An American 5G Network; Wang Qishan Will Be An NPC Delegate; Xinhua Buying Fake Twitter Accounts; China's Donation Of The African Union Headquarters Came With Backdoors Attached

Good Monday morning from DC, except perhaps if you work at Huawei

Axios' Jonathan Swan obtained a presentation from the Trump National Security Council arguing the US needs to build a 5G network free from Chinese and specifically Huawei technology. This gives more background to AT&T's decision to kill its Huawei handset partnership on the eve of the announcement earlier this month, and should be placed in the context of the recent articulation by the Trump administration (see my Friday item Trump's new China strategy appears more contentious) of an increasingly coordinated coherent strategy for a "post-engagement" relationship with China that recognizes the PRC as a true competitor if not outright enemy. 

North Korea seems to be the last remaining finger in the dike keeping the US-China relationship from quickly becoming quite adversarial. And how long will that hold?


The Essential Eight

1. Trump Administration Wants A 5G Network Free From Chinese Technology

Scoop: Trump team considers nationalizing 5G network - Axios:

The PowerPoint presentation says that the U.S. has to build superfast 5G wireless technology quickly because “China has achieved a dominant position in the manufacture and operation of network infrastructure,” and “China is the dominant malicious actor in the Information Domain.” To illustrate the current state of U.S. wireless networks, the PowerPoint uses a picture of a medieval walled city, compared to a future represented by a photo of lower Manhattan...

The bigger picture: The memo argues that a strong 5G network is needed in order to create a secure pathway for emerging technologies like self-driving cars and virtual reality — and to combat Chinese threats to America’s economic and cyber security. A PowerPoint slide says the play is the digital counter to China’s One Belt One Road Initiative meant to spread its influence beyond its borders. The documents also fret about China's dominance of Artificial Intelligence, and use that as part of the rationale for this unprecedented proposal...

AI arms race: The memo says China is slowly winning the AI “algorithm battles,” and that “not building the network puts us at a permanent disadvantage to China in the information domain.”

One slide in the presentation also notes that "Japan all in":

U.S. Considers Building 5G Network Amid China Concerns - Bloomberg:

Talks are preliminary, and key decisions over funding and control haven’t been reached, said the people, who discussed the deliberations on condition of anonymity. The government aims to decide on a plan by the end of September and build it out over the next few years, said one of the officials.

Trump security team sees building U.S. 5G network as option - Reuters:

The official, confirming the gist of a report from Axios.com, said the option was being debated at a low level in the administration and was six to eight months away from being considered by the president himself...

“We want to build a network so the Chinese can’t listen to your calls,” the senior official told Reuters.

“We have to have a secure network that doesn’t allow bad actors to get in. We also have to ensure the Chinese don’t take over the market and put every non-5G network out of business.”

Huawei IP does not sound essential for 5G, but will the world end up with competing, incompatible 5G standards between China and the developing world and the US, Japan, and the Five Eyes countries if not the EU as well?

China’s chance to lead global innovation may lie with 5G mobile technology development - SCMP:

LexInnova Technologies, a legal services and technology consulting firm in the United States, estimated earlier this year that China owned about 10 per cent of the "5G-essential" IPRs in radio access, modulation and core networking. Huawei had the most such IPRs among the Chinese entities, followed by ZTE.

"We believe China's eventual share will very likely be above that 10 per cent level," said Lee.


2. Wang Qishan Going To The National People's Congress As A Delegate From Hunan

Wang Qishan has been elected as a delegate from Hunan to the National People's Congress.

Not proof of the rumors he will become "Vice President" but certainly interesting and would seem to make that, or some other continuing role for him, more likely

王岐山当选第十三届全国人民代表大会代表


3. Xinhua Buying Fake Twitter Accounts

No surprise, but good to see it documented.

The Follower Factory - The New York Times:

Devumi’s products serve politicians and governments overseas, too. An editor at China’s state-run news agency, Xinhua, paid Devumi for hundreds of thousands of followers and retweets on Twitter, which the country’s government has banned but sees as a forum for issuing propaganda abroad.

The New York Times' Mike Forsythe added on Twiiter that:

Mike Forsythe 傅才德@PekingMike

To be specific, the fake followers for Xinhua News were bought by a person named Zhang Yongqing (there is a Xinhua editor with that name). He used a gmail address (gmail blocked in China too!) and Xinhua’s 6307-1114 number in Beijing. https://t.co/7UDAsMCond

January 27, 2018

And

Mike Forsythe 傅才德@PekingMike

China politics nerds will note that the 6307 prefix is the one used in the Zhongnanhai leadership compound. Equivalent to the 456 White House prefix in D.C.

January 27, 2018

Billionaire Mark Cuban thinks the US needs to require real-name registration for social media platforms, just as China does:

Mark Cuban@mcuban

It's time for @twitter to confirm a real name and real person behind every account, and for @facebook to to get far more stringent on the same. I don't care what the user name is. But there needs to be a single human behind every individual account .

January 28, 2018

Convergence...


4. You Are Free To Run In Hong Kong Elections As Long You Agree With Beijing

Democracy with PRC characteristics on display as Beijing continues its efforts to turn Hong Kong into just another PRC city

Political storm in Hong Kong as activist Agnes Chow banned from by-election over party’s call for city’s ‘self-determination’ | South China Morning Post:

Agnes Chow Ting accused the government of “political screening” after her nomination as a candidate was ruled invalid by a returning officer from the Electoral Affairs Commission on the grounds that her party, Demosisto, had called for “self-determination” for the city, rendering her ineligible under rules to curb independence advocacy.

While opposition politicians cried foul and some legal experts expressed reservations about the justification for such a drastic step, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor insisted it had been done by the book. “Any suggestion of ‘Hong Kong independence’, ‘self-determination’, independence as a choice, or self-autonomy, is not in line with Basic Law requirements, and deviates from the important principle of ‘one country two systems’,” she said, referring to the city’s mini-constitution

Hong Kong gov't allows pro-democracy candidate Edward Yiu to enter election race after rumours of ban | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP:

Both Edward Yiu and another pro-democracy candidate, Au Nok-hin, will be allowed to run.

Yiu was elected a lawmaker through the architectural sector constituency in 2016, but was disqualified in July last year over his legislative swearing-in session. He added phrases such as “for democracy and for Hong Kong’s sustainable development” to his oath.

Law decides if Chow Ting can contest election - Global Times:

Aside from a clear stipulation of the law, Hong Kong's political order must be shaped through rounds of struggles. After lawmakers who altered the oath in the swearing-in ceremony were disqualified from taking office, future lawmakers of the opposition will be deterred from taking the same action if they want to stay in the Legislative Council.

Chow's ban from the election sends a signal that advocating extreme thoughts can help garner attention, but it risks losing the opportunity of being a lawmaker. The logic will be clearer in the future.

The opposition force of Hong Kong is only an opposition group of a special administrative region under the jurisdiction of the central government. That means they can only play the role involving the internal affairs of Hong Kong and don't have the privilege of challenging constitutional principles.


5. More On The Financial Crackdown

Banking Regulator Takes Aim at Risks - Caixin Global:

China’s banking regulator has a long to-do-list for 2018: clean up financial holding groups, reduce excessive leverage and contain “shadow banking,” or potentially risky lending outside the formal banking system.

“The banking sector and regulatory departments must keep a clear mind and should not be blindly optimistic… and realize that the risks and challenges facing the banking sector are still severe and complicated,” the China Banking Regulatory Commission said in a statement Friday after a two-day meeting to set policy goals for the year.

High on the regulator’s agenda is coming up with rules to supervise fast-expanding financial-holding groups.

坚持党对银行业监管工作领导 推动全面从严治党向纵深发展: 银监会召开全系统党风廉政建设暨纪检监察工作会议

China's Shadow Banking Curbs Cut Local Borrowers' Lifeline - Bloomberg

“The focus of deleveraging this year will probably be on local governments,” said Li Liuyang, a Shanghai-based analyst at China Merchants Bank Co. “As some regions start to ‘squeeze’ the inflated growth data, there’s a higher risk of defaults in their various forms of borrowings, including bonds, asset management plans and wealth management products.”

China to consider shadow banking in macro-prudential review: central bank vice governor - Reuters:

China will consider including shadow banking, property financing and internet financing in its macro-prudential assessment (MPA), central bank vice governor Yi Gang wrote on Monday, according to China Finance, a publication under the People’s Bank of China


6. The Party Inside Foreign Firms

Good luck pushing back...

Command and control: China’s Communist Party extends reach into foreign companies - The Washington Post:

American and European companies involved in joint ventures with state-owned Chinese firms have been asked in recent months to give internal Communist Party cells an explicit role in decision-making, executives and business groups say.

It is, they say, a worrying demand that threatens to put politics before profits, and the interests of the party above all other considerations. It suggests that foreign companies are no longer exempt from President Xi Jinping’s overarching vision of complete control.

“The creeping intrusion by the party apparatus into the boardrooms of foreign-invested enterprises has not yet manifested itself on a large scale, but things are certainly going down that path,” said James Zimmerman, a managing partner of the law firm Sheppard, Mullin, Richter and Hampton and former chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, who is instructing clients to “push back.”


7. Can Beijing Handle The Truth About Economic Data?

Fudged Numbers Revealed as Officials' Performance Redefined - Caixin Global:

Behind the outing process are central government authorities who pressured local officials to admit that they falsified data to exaggerate the strength of their local economies in order to advance their own careers.

The pressure is tied to a statistical system reform campaign that’s has accelerated since last year. The reform, spearheaded by the central government, incudes changing the performance assessment mechanism for provincial and local officials as China’s economy enters a new phase of slower growth...

Local governments in other parts of the country might make similar admissions in the future. For example, the National Audit Office recently announced that 10 governments in the provinces of Yunnan, Hunan, Jilin and the municipality of Chongqing inflated fiscal revenues by a combined 1.55 billion yuan in the third quarter 2017...

One reason why some local government officials have admitted inflating data is that they came under pressure from the Communist Party’s discipline inspection teams. Another reason is that they feared the central government’s data-gathering reforms and an upcoming nationwide economic census would eventually shed light on false figure

Revisiting Chinese Data (sigh) | Balding's World

Two final points in conclusion.  First, this type of discrepancy is not unique in the least.  Literally, I could pick almost any area of the Chinese data universe and show you similar discrepancies. This is absolutely not unique in anyway.  Second, be skeptical of someone trumpeting Party talking points making logical leaps that does not actually present evidence supporting their assertions.  I have shown you clearly in one sector how national GDP claims do not match in real or nominal terms, the claims of the government.

But Beijing keeps telling officials what the expected growth is, so how can they miss it?

China eyes black swans, gray rhinos as 2018 growth seen slowing to 6.5-6.8 percent - Reuters:

China’s economic growth will likely slow to 6.5-6.8 percent this year, a senior official at the country’s top economic planner wrote in the Beijing Daily on Monday (发改委副秘书长:预计今年中国GDP增速在6.5%-6.8% ) , while warning about the risks of “Black Swan” and “Gray Rhino” events.

Black swans, or unforeseen occurrences, and gray rhinos, or highly obvious yet ignored threats, are likely to occur this year with adverse consequences, Fan Hengshan, vice secretary general of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), wrote in a commentary in the state-controlled newspaper...

Separately, former central bank chief economist Ma Jun said growth may ease to around 6.5 percent this year, due to a slowdown in property sales and lower infrastructure investment, Chinese financial news provider Yicai reported on Monday.


8. China's Donation Of The African Union Headquarters Came With Backdoors Attached

China caught ‘spying’ on the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa - Face2Face Africa:

China has been accused of spying on the African Union (AU) headquarters, in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, which they built in 2012 to house and host continental meetings and the biannual heads of state summit.

An investigation conducted by French media Le Monde Afrique and published on Saturday revealed that in the past five years, data from the AU servers in Ethiopia were transferred to servers in Shanghai at odd hours...

Another official said the Chinese are not the only ones spying as documents intercepted by Le Monde in collaboration with The Intercept indicates that the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the British intelligence agencies (GCHQ) have also spied on the AU building.

A Addis-Abeba, le siège de l’Union africaine espionné par Pékin 

This might have some intelligence value for Beijing?—Alibaba rolls out smart city project with Malaysian government - TechInAsia:

Using Alibaba Cloud’s data mining and video and image recognition technology, Malaysian cities will be able to track traffic volume and speed to automatically detect incidents and optimize the flow of traffic. Alibaba Cloud’s system can also plug into different urban management systems, including emergency dispatch, ambulance calls, and traffic light controls.

This will be the first time Alibaba Cloud’s smart city AI product is deployed outside of China. In Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur will be the first city to roll out City Brain.


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

Donald Trump’s talk of ‘America first’ and fair trade smacks of double standards, says China | South China Morning Post Xinhua said in a commentary published on Sunday that Trump’s comments at the World Economic Forum in Davos amounted to double standards and his protectionist policies would ultimately become a stumbling block when dealing with global partners.

Xinhua: Commentary: "America First" means anything but fair trade  The United States is like the boxer who vows to obey the rules when dominating the fight, but claims the rules must be changed when he is losing. This is not how a responsible world power should behave.."America First" provided a ladder for Trump to the presidency, but it could become a fish bone in his throat when it comes to trade with its partners. Fair trade with "America First" as the priority is like shooting one's self in the foot. Donald Trump's first anniversary in office ran into the shutdown of the U.S. government, and if the United States continues to brandish the "America First" protectionist hammer it will encounter a deeper and severer crisis.

China’s HNA tries to navigate turbulent times - FT $$ “Now is our time of the oligarchs,” says one private executive of a Chinese company, likening the Xi clampdown to Russian president Vladimir Putin’s purge of billionaire businessmen. To counter the perception that China’s ruling Communist party is hostile to business, officials have reassured international visitors that Beijing respects private assets. At the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, Mr Xi’s closest financial adviser, Liu He, was at pains to assure the elite crowd that Beijing supports “economic globalisation” while warning against high debt and asset bubbles in international financial markets.

China fines 12 banks over illegal bill trading, fraud - Reuters China’s banking regulator said on Saturday that it had fined 12 Chinese lenders after uncovering illegal trading of 7.9 billion yuan ($1.25 billion) of bank bills. The fraud has “severally disrupted market order”, and showed the lack of internal controls and poor compliance at the institutions involved, the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) said in a statement on its website.

China's asset-backed securitization sees rapid growth: report - Xinhua In 2017, the volume of new issuances surged 64.7 percent to about 1.5 trillion yuan (about 236 billion U.S. dollars), making China the world's second largest securitization market in terms of new issuance volume, according to a report by Pengyuan International, a credit rating company. Consumption related securitizations have experienced explosive growth, with auto loan ABS surging 85.6 percent to 109 billion yuan.

China's securities watchdog fines blogger over $31,000 for inaccurate information - Reuters In a post on the popular social media platform WeChat in November, an internet media worker identified only by the surname Cao said financial institutions and property developers had held a private meeting at the premises of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), the securities watchdog.

Bank share online auctions on China sites spark call for guidance - FT China’s supreme court gave permission to five online auction platforms to host the sales of assets seized by local courts, including shares, starting in late 2016. Since then auctions for bank shares have exploded on sites such as Taobao, Alibaba’s eBay-like online shopping site. JD.com, another ecommerce site, also hosts the auctions.

David Cameron’s $1bn China fund hits investment wall - FT $$ David Cameron is struggling to get his $1bn UK-China investment fund off the ground, as tensions rise between the two countries over Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, according to officials briefed on the fundraising effort. The former British prime minister has been courting potential backers, but he has yet to name major investors in either China or the UK, with big banks reluctant to get involved.

Quick Take: Over-the-Counter Trading of Cryptocurrencies Violates Rules: NIFA - Caixin Global China appears determined to stamp out cryptocurrency trading, with the latest salvo coming from the National Internet Finance Association (NIFA), a self-regulatory body set up by the People’s Bank of China and other financial watchdogs. The group issued a warning (link in Chinese) on Friday that over-the-counter trading does not comply with existing rules and emphasized to investors the risks associated with overseas trading and fundraising through cryptocurrencies.

Coal Bites Back in China Amid Supply Worry - Bloomberg Four of China’s biggest generators sent an "emergency report" dated Jan. 22 to the National Development & Reform Commission, the top economic planner, requesting help with thermal coal supply, according to China Business News. Meanwhile, Hebei, which surrounds Beijing, will stop approving coal-to-gas conversions in rural areas until new natural gas supply can be secured.

Ford China chief in abrupt departure, a blow to recovery hopes Ford Motor Co said its China chief, Jason Luo, has stepped down after only five months at the helm for personal reasons, a sudden resignation that raises questions over how the automaker will best tackle a sales slump in the world’s biggest car market...“Jason offered his resignation for personal reasons that predate his time at Ford,” Peter Fleet, head of Ford’s Asia Pacific operations, said in the statement.  //  Comment: caught up in a scandal? 

China-ASEAN trade volume hits record high in 2017 - Xinhua Bilateral trade totalled 514.8 billion U.S. dollars last year, up 13.8 percent year on year, the fastest growth pace between China and any of its major trading partners. China's exports to ASEAN countries reached 279.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, up 9 percent year on year, while imports grew 20 percent year-on-year to stand at 235.7 billion U.S. dollars.

China Industrial Profits Grow At Fastest Rate in Six Years - Caixin Global he companies made a combined 7.52 trillion yuan ($1.18 trillion) in profits last year, up 21% from 2016, according to data published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Friday, the fastest pace since 2011 when earnings jumped 25.4%.

 

Politics, Law And Ideology

First volume of Xi's book on governance republished - Xinhua The book has been translated into 24 languages in 27 versions, and more than 6.6 million books have been published worldwide, helping the international community better understand contemporary China and the Communist Party of China. The second volume of "Xi Jinping: The Governance of China" was published in November last year, and its global circulation exceeded 10 million earlier this month, according to China International Publishing Group.

Translation: Speaking of Zhang Yunfan... - China Digital Times (CDT) Xi Jinping’s ongoing crackdown on civil society and parallel drive to reinforce ideological orthodoxy has affected rights lawyers and activists, academics, and journalists, among others. While the vast majority of stories on these crackdowns have focused on liberal-minded casualties and the reining in of “Western” ideas of universal values, the recent detention of a young neo-Maoist intellectual shows that Xi’s campaign to maintain conformity is not limited to the “rightist” or classically liberal side of the ideological spectrum. Zhang Yunfan, a 24-year-old Beijing University graduate, was arrested for “gathering a crowd to disrupt public order” last November while attending a study group session that he had organized in Guangzhou. Authorities announced that he would be in detention at an unspecified location for six month

The Propaganda I See on My Morning Commute - The New York Times Mr. Xi’s Beijing bristles with adulation for the party and the president. During my half-hour commute to work at The New York Times bureau here in Beijing, I encounter more than 70 pieces of propaganda.

China says 'terror' risks in Xinjiang remains serious despite security push - Reuters A report first read at a government meeting on January 22 by governor Shohrat Zakir and published in the official Xinjiang Daily newspaper said that 2017’s campaign had made it clear that stabilising society in Xinjiang would require more measures. “There has been no fundamental change to the situation of Xinjiang being in a time of regular violent terror activities, an intense struggle against separatists and the painful throes of an intervention treatment,” Zakir said.

Zhang Guoqing elected mayor of Tianjin - Xinhua Zhang was appointed deputy secretary of the Tianjin Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in late December and has been acting mayor since earlier this month. Previously, Zhang was deputy secretary of the CPC Chongqing Municipal Committee and mayor of Chongqing.

Beijing’s ‘crime tipster’ population reaches 140,000 in 2017 - Global Times Chaoyang mass literally refers to residents of Beijing's Chaoyang district, who are dubbed the "fifth-largest intelligence agency" in the world for tipping off police about suspected drug dealers and helping catch criminal suspects. That translates to an average of 300 Chaoyang mass per square kilometer. The report said the number of those who have close interaction with the local police in Chaoyang district has reached 70,000, who provide an average of 20,000 tips on offenses such as stealing electronic bicycles, pickpocketing and suspected drug deal

Defense minister vows Xinjiang stability, ‘iron wall’ of border defense - Global Times Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan vowed to "firmly maintain Xinjiang's stability" and "build an iron wall to enhance border defense" after visiting the region recently. Chang visited border posts, examination stations, checkpoints and other border facilities in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the Defense Ministry said on WeChat on Monday.

中共中央党校 - 学习时报网_“正定确实是近平同志从政起步的地方” another installment from "Study Times" on Xi's time in Zhending

 

Foreign and Military Affairs

On the Detention of Gui Minhai - US State Department We are deeply concerned that Swedish citizen Gui Minhai was detained on January 20. We call on Chinese authorities to explain the reasons and legal basis for Mr. Gui’s arrest and detention, disclose his whereabouts, and allow him freedom of movement and the freedom to leave China. The United States and our European partners are bound by shared principles of liberty, equality, and human dignity. We will continue to coordinate with our partners, allies and regional organizations on promoting greater respect for human rights in China.

Beijing will welcome defense chief Mattis' visit - China Daily Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said last week that Mattis is planning his first visit to China during spring. It would be the first China visit in four years by a US secretary of defense. Wu's remark came amid a series of US military gestures seen as unfriendly to China last week. These included naming China as a "central challenge" to the US, US vessels entering waters around Chinese islands in the South China Sea, and US Pacific Command chief Harry Harris calling China "disruptive" in the Indo-Pacific region.  // Comment: Expect the trip to include the next round of the U.S.-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue

US-Vietnam Military Ties Warn China over Maritime Expansion - VOA “The Mattis visit and the one by the aircraft carrier in March are intended to send a signal to China about its assertive behavior in the South China Sea,” said Murray Hiebert, deputy director of the Southeast Asia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “The visits are part of a series of steps by Vietnam and the United States in recent years to bolster their political and security ties as China rises and steps up its activities in the South China Sea,” he said.

China and Japan still groping their way to rapprochement- Nikkei Asian Review Sunday's meeting here between the Japanese and Chinese foreign ministers showed that while both sides talk about wanting better relations, each seems to be waiting for the other to make the first move, particularly on sensitive territorial matters. For the handshake that began their three-and-a-half-hour encounter, Japan's Taro Kono strode in with a smile, only to turn serious when he realized that stony-faced Chinese counterpart Wang Yi was not reciprocating. Kono's cool reception suggests a guarded stance by Beijing toward Tokyo's gestures of goodwill.

China Will Join First Japan, South Korea Summit Since 2015 - Bloomberg The meeting was announced by China and Japan late Sunday, as Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono concluded a two-day visit aimed at repairing his country’s strained relationship with China. Norio Maruyama, a spokesman for the Japanese delegation, said the summit could set the stage for reciprocal visits by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping -- a trip neither leader has made since coming to power in 2012.

China declares intention to improve ties with Japan - Reuters Wang told Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono that his trip to Beijing, coming so early in the year, showed Japan’s strong wish to improve relations and that China approves of this because better ties would be in both nations’ interests. Though there has been positive progress, there are also many “disturbances and obstacles”, Wang said, but the minister also pointed to comments from Abe on wanting to improve relations.

Is China’s nuclear attack submarine too easy to detect? | South China Morning Post Military experts say it may not be as quiet as it should be after Japanese navy discovered vessel while submerged near disputed Diaoyu Islands

China’s air force enlists courier companies for military’s drone front | South China Morning Post SF Express unmanned aerial vehicles deliver emergency supplies more quickly than conventional means during two PLA drills

Pakistan turns to Russia and China after US military aid freeze - FT $$ Pakistan is deepening its relationships with Russia and China, the country’s defence minister has said, as the fallout continues from the US decision to suspend $2bn in military aid to Islamabad. Khurram Dastgir Khan told the Financial Times that his government was engaged in a “regional recalibration of Pakistan’s foreign and security policy” that threatens to undermine the US war effort in Afghanistan. Mr Khan said Pakistan would look to Russia and China — as well as Europe — for new military supplies, as the US had “chosen castigation over co-operation”.

‘Golden era’ of UK-China trade links in peril - FT $$ A mutually proclaimed “golden era” in bilateral ties between China and the UK has been thrown into jeopardy ahead of Theresa May’s visit to Beijing next week amid disagreements over China’s overseas investment drive, according to government officials..But the events are now at risk of being scrapped after Mrs May resisted giving a formal endorsement to the programme, the officials said.

Power grid helps border troops, drills in S China Sea: experts - Global Times Chinese military troops stationed in over 20 South China Sea and East China Sea islands have access to a power grid ahead of schedule, which experts said could guarantee regular military drills and improve the military's combat capabilities 

Australia: Espionage Bill Threatens Democratic Values | Human Rights Watch The National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill of 2017 broadly defines “national security” to include Australia’s “political, military or economic relations with another country or other countries.” Under the espionage offenses, the bill provides no public interest defense and no requirement of “intention to cause harm,” meaning that people could face lengthy prison terms for legitimate conduct that is in the public interest. “If the espionage bill isn’t fixed, it will have a chilling effect on disclosing information in the public interest,” said Elaine Pearson, Australia director at Human Rights Watch. “‘National security’ is defined so broadly that practically any criticism of Australia’s foreign policy could be deemed an espionage offense.”

'This is different rich...It's crazy': the Chinese riding the spending boom - Sydney Morning Herald There’s never been an immigrant class quite like it. And while they’re relatively few in number, the stonkingly rich Chinese who now call Australia home are driving the boom in demand for everything from Toorak mansions with tennis courts to luxury handbags, jewellery, yachts and plastic surgery

Sydney Uni's Michael Spence lashes government over 'Sinophobic blatherings' | afr.com The row over claims of Chinese students' spying in Australia has deepened, with Sydney University vice-chancellor Michael Spence accusing the Turnbull government of "Sinophobic blatherings" and warning it is damaging one of Australia's fastest growing industries. As the head of Australia's oldest university, with a 67,000 student body and 15,000 high fee-paying overseas Chinese students, Dr Spence warned that continuation of a hostile attitude by the government could even threaten Australian iron ore and agricultural exports to China.

Seeing Ourselves in Others – China Channel Tabitha Speelman reviews Zhou Yijun’s Out of the Middle East...In Out of the Middle East: Witnessing and Reflecting on a Global Tide of Democracy (走出中东:全球民主浪潮的见证与省思), Zhou pursues the growing political demands of the middle class, and the limits to their fulfillment, across no less than sixteen countries. She wrote the book, which came out in mainland China last summer, over the course of three years, after quitting her job as a correspondent for Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV.

Experts Warn China's 'One Belt One Road' Initiative Seeks to Undermine US-Led World Order “The United States and China are locked in a consequential geopolitical competition right now that will determine the character of the 21st Century,” said Ely Ratner, the Maurice R. Greenberg Senior Fellow for China Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. “The United States is losing that competition right now,” he added. Ratner’s warning came during a day-long hearing held by the congressionally-appointed U.S. China Commission, on China’s new “One Belt One Road” initiative, which experts warned is aimed at replacing the current U.S.-led world order.-China's Belt and Road Initiative: Five Years Later (Video) | U.S.-CHINA

Chinese armed forces in "intense" real combat training - Xinhua  "Our soldiers take part in live-fired drills, engage in simulated confrontations and sail far into open sea," said Wu Qian, spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense. "They are in high spirits." He said the armed forces are addressing the discrepancy between training and real combat requirements.

军人开着战机嗨歌 几秒钟就能燃到你! - 八一电视·中国军网 Comment: PLA troops rap about being soldiers in the New Era...the propaganda sure makes it look like they are itching for a fight. Where will the first test be?

China to develop Arctic shipping routes opened by global warming - BBC News "China hopes to work with all parties to build a 'Polar Silk Road' through developing the Arctic shipping routes," China said in its first official policy paper on the polar region. It said every country's "rights to use the Arctic shipping routes should be ensured".

Greenland: China discreetly launches satellite ground station project | jichang lulu China has ‘officially’ launched a project to set up a satellite ground station in Nuuk, although Greenland’s public and elected representatives were kept in the dark about it for months, in an attempt to avoid concerns about its likely dual-use capabilities. Last May, a ‘launching ceremony’ was held in Greenland, where speakers included the well-known polar scientist in charge of the project and a military pioneer of the Beidou system, China’s alternative to GPS. The event was attended by a public of a hundred ‘élite’ businesspeople, including, in all likelihood, a senior Navy officer, as part of a group holiday; only two Greenlandic representatives were present. While reports were immediately available in Chinese media, the project’s launch went unnoticed in Greenland until I first ‘revealed‘ it last October.

Chinese Man Tied to North Korean Trade Applied for U.S. Investment Visa - WSJ  A Chinese middleman who is allegedly one of the largest facilitators of North Korean trade invested around $500,000 with his wife in a fund that put them on a path toward becoming U.S. permanent residents, according to a court document filed on Thursday. Law-enforcement officials seized the funds in October, and the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington filed a complaint Thursday to forfeit the funds from Chi Yupeng and his wife, Zhang Bing.

 

Tech And Media

Intel Warned Chinese Companies of Chip Flaws Before U.S. Government - WSJ In initial disclosures about critical security flaws discovered in its processors, Intel Corp. INTC 10.55% notified a small group of customers, including Chinese technology companies, but left out the U.S. government, according to people familiar with the matter and some of the companies involved. The decision raises concerns, security researchers said, as it potentially could have allowed information about the chip flaws, dubbed Spectre and Meltdown, to fall into the hands of the Chinese government before being publicly divulged. There is no evidence any information was misused, the researchers said.

Prototype of next-gen supercomputer to be launched this year - Global Times "The prototype's launch will pave the way for the development of a supercomputer capable of a billion billion calculations per second," said Zhang Ting, a researcher at the National Supercomputer Center in Tianjin, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Sina Weibo closes 'hot' lists after rebuke - China Daily Sina Weibo, one of China's most popular social media, has been ordered by Beijing's internet watchdog to suspend its "hot" rankings for failing to stop the spread of illegal content. The Beijing office of the Cyberspace Administration of China issued the weeklong ban on Saturday after accusing the technology company of promoting improper materials uploaded by users, including pornography and ethnic discrimination. The website, which last year had more than 360 million monthly active users, was told to suspend several lists including its "hottest topics".

Waymo Faces Roadblocks in China — The Information Chinese policy makers want to leapfrog the West and create their own cutting-edge driverless and electric cars. Government-backed investment funds are pouring money into self-driving car startups, while erecting barriers to protect the market. They hope to replicate the success of firms such as smartphone and telecommunications equipment maker Huawei that has caught up with and in some ways surpassed foreign competitors.

New-Energy Car Startups to Hit the Road in 2018 - Caixin Global Among the 20-ish new-energy car startups in China that wish to copy Tesla Inc.’s success, four have taken the lead — and they all plan to launch their first mass-produced models this year. Xiaopeng Motors, also known as Xpeng, announced Monday that it would launch an electric sport utility vehicle (SUV) within the year for the Chinese market. On the same day, the company said it has completed a new fundraising round worth 2.2 billion yuan ($348 million), with investments from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Foxconn Technology Group and IDG Capital.

 

Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

#9 China’s Hip Hop Ban is Not Really About Hip Hop – Magpie Digest This sudden “hip hop ban” caught the attention of many Western media outlets, falling easily into a well-worn template of stories about Chinese censorship — a faceless government stamping out creativity and free expression with an iron fist, this time with a splash of racism to boot. But in actuality, this ban has very little to do with hip hop itself (let alone American hip hop or Blackness), and censorship of cultural content in China is a shifty, amorphous beast that probably will not succeed in suppressing the enthusiasm around hip hop long-term.

Higher Brothers Are Chinese Hip-Hop's Greatest Hope - Noisey A four-man rap crew out of Chengdu in China's southwest, the Higher Brothers—Masiwei, Psy. P, Melo, and DZ Know—started blowing up last year. They were mostly known inside the tiny but robust Chengdu rap scene before 88rising, a New York-based media company and label focused on providing a platform for Asian artists, released the video for their track "Black Cab" in September 2016. A little over a year later, they’d appeared in ads for Adidas Originals and Beats By Dre and even snagged a deal for an Air Jordans campaign in China with Russell Westbrook. A video produced by 88rising last summer showed Migos, Lil Yachty, and Playboy Carti losing their minds to the group's biggest single, "Made In China." Suddenly, Higher Brothers had America's ear.

Meet The Forbidden City’s ‘Walking Encyclopedia’ - Caixin Global After putting down a face-sized magnifying glass used to read tiny notes, 70-year-old Liang Jinsheng started typing with the index finger of his right hand. The Forbidden City’s main keeper of relic catalogs at the Forbidden City was checking a list of antiques stolen by China’s last emperor, Pu Yi, before he was expelled from the palace in 1924.

Aging Parents of Disabled People Left Asking — Who Cares? - Caixin Global According to the China Disabled Persons’ Federation, 45% of the country’s 85 million people living with disabilities were over 65 years old in 2006. The Yangai Parents Club, a group for parents with disabled children, said that many parents in their 50s are still providing care for adult children in their 30s. While many children of the one-child policy era are worrying about how they will be able to look after two aged parents on their own, the elderly parents of disabled people fret over who will be able to look after their children once they cannot.

Family fights to clear name of father labelled a Russian spy during China's Cultural Revolution - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Nicolai Tankin, now 93, was labelled a Russian spy at the height of the Cultural Revolution. His daughter Lucille Tankin now lives in Australia, but she has returned to Beijing several times to fight the Chinese courts

 

Education

Tsinghua Renews Contract of Academic Charged With Corruption - Sixth Tone Fu Lin, a professor in the university’s School of Architecture, was detained in March 2016. The prosecutor of Haidian District in Beijing issued a formal warrant for his arrest in April 2016, and in May 2017 charged him with unlawfully gaining and embezzling millions of yuan in research funds. Yet Fu has never stood trial for his charges, and Tsinghua University recently renewed his contract for the second time since his arrest, financial news outlet Caixin reported Thursday.

 

Beijing

Beijing plans to move 15,000 villagers away from its 600-year-old Ming tombs | South China Morning Post Some 16 villages spread across an area of 87 sq km are to be relocated as part of a plan to close off and restore the complex, Zhang Yanyou, head of the Changping district government, was quoted as saying in Beijing Youth Daily on Sunday. The plan is to eventually open all 13 of the Ming emperor tombs to the public once restoration work is completed, Zhang said. Visitors can access just three of the tombs at present.

Beijing to demolish 40 million sqm of illegal structures - Xinhua  Beijing plans to demolish more than 40 million square meters of illegal structures this year, 40 percent of which will be converted into public green space. The capital will ensure "zero increase of the illegal structures" this year, according to the ongoing municipal legislative session. Beijing will add 1,600 hectares of green areas this year, as well as build 10 city leisure parks and 100 km of greenways.

Beijing housing prices fall in 2017 - Xinhua Prices of new homes, including public housing, fell 0.9 percent year on year to 37,800 yuan (5,981 U.S. dollars) per square meter in December, according to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development. Meanwhile, prices of existing homes, dropped 1.2 percent year on year to 59,100 yuan per square meter last month, declining 13 percent from the high level in March.