Australia-China; Politburo meeting; Xi on archaeology; Massive hydropower project in Tibet
Australia-China relations were already worsening into the weekend as China announced punishing tariffs on Australian wine, the latest in a series of economic penalties Beijing has imposed over the last few weeks.
Then Foreign Ministry spokesman and keyboard wolf warrior Zhao Lijian tweeted a drawing by a jingoist artist about the recent revelations of killings of innocents in Afghanistan by Australian soldiers:
Zhao’s tweet sparked outrage in Australia, and he doubled down by pinning it to the top of his Twitter profile. His boss Hua Chunying defended Zhao and attacked Australia again, making it crystal clear that this was not some sort of anomalous outburst by Zhao.
Why would Zhao increase tensions with Australia, a key US ally, just weeks before Joe Biden takes over as US President? This concerted PRC assault on everything Australian makes it even harder for a President Biden to revert to a less confrontational policy towards China, if that is something he is considering.
I can think of a few reasons, beyond that Zhao is an idiot, which I do not think he is, though his intensifying ideological zealotry seems increasingly problematic:
PRC officials are worried Australia will lead other major countries to push back much harder and so need to make an example of it to dissuade other key countries;
Criticism of the US, Australia and other US allies who have participated in the nearly two decades of wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East resonates in much of the developing world and this was just too good an opportunity to delegitimize those countries while reinforcing the PRC’s claim as a peace-loving nation dedicated to building a “community with a shared future for mankind”;
The PRC is getting much more aggressive if not also sophisticated in using “whataboutism” to reject criticism of the PRC’s human rights record;
Zhao Lijian embodies the spirit and ability of struggle 斗争. He is a feature not a bug of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy.
What other reasons might there be?
It is worth pointing out once again the irony of the PRC using American social media platforms-Twitter, YouTube, Facebook-as the key front in its global information “struggle” against the US and the West.
Today’s Essential Eight:
Australia-China tensions worsen
Massive hydropower project in Tibet
Maybe Covid came from India, maybe it came from Italy…
Yang Jiechi on the foreign policy takeaways from the Fifth Plenum
Thanks for reading.
The Essential Eight
1. Australia-China tensions worsen
Monday’s tweet from Zhao Lijian, a spokesman with China’s foreign ministry, seized on a recent report from a four-year-long official investigation into the conduct of Australian special forces soldiers in Afghanistan.
Zhao wrote that he was “shocked by murder of Afghan civilians & prisoners by Australian soldiers” and he called for accountability.
The tweet was accompanied by an inflammatory image that appears to depict an Australian soldier cutting the throat of a young civilian holding a sheep, together with the words “Don’t be afraid, we are coming to bring you peace!”
An Australian government report, published Nov. 19 after a four-year probe, found “credible information” that 25 special forces soldiers unlawfully killed 39 prisoners, farmers and civilians over several years. More than a dozen soldiers have been dismissed, and the preliminary findings will now be followed up by a special investigator and could result in criminal charges...
Zhao told a daily news briefing on Friday that the Australian report “fully exposed the hypocrisy of the ‘human rights’ and ‘freedom’ these Western countries are always chanting.” His counterpart in Moscow, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, echoed the sentiment in a jab at the West, saying that the report called into question the “true meaning” of the Australian government’s calls to “protect the rules-based world order.”
Comment: Don’t dismiss the increasing coordination between the PRC and Russia in the global information war they are waging.
A senior government source said China was not expected to apologise, but the Morrison government was retaining a “cool-headed” position. The source said the Chinese government had now lost any moral authority it believed it had following the release of its 14-point list of grievances by its Canberra embassy and the offensive tweet.
Zhao’s boss doubled down today: - China rejects Australia's demand for apology over cartoon tweet - Global Times
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on Monday rejected Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's demand for an apology from China over a tweet from Hua's colleague showing an Australian soldier murdering a child, saying that the Australian government should feel "ashamed" for murdering Afghan civilians...
Hua listed several examples that emerged from media and the military report, including that Australian soldiers shot adult men and boys in groups, blindfolded them and cut their throats, put two 14-year-old boys into bags after cutting their throats and throwing them into a river, and forcing new recruits to shoot prisoners for "practice."
"Is it reasonable to cruelly kill Afghan innocent civilians, but unreasonable for others to condemn such cruel crimes?" Hua asked.
Afghan lives matter, Hua said.
Zhao addressed the investigation Friday - Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on November 27, 2020
China Daily: According to media reports, the Australian military recently released a report detailing war crimes allegedly committed by Australian forces serving in Afghanistan, including many incidents involving the killing of prisoners and innocent civilians. Australian political leaders and media have criticized and condemned this. Does China have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: We are shocked by the details revealed by relevant reports and strongly condemn such behaviors that go against international conventions and human conscience. We call for a thorough investigation into the matter to bring the culprits to justice.
Australia and some other western countries always portray themselves as human rights defenders and wantonly criticize other countries' human rights conditions. The facts revealed by this report fully exposed the hypocrisy of the "human rights" and "freedom" these western countries are always chanting. We hope relevant countries will reflect upon their own behavior, think more about how to address serious human rights violations that trample upon conscience of humanity at home, and stop using human rights as a pretext to engage in political manipulation.
The minister did not label the Chinese government’s actions as “coercion” when asked on ABC’s Insiders program if that was happening. But he said that after attempting to resolve the issues through the Chinese Communist party’s domestic processes, taking the barley issue to the World Trade Organization (WTO) was “the next step”.
The fact is that as China-Australia relations remained warm in the past, Chinese society did not find fault with imports from Australia. But now, Canberra implements a wolf-style policy toward China and has become the most savage accomplice of US suppression of China. China, in response, needs to review its Australia policy and act according to the rules...
As a warhound of the US, Australia should restrain its arrogance. Particularly, its warships must not come to China's coastal areas to flex muscles, or else it will swallow the bitter pills.
As the responsibility for the free fall in bilateral ties falls with Australia, its recent moves show that instead of reversing the all-around and profound damages it has caused to the bilateral ties, the Morrison administration is too blind to see the hidden risks of damaged relations to its economy, as China has gained an upper hand in reducing dependence on Aussie exports while the latter needs at least three years to recover from China's absence from its pillar industries, analysts said...
Despite warnings by some Australian academics, including former Australian ambassador to China Geoff Raby, that Australia could face "significant cost to our living standards" by the stoush between the two countries, there are nationalist voices within the country calling for a boycott of vital resources exports to China.
Nonetheless, Chinese analysts said coal-producing countries including Indonesia, South Africa, Russia and Mongolia stand to benefit as Chinese buyers diversify their purchases.
Even for iron ore, which initially escaped the fallout of strained bilateral relations, a diversification process is slowly taking shape and is reducing Australia's dominance...
Chen Hong, professor and director of the Australian Studies Centre at East China Normal University, called Morrison's remarks on demanding China's apology over FM spokesperson Zhao Lijian's tweet as "juvenile" action that is pushing bilateral ties lower into the abyss.
"Morrison wants to use this opportunity to shift the domestic and international blame on its soldiers' savage act to China, which is unedifying. It also shows his incompetence in not only dealing with the country's own scandal but also diplomatic ties," Chen told the Global Times, noting that Australia should reflect on the all-around and profound damage it has caused to the bilateral ties before it is too late
The image that Mr. Zhao tweeted appeared earlier on China’s Twitter-like Weibo microblogging platform, where a Chinese artist who goes by “Wuheqilin” posted the image on Nov. 23. While Wuheqilin’s image bore a Weibo watermark with his moniker, the image on Mr. Zhao’s tweet didn’t include that watermark.
Wuheqilin, who described himself on Weibo as a male artist in Beijing, won a degree of social-media fame in China by creating images over the past year that mocked the U.S. and other Western governments for perceived hypocrisy on human-rights and democracy issues. Fans have called him a “wolf-warrior artist,” a label he has embraced.
On Monday, Wuheqilin posted on Weibo a screenshot of Mr. Zhao’s tweet, saying “Deputy Director-General Zhao is formidable!! Smack those bastards!! Smash their defenses!!!” He followed up with a screenshot of a news report on Mr. Morrison’s demands for an apology from China, saying “I hear that Old Mo has strong views about my picture?”
Here is a “wolf warrior painter” Wuheqilin (乌合麒麟 on Weibo , who is now extremely popular among the young Chinese nationalists. He did an interview with Guancha, saying artistis should not stay out of politics, and China needs more arts to export its ideology.
This July meeting should be getting more attention - Chinese and Russian Foreign Ministry Spokespersons Held Consultations and Agreed to Cooperate in Combating Disinformation
On the night of July 24, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson and Director General of the MFA Information Department Hua Chunying held consultations via videolink with Russian foreign ministry spokesperson and Director of the Information and Press Department of Russia's foreign ministry Maria Zakharova.
Both sides agreed that against the backdrop of the on-going pandemic, certain countries, out of ideological bias and political needs, have been spreading disinformation, distorting history, attacking other countries' social systems and development paths, politicizing the pandemic, pinning labels on the virus, and restricted and oppressed foreign media for doing their job. Such acts have severely poisoned the atmosphere of global public opinion, obstructed international cooperation against the virus, and set obstacles to mutual understanding among people from different countries.
2. Politburo meeting
The Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee met on Monday to review regulations on the political work in the armed forces, the Party's united front work and safeguarding Party members' rights.
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, presided over the meeting.
The political work is the lifeline of the people's armed forces, which can only be strengthened, not weakened, according to a statement issued after the meeting.
The statement highlighted the role of amending regulations on political work in the armed forces, noting that it could strengthen the Party's leadership over the military political work and promote the full implementation of the strategy of enhancing the military's political loyalty in the new era...
It called for efforts to educate members of the armed forces through Xi's thinking on strengthening the military to make sure the military stays absolutely loyal, pure and reliable...
Amending the Party's regulations on the united front work is a major task for the CPC Central Committee to exercise full, strict and rule-based governance over the Party, and an important measure to consolidate and deepen the principles of Party and state institution reform concerning the united front, it added...
CCTV Evening News on the Politburo meeting - The Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee held a meeting to review the Regulations on Political Work of the Army, the Regulations on the Work of the United Front of the Communist Party of China and the Regulations on the Protection of the Rights of Party Members of the Communist Party of China. Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, presided over the meeting -中共中央政治局召开会议 审议《军队政治工作条例》《中国共产党统一战线工作条例》和《中国共产党党员权利保障条例》 中共中央总书记习近平主持会议_CCTV
The meeting pointed out that the CPC Central Committee has always attached great importance to the United front and United front work. Revising the Regulations on the Work of the United Front of the Communist Party of China is an important task for the CPC Central Committee to strictly manage the party in an all-round way and in accordance with regulations, an important measure to consolidate and deepen the reform spirit of the party and state institutions in the United front field, and an inevitable requirement for giving full play to the magic weapon role of the United front in the new era.
The meeting stressed that it is necessary to strengthen the centralized and unified leadership of the party over the United front work, create a situation in which the whole party does the United front work, and improve the scientific, standardized and institutionalized level of the United front work. Party committees (party groups) at all levels should fully understand the importance of doing a good job in the United front work in the new era, thoroughly study and implement the Regulations on United Front Work of the Communist Party of China, comprehensively and accurately study and understand the United front theory, principles and policies, earnestly fulfill the main responsibility of doing a good job in the United front work, strengthen the planning and deployment of the United front work of their own departments in their own regions, truly develop the United front and carry out the United front work well, unite all forces that can be United, mobilize all positive factors that can be mobilized, and promote the continuous consolidation and development of the patriotic United front cause.
3. Xi on using archaeology in the “struggles 斗争 in the field of history and culture”
The article by Xi...will be published in the 23rd issue of the Qiushi Journal, a flagship magazine of the CPC Central Committee.
Highlighting the importance of archaeological research, the article calls for high attention to the archaeological work to provide strong support for promoting fine traditional culture and strengthening people's confidence in Chinese culture.
The article stresses the need to be fully aware of the great achievements and significance of China's archaeological work, saying the country's archaeological findings reveal the glorious achievements of the Chinese civilization and its great contributions to world civilizations.
Comment - It is from the talk he gave at the 9.28.2020 Politburo study session.
Xi's article in Qiushi on archaeology - Xi Jinping: Building archaeology with Chinese characteristics, Chinese style to better understand the long-standing and profound Chinese civilization [Note: I am looking for a better translation of 中国风格中国气派. suggestions welcome. Thanks] - 习近平：建设中国特色中国风格中国气派的考古学 更好认识源远流长博大精深的中华文明--新闻报道-人民网
Archaeological work is an important work to show and construct the treasures of Chinese history and Chinese civilization. Understanding history cannot be separated from archaeology. Nowadays, China is undergoing extensive and profound social changes, and is also carrying out great practical innovation in upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics. Our practice and innovation must be based on the law of historical development and advance in the correct direction of history. I have repeatedly stressed that party committees (party groups) and leading cadres at all levels should learn and master as much knowledge of our history as possible. Today, we hold the 23rd collective study on the topic of the latest archaeological discoveries in China and their significance, with the aim of better understanding the long-standing and profound Chinese civilization and strengthening cultural self-confidence.
I have repeatedly stressed that "cultural self-confidence is a more basic, broader and deeper self-confidence, a more basic, deeper and lasting force", and that "China has firm road self-confidence, theoretical self-confidence and institutional self-confidence, and its essence is cultural self-confidence based on more than 5,000 years of civilization inheritance". Archaeological work is not only an important cultural undertaking, but also a work of great social and political significance. Struggles in the field of history and culture will exist for a long time. We must attach great importance to archaeological work, fight back all kinds of distortions and slanders on the history of the Chinese nation with facts, and provide strong support for carrying forward Chinese excellent traditional culture and enhancing cultural self-confidence.
We should tell the whole world a good story of Chinese history. We should make use of our archaeological achievements and historical research achievements, show the profound Chinese civilization to the international community by means of external publicity, exchange and discussion, make clear the brilliant achievements of Chinese civilization and its great contribution to human civilization, and let the world know about Chinese history and Chinese national spirit, so as to deepen our cognition and understanding of China today and create a good international public opinion atmosphere.
China on Monday announced the setting up of a national archaeological research center under the National Cultural Heritage Administration (NCHA), which is expected to become a professional archaeological research institute of global significance.
The center, established on the basis of NCHA's national center of underwater cultural heritage, will focus on the excavation, study and preservation of cultural relics, as well as other aspects related to improving archaeological work in the country.
The center will work with other professional institutions, including the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Peking University, to achieve breakthroughs in key archaeological technologies and key links in archaeological work, said Liu Yuzhu, head of NCHA
4. Massive hydropower project in Tibet
China will "implement hydropower exploitation in the downstream of the Yarlung Zangbo River," and this was clearly put forward in the proposals for formulating the country's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) and its long-term goals through 2035 made by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Yan Zhiyong, chairman of the Power Construction Corp of China, or POWERCHINA, said at a conference on Thursday, according to an article on the WeChat account of the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League of China on Sunday.
"There is no parallel in history… it will be a historic opportunity for the Chinese hydropower industry," Yan told a conference to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of the China Society for Hydropower Engineering.
According to the report, the mainstream of the Yarlung Zangbo River has the richest water resources in Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, about 80 million kilowatt hours (kWh), while the 50-kilometer section of the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon has 70 million kWh that could be developed with a 2,000-meter drop, which equals more than three Three Gorges power stations...
Speculations about China planning to build a "super hydropower station" in Medog county, where the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon is located, have circulated for years. Medog, with a population of about 14,000, was China's last county to be connected to the outside world with a highway.
The report did not mention the location of POWERCHINA’s planned downstream project, but quoted Mr. Yan as talking about the particular potential offered at the “Great Bend” of the Brahmaputra and at the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon in Medog county, where the river falls spectacularly over a 2,000 metre-drop and turns sharply to flow across the border into Arunachal Pradesh.
He said this 50-km section alone offered the potential of developing 70 million kWh “which equals more than three Three Gorges power stations”. He said “the 60-million kWh hydropower exploitation at the downstream of the Yarlung Zangbo River could provide 300 billion kWh of clean, renewable and zero-carbon electricity annually” and the project “will play a significant role in realising China’s goal of reaching a carbon emissions peak before 2030 and carbon neutrality in 2060”.
Yan Zhiyong, chairman and Communist Party secretary of the Power Construction Corporation of China, said the latest five-year plan, which runs until 2025, made it clear the project would be implemented.
“I think the hydroelectric development in the lower reaches of Yarlung is not solely a hydroelectric project, but five projects combined,” Yan said...
“It is a national security project, ensuring China’s water resources security and homeland security … it’s a people’s welfare project that can contribute more than 20 billion yuan (US$3 billion) … it’s a key energy project that would make use of 60 million kilowatts of hydropower in Yarlung’s lower reaches,” said Yan, adding the development can also boost international cooperation and ecological development.
Reports of the project have revived concerns among the riparian states of India and Bangladesh over China's inclination to stem the Brahmaputra's flow. The Brahmaputra, reportedly, flows for over 3,000km through Tibet, India and Bangladesh.
As far as India is concerned, its basin is a critical water source for Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Nagaland and West Bengal, and deemed one among 12 hotspots of mega biodiversity globally as per the World Conservation Union (IUCN). The Brahmaputra valley is the lifeblood of several indigenous communities who rely on it to sustain cattle-raising, crop cultivation, fishing, irrigation and river transport.
The Trump administration is poised to add China’s top chipmaker SMIC and national offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC to a blacklist of alleged Chinese military companies, according to a document and sources, curbing their access to U.S. investors..
Reuters reported last week that the Trump administration is close to declaring that 89 Chinese aerospace and other companies have military ties, restricting them from buying a range of U.S. goods and technology.
The list of “Communist Chinese Military Companies” was mandated by a 1999 law requiring the Pentagon to compile a catalog of companies “owned or controlled” by the People’s Liberation Army, but DOD only complied in 2020.
PRC technology companies, including CEIEC, lead the world in developing and exporting tools to monitor, censor, and surveil citizens’ activities on the internet. CEIEC has been supporting the Maduro regime’s malicious efforts to repress political dissent and undermine democratic processes since 2017.
Chinese Foreign Ministry announced Monday sanctions on four Americans as a countermeasure against previous US sanctions on Chinese officials over Hong Kong affairs, stressing that these people are not welcome in China and will be banned from entering the country, including the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions.
Those on the sanction list are John Knaus, Senior Director for Asia at the National Endowment Democracy (NED), Manpreet Singh Anand from the National Democratic Institute (NDI), Crystal Rosario, NDI's Director of HK Office and Kelvin Sit Tak-O, the office's project manager.
Spokesperson Hua Chunying told a press briefing that for some time, U.S. law enforcement officers have repeatedly conducted spot checks targeting the personnel of Chinese shipping companies, enquired about and checked the crew members of Chinese flights to the United States, and screened CPC members.
Hua said the U.S. moves had provoked ideological antagonism and undermined normal China-U.S. personnel exchanges, adding that it is another example of the resurgence of McCarthyism and the comprehensive containment and suppression of China by U.S. anti-China forces.
A Chinese shipping company employee who requested anonymity confirmed with the Global Times US harassment of ship crews on their Party membership, saying "it has lasted for some time."
Chinese media also revealed that US questioning sometimes lasted several hours, asking their reasons for joining the CPC, and the crew's links to the Chinese government...
Song Guoyou, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times on Monday that continued US harassment of Chinese crew will affect China-US trade.
"It will affect the American people's Christmas if Chinese ships refuse to go to the US due to the harassment," Song said.
A new Chinese law that takes effect on Tuesday will restrict exports of controlled items, which experts said will increase market supply volatility of some products and technologies, like rare earths and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), although a plunge in exports is unlikely in the near term.
They argued that the new law could be a bargaining chip for China in future China-US trade negotiations, as Beijing will have legal tools to take countermeasures in the face of repeated sanctions imposed by Washington.
The law, passed by the country's top legislative body in October, stipulates that China will impose restrictions or bans on exports of military and nuclear products, as well as other goods, to protect the national interest and security. Technologies, services and data related to the controlled items will also be affected.
Three Chinese startups established since September last year were founded by or have hired executives and engineers from Synopsys and Cadence Design Systems of the U.S., the world's two biggest makers of electronic design automation (EDA) tools, as such software is known.
These startups include Nanjing-based X-Epic, Shanghai Hejian Industrial Software, and Hefei-based Advanced Manufacturing EDA Co., or Amedac, in which Synopsys owns a stake...
The third startup, Amedac, was founded in September 2019 by Chieh Ni, a former vice president of Synopsys China who worked with the U.S. company for 10 years. Synopsys, moreover, holds a more than 20% stake in the startup and Ge Qun, global senior vice president at Synopsys and chairman of its China operations, serves as one of the board directors at Amedac. Other key investors of Amedac include Summitview Capital, and the state-owned Institute of Microelectronics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
6. Maybe Covid came from India, maybe it came from Italy…
A recent pre-print study, titled the Early Cryptic Transmission and Evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in Human Hosts, that was about to be published in top medical journal The Lancet, suggested that the Indian subcontinent might be the place where the earliest human-to-human novel coronavirus transmission occurred, three or four months prior to the outbreak in Wuhan.
The study was conducted by researchers with the Institute of Neuroscience under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the Shanghai-based Fudan University and the University of Texas at Houston.
"Wuhan is the place where first infection cases were formally recorded, but it does not prove that the coronavirus originated from Wuhan," Zeng Guang, chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Global Times on Sunday.
Commenting on the latest studies done by a research group from CAS, Zeng noted that it provides the public with another perspective regarding the virus origin, but it is too early to draw a conclusion.
In what has been a fresh development in the India-China rivalry and the Covid-19 pandemic, a team from China’s top science institution, Chinese Academy of Sciences in a paper argues that SARS-CoV-2 likely originated in India in summer of 2019...
The scientists claim that Wuhan is the place where the first human to human transmission of SARS-CoV-2 happened. Before the virus had spread to Wuhan, it had already seen some evolution in previous transmission between humans, says the paper, adding that, the least mutated strain’s geographic information and strain diversity suggest that the Indian subcontinent might be the place where the first human to human transmission of the virus occurred, a few months prior to the Wuhan outbreak.
The Deputy Editor in Chief of China Daily tweeted this earlier today:
No city or country should be named after or discriminated against in a pandemic outbreak. Wuhan was the victim of imported virus and racist demonizing.Yesterday on German National TV - German virologist Alexander Kekulé assessed that Covid-19 did not start in Wuhan, but rather that the Virus Variant which is spreading worldwide originated from Northern Italy, NOT from Wuhan, China https://t.co/urc9zB8znW https://t.co/rBfDfIRKm8StarBoy 🥭 @StarboyHK
The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which caused the global COVID-19 pandemic, did not originate in Wuhan, central China, top German virologist Prof. Alexander Kekulé said on a local television show on Thursday.
The original interview:
He actually does say it came out of China, but the propaganda leaves that part out.
Mike Ryan was speaking at a virtual briefing in Geneva after being asked if COVID-19 could have first emerged outside China. It was first identified in the central city of Wuhan.
“You start your investigation where the first human cases emerged,” he said.
Meanwhile, the PRC is doubling down on blaming imported frozen goods - Will cold-chain imports trigger new wave of COVID-19 in China? - The Global Times
Almost a year ago, COVID-19 cases that were first reported from Central China’s Wuhan brought the entire country together to beat the deadly virus, underscoring the country's unparalleled resilience as the world still continues to struggle to rein in the pandemic. However, even for a country that claimed a strategic victory in the battle, the risk of a virus resurgence remains real and in different forms. With new cases linked to imported cold-chain foods and cargoes reported in many major hubs across the country, the spotlight is focused on how to prevent the new risk from cold-chain food imports and virus-carrying cargoes, particularly with cold winter temperatures, while ensuring the country's massive trade is not disrupted. To investigate that risk and China's response, Global Times reporters visited logistics centers, warehouses, ports and wholesale and retail markets in cities including Tianjin, Wuhan, Shanghai and Beijing, and talked with local officials on how to deal with the challenges posed by both imported cold-chain products and international freight and why China's efforts to minimize the risks of infection from cold-chain and cargo transportation are necessary.
Caixin Exclusive | Expert Interpretation of Kashi Epidemic Infection Path Virus Detection on the Inner Wall of Freight Car -独家|专家解读喀什疫情感染路径 货运车内壁检出病毒_政经频道_财新网
SARS-CoV-2 has been detected on the inner wall of freight vehicles in Kashgar and neighboring countries. At present, it is speculated that overseas workers polluted the inner wall of the carriage when unloading goods, and after the empty car returned, Kashgar loading workers once again came into contact with the polluted inner wall and caused infection; Since neighboring countries have rarely or even submitted virus sequencing data to the international database, it is still impossible to determine which country is infected with the virus prevalent in Kashgar workers
The move is especially hurting the booming beef trade, worth $8.65 billion last year and growing rapidly, as some importers cut purchases on rising costs and weaker demand caused by consumers’ coronavirus worries.
Though China says the risk of shoppers catching the virus from chilled foods is low, officials said this week there is still a risk of infection, particularly for handlers who repeatedly come into contact with the outer packaging of imported cold-chain food.
The EU will call on the US to seize a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to forge a new global alliance, in a detailed pitch to bury the tensions of the Trump era and meet the “strategic challenge” posed by China.
A draft EU plan for revitalising the transatlantic partnership, seen by the Financial Times, proposes new co-operation on everything from digital regulation and tackling the Covid-19 pandemic to fighting deforestation.
The paper, prepared by the European Commission, says the EU-US partnership needs “maintenance and renewal” if the democratic world is to assert its interests against “authoritarian powers” and “closed economies [that] exploit the openness our own societies depend on”.
Merkel was speaking at an online conference of legislators from across the continent, in which several had demanded that she push for a tougher line on human rights violations in the country.
"We must define our own European interests, and this also includes common ground (with China) on foreign policy, on economic policy and digital policy and many more," she said.
"The challenge over the next years in relation to China lies in finding a good balance between fighting for our values and our interests."
Comment: Values are not interests is an interesting concept in the face of what is increasingly shaping up to be a “values war” between China and the US and its allies.
A decoupling between China and Europe is not a policy option for Germany, but Beijing should ensure equal footing for market competition and address concerns about human rights, Germany’s ambassador to China, Clemens von Goetze, said.
In an interview with the South China Morning Post, von Goetze called on Beijing to engage in open dialogue with Europe about Hong Kong while deepening cooperation on global issues, including the coronavirus pandemic and climate change.
On the face of it, the invitation to an EU-China Friendship Group event was business-as-usual in the European Parliament. Many so-called friendship groups seek to promote cultural and economic ties between the EU and countries ranging from the United Arab Emirates to Taiwan...
Its leader, a high-profile Czech conservative named Jan Zahradil, was vice chair of the Parliament’s powerful International Trade Committee. As such, he was able to weigh in on EU trade decisions and could obtain access to sensitive negotiating documents from the European Commission.
8. Yang Jiechi on the foreign policy takeaways from the Fifth Plenum
Monday People's Daily page 6 by Yang Jiechi - Actively create a good external environment (study and implement the spirit of the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee). This is another in the series of senior officials discussing their area of responsibility in the wake of the Fifth Plenum. There is not a lot new in this piece by Yang, but it is always to good to read the official description and roadmap of PRC foreign policy.
2. Maintain and extend the window of strategic opportunity for China's development
The "Proposal" pointed out that "at present and in the future, China's development is still in an important period of strategic opportunity, but opportunities and challenges have new developments and changes." The profound changes in the domestic and international environment not only bring a series of new opportunities, but also bring a series of new challenges. On the one hand, the world has entered a period of turbulent change, unilateralism and hegemonism have become popular, the cold war mentality and power politics are lingering, the injustice and inequality in international relations are still outstanding, and the deep-seated contradictions in global development have not been effectively resolved. On the other hand, peace and development are still the theme of the times, the trend and direction of the great changes in the world have not changed due to the impact of the epidemic, the reform of the international system has continued to deepen amid difficult challenges, and multilateralism remains the mainstream of international relations. China has turned to a high-quality development stage, and its continued development has many advantages and conditions, which has laid a more solid foundation for national rejuvenation and provided an important guarantee for us to lead the great changes in the world and shape the external environment.
Complex changes in the international situation and external environment have put forward new and higher requirements for China's foreign work. Entering a new stage of development, foreign work should dialectically understand and grasp the general trend at home and abroad, coordinate the overall situation of the great rejuvenation strategy of the Chinese nation and the unprecedented changes in the world in a hundred years, deeply understand the new contradictions and challenges brought by the complicated international environment, enhance the awareness of opportunities and risks, be good at nurturing opportunities in crises and opening new situations in the changes, and strive to create a good external environment and create more favorable conditions for China's economic and social development. We must hold high the banner of peace, development, cooperation and win-win, adhere to an independent foreign policy of peace, promote foreign exchanges at all levels in all fields, and promote the building of a new type of international relations and a community of human destiny. From the perspective of a protracted war, we should better serve and accelerate the construction of a new development pattern with the domestic big cycle as the main body and the domestic and international dual cycles promoting each other; It is necessary to focus on the high-quality development of the service economy, deepen scientific and technological innovation, promote international cooperation, strengthen policy coordination, and maintain a fair and rational international order and a win-win development environment; It is necessary to strengthen the bottom line thinking, maintain the spirit of struggle, enhance the ability of struggle, effectively safeguard national interests, and constantly push forward foreign work in the complicated international situation.
Business, Economy and Trade
China's factory activity expands at fastest pace in over three years | Reuters China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) rose to 52.1 in November from 51.4 in October, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed...In the services sector, activity expanded for the ninth straight month. The official non-manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 56.4, the fastest since June 2012 and up from 56.2 in October
China state group says official meddling contributed to default wave | Financial Times $$ The comments from Wang Min, president of XCMG Group, the country’s biggest construction machinery business, came after China’s multitrillion-dollar debt markets were rocked by defaults at government-backed companies
Jude Blanchett - From “China Inc.” to “CCP Inc.”: A New Paradigm for Chinese State Capitalism | China Leadership Monitor CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping has overseen a significant transformation of China’s domestic economic system, undergirded by important new reforms that have drastically expanded the reach of the Chinese state into the economy and Chinese firms. This has included the integration of CCP organizations into public and private firms, the regulatory shift of SASAC from “managing enterprises” to “managing capital,” and the role of government guidance funds in driving industrial policy. The overall change in China’s economic and regulatory structure – and the political control wielded by the CCP – combined with the Xi era blending of the public and private, and market and planning, is of such a proportion that it marks a new paradigm in China’s development trajectory.
Chaguan - The first lesson of doing business in China: the state comes first - Chinese entrepreneurs may draw their own conclusions from the tale of Zhang Jian | China | The Economist Neither fully capitalist nor state-owned, Zhang’s business empire was financed by equity capital but existed to serve the country. That gives Zhang enduring appeal for China’s leaders. Long before Mr Xi praised him, Mao Zedong called him one of four Chinese industrialists who should never be forgotten. Objectively, Zhang was not such a successful capitalist. Having narrowly avoided bankruptcy in 1922, he was removed two years later as the company’s head by a consortium of banks. His first external audit had revealed an opaque mess of transfers and loans to ailing subsidiaries. Today, he is a model patriot. Modern Chinese entrepreneurs may draw their own conclusions.
The ‘bloodsucking capitalist’ being lauded by Communist China | Financial Times $$ Zhang Jian, a pioneering 19th century capitalist, has been brought back to life many times by the Chinese Communist party since his death in 1926, depending on its propaganda needs. But his latest reincarnation, as a patriotic nation builder and philanthropist, marks his highest profile reappearance yet, championed by no less a communist puritan than President Xi Jinping.
Ant Is Said to Face Slim Chance of Getting IPO Done in 2021 - Bloomberg The chances that Jack Ma’s Ant Group Co. will be able to revive its massive stock listing next year are looking increasingly slim as China overhauls rules governing the fintech industry, according to regulatory officials familiar with the matter.
China banking regulator says property market is biggest 'grey rhino' | Reuters China’s property market is the biggest “grey rhino” - a very obvious yet ignored threat - in terms of financial risks, given it is so deeply intertwined with the financial industry, the head of the country’s banking regulator said. Guo Shuqing, who is chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) and party chief of the country’s central bank, made the comments in a collection of articles by policymakers on China’s 14th Five-Year Plan, the official Shanghai Securities News reported on Monday. // The report on Guo's piece郭树清：强化底线思维 提高金融监管透明度和法治化水平
郭树清解读完善现代金融监管体系：进一步强化金融委的决策议事、统筹协调和监督问责职能 - 21财经 More on Guo's article, while he talks about the risks from property he also focuses on "improving the modern financial system"
China's P2P platform number falls to zero - Xinhua The number of Chinese peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders had fallen to zero by mid-November from a peak of about 5,000, due to the country's ongoing efforts to crack down on risky forms of financing, according to an official with the country's top banking regulator. The risks of shadow banking have continued to fall in recent years, with the scale of shadow banking shrinking by 20 trillion yuan (about 3.04 trillion U.S. dollars) from its historical peak, said Liu Fushou, a lawyer with the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission.
China Exempts Tesla Model Y from Purchase Tax - Caixin China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has placed Tesla’s Shanghai-made Model Y on a list that grants new energy vehicles exemption from purchase tax, signaling that the U.S. automaker should soon start selling the electric sports utility vehicle in China, a market which it sees as one of its most important revenue sources.
Yicai - Brilliance Auto-Renault JV to Slash Headcount by Up to 40%, Manager Says Renault Brilliance Jinbei Automobile, the joint venture between French carmaker Groupe Renault and a unit of China’s insolvent Brilliance Auto, is preparing to lay off staff for the second time this year due to sluggish vehicle sales, Yicai Global has learned from managers and staff. The Shenyang, Liaoning province-based firm is likely to reduce its workforce to 1,500 employees from the current 2,600, a manager told Yicai Global.
Yicai - China’s Securities Lending Jumps Seven-Fold After Margin Trading Rules Eased Securities lending has risen to CNY116.3 billion (USD17.7 billion) from less than CNY14 billion (USD2.13 billion) at the start of the year, the Securities Times said yesterday, adding that another reason for the increase was huge gains in some stocks over the past two years, which has made short-selling funds active.
China's Tianqi Lithium narrowly avoids default with last-minute deal - Nikkei Asia China's Tianqi Lithium, one of the largest global lithium producers, said late Monday it has reached an agreement with lenders led by state-owned Citic Bank to extend the repayment of a $1.88 billion U.S.-dollar-denominated loan due at the end of November. The accord is tentative, however, and it will only give the acquisitive Chinese company a reprieve of one month at most.
China to expand outbound investment schemes - Xinhua The scale of the outbound investment schemes -- Qualified Domestic Limited Partner (QDLP) and Qualified Domestic Investment Enterprise (QDIE) -- in Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen will be expanded in the near future, according to the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.
Nike and Coca-Cola Lobby Against Xinjiang Forced Labor Bill - The New York Times Nike and Coca-Cola are among the major companies and business groups lobbying Congress to weaken a bill that would ban imported goods made with forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region, according to congressional staff members and other people familiar with the matter, as well as lobbying records that show vast spending on the legislation...Lobbyists have fought to water down some of its provisions, arguing that while they strongly condemn forced labor and current atrocities in Xinjiang, the act’s ambitious requirements could wreak havoc on supply chains that are deeply embedded in China.
Chinese fast-fashion brand sells 30,000 super-cheap items to British girls every day | Daily Mail Online With a tiny British office and fewer than a dozen staff here, Shein has remained shrouded in mystery, but an investigation by The Mail on Sunday has uncovered claims including: Piracy on a vast scale as it adds more than 1,000 new items every day to its vast online catalogue, often copying popular designs; Bosses profiting from absurdly cheap postage rates subsided by the Royal Mail; Widespread complaints about flimsy, shoddily produced clothes; Huge environmental damage from discarded clothes worn only once or twice..
Politics and Law
Beijing reins in the social credit system to prevent official abuse, avoid collateral damage - Pekingnology The State Council, China’s Cabinet, held its weekly 常务会议 executive meeting on Thursday, Nov. 26. According to the official readout (in Chinese), the meeting centered on one subject that has been of huge interest to foreign media and the China watching community: 社会信用体系 the social credit system...To sum it up, the new directives from the State Council aims to raise the bar of applying restrictions under the social credit system and slash the severity of such restrictions. // Comment: A useful line by line analysis of the readout from the meeting, by a Xinhua journalist with an interesting if sporadic free newsletter
State Council moves to improve social credit system - Xinhua A State Council executive meeting has approved measures aimed at improving a mechanism against dishonest practices and perfecting China's social credit system. The meeting, presided over by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday, said the measures will provide support for the development of the country's socialist market economy // The readout - 李克强主持召开国务院常务会议 确定完善失信约束制度健全社会信用体系的措施等_总理_中国政府网
Caixin - 人事观察|中科院高层调整 三名中央委员会成员履新_政经频道_财新网 中央委员侯建国任中科院党组书记；候补中委阴和俊、周琪分任中科院党组副书记、副院长 // Hou Jianguo, member of the Central Committee, is the party secretary of the Chinese Academy of Sciences; Alternate Central Committee members Yin Hejun and Zhou Qi are appointed as deputy secretaries and vice presidents of the Chinese Academy of Sciences
China’s big task for a scientist of ‘small things’ | South China Morning Post Hou Jianguo has been named the Communist Party secretary of the Chinese Academy of Sciences
Caixin - 人事观察|北京再增“70后”副市长 48岁靳伟履新_政经频道_财新网 全国最年轻省级政府秘书长靳伟履新。今天（11月27日），北京市政府秘书长、1972年5月出生的靳伟升任北京市副市长。他也成为继杨晋柏后，首都第二位“70后”副市长。//Jin Wei, the youngest provincial government secretary-general, took up his post. Today (November 27th), Jin Weisheng, secretary-general of Beijing Municipal Government and born in May 1972, was appointed as deputy mayor of Beijing. He also became the second "post-70s" deputy mayor of the capital after Yang Jinbai.
Caixin - 人事观察|空缺三年 张延昆接任北京市委副书记_政经频道_财新网 Zhang Yankun becomes deputy secretary of the Beijing Municipal Committee after the post is vacant for three years. Zhang previously served as a member of the Beijing Party Committee and its political and legal affairs secretary. The Deputy PS post has been vacant since Jing Junhai transferred to Jilin in 2017, where is now Party Secretary
Former Xinjiang official expelled from China’s Communist Party over corruption allegations | South China Morning Post Ren Hua, who was deputy chairwoman of Xinjiang’s regional government, has had her case handed over to the judicial body to prepare for trial, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said on its website...According to the Xinhua report, Ren is accused of engaging in “superstitious activities” and accepting bribes in the form of expensive club memberships, extravagant banquets and luxury beauty treatments. 新疆维吾尔自治区政府原党组成员、副主席任华严重违纪违法被开除党籍和公职——中央纪委国家监委网站
‘Their Goal Is to Make You Feel Helpless’: In Xi’s China, Little Room for Dissent - WSJ $$ After Mr. Lu was snatched off the street, he spent four years in custody, his girlfriend left him, and, since his release in June, he said he has been kept under close watch by police. He struggles to find steady work, he said, and suffers from depression. His landlord recently asked him to move, he said, citing pressure from authorities.
努力做到知其然、知其所以然、知其所以必然--理论-人民网 Strive to know what it is, why it is, and why it is inevitable - Jiangsu Party Secretary Lou Qinjian in the 11.27 People's Daily. Xi just inspected Lou’s province
扎实做好当前和明年各项公安工作 Zhao Kezhi emphasized to do a good job in the current and next year's public security work during the inspection tour in Hubei--法制网 在鄂期间，赵克志主持召开了部分省市县公安机关主要负责同志座谈会，就做好明年公安工作听取意见建议，并要求各地公安机关毫不放松地抓好年终岁尾防风险、保安全、护稳定各项措施的落实。湖北、江西、河南、湖南、四川等地公安厅和江苏南京市、福建厦门市、湖北武汉市和枝江市公安局主要负责同志参加座谈会。 // During his stay in Hubei, Zhao Kezhi presided over the symposium of the principal responsible comrades of public security organs in some provinces, cities and counties, and listened to opinions and suggestions on doing a good job in public security work next year, and asked local public security organs to do a good job in implementing various measures to prevent risks, ensure safety and protect stability at the end of the year. The public security departments of Hubei, Jiangxi, Henan, Hunan and Sichuan and the public security bureaus of Nanjing, Jiangsu, Xiamen, Fujian, Wuhan, Hubei and zhijiang city attended the symposium. // Comment: would love to know why these provinces and cities had attendees, but not other ones
Wu Guoguang - Continuous Purges: Xi’s Control of the Public Security Apparatus and the Changing Dynamics of CCP Elite Politics | China Leadership Monitor This essay identifies three waves of purges in the Ministry of Public Security under the Xi Jinping leadership, and then focuses on the third wave, which, corresponding to similar measures beyond the public security system, featured the cleansing of those who rose to prominence due to their support of Xi’s earlier anti-corruption campaign. Such a development whereby Xi turns his sword against his previous political allies indicates that continuous purges are becoming a new political dynamic in CCP elite politics. The essay finds that Xi’s prolonged tenure in power and the governance challenges he confronts are the two leading factors that have helped to shape China’s current proto-Maoist power struggles and elite politics. According to this line of reasoning, Xi’s ongoing efforts to control the public security apparatus indicates that CCP elite politics is becoming increasingly dominated by internal repression and coercive means.
NPC Calendar: December 2020 - NPC Observer The 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) will convene for its 24th session from December 22 to 26
Will China target inequality next? | Andrew Batson's Blog Taken together, these documents suggest that various parts of China’s bureaucracy have been gearing up to do more to reduce inequality for some time, but that the thinking on how to define and achieve the goal is still evolving. It will not be clear for a few more months just how the “more significant and substantial progress” Xi promised on inequality will be expressed in terms of specific goals or quantifiable targets.
Chinese doctors jailed for organ harvesting | South China Morning Post Six people, including four doctors, have been jailed for harvesting organs from patients in southeast China. Three of the doctors were designated organ procurement officers at their respective hospitals, according to news portal Thepaper.cn. The Intermediate People’s Court in Bengpu, a city in Anhui province, found the gang guilty of harvesting organs from 11 patients between 2017 and 2018, jailing them for between 10 and 28 months, the report said.
五部委联合印发《人民警察警旗管理规定（试行）》-中国长安网 Five ministries and commissions jointly issued the "Regulations on the Management of the People's Police Flag (Trial)"..."Regulations" require that the use of the police flag must be reported to the principal responsible person of the flag unit for approval. No organization or individual may manufacture, trade, hold or use the police flag without approval. Whoever illegally manufactures, trades, holds or uses the police flag, or intentionally insults the police flag by means of damage, scribbling, defilement, trampling or burning in public places shall be punished according to law; If a crime is constituted, criminal responsibility shall be investigated according to law. Units that use the police flag in violation of regulations will be ordered to make corrections within a time limit and be given informed criticism, and relevant personnel will be investigated for responsibility according to laws and regulations. If the circumstances are serious, they will be punished or organized according to law.
China Runs Trials pf Biometric Online ID Card in Two Provinces — Radio Free Asia The Ministry of Public Security is trialing an online ID card in the southeastern province of Fujian and the southern province of Guangdong, prior to rolling it out nationwide, sources said.
Foreign and Defense Affairs
'New 5G research lab will plant Global Britain's flag in the sand' - The Telegraph By Culture secretary Oliver Dowden - The first step is that, alongside the Bill, today we are publishing two documents that demonstrate how the Bill’s powers could be used. Collectively, they set out a pathway to zero Huawei involvement in our 5G networks, including a new hard deadline for mobile network operators to stop installing Huawei equipment from September 2021. This will put an end to fears operators might stockpile kit in the hope a ban might be reversed. The second step is that, under this legislation, I can ensure companies publish plans setting out exactly how they intend to reach zero Huawei involvement. And I’ll have the power to require Ofcom to investigate companies to see whether they are doing so.
Boris Johnson’s Conservatives Are Burning Bridges With China - Bloomberg The issue when it comes to China’s influence in the U.K. is one of “buying legitimacy,” according to a person familiar with the intelligence community’s thinking. “They will acquire businesses and firms which are both perfectly lawful and ethical and that way acquire legitimacy,” the person said. “The British elite is soft and malleable and easily bought.”
Beijing to Britain - Former MI6 chief on China, Policy Exchange on the Indo-Pacific, FCDO on Hong Kong On Tuesday morning, a Public Bill Committee examined amendments to the National Security and Investment Bill (NSIB). Part of this process involved hearing oral evidence from two heavyweights - MI6’s Richard Dearlove and Foreign Affairs Committee advisor Charles Parton. The entire sitting can be viewed here and makes for utterly fascinating reading. Both men will be quoted at length below. Parton was questioned first. A veteran on the Chinese-UK relations scene, his views echoed many of the points made in his previous papers and lectures - namely that the Government has been asleep at the wheel, especially with regard to China. [Transcript]
A new [UK] parliamentary rebellion is brewing against our weak China policy - The Telegraph There’s China trouble brewing in Parliament. This week, four lords from three parties published an amendment to the trade bill, which is meant to ensure continuity after Brexit. It doesn’t say it’s a China amendment, but it is. It emerged from the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), a grouping of China-sceptic parliamentarians, which commands considerable cross-party support. The Government could well lose.
Uganda uses China's Huawei facial recognition to snare protesters — Quartz Africa Long before the Nov. 18-19 protests in Uganda that left more than 50 people dead, opposition politicians, and local activists had warned about the potential abuse and human rights implications of an invasive surveillance system bought by the government last year from China’s telecoms giant Huawei. The fear was, that in the hands of corrupt public officials or under a repressive regime the integrated system which uses facial recognition and other artificial intelligence systems but is also able to check vehicle license plates and monitor social media, would be used to suppress individual freedoms of anyone in opposition to the government.
Chinese premier raises four-pronged proposal for SCO's future development - Xinhua Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday made a four-pronged proposal for the future development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), calling for fostering a secure and stable development environment, consolidating integrated development, leveraging the catalytic role of sci-tech innovation and pursuing people-centered cooperation. Li made the remarks in Beijing while addressing the 19th meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which was held via video link.
中国共产党同东南亚国家政党首次对话会在南宁举行-防城港市新闻网 On November 26th, the first dialogue meeting between the CPC and political parties in Southeast Asian countries was held in Nanning, Guangxi, which was jointly organized by the International Liaison Department of the CPC Central Committee and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Committee. Nearly 40 ruling parties, participating parties and important opposition parties from Southeast Asian countries, including more than 20 party leaders, five speakers and our ambassadors to ASEAN countries, attended the meeting via video link, and ASEAN ambassadors to China attended the meeting on the spot. Song Tao, head of the International Liaison Department of the CPC Central Committee, and Lu Xinshe, secretary of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Party Committee, attended the meeting and delivered speeches. //11月26日，由中共中央对外联络部和中共广西壮族自治区委员会共同举办的中国共产党同东南亚国家政党首次对话会在广西南宁举行。东南亚国家近40个执政党、参政党和重要在野党，包括20多位党首、5位议长以及我驻东盟国家大使等通过视频连线方式参会，东盟国家驻华大使现场出席会议。中共中央对外联络部部长宋涛、广西壮族自治区党委书记鹿心社出席会议并发表讲话。
South Koreans, Chinese clash on social media over Chinese-style Kimchi winning international certificate | Reuters China’s efforts to win an international certification for Pao Cai, a pickled vegetable dish from Sichuan, is turning into a social media showdown between Chinese and South Korean netizens over the origin of Kimchi, a staple Korean cuisine made of cabbage...“I read a media story that China now says Kimchi is theirs, and that they are making international standard for it, It’s absurd. I’m worried that they might steal Hanbok and other cultural contents, not just Kimchi,” said Kim Seol-ha, a 28-year old in Seoul.
Trump Gave W.H.O. a List of Demands. Hours Later, He Walked Away. - The New York Times The fourth item on the list called for the W.H.O. to dispatch a team to Taiwan to study its successful pandemic response. Taiwan is not a member of the health organization, and Beijing, which claims the self-ruled island as its own, exerts tremendous pressure to keep the W.H.O. from engaging with Taiwan’s government.
How Syria’s civil war drew Uygur fighters and shaped the separatist group TIP in China’s crosshairs | South China Morning Post other analysts, including a former member of al-Qaeda, said that although ETIM no longer operates, its members had reconstituted as the jihadist Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP), which has ties with al-Qaeda. The Syrian civil war attracted thousands of Uygurs who joined TIP and increased the group’s capabilities and militancy, they said. Faran Jeffery, deputy director of the Britain-based Islamic Theology of Counterterrorism organisation, said TIP remains active in Afghanistan as well as in Syria.
Joint Press Release of the Second Vice Ministers' Special Meeting on COVID-19 Between the People's Republic of China and Pacific Island Countries On November 30, 2020, China and Pacific Island Countries held the second vice ministers' special meeting on COVID-19 via video link. Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang of China and Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele of Solomon Islands co-chaired the meeting. The Pacific Island Countries present at the meeting include: Fiji, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, the Federated States of Micronesia, Cook Islands, Tonga, Niue, Solomon Islands, and Kiribati...3. The two sides reaffirmed their mutual support on issues involving each other's core interests and major concerns, and stressed that countries should respect each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity, respect each other's choice of development path. The Pacific Island Countries reaffirmed to uphold the One-China principle.
Nepalese leaders meet Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe - China Military Nepalese President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister and Minister for Defense K.P. Sharma Oli met with the visiting Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense General Wei Fenghe in Katmandu on November 29, 2020.
Use of Xinjiang satellite images 'misleading' - China Daily Using satellite images to prove the existence of detention centers in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region is "absurd" and "misleading", a regional government spokesman said on Saturday. Some overseas think tanks have made sensational deductions by simply studying satellite images of Xinjiang, Ilijan Anayt told a news conference in Urumqi, the regional capital. In a report titled "Documenting Xinjiang's Detention System" by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, buildings with outer walls were all considered detention centers, he said. "As a matter of fact, they are just civil institutions," Ilijan said.
BRICS media leaders meet for post-COVID-19 exchanges, cooperation - Xinhua In the fight against COVID-19, media organizations from BRICS countries have actively fulfilled their social responsibilities, chronicling BRICS' joint fight against the pandemic and facilitating the mutual assistance and support between peoples of BRICS countries, said He Ping, executive chairman of the BRICS Media Forum. Amid momentous changes never seen in the last hundred years, BRICS media outlets should grasp the trend of history and act as "facilitators" for peaceful development, said He, also president and editor-in-chief of Xinhua News Agency.
Russian news giant anticipates closer BRICS media cooperation - People's Daily Online Cooperation among media outlets from the BRICS countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- is crucial to the five states and the whole world, Dmitry Kiselev, director general of the Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency, has said..."It is hard to imagine what would have happened if our countries and peoples only used Western sources of information," he said, stressing the importance of media cooperation among the BRICS members.
Dr. McGann's speech at the 5th China Think Tank Innovation Forum We have spent the last six months on intensive data collection, updating the entire global TTCSP database, and have made an intensive effort in collecting data in China. There are now over 9,000 think tanks that are in our database. And we have collected in a very systematic way and identified 1,415 think tanks in China. This reflects a dramatic increase in the number of think tanks in China and constitutes the most significant number of think tanks among the think tank leaders or leader countries in Asia, India, Korea, Japan, Australia, and Vietnam.
Beijing Takes Its South China Sea Strategy to the Himalayas - The New York Times The construction of the Himalayan village suggests that China has extended a broader campaign to fortify its southern flanks to include Bhutan, the Buddhist nation of 800,000 people that popularized the concept of “gross national happiness.” As the construction was underway on that long-disputed border, China added a new claim this summer to nearly 300 square miles of territory in the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary, a preserve on the other side of Bhutan from where the village was being built
Pakistan Army set to gain sweeping Belt and Road authority - Nikkei Asia Pakistan is set to pass legislation that would place a supranational body that oversees the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's flagship Belt and Road Initiative, under control of a Pakistan Army that would also gain sweeping powers.
Xi hails successful trials of submersible - China Daily Xi...made the remarks in his congratulatory letter on the successful completion of the 10,000-meter sea trials of China's new manned submersible Fendouzhe and its return to port in Sanya, Hainan province. The vehicle, known as Striver in English, set a national diving record of 10,909 meters on Nov 10 in the Challenger Deep, the deepest known point of Earth's oceans, located at the southern end of the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean…Xi called for all scientists involved in maritime equipment and exploration to keep scaling new heights and accelerate the nation's progress in becoming a maritime power, thus contributing more to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Hong Kong and Macao
Democracy darkens: For Hong Kong activists, year of despair and dread-Reuters This is the story of four Hong Kongers divided by age but united by a deep love of their city – and the toll that tightening Chinese rule has taken on them in the wake of last year's massive protests. Ranging in age from 23 to 82, they speak of persevering, and waiting for the day they might rise up again.
Hong Kong's Courts, Still Independent, Face New Threats From China - The New York Times As the Chinese Communist Party extends its grip over Hong Kong, pro-Beijing forces are increasingly targeting the city’s independent judiciary, an institution that forms the backbone of this global center for commerce and capital.
Carrie Lam interview: Hong Kong’s leader in her own words on protests, political turmoil and what next for the city | South China Morning Post Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor talks to the Post about her recent policy address, political turbulence, social divisions and the way forward for the city as she sees it. Lam warns of the need for tougher measures to contain an escalating coronavirus pandemic and public cooperation to succeed. And she shares a little about her personal life – but only a little.
Hong Kong Leader Has to Sit on Piles of Cash Because of U.S. Sanctions - Caixin Lam said that she has piles of cash at home as “the government is paying me cash for my salary because I don’t have a bank account.” “It’s very honorable in this set of circumstances to be so unjustifiably sanctioned by the U.S. government. It’s an honor,” Lam said.
China Looks Set to Prosecute Hong Kong 12 For 'Illegal Border Crossings' — Radio Free Asia Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong say they have handed over the cases of 12 Hong Kong protesters detained as they fled to the democratic island of Taiwan to the state prosecutor, paving the way for a trial. "The Yantian branch of the Shenzhen municipal police department has completed its investigation into the 12 suspects ... for illegally crossing a border, and for organizing others to illegal cross a border," the police department said in an official statement dated Nov. 27.
DPP authorities should stop obstructing mainland journalists: spokesperson - People's Daily Online Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said the DPP authorities' actions have caused tremendous difficulties for relevant journalists and their families. The DPP authorities have been taking obstructive measures, leaving the mainland reporters to Taiwan unable to conduct normal rotations and forcing many to extend their stay on the island to nearly one year.
Tech and Media
Regulator Singles Out Tencent in Diatribe on Tech Sector’s Data Privacy Failings - Caixin Chinese regulators have fired another shot across the bow of the nation’s tech giants, this time for failing to protect user data, with a senior bureaucrat singling out internet titan Tencent Holdings Ltd. in comments widely reported by state media. Despite being continually criticized by regulators for collecting data without user consent, some popular apps “still haven’t learned their lessons, and still suffer from the same issues,” Lu Chuncong, deputy director of the MIIT’s Information and Communication Administration, said at an industry conference on app security Friday.
Beijing-backed Tsinghua Unigroup's chip projects hit by delays - Nikkei Asia Two high-profile chip projects led by Chinese tech conglomerate Tsinghua Unigroup have hit significant delays, Nikkei Asia has learned -- a further sign of the problems affecting the company now that Beijing is becoming more careful about picking winners in its race for tech supremacy with the U.S. For years, Tsinghua Unigroup enjoyed unstinting support from the central and local governments as it pursued Beijing's ambitions of creating a domestic semiconductor industry. Now the conglomerate "does not have enough money" to keep one of its most ambitious new chip projects going while a second project is also on hold, sources have told Nikkei Asia.
Yicai - Alibaba-Backed Music App Xiami Declines to Comment on Rumors It Is About to Close Down Xiami Music, backed by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holdings, has refused to comment on rumors that one of China’s most popular music streaming platforms is to go out of business in January, the Beijing News reported today.
Meet the man fighting the Chinese internet’s fake news epidemic | South China Morning Post “[Donald] Trump has not only influenced the US in the past four years, but he has also heavily influenced ordinary Chinese, including some well-educated ones, and undermined their trust in the mainstream media,” said Wei Xing, a Shanghai-based journalist and founder of Chinafactcheck.com. Like many journalists in China, Wei is deeply troubled by widespread posts on Chinese social media, many of which look like reposts of news coverage in English, often dubbed with descriptions in Chinese that are exaggerated and inaccurate. // 有据 | 国际新闻事实核查 - Chinafactcheck.com
Alibaba, Tencent put talks to buy iQIYI stake on hold due to price, regulatory concerns - sources | Reuters the discussions have stalled with little hope of recommencing soon as they balk at a valuation of around $20 billion demanded by Baidu and as both companies, which have their own video streaming services, face heightened scrutiny by China’s antitrust regulators, two people said.
HungryPanda raises $70M for a food delivery app aimed at overseas Chinese consumers | TechCrunch Today came the latest development in that story: HungryPanda, which makes a Mandarin-language app specifically targeting Chinese consumers outside of China, has raised $70 million to continue its global expansion in delivering food from Chinese restaurants and Asian grocery stores targeting the Chinese diaspora.
China’s tech investors turn from India to Indonesia | Financial Times $$ Shunwei Capital, launched by the founders of mobile phone maker Xiaomi, and BAce Capital, which is backed by the fintech giant Ant Group, both said they were pivoting from India to Indonesia...Another leading Chinese venture capitalist added that Indonesia was the only market in south-east Asia that warranted serious attention now that India is shut.
Huawei's Ren Zhengfei's Send Off to Honor + Tweets of the Week - ChinaTalk On November 25th, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei sent out a letter at the Honor farewell party that I translated below in full. It provides a fascinating window into his management thinking and has received praise across the Chinese internet. The letter is a brief encapsulation of his worldview, reflecting his views on management, competition, and even relationships and parenting.
Episode 78: China’s Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP) Dreams - Pandaily Episode 78 of Tech Buzz China features our co-host Rui Ma in conversation with Yán Xiāo 肖妍 on the timely topic of China’s proposed national digital currency. Yan is a San Francisco–based project lead at the World Economic Forum with substantial experience in fintech, having worked as senior legal counsel at Ant Group. She is also a lawyer by training and holds both American and Chinese legal licenses. Her current work focuses on digital payments and cross-border payments.
Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History
China's Sichuan announces long-term goal to co-bid 2032 Olympics with Chongqing - Xinhua China's southwest province Sichuan has revealed its long-term goal to jointly bid for the 2032 Olympics with its neighbor Chongqing. The proposal from Chengdu and Chongqing for future Olympics was included in a document released recently on the official website of the Sichuan provincial government. "As part of a national strategy to develop the Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle, the two cities will bid for the Olympics together to try to host a Games with strong urban and cultural characteristics of the two cities, and to enhance the international influence and competitiveness of the two cities," the document read.
A Woman Called ‘Hey’ - SixthTone Thirty-five years ago, a Bouyei ethnic minority member was trafficked across China to a faraway village where nobody spoke her language. This year, she miraculously found her way home.
Chinese student in heated debate for stopping college staffer ‘celebrating Thanksgiving’ - Global Times A heated debate broke out on social media on Friday after a Chinese college student threatened to report his dormitory receptionist for "celebrating Thanksgiving Day." While many online users criticized the student for turning against a goodwill gesture, some said there are good reasons not to celebrate the festival in the institute unfairly targeted by the US government.
Martial (con) artist Ma Baoguo KOed by People’s Daily - Pekingnology “Young people lack martial ethics” “I urge you to rat’s tail soup”. These phrases, or “年轻人不讲武德” and “我劝你耗子尾汁” in Chinese, are the latest internet memes that have captured Chinese social media, splashing across millions of smartphone screens and gaining a firm foothold in the Chinese lexicon in a matter of days. But as the memes slowly lose steam, the man who generated them, 69-year-old martial art practitioner Ma Baoguo (马保国), is sinking from public view in a much more dramatic fashion. In a scathing commentary published Saturday，the People’s Daily called out Ma by name, labeling him as a “showboat” and a “charlatan”.
Students Protest Proposed Reinstatement of Prof Accused of Abuse - SixthTone Two years after Wang Pan was accused of driving a student to commit suicide, Wuhan University of Technology moved to reinstate his advisory role. Thousands have signed an open letter opposing the decision.
新知时间｜李毅、司马南、金灿荣背后：民族主义商业化浮沉 - 中国数字时代 "A few days ago, the Beijing News criticized Li Yi, a sociologist, for his article "Four thousand dead equals one undead": How can the lives of the deceased be "zeroed out" in this way? Li Yi, the protagonist of the event, took to Weibo to claim that hostile forces at home and abroad had deliberately taken the meaning out of context for the evil purpose of combating a famous patriot. I can't help but sigh that the word "patriotism" has now become an all-purpose "amulet" and shield...It turns out that Li Yi and Sima Nan, Jin Canrong, and Li Su’s WeChat official accounts belong to the same company-Beijing Zhongyi Nettian Information Technology Co., Ltd., and this company is the operating company of "April Net". The boss behind it is Rao Jin, who graduated from Tsinghua University a few years ago and started with Anti-CNN."
Comment: Here is an excerpt of Li’s comments, on Youtube with English subtitles:
Energy, Environment, Science and Health
Chongqing launches COVID-19 testing, tracing after outbound traveler tests positive in ROK - Xinhua Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality has launched large-scale COVID-19 nucleic acid testing, tracing and disinfection after an outbound traveler was diagnosed as an asymptomatic coronavirus case upon arriving in the Republic of Korea (ROK), the local health commission said on Sunday.
China halts operation at Korean chip plant after worker tests positive for coronavirus | Reuters A Chinese factory owned by South Korean semiconductor giant SK Hynix Inc halted operations on Sunday after a plant worker was found to have an asymptomatic infection of the novel coronavirus, the official news agency Xinhua reported.
Chinese mainland reports 15 new imported COVID-19 cases - Xinhua The Chinese mainland reported 15 new imported COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the total number of imported cases to 3,858. Five new imported cases were respectively reported in Shanghai and Shandong, three in Sichuan, and one each in Shanxi and Guangdong, the National Health Commission said in its daily report Monday
China to further promote national health campaign - State Council The guidelines urged combining the health campaign with prevention and control of infectious and chronic diseases, ensuring people’s health, and setting up goals for the campaign, which include improving public hygiene facilities, enhancing the rural and urban environment, and popularizing a civilized, healthy, green and environment-friendly lifestyle.
全面推进健康中国建设--理论-人民网 Ma Xiaowei, head of the National Health Commission, writing in Monday's People's Daily - Comprehensively promote the construction of a healthy China (People's Discussion, Reviewing the "Thirteenth Five-Year Plan" and Looking Forward to the "Fourteenth Five-Year Plan")
In Depth: Beijing’s Biodegradable Plastic Push Hit by High Costs, Capacity Crunch - Caixin The world’s largest plastic user announced in January that it would ban some single-use plastics in major cities by the end of 2020, part of a push to dramatically reduce the amount of waste plastic it puts into the natural environment by 2025. Policymakers have touted biodegradable plastics, which decompose under the right conditions, as part of the solution. But China’s biodegradables industry appears unable to fill the gap, hindered by high costs, low production capacity and outdated regulations.
Antibiotics Misuse in Covid Treatments Could Strengthen Drug-Resistant Superbugs, Top Doctor Says - Caixin “While preventing and controlling the coronavirus, we must also pay attention to controlling antimicrobial resistance,” said Xiao Yonghong, a member of the China group at the World Health Organization (WHO) and the chief physician at a major hospital affiliated with China’s prestigious Zhejiang University.
Yicai - China to Bar All Solid Waste Imports From 2021 China will ban all imports of solid waste from Jan. 1, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment reiterated at a press conference today. The statement by Qiu Qiwen, director of the ministry’s Department of Solid Waste and Chemicals, follows the announcement of the ban on incoming refuse by the MEE and other relevant agencies on Nov. 24.
China's first homegrown reactor ready to take on Western players - Nikkei Asia The Hualong One, developed by China National Nuclear Corp. and China General Nuclear Power based on U.S. and French designs, is now undergoing a trial run. The third-generation pressurized water nuclear unit will soon start commercial operations as the fifth reactor at Fujian Province's Fuqing Nuclear Power Plant. With two layers of containment, the Hualong One is one of the safest nuclear reactors worldwide, according to CNNC. The company said the project has turned China into an advanced player in nuclear power, ending the monopoly other countries have had on the technology.
China snaps up Japanese scientists, sparking fears of technology outflow - Nikkei Asia For Japanese scientists, China's attraction as an ideal place to pursue scientific research seems to only get stronger. The trend is gathering steam as the Chinese government proactively invites top-caliber scholars from around the world. Japanese academics, meanwhile, often experience difficulty in finding posts at domestic universities and other institutions
More flu-COVID-19 cases expected, causing detection dilemma - Global Times China has reported four cases of dual infections of flu and COVID-19, and more such cases will occur as the country enters winter flu peak season, China's top respiratory expert Zhong Nanshan warned on Friday. Four people were found with both H1H3 flu and COVID-19, Zhong said at a health and technology innovation conference in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province, on Friday. He said we will need rapid detection facilities to differentiate COVID-19 from flu. For ordinary residents, wearing facial masks is still a proper way to prevent both the flu and the coronavirus...Although the US reported its first COVID-19 case in January, research shows that the US' winter flu could have been COVID-19, and the early spread of COVID-19 may have been far greater than experts had initially thought.
Jobs and Events
Careers | Center for Strategic and International Studies The Freeman Chair in China Studies at CSIS is seeking one full-time intern who can provide dedicated support for research on China’s domestic political system and foreign policy during the period from January 11, 2021 to April 16, 2021. This internship is remote and paid.
Xi urges creating quality teaching materials in letter to People's Education Press retirees - Xinhua "Education is the foundation of national development in the long run," Xi said in the letter. He expressed his hope for the PEP to focus on developing high-quality teaching materials and make greater contributions to strengthening education and nurturing a new generation of capable young people who have a comprehensive moral, intellectual, physical and aesthetical grounding in addition to a hardworking spirit and are well prepared to join the socialist cause.