Hi everyone, I got a concussion at the end of last week and am still a bit woozy, so apologies that there is not much commentary today, and what there is may not be especially coherent...I should be back to normal by the middle of the week.
There is not much happy to say today anyway, especially given the events in Hong Kong over the last few days, and the Fourth Plenum explainer by Zhang Xiaoming, director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office under the State Council, that makes it sound like Beijing is going to squeeze Hong Kong much harder in the near future.
Thanks for reading.
The Essential Eight
1. Hong Kong
There had been calls for a general strike on Monday, the latest step in months of anti-government unrest that has convulsed the former British colony and posed a direct challenge to Chinese rule. But the immediate spark for the escalation came when a police officer fired live rounds in the Sai Wan Ho neighborhood early in the day, critically injuring a 21-year-old protester who appeared to be unarmed. Police confirmed that one man was shot by an officer.
“In the most shocking incident, some rioters poured flammable liquid onto a person and set him on fire,” police spokesman John Tse told reporters at a press conference as the social media videos of the attack were played on a screen.
“The man has been admitted to hospital in critical condition.”
Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Monday that after a day of violence and chaos, everyone in Hong Kong should now condemn the "destructive" behaviour of protesters, describing them as the enemy of the people.
The CE also said she wanted to make it clear that the demonstrators – who have taken to the streets for more than five months now – "will never win".
"If there's still any wishful thinking that by escalating violence the Hong Kong SAR government will yield to pressure to satisfy the so-called political demands, I'm making this statement clear and loud here: that will not happen," Lam said.
A senior Beijing official says there is an urgent need for Hong Kong to enact national security legislation, and that further steps must be taken to stop “foreign forces” interfering in the city’s affairs.
Zhang Xiaoming, director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office under the State Council – China’s cabinet – made the comments in a 6,000-word-plus article written after Communist Party leaders ended their four-day plenary meeting in Beijing at the end of last month.
“Establishing a sound legal system and enforcement mechanism for safeguarding national security have become prominent issues and urgent tasks for the government of the Hong Kong special administrative region [SAR] and people from all walks of life,” he said...
Both the central and SAR governments had the responsibility to improve the implementation of the Basic Law, he said. The National People’s Congress would interpret the Basic Law when needed, and the central authorities would review whether the laws and activities of the special administration region had violated the constitution, Basic Law or one country, two systems.
Beijing will ensure only people loyal to it will become Hong Kong’s chief executive, damping the hopes of pro-democracy activists as tensions rise after five months of historic unrest in the city.
The majority of representatives in Hong Kong’s cabinet, judiciary and legislative bodies should also support the central government, Zhang Xiaoming, China’s top official overseeing Hong Kong affairs, said in a post on the agency’s website.
The city’s inability to implement Article 23 -- a law that prohibits acts of treason and subversion against the Chinese government -- and its failure to set up units to follow through were the main reasons separatist movements are on the rise, Zhang said.
The explainer from Zhang - 国务院港澳事务办公室:坚持和完善“一国两制”制度体系
As Monday morning’s police shooting of a protester triggered a wave of shock and outrage in Hong Kong, across the border in mainland China, the response online was just as swift – but in support of the force.
“Support Hong Kong police opening fire! Clean up Hong Kong’s cockroaches!” one popular financial blogger on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, said as he shared footage of the incident.
Graphic artists create the eye-catching protest posters across the city. Psychologists provide free counseling to the emotionally distressed. And emergency room doctors, working in clandestine clinics, set shattered bones.
“Come and take revenge on us, cockroaches! We are opening a bottle of champagne to celebrate tonight, congratulations!” one of them shouted.
A statement by a Hong Kong university condemning the assault on a student last week has done little to allay the fears of many mainland Chinese.
The statement issued by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology on Sunday has been viewed 140 million times on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.
make it easier for Hong Kongers to buy an apartment in nine cities in Guangdong province by exempting them from additional levies...
Mainland Chinese took to social media to complain about residential prices that are already too high and express anger they’re being treated as inferior.
a must subscribe (it's free, weekly) for anyone interested in Hong Kong
Hong Kong's police watchdog is currently unequipped to investigate the force's handling of months of pro-democracy protests, a panel of international experts appointed by the city's own government has found...
It has now issued a damning assessment of the IPCC's ability to do the job it has been tasked with and suggested a fully independent inquiry would be better suited for the task.
Potentially the biggest factor mopping up liquidity is Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s plan to start taking orders this week for a massive share sale in Hong Kong. Banks are also likely to be hoarding cash for year-end regulatory checks. Making matters worse were concerns over capital flight, as citywide protests turned violent when police shot and wounded two demonstrators Monday morning.
Good interview with Denise Ho
2. Xi convenes three day CMC meeting
Xi...made the requirement while attending a Central Military Commission meeting held in Beijing from Nov. 8 to 10.
"Strengthening military construction at the primary level in the new era is where the root and strength for strengthening and revitalizing the armed forces lie," Xi said...
He called for efforts to forge a primary-level military that listens to and follows the Party, and make sure that the Party's absolute leadership over the military reaches the primary level and all military personnel.
Xi also stressed efforts to build the military at the primary level into a force that is capable of fighting and winning and sticks to the criterion of combat capability with good discipline and integrity.
Monday CCTV Evening News on the meeting - 习近平在中央军委基层建设会议上强调 发扬优良传统 强化改革创新 推动我军基层建设全面进步全面过硬_CCTV
Xi...made the requirement while attending an event celebrating the 70th founding anniversary of the PLA Air Force in the northern outskirts of Beijing...
3. Xi visits Greece and Brazil
Xi presides over the Fourth Plenum, then convenes a three day CMC meeting, then leaves the country for five days. He sure does not look worried…
In an article for Greek daily Kathimerini, Xi wrote that both China and Greece should take lessons from "the deep wisdom of their ancient civilizations" and jointly foster the creation of "a new type of international relations based on respect, justice and mutually beneficial cooperation."
The trip comes days after Mitsotakis visited the Asian country, as the leader of the official guest country of the 2019 China International Import Expo, a business trade fair.
Xi and Mitsotakis will visit the port of Piraeus, Greece's largest and majority owned by Chinese state-owned port operator Cosco. It is the biggest Chinese investment in Greece and Cosco recently received approval for a new development, including a new cargo terminal. Beijing has already plowed more than €800 million ($881 million) into the port and intends to invest another €600 million.
China and Greece “are natural partners” for the creation of the one belt, one road initiative, Xi said after meeting with Mitsotakis. The two countries will cooperate in many sectors and “we want to strengthen the transit role of Piraeus Port to expand bilateral trade and to invest in energy, transportation and the banking sector.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled to meet his Brazilian counterpart in Brasilia this week -- their second meeting in less than a month -- during a summit of the BRICS group which also includes Russia, India and South Africa.
“I am confident in terms of the cooperation between China and Brazil over 5G technology”, China’s Ambassador to Brasilia Yang Wanming said in reply to emailed questions. Brazil “will take into account its own development interest” when it analyzes Huawei’s bid, he added.
4. New 5 year Party member education plan
In the Hu-Wen era especially it could be fun to be a Party member. Now, not so much.
The General Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee has published a work plan for strengthening education and training of Party members.
Starting from 2019, a five-year education campaign will be launched to ensure that all CPC members will receive Party training focusing on strengthening their ideals, sense of Party consciousness and competence, according to the plan.
During the campaign, the primary political task is to study and implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, it said.
The plan also detailed the basic tasks of Party member training, including political theory education, political education and training, education on the Party Constitution, Party rules and discipline, the Party's purpose as well as the traditions of revolution.
Comment: This is a good reminder that for all the noise from the rumors of challenges to Xi, Xi Thought is embedded in everything the Party does, so by design it would be nearly impossible for Xi to somehow be removed and Xi Thought downplayed any time soon without fundamentally damaging the legitimacy of the Party. This is not China in the 60s or 70s when the Party had monopoly control of information and so could suddenly turn Lin Biao from successor to traitor and get away with it.
Here are some highlights, note the bits about big data and learning digital dang'an for Party members.
Make the study and implementation of Xi Jinping thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era a primary political task...
Establish and improve the long-term mechanism for learning and educating Xi Jinping thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era...
Party members should be guided to be firm believers and faithful practitioners of Xi Jinping thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era
Relying on the national party member management information project, explore the establishment of party member learning electronic files [digital dang'an]...
We should pay attention to the use of big data to conduct dynamic analysis of party members' learning, accurately push education content, and guide party members to take the initiative in learning and using the Internet.
Still no announced phase one trade deal, or location for a signing.
US Ambassador to China Branstad writes an oped in China Youth Daily saying the US welcomes Chinese students
I’d like to make a deal, but it’s got to be the right deal. China very much wants to make a deal. They’re having the worst year they’ve had in 57 years. Their supply chain is all broken, like an egg. They want to make a deal. Perhaps they have to make a deal. I don’t know. I don’t care. That’s up to them.
But the reports were incorrect.
Q How about lifting tariffs?
THE PRESIDENT: The level of tariff lift is incorrect.
China on Monday accused Mike Pompeo of "outdated Cold War thinking" after the US Secretary of State warned against a Chinese threat to Western freedoms.
Pompeo -- who spoke in Germany on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall -- said the Chinese Communist Party "uses tactics and methods to suppress its own people that would be horrifyingly familiar to former East Germans".
From the QA after Pompeo's speech:
SECRETARY POMPEO: So I wouldn’t characterize it as a conflict between the United States and China. The Chinese people – we have a huge trade relationship with China. So do German companies. The Chinese people are an innovative, smart, capable set of people. It’s the Chinese Communist Party. And it’s not between the United States and China. It’s the challenge between the Chinese Communist Party and its authoritarian regime and freedom-loving peoples all across the world.
During his visit to Germany, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo smeared China's political system, hyped up the so-called “China threat”, and tried to drive a wedge between the Chinese people and the Communist Party of China (CPC) by severing the bond between them.
Pompeo’s words were full of ideological bias and Cold-War, zero-sum game mentalities. He is obsessed with badmouthing China by inciting ideological opposition wherever he goes.
Because of these and other reasons, chances are, in the short run, the relationship is likely to head south rather than north. However, in the long run, one should not be too pessimistic for the following reasons:
Sooner or later Americans would realise that it is a bad idea to contain China’s technological development as a way to keep its own technological advantage. A much better way to stay ahead in technological competition is to secure access to the China market so that they can recoup money by selling their existing technologies for the development of future technologies.
Sooner or later Chinese would realise that it is unrealistic to try to catch up and outdo the US on everything and it is better to focus on some technologies it can do better and benefit from trading with other countries for technologies that they can do better.
Sooner or later, both Americans and Chinese will find that it is in their best interests to work together
The US president's daily Twitter posts broadcast his every impulse, delight and peeve to 67 million followers around the world, making him “easy to read” and “the best choice in an opponent for negotiations,” said Long Yongtu, the former vice-minister of foreign trade and point man during China’s 15-year talks to join the WTO nearly two decades ago.
“We want Trump to be re-elected; we would be glad to see that happen,” Long said during Credit Suisse’s China Investment Conference yesterday in Shenzhen.
Re-upping what I wrote on September 11 this year:
In spite of the problems China and the Party face, and all the risks and struggles Xi is exhorting the Party to battle, there is a reason Xi, officials, official documents and authoritative propaganda pieces keep repeating the phrase "当今世界正处于百年未有之大变局 the world today is undergoing major changes unseen in a century".
Xi and his theoreticians see massive global opportunities for Xi, many created by the US response to the 9/11 attacks, the decision to invade Iraq, the 2008 financial crisis and now the US foreign policy under President Trump. You see it in all sorts of utterances, most recently in the Qiushi essay by Yang Jiechi, and while the risks Xi keeps highlighting are real, and potentially existential, there may be too much focus on why the Party is destined to fail and not enough on how it may survive, and with that survival how it will reshape the world to fit its expanding interests.
Speaking at an industry forum in Beijing, Lou Jiwei, chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, said that despite the compromises the two countries were trying to reach on trade, the dispute was likely to roll over into other areas.
“The next step in the frictions between China and the United States is a financial war,” he said. “It is characterised by the use of long-arm jurisdiction, by various excuses to block specific enterprises, such as the bans on ZTE and Huawei.”
6. Latest economic data
China's headline CPI spiked to 3.8 percent in October as pork prices jumped and unfavorable year-on-year comparisons started showing up. First the food, alcohol and tobacco category spiked 2.7 percent in October and up 11.4 percent year-on-year. Pork alone spiked 20.1 percent in October from September. Even though it has been talked about and prices rose over the past year, pork prices were actually relatively stable in late summer. This latest spike is a new round of increase and it took the year-on-year increase to 101.3 percent and 29.7 percent YTD. Overall meat prices are up 66.8 percent yoy and 20.5 percent YTD.
Shen Yun, a senior statistician with the National Bureau of Statistics, said on Saturday that nearly two-thirds of last month's year-on-year CPI growth was attributed to rising pork prices, which were up 101.3 percent year-on-year.
Core inflation, which excludes food and energy prices and is known as a better reflection of the overall supply-and-demand relationship of an economy, was 1.5 percent last month, unchanged from September, the NBS said.
On-the-ground investigations emphasize that northeastern farms have begun to restore hog production after at least half of the region's swine were lost to last year's African swine fever (ASF) virus and panic-selling. The region is still severely short of pigs, but its slaughterhouses are shipping thousands of carcasses to southern regions where production has not rebounded at all. The facts and figures the report cites suggest there has been only marginal progress in restocking farms, and individual farmers who accounted for the bulk of production pre-ASF are mostly still on the sidelines or raising chickens now.
The consumer price index rose to a 7-year high of 3.8% in October due to soaring pork prices, and the demand from the Spring Festival in late January will push it higher to at least 5%, according to economists from Barclays Plc, Citigroup Inc., and Bank of China International Ltd. Huachuang Securities Co. said the headline number could even hit 6%...
The rising prices will complicate monetary policy, with markets closely watching how the People’s Bank of China balances the competing demands from rising consumer prices and falling producer prices over the rest of the year.
Aggregate financing was 618.9 billion yuan ($88 billion), the People’s Bank of China said Monday. That compares to about 2.27 trillion yuan in September and 737.4 billion yuan in the same month of 2018. The median estimate of economists was 950 billion yuan.
Broad M2 money supply in October grew 8.4% from a year earlier, central bank data showed on Monday, matching estimates of a forecast in the Reuters poll. It rose 8.4% in September.
Outstanding yuan loans grew 12.4% from a year earlier. Analysts had expected 12.5% growth, in line with September’s 12.5%.
China’s fiscal deficit is above 5 per cent of GDP, well over its target of 2.8 per cent. Significant increases in social spending would need to be accompanied by higher taxes on top earners, but Beijing has for years struggled to push through a property tax which would hit wealthy citizens...
Ms Beamish expects that China’s stimulus in the 2018 and 2019 will be equivalent to about 7 per cent of GDP over the two-year period. Measures taken in 2015 and 2016 were worth 10 per cent of GDP, she estimates, while the 2008-09 stimulus amounted to 19 per cent of GDP, according to an OECD estimate.
7. Czechs check CCP influence
Prague’s Charles University is being shaken by a scandal over secret Chinese payments to four of its faculty members, amid concerns that Beijing could use its ties with some Czech politicians to build influence in academia.
The university, one of the world’s oldest academic institutions, fired Milos Balaban, until recently head of the university’s Centre for Security Policy (SBP), and two other members of the social sciences faculty last week. The move came after the school discovered they had set up a private company under the name of SBP which was paid by the Chinese embassy for conferences co-organised by the university centre.
The payments, first revealed by Czech news outlet Aktualne, have triggered a university probe of several companies owned by Mr Balaban, Mirka Kortusová, a financial and project manager at the CSP, and Libor Stejskal and Jan Ludvík, two research fellows at the centre...
“In some western countries with a lot of immigrants, the CCP can rely on local Chinese communities to build influence. Here in central Europe, we don’t have that many Chinese, so they need to capture the local elites,” said Jakub Janda, director of the European Values Centre, a think-tank that focuses on Russian and Chinese influence operations. “Once they can influence the next generation of academics, they can secure the pro-CCP interpretation of everything.”
Question: Why do the Czechs seem so much more willing to push back on the CCP than much bigger European countries?
"There's been this backlash building up slowly. People really feel cheated," says Prague-based China expert Martin Hala. "And a lot of things that have been happening in relation to China have been driven by local actors."
In particular, Hala notes one company with a big stake in China: the PPF Group, a privately held financial and investment group with more than $40 billion worth of assets.
Its Czech founder, Petr Kellner, is among the wealthiest people in Europe, worth an estimated $15 billion. PPF's lending division, Home Credit, has become one of China's top foreign lenders, specializing in loans for individuals with little or no credit history.
These guys are doing a lot of good work, just wish more of their research appeared in English as well as Czech
Sinopsis is a joint project between the Institute of East Asian Studies at Charles University in Prague and a not-for-profit association AcaMedia. It aims to present a regular overview of developments in China from the perspectives of Czech, Chinese, and international observers.
8. Alibaba Single’s Day
I am not convinced this is representative of much when it comes to broader economic trends, but Alibaba sure knows how to throw a party, and do PR.
The total GMV for the Alibaba’s 2019 11.11 Global Shopping Festival is RMB 268.4 billion, or $38.4 billion in USD. That’s up 26% year-on-year.
The big numbers that Alibaba likes to show off on Singles Day are not a perfect gauge of how all this might be affecting middle-class China’s appetite for retail therapy.
The company reports something called gross merchandise volume, which is meant to represent the total value of orders on its platforms. But there is no standardized way of measuring it, and Alibaba’s Nov. 11 figures are not audited. The company’s Singles Day accounting has previously attracted the scrutiny of financial regulators in the United States, where Alibaba’s shares are listed.
Orders on Alibaba-owned e-commerce site Tmall reached 10 billion yuan ($1.4 billion) less than two minutes after the world’s largest shopping bonanza kicked off at midnight Monday, half a minute faster than last year’s record...
Celebrities including pop singer Jackson Yee and American megastar Taylor Swift performed during the four-hour gala held this year in Shanghai. Swift ended her set by singing “You Need to Calm Down” — a message some believe was aimed at China’s frenzied shoppers.
The flashy concert also included a bizarre segment during which 41 celebrities, including Yee, promoted produce from China’s rural regions. Several stars then appeared on Taobao Live — the livestreaming arm of Alibaba’s other large e-commerce platform — along with village leaders to advertise the agricultural products.
The volume of packaging material used by the sectors hit 9.4 million tonnes last year, and is on course to reach 41.3 million tonnes by 2025 if they keep up the rate of increase, Greenpeace and other non-government bodies said in a report.
“The e-commerce giants have barely offered even superficial responses,” said Tang Damin, a plastics campaigner with Greenpeace in the Chinese capital Beijing. “They’re biding their time for regulation to come out.”
Business, Economy and Trade
China's Jingye comes to the rescue of British Steel - AP Chinese conglomerate Jingye has agreed to buy British Steel, in a rescue deal that potentially protects some 4,000 jobs and safeguards a strategic asset as Britain prepares to leave the European Union. Exact financial terms were not immediately disclosed Monday, and it was not clear what incentives might have been offered by the British government to secure the solvency of the firm, which accounts for about a third of the country’s steel production
Contractors hit as China local government defaults rise | Financial Times $$ Chinese courts have listed 831 local governments as being in default in the first 10 months of this year, compared with 100 in the whole of 2018. The value of these local authorities’ overdue payments grew by more than 50 per cent from Rmb4.1bn at the end of last year to Rmb6.9bn ($984m) at the end of October.
China's auto industry discusses ways to boost rural car sales: sources - Reuters A senior official at the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), Zeng Guang, confirmed to Reuters that the meeting had been organized in Beijing by the association’s magazine Auto Review. He declined to provide details of the discussions but said participants had agreed that the current sales decline was normal give how China’s car market was still developing.
Banking Regulator Denies Sweeping Plan to Force Mergers - Caixin Bloomberg reported Thursday that Chinese financial regulators are discussing a plan to merge or restructure troubled banks with less than 100 billion yuan ($14.3 billion) of assets as part of intensifying efforts to buttress small lenders. Zhou Liang, a vice chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, told Caixin on Sunday the regulator would instruct some small banks to shrink their interbank businesses and those outside their registered region and industry. But he said it would be impossible to take the kind of comprehensive measures reported.
China clean energy car slowdown deepens | Financial Times $$ Figures from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers released on Monday showed that sales of new energy vehicles, which include hybrid and electric cars, were down 45.6 per cent on the same month last year at about 75,000 units. It marked the fourth straight month of contraction in China’s NEV market and followed a 33 per cent decline in September.
Axios Markets - China's mainland stocks outpace the world China's onshore stocks, dubbed A shares, have delivered more than 37% total return for investors this year, based on the FTSE A share 200 index
The Drivers, Implications and Outlook for China’s Shrinking Current Account Surplus - IMF Working Paper Policies should focus on continued rebalancing and opening up to ensure excessive surpluses do not return, and to prepare the economy and the financial system to handle more volatile capital flows. From a global perspective, the decline in China’s surplus has lowered global imbalances, but with different impact across countries. The analysis is based on data as of July 2019 // Comment: This is easier said than done given the need for reforms and for cleaning up the debt messes while being able to maintain control, which they will lose to some degree as more foreign capital flows in - "to prepare the economy and the financial system to handle more volatile capital flows"
曹德旺语出惊人：民企要快卖自救 早卖比晚卖好 ::: 六度新聞 Fuyao Glass chairman Cao Dewang tells private firms to sell assets and raise cash to pay back debts as the climate for priVate business is going to get get worse
China Banks Say Anil Ambani's Reliance Owes $680 Million - Bloomberg Three Chinese banks are suing the brother of Asia’s richest man in a London court for failing to pay back $680 million in defaulted loans. The Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China agreed to loan $925.2 million to Anil Ambani’s firm Reliance Communications Ltd. in 2012 on condition that he provide a personal guarantee, ICBC’s lawyer Bankim Thanki told the court.
Politics and Law
China to conduct 7th national census - Gov,cn The census will investigate the size, structure and distribution of China’s population, the condition of urban and rural housing and other things, in order to provide scientific and accurate statistics support for improving population development strategy and policy, promoting balanced population growth in the long term, formulating scientific plans for national economic and social development, and achieving high-quality economic development.
10 individuals, teams awarded for revolutionary-themed cultural heritage protection - Xinhua Ten individuals and 10 teams were awarded amid a nationwide activity for their outstanding contributions to the protection of revolutionary-themed cultural heritage and inheritance of revolutionary spirit, said the China Foundation For Cultural Heritage Conservation (CFCHC) Monday...This year's activity, the 11th of its kind, was initiated in June and focuses on the protection of revolutionary-themed cultural heritage to "seek the inheritors and promoters of red genes," according to the CFCHC.
Ex-Beijing Vice Mayor Pleads Guilty to Receiving $18.5 Million of Bribes Chen Gang, a former vice mayor of Beijing, pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of accepting 129 million yuan ($18.5 million) of bribes, the Intermediate People’s Court of Nanjing in Jiangsu province said on its official social media account...More than half the bribery was received during 2018, when he was named head of the Chinese Association of Science and Technology’s secretariat, Caixin learned from sources...Caixin also learned that Chen, a Communist Party member, had superstitious beliefs and practices. When he was at his career high in 2008 and a low in 2017, he twice went to seek advice from fortune tellers, according to exclusive sources. // Question: Does the CCDI give Caixin case files?
Portraits, Statues of Mao and Xi Replace Deities in Temples - Bitter Winter To save Buddhist and Taoist temples from demolition, believers hide or remove religious statues, replace them with images of China’s past and current leaders.
记者节，揭秘“任仲平”：他这样跟年轻人“网聊”--强国论坛--人民网 On the occasion of "Journalists Day, People's Daily "strong nation forum" runs an interview with Jiang Yun, director of the "new media commentary office" of the People's Daily commentary department. It is an interesting discussion of how they use new media platforms
Foreign and Defense Affairs
World Bank scales back $50m training project in Xinjiang | Financial Times $$ The World Bank is scaling back a $50m project to fund vocational training in Xinjiang, the western region of China, as Beijing draws international criticism for the mass detention of members of the country’s Muslim minority in re-education camps in the area.
China Sets Record Rare-Earth Mining Quota as Demand Rises - Bloomberg The quota for six dominant producers, including China Northern Rare Earth Group High-Tech Co., was set at 132,000 tons for 2019, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a statement on Friday. That compares with 120,000 tons in 2018 and is the highest in data going back to 2014.
State Council stresses maritime search and rescue - Gov.cn The State Council released a notice on Nov 8 to reinforce maritime search and rescue work. The notice urged an improved maritime search-and-rescue system, with national maritime search and rescue institutions efficiently organizing and coordinating the work and local governments taking their share of responsibility.
UN Global Compact launches official Chinese website - Xinhua The United Nations (UN) Global Compact, an initiative on corporate sustainability under the UN framework, launched its official website in Chinese on Monday. It is the first website in a UN official language other than English, showcasing our commitment and attention to Chinese companies and stakeholders, said Liu Meng, head of the Asia Pacific Networks of the UN initiative, at the launching ceremony.
The Chinese Government Cannot Be Allowed to Undermine Academic Freedom | The Nation - Sophie Richardson At a recent meeting I attended, some of the world’s foremost experts on vectors of Chinese government and Communist Party influence detailed for American university officials precisely the ways Chinese students and scholars in the United States are the focus of control and manipulation, including through on-campus surveillance of classroom speech and activities, which is then reported back to embassies or consulates. Yet those university officials appeared skeptical about the urgency or consequences for students or scholars, and the discussion quickly reverted to focusing on the technicalities of schools’ compliance with various regulations or their interactions with agencies like the FBI.
Chinese cultural influence over Australia felt in Perth by expats in academia and media - China power - Australian Broadcasting Corporation Born in China, James Jing moved to Australia in his early 20s, seeking to continue his tertiary education and secure work. Now aged 39, he believes his academic career is over, bottoming out as a casual Chinese Studies academic at Perth's Curtin University...He said he had spent years unsuccessfully trying to convince more senior members of Curtin's academic staff, in the faculties of Education and Media, to supervise his research into censorship and the Chinese social media platform WeChat. WeChat is owned by the Chinese tech giant Tencent, which sponsors events and programs at Curtin.
British universities must stand up to Chinese pressure - FT$$ - OpEd by Camilla Cavendish “What China is doing is not acceptable to our value system,” one academic told me, “but that’s what they do. The real issue is university leadership. If our VCs were all like Louise Richardson, who has more balls than any male VC, there would be no problem”. Ms Richardson, Oxford’s vice-chancellor, was admirably robust when threatened by the Chinese embassy with the withdrawal of Chinese students from Oxford unless she stopped its chancellor Chris Patten visiting Hong Kong. She said no.
Vietnam to Check Huawei, Xiaomi Phones for Disputed Map: Report - Bloomberg Vietnam will inspect all phones imported from China, such as Huawei and Xiaomi models, the Tuoi Tre newspaper reports citing Nguyen Hung Anh, head of Vietnam Customs’ anti-smuggling and investigation department.
How Climate Change, Dams, and Geopolitics Threaten the Mekong River's Future - Foreign Affairs Aggressive infrastructure development on the Mekong will worsen the effects of climate change. But China has many such projects in mind. Within its own borders, China has already built at least ten large dams on the main trunk of the river. Those dams have begun to negatively affect fisheries, riverbank gardens, and farms downstream. Now Beijing is helping to accelerate dam construction down the river in Laos and Cambodia, making the Mekong a major arena for the projection of Chinese interests in Southeast Asia.
China Security Report - The National Institute for Defense Studies he NIDS China Security Report analyzes the strategic and military trends of China. The report is originally published in Japanese, translated into English and Chinese.
Chinese media from 30 countries condemn attack on Xinhua offices in Hong Kong | South China Morning Post About 100 Chinese-language newspapers, magazines, television stations and online platforms from at least 30 countries have put their names to a letter condemning last week’s vandalism of Chinese state news agency Xinhua’s offices in Hong Kong. The group was led by International Daily News, an organisation owned by Indonesian tycoon Xiong Delong that has ties to Chinese state media, including the overseas edition of People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party.
China’s air force turns 70 with tales of its dare-to-die Korean war pilots | South China Morning Post As China’s air force prepares to celebrate its 70th anniversary on Monday, an article by an official military newspaper appears to confirm the existence of kamikaze-like Chinese pilots during the Korean war (1950-53). Despite Beijing’s reluctance to declassify documents relating to its involvement in the conflict – estimates on the number of Chinese soldiers killed in it range from 149,000 to 400,000 – a report by PLA Daily published on Saturday leaves little doubt as to what was expected of the fliers of the nation’s nascent air force.
Handbook on translation of Chinese political terms released in Beijing - China.org.cn A handbook on translation of Chinese political terms was released at the annual conference of the Translators Association of China (TAC) on Nov. 9, 2019, in Beijing. The handbook features translations from Chinese to a range of different languages including English, French, Japanese, Russian, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic and German // I want a copy of this
Forum discusses translation of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era - China.org.cn Themed "Translating Xi Jinping Thought for an International Audience," a forum was held on Saturday during the Translators Association of China (TAC) Conference 2019 in Beijing...According to Liu Kuijuan, deputy director of the English Department of Foreign Languages Press, a senior translator certified by China Accreditation Test for Translators and Interpreters (CATTI), the translation and publication of state leaders' works is an important way to enhance the influence of Chinese discourse in the international arena.
How the U.S. betrayed the Marshall Islands, kindling the next nuclear disaster - Los Angeles Times China is taking an increasing interest in the Marshall Islands and other Pacific island nations, in part because of their strategic location and Beijing’s interest in reducing U.S. influence in the region. Those inroads by China have alarmed U.S. leaders, forcing them to pay more attention to the grievances of Marshallese leaders such as Heine. “This heightened interest,” Heine said, “should bode well for us.”
Taiwan, US officials visit St Lucia on trade mission - Taipei Times A Taiwan-US business delegation has visited Saint Lucia this week to increase private sector investment in the Caribbean nation, marking the first time the two nations jointly embarked on a trade mission to one of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday
Beijing asks Chinese students to leave Taiwan before presidential election: report | Taiwan News A Chinese municipal government office that handles the affairs of local residents with children studying in Taiwan has announced that students are advised to return to China before January 11, according to a screenshot sent by a parent to Apple Daily on Saturday (Nov. 9). The message does not provide an explanation, but many believe it is meant to prevent Chinese students from staying in the country while the Taiwanese electorate casts its ballot for the next leader of the country.
Tech and Media
Tencent Looks to Leverage Its Partnership With Nintendo in the U.S. - WSJ $$ “What we want is to expand from China, and one target is console game players in the U.S. and Europe,” said a Tencent official, who asked not to be identified. “We hope to create console games with Nintendo characters, and learn the essence of making console games from Nintendo engineers.”
Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History
BBC - Culture - Why Chinese rappers don’t fight the power Today, the Chinese cipher seems to have ossified into binary themes – love and hate, anti-China vs pro-China, fervent nationalism vs treason to the nation – making it a zero-sum game in which conflict can only be resolved by the defeat of one side by the other. Artists like Wang, Melo and Vava, among so many others, seem have forgotten that the cipher is about competition, but also community, creativity and authenticity. Instead of creating a unique sense of self and perspective, they have decided to toe the line, parroting the Chinese authorities’ message.
League of Legends: Chinese team FunPlus Phoenix wins World Championship - CNN Chinese team FunPlus Phoenix (FPX) defeated European rivals G2 Esports to win the World Championship finals of esports phenomenon League of Legends. FPX beat the favorites G2 Esports in all three of their games to win the championship in one of the world's biggest online games, watched by a crowd of 15,000 spectators in Paris.
Energy, Environment, Science and Health
China’s green irony: leader in both renewables and coal - SciDev.Net South-East Asia & Pacific China is the undisputable global leader in renewable energy, says a new report. But it also remains a major user and a major exporter of coal to South-East Asian countries, critics point out. China is the only country willing to subsidise the export of “redundant, domestic coal-fired power manufacturing, engineering and financing capacity”, Tim Buckley, director, Energy Finance Studies for Australia and South Asia, Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, Ohio, tells SciDev.Net.
China Will Have Enough Natural Gas This Winter to Meet Demand: Officials - Caixin Global Demand for natural gas is expected to total about 145 billion cubic meters to 150 billion cubic meters during this year’s winter heating season, which typically runs from November to March, said Meng Yadong, an official in the national gas division of Sinopec, one of the country’s top suppliers. That would represent a rise of about 5% to 8% from last winter, or about half the rate of increase for the 2018 heating season, he added.