March 1 not a "magical date"; UK report on CCP interference; Squeezing Kiwis; S&T innovation

It is a snow day here at Sinocism HQ, soon to be a sleet and freezing rain day. Our kids are home and I have to clear the driveway and walkway so apologies there is no commentary up top today. I hope the trade talks Thursday and Friday are not as messy as DC is today.

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The Essential Eight

1. US-China trade

Trump Eases Off Hard Deadline for China Tariffs - WSJ $$:

President Trump gave his firmest indication yet that the U.S. may not increase tariffs on Chinese goods on March 1, as scheduled, despite statements by his top trade official that the U.S. should stick to a firm deadline.

That deadline to complete talks with Beijing is “not a magical date,” he told reporters Tuesday, as midlevel U.S. and Chinese negotiators started this week’s trade meetings. Cabinet-level officials will join the discussions Thursday.

Mr. Trump and his advisers have said they are considering a meeting with President Xi sometime in the coming weeks. Under that scenario, the Trump-Xi meeting would effectively act as the deadline for a deal. American officials want that session to take place in the U.S.

U.S. Presses China for Stable Yuan in Trade Talks: Sources - Bloomberg:

Officials from the two countries are discussing how to address currency policy in a “Memorandum of Understanding” that would form the basis of a deal that ultimately will have to be approved by President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, according to several people involved in and briefed on the discussions.

While the precise wording remains unresolved, a pledge of yuan stability has been discussed in multiple rounds of talks in recent months and both sides have tentatively agreed it will be part of the framework of any final deal. Negotiations resume Tuesday in Washington and are scheduled to continue through Friday as a March 1 deadline for higher U.S. tariffs approaches.

Comment: So the US is asking china to keep manipulating its currency and make state-directed purchases...such structural reform is challenging to grasp even for masters of cognitive dissonance...I made this comment, CFR's Brad Setser replied with a thread explaining why this makes sense:

U.S. Push for Stable Yuan May Unwind China's Move Toward Markets - Bloomberg:

“It’s definitely a way of keeping the pressure on China -- forcing them to keep the renminbi stable, while also making the removal of 10 percent tariffs contingent on implementation,” said Robin Brooks, an economist at the Institute of International Finance in Washington...

Pressuring China to anchor its currency is against their interests, Brooks pointed out. Chinese policy makers have been encouraging a flexible exchange rate since 2015, when it was agreed that the yuan would be added to a basket of currencies that IMF member nations can count on toward official reserves -- a move toward global prestige.

Amid trade talks, China urges U.S. to respect its right to develop, prosper | Reuters:

Respect and cooperation are the correct choice for both countries, something the international community hopes to see, State Councillor Wang Yi told the delegation of U.S. business leaders and former officials in Beijing on Tuesday.

The U.S. delegation included former U.S. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Myron Brilliant, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce China Center President Jeremie Waterman.

Principles for US-China negotiations - Global Times:

The world's stock markets surged Monday due to the optimistic prospects on the deals that Beijing and Washington are expected to make. US President Donald Trump praised "big progress" in the trade deal on Twitter. His words further stoked the stock markets of the US, which reached the highest in two months and so increased pressure on the Trump administration to close the deal with China.

Analysts believe that if the two countries couldn't come to an agreement, and as a result the US imposes more tariffs on Chinese products while China responds with fiercer countermeasures, it would be a catastrophic strike to global stock markets.

In terms of avoiding such blows, the Trump administration is probably the most pressured. Thus in general, by the end of the trade negotiations, China and the US have become more psychologically equal.

China’s Slumping Current Account Surplus Can’t Be Blamed on the Trade War — Yet - Caixin:

A 70% account surplus slump reflects swelling goods trade deficit with countries like Japan and South Korea, long-running service trade deficit

*Real impact of U.S. trade war will likely bite this year when China could book its first full-year current account deficit in a quarter-century

Answering China's Economic Challenge: Preserving Power, Enhancing Prosperity - The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) - by Charles W. Boustany and Aaron L. Friedberg:

This initial report of the Taskforce on Transforming the Economic Dimension of U.S. China Strategy examines the origins, evolution, and troubling implications of China’s “mercantilist Leninist” economic policies; considers how the U.S. should define its objectives in responding to this challenge; and explores the prospects for negotiating a satisfactory settlement to the current trade standoff...


2. Life in jail for Fang Fenghui

Former military chief of staff sentenced to life imprisonment - Xinhua

A military court on Wednesday convicted Fang Fenghui, former chief of staff of China's Central Military Commission Joint Staff Department, on three accounts of crime and sentenced him to life imprisonment according to law.

Fang was found guilty on accepting and offering bribes, as well as holding a huge amount of property from unidentified sources, according to the court ruling.

He was also deprived of his political rights for life and had his personal properties confiscated, the document said.

The illicit money and properties confiscated will be turned over to the state coffers

房峰辉被判处无期徒刑 :

2019年2月20日,军事法院依法对中央军委联合参谋部原参谋长房峰辉受贿、行贿、巨额财产来源不明案进行了宣判,认定房峰辉犯受贿罪、行贿罪、巨额财产来源不明罪,数罪并罚,决定执行无期徒刑,剥夺政治权利终身,并处没收个人全部财产,追缴的赃款赃物上缴国库。

General Zhang Yang we detained at the same time. He killed himself in November 2017.


3. New report on CCP interference and influence in the UK

Charles Parton writes on CCP influence and interference in the UK. Will this paper help catalyze an Australia-like response to CCP activities in the UK?

UK vulnerable to Chinese interference, report says - BBC News:

A report from the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) said it would be "naive" and "irresponsible" to allow Chinese tech giant Huawei to access the UK's telecommunications system...

While there has been "widespread debate" about Chinese interference in countries such as the US and Australia, Mr Parton told the BBC that the UK's response had been characterised by "silence".

"We need it out in the open," he said.

The report describes how the Chinese Communist Party has tried to place its people as advisers to Western politicians.

It also highlights what it calls "elite capture" - the appointment of former politicians, civil servants and businessmen to lucrative jobs after they leave office in which they promote Chinese interests.

China–UK Relations: Where to Draw the Border Between Influence and Interference? | RUSI:

This Occasional Paper seeks to outline the likely extent of the Chinese Communist Party's interference activities in the UK and to make some recommendations on what needs to be done to counter them..

In countering Chinese interference, the UK should distinguish between what cannot be tackled, what is not worth addressing because CCP efforts are ineffective, and what is harmful to the UK and must be stopped. This paper covers seven areas: academia/think tanks; interference in the Western press and freedom in publishing; freedom of speech and rule of law; public policy and politics; espionage; threats to critical national infrastructure; and wider technological threats including the spillover from surveillance and control technology/systems and internet governance. It includes recommendations for action in each of these areas.

Defence against Chinese interference requires: knowledge (of how the Party works and of China’s foreign policy and external actions); transparency (particularly relating to funding); publicity (of unacceptable activities); unity/solidarity (within government and with allies); and reciprocity (would China allow the equivalent actions/interference by foreigners in China?). Some turbulence in relations is unavoidable, but risks are manageable. The greater risk is inaction, which will make longer-term resistance to interference harder. Ultimately, the UK’s goal must be genuine reciprocity and an equal, mature and comprehensive relationship with China.

In this interview Nigel Inkster, former MI6 director of operations and intelligence, argues that Huawei may still end up excluded when the full UK review is done-Britain confident Huawei risk in 5G can be contained - RN Breakfast - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)


4. Chinese pressure on New Zealand increasing

Fake OpEd on People's Daily English site byformer Prime Minister Dame Jenny Shipley - Foreign Minister Winston Peters slams former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley after China Daily article appears - NZ Herald:

Foreign Minister Winston Peters has launched a stinging attack on former Prime Minister Dame Jenny Shipley after an article appeared in China's "People's Daily" under her byline complimenting China on its reforms and the Belt and Road Initiative.

But Shipley did not write the piece, which appears under the Online opinion section. It is headlined "We need to listen to China" and carries Dame Jenny's byline and on Tuesday night was the fourth best read piece on the website.

She was interviewed by the state-run newspaper in December for a feature article which has run already and was surprised to learn a new piece had been published under her name.

New Zealand should desist from undermining China’s growing influence - Global Times:

China is New Zealand's largest trading partner and biggest commodity export destination. According to stats.govt.nz, New Zealand's two-way trade with China reached NZ$26.1 billion ($18 billion) in the December 2017 calendar year. The country has witnessed a rapid growth in exports to China, which has driven the country's trade surplus. New Zealand had a NZ$3.6 billion ($2.5 billion) goods and services trade surplus with China for the December 2017 calendar year...

New Zealand has benefitted a lot from the Asian economic development. It shouldn't act as an anti-China pawn of the US. Some New Zealand politicians believe that compared with staunch US allies like Australia, Wellington is only playing second fiddle to the US and China won't take steps against it..Even if the Chinese government doesn't take tit-for-tat action for the sake of bilateral relations, the Chinese public, riled by the hostile moves of the Ardern government, will cold shoulder New Zealand  

Translation: Nice business you do with us, shame if it suddenly went away...

Huawei never excluded from New Zealand's 5G network construction: NZ PM:

"How far down the track the UK already is with Huawei, actually is different to New Zealand... we have a different process. We have a piece of legislation that says that we go through a pretty rigorous assessment independently via Government Communications and Security Bureau (GCSB), they'll look at concerns or any security issues," Ardern said.

"They have done so and have gone back to Spark... and said to them there are concerns, your option now is to mitigate those and that is the place in the process where we currently are."

"They never were not (allowed to build NZ's 5G network), there was a very quick interpretation of what happened, but as I say, the legislation sets out a process," Ardern said.

"The GCSB have raised concerns, that is in the public domain, they have gone back to Spark with those concerns, now the ball is in Spark's court, that is literally where the process sits."

Spy chief Andrew Hampton says damage to NZ relations with China plays no part in decision-making - NZ Herald:

GCSB head Andrew Hampton has made it clear that he is not concerned about any damage in relations between New Zealand and China over his decisions involving Huawei.

"I am in the national security business. I am not in the foreign affairs business," he told reporters at Parliament after appearing before the Intelligence and Security Committee.

But he also dampened speculation that any clearance of Huawei 5G technology in Britain would necessarily have a similar effect in New Zealand.

Speaking about the UK Huawei evaluation centre, he said its work was useful in informing the GCSB decision-making "but their level of confidence in Huawei has been decreasing."


5. S&T innovation and the dark side of the moon

Wednesday evening CCTV Evening News top report on Xi and the entire standing committee meeting with representatives of the Chang'e 4 expedition to the dark side of the moon

Of course Xi uses the opportunity to once again emphasize indigenous innovation and the importance of making breakthroughs in core technologies.

Xi meets Chang'e-4 mission representatives - Xinhua:

Chinese President Xi Jinping met representatives of space scientists and engineers who participated in the research and development of the Chang'e-4 mission at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Wednesday afternoon.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, noted that there is no end for space exploration.

Xi called on science and technology workers and space engineers in China to ride on the wave of the Chang'e-4 mission to achieve the general goal of China's lunar project, make more efforts to push forward international aerospace cause and bring more Chinese wisdom, solutions and force to the peaceful use of space and the building of a community with a shared future for humanity.

习近平在会见探月工程嫦娥四号任务参研参试人员代表时强调 为实现我国探月工程目标乘胜前进 为推动世界航天事业发展继续努力_CCTV):

习近平指出,实践告诉我们,伟大事业都基于创新。创新决定未来。建设世界科技强国,不是一片坦途,唯有创新才能抢占先机。这次任务实现了多项创新,填补系列国际国内空白,充分体现了自主创新要敢下先手棋、善打主动仗的精神。我们要深刻把握世界科技发展大势,弘扬科学精神,瞄准战略性、基础性、前沿性领域,坚持补齐短板、跟踪发展、超前布局同步推进,努力实现关键核心技术重大突破,提升国家创新体系整体效能,不断增强科技实力和创新能力,努力在世界高技术领域占有重要一席之地。

习近平强调,实践告诉我们,伟大事业都成于实干。新时代是奋斗者的时代。新时代是在奋斗中成就伟业、造就人才的时代。我们要激励更多科学大家、领军人才、青年才俊和创新团队勇立潮头、锐意进取,以实干创造新业绩,在推进伟大事业中实现人生价值,不断为实现中华民族伟大复兴的中国梦奠定更为坚实的基础、作出新的更大的贡献。..

习近平最后说:太空探索永无止境。希望广大科技工作者、航天工作者为实现探月工程总目标乘胜前进,为推动世界航天事业发展继续努力,为人类和平利用太空、推动构建人类命运共同体贡献更多中国智慧、中国方案、中国力量!

Can China become a scientific superpower? - The great experiment - The Economist in January:

Scientific research directed from the top down can serve national goals, and a one-party system may give particularly consistent support to such programmes. China’s lunar programme has built up its capabilities steadily in a way no Western space-science programme has since Apollo, the achievements of which it may yet match.

This is the sort of methodical science that typically appeals to engineers oriented towards results—and from Jiang Zemin onwards all China’s presidents, as well as almost all its other leading politicians, have had engineering degrees. Xi Jinping, today’s president, studied chemical engineering at Tsinghua.

But the idea that you can get either truly reliable science or truly great science in a political system that depends on a culture of unappealable authority is, as yet, unproven. Perhaps you can. Perhaps you cannot. And perhaps, in trying to do so, you will discover new ways of thinking as well as fruitful knowledge.

Second commentary in the series Grasping the new implications of the important strategic opportunities for the nation's development 把握我国发展重要战略机遇新内涵", this one on the importance of upgrading China's science and technology innovation capabilities-把握我国发展重要战略机遇新内涵述评之二:提升科技创新能力--知识产权--人民网

Latest installment in the commentary series on Xi Jinping "strong military thought, this one on "entering the spring of science and technology innovation", for which civil-military fusion is key-走进科技创新的春天(强军思想引领新征程)--军事--人民网

Manufacturing creativity and maintaining control | Mercator Institute for China Studies:

In the latest China Monitor Perspectives, titled “Manufacturing creativity and maintaining control – China’s schools struggle to balance innovation and safeguard conformity,” Didi Kirsten Tatlow presents the results of field work in schools in Chengdu, Sichuan province, and Yiyang, Hunan Province. This involved interviewing some 80 teachers from very different educational institutions about their views on the role of creativity in China’s education system today.

The results of the survey point clearly to an existing gap between China’s poor and prosperous regions. The latter offer a variety of novel teaching approaches, like maker spaces, escape rooms and advanced computer classes. The former, however, are struggling with limited resources and are struggling to establish creativity-fostering environments for students. Innovation it seems is also required to close China’s vast and rising innovative education gap.


6. Bond market corruption

Shocked, just shocked...Would love to read a Liar's Poker with Chinese characteristics

Graft Probe Rumors Swirl Around Key Bond Market Player - Caixin:

The Bank of Nanjing confirmed Wednesday that three of its executives are unable to perform their duties, amid rumors that they are being questioned by the authorities in the latest crackdown on corruption in the financial industry...

Sources told Caixin that the trio have been put under investigation by the Communist Party’s anti-corruption watchdog in Jiangsu province capital Nanjing since Friday. Some bond market observers suspected they were probably involved in illegally funneling lucrative benefits to government officials or other people through the sales of structured financial products...

Rumors that they were being investigated for problematic bond transactions started to circulate last week, causing shockwaves among investors as the Bank of Nanjing is a key bond market maker and Dai is a respected veteran bond trader


7. Tsai Ing-wen speaks to CNN

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen issues a warning to the world over China - CNN:

In an exclusive interview with CNN, Tsai said the military threat posed by China was growing "every day" in line with a more assertive foreign policy under its President Xi Jinping.

"If it's Taiwan today, people should ask who's next? Any country in the region -- if it no longer wants to submit to the will of China, they would face similar military threats," said Tsai...

Taiwan's unofficial ally the United States has for decades acted as the island's security guarantee against the threat of Chinese military action. But when asked directly, Tsai wouldn't be drawn on whether she believed US President Donald Trump would come to her aid.

Instead the Taiwan leader said she is focused on strengthening Taiwan's own defense capabilities in the face of an "imbalanced war," as China's military modernizes.

"We have to be prepared at all times," she said.


8. More on rural revitalization and Document No. 1

Dim Sums is my favorite English-language blog on China's rural issues...the author prefers anonymity but has been a Western government official who specializes in China's rural affairs. This post is the best summary I have seen so far of the document released this week.

Dim Sums: Rural China Economics and Policy: "Document No. 1" Worries About Supply of Farm Products

China's Central Document no. 1 proclaims the importance of doing a good job on rural affairs work in 2019 in view of the challenges of "downward pressure on the economy" and "profound changes in the external environment." Communist leaders insist that emphasis on rural affairs must be unwavering to maintain the "ballast stone" role of rural people, agriculture and the countryside to respond to various challenges and "win the initiative."

The 2019 document announces ambitions to "decisively win the fight against poverty." It includes many ambitious reforms of rural land and governance institutions, promises to construct rural infrastructure, to make the countryside more livable, and to improve rural governance that are already underway. The document emphasizes that these initiatives are especially important this year because 2019 and 2020 are key years for achieving the "all-round relatively well-off society" and preparing for the Chinese communist party's 100th anniversary. ..

The document is rounded out with lengthy exhortations to keep the communist party in firm control of the countryside.

China Focus: No. 1 central document prioritizes agricultural, rural development - Xinhua:

Agriculture, rural areas and farmer's issues remain China's top priorities for the 16th consecutive year as its "No. 1 central document" prioritizes development of agriculture and rural areas. 

The document, the first policy statement released by central authorities each year and seen as an indicator of policy priorities, was made public Tuesday by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council. 

"This year and the next will mark a decisive period for completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and quite a few tough tasks must be fulfilled in the fields relating to agriculture, rural areas and rural people," the document said... 

Efforts will be stepped up to build a new policy system for agricultural subsidies, according to the document, which said the country would formulate and improve agriculture support and protection policies following principles that comply with World Trade Organization rules, protect farmers' interests and support agricultural development. 

The document also covered policies to improve the rural governance mechanism to maintain rural harmony and stability, strengthen rural primary-level Party organizations, and enhance Party leadership on agricultural and rural affairs.

The document-中共中央 国务院关于坚持农业农村优先发展做好“三农”工作的若干意见_中央有关文件_中国政府网


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

No end of a slide in car sales — ZoZo Go This is China's 7th straight down month, something the Post-Mao generation has never seen. Even at GM and its mighty partner, SAIC, sales declined 11 percent in January. Why the sustained market weakness? Three factors: 1. Confidence: Chinese consumer confidence has been shaken by the cloud of uncertainty hanging over trade and investment relations with the United States;… 2. P2P Lending Crackdown. At its peak, some 2,000 informal companies were channeling loans from wealthy coastal Chinese to aspiring middle class families living in inland cities. Then came a major regulatory crackdown last summer.; 3. Mobility Choices. Increasing numbers of Chinese are opting for mobility as a service over car ownership.

深化改革开放——把握我国发展重要战略机遇新内涵述评之三--新闻报道-人民网 Third commentary in the series Grasping the new implications of the important strategic opportunities for the nation's development 把握我国发展重要战略机遇新内涵", this one on deepening reform and opening

Chinese firm denies corruption charge in Pakistani motorway project, calls it ‘groundless’ - Global Times China State Construction Engineering Corp (CSCEC) said that it is extremely "shocked" by the recent "groundless allegations" made public through media against the Sukkur-Multan Motorway project in Pakistan in which it had participated.  The company's clarification came after several Pakistani government officials were accused of misappropriating funds worth up to Rs70 billion ($500 million) in the Sukkur-Multan Motorway project, according to a report in Pakistan Today on February 8

China’s National Railway Struggling To Revitalize Cargo Business - Caixin However, the government policy that encourages coal to be transported by train instead of trucks in an apparent bid to reduce pollution is set to be a boon for CRC. This will create tailwinds for CRC’s target of boosting its annual freight volume to nearly 5 billion tons by 2020, an increase of 35% from 2017. The plan will see CRC ship up to 2.8 billion metric tons of coal, or 75% of the country’s total shipments of the fossil fuel, annually by 2020.

China will not change prudent monetary policy: Premier Li | Reuters “I reiterate that the prudent monetary policy has not changed and will not change. We are determined not to engage in ‘flood-like’ stimulus,” Li said at a cabinet meeting, according to a statement on the government’s website.

China to further streamline administrative approval procedures - Xinhua To boost market vitality, the country will remove 25 administrative approval items and delegate the power of six others to lower levels of governments. It was decided at the meeting that the country will roll out reforms on its project approval system nationwide on pilot schemes and halve the time for project approval to within 120 working days during the first half of this year. The country will step up efforts to solicit opinions from enterprises and industry associations or chambers of commerce while formulating and implementing relevant regulations.

China Said to Probe Local Firm Over Trading Losses That Hit Citi - Bloomberg One of China’s biggest brokerages is being probed by the nation’s securities regulator after suffering large trading losses that also wound up hitting Citigroup Inc., people with knowledge of the matter said. The losses at GF Holdings (Hong Kong) Corp., owned by Guangzhou-based GF Securities Co., stem from foreign-exchange wagers by one of its hedge funds, the people said. Those trades also ensnared Citigroup, which in December was said to face as much as $180 million of losses on a loan to the hedge fund.

China's Yuan Rally Seen Short-Lived Despite Trade Optimism - Bloomberg “It doesn’t make much sense to long the yuan at the moment" as Chinese authorities won’t want excessive strength in a slowing growth environment, said Zhou Hao, a senior emerging markets economist at Commerzbank AG. "The yuan will find a ceiling at around 6.7 per dollar. The market is being overly optimistic right now."

PBOC Makes First Use of New Tool Aimed at Boosting Bank Capital - Bloomberg The People’s Bank of China swapped 1.5 billion yuan ($223 million) of 1-year central bank bills for perpetual bonds with a coupon of 2.45 percent, according to a statement on its website Wednesday morning. The PBOC announced the new tool last month and so far, the Bank of China has issued 40 billion yuan worth of perpetual bonds.

Europe Again Champions Intervention to Counter China’s Economic Might - WSJ $$ European leaders are rediscovering the appeal of giving the market’s invisible hand a helping hand in an effort to counter China’s state-backed capitalism. Government intervention to help build corporate champions was Europe’s standard for the postwar decades but faded amid privatizations and deregulation starting in the 1980s. Now, Europe’s struggle to keep up with China’s government coordination of business and the economic might of the U.S. has prompted more European politicians to advocate interventionism.

Chinese WeWork Rival Ucommune Seeks $3 Billion Valuation in Nasdaq IPO — The Information $$ Ucommune has hired investment banks Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase to work on an initial public offering in Nasdaq as early as the third quarter of this year, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter. Ucommune had previously considered going public in Hong Kong, but later changed its plans to seek a New York IPO, the person said...Founded in 2015 by long-term industry executive Mao Daqing and backed by Sequoia Capital and ZhenFund, Ucommune last year snapped up at least five smaller competitors as it ramped up competition with WeWork

Beijing begins introducing measures to protect gig-economy workers, starting with delivery drivers · TechNode Beijing’s municipal government announced today nine measures to support the development of the delivery industry, including designated courier accommodations, state-owned media Beijing Youth Daily reported today (in Chinese). The set of policies aims to enhance the working conditions for deliverymen, while also encouraging the development of the industry


Politics, Law And Ideology

Police Reopen Alleged Rape Case Amid Justifiable Defense Debate - Sixth Tone Police in eastern China are reinvestigating the case of a man who was detained for 12 days after rescuing his neighbor from what she says was an attempted rape...In the past 48 hours, the case has drawn considerable attention on Chinese social media, with netizens expressing concerns that Zhao’s detention may deter would-be good Samaritans. “It’s just bullshit to say that a person who’s helping someone at the center of a dangerous crime should have to act cautiously,” wrote one user in a post that received over 30,000 likes

Former CITIC Executive Director Under Investigation - Caixin Global Zhao Jingwen, a former executive director and party committee member of state-owned CITIC Group, is currently being investigated by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the corruption watchdog announced Wednesday中国中信集团有限公司原党委委员、执行董事赵景文接受中央纪委国家监委纪律审查和监察调查

辽宁省原文化厅党组书记、厅长牛辅恒接受审查调查————执纪审查——中央纪委国家监委网站 former Party Secretary of the Liaoning Cultural Bureau Niu Fuheng is under investigation

Bigamy Among New Charges Against Fallen Asset Manager - Caixin Global Lai Xiaomin, the former boss of China Huarong, one of the nation’s four largest distressed-asset managers, has been formally charged with corruption, bribery and bigamy, the country’s top prosecutor’s office announced on Friday.

China’s ethnic policy in Xinjiang and Tibet: The move toward assimilation - SupChina This week on the Sinica Podcast, Jeremy and Kaiser speak with Tashi Rabgey, research professor of international affairs at George Washington University and director of the Tibet Governance Project. They are joined by returning guest Jim Millward, professor of history at Georgetown University and renowned scholar of Xinjiang and Central Asia. This episode focuses on their respective areas of expertise: human rights violations in the Xinjiang region; the P.R.C. approach to ethnic policies in Tibet and Xinjiang, referred to on this show as minzu (民族 mínzú) policy; and the assimilation and securitization of both regions.

In Beijing, a Communist Funeral for an Inconvenient Critic - The New York Times Even if Chinese leaders came to detest Mr. Li’s constant criticisms, they discreetly paid their respects on Wednesday. Several people who passed by Mr. Li’s coffin said they saw wreathes sent from Mr. Xi, as well as from China’s premier, Li Keqiang, and other senior leaders, both retired and still in office. But the party has mostly kept its distance and doused down talk of Mr. Li since he died on Saturday. State media have been silent about his passing, with none of the obituaries and tributes that usually accompany the death of a prominent official.

China closes Tibet to foreigners for sensitive anniversaries - AP March 10 is the 60th anniversary of an abortive 1959 uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet, while anti-government riots occurred March 14, 2008, in the regional capital Lhasa. Although the foreigner travel ban is an annual occurrence, the occasion of the 60th anniversary is drawing added attention.


Foreign and Military Affairs

Honouring of wounded PLA mine sweeper triggers poignant memories for Sino-Vietnamese war veterans | South China Morning Post Du Fuguo, 27, was removing camouflage from a hand grenade he had detected among a cluster of landmines in the vicinity of the conflict in October, when it detonated, costing him his eyes and hands...On Monday, Du was furthered recognised in a television programme, Touching China, broadcast on CCTV, which paid tribute to the extraordinary bravery and achievements of Chinese people. He was joined on the show by his mother and father, and watched by a live audience of 1,000.

Wei Fenghe meets Vietnam's deputy minister of national defense - China Military Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe on Tuesday met with Vietnam's Deputy Minister of National Defense Nguyen Chi Vinh in Beijing. "With shared ideals and convictions, the friendship between China and Vietnam is deeply rooted and of special importance," Wei said. "The two countries are a community of shared future with strategic significance."

After the Trade War, a Real War with China? – Chas W. Freeman, Jr. Today our government is trying to break apart Sino-American interdependence, weaken China, and prevent it from overtaking us in wealth, competence, and influence.  We have slapped tariffs on it, barred investment from it, charged it with pilfering intellectual property, arrested its corporate executives, blocked tech transfers to it, restricted what its students can study here, banned its cultural outreach to our universities, and threatened to bar its students from entering them.  We are aggressively patrolling the waters and air spaces off its coasts and islands.  Whether China deserves to be treated this way or not, we are leaving it little reason to want  to cooperate with us. Our sudden hostility to China reflects a consensus – at least within the Washington Beltway – that we need to wrestle China to the ground and pin it there.  But what are the chances we can do that?  What are the consequences of attempting it?  Where are we now headed with China? Realism is out of fashion in Washington even if it’s alive and well elsewhere in America.  It should give us pause that our new enemy of choice is a very different, larger, and more dynamic country than any we have unbefriended before

Andrew Robb quits China-linked firm before foreign interference law kicks in - Sydney Morning Herald Former trade minister Andrew Robb has quietly ceased his controversial $880,000 per annum consultancy with a company closely linked to the Chinese government, as the deadline looms for lobbyists for overseas state interests to sign up to Australia’s new foreign influence register. Mr Robb’s consultancy with the leaseholder of the Darwin Port, Landbridge, was trumpeted by the Chinese-government aligned company in 2016, but became intensely controversial when an investigation by The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and Four Corners revealed his fee, and that he had joined the company straight after quitting parliament.

New radar system installed at Chinese research base in Antarctica - Xinhua The system run at Zhongshan Station had enabled them to simultaneously observe the temperature and the three-dimensional wind field in the atmospheric region mesopause above Antarctica, exploring the middle and upper atmosphere of the polar cusp region. "The lidar system allows a round-the-clock observation in fine weather with no blockage of large clouds," said Huang Wentao, head of the project and a member of China's 35th research mission in Antarctica.

For Pakistan, China is the new America | ORF In the defence and security domain, China had long surpassed the US as Pakistan’s most important partner and patron. Although the US arms supply made more of a splash because of the quality of weapons and platforms, the Chinese arms transfers are almost double of what Pakistan has received from the US. Not only have the Chinese assisted Pakistan in developing an arms industry for tanks, armoured vehicles, and fighter aircraft, they have been closely involved in Pakistan’s strategic weapons programme, including providing them missile technology. China had, over the years become an indispensable ally while the US was perceived as an undependable, unreliable, and an overbearing, country. However, China’s importance for Pakistan is no longer limited to only defence and security. Data from Pakistani and Chinese official documents reveals the deep inroads that China has made in the Pakistan economy, especially in the last decade.

Pulwama attack: US asks Pakistan, China to deny safe havens and support to terrorists | Times of India The Trump administration on Tuesday called on Pakistan and China to “uphold their responsibilities pursuant to UN Security Council resolutions to deny safe havens and support for terrorists,” even as President Trump described the Pulwama attack + as a “horrible situation” and said “it would be wonderful if they (India and Pakistan) get along."


Tech And Media

China regulator stops accepting new video game applications to clear backlog - sources | Reuters The General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP) issued the notice this week, the people said, indicating the impact on gaming stocks of the nine-month hiatus could continue and dulling hopes raised by the recent resumption of approvals.

China Will Likely Corner the 5G Market—and the US Has No Plan | WIRED Fiber-optic cables—made of hair-thin, extraordinarily pure, synthetic glass through which pulses of light encoded with tens of thousands of gigabits of data are sent each second by lasers—have been around for a while. Fiber runs today between continents and between US cities. What’s new about China's massive deployment of fiber, both in its own territory and in its global market along its planned Belt and Road, is that China is likely to permit only 5G equipment made by Huawei and a handful of other Chinese companies to connect to that fiber. Ninety percent of any wireless transmission actually moves through a wire attached to a "cell" spewing and receiving data from the outside air; in the case of 5G, that wire will have to be fiber. And the entity installing fiber in the ground or on poles can decide what 5G wireless equipment is allowed to physically connect to that fiber; in China's case, it's clear the country will prefer its own companies' equipment.

Ericsson chief warns Huawei fears will add to Europe’s 5G delay The Swedish company and its Nordic rival Nokia are seen as a potential beneficiaries if European governments ban Huawei equipment from 5G projects after the US filed charges of corporate theft and violating Iran sanctions against the telecoms equipment maker. But Börje Ekholm, chief executive of Ericsson, argued that the Huawei tensions had caused paralysis among European operators. “Right now we are at risk of focusing on only one question. All our customers are trying to work out what this means and that is causing uncertainty.”

Never mind Huawei: US is already winning the 5G race, Cisco report claims | South China Morning Post Tuesday marks the first time Cisco has dedicated an entire section in its mobile report to 5G technology. “The US has made a good start in changing policies to support the deployment of 5G, and as we look around the rest of the world, policy changes of the type we’ve seen here in the US have not yet happened,” said Mary Brown, senior director of government affairs at Cisco. “We do expect that’s going to be changing over the next 12 to 18 months, and so the race to 5G is very real.”

Yicai Global - Tencent Won't Ease Off Investing This Year, President Liu Chiping Says Speaking at a recent annual investment gathering, Liu Chiping was responding to criticism published in media reports last year that claimed the Shenzhen-based company has lost its way, morphing from a tech innovator into an investment bank. Liu released Tencent's investment documents for the past 11 years at the meeting. It took stakes in about 700 firms over the period, of which 63 are listed on the stock market and 122 have a market capitalization or valuation exceeding USD1 billion. Sixteen of them went public last year, a new record.

Briefing: Tencent invests in Douban FM to shore up its music streaming business · TechNode hina’s music streaming platform Douban FM received strategic investment from Tencent Music and Shanghai-based equity firm Trustbridge Partners

Growing number of elderly web users are reshaping China’s online economy - Global Times Elderly internet users are expected to bring the biggest growth dividends online in the future, while dividends from core internet users - those between 18 to 40 years old in the first- and second- tier cities - are decreasing, the Tencent report said. Meanwhile, the number of elderly internet users is also increasing at a faster-than-expected speed. As of June 2018, middle-aged and elderly internet users in China had surpassed 200 million, including more than 40 million internet users over the age of 60, according to data released by China Internet Network Information Center.

Huawei Faces Average 21.8 Percent Resignation Rate From PhD Employees Leaving - Pandaily In the past five years, 21.8 percent of the Ph.D. staff has resigned and the data shows that the longer someone has worked for Huawei, the more likely they are to quit. Of the staff members with a Ph.D that started working at Huawei in 2014, only 57 percent are still working for the company today. Among the 82 resigning staff members who agreed to be interviewed, 56 reported that the main reason for leaving was that the job did not match their skill set. Since they do not get to reach their full potential, they often end up feeling limited. In particular, the Ph.D. employees that have worked for the company for less than two years have joined with passion and left with disappointment about not having learned anything.


Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

Manchester City announce joint purchase of Chinese side Sichuan Jiuniu FC | Football News | Sky Sports Sichuan Jiuniu play in China League Two and are based at the 27,000 capacity Chengdu Longquanyi Stadium in Sichuan Province. CFG is the owner of a number of football clubs that include Premier League Champions Manchester City, MLS side New York City FC, and Australian team Melbourne City FC.


Energy, Environment, Science And Health

My Life as an AIDS Nurse at a Shanghai Hospital - Sixth Tone n one recent instance, upon finding out that her husband had been diagnosed with AIDS, a woman threatened to commit suicide. She said she could accept any diagnosis but AIDS, which she saw as a “dirty,” shameful, and fatal disease. I tried to reassure her by telling her that the hospital has strict confidentiality mechanisms in place to guarantee patient privacy. We never release a patient’s medical information without their prior authorization, and in our interactions with patients, we are careful never to ask them how they acquired the disease. Comforted, the woman finally began to calm down.

Solar Firms Told That Big Subsidies Won’t Return - Caixin While the drained solar confidence has started to shine again, the National Energy Administration (NEA) met with various industry representatives Tuesday to outline draft rules on streamlining the system...It said the Ministry of Finance has capped the total level of solar subsidies in 2019 at 3 billion yuan, excluding those part of rural poverty alleviation schemes, demonstrating its overall commitment to phasing subsidies out. “We can no longer walk the old road of development and debt,” emphasized Li Chuangjun, the deputy director of the NEA’s new energy department.


Agriculture And Rural Issues

China confirms African swine fever hits Shandong province as national outbreak spreads | Reuters China’s agriculture ministry said on Wednesday it has confirmed the country’s ongoing African swine fever outbreak continues to spread across the nation, hitting the major livestock production province of Shandong in the east for the first time. The highly contagious disease was found on a farm with 4,504 pigs in the provincial capital Jinan, infecting 17 of the animals and killing three hogs

Beijing Supermarkets Ditch Dumplings in Swine Fever Scare - Caixin Global One spokesperson from Wu Mart, a leading local supermarket chain backed by Tencent, told Caixin the company was recently asked by authorities in Beijing to suspend sales of some Sanquan Food dumplings. After multiple Chinese outlets published reports that Sanquan’s products had been contaminated, the company released a statement Monday acknowledging that several batches of pork dumplings were suspected of containing traces of the virus.


Beijing

Beijing's air pollution action plan includes new indicator - ECNS Beijing has released its new action plan to fight air pollution in 2019, adopting a new indicator used by developed countries to gauge air quality. The new plan will measure the average concentration of PM2.5 over three consecutive years. An official with Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau said use of the new indicator is more in line with the evaluation of current air quality evaluation because it can weaken the impact of yearly meteorological changes.