Biden wants a united front; Hong Kong jail sentences; Xianzi’s 弦子 day in court; Danke mess

In an interview with New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, President-elect Biden said he would not immediately remove Trump’s China tariffs - Joe Biden Interview: 'We’re Going to Fight Like Hell' - The New York Times

On China, he said he would not act immediately to remove the 25 percent tariffs that Trump imposed on about half of China’s exports to the United States — or the Phase 1 agreement Trump inked with China that requires Beijing to purchase some $200 billion in additional U.S. goods and services during the period 2020 and 2021 — which China has fallen significantly behind on.

“I’m not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs,” he said. “I’m not going to prejudice my options.”

He first wants to conduct a full review of the existing agreement with China and consult with our traditional allies in Asia and Europe, he said, “so we can develop a coherent strategy.”

“The best China strategy, I think, is one which gets every one of our — or at least what used to be our — allies on the same page. It’s going to be a major priority for me in the opening weeks of my presidency to try to get us back on the same page with our allies.”

Building a “united front” on China will not be easy, but it will be a lot easier in 2021 than it would have been in 2019 given the pandemic and the PRC's behavior over the last year. Such a united front is something that could cause Xi and his CCP real problems. They know that and have been trying to forestall it, but somehow the diplomats who have armed their minds with Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy seem to be flailing at their attempts, at least among traditional US allies.

One PRC diplomat who has performed meritorious service, but for the US and its allies, is Zhao Lijian. More Australian allies have issued statements of support after Zhao’s tweet earlier this week, including both the Trump Administration and the incoming National Security Advisor for the Biden Administration:

Today’s Essential Eight:

  1. Australia-China

  2. Hong Kong jail sentences

  3. Xianzi’s 弦子 day in court

  4. US-China

  5. “Ideological Security in the Framework of the Overall National Security Outlook”

  6. Analysis of the Central Committee Work Regulations

  7. Moon landing

  8. The Danke mess

Thanks for reading.


The Essential Eight

1. Australia-China

UK and US lock in behind Australia in China row | The Guardian

The British government has vowed to stand with Australia to “protect our key interests and values” and push back at “disinformation” amid a deepening rift in Canberra’s relationship with Beijing.

The American ambassador to Australia also accused a Chinese foreign ministry official of spreading “disinformation through fabricated images and disingenuous statements” about Australia.

Kevin Rudd on Australia-China relations — ABC

Labor abandons unity on China - The Australian

Anthony Albanese, describing the publication of a fake image of an Australian soldier holding a knife to an Afghan child’s throat as “disgusting and offensive”, warned the federal government it needed to “work on the relationship” with China.

It was “extraordinary” that senior ministers were unable to reach their counterparts in Beijing, the Opposition Leader said.

Mr Albanese’s comments — and talking points suggesting Labor MPs criticise “inflammatory” government rhetoric — came as US ambassador to Australia Arthur Culvahouse Jr called on China to “follow Australia’s example” by opening up to outside scrutiny.

Who is arrogant in the cartoon dispute?: Global Times editorial - Global Times

Generally speaking, China is quite cautious and takes into consideration the feelings of the US and its allies in rhetoric. But why do Chinese officials have to mind their words each and every time and prioritize the feelings of the other side? Given the increasingly hostile and radical attitude toward China by countries like the US and Australia, Chinese officials might as well go straightforward and hit their sore spots.

Since they have adopted a fiercer attitude toward China, countries such as the US and Australia must be prepared to face the justifiably unfriendly reaction of the Chinese people.

The original of that Global Times Editorial - 社评:一幅漫画惹出风波,谁是蛮横的一方

中国总体上说话挺谨慎、挺照顾美国及其盟友感受的。但凭什么中国官员每一次说话都需反复掂量,要把对方不会“受不了”作为优先考量呢?算了吧,在美澳等国对华态度越来越恶劣、激进的时候,我们的官员不妨在有些时候就率性一些,直戳对方的痛处,这是“来而不往非礼也”的应有平衡。

既然美澳等的对华态度越来越凶狠,他们就要准备面对中国人有对他们越来越多不客气的回应

Chinese Embassy responds to French criticism of tweet on Australian troops' killing of Afghan civilians - CGTN

China's embassy in Paris on Wednesday called on France not to violate human conscience by accusing those who blame war atrocities on the torture and killing of civilians as "prejudiced."

The embassy was responding to comments made by the French Foreign Ministry regarding a tweet by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian about Australian troops' killing of Afghan civilians.

Beijing controls Chinese-language media agencies in Australia, says intel agency - Sydney Morning Herald

Australia's peak intelligence agency has warned the federal government that the Chinese Communist Party covertly controls sections of Chinese-language media in Australia as part of its foreign interference and influence operation.

The Office of National Intelligence has confidentially briefed the government that many of Australia's most popular Chinese-language news outlets have been co-opted by Beijing to advance China's strategic interests.

Chinese language media attacks Scott Morrison over Twitter controversy - Sydney Morning Herald

Chinese-language media outlets in Australia have ridiculed Prime Minister Scott Morrison over his reaction to a fabricated image tweeted this week by Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry official Zhao Lijian.

Social media platform WeChat censors Scott Morrison's post directed at Chinese community - ABC News

On Wednesday, the WeChat post was no longer accessible.

A message from the social media platform was displayed in its place. It said the post was "involving the use of words, pictures, videos" that would "incite, mislead, and violate objective facts, fabricating social hot topics, distorting historical events, and confusing the public".

Comment: another reminder of the lack of reciprocity as the PRC uses American social media platforms to prosecute its global information "struggle 斗争"

Bill Bishop @niubi
In case anyone thinks it is an exaggeration to call this a global information struggle, look how Hu Xijin describes it to his 24 million Weibo followers
weibo.com/huxijin?ssl_rn…

Bill Bishop @niubi

Social media platform WeChat censors Scott Morrison's post directed at Chinese community https://t.co/T2NSSilTb6 another reminder of the lack of reciprocity as the PRC uses American social media platforms to prosecute its global information "struggle斗争"

2. Hong Kong jail sentences

Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow, Ivan Lam are sent to prison over Hong Kong democracy protests - The Washington Post

The activists, all in their 20s, had pleaded guilty to leading, inciting and participating in a protest around the Hong Kong police headquarters last year, during the early stages of what became the biggest uprising against Communist Party rule on Chinese soil since 1989.

It is the fourth stint in prison for Wong, 24, who as a teenager became a symbol of the former British colony’s democracy movement and its struggle to preserve its promised freedoms and autonomy from Beijing’s authoritarianism...

Chow, who turns 24 on Thursday, sobbed as she learned she would serve 10 months — her first stint in prison — and her supporters in the courtroom broke down in tears.

Other charges against Wong and Chow could extend their time in custody. Chow was recently arrested under Beijing’s new national security law for allegedly inciting secession, punishable by life in prison.

Sentence of Joshua Wong, fellow HK secessionists rings bell for HK youngsters - Global Times

"The verdict shows progress in Hong Kong's judicial practice, which has shown a tendency toward over-light sentencing, but is now showing legal deterrence to secessionists," Tian Feilong, a Hong Kong affairs expert at Beihang University in Beijing, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"Hong Kong judges are beginning to realize the importance of public order, and they are no longer simply allowing rioters to undermine the rule of law," Tian said.

Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam Are Sentenced in Hong Kong - The New York Times

Claudia Mo, a former lawmaker in Hong Kong from the pro-democracy camp, called the sentences “very saddening, but not unexpected.”

“All these judicial prosecutions amount to persecution of our young,” she said. “They’re using Joshua Wong as an iconic figure in particular to issue this chilling message.”

反中乱港分子黄之锋获刑,周庭痛哭 华春莹用一句话回应_腾讯新闻

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying smiled and responded in one sentence: "I don't think this is a diplomatic issue."

外交部发言人华春莹微笑着,用一句话回应:“我想这不是外交问题吧。”

Jimmy Lai charged with fraud, to appear in court on Thursday - CGTN

Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, Apple Daily and media group Next Digital founder, was charged with fraud on Wednesday night in China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and will appear in West Kowloon Court Thursday morning. Two other senior executives from Next Digital were also charged with fraud.

Lai was denied bail and is expected to be detained overnight, his lawyer said when leaving Mong Kok Police Station.

The three stand accused of breaching land-lease terms by using Next Digital's office space in Tseung Kwan O to provide company secretarial services


3. Xianzi’s 弦子 day in court

Chinese #MeToo pioneer Zhou Xiaoxhuan gets her day in court as she sues TV host Zhu Jun for allegedly sexually harrassing her | South China Morning Post

A sexual harassment case that has been hailed as a pioneering moment for China’s #MeToo movement in China opened in Beijing on Wednesday attracting hundreds of supporters for the plaintiff.

Zhou Xiaoxuan, 27, is suing Zhu Jun, a prominent television host whom she accuses of forcibly kissing her in 2014. She is demanding a public apology from Zhu and 50,000 yuan (US$7,600) in damages.

Zhou’s case is being closely watched as it followed the passage of China’s first Civil Code in May, which provided an expanded definition of sexual harassment and greater protection for victims.

Zhou, who is better known by her nickname Xianzi, alleged that Zhu harassed her when she worked as an intern for state broadcaster CCTV six years ago.

Silence! The Xianzi Versus Zhu Jun Court Case Has Begun | What's on Weibo

After Xianzi’s story gained widespread attention, Zhu Jun did not only deny all accusations, he also proceeded to sue Xianzi for damaging his reputation and for inflicting emotional distress, demanding a compensation of 655,000 yuan ($99,800). In October 2018, Xianzi filed a sexual misconduct lawsuit against the TV host and is asking for a public apology as well as 50,000 yuan ($7600) in damages.

As the court case was ongoing on Tuesday afternoon, Weibo feeds were filling up with people showing their support for Xianzi, even though the hashtag page for “Go Xianxi” (#弦子加油#) was taken offline.

Background from 2019 by Zhou Na: The Face of China’s #MeToo Movement Enters the Fray | ChinaFile

In the summer of 2014, Zhou Xiaoxuan, then a 21-year-old living in Beijing, filed a report with the local police. She described what had happened the previous day when she had delivered a basket of fruit to one of China’s most prominent news anchors, Zhu Jun, in his dressing room. Zhou told the police that after she entered the room, the anchor had kissed her and groped her against her will. Two days later, the police contacted Zhou’s parents and persuaded them not to pursue action against Zhu and to not speak about the incident publicly. Zhou told friends what had happened to her, but the encounter—as do so many like it—remained a private matter, something for Zhou to contend with on her own.

Some scenes from outside the courthouse:


4. US-China

U.S. House seen approving bill blocking Chinese firms from U.S. markets | Reuters

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to pass legislation this week that could prevent some Chinese companies from listing their shares on U.S. exchanges unless they adhere to U.S. auditing standards, congressional aides said.

China Has One Powerful Friend Left in the U.S.: Wall Street - WSJ $$

In February 2018, Beijing’s chief trade negotiator was in Washington to try to avert a trade war. Before meeting his U.S. counterparts, he turned to a select group of American business executives—mostly from Wall Street.

“We need your help,” Vice Premier Liu He told guests gathered in a hotel near the White House, according to people with knowledge of the matter. They included BlackRock BLK 0.27% Chief Executive Larry Fink, David Solomon, then Goldman Sachs Group’s second-in-command, and JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon, there as chairman of the Business Roundtable lobbying group.

Looking for allies in trade talks with the Trump administration, Mr. Liu dangled a prize, the people say: Beijing offered to give U.S. financial firms a new opportunity to expand in China...

Even after the January trade deal gave Wall Street what it had long sought for, China’s financial markets remain highly regulated and Beijing still holds the key to who gets in. Whether the incoming Biden administration will help is an open question. Senior Biden advisers say they want to de-emphasize financial firms’ access to the Chinese market in trade talks. “Why, for example should it be a U.S. negotiating priority to open China’s financial system for Goldman Sachs?” said Jake Sullivan, who has been tapped for national security adviser, in an article he co-wrote earlier this year.

Joe Biden considers appointing a White House tsar for Asia | Financial Times $$

The tsar role is one of several ideas being considered by Jake Sullivan, the incoming national security adviser. Any move would reflect how US-China relations have become more complicated and tense during the presidency of Donald Trump and since Mr Biden left his position as vice-president four years ago. It would also highlight the challenges Washington and its allies face dealing with an increasing assertive China.

Chinese state-backed funds invest in US tech despite Washington curbs | Financial Times $$

Chinese state-backed funds are still scouring the US for investments in critical technologies despite stiffer restrictions on such deals, prompting bipartisan concern in Washington over the national security implications.

Pixelworks, Black Sesame Technologies and LightIC Technologies, three companies in the sensitive US semiconductor sector, have attracted investment in recent months from some of China’s so-called government-guided funds.

这里有一份写给美国的短电报_风闻

Eric X. Li's speech at his Guan Media panel he moderated with Hu Xijin, Shen Yi and Wang Xianghui. The panel was "2020之后,中国该如何应对中美新格局 After 2020, how should China respond to the new pattern of China and the United States". Li styled his speech as a "short telegram" to America. Did Li finally give up his US citizenship?

Commentary: Reviving McCarthyism or building greatness, a choice for Uncle Sam to make - Xinhua

Certain U.S. law enforcement officers have repeatedly raided crew members of Chinese ships and airliners, questioning and inspecting their Communist Party of China (CPC) membership. Such anti-communism actions represent a resurgence of McCarthyism and will eventually backfire.

The erroneous acts have incited ideological antagonism and undermined normal personnel exchanges between China and the United States.

Four decades ago, when the Cold War was at its peak, leaders of China and the United States managed to set aside ideological differences and normalized bilateral ties. The U.S. side was clear that the CPC, which was founded in 1921, was the governing party of China...

Attempts to drive a wedge between the CPC and the Chinese people are wasted efforts on the part of certain U.S. politicians. They should refrain from doing more to mar the basic norms governing international relations and undermine their country's reputation, credibility and status as a major power.

Commissioner's office of Chinese foreign ministry in HKSAR strongly opposes U.S. report - Xinhua

The Office of the Commissioner of the Chinese Foreign Ministry in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) expressed Wednesday firm opposition against the latest annual report of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission that interferes in Hong Kong affairs, China's internal affairs.

The report is full of bias and applies double standards, a spokesperson of the office said in a statement.

The spokesperson said the report heaps abuses on China's moves to safeguard national security but ignores that the United States has long abused the concept of national security.

US, China should address trade gap, humanity’s shared challenges like coronavirus and climate change, former trade envoy Long Yongtu says | South China Morning Post

The United States and China should relaunch their biannual strategic and economic dialogues (SEDs) when president-elect Joe Biden takes office in January to discuss five issues: their trade gap, protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), end of discriminatory policies against specific companies, the coronavirus pandemic and climate change, said former trade vice-minister Long Yongtu.


5. “Ideological Security in the Framework of the Overall National Security Outlook”

Another valuable translation in CSIS’ ongoing series of translations

Ideological Security as National Security | Center for Strategic and International Studies

Since Xi’s April 2014 speech outlining his Overall National Security Outlook (discussed below), “national security” has become not just a way of conceptualizing risk to the nation-state, but rather a highly expansionist political-ideological construct that has come to subsume nearly all elements of policymaking and political considerations. Rather than place “national security” in separate conceptual, policy, and bureaucratic silos from, for instance, economic development, the new Overall National Security Outlook seeks to fuse these elements so that economics, culture, technology, governance, and the like would all be seen as both critical inputs and successful outputs of an updated view of national security...

The translated essay below explores one of the proliferating components of Xi’s Overall National Security Outlook: ideology. Written by Tang Aijun, a researcher at the CCP Central Party School, the lengthy essay takes critical aim at “the West” for seeking to “subvert” the CCP’s hold on power through propagating “neoliberalism” and “universal values” such as democracy and the rule of law. While this ground has been covered in translations before, most notably in the 2013 “Communiqué on the Current State of the Ideological Sphere,” Tang’s piece offers important insights into how Beijing views official ideology as a cohering mechanism to overcome political pluralism and the forces of diversification. Finally, Tang offers suggestions for how Beijing might create a system of “ideological risk early-warning mechanisms” to help identify and eradicate discourse and ideas deemed detrimental to regime security.

In Washington, scholars, experts, and policymakers still debate whether the United States and China are in an ideological competition. There is no such debate in Beijing.


6. Analysis of the Central Committee Work Regulations

Comment: As I commented in the October 12 Newsletter about these regulations: "This sure does not sound like there is going to be a new General Secretary or "core" just two years from now at the 20th Party Congress". I read them to be very clearly part of the groundwork laying for Xi to be running the show for as long as he likes…

New Regulations for the Central Committee: Codifying Xi Era Democratic Centralism - Holly Snape - China Law Translate

In autumn 2020 a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Politburo meeting approved a new set of Central Committee Work Regulations (CCWR). As I’ve argued elsewhere,[3] the very fact that these Regulations could be approved by the Politburo, not a National Party Congress, reflects a tampering with institutionalised apportioning of power at the top. Here I focus on an element of the CCWR that further alters the dynamics of power relations at the pinnacle of the CCP, this time by modifying a fundamental principle that underpins Party rule.

In its General Provisions the CCWR states principles that the Central Committee (CC) must uphold. They include the exercise of “correct, effective centralism” (Art. 4.5). This cements a change in democratic centralism at the apex of power—a change that was prefaced by amendments to the Party Charter’s General Program at the 19th National Party Congress in 2017. Altering democratic centralism—the Party’s fundamental organizational principle—is no small matter. As Guo Sujian has explained, “so critical is [democratic centralism’s] role in the exercise of power that one cannot really understand the operation of the Leninist party-state without considering [its] key characteristics.”[4] The CCWR substantively alters those key characteristics. Further, by operationalizing the “strategically ambiguous”[5] concept of the “Party Centre” (党中央), the CCWR maximizes the flexibility with which New Era democratic centralism can be used at the top to manipulate the dynamics of decision-making...

The Charter’s General Program used to read: “…practice correct centralism, ensuring the unanimity of the whole Party’s actions, ensuring the Party’s decisions receive rapid, effective implementation.”[49] It now reads (with the addition italicized):

… practice correct centralism, firmly establishing political consciousness, big-picture consciousness, core consciousness, [and] keeping-in-line consciousness, [and] resolutely protecting the authority and centralist unified leadership of the Party Centre with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, ensuring the unanimity of the whole Party’s actions, ensuring the Party’s decisions receive rapid, effective implementation.[50]

This, I believe, alters the nature of democratic centralism, confining debate to what people governed by this principle perceive to be in line with the Party Centre-with-Xi-at-its-core. Since this change, to avoid breaking Party discipline, all discussion must be limited within the boundaries of “core consciousness” and “protecting the authority and centralist unified leadership of the Party Centre with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core.” This is what sketches out the boundaries of legitimate debate. Views that tiptoe beyond that definition are in contravention of Party discipline.


7. Moon landing

China’s Chang’e 5 enters crucial 48 hours of its mission after moon landing | South China Morning Post

Space exploration is full of drama. On Tuesday, the very day that China’s Chang’e 5 spacecraft landed on the moon and started gathering the first lunar rock samples in over 40 years, the giant radio dish collapsed at the Arecibo Observatory, a legendary icon of American ambitions to conquer deep space.

“Congratulations to the China National Space Administration,” the European Space Agency (ESA) tweeted. The ESA also retweeted the news about Arecibo, the radio telescope in Puerto Rico that the United States last month decided to withdraw from service after more than half a century of operation...

“We must be clear that China is still behind the US in many areas [including space],” Professor Wu Xuebing, director of the department of astronomy at Peking University, said. “But we hope to catch up one day.”

Watch the Moon Landing of China’s Chang’e-5 Spacecraft - The New York Times

China released video footage on Wednesday showing the arrival of its Chang’e-5 robotic spacecraft on the moon’s surface. Racing across a landscape sprinkled with craters on Tuesday, the camera pauses momentarily before a breathtaking fall begins. An instant later, a splash of moon dust and a shadow of the lander signaled that the probe’s touchdown was a success.

“Very precise and exciting landing, right in the middle of the most important geologic unit in the broader Chang’e 5 candidate landing region,” James W. Head III, a geological science professor at Brown University, said in an email. Dr. Head collaborated with Chinese scientists on where the mission should go to gather rocks and soil to bring back to Earth.


8. The Danke mess

After Landlords and Tenants Demand Cash From Rental Giant, Workers Join the Fray - Caixin Global

With a business model based on rental arbitrage that has been compared to WeWork, the money-losing firm is accused of failing to make monthly and quarterly payments to the landlords from whom it rents properties, even after it encouraged tenants to pay rent up front using long-term loans from a partner bank, and invested the difference.

The upshot, according to security staff at Danke’s Beijing headquarters, is that some 300 disgruntled landlords and tenants have been showing up each day demanding overdue rent, refunds and compensation...

It comes as landlords continue to try to evict their tenants by cutting off electricity and water or changing the locks on their apartments. One tenant renting a Danke apartment in Beijing’s Chaoyang district told Caixin the landlord had removed the apartment’s front door one night in an attempted eviction, despite police on the scene advising the landlord not to.

One landlord who visited Danke headquarters on Nov. 27 told Caixin that people had to queue to get a position on the complaint registration waitlist. Local governments and Danke have jointly set up 35 registration stations across the 12 districts in Beijing for people to list their issues.

Comment: There are a lot of companies in this business. A friend in Beijing got screwed by a smaller firm doing this last year. The tenant had paid the company, but the company ran out of cash and so did not pay my friend the owner. A bunch of landlords were in the same position, they ultimately decided not to sue because the company had no assets, and instead just ate several months of unpaid rent.

State media wield big stick at broken Eggshell [Danke], China's WeWork for flats - Pekingnology

Complementing Eggshell’s business model of rental arbitrage, and now the eye of the storm, is its introduction of bank loans. Tenants are enticed by hefty discounts from Eggshell if they sign up for a loan with its partner bank, which collects repayment, like a mortgage, monthly after paying the sum of the entire lease to Eggshell. On the other hand, Eggshell pays landlords on shorter terms, and the balance is often used to expand its business elsewhere.

By all accounts, an overzealous expansion paired with low occupancy rates, especially fewer new tenants in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, has dried up Eggshell’s funds. That means while tenants have to continue paying back the bank loan, landlords can’t get the rents in whole from Eggshell, leading to disputes. Some landlords have tried to evict tenants, who are now protesting both online and offline - in the harsh winter weather.

It’s unclear how many have been affected by Eggshell’s bust, but a China’s Youth Daily story quoted an employee as saying that in the Beijing market alone, Eggshell rents from about 40,000 landlords and services over 110,000 tenants.

16万蛋壳租户使用租金贷 2023年底前微众银行不会扣款计息_财新网_财新网

Comment: WeBank says it will give Danke tenants who borrowed from the bank to pay Danke a holiday on repayments until the end of 2023. Regulators all over this mess to prevent it from spreading into a social stability event, hard to see how the Danke execs don't end up in jail

Yicai - Chinese Online Rental Realtor Ziroom Stops Offering New Loans to Graduates

Leading Chinese long-term apartment rental platform Ziroom Life Enterprise Management will no longer offer new loans to university graduates, China News reported today, raising alarm bells that it might be getting into financial difficulties like its rival Danke Apartment.


Business, Economy and Trade

Exclusive: Probe of Failed Baoshang Bank Shifts Focus to Top Executives - Caixin A task force set up recently to focus on identifying individuals responsible for the lender’s problems has interviewed more than 100 employees and conducted detailed investigations of more than 10 top executives, over half of whom have been detained, the sources said. Li Xianping, former Communist Party secretary and chairman of the board of supervisors of Baoshang Bank, is one of the key figures under investigation and has been handed over to the police, Caixin has learned from sources with knowledge of the matter. A source inside the bank said that Li was found to have more than 10 properties in Beijing with a combined value running into hundreds of millions of yuan. Wang Huiping, 56, a former president, turned herself in to the police, the sources said.

李克强主持召开国务院常务会议-新华网 In a state council meeting chaired by Li Keqiang, the Chinese Premier reiterated his government's commitment to foreign trade. Most notably, he said there must be no restrictions imposed on foreign investment in China outside the official negative list.

China to step up RCEP trade pact implementation - Xinhua More work should be done to uphold free trade and open up new space for win-win cooperation, according to a statement released Wednesday after a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang. The meeting, urging domestic work to ensure RCEP implementation, called for coordinated efforts to promote the opening-up of trade in goods and services, investment and other fields, along with higher standards and rules for trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, intellectual property protection, e-commerce, as well as economic and technological cooperation.

Encryption first target of China's new export restriction law - Nikkei Asia Encryption technology and chips for ensuring data security are among the first areas subject to China's new export control law, while rare-earth minerals were not included. The initial list, announced Wednesday by China's Ministry of Commerce and customs authorities, includes equipment and services that use commercial encryption geared toward such fields as electric utilities and finance. The restrictions will apply starting Jan. 1.

The list - 商务部 国家密码管理局 海关总署公告2020年第63号 关于发布商用密码进口许可清单、出口管制清单和相关管理措施的公告

社科院县域经济发展报告:GDP超千亿县市增至32个 _ 经济参考网 _ 新华社《经济参考报》官方网站 According to a new report from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the number of Chinese countries with an annual GDP of $ 15 bn and above has reached 32.

深圳“代持炒房” 官方介入调查-北京青年报 Housing authorities in Shenzhen are investigating speculative investment in real estate in the city.

China rating agencies stand by SOEs despite default spree | Financial Times $$ Just five Chinese companies out of more than 5,000 have been downgraded to below double A ratings by domestic rating agencies since Yongcheng Coal and Electricity Holding Group, one of the country’s largest coal groups, kicked off a spate of defaults last month, according to data provider Wind.

China Default Fears Curb Year-End Sales of New Dollar Bonds - Bloomberg Chinese companies issued $9.9 billion of new dollar bonds in November, the lowest in seven months and down 52% from October’s total, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The decline accelerated last week, when just $660 million was sold, the smallest amount since May.

Exclusive: Defaulting Coal Miner’s Debt Restructuring Plan Faces Creditor Backlash Coal miner Wintime Energy Co. Ltd. on Monday released a debt-for-equity swap proposal as part of its draft restructuring plan which has faced a significant creditor backlash, knowledgeable sources told Caixin. As of Nov. 22, a total of 714 creditors had reported that Wintime owed them 49.8 billion yuan ($7.6 billion), according to Wintime’s filing (link in Chinese) with the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

China’s former trade chief hits out at ‘groundless’ claims country cannot join CPTPP | South China Morning Post Long Yongtu, who helped negotiate China’s entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO), pointed to the strong state sectors of current member nations to suggest China, should it “accelerate SOE reform”, could also become eligible for the Pacific Rim trade pact abandoned by Donald Trump in his first week in office.

Opinion: China Might Be Able to Reform Its Way Out of SOE Restrictions in CPTPP Trade Pact - Caixin Zhang Chunlin is lead private sector development specialist at the World Bank Group’s Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice - The Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade agreement, while containing rather strict disciplinary requirements for state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in its Chapter 17, also limits their scope in several ways. In addition to the exceptions and exemptions, the definition of SOEs is an important part of the delimitation of the scope of application. If China continues stepping up its efforts to reform SOEs in fully competitive sectors, the number of enterprises that meet the CPTPP’s definition of SOEs could be reduced dramatically.

‘Painful’ exit of Chinese member leaves WTO appeals body without a judge and trade dispute cases in limbo | South China Morning Post Zhao Hong finished her term as a member of the Appellate Body with parting words that an ‘existential crisis’ loomed for the WTO

Xiaomi's Record Doesn't Justify the $4 Billion IPO Sequel Investors Are Buying - Bloomberg Now the company, which also sells rice cookers and watches, has just unloaded 1 billion shares, worth $3.1 billion. Investors seem none too impressed. The stock had a record 12% intraday decline when trading resumed in the afternoon session in Hong Kong, and closed down 7.1%.

US-blacklisted Hikvision zooms in on COVID tracking demand - Nikkei Asia Hikvision and Dahua Technology, China's two leading manufacturers of surveillance cameras, have quickly recovered from a revenue hit caused by U.S. sanctions as demand grows from corporations adopting measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Orders jumped for cameras equipped with infrared sensors and powered by artificial intelligence. Not only do the surveillance systems track movement of employees, they also perform temperature checks at the entrances of factories and offices.

China to build new production base for solid rockets - Xinhua Chinese rocket manufacturer, China Rocket Co., Ltd., and the municipal government of Haiyang in east China's Shandong Province signed a contract Wednesday pledging to build a 163-hectare production base for solid-propellant rockets. The base will be able to produce 20 solid rockets annually, including Smart Dragon series carrier rockets, upon its completion, according to the company.

Yicai - No End in Sight to China’s Chronic Container Shortage, Soaring Freight Rates, Insiders Say China is suffering a great dearth of shipping containers due to a big imbalance in global trade, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has led to containers full of goods leaving China and then not returning. This in turn has jacked up the price of transport. There is no sign of the situation improving in the short term, industry insiders have said.


Politics and Law

胡锡进遭《环球时报》副总编辑实名举报,回应:完全是诬陷 Deputy Editor of the Global Times files a report with the CCDI claiming that Hu Xijin had children out of wedlock with two Global Times employees, then posts the report online. Hu responds by denying it, implies the woman has mental issues.

Hu Xijin's response - 胡锡进对“有两个私生子”举报的回应

Xi Jinping's New Book: "Our Red Country Will Never Change Its Color" - Bitter Winter The new book, “On the Party’s Propaganda and Ideological Work” (Beijing:  Institute of Party History and Documentation of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, 2020) collects 52 texts by Xi on Marxist ideology and propaganda from August 19, 2013 to February 23, 2020...Xi clarifies that, contrary to certain accusations, Marxist ideology and propaganda are not ancillary to modern Chinese geopolitical goals. Actually, it is the other way round. The main aim of the CCP is “the long-term development of Marxist propaganda and ideological work.” If they are not at the center of CCP activities, something is wrong. Some, Xi notes, believe that today the main battlefield is the Internet. They are right, and “the Internet is at the forefront of the current ideological struggle.” However, Internet should be used to spread the Marxist ideology, and the medium should not change the message.

'Wolf warrior' artist turns new chapter in Chinese propaganda artwork | Reuters “There’re too many cases where comics are used to smear China - from the Hong Kong protests last year to the COVID-19 epidemic at the start of the year and to Western countries passing the buck to China and asking for compensation (over COVID-19), I’ve seen countless examples,” Wuheqilin told Guancha.cn, a nationalistic media outlet, in June. “One of the responsibilities of artwork and artists is to promote and export ideology... Especially during this special period when the West is using their say to press hard on China.”

Beijing Drops Plan to Criminalize Criticism of Chinese Medicine - Caixin Beijing on Friday approved a municipal regulation on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) without controversial sections that would have made defaming the practice a crime. The removal of these clauses came after the draft regulation drew sharp criticism while open for public consultation, with legal experts arguing the capital city was exceeding its authority in criminalizing criticism of TCM.

两省长进京履新国务院组成部门党组书记_人事风向_澎湃新闻-The Paper Tang Renjian moves from Gansu governor to Party Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and the head of the office of the Central Rural Work Small Leading Group, replacing Han Changfu. Han is 66, Tang is 56.

黑龙江省长王文涛进京履新,任商务部党组书记 Wang Wentao moves from Heilongjiang governor to Party Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, replacing Zhong Nanshan. Zhong is 65, Wang is 56. Wang has spent his career in Shanghai, Yunnan, Jiangxi, Shandong and Heilongjiang.

建设更高水平的平安中国(学习贯彻党的十九届五中全会精神)--时政--人民网 Building a higher level of Peaceful China (studying and implementing the spirit of the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee). Politburo member and Secretary of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission Guo Shengkun writes about the 5th Plenum and his area of responsibility in the Wednesday People's Daily

政法队伍教育整顿永远在路上--法制网 "Chen Yixin emphasized at the summary meeting of the national political and legal team education and rectification pilot work - the education and rectification of the political and legal team will always be on the road". It is necessary to adhere to the guidance of Xi Jinping's new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics, fully implement Xi Jinping's thought of rule of law, prepare to open the curtain of education and rectification of the national political and legal team, accelerate the revolutionization, regularization, specialization and professionalization of the political and legal team, and strive to build a political and legal iron army that can be trusted, reliable and assured by the party and the people. 陈一新强调,试点工作虽然告一段落,但政法队伍教育整顿永远在路上。要坚持以习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想为指导,全面贯彻习近平法治思想,准备开启全国政法队伍教育整顿大幕,加快推进政法队伍革命化、正规化、专业化、职业化建设,努力打造一支党和人民信得过、靠得住、能放心的政法铁军。

陈一新:政法队伍教育整顿试点工作圆满收官!为全国铺开做好了充分准备-中国长安网 A much longer readout of Chen Yixin's comments at the summing up of the pilot phase of the rectification campaign

China achieves remarkable progress in reforming social governance = People's Daily App A mediation department includes respected CPC representatives of the National People's Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), CPC veterans, veteran cadres and entrepreneurs. This is dubbed the "Fengqiao experience.” Zhejiang Province's Fengqiao township was promoted in the 1960s for its community-level social governance. Nowadays this model is still promoted as exemplary in social dispute resolution. The "Fengqiao experience" is also held in high regard by Xi.

《军事科技》 20201201 亮眼警博新装备 上集_CCTV节目官网-CCTV-7_央视网(cctv.com) 26 minute CCTV report on the 10th China International Police Equipment Expo....lots of new gear, including drones and robots

Top political advisor stresses stronger sense of community for Chinese nation - Xinhua Wang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, made the remarks during a seminar on the subject. Wang said continuous research is necessary to understand the significance of forging a strong sense of community for the Chinese nation, figure out the history of exchanges and interactions among different ethnic groups, identify the weak links in theories and practice, and develop guiding thoughts and measures to address the problems. During the discussion, participants proposed to improve the teaching of standard Chinese, promote the protection and inheritance of ethnic culture, and let various religions play their due roles in forging a strong sense of community for the Chinese nation // [视频]汪洋出席全国政协民宗委主题协商座谈会_CCTV


Foreign and Defense Affairs

在党的旗帜下铸牢军魂——全军坚持用习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想和习近平强军思想铸魂育人综述 - 中华人民共和国国防部 Xinhua - Casting the soul of the army under the banner of the party-a summary of the whole army's insistence on casting the soul and educating people with Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics for a New Era and Xi Jinping Thought on Strengthening the Military // Why publish this long piece today? Is there another meeting, like an extended CMC meeting, coming up?

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on December 2, 2020 Global Times: According to a recent US CDC study, COVID-19 has been circulating in the US perhaps as early as December 2019. It means the finding of the first COVID-19 case in the U.S. is now one month earlier. Many Chinese netizens thus believe that China is the "whistleblower" for the whole world. What is your comment? Hua Chunying: We've recently read many reports on the virus breaking out in multiple places worldwide last year. It proves again that tracing the origin of the novel coronavirus is a scientific task that must be taken very seriously. It calls for scientists to carry out investigation and research worldwide. China has been in close communication and cooperation with the WHO on this issue. We hope that all countries will do the same as China does and actively cooperate with the WHO so that we can better prevent similar public health crises from occurring, and be better prepared to deal with a similar crisis when it does occur.

Chinese foreign minister to attend UN special session on COVID-19 - Xinhua Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend a special session of the United Nations General Assembly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying announced on Wednesday. The session will be held Thursday and Friday. Wang, as the special envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping, will attend the general debate and give a speech via video link, according to Hua

Xi sends congratulations to UN meeting marking Int'l Day of Solidarity with Palestinian People - Xinhua In his message, Xi pointed out that the Palestinian issue, as a root problem in the Middle East, bears on regional peace and stability, on international equity and justice, and on human conscience and morality. To realize peaceful coexistence as neighbors between Palestine and Israel is not only a dream of the Palestinian and Israeli people for generations, but also a sincere hope of all nations in the region as well as the international community, Xi said.

China, Russia to expand economic, energy and agriculture cooperation - Global Times In continuation of a quarter-century tradition, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin held the 25th regular meeting between Chinese and Russian heads of government via video conference on Wednesday, where the two leaders called for closer coordination and cooperation in many areas, including bilateral trade. In particular, the two countries are seeking breakthroughs in cooperation in agriculture, energy and a host of other areas, as they aim to significantly lift bilateral trade this year, despite disruptions to global trade brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

China buys first Indian rice in decades amid scarce supply | Reuters China has begun importing Indian rice for the first time in at least three decades due to tightening supplies from Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam and an offer of sharply discounted prices, Indian industry officials said.

Huawei's 5G deal with Indonesia spearheads Southeast Asia push - Nikkei Asia The Chinese telecommunication equipment leader recently entered an agreement with Indonesia to develop talent in 5G technology and related fields. The company will assist in training 100,000 people to become proficient in digital technology, such as in the cloud and 5G sectors. Huawei will deploy its internal know-how in employee training, based on the memorandum of understanding.

PLA commissions hospital ship at Nansha Islands, showcases regional presence - Global Times The Nanyi 13 ship, a new type of hospital ship independently developed by China, received a commissioning ceremony at a naval port in Yongshu Reef in the Nansha Islands on Monday, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Tuesday...China has already built modern hospitals on Yongshu Reef, Zhubi Reef and Meiji Reef, but the sea region of the Nansha Islands is vast, so it used to require doctors from these reefs. With its commissioning, the Nanyi 13 will routinize visits across the region as a mobile medical force, filling the void of maritime medical rescue.

Aussie locals and tourists on Whitsunday Island squeezed out by developer China Bloom There's trouble brewing in paradise as Australian residents find themselves being squeezed out of an idyllic island lifestyle by a Chinese developer. Keswick Island could be one of Australia's best tourist spots but instead its new owners China Bloom are trying to stop Aussies from even setting foot on the public beach. "I just don't think they want Australians on the island. I think that they want to have this island solely for the use of the Chinese tourism market," former island resident Julie Willis told A Current Affair.

Chinese Researcher to Plead Guilty in Harvard Cancer-Cell Case - Bloomberg Smuggling charges will be dropped against Zaosong Zheng in exchange for his plea to one count of making false statements to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents, who found the vials stashed in a sock in his luggage before a flight to Beijing, according to a court filing Tuesday in Boston. The government will recommend a judge order his immediate removal from the U.S.

How America got outmaneuvered in a critical mining race - POLITICO As U.S. policymakers grapple with China’s dominance in producing the materials needed for so-called clean energy and other cutting-edge technology, the case of cobalt serves as a warning. China’s state-directed industrial policy has outmaneuvered America’s laissez-faire approach to securing access around the world to a metal that’s taking on growing economic and strategic importance. Its success is sparking a debate over whether Washington needs to intervene to encourage more mining at home.

An uncertain future with guaranteed friction: U.S.-China economic coercion, with Ashley Feng - NüVoices Podcast Tensions between the U.S. and China have ratcheted upward in the last four years of the Trump administration. Groundbreaking research from independent Washington, D.C.–based researcher Ashley Feng have shown that acts of “economic coercion” go both ways. Policymakers on both sides of the Pacific have increasingly used measures such as tariffs and investment restrictions against one another. After Joe Biden’s election win, a decrease in tensions isn’t certain. In this episode, NüVoices chair Joanna Chiu chats with Ashley about what all this means for ordinary people like students, scientists, and immigrants.


Hong Kong and Macao

Specter of Cashless Gambling Drives Junkets Away From Macau - Bloomberg Though no formal plans have been announced, some junkets -- businesses that act as middlemen for Chinese high rollers who make up half the city’s gambling revenue -- are exiting the industry or shifting resources elsewhere. They’re saying that the imposition of a traceable, government-linked currency will be the death knell for an industry already hobbled by the virus’s impact and stricter rules around high-stakes gambling over the past few years. // “the imposition of a traceable, government-linked currency” will also not help efforts to internationalize the RMB through this digital currency


Tech and Media

Yicai - China's Phone Makers Rush to Have Qualcomm’s New Flagship Chip in Next Handsets Qualcomm’s latest high-end chip for Android handsets, the Snapdragon 888 with an integrated fifth-generation wireless modem, will power devices made by China's Xiaomi, OnePlus Technology, ZTE, and Vivo Communication Technology.


Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

Hot Tibetan herdsman and Xinjiang horseback riding beauty are leading a regional tourism push - Inkstone Local provinces in China are trying to cash in on attractive online influencers as a new way to boost local tourism. They hope to replicate the experience of Zhaxi Dingzhen, a 20-year-old Tibetan herdsman from Sichuan who became an internet sensation over a viral video showcasing what fans described as his “pure smile” and rugged appearance.  Regional governments are now scouring their populations for local ambassadors to help promote more remote areas of China to the rest of the country.

棍网球运动进校园 丰富校园文体生活--人民网 slideshow of 5th graders in Chengde, Hebei playing lacrosse, on the front page of people.com.cn. Joe Tsai will be happy if lacrosse starts gaining a following in China

Butte icon Danny Wong leaves a legacy of kindness | Local | mtstandard.comDing Kuen Tam, owner of the renowned Pekin Noodle Parlor, died at 86 on Monday. He was better known to the Butte community as Danny Wong, and better known still as a Butte icon. Wong leaves a legacy of historic consequence — he ran the Pekin in Butte since he inherited the restaurant from his great-grandfather in the 1950s. The Pekin is regarded as the oldest family-run Chinese restaurant in America. Wong was born Oct. 12, 1934, in Guangzhou, China. As a child, he fled the Japanese invasion of China before World War II, before making an unforgettable impact on the history and people of Butte.

The oldest Chinese restaurant in America - CBS News Sunday Morning 11.22.2020The oldest continuously-running Chinese restaurant in the U.S. isn't in San Francisco or New York. It's in, of all places, Butte, Montana. The Pekin Noodle Parlor opened in 1911. Jerry Tam's parents, Danny and Sharon, were the third generation of the family to run the restaurant...Speaking of unusual things, the Pekin is actually up on the second floor of the building. The first level, said Tam, was at one point a herbal shop. "And then we go to the sub-level, where it was all the illegal gaming." There are dusty keno boards, old betting slips, slot machines, and even the suitcase that Tam's father brought over in 1947, when he was just 14 years old: "It was just him and this suitcase."


Energy, Environment, Science and Health

国务院办公厅印发《关于推进人工影响天气工作高质量发展的意见》_滚动新闻_中国政府网

China to forge ahead with weather modification service - State Council According to the document, China will have a developed weather modification system by 2025, with breakthroughs in fundamental research and R&D in key technologies, steady improvements in modernization and refined services, distinct enhancement in comprehensive prevention against safety risks, and optimization in systems and policy environment. The total area of artificial rainfall (snowfall) operation will reach beyond 5.5 million square kilometers, and for hail suppression it should go beyond 580,000 square kilometers.

Manzhouli to start third round of complete COVID-19 testing after cluster of infections found - Global Times Manzhouli entered "quasi-lockdown" mode after two local infections were reported on Saturday, involving a 55-year-old sanitation worker and his domestic helper wife. The genetic sequencing of the two patients belongs to the L genotype of the European branch and shares a high similarity with the strain found in Russia, said local authorities.

孙春兰、王勇在京调研:科学严谨做好新冠病毒疫苗研发和生产准备工作 _ 证券时报网

Chinese vice premier underlines progress in COVID-19 vaccine development - Xinhua Vice Premier Sun Chunlan on Wednesday said China has achieved major progress in the research and development of COVID-19 vaccines, with five vaccines having entered phase-III clinical trials. Sun made the remarks as she and State Councilor Wang Yong inspected the work on COVID-19 vaccine development and production in Beijing. Sun said 14 vaccines developed from five technological routes have entered clinical trials, five of which have entered phase-III clinical trials.

iicai - China’s Qingdao Bolsters Checks on Cold Chain Imports After New Covid-19 Cases The latest two cases are a 30-year-old cold chain imports worker and his 33-year-old sister, the authorities said at a press conference today. Qingdao immediately carried out nucleic acid tests on all cold chain food workers. Out of 48,435 tested, all 48,315 results that have so far come back were negative.