"Devil" virus; Huawei's good week

China is now on a wartime footing as the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak continues to worsen. Here are the latest case numbers, via Caixin - Wuhan Virus Latest: Contagion Fears as Wuhan Mayor Reports 5 Million Have Left City:

Chinese authorities have confirmed 4,630 cases of infection by the virus, with over 2,700 in Hubei, the central province whose capital is Wuhan, and over 1,900 in other parts of the country. The death toll remains unchanged at 106.

Southwest China’s Chongqing has the most confirmed cases for any city outside Hubei, with 132 infections.

China’s four biggest cities — Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen — confirmed 91, 66, 51, and 57 infections, respectively.

Fourteen other countries reported a total of 57 infections.

The entire system went to the wartime footing after Saturday’s Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC) meeting. In what as far as I can tell is unprecedented reporting on a PBSC meeting, the Saturday CCTV Evening News report (中共中央政治局常务委员会召开会议 研究新型冠状病毒感染的肺炎疫情防控工作 中共中央总书记习近平主持会议) broadcast video from inside the meeting, showing Xi doing most of the talking but the other six PBSC were also shown making comments, perhaps to signal that there is still at least a facade of collective leadership, and that they are all in this together.

There is certainly more transparency than during the SARS outbreak, and the reaction has been much faster, but I think we are already seeing the predictable reassertion of control over the messaging to ensure that there is only Party-approved transparency.

We are also starting to see the propaganda organs spin the outbreak and the initial response as more evidence of the need to improve and modernize governance, the theme of the recent 4th Plenum. If anything the lesson Xi may force through the Party once this has passed is that there needs to be more centralization and pressure on local officials, not less.

The impact on the economy is hard to fully measure at this point but I would be shocked if it is not significantly greater than the SARS outbreak. The response of Xi and the Party make it look like they see this outbreak as even more threatening than SARS, on several levels.

Thanks for reading, and I hope everyone can avoid this “devil”, as Xi called it.


1. Official reactions to the virus

Xi: Rely on people to win battle against epidemic - Xinhua

Xi...made the remarks in an instruction to Party organizations, members and officials, asking them to unite the people in resolutely implementing the decisions and arrangements of the CPC Central Committee.

Xi stressed keeping in mind the people's interests are the highest priority in the current arduous battle of prevention and control against the outbreak of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus.

Xi required them to firm up confidence, stay united and take scientific and targeted measures in epidemic prevention and control to allow the Party flag "fly high at the frontline of the battleground."

中共中央印发《关于加强党的领导、为打赢疫情防控阻击战提供坚强政治保证的通知》--时政--人民网

疫情就是命令,防控就是责任。面对疫情加快蔓延的严重形势,各级党委(党组)要增强“四个意识”、坚定“四个自信”、做到“两个维护”,切实把思想和行动统一到习近平总书记重要指示精神上来,认清肩负的责任使命,按照坚定信心、同舟共济、科学防治、精准施策的要求切实做好工作,牢记人民利益高于一切,组织动员各级党组织和广大党员、干部把打赢疫情防控阻击战作为当前的重大政治任务,把投身防控疫情第一线作为践行初心使命、体现责任担当的试金石和磨刀石,把党的政治优势、组织优势、密切联系群众优势转化为疫情防控的强大政治优势,确保党中央重大决策部署贯彻落实,让党旗在防控疫情斗争第一线高高飘扬。

Commentary: China's strength in anti-virus battle comes from the people - Xinhua

The spread of panic can be more dangerous than the spread of the infection itself. Only by being open can panic be minimized. The timely, accurate and authoritative publication of information related to the epidemic is an important method to prevent the spillover of the epidemic.

Authorities have warned that whoever values his own interests more than the interests of the people sins against the Communist Party of China and the people. A health official in Yueyang City in central China's Hunan Province has been investigated for untimely reporting of information relating to epidemic prevention, the latest evidence that the redline of information transparency cannot be crossed.

Disease respects no borders. Because of the way it spreads, it takes unified, nationwide efforts to stop it, as China is doing now.

It is a war of the people and by the people. When the whole nation stands together, with scientific prevention and cures, and precise policies, victory for the people is assured.

Xi Focus: CPC leadership meets to discuss novel coronavirus prevention, control - Xinhua

The Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on Saturday held a meeting on the prevention and control of the outbreak of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus...

Party and government officials, especially the leading officials, must always stay on their jobs and stand at the frontline to safeguard social stability and ensure people have a peaceful and merry Chinese New Year festival, Xi said.

According to the meeting, Xi has been paying very close attention to the outbreak as he held multiple meetings, heard many reports and made important instructions on the matter, demanding Party committees and governments at all levels and related departments to put people's life and health as the top priority.

China to extend Spring Festival holiday to contain coronavirus outbreak - Xinhua

Chinese authorities on Sunday announced plans to extend the Lunar New Year holiday originally set to end on Jan. 30 "to a proper extent" as a key measure to control the novel coronavirus outbreak. The holiday started on Jan. 24.

The decision was disclosed in a statement issued after the leading group of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus outbreak held a meeting Sunday to make work plans.

The meeting was presided over by Premier Li Keqiang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the group. Wang Huning, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and deputy head of the group, attended the meeting.

深入群众见真情(今日谈)--观点--人民网

1st line of a page 1 Sunday people's daily paean to Xi going with "people's leader", a piece on his Yunnan trip - 中南海连着最基层,人民领袖和人民群众心贴心。春节前夕,习近平总书记来到云南,与村民一起制作当地节日传统食品大米粑粑,敲响三声佤族木鼓送上美好祝福,走到摊位前仔细询问春节前市场供应情况……亲切的问候、感人的话语、动人的场景,令网友由衷感叹“太暖心了”。

But the People’s Leader is not yet ready to visit the people in Wuhan - Chinese premier in Wuhan, demands all-out efforts in epidemic prevention, control - Xinhua

Entrusted by Xi Jinping...Premier Li Keqiang on Monday inspected efforts to prevent and control the novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province.

Li, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of a leading group of the CPC Central Committee on the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus outbreak, extended regards to the medical workers at the frontline on behalf of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council.

"Under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core, we must fight resolutely to win the battle against the epidemic", Li said.

Upon arriving in Wuhan, Li went to the Jinyintan Hospital which has the largest number of infected and severely ill patients. He talked to medical workers in an ICU via a video call and then chatted with doctors and nurses coming from across the country and the military, urging them to go all out in treating the patients and pay attention to their own protection.

He ordered sending more medical personnel, especially nurses, and medical supplies to Wuhan.

China’s Xi Gives His No. 2 a Rare Chance to Shine in Coronavirus Fight, With Risks for Both - WSJ

In practical terms, Mr. Li’s appointment to manage the outbreak response makes sense. As premier, he heads the State Council, China’s cabinet, and is responsible for day-to-day management of the government.

Mr. Li has had experience dealing with health crises, including in 1998 as local government chief of the central province of Henan, which borders Wuhan’s province of Hubei. At the time, Mr. Li was confronted with the aftermath of a scandal in which tens of thousands of people were infected with HIV at local blood banks.

As vice premier, with a portfolio that included health, Mr. Li played a key role in tackling an outbreak of the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, in 2009

中央指导组在湖北开展疫情防控指导工作_CCTV

Sun Chunlan is leading the on the ground "guiding group" in Hubei. CCTV evening News Tuesday reports on their efforts. Sun and the other masked officials look miserable.

Wuhan and other cities are expecting a lot more demand for hospital beds—Wuhan to provide over 10,000 hospital beds for viral pneumonia patients: official - Xinhua

Jiao Yahui, an official with the National Health Commission, told a press conference held in Beijing on Tuesday that authorities have been designating over 5,300 beds in various hospitals in Wuhan to be used for novel coronavirus patients.

And about 6,000 more will be added in the next phase.

In addition, Wuhan is building two makeshift hospitals dedicated to fighting the novel coronavirus outbreak, with a combined capacity of 2,000 to 2,300 beds.

The construction of the two facilities is expected to be completed on Feb. 2 and Feb. 5, respectively.

China coronavirus: Beijing Sars hospital to reopen as death toll passes 100, while medical shortage slows Wuhan efforts | South China Morning Post

Xiaotangshan Hospital, on the northern outskirts of Beijing, was used in 2003 to quarantine and treat severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) patients, before being converted into a sanatorium in 2012.

China's Tianjin to set up dedicated hospital to treat coronavirus patients - Reuters

Novel Coronavirus in China - Warning - Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel - Travel Health Notices | Travelers' Health | CDC

CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China. In response to an outbreak of respiratory illness, Chinese officials have closed transport within and out of Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province, including buses, subways, trains, and the international airport.  Additional restrictions and cancellations of events may occur.

No need to evacuate foreign nationals from China coronavirus epicentre, WHO chief says | South China Morning Post

With 1,771 new confirmed cases of the virus in mainland China on Tuesday, he said the WHO was aware that some countries planned to evacuate their citizens, but the WHO advised against it. He said there was no need to overreact and people should remain calm.

Rescue flight to get Japanese out of Wuhan waits for Beijing’s OK:The Asahi Shimbun

The plane's departure has been delayed, however, because China has not yet signed off on the flight to the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

WHO chief confident in China's epidemic prevention and control ability - Xinhua

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the remarks when meeting with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing.

Tedros said the WHO and the international community speak highly of and fully affirm the decisive measures the Chinese government has taken, and appreciate China's great efforts in curbing the spread of pneumonia.

He said the WHO does not recommend the evacuation of nationals, and called on the international community to remain calm and not overreact. The WHO is confident in China's epidemic prevention and control ability.

Rationality and unity needed in fight against virus - Global Times

Zhou Xianwang, the mayor of Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province, where the ongoing spread of coronavirus pneumonia began, said at a press conference on Sunday night that more than 5 million people have left the city because of the Spring Festival and the epidemic. The news came as quite a shock.

Where have these 5 million people gone? How many of them are carriers of the new coronavirus? How many people will be infected because of them? These questions are disturbing.

面对武汉疫情,这是大数据能贡献的力量-虎嗅网

Huxiu worked with Baidu to come up with data showing where people leaving Wuhan starting January 10 went. Wuhan has a lot of migrant workers and the Spring Festival travel officially started January 10. How many of those migrant workers returned to lower tier cities or rural areas, with very poor health care infrastructure? A lot it looks like

As Virus Spreads, Hong Kong Puts Major Limits on Border With Mainland - The New York Times

The limits, including the closure of rail and ferry service and reducing flight arrivals by about half, will begin in the first minute of Thursday morning. They follow days of increasing pressure from health care workers, epidemiologists and even pro-Beijing politicians who have traditionally supported Mrs. Lam’s government. And they are unprecedented, Hong Kong scholars say, avoided even during the height of the SARS epidemic in 2003.

Hong Kong will close several of its border crossing points and increase checkpoints to detect fevers at those that remain, Mrs. Lam said. China will also stop issuing visas for individual travelers from the mainland, which make up about half of visitors to Hong Kong, she added.

Taiwan ups Chinese visitor curbs, to stop mask exports - Reuters

Last week Taiwan’s government announced a one-month ban on the export of specialist masks designed to be used for medical personnel, saying it had to look after the needs of its own people first.

PLA gives full support to civil efforts to win anti-virus battle - China Military

Since the outbreak of pneumonia epidemic caused by the novel coronavirus infection in Wuhan, Hubei province, the Central Military Commission has paid high attention to the situation and held in the first time a teleconference to make overall deployment of military's epidemic prevention and control work. The military joint prevention and control working system of responding to public health emergencies jointly form by the CMC organs, the Joint Logistics Support Force, the Armed Police Force and the Academy of Military Sciences has also been established in the first place.

China bans wild animal trade to control spread of virus - People's Daily Online

The ban is implemented from Sunday until the risks of the epidemic have been resolved, the notice said, as experts have confirmed that wild animals were the origin of the virus.

Jointly released by the State Administration for Market Regulation, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and National Forestry and Grassland Administration

武汉市民宗委原主任王献良因感染新型冠状病毒去世_政经频道_财新网

Caixin says an official of the Wuhan Municipal Commission of Ethnic and Religious Affairs has died, the first Wuhan official to die from the virus

China Indefinitely Shuts Schools, Extends Holiday in Effort to Control Outbreak

The State Council, China’s cabinet, announced Monday morning it would extend the Lunar New Year public holiday by an extra three days to Feb. 2...

Shanghai’s municipal government said Monday that businesses should not reopen before Feb. 9, and that classes should not resume until Feb 17.

Beijing delays school opening to curb virus spread - Xinhua

Beijing's education authority announced Sunday that it has postponed the beginning of the 2020 spring semester until further notice in an effort to curb the novel coronavirus.

The Beijing Municipal Education Commission said that the delay will be applied to all levels of educational institutions from universities to kindergartens.

Wuhan people keep out: Chinese villages shun outsiders as virus spreads - Reuters

A decision by authorities to lock down travel in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, has spurred a counter-movement of communities closing their gates to outsiders.

“It’s our responsibility to find everyone and enforce safety... No one should be afraid to be an informant,” said Chen Gang, a retired resident in central Dongcheng district, who is a designated community leader in his neighborhood.

On Saturday, Chen went door-to-door helping officials check whether people had recently visited Wuhan or had guests from Hubei. He said several people with Wuhan links were told to stay at home for a quarantine period.

Coronavirus - China Law Translate

This page will continue to collect and translate authority related to the government response to the coronavirus epidemic.


2. Economic impact

China central bank to keep banking system liquidity at 'reasonably ample' level - Reuters

The central People’s Bank of China said on Tuesday that it will use monetary policy tools including open market operations to inject funds to keep banking system liquidity at a reasonably ample level.

In a statement, it also said the holiday for the interbank markets would be extended and resume trading on Monday.

China braces for blow to economic growth from coronavirus | Financial Times $$

Underscoring concern among policymakers over the economic fallout from the outbreak, China’s banking and insurance regulator announced moves to help businesses affected by the crisis.

Companies would receive support “through measures such as encouraging appropriate lowering of loan interest rates, improving arrangements for loan renewal policies and increasing medium-term and credit loans”, the China Banking Regulatory Commission said.

Virus outbreak increasingly resembling SARS - Capital Economics

Even if the coronavirus outbreak is brought under control quicker than SARS was in 2003, the economic impact now looks likely to be of at least a similar scale. We estimate that SARS lowered China’s growth by three percentage points in the worst-affected quarter, though the economy soon bounced back.

China Box Office Wiped Out as Gov’t Expands Virus Emergency Measures – Variety

Last year, the first day of Chinese New Year saw $200 million earned by the top eight films by mid evening. The total box office intake for the Feb. 4-10, 2019 lunar new year period reached RMB5.83 billion ($860 million), according to data from online ticketing platform Maoyan.

China's Coronavirus Impacts Everything: What Your Business Should Do NOW | China Law Blog

Coronavirus likely will constitute a force majeure event for your Chinese counter-parties and this will mean they can breach their contracts with you without much if any legal repercussion. This also likely means some Chinese companies that are not yet truly impacted by the coronavirus will seek to use the virus as a basis for terminating or breaching or revising their contract with you.


3. Information flows

The Truth About “Dramatic Action” | China Media Project - by Da Shiji (达史纪) |

Da Shiji is the penname of a veteran journalist living in the city of Wuhan.

Everyone must understand, first of all, that this epidemic was allowed to spread for a period of more than forty days before any of the abovementioned cities were closed off, or any decisive action taken. In fact, if we look at the main efforts undertaken by the leadership, and by provincial and city governments in particular, these were focused mostly not on the containment of the epidemic itself, but on the containment and suppression of information about the disease.

The early suppression of news about the epidemic is now fairly common knowledge among Chinese, and many people view this failure to grapple openly with the outbreak as the chief reason why it was later seen as necessary to take the “dramatic action” of closing down my city and many others.

Politics first. Stability preservation first. In such an environment, science can only sit by and watch. The scientific results could not be clearer, and the authorities likely had a decent grasp of the real situation. But nevertheless they could not speak the truth, and they spared no effort in keeping the outbreak under wraps. Front-line doctors who spoke up about the outbreak were taken in for questioning.

Confusion and lost time: how testing woes slowed China's coronavirus response - Reuters

John Edmunds, a professor at the center for mathematical modeling of infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said China has not communicated enough detailed data after the initial outbreak.

“We have a very incomplete picture of what’s going on,” he told Reuters. “Whether it’s incompetence, secrecy, or deliberate, I don’t know, but it would be very useful if we could have some basic epidemiological data.”..

Wuhan health authorities have a limit on tests, chiefly because of the shortage of testing kits, and are screening lists of patients before deciding who gets a test, which takes several hours, one hospital worker told Reuters.

“Some severely ill patients were left out from the final list for testing because they know they wouldn’t be able to be treated,” the worker told Reuters. “The actual deaths were higher.”

武汉医生:疫情刚开始时 武汉市的策略都是"冷处理"_网易新闻

武汉协和医院的医生林羽回忆说,疫情刚开始的时候,武汉市的策略都是“冷处理”。他所在的医院就通知,在没有单位授权的时候,不允许私自在公众平台谈论病情,不允许私自接受媒体采访,不仅仅是临床系统,包括院感、CDC那边消息管控更严重,“整个就不让说”。当时,医生们唯一能做的就是一再嘱咐就诊患者:“口罩、口罩、一定要买口罩、戴口罩”,甚至半开玩笑地嘱咐“不要去华南海鲜市场买东西,那里东西不新鲜。”

Hunan Epidemic Rumor-Monger Caught, Spread True "Rumor" | 高大伟 David Cowhig's Translation Blog

The Changsha County, Hunan Public Security Bureau on January 24, 2020 took strong action against Zhou who spread information to a number of Weixin social media groups. Zhou spread a false rumor, disrupting the social order, that four people had been diagnosed with coronavirus pneumonia, when in fact only one person had been diagnosed with coronavirus and several others (four as it turned out later) were placed in strict isolation.

Wuhan Journalist: Fire Incompetent Wuhan Party Secretary; Wuhan Daily Sends Apology to Wuhan City Communist Party Committee | 高大伟 David Cowhig's Translation Blog

As Virus Spreads, Anger Floods Chinese Social Media - The New York Times

Some of China’s more commercially minded media outlets have covered the disease and the response thoroughly if not critically. But articles and comments about the virus continue to be deleted, and the government and internet platforms have issued fresh warnings against spreading what they call “rumors.”

“Chinese social media are full of anger, not because there was no censorship on this topic, but despite strong censorship,” said Xiao Qiang

Wuhan Mayor Zhou: Reporting Delays Caused by Center, I Acted Fast Once I Got Authorization | 高大伟 David Cowhig's Translation Blog

Michael Anti, a Beijing-based Chinese commentator, made this comment about the broadcast interview with Chinese Central Television (CCTV) below.

Wuhan’s Mayor Zhou is very sly: he essentially is claiming that he concealed information about the epidemic because Chinese law requires authorization from higher authority before local government can release this information. Without permission, this information cannot be released. Zhou added that he made the decision to close Wuhan. Thus the correct decision was his; the error is because he was constrained by his superiors. Sly devil on live TV. This interview should go down in history.


4. Huawei’s good week

Britain, resisting U.S. pressure, to allow some Huawei equipment in 5G networks - The Washington Post

Britain has been under tremendous pressure from the U.S. government — including calls from President Trump — to ban Huawei from building its 5G communications network.

Britain will essentially take a middle path, allowing Huawei to supply and build 5G infrastructure, but ban it from the “core” systems and sensitive government sites. It will also limit its market share to 35 percent...

“Huawei is reassured by the U.K. government’s confirmation that we can continue working with our customers to keep the 5G roll-out on track,” said a statement from company Vice President Victor Zhang.

“This evidence-based decision will result in a more advanced, more secure and more cost-effective telecoms infrastructure that is fit for the future. It gives the U.K. access to world-leading technology and ensures a competitive market,” the statement added, noting that Huawei had been in Britian for more than 15 years.

Pentagon blocks new Huawei restrictions as threat to U.S. defense interests - The Washington Post

Officials in the office of Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, this week vetoed a Commerce Department proposal that would have made it harder for U.S. companies’ overseas units to sell computer chips and other components to Huawei, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential matters.

The Pentagon feared additional limits would cost U.S. companies such as Qualcomm, Intel and Micron so much revenue that their research spending would suffer, causing them to fall behind their global rivals and imperiling the American military’s technological edge...

The continuing debate over how and whether to tighten the crackdown on Huawei — expected to resume at the Cabinet level as soon as next week — illustrates the administration’s ongoing struggle with competing impulses toward China.


5. CCTV Spring Festival Gala

CCTV New Year's Gala 2020 Overview: Highlights and Must-Knows | What's on Weibo

A special moment during the CCTV Gala as the show switched to one of Wuhan's main hospitals right now to get an update from the nurses there who are spending their Chinese New Year night taking care of the many people infected with the coronavirus. According to the presenter, the switch was "very last minute."..

With the outbreak of the coronavirus, the eating of wild game has been severely criticized on Weibo these days. This meme of the sketch performed by actor Yue Yunpeng (岳云鹏) during tonight's Gala says: "Let's see which idiot still dares to eat wild game?!"

The full show, in case you need a distraction:

How Chinese New Year Films Cancellation Could Mean A $1B+ WW Box Office Loss – Deadline

Says a finance source, “Moviegoing is so concentrated during this period, even with later releases, it will be impossible to overcome the massive loss.” Says another source, “We can’t recover from this year now even if China redates these films.”

Last year’s full New Year holiday brought in about RMB 5.8B ($836M at today’s rates) with the month of February achieving a benchmark RMB 11.1B ($1.6B) boosted by the New Year pics.


6. China’s vision for a “new world order”

China's Vision for a New World Order - by Nadège Rolland - The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR)

The Chinese leadership’s efforts to increase China’s discourse power should not be dismissed or misconstrued as mere propaganda or empty slogans. Rather, they should be seen as evidence of the leadership’s determination to alter the norms that underpin existing institutions and put in place the building blocks of a new international system coveted by the Chinese Communist Party.

The Chinese leadership’s critique of the existing international order reveals its unswerving objection to the values on which this order has been built. At stake is not only the predominant position of the U.S. in the current system but more importantly the potential erosion of fundamental human rights, freedom of thought and expression, and self-government around the world.

The Chinese Communist Party seems to envision a new world order in which China enjoys only partial hegemony rather than rules the world. Nonetheless, a dual-centered system could eventually materialize in which emerging and developing countries may yet again become the battleground for global influence among great powers.


7. Report to US Congress on the China Challenge

Rising to the China Challenge | Center for a New American Security

This independent assessment—mandated by the U.S. Congress in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act—is intended to help close the considerable gap between the current administration’s stated aspirations for a free and open Indo-Pacific and the actual implementation of policies to advance that vision...

Included herein are nearly a hundred specific and actionable policy recommendations across critical vectors of American competitiveness in the Indo-Pacific. Before turning to these recommendations, the remainder of this section describes six core principles that undergird the assessment and should form the foundations of U.S. strategy in the Indo-Pacific region.

1. The U.S. government should approach strategic competition with China as an urgent priority.;

2. U.S. strategy must be both comprehensive and coordinated across multiple domains.;

3. Strengthening America’s own competitiveness is vital to realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific.

4. The United States must compete with and for allies and partners;

5. The United States should be proactive in building regional order in the Indo-Pacific, establishing new rules, norms, and institutions.;

6. There is no easy way out of the China challenge.

China's Future Is Not Set - The Atlantic - US Senator Ben Sasse 

Present-day China intends to reestablish its place, not as one political power among others, but as the world’s preeminent power. We are witnessing the return of the Middle Kingdom. While the Middle East remains a hotbed of violence and instability that threatens American lives and interests, we cannot allow our primary focus to move from the unique, long-term, and existential threat that is Beijing. This is the defining national-security challenge of our age.


Business, Economy and Trade

Bank of China Settles Money Laundering Case for $4 Million - Bloomberg The Beijing-based bank had been charged with aggravated money laundering over the transfer of suspect funds worth nearly 40 million euros to 168 accounts mostly in the Zhejiang province -- south of Shanghai -- between 2012 and 2014. Those charges are dropped as part of the settlement, which was approved by a Paris judge on Jan. 15 and is now final

The Chinese investor that backed WeWork and PizzaExpress | Financial Times $$ John Zhao’s Hony Capital has hit trouble with two bets on western companies

Trump administration says it will take aim at online counterfeits, seek tougher enforcement - The Washington Post The measures, laid out Friday by the Department of Homeland Security, seek to take “immediate action” against counterfeit goods by imposing fines and other penalties on marketplaces such as eBay, Alibaba and Amazon, where the majority of counterfeit products are sold by third-party merchants.

Brussels builds alliance to bypass US block on WTO judges | Financial Times $$ The EU signed a joint pact on Friday with countries including China, South Korea, and Brazil to put in place a temporary system that will stand in for the WTO’s appellate body. The tribunal has been suspended since the end of last year because of the US veto.

Politics and Law

China Detains Hui Muslim Poet Who Spoke Out Against Xinjiang Camps - RFA Authorities in the eastern province of Shandong have detained a Hui Muslim poet and author after he tweeted about the incarceration, surveillance and persecution of Chinese Muslims, both in Xinjiang and across China, RFA has learned. Poet Cui Haoxin—known by his pen name An Ran—was detained by state security police in the provincial capital Jinan on Friday, when families traditionally gather to mark the Lunar New Year.

Supreme People’s Court updates its Belt & Road policies | Supreme People's Court Monitor They are examples of how the SPC supports the Party and government by issuing documents to support important strategies or initiatives (serving the greater situation (服务大局). In the New Era, the SPC has issued over dozen policy documents that provide “judicial services and guarantees” for major government strategies or initiatives, many more than before.  These Opinions are intended to harmonize the two earlier policy documents with post 19th Party Congress developments and priorities, including those mentioned in the Fourth Plenum Decision.

Chinese student at University of Minnesota jailed for tweets made while in the US: a legal analysis | The China Collection this prosecution represents an alarming expansion of criminal liability for Chinese citizens. The words of Article 293 and its judicial interpretation don’t seem to matter at all any more. “Picking quarrels” is clearly the new “hooliganism,” a crime that was abolished in the mid-1990s. At the same time, the authorities seem a little embarrassed by this case, so they are hiding it.

自治区党委召开常委(扩大)会议 会议指出,春节前夕,习近平总书记深入云南考察调研,看望慰问各族干部群众,向全国人民致以新春祝福,充分体现了习近平总书记人民领袖爱人民的真挚情怀,充分体现了党中央以人民为中心的发展思想。

新春走基层·和总书记说说心里话|我们老区滩区,日子更有奔头了 _光明网 对老百姓衣食冷暖,乡村振兴、企业发展,习近平总书记始终牵挂于心,彰显了人民领袖深厚的为民情怀,诠释着共产党人不变的初心使命。

Foreign and Defense Affairs

Japan's once-a-decade mind games with China over Xi's April visit - Nikkei Asian Review It was Abe who first proposed inviting Xi as a state guest in their talks last June. Therefore, by protocol, Japan is in no position to retract the offer, no matter the objection in the public. In light of such history, one would suspect that the prime minister's office would wish the objections to die down. But sources inside the prime minister's office tell a different tale. In fact, some of the prime minister's aides seem to have lobbied members of the LDP General Council to raise more commotion. "We want the party to speak out about Japan's stance more." Their ulterior motive is to extract as many concessions as possible from China in return for arranging a successful visit, amid the opposing voices.

China slams U.S. provocative acts in South China Sea - China Military Chinese military monitored a U.S. warship that entered Chinese territorial waters without permission and warned it to leave on Saturday, senior colonel Li Huamin, spokesperson for the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Southern Theater Command, said in a statement on Tuesday. // unfortunate timing for the latest US Navy FONOPS in the south china sea...maybe lay off until the virus outbreak is under control?

Chinese embassy slams Danish newspaper over insulting cartoon - Global Times In the drawing, cartoonist Niels Bo Bojesen used the form of five novel coronavirus to represent the five stars on the Chinese national flag. The drawing was published on Monday by Jyllands-Posten, a broadsheet newspaper in Denmark.

China spy suspect Gerhard Sabathil casts chill over EU’s vulnerabilities | Financial Times The German investigation has focused attention on his sudden departure from South Korea. The revocation of his security clearance was linked to concerns surrounding his relationship with Shen Wenwen, a specialist in China-EU comparative politics and international relations, two people familiar with the matter said they were told..the pair have become associated with the Chinese dissident community in Germany, including Liu Xia, the poet and widow of the jailed Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo. Ms Liu, who was under house arrest in China, fled the country in 2018 after her husband’s death. Organisers of an event held in Prague last April to commemorate Mr Liu claim Mr Sabathil and Ms Shen disrupted plans for Ms Liu to speak at the event by persuading her not to attend.

US scientist pleads guilty to lying about China contact - AP A scientist who once worked at a U.S. laboratory in New Mexico has pleaded guilty to lying about his involvement with a Chinese government technology program. Turab Lookman, 67, entered his plea Friday during a hearing in Albuquerque after reaching an agreement with prosecutors. He is awaiting sentencing, which could include up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

How China is Influencing YouTubers into Posting State Propaganda - Medium Nathan Rich is an American living in China with an amazing story. He escaped the Church of Scientology, recounting some truly awful, abusive episodes living on a Church ranch as a child, going to prison, and dealing with addiction. He now lives in China and for the last year has been posting videos on YouTube and Chinese social media. His vlogging career is inexplicably successful. He has 385,000 subscribers on his channel, a huge amount for someone with so little time and so few videos on the platform. Nathan’s videos are all defensive of China and the CCP, bearing titles like “New York Times Hong Kong Propaganda” and “American IMPERIALIST Hong Kong Bill.”

Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

Archival Research in China: Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way - War on the Rocks So, what do you find in China if you go there for research purposes? Based on my fieldwork last year, I have a few answers, but the bottom line is this: Getting data out of China is difficult, but not impossible. In an effort to contribute to the existing knowledge on Cold War-era Sino-Indian relations as a part of my doctoral research, I seek to collect data that has not been used by others. Therefore, my trip to China mainly focused on gathering archival documentation.

Rural and Agricultural Issues

Dim Sums: Rural China Economics and Policy: Grain Bureau Secrecy Earns Recognition For example, the State Administration of Grain and Commodity Reserves conducted a national audit of publicly-held grain reserves last year, but never released any concrete information on the amount of grain or its condition. The program for carrying out the audit included instructions to keep secret grain testing results, prevent information leaks, and to choose secrecy personnel based primarily on their "political quality."