Hong Kong votes; More Xinjiang documents; Alleged spy in Australia

It was a rough weekend for Beijing.

The Pan-Democrats shocked the establishment with massive gains in the District Council election, the only vote in Hong Kong that is truly representative. Beijing has not fully formed the propaganda response to the defeat, perhaps because the leadership expected the results to be much better.

There has been a second leak of documents about the Xinjiang camps, this time to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Something seems funky about the timing of the New York Times report last week on a different batch of Xinjiang documents, and now this explosive report just a week later, but regardless these new reports of what is being done in Xinjiang are equally damning. Given the release of all this evidence of China’s Xinjiang camps and cultural genocide of Uyghurs we should expect a pressure campaign to boycott or move the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. We should also expect a very nasty effort inside the PRC to uncover who is leaking.

Australia woke up to a series of explosive reports about a man claiming to be a Chinese spy who wanted to defect to Australia. His background and claims are hard to verify, and there are plenty of people casting doubts on his veracity. I do not know what Mr. “Wang Liqiang” , if that is his real name, is, but his story has legs and is feeding into the broader” awakening” in Australia of all sorts of PRC and CCP misbehavior.

Thanks for reading.


1. Hong Kong

A 7th Procrastination: Landslide in Hong Kong - Antony Dapiran

The key data coming out of Sunday’s District Council election:

Highest-ever turnout for a Hong Kong election, with 2.9 million voters (out of 4.1 million total eligible voters) casting a vote, representing a turnout of 71%.

Pan-Democrat (i.e. anti-government/pro-protester) candidates won 385 seats; Pro-Beijing (“establishment”, pro-government) candidates won only 59 seats; 8 seats went to independents. (For comparison, in the 2015 District Council election the split was Pan-Dem 126 seats; Pro-Beijing 298 seats; independent 7 seats.)

Pan-Dems won control of 17 out of the 18 District Councils. Pan-Dems previously controlled none. On 2 of the 18 councils — Wong Tai Sin and Tai Po — Pan-Dems won every single seat...

Pan-Dems won around 57% of the popular vote; Pro-Beijing won around 41% of the popular vote.

Dapiran has the best analysis of the elections I have seen. His conclusion is not optimistic:

Make no mistake: this election result will not be seen by Beijing as a sign that they need to change tack in their approach to Hong Kong. It will not be the catalyst for some grand compromise. It will be seen as a sign that the Hong Kong people are making the wrong choice, and action needs to be taken to correct them. This is an emergency — one that, one way or another, Beijing will need to address before the more important Legislative Council elections in September 2020.

Yesterday brought us the fruits of Hong Kong’s Summer of Discontent. Time to brace ourselves for Winter?

Opinion | This Was Hong Kong’s Most Important Election Ever - The New York Times - Benny Tai

Perhaps even more important, 117 seats are reserved for district councilors on the election committee, the 1,200-member body that chooses Hong Kong’s chief executive. Thanks to the pro-democracy camp’s victory on Sunday and its new commanding majority of district council seats, all 117 of those election committee members will likely be from among its ranks.

Pan-democracy win should end violence in HK - Global Times

Hao Shinan, an expert at Shanghai International Studies University, who observes Hong Kong affairs, said that pro-establishment camp's defeat was a result created by issues related to the election cycle under a special political climate.

As Hao explained, this does not mean the pro-establishment camp does not stand a chance to make a comeback and nor does it foreshadow the results of next year's 2020 Hong Kong Legislative Council election...

On major issues, pro-establishment parties should stand firm and remain confident in expressing their views such as saying "no" to violence and supporting legislation of Article 23 of the Basic Law, Hao said.

In Hong Kong elections, big defeat for elites pressures Beijing to rethink approach - The Washington Post

The celebrations kicked off when results started trickling in early Monday, particularly in the constituency where Junius Ho, a stridently pro-Beijing politician, lost his seat.

In July, Ho was seen shaking hands with members of a mob on the night they attacked pro-democracy protesters in a subway station. He has threatened to kill advocates of Hong Kong independence and recently used vulgar language toward a pro-democracy lawmaker. He has denied culpability in the mob attacks and says his threats have been taken out of context. He was also attacked with a knife and lightly injured during campaigning.

China tries to brush off pro-democracy victory in Hong Kong election and blames ‘foreign forces’ for interfering | South China Morning Post

State media preferred to focus on calls for law and order to be preserved and the accusation that Western countries had been instigating unrest.

Many official media outlets only ran brief reports on the vote, with state news agency Xinhua declining to report the results, in which the pro-democracy camp took control of 17 out of 18 councils.

HKSAR completes sixth-term district council election - Xinhua

In the past more than five months, rioters, in concert with external forces, have continuously committed and escalated violence, resulting in social and political confrontation, rift in social sentiment and setbacks in economy and people's livelihood. Months of social unrest has seriously disrupted the electoral process.

On the election day, some rioters harassed patriotic candidates. The most pressing task for Hong Kong at present is still to bring the violence and chaos to an end and restore order.

Results of HKSAR district council elections announced - CGTN

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang on Monday stressed Beijing's firm determination to safeguard national sovereignty and stop the violence in Hong Kong.

"Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs. No foreign government, organization or individual has the right to interfere," he said, reiterating Beijing's unwavering support for Chief Executive Carrie Lam in leading the SAR government.

Lam said in a statement that the government respected the results and wished "the peaceful, safe and orderly situation to continue."

"There are various analyses and interpretations in the community in relation to the results, and quite a few are of the view that the results reflect people's dissatisfaction with the current situation and the deep-seated problems in society," she said.

人民锐评:止暴制乱仍是香港当前最紧迫的任务_腾讯新闻 - "People's sharp comment": stoping violence and controlling chaos is still the most urgent task in Hong Kong

People's Daily Online weighs in Monday night:

本届区选是在“黑色恐怖”浓烟尚未消散、港版“颜色革命”之火仍在燃烧、暴力活动持续升级的大环境下进行的一次颇为艰难的选举。尽管一些选区出现了威胁选民、滋扰投票的现象,但在特区政府的周密准备下,在香港警方全警力投入、高姿态巡逻、多预案应急的保驾护航下,本次选举大致和平、安全和有序。

The election is a tough one, with the smoke of black terror still billowing, the fire of the Hong Kong version of the "color revolution" still burning and violence continuing to escalate. Despite threats and vote-provoking in some constituencies, the election was largely peaceful, safe and orderly, with the careful preparation of the SAR government, the full commitment of the Hong Kong police, high-profile patrols and multiple contingency plans.

新闻联播 - 11.25 CCTv Evening News

4 pieces condemning US interference and the violence in Hong Kong, no mention of the election results. It takes time for the propaganda messaging to be set, and the CCTV Evening News show does not do breaking news... The four pieces:
华人华侨:美企图干预香港事务注定失败
人民日报钟声文章:煽动暴乱的恶行必将被国际社会唾弃
新华国际时评:煽动暴乱注定不得人心
国际锐评】煽动暴乱祸害他国必遭反噬

国际法不容美国对香港事务指手画脚(钟声)

People's Daily Zhong Sheng says that the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act violates international law

Violence threatens Hong Kong's democracy - China Daily Opinion

If the opposition camp in Hong Kong claim the District Council election on Sunday a "victory", then they should realize what kinds of shameless measures were taken to help them achieve that "victory"...

It is hard to imagine how many people's opinions the election result represents. When people live under so heavy shadow of the rioters' terror that they dare not speak out against them, it needs courage for them to express their feelings via a vote.


2. More leaks of documents about the Xinjiang camps

About the China Cables Investigation - ICIJ

China Cables is an investigation into the surveillance and mass internment without charge or trial of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in China’s Xinjiang province, based on leaked classified Chinese government documents.

The investigation provides — in the government’s own words and authoritative detail — a description of China’s extrajudicial internment and compulsory indoctrination of Muslims as part of a sweeping program of mass surveillance and population control..

More than 75 journalists from ICIJ and 17 media partner organizations in 14 countries joined together to report on the documents and their significance. They spoke with more than 40 Uighurs in 10 countries, including Kazakhstan, Turkey, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands and the United States of America, and numerous experts.

The secret documents came to ICIJ via a chain of exiled Uighurs.

Read the China Cables Documents - ICIJ

Their authenticity was confirmed by several leading experts, including James Mulvenon, vice-president of Defense Group Inc, Adrian Zenz, a senior fellow in China studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington, D.C. and several intelligence sources who cannot be identified.

Zhu Hailun: The man behind China's detention of 1 million Muslims - AP

After bloody race riots rocked China's far west a decade ago, the ruling Communist Party turned to a rare figure in their ranks to restore order: a Han Chinese official fluent in Uighur, the language of the local Turkic Muslim minority.

Now, newly revealed, confidential documents show that the official, Zhu Hailun, played a key role in planning and executing a campaign that has swept up a million or more Uighurs into detention camps.

Leaked China Files Show Internment Camps Are Ruled by Secrecy and Spying - The New York Times

The disclosure of the 24 pages of documents amounts to a second significant leak from inside China’s ruling Communist Party related to the crackdown. A member of the Chinese political establishment shared a different, 403-page set of internal papers with The New York Times earlier this year, expressing hope that it would make it more difficult for party leaders, including President Xi Jinping, to escape culpability for the mass detentions.

While the source of the new documents is unknown — they were provided by Uighur overseas networks — their disclosure may amount to another sign of dissent in the party over the crackdown.

Opinion | China Didn’t Want Us to Know. Now Its Own Files Are Doing the Talking. - The New York Times

This Sunday, the contents of two more sets of documents — all of which I have reviewed — are being disclosed. Among the first batch, also leaked, is a confidential telegram signed by Zhu Hailun, Xinjiang’s deputy party secretary, which details how local authorities should manage and operate the “vocational skills training centers” — a euphemism for the internment camps. (All translations here are mine.) The second set of documents, a large cache of files and spreadsheets from local governments, reveals the internment campaign’s devastating economic and social impact on the families and communities it targets...

The total internment figure remains a well-guarded secret. (Based on the new evidence, I have revised my own estimate: I think that between 900,000 and 1.8 million people have been detained in Xinjiang since the spring of 2017.) Also missing from the official documents that have surfaced so far are precise records of how the detainees are treated and how, exactly, the process of re-education works. (About those things, however, we have witness accounts.)

China ambassador: Uighur camps leak 'fake news' - BBC News

Video - Reporter Richard Bilton confronted China’s UK ambassador, Liu Xiaoming, over the revelations at a press conference, where the ambassador dismissed them as "fake news".

China Government Spreads Uyghur Analytics Across China

IPVM has found 12 recent government projects across China (PRC) that require Uyghur analytics and a general government guideline requiring such analytics.

What Xi Jinping Learned—And Didn’t Learn—From His Father About Xinjiang – The Diplomat - Joseph Torigian

Xi Zhongxun’s “soft touch” approach to the region contrasts dramatically with his son’s crackdown.


3. Defector to Australia bringing secrets or lies?

China's spy Wang Liqiang defects to Australia, offers ASIO trove of information on CCP espionage tactics - The Age

Wang “William” Liqiang is the first Chinese operative to ever blow his cover. He has revealed the identities of China’s senior military intelligence officers in Hong Kong, as well as providing details of how they fund and conduct political interference operations in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia...

Mr Wang said he was part of an intelligence operation hidden within a Hong Kong-listed company, China Innovation Investment Limited (CIIL), which infiltrated Hong Kong’s universities and media with pro-Chinese Communist Party operatives who could be activated to counter the democracy movement. He says he had personal involvement in an October 2015 operation to kidnap and abduct to the Chinese mainland a Hong Kong bookseller, Lee Bo, and played a role in a clandestine organisation that also directed bashings or cyber attacks on Hong Kong dissidents.

His handlers in China issued him a fake South Korean passport to gain entry to Taiwan and help China’s efforts to systematically infiltrate its political system, including directing a “cyber army” and Taiwanese operatives to meddle in the 2018 municipal elections. Plans are underway to influence the 2020 presidential election - plans that partly motivated him to defect to Australia.

How China's own spy Wang Liqiang denounced the CCP and defected to Australia

Xiang told Wang he had come to Hong Kong in 1993 to conduct intelligence work. CIIL was created under the People’s Liberation Army General Staff Department to “infiltrate into Hong Kong’s financial market, as well as collecting military intelligence”, Wang says. Corporate records and newspaper archives reveal CIIL’s close connection to Norinco, the Chinese military’s main weapons company...

“A lot of media outlets are under [Xiang’s] control - he either holds actual or nominal shares or his company holds shares. Currently, the battlefield in Hong Kong is mainly one of public opinion.”

One of the most senior intelligence operatives in Hong Kong, according to Wang, was a senior manager of a major Asian television network. He also played a vital role in the kidnapping of bookseller Lee Bo. The Herald, Age and 60 Minutes have decided not to name the executive for legal reasons.

Taiwan probes senior staff at Hong Kong-listed China Innovation after Chinese ‘spy’ William Wang claimed it was a front for Beijing espionage operations | South China Morning Post

The Taiwanese authorities have asked Xiang Xin, China Innovations’ chairman and chief executive, and his wife Kung Ching, an alternate director, to cooperate with an investigation it is carrying out into “the matter of the news reports”, the company said...

Xiang and Kung received a notice from the Investigation Office of the Ministry of Taiwan’s Investigation Bureau as they were about to leave Taipei’s Taoyuan airport, the firm said

Asio investigating Chinese plot to plant spy in Australia’s parliament after Liberal party member found dead | The Guardian

Operatives reportedly offered $1m to fund party member Nick Zhao, who was found dead after approaching Asio to discuss plot

China syndrome | The Monthly

On the 7am podcast this morning, Nine Media political and international editor Peter Hartcher, author of the Quarterly Essay Red Flag, shed light on the rise to power of strongman Chinese president Xi Jinping

How China and the CCP aggressively push beyond their borders - Sydney Morning Herald

It wasn’t the only act of harassment against Garnaut and his family, but it was a notably overt one. The message was plain: you have displeased the Chinese government and we are going to punish you. We can always find you, we know where you live, we can act with impunity in the middle of Australia’s biggest cities. We don’t care that you worked for a prime minister. We are not afraid of Australia’s authorities...

Anson Chan, the former chief secretary of Hong Kong, occupied a position of trust unique in history. She was the last head of the Hong Kong civil service under the British and the first under the Chinese...

“I don’t think Australians understand the sort of country they’re dealing with. Look at the way they are infiltrating, even in Australia,” she said during a visit to Melbourne in 2016. “Australia is a very open society, so it wouldn’t occur to most people the designs of the one-party state. And it wouldn’t have occurred to the people of Hong Kong until we experienced it first-hand. No one should be under any illusions about the objective of the Communist Party leadership: it’s long-term, systematic infiltration of social organisations, media and government. By the time China’s infiltration of Australia is readily apparent, it will be too late.”—an edited extract from Quarterly Essay 76, Red Flag: Waking Up to China’s Challenge by Peter Hartcher


4. Are you working with a Chinese defense university?

A new tracker from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute can help you determine who your partners are.

The China Defence Universities Tracker | Australian Strategic Policy Institute | ASPI

This report uses the ASPI International Cyber Policy Centre’s China Defence Universities Tracker to explain how many of the concerns raised by collaboration with the PLA increasingly apply to defence-linked Chinese universities, security organisations and industry conglomerates. The wedding of the military and the civilian in China’s universities has important consequences for policymakers and overseas universities engaged with partners in China.

To help universities, companies and policymakers navigate engagement with research institutions in China, the China Defence Universities Tracker is a database that sorts institutions into categories of very high, high, medium or low risk

UK academia's links to Chinese defence firms 'harmful for national security' | The Guardian

The UK has been singled out as having unprecedented levels of collaboration with Chinese military companies in the analysis by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) which identifies collaborations with scientists from China’s hypersonic missile programme and on research topics ranging from smart materials to robotics.

Sixteen university labs around the world are identified as being run jointly by Chinese defence companies, or have major investments from them. Ten are based in the UK, with the University of Manchester and Imperial College London hosting six between them. The others are in Australia, Germany, Switzerland and Austria.


5. US-China trade

There are no substantive updates on the progress of the trade talks, but China’s new guideline for IPR protection, while expected, may be viewed in the context of the Chinese side trying to move towards US demands, at their own pace, and of course only when it also benefits their own economy.

No 'phase two' U.S.-China deal on the horizon, officials say - Reuters

Officials in Beijing say they don’t anticipate sitting down to discuss a phase two deal before the U.S. election, in part because they want to wait to see if Trump wins a second term.

“It’s Trump who wants to sign these deals, not us. We can wait,” one Chinese official told Reuters.

China, US move toward trade deal despite delay - Global Times

"The two sides have basically reached broad consensus for the phase one agreement," Gao Lingyun, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing who is close to the trade talks, told the Global Times on Monday, noting that the two sides are still moving closer to reaching a phase one deal soon, unlike the "contradictory information" in the media reports.

China issues guideline for enhancing IPR protection - Xinhua

Titled "The Guideline on Strengthening Intellectual Property Rights Protection," the document aims to implement decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council on stepping up IPR protection and improve related systems and mechanisms.

"Strengthening IPR protection is the most important content of improving the IPR protection system and also the biggest incentive to boost China's economic competitiveness," reads the document...

According to the document, by 2022, China will strive to effectively curb IPR infringement, and largely overcome challenges including high costs, low compensation and difficulties in providing evidence for safeguarding intellectual property rights...

China will also make greater efforts to step up international cooperation in IPR protection, facilitate communication between domestic and foreign rights holders, and provide support in overseas IPR disputes.

The Guideline - 中共中央办公厅 国务院办公厅印发《关于强化知识产权保护的意见》_中央有关文件_中国政府网

China will make state economy ‘stronger, better and bigger’, top trade negotiator Liu He says | South China Morning Post

“We will promote state-owned economy reforms and structural adjustments, and invest more in industries related to national security, serving the national strategic goals,” Vice-Premier Liu He – China’s top trade negotiator –said in an article published in the Communist Party mouthpiece, the People’s Daily.

While the preferential treatment China gives its state-owned enterprises (SOEs) is one of the key disputes between Washington and Beijing, it is not an issue that is likely to be resolved in the interim, or “phase one”, trade deal the two sides are trying to finalise before the end of the year.

Liu’s piece - 刘鹤在《人民日报》发表署名文章:坚持和完善社会主义基本经济制度


6. Huawei

FCC votes to edge Huawei, ZTE out of U.S. networks - POLITICO

The Federal Communications Commission on Friday unanimously voted to help push Huawei and ZTE out of American telecommunications networks by blocking broadband subsidies from going to companies that don't rip out gear made by the two controversial Chinese telecom giants...

The FCC’s move comes with the explicit backing of Attorney General William Barr, who said Huawei and ZTE’s record of alleged bank fraud, obstruction of justice and intellectual property theft is proof they are “a threat to our collective security.”

Merkel’s Coalition Government Faces Test Over Huawei Dispute - WSJ

Ms. Merkel is in favor of allowing Huawei to supply components for Germany’s next-generation 5G internet, but rebels within her Christian Democrats tabled a motion Saturday demanding the exclusion of bidders from countries where governments could exert influence over private companies...

The motion, the authors of which said specifically targeted Huawei, also called for giving parliament a final say on the decision. It was adopted with a large majority despite bitter opposition from Ms. Merkel’s office, according to several senior officials...

At the same time, a group of politicians from Ms. Merkel’s coalition partner, the Social Democrats, called for an effective ban of any Chinese company from participating in the 5G tender to become the official position of their party.

Huawei Sues Critics in France Over Remarks on China State Ties - Bloomberg

In an unprecedented move, the technology giant filed three defamation claims in Paris over comments made during television programs by a French researcher, a broadcast journalist and a telecommunications sector expert...

Huawei said in a statement its claims “concern only statements that Huawei is a company controlled by the Chinese State and the Chinese Communist Party, led by a former member of the ‘counter-intelligence’ and using its technological expertise in telecom networks to commit acts of espionage against the Western world.” The company added that “these statements are false.”

France will not exclude China's Huawei from 5G rollout: minister - Reuters

France will not follow the United States and exclude China’s Huawei from its next-generation 5G network, but will have the power to vet all equipment makers for any potential security threat, a minister said on Monday.

Huawei’s U.K. Prospects Dented as BT Seeks Third Fiber Supplier - Bloomberg

Britain’s dominant phone company is looking for a new broadband equipment supplier to reduce its reliance on China’s Huawei Technologies Co. as it prepares to connect millions of homes to optic fiber.

The Entity Listing aftermath - Youshu

What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Mild strokes aside, this is often true. Certainly, Huawei seems to be doing more than OK. And more broadly, looking across China’s semi sector, things are booming. That’s what the Q3 results suggest at least. Far from slowing Huawei down or making Beijing reconsider its “Manufacturing 2025” ambitions, the results reek of US firms being designed out of the supply chain, an accelerated roll-out 5G plan and domestic tech advancement.

Some will no doubt say that “Yeah, we knew China wanted to develop its own semi industry, so what’s the rumpus?” This observation misses the mark. Before private firms were happy with the Americans, and state firms would just tell their bosses they were no good alternatives. But now orders are being pushed towards domestic rivals, even where they are not very good, providing them with revenues today, and confidence about future revenues, with which to fund R&D.


7. US government’s new Mandarin information effort

US launches new Mandarin network as Washington and Beijing battle for global influence | South China Morning Post

The US government is planning a major new Mandarin-language initiative in an effort to bolster its global reputation at a time of Chinese ascendancy and eroding American soft power.

According to internal memos, job placement advertisements and interviews with people close to Washington’s information arms, Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Asia (RFA) are joining forces on a new network called Global Mandarin.

Its annual budget would be between US$5 million and US$10 million, potentially rising in the second year, according to a source who requested anonymity given links to the networks, with the focus on softer content aimed at reaching younger Chinese in the US, China and beyond.

Comment: Hard to see it having a huge impact if it can not get onto WeChat


8. The People’s Leader

By now you may think I have developed a strange obsession with whether or not Xi will get the title “People’s Leader 人民领袖“. It still bubbles up occasionally, most markedly in the page 1 People's Daily piece as the leadership was reappearing after Beidaihe.

Thanks to an eagle-eyed reader for pointing out that CCTV and Qiushi both have micro-sites for "People's Leader Xi Jinping". It looks like they were both set up in Q1 2018, just before the decision to remove term limits. The CCTV site has content updated through last week, the Qiushi one stopped updated in June 2018.

So was there a push to give Xi this title into early 2018 that stalled around the time of the term limits decision, and should we expect another push to get it over the line for Xi, who I believe really does want this title? It matters because if Xi wants it and was thwarted it may be signs of the limits of his power. Then again, it may also be a sign of a battle he decided to defer until a more opportune time. As I have noted over the last couple of weeks the mentions of Xi as People’s Leader have been popping up in some reports of local study sessions after the Fourth Plenum.

人民领袖习近平_新闻频道_央视网(cctv.com)

The CCTV micro-site.

人民领袖习近平-求是网

The Qiushi micro-site

A recent mention of Xi as "People's Leader" in a Yunnan report - 牢记总书记嘱托书写云南发展新篇章_云时评_彩云网评_云南网

“老乡们好吗?”在2019年9月29日国家勋章和国家荣誉称号颁授仪式上,习近平总书记向“人民楷模”高德荣颁授国家勋章时问了这样一句话,亲切话语的背后,是人民领袖对独龙族群众和云南各族人民的深情牵挂


Business, Economy and Trade

Tewoo Debt Plan Shows China Is Allowing State Firms to Fail - Bloomberg The debt restructuring plan is the first of its kind for a state-owned enterprise, and increases the prospect of a default, which would at the very least be one of the biggest by an SOE in the dollar bond market in two decades. The company’s woes also raises fresh alarm about the health of Tianjin, the northern port city in which it’s based.

Financial risks effectively controlled: PBOC - China Daily The People's Bank of China issued the 2019 China Financial Stability Report on Monday. It said the central bank will build a long-term effective mechanism for risk prevention. It also will accelerate the issuance of detailed regulations on financial holding groups and systemically important financial institutions...It said that local and structural liquidity risks of some small and medium-sized banks have been resolved. 中国人民银行发布《中国金融稳定报告(2019)》

China central bank warns high financial risks amid rising economic headwinds - Reuters Beijing has stepped up daily supervisions and assessment on potential “black swan” and “gray rhino” events that may occur in the future and has prepared contingency plans, as downward pressure on the economy rises, said the PBOC. China’s household leverage ratio rose to 60.4% relative to gross domestic product (GDP) by the end of 2018, reaching the international average level and posing debt risks in some regions and low income families, according to the annual report.

Over 13% of China’s Banks are Highly Risky, Central Bank Says - Bloomberg Five-hundred and eighty-six banks and other financing firms, mostly smaller rural institutions, were deemed highly risky in the 2019 China Financial Stability Report, published by the People’s Bank of China on Monday evening.

GDP revisions put China on target to double economy, but data doubts remain - Reuters China on Friday revised up its nominal 2018 gross domestic product (GDP) by 2.1% to 91.93 trillion yuan ($13.08 trillion), keeping it on track to achieving its goal of doubling the size of its economy by 2020 from 2010.

China's regulators launch 'all-around' crackdown on cryptocurrency · TechNode A government group leading the internet financial risk rectification efforts in China has launched an “all-around” crackdown campaign against cryptocurrency and illicit blockchain activities, state-run media Beijing Youth Daily reported on Sunday, following shortly after the People’s Bank of China’s (PBOC) Shanghai headquarters sent out a similar message on Friday

Yicai Global - P2P Lender Wheat Financial's Shanghai HQ Is Said to Be Shut by Police Set up in 2009, Wheat Asset was one of China's first online lenders, operating the Nonobank platform which has 12 million registered users and lending of CNY71 billion (USD10 billion). It has extended around CNY2.4 billion in loans, according to the firm's website

China’s special-purpose bonds fall short of Beijing’s ambitions | Financial Times $$ A high-profile initiative to fire up funding for Chinese infrastructure has fallen short of meeting regions’ needs and ended up diverting some cash into the real estate sector instead of the public projects it is intended to support, analysis by the Financial Times shows.

How China CFA Applicants Keep Beating Finance’s Most Brutal Exam - Bloomberg In interviews, CFA holders and applicants from China described surmounting the exams as a warm-down after spending their youth in the marathon run-up to the Gaokao. Many were unfazed by warnings about the hefty commitment, saying they were willing to spend much more than a mere 300 hours.

China mandates 13 banks for U.S. dollar bond issue, seeks to raise over $3 billion - Reuters It would be the third transaction since 2017 when China launched its first U.S. dollar bond in 13 years. The 2017 deal raised $2 billion while a separate transaction in 2018 raised another $3 billion.

Politics and Law

In Depth: Xing Yun Graft Shockwave Reverberates in Inner Mongolia - Caixin Shockwaves from the corruption-driven downfall last year of Xing Yun are still reverberating through officialdom in Northern China’s resources-rich Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. A sweeping anti-graft crackdown continues adding names to a growing list of dirty officials. More than a dozen senior officials in Inner Mongolia have either been probed or turned themselves in. Some committed suicide. The turmoil traces back to 67-year-old Xing, a dominant figure who in a decades-long career in the region’s government spun a complex web of graft sprawling across Inner Mongolia’s government, businesses and even criminal gangs. // 封面报道|内蒙古政法窝案风暴_财新周刊频道_财新网 Caixin cover story this week on this case

4,200 Chinese Officials Punished for ‘Techan’ Corruption - SixthTone In a statement Sunday, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said that a total of 4,217 government officials and employees at state-owned companies had been disciplined for taking advantage of monopolies on locally sourced products to illicitly profit from their sale, the commission said, adding that 749 cases had been transferred to judicial organs for further legal proceedings.

Civil servant wannabes test skills in exam; 1 in 60 will stand out - China Daily The national civil servant exam was held on Sunday, with 1.43 million candidates qualified to take part in China's second-biggest exam, behind only the national college entrance examination...The State Administration of Civil Service said last month that 24,128 civil servants will be recruited for 86 central agencies and 23 subsidiary institutions, up nearly 66 percent from 14,537 vacancies last year.

毫不动摇坚持和加强党对一切工作的领导 - Unswervingly uphold and strengthen the party's leadership over all work -- study Xi Jinping's "on upholding the party's leadership over all work" The November 22 People's Daily ran a page 7 piece by "Wen Yan 闻言", a pen name for the Central Committee Party Literature Research Office, discussing the recent compilation of Xi's statements - "On upholding the party's leadership over all work"

Welcome to China Neican Newsletter Welcome to China Neican 内参, a newsletter full of expert analyses on China-related issues delivered directly into your inbox! You will find commentary, analysis, and policy recommendations on a range of China-related topics, such as geopolitical competition, trade dependence, technology competition, foreign interference, regional security, and human rights...China Neican is a collaborative project by a community of China watchers, edited by us, Yun Jiang and Adam Ni

Foreign and Defense Affairs

China’s relationship with Canada remains deadlocked as fate of detainees continues to cast a long shadow | South China Morning Post Relations have been frosty over the past 12 months following the arrest of senior Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver and the subsequent detention of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in China. Canada’s new foreign minister, François-Philippe Champagne, described the release of the two Canadians as an “absolute priority” when he met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at a G20 meeting in Japan over the weekend.

China needs to counter Western public opinion war - Global Times The most effective way to counter US public opinion war against China is to raise our voices while doing our own things well. We must strengthen our ability to expose slander and Western lies. Since the US launched the trade war with China, China has been expanding its openness while fighting back. China's image in international trade is becoming increasingly better than the US' and people can see it.

Countering China’s Forced Confessions – The Diplomat - Peter Humphrey Then there was Jim Laurie, an American veteran of TV news who had worked  mostly in Asia for Western outfits — including three decades at NBC and ABC — until he became a consultant to the CCTV propaganda apparatus, as well as Al Jazeera. “When your complaint landed in their tray, Jim was the man who the Chinese executives consulted,” a source who was there that day but no longer works for CGTN has told me, requesting anonymity. Laurie was “the most senior foreigner at CCTV.”

CMC vice chairman Xu Qiliang meets with Kissinger - China Military General Xu Qiliang, Vice Chairman of China's Central Military Commission (CMC), met with Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State, who came to China for the second New Economy Forum in Beijing on Friday...Kissinger appreciated the great achievements in development made by China under the wise leadership of the Chinese leaders. In the present world, there are both threats and opportunities, some people hold the view that the US and China are rivals, we cannot let it go viral, Kissinger said.

Pakistan seeks Iran, Saudi help for Belt and Road projects - Nikkei Asian Review Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, the prime minister's adviser on finance -- a position that makes him the de facto finance minister -- on Monday renewed the country's Belt and Road commitment and spelled out his future strategy to keep Pakistan from stumbling under the debt load. For the first time, he said the success of the CPEC rests on Pakistan persuading some of its neighbors to join the huge undertaking.

Xi says Chinese dream by no means hegemonistic - China Military Saying he has full confidence in China's prospects for development, Xi noted China does not intend to replace any power, rather, its aim is to "regain the dignity and status it deserves." The president made the remarks when meeting with foreign delegates attending the 2019 New Economy Forum held in Beijing.

PLA spokesperson makes remarks on US provocative acts in South China Sea - Ministry of National Defense Senior Colonel Li Huamin, spokesperson for the Southern Theater Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), made remarks Friday on the US warships' trespassing into waters adjacent to China's Nansha islands and territorial waters off the Xisha Islands. The spokesperson urged the US to stop such provocative acts and avoid unexpected incidents. Spokesperson Li Huamin said in a statement that the US navy’s littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords and guided missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer trespassed into the adjacent waters off China’s Nansha Islands and the territorial waters off China's Xisha Islands without permission on November 20 and 21.

Xi, Abe congratulate China-Japan high-level consultation mechanism on people-to-people exchanges - Xinhua The world has been going through profound changes unseen in a century, and humankind cannot address common challenges and strive towards a bright future without the power of culture, Xi said, adding people of all countries in the world should grasp and conform to the trend of the times and deepen exchanges to write a new chapter of human civilizations together. Xi stressed that currently, China-Japan relations have been continuously improving.

Chinese president meets United Russia party delegation - Xinhua The delegation, led by Chairman of the United Russia's Supreme Council Boris Gryzlov, is in Beijing for the seventh meeting of the dialogue mechanism between the ruling parties of China and Russia held Monday...Saying that as ruling parties, the CPC and the United Russia party shoulder responsibilities to further promote China-Russia ties, Xi called on delegates to the seventh meeting of the dialogue mechanism to fully exchange views so as to contribute wisdom and strength to bilateral ties as well as world peace and prosperity.

China, Japan agree to further improve ties, strengthen people-to-people exchanges - Xinhua Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday agreed that both sides should work together to further improve bilateral ties and strengthen people-to-people exchanges...Abe also said he is looking forward to further in-depth communication with Chinese leaders on bilateral ties during his visit to China next month to attend the China-Japan-ROK (Republic of Korea) leaders' meeting.

Former CIA Officer Sentenced for Conspiracy to Commit Espionage | OPA | Department of Justice According to court documents, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 55, left the CIA in 2007 and began residing in Hong Kong. In April 2010, two Chinese intelligence officers (IOs) approached Lee and offered to pay him for national defense information he had acquired as a CIA case officer. The IOs also told Lee they had prepared for him a gift of $100,000 cash, and they offered to take care of him “for life” in exchange for his cooperation.

Hong Kong and Macao

Baroness Hale will sit as judge at Hong Kong court | News | The Times Baroness Hale of Richmond, the president of the Supreme Court, will sit for a month in Hong Kong’s highest court as the former colony’s judiciary attempts to demonstrate its independence from Beijing.

“Tear gas on one street and civilians walking on another.” — The California Sunday Magazine In Hong Kong, the protests have exposed bitter divisions — even among friends and families. As told to Karen Cheung

Taiwan

Taiwan specialist Bruce Jacobs dies in Melbourne - Taipei Times J. Bruce Jacobs, the American-born Australian academic who was a giant of Taiwan scholarship, recipient of top civilian awards from the Taiwanese and Australian governments and a regular Taipei Times contributor, died yesterday afternoon in Melbourne after a years-long battle with cancer, a friend of the family told the newspaper.

Pentagon sends envoy to Taiwan amid concern over Chinese threat | Financial Times $$ The US has sent the most senior Pentagon official to Taipei in more than a decade, in a reflection of Washington’s growing concern over the Chinese military threat to Taiwan. Heino Klinck, deputy assistant secretary of defence for East Asia, visited the country this week, according to three people familiar with the matter. The visit was first reported by Taiwan’s United Daily News on Friday. // before getting too excited this means Trump cares about Taiwan, remember he wanted Alex Wong, Deputy Assistant Secretary in Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at US Department of State, fired after hearing Beijing was upset about Wong's Taiwan speech. i doubt Trump even knows about this trip

Tech and Media

‘Frozen 2’ Is Best China Debut Ever for Disney Animated Film – Variety “Frozen 2” iced out all its competitors in China this weekend, sliding out in front of the pack to top the local box office with a $53.2 million debut — the best ever for a Disney animated film in the Middle Kingdom. “Frozen 2” made more in three days than the original “Frozen” made during its entire Chinese theatrical run ($48 million) in 2014

Internet giant NetEase apologizes for brutally sacking employee - Global Times "We apologize to our former colleague, his family and the public. We are sorry, we've made a mistake," NetEase said in an announcement released on Monday.  The apology came after an online article written by the employee, who accuses the company of sacking him after he was diagnosed with heart diseases in January.

US-based chip-tech group moving to Switzerland over trade curb fears - Reuters U.S.-based foundation overseeing promising semiconductor technology developed with Pentagon support will soon move to Switzerland after several of the group's foreign members raised concerns about potential U.S. trade curbs. The nonprofit RISC-V Foundation (pronounced risk-five) wants to ensure that universities, governments and companies outside the United States can help develop its open-source technology, its Chief Executive Calista Redmond said in an interview with Reuters.

Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

Chinese poet Liu Shahe dies from throat cancer aged 88 | South China Morning Post Online fans of writer, who spent two decades in a hard labour camp, pay their respects by quoting a speech about his love for Americans

Guangzhou’s Redtory Art and Design District Forced to Close – That’s Guangzhou Parts of the arts complex have been designated for demolition since June, while remaining sections, including the Redtory Museum of Contemporary Art (RMCA), have canceled all events due to the eviction. In a WeChat post by RMCA on Thursday, the museum said that after an extended period of disputation with local authorities, a three-day eviction notice was given with no choice but to comply.

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

Climate change: how China moved from leader to laggard | Financial Times “The general momentum on climate and environment issues has been declining [in China],” says Li Shuo, senior global policy adviser at Greenpeace. Climate change has become a lower priority for Beijing. “There is less space for the green agenda,” he says. China’s investment in renewable energy fell 39 per cent in the first half of this year, compared with the same period in 2018, according to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Beijing yanked subsidies for solar panel projects in the middle of last year, and is shrinking those for wind, causing an abrupt shift.

Tougher measures taken against plague - Global Times North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region has implemented measures to control the plague, including quarantine and spraying fields from helicopters, after three human infections of the disease caused a regional panic. Public health experts said the plague could be controlled if people keep themselves away from wild animals carrying the bacteria, avoid going to possible infected places and timely report the epidemic status.

64 Chinese, 20 foreign academicians to advance CAS - ECNS Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the highest rated academic institution and R&D center in China, has announced the addition of 64 domestic and 20 foreign academicians from 12 countries.  The 20 foreign academicians include eight from the United States, two from France and one each from Australia, Austria, Pakistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Canada, Sweden, Italy and the United Kingdom.

Jobs and Events

WashPost PR — Job posting: China correspondent The Washington Post is expanding its coverage of China and will soon add a third correspondent to our bureau in Beijing. The additional correspondent will focus primarily on trade, technology and business, the paths through which China shapes ordinary lives around the world in countless ways.