National security, Anti-monopoly work; New disease control agency

Thanks to everyone who participated in Friday’s open discussion.

Some of the highlights from today’s newsletter:

  • The Politburo held a group study session on national security. Yuan Peng, head of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), a think tank affiliated with the Ministry of State Security, and an "America hand", was the lecturer. Among the ten requirements Xi outlined was a call to “pay equal attention to development and security”;

  • The Friday Politburo meeting, which we discussed a little in the Friday discussion thread, presaged a budding anti-monopoly crackdown on the Internet giants. One of the motivations behind the growing anti-monopoly crackdown and the Politburo readout phrase "disorderly expansion of capital" appears to be to channel money and technical talent into real technology innovations;

  • Several Western newspapers wrote stories over the weekend about a leaked 2016. The coverage has been a bit hyperbolic in my view, but two angles from the database that I expect to get further substantive coverage are the Party branches/structure that can be seen from the data and the discovery of people who were not honest about CCP membership on visa/immigration applications.

Today’s Essential Eight Items:

  1. Politburo study session on National Security

  2. Politburo meeting

  3. Anti-monopoly work

  4. Hong Kong

  5. Xi announces 2030 climate commitments

  6. New disease control agency?

  7. Shanghai Party membership files

  8. Australia-China

Thanks for reading.


The Essential Eight

1. Politburo study session on National Security

It seems everything is national security now.

习近平在中央政治局第二十六次集体学习时强调 坚持系统思维构建大安全格局 为建设社会主义现代化国家提供坚强保障_CCTV

Xi Jinping put forward ten requirements for implementing the overall national security concept.

First, adhere to the absolute leadership of the Party on national security work, adhere to the centralized and unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee on national security work, strengthen overall planning and coordination, carry out the leadership of the Party throughout all aspects of national security work, and promote party committees (party groups) at all levels to implement the national security responsibility system.

Second, adhere to the road of national security with Chinese characteristics, implement the overall national security concept, adhere to the organic unity of political security, people's security and the supremacy of national interests, take people's security as the purpose, take political security as the foundation and economic security as the foundation, defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, prevent and resolve major security risks, and provide strong security guarantee for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

Third, we should adhere to the aim of people's security, and make all national security for the people and depend on them. We should give full play to the enthusiasm, initiative and creativity of the broad masses of the people, earnestly safeguard their security rights and interests, and always regard the people as the basic force of national security, thus bringing together a powerful force for safeguarding national security.

Fourth, we should make overall plans for development and security, pay equal attention to development and security, and realize the positive interaction between high-quality development and high-level security. We should not only enhance national security strength through development, but also deepen the innovation of national security ideas, systems and means, and create a safe environment conducive to economic and social development. We should consider more security factors in development, strive to achieve a dynamic balance between development and security, and comprehensively improve national security work capacity and level.

Fifth, we should give priority to political security, safeguard political and institutional security, and be more proactive in all aspects of work.

Sixth, we should make overall plans to promote security in all fields, make overall plans to deal with traditional security and non-traditional security, play the role of national security coordination mechanism, and make good use of the toolbox of national security policy.

Seventh, we should put the prevention and resolution of national security risks in a prominent position, improve the ability to foresee and predict risks, and strive to discover and dispose of hidden dangers that may bring significant risks in the bud.

Eighth, persist in promoting international common security, hold high the banner of cooperation, innovation, rule of law and win-win, promote the establishment of a common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable global security concept, strengthen international security cooperation, improve the global security governance system, and jointly build a universally safe community of human destiny.

Ninth, we should persist in advancing the modernization of the national security system and capacity, persist in taking reform and innovation as the driving force, strengthen the thinking of the rule of law, build a systematic, scientific, standardized and effective national security system, improve the ability to use science and technology to safeguard national security, and continuously enhance the ability to shape the national security situation.

Tenth, insist on strengthening the construction of national security cadres, strengthen the construction of the party on the national security front, and persist in taking political construction as the guide to build an indestructible national security cadre team.

习近平就贯彻总体国家安全观提出10点要求。一是坚持党对国家安全工作的绝对领导,坚持党中央对国家安全工作的集中统一领导,加强统筹协调,把党的领导贯穿到国家安全工作各方面全过程,推动各级党委(党组)把国家安全责任制落到实处。二是坚持中国特色国家安全道路,贯彻总体国家安全观,坚持政治安全、人民安全、国家利益至上有机统一,以人民安全为宗旨,以政治安全为根本,以经济安全为基础,捍卫国家主权和领土完整,防范化解重大安全风险,为实现中华民族伟大复兴提供坚强安全保障。三是坚持以人民安全为宗旨,国家安全一切为了人民、一切依靠人民,充分发挥广大人民群众积极性、主动性、创造性,切实维护广大人民群众安全权益,始终把人民作为国家安全的基础性力量,汇聚起维护国家安全的强大力量。四是坚持统筹发展和安全,坚持发展和安全并重,实现高质量发展和高水平安全的良性互动,既通过发展提升国家安全实力,又深入推进国家安全思路、体制、手段创新,营造有利于经济社会发展的安全环境,在发展中更多考虑安全因素,努力实现发展和安全的动态平衡,全面提高国家安全工作能力和水平。五是坚持把政治安全放在首要位置,维护政权安全和制度安全,更加积极主动做好各方面工作。六是坚持统筹推进各领域安全,统筹应对传统安全和非传统安全,发挥国家安全工作协调机制作用,用好国家安全政策工具箱。七是坚持把防范化解国家安全风险摆在突出位置,提高风险预见、预判能力,力争把可能带来重大风险的隐患发现和处置于萌芽状态。八是坚持推进国际共同安全,高举合作、创新、法治、共赢的旗帜,推动树立共同、综合、合作、可持续的全球安全观,加强国际安全合作,完善全球安全治理体系,共同构建普遍安全的人类命运共同体。九是坚持推进国家安全体系和能力现代化,坚持以改革创新为动力,加强法治思维,构建系统完备、科学规范、运行有效的国家安全制度体系,提高运用科学技术维护国家安全的能力,不断增强塑造国家安全态势的能力。十是坚持加强国家安全干部队伍建设,加强国家安全战线党的建设,坚持以政治建设为统领,打造坚不可摧的国家安全干部队伍。

The Xinhua English summary is a bit abridged: - Xi stresses building holistic national security architecture - Xinhua

Xi put forward 10 requirements for pursuing a holistic approach to national security:

-- Upholding the Party's absolute leadership over national security work;

-- Adhering to the path of national security with Chinese characteristics;

-- Taking protecting the people's security as the mission, to ensure that everything done for national security is for the sake of the people and relies on the people;

-- Balancing both development and security, while placing equal emphasis on development and security;

-- Giving top priority to political security, safeguarding the security of state power and the political system;

-- Strengthening security in all respects and ensuring both traditional and non-traditional security;

-- Highlighting the tasks of forestalling and defusing national security risks;

-- Advancing common international security and jointly building a community with a shared future for mankind featuring universal security;

-- Modernizing China's national security system and capacity;

-- Strengthening the competence of staff working for national security.

Why did China’s Communist Party elite need a lecture on the US? | South China Morning Post

Yuan [Peng], 53, became the first foreign relations expert called upon to lecture the Politburo’s group study session on national security under the administration of President Xi Jinping.

The last time such a study session was held was in April 2014, when Wang Yongqing, the then secretary general of the party’s top security organ – the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission – briefed the Politburo on counterterrorism matters...

A political science researcher with the Central Party School said the biggest challenge in implementing the Chinese model of “holistic national security” was to work out the details of intelligence-sharing and decision-making between the various party and state bodies.

“Now security is no longer just the job of the party’s security organs but all the top cadres will have a role to play. We will need to learn and adopt the good practices from the US and its ‘Five Eyes’ partners,” said the researcher, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.

May 2020 Exclusive: Internal Chinese report warns Beijing faces Tiananmen-like global backlash over virus | Reuters

The report, presented early last month by the Ministry of State Security to top Beijing leaders including President Xi Jinping, concluded that global anti-China sentiment is at its highest since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, the sources said.

As a result, Beijing faces a wave of anti-China sentiment led by the United States in the aftermath of the pandemic and needs to be prepared in a worst-case scenario for armed confrontation between the two global powers, according to people familiar with the report’s content, who declined to be identified given the sensitivity of the matter.

The report was drawn up by the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), a think tank affiliated with the Ministry of State Security, China’s top intelligence body.

2016 - Recalibrating U.S.-China Relations in Southeast Asia - Center for American Progress

I have only met Yuan Peng once, when I moderated a DC event he participated in for a report the Center for American Progress and the China Institutes for Contemporary International Relations did. It was a bit strange, he twice said to me "how I have not heard of you?".


2. Politburo meeting

Xi chairs leadership meeting on economic work for 2021 - Xinhua

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, on Friday presided over a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee to analyze the economic work for 2021.

The meeting also heard a report of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and the National Supervisory Commission, made plans for the anti-corruption work for 2021, and reviewed a set of work rules for elections of local Party organizations.

This year has been eventful, and despite tough challenges, China has been strategically focused, gained accurate insights and made careful plans, said a statement released after the meeting, adding that the country took resolute actions and achieved progress that is satisfactory to the people and has attracted global attention.

The statement also pointed out that China has become the only major economy with positive growth. "Three tough battles" against major risks, poverty and pollution have achieved decisive outcomes. Scientific and technological innovation saw major progress and new breakthroughs have been made in reform and opening up...

Reforms on both supply and demand sides should be carried out to achieve a dynamic equilibrium on a higher level, in which demand and supply can boost each other, said the statement.

Efforts should be made to build more independent and controllable industrial and supply chains and form a strong domestic market, it said.

The meeting also called for strengthened antitrust efforts and the prevention of disorderly expansion of capital, and stressed efforts to promote the stable and healthy development of the real estate market...

A previous meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee presided over by Xi had heard the 2020 work report of the CPC's CCDI and the National Supervisory Commission and a report on the preparations for the 19th CCDI's fifth plenary session, scheduled for Jan. 22-24 in 2021.

中共中央政治局召开会议 习近平主持-新华网

会议要求,要扭住供给侧结构性改革,同时注重需求侧改革,打通堵点,补齐短板,贯通生产、分配、流通、消费各环节,形成需求牵引供给、供给创造需求的更高水平动态平衡,提升国民经济体系整体效能。要整体推进改革开放,强化国家战略科技力量,增强产业链供应链自主可控能力,形成强大国内市场,夯实农业基础,强化反垄断和防止资本无序扩张,促进房地产市场平稳健康发展,持续改善生态环境质量。要对全面建成小康社会进行系统评估和总结,巩固拓展脱贫攻坚成果,做好同乡村振兴有效衔接。要抓好各种存量风险化解和增量风险防范。

政治局会议首提需求侧改革 缩小收入差距促进消费成重点_经济频道_财新网

Another formulation that appeared for the first time at the Politburo meeting was "to prevent disorderly expansion of capital". Li Xunlei [Chief Economist and Head of Research Institute of Zhongtai Securities] said that this is actually to strengthen control over the investment of capital. At present, the market value of Internet giants has become the largest among domestic listed enterprises. If some giants rely on their monopoly advantage of information resources to invest in various industries and obtain excess profits, it will not only destroy market rules, but also lead to many social problems such as rising unemployment rate.

此次政治局会议另一首次出现的提法是“防止资本无序扩张”。李迅雷表示,这实际上是要对资本的投向加强管控。目前互联网巨头市值已经成为国内上市企业中最大,如果某些巨头凭借其信息资源的垄断优势,向各个行业投资渗透,获得超额利润,不仅会破坏市场规则,而且还会导致失业率上升等诸多社会问题。

Securities Times article on the Politburo meeting and the domestic demand language: 需求侧改革刷屏 中国加速构建新发展格局 _ 证券时报网

In fact, many important meetings during the year mentioned the related contents of expanding demand and demand side management. At the meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee held on March 27th, it was clearly decided to expand domestic demand. The Politburo meeting held on July 30th put forward "to continuously expand domestic demand", "to expand final consumption and create conditions for upgrading residents' consumption" and "to actively expand effective investment". The Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee put forward that "we should adhere to the strategic basis of expanding domestic demand, speed up the cultivation of a complete domestic demand system, organically combine the implementation of the strategy of expanding domestic demand with the deepening of supply-side structural reform, and lead and create new demand with innovation-driven and high-quality supply".

Wen Bin said that to upgrade from "demand side management" to "demand side reform", it is necessary to give full play to the basic role of consumption. Increasing the proportion of labor income in residents' income distribution, further improving the social security system, improving people's spending power and stabilizing consumption expectations are the most important aspects of demand-side reform.

事实上,年内多个重要会议均提到扩大需求和需求侧管理的相关内容。3月27日召开的中央政治局会议明确定调要扩大内需。7月30日召开的政治局会议提出“要持续扩大国内需求”、“扩大最终消费,为居民消费升级创造条件”和“积极扩大有效投资”。十九届五中全会提出“坚持扩大内需这个战略基点,加快培育完整内需体系,把实施扩大内需战略同深化供给侧结构性改革有机结合起来,以创新驱动、高质量供给引领和创造新需求”。 温彬表示,从“需求侧管理”升级到“需求侧改革”,要充分发挥消费的基础性作用。提高劳动收入在居民收入分配中的占比,进一步完善社会保障制度,提高老百姓的消费能力,稳定消费预期,这是需求侧改革的最重要方面。

Xi Jinping’s new economic focus on China’s demand reform borrows ideas from Marx more than Keynes | South China Morning Post

Beijing is trying to find a way to address a core problem with capitalism, as revealed by Karl Marx – namely, underconsumption and “the poverty in the midst of plenty” within the working class...

The emphasis now on the “demand side” shows Beijing is looking at structural and institutional reasons underlying the relative underconsumption.

It is still too early to guess which specific policies Beijing is considering on the “demand side”. But the direction is clear that China needs to enrich its people, to narrow the wealth gap, and to improve social welfare coverage.


3. Anti-monopoly work

China Fines Alibaba, Tencent Unit Under Anti-Monopoly Laws - Bloomberg

The State Administration for Market Regulation said Monday it’s reviewing the combination of DouYu International Holdings Ltd. with Huya Inc., which could create a Chinese game streaming leader akin to Amazon’s Twitch. It fined Alibaba 500,000 yuan ($76,500) for failing to seek approval before increasing its stake in department store chain Intime Retail Group Co. to 73.79% in 2017, while China Literature Ltd., the e-books business spun off by Tencent, was also censured over a previous deal, according to a statement...

“Investment and takeovers are important means for development and growth of internet companies,” the regulator said in the statement. “The above-mentioned companies have a large influence in the industry, carry out many investments and takeovers, have specialized legal teams and should be familiar with the regulations governing M&A. Their failure to actively declare has a relatively severe impact.”

In Sign of Deepening Scrutiny, Major Private Firms’ Knuckles Rapped Over Acquisitions - Caixin

Monday’s fines mark the first time Chinese internet companies have been penalized under the country’s 12-year-old Anti-Monopoly Law, which holds that all firms must apply for antitrust clearance when making acquisitions that cross a certain threshold set by the regulator.

But at least part of the reason why many large private Chinese firms do not typically do so is because of a long-running lack of clarity over whether variable interest entities (VIEs), the legal structure many Chinese tech firms use, are within the purview of China’s Anti-Monopoly Law...

“It has become common for companies as such simply not to declare potential transactions over the past few years,” Jiang Huikuang, co-partner of Zhong Lun law firm, told Caixin...

A draft amendment to the Anti-Monopoly Law published in January would dramatically increase the fine’s upper limit from 500,000 yuan to 10% of the operators’ sales in the previous year.

Jiang said for large internet companies that use the VIE structure, with turnover calculated based on the consolidated amount at the group level, future fines could be astronomical.

People's Daily criticizes the community grocery buying mania and the Internet behemoths driving it: -人民日报:社区团购争议背后 是对互联网巨头科技创新的更多期待|社区团购|互联网|科技创新_新浪科技_新浪网

It may be another wonderful story that the Internet changes life through business model innovation. However, there are many different voices in the field of public opinion. Apart from the discussion of profound changes in the interests of vegetable vendors, there are also many thoughts pointing to the innovation expectation of large-scale Internet enterprises. Not long ago, some Internet technology companies used cutting-edge technologies to solve scientific and technological problems, which profoundly enlightened us that there is another way to open the accumulated data and algorithms on the Internet besides turning traffic into revenue, that is, to promote scientific and technological innovation.

或许又是一个互联网通过商业模式创新改变生活的精彩故事。但舆论场上也有许多不同声音,除了对于菜贩群体利益深刻改变的讨论外,也有不少思考指向对大型互联网企业的创新期待。前不久,一些互联网技术公司运用前沿技术破解科技难题,这深刻启示我们:互联网累积的数据和算法,除了流量变现,还有另一种打开方式,即促进科技创新。

Concludes with:

Don't just think about the volume of a few bundles of cabbage and a few pounds of fruit. The stars of scientific and technological innovation and the infinite possibilities of the future are actually more exciting.

别只惦记着几捆白菜、几斤水果的流量,科技创新的星辰大海、未来的无限可能性,其实更令人心潮澎湃。

Question: So is one of the motivations behind the growing anti-monopoly crackdown and the Politburo readout phrase "disorderly expansion of capital" to channel money and technical talent into real technology innovations that China needs to be able to grasp the core technologies in its own hands?

市场监管总局反垄断局主要负责人就阿里巴巴投资收购银泰商业、腾讯控股企业阅文收购新丽传媒、丰巢网络收购中邮智递三起未依法申报案件处罚情况答记者问

Q&A from the State Administration for Market Regulation

Question 7. Recently, the society has paid great attention to the problem of platform monopoly. What suggestions do you have for platform enterprises to operate according to laws and regulations?

A: Although the competition in platform economy presents some new features such as multilateral market, dynamic competition, cross-border competition and network effect, the traditional anti-monopoly legal rules still apply. I have repeatedly stressed that the platform is not a place outside the anti-monopoly law. Internet platform enterprises should strictly abide by anti-monopoly laws and regulations and maintain fair competition in the market.

问题7.近期,对平台垄断问题的社会关注度很高。您对平台企业依法合规经营有哪些建议?

答:虽然平台经济领域竞争呈现出多边市场、动态竞争、跨界竞争、网络效应等一些新的特点,但传统的反垄断法律规则仍然适用。我多次强调,平台不是反垄断法外之地,互联网平台企业应当严格遵守反垄断法律法规,维护市场公平竞争


4. Hong Kong

Treasury Takes No Action on Hong Kong Banking Sanctions - Bloomberg

The decision, announced in a report required by Congress, is likely to come as a relief to major banks that had sought to unwind any connection to those sanctioned for fear of facing punishment.

Hong Kong media publisher Jimmy Lai is charged under national security law - The Washington Post

Lai’s associates say the charges against him are entirely political. Under the national security law, Hong Kong suspects can be taken for trial to mainland China, where the legal system is opaque and open to abuse.

“The charges against Jimmy are not about a misused lease, not even about the national security of China,” said Mark Simon, a close aide. “It is about one thing, a man who won’t bow to the Chinese Communist Party.”

Hong Kong Media Mogul Jimmy Lai Charged Over Actions, Speech Predating Security Law — Radio Free Asia

He is charged under the National Security Law for Hong Kong of calling on "overseas institutions, organizations and personnel to impose sanctions or take other hostile actions against Hong Kong or China" between July 1 and Dec. 1, 2020.

Prosecutors cite interviews he gave to foreign media organizations, including the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and Fox News, as well as comments and accounts he followed on Twitter.

Some of the evidence cited by prosecutors predates the implementation of the new law, including a meeting Lai held with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on July 8, 2019 during a trip to Washington.

On Twitter, Lai is accused of collusion with foreign powers for following Tsai Ing-wen, president of democratic Taiwan, on Twitter, and for thanking Pompeo for his support on July 11 and 12, 2020.

Police flag Twitter activity, founding of Apple Daily English in allegations against Jimmy Lai | Apple Daily

The police have alleged Lai of continuing to conduct acts critical of mainland China after the law was enacted, including penning opinion pieces, tweeting and participating in live chats with U.S. journalist Nick Kristof, former South China Morning Post chief editor Mark Clifford and U.S. academic Perry Link.

Security law: Hong Kong justice dept. 'appalled' by foreign officials demanding release of media tycoon Jimmy Lai | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

The Hong Kong Department of Justice (DoJ) has said it is “appalled” by overseas government officials who are demanding the release of pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai, who is facing trial under the Beijing-enacted national security law.

In a statement issued on Saturday night, the DoJ said, without naming Lai and any foreign officials, that no one should interfere with its independent prosecutorial decisions that were based on admissible evidence and applicable laws.

Former Hong Kong Lawmaker Seeks Asylum in the U.S. as Exodus Grows - WSJ $$

A year ago, Sixtus Leung was busy helping Hong Kong protesters escape from a university campus besieged by police.

Now, after arriving in the U.S. on Nov. 30, he is seeking asylum and lobbying U.S. lawmakers for more support for young activists who want to leave Hong Kong.

中槍學生曾志健15歲女友流亡英國 離港前遭不明人士跟蹤 為最年輕港流亡抗爭者 | 蘋果日報

Apple Daily says 15-year-old girlfriend of the protester who was shot in the chest by police last Oct 1 has fled to the UK

Donations to Hong Kong police welfare fund soar 26-fold to almost HK$180m during year of protest & unrest | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

The Hong Kong Police Welfare Fund has received close to HK$180 million of donations over the past year amid large-scale protests, according to a report submitted to the legislature. It represents a 26-fold increase compared to the previous year...

The fund spent HK$74.98 million more compared to last year. The largest expenditure in the General Fund was refreshments for officers on special duties, which cost close to HK$65 million. The document did not specify what refreshments were distributed.


5. Xi announces 2030 climate commitments

Full Text: Remarks by Chinese President Xi Jinping at Climate Ambition Summit - Xinhua

China has made important contributions to adopting the Paris Agreement and has made active efforts toward implementing it. I announced in September that China would scale up its nationally determined contributions and adopt more vigorous policies and measures. We aim to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.

Today, I wish to announce some further commitments for 2030: China will lower its carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by over 65 percent from the 2005 level, increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 25 percent, increase the forest stock volume by 6 billion cubic meters from the 2005 level, and bring its total installed capacity of wind and solar power to over 1.2 billion kilowatts.

China always honors its commitments. Guided by our new development philosophy, we will promote greener economic and social development in all respects while pursuing high-quality development. We will take solid steps to implement the targets just announced, and contribute even more to tackling the global climate challenge...

As a Chinese poem [李白《上安州裴长史书》] reads, “Heaven does not speak and it alternates the four seasons; Earth does not speak and it nurtures all things.” Earth is our only and shared home

Xi's speech - 学习强国 - 继往开来,开启全球应对气候变化新征程 ——在气候雄心峰会上的讲话

在此,我愿进一步宣布:到2030年,中国单位国内生产总值二氧化碳排放将比2005年下降65%以上,非化石能源占一次能源消费比重将达到25%左右,森林蓄积量将比2005年增加60亿立方米,风电、太阳能发电总装机容量将达到12亿千瓦以上。

中国历来重信守诺,将以新发展理念为引领,在推动高质量发展中促进经济社会发展全面绿色转型,脚踏实地落实上述目标,为全球应对气候变化作出更大贡献。

各位同事!

“天不言而四时行,地不语而百物生。”地球是人类共同的、唯一的家园。让我们继往开来、并肩前行,助力《巴黎协定》行稳致远,开启全球应对气候变化新征程!


6. New disease control agency?

Exclusive: China Plans New Disease Control Agency in Covid-19 Aftermath - Caixin

The government body, now known informally as the “big disease-control bureau,” will oversee work aimed at preventing future outbreaks and managing emerging ones, according to two government insiders and three high-level public health experts.

The new disease control agency may combine the departments of the National Health Commission (NHC) responsible for public health and emergency responses with the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), the country’s main protector of public health and safety, Caixin understands.

The development follows last month’s promotion (link in Chinese) of 52-year-old Lei Haichao to deputy director of the NHC from heading its municipal counterpart in Beijing. Sources said, without elaborating, that his appointment was related to upcoming reforms of China’s disease control system.

Public health reform is high on the Chinese government’s agenda after Covid-19 exposed shortcomings in the Asian giant’s disease control and prevention mechanisms, including weak administrative powers, lacking interagency communication, poorly defined roles and responsibilities, and a shortage of funding in key areas.

Caixin's original story - 独家|公卫体系改革启程 大疾控局方案酝酿中_财新网

11月,国家卫健委领导层出现新冠肺炎疫情以来首次人员变动,52岁的北京卫健委主任雷海潮升任国家卫健委副主任。多名人士透露,这一任职与疾控体系酝酿中的改革有关。

目前,卫健委旗下与公卫职能相关的部门包括机关职能单位的疾控局、卫生应急办公室(突发公共卫生事件应急指挥中心)、直属事业单位中国疾控中心等。


7. Shanghai Party membership files

West hypes ‘leaked' list of CPC members to sow discord in foreign institutions - Global Times

The database may also be fabricated, Chen Hong, a professor at East China Normal University, whose name is on the list, told the Global Times on Monday, pointing out that he was never a member of the CPC but was a member of another party in the Chinese political system.

"I suspect the database is completely erroneous," Chen said.

Volkswagen China told the Global Times that joining any political party is an employee's personal decision and they do not interfere. Volkswagen respects every employee's political affiliation globally and their business will not be affected by that. Volkswagen has not set up a Party branch in China.

IKEA, one of the companies said to have CPC members on its payroll, told the Global Times on Monday, "We don't have knowledge of, or an interest in, our co-workers' political party affiliations. We respect each other's different views and strive to be an inclusive workplace for all."...

Employees of companies included in the database also found the reports of being a "security risk" ridiculous, as companies would not care about their employees' political stance and affiliation. "Will your employer in the US ask whether you are a Republican or a Democrat before recruiting you?" an employee of a multinational firm in Shanghai asked, speaking to the Global Times on condition of anonymity.

Five Eyes turn blind by fantasizing CPC infiltration: Global Times editorial - Global Times

The Washington-led smear campaign against the CPC has clear political goals. It deliberately distorts the reality of Chinese society and violates the basic logic of exchanges between Western countries and China. It is stabbing the relations between China and Five Eyes countries. In the end, such a smear campaign could only convince the Western world with deceit.

It is such a pity that Western opinion allows such a deceptive trick to brew, with no force having the courage and ability to inform the Western public of the true story of the CPC. Some Western opinion agencies, with the instigation of politicians, even take an active role in framing China and the CPC. It is pathetic to see the West's degradation.

Leaked files expose mass infiltration of UK firms by Chinese Communist Party | Daily Mail Online

The database was originally leaked on Telegram, the encrypted instant messaging app, and passed in September by a Chinese dissident to the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), which comprises more than 150 legislators around the world who are concerned by the influence and activities of the Chinese government.

Dating from 2016, it includes the names of party members in Shanghai, the largest city in China and its financial hub.

The list is divided into more than 79,000 branches, many of them affiliated to individual companies or organisations.

Senior staff at HSBC, Standard Chartered and Deutsche Bank are Chinese Communist Party members

Senior employees of a variety of UK and US companies appear on leaked membership lists seen by The Telegraph. Premier League football club Wolves are also revealed to be owned by party members, including one owner who holds a position of responsibility within the party.

Further questions are also set to be posed about Huawei’s supply chain, as the company’s sole American manufacturer Qualcomm are revealed to employ hundreds of party members including some in senior positions.

Chinese Communist Party Members Worked in Foreign Consulates: Leaked List — Radio Free Asia

The database, which was handed to the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) by an anonymous dissident after being leaked on the Telegram messaging app, also contains details of more than 150 lawmakers in parliaments around the world who are CCP members.

Names, positions of Chinese Community Party operatives revealed in major security leak - The Australian

Global companies that hold billions of dollars worth of sensitive defence contracts in Australia and the US, along with companies developing coronavirus vaccines, have hundreds of Chinese Communist Party members in their employ, an investigation has revealed.

The Australian has obtained a leaked database listing the personal details of almost two million CCP members — including their party position, birthdate, national ID number and ethnicity...

The leaked database of CCP members includes academics in Australia and Britain, including at the University of NSW and employees in private companies working in Australia.


8. Australia-China

China extends full open gesture to imported coal except for Australia - Global Times

China's top economic planner on Saturday gave approval to power plants to import coal without clearance restrictions, except for Australia, in a bid to stabilize coal purchase prices.

Analysts said that China has various sources of coal, including Mongolia, Indonesia and Russia. Moreover, China is reducing coal use to curb carbon emissions, which will mean lower demand for coal in the next few decades.

The National Development and Reform Commission said in a meeting with 10 major power enterprises that the coal purchase price should not exceed 640 yuan ($97.8) per ton and it ordered power plants to share inventory to reduce the purchase of high-priced coal in the market. At present, the inventory of coal at key power plants is about 86 million tons...

Wang Yongzhong, director of the Institute of Energy Economy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that China has stable and sufficient domestic coal supply, while having rich import sources.

"China's major coal import source countries used to be Australia, Indonesia, Russia and Mongolia. Since Mongolia has a geographic advantage that allows lower transportation costs than any other exporters, it could take a large share from Australian coal, as the relationship between China and Australia has been deteriorating and Australia is gradually losing the Chinese market. Domestic suppliers can also grab some market share," Wang told the Global Times on Sunday, adding that even the US and Canada could be import sources, though they are the last choices as transportation costs would be very high

Comment: So much for the value of a PRC signature on any trade deal?

China’s Australian coal blacklist now official - The Australian

Citi analysts think China’s ban on Australian metallurgical coal may be lifted by mid-2021 with its steel mills forced to resume buying due to their reliance on high-quality Australian grades.

But the move would take the total amount of annual exports blocked by port authorities, crippled by tariffs or banned by customs to more than $20b, following strikes against wine, wood, barley, beef, lamb and lobster.

China tariffs offset by rising Australian iron ore prices due to ‘fear tax’ | The Guardian

Deloitte Access Economics said Chinese government moves against wine, beef, barley, lobsters and thermal coal have cost Australia money “but we’ve more than made that up in overall terms thanks to iron ore – and the taxman will be a considerable beneficiary of that”.

Matt Canavan calls for retaliatory levy on iron ore to China - The Australian

Former resources minister Matt Canavan says the government must force Beijing to “pay a price” for its trade bans on Australian products by imposing a levy on iron ore exports to China.

Writing in The Australian today, Senator Canavan says a 1 per cent levy would raise more than $800 million a year, which could be used to support sectors hit by Chinese trade bans.

Iron Ore Rattled as Crackdown Plea From China Mills Spurs Slump - Bloomberg

The China Iron & Steel Association called on the State Administration of Market Regulation and the China Securities Regulatory Commission to crack down on potential illegal activities, according to a Dec. 11 statement. That followed similar remarks in a recent interview carried by the Xinhua News Agency, as well as a call for rational trading from the Dalian Commodity Exchange.

Trade tensions: China rumblings stoke fears iron ore is next - News.com.au

West Australian Treasurer Ben Wyatt, however, says there have always been rumblings from China about the system, which used to be based on 12-month contracts but iron ore is now increasingly sold on the spot market.

“The price of iron ore, when it gets to these levels unsurprisingly you get some pushback out of China whether it’s based on transparency issues or whatever it happens to be,” Mr Wyatt said on Monday in handing down the state’s mid-year economic review.

The review upgraded WA’s 2020-21 operating surplus by $1b — in no small part due to the iron ore price rally.

Media and think tanks need to play more active and constructive role in impasse of China-Australia relations: scholars - Global Times

Australia needs to reflect on its provocations against China, and clearly recognize that in this impasse, hostile and biased reporting by some think tanks and media has deepened misunderstanding on both sides, scholars stressed at the webinar about the future of China-Australia Relations co-organized by Institute for a Community with Shared Future (ISCF) of Communication University of China (CUC) and University of Technology of Sydney.

Against the backdrop of strained China-Australia relations, more than 50 internationally renowned experts in the field of China-Australia relations and international communication from China and Australia attended the conference, where they called on academic institutions, media, and think tanks of both sides to strengthen dialogue and exchange.

The future for China and Australia need not be bleak, said James Laurenceson, director of the Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology Sydney, noting that although there is some frictions between the two countries at the moment, Beijing and Canberra have still enjoyed sound cooperation across many sectors, and economic and trade relations between the two sides remain relatively resilient.


Business, Economy and Trade

Yicai - China's Weilong Joins Other Food Suppliers by Boycotting Group-Buying Platforms Chinese snack producer Weilong has joined a club of food suppliers trying to put an end to the disruptive discounts offered by group-buying partners such as Pinduoduo and Meituan...Many Chinese tech firms, including Alibaba Group Holding, Didi Chuxing, and Suning.Com, have rolled out their group-purchasing fresh food services this year amid the Covid-19 pandemic so that consumers could order groceries online -- made cheap by the large quantities ordered -- with delivery to their neighborhoods.

Global investors place Rmb1tn bet on China breakthrough | Financial Times With China’s growth returning to pre-Covid levels and domestic consumption picking up, the central bank has been able to leave its benchmark interest rates almost untouched while others cut theirs hard or launched bond-buying programmes that crammed yields close to zero...Sameer Goel, a macro strategist at Deutsche Bank, said foreign bond-buying this year was “even larger than what one would’ve expected” from passive flows after global benchmarks began including Chinese government debt in 2019. Mr Goel said foreign buying of onshore bonds, which will get another boost next year from incorporation into FTSE Russell’s influential World Government Bond index, had helped drive a record six-month rally for the renminbi.

Cash-for-Ratings Probe Nets Former Executives at State-Run Credit Ratings Agency - Caixin Two former executives at a state-owned credit ratings agency are being probed on suspicion of taking bribes to inflate the ratings of certain companies, as the central bank moves to strengthen its oversight of the industry. Jin Yongshou, a former general manager of Golden Credit Rating International Co. Ltd., and Cui Runhai, a former general manager at the company’s Jiangsu branch, were found to have illegally assisted the unidentified companies for “massive (financial) gain,” according to a Monday statement (link in Chinese) from China’s top anti-corruption agency.

China Pledges Better Supervision of Bond Credit Rating Industry - Bloomberg People’s Bank of China deputy governor Pan Gongsheng said problems in the industry included inflated credit ratings, according to a statement on the PBOC’s website dated Sunday. Ratings companies should work hard to improve their capabilities and quality of work, he said.

China's new home prices slow in November as market-cooling steps take hold | Reuters The average new home price across 70 major cities rose 0.1% in November from the previous month, Reuters calculated from National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data. That compared with 0.2% on-month growth in October. Prices rose 4.0% in November from the same month a year earlier, the weakest rate since February 2016. That compared with a 4.3% on-year increase in October.

China Reduces Metric for Overseas Borrowing to Rein In Capital Inflow - Caixin China’s central bank Friday tightened its risk assessment on cross-border borrowing, a move intended to rein in a surge of capital inflow amid the yuan’s rise. The People’s Bank of China and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange will lower a parameter on cross-border financing in macro-prudential assessments for financial institutions from 1.25 to 1, they said in a statement. The change will reduce financial institutions’ capacity to borrow abroad.

Chinese fashion group that controls Lycra maker defaults on $153m bond | Financial Times $$ Shandong Ruyi Technology Group, which has struggled to cope with a heavy debt load after a series of high-profile international acquisitions, said in a filing that it had failed to repay the principal and interest on a Rmb1bn bond that came due on Monday.

防范蛋壳爆雷重演 南京规定超额收租存入监管账户_财新网_财新网 Caixin - To prevent a Danke collapse from repeating itself. Nanjing stipulates that excessive rent collection and deposits must be placed in a supervision account...but that may destroy the business model as Danke and its ilk use the long-term rent they collect to fund short term property acquisition and renovations...

China’s digital currency no threat to global monetary systems, former central bank chief says | South China Morning Post Beijing is not seeking to replace existing currencies with its digital yuan, former People’s Bank of China governor Zhou Xiaochuan tells Shanghai forum But its ability to process payments and handle foreign exchange transactions simultaneously and in real time could transform cross-border trade, he says

Meituan Exposes Grocery Executive for Suspected Corruption - Caixin Online-to-offline services giant Meituan has handed over to police the case of a mid-level manager suspected of accepting bribes, sending a message to other employees as it gets set to rapidly expand its recently launched community-based grocery service.

After Four-Year Hiatus, China Hands Out Another Independent Direct Banking License - Caixin China Merchants Bank Co. Ltd., (CMB) one of the country’s largest commercial banks, has finally won regulatory approval to set up a direct banking joint venture with financial service platform Jingdong Digits Technology Holding Co. Ltd. (JD Digits), almost four years after it first announced the plan. China Merchants Tuopu Bank (招商拓扑银行) will be only the second direct bank with independent legal person status to get the go-ahead and its approval comes almost four years after China Citic Bank Corp. and search engine Baidu Inc. were given the green light for their joint venture

China Sees New Surge in Pork Prices With Imports Under Scrutiny - Bloomberg Pork prices have rebounded in China as demand strengthens before a major holiday season and supply tightens because of a virus-linked crackdown on imports. Wholesale pork prices jumped almost 6% in the first week of December from a week earlier to 41.98 yuan ($6.41) per kilogram, posting the biggest gain in a year, according to data from the commerce ministry

Yicai - Renrendai’s Users Struggle to Get Money Back From Chinese P2P Lender Users can apply to get back just 65 percent of the principal via the platform’s emergency transfer channel with no interest, China Fund Daily reported yesterday, citing a lender who said it was difficult to get a withdrawal application approved.

Yicai - China to Have World’s Most Cars by Year-End as Sales Are Set to Hit 30 Million “There is no doubt that China will have the most vehicles in the world by the end of this year,” Fu Bingfeng, executive vice chairman and secretary-general of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said at an industry forum in Shanghai yesterday. The country has 275 million autos now, roughly equal to the US.

Man Who Worked At Local Research Institute For 10 Years Pleads Guilty To Conspiring To Steal Trade Secrets, Sell Them In China | OPA | Department of Justice A former Dublin, Ohio, man pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court today to conspiring to steal exosome-related trade secrets concerning the research, identification and treatment of a range of pediatric medical conditions. Yu Zhou, 50, also pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud. Zhou admitted to conspiring to steal scientific trade secrets related to exosomes and exosome isolation from Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Research Institute for his own personal financial gain in China.

‘Star’ Chinese banker jailed for life for stealing US$400 million from clients in Ponzi scheme | South China Morning Post Zhang Ying, the former head of the Hangtianqiao branch of China Minsheng Bank in Beijing, was found guilty of using fake wealth management contracts to cheat customers out of 2.7 billion yuan (US$412 million) in a Ponzi scheme between 2013 and 2017, according to a court ruling published last week.

China lowers hurdle for overseas money transfers - Nikkei Asia China has begun simplifying overseas remittance procedures, with at least four cities having reduced the documentation required for sending money abroad for trade in services.


Politics and Law

Kevin Rudd - China Has Politics Too | Asia Society The net effect of all the above is that Xi Jinping, whose domestic political position was in considerable difficulty earlier this year, now finds his position strengthened. And Donald Trump is no longer with us. Well, almost no longer with us. Xi Jinping’s continued political ascendancy was underlined by the Fifth Plenum Meeting of the Central Chinese Committee which concluded on the 29th of October. Judging by the Plenum’s outcome, Xi’s political ambition to remain in power for the next 15 years looks increasingly secure. China also looks to be in a better position to surpass the American economy over the course of the 2020s, accelerated by the rapid pace of the Chinese recovery. And the 2020s increasingly loom as the decade when Xi Jinping will want to see the realization of reunification with Taiwan. // Asia Socirty President Rudd and former US Treasury Secretary Paulson discussed US-China in this recent Asia Society event, video on Youtube.

中央纪委副书记陈小江任国家民委党组书记,巴特尔不再兼任_腾讯新闻 Chen Xiaojiang, deputy secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, is the new party secretary of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission, replacing Bater, who is 65

人事观察|由陕进京 牛一兵履新中央网信办最年轻副主任_政经频道_财新网 Niu Yibing moves from Shaanxi provincial Party committee member and director of Propaganda for the province to deputy director of the Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission

Caixin - 人事观察|40岁升副部 最年轻省会书记王晓履新陕西宣传部长_政经频道_财新网 At the age of 40, Wang Xiao, the youngest provincial secretary of the deputy department, took up his post as the new Shaanxi Director of Propaganda

China's Radical New Vision Of Globalization - NOEMA - James Crabtree Many experts have noted a changing Western consensus on China, as leaders in Washington abandoned the idea that economic modernization would inevitably lead to political liberalization in Beijing. But there has been a comparable shift in China’s internal conversation on the West too. Beginning with semiconductors but potentially expanding to all manner of other areas, China now expects it will have to develop technologically on its own. Xi’s new theory now sits at the heart of the country’s 14th five-year plan, which covers development from 2021 to 2025, and was unveiled in draft form in October. The result will accelerate China’s decoupling from the West, while also increasing the importance of trading links forged with other parts of the world — for instance, via Xi’s signature Belt and Road Initiative. Put more bluntly, while the world was distracted by the drama of the U.S. presidential election, Xi quietly unveiled an economic strategy fit for a new Cold War. Both for China and for globalization itself, the results are likely to be profound.

China’s Combative Nationalists See a World Turning Their Way - The New York Times - Chris Buckley China’s Communist Party is pushing the narrative that the pandemic has proved the superiority of its authoritarian model. The muscular message is finding fans at home.

Who are the Chinese ‘left’ nationalists? - Lausan-Brian Hioe Chinese left nationalists believe in an essentialist difference that separates China from Western nations. The source of this difference has been conceived of in civilizational terms—between “Chinese civilization” and “Western civilization”—or in more modern terms—such as between communism and capitalism. For these thinkers, the nature of this difference lies in a clash between the primacy of the party and the state in the Chinese context, versus the dominance of the free market or unregulated democracy in Western contexts. This is exactly why the Chinese nationalist left have gravitated toward figures like Schmitt, who vouches for a statist conception of the nation. Indeed, Schmitt’s reduction of political activity to a distinction between “friend and enemy” appeals to Chinese nationalists insofar as they continue to envision the current world order in binary terms, one that already existed under the Cold War and is revived today in US-China geopolitics. Cozying up to Schmittian ideas would allow them to enshrine the primacy of the state as sovereign and justify the desire to strengthen borders against outside threats.

China's tiny Jewish community in fear as Beijing erases its history - The Telegraph As well as Christians and Muslims, Mr Xi’s suppression has hit China’s tiny congregation of Jews, whose ancestors settled more than a millennium ago along the Yellow River in Kaifeng, then the capital of the Northern Song Dynasty. That such a small group can attract the Communist Party’s ire shows how far the crackdown has spread. Only about 1,000 people in Kaifeng claim Jewish heritage, and of those, only around 100 or are practising Jews, experts say

《人民的名义》姐妹篇《巡回检察组》开播戏骨扎堆,零宣传空降上线_腾讯新闻 "sister" TV series to "In the name of the people" is out. The first episode is on Youtube:

Three years of silence: Rahile Dawut named honorary professor - Darren Byler In December 2020, Rahile Dawut, a Uyghur anthropologist, was named the first Open Society University Network Honorary Professor in the Humanities. As a Xinjiang University professor, she founded a Minorities Folklore Research Center while writing landmark studies of Uyghur sacred landscapes, and training dozens of Uyghur ethnographers. Dawut disappeared in December 2017 after being detained by state authorities as she planned to travel to Beijing for a conference.

Once jailed in China, Peter Humphrey now advises other prisoners and their families how to take on Beijing - CNN Since his release and return to the United Kingdom, Humphrey has transformed himself into an antagonist of those he blames for putting him behind bars, and an unpaid adviser and lobbyist for those still there. Despite ongoing health problems, which Humphrey said had been exacerbated by his time in prison, this has become something of a mission for the 64-year-old, a second act he never expected.

内蒙古包头市副市长王美斌坠楼身亡_新浪新闻 Wang Meibin, vice mayor of Baotou, Inner Mongolia, dies in a fall from his apartment building

China Focus: China holds state commemoration for Nanjing Massacre victims - Xinhua Also on Sunday, the city kicked off an exhibition on the life of John Rabe, a German businessman who helped protect hundreds of thousands of Chinese during the massacre. Dubbed the "Oskar Schindler of China," John Rabe and dozens of foreigners risked their lives to set up an international safety zone in Nanjing and saved more than 200,000 Chinese people.

"Xi Jinping's Thought on the Rule of Law": A New Tool of CCP - Bitter Winter Readers of Bitter Winter may remember that, in his last book, Xi Jinping insisted that the Manifesto of the Communist Party remains the CCP’s, and his own, fundamental theoretical text. Xi’s idea of the rule of law is, essentially, Marx’s. This means, as Chen explains, that the first commandment of Xi’s thought on the rule of law is that a Communist country such as China “will not copy the models and practices of other countries, nor will it follow the so-called ‘constitutional government,’ ‘separation of powers,’ or ‘independent judiciary’ of the West.” This is nicely said. Constitutional government, separation of powers, and an independent judiciary are the essential components of the rule of law according to the United Nations’ definition. But not according to Xi’s “new” definition. Building on Marx, Xi regards the rule of law as the principle that all should respect the laws, but the laws should respect the CCP, and be interpreted according to the CCP’s orders, directives, and interests. In Chen’s authoritative words, Xi’s thought’s core principle is that “the socialist rule of law must adhere to the CCP’s leadership.” The legal system should work “correctly handling the relationship between politics and the rule of law, and deeply understanding that the Party and the law, the Party’s leadership and the rule of law, are highly unified.” This means that “the socialist rule of law must adhere to the CCP’s leadership.”

Senior Chinese official stresses high-quality development - Xinhua Wang Chen, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and vice chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, made the remarks during an inspection tour to central China's Hunan Province from Sunday to Monday. After learning about the achievements made in the province's manufacturing sector, technological development, rural tourism, and other fields, Wang acknowledged Hunan's solid progress in establishing the new development pattern and realizing high-quality development.

以习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想为指导 让延安精神在新时代不断发扬光大--时政--人民网 Monday People's Daily page 2 - Wang Chen emphasizes - Guided by Xi Jinping's Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, the spirit of Yan'an will continue to flourish in the new era.,,,中共中央政治局委员、中国延安精神研究会会长王晨12日在湖南韶山出席弘扬延安精神理论研讨会并讲话 Wang Chen, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and President of the Chinese Society for the Study of the Yan'an Spirit, gave a speech at a theoretical seminar on carrying forward the spirit of Yan'an in Shaoshan, Hunan Province on December 12...会前,王晨一行向毛泽东同志铜像敬献花篮。 Before the meeting, Wang Chen and his entourage laid a floral basket to the bronze statue of Comrade Mao Zedong.// Wang was toasting at the AmCham China appreciation dinner just a few days ago


Foreign and Defense Affairs

Xi congratulates International Forum on Sharing Poverty Reduction Experience - Xinhua Chinese President Xi Jinping has sent a letter of congratulations to the International Forum on Sharing Poverty Reduction Experience, which opened on Monday in Beijing. Calling poverty eradication "a common ideal of humanity," Xi said that the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese government made unremitting and arduous efforts to ensure a better life for the people...Jointly held by the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, the forum was attended by over 200 representatives from more than 60 countries and regions, as well as over 20 international organizations via video 学习强国 - 习近平向人类减贫经验国际论坛致贺信

Xi calls for closer BRI cooperation with Somalia - Xinhua Xi made the remarks in an exchange of congratulatory messages with his Somali counterpart celebrating the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic relationship between the two countries.

EU and China set for further investment talks as end-of-year deadline for deal looms | South China Morning Post China and the European Union will hold a new round of negotiations this week as both sides aim to hammer out a landmark investment treaty by the end of the year. The talks come on the back of the 35th round of negotiations that finished last week, which the EU ambassador to China Nicolas Chapuis described as “intensive”.

China, EU hold 35th round of investment treaty negotiations - Xinhua China and the European Union (EU) held the 35th round of negotiations on a bilateral investment treaty from Dec. 6 to 11, the Ministry of Commerce said Monday. The two sides conducted negotiations on the text of the agreement as well as remaining issues on their list, making positive progress, the ministry said in a statement published on its website

China: Statement by the Spokesperson on the arrest of Ms Fan Haze - European External Action Service We expect the Chinese authorities to grant her medical assistance if needed, prompt access to a lawyer of her choice, and contacts with her family. Other Chinese journalists or citizens have disappeared this year, or been detained or harassed, after engaging in reporting. These include among others Zhang Zhan, Chen Qiushi and Fang Bin, who reported on the COVID-19 outbreak. All those arrested and detained in connection with their reporting activity should be immediately released.

China: EU should stop “irresponsible opinions” over Bloomberg case - AFP China’s foreign ministry says the case of a Bloomberg news employee who was detained last week is “undergoing investigation and prosecution according to the law”. It also says the EU should stop “expressing irresponsible opinions” after it urged China to release all journalists and citizens held in connection with their reporting.

Japan defense chief calls for China's restraint on the Senkakus - Nikkei Asia Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi held a 95-minute videoconference with Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe, their first official meeting since the Japanese minister took the post. Expressing strong concern over recent Chinese activity around the Japan-administered Senkakus, which China claims and calls the Diaoyu, Kishi called Beijing's claims over the uninhabited chain "completely unacceptable."

Chinese, Japanese defense ministers vow to establish a liaison mechanism - Global Times Wei said China’s determination to safeguard sovereignty and territory over the Diaoyu Islands and in the East China Sea is unshakable, and both sides should develop an overall and long-term vision, to promote negotiations and manage disputes appropriately.    Kishi said that Japan wants to maintain stable development of relations with China, and it is extremely important for China and Japan to maintain communications during the COVID-19 pandemic.

China’s Overseas Development Finance Database: Webinar Launch and Demonstration - YouTube

China’s Policy Banks Are Lending Differently, Not Less – The Diplomat The Financial Times among other outlets this week reported a sharp drop-off in China policy bank lending to Belt and Road economies based on a Boston University Global Development Policy Center dataset on China’s Overseas Development Finance. However, there are serious flaws in using this particular dataset as an exhaustive list of China’s policy lending in the various Belt and Road regions. The Boston University dataset took a geospatial approach in examining China’s overseas development financing, focusing on biodiversity and indigenous lands. Loans not attached to a specific project with a geographic location relevant to biodiversity or indigenous lands are omitted.

China’s top court appoints four Africans to legal team for handling belt and road disputes | South China Morning Post Specialists from Uganda, Nigeria, Algeria and Egypt named among 24 members of the Expert Committee of the China International Commercial Court // 国际商事法庭 | CICC - ExpertDirectory

The Third Phase of China's Belt and Road Initiative by James Crabtree | Policy Briefs | Publications | HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies James Crabtree argues that the COVID-19 pandemic represents a third distinct phase of the BRI, even as its underlying aims remain the same. While infrastructure projects will face a more challenging environment, he challenges the notion that Beijing will now downplay the BRI. Instead, he suggests that the Initiative is likely to change its focus, especially to the Health Silk Road and Digital Silk Road. These projects are less lavish and eye-catching, but the BRI may be more critical to China than ever.

A Legal Critique of the Award of the Arbitral Tribunal in the Matter of the South China Sea Arbitration in: Asian Yearbook of International Law, Volume 24 (2018) This critique assesses each of the dispositive findings on jurisdiction and merits in the Award of South China Sea Arbitration,1 from the perspective of the applicable substantive and procedural rules of public international law. This critique does not address in detail the Arbitral Tribunal’s Award on Jurisdiction and admissibility,2 dated 29 October 2015. However, it refers to the Award on Jurisdiction where relevant for the purposes of our legal critique of the Award. The core conclusions in respect of the Award are summarised below. In short, our analysis indicates that there are substantial grounds to question the validity of most of the Tribunal’s central findings of jurisdiction and merits in the Award.

Legal Critique of the Award of the Arbitral Tribunal in the Matter of the South China Sea Arbitration - China Military Initiated and led by a Chinese think tank with internationally renowned law firm partners, top international law scholars from the UK, the US and the Netherlands, as well as solicitors with rich experience in representing nations in similar legal cases, the Critique is a nearly 200 pages report that has undergone two years of preparation. As such, it is the first refutation of the illegal ruling of the South China Sea Arbitration (Phil. v. China) (hereinafter referred to as the Award).

Pakistan to fence off Gwadar to shield China's Belt and Road port - Nikkei Asia Pakistan's southwestern province of Balochistan is putting up barbed wire around large parts of the port city of Gwadar to protect Belt and Road projects from potential attacks by insurgents. The provincial government plans to fence off 24 sq. km of the city, the center stage of $50 billion in Belt and Road projects in Pakistan. The fencing will surround the deep seaport, built and operated by China. However, the China-funded New Gwadar International Airport and 80 newly built housing projects will fall outside of the fence.

Inside China's quiet campaign to bend international institutions to its own agenda - The Telegraph As a PhD student of ecology and biodiversity at Stanford University, Chih-Fu Yeh is at the top of his field, seemingly the perfect candidate for a prestigious Unesco-affiliated science conference. Perfect in every respect, that is, apart from his nationality.  This month, he was told that despite his clear academic achievements, he had been blocked from the December event because he comes from Taiwan, without further explanation.

Chinese premier hails role of OECD - Xinhua Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday hailed the role of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in international economic cooperation while delivering a speech via video link at an event to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the OECD Convention.

Report estimates Chinese nuclear stockpile at 350 warheads - DefenseOne The report, written by Hans Kristensen, the director at the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, and Matt Korda, a research associate at FAS, arrived at the number by counting both operational warheads and newer weapons “still in development.” These weapons include hypersonic missiles, silo-based and road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles, and their submarine-launched equivalents, bringing the total number of nuclear warheads to more that the “low 200s” estimated by the Pentagon in its 2020 report on China’s military.

Observer: China actively adjusts its diplomatic style, some Western countries should adapt - People's Daily app How the West should respond to a more confident China is another critical issue. Some Western countries have made malicious attacks and hold ridiculous misunderstandings of China’s rise. They feel challenged and hope China will be submissive or even silent. But China’s rising role in the world requires a clearer diplomatic style. If other countries stick with an outdated perspective that China should behave as humbly as they expect, this will only harm themselves - they may never be able to learn about the real China. Moreover, a new international order is being shaped as more emerging economies besides China play a bigger role globally. Some Western countries should get a better understanding of the facts and reconsider their ideas and narratives.

Kang Juntao is accused of running an operation that illegally shipped endangered turtles from the U.S. to Asia - The Washington Post Kang Juntao, 24, of Hangzhou City, China, was extradited from Malaysia and arrived in the United States on Thursday, where he appeared virtually in U.S. District Court in Newark on charges of money laundering. He is being held without bail pending arraignment. Prosecutors say Kang ran the smuggling ring from China and had never set foot in the United States before landing at JFK International Airport in New York on Thursday, escorted by federal officials.


Hong Kong and Macao

Cathay Pacific’s foreign pilots struggle to get Hong Kong work permits after hundreds of locals lost jobs in restructuring | South China Morning Post Fresh from axing 5,300 jobs in Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific Airways said its employment of foreign pilots was under “greater scrutiny” from immigration authorities, and expats were facing difficulties obtaining and renewing work visas, the Post can reveal.

In Depth: Hong Kong Universities Head North to Boost Lagging Neighbor - Caixin The “sustainable, smart campus” established by HKUST, the Guangzhou government and Guangzhou University will begin enrollment in September 2022, after being approved by the Ministry of Education last year. It’s not the only Hong Kong institution “heading north” to neighboring Guangdong province, of which Guangzhou is capital. Several of the special administrative regions’ universities are doing the same, lured by tax and land incentives offered by the governments of cities including Foshan, Dongguan and Zhaoqing.

New World Development's investment in mainland China may surpass HK -CEO | Reuters New World Development said its land investment in mainland China may exceed that in Hong Kong in the near future, as a new Chinese policy gives it an edge over indebted peers in the hunt for premium land in the “Greater Bay Area”. The new policy, dubbed “the three red lines”, aims to tackle unbridled borrowing in China’s real estate sector, capping debt-to-cash, debt-to-assets and debt-to-equity ratios, effectively limiting debt-driven growth strategies.

HK, Macao youth vie for Shenzhen civil service posts - Global Times As 446 graduates from Hong Kong and Macao compete for five civil service positions in Shenzhen, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area kicked off another round of integration.  It is the first time that Hong Kong and Macao citizens have participated in Shenzhen's civil service recruitment tests, which took place on Saturday and Sunday. Five positions were offered exclusively to people from the two special administrative regions, China News Service reported on Sunday.


Taiwan

Employees, supporters rally as pro-China news channel in Taiwan taken off air - AP Employees and supporters rallied for a Taiwanese pro-China cable news channel as it was taken off air Saturday, after the government refused to renew its license, citing accuracy issues. CTiTV's channel 52 broadcast a countdown and then went black after midnight. The cable network, whose non-news channels were not affected, plans to continue putting news on YouTube and other digital platforms.


Tech and Media

Huawei invites Griezmann to talk after he cut ties - AP The Barcelona forward had promoted Huawei’s smartphones in advertisements but cut ties last week because of “strong suspicions” the company had tested facial recognition software intended to help China’s surveillance of the mostly Muslim minority Uighurs. Huawei responded by inviting Griezmann to talk and learn about its work “at the highest level, inside the company” to address human rights, equality and discrimination.

‘Uighur alarm’ wasn't only Huawei product touted to identify ethnicity - The Washington Post Huawei representatives said the document outlining the “Uighur alarm” system, discovered on the company’s website by the research organization IPVM and first reported by The Washington Post, used language that is “completely unacceptable.” “It is not compatible with the values of Huawei,” a representative told the BBC. “Our technologies are not designed to identify ethnic groups.”..Yet products made by Huawei with four other partner companies were also advertised to have ethnicity-tracking capabilities, according to Chinese-language marketing materials posted on a public Huawei website where the material could be downloaded by anyone who registered an account. After The Post approached Huawei for comment, the site briefly became inaccessible. When it returned, the number of product collaborations detailed there had dropped from more than 2,000 to 38.

China Box Office: 'Bath Buddy' Makes Splash With $28 Million Opening - Variety The Yi Zhenxing-directed film tells the improbable tale of a rich kid who loses his memory and instead ends up working in a bath-spa. A Korean production company Moonwatcher has issued a complaint that the film is a rip-off of its intellectual property, a web comic that was originally published on the Naver platform.

Tencent's QQ Music to Welcome Podcasts- PingWest One of China's dominant music apps is tapping into podcasts. Source suggests [link in Chinese] that today a beta version of QQ Music, Tencent's Spotify equivalent, will highlight a podcasts section onto the popular music app's home page.


Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

Yicai - Chinese Football Association Cuts Players’ Salaries by Up to 60% The Chinese Football Association is slashing wages by as much as 60 percent as it reins in excessive spending to save the Chinese Super League, which did not play a single match this year, from collapse, it said today. The average gross salary of a Chinese player is to be capped at CNY3 million (USD458,500) a year, a plunge of 45 percent from CNY5.54 million last year, it said. And the maximum they can earn is CNY5 million, it added.

Chinese Song Amplifies Awareness for Violence Against Women - SixthTone Since July, Tan Weiwei has been releasing new singles from her album “3811,” with each of the 11 songs chronicling stories of women from diverse backgrounds, including a taxi-driving single mom, an illiterate elderly woman, and a female poet from the Tang dynasty. On Friday, she released the final track, titled “Xiao Juan (Pseudonym),” for a generic name the Chinese authorities sometimes give to female victims of violent crimes. “Using a fist, using gasoline, using sulfuric acid,” the 38-year-old sings in “Xiao Juan (Pseudonym),” referring to specific cases of violence against women. “Being flushed into the sewer, sinking from a wedding room into a riverbed. Being stuffed into a suitcase, frozen in a fridge on a balcony.”

林彪事件再考察 (上) — 中国:历史与未来 Xiao Gongqin essay on the Lin Biao incident part 1

林彪事件再考察 (下) — 中国:历史与未来 Xiao Gongqin essay on the Lin Biao incident part 2

Documentary on children who escape poverty through baseball gets rave reviews - Global Times Since it hit Chinese mainland cinemas on Friday, Chinese sports documentary Touch Out has been getting rave reviews and high marks from audiences with its story about a group of young boys from poor families who are able to change their lives through baseball. The documentary has an 8.7/10 from more than 15,000 reviews on Chinese media review platform Douban, putting it ahead of all its cinema competitors, both domestic and imported. The film focuses on a baseball training base in Beijing called Power Baseball, a nongovernmental public benefit project for poor children launched by Sun Lingfeng, former captain of the Chinese national baseball team. At the base, more than 20 boys from impoverished families live and train together.

Gubei Water Town on Beijing's outskirts all decked out for Christmas - CGTN A popular getaway in Beijing's suburbs is gearing up for the Christmas and New Year holiday. Gubei Water Town at the foot of the Great Wall is putting on quite a show this year, offering festive activities from traditional decorations to Christmas-themed drone performances. One of the biggest attractions at Gubei is the traditional Christmas market.

China's 'darling girl' dies at the age of 95 - SHINE News China’s “darling girl,” renowned actress and writer Huang Zongying, died this morning at the age of 95.

ASU football's D.J. Taylor, Jackson He make history against Arizona The Sun Devils wrapped up the barrage, reaching a Territorial Cup record 70 points, on a 1-run touchdown run by Jackson He, becoming the first Chinese-born player to carry the ball and score in a Football Bowl Subdivision game. ASU's sideline erupted in celebration for He, who came to the United States when he was 17 and after playing high school football in California persisted in trying to be a walk-on at ASU until he was given a tryout and an opportunity.


Energy, Environment, Science and Health

完善科技创新体制机制(深入学习贯彻党的十九届五中全会精神)--中国共产党新闻网-人民网 Wang Zhigang, Minister of Science and Technology, makes his People's daily contribution about the 5th Plenum and his area of responsibility with the article "Improve the system and mechanism of scientific and technological innovation (thoroughly study and implement the spirit of the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19 th CPC Central Committee)"

Beijing releases guide for cold-chain food sector workers - China Daily At a news conference on Sunday, Pang Xinghuo, deputy head of the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention, introduced the new guidance for cold-chain employees.

Latest infections in Xinjiang unrelated to its previous outbreaks - Xinhua The health commission of Turpan City said at a press conference that the genome analysis on the viral samples, collected from the four local asymptomatic carriers, suggested that the virus strain was different from those reported in previous outbreaks in the region's Urumqi and Kashgar.

Central China county finds coronavirus on imported frozen food - Xinhua Yuanyang County in central China's Henan Province has found that an imported frozen food packaging sample tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The sample was taken from the packaging of a batch of imported frozen shrimp from South America, local authorities in Yuanyang reported late Sunday...The tainted sample in Yuanyang County was from the same shipment of imported frozen shrimp where coronavirus had been found days ago in Zhengzhou

Green revolution in express delivery packaging - State Council The General Office of the State Council issued a document on Dec 14, urging related departments to implement a new concept of development and promote a green revolution in express delivery packaging. It outlines plans to strengthen management of e-commerce and express delivery, increase supplies of green packages, foster a new mode of package recycling as well as build a corresponding system of laws, standards and policies.

农村自来水可点燃 辽宁盘锦13名官员被问责_政经频道_财新网 - 13 Liaoning officials disciplined for flammable drinking water


Rural and Agricultural Issues

Yicai - China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange to Trade Live Hog Futures Starting Jan. 8 The Dalian Commodity Exchange will open the live pig futures trade on Jan. 8 as the first-ever live item on China’s futures markets.