NBA Commissioner speaks; US reciprocity for PRC diplomats; Maps are a minefield

It is one of those days where I am struggling to come up with any cogent commentary worth your time, so I will go straight into the things I think are worth paying attention to today.

Thanks for reading.


The Essential Eight

1. Hong Kong

Inside the battle for Hong Kong | Financial Times Magazine by Sue-lin Wong

One thing is certain: this youth-led movement of people fighting on the streets for democracy against the world’s most powerful authoritarian state has changed Hong Kong for ever. To many, the protesters’ position appears hopeless, as demonstrators, some not yet teenagers, battle tear gas and even gunfire, often with just umbrellas and hard hats. “If we burn, you burn with us” has been one of their rallying cries — an ominous quote from the dystopian teenage fiction series The Hunger Games, in which young people launch sometimes suicidal missions against an all-controlling government. 

This is a movement that erupted from a place of frustration and anger, rather than because protesters believed they could win a fight against the Chinese Communist party. “I don’t think the Hong Kong people stand a chance of winning against the government — they’re experts, they have the resources, it’s not a fair fight,” says Wu, the first time I meet him in August. He allowed the FT to spend eight weeks following him, on condition of anonymity because he fears arrest. 

China bans exports of black clothing to Hong Kong amid protests; all mailings to city ‘severely investigated’, courier firm worker says | South China Morning Post

According to a notice issued by Guangdong courier company PHXBUY on July 11, mainland Chinese customs required courier companies to halt delivery of a list of products...

“They include yellow helmets, yellow umbrellas, flags, flagpoles, poster banners, gloves, masks, black T-shirts, metal rods, fluorescent tubes, bludgeon clubs. We cannot take delivery of the above products … Thank you for supporting us,” the notice said...

The Post called a Beijing outlet of courier giant SF Express. A worker at the company said that only black clothing is not allowed to be shipped to Hong Kong, with other colours allowed.

“All goods mailed to Hong Kong will be severely investigated. So all goods to Hong Kong will take around two days more than usual to mail,” he said.

Hong Kong's 'Indigenous' Villages Mirror Tensions Of An Increasingly Divided City : NPR - Emily Feng

Pro-democracy activists suspected that Beijing-funded triads were behind the attacks. Yuen Long, closer to the border with mainland China than it is to Hong Kong island, has historically been a stronghold of triad activity. But residents of Yuen Long insist the attacks were in self-defense, initiated by clan networks, fearful that protesters would destroy their villages...

Caught between an encroaching, urbanizing Hong Kong and a rising China, the indigenous villages have chosen to ally with the latter.

Chaos in Hong Kong chamber over violent attack on activist | The Guardian

The Hong Kong leader, Carrie Lam, has again been forced from the legislative chamber because of protests by opposition members after a violent attack on a leader of the nearly five-month-old protest movement.

Pro-democracy lawmakers shouted and waved placards depicting Lam with bloodied hands, prompting their removal by guards and the suspension of proceedings.

Hong Kong-style riots to haunt West - Global Times

The violence in Hong Kong is not resistance against so-called tyranny, which is completely fabricated. It is the result of the West's double standards. Because of support from the West, Hong Kong protesters dare to confront their legal system in an unruly way. But their confrontation could be imitated by Western groups who are not satisfied with their situation.

Some elites in the US and the West are lost in their extreme geopolitical and ideological mindsets. They believe the turmoil in Hong Kong will cause trouble for China, so they tend to extol Hong Kong protesters. However, thanks to the "one country, two systems" principle, the chaos in the city will not spread to the Chinese mainland, but the West is not immune to that.

Catalonia is the first to be infected, but will not be the last.

Catalan protest shows double standards on Hong Kong riots backfiring on West - Global Times

Sun Keqin, a research fellow at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday that "Western societies also have many challenges and problems, and if their political elites and mainstream media ignore the rule of law and voice irresponsible support to separatism and riots in other countries in the name of human rights and freedom, then more chaos will be copied in their homes."

George Galloway, a former member of UK Parliament, posted an article on the Russia Today website saying that "When supporters of Catalan leaders jailed for organizing a democratic vote advance on Barcelona airport, media make a fuss over 'separatists' causing chaos. When the same tactics used in Hong Kong, it's a 'pro-democracy' protest."

Condemning protest violence in Hong Kong won’t solve the problem – not when police are part of the problem | South China Morning Post OpEd - Lawrence Lok

Violence cannot and must not be condoned, and no decent and sensible person I know condones the vandalism and violence perpetrated by those involved in the protests. Mere condemnation, however, does not help. It does not deal with the root of the problem, which lies in large part with those in government.

The problem, unfortunately, includes the police force, which executes the increasingly repressive policy of the government, and more.

HKSAR chief executive says to enhance measures against doxxing, bullying of police - Xinhua

To tackle the online bullying of police officers, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data has followed up, and the HKSAR government will also examine existing laws so as to better cope with large-scale online doxxing and bullying, Lam said.

The police have become a major target of attacks by rioters in the months-long unrest in Hong Kong. Besides violently assaulting police officers at protest sites, mobsters repeatedly committed harassment around the living quarters of police officers in different areas of Hong Kong.


2. US-China

China says it hopes to reach phased trade pact with U.S. as soon as possible - Reuters

A phased agreement would help restore market confidence and reduce uncertainty, ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters, adding that both sides were maintaining close communication.

“The final goal of both sides’ negotiations is to end the trade war and cancel all additional tariffs,” Gao said. “This would benefit China, the U.S. and the whole world. We hope that both sides will continue to work together, advance negotiations, and reach a phased agreement as soon as possible.”

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang promises ‘tremendous opportunities’ for US firms | South China Morning Post

Speaking to a visiting delegation led by Evan Greenberg, chairman of the US-China Business Council, Li said the two nations must first resolve their trade disputes through dialogue and on an equal footing...

“I have strong confidence that the ever improving business environment in China will continue to generate tremendous market opportunities for US firms and companies from all other countries who are interested in continuing to do business in China,” he said

Briefing with Senior State Department Officials on Reciprocal Action Regarding Chinese Diplomats in the United States - United States Department of State

Of course, our job as diplomats is to improve mutual understanding, and to do that we need access to, of course, a broad range of stakeholders in the countries that we’re assigned to. Unfortunately, in China, U.S. diplomats do not have unfettered access to a range of folks that are important for us to do our job there. That includes local and provincial-level officials, academic institutions, research institutes, so on and so forth.

In contrast, PRC diplomats stationed here in the United States are, of course, able to take full advantage of our open society to meet with a whole range of Americans. Now we’re not looking to reduce those interactions at all. So I – the main purpose of this call is basically to make sure that the actions that we’re taking are not, in fact, misconstrued. Instead, what we’re trying to accomplish here is just to, I guess, get closer to a reciprocal situation, hopefully with the desired end effect of having the Chinese Government provide greater access to our diplomats in China.

Until that happens, we are going to take some actions that will, like I said, go some ways toward leveling the playing field. So starting from today, the State Department is going to be requiring that all of the PRC foreign missions – their embassy and their various consulates around the United States – will have to notify the Department of State in advance of official meetings with state officials, official meetings with local and municipal officials, official visits to educational institutions, and official visits to research institutions.

Under New Rule, Chinese Diplomats Must Notify State Dept. of Meetings in U.S. - The New York Times

The new State Department requirement was still less onerous than that imposed by China. Chinese diplomats are not required to seek permission for the meetings; they need only to notify the State Department in advance.

One aim of the new restrictions was to get China to relent on its limits on the actions of American diplomats, the official said, adding that the United States had complained to the Chinese government about the regulations, to no avail.

Beijing says US policy change for Chinese diplomats violates international law | South China Morning Post

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing opposed the move and had made a “solemn representation” to Washington...

Geng’s call for the US to scrap the move came after the Chinese embassy in Washington claimed on Twitter that the policy violated the Vienna Convention, an international treaty defining diplomatic relations between countries.

“So far, the Chinese side does not have similar requirements on American diplomats and consular officers in China,” the embassy wrote. “As for reciprocity, the US has a far greater number of diplomatic personnel in China than China has in the US.”

China Detains 2 Americans Amid Growing Scrutiny of Foreigners - The New York Times

The detentions come as tensions grow between China and the United States over trade and other issues, but Mr. Geng, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said on Thursday that he did not see a “specific correlation” between the two.

Still, the detentions are likely to add to a growing sense of unease among Americans traveling and working in China


3. Pork prices keep rising

Yicai Global - China's Pig Herd to Recover Next Year, Easing Pork Supply, Ministry Says

The nation's pig rearing capacity is recovering quickly and livestock numbers expected to bottom out by year end, Yang Zhenhai, director of the ministry's Husbandry and Veterinary Bureau, said at a press conference in Beijing today.

The number of hogs on hand rose 0.6 percent to 44.45 million in September from the previous month, while breeding sows gained 3.7 percent to 6.1 million, according to a ministry survey of farms that slaughter more than 5,000 pigs a year.

The original Chinese report - 农业农村部:猪肉供给阶段性紧张局面有所缓和 _中国经济网——国家经济门户

Dim Sums: Rural China Economics and Policy: Beijing Pork Prices Resume Skyrocket Trajectory

Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs figures showed a worsening supply situation. The Ministry reported that the inventory of swine during September was down 41.1 percent from a year earlier while the sow inventory was down 38.9 percent. The Ministry's figures tracking "above-scale" slaughter facilities showed the number of hogs slaughtered in September was down 35.8 percent from a year earlier.

Daily price data from Beijing's Xinfadi wholesale market show that pork prices stabilized in September following an August 30 order from Vice Premier Hu Chunhua to keep pork markets stable during the Mid-Autumn Festival and the 70th anniversary of the Peoples Republic of China celebrated October 1. Authorities injected 40,000 metric tons of pork reserves into the market last month. However, prices began rising the day after National Day and climbed 32 percent during the first two weeks of October, showing that officials cannot dictate prices for very long. The average price for a lean carcass at Xinfadi market was 21.75 yuan per 500g on October 15, up 125 percent from the price a year earlier in the same market...

The historic nature of this year's pork price increases is evident from a comparison with the trajectory of prices in the Xinfadi market during 2007-08 when pork supplies were disrupted by a "blue ear disease"...

This pork shortage makes the 2007 event look like a blip in comparison--and the full effects have not run their course.

Tyson Bans Pig-Fattening Drug in Bid to Target Chinese Demand - Bloomberg

A unit of Arkansas-based Tyson Foods Inc. became the latest supplier to say it will prohibit ractopamine in hogs it buys from farmers, as it seeks to eliminate the feed additive banned by China from its supply chain. The move positions the companies to step up exports to fill the shortfall, as China negotiates to end an 18-month trade war with the U.S.


4. NBA

NBA Adam Silver: China Crisis Has Triggered "Substantial" Losses - Bloomberg

“The financial consequences may go on and be fairly dramatic,” Commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday at the Time 100 Health Summit in New York. But the league is willing to take on the costs to support free expression, he said...

He added that Chinese interests asked for Morey to be fired for the tweet.

“We said there’s no chance that’s happening -- there’s no chance we’ll even discipline him,” said Silver, a longtime NBA executive who became commissioner in 2014...

“I felt that we had made enormous progress in terms of building cultural exchanges with the Chinese people,” Silver said. “I have regret that much of that was lost, and I’m not even sure where we’ll go from here.”

Back from China, Nets steer clear of controversy in remarks - AP

Harris said one of his community events, a visit with children at a play area, still went on. So did the team functions planned by new owner Joe Tsai, the co-founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Beijing whips up NBA anger, then winds it down, disappointing Chinese nationalists - Los Angeles Times

One explanation for the apparent change is that some branches of government — such as the Ministries of Commerce and Foreign Affairs, which were trying to strike a trade deal with the U.S. last week — may have complained that overheated attacks on the NBA were hampering their work.

“This kind of highly nationalistic emotions are promoted by certain Communist Party and government branches rather than the government as a whole,” said Fang Kecheng, professor of communication and journalism at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He pointed to state media, which serve as the propaganda department, as an example.

“By publishing those articles criticizing Apple, the NBA, they can draw a lot of page views and shares and likes and followers,” he said. “They can report to their boss saying, we have been doing great and we have significant influence online, especially among young people.”

How One Tweet Turned Pro-China Trolls Against the NBA - WSJ $$

The Wall Street Journal’s analysis was based on 168,907 tweets at Morey between Oct. 4 and Oct. 10 captured by Clemson University researchers Darren Linvill and Patrick Warren.

It shows that 22% came from accounts with 0 followers at some point last week and 50% were from accounts with fewer than 13 followers. There were 4,855 total users in all who had never tweeted until they replied to Morey, and 3,677 accounts didn’t exist until his tweet.

“I’m not saying this is a state-affiliated operation,” Linvill said. “But I’ve only seen so many brand-new accounts used at one time when it was a state-affiliated operation.”

‘The NBA Incident Has The Entire Nation Acting Crazy’ - ChinaEconTalk

But while the discussion was at its peak, the following article was published on WeChat by an anonymous Chinese commentator, arguing for a less hysterical response. Below, we have translated the article in full.

FCC chairman warns about China's 'leverage' over NBA: Imagine what Beijing can do with 5G networks | Fox News

Amid the NBA-China controversy, the Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said on Thursday that the situation is a “disturbing lesson” on Chinese government leverage.

“If the Chinese government has such leverage over NBA stars and the league itself, that raises the question, how else can they can export their censorship, their anti-Democratic values, and ultimately their control when it comes to even more important things like our 5G networks, the wireless networks of the future?” Ajit said in an appearance in “Fox & Friends.”

Chinese Values Are Changing America - The Atlantic - John Pomfret

In April 1868, a delegation of Chinese officials visited the United States. Among them was a Manchu mandarin named Zhigang who who one of the first Chinese travelogues describing a visit to the West. Zhigang wrote reams on American shipbuilding, steel mills, microscopes, and printing presses. Zhigang also had an insight about the resilience of American values that his successors in Beijing understand today. In America, he noted, “the love of God is less real than the love of profit.” Or as the straight-shooting Jason Whitlock said on the Fox Sports show Speak for Yourself the other day, “Quit faking the funk … When China tells you to shut the hell up, everybody shuts the hell up. Everybody loses their courage when there’s money on the line.”

Yicai Global - Michael Jordan Loses China Trademark Case

After eight years of litigation, US basketball star Michael Jordan has lost a trademark dispute in China with Qiaodan Sports, clearing the way for the sporting outfitter's initial pubic offering.

The Supreme People's Court delivered its final judgment yesterday, stating that the company's trademarks do not constitute an infringement of the NBA icon's rights, Beijing News reported. It has a series of trademarks, including 'Qiaodan,' 'QIAODAN' and 'Qiaodan Sports.'


5. Maps mess

Dior apologises for using China map without Taiwan - BBC News

The row broke out after a video was posted online anonymously claiming to show a Dior employee giving a talk at a university in China and showing the map.

It sparked a huge reaction on social media, as people complained that Dior was not respecting Chinese territorial claims.

"Dior statement" was one of the top 10 most searched items on Weibo on Thursday.

Malaysia orders China map cut from 'Abominable' film as furor widens | Reuters

Malaysia's film censors have ordered a scene removed from the animated movie "Abominable" which shows China's "nine-dash line" in the South China Sea, an official said on Thursday, amid growing anger among countries with overlapping claims in the waterway.


6. How many aircraft carriers will China build, and how quickly?

Satellite images reveal China's aircraft carrier 'factory,' analysts say - Reuters

High-resolution satellite images show that the construction of China’s first full-sized aircraft carrier is progressing steadily alongside expansive infrastructure work that analysts say suggests the ship will be the first of several large vessels produced at the site...

“We can see slow but steady progress on the hull, but I think the really surprising thing these images show is the extensive infrastructure buildup that has gone on simultaneously,” said CSIS analyst Matthew Funaiole.

“It is hard to imagine all this is being done for just one ship,” he added. “This looks more like a specialized space for carriers and or other larger vessels.”

China’s Type 001A aircraft carrier sets off on latest sea trial as navy prepares to commission ship ‘within months’ | South China Morning Post

China’s first home-grown aircraft carrier, Type 001A, will be commissioned within months, according to military observers.

The ship appeared to have set off on its eighth sea trial on Tuesday after photographs taken by a plane flying over a restricted area showed a carrier, with a warplane on deck, leaving the Dalian Shipyard, where the carrier is being built.


7. No P2P firms in Hunan in compliance, so all banned

Chinese Province Slaps Blanket Ban on P2P Lending - Caixin

Financial watchdogs in central Hunan province have decided to ban all peer-to-peer (P2P) lending after a three-year clean-up of the sector ordered by the central government failed to find a single company operating in the region that complied with regulations and passed their scrutiny.

The decision affects lenders registered in the province — including the 24 who made it onto the authorities’ final inspection list — and platforms who operate there but are registered in other regions, the Hunan financial supervision administration said in a statement on Wednesday.

The People’s Bank of China and other financial regulators have been waging a war to tame the P2P lending industry since 2016 after a series of scandals and fraud left millions of investors who had lent money through the platforms nursing heavy losses


8. One fun read - The Mothers of Shunyi-hattan

Parenting in Beijing's 'Upper East Side'

A few years ago the book Primates of Park Avenue took a lighthearted look into the social mores of New York’s richest families. The following article argues that a similar form of late-stage capitalism pervades China’s most exclusive zip codes. In Shunyi, a recreation of suburban America just north of Beijing International Airport, overeducated stay-at-home moms shuttle their children from private school interviews to lacrosse practice, all the while deathly afraid of falling behind...

Bao Ruiru, watching one internet tycoon’s kid shine at a talent show, illustrates the anxiety and frustration of Shunyi mothers: if your kid isn’t in the .1%, if their classwork doesn’t produce masterpieces, then that’s proof that you’ve failed as a mother. If your kid doesn’t go to the Ivy League, then in this circle you’re an abject loser.

It’s curious why a group of people who have enough money for several lifetimes are still so insecure. It’s like in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ where the Red Queens says you have to “run very hard just to stay in the same place.”


Business, Economy and Trade

Six warning lights flashing for China’s slowing economy - ReutersQ3 GDP out Friday // China’s third-quarter GDP is expected to grow 6.1%, according to a Reuters poll. Some analysts expect growth to have dipped beneath 6% for the quarter, below the bottom of the government’s growth target for 2019.

China clears up over 95 pct of "zombie" firms: official - Xinhua China has cleared up more than 95 percent of zombie companies and enterprises in extreme difficulty, nearing its goal of phasing out all zombie enterprises by the end of 2020. The country has set a three-year plan to resolve around 2,000 zombie enterprises that suffered extended losses and outdated production capacity in a bid to curb overcapacity and boost market vitality.

China's fiscal revenue up 3.3 pct in January-September period - Xinhua The central government collected about 7.2 trillion yuan during the period, up 3.5 percent year on year, while local governments saw revenue up 3.1 percent to about 7.86 trillion yuan, according to the Ministry of Finance (MOF). China's fiscal spending expanded 9.4 percent year on year to around 17.86 trillion yuan during the January-September period, MOF data showed.

Six warning lights flashing for China’s slowing economy - ReutersQ3 GDP out Friday // China’s third-quarter GDP is expected to grow 6.1%, according to a Reuters poll. Some analysts expect growth to have dipped beneath 6% for the quarter, below the bottom of the government’s growth target for 2019.

China clears up over 95 pct of "zombie" firms: official - Xinhua China has cleared up more than 95 percent of zombie companies and enterprises in extreme difficulty, nearing its goal of phasing out all zombie enterprises by the end of 2020. The country has set a three-year plan to resolve around 2,000 zombie enterprises that suffered extended losses and outdated production capacity in a bid to curb overcapacity and boost market vitality.

China's central SOEs see lower debt-asset ratio - Xinhua The average debt-to-asset ratio of centrally-administered SOEs stood at 65.7 percent at the end of September, down 0.2 percentage points from the same period last year and down 0.1 percentage points from the end of August, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) told a press conference Thursday...China has set a timetable for SOEs deleveraging as part of its efforts to defuse financial risks. The average debt-to-asset ratio of SOEs should be reduced by 2 percentage points by the end of 2020, as compared with that at the end of 2017.

Inside Huawei’s shifting public relations strategy | The Star Alykhan Velshi told Star Vancouver in an exclusive one-on-one interview that the company’s decision to pull a national advertising campaign two weeks before the start of the federal election campaign was a move to steer clear of politics. “There are so many sensitivities surrounding Huawei and elections. We’ve made a decision to stay out,” Velshi said with a smile, over a recent coffee on a Starbucks patio.

Tesla’s Shanghai Plant Gets Hooked Up to State Grid Power Supply - Bloomberg Tesla was included on a list of car manufacturers that China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology released Thursday for consideration for approval and public review, which runs to Oct. 23.

China, Mauritius sign free trade agreement - Xinhua China and Mauritius signed a free trade agreement (FTA) here Thursday, the first FTA between China and an African country, according to the Ministry of Commerce (MOC). The China-Mauritius FTA is the 17th FTA signed by China.

Yicai Global - China to Increase Research-Based Tax Breaks for Core Manufacturing Sectors Industries likely to get priority treatment under the new rules include information technology, high-end machinery, aerospace, offshore engineering equipment, high-tech ships, advance rail transit, new energy, power equipment, agricultural machinery, new materials, biomedicine and medical devices.

E-Commerce Platform in Crisis After Spending $225 Million in Merchants’ Cash - Caixin The company now owes sellers as much as 1.6 billion yuan ($225 million), Caixin has learned. After admitting the company had misused merchants’ funds, Taojiji CEO Zhang Zhengping recently met merchants from across the country at the firm’s Shanghai headquarters, where sellers had gathered to reclaim their earnings.

Angry Homeowners Demand Refunds After Developer Slashes Prices - Caixin Homeowners who had already paid the original asking price crowded a local sales office of China Evergrande Group at a development in Zhaoqing’s Dinghu district to demand refunds...To ease social unrest, the district’s housing development bureau advised Evergrande on Oct. 7 that it would suspend approval for the developer to use its pre-sale capital until homeowners get all their refunds.

In Depth: Recent Court Case Could Leave Banks on Hook for Customers’ Losses - Caixin There has also been discussion about the role the identity of Wang Xiang, the bank customer, has played in the decision. Wang is a judge specializing in financial lawsuits at a Beijing court. The Beijing News, a local media outlet, even ran a story with the headline “Weird Drama! Judge Spent 970,000 Yuan on Fund and Lost 570,000 Yuan, Construction Bank Pays Back Principal and Interest.” Market participants have been left wondering whether this is simply a one-off case, in which the plaintiff’s identity has played a major role, or this ruling represents a regulatory shift.

Chinese Scooter-Maker Riding High As Profits Surge on U.S. Market Growth - Caixin HL Corp., which makes bicycles and scooters for sharing companies, said electric scooter orders from Europe and North America would help boost its profits by between 29 million yuan ($4 million) and 38 million yuan for the third quarter — a leap of 2,047% to 2,713%. The Shenzhen-listed company, which supplies Meituan’s Mobike and Didi’s Qingju Bike in China, put the boost down to growing overseas demand from American clients such as Neutron Holdings Inc. and Bird Rides Inc.

Chinese banks build up asset recovery teams as bad debts mount | Financial Times $$ While global banks have supported recovery teams for several years, in-house distressed debt teams is a new area of business for many of the Chinese banks in Hong Kong.  The hiring spree, aimed at building out formidable teams, has seen Chinese lenders poach restructuring specialists from global banks, one of the people said.

China’s office market sees highest vacancy rate in a decade | Financial Times $$ The vacancy rate across the office market in 17 major cities monitored by commercial property group CBRE stood at 21.5 per cent in the third quarter of this year, a level of under-occupation last seen during the financial crisis.

Ping An Bank’s Shanghai chief under investigation by China’s corruption watchdog | South China Morning Post Leng Peidong has been required to assist with investigations by the corruption watchdog Central Commission for Discipline Inspection earlier this week, a source familiar with the matter said. Leng, also assistant to the president of Ping An Bank, is being investigated “for personal reasons”, and the bank will actively cooperate with the authorities in the case, a spokesman for the bank said.

More changes friendly to foreign investors on way - Gov.cn China will roll out more measures friendly to foreign investors, including further removing business restrictions and leveling the playing field for foreign businesses, to foster a more enabling business environment and attract overseas investment.

China GDP likely to slow to 6.1% in July-Sept: survey - Nikkei Asian Review China's real gross domestic product for the July-September quarter has continued to slow, to 6.1% on the year, dragged down by sagging exports and production, according to the average forecast of economists surveyed by Nikkei and Nikkei Quick News.

Profit Warnings Plague Corporate China as Economy Worsens - Bloomberg About 44% of more than 1,200 firms that have given profit guidance for the third quarter predicted worse earnings than from a year earlier, in terms of smaller profits, deeper losses or swings into loss. It shows earnings are still deteriorating after a wave of profit warnings in the first half. The ratio is on par with the level in same period last year, which was the highest for a third quarter since 2015.

Chinese local government funds run out of projects to back | Financial Times $$ The Sichuan official, who asked not to be named, was speaking on the sidelines of a conference for local government finance vehicles last week in Nanjing. At the closed-door conference, local officials and the finance vehicles they control complained they were running out of growth-boosting, cash-generating public projects such as toll roads and bridges to fund...“In the past, we lent to any public project that had government approval,” said a loan officer at Bank of China’s Chengdu branch. “Now we won’t work on a project unless it generates enough cash flow to pay off the loan.” 

SEC freezes assets of 18 traders over alleged manipulation - Reuters U.S. authorities said on Wednesday it has obtained an asset freeze against 18 traders, who are primarily China-based, over an international market manipulation scheme that has reaped more than $31 million in illicit profits over several years..The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said the traders had been manipulating more than 3,000 U.S.-listed securities for at least six years, using multiple accounts to create artificially high or low prices to buy or sell at a profit.

Blizzard Bans Three College ‘Hearthstone’ Protesters For Six Months - VICE Blizzard’s silence towards Chambers and his friends always had a ticking time limit; despite losing a tournament round, they were scheduled to play again. Blizzard’s response came last night, only a few days after the company publicly doubled down on a series of disciplinary actions against Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai, who originally set this into motion.

Cotton On and Target Australia stop buying cotton from Xinjiang over human rights concerns - Australian Broadcasting Corporation Cotton On Group completed an internal investigation into its supply chain after Four Corners revealed in July that Uyghur Muslims were being rounded up as part of a detention program and forced to work in textile factories in Xinjiang. Four Corners also revealed that Target Australia was already conducting an internal review into where it sourced its cotton from in Xinjiang.

Politics and Law

【央视快评】将爱国热情转化为奋进新时代的强大动力 CCTV commentary on transforming patriotic enthusiasm into a powerful new force for advancing into the New Era, on the occasion of the Xi's meeting with the leaders of the groups that put together the 70th anniversary celebrations

Xinjiang to offer over half million vocational training sessions each year - Global Times Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has vowed to offer at least 500,000 vocational and other training sessions to help improve the lives of local residents each year between 2019 and 2021. By the end of 2021, skilled laborers in the region are to account for 25 percent of the total number of employed workers, of which 30 percent will be highly skilled, according to a regional action plan on improving vocational skills recently released by the Department of Human Resources and Social Security of Xinjiang, the Xinjiang Daily reported on Tuesday.

Zhao Ziyang remembered on centenary of birth | NHK WORLD] Thursday marks 100 years since the birth of the late former Chinese Communist Party leader Zhao Ziyang, who was ousted for his sympathetic stance toward student protesters in the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident. //Reports on Twitter that his family will be allowed to bury him in a public cemetery, and that his courtyard house will be torn down

China’s regulatory oversight of booming online travel platforms will include censorship of ‘illegal’ content | South China Morning Post The 42 specific regulations, drafted by China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, include rules mandating that online travel providers are responsible for regulating content customers upload onto their platforms, including text, pictures, audio and videos.

Xi stresses efforts to win battle against poverty - Xinhua China must stick to its poverty relief target, make unremitting efforts, and ensure high-quality outcomes in the battle, Xi...stressed when giving instructions Thursday as the country observes the sixth National Poverty Relief Day, which falls on Oct. 17 every year. Hailing the progress made in poverty relief under the leadership of the CPC, Xi said the country's battle against poverty has reached a crucial stage of securing a decisive and complete victory.

Foreign and Defense Affairs

Angela Merkel to make relations with China top priority when Germany takes on EU presidency next year | South China Morning Post Chancellor Angela Merkel has promised to put EU-China relations to the fore when Germany takes on the European Union’s rotating presidency next year. This includes plans for a summit meeting – which multiple diplomatic sources expect to be held in Leipzig next September – where for the first time President Xi Jinping would meet all the EU heads of government as well as the presidents of the European Commission and Council. Diplomatic sources also said this was a chance to present a “united front” when dealing with Beijing.

China prepares for space station construction - Xinhua Zhou Jianping, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, has been appointed the chief designer of China's manned space program, and Gu Yidong, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has been appointed the chief space scientist of the program, according to the China Manned Space Agency.

Xi sends congratulatory letter to 4th China-Arab States Broadcasting & Television Cooperation Forum - Xinhua Xi said that he announced the establishment of a China-Arab future-oriented strategic partnership of comprehensive cooperation and common development at the eighth ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum in July last year, noting that China-Arab states friendly cooperation has entered a new historic stage. He called on the two sides to join hands in promoting integrated media development, building intelligent broadcasting and television media outlets and developing intelligent broadcasting and television network, so as to make greater contributions to boosting people-to-people ties between China and Arab states and advancing the China-Arab states strategic partnership.

Vice president discusses China's history, present, future with Tsinghua advisors - Xinhua  Vice President Wang Qishan discussed the history, the present and the future of China with members of the advisory board of the elite Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management in Beijing on Thursday. "History is the fountainhead of the present and the future," Wang said during his meeting with the advisors...The advisors, led by Jim Breyer, chairman of the advisory board and Breyer Capital's founder and CEO, extended congratulations on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC, and expressed willingness to further deepen cooperation with China and contribute to Chinese education and economic growth. Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan attended the meeting

王岐山会见清华大学经管学院顾委会委员_CCTV Thursday CCTV Evening News report on Wang Qishan’s meeting with the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management Advisory Board

Chinese military to enhance auditing - Ministry of National Defense According to the directive, auditing remains an important supervisory means to ensure the Party's leadership over the armed forces and a key institution to exercise strict governance on the military in accordance with the law. The CMC aims to establish a modern auditing system on the armed forces that fits the conditions and meets the needs of the Chinese military, the statement said. 中央军委印发《关于加强新时代军队审计工作的意见》

US Navy Admiral George Wikoff hails Beijing as ‘cordial, professional’ in South China Sea | South China Morning Post “They remain respectful in accordance with what we anticipate a professional would do, and we respond or initiate in kind when we believe that there is a situation,” said Wikoff aboard the USS Ronald Reagan on Wednesday, after taking over command of Task Force 70 two weeks ago.

China Risk and China Opportunity for the U.S.-Japan Alliance - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Led by Matake Kamiya and James L. Schoff, the group has conducted research and facilitated dialogue since April 2017 through private roundtables and public symposia that seek to further U.S.-Japan cooperation and coordination on China policy. The project examines different perspectives between the alliance members and discusses ways in which Washington and Tokyo can effectively respond to China’s rise. An accompanying series of policy briefs explores various China-related risks and opportunities for the U.S.-Japan alliance in the areas of regional and international order, trade and technology, security, and foreign relations.

Tech and Media

Facial-Recognition Smart Lockers Hacked by Fourth-Graders - Sixth Tone The primary schoolers from Jiaxing in eastern China’s Zhejiang province told local TV program Haoqi Shiyanshi, or Curious Labs, that their science club recently discovered facial-recognition locks used by Hive Box, a Chinese smart locker company, could be opened using only a printed photo of the intended recipient’s face, leaving the lockers’ contents vulnerable to theft.

Bytedance Expands Gaming Presence, Rivalry With Tencent Intensifies- PingWest According to original reporting by Late Post, a subsidiary channel by China's Caijing magazine, Bytedance's gaming division was called the "Oasis Project", with more than 100 people working for the project, divided into individual studios working on as many as nine games and demos. The exact relationship between Douyin's in-app mini game and the Oasis Project is unclear.

China is Creating Brand New “Star Wars” Stories- PingWest October 16, China Literature, a Shanghai-based online literature firm, reach an agreement with Disney China in Shanghai. The two parties will join forces to produce the first Chinese-language Star Wars web fiction, as well as the first storylines in the Star Wars universe written by a Chinese author.

Apple responds to reports that it sends user traffic to China's Tencent | ZDNet To accomplish this task, Safari receives a list of websites known to be malicious from Google, and for devices with their region code set to mainland China, it receives a list from Tencent. The actual URL of a website you visit is never shared with a safe browsing provider and the feature can be turned off.

The Chinese social media stars unknowingly going viral in the West · TechNode “I can hardly believe that so many people abroad have seen my videos,” Chinese viral sensation Liu Shichao told TechNode. Liu was shocked when told that some of his short videos had gone viral on Twitter, a social network blocked in the country he lives. “I’m very, very surprised because that video was made about two years ago, and I don’t even know who spread it abroad,” he said.

China Tech Investor 38: An interview with Pinduoduo’s David Liu · TechNode In this episode of the China Tech Investor Podcast powered by TechNode, the guys welcome David Liu, VP of Strategy for Pinduoduo. David talks about PDD’s success in breaking into the ultra-competitive e-commerce market in China, and how they have defied expectations in both their ability to raise capital and grow their user base.

Alibaba 'OS' to Power Universal's New China Resort | Alizila.com From facial-recognition entry to app-based food ordering and more, Universal Beijing will leverage the Alibaba Business Operating System to deliver a more-seamless and convenient park visit, the companies said Thursday at a press conference in Beijing.

Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

Former chairman of China Democratic League dies at 93 - Xinhua Ding Shisun, former chairman of the China Democratic League (CDL), died at the age of 93 in Beijing on Saturday. A renowned mathematician, educator and social activist, Ding was a vice-chairperson of the 9th and 10th standing committees of the National People's Congress, and chairman of the 7th, 8th and 9th central committees of the CDL, according to an official statement. He was also former head of the Western Returned Scholars Association and former president of Peking University // The entire Standing Committee, plus Wang Qishan, attended the memorial, as they do for all deceased chairman of the 8 non-Communist parties