Beijing opening back up; Xi and his power; State Department on Taiwan
Today’s Essential Eight:
Beijing opening back up - Beijing avoided a full lockdown and is now reporting no new cases. Party Secretary Cai Qi and his cadres look far more competent than Shanghai Party Secretary and his Shanghai bureaucrats, and Beijingers have avoided some of the worst problems of the Shanghai lockdown disaster. Shanghai is mostly reopened but there are still new cases and reports of scattered re-lockdowns.
A useful corrective to some of the Xi rumors - Chris Johnson, CEO of China Strategies Group and a former top China analyst at the CIA, has an OpEd in the Monday Financial Times on the recent rumors of troubles for Xi. Regular readers will know that I wholeheartedly agree. Chris is a friend and this is a subject we discuss regularly, so at the risk of confirming my pre-existing bias I highly recommend this piece. It is a well argued corrective to some of the recent silliness. The more breathless narrative over the last month or so has shifted from “Xi is in trouble” to “maybe not really in trouble but he may have to make concessions” on personnel, especially in the economic policy system, and perhaps around the choice of the next Premier. That is certainly possible, though I remain skeptical.
New books on Xi, and a new series on his “Beautiful China” - There are four new books on his time working in Zhending, Fujian, Zhejiang and Shanghai, which among other things are “conducive to a deeper understanding of Comrade Xi Jinping's struggle from a grassroots leader to the Party's General Secretary and People's Leader 有利于广大干部群众深入了解习近平同志从基层领导干部一步步成长为党的总书记和人民领袖的奋斗历程”, as well as a new book of his discourses on rural work.
State department website adds back language about not supporting Taiwan independence - It seemed like a big deal when back on May 9 the State Department website page on Taiwan was updated, without the statement “we do not support Taiwan independence”. That language reappeared on May 28.
Tech wars - ASML, Huawei, TSMC - Bloomberg has a long story on the theft of important source code from ASML and the subsequent multi-year legal battle, James Mulvenon examines the lack of enforcement by the US government of Seagate’s violation of the Foreign Direct Product Rule in selling controlled items to Huawei, and the Chief Economist of China Center for International Economic Exchanges said that in the event the US sanctions China like it has Russia than China must “seize TSMC”.
Land use pilot reforms - This is an interesting Caixin story on a pilot that allows cities with limited and restricted farmland to pay less developed places with lots of farmland to trade some of their land use rights for the right to developed restricted land in their municipalities.
PLA encounters with Canadian and Australian planes - Both Canada and Australia have issued statements about unsafe encounters with PLA jets in East Asia and the South China Sea. Why now, both for the statements and the actions, and why won’t Canada and Australia release video and audio of the encounters? What are the plans for when there is another accident like the 2001 Hainan Incident?
Global Times “exclusive” story claiming US diplomats admit to using Xinjiang to undermine China - The "Buyi Dao" team of Global Times quoted what is described as a supplier of an internationally renowned sports brand as saying that two officials of the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou revealed at a reception last year that the U.S. used Xinjiang to hype"forced labor" and"genocide", and that attacks on human rights issues are a kind of "battle" and an "effective means" whose ultimate goal is to "completely sink the Chinese government into a quagmire". This is a remarkable allegation, based on an anonymous source, and sounds extremely sketchy.
Thanks for reading.