Fighting while embracing; Huawei; Black Mirror meets blacklist

We may look back on May 2019 as a key break point in US-China relations that, less than a month before the 30th anniversary of June 4, 1989, has the relationship in its most fraught state since normalization, with increasing probability of even more deterioration and friction in the near to medium term.

Stock markets are not happy. President Trump does care about the markets, and so there is always the chance that the White House will decide to have a call with Xi, or accept Beijing’s suggestion of a firefighting emissary to try to at least put a halt to the deterioration in the relationship. If that were to happen the stock market would probably have a crack-like surge of euphoria, before realizing that the fundamental trend in the relationship has not changed.

It looks to me that there is no turning back and now the best case for those who want stability in the relationship is "fighting while embracing", or 缠斗, as I have heard from several people Xi started describing his view of the US-China relationship a few months ago. But right now it looks like forces on both sides, and especially here in the US, are trying very hard to break the embrace.

Next Monday is the Memorial Day holiday here in the US and so unless something big happens the newsletter will return Tuesday. Perhaps by then I can have a happier view. Apologies for being so negative this week, but I prefer to seek truth from facts.

Thanks for reading.


1. US-China

Full-Blown Trade War Quickly Shifting From Risk to Baseline - Bloomberg

After months of predicting a trade deal between the world’s two largest economies, economists at some of the biggest financial institutions are growing increasingly pessimistic.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Nomura Holdings Inc. and JPMorgan Chase and Co. are among those that have rewritten their forecasts as U.S. President Donald Trump threatens to impose a 25% tariffs on around $300 billion of additional Chinese imports.

Chinese Government Expert Sees Trade Tensions Lasting Until 2035 - Bloomberg

For the next few years both sides will test each other’s strategic intentions and be prone to misjudgments which make trade talks difficult, according to Zhang Yansheng, chief researcher at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges. Zhang previously worked at the National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s top economic planner, and is now on their academic committee.

The most difficult period will be 2021 to 2025 and there could be friction in the areas of economy, trade, technology, and finance, Zhang said at a briefing on Wednesday organized by the government. From 2026 to 2035, China and the U.S. may head toward "rational cooperation" from "irrational confrontation," according to Zhang.

The Thursday CCTV Evening News has a 2+ minute piece on why America's plan to keep China down will fail...Mainstreaming this messaging through CCTV Evening News to its 100+m viewers across China, something plenty of people in China already believe - 遏制中国发展的企图不可能得逞_CCTV

人民日报署名文章:国际秩序容不得任性妄为——无视规则必将失败-新华网 - Zhong Sheng on the US destroying global rules

New tariffs on Chinese goods to cost typical U.S. household $831 a year: NY Fed research - Reuters

Research published by the New York Fed estimated that as tariffs grow larger importers have more of an incentive to switch to goods from more expensive countries. That could end up reducing the revenue the U.S. is able to collect from its tariffs on Chinese goods, the authors of the report wrote.

The NY Fed report - New China Tariffs Increase Costs to U.S. Households

U.S. $16 billion farm aid program to help expand markets: USDA's Perdue - Reuters

“Some of this $16 billion is going to be used for market access programs to go and build markets elsewhere,” U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in an interview on Fox Business Network. “If China’s decided not to play, then we’ll sell these great products elsewhere.”

U.S. Navy again sails through Taiwan Strait, angering China - Reuters

The transit was carried out by the destroyer Preble and the Navy oil tanker Walter S. Diehl, a U.S. military spokesman told Reuters.

“The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet, said in a statement.

US Senate bill proposes sanctions for involvement in ‘illegal’ activities in South and East China seas | South China Morning Post

US senators from both political parties will reintroduce legislation on Thursday committing the government to punish Chinese individuals and entities involved in what they call Beijing’s “illegal and dangerous” activities in the South and East China seas.
If it becomes law, the “South China Sea and East China Sea Sanctions Act” would require the government to seize US-based financial assets and revoke or deny US visas of anyone engaged in “actions or policies that threaten the peace, security or stability” of areas in the South China Sea that are contested by one or more members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

Beijing hits back at US Senate’s plan for South China Sea sanctions saying it ‘violates norms of international law’ | South China Morning Post

China says it is ‘within its sovereign rights’ to build on disputed territory after bipartisan group moves to sanction those involved in the construction

Bannon promotes economic fascism - Global Times

This is the most hysteric advocacy by this ultra right-wing opinion leader. Bannon is adddicted to the rhetoric of general war on China. With China-US relations heading downward, this radical figure makes himself heard by talking loud.

New Donald Trump Sanctions Target the Shadowy Chinese Weapons Dealer in China-Iran Ballistic Missile Deals

Karl Lee, also known as Li Fangwei, among several other aliases, “has supplied Iran with the full range of materials required to construct ballistic missiles—everything from highly-accurate guidance and control components to the raw ingredients needed to produce missile propellant,” a senior administration official told Newsweek on terms of anonymity.

The sanctions on Lee and his many shell companies were officially announced in the Federal Register Wednesday, but officials said the relevant congressional committees had been notified they were coming on May 14.

The U.S. shouldn’t take China at its word on fentanyl - The Washington Post

Congress isn’t satisfied with Beijing’s promises and legal changes. Members of the House and Senate from both parties have joined forces to push new legislation to sanction the foreign companies that make the drugs and send them to the United States, where they kill Americans.

“When it comes to anything with China right now, I refuse to trust without verifying, period,” said Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.), the lead House sponsor of the Fentanyl Sanctions Act, introduced this month. “It appears that in this matter, China will only respond to harsh action. And in my mind, there’s no harsher yet responsible action we can take than sanctions on the entities producing this fentanyl and sending it us.”

Political Economist Victor Shih on How China Sees Trump’s Trade War | The New Yorker

In democratic countries, we often talk about this concept called audience costs, which is, if you tell your public one thing and then you do another thing, your public is going to punish you for it. But leaders are not elected in China, so there’s a lot less popular-audience cost. And the regime prides itself on total control over the media and censors everything that it doesn’t like. So even if it, in reality, made important concessions to the U.S., it can simply hide that fact from the Chinese public. Of course, the educated public will find out about it, but so what? The vast majority of Chinese people will be almost completely ignorant of that fact, and that’s fine. So when the U.S. is negotiating with China it should not worry about things like that, because China prides itself on its total control over the media—and there’s a lot of documentation showing that they’re pretty successful in what they do.

Of course, within the government, you can say there could be this ultranationalist contingent who may fault Xi Jinping for caving. I don’t really buy that, because Xi Jinping has made it his mission to eradicate all his potential enemies from the Party, and I think he’s been quite successful with that. So, who’s going to really challenge him?


2. Trade war to hit leverage reduction efforts?

China's debt level set to rise but household debt risks most alarming: adviser - Reuters

Chen Changsheng, director general of the Macroeconomic Research Department of the Development Research Center (DRC) of China’s State Council, said the macro leverage ratio had rebounded this year and was set to rise further.

“I want to tell you that this year’s macro leverage ratio is definitely going to rise,” Chen told a real estate forum in Beijing.

China’s macro leverage ratio hit 250.3 percent in 2017 but had been steadily falling since the second quarter last year, Chen said, which was hailed by the government as a major policy success amid a drive to deleverage the debt-laden economy...

a prolonged trade war with the United States has dealt a much bigger blow to the economy this year, and policymakers must approach macro policy on the basis that it will be a long-haul battle full of uncertainties, Chen Changsheng said.


3. Huawei

Pompeo says Huawei CEO lying over ties to China government: CNBC - Reuters

Pompeo dismissed Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei’s assertions that his company would never share user secrets.

“That’s just false. To say that they don’t work with the Chinese government is a false statement. He is required by Chinese law to do that. The Huawei CEO on that at least isn’t telling the American people the truth, nor the world,” Pompeo said.

The full interview

China calls out U.S. 'wrong actions' as Huawei ban rattles supply chains - Reuters

“If the United States wants to continue trade talks, they should show sincerity and correct their wrong actions. Negotiations can only continue on the basis of equality and mutual respect,” Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng told a weekly briefing.

Comment: "Sincerity", which in the CCP context means "show proper understanding that our interests are paramount"

U.S. urges South Korea to reject Huawei goods, citing security risks: Chosun Ilbo - Reuters

In one incident, a U.S. State Department official said in a recent meeting with a South Korean counterpart that local telco LG Uplus Corp, which uses Huawei’s equipment, should “not be allowed to serve in sensitive areas in South Korea”, Chosun Ilbo reported. The official added Huawei needs be eventually driven out of the country, if not immediately.

Huawei Executive Accused by U.S. Startup of Involvement in Trade-Secrets Theft - WSJ $$

A Silicon Valley chip startup backed by Microsoft Corp. and Dell Technologies Inc. has accused a top executive at Huawei Technologies Co., Deputy Chairman Eric Xu, of participating in a conspiracy to steal its trade secrets, court documents show.

The allegations were made in a lawsuit set for trial June 3 in federal court in the Eastern District of Texas, in which CNEX Labs Inc. claims Huawei engaged in a multiyear conspiracy to steal the San Jose, Calif., company’s solid-state drive computer storage technology, including with the help of a Chinese university.

Panasonic refutes reports of suspending business with Huawei - CGTN

Huawei has long been an important partner of the company, the statement said, adding that Panasonic will continue to provide products and services to Huawei and other Chinese companies.

Earlier on Thursday, media reports said that Japan's Panasonic has stopped business transactions with Huawei and its affiliates covered by the U.S. ban.

Yicai Global - DHL Denies HK Unit Stopped Delivering Huawei's Parcels

DHL will continue to provide high-quality international express delivery services for all customers, including Huawei, DHL-Sinotrans International Air Courier, the joint venture of Deutsche Post DHL Group and Sinotrans Air Transportation Development, said in a statement. 

Logistics platform 4PX Express posted a report on WeChat on May 22, alleging that DHL Hong Kong has cancelled Huawei's shipments.


4. Beijing’s Black Mirror meets blacklist

U.S. Considers Blacklisting Five Chinese Surveillance Firms - Bloomberg

The U.S. is deliberating whether to add Megvii, Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co., Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. and two others to a blacklist that bars them from U.S. components or software, people familiar with the matter said. The two others under consideration are Meiya Pico and Iflytek Co. Ltd., according to one of the people.

The Trump administration is concerned about their role in helping Beijing repress minority Uighurs in China’s west, they said, asking not to be identified talking about private deliberations. There’s concern also that Hikvision’s or Dahua’s cameras, which come with facial-recognition capabilities, could be employed in espionage, the people said.

Question: What about the American investors in some of the funds that have invested in these firms? They will not be happy

How China Uses High-Tech Surveillance to Subdue Minorities - The New York Times

Developed and sold by the China Electronics Technology Corporation, a state-run defense manufacturer, the system in Kashgar is on the cutting edge of what has become a flourishing new market for technology that the government can use to monitor and subdue millions of Uighurs and members of other Muslim ethnic groups in Xinjiang...

The Trump administration is considering whether to blacklist one of the Chinese companies at the center of the Xinjiang effort, Hikvision, and bar it from buying American technology. Hikvision is a major manufacturer of video surveillance equipment, with customers around the world and across Xinjiang, where its cameras have been installed at mosques and detention camps. C.E.T.C. owns about 42 percent of the company through subsidiaries...

Xinjiang’s security and surveillance systems are already attracting admirers from the rest of China. Delegations of police officers from other provinces and cities have visited Kashgar and other cities to admire — and consider adopting — the measures...

Zhejiang and Guangdong, two wealthy provinces on China’s southeastern coast, have been testing the C.E.T.C. surveillance system used in Xinjiang, “laying a robust foundation for a nationwide rollout,” the company said last year.

C.E.T.C. has also signed an agreement with the police in the southern city of Shenzhen to provide an advanced “command center information system” similar to the one in Xinjiang.


5. Ponzi scheme CEO in the US

Regardless of the state of US-China relations, it seems like a no-brainer to ship Shi back to China, though I imagine he will be ramping up his influence spending and probably start positioning himself as some sort of persecuted scammer of conscience…

Chinese Fugitive Living Large in Los Angeles - WSJ $$

Shi Jianxiang is a fugitive from Chinese authorities, who say he committed fraud and caused billions of dollars to vanish. But in the U.S. the 54-year-old lives under the name Morgan Shi in a 6,500-square-foot, $3 million mansion outside Los Angeles, rides around the city in a luxury “talent-trailer” mobile home and travels the U.S. in charter jets...

Interpol issued a global wanted-persons notice against Mr. Shi in 2017 at the request of Beijing, which accused him of the “crime of illegal fundraising by fraudulent means.” Last year China listed him as one of its 50 most-wanted financial-crime fugitives, even pinpointing Los Angeles as his suspected whereabouts...

A brochure promoting Moregain Capital Group, Mr. Shi’s primary U.S. business vehicle for investments, has featured a one-on-one photo with Mr. Trump, in which Mr. Shi wears a fedora and the Republican president flashes a thumbs-up...

After Mr. Shi fled China, authorities there clamped down on the country’s fast-growing financial-technology industry, in which his Kuailu Investment Group Co. was one of the biggest players, imprisoning 15 of his top subordinates.

Firms fined, 15 people sentenced for fraud - China Daily 1.2019

Shanghai Kuailu Investment Group was fined 1.5 billion yuan and its two affiliated companies, East Hongqiao Microcredit and East Hongqiao Financing Guarantee, were fined 200 million yuan each.

The companies' former executives, Huang Jialiu and Wei Yanping, were sentenced to life in prison. Another 13 people, including Xu Qi and Zhou Mengmeng, were sentenced to 9 to 15 years.

The verdict said that from 2013 to 2016, Kuailu chairman Shi Jianxiang organized illegal fundraising through the affiliated companies and other financing platforms.

Trial Starts for Kuailu’s $5.8 Billion Illegal Fundraising and Fraud - Caixin Global 9.2018

The case involves Shanghai Kuailu Investment Group and two affiliated companies on charges of fraud and illegal fundraising that caused losses to investors of more than 10 billion yuan. The 12 on trial are former executives. More than 700 people, including some swindled investors, attended the trial.

Prosecutors said Kuailu was financially crippled in early 2014, and the group’s Chairman Shi Jianxiang, who fled China in 2016, conspired with executives to illegally raise funds from the public through a Ponzi scheme...

The company also poured money into such high-profile projects as the Hollywood film “The Bombing,” starring Bruce Willis, according to court documents.

Kuailu’s cash-flow problems first appeared in March 2016 after the company was exposed for box-office fraud surrounding a movie in which it invested.

China’s regulators found that movie houses fraudulently inflated box-office receipts for “Ip Man 3,” a martial-arts movie funded in part by wealth management products sold through Kuailu’s network.


6. Banned gas source found in China

Study Pinpoints Source of Banned Gas That Saps Ozone Layer: Eastern China - The New York Times

Rogue emissions of a gas that harms the ozone layer are coming from eastern China, primarily from two heavily industrialized provinces, an international team of researchers said Wednesday.

The findings confirm what many scientists, environmental groups and policymakers had suspected after an initial study a year ago reported new global emissions of the gas, CFC-11, but could only locate the source generally as East Asia.

The new research will add to international pressure on the Chinese government to curtail the illegal use of CFC-11. It also confirms the results of several investigations, including one by The New York Times, which found evidence that factories in Shandong, one of the provinces specified in the study, were still making or using the gas to manufacture foam insulation.


7. Wechat’s global influence

Global policymakers are behind the curve in figuring out how to deal with Wechat and its pivotal role as the primary information dissemination and communications platform for much of the global Chinese diaspora. Confucius Institutes, PRC owned/controlled (directly or indirectly) traditional media outlets, all are more of a sideshow compared to Wechat and its role in Chinese language information flows and opinion-shaping.

Misinformation about New York schools spreads in Chinese on WeChat - Columbia Journalism Review

ACROSS THE US AND EVEN IN MAINLAND CHINA, a news story is arresting the attention of a global Chinese-speaking readership: The New York City standardized high school entrance exam. It’s a wonky topic that improbably inflames Chinese American parents as well as Chinese ones reading from their living rooms in Beijing and Shanghai,  because of the proliferation of misleading coverage on WeChat, the dominant Chinese-language messaging app, on which misinformation runs rampant...

That community’s opposition can be traced to coverage of the mayor’s reform proposal in Chinese-language news, especially coverage in Mandarin circulated on messaging app WeChat and read by Chinese immigrants around the country. On WeChat lives a different narrative of the admissions overhaul: that, instead of diversifying the student bodies of the city’s most selective high schools, reformers want to reduce the percentage of Asian students enrolled there...

WeChat has had a leveling effect, equating good and bad Chinese-language news sources by divesting them of context, much as Twitter has done with news in English. Because almost all other chat apps are blocked in China, WeChat is the is the central information and news platform and dominant instant messaging and social media app both within its borders and among the global Chinese diaspora


8. Taiwan baseball star Chien-Ming Wang

An interesting baseball story with a Taiwan angle as we head into summer.

Former Nats Pitcher Chien-Ming Wang Reflects on Journey Back to the Big Stage-Washington City Paper:

a rash of injuries, including a 2008 foot sprain while running the bases, derailed his time in New York. The Yankees let him become a free agent not long after winning the World Series in 2009. Fans in D.C. may not remember Wang’s brief and unspectacular tenure with the Nationals, but the team would play a pivotal role in his comeback journey, which is chronicled in the 2018 documentary, Late Life. 

“I’m really grateful for the Nationals for giving me the opportunity to rehab,” Wang says in Mandarin. He recently visited D.C. to promote the film at the Twin Oaks estate, home of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO)...

“He was really the face, the voice, the spirit, and the pride of Taiwan, at least when he was still in prime time,” says Stanley Kao, the TECRO representative to the United States. “Nineteen wins a season, two in a row with the Yankees. Yankees. People in Taiwan ... they stayed up until 3 o’clock in the morning watching his games. That was really something.”

“I would say he’s Michael Jordan,” adds Chen, when asked which American athlete would compare to Wang’s stature in Taiwan. “He’s a household name. He brought Major League Baseball interest into Taiwan.”


Business, Economy and Trade

China capable of keeping RMB exchange rate stable: central bank - Xinhua China has gained much experience in dealing with exchange rate fluctuations and has many policy tools available. China will strengthen macro prudential regulation and stabilize market expectations, Liu Guoqiang, vice governor of the People's Bank of China, said in an interview.

Yicai Global - Chinese Stocks Close at Three-Month Low as Network Firms, Farmers Slump The Shanghai Composite Index closed 1.4 percent lower at 2,852.52, with a turnover of CNY192.9 billion (USD27.9 billion). The Shenzhen Component Index ended 2.6 percent down at 8,809.53, with a trading volume of CNY271.7 billion. The ChiNext Index, which tracks growth enterprises in Shenzhen, closed 2.5 percent lower at 1,451.24, with a turnover of CNY88 billion.

Nasdaq executive dismisses ‘discredited’ Steve Bannon’s call to bar Chinese companies from US capital markets | South China Morning Post In a post on Chinese messaging service WeChat on Thursday, Bob McCooey said: “Like many of you, I have seen the comments by President Trump’s FORMER and discredited adviser Steve Bannon. I do not believe these words to have any truth.

Beijing Should Ban New Conventional Car Sales by 2030, Think Tank Says - Caixin The capital could galvanize the rest of China’s megacities by becoming the first to ban the sale of new fossil fuel-run buses, shipping vehicles and taxis in the coming years. It should then ban the sale of new conventionally powered private cars by 2030, the Innovation Center for Energy and Transportation said in a report released this week.

China's Zhang Shiping Who Shook Up Global Aluminum Industry Dies - Bloomberg Zhang Shiping, who headed a cotton factory in his hometown in the early days of Chinese economic reform before revamping the global aluminum industry, has died. He was 73.

Strong efforts to promote market-oriented, law-based debt-to-equity swaps - Xinhua The goal is to help ease companies' debt burdens and boost their vitality, a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided on Wednesday. Premier Li pointed out that all debt-to-equity swap programs must be carried out in a market-oriented, law-based and category-by-category manner. Competent government departments should provide policy support and enhance inter-agency coordination. It was pointed out at the meeting that a market-oriented, law-based debt-to-equity swap is an important measure to help companies with promising market potential to tackle the debt burden, promote steady growth and prevent risks. Debt-to-equity swap programs worth over 900 billion yuan (about 130 billion U.S. dollars) have been implemented since early last year, resulting in a marked improvement in the performance of the companies concerned.

China pork imports jump 24% in April -customs - Reuters China imported 136,517 tonnes of pork in April, up 24% from the same month a year earlier, customs data showed on Thursday, as the world’s top consumer of the meat stocked up on supplies amid concerns of a looming shortage.

Structured Deposits Exceed 11 Trillion Yuan, Chinese Regulators Crack Down on Covert High Interest Returns - China Banking News China’s financial authorities are expected to crack down on the use of structured deposits by banks to compete for funds by covertly providing higher returns to investors, as the structured deposit balance surpasses the 11 trillion yuan threshold. Structured deposits have recently seen roaring growth, following the launch of asset management regulations in 2018 that made it harder for banks to compete for funds using wealth management products by removing their implicit guarantees.

Politics and Law

独家|赵正永家族贪腐:妻子人称“陕西于姐”,女儿拉存款提成2000万_政经频道_财新网 Caixin with more details on the Zhao Zhengyong case, says wife and daughter very corrupt

Senior CPC official calls for advances in philosophy, social sciences - Xinhua Huang Kunming, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks at a meeting on evaluation of state-funded social science projects in Beijing. Huang required staff of the sector to focus on developing philosophy and social sciences with Chinese characteristics, base their studies on Chinese practice, and strengthen forward-looking research on issues that concern the whole landscape and have strategic significance.

传承红色基因 习近平强调四个“不要忘” "passing on red genes", Xi in Jiangxi emphasizes 4 "do not forgets":

initial aspiration and mission;
revolutionary ideals;
revolutionary purpose;
the elders and fellow villagers from the old revolutionary base areas and central Soviet areas

郭声琨:确保全国扫黑除恶专项斗争不断取得新突破新成效-中国长安网

China to set demonstration areas on rule-of-law for gov'ts - Xinhua The demonstration areas will be the first of their kind, and be mainly open to municipal and county governments, as evaluations will be carried out once every two years, the office said. The governments will be evaluated on issues including the fulfillment of duties, major decision-making, and administrative law enforcement, according to an official with the office.

Foreign and Defense Affairs

China, Iran to forge closer ties due to common threat from United States, analysts say | South China Morning Post In a sign of closer relations between the two nations, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Beijing on Friday where he was received by his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. According to a statement published by China’s foreign ministry, Wang reiterated Beijing’s support for the 2015 nuclear deal – which effectively curbed Iran’s nuclear ambitions – but which Trump dismissed as the “worst deal ever” for the US. Also on Friday, the Chinese oil tanker Pacific Bravo departed from the Persian Gulf laden with about 2 million barrels of Iranian oil.

China’s meter wave anti-stealth radar capable of guiding missiles to destroy stealth aircraft: senior designer - Global Times China's meter wave anti-stealth radar can not only detect advanced stealth aircraft, but also guide missiles to destroy them, a senior Chinese radar designer said at a recent interview. Meter wave radar can be deployed on vehicles, on land and warships, creating a dense web that gives hostile stealth aircraft nowhere to hide, Chinese military experts told the Global Times on Thursday.

China leads with 75% share in total foreign loans | The Express Tribune Pakistan, for the first time, fully disclosed the debt taken from China which stood at $6.5 billion for the current fiscal year alone, equal to three-fourths of the $8.6 billion worth of total loans that Islamabad received in the past 10 months, show official documents.

Video: China's Long March rocket failed, lost military satellite - Business Insider China attempted to launch a top-secret military payload into space early Thursday morning, but the attempt ended in a rain of wreckage. The loss of the Long March 4C rocket and its satellite marks the nation's second launch failure of 2019. The first was a commercial launch in March by the Chinese aerospace startup OneSpace.

Tanzania's China-backed $10 billion port plan stalls over terms: official - Reuters In 2013, Tanzania signed a framework agreement with China Merchants Holdings International, China’s largest port operator, to build the port and a special economic zone that aims to transform the east African country into a regional trade and transport hub. “The conditions that they have given us are commercially unviable. We said no, let’s meet halfway,” Deusdedit Kakoko, director general of the state-run Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) told Reuters.

China's top legislator seeks to tap cooperation potentials with Austria - Xinhua China's top legislator Li Zhanshu paid an official friendly visit from May 18 to 21 to Austria, where he met with Austrian leaders on promoting bilateral ties and expressed China's stance on upholding multilateralism and free trade..."Maintaining multilateralism and free trade is the common responsibility of the international community. Unilateralism and trade protectionism are not in line with the world trend," said Li, adding that unilateral withdrawal and unilateral sanctions will not only harm other countries but also harm the interests of the countries which take the moves.

Nigerien president to visit China on May 26-30 - CGTN Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou will visit China on May 26-30 at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping. He will meet with Xi and both leaders will attend the signing ceremony of relevant cooperation agreements

VOA Fires Two More Reporters for Chinese Dissident Interview - VOA Earlier, the USAGM fired Sasha Gong, VOA's Mandarin language division chief who arranged the April 17 live interview with Guo..Gong was dismissed for failing to follow orders and failing to supervise others in following orders. Wang was fired for failing to follow orders and for broadcasting a short video clip provide by Guo that VOA had directed not be aired. Li was fired for not cutting off the interview when directed by a VOA official.

Taiwan

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen says Tiananmen crackdown highlights need to stand up to Beijing | South China Morning Post Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday met a group of exiled Tiananmen protesters, a move that further burnishes her credentials for standing up to Beijing. She said the bloody crackdown on the student protesters in 1989 should remind Taiwan that it must firmly reject the “one country, two systems” formula put forward by Beijing for reunification to safeguard its sovereignty, freedom and democracy.

A New Chapter in the Taiwan Miracle: Same-Sex Marriage Legalized on Tsai’s Watch Whereas the enactment of Taiwan’s same-sex marriage law can be regarded as a significant (if only partial) victory for the gay community and allies in Taiwan, and a key precedent for the rest of Asia, another important factor in the passage of this legislation is Taiwan’s ongoing effort to gain international status on the global stage and to distinguish its identity against that of China, which is less progressive on gay rights.

Tech and Media

Walmart Taps China’s Startups for Innovation — The Information $$ Last year, a Chinese startup that makes ultra-thin blankets to keep shipments of food and drink cold got a big break: Walmart decided to use the blankets in its 30 e-commerce depots in China. The startup got the lucrative deal through a special Walmart program, known as Omega 8, which recruits Chinese tech firms to develop technology for the retailer’s stores and warehouses.

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

Hitting Air Pollution Target Could Save China $2.4 Billion a Year, Study Says A new study estimates the economic cost of air pollution in China’s smoggy northeast. Three professors affiliated with Beijing Normal University calculated that if the average concentration of fine particulate matter in the air in 28 cities dropped to China’s national target, it would save the economy 16.46 billion yuan ($2.4 billion) per year.

Beyond the Yellow River: DNA tells new story of the origins of Han Chinese | South China Morning Post research published in the online journal Molecular Biology and Evolution on Wednesday said the lower reaches of the Yangtze and Pearl rivers – as well as the Yellow River – gave rise to genetically separate groups about 10,000 years ago. Those ancestors then mingled to become the largest ethnic group in the world today, it said. “The history of Han Chinese is more sophisticated than thought,” said Professor Kong Qingdong, a researcher with the Kunming Institute of Zoology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and lead scientist in the study. “Many details need investigation.”

The risk of contaminants and false labeling in the exploding CBD industry | WJLA "Overseas they use hemp to do cover crops. They use it to purposely suck-out the pesticides and heavy metals on soil there so they can plant food crops next," said Cranford. "These crops are being imported into the US and people are making CBD out of it. The really scary part is when you have these contaminants in your plant material, and you make this oil, you're concentrating it." About 70-percent of US hemp is from China. // NYT earlier this month China Cashes In on the Cannabis Boom