Beijing outbreak; India-China deescalating?; China's Australia problem; RIP Li Zhensheng
|Bill Bishop||Jun 23, 2020||8|
No commentary today, a bit under the weather, should be back to normal tomorrow.
Today’s Essential Eight:
Poll shows Australia’s growing gap with China
Letters from a Canadian hostage in China
RIP Li Zhengsheng 李振盛
Thanks for reading.
The Essential Eight
1. Beijing outbreak
Chinese health authority said today that it received reports of 22 new confirmed Covid-19 cases yesterday, of which 13 were domestically transmitted and nine were imported.
All the domestically transmitted cases were reported in Beijing, the National Health Commission said in its daily report.
Of the imported cases, seven were reported in Gansu province, one in Jiangsu province and one in Shaanxi province, according to the commission.
Zeng Xiaofan, director of the Beijing municipal center for disease prevention and control, said at a press conference that the patient was a 47-year-old who worked as a food deliveryman for the Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.-owned platform Ele.me.
Since Jun. 1, the driver had visited a number of restaurants, grocery stores and shopping malls across the south and east of the city. On Sunday, he was picked up by an ambulance and transferred to a hospital’s fever department for Covid-19 testing. He tested positive that day, according to Zen.
The Beijing government said they have conducted nucleic acid tests on more than two million people in the past ten days, and now they have a capacity to do 300,000 tests per day.
During a regular press conference on COVID-19 prevention and control, Beijing announced restrictions on tourism during Dragon Boat Festival that starts Thursday and runs through the weekend
The Ministry of Transport has toughened information checks of travelers leaving Beijing by prohibiting those with abnormal health codes, or without a negative nucleic acid test certificate issued within the past seven days, from entering stations.
Beijing lists another neighborhood as "high-risk"
Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan on Tuesday stressed earlier and more targeted COVID-19 prevention and control to keep the epidemic from spreading in Beijing.
Sun made the remarks during an inspection tour in the city, where she visited a community, a sampling site and hospitals, and learned in detail about community control, the treatment of patients, nucleic acid tests and other issues.
China's new approach to contain the coronavirus pandemic in capital Beijing could be "a bellwether for how China may handle future outbreaks," The New York Times reported on Friday.
Beijing's leaders "are not crushing the entire city, and its nascent economic revival, with heavy-handed restrictions," Keith Bradsher and Chris Buckley wrote in an opinion, titled "In this coronavirus wave, China tries something new: restraint."
Comment: Mr. Buckley was recently expelled from China
Chinese citizens have faked Covid-19 test reports so they can board flights home from Russia, prompting multiple warnings from Beijing’s envoy to Moscow.
2. Hong Kong
Lam said that, as chief executive, she would instead appoint a panel of judges for all courts based on recommendations from a judicial body.
"When one day there is national security cases, the responsibility to assign which judge on that list to handle a case still lies on the judiciary of Hong Kong," Lam told reporters on Tuesday. "The Executive is not responsible for that."
The Legislative Affairs Commission under the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council and the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR jointly held 12 symposiums on Tuesday to hear opinions from the Hong Kong society on the draft law on safeguarding national security in the HKSAR..
Embodying the principle of "punishing a tiny small group and protecting the vast majority," the legislation will ensure that the capitalist system in Hong Kong remains unchanged, the rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents in accordance with the law are not diminished, Hong Kong's judicial independence is intact, and all the legitimate rights and interests of foreigners and foreign investors' confidence in Hong Kong are guaranteed, they said.
While Tam did not disclose details of the draft legislation, he said the new laws will also be applied to foreign businesses and media.
"Everyone is equal before the law. There is no exception for people or businesses in the city," he said, adding that businesspeople "need not to worry" as long as they do not transgress the red line of national security. "Only a very small number of people involved in extreme behavior will be targeted."
The organiser of the annual Hong Kong Book Fair has urged exhibitors to exercise “self-discipline” and avoid selling “unlawful” books at this year’s edition, which opens on July 15, weeks after Beijing’s new national security law for the city is likely to have been passed.
Responding to a question at a Tuesday press conference, the Trade Development Council’s Benjamin Chau said books at the fair are not vetted or censored by the council. But he reminded exhibitors nevertheless to be “self-disciplined” and showcase titles that comply with Hong Kong law.
The law also intervenes in other key aspects of Hong Kong governance and society, including:
the legislature: the law will require LegCo to “complete legislation on preserving national security as provided in the Basic Law…as soon as possible, and improve relevant laws”, directly undermining the autonomy of Hong Kong’s legislature (although it is unclear what mechanism could possibly enforce this legal requirement);
the electoral system: requiring candidates for elections to sign declarations swearing to uphold the basic law and loyalty to the Hong Kong SAR of the PRC (creating a new legal requirement for Hong Kong elections, again outside the scope of Beijing’s proper authority);
the education system and civil society: requiring the Hong Kong government to “strengthen the oversight and management of schools, social organizations, and other matters related to national security”.
A professor at the University of Hong Kong agreed with the Education Bureau. The professor, who requested to remain unnamed over fears for her safety, says that the law will not be used to suppress the freedoms of students and will only target criminal activities.
“I don’t see the law affecting students. It will only stop rioters from their violent actions and bring stability back to Hong Kong,” she said. Another -- John Carroll, a history professor at the University of Hong Kong, is cautiously optimistic.
The draft law on safeguarding national security in China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) reviewed by the national legislature respects the current legal system in Hong Kong and does not affect its judicial independence, renowned British barrister Grenville Cross has said here.
"We have not yet seen the full details of the draft law, but it is reassuring to know that common law principles will be applied to the handling of cases, including the presumption of innocence, protection of human rights, and the guarantee of a fair trial," Cross told Xinhua in an interview.
Cross had worked as the Director of Public Prosecutions in Hong Kong for 12 years since 1997 and has an in-depth understanding of Hong Kong's judicial practice.
Here is todays’s preposterous and frightening Xinhua story about the National Security Law. It relies, as China Daily and other PRC propaganda vehicles have, on former Hong Kong Director of Public Prosecutions, Grenville Cross, who continues to wax enthusiastic about the very broad potential reach of the forthcoming NSL, which he sees as an “antidote” and a “minimalist” approach.
While justifying the law in terms of the need to put down violence and terrorism, Cross nevertheless suggests interpreting the criminalization of collusion with foreign or external forces to include “asking external forces to harm the interests of Hong Kong officials or agencies, or to otherwise hurt the interests of Hong Kong.” So, if Martin Lee, Jimmy Lai, Dennis Kwok and others, even including Anson Chan, again criticize Carrie Lam or her subordinates while in New York or Washington DC, they can soon be sent to prison for up to 10 years
Two months after being involved in a controversy for "liking" an online photo that listed Hong Kong as a "country", Thai actor Vachirawit Chivaaree, who goes by the name Bright and starred in the popular Thai boy's love drama 2gether: The Series, issued an apology for the incident on Saturday. However, a majority of Chinese netizens have refused to accept the apology, questioning Bright's sincerity.
The European Union pleaded with Chinese leaders at a summit meeting Monday to put more effort into lagging negotiations on an investment and trade deal, an issue that has increasingly vexed the 27-member bloc...
At best, European officials say, the talks could produce some more momentum from top leadership to break the impasse on issues from state subsidies and technology transfer to climate change and equal opportunities for European companies. But prospects have been made more difficult as President Xi has exercised tighter state control over the society and the economy.
The talks on Monday did not produce a joint statement, nor did the Chinese government agree to any sort of joint news conference...
Josef Borrell Fontelles, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, said on Monday that the West had been “a little naïve” in expecting convergence from China. “Now China is more assertive and a global player,’’ he said. “It’s a partner” on issues like climate change, he said, “but also a competitor, and at the same time a rival.’’
People's Daily on the EU-China meeting says Xi uses three pairs of contrasts to elaborate on China’s stance in the Sino-Eu relation: China wants peace not hegemony; China seeks opportunities not threats; China is a parter not an opponent.
the Europeans got no guarantees, written or spoken, from the Chinese. And there was not even a joint news conference that might have obligated Xi and Li to confirm the topics that were addressed, and acknowledge the EU's positions.
Meanwhile, the EU's uneven approach toward the world's dominant rising power — a reflection of disagreements among the bloc's national capitals — seemed as uneven as ever, with von der Leyen and the EU's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, giving different views on how they view China.
"The chances for a positive development of EU-China relations are good if China continues its pragmatic approach to multilateral cooperation and connects to key priorities and projects of EU, particularly the green deal," said Berthold Kuhn, a senior researcher at the Free University of Berlin.
In his view, the EU and China have many opportunities to go together. "For example, China can support the EU's Green Deal and the EU supports the green development of the Belt and Road Initiative."
Facing growing pressure from the US government, the EU has been forming a more complex view in recent years toward China, which is its largest economic partner, with some lingering concerns over pragmatic issues such as state-owned enterprise investment, market access and ideological differences...
"It was predictable that Europe voiced those concerns, as even before the summit, some politicians issued a series of statements opposing China's stance for echoing the domestic needs from a political aspect, while taking US pressure into account," Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs at Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times.
There is a long to-do list for China and the EU in the coming days. No matter what difficulties they may encounter, they will remain committed to upholding multilateralism and free trade, firmly opposing unilateralism and protectionism, and maintaining global peace and stability. China will unswervingly expand opening up and create a market-oriented and world-class business environment with a sound legal framework for companies from all countries.
For China and the EU, cooperation far outweighs competition, and consensus far outweighs disagreement. They can reserve differences through constructive communication, while expanding common ground with mutual respect.
China, though, failed to win the EU’s approval for its vow of multilateralism, with Michel saying: “We have to recognise that we do not share the same values, political systems, or approach to multilateralism.”
The big issue confronting the EU is World Trade Organisation reform. While the US’ hostile approach to the WTO was not welcomed in Brussels, the EU was equally dismayed by Beijing’s lack of efforts to cut down on industrial subsidies.
With the EU and China failing to reach a communique after this year’s summit, von der Leyen made no attempt to hide the slow progress towards an investment treaty, slated for conclusion by the end of this year.
“The China Trade Deal is fully intact,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter after Mr. Navarro, a noted China critic, had appeared on Fox News. “Hopefully they will continue to live up to the terms of the Agreement!”
“I think that we are in an economic war, a Cold War with China. I don’t think there’s any question about it and, frankly, if you ask me, I think it is over,” Bartiromo said.
Bartiromo made the comments after President Trump declared on Twitter that the trade deal is "fully intact" following White House aide Peter Navarro’s appearance on Fox News the night before declaring it is "over."
Comment: Some days it seems harder to read the DC tea leaves than the Beijing ones...
Alan Rappeport @arappeportBreaking w/ Lighthizer, who said last week the deal was on track. https://t.co/aBRh0wyT85
Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian made the remarks at a daily briefing after Washington said on Monday it will start treating four major Chinese media outlets as foreign embassies...
Zhao called the decision of targeting Chinese media outlet as "another naked U.S. political suppression of Chinese media," which will seriously affect reporting of these media in the U.S.
Zhao said it also exposed U.S. hypocrisy in the so-called freedom of press and speech.
The Federal Communications Commission on Monday said it rejected the request of a radio station in Mexico to continue broadcasting Mandarin Chinese language programs to southern California and ordered it to cease operations within 48 hours.
The FCC said the broadcast studio is used by Phoenix Radio, a company wholly owned by Phoenix TV, but not listed as an applicant. The FCC rejected the request as “deficient” but said the applicants - and Phoenix Radio - could refile the request.
The Trump administration has sent new guidance to companies struggling to understand the scope of a measure unveiled last month that aims to crack down on chip sales to China’s blacklisted telecoms equipment maker Huawei Reuters has learned
A report entitled "The US Military Presence in the Asia-Pacific 2020" was released by the National Institute for South China Sea Studies in Beijing Tuesday. Why does a report on the US military presence in the Asia-Pacific region have to be released? Since 2010, the US has been hyping the so-called China's militarization in the South China Sea. It sensationalizes that China's military power has continued to extend and radiate into the Indian Ocean, the Western Pacific region, and Northeast Asia. Hence, a study of US military actions in the region is required.
Soon after Donald Trump took office, people with ties to the Chinese state poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into his re-election bid to get close to and potentially influence the new president.
The effort had early success in gaining access, in particular with those involved meeting the president or top Republicans at fundraisers or at an internal GOP leadership meeting. It reveals how China seeks to build inroads into U.S. politics, gather information on U.S. leaders and if possible affect policy-making.
Several of those involved in the effort worked closely with China’s national-security apparatus, including organizations linked to its military, and briefed prominent Chinese political figures about their efforts...
Another was Tang Ben, a China-born U.S. citizen who served as an executive-committee member at the China Strategic Culture Promotion Association, an opaque group that state media have said advises China’s leaders on security issues. Its secretary-general, retired Maj. Gen. Luo Yuan, is well-known to U.S. officials for his hawkish posture toward the U.S.
Comment: What about the non-Chinese donors linked to China? I will wager they have had far more influence on US policy.
And that China Strategic Culture Promotion Association (CSCPA) been around for a while. Here is one project I found they worked on in 2012 - 2013; how many other DC think tanks have done work with them? - U.S.-China Security Perceptions Survey: Findings and Implications - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace - Michael D. Swaine, Rachel Esplin Odell, Luo Yuan, Liu Xiangdong
The U.S.-China Security Perceptions Project is a unique collaborative undertaking between leading research institutions in Washington and Beijing launched in 2011. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington and the China Strategic Culture Promotion Association (CSCPA) in Beijing coordinated this project, in collaboration with the Pew Research Center, the Research Center for Contemporary China (RCCC) at Peking University, and the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars…
The China Strategic Culture Promotion Association is a national, nonprofit civil society group composed of experts, scholars, and social activists who are engaged in studies of international issues, the Taiwan issue, and cultural issues. The association was founded in Beijing on January 5, 2011, aiming at promoting security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and encouraging peaceful development on both sides of the Taiwan Strait through studies, dissemination, and exchange of Chinese strategic culture.
Comment: “civil society group” is an interesting way to describe it.
5. India-China deescalating?
The Indian side was demanding the pullback of Chinese troops from the Finger Area (a cluster of strategic features in the north bank of Pangong Tso) where the PLA has set up bunkers, pillboxes and observation posts, according to the two officials aware of the developments.
“There was a mutual consensus to disengage,” an Indian government source said, commenting on the outcome of a parley on Monday that lasted almost 11 hours at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) or the de facto border, high in the western Himalayas...
Speaking in Beijing, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the two sides had agreed to work toward peace and tranquillity.
Zhao said the latest parley revisited the consensus reached at a previous meeting between the army commanders on June 6, before the bloody clash, when they had agreed to de-escalate.
But the Global Times reminds everyone that the PLA stands ready...
India’s government instructed sellers to declare the country of origin for goods and services purchased via a state-run online portal.
The government announced the change in requirements for users of its Government e-Marketplace (GeM) portal in a statement on Tuesday. The statement did not single out China, but an official source told Reuters that the main objective was to identify items coming from China.
Separately, the portal will provide a “Make in India” filter
By going against the code of war, the Chinese, in a single night, have made India reset its relationship. The rage is unprecedented. A prominent Ladakhi educationist, Sonam Wangchuk, told me, “China is a rogue nation, ethically, politically and morally; the boycott needs to start now."
In India, opposition leaders, former generals and diplomats have criticised Modi for failing to protect Indian lives and territory. Many have called for boycotts of Chinese goods. The story garners wall-to-wall coverage in domestic media.
The perceived threat from China - which humiliated India in a brief border war in 1962 - has overshadowed India’s COVID crisis, in which the number of cases has crossed 400,000 with no sign of a peak.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said India stands behind Modi, but he must bear responsibility.
Zhang Jiadong of Fudan University wrote that the casualties in the India-China border clash were caused mostly by the high altitude and low temperature, and it is too much to say that this conflict will push India into the arms of the Americans. Zhang believes China and India can stabilize the relations but they need to learn how to better manage the border disputes.
Cooperation for peace and stability in a post-pandemic era is in line with the interests of the international community, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday.
Wang made the remarks while attending a video conference with Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Sergey Lavrov said after a video call with his Chinese and Indian counterparts that Beijing and New Delhi don’t need outside assistance to settle their differences.
“We never had a goal to help India and China develop their bilateral ties,” Lavrov said in a call with reporters. “India and China have every opportunity to tackle and solve any problems in relations between them.”
Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe is expected to attend Russia's Victory Day parade in Moscow on Wednesday, and since Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh is also attending the event, the two will very likely meet in Moscow over border tensions between the two countries.
Sources familiar with the matter confirmed to the Global Times that Wei is attending the Russian military parade on Wednesday.
Singh started his three-day visit to Russia on Monday, and will also attend the Wednesday parade, media reported...
A total of 105 Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) honor guard members have been sent to Russia, and 95 of them will participate in the parade in formation, Russia's TASS news agency reported on Friday, citing Russian ambassador to China Andrey Denisov.
6. Poll shows Australia’s growing gap with China
The annual Lowy Institute Poll suggests strong public endorsement for Scott Morrison’s increasingly hard line approach to dealing with China, with fewer than one in four Australians trusting the country to do the right thing in world affairs, down 29 points in just two years.
Confidence in China’s President Xi Jinping also plunged to 22 per cent, while 94 per cent of respondents said Australia should “reduce our economic dependence on China”, the most emphatic consensus on an issue in the survey’s 16-year history.
The poll found eight in 10 Australians would approve of travel and financial sanctions on Chinese officials associated with human rights abuses.
In 2020, trust in China is at its lowest point in the history of the Poll, with 23% saying they trust China a great deal or somewhat ‘to act responsibly in the world’. Only 22% of Australians have some or a lot of confidence in China’s President Xi Jinping ‘to do the right thing’ in world affairs. Nine in ten Australians (94%) want the Australian government to find other markets for Australia to reduce our economic dependence on China. More Australians (55%) see China as ‘more of an economic partner’ than the 41% that see China as ‘more of a security threat’ to Australia. Far fewer Australians see China as an economic partner in 2020, in a 27-point fall from 82% to 55% since 2018. And feelings towards China on a scale of 0° to 100° have fallen sharply in 2020, to 39°. This represents a fall of 10 degrees in a single year and is the lowest score that China has received in the history of the Poll.
It pumps out a "one-sided, pro-American view of the world," said Bob Carr, former premier of the New South Wales. "I see it as very much the architect of the China threat theory in Australia," said ex-ambassador to China Geoff Raby.
The two men are referring to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said earlier this month that with such strong ideological bias, the institute is actually spearheading anti-China forces and its academic credibility has been seriously questioned...
The institute has fabricated reports on policies in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which the Chinese government has repeatedly refuted...
Many believe that the ASPI's stance against China is linked to its sources of funding, a lot of which reportedly come from defence contractors and foreign governments.
Time is running out for Canberra to repair fraught ties with Beijing, which have deteriorated sharply in recent months, as China has diversified its agricultural product imports, allowing four more Russian dairy companies to enter the Chinese market, Chinese experts said on Monday.
The move could be perceived as Beijing's latest implicit action to get rid of Australian products, as relations between Australia and its largest trade partner are at their lowest point, they said.
Yang Hengjun, an Australian citizen who has amassed a wide public following as a novelist and blogger, was arrested and detained at Guangzhou airport on 19 January 2019. After being detained for more than a year, Chinese authorities finally announced in March 2020 that Yang would be charged with espionage. Citing the COVID-19 pandemic, the authorities have suspended all his visitation rights since 30 December 2019. Yang is believed to be detained at Beijing State Security Bureau Detention Centre, and there are grave concerns that he is at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.
7. Letters from a Canadian hostage in China
“He writes about the meaning of life, the meaning of suffering,” Mr. Kovrig’s wife, Vina Nadjibulla, said in an interview Monday with The Globe and Mail.
“In one of his letters, he actually said, ‘I now believe the meaning of life is to alleviate suffering.’ "
Sometimes, he signs his letters: “Rest assured I remain resolute and resilient.”..
in a letter to his family in July, 2019, shortly after he was released from residential surveillance, he described emerging from a place of despair.
“If there’s one faint silver lining to this Hell, it’s this: trauma carved caverns of psychological pain through my mind,” he wrote. “As I strive to heal and recover, I find myself filling those gulfs with a love for you and for life that is vast, deep and more profound and comforting than what I’ve ever experienced before.”..
He walks in circles in his cell, counting 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day. He does push-ups, and tests himself to see how long he can maintain a plank posture. “The last time he told us, it was up to 20 minutes at a time,” Ms. Nadjibulla said...
“Since I’m the only Westerner any of them have ever known well, I ensure that my behaviour leaves a positive impression,” he wrote.
“I may not be Norman Bethune or Dashan” – Mark Rowswell, a Canadian entertainer famous in China – “but at least they’ll know that one more Canadian is also a good guy.”
Comment: This could me, or any number of you dear readers..Chilling. Michael was a subscriber, for a period of time after his detention newsletters sent to his email address were still being opened.
8. RIP Li Zhensheng 李振盛
Comment: Ren’s grandson Ren Yi writes under the name “兔主席 Chairman Rabbit”
The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press, which in 2018 published the first Chinese-language edition of Li’s book Red-Color News Soldier – a compilation of photos he had hidden from the period – said Li, 79, had died after spending several days in hospital following a brain haemorrhage.
An article posted on the university’s WeChat account on Monday said Li had asked his family to deliver a message to friends when sharing the news: “I have spent my life striving to bear witness and document history, and now I will rest in history.”..
Li, wearing an armband bearing the words “red-color news soldier”, was a staff photographer at the state-run Heilongjiang Daily in north-eastern China. He had rare access and took more than 100,000 photos of the decade of tumult, but was under orders not to publish photos that were “negative”.
Even after the Cultural Revolution effectively ended with Mao's death, at age 82, in 1976, Li was wary about showing his more incendiary work. In 1980 he left the newspaper to teach at Beijing University's International Political Science Institute. In 1988, the organizers of a nationwide photography competition—what Li says was China's first such undertaking as it opened up to the outside world—encouraged him to enter some of his pictures.
Then-Defense Minister Zhang Aiping, who had been imprisoned for years during the Cultural Revolution, greeted the exhibition with the remark, "Let history tell the future." Li's pictures (which did not include "Little Yellow Hair") won the grand prize.
2016 article on Li Zhensheng's photos, on the occasion of an exhibition on Chengdu of 60 years of his work
Clad in a dark blue photographer’s vest, Mr. Li, 78, spoke in a recent interview in Hong Kong, where the first Chinese-language edition of his book “Red-Color News Soldier” was published in July by the Chinese University Press of Hong Kong...
With the new edition of his book, Mr. Li joins the small ranks of Chinese who survived the excesses of Mao Zedong’s rule and are determined to challenge the official historical narrative at a time when President Xi Jinping has pushed to suppress criticism of his party’s traumatic past...
He added that he was concerned that without a deep historical reckoning, something similar could happen in China again.
It is drawn from thousands of original negatives that were hidden for nearly 40 years by photographer Li Zhensheng, at great personal risk, and accompanied by his own personal story.
Some of his work online
Business, Economy and Trade
财新：“国企信仰”彻底破灭，青海省投被裁破产重整 The state-run Qinghai Provincial Investment Group said it has entered bankruptcy process with a local court. The company defaulted on its bonds last year and this year. This is significant because the bondholders used to believe the local Qinghai government would step up to pay on behalf of the company, and that was the main reason they bought the bonds in the first place, as there was not much investment value in the company itself.
China’s banking system begins to crack at its grass roots as two bank runs take place within a week | South China Morning Post Local governments and police in both Hebei and Shanxi provinces were forced to intervene after rumours concerning Baoding Bank and Yangquan Commercial Bank
China in Recession and Heading for Full-Year Decline: Beige Book - Bloomberg Key metrics including manufacturing profits, capital expenditures and retail sales volumes remained at historically low levels and barely improved from those in the first quarter, CBB International said in a quarterly report based on a survey of more than 3,300 firms.
China soy buyers ask exporters to guarantee coronavirus-free cargoes - Reuters China’s soybean buyers are asking exporters to sign a letter guaranteeing that their cargoes are not contaminated with the novel coronavirus, U.S. and Brazilian soy industry officials said on Tuesday.
China ‘interested’ in Trans-Pacific trade deal but keen to gauge Japan’s ‘attitude’ ahead of potential talks, ex-minister says | South China Morning Post China is keen to first understand Japan's “attitude” before beginning formal negotiations to join the Comprehensive Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, according to former commerce minister Chen Deming.
Bidding for COVID-19 control bonds completed - Xinhua The 10-year fixed-rate bonds, worth 70 billion yuan (about 9.91 billion U.S. dollars), will become tradable on June 30, with the weighted average interest rate standing at 2.77 percent. Meanwhile, the first two batches of special government bonds, including 50 billion yuan of five-year bonds, and 50 billion yuan of seven-year bonds, were listed and started trading on Tuesday.
China's Movie Theaters Just Had Their Darkest Time- PingWest A report, properly named Movie Theater Survival Status Report, jointly released by China Film Association and major movie theater chains, found that 47% chains have non-existent cash flow as of end of May, and 42% are about to go bankrupt. The report estimated that more than 30% of the chains, mostly smaller ones with less than 1,000 seats, have already or are planning to lay off employees. Another survey of 400 movie theaters in 28 provinces and municipalities, conducted by industry outlet SirMovie, found that half of the theaters laid off or furloughed employees, and nearly 80% of them cut salaries drastically.
Watchdog Planned High Marks for SUV Despite Failed Crash Test, Leak Shows - Caixin A leaked video and test results showing a GAC Honda vehicle failing a crash test but still being awarded the second-highest automotive safety rating and highest overall rating could spark a new wave of car quality concerns in China.
China Urged to Drop Family Planning Controls, Reform Pension System to Combat Aging Society - Caixin The falling birthrate and shrinking workforce will make it increasingly difficult for the economy to support the rapid growth in the number of elderly, the China Development Research Foundation, an organization affiliated with the State Council's Research Development Center, wrote in a report released on June 11.
The population aged 65 and over in China is estimated to rise to about 314.8 million by 2035 from an estimated 181.6 million in 2020, according to the China Development Report 2020: China’s Population Aging Development Trends and Policies. The cohort will account for 22.3% of the total population in 2035 and 27.9% in 2050, compared with 12.6% in 2019.
Original Chinese of the above Caixin article - 2035年中国老年人将破3亿 专家建议推进弹性退休制_财新网_财新网 中国发展研究基金会近日发布的《中国发展报告2020：中国人口老龄化的发展趋势和政策》（下称“报告”）披露了上述数据。报告指出，中国老年人口基数庞大，增长速度快。2000~2019年间65岁及以上人口占比从7%上升至12.6%。这一比例在2035年将达到22.3%，老年人口数量将超3亿。 中国社科院世界社保研究中心主任郑秉文在6月11日的线上发布会上指出，“十三五”期间中国人口结构已发生转折，全面实施“二孩”政策，但出生人口却不升反降。虽然人口总规模仍在增长，但少子老龄化趋势更加明显。他建议加快改革目前的退休制度，完善养老保障体系。
Yicai - China's Byton Denies Plant Shutdown But Admits Times Are Rough Insiders said that the startup's plant in eastern China has been closed due to unpaid water and power bills, many Chinese media outlets reported recently. Meanwhile, thousands of employees have been working from home for four months without pay while planning on keeping the employer accountable for the salary arrears.
Yicai - Alibaba’s Logistics Provider Aims to Halve Delivery Times, President Says Cainiao Smart Logistics Network, Alibaba’s fast-delivery affiliate, plans to cut in half the time it takes to deliver packages overseas by boosting efficiency over the coming three years, according to its president.
Politics, Law and Ideology
吕德文：山东“合村并居”，一场突如其来的折腾Lv Dewen of Wuhan University wrote about the how farmers in Shandong suffered from the government’s campaign to merge villages. The villagers were forced to move into new apartment buildings with their old houses torn down, family graves destroyed. The farmers complained that the government didn’t pay much in compensation and some of them had to take on debt to renovate the apartments, where the living cost is also much higher. This article went viral on Wechat in the past days with readers saying similar things happened in not just Shandong but elsewhere in China too.
More from Lv Dewen on the campaign, which appears linked to the Xi’s poverty alleviation push - 《山东合村并居》热文作者吕德文：合村并居非山东独有 不要逼农民上楼_村庄
郑风田：“合村并居”，好事为何办坏Zheng Fengtian of Renmin University wrote in Global Times that the campaign was meant to improving the living standard of the farmers. Local governments should do better to accommodate the needs of the farmers, giving more compensation he argued, adding that this campaign should continue.
经济日报：村庄规划，好事要办好 The Economic Daily also wrote an article today urging local governments to respect the farmers in the campaign to merge villages.
What do you think of the village consolidation policy (合村并居) in Shandong? — Zhihu Digest I’m from Shandong, too, Dongming county in Heze. The same thing is happening here but they’re demolishing our houses first and then building new ones, and the compensation isn’t enough to buy a new house. Those videos of hollow bricks and the guy pushing a whole wall down that were on Douyin recently are all from [the new program in] Heze. And a new building here was knocked over by strong wind a few days ago too. I know people look down on us from Heze, but we’re really getting screwed here. We were already dirt poor to begin with, and our thinking is all backward. It’s one thing if you’re not going to do anything to help us out, but just when things were started to improve a bit we get shafted again. As soon as there’s a new policy or a little bit of opportunity, even the village mayor will be out trying to make a profit off of it. And you can forget about trying to do anything unless you wine and dine officials. Any people from Heze that go to college never come back to contribute to the development of Heze. I’ve talked about this a lot on Zhihu before and my account even got blocked for a few days. I don’t even want to read about this crap anymore. It just pisses me off.
Chinese Police Formally Arrest Dissident Who Told President to Step Down - RFA China's state security police have formally arrested dissident Xu Zhiyong for subversion after he called publicly on President Xi Jinping to resign. Xu, who has already served jail time for his spearheading of the New Citizens' Movement anti-corruption campaign, penned an open letter to Xi while in hiding following a gathering of pro-democracy activists and lawyers in December 2019, calling on him to step down.
安徽农信系统反腐震荡持续 两个月六名高管落马_金融频道_财新网 Caixin reports on a series of corruption cases involving high-level officials and executives of rural financial institutions in Anhui that is sending jitters across the province’s rural credit system, which provides the backbone of financial services for people and businesses in the countryside.
Minitrue: Delete Corruption Report on “Broker Xu Sheng” | China Digital Times (CDT) The article “Broker Xu Sheng” is a lengthy report on internal Party corruption involving an official named “Xu Sheng,” also known as Xu Kaimou, a former ranking leader at the Research Center for Strategy of Public Emotion. The report tells of the mysterious Xu, an alleged network of corruption involving provincial and national Party connections from the Central Commission for Disciplinary Inspection, an embattled politician, and his brother. After deletion, the article text and accompanying images were republished on Matters, a blockchain-based Chinese-language forum that aims to give Chinese users a way to express themselves despite censorship. Other reports on the topic have also been widely censored.
State Council issues guideline on fiscal duties in public culture - Gov.cn The State Council released a reform guideline on June 23, defining the respective fiscal powers and expenditure responsibilities of central and local governments in the field of public culture. According to the guideline, community-level public cultural facilities, including museums, memorials, public libraries, art galleries, cultural centers in local cultural relics system and national patriotic education demonstration bases, should be open for free or at low cost, and the expenditures will be the shared responsibility of central and local governments. The central government will cover 10 to 80 percent of the expenditures according to different regions. 国务院办公厅印发《公共文化领域中央与地方财政事权和支出责任划分改革方案》
June 26 is the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking so every year around this time Beijing marks it with crackdowns and statements - Xi orders continued efforts to fight drugs - Xinhua Noting the tough stance against drugs, he ordered Party committees and governments at various levels to improve the governance system on drug control and deepen international anti-drug cooperation to make greater contributions to maintaining social harmony and stability and protecting the people and their livelihoods.
[视频]习近平对禁毒工作作出重要指示强调, 坚持厉行禁毒方针, 打好禁毒人民战争, 推动禁毒工作不断取得新成效 State councilor and minister of public security Zhao Kezhi led a meeting on Tuesday awarding police officers did great job in cracking down narcotics. Xi sent a written note congratulating those awarded, urging more anti-narcotics efforts and fight a “people’s war” against drugs.
新京报：独家|多方证实演员牛萌萌吸毒系再犯，现被罚社区戒毒 Beijing News reported that in May this year, well-known actress Niu Mengmeng was caught using drugs in her apartment by Beijing police. She was detained in 2014 too for similar reason. Her career is likely over
PLA Site Attacks “Bad Domestic Media” | China Media Project The piece at China Military, “The Lightspeed Publication of “Fang Fang’s Diary” Will Only Expose the Truth About More Western “Pot Throwing, alleges that certain “bad domestic media,” principally Hu Shuli’s Caixin Media, are responsible for pushing Fang Fang’s account and making it a tool for critics of China in the West. // the article 光速出版的《方方日记》，只能暴露更多西方“甩锅”的真相 - 中国军网
Yiwu Lets Locals Check Their Partners’ Domestic Violence Records - SixthTone The city of Yiwu in the eastern Zhejiang province has introduced a landmark provision allowing residents to check their partners’ domestic violence records, China Women’s News reported Monday.
中陕核工业集团公司董事长张斌成接受审查调查——中央纪委国家监委网站 Zhang Bincheng, Party Secretary and chairman of the Sino Shaanxi Nuclear Industry Group, is under investigation
张虎任广东省委常委、政法委书记(图|简历)_中国经济网——国家经济门户 Zhang Hu is the new head of the Guangdong Politics and Law Commission
State-Owned Financial Giant Citic Group Picks New President - Caixin State-owned financial conglomerate Citic Group Corp. made Xi Guohua its new president on Tuesday, filling the vacancy left by retired Wang Jiong. The appointment marks the latest development in a fresh round of senior executive changes in the company, sources with knowledge of the matter told Caixin. Xi, 56, was previously president of state-owned carmaker China FAW Group Co. Ltd.
《新闻调查》 20200620 扫黑拔伞_CCTV CCTV news investigation of a big organized crime case in the Binjiang District of Hangzhou that was cracked last year. The protective umbrellas were in the police and the politics and law system. Interesting to watch, makes one wonder how bad it must be in smaller cities around China
人民日报：公安机关侦破跨境赌博案件257起，抓获犯罪嫌疑人11500余名 The ministry of public security said it has made more than 11 thousand arrests in a campaign beginning in February to crack down online gambling and casinos on the border with neighboring countries.
Foreign and Defense Affairs
China installs another Vatican loyalist bishop - UCA News In the second such significant incident in two weeks, China’s state-sanctioned Catholic Church has approved and installed a Vatican-appointed underground bishop at a public function. Bishop Peter Li Huiyuan of Fengxiang Diocese in landlocked Shaanxi province was installed as bishop in a June 22 ceremony overseen by Bishop Dang Mingyan, deputy secretary-general of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA).
Yet Another S. China Sea Survey by China, near Taiwan-occupied Pratas - RFA China has begun a new deep sea survey in the South China Sea, near the Taiwan-occupied feature of Pratas, ship-tracking software shows. The Hai Yang Di Zhi 9, a research and survey vessel affiliated with China’s State Oceanic Administration and China’s marine geological survey agency, entered waters approximately 40 nautical miles southwest of Pratas on June 10. Its back-and-forth path in the area since then strongly suggests it is conducting a survey.
China and Pakistan Hold Consultation on United Nations (UN) Affairs Both sides agreed that the international community should take the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN as an opportunity to send a clear message of support for multilateralism and the role of the UN, safeguard the international system with the UN at its core, and maintain the international order based on international law. China and Pakistan need to further enhance cooperation in UN multilateral affairs, and defend the common interests of both countries and developing countries.
China Reports Progress in Ultra-Secure Satellite Transmission - The New York Times Researchers enlisted quantum physics to send a “secret key” for encrypting and decrypting messages between two stations 700 miles apart.
Contract for Kenya’s China-funded railway ruled ‘illegal’ | South China Morning Post When Chinese President Xi Jinping hosted African leaders at last week’s China-Africa Summit, he singled out Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway, a multibillion-dollar Chinese-funded Belt and Road Initiative project, for helping to move cargo during the coronavirus pandemic...But the rail project has faced one setback after another, and the latest could have major implications on its future and any other projects that may follow. On Friday, a Kenyan appellate court declared the rail contract between Kenya and the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) illegal.
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on June 23, 2020 Shenzhen TV: On June 17, The American Prospect published a long report on Taiwan funding of think tanks. It disclosed that the five think tanks—the Hudson Institute, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Brookings Institution, the Center for American Progress and the Center for a New American Security received funding from the Taiwan authorities and produced policy papers pushing for expanded arms sales and trade agreements with Taiwan. Do you have any comment? Zhao Lijian: I noted relevant reports and you need to ask those US think tanks. I want to stress that the one-China principle is the political foundation of China-US relations and the universal consensus of the international community. China firmly opposes US military ties with and arms sales to Taiwan, and the signing of any trade agreement of sovereign implication between the US and Taiwanese businesses. The US should abide by the one-China principle and three China-US joint communiques and prudently and properly handle Taiwan-related issues to avoid harming China-US relations and cross-straits peace and stability. The relevant US think tanks should conduct their studies in a fair and objective manner and make more reasonable voices.
Axios China - 1 big thing: A push for Falun Gong-backed internet tools In the wake of a leadership change at the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), a small group of religious freedom advocates is trying to secure millions of dollars in funding for two internet censorship circumvention tools developed by supporters of the Falun Gong..UltraSurf and Freegate
Kiribati's pro-China leader wins re-election in blow to Taiwan - Reuters The result, confirmed to Reuters by the island nation’s High Court, came after a fierce campaign that pitted the pro-Beijing leader against ally-turned-rival Banuera Berina, who is sympathetic to Taiwan.
Yicai - Last Satellite in China’s Beidou-3 Global Navigation System Rockets Into Orbit This is also the last global networking orbiter of the Beidou-3. The deployment of the Beidou Global Satellite Navigation System constellation is thus now complete, six months ahead of schedule.
Tech and Media
China’s Tztek to Acquire German Firm to Enter Semiconductor Testing Market - Caixin Tztek Technology, a Chinese smart industrial equipment maker, has agreed to buy German semiconductor wafer test equipment supplier MueTec Automated Microscopy and Messtechnik GmbH for 18.2 million euros ($20.5 million), according to a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange Monday.
China’s Cyber Administration Punishes Live streaming sites for Spreading Vulgar Content - Pandaily The CAC said 10 leading live streaming platforms, including Bilibili, Douyu, and Tencent-backed Huya, have spread “vulgar” content and failed to effectively fulfill their corporate responsibility. These platforms have been asked to freeze main channel updates, suspend new user registrations and rectify content within a specified time frame.
Tencent Replaces Alibaba as Highest Valued Company in the HKSE as its Shares Hit Record High - Pandaily From HK$324.3 per share on March 19, Tencent’s share price has jumped more than 51%, and its market value has increased by HK$$1.4 trillion, which is equivalent to the combined value of Meituan Dianping and Xiaomi.
4th World Intelligence Congress to be held online | SCIO The 4th World Intelligence Congress (WIC), a top-level event in the field of intelligent technology, will open in north China’s Tianjin on June 23
Ep. 69: China AI with Jeff Ding - Pandaily For his talk, Jeff focuses on artificial intelligence in China, specifically, some of the “unsexy” technical applications of AI across several industries.
Ant Financial Changes Its Name to Ant Technology Group - PingWest Instead of being a technology company that is committed to bringing inclusive financial service to the world, Ant Technology Group rebranded itself as an innovative global technology provider to businesses, covering wider range of digital services including financial technology
Brawl Stars Becomes New Goldmine For Tencent's Gaming Business- PingWest Supercell’s Brawl Stars has become a new goldmine for Tencent, it has brought in USD17.5 million and 4.8 million downloads in China, where it only launched on June 9, according to data compiled by data analytic firm Sensor Tower.
Yicai - Lenovo Has Most Supercomputers in Top 500 for Two Years in a Row Chinese information technology giant Lenovo has once again dominated the latest Top500 list of supercomputers, with 180 systems, a position it has held since June 2018.
Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History
Portraits of Beijing's Homeless - Gushi In this issue we source a second story from the popular podcast Story FM. In an episode that first aired on April 27, social worker Guo Yan Yihui offers detailed sketches of four of her homeless clients, a diverse cast of characters who took different paths to a life on the streets of the Chinese capital.
Energy, Environment, Science and Health
Two Hour Time Limit for KTV: China's Latest Covid-19 Measures Draw Online Criticism | What's on Weibo On June 22nd, China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism (文旅部) issued an adjusted version to earlier published guidelines on Covid-19-related prevention and control measures for theaters, internet cafes, and other indoor entertainment venues. Some of the added regulations have become big news on Chinese social media today. According to the latest guidelines, it will not be allowed for Chinese consumers to stay at various entertainment locations and wangba for more than two hours
China’s energy law could help address the Belt and Road’s climate impact | China Dialogue A priority of the draft energy law is improving the regulation of energy exports and imports, including the management and import of “clean” and “advanced” energy technologies. But the bill falls short on exports, as there are no provisions for the screening of fossil fuel products or technologies. This means the bill does not address the “carbon leakage” resulting from China’s export and support of coal technologies and products.
Yicai - Chinese Medical Qualifications to Be Recognized Worldwide, Ministry Says China has been granted an ‘unconditional pass’ from the global medical education standards body to have medical degrees issued by the country’s institutions of higher learning recognized globally, the Ministry of Education said today...The MOE has already completed the review process of 106 schools of medicine, around three quarters of the country’s total, Wu said. The next step is to review the remainder, and to expand the coverage to include other specializations such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, stomatology and nursing. The aim is also to achieve a fully recognized licensing of TCM that can help to promote its global growth.
E-Commerce Giant Taobao Steps Into China’s Online Education Market - Caixin Taobao, an e-commerce platform owned by Alibaba, is seeking to penetrate China’s already crowded online tutoring market with a massive plan aimed at connecting more than 1,000 online education service providers with 100 million new students over the next three years.