Call for WHO to investigate US goes viral; US declares genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang; end of the Trump Era in US-China relations

Tomorrow is the end of the Trump Era in US-China relations, but the Xi Era in US-China relations will remain for the foreseeable future. US-China tensions rose during the four years of the Trump Administration, but the structural problems that existed long before January 20, 2017 have only intensified during the last four years. So while I expect the tone from the US side at least to soften, I do not expect any significant, substantive changes in the downward trajectory of the relationship. The New Era in US-China Relations will continue at least as long as the PRC is in the Xi Era.

Xi and his officials see time and trends on their side, and they are saying it even more openly now with more regular utterances of ideas like "the East is rising and the West is declining 东升西降". It is almost like they believe the historical outcome is already determined.

While the tone towards the PRC from the Biden Administration may soften a bit, I am skeptical the PRC tone towards the US will. As Wang Yi writes in the latest issue of Qiushi (see item 2 below) “the diplomatic struggle is firm and strong, and we stand on the front line of defending rights and interests 外交斗争坚定有力,勇立维护权益第一线”.

From my qualitative view of things as I spend my day ingesting lots of CCP content, it sure looks like the global struggle for any narrative related to China is intensifying noticeably. This whole “wolf-warrior” approach is not an anomaly, it is a fundamental principle of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, and the struggle is only going to intensify, now matter who is in the White House.

There is a lot to struggle over, including but far from limited to the narrative over the origins of the pandemic, system superiority, whether or not China is practicing state capitalism and Xinjiang.

The struggle over the Xinjiang narrative will get uglier now that, in what looks to be the Trump Administration’s last China-related action, the State Department announced today has determined that the PRC is committing crimes against humanity and genocide in Xinjiang.

Good luck to the Biden team, the world really is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, and Xi and his CCP see increasing opportunities globally even as they continue to harden against risks.

Today’s Essential Eight items:

  1. Latest on the outbreaks

  2. Hua Chunying’s call for WHO to investigate the US goes viral

  3. Vaccine diplomacy looks to be a struggle too

  4. Political security and celebrating the 100th anniversary of the CCP

  5. US says PRC committing crimes of humanity and genocide in Xinjiang

  6. Xi inspects 2022 Winter Olympics facilities

  7. US-China

  8. Actress abandons kids, destroys career

Thanks for reading.


The Essential Eight

1. Latest on the outbreaks

They sound like they are relatively well under control, but the impact on travel and the economy through the Spring Festival will be significant.

Chinese mainland reports 106 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases - Xinhua

The Chinese mainland on Monday reported 118 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 106 locally transmitted cases and 12 arriving from outside the mainland, the National Health Commission said Tuesday.

Of the locally transmitted cases, 43 were reported in Jilin, 35 in Hebei, 27 in Heilongjiang, and one in Beijing, the commission said in its daily report.

Hebei hopes for inflection point in local COVID-19 outbreak given recent downward trend of new cases - Global Times

An epidemiologist and director of the emergency response office of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) of North China's Hebei Province said on Tuesday that the province is still at a critical point in epidemic prevention and control, but a turning point is expected given the downward trend in new cases from Sunday.

孙春兰:要汲取宗教活动导致疫情传播的教训|孙春兰|疫情|隔离点_新浪新闻

Vice premier Sun Chunlan on an inspection of the Hebei epidemic prevention work told cadres to learn the lesson that some outbreak may have occurred during religious activities, and the government should now suspend all such activities.

Some COVID-19 confirmed patients in N.China's Shijiazhuang outbreak attended recent religious activities: media - Global Times

Some COVID-19 elderly patients in a local village had attended religious activities regularly at a villager's home before they were confirmed in the latest outbreak in Shijiazhuang, North China's Hebei Province, a village head told Beijing-based Health Times on Thursday.

Amid online speculations that the latest outbreak in Shijiazhuang may be linked to family religious gatherings in a local village, a head of the local Catholic diocese in Shijiazhuang denied the church is related to the spread of the virus.

石家庄、邢台南宫明起进行第三轮核酸检测,3天内完成 _ 证券时报网

They are doing a 3rd round of testing for all residents of Shijiazhuang and Nangong City, Xingtai

Beijing suburb puts over 1,000 people from local school under collective quarantine after a new case reported - Global Times

After Beijing's southern district Daxing reported one confirmed COVID-19 case and one asymptomatic patient on Monday, local authorities have put a total of 1,081 faculty members and students from a school where the confirmed patient studies under collective quarantine in 17 hotels for further health status monitoring, local officials said on Tuesday.

北京大兴:4个社区实行封闭式管理-新华网

Four residential compounds in Daxing, Beijing are in lock down because of COVID.

China Locks Down Two Northeast Cities Amid Covid-19 Resurgence - Caixin

Authorities in Tonghua, a city of 2.3 million, stopped all traffic in and out the city while requiring residents to avoid traveling within the city. Gongzhuling, a county-level city neighboring Changchun, also ordered its 1 million residents to stay home for a least a week starting Monday.

The background: Jilin’s outbreak recorded 130 new infections as of Sunday, including 90 asymptomatic cases. Provincial health officials said they traced the resurgence to a superspreader from neighboring Heilongjiang province, who was linked to 122 infections in Jilin.

“相比病毒,我更怕泄露个人隐私,丢掉工作”_手机新浪网

A truck driver in Hebei who contracted the virus told China Youth Daily that his personal info (including his truck plate) were leaked online, apparently by local police and medical workers responsible for contact tracing, and he felt like he was treated as if he is a wanted criminal. He worried that he may never get a job again.

Beijing’s neighbor city Langfang restricts travel to capital - Global Times

The local government of Langfang announced on Tuesday that apart from Gu'an, a county administered by Langfang, other parts of the city will return to normal. Gu'an will continue to implement home quarantine until January 25

Langfang will continue to discourage local residents from entering Beijing. Vehicles and personnel entering the capital will go through checks and have their identities verified.

Heilongjiang punishes 16 officials for neglecting duties in viral fight, latest show of China's increasing strict accountability mechanism amid epidemic - Global Times

The local commission slammed the 16 officials' lack of political stance, saying they had been irresponsible and paralyzed in their thoughts. Their "formalism and bureaucracy" in the epidemic prevention and control work had led to a clustered epidemic in the county.

They bear "unshirkable responsibility" for the existence and spread of the epidemic in the province, the notice said.

China may vaccinate children and teenager against coronavirus as early as March: industry insider - ECNS

China's COVID-19 vaccination program may be expanded to include low age groups of minor and young people aged 3 to 17 years old, domestic news site yicai.com reported.

Beijing to implement "14+7+7" health observation for inbound travelers - Xinhua

The new "14+7+7" model comprises the 14-day centralized medical quarantine, one week of home isolation or centralized quarantine, and another week of health monitoring.

China rebuffs WHO report claiming slow COVID response - Nikkei Asia

Responding to the World Health Organization's independent panel report released on Monday, China's foreign ministry defended Beijing's initial actions. "China was the first country to alert the world about the epidemic even when it did not have sufficient information," spokesperson Hua Chunying said at the ministry's daily press briefing...

The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response established by WHO released a preliminary report on Monday that criticized both the WHO and China for dragging their feet at the initial stage of the outbreak.


2. Hua Chunying’s call for WHO to investigate the US goes viral

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on January 18, 2021

I'd like to stress that if the United States truly respects facts, it should open the biological lab at Fort Detrick, give more transparency to issues like its 200-plus overseas bio-labs, invite WHO experts to conduct origin-tracing in the United States, and respond to the concerns from the international community with real actions. We hope certain U.S. politicians can respect science, act with due conscience, stop shifting the blame or playing the political game, and fostering a favorable environment for international cooperation on origin-tracing and combating the virus, which is what they should do at the moment.

The video clip of Hua’s comments has gone viral:

Multiple state-run media outlets have posted content about the US army base and pushed the conspiracy theory. By the end of Tuesday, the hashtag #外交部 (foreign ministry) is top of the Weibo topic page, with more than five million searches and still rising

They have certainly set up the idea domestically at least that the WHO investigation is a farce unless they investigate the US too. How aggressively are they pushing this globally across US platforms Twitter, Youtube and Facebook, in multiple languages?

Wang Yi in the latest issue of Qiushi praises China’s diplomacy under Xi Jinping in the past year. The achievements include Xi’s efforts to champion multilateralism, China’s mask diplomacy, the “unbreakable friendship” with Russia, the China-Europe CAI, and the Foreign Ministry’s successful fight against the Americans who try to blame China for the pandemic.

迎难而上 为国担当 奋力开启中国特色大国外交新征程 - 求是网-- "Facing difficulties and serving the country, striving to start a new journey of great power diplomacy with Chinese characteristics"

One excerpt:

The diplomatic struggle is firm and strong, and we stand on the front line of defending rights and interests. We bear firmly in mind the "major issues [国之大者[". We clearly oppose the U.S. side's wrong action of politicizing the epidemic and labeling the virus, and do not allow any "political virus" to run rampant in the world. We will firmly counter any disinformation and smear against China's system and road, and resolutely defend the security of the Party and the State's regime and system. We will forcefully thwart attempts to interfere in China's internal affairs by using Taiwan, Hong Kong-related, border-related and Tibet-related issues, and safeguard sovereign independence and the basic norms of international relations. Firmly and properly handle disputes over territorial borders and maritime rights and interests, and vigorously defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Righteously refute all kinds of false information, pierce all kinds of blame dumping, and show and leave an objective and true historical narrative. Resolutely counter the abuse of national security to take advantage of the so-called unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction, and safeguard national and ethnic dignity as well as the legitimate rights and interests of enterprises and citizens.

外交斗争坚定有力,勇立维护权益第一线。国之大者,铭记于心。我们旗帜鲜明反对美方将疫情政治化、病毒标签化的错误行径,不让任何“政治病毒”横行于世界。坚定回击任何对中国制度和道路的造谣抹黑,坚决捍卫党和国家的政权安全和制度安全。有力挫败利用台湾、涉港、涉疆、涉藏等问题干涉中国内政的图谋,维护主权独立和国际关系基本准则。坚定妥善处理领土边界和海洋权益争端,有力捍卫国家主权和领土完整。义正词严驳斥各种虚假信息,戳穿各种甩锅推责,展示和留下客观真实的历史叙事。

反制滥用国家安全借机大搞所谓单边制裁和长臂管辖,维护国家和民族尊严以及企业和公民正当权益。


3. Vaccine diplomacy looks to be a struggle too

Vaccine distribution shouldn’t lead to catastrophic moral failure: Global Times editorial - Global Times

The US, the UK and Canada all shout loudly for developing countries' human rights. But they are the ones contributing to "a catastrophic moral failure" that Ghebreyesus said. When the interests of their own countries are not involved, they express concerns about human rights of other countries. But when they need to take real actions to help other countries realize human rights, they retract their heads as turtles.

Vaccines developed by Chinese companies have become a key resource to break rich countries' privilege and safeguard developing countries' rights. Chinese vaccines are cheap, easy to be transported and used all over the world. Besides, China has an explosive vaccine production capability and it has a greater surplus to provide the outside world, since the domestic epidemic in China has been relatively alleviated.

At the initial stage of distribution when supply is short, US vaccines will inevitably go to developed countries. The Five Eyes countries know this well.

China's vaccine cooperation gains momentum worldwide - Xinhua

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called for solidarity with developing countries in the context of COVID-19 and pre-exisiting inequalities and injustices.

Vaccines must be a global public good, available to everyone, everywhere, he said.

The good news is that China has, on various occasions, pledged continuous efforts in global COVID-19 response.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has recently said that China will continue to advance global cooperation on epidemic response, strengthen joint prevention and control, and assist countries and regions in need.

"We were the first to pledge to make vaccines a global public good, bearing in mind the greater good of humanity," he said.

Analysis: China is hitting back at criticism of its vaccines with a dangerous disinformation campaign - CNN

Speaking at the World Health Assembly last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for "solidarity and cooperation" in developing coronavirus vaccines, "our most powerful weapon" for tackling the pandemic.

But with Chinese medical company Sinovac facing questions over the efficacy of its coronavirus shot, the country's propaganda apparatus has apparently forgotten Xi's comments. Instead, it is choosing to attack other vaccines -- a dangerous gambit that could risk undermining overall confidence in mass vaccinations just as the world desperately needs people to get inoculated.

Serbia receives 1 mln Sinopharm vaccines from China - Xinhua

A local coal company in Jiyuan, Henan denied the rumor that it has sacked the wife of the city’s CCP committee chief of staff. The wife went online to accuse the city’s party boss of slapping his husband in public, which led to his heart attack.

Pakistan in phase III trials of Chinese vaccine with expectation to see COVID-free future - Xinhua

The vaccine, referred to as Ad5-nCoV, is developed by China's CanSino Biologics and the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology. =

Pakistan approves China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use - Xinhua

A vaccine manufactured by British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has also been given the authorization earlier, the handout said.

Brazil battles Chinese red tape to get key vaccine ingredients, sources say | Reuters

Brazil is battling bureaucracy in China to free up exports of active ingredients for vaccines developed by AstraZeneca and Sinovac Biotech, three people familiar with talks told Reuters..

More Brazilian states gave their first COVID-19 vaccinations on Tuesday, as the government distributed some 6 million ready doses of the vaccine from China’s Sinovac after its approval for emergency use on Sunday.

However the sources, who spoke anonymously due to diplomatic sensitivities, said red tape in China was holding back supplies needed for Brazil to finish and distribute millions more doses from its own biomedical facilities.


4. Political security and celebrating the 100th anniversary of the CCP

Minister of Public Security Zhao Kezhi told the provincial police chiefs in a meeting on Tuesday to prioritize security and social stability in their work this year, making sure all the major events will go well to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the CCP.

赵克志:把握新发展阶段 推动高质量发展 以确保国家政治安全和社会稳定的优异成绩庆祝建党100周年_凤凰网

We must go all out to celebrate the security and stability of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Party and ensure that all major activities are absolutely safe and foolproof

要全力以赴做好庆祝建党100周年安保维稳工作,确保各项重大活动绝对安全、万无一失;

We should pay close attention to political construction, unswervingly adhere to the party's absolute leadership over public security work, focus on building and mastering public security organs politically, constantly strengthen the high consciousness of loyalty, support, follow and defend the core, and more firmly and consciously achieve "two maintenance" … Resolutely investigate and deal with people and things that violate political discipline and rules to ensure that the public security team is absolutely loyal, pure and reliable.

要狠抓政治建设,毫不动摇地坚持党对公安工作的绝对领导,着力从政治上建设和掌握公安机关,不断强化忠诚核心、拥护核心、跟随核心、捍卫核心的高度自觉,更加坚定自觉地做到“两个维护” … 坚决查处违反政治纪律和政治规矩的人和事,确保公安队伍绝对忠诚、绝对纯洁、绝对可靠。

Zhao Kezhi stressed that we should do our best in security and stability work to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Party, and ensure that all major activities are absolutely safe and foolproof. We must put the prevention of political security risks in the first place, dare to struggle, be good at struggling, strictly guard against and severely crack down on hostile forces' infiltration, disturbance, subversion and sabotage activities, and resolutely fight for political security.

赵克志强调,要全力以赴做好庆祝建党100周年安保维稳工作,确保各项重大活动绝对安全、万无一失。要坚持把防范政治安全风险置于首位,敢于斗争、善于斗争,严密防范严厉打击敌对势力渗透捣乱颠覆破坏活动,坚决打好政治安全保卫仗。

5. US says PRC committing crimes of humanity and genocide in Xinjiang

Determination of the Secretary of State on Atrocities in Xinjiang - United States Department of State

After careful examination of the available facts, I have determined that since at least March 2017, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), under the direction and control of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), has committed crimes against humanity against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other members of ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang. These crimes are ongoing and include: the arbitrary imprisonmentor other severe deprivation of physical liberty of more than one million civilians, forced sterilization, torture of a large number of those arbitrarily detained, forced labor, and the imposition of draconian restrictions on freedom of religion or belief, freedom of expression, and freedom of movement. The Nuremberg Tribunals at the end of World War II prosecuted perpetrators for crimes against humanity, the same crimes being perpetrated in Xinjiang.

In addition, after careful examination of the available facts, I have determined that the PRC, under the direction and control of the CCP, has committed genocide against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang. I believe this genocide is ongoing, and that we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uyghurs by the Chinese party-state. The governing authorities of the second most economically, militarily, and politically powerful country on earth have made clear that they are engaged in the forced assimilation and eventual erasure of a vulnerable ethnic and religious minority group, even as they simultaneously assert their country as a global leader and attempt to remold the international system in their image.

U.S. Says China’s Repression of Uighurs Is ‘Genocide’ - The New York Times

The determination of atrocities is a rare action on the part of the State Department, and could lead the United States to impose more sanctions against China under the new administration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., who said last year through a spokesman that the policies by Beijing amounted to “genocide.” Other nations or international institutions could follow suit in formally criticizing China over its treatment of its minority Muslims and taking punitive measures. The determination also prompts certain reviews within the State Department...

Mr. Pompeo, State Department lawyers and other officials had debated for months over the determination, but the matter had gained urgency in the Trump administration’s final days. As was common with most China policy, the issue of Xinjiang had long pitted administration officials against one another: Mr. Pompeo and other national security aides advocated tough measures against Beijing, while President Trump and top economic advisers brushed aside the concerns.


6. Xi inspects 2022 Winter Olympics facilities

Question: Does the US designation increase the likelihood the US boycotts the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, assuming the pandemic is under enough control by then that they can hold the games?

Xi confident of successful Beijing 2022, underscores Games' role in developing China's winter sports - Xinhua

Xi noted that he was very gratified to see that the preparations for Beijing 2022 are well underway and that the athletes' training is producing obvious results. He also expressed confidence that the 2022 winter sports extravaganza will be a success.

At the National Alpine Skiing Center in Yanqing District, Xi observed the operations of the Alpine skiing competition venue and also took in a training session for athletes in the competition's finishing area.

The foundation of building a sporting powerhouse lies in mass sports, he said.

Xi called for the development of China's winter sports, especially snow sports, as well as better promoting winter sports among 300 million people. He also expressed hopes that hosting the Beijing Winter Olympics would contribute to China's goal of becoming a global sporting power.


7. US-China

U.S. Treasury nominee Yellen says China guilty of 'horrendous' rights abuses | Reuters

China is guilty of “horrendous human rights abuses,” Janet Yellen, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for Treasury Secretary, told lawmakers on Tuesday.

Yellen, former chair of the Federal Reserve, said the United States needed to make investments to enable it to compete with China, which she described as the most important strategic competitor to the United States

Biden intelligence pick to call for tough scrutiny of China, source says | Reuters

In testimony before a Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing, Haines, Biden’s nominee for Director of National Intelligence, will declare that U.S. agencies must continue to collect intelligence to “support long-term bipartisan efforts to out-compete China — gaining and sharing insight into China’s intentions and capabilities, while also supporting more immediate efforts to counter Beijing’s unfair, illegal, aggressive and coercive actions, as well as its human rights violations,” the transition official said.

Biden taps former aide as top Pentagon adviser on China - POLITICO

President-elect Joe Biden has tapped former aide and longtime Asia expert Ely Ratner to be the incoming Pentagon chief's principal adviser on China matters, according to two people with knowledge of the move...

At the Pentagon, Ratner will initially serve as a special adviser to the defense secretary on China matters, according to a transition official and a defense official, both of whom spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss personnel issues. The move potentially sets Ratner up to be nominated as the Pentagon's top official overseeing Indo-Pacific affairs.

Comment: Just after the Politico story hit Mr. Ratner tweeted this:

Here’s Who Will Be Running the Pentagon When Biden Takes Office - Defense One

Deputy Assistant Secretary (China) Michael Chase

Michael S. Chase - Profile | RAND

The Beijing News interviews CICIR head Yuan Peng. Yuan of course was the discussant at the December Politburo Study session on National Security, as discussed in the December 14th newsletter. -中国现代国际关系研究院院长袁鹏:美国病了 中国稳了 世界变了-中新网 - "Yuan Peng, Dean of China Institute of Contemporary International Relations: The United States is sick, China has stabilized, and the world has changed"

Some highlights:

The trend of "East rising and West declining 东升西降" is irreversible. China needs to play a leading role. [Chen Yixin used the same language Monday, as discussed in yesterday's newsletter]

“东升西降”之势不可逆 中国需发挥引领作用

Yuan discusses the contradictions that he says are the cause of many of America's problems. He sounds Marxist:

The first is class contradiction. America used to be an olive-shaped society dominated by the middle class, with strong class mobility. But now it has become a dumbbell-shaped and pyramid-shaped society. The richer the rich, the poorer the poor, the shrinking of the middle class, and the unprecedented increase of class contradictions in the whole society.

Secondly, racial conflicts. America is an immigrant country, and generations of immigrants have gradually formed a pluralistic and integrated model. However, with the development of society, the conflicts between races have gradually become prominent, which is finally reflected in the conflicts between races. Last year's American "Black Lives Matter" movement was a concentrated outbreak of racial conflicts.

The third contradiction is intergenerational contradiction. The elderly, middle-aged and young people in the United States care about different issues and support different political figures. There are also LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) minorities, which have gradually become a mainstream political voice. Intergenerational contradictions among these groups have led to prominent political polarization and social differentiation in the United States.

首先是阶级矛盾。美国过去是一个中产阶级为主的橄榄型社会,阶级流动性很强。但现在成为了一个哑铃型、金字塔型的社会。富人愈富、穷人愈穷,中产阶级逐渐萎缩,整个社会的阶级矛盾空前加大。

其次是种族矛盾。美国是一个移民国家,一代又一代的移民逐渐形成了一个多元一体的模式。但随着社会的发展,种族之间的矛盾逐渐凸显,最终体现为种族之间的冲突,去年的美国“黑人命贵”运动就是种族矛盾的一次集中爆发。

第三个矛盾是代际矛盾。美国老年群体、中年群体、青年群体关心的问题都不一样,支持的政治人物也不一样。还有LGBTQ(女同性恋者、男同性恋者、双性恋者、跨性别者、酷儿)少数群体,现在逐渐成为一个主流的政治声音。这些群体间的代际矛盾,导致美国政治极化、社会分化问题凸显。

陈文鑫:战略竞争与中美关系的未来_爱思想

CICIR's Chen Wenxin on strategic competition and the future of US-China relations

Blackstone's Schwarzman: New U.S. admin going to take a 'softer tone' towards China | Reuters

Schwarzman, one of Wall Street’s biggest donors to President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, was speaking at a finance forum in Hong Kong.

“There is really a very substantial overlap of interest in these countries and the interest of the world,” he said. “I expect to see much less tension.”

Interview: U.S. business leader urges stronger U.S.-China cooperation to tackle climate change, pandemic - Xinhua

"Such collaboration would be probably very productive, particularly over the longer term," U.S.-China Business Council (USCBC) President Craig Allen told Xinhua in a recent video interview...

"Almost all of our companies are doubling down in China, we are in China for the long term. Nobody is pulling out of China at all," said the U.S. business leader, whose organization represents over 200 American companies doing business with China.

Axios China - Quote: "We were proved to be correct"

A senior administration official with knowledge of the Trump administration's China strategy told me that China's coercive economic practices and the unique threats it posed to U.S. national security interests and values required new thinking:

"The U.S. had to step out in front and take some actions that were perceived as extreme. It’s not establishment Washington thinking."

The results: "I think we were proved to be correct in many ways. You can impose economic costs on China without the world falling apart. China has been extremely restrained in its retaliation. The U.S. as the world’s largest economy had to take the lead and show that the world isn’t going to end."

A Complex Inheritance: Transitioning to a New Approach on China | Center for Strategic and International Studies - Scott Kennedy

A return to an era when profound disagreements, such as over Taiwan or human rights, did not get in the way of extensive cooperation is not possible or advisable for the foreseeable future. A China that is ideologically radicalized under Xi Jinping, more powerful, and aiming to dominate the commanding heights of the global economy means a decline in overlapping interests between Washington and Beijing. However, the Biden administration has a greater opportunity for policy innovation on China than many appreciate. There are two steps to escaping the confines of a Trumpian approach. The first is a willingness to fully evaluate the existing approach’s assumptions, tools, and outcomes and, on that basis, define a new approach; the second is a systematic plan of how to get from Point A to Point B, which will require deciding which existing policy measures to keep, which to reform, and which to discard entirely.


8. Actress abandons kids, destroys career

An Actor’s Rumored Surrogacy Is a Massive Scandal in China - SixthTone

Online, a wave of outrage followed media reports claiming that Zheng not only had children by surrogacy, but also abandoned them after she and Zhang broke up. A related hashtag on Weibo has been viewed more than 3 billion times, with many calling for Zheng to be “canceled” and barred from China’s entertainment industry.

Liu Changqiu, a professor at Shanghai University of Political Science and Law who researches surrogacy, told Sixth Tone that it’s not uncommon for Chinese people — and especially economically advantaged groups like celebrities — to seek surrogacy abroad.

“Such practices fall within a gray area of China’s law,” said Liu. “People who seek surrogacy abroad take advantage of the law’s imperfections, and the lack of timely legislative updates, to exploit loopholes.”

#央视评代孕弃养法律道德皆难容#前有代... 来自央视新闻 - 微博

CCTV's Weibo account attacked Zheng's actions as “intolerable by the laws and morals” for surrogacy and trying to abandon the babies.

前有代孕妈妈遭“退货”,后有某明星疑似代孕欲弃养,曝光录音中“打也打不掉,我都烦死了”更令人愤怒。代孕在我国被明令禁止,其对生命的漠视令人发指:包生男孩代孕者怀上女孩会被强行打胎;胎儿如存缺陷或被丢弃…如此践踏底线,法律难容,道德难容!

郑爽代孕弃养风波:钻法律空子,这绝不是无辜!

CCP Central political and legal affairs Commission wrote an article on its WeChat attacking Zheng Shuang for surrogacy, saying that even if the surrogacy done was in the US, she was merely exploiting a legal loophole and “this is by no means law-abiding.” The article criticized surrogacy as a black industry that harms women and violate morals.

Prada Ends Zheng Shuang Ambassadorship over Alleged Child Dispute – WWD

Chinese actress Zheng Shuang, who last week appeared in the brand’s Chinese New Year campaign alongside Chung Xia and Cai Xukun as a new ambassador, was accused by her ex-boyfriend, producer Zhang Heng, of considering forcing the U.S. surrogate carrying their child to terminate her seven-month pregnancy in 2019 because their relationship came to an end.

Zhang said in a Weibo post on Monday that he has been stranded in the U.S. for over a year because he and his family “must take care of and protect two young and innocent lives.”


Business, Economy and Trade

China Signals Easing Deleveraging Stance on Big State Firms - Bloomberg State-owned enterprises’ credit ratings are at a good level and their bond size is generally reasonable, Peng Huagang, spokesperson of State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, said at a briefing Tuesday. SASAC is responsible for managing SOEs...“Today’s SASAC guidance should shore up confidence that the authorities will deftly manage leverage risks in response to market conditions, so as to keep the refinancing channel open and contain default risks onshore,” according to Chang Wei Liang, a macro strategist at DBS Bank Ltd. in Singapore.

China to support economic recovery, avoid 'policy cliff' - state planner official | Reuters “We will have a good grip over the pace, intensity and effectiveness of macro policies to make sure the economic recovery remains stable and avoid a policy cliff,” Yan Pengcheng, director of General Office at the National Development and Reform Commission, told reporters in an online briefing. “Considering some micro market entities will still need to undergo a period of recovery - some small firms just started to ‘get well from a serious illness’, while others have yet to regain their stamina - macro policies will continue to maintain necessary support (for them).”

Economic Watch: China's central SOEs report rising profits in 2020 amid reforms - Xinhua Net profits of the country's 97 central SOEs expanded 2.1 percent year on year in 2020 to 1.4 trillion yuan (215.77 billion U.S. dollars), with around 80 percent of central SOEs reporting rising profits, Peng Huagang, spokesperson for the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) of the State Council, told a press conference Tuesday...The central SOEs raked in 30.3 trillion yuan in combined revenues last year, down 2.2 percent year on year, narrowing by 9.6 percentage points from the decline seen in the first quarter last year, SASAC data showed.

CBIRC - China's New Development Stage and Hong Kong SAR's New Opportunities Speech at the 14th Asian Financial Forum Mr. Guo Shuqing Twenty years ago, it was said that China was not a market economy and needed a transition. More recently, they accused China of state capitalism. because China has a strong public sector and its industrial policies distort the market. This is a big misunderstanding. Here let's make five points of clarification….Fourth, banks and SOEs are financially independent from each other. Chinese banks are among the most profitable banks in the world. This couldn’t be possible if they had been providing subsidies to SOEs over the long term. The credit market is also highly competitive. And banks’ ownership has long been well diversified. Under such background, tunneling interests to SOEs is impossible, even for banks with a big state ownership. Fifth, the strong competitiveness of Chinese products is not due to lack of labor protection. China is a socialist country. The Constitution and other laws provide strong protection for people’s interest, allowing employees to participate in corporate management and labor union activities. The Employee Representative Conference of China’s medium and large companies is rarely seen in other countries. In the past 10 years, income of Chinese workers has grown rapidly. Migrant workers have their income doubled. We don’t think strikes and demonstrations are good ways to solve labor disputes. Through consultation and oversight by multiple parties, win-win results can be achieved for both employees and employers. Therefore, people’s wealth and welfare can grow in tandem with economic development. // Quite the narrative, need to shift perceptions to allow entry into certain trade deals without actually changing the current system?

重磅!郭树清在亚洲金融论坛上发表演讲(附演讲视频)_手机新浪网 video of Guo Shuqing speech, in English.

Chinese regulator approves Cisco's $4.5 billion Acacia deal | Reuters SAMR on Tuesday said the Acacia acquisition can proceed provided the companies continue to service existing contracts in China and continue to supply customers in China “in accordance with the principles of fairness, reasonableness and non-discrimination”.

China’s Car-Chip Shortage Could Persist for as Long as a Decade - Bloomberg Short-term factors like mistakes in ordering due to incorrect forecasts and factory disruptions because of Covid-19 will resolve naturally, Yuan Chengyin, general manager of the National New Energy Vehicle Technology Innovation Center, said. Rather, China’s rising demand for electric cars, its lack of domestic technical knowhow and sustained geopolitical tensions will emerge as much more serious issues.

VW New ID.4 Crozz Electric SUV Takes on Tesla (TSLA) in China - Bloomberg Volkswagen AG has set the starting price of its first locally built all-electric sports-utility vehicle with its Chinese partner FAW Group Co. at 199,900 yuan ($30,800) after subsidy, descending into the mass market as a growing number of players jostle for share.

Bank of China President to Leave for Same Role at World’s No. 2 Bank - Caixin China Construction Bank Corp. (CCB), the world’s second largest commercial lender by assets, has decided to appoint the president of Bank of China Ltd. as its new president, sources with knowledge of the matter told Caixin. Wang Jiang, 57, will fill in the position that has been vacant for two months

China Expands Grad Schools as the Young Seek Jobs - The New York Times With the encouragement of the government, many students are turning to a stopgap solution: staying in school. China’s Ministry of Education announced at the height of the outbreak that it would order universities to expand the number of master’s candidates by 189,000, a nearly 25 percent increase, to ease unemployment. Undergraduate slots would also increase by more than 300,000.

Premier signs decree unveiling revised rule on business name registration - Xinhua It will come into effect on March 1. A State Council executive meeting on Dec. 14 adopted draft revisions of the Regulation on Business Name Registration and Administration, to refine basic norms and put in place an application system for corporate names where applicants can choose a corporate name that meets the requirements and pledge to bear legal responsibilities for any name infringements.

Shipping costs quadruple to record highs on China-Europe ‘bottleneck’ | Financial Times $$ Thousands of empty containers were left stranded in Europe and the US in the first half of 2020 when shipping lines cancelled hundreds of trips as coronavirus lockdowns caused a sudden slowdown in global trade. When western demand for Asian-made goods rebounded in the second half of the year, competition among shippers for available containers sent freight rates soaring.

独家丨银保监会就偿二代二期修订征求意见 对投资资产全面穿透、穿透到底-新闻-上海证券报·中国证券网 China’s insurance regulator will apply “penetrative” scrutiny over the country’s insurance firms, the Shanghai Securities Times has learned exclusively. In a draft regulation, the watchdog says the principle of “comprehensive penetration, thorough penetration” will be applied when insurers assess market risks for insured assets and the minimal required capital. The move, according to the regulator, is aimed at discerning “real risks.” 征求意见稿规定,保险公司计量投资资产的市场风险和信用风险最低资本时,应当按照“全面穿透、穿透到底”的原则,识别保险资金的最终投向,基于实际投资的底层资产计量最低资本,以准确反映其风险实质。

发改委:城区常住人口300万以下城市基本取消落户限制-中新网 Over 100 million farmers gained urban Hukou in cities across China last year, China’s National Development and Reform Commission said this week, with cities under a population of 3 million all but eliminating Hukou restrictions.

证监会阎庆民:继续推动公司法修订和上市公司监管条例制定 _ 经济参考网 _ 新华社《经济参考报》官方网站 Yan Qingmin, vice chairman of China Securities Regulatory Commission, said this week that China will borrow “the best international practices” to improve corporate governance for public listed firms. Yan lauded the rapid development of China’s public listed companies, the number of which stood at 4100 by the end of 2020, compared to only 13 in the early years. The priorities for the coming years will be placed on “quality” and “safeguarding the bottom line of systematic risks.”

央行调查:23.1%的居民对下季房价预期“上涨”_新浪财经_新浪网 A new survey has suggested that many Chinese are likely to tighten their belts but their outlook of the country’s hottest property - housing - has barely changed. In a survey conducted by the Central Bank in the fourth quarter of last year, nearly a quarter said they expected housing prices to increase in the new quarter. Additionally, 23.3% said they were “more inclined to consume”, a 0.2% drop compared to the previous quarter. The percentage of respondents who said they’d save more in the next quarter increased 1% to 51.4%. As for people’s investment preferences, wealth management products (理财产品), funds (基金) and stocks (股票) are among the top choices.

Local Liquor Brands Top Up Government Coffers - Caixin Late Friday, Anhui Gujing Distillery Co. Ltd. said that 6% of its state-owned parent’s shares held by a government-owned financial company would be transferred to Anhui province’s finance department free of charge. That holding is ultimately earmarked to bolster the province’s social security fund that is the main source for payment of local pensions in the province. The transfer will see the local social security fund ultimately receive about 3.23% of Gujing’s Shenzhen-listed shares, which were worth about 3.2 billion yuan ($493 million), based on the company’s latest stock price.

China Aviation Giant Is Latest SOE to Target External Investor - Caixin Aviation Industry Corp. of China Ltd. (AVIC) will actively promote three of its listed subsidiaries to offer stakes of more than 5% to external investors in a bid to improve their levels of innovation, the aviation giant said in its newly released 2020-2022 development plan.

China’s Housing Sales Hit Record in 2020 as Post-Lockdown Demand Surged - Caixin Property sales measured by area climbed 2.6% to 1.76 billion square meters, while by value they rose 8.7% to 17.4 trillion yuan, both the highest since the data series began in 1991,

China braces for another record year of bond defaults as cash-starved developers breach central bank’s red lines for borrowings | South China Morning Post The red lines are different limits on borrowings: liability-to-asset ratio excluding advanced receipts at 70 per cent, net debt-to-equity ratio at 100 per cent; and cash to short-term debt ratio at one time, outlined in Beijing last August during a financial symposium. “If a developer crosses all three red lines, its total debt level would not be allowed to increase any more,” said S&P Global Ratings’ director Esther Liu, adding that only 6.3 per cent of all rated Chinese developers can comply with the limits. “This means the developer cannot borrow more from banks or other financial institutions if its existing debts have not been paid, or if its overall leverage has not improved.”

IMF - People’s Republic of China : 2020 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for the People's Republic of China The Chinese economy continues its fast recovery from the health and economic crisis as a strong containment effort and macroeconomic and financial policy support have mitigated the crisis impact and helped the economy rebound. However, growth is still unbalanced as the recovery has relied heavily on public support while private consumption is lagging. Rising financial vulnerabilities and the increasingly challenging external environment pose risks to the outlook. Important reforms have progressed despite the crisis, but unevenly across key areas.

电厂库存仅够9天,物流不畅成难题!-新闻-能源资讯-中国能源网 As of January 14th, the coal inventory of key power plants in eight coastal provinces was 21.12 million tons, which consumed 2.32 million tons of coal on that day, and the available days were only 9 days. This data is already below the alert level. 截止到1月14日,沿海八省重点电厂电煤库存2112万吨,当日耗煤232万吨,可用天数仅为9天。这个数据,已经处在警戒水平以下了,沿海电厂缺煤情况可见一斑,库存水平至少要提高到15天,才勉强够用。

TikTok owner ByteDance launches Douyin Pay, mobile payment service for China | Reuters “The set-up of Douyin Pay is to supplement the existing major payment options, and to ultimately enhance user experience on Douyin,” Douyin said in a statement to Reuters on Tuesday. Users of Douyin, which accumulated 600 million daily active users, previously could use Ant Group’s Alipay and Tencent Holdings’ WeChat Pay

Coronavirus highlights ‘urgent’ need for China’s digital currency, says state-owned bank | South China Morning Post The economic challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic have increased the urgency for Chinese companies to adopt the use of a digital currency, Guo Weimin, chief scientist at the Bank of China, said on Tuesday. While there is no official timetable for the launch of China’s sovereign digital currency, the People’s Bank of China is reportedly aiming to release the e-yuan, also known as the Digital Currency Electronic Payment, before the start of the Winter Olympics – an event expected to take place in February 2022 in Beijing.

Chinese online media upstart PingWest receives indictment from Tesla - SHINE News According to PingWest, the company has started responding to the lawsuit and is preparing materials. It also noted that it would hand in the evidence under the premise of protecting its sources. Tesla took PingWest to court after the Chinese tech content provider published an article labeling the US electric car giant's Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai as a sweatshop for its"woeful treatment" of employees. It also accused the firm of sacrificing product quality for the sake of production speed.


Politics and Law

Top political advisor stresses concerted efforts for fully building modern socialist China - Xinhua Wang [Yang]...made the remarks on Monday at a conference for heads of united front work departments across the country. Noting that united front work in the new era faces more complicated situation, shoulders more arduous tasks and plays more important roles, Wang called for efforts to combine the needs in the Party's central task and the advantages of the united front to promote high-quality development in the 14th Five-Year Plan period. He urged forging a strong sense of community of the Chinese nation to do a good job in the work on ethnic affairs, and providing better guidance to religions so that they can adapt themselves to socialist society...The meeting was presided over by You Quan, a member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee and head of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee // 全国统战部长会议在京召开 汪洋出席并讲话_CCTV Tuesday CCTV Evening News on the meeting

Tip-off letter says senior Henan official slaps subordinate for eating in same canteen, sparks outcry - Global Times Chinese netizens are glued to a real-life soap opera involving the Party chief of a city in Central China's Henan Province who allegedly slapped the face of the city government's secretary general while they were having breakfast at their office canteen. It started with a real-name tip-off letter written by the wife of Zhai Weidong, secretary general of the Jiyuan city government, northwestern Henan. The letter, which began to circulate online on Saturday, said Zhai was slapped on the face by Zhang Zhanwei, the city's Party chief while he was having a breakfast at a corner of the office canteen on the morning of November 11.

这一记“耳光”是反面“警醒”-新华网 Xinhua lambasted the CCP party boss in Jiyuan, Henan who reportedly slapped a colleague in the face in public, adding that the netizens are right to be angry at an official this rude and arrogant. 舆论高度关注“掌掴闹剧”,从一个侧面折射出人们对少数领导干部作风粗暴、江湖习气、颐指气使耍官威的深恶痛绝。这一记“耳光”,其实是从反面“打醒”更多领导干部:只有严格遵循从严治党、从严治吏的要求,注重官德与修养,才能不被群众戳脊梁骨。

举报济源市委书记后,政府秘书长妻子遭停职?系不实消息_凤凰网 A local coal company in Jiyuan, Henan denied the rumor that it has sacked the wife of the city’s CCP secretary general. The wife went online to accuse the city’s party boss of slapping his husband in public, which led to his heart attack.

Chinese court jails former Yunnan Communist Party boss Qin Guangrong for seven years for bribery | South China Morning Post Court says disgraced former official was given a reduced sentence for turning himself in and returning the money he took Qin’s relatively lenient sentence contrasts with that of former asset management boss Lai Xiaomin, who was sentenced to death earlier this month

Murder suspect on the run for 21 years exposed by nucleic acid testing - Global Times After Shenyang, Liaoning Province, saw resurgence in COVID-19 infections in recent days, the city offered large-scale nucleic acid testing for its residents. When tests were being carried out on January 13, one man refused to provide his identification details for test registration. Finding his actions suspicious, volunteers reported him to the local police.

人事观察|上海市委常委增员 市府副秘书长朱芝松履新_政经频道_财新网 51-year-old deputy secretary general of the Shanghai Municipal Party Committee Zhu Zhisong becomes a standing committee member of Shanghai CCP. Zhu was a rocket scientist and head of the Shanghai Aerospace Administration.

Professor’s Suicide Puts Forced Demolition Back in Spotlight - SixthTone China’s academic community is mourning the death of a journalism professor who killed himself Monday following a decadelong dispute with authorities in the southwestern city of Chengdu that culminated in the demolition of his family’s two properties. “We are shocked and very sorry to hear that Tuo Jiguang has passed away,” read a social media post by the Chinese Journal of Journalism and Communication, a leading domestic journal that had published articles by Tuo.

Shanghai Politician Proposes Premarital Probes Into Medical, Criminal Background - Caixin Xu Shanshan, a member of the municipal People’s Political Consultative Conference and a partner at Zhong Lun Law Firm, said the checks would protect people’s right to know important details about their prospective spouses’ financial, criminal, medical and marital pasts before they legally register their union.

促进社会和谐稳定 -完善预防性法律制度(有的放矢)- 潘剑锋


Foreign and Defense Affairs

New amendments to Defence Law push China close to war According to Focus Taiwan, the assessment was made in a paper by Lin Cheng-jung, a visiting research fellow from Taiwan's military at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research (INDSR), which was posted on the institute's website on January 12..It further stated that one of the revisions added the term "development interests" to a provision permitting President Xi Jinping led-government to "defend its national interests and development interests, and resolve differences with the use of force". "Judging from current international circumstances, the phrase "development interests" encompasses the Taiwan Strait, South China Sea, and Diaoyutai (Senkaku) Islands issues, non-traditional threats, overseas interests, and security in space and on the internet," Lin said as quoted by Focus Taiwan. // Lin's paper - 中共最新《國防法》彰顯戰略從積極防禦趨向先制主動

China and Pakistan fall out over Belt and Road frameworks - Nikkei Asia The first JCC meeting was held in August 2013 and the last in November 2019. The 10th JCC was scheduled for early 2020, but remains postponed.  Initially, the COVID-19 pandemic was the reason, but later disagreements between the two countries over the Main Line 1 (ML-1) railway project and special economic zones became the main points of disagreement, Nikkei Asia has learned from informed sources.

The crisis of American power: How Europeans see Biden’s America – European Council on Foreign Relations There are geopolitical consequences to American weakness. A majority believe that China will be more powerful than the US within a decade and would want their country to stay neutral in a conflict between the two superpowers. Two-thirds of respondents thought the EU should develop its defence capacities.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on January 19, 2021 Prasar Bharati: Recently foreign students who want to return to China to continue their studies have posted an open letter to the Chinese government, requesting for a clear schedule for their phase-wise return to China. What's the ministry's views on this? Is there any discussion on their return? Anything that they should do next month or next to next month? Any decision, discussion on this? Hua Chunying: You may need to ask the competent authorities for this specific question. As COVID-19 spreads across the world, all countries are taking due measures to prevent and contain the virus based on their own conditions. I believe this should be understood and observed with efforts by both Chinese and foreign nationals. Regarding the foreign students hoping to return to China for their studies, my principled response is that the Chinese government attaches high importance to protecting the rights and interests of foreign students in China. Academic institutions are required to keep in close contact with those students abroad, make good arrangements for online courses, and properly address their legitimate concerns and appeals. On the precondition of observing containment protocols, the Chinese authorities will study this matter in a coordinated manner and keep in communication with relevant parties.

What made West lose the race of systems during epidemic fight? - Global Times What other excuses will the Western world have to question the legitimacy of the Chinese system? If the West, especially the US, the beacon of democracy, actually senses the crisis and does not wish to lose the competition, it should stop burying its head in the sand.

Smart satellite production line now operational in central China - Xinhua A smart production line capable of producing 240 small satellites per year has been put into operation in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, according to its owner, a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation Limited

China has recruited ‘hundreds’ of academics - The Australian The Chinese Communist Party has recruited more than 300 scientists and scholars at Australian tertiary and government research institutions through its talent ­recruitment programs — and maybe as many as 600 — a new submission to a parliamentary ­inquiry has revealed. The submission, by China ­expert Alex Joske, warns that the secretive recruitment programs could be associated with up to $280m in grant fraud and raises concerns that Beijing could ­obtain backdoor access to sensitive technology and lucrative ­innovations.

写在党的对外工作100年之际:波澜壮阔 百年辉煌-新华网 Song Tao, head of the CCP central liaison department wrote on Xinhua celebrating the 100th anniversary of the CCP foreign work. He praised that under Xi, the party has been much more active and has built a much bigger network with political parties around the world.

PLA trains staff officers through cross-service training - China Military "Modern warfare is about joint operations, and it has higher requirements on the ability of staff officers in various services," said an officer of the Political Work Department under the PLA Northern Theater Command.

China holds joint conference on national conscription work - China Military It is learned that the inter-departmental joint conference on national conscription work comprises of 14 departments, including the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), five departments under the CMC, etc., with the CMC's Department of National Defense Mobilization taking the lead. The joint conference is responsible for implementing related major decisions and deployments concerning the military conscription, and coordinating the implementation of important matters involving multiple departments.

President Xi to attend WEF Davos Agenda: spokesperson - Xinhua Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the Davos Agenda of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Jan. 25 from Beijing via video link, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Tuesday. Spokesperson Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing that Xi will attend the meeting and deliver a special speech at the invitation of Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF. In January 2017, Xi addressed the opening session of the WEF annual meeting, systematically expounding China's views and propositions on economic globalization, and voicing strong support for economic globalization, Hua said

China’s military uses new all-terrain vehicle to get supplies to troops in Tibet | South China Morning Post The vehicle has a metalloid tank tread, or caterpillar track, and can negotiate 35-degree slopes and carry up to 1.5 tonnes of goods, state broadcaster CCTV’s military channel reported on Saturday. It was commissioned by the People’s Liberation Army for logistics support in the challenging terrain of plateau regions above 5,000 metres (16,400 ft) like Tibet, and comes as China and India have been locked in a stand-off on their disputed border in the Himalayas since May.

拉风!速看核潜艇部队超燃混剪 - propaganda video for the PLAN submarine force


Hong Kong and Macao

The Hong Kong migrants fleeing to start new lives in the UK - BBC News The UK will introduce a new visa at the end of January that will give 5.4 million Hong Kong residents - a staggering 70% of the territory's population - the right to come and live in the UK, and eventually become citizens..Britain estimates that about 300,000 will take up the visa offer over the next five years.

Exit signs as activists sell flats | The Standard Democracy activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung's parents and brother have fled for Australia, sources told Sing Tao Daily, sister newspaper of The Standard, as some activists have started selling their properties. Wong, former secretary general of the disbanded Demosisto party, is serving a 13-and-a-half-month jail term after being convicted for organizing and inciting others to attend an unlawful assembly outside police headquarters in June 2019.

Hedge fund Elliott pulls out of Hong Kong | Financial Times $$ Other funds contacted by the Financial Times have described plans to shift individual staff or parts of their operations to other cities in Asia, citing concerns that the business environment in Hong Kong is becoming increasingly unpredictable. However, a person close to Elliott said the decision to wind down operations in Hong Kong was first taken in early 2018 and was not driven by more recent political or legal changes in the region. The fund has reduced headcount in the territory from about 100 to fewer than 20 people in the past two years, the person said.


Taiwan

Four more COVID-19 cases linked to Taoyuan hospital confirmed - Focus Taiwan Four more domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases linked to Taoyuan General Hospital under the Ministry of Health and Welfare were confirmed on Tuesday, including a migrant worker with an unclear source of infection. That brought the number of cases linked to the hospital to nine, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).


Tech and Media

WeChat advances e-commerce goals with $250B in transactions | TechCrunch WeChat continues to advance its shopping ambitions as the social networking app turns 10 years old. The Chinese messenger facilitated 1.6 trillion yuan (close to $250 billion) in annual transactions through its “mini programs,” third-party services that run on the super app that allow users to buy clothes, order food, hail taxis and more. That is double the value of transactions on WeChat’s mini programs in 2019, the networking giant announced at its annual conference for business partners and ecosystem developer


Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

Man detained for fabricating positive COVID-19 result to dodge drinking event - Global Times A man in Xiayi county, Central China's Henan Province, has been detained by police for fabricating and spreading rumors that he tested positive for COVID-19, which resulted in a wave of panic among local residents. It turned out that the man had revised his own negative result as "he wanted to dodge a drinking event."

A Child of China’s Gilded Elite Strikes a Nerve Over Wealth and Privilege - The New York Times The youngest daughter of the founder of the telecommunications giant Huawei debuted a documentary, a magazine cover and a music video — and the response was savage...“People work for the capitalists during the day and have to be forced to watch their ugly children at night,” one person wrote on Weibo, the social media site, where Ms. Yao posted her music video. The song, sung in a mix of Chinese and English, is called “Backfire.”

Boys’ love brings edgy drama to China, and a backlash - Lowy Interpreter The show most responsible for bringing BL into the mainstream is The Untamed, a fantasy epic adapted from the most popular BL novel in China, The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation (Mo Dao Zu Shi, 魔道祖师). Produced by Tencent and screening on Netflix, it stars Xiao Zhan as the mischievous Wei Wuxian and Wang Yibo as the rather stiff Lan Zhan. Both actors are unfeasibly beautiful.


Energy, Environment, Science and Health

KEY STAT | WeChat health code served 800 million to track COVID-19 | KrASIA WeChat on Tuesday said that 800 million people have used their health code, which is built inside the app in the form of a mini-program, since it was developed in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, KrASIA learned from WeChat’s 10th anniversary live event.


Books and Literature

[REVIEW] “The Unconcealed Rebellion, Cynicism, Bravery and Romanticism of Being Painfully Young: Reviewing Strange Beasts of China” by Jacqueline Leung | Cha While technically a novel, Strange Beasts of China is structured so that each story is mostly complete in itself. Prior to the book’s publication in English, translated by Jeremy Tiang, some stories were already featured in That We May Live, a collection of speculative Chinese fiction released last spring, and in the Fall 2017 issue of Two Lines, a journal of world writing in translation. As for the Chinese original Yi Shou Zhi 《异兽志》, it was published in 2006 when Yan was just 21, and before then, part of the work was serialised in Youth Literature magazine, which may have contributed to the plot’s steadfast pacing.


Jobs and Events

Online Event: Biden’s Blueprint on Beijing: Transitioning to a New Approach on China’s Economy | Center for Strategic and International Studies Thursday, January 21, 2021 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

U.S.-China Relations at the Chinese Communist Party’s Centennial | U.S.- CHINA | ECONOMIC and SECURITY REVIEW COMMISSION Hearing on "U.S.-China Relations at the Chinese Communist Party’s Centennial"  Thursday, January 28, 2021


Rural and Agricultural Issues

Dim Sums: Rural China Economics and Policy: China Pork Output Lags Inventory Rebound China's swine inventory has recovered to near-normal levels, but supplies of pork are lagging, according to preliminary 2020 data released by the country's National Bureau of Statistics.  The inventory of swine at the end of 2020 was 406.5 million head, up 31 percent from 2019 and not far from the average since 2000. The number of hogs slaughtered during 2020 was 527 million, down 3.2 percent from 2019 and still far below the 694 million slaughtered in 2018. The slaughter number was China's smallest since the year 2000.