Hong Kong; US-China; India-China border tensions; Hangzhou official confirms drinking baijiu is unhealthy
|Bill Bishop||May 26, 2020||10|
As expected, Li Keqiang did not announce a GDP target for 2020. That move, long called for by those pushing for more economic reforms, may be good for those desired reforms, but we will not know if this is a permanent shift until next year’s NPC, or rather just a one-time move forced on the policymakers by the pandemic that has so pressured China’s economy.
I read Li’s comments about fiscal and monetary policy as effectively signaling, unsurprisingly, that China will increase fiscal and monetary stimulus as much as needed to keep things on track this year, but in a much more measured way than they did during the kleptocrat’s dream of the 2008-09 stimulus.
Things are tough, as Xi Jinping noted in a very grim assessment of the external environment in a meeting with CCPCC economic advisors:
We must also face the unfavorable situation of a deep recession in the world economy, a sharp contraction in international trade and investment, turbulence in international financial markets, limited international exchanges, a countercurrent to economic globalization, the prevalence of protectionism and unilateralism in some countries, and rising geopolitical risks. China must seek development in a more unstable and uncertain world.
The National Security Law for Hong Kong that will pass the NPC this week may be the clearest signal so far that Beijing has given up any hope of having a stable relationship with the Trump's administration.
And Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned “some political forces in the US are taking China-US relations hostage and pushing our two countries to the brink of a "new Cold War".
It looks very likely the US and China have entered a much more difficult phase of their relationship. I expect the US reaction to the new Hong Kong National Security Law law to be quite harsh, and as I wrote previously if Trump decides the trade deal is not happening or no longer politically useful, things could get much more tense than they already are. Plan accordingly.
Thanks for reading.
The Essential Eight
1. Hong Kong
Beijing’s proposed resolution for a national security law for Hong Kong was amended on Tuesday in an unexpected move that expanded its scope to prohibit “activities” that would “seriously endanger national security”, sources told the Post...
No details were given, but sources told the Post the resolution would now suggest that the proposed law – which has sparked concerns about its implications for the city’s existing freedoms – would not only just prevent, stop and punish “acts” but also “activities” deemed to threaten national security.
The resolution is set to be put to a vote on Thursday, which would then be forwarded to the NPC Standing Committee, China’s top legislative body, to craft the bill in detail.
One source told the Post that Hong Kong deputies to the NPC who supported the amendment outnumbered those against it.
One of those who opposed it, pro-business lawmaker Michael Tien Puk-sun, questioned what this would mean for people taking part in protests that suddenly turned violent.
Beijing's planned national security legislation for Hong Kong is set to block its foreign judges from handling national security trials, people familiar with the matter said, which would exacerbate concerns about the city's judicial independence.
CCTV Evening News on Monday that the state and party leaders explained to the NPC delegates in separate meetings why they need the new national security law for Hong Kong. They said the law is necessary to fix the loophole in Hong Kong’s legal system and it shows China’s firm determination to safeguard national security, and Beijing’s concerns for the Hong Kong people.
Chan Man Ki, a member of the Hong Kong NPC delegation, said in a Sunday NPC meeting that the new national security law should bar foreign judges from national security cases. Chan said Hong Kong should set up special courts for these cases, and only Hong Kong citizens with no foreign residence can be appointed as judges. Chan also suggested the Hong Kong police department set up a new state security department to handle these matters. Chan was the one who earlier publicly asked Beijing to bypass the Hong Kong legislation council in writing the national security law.
She added: “We are a very free society. For the time being, people have this freedom to say whatever they want to say. But ultimately, what is to be provided in this piece of legislation is for all of us see in order to be assured that Hong Kong’s freedoms will be preserved.”
I want to focus on four specific points for your further reflection:
1. China’s secret police are coming to Hong Kong;
2. The Basic Law — and Hong Kong’s rule of law — is in tatters;
3. Foreign entities and individuals will be a target;
4. Beijing sees this as an opportunity for a “reset”
Antony has a new book on Hong Kong - City on Fire: the fight for Hong Kong
Kennedy Wong, a member of the Hong Kong CPPCC delegation, told Global Times that the new national security law will allow China’s ministry of state security to operate freely in Hong Kong. Wong said the MSS will be able to set up its own branch in the city, and it will have “certain power to enforce law”. Wong said the details of the arrangement is not finalized yet but he said the Hong Kong police force lacks the capacity to do intelligence gathering, and it is necessary for MSS to fill the void.
Central government authorities, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and Hong Kong Special Administration Region (HKSAR) government reiterated their strong support and unshakable will for the new national security law for Hong Kong late Monday and Tuesday, showing that the law is imperative and non-negotiable, and warned the radical forces should not underestimate the determination of the central government, while anti-government and separatist forces are planning illegal protests and an assembly on Wednesday...
The Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR said in a statement posted on its website Monday night criticized the illegal assembly organized by separatists and radical violent rioters on Sunday, which caused serious injuries, including to a female passer-by and a lawyer who tried to stop the rioters from placing an illegal roadblock to interrupt traffic, as well as four police officers.
"Many signs indicated that a group of extremists is planning larger illegal violent activities, and will vainly attempt to make the whole city 'burn with them.' We sternly warn these people and the forces behind them: do not underestimate the determination of the central government," the statement said.
“I have never heard of a garrison official in Hong Kong publicly commenting on Hong Kong’s affairs, even though of course the legislation is being done in Beijing,” said the pro-democracy lawmaker Tanya Chan, calling the move “shocking.”
This new bill was reviewed once by the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) on May 18 and had been kept a secret until Thursday night. We have studied the draft Decision and its accompanying explanation, and now offer the following explainer in Q&A format, focusing on the Decision’s contents and the legal questions it raises. This explainer is subject to the usual caveat that there could be further changes to the bill before it is approved next Thursday.
The central government has the legal power and responsibility to establish a national security law anytime, and even if Hong Kong establishes Article 23, the central government could enact a new national security law, Elsie Leung Oi-sie, deputy director of Hong Kong Basic Law Committee of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and former Secretary of Justice told the Global Times on Tuesday in rebuking questions raised by the Hong Kong Bar Association on whether China's top legislator has the legal power to draft the law.
In a 24-minute speech broadcast to Hongkongers on Monday, Tung warned that the city had become a weak link in the security of the nation, while also echoing top Beijing officials’ reassurances that the new law would only go after a minority involved in relevant crimes.
“If you do not plan to engage in acts of secession, subversion, terrorism or conspiring with foreign influence in connection with Hong Kong affairs, you will have no reason to fear,” he said, a day after thousands took to the streets to oppose the impending law and radical protesters returned to violence and vandalism.
here are five key messages: First, national security legislation for Hong Kong is right and proper and of greatest urgency. Second, it is just and legitimate for the Central Government to safeguard national security, which is both within its power and its obligation. Third, national security legislation will ensure the enduring success of "One Country, Two Systems". Fourth, the international community can rest assured about the legislation for Hong Kong. And fifth, the Chinese government is rock-firm in upholding national sovereignty, security and development interests...
here is our message to the majority of law-abiding citizens and foreign nationals who love Hong Kong: there is absolutely no need to panic, or worry that you may be unfavorably impacted; do not be intimidated or even misled and exploited by those with ulterior motives; and in particular, do not be a rumor-monger yourself, or join the anti-China forces in stigmatizing and demonizing the legislation, still less meddle with or obstruct it...
Hong Kong democracy activists yesterday made frantic plans to cover their tracks amid fears of a brutal crackdown by the world’s most powerful surveillance state.
Many deleted politically sensitive online postings, wiped social media accounts and turned to proxy servers that mask their identities after China announced sweeping national security laws for the territory. Some confided in friends that they intended to destroy their electronic devices. A medic who treated protesters injured in police clashes at underground clinics said colleagues involved in the opposition planned to move overseas.
Beijing apparently is wasting no time using the national security law it intends to foist onto Hong Kong to target local activists for potential punishment, including tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, former lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung and student activist Alex Chow Yong-kang, said a well-informed risk consultant who studied the Hong Kong protests.
Amid heightened anti-government tensions in Hong Kong, Global Times, a tabloid affiliated with Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily, published photos on Saturday that appeared to show former Hong Kong student leader Alex Chow Yong-kang and activist “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung separately meeting Lee Henley Hu Xiang, who last month became the first overseas national charged by China with intervening in Hong Kong affairs.
The Global Times article - 这两张恶劣的照片说明，在香港进行国家安全立法已刻不容缓！
Citing Chinese experts, Global Times said the new national security law will only punish the crime that occur after the law takes effect, and that if the US indeed sanctions Hong Kong, activists like Joshua Wong and Jimmy Lai who called for such sanctions will surely be held accountable by the new law.
Chinese banks and brokerages are asking Hong Kong staff to sign a petition supporting national security legislation set to pass the National People's Congress on Thursday, the Nikkei Asian Review has learned...
Printed in blue, the color of the city's pro-Beijing camp, the petition asked signatories to support the national security legislation as well as "anti-Hong Kong independence; anti-sedition; anti-terrorism; anti-foreign interference."
The same form has also been circulated in street booths set up by pro-Beijing political parties over the last few days.
The teachers are being sent to teach patriotic education to schoolchildren in the two cities, according to online recruitment notices.
Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen has warned that she could suspend trading privileges accorded to Hong Kong if Beijing imposes a draconian national security law on the city.
China Development Bank (CDB), the country’s top policy lender, has pledged financing of 360 billion yuan ($50.4 billion) this year to support the development of the Greater Bay Area (GBA), a cluster of cities in southern China that the government wants to transform into a financial, technology and innovation powerhouse.
The commitment follows the May 15 announcement by China’s financial regulators of a wide-ranging plan to facilitate cross-border transactions and investments within the GBA, which comprises nine cities in Guangdong province, along with the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao.
CCTV Evening News commentaries on Monday and Tuesday denouncing the protesters and vowing to punish them, so as to “protect the majority” of Hong Kong people.
As China moves to impose a law that would criminalize dissent, Hong Kongers are facing a dark new era. By Wilfred Chan
2. Xi’s two sessions
Xi…made the remarks when joining a joint panel discussion attended by national political advisors from the economic sector.
Xi called for consolidating the fundamental role of agriculture, ensuring stability on the six fronts and security in the six areas, and accomplishing the targets and tasks of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and winning the battle against poverty...
The six fronts refer to employment, the financial sector, foreign trade, foreign investment, domestic investment, and expectations. The six areas refer to job security, basic living needs, operations of market entities, food and energy security, stable industrial and supply chains, and the normal functioning of primary-level governments...
He called for faster progress in advancing the development of digital economy, intelligent manufacturing, life and health, new materials and other strategic emerging industries, highlighting the creation of new growth areas and drivers.
Xi stressed steady progress in creating a new development pattern where domestic and foreign markets can boost each other, with domestic market as the mainstay.
President Xi Jinping told dozens of top economic advisers in Beijing at the weekend that China was pursuing a new development plan in which “domestic circulation plays the dominant role”.
“For the future, we must treat domestic demand as the starting point and foothold as we accelerate the building of a complete domestic consumption system, and greatly promote innovation in science, technology and other areas,” Xi said in comments published by the official Xinhua News Agency.
Xi’s remarks suggest that Beijing is moving towards giving up the “great international circulation” strategy adopted in the 1990s that helped fuel its growth to become the world’s second-largest economy.
“It’s a kind of preparation for the worst-case scenario, including the decoupling with the United States and even the whole Western world,” said Hu Xingdou, a Beijing-based independent economist.
Page 1 People's Daily commentary on Xi's comments to the CPPCC economic delegates, saying China can find opportunities in this crisis
Xi Jinping attended the Inner Mongolia NPC meeting. He explained that China didn’t adopt a GDP target this year because it is still uncertain how big a downturn he virus will cause for the world, and a GDP target could lead the government to issue too big a stimulus for the economy.
Xi…made the remarks when attending a plenary meeting of the delegation of the People's Liberation Army and People's Armed Police Force, at the third session of the 13th National People's Congress
Xi said the epidemic has brought a profound impact on the global landscape and on China's security and development as well.
He ordered the military to think about worst-case scenarios, scale up training and battle preparedness, promptly and effectively deal with all sorts of complex situations and resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests.
Xi demanded reform and innovation to address new situations and problems exposed in the epidemic and ordered accelerating the research and development on COVID-19 drugs and vaccines by tapping the advantages of military medical research.
Xi Jinping attended a meeting of the Hubei delegation at the NPC on Sunday. Xi said he specifically asked for the meeting with the Hubei delegation, and he again expressed his gratitude to the “heroic” Hubei people and Wuhan people, and urged the local officials not to ignore risks that will lead to a new outbreak given the “situation inside and outside China”. Xi admitted that the government “was scrambling” in the early days of the outbreak because Wuhan’s medical system was overwhelmed by the outbreak, and they will now try to fix those loopholes.
3. More from the two sessions
The government’s plan to raise its fiscal deficit and sell anti-virus government bonds are “special measures” in response to an unprecedented environment, and the scale of the borrowings takes into account both the economic impact and the need to control debt-related risks, according to Cong Liang, a senior official at the National Development and Reform Commission.
People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang said that the central bank will continue offering financial support to businesses impacted by Covid-19, after the government pledged to provide new monetary policy instruments that can “directly stimulate the real economy” in its annual work report released Friday.
The central bank will support qualified local financial institutions in the banking sector to provide preferential loans to micro and small companies, Yi said in an interview (中国人民银行行长易纲在“两会”期间就重点问题接受《金融时报》《中国金融》记者采访 ) published Tuesday by the central bank, when responding to a question on the new monetary policy instruments.
The National People’s Congress has listed the revision of the PBOC law on its to-do list for 2020, according to its work report released Monday. While no details or timetable were given, some NPC delegates had suggested the central bank strengthen its role in risk management and policing of financial institutions, according to earlier media reports.
On Sunday Foreign Minister Wang Yi defended this combative approach – named after a series of nationalistic action movies – saying that China would fight back against “slanders” and “firmly defend national honour and dignity”.
“We will lay out the truth to counter gratuitous smears and resolutely maintain fairness and justice and conscience,” Wang said...
Wang’s comments were echoed by Liu Xiaoming, the outspoken ambassador to Britain, who has previously clashed with TV journalists when defending the country.
“Some people said China now has many Wolf Warriors’, the reason is that there are many ‘wolves’ out there in the world now. If there are ‘wolves’, we must have ‘Wolf Warriors’ to fight,” Liu told state broadcaster CCTV.
On the domestic front, Wu said China is facing an ever more complex security situation as the fight against secessionist movements becomes more intensified.
The pro-secession Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan is "inviting foreign powers to serve its own goals and is going further in its pursue of separating the country," he said.
Meanwhile, security on Chinese soil and Chinese investments overseas are also facing real threats. "When it comes to issues of national security, we must keep a level head, and prepare for dangers ahead," he said.
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian on Tuesday defended the country's continuous growth in defense budget – which slowed this year – saying "it's very necessary to do so," while reaffirming China's principle of peaceful development...
"Always be prepared for sudden dangers in time of comfortable lives. That's one major principle for our Party to run the country," Wu told reporters. "Just right now, the world is not 100 percent peaceful."
China is embracing new risks and challenges in the national defense sector, according to the military official. Internationally, the general security system is now challenged due to the unilateralism ideology certain countries have upheld over time, he said.
The meeting decided to submit multiple documents, including a revised draft civil code and the revised draft of an NPC decision on establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to safeguard national security, to lawmakers for deliberation.
Li will take questions from Chinese and foreign reporters via video link in consideration of epidemic prevention and control and public health protection.
Cao Kefan, a TV host of the Shanghai Media Group and also an NPC delegate told reporters that he had submitted a bill suggesting the government to give Chinese media a freehand in using VPN to “speak China’s voice” to foreigners.
The Trump administration is considering a range of sanctions on Chinese officials, businesses and financial institutions over Beijing’s effort to crack down on Hong Kong, according to people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg News reports.
The Treasury Department could impose controls on transactions and freeze assets of Chinese officials and businesses for implementing a new national security law that would curtail the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong citizens.
Comment: Sanctioning major PRC banks would definitely count as "financial war"
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Tuesday that President Donald Trump is so "miffed" with Beijing over the novel coronavirus and other matters that the U.S.-China trade deal is not as important to him as it once was.
Speaking on Fox News Channel, Kudlow also called Beijing's actions in Hong Kong very disturbing.
He said the U.S.-China "Phase 1" trade deal reached in January was intact for the moment, but that the Trump administration was watching to see whether Beijing meets the commitments it made.
"The cover-up that they did of the virus is going to go down in history along with Chernobyl," O'Brien told Chuck Todd on NBC's "Meet the Press," referring to the 1986 nuclear disaster in Ukraine. "We'll see an HBO special about 10 or 15 years from now."
Jin Canrong of Renmin University said in a recent public speech that China is serious in implementing the phase one trade agreement, and he believed the American side wants the deal as well given how the outbreak has wrecked a havoc of the US economy. “They now need to beg us,” Jin said.
Comment: Dangerous if that is widely held belief
“We’re concerned about providers that are subject to the undue influence and control of the Chinese government,” Deputy Assistant Attorney General Adam Hickey told POLITICO in a recent interview. “Once you make that conclusion, it’s hard for me to understand if it’s true for one company or a second company, why wouldn’t it be true for a class?”
While the final version of the 14th five-year plan will not be made public until March 2021, preliminary research and discussions show that China will seek more autonomous development by cutting reliance on the US for technology supply and exports.
Qihoo 360 Technology Co. Ltd.m Qihoo 360 Technology Company among the listees
The listing will identify China’s Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science and Aksu Huafu Textiles Co. for engaging in human rights violations and abuses in the XUAR. An additional seven commercial entities will be to the list for enabling China’s high-technology surveillance in the XUAR: CloudWalk Technology; FiberHome Technologies Group and the subsidiary Nanjing FiberHome Starrysky Communication Development; NetPosa and the subsidiary SenseNets; Intellifusion; and IS’Vision.
The U.S. Department of Commerce on Saturday expanded its so-called entities list, which restricts access to American technology and other items, to include 24 Chinese companies and universities it said had ties to the military and another 9 entities it accused of human rights violations in Xinjiang.
It is most regrettable that while the coronavirus is still out there, a "political virus" is also spreading in the US and jumping at any opportunity to attack and slander China. Some politicians ignore the basic facts and make up countless lies and conspiracy theories concerning China. A list of these lies has been compiled and debunked online. New lies will be added to the list. The longer the list, the more it says about how low the rumor-mongers are willing to go and the more stains they will leave in history...
China remains prepared to work with the US in the spirit of no conflict or confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation and build a relationship based on coordination, cooperation and stability. At the same time, China will defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, its legitimate right to development, and its dignity and place in the world which the Chinese people have worked so hard to earn. China has no intention to change, still less replace, the US. It's time for the US to give up its wishful thinking of changing China or stopping 1.4 billion people's historic march toward modernization.
It has come to our attention that some political forces in the US are taking China-US relations hostage and pushing our two countries to the brink of a "new Cold War". This dangerous attempt to turn back the wheel of history will undo the fruits of decades-long China-US cooperation, dampen America's own development prospects, and put world stability and prosperity in jeopardy. People with wisdom and foresight on both sides must step forward to stop it.
The PLA Daily has now published attacks on the US on seven consecutive days, under the name “Jun Sheng 钧声 Voice of the Military”. Here are the ones since the last issue of the newsletter:
Exposure of Ulterior Motives Behind Stigmatization of China with COVID-19 (Part III)
While the biological virus is a common enemy of humankind, the political virus born out of certain American politicians is equally detestable, for it has damaged the global anti-epidemic cooperation and impeded the long-term development and progress of human society. The virus in the political world has done even more damages than the virus from the natural world.
Exposure of Ulterior Motives Behind Stigmatization of China with COVID-19 (Part IV)
Exposure of Ulterior Motives Behind Stigmatization of China with COVID-19 (Part V)
The propaganda attacks on the US have shifted to the PLA Daily during the two sessions. PLA Daily has now done consecutive editorials bashing the US, under the "jun sheng" name
Exposure of Ulterior Motives Behind Stigmatization of China with COVID-19 (Part VI)
A western idiom goes like this, “There are none so blind as those who will not see”. We’ve long known that lying through their teeth is the “survival skill” for some American politicians, but we never expected it to become their “only skill left”. Unfortunately, this is exactly the reality now. Their desperate attempt to peddle lies only attests to the exhaustion of their tricks.
Exposure of Ulterior Motives Behind Stigmatization of China with COVID-19(Part VII)
CCTV and People’s Daily also carried some anti-American messaging:
People’s Daily page 3 commentary by "Ren Ping" on Monday said the US' disastrous handling of the virus shows the true color of US democracy: that politicians care more about their votes and stocks holding than they do for the lives of the American people.
CPPCC delegates told People’s Daily that the US lawsuits against China are baseless and absurd.
CCTV Evening News on Tuesday cited NPC furious delegates in saying that the Americans sued China because that’s for their political gains, and this smearing is a “political virus” that is spreading
“We are in a new Cold War,” said Mike Gallagher, a congressman from Wisconsin who is a member of the task force. “What runs the risk of an actual conflict is refusing to take part in the long-term competition the Chinese Communist Party has already been playing.”
Other Washington figures strike an even more confrontational tone. “Some people still want to keep collaborating with China on climate change or trade,” said Curtis Ellis, an economic adviser to the president. “Well, we have another word for that: appeasement.”
CNN: The US Department of Transportation ordered Chinese air carriers to file flight schedules with the US government and said this is because of Chinese restrictions on US air carriers hoping to resume service to China. We have learned that besides asking US airlines to abide by Chinese rules, China also asks that they shall be responsible for any passenger on board who happens to be confirmed of COVID-19 infection after arriving in China. The US side said these demands violate bilateral aviation agreements. What's your response?
Zhao Lijian: The Notice on Further Reducing International Passenger Flights during the Epidemic Prevention and Control Period released on March 26 was approved by the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council and issued by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) in accordance with relevant laws including the Frontier Health and Quarantine Law of the People's Republic of China. It is a special arrangement for international passenger flights out of the need of preventing and controlling COVID-19 during an unusual period. The measures are open, impartial and transparent. All airlines, Chinese and foreign, are treated equally. In formulating them, Chinese authorities also drew from many other countries' practice. We noted that relevant US department has asked Chinese airlines to file flight schedules. China opposes any possible US disruption of or restriction on Chinese airlines' normal passenger flight operations.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the novel coronavirus had spread from China in response to the word war between China and the US amid the pandemic, which Chinese experts said shows Japan took the side of the US, as the latter is politicizing the health emergency issue and trying to mount a global campaign against China.
The interview started out with Dobbs complimenting Navarro on his recent appearance on ABC’s This Week before remarking, “We have seen, it appears, the White House pull back a bit. There’s no longer a reference to Wuhan viruses or China viruses even though that’s the place where it originated by this president who, by the way, talked about that for months as the China virus. Is this a pivot here that I’ve missed?”
Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced the appointment of Nury Turkel, a lawyer and Uyghur rights advocate, to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
“The US has been processing dead bodies from Covid-19 diseases into hamburgers,” was one of the last postings on Zhidao Xuegong – literally the Scholar Forum for Ultimate Truth – which had millions of followers on China’s Facebook-like social media platform WeChat before it was shut down on Sunday.
The rethinking of the Huawei deal follows a growing backlash among Tory MPs against Chinese investment following the global pandemic, which originated in Wuhan...
Insiders have told the Telegraph Mr Johnson always had “serious concerns” about the 5G agreement, which was brokered by Theresa May’s government, but signed off by her successor in January.
A well-placed source said: “He still wants a relationship with China but the Huawei deal is going to be significantly scaled back. Officials have been instructed to come up with a plan to reduce Huawei’s involvement as quickly as possible.
Or maybe not - ‘Impossible’ to get rid of Huawei tech in telecom network by 2023 | The Times May 26
The Times has learnt that ministers are discussing plans to prohibit the purchase and installation of new equipment from 2023, however, rather than an outright ban. “Otherwise we’d be asking BT to essentially rip up the entire fibre optic network,” one official said. “It would make the 2025 broadband pledge impossible.”
B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes announced her plans last week to deliver a decision Wednesday on an issue that could end the extradition process: double criminality.
If Holmes rules that the offence Meng is accused of committing in the U.S. would not have been considered a crime had it occurred in Canada at the time the arrest warrant was issued, then there was no double criminality, and Meng could be free to return to China — barring further detention on app
The Chinese government has issued a new warning to Canada about further “damage” to relations between the two countries, days before a British Columbia judge releases a decision on an extradition hearing for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.
Canada must “release Ms. Meng and ensure her safe return to China at an early date to avoid more damage caused to China-Canada relations,” China foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Tuesday...
Chinese state media this week threatened an outbreak of public “resentment” toward Canada if the B.C. court finds against Ms. Meng. “A decision that panders to the Trump administration would only lead to a rise in netizen resentment, which would affect bilateral relations between China and Canada,” the Communist Party-backed Global Times wrote in an unsigned editorial published online late Monday.
Due to the dual impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the US restrictions, the company intends to shrink its offices in some overseas locations, requiring some staff who are Chinese nationals to return to the Shenzhen headquarters "in batches," said the sources under the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.
Many of these employees would still have a job at the company, working remotely on their work, according to two Huawei sources in different regions across the globe. However, there are chances that some who cannot attend to their original projects might not be immediately assigned to new positions in China.
Ning Nanshan, an anonymous Shenzhen-based commentator who posts on his own blog about Chinese industrial and economic development, argues that Huawei will be able to buy cutting-edge chips that are free of American technological components in a matter of years, but that in the meantime Huawei’s business can survive in order to maintain China’s dominance in 5G
The debate about how China should respond to the Huawei ban is a microcosm of the broader debate raging about how China should deal with the US. Not all online commentaries are equally bombastic in their approach to the “Huawei problem,” as it is often called. Dai encourages Chinese companies to be more responsive and responsible when dealing with foreign rules. Ning concerns himself more with redoubled industrial policies than punitive sanctions.
But against the backdrop of a fiercely nationalistic discourse, even the most measured voices must reckon with the widespread view that the Huawei ban is just one stage in the same global struggle as the Korean War. Those who believe confrontation can be avoided are on the backfoot.
6. The outbreak
The Chinese mainland on Monday recorded seven new COVID-19 cases, all were imported, according to China's National Health Commission. No new deaths were reported.
As of Saturday, the central Chinese metropolis had conducted 6.68 million so-called nucleic acid tests (NATs) and discovered 206 asymptomatic cases across more than 10 districts, according to notices from the municipal health commission. Disease control authorities announced the initiative on May 11, making Wuhan, where the pandemic erupted last year, the first major Chinese city to roll out mandatory mass testing.
Laboratories went from processing around 46,000 tests a day, on average, before the drive, to as many as 1.47 million tests on Friday. By comparison, the state of New York has tested 1.7 million people since March 4, according to The Atlantic’s COVID Tracking Project.
No coronavirus has been detected in animal samples collected from the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, said Gao Fu, director of China's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who visited Wuhan in person in early January to investigate the outbreak. The market had been thought by some as the origin of the virus and the epidemic in China...
"At the beginning, we presumed that the seafood market may have the novel coronavirus. But it now turns out that the market is one of the victims," Gao added, noting that scientific research needs time to get done.
The director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, at the center of allegations around a potential laboratory accident, Wang Yanyi, over the weekend told China Central Television that the coronavirus was significantly different from any live pathogen that has been studied at the institute and that there therefore was no chance it could have leaked from there.
The system offers daily predictions of the number of confirmed cases globally and in 180 countries and regions in June. According to the system, the number of new daily global cases will continue to rise in June, and is predicted to reach nearly 250,000 globally by June 30.
The US will see a new daily case increase of around 30,000 every day in June, while major countries in Europe will witness a continuous drop in new daily cases, according to the system.
The so-called "Western governments dossier" used by the Saturday Telegraph and sister newspaper the Daily Telegraph was, in fact, a widely distributed — and deniable — background document created by the US State Department.
The document contained no new evidence linking the laboratory to the outbreak and instead relied on publicly available news and scientific journal papers.
In Hubei Province, more than 3,600 COVID-19 patients over the age of 80 have been cured, including seven over the age of 100, said a deputy to the third session of the 13th National People's Congress on Friday.
7. India-China border tensions
The PLA deployed nearly 5000 soldiers in a large camp set up recently at Galwan Valley within the territory claimed by China – to support the smaller number of troops, who had transgressed the LAC in at least three locations and entered into the are...
It was decided that while a resolution to the current situation will come through talks and diplomatic intervention, the Indian military must continue to hold on to its claims over the region.
Sources said the road constructions that have riled up China, must continue.
China’s government and media have maintained a studied public silence on developments along the Indian border through much of the past week, in a marked contrast to Beijing’s almost daily public messaging through the 2017 Doklam stand-off.
India in recent days has illegally constructed defense facilities across the border into Chinese territory in the Galwan Valley region, leaving Chinese border defense troops no other options but making necessary moves in response, and mounting the risk of escalating standoffs and conflicts between the two sides.
There is no line of actual control along the China-India border that both sides recognize. Due to the improvement of infrastructure at the border area, the two countries have ramped up patrols, which have led to more frequent standoffs as a result. Yet most of them were directly and properly eased through communication among frontline officers. Only a few incidents have been exposed by media outlets. But they aroused public attention.
Unlike previous standoffs, the latest border friction was not caused by accident, but was a planned move of New Delhi. India has been clearly and definitely aware that the Galwan Valley region is Chinese territory. But according to media reports, since early May, India has been crossing the boundary line into the Galwan Valley region and entering Chinese territory. Indian soldiers have also deliberately instigated conflicts with their Chinese counterparts. If India failed to stop such provocations as soon as possible, it will impact on Beijing-New Delhi ties - and may even exceed the sort of intensity of the Doklam standoff. - The author is a senior research fellow of Academy of Regional and Global Governance, Beijing Foreign Studies University and president of Chengdu Institute of World Affairs.
Two images, exclusively sourced from the open source intelligence expert detresfa_ , an analyst with ShadowBreak Intl., show the Ngari Gunsa airport in Tibet. The first image is dated April 6, 2020 while the second one, dated May 21, this year, shows massive construction activity including the addition of what appears to be a second taxi-track or a secondary tarmac to position helicopters or combat aircraft. A third image shows a close-up of the main tarmac at the airport with a line-up of four fighter jets believed to be either J-11 or J-16 fighters of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force.
interviews with former Indian military officials and diplomats suggest the trigger for the flare-up is India’s construction of roads and air strips.
“Today, with our infrastructure reach slowly extending into areas along the LAC, the Chinese threat perception is raised,” said former Indian foreign secretary Nirupama Rao.
8. Hangzhou official confirms drinking baijiu is bad for you
In a meeting with Hangzhou local health officials and leaders of key hospitals on May 22, the city's Health Commissioner Sun Yongrong proposed a new system of health score, grading residents base on things they do, ranging from how many hours they sleep, to how many cigarettes they smoke a day.
Instead of health codes in three fixed colors indicating the person's risk of exposure to the Covid-19, this newly proposed system would feature a richer, gradient health code color combination, generated from a daily-updated health score.
The system, albeit nowhere near actual implementation, provides an Orwellian look into how the Hangzhou municipal government, and the Chinese government in general, attempt to mine more data points from individuals to learn more about its citizens...
Meanwhile, lifestyle choices that are considered bad for health but otherwise very common among certain age/gender groups in China, would decrease one's health score. Drinking 200 milliliters of Baijiu, Chinese people's favorite liquor, would cut down one's score by 1.5, while smoking 5 cigarettes a day causes a deduction of 3 points.
Comment: Unclear if this is something that would start in Hangzhou and then the government and Alibaba would take nationwide, or just a local initiative.
Netizens don’t like it, and don’t seem to assume it would just be limited to Hangzhou - China’s Plan to Make Permanent Health Tracking on Smartphones Stirs Concern - WSJ
Anger spread across Chinese social media sites over the weekend following an announcement that officials in the eastern city of Hangzhou could create a permanent version of a smartphone-based health-rating system developed to fight Covid-19. The news led some internet users to accuse the city of exploiting the pandemic to expand state monitoring of residents.
The legislation is part of China’s first civil code, a sweeping package of laws that is being deliberated during the annual meeting of parliament, which began on Friday after a delay of more than two months due to the coronavirus.
According to a recent draft, an individual has a right to privacy and to have their personal information protected.
Business, Economy and Trade
Coronavirus Hits China's Economy, and Young Workers Suffer - The New York Times China’s youngest workers in particular have entered perhaps the country’s toughest job market in the modern era. Many are reducing their expectations to take any job they can get. The pressure is about to intensify: Another nearly 8.7 million young college graduates are waiting in the wings this year.
SOEs Saw Revenue Decline Slow in First Four Months, but Profits Plummeted - Caixin The SOEs in general brought in 210.6 billion yuan in the same period, down by 74.3% over the same period last year.
Meituan Warns That Its 2020 Isn’t Going to Get Better - Caixin “Looking into the new next three quarters … there will still be challenges. There are still uncertainties and the potential downside from the ongoing evolution of the COVID-19 situation,” Wang said, adding that short-term profitability is not the priority for his company.
China’s Cash-Strapped Millennials Embrace a New Trend: Thrift - SixthTone In an April survey of Shanghai consumers jointly conducted by Sixth Tone’s sister publication The Paper and the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, nearly 45% of respondents aged 21-30 said their incomes had dropped during the pandemic — more than any other age group. At the same time, experts say millennials are showing unprecedented interest in pinching pennies. In March, a survey by Zhongyan Research Institute, a research team focused on consumer trends, found that 57% of consumers born after 1990 and 63% of those born after 1995 intend to plan their spending more carefully in the future.
China Luxury Home Buyers Seek Safety From Shanghai to Sydney - Bloomberg A gradual easing of virus restrictions is making it easier for wealthy Chinese to view properties and complete purchases in nearby Asian hot spots like Shanghai, Seoul and Sydney. In another favorite Singapore, virtual tours and photos have been enough to seal multi-million dollar deals, pointing to how transactions are evolving. That’s in contrast to London and New York where real estate remains sluggish amid lockdowns.
Politics and Law
澎湃：整治非法VPN、数据买卖等网络黑市，北京警方开展净网行动 Beijing police said as part of a nation-wide campaign, they just started a six-month movement to crackdown cyber scams, “harmful information” online, illegal VPN network and other cybercrimes. Regarding VPN, the Beijing police said they will do “two investigations for every case 一案双查”, suggesting that they will track down both the sellers and the users of the network.
Foreign and Defense Affairs
'Flagrantly reckless': Victoria signed China infrastructure deal without consulting DFAT Victoria did not consult the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade before signing a controversial infrastructure deal with the Chinese government last year, leaving senior officials concerned it could undermine Australia's push to counter Beijing's growing influence in the region. The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald can reveal Australia's chief foreign policy makers were blindsided by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews' announcement that he had signed the "framework agreement" tying the state to China's Belt and Road Initiative on October 23.
Secretary Michael R. Pompeo With Rowan Dean of Sky News Australia - United States Department of State SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, let me take the second one first. Look, every nation has its own sovereign right to make decisions for itself, and I suppose Victoria has some rights that it can undertake…So I don’t know the nature of those projects precisely, but to the extent they have an adverse impact on our ability to protect telecommunications from our private citizens or security networks for our defense and intelligence communities, we will simply disconnect. We will simply separate. We’re going to preserve trusted networks for important information. We hope our friends and partners and allies across the world, especially our Five Eyes partners like Australia, will do the same.
The Australian - Dan Andrews and China’s Aussie influencer Meet Jean Dong. She is the 33-year-old Chinese-Australian businesswoman who by her own description is on a global “journey of influence”. A professionally filmed and edited YouTube biography provides an extraordinary insight into the life of the young woman who is emerging as a key player in the unfolding political row over Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’s controversial decision to sign up to China’s Belt and Road Initiative…Ms Dong’s profile when she attended the Australia-China Youth Dialogue in Beijing with Mr Yang in 2014 said she had “enjoyed a rich experience as the editor of Youth newspaper (China) and national reporter for CCTV television station (China)”.
The Australian - Adviser’s secret link to state’s agreement on Belt and Road A pro-Chinese company was promoting the Belt and Road Initiative to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews while at the same time being paid by the Andrews government to provide advice on the controversial investment and trade deal...Scott Morrison on Sunday repeated the commonwealth’s opposition to Victoria signing on to the Belt and Road Initiative as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned any BRI project was designed to boost the power of the Chinese Communist Party.
China Trade War: Beijing Defends Barley Tariffs for Australia - Bloomberg “We have found out that Australia has subsidized the grain, and there has been dumping in the Chinese market which caused damage to local producers,” Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said in a briefing on the sidelines of the ongoing national parliament sessions on Monday.
Israel rejects bid by Hong Kong’s CK Hutchison to build plant after US warns against Chinese investment | South China Morning Post A Hong Kong-based conglomerate founded by the billionaire Li Ka-shing has lost its bid to construct and operate a US$1.5 billion infrastructure project in Israel, local government said, little more than a week after the US warned against Chinese-related investment as its rift with China escalates.
Netizens identify China's 2nd carrier leaving port from online images - Global Times A series of photos and videos uploaded on China's social media platforms have set Chinese internet abuzz as they were identified by Chinese military enthusiasts and netizens as showing China's second aircraft carrier, the country's first domestically built one, leaving its shipyard for sail on Monday. The move, if verified, will mark the aircraft carrier, the Shandong's first known voyage in five months since being commissioned in December and later returning to the shipyard for maintenance
Annual German Ambassadors’ Conference 2020: Opening remarks by High Representative/ Vice President Josep Borrell - European External Action Service We only have a chance if we deal with China with collective discipline. And we hope that the Leipzig EU-China Summit scheduled in autumn will be very important in this regard. Also on that, we rely on you. We need a more robust strategy for China, which also requires better relations with the rest of democratic Asia. That’s why we must invest more in working with India, Japan, South Korea et cetera. To face all these challenges we need to build a real common strategic culture. We do not have it yet and this weakens our action. The need to act as a Team Europe, or as ‘Europe United’, as my friend Heiko has called it, is greater than ever.
EU's top diplomat urges 'more robust strategy' toward China - AP EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell told a gathering of German ambassadors on Monday that “analysts have long talked about the end of an American-led system and the arrival of an Asian century.” “This is now happening in front of our eyes,” he said. Borrell said the pandemic could be seen as a turning point in the power shift from West to East, and that for the EU the “pressure to choose sides is growing.”
Chinese lawmakers propose foreign states immunities law - Xinhua Chinese lawmakers have proposed formulating a foreign states immunities law following malicious litigations filed against China over its COVID-19 response. The move will protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens as well as foreign investors, said Ma Yide, a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC) and a law researcher at the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences.
Chinese state TV broke Ofcom rules with biased Hong Kong coverage | The Guardian China’s state television channel repeatedly breached British broadcasting rules with biased coverage of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, according to a decision by the media regulator that could set up a diplomatic clash between the two countries. Ofcom said it was minded to formally sanction CGTN, the English-language rolling news channel owned by the Chinese government, for a “serious failure of compliance” after it failed to represent anti-Beijing viewpoints as protests raged across Hong Kong in late 2019.
China threat: British academics being used in Chinese coronavirus propaganda, MPs warn | Express.co.uk The row over China Global Television Network (CGTN) has dragged in one of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s policy advisers Professor Thom Brooks, the Dean of Durham University. The law professor has told the Sunday Express that he will not be working with the channel again and was unaware of controversies surrounding it.
Meanwhile in Beijing - BBC Sounds In the first of a new series of documentaries, the historian Rana Mitter invites you to turn your attention away from the virus, and to look instead at how China is combining its tech and consumer product prowess to make the case for its one-party model of government - and the impact on that of Covid-19. With contributions from: Daniel Bell, Peter Frankopan, Sophia Gaston, Isabel Hilton, Keyu Jin, Yu Jie, Zhang Weiwei
Liberal minister’s WeChat group promotes lawsuit against journalist who highlighted China's mask-hoarding - theBreaker A post on the Liberal Minister of Digital Government’s group on a China-state censored social media platform is promoting a lawsuit against an investigative journalist who cast a critical eye on China’s hoarding of medical supplies during the coronavirus pandemic.
Kenya Railways disowns scheme to oust Chinese firm from running SGR: The Standard At the centre of the denial is the potential diplomatic fallout that kicking out Afristar, wholly owned by the Chinese Government via China Road and Bridge Corporation, could have.
Rocket arrives as China targets July for Tianwen-1 Mars mission launch - SpaceNews.com Space officials at China’s ongoing annual political sessions in Beijing confirmed launch of the combined orbiter and rover mission for July. The specific launch date was not announced.
Hong Kong and Macao
Billionaire Macao Gambling Kingpin Stanley Ho Dies at 98 - Caixin A former World War II smuggler who rose to become the billionaire owner of the former Portuguese colony’s gambling monopoly and one of Asia’s richest men, Ho spent decades as a high-profile tycoon, investor, and philanthropist known as much for his opulent lifestyle as for his business interests. He died Tuesday at the private Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital, according to CCTV, China’s state-owned broadcaster. No cause of death has been announced.
HK national security law sheds light on Taiwan question: deputies - Global Times With the Hong Kong national security legislation as an example, the central government could further deepen, refine and even make related laws promoting reunification with the Anti-Secession Law as the basis, cracking down on "Taiwan independence" forces legally, said Cai Peihui, an NPC Taiwan deputy and a businessman from the island, according to a statement sent to the Global Times on Tuesday by the All-China Federation of Taiwan Compatriots. This is a powerful warning to Tsai Ing-wen's authority that "Taiwan independence," just like "Hong Kong independence," is not welcomed by the Chinese people. The central government's determination in dealing with the separatists of Hong Kong and Taiwan is the same, he said.
央视新闻：今年政府工作报告为何没提“九二共识”？ CCTV news analysis said people should not pay too much attention to that fact that the government report this year didn’t mention “1992 consensus” and “peaceful reunification”. The article said this didn’t suggest there is shift of China’s Taiwan policy, and Beijing will still try its best to achieve peaceful reunification with the island.
Tech and Media
YouTube is deleting comments with two phrases that insult China’s Communist Party - The Verge Comments left under videos or in live streams that contain the words “共匪” (“communist bandit”) or “五毛” (“50-cent party”) are automatically deleted in around 15 seconds, though their English language translations and Romanized Pinyin equivalents are not.
Can former Disney executive Kevin Mayer transform TikTok? | Financial Times “He is in a sensitive political zone,” said the Disney executive. “He has to build transparency in the US business, and make it acceptable to the political establishment in the US. He also has to align TikTok with its Chinese masters. And he has no experience of either.”..“We have a bit of a communications problem, I think, with political leaders,” said Bill Ford, a ByteDance board member and investor through his private equity group General Atlantic. “Everything from [us] being part of the Communist party to sharing data from TikTok with the Chinese government — which is all factually incorrect.” // Comment: It is a lot more than just a “bit of a communications problem”
Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History
Wang Yitai is the Future King of Chinese Hip Hop - RADII China Now one of China’s most popular rappers, and a regular collaborator with the likes of Chinese pop and hip hop luminaries Vava, Lexie Liu and Fat Shady, the 25-year-old rapper has established a huge following online, propelled to fame by his association with legendary Sichuan rap crew CDC (Chengdu Rap House), appearances on a variety of talent shows (naturally including The Rap of China) and the success of his debut album Yan, Shuo, Jia (演. 说. 家.).
A Story of Passion: Jade at The Met | Insider Insights - YouTube Discover the story behind one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of jade in the world in this talk focused on the 1902 gift of over 1,000 objects to The Met by businessman and philanthropist Heber Bishop. The collection ranges from Chinese lapidary works to samples from prehistoric Europe and Precolumbian Central America. // My great grandfather. We are living embodiments of the Chinese saying “富不过三代 wealth does not survive three generations"
Energy, Environment, Science and Health
Top-grade biosafety lab building spree planned in southern China | South China Morning Post The centres are needed ‘to cut the risks of transporting specimens and to strengthen diagnosis’
China's deep-sea manned submersible to explore furthest reaches of Mariana Trench - ECNS A deep-sea manned submersible capable of 10,000-meter dives will explore Challenger Deep, the deepest part of Mariana Trench in the Pacific this year, according to China State Shipbuilding.
Mountaineering guides complete building route to summit Mt. Qomolangma - Xinhua Chinese mountaineering guides have completed building a route to the summit of Mt. Qomolangma for survey group members who plan to remeasure the height of the world's tallest peak. The six mountaineering guides reached the summit and finished installing facilities at around 4:35 p.m. Tuesday, becoming the first group to scale the peak this year. The Chinese survey team will climb to the top of the mountain on Wednesday. // And the expedition is livestreamed here 巅峰见证——2020珠峰高程登顶测量直播
Rural and Agricultural Issues
Govt regulates law enforcement in agriculture - Gov.cn The General Office of the State Council issued a circular on May 25, outlining requirements and specifying functions for implementing the 2020 Guiding Catalog for Integrated Administrative Law Enforcement Items in Agriculture. The catalog requires efforts to reform integrated administrative law enforcement in agriculture and coordinate related functions and resources to avoid law enforcement overlapping among different administrative organs at different levels.