New round of US charges against Chinese state hackers; Bullets on the Belt & Road as "fine brushwork" begins

The Central Economic Work Conference is apparently underway and we should have details from the meeting by this time tomorrow. While Xi’s speech earlier this week appeared to give no hints of movement towards trade concessions with the US, there is always chance that speech, tailored for a domestic audience, was not the place to look for signs anyway. Perhaps there will be more positive signals from the CEWC, or at least clearer directives from the top for the Chinese officials tasked with talking to US negotiators.

The US has announced a new set of charges against MSS hackers, but the actions are weaker than expected. There has been talk for a while of sanctions and naming of SOE beneficiaries of the cyberthefts and as the Washington Post reported a couple of hours before the announcement today:

Sanctions related to the cyber economic espionage effort also are expected to be announced. 

No sanctions were announced, and I hear from multiple people that the Trump administration backed off on any sanctions because Treasury Secretary Mnuchin was worried about Beijing's reaction and a possible impact on the trade talks. That is an interesting assessment of leverage…

I will not be back until January unless something really big happens.

In case any of you have procrastinated over holiday gifts, Sinocism gift subscriptions make great last-minute Christmas presents and are available here.

Thanks for reading, and for all of your support.

Happy Holidays!


The Essential Eight

1. US moves again against Chinese hacking

A "United Front" approach could be interesting

U.S. and more than a dozen allies to condemn China for economic espionage - The Washington Post:

The Trump administration and more than a dozen international allies are expected to call out Beijing on Thursday for what they say are China’s persistent efforts to steal other countries’ trade secrets and advanced technologies and to compromise sensitive government and corporate computers, according to Western officials.

The unprecedented mass condemnation marks a significant effort to hold China to account for its alleged malign acts. It represents a growing consensus that Beijing is flouting international norms of fair play to become the world’s predominant economic and technological power.

The action comes as the U.S. Justice Department is expected to unveil criminal charges against hackers affiliated with China’s main intelligence service who allegedly took part in a long-running cyberspying campaign targeting U.S. and other countries’ networks...

Top Justice Department officials are expected to announce indictments of the alleged Chinese hackers, who are affiliated with the Ministry of State Security (MSS), China’s intelligence and security agency

DOJ charges Chinese nationals for 'extensive' global hacking campaign - CNBC:

They are accused of stealing information from at least 45 U.S. tech companies and government agencies. 


Agencies targeted included the Department of Energy’s National Laboratory and NASA’s jet propulsion lab. 


The hackers also allegedly targeted defense industrial companies and managed service providers, as a way to gain entry to U.S. corporations and agencies through their suppliers. 


The two defendants, Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong, were allegedly members of a group known as “Advanced Persistent Threat 10,” or “APT10.” The group was also known within the cybersecurity community as “Stone Panda,” “Red Apollo” and “POTASSIUM.” 


APT10 allegedly hacked into more than 40 computers connected to the U.S. Navy and stole confidential data, including “the personally identifiable information of more than 100,000 Navy personnel.” 


They’re also accused of hacking three communications technology companies, three companies “involved in manufacturing advanced electronic systems,” a maritime technology company, an oil and gas company, and at least 25 other technology-related companies.

The DOJ charging document is here.

US and UK accuse China of sustained hacking campaign | The Guardian: 

The UK Foreign Office and the US indictment allege that a group of non-state employees was operating under the direction and protection of China’s main intelligence agency, the ministry of state security. The hackers stole data from 100,000 US navy personnel, the US indictment says.


2. US-China trade

China Is Willing to Make a Deal - The New York Times Opinion - Eswar Prasad:

In private, Chinese officials admit they are worried. During a trip to Beijing last week, I encountered varying degrees of concern about the economy among bureaucrats, academics and business executives. Most of them agreed that the Chinese economy is slowing down, although some view this as better than the breakneck growth of the past...

With significant support inside China, the prospect of a trade deal early in the new year is real. The United States won’t get all it asks for. China is not about to abandon its state-owned enterprises, although it may be willing to subject them to greater market discipline. The best outcome for negotiations is that tariffs imposed by the United States won’t get higher and broader. So the expectation is that any deal will lead to a cessation of further hostilities but not a rollback of trade sanctions.

Such an agreement would give the United States and Mr. Trump a major victory. But if American negotiators refuse to settle for anything less than total capitulation by China, his administration will squander an opportunity to help the United States and the world’s economy.

Comment: This message jibes with what appears to be Beijing's best outcome in the talks with Trump--a ceasefire that buys the PRC time without imposing too many difficult conditions?

Ex-U.S. Treasury Chief Thinks Trade War Will Last Past March Deadline - Caixin:

The U.S. and China are unlikely to negotiate an agreement that could end the trade war by their March deadline, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said on Tuesday, warning that the possibility of the U.S. slipping into a recession in the next two years would put even more strain on the relationship...

There's a “strong political imperative” in the U.S. to keep frictions going, as Trump can continue to present himself as pressuring China on behalf of his voters, said Summers, who is an advisor to Caixin’s board of trustees...

“Even if an agreement is reached in principle, there are all kinds of questions as to whether it can be circumvented or avoided,” Summers said.

China poised to buy more U.S. soybeans soon: sources | Reuters:

China is poised to buy another round of soybeans from the United States, two sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday, amid a truce in a trade war with the United States.

One of the sources said China could buy more than 2 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans, likely before the Christmas holiday on Dec. 25.

China’s Censors Give Anti-Trump And Anti-US Rhetoric A Pass On WeChat-Buzzfeed:

The Chinese government exercises strict control over content posted to WeChat and all other online platforms, and citizens know that running afoul of government censors can have serious consequences. But right now Beijing is happy to let people freely express their anger on WeChat — so long as it’s directed at the current US administration and Trump in particular.

The platform is today home to a range of snarky and often mocking content about the US, according to a BuzzFeed News review of a sample of public WeChat posts about Pence’s speech, the recent midterm elections, and the ongoing US–China trade war. Now that things are bad between the US and China, censors are allowing plenty of Trump administration bashing.


3. China-Canada

Sounds like the third detainee unrelated - Third detained Canadian is Alberta teacher working in China who could be returned home – National Post:

The third Canadian detained by Chinese authorities in recent weeks is an Alberta woman who was taken into custody due to visa complications and arrangements were being made for her to return to Canada, multiple sources said Wednesday.

FM: Canadian citizen under 'administrative penalty' for working illegally in China - CGTN:

Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed on Thursday that a Canadian citizen, named Sarah McIver, has been taken into "administrative detention" for "working illegally" in China.

"The Canadian citizen is on administrative penalty by public security organization for illegal employment," said Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for the ministry, at a regular press conference.

China and Canada are holding "smooth" consular communication on the matter, Hua noted.

Detained Canadian in China also Hungarian, Hungary seeks access - sources | Reuters:

A former Canadian diplomat detained in China amid a growing row over a Chinese executive arrested in Vancouver also has Hungarian nationality, sources familiar with the matter said, potentially raising the stakes by pulling the EU into the case.

Huawei crisis has Chinese Canadians worried | The Star:

The Huawei arrest is the first major diplomatic spat between Canada and China since the Cold War. In a West, rebuilt on Cold War ideologies and McCarthyism, there is likely to be little place for Chinese Canadians.--Karen Woods is the co-founder of the Canadian Chinese Political Affairs Committee. She is also a Senior Associate at Solstice Public Affairs.

Oh look, Solstice Public Affairs has a contract with the PRC consulate in Toronto, something not disclosed in the OpEd above - Chinese consulate hires its first lobbyist to improve relations :

The Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Toronto works on behalf of Chinese and Hong Kong nationals in Ontario and Manitoba looking to extend their tourist, student or work visas.

But now, the consulate is hoping to get in on federal conversations about renewed China-Canada relations. It has signed Craig Brockwell of Solstice Public Affairs to arrange meetings with MPs and Senators to “promote various economic and cultural relations” between the two countries. The listing specifically mentions agriculture, art and culture, and tourism as their focal points.

Huawei reps lobbied Ottawa’s security committee in bid to tell company’s ‘story’ | The Star:

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei has been approaching high-ranking members of Canada’s national-security committee, as well as MPs tied to an association that networks with government officials in Beijing, in a bid to shore up its image in Ottawa, according to lobbying records.

The chair of the 12-member Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, John McKay, and vice-chair Matthew Dube both took meetings with the company.

Canada Halts Ads in China as Arrest Fuels Tensions, CBC Reports - Bloomberg:

Destination Canada, wholly owned by the federal government, and its partners decided to “temporarily pause or postpone our current marketing efforts in China,” the CBC quoted the organization’s representative as saying. The marketing primarily promoted winter activities across Canada on Chinese social media, the representative said.

Joint statement of the directors of six Berlin-based policy institutions on the detention of Canadian citizens in China | Mercator Institute for China Studies:

As directors of policy institutions in Berlin, we express our deep concern and request information concerning the whereabouts and well-being of the three Canadian citizens, including Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have been detained in China since last week. We urge for allegations against them to be clarified by the relevant Chinese authorities and expect objective and fair treatment in line with international standards.

Question: But still willing to conduct exchanges with China will Kovrig is detained?


4. Bullets on the Belt & Road as "fine brushwork" begins

China’s ‘Belt and Road’ Plan in Pakistan Takes a Military Turn - The New York Times:

When President Trump started the new year by suspending billions of dollars of security aid to Pakistan, one theory was that it would scare the Pakistani military into cooperating better with its American allies.

The reality was that Pakistan already had a replacement sponsor lined up.

Just two weeks later, the Pakistani Air Force and Chinese officials were putting the final touches on a secret proposal to expand Pakistan’s building of Chinese military jets, weaponry and other hardware. The confidential plan, reviewed by The New York Times, would also deepen the cooperation between China and Pakistan in space, a frontier the Pentagon recently said Beijing was trying to militarize after decades of playing catch-up.

All those military projects were designated as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a $1 trillion chain of infrastructure development programs stretching across some 70 countries, built and financed by Beijing.

This article by the Central Literature Research Center 中共中央文献研究室 in the 12.20 People's Daily recounts the timeline of how Xi put forward the Belt and Road and explains why the initiative matters.- 打造国际合作新平台 增添共同发展新动力--观点--人民网 

总之,习近平同志关于“一带一路”建设的重要论述,高屋建瓴、统揽全局,思想深刻、内涵丰富,为推进“一带一路”建设提供了根本遵循。过去几年共建“一带一路”完成了总体布局,绘就了一幅“大写意”,今后要聚焦重点、精雕细琢,共同绘制好精谨细腻的“工笔画”。在新的起点上,我们要以习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想为指导,深入学习贯彻习近平同志关于推进“一带一路”建设的重要论述,增强“四个意识”、坚定“四个自信”、践行“两个维护”,主动站在党和国家大局上谋划推动共建“一带一路”工作,一步一个脚印推进实施,一点一滴抓出成果,为实现“两个一百年”奋斗目标、实现中华民族伟大复兴的中国梦,推动构建人类命运共同体不断作出新的贡献。   《 人民日报 》( 2018年12月20日 06 版)

Google translate: In short, Comrade Xi Jinping’s important exposition on the construction of the “Belt and Road” has built a high-rise and unified overall situation, with profound ideas and rich connotations, and provided fundamental follow-up for promoting the construction of the “Belt and Road”. [Emphasis mine] In the past few years, the “One Belt and One Road” has been built to complete the overall layout, and a “big freehand brushwork” has been drawn. In the future, we will focus on the key points and carefully crafted the “fine brushwork”. At the new starting point, we should take Xi Jinping’s new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics as the guide, and thoroughly study and implement Comrade Xi Jinping’s important exposition on promoting the construction of the “Belt and Road”, strengthen the “four consciousnesses” and strengthen the “four self-confidences”. Practicing "two maintenance", taking the initiative to stand on the party and the overall situation of the country and planning to promote the "One Belt and One Road" work, step by step and promote the implementation, and grasp the results bit by bit, to achieve "two hundred years" The goal, the realization of the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and the promotion of the community of human destiny continue to make new contributions.

BRI language disappears from UN documents | Mercator Institute for China Studies:

China’s attempts to insert its own foreign policy concepts into international documents appear to be running into growing resistance at the United Nations. Since 2017, references to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) have disappeared from UN documents, while similar documents from previous years saw the concepts included.

For example, unlike last year, this year’s UN General Assembly’s resolution on the situation in Afghanistan from 6 December makes no reference to the BRI. In two similar cases in December 2017, BRI references had been dropped from two resolutions dealing with cooperation for peace and interreligious dialogue.


5. Regulators say stock market to become more like a market

The real test will be during the next crash

China's capital market has long-term investment value, financial departments urged to hasten reform: key meeting - Global Times:

China's Financial Stability and Development Committee (FSDC), a financial regulatory body under the State Council, China's cabinet, held a meeting with representatives from financial institutions including commercial banks, securities firms and insurance companies on Thursday, according to a statement on the website of the People's Bank of China, where the committee is based.

Financial departments are urged to accelerate their pace in implementing reform in establishing a law- and market-based capital market, said the statement.

Compared with mature capital markets in developed states, China's capital market started late and still lags behind in terms of market orientation and law-based rules, said Chen Li, managing director at Beijing-based Chuancai Securities Research Institute.

Beijing vows to reduce meddling in trading after bad year for China stock market | South China Morning Post:

The Financial Stability and Development Commission, part of the People’s Bank of China, announced on Thursday that the world’s second largest economy must fully implement “market principles” to “reduce administrative intervention in stock trading”.

The decision followed a meeting with the country’s financial regulators and major banks, brokerage houses and fund managers, chaired by deputy central bank governor Liu Guoqiang.

The conference agreed that China must follow “international practices” to cultivate “medium- and long-term investors” as well as allow various new asset managers access to the capital market.

金融委今天开了个重要的会:关乎资本市场,更关乎每个投资者_金改实验室_澎湃新闻-The Paper


6. How weak is the PRC economy?

I can't find anyone serious inside China who thinks it is doing well. 

World Bank China Economic Update - December 2018:

Despite the slowdown, China’s economy remains resilient. The World Bank projects GDP growth at 6.5 percent in 2018 and 6.2 percent in 2019.

Given the highly uncertain outlook, stimulus may be needed next year. To boost the economy, China has room to shift government spending toward health, education, and social protection.

China's road freight volume sees slowing growth in first 11 months - Xinhua:

From January to November, the amount of cargo carried on roads, which takes up the lion's share in China's total cargo transport, increased 7.5 percent year on year to 35.99 billion tonnes, the NBS said in a statement on its website.

It slowed down from a growth of ten percent recorded in the first ten months.

In November alone, road cargo traffic rose 5.7 percent to 3.72 billion tonnes, compared with a growth rate of 7.7 percent in October.

More Cities Join Parade of Property Deregulation - Caixin:

On Thursday, Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, eased one of its restrictions, which since March 2017 had banned property developers from selling to individuals new apartments built on commercial land, according to a government statement (link in Chinese) released the previous day.

The city now allows developers to sell these new apartments to individuals provided that the developers bought the land before March 30, 2017. The ban remains in place for developers who bought their land after that date, according to the statement...

“Local governments have been relaxing property regulations” recently, real estate expert Deng Haozhi said in a podcast. In general, Beijing allows local governments to fine-tune regulatory policies based on regional conditions.

菏泽、广州之后,还有谁在悄悄松绑楼市?_宏观_宏观_经济网_国家一类新闻网站


7. US pressure on Tibet and religion crackdown

UNPO: Tibet: US Congress Passes Bill Addressing Unfair Chinese Policies:

Since 2014, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) and other Tibet support groupshave been campaigning for the approval of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, which implements the principle of reciprocity to addresses China’s unfair and authoritarian policies that exclude American journalists, diplomats and citizens from Tibet. Now waiting for President Trump’s approval, the bill would require that Chinese officials responsible for haltering access of American citizens to Tibet be identified to the US Congress. The identified Chinese officials will then be banned from receiving visas to enter the US. Addressing the human rights crisis that is occurring in Tibet, where inhabitants are subjected to violations of their basic freedoms and other human rights violations, the bill should put pressure on the Chinese government to allow American citizens to monitor the situation and interact with people in Tibet.

FM: China resolutely opposes new U.S. law on Tibet - CGTN:

"Tibet is an internal affair and that Beijing allows no foreign interference," said Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for the ministry, at a regular press conference warning that the law seriously violates basic norms of international relations.

Hua noted that China's Tibet Autonomous Region will become more and more open and China welcomes people from abroad to visit and do business in Tibet under the prerequisite to abide by Chinese laws and relevant regulations and go through necessary procedures.

Chairs’ Statement on Religious Crackdown in China Targeting Christian Churches | Congressional-Executive Commission on China:

“We are deeply concerned by the escalating crackdown against Christians in China, including the forced closure of prominent Protestant churches, confiscation of church property and harassment and detention of church and lay leaders alike. These developments are set against the backdrop of the human rights crisis unfolding in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where upwards of a million or more Uyghur and other Muslims have been interned in “political reeducation” camps, amidst growing reports of forced labor.

In short, Chinese President and Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping’s efforts to “sinicize” religion are taking a devastating human toll. Chinese officials and others complicit in severe religious freedom violations must be held accountable and specific cases of those unjustly harassed, detained, and imprisoned must be raised at the highest levels of government. As Christians around the world prepare to celebrate Christmas, China’s Christians and other faith communities are under siege and treated as enemies of the state for daring to worship and peacefully live out their faith.”


8. Geely PR race

A fun read

I Went to China to Race a New Car. Then Things Got Weird:

Just don’t race,” my boss told me at 12:43 a.m. his time, which was the middle of the afternoon for me. “I can think of more reasons not to do it. I just don’t think this is worth it for a story.”

This story he was referring to, me running my first-ever wheel-to-wheel car race with Chinese automaker Geely in Shanghai, seemed worth it a few weeks earlier. It was an opportunity to race in a field with some professional drivers on the Shanghai International Circuit Formula One track in stripped-out race versions of Geely’s 131-horsepower Emgrand GL sedan, and to see up close what was happening with China’s budding motorsports culture. It all sounded like a grand time, and a safe one...

There’s a concept, an attitude, in Chinese culture, called “chabuduo.” An essay in Aeon describes it as cutting corners, getting something only 70 percent done instead of 100, or as we’d say in America, “good enough for government work.” It stems in part from a DIY ethos, predominant among people who, until fairly recently, didn’t often have much but made it work.

But it also means speed and appearances are prioritized over craftsmanship, and it can lead to dangerous lapses in quality. Close enough is good enough.

Looking back on this trip, understanding chabuduo helped explain a lot.


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

EU takes China to WTO again over technology transfers | Reuters The European Commission, which oversees trade policy in the 28-member European Union, said in a statement that it was significantly broadening and deepening the scope of its WTO action against China.

NDRC guidelines set to boost auto industry competitiveness - China Daily China has decided to curb the capacity of gasoline and diesel cars and raise the bar for electric vehicles, in a bid to build a more competitive automotive industry in the world's largest car market, according to the country's top economic planner. In a guideline released on Tuesday, the National Development and Reform Commission said China would ban the establishment of any new company that produces only conventionally fueled vehicles, including hybrids and plug-in hybrids. Scheduled to come into effect from Jan 10, the guideline is part of a drive to trim overcapacity in the sector and enhance the quality of its budding electric vehicle segment.

Beijing Court Blacklists CEO of Bike-Sharing Company Ofo - Sixth Tone According to a document issued Dec. 4 by Beijing’s Haidian District court, Dai Wei — the 27-year-old founder and CEO of Ofo, which, along with its rival Mobike, once dominated China’s shared-bike market — has been greatly limited in how he can spend his or his company’s money. The penalty is the result of a logistics company appealing to the court to make Ofo “fulfill the terms of a contract.” While the document does not specify whether Ofo owed the logistics company money, it does refer to Dai as “the debtor.” The document lists nine ways that Dai is now prohibited from spending money without the court’s express approval: traveling, taking vacations, buying or renting property, renovating, buying cars, buying financial products, spending excessively at hotels or golf courses, taking high-speed trains, sending his children to expensive private schools, and booking transport higher than second class. The document states that if Dai fails to comply with the court’s order, he could be detained, fined, or — in the event of a serious violation — criminally prosecuted. // ofo小黄车和戴威收限制消费令:不能坐飞机住星级以上宾馆_10%公司_澎湃新闻-The Paper

切实为非公有制经济发展解难题增活力_中国经济网——国家经济门户 More on helping the private sector by the Xi thought center of the Central Party School with suggestions regarding streamlining administration to delegate power to local levels and lowering the requirement for financing etc.

Q&A: Huawei Chairman Meets the Press - Caixin Global Of course, just like the U.S. and Australia, China also has certain legal requirements for counter terrorism or cybersecurity objectives. China also specially emphasizes that all government institutions or agencies must enforce the law according to the law. There are clear definitions. For Huawei, our approach is to address these issues in strict accordance to the law. In the past, we haven't received any requests to provide improper information. In the future, we will also follow in strict accordance to the law in dealing with similar situations. When we talk about according to the law, the law has clear stipulations around the terms of reference for related agencies.//Comment: who defines "improper? This is not a denial

ByteDance plotting foray into fintech after Tik Tok owner files several new trademarks | South China Morning Post The world’s most valuable start-up, which operates a number of app-based content products including the hugely successful news aggregator Jinri Toutiao, filed for three financial business-related trademarks on December 6. The move was first picked up by mainland media earlier this week.

Does China’s bet on big data for credit scoring work? | Financial Times $$ When Ant Financial launched its credit scoring system, Sesame Credit, in January 2015, it said the data-driven product would “make credit more available to millions of consumers across China”, giving individuals access to everything from mortgages to mobile phone contracts to car loans. But nearly four years later, Ant Financial, which is an affiliate of Chinese tech giant Alibaba, has never used Sesame Credit for lending decisions, and critics are increasingly questioning whether the tool can be used to accurately assess individual behaviour.

China-Led $2.6 Billion Kenya Highway Project Stalls - Caixin A $2.6 billion China-led highway project in Kenya has been suspended after one of the Chinese builders said it didn’t receive an advance payment, highlighting the risk of such projects. The setback for the consortium, led by Guizhou Transportation Planning Survey & Design Academic Co. Ltd., comes as many Chinese infrastructure builders, including private enterprises, have rushed into the African continent in recent years.

China to strengthen oversight of banks' required reserves | Reuters China’s central bank said on Thursday it will strengthen the oversight of the reserves that commercial banks and other lenders are required to deposit to ensure timely and full payment. The People’s Bank of China will impose penalties on delayed payments of required reserves to the central bank, it said in a statement on its website.

Meituan Dianping Reports ‘Normal’ Job Cuts - Caixin Reports emerged online Wednesday that the Tencent-backed tech giant started large-scale job cuts involving workers in content operations, research and development, and other departments, most of whom were recent graduates. But Meituan, which went public in September in Hong Kong, said it cut less than 0.5% of its total headcount. That would be around 250 people out of a workforce of 51,207 as reported by Meituan in its latest financial report.

PBOC's New Lending Facility Echoes Earlier Programs by ECB, BOJ - Bloomberg It’s “TLTROs with Chinese characteristics,” wrote Krishna Guha, the head of central bank strategy at Evercore ISI, referring to the European Central Bank’s Targeted Longer-Term Refinancing Operations.

China Builders Swallow Exorbitant Costs for Year-End Bond Deals - Bloomberg Thinner liquidity near the end of 2018 and pressure to repay maturing debt are forcing issuers to stomach elevated costs for short-term financing, sacrificing profit margins down the road. Chinese builders have 600 billion yuan ($87 billion) of local bonds maturing or becoming puttable next year, as well as $17.1 billion dollar notes due, adding repayment strains on smaller peers.

Yicai Global - Chinese Youngsters Dominate Online Retail -- and Pay for Copyrights, Report Shows Those who were born in the 1990s have  outnumbered those who were born in the 1980s as the main consumer group  for online retail, entertainment, transport and takeout meal services,  CBNData, a sister research agency to Yicai Global, shows in its big data  consumption report that was released today. Over 20 partners including  Tmall, Taobao, Ctrip, Weibo, Youku, and Suning.Com offered information  for the report.

The Chinese Financial Crisis That Never Came, with Logan Wright - China Econ Talk Podcast Foreign investors have lost billions expecting a Chinese financial crisis that hasn’t come yet. So what gives? According to the Rhodium Group’s Logan Wright, it’s not China’s domestic savings rate or RMB-denominated debt that’s keeping the economy afloat, but rather the government’s credibility.


Politics, Law And Ideology

关于废止陕西省地方标准《清真食品认证通则》的通告-陕西省市场监督管理局 Shaanxi is following Gansu to remove its halal food identification standard

The Xinjiang model of ethnic politics and the daily practice of ethnicity | china-crossroads That the party-state regime seeks to export the template it established when dealing with Muslims in Xinjiang has been foreshadowed for some time now. Over the course of the past few years, a steady stream of evidence points toward an expansion of the crackdown on ethnic and religious identity begun in Xinjiang to Hui communities. While the announcement of cooperation between Ningxia and Xinjiang throws the Hui Autonomous Region into the spotlight, news of regulations in Hui communities elsewhere in the country illustrates that the crackdown on religious expression is widespread, and that the party-state regime sees the Xinjiang model as a basis for ethnic politics nationwide.

Leading Chinese Internet businesses join initiative to fulfill social responsibility - Xinhua A total of 36 Chinese Internet businesses including Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu joined an initiative Wednesday to fulfill their corporate social responsibility. The initiative was launched at a forum on the corporate social responsibility of Chinese Internet businesses hosted by the Internet Society of China. The businesses are expected to make contributions to poverty alleviation, set up an information disclosure mechanism, actively accept supervision from the public and take on other responsibilities, according to the initiative.

China blasts US media reports of forced labor in Muslim area - AP Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Thursday that the reports are "a malicious attack that severely distorts the fact."

China's central gov't solicits online advice - Xinhua The official website of China's central government, gov.cn, on Thursday began to accept suggestions and opinions from the general public on government work. Major online news outlets and platforms including people.com.cn and xinhuanet.com are collaborating with the central government website to collect viewpoints on 20 kinds of issues including government service, business environment, education, medical care and employment.

准"90后"北大博士工作3年成正处 如今有新任命_网易新闻 A look at the Party’s efforts to recruit young people from China’s top universities with examples mostly from Fujian province.

Govt to push legitimacy review of administrative documents - Gov.cn Making regulatory documents is an important function of administrative organs granted by law. And to conduct reviews on those documents is imperative to ensure their legitimacy and effectiveness, in order to guarantee the interest of citizens, legal persons, and other organizations, according to a circular issued by the State Council. The circular provides some instruction over pushing forward a review mechanism for regulatory documents, which requires determining the scope, subjects, procedures, functions and responsibilities of the review.国务院全面推行“红头文件”合法性审核机制“奇葩”“任性”“违法”文件问题有望根治

重磅微视频:《奋斗》_新闻_腾讯网 catchy new propaganda short video "strive"...just about every major news site running it at the top


Foreign and Military Affairs

US warns of Chinese influence at multilateral lenders | Financial Times $$ At a congressional hearing last week, David Malpass, the top US Treasury official on international affairs, issued a thinly disguised warning that might have seemed unthinkable just a few years ago: the World Bank and other bastions of the US-led international economic order are at risk of being captured by Chinese influence. China had made “substantial inroads” into the multilateral development banks that were “worrisome”, Mr Malpass told members of the House financial services committee. “We are, therefore, working with allies and like-minded countries to guide the MDBs away from what could be viewed as endorsement of China’s geopolitical ambitions.”

Chinese shipbuilder CSIC races to get aircraft carriers fully operational | South China Morning Post State-owned shipbuilder CSIC is working against the clock to get its two aircraft carriers ready for military use, and in time for 70th anniversary celebrations marking the founding of the People’s Republic of China in October next year.

EU investigates huge hack of its diplomatic cables | Financial Times $$ The alleged use of Cyprus as the unwitting gateway for the hack is likely to intensify some EU states’ security focus on Nicosia, after concerns about Russian money and influence there. The Cypriot foreign ministry said: “We take any report of this nature extremely seriously and all precautionary measures called for in this case have been taken.”

How to break stalemate on Korean Peninsula - Global Times Global Times (GT) reporter Yu Jincui talked to Moon Chung-in (Moon), Special Advisor for Foreign Affairs and National Security to President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, over these issues on the sidelines of the Third Understanding China Conference in Beijing..GT: The US just imposed sanctions on three North Korean officials for human rights violations. Washington is still sticking to its policy of exerting maximum pressure. How will this influence the resolution of the peninsula issue? Moon: That's very negative. The US position has been sanctions and maximum pressure. The Trump administration hasn't deviated from this. North Korea wants it to change, but there is no change. Given the fact that the US has imposed sanctions on three North Korean leaders, this will serve as a negative factor in resuming dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang.

North Korea Says It Won’t Denuclearize Until U.S. Removes Threat - The New York Times North Korea will not dismantle its nuclear weapons program until the United States also agrees to diminish its military capacity in the vicinity of the Korean Peninsula, its official news agency said on Thursday, clarifying a position that had remained vague since the leaders of both countries met in June.

The Chinese Embassy in Sweden Spokesperson's Remarks on Anti-China Articles by Kurdo Baksi We have noticed the recent article by Kurdo Baksi on Expressen and SVD, which wrongfully accused China of “using media to broadcast enforced TV confessions” and blustered about “blocking relevant Chinese media”. Kurdo Baksi, posing as a “moral judge” and “savior”, has made vicious slanders on China and instigated hatred against China on multiple occasions. We firmly oppose such doing. His attempts will never succeed. To think that Sweden, an advocate for the freedom of speech and the press, would tolerate Kurdo Baksi’s calling for “blocking China’s TV channels”! His act totally constitutes defiling and trampling on the freedom of speech and the press. It once again makes us realize that in the eyes of the likes of Baksi, the freedom of speech only means their freedom to spread whatever rumors they like out of bias, prejudice and political motives, not others’ freedom to express opinions. It is sheer media tyranny and dictatorship over public opinion. It is also shameful deprivation of the Swedish people’s freedom to knowledge.

Stephen Perry: I am proud to receive the China Reform Friendship Medal - People's Daily Online To thank the international community for its support and help during the reform and opening up, Chinese President Xi Jinping presented the China Reform Friendship Medal to 10 foreign friends on Tuesday. Stephen Perry, Chairman of the 48 Group Club, was one of the recipients, but he's not the first in his family to promote Sino-British friendship. In 1953, Stephen Perry's father Jack Perry led dozens of British businessmen to China, kicking off the "Icebreaking Mission" to help bridge Sino-British relations. For years, Stephen Perry and other members in the 48 Group Club dedicated themselves to the "Icebreaking Mission," promoting the bilateral programmatic cooperation and safe-guarding of the Sino-UK friendship from generation to generation.

Ten highlights of China's military diplomacy in 2018 - China Military

未来国际经济格局变化和中国战略选择_中国经济网——国家经济门户 study by the State Council’s development research center on the future relationship between emerging powers – represented by China – and existing powers – represented by the US – and how China should seize this historical moment for further development


Tech And Media

Bilibili Partners with Taobao As China Animation Market Booms | Alizila.com As part of the partnership, the Alibaba-owned C2C online marketplace will introduce content creators from Bilibili to Taobao. They will join the more than 1.6 million writers and influencers currently on the site, who produce promotional content, such as blog posts and livestreams about everything from apparel to furniture. Taobao will also help the Shanghai-based streaming site commercialize its intellectual property assets, including its official mascots, virtual idols, original documentaries and anime content.

China’s Newest AI Unicorn Raises Another Billion Yuan - Caixin 4Paradigm, an artificial intelligence company focused on providing services to corporations, announced Wednesday that it had raised 1 billion yuan ($145 million) in its c-round of fundraising, taking its valuation to $1.2 billion.


Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

Andrew Goudelock can't leave China following serious injury - TalkBasket.net Andrew Goudelock suffered a serious patellar injury, but his team, the Shandong Golden Stars, doesn’t allow him to have surgery in the US. The experienced guard took to Twitter and revealed the issues he is dealing with in order to have surgery back in the United States. “I have a major injury and I’m not being allowed permission to go home, to have surgery. They want me to leave first so they don’t have to pay me. How is this allowed? I only have a small window before this becomes more serious,” Goudelock wrote.

Authenticity of auctioned 'dragon head' relic in France still a question - ECNS Chinese experts have doubted the authenticity of a dragon head sculpture sold for 2.4 million euros ($2.7 million) at an auction in France on Monday.  The dragon head, one of 12 bronze animal head sculptures representing the Chinese zodiac, was introduced in the auction data as 40cm in height and 45cm in length, but without confirmation of its relation to Yuanmingyuan Park, or the Old Summer Palace.  Liu Yang, a member of the Academic Committee of the Yuanmingyuan Society of China, said he believes the relic is from Yuanmingyuan after looking at the photos showing internal and external details, but added that he is not 100 percent sure.

Will a Boom in Lucky ‘Pig’ Babies Reverse China’s Fertility Slump? - Caixin Global China’s National Bureau of Statistics is expected to release official birth figures in January. But taken together, these early regional figures suggest China could be seeing this year a repeat of 2017, which saw a decline in the number of babies born in the country. Despite the loosening of the country’s birth control policy in 2016, the long-term decline in the country’s birth rate is contributing to the aging of Chinese society. If current trends continue, by 2050, about a third of the country’s population will be over 60, up from the current 17%, according to China’s National Working Committee on Aging.

Meet the Winner of SFFILM’s 2019 New American Fellowship One of SFFILM Makers’ newest and most exciting support programs has chosen a winner, in what was an extremely tight race among an amazingly strong group of finalists. Filmmaker Siyi Chen, who splits her time between the US and her native China, has been selected to receive the $25,000 grant and FilmHouse residency in support of her current documentary work, including My Grandma’s a Dancer (in development) and People’s Hospital (in post-production).


Energy, Environment, Science And Health

The man turning China into a quantum superpower - MIT Technology Review The man behind this achievement is Jian-Wei Pan. A professor at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), sometimes known as “China’s Caltech”, 48-year-old Pan has produced a series of breakthroughs that have propelled him to scientific stardom in the country. His work has won plaudits from President Xi Jinping, and he’s often referred to in local media as “the father of quantum.”


Education

Duke VP criticized for Facebook post about China - Inside Higher Ed Larry Moneta, vice president of student affairs at Duke University, has drawn the ire of students yet again, this time for an offensive Facebook post about China. Moneta posted a series of photos to his personal Facebook page from his visit to Duke Kunshan University, a satellite campus in China that is a partnership between Duke and Wuhan University, alongside variations on the caption “Reasons to move to China … NOT!” The photos -- of two bags of flavored potato chips, a poor air quality rating and a squat toilet -- were reposted to the Duke students’ meme page Duke Memes for Gothicc [sic] Teens. The Asian Students Association also reposted the photos alongside a statement condemning Moneta’s comments.