Deepening Reform; US-China Trade, Yang Jiechi's New Title; Caixin Investigation Of CEFC; PRC-Vatican Deal Imminent?; Oil In RMB

The first meeting of the central committee for deepening overall reform (中央全面深化改革委员会), as Xinhua calls it in English, got a bit lost in the coverage of the Kim-Xi meeting.

The committee, one of the leading groups upgraded as part of the massive bureaucratic restructuring decided at the recent "Party swallows the State" 19th Party Congress Third Plenum, approved a long list documents, as you can see in the Xinhua release below.

Xi looks to have the power and now the institutional structure in place to push very hard on his vision of reform. Are we done with excuses and will now see much more progress on some of the initiatives laid out in the 2013 18th Party Congress Third Plenum?

Xi's vision for China's Great Rejuvenation will not be realized without massive reform, just not the kind of reforms that more liberal Chinese officials and academics and foreigners have been hoping for. 

But if you are Xi and hold a worldview informed by Marxist historiography and Chinese history, wouldn't you believe that given the state of the Western world there is a better way to reform your economy and society?

We have all been urging China to reform. It is reforming, though it increasingly looks like we should be careful what we wish for...

Thanks for reading. 

The Essential Eight

1. More On The Central Committee For Deepening Overall Reform

Xi presides over 1st meeting of central committee for deepening overall reform - Xinhua:

Transforming the former central leading group for deepening overall reform to the central committee for deepening overall reform is an important measure to improve the institutions and mechanisms by which the Party exercises leadership over major work, read a statement issued after the meeting.

Participants at the meeting approved a number of documents:

-- work rules of the central committee for deepening overall reform as well as its special groups and general office;

-- a guideline on further streamlining approval procedures;

-- a plan to set up a financial court in Shanghai;

-- a document on establishing a mechanism for China's participation in international macro-economic policy coordination to improve international economic governance structure;

-- plans for deepening reform and opening-up in pilot free trade zones in Guangdong, Tianjin and Fujian;

-- a guideline to regulate the asset management businesses of financial institutions;

-- a guideline on strengthening regulation over the investment of non-financial enterprises in financial institutions;

-- a document on wage reform in state-owned enterprises;

-- pilot reform plans on the sequence of on-duty police officers and technical police personnel;

-- a document on deepening reform in review and evaluation of projects, talent and institutions;

-- a document on improving integrity in scientific research;

-- a document on strengthening Party building at public hospitals;

-- a document on strengthening team building for mediators.

Attendees at the meeting also discussed a report on deepening reform of the disciplinary inspection and supervision system and the institutions of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the national supervisory commission, as well as a report on the first round of inspection over environmental protection led by central authorities.

习近平:加强和改善党对全面深化改革统筹领导 紧密结合深化机构改革推动改革工作-新华网 

China to Create Court for Financial Cases - Caixin Global:

The creation of the specialized court aims to improve the expertise of the judges who handle financial lawsuits to help build a “fair, highly efficient and authoritative financial judicial system,” the official Xinhua News Agency reported, citing a government meeting chaired by President Xi Jinping on Wednesday.

It is part of the country’s drive to stave off financial risks and deepen reforms in the industry so it can better serve the economy, the report said.

Explainer: Why a financial court is needed in Shanghai | South China Morning Post:

The financial court has been in preparation for about two years. All tribunals that specialise in financial offences and finance-related civil cases at different levels of courts in Shanghai will be merged to create the specialised court. Lu Hongbing, a deputy director of All China Lawyers Association, suggested setting up the court at the Shanghai No 1 Intermediate People’s Court during its initial stage. Lu, a deputy to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), made the proposal earlier this month during the annual sessions of the CPPCC and the National People’s Congress in Beijing.

People's Daily interviews a National Governance Academy scholar on the upgrading of several of the leading groups to "Commissions"--从“领导小组”到“委员会”:全面深化改革进入新阶段--理论-人民网:


BlackRock’s Fink Expects Market Opening in June - Caixin Global:

“We are excited about the opportunity to become really Chinese in China and helping the Chinese build towards their retirement,” he said. “So what we want to bring to China is the international information, market understanding, and our risk management tools … and in helping building a philosophy towards long-term investment,” he added.

Comment: Wasn't Fink on the list of CEOs who got a meeting with Wang Qishan?

2. China Development Forum-"Davos In Reverse"

China’s Communist Party meets the world - The Economist $$

Under President Xi Jinping, plenty of old norms of Chinese politics have gone by the wayside, including the term limits on Mr Xi’s own post. That the party’s powers should be diligently obscured is among those rules that have been upended. The party is now far bolder about exposing itself. The recently concluded China Development Forum (CDF), an annual meeting in Beijing that brings together business leaders and academics from around the world, was a striking marker of this change....

The most remarkable part of the forum was a panel discussion devoted entirely to the party. One person involved in the planning said it was the first time in 19 years of CDFs that such a panel had been convened. Titled “Communist Party of China and China’s Modernisation”, it brought together ideologues and academics. For many of the foreign executives and scholars in attendance, the discussion that followed was unlike any they had encountered before...

The party is still firmly in charge, and ideology still matters.

Get used to it.

3. Still Time To Avert This Round of US Tariffs

Trump's China tariffs may not begin until June: U.S. officials - Reuters

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said he anticipates about 60 days worth of public comment on a soon-to-be published tariff list, but added that it would take years to bring the U.S.-China trading relationship “to a good place.”

Speaking on CNBC television, Lighthizer said the list totaling more than $50 billion would include “largely high-technology things” chosen by a computer algorithm to maximize pain on Chinese exporters while minimizing pain on U.S. consumers.

Video of his comments

But if the goal is to get China to abandon its Great Rejuvenation roadmap “Made in China 2025” policy, something it sees as key to modernizing the economy, moving up the innovation chain and avoiding the middle income trap, all things Western economists and advisors have been for years telling Beijing it needs to do, then don't expect there to be a lasting resolution ahead...

Why Does Everyone Hate Made in China 2025? | Council on Foreign Relations:

China’s intention through Made in China 2025 is not so much to join the ranks of hi-tech economies like Germany, the United States, South Korea, and Japan, as much as replace them altogether. Made in China 2025 calls for achieving “self-sufficiency” through technology substitution while becoming a “manufacturing superpower” that dominates the global market in critical high-tech industries. That could be a problem for countries that rely on exporting high-tech products or the global supply chain for high-tech components.

Treasury to Use National Security Laws to Shield U.S. Tech From China - WSJ :

Although the rationale for the investment restrictions is a lack of reciprocity, the administration official said that the U.S. wouldn’t respond to China on a tit-for-tat basis. China requires many U.S. companies to form joint ventures to do business in China, for instance, but the U.S. isn’t planning similar restrictions on Beijing firms operating in the U.S. The U.S. would respond, the official said, with a blanket restriction on certain kinds of technology acquisition, whether through outright acquisitions, joint ventures, licensing or other means.

Who will fare worse in a China-US trade war? FT - $$:

“In principle, trade war is something that deficit countries with diversified economies should win and surplus countries always lose. So it’s not really an even battle,” says Michael Pettis, finance professor at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management.

“That’s not to say that deficit countries can’t screw up, and unfortunately, the approach that the US is taking isn’t really going to address the deficit.” 

China appeals to Washington to give up tariff plan - AP:

Trump’s plans are a “flagrant violation” of World Trade Organization rules and “may trigger a chain reaction” of import controls by other governments and harm global economic growth, Gao said at a regular news briefing. He used unusually forceful language even for the latest acrimonious dispute.

“We hope the United States can rein in its horse before the edge of the cliff, or else we will fight to the end,” said Gao.

US officials to meet soybean and pork farmers’ groups as concerns grow over fallout from China trade war  | South China Morning Post:

American agribusiness groups, including representatives from the American Soybean Association, have been invited to a special meeting in Washington with Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to discuss the possible fallout from any trade war between the US and China.

US ambassador to China Terry Branstad on trade relationship - CNBC:

For instance, Chinese chat app WeChat can be used in the U.S., while Facebook is blocked in China, he added.

"We want to continue to build the trade relationship with China, but China needs to really change some of its unfair and discriminatory policies," Branstad said.

Although China has pledged to liberalize its economy, "three or five years from now is not soon enough, it needs to happen quicker and that's what we're working to try to get accomplished," he said.

Surviving March Madness in U.S.-China Trade Relations | Center for Strategic and International Studies:

The missteps with other trading partners, the home front, and initial penalties could be ameliorated if the United States were to have a principled bottom line in negotiations centered around constraining Chinese industrial policy. The Trump administration, though, has never been clear about its ultimate aims. On the one hand, the 301 investigation highlights the dangers of China’s statist system, but on the other the president has continually stressed the need for China to reduce its bilateral trade surplus. The administration has confirmed that in late February it asked China for a plan to reduce the surplus by $100 billion. Unfortunately, China can manipulate the trade balance by making a few large-ticket purchases of individual products, such as soy beans, shale gas, or Boeing aircraft, without modifying its industrial policy goals and measures one iota. This would mean big benefits for a small number of sectors but leave most of the U.S. economy, not mention our friends in other economies, permanently vulnerable to the vagaries of China, Inc.

4. Kim-Xi Meeting Momentum

Sounds like the Trump administration was blindsided. Were the South Koreans also unaware, or did Kim and Moon's envoy work this out during their meetings?

Trump administration ‘cautiously optimistic’ summit with N. Korea will take place - The Washington Post:

The Trump administration was initially thrown off balance when China announced late Tuesday that it had held its own summit with Kim this week, according to U.S. officials and people familiar with internal diplomatic discussions.

Amid debates about whether the Chinese move was good or bad for U.S. aims, administration officials ultimately decided to declare it a positive result of its “maximum pressure” campaign against North Korea.

Moon-Kim meeting: Historic Korean summit set for April 27 - CNN:

The landmark meeting between President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un will be held at Freedom House on the southern side of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), according to the joint statement issued after the talks.

Kim family has made denuclearization vows in China before - AP:

An enigmatic North Korean leader takes a secretive train trip to China to affirm fraternal ties and declare a commitment to denuclearization.

It sounds like Kim Jong Un’s visit this week, but his father and predecessor Kim Jong Il made similar declarations on a trip to Beijing, months before he died in 2011. Yet North Korea’s nuclear weapons development only speeded up

Comment: To paraphrase Robert Gates, will the same horse once again be offered for sale to the Trump Administration?

Beijing envoy says Kim Jong Un's China visit will help toward denuclearization - Reuters:

“We believe (Kim’s) visit will help the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, ensure peace and security of the Korean peninsula and resolve problems regarding the peninsula through political negotiations and discussions,” Yang Jiechi said in opening remarks during a meeting with South Korea’s National Security Office head, Chung Eui-yong.

Xi's special representative to visit ROK - Xinhua:

Chinese President Xi Jinping's special representative Yang Jiechi will pay a visit to the Republic of Korea (ROK) from Thursday to Friday.

Yang, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the head of the General Office of the Central Committee for Foreign Affairs, will visit at the invitation of the ROK government, foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said Wednesday at a daily press briefing.

Yang Jiechi's new title in Chinese--杨洁篪将访韩的消息披露了他的新职务|杨洁篪|外事|外交部_新浪新闻 中央外事工作委员会办公室主任杨洁篪. I assume Xi will be chair of the commission. Who will be the vice-chair(s)? Wang Qishan likely to be one

5. Pain Ahead For Asset Management Industry

The reform commission approved the rules but extended the grace period until the end of 2019, reports Caixin. Don't take the delay as a sign of wavering will in the long march to reducing financial risk though. 

Sweeping Rules Approved for Asset Management Industry - Caixin Global:

China’s top policymakers approved much-anticipated rules putting the country’s $15 trillion asset-management industry under stricter scrutiny.

The first-of-their kind rules were discussed and approved at a recent meeting of top officials, chaired by President Xi Jinping, state media reported.

Details of revisions in the final version were unclear. But Caixin learned that possible changes may include a longer grace period for meeting the new rules to the end of 2019, from the previously set June 30...

With the stricter rules on the way, financial institutions have been registering far fewer new asset-management products. The total value of newly registered products fell to 124.2 billion yuan in January, down 55.5% from the previous month, according to industry portal

6. PRC-Vatican Deal By Easter?

China-Vatican deal on bishops imminent: Chinese prelate - AFP:

A historic agreement between the Vatican and Beijing on the appointment of bishops in China could be signed as early as this Saturday, a Chinese government-approved bishop said in a report.

Negotiations have reached "the final stages," Bishop Guo Jincai, secretary-general of the Bishops Conference of the Catholic Church in China, was quoted as saying by the state-owned Global Times newspaper on Thursday.

The agreement could happen just ahead of Easter Sunday

China Moves to Sideline Underground Bishop, His Colleagues Say - The New York Times:

The authorities are trying to keep out of the public eye during Easter week an underground Chinese bishop at the center of a controversial deal between Beijing and the Vatican, according to people working in his office.

A Rome-based news agency has reported that Guo Xijin was briefly detained on Monday because he refused to celebrate the upcoming Easter Mass with the government-approved bishop, but people working in his parish office said the aim was to keep him out of the spotlight during the days around Easter, which is celebrated this coming Sunday.

7. Russian And Angola To Take RMB Instead Of USD For Oil?

China taking first steps to pay for oil in yuan this year - Reuters:

A pilot program for yuan payment could be launched as early as the second half of this year, two of the people said.

Regulators have informally asked a handful of financial institutions to prepare for pricing China’s crude imports in the yuan, said the three sources at some of the financial firms.

“Being the biggest buyer of oil, it’s only natural for China to push for the usage of yuan for payment settlement. This will also improve the yuan liquidity in the global market,” said one of the people briefed on the matter by Chinese authorities...

Under the plan being discussed, Beijing could start with purchases from Russia and Angola, one of the people said. Both, like China, are keen to break the dollar’s global dominance.

8. Caixin's Censored Investigation of CEFC and Ye Jianming

Caixin's long investigative piece was deleted, but it is preserved in Google Cache and has been translated by Andrew Chubb. Imagine if Caixin's reporters could operate unfettered…

Caixin’s investigation of CEFC and Chairman Ye Jianming | southseaconversations 讨论南海

Caixin reporter Ji Tianqin 季天琴 spent the most of 2017 interviewing CEFC executives, tracking down former associates of Ye, and tracing CEFC’s constellation of satellite companies through the financial records. And the crowning glory: she interviewed Ye himself twice, finding all manner of holes in the stories he told her.

Ji Tianqin is famous in Chinese journalism circles for her award-winning deep-dives addressing, among other things, Wang Lijun’s reign of terror in Chongqing. Considering the difficulty of being an investigative reporter in China today, she really ought to be famous outside China too.

This epic investigation into CEFC reveals how, through party and military connections, turnover figures massively inflated by fake trading, and relentless pursuit of international photo-ops and status symbols, Ye Jianming was able to sell domestic and foreign audiences a mostly vacuous narrative about his rising global energy and finance colossus...

An informed source revealed to Caixin: “Since the Americans arrested that Hong Kong Home Affairs Secretary and CEFC think tank Secretary-General late last year, no foreign banks dare to lend to CEFC. Its people have gone around the globe in search of money, including from Citibank and HSBC, and all refused saying they needed a lawyer’s letter promising the money wouldn’t be used in a transaction with Russia because Rosneft and Sechin are targets of US sanctions. And because the [Chinese] government hasn’t taken a public position, Chinese capital from CDB, China Merchants Bank, PICC has wavered.” A ceremony planned for mid-January marking further advancement of cooperation between Rosneft and CEFC has been cancelled.

Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

China to roll out new tax cuts to boost high-quality development - Xinhua This round of tax cuts will apply to all manufacturing companies. All businesses registered in China, be they joint ventures or wholly foreign owned companies, will be treated equally, according to the premier.

China's Cutting Taxes for the Industries Trump Wants to Punish - Bloomberg The reductions will directly benefit high-end manufacturing and innovation-driven technology companies that are supported by the state’s "Made in China 2025 plan," according to a report by Sinolink Securities Co. Profits will also be boosted in sectors including construction, mining, public utilities, information technology and machinery, it said. The industrial policy envisions catapulting 10 strategic industries to global competitiveness by 2025.

Bank of China, Goldman to Fire Up Fundraising for Alaska Gas Project - Caixin Global Bank of China will join with investment banking giant Goldman Sachs as capital coordinators for a massive natural gas project in the U.S. state of Alaska, as details of China’s participation in the project get ironed out following the deals’ announcement last November.

China Consumer Loan King Ant Financial Hit by Debt Sale Drop - Bloomberg: China’s tech giants led by Ant Financial have been ramping up consumer lending to meet surging demand from cash-strapped millennials buying everything from iPhones to hairdryers on online shopping platforms. The firms then package the lending into ABS, complex financial products that they sell on to investors. The micro-lending driving such debt sales, though, has increasingly been in the crosshairs of regulators as the industry is criticized for sometimes high interest rates and underhanded lending practices.

HNA in Talks to Sell San Francisco Office Tower - Bloomberg HNA bought the property -- a 28-story tower at 123 Mission Street -- for $255 million in August 2016. Any disposal would add to the $6.7 billion in stocks and properties that HNA has sold in the past few months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The company has told creditors it will try to sell about 100 billion yuan ($16 billion) in assets in the first half of the year to pay debts and prevent a liquidity crunch.

State Council releases rules on external IPR transfers - The external transfer of IPR mentioned in the document means Chinese units or individuals can transfer their domestic IPR to foreign enterprises, individuals or other groups. This includes the transfer of IPR owners, actual IPR controllers, and the exclusive license of IPR. The influence of external IPR transfers on China’s national security and the core technology innovation in China’s key fields will be investigated, according to the document. 国务院办公厅印发《知识产权对外转让有关工作办法(试行)》

孙宏斌:谁肯接盘乐视,我九折卖|界面新闻 · 科技 Sunac planning to write off its entire 2B+ investment in LeEco aka LeScammo?


Politics, Law And Ideology

China’s new surveillance state puts Facebook’s privacy problems in the shade - The Washington Post Mao Yan was taken aback by the experience and what she called “the stunning efficiency of the facial recognition technology possessed by our traffic police.” She shared her story with friends, who told her she was lucky that she had not crossed against a light. If she had, police could have put her face, her full name and several digits of her ID card number on a public bulletin board for everyone to see. “Jaywalkers have fewer rights than criminal suspects,” she wrote, pointing out that in Chinese news reports, suspects are often not fully identified and their faces are blotted out.

坚决贯彻新发展理念 奋力开创发展新境界 -商小妹 Interesting report from the Chongqing Municipal People's Government Party Committee on their tasks ahead, some more detail about Sun Zhengcai in here  //  习近平总书记指出:“发展理念是发展行动的先导,是管全局、管根本、管方向、管长远的东西。”这方面,孙政才、薄熙来都存在严重问题。孙政才在落实新发展理念上有明显偏差,片面追求经济增长速度,忽视发展质量、效益和实际效果;为求显绩,脱贫攻坚赶进度,导致工作不准不实;为保“不出事”,拖延医改、国企改革等重点领域改革。薄熙来根据个人喜好歪曲中央决策部署,主持市委常委会议几乎不研究经济工作,下基层调研几乎不过问经济工作,醉心于运动式“唱红打黑”,脱离实际搞“两翼万元增收”“区县几大件”等。这些做法,严重背离了中央要求,背离了党的基本路线,对重庆改革发展稳定造成了重大损害。

深刻领会“三个一以贯之”(深入学习贯彻习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想) Shi Zhihong, deputy director of the central policy research office, writes on page 7 of the 3.39 People's Daily about "deeply grasping the three consistents" (is there a better/official translation for 一以贯之?) The Three Consistents are:

坚持和发展中国特色社会主义要一以贯之 persist with and develop socialism with China characteristics;

推进党的建设新的伟大工程要一以贯之 advance the great project of Party construction;

增强忧患意识 防范风险挑战要一以贯之 strengthen "hardship consciousness", guard against risks and challenges


Foreign and Military Affairs

China says it is 'coordinating' with U.S. over possible Mattis visit - Reuters   “As for the visit of Defense Secretary Mattis to China, defense departments in both countries are currently coordinating on this,” Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said when asked about the issue during a monthly news briefing.// Comment: Wasn't he originally scheduled to go with Tillerson around May for the next round of the US-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue? I am hearing that dialogue has been postponed, and not just because Tillerson was fired  

Chinese Foreign Minister’s Russia Visit Postponed Amid Nerve Agent Accusations | The Diplomat On the afternoon of March 27, the day Wang was scheduled to arrive in Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry suddenly announced that his trip had been postponed, citing changes in the schedules of Russian leaders. According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry announcement from the day before, Wang had been planning to meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, and unspecified “Russian leaders.”

The other North Korea question: How important is the Korean Peninsula to the US? Moreover, even in the unlikely event that the US could disarm North Korea with “just” a few thousand casualties on its own side, solving this “little problem” does nothing to address the big one: China. America’s broader position in the region is under unrelenting pressure from China’s rise, and disarming North Korea by military strike would not save America from that challenge. In fact, the financial and human cost of such a campaign would raise China’s position relative to the US, just as the Iraq war did. China would also benefit from the dismay such action would cause America’s allies. A preventive strike might even drive Pyongyang into the protective arms of Beijing, thus relieving China of a stubborn problem and giving it more influence on the Korean Peninsula.

"Underway—Beijing’s Strategy to Build China into a Maritime Great Power" by Liza Tobin In its official documents, China has defined what it means by the term maritime great power and has laid out how it intends to achieve that status, becoming the world’s “main maritime power” by 2049. 

Jorge Guajardo interview: Donald Trump, US-China power balance, Tesla - Business Insider As the United States stops putting an emphasis [on values], and as the United States embraces more of an American First [policy], or calls other countries by names that we've heard, I think these countries are less prone to listen to the United States and take the United States as the aspirational country, which doesn't mean they're going to go and try to be like China. It just means that when China comes to them, they're not as reluctant to engage as they would've been the past.

Controversial name change of California schools spurs protest from Chinese community - Xinhua Fred Yamanoto was a local resident who was held in an internment camp. He later joined the U.S. Army and died in battle during World War II. The Chinese American parents were not satisfied with the candidacy of Yamamoto as a potential name because they said the name reminded them of the painful wartime history. Some of them said they also learned from the experience to "make your voice heard" and "take an active part in community activities."

This Cambodian city is turning into a Chinese enclave, and not everyone is happy. - The Washington Post China is trying to spread its political and economic influence across the region, particularly through its ambitious “One Belt One Road” infrastructure development. And Cambodia is trying to develop its economy without having to adhere to any of the human rights demands that American and European governments tend to insist upon....Those two interests directly coincide in Sihanoukville, a port city on the Gulf of Thailand named after the king who is still revered as the father of modern Cambodia.

Dalai Lama faces cold shoulder as India looks to improve China ties - Reuters Now Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nationalist government, is reversing course, apparently after realizing its hard line on China was not working, and the Dalai Lama is facing the cold shoulder. “We are moving forward with this relationship, the idea is to put the events of 2017 behind us,” an Indian government source involved in China policy said.


Hong Kong, Macao

A bridge so far: China's controversial megaproject - Channel NewsAsia Touted as an engineering wonder, the world's longest sea bridge, which connects Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China, includes a snaking road crossing and an underwater tunnel and reportedly uses enough steel to build 60 Eiffel Towers. Nine years after construction began on the 55km crossing, a preview organised by the Chinese government this week offered a first peek into the megaproject



Taiwanese Novelist Wu Ming-yi To Lodge Protest With Man Booker Prize Over ‘Taiwan, China’ Designation – Taiwan Sentinel Well-known Taiwanese author Wu Ming-yi, whose novel The Stolen Bicycle was long-listed for the prestigious 2018 Man Booker International Prize, revealed on his Facebook page this morning that the organizers of the literary prize had changed his country of origin from “Taiwan” to “Taiwan, China,” a move that he said did not reflect his personal position. Wu is one of 13 authors nominated for the prize, the leading literary award in the English-speaking world. According to the official web site, the Man Booker International Prize was established in 2005, biannually rewarding an author for a body of work originally written in any language as long as it was widely available in English. The Stolen Bicycle was first published in Chinese in 2015 and was translated into English by the Taipei-based Darryl Sterk.

Taiwan president to visit old African ally amid China pressure - Reuters Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said Tsai would visit the southern African nation of Swaziland from April 17 to April 21, with this year marking half a century of diplomatic ties

Taipei lashes out at Beijing after film with ‘pro-independence’ actor banned | South China Morning Post Mainland accused of inconsistency ‘in its words and deeds’ after Missing Johnny screenings barred over claims about its star Lawrence Ko


Tech And Media

Drone-maker DJI announces a new enterprise development kit and thermal imaging sensor — Quartz At an event in California today, March 28, DJI announced the launch of two new products—a thermal-imaging sensor for its drones called the Zenmuse XT2, and a new development kit that’s meant to make it easier for drone owners to slap their own custom sensors, parts, and payloads onto their drones. In short, it’s a way to turn the commercial drones that DJI sells into open platforms for their customers to do with them as they please.

Baidu-Backed iQiyi Prices IPO in Middle of Range: Source - Caixin Global The pricing was finalized around the same time that another Chinese online video company, Bilibili Inc., made its own trading debut in New York. That IPO saw Bilibili price its ADSs at $11.50, also representing the midpoint of their previously announced range of $10.50 to $12.50. The company’s shares initially fell sharply in their trading debut, before recovering somewhat to close down about 2% on their first day.

This Chinese Phone Maker Has Taken Over Africa, for Better and Worse - Bloomberg No matter how many phones you sell, Yu Weiguo has learned, it’s tough to keep to a schedule when the government declares martial law. During his eight years in Ethiopia, Yu has helped turn little-known Transsion Holdings, owner of the sleepy Chinese brand Tecno Mobile, into Africa’s leading mobile device maker. Having sold at least 200 million phones on the continent, he picked the outskirts of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, as the site for a 280,000-square-foot factory. It was supposed to be pumping out as many as 2 million phones a month by July, but things aren’t working out as planned.

China’s blockchain ambitions revealed in sheer number of patent applications — Quartz Last year more than half of the world’s approximately 400 blockchain-related patent applications were from China, according to Thomson Reuters, which sourced data from the World Intellectual Patent Organization

Alibaba's Mapping Unit AutoNavi Declares War On Didi Via Launch Of Carpooling Business – China Money Network AutoNavi, backed by the vast resources of Alibaba Group, has the potential to rapidly expand based on its massive existing user base. The company said it will not take any fees from drivers who participate in its new services, using this as a draw to quickly sign on new users. Ride sharing firms in China usually charge a commission fee of 7% to 10% from each ride.

China's short video platforms face backlash over "vulgar content" · TechNode The People’s Daily is reporting that short video platforms have been found teeming with inappropriate and vulgar content (in Chinese). Video streaming sites such as Douyin, Kuaishou, and Meipai have risen to popularity in China the past few years, but lately, there has been backlash online and in China’s traditional media. The most recent incident that stunned China’s internet community was when a father from Wuhan dropped his two-year-old daughter as he tried to lift her into the air, attempting to recreate a video seen on Douyin. The accident resulted in a serious spine injury.


Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

Experts doubt authenticity of bronze Palace relic to be auctioned in UK - ECNS The vessel that dates back to the Western Zhou dynasty (1027 BC-771 BC) will go on sale at The Canterbury Auction Galleries on April 11 with an estimate of 120,000 to 200,000 pounds ($170,000 - $285,000). Zhou Ya, an expert in bronze ware research, said that there is no strong evidence that Tiger Ying was a relic from the Summer Palace. Only depending on the previous owner's letters and old photographs cannot support the statement.  //  Comment: Classic, try to talk down the price so a patriotic buyer can get it cheap...

China probes if ancient bronze vessel to be auctioned in UK was looted | South China Morning Post China’s State Administration of Cultural Heritage said it was looking into the case. “We hope the related institutions will abide by the spirit of international agreements, respect the feelings of the people in the country where the relic is originally from and do not trade looted relics,” the government agency said in a statement on Wednesday.


Energy, Environment, Science And Health

US, Chinese Scientists Work Together to Reintroduce Pandas to Wild Scientists at the Chengdu Panda Base in Sichuan province have been working for years to increase the captive panda population. Now a new documentary, called Pandas, tells of a program to introduce some of those cubs into the wild.

China bungles changes to its blood-donation system - The Economist $$ Paying people to give blood was outlawed in 1998. Instead, to encourage donations, the government gave volunteers the right to certificates meant to grant them priority access to blood, should they ever need it. More significantly, it allowed donors to transfer this privilege to someone else—in effect allowing them to donate blood directly to family or friends in need. The idea was that blood donated this way would help to supplement stocks provided freely and altruistically.

陕西通报中央环保督察移交问题:黄河湿地保护区被开垦近万亩_绿政公署_澎湃新闻-The Paper report of environmental inspection tour or Shaanxi Province quite damning, though lots of innovation in ways to avoid regulatory scrutiny...

中央环保督察移交案件91个,7省市1048人被问责-中青在线 中青在线北京3月29日电(中国青年报·中青在线记者 刘世昕)2017年4月,中央环保督察组向北京、上海、湖北、广东、重庆、陕西和甘肃等7省市移交了91个生态环境损害责任追究问题,今天7省市同时发布问责清单,1048人被问责,其中省部级领导3人。

China to initiate big science projects - China will play an active role in significant international scientific research projects, as planned by the State Council. Since China is keen to enhance its innovation competence and have influence in the international arena, it regards organizing big science projects as a powerful tool to solve key global scientific issues and aggregate cutting-edge scientific resources, as well as to construct a global innovation governance system. In that, scientific diplomacy will help to enhance cooperation with other countries.

China Widens Net to Catch Violations in Natural Reserves - Caixin Global China is expanding oversight of businesses that may be violating rules meant to protect natural reserves, the Ministry of Ecological Environment said Thursday. The ministry and six other agencies will inspect some 1,300 reserves both at the national and regional levels for illegal operations that may threaten such sites, according to ministry head Li Ganjie.



Education Ministry to Get Strict with Extracurricular-Class Providers - Caixin Global According to the rules, companies offering extracurricular lessons that have business permits but not school permits must apply to become licensed as schools. Organizations that are not officially schools must also refrain from organizing exams or competitions for elementary and middle school students, and official schools must not link their acceptance of students to students’ performance in these organizations’ classes or exams.


Food And Travel

Technology set to drive China's toilet revolution forward - China Daily China's "toilet revolution" has moved up a gear with the news that the emphasis will shift from management of restrooms at tourist attractions to improving conditions in facilities in rural areas via the use of technology, said Li Jinzao, vice-minister of culture and tourism.