Mixed Messaging About A "Bloody Nose" Strike; The Party Will Cleanse The Financial System; News With Chinese Communist Party Characteristics; China-UK "Golden Era" Looks Gold-plated And Dented; Maotai's Headaches

Good morning, let's get right to it.

The Essential Eight

1. Mixed Messaging About A "Bloody Nose" Strike On North Korea

The Trump administration is trying to correct multiple recent reports claiming the nomination of Victor Cha to be ambassador to South Korea was pulled because he opposed quick military action.

This kind of mixed messaging probably does not help with the US pressure campaign on Beijing to do more against North Korea. I do not think Beijing seriously believes the US would launch a military strike on North Korea, and this latest incident will help those around Xi arguing that Trump is more bark than bite.

A ‘bloody nose’ attack on North Korea is not happening anytime soon - The Washington Post:

Several administration officials and experts tell me the truth is more complicated. Most important, they say, the Trump administration’s North Korea policy of applying maximum pressure with the aim of creating the conditions for negotiations, as was decided in a thorough interagency review and approved by the president last spring, has not changed.

“The policy is supposed to be that we are open potentially down the road to talks with North Korea but only in a multilateral forum and only after a sustained and undefined period of no provocations,” a senior administration official said.

That policy still has the support of the president, national security adviser H.R. McMaster and National Security Council Senior Director for Asian Affairs Matthew Pottinger (who led the interagency policy review), the official said. The White House is determined not to get drawn into a negotiations where Pyongyang demands bribes for temporary concessions, and there must be some indication that the Kim regime is willing to seriously negotiate, which hasn’t happened yet.


2. The Party Will Cleanse The Financial System

Comment: Comrade Xu, previously Zhejiang's top cop and now head of discipline inspection at the central bank, is giving financial cadres and workers nightmares. The problem is not finding corruption, it is how do you combat it without crashing the whole system...

Not to be grim, but do not be surprised to see a spike in banker and financial regulator suicides this year.

China’s financial system dogged by a corrupt alliance of cats and rats, central bank discipline chief says | South China Morning Post:

In comments published on the website of the Communist Party’s Central Commission of Discipline Inspection, Xu Jia’ai said the financial industry was “facing a number of significant risks, including a ‘cat and rat league’ [of regulators colluding with wrongdoers], rampant ‘unlicensed driving’ [of financial activity] and high levels of illegal fundraising”.

Xu was appointed discipline inspector at the People’s Bank of China in September. Although he had no previous experience in finance – he was previously head of police in east China’s Zhejiang province, where President Xi Jinping worked and built his power base – his appointment was seen as a likely precursor to sweeping changes within the industry...

Xu said he reached his conclusion after speaking to 240 Communist Party secretaries and discipline officials working in the financial sector.

There was a correlation, he said, between the growing risk and the weakening role of the party in financial affairs.

中纪委委员频提金融监管隐患 “猫鼠一家”将无处遁形


3. News With Chinese Communist Party Characteristics

Comment: The Party’s own publication undercuts the argument that PRC propaganda organs operating in the US should not have to register under FARA because as media firms they are protected by the First Amendment...

Journalism Denied: How China Views the News | China Media Project:

In light of the FCCC report, and in the midst of ongoing frictions over fairness in reporting, it is crucial to remember that the Chinese Communist Party in fact rejects, in its official position on the media, the entire basis on which we might talk about things like fact, fairness, transparency or objectivity. For the Party, there is in fact no debate about what purpose the media service, or how. As Xi Jinping said back in 2016, the media must all be “surnamed Party,” which is to say that they must love, protect and serve the interests of the Party. ..

To understand once again — to remind ourselves — where the Party stands on this issue, we can turn to a very recent piece in the Party’s official Qiushi journal (看清西方新闻观的本质):

Concepts of journalism are the soul of news and public opinion work. To do a proper job of the Party’s news and public opinion work, we must take the Marxist View of Journalism (马克思主义新闻观) as our “fixed point” (定盘星), clearly recognizing and consciously resisting Western concepts of journalism, leading the masses of news and public opinion workers in becoming transmitters promoting the Party’s policies, recorders of the conditions of the times, promoters of social progress, and defenders of fairness and justice...

We must firmly adhere to the principle of Party nature. The principle of Party nature is the fundamental principle of the Party’s news and public opinion work. Ideas are imperceptible, but the media that transmit and carry on ideas and positions are concrete. The media operated by the Party and the government are propaganda positions of the Party and government. They must be surnamed Party, must be grasped within the hands of the Party, and must become the mouthpieces of the Party and the people. [Media] must enhance their consciousness of falling in line (看齐意识), conscientiously following the Party’s central leadership, and conscientiously following the theories, lines and policies of the Party. 


4. China-UK "Golden Era" Looks Gold-plated And Dented

China, Britain pledge to further lift Golden-Era partnership - Xinhua:

China and Britain on Wednesday signed a dozen of deals on areas including trade, finance, health care and smart city, pledging to further promote the Golden-Era strategic partnership.

The agreement came as British Prime Minister Theresa May arrived in Beijing and held a China-Britain annual meeting between heads of government with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing.

Hailing that China-Britain relationship has been at the forefront among the ties between China and Western countries, Li said China attaches great importance to the ties with Britain.

May praises China as she meets Xi Jinping in Beijing | The Guardian:

“As you say, there are areas in which we can work together. I’m very pleased to be able to be here in China, to take further forward the global strategic partnership that we have established.”

China, UK to Sign $13 Billion in Deals on Theresa May Trip - Caixin Global :

After stopping in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where she announced educational cooperation programs, May came to Beijing on Wednesday evening to meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. She also met representatives from a newly formed council of 31 Chinese and British firms covering industries including finance, energy, cars, telecommunications and pharmaceuticals, according to China’s Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng.

Gao disclosed the two sides will sign 9 billion pound in deals, but didn’t provide any details. Individual deal announcements are often provided by the companies themselves.

CCTV Evening News on Xi's meeting with May - [视频]习近平会见英国首相_CCTV

May resists pressure to endorse China’s ‘new silk road’ project - FT $$:

After weeks of tensions over the Belt and Road Initiative, the UK prime minister refused to sign a proposed memorandum of understanding, viewed by Beijing as an important signal of western support for President Xi Jinping’s signature project.

“There wasn’t a memorandum of understanding signed,” Mrs May’s aides confirmed. One person close to the negotiations said China had been pressing the prime minister to sign a declaration “since before Christmas”.

Mrs May, speaking in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing alongside Chinese premier Li Keqiang, said she “welcomed the opportunities” offered by the BRI, including for the City of London.


5. Steelmaker Bailout Based On Fake Accounting

Do private companies invited to participate in mixed-ownership reform have the option of saying no?

‘No one knows how big it is’: Chinese steelmaker reveals rubbery figures after state sells stake to private player | South China Morning Post:

Fushun Special Steel, the Shanghai-listed subsidiary of Dongbei Special Steel, issued three risk warnings via the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Wednesday, saying its books were not accurate, it would report losses for 2017, and it might delist.

Analysts said the discovery could deter other private investors from buying into troubled state-owned enterprises just as Beijing is trying to enlist private players to revive ailing state businesses through “mixed ownership reform”.

Half a year ago, a firm controlled by private Chinese steelmaker Shagang ploughed 4.5 billion yuan (US$711 million) into Dongbei Special Steel for a 43 per cent equity stake in a restructuring deal involving deep haircuts for creditors and a series of debt-to-equity swaps.


6. CATL May Help The PRC Dominate EV Batteries

The Breakneck Rise of China’s Colossus of Electric-Car Batteries - Bloomberg:

Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd., or CATL, already sells the most batteries to the biggest electric-vehicle makers in the biggest EV market: China. Now it wants to use proceeds from a pending initial public offering backed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to get under the hoods of more European marques and secure customers in the U.S.

The company plans to raise 13.1 billion yuan ($2 billion) as soon as this year by selling a 10 percent stake, at a valuation of about $20 billion. The share sale would finance construction of a battery-cell plant second in size only to Tesla Inc.’s Gigafactory in Nevada—big enough to cement China as the leader in the technology replacing gas-guzzling engines...

China’s government likes to have national champions of industry: think Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in e-commerce and Tencent Holdings Ltd. in social media. So far no carmakers are part of that conversation, although CATL is working its way in there by capitalizing on China’s push for cleaner air and fewer oil imports. The rising battery giant is, in no small part, a manifestation of China’s aggressive government support for electric vehicles.


7. Maotai's Headaches

Comment: Sixth Tone has a three part series examining the city famous for its punishing elixir. Business is booming again, at least for Moutai, the most famous brand

Brewing Trouble - A look at the long history, troubled present, and murky future of China’s national liquor - Sixth Tone:

Maotai is home to some of the best-known — and priciest — baijiu. The most prestigious brand, Kweichow Moutai, became the world’s most valuable liquor company in April 2017. Historical records show that baijiu production defined the town as early as the Han Dynasty some two millennia ago, but in recent years, trouble has been brewing.

From lawsuits among distilleries, to industrial runoff polluting the water source for liquor production, to a crackdown on luxury spending that has seen sales plummet, the celebrated spirit and the town that was built on it face uncertain futures.

Kweichow Moutai predicts surging 2017 profit - Xinhua:

The listed company is expected to rake in net profit of about 26.4 billion yuan (4.18 billion U.S. dollars) in 2017, up 58 percent year on year, according to a statement released on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

The company attributed the expected profit hike mainly to growing sales compared with 2016.

Special edition Moutai liquor celebrates Year of Dog - Xinhua:

The liquor, priced at 1,699 yuan (266 U.S. dollars) per bottle, is only available for purchase online. Each customer is limited to one bottle.

Moutai started selling liquor commemorating the zodiac year in 2014, which proved quite popular in the market.

"We plan to sell 1,500 tonnes of the special liquor this year, almost twice the amount last year," said Li Baofang, Party chief of the group.

Comment: I am trying to get a couple of bottles, hard from the US


8. 40 Million New PRC Internet Users in 2017

Chinese internet users grow to 772 million · TechNode:

China now has 772 million internet users according to a report published by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) today (in Chinese).

Growth rates of internet users have remained steady. During 2017, a total of 40.74 million new netizens were added with a growth rate of 5.6%. Internet penetration rates have reached 55.8% in China, more than the global average (51.7%) and the average rates for Asia (46.7%).

The number of mobile phone users in China has reached an impressive 753 million. Unsurprisingly, mobile phone use was up while everything else was down including desktop computers, laptops, and tablets. One small exception was television which saw a minor increase in usage. The proportion of internet users using mobile phones rose from 95.1% in 2016 to 97.5% in 2017.


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

China January factory growth remains strong as output accelerates: Caixin PMI - Reuters China’s manufacturing sector sustained growth at multi-month highs in January, a private business survey showed on Thursday, as factories continued to raise output to meet new orders, suggesting resilience in the world’s second-largest economy.

China's steel city mulls extending winter cuts; Hebei denies - Reuters China’s Hebei province denied news reports on Thursday that it will extend steel production curbs imposed for the winter season, as sources told Reuters that authorities in the region’s top steelmaking city Tangshan was considering such a move.

China Focus: Xi stresses developing modernized economy - Xinhua He outlined major systems that needed to be developed in an integrated manner.--An industrial system should be built with innovation playing a leading role and featuring coordinated development between the real economy, technological innovation, modern finance and human resources--A market system that is unified, open, competitive and well-ordered is needed--An efficient and fair income distribution system and a green development system that conserves resources and is environmentally friendly are also essential for a modernized economy--Meanwhile, he demanded a system of coordinated urban-rural and regional development to help local regions develop their own strengths.--To develop an open economy of higher standards, Xi called for a diverse, balanced, secure and efficient system for opening up on all fronts.

China's tax revenue growth accelerates in 2017 - Xinhua China collected taxes worth 12.6 trillion yuan (2 trillion U.S. dollars) last year, up 8.7 percent year on year, compared with 4.8 percent growth in 2016, according to the country's top taxation authority. The tertiary sector continued to be the biggest tax contributor, with its tax revenue rising 9.9 percent year on year and accounting for 56.1 percent of total taxation. The internet and related services industry saw its tax revenue surge 55.1 percent year on year.

Yukon Huang, the China economy contrarian | Sinica Podcast | SupChina Yukon Huang thinks that China’s economy is extremely unconventional. Unsurprisingly, then, that nearly all the conventional economic wisdom we hear about this economy — particularly the two hugely popular poles of opinion that treat it as either an unstoppable force or a crisis-in-waiting — is wrong.

China's $11 Trillion Bond Market Is Winning Foreign Investors - Bloomberg "Interest in China’s onshore bonds is picking up from Europe, Southeast Asia, Middle East and even Africa," said Ken Hu, chief investment officer of Asia Pacific fixed income at Invesco Hong Kong Ltd. "The circulation of yuan offshore has increased, thanks to more trade with and investments from the country. People are looking for a place to invest their yuan holdings." China has continuously opened up its onshore bond market over the past few years, first allowing institutional investors to register on the mainland, then starting in July letting fund managers buy in Hong Kong, via the Bond Connect.

Regulator Steps Up Scrutiny of Property Lending in Shanghai - Caixin Global The banking regulator in China’s financial hub of Shanghai has ordered commercial banks to tighten control of lending for acquisitions in the property sector, as part of the country’s efforts to contain housing market bubbles and financial risks. The Shanghai office of the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) last week issued a notice to banks in the city requiring strict oversight of such property-related loans, sources close to the matter told Caixin.

Joe Tsai on New Retail Progress and Ant Financial Stake | Alizila.com Alibaba is taking the 33% equity stake and terminating our profit share in Ant Financial. Equity ownership allows us to participate in the long-term value creation of Ant Financial as opposed to the quarter-to-quarter fluctuations of a profit share. Second, pursuant to the agreement between Alibaba and Ant Financial, Alibaba’s subscription of new shares in Ant Financial does not require any net cash outlay for Alibaba. Going forward, Alibaba is going to be protected from the dilutive effects of future Ant fundraisings until an IPO of Ant Financial. Third, Alibaba will have significant governance rights in Ant Financial through board representation, so that the two companies’ interests can be further aligned.// Comment: I thought foreign owned firms, and as a us-listed firm Alibaba counts as foreign owned, couldn't hold payment licenses in China? Or at least that was Jack Ma's rationale for expropriating Alipay from Yahoo and Softbank, no? And of course Tencent never faced the alleged issue Jack Ma claimed Alipay had to deal with

Alibaba to Buy 33% Stake in Ant Financial, Paving Way for IPO - Bloomberg Buying a stake in Ant would be Alibaba’s first investment in its financial affiliate since the Alipay business was controversially spun out from the e-commerce operator by founder Jack Ma in 2011. The two companies reached a profit-sharing agreement in 2014 ahead of Alibaba’s own IPO, an arrangement that will end with the equity purchase.

Alibaba revenue jumps 56%; the China retail giant also buys stake in Ant Financial Revenue for the October-December period rose to 83.03 billion yuan ($13.19 billion), up from 53.25 billion yuan a year earlier. That exceeded the 79.8 billion yuan average estimate of 28 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

Ant Financial’s Yu’e Bao caps daily subscription volume · TechNode According to Tianhong, the main purpose is to ensure the fund’s smooth operation and “prevent the fund from growing too rapidly.” Tianhong’s official figures show that Yu‘e Bao’s assets have reached an estimated of RMB 1.4 trillion, accounting for roughly 28% of China’s money market funds.

 

Foreign and Military Affairs

Australia to tighten foreign investment rules amid China concerns - FT $$ The decision coincided with the release of Australian electoral returns that show companies owned by businesspeople with links to China donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to political parties ahead of the 2016 federal election.  “All future applications for the sale of electricity transmission and distribution assets, and some generation assets, will attract ownership restrictions or conditions for foreign buyers,” Scott Morrison, Australia’s treasurer, said on Thursday.

China: Families of Interpol Targets Harassed | Human Rights Watch Human Rights Watch interviews with five “red notice” individuals found that the Chinese authorities subjected their family members in China to forms of collective punishment – unlawfully punishing someone for the actions of another. The authorities have also pressured relatives to travel to the countries where red notice individuals live to persuade them to return to China.

Suspicion over China’s Polar Silk Road rooted in misunderstanding - Global Times China needs to expand Arctic activities, has rights to participate in Arctic affairs and is capable of promoting exploitation of resources in the region. What's more, international society needs China's wisdom and power to deal with the threats and challenges in the region. Hence, China's participation will bring new drive and opportunity to the area, not resistance or threat. --Chen Zinan is an assistant research fellow with the Institute of Maritime Studies, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations

Former Armed Police officers charged with espionage - China Military The Hong Kong-based news website Takungpao reported on Monday that prosecutors in Jiangsu province have accused two people of spying for a Taiwan intelligence agency. The report quoted Liu Hua, chief of the Jiangsu People’s Procuratorate, as saying that this is a “big spy case” that involves classified military information. According to Liu, the two suspects, Ma Liangliang and Liang Xin, are retired officers from the Armed Police Force’s Beijing Corps who worked in Baoding, Hebei province, after retirement.

‘At least 12 crew members killed’ in Chinese military plane crash | South China Morning Post The source said the incident had undermined morale in the air force because it happened just a few weeks after a J-15 carrier-based fighter jet crashed. A second military source said it was not known whether there were any casualties from the J-15 crash last month, but added there was growing concern in the air force that there could be more accidents as flight drills were stepped up.

Bilahari Kausikan: Trump's global retreat is an illusion- Nikkei Asian Review The Trump administration's National Security Strategy (NSS 2017) released in December is a largely mainstream document that makes clear that the Trump administration has not eschewed leadership or disavowed the current order, but has a narrower concept of leadership that puts "America First" and stresses a more robust approach to competitors. One may not like this concept of leadership. But it cannot be called a "retreat." Nothing that Trump has so far done has been as disruptive of international order as was George W. Bush's 2003 invasion of Iraq. The ensuing decade of war in the Middle East exhausted Americans, discredited the political establishment, and led to Trump's election and that of Barack Obama before him.

Commentary: Ideological rigidity real threat to West, not China - Xinhua History never ends. It progresses all the time. The West needs to stop looking at China from behind an ideological entrenchment, and embrace a positive-sum mentality and the spirit of openness.

Q&A: China has no interest in global domination - USA Today Cui Tiankai, China’s ambassador to the United States since 2013, sat down with the USA TODAY Editorial Board last week for a wide-ranging interview about U.S.-Chinese relations, trade, synthetic opioids, North Korea and other topics

Globalisation and Chinese Grand Strategy: Survival: Vol 60, No 1 - Aaron L. Friedberg Recent developments suggest that, even if it was accurate once, this characterisation of Chinese attitudes and policy no longer applies. Instead of simply accepting the constraints and dangers that result from its deep integration into the global trading system, with the continuing growth of its wealth and power Beijing has begun to take steps intended to reduce its exposure to possible Western coercive pressures while enhancing its own ability to exert economic leverage over others. Having passed through a period of extreme vulnerability during the initial stages of reform and opening up, and then through a period of mutual vulnerability, China is now trying to tilt the balance further in its favour, insulating itself and reducing its dependence on rivals and potential enemies while developing tools for conducting economic statecraft and even, if necessary, for waging economic warfare. These developments can best be understood as the third phase in China‘s continuing efforts to mitigate the risks of globalisation while continuing to enjoy its benefits.

 

Hong Kong, Macao

James Chan third citizen to be barred from election by Hong Kong gov't over political beliefs | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP Sha Tin district councillor James Chan has been barred from running in the March legislative by-election. He is the third election hopeful to be banned from the race over his political views. Chan, a district councillor elected in 2015, submitted nominations to run in the New Territories East constituency, despite being banned from running in the 2016 legislative election because of his pro-independence stance at the time. An election officer asked Chan to explain his definition of Hong Kong independence – an idea he has denied supporting since November last year.

'A Great Day For Elephants:' Hong Kong Votes To Ban All Ivory Sales | HuffPost The Legislative Council of Hong Kong voted 49-4 to pass the new legislation, which will end a 150-year trade in the animal product and go into effect in 2021, following a multiyear grace period. When instituted, all trade in ivory will be banned, closing loopholes that previously allowed the sale of antique ivory obtained before the 1970s.

 

Taiwan

China Focus: Mainland denounces Taiwan's move to obstruct extra cross-Strait holiday flights - Xinhua "The unreasonable practice of the Taiwan authority impairs the trips of tens of thousands of tourists, the get-together of many families and the feelings of compatriots across the Strait," said Ma Xiaoguang, spokesperson with the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office at a press conference.

 

Tech And Media

Amazon Wants to Disrupt Health Care in America. In China, Tech Giants Already Have. - The New York Times Yunfeng, the personal investment fund of the Alibaba founder Jack Ma, has invested in one company, Yitu, that hopes to address the shortfall of resources. Yitu is working with Zhejiang Provincial People’s Hospital, the best medical facility in eastern Zhejiang province, to develop software that automates the identification of early stages of lung cancer. While it initially focused on facial recognition, Yitu has branched out into more complex image-recognition challenges, like cancer scans. Lin Chenxi, who left Alibaba to establish the company in 2012, said he hoped to use the technology to ensure equal access to medical treatment across China.

Chongqing couples scan faces to tie the knot - Xinhua Couples in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality can have their personal information checked within a second at a machine and get their marriage certificates much quicker than before. The face-scanning machine at the marriage and adoption registration center in Chongqing currently only serves marriage registration for Chongqing natives who marry foreigners, overseas Chinese or people from Hong Kong, Macao or Taiwan.

Toutiao's overseas platform is delivering fake news, but its problems run much deeper than that · TechNode What my Chinese friends (and Toutiao’s investors) seem to like so much about it is the use of machine learning to recommend content to its users based on their preferences and habits. Since the majority of the media I consume is in English, I hadn’t had much of an opportunity to see how its algorithms work. That changed recently when I downloaded TopBuzz, the English-language app of Jinri Toutiao’s parent company, Bytedance. While TopBuzz’s user interface is a bit different, it relies on the same core back-end architecture as its Chinese sibling to deliver a tailored content stream to its users. What’s been my experience? Well, simply put, it’s been a consistent and reliable multi-course meal of just about every variety of fake news.

Growing Virtual Bamboo for Real Pandas: Weibo's Panda Movement | What's on Weibo Last month, the account ‘Panda Guardians’ (@熊猫守护者) sent out a video on Weibo focused on the topic of saving pandas in Shaanxi by planting more bamboo. In a month, the video gained around 1,5 million views and much online support. The video by the ‘Panda Guardians’ was the follow-up to a Weibo-based game where users can gain points which can be used for “growing bamboo” for a virtual panda – which actually funds the planting of real bamboo in Shaanxi.

Why did a Chinese live trivia game get suspended? A: Jiang Zemin | Society News | SupChina Lin Zexu 林则徐, a 19th-century Chinese official who played a huge role in the First Opium War, is the right answer. But one of the answer choices is Jiang Zemin 江泽民, a former Chinese president who has a cult following among young Chinese because of his unfettered personality. Why is Jiang an answer choice? For that, you have to appreciate moha culture 膜蛤文化, or toad-worship, named after this president’s outwardly “amphibian” features. Jiang, in his post-office days, has actually become a popular target for memes. For you see, Jiang actually said the above quote during a 2009 visit to China United Engineering Corporation, a trip that is one of the “Three Pieces About Toad” that every “toad worshipper” is familiar with.

Livestreamers Revive Dwindling Audiences With Cash-Prize Quizzes - Caixin Global This craze for cash-for-questions quiz apps was first picked up by Chinese startups who copied HQ Trivia, the breakthrough app of this genre that was developed by the creators of defunct video platform Vine. It then attracted Chinese livestreaming platforms and big internet companies, including Baidu Inc. and NetEase Inc. These trivial pursuits have given a boost to livestreaming platforms, who have seen their popularity stagnate over the last year due to a lack of creative content, which is limited largely to gaming, titillation and oddball performers.

 

Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

Magpie Digest- Chinese Millennials Discussing Anti-Marriage, Not #MeToo the lack of fervency around #MeToo in China cannot be attributed to government censorship entirely. After all, despite a lack of censorship, #MeToo has had a slow start in both Japan nor Korea as well.

China’s #MeToo Moment | The New Yorker Since last fall, thousands of students and alumni have written letters to some thirty universities across China, calling for the institution of firm policies regarding harassment, and Liang made the same demand in an open letter she wrote to her alma mater, the South China University of Technology. Even the official language used to describe sexual harassment, she noted, hints at moral equivocation. “They don’t call it ‘harassment’ or ‘assault’ on school documents,” Liang said. “In Chinese, the term is ‘inappropriate teacher-student relations,’ as if to suggest that the inappropriateness could be the fault of both parties. In the abstract, people are saying it is wrong, but perpetrators are not really harmed.”

Netizens, media clash on teenage girl rape claim - Global Times Chinese netizens and media have been engaged in a standoff since Wednesday, after several news reports questioned a teenage girl for claiming she was raped by a dozen of her relatives who have since been jailed, in a case a decade ago. "Where has Tang Lanlan been?" news portal thepaper.cn said in its report on Wednesday. The report has been deleted as of press time. After 10 years of appeals failed, Tang's mother Wan Xiuling and aunt Tang Yumei, whose husband Liu Changhai was also sentenced, appealed to the Supreme People's Procuratorate of China, the Yangtse Evening Post reported on Wednesday

Everest climbers shift routes to China amid concerns over safety standards in Nepal | AFP Some climbing firms have moved their operations to Tibet, to scale the mountain from the north, amid claims of a lax attitude to safety on southern flank of the peak

 

Energy, Environment, Science And Health

Costly Antarctic trip popular among Spring Festival tourists - ECNS Chinese overseas tourists will spend 9,580 yuan ($1,510) on average during the Spring Festival holiday, led by the most expensive trip, a journey to the Antarctic at 160,000 yuan, according to a report by China's online travel agency Ctrip.

China mulls regulation on Antarctic activities - Xinhua China's State Oceanic Administration published a draft document to regulate Chinese people's activities in Antarctica to protect the region's environment.

 

Food And Travel

In Praise of Hotpot – Elephant Room Five years ago, to eat hotpot in Beijing was still largely a decision between spicy or mild, Szechuan or Mongolian; today, although the old Beijingers might still prefer sticking to their traditional lamb-and-sesame paste Mongolian hotpot, urban migrants and middle class consumers have the power to constantly try out new trends (Chaoshan beef hotpot being the biggest hotpot trend since 2016), new dining styles (instant hotpot 方便火锅 for example, which we sincerely do not recommend...) and more excitingly, a diverse range of hotpots introduced from other parts of the country. For restaurants owners, hotpot makes a happy story too: with a quick and low-cost production process (hotpot restaurants don’t even need chiefs! Think about it!), restaurants are able to achieve a profit margin as high as 44% - much higher than any other type of Chinese cuisines on the market.

 

Books And Literature

Chinese Literature Podcast Looks interesting