Like much of America I am transfixed this morning by the House hearings with President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen. Leaving aside the merits of his claims, the fact that this is going on is probably seen by Xi and the Chinese trade negotiators that Trump is weakened and needs a “win”.
The more important hearing for China today is USTR head Robert Lighthizer’s testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee. In his testimony Lighthizer said:
"Let me be clear," Lighthizer testified. "Much still needs to be done both before an agreement is reached and, more importantly, after it is reached, if one is reached."
"It has to be specific, measurable; it has to be enforceable at all levels of government."
A new directive from CPC Central Committee makes it clear that politics are not enough in command and that cadres have a lot more political work to do. As we saw from the meeting on risks Xi chaired last month, the Party center believes they need to harden the system even more.
All of you have no doubt seen some of the debate about whether or not the government has decided to stimulate the economy, especially in the wake of the January credit numbers. I do not think we will see anything like what we saw in 2008, but given the state of the economy, the risks the Party itself has articulated, and the especially sensitive year given the big anniversaries, I am more than comfortable betting that the Party will do whatever it needs to do to keep the economic risks this year minimized. That point may seem obvious but I am always surprised by how many economic analyses of China leave out the politics.
The politics are in command, and will be even more so this year.
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The Essential Eight
1. Directive on enhancing the political work of the Party
This is another signal that politics are back in command and that cadres are going to be spending a lot more time in political study, and that there will need to be some high profile examples/heads taken to make the point...the intra-Party cadre cultural revolution continues...
The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on Wednesday published a directive on enhancing the political work of the Party.
The directive outlines the overall requirements on enhancing the political work of the Party and some key points, such as consolidating political faith, upholding the Party's political leadership, improving the Party's political capacity, purifying the political atmosphere, and effectively enforcing the directive.
The introduction of the directive is a major initiative launched for the implementation of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as well as the spirit of the 19th National Congress of the CPC, says a press statement from the General Office of the CPC Central Committee...
The directive embodies the fundamental requirement of firmly upholding General Secretary Xi Jinping's status as the core of the CPC Central Committee and the whole Party as well as the authority of the CPC Central Committee and its centralized, unified leadership, the statement says, stressing that this is also the primary task of the political work of the Party.
The full statement - 中共中央关于加强党的政治建设的意见——中央纪委国家监委网站
A rough translation via Sogou translate - Opinions of the CPC Central Committee on Strengthening the Party's Political Construction
People's Daily commentary on the political construction opinion - 人民日报评论员：把党的政治建设摆在首位
2. US-China trade
On Wednesday, Mr. Lighthizer will testify before House lawmakers, where he will have to credibly defend a pact that is shaping up to be less ambitious than he might have hoped.
Mr. Lighthizer has publicly expressed solidarity with the president’s goals, and those who know him say he remains loyal to Mr. Trump. In private, however, he has been frustrated by the president’s superficial understanding of the trading relationship with China and his tendency to jump unpredictably into the fray, friends and contacts say...
The Chinese have so far declined to make the concrete commitments to reform their economy that the administration has demanded, including ending China’s practice of subsidizing companies, engaging in cybertheft and forcing American companies to hand over intellectual property to Chinese partners in order to do business there.
“They are engaged in conversation, they listen and hear us, but we are at this stage unable to determine the willingness factor,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Washington.
Beijing last summer imposed retaliatory tariffs of up to 70 percent on U.S. ethanol shipments, made exports to the key market uneconomical.
Comment: So the US wants to dump ethanol corporate welfare on China too? I naively thought this was about free markets...
3. Huawei Waterloo for America?
It is not clear that the US full court press against Huawei is having the desired effect, and if the efforts fails it is going to be very embarrassing and damaging…
The Trump administration sent a large delegation of senior officials from the State, Defense and Commerce departments, as well as the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, to make its case against Huawei directly to more than 100,000 telecommunications industry leaders and workers gathered here...
Huawei has conducted a handful of carefully choreographed media events here and used the gathering to launch a $2,600 folding-screen phone. The company’s flower-petal logo blankets the convention, including adorning the official lanyards for attendees’ nametags.
The U.S. delegation, meanwhile, borrowed a booth from the event organizers for its Tuesday news conference, which officials conducted without a podium or microphone, sometimes struggling to be heard over the conference din. The American delegation wore lanyards from Ericsson AB, a Swedish rival to Huawei, and IBM Corp.
Washington has suffered a number of high-profile setbacks in its Huawei push. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Germany, a big Huawei market, is leaning against banning Huawei gear in the build- out of its 5G networks.
Ken Hu, another rotating Huawei chairman, said here Tuesday that of 30 5G commercial contracts the company has signed to date, 18 are in Europe. Nine contracts are in the Middle East, and three are in Asia-Pacific, he said.
the United States is asking other governments and the private sector to consider the threat posed by Huawei and other Chinese information technology companies. Chinese law requires these firms to support and assist Beijing’s vast security apparatus, without any democratic checks and balances on access to, or use of, data that touches the networks or equipment installed and supported by these companies around the world. America is calling on all our security partners to be vigilant and avoid vendors that could compromise the integrity of global communications technology, the privacy and liberty of our citizens, and the security of our critical infrastructure and national security systems. Decisions about infrastructure for 5G will have long-term implications and should not be rushed into.
Now that the US has brought out the heavy artillery and portrayed Huawei as a threat to western civilisation, we must ask why.
I believe the answer is in the top secret US National Security Agency documents leaked by Edward Snowden in 2013. Formed in 1952, the NSA monitors electronic communications, such as email and phone calls, for intelligence and counter-intelligence purposes.
The Snowden leaks shone a light on how the NSA’s leaders were seeking to “collect it all” — every electronic communication sent, or phone call made, by everyone in the world, every day. Those documents also showed that the NSA maintains “corporate partnerships” with particular US technology and telecom companies that allow the agency to “gain access to high-capacity international fibre-optic cables, switches and/or routers throughout the world”.
Comment: Not sure a Chinese firm arguing the US is evil and they are good is convincing, then again Snowden's revelations did so much damage that it may be more persuasive than most Americans would like to admit
Chief Engineer of China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Zhang Feng, on Tuesday called on countries worldwide to work together to maintain a fair, impartial and transparent environment for the development of the information and communications technology (ICT) industry...
"Network security and user privacy protection constitute the basis for industrial development, and it is our common goal to build a globally trusted 5G security system. We should give play to our complementary advantages for mutual benefits and win-win outcomes," he said.
"I'm sure they're a very capable company, and they're having success in certain markets that they're in," Robert Boyanovsky, vice president of Enterprise Mobility at AT&T Business, told the Global Times in an interview during the ongoing Mobile World Conference (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain...
When asked whether the case against Huawei is a political issue, Boyanovsky responded "of course" and he stressed that he could not make further comments on the technological advancement of the Chinese company until it gets "cleared up."
Australia will stand firm on it's ban on Huawei from its broadband and 5G networks, even if President Donald Trump softens the US position on the Chinese telecommunications provider, Foreign Minister Marise Payne said.
Speaking to reporters at Australia House in London, before her meeting with the UK's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Senator Payne said the Australian view on Huawei was clear.
"Well we don't want anyone in our communications networks that have an obligation to another government," she said.
4. Specialized meeting on the prevention and control of African Swine Flu
It must be getting really bad if Hu Chunhua has convened such a meeting.
Vice Premier Hu Chunhua on Tuesday called for more efforts on the effective prevention of and control over African swine fever to ensure a stable pork supply.
Hu, also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the remarks when presiding over a specialized meeting on the prevention and control of the disease.
Hu said the situation remained very grave and it was a pressing task to intensify control efforts.
Hu called for strengthened supervision over pig farms, transport links and pork plants to ensure that all control efforts were firmly implemented.
China plans to divide its hog industry into five zones in an attempt to halt the spread African swine fever across the world’s top pork producer and guarantee supplies...
China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs drew up the plan which aims to encourage the trade of pigs and pig products within the regions, after earlier measures distorted prices and the market.
The plan, which was outlined in a document reviewed by Reuters, was sent to provincial governments and municipalities for their feedback last week and it is not clear if it has already been approved.
The outbreak in the city of Yulin in the northwestern province killed 62 animals on a farm of 11,334 pigs, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said in a statement on its website.
5. Transformation of the global economic governance system
The 5th in a People's Daily series on "grasping the new implications of developing our nation's important strategic opportunities", this one on page 1 of the 2.27.2019 People's Daily, is about participating in the transformation of the global economic governance system.
I have excerpted part it via a slightly edited Sogou translate output. You can see the whole machine translation here. I choose to translate 变革 as change or transformation, not reform. The CCP calls reform and opening as 改革开放 not 变革开放 so there seems to be a very important distinction between 改革 and 变革. There is still a debate about China's goals in shaping global governance systems, whether it wants to reform them to Beijing's advantage or transform them to Beijing's advantage. I think there is a difference, and from everything I have heard and read I believe transformation, not simply reform, is the goal.
A lot of this we have heard and read before, but it is worth revisiting given its placement and the current state of the world, and the hubbub in certain pundit circles that Xi is somehow chastened and pulling back on initiatives like BRI...
I am sure some of you disagree, so please argue with me in the comments
[Slightly edited Sogou translation] Today's world is once again at the " crossroads" of progress: the global governance system is undergoing profound changes and a new international order is being nurtured. As the world's second largest economy, China is fully capable of seizing new opportunities to participate in the transformation of the global economic governance system and play a more important role...
Waiting and hesitating will only miss the window of opportunity. Running and struggling can lead the trend of the times. Seizing new opportunities and making good use of them, China is creating a better international environment for its own economic development, contributing more Chinese wisdom and China's plans to the world's economic development, so that the world will be flooded with sunshine from the construction of a community of human destinies...
We will act in accordance with the situation and take advantage of the situation to play a greater role in the transformation of the global economic governance system.
After the international financial crisis broke out in 2008, the global economy plunged into a deep adjustment. With the development of the world economic situation and the evolution of the balance of international economic power, the defects and deficiencies of the existing global economic governance system are increasingly prominent...
Since the international financial crisis, the trend of " east rising and west falling" and " south rising and north falling" in the global economic landscape has developed in depth. Major emerging market countries have taken the lead in economic recovery and developing countries have contributed about 80% of the global economic growth. However, in the global economic governance, it has failed to form a symmetrical right, a matching voice and a reasonable compensation mechanism...
"Small wisdom" governs things and great wisdom governs systems. The reform of the global economic governance system is not a total negation of the existing governance system, but actively creates new governance mechanisms while respecting the existing international governance rules. The joint construction of " the belt and road initiative" is an innovation and improvement of the global economic governance system. It is consistent with the concept of " inclusive and non - discriminatory" of the multilateral trading system and reflects China's commitment to win global recognition...
Accelerating the optimization and upgrading of the economic structure will bring new opportunities. We can fully set a new tide in the global new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation and build a future-oriented economic structure...We can play a greater role in promoting the construction of an open world economy and creating a better external environment for China's economic development.
6. $3B reasons for Google to curry favor with Beijing
Google saw a huge upsurge in revenue from China last year, powered by a wave of Chinese tech companies buying ads outside China to promote products like the TikTok video app and the Alipay mobile wallet.
Google’s revenue in Greater China, which includes mainland China as well as Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, last year grew more than 60% to more than $3 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. The robust growth, which hasn’t previously been reported, has prompted Google to expand its ad sales team there, the people said...
One of Google’s largest Chinese clients last year was ByteDance, which boosted its overseas ad spending to promote its short-video app TikTok around the world. So far, ByteDance’s heavy spending seems to have paid off.
The social video app, which lets users record themselves lip-synching to popular music videos and share the clips with friends, has just surpassed 1 billion downloads on iOS and Android.
7. Fake PhDs in the Politburo?
China’s politicians are on paper among the world’s best educated: the elite politburo, composed of the 25 most senior Communist party officials, boasts seven doctoral graduates including Xi Jinping, the president, who obtained a law doctorate from Beijing’s Tsinghua University in 2002.
But the doctoral dissertation by Chen Quanguo, a politburo member and head of the Communist party in the northwestern Xinjiang region, features dozens of paragraphs identical to earlier works that are not cited.
Theses by other politburo members are not accessible on public academic databases. But an FT review of 10 doctoral theses by other Chinese officials that were available online found three cases in which extended passages were copied without citation.
The very interesting Twitter account @airmovingdevice started a thread about this issue 10 days ago:
including detail about Chen's alleged plagiarism:
Today the Ministry of Education issued a circular saying it would crack down hard on fraud and plagiarism by research students...It is in response to the Zhai Tianlin scandal, not because of the the above revelations, nor should we expect anything to happen to senior officials with problematic dissertations - 教育部：加大对研究生学位论文作假查处力度 绝不姑息
8. PBoC priorities
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has outlined its priorities for the coming year, pledging to improve guidance on credit policies while promoting innovation and reform in financial markets, and strengthening the bond market’s role in supporting the economy...
The lengthy to-do list, published on the central bank’s website late Tuesday, was accompanied by a warning that the economy faces growing downward pressure and that it “remains an arduous task to prevent and defuse financial risks.”..
Earlier this week, Wang Zhaoxing, vice chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, told a media briefing that banks are being urged to tighten oversight of property lending.
Wang also pledged stricter supervision over arbitrage activity involving commercial bills, after bill financing surged to a record high in January.
The PBoC statement 砥砺奋进 开拓创新 全面做好2019年金融市场和信贷政策工作
Reports have now emerged that many Chinese banks are conducting internal inspections into bills arbitrage conduct.
At present the main target of our internal inspections are enterprises that saw an irregular increase in January discounted volumes,” said one source at a municipal commercial bank to 21st Century Business Herald.
“By means of inspecting the bill discount amount and whether it matches prior trading volumes and sales revenue, we determine whether or not bills arbitrage conduct exist.
“Once arbitrage conduct is uncovered,the bank will swiftly adopt strict measures, including suspension of enterprise bill discounting operations, and even suspension of cooperation with bill intermediaries.”
China will steadily resolve risks in the shadow banking sector and push for a stable transformation of financial institutions’ asset-management businesses, the central bank said on Wednesday.
The central bank will conduct stress tests and evaluations on financial institutions, as part of steps to prevent systemic financial risks, it said in a statement.
Business, Economy, Finance And Trade
China's Economy Sees First Signs of Pickup, Earliest Gauges Show - Bloomberg That’s the message from a Bloomberg Economics gauge aggregating the earliest available indicators on market sentiment and business conditions. Key stocks and commodities led gains, and smaller firms became more confident. At the same time, gauges of inflation, trade and sales-manager sentiment signal that it may still be too early to say China has bottomed ou
Tudor among hedge funds betting on Chinese rebound | Financial Times $$ US billionaire Paul Tudor Jones’s hedge fund is among those to have been riding one of the trades of the year so far, with a bet on a resurgent Chinese stock market that is now the best performing in 2019. Excessive pessimism over the outcome of the US-China trade dispute, and the health of the Chinese economy, meant Connecticut-based Tudor Investment Corporation saw an opportunity in a Chinese stock market that suffered steep declines last year, according to people familiar with the situation. Tudor declined to comment.
Why some U.S. fund managers like China regardless of trade deal | Reuters some U.S.-based fund managers from firms including Wells Fargo Asset Management, Causeway Capital Management and Janus Henderson Investors say they are becoming more bullish on China regardless of whether a trade agreement is reached over the next few months. That is because China has responded to the threat of escalating trade tariffs by increasing its monetary and fiscal stimulus, softening the potential blow as its economic growth rate falls to the slowest pace in 28 years.
But some of the longer-term bears are staying bearish:
Chart of the Day: New Investor Sign-Ups Surge - Caixin From Feb. 18 to Friday, the number of newly registered investors jumped 53% from the previous trading week to more than 310,000, the highest weekly figure in 10 months, according to official data. Notably, all but a sliver of the new sign-ups — 99.87% — were individual investors, according to China Securities Depository and Clearing Corp. Ltd.
China's securities regulator unveils details about new tech board - Xinhua The tech board will ease the listing criteria, such as allowing firms that have yet to make a profit to list, but will also adopt higher requirements for information disclosure, Fang Xinghai, vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), told a press conference. Fang said the new board would follow a market-based approach to determine the prices, scale, market value and pace of new initial public offerings (IPO). Institutional investors will be allowed to participate in the inquiry and price fixing of new IPOs, he said.
Live Event: China’s New Securities Regulator Gives Much-Anticipated News Conference - Caixin Global Yi: Setting up a registration-based high-tech board is a major institutional innovation. CSRC will evaluate the impact of the innovation, and coordinate future reform of the ChiNext board and the over-the-counter market....Yi: The high-tech board has made many innovations in share offerings, listing, trading and de-listing. The board has had many breakthroughs, so it's not about simply adding a new board, but rather core reform and innovation...Shanghai Stock Exchange Chairman Huang Hongyuan:: IPO application filings by these companies are unlikely to flood in at the same time because their preparation work is at different stages. Relatedly, an anti-corruption board will be set up to supervise the IPO review work.
Beijing rhetoric belies reality of China’s private enterprise | Financial Times $$ “Everyone has to listen to the call of the party,” says Chen Zhiwu of the Asia Global Institute at the University of Hong Kong, who has been warning about the ascendancy of the party and the diminution of the private sector for several years. “Today the party controls everything. The unintended consequence is that it has given the US and others a good excuse to label all Chinese companies as state-controlled and muddied the waters for everyone.”
China’s economic policy dilemma increases as boosting growth is eating into local government coffers | South China Morning Post China cut the value-added tax by one percentage point in May and raised the personal income tax allowance this year as it battled its slowest growth in nearly three decades amid the trade war with the United States, but this has taken a toll on local budgets. Based on local government reports, most of China’s 31 provinces failed to reach their budget targets set last year.
China Shifts, and Detroit’s Big Bet Goes Sour - The New York Times: China’s slowdown presents the most immediate problem. Some of Detroit’s Chinese factories have slowed to a crawl. In the inland metropolis of Chongqing, where Ford builds cars like the compact Focus, three big assembly plants have been running at less than one-fifth of capacity. Ford’s joint venture in Chongqing has quietly begun dismissing thousands of its 20,000 workers...
Hot-rolled mess: China's steelmakers hit the skids as car sales slow | Reuters: Sliding demand for hot-rolled coil is a further barometer of China’s lagging industrial sector which is struggling with lower profits amid a trade war with the United States. Weakening steel end-user demand will add to the government’s concerns about job layoffs as Chinese economic growth was at its slowest in 28 years in 2018.
China rolls out new incentives to boost auto market - People's Daily Online Recently, 10 government departments of China jointly issued a 24-item scheme to further stimulate consumption growth, and six items found in the scheme were tailored for the auto market. They include acceleration of auto replacement, and the optimization of subsidy structures for new energy vehicles. Besides, multiple policies have been rolled out to stimulate new and used car markets. This year, new models of auto-selling will be tested to improve sales and consumer experience, and the limits on inflows of second-hand vehicles from other regions will be further lifted to prosper the used car market.
Construction at massive Oceanwide Plaza in downtown L.A. remains stalled - Los Angeles Times The project is being built by Oceanwide Holdings, a publicly traded international conglomerate that reported revenue of $2.37 billion in 2017 but was pronounced to have a “negative” financial outlook by ratings firm Standard & Poor’s last October.
Australia barley faces China tariffs in Beijing's latest threat to exports - AFR Australian farmers fear China is on the brink of hitting them with heavy trade sanctions after Beijing failed to budge on its claims that exporters are dumping barley. In what would be the second blow to a major export sector to China in a week, it is understood Australia has also failed to sway Chinese authorities on a related complaint about subsidies and tax breaks in the grains industry.
Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway prepares for IPO - Xinhua The Beijing bureau of China Securities Regulatory Commission, the country's stock market regulator, on Tuesday published information on the pre-listing tutorial services provided by CSC Financial Co. Ltd. for Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway Co. Ltd. (BSHSR) on its website. The IPO will be "a major move to advance the shareholding reform in national railway enterprises," said an official with China Railway Corporation (CRC), BSHSR's parent company.
China's Sovereign Bond Rally Falters as Barrage of Threats Loom - Bloomberg The rally in the debt market is faltering quickly, with China’s sovereign bonds due in a decade headed for the biggest monthly decline since August. The securities, which were buoyed by safe-haven demand and monetary easing last year, are now faced with a barrage of new threats -- a stunning surge in equities, a better outlook on the economy and elevated interbank borrowing costs.
China Comes to Grips With Welfare ‘Cheaters’ - Caixin Its latest gripe, according to a high-level conference Tuesday: Impoverished recipients of government aid are pretending to work but aren’t. A report from the conference therefore proposed cutting direct support to those who are able to earn a basic living but still depend on subsidies — though it did not say who would get cut off, or how the government would determine cheaters.
China plans new state pipeline company in massive energy reshuffle | Reuters The change is designed to open access to China’s pipeline infrastructure to private and foreign energy producers as a way to spur oil and gas exploration. The open pipeline network will allow companies to focus on exploration without any additional costs to move the fuel to market. China’s economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), approved the plan for the group last month, including details of assets to be incorporated, and final approval from China’s State Council is still pending, said one of the sources.
Politics, Law And Ideology
Rising Chinese political star Wang Junzheng confirmed in Xinjiang security role | South China Morning Post Xinjiang Daily reported on Tuesday that the former party chief of Changchun city had presided over a meeting of the Political and Legal Affairs Commission – the top political body responsible for law and order in the region – in Urumqi on Monday. Speaking at the meeting, Wang vowed to “ensure the party’s absolute leadership over political and legal work, and firmly implement the Party Central Committee’s strategy in governing Xinjiang.”
Detained Chinese-Australian writer Yang Hengjun kept in dark about lawyer - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Friends in contact with Mr Yang's family said the Australian consular official said she was not permitted by Chinese authorities handling the case to ask Mr Yang exactly what charges he is facing. According to messages seen by the ABC, she also said she was not allowed to ask why he had rejected a lawyer appointed by his wife. Earlier this month, Chinese state security officials informed Mr Yang's friend, prominent Beijing-based lawyer Mo Shaoping, that Mr Yang had rejected his application to represent him.
‘Red culture’ lessons launched in Jiangxi schools, kindergartens included - Global Times Schools in East China's Jiangxi Province, from kindergartens to universities, launched lessons about red culture this past semester, to spread revolutionary culture and socialist core values to students. The red culture lesson contains a six-series textbook aimed at students in kindergarten, primary school, junior and senior high school as well as university, which is the first systematic relevant textbook in China to promote red culture, Jiangxi Daily reported on Tuesday. According to the report, the textbook was written by the National Center for Education Development Research administrated by the Ministry of Education and the education departments of Jiangxi Province.
Senior CPC official stresses strict Party governance - Xinhua Zhao Leji, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and secretary of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, made the remarks during his investigation and research tour in Tianjin from Monday to Tuesday. Zhao called for concrete measures to carry out all kinds of tasks regarding improving Party conduct, enforcing Party discipline and fighting against corruption to secure a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society.
Senior CPC official calls for technology innovation in media development - Xinhua A senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has called for more technology innovation and proper utilization of new media in China's media development. Huang Kunming, head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, on Tuesday visited a 5G media lab set up by the China Media Group (CMG) that was formed last year by merging China Central Television, China National Radio and China Radio International.
The Hu–Wen Era « Area Studies « Cambridge Core Blog ew observers have examined Hu and Wen’s social welfare reforms – despite their unprecedented reach and their potential to improve for the lives of vast numbers of people. The Hu–Wen administration introduced legislation to improve the working conditions of migrant workers, initiatives to facilitate the growth of a civic welfare infrastructure and policies to “Build a new socialist countryside.” Their rural pensions, rural co-operative medical schemes and the abolition of agricultural taxes were key milestones toward improving the life of rural residents, and they for the first time in China’s history established entitlements to social security across the whole population. A set of four new articles examines the politics of these important Hu–Wen administration social policies. Delving into the processes behind these policies, as well as their outcomes, the papers show the complex interplay of actors, influences and calculations that shaped them, as well as both their successes and their limitations in reducing poverty and inequality.
Hundreds of Chinese villagers end up on social credit blacklist after being ‘tricked’ into applying for US$15m worth of loans | South China Morning Post At the end of last year, residents of Zhangyinzhuang, a village in Guan county, Shandong province received letters from the central bank saying that they had lost all their social credit as a result of overdue loan payments, Beijing News reported on Wednesday. But they insisted they thought they were signing documents to act as guarantors for friends and relatives who were seeking credit and did not realise that their signatures would be used to apply for loans.
Foreign and Military Affairs
In China, Sushma Says 'Preemptive' Strikes Necessary as Pakistan Refused to Rein in Terror - News18 External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday raised the recent Pulwama suicide attack in her crucial bilateral meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi here, a day after India destroyed a major Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) terror training camp in Pakistan. "I am visiting China at a time when there is grief and anger in India. It is the worst terrorist attack directed against our security forces in Jammu and Kashmir," she said in her opening remarks during the meeting held on the side-lines of Russia, India, China Foreign Ministers meeting.
Chinese state councilor meets Indian FM - Xinhua Swaraj is in Wuzhen to attend a meeting of the foreign ministers of China, Russia and India...Wang said China is concerned about the current tension in South Asia. As a friend of both India and Pakistan, China urges restraint from the two sides to avoid escalation of the situation. China expects the two countries to find out the truth of the relevant incident through dialogue and jointly safeguard regional peace, he said.
Chinese investment should serve the interest of Nepal and not just China, US official says - National - The Kathmandu Post Amid Nepal’s growing engagements with China, including plans to build at least nine projects under the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, a senior US defense official on Monday dropped a caveat: Chinese investment should be designed to serve the interest of Nepal and not just China. Speaking to a group of journalists in Kathmandu, the visiting US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia, Joe Felter, said that some activities that China has been engaged in the past across the region—in Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Malaysia—are a cause of concern.
Robin Lee’s new Confucius Institute in Dublin celebrates Chinese culture - Wallpaper London-based firm Robin Lee Architecture has completed a €8m ziggurat-shaped building for promoting Chinese language and culture in Ireland. Of the 548 Confucius Institutes that have opened around the world since 2004, this is the first to be purpose-built, and sits on the campus of University College Dublin. It was part funded by the Irish and Chinese Governments.
UCD Confucius Institute in Ireland awarded "Model Confucius Institute" - Xinhua Chinese Vice Education Minister Tian Xuejun and President of UCD Andrew J. Deeks jointly unveiled the Model Confucius Institute title at the newly completed state-of-the-art teaching building of UCD Confucius Institute with the company of Chinese Ambassador to Ireland Yue Xiaoyong and UCD Confucius Institute Director Wang Liming.
‘China is biggest foreign threat to America,’ says action group set up by former US ambassador to UN Nikki Haley | South China Morning Post Former United States ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has set up an “advocacy” group which described China as the “biggest foreign threat to America”. Haley served as President Donald Trump’s ambassador to the UN from January 2017 until December, when she resigned. Donor-funded Stand for America, which opened for business on Monday, claimed to promote “public policies that strengthen America’s economy, culture, and national security”.
‘No-go zone’ in Yellow Sea for Chinese aircraft carrier sea trials after Liaoning undergoes refit and Type 001A readies for test | South China Morning Post The Liaoning Maritime Administration said there would be no entry to the area off China’s northeast coast from Sunday to March 6, and it would be used for “military purposes”. State media reported that the Liaoning, which was commissioned in 2012, left the Dalian shipyard on Sunday after nine months of maintenance and modifications. Photos showed a banner where the warship was docked reading “Congratulations to the Liaoning on its new mission”.
David Sneddon family hopes Trump will raise case with Kim at Hanoi summit - The Washington Post Where is David Sneddon? It’s a question that the Sneddon family has been asking for more than 14 years, since the 24-year-old Brigham Young University student went missing while hiking in China...The following year, a Japanese group that works on abduction cases said it had Chinese documents proving that a 23- or 24-year-old American man had been arrested in Yunnan. Then, they said, he’d been taken by North Korean agents.
Students team up to combat Uighur crisis - Yale Daily A team of graduate and undergraduate students, supported by the Paul China Tsai Center at Yale, have partnered together to raise awareness of human rights abuses against the Uighurs — a predominantly Muslim minority in China — through outreach, petitioning and work with Uighurs in the United States.
Venezuela's second-in-command flies his two children to China using wife's surname | Daily Mail Online Diosdado Cabello, known to be the second most-powerful man in Venezuela behind President Nicolás Maduro, sent two of his three children to China Airline boarding passes showed different names for Cabello's daughter, Daniella Cabello, and his youngest son, Tito Cabello, raising suspicions Both children boarded the Havana to Beijing flight as Desiree Contreras and Tito Contreras, apparently using their mother's surname to hide their identiti
China’s Father of Quantum Could Not Attend AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize Ceremony – Chinascope Well-known Chinese news site Sohu recently reported that Chinese scientist Pan Jianwei could not attend the ceremony of the Newcomb Cleveland Prize that The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) sponsored due to visa issues. The Prize is one of the oldest science prizes in America (established in 1923). Pan Jianwei, also known as China’s Father of Quantum, is an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and The World Academy of Sciences. He currently serves as the Vice President of the University of Science and Technology of China. Pan is on the list of China’s Thousand Talents Program as well as the new 100 Reform Leaders list. Pan missed the ceremony because the “Administrative Processing” for his visa caused a timing delay.
I-Team investigation: Chinese spy operation threatens Tennessee town | News | wsmv.com A News4 I-Team investigation uncovered that a stolen secret from this company threatens the economic stability of this Tennessee town. The culprit? Spies working for the People's Republic of China. "It is an overt effort on the part of the Chinese government," said Craig Fair with the FBI. The stolen secret? The color white, specifically how the color was perfected at Dupont plants, spun off in New Johnsonville to become Chemours. The plant here is one of the few still making it - and for good reason. It's added to everything from Oreo cookies to paint.
Hong Kong, Macao
Central government endorses Hong Kong’s ban on ‘Hong Kong National Party’ - Xinhua The central government endorsed the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government’s decision to ban the “Hong Kong National Party” from operating in an official letter to the HKSAR chief executive on Feb 26. The HKSAR is an inalienable part of the People’s Republic of China and a local administrative region directly under the central government that enjoys a high degree of autonomy, the letter wrote. “It is the HKSAR government’s duty and an obligation of all Chinese people including Hong Kong compatriots to safeguard the national sovereignty, unification and territorial integrity,” it wrote. In the letter, the central government instructed the HKSAR chief executive to report on the matters related to the ban.
Taiwan’s democracy and the China challenge - Brookings - Richard C. Bush and Ryan Hass Taiwan faces a special and perhaps unique challenge in balancing democracy and security. Its only security threat is the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which has long since declared the objective of “reunification” to end Taiwan’s de facto independence and self-rule, and has refused to renounce the use of force to achieve that goal. The emergence of Taiwanese nationalism in the early 1990s, a result of democratization, complicated relations across the Taiwan Strait. Even if China did not exist and was not 90 miles away from the main island controlled by Taiwan, its democracy would still be challenged. Its economy has matured, growth has slowed, social and economic inequality has increased, and civil society activism reflects a growing disenchantment in some quarters with the performance of representative institutions.
Mainland to improve conditions for Taiwan youth to pursue education, careers - Xinhua An Fengshan, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, made the remarks at a regular press conference when commenting on Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority's attempts to prevent compatriots and the youth from Taiwan from coming to the mainland to explore development opportunities. "The DPP authority will never make itself popular by obstructing normal exchanges and cooperation between the two sides of Taiwan Strait, sabotaging Taiwan youth employment and development opportunities, and creating difficulties for Taiwan compatriots," An said. "The mainland will work to create better opportunities for young people from the island to study, work and start business on the mainland and resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of compatriots from Taiwan."
China says Taiwan talks must benefit 'reunification' | Reuters China’s policy-making Taiwan Affairs Office, in the government’s first official response to the Kuomintang’s peace agreement proposal, said anything that benefits the interests of people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait should be promoted. “As long as it benefits protecting the peace of the Taiwan Strait and increasing the peaceful development of relations, and pushes the peaceful reunification process of the motherland, it can be jointly investigated by both sides,” spokesman An Fengshan told a regular news briefing.
Tit-for-tat in the Taiwan Strait - Navy Times Seventh Fleet officials in Japan confirmed that the U.S. vessels encountered Chinese forces, but declined to detail what happened, instead calling the interaction “routine and uneventful.” “This routine transit demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the command statement read. “The U.S. Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows.”
Tech And Media
Intel's 5G modem alliance with Beijing-backed chipmaker ends - Nikkei Asian Review Intel's partnership to share its latest 5G modem chips with China's second largest mobile chipmaker has ended amid concerns that the technology transfer could cause problems in Washington, sources have told Nikkei Asian Review. The U.S. chip giant last year hailed the deal with state-backed Unisoc as a "multiyear" venture that would give it access to China's massive chip market, while the technology transfer partnership was seen as important to Beijing's ambitions to build a cutting edge domestic chip industry.
Kwai, VMate step back as TikTok dwarfs all in Indian short video market | FactorDaily Chinese content giants that had flocked to India and were beginning to dominate the crowding market here are finding that there may not be enough space for them all. Kwai, a short video app by Tencent-backed Kuaishou, and Alibaba-backed VMate are rethinking their India strategy as Chinese giant ByteDance’s popular platform TikTok races ahead to capture a large share of the domestic market.
China to Release ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ but Censors Rami Malek’s Speech – Variety Fans rejoiced online at the unexpected chance to catch the film in theaters. “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?” joked an astonished Weibo user. It still remains unclear whether the film will run uncensored. The most popular user comments under Fox’s announcement of the news on Weibo expressed concern that homosexual content would be cut
Korean conglomerate SK leads $600M round for Chinese chipmaker Horizon Robotics | TechCrunch Horizon Robotics, a three-year-old Chinese startup backed by Intel Capital, just raised a mega-round of fundings from domestic and overseas backers as it competes for global supremacy in developing AI solutions and chips aimed at autonomous vehicles, smart retail stores, surveillance equipment and other devices for everyday scenarios.
Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History
Is China Headed Towards a Future Without Foreign Bands? It all started with a message posted on WeChat last month by Lao Zhang (老张), the manager of Shanghai indie livehouse Yuyintang (育音堂). In a very short post, Lao Zhang announced that according to a circular written by the Chinese tax office bureau, foreign bands (including bands from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan) performing in China would now have to pay a minimum 20% tax on ticket sales for each of their performances. This new regulation — following up on recent efforts by the Chinese state to reform its tax policy, but specifically targeting foreign bands — immediately sparked a huge controversy among Chinese music lovers.
Dan Pinck, memoirist of espionage behind the lines in wartime China, dies at 94 - The Washington Post Dan Pinck was a recent graduate of Sidwell Friends School, the Quaker school in Washington, when he went to war. He enlisted in the Army in 1942 before volunteering for the Office of Strategic Services, the World War II precursor to the CIA...The OSS sent him to a village in southeast China called Hotien to report intelligence about enemy troop movements, weather patterns and possible bombing targets along the Japanese-held coastline 19 miles away. // His memoir Journey to Peking: A Secret Agent in Wartime China
Energy, Environment, Science And Health
China drafts rules on biotech after gene-editing scandal - AP China has unveiled draft regulations on gene editing and other potentially risky biomedical technologies after a Chinese scientist’s claim of helping to create gene-edited babies roiled the global science community. Under the proposed measures released Tuesday, technology involving gene editing, gene transfer and gene regulation would be categorized as “high-risk” and managed by the health department of the State Council, China’s Cabinet.
Agriculture And Rural Issues
Chinese vice premier stresses grain reserve management - Xinhua Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng on Wednesday urged all regions and government departments to get a clear picture of the country's grain stockpiles to help ensure grain security.