Hong Kong professor fired; Reports Legco election to be delayed; Attacks on US official Miles Yu as a “traitor to China 汉奸”
|Bill Bishop||Jul 28, 2020|| 7||1|
No commentary today, some comments in the items below.
Today’s Essential Eight:
Xi’s speech to the AIIB
Hong Kong professor fired, reports Legco election to be delayed
China looms large in Australia-US talks
Attacks on US official Miles Yu as a “traitor to China 汉奸”
Are all aspects of the PRC state gearing up against HSBC?
Thanks for reading.
The Essential Eight
1. Xi’s speech to the AIIB
President Xi made four suggestions for AIIB to grow into a new platform that promotes development for all its members and facilitates the building of a community with a shared future for mankind:
--Let us aim at development for all and make the AIIB a new type of multilateral development bank that promotes development across the world.
--Let us keep breaking new ground and make the AIIB a new type of development platform progressing with the times.
--Let us strive for excellence and make the AIIB a new type of high-performance institution for international cooperation.
--Let us stay open and inclusive and make the AIIB a new paradigm of multilateral cooperation...
According to Finance Minister Liu Kun, AIIB's 103rd member was accepted during the annual meeting.
"Facts prove that it is not only China's choice but also the consensus of the international community to advocate and practice multilateralism," Liu told reporters after the meeting
Jin Liqun, the bank’s incumbent president, was re-elected as the bank’s president and will start a second five-year term in January. He was the only nominee announced in May...
The bank set up a coronavirus relief project to help its members to cope with the pandemic and announced in April it would double the funding to US$10 billion until October next year.
So far it has approved US$5.9 billion for 12 members for crisis emergency funding. Among those, it has pledged US$1.25 billion – co-financed with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank – to India, two US$500 million loans to Turkish development banks to tackle capital shortages and US$1 billion to Indonesia to counter the pandemic.
Video of Xi's speech
By the end of the first half of this year, China had bought about 23% of the total purchase target of more than $170 billion for goods in 2020, according to Bloomberg calculations based on Chinese Customs Administration data. That has quickened on a month-over-month basis from May’s 19% marker, but it means China needs to buy about $130 billion in the remainder of the year to comply with the agreement signed in January.
Comment: But they really need to buy it by election day in early November
On July 28, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi shared his view on China-US relations with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian during a telephone conversation.
Wang said that the current China-US relationship has become a source of concern for many in the international community. The fundamental reason for this is that a certain political faction in the US, driven by the need to lift campaign prospects and maintain unipolar hegemony, are going all out to negate the history of China-US relations, suppress China on every front, provoke China on its core interests, attack the social system chosen by the Chinese people, and vilify the ruling party with inseparable links to the Chinese people. They have forsaken the most basic sense of propriety in interactions between countries and breached the very bottom line of international norms. Such behavior is stark power politics that can be captured by one word: hegemony...
China and the United States should engage in rational communication. We will never allow a few anti-China elements to overturn decades of successful exchanges and cooperation between China and the United States, nor will we allow ideological prejudice to undermine the future development of China-US relations. The US reckless provocation of confrontation and division is so out of touch with the reality that the interests of China and the United States are deeply integrated and so out of sync with the common aspirations of people of all countries. We, bearing in mind the common interests of the Chinese and American people and the people of the world, stand ready to strive to maintain the stability of China-US relations through equal communication and exchanges with the US side.
Wang’s comments - 王毅：面对蛮横无理的美国，中国将作出坚定而理性的回应
In recent weeks, however, there have been signs of a debate stirring in hard line circles in Beijing as to whether China has overreached. "Wolf warrior" diplomacy, the term used to describe the more aggressive posture taken by Chinese diplomats to push back against foreign criticism, seems to have taken a back seat for the moment. The wolf warriors in the Foreign Ministry sparked an intense backlash in many countries after China began to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis. For the moment, they seem to be keeping their heads down.
Another straw in the wind was an article by Dai Xu, a PLA general and one of China's most prominent hawks. In a recent article, titled "Four Unexpected Things and Ten New Understandings About the United States," Dai advocates China taking stock of its relative weaknesses compared to the U.S. and behaving accordingly.
Comment: I am not sure how much the wolf warrior diplomacy has taken a back seat, but it is worth noting that the PRC reaction to the closure of the Houston consulate and Pompeo's speech have been relatively restrained. On the propaganda front we have not seen the multiple, DPRK-like denunciations on the CCTV Evening News that we have seen in previous recent moments of intensified US-China tensions. The newsletter discussed this seeming restraint from the Chinese side last week
From the July 20 newsletter:
One phrase Wang Yi used in particular stood out - 中方不会被美国少数反华势力带节奏. He said that China will not allow a small number of anti-China forces set the the tone for the US-China relationship, in what seems like a signal that China will continue to show restraint and take (忍) much of what the US is dishing out. Are Beijing’s hopes for a new policy in January 2021 realistic, and are they starting to try to send a message to Team Biden?
Xi and his team may also not be quite sure how to respond, and so it is not the restraint will continue but rather they are waiting to formulate a response? I do not know, assume we will find out either way soon enough, perhaps after the vacation at Beidaihe ends in mid-August.
DAI Xu and QIAO Liang, two hawkish Chinese generals have both recently published articles on the Sino-US conflict, both agreeing on the same key opinion: based on the current balance of power, China is by no means a match for the US. Their showing of the white feather is somewhat a reflection of the thinking at the decision-making level. Under the current international situation, the crazy wolf warrior mentality will merely bring China endless disasters. The only way out for China is peace, not war…
Citing sources, Ming Pao reported that in October, China will have massive commemoration activities for the Korean War. The Chinese People’s Revolution Military Museum in Beijing will have a special exhibit, and the museum in Dandong will reopen as well. In addition, CCTV is producing a six-episode documentary about the war.
Comment: And we have the issuance of commemorative medals announced earlier this month (see the July 6 Sinocism) So while we may be seeing some near-term restraint the longer-term anti-US nationalist trends only seem to be intensifying
Kishore Mahbubani, a distinguished fellow from the Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore, agreed. “China’s biggest strategic error was to alienate its number one friendly constituency in the United States, which was the American business community,” he said during the conference.
Comment: And if they are harassing US execs in China they are still moving in the opposite direction of undoing that alienation
According to a chart from the think tank, the P-8A came within 76.5km (47.5 miles) of Shanghai, the closest any US planes have come to mainland China in recent years, while the other plane came within 106km of Fujian’s southern coast...
It was the 12th day in a row that US military planes have approached the mainland coast.
On Monday the institute tweeted that “it seems” a US air force RC-135W – another reconnaissance plane – had entered Taiwan’s airspace and asked if anyone could confirm it. The Taiwanese defence ministry declined to comment on the claims.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a blistering speech about China on Thursday. The problem was not simply that the nation’s chief diplomat was decidedly undiplomatic. Worse was his misrepresentation of history and his failure to suggest a coherent or viable path forward for managing a relationship that more than any other will define this era.
Tuesday People's Daily praises Haass' oped - 美国学者批评蓬佩奥涉华政策演讲
Shenzhen TV: US Secretary of State Pompeo tweeted that the South China Sea is not China's maritime empire, and that Beijing violates international law. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: Recently Pompeo has talked a lot about the South China Sea to smear and attack China. One cannot help but wonder: are some US politicians trying to stir up troubles in the South China Sea?..
The fact is, the country that is militarizing and stoking tensions in the South China Sea is the US, not China. According to media reports, in the first half of this year, US military aircraft carried out over 2,000 missions in the South China Sea. Since July 15, US military aircraft have conducted close range reconnaissance in the South China Sea for 12 consecutive days. Recently the US also sent two aircraft carriers to these waters while calling on its allies and partners to send warships and join it in making waves in the South China Sea. This is bad news for regional peace and stability and doesn't serve the interests of littoral countries in the region. The US must unmask its hidden agenda.
The US has been fabricating pretexts and spreading lies about its egregious decision. In a matter of just a few days, the US has churned out different versions of the story. Lies, however, will always be lies even if they are repeated a thousand times. The different versions of the story concocted by the US side have no factual base and mix black with white. In sum, the US has failed to present even one single piece of solid evidence. It is important that we list US false allegations vis-à-vis the facts. The purpose is to debunk the falsehoods and let people know the truths...
9. False: Diplomats working in Chinese Consulate-General in Houston are Chinese spies. Chinese spies are stirring up trouble all over the world.
True: Meddling in other countries' internal affairs is never in the DNA of China's diplomacy. Chinese diplomats, who are working vigorously to advance China's friendly exchanges and practical cooperation with other countries, have never engaged in activities incompatible with their status.
Zhongsheng of People’s Daily on Monday lashed out at the “hypocrite” US Senate for its recent report “China and Digital Authoritarianism”. The article said it is the United States who is doing massive surveillance on its people and other countries. “The purpose of such a fabricated, low-quality report is to mislead the public. It further shows the US’ ulterior motive of politicizing digital technology and containing China’s technology development.”
Here is the offending report published by the Democrat minority in the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations - “The New Big Brother: China and Digital Authoritarianism”
3. Hong Kong professor fired, reports Legco election to be delayed
The university’s senate, which is comprised largely of academic staff, found earlier this month that Mr. Tai’s conduct did not warrant his removal. The council rejected that recommendation, a move that Mr. Tai’s supporters called politically motivated.
“Arthur Li has completed his political mission, and Benny Tai has become a martyr to civil disobedience,” said Joseph Chan, a political science professor at the university. “The University of Hong Kong has sacrificed its reputation and it will not be able to hold its head high in the international academic community. This day will become a major stain in the history of the University of Hong Kong that cannot be washed away.”
Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Benny Tai is to be fired for misconduct by the University of Hong Kong (HKU), where he is currently serving as an associate law professor.
The HKU Council voted 18 to 2 on Tuesday in favour of removing the Umbrella Movement leader from the law faculty...
Responding to the decision, Tai told journalists that it was not made by the university, but by “an authority beyond the University through its agents.”
Liaison Office statement on Tai's firing, says it is the correct move to "purify the school's education environment 教学环境的净化", says he "seriously sharpened the contradictions in Hong Kong society and poisoned Hong Kong's political environment 严重激化了香港社会矛盾，毒化了香港政治环境"
The Hong Kong Economic Times and Citizen News reported that Chief Executive Carrie Lam is set to hold a special meeting with the Executive Council on Tuesday and may announce that the race will be postponed.
On Saturday, former Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang suggested that the election could be delayed for at least a year. He said that, during the coronavirus outbreak, it would be difficult to fully implement anti-epidemic measures and maintain social distancing.
Question: Does Beijing believe that by delaying by a year it pushes another potential flash point with the US?
Demanding answers about their position on the national security law for Hong Kong from candidates, and reviewing their candidacy are not "political review," but the legitimate procedure under the guidelines on election-related activities, legal experts said. Speculation that a growing number of pan-democracy candidates would be disqualified in the 2020 Legislative Council (LegCo) is nothing but a "deliberate misinterpretation" of the law and groundless accusation of central and local governments' interference in the election, they added.
Some pro-independency camp candidates, including former secretary-general of the secessionist group Demosistō Joshua Wong Chi-fung, received letters from electoral officers demanding a response to critical questions such as whether they support "Hong Kong independence," media reported.
British foreign minister Dominic Raab told top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi that Britain would be watching Hong Kong Legislative Council elections in September closely and stressed that China needed to rebuild trust in the global community.
Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung on Monday said China had agreed to send personnel across the border to help erect a makeshift hospital adjacent to the airport at AsiaWorld-Expo. The facility, which can provide up to 2,000 beds, will be similar to the “Fangcang Hospital,” which was rapidly constructed to handle Covid-19 patients at the epicentre – Wuhan, China.
4. COVID-19 cases
The 53-year-old Beijing patient had dined with an asymptomatic carrier who had previously been in the Liaoning province port city of Dalian, where 44 cases have been reported since last week, the capital’s health commission reported (link in Chinese). The pair met in Jinzhou, another Liaoning city.
Cases linked to the Dalian outbreak, which is thought to originate with a seafood importer, have been detected in cities in five provincial-level regions, including the southern province of Fujian and as far north as Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces, said Zhao Lian, deputy director of Beijing’s health authority, on Tuesday.
China is seeing its greatest daily new Covid-19 figures in months, recording 68 confirmed cases on Tuesday, of which 57 were in the far western region of Xinjiang and six were in Liaoning, according to the National Health Commission (link in Chinese). Beijing reported two coronavirus cases on Tuesday, one of which was imported from overseas.
More than 2.96 million samples for nucleic acid tests of COVID-19 had been collected by Monday in the city of Dalian after new cases began to emerge last week, local authorities said on Tuesday.
A total of 8,107 medics have been mobilized to collect samples at more than 2,000 sites across the city in northeast China's Liaoning Province, according to Zhao Lian, deputy director of the city's health commission.
Other cities in Dalian’s province of Liaoning, along with cities in Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces in the northeast and Fujian in the southeast, have between them discovered at least eight asymptomatic cases traced back to Dalian, mainland Chinese media reported.
The city's COVID-19 prevention and control authorities said on Tuesday they had ordered all districts and counties to be prepared like in wartime, and to defend local communities with "the most decisive measures."
The capital city of Fujian Province on Saturday reported one asymptomatic case -- a 43-year-old man who arrived from Dalian in northeast China's Liaoning Province.
The Tiantongyuan area in Northern Beijing has raised its alert level after a new COV19 case is confirmed there. So far more than 600 people in the same building has been tested.
“South Korea is the first country China has decided to resume visa issuance with since it imposed a travel ban for COVID-19,” said Ambassador Jang. “This will help fix the problems for South Koreans who could not go back to China for school and work.” According to an estimate from Korean communities in China, there are more than 50,000 South Koreans who have yet to go back to China among workers, students, or those with a valid resident visa.
Director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Gao Fu said he had been injected with an experimental COVID-19 vaccine candidate, media reported Tuesday.
Gao, 59, revealed the news at a forum jointly held by Alibaba Health and Cell Press on Sunday. He said the move was intended to enhance the public's confidence in vaccines amid spreading sentiment against immunizations, which has led to conspiracy theories and attacks on scientists.
state healthcare system paid the medical bills for 135 thousands COV19 confirmed and suspected patients, totaling 1.2 billion RMB
5. China looms large in Australia-US talks
Australia says it has “no intention of injuring” its relationship with China following two days of talks with US officials aimed at hardening its stance against Beijing.
The comments from Marise Payne, Australia’s foreign minister, underlined the uphill task faced by the Trump administration as it seeks to cajole and coerce a coalition of allies to take a harder line on China.
While Linda Reynolds, Australia’s defence minister, vowed to deepen defence co-operation with the US, she also stopped short of committing to more aggressive so-called freedom of navigation exercises closer to disputed islands built by China in the South China Sea
The US has previously sought Australian support for its freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea within 12 nautical miles of Chinese territorial claims that are inconsistent with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
However, Australia has been reluctant to do so, fearing retribution from Beijing.
The United States and Australia expressed deep concern about the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government’s efforts to undermine the “One Country, Two Systems” framework and to erode Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms in violation of its obligations under the Sino-British Joint Declaration...
The United States and Australia expressed deep concern over the PRC’s campaign of repression of Uyghurs and members of other minority groups in Xinjiang, including mass detentions, forced labor, pervasive surveillance, restrictions on freedom of religion, and reports of forced abortions and involuntary birth control.
The Secretaries and Ministers re-affirmed Taiwan’s important role in the Indo-Pacific region as well as their intent to maintain strong unofficial ties with Taiwan and to support Taiwan’s membership in international organizations where statehood is not a prerequisite. Where statehood is a prerequisite for membership, both sides support Taiwan’s meaningful participation as an observer or guest. The United States and Australia highlighted that recent events only strengthened their resolve to support Taiwan. They reiterated that any resolution of cross-Strait differences should be peaceful and according to the will of the people on both sides, without resorting to threats or coercion..
The Secretaries and Ministers expressed serious concerns over recent coercive and destabilizing actions across the Indo-Pacific. In line with the 2016 decision of the Arbitral Tribunal, they affirmed that Beijing’s maritime claims are not valid under international law. Specifically, they affirmed that the PRC cannot assert maritime claims in the South China Sea based on the “nine-dash line,” “historic rights,” or entire South China Sea island groups, which are incompatible with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)...
Following this year’s cooperative naval activity between HMAS Parramatta and the USS America Expeditionary Strike Group in the South China Sea, the principals committed to pursue increased and regularized maritime cooperation in the region, as well as the Indian Ocean, bilaterally and in concert with other likeminded and regional partners.
Secretary Michael R. Pompeo At a Press Availability with Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, and Australian Defence Minister Linda Reynolds - United States Department of State
Our two great democracies face immediate crises like the COVID-19 pandemic and longer-term challenges like the Chinese Communist Party’s ambitions. We need to deal with each of these challenges simultaneously...
We started this morning by talking at length about the Chinese Communist Party’s malign activity in the Indo-Pacific region, and indeed all around the world.
The United States commends the Morrison government for standing up for democratic values and the rule of law, despite intense, continued, coercive pressure from the Chinese Communist Party to bow to Beijing’s wishes.
It is unacceptable for Beijing to use exports or student fees as a cudgel against Australia. We stand with our Australian friends.
We also discussed the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States commends Australia for publicly condemning China’s disinformation campaign and insisting on an independent review into this virus’s origin.
I also want to applaud your efforts to include Taiwan in the World Health Assembly, so that the world might benefit from that vigorous democracy’s wisdom in dealing with the outbreak...
We also addressed the CCP’s attempts to dominate the technology space. We, in fact, spent a great deal of time on this issue. Australia was ahead of us in awakening to the threat of untrusted vendors like Huawei and ZTE. We look forward to nations becoming “Clean Countries” together.
And finally, we’ll keep working with our Australian partners to reassert the rule of law in the South China Sea, which the United States and Australia have both underscored in recent, important statements. I’ll let Secretary Esper address more about our military cooperation both there and elsewhere.
6. Attacks on US official Miles Yu as “traitor to China 汉奸”
Bill Bishop @niubiThe attacks on state department advisors miles yu/yu maochun/余茂春 for being a “traitor to China 汉奸” I believe kicked off by hu xijin are disgraceful and deeply worrying, if sadly unsurpsing.
Hu Xijin appears to have kicked off the attacks on Miles Yu. Here is a video he made last week, now on Youtube -美国制定的恶毒对华政策，据说很多是出自这名华裔 - YouTube
According to US media reports, a Chinese scholar has played an important role in the US's vicious China policy. This person went to study in the United States from mainland China in 1985 and is now Pompeo's chief China policy and planning consultant. He is also touted by some Americans as a "national treasure" of the United States, and he "has an encyclopedic knowledge" of China. Is it true? Old Hu exposed this person today.
This “unfortunate” lesson from Acheson, on Yu’s telling, is that the United States must signal unambiguously that China’s aggression in the Asia-Pacific today will not be tolerated. This leads to his second conclusion: conflict is all but inevitable.
Question: Just a coincidence that Alex Lo attacks Miles Yu just days after Hu Xijin does?
Yu Maochun, known as Miles Yu in the US, has reportedly played an important role in Washington's new cold war against China. Born in Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality in 1962, he experienced the Cultural Revolution(1966-76). In 1979, he enrolled in Nankai University in Tianjin. In 1983, he went to study in the US and later obtained his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. Before joining the US State Department's Office of Policy Planning, he taught at the US Naval Academy...
Pompeo's remarks instigated greater hostility toward the US in China, adding resistance to a new round of China's reform and opening-up. The huge costs of this new cold war are also being imposed on American society. It is misleading and not in the US' own interests to allow people like Yu to dominate the formulation of US' China policy.
The author is a senior research fellow at the Charhar Institute and an adjunct fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China
Bao Pu, Bao Tong's son, tweeted this video that apparently Yu Maochun's name being chiseled of the stone commemorating the top scorers on the Gaokao from his school in Chongqing
A video from Bytedance's Douyin attacking him:
On Yu the "traitor" from Eric X. Li's Guancha.cn- 丢川人之脸，汉奸余茂春_风闻社区
People like Yu Maochun think that they have become American citizens and their allegiance has long since changed from China to the United States. As the "national treasure" of the United States, Yu Maochun's research and viewpoints are all aimed at helping the United States suppress and defeat China. Although he has already become an American citizen, it does not conflict with the positioning of a traitor. He was born in China, completed university in China, and then became a citizen of the United States. He is a traitor who does things that harm the interests of the Chinese country, the Chinese nation and the Chinese people. .
Prof Yu's bio for his regular job, when he is not detailed to the US State Department
7. Are all aspects of the PRC state gearing up against HSBC?
Huawei Technologies, the giant Chinese telecom equipment maker at the centre of the growing China-US technology rivalry, is considering all possible options against HSBC for allegedly presenting “misleading evidence” that resulted in the arrest of its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, in Canada, according to people familiar with the matter.
While internal discussions are still in their preliminary stage, Shenzhen-based Huawei, which Washington has labelled a threat to US national security, has decided to “explore all evidence and remedies against HSBC”, one source briefed on the discussions told the South China Morning Post. The source declined to be identified, as the discussions were confidential…
While it remains unknown whether the new arguments from Huawei could help set Meng free – the final ruling in the extradition case is likely to come no earlier than April – the latest information from Huawei has quickly translated into a widespread attack on HSBC by mainland publications, including People’s Daily, which alleged that HSBC had colluded with the US to frame Huawei.
Comment: CCP propaganda organs are lining up to attack HSBC in a remarkable display of support for a private firm
CGTN host Liu Xin interviews an informant on the details of HSBC and Huawei meeting, where the person said HSBC made the invitation to Meng Wanzhou, contrary to former released information that Huawei initiated it. All aspects of the Party-State are being mobilized against HSBC, and to help Huawei. What is the desired result, that HSBC come out and publicly declare that it worked with the US government to entrap Meng, so Canada will throw out the extradition request and let her go back to China?
"The role of HSBC in the Meng Wanzhou incident is already clear. HSBC's credibility has also been wiped out," said the commentary here posted on the site backed by the State Council Information Office and the China International Publishing Group.
“In the U.S. government’s political pursuit of Huawei, HSBC was the one who ‘handed the knife’,” it said in a column written under the byline Tang Hua, and signed by three editors.
The article - 【中国网评】恶意做局构陷华为的汇丰已经信誉扫地_观点中国_中国网
Last year, the bank launched a public-relations campaign targeted at the elite in Beijing. The plan envisaged everything from social media ads localized within 500 meters of government buildings to a relationship-building tour among the editors of mainland newspapers by a senior executive. More recently, along with endorsing China’s crackdown in Hong Kong, the bank has begun holding daily meetings to monitor how it’s portrayed in the local media, according to one person familiar with the matter.
Japan's ruling party will urge the government to restrict the use of Chinese-developed apps like TikTok and better protect sensitive information, aiming to ensure that the country can keep working closely with the U.S. on security matters.
Members of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party met with experts Tuesday to start discussing new recommendations that could be proposed as early as August.
The United States is expected to ask Japan and other allied nations to join it in banning Chinese technology and apps such as TikTok, on the grounds that they can be used to provide data to Beijing – a move one analyst has described as “weaponised public diplomacy” with an ulterior political motive.
The Yomiuri newspaper quoted a senior US government official as saying Washington is deeply concerned about China utilising technology to obtain sensitive information, and wants other countries to follow its lead on refusing to permit Huawei to take part in the development of its 5G communications systems. It is also making plans beyond the telecoms giant – which has been excluded from Japan’s domestic 5G network at the urging of the government.
And there is this today:
Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today led Senators Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Rick Scott (R-Florida) and Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) in sending a letter to Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray, and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf expressing concern over the Chinese social-media service TikTok. Specifically, the Senators write that TikTok could enable the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to engage in influence operations against the United States, including operations designed to interfere with our elections
The letter is here in PDF
The departure of Ma Wei-Ying—a U.S.-trained computer scientist who worked for Microsoft’s China-based research team before he joined ByteDance in 2017—comes at a sensitive time for ByteDance...
Ma, who is based in Beijing, plans to assume a new post at China’s Tsinghua University to continue his research, the person said.
The below speech by Kelly (Nan) Zhang, original head of Douyin (domestic China TikTok) and as of March 2020, the CEO of ByteDance’s China business, took place in late February of 2018 as part of the offline expert sharing curriculum of popular professional development company Hundun University (not to be confused with Jack Ma’s Hupan University). Kelly joined ByteDance in 2014 after the photo-sharing startup she co-founded was acquired.
Picking up from where we left off last time, Kelly had explained that after much research and user testing, the team decided to go with the following four “keywords” for Douyin: full screen HD display format, music, special effects filters, and algorithmic recommendations. Then, after the initial product, named A.me, didn’t take off, they also decided on a new, more descriptive name - Douyin, meaning vibrato.
Instagram has made lucrative offers to some of TikTok’s most popular creators to use the new service, Reels, according to people familiar with the matter. Facebook is planning to unveil Reels next month. The potential payments for some would be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, some of the people said.
Business, Economy and Trade
Brussels needs to ‘work hand in hand’ with China to recover from pandemic, EU trade official says | South China Morning Post The European Union needs to “work hand in hand” with China as a matter of necessity given the economic havoc wreaked by the coronavirus pandemic, said a top EU official in charge of Tuesday’s trade talks with Beijing. Chaired by Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He, the meeting comes as Brussels is hoping to clinch a landmark investment deal with China this year, though progress has been slow.
Beijing court sentences counterfeit merchant - Xinhua A court in Beijing sentenced a merchant to pay one million yuan (about 143,000 U.S. dollars) in damages to JD.com, a Chinese e-commerce giant, for selling counterfeit cosmetics online, the court said on Monday. This was the first case of its kind handled by a Beijing court, according to the court in the Daxing District in the Chinese capital.
The battle for China's community group buying market · TechNode Pinduoduo started to experiment with community group buying in September 2018, when it invested in Chongmalinlituan—a platform for collective purchases such as these—for an undisclosed amount. The e-commerce giant then launched its own community group buying platform Kuaituantuan in March, selling groceries and daily necessities. The service currently covers more than 10,000 apartment compounds around China.
China’s newest equity market gets off to a stumbling start | Financial Times $$ Two-thirds of the 32 stocks listed on the so-called New Third Board Select, a Beijing-based trading venue for small firms, fell on Monday. That came as a blow to many investors, who have grown used to shares surging on their first day of trading — apparently regardless of fundamentals.
PBOC Warns Commercial Banks over Joint Consumer Loans Made via Ant Group Platforms – China Banking News The Notice requires that all banks provide data on their consumer loan balances for financing provided via the Ant Credit Pay (蚂蚁花呗) and Ant Cash Now (蚂蚁借呗) platforms, alongside non-performing ratios, average rates of return and credit overdrafts. One source for the banking sector said that the the Chinese central bank is mounting the investigation due to reports that the non-performing ratio for jointly provided online loans has been especially high during the COVID-19 pandemic.
China Development Bank First Half Lending Hits 1.87 Trillion Yuan – China Banking News CDB’s domestic renminbi loan balance rose by 682.4 billion yuan, including 29.5 billion yuan in pandemic-prevention emergency loans, and 438.5 billion yuan in loans used to support the resumption of production.
Overseas Investors Get More Offshore Tools to Hedge China Market Risks - Caixin Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd. (HKEx) on Monday listed its first A-share leveraged and inverse products tracking the CSI 300 Index, a benchmark index comprising the 300 largest and most liquid A-share stocks
In Depth: Three Years After Record-Breaking Syngenta Acquisition, ChemChina Struggling Under Debt Mountain - Caixin Syngenta AG, as the world’s third-largest seed supplier and top pesticides-maker, brought its rich store of seed and agrochemical patents to state-owned ChemChina. Now, with both companies deep in debt, there are concerns the lion’s share of the debt accrued in the acquisition could wind up back on Syngenta’s shoulders.
Opinion: China Shouldn’t Take Global Payment Network SWIFT for Granted Amid Potential U.S. Sanctions - Caixin China should also strengthen comprehensive cooperation with the EU as it has authority over SWIFT. Such a union can serve as a key check on American unilateralism. It is necessary for China to work with the EU to prevent the U.S. from doing more damage to the multilateral order.
China Launches 100 Billion Yuan Bond Bailout Fund for State Firms - Caixin The new fund, established by China Reform Holdings Corp. Ltd. and 31 other centrally controlled SOEs, has so far raised 10 billion yuan from these enterprises, China’s top SOE watchdog said in a statement Thursday. The fund was designed to supply emergency funding to centrally controlled SOEs short on cash so they can avoid defaults.
Supply Chains Latest: Three Ways the U.S.-China Do Battle at WTO. - Bloomberg what are the U.S. and China looking for in a WTO leader? In June U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer established a three-part test for his ideal candidate: The person should understand the need for “fundamental” reform, recognize China has run afoul of the WTO and possess not a “whiff” of anti-Americanism in their background. As for China, it’s much less clear what kind of a candidate Beijing prefers, and that’s by design.
Politics and Law
Senior CPC official stresses modernization of grassroots-level governance - Xinhua Guo Shengkun, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks at a meeting on political and legal work in the new era. Guo, who heads the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee, noted that the achievements China has made in epidemic prevention and control demonstrate the obvious advantages of the CPC leadership and the socialist system with Chinese characteristics. // 中央政法委：强化四个理念，加快推进基层社会治理现代化-中国长安网
Shandong Farmer in Suicide Bid After Harassment Over Resettlement Plan - RFA A resident of the eastern Chinese province of Shandong who was being pressured by the authorities to join a controversial resettlement plan was sent to hospital after attempting suicide by drinking pesticide at the weekend, RFA has learned.
Is China rich enough to claim a ‘well-off society’? One ex-official says grand economic goal can wait | South China Morning Post this week’s comments by He Keng, former deputy director of the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress, run contrary to the Communist Party line. And his words, now censored online in mainland China, bring to light a lack of consensus in the country about the biggest self-imposed performance goal set by the Chinese leadership – one that was to see the nation double its gross domestic product from 2010 to this year, while realising other improvements in terms of governance and the environment.
Trending in China: Domestic Violence Victim Left Paralyzed After Flight Attempt Makes Second Try at Divorce - Caixin In August 2019, a woman in Henan surnamed Liu jumped from a second-story window to allegedly escape domestic violence, becoming paralyzed in the act but still stuck in her relationship after a local court denied her divorce petition. Now she is trying for a second time to leave her husband. The case has drawn the attention of media and millions of people seeking to pressure the court to grant the divorce this time.
调查“遭当庭举报索贿”检察官，维护的是司法威严-中新网 李书耀是前段时间广受舆论关注的包头王永明涉黑案的第二公诉人。在该案7月11日的庭审过程中，辩护律师向法庭举报包头市稀土高新区检察院检委会委员、本案公诉人李书耀涉嫌向被告人家属索贿30万元，并以此作为理由申请李书耀回避。A Baotou, Inner Mongolia prosecutor now under investigation after a defendant's lawyer accused him in court of asking for a 300k RMB bribe from the defendant's family
Senior provincial official questioned on abuse of power for publishing 'nonsense' book - Global Times The announcement came after photos of the book written by He Dian, a deputy director of the Department of Public Security of Jilin Province, went viral on Tuesday. An excerpt of the book includes the phrases "safe eyes, safe ears, safe nose, safe tongue, safe body and safe ideas," and in other chapters, the word "safe" is followed by names of locations or ages. For example, "safe 28 years old, safe 29 years old, safe 30 years old…" The book has drawn floods of mockery and criticism on Sina Weibo, with many asking if it is "really a book or just simple phrase-making homework of a pupil."
Vice premier stresses development of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region - Xinhua Han called for efforts to boost the construction of major projects, including the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei inter-city railway, while maintaining regular COVID-19 prevention and control measures. Research should be done to further clarify main policies in relieving Beijing of functions non-essential to its role as China's capital. Efforts should be made to extend high-quality educational and medical resources from Beijing and Tianjin to Hebei, narrowing the gap of public services, he said. // [视频]韩正主持召开京津冀协同发展领导小组会议_CCTV
Translation: Lu Yuyu’s “Incorrect Memory,” Part 3 | China Digital Times (CDT) In 2016, citizen journalist Lu Yuyu and his girlfriend at the time Li Tingyu were formally arrested after having been detained for over a month. The two had been chronicling “mass incidents” across China on the “Not News” (非新聞) blog and @wickedonnaa Twitter account since 2013. Reporters Without Borders awarded the detained Lu and Li a Press Freedom Prize in 2016. While Li was reportedly tried in secret and released in April 2017, Lu was sentenced to four years in prison that August for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” a catch-all charge frequently used to prosecute activists. Lu was released from prison last month, and on July 17 began sharing his account of his detention and treatment on Twitter. CDT has translated the third part below. See also CDT’s translation of Part 1 and Part 2.
不懈淬炼勇于担当的政治品格（深入学习贯彻习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想） 臧安民 《 人民日报 》（ 2020年07月28日 第 09 版） 习近平总书记日前在吉林考察时指出：“要严格把好选人用人政治关、廉洁关、能力关，加强对敢担当、善作为干部的激励保护”。干部敢于担当作为，既是政治品格，也是从政本分。党的十八大以来，习近平总书记把忠诚干净担当作为好干部标准，强调“能否敢于负责、勇于担当，最能看出一个干部的党性和作风”。党员干部要深入理解把握习近平总书记关于勇于担当系列重要论述的重大意义和科学内涵，不懈淬炼勇于担当的政治品格，在统筹推进“五位一体”总体布局、协调推进“四个全面”战略布局，贯彻落实新发展理念，打赢三大攻坚战，扎实做好“六稳”工作、全面落实“六保”任务中，勇于担当负责、积极主动作为，直面风险挑战、保持斗争精神，以坚韧不拔的意志和无私无畏的勇气战胜前进道路上的一切艰难险阻。// Zang Anmin. secretary general of the central organization department, in the Tuesday People’s Daily on how to temper good cadres
Foreign and Defense Affairs
China accuses NZ of 'gross interference' in its internal affairs over Hong Kong move - NZ Herald China has accused New Zealand of "gross interference in China's internal affairs" after NZ's decision to suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong. Ambassador Wu Xi said China had lodged its grave concerns about the move, announced today by Foreign Minister Winston Peters. Peters said that since China had passed new national security legislation for Hong Kong, New Zealand could no longer trust that Hong Kong's criminal justice system was independent from China.
UC Davis researcher who fled to Chinese consulate to remain in jail | The Sacramento Bee Juan Tang, 37, is charged with fraud and misuse of visas over answers she gave U.S. authorities to enter the country late last year to begin work as a cancer researcher at UC Davis.
Senior Tory says Chinese hackers ran email impersonation campaign to discredit him after criticism of Beijing Tom Tugendhat, chair of the foreign affairs select committee, said professional contacts received bizarre fake press releases, while friends and family were sent untrue claims about his private life. He told Times Radio many of the emails were “pretty pathetic really”, but were designed to be “problematic” and only began after he started speaking out against China.
China’s Muslim Uighurs Are Stuck in U.S. Immigration Limbo - WSJ Lawyers say the holdup is most acute in USCIS’s center in Arlington, Va., near where the majority of Uighurs in the U.S. have settled. Rights groups put the number of Uighurs in the country at less than 8,000. Many Uighurs whose applications have been held up came to the U.S. to study or for work or holiday, then filed for asylum as Chinese authorities tightened control in Xinjiang and it became clear that having international ties was cause enough to get locked up.
Chile picks Japan's trans-Pacific cable route in snub to China - Nikkei Asian Review Chile has chosen a route proposed by Japan for the first fiber-optic cable to directly connect South America and the Asia-Pacific, designating Australia and New Zealand as endpoints while stopping short of landing in China, Nikkei has learned. Japan's route beat out a pitch by China that would have made Shanghai the final landing point. This decision comes amid a U.S. pressure campaign to keep China out of global telecommunication projects.
Hong Kong security law: China hits back in extradition row - BBC News China has said Hong Kong will suspend extradition treaties with Britain, Canada and Australia, after they took similar steps over the territory's controversial new security law.
Beijing ‘agents of influence’ operating in Tasmania - The Australian The Australian makes no allegation about any individual. There have been ongoing questions about pro-Beijing statements by some prominent Tasmanian-Chinese. Most recently, The Weekend Australian revealed businessman Stephen Tsung, who runs a “One Belt, One Road” consultancy from Hobart, had attacked critics of China’s conduct in Hong Kong as “hypocrites”.
Decoupling Kabuki: Japan’s Effort to Reset, Not End Its Relationship with China | Center for Strategic and International Studies The effort to encourage Japanese firms to move projects from China may be viewed as the first act in a longer decoupling drama, but that interpretation would miss the real story that is unfolding. Instead of cutting off ties, Tokyo’s goal is to diversify supply chains, make them more resilient, and be less dependent on China while also encouraging greater manufacturing at home to address a slowing economy.
China promises a vaccine to Latin America - Latin America Risk Report China’s promise is a loan, not a grant or an offer for free vaccines. Most of the developing world is increasingly aware that China’s loans come with significant strings attached, even if they are different than the human rights and economic policy demands of US and IMF assistance.
Huawei, Jesus College and Me – Perspectives My own engagement with this issue began at Jesus College, Cambridge, where I studied history. A year or so ago, I was miffed to find on the college’s website a glittering description of China under the CCP that, were it instead about the United States under its recent leaders, would leave many a college academic flustered. The more I learnt about the college’s China Centre the more concerned I became. Its funding was entirely opaque. The director of the Centre had been meeting with Party officials implicated in human rights abuses. He was on the board of one of China’s largest Party-controlled banks. He had in the past written that China required “harsh measures of social control in order to maintain political order.”
Make China the Explicit Priority in the Next NDS | Center for a New American Security There will be many small and even some large differences between how a second Trump term or a first Biden term will approach defense strategy, given both ideological fault lines and structural shifts such as COVID-19. However, both parties are well positioned to pursue a new NDS that will continue to put a focus on China first. One major adjustment should be considered. The previous NDS determined that the “central challenge to U.S. prosperity and security is the reemergence of long-term, strategic competition” and concluded that “long-term strategic competitions with China and Russia are the principal priorities for the Department” (emphasis added).5 While both powers are indeed revisionist and pose considerable risk to U.S. interests, the magnitude of the challenge posed by a China with the world’s second-largest economy far exceeds that of Russia.
US’ decision on relaxing MTCR control exemplifies its unilateralism: FM - Global Times The US government's decision to relax the MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime) control list on exporting Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) that travel under 800 kilometers per hour, regardless of the concerns from other member states, is a reflection of the country's unilateralism, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry said Tuesday...This policy change means that UAS with speeds under 800 kilometers per hour will no longer be subject to the "strong presumption of denial" of the MTCR, allowing the US to increase foreign sales of military drones such as the MQ-9 Reaper and the RQ-4 Global Hawk, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Friday. // Comment: of course about arms sales, but is China really upset because this allows US UAS manufacturers to compete more effectively with PRC drone makers?
FSI | Cyber | Internet Observatory - New White Paper on China's Full-Spectrum Information Operations - Telling China’s Story: The Chinese Communist Party’s Campaign to Shape Global Narratives The white paper, in collaboration with the Hoover Institution, dives into China’s capabilities and raises an important question: how do states with full-spectrum propaganda capabilities put them to use in modern-day information operations? We examine 3 case studies: Hong Kong's 2019-2020 protests; Taiwan’s 2020 election; and COVID-19. // The paper
Can the U.S. Shake Its Image Problem? Rating World Leaders: 2020 - Gallup 32% approval rating of China, on par with the U.S.
Russian communist party advocates strengthening Moscow-Beijing ties - Xinhua Russia and China should continue to strengthen their relations in defiance of Western attempts to sow discord between them, Russian communist leader Gennady Zyuganov said Monday. Zyuganov, chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Russia, made the remarks in a statement after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for the creation of a "new alliance" to counter China last week.
Thread by @jamestwotree: This CSIS brief on "decoupling" US interests from Huawei and its effect on the Taiwan economy, makes a number of one-sided assertions about… This CSIS brief on "decoupling" US interests from Huawei and its effect on the Taiwan economy, makes a number of one-sided assertions about the nature of PRC-Taiwan economic ties and of Taiwan's economy. A thread: 1/n
Taiwanese envoy to US meets with State Department official to discuss bilateral ties | Taiwan News aiwan’s envoy to the U.S. Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) has met with David Stilwell, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP), just a few days after she assumed the role to discuss issues that are of interest to both countries.
Tech and Media
Tencent Offers $2.1 Billion for Chinese Search Giant Sogou - Bloomberg Tencent is offering $9 in cash for each American depositary share it doesn’t already hold in Sogou, backed by fellow internet giant Sohu. That’s a 57% premium to the target company’s Friday close. Sogou said in a statement it was considering the takeover offer, though Tencent already owns about 39.2% of Sogou but controls a majority of voting power.
Tencent steals Facebook’s social media crown with rally that adds US$207 billion to market value this year | South China Morning Post The Chinese online games and WeChat giant soared 4.5 per cent to HK$543.50, taking its market capitalisation to just under HK$5.2 trillion (US$670 billion), compared to the American rival’s market value of US$657.8 billion.
Apple begins assembling iPhone 11 in India | TechCrunch The local production of current iPhone 11 models illustrates Apple’s further commitment to India, the world’s second largest smartphone market, as it explores ways to cut its reliance on China, which produces the vast majority of iPhone models today. Apple’s contract manufacturing partner, Taiwan-based Wistron, first began assembling older iPhone models in 2017. But until now, Apple has not been able to have an assembly partner produce the current generation iPhone model in India.
Intel's 7nm is Broken, Company Announces Delay Until 2022, 2023 | Tom's Hardware For perspective, rival foundry TSMC plans to be on the 3nm node in the same time frame as Intel's new schedule for 7nm.
Chinese Tech in Africa: What Happened to OPay & What Will Happen to Huawei? by The China Africa Project Abubakar Idris, a Lagos-based journalist at the Nigerian tech news website TechCabal, has been following the dramatic events at OPay. He joins Eric & Cobus to share the backstory of what happened at one of Africa's once most-promising tech start-ups and also discusses his view on what's next for Huawei in Africa after the company was effectively banned from two of Europe's largest markets due to intense U.S. pressure.
Energy, Environment, Science and Health
China’s Era of Mega-Dams Is Ending as Solar and Wind Power Rise - Bloomberg China’s hydro industry is down-shifting toward smaller projects and pumped storage. Engineers have run out of the easiest locations to power massive sets of turbines and the falling cost of rival energy sources such as solar mean it isn’t worth moving on to more challenging locations.
Howey Ou, China’s version of Greta Thunberg, pays price for climate activism | South China Morning Post They’re both 17, and she looks to the Swede for inspiration, but in China Ou has had run-ins with the authorities and been barred from her school
Series Sheds Light on China’s Dodgy Internet Addiction Schools - SixthTone Yang Yongxin and his infamous school for treating internet addiction have been incorporated into the new online series “CrossFire” as a reminder of the Chinese esports community’s traumatic history.
China’s Yellow River may be the clearest it’s been in 500 years, scientists say | South China Morning Post A section of the Yellow River in Haidong, Qinghai province. The river may be the clearest it has been in centuries. Photo: Xinhua The muddy Yellow River flowing through China – the country’s second longest after the Yangtze – could today be the clearest it has been in 500 years, according to a new study. The river, known as Huang He in Chinese, is named for the colour of its water that is caused by sediment, which can reach up to 34kg per cubic metre of water – 34 times the ratio in Africa’s Nile. Spanning 5,464km (3,395 miles), the Yellow River starts high up in Qinghai province in the northwest and flows into the Bohai Sea in eastern Shandong. Its fertile plains made it the cradle of ancient Chinese civilisation, but sediment is deposited in such vast amounts that the riverbed is elevated, resulting in severe floods over the years that have claimed many lives. ADVERTISING This sediment content in the river was the subject of a study carried out over a period of more than a decade by an international team of scientists. Led by geographer An Zhisheng, from the Institute of Earth Environment at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Xian, the team sought to reconstruct how the Yellow River had changed – going back to 1492.
China Focus: Beijing reserves vast tracts of land for sustainable development - Xinhua Beijing has mapped out a total area of 132 square km for "strategic land reservation" to be preserved until 2035, according to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Planning and Natural Resources. The city plan also lays out that, by 2035, the forest coverage rate of the whole city will increase to no less than 45 percent.
Tsinghua University Heeds Chinese Gov’t Call to Turn Out More Hi-Tech Graduates-Yicai Beijing’s Tsinghua University is to discontinue its accounting major after recently also halting its journalism major as part of the Ministry of Education’s plan for first-class universities to focus on training hi-tech subjects in which the country is short of talent, the China Science Daily reported today. The undergraduate degree of accounting will now be part of the economics and finance major, said Xiao Xing, director of the university’s accounting department.. In January, the Ministry of Education set about reforming the basic disciplines in institutions of higher education to have more of a focus on high-end chips and software, intelligent technology, new materials, advanced manufacturing, national security and other humanities and social sciences. One third of all enrollments must now be in these subject areas, which means cutting student numbers in other disciplines.
Rural and Agricultural Issues