Hong Kong; Open letter from US China watchers; Billionaire child molester; Boss Yao Ming
We are in summer mode this week, no commentary up top again today, some in the body, and we are off Thursday for the US Independence Day holiday.
Thanks for reading
The Essential Eight
1. Hong Kong
Laws are to be abided by, and law-breakers must be punished. Only by safeguarding the authority of law and defending the dignity of law can we ensure the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, as well as the stability of the country.
Hong Kong is a pluralistic society. It is not strange that there are disagreements or major differences on some issues. However, if people become too politicized over various issues, and create confrontations, they will seriously hinder the economic and social development of Hong Kong.
Page 1 People's Daily commentary Wednesday on resolutely supporting the Hong Kong government in investigating and prosecuting those responsible for the attack on LegCo on July 1
But the Chinese army’s official newspaper waited until the day after violent protests rocked the city to report on the patrol exercises
Jeremy Hunt, Britain’s foreign secretary, said the Chinese needed to understand “the root causes of what happened, which is a deep-seated concern by people in Hong Kong that their basic freedoms are under attack and that the way to deal with this issue is to address those concerns”.
Although Britain’s Conservative government is focused on Brexit and the Conservative party leadership contest, UK ministers have lined up this week to defend the 1984 Joint Declaration which established the “one country, two systems” arrangement that guarantees Hong Kong a level of autonomy.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing had made “stern representations” to Britain over the comments, and accused Hunt of still harbouring a “colonial illusion”.
“We called on the British side, especially Hunt, to stop being overconfident and grossly interfering in Hong Kong affairs. This is doomed to fail,” Geng said.
Benjamin Wittes spoke with Alvin Cheung, an expert on Hong Kong's legal system based at New York University, and Sophia Yan, the China correspondent for The Telegraph in London who has been covering the Hong Kong protests (Lawfare Podcast listeners also know her for her musical prowess). They talked about where Hong Kong is now, what's really behind the demonstrations, where the anger is coming from, and where it's all going.
China is considering buying some U.S. agricultural products as a gesture of goodwill amid the resumption of trade talks between Beijing and Washington, though the volume is likely to be smaller than before, according to people familiar with the situation.
according to three U.S. officials, the department’s Iran czar, Brian Hook, and his team of negotiators have discussed granting China a waiver to a 2012 law intended to kneecap the Iranian oil industry. The alternative is allowing China, which recently welcomed a shipment of approximately a million barrels of Iranian oil, openly to defy U.S. sanctions...
The Trump team has kept the details of its deliberations closely held as news reports of the Chinese oil imports have proliferated in recent days — and hawks on Capitol Hill have begun to ask questions.
Chinese Tankers Keep Disappearing in the Persian Gulf
Preliminary figures released Tuesday by the Commerce Department shows new Chinese investment in the U.S. dropped to $1.8 billion in 2018, from nearly $15 billion the previous year. That coincided with Congress crafting tougher rules to screen foreign investment and Beijing cracking down on outbound flows
Shih, who had also been an adjunct professor of engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles, was convicted of conspiring to gain unauthorised access to a protected computer and violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, a federal law barring unauthorised exports, the Justice Department said on Tuesday.
Shih, a naturalised US citizen, was convicted of 18 counts on June 26 after being indicted by a federal grand jury.
“What’s happening with MD Anderson and Emory University is very concerning,” said Xiaoxing Xi, former chairman of the physics department at Temple University in Philadelphia. “It all started from the FBI gaining access to email accounts of Chinese scientists.”
Xi, who addressed a China Institute forum in New York on Thursday, was speaking from personal experience: four years ago, he was accused of stealing superconductor secrets for China.
3. Open letter from US China watchers
By M. Taylor Fravel , J. Stapleton Roy , Michael D. Swaine , Susan A. Thornton and Ezra Vogel, and just under 100 other signatories
We are members of the scholarly, foreign policy, military and business community, overwhelmingly from the United States, including many who have focused on Asia throughout our professional careers. We are deeply concerned about the growing deterioration in U.S. relations with China, which we believe does not serve American or global interests. Although we are very troubled by Beijing’s recent behavior, which requires a strong response, we also believe that many U.S. actions are contributing directly to the downward spiral in relations...
The letter list seven propositions. The first notes "China’s troubling behavior in recent years— including its turn toward greater domestic repression" but does not explicitly mention the Xinjiang camps that hold over 1 million people.
As I noted on Monday I am deeply skeptical of this claim:
Although its rapid economic and military growth has led Beijing toward a more assertive international role, many Chinese officials and other elites know that a moderate, pragmatic and genuinely cooperative approach with the West serves China’s interests. Washington’s adversarial stance toward Beijing weakens the influence of those voices in favor of assertive nationalists. With the right balance of competition and cooperation, U.S. actions can strengthen those Chinese leaders who want China to play a constructive role in world affairs.
Here is what I wrote one of the signatories yesterday about this issue:
I unfortunately and very reluctantly have come to the conclusion that:
1. Under Xi the Chinese side sees restraint as more evidence of US weakness and decline;
2. There is no one in a position of serious of influence in Beijing who could be considered "dovish" or in a position of enough influence to push changes based on a different US approach;
3. The non-adversarial approach does not have a great record over the last decade +, and if anything has emboldened the Chinese side;
4. This claim is something that is repeated so often out of Beijing that it strikes me as having elements of directed propaganda;
5. 吃硬不吃软 (open to coercion but not to persuasion" is a core operating principle of PRC society and political system, much to my frustration in my decade+ living there;
6. Xi and the Party are the ones fueling Chinese nationalism. The tension with the US has its utility in this area, but if were not the US it would be something else, like Japan (see 2012);
7. The US-China relationship going off the rails may be the one thing that could really weaken Xi and open up space for people who may "want China to play a constructive role in world affairs", so a tougher US line now may have at least as good a chance of a positive outcome;
8. There does need to be a correct balance of cooperation and competition, but the US does need to take a much tougher approach now to reset expectations and the relationship, as we have conditioned the PRC to getting away with few to no costs for what we see as bad behavior for far too long. See point 5, 吃硬不吃软.
I wish this were not where I have ended up but here we are.
Overall I am glad people are speaking up, we are at a critical moment in the US-China relationship. And of course who did not sign the letter is at least as interesting as who did…
You can read the whole letter here.
In a draft open letter to US President Donald Trump and Congress seen by Reuters Saturday, some 80 Asia specialists, including former veteran US diplomats and military officers, called Washington to rethink policies that "treat China as an enemy," warning the approach could put US interests and the global economy in jeopardy…
The US policy toward China has been heavily influenced by right-wing politicians and hawks who are pushing to decouple the US and China economically and technologically. However, with the pain brought by strained bilateral relations increasingly felt in the US, opposition is also rising to prevent politicians from leading bilateral relations into a dead end…
As Trump prepares for the 2020 presidential elections, it is suggested he take these different opinions over the US' China policy into account.
In an email to enforcement staff on Monday that was seen by Reuters, John Sonderman, Deputy Director of the Office of Export Enforcement, in the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), sought to clarify how agents should approach license requests by firms seeking approval to sell to Huawei.
All such applications should be considered on merit and flagged with language noting that “This party is on the Entity List. Evaluate the associated license review policy under part 744,” he wrote, citing regulations that include the Entity List and the “presumption of denial” licensing policy that is applied to blacklisted companies.
In an 80-minute discussion in a cavernous hall adorned by doric pillars and statues of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, Mr Ren touched on a wide range of topics..
“We are looking for alternatives [to US-made technology],” he said. “We are developing our own components and we have strong expertise in doing so, which will enable us to survive.”
He ticked off a list of areas most vulnerable to disruption from a rupture in the US supply chain and then detailed where he thought Huawei stood in terms of being able to replace or develop its own components, service and intellectual property to plug any gap.
Acting U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Jonathan Cohen accused China of suppressing and mistreating the Uighurs, according to several diplomats who attended the meeting and spoke on condition of anonymity.
In response, China’s U.N. Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu told diplomats the United States and Germany had no right to raise the issue in the Security Council as it was an internal matter for his country.
Three people who crossed the Xinjiang land border from Kyrgyzstan in the past year said that as part of a lengthy inspection, Chinese border officials had demanded that visitors unlock and hand over their handsets and computers. On Android devices, officers installed an app called Fengcai (pronounced “FUNG-tsai”), a name that evokes bees collecting pollen.
A copy of Fengcai was examined by journalists from The New York Times; the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung; the German broadcaster NDR; The Guardian; and Motherboard, the Vice Media technology site.
One of the journalists undertook the border crossing in recent months. Holders of Chinese passports, including members of the majority Han ethnic group, had their phones checked as well, the journalist said.
I applaud each incredible piece of reporting out of Xinjiang that raises awareness on the issue. Yet I am also especially concerned about the safety of individuals who were approached by some journalists who misrepresented themselves and whose identities can easily be tracked by authorities. (We’ll dive deep into the controversy surrounding a recent documentary filmed in Xinjiang in the Rock the Boat section.)
Some Uyghur activists, desperate to seek an end to the cruel plight of their entire population, dismissed concerns like mine as out-of-touch. Many of us Chinese journalists, mostly from the privileged Han majority, ask ourselves how we can better understand the atrocities inflicted on the Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in order to be both empathetic toward the suffering and be critical of Xinjiang stories involving questionable journalistic practice.
Comment: I highly recommend this free weekly newsletter, "a community celebrating the work of Chinese non-fiction creators and amplifying their voices." You can sign up here.
Among these Party members in Xinjiang, 523,300 are women, 622,500 are from ethnic minority groups and 887,300 hold college degrees or above, according to data released by the Xinjiang Daily on Monday.
6. Billionaire investigated for child molesting
According to Xinmin Evening News, Shanghai’s local publication supervised by the Communist Party, last Saturday, two girls — one 9 years old and one 12 years old— were brought to a hotel in Shanghai from East China’s Jiangsu province by a woman surnamed Zhou, who was friends with the girls’ parents. Zhou told the parents she was taking the girls to the Shanghai Disney Resort.
Wang allegedly molested the 9-year-old girl and paid Zhou 10,000 yuan cash ($1,452), Xinmin reported. The girl then called her mother on the phone, crying. The mother rushed to Shanghai to report the incident to the police. A medical examination showed the girl had suffered injuries to her genitals, Xinmin reported.
Shares of Future Land Development Holdings Limited, a Shanghai-based property developer, plunged by the most since their 2012 listing in Hong Kong after the company’s founder and chairman Wang Zhenhua was detained by Chinese police over a child molestation charge.
Multiple initial reports were censored, prompting a backlash:
Guangming Daily said Wang should be punish severely if the accusation is true.
Wang’s net worth, the bulk of which comes from his stakes in Future Land and Xinchengyue, dropped by $1.4 billion on Wednesday to $5.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The alleged child rapist chairman's firm has over 200B RMB in debts?
More coverage is needed of child molesters in China-Why Was an Alleged Child Molester Put in Charge of a Rural School? - Caixin
On May 24, at a county-level court in East China’s Jiangxi province, a teacher in his late 60s named Jiang Conglai was accused of molesting 15 female students under the age of 14. He faced two trials that day — one moral, one legal...
This wasn’t the first time Jiang has been accused of sexual assault. In July 1997, he was relieved from his post as general director of the Meilin middle school in Wuyuan county for molesting female students. After that, he was hired as a teacher at a primary school in the same county until his retirement in October 2011...
Caixin visits to multiple teaching points in Wuyuan county found that many of the teachers are only qualified as substitute teachers, a cost-saving measure, despite the fact that this practice was banned by the central government in 2005.
The publicity department of Suizhong county, Liaoning, announced on Tuesday that the principal of Shuikou village elementary school surnamed Wang was arrested for allegedly raping and sexually abusing female students at the school and another principal surnamed Huang from Gaotai town central elementary school was dismissed for failing to report Wang's case to the authorities, The Beijing News reported.
7. Boss Yao Ming
"I'm old," Yao Ming explains, "so I drink hot water."...
Imagine if the responsibilities of NBA commissioner Adam Silver and USA Basketball CEO Jim Tooley fell upon one person ... in a country of 1.4 billion people ... where no one is immune to the government's heavy hand. Says Yao, the first non-Communistparty member to hold his position: "People may think I'm the Adam Silver here, but I'm really not. I have to report to my superior officer."..
Roughly half of Yao's hours are spent in another building, on the opposite side of Beijing, chairing the privatized CBA, the country's professional league. The rest of his time is spent in this office as president of the state-run basketball federation..
"If 10 years from now we still use Yao Ming to represent China, it's a failure on my job. We need a new star to rise up. Then I can sit behind desk. This is my goal."..
There's nothing wrong with cooperation," says Silver. "[Yao and I] agree there would be nothing greater than if, one day, the champion of the CBA played the NBA champion [in] a globally meaningful game. We're far away from that, but it's nice to have a long-term goal."
If only the NBA could lead the way for US-China engagement and a better relationship.
8. Beijing Bikini Ban
Not actually banned in Beijing as far as I know, that move could lead to significant social instability in the sweltering capital…But if it were, summer in the Jing would just not be the same…
On Tuesday, the eastern city of Jinan became the latest in China to target the so-called Beijing bikini with the release of a new guideline against “uncivilized behavior.” Issued by the local government’s Civility Department, the guideline takes aim specifically at bang ye, a Chinese term for the “topless old men” who can regularly be seen baring their midriffs in public.
A spokesperson for the Jinan Civility Department told domestic newspaper Beijing Youth Daily that those sporting the Beijing bikini are “uncivilized” and are tarnishing the city’s image. Anyone caught exposing their belly will be given a verbal warning — or named and shamed, in the event of repeat offenders.
Business, Economy and Trade
Services Sector Posts Weakest Expansion in Four Months: Caixin Survey - Caixin Global The Caixin China General Services Business Activity Index, which provides a snapshot of operating conditions in the country’s services sector, fell to 52 in June from 52.7 the previous month, the lowest reading since February...
More stimulus on way for economy - China Daily China will continue facilitating foreign investment and trade while stimulating consumption amid a complicated and slowing global economy, the Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday.
More Yuan Bonds Sold Outside China Than in Any Quarter Since '14 - Bloomberg The second quarter saw selling of 80.8 billion yuan ($11.8 billion) of the bills, primarily in Hong Kong, where they’re known as dim sum bonds. The People’s Bank of China issued 50 billion yuan in the city in May and June, while Chinese and foreign companies sold much of the rest. The surge preceded a record 36 billion yuan of sovereign and corporate debt maturing offshore in July.
Yicai Global - BRICS Bank Taps Tsinghua University's David Li as DG and First Chief Economist Prof. Li, who was a member of the monetary policy committee at China's central bank for two years until March 2012, will play a major part in the NDB's research and analysis of economic, financial, infrastructure and development issues
Conglomerate Sanpower Runs Into More Trouble Repaying Its Debts - Caixin Debt-ridden conglomerate Sanpower Group Co. Ltd., which had purchased British department store chain House of Fraser, couldn’t come up with the money this week to meet investor demands to repay a bond early.
Revised demographic forecasts for China: key takeaways - Economist Intelligence Unit 1. Peak population will come earlier than we previously expected; 2. Relaxation of birth policy has had a positive but limited impact; 3. By 2030 China's old-age dependency ratio will have risen to nearly 30%; 4. By 2030 China's working-age population will have fallen by 70m; 5. Reverse migration is taking place; 6. Some city clusters will prosper, others will not
China's Ban on U.S. Pork Imports Isn't About Politics - Bloomberg The fundamental reason comes down to ractopamine, a feed additive that helps pigs bulk up with more lean meat in the final weeks before they’re sent for slaughter. It’s fed to between 60% and 80% of American pigs but is banned by China, Russia, and the European Union, citing concerns over its effect on human health.
People's Daily Asks if Facebook's Libra Will Open a Pandora's Box - China Banking News The People’s Daily opinion piece by Li Zheng (李拯) entitled “Facebook’s Libra – Will it Change the World or Open a Pandora’s Box?” (脸书的Libra：改变世界或打开魔盒) highlights the technical advantages afforded by the new cryptocurrency that Facebook has outlined in a recent white paper.
Politics and Law
越学越有紧迫感（声音） Bayinchaolu, the party boss of Jilin who rose up as a Youth League cadre but worked under Xi in Zhejiang, wrote on page 5 of People’s Daily about how he and other senior officials in Jilin enjoyed the recent campaign to study Xi Jinping thought.
Xi Focus: Self-reform: most distinctive character of world's largest ruling Party - Xinhua "The CPC is a very dynamic organization," said Martin Jacques, a China expert and senior fellow at Cambridge University. Martin Jacques noted that the CPC has been very successful at reinventing itself to move with the times, which is quite difficult for big parties like the CPC.
Foreign and Defense Affairs
It is wrong to demonise Chinese labour practices in Africa | Financial Times $$ Led by the School of Oriental and African Studies, researchers compared Chinese and non-Chinese manufacturing and construction companies in Angola and Ethiopia, two of the top African destinations for Chinese direct investment.// Chinese firms and employment dynamics in Africa: research findings | SOAS University of London
Zdeněk Hřib: the Czech mayor who defied China | The Guardian By refusing to expel a Taiwanese diplomat, the Prague mayor has joined the ranks of local politicians confronting contentious national policies
Indonesia asks China for special fund under Belt and Road: ministers - Reuters Indonesia has asked China to set up a special fund within its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for investment in Southeast Asia’s largest economy, after offering China projects worth $91 billion, government officials said on Wednesday.
Chinese vice president to address World Peace Forum - Xinhua July 8 and 9 at Tsinghua University in Beijing…Organized by Tsinghua University [and Yan Xuetong] in partnership with the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs, the forum is a high-level non-governmental seminar focusing on international security topics.
Top political advisor calls on religious organization to promote world peace - Xinhua Wang [Yang]…made the remarks at a session of the China Committee on Religion and Peace (CCRP). Wang stressed the CCRP's role in introducing China's religious policies to the international community.
China, Bulgaria lift ties to strategic partnership - Xinhua Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Bulgarian President Rumen Radev here Wednesday, and they decided to lift state-to-state ties to a strategic partnership
中华人民共和国和保加利亚共和国关于建立战略伙伴关系的联合声明 — 中华人民共和国外交部 China “upgrades” its relationship with Bulgaria to “strategic partnership”. Interesting that in the statement China said it “supports Chinese companies in participating in the Varna port and other projects based on commercial principles.”
Will Hunter Biden Jeopardize His Father’s Campaign? | The New Yorker When I asked him about it, he told me that he had been given the diamond by the Chinese energy tycoon Ye Jianming, who was trying to make connections in Washington among prominent Democrats and Republicans, and whom he had met in the middle of the divorce. Hunter told me that two associates accompanied him to his first meeting with Ye, in Miami, and that they surprised him by giving Ye a magnum of rare vintage Scotch worth thousands of dollars... Hunter offered to use his contacts to help identify investment opportunities for Ye’s company, CEFC China Energy, in liquefied-natural-gas projects in the United States. After the dinner, Ye sent a 2.8-carat diamond to Hunter’s hotel room with a card thanking him for their meeting.
Pentagon: S. China Sea Missile Test Violated Xi Militarization Pledge "Of course the Pentagon was aware of the Chinese missile launch from the man-made structures in the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands," Lt. Col. Dave Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman, told the Washington Free Beacon. "What's truly disturbing about this act is that it's in direct contradiction to President Xi's statement in the Rose Garden in 2015 when he pledged to the U.S., the Asia-Pacific region, and the world, that he would not militarize those man-made outposts,"
Ursula von der Leyen nominated to lead European Commission – but will she be tougher on China? | South China Morning Post in Chinese diplomatic circles there was scepticism about her potential ascent, pointing to her interview with the German newspaper Die Zeit in January. In the interview, she said China “kindly ensnares” Europe, meaning that “we often overlook how consistently it pursues its goals – and how cleverly”.
Ursula von der Leyen: "Die Bundeswehr ist nie allein unterwegs" | ZEIT ONLINE The interview, for those who can read German
Video Surveillance and Cybersecurity (Part Two): Chinese cyber espionage is a real threat Chinese surveillance giant Hikvision has sold thousands of security cameras in South Africa and soon Joburg’s suburbs will see an unprecedented increase of Hikvision’s presence…Unlike the US, however, South Africa’s State Security Agency – with its own shady past – has enjoyed a close relationship with China’s security forces. Daily Maverick delved into the details of the US ban and discovered chilling implications for South Africans.
Retired Taiwanese generals can lose pension over China activities | Taiwan News Retired generals can lose their pension if they take part in political activities in China, according to rules approved by the Legislative Yuan Wednesday (July 3). The appearance of 32 retired military officers from Taiwan at a Sun Yat-sen memorial event in China in November 2016 and their singing the communist country’s national anthem caused outrage on the island, setting the wheels in motion to adopt a tougher approach. // Question: Why was this ever allowed?
Tech and Media
Smart home product firm left personal data for 1 million users unsecured · TechNode The database, which is owned by Shenzhen-based smart home product maker Orvibo, includes an excess of 2 billion logs including user names, email addresses, and passwords to precise geolocations, according to a report by the cybersecurity research firm vpnMentor.
Briefing: Tencent forms new department for Nintendo Switch partnership · TechNode The two openings are for a business analyst, responsible for analytics and insights, and a web front-end developer.
Energy, Environment, Science and Health
Kazakhstan to divert some oil flows from Europe to China - Reuters Kazakhstan plans to increase oil exports to China to 6-7 million tonnes a year from just 1 million tonnes at the expense of shipments to Europe, starting from the second half of 2020, Deputy Energy Minister Aset Magauov told Reuters.
三峡集团辟谣“大坝变形”：谷歌卫星图会有偏差|卫星图|谷歌|算法_新浪新闻 Three Gorges Corp refutes rumors that the Three Gorges Dam has changed shape, blames Google Maps Satellite imagery
Scientists discover highest energy cosmic gamma rays in Tibet - Xinhua A joint research team made up of Chinese and Japanese scientists has discovered the highest energy cosmic gamma rays ever observed from an observatory in Tibet, opening a new window to explore the extreme universe.
Jobs and Events
教育部会同公安部约谈有关搜索引擎网站 规范整治“志愿填报指导”信息服务 - 中华人民共和国教育部政府门户网站 The ministry of education and ministry of public security met with Baidu executives and told the company to take down scam information about college entrance exams from its search engine.
Rural and Agricultural Issues
Prevention and control of African swine fever urged - Gov.cn The State Council has issued a circular urging efforts to prevent and control African swine fever on multiple fronts. Related departments must put more emphasis on epidemic prevention on pig farms, especially at breeding farms and large-scale pig farms, and encourage farm owners to monitor on their own to detect and deal with hidden infections in a timely manner, the circular said. //The circular-国务院办公厅印发《关于加强非洲猪瘟防控工作的意见》--时政--人民网