CGTN loses UK license; 2021 priorities for the security services; WHO investigation; Corporate debt

The UK may be soon be sharing a doghouse with Australia and Canada.

Denunciations of Hong Kong policies, changes to the BN(O) passport treatment and recent BBC reporting on the early days of the pandemic in Wuhan and the situation in Xinjiang have angered the PRC government.

Today’s decision by the UK broadcast regulator to revoke CGTN’s broadcast license in the UK has only added to the anger, even though CGTN can still deliver its content in the UK and globally over Youtube, Facebook and Twitter.

How the PRC government will retaliate is unclear, but it will retaliate, and I would not be surprised to see some or all of the BBC foreign journalists expelled. Worse could certainly be in the cards, as Beijing can not let yet another Five Eyes member misunderstand its standing relative to the PRC.

Coincidentally, a former British diplomat, Charles Parton, has written a long piece for Sinocism - China - A Look Ahead to 2021 and Beyond - based on a close reading of the 5th Plenum Communique among other documents. An excerpt:

This paper looks at the main challenges and priorities of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for the coming year, and the main challenges the CCP poses to other countries. None are new, some may have added urgency, all will continue beyond 2021. The outpouring of last autumn’s 5th Plenum and subsequent pronouncements clarifying the Party’s intentions have required a severe triage, because of length constraints. 

The larger part of this essay focuses on domestic concerns. Understanding what is happening inside China is crucial to understanding the Party’s behaviour outside: foreign policy is domestic policy played out abroad. If 2021 is the start of a new phase for China, as Xi Jinping says, it is also a time for democracies to re-evaluate their policies towards China…

One of the CCP’s main pre-occupations for 2021 is surely to prevent the new US administration building a consensus amongst liberal minded democracies (LMDs) (a better term than ‘the West’ because it includes India, Indonesia, Japan, Brazil and others) in defence of national security, interests and values. So the tactic of dangling economic carrots while holding a big stick will be to the fore in the case of the smaller nations (for the US, the CCP may wait to see how President Biden shapes policy). Australia has been the experimental zone (试点). Other members of the ‘5 Eyes’ intelligence alliance, the UK, Canada and New Zealand will feel the stick if they do not take the carrots. Meanwhile China’s successful ‘divide and rule’ will continue to be applied to the EU.

The article is outside the paywall here.

Today’s Essential Eight items:

  1. 2021 priorities for the security services

  2. CGTN loses its UK broadcast license

  3. Anger at the BBC

  4. WHO investigation

  5. US-China

  6. Hong Kong

  7. Upcoming Year of the Ox not looking great for corporate debt

  8. Propaganda operations on Twitter and Youtube

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see many of you in tomorrow’s weekly open thread.


The Essential Eight

1. 2021 priorities for the security services

This is a nearly 10,000 word readout of the recent Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission annual work summary and deployment meeting, chaired by Chen Yixin. It is a good summary of what it sees as the commission's accomplishments for 2020 and its priorities for 2021. There is a lot to wade through but it may be as good a public roadmap as we are going to get for 2021 political and legal affairs work, as well as giving decent insights to some of the things the leadership is worried about. Xi has been very focused on hardening the system, and that trend is clearly going to continue in 2021.

I have posted the full text and a very lightly edited machine translation to Google Docs here. Feel free to add comments/suggested edits.

陈一新:推动政法工作高质量发展,今年“十大重点”是主攻方向-中国长安网

Some excerpts:

2020 is an extraordinary year in the history of New China, and it is also an extraordinary year in the history of political and legal work. Facing the rare "triple severe impact" in the century, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, we had the "two overall situations" in mind, made overall plans, coordinated progress, overcome difficulties, won one hard battle after another, prevented and resisted one risk after another, created a safe and stable social environment for the overall promotion of epidemic prevention and control and economic and social development, and helped to create a new realm of "the rule of China".

2020年是新中国历史上极不平凡的一年,也是政法工作历史上非同寻常的一年。面对世纪罕见的“三重严重冲击”,在以习近平同志为核心的党中央坚强领导下,我们胸怀“两个大局”,统筹谋划、协调推进、克难攻坚,打响打赢了一场又一场硬仗,防范抵御了一个又一个风险,为统筹推进疫情防控和经济社会发展创造了安全稳定的社会环境,助力开创了“中国之治”新境界。

Highlight 1: Helped deal with hegemonic bullying by overseas anti-China forces and win strategic initiative. In the face of infiltration, subversion and suppression by overseas anti-China forces, we made overall plans to deal with security and legal risks and safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests.

亮点一:助力应对境外反华势力霸道霸权霸凌赢得战略主动。面对境外反华势力渗透颠覆破坏和遏制打压,统筹应对安全和法律风险,维护国家主权、安全和发展利益。

Highlight 2: Powerfully and effectively defended national political security. To strengthen the maintenance of national political security work system and capacity building, effective prevention and control of various political security risks. Deepening the special campaign to crack down on terrorism has consolidated the fundamental improvement of the anti-terrorism struggle.

亮点二:捍卫国家政治安全有力有效。加强维护国家政治安全工作体系和能力建设,有效防控化解各种政治安全风险。深化严打暴恐专项行动,巩固了反恐怖斗争形势根本好转的局面。

The key tasks for 2021:

First, focusing on studying, discussing and training, we set off an upsurge of studying and implementing Xi Jinping Thought on the Rule of Law. Xi Jinping Thought on the Rule of Law is the Marxist thought of rule of law in the 21st century, the ideological banner leading the construction of rule of law in China, and the action guide leading the political and legal work in the new era.

一是以大学习大研讨大培训为重点,掀起学习贯彻习近平法治思想热潮。习近平法治思想是21世纪马克思主义法治思想,是引领法治中国建设的思想旗帜,也是引领新时代政法工作的行动指南。..

Second, we should focus on serving the overall situation of the CPC Central Committee's external work and safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests.

二是以服务党中央对外工作大局为重点,维护国家主权、安全和发展利益...

Third, we should focus on implementing the overall concept of national security and resolutely defend national political security.

三是以贯彻总体国家安全观为重点,坚决捍卫国家政治安全。..

Fourth, focus on the function of the rule of law, and provide service guarantee for high-quality economic development.

四是以发挥法治功能为重点,为经济高质量发展提供服务保障...

One of the subsections of this fourth key task is:

-Use "division" in preventing and controlling financial risks. Cooperate with industry supervision departments to make overall plans for filing a case according to law, connecting execution and maintaining stability, and strictly prevent economic and financial risks from being transmitted to social stability and even political security. Improve relevant laws and regulations, and promote the development of Internet platform enterprises according to law.

——防控化解金融风险做“除法”。配合行业监管部门统筹做好依法立案、行刑衔接和维护稳定工作,严防经济金融风险向社会稳定甚至政治安全领域传导。完善相关法律法规,推动互联网平台企业依法规范发展…

Fifth, focus on the security work to celebrate the centenary of the founding of the Party, and make every effort to maintain the overall stability of the society.

五是以庆祝建党百年华诞安保工作为重点,全力维护社会大局稳定...

Sixth, focus on preventing and controlling social risks, and accelerate the modernization of social governance.

六是以防控化解社会风险为重点,加快推进社会治理现代化...

Seventh, focus on the normalization of eliminating evils ]organized crime], consolidate and expand the achievements of that special struggle.

七是以扫黑除恶常态化为重点,巩固和拓展专项斗争成果...

Eighth, focus on the reform and construction of law enforcement and judicial restriction and supervision system, and further promote comprehensively deepening reform in the field of politics and law.

八是以执法司法制约监督体系改革和建设为重点,进一步推进政法领域全面深化改革。..

Ninth, focus on comprehensively carrying out the education and rectification of political and legal affairs teams, and strive to build a new era of political and legal iron army.

九是以全面开展政法队伍教育整顿为重点,努力打造新时代政法铁军...

Tenth, focus on politics and legal affairs new media construction and improve the level of publicity and public opinion in politics and legal affairs. We should conscientiously implement the responsibility system for ideological work, make it stronger and bigger, make it a new network media of politics and law, spread the positive energy of politics and law, and resolutely win the online public opinion war.

十是以政法新媒体建设为重点,提升政法宣传舆论工作水平。要认真落实意识形态工作责任制,做强做大做响政法网络新媒体,传播政法正能量,坚决打赢网上舆论战。


2. CGTN loses its UK broadcast license

Ofcom revokes CGTN's licence to broadcast in the UK - Ofcom

Ofcom has today withdrawn the licence for CGTN to broadcast in the UK, after its investigation concluded that the licence is wrongfully held by Star China Media Limited...

In the UK, broadcasting laws made by Parliament state that broadcast licensees must have control over the licensed service – including editorial oversight over the programmes they show. In addition, under these laws, licence holders cannot be controlled by political bodies.

Our investigation concluded that Star China Media Limited (SCML), the licence-holder for the CGTN service, did not have editorial responsibility for CGTN’s output. As such, SCML does not meet the legal requirement of having control over the licensed service, and so is not a lawful broadcast licensee.

In addition, we have been unable to grant an application to transfer the licence to an entity called China Global Television Network Corporation (CGTNC). This is because crucial information was missing from the application, and because we consider that CGTNC would be disqualified from holding a licence, as it is controlled by a body which is ultimately controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.

We have given CGTN significant time to come into compliance with the statutory rules. Those efforts have now been exhausted.

CGTN statement on Ofcom's ruling on CGTN's UK broadcasting license - CGTN

In early 2020, manipulated by extreme right-wing organizations and anti-China forces, Ofcom launched an investigation into CGTN's broadcasting license in the UK. We provided detailed explanations to Ofcom in a proactive and cooperative manner, proposed transferring CGTN's broadcasting license and sought a constructive solution. However, Ofcom disregarded CGTN's reputation as a professional international media organization and its 18-year good record of broadcasting in the UK, and made a final ruling, based on the so-called political nature of CGTN and related Chinese media organizations, to refuse the transfer and to revoke CGTN's broadcasting license.

We believe that the continued broadcasting of CGTN's television news service to a British audience is in the public interest of the UK. We comply with the laws and regulations of every country and provide news and information to an international audience with diverse and balanced perspectives, and will continue to promote understanding, communication, trust and cooperation

China’s state broadcaster stripped of licence to broadcast in UK-Financial Times $$

CGTN’s UK licence had allowed it to broadcast across the EU, even after Brexit. The network has been exploring other opportunities but has yet to secure a licence in another European country, a process that has been complicated by probes by regulators in the UK and US.

In July, Ofcom announced that CGTN had been in “serious” breach of its rules on fair treatment and privacy after it aired allegedly forced confessions. This came two months after the regulator determined it had breached impartiality rules, when CGTN failed to present alternative viewpoints to that of Beijing after separate investigations into its coverage of pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong.

Ofcom has not yet announced sanctions for these breaches — the loss of its licence was a potential consequence, as are fines — but is expected to do so soon.

Note: I saw this item right after I hit send. This will make things even worse for UK-PRC relations. There is a very convincing argument that what really tipped over the Australia-China relationship was the investigation and expulsion/departure of several journalists and think tankers. This raises the odds of UK citizen(s) in China being arrested

Three Chinese spies posing as journalists expelled from the UK - The Telegraph

The trio are understood to be intelligence officers for Beijing’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) and arrived in the country on journalism visas under the fake pretext of working in the media.

A senior Whitehall source confirmed that the three spies each purported to “work for three different Chinese media agencies”, which have not been named, and that they “all set foot in the UK” in the past 12 months.

Their true identities were uncovered by MI5 and they have since been forced to return to China. It is thought likely that the Chinese media companies were integral to their cover stories were complicit in these plots.


3. Anger at the BBC

Chinese FM makes solemn representation to BBC over fake COVID-19 reporting - Global Times

The BBC broadcast a video that politicized the epidemic, repeatedly made claims criticizing China for covering up the epidemic, and hyped the virus originated in China. The BBC’s report also included a video which was claimed to show epidemic control authorities violently enforcing the law and violating human rights, but it turned out to be a video clip of an anti-terrorism drill. The report was done with a biased ideology and has led to severe consequences, a spokesperson for the Department of Information of the ministry said...

The Foreign Ministry official also urged the BBC Beijing office to take the Chinese position seriously and take effective measures to eliminate the serious impact of its fake reporting and apologize to China.

外交部新闻司就英国广播公司涉疫情假新闻提出严正交涉 — 中华人民共和国外交部

近日,外交部新闻司有关负责人就英国广播公司(BBC)1月29日播出涉新冠肺炎疫情假新闻向该媒体驻京分社负责人提出严正交涉。

新闻司有关负责人指出,你台近期的涉新冠疫情新闻视频中将疫情与政治挂钩,重新翻炒疫情“隐瞒论”“源头论”“责任论”,还将一段反恐演习视频作为中国防疫部门“暴力执法、侵犯人权”新闻播出,这是典型的带有意识形态偏见的假新闻,影响恶劣。

新闻司有关负责人强调,中方敦促BBC及驻京分社认真对待中方严正立场,切实采取措施消除报道产生的恶劣影响,就涉华假新闻向中方作出公开道歉,摒弃意识形态偏见,停止蓄意抹黑攻击中国,遵守职业道德,开展客观、平衡、公正的涉华报道。中方保留采取进一步措施的权利。

BBC report on Xinjiang women being ‘systematically raped’ groundless: Chinese FM - Global Times

The BBC report on alleged abuses of women's rights in Xinjiang has no factual basis at all, said the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson on Wednesday, urging related media to stop smearing China on Xinjiang topics.

Some of the interviewees turned out to be actors spreading false information, Wang Wenbin, spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a daily press conference in reply to a Wednesday BBC report saying Uygur women have been “systematically raped, sexually abused, and tortured.”

“It is not BBC’s first time to publish some false reports on Xinjiang, and we have clarified and refuted many times,” Wang said.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on February 4, 2021

Wang Wenbin: Yesterday, I have already refuted the BBC report and cleared out the situation. Today, I have several more points to add.

First, there is no so-called "re-education camps" in Xinjiang. The vocational and educational training centers set up in Xinjiang in accordance with laws are schools. They are no different from the Desistance and Disengagement Programme (DDP) of the UK, or the de-radicalization centers in France. They are all active steps to realize preventive counter-terrorism and de-radicalization goals so as to cut off terrorism and religious extremism at the source. They are in line with the principles and the spirit embodied in a number of international documents on counter-terrorism, such as the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism. As for more details about the vocational and educational centers, we have talked abundantly about them, and you can also read a white paper titled Vocational Education and Training in Xinjiang published by the State Council Information Office in August 2019.

Second, there is no so-called "systemic sexual abuse and mistreatment against women". China is a country with rule of law. Respecting and protecting human rights is a basic principle of our Constitution, and it's embodied in our legal system and government's work. After the founding of the PRC, we have achieved unprecedented progress in women's liberation and development. Women of all ethnic groups enjoy political rights, rights relating to culture and education, rights of labor and social security, rights relating to property, right of person, and rights relating to marriage and family...

When these facts and truths are out, next time people hear and see reports from BBC and Adrian Zenz on Xinjiang, a question mark will naturally come to their minds-- "Will this be another lie about Xinjiang?"

Familiar names frequent behind lies of 'Xinjiang women being raped' - Global Times

Looking through the BBC's latest horrified and sensational accusation against China, readers would find that it was made based on "interviews" with only one Uygur woman - Tursunay Ziawudun - and her claim of "being raped."

The other three names appearing in reports are a Kazakh women who claimed to help "remove" the clothes of women; two "actresses" who appeared in almost every round of the Western media's hype of Xinjiang topics - firstly from "torturing" trainees to "birth control" and now "mass rape" - and an anonymous guard, although the BBC provided almost no information to prove the authenticity of his words.


4. WHO investigation

Top-level Chinese scientists call on WHO to dispatch experts to more countries on studies of coronavirus origins - Global Times

While the team of 13 WHO experts are halfway through their highly anticipated field visits to Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei Province, a number of predominant Chinese epidemiologists - including those close to the National Health Commission and Chinese CDC, jointly called for similar field studies on the origins of the novel coronavirus in other countries, as the Chinese city is considered just the first stop of such scientific work on the global scale.

They also called on the US to learn from China in inviting the team to carry out investigation as Wuhan is just the first stop of such scientific work in the world...

"Given more cases were found in other countries much earlier than in China, a key question that the WHO team needs to ask and get an answer after the Wuhan trip will be: How was the virus introduced into China, as it's unlikely a domestically grown virus but one brought in by travelers or via other means," Wang Guangfa, a respiratory expert at Peking University First Hospital, who went to Wuhan in the early stages of the outbreak, told the Global Times on Thursday.

China bat caves need exploring in search for COVID origins, WHO team member says | Reuters

Peter Daszak, a zoologist and animal disease expert, said the team in Wuhan had been receiving new information about how the virus, first identified in the city in late 2019, led to a pandemic. He did not elaborate but said there was no evidence to suggest it emerged from a lab...

He said the team in Wuhan had been receiving new information about how the virus led to a pandemic, but did not elaborate.

“I’m seeing a picture coming through of some of the scenarios looking more plausible than before,” he said.

One scenario being scrutinised more closely by the team is the possibility that the virus could have been circulating long before it was first identified in Wuhan.


5. US-China

China Brings Back Long-time Climate Czar – The Diplomat

China has tapped 71-year-old Xie Zhenhua, a familiar name in Beijing’s climate bureaucracy and diplomacy, to serve as special climate envoy. Xie previously served as China’s top representatives for climate negotiations from 2007 to 2018 – during which time he oversaw a landmark deal between the U.S. and China on climate change commitments. Xie’s return to the field is seen as a positive signal for U.S.-China cooperation over climate issues, as the Chinese negotiator is familiar with John Kerry, the Biden administration own climate czar.

Comment: This could be seen as a positive move, and creates a position in the PRC bureaucracy for direct interface with John Kerry. Xie is no pushover.

Obama’s “A Promised Land”, on China | by Yufan Huang | Medium

“Once the translators in the room caught up to me, the Chinese environmental minister, a burly, round-faced man in glasses, suddenly stood up and started speaking in Mandarin, his voice rising, his hands waving in my direction, his face reddening in agitation. He went on like this for a minute or two, the entire room not quite sure what was happening. Eventually, Premier Wen lifted a slender, vein-lined hand and the minister abruptly sat back down. I suppressed the urge to laugh and turned to the young Chinese woman who was translating for Wen.

“What did my friend there just say?” I asked. Before she could answer, Wen shook his head and whispered something. The translator nodded and turned back to me.

“Premier Wen says that what the environmental minister said is not important,” she explained. “Premier Wen asks if you have the agreement you’re proposing with you, so that everyone can look at the specific language again.”

In the end the Chinese budged, and Americans won. The “angry, burly round-faced man in glasses” should be Xie Zhenhua. He was not the minister of environment but deputy head of the NDRC who led the climate talks.

Toward better management of US-China relations - Global Times

This statement calling for managed competition and greater US-China cooperation was one of Ezra Vogel's last intellectual initiatives. It was drafted by Ezra, in consultation with Wang Jisi of Peking University, but had not yet been completed at the time of Ezra's death. Robert Ross and Michael Szonyi, Ezra's colleagues at the Fairbank Center, edited his final draft for clarity and concision, while seeking to remain true to his efforts and his vision for US-China relations. It's made public as one of the ways to honor distinguished scholar Ezra Vogel...

Ezra was hoping to produce a consensus document that could be endorsed by scholars in both countries. His statement does not address some of the most important and troubling issues in US-China relations. But the statement does convey some convictions that many share with him: that war between the US and China will do great harm to both countries; that indiscriminate decoupling is not the solution to the problems in the relationship; that cooperation is essential if we hope to address the many pressing global issues such as climate change and global health, and that the continued exchange of legitimate scholars, journalists, and many others is essential to a healthy relationship.

完成傅高义先生遗志——中美学者倡议两国更好管控分歧加强合作

Chinese version of Dr. Vogel's note

北大哈佛学者联合倡议:怀念傅高义,避免中美关系恶化

Global Times has a microsite on Dr. Vogel's note, including reactions from more PRC scholars than are included in the English version

人心相通之桥拆不得——正确把握中美关系航向系列评论之二-新华网

The second in the Xinhua series of commentaries of “Correctly grasp the course of Sino-US relations”, this one on people to people relations. The official English translation is the next item.

Xinhua Commentary: People-to-people exchanges indispensable to stable China-U.S. ties - Xinhua

The reciprocal exchanges encountered "cold spells" as the last U.S. administration moved to restrict Chinese journalists, suspend Chinese students' visas, shut down Confucius Institutes and suppress Chinese companies.

The acts of sabotage by some China hawks disrupted normal bilateral interactions, instigated hatred among the public, and undermined the all-round relations.

Those ill-willed acts were so unpopular that 100 U.S.-based experts, including Ezra Feivel Vogel, the late professor emeritus at Harvard University, wrote to then U.S. President Donald Trump in 2019, stressing that "China is not an enemy."

Open Letter "China is not an enemy"

Here is that 2019 open letter. Is this assumption operative in 2021, as Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy comes into focus?

"Although its rapid economic and military growth has led Beijing toward a more assertive international role, many Chinese officials and other elites know that a moderate, pragmatic, and genuinely cooperative approach with the West serves China’s interests. Washington’s adversarial stance toward Beijing weakens the influence of those voices in favor of assertive nationalists. With the right balance of competition and cooperation, American actions can strengthen those Chinese leaders who want China to play a constructive role in world affairs."

Comment: I believe only 1 of the signatories so far has joined the Biden Administration. CFR's Philip Gordon is Kamala Harris' deputy national security advisor.

“旋转门”背后的美国“权力密码”-新华网

Xinhua attacked the “revolving door” and corrupt politics in Washington after Pompeo joined the Hudson Institute, but no mention of the sanctions announced January 20

US supports one-China policy: state department - Xinhua

"Our policy has not changed. It has not changed," State Department spokesman Ned Price said during a press briefing when asked if the Biden administration supports the one-China policy.

【抖音】记录美好生活-Douyin.com

Xinhua on Douyin put out the video of Ned Price stammered on the one China policy question. Chinese netizens felt good that the US is being extremely careful and nervous on the matter.

This line by line analysis by Fudan Professor Shen Yi of Yang Jiechi's Monday evening speech on US-China relations is quite interesting. Bottom line: The US has caused the problems, China has now put its cards on the table, the US can decide to fix the relationship or it will be responsible for any consequences. -【逸语道破】中美关系我都明牌了,拜登你知道该怎么做了吗? - YouTube


6. Hong Kong

Hong Kong to impose ‘national security’ schools curriculum | Financial Times $$ $$

Hong Kong’s new national security education curriculum will force teachers to warn primary students as young as six years old against “subversion” and to throw out library books considered dangerous to the Chinese state.

Hong Kong’s education bureau released the guidelines on Thursday, which will also impact expat students at international schools. The department said that while they accepted these schools’ curricula was different, teachers would be expected to ensure students “acquire a correct and objective understanding” of principles in line with Beijing’s tough national security law introduced last year...

The education bureau detailed specific measures for local schools, forcing teachers to warn primary and secondary students against “subversion” and “foreign interference”, as outlined in the new security law. Schools should stop students and teachers from participating in political activities and make reports to the police when necessary.

Hong Kong banks told to stop accepting BN(O) passports while inmates with dual nationality forced to choose | South China Morning Post

The Hong Kong Association of Banks has instructed members to stop recognising British National (Overseas) passports as valid identification for opening or renewing accounts.

The city’s correctional services authority has also started requiring inmates with dual nationality to choose a single one, alarming Western governments, the Post has learned.

Hong Kong pro-establishment lawmakers seek to amend legislature's house rules, in move set to further restrict their power | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

According to Ming Pao, former Democratic Party lawmaker Andrew Wan slammed the amendments as the pro-establishment camp “auto-castrating” their own power, aimed at minimising any resistance in the legislature.

Hong Kong's Carrie Lam says 'normal' legislature lets gov't make 'bold' proposals, vows action on 'fake news' and doxxing | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

Lam said another focus of the government’s upcoming legislative work would be tackling personal privacy infringements and the dissemination of “fake news” and hate speech. She said the government will prioritise outlawing “doxxing” and make it a criminal offence by revising the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance.


7. Upcoming Year of the Ox not looking great for corporate debt

Developer China Fortune Defaults on 5.3 Billion Yuan in Debt - Caixin

For China Fortune, Monday’s disclosure could be just the tip of the iceberg. At a meeting with creditors Monday, Chairman Wang Wenxue said the company has up to 100 billion yuan in debt coming due this year, sources with knowledge of the matter told Caixin.

The company had 23.6 billion yuan in cash on its balance sheet at the end of January, according to Monday’s filing, but much of it, or 22.8 billion yuan, was already earmarked for other purposes and could not be used to repay debts...

Officials from China’s central bank, the country’s banking and securities regulators, and the local government also attended the meeting, people who attended the meeting said. They urged caution in dealing with the company’s debt problems and preventing risks to the financial system.

Investment in Developer Leaves $8.4 Billion Question Mark on Ping An’s Books - Caixin

Financial conglomerate Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd. said Thursday that it was exposed to risk in its investment in debt-ridden property developer China Fortune Land Development Co. Ltd. amounting to 54 billion yuan ($8.4 billion).

The investment includes 18 billion yuan in equity and 36 billion yuan in bonds, Ping An President Xie Yonglin said at a conference for the company’s financial results for 2020. To deal with China Fortune’s developing situation, Ping An will put aside money accordingly to absorb potential losses in a timely manner, he said.

China Inc. Credit Stress Most Acute in Liaoning, Qinghai - Bloomberg

companies in the provinces of Liaoning, Qinghai and Henan facing the most difficulty in raising funds at the moment, according to Bloomberg analysis of all corporate bonds issued in China.

The data shows that firms in those three regions issued new bonds equal to less than 30% of the debt that matured over the last three months. Firms in other provinces such as Anhui and Zhejiang were in a much better position, issuing 251% and 171% more bonds than maturing debt, respectively. The ratio was 116% nationwide in January.

Tsinghua Unigroup Defaults Push Up China’s 2021 Offshore Sum - Bloomberg

A series of bond defaults by Tsinghua Unigroup Co. has pushed up the total value of defaults in China’s offshore market this year to almost a third of 2020’s total.

Unigroup defaulted on $2 billion worth of notes in January, comprising the majority of the $2.7 billion total value. Solar power operator GCL New Energy Holdings Ltd. defaulted on a $500 million note on Jan. 30, while Macrolink Global Development Ltd. missed a payment on a $208 million bond on Jan. 4.

China's Yongcheng and Unigroup survive despite series of defaults - Nikkei Asia

"We don't see any signs of systemic risk in Chinese debt markets. Defaults are mostly idiosyncratic credit risks," said Jennifer Zhang, head of greater China debt origination at Barclays. "Investors are taking a very selective bottom-up approach and are still keen on Chinese high-yield paper."

Chinese bonds: default setting | Financial Times $$

After years of debt-driven corporate spending, defaults on Chinese offshore bonds are surging. The figure of $2.7bn recorded in January is about one-third of last year’s total. The biggest contributor was a $2bn default by semiconductor company Tsinghua Unigroup.

Stakes are high for foreign investors. Dollar bond issuance has swelled as Chinese companies rushed to secure offshore funding. More than $100bn worth of bonds will mature in the offshore market this year.


8. Propaganda operations on Twitter and Youtube

Spamouflage Breakout - Graphika Report

The sprawling pro-Chinese propaganda network that Graphika has dubbed “Spamouflage” and exposed multiple times over the past two years has begun to break out of its echo chamber of fake accounts and reach real social media users, including some heavyweight influencers, with hundreds of videos that praise China, criticize the United States, and attack the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement and exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui.

The network’s successes are still sporadic - a few tweets have reached viral influencers, and a few dozen videos on YouTube channels have garnered significant followings - but, for the first time, its content has had measurable reach. Moreover, the audiences it has reached are widespread and include influencers in Latin America, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong. Combined with the sheer scale of the network, and the fact that it has reconstituted itself after repeated takedowns, these features mark Spamouflage as a persistent and increasingly assertive online presence with a limited but growing ability to engage real users...

While Spamouflage continued to use hundreds of fake accounts with little or no attempt at persona development, it began in parallel to experiment with persona accounts which looked and behaved as though they were real people, and thus gave a veneer of authenticity to what they posted...

Spamouflage is increasingly entwined with Chinese state officials and narratives. In the past five months, the network has expanded the number of themes it covers to include issues such as U.S.-China rivalry, arms control, and economic development. Videos posted by the network closely tracked with Chinese official messaging...

Spamouflage is developing an increasingly aggressive and confrontational tone towards the United States. More videos portrayed the U.S. in a negative light than focused on any other theme, presenting it as law-breaking, hegemonistic, racked by civil strife, and failing in the fight against COVID-19. Six English-language videos mentioned “civil war” in the headline; two called the U.S. the “greatest threat” to world peace...

The unifying theme that underlay such posts was that America is broken, and American democracy is not a model that any country should emulate, regardless of which party rules in Washington: the storming of the Capitol “tore the false mask of American democracy to pieces," as one video narration stated.

In essence, rather than being a vehicle for election interference, Spamouflage is a cheerleader for Chinese state narratives of China’s rise and America’s fall.


Business, Economy and Trade

《中国金融》|孙国峰:2020年货币政策回顾与2021年展望_疫情 Sun Guofeng, an official responsible for monetary policymaking at the Central Bank, said that the “macro leverage rate” in 2020 was lower than that of the 2008 global financial crisis. His remarks appeared in an essay published in China Finance, a publication overseen by the People’s Bank of China. Sun also warned policymakers not to open a credit floodgate to turbocharge the economy, stressed the importance of “supply side reforms”, and spoke of a need to direct financial resources to the real economy.

China debt: foreign holdings of government bonds topped 10 per cent for first time in January | Reuters Total offshore holdings of Chinese government bonds stood just shy of 2 trillion yuan (US$310 billion) at the end of January, according to data from China Central Depository and Clearing Corporation (CCDC), the main interbank bond market clearing house. That accounted for 10.3 per cent of outstanding Chinese government bonds and was an increase of 121.11 billion yuan from the previous month, according to Reuters calculations. It was the biggest percentage monthly increase since July 2018.

China is readily considering joining CPTPP: commerce ministry - Xinhua The country is actively conducting research on joining the CPTPP, MOC spokesperson Gao Feng told a press conference when responding to a question on China's timetable of joining the pact. Gao said that China is willing to strengthen technical communication and exchanges on relevant issues with all CPTPP members.

Exclusive: China's Ant to hive off credit data in revamp; sees IPO in 2 years - sources | Reuters The data spinoff, along with Ant’s conversion to a more strictly regulated financial holding company, will mean the affiliate of e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group Holding Ltd could proceed with the IPO within two years, two other people said.

Ant and China Banks Are Reining In Joint Loans to Consumers - Bloomberg Ant Group Co. and at least a dozen banks are paring back their years-long cooperation on consumer lending platforms that fuel the spending of at least 500 million people across China. Regulators have signaled their intention to curb online loans in recent months, prompting banks and Ant itself to discuss lending caps, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified discussing a private information.

广东房贷利率普遍上调 银行搭售理财“潜规则”再现 _ 证券时报网 Several banks in Guangdong have increased their mortgage rates, in line with broader policy mandates in cooling real estate investment, the Securities Times reported. The newspaper also said some banks have promised lower mortgage rates if customers bought the banks’ wealth management products.

Yicai - Nearly Half of China’s Provinces Had Lower Fiscal Revenue in 2020 Fiscal revenue dropped for almost half of China’s provinces last year as the pandemic crimped economic growth, but most expect an increase of more than 3 percent this year, the 21st Century Business Herald reported.

China oil group chief blames US sanctions on 'misunderstanding' - Nikkei Asia The CEO of China oil group CNOOC has blamed its blacklisting by the U.S. on a "misunderstanding" and said he wants dialogue with Washington to resolve the issue. Xu Keqiang leads Hong Kong-listed CNOOC, a unit of China's major state-owned oil producer, China National Offshore Oil Corp. The parent group, which is unlisted, was alleged to have ties to China's military by the administration of former President Donald Trump, leading to sanctions against the group late last year

Yicai - SWIFT Forms JV With PBOC’s Digital Currency Research Institute, Clearing Center The joint venture’s legal representative is Daphne Huang, chief executive officer at SWIFT China, the chairman is Cheng Shigang, deputy secretary general of PCAC, and one of the company directors is Mu Changchun, director of the Digital Currency Research Institute. It follows the establishment by SWIFT of a wholly-owned subsidiary in Beijing in June 2019 to advance the use of the Chinese yuan as an international currency and facilitate connections between financial institutions.

China’s SWIFT joint venture shows Beijing eyeing global digital currency use, to internationalise yuan | South China Morning Post “As a global neutral cooperative, SWIFT always acts in the interests of the entire member community,” SWIFT said in an emailed statement to the South China Morning Post. “We have been part of China’s financial markets for more than 30 years … and, as we do everywhere we operate, we make adjustments as necessary to remain compliant with regulatory requirements. “[The joint venture is a] compliance update in China in line with that approach that allows us to continue and strengthen our services to support our customers’ business goals in China.”

Brits snap up Australian wine that didn't go to China - BBC News For the first nine months of last year, China was the biggest destination for Australia's wine exports, accounting for 39%. The UK is now the biggest destination for Australian wine exports by volume, with Brits buying up 266 million litres (29.6 million cases) in 2020.

Chinese IPOs underpriced by up to $200bn due to valuation limits | Financial Times $$ Limits on the valuations at which companies can sell shares in IPOs on most Chinese bourses mean that groups listing onshore may have raised just a quarter of what they otherwise could have, according to a working paper provided exclusively to the Financial Times by researchers at the University of Hong Kong.

In Depth: Short Video Pioneer Kuaishou Primed for Biggest Tech IPO Since Uber Shares of the 10-year-old company, which remains little known outside China where it is the primary competitor to TikTok’s Chinese twin Douyin, will go public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange at HK$115 ($14.80) a share, according to its latest filing to the bourse Thursday. It plans to sell 8.89% of its total shares, which would give it a valuation of around $61 billion...The Kuaishou IPO has attracted 10 cornerstone investors...The lineup includes The Capital Group Inc., which would become Kuaishou’s largest external shareholder with 9.23% of the offer if the over-allotment option is not exercised, as well as Government of Singapore Investment Corp. (GIC Pte), Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd., Fidelity Investments Inc., BlackRock Inc. and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP)

Inter Milan owner seeking $200m in emergency finance | Financial Times $$ Suning Holdings, the retail conglomerate that owns a majority stake in the Serie A team, is seeking new investment by the end of the year in response to a financial crisis at the club, according to three people familiar with its finances...The club had been in exclusive discussions with private equity group BC Partners in recent weeks over a potential investment, but those talks have ended after the two sides could not agree on valuation, according to people with knowledge of the matter who confirmed reports from the Italian media this week.

Business Confidence Survey: Positive Development for German Businesses in China and High Expectations for EU-China Investment Agreement China remains an important investment location for German companies: Turnover expectations and profits forecasts for 2021 are mostly optimistic; 96 percent of respondents have no plans to leave the Chinese Market; 72 percent plan further investments


Politics and Law

For 9 years, Xi spends time with ordinary people before Chinese New Year - People's Daily Online For nine years in a row, Xi has made it a tradition to visit ordinary people, especially the disadvantaged groups, ahead of the Spring Festival, the most important holiday on the Chinese calendar.

Xi's village visit reflects new focus on rural vitalization - Xinhua  By choosing Guizhou, home to the last nine counties removed from the country's poverty list, Xi wanted to see in person the living conditions of those who had shaken off poverty, and promote steady progress in rural vitalization....Xi's Guizhou tour is expected to point out the future direction for promoting rural vitalization

Xi visits supermarket, residential community in Guiyang - Xinhua At the supermarket, Xi checked the supply of goods for the Spring Festival holiday and their prices. He later went to Jinyuan community, where he visited local residents and learned about issues including primary-level Party building and public service.

Uighur intellectuals in China's crosshairs | DW News - YouTube Correspondent Mathias Bölinger has this report spanning Germany and Xinjiang, as he tells the story of one missing professor from the city of Kashgar.

Visual Materials - Xinjiang Documentation Project Peasant paintings have become an integral part of Chinese folk art in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). These colourful pieces are usually found on murals on the Chinese countryside and are frequently accompanied by slogans espousing Chinese pride and values. In Xinjiang, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has used these paintings to promote Party values and sever Uyghur culture and traditions from the principles of Islam.

关于涉疆问题的谎言与事实真相————要闻——中央纪委国家监委网站 Xinhua is out with a very long piece refuting what it says are 24 lies about Xinjiang - "Lies and truth about Xinjiang-related issues".. Xinjiang, China is a good place. 56 ethnic groups embrace each other like pomegranate seeds, build a beautiful home together, and promote social stability, economic prosperity, cultural heritage, national unity and harmony, freedom of religious belief, and people of all ethnic groups to live and work in peace and contentment in Xinjiang. However, for some time, some anti-China forces in the United States and the West have reversed black and white, fabricated and distributed a large number of false information about Xinjiang, discredited China's image, slandered China's policy of governing Xinjiang, interfered in China's internal affairs, and attempted to deceive the international community and interfere with the stable development of Xinjiang. // 中国新疆是个好地方。56个民族像石榴籽一样紧紧抱在一起,共同建设美好家园,推动新疆社会稳定安宁,经济繁荣发展,文化传承昌盛,民族团结和谐,宗教信仰自由,各族人民安居乐业。 但一段时间以来,美西方一些反华势力颠倒黑白、无中生有,炮制散布大量涉疆虚假信息,抹黑中国形象,诋毁中国治疆政策,干涉中国内政,企图蒙骗国际社会、干扰破坏新疆稳定发展。

CPC unveils guideline for strengthening Chinese children's organization The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee has issued a guideline for strengthening the work of the Chinese Young Pioneers (CYP). The CYP, a national mass organization for Chinese children founded and led by the Party, serves as a school for children to learn about socialism with Chinese characteristics and communism, and is a reserve force for the construction of socialism and communism, according to the document.

中共中央关于全面加强新时代少先队工作的意见_中央有关文件_中国政府网 一、总体要求 (一)指导思想。以习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想为指导,深入贯彻落实习近平总书记关于少年儿童和少先队工作的重要论述,全面加强党对少先队工作的领导,全面加强党、团、队一体化建设,聚焦培养共产主义接班人,聚焦传承红色基因,聚焦政治启蒙和价值观塑造,把握增强少先队员光荣感工作主线,坚持组织教育、自主教育、实践教育相统一,不断推进少先队组织创新和工作创新,团结、教育、引领广大少年儿童努力成长为能够担当民族复兴大任的时代新人。

Xi Jinping Thought: China Issues Guidelines for School Children - Bloomberg The party’s Central Committee issued new guidelines on Wednesday to boost ideological education among the Chinese Young Pioneers, a national youth organization with which it is affiliated. The guidelines said that all children in primary school and the first two years of secondary school should have one class per week to carry out Young Pioneers activities, and the core training materials for the teaching staff should be Xi thought.

In Depth: How an Ex-Migrant Worker Built a Million-Dollar Crime Ring on Prostitution, Fraud and Intimidation - Caixin The corrupt antics of a former Chinese mafia boss sentenced to death last year have been revealed in graphic detail in a Caixin investigation. Zhao Fuqiang led a criminal organization that amassed nearly 1 billion yuan ($155 million) by illegally subletting real estate in Shanghai and silencing opponents with violence and threats. In return for legal protection, he also ran a prostitution ring used by local businessmen and government officials, who likened the apartment where the liaisons took place to the setting of one of China’s great romance novels.

China's defense lawyers run into a brick wall after 'Hong Kong 12' case - The Washington Post Teng Biao, an activist and lawyer whose license was revoked in 2008 after he sought to defend Tibetan protesters, said disbarment was not a new form of punishment for nettlesome lawyers who belonged to China’s “rights defense” movement and challenged the government. But it has been wielded far more frequently since the 2015 crackdown on the movement, which included detentions of scores of lawyers...“It’s an order of magnitude worse in the Xi Jinping era,” Teng said from New Jersey, where he now lives. “Today there are very few lawyers willing to take on risky cases. Even the few that still do are considered too close to the government.”

陈行甲出书自曝:妻子陪我闯过抑郁症的黑暗隧道 Chen Xingjia, named as one of 102 National Outstanding County Secretaries 全国优秀县委书记 in 2015, revealed in a new book that he suffered from severe depression and was hospitalized in 2012.

南方周末前首席评论员李铁告别“公知生涯” 胡锡进点赞 Li Tie, former reporter with Southern Weekly and who was widely seen as a liberal intellectual, wrote a post on Weibo “reflecting” his political opinions. Li criticized his fellow liberals in China for simplifying the political problems and their views that the Western democracy is good for China. Li said each country should develop its own model and he learnt it in the past years as he built his own business. Li said he had to admit that the Chinese political system has its merits and the CCP elites are smarter than him. The post won approval and praise from Hu Xijin of Global Times.

China’s prospect bright as CPC celebrates centennial - Global Times - Hu Xijin What I am talking about are the CPC and the country, but among my words, and between the lines, are our personal life and destiny. A China with booming development is not made up of abstract data, but improvements in numerous people's lives. When I was working abroad as a correspondent for the People's Daily in 1993, my monthly salary, plus various subsidies, totaled only about $290. That was the level of pay China at that time could afford. My dream then was to have a car and a house with a separate bathroom. Now, this kind of life has been realized and is coming to more people. In the future, we will have better medical care, better pensions, more guaranteed paid vacations, more secure and high-quality lives, and a better ecological environment. I have witnessed epoch-making changes. I wish and believe today's young generation will experience greater and more important vicissitudes in China's future.


Foreign and Defense Affairs

Chinese President Xi Jinping appoints new ambassadors - CGTN Li Chenggang has been appointed China's representative and ambassador to the World Trade Organization, as well as deputy permanent representative to the United Nations Office at Geneva and other International Organizations in Switzerland, replacing Zhang Xiangchen.

Secretary Blinken’s Call with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov - United States Department of State Secretary Blinken and Minister Lavrov discussed the New START extension and the need for new arms control that addresses all of Russia’s nuclear weapons and the growing threat from China

中国成功实施陆基中段反导拦截技术试验 - 中国军网 On February 4, 2021, China conducted a test of land-based midcourse anti-missile interception technology in its territory, which achieved its intended purpose. This test was defensive in nature and doesn't target any country.

New START Treaty Mythbusters - United States Department of State Myth:  Extending the New START Treaty allows the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to continue an unconstrained nuclear build-up-The substantial projected growth in the PRC’s nuclear arsenal remains a key concern for the United States and its allies and partners.  The PRC’s continued resistance to engaging in a meaningful dialogue on nuclear weapons and risk reduction is destabilizing and calls into question its intentions.  To prevent an unconstrained nuclear arms competition and enhance stability, the world will need nuclear arms control that includes the PRC.  The United States has not lost sight of this objective. Allowing New START to lapse, however, would not bring the PRC to the negotiating table or limit its nuclear build-up. The PRC has demanded that the United States and the Russian Federation extend New START as a way to rebuff calls for it to participate in talks on nuclear weapons. Now that the United States and the Russian Federation have agreed to extend New START, the United States expects the PRC to engage.

Forging 21st-Century Strategic Deterrence | Proceedings - February 2021 Vol. 147/2/1,416 - By Admiral Charles A. Richard, U.S. Navy Faced with Russia and China’s growing threats and gray zone actions, the United States must take action today to position itself for the future. We must start by acknowledging that our most fundamental assumption—that strategic deterrence will hold, even through crisis and conflict—is going to be tested in ways not seen before. This assumption is the foundation on which we built strategies, plans, and capabilities. Unfortunately, our opponents invested in nuclear and strategic capabilities designed to constrain U.S. actions, test our alliances, and, if necessary, escalate past us—to include nuclear use. There is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could escalate quickly to a conflict involving nuclear weapons, if they perceived a conventional loss would threaten the regime or state. Consequently, the U.S. military must shift its principal assumption from “nuclear employment is not possible” to “nuclear employment is a very real possibility,” and act to meet and deter that reality. We cannot approach nuclear deterrence the same way.  It must be tailored and evolved for the dynamic environment we face.

China urges Canada to punish diplomat for ill intentions behind insulting 'Wuhan-bat' T-shirts - Global Times A Canadian diplomat involved in the latest diplomatic spat over tailor-made T-shirts featuring a bat image and the "Wuhan" word had deceived the Chinese T-shirt maker and deliberately planned to conceal his ill-intentioned motive since May when he placed the order, sources close to the matter told the Global Times on Wednesday, rejecting Canada's side of the story that China has mixed up between the city of Wuhan and the hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan. Chad Hensler, who ordered T-shirts emblazoned with a bat-like image around the words "Wu-Han," has sparked outrage among Chinese netizens and officials, who urged the Canadian government to punish the diplomat as soon as possible.

新华时评:要彻查!我们不欢迎这样的加方外交官-新华网 Xinhua wrote a commentary about the T-shirt, saying “We need a thorough investigation! We don’t welcome a Canadian diplomat like this.” It lambasted the diplomat for using Wuhan to make “malicious joke with frivolous language”, and that the embassy’s explanation on this has “further insulted and hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.” It urged Canada to understand the seriousness of the matter, stop protecting the offender, make public apology, and ensure this will never happen again.

严重冒犯中国人民之后,这个加拿大外交官玩起了失踪? Global Times tried to track down the Canadian diplomat Chad Hensler who ordered the Wuhan “bat” T-shirts, and said he has been trying to wipe his social media existence after the row. It said Hensler must come out to apologize to the Chinese people and “paid the price for his action.”

Pakistani, Chinese navies play important roles in maintaining maritime order of Indian Ocean: Exclusive with Pakistan Navy chief - Global Times Global Times reporters Liu Xuanzun and Guo Yuandan (GT) recently had an exclusive interview with Chief of the Naval Staff of the Pakistan Navy (PN) Admiral M Amjad Khan Niazi (Adm. Niazi), during which the Admiral shared his visions on topics including the PN's role in promoting regional maritime security, naval cooperation between the PN and PLA Navy, and the upcoming multinational exercise.

China’s vision of hegemony: the view from India | The Strategist China speaks of the ‘community of the shared future for mankind’, and ‘win–win cooperation’; it plays balance-of-power politics and acts in ways that take advantage of others in adversity. China’s aim is to establish its supremacy in areas of productive technology, trade networks and financing options in ways that shut out competition. The Belt and Road Initiative is creating a Sino-centric system of specifications, standards, norms and regulations that will favour China’s technology and services to the exclusion of others. Those who worry that the primary problem with the BRI is the potentially high level of indebtedness that vulnerable Indo-Pacific economies may face are missing the larger point. Beijing doesn’t aim to impoverish its potential clients, but to ensure that their national systems are fully oriented towards the consumption of Chinese technology and services and are in sync with China’s strategic interests and policies. - By Vijay Gokhale, India’s foreign secretary until January 2020 and is a former ambassador to China.

China vows COVID-19 vaccine at fair, reasonable prices - Xinhua Spokesperson Wang Wenbin made the remarks at a press conference in response to a query on the specific arrangements and prices of the 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine China previously announced to provide to the COVAX initiative. Though faced with huge domestic demand for vaccination, China is willing to work within its capacity and make efforts to turn COVID-19 vaccines into global public goods that are available and affordable to developing countries, instead of a luxury possessed by only a few countries, Wang said.

Some witnesses too afraid of Chinese authorities to give evidence at Australian inquiry | Australian politics | The Guardian Some witnesses were too afraid of repercussions from the Chinese Communist party to give public evidence to a Senate inquiry into issues affecting diaspora communities in Australia, the upper house has been told.

Australia-China relations: Racism flares as China relationship erodes - Sydney Morning Herald there was a clear warning in the latest Scanlon Foundation report on social cohesion, issued on Thursday. It found 59 per cent of Chinese Australians said there was a “very big” or “fairly big” problem with racism during the COVID-19 crisis.

Central, Eastern European countries witness booming trade with China - Global Times China's foreign trade with Central and Eastern European countries grow by 8.4% in 2020 exceeding $100 billion, which is faster than the country's annual trade volume with Europe as a whole, and also faster than China's yearly foreign trade growth rate for the year, Gao Feng, spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said on Thursday.

China dangles $39bn carrot to build city on our doorstep - The Australian Hong Kong-registered WYW Holding, a developer of Myanmar’s New Yangon City, has asked PNG Prime Minister James Marape to approve the development under a “Build Operate Transfer” arrangement, where PNG would receive the assets after an unspecified period of Chinese ownership and management. “We hope that you and your government will agree to engage with us on this ambitious plan which is, as you are aware, predicated on an agreed Sovereign Guarantee based on a long-term BOT contract between and for the ­mutual benefit of both parties,” company chief executive Terrance Mo said in a letter to Mr Marape last April.

Decade of patience: How China became a power in the Western Balkans – European Council on Foreign Relations China is slowly transforming its interactions with Western Balkans countries in sectors such as culture, media, and politics into long-term and institutionalised relationships. As European and US ambivalence towards the Western Balkans persists, the region will be in increasing danger of falling into an endless spiral of competition between various foreign actors.

Techno-nationalism and corporate governance | Hinrich Foundation To manage the impact of techno-nationalism on corporate governance, companies are increasingly turning to IT solutions for data management, supply chain traceability and corporate diplomacy. This latest paper from Research Fellow Alex Capri offers a detailed examination of the salient corporate governance issues facing multinationals as they navigate through an increasingly uncertain geopolitical landscape. This is the fourth in a series of Hinrich Foundation essays on US-China techno-nationalism

Japan, Britain in sync on halting China's maritime advances : The Asahi Shimbun Tokyo wants to utilize Britain’s naval power to offset the maritime advances being made by China, while London is seeking new avenues of regional cooperation in the wake of its departure in 2020 from the European Union. Japan and Britain, in a joint statement issued after the meeting, said the nations are “global strategic partners who share a fundamental commitment to core values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law” and that they “renewed their commitment to further strengthening cooperation towards a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Why are Chinese officials in Africa so active in messaging on Xinjiang? - SupChina A new wave of Chinese propaganda, pushing back on claims of genocide and human rights abuses in Xinjiang, is being promoted widely in Africa. Here are a few reasons why Africa might be a focus of this messaging campaign.

Former University of Florida Researcher Indicted for Scheme to Defraud National Institutes of Health and University of Florida | OPA | Department of Justice “The taxpayer dollars that funded Yang’s research were intended to benefit the health and well-being of U.S. citizens. But our indictment alleges that Yang engaged in acts of deliberate deception so that he could also further the research goals of the Chinese Communist government and advance his own business interests,” said U.S. Attorney Lawrence Keefe for the Northern District of Florida. “We are committed to working closely with the FBI, the Department of Health and Human Services, and our research institutions to identify, investigate and prosecute anyone who undermines the integrity of our nation’s research efforts by concealing potential conflicts of interest and commitment.”


Hong Kong and Macao

Minister says Hong Kong SIM card ID registration plan will thwart crime, but expert says workarounds possible | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP Hong Kong’s government on Friday announced plans to force people to register their identity when buying mobile phone SIM cards, describing the move as an effort to curb crime. However, a data scientist said it appeared aimed more at detecting national security offences and workarounds will be possible.


Taiwan

Taiwan opens office in Guyana in push against China influence | Reuters Taiwan has opened a representative office in Guyana, the island’s foreign ministry said on Thursday, drawing praise from the United States, worried about deepening Chinese influence in Latin America, and a rebuke from Beijing...Foreign Minister Hugh Todd said what is being set up is a trade and investment office in Georgetown to “create space” for the private sector in Taiwan and Guyana to do business.


Tech and Media

Yicai - Chinese Ride-Hailing Giant Didi Sacked 70 Staff for Graft Last Year Didi Chuxing laid off 58 Chinese and 12 foreign staff members last year as the Chinese ride-hailing giant cracks down on employee fraud. Eleven were turned over to the police, said the firm’s risk control and compliance department. Sixty-four cases were opened, including 15 overseas. Most involved accepting bribes, seeking benefits from suppliers as well as selling company resources for profit.

Huawei Founder Apologizes for Using Company to Help His Daughter - Caixin The office of Huawei’s chief executive issued the apology from company founder Ren Zhengfei in an internal statement on Wednesday. It detailed the controversial events that saw him use the company’s resources to register trademarks for names linked to one of his daughters, Yao Anna, who also goes by the English name Annabel Yao. The statement said Ren had asked Huawei’s intellectual property department to help register the trademarks in order to prevent them from being maliciously registered by others


Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

A Critic, a Poet, and Divisive Interpretations of Craft - Sixth Tone Jia Qianqian’s poetry came under scrutiny after the WeChat account of bimonthly magazine Literature Talks published a scathing review last week, saying her writing “depraved Chinese literary society.” The article accused other writers and poets of disingenuously singing Jia’s praises instead of giving honest appraisals of her work...she has been a polarizing figure, with many attributing her success to her father, the internationally acclaimed writer Jia Pingwa. Others, meanwhile, have slammed her signature clipped sentence structure, which Tang likened to repeatedly mashing one key on a keyboard...Some of Jia Qianqian’s accolades over the years have raised eyebrows, especially when she was crowned Shaanxi’s top youth poet in 2017, while her father was one of the event’s judges. Her father is also the current chairman of the Shaanxi Province Writers Association.

Countdown to Beijing 2022: Olympic torch unveiled in one-year countdown to Beijing 2022 - Xinhua The 2022 Olympic torch spirals upward to resemble two overlapping fluttering ribbons. The inner red ribbon evokes rising flames, with the outer one plated in silver to produce a striking contrast. Beaming with dynamism and vitality, the two-tone torch presents a metaphor of ice and fire, symbolizing how it will bring light and warmth to the winter sports gala.

《送你一朵小红花》 / A Little Red Flower 曝主题曲 - YouTube Zhao Yingjun theme song "Give You A Little Red Flower". Zhao recently died from liver cancer, to the sadness of many:


Energy, Environment, Science and Health

Export Growth Predicted to Help Boost China’s Power Demand by 7% - Caixin The forecast is supported by signs of progress in China’s macroeconomy, which is expected to operate within “a rational range” this year, the China Electricity Council (CEC) told Caixin after it released yearly projections on Tuesday. Another major factor underpinning the projection is the recovery in the global economy as virus vaccines hit the market. This would kick off a round of stock replenishments that would help underpin China’s exports, the group told Caixin.

China administered 31.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for key groups as of February 3 | Reuters


Rural and Agricultural Issues

最新《农村土地承包经营权流转管理办法》即将实施 有啥变化?新在哪?_耕地 The new law on rural land transfer and use, set to take effect on March 1, has been 15 years in the making. While it promises to better protect the interests of 主体 farmers, as well as grant them more flexibility in how they use the land, the law also reaffirms China’s long-standing concern over grain security. Specifically, it bans the “ non agricultural use” of arable land. Another tweak to the old law seeks to strengthen the role of local governments in reviewing and approving rural land transfer to commercial use by establishing risk control mechanisms and more rigorous credential screening. 新修改的《农村土地承包法》明确要求 建立工商企业等社会资本通过流转取得土地经营权的资格审查、项目审核和风险防范制度。贯彻落实法律和政策要求,新《办法》对建立健全工商企业等社会资本通过流转取得土地经营权的准入监管制度作了详细规定,明确地方人民政府要依法建立分级资格审查和项目审核制度,并规定了审查、审核的一般程序,引导工商企业等社会资本规范流转土地经营权。

农业农村部:进一步放活土地经营权 _ 经济参考网 _ 新华社《经济参考报》官方网站 The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs released a plan on rural land use and transfer, promising more flexibility for farmers to use their land.主要就平等保护经营主体依流转合同取得的土地经营权增加了一些具体规定,有助于进一步放活土地经营权。

Original document in Chinese - 应当按照法定程序经本集体经济组织成员的村民会议三分之二以上成员或者三分之二以上村民代表的同意,并与集体经济组织签订流转意向协议书。 The transfer of land must be agreed by two thirds of village committee members ( or village representatives)