CICIR’s Yuan Peng on the US-China relationship; PRC on human rights in the US; Trials of the two Michaels

The US-China meetings, or “high-level strategic dialogue” according to the Chinese side, start imminently. Reports say there are three scheduled three hour meetings, two today, one Friday.

Wang Yi is a busy man. He flies home from Anchorage after the Friday session and then on Monday will host Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for a two-day visit to China.

Today’s Essential Eight items:

  1. The Alaska meeting

  2. CICIR’s Yuan Peng on the US-China relationship

  3. PRC on human rights in the US

  4. Trials of the two Michaels

  5. Liu He and a powerful entourage inspect Liaoning

  6. Translation of Xi’s speech in science and innovation

  7. WHO-China report imminent

  8. Internet regulators look to be busy in this 100th anniversary year

I will be participating in this Asia Society event in just a couple of hours:

In this special webcast, Rudd joins a conversation with Bill Bishop, author of the influential Sinocism China newsletter, and Susan Jakes, editor of ChinaFile and Senior Fellow at Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations, on what happened in 2020 and where U.S.-China relations are likely headed in 2021. Rudd will begin the discussion with a keynote speech on Beijing’s early reactions to the Biden administration.

It is free to watch, you just need to register here.

I hope to see many of you at this event, and in the weekly discussion that starts tomorrow. Thanks.


The Essential Eight

1. The Alaska meeting

China Plans to Ask U.S. to Roll Back Trump Policies in Alaska Meeting - WSJ $$

Yang Jiechi, a member of the Communist Party ruling body, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi plan to urge Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan to drop sanctions and restrictions on Chinese entities and individuals put in place by the Trump administration, said the people with knowledge of the plans.

The Chinese officials also plan to propose re-establishing regular high-level meetings between the two sides and scheduling a virtual summit between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Mr. Biden in April during a global conference on climate change...

The measures China wants reversed include limits on American sales to Chinese firms such as its telecommunications company Huawei Technologies Co. and chip maker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. ; visa restrictions on Communist Party members, Chinese students and state-media journalists; and closure of the Chinese Consulate in Houston. Beijing has retaliated in kind, hitting American entities and individuals with similar penalties.

Should those restrictions be removed or relaxed, China would consider eliminating its own countermeasures, said the people with knowledge of the Chinese plans...

Messrs. Yang and Wang plan to propose a new framework for setting up recurring, annual meetings between the two powers to hash out differences in economic, trade, security and other areas

China says topic of potential Xi-Biden meeting not on agenda at Alaska talks | Reuters

But during that dialogue, both sides can discuss any issue of common interests, including high-level exchanges, Zhao Lijian, a spokesman at the foreign ministry, said at a regular news briefing.

China will not compromise on core interests at Anchorage dialogue: ambassador - Xinhua

Cui noted that most countries, including some U.S. allies in Asia, actually have some doubts and concerns about U.S. policies.

"First, will the United States be a responsible stakeholder in global affairs? Second, will the United States come back with sustained commitment and contributions to multilateral cooperation? Third, will the United States be ready and willing to respect other countries' interests and listen to their voice?" the ambassador asked.

These concerns are in the hearts of many countries in the world, including U.S. allies, but some countries just do not say it in public, Cui said. "It is hoped that the United States will understand other countries' concerns."

Six points China has to let US understand: Global Times editorial - Global Times

First, China has no geopolitical ambitions in the Asia-Pacific region 第一,中国没有在亚太地区从事地缘政治扩张的野心;

Second, China has explored a set of domestic governance methods that suit its national conditions. There are some ideological differences between China and the West, but China has no hostility toward the West 第二,中国摸索出了一套适合本国国情的国内治理方式,在意识形态上与西方形成一些差异,但我们对西方不存在敌视;

Third, China will never accept US interference in its internal affairs. 第三,中国决不接受美国干涉我们的内政;

Fourth, it is true that China has territorial disputes with some of its neighbors, but China's consistent position on these disputes is to resolve them peacefully. 第四,我们与周边存在领土纠纷,和平解决问题是我方的一贯立场;

Fifth, it is China's sacred right to develop. 第五,继续保持发展是中国的神圣权利;

Sixth, the Chinese are confident that they are capable of defending their own national security, and no matter how hard the US tries, it cannot contain China. 第六,中国人对我们有能力捍卫自己的国家安全、美国无论如何遏制不住我们充满自信

The original from the Global Times - 社评:中国需多渠道讲清这六点,处变不

Opinion: Icy Start to Sino-U.S. Talks in Alaska Signals New Phase of Tense Relations - Caixin Global

The old way of compartmentalizing China-U.S. relations, or relying on any single so-called stabilizing force to avoid sinking the whole ship will not work anymore. All compartments are interlinked. If one catches fire, the only solution is to put it out as fast as possible. Otherwise, it will spread through the whole system, just as happened during the Trump administration. At first, it was an argument about the bilateral trade deficit, then it became a trade war, and then it spread to tech decoupling, expulsion of journalists, visa wars, scholar prosecutions and tit-for-tat sanctions.

As China’s prominent U.S. scholar Wang Jisi perfectly put it, the real issue now for Beijing and Washington is not about how to rebuild mutual trust, but how to prevent political distrust from growing to the point that it leads to more decoupling in social, economic, and technological terms, and turns into a head-on confrontation.

Lu Zhenhua is a senior editor at Caixin Global.

Mr ‘Indispensable’: China’s top diplomat to US Cui Tiankai to stay on in Biden era | South China Morning Post

After nearly eight years in the position, Cui is already the country’s longest-serving ambassador to Washington, and several people with knowledge of the matter, including Chinese diplomats, said Beijing had no plan to replace him any time soon...

Cui started his US tenure in April 2013, and at 68 is well beyond the statutory retirement age of 65 for cabinet-level ministers and ambassadorships of similar protocol rank.

Comment: Poor Ambassador Cui, he needs a break

Blinken urges China to convince North Korea to denuclearize - AP

He said Beijing has a critical role to persuade North Korea to denuclearize because most of the North’s external trade goes through China. Blinken stressed that China is obligated by U.N. Security Council resolutions to fully enforce sanctions imposed over North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests.

Question: Do Blinken and the rest of the USG really believe that China can persuade the DPRK to denuclearize?


2. CICIR’s Yuan Peng on the US-China relationship

Yuan is always worth listening to. Yuan heads the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), a think tank affiliated with the Ministry of State Security, and is an "America hand". He was the lecturer at the December Politburo Study Session on National Security (see the December 14, 2020 Sinocism).

Image

In this interview Yuan talks about the importance of rebuilding a strategic dialogue framework and returns to the idea rejected by then-President Obama of a “new type of major power relationship”.

This is a long excerpt from the interview, translated by machine and then lightly edited by me. I think this is probably as good an exposition of the PRC leadership views of the US-China relationship as we are going to get publicly.

"Yuan Peng: High-level strategic dialogue is just around the corner. Where are Sino-US relations headed?" -袁鹏:高层战略对话在即 中美关系向何处去?|拜登|中美关系|美国_新浪新闻

Whether from the political, economic, security or ideological dimensions, the U.S.-China relationship is a very complex bilateral relationship. According to Western international relations theory, the rise of emerging powers will cause challenges to the existing powers, and the existing powers will definitely contain the emerging powers, and both sides have a sense of fear towards each other, which is the security dilemma of the great powers.

With the rise of China, the story of the rise and fall of great powers has historically rotated to China and the United States, and both sides began to fall into a certain security dilemma. Compared with the rise and fall of great powers in history, there is more of a socialist and capitalist contest between China and the United States and a clash of civilizations between East and West, making the relationship between China and the United States more profound and complex than any other rise and fall of great powers in history, and the impact produced is more far-reaching.

It is of great significance for China and the United States to deal with each other's security issues in order to uphold and advance the common security of the international community. General Secretary Xi Jinping specifically talked about insisting on advancing common international security during the 26th Politburo collective study on December 11, 2020, which is the distinctive feature of the national security path with Chinese characteristics that distinguishes it from the security path of major Western countries, and the distinctive feature of China's rise that distinguishes it from that of historical powers and from the rise of some Western countries. China has always thought about its own security and common international security together, without putting its own country first and without neglecting the security of other countries...

Over the years, in the process of strategic communication with China, the United States tends to be reluctant to talk more about the general framework of bilateral relations, and always tends to solve specific problems directly. However, the practice in the past few years shows that if the two sides are too rigid about specific issues and don't talk about the framework and pattern, the development of the relationship will easily get into trouble. After the Biden team came into power, China and the United States should strive to find a way to break the situation for building a long-term framework of peaceful and stable bilateral relations...

Up to now, Dr. Kissinger's theory of "co-evolution" is the most positive and constructive, and Campbell's idea of "competitive coexistence" is also a kind of thinking for discussion. However, these references still do not exceed the 14 words of "no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation" put forward by President Xi Jinping during his meeting with President Obama in 2013.

It is necessary, possible and feasible for China and the United States to discuss the establishment of a relationship framework in the new era. The new type of major power relationship has new connotation and significance at the present stage. Up to now, no framework is more rational, forward-looking and realistic than the above framework...

To promote the establishment of the framework, China and the United States need to carry out high-level strategic dialogue. The Anchorage Dialogue focuses on strategic security, which is expected to involve macroscopic and deep-seated strategic issues, which will help both sides confirm each other's intentions from a strategic perspective and provide an opportunity for the framework construction of bilateral relations...

In order to push bilateral relations back on track, it is necessary for China and the United States to reposition and think strategically about future relations. The urgent task is to deal with the "three lines".

First, set the bottom line. There is a bottom line between people, especially between countries. The last US administration brought a lot of bottomless "toxic" harm to Sino-US relations, which is not in line with the interests of China and the United States. Both sides should try to "disinfect" together. For example, the U.S. side should stop and stop losses in time for its rude practices such as setting up barriers to cultural exchanges between the two countries and imposing vicious sanctions on companies and even individuals.

Second, we must define the red line. Especially the question of Taiwan Province. In recent years, the Taiwan Province issue has a tendency to evolve from the core and most sensitive issue in Sino-US relations to a general and non-sensitive issue. In the past four years, the United States has broken through the strategic tacit understanding or consensus reached by China and the United States in the past decades in terms of legislation, arms sales and high-level visits, and it would be extremely dangerous to move forward. China and the United States should re-confirm the Taiwan Province issue at a strategic height, and the United States must implement the One-China principle in both words and deeds, otherwise Sino-US relations cannot advance.

Third, draw a line. In the spirit of mutual respect, both sides should redraw the boundary of "non-interference in each other's internal affairs". For example, on issues involving Hong Kong and Xinjiang, the US should have proper limit in its words and deeds, and its policies should stick to certain boundaries, and should not "cross the border" at will.

In addition to the above three "lines", China and the United States should also seek "three points".

The first is the starting point. Sino-US relations must be based at home. Biden put forward "middle class diplomacy" and President Xi Jinping put forward "people's security as the purpose", which shows that the two sides must serve their own people and each other's internal affairs as the starting point of promoting relations. The United States should understand China's "dual circulation" and "the 14th Five-Year Plan", and China should grasp the new changes in American domestic politics and society.

The second is the focus. The focus should be beyond bilateral relations, that is, at the international level. As two big countries, China and the United States need to find common interests in a larger world, such as joint anti-epidemic, coping with climate change and building an international order. The historical experience of Sino-US exchanges proves that when the two countries really put global affairs at an important position, they can often find more opportunities for cooperation and help reduce bilateral differences to a more controllable range. On the contrary, if we put aside global issues and focus only on bilateral differences and contradictions, the problems will be magnified.

The third is the conflict point. It is necessary to ensure that the problems that are most likely to cause conflicts can be controlled, otherwise everything can't be discussed...

In the next 30 years, even if China's economic aggregate exceeds that of the United States, the two sides will remain in a state of strategic stalemate for a long time, that is, China can't completely get rid of the suppression of the United States, and the United States has no way to really take on China, so China will realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation under the background of Sino-US strategic stalemate. As far as China is concerned, the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is not based on replacing the United States, but on the pursuit of a better life for the Chinese people. China and the United States finding a way to coexist in strategic stalemate is not only beneficial to the two countries but also to the world

无论从政治、经济、安全还是意识形态维度看,中美关系都是一对非常复杂的双边关系。按照西方国际关系理论,新兴大国崛起会造成对现存大国的挑战,现存大国一定会遏制新兴大国,双方都对彼此有一种恐慌感,这是大国的安全困境。

随着中国崛起,大国兴衰的故事历史性地轮转到了中美两国,双方开始陷入某种安全困境。较之历史上的大国兴衰,中美之间多了几分社会主义和资本主义两制之争以及东西方文明冲突的色彩,使得中美关系比历史上任何一次大国兴衰都更深刻复杂全面,所产生的影响也更深远。

 中美处理好彼此的安全问题,对于坚持和推进国际社会的共同安全有重大意义。习近平总书记在2020年12月11日第二十六次政治局集体学习时专门谈到坚持推进国际共同安全,这是中国特色国家安全道路有别于西方主要国家安全道路的鲜明特征,也是中国崛起有别于历史上的大国、有别于一些西方国家崛起的鲜明特征。中国始终把自身安全和国际共同安全放在一起思考,不搞本国第一,不忽视别国的安全...

多年来,美国在对华战略沟通过程中倾向于不愿多谈双边关系大框架,总倾向于直接解决具体问题。但过去几年的实践表明,如果双方过于拘泥具体问题,不谈框架和格局,关系发展反而容易陷入困境。拜登团队执政后,中美应努力为构建长期和平稳定的双边关系框架找到破局办法...

为推动框架建立,中美之间需开展高层次的战略对话。此次安克雷奇对话聚焦战略安全,料将涉及宏观性、深层次战略性问题,这有利于双方从战略层面确认彼此意图,为双边关系框架构建提供契机...

为推动双边关系重回正轨,中美有必要就未来关系做战略层面的重新定位和思考。当务之急是处理好“三条线”。

一要设定底线。人和人之间交往有底线,国与国之间更应如此。美国上届政府给中美关系带来很多无底线的“毒性”伤害,不符合中美两国利益,双方应尝试一起“消毒”。比如,美方对两国人文交流设障、对公司甚至个人施加恶性制裁等粗鲁做法,应及时叫停止损。

二要明确红线。尤其是台湾问题。近年来台湾问题在美国对华政策中有从中美关系最核心、最敏感问题演变成一般性、非敏感性问题的趋向。过去4年美方从立法、军售、高层互访等各方面突破了中美过去几十年达成的战略默契或共识,再往前走将极其危险。中美双方要重新把台湾问题放在战略高度重新确认,美方必须从言和行两方面将一个中国原则落到实处,否则中美关系无法往前推进。

三要划出界线。双方应本着相互尊重的精神,重新划出“互不干涉内政”的界线,比如在涉港、涉疆等问题上,美方言行应有分寸感,政策应恪守一定界线,不可随意“越界”。

除以上三“线”,中美还应寻求“三个点”。

一是出发点。中美关系必须立足国内,拜登提出“中产阶级外交”,习近平主席提出“以人民安全为宗旨”,表明双方必须以服务本国人民、服务彼此内政作为推进关系的出发点。美国要了解中国的“双循环”和“十四五”,中国要把握美国国内政治社会的新变化。

二是着力点。着力点应在双边关系之外,即国际层面,中美作为两个大国,需要在更大的天地寻找共同利益空间,比如联合抗疫、应对气变、共建国际秩序等。中美交往的历史经验证明,当两国真正把全球性事务摆在重要位置时,往往能找到更多合作机会,也有助于把双边分歧降在更可控范围。反之,如撇开全球性问题不谈,只盯着双边分歧矛盾,问题就会被放大。

三是冲突点。必须确保那些最容易引起冲突的问题可控,否则一切无从谈起...

未来30年,即使中国经济总量超过美国,双方仍将长期处于战略相持状态,即中国无法完全摆脱美国的打压,而美国也拿中国没有什么办法,中国必然会在中美战略相持背景下实现中华民族伟大复兴。对中国而言,中华民族伟大复兴不以取代美国为前提,而以中国人民更美好的生活为追求。中美在战略相持中找到共存之道,不仅有利于两国,也有利于世界

May 2020 Exclusive: Internal Chinese report warns Beijing faces Tiananmen-like global backlash over virus | Reuters

The report, presented early last month by the Ministry of State Security to top Beijing leaders including President Xi Jinping, concluded that global anti-China sentiment is at its highest since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, the sources said.

As a result, Beijing faces a wave of anti-China sentiment led by the United States in the aftermath of the pandemic and needs to be prepared in a worst-case scenario for armed confrontation between the two global powers, according to people familiar with the report’s content, who declined to be identified given the sensitivity of the matter.

The report was drawn up by the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), a think tank affiliated with the Ministry of State Security, China’s top intelligence body.

2016 - Recalibrating U.S.-China Relations in Southeast Asia - Center for American Progress

I have only met Yuan Peng once, when I moderated a DC event he participated in for a report the Center for American Progress and the China Institutes for Contemporary International Relations did.

A New Type of Major Power Relationship? - Cheng Li in 2014

This is precisely what Xi Jinping is also arguing and what he means by a “new model of major-power relations,” essentially that China and the United States should avoid conflict, cooperate, and develop a win-win relationship in this age of economic globalization. The concept was actually initiated by Dai Bingguo, the State Councilor under the Hu Jintao administration, which signifies a degree of continuity in China’s foreign policy thinking.


3. PRC on human rights in the US

US ‘beacon of human rights’ should shed light on itself sometimes: Chinese FM - Global Times

The self-claimed "beacon of human rights" should really shed light on itself sometimes, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Thursday in regards to the US' human rights issue discussed during the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council, where multiple countries criticized its worsening human rights situation.

Spokesperson Zhao Lijian cited several examples of the human rights violations of the US, while urging it to stop neglecting its own domestic problems.

Racial discrimination and violence in law enforcement have been notably severe, said Zhao. "Muslim refugees and immigrants of ethnic minorities are constantly faced with the danger of discrimination, while the idea of 'white supremacy' still prevalent in the society."..

Speaking of genocide, Zhao urged the US to reflect on its massive massacres of the native Americans, which resulted in a 95 percent drop in its population.

Comment: This year’s PRC report on the US human rights situation is going to be interesting, official media made it sound like it was imminent at the start of March, would not be surprised if they delayed it until after the Anchorage talks

UN review exposes dark side of U.S. human rights record - Xinhua

The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted on Wednesday the outcomes of its Universal Periodic Review of the United States, shedding light on the appalling state of basic human rights in the country.

During the review, a U.S. representative underscored the country's pride in its human rights records, whereas a series of alarming facts painted a different portrait of the self-proclaimed "leader of the free world."

For example, a group of UN recognized NGOs told the council that discrimination and inequality have been long-standing challenges in the country, with incidences of harassment and discrimination accelerating over the past two years.

Trump, Western media blamed for Anti-Asian crimes spike - Global Times

The Trump administration's reckless behavior only ripped a hole in long- simmering racism and white supremacy, which was silenced by society's mainstream "political correctness," said Shen Yi, a professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs of Fudan University...

Another less noticeable reason that has been behind such hatred, according to Chinese observers, is Western media.

In recent years, whether conservative media, such as Fox News, or so-called liberal media, like the New York Times, have published "biased and groundless" reports about China, Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times, noting that their attempt to sell newspapers and garner clicks, in return invited attacks and even bloodshed to the Asian group in the US as a whole.

One example would be Melissa Chan, an American journalist who works for Deutsche Welle, who came under the spotlight after she forwarded a Foreign Policy article "Anti-Asian Attacks Are Blighting the United States" on Twitter on Tuesday. She commented that "In addition to condemning anti-Asian attacks, these experts note that racism serves as propaganda gold for China which attempts 'to portray itself as the head of the global Chinese diaspora.'"

Asian American leaders fear U.S.-China conflict will continue to fan racist backlash - The Washington Post

“It is clearly a difficult line to walk. However, I do believe there is a way of disagreeing with China’s policies without denigrating the Chinese people themselves,” said Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), chair of the House Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

Elite US groups accomplices of crimes against Asian Americans - Global Times

If the current dangerous trend cannot be reversed, the US will see widening social divisions caused by deepening Sinophobia. It could even cause turmoil and further weaken US soft power and leadership. Asian Americans won't be "silent lambs." Large "Asian Lives Matter" protests may not be far away if hate crimes against them continue to occur.

U.S. awarded her human rights fight. ICE detained her son - Los Angeles Times - Alice Su

Mother and son have become characters in an unenviable, if ironic, twist of fate. Wang this month received an “International Women of Courage” award from the U.S. State Department. Chinese security officers blocked her from attending the online ceremony, putting her under 24-hour monitoring and prohibiting her internet use for several days.

Meanwhile, her son, now 21, is held in legal limbo by the same government that honored his mother. He remains in Los Angeles, his passport confiscated, awaiting immigration court to decide whether he should be allowed to stay in the United States or be deported back to China, where he could be imprisoned.

The story of Wang Yu and Bao Zhuoxuan is a testament to oppression in China but also a glimpse at what civil rights lawyers say is America’s failure to uphold human rights at home in its treatment of migrants and asylum seekers.


4. Trials of the two Michaels

I hope the trials are a sign of possible resolution. China would not expel them without a conviction, maybe the US-China are still trying to work out a previously rumored deal to drop the charges against Meng so she can go home?

From the March 11 newsletter, when the Global Times first reported that the two would soon go on trial:

Interesting timing to leak this, right before the US-China meeting next week. Convicting and then eventually expelling them, perhaps as part of a deal for Meng Wanzhou? I do not think they would consider sending them home as part of any possible deal until they were already convicted.

"Trial-Centered Justice" in PRC Political Prosecutions — Jerome A. Cohen | 孔傑榮(柯恩)

Concluding the trials of the two Michaels now will maximize the PRC’s flexibility for responding to the needs of the current situation, whatever is deemed to be the desirable reaction.

Contrary to what some observers have recently opined, the forthcoming conviction and sentencing of the two Michaels, rather than terminating prospects for their release, can, in light of practice, be interpreted as possibly preparing the grounds for their release.

The PRC is more likely to release them after vindicating its judicial sovereignty by convicting them than by interrupting the judicial process prior to conviction. The defendants may receive harsh sentences, such as ten years in prison, but they will also be sentenced to deportation to be carried out at the conclusion of their imprisonment. This will not preclude the possibility of prematurely terminating their prison sentences  and carrying out deportation soon after sentencing has been imposed, for example on the ground of medical necessity due to serious health problems.

Canadians to Stand Trial in China for Spying: What We Know - The New York Times

The issue of Ms. Meng and the “two Michaels,” as they are known in Canada, is likely to come up during the meetings between American and Chinese officials starting Thursday in Alaska, experts say, though a breakthrough is unlikely in the short term.

Mr. Biden has called for the release of the Canadians, saying last month that “human beings are not bartering chips.” But his administration has not indicated exactly how it might address the issue.


5. Liu He and a powerful entourage inspect Liaoning

Vice premier stresses vitalization of Liaoning Province - Xinhua

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He has called for efforts to push reform and opening up as well as high-quality development to vitalize the economy of northeast China's Liaoning Province.

Precise policies should be adopted to push Liaoning's vitalization, Liu said during a research trip to the province on Tuesday and Wednesday...

Liaoning enjoys geographical advantages and has a number of strategic industries that are the lifeblood of the national economy and national security, Liu said.

It has great potential in resources, science and education, human resources and infrastructure, and has many favorable conditions for its vitalization and development, he added.

Liu urged efforts to promote the province's green and low-carbon transition of the economy with the help of scientific and technological innovation and optimize its economic structure

全国两会后国务院副总理赴东北 背后有何深意?|辽宁_新浪财经_新浪网

Shortly after the "two sessions", Liu He arrived in Liaoning.

Zheng Zhijun noticed that this time in addition to Liu He, he went to Northeast China:

Han Wenxiu, deputy director in charge of daily work in the Central Financial and Economic Committee Office; Wang Zhigang, Minister of Science and Technology; Xiao Yaqing, Minister of Industry and Information Technology; Yi Gang, Governor of the Central Bank; Yin Yanlin, Deputy Director of the Central Financial and Economic Committee Office; Lu Junhua, Deputy Secretary-General of the State Council; Xu Hongcai, Vice Minister of Finance; Liao Min, Deputy Director of the Central Financial and Economic Committee Office and Vice Minister of Finance; and Lin Nianxiu, Deputy Director of the National Development and Reform Commission.

“两会”结束不久,刘鹤就到了辽宁。

政知君注意到,此番赴东北的除了刘鹤,还有:

中央财经委员会办公室分管日常工作的副主任(正部长级)韩文秀,科技部部长王志刚,工信部部长肖亚庆,央行行长易纲,中央财经委员会办公室副主任尹艳林,国务院副秘书长陆俊华,财政部副部长许宏才,中央财经委员会办公室副主任、财政部副部长廖岷,国家发改委副主任林念修等。

大力推动改革开放和高质量发展 努力实现辽宁经济振兴--时政--人民网

Liu He pointed out that Liaoning is an important industrial and agricultural base in China and has important strategic significance for safeguarding national defense security, food security, ecological security, energy security and industrial security. In recent years, it has also encountered some difficulties and problems in its development

It is necessary to aim at the "bottleneck" problem and seriously study the best solution path

刘鹤指出,辽宁是我国重要的工业和农业基地,对维护国家国防安全、粮食安全、生态安全、能源安全、产业安全具有重要的战略意义,近年来在发展中也遇到一些困难和问题

要瞄准“卡脖子”问题,认真研究最佳解决路径


6. Translation of Xi’s speech in science and innovation

Comment: DigiChina has performed a very useful service by translating Xi's 2018 speech that is in the latest issue of Qiushi, as discussed on the Monday and Tuesday newsletters.

Xi Jinping: 'Strive to Become the World’s Primary Center for Science and High Ground for Innovation' | DigiChina

The publication this week of a previously unreleased 2018 speech by Xi on reforms aimed at shaping China into the world's primary science and innovation center, therefore, underlines for the audience of the Communist Party's top theory journal Qiushi that the 14th Five-Year Plan builds on work that is already underway. DigiChina has translated the full speech below.

The speech, given on May 5, 2018, was part of a series of public statements and media events that signaled the Chinese government's resolve to build "independent innovation" (also translated as "indigenous innovation") in "core technologies" at a time when the Trump administration in the United States signaled an increasing willingness to interfere with Chinese access to key components.

Excerpt:

The world is entering a period of economic development dominated by the information industry. We must grasp the opportunity of the integration and development of digitization and networked and intelligent systems, and use informatization and intelligent systems deployment as levers to cultivate new kinetic energy. It is necessary to highlight their leading nature and pillar nature, as we give priority to cultivating and vigorously developing a number of strategic emerging industrial clusters and build the new pillars of the industrial system. It is necessary to promote the deep integration of the Internet, big data, and artificial intelligence with the real economy, in order to make the digital economy bigger and stronger. It is necessary to focus on intelligent manufacturing to promote industrial technological transformation and optimization and upgrading, to promote the fundamental transformation of manufacturing industry models and corporate models, and to promote “bringing forth the new” to drive "weeding out the old," creating new technology to upgrade capacity, and propelling China’s industries toward the high-end of global value chains...

Practice has repeatedly told us that [it is possible] with core technologies that they may not be available when needed, cannot be purchased when needed, and are not always available on demand. Only by grasping key and core technologies within our own hands can we fundamentally guarantee national economic security, national defense security, and other securities


7. WHO-China report imminent

WHO expert: Virus study to have unanimity despite pressure - AP

Peter Ben Embarek, an expert on food safety and diseases that jump from animals to humans, said in interviews on Wednesday and Thursday that the team hopes the report -- now totaling some 280 pages and complete with graphs, dates and annexes -- will be ready for release next week...

Ben Embarek cited the need to investigate the possible role in the pandemic of the local trade in frozen wild animal products from farms in and around southern China in 2019 and beyond to a market in the city of Wuhan, which could have been a way that the virus entered a large city tied into global supply chains.

“We don’t know yet the origins of the pandemic,” he said, adding that cold-chain transmission, including through frozen food packaging, was a “possible route” of spread, but that the issue requires further exploration.

February 14 - ‘Politics was always in the room.’ WHO mission chief Peter Ben Embarek reflects on China trip seeking COVID-19’s origin | Science | AAAS

Q: Another scenario that you outlined was that the virus was transmitted through frozen food. What is the evidence for that?

A: This scenario is an interesting one because of the findings we made in the Huanan market, which is a wholesale market selling a lot of frozen products and refrigerated products—animal products, meat products, and seafood. And we know that the virus persists for a very long time on frozen products. China has reported over the past months a few instances where they have isolated the virus and positive samples on imported frozen products.

But that’s happening in 2020, at a time where the virus is widely circulating in the world, where there are multiple outbreaks in food factories around the world. It is probably an extremely rare event; we can see that from only a few dozen positive findings in China, out of 1.4 million samples taken so far. It’s potentially possible, so it’s worth exploring. But we have to separate the situation in 2020 with imported goods in China, and the situation in 2019, where that was not a possible route of introduction. There were no widespread outbreaks of COVID-19 in food factories around the world.

How the WHO’s Hunt for Covid’s Origins Stumbled in China - WSJ

as the WHO-led team finalizes its full report on the Wuhan mission, a Wall Street Journal investigation has uncovered fresh details about the team’s formation and constraints that reveal how little power it had to conduct a thorough, impartial examination—and call into question the clarity its findings appeared to provide.

China resisted international pressure for an investigation it saw as an attempt to assign blame, delayed the probe for months, secured veto rights over participants and insisted its scope encompass other countries as well, the Journal found.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration’s early assertions that the virus may have come from a Chinese laboratory soured diplomatic efforts to press China to allow a more rigorous probe


8. Internet regulators look to be busy in this 100th anniversary year

Yicai - Chinese Regulators Tell Alibaba, ByteDance, Nine Others to Clean Up Deepfakes

Chinese regulators have summoned 11 Chinese tech firms, including Xiaomi, ByteDance, and Kuaishou, to talk about deepfakes and social audio applications.

Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings were also present to discuss the group's failure to assess the security implications of forged media representations, the Cyberspace Administration of China said in a statement on its WeChat account today...

The Ministry of Public Security and the web watchdog had asked their local bureaus in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, as well as Zhejiang, and Guangdong provinces to hold talks with the 11 firms to strengthen security. The group included live-streaming platform Inke, financial information provider Jingdata, tax app Yunzhanghu, podcast provider Ximalaya, NetEase Cloud Music, and face-swapping app Quyan.

重磅!监管放大招,阿里、腾讯、字节跳动、小米等巨头被约谈!发生了什么?_评估

为加强对具有舆论属性或社会动员能力的互联网信息服务和相关新技术新应用的安全管理,规范互联网信息服务活动,切实维护国家安全、社会秩序和公共利益,近日,国家互联网信息办公室、公安部指导各地网信部门、公安机关加强对语音社交软件和涉“深度伪造”技术的互联网新技术新应用安全评估工作。

针对近期未履行安全评估程序的语音社交软件和涉“深度伪造”技术的应用,国家互联网信息办公室、公安部指导北京、天津、上海、浙江、广东等地方网信部门、公安机关依法 约谈映客、小米、快手、字节跳动、鲸准数服、云账户、喜马拉雅、阿里巴巴、网易云音乐、腾讯、去演等11家企业,督促其按照网络安全法、《具有舆论属性或社会动员能力的互联网信息服务安全评估规定》等法律法规及政策要求,认真开展安全评估,完善风险防控机制和措施,并对安全评估中发现的安全隐患及时采取有效整改措施,切实履行企业信息内容安全主体责任。

China Clamps Down on Software Used to Disguise Voiceprints — Radio Free Asia

An internet technician surnamed Zhan said government censors and internet police are extending the kind of controls that already exist for print content to include voice-based content as well.

"For example, if I were to send you a voice message using Douyin or some other platform, they will sample the first recording, and store it on their server," he said. "This won't be available to the public, but the the police will be able to access it."

He said phone, internet, and social media providers will all be required to keep files of biometric data on all users in future, including voiceprints.

How China wants to keep controlling the internet | South China Morning Post

A set of new rules, unveiled by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) in January, is slated to replace the original regulation this year, fortifying Beijing’s iron grip on the internet and extending its control on domestic tech companies beyond the Chinese border...

The draft regulation stipulates that CAC, also known as the Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission, will oversee the planning of internet and cybersecurity management. The Ministry of Industry and Information and Technology (MIIT) will be in charge of network connection and market access. The Public Security Bureau, which controls China’s police force, will manage public order and security on the internet, as well as punish illegal online activities.

China Punishes Microsoft’s LinkedIn Over Lax Censorship - The New York Times

China’s internet regulator rebuked LinkedIn executives earlier this month for failing to control political content, according to three people briefed on the matter. Though it isn’t clear precisely what material got the company into trouble, the regulator said it found objectionable posts circulating in the period around an annual meeting of China’s lawmakers, said these people, who asked for anonymity because the issue isn’t public.

As a punishment, the people said, officials are requiring LinkedIn to perform a self-evaluation and offer a report to the Cyberspace Administration of China, the country’s internet regulator. The service was also forced to suspend new sign-ups of users inside China for 30 days, one of the people added, though that time period could change depending on the administration’s judgment.


Business, Economy and Trade

独家丨监管部门开展银行保险机构履职回避工作落实情况调研_中证网 In an exclusive report, China Securities Journal said that a number of local banking watchdogs have started work on financial institutions’ personnel arrangement and individuals’ oversight of certain business lines, in a move aimed at reducing corruption and improving the effectiveness of “internal control.” // Comment: financial sector corruption was cited by Zhao Leji as one of the areas of focus for the CCDI this year

“大城市”调控路径隐现:一线城市密集出手后 二线城市开始“接棒” - 21经济网 After several major Chinese cities have introduced measures to cool property investment, second-tier cities will likely follow suit as a capital squeeze in Beijing and Shanghai has sent investors chasing properties elsewhere. Official data shows cities like Xi’an, Hefei and Chengdu have seen some of the biggest jumps in home prices in Feb.

银保监系统开具680张“2021款罚单” 53张剑指涉房信贷违规-证券日报网 According to a tally by the Securities Daily, China’s banking watchdog has issued 680 “tickets of punishment” to financial institutions for violating lending rules. 53 have been related to illegal home loans.

广州多家银行严查购房首付来源!必须为家庭自有资金 - 21财经 report that multiple banks in Guangzhou are checking the source of funds for home down payments, to make sure those are not borrowed

独家丨深圳监管通报经营贷违规买房案例,有大行需结清消费贷经营贷方批房贷 - 21财经 Shenzhen regulators list example cases of personal and business loans going into real estate, as part of the crackdown on loans going into real estate

财政部提前下达新增地方专项债券额度17700亿元-中新网 After issuing 418 billion RMB in special local bonds during the Jan - Feb period, China’s Finance Ministry just greenlit an additional 1.7 trillion and instructed local governments to match the funds to designated projects. The announcement came after China moved to lower its “deficit ratio” this year, set around 3.2%, as its economy recovery continues. China says the deficit this year is likely to hover around 3.5 trillion RMB, down 190 billion from 2020.

Yicai - Chinese Regulator Calls Out Problems at Xiaomi-Backed Internet Bank China’s top banking regulator announced today the results of an investigation into numerous financial violations by Xiaomi-backed Sichuan XW Bank, one of the country’s three internet banks. The loan and interest rates charged by the bank on its partner’s online auto installment payments platform were significantly higher, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission said in the bulletin, citing the investigation results.

Cops Bust Fraudsters Using Cryptocurrencies to Launder Ill-Gotten Gains - Caixin The Cangzhou case offers a glimpse into how this practice is conducted. The suspects confessed that from August to October, they laundered money by trading Tether Ltd.’s USDT, a cryptocurrency linked to the value of the U.S. dollar, according to a police statement published on March 11. The suspects, who were allegedly involved in 143 cases of telecoms fraud, bought USDT with illicit gains from the fraud, then sold the currency on cryptocurrency exchange Huobi and withdrew the now-laundered money from ATMs, eventually transferring the proceeds overseas, the statement said. // Question: Speaking of money laundering, how might one use Wechat Pay or Alipay in the US to launder cash?

Yicai - Japan’s Imports From China Jump by Most in 42 Years in February The value of Chinese imports into Japan last month jumped 114.5 percent to JPY1.45 trillion (USD13.3 billion), the single biggest monthly gain since records began in 1979, according to new official data. The gain was largely thanks to the low base of comparison from last year, when the Covid-19 pandemic almost halved Japan's imports from its neighbor, the data released yesterday by Japan’s Ministry of Finance showed.

"密薪"背后藏腐败—中央纪委国家监委网站 China's disciplinary watchdog has lashed out the so-called “secret pay system” at local branches of China’s Central Bank, saying some cadres have used it to enrich themselves.

China’s foreign investment security reviews concentrate on military, areas concerning national security: MOFCOM - Global Times China's new rules on foreign investment security reviews, which were enacted in January, concentrate security reviews on two types of foreign investment, including military, and other areas concerning national defense and security, as well as major agricultural, energy and resources areas that are critical to national security, according to China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM). Also, investment in areas near military installations and facilities will be subject to security review, MOFCOM spokesperson Gao Feng said at a regular press briefing in Beijing on Thursday.

China's SAIC partners with U.S. lidar maker Luminar on self-driving cars | Reuters SAIC Motor Corp, China’s largest automaker, said Thursday it plans to begin offering self-driving vehicles in that market in 2022, in partnership with U.S. lidar maker Luminar Technologies.

China's fiscal revenue surges 18.7 pct in first two months - Xinhua The country's fiscal revenue totaled 4.18 trillion yuan (about 644.47 billion U.S. dollars) during the January-February period, according to data released by the Ministry of Finance. "The fast expansion of fiscal revenue in the first two months was mainly driven by China's steady economic recovery and a relatively low base during the same period a year earlier," said He Daixin, a researcher at the National Academy of Economic Strategy of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Tax revenue came in at 3.7 trillion yuan in the first two months, up 18.9 percent year on year.

China Picks 10 Companies for Currency Conversion Trial - Caixin Under the trial, the multinational enterprises are allowed to manage their use of foreign currencies and renminbi in one single cross-border cash pool and buy foreign currencies at will within certain limits for overseas payments, according to a statement by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE).

Ant, Vanguard-Backed Robo Adviser Hits 1 Million Users in China - Bloomberg BangNiTou, which means “help you invest,” has become the most popular fund investment advisory service in China based on user number, the company said. Its 800 yuan ($123) minimum investment requirement helped attract user interest since it started in April last year.

China Bans Micro Lenders From Targeting College Students - Caixin In a notice jointly issued Wednesday by five government agencies including the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, the People’s Bank of China and the Ministry of Public Security, the regulators said some micro lenders have targeted college campuses and conducted marketing with the cooperation of technology companies. The campaigns induced some college students into excessive consumption on internet platforms and drew some of them into debt traps.

Chinese economy: Beijing’s war on the credit boom | Financial Times $$ One prominent Chinese financier, who advises the government on policy issues, says he avoided the Ant IPO because of this larger policy backdrop. “To me it was very clear a year ago that [tougher fintech] regulation was just around the corner — capital requirements, licensing for taking deposits and a much lower interest rate ceiling for online consumer lenders,” the financier says. “Five years ago everybody was talking about shadow banking,” he adds. “Who is talking about shadow banking now? Thousands of P2P lenders have disappeared. It was a long, multiyear process. It is not overnight that this happened.”

China's 2021 Growth: Targets and Truths | Rhodium Group In any case, our best guess based on the fundamentals (and arrived at before Beijing announced its target number) is middling 2021 GDP growth of 5.6%. This puts us much lower than other forecasts but very close to what has since become the official number...The policy interventions used to realize the world’s best performance in 2020 are unlikely to be repeated, and in any case would be a hindrance to future growth. Optimistic projections presume private sector resilience. Without those market animal spirits, it is hard to believe in growth above 5.6% this year, even though base effects may make the first half of 2021 seem like boom times.


Politics and Law

EU visit to Xinjiang stalls over access to jailed Uighur: diplomat - AFP A visit by European Union ambassadors to the Xinjiang region of China has stalled over their request for access to jailed Uighur academic Ilham Tohti, a diplomatic source confirmed Wednesday. Since 2019, China says it has invited foreign diplomats and UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet to visit Xinjiang, where rights groups allege more than one million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are detained in internment camps.

加强自身建设 把握工作规律 发挥职能作用 有力有序有效推进教育整顿--法制网 Chen Yixin emphasized at the meeting of directors of the provincial political and legal team education and rectification office. Strengthen self-construction, grasp the law of work, play a functional role, vigorously, orderly and effectively promote education rectification

Politics and Legal Affairs System Rectification fun - “Xinhua commentary: Let the vermin in the "knife handle" have nowhere to escape -新华时评:让“刀把子”里的蛀虫无处可逃-中新网

Recently, in order to strengthen the collection of problem clues, the "platform for reporting violations of laws and regulations by politics and legal affairs officers" was officially launched, and users can report violations of laws and regulations by politics and legal affairs officers to the National Education and Rectification Office of Political and Legal Teams. This is another measure since February 27th, when the national political and legal team education was reorganized. ..

Being brave in self-revolution is our party's most distinctive character and its greatest advantage. If the unhealthy trend and outstanding problems of the political and legal team are not solved in time, it may lead to systematic and dam-breaking problems. In the face of the exposed problems, education should be rectified with the attitude of cutting inward and scraping bones to cure poison. Adhere to no forbidden zones, full coverage and zero tolerance. By accepting reports from the masses, checking key difficult cases, etc., we should thoroughly investigate the violations of laws and regulations by politics and legal affairs officers, dig deep into the clues of "protective umbrellas" involving black and evil, and take "two-faced people" who are disloyal and dishonest to the party as "protective umbrellas" for evil forces. The black sheep of law enforcement and judicial corruption will be removed from the ranks of political and legal personnel, thus maintaining the health of the ranks.

新华时评:让“刀把子”里的蛀虫无处可逃

近日,为强化问题线索收集,“政法干警违纪违法举报平台”正式上线,用户可向全国政法队伍教育整顿办反映政法干警违纪违法问题。这是2月27日全国政法队伍教育整顿启动以来的又一举措。..

勇于自我革命,是我们党最鲜明的品格,也是我们党最大的优势。政法队伍的不正之风、突出问题如果不及时解决,就可能导致系统性、垮坝性的问题。面对暴露出的问题,教育整顿要以刀刃向内、刮骨疗毒的姿态严加整治。坚持无禁区、全覆盖、零容忍,通过接受群众举报、重点疑难案件核查等方式,深查政法干警违纪违法问题,深挖涉黑涉恶“保护伞”线索,把对党不忠诚、不老实的“两面人”,充当黑恶势力的“保护伞”,执法司法腐败的害群之马清除出政法队伍,维护政法队伍肌体健康。

Chinese premier stresses forest fire prevention and control - Xinhua Li...made the remarks in an instruction on the country's fire prevention and control work...Attending a national teleconference on forest and grassland fire prevention and control on Thursday, State Councilor Wang Yong called for solid efforts to prevent major fires to create a safe and stable environment for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC, and economic and social development.

郭美美再次被抓 律师:累犯将从重处罚,不适用缓刑和假释_腾讯新闻 3月18日,上海市公安局官方微博发布通报称, 2021年3月11日,浦东警方成功侦破一起生产、销售添加违禁成分(西布曲明)减肥类食品案件,抓获生产人员曾某某(女,26岁),销售人员周某某(女,26岁)、郭某某(女,30岁)等32名犯罪嫌疑人。现上述犯罪嫌疑人已被警方依法刑事拘留。目前,案件正在进一步侦办中。 // Guo Meimei arrested again, this time for selling weight-loss products with illegal ingredients.

Guo Meimei (Internet celebrity) - Wikipedia She became famous for showing off a rich lifestyle while claining an affiliation with the Red Cross Society of China // In July 2014, Guo was arrested for illegal betting on the World Cup.[7] Prosecutors said Guo had organized poker sessions at a rented apartment in the capital in March, June and July 2013 with about 2.14 million yuan at stake. A police investigation revealed she took a cut of between 3 and 5 percent on each game played. In court, Guo claimed she wasn't running a casino but just gambling. In Chinese law, the sentence for running a casino can be up to 10 years while gambling carries a maximum three-year term. The CCTV program aired last August claimed that Guo paid for her luxurious lifestyle, which included expensive handbags and luxury cars, by charging hundreds of thousands of yuan for sexual trade.[8] On September 10, 2015 Guo was sentenced for 5 years in prison and fined 50,000 yuan for running an illegal casino

China accuses outspoken scholar on Xinjiang of fabrication - AP The ruling Communist Party’s deputy head of propaganda, Xu Guixiang, made the accusations against Adrian Zenz in the latest of a series of news conferences aimed at deflecting criticism over China’s detention of more than 1 million Uyghurs and other Muslims in reeducation camps.

Police, Officials Raid Bible Study Group in China's Guiyang — Radio Free Asia Authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Guizhou have raided a Protestant house church, detaining at least 10 people for questioning, RFA has learned. The raid came amid a Bible study group meeting held by the Ren'ai Reformed Church in Guizhou's provincial capital, Guiyang, on Tuesday morning.

Xinjiang’s leaders must ‘optimise’ governance of region, Communist Party’s No 4 Wang Yang says | South China Morning Post During his visit to Xinjiang, Wang reiterated Beijing’s core policies for the region and suggested there would be some small adjustments to its security plans. He praised the “consolidation” of regional efforts to fight terrorism and alleviate poverty, and told officials to adhere to the sinicisation of religion and to guide Islam in Xinjiang to be more compatible with socialism. He also urged officials to adhere to the instructions issued by President Xi Jinping during a meeting in September at which he described Beijing’s policies in Xinjiang as being “completely correct”

Is China committing genocide against Uyghurs? Information void obscures Xinjiang conditions - The Washington Post Gene Bunin, a researcher who documents Uyghur testimonies, said he does not know of a single former detainee who managed to leave China in 2020. Coupled with harsh restrictions on Xinjiang residents communicating with outsiders, that means scant new first-person testimony for a year...Another Xinjiang expert, Timothy Grose, said that because of the dearth of new details, he recently ended a multiyear project to tally detention numbers in Xinjiang.

曲青山:党史学习教育的权威教科书 Qu Qingshan: the authoritative textbook of party history study and education With the approval of the CPC Central Committee, Xi Jinping's "On the History of the Communist Party of China" and "Excerpts from Mao Zedong's Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao's Expositions on the History of the Communist Party of China" were officially published when our party is about to celebrate its centenary and the whole party is focusing on the study and education of party history. As the learning materials designated by the CPC Central Committee, the publication of the two books is of great significance for the broad masses of party members, cadres and the masses to deeply study and understand the history of the Party, draw wisdom and strength from it, enhance "four consciousnesses", strengthen "four self-confidences", achieve "two maintenance", build a socialist modernized country in an all-round way and realize the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. // 在我们党即将迎来百年华诞、全党正集中开展党史学习教育之际,经党中央批准,习近平《论中国共产党历史》《毛泽东邓小平江泽民胡锦涛关于中国共产党历史论述摘编》正式出版发行。作为党中央指定的学习材料,两本书的出版,对于广大党员干部群众深入学习和了解党的历史,从中汲取智慧和力量,增强“四个意识”、坚定“四个自信”、做到“两个维护”,全面建设社会主义现代化国家、实现中华民族伟大复兴的中国梦,具有十分重要的意义。

China takes aim at corrupt cadres and officials in expanded Inner Mongolia campaign | South China Morning Post A campaign targeting corruption in the coal industry of Inner Mongolia has been expanded to cover all cadres and officials in the northern Chinese region, with investigations to go as far back as two decades. The blitz on coal industry-related graft began about a year ago but gained new momentum this month when President Xi Jinping told Inner Mongolian deputies at the National People’s Congress that anyone found to be corrupt would be held to account. // Hu Chunhua was Party Secretary of Inner Mongolia 2009-2012.


Foreign and Defense Affairs

Secretary Blinken and Secretary Austin’s Meeting with Republic of Korea President Moon - United States Department of State Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III met with Republic of Korea (ROK) President Moon Jae-in today in Seoul. During the meeting, they reaffirmed that the strong U.S.-ROK Alliance is the linchpin of peace, security, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and across the world. President Moon, Secretary Blinken, and Secretary Austin also discussed the importance of expanding cooperation to combat COVID-19 and the climate crisis. Secretary Blinken highlighted the importance of reinvigorating trilateral cooperation among the United States, Japan, and the ROK to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region and to address the global challenges of today and the future, including North Korea. // readouts from South Korea meetings not mentioning China like the ones from Japan did. This will please PRC officials

Joint Statement of the 2021 Republic of Korea – United States Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting (“2+2”) - United States Department of State another one w no mention of China

Secretary Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Republic of Korea President Moon Jae-in Before Their Meeting - United States Department of State Also no mention of China

Secretary Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Republic of Korea Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong, and Republic of Korea Defense Minister Suh Wook at a Joint Press Availability - United States Department of State Only the US side mentioned China

ROK: It's impossible to choose between China and U.S. - CGTN Both China and the U.S. are important for the Republic of Korea (ROK), said Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong on Thursday, adding that it is impossible to choose between the two countries.  Chung made the remarks in an interview after the 2+2 ministerial meeting with the U.S. side.

China-free US-SK joint statement shows Seoul's rationality, pragmatic consideration of geopolitical interests: analysts - Global Times Different than Japan's stance, Seoul refraining from openly provoking China is out of consideration of its own geopolitical interests, which also benefits the Korean people, Zheng Jiyong, director of the Center for Korean Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Thursday.  "It is not hard to understand such differences between Seoul and Tokyo." Zheng explained that South Korea has a deeper reliance on China in many fields including economic recovery, coronavirus battle and Korean Peninsula nuclear issues, which do not allow it to overly tilt toward either side between China and the US.

Russian foreign minister to visit China hard on heels of Alaska talks | South China Morning Post The Chinese foreign ministry said on Thursday that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov would be in China on a two-day visit from Monday at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on March 18, 2021 Xinhua News Agency: Could you share China's expectations for Foreign Minister Lavrov's upcoming visit you just announced? Zhao Lijian: Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov will visit China from March 22 to 23. As comprehensive strategic partners of coordination, China and Russia maintaining close interactions between foreign ministers is important for moving the bilateral relations forward. This year is of milestone significance in China-Russia relationship as it marks the 20th anniversary of the Treaty of Good-neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation between China and Russia. In this context, it is important for the two sides to step up communication to lay the foundation for the growth of the bilateral ties this year. During Foreign Minister Lavrov's visit, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will have talks with him, where the two sides will compare notes on the bilateral relationship and recent high-level exchanges, and share opinions on international and regional issues of common concern. We believe this visit will further cement the sound momentum of China-Russia relations growing from strength to strength and enhance the two countries' strategic coordination in international affairs.

Tufts University Will Close Controversial Confucius Institute | Medford, MA Patch Tufts will close its Confucius Institute after six years, the university announced Wednesday. The university's contract with the controversial educational program expires in September and will not be renewed.

U.S. joined by Russia, China, Pakistan in call for Afghan ceasefire | Reuters Just six weeks before a deadline for the United States to pull out troops that have been in Afghanistan for nearly 20 years, Washington sent a senior official for the first time to participate in regional peace talks convened by Russia.

US lawmakers reintroduce bill to revoke China’s trade relations status | South China Morning Post Citing China as the reason for the loss of US manufacturing jobs and accusing the country of forced labour, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma and Florida’s Rick Scott put forward the “China Trade Relations Act”, which would require the US president to approve regular trade relations annually. The bill would give Congress the power to override the president’s decision.

Ex-Foreign Office chief reveals Whitehall tussle over China policy | The Guardian A Whitehall battle for control of the UK’s China policy is under way between the Cabinet Office security directorate and the Foreign Office, a former senior diplomat has disclosed. The disagreement, described by Simon McDonald as unresolved, will give ammunition to those who claim that the UK’s policy on China remains ambivalent despite the attempt to set out a balanced policy in the integrated foreign and security review published this week.

Finland IDs hackers linked to parliament spying attack - AP Finland’s domestic security agency said Thursday that the cybergroup APT31, which is generally linked to the Chinese government, was likely behind a cyberspying attack on the information systems of the Nordic country’s parliament.

PNG should accept Chinese vaccines to tackle COVID outbreak: immunologists - The Sydney Morning Herald Two of Australia’s top infectious disease and immunology experts say Papua New Guinea should take up the offer of Chinese-made vaccines if they are safe, as Europe threatens to withhold vaccine deliveries and PNG teeters on the edge of a COVID-19 disaster.

Australian paper apologises for labelling Chinese-Australian businessman Peter Zhuang ‘pro-Beijing’ | South China Morning Post Daily Mail Australia ran two articles about Zhuang days before he ran in a Queensland state election that he lost It had used satirical comments Zhuang posted on social media to suggest he was influenced by and supported the Chinese Communist Party

Pakistan promotes Belt and Road port for Central Asian trade - Nikkei Asia Pakistan is offering access to Gwadar port, a strategic component in China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), to landlocked Central Asian countries in the hope of stimulating activity at the idle facility. Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan recently met with Abdulaziz Kamilov, the foreign minister of Uzbekistan, to sign bilateral agreements on preferential trade, transit procedures, customs cooperation and visa issuances.

China’s Combat Drones Push Could Spark a Global Arms Race - Bloomberg AVIC’s drones have two big selling points: They’re cheaper than comparable aircraft from producers in the U.S. or Israel—the other primary manufacturers—and China doesn’t much care how they’re used, says Ulrike Franke, policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. “China is willing to export armed drones to almost anyone,” she says. AVIC didn’t respond to requests for comment.

宋涛同肯尼亚朱比利党总书记图朱举行视频通话--时政--人民网 On the 17th, Song Tao, head of the International Liaison Department of the CPC Central Committee, held a video call with Raphael Tuju, general secretary of the Jubilee Party of Kenya, and exchanged in-depth views on enhancing inter-party exchanges and experience exchange and promoting pragmatic cooperation. Song Tao also introduced the study and education of party history being carried out by the Chinese People's Congress and the Communist Party of China.

Integrated review: Tories calling for a new Cold War with China are 'hotheads', says George Osborne Conservative MPs who have called the UK to take a tougher stance against China have been described by George Osborne as “hotheads” who should be “careful what you wish for”. The former Chancellor, one of the architects of David Cameron’s government’s “golden era” of relations with Beijing, hit out at backbench critics of the Prime Minister’s new foreign and defence strategy.

Pacific Century: Eric Schmidt Talks About the Great Sino-US Tech War (And How to Win It) | Hoover Institution John and Misha are joined by Eric Schmidt, former Chairman and CEO of Google/Alphabet and chairman of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. Eric discusses the ways in which the US can win the tech competition with China, why AI is the crucial technology of the future, the proper role of government policy, the divide between Washington and Silicon Valley, where the US fell short in 5G, building talent at home, and how to work with techno-democracies.

Kazakhstan, China eye bilateral inter-parliamentary cooperation Majilis Speaker Nurlan Nigmatulin spoke via videoconference with Li Zhanshu, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China at the initiative of the Chinese side, Kazinform has learnt from the press service of the lower chamber of the Kazakh Parliament...half of China’s trade turnover with Central Asian countries falls at Kazakhstan...The sides also touched upon the cooperation in e-commerce, mobile payments, the One Belt, One Road and the Nurly Zhol initiatives, AI, healthcare, agriculture, trade, and investment

Bids by Chinese and other companies for Pacific cable no longer valid - Nikkei Asia The bidding process was held last year for a project to connect Micronesia, Kiribati and Nauru with an optical cable owned by a consortium of carriers from the three countries, with funding from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. The cost for the project is estimated at $54.45 million, according to the World Bank...Huawei Marine told Nikkei, "We have been officially notified" and called the cancellation "regrettable." While details on the decision remain unclear, it appears that Japan, the U.S. and Australia, wary of orders from Chinese companies, had requested the three island countries and the World Bank to review the bids.


Hong Kong and Macao

Hong Kong ‘extra cautious’ over museum set to show Ai Weiwei’s work | Financial Times $$ Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s leader, has said officials will be “extra cautious” to ensure the city’s new M+ Museum of visual culture does not undermine national security, as China cracks down on freedom of expression in the territory. The Herzog & de Meuron-designed M+ Museum was set to feature the work of Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei after one of the world’s most prolific collectors of contemporary Chinese art, Uli Sigg, donated the majority of his collection to Hong Kong.

After the protests - China is not just shackling Hong Kong, it is remaking it | Briefing | The Economist Western critics focus on the blow that the new election law lands on pro-democracy parties. Chinese observers are equally interested in its changes to the Election Committee, which will give Beijing-appointed members the power to dilute the influence of the property tycoons. “It’s shameful for an economy as rich as Hong Kong to have that many people living without basic human dignity in terms of housing conditions. And that sentiment is shared extensively in Beijing, in the leadership,” says the mainland financier. He predicts a campaign to build large amounts of public rented housing. This could be facilitated by forcing local tycoons to release some of the territory’s copious undeveloped land, a resource they are accused of hoarding so as to increase the value of their property holdings by creating scarcity.

GLOBALink | HK business magnate says improving electoral system crucial for HK's future - Xinhua Why does Allan Zeman, Chairman of Lan Kwai Fong Group, say "patriots governing Hong Kong" is crucial for Hong Kong's future?


Tech and Media

Netizens applaud Chinese authorities move to limit broadcast of programs featuring immoral entertainers - Global Times China's National Radio and Television Administration published a draft regulation on Tuesday that includes an article limiting the broadcast of programs featuring entertainers who have committed illegal or immoral acts. The move has been applauded by Chinese netizens, who have lamented the frequency of recent scandals involving Chinese entertainers, such as Zheng Shuang's surrogacy scandal.

Yicai - SMIC to Build USD2.4 Billion Chip Plant With Shenzhen's Gov't Semiconductor Manufacturing International, China's biggest semiconductor maker, will team up with partners to build a USD2.4 billion plant in Shenzhen to meet rising demand. Shenzhen government's investment institution and a third-party investor will form a joint venture for the project that will produce 28-nanometer integrated circuit chips and above, the Shanghai-headquartered firm said in a statement yesterday. The project is expected to be ready next year.

China's 'private traffic obsession' - Protocol — The people, power and politics of tech "Private domain traffic," or siyu liuliang (私域流量), is a term that's enamored Chinese tech CEOs over the past two years as the country's internet growth approaches a natural limit. With overall internet penetration at 70%, upstarts and tech giants alike are increasingly focused on turning casual users into dedicated ones; that is, capturing "public traffic" and turning it into "private traffic." Private traffic can come from users dedicated to a company's app, or from followers of an influencer's personal livestreaming channels. A U.S. equivalent might be newsletter subscriber

How tech workers feel about China, AI and Big Tech’s tremendous power - Protocol — The people, power and politics of tech Fifty-six percent of respondents said they agree that U.S. restrictions on Chinese technology companies have gone too far, while 28% said they're neutral on it. And 60% agreed that U.S. tech companies should work more closely with Chinese tech companies. Ultimately, a majority of respondents said they believe the future of the tech industry is at stake, with 58% agreeing that a cold war with China could "cripple U.S. tech companies." There are limits to their openness to Chinese tech, however — 46% said they agree Chinese telecom company Huawei should be banned from the U.S.


Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

The Leadership of Xi Jinping: A Dengist Perspective: Journal of Contemporary China: Vol 0, No 0 Ezra Vogel's last article // This article compares Xi Jinping with Deng Xiaoping from two perspectives: first, how their differing backgrounds influenced how they played the role. Second, how the situation of China in 1978 when Deng became the top leader differed from the situation in 2013 when Xi became the top leader and how this influenced the way they played their role.

Body of missing ‘glacier chaser’ influencer Wang Xiangjun who documented impacts of climate change found by police in Tibet | South China Morning Post Tibetan police announced they believe they have found the body of internet influencer “glacier chaser” Wang Xiangjun, who went missing while visiting a glacier last year.  Local police in Lhari County revealed a body was found on Sunday in a notice posted today on Wechat.

常州一工地发现古墓群未上报,大量文物遭盗卖,已追回3519件_腾讯新闻 In March 2020, ancient tombs were found on a construction site in Changzhou. The construction party concealed this situation in order not to affect the progress of the project. As a result, workers secretly hid cultural relics, and criminal gangs who stole and sold cultural relics sneaked in, and a large number of cultural relics were stolen and sold ... After careful investigation, Changzhou police promptly detected this mega-stealing cultural relics case and arrested 24 suspects involved in the case


Energy, Environment, Science and Health

China's share of new wind power tops 90% of region's total in 2020 - Nikkei Asia China installed a record 52 gigawatts of new wind power capacity in 2020, driving global growth in renewable energy, according to data from the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), a Brussels-based trade association.

China's Yunnan vows ecological 'security barrier' to limit disease risks | Reuters Believed by many to be the source of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the province aims to build a “southwest ecological security barrier for the motherland,” vice governor Qiu Jiang said at China’s national session of parliament on March 6. It has already put nearly a third of its territory behind an “ecological protection red line” that restricts human activities. Much of that is in Xishuangbanna on the border with Laos and Myanmar. It’s the home of China’s last surviving elephant community, located in a sliver of forest about 5 miles from the Mekong river.


Jobs and Events

Webinar Registration - Disenfranchised: The Rise and Fall of Industrial Citizenship in China - Mar 24, 2021 12:00 PM Professor Joel Andreas will discuss his latest book, Disenfranchised: The Rise and Fall of Industrial Citizenship in China...Drawing on a decade of field research, including interviews with both factory workers and managers, Professor Andreas traces the changing political status of workers inside Chinese factories from 1949 to the present, carefully analyzing how much power they have actually had to shape their working conditions.

U.S. Investment in China's Capital Markets and Military-Industrial Complex | U.S.- CHINA | ECONOMIC and SECURITY REVIEW COMMISSION Friday, March 19, 2021


Education

Pinduoduo Founder Huang’s Foundation Donates $100 Million to Alma Mater Zhejiang - Bloomberg Pinduoduo founder Colin Huang’s Starry Night Foundation has pledged $100 million to Zhejiang University to support fundamental research in biomedical science, agriculture and food.


Rural and Agricultural Issues

农业农村部:生猪生产稳步恢复 猪肉价格连续7周回落_经济_宏观频道首页_财经网 - CAIJING.COM.CN Pork prices have been falling for seven consecutive weeks as production has picked up pace. The Ministry of Agriculture said it will strengthen policy coordination and steady production to prevent price fluctuations.

China Ramps Up Farm Imports to Cover Domestic Food Shortages - Bloomberg China has been scooping up record amounts of corn and soybeans from overseas to feed the world’s largest hog herd, which is recovering from African swine fever. The country faces shortages of farm commodities because of a lack of productive farmland and increasing demand from a more affluent population, and is trying to boost yields and reduce wastage.