Lunar New Year travel; Techno-nationalism and Biden's China policy; Politburo meeting; WHO

Today is the official start of the annual Lunar New year migration home for tens of millions of migrant workers, for the few weeks each year they get to see their children and other relatives. Sadly that will not be happening for many if not most of them, as governments at all levels are using soft and hard measures to encourage people to stay where they are to celebrate the Spring Festival.

It is just another thing ruined by this pandemic. I admit to being mentally exhausted this week after a few days of euphoria last week, as reality sets in that we are far from done with this “devil virus 病魔”, as Xi called it about a year ago.

Today’s Essential eight items:

  1. Outbreaks ruin many Lunar New Year travel plans

  2. Politburo meeting

  3. Vice FM Le Yucheng and Amb. Cui Tiankai give speeches on US-China relations

  4. Recommendations for Biden’s China policy

  5. More US-China

  6. WHO team leaves Wuhan quarantine hotel

  7. India Foreign Minister on India-China ties

  8. 2021 GDP target by another name?

Thanks for reading, and hope to see many of you tomorrow in the weekly open thread for subscribers.

The Essential Eight

1. Outbreaks ruin many Lunar New Year travel plans

China Prepares for Smallest Lunar New Year Travel Rush on Record - Caixin

There will be an estimated 1.15 billion trips made during this year’s travel rush season, Ministry of Transport spokesperson Wu Chungeng said Thursday. That would be the smallest figure recorded since the government began releasing this data in 2003. That year, 1.8 billion trips were made.

The 2021 estimate amounts to around 60% less than the nearly 3 billion journeys seen in 2019 and 20% less than last year. It’s also about a third lower than the prediction announced by the ministry last week, and the transport authority said the actual number of trips could be even lower.

China sees plunge in trips on first day of 2021 Spring Festival travel rush - Global Times

On Thursday, the Chinese Ministry of Transport said that China's 2021 Spring Festival travel rush is estimated to see around 1.152 billion trips, around 60 percent lower than that of 2019.

Beijing city advises residents to stay put during holiday - Xinhua

People in the capital city are urged to avoid unnecessary outbound trips and gatherings, the city's health authority said Thursday in its daily COVID-19 update...The outer packages of mails and parcels arriving from domestic or foreign regions with medium and high infection risks should be disinfected before being opened, according to the advice.

The Chinese mainland on Wednesday reported 54 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 41 locally transmitted cases, the National Health Commission said Thursday.

Spring Festival travel shadowed by excessive virus prevention as some local govts add new restrictions on top of central policy - Global Times

Imposing further restrictions when implementing central policy represents doctrinairism and supremacism, Yu Shaoxiang, chief research fellow with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday. He explained that local officials deeply believe that supremacism could make sure they are safe from any mistakes or incidents...

A notice released by the General Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council has classified population flows in different risk regions amid the Spring Festival. It requires that people from any high-risk regions to stay put; people from medium-risk regions shall also stay put in principle, if they don't need to travel, and they must get approval from local authorities.

People from low risk-regions are encouraged to stay put and reduce unnecessary trips.

Comment: This graphic listing the travel restrictions announced by various levels of government has gone viral. The lower level the authorities, the stricter the limits on travel are, probably because they lack the capacity to deal with outbreaks and they fear the political accountability if one happens on their watch. The last level is “village”, and the measure is “get lost”.


People's Daily Wechat account Xiake Dao (Xiake Island) on the policies around returning home over the holiday

In recent times, "island sister" has received many messages. Some people say that their villages require all those who return to their hometowns to be quarantined at their own expense; some people reflect that they have been repeatedly intercepted by their hometown committees and their whole family monitored when they return home from low-risk areas; some people even complain that the central government requires non-key people to "return to their hometowns from low-risk areas with a green code", but in the provinces it becomes "with a negative nucleic acid test", and in the cities it becomes "home quarantine", and in the villages and towns it becomes "no return". The central government requires non-key people to "return from low-risk areas with a green code", but in the province it becomes "to hold a negative nucleic acid test certificate", and in the city it becomes "home isolation", and in the village and town it becomes "prohibited to return home".

The National Development and Reform Commission has made it clear: "The policy of the New Year in place is graded and classified, and the central document is very clear, everywhere in the implementation of the policy, you can not take the initiative to 'increase the code', let alone 'increase the code layer by layer ', some places to take 'one-size-fits-all' measures, which is firmly not allowed."



To Avoid a Covid Surge, China Cracks Down on Lunar New Year Travel - The New York Times

Mr. Pang, who describes his home in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang as the “happiest place,” is anguished by the rules. He has taken to social media in recent days to express frustration about his situation and post photos of his 7-year-old daughter, whom he has not seen in more than a year. “Society is so cruel,” he wrote in one post.

“I really miss my daughter,” Mr. Pang, 31, said in an interview. “But there’s nothing I can do.”

Many of China’s roughly 300 million migrant workers face a similar reality as the government tries to avoid a surge in cases during what is typically the busiest travel season of the year.

China to ensure supplies of necessities during holiday season | Xinhua

A total of 20,000 to 30,000 tonnes of pork from China's central reserves will be released into the market every week to meet the rising demand during the holiday, Zhu Xiaoliang, an official with the Ministry of Commerce, said at a press conference held by the State Council joint prevention and control mechanism against COVID-19.

Zhu urged major wholesale markets of farm produce, catering companies, hotels and shopping malls to extend their business hours during the holiday to facilitate offline consumption.

To meet consumers' demand for online shopping, the country will also guide e-commerce platforms and logistics companies to continue working during the Spring Festival to ensure the normal operation of logistics systems and delivery services, according to Zhu.

China’s syringe, needle producers struggle as orders rise - Global Times

Chinese syringe and needle companies quadruple prices for their manufactured products amid surging demand. They are sending clear warnings that their capacity is fully accounted for despite production expansions, with some orders waiting till August.

However, new orders for hundreds of millions of syringes have still been arriving in recent weeks and months, mostly from the US, against the backdrop of the country ramping up orders for vaccine and protective equipment.

Question: Will there be shortages in the US because of this?

Prosecutors, police investigate health club for super-spreader event in NE China - Global Times

Prosecutors and police in Tonghua, Northeast China's Jilin Province, are investigating a local health club where a super-spreader event took place that caused at least 139 COVID-19 infections directly or indirectly.

2. Politburo meeting

CPC leadership meets to review reports - Xinhua

The meeting fully acknowledged the work of the leading Party members groups of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the State Council, the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the Supreme People's Court, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate, as well as the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee in 2020, and approved their work plans for 2021...

Also at the meeting, modernization of the system and capacity for primary-level governance was highlighted as an important work concerning the Party's governance foundation as well as the security of state power.

A slew of requirements were listed. These include strengthening the Party's leadership, boosting governance capacity, and establishing grid-based management, among others.

中共中央政治局召开会议 习近平主持--时政--人民网

The meeting pointed out that promoting the modernization of grass-roots governance system and governance capacity is an important task in building a socialist modernized country in an all-round way. All localities and departments should have a deep understanding of the importance of doing a good job in grass-roots governance from the perspective of consolidating the ruling foundation of the Party and safeguarding the security of state power.

The meeting stressed that it is necessary to strengthen the Party's leadership over grass-roots governance and transform the political and organizational advantages of grass-roots party organizations into governance efficiency. It is necessary to strengthen the governance capacity building of grass-roots political power, and improve the grass-roots governance system that combines autonomy, rule of law and rule of virtue under the leadership of party organizations. It is necessary to build a grass-roots governance mechanism of dynamic convergence between normalization management and emergency management, and make overall plans for the normalization prevention, control and management services of pneumonia epidemic in COVID-19. It is necessary to build a grass-roots governance platform with grid management, refined service, information support and open sharing, strengthen the construction of grass-roots work teams, formulate and implement the "14th Five-Year Plan" for the construction of urban and rural community service system, better solve the worries of the masses, and continuously reduce the burden on the grass-roots level. It is necessary to strengthen organizational leadership, improve the deliberation and coordination mechanism at all levels, and form an overall joint force to promote the modernization of grass-roots governance.



3. Vice FM Le Yucheng and Amb. Cui Tiankai give speeches on US-China relations

The message from both remains that China wants improved relations but that it is the responsibility of the US to get them back on the correct path. I am not sure that is a winning message in DC, so I hope there are other signals being sent privately.

Anything is Possible When China and the United States Choose to Cooperate - Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Remarks by Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng at Vision China

Today I would like to pay tribute to the memory of Professor Ezra Vogel who passed away recently. Professor Vogel always approached the study of China, his lifelong passion, from a willingness to "respect, understand and communicate". Even in his final days, he urged the Trump administration to adopt a rational policy toward China. He co-authored the open letter "China is not an enemy" which was signed by more than one hundred distinguished scholars. It is visionaries like Professor Vogel and many others who give us confidence and hope even in the low point of our relations.

President Joe Biden has visited China a total of four times, and has a better knowledge of China. He first visited China as a young Senator in 1979 and met with Mr. Deng Xiaoping. It was the same year the two countries normalized bilateral relations. I read his inauguration speech with great interest, and was especially impressed by his repeated appeal to the American people for unity over division. I believe we need exactly the same spirit for China-U.S. relations...

In his congratulatory message to then President-elect Joe Biden, President Xi Jinping stated that China and the United States should act "in the spirit of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, so as to focus on cooperation, manage differences, move the relationship forward in a sound and steady manner and, together with other countries and the international community, advance the noble cause of world peace and development." President Xi's vision is clear. The direction and path forward is also clear. Please allow me to explain this vision by quoting four "R" words.

The first R is "respect". Mutual respect is the foundation for successful people-to-people and state-to-state interactions...

The second R is "reversal". The last four years' journey of our relationship has seen too many "traps" of mistrust, "pitfalls" of division and "poison" of hatred. Enough is enough. We must act without further delay to reverse the wrong course....

The third R is "renewal". Yes, our two countries are different, but our shared interests and needs for cooperation far outweigh our differences...

The fourth R is "responsibility". As the Chinese proverb goes, "A bigger boat is meant to carry more weight." Likewise, American people believe that "responsibilities gravitate to the person who can shoulder them." As two major countries in the world, China and the United States should shoulder important responsibilities for world peace and development...

I want to conclude with a quote from Shakespeare: "It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves." China and the United States can work together to avoid the so-called Thucydides Trap. There is no predestined fate for the world. The future of China-U.S. relations, and the future of the world, depend on what vision we embrace and what choice we make.

中美选择合作,一切皆有可能 — 中华人民共和国外交部 - 乐玉成,2021年1月28日



二是Reversal(拨乱反正)[Interesting that they choose to translate 拨乱反正 bo1 luan4 fan3 zheng4 as "reversal". It is usually translated as set to right things that have been thrown into disorder]...



Top Chinese diplomat calls Trump’s China policy ‘utter failure’, says US must repair relations with Beijing | South China Morning Post

Speaking in English, Le said on Thursday during a panel organised by the state-run media outlet China Daily that the two superpowers’ relationship should not be defined by “competition”.

He also criticised former US president Donald Trump and his administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which he said brought about the “worst setback in the past 40 years” for the two countries’ relations.

“Had the Trump administration chosen science and cooperation over scapegoating and political games, how many lives could have been saved?” Le said.

U.S. urged not to "put old wine in new bottle" on China policy - Xinhua

Cui made the remarks in his speech at the "China-U.S. Engagement: Past Achievements & Future Adjustments" Online Dialogue, an event organized by the Chinese People's Association for Peace and Disarmament and U.S. nongovernmental organization the Carter Center on Wednesday evening...

"Tomorrow will be the 42nd anniversary of Mr. Deng Xiaoping's visit to the United States ... At this historical juncture, we are facing a consequential choice again," Cui said...

"At this historical juncture, we are facing a consequential choice again. I agree with President Carter that China and the United States must remain closely connected, and restore trust, respect and normalcy between them," Cui said.

"While China wishes America full success in building unity, in healing and in restoration, it is also hoped that integrity, candor, respect and vision will return to its China policy," he said.

"Taking China as a strategic rival and imaginary enemy would be a huge strategic misjudgment. To develop any policy on the basis of that would only lead to grave strategic mistakes," Cui said...

the two countries "need exchanges, not estrangement," said Cui, adding that "there is no place for McCarthyism in the 21st century, and no one can push the two peoples back to the era of estrangement and isolation."...

"Let's work together, with courage and hope, to find light, spread light, and illuminate the future for China-U.S. relations and mankind," he said, citing the poem recited by Amanda Gorman, the first national youth poet laureate in the United States, at U.S. President Joe Biden's inauguration

Speech by Ambassador Cui Tiankai At the "China-U.S. Engagement: Past Achievements & Future Adjustments" Online Dialogue

China and the United States need dialogue, not confrontation.

Our two countries have not a small number of differences and disagreements. The only way out of them is candid and equal-footed dialogue on the basis of mutual respect. On specific issues, we should explore solutions acceptable to both sides on the basis of goodwill for goodwill, and good faith for good faith. Claiming that dialogue is useless is no less than advocating confrontation.

At the same time, some issues have been raised in China-U.S. relations under the banner of “values”, but in fact they all focus on China’s territory, so much so that people cannot but question the real intention behind. On issues that concern its sovereignty, reunification and territorial integrity, China will not back down, and it is hoped that the U.S. side will respect China’s core interests and refrain from crossing the red line.

US-China relations: nations should be competitors not rivals, Beijing’s envoy to Washington says | South China Morning Post

“It’s not only Taiwan, the list is getting longer and longer,” he said. “You have Xinjiang, you have Hong Kong, you have Tibet, what else? I asked the Trump people when they were still running the State Department, are you going to put all the China provinces on the list, what is your real intention? What can the people in China interpret over this? I think the only conclusion is that the real intention of US policy is to dismantle China as a country – if this is the case, then that is really dangerous.”

4. Recommendations for Biden’s China policy

Comment: While the strategy piece in Politico (below) by "anonymous" is getting a lot of attention, I think this piece by James Mulvenon is far more consequential for US policy. My understanding is that Mulvenon is under consideration for a role at the Department of Commerce that would have him overseeing the vitally important Bureau of Industry and Security. The PRC would hate to see him get a role like that, and so would tech industry lobbyists. The choice for this job will be one of the clearest markers we get of the Biden Team's vision for the US-China relationship.

A World Divided: The Conflict with Chinese Techno-Nationalism Isn’t Coming – It’s Already Here - War on the Rocks

The last Democratic administration held power during an era of technological globalism, marked by the fluid movement of supply chains and unfettered information flows. While global supply chains remain critically important, especially given record trade deficits, the renewed techno-nationalism by Beijing and a bruising trade war mean the landscape has been permanently altered...

In this divided world, the U.S. government faces a range of new and difficult challenges in economic, trade, human rights, social, political, military, and diplomatic domains. Rather than overly focus on tariffs and other punitive actions, the incoming administration must strike a delicate balance, pursuing aggressive investment and, in some cases, rebuilding the United States research and technology and industrial base, while also pursuing foreign policies that seek to promote trade that is marked by mutual benefit and reciprocity. The Commerce Department will be critical to this effort, promoting U.S. opportunities in overseas markets while also protecting American technology from illegal export and theft. Key elements of a successful strategy will include:

Refocus the Bureau of Industry and Security’s security mandate to reflect a rapidly changing world in which national security, foreign policy, and ideological challenges with China are rapidly outpacing diminishing, positive-sum commercial opportunities related to China’s indigenous innovation, import substitution, and “dual-circulation” strategies. As a core mission, the bureau should begin by placing the interests of the United States, its long-term economic vitality, and its people ahead of the near-term financial interests of Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and other multinationals, which are not always aligned with U.S. interests...

Prioritize meaningful action on export controls vis-à-vis China at the top of the diplomatic agenda early in the Biden administration to include use of “sharp carrots” to both incentivize harmonized approaches and coordinated actions and to deter self-interested, free-riding behavior by certain allies.

The Politico piece is by someone who is "a former senior government official with deep expertise and experience dealing with China." It is an excerpt from a much longer paper that is available here on the Atlantic Council web site. I have not read the full paper. I will try to in the next day or so, would love to hear your thoughts on it in tomorrow's weekly discussion

Opinion by "Anonymous" | To Counter China’s Rise, the U.S. Should Focus on Xi - POLITICO

It is now a matter of urgency that this country develop an integrated, bipartisan national strategy to guide U.S. policy toward Xi’s China for the next three decades. Some will argue that the United States already has a China strategy, pointing to the Trump administration’s declaration of “strategic competition” as the “central challenge” of U.S. foreign and national-security policy, as enshrined in the 2017 U.S. National Security Strategy. However, while the Trump administration did well to sound the alarm on China, its efforts at implementation have been chaotic and at times contradictory. At root, the issue is that “strategic competition” is a declaration of doctrinal attitude, not a comprehensive strategy that has been put into practice...

The wisdom in Kennan’s analysis was his profound appraisal of how the Soviet Union functioned internally and the development of a U.S. strategy that worked along the grain of that complex reality. The same needs to be done with China. The political reality is that the CCP is significantly divided on Xi’s leadership and his vast ambitions. Senior party members have been greatly troubled by Xi’s policy direction and angered by his endless demands for absolute loyalty. They fear for their own lives and the future livelihoods of their families. There are countless examples that point to this deep and abiding skepticism towards Xi. Of particular importance in this mix are the reports unearthed by international media of the wealth amassed by Xi’s family and members of his political inner circle, despite the vigor with which Xi has conducted the anti-corruption campaign. It is simply unsophisticated strategy to treat the entire Communist Party as a single monolithic target when such internal fault lines should be clear to the analyst’s eye—and in the intelligent policy maker’s pen.

Comment: I would love to see evidence of the assertions in the above paragraph. I think this overstates the divides and also mistakenly assumes that the future trajectory of a Xi-free CCP would be materially different than the current one. Perhaps, or perhaps someone much more beholden to/in sync with hyper nationalists and the PLA would replace him.

There is no reason to believe it impossible, if such a strategy is successfully followed, that Xi will in time be replaced by the more traditional form of Communist Party leadership. Xi, as noted previously, is already provoking significant reactions against himself and his current strategic course. Over the longer term the Chinese people themselves may well come to question and challenge the party’s century-long proposition that China’s ancient civilization is forever destined to an authoritarian future. The latter, however, is ultimately a matter for the Chinese people themselves, rather than U.S. strategy. Instead, the ambition of U.S. strategy for the decades ahead should be to cause China’s Communist Party leadership to change strategic course—with or without Xi Jinping at the helm.

Comment: I again question the assumptions around "more traditional form of Communist Party leadership". Leaving aside that Mao was the longest serving leader, the ones between Mao and Xi were constrained by the PRC's capabilities, low standard of economic development and an unfavorable balance of power for the PRC. Might the significant shift in the PRC's relative power have more impact on a future leader than some amorphous idea of "traditional"?

As to the identity of the author, I have no idea. The lack of Chinese language citations in the footnotes to the full paper make me think it is someone who does not have strong Chinese-language skills, which might narrow down the candidates. The paper is critical of the Trump Administration approach, but I would not assume to mean the author did not serve during the Trump Administration. Why do they need to remain anonymous?

Comment: Just FYI, if I were to write a George Kennan-esque “X” anonymous long telegram about US policy towards China I would sign it "XI".

Getting the China challenge right - David Dollar and Ryan Hass - Brookings

The Trump administration had an incoherent and inconsistent policy toward China that failed to deliver on its promises. An alternative response to the China challenge would require taking four critical steps. First, the United States must strengthen its own economy through reforms and investments that are beyond the scope of this paper but are detailed elsewhere in Brookings’s Blueprints for American Renewal & Prosperity. Second, the U.S. should work with allies in Asia and Europe to push China to continue opening its economy and developing 21st century rules for new aspects of trade. Chinese trade is more important to our allies than it is to the American economy. So while it will be tempting to try to decouple from China, decoupling is a losing strategy down the road since America’s partners would not follow suit, and the U.S. would end up isolated. Third, the U.S. needs to counter China’s assertiveness with its neighbors through a strong military presence and call out China for its undermining and violations of international rules and norms. Fourth, the U.S. needs to work with China on issues where there is common interest, especially on climate change, global public health, support to poor countries, and nuclear nonproliferation. What makes the relationship especially complicated is the need to work closely with China on some issues while countering it in other domains. For the United States, China is a partner, competitor, and challenger all at the same time.

5. More US-china

John Kerry: U.S.-China climate cooperation is a "critical standalone issue" - Axios

"We have serious differences with China on some very, very important issues, and I am as mindful of that as anybody, having served as secretary of state and in the Senate," Kerry said at a press briefing.

"The issues of theft of intellectual property and access to markets, South China Sea. Run the list. We all know them. Those issues will never be traded for anything that has to do with climate. That's not going to happen," he continued.

"But climate is a critical standalone issue that we have to deal on ... So it's urgent that we find a way to compartmentalize, to move forward, and we'll wait and see. But President Biden is very, very clear about the need to address the other issues with China."

China, U.S. share broad common interests, cooperation space on climate change: spokesperson - Xinhua

Spokesperson Zhao Lijian made the remarks at a daily press briefing when commenting on media reports that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. climate envoy John Kerry have both expressed willingness to cooperate with China on climate change. John Kerry, also the former U.S. Secretary of State, said that although the U.S. has serious differences with China, no issues between the two nations would be traded for climate-related cooperation...

He also emphasized that China-U.S. cooperation in specific areas is not "a flower in a greenhouse" and must be closely related to the overall bilateral relationship.

Zhao said that no party should expect to wantonly interfere in China's internal affairs and violate China's interests, on one hand, while on the other hand expecting China to offer its understanding and support on bilateral and global affairs.

‘US can’t partner, confront China at the same time’ - Global Times

Lü Xiang, an expert of US studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday that senior US officials must understand that "If you want to have dinner with us [cooperation], you can't spit at us at the table [confrontation]. We hope Biden and Blinken could be more decent and mature, and disrespected like Donald Trump and Pompeo."..

Lü said US officials should understand that whether they like China or not, the Trump administration has tried almost every nasty measure to contain China and stigmatize China, but this has brought great loss to themselves in terms of weakening soft power, rising military tensions, losing business interests and worsening the epidemic situation, while China experienced no significant damage and kept developing.

"The Biden administration should wake up, and even as a competitor to the US, we don't want to see our rival keep hurting themselves like this. We understand the US has low confidence at this point as it has a great mess and troubles at home, so it wants to appear tough to cover what's inside in front of us. We have patience to wait for them to issue a mature and clear policy to fix ties with us," Lü noted.

To contain china, mission impossible: Defense spokesperson - China Military

Snr. Col. Wu said that during the Trump administration, the China-US relationship encountered serious difficulties, and the mil-to-mil relations also faced a lot of risks and challenges. "Facts have proved that to contain China is a mission impossible and will only end up shooting oneself in the foot," Wu said.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on January 28, 2021

NPR: Secretary of State Blinken said he considers the mass detention of certain ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region and sterilization programs there to be "genocide". Does the foreign ministry have a comment?

Zhao Lijian: There's never ever such thing as genocide in China. Period.

Pompeo and his likes have concocted lies of the century about Xinjiang and slung mud at China's Xinjiang policy. We never accept that. We have repeatedly refuted those rumors and stated the facts.

Xinjiang has never been more prosperous than it is now, with unprecedented achievements in socio-economic development and improvement of people's life. Residents in Xinjiang live a happy life in a stable environment. These facts are the best refutation to certain U.S. politicians' anti-China remarks. No matter how hard those ill-intentioned individuals try to sow discord, they will not succeed in destabilizing Xinjiang or stopping Xinjiang's endeavor for progress. Pompeo's slandering comments against China are already discarded in the dustbin of history.

China-US military relations at 'new starting point' - Global Times

In a move analysts said China sent a signal of communication and cooperation to manage risks, militaries of China and the US recently held a meeting over the search for the remains of US prisoners of war and missing-in-action personnel, as the Chinese Defense Ministry said on Thursday that China-US military relations are at a new starting point with the Biden administration, but warned it is impossible for the US to contain China if it remains determined to do so, and "Taiwan independence" will lead to war.

Secretary Blinken’s Call with Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Locsin - United States Department of State

Secretary Blinken stressed the importance of the Mutual Defense Treaty for the security of both nations, and its clear application to armed attacks against the Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the Pacific, which includes the South China Sea. Secretary Blinken also underscored that the United States rejects China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea to the extent they exceed the maritime zones that China is permitted to claim under international law as reflected in the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention. Secretary Blinken pledged to stand with Southeast Asian claimants in the face of PRC pressure.

CWP Fellow Julian Gewirtz leaves to take position at NSC | Columbia-Harvard China and the World program

The China and the World Program (C&WP) at Columbia University congratulates Dr. Julian Gewirtz, recent C&WP fellow, on joining the staff of the Biden Administration's National Security Council as Director for China.

Myths and Realities of China’s Military-Civil Fusion Strategy | Center for a New American Security - Elsa B. Kania and Lorand Laskai

This policy brief is intended to improve policymakers’ understanding of the challenges that MCF presents to enhance the U.S. government’s ability to grapple with these urgent policy issues. In particular, this analysis considers and seeks to correct several apparent myths—or at best generalizations and oversimplifications—that have been prominent in U.S. debates on the topic.

U.S.-China Relations at the Chinese Communist Party’s Centennial | U.S.- CHINA | ECONOMIC and SECURITY REVIEW COMMISSION

The rise and challenges of China - former CIA China analyst shares his views-Magellan Podcasts

China’s continued rise as a global economic powerhouse has met with increasing caution and push-back from the Western world, not least from the United States during four turbulent years under President Trump. Now a very different administration has taken over Capitol Hill. How will this impact China-US relations? What challenges face President Xi and the CCP as they juggle internal issues with an enduring focus on global dominance. And what might this mean for investors? Chris Johnson, one of the world’s foremost China experts and former CIA analyst, shares his views on the start of Joe Biden’s presidency and how geo-political forces may shift again.

6. WHO team leaves Wuhan quarantine hotel

WHO team in Wuhan departs quarantine for COVID origins study - AP

A World Health Organization team emerged from quarantine in the Chinese city of Wuhan on Thursday to start field work in a fact-finding mission on the origins of the virus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic.

The researchers, who were required to isolate for 14 days after arriving in China, left their quarantine hotel with their luggage — including at least four yoga mats — in the midafternoon and headed to another hotel.

WHO says team in Wuhan to visit labs, markets and hospitals | Reuters

“The team plans to visit hospitals, laboratories and markets. Field visits will include the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Huanan market, Wuhan CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) laboratory,” the WHO said in a tweet.

The team of independent experts, due to remain for two more weeks in China, will also speak with some of the first COVID-19 patients in Wuhan, it said.

White House: 'great concern' over Covid origin 'misinformation' from China | The Guardian

The US wants a “robust and clear” international probe into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic in China, the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, has said.

Speaking to reporters, she said it was “imperative we get to the bottom” of how the virus appeared and spread. She highlighted “great concern” over “misinformation” from “some sources in China”.

HBO film challenges China's covid narrative - The Washington Post

When evidence began mounting of a deadly new coronavirus in China a year ago, authorities could have reacted with swift warnings about public safety.

They didn’t. Instead, they banned social-media posts about the virus, stopped symptomatic people from entering hospitals, punished doctors who spoke of the risks and unleashed a stream of state-TV propaganda downplaying its severity.

That’s the narrative constructed by “In The Same Breath,” a scathing new documentary by the Oscar-shortlisted filmmaker Nanfu Wang. Wang’s movie, which has been viewed by The Washington Post, argues that the alleged suppression led to an untold number of deaths and the virus spreading rapidly, as unaware people kept taking risks.

In a surprising turn, the movie has been financed and creatively overseen by HBO.

A trailer for the film:

‘In The Same Breath’ Director Nanfu Wang On Covid-19 & China – Deadline

Two years after her film One Child Nation was a Grand Jury Prize Winner at Sundance, Wang is back this SFF with an examination of the censored rise of Covid-19 in China...

Shot very up-close and personal with dozens of cameras and freelancers in the emergency wards, ambulances and dark heart of the crisis in Wuhan and all over the People’s Republic, In The Same Breath brings a damning critical perspective on misinformation and incompetence not only in China, but here in America too.

7. India Foreign Minister on India-China ties

India's Foreign Minister's blueprint to fix China ties, TikTok layoffs in India, and a Chinese view of farmers protests - The India China Newsletter

India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Thursday gave what is perhaps his most comprehensive speech on the state of India-China relations after the border crisis that began in May last year...

On the background to the current crisis and why it changed a fundamental principle in the relationship:

The advancement of ties….was clearly predicated on ensuring that peace and tranquillity was not disturbed and that the Line of Actual Control was both observed and respected by both sides. For this reason, it was explicitly agreed that the two countries would refrain from massing troops on their common border. Not just that, there were subsequently detailed understandings on handling situations of friction, if they were to arise…. In the years that passed, we obviously did not see significant progress on arriving at a common understanding of the alignment of the LAC in the India-China border areas. But, at the same time, there was also increasing construction of border infrastructure, especially on the Chinese side. Since 2014, there may have been more efforts by India to reduce this very considerable gap, including greater budget commitments and a better road building record. Nevertheless, the infrastructure differential remains significant and, as we saw last year, consequential.

Comment: If you are interested in India-China relations I highly recommend this free newsletter from Ananth Krishnan

Keynote Address by External Affairs Minister at the 13th All India Conference of China Studies

Experience of the past taught us the importance of stabilizing our relationship even while adjusting to changes. From that, we can seek proper guidance that will be to the benefit of both nations. These can be summed up by eight broad propositions. First and foremost, agreements already reached must be adhered to in their entirety, both in letter and spirit. Second, where the handling of the border areas are concerned, the LAC must be strictly observed and respected; any attempt to unilaterally change the status quo is completely unacceptable. Third, peace and tranquillity in the border areas is the basis for development of relations in other domains. If they are disturbed, so inevitably will the rest of the relationship. This is quite apart from the issue of progress in the boundary negotiations. Fourth, while both nations are committed to a multi-polar world, there should be a recognition that a multi-polar Asia is one of its essential constituents. Fifth, obviously each state will have its own interests, concerns and priorities; but sensitivity to them cannot be one-sided. At the end of the day, relationships between major states are reciprocal in nature. Sixth, as rising powers, each will have their own set of aspirations and their pursuit too cannot be ignored. Seventh, there will always be divergences and differences but their management is essential to our ties. And eighth, civilizational states like India and China must always take the long view.

India, China Spar Over Nepal - Asia Sentinel

Chinese intervention in Nepal’s domestic politics has surged over the past year despite Beijing’s oft-repeated pledge to stay aloof from the ‘internal politics’ of nations. Chinese representatives have been mediating intensively between various political factions to attempt to broker peace in the NCP coalition to allow a Beijing-friendly government to continue in office. However, the mediations haven’t borne much fruit.

8. 2021 GDP target by another name?

Exclusive: China likely to avoid setting 2021 GDP target over debt concerns, sources say | Reuters

Government advisers who call for scrapping the gross domestic product (GDP) target again this year appear to be gaining the upper hand, while policymakers may again signal a goal implicitly by targeting employment and other indicators, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are confidential.

“We will not set an explicit target, but in reality there will be a target,” said a government adviser, one of three sources saying the target will again be scrapped. “We will not emphasise the importance of achieving a target at all costs.”

But internal discussions are continuing ahead of China’s annual parliament meeting in early March, and one source said the National Development and Reform Commission, the top state planner, remains keen to have a growth target.

Business, Economy and Trade

证监会召开2021年系统工作会议 今年做好这六大工作 _ 证券时报网 The CSRC held the 2021 System Work Conference to do these six major tasks this year:

The first is to organically combine the party's leadership advantages with the law of capital market development 一是把党的领导优势和资本市场发展规律有机结合

The second is to solidly promote the comprehensive deepening of the implementation of the reform and opening up of the capital market 二是扎实推进全面深化资本市场改革开放落实落地

The third is to strive to maintain the steady development momentum of the capital market in a complex environment 三是努力保持复杂环境下资本市场稳健发展势头

The fourth is to fully implement the "zero tolerance" law enforcement concept and crackdown 四是全面落实“零容忍”的执法理念和打击行动

The fifth is to resolutely win a protracted war to prevent and resolve major financial risks 五是坚决打赢防范化解重大金融风险攻坚战持久战

The sixth is to accelerate the deep integration of technology and business 六是加快推进科技和业务的深度融合

China Crushes Leveraged Traders With Liquidity Withdrawals - Bloomberg Excess funds in the banking system had juiced leverage in financial markets by driving China’s overnight repo rate to a record low of 0.59% in December. The cheap short-term financing enabled bond traders to make a killing buying sovereign debt with borrowed cash. Now the cost is above 3%, the highest since 2015. // Comment: So that is what this was about, not really tightening monetary policy?

China's short-term money rates rise for fourth day, approaching interest rate ceiling | Reuters China’s short-term money rates climbed for a fourth straight day on Thursday, with some key tenors approaching the higher end of the interest rate corridor, as tight cash conditions persisted and market worries over a switch in authorities’ policy stance mounted.

开年楼市释放从严信号 后续或仍有城市跟进 _ 证券时报网 Securities Times - "The property market releases strict signals in the beginning of the year, and there are still cities to follow up" // Some industry insiders believe that the high-temperature property market drama is still playing out in many cities, and that this tightening of controls is far from over. However, the core policies that will have a greater impact on the market should be the tightening of credit, reducing the space for arbitrage and increasing supply. Among them, the increased cost of home purchase and the lengthened pace of loans will have a great impact on property transactions.

7天之内5地出台调控政策,房价接下来会怎样走?_经济_宏观频道首页_财经网 - CAIJING within seven days, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Hefei issued control policies to curb the "house buying frenzy" by means of strengthening purchase restriction, tightening mortgage loans and ensuring just-needed demand. The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development responded quickly and went to Shanghai and Shenzhen for investigation and supervision. Will this round of regulation and control sweep across other regions in 2021? Can the market cool down before Spring Festival? Is it possible for house prices to fall? //7天之内,上海、深圳、广州、杭州、合肥5地出台调控政策,以加强限购、收紧房贷、保障刚需等手段抑制“抢房潮”。住建部迅速反应,赴沪深等地调研督导。2021年开年这一轮调控会席卷其他地区吗?春节前市场能否迎来降温?房价有没有可能跌一波?

China's fiscal revenue down 3.9 pct in 2020 - Xinhua China's fiscal revenue decreased 3.9 percent year on year to around 18.29 trillion yuan (about 2.8 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2020, official data showed Thursday. The central government collected about 8.28 trillion yuan in revenue, down 7.3 percent year on year, while local governments saw revenue down 0.9 percent to about 10 trillion yuan, according to data from the Ministry of Finance

两部门:对市场监管总局授权开展的反垄断执法给予补助-新华网 Xinhua, citing sources from the Finance Ministry and the market watchdog, reported that the central government is planning to allocate funds provincial governments can draw on in their anti-competition probes. Funds can be used for tasks including printing, purchase of law enforcement equipment, organizing meetings, trips, transportations and more.

Analysis: Chinese retail banks gain consumer lending clout as fintechs fall out of favour | Reuters The new rules, which come on the back of Beijing’s shock canning of Ant’s $37 billion IPO in November, include the scrapping of limits on credit card interest rates and plans to greatly restrict the consumer data collection that has enabled the rapid growth of online lending platforms. As of Jan. 1, Chinese banks are no longer obligated to set daily compounding interest rates for credit cards between 0.035% and 0.050%. Some banks now plan to lower rates or even undercut online lending rates, while others are looking at accepting higher-risk clients by charging them higher rates, banking sources told Reuters. The changes “will guide more clients to the banking system, especially to local banks,” said a manager at a medium-sized lender based in eastern China.

Yicai - China’s Debt-to-GDP Hits 45.8% in 2020, Below International Redline Based on a preliminary gross domestic product of CNY101.6 trillion (USD15.68 trillion), China’s government debt reached 45.8 percent of GDP last year. That was still below the internationally accepted warning line of 60 percent. Government debt was CNY46.55 trillion (USD7.18 trillion) at the end of 2020, the finance ministry said today.// Question: Is CNY46.55 trillion an accurate number for all levels of government debt?

Ford Adds Made in China Label to the Mustang - WSJ $$ The locally built Mustang Mach-E, Ford’s flagship electric vehicle, which recently went on sale in the U.S., will be available in China later this year and challenge for a share of the Chinese high-end EV market, according to a company statement.

Yicai - Tesla’s Shanghai Gigafactory to Boost Production by 80% This Year to Meet Surging Demand US electric car giant Tesla will increase output from its Shanghai gigafactory by 80 percent this year to 450,000 units as local demand for its Model 3 and Model Y autos remains very strong, online news outlet The Paper reported today.

Exclusive: World’s No. 1 Bank to Tap Relative Newcomer as Its Next President, Sources Say - Caixin Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. (ICBC), the world’s largest commercial lender by assets, is expected to soon welcome a new president, sources with knowledge of the matter told Caixin. Liao Lin, a senior executive vice president of the state-owned bank, will take on the roles of president and vice chairman, the sources said. On Thursday morning, Liao was named its deputy Communist Party chief, they said.

Apple sees revenue growth accelerating after setting record for iPhone sales, China strength | Reuters China proved a strong market for iPhone, with overall sales there rising 57% to $21.31 billion...“We had two of the top three selling smartphones in urban China,” Cook told Reuters in an interview, adding that “upgraders in particular set an all-time record in China.”

China's Liaoning province to merge 12 local banks to defuse regional risks | Reuters The local authority would apply to set up a new provincial level commercial bank, formed by merging 12 city banks, according to a Liaoning government statement posted on the website of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). The statement did not provide any bank names. The provincial government would bring in strategic shareholders for the new bank, it said, including the state-owned Liaoning Financial Holding Group and PBOC’s deposit insurance fund

Why Western companies ‘speak up for China’: Global Times editorial - Global Times Volkswagen gets more than one-third of its sales in China, and HSBC made most of its profits from Chinese market in 2020. Some British Members of Parliament who advocate that HSBC should withdraw from Hong Kong SAR are a bunch of arrogant laymen. Coincidentally, the Japanese government, which for some time has been echoing the US on China's human rights issues, said on Tuesday that Tokyo does not believe China has committed "genocide" in its Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

China’s commercial jet ambitions shaken as US blacklists Comac | Financial Times $$ Comac is not a publicly traded company, so the investment ban will probably have limited direct impact, though the company has sold bonds domestically. The risk, though, is that the addition to the military list sets up Comac’s addition to the so-called entity list maintained by the US Department of Commerce. That would then restrict the ability of US companies to export products to the plane maker.

China’s state-run economic model is not the answer to all future problems, despite coronavirus success, prominent economists warn | South China Morning Post “It is a simple continuation of the strong government-control model,” Jia Kang said at an online economic forum on Tuesday. “While public opinion unanimously underscores the advantages of China … shouldn’t we also attach importance to the disadvantages that are not being paid attention to now?” Jia hearkened back to a notion known as a “low human rights advantage” to explain the “underlying logic” behind China’s success in bringing the coronavirus under control through strict measures. The phrase was introduced more than a decade ago by Chinese historian and sociologist Qin Hui, and it reflects the state’s commitment to economic development at any cost, resulting in a competitive advantage that is rarely seen in free-market countries or welfare states.

Politics and Law

为全面建设社会主义现代化国家开好局起好步提供坚强组织保证 The televised national meeting of organizational department chiefs was held in Beijing on Wednsday. The CCP organizational department head Chen Xi led the meeting and told officials to study and implement the Xi Jinping thought, ensure a smooth transition of local governments, and make sure that political awareness/loyalty “政治过硬” is the top criteria in picking candidates for promotion.

Activist threatens hunger strike if he’s barred from leaving China to care for ailing wife in US | South China Morning Post National security officers told Guo Feixiong they have been ordered to stop him at the airport on Thursday He has appealed to the premier and public security minister to allow him to travel to care for his cancer-stricken wife

生态环境部回应“敦煌防护林被毁事件”:副部长带队赴现场调查 China’s ministry of ecology and environment said their investigation into whether the forest in Dunhuang, Gansu has indeed been destroyed to make way for vineyards, has finished, and local officials who failed to do their job in protecting the forests will be held accountable.

新京报 - 敦煌市有关负责人:部分葡萄园有审批失当问题 Dunhuang government admitted to Beijing News that the local forestry bureau should not have approved the vineyards.

甘肃、海南选出新省长 Gansu has a new governor Ren Zhenhe, while Hainan also elected a new governor Feng Fei. Both worked two years in Zhejiang, long after Xi had left the province

中国前高官首谈《谁是最可爱的人》被删除真正原因[图]|多维新闻|中国 A former official with China’s ministry of education wrote on Weibo about the back-and-forth about whether to include a text about the Korean War into China’s primary school textbook. Wang Xuming, former deputy director of the ministry’s general office, said “who are the dearest” – a text about the brave Chinese soldiers in the Korean War that once won praise from Mao – was first deleted from the textbook in 2001. When Wang and his colleagues tried to included it in the 2013 textbook revision, they were told later by their boss to take it out, because the text “is not appropriate with the current Northeast Asia situation.” The text has been included in the latest 2021 national textbook.

回应美政客涉疆言论 赵立坚连说三遍:中国没有种族灭绝|种族灭绝|赵立坚_新浪新闻 1月28日,外交部发言人赵立坚在回应蓬佩奥等美国政客的涉疆言论时表示,重要的事情说三遍:中国没有种族灭绝,中国没有种族灭绝,中国没有种族灭绝。

新京报 - 原山西银监局党委书记张安顺被开除党籍 被指一心烧香拜佛求仕途 Zhang Anshun, former top banking regulator in Shanxi province, is stripped of party membership for corruption. The CCDI said Zhang took bribes, protected some “major crimes” by some financial companies, and he was so superstitious that he spent quite some time in Buddhist temples praying for promotion.

Chinese corrupt officials and superstitious activities - Beijing Channel To be clear, the “superstitious activities” described in this newsletter may be widely practiced in the Chinese society and is perfectly lawful for the general public, but party members, especially those in power, are held to a different set of code of conduct. In the world of corrupt officials, superstitious activities often take the form of wacky schemes that go beyond your everyday worshiping.   Your host went through open records and compiled some superstitious activities conducted by corrupt officials.

Court in China's Guangdong Jails 24 Over Posts on Xi Jinping's Family — Radio Free Asia Authorities in the southern province of Guangdong have jailed the administrator of a wiki-based forum for 14 years after a post revealed personal information about the close family of ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping, RFA has learned. Niu Tengyu was handed a 14-year jail term on Dec. 30, 2020 by the Maonan District People's Court in Guangdong's Maoming city, which found him guilty of "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble," "violating others' privacy" and "running an illegal business," after a photo of Xi's daughter Xi Mingze was posted online. // Comment: I have seen a report claiming to have the photos that were posted. If that report is correct this was full on doxxing, as they include both Xi Jinping and Xi Mingze's ID numbers

Foreign and Defense Affairs

Xi says China ready to strengthen cooperation with Bolivia on COVID-19 vaccines - Xinhua China is willing to strengthen cooperation with Bolivia on COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Thursday in a phone conversation with his Bolivian counterpart, Luis Arce...China supports businesses of the two sides in expanding cooperation in agriculture, mining, infrastructure construction, telecommunication and other fields, and promoting cultural and people-to-people exchanges and local cooperation in accordance to the epidemic situation, Xi said.

Xi sends message of sympathy to Mexican president - Xinhua Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message of sympathy to Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador recently over his infection with COVID-19.

Xi sends message of sympathy to Surinamese president - Xinhua Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message of sympathy to his Surinamese counterpart, Chandrikapersad Santokhi, recently over his infection with COVID-19.

Secretary Blinken’s Call with Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai - United States Department of State Secretary Blinken and Deputy Prime Minister Don reaffirmed the strength of the United States-Thailand defense alliance, reviewed global efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, and discussed the importance of working together to advance our shared prosperity, security, and values across the free and open Indo Pacific region. // No specific mention of China

Secretary Blinken’s Call with Australian Foreign Minister Payne - United States Department of State The ministers noted the upcoming 70th anniversary of the Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty (ANZUS) in September 2021, which has served as the bedrock of our mutual democratic alliance and committed to strengthening the unbreakable bond between the two countries. Secretary Blinken emphasized the importance of cooperation, including through multilateral organizations and mechanisms like the Quad, to tackle shared challenges such as climate change, COVID-19, and global health security. The ministers also discussed the need for close coordination on mutual global foreign policy priorities promoting human rights, rule of law, and regional security. // No specific mention of China

Secretary Blinken’s Call with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Borrell - United States Department of State The Secretary thanked the High Representative for the EU’s leadership in recent years and emphasized the U.S. desire to work with the EU and member states to address shared challenges including COVID-19, climate change, Transatlantic data flows, and economic cooperation.  The Secretary and the High Representative also agreed to continue strong U.S.-EU cooperation on issues related to China.

Secretary Blinken’s Call with Italian Foreign Minister Di Maio - United States Department of State The Secretary expressed his desire to rebuild and strengthen the enduring partnership between the United States and Italy. He emphasized the U.S. desire to work with Italy, particularly in its role as President of the G20, and other partners to address shared challenges including COVID-19, climate, and China.

How Sansha City Implements Military-Civil Fusion in the South China Sea In 2012, China established Sansha City to administer the majority of its maritime and territorial claims in the South China Sea. In the years since, the city has continuously developed its headquarters on Woody Island and its other settlements across the Paracel and Spratly Islands. In coordination with central organs and officials in Hainan province, the authorities in Sansha have constructed harbors, created new party-state institutions, installed telecommunications infrastructure, set up a new maritime militia force, built smart microgrids, organized a new maritime law enforcement force, and pursued other such initiatives. Because the city is located on the front lines of the South China Sea disputes and because the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) maintains a significant presence in the city, nearly every aspect of the Sansha’s development is rooted in the principle of “military-civil fusion” (军民融合).

非洲有多少将军是石家庄毕业的_百闻-多维客 Duowei looked into the many African military leaders and officers who were trained in the past decades at the PLA Army Infantry Academy in Shijiazhuang.

Chinese military to recruit twice a year since 2021 - Xinhua Approved by the State Council and the Central Military Commission, recruitment for the first half of the year will run from Feb. 20 to March 31, and the recruitment for the second half will run from Aug. 15 to Sep. 30, said Wu Qian, the spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense. The recruits will be mainly selected from college students, especially those majoring in science and engineering, Wu said, noting that applicants can sign up at for more information

China’s new KJ-600 surveillance aircraft completes latest test flight | South China Morning Post PLA’s carrier-based early warning aircraft took to the skies over Xian on Wednesday morning, military insider says Domestically developed plane, which is in its final stages of development, is capable of spotting stealth aircraft like American F-22s and F-35s

New Zealand Trade Minister advises Australia to show China more 'respect' - ABC News In an interview discussing the deal, New Zealand's Trade Minister Damien O'Connor was asked about a suggestion from their Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta that the nation could mediate between Australia and China. Mr O'Connor said New Zealand had a "mature" relationship with China and could raise issues of concern, but added it also respected its trade ties with Beijing.

Looting life-saving vaccines widens gaps and breeds ‘vaccinationalism’ experts warn - Global Times Rich countries have been accused of “modern piracy” after reportedly using diverse tactics to source life-saving COVID-19 vaccines. Recent quarrels over scarce vaccines bring back memories of the wrestle for life-saving masks in the early stage of the outbreaks last year. Practices such as outbidding other countries to secure timely purchases in the increasingly intense global market seemingly remind us of how great powers hoarded supplies and looted resources during the colonial age.

与时代同步 与官兵同行 增强部队思想政治教育感召力(新知新觉) 闫继勋 《 人民日报 》( 2021年01月28日 第 09 版) 紧扣时代脉搏铸军魂。习主席指出:“坚持党对军队绝对领导是强军之魂,铸牢军魂是我军政治工作的核心任务,任何时候都不能动摇。”做好部队思想政治教育工作,首先要做到举旗铸魂,强固听党指挥的思想根基。始终坚持用习近平强军思想铸魂育人,下苦功夫把习近平强军思想学懂弄通做实,深入学习贯彻习主席关于加强和改进部队思想政治教育工作的一系列重要指示和要求,不断夯实绝对忠诚之基。要让广大官兵对我军的光荣历史、英模人物、伟大精神熟记于心,让对党忠诚根植于官兵头脑、转化为自觉行动。思想的大坝要天天筑,精神的“钙”质要天天补。要坚持日积月累、潜移默化,教育引导官兵把远大理想融入日常工作生活,走正人生的每一步。..同时,要善于运用新技术、新手段。比如,大数据技术日臻成熟,可以利用官兵在日常工作训练、生活学习中留下的真实记录,通过定性和定量分析,全面了解官兵思想状况和日常行为,跟上官兵思想发展的最新动态,增强预见性和前瞻性,有的放矢地开展思想政治教育。

Hong Kong and Macao

《新闻联播》披露:今年港澳特首述职活动,出现“新面孔” Beijing Youth Daily noted that Xia Baolong, head of the state council HK and Macau affaris office also attended the meetings yesterday between Xi and the chief executives of HK and Macau. Xia’s predecessors did not attend such meetings. It is also interesting that beginning 2019, the head of the central commission of political and legal affairs would also sit in this meeting.

HK man sentenced to 4 months in prison for insulting the national flag - CGTN Koo Sze-yiu, a longtime street activist in Hong Kong, intentionally carried a desecrated Chinese national flag last July as he rallied outside a court for media mogul Jimmy Lai and 14 other people who were charged with participating in, organizing and inciting others to take part in an illegal assembly.

China Arrivals to Offset Exodus to U.K., Hong Kong Aide Says - Bloomberg The number departing British National (Overseas) passport holders would be “far, far smaller” than current estimates of as many as 1 million over the next five years, Executive Council Convener Bernard Chan said Monday...There’s now a large pool of talented mainlanders to take the place of those who leave, Chan said.

China rebukes UK for hyping up BNO issue to interfere in HK affairs - Xinhua "The British side, in breach of its promise, has chosen to obstinately and repeatedly hype up the BNO issue to interfere in Hong kong affairs and China's internal affairs," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a press briefing when asked to comment on Britain's move to accept citizenship applications from BNO-eligible HK residents beginning Jan. 31.


Assessing the rationale behind the lifting of Taiwan contact guidelines | American Enterprise Institute - AEI despite the ill timing, despite the wretched context—the waning days of an administration only reluctantly cooperating in the presidential transition and beset by insurrection in the capital city—discarding overly restrictive limitations on bilateral engagement is a good policy. It is a policy for which Congress has, in bipartisan fashion, already voiced its approval and a policy that Taiwan’s leaders, by all indications, genuinely support. The Biden administration need not applaud Mike Pompeo for taking this step how and when he did. But the new administration can and should make the most of it.

Ractopamine: China ‘will tighten ban on Taiwanese meat’ over US pork imports | South China Morning Post At a press conference in Beijing on Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the Taiwan Affairs Office said meat and associated products from the island were already barred from entry to the mainland but the ractopamine issue increased the need for enforcement. // curious how they will tighten a ban on an existing complete ban

Tech and Media

Dan Wang on China's Mission to Be a World Leader in Semiconductors - Bloomberg On this episode, we speak with Dan Wang, a tech analyst at Gavekal Dragonomics. He discusses the state of the domestic industry, as well as broader lessons on Chinese tech and business after a year of extraordinary disruption.

Honor CEO speaks out: unburdened by US sanctions on Huawei, the budget smartphone brand looks to take on Apple and former parent | South China Morning Post Since leaving Huawei in November, Honor CEO George Zhao says the company wants to make phones that surpass those of its former owner and Apple Renewed partnerships with US companies like Qualcomm, Intel, AMD and Microsoft offer a reprieve to Honor, but topping competitors remains a steep climb

Huawei to build network equipment factory in France | Reuters China’s Huawei said on Thursday it would invest 200 million euros in building a mobile phone network equipment factory in the east of France, pressing ahead with the roll-out despite French curbs on firms using its 5G gear. The plant will initially employ 300 people, growing to 500 in the longer term, and its products will go to Huawei’s European clients.

Baidu Wins California Permit to Test Fully Driverless Vehicles - Caixin On Wednesday, the Beijing-based search engine operator reached a new milestone in its self-driving push by obtaining a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to test three autonomous vehicles on specified streets in Sunnyvale, a city in the San Francisco Bay Area, all without safety drivers behind the wheel.

Jihan Wu Resigns as Bitmain CEO to End Power Struggle with Micree Zhan - Pandaily Jihan Wu, the co-founder of crypto mining products provider Bitmain, announced he will resign as CEO to resolve a year-long dispute with Micree Zhan, the other co-founder, according to an internal letter he issued. In the letter, Wu referred to this way of settling the matter as “friendly, and more importantly, constructive.” As he steps down from the position, Zhan will purchase shares previously held by a group of founding shareholders – including Wu – under the code name “Bitsource”, for a total of $600 million. This accounts for nearly half of Bitmain’s total shares.

An Intergalactic Sandbox Is China’s Latest Indie Gaming Success Story - SixthTone Created by a team of just five developers in the southwestern megacity of Chongqing, “Dyson Sphere Program” has received glowing reviews and briefly topped sales charts since its early release last week. Hyped by a successful Kickstarter campaign, DSP had topped the bestseller list on online gaming platform Steam within an hour of its launch on Jan. 20. By Monday, it had sold over 200,000 total downloads, priced around $15 on several platforms, and its current rating on Steam is “overwhelmingly positive” based on 6,000 reviews.

Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

Bach calls Beijing 2022 preparations "almost a miracle" - Xinhua International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach hailed on Thursday the preparation work of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics as a "miracle." "It's almost a miracle," said Bach during an exclusive interview with Xinhua via a video link. "Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the preparations for the games have progressed so smoothly." ..."President Xi had the vision to engage 300 million Chinese people in the winter sports... this is a huge legacy for the Chinese people. And the legacy is as huge for the global winter sports.

Anal swab not feasible for mass testing, only being used in a few cities on high-risk groups - Global Times News of the use of anal swabs for COVID-19 testing has startled Chinese netizens. The method is more accurate than nose and throat swabs, albeit awkward for recipients. Yet the Global Times learned that anal swabs are not feasible for mass testing and the method is only used in certain Chinese cities, such as Beijing and Qingdao, among certain high-risk groups, such as overseas arrivals.

Attacks Against Doctors Raise Familiar Alarm- SixthTone A doctor in eastern China’s Jiangxi province was pronounced dead Wednesday after being attacked by a patient. Along with another attack days earlier, the killing has again highlighted the persistent problem of violence against China’s medical personnel.

Stories from the international communist movement: the Chinese front in Europe and the limits of the anti-revisionist struggle: Cold War History: Vol 0, No 0 This article analyses the political life of two important European communist activists who, in the aftermath of the Sino-Soviet split in the early 1960s, decided to support China and Albania against the Soviet Union: Kazimierz Mijal, a Polish communist who, in the mid-1960s, decided to exile himself to Albania, from where he promoted the ‘China way’ of communism; and Jacque Grippa, a Belgian communist who struggled to find space between the Western European left, Beijing, and Moscow. The article analyses how apparently marginal protagonists of the Cold War gained a prominent position and played an important role in the dynamics created within the communist world following the Sino-Soviet split.

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

Inside China’s Massive Crackdown on Wild Animal Farms - SixthTone As one half of the “Huanong Brothers,” Liu Suliang shot to online stardom during the past few years with videos equal parts funny, cute, and mouth-watering — and invariably involving bamboo rats, the furry wild animals he bred for a living. But in September, the farmer-vlogger shared his last video about the rodents with his millions of followers, bidding farewell to his old business. Walking into his now-empty barn, Liu, 32, carries a bag of plush bamboo rat toys on his shoulder. “I wish the bamboo rats were this obedient,” he says, placing the life-sized toys inside the square metal boxes that once housed about 1,000 animals. The video includes a link where viewers can buy their own plush toys, Liu’s last attempt to squeeze some money out of his bamboo rat empire.

China to further develop centralized drug procurement - State Council Centralized drug procurement should guarantee a reasonable selection of medicines to meet people’s demand with a high-quality and sufficient supply, according to a circular issued on Jan 28 by the General Office of the State Council. The circular called for transparent and fair market competition among enterprises, stressing policies in medicine quality inspection, the production, supply and distribution of medicines, medical services, medical insurance payment and market supervision. Medicines frequently used on the national drug reimbursement list with high procurement amounts should be included, and a stable supply of rare drugs is required. 国务院办公厅印发《关于推动药品集中带量采购工作常态化制度化开展的意见》_中国政府网

Senior legislator stresses legal guarantees for green development - Xinhua Shen Yueyue, vice chairperson of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, made the call at a meeting on work in environmental protection and resource conservation held in Beijing.