Coal is back this winter; Human Rights; IMF Report, Counter-espionage law; Buy An Endangered Bird On Taobao - Sinocism-12.07.17

Happy Thursday...There is nothing more to report from Zheng Zeguang's visit to DC. So far Sinocism is the only place to mention his visit, still seems quite important to me.

There is temporary quiet from the White House about new sanctions against China or North Korea, despite President Trump’s promise eight days ago. According to the White House schedule Ambassador John Bolton, one of the leading proponents of regime change in North Korea, is meeting President Trump on Friday. That will get Beijing's attention.

AP reports that :

North Korea says a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula has become a matter of when, not if, as it continued to lash out at a massive joint military exercise between the United States and South Korea involving hundreds of advanced warplanes.

In comments attributed to an unnamed Foreign Ministry spokesman, North Korea also claimed high-ranked U.S. officials, including CIA Director Mike Pompeo, have further confirmed American intent for war with a series of “bellicose remarks.”

If you feel the need for distraction in the face of the North Korea mess, do watch this music video The Belt and Road, Sing Along on YouTube, from New China TV.

I have often wondered if long-term exposure to CCP propaganda has the same effect on the brain as the excessive use of hallucinogens. This video does not dissuade me from that hypothesis.

Thanks for reading.


 The Essential Eight

1. Breathe clean air or don't freeze? Coal Ban loosened to allow heating

Comment: What a mess, makes the government look incompetent and poorly coordinated, even if they intentions are good.

China U-turns on coal ban amid growing outcry over numbers left freezing in winter cold | South China Morning Post:

People’s Daily reported on Thursday that the Ministry of Environmental Protection had issued a “double urgent” letter dated Monday, telling local governments in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi, Shandong and Henan that regions which had not finished converting their power supplies to gas should continue using coal or other fuels.

The letter said “keeping people warm in winter should be the number one principle”.

For regions that have converted to natural gas or electric heating, local governments should ensure their supplies and prices remain stable, it said.

环保部:散煤治理未完成地区继续沿用燃煤取暖 

Farmers Freeze as Coal Cleanup Campaign Backfires - Caixin Global:

The aggressive push to wean rural farmers and small businesses off coal is part of a four-year clean air campaign announced by Beijing in 2013. But the latest order to slow down comes amid growing public dissatisfaction over the way the policy was implemented.

Earlier this week, an investigation was launched after students in Nanyawo Primary School in Quyang county, Hebei, were told to take classes outside in freezing conditions, the party-run People’s Daily reported.

The students had to sit outside in the sun due to a delay in installing an electricity-powered heating system, days after the school’s coal-fired stoves were dismantled, the paper said.

China’s Oil and Gas Giants Team Up to Increase Daily Natural Gas Supply in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region | Yicai Global:

After the pipeline interconnection, CNOOC’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) distribution station, which could only supply gas to Tianjin before this cooperation, can now sell natural gas to CNPC, thereby entering China National Petrol Corporation’s pipeline network for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. This can meet the demand of almost one million households for daily heating and effectively address the issue of shortage in clean heating in winter, Cnr.cn reported yesterday.

China’s natural gas supply and demand situation is still grim this winter, said a CNPC official. There is a huge shortage of resources. CNPC faces a total market demand of 81.3 billion cubic meters, but it can only supply 76.5 billion cubic meters.

China Winter Gas Binge Pushes It Toward No. 2 LNG Buyer Spot - Bloomberg:

China’s emergence as an LNG power is another sign that it’s entering what Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analysts called its “golden age of gas.” Government efforts to reduce smog by promoting gas over coal at industrial sites have driven a 19% increase in demand through October. That’s outpaced increases in production, requiring more imports and creating shortages in some parts of the country as winter heating demand kicks in.

"Dreaming of Warmth" - China's Anti-Coal Measures Leave Villagers out in the Cold | What's on Weibo:

There are more people on Weibo who criticize the anti-coal measures, comparing it to measures taken by the Chinese regime from 1958 to 1962. One netizen from Shanxi writes: “Isn’t this just like the people’s communes during the Great Leap Forward? In those days the pots and pans of people were smashed, and they were told to have their meals in the communes where they went hungry. Now you no longer allow farmers to have their coal furnaces and tell them to use gas while the installations are not properly set up, letting them freeze. It’s the same thing, it’s just a different era.”


2. More From The World Internet Conference

Ryan Hass was on the National Security Council under President Obama. Now he is a fellow at Brookings who just wrote the following on his return from the Wuzhen Conference-The U.S. can no longer ignore China as a global internet player :

The Chinese government is aggressively moving to attract international support for its vision for internet rule-making and management, while the United States government appears largely missing in action.

I attended the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen for the first time this year. Previously, I worked in the White House and was involved in decisions not to send high-level United States government representatives to the conference. I understand the argument for not sending high-level officials, because I helped craft it...

The U.S. government will have more ability to influence Chinese behavior, push back against Chinese actions that challenge U.S. values, and ultimately shape the terms of the debate on global technology developments by being a part of the conversation than by standing apart from it.

China’s Blurry Cyber Laws Give U.S. Tech Companies No Security - WSJ:

The cybersecurity law was the focus of a two-hour, closed-door session on the sidelines of this week’s state-sponsored World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, according to people familiar with the situation...

At the session in Wuzhen on Tuesday, about 60 representatives of foreign technology companies, business trade groups and others met Zhao Zeliang, who heads the Cyberspace Administration of China’s cybersecurity bureau, the people said...

At the end of the session, the people said Mr. Zhao promised that his agency would be more transparent in drafting the implementation rules, and that the cybersecurity law was intended to ensure the privacy and security of data—not a means to steal foreign intellectual property.


3. The Counter-Espionage Law

Beijing extends powers of state security agents under counter-espionage law | South China Morning Post:

The definitions of conduct punishable under the law have also been broadened under the new rules.

They include behaviour – such as using religion or cults to harm national security – that goes beyond standard definitions of espionage, namely the practice of obtaining information about a foreign government by spying.

The State Council considers “hostile groups” to include any groups that challenge the power of the Communist Party or the “socialist system”, according to the rules.

Foreign individuals or groups who fabricate or distort facts and issue information that harms China’s national security can be punished, as can people who meet individuals that harm national security.

Cheatsheet for new counter-espionage rules - China Law Translate:

Much of the new implementation rules is aimed at integrating other laws into the implementation of the 2014 Counter-espionage Law. A few provisions, however, expand the scope or range of of state security powers , some of which may prove important. No provisions introduce new limitations on the exercise of authority.

Most important is the expansion of the scope of state security powers in investigating non-espionage related acts of subversion. A new list in article 8 of the Rules goes far in explaining what situations the broad investigative powers apply to, including religious activity seen as threatening national security.

Counter-espionage rules stipulate exit, entry restrictions - Xinhua:

According to the 2014 counter-espionage law, the law could also apply to the work of state security and public security agencies in preventing and stopping acts that undermine national security.

Wednesday's document said that such acts may include organizing, plotting or conducting separatist or subversive activities, terrorism, and fabricating and spreading information detrimental to national security.

Acts that undermine national security through religion, cults or by instigating disputes among different ethnic groups should also be regulated, it said.


4. Does Xi's vision of global governance reform include undermining the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

Comment: This looks to be China's strategy, doesn't it?

China presents its take on human rights at global forum in Beijing - AP:

The South-South Human Rights Forum, drawing some 300 participants from over 50 mostly developing countries, follows a conference of political parties last weekend in Beijing also attended by hundreds of delegates, some of whom sung the praises of Communist Party rule. The gathering also comes on the heels of a twice-a-decade party congress in October, at which Xi declared that China now stood “tall and firm in the east” and had entered a new era seeing China “moving closer to centre stage and making greater contributions to mankind”...

“The Western liberal bastion is crumbling and China sees this an ideal moment to strengthen its own normative power,” said Jonathan Holslag, a professor of international politics at the Free University of Brussels.

Full text of Chinese President Xi Jinping's congratulatory message to South-South Human Rights Forum:

Following a people-centered development philosophy, the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese government have all along placed people's interests above all else, and worked hard to meet people's desire for a better life and improve respect for and protection of the fundamental rights of the Chinese people. The 19th CPC National Congress convened not long ago outlined an ambitious blueprint for China's development, which will give a strong boost to human rights development in China and make new and even greater contribution to the progress of mankind.

The development of human rights worldwide cannot be achieved without the joint efforts of developing countries, which account for more than 80% of the world's population. In the meantime, human rights must and can only be promoted in light of specific national conditions and people's needs. Developing countries should uphold both the universality and particularity of human rights and steadily raise the level of human rights protection. It is important for the international community to respect and reflect the will of the people in developing countries in the spirit of justice, fairness, openness and inclusiveness. The Chinese people would like to work in concert with people in other developing countries and beyond to advance development through cooperation, promote human rights through development, and build a community with a shared future for human beings.

习近平致信祝贺首届“南南人权论坛”开幕强调:以合作促发展 以发展促人权 不断提高人权保障水平

Comment: One of many cases to remember while consuming the latest propaganda from Beijing on human rights-Wang Jing 王晶 | Chinese Human Rights Defenders

Wang Jing was suffering from cancer in her brain and a tumor in a cranial nerve when police took her back into custody in December 2014. In April and June 2015, Wang’s lawyers applied for bail on medical grounds, but the procuratorate turned the request down, and proceeded to formally charge her days after the application was denied. On February 7, 2017, Wang’s mother, Sun Yanhua (孙艳华), visited her in prison, where she discovered Wang’s cancer had worsened and half of Wang’s face was paralyzed. Sun learned during the visit that Wang had been taken to a Jilin hospital for an MRI exam but she was not given any treatment afterwards, despite the doctors reportedly telling Wang that she needed urgent treatment. Wang had requested medical parole herself and the family have filed two parole applications, but authorities turned them all down.


5. Will China match opening rhetoric with action?

Comment: If you don't believe what the Chinese government says about human rights why would you believe its renewed promises of opening to foreign business? Seek truth from facts, not from hopes and unfulfilled promises...

China Says It’s Open for Business. Foreign Firms Find It’s Not That Simple. - The New York Times

“Chinese government statements reaffirming China’s commitment to providing a nondiscriminatory environment for foreign companies are always welcome, but need to be accompanied by real progress,” said Kenneth Jarrett, the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai. “The challenges of China’s regulatory environment — its opaqueness, unpredictability and basic problems of market access — make it difficult for U.S. companies to realize their full potential,” he added.


6. IMF report on China

IMF's Financial Sector Stability Assessment report on China's banking system-CNBC:

The first tension in China's financial system, according to the IMF, is the rapid build-up in risky credit that was partly due to the strong political pressures banks face to keep non-viable companies open, rather than letting them fail..

The second tension identified by the IMF is that risky lending has moved away from banks to the less-regulated parts of the financial system, commonly known as the "shadow banking" sector...

the third issue identified by the international organization is that there's been a rash of "moral hazard and excessive risk-taking" because of the mindset that the government will bail out troubled state-owned enterprises and local government financing vehicles

The report: People’s Republic of China: Detailed Assessment Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes- December 6, 2017 

IMF calls on China banks to boost capital after credit boom - FT $$:

The latest IMF assessment includes stress tests of 33 Chinese banks. It found that 27 were under-capitalised relative to what would be needed in a high-stress scenario, while noting that capital was adequate at the “Big Four” state-owned lenders. The fund praised Chinese authorities for implementing the Basel III standards on bank capital while calling for additional buffers beyond what those rules require.

China FSAP Outcome Reports Published by IMF and World Bank Today - PBoC:

Overall, the reports have presented professional and valuable assessments of China’s financial system and its recommendations are highly relevant in the context of deepening financial reforms in China. The 19th National Congress of the CCP and the 5th National Financial Work Conference have specified tasks of financial reform and risk mitigation, which are being earnestly implemented by relevant regulatory authorities. Meanwhile, we also noticed that there are a few descriptions and views in the reports that we don’t go along with. We believe, for instance, that the descriptions of the stress testing did not fully reflect the outcomes of the test.

Banks Face Tougher Rules to Control Liquidity Risk - Caixin Global:

“The growth of interbank financial transactions has meant that the impact of volatility in financial markets on bank liquidity has become more pronounced, and liquidity risk has become more contagious in the banking system,” the CBRC said in a statement on Wednesday. The aim of the new regulations is to “strengthen the liquidity risk management at banks and ensure the safe, stable and sound operation of the banking system,” it said, adding that the final version of the rules will go into effect on March 1.


7. American Wendell Brown in Chongqing legal limbo

Comment: Too bad no one got his case in front of President Trump last month. It is another scary reminder of what can happen when you fall into the maw of the legal system.

Locked in Limbo: The Curious Case of Wendell Brown - Sixth Tone:

When Antoinette Brown learned that three college basketball players were on their way home to the U.S. one week after being detained in China for shoplifting, she remembers feeling two distinct emotions. The first was relief that the boys wouldn’t face more severe repercussions for a moment’s poor judgment. The second was frustration that her own son has been locked up in southwestern China for over a year awaiting a verdict in his case — despite, she says, having committed no crime.


8. Buy an endangered bird on Taobao

Critically Endangered YELLOW-BREASTED BUNTINGS for sale online in China – Birding Beijing 北京观鸟:

First, this beautiful songbird, once super-abundant across its range from northern Europe in the west to Japan in the east, has been classified as “Critically Endangered” on the 2017 IUCN Red List.  This is the most endangered category and means that Yellow-breasted Bunting is just one step away from extinction.

And second, thanks to eagle-eyed Beijing birders, we’ve learned that, for around CNY 100-220 (GBP 12 to 25) per bird, it’s possible to buy live Yellow-breasted Buntings on Taobao.

It looks like Taobao has removed this specific link.

China to add endangered bird 'soon' to list: source - Global Times:

China is mulling including emberiza aureola, commonly known as the yellow-breasted bunting, for a revised list including a higher degree of endangerment, a department official told the Global Times...The bird's meat has about the same nutritional value as quail or pigeon

Jack Ma is the emeritus chair of the China Global Conservation Fund Board Committee and Contributors of The Nature Conservancy, so selling endangered birds on one of the Alibaba platforms is a bit embarrassing.


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

China Likely to Set Slower GDP Growth Target for 2018, UBS Says - Bloomberg That’s according to Wang Tao, head of China economic research at UBS Group AG in Hong Kong. She argues in a Dec. 5 note that policy makers won’t drop a numerical growth target altogether, though may set a range similar to this year’s at around 6.5 percent without repeating this year’s language that it should be higher if possible in practice. Policy makers usually convene their annual Central Economic Work Conference in December. The growth target is usually announced in March at the meeting of the country’s legislature.

Former Billionaire Steel Magnate Banned From Leaving China - Caixin Global Former steel tycoon Li Zhaohui – once the richest businessman in China’s coal heartland of Shanxi province—is under court order not to leave the country over unpaid debts after the collapse of his steel empire. Li was the chairman of Shanxi Highsee Iron and Steel Group Co. between 2003 and 2014. The company declared bankruptcy after its business slumped and its debts exploded when China’s steel sector suffered from severe overcapacity.

Industry Body Faults Domestic Ratings Agencies - Caixin Global The five domestic agencies are China Chengxin International Credit Rating Co. Ltd., China Lianhe Credit Rating Co. Ltd., Dagong Global Credit Rating Co. Ltd., Shanghai Brilliance Credit Rating & Investors Service Co. Ltd. and Golden Credit Rating International Co. Ltd. The audit came at a time when China’s central bank has decided to allow foreign credit ratings agencies to assess and rank credit risks of onshore interbank bonds, a policy first announced in July. Interbank bonds account for 90% of the trading of onshore debt, and are the only bonds allowed to trade under the Bond Connect program.

Getting China-US investment treaty approved will be tough, ambassador Terry Branstad says | South China Morning Post “I think that is the difficulty, that the administration has not made the decision whether to go forward with that. But at this point in time, I think it would be a very difficult task – both to get the agreement with China, but to get the agreement that would be acceptable to get the bipartisan two-thirds majority for confirmation in the United States Senate,” he said.

Sinopec sues as China loses patience with Venezuela - FT $$ One of China’s biggest state-owned oil companies is suing its Venezuelan counterpart in a US court, in a sign that Beijing’s patience over unpaid debts is running out as the Caribbean nation falls deeper into economic and social chaos. A US subsidiary of Sinopec is suing PDVSA, the Venezuelan state oil company, for $23.7m plus punitive damages over a May 2012 contract to supply steel rebar for $43.5m, half of which it says remains unpaid, according to court documents seen by the Financial Times.

U.S. Chip Engineers Charged in Theft Scheme for Chinese Firm - Bloomberg Liang Chen, Donald Olgado, Wei-Yung Hsu and Robert Ewald are accused of downloading data from Applied Material’s internal engineering database, including more than 16,000 drawings, and plotting to lure investors to fund a U.S. and China-based startup that would compete with their former employer, prosecutors said Wednesday in a statement. The stolen specs detailed Applied’s processes for high-volume manufacturing of chips used to light and electrify flat-screen TVs and smartphones

北京证监局对贾跃亭等采取责令改正监管措施 |  PingWest品玩 The CSRC is mad at LeEco's Jia Yueting and his wife, orders them to put things right. Good luck, the money is gone

China’s Billions Cannot Guarantee it a Free Ride in Pakistan - Bloomberg The move to protect some local industries comes as concerns mount in Pakistan that its strongest ally China, which is financing $55 billion of infrastructure projects across South Asia’s second-largest economy, was destroying domestic manufacturing by flooding the market with cheap goods. Pakistan is a key part of China’s Belt and Road trade initiative and one of the main land routes that links it to the Arabian sea through the port in southwestern Gwadar.

U.S. Scrutiny Drives Away Chinese Tech Investors — The Information $$ “We’re in a pretty tense moment right now in the U.S.-China relationship,” said Samm Sacks, who researches China technology at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. “What I’m hearing in the last week or so from U.S. industry in China is they’re getting a message of preparing for a trade war.”

China's Huobi will launch two bitcoin exchanges in Japan after Beijing's crackdown on domestic trading — Quartz Today, Huobi announced its comeback: the company said (link in Chinese) that it would set up two crypto exchanges in Japan early next year, through a partnership with Japanese financial group SBI. The deal represents a turning point for Chinese exchanges and wallet services that are seeking a second life in friendlier Asian jurisdictions, such as Japan, South Korea, and Singapore. Huobi will become the first Chinese company to launch centralized exchange services that allow trades between crypto and fiat currencies after the September crackdown.

Microlenders Choose Flight Over Fight - Caixin Global Two executives from a bad-debt collection agency said requests from microlenders, especially the small ones, have surged over the past week, and that some of them even doubled the fees for successful debt recovery. This could be a sign suggesting some lenders are throwing in the towel, one of them said. “From the cost perspective, small lenders are facing higher pressures from customer acquisition and debt collection, after the 36%-cap on the interest rate plus commission fee becomes effective,” the executive said.

CASS Report Warns of Dual Risks for Real Estate - Caixin Global The first risk is that property prices will surge following a prolonged government-mandated clampdown that subdued price growth, worsening the real estate bubble...The second is that the market will lose its long-held expectation that home prices will always go up, causing the bubble to burst and property prices to plummet. //  Comment: The real estate market is one of the most administratively distorted "markets" in China, does not sound like that will change any time soon

Ten Chinese banks oppose c.bank's new asset management rules - Reuters Ten Chinese joint-stock banks raised objections to new central bank rules to tighten regulations on the asset management industry during a close-door meeting in Shanghai last week, three sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters... The executives also said the rules on removing implicit guarantees for wealth management products could trigger redemptions, causing liquidity risks and increasing market volatility

China complains that U.S. is releasing negative information about trade relations - Reuters “Recently the United States has launched trade remedy investigations into Chinese products and has continuously released negative information,” said Gao Feng, China’s Commerce Ministry spokesman. “This has caused widespread concern among businesses in China and the United States, especially among U.S. companies that are willing to cooperate with and expand into China,” he said.

GM on Hunt for Chinese Battery Suppliers - Caixin Global The supplier search shows how the country’s efforts to promote new-energy vehicles, a category that includes electric and hybrid models, currently favor automakers that use Chinese suppliers, as they are so far the only ones approved to supply vehicles that can qualify for subsidies.

Court Freezes Another CNY100 Million in LeEco Assets | Yicai Global Cash-strapped Leshi Internet Information & Technology (Beijing) Co. [SHE:300104], also known as LeEco, has taken another hit as a partner of its cloud computing unit LeCloud Computing Co. (LeCloud) has moved a court to freeze the firm’s assets worth more than CNY100 million, a motion the court has approved.

China's Reserves Extend Rising Streak Amid Yuan Stability - Bloomberg The world’s largest foreign-currency stockpile climbed $10.1 billion to $3.12 trillion, the People’s Bank of China said Thursday, in line with estimates in Bloomberg’s survey. Better sentiment around China’s currency and the capital controls that have been in place all year have helped rebuild the holding, which fell below $3 trillion in January for the first time since 2011

周亮到任银监会副主席 | 金融百晓生_金融频道_财新网 Another CCDI official joins the leadership group of the China Banking Regulatory Commission. Zhou Liang is now a CBRC vice chairman, worked in Gaungdong, Hainan and Beijing, guessing tight with Wang Qishan. I take this as another sign that thigs are not going to loosen up anytime soon in the financial sector

 

Politics, Law And Ideology

Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive has a long history - FT $$ In carefully worded recent papers, a group of academics at Beijing Normal University point out that the country’s modern “discipline and inspection” regime is the direct successor of the old imperial system.  //  Can anyone send me the paper? Thanks in advance

China to further promote government information sharing and disclosure - Xinhua The 40 vertical information systems run by the State Council bodies will be made open to governments at various levels by the end of this year, which will enable the sharing of service information on some 500 data items, including the identity verification of natural persons and enterprises, tax payment certificate, real estate registration, and diploma certification.

Chinese mob blamed in huge pot bust - Chinook Observer Police seized thousands of marijuana plants and other contraband from more than 60 suspected illegal grow-houses in Pacific, Grays Harbor, Thurston and King counties last week. Investigators believe the grows belonged to a Chinese organized crime group that supplies drugs to the East Coast...the pot from these grows is most likely not being funneled into the states’ legal pot markets. Instead, the Chinese investors and operatives are probably shipping their product to the East Coast, where recreational pot is still generally illegal, and sells for a premium.

Wang Huning asks senior officials to firmly safeguard Xi's core status - Xinhua Wang Huning...made the remarks at the opening of a course at the CPC Central Committee Party School for provincial and ministerial officials to study and implement the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. The school will hold seven consecutive education courses for such officials from this month to April next year. CCTV Evening News report 省部级干部学习贯彻习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想和党的十九大精神研讨班在京举办 王沪宁出席开班式并讲话 

着力培养担当民族复兴大任的时代新人——一年来我国高校思想政治工作创新发展综述-新华网 XInhua on innovative efforts in political thought work at colleges and universities to cultivate a generation to take on the responsibility of national rejuvenation

 

Foreign and Military Affairs

In boost for national security, China missile firm domesticates computer network - Global Times The company's research and manufacturing departments have installed domestic processors in more than 20,000 computers to safeguard information and prevent manipulation by overseas technology monopolies, Gu Peng, director of the network and information security department of Institute 706 at the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) in Beijing told the Global Times on Thursday.

China Exclusive: Chinese helicopters aim for the high plateau - Xinhua A series of new helicopter models have been in various phases of testing their performance and capacity in plateau regions over the last month, according to the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). "As an example of military and civilian integration, helicopters are of strategic importance to China as it has a complex geological environment and great demand," said Chen Yuanxian, vice president with AVIC.

Indian drone crashes after entering Chinese airspace | South China Morning Post The Indian army said the drone was on a regular training mission inside “Indian territory” but had lost contact with ground control due to a technical problem and crossed over the line of control. The Indian army said it immediately alerted its Chinese counterparts to find the drone.

Why is China so worried about Trump recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital? | South China Morning Post As China attempts to expand its reach into the Middle East through its “Belt and Road Initiative” – a massive programme initiated by Beijing to build trade and infrastructure links across Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe, any turbulence between Israel and Palestine would be a cause for concern, Li Guofu, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies, said. “It’s not just that the Palestinians will protest, or even use violence,” he said. “This [relocating the US embassy] would stir up anti-America sentiment in the Middle East and fuel Islamic extremism, which would have a negative impact on the global counterterrorism effort.”

Caixin Global - Africa Takes a Seat in the ‘Made in China’ Workshop Twyford is one of a new generation of Chinese companies setting up shop in Africa, laying the foundation for what experts believe will become a major economic engine for the continent. Unlike previous generations of Chinese investment in the continent that were at least partly politically motivated, this latest is coming largely from China’s young private sector looking for growth opportunities and to escape rising costs at home. What they are doing is similar in many ways to what Westerners did in China back in the 1980s and 1990s, when many came to the country to make basic products that could take advantage of the low Chinese labor costs.

Learning to Be Local - Caixin Global This open-mindedness and willingness to interact with the local culture is typical of the young Chinese professionals now working on the continent, who unlike the state-owned enterprise workers that came before them, can communicate in English and are looking to work with Africa for the long-term. Young people like Zhou also prefer to work for private companies serving the local market, unlike their older counterparts who typically came to Africa to work on big projects for state-owned enterprises.

China’s Maritime Ambitions: a Sinister String of Pearls or a Benevolent Silk Road (or Both)? | Party Watch Initiative In short, there is overlap between the “String of Pearls” concept and the Maritime Silk Road initiative. The correlating nodes are due to their overall strategic significance along the vital transportation lines that both emphasize. China’s look westward too is likely a natural extension of supporting and ensuring its broader foreign policy goals, particularly in securing economic growth—a necessity to the performance legitimacy of its leadership. However, a study of the similarities and differences of the two point to China’s careful image crafting—likely in part stemming from backlash over its expanding regional presence and foreign media attention on the “String of Pearls”—and the possibility that facilities could be quickly flipped for military application.

Reaching Forty-five – China Heritage In December 2017, celebrations have been held both in New Zealand and Australia to mark the forty-fifth anniversary of the normalisation of diplomatic relations with the People’s of Republic of China in 1972. Caught between perplexity, yet far short of ‘knowing the will of heaven’, enthusiasts for the relationship are confronted with the increasingly nettlesome nature of The China Dream. — Geremie R. Barmé

Xi Jinping: TIME Person of the Year 2017 Runner Up | Time.com

Future Chinese aircraft carriers to feature J-20, J-31 stealth fighters - Global Times China's future straight-deck aircraft carriers with the electromagnetic launcher system will carry fifth-generation jet fighters like J-20 and J-31, Chinese experts said on Wednesday, following reports that Chinese first home-grown aircraft carrier is close to completing a mooring test.

 

Tech And Media

Toutiao is making fake news to train its anti-fake news AI · TechNode Bytedance has a different approach to tackling fake news: writing it. The AI lab that Ma heads has developed a bot that uses the company’s growing database of real fake news stories to generate its own fake fake news. It then has another bot for detecting fake news which is trained by analyzing its counterpart’s fake feed, and by drawing on a matching database of real news. “One is good at writing, which means this also helps us to advance machine writing, and the other is machine reading. These two can push each other to improve by using the label data and assimilated data through our algorithms,” said Ma.

Baidu Map Partners National Urban Planning Academy to Develop Xiong’an New Area, Build Laboratory | Yicai Global The map unit run by Baidu Inc. [NASDAQ:BIDU] has penned a deal with the China Academy of Urban Planning & Design, under which the pair will set up a laboratory and the latter will use the cartographer’s Big Data for free in order to facilitate planning of the Xiong’an New Area.

Alibaba May Shell Out USD300 Million on Stake in Indian E-Commerce Platform BigBasket | Yicai Global Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. [NYSE:BABA] is poised to buy more than a third of Indian e-commerce platform BigBasket for about USD300 million, the Economic Times reported.

Convenience or Obstruction? DC Residents Sound Off on Dockless Bikes - UrbanTurf The companies (Mobike, ofo, Jump, LimeBike and Spin) are permitted to operate their systems in DC and are not being charged...Bikeshare company Jump seemed to be the least-offensive bikeshare alternative to many in the audience. “Our bikes have a U-lock in them; all users are required to lock their bikes to fixed objects like racks or street signs,” Nelle Pierson explained to scattered applause, emphasizing that the integrated lock differentiates Jump from the other bikeshare alternatives. “It is an easy fix. DDOT could require that of all the companies.

Eurasia Group | AI in China: Cutting Through the Hype China is a rising power in artificial intelligence. This white paper, a collaboration between Eurasia Group and Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, a leading AI researcher and founder of Sinovation Ventures, provides an in-depth view of China's AI sector, detailing where it lags and where it is leap-frogging ahead of the United States in the most important technology race of the 21st century.

 

Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

PGA Tour signs deal to partner Chinese firm Shankai - SA The PGA Tour has signed a deal to partner with Chinese firm Shankai Sports to manage the operations of its China series for 20 years from 2018. Shankai, a Beijing-based firm, says its new venture is receiving a 300 million yuan ($45 million) investment from Yao Capital, a private equity firm co-founded by former Houston Rockets player Yao Ming, and U.S.-based IDG Capital.

For Chinese Women, Getting Pregnant Can Be a Fireable Offense - Sixth Tone In the first eight months of 2016, a large proportion of the 1,273 cases female employees filed with the labor arbitration office in Beijing’s Dongcheng District had to do with being underpaid or getting fired during the pregnancy, maternity leave, or breast-feeding periods, according to the All-China Women’s Federation. “Supporting the salaries and welfare benefits of a new employee who will be absent from the office for at least four and a half months is no small expense for any company,” explained Xu Rongxing, a human resources manager at a medium-sized multinational company in Shanghai.

 

Energy, Environment, Science And Health

Walgreens to invest 416 mln USD in China's top pharmacy chain - Xinhua After reaching an agreement with China National Accord Medicines Corporation Ltd. to become an investor in its subsidiary Sinopharm Holding Guoda Drugstores Co., Ltd (Guo Da), Illinois based Walgreens would take a 40 percent stake in Guo Da, according to the statement on Walgreens' website.

Elderly Couple’s Heartfelt Fight Against Alzheimer’s Goes Viral - Sixth Tone Smiling cheerfully at the camera, 76-year-old Cao Xuemei greets the over 20,000 subscribers on her livestreaming channel, “Happy Grandma”: “Thank you, darlings. Silly Grandpa is happy. His memory is improving.” Next to her stands her 80-year-old husband, Cui Xingli, wearing sunglasses and a floral shirt that matches his wife’s. He repeats her words, and netizens’ comments start popping up on the screen: “Hello, Grandma and Grandpa!” “Bravo!”

China to Ban 10 More Highly Toxic Pesticides | Bloomberg BNA Agricultural authorities in China are speeding up the phaseout of highly toxic pesticides, announcing Dec. 5 that another 10 pesticides will be eliminated by the end of 2022.

 

Education

Westminster School to teach Chinese curriculum in China - FT $$ One of the UK’s leading independent schools, Westminster, is to launch six schools teaching China’s national curriculum, including political education under Communist party direction, in a break with the way most other foreign schools operate in the country.

 

Jobs And Events

The Long Arm of China: Exporting Authoritarianism With Chinese Characteristics | Congressional-Executive Commission on China 301 Russell Senate Office Building | Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 10:00am to 12:00pm