Beijing For Beijingers; Micro-lending Crackdown To Intensify; Snowflake Soccer Team; Faraday Future Mess--Sinocism 11.27.17

Happy Monday...We had a fun if overfed Thanksgiving celebration but are back and ready for a busy week.

I just hope it will not be as busy or as bad a week as Beijing Party Secretary Cai Qi is having. 

Cai is dealing with two crises. The November 18 fire in an illegal dormitory that killed 19 people spurred a new round of demolitions in areas of Beijing that are home to many migrant workers. Hundreds if not thousands were thrown out into the harsh winter with little notice. The official line is that this is part of a safety crackdown in the wake of the fire, and it is not clear yet how many migrant workers will be affected.

The ruthlessness of the evictions shocked even cynical Beijingers and created a firestorm online, at least until the censors caught up. There is suspicion that the fire will be used as a pretext for a massive removal of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of migrant workers, something that appears to be part of Xi Jinping's grand vision for a modern Beijing befitting a superpower. 

There is a chance that Cai can use this mess as a way to clean house among Beijing officials, as he inherited most of the municipal leadership team. But the social reaction has been so negative that one wonders how happy Xi can be with Cai. 

Cai Qi also has had to deal with a nasty child abuse case at a branch of preschool operator RYB Education. Several kids came home with needle marks and stories of forced medication and abuse. So far one teacher has been detained and the principal removed. Three "rumor-mongers' have also been arrested for spreading claims online about PLA and leadership ties, adding more fuel to cynicism around an expected coverup. RYB listed in the US in September and its stock dropped precipitously on Friday. It is recovering so far today and because of its relationships will probably be able to get off with fairly minimal punishment in China.

Xi Jinping talks about the need for confidence but these two incidents in Beijing have again shaken people's belief in the ability to have any sense of security in today's China. I expect things will blow over and be effectively "managed" in the short-term by the propaganda bureaucracy, but the cynicism and in some areas hopelessness will likely only deepen. 

The change in the principal contradiction at the 19th Party Congress was supposed to mean in part that people will be treated better. But the core contradiction of the Party's need for increasingly harsh control while expecting popular support seems to be trumping the new principal contradiction. 


 The Essential Eight

1. Beijing "Migrant Cleansing" In Wake Of Fatal Fire

Beijing continues its safety crackdown in wake of fire - China Daily:

The commission said it found that enforcement measures in some areas were "simple and blunt", and urged officials to issue notices in advance and better explain the safety campaign to the public.

It denied accusations that the goal of the campaign has been to force "low-end" workers out of Beijing, adding that many migrants unknowingly stay and work in unsafe conditions.

Dislocated Migrant Workers Left in Cold and Confusion in Beijing - Caixin Global:

The clean-up campaign is not limited to these two buildings. Many rental apartments, small hotels, restaurants, stores and other businesses around the area have been ordered to shut down. In fact, local authorities have been pushing for this campaign before the fire. The two apartment buildings involved in the Nov. 18 fire were already slated for demolished soon, as part of Beijing’s drive to phase out “low-end” industrial and business clusters. The fire triggered an acceleration of the drive.

"Race Against Time": Beijing's 40-Day 'Safety' Evacuation Campaign | What's on Weibo:

In “The Non-Natives After the Fire: Where Do We Have to Go?” [大火之后的异乡人:我们该到哪里去?] journalist Wang Shan (王珊) at Sanlian Life Week, an influential Beijing-based weekly news magazine, reports on November 26 that the Daxing area is a place where thousands of migrant workers from all over China live together...

Although many people speak out against the evacuation campaign, there are also those who defend it: “A year ago people already knew the area had to be vacated, yet they did not move. They waited for people to die in a fire, and are now scolding authorities for having no humanity for clearing out the area.”

"Low-end population": What you need to know about China's crackdown on migrant workers — Quartz:

The term “low-end population 低端人口” seems to have surfaced in state media around 2010 (link in Chinese) to refer to those who work in low-end service jobs, including many that power China’s digital economy giants, or manufacturing. More recently, local officials from Beijing’s districts have picked up on the phrase in official documents (link in Chinese, cached version) about restrictions on migration under a bigger plan to cap Beijing’s population at 23 million by 2020.

In Rare Move, State Media Publishes Veiled Disapproval of Beijing’s Fire Safety Campaign - Caixin Global:

In a commentary it published on social media platform WeChat Sunday, China Central Television(CCTV)said that while such a campaign should be “implemented with force,” officials should also demonstrate “a degree of warmth or compassion” towards the affected communities.

“It’s true that safety risks could be lowered dramatically by pushing tenants to move out of their fire-prone homes swiftly,” it said. “But how can migrants quickly find another shelter that’s safe and where would they go to keep from the freezing cold in winter?”

China Daily, a state-run English language newspaper, also voiced concerns about the harshness of the measure, saying “rural migrants deserve respect during the safety campaign.”

Eviction no hallmark of an open Beijing - Global Times:

It's not reasonable for Beijing to close its doors to out-of-towners. Before 1949, the city was just within what is now the second ring road; before the reform and opening up, the Beijing population was no more than 8 million. Beijing was constructed by the waves of migrants and their offspring, and its future development is also impossible without the inflow of talent. It is illogic to say Beijing is evicting the so-called "low-end population," simply because there no big city in the world comprised of only "high-end citizens." The massive safety check-up is only aimed at eliminating fire and other hazards and to secure safety for the city.

Regrettably, good intentions have been distorted. The working methods of some villages were indeed too simplistic and brutal, which justifies the anger on the Internet against them.

On Monday Beijing Party Secretary Cai Qi called for a "humanistic caring" approach to moving the migrants out of their substandard housing-北京大兴火灾后蔡奇三赴西红门:整治要有人文关怀|蔡奇|陈吉宁|人文关怀_新浪新闻:

专项整治要体现人文关怀,要讲究方法,工作要做到家。要高度关注人的走向,人要随产业走,不能跟着隐患走。企业是法定责任人,要尽到应有责任;企业之间也要开展互助。政府要主动帮助企业妥善安置务工人员的生活和出路,人社部门可以组织企业到西红门举办用工招聘会,帮助务工人员再就业,对所有困难群众都要实施社会救助。今后还要规划建设一批租赁房,解决住有所居问题。

More from Cai Qi to Beijing officials on the importance of continuing the safety inspection and rectification cleanup but doing it in a "nicer" way-蔡奇在区委书记会上强调 坚持守土尽责保一方平安-千龙网·中国首都网:

蔡奇强调,要以清理“三合一”“多合一”等重大消防安全隐患经营场所为重中之重,坚定有序地开展安全隐患大排查大清理大整治专项行动,把威胁城市安全的“灰犀牛”关进笼子。一是要坚定,坚决扛起对人民生命负责的责任,没有什么比生命更宝贵。专项行动按照市安委会统一部署稳步推进。二是要有序,要注意方式方法,防止个别地方简单化,防止急躁情绪。要坚持一点一策,严格依据法律法规开展清理整治,讲清政策要求,做好疏通引导,保证人员安全。注意把握工作节奏,给分流群众留出时间。要注重人文关怀,加大对困难群众的社会救助。清除消防安全隐患是一场持久战,不可能毕其功于一役,要抓紧制定消防安全隐患治理三年行动计划,坚决将消除安全隐患进行到底。

Welcome to Beijing: where helping the homeless can get you evicted | South China Morning Post:

Chinese migrant worker Yang Changhe lost the roof over his head when he tried to help those suddenly forced out by a government crackdown on safety 

China: 'ruthless' campaign to evict Beijing's migrant workers condemned | The Guardian:

More than a hundred Chinese intellectuals and scholars have decried a “ruthless” campaign to evict thousands of migrant workers from Beijing...

The open letter, which was addressed to the country’s leadership and circulated on Chinese social media, called the evictions “a serious trampling of human rights”. Signatories included professors, researchers, poets and artists and more names continued to be added.

It criticised the lack of due process and rapid speed at which the campaign was being implemented. Videos and photos posted on social media showed streets clogged with clothes and other belongings after migrants were given just minutes to pack up.

Wanda through its official Wechat account posted an ode to migrant workers in Beijing--"Beijing Thanks You". That posting, and news coverage of it, have all been deleted. This is a link to a Google cache version.-万达公号就热点事件发声:北京感谢你|北京|热点事件_新浪财经_新浪网

JD offers help to staff evicted from Beijing migrant slums - TechNode


2. RYB Preschool Abuse Case Reminds Chinese Middle Class Any Sense Of Security Is Fleeting

Beijing Police Detain Two Suspects in Alleged Preschool Child Abuse Case - Caixin Global:

The teacher, only given her surname Liu, was arrested after needle wounds were found on at least eight children aged 2 to 6 years at the kindergarten in eastern Beijing, according to police...

The police said they have also arrested another woman, 31, also surnamed as Liu, for fabricating news and causing a serious negative impact on society.

Actually three people have now been detained for spreading rumors around the RYB case about PLA ties and the relationship between RYB's biggest investor--Meng Liang--and former top cop Meng Jianzhu- 红黄蓝幼儿园一教师涉嫌虐童被刑拘 - 综合 - 新京报网:

昨日,北京警方就朝阳管庄红黄蓝幼儿园(新天地分园)幼儿被指遭针扎、喂药一事通报称,涉嫌虐童幼儿园教师被刑拘。警方还通报称,有人利用网络编造、传播虚假信息,编造“老虎团”人员集体猥亵幼儿虚假信息,造成恶劣社会影响,被警方行政拘留。此外,警方证实,有2人编造红黄蓝幼儿园第一大股东系某领导人儿子的消息,被警方依法查处。

And expect the case to be used as a poster child for the need for more Internet controls and regulation-Cyber rumors must be effectively addressed - Global Times:

Police have disclosed the preliminary results of the investigation into the alleged child abuse at the RYB Education-run kindergarten in Beijing's Chaoyang district. One of the kindergarten teachers has been sent to criminal detention, which seems to indicate there was abuse.

Another 31-year-old woman, who admitted fabricating fake news claiming that members of the so-called "Tiger Group" - a Chinese infantry division - had also sexually molested the children, is also being held in administrative detention.

Tennis star Li Na and CCTV anchor Wang Xiaoqian were denounced by many Chinese netizens for retweeting a cartoon which insinuated that the "Tiger Group" was involved in sexually abusing children.

Beijing's kindergartens to have permanent inspectors - Xinhua:

All districts are asked to staff each of the kindergartens with an educational inspector, and establish database based on inspections on the kindergartens' facilities, safety, sanitation, faculty and management, according to Beijing Municipal Education Commission.

Award-Winning Noir Film Spotlights Child Sex Abuse - Sixth Tone:

Written and directed by Vivian Qu, “Angels Wear White” was screened for competition at the 74th Venice International Film Festival in September, and on Saturday, Qu won Best Director at the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival. “I think it’s precisely because of the current situation that this film is more meaningful now,” Qu said in an interview with Sixth Tone’s sister publication, The Paper.

打破儿童性侵沉默的电影《嘉年华》发问:社会的善意和保护为何缺位? On "Angels Wear White"


3. Macro Crackdown Coming For Micro-lending

Comment: And it is long overdue. Good luck to any micro-lending firms that are in the IPO pipeline. The collapse in share prices of Qudian and PPDai so soon after their IPOs has likely closed the listing window for now.

New Rules for Online Microlenders Expected This Week - Caixin Global:

The CBRC and the central bank are drafting unified rules to oversee online microlending firms, multiple sources said. The imminent regulations are expected to clarify what constitutes lawful lending and whether cross-regional online lending will be permitted, a source with knowledge of the matter told Caixin.

Regulator Assessing Custodian Banks for Online Lenders - Caixin Global:

A national inspection team, led by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), has recently asked local authorities that supervise online lending to assess commercial banks appointed by P2P platforms to provide custodian services for investors’ funds, multiple bank employees told Caixin.

Have Dianrong and Qiancheng stopped issuing loans? - 等待现金贷监管落地 现金卡、点融等疑似停止放款_互联网金融_金融频道首页_财经网 

China Fintech Firm Is Said to Mull Fate of $500 Million IPO - Bloomberg:

The company aims to decide whether to imminently start its IPO roadshow or wait for a later date when market sentiment may be better, according to the people. Investor questions during LexinFintech’s pre-marketing this week focused on the regulatory climate for online lenders in China, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

Listed Firms Shelve Microlending Expansion Plans - Caixin Global:

In a policy notice issued Tuesday, a central government body assigned to rein in risks in the internet finance sector told local regulators to stop issuing licenses to companies that grant low-value, unsecured short-term loans online. The notice also restricts new approvals for microloan companies to conduct lending across provinces.

Controversy with China's Largest Microcredit Lender Qudian Inc. - The Harbinger China:

According to a website managed by the official People’s Daily, the Chinese government plans to consolidate China’s online micro-credit industry into just a few state-owned companies and big firms by stripping licenses from smaller players.

China Regulators, Police Probe Qudian Client Data Leak - Bloomberg:

Officials are probing allegations that data from more than a million students who are clients of Beijing-based Qudian was leaked and possibly sold online, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing private information. The investigation is ongoing and may not lead to any action against Qudian, the people said.

Ant Financial Tells Qudian To Cap Interest Rates At 24% For Alipay Customers – China Money Network


4. Chinese U20 Soccer Team Can't Handle Tibetan Flags In Germany, Suspends Tour

Comment: Good for Germany for not backing down in its defense of free speech. Weaker countries buckle to this kind of PRC pressure, but Germany should be able to protect its sovereignty and values. Countries that buckle are active participants in Beijing's attempts to spread its censorship regime globally.

China under-20 football tour suspended after pro-Tibet protests |The Guardian:

The remaining games in Germany will be postponed, the German Football Association said, after a group of protesters unfurled Tibetan flags causing the Chinese team to walk off the pitch. The association has not given a date for the rescheduled games.

“We believe this adjournment is essential in order to give us the time needed to discuss the situation calmly and openly and find a reasonable solution,” said Ronny Zimmermann, vice-president of the German association. “The two federations will try to work out a way of relaunching the project again quickly.

Sports venues shouldn’t be political battlefields: People’s Daily - People's Daily Online:

Recently, the Chinese under-20 men’s soccer team received an insulting slap in the face during a friendly soccer match in Germany, a Chinese-language commentary in People’s Daily argued, after the relaxing and friendly game was interrupted by protesters holding “Tibetan independence” flags.

The commentary called it inconceivable that the just act of safeguarding China’s national interest was labeled by some German media outlets as an “attack on freedom of expression” and a “suppression of democratic rights.”..

"May I ask, does Germany allow for freedom of speech in support of Nazis?"

Comment: The commentary was by the authoritative "Zhongsheng" 人民日报钟声:体育赛场容不得政治挑衅 


5. Wang Dan's New York Times Oped On Beijing's Campaign To Control Speech Globally

Comment: Wang, Wang Dan, a former leader of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests who spent several years in prison in China before coming to the US and getting a PhD in history from Harvard, now lives in the Washington DC area and is the founder of New School for Democracy think tank.

Beijing Hinders Free Speech in America - The New York Times - Wang Dan:

I returned to the United States earlier this year and brought the salons to American universities. Given the long tradition of free speech in the United States, I assumed that the forums would fare even better in America, where some 329,000 Chinese students attend college. I hoped that public discussions of topics off-limits in China might challenge visiting Chinese students and encourage them to embrace Western democratic values.

But instead, over the past three months, my efforts on American campuses have been stymied. The Chinese Communist Party is extending its surveillance of critics abroad, reaching into Western academic communities and silencing visiting Chinese students. Through a campaign of fear and intimidation, Beijing is hindering free speech in the United States and in other Western countries.


6. Jia Yueting and His LeEco Conglomerate May Be One Of The Great China Corporate Dumpster Fires Of All Time

Comment: Ryan Felton of Jalopnik digs into the disaster that is electric car startup Faraday Future--'Accidental Billionaire': How The Outlandish Ambition Of Faraday Future's Financier Brought The Startup To Its Knees:

Away from the financial problems that have very publicly plagued Faraday over the last year, Ocean View—a shell company that’s part of Jia’s tech empire—has continued to maintain the home in Rancho Palos Verdes as a centerpiece of the chaos that has grown to consume his startup. It has a nickname among Faraday’s execs—The Clubhouse—and it serves a number of purposes, four sources familiar with Faraday told Jalopnik: It’s a guesthouse for new employees, a space for company meetings, and a luxurious setting for events, with a private chef ready to whip together exquisite meals for whatever occasion arises. Bottles of whiskey and wine valued up to $2,000 are a common fixture at Clubhouse gatherings, one source said...

Faraday’s at a breaking point, and at the center remains Jia—the 44-year-old founder of equally troubled Chinese tech conglomerate LeEco—whom sources describe as stubborn to a fault. He refuses to cede any control of Faraday, even at the risk of running it into the ground. Investors have been at the table this year, ready and willing to buy a stake of the startup, but sources said every deal came contingent on Jia stepping aside. So far, sources said, Jia has refused.


7. How Tencent Deals With "Fake News"

In China, smarter censorship sharpens tech giants' competitive edge - Tech In Asia:

In a small, bright office filled with books, Huamin Qu gives me a bird’s-eye view of WeChat, arguably China’s most influential app. His screen shows a red pinwheel of nodes that map how content is shared throughout the enormous social network of almost a billion users.

Called WeSeer, the internal tool is the ultimate gauge of China’s netizen hivemind: it can predict which articles will go viral in the next hour, pinpoint key accounts driving the spread of information, and identify stories of interest for different communities, whether it’s locals in Beijing or people who love AI...

“It’s a double-edged sword,” says Qu, a professor of computer science at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), which opened a joint artificial intelligence lab with WeChat in 2015. Big data analytics can be used to capture criminals, but it can also target other groups of people, he says.


8. Caixin Thinks The Financial Regulators May Be Serious This Time

Comment: But who will dare to let a significant WMP fail?

Financial Regulators Seek to Tame China’s $15 Trillion Wild West - Caixin Global:

With these new rules, regulators are aiming to break the implicit guarantee and reduce the excessive leverage that has driven the boom of the asset management market. The goal is to bring the asset management business back to providing fair and transparent wealth management services for its clients, analysts said.

But achieving the goal won’t be easy. “Both financial institutions and regulators want to break the implicit guarantee, but who will dare to be the first person to try it?” said a market source, who said the rules against repayment guarantee may drive institutions to use more subtle and sophisticated approaches to lure investors with promised returns.

The rules said institutions providing implicit guarantee will be punished. But if losses occur, “it will test the tolerance of regulators and the government,” said a regulatory official who declined to be named. “In China, it is a matter of social development and stability.”


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

Singles day and GMV | China Accounting Blog | Paul Gillis I doubt the SEC investigation of Alibaba’s GMV reporting does much more than require expanded disclosure.  I could be wrong if the whistleblower has documents that indicate that management had knowingly reported bad numbers. Instead, I think accounting standard setters and the SEC should think about uniform standards for commonly used non-GAAP measures like GMV. Just because the numbers do not end up in the financial statements does not mean they are not important to investors.

Why Washington's NoMa district is gentrifying so quickly: Foreign investors with EB-5 visas - The Washington Post On the site of a shuttered Burger King in a long-neglected Northeast neighborhood, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser donned a hard hat and dug a shiny shovel into a pile of dirt. It was a groundbreaking for a luxury apartment — made possible by $27 million in foreign investment. Bowser, bundled in a black overcoat, touted her trade mission to China, where city officials and developers had invited wealthy Chinese to invest half a million dollars each in D.C. building projects in exchange for U.S. residency

China's industrial profits surge in October, take sting off government debt crackdown - Reuters mining and heavy industry contributed the biggest gains in October, propelling overall industrial profits by 25.1 percent year-on-year to 745.4 billion yuan ($112.94 billion), compared with a 27.7 percent jump in September, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Monday.

China's HNA gave 'untrue' details during Gategroup takeover: Swiss watchdog - Reuters In a statement late on Friday, the regulator said the aviation and shipping group had failed to disclose that company executives held controlling stakes in the conglomerate and also gave incorrect shareholdings for the top two stakeholders - Bharat Bhise and Guan Jun - in the Gategroup offer prospectus.

China releases guideline for industrial internet development - Xinhua By 2025, industrial internet infrastructure covering all regions and sectors should be basically complete, according to the State Council guideline. By 2035, China will lead the world in key sectors of the industrial internet. By the middle of the century, China should be among the top countries in terms of the overall strength of its industrial internet. The development of industrial internet is a must for China's manufacturing sector amid international competition, said Chen Zhaoxiong, vice minister of industry and information technology. 国务院印发《关于深化“互联网+先进制造业”发展工业互联网的指导意见》 

 

Politics, Law And Ideology

For China, a fine line between ‘Great Leader Xi’ and ‘Xi, the great leader’ | This Week In Asia | South China Morning Post The Chinese government is showing signs of a pushback to prevent a reckless cult of personality from building around the president as official media rush to eulogise ‘Great Leader Xi’  //  Comment: Wang Xiangwei sounds nervous about the possibilities of a Cult of Xi

China up close: Xi Jinping bids adieu to his fellow princelings - Nikkei Asian Review Xi's rise to power was assisted by the second-generation reds. Shortly before assuming the top party post in the autumn of 2012, Xi abruptly disappeared from the public eye, spending nearly two weeks at a hospital. Using the hospital stay as cover, Xi actively met fellow members of the second-generation reds, one by one, securing their support for his plans to launch a fierce anti-corruption campaign and a sweeping reorganization of the military. Xi paid particular attention to the People's Liberation Army. He counted on Ye Xuanning, a key figure among the second-generation reds, to help him take full control of the powerful military.  //  Comment: Is the real story behind Xi's 2012 disappearance?

人民日报:正确把握我国社会主要矛盾的变化--观点--人民网 Leng Rong, Director of the CPC Central Committee Party Literature Research Center, on page 7 of the 11.27.17 People's Daily on "Correctly Grasping the Change Principal Contradiction Facing Chinese Society"

Billionaire CEO of JD.com Named Head of Impoverished Village - Sixth Tone JD.com’s founder and CEO, Liu Qiangdong — also known as Richard Liu — posted a photo of a business card bearing his new title to microblog platform Weibo on Friday. “Let me set a small target,” he wrote. “In five years, I will increase the average income of these families by a factor of 10. The whole village will be rid of poverty.” Zhu Fenglong, the committee director of Pingshitou Village, in Hebei’s Fuping County, told Sixth Tone that Liu would attend the swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday.

 

Foreign and Military Affairs

Australia's foreign policy White Paper: What does it say, and what does it mean? - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) "Australia will encourage the United States and China to ensure economic tension between them does not fuel strategic rivalry or damage the multilateral trading system," it says. But the paper also recognises Australia's capacity to shape events outside its borders is limited. There a real risk that the US-China rivalry spirals into a conflict. A stable and peaceful Asia is "not assured". Most ominously: "It is imperative that Australia prepare for the long term." Or as the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull puts it in the paper's introduction — "Australia must be sovereign, not reliant."

The United States and China | Foreign Policy White Paper The Indo–Pacific’s stability depends more than ever on the actions of, and relations between, two of Australia’s most important partners—the United States and China. Australia tangibly supports the deep engagement of the United States in the economic and security affairs of the region, which has been and continues to be essential to the stability and prosperity of the Indo–Pacific. Many of Australia’s partners similarly encourage deep regional engagement by the United States.

China’s Charm Offensive in Eastern Europe Challenges EU Cohesion | The Diplomat Hungary in recent months has been associated with a Belt and Road fiasco, as work for the Hungarian stretch of the Belgrade-Budapest railway – China’s most ambitious transport project in Europe – has been halted for allegedly violating EU public procurement laws. But next Monday setbacks will be glossed over by grandiose symbolism as the Hungarian capital prepares itself to welcome the heads of government of China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC). In fact, while Beijing has yet to deliver on its promises for infrastructure investment in the region, it has been working full steam on institutionalizing its cooperation with Eastern Europe, shaping the 16+1 initiative into a platform for its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This is turning into a stress test for EU cohesion.

China's Xi discusses Rohingya crisis with Myanmar army chief - Reuters Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Myanmar’s top military general in Beijing on Friday and discussed China’s support amid international criticism over its treatment of the Rohingya minority, according a statement from the general.

Myanmar General’s Purge of Rohingya Lifts His Popular Support - The New York Times “They are pinching themselves,” David Scott Mathieson, an analyst in Yangon, said about the military leadership. “They hit the jackpot. They are six years into the democracy era, and they are more popular than in decades.” General Min Aung Hlaing has effectively sidelined Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, whose electoral landslide in 2015 blocked a potential path for him to become president of Myanmar, also known as Burma. She is barred in the Constitution from becoming president and heads the government under the title she created, “state counselor.”

Myanmar's Suu Kyi to visit China amid Western criticism over Rohingya exodus - Reuters Myanmar has bristled at pressure from Western nations over its armed forces’ brutal response to August attacks on security posts by Rohingya Muslim militants in the western state of Rakhine.

向着网络强国扬帆远航--时政--人民网 Comment: Page 1 11.27 People's Daily on "Setting Sail Towards Internet Superpower-dom". The Wuzehn Global Internet Conference starts in a few days, expect lots of propaganda in the runup.  //  只有建立互联网新秩序,建立共同遵守的公约,才能保障互联网安全、健康、有序发展。国际舆论积极评价,“构建网络空间命运共同体”的主张,反映了国际社会的共同心声,为推进全球互联网治理贡献了中国智慧。 当今世界,信息技术革命日新月异;当代中国,网信事业发展大潮涌起。在习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想的指引下,中国必将以更自信、更有力、更坚定的步伐,不断开创网信事业发展新局面。

Interview: Xi's secret economic weapon: Overseas Chinese- Nikkei Asian Review One person who shares Xi's views about the importance of Chinese immigrants is Zhuang Guotu, 64, a chair professor at Huaqiao University, a distinguish professor at Xiamen University and a leading expert on the subject. His research helps the government formulate policies for engaging with those overseas communities. Xi even wrote the introduction to one of Zhuang's books. The Nikkei recently spoke with Zhuang about the roles overseas Chinese play in Xi's China.

China Update 19/2017 -- Mercator Institute for China Studies China has used the failed coalition talks in Germany to launch a broad attack on Western liberal democracies. Xinhua, the official news agency, said the collapse of the talks in Berlin marked “Merkel’s end”. The agency predicted a “sad future” for Germany. The broadcaster CCTV said “major upheavals in Germany’s economy and society” had contributed to the collapse of the talks. The broadcaster added that in Germany stability was now “rather fragile” and the social order could easily “break down”.  The report said these developments were most visible in everyday politics.

Chinese gold mining: Ghana cartoonist stands up to China media censorship of galamsey — Quartz In the image, China’s president Xi Jinping is pouring a sludge of brown water from a Ming dynasty vase into bowls held by Ghana’s president and the minister of natural resource. Next to Xi, China’s ambassador to Ghana happily clutches a gold bar. The Chinese embassy was reportedly infuriated by the cartoon and issued a complaint to the Ghanaian government on media coverage of the arrests of several Chinese miners involved in illegal mining, which is known locally as “galamsey”

Could ghost imaging spy satellite be a game changer for Chinese military? | South China Morning Post Existing camouflage techniques – from simple smoke bombs used to hide tanks or soldiers on battlefields to the hi-tech radar absorption materials on a stealth aircraft or warship – would be of no use against ghost imaging, physics experts said. Quantum ghost imaging can achieve unprecedented sensitivity by detecting not just the extremely small amount of light straying off a dim target, but also its interactions with other light in the surrounding environment to obtain more information than traditional methods.

Live-fire exercises conducted by PLA base in Djibouti - China Daily Several wheeled tank destroyers and wheeled infantry fighting vehicles from the base in the Horn of Africa took part in the exercise at a local shooting range and fired dozens of shells, according to a news release published late Friday by the PLA Navy, which administers the logistics support base.

Special Report: 'Treacherous shenanigans' - The inside story of Mugabe's downfall - Reuters Reuters could not confirm the account; but an intelligence report from Nov. 13 indicates that Mugabe suspected some of his generals of preparing to overthrow him from China. “A number of generals are now in China ready to plot Mugabe’s ouster with Mnangagwa,” the report said. It was not clear which generals, and whether their travel to China was authorized. 

Prime Minister to strengthen bilateral and commercial ties on trip to China | Prime Minister of Canada The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that he will travel to China from December 3 to 7, 2017. The Government of Canada remains committed to a stronger relationship between Canada and China – one that strengthens and grows the middle class, and is based on regular, frank, and comprehensive dialogue, including on issues like good governance, human rights, and the rule of law.

China’s Ode to OBOR - Sixth Tone Beginning next spring, television screens across Nepal are set to light up with episodes of “Ode to Joy,” one of China’s most popular sitcom series. Dubbed in Nepali — among the first languages in which the show will air outside of its original Mandarin — the broadcasts represent a new step toward stronger ties between China and the Himalayan republic. More broadly, the move demonstrates China’s tightening embrace of countries under its “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) initiative.

 

Hong Kong, Macao

China’s Trojan Train Into Hong Kong - The New York Times Starting in late 2018, high-speed trains will connect Hong Kong to Guangzhou, a megacity on the mainland, and there is a plan to place inside the terminus in Hong Kong an immigration and customs checkpoint that would include Chinese security personnel enforcing Chinese law, with search-and-arrest authority. The proposed arrangement is known in Chinese as “one location, two checkpoints” — an ominous play on “one country, two systems,” the principle supposed to guarantee a measure of self-rule for Hong Kong.

Legislature demands ex-lawmakers repay HK$3m in wages, subsidies, after gov't legal action ousted them | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP The Legislative Council has demanded that four disqualified lawmakers return all of their salaries and operating expenses, saying it was the duty of the LegCo to recover the funds as public money was involved. “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, Nathan Law, Lau Siu-lai and Edward Yiu will have to pay back between HK$2.7 and 3.1 million each, as they were never considered to be lawmakers. The votes they cast at the legislature, however, will remain valid.

Looming national security laws raise fresh fears for Hong Kong's freedoms - Reuters  Those demanding urgency for the long-delayed Article 23 are using a fledgling independence movement in the former British colony as justification – even though the independence debate would have been allowed when Article 23 was first proposed in 2003. Lawyers, diplomats and activists fear the new pressure could lead to legal “overkill” in an open city already struggling with increased interference from Beijing’s Communist Party rulers.

 

Taiwan

China bans tour groups to Vatican, Palau to isolate Taiwan  | Taiwan News Beijing has ordered Chinese tour agencies to remove the Vatican and Palau from their list of travel destinations, in an apparent bid to place further pressure on Taiwan's few remaining diplomatic allies to jump ship

 

Tech And Media

The Paradise Papers suggest Xiaomi founder Lei Jun is connected to Bitmain, the world's largest bitcoin miner — Quartz A connection between Lei Jun and Bitmain is interesting because the tech billionaire has never publicly expressed an interest in cryptocurrencies. If Lei is connected to Bitmain, it would be the equivalent of an Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos revealing a stake in a bitcoin firm—conferring a major stamp of legitimacy for cryptocurrencies. Bitmain, for its part, has always maintained that it is self-funded, primarily through co-founder Jihan Wu’s early bitcoin holdings, having only recently raised outside funds from blue-chip VCs Sequoia and IDG.

China to speed up IPv6-based Internet development - Xinhua China plans to put the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6)-based network into large-scale use, to boost the development of the internet industry. The country aims to have 200 million active users of IPv6 by the end of 2018, while the number will exceed 500 million by 2020, according to an action plan issued by the general offices of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council. 受权发布:中共中央办公厅 国务院办公厅印发《推进互联网协议第六版(IPv6)规模部署行动计划》-新华网 

[Magpie Digest] The Competitive Ecosystems of PUBG - Magpie Digest PUBG is a battle royale game (大逃杀, roughly “avoid being killed”) where 100 players are parachuted onto an island and must fight each other to be the last one standing, Hunger Games style. Since its beta release on the Steam gaming platform in March of this year, it has shattered records and become the most popular game in the world. An estimated 49% of the game's 18 million players live in China, where it has propelled the adoption of Steam and inspired a whole slew of similar games now collectively referred to as 吃鸡游戏 (“chicken eating games”). Today, we are going to take a look at two stories around China's chicken eating community: the cottage industry of hack developers, and the genre's attempts to appease censors.

China's Top Uber-for-Trucks Apps Agree on a Merger - Bloomberg Huochebang and Yunmanman, China’s two biggest apps for Uber-like truck services, have agreed to merge, creating a company valued at more than $2 billion, people familiar with the matter said.

Great call of China: how foreign video bloggers are becoming the ones to watch | South China Morning Post Mandarin speakers making a name for themselves with light-hearted videos on language, food and travel

Tsinghua Unit Buys 30% Stake in Taiwan Semiconductor Subsidiary - Caixin Global Tsinghua Unigroup Ltd. will pay 1.03 billion yuan ($155 million) for a stake in Siliconware Precision Industries Co. Ltd.’s Suzhou subsidiary, the Taiwan firm said in a statement on Friday. The deal comes after Unigroup’s 2016 attempt to buy into the Taiwan parent company failed to pass regulatory scrutiny, under the then-incoming Tsai Ing-wen administration.

 

Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

2017 National Survey of Transgender and Gender... - Beijing LGBT Center 2017 National Survey of Transgender and Gender Non-conforming Population in China was jointly initiated by Beijing LGBT Center and Peking University, supported by the Netherland Embassy.

 

Energy, Environment, Science And Health

Bill Gates elected as a member of China’s top academic institution - People's Daily Online Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has been elected as a foreign academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), one of China’s top academic institutions, together with 17 other foreigners.

 

Food And Travel

China should push "toilet revolution": Xi - Xinhua | China should continue to upgrade the country's toilets as part of its "toilet revolution" aimed at developing domestic tourism and improving people's life quality, Chinese President Xi Jinping said. The construction of clean toilets is an important part of pushing urban and rural civilization, and more efforts should be made in both cities and rural areas to upgrade toilets, Xi said in a recent instruction on the achievement of toilet revolution carried out in the tourism sector.  //  Comment: I always took Xi for more of a squatter