Chile suspends APEC; UN Support for China's Xinjiang policy; Fourth Plenum

I know you are breathlessly awaiting the end of the Fourth Plenum tomorrow and the expected communique. In the meantime we are left wading through propaganda filler in official media and the continuing cacophony of rumors.

The Plenum likely discussed the current economic situation and preparations for the next Five Year Plan, albeit it a very high level. I doubt there will be any specifics about economic policy changes in the communique, especially since we are about six weeks away from the annual Central Economic Work Conference that will set the economic agenda for the next year.

If there are any significant personnel changes we will hear about them. The Central Committee (CC) replacements for disgraced Liu Shiyu and deceased Zheng Xiaosong are automatic based on ranking of votes received by the CC alternate members, so the two new full members should be Ma Zhengwu (马正武) Ma Weiming (马伟明).

I hope tomorrow there will be more facts on which to base a discussion of the Plenum.

The US and China will need a new venue for the signing of the phase one trade deal as Chile’s President has suspended the November APEC meeting.

Thanks for reading.

The Essential Eight

1. Xinjiang

China and West clash over claims Beijing oppresses Uighurs - AP

Belarus read a statement on behalf of 54 countries commending "China's remarkable achievements in the field of human rights" and taking note "that terrorism, separatism and religious extremism has caused enormous damage to people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, which has seriously infringed upon human rights, including right to life, health and development."

Britain read a statement on behalf of 23 countries that shared concerns with the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination about "credible reports" of mass detention, "efforts to restrict cultural and religious practices, mass surveillance disproportionately targeting ethnic Uighurs, and other human rights violations and abuses in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region."

Dozens of countries oppose U.S. using Xinjiang to interfere in China's internal affairs - Xinhua

Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the UN, refuted the baseless comments on Xinjiang made by the United States and some other countries.

Zhang said that the United States and a few other countries made "groundless accusations" against China, calling it a "gross interference in China's internal affairs" and a provocation...

"This is not about human rights, and has nothing to do with racial discrimination," said the envoy. "The words of a few countries, however eloquent, cannot erase the historic achievements in Xinjiang's human rights cause, cannot negate the positive results of Xinjiang's counter-terrorism and de-radicalization efforts, and cannot shake China's determination to uphold national security and stability."

Zhang said that there is "hidden political agenda and ulterior motive" in the U.S. statement. Human rights are always an instrument for U.S. hegemonism and power politics. "Care for human rights is a hypocritical excuse used by the United States to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries."

"By making relentless efforts to defame China on Xinjiang, the United States aims to undermine China's stability and contain China's development. Such malicious attempt will never work," he added.



China warns Australia on ‘inappropriate comments’ on Xinjiang affairs - Global Times

China has lodged solemn representations with the Australian side, Geng Shuang, spokesperson of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a routine daily press conference on Wednesday.

Geng's remarks came after Australian foreign affairs minister Marise Payne's remarks on Tuesday. She said China must be held accountable for its human rights abuses domestically, and she addressed the treatment of the Uyghur people in Xinjiang.

Ambassador Cui Tiankai Attended the the Bush China Conference and Delivered Keynote Address — Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the United States of America

China has not resorted to war as an answer to terrorism; instead, we have chosen education and training to help people affected by extremist and terrorist ideas return to normal life. China's Xinjiang, a heavy victim of terrorism in the past, has seen no terrorist attack for over three years. This is in itself the best way of respecting and protecting human rights. To sling mud at China on this issue against straight facts is to endorse terrorists. Those who do so will only backfire on themselves.

At Least 150 Detainees Have Died in One Xinjiang Internment Camp: Police Officer - RFA

A police officer confirmed the figure while RFA’s Uyghur Service was investigating unconfirmed reports that more than 200 people from a township in Aksu (in Chinese, Akesu) prefecture’s Kuchar (Kuche) county had died in detention.

The officer at the Kuchar County Police Department said that at least 150 had died at just one of the county’s four internment camps—the No. 1 Internment Camp in the Yengisher district of the county seat, about 10 kilometers (six miles) from Kuchar city center.

2. Hikvision lobbyist in DC caught on tape

What lobbyist David Vitter's remarks in phone call say about Chinese money in Washington - The Washington Post - Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian

Fortunately for Hikvision, though, influence in Washington is for sale. They had a powerful ally on speed dial — former U.S. senator from Louisiana David Vitter, a Republican who now is a registered representative for Hikvision USA as part of his work at Mercury Public Affairs, a political strategy and consulting firm.

On Oct. 8, the day before the entity list was to take effect, Hikvision Vice President for Public Affairs Jeffrey He led a company-wide conference call from his office in Brussels. On the call, Vitter referred to U.S. restrictions on Hikvision as “assaults” and slammed Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who co-chairs the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, as having an “anti-China and anti-Hikvision agenda,” according to an unpublished recording of the internal company call obtained by IPVM, a trade publication covering the surveillance industry, which obtained the recording from an anonymous source…

In the conference call, Vitter said that he aimed to stave off further efforts to sanction the company and to ultimately get any punitive measures rescinded. He also criticized Rubio, who recently sponsored the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act and has urged the Trump administration to place export controls on Hikvision and other Chinese video surveillance companies, saying Rubio’s position was “contrary to everything we’re trying to defend.”..

Hikvision has paid Mercury Affairs up to $125,000 per month for its services.

Vitter’s comments:

Rubio’s response:

Senator Vitter Becomes "Proud Member Of The Hikvision Team", Calls Out "Anti-China" Rubio- IPVM

Hikvision is spending significantly to oppose both the US government ban and sanctions with at least $3 million in lobbying spent since 2018:

  • $1.2m on Mercury (Vitter's organization) alone. Hikvision hired Mercury in August 2018 on a minimum rate of $70,000 per month but has gone well above that, spending ~$110,000 per month for one six month period.

  • Over $2m on two other firms, Sidley Austin and the Glover Park Group. In August, Reuters estimated that Hikvision spent $1.63m on the two firms (based on government filings.) That was before Hikvision disclosed spending another $500,000 on Sidley in Q3 2019. Sidley Austin tasked another politician, former US Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA), with Hikvision.

  • $25,000 monthly minimum for six months in 2018 to another firm, Burson Marsteller. After a merger that year this firm became Burson Cohn & Wolfe; BCW remains a Hikvision client, and Hikvision spent $185,511 on them in 2019, it disclosed in August. BCW was on the same Hikvision employee call.

Related: Dahua Co-Founder Says Human Rights Sanctions Shows Strong Dahua Technology

Despite Dahua doing nearly a billion dollars of projects in Xinjiang, including building and operating police stations, Dahua not only denies 'any factual basis' of human rights abuses but their Vice Chairman contends these sanctions are a point of pride for the company as it shows it has strong technology.

3. US-China

In U.S.-China talks, Beijing's refusal to spell out farm buys is big sticking point - Reuters

Trump has said publicly that China could buy as much as $50 billion of U.S. farm products, more than double the annual amount it did the year before the trade war started.

U.S. officials continue to push for that in talks, while Beijing is balking at committing to a large figure and a specific time frame. Chinese buyers would like the discretion to buy based on market conditions.

“China does not want to buy a lot of products that people here don’t need or to buy something at a time when it is not in demand,” an official from a Chinese state-owned company explained.

China warns U.S. criticism at U.N. over Xinjiang not 'helpful' for trade talks - Reuters

China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun warned on Tuesday that U.S. criticism at the world body of Beijing’s policy in remote Xinjiang was not “helpful” for negotiations between the two countries on a trade deal.

4. Hong Kong

Central gov't supports decision to disqualify Joshua Wong from HK district election: spokesperson - Xinhua

A State Council Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office spokesperson on Wednesday expressed support for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) decision to disqualify Joshua Wong, the leader of a political group advocating "Hong Kong independence," from the 2019 District Council Ordinary Election of the HKSA

Halloween protests to test Hong Kong’s ban on masks - Inkstone

The Hong Kong police force has planned to deployed water cannons and 3,000 riot officers to prepare for potential clashes on Thursday night...The source said officers would order revelers “to remove their masks to check their identities if they are chanting slogans instead of celebrating Halloween.”

HK Tycoon Li Ka-shing Donates $25.5 Million to Support Small Restaurants - Caixin Global

A charity fund of Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing will donate HK$200 million ($25.5 million) to help local small and medium restaurants. The donation is part of the Li Ka-shing Foundation’s previously announced HK$1 billion ($127 million) pledge to support local small and medium businesses in Hong Kong to overcome challenges amid months of unrest rattling the city.

HK stock exchange CEO says ‘one country, two systems’ is flawed | Financial Times

Charles Li said in a speech in London that the “one country, two systems” model had “fundamental flaws” in how it was implemented from the outset, referring to the high degree of autonomy granted Hong Kong following the handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997.

Mainland China, he continued, never trusted Hong Kongers to respect the “one country” element of the framework. “That lack of trust is a key reason why China is reluctant to give Hong Kong people . . . self-determination — two systems,” he said at the annual dinner of the London Metal Exchange on Tuesday...

5. New provincial officials preparing for more local debt messes?

China sends top financial officials to clean up debt-laden provinces amid growing signs of economic risk | South China Morning Post

China’s central government has dispatched senior state bankers and financial regulators to at least 15 of the country’s 31 provincial level governments to work as vice-governors over the past two years, as Beijing looks to shore up debt-laden local economies.

The postings, compiled by the South China Morning Post from government announcements, come amid signs of growing financial stress across the country, with local governments facing tight budgets as the economy slows and revenues plunge following tax cuts mandated by Beijing. The government has also been forced to take over or recapitalise three large regional banks so far this year, raising questions about the solvency of other local financial institutions.


Given the size and complexity of problems facing the regions, it is unclear how successful the postings will be in taming the risks.

Liu Shengjun, head of the Shanghai-based China Financial Reform Institute, said it would be “unrealistic” to count on the newly-appointed provincial officials to solve all financial problems.

“The cause can’t be removed if there’s no institutional changes at the central government level,” he said.

China Pledges to Accelerate PPP Rules to Define Implicit Debts - Caixin

Under the PPP model, government units cooperate with private investors to build roads, airports, subway lines, utilities and other infrastructure. Local and central governments have promised financial and policy support for such projects to lure private capital. But the programs were often used to further fuel and disguise local government borrowing.

In practice, the notion of PPP has been widely bent by local authorities so that many projects have served as alternative channels for excessive government borrowing while squeezing out private players.

Starting in 2017, China has stepped up scrutiny of PPP borrowing to prevent local governments from using the arrangements to disguise excessive debt

6. Chinese family assets

Housing lion's share of Chinese family assets: report - ECNS

The average assets of a Chinese family reached 208,883 yuan ($29,600) in 2018, up 7.49 percent over 2017, with home assets comprising a large part of the total wealth, 71.35 percent in urban areas and 52.28 percent in rural areas, according to a study by China's Economic Daily.

Over 93 percent of households own one home, while 3.82 percent have two. The increasing value of homes, up 10.3 percent, is the major reason for rising family wealth, accounting for 91 percent of the growth.

The report found a continued gap between families in urban and rural areas where assets average 292,920 yuan and 87,744 yuan, respectively.

Less Savings, More Debt: How Chinese Manage Money American-Style, in 17 Charts - WSJ $$

The wealthiest 10% of households have 80% of the savings, while 40% save nothing. Debts equal 13 times income for the bottom third of Chinese wage earners—all while Chinese lag behind Americans in earnings and wealth by big margins.

The average Chinese household controls 1.62 million yuan in real estate and other assets, or around $230,000, according to the Survey and Research Center for China Household Finance at Chengdu’s Southwestern University of Finance and Economics.

American household net worth is around $692,100, according to the Federal Reserve Board. Only about a third of U.S. household assets are real estate, while most Chinese wealth is.

7. Belt and Road

Where Giants Meet | The New Silk Road: Road To Russia - CNA

China, Mongolia, Uzbekistan and Russia were once strong allies in the Cold War. Now, rapid transformation is happening in these countries, some of whom are still struggling to emerge from their communist past.

How will the Belt and Road Initiative impact Mongolia and integrate it into China’s masterplan for the 21st century? How will the Stan countries go from land-locked to land-linked countries? What is the nature of the new strategic partnership between Russia and China?

This film is part of a much longer series on the Belt and Road, aka the New Silk Road. You can see all the episodes here

What's Behind Protests Against China in Kazakhstan? - Carnegie Moscow Center - Temur Umarov Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

This fall will be remembered in Kazakhstan for a wave of anti-China protests there. Kazakhstan’s increasing debt to China, the growing presence of Chinese enterprises and goods, the inevitable scheme of trading oil for technology, and the persecution of Muslim Uighurs in neighboring Xinjiang are serving to strengthen Kazakh society’s fear of Chinese expansion.

China Is Determined to Reshape the Globe - Bloomberg - Hal Brands

The geographical difficulties don’t end there. Beijing's energy-guzzling economy is heavily dependent on oil and natural gas from the Middle East. These imports pass through maritime choke-points - the Straits of Tiran into the Red Sea, the Malacca Strait off Indonesia - that can be closed off by the U.S. Navy. Not surprisingly, Chinese leaders have realized that achieving Beijing's global potential requires changing the country's strategic geography.

This is the true meaning of China's Belt and Road Initiative - a collection of investment, trade and infrastructure programs spanning Eurasia and surrounding areas including the Horn of Africa, at an eventual total cost of perhaps $1 to $2 trillion. Belt and Road has been described as a lot of things: a financial boondoggle, a catch-phrase, a threat to the U.S.-led world order. Yet at its core, it represents an effort to build a more integrated Eurasian geopolitical space - with China at its center.

8. One long read: New report on AI and China

Special Report: AI Policy and China – Realities of State-Led Development - DigiChina

The New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan (AIDP), drafted by experts across China’s bureaucracy and issued by the State Council in July 2017, was one of this nascent project's first major translations.

Today, the Stanford-New America DigiChina Project publishes its first special report, on AI Policy and China, featuring new work and insights from 14 specialists across a wide variety of fields.

Business, Economy and Trade

商务部:上周猪肉价格为每公斤51.21元,上涨11% Ministry of Commerce says price of pork was up 11% last week to 51.21 RMB/KG

China to issue guideline to improve business environment for foreign investors - SHINE News The guideline, which was adopted in principle at an executive meeting of the State Council held on October 16, puts forward 20 policies in four aspects to create a more "fair, transparent and predictable" business environment for foreign-invested enterprises, said Vice Minister of Commerce and Deputy China International Trade Representative Wang Shouwen Tuesday. - 二十条稳外资措施将出台 为外商营造公开透明可预期的环境_周刊厨房_经济网_国家一类新闻网站

走向更加广阔的舞台——写在民营企业座谈会召开一周年之际-新华网 Xinhua out with a long piece outlining all the positive steps taken to improve the business environment for private enterprises since Xi's symposium with private entrepreneurs on November 1, 2018.

虚惊一场!湖南、山东之后,上海也要全面清退P2P?协会紧急澄清_证券时报网 The Shanghai Internet Finance Industry Association officially denies rumors that Shanghai is going to follow Hunan, Shandong and other provinces and officially ban P2P platforms

China police detains individual for spreading rumours on rural bank's bankruptcy - Reuters Yichuan Rural Commercial Bank, which has 33 branches in the county, said on Tuesday that its branches had a high volume of over-the-counter requests and urged people not to “believe in rumours and take out deposits blindly”

Chinese Authorities Seek to Reassure Over Small Bank’s Health - WSJ $$ Deposits at the rural lender are protected under the country’s deposit insurance scheme, the regulators’ statement said, urging depositors to act rationally. China began insuring up to 500,000 yuan ($70,763) in deposits by businesses and individuals per bank in 2015. Meantime, the local branch of the national corruption watchdog said Wednesday in a statement on its website that Kang Fengli, the bank’s former chairman and Communist Party chief, was under investigation for “suspected serious violation of discipline and rules.”

Troubled Hengfeng Bank Takes Step Closer to Restructuring - Caixin The increase in registered capital is a bookkeeping measure to officially recognize the capital that Hengfeng Bank has received over the last 10 years. It does not account for a new investment that the bank recently received approval for, according to a person close to Hengfeng Bank’s top executives.

China Steelmaker Default Sparks Debt Contagion Fear - Bloomberg Shandong-based steelmaker Xiwang Group Co.’s failure to repay 1 billion yuan ($142 million) of bonds last week, saw investors dump neighboring firms’ notes on contagion fears as companies in this province are well known for providing guarantees for each other’s debt

L.A.’s $1 Billion Trophy Tower Halted as China Pulls Back - Bloomberg The developer, Beijing-based Oceanwide Holdings Co., offered few details on the future of the $1 billion-plus project -- other than to insist that it has financing and work is continuing. The lawsuits by unpaid subcontractors, on the other hand, give a glimpse of the developer’s struggle to come up with needed money to finish the project.

Bitmain quietly filed for a US IPO with Deutsche Bank as its sponsor -TheNextWeb After seeing its IPO dreams slashed earlier this year, Bitmain Technologies has reportedly re-submitted its US application in secret.  According to a Tencent News report, the cryptocurrency miner manufacturing giant filed its application with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), with Deutsche Bank as its sponsor.

A Fake Bike-Sharing App in China Is Costing the Real Ones 300 Million RMB- PingWest Police recently raided the office of Quannengche (全能车), a bike sharing company. The reason for the raid, according to Zhang Hong, a cyberspace police officer in Shanghai's Minhang district who went beyond their jurisdiction in a joint task force with Shenzhen police, was that it is a fake bike sharing company and doesn't operate a single bike.

Soho China Said to Consider $8 Billion China Office Sales - Bloomberg At least eight office towers in Beijing and Shanghai are being discussed as part of the planned sales, the people said, asking not to be named because the discussions are private.

BYD Earnings Drop 89% as China’s Electric-Car Market Goes Sour - Bloomberg Sales of all-electric, fuel-cell, and plugin hybrid vehicles have been falling for three consecutive months after the government scaled back subsidies. Sales of such vehicles dropped by 34% last month, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. BYD’s September car sales fell 15%.

China Finds Solace in Wine From Australia Amid Economic Slowdown - Bloomberg The value of wine exports to China jumped 18% to a record A$1.25 billion ($858 million) for the year ended in September, Wine Australia said Wednesday.

Beijing misses chance to show Trump it has friend in Brussels | Financial Times $$ Sino-EU talks over a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, or CAI, have dragged on for more than five years. The two sides are now hoping to finally conclude an agreement by the end of next year.  Even the mild-mannered engineers at the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association are beginning to sound fed up. “More than 20 rounds of [CAI] negotiations have taken place without reaching significant results,” Thilo Brodtmann, the association’s executive director, said on a recent visit to Beijing. “China should take credible steps to create reciprocal market access.”

Politics and Law

楼继伟《比较》撰文 呼吁户籍和土地制度改革_观点频道_财新网 Lou Jiwei on the pressing need for Hukou and land reform

China to establish committee for UN Global Sustainable Transport Conference - Vice-Premier Liu He will assume leadership of the committee, and State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will serve as the deputy head. Set at the Ministry of Transport and headed by its minister Li Xiaopeng, the committee’s office will be tasked with raising the conference’s overall plan and implementation plan, communicating with the UN and solving specific problems in the preparation.

U.S. urged to stop using Tibet-related issues to interfere in China's internal affairs - Xinhua "The institution of the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama has been in existence for several hundred years. The 14th Dalai Lama himself was found and recognized following religious rituals and historical conventions and his succession was approved by the then central government. Therefore the reincarnation of living Buddhas including the Dalai Lama must comply with Chinese laws and regulations and follow religious rituals and historical conventions," said the spokesperson [Geng Shuang]. // Comment: nothing new, just a reminder that the Party sees itself above anyone's God

关于开展全国中小学图书馆图书审查清理专项行动的通知 - 中华人民共和国教育部政府门户网站 - the Ministry of Education has launched a campaign to inspect and clean up books in libraries at primary and middle school libraries nationwide, to ensure there are no books that harm national unity, the leadership of the Party or socialist values.

Foreign and Defense Affairs

Czech-Chinese Ties Strained As Prague Stands Up To Beijing : NPR Charles University — Central Europe's oldest, most prestigious learning institution — is the academic home of many influential critics of China, including Hala and his organization Sinopsis, which has examined and exposed questionable dealings with Beijing by the Czech government. Within days of learning about the Home Credit sponsorship requirements, students, faculty and local media lambasted university leadership for selling out its academic freedom to please a sponsor with business interests in China. That prompted Home Credit to withdraw its offer and university Rector Tomáš Zima to publicly apologize for his role in the matter.

German Spy Chief Says Huawei Can’t Be ‘Fully Trusted’ in 5G - Bloomberg Germany’s spy chief said Huawei Technologies Co. “can’t fully be trusted,” signaling security hardliners in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government want to keep the Chinese technology giant out of the country’s fifth-generation networks.

Berlin Hardliners Suspect Merkel Soft on Huawei to Please China - Bloomberg Security and intelligence officials suspect Merkel and her allies in the Economy Ministry have softened restrictions on Huawei to preserve trade relations with Beijing, according to two German officials who asked not to be identified.

Germany sets good example by embracing Huawei 5G - Opinion - China Daily - Chen Weihua Adopting Huawei's 5G technology and equipment would actually make it more difficult for the NSA to find a collaborator for its global surveillance, as it did before. Germany's decision has set a good example for other EU countries to pursue fair and win-win cooperation instead of surrendering to US coercion and believing in Cold War-type rhetoric. After all, Washington sees not just everything from China but also European cars and steel as national security threats.

What does Trump’s East Asia Summit absence mean for China’s regional influence? | South China Morning Post In an announcement late on Tuesday, the White House said national security adviser Robert O’Brien would lead a delegation to the November 3-4 forum in Bangkok alongside commerce secretary Wilbur Ross. Ross and O’Brien, while key players of Trump’s cabinet, are the lowest-ranking American officials to lead the US delegation since the Western superpower formally joined the East Asia Summit in 2011.

[视频]纪录片《习近平治国方略》展映推介会在摩洛哥举行_CCTV CCTV Evening News on the premier of the official documentary (Xi Jinping's strategy of governance" in Morocco.

张维为《这就是中国》第38期:与西方敌对势力的斗争,很大程度上是君子与小人的斗争, which is funded in part by Eric X. Li, runs an edited transcript of Zhang Weiwei's comments on a recent episode of the TV show "This is China", says that the struggle against hostile foreign forces is in large part a struggle between the Confucian ideal of a "gentleman" and a "small person"

China's second aircraft carrier prepares for commissioning ceremony: report - Global Times China's second aircraft carrier, the first domestically built, appears to be preparing for a possible commissioning ceremony since it returned from its eighth sea trial, photos and videos showed. Troops in white naval uniforms lined the warship's flight deck on the morning of October 24 and practiced an inspection ceremony, Hong Kong-based news website reported on Tuesday.

Chinese President Xi signs order to reward athletes, coaches in Military World Games - Xinhua The order called for the Chinese athletes and coaches to cherish the honor without being arrogant, and to look to achieve greater glories in the future. The order also called on the entire army to learn from the Military World Games' Chinese participants, as well as fighting for the goal of strengthening the PLA while striving to develop a world-class army. // No mention of the cheating scandal, or the outlays for prepare Wuhan for the games, which were held on an unprecedented scale in lots of shiny new infrastructure

Make China Great Again: Xi’s Truly Grand Strategy - War on the Rocks - Andrew Erickson Washington must hold off Beijing’s irredentism until slowing in Chinese national power growth combined with domestic demands reprioritizes policies toward peacefulness. China under Xi clearly has a strategy. The United States clearly needs one of its own. With four decades of deep engagement foundering on Chinese ambitions and American concerns, Washington needs a new approach. I propose a strategy of “Competitive Coexistence,” which boils down to four points: Do not suppress China wholesale; do oppose its harmful behaviors. Accept risk and friction to recalibrate Chinese actions threatening American interests. Hold ground in contested areas to thwart Chinese dominance. Reduce tensions and pursue shared interests as much as Beijing is willing to do.

Defence’s dance around China in the Pacific - Another piece of the Pacific Reset puzzle has snapped into place - but a new defence document shows New Zealand is still wary of explicitly discussing China’s role in the region.

China cites 'early harvest' benefits in Guadalcanal deal - Reuters Chinese companies will build and control power and port facilities, roads, rail and bridges on Guadalcanal, in the Solomon Islands, as part of an $825 million deal to revive an abandoned gold mine, according to new contract details.

Top U.S. music school effectively cancels China tour after South Korean students denied visas - NBC News A top American music conservatory reversed its decision Tuesday night to participate in a tour of China without three of its ensemble members, who were banned by the country from participating because they are from South Korea. The dean of the Eastman School of Music had initially said the tour would continue without the South Korean students, but changed his decision following backlash from students, alumni and the public. Now the dean, Jamal Rossi, says the tour will not proceed unless every student is given a visa.


US urged to stop interfering in China's internal affairs with Taiwan-related bills - Global Times China resolutely opposes US interference in Taiwan and the country's internal affairs by passing a series of so called Taiwan-related bills, as the US House of Representatives is expected to review  a"TAIPEI Act" on Wednesday morning, said Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesperson of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, on Wednesday.

Taiwan charges pro-Beijing politicians with accepting funds from Chinese mainland | South China Morning Post Zhang Xiuye and Chou Ching-chun charged with receiving around US$62,000 in donations from mainland as authorities seek to clamp down on efforts to influence next year’s presidential election Chinese Democratic Progressive Party duo deny wrongdoing during unsuccessful bids to win seats on Taipei city council and say they did not realise they needed to declare the money

Tech and Media

Huawei tightens grip on China smartphones with record 42% share in third quarter: Canalys - Reuters While the Chinese smartphone market still contracted by 3% in the third quarter compared to a year earlier, Huawei smartphones made up 41.5 million of the 97.8 million shipped in the period, according to data from market research firm Canalys.

As TikTok’s Growth Slows, a Chinese Rival Gains Ground — The Information $$ Launched two years ago and now owned by Nasdaq-listed YY Inc., Likee has quickly caught fire, becoming the world’s second most popular short video app after TikTok. Likee now has 81 million monthly active users, a nearly 400% increase from a year earlier, the company said in August. Much of Likee’s growth has come from India, where two-thirds of the app’s users reside, The Information has learned. The app also has caught on in Brazil and in Southeast Asia.

Couple Founders of E-commerce Giant Fall Out in Explosive Scandal - Pandaily …on the morning of October 24, the two founders of one of the biggest Chinese e-commerce giants, Li Guoqing and his wife Peggy Yu, put on a similar show on Chinese social media WeChat. In a WeChat Post, Li Guoqing explained that he and his wife got divorced and that he was left with nothing. In return, his wife Peggy Yu accused him of taking 130 million yuan in cash from their home. Yu also pointed out that Li Guoqing and his public relations team manipulated the media, and lied about almost everything. Furthermore, Yu exposed that Li Guoqing was suspected of being homosexual, infected with syphilis, and that his brother had been jailed in prison six times for drug addiction, with the most recent sentence lasting fifteen years. She also claimed to have been the one who had to clean up all the mess, whether it was about company affairs or his shameful personal life over the years. “You have kidnapped my life for twenty years. I’ve really had enough. F**k off,” Yu ended her heated accusation.

How a China-made app is beating Bytedance in US news market - TechInAsia Bytedance has a reason for the reported sale of its news aggregation app TopBuzz: it is losing out to a much smaller rival with Chinese roots – Particle Media’s News Break – which is being downloaded more than CNN and Reddit, according to current US app store rankings.

Baidu Releases Free Mobile Software to Spot Spy Cameras - PingWest The app dubbed Privacy Protection Special Version developed by Baidu, can spot tiny cameras set secretly in places like hotels, public restrooms

Complaints pile up amid refund trouble - ECNS Chinese consumers have complained over difficulties to withdraw money from their accounts on Amazon China (, after the marketplace closed on July 18, Yangtze Evening News reported.  A user surnamed Chen said his account could only be used to purchase Kindle books.  The report also said Amazon China didn't suspend the online function to top up gift cards on time although it no longer operated the marketplace nor provided seller services from July 18.

Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

Chou Wen-chung, Composer and Calligrapher in Sound, Dies at 96 - The New York Times For much of Mr. Chou’s career, composition took a back seat to other responsibilities. He worked as an assistant to Varèse and edited his compositions; he also created new channels of cultural diplomacy. He did that chiefly through the Center for U.S.-China Arts Exchange, which he founded in 1978 and which helped bring stars of Western classical music like Luciano Pavarotti and Isaac Stern to China.

An Interview With The Viral Chinese Stunt Drinker Who Became Our King - Deadspin One day late last month, Liu Shichao, a 33-year-old farmer in China’s northern Hebei province, awoke to a flood of messages that he had become famous on a foreign social networking platform called Twitter...Two years earlier, behind the Great Firewall, he had already gained renown on video app Kuaishou for videos he had filmed of himself expressionlessly imbibing unimaginable quantities of alcohol

Are China’s ‘Quantum-Fueled’ Products Fad, Fraud, or Both? - SixthTone A surprising smorgasbord of products branded as “quantum-fueled” — including quantum socks, quantum glasses, quantum mattresses, and quantum jewelry — can be found on China’s e-commerce platforms, with such products claiming to improve health through imprecisely defined “quantum energy,” according to a report Monday by domestic media outlet Legal Daily. One vendor claims that its quantum mattress, priced five or six times higher than a conventional model, uses “the principle of a magnetic field to run through one’s meridians and acupoints” — language commonly found in traditional Chinese medicine.

Chinese ministry to do more to prevent sexual harassment in colleges - Xinhua China's Ministry of Education has pledged to work with local authorities to step up the prevention of sexual harassment in universities and colleges, according to a statement on its site. The statement responds to advice from the National People's Congress, which suggested establishing special committees in higher education institutions to curb sexual harassment.

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

Chief spacecraft designer won IAC award amid Chinese delegation's absence - CGTN Eighty-six-year-old chief designer of China's Shenzhou spacecraft Qi Faren has been honored with the 2019 International Astronautical Federation (IAF) Hall of Fame Award...Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying also confirmed that the delegation was absent from this year's IAC because the U.S. authorities had failed to grant visas in time.

Glimpses of China's energy future - Oxford Institute for Energy Studies China’s largest oil and gas major, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), released its 2050 outlook in late August. This coincides with preliminary work currently being undertaken by domestic think tanks, state-owned enterprises, and ministries ahead of the 14th Five-Year Plan (FYP, which will run from 2021 to 2025). While the CNPC report is by no means a binding document, it is informative as it reflects how the fossil fuel industry in China is thinking about the country’s energy future. Importantly, the baseline scenario remains one of ongoing energy demand growth through to 2040, with even the most environmentally-progressive scenarios pegging 2050 energy demand at 2035 levels.