China tariff exemptions not a concession; Internet censorship to tighten; Huawei
|Bill Bishop||Sep 11, 2019||8|
18 years since the 9/11 attacks.
As I wrote on the anniversary last year, Washington in 2001 increasingly saw China as a competitor. George W Bush referred to China as a "strategic competitor" during the 2000 Presidential campaign, early in 2001 his administration took steps to move closer to Taiwan, and of course the Hainan Island Incident occurred on April 1. But whatever momentum may have been building in DC against China wavered after the 9/11 attacks.
18 years later we are well into a fundamental, structural change in official US views towards the PRC, though I have yet to see a good articulation of what “victory” would look like, and it is quite possible the shift has come too late for the US to achieve anything like "victory", as the costs are so much higher now that few may be willing to bear them, especially in the absence of a well-articulated strategy and theory of victory.
In spite of the problems China and the Party face, and all the risks and struggles Xi is exhorting the Party to battle, there is a reason Xi, officials, official documents and authoritative propaganda pieces keep repeating the phrase "当今世界正处于百年未有之大变局 the world today is undergoing major changes unseen in a century".
Xi and his theoreticians see massive global opportunities for Xi, many created by the US response to the 9/11 attacks, the decision to invade Iraq, the 2008 financial crisis and now the US foreign policy under President Trump. You see it in all sorts of utterances, most recently in the Qiushi essay by Yang Jiechi, and while the risks Xi keeps highlighting are real, and potentially existential, there may be too much focus on why the Party is destined to fail and not enough on how it may survive, and with that survival how it will reshape the world to fit its expanding interests.
Thanks for reading.
The Essential Eight
1. China tariff expeditions don’t look like concessions
The exemption will be effective from Sept. 17, 2019 to Sept. 16, 2020, the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council said in a statement.
Two lists of goods will be excluded from China's first round of tariff countermeasures against the U.S. Section 301 measures...
Next, the commission will continue to work on the exemption process and release subsequent lists in due course, according to the statement.
CNBC’s Eunice Yoon tweeted details of the list:
Pharmaceuticals and lubricant oil are among exclusions to levies on imports announced by the Ministry of Finance on its website on Wednesday. The exemptions, effective from Sept. 17 to Sept. 16 2020, will cover 16 categories of products worth about $1.65 billion, according to Bloomberg calculations based on China’s 2018 trade data. Other products on the list include alfalfa, fish meal and pesticides.
CCTV commentary on the tariff exemptions - 国际锐评：中方公布排除清单缓解经贸摩擦对在华企业影响_CCTV
The purpose of imposing tariffs on us imports is to safeguard China's core interests and the fundamental interests of its people. China is firmly opposed to escalation of the trade war and will not resort to countermeasures for the sake of countermeasures. Instead, we will take into account both domestic and external factors, continue to assess the impact on all kinds of enterprises, make full use of self-imposed tariff reduction and other fiscal and tax measures, and do our utmost to help enterprises ease their difficulties. The list of tariff exclusions shows that China has a better policy mix to deal with economic and trade frictions.
The draft order would target foreign shippers routing deliveries through the U.S. Postal Service -- not the two-largest U.S. couriers United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp., according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. One person familiar with the proposal said that China is a focus for the action, though the presidential order is not limited to that nation.
More than a quarter of the respondents – or 26.5% – said that in the past year, they have redirected investments originally planned for China to other regions. That’s an increase of 6.9 percentage points from last year, the AmCham report said, noting that technology, hardware, software and services industries had the highest level of changes in investment destination
The annual poll by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai found that while most of its member companies remained profitable in 2018, the number reporting revenue growth fell. Projections for future revenue also dropped, highlighting the corrosive impact of the escalating tit-for-tat tariffs.
Five-year optimism sunk for the first time since 2015, when China’s stock markets nosedived and the authorities fumbled their response.
“Revenue growth projections have lowered, optimism about the future has waned, and many companies are redirecting investment originally planned for China,” AmCham said in a report on the survey published on Wednesday.
Hu Xijin of the Global Times says more policy support coming:
The American entrepreneurs said that U.S. companies, which were inspired by China's new measures to open up, are looking at the current U.S.-China trade frictions from a long-term perspective, opposing actions to weaken economic relations with China and economic decoupling between the two countries.
Sen. Ted Cruz is calling on the Trump administration to block China from installing a controversial former head of the Hong Kong police force at the helm of a United Nations office meant to fight drug trafficking, organized crime and corruption.
China’s candidate Andy Tsang-Wai-hung was nominated by Beijing earlier this summer to be the next executive director of the Vienna-based U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). His candidacy, critics warn, marks yet another sign of China’s growing influence at the world body.
There is no single accounting of the percentage of active ingredients in U.S. drugs that are manufactured in China, but it’s significant and growing. The Food and Drug Administration has said approximately 80 percent of active-ingredient manufacturers are located outside the United States, and for some key drugs, China is the only supplier. For instance, China produces the ingredients found in almost every antibiotic and blood pressure medicine and hundreds of other drugs. Thus, China has a virtual monopoly on the ingredients required to manufacture critical medicines.
“The Chinese culture emphasizes that ‘gentlemen keep their words.’ Honoring the promises and commitments is the basic ethical code and requirement for state leaders and businessmen,” he said in the advert titled ‘Voice of China.’ His comments were also published in the Star newspaper.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Tuesday met with Chief Executive Officer of Citigroup Michael Corbat in Beijing at the latter's request...
China will allow the import of soymeal livestock feed from Argentina for the first time under a deal announced by Buenos Aires on Tuesday, an agreement that will link the world's top exporter of the feed with the top global consumer.
In a letter to top science policy officials, 60 eminent groups – including such powerhouses as the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Federation of American Scientists – called for a better balance between national security concerns and scientific inquiry. Collectively, the groups represent hundreds of thousands of scientists, engineers and educators worldwide...
The wording, which involved extensive negotiation given the large number of groups and varied interests, does not mention China by name. But “it’s about China”, Nouri, a molecular biologist by training, acknowledged.
“When you get a briefing from the administration about their concerns, they tell you it’s China and the Thousand Talents Programme.”
A review of Larry Diamond’s new book, Ill Winds: Saving Democracy from Russian Rage, Chinese Ambition, and American Complacency - Democracy Is Fighting for Its Life – Foreign Policy - Charles Edel
Ideology cannot explain everything, but ignoring ideology is its own form of blindness. Both Beijing and Moscow believe that they would be more secure in a world where illiberalism has displaced liberalism, and both are seeking to undermine democracies by spreading fake news, constraining public debate, co-opting or bribing leading political figures, and compromising the intellectual freedom of foreign academic institutions. China is exporting its technologically enabled authoritarianism to like-minded regimes and struggling democracies alike, while Beijing’s internal propaganda describes the Western liberal values of constitutional democracy, the universality of human rights, freedom of the press, and judicial independence as existential threats to its hold on power. The struggle today is not the same as it was during the Cold War, but it is clear that in the space between democratic and authoritarian systems, ideology is playing a larger role now that at any time over the past three decades.
Global Times said in the 18 years after 9/11, the US as the most powerful country has been a bad example for the world given its selfish, short-sighted and bullying foreign policies that erodes international institutions and creates more uncertainty.
3. Hong Kong
Justice Secretary Teresa Cheng has confirmed media reports that officials have been studying the various issues involved in any move to use emergency powers to try to bring the city's months-long protests to an end.
Chinese officials have confirmed that they are holding a Taiwanese man who "disappeared" in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen after reportedly handing out photos of troops gathering near the border with Hong Kong after weeks of anti-extradition protests.
Lee Meng-chu, a volunteer activity organizer from Pingtung county in southern Taiwan, is currently the subject of a criminal investigation and suspected of "harming state security,"
Hua quoted two verses in Mao's poem Reply to Comrade Guo Moruo (Tune: "the River All Red") in 1963, which said "an ant on a locust would boast it was a big country; a pismire could not find it easy to shake one tree." It is a metaphor, referring to those who have little power but try to shake powerful things. It mocks the behavior of self-approbation and overconfidence.
The Hong Kong insurrectionists' aim is to stage another "color revolution", but even they know that they cannot succeed in their evil design. And by introducing the so-called Hong Kong human rights act, the US Congress will add fuel to the fire in Hong Kong. This should prompt China to take immediate measures to stop the US and other Western countries from interfering in its internal affairs.
Zhu Feng, dean of the Institute of International Relations of Nanjing University
The number of Chinese group tours to the city fell 90% compared to a year ago in the first ten days of September, according to data compiled by the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong. In the month of August, the decline was 63% compared to a year ago.
Question: What will happen with mainland visitors during the October holiday, usually a big week for visits from mainlanders? Will Beijing "encourage" people to not go to Hong Kong, and will protestors devise more ways to target those who are visiting from the mainland?
At a meeting with Macau's next Chief Executive, Ho Iat-seng, at the Great Hall of the People, Xi said the framework proves to be feasible, workable and rational.
The president said Macau's previous and current leaders, Edmund Ho and Fernando Chui, managed to unite society and had achieved high economic growth.
the problem is not that there is a dearth of patriotic tycoons running Hong Kong Inc. It is that the executives the party recognises as patriots and, therefore, listens to are so scared of the party — and so bent on preserving their enormous economic monopolies in the city — that they only tell the party what they think it wants to hear.
Speaking during a visit to Berlin that has already angered the Chinese authorities, Mr Wong on Wednesday urged Europe to halt the export of crowd control equipment to the Hong Kong police and make human rights a core part of trade talks with China. Germany, he added, had in the past supplied water cannons and other riot control gear to Hong Kong.
“We are strongly aware that Hong Kong is the new Berlin in a new cold war,” Mr Wong said. “Hong Kong people stand in the front line to confront authoritarian suppression.”
The Chinese Ambassador to Germany said on Wednesday that a recent meeting between the German foreign minister and Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong had sent "very negative signals."
Wu Ken confirmed that Beijing had officially summoned the German ambassador in protest. He claimed foreign forces had been involved in the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.
Joshua Wong and Denise Ho will testify before the US Congress next week
In this issue of Rock the Boat, we will hear from a few journalists who have reported on the protests extensively for the past three months.
“August was an incredibly challenging month, both for Cathay Pacific and for Hong Kong,” Ronald Lam Siu-por, chief customer and commercial officer at the Cathay Pacific Group, said.
“Overall tourist arrivals were nearly half of what they usually are in what is normally a strong summer holiday month, and this has significantly affected the performance of our airlines.”
Flight crews who travel to China face even more scrutiny from local regulators, said several employees, though they noted that the attention had eased in recent days. Some workers described longer-than-normal flight delays at Chinese airports and regulators searching cabins for periodicals that cover the protests. Others have had to go through searches by security officials, even for those who had to fly out again.
“We believe it is critical that the United States take appropriate measures to ensure China does not abuse Hong Kong’s special status under U.S. law to steal or otherwise acquire critical or sensitive U.S. equipment and technologies in support of its strategic objectives or to infringe on the rights of people in Mainland China, Hong Kong, and elsewhere,” the senators said in a letter to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. 388 0.33% has picked this moment to launch what would be its biggest deal. A combination with the London Stock Exchange LSE +5.06% would create a global leader in capital flows and financial data by connecting developed and emerging markets in the East and West. It would also thwart the LSE’s ambitions to transform itself from an exchange into a full-fledged data business by acquiring financial-information provider Refinitiv Holdings Ltd., which used to be part of Reuters, for $14.5 billion in stock...
“Any regulator would need to think carefully about the implications of the political situation and Beijing’s increasing control over Hong Kong,” said David Webb, an outspoken private investor in Hong Kong. “This strikes me as an aspirational proposal that probably won’t go through.”
If passed, the bill would prohibit US companies from exporting so-called non-lethal crowd control items like tear gas, as well as defence articles and services, to Hong Kong
In meeting with Shen Haixiong, head of China Media Group, Thomson Reuters president Michael Friedenberg said he will re-verify the authenticity of the agency’s reporting on Hong Kong. Friedenberg said so after Shen accused Reuters for spreading rumors about Beijing rejecting Carrie Lam’s request to withdraw the bill.
In the first few weeks of 2019 [ just weeks after CFO Meng Wanzhou was detained], 20 engineers from Huawei Technologies arrived in the riverside town of Jiangyin in eastern China on a secret mission. They took up stations at the state-backed Jiangsu Changjiang Electronics Technology, China's largest chip packaging and testing company, where they went to work upgrading the facilities and increasing the site's capacity, ahead of a production surge in the autumn...
All across Asia, companies in the computer chip industry were receiving similar messages from Huawei: Boost your production, and we will buy your product. In a slowing global market, Huawei made a commitment that was impossible to resist: The company guaranteed up to 80% utilization rates for the next two years to potential and current suppliers...
Some suppliers confirmed that Huawei has also been secretly preparing its own technologies for years, but has not put them into large-scale use. The company has been trialing its own radio frequency components for a decade, one tech executive with direct knowledge of the trials told Nikkei. The Chinese company began to put several of those designs into mass production in the spring of 2019.
The defence secretary has said China needs to modify its cyber-behaviour and adopt a code of “fair play” if Beijing wants the British government to allow Huawei technology to be used in future 5G mobile networks.
Ben Wallace said a long-awaited decision on Huawei was coming soon, although he could not give a firm date, and told a defence industry audience any conclusions about the company had to be “more than just technical”.
Tom Friedman talks to Ren Zhengfei - Opinion | Huawei Has a Plan to Help End Its War With Trump - The New York Times
Ren told me: “If the U.S. reaches out to us in good faith and promises to change their irrational approach to Huawei, then we are open to a dialogue. The U.S. shouldn’t try to destroy Huawei over something trivial. If the U.S. feels we have done something wrong, then we can discuss it in good faith and find a reasonable solution. I think we can accept that approach."
He added for emphasis, “There are no restrictions on what we would be willing to discuss with the Department of Justice.”
5. Stricter Internet management coming
The draft, which was opened for public opinions on Tuesday by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), banned illegal online content that endangers national security, promotes terrorism, incites ethnic hatred, damages national religious policies, spreads falsehoods or information related to obscenity, gambling or violence.
The regulation also targets information that threatens national security, subverts state power or destroys national unity.
Harmful information will be also banned for containing vulgar, sexual seduction and blood, hyping celebrity scandals, inciting discrimination against certain groups, using exaggerated headlines or harming juveniles' health, according to the draft.
CAC is soliciting public opinions on the draft until October 10.
Chinese social media platforms, websites and apps that use algorithms powered by artificial intelligence to recommend or suggest content to their users must ensure the technology steers people towards material that adheres to “mainstream values”, the country’s top internet regulator said.
The Cyberspace Administration of China released its draft regulations on “managing the cyberspace ecosystem” on Tuesday in another sign of how the ruling Communist Party is increasingly turning to technology to cement its ideological control over society...
The government’s long list of “encouraged” content includes resources that promote Xi Jinping Thought, party policies and socialist core values, that showcase the country’s economic and social development, and which help to promote Chinese culture and stability.
6. Wang Yang on United Front and religious work
Wang Yang...made the remarks during an inspection and research tour to eastern China's Jiangxi Province on Monday and Tuesday...
It is important to schedule religious work into agendas of Party committees at all levels and to strengthen education for cadres, so that officials at all levels can recognize the importance of religious work, master basic policies and establish institutionalized working methods for religious affairs, he said.
Wang required strengthened primary-level Party organizations to improve the publicity of the Party's policy on religious affairs, guide the public to hold a rational perspective toward religion and promote self-conscious resistance to all kinds of illegal religious activities.
Wang also stressed the importance of improving the training of young religious figures and religious staff and ensure the platforms and channels for religious figures to play their roles.
China's top political advisor Wang Yang on Wednesday stressed consolidating and developing the broadest possible patriotic united front to pool strength for the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation.
Wang...made the remarks when addressing a seminar held to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC).
The seminar was held in the name of the "united front," a term used by the CPC to describe its policy of uniting the political forces representing people of various circles.
7. Never-ending struggle against formalism
I wish I knew the identity of Youshu, he/she is clearly a very knowledgeable foreigner. I prefer not to send you to anonymous pieces but in the interests of furthering my goal of people reading in its own words what the Party is saying I think in this case it is useful.
The author looks at the "学习小组 Xuexi Xiaozu" Wechat account, which he/she thinks is "supposedly set up by someone very, very close to Xi Jinping", and translates a recent article on combatting formalism.
Some highlights from the translation:Come join the Study Small Group - Credibletarget.net
As the times develop, information technology is increasingly commonly used, but formalism has turned up in few new places. Those technologies should have made it easier to do work and innovate have become burdens. They’ve introduced app download targets, some have hassled stay-behind old people who can’t use smartphones to download apps. Some cadres have a few dozen work chat-groups, they have an “avoid trouble model”, but they cant escape life...
Our survey found that the large majority of group members detest formalism, but it exists near them, why does formalism still have such a market, it’s like smelly doufu, it smells rotten, but tastes good, it reflects misplaced attitude to political achievement.
Ding Xuexiang chairs a meeting on fighting formalism, bureaucratism and reducing burdens for grassroots officials. What dynasty didn't have these problems?
Hu Min of the central party school wrote on the People’s Daily website telling cadres we must accurately understand Xi Jinping’s speech on struggle and combat spirit, that it is not about being hostile and combative, but staying on high alert to risks and being diligent in our work.
8. Chinese farms in Uganda
By Peter Ford, who used to be in Beijing as CSM's China correspondent
Rising Chinese agricultural investments in Africa have sparked fierce international controversy, excoriated by critics as colonial plunder and hailed in Beijing as productive and beneficial to local farmers. The view from Luwero, 50 miles north of the Ugandan capital, Kampala, suggests that neither version is accurate. The picture here, at two different Chinese-owned farms, is rather one of inaction and incompetence.
Such disappointing results are “not unusual at all” among Chinese agricultural investments in Uganda, says Josh Maiyo, an expert in Chinese-Ugandan relations at the University of Radboud in Nijmegen, Netherlands. “Very often they do not pan out” as promised, he adds.
Business, Economy and Trade
China’s August Credit Growth Accelerates More Than Expected - Bloomberg “The government’s recent easing measures, including the reserve-ratio cut and initiatives to bring forward more local government bond issuance, should help to support total-social financing growth to rebound in the rest of the year,’’ said Wang Tao, chief China economist at UBS AG in Hong Kong. “This credit rebound should then help to offset the additional negative impact from additional tariff hikes that will hit Chinese exports in October and December.’’
菜价稳定，有基础有条件（“身边物价”怎么看③）--社会--人民网 People's Daily assures readers that food prices can be stabilized and will return to normal levels in the second half of the year
China says pork supply will be enough for upcoming holidays - Reuters Peng Shaozong, a manager in the pricing department of the National Development and Reform Commission, however, told reporters that supplies will be sufficient for this week’s Mid-Autumn festival, as well as for the upcoming October holidays and Lunar New Year, which falls in January next year.
Yicai Global - Dalian Commodity Exchange Is Getting Closer to Having Live Pig Futures Despite being given the green light by the China Securities Regulatory Commission in February last year, the exchange is still determining standards and regulations for the financial contracts and resolving some logistical issues. According to reports, last year it set up a number of warehouses to test live hog deliveries.
银行收紧开发贷, 华东个别分行已暂停放贷 Caixin reported that following orders from the government, several major Chinese banks have reduced or stopped issuing new loans for real-estate developers, to make sure the recent economic stimulus would not lead to another hike of housing prices.
China out in force at Frankfurt car show, led by battery builders - CNA Chinese suppliers and manufacturers have stepped up their presence at the Frankfurt auto show, capitalizing on a strong position in electric technologies forced on European carmakers by regulators seeking to curb pollution.
China’s Anbang to Sell U.S. Hotels for More Than $5.8 Billion - WSJ $$ A Chinese insurer has agreed to sell a luxury hotel portfolio for more than $5.8 billion, overcoming an unusual stumbling block: A California individual secretly created a series of fake deeds to transfer ownership for up to a half dozen of the hotels. Mirae Asset Global Investments, part of a South Korean financial services company, agreed this week to buy the 15-hotel portfolio from Anbang Insurance Group Co., people familiar with the matter said
How Cash-Hungry Property Developers Are Skirting Curbs on Trust Loans - Caixin Because perpetual loans do not ever need to be repaid, accounting regulations allow them to be treated as equity rather than debt on a company’s balance sheet. That has allowed the trust companies to skirt regulatory limits on the scale and growth of loans to developers. The classification also helps, at least on paper, to reduce a company’s liability-to-asset ratio.
In Depth: Stricter Regulations Push China’s Money Market Funds For Major Makeover - Caixin It’s unclear whether conventional money market funds will be subject to the new asset management rules, which require a cleanup of opaque assets before 2020. However, the direction of the reform is already set: Going forward, the value of money market funds will be calculated based on their floating net-asset value (NVA), meaning their value must be based on the underlying worth of the assets they invest in. The U.S. has required the same of money markets fund there since October 2016, and the EU since last year. An inspector at a Shenzhen-based fund sees this as the beginning of the end.
JPMorgan Tells Staff: Make It Clear Taiwan Is Part of China - Bloomberg The regions should on first reference be Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan, China, Stuart Marston, supervisory analyst global manager, said in a recent email, which was seen by Bloomberg News. JPMorgan has also added a note in its disclosures section to clarify usage, according to the email. The language wasn’t used in numerous prior research notes published over the past few months though reports in recent days are incorporating the changes.
Consumers question Shanghai Disney’s bag check policy, citing encroachment of privacy - Global Times An explanation by the Shanghai Disney Resort over the weekend about its entry policy, which asks all visitors to open their bags and have all items checked by staff, has been challenged by Chinese consumers, who said the policy is an invasion of privacy and is commercially motivated.
China sets up 36,877 national standards in 70 years - Xinhua China has established 36,877 national standards over the past 70 years, and standardization in China has experienced three key changes, said Tian Shihong, head of the Standardization Administration, Wednesday...China has adopted more than 10,000 international standards in its national standards. It is also one of the most active countries submitting proposals for international standards, Tian said.
Politics and Law
China: Uyghur academic faces execution in China: Tashpolat Tiyip | Amnesty International Fears are mounting that the Chinese authorities will imminently carry out the execution of Tashpolat Tiyip, a prominent Uyghur academic who was convicted in a secret and grossly unfair trial. Subjected to an enforced disappearance in 2017, he has been arbitrarily detained since then. No information has been made available about charges and proceedings against him and his current whereabouts remain unknown
新京报社原社长戴自更被撤销北京政协委员资格 Three months after being put under investigation for corruption, Dai Zigeng, former editor in chief of Beijing News, is formally stripped of the membership of Beijing Political Consultative Conference. Rumors said his downfall is linked to the case of Wu Xiaohui, former chairman of Anbang Insurance.
Chinese Banking Executives Grab Top Spots in Provincial Government - China Banking News The appointment of senior banking executives to leading administrative positions in the Chinese provinces has become increasingly common of late, with at least seven such appointments taking place over the past several years.
Central Inspection Group inspecting the Supreme People’s Court (again) | Supreme People's Court Monitor The inspection appears to be one example of the strengthening of Party leadership in the SPC. The inspection appears to be linked to language in earlier documents to strengthen the leadership of the Communist Party (加强党的领导) and to strengthen Party political construction (党的政治建设). The Party Center issued a document on political construction earlier this year.
Law Explainer: China’s State Medals and State Honorary Titles – NPC Observer In line with our earlier prediction, the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) will convene for a one-day special session on September 17, the Council of Chairpersons decided on Tuesday. The sole item on the special session’s agenda is a draft decision to confer State honors and honorary titles, presumably on this list of 33 nominees, to celebrate the 70th founding anniversary of the People’s Republic. Below we briefly overview the history of China’s State honors system and the current legal scheme
Senior official stresses rectification of poverty relief problems - Xinhua Hu Chunhua, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, has called for more efforts to rectify problems found in the country's poverty alleviation campaign. Hu, also chief of the State Council leading group of poverty alleviation and development, made the remarks during an inspection tour in northwest China's Shaanxi Province.
Foreign and Defense Affairs
Incoming EU chief Ursula von der Leyen vows to ‘define’ relations with increasingly assertive China | South China Morning Post European Commission president-elect Ursula von der Leyen spoke to reporters in Brussels on Tuesday as Sweden, an EU member with strained China relations, is to unveil a new strategic paper on the Asian superpower this week.
China, Kazakhstan agree to forge permanent comprehensive strategic partnership - Xinhua The decision came as Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Tokayev is paying a state visit to China from Tuesday to Thursday
Is this a turning point in India's foreign policy towards China? - CGTN Is Minister Jaishankar signaling a more hardline approach as the future of Modi administration's foreign policy towards China? Given that it has already unilaterally changed the status of Kashmir, it would be hard to dispute that India is getting tougher by the day. We may need to wait and see where this goes. But, enough has happened already to raise the alarm on the possibility of a rockier China-India relationship.
Philippines' Duterte says Xi offering gas deal if arbitration case ignored - Reuters “Set aside the arbitral ruling,” Duterte was quoted as telling reporters late Tuesday in remarks provided by his office on Wednesday. “Set aside your claim,” he said, quoting Xi. “Then allow everybody connected with the Chinese companies. They want to explore. If there is something, they said, we will be gracious enough to give you 60%, only 40% will be theirs. That is the promise of Xi Jinping.”
Canada sails warship through Taiwan Strait for second time in three months | South China Morning Post “The Royal Canadian Navy does not conduct so-called freedom of navigation operations aimed at challenging the territorial claims of other nations, and the ship’s transit was conducted in accordance with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea.”
In a first for Beijing in Europe, Serbia to receive Chinese armed drones - Stripes “The Chinese have very good pilot-less aircraft, probably second only to the United States,” Belgrade military analyst Miroslav Lazanski said in a TV interview. “They obviously copied some American systems (but) Chinese drones are very effective and very cheap.”
Chinese VP meets former Austrian president - Xinhua Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan on Wednesday met with former Austrian President Heinz Fischer, who is also president of the Austria-China Friendship Association (ACFA).
Senior CPC official calls for contribution to mutual learning and benefit between China and world - Xinhua Huang Kunming, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, made the remark when delivering a keynote speech at the opening ceremony at the Eighth World Forum on China Studies. China has provided a strong driving force to the development of the world economy and contributed Chinese wisdom to the people of all countries in pursuing a better life, said Huang, noting that China has continued its efforts to safeguard world peace, contribute to global development and uphold international order.
Liberal Party bars wife from vying to replace MP husband embroiled in dispute with ex-girlfriend | National Post Dong rejected any suggestion that he was the pro-Beijing candidate, noting that he is also being supported by Liberal MP Adam Vaughn and Gerry Phillips, the former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister he considers his political mentor.“I see myself as a Canadian running for Canadian public office,” he said.
Hong Kong and Macao
Rental charges at Hong Kong’s ultra-luxury abodes fall by 30 per cent as expatriates and mainland Chinese renters stay away | South China Morning Post “Besides expatriates, mainland Chinese renters are also hesitating to move to Hong Kong, and those living in Hong Kong are also considering whether to continue living here,” he said. “Some who were looking for places have also stopped.”
Should I stay or should I go now? Inside the Solomons’ Big Switch - The Little Red Podcast - Omny.fm In this episode, Graeme speaks to all the major players in the Solomon Islands, including the Prime Minister, to investigate the reasons behind the switch. He found the background to the switch was far murkier and more complicated than has been previously reported.
Tech and Media
Yicai Global - Tencent Piles Into Chinese Online Flea Market Zhuanzhuan via USD300 Million B Round 58.Com will remain as Zhuanzhuan's majority shareholder, the Beijing-headquartered parent said in a statement on its website today, without disclosing the shareholder ratio.
Baidu invests $200 million in tech investment firm Neusoft Holdings · TechNode Search giant Baidu will invest RMB 1.4 billion (around $200 million) in technology investment firm Neusoft Holdings, as the pair look to develop smart city, healthcare, and education solutions.
TikTok narrows focus to US, Japan, and India as key growth markets · TechNode TikTok has removed the UK from a group of four countries it had previously deemed strategically important. The US, Japan, and India markets have been assigned their own general managers while others only have product managers at present
Energy, Environment, Science and Health
Photo Essay: Boats Stranded as Drought Dries China’s Canals - Caixin River shipping is rarely this dangerous, but the worst drought in decades has left rivers in East China at their lowest level for decades. This has created congestion on canals, as vessels loaded with cargo crowd the gates to locks, waiting for them to fill with enough water so they can travel along the waterway.
Local people challenge coal plant expansion in Bali | China Dialogue Villagers have launched a legal case to halt the doubling of the Celukan Bawang power plant’s capacity
Private Tutoring Firm Opens First Center Overseas Amid Sluggish China Demand One of China’s largest private tutoring companies has made a foray into the U.S. as it looks to tap into rising demand from the surging number of Chinese students studying abroad. The New York-listed TAL Education Group will open its first tutoring center in Silicon Valley, the company announced last week on social media