Hopes of progress in US-China trade talks; Xi retraces Mao’s 1949 footsteps, visits the Fragrant Hills 香山; Controversy over Australian MP’s China ties
There is more whiplash today over US-China trade talks, with optimism increasing for some sort of an October deal as competing news outlets offer different takes on what may be going on behind the scenes.
President Trump tweets from last night and this morning sound positive for those hoping for a cease fire:
Those tweets fit with what I wrote a week ago when we learned Liu He and his team would come to DC in October:
While I am not optimistic for any big breakthroughs there are signs in the announcement and some of the propaganda coverage that there may be some positive news in the run up to the talks, perhaps some sort of agreement for the US to drop some of the tariffs scheduled to go into effect October 1 and for China to finally make an agricultural purchase to satisfy President Trump.
I am still not optimistic for a real breakthrough but the political pressures on both sides could certainly lead to something, including, as Bloomberg reported earlier today “a limited trade agreement to China that would delay and even roll back some U.S. tariffs for the first time in exchange for Chinese commitments on intellectual property and agricultural purchases.”
We will find out in October, until then chasing leaks will likely be a suckers game for investors and business planners.
Xi has more than just the trade war on his mind. On Thursday he retraced Mao’s 1949 footsteps and visited the Fragrant Hills 香山 revolutionary memorial site where Mao set up the CCP headquarters in March 1949 in advance of entering Beijing.
Happy Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋节, and thanks for reading.
The Essential Eight
1. US-China trade
Trump administration officials have discussed offering a limited trade agreement to China that would delay and even roll back some U.S. tariffs for the first time in exchange for Chinese commitments on intellectual property and agricultural purchases, according to five people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg News reports.
Some of President Donald Trump’s top trade advisers in recent days have discussed the plan in preparation for two rounds of face-to-face negotiations with Chinese officials in Washington, due to take place in coming weeks, the people said.
A senior White House official said the U.S. is “absolutely not” considering an interim trade deal with China.
Ministry of Commerce (MOC) spokesperson Gao Feng expressed hope that the United States will meet China halfway, take concrete actions and create favorable conditions for the consultation.
"This is in the interests of both China and the United States, and the world as a whole," Gao said.
On resuming imports of agricultural products from the United States, Gao said Chinese companies have started to inquire with U.S. exporters about the purchasing prices of agricultural products, including soybeans and pork.
China’s Mofcom spokesman Go Feng said there is no such thing that China would only make agri purchase if the US relax sanctions on Huawei.. He added that China’s “bottom lines” on trade have not changed.
Zhong Sheng of People’s Daily praises Trump for the tariff delay and said more goodwill is needed for future trade talks. It cited US media in saying that Trump did it out of concerns over economy, and also to respond to China’s earlier goodwill of exempting some US goods from the new tariffs.
An earlier Zhong Sheng commentary (before Trump’s delay of tariffs) said the exemption of US goods is a “rational decision to look after the bigger picture”. It said the move is out of concerns for the wellbeing of Chinese people and foreign companies in China, and it would be very wrong to see it as a signal of China’s weakness.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Thursday met with Chairman of the U.S.-China Business Council (USCBC) Evan Greenberg in Beijing at the latter's request.
Liu, also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said China welcomes the U.S. side's latest decision to delay an increase in tariffs, which was previously scheduled for Oct. 1.
What's needed: Both sides recognize the need for a more positive political atmosphere before the negotiators meet.
China could place large orders for American soybeans and corn, while the U.S. could defer the additional 5% tariff poisonously timed for Oct. 1, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
The Trump administration could also issue permits for some U.S. firms to sell nonsensitive applications to Huawei — permitted under the company's current status as a listed entity.
What's next: The 2 months ahead are critical. The Nov. 16 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit is the last chance to sign an agreement before the window closes.
China is looking to narrow the scope of its negotiations with the U.S. to only trade matters, putting thornier national-security issues on a separate track in a bid to break deadlocked talks with the U.S.
Comment: I don't think this actually a new approach, haven't they tried this before?
In preparation for a new round of talks scheduled to take place in Washington early next month, Chinese negotiators are making plans to boost purchases of U.S. agricultural products, give American companies greater access to China’s market and bolster intellectual-property protections, these people said
Comment: Also don’t think this is new
Taiwan said that during a trade mission led by Chen Junne-Jih, Taiwan's deputy minister of agriculture, a letter of intent would be signed next week with US grain and meat exporters. The venue chosen for the signing, the Congressional Visitor Centre in Washington, a gathering place for tourists visiting Congress, signals the apparent political as well as economic dimension to the purchase.
2. US view of technology and national security challenges from China
Transcript of speech by Dr. Christopher Ford, Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Non-Proliferation, at the Multilateral Action on Sensitive Technologies (MAST) conference in DC yesterday. - Huawei and its Siblings, the Chinese Tech Giants: National Security and Foreign Policy Implications - United States Department of State
I have spoken before about the importance of cultivating “coalitions of caution” in high-technology engagement with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) – and indeed in any engagement with our strategic competitors – and MAST is a good example of one of the ways in which this can be done. All your governments should be congratulated for coming together for this second annual plenary conference as a part of the ongoing MAST process...
the U.S. Government did put Huawei on the Entity List for sound national security and foreign policy reasons. Nevertheless, there seems to have been some confusion on the part of those who imagine that our problems with that company are at root only economic or commercial, stemming merely from more general U.S. trade and tariff disputes with China. This confusion is compounded by the Chinese and Huawei propaganda machine as well. But this is far from being the case: unfortunately, Huawei also presents deep national security and foreign policy problems...
In light of all this, it seems to some of us to be nothing less than madness to allow Huawei to worm its way into one’s next-generation telecommunications networks – just as it seems nothing less than madness to allow other Chinese technology giants to vacuum up and expatriate personal and consumer data and to control electronic commerce in free sovereign nations. Unless the Chinese Communist Party fundamentally changes its strategies for economic development, military development, and control of its civilian population to prevent any organized opposition to its continued rule, it is difficult to see how China can change its strategies for using domestic companies to advance China’s national goals. This is the fundamental insight behind the national security risks posed by companies like Huawei.
If next-generation networks such as 5G are indeed the key to tomorrow’s connectivity in an increasingly information-saturated and bandwidth-hungry world, this merely makes the challenge presented by Huawei and other Chinese giants all the more acute. The world surely cannot afford to turn such critical capabilities over to technologists who are subject to control and manipulation by the Chinese Communist Party.
Dr Ford was busy yesterday, he also gave this talk at the "Conference on Great Power Competition" at the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency in Ft. Belvoir, VA. There is too much to summarize here, but if you want a sense of how the US bureaucracy has shifted since 2017 this is an excellent entry point. And there should be few illusions that now that such a fundamental shift has occurred it could suddenly shift back to a less concerned view of China if there is a new President in January 2021. - Bureaucracy and Counterstrategy: Meeting the China Challenge - United States Department of State
The 2017 National Security Strategy and the 2018 National Defense Strategy give us a clear sense of policy direction that was previously lacking. Both of those documents call out China as a great power competitor with revisionist ambitions, and make clear that meeting the challenges China presents is a critical responsibility of U.S. foreign and national security policy...
Today, therefore, let me offer you at least a little insight into the breadth and scope of how the U.S. government is reorienting itself — bureaucratically and institutionally — to help meet the foreign and national security challenges that China’s destabilizing geopolitical revisionism presents.
To be sure, there is a fair amount that I won’t be able to describe, both for reasons of brevity and because there are aspects of our responses to the China challenge that must remain classified — and which we naturally don’t want our competitors in Beijing to know about. Nevertheless, I hope that it will be useful to outline at least some of the picture, since big bureaucracies are notoriously hard to redirect, and much of this tale of recalibrating China policy represents a real U.S. success story in institutional and policy adaptations...
The US defence department is trying to identify Chinese companies and organisations with direct and indirect relationships with the People’s Liberation Army to help reduce the chances of US weapons supply chains being compromised, according to seven people familiar with the effort, which has strong support from the White House...
“The Pentagon is going whole hog,” said one person familiar with the project. “When it comes to changing trade and supply chain patterns, the federal acquisition regulations are the most powerful weapon in the Pentagon arsenal, even more potent than our nuclear weapons, and are a formidable wedge for forcing decoupling.”
It is this 5g technology—central to Huawei’s future revenue growth—that Mr Ren said he was ready to share, in a two-hour interview with The Economist on September 10th. For a one-time fee, a transaction would give the buyer perpetual access to Huawei’s existing 5g patents, licences, code, technical blueprints and production know-how. The acquirer could modify the source code, meaning that neither Huawei nor the Chinese government would have even hypothetical control of any telecoms infrastructure built using equipment produced by the new company. Huawei would likewise be free to develop its technology in whatever direction it pleases.
Comment: And Ren chatted with Tom Friedman and suggested direct negotiations with the US Department of Justice. Neither seem feasible, but they do make good PR.
There’s legitimate debate about the success of Trump’s trade war and China policy. But there should be no doubt that the tectonic plates that have undergirded U.S.-China relations for decades are shifting now, as they did in the middle of the 19th century. The architecture of Washington’s relationship with Beijing is crumbling, and so far no alternative model is emerging to replace it.
Key elements of the legislation include:
A report by the Director of National Intelligence, in coordination with the State Department, regarding the regional security threat posed by the crackdown and the frequency with which Central Asian countries are forcibly returning Turkic Muslim refugees and asylum seekers. The report will also include a list of Chinese companies involved in the construction and operation of the camps;
An FBI report on efforts to provide information to and protect U.S. citizens and LPRs (including Uyghurs) from Chinese government harassment and intimidation on American soil;
The establishment of a new “double-hatted” position at the State Department (Special Coordinator for Xinjiang) while the crisis persists;
A report by the CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media regarding efforts to intimidate Radio Free Asia (RFA) employees, the status and reach of U.S. broadcasting to Xinjiang, and analysis of disinformation propaganda by the PRC targeting Uyghur communities globally;
A report by the Director of National Intelligence, in coordination with the State Department, regarding the regional security threat posed by the crackdown on Uyghurs and the transfer and development of technology facilitating surveillance and mass internment. The report will also include a list of Chinese companies involved in the construction and operation of the camps.
The legislation also urges...the application of Global Magnitsky and related sanctions
Q: According to media reports, on the evening of September 11, the US Senate reviewed and passed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019, calling on the US government to exert more pressure on China for Xinjiang-related issues. Do you have a comment on that?
A: China firmly opposes the passage of the bill by the US Senate. In total disregard of facts, this bill smeared and criticized the human rights situation in Xinjiang and the Chinese government's Xinjiang policies. Such flagrant interference in China's internal affairs will only make the Chinese people more indignant. We urge the US side to respect facts, return to reason, discard the Cold-War mentality, stop taking Xinjiang-related issues as a pretext to interfere in China's domestic affairs, and stop pushing the bill to become law so as to prevent damages to the overall relationship between China and the US.
Scholars of the region argue that China’s Communist party is attempting to “re-engineer” minority society to make Uighurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang ever more like the Han Chinese majority. Some experts have even begun to call for the campaign to be labelled “cultural genocide”, a term usually defined as the forced assimilation of an indigenous group with the aim of eliminating its cultural distinctness.
“For [the campaign] to fit the definition of [cultural] genocide, it would need to be a premeditated systematic effort orchestrated by the state,” James Leibold, an expert on China’s ethnic policy at La Trobe University in Melbourne, told the FT.
“I think it’s important that we start to call it what it is. Re-engineering, rewiring, remoulding all work, but the evidence suggests that cultural genocide fits.”
4. Xi retraces Mao’s 1949 footsteps, visits the Fragrant Hills 香山
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday called on the whole Party and nation to strive for realizing the two centenary goals and the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.
Xi...made the call when visiting a revolutionary memorial site in the Fragrant Hills in suburban Beijing ahead of the 70th founding anniversary of the People's Republic of China (PRC)...
Wang Huning, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and a member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee, also attended the tour.
Why Xiangshan you ask?
On March 23, 1949, the CPC Central Committee and Comrade Mao Zedong left Xibaipo, a revolutionary base of the CPC in Hebei Province, for Beijing. Two days later, they moved to the Fragrant Hills, making it the seat of the CPC Central Committee at that time.
During the tour, Xi first visited Shuangqing Villa, where Mao Zedong had worked and lived, and then walked to another nearby place, where other members of the older generation of revolutionaries Zhu De, Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai and Ren Bishi had worked and lived...
Commemorating this part of history is to strengthen confidence in the path, theory, system and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics, to embolden ourselves to carry out the great struggle with many new historical characteristics, and to overcome any difficulties ahead, Xi said.
He also stressed the need to always have the wholehearted support of the people, to always maintain close ties with the people and to always fight to realize the aspirations of the people to live a better life.
The CPC members should always maintain the enterprising spirit, ensure the Party's purity and advanced nature, and pass the test of the new era, Xi said.
Xi said that the Party must keep in mind Mao’s remarks right before the founding of PRC, that the party would “enter Beijing for the exam” 进京赶考, that they now face the test of ruling China after years of fighting, and that they have to prove to be different than all the Chinese emperors before them, who all eventually lost the support of the Chinese public.
The report on Xi's visit to Xiangshan was the top 9 minutes of the Thursday CCTV Evening News. The named officials accompanying Xi include Ding Xuexiang, Chen Xi, Cai Qi, and You Quan. I guess Liu He was busy meeting Americans?
Some official history on Mao's entry into Beijing from Xiangshan - 红色记忆：“进京赶考”—我们不当李自成
5. Hong Kong
Addressing the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday, Pansy Ho Chiu-king, chairwoman of the Hong Kong Federation of Women and daughter of Macau casino kingpin Stanley Ho Hung-sun, said protest supporters had tried to silence her...
“Vicious threats and provocative remarks have been used to incite harassment and defame me, my family and my businesses in an attempt to silence me in presenting a different perspective of the truth.”
She described Hong Kong pupils as being “indoctrinated” with “police hatred” and into organising mass school strikes, adding: “We will not tolerate child exploitation and we call for the international community to reprimand those organisers and influencers.”
"I would like to ask those US lawmakers, when the violent extremists in Hong Kong brutally assaulted and injured the police and brought public facilities like the airport and subway to a standstill, where is the rule of law that you claim to advocate? When personal information of more than 1,000 police officers and their families were illegally exposed and they were targeted by crazy cyber bullying and threats, where are the human rights that you claim to champion? When people holding different views were chased, surrounded and beaten by black-clad demonstrators wearing masks, where is the freedom you claim to stand for?" she said.
In answer to a suggestion from the audience related to the government’s public relations efforts:
I’m not aware of that 120-page document [name redacted]. But what I have asked for, but that is a little bit overtaken by events, that was almost a month ago, when we optimistically thought that we would have some sort of peaceful moments, that we could start to think about relaunching Hong Kong. So we sent out something by the information services department and invited eight such global PR companies, but unfortunately four immediately declined because that would be a detriment to their reputation to support the Hong Kong SAR government now, and two subsequently also turned away a request for meetings. So we’re left with two
Written and composed anonymously, then modified in online forums popular with protesters, “Glory to Hong Kong” features the kind of brass-heavy backing and soaring lyricism common to anthems, including the line “May people reign, proud and free, now and ever more.” In a slickly produced video version, an orchestra and choir dressed in protester garb — black shirts, helmets and gas masks — perform through a fog machine, meant to evoke images of tear gas.
“It wouldn’t be too complex should there be any order coming from Hong Kong. A few trucks from Shenzhen could do,” said Wang Zhuojian, owner of Jing Shi Security Technology and Defence Product Development, based in Guangzhou in the southern province of Guangdong.
The move is in line with a strategic plan that Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd. (HKEx) published in February and included an aim to expand its global connections, HKEx Chairwoman Laura Cha Shih May-lung told Caixin.
The proposition was first floated by the board of directors, and an initial framework for the offer was hammered out last September, Cha said.
Hundreds of pro-Beijing supporters confronted anti-government protesters at a shopping mall in Hong Kong on Thursday, with both sides attempting to outsing each other.
Before 1pm, hundreds of pro-Beijing protesters gathered on the atrium of IFC Mall in Central. They were responding to an online call to stage a patriotic flash mob.
China is Israel's largest trading partner in Asia and its third-largest worldwide, after the European Union and the U.S., according to the governmental Israeli Export Institute. Chinese investments and construction in Israel reached $12.19 billion between 2005 and 2019, according to the American Enterprise Institute. Last year, exports of electronic components from Israel to China increased by 80%, the Israeli Export Institute says.
"Israel and the U.S. have different threat perceptions with China," said Assaf Orion, a retired Israeli army general who directs the China program at the Institute for National Security Studies, an independent Israeli research institute. "Israel is way tuned against its traditional enemies, and China is not one of our enemies."
Despite the hand-wringing on both sides, it’s tough to imagine Israel won’t choose the U.S. over China. In July, Israel began soliciting bids for 5G mobile telecommunications frequencies. The man in charge, Minister of Communications David Amsalem, says the issue of foreign investment is complicated. “It’s not like buying some shoes,” he says. So will Huawei Technologies Co., the Chinese giant and frequent Trump target, be allowed to participate? Amsalem’s reply: “Go to the next question.”
Not directly related but still interesting - Israel accused of planting mysterious spy devices near the White House - POLITICO
While the Chinese, who have been regularly caught doing intelligence operations in the U.S., were also seen as potential suspects, they were determined as unlikely to have placed the devices based on a close analysis of the devices.
7. PRC soft power efforts in Pakistan
Over the past year, China has sent state-owned PTV and other commercial television channels a series of documentaries, dramas, and other television programming for free, officials from PTV told Reuters.
Experts say China has been ramping up attempts to win the hearts and minds of citizens in Belt and Road nations through language, traditional media, and social media campaigns, echoing the cultural firepower previously wielded by Western nations, which have leveraged everything from language centers to Hollywood and blue jeans to burnish global influence.
"We have learnt from the experience of the United States, the UK, and other Western countries – but now, it's time for the world to understand China," said Chen Xiang, a correspondent coordinating state-run China Radio International's wide-ranging presence in Pakistan.
Comment: Zhao Lijian, formerly Deputy Chief of Mission to Pakistan, is now deputy director general of the foreign ministry’s information department. He is a skilled Tweeter, wonder how he will work to shape information efforts along the Belt and Road.
In an indirect reference to Pakistan, the visiting Indian delegation told their Chinese counterparts that their support to terror states “is sending a wrong message to the Indian consumers who are still interested in consuming Chinese products”.
The Bharatiya Janata Party delegation held talks with the Communist Party of China members in the last week of August.
It is being reported that the Communist Party of China was interested in knowing about the BJP’s membership drive, which made it the largest party in the world.
8. Controversy over Australian MP’s China ties
Besieged Liberal MP Gladys Liu did not disclose her membership of organisations linked to the Chinese Government's foreign interference operations when she ran for preselection for the federal seat she now holds.
The ABC has obtained the form Ms Liu submitted during the preselection process for the seat of Chisholm, which she won for the Liberal Party at the last federal election.
I tonight interviewed Liberal MP Gladys Liu on her alleged links to the communist Chinese regime. She said she couldn't remember. I asked her if China's president Xi Jinping was a dictator. She said she didn't have an opinion. I asked whether she agreed with her Government that China's theft of the South China Sea was illegal. She wouldn't. Watch.
Scott Morrison has launched a spirited defence of embattled Liberal MP Gladys Liu, hitting out at Labor in federal Parliament for implying she was "disloyal" to Australia following a string of revelations about her past associations to Chinese groups.
The Prime Minister accused the opposition of "casting a smear on Chinese Australians", after it questioned whether the Morrison government had received warnings from Australia's spy agency about the Victorian back bencher.
Scott Morrison today attempted to dismiss growing concerns over Member for Chisholm Gladys Liu as partisan fire directed by the Labor Opposition at a “clumsy interview” she gave to Andrew Bolt on Tuesday. But given its national security implications, this is one matter the prime minister is unlikely to skate over...
In damage control yesterday and today, the government has tried to reduce the issue to one of partisan politics and racial slurs. In a press conference this morning, the prime minister suggested that Labor’s pursuit of the matter was “an insult to every Chinese Australian in this country”. That provoked an extraordinary intervention by Bolt himself, who asked: “are the dictators in Beijing now writing Morrison’s lines?”
Business, Economy and Trade
Growth in China Banking Assets Slows as Crackdown Bites - Caixin Banks’ total assets stood at 281.6 trillion yuan ($40.57 trillion) at the end of June, 8.2% higher than the same period last year, Xiao Yuanqi, chief risk officer of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC), said at a briefing. That’s down from a 15.7% increase in the same period in 2016 and an 11.5% increase in 2017, although there has been some acceleration since 2018 when the growth rate was 7%, data compiled by the commission show.
State Council orders more effective inspections over enterprises - Xinhua The State Council, China's cabinet, asked central and local government departments to introduce efficient and effective inspections on enterprises in a directive published Thursday. All enterprises subject to regular administrative inspections should be randomly selected with the results published afterward, according to the directive. Enterprises in industries closely related to public safety and health will be a priority of administrative inspections, the document said, adding that those that fail an inspection will be blacklisted. However, the directive recommended inclusiveness and caution in dealing with emerging businesses. // Gov.cn - Proactive and Post supervision to be intensified
Chinese Banks Told to Curb Loans to Developers, Homebuyers - Caixin Regulators are telling China’s banks to limit lending to property developers and homebuyers even as policymakers are taking measures to shore up slowing economic growth, Caixin learned. Since July, regulators have given banks so-called window guidance to control the scale and growth of loans to developers and mortgage borrowers, Caixin learned. Banks whose real estate development loans exceed a certain level were told not to extend new loans to developers.
As trade war deepens, a state-owned insurer in China helps soften the blow - Reuters China Export & Credit Insurance Corp, known as Sinosure, has aggressively increased its insurance of Chinese exporters since last year, according to company sources and public data. The government-led aid is being carefully watched by trade experts who say the practice may run afoul of World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments or be challenged by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has railed against what he says are China’s unfair trade practices.
Muji says sorry after calling parts of Shanghai the ‘French Concession’ - Inkstone Japanese retailer Muji has apologized in China after using the term “French Concession” to refer to a historic neighborhood in Shanghai in a marketing campaign. The term, which is still commonly used in the megacity, angered some Chinese internet users who found it insulting because it invoked an era in which China had to grant a number of concessions to countries such as France, Britain, the US and Japan.
Chinese report ‘names and shames’ Fortune 500 firms for mislabelling its territories | South China Morning Post Among the firms to be named and shamed is CK Hutchison Holdings – once run by the now retired Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing – which according to Zhi Zhenfeng, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and lead author of the study, is guilty of “inappropriately labelling” the territories. Some details of the report have already been published by China’s state media.
Explainer: Why Beijing cut the tax rate on rare earths amid the escalating US-China trade war | South China Morning Post Last month, the Chinese government cut the resource tax on companies mining heavy rare earths to 20 per cent from 27 per cent, as part of its efforts to support the vital sector and maintain the country’s dominance amid a raging trade war with the US. The Post spoke to a number of industry observers, who agree that the latest policy move, which takes effect next September, is meant to boost production and make it economically feasible for miners to exploit low-grade deposits.
China's Peak Online Finance Body Requires Members to Display Annualised Lending Costs - China Banking News On 11 September NIFA issued a notice to all member institutions requiring the disclosure and clear notification of comprehensive annualised costs for all online loans, as part of efforts to further strengthen protections of the rights and interests of finance consumers.
World Bank debars state-owned Chinese engineering and construction company - The FCPA Blog China Energy Engineering Group Hunan Electric Power Design Institute Co., Ltd (CEEC-HEPDI) is ineligible to participate in World Bank-financed projects during the 20-month debarment. CEEC-HEPDI fraudulently falsified documents describing past contract experience, litigation history, and business credentials to meet the requirements of the bidding documents, the World Bank said.
中欧班列开行质量又有新提升 China Railway Group held a “coordination meeting” in Beijing with Chinese companies to discuss how to improve the China-Europe Railway. This comes after report that many of the shipments are heavily subsidized by the governments so officials can show leaders the progress of Belt and Road Intitiave.
Politics and Law
赵乐际在河北调研时强调，确保党中央决策部署不折不扣贯彻落实 CCDI head Zhao Leji, visited Xiongan, Hebei. Zhao urged the local local officials to fully understand and implement Beijing’s policies and instructions. It is worth noting that over the past nine months nearly 20 ministers or provincial governors have visited Xiong’an and earlier this month the government reshuffled 12 officials in the Xiongan. It is unclear whether this has to do with the slow progress in this project or just the importance of it.
Senior CPC official urges disciplinary supervisors to implement Party policies - Xinhua During his visit to the planning exhibition center of Xiongan New Area, he stressed honesty and integrity in the work on the area's planning, construction and governance and called for intensified and innovative supervision. Zhao visited the rectification site of illegal villas in Luquan District, Shijiazhuang City, ordering strict discipline and law enforcement and accurate rectification.
Senior CPC official calls for efforts to promote Long March spirit - Xinhua Huang Kunming, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks at a ceremony held in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, which marked the completion of commemorative facilities for the Battle of the Xiangjiang River during the Long March in the 1930s.
China mulls granting local governments greater autonomy to make their own laws | South China Morning Post It could help the likes of Shanghai and Shenzhen to throw off the shackles of nationwide rules that are sometimes too detached from, or even unfit for, local conditions, legal experts said. However, they cautioned that any lawmaking power delegated from Beijing to local authorities would be very limited. The country’s Legislation Law, which was amended in 2015, grants lawmaking powers to all cities that are made up of districts, but they are restricted to urban management and environmental and cultural protection.
第二批主题教育如何开展？这些资料请收好！--“不忘初心、牢记使命”主题教育官方网站--人民网 Some resources if you want to keep up with the second phase of the "staying true to our original aspirations" campaign
Symposium held on anthology of feature stories on Xi's attendance in key events - Xinhua Comprised of two volumes, the book, themed "the new practice in the governance of China," is a collection of 129 feature stories and more than 200 photos released by Xinhua News Agency on Xi's attendance in important events between the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012 and the 19th CPC National Congress in 2017. Participants at the symposium said the collection faithfully reflected the great practice of the governance of China by the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core.
Foreign and Defense Affairs
Suggested Headline: Indian Army and Chinese PLA Face-off after a gap of more than an year- The New Indian Express Indian and Chinese army troops were involved in a face-off in Ladakh on Wednesday morning, the first since over a year and amid a dip in trust levels between the two nations after India took away special privileges to Jammu & Kashmir under Article 370. Sources said an Indian Army patrol was moving in the northern bank of Pangong Tso, or lake, when Chinese troops objected to their presence. Many areas of the Pangong lake are disputed
鹰击长空，为国仗剑！空军发布宣传片介绍对抗空战的“最美群鹰” - 中国军网 "TheEagle Soars in the Sky, Wielding a sword for the Nation" New PLA Air Force propaganda video, includes recording in English of warning to other planes that "you are about the enter Chinese airspace"
Xu Qiliang met with Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces - Ministry of National Defense General Xu Qiliang, Vice Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC), met with Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, in Beijing on Wednesday. Gen. Xu said that China and Iran share a deep and broad traditional friendship with a profound foundation. The two countries are good friends having jointly experienced rises and falls. Under the leadership of the two heads of state, China-Iran comprehensive strategic partnership has developed steadily.
China to build warship for Thailand - Global Times China and Thailand have signed a deal that will see a Chinese shipbuilding company build a Type 071E landing platform dock (LPD) warship for the Thai navy, a move which shows deepened arms trade cooperation between the two countries, a Chinese military expert said on Wednesday.
路透社社长访问新华社 Thomson Reuters CEO Michael Friedenberg met with head of Xinhua Cai Mingzhao. Cai did not critisize Reuters directly as did by Shen Haixiong, head of the China Media Group. But Cai again lectured Friedenberg that media must “objectively, truthfully and comprehensively” report the news.
Tech and Media
China Video App Seeks Funds at $25 Billion Value Before U.S. IPO - Bloomberg Chinese startup Kuaishou is considering to go public in the U.S. to bankroll its expansion in short videos and fend off competition from TikTok owner ByteDance Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.
Next Year Will Be Key for Robotaxi Industry, Startup Says - Caixin Zhong Hua told Caixin that robotaxis will be key to proving that autonomous driving technology can be commercialized. He made this prediction after Chief Operating Officer Zhang Li said the company planned to roll out hundreds of self-driving vehicles as part of a trial service in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou by 2020.
Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History
NBA is China's favorite sport, but when will the next Yao Ming arrive? -- ESPN Former NBA big men Wang Zhi Zhi and Mongolian Mengke Bateer weren't talented enough to become anything close to what Yao was. Yi Jianlian was perhaps the most skilled and athletic player from China to enter the NBA, but he did not come close to reaching his potential. There have also been some other Chinese players who have had cups of coffee in the NBA but didn't make a splash. Van Gundy said the Chinese need to develop more guard and perimeter players in order to get another notable Chinese player in the NBA.
Video shows Chinese teacher enforcing make-up ban by wiping girls’ faces with towel and water from a bucket | South China Morning Post Another staff member says 80 per cent of students at Guizhou school are left-behind children who ‘may be led into extreme directions in aesthetics and life values’
Energy, Environment, Science and Health
Beijing air improving, but getting worse in China's provinces - The Washington Post The Swiss firm IQAir AirVisual said Thursday that the Chinese capital could drop out of the list of the world’s 200 most polluted cities, with concentrations of small particulates falling to their lowest level since records began in 2008. The data, pulled from sensors installed by the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and local Chinese authorities, confirms what many longtime residents have reported anecdotally: a significant improvement in the city’s air in the past two years as the government clamped down on the burning of coal for heating, shuttered polluting factories and kept heavy trucks outside city limits.
Rural and Agricultural Issues
How Village Co-ops Are Remapping China’s Rural Communities -Sixth Tone Underlying the rapid expansion of FSCs like Baimeng is the Chinese government’s desire to reform the small landholder system that has dominated life in the Chinese countryside for millennia. Although my research into the model suggests that challenges remain — including a lack of trust in co-op management, unrealized goals, and the historical scars of the collectivist period — it’s not all bleak. Baimeng is an example of how new co-ops are fostering intra-village cooperation and collaboration.
China’s ‘heartbroken’ pig farmers torn apart by pork price spike and African swine fever | South China Morning Post “The biggest problem is there are no [effective] epidemic prevention measures. Local insurance companies and governments have not compensated us for the losses caused by the spread of the fever,” Chen said.