National Security, Debt; Radioactive wastewater; Biden-Suga meeting
Japanese Prime Minister Suga meets with US President Biden on Friday, and various media reports make it sound like the official comments about the PRC may be softer than the US wants. Has PM Suga taken PRC Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s warnings last week to heart? From the April 6 newsletter on the warnings:
PRC officials sound very worried about the direction of the US-Japan relationship. President Biden and Prime Minister Suga meet in Washington DC next week, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has effectively warned Japan to behave. While the Senkakus/Diaoyu Islands dispute is always in issue, Japanese officials have sounded particularly worried about Taiwan.
The release of radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear disaster would be controversial at any time, but it does seem like the PRC is really ramping up the criticism. Might one of the goals, beyond the apparent concern now about keeping the Pacific Ocean pristine, be to have set up an issue with which to pound Japan, say with boycotts, if the outcomes from the Suga-Biden meeting are not to the PRC’s liking? Or is it too cynical to suggest any linkage?
Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian does have a way with words:
The oceans are not Japan's trash can; and the Pacific Ocean is not Japan's sewer. 海洋不是日本的垃圾桶，太平洋不是日本的下水道
Tomorrow is National Security Education Day. In the “Overall National Security Concept” as articulated by Xi just about everything is related to national security now.
Speaking of national security, how will the PRC react to the the US and Nato withdrawal from Afghanistan? There is already the possibility of a civil war in one border state-Myanmar. What if the situation in Afghanistan, which shares a 76 KM border with Xinjiang, devolves into civil war and chaos? How might the concept of “development interests 发展利益”, which has been elevated recently, influence the PRC response?
Today’s Essential Eight items:
Debt is a national security risk
Wang Yang calls for more Sinicization in Inner Mongolia
Fukushima radioactive water release
Central bank paper warns about demographic challenges
Housekeeping note: I am getting my second vaccination on Thursday morning. I am planning to publish the newsletter as usual but there is a chance I might be wiped out. Thanks in advance for your understanding, will let you know either way Thursday.
Thanks for reading.
The Essential Eight
1. National Security
Tomorrow, April 15, is the 6th National Security Education Day.
As the 6th National Security Education Day is approaching, the Research Center for Overall National Security Concept was established in Beijing today (14th). The Secretariat is located at China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, and a special organization is set up to conduct systematic research on the overall national security concept, which will play a key role in leading and demonstrating the study and implementation of the overall national security concept...
It is reported that on April 15, 2021, the first batch of the research center's "Overall National Security Concept Series" (the first series) will be published by the Current Affairs Press. The series is edited by Yuan Peng, Secretary-General of the Research Center for Overall National Security Concept and Dean of China Institute of Contemporary International Relations. It is divided into "History and National Security", "Geography and National Security", "Culture and National Security", "Rise of Great Powers and National Security". There are six volumes of "Hundred Years of Change and National Security" and "Biosafety and National Security"
Comment: Yuan Peng was the discussant at the December 2020 Politburo study session on national security, discussed at length in the 12.14.2020 newsletter. Among the ten requirements for implementing the overall national security concept put forward by Xi at that meeting:
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…
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.
It seems everything is national security now.
Hong Kong is behind on its national security education, and that is going to change.
Hong Kong will embrace the National Security Education Day on Thursday for the first time with a number of activities to promote public awareness about national security as the city, once hit by black-clad protests and riots, is stepping up efforts to fix the local governance loopholes while enhancing education of the young generation to eradicate radical ideas brought by misunderstanding about the country.
A new CCTV report and televised confession is one part of that-《焦点访谈》 20210414 反中乱港分子的幕后“金主”_CCTV
In 2018, Lee Henley ushered in his own "highlight" moment. When he met Yang XX outside the country, he learned that a big western country was preparing to study and introduce a Hong Kong-related sanctions bill, and Yang XX had the opportunity to participate in it.
In this closed-door meeting, participants from a big western country carefully inquired about Lee Henley's opinions on the bill, and Lee Henley also tried his best to put forward some opinions for the other party. The western power adopted Lee Henley's opinion and concocted other more vicious sanctions. As a Chinese who knows China's situation, Lee Henley played an extremely bad role in the process of introducing the Hong Kong Affairs Act in this western big country. In November, 2019, Lee Henley was arrested by the state security organs for financing acts endangering national security. On April 2, 2021, Lee Henley was sentenced to 11 years in prison for financing criminal activities endangering national security.
This case once again shows that the domestic and international situation we are facing is very complicated, and we are always facing various risks and major challenges. In this regard, we should maintain strategic determination, strategic self-confidence and strategic patience, and firmly hold the strategic initiative to safeguard national security in our own hands. In the final analysis, national security work is to protect people's interests. Everyone is responsible for national security, and safeguarding national security is the responsibility and obligation of every Chinese citizen. Therefore, the whole society should join hands, adhere to the overall concept of national security, and build the Great Wall of Steel to safeguard national security.
And a Guangzhou MSS officer refers to him as a “traitor to China 汉奸 H案4Ji案“
A Belizean citizen facing prosecution in mainland China for his alleged role in fuelling unrest in Hong Kong was linked to the case of disgraced politician Bo Xilai via a Shanghai-based company, according to media reports.
Guangzhou city’s state security department said last week it had completed its investigation into Lee Henley Hu Xiang, who was arrested in late November.
A brief report in local official media accused Lee of “providing a large amount of funds to hostile elements in the United States, colluding with foreign anti-China forces to intervene in Hong Kong affairs, and funding the implementation of criminal activities that endangered [China’s] national security”.
2. Debt is a national security risk
The Chinese leadership regards the prevention of implicit local government debt risks as an “important political discipline and rule”, implying that there are plans for more forceful measures to defuse the debt bomb and lower its potential threat to the world’s second-largest economy.
It is also Beijing’s answer to lingering calls for expansionary policies, particularly the launch of new projects, highlighting its intention to shift away from an investment-driven growth model.
The requirement was released in the State Council’s Tuesday circular on budget-management reform, which vowed to standardise government spending and place higher priority on risk prevention. As part of the political commitment, local cadres will be held personally accountable for the rest of their lives if the debt raised during their terms is found to be problematic.
Comment: This is one more sign from the government that they have not succeeded in deleveraging and winning the tough battle of preventing financial risks. 2021 is shaping up to be another tough year economically.
The relevant part from the circular - 国务院关于进一步深化预算管理制度改革的意见（国发〔2021〕5号）_政府信息公开专栏
(twenty-one) to prevent and resolve the hidden debt risks of local governments. It is an important political discipline and rule to prevent and resolve the hidden debt risk of local governments, resolutely curb the increase of hidden debt, and properly dispose and resolve the hidden debt stock. Improve the normal monitoring mechanism, further strengthen daily supervision and management, and never allow new hidden debts to be added to new projects and "spread out". Strengthen the supervision of state-owned enterprises and institutions, improve the allocation mechanism of local governments and their departments to enterprises and institutions according to law, and prohibit local governments from increasing hidden debts in the form of corporate debts. It is strictly forbidden for local governments to raise funds illegally or borrow money in disguised form through financial institutions. Financial institutions should conduct prudent and compliant operations, conduct due diligence and strictly check, and it is strictly forbidden to require or accept documents of guarantee nature issued by local party committees, people's congresses, governments and their departments or sign agreements of guarantee nature. Clean up and standardize local financing platform companies, divest their government financing functions, and implement bankruptcy reorganization or liquidation according to law for those who lose their solvency. We will improve the market-oriented and rule-based debt default disposal mechanism, encourage debtors and creditors to negotiate and dispose of existing debts, effectively prevent malicious evasion of debts, protect the legitimate rights and interests of creditors, and resolutely prevent risk accumulation
China’s cabinet has said local government financing vehicles, which are used to sidestep local authority borrowing limits, should restructure or go bankrupt if they cannot pay back debt.
The State Council spoke about preventing and resolving the risk of hidden local government debt in a document on regulating government budgets published on its website yesterday...
This is not the first time the central government has issued such a statement, but very few platforms have been reorganized or forced under, according to Wen Laicheng, a professor at Central University of Finance and Economics.
Hidden debt at local levels was elevated to a “national security” issue at China’s annual legislative meetings last month. Local governments had 14.8 trillion yuan ($2.3 trillion) of hidden debt last year, and the figure could climb further this year, according to a government-linked think tank.
“China will definitely tighten its grip on local government financing vehicles as policies were too loose last year,” said Li Yunfei, a credit analyst at Pacific Securities Co.
In tackling “invisible debt”, some local Chinese governments sidestep real issues by “delaying the risk” or having it “transferred,” Liu Shaoxi, a government advisor, wrote on Weibo this week. Liu called for measures to step up risk monitoring to keep invisible debt in check. “(We must) continue to implement and strengthen parts of the supportive measures and gradually retire certain policies. ( We also) need to turn the short-term ‘macro regulating policies” into long-term “institutional design” in a bid to stabilize market expectations and inject more certainty into the economic development.” he wrote.
China is widening the scope of stress tests on its lenders by including all of its 4,024 banks this year, a central bank publication said on Wednesday, amid concerns over mounting debt levels of companies and financial strains in some sectors.
3. Wang Yang calls for more Sinicization in Inner Mongolia
China's top political advisor Wang Yang has called for creating a strong sense of community for the Chinese nation, upholding an accurate understanding of country, history, ethnicity, culture and religion, and maintaining ethnic unity, social stability and tranquility in the border areas.
Wang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, made the remarks during an inspection tour from Monday to Wednesday in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region...
Noting that forging a strong sense of community for the Chinese nation is fundamental to realizing national rejuvenation, Wang called for promoting the preservation, innovation and integration of the cultures of all ethnic groups on the basis of strengthening the sense of identity with Chinese culture.
He urged accelerated efforts in extending the use of Putonghua and standard Chinese characters and state-compiled textbooks to help people of all ethnic groups better accept scientific and cultural knowledge and enhance their employability.
Stressing that the system of regional ethnic autonomy conforms to China's basic national conditions and has strong vitality, Wang called for adjustments and improvements to policies concerning ethnic groups to keep pace with the times, and the adoption of targeted policies in light of local conditions.
The US is urging Japan’s prime minister Yoshihide Suga to issue a joint statement of support for Taiwan amid rising Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific region when he becomes the first foreign leader to meet President Joe Biden on Friday...
The US wants to refer to Taiwan in the statement that the leaders will issue, according to four people familiar with the situation. The last Japanese and US leaders to mention Taiwan in a joint statement were Eisaku Sato and Richard Nixon in 1969...
Japanese officials were divided over whether Suga should comment on Taiwan, according to two people familiar with the situation.
One reason for the prime minister’s hesitation is pressure from Japanese business. One of Japan’s richest people, Uniqlo clothing-store chief Tadashi Yanai, gets more than one-fifth of his business from the China area, including Taiwan, and has said China is vital to his growth plans...
Japan’s foreign minister, Toshimitsu Motegi, showed the tight line Tokyo is straddling after a phone call this month with his Chinese counterpart. A statement said Mr. Motegi strongly requested that Beijing take specific action on the Uyghur issue.
But the next day, Mr. Motegi played down any impression of hostility. Alluding to the recent war of words between U.S. and Chinese diplomats in Anchorage, Alaska, Mr. Motegi said: “At the very least, our telephone talk was certainly not like the situation in Alaska.”
CICIR Deputy Head Hu Jiping: "Japan has shown signs of strategic misjudgment again"
Japan has already seen the challenges and opportunities brought about by the changes in the international order, and has a strong impulse to seize the opportunities and become a major player in the international strategic game field, and actively carry out strategic planning for this purpose. On issues such as the Indo-Pacific strategy and the Taiwan Strait, Japan's actions are obviously not just a follower. What choices Japan will eventually make and what impact it will have on the regional and world order cannot be asserted at present; I'm afraid it's hard for other countries to stop the mistakes it may make.
Faced with the uncertainty of Japan's foreign strategy, we can only continue to hold a cooperative attitude on the one hand, and prepare for the ideas and means to deal with the changes on the other hand.
On April 8, 2021, Mr. Kajiyama Hiroshi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry held a telephone conference with H.E. Ms. Gina Raimondo, Secretary of Commerce of the United States.
Minister Kajiyama expressed his congratulations on Secretary Raimondo’s confirmation. Minister Kajiyama and Secretary Raimondo also exchanged a wide range of views on the Japan-U.S. economic relationship moving forward, including cooperation on export controls, semiconductor supply chains, energy and climate change.
5. Fukushima radioactive water release
The oceans are not Japan's trash can; and the Pacific Ocean is not Japan's sewer. Japan should not expect the world to pay the bill for its treatment of wastewater. As for the individual Japanese official's remarks that the water is okay to drink, why doesn't he take a sip first? The lesson from Japan's Minamata disease is not far behind us. Many local victims have yet to walk out of the pain. Japan should not forget this tragedy, still less should it pretend to be ignorant. We strongly urge Japan to face up to its responsibility, follow the science, fulfill its international obligations and duly respond to the serious concerns of the international community, neighboring countries and its own people. It should reevaluate the issue and refrain from wantonly discharging the wastewater before reaching consensus with all stakeholders and the IAEA through full consultations. China reserves the right to make further reactions.
China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) on Wednesday urged Japan to prudently handle the issue of Fukushima radioactive wastewater based on full consultation with international organizations and its neighbors and substantive participation of relevant countries and international organizations.
This came at the first meeting of the China-ROK dialogue and cooperation mechanism of maritime affairs held via video link...
China and the ROK both pledged to keep in close contact over the issue. They also voiced their readiness to work with the international community and regional countries to jointly take necessary measures to respond to this global challenge.
Protests have been staged in several places including Tokyo and Republic of Korea (ROK).
ROK is now considering referring Japan to an international tribunal for the decision.
According to Blue House spokesman Kang Min-seok, President Moon Jae-in instructed secretaries during an internal meeting to actively review referring Japan to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea for Japan's decision to dump the contaminated water into the ocean.
The U.S. president’s special climate envoy John Kerry will visit China from Wednesday to Saturday, according to China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment, becoming the first cabinet-level official to visit since Joe Biden took office in January.
Xie Zhenhua, special representative on climate affairs for China, will hold talks with Kerry during his visit to Shanghai, the ministry said. They will exchange views on the impact of global warming and the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.
U.S. climate envoy John Kerry said the Biden administration won’t compromise with China on economic issues or human rights in its attempts to negotiate a deal to address climate change.
Mr. Kerry, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, said his team is committed to finding ways to force China to be accountable for pledges it makes in continuing negotiations to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
By inviting US climate envoy John Kerry to Shanghai to discuss climate issues, China has demonstrated its ambition in global climate governance, and also sent a signal to the US that climate negotiations between the two countries are on equal terms, and that China is not and won't be the "attendant" of US-centered climate campaign, Chinese observers commented on Wednesday.
In Beijing’s most direct attack on the US to date, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the US funded and trained Muslim minorities in Xinjiang to cause unrest in the region...
To support his allegations, Zhao played a video from 2015 in which a former contract translator for the FBI, Sibel Edmonds, said the US government funded terrorist attacks in Xinjiang to cut China off from its energy suppliers in Central Asia.
A bipartisan pair of U.S. senators on Tuesday introduced a bill to expedite refugee applications from Uighurs, matching an effort in the U.S. House of Representatives to assist members of the largely Muslim ethnic group that advocates say face persecution in China.
From massacring native Indians to enslaving African people, from racial discrimination making people "unable to breathe" to military interference in other countries, the country called the United States has not changed much its colonialism gene
Xinhua's Wu Yao sat down with 5 Asians living in America with different professions and cultural backgrounds, from international students, recent immigrants to those whose family have been on that land for generations. Let's hear their real experiences and innermost thoughts on anti-Asian hatred
The visit is tied to the 42nd anniversary of the enactment of the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, under which the United States supplies the Chinese-claimed island with arms and spare parts to enable it to maintain sufficient self-defense capabilities, according to the Reuters report.
The dispatch follows "a long-standing bipartisan tradition of U.S. administrations sending high-level, unofficial delegations to Taiwan," the official was quoted as saying.
“We oppose any form of official exchange between the U.S. and Taiwan, no matter how it’s presented, no matter what excuses are used as a cover up,” said Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office. Calling something official or unofficial is “just their lie for deceiving people,” he said. China’s foreign affairs ministry said it had lodged complaints to Washington about the visit.
“The People’s Liberation Army’s organising of actual combat exercises in the Taiwan Strait is a necessary action to address the current security situation in the Taiwan Strait and to safeguard national sovereignty,” spokesman Ma Xiaoguang said.
“It is a solemn response to external forces’ interference and provocations by Taiwan independence” forces, he added.
“The PLA’s military exercises and training operations are sending a signal that our determination to curb Taiwan independence and Taiwan-U.S. collusion is not just talk.”
The six-day exercise will be carried out to the south of the Penghu archipelago in the Taiwan Strait, the Guangdong Maritime Safety Administration announced on Wednesday.
It has set out a no-go zone for vessels in an area near the islands while the live-fire drills are under way until Tuesday...
military affairs commentator Zhou Chenming said the PLA regularly conducted drills in the region around this time of year since the weather conditions would not be suitable from July to September.
“These drills are usually planned well ahead,” said Zhou, who is based in Beijing. “Every year there are a lot of drills in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait from April to June, but it has become more public now because China has started live-fire exercises, which raises their profile.”
Map of the drill area, similar to one held last month:
8. Central bank paper warns about demographic challenges
On March 26th the PBoC published the working paper “Understanding and Countermeasures of our country's Demographic Transition".
The paper pointed out that fertility should be fully liberalized and encouraged to effectively solve the difficulties of women in pregnancy, childbirth, nursery school, and school. The paper also warns that he paper warns of the declining savings rates and says that “consumption will never be a perpetual driver of growth.
Since the Industrial Revolution, the decline of mortality and birth rate has led to population transformation, which has brought population explosion, demographic dividend, aging and fewer children to the world. Developed countries, as the forerunners of transformation, underestimate the role of population and the seriousness of aging and fewer children, and overestimate the role of education, science and technology, encouraging fertility and improving old-age care. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China, China's population has expanded rapidly to slow down, and its population structure has changed from pyramid to rectangle. Moreover, China's population transformation time is shorter, aging of the population is faster, and reduction in births is more serious. China must recognize that the demographic situation has changed, and realize that the demographic dividend was used comfortably at that time, and it was a debt that needs to be repaid afterwards; It is necessary to realize that population inertia is a great force across generations, and its reaction will lead to the change of population in the opposite direction; We should realize that education and scientific and technological progress cannot make up for the decline of population. Therefore, fertility should be fully liberalized and encouraged, the difficulties of women in pregnancy, childbirth, nursery school and school should be effectively solved, and comprehensive measures should be taken to achieve the long-term plan in 2035 and the goal of a hundred years of struggle.
Business, Economy and Trade
央行：加快推动出台《非银行支付机构条例》_中国经济网——国家经济门户 On April 14, 2021, the People's Bank of China held a video conference on payment and settlement work in 2021...The meeting requested that the next stage should actively improve the top-level design, deepen the anti-monopoly work in the payment field, accelerate the introduction of the Regulations on Non-bank Payment Institutions, and accelerate the construction of a cross-border payment system
BMW's Chinese partner reveals unauthorized loan guarantees for parent - Nikkei Asia In a disclosure after market hours, Hong Kong-listed Brilliance Auto revealed that its wholly owned unit Shenyang JinBei Automotive Industry Holdings (SJAI) has guaranteed a total of 5.89 billion yuan ($900 million) for Huachen's borrowing from four mainland banks. Huachen, owned by the Liaoning provincial government, entered bankruptcy proceedings last November after defaulting on onshore bonds. Its bankruptcy proceedings, along with other prominent defaults in China last year, sent shock waves through the bond market by destroying the notion that Chinese state-owned enterprises could not fail.
China Huarong Showdown Reveals Beijing’s Tougher Stance on Risk - Bloomberg In a statement late Tuesday, the State Council urged local government financing vehicles to restructure or enter liquidation if they can’t repay their debts. While it’s unclear if the comments were meant to send a veiled message about China Huarong, they added to the perception that the government is taking a tough stance on reining in risks to the financial system. The resulting turbulence in the offshore debt market is having an impact on fundraising for even blue-chip Chinese firms. Tencent Holdings Ltd., which along with other tech giants has also faced increased government scrutiny in recent months, is holding off marketing a planned dollar bond deal Wednesday to raise as much as $4 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.
千亿量化巨头明汯投资否认遭600亿“强赎“、“爆仓”，业绩和回撤的真相究竟如何？ - 21财经 Is the 100 Billion RMB Shanghai Minghong Investment blowing up? That is the rumor, 21CBH reports on it, says the company denies it
China offers rule-of-law safeguards for market entities - Xinhua A State Council executive meeting Wednesday passed a draft regulation on the registration management of domestic market entities. It aims to provide rule-of-law safeguards for developing market entities and boost fair competition. During the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) period, more than 60 million new market entities were added. It has enhanced the economic vitality and created numerous jobs, according to the meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang. 李克强主持召开国务院常务会议 通过《中华人民共和国市场主体登记管理条例（草案）》 为培育壮大市场主体和促进公平竞争提供法治保障--新闻报道-中国共产党新闻网
住建部要求发展保障性租赁住房 缓解青年人住房困难_经济_宏观频道首页_财经网 - CAIJING.COM.CN In a meeting with representatives from six municipal governments -Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Fuzhou and Nanning - Ni Hong, vice minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, urged his counterparts to develop more rental housing for young people. Cities with big population inflows and high property prices, Ni said, should take advantage of idle land — land affiliated with companies as well as unused land in industrial parks —to build rental homes with local government support in financing and taxation.
瞄准重点群体 新一轮居民增收方案落地在即 _ 经济参考网 _ 新华社《经济参考报》官方网站 The reporter of Economic Information Daily learned that relevant departments are stepping up research and formulation of the implementation plan for expanding middle-income groups, which is expected to be released this year. Among them, skilled workers, migrant workers and other groups will become the focus of the expansion. At the same time, the reform of key areas of income distribution will be accelerated this year. 《经济参考报》记者了解到，有关部门正在加紧研究制定扩大中等收入群体实施方案，年内有望出炉。其中，技能型劳动者、农民工等群体将成为“扩中”重点。同时，收入分配重点领域改革年内也将提速推进。
Shanghai looks to five suburbs to reduce population density in China’s commercial hub | South China Morning Post Shanghai’s authorities have unveiled a grand plan to develop new townships out of five suburban districts to relieve the population density in the sprawling megapolis of almost 25 million people. Five new towns will be developed in the Qingpu, Fengxian, Jiading, Nanhui and Songjiang districts, where Shanghai mayor Gong Zheng had promised to build major industrial projects with high-quality public infrastructure and comprehensive transport hubs.
Delivery platform Meituan loses lawsuit to Eleme for unfair competition - Global Times Beijing Sankuai Online Technology Co (Meituan) was ordered to pay 352,000 yuan ($53,820) as compensation to Shanghai Lazhasi Information Science Technology Co (Eleme) for unfair competition, according to a ruling by the Intermediate People's Court of Huai'an, in East China's Jiangsu Province, Chinese financial news site cls.cn reported on Wednesday.
HSBC relocates top leadership from London to Hong Kong | Financial Times $$ HSBC will move four of its top executives to Hong Kong from London, one more than had been anticipated, as the bank continues to accelerate its strategic shift to Asia. In an internal memo on Wednesday, chief executive Noel Quinn said that Greg Guyett, co-head of global banking and markets, Nuno Matos, chief executive of wealth and personal banking, and Barry O’Byrne, chief executive of global commercial banking, would relocate in the second half of the year.
China restricts construction of “ugly buildings” and skyscrapers taller than 500m - Global Times China's top economic planner announced it would restrict the construction of skyscrapers over 500 meters and prohibit the construction of "ugly buildings" in a document aiming to improve urbanization management that was released on Tuesday. The regulations were issued by China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
Yicai - Shanghai, Beijing Residents Earn Most in China With Average Yearly Wage Topping USD10,000 - People in Shanghai and Beijing have the highest salaries in China on average, with a per capita annual income of more than USD10,000, according to Yicai Global research. Shanghai residents earn on average CNY72,232 (USD11,000) a year, followed by Beijing with CNY69,434 (USD10,617). Shenzhen and Guangzhou are in third and fourth place with CNY64,874 (USD9,919) and CNY63,289 respectively.
Data: IPO path narrows on China's STAR Market - Protocol — The people, power and politics of tech The crackdown is broad; a Protocol analysis of the four industries with 20 or more IPO applications that have reached "final status" suggests one field isn't being favored over another. There are four industry categories used by the CSRC that have more than 20 IPO applications in STAR's history: specialized equipment manufacturing (专用设备制造业); pharmaceutical manufacturing (医药制造业); computer, communication and other electronic equipment manufacturing (计算机、通信和其他电子设备制造业); and software and information technology services (软件和信息技术服务业). Each has a historical termination rate of about 25%.
In Depth: Self-Styled ‘Godfather of Patents’ Rises, Falls on China’s Innovation Obsession - Caixin Global The company’s 40-year-old founder Xie Xuhui, a self-styled “godfather of intellectual property,” liked to say Huiju was a game-changer that could take intellectual property (IP), mostly in the form of patents, from the traditional realm of large corporations to the much larger masses of small- and medium-sized businesses...Many of Huiju’s methods resonate of similar practices in China’s peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry that rose to prominence in 2015, only to become virtually defunct today after a government crackdown. In both instances, entrepreneurs like Xie used companies like Huiju to take advantage of China’s relative lack of investment options for individuals and financing for small businesses that were often overlooked by the traditional state-run banking system
State-Owned Assets In the Form of Crypto Embezzled By Executive of Chinese Blockchain Security Firm- PingWest A crypto influencer named Biquandeliangxin (币圈的良心) published an article describing how Gao Ziyang, chief marketing officer of Lian An Tech, misappropriated digital assets confiscated by the police in order for him personally to short Bitcoin and eventually lost more than 300 million yuan. Known as one of the four major blockchain security giants in China, Lian An provides comprehensive auditing services for blockchain technology, and also boasts its deep connection with numerous national regulators and government bodies including China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Cyberspace Administration of China, as well as the Ministry of Public Security, assisting the police across the country in fighting crypto crimes. The Chengdu-based company has received investments from reputable Chinese enterprises including Fosun Group and Lenovo.
云南千亿国企窝案，从董事长到职工19人被查，12人涉嫌行贿被留置|国资委|纪委|昆钢_网易订阅 19 employees including the party secretary of Kunming Steel are put under investigation in corruption case
阿里巴巴被罚3天后，浙江省委书记、杭州市委书记分别表态_凤凰网 Zhejiang and Hangzhou Party Secretaries of course both come out in support of decisions against Alibaba/Ant and the moves to regulate the platform economy
Japan retailer Muji downplays concerns over Xinjiang cotton - Nikkei Asia In a statement published as Ryohin Keikaku released its second quarter financial results, the Muji brand owner said Xinjiang "is a vast production area" that accounts for 80 to 90% of all cotton produced in China. "With regard to the approximately 5,000 hectares of farms and other facilities in the Xinjiang region, we assess the information about the cotton fields, the profiles of the workers and the personnel plans of the farms, and we dispatch an external, independent, third-party organization to conduct on-site audits in line with the cotton cultivation schedule," the company said.
China’s Canton Fair losing its lustre among export manufacturers and buyers who bemoan virtual forum | South China Morning Post The twice-a-year exhibition – held since 1957 – is the largest of its kind in China. It was long the epicentre of China’s export economy – a must-attend event for sellers and buyers alike. But the rise of the digital economy and e-commerce, coupled with mounting geopolitical tensions and the coronavirus pandemic, have taken the shine off the event.
China Should Replace Xinjiang Cotton Fields With Pig Farms: Think Tank - Bloomberg China should build more pig farms in Xinjiang as its cotton industry is under threat from declining soil fertility, according to a government researcher, commenting after some international companies avoided fiber produced in the region over allegations of forced labor. Hog farming could become a pillar industry in the region and supply 10% of the nation’s output, up from 1% now, wrote Mei Xinyu, a think-tank researcher at the commerce ministry. // Pig farming in a Muslim region
Ditching Bridgewater Route Nets Chinese Hedge Fund 258% Gain - Bloomberg Shanghai hedge fund manager Li Bei says she learned quickly that the low-volatility approach to investing behind the rise of Bridgewater Associates was doomed in China for a startup like hers. Steady returns did little to draw investors used to short-term rewards, so she put in her own money, cranked up leverage and produced an industry-leading 258% gain last year.
Serbia halts China-owned mine over environmental breaches | Reuters Serbia has ordered China’s Zijin Mining Group to halt work at a shaft at the country’s only copper mine and to complete a waste water treatment plant after it failed to comply with environmental standards, the mining and energy minister said on Wednesday.
ASML CEO Peter Wennink Says Trying to Control Chip Sales to China Won’t Work - Bloomberg Export controls against China will not only fail to halt its technological progress but also hurt the U.S. economy, ASML Holding NV Chief Executive Officer Peter Wennink said, after trade tensions between Washington and Beijing led to restrictions on the sale of the Dutch company’s advanced chip equipment to Chinese firms.
21CBH - 深圳发改委称“入户政策不宜再放宽”，将稳步推进基本公共服务常住人口全覆盖 - 21财经 The Shenzhen Development and Reform Commission stated that “the household policy should not be relaxed any more” and will steadily promote basic public services to cover the permanent population 30 minutes ago
Politics and Law
Great achievements of the Communist Party of China (a monograph celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China) - Jiang Jinquan on page 9 of the Wednesday People's Daily. Jiang is the Director of the Central Policy Research Office. - 中国共产党的丰功伟绩（庆祝中国共产党成立100周年专论）-- 江金权 Some highlights:
The democratic rights of the Chinese people are fully guaranteed. In old China, the Chinese people couldn't talk about democracy and human rights at all. In New China, the people's congress system has been established as a fundamental political system, including multi-party cooperation and political consultation system under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, regional ethnic autonomy system, and grassroots mass autonomy system. The broad masses of the people enjoy the rights of democratic election, democratic consultation, democratic decision-making, democratic management and democratic supervision guaranteed by the Constitution and laws. Our country guarantees the people's freedom of speech and association within the constitutional legal norms. China guarantees a wide range of human rights with the right to subsistence and development as the core. Chinese people have become masters of their own country, and our people's democracy is more real and effective than the "capitalist democracy" in western countries...
China has provided China's plan for global development and governance. As a founding member of the United Nations and a permanent member of the Security Council, China has always adhered to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, firmly upheld the international system with the United Nations as the core and the international order based on international law, and has always upheld justice and fairness for the vast number of developing countries on the international stage, making great contributions to safeguarding world peace and development. Since the reform and opening up, especially since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, China has made great achievements in poverty alleviation and environmental protection, providing a "Chinese model" for global poverty alleviation and environmental protection. China firmly upholds the world multilateral trading system, advocates promoting new-type economic globalization, advocates global common governance based on rules, and resolutely opposes unilateralism, protectionism and bullying, which embodies the responsibility for the common interests of all mankind. China put forward and took the lead in the practice of building a "the belt and road initiative", which provided public goods and development opportunities for global development, especially for developing countries. China's proposition of building a community of human destiny has been highly recognized by most countries and international organizations such as the United Nations, which shows a correct path and bright prospects for human development.
China's top legislator highlights new legislation to protect Yellow River - Xinhua China's top legislator Li Zhanshu has called for accelerated legislation to advance ecological conservation and high-quality development in the Yellow River basin. Li, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, made the remarks while presiding over a symposium on Yellow River legislation on Tuesday in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province...He said that ecological conservation and restoration should be highlighted in the new law to improve the fragile ecosystem of the Yellow River. The legislation should emphasize implementing the plan to develop functional zones along the Yellow River basin and delimit ecological red lines, he said.
Antigraft Campaign Nets Three Top Bankers in Henan Province - Caixin Three senior bank executives in Central China’s Henan province have been put under investigation by the country’s anticorruption agency over the past month, a development that signals an intensification of Beijing’s crackdown on graft in the region’s banking sector...So far this year, of the seven banking executives across the country that have fallen under investigation, three were working at lenders in Henan, official statements show. It’s unclear whether there is a connection between the three cases.
Foreign and Defense Affairs
GT investigates: Getting closer to early COVID-19 cases: Why the joint WHO-China report included hypotheses of cold chain and the world military games The joint WHO-China report released at the end of March did not provide a definitive answer to the origins of the coronavirus, but the report mentioned some of the hypotheses that need more investigations, such as cold chain transmission and mass gatherings, specifically the 2019 World Military Games which was held in Wuhan in October 2019, about two months before the COVID-19 outbreak in the city. Global Times reporters conducted a series of investigations in Wuhan to find out why these hypotheses were mentioned and how big these possibilities were. Many unanswered doubts need further global investigations, such as tracing the imported food supply chain during the military games...Another Chinese scientist with the joint WHO-China study experts' group who requested anonymity told the Global Times that whether foreign participants in the games visited the Huanan market was not verified, and if it was true, it could not be served as evidence for the claim that foreign delegates of the military games brought the virus to the market. But the possibility was there and we need more evidence, the scientist said...Compared to the hypothesis that the virus was brought to Huanan market by foreign military personnel, a more possible speculation emerged was that the outbreak in Wuhan may have been triggered by imported food during the military games...A local resident surnamed Zhang said the Fort Detrick lab, the Military World Games in Wuhan and the European countries which found earlier cases in 2019 should be the next steps for the WHO investigation team.
Attempts of anti-China forces to damage Xinjiang doomed to fail: spokesperson - Xinhua Spokesperson Zhao Lijian made the remarks when commenting on the development that a court in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region accepted a lawsuit against Adrian Zenz for fabricating "forced labor" rumors. In the lawsuit filed at the Intermediate People's Court of Kashgar Prefecture in south Xinjiang, the Shache Xiongying Textile Co., Ltd. demanded Adrian Zenz to stop infringement, eliminate the impact induced by the rumors, tender an apology, and compensate the company for the losses. "China is a country under the rule of law. The relevant enterprise filing a lawsuit against Adrian Zenz reflects stronger awareness of the law of the Chinese people as well as their greater consciousness to safeguard their own rights," the spokesperson said. "We support the move, which is heartening to everyone."
Philippines files new diplomatic protests over Chinese boats in disputed waters | Reuters The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said that two protests had been lodged, days after Manila summoned Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian to press for the withdrawal of its vessels on the disputed Whitsun Reef in the South China Sea and other Philippine maritime zones.
China’s 2% rate on Montenegro’s $944 million loan is ‘relatively low’: Chinese embassy refutes Western media hype about ‘debt trap' - Global Times Montenegro's $944 million debt from China to build a high-speed railway accounted for less than 25 percent of the country's entire debts, with only a 2 percent interest rate which is a relatively small proportion of Montenegro's total liabilities, the Chinese embassy in Montenegro noted on Tuesday in refuting some overseas media's hype about China setting a debt trap for the country.
China looks set to reopen border with North Korea | South China Morning Post The city authorities in Dandong appear to be preparing to open a long-delayed bridge across the Yalu river that connects it with the city of Sinujiu
China pays in full its UN regular budget dues for 2021 | english.scio.gov.cn China became the second-largest contributor to the assessments of UN peacekeeping operations in 2016 and the second-largest contributor to the UN regular budget in 2019. China has fulfilled its financial obligations in full, on time, and without conditions in accordance with the UN Charter, demonstrating the role it plays as a responsible major country, said the mission.
宋涛同越南共产党中央对外部部长黎怀忠通话--新闻报道-中国共产党新闻网 Song Tao, Minister of the International Liaison Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, held a video call with the Minister of External Affairs of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Lei Huaizhong, to listen to the Vietnamese party's briefing on the recent 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam. The two sides also exchanged in-depth views on implementing the important consensus reached by General Secretary Xi Jinping and General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and promoting the healthy and stable development of the relations between the two parties and the two countries.
The People's Map of Global China Using an interactive, open access, and online ‘map’ format, we are collaborating with nongovernmental organisations, journalists, trade unions, academics, and the public at large to provide updated and updatable information on various dimensions of Global China in their localities. The Map consists of profiles of countries and projects, sortable by project parameters, Chinese companies and banks involved, and their social, political, and environmental impacts.
What China wants from Britain | The Spectator The trouble is that this ignores what the party says and does. It fully intends to make the Chinese yuan a major global currency (it will not succeed until it opens the capital account, which it won’t in the foreseeable future) and to ensure that Shanghai and Shenzhen become the pre-eminent centres. As the former Chinese ambassador put it: ‘China must build a strong financial sector if it is to achieve national revitalisation.’ A major CCP concern is to escape US financial interference. So it is doing what it did with other goods: learning the trade through co-operation and joint ventures — and then ousting the gullible from their market dominance. The government and the City should work with China but must do so while being conscious of its intentions.
Hong Kong Mulls Sending Civil Servants to Work on Mainland - Caixin Hong Kong is looking into sending the city’s civil servants to temporarily work on the mainland, the government’s civil service chief said. Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip Tak-kuen mentioned the proposal at a Monday at a meeting of a Legislative Council committee meeting. If the plans go ahead, it would be the first time that the special administrative region’s civil servants would be assigned to mainland government bodies.
Hong Kong Protester Sentenced as Terminally Ill Rights Activist Starts New Jail Term — Radio Free Asia Siu Lok-ting, 27, was handed the sentence after being found guilty of two counts of arson and one count of rioting, after the judge took into account mitigating factors such as the absence of attacks on police officers.
Tech and Media
TikTok Owner ByteDance Silent on Rumored Hong Kong IPO Plan - Caixin Shunning the U.S. financial markets amid ongoing political tensions with China, ByteDance Ltd. has chosen instead to IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and will file its prospectus in the second quarter, Caixin has learned. The Tiktok owner, shares of which are privately trading at levels that value the company at $300 billion, declined to comment.
ByteDance raises stock-option offer for employees amid talk of Hong Kong IPO, sources say | South China Morning Post The company has offered employees the option of exchanging their bonuses for ByteDance’s untraded stocks at US$126 per share, compared with last year’s offer of under US$50, according to the people. In 2019, the price was US$44, according to Chinese media 36Kr.
Tales of the "News Assistants” - Chinese Storytellers As I am navigating the challenging yet fruitful journey of becoming a proficient storyteller covering China, I want to ask fellow news assistants — current and former — what is (was) the most rewarding part of the job? Where do we go from here? I would also like to ask fellow Chinese Storytellers who are reporting on China from afar, what’s the biggest challenge of your job?
Chinese researchers say they’ve developed an AI text censor that is 91 per cent accurate | South China Morning Post The team from Shenyang Ligong University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences say their AI technology does not need to be trained by humans and “outperforms other approaches” to achieve more than 91 per cent accuracy. It would be particularly useful to “identify and filter sensitive information from online news media”, lead researcher Li Shu and her colleagues wrote in a paper published in the Journal of Chinese Computer Systems on Monday.
Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History
Censorship of Chinese 6B4T & Feminist Groups Prompts Wave of Support for "Douban Sisters" | What's on Weibo On the night of April 12, Douban closed down more than ten Douban feminist groups, of which some were linked to ‘6b4t’ views. 6b4t is an online movement that originated in South Korea and is about female empowerment and independence that shifts away from patriarchal society and male-dominated fields in popular culture and beyond. The ‘6B’ stands for no husband, no children, no boyfriend, no male sex partner, not buying any products/brands that are unfriendly to women, and offering support to single women. The movement received some media attention earlier in 2019, when it was still about ‘4B’ or the ‘4 no’s’ (no marriage, no kids, no boyfriend, no sex; the ‘single women support’ and ‘refusal of buying misogynistic products’ were added later). The ‘4T’ stands for the rejection of shapewear (corsets), religion, otaku culture, and idols.
Energy, Environment, Science and Health
IRENA and China State Grid sign energy transition MoU | Energy Global The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will see the two organisations work closely to support grid enhancements, system flexibility, and sector-coupling in China and IRENA’s Clean Energy Corridor regions. The agreement aims to advance the global energy transformation towards a net-zero energy future particularly in developing countries, in the context of achieving the Paris Agreement objectives and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Jobs and Events
Rural and Agricultural Issues
ChinaTalk: 'Invisible China': How the Urban-Rural Divide Threatens China’s Rise - Lawfare Scott Rozelle (legend, Stanford professor, co-director of the Stanford Center on China's Economy and Institutions) joins ChinaTalk to discuss his recent book, "Invisible China: How the Urban-Rural Divide Threatens China’s Rise," co-authored with Natalie Hell.