Farmers Harvest Festival; Trump's "Anti-China plans"; White Paper on US-China trade dispute; New tariffs take effect as Liu He rejects US visit; PLA sanctions reaction; Hong Kong integration, Pope and Party
Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! I thought today would be slow but there is a lot going on:
China has created a new annual festival—the Farmers Harvest Festival—and Xi chaired a Politburo study session on rural revitalization;
The next round of mutual US and Chinese tariffs have taken effect, and the State Council released the white paper "The Facts and China's Position on China-U.S. Trade Friction" that lays out China's positions and portrays America as the aggressor and China as the victim;
China has rejected the invitation for trade in talks in DC;
China reacted to US sanctions on the PLA's Equipment Development Department and its director, Li Shangfu, for purchasing Su-35 combat aircraft and a S-400 surface-to-air missile system from Russia by recalling Chinese navy commander Vice Admiral Shen Jinlong from his US visit and postponing the second meeting of a communication mechanism for the joint staff departments of China and the US that was scheduled for later this week.
I had heard from sources on both sides over the last couple of weeks that there was a good chance the US-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue and Social and Cultural Dialogues would both be held in Beijing in October. Given the recent developments I would be surprised if they happen next month.
In case you wanted more signs that Sino-US relations are on the verge of a significant worsening, Jonathan Swan of Axios reported Sunday night on The Trump administration's secret anti-China plans:
The Trump administration is planning to launch a major, "administration-wide," broadside against China, according to two sources briefed on the sensitive internal discussions. These sources, who weren't authorized to discuss the plans with the media, told me the effort is expected to launch in the next few weeks.
What we're hearing: The broadside against China — which is planned to be both rhetorical and substantive — will be "administration-wide," including the White House (led by senior officials on the National Security Council), Treasury, Commerce and Defense. "We're not just going to let Russia be the bogeyman," one White House official told me. "It's Russia and China."
The White House plans to unveil new information about China's hostile actions against America's public and private sectors, and to act on it.
Administration officials will call out China for its "malign activity" in cyberattacks, election interference and industrial warfare (e.g., intellectual property theft), an administration source told me.
The administration has marshaled tons of data to support its charges against China. "We are going to show how the Chinese have infiltrated the U.S. and what we are doing to counter it," the source said.
Thanks for reading.
The Essential Eight
1. Farmers Harvest Festival and rural revitalization
The trade war has re-emphasized the need to reduce reliance on imported and especially American agricultural products, and politically there is huge upside for the Party to continue to deliver improving living standards to the rural population, especially as the urban middle class may be getting stressed and a bit cranky in parts...Is Xi undertaking 农村包围城市 2.0 using the countryside to encircle and finally capture the cities 2.0?
Rural vitalization strategy is a major strategy put forward at the 19th CPC National Congress, and a historic task of overall importance which concerns fully building a modern socialist country, Xi said Friday while presiding over a group study session of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee on this issue.
He called for deepening the understanding of the major strategy and always making resolving issues concerning agriculture, the countryside and farmers the top priority of the Party's work.
The nation's overall modernization will be impossible without modernization of agriculture and rural areas, Xi said.
Forty years ago, it was rural reforms that raised the curtain of China's reform and opening up. Today, China should break new ground for urban-rural integration and modernization by vitalizing rural areas, he said.
It is the overall goal of rural vitalization strategy to modernize agriculture and rural areas and it is the strategy's overall principle to stick to prioritizing agriculture and rural areas, Xi said.
CCTV Evening News on the study session - 习近平在中共中央政治局第八次集体学习时强调 把乡村振兴战略作为新时代“三农”工作总抓手 促进农业全面升级农村全面进步农民全面发展
Xi, also general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and chairman of the Central Military Commission, sent greetings and good wishes to the country's farmers on behalf of the CPC Central Committee ahead of the festival, which falls on Sept. 23, the Autumnal Equinox of this year.
The CPC Central Committee's decision to create the Chinese farmers' harvest festival [中国农民丰收节] further demonstrates that work related to agriculture, rural areas and farmers is a top priority and holds a fundamental position, Xi noted, calling the creation of the festival "an event with profound and far-reaching influence."
"China is a large agricultural country. Priority on agriculture is the foundation and essential for the rule of the country and the people's security," Xi said.
Ministry of Agriculture web site on the new festival - 中国农民丰收节
Vice Premier Hu Chunhua on Sunday called for concerted effort on advancing the government's rural vitalization strategy.
Hu, also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the remarks while attending activities held in Beijing to celebrate the first harvest festival for farmers, which falls Sunday.
Hu stressed the importance of promoting Chinese agricultural civilization and highlighting the value of rural areas.
2. US-China Trade
Excluding the foreword, the 36,000-Chinese-character white paper is comprised of six parts, which are mutually-beneficial and win-win China-U.S. cooperation in the trade and economic field, clarification of the facts about China-U.S. trade and economic relations, the trade protectionist practices of the U.S. administration, the trade bullyism practices of the U.S. administration, damage of the improper practices of the U.S. administration to global economy, and China's position.
China is the world's biggest developing country and the United States is the biggest developed country, said the white paper. "Trade and economic relations between China and the United States are of great significance for the two countries as well as for the stability and development of the world economy."
The full text - 中国发布《关于中美经贸摩擦的事实与中方立场》白皮书-新华网
In keeping with its practice not to personalise the trade conflict, the white paper never mentions US President Donald Trump by name throughout the 36,000-word text.
Liu Weidong, a Sino-US affairs expert from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Beijing was not intending to end the trade war with Washington via the document but was using it to show to the international community its “sincerity and willingness to resolve the trade issues”.
The white paper also “shows the world that Beijing has really tried its best” to avoid confrontations with the US, Liu added.
Tu Xinquan, a trade professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said China was trying to “show goodwill” by releasing a white paper and avoiding the term “trade war”.
“China’s policy is consistent but the tone is a bit softer compared with a few months ago,” Tu added. “Beijing is kicking the ball back into Trump’s court” by demonstrating to the audience both at home and abroad that China is willing to talk but the US is not.
First, China is firmly committed to safeguarding its national dignity and core interests. "China does not want a trade war, but it is not afraid of one and will fight one if necessary.";
Second, China is firmly committed to the sound development of China-U.S. economic and trade relations;
Third, China is firmly committed to the reform and improvement of the multilateral trading system.;
Fourth, China is firmly committed to protecting property rights and intellectual property rights (IPRs).;
Fifth, China is firmly committed to protecting the lawful rights and interests of foreign businesses in China.;
Sixth, China is firmly committed to deepening reform and widening opening-up. "China will not reverse its course, but only deepen reform. China will not close its door to the world, but only open wider.";
Seventh, China is firmly committed to mutually beneficial cooperation with other developed and developing countries.;
Eighth, China is firmly committed to building a community with a shared future for humanity.
U.S. regulators went ahead with a planned 10 percent tax on a $200 billion list of 5,745 Chinese imports including bicycles and furniture. China’s customs agency said it responded at noon by beginning to collect taxes of 5 or 10 percent on a $60 billion list of 5,207 American goods, from honey to industrial chemicals.
Nice to see mainstream media catch up to something Sinocism readers have known for a while, but I disagree that there is still any remaining serious debate among the real policymakers in Beijing over US intentions...--Trade war: China see tariffs as effort to contain its political rise - The Washington Post:
The trade war is not about trade. The trade war is about the United States trying to contain China and undercut its rise.
That’s the increasingly common theory percolating in Beijing these days after President Trump slapped another, even bigger, round of tariffs on Chinese goods — and prompted China to retaliate with its own levies on U.S. imports.
The four-page section in Sunday’s Des Moines Register, which carried the label “paid for and prepared solely by China Daily, an official publication of the People’s Republic of China,” featured articles including one outlining how the trade dispute is forcing Chinese importers to turn to South America instead of the U.S. for soybeans.
Though Beijing devotes tremendous resources to studying the United States, there seems to be little understanding that the hostility against China in Washington is bipartisan and extends beyond trade, and that many frustrated business leaders, once defenders of good ties with China, now favor tougher measures against it as well.
Teng Jianqun, director of American studies at the China Institute for International Studies, said the government needed to accept the new reality and tell the Chinese public that the coming struggle could be the beginning of a long fight for the country’s survival as a great power.
“We should let our people fully know that this trade war is not a short-term contest,” he said, “but a contest that will determine the future of the Chinese nation.”
Comment: I still think there is a decent chance there will be punishments for some of the America specialists in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for not properly understanding and reporting on the shift in US sentiment...
A white paper recommending some US supply chain insourcing, prepared by the Department of Defense and likely to be released next month by the White House, may provide guidance on where the Trump administration will take its nascent attempt at industry policy. But it is clear that not all companies will suffer equally in a US-China cold war.
The chemicals, used to make electrolytes for electric-car batteries, are among 297 dispensations sparing importers the new 10% levy. The mineral barite, which helps energy companies drill for oil and gas, and the painkiller ibuprofen—90% of which comes from China—were also beneficiaries, along with Apple’s far-better-known products, including its smartwatches and AirPods.
Mr Wang’s choice of company this past week suggests that he is still struggling to get to grips with the US president. His hastily arranged meeting with old friends from Wall Street seemed particularly desperate, given their demonstrated inability over recent months to dissuade Mr Trump from pushing ahead with his trade war. But it appears that China’s vice-president does not know where else to turn, other than the movies.
Andrew Browne--Trump and Xi Can't Compromise in Trade War - Bloomberg:
The best the U.S. and China can probably hope for in the meantime is some form of peaceful-if-awkward coexistence. A Cold War-style relationship would imply at least a limited decoupling of the world’s two biggest economies, with the U.S. and China agreeing to cooperate where possible on commercial matters and to limit the scope of their strategic competition. If they can’t work out a managed separation of this kind, the legacy of 2008 may well be a hard split, with Trump and Xi ripping apart the global economy.
3. PLA sanctions reaction
On Thursday, the US State Department imposed sanctions on China's Equipment Development Department, the branch of the military responsible for weapons procurement, for engaging in "significant transactions" with Rosoboronexport, a major Russian arms exporter.
The sanctions target the EDD and its director, Li Shangfu, who are involved in China's purchase of Russia's SU-35 combat aircraft and the S-400 surface-to-air missile system, the US department said...
In response, China summoned US envoys on Saturday, including US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad and the US acting defense attache David Menser, to strongly protest the sanctions.
The MND said in an online statement that China will immediately recall Chinese navy commander Vice Admiral Shen Jinlong, who is in the US attending the 23rd International Seapower Symposium.
In addition, China will postpone the second meeting of a communication mechanism for the joint staff departments of China and the US, scheduled for Sept 25-27 in Beijing, the ministry added.
Zhong Sheng on the sanctions, and how they are another part in overall US efforts to keep China down...美国制裁中国军方意欲何为（钟声）--观点--人民网:
4. Sweden under rhetorical attack
Will it become an economic attack soon too, with boycotts against IKEA and other Swedish firms and goods?
In a clear breach of journalistic ethics and an affront to the conscience of humanity, a recent Swedish TV show used very vulgar language against the Chinese people, giving the impression that the anchor and the production team have apparently set their eyes on inciting racial hatred against an entire race.
In the show recorded in a faux-newsroom setting, the host volleyed a barrage of insults against China and her people. To add salt to the wound, he also used an incomplete map of China with the Taiwan province and parts of the Tibetan region missing.
The program, produced by the Swedish Television SVT and aired on Friday, reeks of arrogance and prejudice. It betrays the ignorance of the production team as well as its ulterior motive to cast China in a negative light following a recent controversy regarding police mistreatment of Chinese tourists.
The Chinese Embassy in Stockholm has already lodged a complaint regarding the program, which is riddled with racial bias and malicious slander.
Comment: The PRC's hysterical attacks on Sweden since the tourist tantrum are alarming, but from the clips I have seen of this program it absolutely is racist garbage.
In the video, “taking a poo outside of a historical place,” for example, is said to be a “no do” -referring back to Chinese tourists allegedly pooing in public (there’s a Chinese sign outside the Louvre Museum that forbids people from defecating). The host also says that Chinese tourists should not mistake pet dogs that are being walked in Sweden for lunch.
China’s forceful reaction is surprising but not an isolated event. It follows on from an unprecedented propaganda offensive, which has developed since the new Chinese ambassador to Sweden, Gui Congyou, took up his post last year.
Gui, an experienced Russia hand, appears to have taken as his mission to improve, or “correct”, the debate about China in Sweden. Since spring, statements have piled up on the embassy’s website condemning Swedish opinions as “biased”, “groundless” and “totally unacceptable”.
In a new briefing, China: Where are they? Time for answers about mass detentions in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, Amnesty International highlights the anguish of people who have lost touch with relatives and friends inside the XUAR and who fear they have been detained.
The organization interviewed more than 100 people outside of China whose relatives in XUAR are still missing, as well as individuals who were tortured while in detention camps there.
In this episode, Louisa and Graeme hear how the close-knit Uighur community in the Australian city of Adelaide have become long-distance witnesses to an unfolding human rights catastrophe that has torn their families apart. One brought his motherless children to the interview; others brought lists of missing friends and relatives. As they wrestle with anxiety and guilt, they're now starting to raise awareness of their plight.
Jerome Cohen and Kevin Carrico, China scholars at New York University and Australia’s Macquarie University, respectively, find this unacceptable. They drafted the Xinjiang Initiative, asking for a pledge to raise awareness of these events in every public forum. More than 100 China scholars signed on.
“Hundreds of thousands of people of Uyghur and Kazakh descent are being held indefinitely in extra-judicial internment camps in Xinjiang today,” the joint statement https://xinjianginitiative.wixsite.com/xjinitiative explains. “Prisoners are detained due to their ethnicity or Muslim faith, tearing apart families, destroying lives, and threatening culture. These are horrific developments that should have no place in the twenty-first century.
Chinese tech giant Hikvision, which supplies surveillance cameras to China’s concentration camps, gets a lot of help from its American friends. The PR giant Burson-Marsteller earns $25,000 a month by helping Hikvision’s U.S. subsidiary with tasks such as “strategic planning and guidance.” The lobbying firm Sidley Austin appointed former 14-term congressman Rick Boucher (D-Va.) to help Hikvision fight back against a U.S. ban on their cameras. Intel partners with Hikvision to boost automation at factories. And Amazon sells hundreds of Hikvision products...
Was Burson-Marsteller aware of Hikvision’s cameras in concentration camps? I asked. And if they weren’t before, how do they feel now that they know the truth? “Burson-Marsteller has been engaged by Hikvision USA to support its communications objectives in the United States,” the spokeswoman responded by email. And what about the camps, I asked again. “We have nothing further,” she said.
It is already possible for some CCTV cameras to identify an individual 15km away (9 miles) and they are deployed in many sensitive areas, such as the disputed islands in the South China Sea, Xinjiang’s border with Afghanistan in the northwest, and Tiananmen Square in Beijing, to reveal targets of interest at night, in snow, and through smog.
The small tube device inside the camera that makes this possible generates a powerful laser beam every trillionth of a second...
Last week several government researchers confirmed that the US and some European countries had stopped shipping these components to China and national security authorities were deeply concerned.
A company in the Netherlands, for example, “has been doing business with us for many years. Now their government won’t issue a [export] licence,” said one researcher in Beijing, who is developing an advanced surveillance system for Chinese defence and intelligence agencies...
The best domestic device generates a billion beams per second, a thousand times slower than those from the West.
Necessity breeds innovation…
The inferior hardware severely affects the distance and clarity of a target but Chinese scientists are coming up with an alternative solution.
Instead of collecting two dimensional information, they are going 3D.
The additional information allows them to use a lower laser illumination to produce images with equal – or even superior – clarity, according to the researcher.
A prototype system had already been delivered to the security forces for field testing and initial results were “satisfactory”, the researcher said.
6. Hong Kong integration into the PRC continues
The Hong Kong government used a colonial-era public security ordinance to ban a small pro-independence political party on Monday, a move that rights advocates said would threaten free expression and association in the city. The Hong Kong National Party has just a handful of members and no elected representatives, but it attracted intense government scrutiny for its call to make Hong Kong, a former British colony that rejoined China in 1997, an independent state...
The law under which the party has been banned, the Societies Ordinance, has not been used against a political party since Hong Kong returned to China’s control in 1997. During the colonial era, political parties like the Communist Party of China and the Kuomintang, Taiwan’s former ruling party, were outlawed in Hong Kong.
The HKSAR government's decision to bar the group from operating according to relevant laws and legal procedures is an action that should be taken to maintain national security and the rule of law in Hong Kong, and is absolutely necessary, the spokesperson said. "We resolutely support the decision."
The central government firmly supports the HKSAR in punishing any acts that jeopardize national security in accordance with the law and has zero tolerance for any organizations preaching "Hong Kong independence" or engaging in activities of splitting the country, said the spokesperson.
It now takes 14 to 19 minutes to travel between high-speed train stations of Shenzhen Futian and Hong Kong West Kowloon.
Bullet trains also departed Sunday from Beijing and Shanghai, to Hong Kong. The travel time is about 9 hours from Beijing to Hong Kong. It used to exceed 24 hours.
Like the arrangement on the Eurostar train which shuttles passengers between London and Paris, travelers will now have their documents checked and processed by both Hong Kong and Chinese immigration officers before boarding the train, removing the need to go through border control upon arrival to the Chinese destination.
But the hundreds of mainland law enforcers who will be stationed inside the rail hub in the city’s West Kowloon district have stoked a political storm in the city, with China’s influence in Hong Kong rising since failed mass protests in 2014 to demand more democracy.
7. A big crocodile trial coming
A pre-trial meeting – similar to a preliminary hearing – was held earlier this month, a step that signals the end is near for one of the most dramatic and complicated cases in Chinese President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on the country’s wayward tycoons.
A source said there might be additional rounds of hearings before Xiao’s case was brought to trial but that he was likely to be charged with two crimes – “manipulating stock and futures markets” and “offering bribes on behalf of institutions”.
The pre-trial meeting in Shanghai was confirmed by two sources, while a third said Xiao’s trial could start within days...
Xiao is being held in Suzhou, east China’s Jiangsu province, about two hours’ drive from Shanghai, according to a source, who also said the billionaire had lost about 20kg (44lbs) since being detained.
The New York Times in 2017 A Video, a Wheelchair, a Suitcase: Mystery of Vanished Tycoon Deepens
8. Pope helping Party control religion?
While some of the estimated 50 million Protestants in China have escaped state interference, the authorities have demolished hundreds of churches across the country, knocked crosses off steeples and set congregations out on the street, part of a broad campaign to tighten control over religion.
The estimated 10 million Catholics in China have faced similar measures. But this past weekend, the Chinese government adopted a different approach, striking a diplomatic deal with the Vatican in which Pope Francis recognizes the legitimacy of seven bishops appointed by Beijing in exchange for a say in how future Chinese bishops are named.
Vatican officials said the agreement was a historic breakthrough, the first formal acknowledgment by the Communist government of the pope’s authority in Roman Catholic churches in China. But Beijing’s goal is the same as with the church demolitions: getting a grip on the rapid spread of Christianity, the first foreign faith to gain a permanent foothold in China since the arrival of Buddhism two millenniums ago.
The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA) and the Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China (BCCCC), neither of which is recognised by the Holy See, made the comments in a statement on their shared website.
The remarks came a day after the signing of a historic “provisional agreement” between China and the Vatican that seeks to resolve a decades-long struggle over who has the authority to appoint Catholic leaders in the world’s most populous nation.
Business, Economy, Finance And Trade
Scandal-Plagued Analyst Contest Halted as China Cracks Down - Bloomberg Days after video of staff from one brokerage raucously partying with a client went viral, 30 securities firms responded to pressure from authorities to pull out of the country’s New Fortune rankings, people with knowledge of the matter said. Shortly after, New Fortune said on its official Weibo account that this year’s contest has been suspended.
Investment Firm Founder Imprisoned for Life for Ripping Off Investors - Caixin Global The founder of a Shanghai-based wealth management company known for keeping a peacock in his luxury apartment has been sentenced to life in prison for his role in bilking investors out of 4.8 billion yuan ($702 million). Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court found Xu Qin guilty of illegal fundraising, according to a verdict handed down late Wednesday. His company, Guotai Investment Holding (Group) Co. Ltd. was also fined 300 million yuan.
China Developers' Funding Source at Risk in Sales Crackdown - Bloomberg Guangdong’s provincial housing authority is considering scrapping so-called pre-sales, according to a document seen by Bloomberg News. The system allows developers to receive the entire sale proceeds upfront before construction has finished, which they then use to finance further land purchases and developments.
US to set up $60bn agency to counter China in developing world | Financial Times $$ At present Opic can invest only in debt, putting it at a disadvantage to European development finance institutions (DFIs). Ray Washburne, president and chief executive of Opic, told the FT that China – by using what he called “loan-to-own programmes” – was “creating countries that have the shackles of debt around them”. That amounted to “economic warfare”, he said. By more than doubling Opic’s lending ceiling to $60bn and allowing it to invest in equity, he said, it would be put on “an equal footing with other DFIs”.
Year of the Pricey Pig: Investors Fret About Chinese Inflation - WSJ While state figures show rental costs rose only 2.6% in the 12 months to August, media reports say prices are rising 10% to 30% in big Chinese cities. Relatively few Chinese people rent their accommodation, but this is growing in importance as the rental market increases. Li Qilin, chief macroeconomics analyst at Lianxun Securities, said reported CPI “isn’t consistent with what the public feels,” adding that some of the National Statistics Bureau’s methods were outdated. The bureau didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Politics, Law And Ideology
Chinese vice president stresses implementing new development philosophy-Xinhua Vice President Wang Qishan has called for implementing the new development philosophy and lifting the level of scientific and technological innovation. Wang made the remarks during a visit to Shanghai and Jiangsu Province from Tuesday to Friday.
[视频]王岐山在江苏和上海调研 CCTV Evening News on Wang Qishan's inspection tour of Jiangsu and Shanghai...lots of focus on Sino-Israel technology ties
Chinese official’s fetish for orchids and political gossip books lands him in criminal hot water | South China Morning Post The National Supervisory Commission released footage late on Thursday of former Guizhou vice-governor Wang Xiaoguang, 57, being stripped of his party membership and handed over to prosecutors for a criminal investigation. “I have not been able to uphold my beliefs and ideals, my values have become distorted, I have decayed politically ... I have committed deep sin and have only myself to blame for all these,” Wang said in the video. Besides facing the usual charges of graft, Wang violated party discipline governing the lifestyles of its members through his fetish for cultivating orchids, the commission said, without detailing how Wang pursued his passion for the plant...also among his violations was his “enthusiasm for reading seriously politically incorrect overseas publications” – a veiled reference to books and journals of Chinese political gossip popular among mainland tourists visiting Hong Kong and other places across the border. // The video 中央纪委国家监委宣布开除王晓光党籍和公职现场
Chinese Dissident Couple Granted Bail But to Face Trial in Thailand - RFA A Thai appeals court on Friday granted bail to Chinese dissidents Wu Yuhua and Yang Chong, who face charges of violating Thai immigration law despite holding United Nations documents describing them as refugees. Wu Yuhua, who is also known by her nickname Ai Wu, was detained by police in Bangkok with her husband Yang Chong on Aug. 29 and locked up in an immigration detention center. They had lodged a bail application last week in a bid to stall attempts to repatriate them to China, where they fear political reprisals at the hands of the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
Chinese student who could ‘never love my country’ expelled after two weeks for being unpatriotic | South China Morning Post Wang Dong, 18, enrolled on an undergraduate programme with the civil engineering department at Hunan City University on September 9. Just 10 days later he became the subject of an investigation after people complained about his “insulting” social media posts, the Party Committee Propaganda Department said in a statement released on Saturday.
Peking University threatens to close down Marxism society | Financial Times $$ Peking University’s Marxist Society was not able to re-register for the new academic year because it did not have the backing required from teachers, the society said. “Everyone can see what the Peking University Marxist Society has done over the past few years to speak out for marginalised groups on campus,” it added. The threat to close the society follows a summer of student and worker unrest in the Chinese manufacturing hub of Shenzhen. Students from Peking and other elite Chinese universities were detained for supporting workers trying to organise a trade union at a Jasic Technology factory.
中央组织部、中央网信办召开全国互联网企业党建工作座谈会--组织人事-人民网 Organization Department and Cyberspace Administration hold a symposium with officials and Internet company executives on improving Communist Party construction work in Internet companies.
Foreign and Military Affairs
Fears of Maldives Crisis Ease After President Concedes Election Loss - The New York Times While the opposition painted Sunday’s election as a final stand to preserve the Maldives’ nascent democracy — just a decade old — the vote was also seen as a critical referendum at a time when the archipelago nation has been caught between the influence of China, on one hand, and India and the West on the other... But Mr. Solih’s win will probably not roll back Chinese influence here. India and the United States have been unable to match China’s spending across South Asia as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, which Beijing says will secure commercial interests but which skeptics say will also expand its global military footprint. Instead, Mr. Solih has signaled that he will try to hedge between global powers and restore the warm ties the country once shared with India, which has watched China’s rise in the region with concern
As West recoils, China surges south in Myanmar | Asia Times - Bertil Lintner China has seized on Myanmar’s renewed international pariah status to push forward its corridor ambition. On September 10, the two sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the construction of a so-called “China-Myanmar Economic Corridor”, or CMEC, The CMEC is envisioned as a 1,700 kilometer-long corridor of roads and railroads connecting the Chinese city of Kunming, the capital of China’s southern Yunnan province, with three Myanmar commercial centers, namely Mandalay, Yangon and the Kyaukpyu port and economic zone that lets out on the Indian Ocean. It appears that China is doubling down on its push for the CMES as progress on the China-Thailand railroad that envisions connecting China with mainland Southeast Asia through Laos appears to be stalling. China has already constructed oil and gas pipelines that run the length of Myanmar into southwestern China.
Nepal restores US$2.5 billion hydropower plant contract to Chinese firm | Reuters Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli, seen as China-friendly, pledged to revert the project to the Chinese company if he was elected to power in last year’s elections
'Say no to China': Anger mounts in Zambia over Beijing's presence The demonstrator, James Lukuku, who leads a small political party, was picked up by police and spent several hours in a cell reflecting on his one-man protest. But he is not alone in opposing China's growing presence in President Edgar Lungu's Zambia and in particular its major programme of loans to Lusaka. In fact his criticism echoes concerns shared by many across swathes of Africa and beyond, where some fear that China's mega-projects risk leaving already fragile economies in even worse shape.
Power Play: Addressing China’s Belt and Road Strategy | Center for a New American Security This Belt and Road strategy envisions a more connected world brought together by a web of Chinese-funded physical and digital infrastructure. Beijing has dedicated enormous resources to this strategy; independent estimates put total Belt and Road-related construction and investment at around $340 billion from 2014 to 2017.4 Yet the Belt and Road should not be viewed as a 21st-century Marshall Plan with Chinese characteristics. Although addressing a genuine demand for infrastructure, this strategy is designed to lay the foundation for an alternative order and is already eroding international norms and standards in a way that privileges China.
Chinese military using domestic software to prevent espionage - Global Times The Chinese military is requiring its personnel to install monitoring software that helps analyze their social media patterns and tests their political sensibilities, a move the software developer said helps soldiers to use internet in a more rational way. The software, developed by Zhizhangyi Technology, a Beijing-based company, can detect sensitive words and websites instantly, once it is installed into soldiers' mobile phones. In addition to preventing military personnel from being exposed to harmful information, the system can also gather information from its users, according to a handbook sent to the Global Times on Tuesday by the company
Bolton Hits Chinese for Hack of OPM Records "You may recall seeing about the hacking of the Office of Personnel Management by China, where potentially millions of personnel records—my own included, and maybe some of yours, from former government employees—has now found a new residence in Beijing," he noted.
China-Japan maritime crisis would undermine 'Belt and Road' initiative: PLA document | The Japan Times A military crisis at sea between China and Japan will seriously undermine Beijing’s path of peaceful development and its “Belt and Road” initiative, according to an internal magazine of the People’s Liberation Army obtained by Kyodo News. The article, authored by two military officers at the Naval Military Research Institute and Dalian Naval Academy, strongly suggests that the likelihood of a China-Japan military crisis at sea is increasing due to long-standing disputes over the sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands, maritime demarcation in the East China Sea and the development of maritime resources in the area.
US ignores unprecedented effort and strong cooperation from China to control illegal export of drug fentanyl - Global Times Yu Haibin, a senior official with the office of the China National Narcotics Control Commission (NNCC) and the Chinese Ministry of Public Security's Narcotics Control Bureau, explained to the Global Times the efforts and achievements China has made in fulfilling its international responsibility of fighting against illegal drugs.
China navy ship makes maiden visit to Venezuela after Maduro visit | Reuters The naval medical ship, known as the “Peace Ark”, arrived on Saturday at the Venezuelan port of La Guaira for an eight-day period of “friendly visits” to the country, the official Xinhua news agency said on Sunday.
China starts to assert its world view at UN as influence grows | World news | The Guardian In part China is filling a space created by the withdrawal of the US from bodies such as the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council and the UN’s cultural arm, Unesco. Advertisement “What you hear is that in committees dealing with trade and human rights, the Americans are hanging back. They are not being assertive, Gowan said. “By contrast the Chinese are dominating a lot of the conversations.”
Taiwan ‘spy scandal’ a symptom of Beijing’s growing distrust of Taipei, observers say | South China Morning Post Six specialists in Taiwan affairs from the mainland refused even to comment on the issue when contacted by the South China Morning Post. One of them said only that it was “too sensitive”. Liu Guoshen, director of the Taiwan Research Institute at Xiamen University, said it was unclear why Beijing had opted to be so public about the latest spy allegations, but agreed it was a sign of uneasy relations between the two sides.
Typhoon Trami: Taiwan on guard as storm builds in strength - CNN It's expected to hit Taiwan Friday or Saturday at a strength equivalent to a Category 4 or 5 hurricane with winds of up to 270 kilometers per hour (168 mph).
Taiwan scraps plan to send defence minister to US security conference | South China Morning Post Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence said on Monday that deputy minister Chang Guan-chung would attend the US-Taiwan Defence Industry Conference in Annapolis, Maryland, late next month, as he did last year. Taiwanese news outlets quoted an unnamed official as saying that Defence Minister Yen Teh-fa was originally willing to take part in the event but later decided that he had to reassess the nature and timing of the visit to determine if it would benefit Taiwan.
As U.N. Gathers, Taiwan, Frozen Out, Struggles to Get Noticed - The New York Times “Taiwan deserves to have a role in the United Nations, just as any other country in the world,” Taiwan’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu, said in an interview last week. Although Taiwan’s voice is absent from the United Nations, some members do speak up for it. Among them are the 17 countries, including Haiti, Paraguay and the Marshall Islands, that have formal diplomatic ties with Taipei.
Tech And Media
iFlyteck Accused of Giving Its AI Program Credit for Translations Done by Humans - Caixin Global One of China’s leading voice recognition companies has been accused of failing to give recognition where recognition is due, crediting its AI technology with translation work done by its human staff. Shenzhen-based translation and tech company iFlytek Co., Ltd. was accused of claiming to have used its language software to translate speakers in real time at the 2018 International Forum on Innovation and Emerging Industries Development in Shanghai on Thursday.
The night a Chinese billionaire was accused of rape in Minnesota | Reuters With the Chinese billionaire Richard Liu at her Minneapolis area apartment, a 21-year-old University of Minnesota student sent a WeChat message to a friend in the middle of the night. She wrote that Liu had forced her to have sex with him...Minneapolis police came to her apartment early that morning while Liu was there, but made no arrests, another source familiar with the situation said. Reuters could not determine exactly what occurred during the police visit, but the source said the woman declined to press charges in Liu’s presence.
Hit Palace-Intrigue Drama Shows Chinese Productions Have Global Mojo - Caixin Global “The popularity of ‘Yanxi Palace’ especially in Southeast Asia testifies to Chinese dramas’ potential and their uniqueness in the global market,” said Niu Hongying, a journalism and mass communications professor at Shaanxi Normal University in Northwest China. “The key takeaway is that Chinese dramas do have a cultural competitiveness to win over global audiences. We are rich in cultural resources and unique in aesthetics, these are our specialties,” she said.
Google Suppresses Memo Revealing Plans to Closely Track Search Users in China Google bosses have forced employees to delete a confidential memo circulating inside the company that revealed explosive details about a plan to launch a censored search engine in China, The Intercept has learned. The memo, authored by a Google engineer who was asked to work on the project, disclosed that the search system, codenamed Dragonfly, would require users to log in to perform searches, track their location — and share the resulting history with a Chinese partner who would have “unilateral access” to the data.
To Find China’s Best Driverless Technology, Look in Silicon Valley - Bloomberg China’s homegrown search giant, much like its U.S. counterpart, has a division focused entirely on driverless vehicles. And just like its rival, Google-born Waymo, both efforts are based in Silicon Valley. It’s not only Baidu with a toehold in Northern California. China’s self-driving startups are sprouting major R&D outposts 6,000 miles from Beijing. China's congested megacities may have a need for self-driving cars, but the expertise is elsewhere.// Comment: This seems like the kind of R&D work that Congress and the Trump Administration may take issue with
Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History
Yan Lianke: ‘The situation for writers in China is complex’ | Books | The Guardian Yan Lianke published his first story in 1979 at the age of 21, and has gone on to produce a formidable body of work. Some of Yan’s novels have been banned in his native China for their satirical take on contemporary life, including his latest work, The Day the Sun Died, which had to be published first in Taiwan. The novel, about 14-year-old Li Niannian, who tries to save his fellow townsfolk from themselves during one dreadful night of “dream walking”, has been read in the west as a critique of Xi Jinping’s “Chinese dream” of national greatness. Yan has won the Man Asian literary prize and the Franz Kafka prize, has twice been shortlisted for the Man Booker international prize, and has been widely tipped for the Nobel. Born in Henan province, he lives in Beijing, where many of his novels are set.
Woman who allegedly stabbed 5 people in birthing center charged with attempted murder - ABC News The woman who allegedly stabbed five people, including three babies, in a birthing center has been charged with attempted murder, the NYPD said Saturday. Yu Fen Wang, 52, was hit with five counts of attempted murder for allegedly stabbing five people in what authorities described as a birthing center, which didn't appear to be licensed with New York City or the state, officials said.
Energy, Environment, Science And Health
Charles Kao, Nobel Laureate Who Revolutionized Fiber Optics, Dies at 84 - The New York Times Charles Kuen Kao, a Nobel laureate in physics whose research in the 1960s revolutionized the field of fiber optics and helped lay the technical groundwork for the information age, died Sunday in Hong Kong. He was 84. Dr. Kao’s death was confirmed by the Hong Kong-based Charles K. Kao Foundation for Alzheimer’s Disease, which he and his wife, Gwen, founded in 2010. The foundation said on Monday that Dr. Kao learned he had the disease in 2002, but it declined to name a cause of death.
As China builds biotech sector, cash floods U.S. startups | Reuters “There are companies in China that haven’t even started clinical trials, and they have received term sheets for $400 million,” said Nisa Leung, managing partner and leader of healthcare sector at China-based Qiming Venture Partners, referring to the agreements that describe the terms of an investment. “I think that’s crazy.” China’s biotech craze stems in part from a government plan launched a few years ago as part of the Made In China 2025 campaign. The goal is to promote biotech as a strategic emerging industry, spawning rapid development and investment into the burgeoning sector.
Agriculture And Rural Issues
China says new African swine fever outbreak reported in Inner Mongolia | Reuters The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said a slaughterhouse in the city of Hohhot reported the outbreak, adding that four pigs were infected with, and two had died from, African swine fever.