a regular review faced by all countries at the United Nations’ top human rights body.

2. US sanctions over Hong Kong

Hong Kong Autonomy Act Update - United States Department of State

Under the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, the Secretary of State is required to regularly update Congress on foreign persons who are materially contributing to, have materially contributed to, or attempt to materially contribute to the failure of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to meet its obligations under the Sino-British Joint Declaration or Hong Kong’s Basic Law, as defined by the Act.  Today’s update identifies 24 PRC and Hong Kong officials whose actions have reduced Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, including 14 vice chairs of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee and officials in the Hong Kong Police Force’s National Security Division, the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, and the Office for Safeguarding National Security.  Foreign financial institutions that knowingly conduct significant transactions with the individuals listed in today’s report are now subject to sanctions.

Biden Imposes His First Sanctions on Chinese Officials Ahead of Bilateral Meeting - WSJ $$

Mr. Blinken said the 24 officials targeted in Tuesday’s action were deemed to have “reduced Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy.” All of these officials, who include senior Chinese lawmakers and Hong Kong-based security officials, had already been hit with sanctions by the Trump administration.

The new measures mean that foreign financial institutions that knowingly conduct significant transactions with these officials are now subject to U.S. sanctions, Mr. Blinken said.

The Trump administration’s sanctions against these 24 officials, announced between November and January, froze any assets they may have within U.S. jurisdiction and prevented their travel to the U.S...

The new U.S. sanctions targeted 14 vice chairs of the Chinese legislature’s standing committee, the most senior of whom was Wang Chen, a member of the Communist Party’s 25-member Politburo

Washington imposes new sanctions against 24 officials over Hong Kong electoral overhaul | South China Morning Post

Washington has slapped financial sanctions on 24 Hong Kong and mainland Chinese officials, expanding its punitive action in retaliation for Beijing’s drastic shake-up of Hong Kong’s electoral system.

The extended punitive action announced on Wednesday brings the number of sanctioned mainland and Hong Kong individuals to 34 over Beijing’s tightening grip on the city after the political and social turmoil of 2019.


People's Daily Zhong Sheng-We advise the US to put away the trick of political intimidation

On March 17, the US State Department issued a so-called statement, slandering the relevant decisions adopted by the National People's Congress of China on improving the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and threatening to impose financial sanctions on Chinese personnel. The hegemonic and interventionist actions of the US side on Hong Kong-related issues have seriously violated international law and the basic norms of international relations, seriously interfered in China's internal affairs, and fully exposed its sinister intentions of disturbing Hong Kong and obstructing China's stability and development.


新华国际时评:蛮横霸道 无理无效-新华网

Xinhua comment on the sanctions - "Rude and Hegemonic, Unreasonable and ineffective"

On the eve of the China-US high-level strategic dialogue, the US announced on 17th Beijing time that it would impose so-called financial sanctions on some Chinese officials, falsely claiming that these officials "weakened Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy". The United States has repeatedly blatantly and rudely interfered in China's internal affairs, made irresponsible remarks on the Hong Kong issue, and unreasonably bullied Chinese personnel, which made the Chinese people and all people with a sense of justice in the international community feel indignant.


Last year, soon after the initial round of HK-related sanctions - Sanctioned official speaks at AmCham China dinner - Sinocism 12.10.2020

PRC officials also know how to troll.

The official VIP offered to AmCham China in Beijing for its annual appreciation dinner was not one who has an economics or trade portfolio, like Liu He or Hu Chunhua, the official VIP at last year’s dinner. This year the government sent Politburo member Wang Chen, one of the NPC vice chairmen sanctioned earlier this week by the US. Wang is supposedly close with Xi and has a background in the propaganda system.

3. Commerce and FCC actions

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo Statement on Actions Taken Under ICTS Supply Chain Executive Order | U.S. Department of Commerce

Today, the Department of Commerce served subpoenas on multiple Chinese companies that provide information and communications technology and services (ICTS) in the United States. The subpoenas were issued to support requirements for the review of transactions pursuant to Executive Order 13873. The actions taken today are an important step in investigating whether the transactions involving these companies meet the criteria set forth in the Executive Order.

U.S. subpoenas Chinese communications firms in probe of national security risks | Reuters

The U.S. Commerce Department said on Wednesday that it has served subpoenas on multiple Chinese companies that provide information and communications technology services in the United States to see if they pose a national security risk...

The statement did not name any companies

FCC moves against two Chinese telecoms firms operating in U.S. | Reuters

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said Wednesday it has begun efforts to revoke authorization for China Unicom Americas, Pacific Networks and its wholly-owned subsidiary ComNet to provide U.S. telecommunications services...

In April, the U.S. telecom regulator issued show-cause orders warning it might revoke the operating licenses of three state-controlled Chinese telecommunications companies - the two cited on Wednesday and China Telecom Corp Ltd. China Unicom Americas has a two-decade old authorization to provide U.S. international telecommunications services.

Question: Going after datacenters, with both the FCC and Commerce moves?

4. EU sanctions

EU envoys agree first China sanctions in three decades | Reuters

The European Union agreed on Wednesday to blacklist Chinese officials for human rights abuses, two diplomats said, the first sanctions against Beijing since an EU arms embargo in 1989 following the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

EU ambassadors approved the travel bans and asset freezes on four Chinese individuals and one entity, whose names will not be made public until formal approval by EU foreign ministers on March 22, as part of a new and wider rights sanctions list.

US pressure, value bias behind EU sanctions over Xinjiang - Global Times

Sanctions imposed on China on Wednesday by the EU in the name of "human rights concerns" are a new example of how the bloc was pressured by the US and some internal anti-China groups to use misinformation on Xinjiang as a weapon to target China, with Chinese diplomats and observers urging the EU to stop hedging its bets as China will not back off on its core interests...

Cui Hongjian, director of the Department of European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times that public opinion has been misled by some anti-China forces with fake news and reports. Conservative forces all pressured the governments to take a tougher stance, although China and the EU have many shared interests in economic issues and trade.

5. Dates set for Kovrig and Spavor trials

Trial in China for Michael Spavor to start Friday; Kovrig’s to begin Monday - The Globe and Mail

Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have been incarcerated for 829 days. China alleges they are spies.

“Our embassy in Beijing has been notified that court hearings for Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig are scheduled to take place on March 19 and March 22, respectively,” Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau said in a statement.

He said this development is worrying.

“We believe these detentions are arbitrary, and remain deeply troubled by the lack of transparency surrounding these proceedings,” Mr. Garneau said.

6. China previews upcoming WHO-China report

Exclusive: Lead Chinese scientist of WHO joint team addresses key issues ahead of joint report release - Global Times

While the WHO is expected to publish the much-anticipated joint report on field studies in Wuhan next week, Liang Wannian, team leader of the Chinese side of the WHO-China joint expert team, talked with the Global Times in an exclusive interview about the next steps in future studies on the origins of the COVID-19, details of the studies, and the major consensus reached by the Chinese and foreign experts. He also responded to why the full report has not been released yet, whether the Chinese and foreign experts have conflicts over the report, and whether the experts have access to the original data and the exclusion of the hypothesis of a so-called lab leak...

To be specific, the date of the earliest case was set at December 8, 2019. Disease surveillance and early case search did not find any earlier cases than that one. Second, the Huanan seafood market played a role in the occurrence and development of the epidemic, and played an important role in the discovery of the epidemic. Third, the virus is of natural origin. The most likely transmission route was from the natural host to the intermediate host, and then to humans. Fourth, cold chain transmission, a new mode of transmission, plays an important part in the origin and transmission of the epidemic. Fifth, it is extremely unlikely that the outbreak was caused by a laboratory leak.

Comment: Wonder how the WHO feels about this "front-running" of the report

China's foreign ministry comments on upcoming COVID-19 origins report - Xinhua

Spokesperson Zhao Lijian made the remarks at a press briefing in response to reports that a World Health Organization spokesperson on Tuesday said that the international expert team that visited China to conduct COVID-19 origin-tracing study may release a research report next week.

The main conclusions, findings and recommendations of the joint source tracing study were already announced by Chinese and international experts at a joint press conference on Feb. 9, he said.

According to Zhao, after China and the WHO agreed on the work task in July last year, China arranged for a large number of institutions and personnel to carry out data collection, collation and analysis based on the suggestions of international experts.

7. Wang Yang inspects Xinjiang

Top political advisor stresses enduring stability in Xinjiang - Xinhua

Chinese top political advisor Wang Yang has called for fully implementing the Party's policies on governing Xinjiang for the new era and consolidate the foundation for enduring peace and stability in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Wang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, made the remarks during an inspection tour from last Sunday to Wednesday in Xinjiang. He visited villages, communities, schools, enterprises, research institutes, and religious sites...

Wang called for fully implementing the Party's policies on freedom of religious belief and upholding the principle that religions in China must be Chinese in orientation to guide Islam in Xinjiang to better adapt to the socialist society.



8. Trying to grow global discourse power through print

Dropping Propaganda | China Media Project

The change in the tone and posture of what CCP still calls “external propaganda” (made over with the slightly more palatable notion of “telling China’s story well”) should make reciprocity in the media a more important topic now than ever.

But as Stuart Lau and Jakob Hanke Vela noted at Politico, media access restrictions remain stubbornly in place when it comes to EU investments in a range of areas. “While European leaders often insist that the deal should achieve ‘reciprocity’ with China, the European Commission conspicuously failed to introduce this logic in the all-important news and information sector,” they wrote of the CAI. “The texts of the accord struck in December show that European investors are boxed out of Chinese media while Chinese investors are largely free to buy up news services, broadcasters, cinemas and film-making ventures in the EU.”..

Page 17 of the paper’s “International” section is a feature on the tremendous inroads the People’s Daily made globally during the recent session of the National People’s Congress (March 5-11). The headline of the feature is, “Injecting Positive Energy Into Global Development,” this talk of positivity being a reference to a key phrase used by Xi Jinping since 2013 to denote the need to limit “negative” information and opinion...

According to the description accompanying 15 full-color page layouts spanning media in Asia, Europe, Africa, South America and Central America, 750 unique articles in 12 languages were successfully placed in nearly 200 media outlets from more than 40 countries, all in the short space of this year’s NPC.

As these articles, generously referred to as “news products” (新闻产品), were often repeated in many languages and publications, this campaign involved close to 4,500 unique instances of what the People’s Daily, referencing professional public relations terminology, called “media drops” (媒体落地).

Languages included English, French, Italian, Polish, Russian, Japanese and Arabic

Business, Economy and Trade

[视频]韩正在国家发展改革委召开座谈会_CCTV Han Zheng goes to the NDRC to kick off 14th 5 yer plan and 2035 long term objectives implementation, now that they are officially approved. The key points:

Han Zheng pointed out that it is necessary to ensure food security, firmly hold the red line of 1.8 billion mu of cultivated land, optimize the energy structure, ensure energy security, and do a solid job in carbon peaking and carbon neutralization. We should pay attention to major social policy issues, steadily push forward the overall planning of basic old-age insurance nationwide, gradually delay the statutory retirement age, and improve the universal health insurance system. It is necessary to solve the outstanding housing problems in big cities, vigorously increase the supply of affordable rental housing, and continuously strengthen the regulation of the real estate market. It is necessary to adjust and optimize the industrial structure, continue to promote the capacity reduction of key industries, upgrade the industrial chain level, and maintain the safety of the industrial chain and supply chain. Adhere to both development and standardization, and establish and improve the platform economic governance system. It is necessary to enhance the work acumen and foresight, be good at discovering the problems with signs and regularity, and take timely targeted measures to resolve outstanding contradictions. It is necessary to accelerate the coordinated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei, promote the protection of the Yangtze River Economic Belt, enhance the integrated development level of the Yangtze River Delta, solidly promote the ecological protection and high-quality development of the Yellow River Basin, actively and steadily promote the construction of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, steadily promote the construction of Hainan Free Trade Port, and promote the high-quality development of "the belt and road initiative".


Economic Information Daily - 多策齐发力促产业链供应链自主可控 _ 经济参考网 _ 新华 Local officials in China are heeding the central government’s call to improve supply chain self-sufficiency. Tianjin has launched 115 projects in its flagship development zone. In Hunan, billions have been earmarked for IT manufacturing. And in Hebei, officials plan to nurture firms that specialize in the production of “core components.”

Apple Is Said to Cut Off China’s Ofilm Over Xinjiang Labor - Bloomberg The iPhone maker is thought to have terminated its contracts with Ofilm over the concerns a few months ago, the person said, asking not to be identified discussing a private matter.

Alibaba to Open Up Deals App in Concession to Antitrust Campaign - Bloomberg China’s largest e-commerce operator Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is planning to offer its fast-growing bargains service on rival Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat messaging platform in a major concession to regulators seeking to crackdown on monopolies in the internet sphere, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Pinduoduo Active Users Beat Alibaba, Sales Jump; Takes Lead in China E-Commerce - Bloomberg Founder Colin Huang will be replaced by Lei Chen, who keeps his chief executive officer title, the company said in a statement Wednesday. The move cements Huang’s retreat from the corporation that has helped him become China’s third-richest man, after he handed over the role of CEO last year...Huang, a former Google engineer, will focus more on longer-term initiatives, including research in food and life sciences, the company said.

基岩资本净值造假细节:50亿人民币资产为谁做嫁衣 - 21财经 scandal involving PE fund cornerstone capital, this 21CBH report says billions unaccounted for

China's Bitcoin Mining Secretly Grows in A Regulatory Gray Area- PingWest For underdeveloped areas with excess energy and heavy debt, mining farms can contribute a certain fiscal revenue amount. It is difficult to give up the industry, even if the central government does not like it. Most of those mining farms still refused to disclose their specific location to the outsiders, which seems to be a consensus reached with local governments.

Yicai - ZTE Soars After Quickest Revenue Growth in Five Years, Upbeat Profit Outlook ZTE’s revenue rose 11.8 percent to CNY101.45 billion (USD15.6 billion) for the year ended Dec. 31 due to a rise in government and corporate business and the recovery of its consumer business following the earlier impact of US sanctions, the Shenzhen-based company in an earnings report yesterday. It expects net profit to gain between 130 percent and 208 percent this quarter.

五部门:小贷公司不得向大学生发放互联网消费贷 _中国经济网——国家经济门户 According to the website of China Banking Regulatory Commission on the 17th, the General Office of China Banking Regulatory Commission and other five ministries and commissions issued the Notice on Further Regulating the Supervision and Management of Internet Consumption Loans for College Students on the 17th, which mentioned that microfinance companies should strengthen the substantive verification of the identity of loan customers, and should not set college students as the target customer group of Internet consumption loans, nor make accurate marketing for college students, nor issue Internet consumption loans to college students.

Biden trade nominee Tai wins unanimous U.S. Senate backing in procedural vote | Reuters At her confirmation hearing in late February, Tai backed the use of tariffs as a “legitimate tool” to counter China’s state-driven economic model and vowed stronger enforcement of trade agreements -- including those with Beijing -- while promising end a “race to the bottom” on trade. “The 98-0 vote in favor does, I believe, show her views are in line with many senators on trade,” said Mary Lovely, a trade economist at Syracuse University.

New rule targets State-owned assets at administrative, public institutions The regulation is aimed at enhancing management and oversight of State-owned assets at administrative and public institutions, improving the administration system for State-owned assets, and contributing to the modernization of China’s system and capacity for governance. It also echoes the decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress requiring more supervision over the management of State-owned assets. // 李克强签署国务院令 公布《行政事业性国有资产管理条例》_总理_中国政府网

Politics and Law

China Tells Media to Downplay Oscars With Protest Film Nominated - Bloomberg China told local media not to broadcast next month’s Oscars ceremony in real time and to play down coverage of the awards, according to people familiar with the matter, after a documentary on the Hong Kong protests was nominated and amid concern over the political views of Best Director contender Chloe Zhao.

China’s Political Discourse: February 2021: Staying Put for New Year - Sinocism The defining event in February 2021 was the Lunar New Year holiday. As new virus outbreaks struck some areas, particularly in northern China, this brought new curbs on holiday travel. The phrase, “staying put for New Year” (就地过年), came to dominate familiar felicitations like “joy and peace” (欢乐祥和). In highlights for the month, we had a Chinese diplomat ask rhetorically why Chinese people could not use Facebook, and a Chinese journalist subjected to online violence because they appealed against engaging in the feudal cultural practice of “mass kowtowing” (集体磕头). 

Woman in China fired for taking maternity leave when pregnant wins landmark court case and compensation from ex-employer | South China Morning Post A company that fired a woman for taking too much maternity leave must pay her salary compensation and severance pay, Chinese state media reported on Sunday. The woman, surnamed Zhong, was fired for “absenteeism” after taking three months of maternity leave, despite being legally allowed to take six. The case was made public at a media conference on March 3 held by the Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court

Caixin - 人事观察|国家保密局局长调整 李兆宗接替田静_政经频道_财新网 State Secrecy Bureau changed leaders. Li Zhaozong, former director of the State Cryptography Administration, recently took over from Tian Jing, a member of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection who has reached the age of 60, and became the new director of the State Secrecy Bureau

人事观察|46岁中国一汽副总经理孙志洋履新广东_政经频道_财新网 There will be "post-70 s" state-owned enterprise executive "airdropped" to take up their posts. After Wei Tao, chairman of Beibu Gulf Port Group, was promoted to vice governor of Shanxi Province and Zhang Wei, deputy general manager of COSCO Shipping, was promoted to vice mayor of Shanghai, Sun Zhiyang, deputy general manager of China FAW and born in May 1974, took up his new post in Guangdong, and his specific duties are yet to be announced.

China rejects trademark registration applications related to martyrs - China Military China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) on Monday published a notice on the rejection of 17 trademark registration applications using the term “pure love [清澈的爱],” which was a phrase written by a Chinese martyr before his death. According to the notice, China’s Central Military Commission (CMC) issued the first-class merit to Chen Xiangrong posthumously on February 19, 2021. The phrase “Pure love, only for the country” is a combat motto written by border defense hero Chen, which fully demonstrated the martyr’s love for the motherland and the noble sentiment of selfless dedication.

China to launch national reading campaign for 2021 - Xinhua As this year marks the centenary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the campaign shall focus on that theme and promote the reading of key publications on the history of the CPC, the country, reform and opening up, and socialist development among the general public, says the circular released by the general office of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee. // 中宣部办公厅印发《关于做好2021年全民阅读工作的通知》-新华网

王沪宁设计?学者析习近平抛“国之大者”图谋 | 习近平 | 国之大者 | 个人崇拜 | 中共二十大 | 希望之声 Another discussion of "国之大者 he big national priority". Hu Ping also thinks it is really about about the elevation of Xi and the consolidation of his power// 《北京之春》荣誉主编胡平在美国之音节目中表示,中共强调“国之大者”意在强化对习近平的个人崇拜。习近平并没有说明什么是“国之大者”的意涵,而这四个字也查不出出处,但正是因为它缺少清晰内涵,就容易让人做联想,给溜须拍马、歌功颂德的人留下发挥空间。胡平说:“国之大者无非是强调‘国’、‘大’,所谓中国是大国嘛,大国崛起。我们身处在一个大时代,百年未有之大变局。要抓大事,要有大局观、大胸怀、大格局、大气魄、大担当。最后当归结到一句没有说明,但是暗含这种意思的,就是需要大领袖、大统帅,就这个意思。这种说法无非就是想激发起国人的民族自豪感、使命感、制度自信,几个自信,以及加强对领袖的个人崇拜。

英雄烈士公祭办法征求意见:不得利用公祭从事违法犯罪活动-中国长安网 "Public offerings for heroes and martyrs seek opinions: public offerings must not be used for illegal and criminal activities" - According to news from the Ministry of Justice website on the 16th, the full text of the "Measures for the Sacrifice of Heroes and Martyrs (Draft for Soliciting Comments)" (hereinafter referred to as the "Draft for Soliciting Comments") was announced and solicited opinions

Foreign and Defense Affairs

US warns China it will enforce sanctions on Iran oil shipments | Financial Times $$ “We’ve told the Chinese that we will continue to enforce our sanctions,” the senior administration official said. “There will be no tacit green light.” The official indicated that sanctions could be waived during hoped-for talks between Washington and Tehran to revive the multi-party nuclear deal.

France rebuffs China after warnings to lawmakers over Taiwan visit | Reuters French Senators are free to meet whomever they wish when they travel, the country’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday after the Chinese embassy in Paris warned against lawmakers meeting officials during an upcoming visit to self-ruled Taiwan.

Exclusive: Chinese enterprises in Myanmar receive no order to evacuate after attacks, deny such reports - Global Times Employees with a number of major Chinese state-owned firms in Myanmar including the State Power Investment Corporation Group, China National Petroleum Corporation, and China Unicom approached by the Global Times on Wednesday all denied the existence of such an arrangement, which the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported Tuesday calling it a clear instruction directly issued by the State Council's State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC).

S.Korea ‘weak link’ of US strategy to encircle China - Global Times "China threat" narrative peddled by two senior US envoys may be downplayed by South Korea, although US officials have successfully lured Japan, who is willing to downgrade itself as US "strategic appendage," Chinese observers predicted, noting that South Korea, which relies heavily on China both economically and politically, will pose as the "weak link" of the US strategy of encircling Beijing in this region.

Twitter helps US govt's disinformation war against 'hostile' nations - Global Times When can Twitter take real action against content that viciously slanders Russia and China? Under the control of Twitter, the voices maliciously attacking the two countries have always been flowing freely on the platform. But pro-China and pro-Russia voices have been restricted. The public opinion situation on Twitter is lopsided. Should this be the situation of a social media platform that claims to be free and balanced?...The "freedom of speech" that the US promotes is one-sided. This kind of trick seems naive and hypocritical. It has only one purpose, that is to set up an iron curtain of public opinion against China and Russia.

Le Point magazine: media outlet or tool to smear China? - People's Daily Online In February, Jeremy Andre Flores from the French magazine Le Point published an article vilifying Christian Mestre, a professor from the University of Strasbourg who had praised China's counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures in Xinjiang, calling him a “henchman” of China. The report, published amid rising anti-China sentiment instigated by Western media, together with pressure from a group of anti-China teachers and sinologists at the University of Strasbourg, resulted in the professor being forced to step down from his post as the ethics officer of the Strasbourg Eurometropolis in March.

China's latest manned submersible Fendouzhe delivered - Xinhua China's domestically-developed deep-sea manned submersible Fendouzhe (Striver) was delivered Tuesday to the Institute of Deep-sea Science and Engineering affiliated to the Chinese Academy of Sciences...Fendouzhe set a national record by diving to a depth of 10,909 meters in the Mariana Trench in November 2020. The record dive was enabled by several deep-sea technologies involving materials, energy supply and communications. It carried three experts to conduct scientific research for about six hours on the bed of the Mariana Trench

Xi urges joint efforts to advance China-Guyana ties - Xinhua Xi stressed that both China and Guyana are developing countries and have similar positions on a series of international and regional issues. The two sides should strengthen collaboration in issues related to the United Nations and climate change, so as to foster a more fair and equitable reform of international systems. Xi said China expects a positive role of Guyana in promoting cooperation between China and Caribbean countries as a whole, as well as in developing the relationship between China and the Caribbean Community.

Xi sends message to mark centenary of Bangladeshi founding father's birth, 50th independence anniversary - Xinhua Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the two countries have been making joint efforts to overcome the difficulties and rendering mutual help, Xi said. Major projects in Bangladesh Chinese enterprises participated in have made groundbreaking progress, and the treatment of zero tariff for 97 percent of the taxable items imported from Bangladesh into China has officially taken effect, Xi added. Stressing that he attaches great importance to the development of China-Bangladesh ties, Xi expressed the hope to work with Bangladesh to better align the two countries' development strategies and jointly promote the construction of the Belt and Road, so as to take the China-Bangladesh strategic partnership of cooperation to new heights

余茂春:美中战略竞争没有双赢|观点 - YouTube RFA interview with former Pompeo advisor Yu Maochun - " There is no win-win situation in US-China strategic competition"

赵立坚怒批日本与美国狼狈为奸 第四,美日固守冷战思维,蓄意搞集团对抗,试图打造反华包围圈,这完全是逆时代潮流而动,同本地区和世界绝大多数国家求和平、谋发展、促合作的共同期待背道而驰。美日此举只会给本地区带来混乱甚至冲突,只会让世人越发看清美日同盟祸乱地区和平稳定的真面目。


A New Era in China’s International Development Cooperation | ChinaPower Project In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, Stella Hong Zhang joins us to discuss China’s new model of international development cooperation. Ms. Zhang analyzes China’s January 2021 white paper titled “China’s International Development Cooperation in the New Era,” the shift in China’s international development policy, and the implications that this shift has for both China and other nations around the world.

American students say they were wrongfully detained and roughed up by plainclothes police in China - The Washington Post Nine students, including six Americans, who attend New York University in Shanghai were detained by Chinese police in two separate incidents on the same night last week, university personnel and U.S. officials told The Washington Post. // Comment: Ugly incidents, nothing in this article to suggest political, sounds like it could be related to suspected narcotics, though they all tested negative for drugs.

Hong Kong and Macao

Pro-Protest Artists in Hong Kong to Lose Funding Under Security Law — Radio Free Asia The Hong Kong Arts Development Council said in a statement on its website that it was obliged to ensure that any artists, exhibits, or projects using its funding complied with Hong Kong law, including the national security law imposed by Beijing on the city from July 1, 2020. “If the grantee violates the terms and conditions of the agreement in any way, like advocating independence of Hong Kong and overthrowing the Government, [we may] postpone, adjust, or suspend grant disbursement for the grant year,” the Council warned.

The Fall Of Hong Kong: China's Strategic Plan To Conquer Hong Kong And Purge It Of Its People | MEMRI The Chinese Communist Party is implementing a strategic plan to destroy Hong Kong through a psychological warfare campaign against the population, training of new cadres to run the city, and a mass exodus of as many millions of Hong Kongers as possible who oppose Beijing's central rule. Veteran journalist Ching Cheong describes three initial "countermeasures" to a democratic Hong Kong that Beijing implemented in 2003, and another 10 "countermeasures" issued in 2012 to purge and absorb Hong Kong over time. Ching quotes from Party media to show that "the ultimate plan to destroy Hong Kong by 'keeping Hong Kong, but not Hong Kong people.'" Based on rich primary source information and facts, Ching's article presents, in a calm, reasonable manner, a very different Hong Kong story from what the CCP wants the world to know. Below is Ching Cheong's article, written for MEMRI


No feedback from Taiwan on substandard pineapple: mainland spokesperson - Xinhua The mainland's decision to suspend pineapple imports from the Taiwan region effective from March 1 is a standard precautionary measure to ensure agricultural production and biosecurity, said Zhu Fenglian, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, at a press conference. Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority has closed the door to solving the problem by politicizing what is actually a technical problem in a malicious attempt to smear the mainland, Zhu noted.

Envoy Sees ‘a Lot of Continuity’ in Biden’s Early Taiwan Policy - Bloomberg Hsiao Bi-khim told Bloomberg Television on Tuesday that President Joe Biden had maintained much of his predecessor’s approach to Taiwan. Former President Donald Trump approved a series of moves supporting the island, pushing ties to their highest level since Washington switched formal diplomatic recognition to Beijing from Taipei more than four decades ago.

Comment: And meeting with a possible 2024 GOP Presidential candidate:

Tech and Media

Personal data of millions of Line users accessed by affiliate in China : The Asahi Shimbun Four Chinese engineers at a Shanghai-based affiliate that Line subcontracted to develop artificial intelligence for its services accessed the messages stored in the Japanese computer system and personal information of Line users, such as name, phone number, email address and Line ID.

China Unveils New Broadcast Law for Internet Era - Caixin An introduction accompanying the draft law pointed out that the current regulations were formulated in a far different era when broadcasting was mostly limited to radio and television, and is no longer suitable in the light of recent industry developments. China’s current broadcasting law was first unveiled in 1997 and has been amended three times since, most recently last year...The law aims to create a set of unified standard for everyone, a trend that was already occurring with the rise of online broadcasters. It stipulates nine kinds of banned content, including anything that slanders Chinese traditional culture, and distorts or vilifies revolutionary culture. The law emphasizes that news-style content should strive to be truthful, balanced and objective.

Netizens support new system to control TV, film content for minors - Global Times The hashtag for “National Radio and Television Administration publicly solicits opinions on film and television classification” and “minors’ channels” began trending on Chinese social media on Wednesday after the administration issued a notice seeking opinions about a change to China’s radio and television law on Tuesday...The two hashtags earned 130 million and 150 million views on China’s twitter-like Sina Weibo as of Wednesday. Many Chinese netizens expressed their strong support for the draft and for a new national film and television classification system.

Chinese firms show dominance in blockchain patent filing volume: DWPI - Global Times Chinese companies have dominant positions in terms of blockchain patent filing volume, according to a report by Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) Magazine citing data from the Derwent World Patents Index, with Ant Group at the top of the index, followed by Tencent and Ping An Group.

Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

15th century bowl found at yard sale sells for $722,000 - AP An exceptionally rare 15th century porcelain bowl made in China that somehow turned up at a Connecticut yard sale and sold for just $35 was auctioned off Wednesday for nearly $722,000.// Comment: The original seller must be near catatonic

A Hundred Ghosts Parade Tonight by Xia Jia, translated by Ken Liu : Clarkesworld Magazine - Science Fiction & Fantasy

Cyborg Ghosts, Space Dragon Boats, and the Deep Roots of Chinese Sci-Fi - SixthTone The ongoing revival of traditional culture is also reflected in the presence of old beliefs and mysticism in contemporary kehuan. “A Hundred Ghosts Parade Tonight,” a story by Xia Jia, borrows its central construct from the Eastern Jin dynasty (317-420) text “In Search of the Supernatural” by Gan Bao, a collection of legends, anecdotes, and accounts of immortals, deities, and ghosts. Rather than a procession of disembodied spirits, Xia’s story reimagines the ghosts of the departed as cyborgs, controlled by the brains of those who’ve traded in their bodies — “sold their souls” in Xia’s parlance — and now give performances for the benefit of consumers and companies.

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

China renews blue alert for sandstorms - Xinhua From 8 p.m. Wednesday to 8 p.m. Thursday, parts of Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Qinghai, Gansu, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Hebei, Shandong, Henan and Hubei, as well as Ningxia, Beijing and Tianjin will be covered by floating sand and dust, according to the National Meteorological Center.

China rolls out more measures for Yangtze development - Xinhua China's Ministry of Public Security (MPS) has established a leading group for high-quality development along the Yangtze River Economic Belt, setting out tasks including a severe crackdown on offenses in the region, the MPS said on Wednesday. Apart from a 10-year fishing moratorium and a ban on illegal sand mining along the country's longest river, public security organs will also take strong measures against crimes related to smuggling, attempts to threaten food security and damage to the ecological environment and wild animal and plant resources, according to the MPS.

Jobs and Events

Public Intellectuals Program | National Committee on United States - China Relations The National Committee on United States-China Relations is pleased to announce the seventh round of its Public Intellectuals Program (PIP). This two-year program, generously funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York, is designed to identify outstanding members of the next generation of American China scholars, enrich their understanding of policymaking processes in both the United States and China, help them establish useful relationships both with their academic colleagues and with policy practitioners, and nurture their ability to engage with the public at a national, regional, and local level. PIP VII will be implemented through a series of activities, held from June 2021 through March 2023, including seminars in Washington, D.C. and the West Coast, a study tour of China, the opportunity to participate in National Committee delegations as scholar escorts, and public education initiatives.

Product Manager, China National Knowledge Infrastructure @ EAST VIEW INFORMATION SERVICES INC Do you have experience in the field of East Asian Studies, libraries, and a passion for supporting research on China? East View Information Services, an international higher-ed publisher based in Minneapolis, is hiring to support strategic initiatives to increase access to research from and about China.   The Product Manager, China National Knowledge Infrastructure will manage a suite of scholarly databases from China, collectively known as “CNKI.” East View is the North American distributor of CNKI, the premier source of Chinese research data used by hundreds of universities in North America, Europe, and elsewhere. The Product Manager will participate in strategic initiatives to increase the access to this content, which serves researchers in all scholarly disciplines.


Yicai - China Beefs Up Oversight of USD53.8 Billion Online Tutoring Market The Cyberspace Administration of China and the China Federation of Internet Societies formed the special committee yesterday to improve the certification process and standards, CCTV News reported, citing Zhang Yong, deputy secretary-general of the CFIS. The report noted that the widespread use of online teaching during the pandemic led to scores of off-campus training institutions and tutoring apps adopting the online learning model. But that was accompanied by problems such as online teacher qualification fraud and dishonest promotions.

Rural and Agricultural Issues

Chinese piglet prices soar as swine fever raises supply fears | Financial Times $$ Hog futures and piglet prices in China have jumped as authorities struggled to control outbreaks of African swine fever, with virus strains and illegal vaccines prompting supply fears in the world’s biggest pork market. Scientists said the new variants, which have left commodities traders scrambling for information, were spreading more easily than the dominant variety of the pathogen.

Yicai - Pesticide Makers Soar as Yellow Rust, Armyworms Threaten Crops in China Shares in farm chemical and pesticide makers shot up today after China’s ministry of agriculture warned that yellow rust, a fungal disease that affects wheat, and the dreaded crop-eating fall armyworm have made reappearances across the country and are spreading as temperatures warm up.