Low carbon economy; WHO investigation; Wang Yi tells US to right the wrongs in US-China relations; Hong Kong
The China Media Project (CMP) is a terrific resource for understanding PRC politics and how they are reflected in trends in CCP propaganda. Every year the CMP produces a report on the top trends of the previous year, and I am pleased to be able to publish the 2020 report on Sinocism.
In 2021, Sinocism and the CMP will also cooperate on monthly reports for Sinocism subscribers looking at leading trends in Chinese official discourse.
I have published the full report outside the paywall. and here is an excerpt from the section on “wolf warriors”:
Soon after China began its fight against Covid-19 in earnest, the combative tone from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) became increasingly obvious. Spokespersons for the ministry constantly responded to perceived “attacks” from the United States and other countries over its handling of the epidemic, as well as over trade, technology and human rights.
As MOFA went on the attack, the most salient feature of the rhetoric coming out of the ministry through its spokespersons was the concentrated use of colorful idioms and phrases to condemn the words and actions of China’s critics…
These colorful idiomatic phrases are the linguistic fabric of what has outside China been disparagingly called “wolf warrior diplomacy,” or zhanlang waijiao (战狼外交). For its part, China has rejected the label, insisting that China’s more offense approach to diplomacy is merely defensive.
On December 10, 2020, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying again responded to the accusation that China was practicing "wolf warrior diplomacy”:
China is not the China of a hundred years ago. Chinese diplomacy represents and defends 1.4 billion Chinese who account for one-fifth of the world’s population. If people don’t offend me, I have no cause to offend. But if anyone offends me, I will offend back. Why not be a wolf warrior – in order to safeguard China’s legitimate rights and interests, to safeguard China’s sovereignty, security and development, to safeguard national interests and dignity, and to maintain international fairness and justice?
Aside from these fresh phrasings that signal China’s diplomatic indignation, there is an older term in the CCP discourse that can be seen to reflect the degree of tension or relaxation in Chinas’ foreign relations. That term is “anti-China,” or fanhua (反华). Since Xi Jinping took office in 2012, the term "anti-China" has been used consistently in the People’s Daily. But the change in 2019 and 2020 is unmistakable, as you can see in the following graph, which shows the number of articles using “anti-China” in the People’s Daily since 2013.
When we look back on the People’s Daily throughout its history, we find a clear relationship between highs in the occurrence of the term "anti-China" and periods of real tension in China’s international relations.
The graph above suggests that 2020 was the tensest year for China’s international relations since the 18th National Congress of the CCP was held in 2012. The primary cause of this tension has been the state of US-China relations, but tensions have arisen with other countries and regions as well. A survey of 14 countries in Europe, Asia and North America released in October 2020 by the Pew Research Center, a non-partisan think tank in the US, showed that negative perceptions of China had reached their highest point in a decade. “Today, a majority in each of the surveyed countries has an unfavorable opinion of China,” the survey concluded.
The full report is fascinating, and available here.
Today’s Essential Eight items:
Bureaucracy getting serious about building a low-carbon economy
2021 Document #1 on rural revitalization and agricultural modernization
Hong Kong to further fix electoral system
The struggle to define “Human rights”
The HNA black hole
Thanks for reading.
The Essential Eight
1. Bureaucracy getting serious about building a low-carbon economy
By 2025, the industry, energy and transportation system will see a noticeable improvement, with the manufacturing, circulation and consumption system featuring green, low-carbon and circular development taking initial shape.
And as of 2035, the endogenous power for green development will be intensified, the scale of green industry will advance to a new level and the ecological environment will be fundamentally improved. The goal to build a beautiful China will be basically achieved, the circular said.
In terms of building a green manufacturing system, the circular set targets in many sectors, including industry, agriculture, services, environmental protection, industrial parks, and cluster and supply chains...
A green and low-carbon lifestyle will be advocated around the country by practicing thrift and reducing food waste. Domestic waste classification will be further implemented. The transportation system will be more intelligent to guide more people into green travel.
The green, low-carbon transformation also should be stepped up in China’s energy system. Work should be done to raise the utilization ratio of renewable resources and develop wind power and photovoltaic power. Also, rural power grids should be upgraded, and construction and interconnection of natural gas infrastructure should be sped up.
By 2025, China will see a marked rise in the scale of green industries, a continued drop in major pollutants, and a slashed carbon emission intensity, according to the guideline. By 2035, energy and resource utilization efficiency in key industries and for key products is expected to reach an internationally-advanced level, and the goal to build a beautiful China will be basically reached, says the guideline. To meet the targets, the document outlines key measures, including the development of green and low-carbon production, consumption and circulation systems.
2. 2021 Document #1 on rural revitalization and agricultural modernization
Since 2004 the first official document from the leadership has been about rural issues.
Apart from routine issues such as long-term policy to guarantee farmers' incomes, improve infrastructure and basic public services in rural areas, analysts pointed out that the country's top policymakers are prioritizing "self-reliance" in this year's document given the challenges the country is facing.
"The direction pinpointed in the document draws on issues that occurred in the new situation, for example, the coronavirus-plagued 2020, and potential challenges in the next few years," Jiao Shanwei, editor-in-chief of cngrain.com, a website specializing in grain news, told the Global Times on Sunday...
"Rural revitalization serves as an anchor for the country's economic growth and social stability. It is not merely a matter of food security, but also a matter of labor supply and national development," Yu Jianrong, director of Institution of Rural Development at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday.
The Chinese central government is starting to focus more on how to stimulate "internal cycle" in rural areas for the next five years, as after people in rural villages were lifted out of extreme poverty, how to improve their capability to sustain themselves is a key problem, Yu said.
The document - 中共中央 国务院关于全面推进乡村振兴加快农业农村现代化的意见
China will vigorously implement an action plan for rural construction, setting targets for better rural public infrastructure and basic public services, stronger rural consumption, and faster integrated urban-rural development within counties, among others, according to the document.
The document also outlines measures to strengthen the Party's overall leadership over the work concerning agriculture, rural areas and farmers.
Having removed all impoverished counties from its poverty list, China will set a five-year transition period for counties that have recently shaken off poverty and gradually shift the policy focus from poverty alleviation toward comprehensively promoting rural vitalization, according to the document
China’s agriculture minister said the country must seek “self-sufficiency in agricultural technology” to ensure its people have enough to eat, sending fresh signals that the government is preparing to back greater commercialization of genetically modified (GM) food.
Responding to a question from state broadcaster CCTV on Monday, Tang Renjian said China must “make a strong turn for the better in the seed industry” and “use modern farming technology and equipment to strengthen support for food security.”..
He also noted a “marked increase in uncertainty and instability in the external environment,” adding: “We cannot afford to be complacent for even a moment, but instead must do everything possible to heighten security, … produce more grain and store more grain,” he said.
"China's grain security is fully guaranteed," Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Tang Renjian told a press conference, citing sufficient grain inventories and sound production and sales.
Acknowledging the country's agricultural achievements in withstanding a significant test last year amid the COVID-19 epidemic, Tang called for continuing to enhance grain output and ensure grain security.
The minister's remarks came after the release of China's "No. 1 central document" on Sunday. It lists the targets and tasks concerning agriculture and rural areas for 2021 and a broader vision until 2025.
As a rural blueprint unveiled annually, this year's document urged retaining a "red line" of 1.8 billion mu (120 million hectares) of arable land and preventing the use of arable land for non-farming purposes.
The country also planned to add 100 million mu of high-standard farmland with high and stable yields this year. It would be despite droughts and floods, according to the document.
Rural land reform is “very sensitive” and “complicated,” Wu Hongyao, an official with the Agricultural Ministry, said at a press conference in Beijing this week. He urged patience and spoke of a need to uphold three bottom lines: the state ownership of rural land, allocated usage for agriculture, and interests of farmers. To increase farmers’ “property incomes财产性收入”, Wu stressed the importance of safeguarding rural land rights of farmers and exploring options of land transfer. In a nod to an exodus of farmers from villages to cities, his remarks also came with a warning to city dwellers: a ban on turning rural land into mansions or clubs.
Beijing has forbidden local governments from forcing people to leave their villages and move to newly built settlements, a pervasive practice intended to boost the economic viability of depopulated rural areas but that has been met with opposition from villagers.
The policy, released Sunday by China’s central authorities, was part of an annual announcement on rural work called “Document No. 1,” usually published around the start of the year...
Combining depopulated villages into new towns has been a popular method for boosting rural economies suffering from a drain of workers moving to cities. But it has been marred by reports of villagers being moved against their will, as well as concerns that the large-scale application of this method could otherwise conflict with residents’ interests
Long piece in the Monday People's Daily extolling the success in the war on poverty, by "Ren Li Xuan", the pen name for the People's Daily Theory Propaganda Department - "Deeply study and implement Xi Jinping's new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics- Write a great legend in the history of human development"
When you move forward, you can't forget the road you have traveled. Looking back at the magnificent course of poverty alleviation and development with Chinese characteristics and summing up the valuable experience and profound enlightenment contained therein will help us strengthen our confidence, invigorate our spirit, and continue to take the Long March Road and Renaissance Road in the new era; It is conducive to enriching human anti-poverty theory, expanding human anti-poverty practice, and contributing Chinese wisdom and Chinese solutions to the people who are still in poverty in the world.
At a time when Chinese leaders are clamping down on monopolies in areas from fintech to e-commerce, smart agriculture is one sphere where the tech giants’ commercial interests are aligned with the national agenda.
In guidelines issued on Sunday, the State Council called for increased private investment to develop modern farming techniques and empower villages using advanced technologies. Breeding and cultivation sciences were also listed as one of Beijing’s top tech priorities for the next five years, alongside AI, quantum computing and computer chips. JD has said its smart farm projects are at least 50% funded by government subsidies.
3. Vaccine diplomacy
For months, China’s government, state enterprises and private companies have laid the groundwork for a vaccination push from Africa to the Middle East and Latin America. They’ve assembled a supply chain that would maintain temperature controls from the point of manufacturing through every step of distribution—and further the “Health Silk Road,” as Beijing has called it.
“There’s a real win-win opportunity for China if they play it right,” said Ray Yip, a public-health expert and former China director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. As the U.S. and Europe focus on their own populations, he said, China can ride in like a “knight in shining armor.”..
“For people receiving Chinese vaccines, it will change their impressions of China,” said Peng Nian, a researcher at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, a government-backed think tank in China. “That’s hard to achieve through big-scale construction projects or government agreements.”
Comment: I wish this were not framed as a competition, but clearly all governments see it as one
China has provided COVID-19 vaccine aid to Equatorial Guinea and Zimbabwe and will aid 19 more African countries as part of its commitment to make vaccines global public goods, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Monday.
China will also support enterprises to export COVID-19 vaccines to African nations that urgently need, recognize and have authorized the emergency use of Chinese vaccines, Wang said...
Meanwhile, China welcomes and supports France and other European and American nations in providing vaccines to help Africa fight the pandemic, Wand told a press briefing.
“It’s an unprecedented acceleration of global inequality and it’s politically unsustainable too because it’s paving the way for a war of influence over vaccines,” Macron said. “You can see the Chinese strategy, and the Russian strategy too.”..
However, the US said it would not donate any coronavirus vaccine doses to developing countries until there was a plentiful domestic supply of jabs, in a firm rejection of a Macron’s proposal.
4. WHO investigation
The World Health Organization's preliminary report into the origins of the novel coronavirus will recommend more extensive contact tracing of the first known patient with Covid-19 in Wuhan, China, as well as the supply chain of nearly a dozen traders in the Huanan seafood market, which is thought to have played a role in the early spread of Covid-19 in late 2019, according to investigators familiar with the draft report.
Independent scientists told CNN the rudimentary investigative work being recommended should have been done many months previously by Chinese scientists looking into the virus' origin. They said they found it "surprising" and "implausible" Chinese scientists had not already done that work.
Question: Will the WHO explicitly rule out the possible the Wuhan outbreak began from virus introduced via frozen food imported from abroad, as the head of the mission seemed to do in his recent interview with Science Magazine? And if it does, will the WHO post that conclusion in Chinese on its official Weibo account?
And what about the fact that the WHO team did not actually rule out a lab leak, as the head of the mission explains in this interview with Science Magazine?
Science had an hourlong video interview with [WHO program manager and mission leader Peter] Ben Embarek on Saturday after his return to Geneva...
Q: But my question is whether you learned anything new in China. Now that you’ve been there, do you have more reason to say it’s “extremely unlikely” than before?
A: Yes. We had long meetings with the staff of the Wuhan Institute of Virology and three other laboratories in Wuhan. They talked about these claims openly. We discussed: What did you do over the past year to dismiss this claim? What did you yourself develop in terms of argumentations? Did you do audits yourself? Did you look at your records? Did you test your staff? And they explained how they worked and what kind of audit system they had. They had retrospectively tested serum from their staff. They tested samples from early 2019 and from 2020. There were a lot of discussions that we could not have had if we had not traveled to Wuhan. We also did not have evidence provided by outsiders to support any of the claims out there. That could potentially have tipped the balance. What we saw and discussed gave us much more confidence in our assessment. The consensus was that this is an unlikely scenario.
We also had difficulties designing future studies to look into the laboratory claims within our joint group, because if you want to explore such a hypothesis further, you need a different mechanism. You need to do a formal audit, and that’s far beyond what our team is mandated to do or has the tools and capabilities to do. So that was also a reason why we could not start moving forward in our next series of studies into that direction. But the fact that the hypothesis is listed or assessed as extremely unlikely is not the same as if it had been listed or assessed as impossible. We’re not closing the door.
Q: But will someone else investigate?
A: Remember that the report is the outcome of a joint team of Chinese experts and international experts. If others want to pursue that hypothesis, it’s there, it’s being discussed openly and accepted. As I said, this would not be something that this team, or I believe even WHO alone, would be able to move forward on. That would have to be, I believe, a United Nations–wide approach in consultation with member states, if that was something that the international community would want to move forward with.
Q: Would it have been better to project less certainty at the press conference in Wuhan? The way most journalists understood it, the way I understood it, was that this has been ruled out.
A: Let me be clear on this: The fact that we assessed this hypothesis as extremely unlikely doesn’t mean it’s ruled out. … We also state in the report that all these hypothesis assessments will be reviewed on a regular basis. We may pick that one up again if new evidence comes up to make it more likely. It’s work in progress.
Comment: I bring up the lab leak hypothesis not because I am trying to push it but because it is again very much in the news here in the US. The Wall Street OpEd page brought it up and the CBS News Sunday show Face the Nation had interviews with current National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and former Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger in which it came up. Sullivan did not rule it out, Pottinger appeared to disclose more circumstantial evidence that the US collected, though stopped short of going beyond the official statement from the Trump Administration in its final days.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The State Department said back in January that the US has evidence that a COVID-like virus was circulating in Wuhan, China, as far back as autumn of 2019. And the Chinese military was conducting secret experiments at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Do you dispute any of that declassified material?
SULLIVAN: Look, this is why the WHO investigation has to be left to the scientists and the experts to lay out without any interference by any government, because that's the only way we're going to know what the origins of this are. I'm not in a position to say how COVID-19 came into this world. All I'm in a position to do is to call upon the WHO to do its job to the fullest extent possible.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But you- so you are standing by that declassified report?
SULLIVAN: No, I'm saying that I am not in a position, nor is the Biden administration in a position to make a determination about precisely where COVID-19 originated. And that's in part because there has not been sufficient transparency coming from the government of China. And the WHO still has more work to do to get to the bottom of exactly where this virus emerged.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But to be clear, I mean, U.S. intelligence has said COVID, according to wide scientific consensus, was not man-made or genetically modified. You are not in any way alleging that it was, are you?
POTTINGER: No, what- what I'm stating is basically what you saw stated in a very carefully crafted fact sheet that the State Department put out in January. That statement says right at the very beginning, we don't know where this thing originated. It may have come from a natural jump from animals into the human species. It may have come and, you know, resulted from an accident in a laboratory...
MARGARET BRENNAN: So the Wuhan Institute of Virology is this lab that was near the market that so much early reporting was focused on, and in this lab, it's been characterized really as, you know, a private research facility. But you are saying here that the Chinese military was running its own experiments inside that lab. You think- do you think that this was just an accident that really spiraled out of control?
POTTINGER: Yeah, I think that- I don't- I'm not aware of any evidence, even circumstantial evidence, to suggest that this was a deliberate seeding of- of a pandemic by anybody. But the types of research that were underway, both by the civilian staff of the Wuhan Institute of Technology and also military researchers that they were closely affiliated with were studies into exactly the kinds of viruses that, you know, ones that are 96% similar to the virus that's now making us all sick. They were doing gain-of-function research using humanized mice, for example.
This month the World Health Organization visited China to investigate the origins of the virus. A member of the WHO delegation said it's “possible that a frozen carcass could have been shipped” to China and introduced the virus, giving some validation to the food-packaging idea...
The virus most likely emerged from nature, bouncing between animals and humans before it finally broke out. It’s also possible that the virus escaped from a lab where it was being studied. Someone could have become infected while handling samples, and there’s been particular suspicion about the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a high-security research lab that was experimenting with coronaviruses. The theory of a lab leak is exaggerated by some fringe commentators, who suggest that the virus was deliberately engineered. But it’s plausible to wonder about a lab accident.
The WHO team said the lab-escape theory is so remote that it doesn’t merit any further investigation. But frozen salmon does? By giving weight to the food theory, the WHO is making itself less credible, which is a pity.
Here is what I wrote last April, just as then-Secretary of State Pompeo was gearing up the “lab leak” campaign:
The claim is that it was a natural virus under research, not some sort of a bioweapon, and that was some kind of accident or mistake that allowed it to escape into Wuhan.
I have been hearing this hypothesis from people inside the administration for a while, from some who believe it and some who have found the evidence unconvincing. There have also been plenty of reports on the Internet claiming to have found proof (please do not forward me any, I can guarantee you I have looked at all of them and none provide dispositive evidence).
The stakes involved are astronomical. This “devil” virus as Xi so accurately called it has caused a pandemic, a near depression and is destroying millions of lives. If it escaped into Wuhan due to an accident then Xi and the PRC would face excruciating pressures from around the world, and perhaps from within China, to be held accountable, which could lead to all sorts of unpredictable domestic and international outcomes.
If US officials want to convince the world the virus leaked from a Wuhan Lab they are going to have to do a much better job of proving the claims, and they will also need to have allies on board. Those allies I expect will demand a very high standard of proof given the fixed intelligence that helped lead the US and several key allies into the disastrous 2003 Iraq invasion. From what I am hearing, and from media reports, the intelligence community has not yet found dispositive evidence.
There is still no dispositive evidence, and there may never be even if this occurred, but so long as you have WHO and current US officials not ruling it out it is going to lead to very angry and defensive reactions from Beijing, and the angrier and more defensive Beijing gets the more people may believe they have something to hide. It is yet another toxic and lose-lose dynamic.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi again blamed the US for problems in the relationship speech at the Lanting Forum while again laying out the steps the US can take to “right the wrongs” and repair the relationship - Righting the Wrongs and Committing to Mutual Respect and Win-win Cooperation
In the past few years, China-U.S. relations deviated from the normal track, and ran into the biggest difficulties since the establishment of diplomatic ties. The root cause was that the previous U.S. administration, out of its own political needs, seriously distorted China's future path and policy, and on that basis, took various measures to suppress and contain China, which inflicted immeasurable damage to bilateral relations. Today, to right the wrongs and bring the relationship back to the right track, the walls of misperceptions must be torn down first to clear the way for knowing, observing, and understanding China as it is...
Fifty years ago, Dr. Henry Kissinger made the ice-breaking visit to China, and with extraordinary political resolve, leaders of China and the United States jointly reopened the door of interaction which had been closed for decades. Fifty years later today, we must, with the sense of responsibility for the two countries and the world, make once again the sensible and right decision. Here are some key points of China's position.
First, it is important to respect each other and not to interfere in each other's internal affairs...
We are ready to have peaceful coexistence and seek common development with the United States. Likewise, we hope the United States will respect China's core interests, national dignity, and rights to development. We urge the United States to stop smearing the CPC and China's political system, stop conniving at or even supporting the erroneous words and actions of separatist forces for "Taiwan independence", and stop undermining China's sovereignty and security on internal affairs concerning Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet. Only with true mutual respect can China-U.S. relations achieve steady improvement and growth in the long run.
Second, it is important to step up dialogue and properly manage the differences..
Third, it is important to move in the same direction to restart mutually beneficial cooperation...
Under the current circumstances, the two sides may start from easier things, interact actively, and build up goodwill. Economic cooperation and trade is an important part of China-U.S. relations. Despite COVID-19, two-way trade expanded last year against headwinds, reflecting the win-win nature and intrinsic vitality of bilateral trade ties. China welcomes greater success of U.S. businesses in China, and will continue to take effective measures to improve our business environment. At the same time, we hope that the U.S. side will adjust its policies as soon as possible, among others, remove unreasonable tariffs on Chinese goods, lift its unilateral sanctions on Chinese companies and research and educational institutes, and abandon irrational suppression of China's technological progress, so as to create necessary conditions for China-U.S. cooperation...
Fourth, it is important to clear the path for the resumption of bilateral exchanges in all areas...
The Chinese and American peoples enjoy a long-standing friendship, which should stay immune to the ups and downs in the political dimension of the relations. The late Professor Ezra Vogel, a prominent China scholar, called for a rational China policy till the last days of his life. He co-authored the open letter, entitled "China is not an enemy", and it was co-signed by many well-known people.
Third, China and the United States need to have candid communication and clearly define their policy boundaries, so as to effectively manage differences and focus on cooperation. Any problem can be put on the table. The nature of the problems must be unequivocally identified, policy boundaries distinctly marked, and the red line clearly set. On matters concerning China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Xizang, China will never back down, and the red line must be followed. On the basis of respecting each other’s core interests, it is necessary to constructively and properly manage the issues where differences cannot be resolved for the moment, so as to avoid confrontation. The two sides need to have in-depth and candid dialogue in various fields, and strengthen coordination and cooperation in addressing global challenges as well as regional and international hotspots. Today’s forum is a good example of such communication, and think tanks and the media should all play a positive role.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Henry Kissinger’s first visit to China. History has proved that a sound and stable China-U.S. relationship serves the common interests of the two peoples and the entire international community. Our path onwards will depend on our choice today.
Comment: From my vantage point it sure looks like the PRC government and think tankers are once again making the mistake of just talking to the “usual suspects” in the us about US-China relations
The forum held by the China Public Diplomacy Association, Peking University and Renmin University of China has three sub-forums for panel discussions. The topics are: rebuilding political trust, restoring balance to economic and trade ties, and resuming people-to-people exchanges...
Wang Jisi, president of the Institute of International and Strategic Studies of Peking University, who attended the forum on Monday, told the Global Times that China has raised very clear and concrete demands, and the US is also reviewing and considering adjustments on specific issues, such as tariffs...
Ruan Zongze, executive vice president of the China Institute of International Studies, who also attended the forum, told the Global Times that "China is not over-charging the US" since those requirements listed by Foreign Minister Wang are reasonable, which aim to bring the ties back to normal.
Yang Jiechi, China’s top diplomat and a Politburo member, said China would “expand and deepen practical cooperation with parties, including the United States, Europe and Japan, in various fields such as new energy and new technologies”.
Yang made the comments in an article published in Communist Party mouthpiece, People’s Daily, on Sunday.
To mark the party’s centenary, Yang called for the ideological divide to be dropped. He said China would firmly uphold and practise multilateralism and “deeply participate in the new round of reshaping global rules”...
“Yang sent a signal that China and the US need to find new fields to cooperate to build mutual trust, and work together to meet global challenges such as climate change,” said Wang Yiwei, professor of international relations at Renmin University.
Yang’s article was about much more than working with the US. Just the opposite in fact - Yang's article - 坚定维护和践行多边主义 坚持推动构建人类命运共同体
III. Characteristics and trends of multilateralism at present and in the future
First, although the current international system has been severely impacted by unilateralism, multilateralism is still the aspiration of the people and the general trend. In recent years, some countries have attempted to put unilateralism and bullying above the basic norms of international relations, such as sovereign equality, peaceful settlement of disputes and non-interference in internal affairs, so as to give priority to their own countries and seriously damage the current international system with the United Nations as the core. On the other hand, the vast majority of countries in the world support the concept and practice of multilateralism, and oppose that one country should take over international affairs, dominate the destiny of other countries and monopolize the right to development. Multilateralism is still firmly rooted and has a strong driving force...
Third, although the argument advocating ideological opposition is on the rise, the international community's call for strengthening unity and transcending differences is even louder. Some forces stick to the zero-sum game, hype the differences in ideology and political system in the world, attempt to create divisions in "small circles", and attempt to interfere in other countries' internal affairs under the pretext of human rights and democracy, which are generally opposed by the international community...
First, we should take the Summit of Heads of State as a strategic guide and "home ground diplomacy' as an important platform to promote the development of multilateralism theory and practice in the new era. Explain in depth the great practical significance of General Secretary Xi Jinping's special speech at the Davos Agenda Dialogue of the World Economic Forum, and contribute Chinese wisdom, Chinese ideas and Chinese solutions to the major issues facing the present era.
In China, some U.S. personnel have complained about being subjected to anal swab tests for the coronavirus by Chinese authorities, said U.S. officials. The invasive technique has been heralded by Chinese doctors as more effective than a nasal swab despite the unpleasant nature of the procedure. In response to questions about the anal swab testing of U.S. officials, a State Department spokesman said the department was “evaluating all reasonable options” to address the issue with the aim of preserving the “dignity” of U.S. officials “consistent with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.”
6. Hong Kong to further fix electoral system
China’s leaders plan to curb the influence of Hong Kong opposition groups on a body that selects the city’s top official, taking seats away from pro-democracy politicians and handing them to pro-Beijing loyalists, according to people familiar with the proposal.
At an annual legislative session in March, Chinese lawmakers are expected to vote on the proposed changes to the composition of a 1,200-member committee that picks Hong Kong’s chief executive, the people said.
The revisions would drastically reduce, or potentially eliminate, the 117 seats assigned to Hong Kong’s district councilors, a bloc now dominated by opposition groups, they said. These seats would be given to some of the more than 200 Hong Kong-resident members of China’s top political advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the people said.
Xia Baolong, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and head of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, made a speech at the symposium.
To ensure the steady and sustained implementation of "one country, two systems," the principle of "patriots governing Hong Kong" must always be upheld, said Xia, citing remarks made by Xi Jinping...
Calling "patriots governing Hong Kong" the essence of "one country, two systems," Xia said the principle means that after its return to the motherland, Hong Kong must be governed by patriots and the power of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) must be in the hands of patriots.
Xia warned of the risk of anti-China disruptors, "Hong Kong independence" elements and other radical separatists entering into the governance architecture of the HKSAR through elections.
He thus called for prompt efforts to improve related systems in the HKSAR, especially the electoral system, so that "patriots governing Hong Kong" can be effectively implemented.
Xia's speech -国务院港澳办主任夏宝龙：全面落实“爱国者治港”原则_新华报业网
On Xia's speech - An over 5,400-word speech from the top central government official on Hong Kong affairs was considered highly informative, which elaborated upon the historical background of the principle concerning patriots governing Hong Kong, and its relations with the "one country, two systems"—the baseline policy for the HKSAR, a set of basic standards determining who true patriots are and what rules to follow in the imminent electoral reforms for the city.
Some Chinese political advisors who attended the panel discussion called it a "landmark constitutional moment," consisting of a systematic upgrade to the "one country, two systems."..
Unlike the previous procedures of implementing political reforms in Hong Kong in 2005, 2010 and 2015, which were proposed by the HKSAR government and then approved by the central government, the upcoming reforms would be brought up by China's top legislative body the National People's Congress (NPC) and its standing committee, which authorizes rectification of relevant articles and procedures through Annex I and II of the Basic Law, Tian [Feilong] said, referring to shared thoughts from Wang Zhenmin, former legal affairs director of the liaison office, at the forum.
In recent weeks various pro-Beijing figures have been calling for electoral reforms, and now the head of Beijing’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Xia Baolong, has all but confirmed that such a move is on the cards.
Xia was quoted as saying during a closed-door forum that only patriots can rule the territory and Beijing must spearhead reforms to "plug the legal loopholes" and "stop the agents of people who oppose China and disrupt Hong Kong and foreign anti-China forces from entering the SAR’s authorities".
The president of the Legislative Council, Andrew Leung, said Xia's remarks show that being patriotic is the "most basic and reasonable" requirement for those in governance.
Paul Harris said the measures could potentially undermine judicial independence in the city. Under the suggested changes judges would be forced to consult a new council made up of members of the community before handing down sentences.
The proposed council would amount to “a powerful body which would tell judges what to do” and would be “a major backward step”, Harris told the Financial Times.
The Education Bureau of the HKSAR Government published an article on its official website on 22nd, saying that the Hong Kong government's implementation of national security education is reasonable and legitimate, and national security education is part of national education and should be cultivated from an early age in a gradual and orderly manner. At the same time, the learning element of national security education is embedded in the school curriculum, and the development of critical thinking skills is now seen in the school curriculum, which is also related to the maintenance of national security, which is a constitutional responsibility of the HKSAR.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab says he has offered to go to Beijing to find a way to cooperate over Hong Kong, but his proposition has so far not been accepted by China.
Question: At this point what is there to "cooperate over"?
Now, I must address China. We stand with the growing number of international partners, UN experts and NGOs concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation that we see in China. No one can ignore the evidence anymore.
In Hong Kong, the rights of the people are being systematically violated. The National Security Law is a clear breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and is having a chilling effect on personal freedoms. Free and fair legislative elections must take place, with a range of opposition voices allowed to take part.
In recent weeks as the window opened for holders of British National (Overseas) passports to gain long-term visas -- the first step toward citizenship -- that rhetoric has darkened to include threats that Hong Kongers who apply could end up stateless.
7. The struggle to define “Human rights”
First, we should embrace a human rights philosophy that centers on the people. The people are what human rights are all about. The people's interests are where the human rights cause starts and ends. Increasing people's sense of gains, happiness and security is the fundamental pursuit of human rights as well as the ultimate goal of national governance. The people-centered philosophy means that the people should be the real masters of their country, and that they should take part in national governance and political consultation. It also means that the wealth gap should be narrowed, and that all-round development of the people should be promoted.
Second, we should uphold both universality and particularity of human rights. Peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom are common values shared by all humanity and recognized by all countries. The UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have set out lofty ideals and basic principles for advancing human rights. They should be observed and delivered by all countries. On the other hand, countries differ from each other in history, culture, social system and level of economic and social development. Therefore they must promote and protect human rights in light of their national realities and the needs of their people.
Third, we should systemically advance all aspects of human rights. Human rights are an all-encompassing concept. They include civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights. Among them, the rights to subsistence and development are the basic human rights of paramount importance. We should take coordinated, integrated and multi-pronged steps to advance all aspects of human rights in all dimensions and fields throughout the whole process. The scope of human rights is constantly evolving, and the right to health and the environmental right should also be given more prominence.
Fourth, we should continue to promote international dialogue and cooperation on human rights.
Xinhua News Agency: You just announced that State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will deliver a speech via videoconference at the high-level segment of the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council. This is the first time for a leader of the Chinese government to address the Human Rights Council. Can you tell us about China's considerations behind this and your expectations for the Council's work?
Wang Wenbin: Promotion and protection of human rights is a common cause for mankind. The Chinese government attaches high importance to the promotion and protection of human rights, sticks to the people-centered vision of human rights, and has blazed a successful path of human rights development in keeping with our national realities and achieved remarkable progress in this regard. China actively participates in the work of multilateral human rights institutions and contributes Chinese wisdom and propositions to global human rights governance. Last year China was elected as member of the UN Human Rights Council for the term 2021-2023, the fifth time that China got elected, which testifies to the international community's recognition of China's human rights cause.
Faced with the world's major changes and the COVID-19 pandemic, both unseen in a century, the international community is contemplating the protection and promotion of human rights. At the Human Rights Council, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will share China's vision, practice and experience in human rights protection. On behalf of China, he will put forward important views and propositions on global human rights governance so as to foster a community with a shared future for mankind. China is ready to work with the international community to encourage the Human Rights Council to pursue the principle of impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity, stick to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the basic norms governing international relations, attach equal importance to all categories of human rights, reject interference in other countries' internal affairs and double standards under the pretext of human rights, and jointly promote the sound development of the international human rights cause.
By promoting a redefinition of human rights to include economic and physical security, China is essentially hoping to shift the goalposts so it can better compete with the liberal democracies (and particularly the United States) for the moral high ground of human rights protection. As Wang Yi put it in his speech, “Human rights are not a monopoly by a small number of countries, still less should they be used as a tool to pressure other countries and meddle in their internal affairs.” Wang Wenbin was more blunt: China wants the UNHRC to “reject interference in other countries’ internal affairs and double standards under the pretext of human rights.”
While human rights advocates in the United States and Europe may be aghast at the shifting definition of human rights, Beijing’s formulation is attractive to a large number of countries – particularly other authoritarian-inclined governments. After all, China’s repeated re-election to the Human Rights Council, according to Wang Wenbin, “testifies to the international community’s recognition of China’s human rights cause.”
For quite some time, the human rights that have been truly preserved and promoted in the United States are those of the powerful and the wealthy. At the same time, such basic human rights as those to life, health and even survival of the general public have been either neglected or damaged.
8. The HNA black hole
HNA did not report 2019 and 2020 financial results, making it difficult to get a clear picture of its overall financial situation. According to HNA Group’s 2019 half-year report, as of June 2019 the company had total assets of 980.6 billion yuan and total liabilities of 706.7 billion yuan, with a 72% assets-to-liabilities ratio. However, several sources told Caixin that HNA’s actual assets-to-liabilities situation was far worse than the books showed as there was a large amount of off-balance-sheet loans and hidden financing. Presidents of several big banks said they were not clear about HNA’s leverage ratio.
When the government-appointed working team looked at the books, it quickly found that almost all of HNA’s good-quality assets were already pledged or frozen, and some of them were even pledged more than once, making them impossible to sell. Gu Gang, who heads the government working team, said HNA Group doesn’t even have a proper consolidated balance sheet.
After months of inspection, the working team and auditors confirmed HNA’s insolvency. They combed through 2,300 HNA subsidiaries and affiliates and found that 90% of them were shell companies and fewer than 200 were actually operating entities. They also found that capital flows between affiliated companies amounted to trillions of yuan...
The working team plans to complete the bankruptcy restructuring in six months, including debt payoffs, debt extensions, debt-for-equity swaps, debt-for trust shares and introduction of strategic investors, according to the people close to the working team.
Business, Economy and Trade
More Bad News for Banks as Regulators Cap Online Lending - Caixin Some banking industry participants told Caixin they are concerned that the new rules could make it harder for many regional banks to do business. “Now, (cross-regional online) deposits and loans have been both blocked,” a source at one privately owned bank told Caixin. The 30% requirement and the cross-regional ban go into effect on Jan 1. 2022, giving banks almost a year to prepare for the new regulations and ensure they are in compliance.
China May Ease Controls on Citizens’ Offshore Investments - Caixin The State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) will study the feasibility of allowing domestic investors to use their annual foreign exchange quotas to invest in foreign capital markets, Ye Haisheng, director of the administration’s capital account management department, said in an interview published in the official China Forex Magazine. Under China’s forex rules, individual citizens can exchange foreign currencies equivalent to $50,000 each year, but the money is restricted from use in making direct overseas investments, such as purchases of offshore securities, insurance and properties. // 叶海生：深化改革 稳步推进高水平资本项目开放 _ 证券时报网The full article
Co-Founders of Chinese Private-Equity Firm Boyu Build Singapore Base - WSJ $$Two co-founders of China’s Boyu Capital, a leading private-equity firm set up by a grandson of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin, have relocated to Singapore with a share of the company’s operations from its Hong Kong headquarters, according to people briefed on the move. Boyu’s tilt toward the Southeast Asian city-state of Singapore was mainly driven by concerns over the ebbing clout of the elder Mr. Jiang, 94 years old, whose patronage has buttressed the firm’s success, the people said... The younger Mr. Jiang, who has been based in Hong Kong for the bulk of his corporate career, now spends most of his time in Shanghai, where his family is based, the people said.
How the WTO Changed China's Economy | Foreign Affairs - Yeling Tan ather than judge China’s WTO entry in the categorical terms of success or failure, a more productive way forward would be to understand the ways in which WTO membership did lead to positive change within China—and when and why that positive change started to slow and then reverse. Joining the WTO had a stronger liberalizing effect in some parts of the Chinese state than in others, and that liberalization was more forceful at some points in time than at others. At least for a few years, China’s accession to the trade body bolstered Chinese reformists and helped authorities push through necessary changes, in the process showing that multilateral institutions can boost domestic reform in China. But the impetus for reform wavered, and other actors within China pushed in opposite directions, steering the economy toward greater state control.
Remaking “Made in China”: Beijing’s Industrial Internet Ambitions - Matt Sheehan - Macro Polo Although the concept of the industrial internet is hardly new, the successful application of it across Chinese industry would prolong and elevate the “Made in China” era, powering China as it moves up value chains, vaults over the middle-income trap, and likely surpasses the United States as the largest and most important global economy over the next decade. Below I will look first at the central government guidance documents, and then zoom in on one province (Guangdong), one city (Huizhou), and one project (a TCL factory) for a window into the on-the-ground implementation of the industrial internet.
U.S. lobster exports to China rebounded in 2020 - CentralMaine.com Sales to China skyrocketed to $31 million in December, making it the biggest month for U.S. lobster exports to the country since former President Donald Trump’s trade war hit the industry in 2018. By comparison, U.S. lobster sales to China totaled $7.8 million in December 2019 and $10.2 million in December 2018.
Jingdong Logistics IPO: Everything you need to know - Protocol — The people, power and politics of tech JDL will be JD's third spinoff. JD Health raised $3.5 billion in a Hong Kong IPO in December 2020 and JD Digits, its finance unit, is planning an IPO in Shanghai, although it has been reorganizing itself to avoid running afoul of regulators as Ant Financial did in the run-up to its planned public offering. JDL says it has over 800 warehouses and employs over 240,000 workers in delivery, warehouse and customer service roles. Its stated goal: "To become the world's" — not just China's — "most trusted supply chain solutions and logistics services provider.
Zhou Xiaochuan: China’s Choices in Developing Its Digital Currency System In addition, the international community is often concerned about money laundering, terrorist financing and drug dealing. For China, gambling is also an issue. That said, the current technology can solve many technical issues and support convenient payment approaches. China and other East Asian countries can steadily push ahead on cross-border transactions using digital currency. That process could come with the internationalization of the yuan, which should not be overly promoted. And China should avoid being accused of promoting “yuanization.” Zhou Xiaochuan is a former governor of the PBOC
China Enlists Ant-backed MYbank in Expanding Digital Yuan Trial - Bloomberg MYbank’s service will soon be introduced to the People’s Bank of China’s digital yuan app, people familiar said, requesting not to be identified because the matter is private. Tencent-backed WeBank will also participate, one of the people said. The e-wallets from the two firms will have exactly the same functions as those from the six state-owned lenders in the trial, said the person.
U.S. ban on China's Xinjiang cotton fractures fashion industry supply chains - The Washington Post Justin Huang, president of the Taiwan Textile Federation, said Taiwanese textile manufacturers received notices in September from Western brands to confirm their cotton sources. He said brands no longer wanted Chinese cotton at all, since it was difficult to confirm from which region of China it originated.
Average Mortgage Rates Rise for First Time in 13 Months - Caixin In February, the average interest rate on loans to first-time homeowners increased 4 basis points from the previous month to 5.26%, while the average mortgage rate on second homes increased 3 basis points to 5.56%, according to a report released Saturday by online financial service platform Rong 360.
Six Crypto Trends to Watch in 2021: China’s Year of the Ox - Decrypt The Chinese government is still sensitive to untraceable capital outflow from China abroad. Even more worrisome is that, as western countries legalize and engage in healthy debate over crypto, China—with its centralized DCEP, and unplugged to the international crypto market—could be left behind. In many ways, this was how the modern Internet has played out in China.
Politics and Law
Chinese health authorities deny planning to end birth control restrictions | South China Morning Post Last week, the National Health Commission triggered speculation it was going to end limits on the number of children families could have in three provinces – Heilongjiang, Liaoning and Jilin – after it said it would allow them to experiment with new policies to reverse the region’s population decline. But on Saturday it issued a clarification saying that was the wrong interpretation of its comments and it was “not the [NHC’s] intention”. “We believe that there are various reasons behind the long-term population decrease in the northeastern area and it’s not an issue that can be solved solely by lifting birth restrictions,” it said in the latest statement.
学习强国 - 习近平同志《论中国共产党历史》主要篇目介绍 Summary of the table of contents of Xi's new book on Party History, for the Party History study campaign. It is a collection of 40 articles by Xi on Party History since November 2021.
新华时评：江山就是人民，人民就是江山-新华网 The state is the people, and the people are the state. This is also the true meaning of Chinese history for thousands of years, the rise and fall of dynasties proved. The dialectical relationship between the people and the state shines with the light of the truth of historical materialism. To study the history of the Party, we must realize that the development and progress of the new China never fell from the sky, it is the Party and the people want to be together, work together, it is generation after generation of Chinese people striving with their own hands to create a new situation. 江山就是人民，人民就是江山。这也是中国历史数千年王朝兴衰更替证明的真谛。人民与江山之间的辩证关系，闪耀着历史唯物主义的真理光芒。学习百年党史，就要认识到，新中国的发展进步绝不是从天上掉下来的，是党和人民想在一起、干在一起，是一代又一代中国人用自己双手接力奋斗创造出新的局面。
在纪念华国锋同志诞辰100周年座谈会上的讲话 Sunday People's Daily publishes full text of Wang Huning speech at the symposium celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Hua Guofeng. I do not think there is anything new here in terms of the official historical judgement of Hua, but I think this is likely the key point of the whole thing// No matter how the times develop and conditions change, loyalty to the party is always the first requirement. The majority of party members and cadres should consciously enhance "four consciousnesses", strengthen "four self-confidences" and achieve the "two upholds" [AKA the 4-4-2] according to the requirements of General Secretary Xi Jinping, constantly improve their political judgment, political understanding and political execution, and always keep a high degree of consistency with the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core in ideological and political actions. 不论时代如何发展、条件如何变化，对党忠诚始终是第一位的要求。广大党员、干部要按照习近平总书记要求，自觉增强“四个意识”、坚定“四个自信”、做到“两个维护”，不断提高政治判断力、政治领悟力、政治执行力，始终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。
在纪念华国锋同志诞辰100周年座谈会上的发言 Sunday People's Daily also runs the official full texts of other speeches given at the Hua Guofeng event,by Qu Qingshan, Ding Xuedong, Li Jun and Hu Yuting
China schedules development of old revolutionary base areas - Xinhua China's State Council has issued a document setting development goals for old revolutionary base areas in the new era. According to the document, by 2025, old revolutionary base areas are to reach higher levels of rural vitalization and the new type of urbanization. 国务院关于新时代支持革命老区振兴发展的意见（国发〔2021〕3号）_政府信息公开专栏
Tighter rules for couriers in Beijing before two sessions - Global Times Less than two weeks until the "Two Meetings"...// All enterprises are urged to implement comprehensive controls by strengthening the inspection, real-name acceptance, and mailing and airport security checks starting from Thursday to the day after the closing of the meetings, according to the SPB. Express mail without security identification will be returned.
Demystifying the NPC’s Quasi-Legislative Decisions - NPC Observer As China’s supreme legislature, the NPC and its Standing Committee (NPCSC) make “laws” [法律]— or “statutes,” as we will refer to them below. Statutes in the constitutional sense are legal authorities (1) approved by a majority vote in either legislative body and (2) then promulgated by the P.R.C. President in a presidential order. They are most commonly titled “P.R.C. ××× Law” [中华人民共和国×××法]. Besides statutes, the legislature also routinely passes legal instruments styled as “decisions” [决定] (or occasionally “resolutions” [决议]). Earlier in the spotlight, for instance, was an NPCSC decision that disqualified four pro-democracy Hong Kong legislators. Or the NPC’s May 28, 2020 decision that led to the enactment of the Hong Kong National Security Law. What is the nature of these “decisions”? Are they any different from the statutes? If so, to what extent? As the le
Homeowners reject Beijing’s candidates for powerful local associations | Financial Times $$ Authorities want to expand homeowners’ associations, self-governing bodies that decide on everything from maintenance fees to the selection of property managers, in a bid to boost social stability. Beijing plans to introduce the bodies in at least 30 per cent of the city’s neighbourhoods by the end of this year and 90 per cent by 2022. But efforts to force residents to back official candidates have backfired.
Blogger in SW China’s Sichuan arrested after confessing insults toward PLA martyrs - Global Times The 25-year-old Web user, surnamed Yang, was reported to the local police in Sichuan's Mianyang by netizens on Saturday for having posted smears toward the PLA soldiers, who fought in the China-India border clash. Under social pressure, Yang confessed to the police the following day, and he was given seven days of detention, according to a statement by the local police..Police in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province, detained an online blogger, surnamed Qiu and known as Labixiaoqiu online, for insulting the fallen heroes on Saturday
旅外网民诋毁戍边英雄官兵 重庆警方对其刑拘并追逃|重庆|重庆市_新浪科技_新浪网 Chongqing police are going after an PRC citizen who lives overseas for a Weibo post slandering the soldiers who died in the fight with the Indians
U.S. accusation of China's "genocide" relies on data abuse, baseless claim by far-right: media - People's Daily Online An investigation piece coming out on Thursday on the independent news website Grayzone indicated that the U.S. State Department's so-called "genocide" accusation stemmed from a single source: a paper by German far-right ideologue Adrian Zenz in June 2020.
02/22/2021 China MFA Press Conference Global Times: U.S. independent news website The Greyzone published an article on February 18 that says the U.S. government's accusation of China's "genocide" relied on data abuse and baseless claims, that a close review of the research reveals outright falsehoods, and that the author Adrian Zenz is a far-right Christian fundamentalist employed by a foundation that functions as a US intelligence cut-out. Do you have any comment? Wang Wenbin: We noticed The Greyzone's article citing a lot of data and facts that reveal how Adrian Zenz abused data, distorted materials, made up cases, used clumsy patchwork and contradicted his own words in his report. It exposes what kind of person Adrian Zenz really is and proves how "Chinese government committed genocide against ethnic monorities in Xinjiang" is an utter lie. This U.S. news report shows that facts speak louder than words, and that justice can always prevail.
China's 2020 manhunt operation brings back 1,421 fugitives from abroad - Xinhua A total of 1,421 fugitives, including 28 Red Notice fugitives, were brought back to China during the country's 2020 anti-corruption manhunt operation, the country's top anti-graft body said Monday. In addition, about 2.95 billion yuan (around $457 million) in illicit gains was retrieved during the operation, according to the Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervisory Commission. 一体推进追逃防逃追赃 “天网2020”行动追回外逃人员1421人—中央纪委国家监委网站
北京同仁堂（集团）公司总经理高振坤接受审查调查————执纪审查——中央纪委国家监委网站 President of Beijing Tongren Tang Gao Zhenkun is under investigation
Foreign and Defense Affairs
Xi calls for broader cooperation, closer partnership with Egypt - Xinhua Chinese President Xi Jinping said Monday that China stands ready to work with Egypt to expand cooperation in such areas as infrastructure construction, production capacity, and science and technology, and lift their comprehensive strategic partnership to new levels. In a telephone conversation with his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, Xi added that China supports more Chinese businesses investing in the Middle East country
Xi eyes closer partnership with Kyrgyzstan - Xinhua Chinese President Xi Jinping said Monday that China stands ready to work with Kyrgyzstan to grasp the trend of the development of bilateral relations and lift the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries to new levels. Xi made the remarks in a telephone conversation with his Kyrgyz counterpart, Sadyr Zhaparov
China sees chance to woo Uganda as West mulls sanctions for bloody election | South China Morning Post China is trying to solidify its relations with Uganda, as the West threatens sanctions over the African country’s bloody presidential election in January. Yang Jiechi, China’s top diplomat, on Sunday met President Yoweri Museveni and congratulated him on his win in last month’s polls, which were disputed and preceded by a crackdown on opposition followers.
Joint Press Release of the 10th Round of China-India Corps Commander Level Meeting - China Military On February 20, the 10th round of China-India Corps Commander Level Meeting was held on the Chinese side of the Moldo/Chushul border meeting point. The two sides positively appraised the smooth completion of disengagement of frontline troops in the Bangong Lake area, noting that it was a significant step forward that provided a good basis for resolution of other remaining issues along the LAC in Western Sector. They had candid and in-depth exchange of views on other issues along the LAC in the Western Sector. The two sides agreed to follow the important consensus of their state leaders, continue their communication and dialogue, stabilize and control the situation on the ground, push for a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues in a steady and orderly manner, so as to jointly maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas.
India to clear 45 investments from China worth billions amid sour ties: sources | Reuters Two government sources who have seen the list said most of the 45 proposals set for early approvals are in the manufacturing sector, which is considered non-sensitive in terms of national security.
Netizens honor slain troops - China Daily On Saturday evening, the Ministry of Veterans Affairs announced more details of the pensions and preferential treatment for family members of the four martyrs. The ministry set up a special team and accompanied the martyrs' relatives to attend the grand memorial ceremonies during which the martyrs' remains were returned and buried in mausoleums in their hometowns in Gansu, Henan and Fujian provinces. The veterans affairs departments of the three provinces have distributed commendation awards and lump-sum pensions to the four martyrs' families. The veterans affairs departments of Fujian, Henan, Gansu and Shaanxi province, where their families and relatives now live, also assigned special personnel to stay in touch with the family members and help with the timely resolution of difficulties.
Unless China changes thinking, any border agreement is a perishable good - NITIN PAI It should not come as a surprise that the Narendra Modi government and some in the media and strategic community have projected the military agreement to disengage on both banks of the Pangong Tso in Ladakh as a triumph. The footage of Chinese forces dismantling their forward stations and retreating behind the agreed positions supports this contention. It should also not come as a surprise that the Opposition has criticised the agreement as a defeat, with Congress’ Rahul Gandhi accusing the prime minister of “ceding” territory to the Chinese. The fact that Indian troops can no longer patrol the areas between Fingers 4 and 8 — that the Chinese previously recognised as outside their claim, and that the Indian Army used to regularly patrol before the 2020 standoff — lends credence to this criticism.
China’s state broadcaster applies to France for right to air in Europe | Financial Times $$France does not have rules that prohibit state-controlled broadcasters from airing in the country. A decades-old treaty between members of the Council of Europe, a 47-member organisation that is separate from the EU and therefore not affected by Brexit, mandates that an international broadcaster can beam into the territories of signatories as long as it falls under the jurisdiction of one member. Were the French regulator, which stressed that its review was of a technical rather than political nature, to conclude that CGTN falls under its jurisdiction, it could reinstate CGTN’s right to broadcast in the UK.
Boris Johnson declares he is 'fervently Sinophile' as UK woos China | Boris Johnson | The Guardian The UK is seeking to strengthen its economic and trade links with China after Boris Johnson stated he was “fervently Sinophile” and determined to improve ties “whatever the occasional political difficulties”. The prime minister’s remarks at a Downing Street roundtable with Chinese businesses are likely to infuriate backbenchers in his Conservative party who want the government to take a tougher approach to Beijing’s human rights abuses.
US 'biggest influence' in souring China-UK bilateral ties: observers - Global Times Just a few years ago, relations between the UK and China were said to be in a golden age. Chinese observers attributed the UK's gradually more hostile attitude toward China to the US. "The US is the biggest influence," said Sun Keqin, a research fellow at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.
China orders inbound travellers from several countries to quarantine for 14 days before departure | South China Morning Post There has been no official announcement from the foreign ministry, but embassies in at least seven countries have told travellers they must spend 14 days in quarantine before travelling to China. The embassies in Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Algeria have said all travellers must undergo the process, while the missions in Kazakhstan, Sudan, Egypt and Pakistan said the restrictions would apply to Chinese citizens.
The Biden Administration Should Review and Rebuild the Trump Administration’s China Initiative From the Ground Up - Lawfare Going forward, the China Initiative should thus be renamed, reframed and restructured as a broader campaign to counter illicit knowledge transfer by any nation-state perpetrator, concentrating on tactics, techniques and procedures rather than a “nexus” to “China” per se. As a letter to then-President-elect Biden on Jan. 5 organized by Asian Americans Advancing Justice noted: “It is appropriate for the Justice Department to take measures to address the harms caused by agents of the PRC who have engaged in economic espionage and trade secrets thefts. However, naming only China in a [Justice Department] initiative ignores threats of economic espionage by other nations.” The lion’s share of its cases are still likely to involve the Chinese government’s industrial espionage, but explicitly limiting the program’s scope to one country serves little purpose and needlessly fuels public mistrust
What the Fear of China Is Doing to American Science - The Atlantic - Rory Truex The Justice Department’s crackdown appears discriminatory to many Chinese Americans. The Committee of 100, a nonprofit organization comprising prominent members of the community, argues that “the loyalties of Chinese Americans are being unfairly questioned, and the community is being severely maligned by overreaching prosecutions and rush to judgment.”
Ambassador Cong Peiwu Gives an Interview to the Canadian Press Refuting the Negative Motion on Xinjiang Related Issues in the House of Commons of Canada Finally, I would like to stress again that Xinjiang affairs are purely internal affairs of China and no external forces have the right to interfere. We are resolute in safeguarding China’s sovereignty, security and development interests. We urge the Canadian side to take seriously China’s solemn position, respect the facts, discard prejudice, and correct mistakes, immediately cancel the relevant motions, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs by any means, so as not to cause further damages to China-Canada relations.
In Iran, power outages reveal the secret business of Chinese bitcoin farms Dozens of cities across Iran have faced widespread, frequent power outages since early January. The Minister of Energy Reza Ardekanian admitted that these outages might have been caused by “bitcoin farms” consuming large amounts of power. What he didn’t say, however, was that many of these farms, while located in Iran, are owned by Chinese companies trying to keep their presence a secret. In this investigation, the FRANCE 24 Observers team tracked them down.
A dream deal with China that ended in nightmarish debt for Venezuela - Dialogo Chino on 22 December 2009, without any assessment, China Development Bank (CDB) poured $1 billion into the coffers of the Venezuelan Economic and Social Development Bank (Bandes). The funds were destined for projects that would improve Venezuela’s iron ore production and the production capacity of the CVG Ferrominera company in the state of Bolívar, in the south of the country.They would be repaid by Venezuela with the proceeds from the sale of 42.96 million tonnes of iron ore to Wisco. The agreement also foresaw that Chinese companies would be contracted for those improvement works, according to documents accessed by Armando.info and processed and analysed together with the data team of the Latin American Centre for Investigative Journalism (CLIP), with additional reporting by Diálogo Chino.
Chinese spyware code was copied from America's NSA: researchers | Reuters Tel Aviv-based Check Point Software Technologies issued a report noting that some features in a piece of China-linked malware it dubs “Jian” were so similar they could only have been stolen from some of the National Security Agency break-in tools leaked to the internet in 2017. Yaniv Balmas, Checkpoint’s head of research, called Jian “kind of a copycat, a Chinese replica.”
Chinese loans to Latin America plunge as virus strains ties - AP For the first time in 15 years, China’s two biggest policy banks — the China Development Bank (CDB) and the Export-Import Bank of China — made no new loans to the region in 2020, capping a multi-year slump driven by Latin America’s worsening economic slide.
Kevin Rudd rejects Gordon Brown’s claim he tried to punch Chinese negotiator at 2009 climate talks - Sydney Morning Herald Former prime minister Kevin Rudd has denied he was physically restrained from “punching the Chinese negotiator” during heated climate change talks in Copenhagen a decade ago. His former British counterpart, Gordon Brown, who sat alongside Mr Rudd and other world leaders during the failed 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference negotiations, made the allegation in left-wing British newspaper The Guardian.
Malaysia and Huawei to deepen ties with cybersecurity lab - Nikkei Asia Amirudin Abdul Wahab, CEO of CyberSecurity Malaysia -- an agency under the purview of the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia -- said his organization has a long-standing collaboration with Huawei and aims to deepen the relationship in pursuit of multiple objectives.
Speech of H.E. Ambassador Xiao Jianguo on the Launching Ceremony for the Transmission System of the China-aided Digital Television Terrestrial Multimedia Broadcasting (DTMB) Demonstration Project in Timor-Leste Today is a day worth celebrating, because it witnessed a milestone in the history of development cooperation between China and Timor-Leste who will soon have its own DTMB system. Under the demonstration project, more than 200,000 people in Dili and its surrounding areas, especially residents in mountainous areas, will have access to high definition digital TV programs. This will greatly enrich the cultural life of Timorese people, open a new window for them to learn more about the outside world, and will even provide their children and young people with better access to quality educational resources at home, especially during COVID-19. According to the agreement, Chinese contractor will continue to work with its Timorese counterparts for 2 years, providing maintenance service. Together, they will make RTTL one of the advanced national television stations in Southeast Asia, and jointly we will incubate and develop the digital television industry of Timor-Leste.
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Remarks on State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's Phone Calls with Brunei's Second Minister of Foreign Affairs Haji Erywan and Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi State Councilor Wang Yi stated China’s position. He said, Myanmar is China’s friendly neighbor and a member of the ASEAN family. China and ASEAN care about Myanmar’s situation and hope the country can restore and keep peace and stability more than any other country. Continuous turbulence in Myanmar doesn’t serve the interests of Myanmar and its people, or the collective interests of regional countries. We hope all parties in Myanmar can take into account the fundamental and long-term interests of the nation, peacefully address the problems under the constitutional and legal framework, and continue orderly advancing the domestic process of democratic transformation. State Councilor Wang Yi stressed that China supports ASEAN in championing the principle of non-interference in internal affairs and consensus building, playing an active role in the ASEAN Way, and having engagement and communication with Myanmar as early as possible. China supports ASEAN in holding a special meeting of foreign ministers and believes ASEAN, as a mature regional organization, can help Myanmar tide over difficulties with its political wisdom. China is ready to stay in close coordination with Brunei, Indonesia and other ASEAN nations and play a constructive role in de-escalating tensions in Myanmar.
China's first carrier-based early warning plane continues flight tests: report - Global Times It is a medium-sized early warning aircraft with two engines similar to the US' E-2 Hawkeye series, said Song Xinzhi, a Chinese military expert, in the CCTV program. When asked by a CCTV anchor if the KJ-600 can operate on China's current aircraft carriers, the Liaoning and the Shandong, Song denied the possibility, saying that the two carriers use ski-jump ramps to assist takeoffs by aircraft, but this requires very powerful engines to provide enough thrust, and the KJ-600 has not been equipped with these engines.
Tom Cotton belongs in ‘ash heap of history’ - Global Times - Hu Xijin Cotton was a very active senator during the Trump administration. He firmly supported Donald Trump. His language has reached Nazi levels of racism. Saying that "consign the Chinese Communists ... to the ash heap of history" is an anti-human incitement. He is dreaming of a zero-sum conflict between China and the US with the US winning over China. This arrogant person is reminding us that there is a group of extremely vicious elites in the US who have always dreamed of suffocating the People's Republic of China. They are our vicious enemies. In the next few decades, they will have the ability to continue to influence US China policy. It is uncertain what kinds of serious conflicts they will lead China-US relations to.
Chinese military to build new-type training system amid external threats - People's Daily Online The Chinese military announced on Saturday that it will build a new type of training system that would improve military training in all respects, strengthen the capability to win wars and build the Chinese military into a world-class one. The new military training system will focus on ensuring People's Liberation Army (PLA) exercises are the same as real wars to deal with rapidly changing global situations and external threats, Chinese military analysts said on Sunday.
美国商会中国中心和荣鼎咨询集团联合发布报告呼吁—— 以事实为基础制定更合理的对华政策 Sunday People's Daily gives a nice recap of the recent US Chamber of Commerce-Rhodium report on the costs of US-China decoupling
An Unsentimental China Policy | Foreign Affairs - Graham Allison and Fred Hu Fifty years ago this July, U.S. President Richard Nixon announced what would become his signature foreign policy achievement: the opening to China. The following February, in what the press called “the week that shook the world,” he flew to Beijing to meet Mao Zedong, the leader of communist China. So began a half century of U.S. engagement with Beijing. At the time, China was the most important ally of the Soviet Union and the tip of the spear advancing communist revolutions worldwide. // Comment: Allison and Hu lost me with the claim in their 4th sentence that in 1971 the PRC and the USSR were allies.
Matt Pottinger | Hoover Institution Matt Pottinger is a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution. Pottinger served the White House for four years in senior roles on the National Security Council staff, including as deputy national security advisor from 2019 to 2021. // Comment: looks like Hoover and Stanford not intimidated by prc sanctions threats
Taiwan scrambles air force again after Chinese exercises in South China Sea | Reuters After nine Chinese air force aircraft flew near the Pratas Islands on Friday, the Taiwanese Defence Ministry said it tracked 11 aircraft on Saturday - eight fighter jets, two nuclear-capable H-6 bombers and an anti-submarine aircraft, also near the islands. It said Chinese naval forces were also involved but gave no details.
Eswatini king recovers from COVID, thanks Taiwan for sending drug | Asia Pacific News | Al Jazeera King Mswati III says Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen sent antiviral medication, which he did not name, to help him recover.
Four Taiwan Ex-intelligence Officers Charged With Spying For China Four retired Taiwanese military intelligence officers -- including a major general -- have been indicted for spying for China, prosecutors said Saturday. The quartet were charged with developing a spying network and collecting confidential information for Beijing, the Taipei district prosecutors' office said.
With Pig Parades, Once-Feared Opposition Party in Taiwan Tries a Revamp - The New York Times The garishly porcine displays by the party, the Kuomintang, are meant to highlight one of its pet issues, the importation of American pork containing a controversial additive. But in the eyes of critics, the antics signal the identity crisis that the party, once Asia’s wealthiest, now faces. Many see it as out of touch with modern Taiwanese life. Even worse, they see its traditional emphasis on smooth relations with mainland China as dangerously outdated
New Funding for Taiwan Studies | Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies The Fairbank Center and the Ministry of Education of the Republic of China (Taiwan) have signed a memorandum of understanding for a three-year initiative that will bring new funding to Taiwan Studies at Harvard University.
Tech and Media
The AI Research Paper Was Real. The ‘Coauthor’ Wasn't | WIRED DAVID COX, THE co-director of a prestigious artificial intelligence lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was scanning an online computer science bibliography in December when he noticed something odd—his name listed as an author alongside three researchers in China whom he didn’t know on two papers he didn’t recognize.
Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History
The UFC Stars Kicking Chinese Martial Arts Into a New Era - SixthTone The breakout success of Chinese fighters in the Ultimate Fighting Championship is shaking up the country’s martial arts scene.
Chinese Investors Flee European Football After Home Government Policy Change - Yahoo News Chinese investors are pulling out of European football en masse. In mid-2017 there were upwards of 20 Chinese-owned clubs in Europe. “There are now fewer than 10, and it’s a dwindling number,” said Simon Chadwick (Professor and Director of Eurasian Sport, Emlyon Business School). In recent months, the owners of Inter Milan (Suning Holdings Group), Southampton (Gao Jisheng) and West Bromwich Albion (Lai Guochuan) have reportedly all been looking to divest equity interest or sell the entirety of their ownership stakes.
Sitting Atop the World, Sketching the Faces of the Dead - SixthTone The author, a former soldier, reflects on his experiences helping build the top secret Karakoram Highway between China and Pakistan in the late 1970s....Tian Niansheng was one of the survivors. He joined the People’s Liberation Army in 1978, just after his 20th birthday. Assigned to a highway-construction team in Pakistan, he spent the next year in that country working as a stone-layer and then a projectionist, responsible for screening films to keep up workers’ morale. During that time — the final, desperate sprint before construction would finish in 1979 — many of Tian’s comrades died as a consequence of accidents or disease. A talented artist, he was assigned to draw their funeral portraits. Even today, he can still recall their faces.
S.Korean drama 'River Where the Moon Rises' raises ire of Chinese netizens over 'copied costumes' - Global Times Hit South Korean period drama River Where the Moon Rises, set in the ancient Goguryeo Kingdom (37 BC - 668), has earned an unprecedented low score of 2.3/10 on major Chinese media review site Douban after it irritated many Chinese netizens who have condemned the drama for "plagiarizing" costumes from Chinese dramas.
An Exclusive Peek Into China’s Forbidden City In Honor of the Chinese New Year | Architectural Digest In Forbidden City (Assouline, $995), Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter Ian Johnson explores the history of the grand metropolis and catalogs many of the treasures within its walls.
Energy, Environment, Science and Health
Xi meets Chang'e-5 mission representatives - Xinhua Chinese President Xi Jinping met representatives of space scientists and engineers who participated in the research and development of the Chang'e-5 lunar mission at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Monday
习近平：勇攀科技高峰 服务国家发展大局 为人类和平利用太空作出新的更大贡献--时政--人民网 CCTV evening News report on the meeting - "Xi Jinping: Bravely climb the peak of science and technology to serve the overall situation of national development and make new and greater contributions to the peaceful use of space by mankind"
Soil samples collected by Chang'e-5 shown in Beijing - CGTN Soil samples collected from the moon have been shown at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Weighing about 1,731 grams, these are China's first samples collected from the moon and the world's freshest lunar samples in over 40 years. The soil was transferred to the National Museum of China and will soon be shown in a public exhibition.
Three Gorges to Buy Billionaires’ Spanish Renewable Portfolio - Bloomberg State-owned Three Gorges will acquire 100% of a portfolio of more than 400 megawatts of operational plants from a consortium led by Corporacion Masaveu, backed by the wealthy Spanish family of the same name, it said in an emailed statement received Monday. The assets include 11 wind farms and one solar plant, according to the statement.
Sinopec Doubles Down on Hydrogen Despite Demand Drought - Caixin The company, known as Sinopec, has set its sights on operating 1,000 refueling stations selling solely hydrogen or both hydrogen and gasoline by 2025, according to a Friday report from state-run media outlet China Petrochemical News. China had 127 hydrogen refueling stations by the end of 2020, up by 92% year-on-year, according to the China Hydrogen Alliance industrial group.
China honours education pioneer who lifted 1,800 girls out of poverty | South China Morning Post The founder of China’s first and only free public high school for girls – in a poor, mountainous region in the country’s southwest – has been honoured as an inspirational role model in this year’s Touching China awards. Zhang Guimei, 63, was in visibly poor health when she accepted the award on Wednesday, prompting a wave of sympathy and support on Chinese social media.