One country, one Internet?; TikTok; Gaokao; Floods in China; US FBI head on China
One Country, Two Internets may have died along with One Country, Two Systems in the Hong Kong National Security Law.
The new law makes it clear that the Internet as we knew it in Hong Kong no longer exists but rather is now moving towards something much closer to what is behind the Great Firewall, though without the blocking of foreign websites, so far.
Facebook, Twitter, Google are among the American Internet companies that have announced a temporary moratorium on responding to requests for user data from the Hong Kong government.
One concern these companies may have is that article 38 of the new national security law when combined with the implementation rules for article 43 looks like it could allow the Hong Kong authorities to request data and action on any account located anywhere in the world that engages in online activity that the Hong Kong authorities say violates the national security law.
Article 38 states:
This Law shall apply to offences under this Law committed against the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region from outside the Region by a person who is not a permanent resident of the Region.
Article 43 lists the measures the authorities may take when “handling cases concerning offence endangering national security”, and the Article 43 implementation rules released Monday give more detail on how the authorities may requests actions by Internet firms, and the penalties if those do not comply.
Facebook, Google and Twitter all have employees in Hong Kong and they all generate significant revenue from PRC advertisers who purchase ads for placement on their global platforms outside of China. There is personal and financial risk in upsetting Hong Kong authorities and their bosses in Beijing by not complying.
These foreign Internet companies say they are assessing the impact of the law. What happens if through the assessments they decide the new national security law has such broad scope that it effectively allows the Hong Kong government and by extension the PRC government to demand censorship and data from these companies globally and if they don't comply then their employees in and revenue generated from Hong Kong and the PRC could potentially be at risk? I commented yesterday that Facebook finally gets to operate in the PRC now. I was not kidding.
Is this an overreaction? Perhaps, but if you are running a company with employees in Hong Kong can you responsibly rule out that scenario?
If some or all of these firms do decide to continue operations in Hong Kong under the new law, will part of the consideration be that making that decision could possibly help them enter the PRC mainland market too?
TikTok, a company that understands the PRC system far better than Facebook, Google or Twitter executives do, has announced it is pulling out of Hong Kong. Reuters broke the news:
“In light of recent events, we’ve decided to stop operations of the TikTok app in Hong Kong,” a TikTok spokesman said in response to a Reuters question about its commitment to the market.
From a business perspective it is a relative easy decision as, according to the Reuters report, TikTok only has 150,000 users in Hong Kong and is losing money there.
The political implications are far more interesting.
The withdrawal allows the company to demonstrate independence from PRC parent ByteDance but it is not without risk. What if some official in Beijing decides the decision to quit Hong Kong is somehow “anti-China”? Remember the abject groveling the ByteDance CEO had to perform in 2018 to apologize for problems on its jinri toutiao platform? The China Media Project reminds us:
I profoundly reflect on the fact that a deep-level cause of the recent problems in my company is: a weak [understanding and implementation of] the “four consciousnesses” [of Xi Jinping]; deficiencies in education on the socialist core values; and deviation from public opinion guidance. All along, we have placed excessive emphasis on the role of technology, and we have not acknowledged that technology must be led by the socialist core value system, broadcasting positive energy, suiting the demands of the era, and respecting common convention.
We must make a renewed effort to sort out our vision of the future. We say, we want to make global platform for creation and conversation. This demands that we must ensure that the content of “creation” and “conversation” are positive, healthy and beneficial, that they can offer positive energy to the era, and to the people.
Which foreign Internet CEO wants to make a similar apology?
If there is no reaction from Beijing then it may help TikTok’s argument that the company is relatively far along to being somewhat independent from its PRC masters. I personally don't think that argument will sell, and I think we should pay attention to the comments from Secretary of State Pompeo that the US is looking at banning TiKTok as India just did. Pompeo discussed TikTok with a Fox News host Monday:
QUESTION: And finally, Mr. Secretary, the huge Chinese app TikTok has about 30 million users in the United States, but it’s been banned now by India, and Australia is considering the same action, saying that TikTok was full of mass surveillance and propaganda and also that the app had the ability to feed information straight to Beijing.
So a kind of obvious question: If all that’s the case, shouldn’t we be considering right now, tonight, a ban on Chinese social media apps, especially TikTok?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Laura, your viewers should know we’re taking this very seriously. We’re certainly looking at it. We’ve worked on this very issue for a long time, whether it was the problems of having Huawei technology in your infrastructure. We’ve gone all over the world and we’re making real progress getting that out. We declared ZTE a danger to American national security. We’ve done all of these things.
With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too, Laura. I don’t want to get out in front of the President, but it’s something we’re looking at.
QUESTION: Would you recommend that people download that app on their phones tonight, tomorrow, anytime currently?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.
Based on other conversations I've had recently I think a likely mechanism to ban TikTok would be the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), possibly in concert with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), with the CFIUS angle being an attempt to unwind the acquisition of musical.ly, as Ben Thompson discussed last year.
To invoke IEEPA the President would have to designate an “unusual and extraordinary threat, which has its source in whole or substantial part outside the United States, to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States”, per the Act:
Any authority granted to the President by section 1702 of this title may be exercised to deal with any unusual and extraordinary threat, which has its source in whole or substantial part outside the United States, to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States, if the President declares a national emergency with respect to such threat.
If the US does succeed in shutting down TikTok it would destroy billions of dollars in value. Caixin reported last week that India’s banning of the app and two others owned by parent company ByteDance could cost the parent $6 billion in revenue. Perhaps the best route for TikTok is to find a buyer before even more value is destroyed. Such a buyer would have to be one that is palatable to the US government, big enough to buy the entire company and then make the investment to truly separate the entire company from any PRC entanglements, but also able to avoid possible antitrust issues. It is a short list.
About a decade ago I bought the domain name oneworldtwoInternets.com and put together a book proposal to look at how the world was splitting off into two primary Internets between the China and the rest of the world led by the US. It seems like common knowledge now, but also just a piece of a much broader fracturing underway.
Today’s Essential Eight:
More US visa troubles for foreign students
2019 birth rate at a record low?
Gaokao college entrance exam begins
Mao’s Third Front
Thanks for reading.
The Essential Eight
1. Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s leader has said she was not kept in the dark as Beijing imposed the national security law on the city, and central government officials had briefed her and sought her opinion on the legislation.
On Tuesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor also said the police’s power was not expanded under a series of new implementation rules laid down by the government the day before.
There “has been an increasing appreciation of the positive effect of this national security legislation, particularly in restoring stability in Hong Kong as reflected by some of the market sentiments in recent days,” Lam said. “Surely this is not doom and gloom for Hong Kong. I’m sure with the passage of time and the facts being laid out confidence will grow in ‘one country, two systems’ and Hong Kong’s future.”
Charles Ho, a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said while journalists were more likely to receive a warning if they unintentionally promoted Hong Kong independence while reporting, the issue was a red line for authorities.
“If you promote Hong Kong independence of course they will kick you out,” Mr Ho, who is also the head of Hong Kong media group Sing Tao News Corporation, said in an interview.
There are checks and balances in all the measures. As I've explained, in some of the measures, such as the search in general is conducted by the court, and the exercise of the OSCO (Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance) powers and the UNATMO (United Nations (Anti-Terrorism Measures) Ordinance) powers, then they may have to apply for permission from the court. The whole procedures are in compliance with the protection of the human rights and also in compliance with the ICCPR (The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights). And that has been made very clear in the enactment of the National Security Law and also as a result in our making of the rules.
BBC: Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Zoom and others say they will not supply user data information to Hong Kong authorities because of the new national security law. Are they in breach of the law by not cooperating with the authorities there? Does the Chinese government have a view of this announcement from these companies? What will be the impact of the national security law on Hong Kong?
Zhao Lijian: I recall what Deng Xiaoping noted in 1982 when he met with Margaret Thatcher, after Hong Kong's return to the motherland, "Horses will still run, stocks will still sizzle, and dancers will still dance" in Hong Kong. We have every reason to believe that as the Law is implemented, the foundation of "one country, two systems" will be further strengthened, the Hong Kong residents' fundamental interests and wellbeing will be better protected, the society will be more stable and harmonious, and "horses will run faster, stocks will be more sizzling, and dancers will dance more happily." We have full confidence in Hong Kong's future.
When asked to respond to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Zoom's refusal to share date with government after enactment of the law will be deemed as illegal, Zhao Lijian, Foreign Ministry spokesperson did not response directly, but said national security law will better protect Hong Kong residents' benefit and welfare, "horses will run faster, stocks will still sizzle more, dancers will dance better."
Experts pointed out this is yet another offence by anti-government forces and certain media groups targeting the national security law. Now that the central government and pro-establishment forces have taken the initiative over national security issues in Hong Kong and made huge progress in the relevant legislation process, the contention has moved to law enforcement phase, Li Xiaobing, an expert on Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan from Nankai University in Tianjin, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
Hong Kong’s monetary authority sold HK$15.31 billion of local dollars on Monday and Tuesday to weaken the currency and bring it back within its trading band
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Tuesday adopted a resolution against a postponed state visit to Japan by Chinese President Xi Jinping, in light of China's enactment last week of a controversial national security law for Hong Kong.
In the resolution, the LDP said it cannot help but request a cancellation of the state visit, softening the wording from a draft version that clearly demanded the visit be canceled.
"We urge the relevant persons in Japan to immediately stop interfering in China's internal affairs and earnestly safeguard the overall situation of China-Japan relations," the spokesperson said.
Global telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom strengthened its strategic partnership with Huawei last year despite growing defiance toward the dominant Chinese 5G vendor, documents reviewed by POLITICO show.
The internal company records describe how Deutsche Telekom and Huawei agreed on a deal in mid-2019 that said the Chinese supplier would take measures to avoid supply chain disruption caused by U.S. measures, as well as cover the costs of potential damages and delays...
Deutsche Telekom has repeatedly declined in the past to disclose how much of its networks consist of Huawei equipment.
But in its internal communication, it has likened the scenario of not being able to use Huawei in its broader 5G rollout to "armageddon," a recent report in German paper Handelsblatt showed.
“What the German government said about Hong Kong was the absolute minimum, and it just wasn’t enough,” said Norbert Röttgen, head of the Bundestag’s foreign affairs committee and a leading figure in Ms Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union. He was speaking after the German foreign ministry warned people to be "particularly careful" about posting China-critical comments on social media, saying it "can't be fully excluded" that the new law will be used against German citizens in Hong Kong. Mr Röttgen condemned the new travel advice as encouraging "self-censorship".
The head of the French cybersecurity agency ANSSI said there would not be a total ban on using equipment from Huawei in the rollout of the French 5G telecoms network, but that it was pushing French telcos to avoid switching to the Chinese company.
“What I can say is that there won’t be a total ban,” Guillaume Poupard told Les Echos newspaper in an interview. “(But) for operators that are not currently using Huawei, we are inciting them not to go for it.”
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian made the remarks at a daily press briefing when commenting on media reports that Huawei will be allowed to access France's 5G network, but will only get limited license.
"We hope France can uphold an objective and fair attitude, respect market rules and the will of enterprises, make independent choices that serve its own interests, and take concrete actions to provide an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for all companies including Chinese ones," Zhao said.
Britain will “have to bear the consequences” of making an enemy of China, the country’s ambassador has said, warning that trade would suffer if the government removed Huawei from the 5G network.
Liu Xiaoming ramped up the pressure on Boris Johnson yesterday as the prime minister prepared to announce that new equipment supplied by the Chinese telecoms company would be barred from next year as a result of US sanctions.
Entitled China’s Elite Capture, the 86-page report details an alleged campaign by Beijing to persuade influential individuals to back Huawei and its strategic aims.
Among a string of incendiary claims, the dossier described the Chinese telecoms firm as ‘Beijing’s strategic asset’ and cited fears it could be used for state spying. It said politicians, academics and other ‘elites’ in the UK had been targeted by China in an attempt to secure their support for Huawei’s integration into Britain’s technology infrastructure...
The dossier, seen by the Daily Mail, is not being formally published, and does not contain corroborating evidence of some of its claims
The U.S. is not doing nearly enough to ensure that software-based 5G networks have the components to run them, said Tareq Amin, the chief technology officer for the Japanese company Rakuten Mobile. And without a major federal investment, the market demand doesn’t yet exist to draw big American manufacturers to make chips for the new breed of wireless stations.
The greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality, is the counterintelligence and economic espionage threat from China. It’s a threat to our economic security—and by extension, to our national security.
As National Security Advisor O’Brien said in his recent remarks, we cannot close our eyes and ears to what China is doing—and today, in light of the importance of this threat, I’ll provide more detail on the Chinese threat than the FBI has ever presented in an open forum. This threat is so significant that the attorney general and secretary of state will also be addressing a lot of these issues in the next few weeks. But if you think these issues are merely a government problem, or just an intelligence issue, or a nuisance largely just for big corporations who can take care of themselves—you couldn’t be more wrong...
We need to be clear-eyed about the scope of the Chinese government’s ambition. China—the Chinese Communist Party—believes it is in a generational fight to surpass our country in economic and technological leadership.
That is sobering enough. But it’s waging this fight not through legitimate innovation, not through fair and lawful competition, and not by giving their citizens the freedom of thought and speech and creativity that we treasure here in the United States. Instead, China is engaged in a whole-of-state effort to become the world’s only superpower by any means necessary...
China is engaged in a highly sophisticated malign foreign influence campaign, and its methods include bribery, blackmail, and covert deals. Chinese diplomats also use both open, naked economic pressure and seemingly independent middlemen to push China’s preferences on American officials.
Video of the speech:
In addition to our economic relationship, the two leaders also discussed shared concerns about Beijing’s unjustified detention and charging of Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, as well as China’s imposition of draconian national security legislation on Hong Kong.
Without naming the United States, but amid escalating tensions between Beijing and Washington, Zhang said in a statement that a “certain country ... walked away from international commitments, and launched acts of unilateralism and bullying.”
An Gang of CASS, Wang Yiming of Renmin University and Hu Xin of National University of Defense, co-authored a journal article saying that Beijing should seek to stabilize its relations with Washington and actively manage their differences and competition.
America’s top diplomat in Hong Kong went on a radio programme by public broadcaster RTHK on Monday to criticise Beijing’s national security law for the city, barely a week after the controversial legislation came into effect.
In response, the city’s government revealed on Monday night that Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung and Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu met US Consul General to Hong Kong and Macau, Hanscom Smith, earlier in the day to express grave concern over the matter.
The Nimitz and Reagan aircraft carrier strike groups of the US Navy are carrying out military exercises in the South China Sea right now. This is the first such drill in recent years. The US military even publicly declared this to be the most significant symbol of its determination.
The year 2020 will witness the situation in the South China Sea shift from "stabilizing" to "turbulent". Specifically, a series of events in the South China Sea since May triggered the increased tense situation in the South China Sea. Worrying new changes are taking place in this region.
The Chinese Communist Party’s destruction of free Hong Kong continues. With the ink barely dry on the repressive National Security Law, local authorities – in an Orwellian move – have now established a central government national security office, started removing books critical of the CCP from library shelves, banned political slogans, and are now requiring schools to enforce censorship.
Until now, Hong Kong flourished because it allowed free thinking and free speech, under an independent rule of law. No more. The United States condemns Beijing’s repeated failure to live up to its obligations under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, and these latest assaults on the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong.
The bulk of what follows concerns policy tools to shift supply chains, control exports, and alter other US-China economic links, as well as some costs of doing so. The starting point is indicating why decoupling is already overdue.
4. More US visa troubles for foreign students
The new rule that if foreign students are only taking classes online because of the pandemic they have to leave the country is stupid and cruel. I hope lawyers against it can quickly get an injunction to stop its implementation.
Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States. Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status. If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.
The topic has received over 50 million views on Weibo. Panicking Chinese students enrolled at U.S. universities have flooded social media with complaints that the policy has derailed their fall term plans. Some have already signed year-long apartment leases in the U.S. but are now barred from staying in the country, while some have trouble getting tickets to fly back to China, and others worry about the consequences of taking a gap year. Much uncertainty also surrounds the “study away” or “go local” options offered by colleges including Cornell and New York universities, which allow international students to temporarily enroll at a campus in their home country.
Coronavirus concerns have prompted broad travel restrictions and visa-processing delays that are unlikely to resolve before the start of the fall semester. On top of that, deteriorating U.S.-China relations are threatening what has been by far the biggest pipeline of foreign students to U.S. campuses.
According to the scheme, Chinese nationals currently at Cornell will be allowed to apply to study at some of their home country’s top colleges, including Peking and Tsinghua universities. Hong Kong permanent residents will be permitted to attend City University of Hong Kong.
Chinese analysts said that the move will further weaken the competitiveness and attractiveness of the US among Chinese people, and the impractical policy that tries to circumvent its poor coronavirus response can only cause more trouble.
"Nonimmigrant students within the United States are not permitted to take a full course of study through online classes. If students find themselves in this situation, they must leave the country or take alternative steps to maintain their nonimmigrant status, such as a reduced course load or appropriate medical leave," according to a statement released on the website of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
As bilateral ties between the two superpowers deteriorate, hundreds of thousands of mainland Chinese students at universities in the United States are caught in the middle. And as witnessed at New York’s University of Rochester, political discourse can often turn ugly
5. 2019 birth rate at a record low?
Yicai analyzed the official birth statistics and said the birth rate of 2019 reached a record low despite the policy change to allow couples to have two children. In total, 326 million people were born in China in the past two decades, and that’s more than 100 million less than the previous two decades.
"Yicai combed the statistical bulletins of the past years and found that in the past ten years, the total number of births in our country reached 163.06 million, about 480,000 more than the total population born in the first decade of this century.
In the past ten years, our country has implemented a one-child and a comprehensive two-child family planning policy. In the first year after the implementation of the comprehensive two-child policy, in 2016, our country's birth population reached 17.86 million, a new high since this century. In 2017, the second child effect continued, with a birth population of 17.23 million, the third highest year since the new century.
But by 2018, the effect of the second child was significantly weakened, and the birth population was only 15.23 million. In 2019, the birth population was 14.65 million throughout the year, a decrease of 580,000 from 2018. Since the implementation of the comprehensive two-child policy, the birth population has declined for the third consecutive year. From the perspective of the birth rate of the population, 2019 is 10.48‰, a record low.
6. Gaokao college entrance exam begins
The survey of students participating in this year's gaokao and their parents shows that only 7.3 percent of students believe the pandemic has not influenced their preparation.
Around 60 percent of respondents say they were not in a good state of mind during gaokaopreparation due to the pandemic, and around 30 percent of students have seen declining scores in mock exams, the survey said.
The survey was based on online questionnaires of more than 10,000 students and parents in May. More than 80 percent of the respondents are parents.
A total of 10.71 million students will sit for this year's gaokao, an increase of 400,000 over last year, according to the Ministry of Education.
All examinees are required to keep a daily record of their temperature two weeks ahead of the exam. At least three spare exam rooms are prepared at each exam center, in case examines have shown symptoms such as abnormal temperature. Each spare room can contain nine students at most, while counselors will also be at the scene to sooth the students’ nerves.
Outside of each exam room, it is required to be equipped with disinfection items such as ultraviolet ray disinfection devices, masks and tissues, while exam monitors are required to wear protective gear.
For students who are currently in centralized quarantine for medical observation, they will take the exams alone in an isolated exam room. Local governments will provide transportation for them in order to prevent infection.
Students can pick from one of these two essays topics on this year's Gaokao. This article lists the essay topics for the the Gaokao in Beijing since 1977.
1. On June 23, 2020, the last satellite of Beidou-3 was successfully launched, and the 55 satellites of the entire system were woven into a "sky net", each of which has its own function. Write a discussion paper on the topic of "Each one has its own function", choose your own angle, prepare your own topic.
2. In today's era, we face all kinds of information every day. There is a message, perhaps it has triggered your feelings, or affected your life, or it is exciting, or makes you feel guilty, or lets you learn to distinguish truth and fiction...please refer to "a message" and connect it with real life, start associating or imagining, and write a narrative. Requirements: Healthy thinking; rich content and detailed description; fluent language and clear writing.
At least 21 people were killed when a bus carrying passengers including students preparing to sit for their annual college entrance exam plunged into a lake in southwest China yesterday.
The bus crashed into a guardrail and veered into Hongshan Lake in Guizhou Province, leaving 16 others injured, the local emergency management department said in a statement.
Comment: The video embedded in the article makes it look like it was intentional
Ministry of transportation issued a notice urging local authorities to pay close attention to the mental health of drivers in public transportation.
The State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters has upgraded the national emergency response level for flooding from level four to level three on Tuesday, dispatching nine more task forces to help locals weather the storm.
On June 29, the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s biggest hydropower plant in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, opened its sluice gates for the first time this year in order to bring down water levels in its swollen reservoir. The first flooding of the river this year occurred Thursday.
East China's Zhejiang Province on Monday raised its emergency flooding response level from the fourth to the third, as meteorological authorities predicted intense rain in the cities of Hangzhou, Huzhou, and Jiaxing...
Chongqing Municipality in southwest China also announced on Monday that it has initiated a level-three response to flooding after torrential downpours pushed up water levels in local rivers....
On Sunday, provinces of Hubei and Hunan in central China raised their flooding responses to the third level, while Anhui Province in east China raised its rainstorm response to the second level.
Between 400 millimeters (15.7 inches) and 492 millimeters of rain fell in parts of Wuhan and the nearby city of Jingzhou on Sunday after weather officials warned of “extremely large” downpours in urban areas across the province of Hubei. Cloudbursts in nearby Jiayu county broke the rainfall record for July...
The same day, emergency response officials in Wuhan raised the flood threat to level three, the second-lowest ranking in a four-tier system. They raised it to level two less than 90 minutes later amid deepening fears of inundation and drainage difficulties.
The Xin'an River Reservoir, an important flood control project in the upper reaches of the Qiantang River, opened spillways for the first time in nine years on Tuesday to lower the crest of the floods.
This is also the seventh time spillways of the reservoir were opened to release floodwaters since it was built in the 1950s
A 500 year old bridge in Anhui collapsed from the flooding
8. Mao’s Third Front
Now that the US and China are widely, if perhaps inaccurately, said to be entering into a new “Cold War,” stories of the original Cold War can feel particularly relevant. The timing for Covell Meyskens’ new book Mao’s Third Front: The Militarization of Cold War China is thus pretty good: its central subject matter is how geopolitical tensions and fears of conflict affect countries’ economic strategies.
The Third Front was a nationwide campaign, running from roughly 1964 to 1973, to prepare China to fend off military invasion and aerial attack. It was essentially a crash program to build industrial and transportation infrastructure in remote parts of the nation’s interior. Mao feared that China was too reliant on industrial capacity scattered along the coast, where it could be easily targeted by bombers and nuclear missiles
Comment: This is a nice review by Batson, my copy of the book arrived over the weekend and I am looking forward to it.
The Third Front received more government investment than any other developmental initiative of the Mao era, and yet this huge industrial war machine, which saw the mobilization of fifteen million people, was not officially acknowledged for over a decade and a half. Drawing on a rich collection of archival documents, memoirs, and oral interviews, Covell Meyskens provides the first history of the Third Front campaign. He shows how the militarization of Chinese industrialization linked millions of everyday lives to the global Cold War, merging global geopolitics with local change.
Business, Economy and Trade
肖钢：党中央从来没有像今天这样重视资本市场（全文） Former head of China Securities Regulation Commission Xiao Gang gave a public speech Tuesday, saying “the party central has never attach such high attention to the capital market as it is doing today.”
China Traders Borrow Most Cash Since 2015 to Bet on Stock Gains - Bloomberg They pushed outstanding margin debt on domestic exchanges to more than 1.2 trillion yuan ($171 billion) as of Monday. The figure rose 36.7 billion yuan from July 3, the biggest increase since January 2015.
Experts Debate Whether China’s Stock Bull Will Keep Running - Caixin The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closed up 0.37% on Tuesday, after entering a technical bull market the previous day. Liquidity remained abundant as the combined daily turnover on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges reached 1.74 trillion yuan ($248.1 billion), topping 1 trillion yuan for the fourth trading day in a row.
China Stock Trading Apps Struggle as Investors Jump in on Rally - Bloomberg Several trading apps of key Chinese brokers are struggling to keep up as millions of the country’s mom and pop traders race to seek a quick buck in a surging market.
Chinese EV startups Byton and Nio received paycheck protection loans of at least $5 million - The Verge Chinese EV startups Byton, Nio, and Karma Automotive were among the companies that received the largest loans from the government’s COVID-19-related Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in April, with each receiving loans of between $5 million and $10 million, according to new data released by the Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration (SBA).
U.S. Units of Chinese Companies Got American Bailout Funds - Bloomberg HNA Group North America LLC and HNA Training Center NY LLC got between $350,000 and $1 million each in bailout loans meant to help struggling businesses pay American workers hit by pandemic lockdowns, according to a list posted by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Continental Aerospace Technologies Inc., a maker of aircraft engines owned by Aviation Industry Corp. of China, received between $5 million and $10 million, the data showed.
China’s FX Reserves Rose for Third Month as Outflows Stay Muted - Bloomberg “Capital outflow pressures may have eased a bit, as the yuan appreciated against the dollar by 1.1% last month,” Wang Tao, chief China economist at UBS Group AG in Hong Kong, wrote in a note before the data release. “We estimate June’s valuation effect from reserve currencies’ movement was a gain of $9 billion.”
深圳南山区：不能清退的P2P平台将择机立案_金融频道_财新网 Shenzhen's Nanshan district government continues to shut down the P2P financial platforms companies and is urging them to pay back their customers, otherwise the police will launch investigation into companies who can’t repay. Citing data collected by wdzj.com, Caixin said in the past year, Chinese police had issued at least 562 statements regarding cases related to 245 of these shadow banking companies. Most of them are accused of illegal fund raising.
中国恒大出售逾200个商业项目 公司称属正常销售行为_财新网_财新网 Real estate giant Evergrande said it will sell more than 200 of its commercial properties across China, which includes hotels, office buildings, shopping malls and so on. This came after Moody’s downgraded the rating of the company which is running short of cash. But Evergrande insisted that this is a normal move and many of these projects have been put on sale earlier.
China Forex Regulator Appoints Three-Decade Veteran as New Deputy Chief - Caixin Wang Chunying was previously chief economist of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) and director of its Department of Balance of Payments, which monitors cross-border capital flows. Wang has filled a position that had remained vacant for half a year, since Zhang Xin left SAFE in January to become a vice governor of South China’s wealthy Guangdong province.
李国庆再次“抢夺”当当资料 公安介入调查_财新网_财新网 On Tuesday morning, Dangdang founder Li Guoqing once again used force to break into the company with more than two dozen people, breaking open several safes and taking away documents. Talk about a nasty divorce
Politics and Law
唐登杰任国家发改委党组副书记，38岁升副部_人事风向_澎湃新闻-The Paper China’s top economic planning body NDRC has a new deputy head Tang Dengjie. Tang worked long time in state-owned enterprises including the Shanghai Electric and China Ordnance Equipment Group. He also served as deputy mayor of Shanghai, the National Aviation Administration and governor of Fujian. He is only 56. He seems like a good fit for Xi’s vision of a stronger state sector, high-tech self-reliance, and military-civilian fusion.
Premier Li stresses industrial development, employment against poverty - CGTN Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called for more efforts in developing industries and ensuring employment in a bid to alleviate poverty during his visit in two cities of southwest China's Guizhou Province on Monday and Tuesday. Li encouraged enterprises to expand production and provide more jobs for rural migrant workers.
[视频]李克强在贵州考察_CCTV CCTV Evening News on Li's inspection tour
China’s anti-corruption watchdog sets out details of ‘decadent’ and ‘corrupt’ lifestyle of fallen Interpol chief Meng Hongwei | South China Morning Post The Chinese Communist Party’s top anti-corruption body has published details of the “decadent” and “extravagant” lifestyle that it says former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei led before his downfall...A book listing some of the cases investigated by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, China’s top anti-graft body, has been circulating among senior and mid-ranking officials since late last year.
贵州茅台前副总们的浮沉人生：有人升迁，有人被查 The CCDI announced Tuesday that another two former executives of Guizhou Maotai are now under investigation. In total at least five of the Maotao executives have been taken down since last year. Yicai reported that the investigation seems to be still ongoing, and the Guizhou party boss just visited the company last week.
Explainer: Judicial interpretation requires government leaders to defend lawsuits in person - China Law Translate The Supreme People’s Court (SPC) has provided detailed guidance on when high-level agency officials must appear in court and take the stand to personally explain and defend the government behavior being challenged through litigation. The requirement for senior agency representatives to respond to lawsuits, codified in the revised PRC Administrative Litigation Law (ALL), dates back to reforms on “administration in accordance with law” launched by the State Council in 2004.
梅新育：涉疆宣传的最根本错误是什么？ Mei Xinyu, a research fellow affiliated with the Ministry of Commerce, wrote on his Weibo that Chinese state media made a big mistake in the propaganda about Xinjiang in the past decades, that they over-emphasized Uighurs without giving enough coverage of the Han-Chinese who have also been also living in the region for long time. Mei argued that the government had been given the Uighur way too many favorable policies and the domestic propaganda built the narrative that Xinjiang is the home of the Uighur. Mei argued that the region is the home of many Han as well, and they feel hurt by these policies and propaganda.
Priorities for govt information disclosure clarified - Gov.cn Among the issues stressed in the document was disclosing more interpretations regarding policies for ensuring stability on six fronts and security in six areas. This will help shape encouraging public opinion to overcome the impacts of the COVID-19 epidemic and achieve social and economic development targets throughout the year.
Pandemic Sees Increase in Chinese Support for Regime, Decrease in Views Towards the U.S. • China Data Lab Results from three of our most recent surveys—which asked respondents about their trust in the central and local governments in China, support of China’s political system, and opinions toward the United States—show remarkable growth in favorable opinions of the Chinese government, and declines in favorable opinion of the U.S. The average levels of trust in both the central and local governments in China have steadily increased during the past year. On a scale of 1 to 10, the average level of trust in the central government—already high—increased from 8.23 in June 2019, to 8.65 in Feb 2020, and to 8.87 in May 2020. There was a similar upward trend for the average level of trust in municipal governments.
Foreign and Defense Affairs
耿爽履新中国常驻联合国副代表 - 国内 - 新京报网 Geng Shuang, most recently one of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokespeople, is promoted to be the deputy representative to the United Nations. He seemed to be far from a wolf warrior on the podium.
Smartraveller upgrades China warning to include risk of ‘arbitrary detention’ - News.com.au Australians have been warned not to travel to China as they risk “arbitrary detention” by the Communist regime. The Department of Foreign Affairs has issued a new warning of the risk of hostage diplomacy noting that foreigners have been detained without reason over claims they are “endangering national security.”
China marks anniversary of resistance war against Japanese aggression - Xinhua The Lugou Bridge Incident on July 7, 1937, is recognized as the start of Japan's full-scale invasion of China, and China's whole-of-nation resistance against it. Tuesday's event was held near the bridge, at the Museum of the War of the Chinese People's Resistance Against Japanese Aggression
Xi exchanges letters with Argentine president over fight against pandemic, bilateral cooperation - Xinhua Xi stressed that China firmly supports Argentina's efforts in safeguarding national stability and development, and stands ready to deepen bilateral friendly exchanges and practical cooperation and to push for greater development of the China-Argentina comprehensive strategic partnership. For his part, Fernandez expressed appreciation for the tremendous efforts the Chinese government and people have made in combating COVID-19 and the leading role they have played in the international fight against the pandemic, especially the helping hand China has given to Argentina.
Chinese ambassador making the rounds at a time of internal crisis invites much criticism Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi’s meetings with a number of government officials and political party leaders have drawn concerns from political analysts and former diplomats for coming at a time when Nepal’s internal politics is in disarray and political actors are increasingly attempting to gain the upper hand.
UK faces calls to target China with new sanctions | Financial Times $$ Dominic Raab, UK foreign secretary, is coming under intense pressure to use Britain’s newly created human rights regime against Beijing, including Chinese officials and Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam.
央视首次曝光印度越线挑衅证据|印度|印军|赵立坚_新浪科技_新浪网 CCTV gives “evidence” that Indian troops crossed the LAC and built a bridge, road, helicopter pad and set up tents. Su Xiaohui a fellow with CICIR, told CCTV that, “We can see their objective of provocation is very clear. It was to change the status quo, and unilaterally challenge on (our) sovereignty.”
Joint Press Release of the 3rd Round China -Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Vice Foreign Ministers' Strategic Dialogue On July 7, 2020, the 3rd round China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Vice Foreign Ministers' Strategic Dialogue was held via video link. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui, Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Mirwais Nab and Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood co-chaired the dialogue. The three sides conducted in-depth discussions and reached consensus on cooperation against COVID-19, the Afghan peace and reconciliation process, and trilateral cooperation.
What about Whataboutism? - Made in China Journal In a recent op-ed, US-based Chinese human rights lawyer Teng Biao (2020) has argued that constant comparisons between China and the United States have become a ‘virus’ (病毒). Taking as an example the exchanges of blows between the US and Chinese governments regarding the activities of each other’s media in early 2020, Teng makes a compelling argument for how meaningless comparisons have contributed to poisoning the debate.
Hong Kong and Macao
Coronavirus: Hong Kong battling third wave of Covid-19 infections as city confirms 14 new cases | South China Morning Post Hong Kong has begun battling against a third wave of coronavirus infections, as nine of 14 new cases on Tuesday were classified as local and the government escalated its Covid-19 containment strategy to launch a review of social-distancing measures and impose new requirements for domestic helpers.
Taiwan’s Export Slump Worsens as Global Tech Demand Fades - Bloomberg Taiwan’s exports fell for a fourth straight month in June as officials warned global demand may struggle to recover in the face of a resurgent worldwide coronavirus outbreak and continuing trade tensions between the U.S. and China.
Opinion - John Pomfret- | The Hong Kong security law could be China’s blueprint to deal with the ‘Taiwan problem’ - The Washington Post Listen to Li Su, the president of the Modern Think-Tank Forum and a prominent hard-liner in Beijing. Following the passage of the law, Li took to Chinese social media to hail the law as a critical step in “liberating Taiwan.” Li is part of an influential group of scholars in China who support an armed solution to what they call “the Taiwan problem.”..At least 10 people have already been arrested in Hong Kong under the new law, and Chinese officials said they could be tried in mainland Chinese courts...In his lecture on Chinese social media, Li said he interpreted the Hong Kong security law as a “test case” on which China will model its takeover of Taiwan. “We will learn how to control Taiwan by experimenting with this law on Hong Kong,” he declared. “From the experiment on Hong Kong, we will tell the people on Taiwan that after we forcibly unite with you, we will have a way to deal with you.” Simply put, that would consist of rounding up “your independence activists, democracy activists, students who cause trouble and bring them to the mainland to be sentenced.” After that, Li asked, “who would dare oppose us?”
'We're next': Hong Kong security law sends chills through Taiwan | The Japan Times The law “makes China look so bad, distancing themselves even further from Hong Kongers, not to mention people across the strait in Taiwan,” said Alexander Huang, a political analyst at Tamkang University in Taipei.
Tech and Media
Zoom Investment Grew From Li Ka-shing’s Disgust at Pricey Video Gear, Says His Tech-Savvy Companion - Caixin “The background (for this investment) was really humorous,” she recalled, saying Li was amazed when the executives came to him requesting the hefty sum of HK$20 million ($2.6 million) for such equipment. “No one was happier than he was when he learned that we had invested in Zoom, a cloud-based, easy-to-use, low-cost software that focuses on enterprise services,” she told Caixin.
Ericsson says not sourcing products from China's Panda Electronics - Reuters Panda Electronics Group is one of 20 Chinese companies believed by U.S. authorities to be owned or controlled by the Chinese military, according to a list published by the U.S. Department of Defense on June 24.
Chinese tech and business coverage surges amid Hong Kong crackdown - Axios The Information, a business and tech news media company founded by Wall Street Journal veteran Jessica Lessin, is launching a new Chinese-language newsletter covering Silicon Valley and China’s tech sector for a Chinese-speaking audience. It will be its first non-English language editorial product
China's Self Driving Sector Gets a Boost From COVID-19- PingWest The fatal SARS outbreak in 2003 has been credited with boosting China's e-commerce. Now, there's little doubt that the Covid-19 may provide a kick to the country's self driving technology as well.
Import AI 204: Chinese elevator surveillance; Enron emails train polite AI; and a pessimistic view on AGI A team from the Shanghai Research Institute has developed a system to automatically identify "abnormal activity", such as drug dealing, prostitution, over-crowded residents, and so on. The system is currently in a research phase and deployed on around 100,000 elevators, the authors write.
What is ByteDance’s new enterprise product Volcano Engine all about? -KrAsia While Feishu and Lark were quite clearly positioned as workplace collaboration tools, Volcano Engine seems to hint at broader ambitions: a catch-all for ByteDance’s enterprise software factory. Positioned as an umbrella “intelligent technology platform”, Volcano Engine provides a laundry list of enabling tools that companies can pick and choose from.
Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History
China court upholds landmark #MeToo sexual harassment verdict | South China Morning Post On July 1, the Wuhou District People’s Court in Chengdu maintained its 2019 ruling that Liu Meng, director general of a non-profit organisation in southwest China's Sichuan province, had to apologise to social worker “Xiaoli”.
Chinese Go Champion Ke Jie Abruptly Quits Weibo - SixthTone Ke’s abrupt decision to quit Weibo has puzzled many fans. Two days earlier, however, domestic media had reported that a student at a vocational secondary school in the central Hubei province killed himself after being caught secretly filming his female classmates in a women’s toilet. According to the report, the student’s parents found a note their son had tossed in the trash just before his death. Scrawled on it were “scared,” “Ke Jie,” and the boy’s own name...The cryptic note has sparked wide discussion online, with many questioning whether the elite Go player may have influenced the deceased student’s behavior at school. Ke is known for being vocal on Weibo about gender-related issues: He has repeatedly landed in hot water over comments that were perceived as misogynist.
How Weibo Sold China on ‘Commercially Correct’ Feminism - SixthTone This May, Jiang Yilei, better known as the fiercely independent internet personality “Papi Jiang,” revealed her newborn child would take her husband’s surname. Then the internet exploded at the news, and she found herself at the center of a public opinion maelstrom. What might seem like a private choice soon became an occasion for yet another highly public feud between self-identified feminists, with one side arguing Jiang had sold out to the patriarchy and others defending her right as a woman to name her child whatever she pleased.
Energy, Environment, Science and Health
Beijing reports zero increase in confirmed domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases - Xinhua From June 11 to July 6, the city reported 335 confirmed locally transmitted cases, of whom 320 were still hospitalized and 15 discharged from hospital after recovery. There were 31 asymptomatic cases under medical observation, the commission said
Disinfection of Beijing's Xinfadi market completes - Global Times The Beijing government announced the completion of disinfection of the market on Tuesday at a daily press conference, and on the same day said that more than 74,000 people at high risk of exposure to the market will gradually be released from quarantine from July 7. More than 5,000 people will be released from quarantine in the first batch, Beijing's Fengtai district government said on Tuesday.
Chinese mainland reports 8 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, all imported - Xinhua Chinese health authority said Tuesday that it received reports of eight new confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland Monday, of which all were imported.