Manufacturing Barriers Lowered As China Targets US Sorghum For Dumping; US-China Tech War; National Security Commission Meeting; PRC's Indo-Pacific Ports; Magic Liquor Bust

The crippling US sanctions against ZTE may be the trigger for the next leg down in the deepening US-China trade and tech wars. The ability of the US government to decimate a major Chinese tech firm by cutting off access to US components is another reminder to China, as the Snowden revelations were, that China can not ensure information security until it completely de-Americanizes its information technology infrastructure and replaces it with indigenous products.

China’s technology base is not there yet but technology security has long been a strategic goal and this latest US move, coupled with the quickening deterioration of US-China relations, will no doubt spur the country to redouble its efforts to end any remaining US technology "hegemony".

The ZTE sanctions may also serve as another fillip to the growing nationalist backlash against US trade pressure, and to problems for marquee US tech firms operating in the PRC.

It increasingly feels like things between the US and China could spiral out of control quite quickly. 

Thanks for reading. 


The Essential Eight

1. Manufacturing Barriers Lowered As China Targets US Sorghum For Dumping

China to phase out share-holding limits for foreign investors in manufacturing sectors - Xinhua:

Share-holding limits for special-purpose vehicles and new energy vehicles will be scrapped for foreign investors in 2018, while those for commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles will be lifted in 2020 and 2022 respectively, said the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

The limits will be lifted this year on shipbuilding processes including design, manufacturing and repair, and on production of airplanes including trunk and regional airliners, general-purpose airplanes, helicopters, drones and aerostats, according to the NDRC.

A new negative list for foreign investors will be published as early as possible in the first half of this year.

China to Ease Rules on Foreign Auto Makers - WSJ:

The action could bolster President Donald Trump’s assertions that his policy of pressurizing China to modify its trade behavior is yielding swift results. Even so, people in the industry said the reshaping of China’s auto sector wouldn’t necessarily hand an advantage to foreign players, as the implications of the reforms would take years to become clear.

“We have no plan to change our investment ratio,” said Keitaro Nakamura, a China-based spokesman for Honda Motor Co. , which operates joint ventures with local auto makers Guangzhou Auto and Dongfeng Motor Co. “If we had this option 20 years ago when we were first coming into the market, we might have thought differently. But we’ve been working with them for two decades.”

China announces anti-dumping measures on U.S. sorghum - Xinhua:

A preliminary ruling by the MOC found that U.S. companies had dumped grain sorghum on the Chinese market, and such imports had caused substantial damage to the domestic industry.

Starting on Wednesday, importers of the product will be required to pay deposits with Chinese customs calculated based on a rate of 178.6 percent, according to the ministry.

Data from the MOC showed U.S. sorghum exports to China surged from 317,000 tonnes in 2013 to 4.76 million tonnes in 2017, while export prices have slumped 31 percent during the period, which led to a fall in domestic prices that hurt local industries.

China tariffs spark shake-up of global soybean trade flows - Reuters:

China’s voracious appetite for the bean outstrips forecast global exports, excluding the United States, so trade flows may emerge with crops from the fields of Illinois and Iowa possibly set for a detour via crushing plants in South America.

The proposal by China for a 25 percent tariff, part of its response to U.S. plans to impose tariffs on a range of Chinese products, has already driven up prices in alternative suppliers Brazil and Argentina.

China seeks trade firewall with U.S. allies in rush of ambassador meetings - sources - Reuters:

China’s international trade representative held a series of meetings with the ambassadors from major European nations last week to ask them to stand together with Beijing against U.S. protectionism, according to four sources familiar with the discussions...

The rush of meetings last Thursday and Friday with ambassadors from France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, and the European Union, may be a signal that China is trying to build a firewall against Trump’s aggressive trade measures, the severity of which some foreign diplomats said Beijing had miscalculated.

The individual meetings, which were called by Fu [Ziying], were generally “non-confrontational” as China sought support in countering the United States, a European diplomat with knowledge of the discussions told Reuters. There were, though, some “subliminal threats” about consequences for foreign companies, this person said.

This is deeply ironic, if Trump really had a coherent strategy against Chinese trade misbehavior he would have long ago brought the EU countries into a coalition to jointly pressure China. But China has so mistreated the EU countries that no matter how frustrated they are with Trump few are likely to want to help Beijing with this.


2. Deepening US-China Tech War Unavoidable?

U.S. Wants to Retaliate Against China’s Restrictions on American Tech Firms - WSJ:

The U.S. is examining ways to retaliate against Beijing’s restrictions on U.S. providers of cloud computing and other high-tech services, effectively opening a new front on its trade offensive against China.

According to individuals familiar with the administration’s thinking, the U.S. trade representative’s office is putting together a fresh trade complaint, probably under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, arguing that Beijing unfairly restricts U.S. trade in these high-tech services.

The trade representative has yet to decide whether to go ahead with the complaint, the individuals said, which would be in addition to recent moves to ratchet up pressure on China, including the imposition of tariffs on a total of $150 billion in Chinese imports. But USTR, which has taken the lead in the China trade fight, views China’s restrictions on cloud computing as providing a clear-cut example that might garner public support.

U.S. Ban Risks Leaving China’s Rising Tech Star ‘Half Dead’ - Bloomberg:

It couldn’t have happened at a worse time. ZTE finds itself grappling with life-threatening sanctions once more just as major wireless carriers prepare to roll out 5G networks worldwide. The U.S. government slapped a seven-year ban on its purchase of components from American companies for ignoring promises made in 2017 to resolve a sanctions dispute -- then lying about it.

The moratorium threatens a swathe of components needed to hawk gear to clients like China Mobile Ltd. and Europe’s Telefonica SA. The Chinese firm relies on suppliers from Qualcomm Inc. and Micron Technology Inc. to Lumentum Holdings Inc. and Acacia Communications Inc. for optical components and chipsets in the equipment and smartphones it sells globally.

Global Times editorial on the need to end reliance on US chips-社评:发展国产芯片,中国不能三心二意了_评论_环球网:

过去中国市场不怀疑美国供应商的信誉,没怎么去想美方如果断供会怎么样。但是中兴的遭遇证明了,美方的供应并不可靠。世界供应链在政治面前是脆弱的,美国人已经开始认真考虑如何遏制中国崛起,对华高科技出口限制是它的一直在使用的王牌,它今后很可能会扩大这张王牌的适用范围。

中国必须要做好应对更坏情况的准备,形成把本国市场组织起来支持核心技术发展的强大预案。我们不能被美方对华出口松一松、紧一紧而打乱自己开发本国核心技术的节奏,现在到了我们真正下决心的时候。

Global Times has already translated it--Time to start manufacturing chips domestically now:

China has never questioned the reliability of US suppliers in the past. But ZTE's case suggests that US supply is not reliable. The global supply chain is fragile in the face of politics. Americans have started to reckon upon means to counter China's rise and restraints on high-tech exports to China are their leverage. The US may use this tool more widely in future.

China must prepare for the worst and integrate resources to support the development of core technologies. China's technological exploration shouldn't be upset by US factors. It's time for China to make up its mind and develop domestic technologies.

China is the world's largest telecommunications market and it makes sense for the country to offer up a slice of that market in exchange for technology. Now that the US refuses this approach, China should take advantage of the market to directly support domestic high-tech companies. There may be some difficulties during the process, but the country can overcome all hardships and realize technological renovation of domestic firms.

Cyber security watchdog warns UK telcos against using equipment from Chinese supplier ZTE - FT $$:

Ian Levy, the technical director of The National Cyber Security Centre, has sent a letter, seen by the Financial Times, to UK telecoms companies, the Chinese company and UK regulator Ofcom warning that “the use of ZTE equipment or services within existing telecommunications infrastructure would present risk to UK national security that could not be mitigated effectively or practicably”...

Huawei, along with Ericsson and Nokia, supplies most of the telecoms equipment used in British mobile and broadband networks. Huawei equipment is monitored via a specialist cell, staffed by GCHQ, in Banbury to ensure no interference. The NCSC said it would be “impossible” to manage risks in view of the threat to the sector if ZTE equipment was deployed at scale.

Huawei, Failing to Crack U.S. Market, Signals a Change in Tactics - The New York Times:

Last week, the company laid off five American employees, including William B. Plummer, the executive who was the face of its Sisyphean efforts to win over Washington, according to people familiar with the matter. Huawei has also been dialing back its political outreach in the United States, these people said — which could end a decade of mostly fruitless efforts to dispel Washington’s accusations that the company has ties to the Chinese government.

The Cyberspace Administration and the CSRC have jointly issued an opinion on better using capital markets to help achieve the national goal of building China into an Internet Superpower--中国政府法制信息网 部门法治信息 中央网信办和中国证监会联合发布《关于推动资本市场服务网络强国建设的指导意见》: 

《意见》指出,党的十八大以来,以习近平同志为核心的党中央高度重视网络安全和信息化工作,我国网信事业取得积极进展,网络强国建设不断深入推进。推动资本市场服务网络强国建设,应以习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想为指导,并遵循以下总体要求:推动网信事业和资本市场协同发展,保障国家网络安全和金融安全,促进网信和证券监管工作联动。


3. Q1 GDP Growth Unsurprisingly Doesn't Surprise

First Quarter Economic Growth Stable at 6.8% - Caixin Global:

However, on a seasonally adjusted quarter-on-quarter basis, China’s GDP growth in the first quarter slowed to 1.4% from 1.6% in the previous quarter, decelerating for the third straight quarter, official data showed...

Fixed-asset investment excluding rural households, a key driver of domestic demand, rose by 7.5% year-on-year in the first quarter, NBS data showed, moderating from a rise of 7.9% in the January-February period. Private investment jumped 8.9% year-on-year in the first quarter, the highest reading since an annual growth rate of 10.1% for 2015...

Retail sales, which include spending by households, government departments and businesses, rose 10.1% year-on-year last month, the fastest increase since November.

Consumption growth contributed 77.8% to GDP growth in the first quarter, much higher than 58.8% for the whole of last year, NBS data showed.

China’s Economic Growth Remains Robust Amid Strong Retail Sales - Bloomberg:

As consumption’s contribution to growth typically surges in the first three months, Tuesday’s data isn’t likely to be indicative of the outlook for the rest of the year. Indeed, economists forecast a slowdown from 2017 to 6.5 percent growth in 2018, as Xi’s financial risk campaign gains further traction. And if trade tensions with the U.S. escalate, it may be asking too much of China’s new economy to take up all the slack.

Surging China steel output defies Trump pressure - FT $$

On paper, China is at war with excess steel production. Over the past two years authorities have ostensibly cut millions of tonnes of capacity, with officials in the country’s biggest steel producing regions ordering mills to halve their output during winter. 

Yet at the Jianlong steel mill in Shanxi province, steel workers complain they spent the season working overtime. “I have been doing 15-hour shifts at least once a week this winter,” grumbled a steelworker who gave his name only as Wang, and who has worked at the mill for the past decade.


4. Bank Bad Debts Understated?

I know, that would be a shocker...

Banks Likely Underreport Bad Debts, State Firm Finds - Caixin Global:

Banks have likely understated their bad debt, according to one of China’s four national asset management companies (AMCs), which expects nonperforming loans (NPLs) to grow this year as lenders come under more pressure to recognize and dispose of them.

The AMC’s report was a rare acknowledgment from a state-owned company that the official figure for tracking bad debt in the banking system might be underestimated — a view that is widely held outside of China.

China’s bad-debt ratio is likely higher than officially reported, according to conclusions drawn from a data analysis and industry surveys conducted from late November to late December by China Orient Asset Management Co., a state-controlled AMC that has published its report on the country’s bad debt for the last 11 years.


5. National Security In The New Era

Xi calls for efforts to break new ground in national security - Xinhua:

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday called for efforts to fully implement a holistic approach to national security and break new ground in national security in the new era.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), made the remarks at the first meeting of the 19th CPC Central Committee National Security Commission, which he heads.

The Tuesday CCTV Evening News led with a report on the meeting, but no video from inside, just text, Li Keqiang and Li Zhanshu are the only other officials named as attending, so they are the vice chairs of the commission? - 习近平在十九届中央国家安全委员会第一次会议上强调 全面贯彻落实总体国家安全观 开创新时代国家安全工作新局面 :

中共中央总书记、国家主席、中央军委主席、中央国家安全委员会主席习近平4月17日下午主持召开十九届中央国家安全委员会第一次会议并发表重要讲话。习近平强调,要加强党对国家安全工作的集中统一领导,正确把握当前国家安全形势,全面贯彻落实总体国家安全观,努力开创新时代国家安全工作新局面,为实现“两个一百年”奋斗目标、实现中华民族伟大复兴的中国梦提供牢靠安全保障。

李克强、栗战书出席会议..

习近平强调,要坚持党对国家安全工作的绝对领导,实施更为有力的统领和协调。中央国家安全委员会要发挥好统筹国家安全事务的作用,抓好国家安全方针政策贯彻落实,完善国家安全工作机制,着力在提高把握全局、谋划发展的战略能力上下功夫,不断增强驾驭风险、迎接挑战的本领。要加强国家安全系统党的建设,坚持以政治建设为统领,教育引导国家安全部门和各级干部增强“四个意识”、坚定“四个自信”,坚决维护党中央权威和集中统一领导,建设一支忠诚可靠的国家安全队伍。

会议审议通过了《党委(党组)国家安全责任制规定》,明确了各级党委(党组)维护国家安全的主体责任,要求各级党委(党组)加强对履行国家安全职责的督促检查,确保党中央关于国家安全工作的决策部署落到实处。

中央国家安全委员会常务委员、委员出席,中央和国家机关有关部门负责同志列席会议。


6. Chinese Port Deals In The Indo-Pacific

C4ADS - Harbored Ambitions How China’s Port Investments are Strategically Reshaping the Indo-Pacific:

This report evaluates China’s maritime infrastructure investment goals in the Indo-Pacific within the context of both policy from official documents and analyses from state- and Communist Party-affiliated publications. The authors find that Chinese analysts unofficially discussing port investments routinely prioritize China’s national security interests over the objective of mutually beneficial economic development, contradicting the position of official policy documents. Chinese analysts argue that the BRI’s Maritime Silk Road component can help ensure Beijing’s access to vital shipping lanes. Port investments are viewed as vehicles with which China can cultivate political influence to constrain recipient countries and build dual-use infrastructure to facilitate Beijing’s long-range naval operations. In some cases, analysts explicitly propose using international assistance and development as a pretext for pursuing China’s geopolitical objectives.

One Belt, One Road, One Happy Chinese Navy – Foreign Policy:

The report, conducted by C4ADS, an American data-driven research nonprofit, examined 15 Chinese port deals across the Indian Ocean region. It concluded that, contrary to Beijing’s public rhetoric, the economics of the deals are questionable, political control is nearly absolute, and one of the main drivers is to give the Chinese navy the possibility of far-reaching logistical support under the cover of seemingly innocuous commercial operations...

Beijing’s leap into the Indian Ocean is even subtler and more incremental than its land grab in the South China Sea. The low-key, seemingly innocent approach makes it hard for Washington to craft a response, says Medeiros, the former Obama official.

“For any military, it’s easier to respond to overt aggression,” he says. “It’s harder to mobilize national resources, it’s harder to mobilize allies and partners, when there is uncertainty about the nature of the challenge.”

Does the US believe that India will be a stalwart partner against China? - Shanghai spirit permeates Sino-Indian dialogue | Asia Times:

China places great store on symbolism. The “Shanghai spirit” is often invoked to hail the historic Sino-Russian rapprochement in the mid-1990s, which subsequently blossomed into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as a vehicle to carry forward the impulses of their détente.

This analogy would have occurred to India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval when Chinese leader Yang Jiechi, a member of China’s Politburo (who heads the Communist Party’s newly-created Central Leading Group on Foreign Affairs) chose to receive him at Shanghai last week for a meeting that could augur a potential Sino-Indian detente.

China taking direct aim at US with Indo-Pacific trade strategy, expert says | South China Morning Post:

The Hainan plan, unveiled by President Xi Jinping in Haikou, the provincial capital, on Friday, will have “genuine value” for China’s trade with countries in the Southeast Asian and Pacific regions, according to Iris Pang, chief Greater China economist with banking and financial services provider ING.

The proposal comes as Washington works to build up its alliances in the Indo-Pacific region, including the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, covering nations including Australia and India.


7. Jail For Criticizing "China’s Mystical Hongmao Medicinal Liquor"

Doctors and netizens are in an uproar over the Guangdong arrest by police from Inner Mongolia of a doctor who wrote an Internet post criticizing the unverified medicinal claims of a local Inner Mongolia medicinal liquor manufacturer. The firm and the local police have been widely criticized in official media and have had to back down. The doctor is now out on bail but the fallout from this case continues, with lots of questions about local policing powers and the continuing problem of unregulated medical advertisements, even after many rounds of supposed crackdowns. 

Public Miffed After Doctor Detained for Calling ‘Medicinal’ Liquor ‘Poison’ - Caixin Global:

Police in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region confirmed (link in Chinese) on Sunday that Guangdong province-based doctor Tan Qingdong had been detained for nearly 100 days on suspicion of damaging the reputation of Hongmao Medicinal Liquor, which is sold across the country as an over-the-counter traditional Chinese medicine.

The rare cross-provincial arrest was initiated after a complaint by the seller of the product, Inner Mongolia-based Hongmao Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. in December, Inner Mongolia police said in their initial official Weibo account post. Hongmao Pharmaceutical approached the county public security bureau to complain about a post Tan had published on Chinese social media app Meipian on Dec. 19.

Tan’s post, titled “China’s Mystical Hongmao Medicinal Liquor, Poison From Heaven,” urged the elderly not to drink alcohol due to its impact on their heart and blood vessels. He also wrote that some of the 67 listed ingredients of Hongmao Medicinal Liquor are toxic substances commonly found in traditional Chinese medicine, and questioned whether the liquor was really able to improve any of the conditions it claimed to treat, including coronary heart disease and irregular menstruation...

After facing criticism from social media users and state media alike, Inner Mongolia authorities announced (link in Chinese) on Tuesday afternoon that they had found the “current facts of the case unclear, and the evidence insufficient,” and that Tan could be released on bail.

Arrest for Slandering Snake Oil Angers Doctors - Sixth Tone:

The news of Tan’s arrest drew heated online discussion over the weekend, with many in the medical profession supporting the doctor. The medicated liquor’s 67 exotic ingredients — including leopard bone — anger both doctors and animal welfare advocates.

DXY.cn, a leading health care provider and online forum for physicians, is among Tan’s supporters. Xia Zhimin, a doctor and the deputy editor-in-chief of DXY.cn, says that though he and his colleagues combed through Chinese and English studies, they could not find any records showing that the product had gone through clinical trials — usually a necessary step for over-the-counter medication.

“There are no instructions about dosage or side effects,” Xia told Sixth Tone, adding that a lack of rigorous, evidence-based research is a common problem among TCM products. The dramatic cross-province arrest was uncalled for, Xia said, and more than a thousand practicing doctors have voiced their support for Tan on the DXY.cn forum using their real names.

Xinhua weights in, clearly the liquor manufacturer, the regulators and the local police should be facing some tough questions--穿越大半个中国来抓你?三问鸿茅药酒事件-新华网

Thepaper has a video interview with Dr Tan upon his release on bail. He says he does not regret writing the post but wishes had had consulted with a lawyer or a judge beforehand to understand the law better - 视频丨对话谭秦东:不后悔吐槽鸿茅药酒,看守所的日子是修行_知食分子_澎湃新闻-The Paper 


8. Korean Thaw And A Cultural Revolution-Era Model Opera

North Korea, China 'discussing Xi Jinping visit to Pyongyang':

The North is using its Beijing embassy to arrange Xi's itinerary with the international department of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported, quoting Chinese and North Korean sources.  

Comment: The rumor I heard said the visit would be in June...take with a large grain of salt right now

Two Koreas Discuss Official End to 68-Year War, Report Says - Bloomberg:

At next week’s summit between South Korea President Moon Jae-in and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, the two neighbors may release a joint statement saying they will seek to ease military tension and to end confrontation, according to the report. A direct phone line between Moon and Kim may be connected around Friday, Moon’s chief of staff, Im Jong-seok, told a briefing Tuesday, adding that it hadn’t been decided when they would hold their first conversation.

Kim Jung Un and Song Tao watched the visiting Chinese troupe perform the Cultural Revolution-era model opera "Red Detachment of Women" - 金正恩观看中国艺术团演出芭蕾舞剧《红色娘子军》_高清图集_新浪网 


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

China to Cut Reserve Requirement for Some Banks - Caixin Global The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said it will lower the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) by 1 percentage point for banks whose current RRRs are 15% or 17%, a relatively high level. Rural credit cooperatives with a lower RRR are not in the list. The change will come into effect on April 25 and inject around 400 billion yuan ($63.7 billion) into the economy, the PBOC said.

Hebei ‘Ghost Town’ to Get Billions More in Investment - Caixin Global The North China province said in a statement published last week that it endorses “in principle” a plan to turn the Caofeidian industrial zone into an oil-refining and petrochemical integrated zone, with oil-refining and petrochemical facilities that have a total annual production capacity of about 50 million metric tons (55.1 million tons) per year. Hebei authorities said the zone’s future development will be in line with the province’s industrial restructuring and the upgrading of the petrochemical industry in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. Caofeidian will host facilities such as oil-loading docks capable of handling 80 million tons of crude oil and 20 million tons of liquefied natural gas per year.

Stock Exchanges Step Up Efforts to Stop Price Manipulation - Caixin Global Chinese regulators are proposing to tighten disclosure requirements on shareholdings in listed companies to prevent investors from secretly building up stakes, creating a false market in the stock and harming the interests of small shareholders.

Investing: China opportunities according to Eastspring Investments - CNBC We see a lot of investment opportunities in China, and the trade war talk and ZTE and actions that have been taken by the U.S. and the U.K. against Chinese firms that aren't playing by the rules — these are just a normal part of ironing out relationships," she said. Eastspring has had an "overweight" position on Chinese assets for a long time, Lien said, adding that she likes the Chinese banks.

China Boosts Its U.S. Treasuries Holdings by Most in Six Months - Bloomberg China’s ownership of U.S. bonds, bills and notes increased by $8.5 billion to $1.18 trillion in February, according to data released by the U.S. Treasury department on Monday. China remained the largest foreign creditor to the U.S., followed by Japan whose holdings dropped to $1.06 trillion, from $1.07 trillion in January.

Hainan curbs housing speculation amid free trade zone pilot - Xinhua The Hainan provincial housing and urban-rural development bureau issued a notice on Monday requiring all cities and counties in the province to strictly carry out the policies to curb housing speculation. Government officials in cities which fail to rein in the soaring housing prices will be censured. The new rule states that residential properties bought after March 30 are not eligible for resale for five years.

 

Politics, Law And Ideology

中国华融资产管理股份有限公司党委书记、董事长赖小民个人涉嫌严重违纪违法接受纪律审查和监察调查—中央纪委国家监委网站 China Huarong Asset Management Co., Ltd Chairman Lai Xiaomin is under disciplinary examination and supervisory investigation...is 纪律审查和监察调查 the new phrase when the National Supervisory Commission runs an investigation in tandem with the CCDI?

到西部地区、老工业基地和革命老区挂职锻炼--时政--人民网 The Organization Department has selected 283 cadres to go to poor areas and take up temporary posts for training...In the Xi Era this program is likely much better for one's career than the Harvard training program boondoggle  //  近日,中央组织部聚焦脱贫攻坚,选派了283名干部到西部地区、老工业基地和革命老区挂职锻炼。 为深入贯彻落实党的十九大关于坚决打赢脱贫攻坚战的要求,中央组织部、财政部、国务院扶贫办今年初联合印发《关于聚焦脱贫攻坚 选派干部到西部地区、老工业基地和革命老区挂职锻炼的通知》。通知印发后,中央和国家机关部委、人民团体和中央企业高度重视、积极行动,经过有关方面严格把关,确定了283名到西部地区、老工业基地和革命老区挂职干部人选。

 [视频]【在习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想指引下——新时代 新气象 新作为】北京西城:离红墙近 跟百姓亲_CCTV  以人民为中心,是红墙意识的直接体现。西城区全面推行民生工作民意立项制度,明确了凡是与百姓利益相关的事情,都要充分征集群众意见,作为决策的重要依据。目前,已经完成的132个涉及住房改善、社会服务等方面的项目,个个环节都采纳了群众意见。民生工作民意立项的做法,如今已经在北京全市推广。// CCTV Evening News has a four minute report on "Red Wall Consciousness", which is a set of local governance techniques that have worked in Beijing's Xicheng District and are now being pushed across Beijing. Perhaps they will be used a a template in cities across China now? The methods were discussed in some detail in which was discussed in this 4.16 China Daily article 'Red wall' opens doors in Beijing. The Party understands better than anyone that it needs to keep delivering the goods, so on the one hand it is trying to improve local governance and increase accountability while the other hand is an increasingly armored and high-tech fist ready to strike hard when the soft techniques don't work...

The Committee By the Numbers - MacroPolo  Beyond age, scratching beneath the surface of an ostensibly united and solidified Chinese Communist Party (CCP) of nearly 90 million members reveals distinctive pathways, backgrounds, and orientations. What emerges is a CCP that has long sought to accommodate and balance various constituencies, even as it monopolizes political power and presents an outwardly singular posture. This is evident in the Central Committee full member roster, as different interest groups are represented in this elite political body. The obvious and paramount interests include the Party apparatus, the military, and the state (see Figure 1). Combined, these three political and professional constituencies make up nearly 60% of Central Committee full members.

China launches ID authentification chip to rein personal data leak - Technode China’s Ministry of Public Security issued the first batch of 50,000 smart chip cards in Gongqing City of Jiangxi Province in an attempt to promote safer and easier identity authentication for smartphone users. The technology is expected to have wide applications in areas such as e-commerce, social media, and administrative services. Dubbed as SIMeID, the card can store users’ basic personal data such as names, phone numbers, ID card numbers, and other information. The chip is only 0.19 mm wide and can be attached to a SIM card easily.

This Communist Life: Party Podcast Celebrates Marx Bicentennial - Sixth Tone “He has a big beard,” one young voice says. “He’s German,” pipes another. Soon the vox pop gives way to a short rap before a female broadcaster introduces the birthday boy: Karl Marx. So begins the first episode of “Explaining Marx to the Post-’90s Generation,” a new radio series on the father of socialism. The 19-part series, which made its debut on Monday evening, will broadcast daily until May 5 — the 200th anniversary of Marx’s birth — on 15 radio stations around China and online through the app Archimedes FM.// More info here【党课预告】这一次,给90后讲讲马克思 

Public security minister vows to guide opinions - Global Times China's public security minister has vowed to guide management of public opinion on sensitive cases and prevent hyping of such cases, the Ministry of Public Security said in a Tuesday statement. Chinese State Councilor Zhao Kezhi, also minister of public security, said at a video conference held on Monday that to prevent challenges to political security and social stability, "we should manage them when they are small, and at an early stage," the statement said. Faced with sensitive cases, the government should also strengthen its guidance of public opinion to prevent escalation and hyping of these issues, Zhao was quoted as saying in the statement released on the ministry's official WeChat account. 赵克志在全国公安机关视频会议上强调坚持总体国家安全观 坚决履行好新时代职责使命 

 

Foreign and Military Affairs

China’s failed Long March 5 rocket ‘choked to death’, but space mission expected to resume this year  | South China Morning Post According to a short statement posted on the website of the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence, just six minutes after blasting off from the Wenchang Space Launch Centre in Hainan province on July 2, the first stage of the heavy-lift Long March 5 rocket “suddenly lost a significant amount of thrust”. The problem was caused by a turbofan in one of the main engines, the statement said.  “Under the environment of sophisticated pressure and heat, certain structures [on the turbo system] experienced abnormal changes,” it said, without elaborating.

China’s Elitist Collaborators by Juan Pablo Cardenal - Project Syndicate That strategy – more “sharp” than “soft” in practice – focuses largely on promoting personal and institutional engagement, cooperation, and exchanges with Latin American elites in four main areas: media, culture, academia, and politics. For example, China produces free media content to be shared locally, provides scholarships to Latin American students and professionals to be “trained” in China, creates partnerships with local universities and think tanks, and opens and operates Confucius Institutes, among other initiatives. But the single most powerful tool China employs is people-to-people exchange, whereby China seeks to build strong personal relationships with influential individuals from a variety of fields. To that end, Chinese leaders bring Latin American political figures, academics, journalists, high-ranking government officials, ex-diplomats, and others to China to participate in weeks-long trainings, academic events, or ad hoc exchange programs, and meet their Chinese counterparts.

The Silk Railroad. The EU-China rail connections: background, actors, interests | OSW The report discusses the current state and future prospects of rail connections between China and the countries of the European Union. Special emphasis is placed on the role of Central Europe. It presents the goals and the policy adopted by the Chinese side in the process of building rail connections with European countries, compares the current and the planned transport corridors, offers an analysis of the economic potential of the China-Europe rail connections. It also discusses various business models of cooperation with China in rail transport.

Chinese vice president meets with Communist Party of Vietnam delegation - Xinhua | The Vietnamese delegation was led by Nguyen Van Binh, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPV Central Committee (CPVCC) and of the Secretariat of the CPVCC. Wang said during the meeting that socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, it is necessary to uphold Party leadership and to pursue with firmness of purpose the new vision of innovative, coordinated, green, and open development that is for everyone.

China Announces Commissioning of DF-26 Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile Brigade | The Diplomat On Monday, PLA Daily announced that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army-Rocket Force (PLARF) had commissioned a new brigade of its Dong Feng 26 (DF-26) intermediate-range ballistic missile. Video footage carried in Chinese state media showed at least 22 integrated 12-axle DF-26 transporter-erector-launchers along with their crews. The DF-26 is thought to have a range capability of around 4,000 kilometers and is capable of delivering both nuclear and conventional payloads.

China's fighter jet J-10C begins combat duty(1/4) - ECNS China's new multi-role fighter jet J-10C began combat duty Monday, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) air force announced. Equipped with an advanced avionics system and various airborne weapons, the domestically-developed fighter has airstrike capabilities within medium and close range and is capable of precisely striking land and maritime targets.

Hong Kong, Macao

Hong Kong civil servants to get HK$23.7 million worth of ‘national studies training’, some of it conducted by Beijing officials | South China Morning Post Basic Law expert Qiao Xiaoyang will speak at a seminar on the mini-constitution on Friday, the second mainland representative to do so in a week

Beijing ‘confuses Hong Kong localism with being anti-China’ | South China Morning Post Researchers at City University have warned that Hongkongers are being pushed into rejecting their national identity because the local and Beijing governments are “misdiagnosing” the problem by equating localism with being unpatriotic.

Compromise with Beijing now or suffer later | South China Morning Post Hong Kong’s intransigence on enacting a national security law means reforms on the political and economic fronts are also being held back. Isn’t it time we met the central government half way?  

 

Tech And Media

Every big tech firm in China is becoming a self-driving car company — Quartz China’s entire BAT grouping—which apart from Alibaba includes search giant Baidu, and social-media and Tencent, the social media and gaming titan—is now in the self-driving industry. They join a series of smaller startups in the space. And each of the giants, who dominate the country’s tech scene, is trying to recruit related firms—in automobiles or artificial intelligence—into its camp.

Chinese Art Films to get $16 Million Acquisition Fund – Variety The A.R.T. Project fund is intended to invest in 15 films by Chinese directorial talent over a period of five years. All are to be guaranteed Chinese theatrical release, international festival representation and overseas sales. The backers include: Perfect Village Entertainment, the merged production operations of Perfect World and Village Roadshow in China; Hong Kong and Chinese-based distributor and exhibitor, Edko Films; Hong Kong producer Irresistible Films; Chinese marketing firm and website operator Maoyan Media, and state-owned distributor, Huaxia Film Distribution.

Apple's dominance in China is over, UBS says (AAPL) | Markets Insider Apple is hitting a wall in China, UBS analyst Steven Milunovich wrote in note to clients.  The iPhone maker's presence in China peaked in 2015, and it has been downhill from there. "In 2015 the move to 4G and the new iPhone 6/6 Plus form factors drove significant growth for Apple at the expense of Samsung," Milunovich wrote. "We now expect flat China units and little long-term growth," he said.

 

Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

Mentally ill Chinese man ‘lost’ for a year reunited with family thanks to facial recognition technology | South China Morning Post A mentally ill Chinese man who was cared for by the authorities for more than a year has finally been reunited with his family after he was identified with the help of facial recognition technology, according to a newspaper report.

 

Energy, Environment, Science And Health

Beijing strengthens efforts to tackle catkin woes - Xinhua The Beijing municipal government will strengthen efforts to deal with the capital's flying catkins, the cotton-like seed clusters that cause discomfort and fire hazards during spring, local authorities said Tuesday. Du Jianjun, an official with the Beijing municipal landscape and forestry bureau, said that flower inhibitor will be used on female poplars and willows to prevent them from producing catkins, and trees will be washed with high-pressure water guns and fallen seeds will be collected.

China cuts smog but health damage already done - study - Reuters China faces about 1.6 million premature deaths a year as a result of air pollution, the U.S.-based Health Effects Institute (HEI) said in a report, based on data going back to 1990, published on Tuesday. China cut concentrations of hazardous particles known as PM2.5 by 6.5 percent in 338 cities last year. Smog-prone northern regions also met 2013-2017 air quality targets after a winter campaign to cut industrial output, coal consumption and traffic. Nevertheless, deaths could still rise as China ages and overall air quality remains below the country’s own standards, the study showed 

Ministry of Ecology and Environment to oversee water quality - ECNS The Ministry of Ecology and Environment is set to take charge of the monitoring and supervision of surface water quality to provide accurate information for water pollution control and ensure data authenticity, the Legal Daily reported. Local governments, which previously had responsibility for water quality monitoring, were required to build 2,050 national-level water monitoring stations along China's 10 major rivers and hand them over to the ministry by the end of July, the report said. The move will help the ministry know and handle the condition of water quality in the country.

 

Education

Renmin U announces new steps to curb sexual harassment - China Daily Renmin University of China has issued trial regulations against sexual harassment on campus, Beijing Youth Daily reported on Tuesday, after Peking University took similar moves. In three documents about improving code of ethics of teachers, the university said that teachers shall be dismissed for severe sexual harassment or improper relationship.

Westlake University announces prestigious school board - ECNS The latest heavyweight to join Westlake University's ranks is biologist Xu Tian, who gave up his tenure at Yale University and was elected vice president of Westlake. Professor Qiu Min, who worked as a full professor (Professor of Photonics) at the Royal Institute of Technology in 2009, was also elected vice president. Several donors to the university, including Pony Ma of Tencent and Wang Jianlin of Dalian Wanda Group, were also recognized as honorary board members.

 

Food And Travel

Leftovers From Beijing Restaurants Used as Swill to Feed Pigs | the Beijinger A number of Beijing restaurants have been caught selling off their food waste to be used as pig swill, a banned practice that may cause diseases in the animals, like pigs, that eat it (and, in turn, harm those who eat their meat). A month-long undercover investigation by Beijing News culiminated in a multi-department raid on a Tongzhou village on Monday when investigators discovered some 14 farms were using restaurant food waste to feed some 3,000 pigs.