Hong Kong, Weak economic data; Pork; TikTok

We are already in Thanksgiving holiday mode here at Sinocism HQ so today’s newsletter is a bit thin. As I said yesterday we are off tomorrow and so will be back in your inbox on Monday unless something big happens before then.

We are going with two turkeys this year, one more traditional, and one an attempt to make this “Chinese Roast Duck, but Make It Turkey”.

Apologies to my non-American readers who do not care about Thanksgiving.

I am so thankful you for your support that lets me run this newsletter with the freedom to ignore any attempted interference or pressure from any individual, organization or corporate entity. That kind of freedom seems rarer by the day in the media world, and is especially important when it comes to looking at China and its role in the world.

Happy Thanksgiving!


1. Hong Kong

How Hong Kong's greatest tycoon went from China friend to punching bag

China's leaders once courted Li Ka-shing for his money and star power. But today, with protests engulfing Hong Kong, the billionaire is the target of public ridicule by Beijing as it tries to undercut the power of the city's tycoons...

The vilification of the city’s preeminent capitalist was a rare public display of the new power dynamic, businessmen and analysts say. It sent a clear message that Li and his fellow Hong Kong tycoons must toe the line and unequivocally condemn the protests...

Li has been divesting from PRC exposure for a while

Since 2015, Li’s companies have been involved in acquisitions abroad worth more than $70 billion, in places like Canada, Italy and Australia. In that same period, he participated in just one acquisition in mainland China and Hong Kong worth $500 million or more - an $848 million stake in a Hong Kong-based shipping firm that he purchased with two other investors.

And in those same years, Li divested from four companies in Hong Kong and the mainland, totaling more than $11 billion.

SOEs can be useful for non-economic purposes

Meanwhile, in early September, China’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) gathered executives from the nation’s largest state-owned firms in the nearby mainland city of Shenzhen. According to an executive familiar with the meeting, SASAC officials gave clear marching orders to the Chinese managers: take more control of Hong Kong firms and seek decision-making power within them.

Some Hong Kong Protesters Are Seeking Refuge In Taiwan. For Taiwan, It's Complicated : NPR

as Chinese control grows over Hong Kong, Taiwan is again becoming a destination for political refugees from across greater China — especially from Hong Kong.

Taiwan is treading carefully. It is wary of provoking Beijing's ire, and fears a more permissive refugee policy will open Taiwan's doors to mainland Chinese spies and conspirators.

Police warn protesters against 'untrue' slogans - RTHK

Riot police officers at the scene warned them that their chanting of "untrue and unfounded" slogans could constitute a breach of the peace. It wasn't clear exactly what slogans the police considered to be unacceptable, but media reports suggested the crowd had also accused officers of being rapists and murderers – a claim often heard during the ongoing unrest.

Major tunnel reopens in Hong Kong after 2-week closure - Xinhua

The Cross-Harbour Tunnel reopened on Wednesday morning in Hong Kong, after over 800 people spent days to repair the main traffic artery that had been forced to close for about two weeks due to rioters vandalism


2. Economy

China's industrial profits post steepest fall in eight months - Reuters

Industrial profits fell 9.9% in October year-on-year to 427.56 billion yuan ($60.74 billion), data released by the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Wednesday, marking the biggest drop since January-February period and compared with a 5.3% decline in September...

“The big drop in October profits suggests the real economy is still facing plenty of difficulties,” said Nie Wen, economist at Shanghai-based Hwabao Trust, adding that the country’s industrial firms now face a double whammy of falling prices and higher funding costs.

China's industrial profit drops 2.9% y-o-y from Jan to Oct, within expectations: expert - Global Times

Official data on Wednesday showed that China's industrial companies above a designated scale saw profits drop 2.9 percent year-on-year from January to October. Experts and statisticians say that this drop falls within expectations amid China's challenging phase of industrial upgrading and a gloomy global investment environment.

China front-loads $142 billion in 2020 local government bonds to spur growth - Reuters

The finance ministry said on Wednesday that local governments must ensure that special purpose bonds — used to finance infrastructure projects — should be issued and used as early as possible.

“To ensure we can see results early next year ... and the economy can be effectively boosted as soon as possible,” the ministry said in a statement on its website.

The front-loaded debt quota was equivalent to 47% of the 2019 quota, it said.

“This is a big decision, which means that the government is pretty worried about the downward pressure on the economy,” said Hua Changchun, analyst at Guotai Junan Securities.

Central Government Issues Localities 2020 Bond Quotas Early in New Infrastructure Push - Caixin

Several financial officials in provincial-level governments told Caixin they have already received next year’s quotas of so-called special-purpose bonds from the finance ministry. Special-purpose bonds are designated for investment in infrastructure and public livelihood projects, and should be repaid from income generated by those projects, not from local budgets.

China unveils measures to enhance capital fund management of investment projects - Xinhua 

China encourages the raising of capital funds for major investment projects in accordance with the law and regulation, according to the document signed by Premier Li Keqiang.

The minimum proportion of capital contribution for some infrastructure projects will be lowered as appropriate, with that of port, coastal and inland waterway transport projects to be cut from 25 percent to 20 percent, it said.

For infrastructure and other projects enjoying government encouragement, capital funds can be raised through the issuance of financial instruments with their proportion being no more than 50 percent of the total amount.

China’s bank funding under pressure as financial confidence drops | Financial Times $$

Troubled banks have been able to secure only 20-40 per cent of the funds they have sought to raise in the interbank market for negotiable certificates of deposit, a vital source of funding for many smaller lenders, since the takeover of Baoshang Bank, according to research from UBS...

China’s central bank warned this week that about 13 per cent of lenders in the country, or 586 institutions, presented a “high risk”. 

Many of those risky banks, according to an annual report on the financial system from the People’s Bank of China, are concentrated in rural areas.

China to improve regulation of systemically important banks - Xinhua

China will improve the regulatory framework for systemically important financial institutions, with the release of a draft to solicit public opinions on the measures for the evaluation of systematically important banks.

The draft was issued on Tuesday by the People's Bank of China and the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission...

Identifying and strengthening the supervision of systemically important banks will help improve the transmission mechanism of monetary policies, promote fair and orderly competition in the market, improve the stability of China's banking system, and help prevent and resolve systemic financial risks, analysts said.


3. MSCI index inclusion now causing overexposure to China?

China's heft in stock benchmarks stirs worries of concentration risk - Reuters

Global index provider MSCI’s latest round of China stock inclusion, completed on Wednesday, took Chinese equities to 34% of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, bigger than the combined weight of the bottom 21 country components. China’s weight in the FTSE Emerging Index stands at 35%, and will grow to roughly 37% by March.

MSCI to China: Fix Issues Before We Even Consider Adding Shares - Bloomberg

The index compiler outlined four main outstanding issues in a Tuesday statement. They include a dearth of hedging tools and derivatives, China’s short settlement cycle, the onshore market’s holiday misalignment with Hong Kong and a lack of mechanisms allowing brokers to place a single order on behalf of multiple clients.

While the concerns aren’t new -- and have been flagged by investors for years -- the statement marks a hardening in tone for MSCI. The company is now saying it won’t even consult on greater A-share inclusion until all of the issues are fixed, putting the onus on China. In February, it said further inclusion “would require” authorities to improve market accessibility

MSCI pressures Chinese regulators over market access reforms | Financial Times $$

Without hedging tools, funds that require volatility controls will find limits to how much they can invest in Chinese securities, said Paul Sandhu, head of multi-asset quant solutions at BNP Paribas Asset Management.

“If we were allocating to China but can’t control the volatility, then there’s a limit to how much we could allocate,” Mr Sandhu said, in reference to funds requiring volatility protection.

Regulators this year have told several foreign investment managers that such changes were under way, however there is still no clear timeframe for opening up new areas of market accessibility.


4. Xinjiang

U.S. Tech Companies Prop Up China’s Vast Surveillance Network - WSJ $$

Of 37 Chinese firms singled out last November by the Beijing-backed China Security and Protection Industry Association for outstanding contributions to the country’s surveillance industry, 17 have publicly disclosed financing, commercial or supply-chain relationships with U.S. technology companies. Several had multiple connections.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise owns 49% of New H3C Technologies Co. Ltd., which provides switches, surveillance network-control systems and cloud computing to Chinese law enforcement. According to company marketing materials, one end customer for its switches is Aksu, a Xinjiang city that conducts broad surveillance of residents in public spaces. Satellite images suggest the city is home to multiple internment camps...

None of the American companies involved in China’s surveillance industry appear to have directly done business in Xinjiang since surveillance there began ramping up three years ago. Many U.S. hardware manufacturers sell in China through contractors or middlemen and said they do not know the details of every project that incorporates their products.

Comment: The "I didn't know my agent/distributor/consultant was bribing officials" defense doesn't work for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act. Why should such a defense work in this case?

VW defends Xinjiang car plant after China internment camp cables | AFP

It said the decision to open the plant in Xinjiang’s capital city of Urumqi in 2013 was made “purely on economic considerations” based on the northwestern region’s economic growth potential. The factory, which Volkswagen operates along with its Chinese partner, SAIC, employs 650 people, a quarter of whom come from ethnic minorities.


5. TikTok

China's ByteDance moves to ringfence its TikTok app amid U.S. probe - sources - Reuters

The Chinese technology company is seeking to provide assurances to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) that personal data held by TikTok, which is widely popular with U.S. teenagers, is stored securely in the United States and will not be compromised by Chinese authorities, the sources said...

Following the approach by CFIUS, TikTok is making a new push to set up a team in Mountain View, California, that will oversee data management, according to the sources. This team will determine whether Chinese-based engineers should have access to TikTok’s database, and monitor their activity, the sources said.

TikTok is also hiring more U.S. engineers to reduce its reliance on staff in China, according to the sources.

TikTok Blocks Teen Who Posted About China’s Detention Camps - The New York Times

The sly bait-and-switch puts a serious topic — the mass detentions of minority Muslims in northwest China — in front of an audience that might not have known about it before. The 40-second clip has amassed more than 498,000 likes..

A ByteDance spokesman, Josh Gartner, said Ms. Aziz had been blocked from her TikTok account because she used a previous account to post a video that contained an image of Osama bin Laden. This violated TikTok’s policies against terrorist content, Mr. Gartner said, which is why the platform banned both her account and the devices from which she was posting.

The first of her three videos:


6. Maybe pork problems have not bottomed

Dim Sums: Rural China Economics and Policy: China Pig Bubble Bursts, Supply Still Short

Chinese pork prices have dropped about 20 percent in November. Most industry analysts seem to view the decline in pork prices as a temporary market correction, and they expect a moderate rebound because there is still a 15-to-20 mmt deficit in pork supply. Prices stabilized or started to increase again in nearly all provinces last week...

Chinese news media are thick with propaganda about farmers rebuilding production capacity. Ministry of Agriculture officials at a press conference last week instructed news media to report good news to restore the confidence of hog farmers. A Chinese Academy of Ag Sciences official recited the party line that production has already begun to rebound and the overall meat supply is stable as increases in supply of poultry, beef and lamb and imports have filled in the deficit.

While officials spread the mantra of stability, the situation on the ground suggests an industry still on a knife's edge, with panic-selling and new disease risks tipping the market into a downturn despite a yawning supply gap that consumers are learning to live with

In Depth: China’s Small Pig Farmers Stuck in Financing Mire After Swine Fever - Caixin

The State Council, China’s cabinet, has convened four meetings since August to introduce stable production and supply measures. On Sept. 6, the bank regulatory commission and the agriculture ministry jointed issued a notice asking insurers to raise coverage for pigs and banks to increase credit to farmers…

The livestock insurance Chen bought is a kind of policy insurance. Premiums for such insurance are 70%-80% subsidized by central and local governments. Theoretically, insurers cannot decline to offer such insurance to farmers. But in practice, insurance companies cite various reasons for not providing coverage, especially to small and medium-sized pig farmers...

When insurance companies receive claims from pig farmers, whether they pay for losses due to African swine fever also depends on whether local governments have reported the death of the pigs as a result of the disease.

A pig farmer in Hunan province said he filed a claim in June and still hasn’t received payment because the insurance company said the local county government didn’t report the death of his pigs as a swine fever case.


7. China and the Middle East

China blames chaos in Middle East on United States’ ‘self-serving swashbuckling’ | South China Morning Post

Speaking at the opening of the inaugural Middle East Security Forum in Beijing, assistant foreign minister Chen Xiaodong said a lack of justice and fairness, hegemony and unilateralism would only worsen the security crisis in the region.

While there were geopolitical, ethnic and religious reasons for the “chaotic situation” in the Middle East, the US should bear the bulk of the responsibility for it, he said...

Speaking to representatives on the sidelines of the forum, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi reiterated Beijing’s position on dealing with the Middle East...

“China has never interfered in the internal affairs of Middle East countries, sought to build a sphere of influence or pursued selfish geopolitical interests,” he said.

“We have always made independent judgments based on the rights or wrongs of the events themselves. China will firmly be a constructor for peace in the Middle East, a promoter for stability in the region and a contributor to the region’s development.”

China Guzzles More Saudi Oil - Caixin

China’s thirst for Saudi Arabian oil continues to grow on the back of massive refinery joint ventures, and the nation is also drawing more crude from Russia, as imports from the U.S., Iran and Venezuela dwindle, fresh Chinese customs data for the year to November show.

The world’s largest crude oil importer brought in 414.6 million tons from January to October, a year-on-year increase of 10.5%, including 45.51 million tons last month. Imports from Saudi Arabia spiked by more than half for the period...

Imports from Venezuela fell to zero in October. Meanwhile Saudi Arabia overtook Russia as China’s largest source of crude for the past five straight months, bringing in 8.41 million tons in October — breaking the 8-million-ton mark for the first time — or about 1.98 million barrels per day...

Saudi crude now accounts for 16.4% of total Chinese oil imports

End ‘Forever Wars’ and Face China’s Threat - WSJ - OpEd by US Senator (GOP) Josh Hawley $$

We need instead to prevent any other nation from becoming a hegemon—and that brings us to China. While American policy makers have embroiled this nation in multiple Mideast wars, China has steadily built its strength, its economy and its military—all at American expense. For years China has been stealing American jobs and intellectual property, abusing the international trade system. Now it is militarizing the South China Sea and preparing to project its power across the Asia-Pacific region...

At this critical juncture, we must abandon the attempt to remake the world and focus on the threat from Beijing. China is not yet so strong that its bid for dominance can’t be resisted. But time is not on our side. Our aim must be to prevent a conflict while securing American prosperity and safety.

We can begin by bringing to a close the “forever wars” in other theaters and redirecting our military’s attention to the Asia-Pacific.

Question: Every superpower seems to eventually find its quagmire. The USSR had Afghanistan, the US had Vietnam and now the Middle East. Is China smart enough to avoid falling into one, or will some combination of its rising but untested military power, possible US pullback from parts of the the Middle East, the PRC's increasing reliance on Middle East oil, and some efforts in parts of DC to help China find its own quagmire eventually drive the PRC into one as well?


8. End of the line for Yangtze River fishermen

Yangtze Fishing Ban Leaves Communities High and Dry - SixthTone

In January 2018, local authorities in Zhang’s hometown of Honghu in central China’s Hubei province banned all commercial fishing on the Yangtze and several adjoining lakes and tributaries. By the end of 2020, similar policies will be implemented across the 6,300-kilometer-long waterway as the Chinese government steps up efforts to protect the river’s fragile ecosystems...

Yet the ban threatens to devastate communities that still rely on the river to make a living. There are nearly 280,000 registered full-time fishers in the Yangtze River Basin — equivalent to the population of Orlando, Florida in the United States. As many as 100,000 additional people may be fishing in the Yangtze without a license, scholars have estimated...

The populations of four major fish species in the Yangtze commonly caught for food have fallen 90% since the 1980s, and the total annual fish harvest in the main Yangtze stream rarely rose above 100,000 tons per year during the past decade. In his early 20s, Zhang says he often caught up to 150 kilograms of fish every day. During the year before the ban, even a 50-kilogram catch was worth celebrating.

Unsurprisingly there are issues with the promised compensation:

Locals have petitioned township governments multiple times over the past year, demanding an increase in their subsistence allowance. Each time, officials told them to wait until the government had published a final compensation plan.


Business, Economy and Trade

Chinese premier stresses quality in making 14th five-year plan - Xinhua Chinese Premier Li Keqiang stressed quality in making the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) on Monday while chairing a meeting on the new plan...While the external environment is likely to be more complex with uncertainties and challenges, China is in a critical period to change its growth model, improve its economic structure, and foster new drivers of growth, he said...The premier stressed several principles of making the new plan, including to keep the economy running within a reasonable range, to promote high-quality development, to emphasize the vision of people-centered development, and to highlight the role of reform and innovation in tackling difficulties.

Exclusive: China Everbright Bank to Get New President - Caixin Liu Jin, an executive vice president of CDB, was chosen to be a deputy secretary of Everbright Bank’s Communist Party committee on Wednesday, and is expected to become president of the state-backed commercial bank soon after being approved by the board of directors and regulators, Caixin has learned.

China to provide tax incentives for Beijing 2022 Winter Games - ECNS China will offer preferential tax policies to partners and sponsors of the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.  Designed by the Ministry of Finance, State Taxation Administration and General Administration of Customs, the policy will waive VAT and consumption taxes on goods and services that meet certain requirements.

China’s Mobile Payments Grow More Than 60% in Third Quarter - Caixin The country’s banks processed 59.5 billion electronic payments in the third quarter, representing a total of 612.9 trillion yuan ($87.2 trillion), according to figures published Friday by the central bank. Of those payments, 27.3 billion were mobile transactions, representing a year-on-year rise of 61.1%. A total of 86.1 trillion yuan changed hands via mobile, an increase of 31.6% from the same period last year.

UBS Trader Hits Pay Dirt With Chinese Junk Debt - WSJ Hong Kong-based Kelvin Zhao has made the Swiss bank nearly $30 million this year, people familiar with the matter said. He has become one of the biggest traders in a corner of finance that has grown rapidly: dollar bonds from Chinese borrowers with low or no credit ratings. There is now nearly $229 billion of such high-yield bonds outstanding, according to Fitch Ratings, up from $8.7 billion at the end of 2014.

Politics and Law

中央统战部组织45位党外干部宝塔山下上“党课” - 西部网(陕西新闻网) A United Front Work Department Wechat account reports on a trip it organized for 45 non-CCP cadres to Yan'an, they of course also went to Liangjiahe, and in the description of that part of the visit the report uses "People's Leader 人民领袖", and say the visit helped them to understand the source of the "Great Thought", i.e Xi Thought, and to accurately grasp the rich meaning of the "Great Thought". //通过参观知青旧居、村史馆、铁业社,学员们近距离感受梁家河岁月习近平总书记与人民群众感情的培养、坚强意志的磨练、坚定信念和勇于担当精神的树立,感悟伟大思想的历史源头、体会人民领袖的初心情怀、准确把握伟大思想的丰富内涵,进一步增强了履职尽责的使命感和责任感。

Foreign and Defense Affairs

Xi stresses cultivating new type of military personnel - Xinhua Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for efforts to cultivate a new type of military personnel who are competent, professional and possess both integrity and ability. 习近平出席全军院校长集训开班式并发表重要讲话

Pompeo’s futile efforts to discredit CPC - Global Times Radical political elites in Washington are adjusting their strategy of a public opinion war against China. They are increasingly focusing their efforts on discrediting the CPC, in an attempt to make their large-scale attacks on China less abrupt in the Western context, rouse Westerners' memory of the Cold War, and disguise their frantic geopolitical siege against China as an ideological battle in the face of "the threat posed by the CPC." Pompeo and his likes have another malicious purpose: They are attempting to reduce the Chinese public's resentment against them by shifting their attacks on China to mainly on the CPC. They try to drive a wedge between the Chinese people and the Party, and solicit Chinese domestic endorsement for their criticism. This adjustment is undoubtedly carefully plotted, but only wishful thinking.

Self-proclaimed Chinese spy confesses to fraud involving $17,000, court video shows - Global Times The self-proclaimed Chinese spy Wang Liqiang who applied for political asylum in Australia confessed his fraud case involving 120,000 yuan ($17,000) in a Chinese court in 2016, admitting he had "a weak legal awareness," a video the court exclusively sent to the Global Times on Wednesday showed.  Wang was tried in the People's Court of Guangze county, Nanping, East China's Fujian Province in 2016, where he confessed to defrauding the sum, according to the video.

Huawei says ready to help Ukraine develop broadband - Xinhua Chinese telecom company Huawei is ready to provide the Ukrainian government with a draft plan for the development of broadband communications, a Huawei official said here Tuesday. "We are ready to share our technologies and expertise in building broadband on a country scale," Li Jian, president of the company's European Area, said at the Huawei-initiated one-day Ukraine Digital Transformation Forum 2019.

China Seeks to Lead the U.N.'s Intellectual Property Organization, WIPO - Foreign Policy Earlier this month, China nominated a candidate to head the United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organization, or WIPO, signaling its desire to more actively shape the international system for defining intellectual property rights... U.S. officials have reached out to friendly countries to try to persuade Beijing to reconsider its bid for the top WIPO job and instead accept another senior management post at the agency, according to diplomatic sources. So far, Chinese officials in Geneva have demurred, those officials told Foreign Policy.

Univ. of Tokyo associate professor panned for anti-Chinese racist tweet - The Mainichi "(My company) will not hire Chinese people," Shohei Ohsawa, project associate professor at the Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies of the Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies at the university, wrote on his Twitter account on Nov. 20.

Chinese ‘fake cop’ scams fleeing Beijing’s crackdown are setting up in Southeast Asia: Indonesian police | South China Morning Post In the latest Chinese-run scam to have been caught operating out of the region, con artists posed as police officers, prosecutors and bankers to cheat victims back in mainland China out of their savings.

Arizona woman, Shiping Jiang Peterson, detained for months in China - NBC News Shiping Jiang Peterson of Fountain Hills, a suburb of Phoenix, was detained on Aug. 29 as soon as her flight landed in Shanghai, her son, Dawei Jiang, told NBC News on Monday. He and Peterson had traveled there to attend her father's funeral. "Someone came onto the plane before anyone got off," said Jiang, 24. "My mom showed her American passport. They took her phone. My mom asked why are they taking her and they said they would tell her later."

Japanese man detained in China's Hunan Province since July - Kyodo News A Japanese man in his 50s has been detained in the Chinese province of Hunan since July, possibly for alleged spying, a Japanese government source said Wednesday.

Pacific islands avoid China's 'debt-trap' diplomacy for now - Nikkei Asian Review According to the IMF, debt sustainability risks in the Pacific have been rising over the past decade. Among the 14 countries analyzed, only two were at high risk of debt distress in 2011. In 2018, there were six, and no country was considered at low risk. However, rather than being fueled by Chinese loans, this has been driven by domestic economic mismanagement, growing debt from other sources, natural disasters and technical changes to how the IMF measures debt sustainability.

China, Suriname establish strategic partnership of cooperation - Xinhua China and Suriname on Wednesday decided to upgrade their relationship to a strategic partnership of cooperation. The announcement came as Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Suriname's President Desire Bouterse at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Taiwan

Taiwan DDP using 'spy' story as an election trick: official - Global Times China's Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities in Taiwan are using Wang Liqiang's self-proclaimed "spy" story as an election trick.  "It is clear that 'fraudster turns spy' is an absurd and flawed 'script' written by anti-China forces," Zhu Fenglian, spokesperson of China's Taiwan Affairs Office of State Council said at a press conference on Wednesday.

New spokesperson for mainland's Taiwan policy body makes first public appearance - Xinhua Zhu Fenglian, the new spokesperson for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, made her first public appearance at a press conference Wednesday. She greeted journalists and Taiwan compatriots in Mandarin Chinese, the southern Fujian dialect of Hokkien, and the Hakka dialect, respectively.

Ghost Island Media 鬼島之音 A new current affairs show covering topics critical to Taiwan and the implications for Asia and beyond

Tech and Media

Death of TV show contestant triggers criticism of physically demanding programs - Global Times The death of Taiwan island actor Godfrey Gao on Wednesday while filming a sports entertainment show in Ningbo, East China's Zhejiang Province, has attracted public attention to sudden cardiac death and caused a flood of criticism on social media against physically demanding competitions that can put performers in danger. Gao, 35, collapsed early Wednesday morning while shooting "Chase Me," a program that requires contestants to run and undergo intense physical challenges produced by Zhejiang TV station (Zhejiang STV).

Opinion | The World-Shaking News That You’re Missing - The New York Times -Tom Friedman the digital Berlin Wall took a big step up on May 17, when Trump placed China’s Huawei — the world’s second-largest maker of smartphones and the world’s largest manufacturer of 5G telecom equipment — on the U.S. “Entity List.”..In was an earthquake in China’s tech lands. It “woke up everybody in China,” a prominent Chinese telecom executive told me. “We now have to think about this world differently,” the executive explained. “We need to build on a mix of our own technologies to be sure that we are safe. They totally underestimated what they have done.” //Comment: Actually the ZTE ban had set this in motion well before the Huawei entity listing

Amid U.S. Ban, Huawei Unveils Tablet Powered by Homegrown Chip - Caixin Featuring Huawei’s Kirin 990 processor and its self-made EMUI user interface for the Android operating system, the MatePad Pro is geared toward office use with a magnetic keyboard and a pressure-sensitive pen. The tablet’s buyers will be gifted a free six-month membership to WPS Office, an office suite analogous to Microsoft’s Office software

27 Companies Drafting China’s First National Facial Recognition Standard - SixthTone Over two dozen Chinese companies have officially begun developing a national standard for facial-recognition technology, the group’s leader, artificial intelligence giant SenseTime, announced Wednesday.

Has China forgiven tax cheat Fan Bingbing? | South China Morning Post After disappearing from official media for more than a year, Fan was finally given a mention, albeit not in a prominent position, for her appearance at the launch of a girls’ safety charity event hosted by Ifeng.com and Henan Traffic Radio on Friday.

Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

Ready, Set, Ski! In China, Snow Sports are the Next Big Thing - The New York Times By the time the 2022 Olympics roll around, China hopes it will have 300 million new skiers. Can they do it? If the packed slopes near Beijing are any indication, the outlook is promising.

Backlash against anti-LGBT rhetoric from Beijing district center for disease control | SupChina Wang blatantly told viewers not to “engage in homosexual behavior,” perpetuating the prevailing yet troublesome idea that homosexual behavior will inevitably lead to HIV infection, which has brought a remarkable amount of injustice and pressure to the gay community.

Shelter (2019) - YouTube the story of two women from Tanggu, China, who sacrifice what little they have in order to take care of dogs

How immigration is shaping Chinese society | Mercator Institute for China Studies Foreign immigration in China is becoming more diverse. While the number of high-earning expatriates from developed countries has peaked, China attracts more students than ever from all over the world, including many from lesser developed countries. Low-skilled labor and marriage migration are also on the rise

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

China beats annual target for cutting carbon emissions in 2018 - Xinhua China's carbon emissions per unit of gross domestic product were down by about 4 percent in 2018, beating the annual target by 0.1 percentage points, an official said Wednesday.

Beijing to implement city-wide mandatory household garbage sorting - Xinhua Beijing will enforce a city-wide mandatory household garbage sorting system starting in May in a move to strengthen urban governance and prevent pollution.