Hong Kong, US-China; Li Peng; PRC money in Australia

Beidaihe may not be much of a vacation for Xi Jinping this year.

After another weekend of protests in Hong Kong the the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council convened a rare press conference to condemn the protestors and express support for Carrie Lam and the Hong Kong police. So far Beijing is signaling that it will let Hong Kong deal with the problems, so we will probably see a ramping up of police deployments and aggressive tactics to control the protests, which in turn will probably backfire.

Li Peng’s funeral was Monday in Beijing. Jiang Zemin attended, walking with aides. Li’s death was nice political timing for Jiang, just before Beidaihe, to make an appearance. Jiang is probably the only elder whose death could even possibly have a significant impact on elite politics, and certainly while he is still alive he has influence, even if Xi has eroded much of it over the years. Hu Jintao did not attend, fueling speculation that he is quite sick, and the official reports mentioned no other retired senior leaders, perhaps in a sign of how little influence they now have.

The US-China trade talks reconvene Tuesday in Shanghai. Expectations for a breakthrough are low, though China did announce over the weekend it restarted some purchases of US agricultural goods and I am hearing talk that Xi may visit Shanghai during the talks. If he does, and drops by the talks, that would be a positive sign. Who knows, perhaps both sides are softening more than we realize?

I hear the mid-year big Politburo meeting to discuss the economy happened over the weekend, but so far there are no official reports about it. I would not expect much change in the current policy trajectory.

Australian media released a blockbuster report over the weekend about PRC money flowing into Australia via casinos. One very high roller mentioned is Xi’s cousin.

I know the newsletter can run long, if your email reader cuts it off you can click on the headline above to read it online. And I am going to work on brevity, but there is always so much going on…

Thanks for reading

The Essential Eight

1. Hong Kong

Ship of "one country, two systems" will sail far and steady despite winds and storms: spokesperson - Xinhua

Yang Guang, spokesperson for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, said at a press conference in Beijing that with the full support of the central government and the mainland, and under the leadership of Chief Executive Carrie Lam and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government, Hong Kong compatriots are surely able to govern, develop and manage Hong Kong well.



HK people urged to resolutely defend rule of law - Xinhua

"The central government firmly supports Chief Executive Carrie Lam leading the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government in the law-based governance, supports the Hong Kong police in their strict law enforcement, supports relevant departments of the SAR government and judicial organs in punishing the violent criminals in accordance with the law, and supports the people who love both our country and Hong Kong in their action to defend the rule of law in the region," said Yang.

China Backs Hong Kong Officials, but Leaves Protests for Them to Solve - The New York Times

Chinese officials made a strongly worded defense of the local Hong Kong authorities during a rare news conference in Beijing by the government office that oversees policy toward the city...

In his opening remarks, Mr. Yang expressed support for the city’s leader, Carrie Lam, and the police, who have come under criticism for what protesters say is the excessive use of force against demonstrators. Later, another official at the news conference, Xu Luying, emphasized that the central government would continue to support Mrs. Lam “in governing under the law, and unifying and leading Hong Kong people from all walks of life to defend Hong Kong’s political situation of prosperity and stability.”

Chinese state media calls for ‘forceful’ police action to end Hong Kong unrest | South China Morning Post

“At a time like this, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government and the police should not hesitate or have any unnecessary ‘psychological worries’ about taking all necessary steps [to restore order],” the commentary said.

“The SAR government and police should not forget that their strongest backing comes from the sacred missions bestowed on them by the Basic Law and the law of Hong Kong, and hence the SAR government and the police must act now in accordance with the laws, and punish all those perpetrators of violence as prescribed by the law.

China’s top television news show runs week of reports slamming Hong Kong protesters | South China Morning Post

China’s most watched daily television news programme has aired a series of damning reports about the anti-government protesters in Hong Kong and blamed “external forces” for helping to disrupt order in the city.

Outside meddling has colored protests | Opinion | China Daily

What is happening in Hong Kong is no longer the airing of real or imagined grievances. It is of the same hue as the color revolutions that were instigated in the Middle East and North Africa - local anti-government elements colluding with external forces to topple governments utilizing modern communication technology to spread rumors, distrust and fear.

Anti-riot vehicles equipped with water cannons to begin road tests in Hong Kong and could be ready to disperse protesters in August | South China Morning Post

Designed for crowd control and costing more than US$2 million, the Mercedes-Benz vehicles have been stationed in Fanling since May

Force considering spraying liquid dye at radical protesters to make identifying suspects easier, senior police source reveals

Hong Kong civil servants to take to the streets in extradition bill protest, piling pressure on embattled government | South China Morning Post

The rally was announced after a group of administrative officers – elite civil servants who form the backbone of the Hong Kong government – executive officers and government lawyers separately issued letters urging Lam to order an independent inquiry into the extradition saga and the civil unrest it triggered.

Hong Kong Unrest: ‘We Cannot Give Up’ - The New York Times

As protests in Hong Kong increasingly escalate into violent clashes, demonstrators, government supporters and others reflect on where the movement is headed.


Former deputy secretary general of CCP Shenzhen committee Li Luoli and a Hong Kong expert, said in an interview that China made six mistakes on Hong Kong after over the past two decades, including not doing enough to assert Beijing’s authority and not doing enough to intervene and fix the economy. The original article was published last month by the Qianhai Media, which is run by the Shenzhen government. The original article has been deleted.

In Hong Kong Protests, Faces Become Weapons - The New York Times

A quest to identify protesters and police officers has people in both groups desperate to protect their anonymity. Some fear a turn toward China-style surveillance.

Hong Kong police beat protesters inside Yuen Long MTR station - YouTube

Hong Kong Police Tactical Unit officers stormed Yuen Long MTR Station on Saturday, July 27, beating a group of protesters who were cornered. Pools of blood were seen on the floor as activists retreated into the station before they used water hoses and fire extinguisers to hinder the police operation.

2. Goodbye to Li Peng


The report on Li Peng's memorial service was top 5 minutes of Monday CCTV Evening News. Hu Jintao did not attend but instead sent a wreath and condolences from somewhere outside Beijing, spurring speculation he must be quite sick to miss this. No other retired officials were cited by name as attending the service or sending condolences.

Jiang Zemin walked with the help of aides:

李鹏同志遗体在京火化 习近平等到八宝山革命公墓送别--时政--人民网


Late Chinese leader Li Peng cremated - Xinhua

Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji, Han Zheng, Wang Qishan and Jiang Zemin, among others, paid their final respects at the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery. Hu Jintao, who is not in Beijing, sent a wreath to express his condolences.

Former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin joins Communist Party chiefs at funeral of Tiananmen premier Li Peng | South China Morning Post

An official eulogy distributed on Monday at Babaoshan, China’s national cemetery, praised Li for playing an instrumental role in stabilising the country’s economy and defeating Western sanctions after Tiananmen.

“In face of the ‘sanctions’ [imposed on China] by western countries and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in late 1980s and early 1990s, he … stood firm in defending national sovereignty, security and dignity,” the eulogy said.

“He upheld [our] principles in withstanding the pressure, and organised and participated in a large number of bilateral and multilateral diplomatic activities,” it said.

独家:李鹏去世,幼子李小勇涉刑事重案逃亡多年,高层特批辗转回国奔丧 – 博闻社

Rumors said Li Peng’s second son, Li Xiaoyong, was given special permission to come back to Beijing to attend his father’s funeral. Li and his wife (daughter of Ye Ting) are said to have been living in Singapore after his involvement in a major investment scam in 1998. The CCTV footage showed Li there for the cremation, but the footage cut out the parts of leaders shaking hands with him. Li was right next to his brother Li Xiaopeng.

3. US-China trade talks

Progress made in Chinese enterprises' purchase of U.S. agricultural products - Xinhua

Millions of tonnes of American soybeans have been shipped out to China, the latest progress in the purchase of U.S. agricultural products by Chinese enterprises after a June meeting of the two heads of state in Osaka, official sources said Sunday.

Meanwhile, the U.S. administration has announced the exemption of additional tariffs imposed on 110 items of Chinese industrial products and expressed its willingness to prompt the U.S. businesses to continue providing supplies for related Chinese enterprises.

These have shown the two sides' readiness to implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state in Osaka, according to sources with the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce.

抱着旧黄历 谈不出好结果

July 25 Taoran Notes, does not seem optimistic about the US-China talks this week, reiterates that China can withstand the tariffs until the US agrees to China's bottom lines

U.S., China move trade talks to Shanghai amid deal pessimism - Reuters

President Donald Trump said on Friday that he thinks China may not want to sign a trade deal until after the 2020 election in the hope that they could then negotiate more favorable terms with a different U.S. president...

“They are doing this little dance with Huawei and ag purchases,” said one source recently briefed by senior Chinese negotiators.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Friday said he “wouldn’t expect any grand deal,” at the meeting and negotiators would try to “reset the stage” to bring the talks back to where they were before the May blow-up.

Commentary: Sincerity still key in new round of China-U.S. trade consultations - Xinhua

In 1972, China and the United States formally issued a joint communique in Shanghai, marking the normalization of Sino-U.S. relations. The two sides have chosen Shanghai as the site for the resumption of economic and trade talks, and this beautiful message has filled all parties with high expectations. As Chinese authorities have said, for the next step, relevant Chinese companies will continue to promote the purchase of U.S. farm produce in accordance with demand. They also expressed the hope that the U.S. side will also take concrete measures to implement the relevant commitments it has made and create favorable conditions for bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

新闻联播:[视频]专家:中美互释善意 推动相向而行

CCTV Evening News cited Chinese experts in saying that China could purchase more US agri products if the US side reciprocates with more goodwill measures. 


CCTV Evening News also broadcast the People’s Daily editorial saying the soybean purchase shows China’s sincerity in trade talks and the US side should do the same.


Yuyuantantian, the Wechat account run by CCTV, praised China’s purchase of US soybean as a win-win decision that benefits US farmers and Chinese consumers, and it expects the US side to reciprocate. 


Xinhua commentary delivers the same message: the soy purchase is to show goodwill and the US side should reciprocate.

China’s Cybersecurity Regulations Rattle U.S. Businesses - WSJ $$

The new draft rules and standards, released over the past two months with little fanfare, flesh out an existing cybersecurity law that the U.S. and many foreign businesses already consider draconian. Some forbid certain data from leaving China or slow down the process of sending data overseas, increasing uncertainties and costs. Tough procurement rules could also place foreign products at a disadvantage...

The timing suggests Beijing is using them to show Washington it has options to punish U.S. businesses


In the 8th installment in its series on why the Chinese economy is doing OK, People's Daily runs a page 1 Monday story explaining why China is still a hot destination for foreign investment. All part of the "we can handle the US tariffs fine" messaging

Trump Presses World Trade Organization on China - The New York Times

The Trump administration on Friday escalated pressure on the World Trade Organization, giving the international group a 90-day ultimatum to alter a provision that the United States argues has long allowed China to game the global trading rules.

In a proclamation, President Trump said that the United States would “use all available means” to secure changes to a provision at the World Trade Organization that allows countries to decide whether they qualify as “developing countries.”

Commentary: Tampering with developing-country status to surely draw backlash - Xinhua

The U.S. government's latest hegemonic attempt to coerce the World Trade Organization (WTO) into changing its treatment of developing countries is destined to hit a wall of opposition...

It obviously timed the memo to serve as a new bargaining chip for the upcoming 12th round of China-U.S. high-level economic and trade consultations.

But the tactic of imposing pressure is nothing new to China and has never worked. After all, the United States needs to show good faith in trade talks. If it plans otherwise, China is ready and has nothing to fear.

故技重演 不得人心(钟声)

People’s Daily’s Zhong Sheng on Sunday denounced the US for publishing a memo that calls for reform of the special treatment for developing countries at WTO. Zhongsheng the US is simply being a hegemon and acting against the will of the world, and it will never succeed.


Xinshiping commentary on Xinhua said the US memo against WTO special treatment is simply a move to pressure China ahead of the trade talks in Shanghai, but it will never work. 

2020 Dems punt on Trump's China tariffs - Axios

None of the leading Democratic presidential contenders would immediately drop President Trump's tariffs on China if elected president, despite calling his moves against Beijing reckless,

Top 2020 Democrats on U.S. policy toward China | Axios

Each candidate was asked if they plan to take the China issue back from Trump, and if so, how? Specifically, we asked whether the candidates would immediately remove the Trump administration’s tariffs on Chinese imports, and if so, how else they would address China's theft of America's Intellectual Property?

4. US-China overall

Sexism and Propaganda | China Media Project

In recent days, the official nightly newscast Xinwen Lianbo (新闻联播) has made liberal use of online neologisms to sharply criticize the United States for ongoing trade tensions that have thwarted China’s development. These terms include “makes people spit out their food” (令人喷饭), which means that something is so ridiculous it invites ridicule; “crazy fits of rage and jealousy” (羡慕嫉妒恨); and the clearly sexist “complaining woman syndrome” (怨妇心态)...

During the news program on July 25, anchor Kang Hui (康辉) read out an international commentary called “Who Is Actually Bullying and Scaring Others All Over the World?” (究竟谁在全球到处欺侮恫吓他人?) in which he used the phrase “complaining woman syndrome” to criticize the United States for having “double standards.” The use of this term in an official commentary drew lively discussion online.

On July 26, another international commentary was called “America’s ‘Complaining Woman Syndrome’ is a Stumbling Block for Global Cooperation and Development” (美国的“怨妇心态”是全球合作发展的绊脚石). The commentary said that some people in the US had “crazy fits of rage and jealousy” over China’s economic power.


Yuyuantantian, the Wechat account run by CCTV, on Friday lashed out at the US in for reneging on trade talks, supporting Hong Kong protesters, unfair treatment of Huawei and a long list of other bullying actions. The article is titled “Don’t be so American”, and it suggests being American is the same as being a bully, a liar and a hypocrite. The article went viral on Chinese internet.


The state-run China Society for Human Rights Studies on Friday published a report of US human rights violations, saying America is simply a hypocrite in talking about human rights. 


CCTV on Saturday again ran a long commentary criticizing the US human rights record. It said American politicians have been using human rights as a tool to preserve its hegemony while ignoring the human rights at home.

China, U.S. city leaders gather - China Daily

With desires to deepen local-level China-U.S. ties and to broaden bilateral cooperation echoed among Chinese and U.S. city leaders, business community members, and diplomats as hundreds of them gathered in Houston on Wednesday for the fourth U.S.-China Sister Cities Mayors' Summit [July 17-19]...

Xie Yuan, vice-president of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, the other co-host of the summit, said in his remarks that the summit serves as a platform for further development of sister cities and pragmatic cooperation between the local governments of the two countries.

Comment: I hear Xie, who has the rank of bureau head in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was stopped at immigration and questioned for several hours by FBI agents before they allowed him in to the US



中国的综合国力在不断上升,如今5G技术又势头迅猛,使得美国不得不担忧自己的国际地位。在美国Deep State对中国摊牌的情况下,中国要以坚定回击确保本国核心利益,以局部妥协换取全局主动,比如同美国五十个州建立更深的经贸关系,以更深入的挂钩来构建中美利益共同体...


Comment: Influential Chinese scholar of America Huang Renwei in a March talk looked to Mao's "On Protracted War" to analyze the state of the US-China relationship, says we are in a protracted period of stalemate before China can catch up and the US-China relationship rebalances, says China should deepen relationships at the US state level as a way to counterbalance the more hawkish policies coming from DC, says that China can fill the gap in providing global public goods as the US withdraws from the world, and that will help with the eventual rebalancing of the US-China relationship in China's favor. 

‘When paradigms die’: China veterans fear extinction in Trump’s Washington - POLITICO 

5. Xi’s cousin and dirty PRC money and influence in Australia

Crown's unsavoury business links: how Australia's casino got tied up with criminals - Sydney Morning Herald

[Tom] Zhou is no ordinary Crown partner. He is, in fact, an international criminal fugitive, the subject of an Interpol red notice for financial crime that netted him tens of millions of dollars. He is supposed to be arrested immediately if he crosses a country’s border.

And from an Australian national security point of view, he is a double threat. He also heads several Chinese Communist Party-aligned organisations in Melbourne designed to project Beijing's influence in Australia...

Comment: Zhou brought Xi's cousin to gamble...

This man is described in the leaked Crown data as a “VVIP” or “very, very important person”. His name is Ming Chai and, while he is unknown in Australia, his family is famous in China.

Ming Chai is a blood relative of the most powerful man in China, its president Xi Jinping...

Chai’s father is a former high ranking chief of the Chinese Peoples’ Armed Police service, a service for which Chai himself briefly worked before moving to Australia in the early 1990s. Chai’s father is also the uncle of the Chinese president Xi Jinping.

Chai is the president’s cousin...

The leaked Crown data reveals that, in 2014, Chai became one of Crown’s top fifty Chinese high rollers, turning over tens of millions of dollars.

Crown Casino exposed. Sex trafficking, drugs, money laundering | 60 Minutes Australia - YouTube

A six-month joint investigation by 60 MINUTES, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald has exposed a corporate scandal unlike anything Australia has seen before.

60 Minutes major investigation: Ex-Crown employee breaks silence on what really happened during Chinese police raids

A former employee of Australian gambling giant Crown Resorts is risking her personal safety to reveal what really happened to her and 18 Crown colleagues when they were raided and arrested by Chinese police on October 14, 2016.

Meanwhile, PRC money is causing other issues in Australia - China diplomat slapped down over uni protest - The Australian

Foreign Minister Marise Payne has warned that the Morrison government won’t tolerate foreign interference in the exercise of free speech in Australia, after a senior Chinese diplomat backed “patriotic behaviour” by Chinese students who clashed violently with pro-Hong Kong protesters at the University of Queensland.

The start of the physical confrontation:

The China Challenge | The Centre for Independent Studies Australia

The key components of a new approach should be a resolute shift towards a much better understanding of contemporary China as well as greater engagement with Chinese individuals and groups beyond the party-state.

6. Genome edited crops

To feed its 1.4 billion, China bets big on genome editing of crops | Science | AAAS

Gao is one face of the Chinese government’s bet that CRISPR can transform the country’s food supply. A natural bacterial immune system, CRISPR was turned into a powerful genome editor just a few years ago in U.S. and European labs. Yet today, China publishes twice as many CRISPR-related agricultural papers as the second-place country, the United States...

Gao has her own contenders to be China’s first CRISPR crops: different kinds of aromatic rice—“it’s easy to make and very popular,” she says—and wheat that’s resistant to powdery mildew. Regardless of which crops make it to farmers first, Gao says, they likely will arrive long before any CRISPR-derived medical treatment reaches a doctor’s office or an animal product comes to market. Crops may have a lower profile, but the research also presents fewer risks and ethical dilemmas. Propelled by China’s vast investment, it is also much further along.

Just ask Gao. If Chinese regulators do open the door for CRISPR-engineered food, how long would it take before something in one of her culture rooms or greenhouses might be ready for planting on a commercial farm? “Six months,” she says. “That’s why we work with CRISPR.”

7. Fake social media popularity

Chinese Millennials Are Sick of the Gen Z, They Dethroned A Young Pop Star from Social Network and Instated Their Own Favorite - PingWest

China’s Twitter-like Weibo nearly boiled last week, as Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou, whose last album was released in 2012, defeat Cai Xukun, the current most popular celebrity in China, in a battle of the “Super Hashtag” on that social network...

It is no secret and that with the way the fan economy works, the celebrities engaged in the above mentioned activities are faking their online popularity by hiring fans and using bots. And when they are faking it for long enough, they would have made it.

Spending money to improve social media rankings has become the norm in China’s entertainment industry. In response to the growing demand, even a professional industrial chain was born. A fan of a Chinese idol whose name the fan did not wish to expose bluntly said that she and her like-minded folks can easily purchase a huge number of third-party services to enhance their idol's ranking on Weibo...

Things went so beyond norms that even state-owned media outlets like CCTV and the People’s Daily have criticized online celebrities like Cai for creating illusions of extraordinary popularity and great recognition through data fraud.

8. Media to mafia

A logical progression given the control over the propaganda outlets?

From Media to Mafia: How Television Journalist Miao Yingchun Became a Gangster - Caixin

Miao’s house reportedly contained nearly 70 million yuan ($10.1 million) worth of gold and a number of illegal weapons. His family’s assets exceeded 160 million yuan, including 74 homes in Beijing, Sanya, Hohhot, Ulanqab and other places. 

One year later, on July 12, Miao was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Hohhot Intermediate Court. He was found guilty of organizing, leading and participating in organized crime, for falsely accusing or framing others of crimes, and eight counts of intentional assault and other crimes...

Former colleagues believed that there was an ulterior motive in Miao’s choice to report on politics and legal affairs. He used his position reporting on public security organs to establish a wide range of contacts within the police force and the prosecutorial system of Ulanqab...

In March 2014, in order to force Inner Mongolia Hetao Liquor to buy more advertisements on the TV channel, Miao ordered four of his employees to buy Hetao’s alcohol products and pretend to have alcohol poisoning...

Miao not only used brute force to punish those he decided had crossed him — he also used official channels, such as when he managed to have his neighbor Li Yongqiang sent to a detention center for five months.

Business, Economy and Trade

China Opens Up About Its Forex Reserves - Caixin Caixin has learned that the reserves have been invested in more than 50 types of assets, covering almost all types of financial assets in the international market, with more than 6,000 targets involving over 30 currencies. China’s gold reserves rose last year to 1,852 tons, the sixth largest in the world, from 1,842 tons in 2017, according to the SAFE annual report. After remaining unchanged at 1,054 tons from 2009 to 2014, the administration reported a surge in holdings in 2015 to 1,762 tons.

在全国深化“放管服”改革优化营商环境电视电话会议上的讲话--时政--人民网 Li Keqiang chaired a nationwide video conference on improving the environment for private businesses. Thereport on the progress and remaining challenges takes up all of page 2 of the Monday People's Daily. They sure are saying the right things about removing regulatory barriers to private business, and giving greater say to the market, but the bureaucratic resistance seems strong and progress not where it needs to be

China to support debt-for-equity swap for private businesses - Xinhua The move aims to reduce debt risks for private businesses and boost the growth of the private economy, said the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). According to a guideline jointly released by the NDRC, the People's Bank of China, the Ministry of Finance and the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, the country will strengthen financial asset investment firms' pivotal role in the swap program, encourage the participation of social capital and accelerate asset transaction.

Shrinking Chinese car market sparks fears over foreign groups’ future | Financial Times Ford’s plants in China operated at 11 per cent of their potential output in the first half of the year, according to a Financial Times analysis of production data from its joint venture partner Chang’an Auto. Ford’s China sales fell 27 per cent year on year in the first half. PSA’s plant with Chang’an produced just 102 cars in the first half of the year, according to China’s official auto industry association, meaning capacity use fell below 1 per cent.

Yicai Global - Tencent Renews NBA Broadcast Rights for USD1.5 Billion, Tripling Previous Price Chinese internet and entertainment giant Tencent Holdings has paid USD1.5 billion to renew its exclusive five-year digital licensing contract with the National Basketball Association, some three times the value of their previous agreement.

China vows to improve management, supervision over state-owned assets - Xinhua From 2013 to 2018, the total assets of the enterprises under the supervision of the SASAC surged from 85.4 trillion yuan (about 12.4 trillion U.S. dollars) to 180.7 trillion yuan, with an annual growth rate of 16.2 percent. During the period, the operating revenue of those enterprises increased by 13.4 trillion yuan to 55.4 trillion yuan in 2018, while their combined profits jumped to 3.4 trillion yuan last year.

入不敷出怎么办?地方财政各自谋出路_财新周刊频道_财新网 Caixin says many local governments are having trouble raising enough revenues after China’s recent campaign of cutting taxes. Their solutions are selling government properties and local SOEs and asking the local SOEs to submit more revenues.

PepsiCo buys stake in Chinese natural food company - Food Business News Natural Food, through its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells grain, nut and berry food products with a focus on grain-based premium nutrition powder. It is China’s second largest natural food producer by retail sales and offers products under the Wugu Mofang (五谷磨房) brand

China’s Biggest Private Sector Company Is Betting Its Future on Data | Fortune But automated auto inspection is only one of myriad marvels that illustrate how Ping An is using A.I. and big data to transform everyday life in China. There’s also the facial-­recognition technology the Shenzhen-based conglomerate uses in its consumer lending business; Ping An claims its A.I. can read 54 distinct “micro-expressions” to determine whether loan applicants are lying

Wanda Fundraising Marchs On With Sports IPO, Film Unit Stake Sale Talks - Caixin Wanda Group has raised about $200 million from an initial public offering (IPO) for its sports division, less than half its original target, and is in talks to sell a stake in its Legendary Entertainment film unit, continuing an asset sell-down to ease its debt burden.

China pushing for world’s largest regional trade deal without US, hailing ‘momentum’ with Asian partners | South China Morning Post China is pushing hard to conclude the world’s largest regional trade agreement, hailed as “the most important free trade deal in East Asia”, before the end of 2019 by rallying delegates from 16 countries that crucially does not include the United States.

China Proposes Tighter Oversight of Financial Holding Companies - Bloomberg Certain non-financial firms or individuals with businesses that straddle at least two financial industries will be classified as “financial holding companies” and will need licenses from the People’s Bank of China to operate, the regulator said in proposals Friday.

Veteran Insurance Regulator Falls in Anti-Graft Campaign - Caixin Qi Xinzheng, chief of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC)’s branch in the southeastern coastal province of Fujian, has been placed under investigation for alleged “serious violations in (Communist Party) discipline and law” — a euphemism for corruption.

China's potential unreliable entity list emerges - Global Times A potential Chinese unreliable entity list has emerged. Foreign companies such as FedEx, Flex and HSBC are likely to be first included on the list for their behaviors jeopardizing the interests of Chinese firms by cooperating with US long-arm jurisdiction. Chinese authorities on Friday unveiled more details about the ongoing probe into US delivery firm FedEx, saying the firm's previous statement that the misrouting of Huawei's packages to the US was an "operational error" is inconsistent with facts.

China's ICBC, others buying more than 17.3% stake in troubled Bank of Jinzhou - Reuters Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the country’s largest lender by assets, and China Cinda Asset Management and China Great Wall Asset Management, two of China’s four largest distressed debt managers, said on Sunday they would take stakes in Bank of Jinzhou.

Macro Outlook: Stabilizing Growth Without Stimulus - MacroPolo - Houze Song The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) is poised to cut interest rates by as much as 30 basis points in the second half, while fiscal spending will also be ramped up. 
Beijing will also focus efforts on rescuing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from financial hardship, which will divert resources from stimulating headline growth overall. 
To effectively balance stabilizing growth and deleveraging while leaving policy room for contingency measures means that Beijing is unlikely to announce any major stimulus.

Politics and Law

China Considers Blacklist for Online Rumormongers - Caixin A draft regulation released for public comment on July 22 by the Cyberspace Administration of China proposes restricting the internet access of users and providers of online information services that “fabricate, publish, or spread information that violates public morality, business ethics, or good faith” or deliberately provide technological assistance to those who do so. Those whose online misdemeanors result in the closure of their websites or the revocation of their business licenses may also be added to the list, the draft regulation adds.

新华:一天之内警情通报“六连发”!多名“精日”分子被抓获 Xinhua said Chinese police have arrested at least 10 netizens over the past months for writing derogatory comments against the government or “patriotic Chinese”.

Senior CPC official stresses importance on studying Party publicity affairs regulation - Xinhua Huang Kunming, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, said the regulation is the Party's first fundamental regulation on publicity affairs and is a milestone for the Party's history of publicity affairs development. 黄坤明出席贯彻落实《中国共产党宣传工作条例》电视电话会议强调 以党内法规建设新成效 推动宣传思想工作开创新局面

China sentences trailblazing online activist to 12 years in prison - The Washington Post Huang Qi, the founder the 64 Tianwang website that aired accounts of government abuse, corruption and fecklessness from across China for two decades, was sentenced for “deliberately disclosing state secrets” to foreign parties, the Mianyang Intermediate People's Court in Sichuan Province said in a brief online announcement Monday. Before he was arrested most recently in 2016, Huang, 56, had served two other stints in prison for his advocacy and spent roughly half of the last 20 years behind bars.

中共中央办公厅印发《关于贯彻实施公务员法建设高素质专业化公务员队伍的意见》 The CCP Central issues a guideline on improving the quality of public servants. Interesting that it said the government should “diversify the sources of public servants” 拓宽公务员队伍来源渠道, suggesting that the government could recruit people with more diverse backgrounds.

China dispatches 2,307 young cadres in aid for Tibet, Qinghai - Xinhua Selected from 105 central units and 17 provinces and municipalities by the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the cadres will spend three years in the regions.

Senior official underlines drinking water safety in poor areas - Xinhua After visits to some impoverished villages, Hu [Chunhua] said efforts should be made to ensure compulsory education, basic medical care, and housing for the rural poor, while drinking water safety should be guaranteed. The country's central authorities should speed up the implementation of poverty relief policies, while local governments should increase fund use efficiency, he said.

Does China have an ideological “red line”? | Andrew Batson's Blog Nor do I think that this tactical flexibility and ideological emptiness mean that China is no longer actually “socialist.” There is a lot of useless debate about the meaning of socialism these days, but I still hold to the classical definition of socialism from Janos Kornai, the great Hungarian scholar of socialist economics: “The primary attribute of the socialist system is that a Marxist-Leninist party exercises undivided power.” Xi Jinping could not have put it better himself.

Foreign and Defense Affairs

Chinese military starts Taiwan Strait drills amid rising tension with US over island | South China Morning Post Ships were prohibited from entering the waters off the coast of eastern China’s Zhejiang province between 6pm on Saturday and 6pm on Thursday due to planned military exercises, Zhejiang Maritime Safety Administration said in a brief notice on Sunday. In another notice, Guangdong Maritime Safety Administration said another set of military exercises would be held in the waters off Fujian province between Monday morning and Friday evening.// Thursday August 1 is the 92nd birthday of the PLA. I will be at the PRC embassy DC event for the anniversary Wednesday, if you are there please say hello.

China deploys J-20 stealth fighter ‘to keep tabs on Taiwan’ | South China Morning Post Chinese media reported that the stealth fighter had entered the Eastern Theatre Command, which encompasses Taiwan.

Xi calls for new advances in veterans affairs - Xinhua Xi…made the remarks while meeting with representatives who are in Beijing to attend a national conference on the work of veterans affairs. While meeting with the 94-year-old war hero Zhang Fuqing, Xi bent over, held his hands and extended heartfelt greetings to him.

China’s Giant Spy Drone Just Tailed a U.S. Navy Cruiser | The National Interest The Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Antietam transited the Taiwan Strait on July 24, 2019 as a show of force. In addition to the Soar Eagle, Beijing sortied J-11 fighters 10 times during Antietam’s nine-hour transit, according to Taiwan’s Up Media.

U.S. Coast Guard calls for push-back vs. China; PH pulls back - Rappler "I think there needs to be an international push-back to say you know, we reject the types of behaviors, the antagonistic, aggressive behaviors that are not consistent with the rule-based order,” USCG Commandant Admiral Karl Schultz told reporters in a phone interview earlier this week.

DND chief bares Philippines intrusion by China warships - PhilStar Four Chinese warships have entered and sailed through the country’s territorial waters in beween Sibutu Island and Bongao, Tawi-Tawi at least three times since February without any prior coordination with Philippine authorities.

How Vladimir Putin’s embrace of China weakens Russia - The junior partner - the Economist He needs Xi Jinping more than Mr Xi needs him—and Central Asia is changing as a result

Partnership is much better for China than it is for Russia - The Economist Briefing Though America is out in the cold, the price is falling chiefly on Russia. China dominates every aspect of the two countries’ partnership. Its economy is six times larger (at purchasing-power parity) and its power is growing, even as Russia’s fades. What seemed a brilliant way for Mr Putin to turn his back on the West and magnify Russia’s influence is looking like a trap that his country will find hard to escape. Far from being an equal partner, Russia is evolving into a Chinese tributary.

Russia-China is the cover subject of this week’s Economist:

Chinese missile destroyer partakes in Russian naval parade - Xinhua Chinese missile destroyer "Xi'an" of the 32nd Chinese naval escort fleet participated in a military parade here marking Russia's Navy Day on Sunday. Russian President Vladimir Putin reviewed the Chinese warship along with Russian vessels and an Indian frigate on the sea near Kronshtadt islet off the shore of St. Petersburg.

As the Chinese Cut Down Siberia’s Forests, Tensions with Russians Rise - The New York Times “This will last another five years, maybe,” he said of the Chinese logging boom. “Then the Russians will start thinking, and they will also forbid logging.”

Chinese company in bid to buy Ukrainian aeroengine giant | China - WorldTimes News Skyrizon, also known as Beijing Tianjiao Aviation Industry Investment Company, is waiting for the result of an assessment by the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine....The new application was handed to the relevant Ukraine government authority on June 7 and accepted on June 21. Skyrizon would own more than 50 percent of Motor Sich if the acquisition works, read the note.

Xi's special envoy to attend Micronesian presidential inauguration - Xinhua Chinese President Xi Jinping's special envoy Yang Chuantang, also vice chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, will attend the inauguration ceremony for the new president David W. Panuelo of the Federated States of Micronesia, scheduled for the end of this month

US secretary of state to visit Pohnpei | Guam News | postguam.com Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Pohnpei on Aug. 5. It will be the first visit by a U.S. secretary of state to the Federated States of Micronesia. Pompeo is scheduled to meet with newly elected FSM President David Panuelo, Republic of the Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine and Republic of Palau President Thomas Remengesau Jr.

China Has Quietly Carved out a Foothold in North Africa | The Diplomat Construction of the impressive Great Mosque of Algiers concluded in April to little international fanfare. Yet the international community should be paying attention. Not only is Algeria’s impressive new structure the largest mosque in Africa and third largest in the world, it was also built by the China State Construction Engineering Corporation at the cost of $1 billion. The mosque’s opening should alert Western observers that in North Africa, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has found a potential foothold

China, Pakistan to strengthen anti-terrorism, security cooperation - Xinhua Guo Shengkun, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and head of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks when meeting with Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Pakistan's chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.

Latin America trade grows as China and US tussle for influence | South China Morning Post China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi wraps up a tour of Latin America on Sunday which began last week in Brazil and ended with an official visit to Chile. He returns to Beijing on the same day Colombia’s President Ivan Duque Marquez arrives for a three-day state visit to China which will include a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

San Francisco State shuts down Chinese language program under federal pressure - Los Angeles Times Under federal pressure, San Francisco State University has abruptly ended a 14-year collaboration with China that subsidized the Redding program and supported Chinese language classes, cultural events, teacher training and summer camps for thousands of other Bay Area students, educators and community members. Since 2005, San Francisco State had partnered with Beijing Normal University to host a collaborative Confucius Institute on the Bay Area campus. The $390,000 annual costs were split between SFSU and Hanban, an affiliate of the Chinese Ministry of Education.


Beijing-friendly candidate says elections a 'battle' for Taiwan - AFP Taiwan's upcoming elections will be a "heart-pounding, soul-stirring battle" for the island's future, Beijing-friendly candidate Han Kuo-yu said Sunday in his first speech since becoming the opposition party's presidential hopeful. Han described January's vote as a choice between "peace or crisis" with China in a speech to a packed stadium at the Kuomintang (KMT) party's national congress.

Tech and Media

TikTok’s parent company is reportedly working on a smartphone The project, which Chinese financial news site Caijing says has been in development for seven months, is the continuation of a separate deal with niche handset manufacturer Smartisan.

Chinese smartphone manufacturers are edging out competitors in India: report · TechNode Four of the top five most popular smartphone brands in India are Chinese. Xiaomi takes the top spot, controlling nearly a third of the Indian market, up 4% year on year, according to the Canalys report released on Monday

China Box Office: ‘Nezha’ Breaks Animation Records on Opening Weekend – Variety Directed by Yang Yu, who also goes by the name Jiaozi, or “dumpling” in English, “Nezha” opened far ahead of the $65.2 million raked in by “Despicable Me 3.” With $32.7 million earned on Saturday, “Nezha” also claimed the single-day animation record previously held by “Zootopia” in 2016.

Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

Picasso Show Captivates Beijing, Whose Art Scene Hums as Censors Hover - The New York Times Picasso has long been accepted in China. His onetime membership in the Communist Party helped. When the Communists grasped victory in 1949, an image of a dove by Picasso hung as a symbol of peace at an international conference in Beijing alongside portraits of Stalin and Mao.

Gareth Bale left in limbo after Real Madrid board block China move | The Guardian The Wales winger had been expected to join the Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning on a three-year deal this week with a contract worth more than £1m a week. That move is now off after the Real’s board reportedly decided they want a transfer fee

The Darkness After the Fire - China Narrative This edition of Chinarrative tells the story of the Sichuan bush fires, as first told by writers from the publication Meirirenwu.

Yao Li, ‘Silver Voice’ of Shanghai, Dies at 96 - The New York Times 

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

Xi calls for turning more deserts green - China Daily "The Earth is the only home to human beings, and anti-desertification is a great cause closely related to human development," Xi said. "China also stands ready to work with all sides to push forward global environmental governance and protection, and contribute to making the world a place with a well-preserved ecology."

Jobs and Events

DRi | Director of China Programs (CTFK) - DRi The Director of China Programs will be responsible for the development and implementation of strategies to advance policies and measures advancing related to its existing programs. - DC-based


Chinese premier stresses quality, equality of basic education - Xinhua In an instruction to a national meeting on basic education held here Monday, Li said that the country should provide more support for education development in impoverished regions, ensure a balanced development of compulsory education and address the problems such as children from needy families dropping out of school.