Boao and "Xiplomacy"; No Concessions To Trump; Declining US-China FDI; Forced Confessions on CCTV; Three Child Policy; Suppressing Global Dissent

XI's speech at Boao seemed underwhelming considering the hype. Perhaps I am obtuse but I read Xi's speech in the original Chinese and did not see any signs of concessions to Trump on trade.

The messaging was similar to that of Xi's 2017 speech in Davos, positioning China as a responsible stakeholder that is a leading guarantor of the global trading and multilateral governance systems and a key engine of global growth. There was also some emphasis on the idea of Asia for Asians, which is unsurprising both because that concept is part of the CCP’s diplomatic vision and this is the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA).

In his speech Xi made no mention of the Party 党, which may say something about the propaganda packaging and the target audience for this forum. 

As I told Axios this morning:

There is little new in this speech, these broad promises have been made before, and none of them go to the real heart of the U.S. angst over China ... Maybe this time the mooted reforms will be implemented, and maybe Xi is leaving it to his subordinates to quickly fill in the specific details and timelines, but overall I thought this speech was predictable and underwhelming, with much rehashing of what he said at Davos in 2017.

And for all the talk of opening and expanding market access, the Internet markets, which are worth tens of billions of year in revenue and have created Chinese companies with an aggregate public market capitalization of over $1 Trillion, will remain effectively closed to foreign firms, with no prospects of opening. 

I hope I am just cranky today and so am wrong...thanks for reading.

The Essential Eight

1. Boao and "Xiplomacy"

The full text of Xi's speech--习近平在博鳌亚洲论坛2018年年会开幕式上的主旨演讲--时政--人民网 

Xinhua gives us the key highlights in English. I am still looking for a full English translation of the speech--President Xi hails 40 years of reform, opening-up - Xinhua 

Xinhua Headlines: Xi charts course for fresh round of reform, opening up - Xinhua:

Hailing it as "China's second revolution," Xi said the reform and opening up had not only profoundly changed the country but also greatly influenced the whole world.

As the country's helmsman [My bolding], Xi launched the new round of reform and opening up, the largest in scale around the globe, at a time when the giant vessel of China has entered "a deep-water zone."

The world is undergoing a new round of major development, great change and profound readjustment.

"Humanity has a major choice to make between openness and isolation, and between progress and retrogression," Xi said. "In a world aspiring for peace and development, the cold-war and zero-sum mentality looks even more out of place."

The president called for people around the world to work together toward a community with a shared future for mankind by treating each other with respect and as equals, promoting dialogue and sharing responsibility, engaging in cooperation for win-win results, upholding inclusiveness and seeking harmony without uniformity, as well as treating nature with respect and treasuring the planet.

China will not threaten anyone else, attempt to overturn the existing international system, or seek spheres of influence, no matter how much progress it has made in development, Xi said.

Xi outlines Chinese nation's missions in new era - XInhua:

According to Xi, the nation's missions in the new era are as follows:

-- Continue to improve itself through reform;

-- Take bold steps in innovation to boost development;

-- Continue to increase openness and expand cooperation;

-- Work together with the rest of the world and make greater contribution to humanity.

Xi Strikes Conciliatory Tone on Trade Spat - Caixin Global:

Meanwhile, the long-discussed policy of loosening restrictions on foreign investors’ shareholding in car manufacturing joint ventures and other sectors such as aircraft and ship manufacturing will be implemented “as soon as possible,” he said at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference, an economic event held in the country’s southern province of Hainan. Currently, foreign companies are required to tie up with a local partner to make vehicles in China, with their ownership capped at 50%. Each foreign company can have a maximum of two joint ventures making the same category of vehicles in the country.

The national bureau specializing in intellectual property rights affairs will be revamped this year with the aim of strengthening law enforcement and “sharply raising” the costs of infringement as the government steps up efforts to protect foreign firms’ intellectual property rights, he said.

The country will also expedite the promised opening of the insurance sector, relaxing limits on foreign firms’ establishment of subsidiaries in China and allowing them a greater business scope, Xi said. He also promised to “make sure” measures announced late last year to reduce restrictions on foreign investors’ shareholding in their China joint ventures in the banking, securities and insurance sectors will be implemented this year.

Xi Jinping speech offers no big concessions to Donald Trump - FT $$:

In a speech at the Bo’ao Forum for Asia, an annual event hosted by the Chinese government on Hainan island, Mr Xi outlined a “four-point plan” to liberalise the country’s foreign-investment climate and trading regime.

Most of the measures he mentioned had been previously announced and the Chinese president offered no new details about when or how they would be implemented, increasing the chances that the world’s two largest economies could be embroiled in a trade war as soon as June...

“There is no plan whatsoever for the two sides to talk,” Ruan Zongze, a former foreign ministry official, said on Monday at a briefing in Washington organised by the Chinese embassy. “Washington underestimates China’s resolve and determination.”

Xi Jinping’s defence of globalisation and open markets: key takeaways from Chinese leader’s speech to Boao Forum | South China Morning Post:

His comments echo the themes in his speech to the Davos Economic Forum last year, when he also portrayed China as a vanguard protector of globalisation and economic liberalisation.

He closed off his speech with a rousing call for countries to jointly “dedicate ourselves to openness and win-win outcomes … to achieve a better tomorrow for Asia and the world”.

Xi Warns Against Returning to a ‘Cold War Mentality’ - Bloomberg:

Since Trump’s election, Xi has presented himself as a champion of the existing global trading system, comparing protectionism to “locking yourself in a dark room” during a speech last year at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. On Tuesday, he took a veiled swipe at Trump’s “America First” polices.

“Paying attention only to one’s own community without thinking of others can only lead into a wall,” Xi said. “And we can only achieve win-win results by insisting on peaceful development and working together.”

Xi Vows Greater Access to China, Warns Against ‘Cold War Mentality’ - WSJ:

Still, given the tit-for-tat tariff threats, some saw reasons for cautious optimism in Mr. Xi’s remarks. “President Xi was trying to strike a balance today,” said Myron Brilliant, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “President Xi spoke in terms of China’s own need and commitment for market reform and liberalization, but no doubt he was also sending a signal to the U.S. government that he wants there to be cooperation and dialogue, not conflict and a trade war.”

“Whether this message can help defuse bilateral trade tensions, we will see,” Mr. Brilliant said.

Larry Kudlow, one of President Trump's top ecoomic advisors, told Hugh Hewitt that  Xi "blinked":

Well, I don’t know, I mean, we’re going to evaluate the speech. But from what I gather reading the news reports, he did a lot more than blink. He made, I don’t know what the code is in China, but he may have blinked three times [My bolding]. And look, he’s talking about market openings. He’s talking about reducing barriers. He’s talking particularly in the automobile industry. It looks like he’s talking about joint companies, you know, American side can get over 50%. We’ll have to clarify that, but that seems to be in there. He also talked about intellectual property theft. He also talked about technology, force technology transfers. In other words, all of the things that we’ve been saying are wrong, he addressed in his speech in a positive way, that change is coming. And he said it’ll come sooner rather than later. Now I can’t interpret that, yet. We’ve got to get our whole team together today and have a look. They’ve said similar things in the past. I acknowledge that. But it covered the waterfront, and it was billed as a major speech. He never mentioned, he never mentions the U.S. issues – tariffs, proposals, what not, or complaints, let’s call them. He never really mentioned that. So it seemed like a peaceful speech with the intent of market openings. If it does, it changes the whole game. Financial markets are rallying, Hugh, so they saw it first in the Asian markets, so it’s a good sign. Let’s just say that. It’s a positive sign.

Liu He must be wishing he could just deal with Kudlow...

China Focus: New chapter for "Xiplomacy" - Xinhua

This is Xi's first home-court diplomacy since he was unanimously re-elected Chinese president in March.

Apart from the BFA annual conference, three other key global events will be hosted by China this year and are all expected to be attended by Xi. 

In June, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) members will meet at the Qingdao summit, the first since the SCO expanded to include India and Pakistan as full members in 2017.

2. Why Would China Make Concessions Over Made in China 2025? 

It is absolutely key to the upgrading of the country's economy and industrial and military bases. And Xi's comment in his speech asking for relaxation of import restrictions on high-tech products to China looks to be a trap that will give China cover in not backing down over Made in China 2025 when the US refuses to change its high-tech export restrictions. The US may actually stiffen them. 

U.S.-China Talks Broke Down Over Trump’s Demands on High-Tech Industries - Bloomberg:

Liu He, a vice premier overseeing economics and finance, told a group of officials Thursday that Beijing had rejected a U.S. request to stop subsidizing industries related to its “Made in China 2025” initiative, the person said. The U.S. has accused China of using the policy to force companies into transferring technology in areas like robotics, aerospace and artificial intelligence.

The U.S. demands came after Beijing offered to narrow the trade deficit by $50 billion, including by importing more liquefied natural gas, agricultural products, semiconductors and luxury goods, according to the person. The plans also included opening the financial sector at a faster rate and giving U.S. companies more access to China’s booming e-commerce market, the person added.

Liu said President Xi Jinping was ready to fight back hard if U.S. counterpart Donald Trump wanted a trade war, said the person, who asked for anonymity to speak about confidential discussions. China was open to talks with the U.S., but wouldn’t initiate them under the current conditions, the person said, citing Liu.

China to reduce tariffs, expand imports: Xi - Xinhua:

Meanwhile, China hopes developed countries will stop imposing restrictions on normal and reasonable trade of high-tech products and relax export controls on such trade with China, according to the president.



3. US-China FDI Decline Likely To Accelerate 

U.S.-China FDI Project:

In 2017, U.S.-China FDI flows declined by one third (28%) to $43.5 billion;

Policy and politics in both countries—rather than commercial forces—are largely to blame for the decline;

Flows remain unbalanced with Chinese FDI in the United States at twice the level of U.S. investment in China ($29 billion vs. $14 billion);

Trade war fears curb investment between US and China - FT $$:

Two-way foreign direct investment between the world’s two largest economies dropped by a third last year to $43bn as trade tension started to rise, the Rhodium Group, a consultancy that tracks investment flows, said in a report released on Tuesday. 

It appears likely to dip again in 2018, said Thilo Hanemann, one of the report’s authors. In the first two months of this year, Chinese investment into the US had reached only $1.2bn, a major fall from recent years with the pipeline of potential deals also the lowest seen in years, he said. 

“Companies are putting their deals on ice and taking a wait-and-see approach . . . The policy environment is just too risky,” Mr Hanemann said. 

4. China Planning A South Pacific Military Base?

Why wouldn't they, especially since Chinese money goes a long way in many of these island states? And isn't one of the main reasons China is so interested in The Maldives is that they also want to put a base there as well, to have a forward presence in the Indian Ocean?

China eyes Vanuatu military base in plan with global ramifications - Sydney Morning Herald

China has approached Vanuatu about building a permanent military presence in the South Pacific in a globally significant move that could see the rising superpower sail warships on Australia’s doorstep.

Fairfax Media can reveal there have been preliminary discussions between the Chinese and Vanuatu governments about a military build-up in the island nation.

While no formal proposals have been put to Vanuatu's government, senior security officials believe Beijing’s plans could culminate in a full military base. The prospect of a Chinese military outpost so close to Australia has been discussed at the highest levels in Canberra and Washington.

'Impossible': China denies planning military base in Vanuatu | The Guardian:

The head of the national security college at the Australian National University, Prof Rory Medcalf, said any foreign power establishing a foothold in the South Pacific would represent “a long-term failure of Australian policy”.

“For the first time since the 1940s, a foreign power with the potential to put Australian interests at risk would have a military presence in the South Pacific,” he said.

“I think there’s no question that Australia needs to redouble its efforts to persuade Vanuatu and other Pacific island nations that Australia is and should remain their preferred security partner and development partner.

China’s mystery ‘military base’ in Vanuatu could be a space tracking station | South China Morning Post

Beijing and South Pacific island nation deny claims they are discussing plan to build a naval base, but experts point out location is ideal for lunar rocket tests

Australia Affirms Vanuatu Ties Amid Report of Chinese Base - Bloomberg:

While no formal proposals have been put to Vanuatu about China building its first base in the Pacific there, the nations have held preliminary talks about the scenario, Australia’s Fairfax Media reported on Tuesday, citing senior military officials it didn’t identify. The report was later denied by Vanuatu’s foreign minister.

“We have very good relations with Vanuatu and I remain confident that Australia is Vanuatu’s strategic partner of choice,” Australia Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a radio interview Tuesday after being asked about the report.

5. A Good Discussion Of The United Front Work Department

The Little Red Podcast is one of my favorite China podcast shows. 

How To Make Friends And Influence People: Inside the Magic Weapon of the United Front by The Little Red Podcast:

The Communist Party's shadowy United Front Work Department has emerged stronger than ever before after the most recent government reshuffle. This body, whose job has historically been to win hearts and minds among the Party’s opponents, is now also responsible for all work related to ethnic minority groups, religious management and contact with overseas Chinese. But exactly how does the United Front Work Department gain support for China abroad? In this episode, Graeme is joined by Gerry Groot from the University of Adelaide, who demystifies the inner workings of the body dubbed a Magic Weapon by Xi Jinping.

6. More On China's Global Efforts To Silence Dissent

No escape: The fearful life of China's exiled dissidents | | Al Jazeera Documentary:

Chinese authorities have long been accused of silencing their critics at home but now it seems their threatening methods of censorship and surveillance are extending to activists who have fled to the supposed safety of foreign soil.

In this exclusive investigation, 101 East reveals that China is taking extreme measures to silence anyone who speaks out against its government.

Interviews with more than 20 activists and journalists in countries like the US, Canada and Australia, paint a disturbing picture of how China uses intimidation and harassment to control overseas dissent.

And this from Foreign Policy last week-The Disappeared: China’s global kidnapping campaign has gone on for years

7. Forced Confessions on CCTV

New report offers backstage pass to China’s forced TV confessions - RSDL Monitor:

Scripted and Staged: Behind the scenes of China’s forced TV confessions uses moving first-person testimonies and in-depth interviews to reveal how confessions are forced and extracted through threats, torture, and fear; how police dictate and direct confessions; and how they are often used as tools of propaganda for both domestic audiences and as part of China’s foreign policy...

The interviewees in this report describe how the police took charge of the confession from dressing them in “costume”; writing the confession “script” and forcing the detainee to memorise it; giving directions on how to “deliver” their lines—including in one case, being told to weep; to ordering retake after retake when not satisfied with the result. One interviewee said he spent seven hours recording for what amounted to just a few minutes of broadcast, another was locked in a cage while camera lenses poked through the metal bars, after first being drugged.

China Promised Detainees Video Confessions Wouldn’t Be Televised, Rights Group Says - WSJ:

After police detained British private investigator Peter Humphrey in 2013, they pressed him to confess to collecting personal information of Chinese citizens. He said he agreed after they promised he wouldn’t appear on TV.

Then dosed with a tranquilizer pill and fitted into an orange prison vest, he found himself blinking before state-television cameras. He apologized for violating the law and then spent almost two years in prison on the outskirts of Shanghai.

“They had cheated me very explicitly,” Mr. Humphrey wrote, in a report released Tuesday by human-rights group Safeguard Defenders.

8. Law Change Coming To Encourage More Babies?

China's 2018 New Marriage Law? Online Discussions on 'Three Child Policy' and Lowering of Marriage Age | What's on Weibo

China’s ‘New Marriage Law’ (新婚姻法) has become a topic of discussion on Chinese social media over the past few days, where many netizens have started talking about an alleged “Three Child Policy” and a lowering of China’s legal marriage age to 18.

The New Marriage Law was passed in 1950 as one of the first pieces of legislation passed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Mutual consent to marry and a heightened legal age to marry to 18 (for women) and 20 (for men) were among the important points stipulated in this legislation.

In the Marriage Law of 1980, this was again raised to 22 for men and 20 for women to promote population control.

Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

The collapse of the “Chinese collapse” theory - Richard McGregor In Japan, they call it “the collapse of the ‘Chinese collapse’ theory.” The line, which harks back to more than a decade of dire predictions about China, is a joking way to describe the state of the Middle Kingdom’s economy. Far from falling in debt-laden heap, the economy is looking robust in the medium term. Many of the perennial China bears are retreating into hibernation. It is a joke delivered somewhat mordantly, of course, as the Japanese thrive on a strong Chinese economy and also fear a strong China, much like many Australians.

In tariff reprisal, China puts U.S. energy in the crosshairs - Axios: The new tariffs on U.S. steel imports were already poised to raise costs for steel-intensive domestic oil and gas production. But China's proposed retaliatory tariffs on ethanol and propane pose the greatest threat yet to the U.S. energy trade.

For Chinese Steel, the Road to the U.S. Goes Through Vietnam - WSJ Washington argues that companies around Asia have become conduits for cut-rate Chinese metals, allowing the country’s steel producers to get around previous U.S. tariffs aimed at protecting domestic industry. Plugging this hole is critical, the Trump administration says. Otherwise, it says, China will keep undercutting America’s steel industry despite the fact that direct imports from China account for just 2% of steel entering the U.S. U.S. trade officials are zeroing in on Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand and Malaysia, as well, saying they are part of Chinese steelmakers’ efforts to evade trade restrictions.

The winners in Trump’s trade war? This Indiana family. The losers? The same family. - The Washington Post CRAWFORDSVILLE, Indiana — Farmer Ryan Rippy had been haggling for almost three months over the price of a new storage bin when he felt the pinch of President Trump’s trade offensive. The contractor told Rippy he needed to order the 30-foot structure immediately or see its roughly $50,000 price swell, perhaps by $5,000, thanks to a tariff on imported steel that the president imposed last month. Already facing the possible loss of $200,000 in crop sales to China, irked by another round of Trump tariffs, Rippy signed the paperwork. A trade war is bad news for farmers such as Rippy, 31, who raises soybeans, corn and cattle on a 1,500-acre farm outside this central Indiana town. But it’s good news for his father-in-law, Barry Burkhart, 50, a millwright in a local steel plant, whose job could depend upon the tariffs keeping steel prices high.

Regulators Flesh Out Rules on Financing Guarantee - Caixin Global China’s regulators on Monday unveiled a series of rules to regulate financing guarantee companies, spelling out detailed measures to implement a general regulation on the industry. The four complementary rules are the first batch of regulations issued by the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC), the newly merged regulatory body created as part of a sweeping overhaul aimed at curbing financial risk in the banking and insurance industries. 七部委出台四项配套制度 融担行业“1+4”监管体系建立 - 21经济网

Campaign to Curb Financial Risks Moves Up a Gear - Caixin Global The State Council, China’s cabinet, has issued a circular (link in Chinese) to regulators containing guidelines to build a “comprehensive financial statistical mechanism,” a national database covering the entire financial sector, including all institutions, products, and infrastructure such as payment systems and credit information within five years. The initiative, which will be led by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), will “enhance services to the real economy, improve the financial regulation system and prevent systematic financial risks,” the State Council said in a statement on Monday.

Chinese real estate firms boost apartment rentals in line with Xi demands - Reuters The net yields on rental properties for the biggest developers are only 5-6 percent, and for smaller firms with higher costs they may even be negative, according to the developers and real estate analysts. By contrast, the profit margins on properties that are sold have usually been clear for all to see - averaging in the 20-30 percent range in recent years. It isn’t just Xi and the central government that has been piling the pressure on the real estate developers.

China files trade complaint against US over steel tariffs - AP China has requested 60 days of consultations with the United States on the steel and aluminum dispute, according to the WTO. If that fails, the next step could be for Beijing to request a ruling from a panel of trade experts.

Authorities warn against real estate development under theme park guise - Xinhua China issued a guideline forbidding businesses from developing real estate or residences under the guise of building theme parks. The guideline jointly issued by five government agencies, including the National Development and Reform Commission, said development of theme parks should follow market principles and focus on core business operation. It requires developers to build theme parks according to local conditions and insist on independent innovation.

Public Servant Test-Training Centers Set to Go Public - Caixin Global Beijing Huatu Hongyang Education & Culture Corp. Ltd. has filed a preliminary prospectus with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, without offering details on its initial public offering (IPO), while rival Beijing Offcn Education Technology Co. Ltd. is working on a backdoor listing in Shenzhen. If either of the pair succeeds in going public, it will be the first IPO among several training centers that help candidates prepare for China’s highly competitive annual civil service exam and similar tests to work as a police officer or teacher.

5 Things to Know About Chinese Depositary Receipts - Caixin Global The authorities have not clarified when the trial program will begin exactly, only to say they will “issue related implementation rules soon.” It remains to be seen whether everything will be put in place before Alibaba and could issue CDRs “as early in June” as reported by media. Also unclear is how regulators will deal with possible price disparities between companies’ overseas-listed shares and CDRs, as well as different listing rules for information disclosure, accounting, trading suspension and corporate governance.


Politics, Law And Ideology

App Targeting Uyghur Population Censors Content, Lacks Basic Security | Open Technology Fund One of the components of this massive surveillance state is a mobile app that local police are forcing residents to install. It is dubbed “Jingwang,” or “clean internet” in Chinese. The app has been reported to search for “illegal” images, prevent the installation of other applications and send details about the device to a government server. Such techniques could be easily extended across the Chinese population or to other repressive environments. We utilized the OTF Red Team Lab to support third-party researchers to take a deeper look at this app that is being used as a means to repress an entire ethnic group in mainland China.

Senior security official promises to step up actions against organized crime - Xinhua A senior Chinese security official promised to push forward operations against organized crime and actively respond to ordinary people's petitions. Guo Shengkun, chief of the Committee for Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the statement during visits to east China's Shandong Province and south China's Hainan Province from April 5 to 8. 郭声琨在山东和海南调研时强调以服务大局服务人民的新作为建功新时代 

China Sends Prominent Muslim Poet For Ideological 'Re-education' - RFA Chinese authorities in the eastern province of Shandong have sent a prominent Muslim poet for "re-education," but police in Jiangxi detained and searched him en route, in a move he said could be linked to his recent writings on the Uyghur ethnic group. Cui Haoxin, a member of the Hui Muslim ethnic group known by his pen-name An Ran, was asked to attend a week's "red" ideological education by the Lu Xun College of Literature, which is officially sanctioned by the ruling Chinese Communist Party. He complied but was detained, searched, and questioned by Jiangxi state security police as he got off the plane en route to the event at Jiangxi's Jingangshan airport on Sunday.

Party Youth Partner With Bilibili to Celebrate Ancient Fashion - Sixth Tone On Sunday, the official Weibo microblog of the Communist Youth League, a Party-run youth organization, announced the establishment of a new national day celebrating huafu, or Chinese clothing. The inaugural China Huafu Day is organized by Bilibili, a popular video site favored by cosplay enthusiasts, in cooperation with the media arm of the Communist Youth League and Dongjia, an e-commerce platform for artisanal products. Activities include a huafu photo contest, discounts on over 30 huafu clothing brands, and the launch of a photo-editing app that allows users to huafu-ify ordinary photos of themselves and share them on social media.

Passengers ordered to show ID cards to use subway as Chinese state tightens grip on restive Xinjiang region | South China Morning Post Travellers using regional capital’s new metro system will have to register under their real name as security crackdown in Uygur heartland gathers pace


Foreign and Military Affairs

AsiaEye - Official Blog of the Project 2049 Institute: How the PLA Really Sees America An initial assessment of authoritative Chinese sources indicates that Beijing is exploiting increased international attention to (and engagement with) its military to engage in a well-orchestrated strategic deception campaign. While the Chinese military's external propaganda tends to deny or downplay strategic competition between the U.S. and China, its internal writings are often strident and anti-American. The reality is that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) sees the U.S. as an adversary and acts accordingly―while at the same time working to lull American officials into a false sense of complacency.

Civil-Military Fusion and the PLA’s Pursuit of Dominance in Emerging Technologies - Jamestown China’s efforts to become a dominant ‘science and tech superpower’ (科技强国) in technologies like artificial intelligence, quantum communications, robotics and smart manufacturing are well documented (China Brief, August 17, 2017). Less is known about how China plans to use CMF to convert its technological push into a long-term military advantage, in ways that, to a significant degree, are partly modeled on the US. Originally elevated to a national strategy in 2014, CMF has since gained importance as a pillar of China’s military modernization, becoming one of Xi’s signature issues as he attempts to turn the PLA into a 21st century fighting force. China’s leadership evidently sees the opportunity to translate the significant progress that has been made in China’s private hi-tech sector into military gains, through the strategic application of industrial policy. [2] Although the push is, in some ways, similar to previous efforts to leverage the private sector, there are signs that this iteration is both more serious and better resourced than past attempts.

China defends South China Sea military buildup - AP China is entitled to strengthen its defenses on islands in the disputed South China Sea but those measures aren’t directed at any specific countries, a defense ministry spokesman said Tuesday, amid the latest surge in tensions in the crucial waterway. China’s military deployments are “the natural right of a sovereign nation that helps safeguard national sovereignty and security,” Ren Guoqiang said in a statement posted on the ministry’s website. They also help protect navigation safety, “serve to ensure regional peace and stability and are not directed at any country,” Ren said.  //  Comment: Didn't Xi tell Obama they would not be militarized? Worth remembering as people get excited about another round of economic reform promises

Filipinos Get a Glimpse of Their Ruined City. The Chinese Get the Contract. - The New York Times Islamic State loyalists seized Marawi, a predominantly Muslim city of more than 200,000 on the Philippine island of Mindanao, more than 10 months ago, leading to months of military siege and devastating American airstrikes. The residents are finally being allowed to return, but only for a day or two per family to salvage what they can and then leave again. What happens next will depend on how and when the city is rebuilt. And in a central example of how the political wind is shifting in the Philippines, the destruction enabled in part by American military assistance will be repaired by a Chinese-led consortium, officials say.

China supports probe of alleged chemical attack in Syria - Xinhua China is always opposed to the use of force or threat of the use of force in international affairs and always advocated the adherence to the UN Charter, said Wu. All parties should increase their support to the United Nations as the main mediator, push parties in Syria to seek a political settlement under the principle of Syrian leadership and Syrian ownership and in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254, he said.

After China's massive drill, U.S. patrols disputed South China Sea - Reuters “We have seen Chinese ships around us,” Rear Admiral Steve Koehler, the strike group commander, told a small group of reporters on board the three-decade-old carrier. “They are one of the navies that operate in the South China Sea but I would tell you that we have seen nothing but professional work out of the ships we have encountered.”



[视频]习近平会见萧万长一行_CCTV节目官网-CCTV-1_央视网( Tuesday evening News report on XI's meeting at Boao with Vincent Siew  //  习近平欢迎萧万长先生和各位台湾工商界朋友来到博鳌,共话亚洲地区合作发展大计。他表示,今年是祖国大陆改革开放40周年,中国特色社会主义进入了新时代。台湾问题攸关中华民族的根本利益,岛内工商界朋友要旗帜鲜明地坚持“九二共识”、反对“台独”,坚定推动两岸关系和平发展。 习近平强调,两岸一家亲,我们愿意继续同台湾同胞分享大陆发展机遇,深化两岸经济文化交流合作,让广大台胞台企获得实实在在的好处。

Xi urges Taiwan business community to promote cross-Strait peaceful development Xi made the remarks while meeting Vincent Siew, honorary chairman of the Taiwan-based Cross-Straits Common Market Foundation, who is attending the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference. Xi called for the Taiwan business community to firmly adhere to the 1992 Consensus and oppose "Taiwan independence". He said the Chinese mainland is willing to share the development opportunities with Taiwan compatriots, deepen the cross-Strait economic and cultural exchange and cooperation, and bring tangible benefits to Taiwan compatriots and enterprises.


Tech And Media

China’s media regulator orders permanent removal of Toutiao’s jokes app · TechNode The State Administration of Radio and Television (SAPPRFT) has ordered the permanent closure of Jinri Toutiao’s jokes app Neihan Duanzi (内涵段子 “implied jokes”) for vulgar content, the day after it ordered the removal of the main Jinri Toutiao news app from China’s app stores for three weeks.

Jack Ma’s Ant Financial to Raise $9 Billion, Become World’s Biggest Unicorn - WSJ Ant, which owns popular mobile payments network Alipay and is one of China’s largest non-bank lenders, is currently in talks with potential investors and demand for its shares has so far been strong, the people familiar said. The latest funding round could value Ant at close to $150 billion, according to the people, making it by far the world’s largest unicorn


Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

Ai Weiwei Cameraman Shot Dead By Israeli Military In Gaza Clash | Deadline A Palestinian cameraman who worked on Ai Weiwei’s Venice 2017 documentary Human Flow has died after being shot while covering clashes between protesters in Gaza and the Israeli military.

How China’s ‘Coke Boy’ became the real thing 10 years after surviving deadly Sichuan earthquake | South China Morning Post A survivor of the Sichuan earthquake, who became famous for asking for a cold Coca-Cola after being rescued, is working for the soft drinks giant a decade on from the tragedy, a local newspaper has reported.

Baby born four years after Chinese parents’ death in road crash | South China Morning Post A surrogate mother from Laos has given birth to a baby boy using the couple’s fertilised embryos, The Beijing News reported. Shen Jie and his wife Liu Xi were killed in a crash in Yixing in Jiangsu province in March 2013 and had been undergoing fertility treatment before they died. The couple’s parents had to file two lawsuits to get hold of four fertilised embryos produced by the couple at a hospital in Nanjing.

China urges boycott of UK auction of artifact seized by British soldier in 1860 - Reuters The auction is due to take place on Wednesday, organized by Kent-based Canterbury Auction Galleries. The elaborately adorned water vessel and cover, referred to as a Tiger Ying because of the tiger decorations, was made between 1100 and 771 B.C. during the Western Zhou Dynasty with an estimated value of up to 160,000 pounds ($226,000), the auction house said on its website. It said the vessel was taken by a British soldier during the “capture” of what is now called the Old Summer Palace in 1860, towards the end of the Second Opium War.



Fosun, Austrian Choir to Bring Sound of Music to China’s Kindergartens - Caixin Global Chinese conglomerate Fosun International has signed a deal with Austria’s famed Vienna Boys’ Choir to open kindergartens offering musical training in China, the company announced over the weekend.



Some Beijingers may wait till 2023 for new-energy car plates - ECNS This year, the new-energy vehicle quota remained at 54,000, an amount that has already been used up. However, applicants in this category had increased to 234,650 by April 8. If the current annual quota remains the same, some applicants will have to wait until 2023 to receive a car plate.


Jobs And Events

Manager, Business Advisory Services, Washington DC | US China Business Council The US-China Business Council (USCBC) seeks a qualified individual to join the organization’s Business Advisory Services department (BAS) in Washington, DC. BAS is the information and advisory arm of USCBC and works closely with USCBC member companies on a wide range of China business and policy issues

Senior/Research Fellow- China | Chatham House - London You will undertake original and vigorous research and write to a high standard for online and print media, journals and Chatham House publications.