Business dealings of Hangzhou Party Secretary’s family; Common Prosperity messaging; Zhao Wei
We were given a bit more clarity on what the government wants people to hear about the downfall earlier this week of Hangzhou Party Secretary Zhou Jiangyong 周江勇. An article in China Economic Weekly described sketchy dealings by his wife and younger brother, said the complaints against her were as numerous as “snowflakes” about some of those dealings, and that the brother had two companies in which a subsidiary of Ant Financial was a small investor. It also said that both the brother and his older sister have been detained.
The two investments from Ant subsidiaries listed are tiny, both less than 2 million RMB. It is strange for such a big company to waste any time on such tiny deals, so they look more like government relations maintenance deals. I wonder how many other companies also got this kind of cash, and if so how many may come out in the "self-examination" process that 25,000 Hangzhou cadres are going through for themselves and family members’ business dealings.
Yesterday’s newsletter contained an item on a pledge by the China Film Association - 中国影协：文艺不能当市场的奴隶，不要沾满了铜臭气_中国政库_澎湃新闻-The Paper. They reiterated a statement Xi has made that “Literature and art can't be slaves to the market, don't be covered with copper [money] odor”. I joked that “there is definitely an odor of literature and art rectification in the air.”
Things do not look so funny for entertainer Zhao Wei. She appears to have been deplatformed from the Chinese Internet. The reasons are unclear.
The government appears to have realized it has a bit of messaging problem around “Common Prosperity”. Today Han Wenxiu from the Central Committee for Financial and Economic Affairs reiterated to the media that in pursuit of achieving Common Prosperity “we will not opt for a robbing-the-rich-for-the-poor approach”.
Meanwhile, this little ditty has been going around:
各省各市各县 Every province, city and county
各乡各村 Every township and village
各个街道各个社区 Every street, every community
都有首富 They all have a “richest person”
先大后小 First will be the big ones then the small ones
先吃肥肉最后喝汤 Eat fat meat first and then drink soup
富裕阶层 哪里跑 Where can the rich class run?
Today’s Essential Eight Items:
Report on business dealings of Hangzhou Party Secretary’s family
Common Prosperity messaging
One way to redistribute wealth is to collect taxes owed?
New document on the Party’s mission and contributions
July political discourse report from the China Media Project
US forces Hong Kong media group to register as a foreign agent
New poll suggests jump in support Taiwan among Americans
Thanks for reading, and I hope to see many of you in tomorrow’s weekly discussion thread.
The Essential Eight
1. Report on business dealings of Hangzhou Party Secretary’s family
With the investigation into Zhou Jiangyong, Party chief of Hangzhou in East China's Zhejiang Province, underway, Chinese media have been looking into the business dealings and questionable economic activities of the fallen tiger's family and friends...
Citing one of Zhou's distant relatives, the China Economic Weekly said in a report on Wednesday that many of Zhou Jiangyong's friends and family members had won project tenders in the areas that he administered...
According to the media report, Zhou Wenyong, who's close to Zhou Jiangyong, has equity shares in more than 13 enterprises, a majority of which are in Ningbo, in businesses ranging from mechatronics, energy and petrochemical to investment and management consulting. Some of them received extensive policy and financial support from the local government.
Zhou Wenyong is also a business partner of Zhou Jiangyong's younger brother, Zhou Jianyong...
Zhou Jianyong also established the Youcheng Joint Information Technology Development Company (Youcheng Joint) to focus on "subway internet+, industry informatization and subway new economy."
Youcheng Joint is a strategic and technological partner of Alibaba Group, Tencent and Unionpay. Shanghai Yun Xin Venture Capital Company, which is controlled by Alibaba's financial arm Ant Technology Group, reportedly holds about 14.3 percent of Youcheng Joint's shares...
After expanding the business of Youcheng Joint in Ningbo, Wenzhou and Xuzhou, Zhou Jianyong in 2019 set up a new technology company in Hangzhou with Hangzhou Metro Group and Shanghai Yun Xin Venture Capital Company.
"It is unimaginable for regular startup companies to work with giants like Hangzhou Metro Group and Ant Technology like what Zhou Jianyong and his Youcheng Joint did. At that time, Zhou Jiangyong had already been Party chief of Hangzhou for over a year," the China Economic Weekly report read.
The article from China Economic Weekly -起底周江勇落马：“举报信就像雪花片一样”_法治_经济网_国家一类新闻网站
Comment: It says that Ant Financial owns just under 15% of a subway technology company started by Zhou's younger brother Zhou Jianyong...that Zhou's brother set up a separate company for the Hangzhou subway, and that an Ant subsidiary owns 13.5%...this article also says Zhou Jianyong has been detained in Shandong and his older sister has also been detained...
2019年，《中国科技投资》在《与时俱进创新创业 言传身教培育英才 ——记上海理工大学管理学院周健勇教授》这篇报道中讲述了周健勇的创业故事：在得到很多地铁集团认同的情况下，2017 年，周健勇带领团队创立了优城联合信息技术发展有限公司(以下简称“优城联合”)，这是一家聚焦“地铁互联网 +、行业信息化、地铁新 经济”三大业务领域发展的民营科技企业。公司的技术和服务理念同时获得了阿里、腾讯、银联等认可，成为了这些公司的战略合作伙伴、技术合作伙伴。优城联合与投资方阿里巴巴(蚂蚁金服)携手深耕宁波、输出 浙江，面向全国。
2. Common Prosperity messaging
Han Wenxiu, an official with the Central Committee for Financial and Economic Affairs, made the remarks at a press conference while expounding on the topic of common prosperity which had been widely discussed...
Hard work is the fundamental pathway to common prosperity, Han said.
"We allow some people to become well-off first, who then inspire and help the latecomers. We will not opt for a robbing-the-rich-for-the-poor approach," he said.
Han’s comments - 中央财办副主任韩文秀谈共同富裕：鼓励勤劳致富，不搞“杀富济贫” _中国经济网——国家经济门户
China’s efforts to build a society of “common prosperity” are not about achieving egalitarianism and do not mean “robbing the rich to give to the poor,” a senior government official told a press conference in Beijing on Thursday.
Han Wenxiu, deputy director of the Office of the Central Financial and Economic Affairs Commission, said the country’s push for common prosperity allows for “the existence of a certain gap” and the country encourages people to work hard and bring innovation.
It also allows some to “get rich first” and then guide and help others to become rich, he said...
Han said Thursday that this tertiary distribution is “not mandatory.” National taxation policies should give “appropriate incentives” to charitable donations, which would play a supplementary role in helping to improve the income distribution structure.
Common prosperity is an essential requirement of socialism and a key feature of Chinese-style modernization. It reflects China's commitment to a people-centered development philosophy.
Common prosperity is not egalitarianism. It is by no means robbing the rich to help the poor as misinterpreted by some Western media. Protecting legitimate private property has been written into China's Constitution...
In the process of achieving common prosperity, strengthening anti-monopoly efforts, cracking down on illegal gains, and encouraging charitable donations are all internationally accepted means of regulation and adjustment. Those moves do not mean that capital or private companies, in general, are a target in the pursuit of common prosperity, but serve as a warning against unfair business practices.
Common prosperity is not redistributing the existing accumulated wealth involuntarily. It is more about devising a fairer process in which the fruits of economic development can be shared by more Chinese people who have contributed greatly to the revival of China’s economic and cultural prominence. And there are many ways to achieve this goal, such as a capital gains tax and some other forms of redistribution and transfer payment in the future.
Hong Hao is managing director and head of research at Hong Kong-based Bocom International Holdings Co. Ltd.
Comment: I don’t think the problem here is “what foreign investors don’t get”.
3. One way to redistribute wealth is to collect taxes owed?
The State Taxation Administration vowed to implement a guideline on taxation reforms issued by the State Council in March, which said China will strengthen tax supervision on high-income and high net-worth individuals, it said in a statement posted on WeChat Thursday.
"State Administration of Taxation: Individual people who concealed high income and failed to pay taxes truthfully will be investigated"
4. New document on the Party’s mission and contributions
The publication said achieving national rejuvenation is the historic mission of the CPC, adding that the Party has made an "unbreakable commitment" to bring the people a happy life.
-- A press conference was held as senior Party officials offered more insight on the publication, cleared some misunderstandings about the Party, and rebutted unfounded overseas accusations.
-- According to a survey of the National Bureau of Statistics, 95.8 percent of the Chinese people consider the CPC's Party governance efforts very effective in 2020.
-- "We allow some people to become well-off first, who then inspire and help the latecomers. We will not opt for a robbing-the-rich-for-the-poor approach," a CPC official said.
-- "China never seeks to export its ideology, values or development model," said another CPC official, rejecting the claim that China is playing a dominant role in the international community and international affairs.
Some excerpts from the long document:
Struggle is a distinctive attribute of the CPC. In a complex domestic and international environment, China has encountered unprecedented difficulties and challenges in its revolution, reconstruction, and reform. Since it was founded a hundred years ago, the Party has never given up on the struggle, whatever hardships, existential trials, or bitter sacrifices it faced. These hundred years have seen the Party fight on, guided by Marxism, and buttressed by firm convictions, an enterprising spirit, and unyielding determination...
Marxism is the single guiding ideology, the very soul of the CPC, and the banner under which it strives. Fundamentally, the strength of the Party and the strength of socialism with Chinese characteristics are attributable to the fact that Marxism works. The Party's history of struggle is a process of continuing to adapt Marxism to the Chinese context and to explore creative and innovative ideas.
Inscribing Marxism on its own banner. Marxism reveals the universal laws of the natural world, human society, and the human mind, pointing the direction for humanity and human civilization to progress. The communist and socialist ideals expounded in Marxism tally with Chinese cultural values such as a people-centered orientation, harmony, and unity in diversity. They are consistent with the dream pursued by noble and idealistic Chinese for generations – to build a strong and prosperous nation. And they accord with the aspiration of Chinese progressives, dating back to the Opium War, to rescue the nation from subjugation. A key feature of Marxism is that it not only defines the ideals of communism, but also specifies the ways and means by which they can be achieved...
At the fundamental level, the CPC's successes can be attributed to its mastery of powerful theoretical weapons to correctly understand, scientifically analyze, and effectively solve problems by applying the Marxist stance, viewpoint and methodology...
Both history and reality have shown to us that only with a firm and effective leadership core can the Central Committee exert authority and the Party remain strong.
Upholding the leadership core of the CPC in no way involves the creation of any kind of personality cult – something the CPC has resolutely opposed ever since it was first founded. The Party's Constitution explicitly stipulates that "The Party proscribes all forms of personality cult." The Party leadership core never wields unlimited power or engages in decision-making at will; instead, it takes on heavy responsibilities in steering the Party and the country. The CPC is organized on the basis of democratic centralism, so its leadership core functions by that principle, observes the system of collective leadership, and acts within the scope of the country's Constitution and the law. The Party leadership core does not emerge through entitlement; it is not self-proclaimed. It comes into being through long-term experience under sound leadership and as a common choice of the whole Party and the whole country.
China's history, which dates back thousands of years, and its revolution, reconstruction and reform have fully demonstrated that only with a robust centralized authority to maintain unity of the whole country and rally the people can the nation achieve long-term peace, stability, and prosperity, and the people work and live in contentment.
The Chinese full text, I have excerpted the section on personality cult - 中国共产党的历史使命与行动价值--时政--人民网
5. July political discourse report from the China Media Project
The response to the Henan floods provides our first Focus Topic for July 2021. But we look also at how World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has gradually faded from official reports in China as his remarks have focused more recently on the need for a further investigation into the origins of Covid-19 – and less on positive assessments of China’s early response to the virus...
The phrases “matter of national importance” (国之大者), the “four comprehensives” (四个全面), “five-in-one” (五位一体), “the national governance system and the modernization of governing capacity” (国家治理体系和治理能力现代化), “law-based governance” (依法治国) and “comprehensively deepening reform” (全面深化改革) all rose from Tier 3 to Tier 2 in July, again reflecting the importance of these terms as part of Xi Jinping’s legacy since the 18th National Congress of the CCP in November 2012.
The phrase "matter of national importance" was first mentioned by Xi Jinping in April 2020, during an inspection tour of Shaanxi, and from that point became a term used with relatively high frequency. It essentially calls on CCP cadres and officials to be vigilantly “speak politics” (讲政治), being fully mindful of the priorities and directives of the CCP Central Committee, and strengthening the so-called “Four Consciousnesses” (四个意识), “Four Confidences” (四个自信) and “Two Upholds” (两个维护). But these three terms, which can be referred to collectively as the “442 Formula,” are used also to signal loyalty to Xi Jinping. The first of the “Two Upholds” is to protect the core status of General Secretary Xi Jinping, while the second is to protect the unified leadership of the Central Committee. For this reason, “matter of national importance,” or guozhi dazhe, points not just to policy priorities but to the role and power of Xi himself.
Comment: I have been translating 国之大者 as "the big national priorities", "matters of national importance" may work better.
6. Zhao Wei
By Thursday evening in Beijing, Zhao’s name was removed from all the works she starred in, including “My Fair Princess,” one of the most popular Chinese TV dramas of all time on major Chinese video platforms like Tencent Video, iQiyi and Youku.
The hashtag “Zhao Wei Topic Banned” became the top trending news on Weibo.
It’s unclear why she has become a target. Some suggested on Weibo that it might be linked to China’s crackdown on Jack Ma and Alibaba.
The Beijing News on Zhao’s deplatforming - 新京报 - 赵薇主演作品被视频平台“除名”，微博超话已不存在
Chinese video streaming platform iQiyi (IQ.O) said on Thursday it would stop showing all "idol competition" programs, calling them unhealthy amid a regulatory crackdown that has seen Beijing criticise firms for encouraging celebrity worship...
"We will cancel idol talent shows and off-site online voting, be responsible as a platform, resist bad influences, and maintain a healthy and clean internet as well as audio-visual environment for our users," the company said in a statement.
7. US forces Hong Kong media group to register as a foreign agent
A Hong Kong newspaper has been forced to register its US subsidiaries as foreign agents, based on a Department of Justice assessment of its overseas ties.
The order means Sing Tao, which is viewed as a pro-Beijing outlet, is the first Hong Kong media outlet to register as a foreign agent in the US.
Filings to the Department of Justice this week declared that it was owned by the Hong Kong-listed Sing Tao News Corporation, and that its parent company’s stock was owned by individuals and entities considered to be “foreign principals” by the US government.
The FARA filing
Question: Which other Hong Kong media groups might also make the FARA cut?
8. New poll suggests jump in support Taiwan among Americans
The American public supports a range of US policies in support of Taiwan. Majorities favor US recognition of Taiwan as an independent country (69%), supporting its inclusion in international organizations (65%), and signing a US-Taiwan free trade agreement (57%).
A slimmer majority (53%) support the United States' signing a formal alliance with Taiwan, and a plurality (46%) favor explicitly committing to defend Taiwan if China invades.
When asked about a range of potential scenarios, just over half of Americans (52%) favor using US troops to defend if China were to invade the island. This is the highest level ever recorded in the Council’s surveys dating back to 1982, when the question was first asked.
Republicans (60%) are more likely to support sending US troops to Taiwan’s defense than Democrats (50%) or Independents (49%) – see appendix for more information on partisan divides and Taiwan.
At the same time, Americans are divided over whether the United States should (50%) or should not (47%) sell arms and military equipment to Taiwan.
Distrust of China is a significant factor in US public support for Taiwan: while most Americans see Taiwan as an ally (30%) or necessary partner (30%), most see China as a rival (32%) or an adversary (29%).
Greater than 80 percent in the United States, Japan, and South Korea say China intends to replace the United States as either the dominant power in the Asia-Pacific or as the dominant power in the world.
But when placed in a broader context, neither China’s military power nor its economic power are considered as critical a threat as global or domestic challenges in any country. Moreover, denuclearizing North Korea and encouraging economic growth are seen as higher priorities for the alliances than is limiting China’s expansion in Asia.
Despite strong economic ties with China, 6 in 10 in all three countries view China as more of an economic threat than a partner. And more than three-quarters say China is more of a security threat than a security partner.
Business, Economy and Trade
Analysis: China's property crackdown stalks credit markets | Reuters Debt and land-buying curbs and hundreds of new rules are hitting developers far harder than they had expected, setting off a scramble to sell assets as well as a steady drumbeat of bankruptcies, defaults and cut-price takeovers..."The government is engineering a gradual decoupling between China's economy and the real estate sector by reducing its importance," said Xing Zhaopeng, senior China strategist at ANZ.
Evergrande EV Stock Loses $80 Billion in World’s Worst Rout - Bloomberg Shares of China Evergrande Group’s electric vehicle unit are collapsing in Hong Kong, wiping about $80 billion from what was the property developer’s most valuable listed asset. China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group Ltd. sank as much as 22% Thursday after its parent said the unit lost 4.8 billion yuan ($740 million) in the first half.
Debt-laden China Evergrande warns of profit plunge, restructuring talk grows | Reuters The government of Guangdong province is seeking feedback from major banks of debt-laden property developer China Evergrande Group about forming a creditor committee, as the company warned of a further plunge in profits, according to a news report on Thursday. Financial intelligence provider REDD, citing two sources briefed by bankers, said that the government initiated discussions with banks last week but has yet to make a decision.
秋季开学在即 校外培训机构“双减政策”下的众生相_新浪财经_新浪网 “Very very sorry, very very sad, and very very heart-broken,” one executive at an online education company said in a recent internal letter to explain his layoff plans. As the fall semester approaches, many online tutoring firms have closed shop or repackaged courses amid an intensifying official push to regulate the tutoring sector. As part of the reorganization, some online education firms have shifted focus to courses outside traditional subjects, if only in name. “Now you can not call the course Mathematical Olympiad, you need to name it Training on Critical Thinking.” 非常非常抱歉、非常非常难过、非常非常伤心来形容此次裁员的惨痛........前台人员称，现在奥数不能叫奥数了，得叫思维培训。
央行等：取消或降低对政府性融资担保机构的盈利考核要求 At a recent meeting on providing financial support to rural areas, officials, including those at the central bank and the finance ministry, vowed to “scrap” or “lower” the profit assessment requirements for guarantee agencies for government financing. 为金融机构服务乡村振兴提供资金支持，做好金融机构服务乡村振兴考核评估工作。更好发挥政府性融资担保的作用，取消或降低对政府性融资担保机构的盈利考核要求。
US frozen beef exports to China surge, adding to Canberra-Beijing tensions but boosting trade deal | South China Morning Post Australia has traditionally exported more frozen beef to China, but since April its exports have plunged, with the gap between the two widening quickly in favour of the US. In April, the US shipped US$68 million worth of frozen beef to China compared to US$80 million from Australia, according to Chinese customs. In May, trade patterns reversed and the US had shipped US$90 million of frozen beef to China compared to Australia’s US$47 million.
Agricultural Economic Insights | On Pace for a Record? Reviewing China’s Agriculture Purchases in 2021 China’s pace of purchases continues to be faster than anything seen in recent years – and it’s not just soybeans. Over the last nine months, the United States set an all-time record for agricultural exports to China. Last year, China got off to a sluggish start before kicking its purchases into high gear in the fall. That trend carried over into 2021. The most recent data, from June 2021, shows that the buying streak has continued. An additional $2 billion in purchases were made, bringing year-to-date activity to $15.2 billion (Figure 1). Through June, China’s pace has been considerably faster than anything observed since 2016. During the Trade War, China’s total annual purchases were $13.2 billion (2018) and $1
China's government says '996' illegal - Protocol — The people, power and politics of tech On Thursday, the two government bodies released a collective memo of ten court decisions related to workplace overtime disputes. In one case, an employee of an unnamed courier company was fired for challenging the firm's 996 work schedule. China's current labor law requires that work overtime not exceed 36 hours in one month, but under the 996 schedule, an employee's monthly overtime can reach 128 hours. In the Thursday memo, the Supreme People's Court said the 996 schedule is "a serious violation of the law pertaining to maximum work hours" and the courier company's policy should be deemed invalid.
Private, foreign companies not target of China's internet platform regulation: official - Xinhua The regulation aims to curb violations of laws or regulations concerning internet platforms, including those owned by the state or with mixed-ownership, said Han Wenxiu, an official with the Central Committee for Financial and Economic Affairs. "The purpose of tougher regulation is to ensure healthier, more sustained and longer-term development," he told a press conference, reiterating China's unwavering support for the non-public sector and promotion of higher-level opening-up.
Growth in China's home prices set to slow in 2021 on policy curbs - Reuters poll | Reuters Growth in China's home prices is expected to slow more than initially expected this year, as more cities implement curbs to stabilise their real estate markets and banks maintain tight credit quotas for developers, a Reuters poll showed.
Yicai - Lianjia Owner Drops as China Plans First House Leasing Law Shares of KE Holdings slid even though the Chinese firm's real estate chains Lianjia and Ziroom said Beijing's tightening house leasing regulation should not affect them.
Yicai - China UnionPay-Backed Cloud QuickPass Links to Taobao, WeChat Cloud QuickPass, a mobile payment tool provided by China UnionPay, the world’s biggest card network, and commercial banks, was recently connected to leading Chinese commercial apps Taobao and WeChat.
Sequoia Capital’s China Affiliate Launches Hedge Fund for Health, Biotech Stocks — The Information $$ equoia Capital China, the Chinese affiliate of the Silicon Valley venture capital firm, has quietly launched a new fund to buy and sell shares of publicly listed health and biotech companies, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. This marks the firm’s second hedge fund
China Orders Banks to Speed Up Ditching Nonstandard Wealth Management Assets - Caixin Authorities recently summoned banks and outlined more specific requirement on methods for valuing banks’ wealth management products (WMPs). They also set earlier deadlines for disposing of certain nonstandard credit and equity assets, Caixin learned from industry participants. Except for a few large banks with a huge burden of nonstandard assets, it won’t be difficult for most institutions to dispose of the affected assets as long as they aren’t nonperforming assets, a person at a WMP unit told Caixin. Regulators in the first half of this year already ordered banks to speed up the disposal of remaining nonstandard credit assets, the person said.
Private Equity Giant Hillhouse Launches New Fund Business to Invest in Stock Market - Caixin The entity, called Shanghai Lingren Private Fund Management Partnership (LP), on Friday completed its registration with the Asset Management Association of China, a self-regulatory industry group. With 10 million yuan ($1.6 million) of registered capital, it can manage up to 500 million yuan in privately offered funds that can invest in listed companies’ stocks and publicly traded bonds.
Politics and Law
Chinese Leadership Journal Slammed for Belittling Women in Politics - SixthTone A paper published in a state-backed academic journal has met with backlash for its misogynist content, describing female cadres as “affected and harmful.” Published online in Leadership Science, a Henan-based journal aimed toward party leaders, the paper contained ideas on “correction strategies” for female cadres in the party. The paper also described women as aojiao, a term of Japanese origin referring to those who pretend to be “cold outside but warm inside.”
学习领会习近平总书记关于全面从严治党重要论述之二 | 毫不动摇坚持和加强党的全面领导————要闻——中央纪委国家监委网站 《习近平关于全面从严治党论述摘编（2021年版）》第二个专题是“毫不动摇坚持和加强党的全面领导”。这一专题摘录了习近平总书记关于坚持和加强党的全面领导的一系列重要论述。认真学习领会这些重要论述，对于我们坚持党的全面领导，不断完善党的领导，增强“四个意识”、坚定“四个自信”、做到“两个维护”，牢记“国之大者”，不断提高党科学执政、民主执政、依法执政水平，充分发挥党总揽全局、协调各方的领导核心作用，具有十分重要的意义。
人民日报-必须加强中华儿女大团结 Page 9 of today's People's Daily is on “strengthening the unity of the sons and daughters of China”. lead article is from the secretary general of the CPPCC
汇聚起共襄伟业的强大力量（深入学习贯彻习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想）--理论-中国共产党新闻网 Jin Xuefeng, deputy secretary general of the CCPCC on page 9 ot today's People's Daily -
Bring together the powerful forces to assist the great cause (in-depth study and implementation of Xi Jinping's new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics)
The United front is an important magic weapon for the Communist Party of China（CPC） to win the cause of revolution, construction and reform, and it is also an important magic weapon for uniting all Chinese people at home and abroad to realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. On the new journey, the CPPCC, as a political organization and democratic form led by the Communist Party of China（CPC）, should give full play to its advantages of strong representativeness, wide contacts and great inclusiveness, focus on strengthening the broadest United front, practice people's democracy in the whole process, and add help and synergy to build a socialist modern country in an all-round way and achieve the goal of the second century, and strive for greater glory.
The fog of words: Kabul 2021, Beijing 1949 – SupChina - Geremie R. Barmé In 2021, nearly all of the people who knew firsthand of the promises that the Communist Party had made from 1941 to 1949, as well as those who had personally experienced the betrayals of the 1950s, are either extremely old or dead. For the most part, the leaders of Xi Jinping’s administration themselves are only familiar with a history long since red-washed into mythology. Although Xi enjoins the nation to think of “history as a mirror” that can help guide the future 以史为鉴, at best the image reflected back at the viewer is a grotesque distortion of a misremembered reality.
UK Scholar Sounds Alarm Over Chinese Legal Expert Targeted by Beijing — Radio Free Asia A U.K.-based China scholar has spoken out in support of former Tsinghua University law scholar Xu Zhangrun, who is believed to be under house arrest at his Beijing home, under the constant gaze of surveillance cameras. Kerry Brown, professor of Chinese Studies and director of the Lau China Institute at King’s College, London, wrote that while Xu is technically "at liberty," he has paid a heavy price for his criticism of China's political and judicial system under the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and general secretary Xi Jinping
CPC to reinforce anti-graft, ensure no safe haven, no tolerance to corruption following 8 officials probed, 13 punished in 1 week - Global Times On Thursday, Dong Hong, a former deputy head with the central disciplinary inspection team, stood trial at Qingdao's Intermediate People's Court. By taking advantage of his posts and power, Dong had received bribes worth 460 million yuan (70.94 million) from 1999 to 2000. No verdict was handed down on Thursday.
Chinese prosecutors order arrest of former government cult-buster and internet censor Peng Bo | South China Morning Post In March, Peng was placed under investigation by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection for allegedly receiving bribes. His loyalty to the party was questioned and he was accused of failing to supervise the internet industry when serving as the deputy chief of the Cyberspace Administration of China.
Foreign and Defense Affairs
Did Chinese scientists just bring down an unmanned plane with an electromagnetic pulse weapon? | South China Morning Post The experiment could be the first publicly reported Chinese field test of the technology China is trying to catch up after the US brought down 50 drones in a single blast in an experiment two years ago
PLA holds far sea exercises amid multinational drills targeting China, 'shows capability, determination against provocation' - Global Times By holding the exercises, the Chinese military displayed its active status in defense, and this shows that China is fully capable of safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity, fears no provocation, and can deal with anyone who stirs up trouble on China's doorstep, Shi Hong, executive chief editor of the Chinese magazine Shipborne Weapons, told the Global Times on Thursday. The warships featured in the PLA flotillas are world-class vessels, and that two far sea flotillas can be dispatched in different directions reflects the large size of the PLA's naval fleet, the high level of logistics support and maintenance, and the high combat preparedness
1,000 days on, detention of Meng Wanzhou overshadows China-Canada ties - Global Times Chinese Ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu called Meng on Wednesday to express his sympathy and denounce the misdeeds of the Canadian government, hoping that she will take care of herself and uphold the faith. The Chinese envoy also condemned the Canadian government's wrongdoing, emphasizing that any attempt and conduct of bullying or suppressing the Chinese people would be met with a counterstrike, adding that the Chinese government firmly protects the legitimate rights of Chinese citizens and companies.
Showing off its tier-2 naval power, Britain can hardly affect regional affairs in Asia - Global Times The UK used to be the foremost naval power in Europe. During the colonial period, British warships effectively dominated and deterred its colonies and semi-colonies. But things are different now. Currently, the UK's navy clout can only be classified as a second-tier member. But China is in the first tier. It is futile to flex its muscle by virtue of its maritime strength to China.
CGTN sanctioned on multiple counts for airing forced confessions | Safeguard Defenders UK TV regulator Ofcom today announced, in two separate decisions, further sanctions on CGTN for three counts of broadcast violations, concerning two victims, Swede Gui Minhai, and former Hong Kong resident Simon Cheng. Ofcom earlier ruled, as Safeguard Defenders reported on, that CGTN had breached UK broadcasting law, calling the violations ‘severe’, when airing two forced televised confessions with Swedish bookseller Gui Minhai, who was abducted from his summer home in Thailand in late 2015. The broadcasts occurred in 2016 and 2018 respectively. It had likewise ruled that another forced televised confession, of Simon Cheng, which occurred in late 2019, was likewise a ‘severe’ violation. Ofcom today announced that CGTN is fined 100,000 British Pounds for each, for a total of 200,000 Pounds.
Chinese military to hold multinational peacekeeping drill - Xinhua The Chinese military will hold its first multinational peacekeeping live exercise, "Shared Destiny-2021," from Sept. 6 to 15 at a training base of the People's Liberation Army in Queshan County of central China's Henan Province, a military spokesperson said Thursday. More than 1,000 troops from China, Pakistan, Mongolia and Thailand will participate. They will cover infantry, rapid response, security, helicopters, engineering, transportation, and medical services, said Tan Kefei, a spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense, at a press conference.
China would rather be feared than defied | The Economist State media accuse Lithuania of foolishly provoking China in order to curry favour with America, as if smaller countries lack any will of their own. The mood of gloom and wariness among many European embassies in Beijing is obvious to all. But domestic political imperatives require outsize displays of anger, whenever China feels disrespected. That is a clumsy way to manage foreigners. To China, however, being defied is worse.
China’s trade halt with Lithuania over Taiwan ties sends warning to Europe | China | The Guardian The trade tactic mirrors those used against in previous disputes with countries such as Australia and its exports of coal, wine, and beef. But while Australia’s economy is largely dependent on China, Lithuania’s trade was “negligible”, said Noah Barkin, a Europe-China expert at US research group Rhodium. Any economic leverage China had was limited “but by taking retaliatory steps, [Beijing] is sending a message to other countries that there will be consequences if they cross its red lines on Taiwan.”
Data Stolen in Microsoft Exchange Hack May Have Helped Feed China's AI Project : NPR NPR's months-long examination of the attack — based on interviews with dozens of players from company officials to cyber forensics experts to U.S. intelligence officials — found that stealing emails and intellectual property may only have been the beginning. Officials believe that the breach was in the service of something bigger: China's artificial intelligence ambitions.
Spies for Hire: China’s New Breed of Hackers Blends Espionage and Entrepreneurship - The New York Times This new group of hackers has made China’s state cyberspying machine stronger, more sophisticated and — for its growing array of government and private-sector targets — more dangerously unpredictable. Sponsored but not necessarily micromanaged by Beijing, this new breed of hacker attacks government targets and private companies alike, mixing traditional espionage with outright fraud and other crimes for profit.
08/26/2021 China MFA Press Conference Beijing Media Network: It is reported that Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, when asked about a relevant question the other day, said that all hypotheses regarding the origins of SARS-CoV-2 are still on the table, adding that China's call for an investigation into Fort Detrick is a "contradiction", as Beijing has fiercely pushed back against the lab-leak theory. Would you like to respond to this?
Wang Wenbin: China's call is reasonable and justified. There is no "contradiction" whatsoever. On the issue of origins study, Chinese and WHO experts have reached the conclusion that a lab leak from Wuhan is extremely unlikely. Scientists across the world, including in the US, overwhelmingly believe that there is no evidence supporting a lab leak theory. It is the US that refuses to subscribe to this scientific conclusion and asserts that the virus was leaked from a Wuhan lab. Given that the Wuhan Institute of Virology has received two visits from WHO experts already and that the Fort Detrick base and the University of North Carolina (UNC) boast a long history of coronavirus research as well as poor safety records, if the US side insists on the lab leak hypothesis, then it's incumbent on the US to open up Fort Detrick for international investigation. In the same vein, if the WHO Secretariat insists that the possibility of a lab leak cannot be ruled out, then it's incumbent on the WHO to investigate Fort Detrick. Regrettably, we still haven't heard about any plan in this direction by the Secretariat. The Chinese side has submitted to the WHO Secretariat a joint letter signed by 25 million Chinese netizens calling for a probe into Fort Detrick, but has received no response yet.
By calling for an investigation into Fort Detrick and the UNC, China hopes to show the world with facts whether the lab leak theory claimed by the US is tenable and credible. With this call, we also hope to rid global origins study of the disruption posed by US politicization so as to create enabling conditions for science-based research. Should the US refuse to cooperate, it would only further expose its true intention of politicizing origins study.
Hong Kong and Macao
Hong Kong Tiananmen vigil organiser acted as agent for foreigners, national security police claim | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP Hong Kong’s national security police have accused the group behind the annual candlelight vigil marking the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre as acting as an agent for foreign forces. The claim was made in a letter served on Wednesday to seven standing committee members of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, including its chairman Lee Cheuk-yan and vice-chiefs Chow Hang-tung and Albert Ho.
One of Hong Kong’s Last Independent Politicians Loses Position - Bloomberg Legislative Council member Cheng Chung-tai is being removed immediately for failing to “genuinely uphold” Hong Kong’s Basic Law, Chief Secretary John Lee said at a press briefing Thursday. Cheng is also being barred from running in Hong Kong elections for five years, Lee added.
Film censorship bill revisions will not erode creativity, only restrict anti-govt, secessionist ideology: HK director Wong Jing - Global Times The potential amendment to the film censorship bill of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) will not squeeze the creative space of filmmakers, but will only impose restrictions on those who convey anti-government and secessionist ideology in their films, said famous Hong Kong film director and producer Wong Jing in an exclusive interview with the Global Times on Thursday.
Hong Kong to co-host 2025 National Games of China with Macau and Guangdong | South China Morning Post Hong Kong has been named as one of the co-hosts of the National Games of China along with Macau and Guangdong province. The 2025 games will be the first time the two former colonies host a major national sporting event.
Taiwan eyes jet fighter buy amid modest hike in 2022 defence spending | Reuters That number includes T$40.1 billion ($1.44 billion) for new fighter jets, though the government did not give details but likely refers to F-16s.
Tech and Media
Chinese Police Kept Buying Cellebrite Phone Crackers After Cellebrite Said It Ended Sales even after Cellebrite said it withdrew from China and Hong Kong, an Intercept investigation has found, police on the mainland continued to buy the company’s Universal Forensic Extraction Device, or UFED, products, which allow officers to break into phones in their possession and siphon off data. While Cellebrite did deregister its Chinese subsidiary earlier this year, it appears to have done little about the brokers that peddle its hacking technology. Chinese government procurement award notices and posts on resellers’ websites show that police have continued to purchase powerful Cellebrite software, while resellers have continued to provide updates for the software. In one case, a reseller reported delivering the Israeli company’s software to border guards in Tibet and demonstrating how it could be used to search people’s WeChat accounts.
TikTok Rival’s Shares Tumble After CEO Says More Regulation Will Hurt Revenue - WSJ $$ While Kuaishou’s revenues jumped 49% to nearly $3 billion in the second quarter, Chief Executive Su Hua warned during an earnings call Wednesday that cyberspace regulations, including China’s newly-passed privacy law, could dent Kuaishou’s revenue in the short term as the company adapts to the changes.
TikTok Still Has Key Software Developers in China Despite Effort to Move Offshore — The Information $$ There are more algorithm engineers in China working on TikTok’s video recommendation engine than in any other international offices, according to people with knowledge of the matter. ByteDance also has China-based product managers, monetization experts and data analysts who all work on TikTok, and ByteDance’s Beijing office recently sought to hire a senior engineer to analyze TikTok’s user data.
EXCLUSIVE JOYY's top shareholders plan take-private deal, value firm at up to $8 bln -sources | Reuters Li and Lei are looking to offer $75-$100 per share to take the cash-rich JOYY private, two of the people said, a premium of 50-100% to the share's average price over the past month.
Hollywood Needs a Box Office Favor From China - Variety In the first eight months of 2021, Hollywood titles have been chart toppers on just eight occasions, driven by an ageing “Fast and the Furious” franchise, and over two weeks by a rereleased “Avatar.” Hollywood’s share of the China box office market in 2021 has collapsed to a shocking 9.5%, according to data from consultancy Artisan Gateway.
Alibaba Replaces Executive Who Botched Sexual Assault Scandal Amid Broader Reshuffle - Caixin Li Yonghe left his job as the CEO of Alibaba Local Services Co., which is part of the new lifestyle services division formed in July, said a note from Alibaba on Aug. 9. According to an internal memo, Li will be replaced as CEO by Yu Yongfu — perhaps best known as the former CEO of browser-maker UCWeb Inc. — who is also the president of the lifestyle business division and reports directly to Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang
Energy, Environment, Science and Health
China to send environmental inspectors to five provinces, two metal firms | Reuters Teams will be stationed in Jilin, Shandong, Hubei, Guangdong and Sichuan, as well as at China National Gold Group Corp and China Nonferrous Metal Mining Group Co (CNMC), the Ministry of Ecology of Environment said in a statement.
JHU's policy reversal leaves Chinese students worrying about mixed vaccine side effects, questioning if new rule is 'discriminatory' - Global Times Johns Hopkins University (JHU), which has leading medical programs, has suddenly shifted its policy from accepting WHO-approved vaccines to FDA-approved vaccines, effectively ruling out China-made Sinopharm and SinoVac and India-made Covishield and leaving many already-vaccinated international students no choice but to get re-vaccinated.
Sporadic cases in SW China Ruili highlight blind spots and complexity of border epidemic control: experts - Global Times Ruili, the border city between China and Myanmar, reported another three domestic confirmed COVID-19 cases on Thursday, the only three that the mainland reported on the day. Public health experts said their confirmation doesn't represent new epidemic resurgence in Ruili but these sporadic cases highlight the blind spots and complexity of border epidemic control.
Land resource survey results released - China Daily China now has a total area of 23.46 million hectares of wetlands, of which mangrove forests account for 27,100, according to the third national land resource survey released on Thursday. It was the first time wetlands were included as a major category in China's national land resources survey, conducted every 10 years by the Ministry of Natural Resources. The latest survey, with more than 219,000 staff members participating, was made based on 295 million map units collected by satellite images in high one-meter resolution
Chinese vice premier stresses curbing energy-hungry, high-emissions projects - Xinhua Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng stressed on Thursday the need to resolutely curb the blind development of projects with high energy consumption and heavy carbon emissions...He said existing projects with high energy consumption and heavy carbon emissions that do not meet the requirements should be rectified, while new projects failing to meet the requirements should not be approved.
English Textbook Shelves Empty in Shanghai Bookstore After New Rules — Radio Free Asia English textbooks disappeared from the shelves of the Shanghai branch of the state-backed Xinhua Bookstore this week, as parents rushed to panic-buy books, for fear they may later be banned under a nationwide crackdown on private tutoring. Photos of empty shelves that appeared to be part of the bookstore were posted to social media on Monday, parents in the city told RFA, with complaints that some textbooks were nowhere to be seen.
Question of NYU's control over NYU Shanghai sits at center of faculty suit NYU Shanghai went to great lengths, in a document filed last year with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission about Belanger’s claims, to argue that NYU Shanghai is not controlled by NYU and therefore not covered by U.S. employment laws. NYU Shanghai said this despite the fact that its vice chancellor, Jeffrey S. Lehman, told a congressional committee in 2015 that NYU agreed to help establish NYU Shanghai, a Sino-U.S. joint venture university, on the conditions that NYU “would have absolute control over the school’s curriculum, faculty, teaching style, and operations, and that it would receive an ironclad guarantee that it could operate the school according to the fundamental principles of academic freedom.”