Delta outbreaks; Damage control over tutoring industry destruction; Taliban in Tianjin
Today’s Essential Eight Items:
Official damage control over tutoring industry destruction
More on the tutoring crackdown
Sun Dawu gets 18 years
Evergrande the grande grey rhino
Taliban meet Wang Yi in Tianjin
Flooding in Henan still bad
Attacking foreign media
Thanks for reading.
The Essential Eight
1. Delta outbreaks
Comment: The Nanjing outbreak is still growing, local officials are under a lot of pressure for poor epidemic prevention, and now there are cases traced to tourists in Zhangjiajie, Hunan. The outbreak traced to Zhangjiajie is likely grim news for the PRC tourism industry. With the entrance of the delta variant don't be surprised if we see a lot less domestic travel than expected now through the October 1 National Day holiday, especially with the 6th Plenum coming up, probably in October/November.
Other cities in Jiangsu are reinforcing anti-pandemic measures. Suzhou has set up 18 highway checkpoints to check the health status of drivers coming from Nanjing. Suzhou has also suspended all passenger road transportation, including buses and taxis, with Nanjing...
According to media reports, seven cases recently detected in Dalian, Liaoning and Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan recently had attended a same show in Zhangjiajie, Central China's Hunan Province, on July 22.
Among the seven cases, three discovered in Dalian had transferred at the Lukou Airport on July 17.
Zhangjiajie has screened for close contacts of those who attended the show, put them under quarantine, and collected their nucleic acid samples for testing.
Wang Hesheng, director of the newly established National Bureau of Disease Control and Prevention, and Lei Haichao, a deputy director of the National Health Commission went to Jiangsu to supervise the covid control. The meeting led by the Jiangsu party secretary to discuss new measures admitted that the situation is severe
The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection wrote a commentary criticizing the Nanjing airport for negligence that led to the outbreak. “If the Nanjing Lukou airport were able to implement the measures [instructed by the state council] timely and meticulously, how come it would fail in this defense against covid?”
Three individuals who were in close contacts with a covid case in Nanjing are said to have travelled from Shandong to Inner Mongolia, and they took subway in Beijing on July 24 as they tried to catch a different train.
Report said more than 2000 people were in the audience in the July 22 Zhangjiajie show and they sat close to each other, and it is unclear if they were wearing masks. It appears the 2000 people – now all labeled as “high risk” -- already left Zhangjiajie and are now scattered across the country.
An anonymous insider told the Global Times on Wednesday that Nanjing Lukou International Airport, the transmission source of China’s latest resurgence of the Delta variant that has forced Nanjing city to a de-facto shutdown, will suspend all air flights till August 11.
The insider said the airport began to cut the number of flights in and out of the airport from July 26, including flights in and out of Nanjing. Also, international flights will be cancelled till August 11.
People’s Daily’s Health Times said the Nanjing airport and its cleaning contractor were so sloppy that they didn’t try to separate those cleaners who clean flights from abroad, and those who clean the domestic flights. The cleaners first contracted the virus, and then passed on to their colleagues and families. A businessman who worked with the airport told Health Times that it is a “stupid mistake”.
Sichuan provincial government released a document on Wednesday requiring all arrivals to the province to undergo a 14-day-quarantine at quarantine centers and another seven-day quarantine at home.
Of the 6 new local cases in Chengdu, five had traveled to Zhangjiajie
155 confirmed cases in Nanjing, 4 are very ill, epidemic controls upgraded to prevent spread of the Delta variant
Xinhua News Agency commented on Nanjing epidemic situation: Why do cases keep increasing? How high is the risk of proliferation?
Dalian, Chengdu, the new COVID-19-infected people have been to Zhangjiajie. How is Zhangjiajie doing epidemic prevention work?
On July 28th, Hunan CDC reported that Suqian City, Jiangsu Province, Dalian City, Liaoning Province and Chengdu City, Sichuan Province had reported people infected with Covid-19 who gad visited Zhangjiajie City, Hunan Province.
According to the official report, on the evening of July 22nd, many asymptomatic infected people watched the "Charming Xiangxi" Theater in Wulingyuan Scenic Spot, Zhangjiajie. At present, all the audience of the performance have been classified as high-risk people for control.
Secretary of Hunan Provincial Party Committee: Expanding the scope of nucleic acid detection in Zhangjiajie and other places to strengthen the prevention and control of scenic spots 湖南省委书记：对张家界等地扩大核酸检测范围 加强景
2. Official damage control over tutoring industry destruction
The selling this week has clearly worried policymakers, so we have had statements from official media and conference call with the CSRC’s Fang Xinghai to try to ally concerns about investing in the PRC’s domestic markets. Perhaps ironically, the markets soothing commentary from the Securities Times used for its headline a line from a poem by Mao Zedong. Overall the message sounds like “we only meant to destroy one industry this time, trust us your money is safe, long-term there is lots of potential to make money investing in the PRC“. Will this messaging work? I will bet it does, though it may take a bit of time. In the end greed usually prevails over fear.
The hastily arranged call, which included attendees from several major international banks, was led by China Securities Regulatory Commission Vice Chairman Fang Xinghai, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be named discussing private information. Some bankers left with the message that the education policies were targeted and not intended to hurt companies in other industries, the people said.
It’s the latest sign that Chinese authorities have become uncomfortable with a selloff that sent the nation’s key stock indexes to the brink of a bear market on Wednesday morning. State-run media have published a series of articles suggesting the rout is overdone, while some analysts have speculated government-linked funds have begun intervening to prop up the market.
In a front page story citing domestic fund managers, the official China Securities Journal said the sell-off was a "structural adjustment", a sustained plunge is unlikely and the market does not face systemic risk.
A story in the state-run Shanghai Securities News quoted domestic analysts as saying that the sell-off would not continue, and that the market will gradually stabilise.
"For institutions, the decline brings the opportunity for positioning in high-quality shares," it said.
To some extent, the recent market decline reflects the misreading of policies and emotional catharsis by some funds. The economic fundamentals have not changed, and the market will stabilize at any time...
The recent policy adjustments in some industries have indeed affected the existing profit models of some companies in the short term, but in the medium and long term, they are conducive to releasing the vitality of the whole society and meeting the growth of most other consumer sectors and the people's yearning for a better life ...
Short-term shocks do not change the long-term trend of A-shares. The breadth and depth of China's economy and the advantages of the market itself will determine that the long-term trend of A-shares will not change, and investors should have sufficient confidence in this. Investors should also treat market fluctuations rationally and make investment decisions rationally on the basis of assessing their own risk tolerance
There are some doubts in the market about the regulatory policies of platform economy, education and training and other industries. This sentiment is reflected in the stock market.
To correctly understand the regulatory policies of platform economy, education and training and other industries, we must proceed from the overall situation of China's economic and social development.
The Fifth Plenary Session of the Nineteenth CPC Central Committee, the Central Economic Work Conference and the Ninth Meeting of the Central Financial and Economic Committee clearly stated that it is necessary to strengthen anti-monopoly and prevent disorderly expansion of capital, so as to effectively guard against risks. It is necessary to set out from the strategic height of building a new competitive advantage of the country, establish and improve the platform economic governance system, and promote the standardized, healthy and sustainable development of the platform economy. This points out the direction for strengthening the supervision of platform enterprises and promoting the high-quality development of platform economy...
As some recent regulatory policies involve overseas listed enterprises, there is a concern in the market about whether there will be any variables in the future policy of Chinese enterprises going overseas and whether the pace of opening up China's capital market to the outside world will slow down.
In fact, in view of the overseas listing of enterprises, the regulatory authorities have recently released many signals.
Yi Huiman, chairman of CSRC, said at Lujiazui Forum recently: Some enterprises are willing to go public overseas, and some enterprises that go public overseas are willing to return. It is a normal phenomenon to come and go, and we are generally supportive.
At the same time, he stressed that the premise for enterprises to go public overseas is to comply with relevant domestic laws, regulations and regulatory requirements. "No matter which market you are listed in, you must abide by local laws and regulations, establish the awareness of public companies, fear the rule of law, and fear investors."
To be sure, the CSRC is open to enterprises' choice of listing places, supports enterprises to make choices according to their own development needs, and supports enterprises to utilize two markets and two resources for development in accordance with laws and regulations.
At the same time, the pace of opening up China's capital market has not slowed down because of the epidemic, but has further accelerated. Recently, the CSRC has approved Goldman Sachs Gaohua Securities Co., Ltd. to engage in alternative investment business through its subsidiaries. In addition, the CSRC approved the custody qualification of Citibank (China) Co., Ltd.' s securities investment fund in August 2020, and the company recently completed the preparatory work and obtained the license to operate securities and futures according to law.
It should be noted that respecting the spirit of contract, protecting property rights and intellectual property rights, and ensuring that all ownership economies use production factors equally according to law, participate in market competition fairly, and are equally protected by law will not change the "two unwaverings [unwavering support for private companies and state-owned ones], the major policy of reform and opening up, and the development direction of China's socialist market economy.
The chief executive of DWS, one of Europe’s largest investors, has dismissed the escalating regulatory crackdown in China as “noise”, arguing the asset management industry should take a long-term view in a country it is betting will deliver vast profits.
The piece by Ren Yi, aka “Chairman Rabbit” made the rounds of WeChat a couple of days ago, Caixin has translated it - Opinion: The Who, What and Why of China’s Regulatory Crackdown - Caixin
This system of governance and oversight transcends the law.
In that sense, laws and regulations are only tools and means to reach regulators’ goals in terms of governance, norms, and ethics. The law per se is not the end, merely the tool.
This contrasts starkly with the rule of law concept in the West. While it is comprehensible to Chinese, it is difficult for Westerners to understand. Westerners may find it difficult to understand the logic behind China’s regulations. They always assume that the government aims to “maintain its rule” and curb or restrict the flow of capital for the purpose of “internal stability,” “winning the people’s hearts,” or “boosting its legitimacy.” In other words, Westerners assume that these regulations are tools for China to maintain its rule, but in fact they are driven by values and aim to achieve a higher order and high morals.
"Chinese entrepreneurs and investors must understand that the age of reckless capital expansion is over," said Alan Song, founder of private equity firm Harvest Capital. "A new era that prioritises fairness over efficiency has begun."..
"The spectre of state intervention into controlling the private sector has created a crescendo of panic-selling," analysts at investment bank Jefferies said in a note. "The authorities are attempting to reduce social inequality while clamping down on excessive price rises that are undermining the cost of living."
Zhaopeng Xing, senior China strategist at ANZ, said the raft of policies, unveiled around the Chinese Communist Party's centenary, underscores the political will to reinforce the Party's roots.
"These policies were announced to reflect the Party's progressiveness" and appeal to the masses, Xing said. "They send a message that China is not a capitalistic country, but embraces socialism."
3. More on the tutoring crackdown
China’s Ministry of Education said on Wednesday that it had begun implementing a campaign to stop paid after-school tutoring services provided by teachers working for public primary and middle schools...
The ministry said in a statement on its website that it would also tackle teachers illegally receiving bribes, and show “zero tolerance” towards teachers who “teach only after classes but not during classes”.
Report on the crackdown on public school teachers tutoring - 教育部启动中小学有偿补课和教师违规收受礼品礼金问题专项整治_腾讯新闻
A teacher in Huangshan, East China's Anhui Province, was busted by a local education authority after parents exposed him for offering students with paid tutorials secretly. After-school tutorials are banned under new regulations recently issued by the government, any teacher found offering them will have his/her qualification revoked.
Staffer from the local education authority busted the teacher outside of a fancy villa, after receiving tip-offs from parents that the teacher, surnamed Lü, was giving students paid tutorials in the villa.
Chinese live tutoring app Yuanfudao on Wednesday launched a new online education product called "Pumpkin Science" that focuses on science education for juveniles, as the company shifts from traditional curriculum-based courses to other subjects after China banned for-profit after-class tutoring in sweeping overhaul of the $120 billion industry.
New Oriental Education, who provides tutoring service, is said to be considering providing day care instead. Its chairman Yu Minhong is reportedly in tears in an internal meeting discussing responses to the crackdown
Multiple local branches of New Oriental Education have added day care in their business description in the corporate filings.
In 2021’s first half, education and tutoring ads accounted for about 9% of the total number of ads displayed on Tencent’s and Baidu Inc.’s online platforms, according to data tracked by Guangzhou-based researcher App Growing. Zhongtai’s Chan estimates the K-9 business accounts for up to 80% of New Oriental’s revenue and 90% of TAL’s sales...
China Online Education Group, whose 51Talk platform connects Chinese schoolkids with teachers abroad, believes it’s not in violation of a moratorium on hiring foreign teachers outside the country because they serve as a matchmaker but don’t hire foreigners as formal staff, one of the people said.
Comment: Good luck with that argument
I have seen some investors say no one saw this coming. Those folks should read Sinocism! This is from the June 15 Sinocism:
China's Ministry of Education on Tuesday announced the establishment of a special department for supervising after-school education and training programs.
The new department will take charge of the management of after-school education and training for pre-school kids, as well as primary- and junior-school students.
It will set out the standards for the content and duration of both online and offline training, the qualifications of tutors as well as the charges, and will oversee their implementation jointly with relevant authorities, according to the ministry
Comment: Good for Xi, a huge headache for parents and kids, and the private companies have corrupted normal education. The government has for years made noises about reining in the tutoring industry, but they have never really followed through. Too many interests, including normal teachers getting paid to feed students to the tutoring firms. This time though I think will be different, as it is tied in with reducing the pressures on parents to encourage more births, and it appears Xi himself is behind this, so good luck to the officials who waver in implementation. And bad luck for the companies offering these services, and their investors.
4. Sun Dawu gets 18 years
Long a thorn in the side of Beijing, Mr. Sun was a frequent and loud critic of Chinese government policies, from its early handling of Covid 19 to local government cover-ups over a 2019 outbreak of African swine fever that killed thousands of his pigs. He was also a businessman who cultivated an image of generosity. As his agricultural empire grew he created a town around his holdings and provided services, like hospital care, to employees...
Mr. Sun’s 18-year sentence matched those given in recent years to two other businessmen. In 2018, Wu Xiaohui, a Chinese tycoon who rose to prominence after he bought the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for defrauding investors. Last year, retired real-estate mogul Ren Zhiqiang was given an 18-year prison term after he called Mr. Xi a clown in an essay...
The fate of Mr. Sun’s business remains unclear. His oldest son and company chairman, Sun Meng, said through his lawyer that the government appeared to be pushing for a takeover.
The outspoken Chinese tycoon Sun Dawu was sentenced to 18 years in jail on Wednesday on charges ranging from provoking trouble to illegal fundraising.
The Gaobeidian People’s Court also handed down jail sentences of between 18 months to 12 years to Sun’s two sons and two brothers.
The Dawu Agricultural and Animal Husbandry Group, a conglomerate that bears the tycoon’s name, was fined more than 30 million yuan (US$4.6 million), had another 14 million yuan confiscated and was ordered to repay over 1 billion yuan of deposits it has taken from employees and local residents in Hebei province.
All 20 defendants in the case were found guilty but five were given suspended sentences, according to a brief statement posted by the court on its social media platform and Sun’s legal team.
the defense lawyers also have sufficient and legitimate reasons to ask that the trial be rescheduled to a later date. Over the course of the trial, the defense lawyers have discovered new leads of evidence that are favorable to the defendants and requested the court to obtain this exculpatory evidence. Several defense lawyers also repeatedly applied for important witnesses to be summoned to appear in court to give their testimonies. In order to ascertain the facts and the truth surrounding this case and ensure that the trial is substantive, the trial should be delayed to a later date. The defense lawyers have already formally submitted a written “Application for Evidence Collection” and a written “Application for Trial Postponement.”
Comment: This case casts some doubt about the sincerity of “"two unwaverings 两个毫不动摇 [unwavering support for private companies and state-owned ones]”
5. Evergrande the grande grey rhino
China Evergrande is quickly becoming the biggest financial worry in a nation with no shortage of financial worries. Even as a selloff in Chinese technology stocks grabs global attention, China hands are anxiously watching Evergrande. From Hong Kong to New York, the same question keeps coming up: Just how bad could this get?
The short answer: very bad. Nowhere near as world-famous as Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Evergrande nonetheless is staggering in its size and reach. Only three years ago, it was the biggest property company on Earth. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Hui was personally worth $42 billion, making him the richest man in China after Ma.
One thing seems likely: China Evergrande may get smaller. To ease the crunch, Hui has been selling stakes in various businesses and, in all likelihood, will sell even more. The company has some $80 billion worth of equity in non-property businesses, according to Agnes Wong, a Hong Kong-based analyst at BNP Paribas SA.
Comment: Evergrande is a much bigger systemic problem than HNA/Anbang and Tomorrow Group, as not only could it impact financial stability it could also impact social stability in many provinces, as if it goes down the prices of many of its current projects would drop, leading to homeowners protesting, something every local official fears, and especially in the year before a Patty Congress. Expect big SOEs to lend a hand, and perhaps even some "patriotic", cash-rich private firms will volunteer to help as well.
Hundreds of complaints from frustrated homebuyers about delayed projects appeared on Weibo, the popular Chinese microblogging platform.
One homebuyer in the south-western city of Chengdu said he had paid Rmb1.1m in 2019 for an unfinished Evergrande apartment, but the project had been pushed back and was unlikely to be completed by its due date next July.
“That would be a big blow to my family as we have emptied our savings to make the Rmb300,000 down payment and are under pressure to pay mortgages and rents at the same time,” he added. “I bought the apartment because of Evergrande’s reputation as a Fortune 500 company.”
"Evergrande was investigated for selling houses below market price? Reporter's investigation: house prices are not even as good as land prices"
The second-hand housing market in Shenzhen has cooled down, and the real estate intermediary market has also changed significantly. On July 28th, Shenzhen Real Estate Intermediaries Association issued the Notice on Carrying out Special Remediation Work for Standardized Operation of Real Estate Intermediaries, which carried out special rectification work for standardized operation of real estate intermediaries and related employees in the whole city.
At least six more Chinese cities [Ningbo, Chengdu, Xian, Shanghai, Shashan, Wuxi] have adopted “second-home reference price” mechanism 二手房参考价 since Shenzhen first pioneered it in February, according to the 21st Century Business Herald. The introduction of a reference price in Shenzhen helped stabilize the second-home market in the city by curbing price increases. Analysts predicted that the second-home market would face more scrutiny. “If second-hand home prices can’t be controlled, then prices for new homes would be hard to control,” a researcher with a government-affiliated think-tank in Guangdong told the newspaper. “不把二手房控制住，新房价格就很难管控。”
6. Taliban meet Wang Yi in Tianjin
State Councilor Wang pointed out that the Afghan Taliban is an important military and political force in Afghanistan and is expected to play an important role in the country's peace, reconciliation and reconstruction process. We hope that the Afghan Taliban will put the interests of the country and nation first, hold high the banner of peace talks, set the goal of peace, build a positive image and pursue an inclusive policy. All factions and ethnic groups in Afghanistan should unite as one, truly implement the "Afghan-led and Afghan-owned" principle, push for early substantive results in the peace and reconciliation process, and independently establish a broad and inclusive political structure that suits Afghanistan's national realities.
Wang stressed that the ETIM is an international terrorist organization designated by the UN Security Council that poses a direct threat to China’s national security and territorial integrity. Combating it is a common responsibility for the international community. We hope the Afghan Taliban will make a clean break with all terrorist organizations including the ETIM and resolutely and effectively combat them to remove obstacles, play a positive role and create enabling conditions for security, stability, development and cooperation in the region.
Baradar expressed appreciation for the opportunity to visit China. He said China has always been a reliable friend of the Afghan people and commended China’s just and positive role in Afghanistan’s peace and reconciliation process. The Afghan Taliban has the utmost sincerity to work towards and realize peace. It stands ready to work with other parties to establish a political framework in Afghanistan that is broadly-based, inclusive and accepted by the people and protect human rights, especially rights of women and children. The Afghan Taliban will never allow any force to use the Afghan territory to engage in acts detrimental to China...
On the same day, Assistant Foreign Minister Wu Jianghao held talks with Baradar and other representatives to exchange views on issues of shared concerns
"After returning to the Afghan mainstream politics since US-led troops withdrawal, the Afghan Taliban chose to first visit Russia and China instead of other countries - two powers that have no sharp conflicts of interests with it. It shows the Taliban attaches great importance to developing ties with the two major countries, and it believes in their influence in helping to rebuild Afghanistan," Li Wei, an expert on national security and anti-terrorism at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times.
Li said that Russia, which has learned lessons from history, hopes to keep good ties with parties in Afghanistan, and China, with its consistent stance on Afghanistan being governed by Afghans, has maintained good connections with different forces in Afghanistan.
Barnett R. Rubin, a former State Department official and United Nations adviser on Afghanistan who is a senior fellow at New York University’s Center on International Cooperation, said the meeting in China was not a show of support for the Taliban but for a peaceful end to the war.
“It is an effort to use China’s influence to persuade the Taliban not to seek a military victory but to negotiate seriously for an inclusive political settlement,” he said.
QUESTION: There were pictures today, there was a high-level meeting in Beijing where Taliban representatives had met with the foreign minister there, and I’m wondering what you would want to say about China getting involved in this. Because the prevailing notion here seems to be as the U.S. withdraws, China steps into that vacuum.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Well, I think many countries in – immediately neighboring Afghanistan and in the broader region, including China, have interests in Afghanistan. And as it happens, those interests largely align. No one, whether it’s the United States, China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Russia, Central Asian countries – no one has an interest in Afghanistan falling into an enduring civil war. No one has an interest in a military takeover of the country by the Taliban, the restoration of an Islamic emirate. Everyone has an interest in a peaceful resolution of the conflict and some kind of government that emerges that’s truly representative and inclusive. And so if China is acting on those interests, if other countries are acting on those interests, that’s a positive thing.
7. Flooding in Henan still bad
A week after torrential rains hit the central province of Henan, increasingly foul water is still clogging Weihui, a small city whose residents have been without electricity or running water and where local officials fear the situation might further deteriorate.
As of Tuesday, the majority of Weihui’s 150,000 urban residents had been evacuated, disaster response officials said...
Typhoon In-fa, which made landfall over the weekend near Shanghai and has weakened to a tropical depression as it moves inland, brought further heavy rainfall across Henan on Tuesday and Wednesday.
State news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday that in Hua County, located not far from Weihui, the Wei River had breached flood defenses and that the rainfall from In-fa was creating dangerous situations
Residents of Weihui took it to Weibo to accuse the local government for trying to hide the truth from the Henan party boss Lou Yangsheng who visited the city on Monday. A local journalist said the Weihui government led Lou away from the worst-hit area and see the places not flooded at all. “河南省省委书记楼阳生到卫辉了解受灾情况，卫辉市政府封路拦截，为省委书记让出一条没有水的"生命通道"，供领导视察时通过。”
As Fugou’s last line of defense, the construction of a levee along the section of the Jialu River that runs through Liushang Village needs to be monitored constantly. At night, every 10-meter stretch of the dike requires a person on duty to report any potential danger. The embankment’s ability to withstand the upcoming rainfall concerns the fate of hundreds of thousands of lives in the county.
Since Monday, residents have been reinforcing the levee, using construction vehicles to pave the roads, and preparing sandbags filled with stones.
Comment: Some excellent pictures in the above story
Netizens going through the government statements also accused the Zhengzhou government of inexperience and overlooking the risks of flood inside the city, while officials in Luoyang appear to be more vigilant and did a good job in preventing casualties.
Question: Is it strange that 8 days after the flooding started Premier Li Keqiang has still not visited Henan?
8. Attacking foreign media
The vitriol aimed at the Western news media is the inevitable outcome of the cultural war against foreign influence and the anti-intellectualism campaign that the Communist Party has waged under the leadership of Xi Jinping...
Since Sunday, the China-based staff for the BBC, The Los Angeles Times and others have received death threats and intimidating messages and calls, according to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China...
The online mob is even more ruthless to Chinese people who dare to be critical. A journalism professor asked on Weibo why the official Henan television station had not pre-empted its regularly scheduled programming to report on the unprecedented rainfall. One commenter said he must be asking on behalf of his “American master.”
It is not unanticipated that Western media made a huge fuss about two Western journalists questioned by a crowd in Zhengzhou, Central China's Henan Province. Mathias Boelinger, a journalist from the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW), called Chinese people who questioned him a "mob," while BBC on Twitter called on the Chinese government to stop the "attacks" on foreign journalists. In a statement on Tuesday, the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China demanded that the Chinese government fulfill its promise to protect the rights of foreign journalists in China. Reporters Without Borders also said it was "appalled" by the recent harassment of foreign journalists in Zhengzhou.
What happened in Zhengzhou was a small and simple incident, and none of the foreign reporters were attacked. But it has been hyped by the Western media as big news. This incident has further confirmed that it is reasonable for the Chinese public to be strongly dissatisfied with the Western media for their false reports about China...
Furthermore, information on the internet is more confusing, and attacks and threats against individuals are seen all the time. What Western journalists and their Chinese employees faced was just a normal situation that no one had designed for them specifically. The Henan Provincial Communist Youth League's Weibo account humorously called netizens to record the behaviors of BBC journalists in Henan. This is also an unofficial behavior in the context of Chinese internet, and few netizens would seriously take it as an official call.
The original Chinese version - 社评：对外国记者在华“遭攻击”的炒作很可耻
Be it unprofessionally linking China's first gold medal to COVID-19 or attributing the Chinese people's enthusiasm for the Olympics to nationalist sentiment, CNN's goal is to tarnish China's international image, make China look incompatible with the international community, and try to marginalize China in international public opinion. To some extent, this is in line with the US strategic competition with China...
CNN has become a megaphone for Western ideology. It makes great effort to denigrate and vilify China whenever it gets a chance, and thus its China-related reports are full of preconceived prejudice and a sense of superiority. It views China through tinted glasses, so everything it sees is distorted. This is also the case in sports, where CNN forcibly links sports to other political issues in far-fetched ways.
Comment: Remember this nasty December 2020 Xinhua commentary on "Worshipping America" and "Kneeling to America" that I translated in the 12.17.2020 newsletter.
Business, Economy and Trade
Douyin, Taobao, JD.com picked up by regulator for illicit activity - Global Times China's State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) on Wednesday announced 10 typical cases involving illegal activities such as false advertising and unfair competition. It was the second such announcement this year, with several e-commerce giants including Alibaba's Taobao, JD.com and Douyin.
国家发展改革委关于推广借鉴深圳经济特区创新举措和经验做法的通知 China’s top economic planning body NDRC issues a list of 47 specific tips for success that local governments should learn from Shenzhen, ranging from tailored industrial policies to environmental protection
Chinese Billionaire Pays $500,000 Over Asking for Historic LA Mansion Chinese gaming billionaire Tianqiao Chen bought a historic $25 million Los Angeles mansion earlier this month.
独家｜招行叫停个人外汇期权与贵金属业务 商业银行或将全面取消个人交易类的业务 - 21财经 21CBH - "China Merchants Bank will stop the personal foreign exchange options and precious metals business: Commercial banks may completely cancel the personal transaction business"
China pledges support for small business, but some SMEs see ‘doom and gloom’ amid regulatory crackdown | South China Morning Post Another senior executive of a Beijing-based education group, which fell victim to the after-school tutoring crackdown, feared more regulatory action was to come. “His speech is a signal that the state is likely to go ahead and forcibly reverse the trend of economic development,” said the executive, who did not want to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter. “I feel the central government is now pretty serious about strengthening its control over quite a few sectors.”
China Looks to More Export Tariffs to Tame Booming Steel Sector - Bloomberg Potential rates being discussed range from 10% to 25% and products include hot-rolled coil, according to two people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak to the media. Officials are seeking to implement the levies in the third quarter, though they’re still subject to final approval, one of the people said.
Liu, the owner of the shuttered farm that Ye managed, is also devising a Plan B, unfazed by the dent the government’s put in his wallet.
The 40-year-old became a yuan billionaire due to his early investments in Bitcoin. In Sichuan alone, Liu owned more than 10 Bitcoin mining farms, which industry insiders estimated accounted for one-eighth of the total electricity consumed by all Bitcoin mines in the province.
During peak seasons, Liu said his farms could mine 70 to 80 Bitcoins every day. About 900 Bitcoins are issued each day globally, according to an industry information platform...
Following the government’s May 21 crackdown announcement, he arranged teams of employees to scout for new venues in North America and Kazakhstan. In mid-June, his company bought an oilfield in Canada that could potentially provide fuel for his Bitcoin mining business.
波场创始人孙宇晨由商转学，开始在中央党校从事学术研究，敢回国吗？ - 链闻 ChainNews Justin Sun Yuchen, the cryptocurrency entrepreneur, said he will be leading a research project at the CCP Central Party School that investigates blockchain and social governance. Sun is said to have been staying overseas to avoid the legal consequences back in China amid the crypto crackdown.
China’s digital yuan: Who should be scared? - Protocol — The people, power and politics of tech In reality, the system is likely more "pseudonymous" than anonymous, Martin Chorzempa, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, told Protocol. It's not like cash or the prepaid debit card people can buy anonymously at a local convenience store. Instead, every digital yuan wallet, physical or virtual, will be associated with a valid phone number. That means any e-CNY transaction will be traceable back to a number, which in China is tied to an individual via their ID.
10部委研判下半年经济走势：部分宏观指标增速将回落 关注国内外五大挑战 - 21经济网 A review by the 21st Century Business Herald of data released by ten ministries points to a downward pressure Chinese economy faces in the latter half of the year. Internationally, the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic, coupled with moves by the Fed, continue to present challenges. Domestically, “structural employment pressure” and difficulties experienced by small businesses threaten a full economic recovery. Citing official data and predictions, the newspaper said that “certain economic indicators” are likely to decline in the latter half of the year, including trade and government revenues.
China’s domestic brands boom, fuelled by nationalism, with Li-Ning, Anta standing out from the crowd | South China Morning Post Since March, the share prices of Li-Ning and Anta have doubled, with Li-Ning expecting net profits for the first half of the year to be “no less than 1.8 billion yuan (US$278 million)”, more than three times that of the same period last year, while they could even exceed the net profits for the entire 2020.
全国首个！四川攀枝花出台新政：生育二、三孩家庭每月每孩发500元补贴_新浪财经_新浪网 Panzhihua, a city in Sichuan province, has become the first Chinese city to offer child benefits to families who have second or third children. Local families will receive 500 rmb per child in subsidy, which will stop when the children turn 3.
Chinese Bike-Sharing Startup Hello Scraps Plans for U.S. IPO - Bloomberg Chinese bike-sharing giant Hello Inc. has formally scrapped plans for a U.S. initial public offering, becoming one of the first big casualties of Beijing’s crackdown on overseas listings. The company requested a withdrawal of its registration for a U.S. share sale, saying it no longer wanted to conduct the offering at this time, according to a filing Tuesday
Apple (AAPL) earnings Q3 2021 - CNBC Apple also had a strong quarter in its Greater China region, which includes Taiwan and Hong Kong in addition to the mainland. Apple reported $14.76 billion in sales in the region, up 58% from the same quarter last year
China EVs & More - Podcast Electric Vehicle (EV) & mobility experts Tu Le and Lei Xing plug you in to all the latest going's on in the 🇨🇳EV & mobility space that are sure to have effects on the 🇺🇸 and 🇪🇺 regions. Specifically, Tu and Lei dissect the week’s most important news coming out of the China EV/Autonomous Driving (AV), ride-hailing, shared & micro-mobility verticals
Politics and Law
China’s Top Court Rules Facial Recognition Without Consent Is Illegal in Civil Cases - Caixin The judicial interpretation said violating the law and regulations governing the use of facial verification, recognition or analysis technology in public venues, such as shopping malls, hotels and banks, infringes on users’ rights and interests. It also said residential property managers should obtain a consent from property owners and tenants before collecting and using their facial information via the technology. For those who refuse to do so, managers should provide alternative verification methods.
不得强制索取非必要个人信息 最高法发布司法解释规范人脸识别应用|未成年人_新浪财经_新浪网 China’s Supreme Court issued a judicial interpretation intended to tighten the rules of how it is used in certain busineses and public spaces such as airports and stores. The application in those situations will only be legal with customer consent. The Court also specified areas where information gathering doesn’t carry “civil liability.” Among them: emergency public health events, news reporting of public interest, and public safety.
The interpretation - 关于审理使用人脸识别技术处理个人信息 相关民事案件适用法律若干问题的规定 - 中华人民共和国最高人民法院
China’s official Panchen Lama tells Tibetan Buddhists to stay away from separatist forces | South China Morning Post Gyaincain Norbu, who was chosen by Beijing, made the remarks on a tour of Tibetan parts of Sichuan and Gansu earlier this month He also said the religion had to be adapted to ‘socialism and Chinese conditions’ on trip to boost profile, promote Xi’s policies
持续打“李鬼”！今年上半年民政部已关停43家非法社会组织网站-新华网 China’s ministry of civil affairs said it as shut down 43 websites of illegal NGOs so far this year.
Top political advisor stresses studying Xi's CPC centenary speech - Xinhua China's top political advisor Wang Yang underlined the importance of studying and implementing the speech by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, at the ceremony marking the Party's centenary on July 1. It is a major political task for the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) to study and implement the spirit of the speech, said Wang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the CPPCC National Committee.
国开行湖北省分行原党委书记林放接受审查调查—中央纪委国家监委网站 Lin Fang, former head of the China Development Bank Hubei branch, is now under investigation
China intensifies emergency rescue, disaster relief in flood-hit Henan - Xinhua The country has sent about 46,000 personnel from the People's Liberation Army and the People's Armed Police Force as well as about 61,000 militia members to Henan for flood control and emergency rescue, Zhou Xuewen, vice minister of the Ministry of Emergency Management (MEM) and the Ministry of Water Resources, told a press conference.
Stability and Control, Inside and Out - China Law Translate While rarely considered together, the Saohei campaign and the Supervision system have much in common. They began in the same year, 2018, they are both deceptively far-reaching, and at their heart they share a common goal, preventing threats to the legitimacy of party-state authority. Neither reform could be considered a pretext, organized crime and corruption or government misconduct are real issues everywhere, but the true scope of these reforms clearly goes beyond the normal understanding of those problems. The most important characteristic they share, however, is the willingness to create and codify exceptions to the normal criminal justice process to achieve their goal. Ironically, it’s a solution that should shake confidence in central leadership, or perhaps reflects the leadership’s own lack of confidence in the systems it has worked so hard to build.
NPCSC Session Watch: Three-Child Policy, Data Privacy, Innovation Policy, Court Reform & New National Law in Hong Kong & Macau The Council of Chairpersons decided on Tuesday, July 27 to convene the 30th session of the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) from August 17 to 20. The session’s tentative agenda includes fifteen bills. A quick rundown follows.
Foreign and Defense Affairs
After initially joining with more than 40 other countries on June 22, Kyiv withdrew its signature two days later from a statement at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva that called for China to allow independent observers immediate access to Xinjiang, where Beijing is operating a camp system that UN officials estimate has interned more than 1 million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities.
The incident was first reported by AP last month citing Western diplomats speaking anonymously. RFE/RL has since spoken to three Ukrainian lawmakers and a senior government official who confirmed the report and provided new details...
The official said China's Foreign Ministry blocked export documents for Chinese vaccines and that Beijing officials “hinted at the reason” for the shots being withheld. As soon as Kyiv withdrew its signature from the statement, he said, the documents were processed and Ukraine received its expected batch of Chinese-made Sinovac vaccines.
U.S. congressmen reach back into Cold War armory to respond to China | Reuters The House bill introduced by Democratic Representatives Joaquin Castro and Bill Keating and Republicans Mike Gallagher and Brian Fitzpatrick would provide for the establishment of a federally funded Open Translation and Analysis Center (OTAC) focused on China. It would be based on the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), which provided translation and analysis of Soviet bloc and other foreign government media during the Cold War. // Comment: Good
Gunman in Pakistan Fires on Car Carrying Chinese Engineers - WSJ $$ A gunman opened fire on a car carrying two engineers in the southern port city of Karachi, the latest attack on Chinese nationals in close ally Pakistan. One of the engineers was hit four times, mostly in the arm, police said, but was in stable condition. The other engineer and a Pakistani driver were uninjured in the attack.
More than 100 Nobel Prize winners accuse China of ‘bullying’ after effort to stop Dalai Lama and pro-Taiwan independence chemist from speaking at summit | South China Morning Post More than 100 Nobel Prize winners have accused the Chinese government of trying to “bully the scientific community” by trying to stop two laureates – the Dalai Lama and Taiwanese chemist Lee Yuan-tseh – from speaking at the Nobel Prize Summit earlier this year. “We Nobel Laureates are greatly concerned about a series of incidents that occurred before and during the Nobel Prize Summit,” said the statement published online on Wednesday. The signatories included past winners in all categories, including dozens of scientists and high-profile figures such as the economist Joseph Stiglitz and literature laureates including JM Coetzee and Wole Soyinka. According to the statement, the Chinese embassy in Washington made repeated requests that the two be removed from the list of speakers at the event held in late April.
US poisons intl science by inviting secessionists at conference: analysts - Global Times Asking those two figures to speak at a scientific conference shows a toxic tendency in the US of letting politics override science, Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times. Li said that the US is seizing every opportunity to hurl mud at China, and trying to give China hard feelings. But instead, it has sabotaged its own scientific reputation.
China, Russia vow to safeguard regional peace, stability - Xinhua Visiting Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu pledged here on Wednesday to safeguard regional peace, security and stability. Wei and Shoigu made the remarks during their meeting on the sidelines of a meeting of defense ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states.
China invites Russia’s defense minister to attend military exercises in August - TASS Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe invited his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu to participate in the joint military exercises, which will be held in China in August. "Next month, we are going to carry out joint military exercises in China. I invite the Russian defense minister to the active phase of these exercises," Fenghe said at a meeting with Shoigu in Dushanbe on Wednesday.
Chinese defense minister vows no concession in protecting national interests - Xinhua DUSHANBE, July 28 (Xinhua) -- Visiting Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe said here on Wednesday that China will never make concessions in safeguarding its core national interests. China is committed to maintaining world prosperity and stability, and its development will benefit mankind and the world at large, Wei said at the 18th session of defense ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states, noting that China has never bullied others and will never allow others to bully itself.
Senior Chinese official stresses promoting China-Cambodia cooperation - Xinhua Huang Kunming, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Publicity [Propaganda] Department of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks while delivering a keynote speech via video at the opening ceremony of the second Cambodia-China Think Tank High-level Forum in Beijing. Huang said China is willing to work with Cambodia to deepen strategic communication, continue working hand in hand to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, boost economic and trade cooperation, uphold multilateralism, continue to carry forward China-Cambodia traditional friendship and further promote the building of China-Cambodia community of shared future.
EXCLUSIVE Biden to tap Huawei prosecutor for key China export post -source | Reuters U.S. prosecutor Thea Kendler, an attorney on the criminal case against China's Huawei and its Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, will be nominated for a Commerce Department post vital to controlling exports to China, according to a person familiar with the matter. Kendler, an attorney in the Justice Department's national security division, will be nominated as assistant secretary for export administration at the Commerce Department, the person said. The nomination is expected later on Wednesday.
Don’t sell your soul to China, trade adviser tells businesses - The Australian Businesses and universities have been guilty of naivety and “a degree of greed” in accepting funding from China, Tony Abbott, the former Australian prime minister who is now a British government trade adviser, has said. Abbott, who is on the Board of Trade [part of the Department of International Trade], urged business and academic leaders to show “character” and refuse funding that involves “selling your soul and corrupting your overall purpose”. They should start putting the national interest over their own “short-term economic self-interest”, he said.
Secretary Blinken’s Meeting with the World Health Organization Director-General Tedros - United States Department of State Secretary Blinken affirmed U.S. support for the WHO’s plans to conduct additional studies into the COVID-19 origins, including in the People’s Republic of China, to better understand the current pandemic and prevent future ones. He stressed the need for the next phase to be timely, evidence-based, transparent, expert-led, and free from interference. Secretary Blinken emphasized the importance of the international community coming together on this matter of critical concern and reiterated our support for a multilateral approach to global health security more broadly
Exclusive: COVID-19 ‘cannot be man-made,’ China's renowned genetics scientist calls on WHO to seek truth with science - Global Times In an exclusive interview, China's renowned scientist in evolutionary biology and genetics Wu Chung-I said that the virus can only come from nature and cannot be man-made. Wu, a professor from the School of Life Sciences at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province and director of the Beijing Institute of Genomics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, stressed the main reason why the global pandemic is out of control is that the voices of scientists are too weak; otherwise, had the global response been scientific and positive, the COVID-19 outbreak would have ended in May 2020.
US hackers ramp up attacks on online petition calling for Fort Detrick probe as signatures reach nearly 20m; channel open for overseas netizens - Global Times As of Wednesday evening, the online petition demanding the World Health Organization (WHO) investigate the US' Fort Detrick lab on the origins of COVID-19 has gathered more than 17.75 million signatures, and the number is still growing. Meanwhile, the server that hosts the petition has been under continued cyberattacks launched from US IP addresses, including DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks on a large scale. Earlier, the US-launched attack had come on Saturday evening when the number of signatures reached 10 million.
Secrets behind Fort Detrick: 250,000 yen for the files of Unit 731 - Xinhua After WWII, the U.S. helped cover up the crimes of Unit 731 and bought its biological warfare data for 250,000 Yen, "a mere pittance by comparison with the actual cost of the studies". What more secrets is Fort Detrick hiding from the world?
Chinese Mission to EU opposes political manipulation of origins study in response to statement by US, EU, Australia, Japan - Global Times China condemns the politicization of the virus origins tracing, or using it to attack others and shirk responsibility, as this disrupts international cooperation, said spokesperson of the Chinese Mission to the European Union (EU) after the EU, the US, Australia and Japan issued a joint statement over the second phase of COVID-19 origins study.
Ambassador Qin Gang Arrives in the United States of America Ambassador Qin is the eleventh Chinese Ambassador to the United States. Prior to his ambassadorship, he was Vice Foreign Minister of China. His predecessor, Ambassador Cui Tiankai, completed his tenure and returned to China on June 23.
China's laws on military personnel, facilities to take effect on Aug. 1 - Xinhua As a ground-breaking legal document, the law on the protection of the status, rights and interests of military personnel prescribes the status of military personnel through legislation for the first time, and ramps up targeted measures to protect military personnel's wellbeing, said Guo Linmao, an official with the Legislative Affairs Commission of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC).
U.S., India Must Work Against Threats to Democracy, Blinken Says - Bloomberg “Democracy is a common value of humanity. It not patented by any country,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian said in response to Blinken’s remarks at a regular press briefing Wednesday in Beijing. “It is not democratic at all to undermine others while portraying oneself as superior.”
PLA stages S.China Sea drills, shows high combat readiness amid UK carrier tour - Global Times China is holding military drills in two navigation restriction areas in the South China Sea region amid news that a UK aircraft carrier task force arrived in Singapore on Monday and is about to enter the South China Sea with the plan of transiting "international waters claimed by China." Experts said on Tuesday that the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) will stand ready to deal with any improper acts by the UK warships and see their South China Sea tour as a chance for practice.
Global Times - 英航母编队进入南海 专家：中国要准备好“打狗棒”-新华网 British aircraft carrier formation enters South China Sea experts: China should prepare the "dog beating stick"
Chinese, Mongolian FMs hold talks on boosting bilateral ties - Xinhua Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday held talks with visiting Mongolian Foreign Minister Batmunkh Battsetseg in north China's port city of Tianjin...Following the talks, the two foreign ministers jointly met the press, and two sides issued a joint statement on further strengthening anti-epidemic cooperation. The two sides welcomed the WHO-China joint report on the global tracing of COVID-19 origins, stressing that origin-tracing is a scientific work and should not be politicized. They also called on the WHO Secretariat to cooperate with member states in accordance with relevant resolutions of the World Health Assembly to promote global origin tracing research.
Biden warns cyber attacks could lead to a ‘real shooting war’ | Financial Times $$ Biden also said Chinese president Xi Jinping was “deadly earnest” about China becoming the most powerful military force in the world by the 2040s, as well as the largest and most prominent economy. “It’s real . . . This boy’s got a plan,” Biden said, adding: “We better figure out how we’re going to keep pace without exacerbating [the situation].”
New Tibet, the rising "Roof of the World" - Xinhua Two American experts on a fact-finding mission to acquire firsthand experience of the lives of everyday Tibetans, local socioeconomic development, and the real face of new Tibet!..."There's natural beauty around the world, but Tibet is an example of real natural beauty," said American economist David Blair. "It's great to have an opportunity to see." "It's very spiritual," said Shaun Rein, another American expat living in China and founder of a Shanghai-based market research firm..."We saw many people still retain their religious ideals, while at the same time, they don't want to be poor because of that," Blair said. This sentiment was echoed by Rein, who found that the religious beliefs of Tibetan locals have proven no obstacle to bringing about economic prosperity. "I don't think there's a disconnection or conflict between the two.".."It was very clear that the government is doing a pretty good job at protecting Tibetan culture and Tibetan language," Rein said, adding that he was upset with the baseless accusations made by former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his successor Antony Blinken.
Blinken pulls India closer amid challenges in China, Afghanistan - The Washington Post Speaking to reporters during a two-day stop in New Delhi, Blinken and his Indian counterpart, Subramanyan Jaishankar, did not explicitly name their common rival. But China loomed large as they reiterated a commitment to expand the Quad partnership, which also includes Japan and Australia, to cover broader, nonmilitary issues such as infrastructure development, coronavirus vaccine distribution and climate change.
Chinese investor exits Czech media company The Chinese conglomerate CITIC Limited has sold its 55.8% stake in the Czech ad agency Médea for an undisclosed fee. Digizone reports that the transaction marks the end of Chinese investment in Jaromir Soukup’s media companies.
Oligarchs and Party Folks: Chinese Corrosive Capital in Slovakia and Czechia | CEIAS Despite the physical distance, China is increasingly attempting to project its power and influence policymaking in Central Europe. Even though a latecomer, it has managed to make considerable inroads into Central Europe in the past decade, especially since it initiated a platform of cooperation with Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries known as the 16+1. While China’s relations with Slovakia and Czechia have been described quite extensively by various authors, the role of corrosive capital remains under-researched. A new paper by Matej Šimalčík aims to fill this gap by providing a comprehensive account of various activities by Chinese as well as local Slovak and Czech actors linked to the influx of Chinese corrosive capital.
A Year After Security Law, Hong Kong Finance Hub Status Endures - Bloomberg China’s overhaul of Hong Kong’s political institutions has crushed the pro-democracy movement and fueled warnings of an end to the city’s status as an international financial hub. Yet more than a year after the crackdown began, signs of an investor exodus are hard to find.
Hong Kong appoints investigator to probe fraud allegations in the financial affairs of Apple Daily’s publisher Next Digital | South China Morning Post Next Digital, the parent company of the defunct tabloid Apple Daily, has engaged in illegal and fraudulent activities, Hong Kong’s government said as it announced a rare appointment of an inspector under the Companies Act to probe the firm’s finances. Clement Chan Kam-wing, the managing director for assurance of the accounting firm BDO, has been appointed as inspector to investigate allegations of fraud in the operations of Next Digital Limited, the publisher of Apple Daily, according to Hong Kong’s top financial official, adding that Chan is expected to deliver his first report six months from his appointment.
Observations on Next Digital (0282) - Webb site In our view, tonight's announcement smacks of political grandstanding ahead of a possible "election contest" between Mr Chan and Mrs Lam. Whether they run, and the outcome, is of course a matter for Beijing, but the cost of appointing an FI is a matter for the public purse, and one that will likely duplicate the efforts of the SFC. Although we normally don't disclose shareholdings below the statutory 5% disclosure threshold, we'll make an exception now that the stock is suspended and tell you that Webb-site Founder David Webb sold his last shares in NDL in Aug-2019. At that point we judged that HK was going to tip towards authoritarianism (see "The most likely outcome for HK, 3-Sep-2019) and it would have been inconsistent with that view to expect ADHK to survive the crackdown.
The End of Free Speech in Hong Kong - The Atlantic The ruling is one of the most significant in Hong Kong’s recent history, criminalizing one of the most popular slogans from the pro-democracy protests that swept across the city in 2019. It sets a precedent that the mere uttering of any phrase or singing of any song that irks the government can now be deemed as among the most grievous of crimes in Hong Kong—a precedent that can, and most likely will, be used against the dozens of government critics sitting in the city’s jails, awaiting their day in court for allegedly violating the security law. The verdict “simply marks the end of free speech in Hong Kong, as a pure expression of politically dissenting opinion can be punished for inciting secession,” Eric Yan-ho Lai, the Hong Kong law fellow at the Georgetown Center for Asian Law, told me shortly after the verdict was announced. “Undoubtedly, the verdict aligns with the government narratives on the slogan and thus criminalized anti-government speech.”
Taiwan Former Vice Defense Minister Probed Over Links to China - Bloomberg Taipei prosecutors are investigating the former vice minister of defense over concerns over his contact with a Chinese spy ring in what is being described as Taiwan’s biggest ever espionage case. Former Vice Defense Minister Chang Che-ping is being probed for accepting hospitality, including multiple meals and trip by his wife to Hong Kong, from people connected to a Chinese intelligence organization while he was previously serving as the commander of Taiwan’s Air Force Combatant Command, Taipei-based Mirror Media reported Wednesday, citing unidentified sources.
The Mirror Media story - 【獨家】【史上最大共諜案】與共諜組織多次餐敘 前國防部副部長張哲平遭國安調查
Taiwan ex-deputy defence minister investigated over 'China spy' contacts | Reuters Two sources involved in security matters said that Chang was being investigated. One of the sources said Chang was among several people being investigated by the military and the Investigation Bureau security agency. One of the sources, who is involved in security planning, said the people being investigated were suspected of being used in "penetration efforts" by Beijing.
Hostile Harbors: Taiwan’s Ports and PLA Invasion Plans – Project 2049 Institute The scale of an all-out Taiwan (Republic of China, ROC) invasion by the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) military—the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)—defies human comprehension and would likely eclipse any historical comparison. In this important contribution to the field, Senior Director Ian Easton analyzes Chinese military studies frameworks and internal PLA documents to answer pressing questions that will help Taiwan and the United States both understand and better plan for potential crisis scenarios. He highlights the centrality of ROC port facilities—and Taiwan’s ability to defend them—in the PLA’s potential invasion plans for Taiwan, illustrating likely operational strategies explored by PLA leadership
Tech and Media
Huawei Removes Director at Autonomous Driving Unit Over Tesla Safety Remarks - Caixin Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. has ousted a senior director at its smart car solutions unit from his position after his remarks about the safety record of Tesla Inc.’s self-driving feature — and autonomous driving generally — circulated online. Su Qing, who led the smart driving product department under the company’s intelligent automotive solution business unit until he was removed Tuesday, had “made inappropriate comments on Tesla while participating in an external event and talking about autonomous driving technology and safety,”
Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History
Weibo's Keyboard Warrior Olympics: Online Attacks against Chinese Athletes | What's on Weibo China’s success at the Tokyo Olympics is all the talk on Weibo. But it’s not all praise for Chinese athletes, as perceived flaws in their behavior can soon lead to online attacks by angry trolls.
2022 Beijing Olympics: Sponsors Grilled on China Human Rights Abuses - Variety None of the witnesses directly responded to multiple yes or no questions about their company’s stance on the 2022 Games. No company was willing to state that it would “insist that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) not assign the Olympics to a country engaged in genocide” in their next contract, among other statements designed to protect human rights.
Tokyo Olympics: Chinese football humiliation sees fans call for sacking of coach Jia Xiuquan | South China Morning Post China’s humiliated women’s football team is set to arrive back in Beijing this evening and answers will be demanded of head coach Jia Xiuquan and his staff. Jia was asked whether he would resign in the post-match press conference following the 8-2 defeat to the Netherlands in Yokohama on Tuesday.
Energy, Environment, Science and Health
李克强主持召开国务院常务会议 部署进一步改革完善中央财政科研经费管理 给予科研人员更大经费管理自主权等_中证网 China is doubling down on individual incentives for researchers and scientists. At a state council meeting this week, Premier Li Keqiang called for increasing “indirect fees” in research projects, meaning that funds devoted to individual researchers and scientists could account for up to 50% of 科研经费项目 science & research funds. In certain disciplines like math, the proportion can be up to 60%. Translation: researchers can receive “indirect fees” as bonuses outside their normal income. // 二是加大科研人员激励，提高科研项目间接费用比例，科研项目经费中用于“人”的费用可达50%以上。对数学等纯理论基础研究项目，间接费用比例可提高到60%....科研单位可将间接费用全部用于绩效支出。扩大劳务费开支范围，由单位缴纳的项目聘用人员社保补助、住房公积金等纳入劳务费列支。
China to improve management of central budgetary research funding, give researchers greater discretion in fund use - Xinhua The scope of labor service expenses will be expanded. Social insurance subsidies and housing provident funds paid by research institutes for personnel hired in research projects will be included in labor service expenses. Cash rewards for the commercialization of research outcomes will not be limited by the total amount of performance-based salary in the institute concerned, or used for approving the performance-based salary base for the next year. "We must resolutely support basic research. Researchers need to fully devote themselves to their research, and do well in basic research in the same spirit as a blacksmith in the past who would spend years forging a perfect sword. This is of vital and long-term significance in boosting China's strength in science and technology," Li said.
30个！2021重大科学问题、工程技术难题和产业技术问题发布—新闻—科学网 China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) has released its list of the top 30 scientific, engineering and technological problems that are key to scientific development and industrial innovation.
SW China’s Chengdu set to issue nation’s first heavy ozone pollution alert - Global Times An ozone pollution problem has gradually emerged in China in recent years and ozone pollution has become the primary pollutant affecting air quality in summer, China's Ministry of Ecology and Environment revealed in a notice on China's ecological environment status in 2019.
First aerosolized inhaled COVID-19 vaccine proven safe in Phase-I clinical trials: developers - Global Times The world's first aerosolized inhaled adenovirus type-5 vector-based COVID-19 vaccine (Ad5-nCoV), jointed developed by CanSino Biologics (CanSinoBIO) and researchers from the Institute of Military Medicine under the Academy of Military Sciences led by Chen Wei, was proven safe in Phase-I clinical trials, the Global Times learned from CanSinoBIO on Wednesday.
UPDATE: Road slope collapse causes 5 deaths amid rainstorm in Beijing - Global Times Amid heavy rainstorm in Beijing on Tuesday, a road slope in Haidian district collapsed and damaged nearby buildings, leading to five deaths, including three that were missing on Wednesday morning but were later found dead. The road slope, southwest to the Fragrant Hill Old Apartment, collapsed at about 6:30 pm, with soil and rocks rolling down into the yard and damaging some buildings, trapping 12 people, reads a statement the Haidian district government released on Wednesday morning.
China launches pilot programme to assess carbon emissions at new industrial projects | Reuters The move follows China's pledge to continue fighting pollution while bringing carbon emissions to a peak by 2030 and to a net zero 2060. "Implementing the environmental impact assessment of carbon emissions...is an important starting point and effective way to promote the synergy of climate change and environmental governance," said the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) in the statement.
South China Coal Power Giant Makes Yet Another Big Bet on Solar - Caixin Guangdong Electric Power Development Co. Ltd. on Monday announced a plan to invest 12 billion yuan ($1.8 billion) in a solar power project. The state-owned coal power giant based in South China’s Guangdong province said it has reached an agreement with a local government in western Qinghai province to launch the project which will generate as much as 3 million kilowatts of electricity. This is the sixth project Guangdong Electric has announced this year that involves funding solar or wind energy
Rural and Agricultural Issues
China floods: food security, inflation concerns with close to 1 million hectares affected in Henan | South China Morning Post According to the Henan provincial government, the harvest yield across more than 40 per cent of the affected fields is set to fall by at least 30 per cent, with some 100,000 hectares set to lose 80 per cent or more.
China to take measures to steady hog prices -state media | Nasdaq Hog prices in the world's top pork producer have plunged sharply this year, eroding profits for farmers and raising concerns that many could stop raising pigs.