PBoC no longer avoiding "flood-like stimulus"?; New cases in Wuhan; US-China trade deal; Journalist tit-for-tat continues

The top items today’s newsletter look at:

  • The economy, and signs from the PBoC that more stimulus is on the way as the focus expands from the “six stabilities” to include the “six ensures” and especially to ensure employment and avoid the potential social stability problems from mass unemployment;

  • The claims that the virus leaked from a lab in Wuhan remain lacking in conclusive evidence, or support from key US allies;

  • There are new cases in Wuhan as well as an outbreak in Shulan, Jilin that has led to a lockdown of that city;

  • Hong Kong saw another round of protests and police crackdowns over the weekend. As the city returns to normal expect those protests to continue, especially if there are moves at the upcoming NPC meeting to push forward national security legislation;

  • The grim battle over journalists continues. Australian Chris Buckley, star reporter for the New York Times, was denied a new visa and had to leave the country. The US enacted a new rule limiting some PRC reporters to 90 day visas with the possibility of renewal. None have been denied yet, but it is very difficult to build a career or a life here with the prospect of being tossed out in a few weeks;

  • The top US and China trade negotiators spoke Friday and while the official readouts sounded pleasant, the prospects for fulfillment of the deal look increasingly tenuous;

  • CCP propaganda attacks on US officials continued since the last issue, with some special ire directed at Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger for his May 4th speech. Congrats to Matt.

Thanks for reading.

The Essential Eight

1. The economy

PBOC Vows More Support for Coronavirus-Hit Economy - Caixin

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has previously vowed to “avoid flood-like stimulus” and stick to targeted measures to bolster the economy, but the phrase was absent from its first-quarter monetary policy implementation report (link in Chinese) released Sunday. The central bank said its policies would put more emphasis on growth and employment and reiterated its pledge to adopt a “more flexible” monetary policy to counter the “unprecedented” impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the economy...

“In response to the problems caused by insufficient demand, reduced consumption, business difficulties, and increased employment pressure triggered by the coronavirus epidemic, we will intensify counter-cyclical adjustment of macro policies, firmly implement the strategy of expanding domestic demand, and comprehensively promote epidemic prevention and control and economic and social development,” the central bank said. The PBOC will “place supporting the restoration and development of the real economy in an even more prominent position.... maintain abundant liquidity and support the real economy, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, to overcome the difficulties,” the report said

The Coronavirus Sees China’s Local Governments Binge on Off-the-Books Debt - WSJ $$

Off-balance-sheet entities are selling bonds to finance projects such as investing in warehouses, expanding underground metro networks, building data centers or renovating shantytowns. These bonds are ostensibly an arm’s-length way for cities and other levels of local government to fund infrastructure programs.

These vehicles—known to investors as local government financing vehicles or LGFVs—raised 1.46 trillion yuan ($206 billion) in January to April this year, according to S&P Global Ratings. That is the busiest start to the year in the rating company’s records, which go back to 2005.

China faces historic test as pandemic stokes fears of looming unemployment crisis | South China Morning Post

“Because of the US-China trade war, the downward pressure on China's economy has increased significantly, and the employment situation has continued to deteriorate,” wrote Ouyang Jun and Qin Fang, two economists from Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu, in an article late last month.

“After the outbreak of coronavirus, the already difficult task of stabilising employment has become more complicated and hard to manage.”

While anecdotes of business closures and lay-offs are not hard to find on the ground, the true state of unemployment in China is still a matter of debate...

Among the groups not adequately counted are China’s 149 million self-employed business owners and 174 million migrant workers, who regularly travel from their rural hometowns to find employment in cities.

Comment: Employment is the first of the “6 ensures”.

Why China Is Withholding Stimulus Amid Coronavirus-Sparked Downturn - WSJ $$

“A blunt and indiscriminate stimulus would create massive moral hazard,” writes Houze Song, an economist at MacroPolo. “Beijing seems to assess that the impact of the pandemic will percolate for some time and that a powerful stimulus in the short term is a waste of ammunition when preparing for a protracted battle.”

China’s Credit Growth Better Than Expected on Easing Policy - Bloomberg

“China is turning on the spigots. Credit is flowing freely again, spurred by a heavy dose of liquidity injections by the central bank,” said Frederic Neumann, co-head of Asian economic research at Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corp Ltd. in Hong Kong. “Monetary officials have started to lift the brakes, worried more about downsides to growth and employment than frothy asset markets. The PBoC will likely maintain its accommodative stance for a while, and much more will need to be done on the fiscal front as well.”

China's auto market rebounds in April as work resumption quickens - Xinhua

Automobile sales increased by 4.4 percent year on year to 2.07 million units last month, ending a contraction streak over the past 21 months.

Output hit 2.1 million units, up 2.3 percent year on year, the data showed.

During the first four months, China's auto production and sales came in at 5.6 million units and 5.76 million units, down 33.4 percent and 31.1 percent year on year, respectively.

Automakers Call for Stimulus as Industry Navigates Coronavirus Carnage - Caixin

CAAM asked for a cut to the tax on new car purchases on April 10, but it appears to have fallen on deaf ears.

Chinese premier solicits opinions on draft government work report - Xinhua

Premier Li Keqiang on Monday chaired a seminar to solicit opinions from representatives of non-Communist parties, the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, and persons without party affiliation on the draft government work report.

Efforts should be made to ensure employment, people's livelihood, the development of market entities, food and energy security, stable operation of the industrial and supply chains, and smooth functioning at the community level, Li said. [The 6 ensures]

Efforts should also be made to ensure stability in the six key areas, namely, stability in employment, finance, foreign trade, foreign investment, domestic investment, and market expectations, he said. [The 6 stabilities]

Comment: So expect to be hearing a lot about the "six ensures" and the "six stabilities" in the work report at the upcoming NPC meeting

China’s Robust April Credit Growth Shows Policy Support Working - Bloomberg

Aggregate financing increased by 3.09 trillion yuan ($436 billion) last month, compared to a median estimate of 2.78 trillion yuan. That was less than the record expansion of 5.15 trillion in the previous month, but higher than previous readings in April in comparable data back to 2017. Financial institutions offered 1.7 trillion yuan of new yuan loans in the month, versus a projected 1.3 trillion yuan. The growth of outstanding aggregate financing picked up to 12% in April, compared with 11.5% growth in the previous month

2. Virus origins

Report says cellphone data suggests October shutdown at Wuhan lab, but experts are skeptical

A private analysis of cellphone location data purports to show that a high-security Wuhan laboratory studying coronaviruses shut down in October, three sources briefed on the matter told NBC News. U.S. spy agencies are reviewing the document, but intelligence analysts examined and couldn't confirm a similar theory previously, two senior officials say.

The report — obtained by the London-based NBC News Verification Unit — says there was no cellphone activity in a high-security portion of the Wuhan Institute of Virology from Oct. 7 through Oct. 24, 2019, and that there may have been a "hazardous event" sometime between Oct. 6 and Oct. 11.

It offers no direct evidence of a shutdown, or any proof for the theory that the virus emerged accidentally from the lab.

The report sounds sloppy:

The document obtained by NBC News also says that an annual international conference planned for early November in the same lower-security portion of the WIV that Vlak visited appears to have been "cancelled and never took place." The conference actually went forward as planned. A second version of the document viewed by NBC News is annotated to say that the conference did proceed.

U.S. Pushes EU to Back Inquiry Into China’s Handling of Coronavirus - WSJ

The pressure from Washington for a robust international inquiry into China’s management of the pandemic leaves the EU in what has become an increasingly familiar bind for the bloc, seeking a middle way between two rival global powers.

“In my opinion, we need to look independently at what happened, standing aside from the battlefield between China and the United States, who blame each other for the events in a bid that has only exacerbated their rivalry,” EU foreign-policy chief Josep Borrell said in a French newspaper interview last weekend.

US claims of China coronavirus lab leak an ‘attempt to distract’ from Trump’s own mistakes: Germany | AFP

An internal memo prepared for Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer “classifies the American claims as a calculated attempt to distract” from Washington’s own failings, Der Spiegel reported.

US President Donald Trump is attempting “to distract from his own mistakes and direct Americans’ anger at China”, Spiegel cited from the document. ..

The Chinese Lab Theory - The New York Times

Well, what happens next is there’s some intelligence that comes in on March 30, some new intelligence that Chinese officials have discussed the possibility that the virus came from the lab...

Yeah. So this piece of intelligence changes some minds of the people who have seen it. Some people who were skeptical of the lab theory start to see it as a real possibility. The president is really intrigued. Grenell convenes a review. He brings together the various intelligence agencies to discuss what they know. They actually conclude that they can’t make a conclusion. They don’t know where it came from. There are open-source science articles. There are questions about the safety of the lab. There is this very idea that we were talking about, about the coincidence. But there’s no smoking gun. All the intelligence agencies agree there’s just not one hard piece of evidence that says, there, this shows that it came from a lab.

Trump administration cuts funding for coronavirus researcher Peter Daszak, jeopardizing possible COVID-19 cure - CBS News

Peter Daszak: This politicization of science is really damaging. You know, the conspiracy theories out there have essentially closed down communication between scientists in China and scientists in the U.S. We need that communication in an outbreak to learn from them how they control it so we can control it better. It's sad to say, but it will probably cost lives. By sort of narrow-mindedly focusing in on ourselves, or on labs, or on certain cultural politics, we miss the real enemy.

Reality Check of US Allegations Against China on COVID-19 - Xinhua

23 allegations

3. The outbreak

Contagion cluster prompts swift action - China Daily

Shulan in Jilin province, has raised its COVID-19 emergency level after a cluster of 12 cases were reported, the provincial epidemic prevention and control office said on Sunday.

The Health Commission of Jilin Province reported 11 new, locally transmitted, confirmed cases in Shulan on Sunday.

The province's COVID-19 epidemic control team categorized Shulan on Sunday as a high-risk epidemic region, the only one in the country...

A total of 254 related close contacts have been placed in quarantine, the provincial health commission said.

All residential communities and villages in Shulan have been locked down since Saturday morning, the local epidemic control department said.

Families are allowed to send one member outside each day to make purchases. Residents must register information and scan health codes when entering and leaving their communities, and masks and temperature checks are mandatory. Visitors are not allowed.

China’s Latest Regional Flare-Up Highlights Challenge of Emerging From Lockdown - Caixin

Shulan’s outbreak also spilled over to Shenyang, capital of Liaoning, where health officials reported one Covid-19 case on Sunday. The 23-year-old man’s infection is related to the Shulan cluster, Shenyang’s health authorities said. The man tested positive for the virus on Saturday, after earlier this month taking a high-speed train from Jilin City, which administers Shulan, to Shenyang...

Shulan’s cluster is not the only one China has seen in recent weeks. Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province and the epicenter of the country’s epidemic, reported on Monday that it had found five new cases of Covid-19.

That cluster centers on an 89-year-old man, who tested positive for the virus on Saturday. All six cases were previously classed as asymptomatic, but were reclassified as “confirmed” after the people began to show symptoms of the disease. That came after the city reported no new confirmed infections for a month.


the official in charge of the Wuhan neighborhood that has the new cases has been fired

China's Wuhan plans city-wide testing for coronavirus over period of 10 days: sources - Reuters

The Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of China’s coronavirus outbreak, plans to conduct city-wide nucleic acid testing over a period of 10 days, according to an internal document seen by Reuters and two sources familiar with the situation.

Yicai - Yiling Pharma Soars After Denying Reports Its Covid-19 TCM Drug Can Cause Cancer

Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical’s stock price rebounded strongly today after the firm rebutted accusations carried in foreign media that its traditional Chinese medicine capsules Lianhua Qingwen, used in the treatment of Covid-19, can cause cancer.

State Council issues guideline on regular COVID-19 prevention - Gov.vn

The testing range should be further expanded. Key groups, such as close contacts of confirmed cases, people entering China, patients with a fever, new inpatients and those accompanying them, medical workers, port quarantine staff, prison staff and workers in nursing houses should all be tested. Qualified commercial testing institutions are encouraged to provide testing services.

Big data should play a more important role, the circular said. The national "health code" network should be popularized and testing results should be shared online in a timely manner.

Schools to reopen to over 84,000 junior three students in Beijing - Xinhua

Over 84,200 students in their final year of junior high school in Beijing will resume class starting from Monday, May 11 as the COVID-19 epidemic is under control, the municipal education commission said Friday.

Beijing issues smart thermometers for returning students - Xinhua

Beijing Municipal Education Commission said that returning students have been provided with smart thermometers, in the form of wristbands, to monitor their body temperatures and report abnormal body temperatures in real-time.

Data collected by the smart thermometers is sent to the teacher's mobile phone. The teacher is responsible for uploading the data to a monitoring platform, which could also be shared with students' parents and other related educational departments.

Beijing has 67 nucleic acid testing institutions: spokesperson - Xinhua

With more testing institutions, personnel and equipment, Beijing has expanded its daily capacity of nucleic acid testing to some 48,000 samples, said Gao Xiaojun, the spokesperson with the commission, at a press conference held on Monday.


Caixin featured story said China is running short in both testing kits and lab capacity as students are getting back schools and workers are returning to factories. More tests are needed to make sure they are safe. The manufacturers are producing at full capacities and the government may have to include more private labs to fill the gap. 

4. Hong Kong

230 arrests and pepper spray in Mong Kok, as Hong Kong lawmaker injured during arrest and journalist 'choked' | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

Around 230 people were arrested on Sunday, including a pro-democracy lawmaker, as police faced accusations of brutality during a protest dispersal operation in Mong Kok.

Carrie Lam blames Hong Kong education system for fuelling protests | The Guardian

Live streams of the demonstrations showed police appearing to shoot pepper balls inside a mall where people were shopping and dining with families, pinning a child to the ground, and detaining two student journalists aged 12 and 16. Pandemic prevention laws were also used to issue fines against people for gathering.

Hong Kong police denied they arrested the two children, saying the minors were taken to the police station for their own safety, where their guardians were called to collect them. The mother of the younger boy told media police had threatened to fine her if he was seen again...

Hospital officials told RTHK News 18 people presented to emergency rooms with injuries sustained during protests on Sunday, including the legislator Roy Kwong who was shown on live streams being forcefully held to the ground by police in Mong Kok, and a journalist who alleged a police officer had strangled her neck from behind for several seconds.

Students cannot be 'poisoned' with 'false, biased' information says Hong Kong's Carrie Lam, vowing action | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has claimed that students should be protected from being “poisoned” as she claimed that “false and biased” information had spread on campuses. She also rejected criticism on her administration’s Covid-19 measures and warned against legislative filibustering and “foreign interference.”

In an interview with state-run newspaper Ta Kung Pao [特首專訪 ] published on Monday, the city’s leader said education cannot become a “doorless chicken coop” without regulation. She said that – in addition to the subject of Liberal Studies – other subjects could be “infiltrated,” urging the Education Bureau and schools to act as gatekeepers.

Beijing should help HK boost national education: DAB - RTHK

The DAB party says it will use meetings of the National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) this month to urge Beijing to help boost national education in Hong Kong.

The SAR's biggest pro-establishment party said on Monday that some young people in the city lack a clear concept of the rule of law, and they don't know enough Chinese history.

HKSAR gov't urges underage persons to stay away from high-risk protests - Xinhua

A spokesman for China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government on Monday urged underage persons to stay away from high-risk protests and stop participating in any news reporting activities at scenes of protests.

Why Beijing’s offices in Hong Kong cannot be guilty of interference, despite the legal community’s misgivings | South China Morning Post - Regina Ip

Both the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office and the liaison office were established before 1997 and so cannot be regarded as departments of the central government established after 1997 under Article 22(1) of the Basic Law

The two offices have legitimate power and responsibility to express concern over developments in Hong Kong or issue warnings


Xinhua started a series of articles to “look back” and review the protests in Hong Kong last year. The article again defends the government’s decision for trying to pass the extradition bill, and said the Hong Kong people and the students had fallen for the trap laid by the American-backed opposition who want to create chaos in the city.

5. More journalist restrictions

U.S. Hits Back at China With New Visa Restrictions on Journalists - The New York Times

The Department of Homeland Security said on Friday that Chinese journalists working for non-American news outlets would be limited to 90-day work visas — a significant reduction from the open-ended, single-entry stays that the agency previously granted to most journalists with Chinese passports and a valid entry visa. They will be allowed to apply for extensions, although those will also be limited to 90 days.

With comments from yours truly, echoing what I have written in this newsletter more than once:

Bill Bishop, the publisher of an online China newsletter, Sinocism, said it was not useful to impose harsh restrictions on Chinese journalists in the United States.

“The party doesn’t care nearly as much about the journalists as it does about distribution and platforms that allow it to further the goal of increasing the P.R.C. global discourse power and allowing it to push its messaging globally,” he said, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

“But going after distribution and platforms access has First Amendment ramifications,” he added.

The DHS rule

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on May 11, 2020

Reuters: The US Department of Homeland Security issued new guidelines, restricting visas for Chinese-origin journalists to 90 days with possibility for extension. What's China's response to this move and is China planning any retaliation?

Zhao Lijian: We deplore and reject the erroneous move by the US side, which is an escalation of its political suppression of Chinese media. For a while, the US, entrenched in the Cold War mentality and ideological bias, launched one round of suppression after another against Chinese media. In December 2018, it demanded a Chinese media organization's US office to register as "foreign agent". More than 20 Chinese journalists' visa applications have been denied without cause since 2018. In February 2020, the US designated five Chinese media organizations in the US as "foreign missions" and then placed a cap on the number of their staff, in effect expelling 60 Chinese journalists. Now it is resorting to discriminatory restrictive visa measures, severely disrupting Chinese media's normal reporting in the US and affecting bilateral people-to-people and cultural exchange.

The US keeps talking about reciprocity. However, most American journalists in China are issued press cards and residence permits with one-year validity. In contrast, under the new rule issued by the US, Chinese reporters can only get visas allowing a stay of not more than 90 days. Is there any reciprocity in this? The US prides itself on press freedom and media transparency, but why is it so afraid of Chinese media's reports?

Comment: I think this is a bad move by DHS but Zhao Lijian’s whinging about being the victim and lack of reciprocity really ring hollow. The PRC started this mess over journalists, and it can broadcast and distribute its propaganda inside America, while American outlets have no such access inside China. 解铃还是系铃人 “let him who tied the bell on the tiger take it off”, but the relevant organs in Beijing may have no interest in untying this bell and instead will be quite happy if there are barely any American reporters left in China. That is why the US needs an asymmetric approach to this problem, one that does not make things more difficult for American reporters in China without at least significantly raising the cost for the PRC leadership in areas it actually cares about.

Meanwhile, good PRC journalists in the US will be impacted by the new DHS rule, as several discuss in - No Country for Chinese Journalists - Chinese Storytellers

The current visa restriction targets journalists on the I visa in an effort to thwart Chinese state media operating in the U.S., but it also affects mainland Chinese journalists working for commercial Chinese media, like Caixin, Yicai, and Sina, as well as non-American international media, such as the BBC and Reuters. It is the latest round in the escalating tit-for-tat media spat between Washington and Beijing starting in February. Since then, the U.S. has designated five U.S.-based Chinese state-run news organizations as foreign government functionaries and capped the number of Chinese citizens allowed to be employed by those organizations in the U.S. The Chinese government, in retaliation, has banished more than a dozen American journalists working for The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. In fact, China has been harassing and expelling foreign journalists for years.

Chinese journalists have become the primary victim of the confrontation. In March, Chinese authorities forced at least six Chinese staff working for American news outlets in China to resign, which received little international attention. Across the Pacific, each new restriction the Trump administration puts forth endangers the job security and prospects of numerous Chinese journalists. They also deal a huge blow to the entire community and worsen racial-profiling in the journalism industry.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, China forces out foreign reporters - ABC News

After 24 years reporting in China, Chris Buckley — a highly regarded and experienced foreign journalist — has been forced to leave the country he has devoted his career to amid a worsening crackdown on foreign media.

The Australian reporter for the New York Times left Beijing with his wife on Friday bound for Sydney after China's Government refused to renew his press card when it expired in mid-February while he was reporting in Wuhan..

Aside from the 19 foreign journalists recently forced to leave, dozens are stuck outside the country waiting for visas.

At least four Australian journalists working for different media outlets have been waiting for months.

6. US-China trade

If the PRC looks like it will not fulfill the 2020 purchase commitments, and for maximum political expediency for President Trump to fulfill them before the November election, will Trump decide that there is more political gain to scrapping the deal and blaming China?

Trump Says He’s ‘Torn’ on China Deal as Advisers Signal Harmony on Trade - The New York Times

“Look, I’m having a very hard time with China,” Mr. Trump said in an interview on Fox & Friends, lamenting how recent economic disruptions tied to the coronavirus had overridden “a great trade deal.”

When asked whether the deal might be falling apart, Mr. Trump was noncommittal.

“I have not decided yet, if you want to know the truth,” he said.

The top trade representatives had a call Friday. The official readouts differed, with the Chinese one more equivocal about “meeting their obligations”.

USTR and Treasury Statement on Call With China | United States Trade Representative

Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, and Ambassador Robert Lighthizer participated in a conference call today. They discussed economic and trade issues, including the recently concluded Phase One agreement. The parties shared updates on COVID-19 and their assessments of its effects on economic growth as well as the measures their countries are taking to provide support to their economies.

The parties discussed the ongoing process of implementing the Phase One agreement between the two countries that went into effect February 14. Both sides agreed that good progress is being made on creating the governmental infrastructures necessary to make the agreement a success. They also agreed that in spite of the current global health emergency, both countries fully expect to meet their obligations under the agreement in a timely manner. Meetings required by the agreement have been conducted via conference call and will continue on a regular basis.

Chinese, U.S. chief trade negotiators hold phone talks - Xinhua

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chief of the Chinese side of the China-U.S. comprehensive economic dialogue, held a phone conversation with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Friday morning.

The two sides agreed that they should enhance macroeconomic and public health cooperation, create a favorable atmosphere and conditions for the implementation of the China-U.S. phase-one trade deal, and strive for positive outcomes.

They also agreed to maintain communication and coordination

Xinhua Chinese readout - 刘鹤与莱特希泽、姆努钦通话_国务院副总理刘鹤_中国政府网

新华社北京5月8日电 5月8日上午,中共中央政治局委员、国务院副总理、中美全面经济对话中方牵头人刘鹤应约与美贸易代表莱特希泽、财政部长姆努钦通话。双方表示应加强宏观经济和公共卫生合作,努力为中美第一阶段经贸协议的落实创造有利氛围和条件,推动取得积极成效。双方同意保持沟通协调。


Taoran Notes is back to comment on the Liu He-Lighthizer/Mnuchin call, reiterates that cooperation is the only correct choice for US China relations, says that the agreement from the call to "加强宏观经济和公共卫生合作,努力为中美第一阶段经贸协议的落实创造有利氛围和条件,推动取得积极成效 The two sides agreed that they should enhance macroeconomic and public health cooperation, create a favorable atmosphere and conditions for the implementation of the China-U.S. phase-one trade deal, and strive for positive outcomes" is very important.

The official Xinhua readout contained that language, the official USTR readout did not

Calls rise in China to rework deal with US: sources - Global Times

Inside China, dissatisfaction with the phase one agreement has been growing because China has made compromise for the deal to press ahead. 

In the past, some trade negotiators believed that it would be worthwhile to make certain compromise to reach a partial truce in the 22-month trade war and ease escalating tensions. However, given US President Donald Trump's hyping an anti-China conspiracy that aims to cover up his mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, advisors close to the trade talks have suggested Chinese officials rekindling the possibility of invalidating the trade pact and negotiating a new one to tilt the scales more to the Chinese side, sources close the matter told the Global Times.

A former Chinese trade official told the Global Times on condition of anonymity on Monday that China could complete such procedures based on force majeure provisions in the pact. 

"It's in fact in China's interests to terminate the current phase one deal. It is beneficial to us. The US now cannot afford to restart the trade war with China if everything goes back to the starting point," another trade advisor to the Chinese government told the Global Times, pointing to the staggering US economy and the coming of the US presidential election this year. 

Comment: Interesting posturing

7. Other US-China

U.S. to Accuse China of Trying to Hack Vaccine Data, as Virus Redirects Cyberattacks - The New York Times

The F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security are preparing to issue a warning that China’s most skilled hackers and spies are working to steal American research in the crash effort to develop vaccines and treatments for the coronavirus. The efforts are part of a surge in cybertheft and attacks by nations seeking advantage in the pandemic.

Quick turnaround for CCTV “International Sharp Commentary” as it responds to the hacking story on the MOnday CCTV Evening News - 国际锐评:走火入魔的美国政客不是在玩火而是在玩命!_CCTV



Trump and Chip Makers Including Intel Seek Semiconductor Self-Sufficiency - WSJ $$

Trump administration officials are in talks with Intel Corp., INTC 0.85% the largest American chip maker, and with TSMC, to build factories in the U.S., according to correspondence viewed by The Wall Street Journal and people familiar with the discussions.

“We’re very serious about this,” said Greg Slater, Intel’s vice president of policy and technical affairs. Mr. Slater said Intel’s plan would be to operate a plant that could provide advanced chips securely for both the government and other customers...

The Commerce Department is also considering a rule aimed at cutting off Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co.’s ability to manufacture chips at TSMC, which would potentially be a crushing blow. President Trump has approved the move, but Commerce Department officials are still working through preliminary drafts, according to people familiar with the matter.

China is responding to the pressure by warning American companies they will face consequences in China if U.S. restrictions hamper the country’s key economic drivers. Chinese officials emphasized that message in meetings last month with large American technology companies, after delivering similar warnings last June, according to people familiar with the matter

China urged to expand nuclear arsenal to deter US warmongers - Global Times

Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Friday that the US is pressuring and threatening China in all fields. Since the US no longer sees nuclear weapons as a mere deterrence - now viewing them as deployable on the battlefield - China will have to expand its nuclear arsenal in response to this huge threat.


Hu Xijin of Global Times wrote on his Weibo that China should dramatically expand its nuclear arsenal to maintain the deterrence against America in case possible military conflicts in Taiwan and South China Sea. Hu said China must “increase the number of nuclear warheads to more than 1000, and the number of DF-41 to more than 100,” and that this will help to deter the hysteria among the anti-China politicians in Washington. Hu argued that China should drop the idea of “enough” and build more nukes because the Americans have designated China as its top rival. 


Top nuclear expert and Tsinghua professor Li Bin wrote on The Paper to refute Hu Xijin’s argument that China should dramatically expand its nuclear arsenal. Li said the size of the nuclear arsenal is a science of calculation. And yes China should build more nukes if the international relations change but Hu should be specific in what has changed. Li also suggested that the nuclear capacity gap between China and US is so large that China should not see catching up as a goal. Instead it should stick to the idea of “enough” and calculate how much is enough.

Chinese investment in the U.S. drops to lowest level since global financial crisis - Reuters

Chinese investment in the United States dropped to $5 billion in 2019, a slight decrease from a year earlier and the lowest level since the global financial crisis a decade ago, according to a new analysis by the U.S.-China Investment Project.

The full report - Two-Way Street – US-China Investment Trends – 2020 Update

Sunday CCTV Evening News attacks Deputy Matt Pottinger for his May 4 speech - 国际锐评:美国政客故意曲解中国“五四精神”没安好心_CCTV




A sharp comment pointed out that Matthew Pottinger, deputy assistant to the National Security Affairs of the United States President, recently distorted the "May Fourth Spirit" into "popularism" against public power, and used the theme to attack China's development path. However, Pottinger’s sinister intentions did not blind the kind Chinese. Contact this person's general Lin Lin's attitude towards China since the outbreak of the new crown epidemic, people see through it, what Mr. Pottinger did is that the weasel gave the chicken a New Year's greetings, no good intentions!..

Sharp commented that the core of the "May Fourth Spirit" is patriotism. In the face of the epidemic situation of the new coronary pneumonia, the vast majority of Chinese youths went backwards and showed the most beautiful youth, which is the most vivid manifestation of the "May Fourth Spirit" at the moment. We want to ask Mr. Pottinger, who is keen on provoking separation and attacking the frame. Why did you not use your brain to misinterpret China's May 4th Movement? So chaotic and unbearable in the epidemic? When did patient number zero in the United States appear? How did these two months of precious time at the beginning of the epidemic be delayed by you? Why did you initially call the new coronavirus "large flu" or even a "scam"? What is your science and democracy? Who deceived the innocent American people? ...

Sharp commented that some American politicians attempting to reinvent the ghost of McCarthyism will only cause more interference to the epidemic prevention and control of the United States and endanger the lives and interests of more American people. American politicians obsessed with treating politics as a "Game of Thrones" in the "House of Cards" should take back this street trick.

美国政客故意曲解中国“五四精神”没安好心 - The full "international sharp commentary" attacking Pottinger


Minitrue: Delete All References to US Deputy National Security Advisor Pottinger’s Speech | China Digital Times (CDT)

Strictly delete any reposts, comments, and content related to U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger’s Chinese speech from all platforms, websites, and interactive comment sections, leaving no dead corners. If any are found by the internet management office or reported by internet commentators, they will be dealt with seriously. (May 5, 2020)

US and China: edging towards a new type of cold war? | Financial Times $$

Chen Zhiwu, a finance professor at the University of Hong Kong, says China’s return towards communist orthodoxies since Xi Jinping became president in 2013 has had a crucial impact.

“The root cause [in deteriorating relations] is the fundamental difference in ideology between the US and China,” he argues. “Between 1978 and 2012, the Communist party put aside its communist roots and focused on developing economic strength. Once China succeeded economically, the CCP went back to refocus on its original intentions [of building socialism].”

Peter Navarro: 'Chinese communist party' dismantled Trump's 'beautiful economy' in 60 days amid coronavirus | Fox News

8. Foreign work

Xi, Putin talk over phone on 75th V-Day anniversary - Xinhua

China, Xi said, stands ready to work with Russia to firmly safeguard the fruits of the World War II (WWII) victory as well as international fairness and justice, support and practice multilateralism, and stay as determined as ever to build world peace, contribute to global prosperity and uphold the international order....

Both as major victors in WWII and permanent members of the UN Security Council, he said, the two countries shoulder the special missions of maintaining world peace and security and promoting human development and progress...

Russia is willing to work with China to strengthen comprehensive strategic coordination and demonstrate their resolve to jointly maintain world peace.

No words or deeds aimed at tampering with or forgetting history are allowed, stressed the Russian president...

Russia, he added, opposes the attempts by some forces to use the epidemic as a pretext to blame China and will stand firmly by China's side.

Chinese defense minister holds phone talks with Russian, Cambodian counterparts - Ministry of National Defense

Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe on Friday held separate phone talks with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Tea Banh.

Speaking to Shoigu, Wei noted that China has achieved major strategic achievements in stemming the spread of COVID-19, stressing that China and Russia have been assisting and supporting each other in the fight against COVID-19...

During the talk with Tea Banh, Wei said the Chinese government and people fought bravely against COVID-19, noting that while making solid efforts in curbing the virus, the Chinese side stands ready to promote high-level communications between the two militaries and strengthen pragmatic cooperation.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on May 11, 2020

To support African countries in their response to COVID-19, the Chinese government has decided to send medical teams to Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Algeria. The teams are organized by the National Health Commission and members selected by the Health Commissions of Hunan Province, Hebei Province and Chongqing Municipality respectively. Among them, the team to Zimbabwe has already left China this morning, and those to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Algeria will set off very soon.

China and Africa are good brothers and good friends sharing weal and woe. African countries provided valuable support to China when it was at a difficult phase in epidemic response. At present, Africa is facing a severe situation. China relates to its difficulties and will continue to provide various forms of support and assistance to African countries within its capacity.

Chinese Ambassador Qin Jian to Somalia: "China's Fighting Covid-19 is Impeccable"

On 7 May 2020, the Somali National New Agency published by Ambassador Qin Jian entitled "Chinese Culture, Our Source of Strength Overcoming COVID-19"..

The epidemic is a common challenge facing mankind, which requires the international community to work together to fight it. China's President Xi Jinping pointed out that unity and cooperation are a powerful weapon against the epidemic. China is the first country to be attacked by virus of Covid-19. However, a large number of reports say that "We can't assume the origins of the virus from Wuhan just because Wuhan first is invaded by virus". France TV24 says, "No evidence Covid-19 linked to Wuhan research lab", ABC says, "Scientists have strong evidence coronavirus originated naturally"...

The anti epidemic materials donated by the Jack Ma foundation have arrived in Somalia, and the other materials assisted by the Chinese government will also arrive in Somalia soon, hoping to help Somalia fight the epidemic.

China donates more medical supplies to Philippines to help fight COVID-19 - Xinhua

The new batches of emergency medical supplies to the Philippines include 100 ventilators, 150,000 testing kits, 70,000 medical protective suits, 70,000 N95 medical masks, 1.3 million surgical mask and 70,000 medical protective goggles.

"Two chartered cargo planes have delivered 150,000 testing kits and 18,000 medical protective suits (over the weekend). Other supplies are expected to arrive in Manila soon," the Chinese Embassy in Manila said in a statement on Sunday.

In a ceremony at the Department of Foreign Affairs headquarters, Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian handed over the donations to Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin and Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez, chief implementer of the Philippine government's action plan to combat COVID-19.

To defeat COVID-19 pandemic calls for joint efforts from global media - People's Daily "He Yin"

The Belt and Road News Network (BRNN) issued an open letter to its alliance members of 205 media outlets from 98 countries around the world, calling on them to give the message of unity and support to the public, tell stories of how countries fight together by looking over for and helping each other, and give the warm message of unity and strength. The letter demonstrated the common aspiration of all media practitioners who stand by justice.

China berates New Zealand over support for Taiwan at WHO - CNA

Speaking at a daily news conference in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said New Zealand's comments were a severe violation of the "one China" principle, which states that Taiwan is part of China.

"We express our strong dissatisfaction with the statements and resolutely oppose it, and we have already made stern representations with New Zealand," Zhao said.

EU battles to fend off China's 'mask diplomacy' in Balkans - Nikkei Asian Review

The EU promised financial and medical support Wednesday in an online summit with the leaders of six western Balkan nations: Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina and North Macedonia. It also expressed support for those countries eventually joining the bloc.

"The western Balkans belongs in the EU, and there is no question for us about it," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said after the summit.

Commentary: China boosts national pride in coronavirus fight, but not to export "Chinese model" - Xinhua

It is a national consensus that China has put the domestic epidemic under control and the rising trend of imported COVID-19 cases has waned, while the order of work and life has resumed at a faster pace. For a country with 1.4 billion people, these are hard-won achievements worth of national pride.

China has no intention to change the current world order, nor is the country looking to impose its model on others around the globe.


In a recent speech, Shi Yinhong of Renmin University discussed the repercussion of the virus and how China should adjust its foreign policy. Shi said the West, including many in Europe now tend to agree with the Americans in blaming China for the outbreak, and Russia is distancing itself from China and getting closer to Washington. Shi warned that the conflict with the US will intensify since Washington has made up its mind to hold China responsible for the outbreak. Shi suggested Beijing tone down the propaganda attack on the US so as not to further damage China’s relations with the Democrats, who are now blaming Trump instead of China for the outbreak. And China should seek ways to help America to get through the pandemic, because the harder the US is hit by the virus, the more hostility China will face in the world. Shi also suggested China roll back its strategic expansion, both military and economic, so to focus on development at home.

Business, Economy and Trade

International currencies - China wants to make the yuan a central-bank favourite | Special report | The Economist Aware of the power that issuing an international currency confers, China is on a charm offensive. Cautious to avoid past mistakes, it is advancing methodically. And it is playing a big trump card: opening up its $13trn bond market, which accounts for 51% of all bonds issued by emerging economies. So far, all is going according to plan.

胡春华强调:坚决落实“六保”任务 切实抓好农业生产--新闻报道-人民网 Hu Chunhua stresses the 6 insures on a trip to Jilin to inspect spring planting and hog production

Exclusive: Wuhan, recovering from virus, weighs policies to help hometown automaker Dongfeng - Reuters The potential measures include subsidies for new car buyers, new government orders for Dongfeng vehicles and a plan to make use of idled plants from Dongfeng’s venture with Renault, according to the policy draft by the Wuhan Economic and Technological Development Zone, a part of the city government.

China Film Stocks Jump After Shuttered Cinemas Allowed to Reopen - Bloomberg Entertainment and leisure facilities such as parks, tourist attractions, museums and theaters can reopen provided they take measures such as limiting attendance to control crowds, according to a guideline issued by China’s State Council on May 8.

Second-Hand Market Thrived in China as COVID-19 Causes Job Insecurity- PingWest Xianyu, China's largest online resale marketplace owned by Alibaba, said that its daily average transactions and gross merchandise volume in March broke records. New sellers increased by 38.8% and newly listed products by 40% compared to March last year.

分手之后 NBA还能与央视复合?_体育图文_看看新闻 Likely in response to rumors that that the NBA is about to hire IMG's Michael Ma as its new China head. Ma's father is Yao Ming's "special advisor" at the CBA and used to be the head of the CCTv Sports Center

CCTV responds to rumors it may start broadcasting NBA games again - 央视体育恢复转播NBA?官方回应 In response to recent rumors about the broadcast of NBA games, the official made it clear that, so far, we have had no contact or contact with the NBA. We reiterate that on issues concerning China's sovereignty, our attitude is serious, clear-cut and consistent, and there will be no room for ambiguity or maneuver. NBA officials should be aware of this.

Shanghai Disney Reopens to Smiles and Social Distancing - SixthTone For the time being, Shanghai Disney is only offering online tickets — priced at 499 yuan for weekends and 399 yuan for weekdays ($70 and $55, respectively), as well as half-day tickets — and visitor numbers will be capped at 30% the original maximum capacity, or around 24,000 people, as mandated by the government.

Chinese air-con giant reaps big in livestreaming sales attempt - Xinhua Dong Mingzhu, Gree’s chairwoman, sold more than 310 million yuan (about 42.33 million yuan) of home appliances in a single three-hour sales event via Kuaishou, a leading short-video and livestreaming platform in China. This compares to Gree’s 2019 annual sales revenue of 350 million yuan at its official online shop.

China's WeChat owner buys $390 million stake in Australia's Afterpay - Sydney Morning Herald Melbourne-based Afterpay has also grown its customer base considerably in the United States, which is proving to be a key market as it taps the influential but largely nascent region.

iPhone manufacturing: Apple may take a bigger bite of India's manufacturing pie, Technology News, ETtech Several meetings between Apple's senior executives and top ranking government officials over the last few months have paved the way for the iPhone maker examining the possibility of shifting nearly a fifth of its production capacity from China to India and scaling up its local manufacturing revenues, through its contract manufacturers, to around $40 billion over the next five years, say officials familiar with the matter. // this sounds like a tenuous report

A Chinese city to pump life into local business with WeChat live streaming | TechCrunch The initiative led by a municipal government to pump up the local economy through live streaming ecommerce is first of its kind in China. It should surprise no one that it’s slated to take place in Guangzhou, a major trade and export center, as the global pandemic depressed China’s outbound shipments, putting pressure on the authority to stimulate domestic demand. Like most of WeChat’s extended functions beyond messaging, live streaming is built upon the mini program — or lite app — infrastructure.

Chinese premier urges creation of famous brands to promote national development - Xinhua Boosting the growth of brands and constantly raising the quality and influence of Chinese products and services is an important aspect of implementing the strategy of expanding domestic demand and promoting high-quality development, Li, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said in a message to the online event 2020 China Brand Day.

Herbalife reserves $123 million to settle China FCPA investigation | The FCPA Blog LA-based Herbalife Ltd. has reserved $123 million to settle FCPA offenses, following the indictment last year of two company executives charged with spending $25 million on entertainment and gifts for Chinese officials.

Politics and Law

Xi inspects north China's Shanxi Province - Xinhua On Monday afternoon, Xi visited an organic daylily farm in Yunzhou District of Datong City, and a village in the city's Xiping Township to learn about poverty alleviation efforts. He then went to the Yungang Grottoes to learn about historical and cultural heritage protection efforts.

习近平赴山西考察调研--新闻报道-人民网 Pictures of Xi in Shanxi, no sign of the full propaganda rollout yet

经济日报:慎海雄兼任央广总台总编辑 Shen Haixiong, the deputy minister of propaganda and head of the China Media Group, gets a new title as editor in chief of the Group.

广电独家:加快锻造一支“新闻铁军”!中央总台2020年工作会议,慎海雄提出4点要求 In an annual working meeting on Friday, Shen Haixiong of China Media Group told the cadres that the priority this year for the group is to do the “leader’s propaganda” well, praise the poverty alleviation, and improve the Group’s “international communication capacity”. For the third, Shen said CMG should accelerate its work on “favorable impression communication”, increase cooperation with other media outlets to “speak with a borrowed mouth”, so as to do propaganda quietly and better promote China’s voice.


Governing the epidemic: neighbourhood committees in Shanghai - The China Story Neighbourhood committees have played a vital role in governing local life in China since the establishment of the People’s Republic. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they have demonstrated flexibility in implementing political directives and policies from above. However, the grassroots management structure of neighbourhood committees is struggling to adapt to the increasing complexities that characterise a modern urban society.

China urged to focus on domestic economy in next five-year plan to counter more hostile world | South China Morning Post The report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), a think tank affiliated with the State Council, foresees the next five years presenting “major changes unseen in a century” for China, as “the strategic game between superpowers has intensified, while international systems and orders are reshuffled”. While the report does not mention the coronavirus specifically, its recommendations suggest that China should become more self-reliant in response to the pandemic. This view represents one side of a lively debate among policymakers and scholars in China, ahead of the next five-year plan, which will come into place next year.

How COVID-19 Exposed the Little Troubles With China’s Big Data Push - SixthTone Finally, the effective use of big data requires high-quality input. We need to reform information systems, break down information barriers between local governments and their agencies, and build standardized information platforms. China’s public security apparatus has access to population and mobility data, while health officials have access to citizen’s medical information. If they had shared that data in a timely fashion, the government could have accurately identified the movements of suspected virus carriers and carried out prevention measures in real time. - Li Chunsheng is a Ph.D. student of public administration at Shanghai Jiaotong University.

China's anti-graft chief stresses role of disciplinary inspections - Xinhua The disciplinary inspections shall focus on pushing forward the implementation of the major policies and plans made by the CPC Central Committee, including the task of coordinating outbreak control and economic and social development, said Zhao. Zhao stressed deep understanding of the emphasis of the CPC Central Committee and the key interests of the Party and the country, and noted that inspections should always keep up with the decisions and arrangements made by the CPC Central Committee.

十九届中央第五轮巡视将对35个中央和国家机关单位开展常规巡视——中央纪委国家监委网站 The 35 targets for the new round of discipline inspections // 经党中央批准,十九届中央第五轮巡视将对中央宣传部(中央文明办)、中央政法委机关、中央网信办、工业和信息化部、自然资源部、生态环境部、应急管理部、国家市场监督管理总局、国家广播电视总局、国务院参事室、中央党史和文献研究院、中央档案馆、中国外文出版发行事业局、人民日报社、求是杂志社、光明日报社、中国日报社、经济日报社、国务院发展研究中心、中央广播电视总台、中国气象局、国家信访局、国家烟草专卖局、国家林业和草原局、国家文物局、中国地震局、国家煤矿安全监察局、国家药品监督管理局、国家知识产权局、中国地质调查局、中华全国供销合作总社、中国宋庆龄基金会、中国红十字会、中华全国工商业联合会、中国出版集团公司等35个中央和国家机关单位党组织开展常规巡视。

陈一新:把督办落实习近平总书记重要指示批示作为首要政治任务-中国长安网 Chen Yixin, secretary-general of the CPC central committee for political and legal affairs, presided over a meeting to har reports on the implementation of major instructions and instructions given by general secretary Xi Jinping, examined the existing weak links in the implementation of the supervision, and studied suggestions on further strengthening the implementation of the supervision.

国开行原董事长胡怀邦被批捕两个多月后 夫人跳楼身亡_新浪财经_新浪网 Report that the Xue Yingjuan, wife of Hu Huaibang, the disgraced former president of China Development Bank, committed suicide on Friday.

又一位高校教师因“不当言论”被处理 Harbin Normal University is put under disciplinary investigation by the school after some nationalists reported to authorities the professors' Weibo years ago that the netizens said were attacking the communist party.

China's top court investigates ruling in rape-murder of 10-year-old girl amid public uproar - Global Times China's Supreme People's Court said it would investigate a stay-of-execution ruling made in March that provoked nationwide outrage in a notorious rape and murder of a 10-year-old village girl in South China's Guangxi. Found guilty in 2018 of rape and murder, Yang Guangyi, of South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, was sentenced to death in the first instance and given a stay of execution in the second.  The reprieve in March by Guangxi's high people's court provoked online fury over its approach to the brutal murderer of the 10-year-old girl.

Xi Focus: Xi chairs symposium with non-CPC members on COVID-19 response - Xinhua Xi delivered a speech at the symposium, which was held by the CPC Central Committee and attended by members of the central committees of non-CPC parties in China, the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, and persons without party affiliation.

Key figure in China luxury villa corruption scandal goes on trial, accused of taking tens of millions of US dollars in bribes | South China Morning Post Zhao Zhengyong, the former party chief of Shaanxi province, went on trial in the northern municipality of Tianjin, for allegedly “taking advantage of his position to accept bribes from contractors and people who sought job promotions, personnel assignment and [favours] in the management of company business”, according to a court notice. In all, Zhao and his wife, who was not identified, took 426 million yuan (US$60 million) in bribes and had agreed to take another 291 million yuan, the notice said.

Chinese scholar calls for political reform, criticising ‘tight control’ over Covid-19. A day later, police come for him | South China Morning Post Zhang Xuezhong was removed from his Shanghai home on Sunday night, according to multiple sources. His letter, posted on WeChat on Saturday and addressed to deputies of the National People’s Congress (NPC), was widely circulated online as China prepares to convene its most important parliamentary sessions in less than two weeks’ time.// He has been returned home

Five labour activists released after 15 months in detention | China Labour Bulletin The families and associates of Wu Guijun, Zhang Zhiru, Jian Hui, Song Jiahui and He Yuancheng have confirmed that all five activists are now safely back home and in good spirits. The activists were all charged with gathering a crowd to disturb public order (聚众扰乱社会秩序罪). Following a closed-door trial, Zhang Zhiru and Wu Guijun were sentenced to three years imprisonment, suspended for four years. Jian Hui, Song Jiahui and He Yuancheng were sentenced to 18 months, suspended for two years. It is understood that the activists were actually released on 24 April but because of the continued Covid-19 outbreak

Sister Fights to Free Uighur Businessman Held in China After U.S. Trip - The New York Times When Ekpar Asat saw his older sister for the last time one winter night in Manhattan, he promised her he would return to the United States in a few months with their parents to watch her graduate with a master’s degree from Harvard Law School — the first ethnic Uighur to do so. But three weeks after returning to China from that trip in 2016, when he was attending a prestigious State Department leadership training program, he disappeared into the shadows of a vast detention system in the country’s northwest. This winter, his sister, Rayhan Asat, heard that he had been sentenced to 15 years in prison on suspicion of inciting ethnic hatred.

Foreign and Defense Affairs

China is fully capable of safeguarding nuclear security - China Military Speaking of the quality of China's nuclear weapons, Song believed they are not as good as those in the US and Russia, as a result, it is necessary for China to enhance the quality and quantity of its nuclear arsenal and appropriately increase nuclear forces. But Yang said China's nuclear weapons have "no quality problem". "Our nuclear weapons have no problem regarding the capability of survival, nuclear strike resistance, and defense penetration. If any country dares to even think of using nuclear weapons against China, we have full confidence to launch nuclear retaliation that will wipe it off the ground."

China ‘won’t win more respect’ if it expands nuclear arsenal following calls from national media, analyst says | South China Morning Post According to Zhao Tong, a senior fellow in the nuclear policy programme at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Centre for Global Policy in Beijing, the argument made by Hu and others for more warheads was not convincing. He said rising tensions with the US did not justify stockpiling more nuclear weapons, and that the country’s strategy was based on a doomsday scenario.

Brussels rebukes its Beijing envoy over censorship of EU letter – POLITICO The European External Action Service (EEAS) said late Thursday that its Beijing envoy Nicolas Chapuis was wrong to allow the letter to be published after a reference to the coronavirus originating in China before spreading worldwide was removed in response to pressure from the Chinese foreign ministry.

The Last President of Europe, by William Drozdiak | Financial Times $$ In a book containing few revelations, the president’s comments on China are probably the most eye-catching. Mr Xi is “rebuilding an empire, and he is prepared to be very aggressive in terms of pushing the limits of international law,” Mr Macron confides.

Pakistan request opens door for Belt and Road project debt relief - Nikkei Asian Review Islamabad sought the extension of a debt repayment period on $30 billion in loans for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, the flagship project in the massive BRI infrastructure-building program. China agreeing could save Pakistan around $500 million in annual cash flow.

Twitter disputes State Department claims China coordinated coronavirus disinformation accounts - CNN Lea Gabrielle, head of the State Department's Global Engagement Center (GEC) -- which works to coordinate efforts to expose foreign disinformation and propaganda -- said the US "has uncovered a new network of inauthentic Twitter accounts, which we assess were created with the intent to amplify Chinese propaganda and disinformation." However, an initial review from Twitter of more than 5,000 accounts turned over to them by the State Department cast doubt on the claims. According to Twitter, they have instead found that numerous accounts belong to government entities, nongovernmental organizations, and journalists. The review was ongoing, the company said, noting that it planned to follow up with the GEC on its findings.

Indian and Chinese troops clash at two sites along disputed Himalayan border | Jane's 360 Senior military officials in New Delhi told Jane's on 11 May that incidents of "stone pelting and scuffles" between Indian Army (IA) and People's Liberation Army (PLA) personnel had broken out in India's northeastern Sikkim State on 9 May and in the northern Ladakh region three days earlier.

Tom Cotton Has a China Coronavirus Attack Plan - WSJ $$ His proposed response is encapsulated first and foremost in a new, $43 billion piece of legislation he has proposed, called the FORCE Act. That’s the Forging Operational Resistance to Chinese Expansion Act, and the title captures its goal and scope.

Germany urged to confront Beijing at EU-China summit | DW | 11.05.2020 An EU summit with China due in Leipzig in September faces doubts, according to a report in the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) daily on Monday.  Berlin's reply to an opposition Greens parliamentary question about the EU summit had exposed a German government "significantly more reticent" to broach China's rights record, reported the SZ.

Delay of Some Belt and Road Projects Should Not Be Politicized, UAE Ambassador to China Says - Caixin Ali Obaid Al Dhaheri, the ambassador to China from the United Arab Emirates, an active participant in the vast China-led infrastructure plan for Asia and Africa, told Caixin in an interview Friday that “there will be some delay” to some BRI projects as the region has not yet returned to normal amid the outbreak.

Scott Morrison 'disappointed' if China barley tariff plan is linked to coronavirus investigation | The Guardian When asked on Monday whether the draft decision may be retribution for Australia pushing for the Covid-19 inquiry, Morrison said he did not believe that was the case. “They certainly haven’t raised it as connected to other issues. I would be extremely disappointed if it was,” the prime minister told reporters in Canberra. The value of Australian exports of barley to China had already fallen from $1.7bn in 2018 to $600m in 2019, Morrison noted.

George Christensen revives diplomatic spat with threat to summons Chinese ambassador | The Guardian Diplomatic tensions between Australia and China may be reignited with an extraordinary threat by a Coalition backbencher to summons the Chinese ambassador to answer questions from a parliamentary committee. While the attempt to compel the ambassador to appear at a hearing in Canberra is almost certain to fail because of diplomatic immunity, the push interrupts a pause in public sparring between the two governments over the response to Covid-19.

China suspected of bio-espionage in 'heart of EU' - EU Observer Chinese spies have targeted Belgian biological warfare and vaccine experts, Belgium's security service suspects. They are also targeting British pharmaceutical giant and vaccine-maker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in Belgium and Belgian high-tech firms, Belgian intelligence fears. The suspicions were detailed in confidential Belgian reports dated from 2010 to 2016, seen by EUobserver.

China Is Defensive. The U.S. Is Absent. Can the Rest of the World Fill the Void? - The New York Times When Australia started pushing for a global inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, no other countries were on board, and officials had no idea how it would work or how harshly China might react. Europe soon joined the effort anyway, moving to take up the idea with the World Health Organization later this month. And Australia, in its newfound role as global catalyst, has become both a major target of Chinese anger and the sudden leader of a push to bolster international institutions that the United States has abandoned under President Trump... Australian officials, however, are betting that China will remain a major customer, including for the coal and iron ore it needs to spring back to life post pandemic. And they are convinced that the Australian public will tolerate some Chinese punishment if it means relying less on a country that, according to polls, it had already distrusted — a negative view that is widely shared in Western Europe.

Xi, Kim exchange verbal messages - Xinhua China, Xi added, is willing to enhance anti-epidemic cooperation with the DPRK and provide as much support as its capacity allows for the DPRK in line with the latter's needs. He also expressed his confidence that with the joint efforts of China and the DPRK as well as the international community, a final victory will be won in the fight against COVID-19... In his verbal message sent to Xi on Thursday, Kim congratulated Xi on leading the CPC and the Chinese people to splendid achievements and great victories in the battle against the unprecedented epidemic, saying he highly appreciates that.

Chinese ships chase Japanese fishing boat near Senkaku Islands - Nikkei Asian Review Two China Coast Guard ships have approached and chased a Japanese fishing boat in Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, the Japan Coast Guard said Saturday. The Japanese coast guard ordered the Chinese vessels to leave the waters and deployed a patrol ship to safeguard the fishing boat, whose three crew members were unhurt during Friday's incident.

Why so Many Chinese & Africans See What Happened in Guangzhou in Starkly Different Ways - China Africa Project Podcast In this week’s double-edition of the podcast, we attempt to push past the top-line narrative about the Guangzhou crisis and the widening chasm in the China-Africa civil society relationship. First we speak with popular Ghanian vlogger Wode Maya about why this crisis has made him so angry about China’s treatment of Africans and the way that Chinese officials have gone about trying to explain it. Then, we turn to one of China’s leading public opinion experts, Ma Tianjie, founder and editor of the Chublic Opinion blog, to better understand how China perceives immigrant communities like those in Guangzhou and how the government’s actions there are seen by the larger society.

Hong Kong and Macao

Macau bans annual Tiananmen Massacre photo exhibition | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP The Democratic Development Union’s open-air exhibition has taken place unhindered for two decades. However, the Municipal Affairs Bureau withdrew its authorisation for the 2020 show last week.

HKSAR gov't proposes 697-mln-USD funding to help Ocean Park maintain operation - Xinhua The new funding proposal aims at supporting the park's operation in the next 12 months, and paying off a commercial debt of around 3 billion Hong Kong dollars (387 million U.S. dollars) so that the park could avoid liquidation, he said.


China tries to calm ‘nationalist fever’ as calls for invasion of Taiwan grow | South China Morning Post A number of commentators on social media have called for the island to be reunified by force – something Beijing has never ruled out – but some analysts say the authorities want to play a longer game and are now trying to cool the “nationalist fever”. An article published earlier in the month in the magazine of the Central Party School, which trains senior officials, drew historical parallels with the Qing dynasty’s conquest of the island in the 17th century to highlight the importance of patience and careful planning.

Taiwan’s Weapon Against Coronavirus: An Epidemiologist as Vice President - The New York Times The calls come at night, when Taiwan’s vice president, Chen Chien-jen, is usually at home in his pajamas. Scientists seek his advice on the development of antiviral medications. Health officials ask for guidance as they investigate an outbreak of the coronavirus on a navy ship.

Like many world leaders, Mr. Chen is fighting to keep the coronavirus at bay and to predict the course of the pandemic. He is tracking infections, pushing for vaccines and testing kits, and reminding the public to wash their hands.

But unlike most officials, Mr. Chen has spent his career preparing for this moment: He is a Johns Hopkins-trained epidemiologist and an expert in viruses...

He says Taiwan tried to warn the W.H.O. in late December about the potential for the virus to spread from person to person but was ignored. The W.H.O. has rejected the accusation, saying Taiwan merely requested information from the health agency but did not issue any warning.

Mr. Chen has seized the moment, denouncing China’s efforts to block Taiwan from joining the W.H.O. and calling on countries around the world to study the “Taiwan model” of controlling the outbreak.

Tech and Media

Bytedance Supersedes Tencent to Distribute 'Naruto' Mobile Game in China - Pandaily Bytedance has recently acquired the exclusive rights to distribute IP-based massive multiplayer online (MMO) mobile game NARUTO: Slugfest in China, replacing Tencent as the publisher for the title in the country, game media GameLook reported. The game is the first known MMO title that Bytedance would publish.

Ep. 66: Beyond TikTok: Bytedance’s Ambitions in Gaming and Education - Pandaily In episode 66 of Tech Buzz China, co-hosts Rui Ma and Ying-Ying Lu talk about Bytedance’s forays into gaming and education

TikTok has quietly made London its main hub in Europe - CNBC TikTok’s largest office is in Los Angeles but London is now the company’s second biggest office.

Huawei Partners With Carmakers to Build 5G-Enabled Automobile Ecosystem - Caixin As part of the 5G-enabled automobile ecosystem, Huawei will provide members, including FAW Group, BYD, T3 Mobility and other carmakers, with “technologies which they can use to test their 5G-enabled vehicles,” the statement said.

Sony suspends PlayStation Store in mainland China to upgrade security - Reuters The closure, however, comes on the heels of reports on social media that mainland PlayStation users were able to switch to overseas services via a backdoor and circumvent China’s restrictions to download unlicensed games. Sony declined to comment on whether the reports had played a role in the closure and said the target of the temporary shutdown was to enhance the safety of the store’s services.

Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

Elderly Chinese woman rescued three days after being ‘buried alive by son’ | South China Morning Post The woman, who was partially paralysed, was rescued after three days and is in a stable condition in a hospital in Shaanxi province, police said. Prosecutors in Jingbian county said the woman’s son, a 58-year-old identified only by his surname Ma, had been charged with attempted murder.

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

The Shenzhen Bay dredging scandal and ecological redlines-China Dialogue Ocean In late March, a case of plagiarism brought the chaotic state of China’s environmental impact assessment system to public attention. But the debate largely overlooked a related and equally important matter: the questionable binding power of ecological redlines, a system the central government has hailed as “unbreachable” and as “fortifying the foundations for the sustainable development of the Chinese nation”.

Less Electricity Transferred From China’s Southwest to Energy-Hungry Neighbors - Caixin An official at the center told Caixin that more power than usual was generated by hydroelectric plants in Yunnan last year, in part due to more snow melting on the Tibetan plateau, leading to a higher comparison base.