China Closer Than Ever To Its Great Rejuvenation; Xi's Closing Speech; Taiwan; Trump Tariffs Coming; The Voice Of China; Li Zhanshu Praises Xi

The NPC is done and it was a big Xi show. Li Keqiang and his Premier's press conference were basically afterthoughts.

Xi's closing speech was all about serving the people, achieving the China Dream and the Great Rejuvenation and projecting China further onto the global stage. 

The meeting also marked what looks to be the beginning of the next phase of the construction of the cult of personality around Xi. He is now officially the People's Leader 人民的领袖, The People's Guide 人民的领路人 and the State Helmsman 国家的掌舵者. I continue to think we are far from a Mao-like cult of personality and any sort of unleashing of mass adulation and hysteria that occurred during the Cultural Revolution, but this trend is still extremely disturbing.

It is almost like Xi believes he can be like Mao without the crazy, and go down in history as one of the famous "good emperors" who occasionally appeared in China's past. 

There are no more excuses for not delivering on promised reforms and policy initiatives. It is possible that some good will come of this centralization of power, but given the deepening repression at the hands of an increasingly empowered and capable security apparatus and the much more muscular regional and global role Xi keeps articulating, I would certainly prepare for much bad as well. 

Thanks for reading.


The Essential Eight

1. Xi's Closing Speech To The NPC

The excerpts in this section are long but it is worth reading what Xi actually says.

Xi vows to continue to serve as people's servant - Xinhua:

"It is a glorious mission and weighty responsibility to take on this great position of the President of the People's Republic of China. I will, as always, faithfully fulfill my responsibilities empowered by the Constitution, be loyal to the motherland and the people, perform my duty scrupulously, do all my best, be diligent at work, and stay devoted and dedicated," he said.

"I will continue to serve as a servant of the people, accept supervision by the people, and will absolutely not betray the great trust from all deputies and Chinese people of all ethnic groups," he added.

"No matter how high a position one holds, all personnel of state organs should keep firmly in mind that our republic is the People's Republic of China," Xi noted.

He asked all personnel of state organs to always put the people in the most prominent place in their hearts, always serve the people wholeheartedly, and always work hard for the people's interests and happiness.

Some excerpts from Xi's speech--People are creators of history, real heroes: Xi - Xinhua:

Only by adhering to and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics can the Chinese nation realize its great rejuvenation, said President Xi Jinping at the closing meeting of the annual legislative session Tuesday.

"We have a favorable development environment that was unimaginable before, but we still face unprecedented difficulties and challenges," Xi said when addressing nearly 3,000 deputies to the National People's Congress....

He stressed the underlying principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability, the people-centered development vision, the notion of "great struggle, great project, great cause, and great dream," and coordinated implementation of the five-sphere integrated plan and the four-pronged comprehensive strategy...

"The Party is the highest force for political leadership and the fundamental guarantee of the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,"..

"We will devote more energy and take more concrete measures in ensuring and improving people's living standards, strengthening and developing new approaches to social governance, resolutely winning the battle against poverty, promoting social fairness and justice, and making steady progress in ensuring people's access to childcare, education, employment, medical services, elderly care, housing, and social assistance," said Xi.

Xi also called for more energy and more concrete measures to advance the building of an ecological civilization, accelerate efforts to develop green production and ways of life, and work harder to tackle prominent environmental problems....

"The endeavor of the Chinese people has led to a tremendous transformation of the Chinese nation: it has stood up, grown rich, and is becoming strong! " Xi said at the closing meeting of the first session of the 13th National People's Congress...

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday said China's development does not pose a threat to any other country.

"China will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion," he said at the closing meeting of the first session of the 13th National People's Congress. "Only those who are accustomed to threatening others see everyone as a threat."

"The Chinese people's sincere wish and practical action to contribute to the peace and development of humanity should not be misinterpreted, nor should they be distorted," Xi said. "Justice will prevail!"..

The Chinese people have been aware since ancient times that "we cannot sit idle and enjoy the fruits of others' work and happiness can only be achieved through great endeavor," he said...

Xi said at the closing meeting of the first session of the 13th National People's Congress that it is a shared aspiration of all Chinese people to safeguard China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and realize China's complete reunification.

Xi said any actions and tricks to split China are certain to meet with the people's condemnation and the punishment by history.

He said the Chinese people have resolve, confidence, and ability to defeat secessionist attempts in any form.

"The Chinese people share a common belief that it is never allowed and it is absolutely impossible to separate any inch of our great country's territory from China," Xi added.

Here is the officially released text of Xi's speech. I have selected some excerpts but the whole thing is worth reading, if and when it is translated I will post:--习近平:在第十三届全国人民代表大会第一次会议上的讲话-新华网

担任中华人民共和国主席这一崇高职务,使命光荣,责任重大。我将一如既往,忠实履行宪法赋予的职责,忠于祖国,忠于人民,恪尽职守,竭尽全力,勤勉工作,赤诚奉献,做人民的勤务员,接受人民监督,决不辜负各位代表和全国各族人民的信任和重托!

一切国家机关工作人员,无论身居多高的职位,都必须牢记我们的共和国是中华人民共和国,始终要把人民放在心中最高的位置,始终全心全意为人民服务,始终为人民利益和幸福而努力工作..

中国人民的特质、禀赋不仅铸就了绵延几千年发展至今的中华文明,而且深刻影响着当代中国发展进步,深刻影响着当代中国人的精神世界。中国人民在长期奋斗中培育、继承、发展起来的伟大民族精神,为中国发展和人类文明进步提供了强大精神动力。

中国人民是具有伟大创造精神的人民。在几千年历史长河中,中国人民始终辛勤劳作、发明创造,我国产生了老子、孔子、庄子、孟子、墨子、孙子、韩非子等闻名于世的伟大思想巨匠,发明了造纸术、火药、印刷术、指南针等深刻影响人类文明进程的伟大科技成果,创作了诗经、楚辞、汉赋、唐诗、宋词、元曲、明清小说等伟大文艺作品,传承了格萨尔王、玛纳斯、江格尔等震撼人心的伟大史诗,建设了万里长城、都江堰、大运河、故宫、布达拉宫等气势恢弘的伟大工程。今天,中国人民的创造精神正在前所未有地迸发出来,推动我国日新月异向前发展,大踏步走在世界前列。我相信,只要13亿多中国人民始终发扬这种伟大创造精神,我们就一定能够创造出一个又一个人间奇迹!...

我国是工人阶级领导的、以工农联盟为基础的人民民主专政的社会主义国家,国家一切权力属于人民。我们必须始终坚持人民立场,坚持人民主体地位,虚心向人民学习,倾听人民呼声,汲取人民智慧,把人民拥护不拥护、赞成不赞成、高兴不高兴、答应不答应作为衡量一切工作得失的根本标准,着力解决好人民最关心最直接最现实的利益问题,让全体中国人民和中华儿女在实现中华民族伟大复兴的历史进程中共享幸福和荣光!...

中国共产党领导是中国特色社会主义最本质的特征,中国共产党是国家最高政治领导力量,是实现中华民族伟大复兴的根本保证。东西南北中,党政军民学,党是领导一切的。全国各党派、各团体、各民族、各阶层、各界人士要紧密团结在党中央周围,增强“四个意识”,坚定“四个自信”,万众一心向前进。

Xi Jinping warns he is ready to 'fight bloody battles' against China's enemies The Guardian:

Chinese president Xi Jinping has delivered a nationalistic speech in which he vowed the nation would “take our due place in the world” and was ready “to fight bloody battles against our enemies”.

This I believe is an incorrect translation. The two references to bloody battles are in the past tense:

特别是近代以后,在外来侵略寇急祸重的严峻形势下,我国各族人民手挽着手、肩并着肩,英勇奋斗,浴血奋战,打败了一切穷凶极恶的侵略者,捍卫了民族独立和自由,共同书写了中华民族保卫祖国、抵御外侮的壮丽史诗...

and in the next paragraph

近代以来,实现中华民族伟大复兴成为中华民族最伟大的梦想,中国人民百折不挠、坚忍不拔,以同敌人血战到底的气概、在自力更生的基础上光复旧物的决心、自立于世界民族之林的能力,为实现这个伟大梦想进行了170多年的持续奋斗。

CCTV coverage of Xi's speech--十三届全国人大一次会议在京闭幕 习近平发表重要讲话_CCTV

Xi looks ahead with the Chinese Dream and its worldwide impact as NPC session closes - CGTN

Xi laid out the roadmap to national rejuvenation:

-- Continue with comprehensive reform and opening up

-- Uphold socialism with Chinese characteristics and rule of law

-- Uphold core values of Chinese socialism

-- Further improve people's standard of living and eliminate poverty

-- Improve ecological environment and build a "beautiful China"

-- Build a world-class military under the CPC's absolute leadership

-- Uphold "One Country, Two Systems" and the 1992 Consensus

-- Defend sovereignty of territory


2. Taiwan 

Could Trump start using Taiwan as a card in his negotiations with China, or could there be a much deeper shift underway in the Trump Administration?

US official set to arrive in Taipei as Washington makes swift use of new Taiwan Travel Act | South China Morning Post:

Alex Wong, deputy assistant secretary of state, expected to meet island’s officials, US business representatives on three-day trip

Xi Gives Stark Taiwan Warning in Hands-Off Message to Trump - Bloomberg:

The remarks on Taiwan were part of a roughly 40-minute speech in which Xi repeatedly emphasized the importance of “the people’s” support for the Communist Party’s rule. The president said public backing was fundamental to achieving his goal of becoming a global power by 2050.

“This is an official warning from China’s top leader to the U.S. and Taiwan,” said Wang Jiangyu, an international law professor at the National University of Singapore. “It’s an announcement that China will never compromise on Taiwan-related issues.”..

“The recent ‘Taiwan Travel Act’ is a mine that America buried and one day it will blow up," said Xu Shijun, former director of the Institute of Taiwan Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. “China will not sit back and take such actions. The U.S. should definitely integrate the message that Xi’s sent this morning into its decision making process.”

The United States Could Offer Taiwan Leased F-15C Eagles According To Report - The Drive:

It's no secret that Taiwan wants the F-35, and especially the F-35B with its ability to operate from dispersed locales that normal fixed-wing fighters cannot. During the Obama administration, even allowing Taiwan to purchase late-block F-16s was deemed unacceptable under a highly controversial policy. Instead the country had to upgrade its old F-16As to a similar configuration. Although the Trump administration is rewriting the book when it comes to Taiwan-U.S. relations, F-35s are still seemingly off the table, but leased second-hand F-15C Eagles may not be.


3. Constructing the Xi Cult?

Li Zhanshu laid it on thick about Xi during his closing speech at the NPC—十三届全国人大一次会议在京闭幕 习近平发表重要讲话--中国人大新闻--人民网:

栗战书随后也发表了讲话。他表示完全赞成、坚决拥护习近平主席的重要讲话。习主席的重要讲话必将极大激励全国各族人民斗志,必将极大鼓舞我们万众一心胜利走向充满希望的明天。他说,习近平同志全票当选为中华人民共和国主席、中华人民共和国中央军事委员会主席,这是近3000名全国人大代表的集体意志,是13亿多全国各族人民的共同心愿。习近平同志是全党拥护、人民爱戴、当之无愧的党的核心、军队统帅、人民领袖,是新时代中国特色社会主义国家的掌舵者、人民的领路人。在以习近平同志为核心的党中央坚强领导下,在习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想指引下,中国人民完全有信心、有能力实现中华民族伟大复兴的中国梦

China’s New ‘Helmsman’ Turns a Congress Into a Coronation - The New York Times:

Mr. Xi transformed this year’s extended meeting into an adulatory celebration of him and his policies to permanently install the Communist Party at the heart of China’s resurgence...

Chinese media coverage of the congress was saturated by Mr. Xi’s images and words, drowning out other members of the leadership, including the premier, Li Keqiang...

After Mr. Xi gave his speech in the morning, the newly appointed chairman of the congress, Li Zhanshu, paid extravagant tribute.

“Supported by the whole party, loved and esteemed by the people, Comrade Xi Jinping is full deserving to be the core of the party, commander of the military and leader of the people,” Mr. Li said. “He is the national helmsman for a new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the guide of the people.”

'Thoughts of Chairman Xi' Book Appears As President Begins Indefinite Term in Office - RFA

reports emerged that China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) has published a "little red book" of Xi Jinping's sayings, echoing a practice last seen in the Mao era.

Titled The Thoughts of Chairman Xi, the book bears the imprint of the Grassroots Infantry Study Group Press, and was published by 204 Brigade Artillery Corps of the PLA's 16th Army in China's Northern Military District, under the auspices of the brigade political department.

Photos of the book seen online show a table of contents that includes Chairman Xi's sayings on topics like "the Chinese dream,""anti-corruption," and "criticism and self-criticism."

However, the full contents have yet to be made public. Media reports indicate that 204 Brigade Artillery Corps is a heavy artillery unit stationed in the northeastern province Jilin.


4. Trump To Announce China Tariffs Friday?

There are lots of rumors and moving pieces, best I can tell there will be announcement this week, it will be more than $30 Billion but maybe not $60 Billion, and Trump will build in some sort of response period for Beijing before they kick in. I am also hearing that Xi is prepared to deal, and now that the NPC has closed he has far fewer constraints on what he can offer to the US. 

Trump prepared to hit China with $60 billion in annual tariffs - The Washington Post:

President Trump is preparing to impose a package of $60 billion in annual tariffs against China, following through on a long-time threat that he says will punish China for intellectual property infringement and create more American jobs.

The tariff package, which Trump plans to unveil by Friday, was confirmed by four senior administration officials.

Senior aides had presented Trump with a $30 billion tariff package that would apply to a range of products, but Trump directed them to roughly double the scope of the new trade levies. The package could be applied to more than 100 products, which Trump argues were developed by using trade secrets the Chinese stole from U.S. companies or forced them to hand over in exchange for market access.

Jonathan Swan of Axios says the total may not be $60B:

Jonathan Swan@jonathanvswan

Interesting.. I was told this morning by high-level source involved that it won’t be $60b and that rollout date not totally fixed yet though aim is this week. Trump definitely wants more than 30bill though. https://t.co/5SyUiCEA2z

March 19, 2018

Global Times editor says China will retaliate starting with soybeans:

Hu Xijin 胡锡进@HuXijin_GT

I’m sure if Trump imposes high tariffs on imported products from China, the backlash will first come to American soybeans worth over $10 billion sold to China every year. This is no casual comment. Please read tomorrow’s Global Times for further information.

March 20, 2018

I am hearing that Wang Qishan will meet a group of US CEOs around next week's China Development Forum, no doubt to convince them this time the reform talk is real and they should lobby Trump to back down.

China vows to end forced tech transfers in manufacturing sector | South China Morning Post

“We will fully open up the manufacturing sector, with no mandatory technology transfers allowed, and we will protect intellectual property,” Li told a press conference wrapping up the National People’s Congress in Beijing.


5. The Voice Of China. Not A TV Show But A Rebranded Global Communist Party Propaganda Machine

China Approves Giant Propaganda Machine to Improve Global Image - Bloomberg:

China has approved the creation of one of the world’s largest propaganda machines as it looks to improve its global image, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The new broadcaster will be called “Voice of China,” the person said, mimicking the U.S. government-funded Voice of America that started up during World War II to advance American interests. Bloomberg News had previously reported the new entity would be created through merging China Central Television, China Radio International and China National Radio.

The combined group was designed to strengthen the party’s ability to shape public opinion and would serve as a key vehicle for China to project its image to the world, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the changes haven’t been publicly announced.

Comment: It is a smart name, will be used to deflect any criticism of a massive communist party external propaganda effort as “what about America and its Voice of America?”

Beijing plans to merge state media outlets as it tightens control | South China Morning Post:

A document introducing the changes began circulating on social media on Tuesday. It says the consolidated group will sit directly under the State Council, China’s cabinet, and will be led by the party’s Central Publicity Department.

It also outlines changes to the propaganda unit and the Central Organisation Department – two already powerful agencies that will have even more heft after the revamp.

The propaganda department will absorb the country’s top media watchdog – the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television – taking over its regulatory power on news, publications and film...

According to the document, Voice of China’s main duties will be to “promote the party’s theories, principles and policies”, “coordinate and organise major propaganda coverage”, “strengthen the ability to shape public opinion”, “improve its global communication capabilities”, and “tell the China story well”.

Comment: This will make it harder for foreigners working for the CCP external propaganda organs to argue they are not propaganda workers in service of the Chinese Communist Party


6. More From The NPC

Highlights of Premier Li's news conference - Xinhua:

China will not seek expansion, as it is a developing country with no expansionary intentions - even if it grows stronger in the future.

The nation will not follow older logic that a strong country is bound to seek hegemony...

There will be no winner in a trade war should it happen between China and the United States.

China is capable of preventing systemic financial risks given the country's sound and stable economic growth

China Will ‘Prick Blisters’ in Fight Against Financial Risks, Premier Says - Caixin Global:

“China is capable of preventing systemic financial risks and they will not happen in this country because the fundamentals of the Chinese economy are sound and the operation of the financial system is stable,” he said.

“Of course, when you consider that China is an 80-trillion-yuan economy and its banking assets amount to 250 trillion yuan, it’s impossible that there would be no risk at all. As the saying goes, ‘many clouds create rain and a tall tree attracts wind’.”

He said Chinese banks’ capital adequacy ratios and provision coverage levels are “higher than international standards.” Banks have more than 20 trillion yuan ($3.16 trillion) in deposits set aside at the central bank and the average reserve requirement ratio of the banking sector is around 15%, Li said.

China focus: Landmark two sessions set course for "new era" - Xinhua:

China has decided to completely open up its general manufacturing sector to overseas investors this year, while market access to sectors like telecommunications, medical services, education, elderly care and new energy vehicles will also be expanded.

The development of China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative will see more roads and railways built to accelerate cross-border exchanges on more fronts, consolidating a new platform for fresh sources of global economic growth and shared prosperity for other countries.

Even bolder steps are expected to be taken to open China's market wider this year as the country marks the 40th anniversary of the reform and opening-up drive, a "game-changing" move, as the government work report termed it, in making China what it is today.

China's rejuvenation might also be a game-changer when it comes to shaping a Western-dominated international community into a more balanced, stable and prosperous world.

The misleading "China threat" argument is losing ground in the new era. China must seize the day; the world must seize China's opportunities.


7. What The West Doesn't Get About Xi Jinping

What the West Doesn’t Get About Xi Jinping - Kevin Rudd OpEd In The New York Times

Perhaps the greatest analytical error across the West has been the view that Xi Jinping would want to continue to sustain the liberal, international rules-based order once its economic power began to rival that of the United States. Again, this hope goes against the well-known facts: China has long said that it sees the existing order as one invented by the victors of the last world war, one in which China did not have a seat at the table....

And as for the global security order, China has never changed its hostility to the global system of American military alliances, in particular those in the Asia Pacific, which it has long attacked as legacies of the Cold War. That’s in addition to China’s assertion of its territorial claims in the South China Sea.

For these reasons, Mr. Xi has explicitly called for “a new type of great power relations,” “a new type of international system” emerging out of the “current struggle for the international order” and a new type of activist Chinese diplomacy that puts to bed Deng Xiaoping’s dictum of “hide your strength, bide your time, and never take the lead.

Mr. Rudd gave a much longer version in a speech at West Point in early March, and you can read that full version here on Sinocism


8. Global Drone Leader DJI Just Keeps Growing

China’s DJI Raising Money at $15 Billion Valuation — The Information $$:

The amount raised will likely range between $500 million and $1 billion, the people said, although the deal hasn’t been finalized. The fundraising could be a combination of equity and debt, said one of the people who was briefed by DJI. It would be by far the biggest round ever raised by DJI, whose previous $75 million fundraising from Accel Partners in 2015 valued it at $10 billion. Its other existing shareholders include Sequoia Capital...

The fundraising discussions come as DJI tries to expand beyond the consumer market and sell more professional drones to enterprise clients in all kinds of industries—from farming to construction to law enforcement.


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

China Tycoon’s Exit Revealed Abroad Where He Owned Brewery - Bloomberg The office of the Czech president said in a statement that Ye will step down from the management of CEFC China Energy Co. and will no longer be a shareholder in the company he founded, which owns everything from a brewery to a soccer team in the European nation. It’s the first official confirmation of what’s happened to Ye since news broke that he’s under investigation by Chinese authorities.

Embattled Chinese Oil Giant Halts Plans for European Expansion - WSJ $$ Troubled Shanghai-based oil company CEFC China Energy Co. says it has dropped plans for a major expansion through Central Europe, following a statement from the Czech government that the company’s chairman has been sidelined amid an investigation in China. In a statement late Monday published by its Prague office, CEFC said it will no longer pursue plans to lift its stake to 50% in the Czech-Slovak holding company J&T Finance Group SE.

Conglomerate Holds Hidden Stake in Bank That Abandoned Listing - Caixin Global Conglomerate Tomorrow Holdings Group [Xiao Jianhua's group] holds a controlling stake of a bank that recently abandoned its mainland listing after regulators raised questions about its shareholders, Caixin has learned. Tomorrow Holdings’ control of Harbin Bank Co. through five related companies illustrates how the opaque shareholding structures that some companies employ can hide who controls a company, leaving potential investors in the dark.

China waives income tax for overseas investors trading yuan crude futures - Xinhua China's finance ministry said Tuesday that the country will waive income taxes for overseas investors trading yuan-denominated crude oil futures contracts. The tax exemption, with immediate effect, will cover both institutional and individual investors, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said on its website.

Shakeup Looms for China’s Electric-Vehicle Makers - Bloomberg President Xi Jinping’s administration is implementing NEV production quotas, targeting a seven-fold increase in NEV sales and considering a ban on gas guzzlers as China tries to clear the air in polluted cities and cut its reliance on imported oil. Carmakers that can’t keep pace may not be around for long, and that applies to the biggest state-owned companies as well as smaller, regional manufacturers.

ICBC Says It Has Followed Fed's Risk Management Orders - Caixin Global The Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. (ICBC) has improved operations at its New York branch to comply with the Fed’s recent order to fix the lender’s risk management deficiencies, according to ICBC Chairman Yi Huiman. ICBC has reacted proactively to the order and has been solving the issues accordingly, Yi told Caixin on the sidelines of the ongoing meeting of China’s top legislature in Beijing.

New Rules on Rail Construction Won't Affect Ongoing Projects - Caixin Global “The ongoing projects have been heavily invested in, a suspension would mean wastage and local governments can’t just call them off,” said a source from Chongqing Rail Transit Group Co. Ltd. The source said however that those who have yet to start construction will take a hit, but it’s not yet known if these projects will be entirely scrapped.

Real Estate Control Policies Will Not Be Relaxed: Ministry of Housing - China Banking News “[We] will not waver in upholding control targets, and their vigour will not relax” said Wang Menghui (王蒙徽), head of MOHURD, to reporters at the sidelines of China’s Two Sessions in Beijing.“[We will] maintain the continuity and stability of policies, and in particular further strengthening of the local government accountability system.”

 

Politics, Law And Ideology

Jackie Chan: Rush Hour actor urges new law to protect China's 'national dignity' from insults | The Independent Jackie Chan has sponsored a bill urging Beijing to introduce laws to protect China’s “national dignity” from insults. The martial arts film star is one of 38 top political advisers who signed a proposal calling for affronts to the country’s “history, heroes and martyrs” be punishable as crimes.

a 'revolutionary' government overhaul (overview) - China Policy The March 17 Ministry reshuffle attempts to design a streamlined government able to carry out Xi Jinping’s blueprint for a ‘new era’. It will reshape how government deals with the Party, the market and the world.

Hu Chunhua, Man once ‘most likely’ to replace Chinese President Xi Jinping named as a vice-premier | South China Morning Post While the deputies’ precise portfolios have yet to be announced, the 55-year-old is expected to drive Xi’s campaign to stamp out poverty, and oversee agricultural affairs.

After faces, China is moving quickly to identify people by their voices — Quartz The government of the southwestern Guizhou province, Tsinghua University, and Beijing-based d-Ear Technologies announced they are collaborating on a pilot project that will link unique voice features to people’s national ID information and create, maintain, and secure a database of “voiceprints.”

Guangxi party boss Peng Qinghua to take top job in Sichuan | South China Morning Post Former chief of Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong to take over from Wang Dongming, who was elected NPC Standing Committee vice-chair on Saturday

Chinese authorities briefly detain RFI correspondent in Beijing - CPJ In an email to CPJ, Schmidt said that while she and her assistant were conducting audio interviews near a shopping mall at Dongzhimen in Beijing, they noticed someone filming them with his smartphone. At the time, Schmidt was interviewing passersby about a vote on constitutional reform that would allow President Xi Jinping to stay in power indefinitely, she said. Schmidt said that while she was taking a break to eat in the shopping mall, around 10 police officers and mall security guards approached her and asked for her and her assistant's passport and identity card.

Chinese authorities use facial recognition, public shaming to crack down on jaywalking, criminals - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) In the southern city of Shenzhen, Chinese authorities have launched a new surveillance system loaded with facial recognition, artificial intelligence, and a big database to crack down on jaywalking as well as other crimes.

 

Foreign and Military Affairs

Xi holds phone talk with Modi on bilateral ties - Xinhua Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday held a phone conversation with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Modi's invitation. Modi first congratulated Xi again on being elected Chinese president, saying it demonstrates that Xi enjoys the support of the whole Chinese nation. Both India and China are ancient civilizations with global influence, Modi said, adding that India will work with China to enhance high-level exchanges, deepen bilateral ties, strengthen coordination and cooperation in international affairs to further a closer developmental partnership between the two countries and promote global and regional peace and development.

Chinese premier considers visiting Japan this year - Xinhua "There have been signs of improving relations and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has invited me to visit Japan on several occasions," Li told the press following the conclusion of the annual session of China's top legislature. "We may now have a spring in China-Japan relations, but we also need to watch out for any possible return of chills," Li added.

China, not North Korea, to dominate Japan military planning - Reuters Japanese military experts are worried Beijing may be on the brink of opening access to the Pacific through a Japanese island chain that has marked the limit of China’s military influence for decades. Tokyo sees unfettered passage for Chinese warships and warplanes through the Okinawan island chain as a threat to vital sea lanes. For China that access is part and parcel of becoming a global superpower. “Now, we are evenly matched but the reality Japan faces is that it is becoming the underdog,” said Nozomu Yoshitomi, a professor at Nihon University in Tokyo who advised Japan’s government as a Self Defence Forces military analyst.

破除和平积弊 聚力备战打仗 - 中国军网 长期相对和平的环境,对军队是一种严峻考验。一支军队的衰败,大都是从滋生“和平积弊”开始的。如何破除和平积弊?怎样才能全面提高新时代备战打仗能力?请关注今日出版的《解放军报》评论员文章 // PLA Daily Commentary on dealing with the challenges that such a long period of peace has created for building an military capable of fighting and winning

Saudi nukes on Chinese rockets? | Asia Times Saudi Arabia since the 1980s is in possession of Chinese Donfeng 3 (Nato parlance CSS-2) and since 2007 of Donfeng 21 (CSS-5) intermediate range ballistic missiles. Both are nuclear capable; indeed, the older CSS-2 is ONLY of use for nuclear warheads as its circular error probability (CEP) is a large 300m, making it useless for close targeting required for conventional warheads.

The CCP is Our Adversary, Not the Chinese People – Taiwan Sentinel Faced with greater scrutiny, the CCP has responded with accusations that the authors of those studies have a “cold war mentality,” or that they are racist, xenophobic, anti-China and so on. In other words, rather than be singled out, the CCP wants Chinese to believe that those exercises target all of them, wherever they are. The CCP doesn’t want the distinction that researchers have insisted upon: it wants a Party that is inseparable from those whom it governs. It wants an “us” versus “them,” and in doing so it seeks to destabilize societies and pressure democratic governments in pluralistic societies that are highly sensitive to accusations of racism.

Zimbabwe's leader calls out those stashing millions overseas - AP Zimbabwe’s new leader has publicly named more than 1,800 companies and individuals accused of illegally stashing hundreds of millions of dollars overseas and not bringing the money home under a now-expired amnesty deal...His list shows China as the main destination for “funds externalized to foreign banks in cash or under spurious transactions.”

 

Hong Kong, Macao

Insult China’s National Anthem at Your Peril | Human Rights Watch Hong Kong people have seen their right to free expression increasingly threatened under Chinese Communist Party rule, but soon they are likely to have even more to worry about. This week Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, or LegCo, will officially kick off discussion on a proposed law that could criminally punish – with up to three years in prison – anyone who “insults” the Chinese national anthem, “March of the Volunteers.” If enacted, the bill will penalize anyone who “performs or sings” the anthem “in a distorted or derogatory manner,” or “publicly and willfully alters the lyrics or the score.” Schools will be required to teach students to sing and “understand the history and spirit” of the national anthem.

 

Tech And Media

Tencent’s China Literature Publishes Fifteenfold Profit Growth - Caixin Global Net profit for Tencent’s online publishing unit China Literature was 15 times greater in 2017 compared to 2016, according to the company’s first annual results released after its blockbuster initial public offering (IPO). Revenue grew by 60% to 4.1 billion yuan ($648 million), from 2016’s 2.6 billion yuan. Profit attributable to shareholders jumped by a staggering 1,416% from last year’s 36.7 million yuan to 556.1 million yuan in 2017.

 

Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

A Beijing Bookstore Where George Washington Is on the Shelves - The New York Times the All Sages Bookstore, a haven of precisely arranged shelves and display tables, thrives on the low-rent second floor of a nondescript building near Peking University. A survivor of Beijing’s ferocious property market — it has moved three times since 1993 — and the government’s extremely tight censorship in the era of President Xi Jinping’s rule, the store represents an independent political spirit in an authoritarian one-party state. // Comment: Caixin ran a fascinating interview with founder Liu Suli last month--An Indie Bookstore Owner’s Read on Surviving Online Competition 

 

Energy, Environment, Science And Health

China to transfer more water to its longest inland river - China Daily The far western Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region began water infusion to the river in late February and is expected to transfer more water in July, according to the regional water resources department. More than half of the water is expected to go to the main stream of Tarim River and the rest to Yarkant, Aksu and Hoten rivers, among others in the Tarim Basin, according to the department. Xinjiang has infused 7 billion cubic meters of water to the dry trunk stream of lower reaches of the Tarim River in 18 rounds of water diversion since 2000, making the local forest of desert polar, a tourist attraction.

Yunnan organizations to build ethnic minority DNA database - Global Times Three organizations - the Yunnan Provincial Academy of Science and Technology, the maternity and pediatric hospital of Kunming and Shunxi Regenerative Medicine Company - are cooperating on building the bio-bank, according to a statement sent by Shunxi to the Global Times. By collecting and storing the genetic information garnered from the hospitals, Shunxi will strive to preserve stem cells and ultimately the biodiversity of ethnic groups, the statement said. Yunnan Province hosts 25 ethnic minorities that contribute to the region's well-known ethnic diversity and isolating certain genes would supply valuable data for research into human genetics, it said.

Detained Chinese Environmental Worker Released After Public Outcry - RFA Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong have released an environmental activist who complained online about illegal quarrying and pollution in her hometown of Xinyi city, cutting short her 10-day jail term, activists said. Lei Ping and fellow activist Heihu, a nickname meaning "black tiger," were detained by Xinyi police last Friday for "rumor-mongering." They had been working as volunteers for the government-backed non-profit China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF), investigating suspected illegal quarrying operations and pollution in the area.

Chinese control of cobalt supply risk for EU car industry: Glencore - Reuters Glencore chief executive Ivan Glasenberg said that the automotive industry is waking up too late to the fact that the Chinese will hold most of the world’s global cobalt supply, a key metal for electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

 

Jobs And Events

State and Non-State Actor Influence Operations: Recommendations for U.S. National Security | Armed Services Republicans General Phillip M. Breedlove (ret.) Former Commander, U.S. European Command Mr. John Garnaut Former Senior Adviser, Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull The Honorable Michael D. Lumpkin Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, U.S. Department of State, Former Special Envoy and Coordinator of the Global Engagement Center