Kim's Quick Beijing Visit; Immediate US-China Trade War Risk May Be Declining, But..; Financial System Boss Liu He Convenes A Meeting; Ethnic Harmony In China; HNA Is A Family Affair

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The Essential Eight

1. Kim's Quick Beijing Visit

There is still no official confirmation, but the South China Morning Post also says it was Kim, not his sister. Did his entourage do any shopping in Beijing and take any sanctioned items back with them to North Korea?

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un leaves Beijing after surprise visit | South China Morning Post:

Security at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse and Beijing railway station quickly returned to normal on Tuesday afternoon after the distinctive green train carrying North Korean leader Kim Jong-un set off on its return journey to Pyongyang...

Two sources, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, confirmed that the mystery guest was Kim.

“It wasn’t his sister, it was Kim himself,” one said.

What Kim Jong-un May Get in Reaching Out to China - The New York Times:

“China worries about being bypassed by North Korea and Trump,” said Shen Zhihua, a prominent historian in China. “China fears some collusion and fears its interests being disregarded.”

Rumours China and North Korea were no longer allies put to bed by Kim Jong-un’s Beijing ‘visit’ | South China Morning Post:

Beijing-based military expert Zhou Chenming said that the surprise visit was also aimed at rebutting widespread claims that China, which remains North Korea’s biggest diplomatic and economic supporter, no longer had any leverage over its reclusive neighbour.

“The visit itself is proof that Beijing and Pyongyang have maintained their traditional friendship and top-level contacts despite rampant rumours about their ties being strained,” he said.

Chinese diplomat gets key role on North Korean issues as Beijing fights to remain relevant | South China Morning Post:

Ning Fukui, who served as ambassador to South Korea from 2006-08, and was involved in the four- and six-party talks in the 1990s and 2000s, is expected to work under Kong Xuanyou, China’s special envoy to Pyongyang and vice-foreign minister on North Korean affairs, the diplomatic sources said.


2. Immediate US-China Trade War Risk May Be Declining, But...

Public documents about the adjusted US strategic framework towards China are nested in other, classified documents. Is what is said internally much more adversarial than what we have seen publicly?

U.S. Weighs Use of Emergency Law to Curb Chinese Takeovers - Bloomberg:

The Trump administration is considering a crackdown on Chinese investments in technologies the U.S. considers sensitive by invoking a law reserved for national emergencies, among other options, according to people familiar with the matter.

Treasury Department officials are working on plans to identify technology sectors in which Chinese companies would be banned from investing, such as semiconductors and so-called 5G wireless communications, according to four people with knowledge of the proposal, who spoke on the condition of anonymity...

The International Emergency Economic Powers Act, enacted in 1977, allows the president to declare a national emergency in response to an “unusual and extraordinary threat.” After declaring such an emergency, the president can block transactions and seize assets.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on March 26, 2018:

Certain American official's remarks that "the era of economic surrender is over"sounds quite awkward and it seems that they were trying to shift the blame. In fact, it would be more appropriate to say that it's time for the US economic intimidation and hegemony to end. The US side should be clear that what international trade needs in the 21st century is rules rather than power. 

China has all along followed the WTO rules and upheld the transparent, non-discriminatory, open, inclusive and rules-based multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core and based on rules. It always maintains that divergences, including those frictions in trade, should be resolved through negotiation in the spirit of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. In fact, China and the US have been in consultations on trade issues. Indeed, we have confidence and capability to defend our nation's legitimate rights and interests under any circumstance. Now the ball is in the US court, and we hope it will make rational and cautious decisions and choices.

Li Keqiang met with A US delegation led by Senator Daines and told them a trade war won't solve the issues between the US and China...Doesn't sound like Xi will meet with them, just Li Keqiang and Li Zhanshu--李克强会见美国国会议员访华团-新华网  

How China can avoid a trade war with the US - FT $$ - Martin Wolf:

The objectives of these US actions are unclear. Is it merely to halt alleged misbehaviour, such as forced transfers — or outright theft — of intellectual property? Or, as the labelling of China as a “strategic competitor” suggests, is it to halt China’s technological progress altogether — an aim that is unachievable and certainly non-negotiable...

The optimistic view is that these are opening moves in a negotiation that will end in a deal. A more pessimistic perspective is that this is a stage in an endless process of fraught negotiations between the two superpowers far into the future. A still more pessimistic view is that trade discussions will break down in a cycle of retaliation, perhaps as part of broader hostilities.

Trump’s China Policy Has a Flaw: It Makes China the Winner - The New York Times:

And yet Mr. Trump’s hard-line approach to China seems destined to fail. Taking a stand against China’s abusive behaviors is not necessarily wrong. The problem with the president’s game plan is that it is inconsistent with all the other diplomatic initiatives he has taken so far. The tangle of stabs and swipes at allies and rivals alike, in the service of ill-conceived goals like closing a trade deficit, serves China more than it does the United States.

“Trump has been a godsend for China,” noted Eswar Prasad, an expert on trade at Cornell University who once headed the China division at the International Monetary Fund. “China has manipulated the rules, but Trump’s response is counterproductive.”

Local U.S. Officials Woo Chinese Investment Despite Trump Threat - Bloomberg:

When the federal government is taking a "massive step backwards" in free trade, "cities and mayors have an important role to play in keeping America open to business and attracting investments that inject dollars and energy and jobs," said Christopher Cabaldon, mayor of West Sacramento, California.

Several people interviewed for this article spoke before the tariff details were announced. Cabaldon’s office said his remarks still stand.


3. Financial System Boss Liu He Convenes A Meeting, Stresses Reform And Political Discipline

Liu heard reports from the PBoC, CBIRC and the CSRC.

China vice premier Liu He says prevention of financial risks a top priority - Reuters:

Liu said China also needs to deepen financial reforms and further open up the sector, with market forces providing the cue, Xinhua reported.

刘鹤:增强四个意识、切实做好当前金融工作 --时政--人民网:

新华社北京3月27日电 中央政治局委员、国务院副总理刘鹤3月27日在金融管理部门调研时强调,金融系统要认真学习领会习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想,牢固树立“四个意识”,增强“四个自信”,更加自觉地在思想上政治上行动上同以习近平同志为核心的党中央保持高度一致,认真贯彻落实党中央、国务院决策部署,认真做好金融改革发展稳定各项工作。

在分别听取人民银行、银行保险监督管理委员会、证监会汇报后,刘鹤指出,党中央、国务院对金融工作高度重视,国际金融危机以来,面对复杂严峻的国际形势和困难挑战,金融系统做了大量卓有成效的工作,守住了不发生系统性金融风险的底线,成绩来之不易,值得充分肯定。

Meanwhile, has China made real progress in mitigating the risks from local government debt? 

Ministry of Finance Lays Out Local Government Debt Priorities - Caixin Global:

China’s local governments must finish shifting their borrowings into bonds by August to comply with the deadline set by the State Council for the debt-swap program, the Ministry of Finance said in a notice on Monday that listed its priorities for the management of local government liabilities for 2018...

By the end of 2017, 10.9 trillion yuan ($1.74 trillion) of local government borrowing — primarily bank loans — was exchanged into government bonds, which saved authorities 1.2 trillion yuan in interest payments and helped mitigate the risks of refinancing the debt when it matured, the ministry said. Another 1.73 trillion yuan of debt needs to be swapped by this August, it said.

Local government liabilities amounted to 16.47 trillion yuan at the end of 2017 and 14.74 trillion yuan, 90% of the total, was made up of government bonds, the ministry said.

Gao Shangquan 高尚全, former vice-minister of the State Commission for Restructuring the Economic Systems, writes on page 7 of the 3.27 People's Daily about passing the torch of "reform spirit" to the next generation-人民日报人民要论:让改革精神薪火相传--观点--人民网 


4. Ethnic Harmony In China

In China, sympathy for treatment of ethnic minority prompts death threats - The Globe and Mail:

A Chinese woman who wrote a widely discussed online account of domestic discrimination has been branded a “crazy dog” who supports terrorism and should be put to death.

More than two million people viewed the account, which describes how hotels refuse lodging to some ethnic minorities in China, while authorities in Beijing recruit snitches to report on Muslim students, force women to remove headscarves and urge them to stay off the streets.

“How ridiculous is this country? It asks you for your love on the one hand, and stabs you with the other. It says you are family and labels you as the lowest-class citizen at the same time,” wrote the author, Ms. Zhang, 23, a recent university graduate and part-time English teacher who, according to her Chinese national identification card, is an ethnic Mongolian.

The original post-Translation: Within Pain There is Also Hope – China Digital Times (CDT):

I’m also an ethnic minority. Last July I went to Beijing to attend a feminist workshop. At the youth hostel, the boss saw the Mongolian script on my ID card and said “We can’t accept people like you, even hotels won’t let you stay.” I asked him what kind of person? He said “you people, Inner Mongolians, Xinjiang people, Tibetans, the local police station has regulations.” At that time, I didn’t know if these absurd rules were real or not, I found it ridiculous to label citizens and discriminate against normal people. Today I saw the news, and fear that it is true. Before then I didn’t have any awareness of my Mongolian identity, since I’d grown up in a Han-inhabited land, spoken Mandarin, and attended a Han school. But because I’d been born in a certain place, I, honorably, became someone whose living space may be squeezed.

China sends Uyghurs to re-education camps as a “preventive measure” — Jerome A. Cohen | 孔傑榮(柯恩):

We need to know much more about who has been recently detained in Xinjiang, for what reasons, by what procedures, for how long, for what type of “education” etc. Is it really true that people under 40 are being preventively detained without any basis for suspicion other than the fact that, because of their relative youth, they might be susceptible to evil thoughts and actions? This is a horrendous situation that makes a mockery of the Party’s claim that it is pursuing the “rule of law”.

At what point does the harshening repression in Xinjiang trigger a backlash in the Muslim world?


5. Shrinking Cities

Wasn't urbanization Li Keqiang's signature economic issue when he came in?

Smaller Chinese cities are dwindling despite the country’s attempt at urbanization - Global Times

Long Ying, an urban planning scholar from Tsinghua University in Beijing, never expected that his hometown, a township named Shiling in Northeast China's Jilin Province, would have entered his research of shrinking cities.

He found that Shiling has become less populated and more dilapidated.

His findings were echoed by a report by Wu Kang, an associate professor from Capital University of Economics and Business, which shows that between 2007 and 2016, 84 out of 694 Chinese cities have "shrunk" after experiencing a decrease in their population for at least three consecutive years.

In the past five years, China's urbanization rate has climbed from 52.6 percent to 58.5 percent, according to the 2018 Government Work Report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang during the two sessions, meaning that over 80 million farmers have become urban residents during the period.

Against this background, when it comes to urban planning, all city administrators stress "growing," as Long revealed to China Youth Daily, which he interpreted as "in line with the trend."

The original article - 中国“收缩的城市”:常住人口连年减少 未必是坏事 


6. HNA Is A Family Affair

David Barboza and Mike Forsythe have a new expose of Wang Wei, the younger brother of HNA’s longtime co-chairman Wang Jian. If these guys were stripping state assets then the odds of a bad ending for them are still quite high, and the shriller they get about blaming “hostile foreign forces” the closer they may be to disappearing into the maw of the Party…

Behind the Rise of China’s HNA: The Chairman’s Brother - The New York Times:

The activities of Wang Wei have been central to HNA’s transformation from a small regional airline to a vast global conglomerate, one with nearly $100 billion in revenue and stakes in Deutsche Bank, Hilton Hotels and Swissport.

For nearly 25 years, Mr. Wang has been a little-known force at HNA, working behind the scenes to orchestrate investments, build supply chains and transfer assets, according to a review of annual reports, court filings and corporate documents by The New York Times. In one of the most pivotal moves, Mr. Wang helped set the stage for a takeover of HNA by company insiders and their families — a change that transferred control of a state-backed company into private hands...

roughly a decade ago, Mr. Wang appeared as a major investor in one of China’s biggest property companies, Dalian Wanda. Records show that in July 2007, he bought a sizable stake in the family holding company of Wanda’s chairman on the same day that a company controlled by the son of a member of the Communist Party’s ruling Politburo took a stake in one of its subsidiaries.

Meanwhile another Grey Rhino is being de-horned...

Troubled China Conglomerate Puts All Properties on Block - Bloomberg:

CEFC China Energy Co., the sprawling conglomerate that’s come under increasing government scrutiny, plans to sell its entire global property portfolio with a book value of more than 20 billion yuan ($3.2 billion), according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Almost 100 properties are up for sale, including its headquarters in an upscale Shanghai neighborhood, four floors of the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre and a condominium at the Trump World Tower in Manhattan, as well as hotels, residential apartments and industrial facilities, said the people, asking not to be identified because the deliberations haven’t been publicly disclosed.


7. The Central Commission for Cybersecurity and Informatization

China’s Cyberspace Authorities Set to Gain Clout in Reorganization - New America:

At the conclusion of the annual National People’s Congress last week, China’s State Council announced that the Central Leading Group for Cybersecurity and Informatization, created in 2014, has been upgraded to the Central Commission for Cybersecurity and Informatization. Like the Leading Group before it, the Commission is responsible for ensuring security and promoting Chinese government interests in cyberspace and the digital economy, but the upgrade is more than cosmetic and has the potential to clear bureaucratic thickets and advance stalled priorities...

Arguably the biggest winner in the reorganization is CAC, which has experienced some turmoil over the past several months in the wake of a major discipline inspection report that resulted in the expulsion from the Party of former CAC Minister Lu Wei. In addition, a late December 2017 NPC report on the implementation of the Cybersecurity Law was fairly scathing in its criticism of CAC. Current Minister Xu Lin has been rumored to be on the replacement list for some time, and it is likely he will depart CAC during the staffing reshuffles that follow the National People’s Congress.


8. The United Front And The "New Social Class"

Tech CEOs, online celebrity attend united front work seminar - Global Times:

The CEOs of Chinese search engine Sogou and China's Quora-like Zhihu question-and-answer website Zhihu were among those who attended a seminar given by the United Front Work Department (UFWD) of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee last week.

Wang Xiaochuan, CEO of Sogou and Zhou Yuan, CEO of Zhihu, online writer Lu Qi and we-media owner Xu Shen were only a few of the 52 representatives who attended the seminar at the Central Institute of Socialism from March 18 to March 24.

Representatives received education on patriotism and revolutionary tradition, including visiting the old site of the CPC central committee in Pingshan county, Hebei Province, the old site of the UFWD in Lijiazhuang, Hebei Province and the memorial hall in Xibaipo, where the leadership of the CPC was garrisoned from May 1948 till early 1949, drawing up the blueprint for a new country and preparing for the CPC's new role as the ruling party.

Lu Qi, an online celebrity and writer, who has 26 million followers on Sina Weibo, told the Global Times on Tuesday that he was invited mainly because of his ability to quickly spread information.

中央统战部举办第二期网络人士理论研讨班 

The UFWD set up a new 8th Bureau in 2016 to target the "new social class"--SCMP


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

Yuan rises to 7-wk high after PBOC set midpoint at highest since 2015 devaluation - Reuters Prior to market opening, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) lifted its official yuan midpoint to 6.2816 per dollar, 377 pips, or 0.6 percent, firmer than Monday’s fix of 6.3193. Tuesday’s official guidance rate was also the strongest since Aug. 11, 2015, when China shocked global markets with a sharp 2 percent one-off currency devaluation

China urges northern cities to shut factories as smog builds - report - Reuters China’s environment ministry has urged 28 northern cities to shut factories to tackle a bout of heavy smog in the region, the Shanghai Securities News reported on Tuesday, a sign that tough winter curbs could be extended for the rest of the year.

Securities Regulator Races to Finalize CDR Plan: Sources - Caixin Global China’s securities regulator could announce guidelines for issuing Chinese depository receipts (CDRs) in the next one to two months, aiming to make shares of e-commerce giants Alibaba and JD.com available to domestic shareholders for the first time ever as early as June, sources told Caixin. The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) is now working closely with the Shanghai Stock Exchange to map out the guidelines as soon as possible, a source close to the regulator told Caixin.

 

Politics, Law And Ideology

The Double Helix of Chinese History by Denise Y. Ho - Project Syndicate Just as Deng presided over China’s reform and opening up, he presided over the Tiananmen Square massacre. Similarly, while the Republican era had its new universities and professions (including lawyers), it also had Chiang Kai-shek’s “White Terror” and the conservative “New Life” movement. In short, even when the Chinese tapestry featured a reformist weft, it was always woven into an authoritarian warp. In Xi’s “New Era,” it is the authoritarian strand that is dominant. History will tell whether a recessive strand of openness may persist.

Shining a Cleansing Light on China’s Dark Secrets - The New York Times Shen Zhihua, bon vivant, former businessman, now China’s foremost Cold War historian, has set himself a near-impossible task. He wants China to peel back its secrets, throw open its archives and tell its citizens what went on between China and the United States, between China and North Korea, and much more.

Nobody Knows Anything About China – Foreign Policy a provocative piece that has gotten much praise

Top legislator stresses implementation of Constitution - Xinhua China's top legislator Li Zhanshu Tuesday asked every Chinese to be "a loyal supporter, active follower and firm defender of the Constitution." "Both the life and authority of Constitution lie in its implementation," said Li, chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, at a symposium on the study, publicizing and implementation of the Constitution. // CCTV Evening News on the meeting 栗战书出席深入学习宣传和贯彻实施宪法座谈会 

【解读宪法修正案之八】从"法制"到"法治"是党依法治国理念和方式新飞跃————要闻——中央纪委国家监委网站 十三届全国人大一次会议表决通过的宪法修正案,将宪法序言第七自然段中“健全社会主义法制”修改为“健全社会主义法治”,一字之改,是我们党依法治国理念和方式的新飞跃,体现了我国法治建设理念的提升,是一个伟大的跨越。 “法制”和“法治”虽然只有一字之差,但是二者含义却有着重大不同。法制侧重强调法律、法规、规章等制度,是相对于经济制度、政治制度而言的;法治则是一种治国的理论、原则和方法。法制所讲的,主要指静态的法的规则和体系;法治所说的,包括动态的立法、司法、行政执法及守法等活动,还包含着一种价值追求,以实现社会公平正义为目标,要求限制公权力、保障私权利等。

赵乐际在云南调研时强调 忠实履行党章宪法赋予的职责 扎实推进国家监察全覆盖—中央纪委国家监委网站 CCDI head Zhao Leji on an inspection tour of Yunnan. Do his visits evoke the same fear that Wang Qishan's did?

About 9,000 officials punished for breaking Party rules in Jan.- Feb. - Xinhua The figure was gathered from 31 provincial divisions, 139 central Party and state departments, 97 state-owned enterprises, and 15 financial institutions supervised by the central government, as well as the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, an economic and semi-military organization stationed in Xinjiang, said a press release on the website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Chinese Court Cuts Sentence of Hairdresser-Turned-Billionaire Wu Ying - RFA An appeals court in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang has cut a prison sentence handed down to a former billionaire businesswoman for fraud for a second time, but her family say they are still trying to recover assets that were confiscated "outside the law" and pursue an appeal against her guilty verdict.

 

Foreign and Military Affairs

An open letter from concerned scholars of China and the Chinese diaspora - Policy Forum On Monday 19 March, a group of 30 scholars of China and the Chinese diaspora submitted the following statement as a late submission to the parliamentary review of new national security legislation. It is published here as an open letter. As scholars of China and the Chinese diaspora, we write to express our concern regarding the proposed revision of Australia’s national security laws. We do so on two grounds; first, the new laws* would imperil scholarly contributions to public debate on matters of importance to our nation; and second, the debate surrounding ‘Chinese influence’ has created an atmosphere ill-suited to the judicious balancing of national security interests with the protection of civil liberties.

Leading Chinese scholars sign open letter saying China influence debate is not racist According to the scholars, who describe themselves as "deeply concerned", the debate is necessary to confront Beijing-linked influence activities in Australia and protect the nation's intellectual freedom, democratic rights and national security. The message is a public response to a letter released last week by a separate group of academics – including renowned expert Geremie Barmé and the first Australian ambassador to China, Stephen Fitzgerald – that urged the Turnbull government to delay its foreign influence legislation and warned that Chinese Australians are being stigmatised in an increasingly polarised debate.

China’s influence in Australia: Maintaining the debate - Policy Forum In response, there is now another open letter, by a second group going under the name Scholars of China, the Chinese diaspora, China-Australian relations, and Australia’s relations with Asia. This will also be submitted to the relevant parliamentary committee. Policy Forum publishes that second letter below: We the undersigned are scholars of China, the Chinese diaspora, China-Australia relations and Australia’s relations with Asia. We are deeply concerned by a number of well-documented reports about the Chinese Communist Party’s interference in Australia. We strongly believe that an open debate on the activities of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in this country is essential to intellectual freedom, democratic rights and national security. This debate is valuable and necessary.

China’s Military Gets Control of the Country’s Coast Guard, Raising Concerns - Bloomberg While the move simplifies the China Coast Guard’s chain of command, it also further blurs the lines between the military and civilian vessels patrolling regional tension spots, such as the East and South China Seas. That ambiguity increases the risk that assertive conduct by “white-hulled” coast guard ships could escalate into an unintended military clash. “Regional navies are going to look at this and wonder, what is the chain of command that the coast guard is under? And what does that mean if we get into a stand-off?” said Lyle Morris, a senior policy analyst at RAND Corp. “If there is a crisis, what is the use-of-force doctrine, who are they talking to? There is going to an assumption that everything they do is going to be militarized.”

Satellite images reveal show of force by Chinese navy in South China Sea - Reuters The images, provided by Planet Labs Inc, confirm a Chinese carrier group has entered the vital trade waterway as part of what the Chinese navy earlier described as combat drills that were part of routine annual exercises. The Liaoning carrier group last week traversed the Taiwan Strait, according to the Taiwanese defence ministry. The photos, taken on Monday, show what appear to be at least 40 ships and submarines flanking the carrier Liaoning in what some analysts described as an unusually large display of the Chinese military’s growing naval might.

China calls for restraint after more expulsions of Russian diplomats - Xinhua "China is opposed to the use of chemical weapons. Meanwhile, we also believe that the poisoning incident should be addressed properly through dialogue between Britain and Russia based on finding out the truth," Hua said.

China’s most advanced nuclear missile DF-16 spotted based at an abandoned airfield The location appears to be an isolated and abandoned airfield, which was earlier a base for J-7E combat aircraft of the 9th Fighter Division. It was abandoned somewhere around the year 2000. The isolated location provides the perfect environment for training exercises of the PLARF with a support base barely 15 km northwest of the military township of Lishizhen.

Chinese military launches new web portal - Ministry of National Defense "The ultimate goal of the website is to contribute to the country's drive of building a strong army," said Zhang Youxia, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and vice chairman of the Central Military Commission.

Landing ships steam in South China Sea - Ministry of National Defense The tank landing ship Emeishan (Hull 991) steams alongside the landing ship Hengshan (Hull 949) during a 3-day maritime training exercise in waters of the South China Sea from March 20 to 22, 2018. They are attached to a landing ship flotilla with the South China Sea Fleet under the PLA Navy.

Chinese, Thai military to strengthen cooperation - Ministry of National Defense Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe met with the visiting Thai Chief of Defense Forces Tarnchaiyan Srisuwan on Monday, as the two sides pledged to improve bilateral military cooperation. Wei said the Chinese military was willing to keep strategic exchanges, strengthen pragmatic cooperation with its Thai counterpart to boost the development of bilateral military relations.

 

Taiwan

US senators tell Donald Trump sale of F-35 fighters will help Taiwan ‘remain a democracy’ - Reuters “These fighters will have a positive impact on Taiwan’s self-defence and would act as a necessary deterrent to [mainland] China’s aggressive military posture across the Asia-Pacific region,” Senators John Cornyn, the assistant majority leader, and James Inhofe, a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, said in a letter to President Donald Trump.

Taiwan office leader named - China Daily Liu Jieyi, in his debut as head of the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, met a delegation from Taiwan on Monday in Shanghai. The island's delegation was led by Eric Chu Li-lun, mayor of New Taipei City

Defending Taiwan against China’s united front – Taiwan Insight Though Chinese influence campaigns targeting the West may dominate the headlines, the ‘divide and conquer’ tactics which characterise united front work are all too familiar to Taiwan. Since 1949, what Beijing has labelled a ‘renegade province’ has also been a testing ground for policy incentives that intend to co-opt Taiwanese, nurturing ties that bind the island to China and creating both empathy and political support for the Party’s goal of reunification. Undoubtedly much to Beijing’s frustration, no amount of incentives have yet to make the majority of Taiwanese embrace their shared Chinese-ness. Indeed, according to polls conducted in 2017 by the Election Studies Centre at National Chengchi University, a mere 3.7 percent of Taiwanese survey respondents viewed themselves as ‘Chinese’. Given this reality, and particularly after the 2014 Sunflower Movement, united front work in Taiwan has expanded within the ‘independence by nature’ generation in an increasingly non-partisan approach to lure any and all Taiwanese to the mainland

 

Tech And Media

One of China’s biggest live streaming platforms applies for listing in Hong Kong · TechNode Inke is one of more than 300 live streaming companies that have mushroomed during China’s live streaming boom. Many of them have by now closed shop but Inke has managed to not only thrive but monetize thanks to support from investors and promotional activities. However, according to the documents submitted, the platform’s user numbers have dropped drastically, TechNode’s Chinese sister site reports. In the third quarter of 2016, Inke reported 2.56 million subscribers. In 2017, that number dropped to 650,000. The good news is that the platform has been making more money from its users. In Q3 of 2016, Inke made RMB 186 million from its users, while in Q4 of 2017 that number jumped to RMB 673 million. The average monthly subscriber spends RMB 673 on Inke’s platform.

China Tech Titans in Crosshairs of FCC Proposal - Bloomberg Chinese network-gear makers Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. could face higher barriers to the U.S. market under a proposal advanced Monday by federal regulators in Washington’s latest move against feared espionage from foreign telecommunications suppliers. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai proposed barring funds from a program that subsidizes wireless service in rural areas from being used to buy equipment or services from companies determined to be a risk to U.S. national security.

Foxconn unit to buy Belkin International for $866m - FT $$ FIT Hon Teng said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange on Tuesday that the merger with Belkin, which manufactures products including wireless charging devices and networking products, will give it access to sales networks, technology and production capabilities. Belkin has more than 700 patents.

China’s AI wizards want to entertain you, cure you, and dominate the world - MIT Technology Review At MIT Technology Review’s annual EmTech Digital conference in San Francisco this week, several Chinese executives spoke about the advances their firms had made in AI. What’s clear from the discussions is the impressive progress their companies have been making in a range of AI-powered technologies from computer vision, to speech recognition and natural language processing.

 

Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

Vatican-affiliated Chinese bishop arrested: Report A Chinese bishop recognised by the Vatican has been arrested in his diocese just as Beijing and the Holy See are set to confirm a historic agreement on the appointment of bishops, a Vatican-linked website reported. AsiaNews, run by the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions — a missionary society recognised by the Vatican — wrote on Tuesday that Vincent Guo Xijin, bishop of the diocese of Mindong in the southeastern Fujian province, was arrested on Monday along with another official of the diocese. The Vatican refused to comment on the news. Contacted by AFP, both the local Chinese police and the Fujian provincial office of religious affairs said they were unaware of the arrests.

Luxury homes gifted by Chinese tycoon sit empty as greedy villagers row over ownership | South China Morning Post A Chinese tycoon who paid for hundreds of luxury homes to be built for the residents of his hometown has been left dumbfounded by their greed and ingratitude, according to a local newspaper report...However, although the homes have been ready to move into since the end of last year, they remain unoccupied because of squabbling between villagers over who should get one, or even two.

Bank of China to provide 30 billion yuan financing for winter sports from 2018-2024 - chairman - Reuters The sum will be provided from 2018 to 2024, BoC Chairman Chen Siqing said at a press conference held in Beijing on Tuesday. China is hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Family Sues Website Operator Over Deadly Job-Recruiting Scam - Caixin Global Li Wenxing left home for a job, but instead ended up drowned in a pond. Now his family is suing the popular job-recruiting website that posted the bogus help-wanted ad that led the college graduate on his fatal journey. The Li family is seeking 2.3 million yuan ($366,800) from the operator of Boss Zhipin, one of China’s biggest help-wanted sites, accusing it of negligence in not verifying the ad.

Cosmetic Surgery for a Pet Fish? In Asia, This One Is King of the Tank - The New York Times While prices of the fish saw a boom and a bit of a bust earlier this decade, the arowana remains a popular luxury accessory across Asia. Wealthy Chinese businessmen in particular prize the fish — with its large glimmering scales, sage-like whiskers and aggressive personality — for its resemblance to the mythical Chinese dragon. Adding to the allure are the often-repeated tales of arowana that sacrifice their lives by jumping out of tanks to warn owners about a bad business investment or other potential dangers.

 

Energy, Environment, Science And Health

China’s space lab could crash to Earth on Saturday, scientists say | South China Morning Post The re-entry of Tiangong-1 into the atmosphere “will be between March 31 and April 4, 2018,” according to a statement posted on the website of the China Manned Space Engineering Office. While most components of the eight-tonne craft are expected to burn up as it re-enters the atmosphere, some debris might survive and make it back to ground level, the statement said.

Greens take on China's infrastructure projects in Southeast Asia - Nikkei Asian Review Grassroots activists in the northern province of Chiang Rai have successfully lobbied the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), a state power utility, to suspend its decision to purchase electricity from a controversial hydropower dam proposed by China's Datong Corporation on the Lao side of the Mekong river, Southeast Asia's longest body of water. ..Two other Chinese ventures face similar uncertainties. China Communications Construction Company Second Harbor Consultants has been forced to put its plans to blast stretches of the Mekong on hold. It had won a contract to clear islands and reefs to create channels for 500-ton cargo ships connecting China and Laos.

 

Education

Poor rural students get priority in college admissions - Xinhua Chinese students from impoverished families will have an advantage over other college applicants, according to a circular released by the Ministry of Education. The new policy is part of a project to prioritize students from poor and rural areas in enrollment at key colleges and universities. Among applicants with the same score on the national college entrance exam, those from registered impoverished families will receive priority in enrollment at key colleges and universities.