Hong Kong; China buys US soybeans; ASEAN meetings; Measures to boost Consumption

China made a US soybean order and both sides will continue working-level talks through August. So for the next month at least perhaps the current trade status quo will be stable.

To celebrate the PLA’s 92nd birthday the Hong Kong PLA garrison released a video showing soldiers practicing shooting protesters (The Washington Post):

The soldiers, dressed in combat gear and holding shields, march forward and fire warning shots to disperse a pretend crowd in the streets. Some of the soldiers are carrying red banners that read, “Stop charging, or we use force,” in English and Chinese. 

The foreign minister of Taiwan, Jaushieh Joseph Wu, wrote on Twitter that “Beijing is celebrating Armed Forces Day in a most uncivilized fashion.” 

The caption on the video says: “The PLA’s Hong Kong Garrison is an important embodiment of China’s national sovereignty, a vital force of safeguarding the ‘One Country, Two Systems,’ and a cornerstone in maintaining Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability. What we have been doing is preparing for war, training hard on enemy-killing skills, and keep our weapons ready and always ready to attack!” 

The message is clear, they are ready for urban operations if called upon. Let’s hope no one is stupid enough to think that would be a good idea.

Housekeeping note: I will be on summer vacation August 13-22 and so will not be publishing during that period unless something big happens. I hope many of you will be on vacation then as well.

Thanks for reading.


The Essential Eight

1. Hong Kong

White House Told Officials to Go Easy on China Over Hong Kong - WSJ $$

“It was made clear down the chain that we need to be measured on Hong Kong,” one administration official said, noting that the guidance came from “the top” over concern that fragile talks with China might be jeopardized by any outward show of support for the protests.

Yang Jiechi: China allows no external interference in HK affairs - CGTN

China urges the U.S. and other countries to immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs in any form, said Yang Jiechi, member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, in an interview with Xinhua News Agency. 

We strongly urge the U.S. and some other Western governments to abide by international law and basic norms of international relations, adhere to their commitment not to interfere in Hong Kong affairs, commented Yang.

The original Xinhua interview - 杨洁篪表示中国香港事务不容任何外来干涉

惩治暴力 恢复香港法治秩序刻不容缓

Long article by CCTV WeChat account 玉渊谭天 Yutuan Tan Tian denouncing the protesters for violence and chaos, the foreign media for bias against the police, foreign governments for intervening and leading the protests, and some Hong Kong traitors for colluding with external force. It said China will never allow Hong Kong to be separated from the country and the HK government should take actions to swiftly punish the criminals and restore order.

Hong Kong government warns employees to remain neutral or face consequences on eve of civil servant rally over extradition bill crisis | South China Morning Post

Statement warns of action against civil servants for service code violation as about 2,000 employees plan to join rally in Central on Friday

Police turn down applications for weekend marches in Mong Kok and Hong Kong Island West and allow assemblies instead

Hong Kong's retail sales fall 6.7 pct in June - Xinhua

A spokesperson for the SAR government said retail sales registered an enlarged decline in June as local consumer sentiment turned more cautious and growth in visitor arrivals moderated.

The spokesperson also said the near-term performance of retail sales will likely remain subdued, as the weakened global and local economic outlook and other headwinds continue to weigh on consumption sentiment.

PLA Garrison in Hong Kong SAR marks 92nd anniversary of PLA founding - Xinhua

Major General Chen Daoxiang, commander of the PLA Garrison Commander, said that since the PLA Garrison was stationed in Hong Kong 22 years ago, it has been firmly implementing the principle of "one country, two systems,"...

The series of violent incidents that happened in Hong Kong recently have severely damaged Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, severely challenged Hong Kong's rule of law and social order, seriously threatened the lives and properties of the Hong Kong people, and touched the bottom line of the principle of "one country, two systems," Chen said.

"This is absolutely intolerable and we strongly condemn these acts," he added.

Hong Kong gov't lawyers slam 'kowtowing' justice chief following decision to prosecute 44 protesters for rioting | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

A group of prosecutors have issued an open letter accusing the justice chief of putting politics above legal principles when prosecuting protesters.

The Law Society of Hong Kong - Statement By The Law Society Of Hong Kong On An Independent Inquiry Into The Recent Protests In Hong Kong

An urgent solution is required to address the concerns of society as a whole. The Law Society supports the commission of an independent inquiry ("the Inquiry") by a committee ("the Committee").

'A cop said I was famous': China accuses foreigners in Hong Kong of being 'agents' | The Guardian

Images showing foreign workers at the site of protests are being circulated, sometimes alongside speculative text questioning why they are there.

Some images have been circulated so widely that one foreign worker and long-term Hong Kong resident said he was now recognised in the street, including by police. “I now sometimes have to pose for CIA selfies with protesters,” he said, referring to a post which asked if he was a member of US intelligence.

遭留学生质问,新西兰“港独”飚英语假装不懂中文

Guancha.cn frames the clash between China and HK students in New Zealand as Chinese students are victims of online bullying for their rightful, patriotic challenge against a whining, pretentious HK separatist.

A day with Hong Kong’s protest medics - Inkstone

The first-aid volunteers, usually wearing reflective vests and white helmets with DIY red crosses taped on, can be spotted at almost every protest in the past two months, helping anyone injured.

Hong Kong ice hockey players assaulted by Shenzhen opponents at National Youth Games | South China Morning Post

Hong Kong leading 11-2 in the match before the ugly scenes break out, with video since going viral

On Hong Kong, the US must find its voice - Brookings - Ryan Hass and Susan A. Thornton

American interests will neither be protected by complacent disregard of events in Hong Kong nor by overzealous efforts to strip away recognition of Hong Kong’s special status, which would do more to harm the people of Hong Kong than to influence Beijing’s decisionmaking. Silence on Hong Kong or praise for President Xi Jinping’s handling of the protests will not make a U.S.-China trade deal easier to achieve. By the same token, demands or prescriptions of how the ongoing standoff between protesters and authorities should be resolved would be counterproductive. The United States should not narrow Hong Kong’s space to negotiate a way out of the current impasse.


2. US-China trade

China buys U.S. soybeans for first time since June - Reuters

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday confirmed private sales to China of 68,000 tonnes of soybeans for the 2019/20 marketing year, the first such purchase by a private buyer since the trade war between the world’s two largest economies broke out more than a year ago.

China, U.S. to intensify trade consultations in August: MOC - Xinhua

Chinese and U.S. negotiating teams will maintain close communication and intensify trade consultations at the work level in August to prepare for the meeting of chief trade negotiators from both sides in September, said the Ministry of Commerce Thursday.

Gao Feng, a spokesperson for the ministry, made the remarks at a news conference...

The U.S. side should show sufficient sincerity, properly resolve China's core concerns, and make joint efforts with China to seek solutions on the basis of equality and mutual respect, he said.

财新:商务部介绍此轮中美磋商重点:对过去怎么看,未来要怎么谈

China’s ministry of commerce said the trade talks in Shanghai mostly discussed two things: 1/ Why the trade talk broke down, and to clarify some viewpoints on trade; 2/ The principles and arrangements for future talks. It also clarifies that although the next round of minister-level formal won’t be held till September, the two countries will have “intensive discussions” in working level in the meantime.

至于下一轮经贸磋商的时间表为何?高峰表示,双方商定将于今年9月,在美国举行下一轮中美经贸高级别磋商。而在9月之前的这段时间,中美经贸团队将保持密切沟通。双方工作层将在8月间进行密集磋商,为9月份的牵头人见面做好准备。关于第12轮磋商的内容,高峰透露,双方就两个主题进行了交流。一是对过去怎么看,“主要是讨论磋商中断的原因,澄清对一些经贸问题的看法”。二是未来怎么办,主要是“明确下一步磋商的原则和方法”,以及相关时间安排。

陶然笔记:上海磋商,承前启后

Taoran Notes said the Shanghai talks achieved what is expected, which is not much: that the two sides have a face-to-face discussion about how to negotiate in the future. It said after the recent agri purchase, China is expecting the US to do more “to create favorable conditions” to facilitate more purchase.

【国际锐评】用平等和相互尊重把对话势头保持下去

CCTV commentary said China and US should sustain the good momentum at the Shanghai talks by taking concrete measures and respecting each other as equal partner.

让中美经贸合作正能量越来越多(钟声)

Zhongsheng on People’s Daily being optimistic after the talks in Shanghai. The commentary said the two sides had “honest, effective, constructive and though exchanges” and this suggests the two countries can create the right conditions to solve each other’s concerns as long as the they both work in joint efforts and engage in talks in a respectful and sincere manner.

环球时报:社评:中美建设性续谈,寻找走出僵局之路

Global Times editorial yesterday said the “favorable conditions” simply mean the US stops pressuring China to compromise on trade.

U.S.-China Investments Continue to Decline - WSJ $$

The value of foreign direct investment and venture-capital deals between the two countries fell to $13 billion during the first six months of the year, a decline of 18% compared with the previous six-month period, according to data released Thursday. Investment is down 49% from the first half of 2018.

The $13 billion figure marks the lowest value since 2014

Comment: I will guess the investment winter is just getting started…


3. ASEAN meetings

U.S. should meet China halfway to implement leaders' consensus: Chinese state councilor - Xinhua

Wang [Yi] made the remarks when meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers' meeting and other related meetings in Bangkok...

With regard to the South China Sea issue as well as issues related to Xinjiang and Hong Kong, Wang urged the U.S. side to respect China's core interests and major concerns, and be prudent in words and deeds.

Pompeo reverts to China criticism after meeting top diplomat - Reuters

“We are working with them on many fronts,” Pompeo said of Beijing. “But we are also very candid about the places we are hoping China will behave in ways that they are not behaving today and we talked about each of those as well.”..

Earlier, Wang had struck a more conciliatory tone, saying he and Pompeo had discussed ways to promote China-U.S. ties.

“There may be at various times issues and problems between China and the United States, but no matter how many problems, it is important for both sides to sit down and have face-to-face discussions,” Wang said after the meeting of roughly 30 minutes.

王毅会见蓬佩奥:试图阻挠中国发展既不公平,也做不到

People's Daily on the Wang-Pompeo meeting

S China Sea Code of Conduct text advances - China Daily

Speaking at a news conference in Bangkok, Thailand, Wang [Yi] said that in the past year, China and ASEAN members have been exploring ways to bolster rule-based governance of the South China Sea, and they advanced the consultations on the code of conduct. Wang spoke after attending the annual China-ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting on Wednesday in the Thai capital.

"We warmly welcomed the continued improving cooperation between ASEAN and China," said a joint communique issued after the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting, which took place ahead of the 10 member countries' gathering with China on Wednesday.

The ASEAN countries "were encouraged by the progress of the substantive negotiations toward the early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea within a mutually agreed timeline", the statement said.

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo Opening Remarks at U.S.-ASEAN Ministerial - United States Department of State

I was heartened to see ASEAN recently released its outlook on the Indo-Pacific, which also supports sovereignty, transparency, good governance, a rules-based order, among many other things.

Look, we don’t ever ask any Indo-Pacific nation to choose between countries. Our engagement in this region has not been and will not be a zero-sum exercise. Our interests simply naturally converge with yours to our mutual benefit.

Vietnam accuses China of serious violation of sovereignty at ASEAN meeting - VnExpress International

"The situation in the East Sea is complicated, with unilateral actions including militarization, increasing military exercises, especially the activities of Chinese oil survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 and its escorts, which are infringing upon the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf of Vietnam with illegal survey activities," Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh said at the 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand.

Minh stressed that those actions of China seriously violated Vietnam's sovereignty and jurisdiction under the 1982 United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)...

The 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Post Ministerial Conferences and Related Meetings are held in Bangkok from July 29 to August 3 with participations of representatives from more than 30 countries, including U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

China calls for proper management of maritime issues with Vietnam - Xinhua

Pham Binh Minh, for his part, said that since the beginning of this year, Vietnam-China relationship has seen development in every sector and high-level exchanges have been maintained between the two ruling parties and two countries and both sides strive for deepening the Vietnam-China comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

Vietnam is willing to join hands with China to implement the important consensus reached by leaders of both countries on maritime issues, so as to promote the healthy development of the bilateral relations, he said.

U.S. set to push security strategy as Chinese manoeuvres rattle region - Reuters

Vietnam’s call to rally the international community was a departure from its usual cautious responses to China, which seeks to settle rows bilaterally.

Vietnam also appears to have tacit support from Russia, whose state oil firm Rosneft, is operating an oil block within what China says is its historic jurisdiction.

Two days after a Chinese coastguard ship was tracked near the oil block on July 16, in what U.S. thinktank Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) called a “threatening manner”, the Vietnamese arm of Russia’s Sputnik state news agency said President Vladimir Putin sent a personal message of gratitude to Rosneft Vietnam for developing the block.

Philippines protests 'swarming' of more than 100 Chinese vessels | Al Jazeera

The Philippines has "fired off" a diplomatic protest against China, following reports that more than 100 Chinese fishing vessels were spotted in recent days about a Philippine-administered island in the South China Sea.

Revised high-school history books highlight territorial integrity - Global Times

For example, the new history textbooks for junior high-school students state that the Diaoyu Islands and South China Sea have been Chinese territory since ancient times, and China first discovered, named and operated those regions, Ye said. 

China began long-term jurisdiction over the Diaoyu Islands and their affiliated islands since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and those islands have been included in Chinese maps since then. Since the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-AD25), the ancient Chinese people sailed and discovered the South China Sea islands.

Also in Bangkok - Sec Pompeo Opening Remarks at the Lower Mekong Initiative Ministerial - United States Department of State

We see a spree of upstream dam building which concentrates control over downstream flows. The river has been at its lowest levels in a decade – a problem linked to China’s decision to shut off water upstream. China also has plans to blast and dredge riverbeds. China operates extra-territorial river patrols. And we see a push to craft new Beijing-directed rules to govern the river, thereby weakening the Mekong River Commission. In addition, criminal groups – some active in casinos and special economic zones – are using the Mekong as their major artery to traffic drugs, wildlife, and even human beings.

To confront these challenges and others, we must sustain our current partnerships, build new ones, and keep an eye on the future. Today, I am proud to announce new initiatives to help us do just that.


4. “How America Can Both Challenge and Coexist With China”

How America Can Both Challenge and Coexist With China - Foreign Affairs - By Kurt M. Campbell And Jake Sullivan

Campbell and Sullivan will likely have big roles in any future Democratic Administration

The rapid coalescence of a new consensus has left these essential questions about U.S.-Chinese competition unanswered. What, exactly, is the United States competing for? And what might a plausible desired outcome of this competition look like? A failure to connect competitive means to clear ends will allow U.S. policy to drift toward competition for competition’s sake and then fall into a dangerous cycle of confrontation...

Despite the many divides between the two countries, each will need to be prepared to live with the other as a major power. The starting point for the right U.S. approach must be humility about the capacity of decisions made in Washington to determine the direction of long-term developments in Beijing. Rather than relying on assumptions about China’s trajectory, American strategy should be durable whatever the future brings for the Chinese system. It should seek to achieve not a definitive end state akin to the Cold War’s ultimate conclusion but a steady state of clear-eyed coexistence on terms favorable to U.S. interests and values. ..

Such coexistence would involve elements of competition and cooperation, with the United States’ competitive efforts geared toward securing those favorable terms. This might mean considerable friction in the near term as U.S. policy moves beyond engagement—whereas in the past, the avoidance of friction, in the service of positive ties, was an objective unto itself. ..

The Cold War analogy at once exaggerates the existential threat posed by China and discounts the strengths Beijing brings to long-term competition with the United States.

Campbell co-authored the February 2018 Foreign Affairs piece - The China Reckoning: How Beijing Defied American Expectations

Read his new piece in its entirety here.


5. More measures to boost Consumption 

China sets to further boost consumption - Xinhua

Premier Li Keqiang stressed the need to stay adaptive to the trends in consumption upgrading, increase supply while fostering a more enabling business environment, and promote stable consumption growth. 

In the first half of this year, retail sales of consumer goods in China reached 19.5 trillion yuan (about 2.83 trillion U.S. dollars). Consumption contributed as much as 60.1 percent to the country's GDP growth and remains the most powerful growth engine. 

"Government departments should enhance guidance and policy support, work out more ways to spur business activities, and provide greater convenience to consumers," Li said.

China to unveil more measures to boost consumption, tourism - Xinhua

China will encourage the application of new technologies including big-data to prop up the development of customized consumption and other new business models, said a statement released after the meeting.

Localities will be encouraged to include community-based medicare, old-age care and housekeeping infrastructure into the renovation of old neighborhoods and provide financial and tax support for such programs.

Development of the e-commerce sector in rural areas should be further promoted, said the statement, calling for the improvement of cold chain logistics of agricultural produce.

To further boost cultural consumption and the tourism sector, the meeting called on local authorities to cut or exempt ticket prices of scenic areas, with nighttime catering, shopping and performances encouraged.

Meanwhile, market oversight will be enhanced with market entities and personnel violating the law facing tough punishment in a bid to protect the rights and interest of consumers.


6. Local debt problems

Auditors Flash Warning Light Over Local Governments’ Hidden Debts - Caixin

The auditors’ offices of the Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shandong and Henan provincial governments have raised concerns about a host of issues at lower-level governments regarding their off-balance-sheet debts. The problems include local governments pushing back the repayment dates for the debts they owe, miscalculating the size of such debts, and an insufficient ability to repay these debts...

Auditors next door in Shandong province said in a report last month (link in Chinese) that in the first half of this year, 441, or 44.2% of all 997 of the province’s LGFVs or state-owned enterprises that assume the function of LGFVs, reported zero revenue.

Several local government officials told Caixin that a large amount of hidden local government debt will be due within three years. In one province in central China, for example, nearly half of its hidden debts will come due by the end of 2021, an official said.


7. Content tightening ahead of 70th Anniversary

No surprise given what they have done before other big anniversaries, and likely explains the cancelled movie releases over the last few months. Will online games also be hit again?

China pushes propaganda TV shows ahead of its 70th birthday — Quartz

As part of the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the founding of of the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1, the National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) yesterday (July 31) issued a list of 86 TV dramas that it recommends broadcasters air as part of a “100-day display” event.

The shows on the list laud the achievements of the Chinese Communist Party, which established the republic in 1949 following the end of a years-long civil war where it defeated the Nationalist party. In addition to the list of celebratory TV shows, the regulator also issued guidelines on what broadcasters should not air in that time frame, including any historical period shows or idol dramas that are “relatively entertaining,”

The notice 广电总局:全力推进庆祝新中国成立70周年电视剧百日展播

通知要求全国各级电视台坚持讲政治、顾大局,切实增强媒体阵地意识,提早做好重点剧目的洽谈选购、编排定档,认真履行播前审查、重播重审职责,严把选剧关、内容关、播出关,展播期间不得播出娱乐性较强的古装剧、偶像剧,确保播出剧目与宣传期整体氛围相协调。

Watch out Peppa Pig: Chinese censors on cartoon alert ahead of 70th anniversary of People’s Republic | South China Morning Post

In a meeting with top censors last week, Nie Chenxi, deputy director of the Communist Party’s Propaganda Department and head of the National Radio and Television Administration, said they had to stay alert “every second” to make sure content in cartoons and documentaries supported the leadership of President Xi Jinping, state media reported on Wednesday.

“[Censors] have to stand on high political ground to vet every television episode, every documentary and every cartoon to make sure every word carries weight, every second [of the footage] carries a political message. They have to treat every day as a test,” state media quoted Nie as saying.

Government to Crack Down on Already-Online Video Games - Caixin 

On Thursday, Guo Yiqiang, the head of the publishing bureau of the Communist Party’s Publicity Department, said at the China Digital Entertainment Expo and Conference in Shanghai that the government will seek to strengthen supervision of video games that are already approved and online.

This would be a problem any time - 国家部委点名,“亲爱的”犯了大错

popular TV drama “亲爱的 Darling" is in trouble after the eagle-eyed Chinese netizens spotted that one of the Chinese maps showed in there did not include Taiwan, Hainan and Aksai Chin. The government criticized the mistake. The leading actor and actress all came out to say they love China and they are against the separatists.


8. CCTV launches National Defense and Military and Agricultural Channels

National defense, military TV channel starts broadcast - Xinhua

The National Defense and Military Channel of China Media Group (CMG), one of China's major broadcasters, started broadcast Thursday on the 92nd anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army.

The new channel will broadcast 26 programs from 6 a.m. to midnight every day, including news, documentaries, variety shows and sitcoms, according to the CMG.

The channel carries on the title of CCTV-7 which used to air programs about both the military and agriculture.

Programs on farmers, agriculture and rural affairs are moved to a new channel, CCTV-17, which also started a trial run Thursday.

With a brand-new logo and image, the new CCTV-7 will exclusively broadcast three military news programs and a new program covering life in the barracks.

CCTV-7国防军事频道节目官网

Official site for CCTV's Defense and Military Affairs, on CCTV-7


Business, Economy and Trade

Banks Told to Control Property Lending As Politburo Speaks - Caixin The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) instructed banks to control growth in mortgage loans to homebuyers and strengthen oversight of financing for highly leveraged large developers, noting that lending to property companies still accounts for an excessive proportion of overall credit. The central bank gave the orders at a meeting in Beijing on Monday that focused on the adjustment and optimization of banks’ credit structure, according to a statement posted on its website on Wednesday.

Qualcomm says it's getting hurt by Huawei - CNBC “The Huawei export ban, along with the pivot from 4G to 5G, which accelerated over the past couple of months, has contributed to industry conditions, particularly in China, that we expect will create headwinds in our next two fiscal quarters, ” Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm, said on Wednesday. “As a result of the export ban, Huawei shifted their emphasis to building market share in the domestic China market, where we do not see the corresponding benefits in product or licensing revenue.” // Question: How many tech firms had recent quarter China revenue goosed as China firms like Huawei and Hikvision accelerated purchases to stockpile in the event of bans?

张岸元:超越SWIFT要有新路径 Former NDRC official Zhang Anyuan wrote that it will be very difficult for China’s CIPS system to replace SWIFT as the new communication system for banks internationally. This comes after a US court holding three Chinese banks contempt for refusing to turnover clients’ information related to sanctions violations in trading with North Korea.

Trade minister offers olive branch to China amid global tension - Sydney Morning Herald Trade minister Simon Birmingham will offer Australia's support to China as it clashes with the United States over the World Trade Organisation, pitching Australia as a "creative and progressive player" in trade liberalisation. Mr Birmingham will tell a conference in Beijing on Friday the world faces "serious disagreements as to what comprises open and fair trade policy" and that escalating tensions and uncertainty were diminishing global growth."

Yicai Global - Han's Laser's USD159 Million Europe R&D Center Is a Room in Switzerland The European research center of Han's Laser Technology Industry Group, in which investment so far totals CNY670 million (USD97 million), is still nothing more than just a small room in a Swiss town, Yicai Global has discovered. China's leading laser equipment maker set out plans in 2011 to build the center at a cost of CNY50 million, later increasing the budget to CNY1.1 billion (USD159.4 million). Eight years later, it still has not opened and investors are demanding answers.

Everbright Securities Executive Resigns Amid Fallout From Blown British Deal - Caixin The downfalls of the senior executives have their roots in the company’s participation — through subsidiary Everbright Capital Investment Co. Ltd. — in the purchase of a 65% stake in London-based sports rights distributor MP & Silva Holding SA for 5.2 billion yuan ($754 million) in 2016.

Fourth C919 completes maiden flight at Pudong airport - SHINE News The fifth and sixth prototypes, the No.105 and No.106 C919s, will roll off the assembly line in Shanghai  later this year. This will be when the C919 enters the "intensive test stage," the COMAC said.

Vehicle testing ground put into use in Turpan, Xinjiang - Xinhua This vehicle testing field occupies an area of 23.35 million square meters, equivalent to the size of more than 3,200 football fields. It is funded by SAIC Volkswagen, aiming to test their products including petrol-based vehicles, new energy vehicles and automotive parts under extremely dry and hot conditions.

PBOC Increases Small Business Support Re-loan Quota by 50 Billion Yuan - China Banking News According to PBOC’s Financial Times the goal of the increase is to “improve the financing environment for micro and small businesses and private enterprise,” with “focused support for small and medium-sized banks to expand lending towards micro and small businesses and private enterprise, employing the role of targeted irrigation and guiding reductions in the cost of social financing.”

Politics and Law

Consistency demanded in CPC education campaign - Xinhua Chen Xi, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and deputy chief of the leading group of the campaign, stressed more supervision and guidance efforts at a meeting with representatives from the campaign's central instructing groups.

八、全面推进依法治国--理论-人民网 People's Daily has been running chapters from the recently published Outline of Xi Thought. This is the 8th installment. So far no Xi quotes at the top of People's Daily every day...

China launches inspection on food, drug safety - Xinhua Led by the office, five teams of officials from 13 central agencies, including the Supreme People's Court, Supreme People's Procuratorate and Ministry of Public Security, were dispatched to the provinces of Liaoning, Fujian, Henan, Hubei and Sichuan and wrapped up their inspection recently, a statement from the office said Wednesday. Although food and drug safety has improved notably in recent years, supervision and law enforcement in this regard lagged behind the public expectation, the statement said.

钱江晚报:信用黑名单,不能啥都往里装--观点--人民网 Interesting article on pushback to some social credit system pilots

Self-Proclaimed Shaolin Master Arrested as Gang Leader | Sixth Tone Authorities in central China’s Henan province have arrested a criminal gang led by a man who claims to have trained Shaolin monks, according to an official statement released Tuesday.

What Role Will Intellectuals Play in China’s Future? | ChinaFile - Sebastian Veg In this sense, the turn away from intellectual elitism and toward citizen knowledge may have more long-term effects than are apparent at the moment. It is true that the 1980s may seem relatively free in comparison with the current crackdown. However, they were also a time when intellectuals relied strongly on elite connections with the state, and when their interventions were still largely couched in the Marxist categories of Chinese academia. In the 1990s, intellectual production became intensely marketized, which entailed a return of factionalism, but not necessarily a culture of greater public exchange. It was only in the 2000s that minjian intellectuals questioned the monopoly of academia on knowledge production and sought ways to understand history, society, or citizenship, that were outside the boundaries of official academic inquiry. The impact of the current repression on China’s intellectual world is undeniable. However, we should not forget that under the surface of repression, deeper trends may be at work that continue to pluralize Chinese society

重庆警方要求成立调查组,彻查保时捷女子和丈夫 The Porsche driver in Chongqing who went viral in a video of her screaming at another driver has made a real mess...her husband is a cop, now Chongqing has set up a team to investigate

Foreign and Defense Affairs

]新华社长篇通讯:直挂云帆济沧海——2019年上半年中国元首外交纪实_CCTV CCTV evening news broadcasts the Xinhua long article praising Xi’s foreign visits and meeting with foreign leaders, and his “great vision, strategic thoughts as a politician and strategist”....expect lots of propaganda filler content over the next two weeks as Xi stays out of view in Beidaihe

New port will host sea-based space launches - China Daily The State-owned space conglomerate China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp is working with the eastern coastal province of Shandong to start construction of a port for sea-based space launches before the end of this year.

China Focus: Foreign scholars impressed by stability, prosperity in Xinjiang - Xinhua David Bromwich, president of the New Zealand China Friendship Society, said that it was necessary to take some measures such as what Xinjiang is doing right now to ensure the safety of the people. "I'm going to tell more New Zealanders about what I saw from the visit, a real Xinjiang that they need to know," he said.

US obsession with containment driving China and Russia closer - Global Times US dual containment of Russia and China is producing a predictable result: the China-Russian strategic cooperation. Weaning Moscow off its alignment with Beijing - is no longer an option: Russia is not interested. As they continue to compete, the major powers owe one huge responsibility to themselves and the rest of the world: They must make sure that their power games, heated and nerve-wrecking as they might become, do not lead to a real collision. The author is director of the Carnegie Moscow Center

Huang Qi deserves the world’s help - The Washington Post Editorial Unfortunately, Mr. Xi’s broad campaign to silence critical thought shows no sign of slowing down. Mr. Huang is just one of countless individuals who have been abused because of their dedication to human rights and refusal to buckle to the propaganda of the Chinese regime. Among those who have died in state custody or soon after their release: 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, Cao Shunli, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and, in July this year, Ji Sizun.

Sentencing of Huang Qi - United States Department of State The imprisonment of Huang Qi underscores China’s continued repression of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including free speech.  We urge the Chinese government to uphold its international commitments related to fair trial guarantees and the rule of law.  We call on China to immediately release Mr. Huang, and to allow him access to his family, medical care, and legal counsel as soon as possible.  We also call on China to end undue restrictions on the freedom of movement of his family and those who assisted him.

Hong Kong and Macao

Tink Labs set to shut down amid mass lay-offs | Financial Times $$ Tink Labs, which was founded in 2012, was one of Hong Kong's best funded start-ups. Investors include Foxconn subsidiary FIH Mobile; Cai Wensheng, chairman of popular Chinese selfie app Meitu; and Sinovation Ventures, an investment fund headed by former Google China chief Kaifu Lee. SoftBank’s mobile unit invested via a joint venture with Tink in Japan.

Taiwan

Mainland slams DPP authorities for undermining foundation of individual tourist scheme - Xinhua However, the DPP authorities kept advocating "Taiwan independence," producing hostility toward the mainland and provoking confrontation between the two sides of the Strait, Ma said. The people on both sides of the Strait hope that relations can get back on the right track of peaceful growth at an early date, so that mainland residents' travel to Taiwan can resume normal and healthy growth soon, he said.

Mystery Chinese warship crashes into Taiwanese cargo ship in Taiwan Strait | Taiwan News n a press release issued today by the Coast Guard Administration, Ocean Affairs Council, the Kinmen-Matsu-Penghu Branch reported that at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, the Yutai No. 1 was slammed into by a Chinese warship 19.5 miles southeast of Liaoluo Port in Kinmen, according to CNA. The Taiwanese ship sustained damage but none of its crew were injured, according to the report.

外交部:高度赞赏斐方根据一个中国原则处理涉台问题-新华网 China praises Fiji government for forcing Taiwan to change the name of “Trade Mission of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to the Republic of Fiji to “Taipei Trade Office in Fiji”, and confiscating its diplomatic car plates.

Tech and Media

Bytedance Pushes Into Search in Threat to Baidu's China Monopoly - Bloomberg "From 0 to 1, we are building a general search engine for a more ideal user experience," according to a company post on the WeChat messaging service.

Chinese researchers develop hybrid AI chip to 'stimulate AGI development' · TechNode While the researchers’ claim that the chip could lead to artificial general intelligence (AGI)—intellect that is typically at least on par with human-level cross-domain intelligence—is probably overblown, the processor does draw attention to China’s progress in developing chips designed to run AI algorithms.

Yicai Global - China's Video Game Revenue Surges 8.6% to Near USD16.7 Billion The growth rate was some 3.4 percentage points greater than the same period a year earlier, according to a report published today by the China Audio-video and Digital Publishing Association and IDC. Revenue from titles independently made in China was up 15.4 percent at CNY92.1 billion, it added, giving them a market share of 80.8 percent, up from 76 percent a year earlier.

Qualcomm May Fill China Gap Left by Sony, Nintendo - Bloomberg A press release announcing that it’s tying up with Tencent came a little out of left field. We’re talking about a U.S. chip designer and a Chinese games and social-media provider.

Takehito Soeda Shanghai-based regional Vice-Chairman of Sony Interactive Entertainment “You don’t see a lot of industry-wide gaming names in China,” concedes Takehito Soeda, Shanghai-based regional Vice-Chairman of Sony Interactive Entertainment Shanghai. “That’s an opportunity for us, and that’s why I’ve been interested in bringing the PlayStation 4 (PS4) to the Chinese market.

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

In China, Mental Health Care Goes Virtual - Scientific American Virtual reality is touted as having the potential to transform how doctors diagnose and treat a number of mental illnesses, and the front lines of this revolution may be forming in China. The country’s troubled psychiatric services are notoriously swamped, a situation signaling that its market is wide open for innovation—and that developers have an opportunity to leapfrog past traditional care models and make China an early adopter of VR psychiatry on a large scale.

Shandong Factory Paints Rocks Green To Fool Environment Bureau - SixthTone The environment bureau in the city of Xintai has shut down a stone processing plant owned by Changsheng Mining Industry Co. Ltd. after workers painted the surrounding area green, according to a report Wednesday by Sixth Tone’s sister publication, The Paper. Authorities have also suspended the people in charge of the plant and given them a one-month deadline to remove the green-colored rubble from the site.

Rural and Agricultural Issues

China's pig herd may shrink by 50% due to African swine fever: Rabobank - Reuters The bank said China’s herd, by far the world’s biggest, was already estimated to have shrunk by 40% from a year ago, well above official estimates which have ranged from 15% to 26%.