Outbreak in Beijing; Xi's Marxist birthday gift; Pompeo and Yang Jiechi to meet?; Sun Tzu

Beijing is in the grips of a new outbreak of COVID-19, with several dozen cases linked to the main food wholesale market in the city. Parts of the city are back on a “wartime footing”, several local officials have lost their jobs, and the source of the new infections is still unknown.

Some people are blaming imported salmon for bringing the virus into the city, if not also into Wuhan last year. That seems unlikely, but certainly conveniently fits the narrative that the virus didn’t originate in China.

The removal of the local Beijing officials responsible for the areas of the initial outbreak signals to officials everywhere to not relax in their anti-virus work. That can’t be great for reopening the economy, but neither can a new outbreak. Expect that the Beijing infections will halt most travel to and from Beijing as other regions require anyone who has been in Beijing recently to self-quarantine for at least 14 days. One friend based in Shanghai recently returned from a trip to Beijing, and now this person has to stay at home for 14 days and their children are not allowed back to school for that period either. Who is going to want to risk a trip to or from Beijing until this is back under control?

Beijing Party Secretary Cai Qi must be very stressed, given the repeated emphasis Xi has put on protecting Beijing from any outbreaks.

Washington DC announced 32 new cases in the last 24 hours earlier today, and is on track for the next phase of the reopening later this week. Beijing had less than 100 new cases over the weekend and is shutting down significant parts of the city. We at Sinocism HQ are taking more of the China approach and not participating in the ongoing reopening here.

Hawaii has been very strict about allowing visitors but may be welcoming ones from two hotspots this week. Yang Jiechi and Mike Pompeo will reportedly meet there this week. The agenda is not clear, but perhaps they will find a way to put a floor back under the deteriorating US-China relationship? If any readers have more insight please let me know, more securely if you prefer at Signal 13012460858 or Protonmail sinocism@pm.me.

Today is Xi Jinping’s 67th birthday. He received a couple of nice propaganda presents, including a front page Study Times article declaring that Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era is Marxism for the 21st Century.

Today’s Essential Eight:

  1. Outbreak in Beijing

  2. Propaganda presents for Xi’s birthday

  3. Hong Kong

  4. US-China

  5. Europe-China

  6. Criticism of Xi

  7. Disinformation

  8. Rethinking Sun Tzu

Thanks for reading.


The Essential Eight

1. Outbreak in Beijing

Beijing battles ‘explosive coronavirus outbreak’ as food market cases mount | South China Morning Post

The capital has had 79 new local cases since last Thursday, all of which are linked to the Xinfadi wholesale market in the city’s southwestern district of Fengtai.

China’s Vice Premier Demands ‘Strictest’ Virus-Tracing Measures - SixthTone

Yang Peng, a researcher at the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told state broadcaster China Central Television on Sunday that the source of the virus has not yet been established, though it could have come from contaminated meat or seafood products at the market, or via already-infected people.

“Whole-genome sequencing found that the virus came from the direction of Europe, so our preliminary conclusion is that it’s an imported infection,” he said.

However, after the broadcast, an unnamed official at Beijing’s health commission appeared to walk back Yang’s remarks, telling financial outlet Caixin on Monday that they were the “scientific assumptions of (just one) CDC expert.”

疫情防控失职失责 北京丰台区副区长等被免职_政经频道_财新网

Zhou Yuqing, deputy head of Fengtai District, Beijing, and Zhang Yuelin, general manager of Xinfadi Agricultural Products Wholesale Market, and one other official,Wang Hua were dismissed and punished for negligence for the prevention and control of the epidemic.

Coronavirus Outbreak in Beijing, China's Capital, Alarms Officials - The New York Times

A scattering of new infections outside Beijing appeared linked to the upsurge in the city. Sichuan Province in southwest China said a woman who recently arrived there was infected, probably through her husband in Beijing who was infected. Hebei Province next to Beijing reported four new cases connected to infections in the capital. Liaoning Province in the northeast also said two cases there were connected to the Beijing infections.

Fishy Claims of Beijing’s Covid-19 Outbreak Chill Upstream Seafood Suppliers

Multiple virologists told Caixin that the presence of coronavirus on salmon on a cutting board did not prove the salmon itself was the source. They agreed it was far more likely the surface of food cut on the board had been contaminated. There is also no scientific evidence that live fish can carry the virus.

WHO says 'hypothesis' about cause of China's new virus outbreak needs further testing - Reuters

The origins of a new cluster of coronavirus infections in Beijing are uncertain, World Health Organization officials said on Monday, describing the claim that it might have been caused by imports or packaging of salmon as a “hypothesis”.

Source of Beijing cases renews speculation over COVID-19 origin - Global Times

Preliminary investigations showed that the type of novel coronavirus found on samples collected from Xinfadi Market, a locus of the new outbreak in Beijing, was related to European cases rather than Chinese domestic cases, according to genome sequencing, according to Yang Peng, a researcher from Beijing Center for Diseases Prevention and Control.

Experts said this finding indicated that it is very likely the clustered infections in Beijing were caused by imported seafood that was contaminated by the coronavirus in Europe before being delivered by cold-chain transportation to China.

Thus, suspicions are mounting that imported seafood or meat provided the origins of the novel coronavirus in China's epidemic. Some experts reached by the Global Times on Monday also said that the possibility cannot be ruled out.

Reacting to the findings of genome sequencing in Beijing, Wu Hao, head of the Fangzhuang community health service center, told the Global Times that the virus could have come to China via imported seafood, which might be the source of the virus in the Huanan seafood market.

Beijing outbreak may be more infectious than Wuhan one, rich anti-epidemic experience in place: virologist - Global Times

Yang Zhanqiu, deputy director of the pathogen biology department at Wuhan University, told the Global Times on Monday that 79 cases were confirmed in four days, showing the coronavirus found in Beijing is extremely contagious, likely more contagious than that found in Wuhan.

A researcher from the Beijing Center for Diseases Prevention and Control (Beijing CDC) told China Central Television (CCTV) in a telephone interview that the genome sequencing of the strain of the coronavirus which caused the new COVID-19 outbreak in Beijing at the Xinfadi wholesale food market shows it originated from Europe.

Yang said that if the type of coronavirus spreading in Beijing matches the type of virus sampled in the Xinfadi market and from Europe, then it is safe to say that the virus found in Beijing was "brought into" China by food or people from Europe. He is inclined to define the local outbreak in Beijing Xinfadi market as an imported outbreak.

Salmon suppliers hit as China halts imports over virus fears - Reuters

State-run newspapers reported the virus was discovered on chopping boards used for imported salmon at Beijing's Xinfadi market, the source of a cluster of infections that has sparked fears of a second wave of the pandemic in China.

The reports prompted major supermarkets in Beijing to remove salmon from their shelves on Saturday.

"We can't send any salmon to China now, the market is closed," Regin Jacobsen, CEO of Oslo-listed salmon supplier Bakkafrost told Reuters.

Beijing goes into ‘wartime mode’ as virus emerges at market in Chinese capital - The Washington Post

“We should have a realistic understanding of what it means for China to keep the status quo of almost zero domestic cases for a long time to come,” said Zhang Wenhong, a top infectious diseases expert in Shanghai who has a kind of celebrity status in China. “That doesn’t mean absolutely no new cases,” he wrote on Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter, late Friday after reports began emerging of new cases in Beijing.

“There is no need to go overboard over this so much as to halt the restoration of our economy and people’s livelihoods,” Zhang wrote. “As long as each and every one of us do our jobs well, and stay aware of personal hygiene and protection in our daily lives, we will be able to keep ourselves safe and keep our cities free from second wave infections and virus spread.”


2. Propaganda presents for Xi’s birthday

Study Times top article in the latest issue, by He Yiting, executive vice president of the central Party School -Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era is Marxism for the 21st Century

何毅亭:习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想是21世纪马克思主义

The conclusion:

Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era constitutes the mainstream, main body and backbone of world Marxism in the 21st century. Marxism is a large theoretical family, and the doctrines of Marx and Engels are the main source. Marx, Engels—Lenin, Stalin—Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, and Xi Jinping are the main lines. In addition, there are several branches and branches of Marxism. Each line has its own independent value, and the integration of the lines constitutes the complete ideological line and theoretical picture of world Marxism. Just as in the 19th and 20th centuries, the prosperity of the world Marxist theory family and friends will not end in the 21st century, and the basic appearance of the world Marxist theory will not change.

习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想构成21世纪世界马克思主义的主流、主体、主干。马克思主义是一个理论大家族,马克思、恩格斯的学说是总源头,马克思、恩格斯——列宁、斯大林——毛泽东、邓小平、江泽民、胡锦涛、习近平这是一条主干线。此外,还存在若干条马克思主义的支流、支线。每一条线都有其独立存在的价值,各条线整合到一起,就构成了世界马克思主义的完整思想谱系和理论图景。正如19世纪、20世纪一样,21世纪世界马克思主义理论家族宾朋满座的繁荣景象不会终结,世界马克思主义理论一源多流的基本面貌不会改变。

This is not a new claim for He Yiting. He wrote an article with the same title in 2018, published in Study Times on 12.26.2018, Mao’s 125th birthday - 习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想是21世纪马克思主义

It is not actually surprising that leading theoreticians would call Xi Thought 21st Century Marxism, and there are not a lot of competitors for the crown of 21st century Marxism these days. But what if beyond the propaganda and theoretical imperatives, Xi actually believes in Marxism?

把人民生命安全和身体健康放在心里

long page 1 People's Daily article Monday praising Xi's handing of the SARS outbreak in Zhejiang when he was Party Secretary there. The article was written by by Zhang Xi who was Secretary-General of the Zhejiang Provincial Party committee back then.


3. Hong Kong

Beijing reserves right to handle ‘rare’ cases involving Hong Kong’s new national security law | South China Morning Post

Deng Zhonghua, deputy director of the cabinet-level Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, stressed at a seminar in Shenzhen on Monday that such cases would be rare, and they would still be prosecuted according to the rule of law as upheld in Hong Kong.

In a further bid to ease persisting fears, he said while there were differences between the legal systems of Hong Kong and mainland China, both jurisdictions observed similar principles such as the presumption of innocence, proportionality between offences and penalties, and no retroactive effect.

National security cops to operate secretly: John Lee - RTHK

Secretary for Security John Lee says a new police unit he is creating to implement Beijing's national security law in the SAR will have to keep its operations secret because they relate to the country's security.

Speaking on a TVB programme on Sunday, Lee said officers selected for the unit would also have to undergo character checks, including tests of their loyalty to Hong Kong.

Comment: So a secret police unit

EU lawmakers propose taking China to court over Hong Kong security law – POLITICO

In a draft resolution, obtained by POLITICO, the Parliament “strongly criticizes the adoption of the national security law on Hong Kong by the National Peoples’ Congress” and “calls for the EU and its Member States, in case the new security law is applied, to consider filing a case before the International Court of Justice, alleging that China’s decision to impose national security legislation on Hong Kong violates the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the [International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights].”

"港独"头目出逃英国,一起潜逃的新欢也不简单…

Wenhui Pao says Wayne Chan Ka-kui 陈家驹, convener of the “Hong Kong Independence Union”, has jumped bail in Hong Kong and fled to Europe, helped by a woman names 何泳彤 He Yongtong

Hong Kong families prepare to flee the city, fearing a reign of terror from Beijing - The Washington Post

Applications for police certificates required to emigrate soared almost 80 percent to nearly 21,000 in the latter half of 2019 from a year earlier, even before the advent of the security law, coinciding with a crackdown on pro-democracy protests. Animal rescue groups have reported an increase in surrendered dogs as their owners leave Hong Kong. Protesters fearing persecution have sought refuge in Germany, the Netherlands and United States.

When Financial Security Means National Security - The Wire China - Victor Shih

Beijing will be able to intervene in a wide range of banking transactions in Hong Kong, including stock and bond deals. And by invoking national security, China could seize assets, freeze bank accounts and direct the courts to side with its decisions. Before long, the frictionless transactions that have made Hong Kong one of the world’s preeminent financial centers may well come to an end.

'Cut black hands': Beijing blasts Hong Kong pro-democracy group over class boycott referendum | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

Beijing has lambasted Hong Kong pro-democracy group Demosisto and its leaders as “black hands,” over plans for a referendum on staging a class boycott against the city’s impending national security legislation.

In a statement titled “Cut black hands, save the children” issued on Friday, the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO) accused the group of using secondary students as “shells” and “tools,” in an attempt to hinder China’s parliament from promulgating laws to punish acts it deems a threat to national security in the city.


4. US-China

Hawaii talks: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi on Wednesday | South China Morning Post

Top Chinese and US diplomats are expected to meet face-to-face in Hawaii on Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the arrangements, as the two countries try to dial down tensions in the relationship.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would hold talks with Yang Jiechi

Pompeo to meet with Chinese officials amid escalating tensions - CNNPolitics

Pompeo is expected to discuss a wide range of issues during the meetings, which will take place at Hickam Air Force Base, according to a US official familiar with the trip. Pompeo will only be on the ground in Hawaii for about 24 hours, the source said.

Exclusive: U.S. to allow companies to work with Huawei on 5G standards - sources - Reuters

The United States will amend its prohibitions on U.S. companies doing business with China’s Huawei to allow them to work together in standards setting for next-generation 5G networks, according to people familiar with the matter.

The U.S. Commerce Department and other agencies signed off on the rule change, and it is awaiting publication in the Federal Register, the people said.

China Warms to Idea of Four More Years of Trump Presidency - Bloomberg

Interviews with nine current and former Chinese officials point to a shift in sentiment in favor of the sitting president, even though he has spent much of the past four years blaming Beijing for everything from U.S. trade imbalances to Covid-19. The chief reason? A belief that the benefit of the erosion of America’s postwar alliance network would outweigh any damage to China from continued trade disputes and geopolitical instability.

Pompeo’s despicable buck-passing trick, lies bound to come to light - People's Daily Zhong Sheng last week

After seeing so many notorious acts of the man, many people wonder if Pompeo is still able to quit his addiction to lying and cheating.

A word of advice to Pompeo: As the chief diplomat of the U.S., he should know that respecting facts and the truth is the basic requirement for and moral bottom line of the profession.

China urges U.S. to stop provocations - Xinhua

China urges the U.S. side to stop all provocative acts against China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, a defense ministry spokesman said on Monday.

Ren Guoqiang made the remarks when asked to comment on the flight of a U.S. military aircraft over Taiwan last week.

The flight over Chinese territory by a U.S. military aircraft without China's permission seriously infringed upon China's territorial sovereignty and undermined peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, said Ren

Rare gathering of US aircraft carriers 'to be met with Chinese countermeasures' - Global Times

In a rare move, the US is sending three aircraft carriers to waters near China as bilateral tensions rise, a move interpreted by foreign media as a warning to China. Chinese military experts said on Sunday that the US move again exposed its hegemonic politics in the region, and China could counter it by holding military drills and showing its ability and determination to safeguard its territorial integrity.

China possesses aircraft carrier killer weapons like the DF-21D and DF-26 anti-ship ballistic missiles.

The three US aircraft carriers, namely the USS Theodore Roosevelt, USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan, together with other US naval warships and aircraft, are patrolling the Indo-Pacific waters, the Associated Press reported on Friday.

Zhong Sheng says that “US-China friendship can’t be stopped” but the article criticizers US politicians trying to close down Confucius Institutes. - 人民友好不可阻挡(钟声)--国际--人民网

“失真”是个科学名词,又称“畸变”,现在用来形容美国一些政客对客观世界所作偏执判断,很贴切。近日,美国国会一些议员再度在国家安全战略报告里毫无根据地渲染孔子学院所谓“威胁”,荒唐地要求所有孔子学院按“外国代理人”注册。其本质,就是在谎言基础上疯狂散布“中国威胁论”,妄图砍断40多年来中美两国形成的紧密联系,进而挑起全面对抗...

国家关系归根结底是人民之间的关系,需要人民支持,最终也服务于人民。新冠肺炎疫情出现以来,中美两国人民、企业、社会团体都在对方面临困难时,第一时间伸出援手,在危难之际展现了宝贵的互助精神。这充分表明,中美交往具有深厚的社会基础。中美两国人民友好交往源远流长,即便美国一些政客执意要为中美关系制造麻烦,也改变不了两国人民友好交往的潮流。人民友好不可阻挡,逆潮流而动者终将为人民和历史所弃。

Chinese consulates deploying 'mask diplomacy' in U.S. communities - NBC News

With China on the defensive over the coronavirus pandemic, its diplomatic missions in the United States are on a charm offensive, organizing donations of medical supplies and food to communities large and small. All five of China's consulates in the U.S., along with its embassy in Washington, have been involved, an NBC News investigation found.

Joe Biden Should Avoid Trump's China Trap | The National Interest - David Lampton

With the currently colliding crises of global pandemic, world-wide economic distress, and racial and social injustice at home and abroad, China is not America’s biggest problem. Likewise, America is not China’s greatest challenge. The only question in this U.S. political season is, “Who will have the guts to blurt out this truth?”

Why a US-China Détente Is Coming in 2021: The Biden Factor – The Diplomat - Chen Dingding

Biden’s political team, driven by the need to deliver on campaign promises and satisfy domestic voters, will focus on the domestic front first. In terms of China policy, although Biden and the Democratic Party have their own containment plans against China, the American economic and technological suppression of China is bound to be weakened to a considerable extent due to their priority on dealing with domestic issues. Although there will still be fierce competition between China and the United States after Biden takes office — and even more fierce competition in the high-tech fields — the overall atmosphere of China-U.S. relations will improve to some extent in the short term.


5. Europe-China

EU won’t ally with US against China, foreign policy chief says before Pompeo meeting | South China Morning Post

The European Union’s foreign policy chief has ruled out a transatlantic alliance against China and dismissed “systematic rivalry” with Beijing, just hours before he is due to talk to his US counterpart.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell called for a “big, positive agenda for EU-China cooperation” on Sunday, just a day before he and the 27 foreign ministers from the bloc are expected to have a videoconference with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The meeting is expected to focus on China and “disinformation”, and will be followed in a week’s time by the first EU-China summit under European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel. The two EU chiefs will meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, with the discussions expected to focus on market access.’’

In rougher seas, the EU’s own interests and values should be our compass - European External Action Service - Josep Borrell

On Tuesday, I met my Chinese counterpart Foreign Minister Wang Yi, an extraordinarily experienced diplomat, for the EU-China Strategic Dialogue. It was three hours of intense discussions, both frank and useful...

US-China relations are set on a path of global competition, regardless who will be in the White House next January. And this confrontation will frame the future world order.

This is the context in which the EU has to position itself. ..

One way to think about all this is to go for the ‘Sinatra doctrine’, as some media have described it(link is external). We as Europeans have to do it ‘My Way’, with all the challenges this brings. The European Way for sure includes working with like-minded to keep the multilateral system as a space for cooperation, even if great powers use it increasingly as a battleground.

Video conference of Foreign Affairs Ministers: Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell at the press conference - European External Action Service

We exchanged views on China and its growing assertiveness on many fronts. There are issues that we face together in the relationship with China and where our close cooperation is very important to address them jointly. This includes, for sure, the situation in Hong Kong. 

I suggested to launch a distinct, bilateral dialogue focussing on China and the challenges its actions and ambitions mean for us - the United States and the European Union.

Germany, preparing EU presidency, wants more reciprocity with China - Reuters

Germany has signalled it will push for a tougher EU line towards China, adding language to a draft document that would see a stronger demand for “reciprocity” - seen as code for access for European firms — and a new emphasis on “values”.

Germany takes over the rotating presidency of the EU in the second half of this year. It has set out its policy plans for the presidency in a draft reviewed by Reuters on Monday, which supersedes an earlier draft compiled in March...

“The China policy of all EU institutions and member states should be united and balanced and be oriented towards long-term common EU interests and values”, reads the 24-page paper.

The word “values” was omitted in the earlier draft, and its inclusion now could suggest a greater emphasis on issues such as democracy, human rights and autonomy for Hong Kong.

Fears for Volvo Expose Sour Turn in Sweden’s Ties With China - The New York Times

Sweden has unexpectedly become a bellwether for the European Union’s ever more strained engagement with China. Swedish political and business leaders are asking whether the country rushed too swiftly into an economic relationship with China, with the Volvo deal as a renewed source of controversy.

EU Challenges China’s Trade Expansion With Landmark Tariff - Bloomberg 

For the first time, the EU on Monday took aim at alleged market-distorting aid granted by a country to exporters located in another state. To date, such European duties have focused only on subsidies provided by the country where the exporters are based.

“It’s a landmark case that could lead to many more similar ones,” said Agatha Kratz, an associate director at Rhodium Group who leads research on EU-China relations and Chinese commercial diplomacy. “Chinese state support is in fact found widely beyond China’s borders, with distortive effects on EU and other foreign stakeholders.”


6. Criticism of Xi

Translation: Former Party Professor Calls CCP a “Political Zombie” | China Digital Times (CDT)

About 20 minutes of audio in which a retired Central Party School professor sternly criticizes the state of the Party under Xi Jinping, and declares the current system beyond repair, circulated widely online earlier this month. The recording is from an address given by Cai Xia, a legal scholar and longtime internal Party advocate for rights and the rule of law, to a private group online. Cai is currently outside China. CDT has determined the recording to be authentic. The speech has been translated in full by CDT.

Some excerpts:

Right now, it is impossible for anyone to come forward and to change it. If it is possible to replace the person, that would be the first step. I think the best solution is of course to replace the person. As a matter of urgency, I think that is the first step. But you can see what he is doing now: holding military power in his hand, holding the entire Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission and the police in his hands. Putting everyone under surveillance using high-tech tools. Who can come out and say “let’s solve this problem”? It’s impossible. Even at the Central Standing Committee meetings, we say majority rule, but does the majority actually rule? No. ..

The fact is, Chinese society is not without vitality. It’s not that we lack energy or talented people. Society is being devastated, the ability to think is being devastated, the Party is being devastated. If this threat can be lifted, I believe everything will get better. Just like in 1976, after Mao’s passing, many believed that was the end for China, yet we’ve come through. That’s why we need to believe in this nation—it is resilient and alive. However, the problem is that this person has blocked the path forward for the country and the Party.

With this current situation, If we don’t get rid of this person, we will witness the political system in free fall. We will wait for a hard landing, for society to collapse, and then start over. I think there is a large likelihood that that is going to happen. I personally think that by the end of this year, or the first half of next year, the economy will completely collapse.

Comment: I first wrote about this recording in the June 4 newsletter

On Wednesday someone posted to Youtube an alleged recording of comments by retired Central Party School Cai Xia at a "secret meeting of red nobility" in which she says that Xi needs to be replaced. It would be interesting to hear a recording of some of those “red nobility” discussing Ren Zhiqiang. I would not overstate the importance of these events in terms of actual pressure on Xi, but at the same time they will cause a reaction by the CCP system, and give glimpses into fissures that may keep the CCP security folks, if not Xi himself, up at night.

I will add that if Cai's audience were a group of "red nobility", it is worth asking how much that group of princelings really matters these days when it comes to CCP politics? Xi is one of them but he is obviously so much more now, far fewer current politicians owe their positions to patronage from one of these red families than did even in 2012 when Xi became general secretary, Xi has not shied away from punishing princelings, and the fact is a lot of people look at some princelings not as good for China but rather as corrupt parasites. Yes there is lots of grumbling, but so long as Xi is “holding military power in his hand, holding the entire Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission and the police in his hands”, as well as the discipline and inspection system, which he has used to target any elders and their family members who might cause him problems, what are the grumblers going to do, and how would they do it? And who else is the PLA going to listen to?


7. Disinformation

Disclosing networks of state-linked information operations we’ve removed-Twitter Blog

While this network is new, the technical links we used to identify the activity and attribute it to the PRC remain consistent with activity we initially identified and disclosed in August 2019. Our proactive removal of this network from Twitter is a direct result of the technical efforts we instituted after thoroughly studying and investigating past coordinated information operations from the PRC

Retweeting through the Great Firewall | Australian Strategic Policy Institute | ASPI

This report analyses a persistent, large-scale influence campaign linked to Chinese state actors on Twitter and Facebook...

Extrapolating from the takedown dataset, to which we had advanced access, given to us by Twitter, we have identified that this operation continues and has pivoted to try to weaponise the US Government’s response to current domestic protests and create the perception of a moral equivalence with the suppression of protests in Hong Kong.

FSI | Cyber | Internet Observatory - Analysis of June 2020 Twitter takedowns linked to China, Russia, and Turkey

Narratives around COVID-19 primarily praise China’s response to the virus, and occasionally contrast China’s response against that of the U.S. government or Taiwan’s response, or use the presence of the virus as a means to attack Hong Kong activists. The English-language content included pointed reiterations of the claim that China - not Taiwan - had a superior response to containing coronavirus.

Taiwan builds 'nerd immunity' to resist Chinese disinformation campaigns

Building public awareness and “inoculating” the 23-million-strong population to fake news from China has been one of the chief goals of Audrey Tang, Taiwan’s ground-breaking digital minister...

“When the majority of the population have this exposure and this inoculation, this builds nerd immunity,” Ms Tang, one of the world’s top open source software developers, told the Sunday Telegraph in an interview last week.

“It’s the Taiwan model. Just like we fight the coronavirus with no lockdown, we fight the infodemic with no takedown,” said the former hacker who, in 2016, made history as Taiwan’s youngest ever, and first transgender, minister at 35.


8. Rethinking Sun Tzu

Comment: I am curious what readers think about this essay. You will notice I don't quote Sun Tzu; beyond all the cliches about citing passages I also never felt like I really understood him. The author is John F. Sullivan, a former U.S. Army China Foreign Area Officer, currently a JD candidate at the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law.

Sun Tzu’s Fighting Words | RealClearDefense

These twin issues of ambiguous translation and lack of historical context combine to create an environment ripe for distortion. Nowhere is this problem more prevalent than in our amorphous belief that Sun Tzu emphasized non-violent competition through the iconic goal of winning without fighting. A close examination of the actual terminology used in The Art of War, coupled with an examination of the historical record supporting the text’s meaning, suggests that while engaging in pitched battles was certainly discouraged, killing the enemy in combat was far from a disfavored practice...

Sun Tzu devotees seeking to explain recent Chinese military actions such as its invasions of Tibet and Korea in 1950, the First and Second Taiwan Crises (1954-58), the Sino-Indian War of 1962, the Soviet border clashes of 1969, the Sino-Vietnamese War in 1979, or its crushing of peaceful protestors in 1989, struggle to concoct the tortured logic necessary to square these clearly offensive attacks with the supposed cultural preference of winning without fighting.[21] This proposed interpretation provides a more straightforward justification. In each of these cases, China simply chose to attack an opponent that had not yet formed its ranks in defense prior to the commencement of kinetic operations. Odds are that in its next military conflict, China will once again seek to follow this venerable blueprint. For those tasked with safeguarding their nation against any potential adversary, one piece of Sun Tzu’s unambiguous advice remains just as relevant today as it was millennia ago: “Do not depend on the enemy not coming; depend rather on being ready for him.”


Business, Economy and Trade

China’s Recovery Continues But Wary Consumers Show Vulnerability - Bloomberg Industrial output rose 4.4% from a year earlier, versus a median estimate of a 5.0% expansion. Retail sales fell 2.8%, compared to a projected 2.3% drop. Fixed-asset investment declined 6.3% in the first five months, versus a forecast 6% drop. The surveyed urban jobless rate fell to 5.9% from 6% the previous month.

China's foreign trade faces severe risks and challenges in 2020: commerce ministry - Reuters The risk of world economic recession is rising and domestic firms, especially small and medium-sized companies are facing mounting employment pressure, the ministry said in a report on its website, adding that China’s foreign trade will continue to be under pressure in the short to medium term.

China’s Economy Faces Another Hurdle: Darkened Movie Theaters - The New York Times Retail sales in May fell for the fifth month in a row, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said, dropping an unexpected 2.8 percent compared with May of last year. The fall came despite increases in sales of cars and groceries and a rise in online purchases, though it was a strong improvement over sharper drops in recent months.

Yicai-China’s Sichuan Trust Misses ToT Payments, Investor Says Sichuan Trust defaulted on the payment of at least four products at the end of last month or early this month, the anonymous investor said. According to industry standards, a trust contract usually defines it as a breach of contract if the product payment is late by more than 10 working days.

数百名投资人现场维权 四川信托遭遇兑付危机_金融频道_财新网 Caixin reports that hundreds of investors have protested the default

China to issue 100 bln yuan of special government bonds for COVID-19 control - Xinhua The MOF will issue two batches of fixed-rate special bonds, including 50 billion yuan of five-year bonds and 50 billion yuan of seven-year bonds, the MOF said in a statement.

Tesla's China car registrations up 150% month on month in May - Reuters Tesla’s China registrations, including imported cars, grew to 11,565 in May from 4,633 units in April.

Economic Watch: China's automobile industry picks up steam - Xinhua Besides dampening the auto industry for a period, the epidemic also ironically spurred new demand for the industry, as consumers realized the importance of owning private cars. Nearly half of interviewees, having had no plans of purchasing cars before the outbreak of COVID-19, said they might or were going to buy cars, according to a survey conducted by market information service provider J.D.Power.

Trending in China: Controversy as Woman Claims 3m Yuan Insurance for Flight Delays - Caixin A woman claimed 3 million yuan ($423,600) in insurance payouts on almost 900 instances of flight delay. China’s domestic passenger flights are notorious for being late. According to a recent notice issued by Nanjing police, the woman, surnamed Li, fabricated proof of flight delays in order to receive compensation, and has now been charged with insurance fraud.

AmEx Wins Clearing License for China’s $27 Trillion Market - Bloomberg The People’s Bank of China granted a network clearing license to American Express’s China joint venture, Express (Hangzhou) Technology Services Co., the central bank said in a statement on Saturday. The company, which won initial approval in 2018, is required to start the clearing service within six months, according to the statement. 中国人民银行向连通公司核发银行卡清算业务许可证

China Home Prices Up Most in Seven Months as Economy Reopens - Bloomberg New-home prices in 70 major cities, excluding state-subsidized housing, increased 0.49% last month, National Bureau of Statistics data released Monday showed. That’s up from a 0.42% gain in April.

China Speeds Up IPO Reform, Widens Daily Cap for Some Stocks - Bloomberg Companies can apply for IPOs on Shenzhen’s ChiNext board under newly relaxed rules from Monday, the China Securities Regulatory Commission said on Friday, which also announced a streamlined process for applications. Daily moves for the first five days of trading will no longer be subject to price limits, according to a separate statement by the Shenzhen exchange

独家|美联航、达美航空获复航 中美航班数将翻倍_公司频道_财新网 Caixin reports that that both United and Delta Airlines will be allowed to resume some US-China flights

David Cameron pushes ahead with troubled $1bn China fund | Financial Times When announced 30 months ago, it was billed as Mr Cameron’s most ambitious commercial undertaking since leaving office in July 2016 after losing the EU referendum.  People close to the former prime minister told the Financial Times that he was still pursuing the fund. “It would be wrong to say [it has been] abandoned,” said one. // Comment: 30 months to raise $1B?

In Guangzhou, Migrants Return to a Harsh New Labor Market - SixthTone This is the third installment of Unraveled, a series of special reports from a Chinese clothing hub struggling to cope with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak

Lay's China Ups its Snack Game With a New Range of Unique Localized Chip Flavors | the Beijinger For example, the new flavors include salted duck egg and roast pork zongzi from Wu Fang Zhai, marinated duck neck from Zhou Hei Ya, Beijing duck from what is seemingly an endorsement from the Beijing tourism administration, and the strangest of the lot, crisps the flavor of White Rabbit candy.

Bipartisan bill would restrict purchases of airport equipment from Chinese companies | TheHill The supporters pointed to specific concerns over Chinese-owned company CIMC-Tianda, which manufactures passenger boarding bridges. The company was previously found guilty of industrial espionage by a U.S. federal court. Worries about the use of the company's products at Miami International Airport were raised in 2019 by a group of Republican lawmakers, including Diaz-Balart.

King Dollar Is a Deadly but Dangerous Trump Card in U.S.-China Fight - WSJ if China keeps growing faster than the U.S. and can establish a record as a reliable counterparty, more investors may begin to question why they should buy lower yielding U.S. debt—particularly those based in developing nations that already have China as their largest trading partner and may not be adverse to doing more trade in yuan. China already does about 15% of its foreign trade in yuan. And weaponizing the dollar, as the U.S. has increasingly been inclined to do in recent years, risks harming its appeal as a haven asset.

Politics and Law

Xi's article on Civil Code to be published in Qiushi- Xinhua An article by President Xi Jinping on the full recognition of the significance of the promulgation and implementation of China's Civil Code and better protection of the people's legitimate rights and interests in accordance with law will be published Tuesday...The Civil Code is of great significance to advancing law-based governance in all fields, speeding up the building of a socialist country based on the rule of law, developing the socialist market economy and consolidating the basic socialist economic system, according to the article. It is also important for adhering to the people-centered development philosophy, protecting the people's rights and interests in accordance with law, promoting the development of China's human rights cause as well as modernizing the country's system and capacity for governance, the article adds.

The article 充分认识颁布实施民法典重大意义 依法更好保障人民合法权益

Translation: Tort Liability – Section 7 – Civil Code of the People’S Republic of China by George W. Conk :: SSRN

[视频]汪洋在新疆调研_CCTV Wang Yang makes an inspection tour of Xinjiang

China must prioritise innovation to avoid being ‘strangled’ by US in next five years, top researcher says | South China Morning Post Zhang Xiaojing, deputy head of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ (CASS) Institute of Economics, said Beijing needs to focus inwardly given the country’s more challenging development environment – from the hostile attitude from across the Pacific, the global recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic to the major domestic economic risks...The proposals and suggestions from CASS, one of China’s top economic think tanks, will be sent to the office of Vice-Premier Liu He, President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser, who will finalise a draft of the new five-year plan that will be submitted for discussion later this year.

He Xiangjian: China arrests five after attempt to kidnap billionaire - BBC News Five people have been arrested in China after an attempt to kidnap one of the country's richest men, He Xiangjian. Mr He is the billionaire founder of the Midea Group, one of the world's biggest home appliance manufacturers.

Chinese activists held for posting censored articles to face trial on criminal charges | South China Morning Post Chen Mei and Cai Wei were picked up by the police in Beijing on April 19 after publishing articles about the health crisis on GitHub, the world’s largest open-source website.

China’s anti-graft watchdog investigates police chief of scandal-ridden Chongqing | South China Morning Post Without giving details, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said Deng Huilin, 55, was under investigation.

Foreign and Defense Affairs

78-years old former Russian navy captain, now professor on Arctic, accused of working for Chinese intelligence | The Independent Barents Observer Professor Valery Mitko is President of the St. Petersburg Arctic Social Science Academy and got his education from the Higher Naval School of Radio Electronics in the 1960ties...State run news agency TASS, quoting officials familiar with the case, informs that the investigation believes that Mitko gave China information on research on hydroacoustics and submarine detection methods.

Chinese diplomat in Pakistan links Ladakh standoff to Article 370, deletes tweet later Wang Xianfeng, a press officer at the Chinese embassy in Islamabad according to his Twitter bio, put out a tweet Thursday that said: “India’s actions of unilaterally changing the status quo of Kashmir and continuing to exacerbate regional tensions have posed a challenge to the sovereignty of China and Pakistan and made the India-Pakistan relations and China-India relations more complex.”

Watch | 'This Could Be Massive Escalation by China to Fundamentally Alter Status Quo': Former NSA we are seeing “a massive escalation by China and an attempt to fundamentally change the status quo,” says former National Security Advisor, Shivshankar Menon...Menon, who demitted office as NSA in 2014 and also served as foreign secretary (2006-2009) and Indian ambassador to China (2000-2003), says the present situation is “very different to the past” and not comparable to the sort of incidents that happened in 2013 or 2017. As he put it, “On this occasion China is occupying what it has never occupied before.”

中国人民解放军向6国军队提供防疫物资援助 - 中国军网 PLA continues pandemic supply donations to Eastern European and Caribbean countries, including Belarus, Serbia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Northern Macedonia, and Trinidad and Tobago.

逼近实战!战机一次升空完成多型弹药射击-新华网 An Eastern Theater Command attack helicopter unit conducts a live-fire exercise over the ocean. A Central TC unit did the same last week. Uncommon training for ground force aviation assets; training would likely for Taiwan, SCS, Diaoyu, etc. contingencies (as well as signaling.)

2020年全军面向社会公开招考文职人员公告 - 中华人民共和国国防部 Lots of articles lately encouraging civilian workers in the PLA; perhaps a way to curb unemployment. This one discuses the entrance test for PLA civilian employment, opening it up to include gradates from 2020 and prior years. In order to take the exam, applicants have to pass conditions dealing with politics, educational background (advantages for applicants from border or island regions, children of martyrs, etc.), qualifications (e.g. technical), physical condition, age (no one over 35 for lower level managers and entry level specialized positions; no one over 45 for specialized management or mid-level specialized positions), and other (other requirements based on the unit.)

China in brace position as Five Eyes form united front | South China Morning Post Analysts said that with China and the alliance’s members clashing on a range of fronts – from the handling of the coronavirus pandemic to Hong Kong and 5G technology – there was a growing understanding within the Five Eyes that taking on China alone or one at a time would not work. But the concerted efforts of Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States has not gone unnoticed, with state media highlighting action taken by the group.

Playing hardball with China works – the west is right to move to a 'constrainment' strategy-The Conversation In the mid-1990s, the renowned international relations expert Gerald Segal suggested an alternative. He called it “constrainment”. Segal described this as a policy aimed at constraining the CCP, which intended to: Tell China that the outside world has interests that will be defended by means of incentives for good behaviour, deterrence of bad behaviour, and punishment when deterrence fails.

Japan pushes for more top UN positions to counter China's sway - Nikkei Asian Review The Japanese government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party will centralize planning for executive personnel placements at the United Nations and other international organizations to counter China's growing influence. The aim is to identify strategically important international posts in fields such as economics and security, and fill them with Japanese who have experience as cabinet ministers.

Beijing denies Karm Gilespie death sentence link - The Australian Beijing has denied a link between the death sentence handed down to Australian actor Karm Gilespie for drug-smuggling charges and strained diplomatic relations between China and Australia.

Canadian court document sparks new wave of anger in China - Global Times Fresh revelations from Canadian court documents that the country's spy agency was directly involved in the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in 2018 sparked a new wave of indignation among Chinese public, with many calling for Beijing to take forceful countermeasures to punish Ottawa. On Monday, Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry, called the latest document new proof that Meng's arrest was driven completely by political motives and Canada played the role of an "accomplice" to the US in the latter's relentless crackdown on the Chinese telecom firm.

Britain can't afford a complete Huawei cutoff: experts - Global Times There is little chance of the UK eventually opting to entirely phase out Huawei equipment, as there are no alternatives to the Chinese telecom giant's 5G offerings as measured by both technological strength and affordability, Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Beijing-based Information Consumption Alliance, told the Global Times on Monday.

Xi says China ready to strengthen anti-pandemic cooperation with Laos - Xinhua In a verbal message sent to Bounnhang Vorachith, general secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party (LPRP) Central Committee and president of Laos, Xi said he believes that with joint efforts of China and Laos as well as the international community, a final victory will surely be achieved in the battle against the pandemic.

China to launch last BDS-3 satellite on Tuesday - Xinhua China plans to launch the last satellite of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) on Tuesday to complete the construction of the global constellation.

China, Myanmar establish fast track for essential personnel - Xinhua Zhao Lijian said at a press briefing that a number of necessary personnel in oil and gas, power, and infrastructure projects will be exchanged between the countries in a two-way, return-to-work initiative known as a "fast-track lane".

China's Military-Civil Fusion Strategy > Air University (AU) > China Aerospace Studies Institute Article Display Template To date, most surveys and analysis of MCF have focused on concrete examples, of how it is or is not working. These are important aspects to understand and study. However, what this report does is focus on how Military- Civil Fusion fits in to the CCP’s and the PRC’s overall national strategy; how it fits in with the other pieces which the CCP uses to guide the development path of the PRC; and rather than “looking down” to focus on the implementation of the program, but rather to “look up” to the strategies and policies that form the connective tissues within the greater system.

Fifty-four scientists have lost their jobs as a result of NIH probe into foreign ties | Science | AAAS Some 54 scientists have resigned or been fired as a result of an ongoing investigation by the National Institutes of Health into the failure of NIH grantees to disclose financial ties to foreign governments. In 93% of those cases, the hidden funding came from a Chinese institution.

Tech and Media

Nokia to Deliver Around 10% of China Unicom's 5G Core Network | Reuters FINNISH telecom equipment maker Nokia said on Monday that China Unicom had selected it to supply around 10% share of its 5G core network, confirming an earlier statement to Reuters by Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri.

Scholars raise concerns about using Zoom to teach about China Sara Newland, an assistant professor of government at Smith College, said she expects at least some students to be participating in her Chinese politics class remotely from their homes in China this fall.

Zoom hits political turbulence in Washington, Beijing; lobbyists ready - Reuters Even before Zoom ran into criticism from U.S. lawmakers about its relations with China this week, it had prepared itself for political problems. The California-based company recently brought on board several lobbyists, including a former Trump campaign official, and added a former White House official to its board.

Qualcomm Ventures Bets on China’s 5G Future With Investments in Three Startups - Caixin The three new investments were made in the fields of Internet of Things (IoT), AI and 5G application into startups including Redtea Mobile, a provider of eSIM technology and device connectivity solutions, Tencent-backed cloud gaming startup Dalongyun, and Tensor Technology, which uses AI to develop an intelligent driver monitor system.

Alibaba Executive Jiang Fan Steps Down from Legal Person, President and General Manager of Ali Health’s Subsidiary- PingWest Alibaba’s executive Jiangfan, who was demoted due to personal scandal in April, stepped down from legal person, president and general manager of Ali Health Information Technology Ltd’s Subsidiary, named Hangzhou Defu Health Management Co. Ltd, according to JRJ.com, citing Tianyancha, Chinese leading search platform focused on business enterprises, shareholders, and affiliate relationships.

Bytedance thins overseas apps further with closure of video app Vigo · TechNode Vigo has already ceased operations in Brazil and the Middle East and will shut down in India by October 31, according to a company statement on Monday.

Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

Truck, Workshop Explosions Kill 20, Injure 172 - Caixin A tanker truck explosion in Zhejiang province on Saturday has killed 20 and hospitalized 172 as of Monday morning, with two dozen severely injured, the local government said...The company that owned the truck, Rui'an Ruiyang Hazardous Article Transport, has been penalized 10 times over the last two and a half years for various reasons, including “failing to implement the production safety management system as stipulated,” public data shows.

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

State Council issues guideline on fiscal duties in ecological environment - Gov.cn

The document - 国务院办公厅印发《生态环境领域中央与地方财政事权和支出责任划分改革方案》_滚动新闻_中国政府网