Common Prosperity 共同富裕; Battle against financial risk continues; Afghanistan; Hong Kong
What’s the best investment strategy to profit from the creation of a socialist paradise of common material and spiritual prosperity?
That question should be near the top of the list for anyone considering investing into the PRC.
Xi, in his first publicized meeting since what we assume was the Beidaihe break, chaired a meeting of the Central Committee for Financial and Economic Affairs (CCFEA) Meeting. The meeting discussed combatting financial risks and creating “Common Prosperity”.
As this is the first meeting Xi chaired publicly since the Beidaihe break the signals should not be underestimated.
We had a good Sinocism discussion about “common prosperity” back in June when Zhejiang announced its demonstration zone.
Some will argue Xi is effectively putting the Socialism back in “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics”, and that the goal is something European-like, and certainly the inequality in the PRC is shocking for a country that calls itself Socialist and a potential source of significant instability. We should not assume however that everything coming in the quest for Common Prosperity will be benign. And this goal should also rid us of any remaining illusions that the Chinese Communist Party is really just a capitalist party with hammer and sickle decorations.
It is likely that not an insignificant amount of wealth will be redistributed as taxes increase and new ones like property and inheritance taxes are introduced and charitable “donations” are strongly encouraged. Examples will be made of those with “excessive” or “illicit” incomes, companies’ costs will go up and profitability will suffer, and political and regulatory uncertainty will be a larger overhang.
I would also not be surprised to see more pain for the online games and online video businesses as they figure out how to hew to spiritual common prosperity:
“It is necessary to promote the common prosperity of the people's spiritual life, strengthen the guidance of socialist core values, and constantly meet the diverse, multi-level and multi-faceted spiritual and cultural needs of the people
One thing to add about Xi's comments in July 2020 about patriotic entrepreneurs, Zhang Jian I believe died broke, Lu Zuofu killed himself in 1952, and Rong Yiren and Wang Guangying “donated” all their businesses to the government...
"From Zhang Jian in the late Qing Dynasty to Lu Zuofu and Chen Jiageng during the war, and then to Rong Yiren and Wang Guangying after the founding of the new China, and so on, are all examples of patriotic entrepreneurs.
Liquidations in the New Era will likely be limited to portfolios and bank accounts, but to deny the possibility that there could also be a much nastier political element to what is going on, especially as we are barely a year away from the 20th Party Congress, is to engage in historical nihilism. Tail Risk with Chinese Characteristics?
Then again, perhaps Xi is different and in the New Era the PRC is headed towards making significant progress towards creating a socialist paradise of common material and spiritual prosperity. We should have a much better idea of the answer over the next year.
Today’s Essential Eight Items:
Common Prosperity 共同富裕
Battle against financial risks to continue
Hong Kong Bar Association a bellwether for rule by law in HK?
Latest outbreak looks to be coming under control
Government takes a stake in Bytedance and Weibo
Fallout from the education crackdown
Blame the US for Covid
Thanks for reading.
The Essential Eight
1. Common Prosperity 共同富裕
President Xi Jinping Tuesday stressed efforts to promote common prosperity in the pursuit of high-quality development and coordinate work on forestalling major financial risks.
Xi...made the remarks at the tenth meeting of the Central Committee for Financial and Economic Affairs. He is also head of the committee.
Common prosperity is an essential requirement of socialism and a key feature of Chinese-style modernization, Xi said, calling for adhering to the people-centered development philosophy and promoting common prosperity while pursuing high-quality development...
As China marches towards its second centenary goal, the focus of promoting people's well-being should be put on boosting common prosperity to strengthen the foundation for the Party's long-term governance, said the meeting.
Rather than being egalitarian or having only a few people prosperous, common prosperity refers to affluence shared by everyone, both in material and cultural terms, and shall be advanced step by step, it said.
The meeting encouraged creating conditions that are more inclusive and fair for people to get better education and improve their development capabilities, as well as shaping a development environment that provides chances for more people to become wealthy.
The meeting called for establishing a scientific public policy system and a reasonable distribution system that benefits everyone with a focus on primary and inclusive projects that facilitate people's well-being and guarantee their basic needs.
Achieving common prosperity will be a long-term, arduous and complicated task that should be promoted in a gradual and progressive manner, it said, adding local authorities will be encouraged to explore effective ways that suit local conditions.
The meeting underlined efforts to properly deal with the relationship between efficiency and fairness, make basic institutional arrangements on income distribution, expand the size of the middle-income group, increase the earnings for the low-income groups, adjust excessive incomes and prohibit illicit income to promote social fairness and justice.
Hailing the importance of advancing balanced, coordinated and inclusive development, the meeting stressed that China should improve the socialist market economy, strengthen balanced development among regions and promote coordinated development across industries.
Basic public services should be made more equally accessible by increasing inclusive human resources investment and improving the systems of elderly care, medical security and housing supply, the meeting noted.
The meeting called for protecting property rights, intellectual property rights and money-making through legal means and facilitating the well-regulated and healthy development of different types of capital.
It also underscored common prosperity in terms of meeting people's spiritual and cultural needs. Meanwhile, the country should promote common prosperity among farmers and in rural areas, consolidate and expand achievements in poverty elimination, as well as advance rural vitalization on all fronts.
The meeting heard reports from the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and the Central Agricultural Office on solidly promoting common prosperity, as well as reports from the People's Bank of China, China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, China Securities Regulatory Commission, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Finance on preventing and resolving major financial risks and doing a good job in stable financial development.
The meeting pointed out that after the reform and opening up, our party profoundly summed up the positive and negative historical experiences, realized that poverty is not socialism, broke the shackles of the traditional system, allowed some people and some regions to get rich first, and promoted the liberation and development of social productive forces. Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the CPC Central Committee has put the gradual realization of common prosperity for all people in a more important position, and has taken effective measures to safeguard and improve people's livelihood, win the tough battle against poverty, and build a well-off society in an all-round way, thus creating favorable conditions for promoting common prosperity. We are moving towards the goal of the second century, adapting to the changes of the main contradictions in our society and better meeting the people's growing needs for a better life. We must take promoting the common prosperity of all the people as the focus of seeking happiness for the people, and constantly consolidate the long-term ruling foundation of the Party.
Like many Communist Party slogans, details remain vague. But officials and analysts who have tracked the phrase’s use say it is meant to convey the idea that leaders are returning to the party’s original ambitions to empower workers and the disadvantaged, and will limit gains of the capitalist class when necessary to address social inequities.
Pushing forward with real estate and inheritance taxes is a key way to stop the wealth gap from expanding, Shi Zhengwen, a professor at China University of Political Science and Law, told Yicai Global.
The ratio of direct taxes to indirect taxes in China is about 3:7. Shi said indirect taxes are mainly added to commodity prices are ultimately a burden on consumers, so the actual tax burden of the rich is lower than that of the poor, leading to a growing disparity in wealth.
It is necessary to increase direct taxes and cut indirect taxes, which is also the current direction of China’s tax reform, Shi noted
Two Zhejiang academics talk to Guangming Daily about implementing Common Prosperity - 【实践新论】共同富裕及其实践议程 _光明网
The problem of the rich and the poor is not only an economic problem, but also a social and political problem. Reducing the gap between the rich and the poor and promoting common prosperity imply the requirement of strengthening and innovating social governance. At present, we have eliminated absolute poverty, but relative poverty, spiritual poverty and institutional poverty caused by some institutional factors still exist. Relative poverty, institutional poverty and the comparison between groups are often hidden, and it takes a long time to identify and manage, so it is difficult to get rid of poverty according to the national unified standards or inter-regional cooperation. Perfecting the governance mechanism, improving the grassroots social governance capacity and the level of public service supply are indispensable to promote common prosperity.
A explainer of "Tertiary redistribution of wealth"
Jia Ruoxiang, director of the Comprehensive Research Office of the Institute of Land Development and Regional Economics of the National Development and Reform Commission of China, pointed out to the China News Service that Tertiary redistribution of wealth distribution is mainly aimed at some high-income groups, encouraging them to participate in some charitable undertakings, taking on more social responsibilities, and returning their accumulated wealth to the society for promoting social development.
A Study Times article from last year on Tertiary redistribution of wealth 第三次分配:内涵、特点及政策体系
Common prosperity refers to wealth being shared among everyone, rather than just a few people, according to the meeting resolution...
Xi said in a Communist Party Central Committee meeting in November 2015 that achieving common prosperity is the “fundamental position” for the country’s economic policy planning and development...
The Tuesday meeting also discussed building a three-tier income distribution system. Currently, China’s income distribution system is divided into three sections: primary, secondary and tertiary distribution. Primary and secondary distributions highlight the efforts of the market and government in promoting overall income equality, while the tertiary distribution, which officially became part of the system in 2019, indicates having citizens help increase the income of the poor by activities such as donations, charity and voluntary work, the official Study Times newspaper reported.
The Communist Party pledged in a 2019 plenary meeting to make more substantial progress in achieving common prosperity by 2035
Tencent understands the politics, announces it is investing 50 Billion RMB in a “Special Plan for Common Prosperity” 腾讯再投500亿元资金助力共同富裕
The head of a large private charity said pressure on the private sector had led to “a big jump in corporate donations”.
“It is high time the authorities address the income gap,” the charity executive said. “But most donations go to government-backed charity groups with little oversight.”
2. Battle against financial risks to continue
While the focus of most of the coverage of the CCFEA meeting has been on “common prosperity”, the leadership also made clear that there is still much more to done in fighting financial risk.
The meeting pointed out that the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China took preventing and resolving major risks as one of the three major battles. In recent years, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee, the Finance Committee of the State Council has promoted its work in accordance with the basic principles of "stabilizing the overall situation, making overall plans and coordination, implementing classified policies, and accurately dismantling bombs". The battle to prevent and resolve major financial risks has achieved important milestones, keeping the bottom line of no systematic financial risks, and effectively safeguarding national economic and financial stability and people's property safety.
The meeting stressed that it is of great significance to ensure the stability of the overall economic and financial situation. It is necessary to adhere to the bottom line thinking, enhance the system concept, follow the principle of market-oriented rule of law, and make overall plans to prevent and resolve major financial risks. It is necessary to lay a solid foundation for financial stability, handle the relationship between stable growth and risk prevention, consolidate the momentum of economic recovery, resolve systemic financial risks with high-quality economic development, and prevent secondary financial risks in the process of dealing with risks in other fields. It is necessary to implement the same responsibilities of local party and government, compact the responsibilities of all parties, smooth the mechanism, clarify the responsibilities, cooperate with each other, and form a joint force. It is necessary to implement the requirements of strictly administering the party in an all-round way, improve the supervision ability of cadres in the financial system, improve the digital and intelligent level of supervision, promote the punishment of financial corruption and the prevention and control of financial risks, accelerate the reform of key areas, and do a good job in guiding public opinion in the financial market. It is necessary to strengthen the financial rule of law and infrastructure construction, deepen the construction of credit system, and give full play to the basic role of credit in financial risk identification, monitoring, management and disposal.
Existing Huarong shareholders will likely see the value of their stakes plunge as the company recognizes losses on non-performing assets, two people familiar with the plan said. Warburg Pincus and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are among a group of investors that bought a $2.4 billion stake in Huarong before it went public in 2015.
Shengjing Bank said in a statement on Wednesday that Evergrande sold 166.67 million shares representing a 1.9% stake at 6 yuan each to two state-backed units of northeastern Shenyang city. The bank's board also resolved to support the local government to increase its stake gradually and "adjust the equity structure" to become a government bank.
Comment: This is a mess the PRC leadership leadership does not want so suddenly, there are lots of hot takes about what it means for Taiwan and other US allies, and lots of agitprop about why Taiwan should cast aside any illusions about relying on the US. I think it is too early to tell what it means for China, likely will have both good and bad ramifications, but I do think the unfortunate incompetence on display from the Biden Administration will be noticed in Beijing and factor into future calculations.
Wang expounded China's stance on the situation in Afghanistan, saying that facts have once again proved that mechanically copying an imported foreign model cannot readily be fitted to the use in a country with completely different history, culture and national conditions, and ultimately, is unlikely to establish itself.
Without the support of people, a government cannot stand, and the use of power and military means to solve problems will only cause more problems, Wang said, adding lessons in this respect deserve serious reflection...
the U.S. side cannot, on the one hand, deliberately contain and suppress China and undermine China's legitimate rights and interests, and on the other hand, expects support and cooperation from China, because such logic never exists in international exchanges
Chinese envoy to the United Nations Geng Shuang on Monday warned Afghanistan against becoming a haven for terrorists again and urged the new Taliban rulers to live up to their commitments...
"Afghanistan must never again become heaven for terrorists. This is the bottom line that must be held firmly for any future political solution in Afghanistan," he said.
"The situation in Afghanistan has undergone major changes. China respects the will and choice of the Afghan people. The war in Afghanistan has lasted more than 40 years. To stop the war and realize peace is the shared aspiration of the Afghan people and the common expectation of the international community and countries in the region."
“China has benefited from the irresponsible behaviour of [the US], which has deeply undermined the international image of the US and the relationship between Washington and its allies,” said Zhu Yongbiao, a Chinese government adviser on central Asia and professor at Lanzhou University.
Arkady Dubnov, a political analyst and central Asia expert in Moscow, had a similar take. “We can align our interests [with China] in opposing the US,” he said. “What is good for us is bad for Americans, what’s bad for us is good for Americans. Today the situation is bad for Americans and so it is good for us.”..
Fan Hongda, a Middle East scholar at Shanghai International Studies University, said that following recent high-level meetings, the Taliban “should now fully understand China’s stance”. The most important priority was ensuring that Afghanistan did not become a “hotbed” for terrorist forces that threatened China.
Xinhua - "The 'fall of Kabul' rings the funeral bell of US hegemony."
Phoenix TV: We also noted that the United Nations Human Rights Council will hold a special session in Geneva next week to discuss the human rights situation in Afghanistan and concerns over it. What is China's position on this issue?
Zhao Lijian: The situation in Afghanistan has undergone major changes. We respect the will and choice of the Afghan people. The top priority is to restore peace, stability and order at an early date and avoid as much as possible unnecessary casualties and prevent causing a large number of refugees. The safety and interests of Afghan citizens, foreign nationals and diplomats in Afghanistan must be respected and guaranteed. We hope that the Afghan Taliban will form solidarity with all factions and ethnic groups in Afghanistan to establish an open and inclusive political structure that suits Afghanistan's national conditions, curb all kinds of terrorism and criminal acts, and rebuild their beautiful homeland.
Facts have once again proved that some countries' military intervention against a sovereign state in the name of democracy and human rights has seriously undermined the sovereignty and territorial integrity of relevant country, causing serious damage to its economic and social development and leading to massive civilian casualties and displacement. These countries should immediately stop illegal military intervention and make concrete efforts to safeguard world peace and security and promote and protect human rights.
China’s statements suggest that it first wants clarity about the political future of Afghanistan and whether the Taliban will fulfill their security promises. Ms. Hua, the spokeswoman for the Chinese foreign ministry, said Tuesday that the Taliban should “pursue a moderate and prudent religious policy,” and “work with other parties to form an open and inclusive political structure.”
Even if Beijing decides to more actively support Afghanistan, it should do so only under the auspices of the United Nations and regional groupings, said Wu Baiyi, a research fellow with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
The US failure in Afghanistan is not simply about military power. The expansion of Western civilization was a war between the Christian world and the Muslim world from the very beginning since 500 years ago. It was not only a struggle for wealth, but also a battle of ideas and beliefs.
The withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan has a symbolic significance. That is, the use of force to transform or conquer so-called backward civilizations will no longer work because the world today is completely different from 500 years ago when the West conquered South America.
The author is a senior editor with People's Daily, and currently a senior fellow with the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.
the People’s Daily issued a post titled, “What Kind of Organization is the Taliban” (塔利班是什么组织) in which it briefly described the origins and development of the organization. The post suggested the Taliban had arisen as a group comprising “students in refugee camps” (难民营的学生). The Taliban had begun, it said, as a group of around 800 people, but then had grown owing to popular support. “Because it received the support of the poor,” the People’s Daily Weibo post said, “the strength of the Taliban grew dramatically.”..
The outpouring of critical comments on the post prompted the People’s Daily to delete the post about four hours after it appeared.
The online controversy was summarized in a WeChat article today called “People’s Daily Post on Taliban Flops in Face of User Comments” (人民日报发博塔利班 网民评论大翻车). The post, however, was deleted within 5-6 hours
4. Hong Kong Bar Association a bellwether for rule by law in HK?
People's Daily urged the association to draw a clear line from the anti-China troublemakers, otherwise, it may face the same consequences like the Bar Association.
The Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong urged the Hong Kong Bar Association in April to terminate the tenure of anti-China politician Paul Harris, chairman of the association, because he defended and glorified violence. The office also warned the association not to walk further down the path of politics or it risked going down an "abyss."
Carrie Lam, the territory’s chief executive, said the Law Society of Hong Kong, the professional group that represents its 12,000 solicitors, should avoid becoming politicised or face a “severing” of relations with her administration...
The Law Society is due to hold elections for five of the 20 seats on its council on August 24. There are worries in the government that pro-democracy candidates may be elected and give the camp a majority on the council.
“If the Law Society allows politics to hijack their legal profession, the government will … consider severing its relationship with it,” Ms Lam said.
“There is no absolute freedom of an individual anywhere in the world. You enjoy it in accordance with the law.
“In the past we have seen organisations and individuals crossing … red lines. In my opinion, the only choice at this time is disbandment.”
The Professional Teachers’ Union, which had more than 90,000 members, disbanded last week after the government ceased to recognize it in the wake of attacks by Chinese state media. The Civil Human Rights Front, which organized mass protest marches, dissolved on Sunday after the police repeatedly accused it of illegal operations.
On Wednesday, the largest Hong Kong organization to subsidize the legal costs of arrested pro-democracy protesters, the 612 Humanities Fund, said it would cease operations...
Hong Kong’s secretary for security, Chris Tang, said at a news briefing on Wednesday that they would be charged with “inciting” a terrorist attack.
The arrest has once again sent the message that everyone is equal before the law and that schools do not shelter extreme lawbreaking behavior, Tang Fei, a member of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
"While universities are not direct hotbeds of terrorism or secessionism, there has been a tradition of high respect for student autonomy in Hong Kong's universities, leading some students to abuse this tolerance and engage in suspected illegal activities for a long time," Tang said.
Insiders say figures with close links to mainland Chinese officials told union leadership in no uncertain terms that efforts at conciliation were ‘useless’
Decision to disband was also motivated by desire to avoid fate of Apple Daily, which saw several top executives and staff arrested
5. Latest outbreak looks to be coming under control
On Tuesday, more than 50 container vessels were queuing at Ningbo port, China's second largest marine centre, Refinitiv data showed, up from 28 on Aug. 10 when a COVID-19 case was reported at one of its terminals. Leading international shipping groups have warned their clients of delays and route adjustments. At least 14 vessels operated by CMA CGM (CMACG.UL), five Maersk (MAERSKb.CO) vessels and four Hapag-Lloyd ships have decided to skip Ningbo, while dozens of vessels are adjusting their schedules, the shipping groups said.
The daily increase of China's locally confirmed COVID-19 infections fell to single digits on Monday, with only six cases reported, showing the efficacy of the country's targeted and intensive control measures following the resurgence from the highly contagious Delta variant.
The nurse had not been to other provinces over the past two weeks or had any contact with other domestic epidemic-hit areas recently.
According to the local health authority, the patient has had two vaccine doses and before she was tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday she tested negative in all the nucleic acid tests she took once every three days since August 2.
Epidemiological investigations show that she had not left Shanghai over the past 14 days.
Doctor Zhang Wenhong wrote on Weibo that he believes people can get back to their daily lives when the fight against covid becomes more professional and becomes part of the new normal. He didn’t respond to the recent attacks against him and accusations he plagiarized his thesis. He came under a torrent of online abuse after suggesting China should learn to coexist with the virus and drop the zero-tolerance policy.
On Tuesday, the city reported no new locally transmitted confirmed cases and asymptomatic cases.
Since the latest resurgence began on July 31, the city had reported 138 locally transmitted confirmed cases and one local asymptomatic case of the novel coronavirus.
The patients had no history of travelling abroad, nor did they leave the region during the 14 days before they tested positive for the virus. They all recorded no traveling history to the country's medium- or high-risk areas for COVID-19 and had no close contact with any COVID-19 cases before, the center said.
As of 8 a.m. Wednesday, Xinjiang launched three rounds of massive nucleic acid testings in the prefecture since the three asymptomatic cases were reported. No positive results for the coronavirus have been found.
Airports around China are lengthening the amount of time some international aircrews and ground staff must spend in quarantine, after containment breaches sparked community spread of the highly infectious delta variant in several regions.
Some regional regimes will see airport workers judged to be a higher risk isolated for up to 28 days after two weeks of work. These represent far tougher restrictions than those currently mandated by the country’s national aviation authority.
6. Government takes a stake in Bytedance and Weibo
The government’s right to one seat on a three-person board of directors at Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. Ltd., which holds Chinese business licenses related to Douyin and Toutiao, raises questions about how much more influence Beijing can exert over ByteDance as a whole.
A year before making the ByteDance deal, the Chinese government also acquired a stake and a board seat in a domestic entity of Nasdaq-listed Chinese social media firm Weibo, according to China’s corporate records and Weibo’s regulatory filings...
According to Tianyancha, an online database of China’s corporate records, Beijing ByteDance Technology—a China-based entity established in 2012 when founder Zhang Yiming started ByteDance—sold a 1% stake in an April 30 deal to WangTouZhongWen (Beijing) Technology, which is owned by three state entities. Those entities are China Internet Investment Fund, controlled by China’s top internet regulator and censor; China Media Group, the country’s national broadcaster, controlled by the Communist Party’s propaganda department; and the Beijing municipal government’s investment arm.
Beijing began floating the idea of special management shares in the spring of 2016, circulating a draft proposal suggesting a 1% government stake in exchange for board representation. Some companies thought the plan would fizzle, in part because of the potential for shareholder lawsuits and the high cost of shares. A 1% stake in Hong Kong-listed Tencent, for example, would cost over $4 billion. Others privately worried that bringing the government onboard would jeopardize their relative independence and affect innovation.
Instead of selling a stake in the holding company that includes its overseas businesses such as TikTok, the firm negotiated to have the government invest in the Beijing entity, according to the person.
“The Chinese subsidiary referenced only relates to some of ByteDance’s China-market video and information platforms, and holds some of the licenses they require to operate under local law,” a ByteDance spokesperson said in a statement.
Comment: That is likely to be seen as a distinction without a difference
The Biden administration in June withdrew a series of Trump-era executive orders that sought to ban new downloads of WeChat and TikTok.
"Beijing’s aggressiveness makes clear that the regime sees TikTok as an extension of the party-state, and the U.S. needs to treat it that way," Rubio said in a statement.
7. Fallout from the education crackdown
For primary and junior high school, no new licenses will be granted to institutions for curricular tutoring, and currently qualified institutions are not allowed to arrange classes on weekends, public holidays, or during the winter and summer vacations, according to a press conference held on Tuesday.
Beijing authorities said free online tutoring services should be provided.
Schools will also offer more extracurricular activities, and students are encouraged to play more sports...
Beijing officials said at the Tuesday press conference that 90 percent of employees at after-school tutoring firms are under 35, and 80 percent received undergraduate or higher education. The city has divided the affected people into four categories - teaching, support staff, management and sales - and helped match them up with some 90,000 jobs.
Comment: The willingness to cause so many job losses when employment is already a problem is another sign of how much a priority this crackdown is for Xi
On top of all the recent new regulations for tutoring firms, the Beijing government also asked all the tutoring agencies to set up party cells, which would play the role of “combat fortress” in thoroughly implementing CCP instructions.
Within hours of GoGoKid’s announcement to shut down, parents in China and tutors in America began scrambling to find one another. Parents in China set up virtual private networks to log onto Facebook, which is typically blocked in the country, and join private groups of GoGoKid teachers, searching for their child’s tutors by sharing screenshots from the app and listing usernames. Tutors, in turn, downloaded WeChat and listed themselves under the names they go by on GoGoKid (Quinones Robinson, for example, is “Teacher Edith”). Everyone, it seemed, was frantic and desperate to be reunited after their GoGoKid accounts suddenly went dark.
8. Blame the US for Covid
Comment: Among the more sophisticated efforts in this intensifying campaign to blame the US for Covid -Conspiracy theory or reasonable skepticism? Why we should demand an investigation into US labs for origins of COVID-19 - Global Times
While more than 25 million Chinese netizens have signed to appeal for an investigation to the Fort Detrick biological laboratory in the US, some American media outlets have stood up to make charges that doubts to Fort Detrick on the origins of the COVID-19 are "conspiracy theories."
However, the Global Times reporters have found a series of well-documented clues and facts from a large number of academic papers and public reports in the US media, which raise doubts about Fort Detrick.
Let's start with Ralph Baric, an American scientist who is called the "Coronavirus Hunter."..
In 2013, when the team of Shi Zhengli, a scientist at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Central China's Hubei Province, detected the genome of a new coronavirus from a bat cave in Southwest China's Yunnan Province, Baric approached her, hoping to obtain the genetic data for research.
Shi generously shared her findings with Baric. With his virus modification technique, in his laboratory in the US, Baric and his team created a brand-new coronavirus that can infect humans, according to the MIT Technology Review.
The international community clearly views the US, which has been hyping up the "lab-leak theory" and engaging in groundless attacks against China, as a major suspect responsible for leaking of COVID-19, one insider told the Global Times.
With a more [mature] environment of lab virus synthesizing and operation, as well as virus leakage cases in history, COVID-19 was obviously more likely leaked from US labs if the lab leak claim is true, said a Chinese biosecurity specialist Li (pseudonym), who works at a research institute in East China.
"We appeal to the WHO to put US labs, including the one located at UNC, into its second phase of investigation," Li told the Global Times.
Business, Economy and Trade
China to cap how much ride-hailing platforms can take from drivers | Reuters Speaking at a State Council briefing, Ministry of Transport official Li Huaqiang said that in response to issues such as arbitrary pricing, driver fatigue and “excessively high” ride takings, the body and other authorities will issue a guidance to better improve working conditions for drivers, according to a transcript. // 交通运输部：要求网约车平台设定抽成比例上限 _中国经济网——国家经济门户
Xu Hongcai, Vice Minister of Finance: Actively and steadily promote real estate tax legislation and reform -财政部副部长许宏才：积极稳妥推进房地产税立法和改革_凤凰网 // Comment: A proper real estate tax would be an important measure to help with wealth redistribution, perhaps Xi's push for common prosperity will finally give the political impetus to passing the long-mooted property tax, but a broad property tax would hit many middle class homeowners as well
China Unveils New Rules Targeting Anticompetitive Practices by Internet Companies - WSJ The guidelines, released by China’s State Administration for Market Regulation on Tuesday, include a detailed list of prohibited behaviors that regulators said could harm internet users and limit market competition, including controlling user traffic, blocking competitors’ products and discriminatory pricing.
Yicai - China’s Urban Jobless Rate Edges Up in July as College Grads Seek Work More than nine million college students graduated in June and July to seek jobs, so the unemployment rate for those aged between 16 and 24 was 16.2 percent, versus 15.4 percent at the end of June, according to Yao Kai and Zhang Chenggang, academics at Fudan University and Capital University of Economics and Business.
Tencent profits jump 29% despite China’s regulatory crackdown | Financial Times $$ Under rising scrutiny from Beijing, chief executive Pony Ma noted the company’s social contributions. “We are increasingly deploying our technologies and expertise to help SMEs, public services [and] corporations collaborate internally and connect with their users externally, which we believe contributes to the real economy and to society at large,” he said in a statement to Hong Kong’s stock exchange.
Tencent Warns of More China Tech Curbs After Growth Sputters - Bloomberg Executives on Wednesday reiterated an earlier call for the entire industry to evaluate more restrictions on gaming and spending by minors. The company, which has already reduced daily gaming time for children, said players under 16 accounted for 2.6% of its gross receipts in the second quarter, with those under 12 making up just 0.3%.
Aberdeen’s Young Adds Tencent, Keeps China Bets During Selloff - Bloomberg Veteran fund manager Hugh Young said his firm bought the dip in Tencent Holdings Ltd. and kept most of its other big-tech holdings in China largely unchanged during the recent selloff on expectations these stocks will emerge as winners despite policy crackdowns...“I don’t think anything strategic has changed” in China and regulations will benefit the responsible players, he said in a video interview. “We have topped up with Tencent,” adding to what already was a large holding in the sector.
Americans Turn Against China Stocks as Crackdown Angst Deepens - Bloomberg This is a huge turnaround from earlier in 2021, when global investors pumped more money into the country’s domestic equities than any time in history and the MSCI China Index rallied to a 27-year high. Now global fund managers are grappling with trillion-dollar losses as China’s government targets industries that threaten its goal for “common prosperity.”
Hedge Funds Blindsided by China Risk With New Warning - Bloomberg 13F filings from recent days demonstrate that even some of the biggest and brightest money managers didn’t anticipate China’s sweeping crackdown on everything from large technology firms to for-profit tutoring companies. On Monday, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler issued his most direct warning yet about the risks of investing in Chinese companies.
Shorting Chinese stocks is the third most crowded trade in wake of Beijing's crackdown, fund managers tell BofA | Markets Insider Bank of America's monthly survey, published Tuesday, found that fund managers think "short China stocks" was the third most-crowded trade in August after barely registering in July...The BofA survey also showed that fund managers now rank Chinese policy as one of the top five "tail risks" to markets, despite saying they weren't concerned about it in July.
Huawei woes hide ‘toothless’ US export controls against Chinese tech | Financial Times $$ Commerce has put more than 250 Chinese companies on the list, most of them over the past two years. But the department continues to issue export licences for selling to some of them and others have found loopholes. “For many of these Chinese companies there are no consequences at all — you could say that this part of US export controls is toothless,” said an industry insider //Comment: The tech firms' lobbyists are earning their paychecks
汽车芯片持续短缺 监管层严查串通涨价等违法行为_手机搜狐网 The shortage of car chips has led Great Wall Motors, a Chinese automobile maker, to delay its delivery time by three to five months, in a sign of the predicament facing many Chinese car producers. In July, car sales in China dropped 15.5% compared to the same period last year.
央行等六部门联合发布《关于推动公司信用类债券市场改革开放高质量发展的指导意见》-新闻-上海证券报·中国证券网 China is seeking to prohibit the repurchasing of corporate bonds through intermediaries, a practice called 结构性发债, in a move intended to align bond policy with macro economic goals, six ministries including China’s central bank said in a guiding opinion issued this week. In essence,结构性发债 is a way of leveraging to shore up corporate borrowing that could increase default risks. Over the years, many companies have used lower-rated company bonds as collateral to secure borrowing.
Chinese ecommerce sellers move on from Amazon - Protocol Many Chinese sellers' accounts have been banned by Amazon this year. How do you view that? Currently some sellers are panicking, but I don't think they should. There are so many platforms they can move to. I have always encouraged sellers to operate on multiple platforms at the same time. As an individual seller, you should know how to utilize your back-end capabilities — your supply chain, warehouses, logistics and management — for more than one platform. You can always learn how to operate on a specific platform later.
北京加强公租房资格复核及分配管理 多子女轮候家庭优先配租-千龙网·中国首都网 Beijing strengthens public rental housing eligibility review and allocation management Families on the waiting with several childrenwill be given priority
China’s Central Bank Targets Crypto-Linked Firms in Shenzhen - Bloomberg The People’s Bank of China’s Shenzhen branch started a “rectification project” targeting illegal trading of virtual currencies and “cleaned up” 11 firms allegedly involved in illegal activities linked to virtual currencies in a timely manner, the Shanghai Securities News reported, citing the regulator. It didn’t name the companies.
Pork Giant’s Shares Tumble After Father-Son Feud Intensifies - WSJ $$ The article alleged that Wan Long had pocketed large sums of money and evaded taxes, and claimed WH Group had engaged in fraud. It also accused Mr. Guo of causing the company to lose millions of dollars from foreign exchange hedging. Many of the allegations were picked up by Chinese media outlets.
The article - 万洪建：我眼中的父亲和万隆 After being kicked out of the company by his father, Wan Hongjian, former vice chairmen of the WH Group (who controls Smithfield Foods) wrote online accusing the company executives of money laundering, buying overpriced US pork, and watching anti-CCP videos on YouTube.
任泽平：生二胎三胎的主力是75-85年的，不能指望90后00后_经济 Economist Ren Zeping wrote on his WeChat that the Chinese government should roll out more policies, including cash subsidies, to encourage people to have more babies, because couples between 35-45 years old are the only ones left who are willing to have more children. Ren said China can’t count on the younger Chinese because they simply do not want more children.
China Looks to Be Defusing Government’s Hidden Debt Bomb - Bloomberg An analysis of local governments’ finances shows a difference of 668 billion yuan ($103 billion) between the amount of refinancing bonds sold in the first half of the year to roll over maturing debt and the amount of bonds repaid. That implies cities and provinces may have used some of the proceeds to repay off-balance sheet debt, according to Robin Xing, chief China economist at Morgan Stanley in Hong Kong.
China’s Social Security Fund Posts Highest Return in 11 Years - Caixin The fund reported earnings of 378.7 billion yuan ($58.4 billion) on its investments, 30% more than in 2019, the National Council for Social Security Fund (NCSSF), which runs the fund, said in its annual report (link in Chinese) published Wednesday. That represents a return of 15.84%, the highest in 11 years and almost double the annual average of 8.51% earned over the past two decades, according to fund figures. China’s benchmark stock gauge, the Shanghai Composite Index, jumped 13.9% last year.
上海二手房隐秘的角落：成交冰点下的“附加协议” - 21经济网 In Shanghai, the introduction of reference prices of second-hand homes — and the pegging of mortgages to the lowest one —has led some investors to come up with new ways to get around the rules. In order to inflate home value, some buyers look to package parking lots, even paintings inside the unit, into part of a home buying deal to drive up selling prices. Under such an agreement, buyers will be able to get a bigger mortgage.
Levelling the playing field in maritime shipping | Merics When COSCO, China’s gigantic state-owned shipper, attempted to take shares in the Port of Hamburg recently it reignited the debate about imbalances in access to European and Chinese shipping markets. It is considerably easier for China’s shippers to access European markets than the other way around.
HSBC Chairman Mark Tucker in Hong Kong, Says China ‘Too Big to Ignore’ - Bloomberg HSBC Holdings Plc Chairman Mark Tucker, speaking in Hong Kong after passing through the city’s rigid three-week quarantine, said the opportunities in China are “too big to ignore” even as geopolitical tensions escalate. “We’re moving to a new status quo in Sino-U.S. relations,” Tucker said in a video obtained by Bloomberg News of a discussion last week at a Hong Kong Academy of Finance event. “The interconnectivity is pretty powerful, and I don’t think it will get to a point where sides will need to be chosen.”
Chinese tech entrepreneurs grow wary of foreign funding | Financial Times $$ other investors, such as Duane Kuang of Qiming Venture Partners, say they have yet to see a noticeable change in preference for renminbi over dollars. “Dollars don’t necessarily mean US IPOs, as long as the HK IPO window stays open, it will remain viable to take dollars,” he said. While Qiming invests more dollars than renminbi, it has long had funds in both currencies. “Currency preferences have fluctuated back and forth over the past decade, over the last 10 to 12 months perhaps the preference for renminbi has grown slightly,” said Kuang.
‘Lay out the strategy’: Corporate America grows impatient on Biden’s China trade review - POLITICO “If the Biden administration wants to make the case that they have a different approach, it’s time to lay out the strategy they have promised,” said Anna Ashton, vice president at the U.S.-China Business Council, which represents more than 250 corporations that do business in both countries. “To the extent they’ve given any clues on strategy, those clues have not really suggested they are planning to diverge from the course we were on at the end of the Trump administration.”
Nio denies tampering with data after fatal crash - Caixin An obituary published Saturday on a public WeChat account named "Meiyihao" said Lin Wenqin, an entrepreneur who ran restaurant chain and other businesses, died in a crash on a highway in Southeast China's Fujian Province on Aug. 12 while driving his Nio ES8 SUV. The obituary said that the car's automated driving function, or Navigate on Pilot (NOP), was enabled when the incident happened. Lin was 31 years old. Lin's death once again raised public concerns over the safety of advanced driver assistance systems
432 Park Avenue Condo Unit Veiled by Mystery, LLCs TheRealDeal Records suggest Whitney Duan helped move ownership of two luxury units offshore...With nobody paying the $12.6 million in outstanding debt on unit 72A, Maverick Real Estate Partners has moved to foreclose on the Billionaires’ Row apartment. On Monday, the building’s condo board placed a lien on the unit, citing $78,000 in unpaid common charges. Condo board president Meir Cohen could not immediately be reached.
Chinese start-ups caught in US listings limbo | Financial Times $$ The Securities and Exchange Commission has also stopped signing off on Chinese issuers to price their deals amid the uncertainty from Beijing and turbulent markets as global investors have rushed to sell out of companies affected by a widening clampdown on Chinese technology groups. Companies that had prepared to list “are in a catch 22”, said a senior IPO lawyer at a US firm in Hong Kong. “The US disclosure requirements are about Chinese regulations, but that’s a billion dollar question. No one knows what the final rules will look like so they cannot craft disclosure.”
Evergrande on course to hit record number of legal cases | Financial Times $$ Figures from Tianyancha, a data provider, showed that Evergrande has been involved in 427 legal cases this year, compared with 436 over the whole of 2020. In the past week, 18 cases have arisen — more than the developer’s total in 2014.
Tesla Boosts China Public Relations, Legal Teams After Setbacks - Bloomberg The electric-vehicle pioneer is seeking to fill external affairs positions, whose responsibilities include government relations, in several cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Nanjing, according to a post on its official WeChat site. The company is also hiring more public relations managers in Shanghai, Nanjing, Shenzhen, Xi’an and Shenyang.
BlackRock calls for investors to lift allocations to China’s markets | Financial Times $$ “China is under-represented in global investors’ portfolios but also, in our view, in global benchmarks,” Wei Li, chief investment strategist at the BlackRock Investment Institute (BII), said in an interview. “It has the second-largest equity market, the second-largest bond market. It should be represented more in portfolios.”
China Evergrande Boss Steps Down as Chairman of Its Flagship Property Business - WSJ The chairman of Hengda Real Estate, the main onshore subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Evergrande, is now Zhao Changlong, commerce registration information on Chinese database provider qcc.com showed Tuesday. It is unclear exactly when the change happened. Mr. Zhao, a former director of Hengda who previously served as its chairman until August 2017, has also taken over as the company’s general manager and legal representative, replacing Ke Peng.
Chinese regulator pledges measures for commodity price stability - Xinhua China's top economic planner Tuesday pledged to closely monitor price changes of bulk commodities and take multiple measures to ensure price stability as part of efforts to alleviate burdens on businesses over raw material costs. These include boosting production and supply, timely release of reserves, strengthening coordination of imports and exports, and stepping up market supervision, said Meng Wei, spokesperson for the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
Politics and Law
总结党的历史经验 加强党的政治建设 - 求是网 Another issue of Qiushi, another lead "article" by Xi that is actually just a collection of quotes by him, this time on summarizing the party's historical experiences and strengthening its political construction
Li Keqiang finally visits Henan after the flooding - 河南暴雨｜李克强浚县考察画面提前曝光 保镖被聚焦｜多维新闻｜中国 据悉，中国国务院总理李克强于8月18日现身鹤壁浚县考察，画面提前曝光。
李克强来到郑州地铁5号线受灾现场说了什么 video of Li Keqiang visiting the Henan subway line where people died in the July flooding. In this clip he says officials guilty of dereliction of duty of malfeasance will be held accountable.
汪洋率中央代表团飞抵拉萨出席西藏和平解放70周年庆祝活动 参观西藏和平解放70周年成就展 亲切看望白玛赤林、帕巴拉·格列朗杰等-新华网 A central government delegation led by head of the CPPCC chairman Wang Yang arrived in Lhasa on Wednesday to attend the 70th anniversary celebration of CCP’s liberation of Tibet.
Personal information protection law under third reading, to prevent big data abuse, excessive data collection - Global Times Chinese lawmakers have come one step closer to rolling out the country's first law on personal information protection, in bid to introduce legal regulations on issues including mobile apps' excessive collection and abuse of users' information, as the Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, started its 30th session on Tuesday.
Regulation to strengthen protection over critical information infrastructure - SCIO The regulation for safe protection of critical information infrastructure was passed at the State Council executive meeting on April 27, 2021, and will go into effect on Sept 1, 2021, according to a State Council decree signed by Premier Li Keqiang. According to the regulation, critical information infrastructure refers to important network infrastructure and information systems in public telecommunications, information services, energy sources, transportation and other critical industries and domains, in which any destruction or data leakage will have severe impact on national security, the nation’s welfare, the people’s living and public interests
陈一新就《全国第二批政法队伍教育整顿指导方案》作说明-中国长安网 The 2nd round of the rectification campaign in the political and legal affairs system has launched. Targets of this round include central and provincial-level political and legal affairs bodies, which includes the central political and legal affairs commission, the Supreme People's Court and the Surpreme People's Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Justice. It is scheduled to last for three months. In this piece Chen Yixin explains the plan for this round.
重庆市高法院执行局局长张晓川接受审查调查————要闻——中央纪委国家监委网站 Zhang Xiaochuan, senior Chongqing judicial official, under investigation
China's Communist Party expels censor accused of corruption - AP Peng Bo had been deputy head of the Leading Group for the Prevention and Handling of Cults, a body set up after the party launched a sweeping crackdown against the Falun Gong meditation sect that it viewed as a threat to its authority. An investigation found that Peng’s “ideals and beliefs collapsed, and that he had been disloyal to the party, deviated from the Party Central Committee decisions on the online public opinion struggle (and) gave up on positions taken on managing the internet,” the party’s disciplinary watchdog body said on its website. Peng also “engaged in superstitious activities and illegally received large amounts of property,” said the notice, dated Tuesday.
The announcement re Peng Bo - 原中央防范和处理邪教问题领导小组办公室副主任彭波被开除党籍————党纪政务处分——中央纪委国家监委网站 经查，彭波理想信念坍塌、对党不忠诚，背离党中央关于开展网上舆论斗争的决策部署，放弃对互联网阵地的管理，公器私用、靠网吃网，对抗组织审查，搞迷信活动；违反中央八项规定精神，违规出入私人会所，违规接受公款宴请；不按规定报告个人有关事项；毫无纪法底线，大搞权钱交易，为亲属经营活动谋取利益；利用职务便利为他人在企业经营等方面谋取利益，并非法收受巨额财物。
China's top legislature starts standing committee session - Xinhua Lawmakers deliberated for the first time draft revisions to the Law on Scientific and Technological Progress and the Law on the Prevention and Control of Environmental Noise Pollution, and draft amendments to the Seed Law and the Population and Family Planning Law. The session reviewed a draft decision of the NPC Standing Committee on the addition to the list of national laws in Annex III to the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and a draft decision of the NPC Standing Committee on the addition to the list of national laws in Annex III to the Basic Law of the Macao Special Administrative Region.
Senior official stresses Party building at higher education institutions - Xinhua A senior Communist Party of China (CPC) official on Tuesday urged solid progress on Party building and ideological and political work at higher education institutions, with efforts focusing on the fundamental tasks of building virtues and morality. Wang Huning, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and a member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks at a meeting on Party building at higher education institutions across the country. // 第二十七次全国高校党的建设工作会议在京召开--新闻报道-中国共产党新闻网
少年习近平 - 知乎 The Xuexi Qiangguo app put out a new article named “Teenager Xi Jinping”, praising Xi and his family for their great virtues such as frugality.
China plans to issue digital driver's license nationwide by 2022 - Xinhua Li Guozhong, spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Security, told a press conference that over 1.95 million people have obtained digital driver's licenses since a pilot program was launched in the cities of Tianjin, Chengdu and Suzhou on June 1.
C China’s Hubei Echeng district to include people who do not receive COVID-19 vaccine without reason in personal credit record - Global Times In the announcement of the clearance operation issued on Sunday, authorities in Echeng district called on those without contraindications to complete their vaccination as soon as possible to minimize the risk of infection and build a universal immune barrier. Those who do not have a valid reason to receive the COVID-19 vaccine will have an annotation in their personal credit records, local media reported.
The Chinese Communist Party's Nervous System: Affective Governance from Mao to Xi | The China Quarterly | Cambridge Core Abstract - In its one hundred years of existence, the Communist Party of China has experimented with how to connect its narratives of legitimacy to people's affects. In this essay, I trace the conceptualization of gratitude, from its repudiation in the Mao era as a vestige of feudalism and imperialism to its return in the reform era as a re-verticalization of Party sovereignty.
Xi Crackdowns Look to Whip China’s ‘Lying Flat’ Youth Into Shape - Bloomberg The description highlights how Xi’s push for “common prosperity” and wealth redistribution is about more than just reining in tech billionaires: The flurry of rules and state-media missives targeting industries from after-school tutoring to online gaming and entertainment are also aimed at ensuring the younger generation -- some of whom are starting to embrace a minimalist lifestyle known as “lying flat” -- turns into motivated, patriotic and productive workers.
#MeToo Hits One of China’s Biggest Celebrities. The State Is Taking Credit - Vice Going beyond the normal scope of criminal justice, the Chinese government has started a massive information campaign to steer the conversation away from how women organized themselves to challenge the powerful. Instead, it has sought to turn Wu’s detention into a case about the moral decadence of pop stars. And by portraying itself as a government acting in the public interest, it is also trying to legitimize its arbitrary and opaque use of state power
Kris Wu Formally Arrested for Rape Charges, Shows Deleted - Variety A Chinese court formally approved the arrest of pop icon Kris Wu on rape charges on Monday — and Chinese streamers have swiftly responded by deleting the shows in which he appears...Official media and organizations have portrayed Wu’s arrest as a major victory and example of China’s strong rule of law, as well as a golden opportunity to call for a clean-up of toxic, money- and celebrity-worshipping culture.
Imprisoned Chinese citizen journalist not well, lawyer says - AP A Chinese citizen journalist serving a four-year sentence after reporting on the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic in the city of Wuhan is in ill health after staging a long-running hunger strike, according to a lawyer who spoke with her family. Zhang Zhan was hospitalized on July 31 and now weighs less than 40 kilograms (90 pounds), according to a message sent by Zhang Zhan’s mother to a group on Chinese social media
Foreign and Defense Affairs
Detainee says China has secret jail in Dubai, holds Uyghurs - AP The woman, 26-year-old Wu Huan, was on the run to avoid extradition back to China because her fiancé was considered a Chinese dissident. Wu told The Associated Press she was abducted from a hotel in Dubai and detained by Chinese officials at a villa converted into a jail, where she saw or heard two other prisoners, both Uyghurs.
Xi says China to expand cooperation with Iraq - Xinhua In a phone conversation with Iraqi President Barham Salih, Xi said China is willing to continue to support Iraq's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, expand bilateral cooperation in such fields as energy, electricity and transportation, and assist Iraq with economic rebuilding and social development.
《国际经济评论》王金强、黄梅波、崔文星：新冠肺炎疫情下全球主权债务治理困境及其应对分析（缩略版） Professors from the Shanghai University of International Business and Economics wrote in a new journal article blaming the West for manipulating the debt trap narrative and pressuring Beijing to do debt relief. They suggested that China get involved more in global governance to acquire more say in international development issues, and that China should do debt relief in accordance with its own budget resources. They also argued that China should set up more clear rules in handling debt restructuring for foreign governments.
Xi calls for steady development of China-Iran partnership - Xinhua He made the remarks in a phone conversation with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi...The Iranian side firmly supports China's positions on issues concerning Taiwan, Xinjiang and Hong Kong, and staunchly opposes certain countries using the issue of COVID-19 origins tracing as a pretext to suppress and contain China, he said. China's Belt and Road Initiative brims with strategic vision, and Iran is willing to actively participate in it, he added
Japan's defense spending on brink of breaking 1% GDP cap - Nikkei Asia Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga recently told Newsweek magazine that "the government of Japan does not adopt an approach to defense spending of keeping it within 1% of GDP." This echoed Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi's comment in a Nikkei interview in May that Tokyo will "properly allocate the funding we need to protect our nation," without worrying about a GDP ceiling.
Zambia’s election winner expected to push for 20 per cent cut in country’s debt to China | South China Morning Post Zambia’s election winner Hakainde Hichilema downplayed the country’s ballooning debts to China on the campaign trail but is likely to push for relief on taking office. Earlier this year he said a 20 per cent reduction would be a reasonable starting point for negotiations, saying “there has to be a haircut. It has to be equitable.”
Xinhua Infiltrates Western Electronic Media, Part 2: Relationships with News Agencies and Distribution Services - Jamestown This effort to contest the “discourse hegemony” of the United States and other democratic countries has led the CCP and the state media agencies under its control to seek out an increasingly complex, multi-layered network of business relationships with international news agencies and news distribution services. The aim of these efforts is twofold: first, to seek wider dissemination and greater acceptance for Xinhua propaganda material by repackaging it under the trusted name of another outlet; and second, to enmesh foreign news outlets in profitable relationships that will force a gradual change towards editorial lines more amenable to CCP narratives. The first of these, as demonstrated by the examples in this article, is unquestionably happening. Whether or not the second goal is realized will be up to the companies involved, and to the level of critical readership among their audiences.
08/17/2021 China MFA Press Conference CCTV: The study outline on Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy was released yesterday. Do you have more on that? Hua Chunying: The outline for studying Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy compiled by the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was published yesterday. The book is a comprehensive reflection of the original contribution of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era in the diplomatic field. It gives systemic elaboration on the historical background, profound connotation, theoretical undertone and brilliant practice of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, and provides an authoritative reading material to help officials and the public to study and implement Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy.
Mind the Gap: How China’s Civilian Shipping Could Enable a Taiwan Invasion - War on the Rocks assessments of China’s amphibious sealift capability have typically focused on its navy’s dedicated amphibious assault ships, and have largely discounted the ability of China’s civilian merchant shipping to contribute to an invasion — especially in its initial stages. This approach does not take sufficient account of the emerging and ongoing integration of substantial portions of China’s merchant marine into its cross-strait assault forces.
Beijing prepares to build airport on reclaimed land near Taiwan amid rising tension across strait | South China Morning Post Under the new document released by Fujian, a province across the strait from Taiwan, the new airport is planned between the islets of Dasha and Xiaosha, off the east coast of Pingtan county. Pingtan – an island measuring 392 sq km (150 square miles) with a population of 350,000 – is home to a pilot free-trade zone set up by Beijing in Fujian province in 2013 to boost trade with Taiwan.
PLA warplane enters Taiwanese military target zone minutes before drill begins | South China Morning Post Cross-strait tensions escalated on Tuesday with 11 PLA warplanes entering Taiwan’s air defence zone minutes before the island’s military was about to start a flight-level drill in the same area. The six fighter jets, two bombers and three surveillance aircraft flew into Taiwan’s southwest air defence identification zone (ADIZ) between 9.30am and 10.22am. The Taiwanese air force responded by scrambling jets to shadow the PLA warplanes, issuing radio warnings and deploying air defence missile systems to monitor their activity, the island’s defence ministry said.
Texas Senator Cornyn deletes erroneous Taiwan tweet blasted by Chinese media | Reuters U.S. Republican Senator John Cornyn has deleted a tweet in which he said wrongly that the United States currently has 30,000 troops stationed in Chinese-claimed Taiwan, a claim that spurred Chinese media to call him a "dotard."
Japan's LDP plans security talks with Taiwan's ruling party | The Japan Times The planned talks are being regarded as the ruling party version of a “two-plus-two” security dialogue between governments, the sources said. The talks will be held at the request of the Japanese side and joined by LDP Foreign Affairs Division Director Masahisa Sato and National Defense Division Director Taku Otsuka, according to the sources. Participants from the Taiwan side have not been decided.
China holds assault drills near Taiwan after 'provocations' | Reuters In a brief statement, the PLA's Eastern Theatre Command said warships, anti-submarine aircraft and fighter jets had been dispatched close to Taiwan to carry out "joint fire assault and other drills using actual troops". A senior official familiar with Taiwan's security planning told Reuters that China's air force had carried out a "capturing air supremacy" drill, using their advanced J-16 fighters.
Ryan Hass appointed Chen-Fu and Cecilia Yen Koo Chair in Taiwan Studies Ryan Hass has been appointed the Chen-Fu and Cecilia Yen Koo Chair in Taiwan Studies. He concurrently holds the Michael H. Armacost Chair in Foreign Policy Studies and is a senior fellow with the Center for East Asia Policy Studies (CEAP) and the John L. Thornton China Center. Hass has held the Koo Chair on an interim basis since April 2020.
Tech and Media
China rebukes 43 apps including Tencent's WeChat for breaking data transfer rules | Reuters In a statement published online, the regulator said the apps had illegally transferred users' contact list and location data, while also harassing them with pop-up windows.
Rift Forms on Didi’s Board Following Beijing’s Regulatory Assault - WSJ $$ After the listing, Tencent President Martin Lau and Alibaba Chairman and Chief Executive Daniel Zhang were surprised and furious when they learned that Didi was in trouble with the Cyberspace Administration of China, according to people familiar with the matter. Tencent and Alibaba are longtime shareholders of Didi.
In China, NFT becomes a discreet charm of big tech- PingWest Jack Ma, Alibaba's co-founder, is getting in on the NFT craze with his own money. In July, Blue Pool Capital, which manages part of the fortune of Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma and Joe Tsai, invested in recreation developer and blockchain firm Animoca Manufacturers for undisclosed amounts.
Kuaishou quits the US to tie down TikTok's rise in Latin America- PingWest Besides Zynn, Kuaishou also operates Kwai and Snack Videos for overseas users. In the beginning, to avoid head-on competition with TikTok, which holds a leading position in North America, Kuaishou entered Brazil, Mexico, and some Southeast Asian countries through Kwai and Snack Video and gained a strong foothold. Kwai has been downloaded more than 76 million times in the first half of 2021 in countries such as Brazil and Mexico, while SnackVideo built a following in markets like Indonesia and Pakistan.
Engrave Danger: An Analysis of Apple Engraving Censorship across Six Regions - The Citizen Lab Within mainland China, we found that Apple censors political content including broad references to Chinese leadership and China’s political system, names of dissidents and independent news organizations, and general terms relating to religions, democracy, and human rights. We found that part of Apple’s mainland China political censorship bleeds into both Hong Kong and Taiwan. Much of this censorship exceeds Apple’s legal obligations in Hong Kong, and we are aware of no legal justification for the political censorship of content in Taiwan.
Huawei vows to revive smartphone business, chip development despite struggles with US sanctions | South China Morning Post “Huawei will remain in the smartphone business,” said Guo in comments published on Tuesday on the firm’s Chinese social media accounts, including WeChat and Weibo. “We will eventually retake our throne in the smartphone market, while continuing to improve our chip-making capabilities.” Guo, without elaborating, signalled Huawei’s ambition to expand its role in the semiconductor supply chain, with the help from its domestic and overseas partners.
China regulator says livestreaming sales stars should speak Mandarin, dress well | Reuters China's Ministry of Commerce on Wednesday published more detailed guidelines and for the first time mentioned a preferred language. Mandarin is the official medium in China but there are also many dialects and ethnic minority languages in the country.
公开征求《直播电子商务平台管理与服务规范》行业标准（征求意见稿）意见 Ministry of Commerce proposes establishing a credit rating system for e-commerce live broadcast hosts and businesses to protect rights of consumers, according to a draft published Wed for public feedback.
Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History
Falling in Love With China’s Most Risqué — and Risky — Genre - SixthTone The author, a former writer of homoerotic “danmei” fiction, on what it meant to her, and why she stopped.
Death of Chinese venture capitalist suspected to be linked to mind control organization - Global Times Wei Meng, Principal at DCM, a global venture capital firm, has reportedly died after fainting during a training course on Saturday night, igniting heated arguments over whether the training program uses mind controlling techniques. Wei, 32 years old and mother of two children, died in the early hours of Tuesday, Chinese news site finance.sina.com.cn reported. She passed out in class on Saturday when participating in LEGACY, a training program provided by a Beijing firm called Chengquan Culture. "The course is close to mind controlling. [It] amplifies weaknesses and negative feelings to enable control," according to the report, citing unidentified sources familiar with the matter.
The Biggest Losers From China’s Aging Crisis? Millennials. - SixthTone Under the one-child policy, Chinese millennials were “little emperors” pampered by an entourage of older relatives. Now, their former caregivers have reached old age — and the one-child generation is struggling to cope.
'Call Me By Fire' All-Male Variety Show Becomes Social Media Hit | What's on Weibo The show is considered the male version of the hit variety show Sisters Who Make Waves (乘风破浪的姐姐, read more here) but with different rules. The contestants, ranging from age 27 to 57, are all in the entertainment industry; the group includes pianists, singers, dancers, actors, hosts, and rappers.
"I Deeply Love My Motherland!" - Chinese Actor Zhang Zhehan Under Fire for Yasukuni and Nogi Shrine Photos | What's on Weibo Chinese celebrity Zhang Zhehan is facing Chinese “cancel culture” after his historically insensitive social media posts.
凤凰岭惊梦：学诚往事 （1-58）贤二 著_凤凰网资讯_凤凰网 Alleged account from an insider on the Metoo/corruption stories that brought down Xuecheng, head of the Buddhist Association of China from 2015 to 2018 and abbot of Beijing Longquan Monastery & a CPPCC member
Energy, Environment, Science and Health
China to rectify "campaign-style" carbon reduction: NDRC - Xinhua In the process of cutting carbon emissions, some regions have set overly ambitious and unrealistic goals or simply chanted slogans without taking actions, while some industries failed to make solid energy-saving efforts in the hope that certain technology would solve the problem once and for all, said Meng Wei, spokesperson for the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), adding that these issues must be addressed.
Yicai - China’s State Planner Guides Local Gov’ts to Meet Carbon Neutrality Targets More than 350 energy-guzzling and high-polluting projects will be cut, equivalent to 270 million tons of coal emissions, the National Development and Reform Commission said today. Nine provinces, including western Qinghai and southeastern Guangdong, were found to have consumed more power in the first half than they did the same period last year, commission spokesperson Meng Wei said. As a result, with the exception of major national projects, all energy inefficient and high emission projects in these regions will not be approved.
'Beijing blue' becomes new normal for Chinese capital: environment authorities - Global Times "The 'Beijing blue' has gradually become our new normal," Huang said. The number of days with heavy air pollution in the Chinese capital in 2020 was 10, while in 2015 it was 43, dropping by nearly 80 percent.
China Approves Renewable Mega-Project for Green Hydrogen - Bloomberg Inner Mongolia’s Energy Administration has given the go ahead to a cluster of plants in the cities of Ordos and Baotou that will use 1.85 gigawatts of solar and 370 megawatts of wind to produce 66,900 tons of green hydrogen a year, the Hydrogen Energy Industry Promotion Association said in a report. Development will begin in October and the projects will be operational in mid-2023, the association said, without specifying the cost or the developers.
Suspected Anthrax Outbreak Detected in North China _ Caixin Cases of suspected anthrax have been found in North China’s Shanxi province after nine villagers showed symptoms of the infectious disease, including bumps and blisters, according to state media. The sick villagers, from Baoxian in the province’s Wenshui county, were working in cattle breeding, slaughter, and sales, state-run broadcaster CCTV reported Sunday, citing the province’s health commission.