Hopes rise for small trade deal; NBA; Visas and Xinjiang; Central-local tax distribution changes
|Oct 9, 2019||9||3|
As expected there are leaks today claiming Liu He is coming to DC bearing gifts targeted at reaching an armistice-like deal that includes a standstill on new tariffs and more agricultural purchases. As I wrote Monday I think that idea also includes yet another framework (or understandings as it may be called) for negotiators to work towards a President Trump-General Secretary Xi meeting, this time at the APEC meeting in Chile November 16-17, and a broader deal.
The US State Department followed the Department of Commerce’s Xinjiang-related additions to its Entity List with new visa restrictions. Yesterday the State Department announced:
Visa restrictions on Chinese government and Communist Party officials who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, the detention or abuse of Uighurs, Kazakhs, or other members of Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang, China. Family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions.
The visa restrictions may be more symbolic than substantive, and are a far weaker punishment than the long-rumored imposition of sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act. The timing of these two moves is likely not coincidental to the trade talks. Were they made to make Trump look tough on China just before he agrees to a smaller trade deal, to inoculate him from charges of caving on trade?
NBA Commissioner Silver’s comments Tuesday have increased the anger of people and officials in China, and he is now more of a target than Rockets GM Morey. Silver has arrived in Shanghai, but a near-term solution absent an abject, groveling apology, perhaps a public flogging and renegotiated commercial terms seems unlikely, and even then it may take a lot more time and pain for this to resolve. But there are voices in China who realize this mess carries risk for China too.
Thanks for reading.
The Essential Eight
1. US-China trade
China would accept a limited deal as long as no more tariffs are imposed by President Donald Trump, including two rounds of higher duties set to take effect this month and in December, the official said. In return, Beijing would offer non-core concessions like purchases of agricultural products without giving in on major sticking points, the official said, without offering further details.
Mr Liu’s team is offering to boost annual purchases of soy beans to 30m tonnes compared with 20m at present. The extra purchases would be equivalent to about $3.25bn of orders at current rates.
China would also make a raft of changes to non-tariff barriers that have long frustrated the US Department of Agriculture and American farmers...
Barring a deal this week, the U.S. plans to raise tariffs to 30% from 25% on $250 billion of Chinese imports starting Tuesday. The real wallop to American wallets would come Dec. 15, when a 15% import tax hits the rest of Chinese products including smartphones, laptops and kids toys. It’s a shot fired by Trump that could ricochet economically and politically. Largely spared tariffs so far, Made-in-China consumer items would get pricier in the middle of the busiest shopping month of the year.
Two years ago, on Oct. 8, 2017, the top bodies of the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese government created a pathway to IP reform that promised to propel the nation into the global innovation ecosystem for pharmaceuticals. But that promise has failed to materialize.
This week, as Chinese and U.S. negotiators reconvene in Washington for yet another round of trade talks, there is an opportunity for China to turn that promise into reality.
2. Visas and Xinjiang
Visa restrictions on Chinese government and Communist Party officials who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, the detention or abuse of Uighurs, Kazakhs, or other members of Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang, China. Family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions.
These visa restrictions complement yesterday’s announcement by the Department of Commerce regarding the imposition of export restrictions on U.S. products exported to 28 entities, including elements of the Public Security Bureau and commercial companies in Xinjiang, involved in China’s campaign of surveillance, detention, and repression.
China’s Ministry of Public Security has for months been working on rules to limit the ability of anyone employed, or sponsored, by U.S. intelligence services and human rights groups to travel to China.
The proposed changes follow the introduction by the United States of tighter rules for visas for Chinese scholars in May...
“The plan has been widely discussed by senior police officers over recent months, but made more likely to be implemented after the Hong Kong protests and the U.S. visa ban on Chinese officials,” the source said.
Following a year and a half of the incarceration of millions in police detention centers and de facto concentration camps, the Chinese authorities have unmistakably changed course in the fall of 2018. In an effort to fend off both international condemnation and the increased media coverage, Beijing has reacted by launching a campaign to whitewash the camps – through media propaganda, Potemkin tours, and solicited diplomatic approval – while simultaneously dismantling the system and releasing many into various forms of residential surveillance or forced job placement. However, as suggested by the government’s own statistics, some limited reporting, and the new evidence presented by victims’ relatives and former detainees in neighboring Kazakhstan, an incredible number of those detained in 2017 and 2018 are now being given lengthy sentences and transferred to major prisons like the one in Urumqi.
Xinjiang courts have been sentencing detainees to lengthy prison terms — sometimes up to 20 years — in hasty trials where little but a verdict is presented, according to relatives and an ex-detainee. The sentences overwhelmingly target citizens with religious Muslim backgrounds; 23 of the 32 people sentenced in Xinjiang recently were religious students, imams or people who prayed regularly, according to their family members.
China is destroying burial grounds where generations of Uighur families have been laid to rest, leaving behind human bones and broken tombs in what activists call an effort to eradicate the ethnic group's identity in Xinjiang.
In just two years, dozens of cemeteries have been destroyed in the northwest region, according to an AFP investigation with satellite imagery analysts Earthrise Alliance.
Some of the graves were cleared with little care -- in Shayar county, AFP journalists saw unearthed human bones left discarded in three sites. In other sites tombs that were reduced to mounds of bricks lay scattered in cleared tracts of land.
While the official explanation ranges from urban development to the "standardisation" of old graves, overseas Uighurs say the destruction is part of a state crackdown to control every element of their lives.
NBA China lists 11 wholly-owned Chinese companies as its official partners in the country on its website, all of which now say they have halted business with the league, according to a review by CNN Business of company statements and social media posts.
The Shanghai Sports Federation said the cancellation of the fan event ahead of Thursday’s game between the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers was due to the “inappropriate attitude” of Morey and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
A Wednesday afternoon press conference with both teams was indefinitely delayed, organisers said. Outside the team hotel, workers tore down massive banners advertising the game, according to a Reuters witness.
Tencent extended its NBA partnership through 2024-25 season in July, according to an NBA statement. The value of the deal was not disclosed, but Chinese sports news portal Lanxiong Sports reported it was worth about $1.5 billion.
To show that China will not tolerate this flagrant disrespect for our nation amongst the ranks of the NBA, we intend to enlighten our citizens in the ways of the National Hockey League,” said Vice Premier Han Zheng, overseeing the first of many re-fanification ceremonies in a detention center outside of Beijing where citizens were encouraged at gunpoint to throw NBA merchandise into bonfires
That strategy opens a seemingly boundless new arena for Chinese censorship beyond its borders—and the chances of a significant backlash. When China applies the full-court press in its pursuit of “discourse power,” it undermines its very objective of improving its image. In attempting to look strong, China ends up looking like a fragile bully. Li Hongmei, a communications scholar at Miami University, in Ohio, studied a previous nationalist dispute with Taiwanese critics and found that only a minority of those who were targeted by China accepted its arguments. “But many others laughed at the oversensitivity of mainland Chinese, stating, ‘People of a powerful country have a heart made of glass,’ ” Li wrote.
As a strategy, China’s efforts to micromanage global conversation is emboldening its critics and eroding the support of its friends. When Yao Ming entered the N.B.A., his rise and success presented an ideal portrait of Chinese soft power. The more that Chinese officials try to remake that portrait, the faster it deteriorates.
Chuck Salituro, the senior news director of ESPN, sent a memo to shows mandating that any discussion of the Daryl Morey story avoid any political discussions about China and Hong Kong, and instead focus on the related basketball issues. The memo, obtained by Deadspin, explicitly discouraged any political discussion about China and Hong Kong. Multiple ESPN sources confirmed to Deadspin that network higher-ups were keeping a close eye on how the topic was discussed on ESPN’s airwaves.
Hu Xijin of the Global Times is smart, he knows if China goes too far on the NBA it is bad for China too, says the NBA must pay an unspecified price but China should not overdo it.
As China seeks to contain pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong, state-run news outlets are increasingly lashing out at foreign companies, accusing them of enabling the protest movement.
website of the Central Politics and Law Commission weighs in, attacks Silver, asks whose freedom is Western "freedom of speech":
”If we really support freedom of speech, please see clearly the reality of Hong Kong and make a fair judgment on this basis. If you still want to confuse the public and the public, please calmly bear the "parting of the ways" of Chinese merchants, and the "blocking" of Chinese fans.
Silver is now more of a target of official ire than Morley, this from CCTV Sports:
"Obviously, Silver and others are deliberately misinterpreting the concept of "freedom of speech" as a shield to confuse the public and the public. The so-called freedom of speech is never absolute. Any speech that challenges national sovereignty and social stability does not belong to the scope of freedom of speech. The chicanery of Silver and Morley only shows their ulterior motives and arrogance.
Silver continues to quibble in his latest statement. Say what, the values of equality, respect, and free speech have long defined the NBA. But equality and respect are mutual. Morey's erroneous remarks do not respect China's sovereignty and national dignity. Silver's attitude does not reflect the attitude of equality, but is to protect deliberately provocative other countries' sovereignty, hurt the feelings of the Chinese people's remarks. What they say and do is not to uphold NBA values, but to undermine them.
Wachs, a Philly resident who lived in Hong Kong for two years, says he was also wearing a “Free Hong Kong” T-shirt.
Shortly after tip-off, Wachs says security members saw the signs and told him “no politics.”
When Wachs questioned, he says a security guard said not to give him a hard time and took away the signs.
Roughly midway through the second quarter, Wachs says he stood up and yelled “Free Hong Kong.” He says he was then ejected from the game.
Question: What will Joe Tsai do when fans do this at Brooklyn Nets' games?
Business is business, and politics is politics. Nobody wants to drag Apple into the lingering unrest in Hong Kong. But people have reason to assume that Apple is mixing business with politics, and even illegal acts. Apple has to think about the consequences of its unwise and reckless decision.
Foreign companies probably don’t understand the sentiments and way of thinking of Chinese people. Our ancestors had been bullied. But today we are united more than ever. On issues involving principles, we have zero tolerance for wrongdoings. Providing a gateway for “toxic apps” is hurting the feelings of the Chinese people, twisting the facts of Hong Kong affairs, and against the views and principles of the Chinese people.
4. Da Wei on US-China relations
In part two of this two-part podcast, Paul Haenle sat down with Da Wei, assistant president and professor at the University of International Relations in Beijing, to discuss evolutions in China’s politics, economics, and foreign policy affecting the U.S.-China relationship.
Comment: Da Wei is always worth listening to, both because of his experience and thoughtfulness and because of his position and access in Beijing. And he is not optimistic…As another PRC reader likes to say “从今以后的每一天，都是未来几十年中美关系最好的一天. Today is the best day in US-China relations for the next several decades”.
5. Hong Kong
Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s popularity rating has plunged to a new record low of 22.3 points out of 100, according to the latest public survey.
The rating is the lowest among any post-colonial chief executive. It represented a further 2.6 point drop from two weeks ago, according to the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute – the crowdfunded successor to the University of Hong Kong’s Public Opinion Programme.
Hong Kong police have confirmed that there were plainclothes officers at Sheung Shui MTR station carrying out an investigation on Tuesday. It came after viral videos showed a man dressed as a masked protester threatening residents outside the closed station.
The clips raised eyebrows with some questioning the objectives of the officer inside the station, and raising concerns over why he was masquerading as a protester.
Hong Kong is an open society and easily exposed to fake news because of the internet. Online falsehoods pretend to be true, which makes them nearly impossible to be effectively defended against. Many net users have unconsciously become the disseminators of disinformation, especially in the context of some Western media outlets rocking the boat by spreading fake news about Hong Kong problems.
There is no crime ordinance in Hong Kong that specifically deals with online falsehoods. The SAR government can only clarify rumors after being widely spread. Hong Kong's provisions in this field have fallen behind the times. Social network (SNS) platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube have also become main channels to spread online falsehoods. In the meantime, in addressing HICs online, tech companies cannot be left alone to self-regulate. The platforms' algorithms could push towards extremity.
FIFA said Wednesday the charge against Hong Kong was “disturbance during national anthems; use of objects to transmit a message that is not appropriate for a sports event.”
Visitor named Li Shaodong is expelled from self-ruled island for violating terms of tourist visa after vandalising Lennon Wall set up at National Taiwan University
“To me, Beijing would like nothing more than the US to remove Hong Kong’s special status. I don’t really get it. I don’t understand what game they think they are playing,” said Thornton, who retired from the Department of State in July after more than 25 years of service, referring to US lawmakers pushing the bill...
Thornton, who is now a senior fellow at Yale University’s Paul Tsai [funded by Joe Tsai] China Centre, said that rather than trying to punish Hong Kong, the US should be seeking to act as a “moral compass”. She accused Washington of being “irresponsible and misinformed” with its remarks on the recent unrest in the city, arguing that US officials should express disapproval of violence from all sides.
6. Xi to visit Nepal and India
The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced earlier in the day that at the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nepali President Bidhya Devi Bandari, President Xi will attend the second informal meeting with Modi and pay a state visit to Nepal from Oct. 11 to 13...
In Chennai, Xi will have an in-depth communication with Modi on issues that have overall, long-term and strategic significance on bilateral relations, set the tune and guide the direction for future development of the ties, and speak to the world in unanimous voice, so as to inject positive energy into the world full of uncertainties.
Regarding Xi's visit to Nepal, [Vice foreign minister] Luo said that Xi will be the first Chinese president to visit the South Asian country after an interval of 23 years.
Nepal, as a friendly neighbor, also serves as an important partner of China in terms of carrying out the Belt and Road cooperation, Luo said.
India will make clear that any change to its Jammu and Kashmir state is an internal affair if the Chinese side were to raise the matter in the forthcoming talks, a government source said.
India’s foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar reiterated New Delhi’s position that the contested region of Jammu & Kashmir was an integral part of India. “China is well aware of our position,” Kumar said in a statement released Wednesday. “It is not for other countries to comment on the internal affairs of India.”
According to a statement released by Khan's office in Islamabad, the Pakistani leader thanked Xi and the Chinese government for their "support on the Kashmir issue," and for China's financial support to Pakistani in difficult times...
According to Xinhua news agency, Chinese President Xi told Khan that he was watching the situation in Kashmir and would "support Pakistan in issues related to its core interests."
Xi, however, added that the parties [India and Pakistan] should resolve the dispute through peaceful dialogue.
Wednesday CCTV Evening News on the Xi-Khan meeting - 习近平会见巴基斯坦总理
“Khan introduced Pakistan's views on the current situation in Kashmir, calling for efforts to avoid worsening the situation and prevent the situation from getting out of control, saying Pakistan attaches great importance to and appreciates China's fair and objective position. Xi said China follows the situation in Kashmir and is clear about the rights and wrongs of the situation. China supports Pakistan in safeguarding its legitimate rights and interests and hopes that the parties concerned can resolve the dispute through peaceful dialogue.
Or is this wishful thinking? - China leaves Pakistan totally isolated over Kashmir as Xi eyes meeting PM Modi - India Today
China, with which India has a separate Kashmir issue - of illegal occupation of Aksai Chin, has shifted its stand over Article 370 move in Kashmir that it held since August first week.
From opposing the Kashmir move by the Modi government and invoking UN resolution in the matter, China has now realigned itself with India's position that Kashmir issue is a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan to be settled through talks.
In pronouncing so, Chinese foreign ministry's spokesperson Geng Shuang contradicted the stand previously taken by Wang Yi. Between scrapping of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and Tuesday's realignment, China had positioned itself on the Pakistani side of the Kashmir divide.
[Foreign Minister] Qureshi also spoke briefly about President Xi's upcoming "brief, informal" visit to India.
"It was his desire and ours to take each other into confidence [ahead of the visit]," the foreign minister shared, adding that once the visit concludes, the Chinese leadership will keep Pakistan fully informed.
"The nature of our relations is such that we take each other into confidence at every step," Qureshi said.
Tenzin Norbu, a Tibetan assistant professor was planning to stage a black flag protest against Chinese president Xi Jinping with few Tibetan Students, during the president's visit to Mamallapuram, police sources said.
With an eye on the rising significance of Nepal in the BRI, China has been strengthening ties with the Himalayan nation in recent years, mainly through infrastructure investment. Expansion of the Civil Hospital in Kathmandu, an international airport in Pokhara, among others, are notable projects undertaken with Chinese assistance, according to the Xinhua News Agency.
Official data shows China is the top source of foreign direct investment and the second-largest trading partner of Nepal. Xi's upcoming visit will further promote bilateral cooperation in various areas such as trade, energy and infrastructure.
Useful backgrounder for the upcoming Xi-Modi meeting - Eye on China: Special Report- Modi-Xi Informal Summit: An Indian Interests Agenda
In terms of specific interests, on top of Xi’s agenda will likely be India’s ties with US, trade in the context of the RCEP, border stability & the Kashmir issue, and matters related to the Dalai Lama’s succession. For India, the strategic objective is to ensure a stable relationship with China while pursuing economic development. Resolving the boundary dispute, tackling terrorism & balancing the trade relationship while expanding investments should be India’s priorities.
7. Report on civil-military fusion
This is a special theme issue of China Brief, focused on the evolving concept of “military-civil fusion” (军民融合, junmin ronghe), or MCF, a complex set of initiatives by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to share resources between the military and civilian industry....
In this issue, we present four articles (fewer than our usual five, but each one longer than a typical China Brief article). First, author Greg Levesque provides an overview of the MCF concept, as well as examples of how MCF policies are being enacted in China’s commercial sector—with both public and nominally private companies applying their resources towards the pursuit of PRC state goals. Next, retired U.S. Army Colonel and U.S.-China Commission member Larry Wortzel offers an analysis of the practical problems faced by the PLA in its efforts to create reserve and militia units housed within commercial enterprises. Then, my own contribution examines the ways in which the PLA and civilian government agencies in the PRC are attempting to coordinate resources and personnel in order to more effectively manage shared use of the electromagnetic spectrum. Finally, authors Elsa Kania and Wilson Vorndick provide an analysis of the ways by which the Chinese military could seek to leverage the results of civilian research in the field of biotechnology.
And in case you missed it from a couple of weeks ago, this report on “evolving defense ecosystem, as catalyzed by strategies such as Military-Civil Fusion” from C4ADS is quite interesting.
8. Central-local tax distribution changes
The State Council released a circular on Oct 9 on reforming the distribution of tax revenue between central and local governments after large-scale tax and fee reductions.
As a measure to ease fiscal operations, the reform will establish a more reasonable sharing system between central and local governments for refunds of retained value-added tax (VAT).
The reform also aims to ready local tax systems for further tax cuts.
Not much more detail in the official Chinese release either - 国务院印发《实施更大规模减税降费后调整中央与地方收入划分改革推进方案》
Business, Economy and Trade
Almost All Local Governments Have Used Up Annual Bond Quotas - Caixin Local governments issued 3.04 trillion yuan ($430 billion) worth of new bonds in the first nine months of this year, collectively using up 98.6% of the total new bond quota for the year approved by the National People’s Congress (NPC), the country’s top legislator, according to figures recently released (link in Chinese) by the Ministry of Finance. That’s up from 92.3% in the first nine months of 2018, according to Caixin’s calculation based on official data. The quota doesn’t include government bonds issued for repaying outstanding debts.
Two Steel Makers in New State-Assisted Fundraising - Caixin The new plans will see Guangxi Iron and Steel Group raise nearly 5.2 billion yuan ($728 million), while Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Union Co. Ltd. will raise an unspecified amount from a major brokerage by using company shares held by its parent as collateral, according to separate stock exchange statements dated on Wednesday.
Diverging Approaches to Supporting Growth: The Cases of Jiangsu vs. Guangdong - MacroPolo Understanding how banks have responded to the slowdown at the local level provides both a more nuanced picture of China’s challenges and the difficulty Beijing faces in crafting optimal policy responses to stabilize growth. For example, in Guangdong and Jiangsu—the two largest provincial economies—credit growth has taken on very different characteristics. Those differences suggest that Jiangsu’s banks may be more risk averse than those from their southern counterparts, and that the Jiangsu economy may even be under more stress.
China’s central bank continues to load up on gold | Financial Times $$ The increase of nearly 5.4 tonnes of gold to China’s holdings — bringing the total additions since December to about 96 tonnes — comes at a time when central banks across the world have been trying to diversify their reserve assets away from the US dollar as trade tensions continue to simmer.
Senator urges US regulators to review TikTok-Musical.ly deal | Financial Times Mr Rubio wants Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, the inter-agency group that vets foreign takeovers, to review the deal. “Today I will be asking CFIUS to review #TikTok’s acquisition of Musical.ly,” Mr Rubio said in a tweet. “Ample & growing evidence exists that TikTok’s platform for western markets, including the US, are censoring content in line with #China’s communist government directives.”
China Cultural Clash Follow-Up, Disney and Blizzard, Choosing Customers – Stratechery by Ben Thompson Those violations were actually committed by Musical.ly, the app TikTok acquired in November 2017; it is that acquisition that I suggested the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) review...As for the recommendation itself, I admit it’s pretty radical to both view a short video app as a national security issue and also retroactively ban its acquisition. If, though, there is a fundamental conflict in values, particularly in terms of free expression, it is arguably just as radical to allow a country like China such frictionless access to millions of Americans.
China requires NEV firms to report accidents within 12 hours - ECNS Car makers or dealers should report to the quality and development bureau of the State Administration for Market Regulation within 12 hours once the new energy vehicle they manufactured, sell or imported emits smoke or catches fire, according to the new directive released on Wednesday.
Ministry transfers assets worth $21 bln to national social security fund - China Daily China is accelerating the transfer of government holdings in State-owned enterprises to the social security fund, as part of its efforts to augment capital resources and bolster the country's pension system. Last month, the Ministry of Finance transferred shares worth about 150 billion yuan ($21 billion), from the three large State-owned banks and the biggest insurance group, to the National Council for Social Security Fund.
China's agricultural product wholesale prices edge up - Xinhua The average wholesale price of pork grew 2.3 percent from the last day to 39.81 yuan (about 5.6 U.S. dollars) per kg, while the figure of eggs gained 0.9 percent to 10.63 yuan per kg.
Goldman evaluating role in China's Megvii IPO after U.S. blacklist - Reuters Sources had previously told Reuters the listing was scheduled for Hong Kong in the fourth quarter and might raise as much as $1 billion. Other U.S. companies involved with the blacklisted Chinese firms, whether as investors or as underwriters, are also likely to re-evaluate their relationships, risk consultants and Silicon Valley lawyers said.
Draft revision to statistics law to better ensure data authenticity - Xinhua The National Bureau of Statistics has started soliciting public opinions on a new draft revision to the statistics law, strengthening efforts to ensure the authenticity of data collection by adding accountability and naming data fabrication as a dereliction of duty, China Daily reported Wednesday. The draft orders statistics organs at the county level and above to set up an accountability mechanism to prevent and punish those faking data, as well as those in charge of the fabricators' work, according to the newspaper.
Politics and Law
Missing Agents | Echowall - Zhang Qianfan After four decades of legal reforms in China, "rule of law" has become a term commonly used in dialogues between European and Chinese counterparts. But if we omit the subject and object of the term this creates confusion. For any legal system, the most basic question should be: Who is rule of law meant to serve?
Foreign and Defense Affairs
European Commission - Member States publish a report on EU coordinated risk assessment of 5G networks security The report identifies a number of important security challenges, which are likely to appear or become more prominent in 5G networks, compared with the situation in existing networks: These security challenges are mainly linked to: key innovations in the 5G technology (which will also bring a number of specific security improvements), in particular the important part of software and the wide range of services and applications enabled by 5G; the role of suppliers in building and operating 5G networks and the degree of dependency on individual suppliers. // The report, does not specifically name Huawei as a threat
Chinese state TV reporter Kong Linlin denies common assault over alleged slapping of UK Conservative Party member | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP The case of Kong, 49, was heard at the Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday. Kong resides in King’s Cross in London according to court records.
Vietnam leader wants Party to analyze East Sea situation - VnExpress International Trong, who is also the country’s president, was speaking Monday morning at the ongoing 11th plenary meeting of the committee, the highest authority within the Communist Party of Vietnam. He also said the committee has to foresee what could happen in the coming time in the East Sea, also known as the South China Sea, to get the nation "prepared for possible opportunities and challenges."
European Concerns Over China's Economic Power Hold Up a Project to Build the World's Longest Undersea Rail Tunnel Under the Baltic Sea The idea of building a tunnel between the Finnish and Estonian capitals of Helsinki and Tallinn is not new, but fresh concerns arose about the project after Peter Vesterbacka, a Finnish tech entrepreneur, inked a deal this year with Touchstone Capital Partners, a financial firm that invests the resources of state-owned Chinese enterprises. The deal will supply $17 billion to fund the three Chinese companies that have signed on to build and design the tunnel.
Chinese hackers target minority groups, NGOs in broad-ranging cyber campaign · TechNode Mustang Pandas targets include the Shan Tai, a Southeast Asian minority group, whose members are primarily Theravada Buddhists, the Communist Party of Vietnam, people interested in the United Nations’ Security Council Committee’s resolutions relating to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, and China Zentrum, a German non-profit, among others.
Chinese AI Project Is Under Review at MIT After U.S. Blacklists Company - Bloomberg The Massachusetts Institute of Technology said it will review the school’s relationship with SenseTime Group Ltd., an artificial-intelligence startup that was among eight Chinese companies blacklisted by the U.S. this week over alleged human rights violations.
Beijing Takes Aim at Prague After ‘One-China’ Dispute Deepens - Bloomberg The conflict has been brewing since the upstart Pirate party took over the Prague mayor’s office and took issue with Beijing’s “one China” policy in regards to the sovereignty of Taiwan and Tibet. The city council withdrew from the sister-city deal, signed in 2016, on Monday, with mayor Zdenek Hrib saying China had refused to remove mention of the policy. The declaration isn’t appropriate for a pact between cities, as it’s rather a matter of national policy, Hrib said. China’s embassy reacted angrily, saying on Facebook that Prague’s leadership should change its attitude as soon as possible or “it will be their own interests that will be hurt.”
Xi says China, Solomon Islands forging diplomatic relations conforms to trend of times - Xinhua During a meeting with the Solomon Islands' Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, Xi told Sogavare that there is no particular order of friendship. As long as it is maintained, the friendship will enjoy bright prospects, Xi said.
[视频]习近平会见所罗门群岛总理_CCTV Wednesday CCTV Evening News on Xi's meeting with the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands...wonder what individual gifts he gets for switching from Taiwan to the PRC?
Apple removes Taiwan flag emoji from iOS in Hong Kong - Engadget Apple appears to have removed the Taiwan flag from the emoji keyboard of users that have their iOS region set to Hong Kong or Macau, according to a number of local websites
Shadow FX Intervention in Taiwan: Solving a 100+ billion dollar enigma (Part 2) | Council on Foreign Relations Large-scale purchases of foreign bonds have become the central flow sustaining Taiwan’s massive current account surplus and keeping the Taiwan dollar weak. The size of this flow raises the question of who supplies Taiwan’s lifers with FX hedges.
Shadow FX Intervention in Taiwan: Solving a 100+ Billion Dollar Enigma (Part 1) | Council on Foreign Relations Taiwan’s central bank, unlike most central banks, doesn’t disclose its position in FX derivatives. It really should. There is good reason to think its undisclosed exposure is quite substantial.
Tech and Media
Tencent to Invest $500 Million in Hillhouse China Drugstores — The Information Hillhouse already has invested at least $1.5 billion to acquire more than 60 retail pharmacy chains across China totaling more than 10,000 stores, according to Chinese corporate filings and people familiar with the matter. Hillhouse has quietly built Cowell into one of China’s biggest retail pharmacies by both stores and revenue over the past year, these people say, adding that the goal is to eventually take the company public.
A Chinese Drama Is Digitally Erasing Its Scandal-Plagued Actors - SixthTone In a statement Tuesday, Talent Television and Film Co. Ltd. said it had enlisted Tmall Technology, a company under e-commerce giant Alibaba, to replace Gao Yunxiang and Fan Bingbing with as-yet-unnamed “top-tier actors” by means of “scene refilming, technological tools, audio re-recording, etc.” The studio also assured potential viewers that the estimated 60 million yuan ($8.4 million) in changes, slated to be completed by the end of this year, would not adversely affect the quality or integrity of the show. “Win the World” — sometimes translated as “Ba Qing Biography” or “The Legend of Ba Qing” — tells the story of a woman whose healing prowess allows her to rise from humble origins to the emperor’s court during the Qin dynasty.
Rural and Agricultural Issues
China flys in 900 Danish breeding pigs to replenish herd - Reuters The animals bought by C.P. Pokphand Co, China’s fifth largest pig producer, arrived on a charter flight in August and spent over a month in quarantine in Xiangyang city in central Hubei province, according to a report on the website of China’s General Administration of Customs.