More indications US-China talks on hold; Recalibrating Belt and Road to better achieve the PRC's objectives; US can't get flu samples from China; Shaolin Temple shows its patriotism

Happy Tuesday...from the data it looks like lots of you are enjoying a vacation in the last week of August so I will try to keep this issue a bit brief.

The key things on my radar today:

  • President Trump says now is not the time to talk with China;

  • Monday's meeting for the 5th anniversary of the the Belt and Road clearly signals that Beijing is recalibrating the BRI to better achieve the PRC's objectives;

  • It looks like China is about to officially end all birth limits, though do not expect any significant demographic trend shift as having more than one child in urban areas is just too expensive.

Thanks for reading.

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The Essential Eight

1. US-China trade

Trump Dents Hopes for a China Deal After Agreement With Mexico - Bloomberg

Speaking to reporters during his announcement Monday of the new Mexico accord, Trump said he is rejecting overtures from China to negotiate as he tries to achieve a less "one-sided" trade policy. "They want to talk," Trump said. But "it’s just not the right time to talk right now, to be honest."..

BUT the same article also states:

Negotiations between the U.S. and China have been stalled since May, when Trump put a stop to a deal for China to buy more energy and agricultural goods to narrow the trade deficit. After mid-level trade talks in Washington last week ended with no agreement, a person familiar with the discussions said that Chinese officials had raised the prospect of suspending talks until after U.S. congressional elections in November.

It is hard to see any trigger to bring the US and China back to the negotiating table for substantive discussions until at least after the US midterms in November, and if the North Korea situation takes a turn for the worse then it may be even less likely the US and China will find a path to a palatable deal…

Who Thinks China’s Growth Is Slowing? Part II | PIIE - Nick Lardy:

President Trump’s top economic advisors believe China’s growth is slowing and are advising him to hang tough in the emerging trade war in the belief that China will give in to US demands to avoid a further slowdown. Presumably that means imposing tariffs on an additional $200 billion in imports from China a few weeks from now. The slowdown narrative is based on slowing investment and disappointing recent retail sales. But the investment argument is based on faulty data.

As U.S.-China Trade War Grows, Europe Tries to Avoid Crisis - Bloomberg :

The European Union will host trade ministers from the U.S. and Japan next month in Brussels, according to two officials with knowledge of the meeting. The gathering will be part of an effort to address China’s trade practices in a way that doesn’t marginalize the WTO, said the officials, who asked not to be identified because preparations are private. The meeting will precede about 10 high-level confabs around the globe over the next year aimed at calming trade tensions

India Is Said to Plan to Fill Gap Left by U.S. Exports to China - Bloomberg:

The South Asian nation has identified more than 40 products, including fresh grapes, cotton linters, flue-cured tobacco and alloy steel seamless boiler, where it’s in a position of advantage to replace or capture U.S. trade market share with China, the person said asking not to be identified as discussions are internal. Boosting exports will help India reduce a $63 billion trade deficit it runs with China, which is also New Delhi’s largest commercial partner.

U.S. Slaps New Duties on Chinese Steel Wheel Imports - Caixin Global:

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that it will impose preliminary duties ranging from 58.75% to 172.51% on Chinese steel wheel imports, valued at $388 million last year.

The new duties come amid ongoing trade tensions between Washington and Beijing, although this wider context was not referred to directly in the Commerce Department’s announcement.


2. Recalibrating Belt and Road

Of course there are rough patches as China works its way through figuring out exactly what BRI is and what works. I will not bet against the Chinese adjusting and self-correcting enough to make the project effective overall. The BRI was written into the revised Constitutions, got heavy billing at the recent Foreign Affairs Work Conference and is clearly a signature initiative of Xi that, like Made in China 2025, is not going away. But the messaging and approaches will be refined.

Xi Jinping says belt and road plan isn’t about creating a ‘China club’ | South China Morning Post:

President Xi Jinping on Monday defended his new Silk Road plan, saying it was not about creating a “China club”, while calling for balanced trade with partner countries amid a growing backlash against his global infrastructure push...

Pang Zhongying, a foreign affairs specialist at the Ocean University of China, said Beijing was seeking to change tack and address growing fears worldwide that it is using the massive infrastructure push to gain political influence...

Senior officials in the ruling Communist Party are already following Xi’s lead. Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Ning Jizhe, vice-chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, said China should not shy away from the challenges but should improve how it approaches belt and road projects.

“With some countries still doubtful about the belt and road and Chinese companies facing difficulties investing and operating overseas, we need to objectively and rationally view our achievements and challenges,” Ning said. “We should not avoid the challenges, nor should we exaggerate our problems … we need to constantly improve our working methods.”

The official report 习近平:推动共建“一带一路”走深走实造福人民 on the Monday meeting makes clear the scope of the broader geopolitical ambitions remains essentially unchanged, and places the BRI within the context of the major changes and adjustments underway in the international order, and the resulting historical opportunity for China:

习近平指出,当今世界正处于大发展大变革大调整时期,我们要具备战略眼光,树立全球视野,既要有风险忧患意识,又要有历史机遇意识,努力在这场百年未有之大变局中把握航向。以共建“一带一路”为实践平台推动构建人类命运共同体,这是从我国改革开放和长远发展出发提出来的,也符合中华民族历来秉持的天下大同理念,符合中国人怀柔远人、和谐万邦的天下观,占据了国际道义制高点。共建“一带一路”不仅是经济合作,而且是完善全球发展模式和全球治理、推进经济全球化健康发展的重要途径。

Remember this July 2 article from the New York Times, as discussed in the July 2  newsletter, internal concerns about some of the BRI deals have been around for a while-- China Taps the Brakes on Its Global Push for Influence:

The value of the deals that Chinese companies are striking under the country’s big global plan — called the Belt and Road Initiative — is smaller than a year ago, according to new data. Chinese officials themselves are sounding a cautious note, voicing worries that Chinese institutions need to be careful how much they lend under the program — and make sure their international borrowers can pay it back.

“Current international conditions are very uncertain, with lots of economic risks and large fluctuations for interest rates in newly emerged markets,” said Hu Xiaolian, the chairwoman of the Export-Import Bank of China, a state-controlled lender that plays a big role in financing the projects, at a forum this month in Shanghai. “Our enterprises and Belt and Road Initiative countries will face financing difficulties.”

China has begun a broad, interagency review of how many deals have already been done, on what financial terms and with which countries, say people close to Chinese economic policymaking, who asked to speak on the condition of anonymity because the effort has not been made public.

People's Daily has put a new, warm and fuzzy on the BRI - 微视频|路路相连

Xi sends congratulatory letter to conference on IP for B&R countries - Xinhua:

"We are willing to continue to work with all parties, under the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, to build the Belt and Road into a road for peace and prosperity, opening-up, innovation as well as connecting different civilizations and carry forward the Silk Road spirit," he said.

China to build Belt and Road dispute settlement mechanism - CGTN:

Next comes the International Commercial Expert Committee. China's Supreme People's Court launched the International Commercial Expert Committee with a membership of 32 domestic and foreign experts on Sunday, August 26, 2018, whose experts selected include experts and scholars from China and other countries along the BRI. Experts from different legal systems, various countries and disparate regions reflect internationality, neutrality and professionalism.

国际商事法庭 | CICC - The Decision on Appointment of the First Group of Members for the International Commercial Expert Committee:

Zhang Yuejiao, Huang Jin, Wang Liming, Shen Sibao, Lu Song,     Shan Wenhua, Wan Meng, Liu Jingdong, Shi Jingxia, Wang Guiguo, Yang Liangyi, Yuan Guoqiang, Li Fudian, Tao Jingzhou, Albert Jan van den berg, Anna Mantakou, Anselmo Reyes, David Unterhalter, Emmanuel Gaillard, Francis Donovan, Gabrielle Kaufman-Kohler, Gary Born, George Bermann, Neil Kaplan, Peter Malanczuk, Hi-Taek Shin, James Spigelman, Nayla Comair-Obeid, Sir William Blair, Susan Finder, Sundra Rajoo, Vladimir I. Kurilov.


3. Prepare for the 7th Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC)

China Africa Research Initiative - Briefing Paper on the upcoming 7th Forum on China-Africa Cooperation:

The 7th Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) will be held in Beijing from September 3 to 4, 2018. Since 2000, the FOCAC has been held every three years. It serves as the official summit between the Chinese president and African heads of state, and results in major policy and financing announcements. This CARI briefing paper analyzes progress on commitments made during the 2015 FOCAC, and the trends we expect to emerge from the 2018 FOCAC. These will shape the China-Africa relationship in coming years. This paper makes four points:

We find that Chinese loans are not currently a major contributor to debt distress in Africa. Yet many countries have borrowed heavily from China and others. Any new FOCAC loan pledges will likely take Africa’s growing debt burden into account.

The 2018 FOCAC will likely pledge additional loans for infrastructure and investment for manufacturing. But the outlook on Chinese trade with Africa, which has slowed, is uncertain.

Capacity building as well as peace and security are emerging as more prominent parts of the China-Africa relationship, and serves to diversify engagement on both sides.

New areas of cooperation at the 2018 FOCAC may include renewable energy and the Belt and Road Initiative. It may also be influenced by US-China trade tensions and the creation of a national development agency in China.

China aims for ‘sustainable’ debt with Africa as Belt and Road Initiative comes under fire from West | South China Morning Post:

Ahead of next week’s China-Africa summit in the Chinese capital, vice-minister of commerce Qian Keming also said Beijing would work to ensure that its projects on the continent met real needs.

“As the next step, we will discuss with African countries about how to promote a sustainable model for debt,” Qian said...

The official also attacked the West’s approach in Africa, saying that unlike China, Western countries did little to build infrastructure to boost industry.

Qian’s comments add to Beijing’s growing efforts to defend its flagship initiative amid international criticism. They came a day after Chinese President Xi Jinping said the belt and road was an economic initiative and not an attempt to create a “China club”


4. China won't share flu samples with the US

China Has Withheld Samples of a Dangerous Flu Virus - The New York Times:

For over a year, the Chinese government has withheld lab samples of a rapidly evolving influenza virus from the United States — specimens needed to develop vaccines and treatments, according to federal health officials.

Despite persistent requests from government officials and research institutions, China has not provided samples of the dangerous virus, a type of bird flu called H7N9. In the past, such exchanges have been mostly routine under rules established by the World Health Organization...

Scientists at the Department of Agriculture have had such difficulty obtaining flu samples from China that they have stopped requesting them altogether, according to a government official who spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to discuss the matter.

At least four research institutions have relied upon a small group of H7N9 samples from cases in Taiwan and Hong Kong


5. Financial Stability and Development Committee meets

Regulator to clamp down on P2P loans, stock as collateral - China Daily:

Financial risks, in terms of both online lending and listed companies' financing through pledging their stocks, are under control at present, according to a statement issued on Monday by the State Council Financial Stability and Development Commission, a Cabinet-level financial regulating body, after its meeting.

The meeting on Friday was chaired by Vice-Premier Liu He. Participants called for strengthening supervision standards after assessing the latest reports about the situation in the two areas in order to control potential risks, said the statement.

"Reform and opening-up in the capital market should be further improved to maintain sound market expectations and stabilize financial markets," it said.

China Holds to Hard Line on Peer-to-Peer Lending, Pledged-Stock Loans - Caixin Global:

The latest meeting of China’s top financial regulators signals that the government will maintain a tough line on these two areas even as it has taken a more nuanced approach to getting debt under control across the financial system.

The government has recently sent out signals that it may relax its 2-year-old national deleveraging campaign as a crackdown on “shadow banking” and risks in the financial system is now adding pressure to country’s already slowing economic growth. At the midyear Politburo meeting, the leadership emphasized a pro-active fiscal policy and pro-growth stance, pledging to continue deleveraging efforts but at a “measured pace and strength.”

The meeting of the cabinet-level China’s Financial Stability and Development Committee on Friday, which currently functions as the country’s top financial supervisory agency, suggests any relaxation might not apply to the country’s troubled P2P lending industry.


6. God under the Party

Red flag for Buddhists? Shaolin Temple ‘takes the lead’ in Chinese patriotism push | South China Morning Post:

China’s famed Shaolin Temple this week raised the national flag for the first time in its 1,500-year history as part of a patriotism drive..

It was attended by local government officials and followed a proposal last month from state-sanctioned religious groups to raise national flags at all religious venues.

This is the first time a well-known Buddhist organisation has been involved in such a high-profile display of patriotism...

Its abbot, Shi Yongxin, decided to “actively take the lead” and hold the flag-raising ceremony during a national Buddhist association conference, the temple said in an announcement on its website. Shi is also the vice-president of the state-run Buddhist Association of China.

VOA: Authorities Force Chinese Citizens to Renounce Belief in Christianity – Chinascope:

“I had limited understanding of Christianity. Taking on Christianity as my belief is also blindly following the trend. Now I have a more comprehensive understanding of religion and religious beliefs. After further studying Christianity, I have a clearer understanding of my spiritual needs. I announce that I will not participate in Christian religious activities from now on and I will no longer believe in Christianity.” Another Christian in Ma Anshan City of An Hui Province wrote the following personal statement, “After studying the regulations on religious affairs and on careful reflection, (I) promise not to believe in Christianity and will resolutely listen to the party and follow the party.”


7. Taiwan preparing to lose all official allies?

Taiwan prepares for the day when it may have no more friends | Asia Times:

Taiwanese papers have also reported a “retention plan” that was proposed by Republican senator for Colorado Cory Gardner, who chairs the US Foreign Relations Committee’s Asia subcommittee.

Gardner reportedly met Tsai when the Taiwanese leader stopped over in the US last week to discuss what the US Congress could do to support the self-governing island. It was the second time in three months they had met up, after a discussion in Taipei in May.

Gardner is said to have proposed that the US formulate a strategy aimed at persuading foreign governments to continue supporting diplomatic recognition of Taiwan. This would authorize actions by the US Department of State, including halting aid and foreign military financing, to discourage any decisions “seen as adverse for Taiwan”, the island’s semi-official Central News Agency reported.


8. More on Australia's decision to ban Huawei from 5G network

China, Huawei and the bombshell decision Canberra wanted to bury - Sydney Morning Herald:

The 1000-word statement did not mention China, or the Chinese telecommunications equipment giants Huawei or ZTE. Nor did it plainly state the bombshell decision that they are to be banned from building Australia's new telecommunications network...

Why? Because it was nervous about Beijing's reaction. Canberra was still negotiating its way out of a Chinese freeze on ministerial contacts and didn't want to bring on another any earlier than necessary.

But everyone involved knew that it inevitably would bring on Beijing's wrath. And so, when the ministers decided they couldn't delay any longer, it did...

Australia's officials fear that, in the event of a future crisis, the Chinese Communist Party could simply instruct a Chinese telecoms company to shut down a country's systems. If its firms occupy a critical position, they can take an entire country offline.

Will the other Five Eyes nations (US, Canada, UK, New Zealand) all follow Australia? And if they do not will intelligence sharing be affected?


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

China to enhance control of local govt debt risks - Xinhua Chinese Minister of Finance Liu Kun said Tuesday that China is tightening control over local government debt to curb risks..Outstanding hidden government debt will be resolved appropriately with prioritized efforts in high-risk regions, and provincial-level governments will assume overall responsibility for debts incurred by local governments within their jurisdictions, the minister said. Liu said the implementation of a lifelong accountability scheme strictly holds local governments, state-owned enterprises, financial institutions and agencies accountable for violations in borrowing and financing guarantees.

Yuan extends bounce after PBOC raises mid-point most in 15 months | Reuters Prior to the market opening, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) raised its daily yuan midpoint by almost 0.7 percent, the most in nearly 15 months.

SASAC urges SOEs to improve leadership, open up to overseas markets - Global Times Managers of State-owned enterprises(SOEs) must redouble efforts to deepen reforms, to promote their innovative development and to expand business openness, so as to increase their global competitiveness, said Xiao Yaqing, head of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), on Tuesday.SOEs should uphold the principle of Party leadership while improving the professionalization of management, establishing standard boards of directors and strengthening the board's decision-making abilities, Xiao wrote in an article published on Tuesday in Qiushi Journal, a bi-monthly periodical published by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.// 以改革创新开放合作锻造国有企业竞争力 

Congress Cut Off This Chinese Surveillance Firm, So Now It’s Turning to K Street The American arm of Hikvision, which is 42-percent-owned by the state-owned China Electronics Technology Group, has brought on a roster of top K Street talent. Its recent lobbying hires include a Republican-heavyweight firm that has a track record of success with other Chinese companies targeted by U.S. policymakers but also with a bit of baggage stemming from its prior work as a foreign agent.

Unfavorable weather conditions temporarily push up China's farm produce prices - Xinhua The price index for farm produce went up 1.6 percent in the past week, following an 1-percent gain the previous week, while the index for production materials edged up 0.1 percent. The average wholesale price of 30 types of vegetables surged 6.1 percent, compared with an 1 percent rise the week earlier.

Leaked data from Chinese hotel chain may affect 130 million customers · TechNode Personal data and booking information from 13 hotels operated by Huazhu Hotels Group (华住酒店集团) has reportedly been leaked in what could be the largest data breach in China in five years, according to Chinese cybersecurity media FreeBuf

Think Chinese Home Prices Are High? Try Buying a Grave - Bloomberg Grave prices have outpaced home prices in every one of the past three years, according to Fu Shou Yuan International Group Ltd., China’s largest publicly traded operator of cemeteries and funeral facilities. The cost of an average plot, roughly the size of half a yoga mat, has surged 41 percent since the first half of 2015 to 100,483 yuan ($14,800). A gauge of home prices in 70 Chinese cities advanced 23 percent over that period.

In China, Less Than 20% Defaulted Bonds Have Been Paid Back - Bloomberg That’s the conclusion from a Bloomberg News analysis of the 84 publicly-sold notes that have defaulted since 2014. Since China’s first company bond collapse in that year, the local market saw a 17 percent repayment rate on 80.3 billion yuan ($12 billion) of missed principal or coupon payments as of Aug. 27, Bloomberg-compiled data show. Globally, senior unsecured bondholders get about half their money returned, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

Ikea angers Chinese over its label info about Taiwan - Global Times Chinese netizens have called on Ikea to abide by the one-China principle, after discovering that the company's packaging lists the Taiwan island on par with China. A Sina Weibo user claimed on August 11 he bought a vase at an Ikea store and found that its packaging refers to Taiwan the same way as China and other countries. "[The company] earns Chinese people's money but tries to separate China?" the user asked.

Zhou Xiaochuan to Advise Sovereign Wealth Fund - Caixin Global Zhou Xiaochuan, the long-serving governor of the People's Bank of China, will take a seat on China Investment Corp.’s (CIC) International Advisory Council, sources close to CIC, China’s sovereign wealth fund, told Caixin. The post will be the second public title Zhou has taken since his retirement after 15 years as governor of the central bank. In April, Zhou was named vice chairman of the Boao Forum for Asia. The forum is known as “Asia’s Davos,” a reference to the annual World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland.

 

Politics, Law And Ideology

Some Chinese student activists released after police raid | Reuters Police in riot gear stormed an apartment in the southern Chinese city of Huizhou on Friday where the students and other activists were staying while they supported factory workers seeking to form a union... The released students were sent home separately without their telephones and were under surveillance, labor activists said. It was not clear how many were sent home. // Comment: Softer treatment for the students, harsh penalties for the other activiists?

Editorial: How Should We Remember Deng Xiaoping’s Legacy? - Caixin Global interesting that Caixin republishes this editorial that appeared in the magazine in 2014

2018 Chinese Communist Party Disciplinary Regulations China Law Translate has translated the new rules

China punishes 5,101 officials for violations in July - Xinhua The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and the National Supervisory Commission released a statement on Tuesday that 5,178 cases were investigated nationwide in July. Awarding an unauthorized allowance or bonus was the most common misdemeanor, followed by giving or accepting gifts and misuse of public vehicles.

Businessman With Huarong Link Reported Detained - Caixin Global Landing International Development Ltd. said in a filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Thursday that it has been “unable to contact or reach” Chairman Yang Zhihui. Landing International suspended trading in the afternoon after its stock tumbled more than 35%. Hong Kong news site Winmoney reported that Yang was detained at an airport after he arrived in Cambodia Thursday for a visit to a local casino, citing an unidentified source. Caixin confirmed the news from separate sources.

 

Foreign and Military Affairs

Japan makes its move in Indian Ocean power game - Nikkei Asian Review: Onodera was also expected to make a whistle-stop there before visiting Hambantota, as Japan is looking to close ranks with India and Singapore and develop Trincomalee as a counterweight to China. The Sri Lankan government wants to turn the area into an export hub, taking advantage of its strategic location at the heart of international trade routes. There is also a plan to build the country's third international airport in the northeastern corner.

China says pressure unhelpful in resolving Rohingya issue | Reuters China said on Tuesday that exerting pressure was not helpful in resolving the issue of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar after U.N. investigators said Myanmar’s military had carried out mass killings of members of the minority.

PHL-China to sign funding for PNR South project during Xi Jinping’s November visit —DOTr | Money | GMA News Online Its 581-kilometer, standard-gauge railway will run from Manila, to Legazpi City in Albay, and Matnog in Sorsogon and “will connect cities, international seaports, and economic zones, allowing for faster transportation of passengers and freight.” The project involves "the complete reconstruction of the legacy PNR railway into a single-track, at-grade railway."

Trump: China studies Nancy Isenberg's 'White Trash' to understand US President - Sydney Morning Herald Amid Trump's increasingly hostile tweets about China, as a $US100 billion ($136 billion) trade war escalates, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), the top advisory group to Chinese leaders, has revealed it was doing "a lot of research" on the election of Trump. Nancy Isenberg's best seller White Trash - The 400 year untold history of class in America, is at the top of the reading list at the academy's Institute of American Studies.

What Does a Chinese Superpower Look Like? Nothing Like the U.S. - Bloomberg All of this, according to Wang Wen, is to fundamentally misunderstand China by trying to fit it into western experience. He cites the doom-laden warnings of Chinese over-leverage and over-planning that have proved wrong for decades. “Our country has entered a very interesting phase that the Western social sciences can’t explain,” said Wang, singling out conventional economics as especially inept. “If you use Western theory, you cannot understand China’s foreign policy.”

China begins to lift ban on group tours to South Korea | Financial Times $$ Chinese travel companies are resuming group tours to South Korea that were halted last year during a spat between Beijing and Seoul over the latter’s decision to install a US ballistic missile shield. The move is the latest sign of a thaw in relations between Seoul and Beijing, which has boosted South Korean exports and automobile sales in China.

A New Type of Chinese Submarine Is Supposedly Breaking Records. Here's What We Know. | The National Interest China has successfully developed and fielded diesel-electric submarines with Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) technology, unlike Russia, which has thus far failed to develop a comparable analogue for its future Project 677 Lada-class vessels. Indeed, Beijing’s conventional AIP submarine units have been breaking their own records in recent months.

新时代侨联工作改革创新的根本遵循 Party committee of the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese has an essay in the latest Qiushi on learning from Xi's comments on work related to the Chinese diaspora

Chief of Staff of Chinese PLA leads delegation to visit Russia - China Military General Li Zuocheng, member of China's Central Military Commission (CMC) and chief of the Joint Staff Department under the CMC, would lead a delegation to visit Russia on August 26 at the invitation of General Valery Gerasimov, chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces and the first Deputy Defense Minister of Russia. During his visit, General Li would also attend the fifth meeting of the joint chiefs of staff of the armed forces of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states and inspect the "Peace Mission 2018" joint anti-terrorism military exercise together with other chiefs of general staff of SCO countries.

Expert: second sea trial of domestic-made carrier focuses on sailing performance - China Military Cao Weidong, a military expert, said in an interview that except for the higher degree of testing, the contents of this sea trial are similar to the first one. The ship still needs several sea trials before being commissioned to the PLA Navy. The first homemade aircraft carrier was designed and built by China independently, with construction beginning in November 2013. In March 2015, the ship construction in the dock began, and the ship was moved from the dry dock into the water on April 26, 2017. From May 13 to 18 in 2018, it made its maiden sea trial, with a number of equipment tested living up to expectations.

 

Hong Kong, Macao

Beijing did not notify Hong Kong about alleged detention of democracy activists, says Chief Exec. Lam | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that the Hong Kong government received no notification from mainland authorities about the alleged detention and questioning of members of Demosisto, a pro-democracy political group. Lam told reporters that she would not comment on the case because she was unable to verify if it happened. She added that the Hong Kong government has an understanding with the Public Security Bureau of mainland China to share information, which was signed after she took office last year.

Senior official meets delegation of HK disciplinary forces - Xinhua | Praising the work of Hong Kong disciplinary forces, Han expressed hope that they would fully implement the policy of "one country, two systems", safeguard national security and the rule of law in Hong Kong, provide sound service to the Hong Kong people as well as promote exchanges and cooperation between Hong Kong and the mainland. Lee said the disciplinary forces would continue to fulfill their duty in accordance with law and make more contributions to safeguarding national sovereignty, security, and development interests, and maintaining lasting prosperity and stability of Hong Kong.

 

Tech And Media

Alibaba’s Customer-Service Bot Gets Upgrade Ahead of 11.11 | Alizila.com Currently used by about 600,000 merchants on Alibaba’s e-commerce sites, the tool has been critical for virtual store owners that need to deal with an overwhelming volume of customer inquiries during major sales campaigns, such as Alibaba’s annual 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. Last year, during the one-day mega-sale, Alime Shop Assistants had 100 million conversations with customers, leading to sales that made up 15% of the event’s record-shattering gross merchandise volume, Alibaba said.

Xpeng said to be behind its production schedule · TechNode Xpeng has made quite a few ambitious announcements recently, including plans to secure a total of RMB 30 billion by the end of 2019 and that it is expecting its first model, the “G3”, to hit the market by the end of the year. However, signs are pointing to a more negative outlook. Latest local media reports suggest that Xpeng might still be at least 6 months away from actually delivering the G3 to the hands of Chinese car owners and that the startup has not placed an order for the specific spare part since March.

Google is on the verge of making a huge mistake with China - The Washington Post - Chen Guangcheng Oped After my initial shock wore off, I found myself wondering what had occurred to cause the company to shed its defining principle in such a blatant fashion. Does Google really want to become a tool of the dictatorial communist regime? What about the millions of disappointed Chinese fans? Without their support, and without the company’s moral bearings, how would Google survive in China? Google — and all foreign companies — should remember: The vessel containing a dictatorship’s desire is boundless, never filled, never satisfied. You give an inch, and they will take a mile in irrational demands.

Meituan Dianping Is Said to Draw Tencent to $4 Billion-Plus IPO - Bloomberg A stock offering from the company could raise more than $4 billion, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the details are private. Chinese social media giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., which already owns about a fifth of Meituan, plans to buy about $400 million of stock in the IPO as a cornerstone investor, according to different people familiar with the matter.

Didi Chuxing refuses data supervision: transport official - ECNS Wang Fumin, deputy head of transportation in Guangdong Province, said the country’s largest ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing has been uncooperative in supervision.

 

Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

China Signals End to Child Birth Limits by 2020 at Latest - Bloomberg: A new draft of the Civil Code submitted Monday to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress removed all “family planning-related content,” according a report published Tuesday in the Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper. That would suggest that the decades-old birth restrictions wouldn’t be enforced after the law goes into effect, since the code is intended to govern all aspects of private life from contracts to company registrations to marriages

Hit TV Show a Frenzy for Heritage-Defined Chinese Fashion | Jing Daily A 70-episodes TV show called Story of Yanxi Palace, which airs on the Chinese online video platform iQiyi, recently set a record for web TV show when over 700 million people (half of the nation’s population) tuned in on a single day. The show has been at the top on Weibo’s trendy list since the first episode debuted on July 19, and netizens across China are calling it a sensation....The authentic portrayal of ancient China style in the show has fashion bloggers obsessing over fashion details in long, fawning posts that track, fame by fame, all the show’s wardrobe choices – from clothing and accessories to hairstyles.

 

Energy, Environment, Science And Health

Xi demands efforts to protect children's eyesight - Xinhua The high incidence of myopia among students, which affects more and more children at a younger age and undermines their health, is a major problem for the future of the country and the Chinese nation, he said in the recent instruction, adding that authorities should pay close attention to this issue and should not let it deteriorate.

China logs hottest national average summer temperature in 57 years: Xinhua | Reuters China’s national average temperature hit 22 degrees Celsius (71.6 Fahrenheit) this summer, the highest since 1961, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday.

China Gets Another Shot at Mideast Energy With Total's Iran Exit - Bloomberg Chinese companies have invested in Iraq, the United Arab Emirates and Iran in recent years, and have expressed interest in oil and gas projects in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The resumption of sanctions by the U.S. on Iran has presented new opportunities, starting with the option to take control of South Pars after Total failed to secure an exemption from the U.S. penalties. Chinese companies are also interested in a $1.5 billion refinery upgrade in Iran.

 

Education

Top legislature reviews report on education equality - Xinhua Speaking of the measures taken by authorities to bridge the gap between urban and rural areas, Chen said they allocated 17.9 billion yuan (about 2.63 billion U.S. dollars) to provide 16.04 million students from poor families with living allowances in 2017, adding that the authorities earmarked 90 percent of the money for students from the less-developed central and western regions. A total of 170,000 university graduates will be selected to work in the rural schools from 2017 to 2018, according to the report.