Hubei liberated; Hope for G-20 cooperation; "Coronavirus diplomacy"; Ugly TikTok moderation policies

Congratulations to the people of Hubei and Wuhan for surviving the terrible outbreak. The lockdown of most of Hubei ends today. Wuhan will follow April 8. I am fully aware of the need for skepticism with the official data, but as I have said all along when discussing the accuracy of the data, watch what they do not what they say. And the actions to relax the restrictions in Hubei, while not necessarily a sign there are 0 new cases, are certainly a sign that the authorities are confident enough in their control of the situation, and the tools and methods to prevent a second wave. Let’s all hope that is not false confidence driven in large measure by the growing pressures to get the economy restarted.

Reopening the schools and holding the Two Meetings are the two next markers that things have nearly returned to normal. I expect announcements on those in the near future.

We may be approaching another brief lull in US-China tensions. President Trump has said he has stopped using the term “Chinese virus”, and there are reports that the US and China are working together for a joint statement on cooperating to fight the pandemic and its economic damage after tomorrow’s virtual G-20 meeting. For the sake of the fight against this pandemic I hope wisdom will prevail. But the broader downward trajectory in the US-China relationship remains intact, and in fact has likely accelerated.

Not everyone in the US administration is backing away from using a name for the virus not approved by the WHO. Der Spiegel reports that the G7 could not agree on joint statement because US Secretary of State Pompeo insisted on language calling it the “Wuhan virus”.

Back here in Sinocism HQ, having only left the house in the last 15 days to walk the dog, I feel joy for the people of Wuhan and fear for the rest of us. Now is not the time for blame. That can and should come later, but right now every global leader should be focused on how to prevent their countries from becoming the next Wuhan.

Thanks for reading.


1. Hubei lockdown ending

Hubei’s Months of Lockdown to End as Virus Risk Recedes - Caixin

Starting Wednesday, interprovincial transport restrictions will be eased in an “orderly” fashion across Hubei with the initial exception of the city of Wuhan, according to a notice (link in Chinese) on the Hubei provincial government’s official website. Constraints in Wuhan will be relaxed from April 8, prior to which some people who work outside the 11 million-strong city will be allowed to return to their posts as long as it is safe to do so, the notice said...

In Wuhan, where health officials had logged more than 2,500 coronavirus-related deaths as of Monday, authorities will encourage businesses to reopen on a conditional basis according to continued evaluations of the threat to public health, the notice said, adding that officials would “actively and methodically” encourage people across Hubei to go back to work while minimizing the losses caused by the outbreak.

Additionally, after weeks of empty classrooms, schools and colleges across the province will finally be able to welcome back students, with reopening dates “to be determined following scientific assessments,” the notice added.

The official notice 湖北省新型冠状病毒感染肺炎疫情防控指挥部通告

Chinese in centre of coronavirus outbreak welcome liberation | Financial Times $$

The Li family’s 10-hour drive back to Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, was tense. At one checkpoint in Hubei, Mr Li had to produce proof that he was employed in Hangzhou and his employer had reopened for business, as well as a letter from officials in the city confirming that he would be allowed back home. 

When Mr Li entered Zhejiang province, his mobile phone started to ring. Zhejiang’s telecom network had detected his Hubei-registered mobile and alerted provincial, municipal and district police, all of whom rang to check on his travel plans. “There is no privacy, but we are used to that,” he said. ..

As in the US, where governors and mayors have issued stay-at-home orders — some stricter than others — Hubei’s seemingly uniform lockdown was actually a patchwork that varied by city. Municipal governments are also taking different approaches to the relaxation. 

China’s Progress Against Coronavirus Used Draconian Tactics Not Deployed in the West - WSJ $$

What really turned the tide in Wuhan was a shift after Feb. 2 to a more aggressive and systematic quarantine regime whereby suspected or mild cases—and even healthy close contacts of confirmed cases—were sent to makeshift hospitals and temporary quarantine centers.

The tactics required turning hundreds of hotels, schools and other places into quarantine centers, as well as building two new hospitals and creating 14 temporary ones in public buildings. It also underscored the importance of coronavirus testing capacity, which local authorities say was expanded from 200 tests a day in late January to 7,000 daily by mid-February...

“When you have the opportunity to isolate all suspected patients and close contacts, this is the turning point of the outbreak here in Wuhan,” said Du Bin, head of the intensive care unit at Peking Union Hospital, who has been working in Wuhan in recent weeks.

财新:武大人民医院一消化科医生感染新冠 曾接诊无症状感染者(更新)

A 29-year-old doctor in Wuhan has been tested positive of the coronavirus and the source of his infection is still unknown. Caixin reported that he may have contracted the virus from one of those “silent carrier” who did not show symptoms. The authorities are investigating the case.

曾光:疫情发生时专家组去武汉没见到省市主要领导,这是遗憾

China’s CDC continues to blame Wuhan and Hubei government for the virus outbreak. Zeng Guang, head of the CDC, said he wasn’t even able to meet with the “main leaders” of Wuhan and Hubei when he and other experts visited the city in the early days of the outbreak.

Fang Fang: Wuhan Lockdown Diaries - Translation

Fang Fang is the pen name of Wang Fang, a Chinese writer based in Wuhan. Some of her works include the novel "Feng Jing" and "Wan Jian Chuan Xin" She was the chairman of the Hubei Writers Association and won numerous accolades for her writing...

This is Claire. I'm currently a high school student in the United States. These past months have been heartbreaking for me..

My mother was the one who introduced me to Fang Fang's diary. While my words have failed me, in this time when information is so important, I hope Fang’s words can reach your hearts like they have reached mine. I hope by translating her diaries to English her voice can spread further out to the world. I hope more people can see what exactly happened during the lockdown in Wuhan.

作家方方:野火烧不尽,春风吹又生

Fang Fang wrote her last Wuhan journal as the government lifts the lockdown. Her writing has been a major, rare window in the past two months that allow the Chinese public to see daily life in Wuhan and the suffering and resilience of local people.

专访方方:我很担心活着的人,把死者为何而死全都忽略掉

Caixin interviewed Fang Fang. She talked about her anger toward the state propagandists, the trauma the virus left on the nine million Wuhan people, and how she worries the Chinese public will just forget all about these someday.

‘My World Collapsed With a Bang’: How the Coronavirus Ravaged a Family - WSJ $$

“In Wuhan, there are so many families that have lost loved ones,” she said. “Their suffering may slowly be forgotten, so I want to record more of what is happening. It’s a part of history.”

全面做好疫情防控和维护安全稳定工作--时政--人民网

Guo Shengkun addresses a national teleconference for the politics and law system, stresses epidemic control work and stability maintenance, and especially conflicts and disputes related to the epidemic prevention and control. The stability maintenance challenges in the weeks and months ahead in Wuhan and other parts of Hubei may be daunting


2. The outbreak elsewhere in China

China must not relax epidemic control as flow of people increases: official - Xinhua

China shall continue implementing the measures of early detection, reporting, quarantine and medical treatment, said Mi Feng with the National Health Commission at a press conference.

"We must take strict measures to prevent imported COVID-19 cases from abroad and a rebound of the epidemic domestically," Mi stressed...

The commission received reports of 47 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland Tuesday, all of which were imported.

By the end of Tuesday, a total of 474 imported cases had been reported.

China's premier warns local officials not to 'cover up' new Covid-19 cases as Hubei reopens | The Guardian

Speaking to a meeting of the central leading group responding to the outbreak on Monday, Li urged officials to report honestly on the number of cases, and “not cover up reports for the sake of keeping new case numbers at zero”.

Li said worldwide analysis of the virus showed the virus was unlikely to dissipate like Sars.

He warned that while the epidemic in Hubei and Wuhan had essentially been stopped, there were still risks of sporadic outbreaks.

Official readout of Li’s comments - 中央应对新冠肺炎疫情工作领导小组:以武汉为主战场的全国本土疫情传播基本阻断-中国长安网

会议指出,要认真贯彻习近平总书记重要讲话精神,落实中央应对疫情工作领导小组部署,统筹抓好疫情防控和经济社会发展。当前,以武汉为主战场的全国本土疫情传播基本阻断,但零星散发病例和局部暴发疫情风险仍然存在,结合全球疫情大流行形势,要实行“外防输入、内防反弹”防控策略。武汉和湖北要做好重症患者救治,及时收治新发病例。各地要坚持实事求是、公开透明发布信息,不得瞒报漏报,一旦发现疫情要精准管控,控制在病例发生和可能传播的场所。精准有效防范疫情跨境输入输出,为国际社会抗击疫情提供力所能及帮助。我驻外使领馆和有关方面要着力做好对我境外公民的领事保护和疫情防护帮扶。

Yicai Global - Shanghai Nets 19 New Covid-19 Cases From Overseas

Among the new additions, 12 are Chinese citizens, three are Americans and the rest are Italian, Spanish, UK and Canadian nationals, according to the commission.

Chinese authority calls for better services for overseas Chinese amid epidemic - Xinhua

The All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese on Wednesday urged its affiliates to keep in contact with Chinese people living abroad, returned overseas Chinese and their relatives, and provide better services during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Efforts should be made to have an in-depth understanding of the situation of overseas Chinese and their difficulties and guide them in preventing the epidemic in a scientific way and avoiding panic, the federation said in a circular.

Chinese Students Fleeing Virus-Hit U.S. Pay $20,000 for Seats on Private Jets - Reuters

even the window for chartered flights is closing fast, further elevating prices. Beijing has banned all chartered flights from overseas and Shanghai is expected to follow suit soon. Hong Kong and Macau have blocked transit flights.

U.S-based Air Charter Service can fly passengers from Los Angeles to Shanghai on a 14-seat Bombardier 6000 for 2.3 million yuan ($325,300), or about $23,000 for a spot.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on March 24, 2020

I would like to stress once again that the Party and the government are always concerned about the health and safety of overseas students. For them, the motherland is always their strong backing. China's foreign embassies and consulates will always be there by their side through the hard times.

Grateful returnees leave Beijing's revamped SARS hospital - ECNS

Beijing put the Xiaotangshan Hospital into use on March 16, with more than 1,000 beds prepared for the screening and treatment of imported mild and common confirmed COVID-19 cases, suspected cases and those who need to be tested.

Doubts and Decoctions: TCM on the Coronavirus Front Line - SixthTone

“Until her death, her son never gave her a single drop of the traditional medication I prescribed,” Yan told Sixth Tone. “Patients in the same ward were all recovering with a combination of TCM and Western treatments. I can’t describe how depressed I was at that moment.”

Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners have faced numerous challenges of the like in recent weeks after authorities handed TCM a central role in the country’s efforts to combat the coronavirus.

Lianhua Qingwen proves effective in containing novel coronavirus - ECNS

The results of the paper, whose authors include the prominent Chinese epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan, and researcher Yang Zifeng of the State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Diseases at Guangzhou Medical University, were released on Pharmacological Research.

The medicine has been widely used in medical institutions including Huoshenshan, Leishenshan and some makeshift hospitals in Wuhan, Hubei Province to fight the epidemic.

Lianhua Qingwen 连花清瘟 is a very common TCM used for the treatment of colds and flu. Composed of 13 herbal components, it has a curative effect in patients with mild symptoms and helps to relieve fever, coughs and fatigue.

COVID-19 'patient zero' may remain an unsolved mystery - CGTN

It is also unclear whether Wuhan is the real ground zero of the deadly outbreak after all. China's top epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan said recently at a press conference that there is no evidence showing that COVID-19 originated in Wuhan.

Chinese Basketball Association delays restart due to coronavirus - ESPN

The league had hoped to begin April 15, following about 11 weeks of being shut down, but now won't attempt resuming until May after failing to get government approval, according to reports from China.

Experts know the new coronavirus is not a bioweapon. They disagree on whether it could have leaked from a research lab - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Life on Coronavirus Lockdown in China | The New Yorker - By Peter Hessler

Forty-five days of avoiding the coronavirus.

Fighting the Coronavirus Pandemic: China's Influence at the World Health Organization | Institut Montaigne

Responsibilities will need to be assessed – and the blame game is unavoidable. At this stage, what one can conclude about WHO’s performance is that it has been greatly hampered by China’s limited communication and official denials until January 20, and by a clear political will at the top of the organization to avoid calling out that country. The lesson is clear for international organizations, and in fact not limited to the UN system.

But it is equally clear that once China finally started to implement strong measures against contagion from Wuhan city and Hubei province, the WHO has been able to increasingly play an important role in coordinating information and promoting responses among its 194 members. Those who wanted to have no ears and no eyes for themselves were free to follow the politicization that Tedros clearly brought to the WHO’s communication process, and to use it as an excuse for delayed responses. The excuse might be valid for smaller, less developed and less experienced nations. It does not hold for larger member states with strong participation in the WHO process.'

新京报:《在一起》陈道明将演钟南山?耀客辟谣未开始选角

Chinese screenwriters are working on a new TV series featuring the Chinese medics in the battle against coronavirus. Rumor is famous actor Chen Daoming may play the epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan. 

澎湃新闻:店长挂涉国外疫情不当言论横幅被拘:涉嫌寻衅滋事,店铺停业

The Paper reported that a restaurant owner in Shenyang has been detailed for “seeking troubles” after the restaurant put out a banner celebrating the virus outbreak in Japan and the United States.


3. US-China

Trump Asked By Fox About Move Away From 'Chinese Virus' Rhetoric - Mediaite

Hemmer today said, “I’ve been with you for a few hours. You’ve called this the Chinese virus. You did not use that today.”

Trump started by talking about his good relationship with President Xi, telling Hemmer, “They went through a lot. You know, some people say other things. They went through a lot. They lost thousands of people, they’ve been through hell.”

He said he doesn’t “regret” referring to it as the “Chinese virus,” saying, “They do name it after places. It came from China… They accused us of having done it through our soldiers.”

“Everyone knows it came out of China,” the president concluded, “but I decided we shouldn’t make any more of a big deal out of it.”

Trump drops racist virus term after backlash - Global Times

By stopping calling the novel coronavirus "Chinese virus," US President Donald Trump has again exposed his weakness of being extremely inconsistent on China-related rhetoric particularly when he has been under tremendous pressure following an incompetent response to the outbreak in the US. Such an abrupt shift, however, won't change long-term fundamentals of China-US ties. Especially after a rare spat between diplomats from the two sides, which has intensified the rivalry and ideological antagonism, comprehensive cooperation on combating the pandemic  appear unlikely, analysts said...

"Trump is trying to seek help from other countries in dealing with the shortage of supplies due to his lack of preparation. Actually, he now needs China more than ever from a realistic perspective, as China is also one of the largest manufacturers of medical equipment in the world," said Li Haidong, a professor from the Institute of International Relations at the China Foreign Affairs University.

"Seeking cooperation with China is an urgent and practical task for Trump administration," Li told the Global Times, noting that this has forced him to change his attitude overnight...

Some Chinese diplomats have been more outspoken this time, taking to social media to confront US officials like Pompeo and State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus. They drew a clear bottom-line from the Chinese side.

"Washington will be more careful next time when playing the blame game against China," said Shen Yi, an associate professor of international politics at Fudan University in Shanghai.

Pompeo says G7 discussed China's coronavirus 'disinformation' - Reuters

Pompeo said the United States “desperately” wanted to work with every country around the world, including China, “to keep as many people alive, as many people as healthy, and then to restore our economies that have been decimated by the Wuhan virus.”

Pompeo again rejected as “crazy talking” from some senior Chinese officials that the virus was brought to China by the United States.

Secretary Michael R. Pompeo At a Press Availability - United States Department of State

I want to thank the people in Pittsburgh for their support and assistance in planning the in-person event that we unfortunately had to cancel.  Certainly, the most pressing agenda item today was the Wuhan virus – something we’re all committed to fighting with transparency, as is necessary all around the world...

The Chinese Communist Party poses a substantial threat to our health and way of life, as the Wuhan virus outbreak clearly has demonstrated. The CCP also threatens to undermine the free and open order that has underpinned our mutual prosperity and safety in the G7 countries.

When asked about the Der Spiegel report he does not deny it:

And with respect to the statement, I always think about these meetings the right answer is to make sure we have the same message coming out of it. I am confident that when you hear the other six foreign ministers speak, they will have a common understanding of what we talked about today and we will talk about the things that we have agreement on, and I’m sure they’ll express a handful of places – like the JCPOA – where we have tactical differences about – to achieve our strategic outcomes. Make no mistake about it, everyone in that meeting this morning was very focused on making sure that we not only solve the health crisis associated with the Wuhan virus but also the economic challenges that face the globe as we confront it as well.

A Truce in the Trade War Will Save American Lives | Think Global Health - by Susan Shirk and Yanzhong Huang

China, where the epidemic has already peaked and life is slowly returning to normal, now has a surplus of masks, gloves, and gowns...

Critical medical products, including face masks, gloves, protective goggles, and thermometers have been subject to import tariffs. The tariff rate was initially set at 15 percent, but was lowered to 7.5 percent on February 15 as part of the Phase 1 trade deal.

Changing tone key to US-China ties: Global Times editorial - Global Times

President Donald Trump has shifted his tone. He said he would stop using the term "Chinese virus" and decided "we shouldn't make any more of a big deal out of it," in an interview with Fox News on Tuesday. This change is of positive significance. We hope Trump could urge other US senior officials to follow suit and not use slurs such as "Chinese virus" or "Wuhan virus," that are widely considered racist, anymore...

Regardless of from which perspective, China and the US working together to fight the pandemic is more in the interest of Americans.

US media miss the point Chinese diplomats convey - Global Times

After the "Axios on HBO" interview with China's Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai was aired, some US media missed the point of diversified voices in China's political arena, but rather hyped why there is a "split" in his statement from that of Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, with experts noting they have failed to understand the information that Chinese diplomats have conveyed...

"Cui was in a formal interview as Chinese ambassador to the US. What he said surely represents the Chinese government," said Zhang Jiadong, professor at the Center for American Studies, Fudan University, adding Zhao posted his personal views on Twitter, not during a press conference of the Chinese Foreign Ministry or any other official event.

That being said, the tweets represent his own views, and don't carry the same authority as Cui's remarks, Zhang noted...

"Moreover, it is normal to see different people expressing different views, even within the same government," said Zhang, adding it proves the country has diversified voices and a democratic decision-making system.

让合作的阳光驱散疫情的阴霾(和音)——抗击疫情离不开命运共同体意识

No Zhongshang attack on the US today. Instead on the page 3 of the People’s Daily, Heyin (Harmonious Voice) urged the world to work together as a community of shared destiny to combat the virus.

Sens. Josh Hawley and Tom Cotton fault China for coronavirus - New York Post

“We need to make it clear — and we need an international investigation to make it clear for the world — that this started in Wuhan, China, that the Chinese government lied about it, they jailed the doctors who tried to blow the whistle on it, they cost the world thousands of lives and billions of dollars,” Hawley said. “And here’s the other thing, they ought to be on the hook to pay back some of it.”

Lawsuit: China hid virus information, should pay billions - AP

An attorney who represented victims of the Las Vegas shooting massacre has filed a federal lawsuit against China’s government over the new coronavirus, saying Tuesday that officials hid information about the outbreak and that U.S. small businesses should receive billions of dollars in damages. The case seeks class-action status for 32 million businesses for lost income and profits.

China v America - Expelling journalists is no way to fight a pandemic | Leaders | The Economist

During the financial crisis of 2007-09, China and America did manage to talk to each other about how to save the world from economic ruin. Their ability to co-ordinate was a huge help. Today’s disaster requires their co-operation all the more. Instead, both countries are treating covid-19 as a trial of strength between competing political systems. That augurs badly for global efforts to fight the pandemic—and for the world that will emerge when the virus has eventually been tamed.

中美外交发言人推特再次交火!华春莹质问美方:你们在惧怕什么?企图遮掩什么?

And State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus and MoFA spokesperson Hua Chunying are in a Twitter spat over the journalist expulsions. report by the Global Times

Cheap U.S. Corn Lures Chinese Buyers Seeking American Grain - Bloomberg

The move comes as crashing U.S. prices make the yellow grain used in biofuel and animal feed more attractive, while the Chinese domestic market is seen staying strong.


4. G-20 meeting

Hopes for G20 coronavirus summit truce in China-US war of words | South China Morning Post

China and the United States are expected to call a timeout on their coronavirus blame game and focus on the challenges of the pandemic, when leaders of the Group of 20 hold talks via video conference on Thursday.

According to a draft statement to be discussed at the summit, the leaders are expected to agree that the coronavirus is a common threat to humanity and united efforts are required to fight it...

In preparatory discussions for the summit, the two countries agreed to set aside their differences, according to a diplomatic source familiar with the talks.

Commentary: Cooperation only right choice for humanity in war with virus - Xinhua

Virus knows no borders and no country could win the battle alone. When millions of lives and the global economy are in peril, not a second should be squandered. The G20, which accounts for two-thirds of the world's population and about 85 percent of the global GDP, should lead the way in addressing medical and economic problems and restoring confidence.

A special G20 leaders' video summit on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic will be held on Thursday. Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend in Beijing...

The world has seen enough blame game and finger-pointing since the outbreak of the pandemic. The pointless bickering comes at the cost of an efficient and effective response to the pandemic. It is high time for the G20 to build consensus to inject positive energy into global cooperation to fight the common enemy of mankind.

In the war against the virus, China has firmly upheld the vision of building a community of a shared future for mankind. China has and will continue to share medical supplies, therapeutic and treatment experiences, and solutions with the world. As the epidemic situation in China eases, China will be able to spare more resources to help other countries within its capacity.

G20 special summit an opportunity to showcase China’s responsibility - Global Times

Although the virus has gradually been brought under control in China, it still needs time to get its production and economy back on track, said Shen Yi, associate professor of international politics at Fudan University in Shanghai, suggesting other countries should not morally coerce China into offering something beyond its ability while contributing very little in terms of virus prevention.

Zhu Min Opinion: The World Is Facing Financial Risks on Par With the Financial Crisis - Caixin

At a time when the global financial system is already quite fragile, there are three possible scenarios under which the pandemic could overwhelm it:

First, if the U.S.’ and European countries’ policies to contain the epidemic fail and they run out of medical resources, intensifying public and market panic and leading to stock market collapses, it will trigger a financial crisis.

Second, if the pandemic lasts too long, impacting global supply chains and trade and leaving companies unable to repay debt due to operational difficulties, it will lead to a wave of corporate bankruptcies. That will hit weak links in the financial system and thus cause a financial crisis.

Third, the size of nonbank financial institutions has been on par with that of the banking industry after years of development since the 2008 financial crisis. If their valuations fall amid continuously slumping stock markets, investors may choose to take their money back, leading to a liquidity crunch and thus triggering a financial crisis.

is chair of Tsinghua University’s National Institute of Finance Research, former deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund, and former deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China.

Comment: Zhu Min articulates the logic of Xi wanting/needing to cooperate with the US. If the US goes into a prolonged health and economic disaster China will get hurt badly too


3. “Coronavirus diplomacy”

Xi said China ready to boost global coordination, confidence against COVID-19 - Xinhua

Xi made the remarks during a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of a Group of 20 (G20) extraordinary leaders' summit on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic

President Xi Jinping Speaks by Phone with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro

Bolsonaro talked about the spread of COVID-19 in Brazil. He thanked China for facilitating Brazil's purchase of medical supplies, and requested more experience sharing and cooperation with China to help Brazil contain the spreading virus at home at an early date. He saluted the great Chinese people and reiterated that the friendship and the comprehensive strategic partnership between Brazil and China are indestructible. He expressed readiness for closer bilateral cooperation and for better communication and coordination within the G20 and other multilateral frameworks to contribute to the global fight against the pandemic and the economic rebound in the world.

President Xi Jinping Speaks by Phone with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev

Tokayev commended the remarkable achievements of the Chinese people in fighting the epidemic under President Xi's able leadership, as such achievements have brought confidence and hope to people around the world. The entire world has been impressed by the exceptional strength of China's health care system and the dedication of Chinese medical workers. China has once again demonstrated its governance capacity in tackling complex and difficult challenges with high efficiency.

Xi says China firmly supports Poland's fight against COVID-19 - Global Times

He made the remarks in a phone conversation with his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda.

China selflessly extends helping hand to countries around world in global battle against COVID-19 - People's Daily Online

So far, the Chinese government has announced that it will provide medical supplies to 82 countries, the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as the African Union.

Covid-19: Chinese-donated military hospitals deployed in Argentina and Ecuador | Jane's 360

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on March 25, 2020

As far as I know, purchasers from Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, the Czech Republic, Djibouti, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Qatar, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and Britain have signed purchasing contracts with China companies for goods including testing reagents, masks, protective clothing and goggles.

In addition to facilitating commercial procurement, China has also provided supplies of protective equipment to WHO in support of other countries epidemic response. After WHO expressed its wish to buy medical supplies from China to support the global response to the pandemic, Chinese enterprises quickly signed the first batch of supply contracts with WHO.

U.S. political prejudices benefit nobody - People's Daily Zhong Sheng

To laud China’s actions, admire China’s responsibility, and thank China’s assistance has become the mainstream voice of the globe.

What has the U.S. done to cope with the epidemic? It owes money to the WHO, and has planned to halve U.S funding for the organization in its 2021 budget proposal. When the epidemic broke out in China, the U.S. acted as an on-looker, pointing fingers at China’s prevention and control measures and even giving a stab in the back.

Now, as the epidemic satiation has worsened in the U.S., certain people there started to blame everyone but the U.S. itself. To smear China out of selfish political gains undermines the global efforts to fight the epidemic.

China willing to facilitate foreign procurement of medical supplies in China: spokesperson - Xinhua

The Chinese side is working hard to facilitate the commercial procurement of medical supplies in China for other countries while meeting domestic needs, a spokesperson said Wednesday.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a press briefing that China has always maintained that the international community should jointly uphold an open world economy and the stability of global supply and industrial chains.

China lends helping hand, as Nigeria seeks support to curb coronavirus | Nairametrics

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire has called on China to assist Nigeria in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic as the confirmed cases increase daily.

China's StarTimes launches new TV program in Kenya to help fight COVID-19 pandemic - Xinhua

Chinese pay television company,StarTimes on Wednesday launched a new dedicated television program in Kenya aimed at sharing the latest information about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aldrine Nsubuga, regional marketing director of StarTimes, said that the StarTimes Daily-COVID-19 Report will broadcast every weekday on seven channels as well as on mobile application in English, Kiswahili, French among other languages.

EU fires warning shot at China in coronavirus battle of the narratives | South China Morning Post

In an unusual choice of language, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called on EU countries to stand ready for a “struggle for influence” in a “global battle of narratives”...

“There is a global battle of narratives going on in which timing is a crucial factor,” he said, noting that the focus had shifted from Europe helping China to the other way round. “China is aggressively pushing the message that, unlike the US, it is a responsible and reliable partner.

“In the battle of narratives we have also seen attempts to discredit the EU as such and some instances where Europeans have been stigmatised as if all were carriers of the virus.

Josep Borrell - The Coronavirus pandemic and the new world it is creating - European External Action Service

There is a global battle of narratives going on in which timing is a crucial factor. In January, the dominant framing was of this being a local crisis in Hubei province, aggravated by the cover up of crucial information by Chinese party officials. Europe was sending a lot of medical equipment to help Chinese authorities that were overwhelmed at the time. Since then, China has brought down local new infections to single figures – and it is now sending equipment and doctors to Europe, as others do as well. China is aggressively pushing the message that, unlike the US, it is a responsible and reliable partner. In the battle of narratives we have also seen attempts to discredit the EU as such and some instances where Europeans have been stigmatised as if all were carriers of the virus.

The point for Europe is this: we can be sure that perceptions will change again as the outbreak and our response to it evolves. But we must be aware there is a geo-political component including a struggle for influence through spinning and the ‘politics of generosity’. Armed with facts, we need to defend Europe against its detractors.

China's 'mask diplomacy' stirs unease in pandemic-hit Europe - Nikkei Asian Review

Beijing's claim that its one-party system is the best at fighting the epidemic is "not very credible for most Europeans," said Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a political science professor at Hong Kong Baptist University. The European public, he added, is "well-informed" about how Beijing mishandled and tried to cover up the outbreak in Hubei Province until late January, leading to the global pandemic.

In Finland, University of Turku researcher Jukka Aukia said the prevailing view there "is that the outbreak originated from China due to mismanagement, cover-up, and poor overall hygiene. It's difficult to say what would have to happen for China to make any PR gains."

Beyond narratives, a larger concern is growing dependence on Beijing.

China’s Coronavirus Diplomacy - WSJ OpEd - Alessandra Bocchi $$

A shipment of Chinese ventilators came last week, and some 300 Chinese intensive-care doctors and nurses are arriving to staff beleaguered hospitals. Italy’s leaders have been effusive in their praise for Beijing. Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio of the populist 5 Star Movement heralded China’s assistance as an “act of solidarity” and added, “Friendship and mutual solidarity go a long way.” The statement doesn’t come as a surprise, as Mr. Di Miao’s party has warm relations with Beijing and is Europe’s strongest supporter of China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative. Italians, however, shouldn’t be naive: China is using coronavirus aid to whitewash its responsibility for unleashing a global pandemic...

It is ironic to see Beijing trying to swoop in as Rome’s rescuer. Western nations should come up with a plan quickly to help one another weather the storm of the virus. Otherwise the Chinese Communist Party will exploit this opportunity to present itself as the savior of not only Italy, but Europe and the world.

From cover-up to global donor: China’s soft power play  | Financial Times $$

It was just what China had been looking for — an opportunity to start reframing its role from that of the country that accelerated the virus’s spread through cover-ups, to that of the magnanimous global power offering leadership at a time of panic and peril in much of the rest of the world.

“China is trying to turn its health crisis into a geopolitical opportunity,” says Yu Jie, senior research fellow on China at Chatham House, a UK think-tank. “It is launching a soft power campaign aimed at filling the vacuum left by the United States.

China, America, and the International Order after the Pandemic - War on the Rocks - Mira Rapp-Hooper

It should be stunning that a virus that originated in China and spread in part due to Chinese government mismanagement may reorder the world to Beijing’s advantage, as Kurt Campbell and Rush Doshi have argued. The Chinese Communist Party suppressed news of the virus to protect its own legitimacy over the health of the Chinese people and the world. But as it has seemingly brought the domestic crisis under control (although official case numbers are suspect), the party has begun to position itself as an international health leader. It may well continue to wrestle with coronavirus at home, but leaders in Italy, Serbia, and the European Union are thanking China for the provision of medical supplies.

Given China’s global aspirations, it should not surprise us that Beijing has seized the chance to recast itself as a pandemic-response exemplar: but if its offers of medical aid and coordination actually shift the structure of international politics, it will not owe to crisis aid alone. If China is perceived as a more responsible great power when this pandemic passes, it will be due in no small part to the United States.


6. The economy

Coronavirus: China’s 2020 growth forecast slashed in surprise move by prominent bank CICC | South China Morning Post

China International Capital Corporation has sharply downgraded its 2020 growth forecast for China to 2.6 per cent, from 6.1 per cent in January

The investment bank says more gloomy news is predicted in the second quarter as the coronavirus outbreak continues to ripple through economy...

In its written note, CICC analysts led by Liang said that a severe global recession could last for two or three quarters due to the rapid spread of the pandemic, pushing Chinese GDP down by six percentage points and causing the country’s exports to collapse by 18 per cent this year.

Comment: Would CICC dare to be far out of step with whatever is being decided for the growth rate targets to be announced at the National People's Congress? Re the NPC meeting, there is stuff going around WeChat saying the "Two Meetings" - the CPPCC and the NPC-- are now scheduled to start April 18. There is no official confirmation, so take as a rumor for now

Chinese vice premier stresses employment via online platforms - Xinhua

Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua called for all-out efforts to make full use of online platforms to boost employment as the novel coronavirus outbreak has dampened the country's job market...

The special hiring project, launched on March 20, offered over 10 million positions for job seekers.

After hearing reports of the program, Hu held video conferences to learn about work resumption of enterprises and online recruitment and paid special attention to key groups like college graduates and migrant workers.

China ups support to firms to ensure employment amid COVID-19 epidemic - Xinhua

The country cut 123.9 billion yuan (about 17.7 billion U.S. dollars) in social security premiums for companies nationwide in February, with the sum from February through June expected to top 500 billion yuan, You Jun, vice minister of human resources and social security, told a press conference.

To help encourage companies to minimize layoffs, 1.46 million micro, small and medium-sized enterprises have received 22.2 billion yuan in refunds of unemployment insurance premiums, which aimed at encouraging companies to minimize layoffs, with the number of benefitted companies exceeding that of last year as a whole.

The State Council, China's cabinet, issued a guideline last week calling for fast-tracking targeted tax and fee reductions and increasing the amount and coverage of unemployment insurance premium refunds.

China’s Companies Have Worst Quarter on Record, Beige Book Says - Bloomberg

“A 10%-11% GDP contraction is not unreasonable” this quarter, according to the report, with any recovery dependent not just on domestic resilience, but also factors beyond the government’s control, according to the report. “China may also have to admit to poor Q2 numbers on global weakness. Investors may therefore be severely overestimating the extent of China’s recovery and hence the extent to which China can cushion a global downturn.”

Wanting out of Pandemic Misery, Chinese Economy Experiences 'Compensatory' Consumption - PingWest

"The pandemic has caused many business to cease operation that restrained consumption for months," said Chen Bo, a professor at the Central University of Finance and Economics, "China will see a rise in compensatory consumption in the near future and online shopping will be a major driver of China’s consumption in the first half of the year." - 报复性消费

Chinese consumers urged to splurge as economy begins path to normality - Reuters

GOME Retail Holdings Ltd (0493.HK) and Suning.com Co Ltd (002024.SZ) plan to hand out over 620 million yuan ($88 million) worth of vouchers, while Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s (BABA.N) Alipay is giving away 10 million discount tokens for 10,000 retailers on its app.

JD.com Inc (JD.O) said from Thursday it will give out 1.5 billion yuan ($212 million) worth of coupons for branded goods in categories including electronics.

Even the railway authority will from Wednesday cut ticket prices by as much as 45%

China’s central bank in talks to cut rate banks pay to savers | Financial Times $$

A deposit rate cut could be announced in the coming days, according to two people familiar with the discussions at the central bank.

政协委员建议全民发放2000元消费券, 可行性存争议

One CCPCC member proposed to give 2000 RMB to each Chinese citizen to boost the consumption but Caixin said the policy idea is not realistic because there is no fiscal room for this and the government’s focus right now is not to boost consumption in the demand side, but to restore production in the supply side.

Coronavirus: fears mount that China’s transition to a greener economy may be shelved amid recovery | South China Morning Post

“Many are now concerned that a new round of economic stimulus may be pumped into China’s economy and a large portion of that might go into the industrial sectors, replicating past experiences of pumping cheap credits to polluting industries, and as a result of that creating a new round of emissions increases and locking in China to a high emissions path,” said Li Shuo, senior global policy adviser at Greenpeace East Asia.

Chinese cities remove car purchase restrictions to shore up auto sales - Global Times

at least seven Chinese cities began rolling out new stimulating measures, including offering subsidies and expanding yearly car-buying quotas, to ramp up consumption in the auto sector that has been battered by the coronavirus outbreak.

Yicai Global - Beijing Pulls Notice on Plan to Double New Car Quota

The policy has not been properly vetted and has not yet been approved by authorities, the Beijing Municipal Commerce Bureau said on its Weibo account today. The statement was released prematurely and has caused misunderstandings, it added.

Yicai Global - Quarter of AmCham China Firms May Be Running Normally by April-End, Survey Shows

Twenty-two percent have already resumed normal operations, and 40 percent said they will maintain previously planned investment levels, the results of the survey released today showed. Another 22 percent expect further delays through the summer.

Evaluation of China’s development calls for dialectical, long-term perspective - People's Daily Online

Currently, China is making progress in preventing and controlling the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic and speeding up restoring the order of production and life. At the same time, the spread of the epidemic overseas has exerted negative impacts on global economy, bringing new challenges to the development of China’s economy.

At such a time it is even more important to view China's development in a comprehensive, dialectical and long-term perspective, as Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out. We also need to have an accurate grasp of the complicated conditions for economic development and firm up confidence.

Affected by multiple factors, China faces increasing economic pressure as the epidemic is exerting big impacts on the Chinese economy.

But the impacts are generally short-lived, external and controllable as China has forcefully guaranteed people’s livelihood and maintained social order, and the fundamentals sustaining long-term sound growth and strong internal driving force have not changed.

Huawei tilts to telecom business as Beijing prepares big 5G push - Nikkei Asian Review

Huawei Technologies is prioritizing its base station business while cutting procurement for its smartphone segment, the Nikkei Asian Review has learned, as Chinese President Xi Jinping vows increased spending on crucial infrastructure to help the world's second largest economy recover from the impact of the coronavirus.

Covid-19 Epidemic Slams China’s Government Revenues - Caixin

The Covid-19 pandemic is taking a toll on Chinese government coffers, dragging down fiscal revenues in this year’s first two months by the most in 11 years as drastic measures to contain the disease put business activities on hold.

Revenues of China’s central and local governments in January and February totaled 3.5 trillion yuan ($493 billion), down 9.9% from the same period a year ago in the steepest drop since February 2009, data from the Ministry of Finance showed. In February alone, national fiscal income dropped 21.4% from the year earlier, the biggest monthly drop since 1996 when data was first recorded.

Government spending also plunged 2.9% in the first two months as social and economic activities halted, even with a 22.7% surge in outlays for public health.

Comment: many were already hurting from the various tax cuts announced in the last year to help stimulate the economy

Chinese Credit Stimulus: Yesterday’s Solution, Not Today’s | Rhodium Group - Logan Wright and Daniel Rosen

in contrast to 2008, China no longer has a financial system with which it can fire a policy “bazooka” to allay all fears about the sustainability of economic activity. For more than a decade China’s banking system has expanded faster as a proportion of the global economy than any other over the past century. Having quadrupled in size since 2008, it cannot quadruple again. The property market has absorbed a vast amount of investment over the past decade and is highly vulnerable to a price correction that appears underway. Beijing knows this, and wants to avoid a collapse in the property market, but does not want to see even more property speculation make the risk higher still. The hangover after the near-term jolt in activity will be intense when credit growth necessarily slows and property prices slide...

Despite global calls for China to “go big” Beijing is likely to stay more cautious than in 2008. Beijing will attempt to maintain cyclical momentum in domestic demand, but fixate on keeping that support at home. Fiscal policy will be more expansive, with additional local government SRB issuance and a larger fiscal deficit. Interest rates will almost certainly move lower to keep real borrowing costs stable in the face of deflationary pressure. And as the US dollar is rising while external demand falters, it is probable that the central bank will permit some degree of yuan depreciation rather than defend a certain level; that process has already started, with the yuan weakening below 7.10 per dollar in the past week (but still rising on a trade-weighted basis). Bank bailouts and rescues will continue, but most likely reactively, after financial stress emerges.


7. Conspiracy theories and propaganda

China Is Trying to Rewrite The Present – Foreign Policy - Louisa Lim

This is a struggle in which the tools of a free society—journalism and social media—are both the combat zone and the weapons of choice. Beijing’s arsenal includes a massive state-sponsored disinformation campaign, prominent “third-party spokespeople” and the expulsion of some of the most experienced American journalists in China. As its state-sponsored messages proliferate across newspaper columns and Facebook and Twitter feeds around the world, one key takeaway is that China’s decadelong attempt to build its so-called discourse power overseas is finally bearing fruit...

these efforts didn’t come out of nowhere. Since 2009, Beijing’s been quietly laying the groundwork by expanding its state-run media overseas, running look-and-learn tours—often for free—for thousands of non-Chinese journalists to China and striking content-sharing agreements with foreign news providers. Chinese business leaders acting as state proxies have acquired and established news outlets to amplify Beijing’s voice. All these tools are now being used to reshape the global information landscape, even while its some of its domestic propaganda efforts are encountering unusually vocal resistance.

The composition of China’s coronavirus task force highlights its priorities: Two out of nine members are from the propaganda bureau. They faced a challenging job in shifting the narrative when Beijing’s cover-up of the initial outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year allowed the virus to spread unabated.

China Hijacked This American Mom’s Tweets for Coronavirus Propaganda - Daily Beast

This was no random retweet. The official was none other than Zhao Lijian, the spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry and face of the Chinese Communist Party, who has been leading a kind of “so’s your mother” campaign to blame anybody but China for the pandemic—preferably the country that elected Donald “Chinese Virus” Trump.

【国际锐评】关于疫情的三个疑问 美方必须给世界一个交代_新闻频道_央视网(cctv.com)

China Media Group doubling down Monday on suggesting US is the source of the virus, & maybe it came from a US army lab.

美方需要回答的第二个疑问是:为何在2019年7月突然关闭位于马里兰州的德特里克堡生化武器基地?该基地是美军最大的生化武器研发中心。《纽约时报》称,它被关闭是没有“足够完善的系统对其最高安全等级实验室的废水进行净化”。

然而,随着之后一系列事件的发展,人们对该基地关闭的真正原因产生怀疑。因为它被关闭后不久,美国便出现一连串肺炎或类似肺炎病例。有关部门将其归咎于“电子烟”,但科学家们指出,电子烟无法解释其症状和病情。几乎在同一时间,美国H1N1流感暴发;随后的2019年10月,美国多个机构组织了一次代号为“Event 201”的全球流行病演习;2019年12月,武汉首名感染新冠肺炎的患者出现症状;2020年2月,新冠疫情在全球多点暴发。

  从时间线上看,这一连串事件的发生很蹊跷,它们之间有没有关联?日前,有人在白宫请愿网站发帖,要求美国政府公布关闭德特里克堡基地的真正原因,以澄清它是否为新冠病毒的研究单位,以及是否存在病毒泄漏问题。美国若真为本国民众生命健康考虑,就应回答这些问题。

US urged to release health info of military athletes who came to Wuhan in Ocotober 2019 - Global Times

An American journalist claimed one US military athlete in the delegation could be patient zero of the deadly new disease.

George Webb, an investigative journalist in Washington, DC claimed in recent videos and tweets that he believes Maatje Benassi, an armed diplomatic driver and cyclist who was in Wuhan in October for the cycling competition in the Military World Games, could be patient zero of COVID-19 in Wuhan.

美追查疑似新冠肺炎零号病例,军运会女选手!@特朗普看一下

近日,4名在美国弗吉尼亚州的老外(3名美国人,1名加拿大人)声称成功追溯到了新冠肺炎可能的“0号病例”——美国女军官Maatja Benassi!——美国女军官Maatja Benassi!

这名美国女军官是2019年10月20日举行的“武汉军运会”女子公路自行车赛参赛选手。这是一条很重磅的新线索,待证实。

Bytedance's Toutiao surfacing the post claiming patient 0 is an American who participate in the World Army Games

The same conspiracy theorist spouting the patient zero is an American who brought the virus to Wuhan in October for the World Army Games - How a conspiracy theory closed part of a major US seaport - CNN 2017

During the broadcast, conspiracy theorist George Webb initially claimed a "source" had told him that there was "a dirty bomb planned for a major city." Based on the information from the "source," Webb said he believed Memphis might be the target.

European Values Talk: How is the Chinese Communist Party manipulating the global pandemic? - YouTube

China’s Coronavirus Information Warfare – The Diplomat - By Valérie Niquet

The general narrative goes like this: There are doubts about the origins of the virus, and China has demonstrated its effectiveness in managing the crisis. Its authoritarian system is validated in the face of the supposed ineffectiveness of democratic values.

For Beijing, the control of information becomes a priority after an initial relaxation designed to provide a safety valve for a population facing a major humanitarian crisis. Already severe in China, this control has now been reinforced. Above all, the regime is also trying to silence all foreign experts guilty of deviating from the “official line,” denounced in the Chinese media as “anti-Chinese elements.”

China adopts Russia's disinformation playbook - Axios

"What we’ve seen over the past week and a half over COVD-19 in terms of Chinese party-state manipulation has been a real departure from what we have seen in the past," Laura Rosenberger, director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, tells Axios.

Rosenberger points to three main tactics that Beijing has applied in its coronavirus messaging campaign that clearly resemble Russian strategy:

The propagation of "multiple conflicting theories."

The amplification of "conspiracy websites," which Rosenberger said are third-party sites without funding transparency that promote the same theories the state aims to boost.

The coordinated use of diplomatic and embassy Twitter accounts and state-backed media to help boost the theories.

Comment: But I would argue the Chinese are actually much more sophisticated than the Russians, and have a much loftier goal—not just sowing doubt, disunity and confusion but prosecuting a broader propaganda campaign to damage the US while portraying China as the responsible global superpower with the world’s interests in mind who is now increasingly a provider of needed public goods.

新京报:美国疾控中心停止更新电子雾化肺病专题,与新冠有关?

Beijing News continued to play up the conspiracy theory that the coronavirus originated from the US. The article wrote about the surging cases of lung diseases caused by vaping last year and suggested these may be coronavirus patients that had been misdiagnosed.

#专家称疫情去年11月或已在意大利流行# ​

CCTV had seized on a quote from an Italy expert who said the virus may had been spreading in Italy in as early as last November, which predated Wuhan. This continues to fuel the conspiracy theories on Chinese internet.

Iran and U.S. spar over blame for coronavirus? spread in Iran - The Washington Post

Khamenei’s televised comments on Sunday were made in response to U.S. offers to send aid to Iran as Tehran struggles to contain the highest coronavirus infection rate in the Middle East. Khamenei said the United States could not be trusted to help because it “may” have created the coronavirus now sweeping the world.

U.S.-China Cooperation on Coronavirus Hampered by Propaganda War - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace - Paul Haenle

Critically, both countries must stop the gratuitous provocative rhetoric. Especially as a growing number of U.S. and Chinese citizens are affected by the virus, for either country to scapegoat the other could hinder cooperative efforts to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and ultimately have a devastating effect on bilateral relations. Recent remarks by Cui disavowing Zhao’s speculation mark a positive step forward.

As the United States enters a state of emergency and China emerges from one, the moment is prime for leaders to rise above political interests. Both countries should be making every effort to avert a crisis of diplomacy before their opportunity slips away.


8. Ugly TikTok moderation policies

TikTok Told Moderators: Suppress Posts by the “Ugly” and Poor - The Intercept

THE MAKERS OF TIKTOK, the Chinese video-sharing app with hundreds of millions of users around the world, instructed moderators to suppress posts created by users deemed too ugly, poor, or disabled for the platform, according to internal documents obtained by The Intercept. These same documents show moderators were also told to censor political speech in TikTok livestreams, punishing those who harmed “national honor” or broadcast streams about “state organs such as police” with bans from the platform.

These previously unreported Chinese policy documents, along with conversations with multiple sources directly familiar with TikTok’s censorship activities, provide new details about the company’s efforts to enforce rigid constraints across its reported 800 million or so monthly users while it simultaneously attempts to bolster its image as a global paragon of self-expression and anything-goes creativity. They also show how TikTok controls content on its platform to achieve rapid growth in the mold of a Silicon Valley startup while simultaneously discouraging political dissent with the sort of heavy hand regularly seen in its home country of China...

Today, The Intercept and The Intercept Brasil are publishing two internal TikTok moderation documents, recreated with only minor redactions, below. One lays out bans for ideologically undesirable content in livestreams, and another describes algorithmic punishments for unattractive and impoverished users. The documents appear to have been originally drafted in Chinese and later — at times awkwardly — translated into English for use in TikTok’s global offices


Business, Economy and Trade

Exclusive: China to Reform National Bad Debt Managers - Caixin A source close to a national AMC speaking on condition of anonymity told Caixin that the reform plan will probably involve setting up a holding company to control the four national AMCs, with the head of the new holding company given an administrative rank equivalent to a deputy minister. The aim is to improve management of state-owned financial assets and isolate AMC risks from the Ministry of Finance, according to the source.

Exclusive: Anxin Trust Restructuring Imminent as Debts Mount - Caixin Anxin, one of only two trust companies listed on mainland bourses, has been suffering from cash flow problems and in April last year deferred redemptions on 2.8 billion yuan ($395 million) of trust products that had matured. The capital, interest payments and additional interest accumulated over the deferment period are scheduled to be repaid to investors in April.

China’s $13tn bond market shines as Treasuries turn treacherous | Financial Times $$ China’s Bond Connect programme — which allows foreign fund managers to trade in the country’s debt markets without an onshore trading entity — is central to this shift. It has accounted for inflows of more than Rmb500bn ($70bn) since Bloomberg first included government and policy banknotes in its Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate index last April.

Politics and Law

习近平:战胜这次疫情,给我们力量和信心的是中国人民 During his call with the Polish President Xi praised the Chinese people.// Xi hailed the Chinese people as the source of strength and confidence for winning this battle. With unity, resolve and commitment, the 1.4 billion Chinese people have fought tenaciously against the epidemic. Xi stressed that he was deeply touched by the heroic spirit of Chinese health workers who put themselves in harm's way to save lives. Lauding the people as the true heroes, Xi pointed out that with the firm support of the people, we will triumph over any difficulty that may come our way and realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. 习近平强调,战胜这次疫情,给我们力量和信心的是中国人民。中国14亿人民同舟共济,众志成城,坚定信心,同疫情进行顽强斗争。中国广大医务人员奋不顾身、舍生忘死,这种高尚精神让我深受感动。人民才是真正的英雄。只要紧紧依靠人民,我们就一定能够战胜一切艰难险阻,实现中华民族伟大复兴。

中国新闻网:中国基督教两会呼吁抵制异端、反对邪教 The state-run National Committee of Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches issued a statement urging Chinese people to oppose “cults using the flag of Christianity”, which it said have “taken advantage of the virus outbreak” to spread in China. It specifically warned that, the South Korean Shincheonji Church, whose members brought the virus back to South Korea from Wuhan, “have infiltrated China and operated freely”.

Researching party-state documents - China Neican 内参 Holly Snape’s guide, Resources for Researching with Party and Government Documents, in full

ChinaTalk: How Chinese Governance Fundamentals Impact Health Care and National Security - Lawfare How has the distinct nature of local-central relations in the Chinese system impacted its response to coronavirus? To discuss, we have on Ryan Manuel, managing director of Official China, a consultancy that goes deep into CCP regulations and policy. // congrats to the podcast formerly known as chinaecontalk, now renamed chinaTalk and a part of the Lawfare network

贾康:在线上研讨会上的发言(2020年3月20日上午) Renowned economist Jia Kang said in a public conference last week that China must reflect on why the early warning system failed again after the lesson of SARS. He also said that the government is risking its public trust by blaming only low-level officers for mishandling the case of doctor Li Wenliang. He added that the government must have more confidence and understand the public’s desire for more opening and reform.

Jia mentioned this article - 1978,一个国家的春天回忆 “1978, the spring in memory for a country”. It is said to have been written by a senior People’s Daily reporter and it had been censored earlier. The article talked about the early days of opening and reform and how the reformers combatted the leftists within the party

Foreign and Defense Affairs

China set to indict Australian academic Yang Hengjun on espionage charges | The Guardian China is preparing to formally indict Australian academic Dr Yang Hengjun with espionage, a charge that potentially carries the death penalty, as concerns grow over his isolation and treatment in prison. Yang, 54, has been imprisoned for more than 432 days, and, for the last three months, has been held in total isolation, allowed no contact with the outside world.

Lin Songtian, China's Brash Former Ambassador to South Africa Suddenly Returns Home - The China Africa Project Lin published a farewell letter on Monday in the South African newspaper Independent he reflected on his two and half years in Pretoria but didn’t provide any insights as to what he will be doing next. All he said was that he “will assume a new post for a new chapter.” It’s still not entirely clear if Lin had been recalled under duress or if he is being re-assigned to a new, higher-profile position within the China Foreign Ministry.

Exclusive: Venezuela in talks with China over support amid pandemic, oil price drop - sources - Reuters The talks were initiated by Maduro’s government and are ongoing, the sources said. “Without (China), we are left helpless,” said one of the sources, who asked not to be identified because they are not allowed to speak publicly about the issue.

This Is Not a Test: APT41 Initiates Global Intrusion Campaign Using Multiple Exploits | FireEye Inc Beginning this year, FireEye observed Chinese actor APT41 carry out one of the broadest campaigns by a Chinese cyber espionage actor we have observed in recent years. Between January 20 and March 11, FireEye observed APT41 attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in Citrix NetScaler/ADC, Cisco routers, and Zoho ManageEngine Desktop Central at over 75 FireEye customers. Countries we’ve seen targeted include Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, UK and USA. The following industries were targeted: Banking/Finance, Construction, Defense Industrial Base, Government, Healthcare, High Technology, Higher Education, Legal, Manufacturing, Media, Non-profit, Oil & Gas, Petrochemical, Pharmaceutical, Real Estate, Telecommunications, Transportation, Travel, and Utility. It’s unclear if APT41 scanned the Internet and attempted exploitation en masse or selected a subset of specific organizations to target, but the victims appear to be more targeted in nature.

Germany’s Strategic Gray Zone With China - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Germany is in the midst of a wrenching reassessment of its relationship with China, a challenge made infinitely more difficult by its increasingly strained ties with the United States. Berlin shares many of Washington’s concerns about Beijing from the lack of reciprocity in its economic relationships with trading partners and the spread of debt and political influence through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to its growing use of surveillance technology and detention of over 1 million Muslims in Xinjiang. But after spearheading a pushback against the policies of Chinese President Xi Jinping, a campaign that culminated last spring when the EU declared China a “systemic rival,” Europe’s largest member state is wavering, keenly aware of its own vulnerabilities and wary, despite its concerns about China’s political and economic development, of following Washington down a path toward full-blown confrontation with Beijing.

NCP Vantaa council group expels councillor linked to Chinese influence network | Yle Uutiset | yle.fi The Vantaa council group of the centre-right National Coalition Party has voted to eject a city councillor over what it described as activities that violated party values. The councillor, Jenni Chen-Ye, was said to be active in an organisation with close ties to Beijing and its network of global influence.

China’s Strategic Assessment of India - War on the Rocks - Yun Sun China’s policy toward India in the past two to three years has shifted. It now actively promotes closer ties. The reason for this move was the drastic rupture from  the Doklam standoff between China and India in 2017, in which Chinese and Indian troops faced off along part of their disputed border. In addition, Beijing fears an emerging India-U.S. alliance as part of Washington’s Indo-Pacific Strategy. In fact, China and India have announced 70 events throughout the year to celebrate the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relations. The official rapprochement between these two global giants represents a case of major realignment — a rare case for the Chinese playbook.

An open letter to the Chinese government - from the publishers of the New York Times, Wall Strett Journal and The Washington Post We strongly urge the Chinese government to reverse its decision to force the Americans working for our news organizations to leave the country and, more broadly, to ease the growing crackdown on independent news organizations that preceded this action. The media is collateral damage in a diplomatic dispute between the Chinese and U.S. governments, threatening to deprive the world of critical information at a perilous moment.

Op-Ed: Expelling foreign journalists is a bad idea for both China and the United States - Los Angeles Times Both governments need to recognize that entering into a cycle of retaliation that results in fewer journalists covering crucial stories is bad for both countries. And for China, which frequently complains that it is misunderstood, cutting off foreign news reporting so drastically is a way to ensure that. Terril Yue Jones was a foreign correspondent in Asia and Europe for 18 years, and now teaches at the Keck Center for International Strategic Studies at Claremont McKenna College.

Hong Kong and Macao

Andrew Cheung, who upheld disqualification of lawmakers, to become Hong Kong's new chief justice | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP Cheung has overseen a number of controversial appeals, including one which ousted democratically elected lawmakers Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-Ching from the Hong Kong legislature. He said that it would be “arrogant and ignorant” to decide what China’s legal system can or cannot do under the One Country, Two Systems policy. He previously said that Hong Kong’s de facto constitution favours heterosexual marriage and therefore it is not discriminatory for gay people to be excluded from marrying.

Tech and Media

Yicai Global - Xiaomi, Other Chinese Phone Makers Halt India Production on Government Orders Xiaomi, Guangdong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications, Vivo Communication Technology and Lenovo Group have all shut plants temporarily, according to separate statements from each of the firms.

Canalys Newsroom- Canalys: China cloud companies quick to help combat coronavirus Canalys estimates that China’s cloud infrastructure services market grew 66.9% in Q4 2019, as total spend reached US$3.3 billion. China represented 10.8% of the worldwide total, making it the second largest market. Alibaba Cloud remained the leading cloud service provider in Q4 2019, accounting for 46.4% of total spend. Tencent Cloud increased its share to 18.0%, while Baidu AI Cloud moved into third place with an 8.8% share.

Meituan is shuttering its cloud business · TechNode Chinese food delivery and services platform Meituan Dianping is shutting down its public cloud service in order to retain focus on its core businesses.

Xiaomi’s Giant New TV Has Price That Will Rattle Its Rivals - Caixin Xiaomi Corp. has launched an immense, 98-inch smart TV at the comparatively low price of 19,999 yuan ($2,829) as part of its ongoing effort to establish itself as a leading brand across a wide range of products.

At Alibaba's Lazada, coronavirus measures become the latest culture conflict - Reuters At Lazada, the Southeast Asian arm of Alibaba Group Holding (BABA.N), staff are furious over demands they submit health reports daily and other coronavirus-prevention steps seen as too invasive, highlighting a long-running culture clash with management from China.

Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

Chinese TV series about the gritty realities of buying a home clocks up 4 billion online views | South China Morning Post Another TV series, the 53-part I Will Find You a Better Home, which had its finale in China last week, recorded viewer numbers similar to those for Dwelling Narrowness. The series was adapted by Liu Liu after a Chinese producer bought the rights to 2016 Japanese TV series Your Home is My Business!

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

Chinese worker's death from hantavirus sparks concerns over new outbreak amid COVID-19 pandemic - Global Times Unlike COVID-19, hantavirus is not mainly transmitted through the respiratory system, but a patient's excreta and blood can be contagious, virologists said, after a Chinese worker died of the hantavirus on Monday.  News of the death from hantavirus amid the COVID-19 pandemic sparked widespread concern among netizens, with many worried that it would transmit between humans and become a double blow for humankind while the COVID-19 pandemic has yet to end.