Cybersecurity and Informatization Work Conference; US Officials May Go To China To Discuss Tariffs; ZTE, Debt Mess, Guo Wengui Faked Documents?; Taiwan; Modi-Xi Meet
Just another manic Monday..apologies for the later than usual publication, sometimes life intervenes.
The Essential Eight
1. Cybersecurity and Informatization Work Conference
This was likely planned long before the ZTE sanctions news, but it is certainly timely. Indigenous development of core technologies was again on the list of top priorities, but much of the focus remains on controlling the Internet. Expect censorship and crackdowns to only intensify.
Xi and his team of cybercrats look smart and prescient, not only about the risks from not controlling core technologies but also about controlling the flow of information online, given what has happened with social media in the US and Europe. Good luck to those who still want to argue to PRC officials that they need greater cyber-openness to succeed. Right now Xi and his team believe the opposite is the case, and can easily point to reams of evidence supporting that conclusion.
Chinese President Xi Jinping called for "keenly" grasping the historic opportunity for informatization development in a bid to build the country's strength in cyberspace.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, chairman of the Central Military Commission, and head of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission, made the instruction at a national conference on the work of cybersecurity and informatization held from Friday to Saturday.
Premier Li Keqiang, deputy head of the commission, presided over the meeting, attended by other leaders including Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Zhao Leji, and Han Zheng. Wang Huning, also deputy head of the commission, made a concluding speech at the conference.
Since the 18th CPC National Congress, China has achieved historic progress in the development of cybersecurity and informatization, formed a model of cyberspace governance with Chinese characteristics, and developed a strategic thought to advance the country's strength in this regard, Xi said.
Xi urged improving the governance capacity in cyberspace and developing a governing network led by the Party.
Internet media should spread positive information, uphold the correct political direction, and guide public opinion and values towards the right direction.
Internet service providers should take responsibility to prevent cyberspace from degrading into a platform full of harmful, false, and provocative information.
Efforts should be made to enhance self-discipline of the internet industry, and mobilize all sectors to take an active part in cyberspace governance.
Xi stressed cyberspace security, noting that China will enhance security of information infrastructure, develop coordination mechanisms, tools, and platforms for cybersecurity, enhance the capacity in responding to cybersecurity emergencies, and support relevant industries.
China will fiercely crack down on criminal offenses including hacking, telecom fraud, and violation of citizens' privacy, he said.
Stressing that the country will endeavor to achieve breakthroughs in core information technologies, Xi said more resources will go into researches, industrial development, and policy making.
The full text of the speech has not (yet) been made public. This is a translation of the official Xinhua report.
People's Daily has weighed in on the work conference with three comments so far:
Another China Internet Conference--
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday called for fostering new driving forces through informatization, to promote new development and make new achievements...
The summit, which will run for three days until April 24, is jointly held by the Cyberspace Administration of China, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and the Fujian provincial government.
Jack Ma, founder and chairman of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, said in a speech that China needs a deeper understanding of Internet development in this critical period of the information revolution.
He said that large enterprises should shoulder greater responsibilities and speed up to make breakthroughs in core technology that will benefit society.
Ma also said that a law on the digital economy is urgently needed to guide the development of Internet companies in China.
2. US Officials To Travel To Beijing?
Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said he may go, per the Wall Street Journal and other sources there is concern inside the White House that the Chinese will easily roll Mnuchin if he travels to Beijing without US Trade Representative Lighthizer.
China has received information that the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wishes to make a trip to China to negotiate economic and trade issues, according to a Ministry of Commerce (MOC) statement issued Sunday.
The statement quoted an unnamed spokesperson for the MOC as saying China welcomes this information.
U.S. officials say Mr. Mnuchin might be accompanied by other U.S. officials, including U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. The prospect of a Mnuchin trip to Beijing has divided administration advisers, some of whom argue he could get ensnared in negotiations that would yield marginal results. The Trump administration has criticized prior administrations for being too willing to accept minor changes in Chinese practices...
Mr. Mnuchin is joined by Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, in favoring a softer approach. They see Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent speech pledging to ease restrictions on foreign autos as a significant concession, say individuals familiar with the deliberations.
Others, including White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, favor a tougher line. They argue that Mr. Xi’s pledges don’t represent a significant liberalization and that recent tariffs imposed by China on U.S. agriculture require a sharp response.
Comment: If Kudlow and Mnuchin "see Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent speech pledging to ease restrictions on foreign autos as a significant concession" then the Chinese will love to negotiate with them, and may even convince them to purchase a Beijing bridge...
3. More On The ZTE Case
Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp. is taking steps to comply with a U.S. denial order, the company said in a statement Sunday.
The company is making active communications with relevant parties and is seeking a solution to the issue, the company said in a statement to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.
Even if ZTE gets the ban removed or lessened the point has been made to the PRC leadership that the country's tech sector is far too reliant on US technologies. What would happen to 5G development and US firms if the White House not only did not reduce the ZTE ban but also decided the impose similar penalties on Huawei? Is that something that is under consideration in this administration?
The report from the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), the top regulator of Chinese state-owned enterprises under China’s cabinet, criticized ZTE’s dealings with the US regulators as “stupid and passive,” and embarrassing to China’s global image. “Many domestic enterprises are paying a terrible price for ZTE’s short-sightedness and dishonesty. Our country’s diplomatic layout and image will inevitably be affected,” said the report, dated April 20.
It also criticized the domestic environment for lacking “social integrity,” and said that in ZTE’s case this spread to its overseas operations.
“Relevant leaders at ZTE Corporation have no legal or confidentiality awareness. They’ve taken risks to engage in illegal operations numerous times. That’s not only related to the broader environment where social integrity in China is not high, but is also an export of the domestic lack of integrity to foreign countries,” the report wrote...
News portal Sina first wrote about the report on April 22, but the article was soon deleted (link in Chinese, cached version).
ZTE featured in the film 'Amazing China' but has been hit by a US embargo; this raises questions about Beijing's boasts of advances in innovation
The ZTE case had “triggered a heated debate” in China about advanced technology, Xinhua said in a separate report on Saturday, adding mastering high-end technologies such as chips was “key” to becoming a strong nation.
Luo Wen, China’s deputy industry minister, said while China had made progress in advance manufacturing in areas like electric vehicles and aviation, it was still facing challenges due to a lack of top talent and global scale, Xinhua said.
“Our advanced manufacturing development faces the risk of being boxed in at the low-end,” Xinhua reported, citing Luo.
4. Taiwan Risk Rising
Now one year later, Trump’s intention to play the Taiwan card again signals a much broader agenda targeting China. Almost all the moderating voices in his administration have been forced out and replaced by more hawkish officials including the soon-to-be secretary of state Mike Pompeo and the National Security Adviser John Bolton – both of whom are known for tough stances against China and pro-Taiwan views.
So-called friends of Taiwan in the United States are putting the island at risk as never before. The Taiwan Travel Act, passed unanimously by both houses of Congress, and signed by President Trump on March 16, 2018 without reservations, could gravely erode the distinction between the United States’ official relationship with the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.) and its unofficial relationship with Taiwan...
If the United States implements the Taiwan Travel Act in a manner inconsistent with its traditional one-China policy, the principal damage will be to Taiwan itself. Taiwan will experience reduced trade, increased tensions, a heavier burden of military expenditures, and poorer prospects. Moreover, Taiwan would compromise its freedom of action on a key aspect of its own security, which is the ability to calibrate the level of threat through careful management of its relationship with mainland China. Unless wiser heads prevail, the United States could unwittingly precipitate the most dangerous crisis since the end of the Cold War.
Comment: Congress is driving much of this, expect more China "storms" out of that body in the days ahead...
5. Guo Wengui Accused Of Forging Official PRC/CCP Documents
Among the alleged fakes is at least one published in the Washington Free Beacon by Bill Gertz in January 2018 - Secret Document Reveals China Covertly Offering Missiles, Increased Aid to North Korea. When this story came out I wrote the following about the report in the January 2 newsletter:
Comment: The following explosive story may be true, and certainly a lot of people will believe it is true, but take this with a huge grain of salt until there is better verification, especially if it turns out the source is Guo Wengui.
The PRC authorities also claim Guo has donated to US politicians, If there is credible evidence of those allegations the FBI might be interested...
Chinese police have detained twin brothers who helped fugitive Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui forge what he claimed to be "classified" Chinese government documents.
The police also said they will cooperate with US law enforcement authorities in a probe wherein Guo, who is allegedly seeking political asylum in the US, paid political contributions to US congressmen and former US government employees.
In a press conference on Monday, police from Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality said they have taken "criminal coercive measures" over Chen Zhiyu and Chen Zhiheng, 41, for allegedly forging Chinese government documents.
Chen Zhiyu and Chen Zhiheng, twin brothers from Dongguan, South China's Guangdong Province, allegedly forged over 30 Chinese government documents under Guo's orders involving topics such as China's stance on North Korea's nuclear issues, China's intelligence collection overseas and China's united front work in the field of science and technology in the US - all sensitive matters in China-US relations. ..
The brothers also revealed in a video showed at Monday's press conference that Guo had once asked them to forge a "classified" document of US President Donald Trump's secret interactions with Chinese authorities so that Guo could use the document to "blackmail Trump not to deport him." The brothers found the move too risky and provided Guo with a document on a different matter instead.
English-subtitled video on Youtube of the press conference announcing the allegations, they appear to have recordings of Guo's communications:
More details in 郭文贵海外爆料“绝密文件”真相
Guo and Free Beacon, a conservative news outlet based in Washington, began to publish these documents from October, according to Chongqing police.
The police did not say how they were able to track down the twin brothers. They said Chen Zhiyu was once a Chinese government employee, and the computer-savvy Chen Zhiheng usually took a week to create documents at Guo’s request.
If Guo submitted any forged documents as part of his US asylum application he may tossed out of the country as soon as legally allowed. And good luck to anyone who takes Gup as a credible source...
The police claimed Guo commissioned the documents to bolster his asylum application in the United States.
Some of the documents were made public when Guo presented them at a press conference at Washington’s National Press Club in October while others were reported by US online news outlet the Washington Free Beacon, Chongqing police said.
6. Modi And Xi to Meet In China
How hard it will it be for China to encourage India to waver about the Quad?
Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold an informal meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 27-28 in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the announcement Sunday, after talks with visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
Xi and Modi will have strategic communication on the world's profound changes, and exchange, in an in-depth manner, views on overall, long-term and strategic issues regarding China-India relations, Wang told a joint press briefing with Swaraj.
Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe has said that China is willing to work with Pakistan to focus on building a community of human destiny, consolidate the all-weather friendship and deepen pragmatic cooperation between the two armed forces.
Talking to Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi here on Thursday, Wei said China and Pakistan were good neighbours, good friends and good partners.
China will continue to firmly support Pakistan, its top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, told Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif at a meeting in Beijing.
"We are ready to work together with our Pakistani brothers to undertake the historical mission of national rejuvenation and achieve the great dream of national prosperity and development," Wang said.
"In this way, our iron friendship with Pakistan will never rust and be tempered into steel."
India’s concerns about China’s encirclement are real, given China’s enabling of Pakistan as well as competition for influence among small states in the region. But encircling India is not the overarching objective of China’s growing presence in Southern Asia. Rather, this presence is part of China’s efforts to modernize its economy and military in line with its national interests. Still, China’s attempts to build a common destiny or shared future under the Belt and Road framework remain vague and confusing for outside actors, who misinterpret this as a threat to the regional and global order.--Yang Xiaoping is a visiting scholar in the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and senior research fellow at National Institute of International Strategy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
7. Debt Mess
Six local governments were found to have taken on a combined 15.4 billion yuan ($2.45 billion) of debt in violation of various regulations that control local-authority borrowing, according to the latest quarterly report (link in Chinese) from the National Audit Office, which tracks the implementation and enforcement of major government policies. The report, which covers investigations conducted in the last three months of 2017, was released on Wednesday.
One local government financing vehicle (LGFV) in Shaoyang in the central province of Hunan used public welfare assets, such as roads and drainage systems, as collateral to borrow more than 7.3 billion yuan from banks and other financial institutions in the three months to November. The company did so even though using state assets as collateral is not allowed under Ministry of Finance regulations. The LGFV planned to use the money to repay its debts and fund the cost of building other municipal infrastructure, according to the report. LGFVs are companies set up specifically to fund government spending outside of the official budget.
China’s banking and insurance regulator has issued an urgent notice to check risks of provincial-level debt clearers targeting fake deals to help banks massage their books, three sources told Reuters on Monday. China’s provincial governments have rushed to set up asset management companies (AMCs) in recent months after Beijing relaxed rules to allow each province to set up two local AMCs to handle rising bad debt nationwide.
Authorities have put trust companies on notice that they will be given three years to exit such investments that are seen as particularly dangerous. The mismatch in maturity between the underlying assets, which tend to be long-term investments, and the funds raised to invest in them, which usually come from short-term wealth management products, exposes a liquidity risk that could ripple through the broader financial system.
The deadline was spelled out by Deng Zhiyi, an official with the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC), at a trust industry work meeting last week, and marks the first time that authorities have spelled out a fixed time frame. The ban comes under the new regulatory framework for the country’s $15 trillion asset-management industry, which is set to be issued in the next few weeks...
The president of a state-owned trust company told Caixin he thought it would be “very difficult” for firms to exit all nonstandard asset investments financed by funding pools in three years. Some funds have been used to cover losses from bad loans, and a heavy-handed clampdown may cause a liquidity crunch at firms that have a large exposure to the practice, he said.
More packages of bad loans are expected to flow into the market and push prices down this year, a number of industry insiders have told Caixin.
The four national asset management companies (AMCs) will need to speed up their disposal of bad loans and may choose to sell some in bulk, Jinzhuo Asset Management Co. Chairman Liu Lü said at an industry conference on Thursday.
Late last year, regulators tightened rules for AMCs, setting a minimum capital adequacy ratio of 12.5%. This ratio refers to the amount of capital these companies must hold as a percentage of their risk-weighted assets.
More On The Downfall Of Huarong's Head-- Bad Business at a ‘Bad Bank’ - Caixin Global:
Lai Xiaomin rose to prominence by overseeing breathtaking growth at one of China’s “Big Four” distressed-asset managers. Now, his fall has exposed the murky entanglements of China Huarong Asset Management Co. Ltd., one of the “bad banks” established to clean up soured loans in the country’s banking industry...
Caixin has learned that the CCDI is investigating Huarong’s involvement in an illicit financial backing of a private firm. The company was also involved in obscure business deals with embattled private conglomerates, including Tomorrow Holding Group and CEFC China Energy...
Rumors of an investigation into Lai have emerged over the past year. He was last seen in public on April 10, when he delivered a speech at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference on the southern island province of Hainan.
Caixin learned that Lai was asked to attend a meeting at the headquarters of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) on Tuesday and was detained...
All employees of Huarong and its subsidiaries were required to hand over their passports on Thursday so that they could not leave the country, sources close to the matter told Caixin.
8. Latest Politburo Meeting
China still faces many difficulties in fighting what the government has described as the “three tough battles” - the prevention of risks, poverty alleviation and pollution control - against an increasingly complex global economic and political backdrop, the Xinhua news agency said.
Citing a document released after a politburo meeting chaired by President Xi Jinping, Xinhua said China will maintain a proactive fiscal policy, and keep monetary policy prudent and neutral, all reiterations of past comments.
China has seen a good start to its high-quality development, the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee said Monday.
The Chinese economy has maintained its steady growth momentum in the first quarter of this year, as major economic indicators pointed to stronger domestic demand and good coordination between the growth of the industrial and service sectors, according to a statement released after a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.
Four key signals (roughly translated) seen from the latest meeting--新闻分析：推动高质量发展取得良好开端——中央政治局会议传递当前经济工作四大信号:
信号一：全力打好“三大攻坚战” 保持宏观经济平稳运行 no let up in the "three tough battle"s;
信号二：主动对表高质量发展要求 支持各地探索有效途径 better balancing of high-quality development needs, support localities' exploration of effective methods
信号三：深化供给侧结构性改革 加强关键核心技术攻关 deepen supply-side structural reform and strengthen development of key core technologies
信号四：改革开放更加积极主动 以改革深化消除风险隐患 continue to actively deepen reform
Business, Economy, Finance And Trade
Reform Best Strategy to Address Uncertainties, Central Banker Says - Caixin Global China will create a level playing field for financial institutions regardless of ownership, Yi said Friday. He reaffirmed that the country will continue opening its financial industry and other service industries. “Concrete measures will be delivered soon,” Yi said. The PBOC governor said he sees his mission as continuing to reduce financial risks. High on his agenda is lowering the overall leverage ratio. China’s debt-to-GDP ratio stood at 249% by the end of last year, with an annual increase of 2 percentage points. Yi said this indicates a stabilizing of the leverage ratio’s growth. The average annual increase in the ratio was 13 percentage points over the last five years. “I hope this year it will continue to stabilize,” Yi said.
Spadework in China pays off as top five asset managers pull ahead - FT $$ Z-Ben forecasts that assets in China’s fund industry will grow from about $1.8tn today to $12tn by 2027, securing its place as the largest investment market behind the US.
Ping An Good Doctor Starts Preparing $1.1 Billion Hong Kong IPO - Bloomberg The Chinese online health-care platform is offering about 160 million shares at HK$50.80 to HK$54.80 apiece, according to terms for the deal obtained by Bloomberg. The Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. subsidiary will take investor orders from Monday through April 26, the terms show.
Town’s Economy in Splinters After Rare-Wood Bubble Bursts - Caixin Global The rich and powerful flocked into the county in the city of Putian each year to roam the streets in search of sculptures and pieces of furniture carved out of top-grade redwood. The classification “redwood,” a general term for a wide range of rare woods, includes Pterocarpus santalinus, commonly known as red sandalwood; Pterocarpus macrocarpus, or the Burma padauk; and Dalbergia cochinchinensis, or Thailand rosewood... But the once-bustling town has lost its shine since 2014, when its bubble — fueled by market speculation over rising prices of redwood — burst amid concerns of a government crackdown on the industry.// 显影|仙游红木 潮起潮落
Beijing Commits to Clearance of Zombie Enterprises, Excess Capacity - China Banking News The National Development and Reform Commission issued the “Notice Concerning Properly Undertaking Work for the Dissolution of Excess Capacity in Key Sectors in 2018” (关于做好2018年重点领域化解过剩产能工作的通知), which sets the targets of a reduction in steel capacity this year of 30 million tons, a reduction in coal capacity of around 150 million tons, as well as the closure of coal power plants that fail to meet standards and have a capacity of under 300,000 kilowatts.
China's Tropical Hainan Is All Sand, Sea... and Property Curbs - Bloomberg The latest curbs include requirements for non-residents or new residents to have two-year work records to make home purchases, according to a statement released by the provincial government on Sunday, which also pointed to a tightening up of land supply. Officials are encouraging builders to put undeveloped residential land to other uses, such as rental homes. A previous round of curbs came three weeks ago.
海南深夜宣布全域限购 数千亿炒房资金被"关门打狗"_行业_地产频道首页_财经网 - CAIJING On the impact on speculators and developers of the Hainan restrictions: literally "bolting the door and beating the dog", figuratively blocking the enemy’s retreat and them destroying them.
Politics, Law And Ideology
Chinese Human Rights Attorney Formally Arrested For 'Subversion' - RFA Authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu have formally arrested human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng on subversion charges after holding him with no access to family visits or lawyers for more than two months, his wife said on Friday. Yu, who is being held incommunicado by authorities in Jiangsu's Xuzhou city, was formally arrested for "incitement to subvert state power" and "obstruction of officials in the course of their duty," the arrest notice approved by the Xuzhou municipal state prosecutor said.
Chinese Court Rejects Appeal Against Subversion Sentence For 'The Butcher' - RFA A court in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin has rejected an appeal by rights activist Wu Gan, known by his online nickname "The Butcher," against his eight-year jail term for subversion. Wu, 42, was detained during China’s 2015 crackdown on lawyers and sentenced on Dec. 26 by the Tianjin No. 2 Intermediate People's Court after being found guilty of "incitement to subvert state power."
U.S. report calling China 'force of instability' backfires - China Daily: The Trump administration may have had not expected that its human rights report about the rest of the world would backfire so badly after it was released last Friday. That was especially true when U.S. Acting Secretary of State John Sullivan called the governments of China, Russia, Iran and DPRK a "forces of instability" as a result of their human rights issues. Pointing out China's problems in human rights is one thing and should be welcomed. China, as a developing nation, has much to improve in that regard. But calling China a force of instability is just blown out of proportion and does not at all fit the reality.
#MeToo Meets China’s Censors and Students Learn a Tough Lesson - WSJ Government officials—and students say university officials—have reacted swiftly to tamp down #MeToo discussions, with censors deleting posts by those seeking to share their experiences. Students say those who have publicly called for more information about the decades-old case have been summoned into meetings with teachers, quizzed about their associates and told to stop speaking out.
Church crackdown intensifies in China's Henan province - ucanews.com ources say provincial party chief Wang Guosheng is behind extensive campaign of church persecution
China law puts foreign NGOs under tighter control - FT $$ Hundreds of foreign not-for-profit groups in China who suspended activities after a law placing them under close state supervision went into effect last year are now returning to work as normal. But others who worked on human rights advocacy have been less successful. About 350 groups have registered offices in mainland China since the country’s international non-governmental organisation (NGO) management law became effective in January 2017. “It was not easy, but we are very happy,” said Cyril Poulopoulos, China director of French charity Handicap International.
State Council appoints, removes officials - Xinhua Zhuang Rongwen was removed from the post of deputy director of the Cyberspace Administration of China. // now a vice minister of propaganda
China sets 100 per cent clean power target for Xi Jinping’s new Xiongan megacity | South China Morning Post The goal is part of an ambitious plan by Chinese President Xi Jinping to remake a backwater region into a glittering new technology and innovation hub. Electricity will account for more than half of the energy consumption at Xiongan, Xinhua reported Sunday, without elaborating. State Grid Corp of China has established a subsidiary to facilitate grid-planning, according to report
丹东市委宣传部副部长，抗美援朝纪念馆党组书记、馆长杨光接受审查调查 据丹东市纪委监委消息：丹东市委宣传部副部长，抗美援朝纪念馆党组书记、馆长杨光涉嫌严重违纪违法，目前正接受纪律审查和监察调查 // Dandong deputy propaganda chief under investigation. He is also the head of the Dandong War to Resist America and Aid Korea Museum
Children of Next fashion boss knifed to death by wife are being 'kept prisoner' by her grandparents | Daily Mail Online The facts of the case are undisputed. A year ago their father Michael Simpson, 34, the head of Next’s retail operations in China, was confronted by his estranged wife Fu Weiwei, the children’s mother, at his apartment in Shanghai. In a jealous rage, Weiwei took a knife from her handbag and flew at his new partner, Rachel Lin, slashing her arms ‘to the bone’. Then, as Michael cradled Rachel in his arms, screaming for an ambulance, Weiwei plunged the blade into both sides of his neck, killing him instantly. Jack and Alice, who had enjoyed a privileged life in Shanghai, were taken 600 miles away to live with their impoverished maternal grandparents. Incredibly, they still have no idea that their father is dead or that their mother is facing a long prison sentence. They believe they are working abroad.
Foreign and Military Affairs
US Admiral warns: Only war can now stop Beijing controlling the South China Sea - NZ Herald The chief of US Fleet Forces Command has told US Congress that Beijing has built up enough military infrastructure in the South China Sea to completely control the disputed waterway. "Once occupied, China will be able to extend its influence thousands of miles to the south and project power deep into Oceania," Admiral Philip S Davidson wrote. "The PLA will be able to use these bases to challenge US presence in the region, and any forces deployed to the islands would easily overwhelm the military forces of any other South China Sea claimants. "In short, China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States."
China’s first home-grown Type 001A aircraft carrier begins maiden sea trial | South China Morning Post The maiden sea trial of the Type 001A carrier, which coincides with the PLA Navy’s 69th anniversary, is expected to be limited in scope and duration but analysts said it had a symbolic importance as China seeks to highlight the advances it has made as a nautical power. The Liaoning Maritime Safety Administration had announced on Friday that three areas in the northeastern Bohai and Yellow Seas would be cordoned off for military activity between April 20 and 28. On Monday morning about 10am, the ship left its berth in Liaoning province with the assistance of tugboats, according to a photo circulated on Twitter by the official party mouthpiece People’s Daily.
How China Is Buying Its Way Into Europe - Bloomberg Bloomberg has crunched the numbers to compile the most comprehensive audit to date of China’s presence in Europe. It shows that China has bought or invested in assets amounting to at least $318 billion over the past 10 years. The continent saw roughly 45 percent more China-related activity than the U.S. during this period, in dollar terms, according to available data.
China’s Arctic Ambitions in Alaska | The Diplomat While the United States is focused on China’s use of economic coercion and statecraft on a federal level, it should also address similar actions taking place at a subnational level, where awareness and regulations aren’t as strong, but national security implications exist nevertheless. Chinese investment in infrastructure isn’t inherently negative — if they are able and willing to fund domestic infrastructure that would revitalize development in looked-over states, the United States should let them do so. However, states should ensure that the agreements that they sign are fair (given Beijing’s penchant for predatory investment), have no bearing on state or federal legislation, and don’t ultimately undermine U.S. foreign policy.
China’s claims in South China Sea ‘proposed by continuous boundary for the first time’ | South China Morning Post Researchers are proposing a new boundary in the South China Sea that they say will help the study of natural science while potentially adding weight to China’s claims over the disputed waters, according to a senior scientist involved in the government-funded project... A precise continuous line will split the Gulf of Tonkin between China and Vietnam, go south into waters claimed by Malaysia, take a U-turn to the north along the west coast of the Philippines and finish at the southeast of Taiwan. For decades, China’s sovereign claim in the South China Sea has been murky, in large part because of the use of a segmented, vaguely located borderline known as the ‘nine-dash line’.
Government Cartoon Portrays ‘Foreign NGOs’ as National Security Concern | ChinaFile As part of the third annual “National Security Education Day” on April 15, several Chinese government institutions released a cartoon warning citizens to be on alert for attempts at foreign political infiltration. The cartoon, produced jointly by the Ministry of State Security, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, and the China Aerospace Science and Industry Cooperation, shows a foreign NGO employee meeting with a Chinese workers’ organization, paying for worker trainings abroad, organizing protests, and providing extra money to his contact at the Chinese organization. Following the cartoon panels is an article describing how foreign spies—often dressed as travelers, diplomats, journalists, or researchers—will try to casually strike up a conversation as a means of initial contact, and then use other means to develop relationships with individuals they discover have access to key government agencies.
‘China is just as important to South America as the US’: why Argentina is keen to start talks on free-trade agreement | South China Morning Post Argentina’s ambassador to Beijing defends China’s global ambitions as he signals Latin American common market is keen to strengthen economic ties
Start your engines ... is China getting ready to mass-produce hypersonic vehicles? | South China Morning Post China is drawing up plans for an aerospace engine plant that would pave the way for the mass production of “hypersonic” planes or spacecraft capable of travelling at more than five times the speed of sound, boosting the country’s competitiveness in defence, space, business and other sectors, according to scientists familiar with the project.
Countering China’s Militarization of the Indo-Pacific - Michael Green & Andrew Shearer Whilst China’s maritime infrastructure play across the Indo-Pacific could present a major challenge to American and allied interests in the region, this is far from a foregone conclusion. The United States continues to enjoy what Secretary of State Dean Acheson called “situations of strength” in the Indo-Pacific and can join with allies and partners to build on these strengths. Turnbull’s firm stand against a permanent Chinese military presence in the South Pacific shows the way. The return of the Quad security dialogue in 2017, after a ten-year hiatus, presents a useful framework to begin pushing back against any Chinese efforts at coercive or subversive establishment of military infrastructure across the Indo-Pacific. Together, these maritime democracies can take the lead with seven lines of effort:
China, Feeling Left Out, Has Plenty to Worry About in North Korea-U.S. Talks - The New York Times The possible new alignment on the Korean Peninsula that most concerns Beijing is a loose unification between North and South Korea with American troops remaining in the South. As part of its conciliatory moves before the meetings, the North has dropped its demand for the departure of the 28,000 United States troops stationed in the South as a condition for denuclearization. “A unified, democratic Korea aligned with the U.S. will be dangerous to the Communist regime in China, though not necessarily the Chinese nation,” said Xia Yafeng, a North Korea expert at Long Island University.
DSA 2018: China unveils new Fire Dragon missile - LWI - Land Warfare - Shephard Media Beijing-based Norinco unveiled its Fire Dragon 280A tactical missile for the AR3 multiple-launch rocket system (MLRS) at the DSA 2018 exhibition in Kuala Lumpur. The 290km-range missile, armed with a 480kg warhead, skirts the legal limit under the international Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) that prohibits the export of missiles with a range of 300km and armed with 500kg warheads.
36 dead, mostly Chinese, in North Korea traffic accident - AP A traffic accident in North Korea has killed 32 Chinese tourists and four North Koreans, Chinese officials said Monday. Two other Chinese tourists were badly injured and were in “acutely serious condition,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. It said China had dispatched a medical team accompanied by diplomats to assist the North Korean side.
Russia's Lavrov, China's Wang Yi discuss Putin's June China visit - Reuters Putin will travel to China in June and his visit will be in connection with a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Lavrov said. “Today we focused on preparations for the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to China,” Lavrov said during a press conference in Beijing, after a meeting with Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat.
Tech And Media
Tencent Music Plans IPO; Valuation Could Exceed $25 Billion - WSJ Tencent Music’s offering could value the business in excess of $25 billion, some of the people said. This was the company’s value in recent private transactions, The Wall Street Journal reported last month. That was a sharp jump from its $12.5 billion valuation in late 2017 when Swedish music-streaming company Spotify bought a 9% stake in the company as part of a share swap.
Sexist Job Ads Show Discrimination Rife at China Tech Giants - Bloomberg Job recruitment websites routinely feature advertisements from prominent technology employers such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Baidu Inc. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. for positions that are open only to men, according to a report released by Human Rights Watch on Monday.
Mobike promises no more bikes in saturated cities, share big data with the government · TechNode In its first major statement since being acquired by Meituan, bike rental giant Mobike is to stop adding new bikes to cities considered to be already saturated with bikes, will share its big data with the government for improved city planning, and put RMB100 million into improving its user credit system, the company announced at a press conference held in Beijing on Earth Day, April 22. The company is changing its focus from rapid to responsible growth.
Investigation shows personal data from food delivery platforms in China on sale for as little as RMB 0.10 · TechNode The personal data of people who have ordered food delivery is readily available for sale via several channels, investigative reporting by The Beijing News has discovered (in Chinese). Data on offer includes information such as name, phone number, address of thousands of orderers per day, including for orders going to hospitals and even to specific seats in internet cafes. The data is being sold for as little as RMB 0.10 per person.
US brands suffer collateral damage in Chinese corporate war - AP The rivalry is so notorious it’s been called the “great cat-and-dog war.” On one side towers Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., China’s e-commerce market leader, embodied by the black cat mascot of its Tmall platform. On the other is JD.com Inc., a fast-growing upstart represented by its white dog logo. Brands now caught in the cross-fire say they were punished by Alibaba after refusing exclusive deals as the e-commerce giant tried to muscle out the competition — a charge Alibaba denies. Executives from five major consumer brands told The Associated Press that after rebuffing Alibaba, traffic to their Tmall storefronts fell, hurting sales. Three are American companies with billions in annual revenue that rely on China for growth. All spoke only on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History
Guardian Art Center: China’s Oldest Auction House Finds a Worthy Home in Ole Scheeren’s Latest Creation | the Beijinger Credited as being the first auction house to arise out of modern China, China Guardian’s new Büro Ole Scheeren custom-built headquarters in the heart of Beijing serves as an understated emblem of its growing stature at home and abroad. Located across from the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC), Scheeren’s two-volume glass and granite Guardian Art Center stands assured in its cultural understanding and makes for a worthy hub of exchange for some of China’s finest classical artworks.
This Tsinghua University-backed company wants to revolutionize the classroom · TechNode Professor Yu Xinjie teaches Principles of Electrical Circuits in a nondescript classroom at Tsinghua University, sometimes referred to as the MIT of China. This required course for electrical engineering freshmen looks completely ordinary until you see the large QR code projected on the white screen. To get the lecture slides, students scan the code with their phones to access Rain Classroom, a WeChat mini program created by MOOC-CN Education.