Hard line on US-China trade; New Party education campaign; Wang Yang talks tough on Taiwan

Both the US and China have staked out tough positions in the wake of the failure of the latest round of trade talks. China announced its list of increased tariffs Monday and USTR is starting the process to add tariffs to the remaining $300B or so of PRC exports to the US.

PRC media has struck a defiant tone since Friday, blaming the US for the failure, playing the victim with its usual shrill skill, talking tough about being able to outlast the US in any prolonged trade fight, and, via mouthpieces like Hu Xijin, threatening non-tariff retaliatory measures:

If Hu and his Chinese scholars really think dumping US Treasuries will not hurt China more than it will hurt the US I say let them have a go at it.

President Trump took to Twitter to blame China for the failure:

Talks may restart at any time and people who want a trade deal now seem to be pinning their hopes on a Trump-Xi meeting at the G-20 in Japan at the end of June. Perhaps, but in the meantime it sounds like the Chinese side is preparing for a protracted trade war. I am going to re-read Mao’s “On Protracted War 论持久战” while waiting for the G20. From what I have been hearing Xi has had leading cadres read it again…

As many of you read in my Axios China newsletter last Friday, I am no longer writing that free weekly newsletter for Axios and instead will focus on writing for you here at Sinocism. It was a hard decision as I am a huge fun of the Axios folks and what they are building, but I need my Fridays back to focus on some longer term things and to avoid getting burned out and letting you all down. Axios is going to continue that newsletter and you will still receive it from them.

Thanks for reading.

The Essential Eight

1. US-China trade

Chinese vice premier Liu He urges China-U.S. cooperation, vows no compromise on major principles - Xinhua |

Liu said that the two sides have reached important consensus on many aspects, but there remain three core concerns of China that must be addressed.

The first is to remove all the additional tariffs, he said, adding that the levy of those tariffs is the starting point of the ongoing bilateral trade dispute, and must be totally revoked if the two sides were to reach a deal.

The second is that the amount of purchases should be realistic, he said, adding that the two sides reached consensus on the volume in Argentina, and should not change it randomly.

The third is to improve the balance of the wording of the text, he said, adding that every country has its dignity, the text must be balanced, and more discussions are needed on some critical issues...

Under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core, as long as the Chinese people have firm confidence and make joint efforts, China is not afraid of any difficulties, and will certainly be able to maintain the good momentum of sustained and sound economic development, he added.

China hikes tariffs on most U.S. goods in $60 billion target list - Reuters

China said on Monday it will adjust tariffs on a revised target list of $60 billion worth of U.S. imports, with additional rates of 20% to 25% in retaliation for a U.S. tariff hike on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

A total of 5,140 U.S. products will be subject to various tariff rates starting June 1, the finance ministry said in a statement.

Official announcement of the increased tariffs, with links to the lists - 国务院关税税则委员会关于对原产于美国的部分进口商品提高加征关税税率的公告

Statement By U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Section 301 Action | United States Trade Representative

The President also ordered us to begin the process of raising tariffs on essentially all remaining imports from China, which are valued at approximately $300 billion.”

The process for public notice and comment will be published shortly in the Federal Register. The details will be on the USTR website on Monday as we begin the process prior to a final decision on these tariffs.

How the tumbling renminbi could inflame China-US tensions | Financial Times $$

But it is too early to tell if Beijing is forcing the slide at the moment.

A weaker exchange rate in the wake of the latest rise in US tariffs would provide China with cheaper and more competitive exports as it grapples with the latest demands for concessions out of Washington. But it would also have costs.

Frustration, Miscalculation: Inside the U.S.-China Trade Impasse - WSJ $$

The U.S. and Chinese governments both sent signals ahead of their trade talks in Washington last week that a pact was so near they would discuss the logistics of a signing ceremony.

In a matter of days, the dynamic shifted so markedly that the Chinese deliberated whether to even show up after President Trump ordered a last-minute increase in tariffs on Chinese imports because the U.S. viewed China as reneging on previous commitments.

Trump Sees a China Trade Deal Through a New Prism: The 2020 Election - The New York Times:

In recent weeks, however, Mr. Trump’s campaign advisers have also started to echo the no-compromise approach, according to a former official. That, combined with Mr. Biden’s potential political weakness on China, has shifted Mr. Trump’s thinking away from those who urged a deal.

Question: How will polling change as more and more people are affected by the trade war if the tariffs expand to everything imported from China, and China retaliates even more on US exports?

2. Propaganda in overdrive to spin trade war

A Monday CCTV Evening News commentary read by announcer Kang Hui on the trade war developments was quite strident and very popular on Weibo--”If you want to talk, our door is open, if you want to fight, we will fight with you”

Even if you don't understand Chinese you can get the feeling from his tone-【国际锐评】中国已做好全面应对的准备:


Kang Hui’s sharp commentary on Youtube:

China’s official party mouthpiece warns US it risks making ‘mistake after mistake’ in trade war | South China Morning Post

China’s official party mouthpiece has warned the United States not to miscalculate in their current trade dispute, saying it risks making “mistake after mistake”.

While the 8,000-character, front-page editorial in People’s Daily indicated the country wanted to avoid an antagonistic relationship, it said that the US could not “control” China and would be able to weather a protracted dispute.

Monday’s article was written under the byline Guo Jiping, a pen-name used for editorials signalling the party’s stance on major issues.

The “Guoji Ping” commentary - 任何挑战都挡不住中国前进的步伐--人民网 - 国纪平

Another page 1 People’s Daily comment on the trade war - 人民日报评论员:中美开展经贸合作是正确的选择,但合作是有原则的-新华网, reiterates that the breakdown of the negotiations is all the fault of the US and that China will talk if the US wants to talk but will fight if the US wants to fight.

China state media says three main differences remain in U.S. trade talks - Reuters

The ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily and the official Xinhua news agency said that in addition to the lifting of the additional tariffs, the differences centred on trade purchases and a “balanced” text to any trade deal...

“China will never yield to the United States side’s maximum pressure and will not compromise on matters of principle. China has made it clear to call for the elimination of all additional tariffs to resume normal bilateral trade,” the People’s Daily said...

“China clearly requires that the trade procurement figures should be realistic; the text must be balanced and expressed in terms that are acceptable to the Chinese people and do not undermine the sovereignty and dignity of the country,” it added.

The May 11 People's Daily ran a Zhong Sheng commentary on the trade talks, this one I hear written by the deputy director of the People's Daily international department Wu Qimin 人民日报国际部副主任吴绮敏. Here is an abridged official translation - China will never bow to any extreme pressure

Economic and trade relationship is the ballast stone and propeller of the overall bilateral ties, which is a fact that cannot be overturned by a few regress and setbacks. The ongoing negotiations shoulder a historic mission to build a new balanced, inclusive and win-win order of bilateral economic and trade relations

The original - 人民日报钟声:中国不会屈服于任何极限施压|中美_新浪财经_新浪网

China’s doves urge Beijing to find common ground with Washington | South China Morning Post

While they may not reflect the official view of the Chinese government, many of these liberal voices are influential as they come from a small, elite circle of people who can trace their lineage to the first generation of communist revolutionaries.

Their willingness to speak out also suggests more room among the party elite to discuss and debate China’s strategy towards the United States.

China not to compromise on major principles, capable to cope with challenges: think tanks - Xinhua

Experts said that the U.S. accusation of China's "backtracking" for the unsuccessful talks is untenable and irresponsible as the two are still in the process of negotiation. As a matter of fact, the U.S. side is to blame for the negotiating setback as it has been exerting pressure on China and upping the ante.

"The U.S. requests involve China's core interests and major concerns. They touch the bottom line and China will not compromise," said Wei Jianguo, executive deputy director of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges

3. Politburo announces new Party education campaign

CPC to launch Party member thematic education campaign - Xinhua

The Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee held a meeting Monday, deciding that an education campaign on the theme of "staying true to the Party's founding mission" will start in June...

A plan for integrated regional development of the Yangtze River Delta was also reviewed at the meeting.

Comment: "Staying true to the Party's founding mission 不忘初心、牢记使命" has been a theme for several years, very unlikely this is in reaction to the breakdown of the trade talks, a campaign like this take a while to plan, but the timing is useful.

中共中央政治局召开会议 研究部署在全党开展“不忘初心、牢记使命”主题教育工作 审议《长江三角洲区域一体化发展规划纲要》 中共中央总书记习近平主持会议_CCTV




4. Conference of Dialogue on Asian Civilizations

Comment: Long-planned, not a reaction to the US State Department official’s comments on clashing civilizations, but certainly an interesting juxtaposition.

SCIO briefing on the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations- China.org.cn

The Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations (CDAC) will be held in Beijing on May 15. First of all, on behalf of the preparatory committee of the CDAC, I would like to welcome all our friends to today's press conference and express my heartfelt thanks to all those who care about and support the CDAC.

In recent years, President Xi Jinping, in his attempts to build a beautiful world and a community with a shared future for mankind, has put forward a series of important ideas and expositions on strengthening exchanges and mutual learning among different civilizations, which have produced positive responses from the international community. At the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, held in Shanghai in 2014 and the 2015 Boao Forum for Asia, President Xi Jinping twice advocated for the convening of the CDAC, and received positive responses from the participating countries. Since then, China has carried out multi-level and interdisciplinary dialogues and cultural exchanges with the relevant countries in Asia and around the world, creating good conditions for holding the CDAC. The convening of the CDAC implements President Xi Jinping's initiative.

CGTN gives us a handy infographic look at Xi's vision of civilization - Highlights of Xi Jinping's vision of civilization - CGTN:

Over the past two years, Xi's appeal has been incorporated into various documents, such as the UN Security Council resolutions, the UN Human Rights Council resolutions, the Qingdao Declaration of the Council of Heads of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Beijing Action Plan (2019-2021).

Conference of Dialogue on Asian Civilizations to usher in new era for cultural diversity - People's Daily Online - Zhong Sheng

China is both an advocate and pursuer of mutual learning among civilizations. In recent years, President Xi has reiterated on multiple important international occasions that different civilizations should draw on each other’s strength and achieve common progress, which reflects the sense of responsibility and the profound thought of the Chinese leader on the progress of human civilization.

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by China, aiming to promote people-to-people connectivity among the countries, has implemented a series of cultural exchange mechanisms and platforms in all aspects.

Beijing to host Asian cultural parade, food festival - Xinhua

The Asian cultural parade is scheduled to run twice, at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day in the Olympic Park. Costumed performers from 16 countries and 28 domestic performance teams will present festive songs and dances to showcase the distinctive charm of Asian civilizations.

5. Wang Yang talks tough to Taiwan audience

Chinese official bashes U.S. at cross-strait media gathering | CNA

In a brash speech on Friday at the fourth annual gathering of media organizations from China and Taiwan, Wang Yang (汪洋), chairman of the 13th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, boasted of China's might.

While China is planning 100 years into the future, Wang said, Taiwanese authorities cannot even guarantee what will happen two years from now.

"Therefore, we are confident in saying that both time and momentum are on our side, the side of mainland China," he said.

He chastised advocates of Taiwan independence for "placing their bets on the Americans," and wondered if the United States, after passing the Taiwan Assurance Act, could really assure Taiwan's security...

"[The Americans] are just using Taiwan as a pawn. Will they go to war with China for Taiwan? I'm guessing they won't. If we really go to war, will the Americans win? I'm guessing not," Wang said.

"More than 70 years ago, the foreign guns and cannons didn't defeat Communists' rifles when the Americans were supporting the Nationalist government, and the Americans didn't win the Korean war either."

Comment: Remember all that talk about Wang Yang as a great “reformer” a few years ago…

Top political advisor meets with media representatives across Taiwan Strait - Xinhua

More Than 70 Participants From Taiwanese Media Industry Attend 4th Cross-Strait Media Summit in Beijing – Taiwan Sentinel

Wang said that in the era of China’s “great rejuvenation,” both “time” and “potential” were on China’s side, adding that “Taiwan independence” and “foreign forces” were basically lost causes.

Commentary: U.S. move on Taiwan question puts China-U.S. ties in jeopardy - Xinhua

The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed the "Taiwan Assurance Act of 2019" and "Reaffirming the United States commitment to Taiwan and to the implementation of the Taiwan Relations Act," a blunt violation of the one-China principle and the spirit of the three China-U.S. joint communiques.

Mainland official meets with former Kuomintang chairman - Xinhua

Liu Jieyi, director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, met with former Kuomintang party chairman Wu Poh-hsiung in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province on Friday.

6. Cui Yongyuan apologizes in Shaanxi mine case

Comment: The waters are very deep in this case. Cui, whose posts also triggered the detention of Fan Bingbing and signaled the start of the tax crackdown in the film business, seemed nearly untouchable and protected by someone very senior. Whatever backing he had could not withstand the pressure over a case that possibly had the involvement of the head of the Supreme Court if not also a sitting Politburo Standing Committee member. 

And this case is a reminder to all private businessmen that in spite of the comforting words from the top lately there are still no real legal protections if your business conflicts with the interests of those with more political power than you; i.e. nothing has really changed...

Credulous’ TV host Cui apologizes over lost court files case - Global Times

Chinese TV personality Cui Yongyuan apologized Friday for publishing unverified materials online, after media reported that a judge who Cui spoke for was under investigation for fabricating stories against the Supreme People's Court and divulging state secrets.

Former SPC assistant judge Wang Linqing has been under investigation by the procuratorate, and the police continued to investigate Zhao Faqi for allegedly illegally acquiring state secrets together with Wang, the Xinhua News Agency reported Friday

China’s whistle-blower judge in custody of anti-corruption agency and facing accusations of theft and fabrication | South China Morning Post

The Chinese supreme court judge at the centre of a judiciary scandal was on Friday accused of theft and fabrication, state media reported, after police in Beijing wrapped up their investigations.

Wang Linqing, the assistant judge of the Supreme People’s Court, is now in the custody of Beijing city’s anti-corruption agency, Xinhua reported.

The scandal involved the disappearance of court papers in a mining rights case in which the plaintiff, businessman Zhao Faqi, was in police custody and under investigation...

7. BusinessWeek on the squeezing of the Unirule Institute

China’s Latest Crackdown Target Is Liberal Economists - Bloomberg

Unirule is the brainchild of Mao Yushi, a respected 90-year-old economist who was among the first scholars to spread free-market ideas such as deregulation and privatization within China. Until recently, the think tank was one of the country’s more influential nongovernmental organizations..

A crackdown on dissent that began shortly after he took office in 2012 has seen Unirule, which has a small but consequential following among entrepreneurs and academics, hounded almost into oblivion. Its Chinese website and social media accounts have been shut down, its events broken up, and some of its staff barred from traveling abroad...

Among researchers and government officials who might otherwise publicly question policy, these measures are having a predictable effect. “Very few younger economists are now willing to criticize the macro picture,” says Victor Shih, a professor at the University of California at San Diego who studies Chinese banking and fiscal policies. In private, “there’s still a debate, but none of them would ever put these thoughts into a journal article.”

Comment: The original generation of reformers are dying off, and the few that remain are increasingly marginalized and under pressure. It is a new era…

8. Damming Tiger Leaping Gorge

Tiger Leaping, Concrete Damming | Rukor

Fast forward 15 years to 2019. That crusading investigative newspaper, Southern Weekend is long closed by orders from above. Hu Jintao, China’s leader in the first decade of this century is long gone, and officially dismissed as a do-nothing. Xi Jinping is in sole command, and a more muscular new era is proclaimed. Damming of Tiger Leaping Gorge is back, and environmentalists are aghast. So certain these days are arrest, detention, torture and public confession, for publicly questioning official policy, they dare not speak directly. This is their plea...

At the highest level Tiger Leaping Gorge dam, now rebadged Longpan dam, has been authorised for construction. In 2019, the central planners of the National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Ecology and Environment, Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, People’s Bank and National Energy Board issued a long list of projects to proceed, including many dams on Tibetan rivers, the biggest being Tiger Leaping/Longpan.

Business, Economy and Trade

Premier Li underlines tax cuts to benefit enterprises, boost market vitality - Xinhua Li…made the remarks at a symposium on the implementation of reducing taxes and fees. Larger-scale tax and fee reductions are a key measure to improve the business environment and boost the vitality of market entities…As a key task for this year, tax and fee cuts have been carried out and are proceeding as expected, Li said, demanding more efforts to ensure the complete implementation of related policies.

Premier Li calls for enhanced services to keep employment stable - Xinhua Li…made the remarks in a written instruction to a video and telephone conference on national employment and entrepreneurship work on Monday. Supporting employment and entrepreneurship, especially for college graduates, is an important guarantee for achieving sustainable and healthy development of the economy, improvement in people's livelihood, as well as social stability, Li said. Noting that the country faces employment pressure this year as the number of college graduates is set to hit a new high, Li said the country will implement the "employment first" policy, put stable employment in a more prominent position, and ensure that the employment target for the year is met.

MSCI Adds China Stocks Just When Foreigners Don't Want Them - Bloomberg Foreigners are dumping mainland-listed shares at a record pace, just as MSCI Inc. prepares to expand their weighting in its benchmark indexes. Already this month, 17.4 billion yuan ($2.6 billion) of A shares have been sold through trading links with Hong Kong, putting May well on track to surpass the 18 billion yuan outflow in April.

Prosecutors Reveal Why They Want Sidley's James Cole Disqualified in Huawei Case | National Law Journal Federal prosecutors on Friday said Sidley Austin partner James Cole, a former deputy U.S. attorney general, should be barred from representing the Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies because of his role in an unspecified investigation during his tenure in the Obama administration.

Yicai Global - Amazon to Refer Chinese Sellers to Lenders, Stop China Sales US-based online retailer Amazon will launch a lender referral program to foster large numbers of Chinese sellers on its platform. The e-commerce giant will also cease its Chinese online shopping business from July this year, it said in April, state media Xinhua News Agency reported today.

China auto sales fall 14.6% on year in April, 10th month of decline - Reuters Sales fell to 1.98 million vehicles, said the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). That followed declines of 5.2 percent in March and 14 percent in February, as well as the first annual contraction last year since the 1990s

Jump in One Lower-Tier City's Land Prices Hints at Sharp Real Estate Recovery - Caixin A recent day of land auctions in the capital of Anhui province saw many plots going for 80% above the initial bid price, a sharp increase compared to similar auctions in March and a hint the real estate market is recovering * This may be due to developers’ easier access to financing and a loosening of government restrictions on the sector

Guangdong’s Largest Auditor Probed After Client Overstates Cash Holdings by Billions - Caixin GP Certified Public Accountants Co. Ltd. was put under probe by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) on Friday, a source close to the accounting agency told Caixin. The firm declined to comment when contacted. GP Certified is the auditor of Shanghai-listed traditional Chinese medicine supplier Kangmei Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., which has itself been under investigation by the CSRC

U.S. College Admissions Scandal Hurts Shanghai-Listed Pharma Company - Caixin Global Media reports on Shandong Buchang Pharmaceutical swirled after major Chinese outlets reported that the company’s controller, Zhao Tao, allegedly paid $6.5 million to get his daughter into Stanford University. Now the Shanghai Stock Exchange is closely watching Buchang’s moves. On Monday, the Exchange issued a notice asking the company to explain its high sales expenses.

China tightens ‘national security’ review for foreign investments, sparking fears of trade war retaliation | South China Morning Post  The new security review procedure was introduced through a brief notice published online in April by the NDRC. The note stated that its public service department would start accepting applications for national security reviews of foreign investment deals because of an “adjustment of departmental responsibility”.

Jack Ma told Alibaba employees to have lots of sex - Business Insider Ma also encouraged the couples present to have children. "The first KPI of marriage is to have results. There must be products. What is the product? Have children," Ma said. // He is always good at aligning with Party policy...

Politics and Law

Reorganizing the United Front Work Department: New Structures for a New Era of Diaspora and Religious Affairs Work - Jamestown The structure and functions of organizations within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are often poorly documented. However, buried inside a January 2019 Global Times article was a reference to “a deputy head of the 12th bureau of the United Front Work Department” (Global Times, January 6), or UFWD. This mention of a previously unknown bureau hinted that over the past four years the UFWD has undergone one of the most substantial restructurings seen in any of the CCP’s core civilian departments since the early 1950s.

Social credit system to restore morality - Global Times The hypothetical theories of the West are based on their ignorance, Chinese experts say. "The purpose of the social credit system is not to monitor citizens or classify citizens into 'good' and 'bad' categories but to better serve people with good credit and warn dishonest people," Yin Zhentao, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on finances, told the Global Times.

China to solicit public opinion for judicial interpretation - Xinhua The Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) will solicit public opinion on media for judicial interpretation concerning vital interests of the people, according to a revised regulation on making judicial interpretation. The regulation, issued by the SPP Monday, demands consultation from local and special procuratorates as well as related departments when drawing up exposure drafts of judicial interpretation.

The Lawyers Are Here: Chinese State Media Popularize 'Rule of Law' | What's on Weibo The Lawyers are Here (律师来了) is a weekly television program by state broadcaster CCTV that focuses on the legal struggles of ordinary Chinese citizens. The program educates through entertainment, and in doing so, propagates core socialist values such as equality, justice, and rule of law.

愿"4821"中老大哥高毅同志一路走好! Gao Gang's son Gao Yi has died at 89...pictures from his funeral, lots of princelings showed up..Gao Gang was an early PRC leader who committed suicide in 1954 after being purged.

Foreign and Defense Affairs

Chinese Woman’s Secret Arrest Hints at Wider Probe - Bloomberg U.S. authorities were sitting on a sensitive secret last fall when Canada detained a top Huawei Technologies Co. executive on alleged U.S. sanctions violations. Two months earlier, the U.S. had arrested another Chinese national on similar suspicions and was holding her at a grim jail in Washington, D.C. An employee of an unidentified Chinese technology company, she had been nabbed on vacation in California.

To counter China, Pentagon wants to create patriotic investors - Defense One Faced with Chinese tactics of creating private equity firms and investing in American technologies, the Pentagon is preparing a new tool, one it hopes will lead domestic investors to increase spending in companies vital for the defense-industrial base. Ellen Lord, the Pentagon’s top acquisition official, unveiled the launch of the Trusted Capital Marketplace program, or TCM, on Friday, a public-private partnership that will convene trusted sources of private capital with innovative companies critical to the defense-industrial base and national security.

Agreeing on the Arctic: Amid dispute, Canada sides with China over the U.S. on how to manage the North - The Globe and Mail In the midst of a bruising dispute with China, Ottawa has sided with Beijing over Washington on the Arctic, dispatching a senior parliamentarian to Shanghai to express support for co-operation in the high latitudes – an area where China possesses no territory, but has sought to expand its influence. Canada “welcomes” the chance to work alongside China in the Arctic, Liberal MP Andrew Leslie on Friday told a forum that is believed to be the largest pan-Arctic gathering ever staged on Chinese soil.

Foiled North Korean Escape Ignites Human-Rights Debate - WSJ $$ China’s detention of a 9-year-old girl and six other North Koreans who tried to escape their country has triggered a public outcry here for South Korea’s president, while pursuing peace talks, to confront Pyongyang about rights abuses.

India, China to work closely to bring peace in Afghanistan - Livemint Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar in a Twitter post on Friday said Chinese Special Envoy Ambassador Deng Xijun was on a visit to New Delhi and held talks on the subject with Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale.

Chinese navy launches two new guided missile destroyers - Times of India Two Type 052D guided missile destroyers were launched last Friday in Dalian, a coastal city

Memorial service to be held in U.S military cemetery for 52 Chinese pilots killed in 1940s - China Military A formal memorial service will be held Monday for 52 Chinese pilots killed during pilot trainings in the United States in the 1940s in a national cemetery in El Paso, Texas.

AP Exclusive: Ex-Interpol chief's wife gets asylum in France - AP The wife of Meng Hongwei, the former Interpol president jailed in China for what she believes are political reasons, said Monday that France has saved her life and the lives of their two young boys by granting her asylum request. The French government office that rules on asylum requests rendered its decision last week, granting her refugee status, Grace Meng’s legal team said... “If France hadn’t protected me, I would have been killed ages ago,” she said. “It’s a second life for us, me and my children.”

South China Sea: Beijing unveils US$23.5 million contract for coastguard ship to patrol Paracel Islands | South China Morning Post The Maritime Administration Law Enforcement Bureau of Sansha, based on Yongxing Island, the biggest of the Paracels, has commissioned Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Group – a Wuhan-based subsidiary of state-owned China Shipbuilding Industry Company – to construct the 1,900-tonne vessel. Sansha is a prefecture level city of Hainan province.

China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi to visit Japan ahead of possible Xi Jinping trip | South China Morning Post China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi will visit Japan for three days from Thursday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday. The visit is likely to work out details of President Xi Jinping’s planned visit to Japan for this year’s summit of the Group of 20 major economies in Osaka in late June

Meng Wanzhou thanks Huawei employees for support in first public comments since December arrest | South China Morning Post “Over the past few months, many Huawei people – whether I know them or not – have continued to care about my safety silently and left messages for me via the [Huawei online] community, and this has blessed and cheered me up, touching my heart in an indescribable way,” Meng said in an open letter to all Huawei employees dated May 9 and shared publicly by the company on its official WeChat account on Monday.

Pakistan terror attack highlights risks Chinese firms face in country | South China Morning Post The death toll from the attack on the Pearl Continental, which is popular with Chinese businesspeople and officials, rose to five on Sunday, local police chief Munir Ahmad Zia said, and several people were injured. Four hotel workers and a member of the Pakistani navy were killed and the three attackers were also shot dead by Pakistani troops.

China's top legislator to visit Norway, Austria, Hungary - Xinhua Li Zhanshu will pay an official friendly visit to Norway, Austria and Hungary from May 15 to 24.

China accused of secret lobbying campaign in UK against its critics Benedict Rogers, the deputy chairman of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, said he was warned by two MPs about Beijing's alleged attempts after he wrote an article for the website Conservativehome.com.  It is understood that the Chinese government may have learned of the article before it was published by monitoring the emails of Mr Rogers' colleagues in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong and Macao

Hong Kong lawmakers fight over extradition law - BBC News Fighting erupted in Hong Kong's legislature on Saturday over planned changes to the law allowing suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial. Several lawmakers were injured and one was taken to hospital as politicians clashed in the chamber.


Yicai Global - Tencent's Video-Streaming Service WeTV Comes to Taiwan WeTV entered the market via its Hong Kong investment subsidiary Image Future Investment HK, the Taiwan-based Economic Daily News reported today. WeTV offers paid subscription VIP services for NTD190 (USD6.10) a month or NTD560 a quarter.

Former KMT chairperson attends symposium in Beijing - Xinhua Hung Hsiu-chu, former chairperson of the Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) party, attended a symposium in Beijing Monday on relations across the Taiwan Strait and national rejuvenation. Liu Jieyi, director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, was also present at the symposium. Participants raised several joint proposals, calling on compatriots on both sides of the Strait to work together and achieve national rejuvenation.

Tech and Media

Oracle China staff protest at wave of ‘political firings’ | Financial Times $$ “I’ve not been laid off yet, but I expect to be,” said one young Oracle employee at the fair. “There are lots of people saying that Larry (Ellison) doesn’t like China. I think it’s because the US has this ‘China threat’ narrative,” he added.

Secret unveiling: Hit film Avengers' headquarters is based in a Chinese company - Global Times! As Disney's latest blockbuster Avengers: Endgame has smashed box office records across the globe, some Chinese netizens found the film's secret picturesque headquarters looked like the U.S. headquarters of Chinese machinery producer Sany Heavy Industry Co. "It's true, the movie team rented Sany's U.S. headquarters for the shooting," a source who was familiar with the matter

Netflix Buys Chinese Drama Series ‘I Hear You’ From Youku – Variety Directed by Sunny Hsu, the series is based on a popular Internet novel “The Most Pleasant Thing to Hear,” written by Shi Xiao Zha. It is a story about the romance between a cold and aloof violinmaker and a sweet girl next door who aspires to become a voice actor, as they find themselves unexpectedly starring in a reality-dating show.

Dating apps Momo and Tantan suspend social feeds in content cleanup · TechNode

Alibaba productivity tool DingTalk suspends social feature after reprimand · TechNode Alibaba’s enterprise efficiency app DingTalk has shut down its community forum for a month…A brief note explained that as a result of official reprimand for problematic content, the company would fix issues and temporarily suspend updates for the feature.

Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

W.N.B.A. Rookie Han Xu Brings Hope for a Deeper Connection to China - The New York Times Cultivating a recognizable star from basketball’s largest market outside the United States could open up new business opportunities for the W.N.B.A. as it continually seeks more exposure. (Alipay, an online payment platform based in China, was a notable sponsor at Thursday’s game.)

In China, a Podcast Inspired by ‘This American Life’ Gives Voice to the Real - The New York Times Taking inspiration from American programs like “This American Life” and WNYC’s “Snap Judgment,” Mr. Kou’s “Gushi FM” (Story FM in English) features stories told in the first person by ordinary Chinese of various backgrounds.

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

Environmental Inspectors Paint Damning Picture of Provincial Failings - Caixin The criticism came from four central government environmental supervisory groups that carried out follow-up inspections of problem areas found between 2017 and 2018. The teams, which visited 10 provinces in late 2018, released their findings for eight of the provinces this month, namely Anhui, Shandong, Sichuan, Hubei, Hunan, Shanxi, Guizhou and Shaanxi. All eight reports offer damning evidence that local governments failed to enforce environmental protection laws or take steps to rectify the issues.

Implementation plan for national ecological civilization pilot zone unveiled - Xinhua Jointly issued by the General Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council, the document vows to bring about a new pattern of harmonious coexistence of man and nature in China's modernization drive and write a chapter of Hainan for building a Beautiful China.

China Focus: New technology enables large-scale production of artemisinin for malaria - Xinhua The new technology puts the recovery of the solvents at 99.9 percent, while energy consumption per ton of artemisinin drops by 43 percent and the product purity rises to higher than 99 percent, said Wang Hui from the IPE.

Rural and Agricultural Issues

China's food security can be ensured: report - Xinhua According to the "China Agricultural Sector Development Report 2019" released by Mei, the agriculture-food system contributes about 23.3 percent of the country's gross domestic product and 36.07 percent of employment in China, acting as a "ballast stone" in the Chinese economy. The report analyzes the new situation and problems facing China's agricultural development and assesses the possible impact of agricultural policy adjustments and the outside world on the development of China's agricultural industry.