"People's War" on the virus; Expanding quarantine efforts

The People’s Daily said in a front page commentary 打响疫情防控的人民战争 Tuesday that the country is in a “People’s War” with the virus. So far the virus continues its advance, per the latest official figures from Caixin:

20,522 confirmed cases in China;

426 deaths in China;

23,214 suspected cases in China

Do not be surprised to see a jump over the next few days in Wuhan and Hubei cases as the number of hospital beds and quarantine facilities increase, more medical personnel arrive from other provinces and testing capacity improves.

The propaganda organs are all emphasizing Xi’s leading role in responding to the outbreak, but there have been no new images of him in the leading propaganda outlets since January 28. There have been periods in the past where he has “disappeared” from view for several days, but this “absence” in the midst of a crisis is spurring rumors even faster than usual.

I am not buying the rumors going around that he is sick or been removed in a coup, and I caution readers against putting much stock in those.

One of the key political tasks of all party members is to protect the core, i.e. Xi Jinping, and while you would think the “people’s leader” would want to be seen close to the people perhaps in this case the risk of him catching the virus may be too high, and images of him wearing a mask might be anathema to the propaganda wizards.

That said, I do not know what is going on, it is something I am paying a lot of attention to, but in the absence of any evidence I remain skeptical of the rumors. I will bet that Xi and the other top leaders in the Party and the military understand that they either all hang together in this crisis or they may all hang separately, to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin.

This is a long issue, I recommend you click on the headline at the top of the email to read it in your browser. Thanks for reading.

The Essential Eight

1. The outbreak


People’s Daily front page editorial said the battle against the coronavirus is a “people’s war”, and as long as the great Chinese people “more closely rally around the CCP with comrade Xi Jinping as the core”, they will be able to win this war.



Xinhua summarizes Xi’s orders on controlling the virus outbreak, again saying that Xi “has been personally directing, and personally planning 亲自指挥、亲自部署” everything on this matter. And thanks to his efforts things are done effectively and orderly.


A “central guiding group” led by vice premier Sun Chunlan has arrived Wuhan to give more instructions on how to control the outbreak. Sun has ordered the government to “resolutely implement the policy of ‘rounding up everyone’ 应收尽收” so to prevent further transmission. Sun also visited a hotel used to quarantine potential infected patients

China deploys measures to improve admission, survival rates in coronavirus battle - Xinhua

More measures will be taken to ensure the supply of medical resources and daily necessities, according to a meeting of the leading group of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus outbreak...

Among measures to provide more beds to patients, a number of hotels, venues and training centers will be used as sites to carry out centralized treatment of suspected infections and patients showing mild symptoms or medical observation over close contacts, according to the meeting.

A number of mobile hospitals and an additional 2,000 medical and nursing workers will be organized to support Hubei.

Hubei to conduct centralized isolation of suspected cases of novel coronavirus - Xinhua

The headquarters for the control and treatment of the epidemic caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in central China's Hubei Province has announced that it will conduct centralized isolation of all suspected infection cases.

湖北又一个城市确诊病例破千 目前已有三城|湖北_新浪新闻

This report breaks down the confirmed cases in Hubei province, notes that Xiaogan has become the 3rd city in the province with more than 1000 cases, after Wuhan and Huanggang


What about smaller Hubei cities? This article looks at Suizhou, which has 2.2 million residents, just one top-level hospital, and per the latest data has 641 confirmed cases, a number that increased nearly 40% from Monday to Tuesday.

China Focus: Encouraging signs in China's battle against novel coronavirus outbreak - Xinhua

The CFR of the coronavirus infection on the Chinese mainland has dropped from an initial 2.3 percent at the beginning of the outbreak to the current 2.1 percent, according to the NHC.

Hubei Province, the epicenter of the epidemic, has seen a majority of the deaths. The province has a death toll of 414, over 97 percent of the total, and its CFR was as high as 3.1 percent, the NHC official said.

Currently, more than 80 percent of the deaths were elderly people over 60 years old and over 75 percent had at least one underlying disease such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and tumors, Jiao said.

Coronavirus: China predicts fall in mortality rate as mainland deaths hit 425 | South China Morning Post

Jiao Yahui, deputy director of the NHC’s Medical Administration Bureau, said that, as of Monday and based on confirmed cases nationwide, the national fatality rate was 2.1 per cent, with the vast majority of deaths in Hubei province.

The central Chinese province has lost 414 people, or 97 per cent of the mainland death toll. According to Jiao, the mortality rate in the provincial capital Wuhan has reached 4.9 per cent, with 313 deaths so far. The mortality rate for Hubei is 3.1 per cent, the highest of any province in the country.

Beijing Sees ‘Major Test’ as Doors to China Close and Coronavirus Deaths Surpass SARS - The New York Times

“There’s no sign that it’s getting better,” said Leo Poon, division head of the public health laboratory sciences department at the University of Hong Kong. “We don’t see a pattern of decline, and that’s a problem.”...

Some deaths still go unreported, and many residents in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak in central Hubei Province, say they believe the true number of deaths across China may be higher than the official tally, because many of the ill have been turned away by overstretched hospitals. Several residents said they had heard of people dying at home.

Chinese city reports 6,000 coronavirus cases. It may be ‘tip of the iceberg’ - Inkstone

A doctor at the Union Hospital in Wuhan, who declined to be identified, said staff could only test about 100 patients a day, and they had to wait 48 hours for the results.

“When the National Health Commission announces the numbers, they’re already two days old,” the doctor said.

“We also have to turn away patients with mild symptoms, knowing that many of them will return later [when their condition worsens]. But we don’t have the space in the testing center, or the hospital beds.”

China Clamps Down on Independent Reporting of Epidemic as Cases, Deaths Keep Rising - RFA

Journalists in Wuhan working for Caixin, Phoenix news, and other state-approved news organizations have been ordered by the party's powerful propaganda department to conduct a review of their coverage after their reports indicated that local officials had likely sought to cover up the extent of the outbreak in its early stages.

Journalists who had interviewed patients or their families, or reported on the large number of patients left to fend for themselves at home due to a lack of resources, and were therefore left out of official statistics, were also targeted for "review" by propaganda officials.

WHO expert says China too slow to report coronavirus cases | Financial Times $$

John Mackenzie, emeritus professor at Curtin University, said it defied logic that there was no increase in new cases at the same time that Chinese officials were holding local political meetings in January.

“There must have been more cases happening that we weren’t being told about. I think they tried to keep the figures quiet for a while because of some major meeting they had in Wuhan but I think there was a period of very poor reporting, or very poor communication,” he said, calling Beijing’s response “reprehensible”.

In Depth: How the WHO’s Global Health Emergency Decision Unfolded - Caixin

"Before we start pointing the finger at China, we need to recognize there are genuine sensitivities around sharing data around new diseases,” said Mike Ryan, director of the WHO’s health emergencies program who accompanied Tedros to Beijing. “I believe in this case the countries that have been affected, including China, have been remarkably transparent.


In a nation-wide video conference, Chen Xi, the head of the CCP’s central organization department, said it will do more to reward local officials who do well in handling the virus outbreak, and punish those who don’t. Chen warned that officials who fail to implement Beijing’s instructions immediately, who are overoptimistic about the epidemic, and who pass the buck will be severely punished.

湖北省委:深刻反思 - 新京报网

Hubei party secretary Jiang Chaoliang, a former top banking executive, said in a press conference that the Hubei government will “deeply reflect” on their performance controlling the virus outbreak, so to learn the lessons, as instructed by Xi Jinping.


Wuhan disciplined three officials for meddling with mask distribution from the government warehouse and removed a deputy head of the provincial Red Cross Society and punished several others at the Society for not being transparent enough in managing donations.

Nation fights epidemic-related crimes - Global Times

Changchun police of Northeast China's Jilin Province investigated a man in the name of "endanger public security" for concealing travel history to critical epidemic area, causing five infections and more isolated for medical observation, the People's Daily reported Tuesday.

Newly-built hospital in Wuhan accepts patients infected with coronavirus - Global Times

All the medics working at Huoshenshan Hospital have undergone training and qualification assessments.

In addition, the hospital has deployed more than 10 infectious disease, respiratory and intensive care experts to provide guidance on the handling of complex cases.

Wuhan also plans to convert three existing venues, including a gymnasium and an exhibition center, into temporary hospitals to receive patients infected with the virus, the headquarters for the epidemic control said late Monday.

Video shows interior of new Wuhan 'hospital' resembles prison | Taiwan News

the dissident organization Himalaya Global released a video on its Twitter page Monday which was apparently secretly filmed by a Chinese contractor inside the new facility. The video starts with the contractor introducing the Spartan interior of Ward 1.

The man starts out by ominously saying, "Once you are in, you can't get out." He then asserts that patients would be better off staying at home than checking into the new compound.

A CCTV reporter has a different take on the new hospital, and the video in her report shows some of the same things in the one above - 众志成城 抗击疫情 火神山医院正式交付 记者探访病区

Chinese doctor who was silenced now has coronavirus - CNN

From an intensive care bed in hospital, Li [Wenliang] told CNN he was confirmed Saturday to have contracted the virus.'

His diagnosis has sparked outrage across China, where a backlash is growing against state censorship around the illness and an initial delay in warning the public about the deadly virus.

G7 health ministers agree on coordinated approach to coronavirus: Germany - Reuters

The ministers agreed to coordinate - as far as possible - their approach on travel regulations and precautions, research into the new virus and cooperation with the World Health Organization, the European Union and with China.

$9 Cabbages, Emergency Pork: Coronavirus Tests China on Food - The New York Times

Officials are on alert for signs of strained supplies throughout the rest of the country. Retail prices for fresh food have crept up in many places. The Shouguang vegetable price index, a widely watched daily gauge, rocketed to a multiyear high last week. Poultry farmers are warning that supplies of chicken feed are running low because of transport restrictions and millions of birds could die as a result.

In virus-stricken Wuhan, animal lovers break into homes to save pets - Reuters

Up to 50,000 pets had been left alone at home in Wuhan, Lao Mao estimated, based on the number of people who left the city in Hubei province.

Yicai Global - Shenzhen Speeds Hospital Expansion to Raise Coronavirus Prevention, Control Ability

Beds are still unoccupied, a staffer from the infectious disease ward, which specializes in the treatment of the new contagion, told Yicai Global. "Only patients who meet the new pneumonia isolation medical observation standards can apply for admission," this source said, adding there is no "even one bed is hard to find" situation in the city for the time being, and the construction is ramping up just from over-caution and a desire to be prepared.

Americans who stay in China should 'consider stocking up on food,' State Dept. says - CNNPolitics

"We strongly urge U.S. citizens remaining in China to stay home as much as possible and limit contact with others, including large gatherings. Consider stocking up on food and other supplies to limit movement outside the home," a security alert posted by US Mission China on Monday notes.

Coronavirus Crisis Shows China’s Governance Failure - The New York Times

“The most important issue this outbreak exposed is the local government’s lack of action and fear of action,” said Xu Kaizhen, a best-selling author who is famous for his novels that explore the intricate workings of China’s bureaucratic politics.

“Under the high-pressure environment of anti-corruption campaign, most people, including senior government officials, only care about self-preservation,” Mr. Xu said. “They don’t want to be the first to speak up. They wait for their superiors to make decisions and are only accountable to their superiors instead of the people.”

China Marshals the Power of Its Surveillance State in Fight Against Coronavirus - WSJ

the human virus trackers have help. Authorities are sifting through information from phone companies, railroads and airlines as they tackle the country’s biggest public health crisis since an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, almost two decades ago.

China, Desperate to Stop Coronavirus, Turns Neighbor Against Neighbor - The New York Times

The authorities hunt for people from Wuhan, the center of the outbreak, encouraging citizens to inform on others. Even those without symptoms are being ostracized...

Across the country, the response from local authorities often resembles the mass mobilizations of the Mao era rather than the technocratic, data-driven wizardry depicted in propaganda about China’s emerging surveillance state.

2. Economic impact

China Adds Market Support With More Cash, Strong Yuan Fix - Bloomberg

The People’s Bank of China pumped 400 billion yuan ($57 billion) into the banking system with reverse repurchase agreements on Tuesday, marking the largest single-day addition since January 2019. It also set the yuan’s reference rate stronger than the currency’s official close on Monday and the key 7 level.

On Tuesday, the currency strengthened 0.42% to 6.9928 per dollar as of 5 p.m. in Shanghai. Stocks rebounded, led by a 4.8% jump in the small-cap ChiNext index, while the yield on the most actively traded contract of 10-year government bonds rose four basis points. That’s the most since Oct. 28.

The new coronavirus and its economic impact (updated 4th Feb.) - Capital Economics

The extensive efforts to contain the coronavirus have caused economic growth in China to slow abruptly. The longer they remain in place, the more they will hit demand elsewhere in the world too.

Below you can find a set of charts on the scale of the outbreak and its economic impact. Many include daily data, which we will update regularly. We will also keep this page updated with links to our analysis on the impact of the outbreak in China and around the world.

Macau Asks Casinos to Temporarily Close to Curb Virus - Bloomberg

Casinos in Macau, the Chinese territory that’s the world’s biggest gambling hub, will close for 15 days as China tries to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus...

It would be the longest-ever halt and only the second such instance, after a typhoon in 2018 forced a 33-hour shutdown. So far, Macau has confirmed at least 10 cases of the virus

NDRC: Contagion's economic effects will be limited - China Daily

"We are fully capable and confident of winning the battle against the epidemic caused by the novel coronavirus, and we have confidence in minimizing its impact on the economy," said Lian Weiliang, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission.

"In comparison with the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic, China's economic strength, material and goods accumulation and ability to cope with emergencies are significantly stronger than that period," Lian said at a State Council Information Office news conference in Beijing on Monday.

China's Canton Fair suspends activities due to virus outbreak - Reuters

Canton Fair was originally scheduled to hold its spring season exhibition at the complex from April 15, according to its website.

China postpones high-level business forum amid virus outbreak - Reuters

usually held in late March...

China Development Forum, which is hosted by a foundation under the State Council, has delayed this year’s meeting until further notice


China Development Bank said it will issue up to 8 billion RMB in bonds whose money will be used to fight the virus and its impact.

疫情下的餐饮业:租金人工成本难压缩 现金流高度紧张_财新网_财新网

Caixin reported that the restaurant industry may be hit the hardest by the epidemic as they are already short of cash given the increasing rent and salaries. Most said they will run of cash in three months the best.

China's Q1 GDP won’t drop below 5% despite coronavirus - Global Times - Wei Jianguo

Although the novel coronavirus will cause a drop in China's first quarter economic growth, the impact can be controlled, with the GDP growth rate expected to stay above 5 percent in the first quarter of 2020. The country's economic growth rate is likely to remain robust at 6 percent for the year.

The author is a former Chinese vice minister of commerce and executive deputy director of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges

Royal Caribbean warns of more cruise cancellations on coronavirus threat - Reuters

The company said it expects the cancellations to trim its first-quarter earnings by 25 cents per share, but added that there are too many uncertainties to give a good estimate of the impact.

Hyundai to halt South Korea output as China virus disrupts parts supply - Reuters

“Hyundai and Kia may be more affected as they tend to import more parts from China than other global automakers,” said Lee Hang-koo, senior researcher at the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics & Trade.

China to expand imports for battle against epidemic: MOC - Xinhua

More efforts will be made in coordination and communication to increase imports of medical supplies and raw materials for production, said a circular unveiled by the MOC on Tuesday.

The country will actively use imports to increase the supply of meat and other farm produce in the domestic market, the circular said.

OPEC+ invites China's U.N. ambassador in Vienna to technical meeting - Reuters

An OPEC+ technical committee meeting on Tuesday to assess the impact on global oil demand and economic growth of the outbreak of the coronavirus has invited China’s envoy to the United Nations in Vienna to attend, OPEC+ sources told Reuters

Apple Suppliers Aim to Resume Full China Production Feb. 10 - Bloomberg

Foxconn’s Hon Hai, the most important manufacturer for the U.S. company, said Tuesday it still expects to be able to restart facilities throughout China on schedule, according to a text message sent to Bloomberg News. Suppliers such as Quanta Computer Inc., Inventec Corp. and LG Display Co. also said they would go back to work next week in China.

DingTalk, WeChat Work overburdened as hundreds of millions work remotely · TechNode

The unprecedented surge in traffic for popular apps including Tencent’s business communication and office collaboration tool WeChat Work and Alibaba’s virtual workspace app DingTalk caused temporary issues on Monday. Many users complained about connectivity problems on the first day back to work

How the invisible hand of the state works in Chinese stocks | Financial Times $$

traders at brokerages and asset managers in China said the team mostly kept its powder dry on Monday. It was not until after market close that state media confirmed the cavalry was prepped and ready — specifically, a group of Chinese insurers with Rmb100bn ($14.3bn) ready to plough into the stock market if necessary.

That helped bolster investor sentiment, with the benchmark CSI 300 index of Shanghai and Shenzhen-listed stocks climbing 2.6 per cent on Tuesday after dropping about 8 per cent during the previous session.

Government negotiating with Beijing to relax firewall for international student access - Sydney Morning Herald

He said the travel entry ban on non-citizens who have been in mainland China in the past month had had an impact on universities, English language colleges and schools relying on the arrival of 200,000 Chinese students.

Tourism Shaping Up as Major Casualty of Virus Outbreak - Caixin

The losses are being exacerbated by government pressure on travel service providers to give full refunds to travelers who cancel trips that were already booked. Normally such cancelations would incur a penalty that service providers could retain to help offset lost business.

Hyundai and Volvo Offer China’s Stressed Dealerships Some Breathing Room - Caixin

Auto brands including Hyundai and Volvo are offering dealerships in China some financial assistance as domestic car sales are expected to plummet this month due to the coronavirus outbreak.

3. Front-line reporting

Wuhan Diary #8: The Twelfth Day of the Wuhan City Closure — February 3, 2020 | 高大伟 David Cowhig's Translation Blog

Many people worry about the safety of medical worker. Unfortunately very few focus on the safety of journalists. I understand that quite a few front-line journalists have been infected. I hope that people will notice that, will remember them and will never again slander them.

Coronavirus Lockdown: Dispatch From Quarantine | The New York Review of Books

Before Shiyan, a city in Hubei province, went into quarantine, the sum of thirty yuan (about $4) could buy two cabbages, enough spring onions for two soups, a large white radish, two lettuces, a potato, and ten eggs. Not any more. Wanting to record the hiked prices, I took two photos of price cards in my local district’s largest supermarket. Immediately, a shop assistant approached. “You can’t do that,” she said. “Please delete them.” Even after I agreed, she stood peering over my shoulder to see my phone, to make sure that the images were gone. “You could report her,” a local resident told me later: national orders have forbidden merchants to raise their prices.

Dispatches From Hubei: New Year’s in the Countryside - SixthTone

What finally spurred the village to take concrete action was news that a resident of a neighboring town had been quarantined, paired with Xiaogan’s announcement that it was halting all public transit services within the city limits. The city’s various counties and villages quickly fell in line by parking buses, shuttering stations, and closing roads. Cadres in some villages used construction waste to fashion makeshift blockades, while others organized shifts to keep an eye on roads into their villages. The local authorities in my area closed the roads down on Jan. 24 — Lunar New Year’s Eve. There was no more denying what was happening...

On a more positive note, the village’s old traditions of self-reliance and self-governance have started to reemerge. Everyone says China’s countryside is in decline, and rural Hubei has supposedly fallen into disarray, but this epidemic has brought residents closer together. We don’t know where the virus will hit next, yet in the face of supply shortages and a lack of outside help, many villages are managing to fend for themselves while maintaining order.

This Google Doc has a regularly updated list of mainland media reports - 2019-nCoV: In-Depth Reports from Mainland News Outlets

4. Travel

China's airlines told not to axe global flights as thousands cut - Reuters

China’s civil aviation authority has urged domestic carriers to continue flying international routes as they consider cuts in response to a drop in demand due to the coronavirus outbreak, state news agency Xinhua reported on Tuesday.

China travel advice - GOV.UK

If you’re in China and able to leave, you should do so

Coronavirus: Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways to cut 90 per cent of mainland China services | South China Morning Post

The carrier, one of Asia’s premium airlines and one of the biggest corporate victims of several months of anti-government protests in Hong Kong, has seen passenger numbers collapse by 50 per cent in recent days, sources said, citing comments from a briefing on Monday led by Mark Hoey, the airline’s general manager of operations

Coronavirus: Ethiopians slam govt for not stopping China flights — Quartz Africa

The Ethiopian government’s assertion that they are prepared to tackle coronavirus as they continue to receive around 1,500 passengers a day into the country from China, is seen as risky as other countries with more robust healthcare infrastructure issue travel restrictions.

States scramble to carry out Trump’s coronavirus travel order - The Washington Post

After a weekend of panicked calls and emergency meetings, federal and state officials were still struggling Monday with how to carry out stringent new travel restrictions ordered by the Trump administration and where to quarantine passengers arriving from China to control the spread of the coronavirus in the United States.

In interviews, state officials said the order came on Friday with no advanced notice and little planning.

Coronavirus: China 'not happy' with sudden Australian travel ban - Sydney Morning Herald

The Chinese embassy says it was blindsided by the Morrison government's decision to close its borders and leave citizens in limbo, as it pushes Australia for compensation for travellers and students affected by the coronavirus lockdown.

The Latest: France warns against all travel to China - AP

United Airlines suspending U.S.-bound mainland China flights a day earlier - Reuters

Canada aims to evacuate citizens from China on Thursday: source - Reuters

Canada aims to evacuate some 300 of its citizens on Thursday from the quarantined Chinese city at the epicenter of a coronavirus outbreak, a government source said, though the planned flight was still awaiting final Chinese approval.

5. US-China

Coronavirus to delay exports under 'phase one' China trade deal: Kudlow | Fox Business

President Trump's chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow said exports in the "phase one" trade deal with China will take longer because of the coronavirus on "Mornings with Maria" on Tuesday.

"It is true the 'phase one' trade deal, the export boom from that trade deal, will take longer because of the Chinese virus," Kudlow said...

China's loss could be the U.S.'s gain, he said.

"This may spur some business investment. Equipment and inventories were very, very low, as you may know, in the last GDP report, so you may get a step up in production here in the U.S., which would be very beneficial," Kudlow said.

Coronavirus May Delay Hard-Fought U.S. Trade Wins in China - The New York Times

One of the final sentences of the Phase 1 trade deal may prove to be key. The provision calls for consultations between the parties if “a natural disaster or other unforeseeable event outside the control of the Parties delays a Party from timely complying with its obligations under this Agreement.”

Question: If Beijing was already aware of the spread of the virus at the time of the signing of the deal, does it still count as an "unforeseeable event"? expect some folks in DC to be raising that point

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Remarks on US Comments Regarding the Pneumonia Outbreak

The US should react in an objective, fair, calm and evidence-based manner, rather than excessively. It should respect and coordinate with China' prevention and control measures and join us and the international community to beat this epidemic. The US has said many times that it wants to help China. We would like to see early arrival of such help.

Comment: hua takes a softer tone when discussing Trump specifically

Commentary: Ross's insensitive coronavirus comments are wildly misguided - Xinhua

A friend in need is a friend indeed. In the face of the epidemic, people in many parts of world including the United States have provided help in various ways, an embodiment of the values of a community with a shared future for humankind.

China is fully confident and capable of winning the battle against the epidemic. When the battle is won, Ross's insensitive and heartless comments will be proven wrong.

Republican senator suggests 'worse than Chernobyl' coronavirus could've come from Chinese 'superlaboratory' - Yahoo

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton suggested that Chinese officials misled the public on the origins of the novel coronavirus from Wuhan, China, saying it may have originated in a "superlaboratory."

Huawei, ZTE Fight to Stay Off Blacklist, as U.S. Firms Fear Ban - Bloomberg

Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. on Monday asked U.S. regulators to keep them off a list of companies deemed national security threats, a label that would bar the Chinese telecommunications equipment makers from selling gear to subsidized U.S. carriers.

Lu Zhenhua Opinion: The U.S.-China Relationship Has Crossed the Rubicon - Caixin Global

Insensitive U.S. rhetoric and China’s strong protest almost brought us back to the peak days of tension during the nearly two-year U.S-China trade war.

Many thought relations between the two countries could rebound after the two sides reached and signed the phase one agreement last December. And many believed that the U.S. Department of Defense’s recent decision not to further punish China’s tech giant Huawei — which was pressed forward by the U.S. Department of Commerce — could, to some extent, reverse the apparent trend towards technological decoupling of the two countries.

Now, the current bitter exchanges between Washington and Beijing serve as an unfortunate reminder that the “good old days” of the U.S.-China relationship are not coming back, even when the two face a common enemy in the form of the coronavirus

6. Taiwan

Taiwan calls China 'vile' for limiting WHO access during virus outbreak - Reuters

China told the WHO on Monday that it had shared full information about the coronavirus with Taiwan, and that outbreak communication had been “smooth” between the two sides.

But speaking in Taipei, Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said Taiwan has received has been very limited information and has been unable to get it quickly...

“Disease has no national boundaries,” Ou added. “Putting political considerations over people’s health and safety, this, basically, is extremely vile.”

Coronavirus: 'One China' dispute means one big headache for Taiwan in evacuation from Wuhan - The Washington Post

For nearly two weeks, Taiwanese officials appealed to their counterparts in Beijing: Let us evacuate our people from the Chinese city at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. They say they were met with silence...

“We were probably among the first to send that request, that we wanted to take our people back and lift them out of Wuhan,” said Chen Ming-chi, a deputy minister at Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council. “It sort of got ignored.”...

Then on Sunday, Chen finally heard — through Chinese state media — that a first batch of Taiwanese, about 200 of the 500 stranded in Wuhan, would return via a Chinese charter plane. He said his office was never informed of the development and was given scant details on who would be on board.

7. Hong Kong

Coronavirus: two more cases confirmed in Hong Kong, suspected to have been transmitted locally, hours after city confirms first death | South China Morning Post

Hong Kong has confirmed two more cases of the deadly new coronavirus, just hours after a 39-year-old man became the first to die in the city after being infected.

Health officials said there was no obvious source of infection for the two most recent cases but it was suspected it had been transmitted locally. It took the total number of cases in the city to 17...

[The deceased man] had underlying health issues, according to information previously disclosed by the Centre for Health Protection.

Coronavirus Latest News: Hong Kong Medical Workers on Strike - Bloomberg

the strike also revealed a longer term threat to her administration, as well as to her bosses in Beijing: It shows the growing strength of pro-democracy unions formed in recent months by protesters who want to curb China’s influence on the financial hub. The strategy aims to allow pro-democracy groups to quickly organize mass actions and, ultimately, transform a political system designed to favor Beijing loyalists.

“Government opponents are going through strenuous efforts to form new trade unions, hoping this could increase their chances of winning more seats in the legislative council,” said Lau Siu-kai, the former head of a Hong Kong government think tank and an emeritus professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. “These efforts will go hand-in-hand with the protests, bolstering the political movement in Hong Kong to seek more detachment from mainland China.”

8. US attorney discusses the “China Initiative”

U.S. prosecutor leading China probe explains effort that led to charges against Harvard chemist | Science | AAAS

the Department of Justice (DOJ) think for 1 minute that Lieber is a spy.

What worries Andrew Lelling, U.S. attorney for the Massachusetts district, is that Lieber was allegedly paid to carry out research in China, which, combined with his failure to disclose those relationships, makes him potentially vulnerable to pressure from the Chinese government to do its bidding at some future point. “It was the amount of money involved that drew our attention,” Lelling says, referring to a 2012 contract included in court documents that indicates Lieber received $50,000 a month in salary and millions of dollars in research support. “That is a corrupting level of money.”

Federal investigators were also alarmed, Lelling says, by how Lieber “brazenly” hid that relationship from Harvard and from the federal agencies that for decades have been funding his research on inorganic nanowires. “When people begin to hide things, that’s when law enforcement authorities get all excited.”

On 31 January, Lelling spoke with ScienceInsider about the nationwide DOJ effort, dubbed the China Initiative, that resulted in the charges against Lieber.

The FBI Secretly Spied on Chinese American Scientists - The Intercept

Under J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI pursued a slew of misguided counterintelligence investigations, hounding civil rights activists, feminist groups, and left-leaning scholars. The bureau’s broader surveillance of scientists during the Cold War is well documented; among those targeted was theoretical physicist and Manhattan Project contributor Richard Feynman. The newly obtained documents show that alongside such efforts, the bureau singled out Chinese American scientists because of their ethnicity — and that it did so even after the Senate’s Church Committee, formed in 1975, exposed some of the most egregious intelligence abuses of the era, many involving government surveillance of Americans on U.S. soil.

Business, Economy and Trade

Luckin Refutes Short Seller's Fraud Allegations - Caixin The unattributed 89-page report was posted on Twitter on Friday by short seller Muddy Waters Research, who said they considered it “credible”. The report claimed that the number of items sold per Luckin store per day was inflated by at least 69% in the third quarter of 2019 and 88% in the fourth quarter of 2019, based on 11,260 hours of store video that the report’s authors said they had viewed.

Chinese Lead Foreign Selling of U.S. Commercial Property - WSJ $$ Chinese were by far the biggest foreign sellers of U.S. office towers, retail centers, hotels and other commercial property last year, unloading $20 billion more than they bought, according to data from Real Capital Analytics.

Politics and Law

Chinese Journal Review: Crisis Management in the Internet Era - Chinese Journal ReviewIn this edition, I’ve provided a summary of an essay published in December 2019, written by State Councilor Xu Xianping, regarding best practices in crisis management, published in the State Council-affiliated Management World journal. Management World published this piece before the coronavirus would later so quickly spread, but the essay is relevant to events unfolding today. A translated summary of that essay is below.

河北日报评论员:坚定信心 众志成城 坚决打赢疫情防控阻击战_河北新闻网 Hebei Daily reports on the Hebei provincial Party committee meeting on fighting the virus outbreak in the province, notes Xi is personally directing the response and embodies a people's leader with a strong sense of mission and profound feelings for the people 以习近平同志为核心的党中央高度重视疫情防控工作,习近平总书记亲自指挥、亲自部署,多次召开会议,作出重要指示,体现了人民领袖强烈的使命担当和深厚的为民情怀,为做好疫情防控工作指明了前进方向,坚定了全党全国各族人民战胜疫情的信心和决心

在敦煌研究院座谈时的讲话 - 求是网 The Qiushi excerpt of Xi's Dunhuang speech on culture

Foreign and Defense Affairs

Petition · Canceling Joshua Wong and Nathan Law, In the Name of Democracy · Change.org More than 1000 Chinese students at Johns Hopkins University signed an online petition asking the school to cancel a panel later this month featuring Joshua Wong and Nathan Law

Philippine Lawmakers Warn of Chinese Influence over Power Grid - RFA Senators in Manila expressed concerns Monday about China’s potential access to the Philippine power grid, as an executive from a Chinese-linked utility told a senate inquiry that hackers had attacked the national grid’s computers “hundreds of times” in recent weeks.

China influence scandal rocks Berlin university | Times Higher Education (THE) A leading German university has been plunged into scandal after it emerged that it had signed a contract binding it to abide by Chinese law while accepting hundreds of thousands of euros from China to set up a professorship to establish a Chinese teacher training programme. German lawmakers have criticised the Free University of Berlin (FU) over the terms, which critics fear give the Chinese government leverage to prevent teaching about subjects such as the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre and Tibet.

China in the Middle East: Part Three | Center for Strategic and International Studies In the third episode of our podcast miniseries, China in the Middle East, Jon Alterman explores China’s security interests in the Middle East. Jon also talks to Dean Cheng, Evan Medeiros, and Andrew Scobell

Remarks by Foreign Minister Tileuberdi and Secretary Pompeo | Embassy of Kazakhstan in Washington, D.C. I also talked about the Trump administration’s forthcoming Central Asia Strategy, which puts your independence and prosperity at the core of our approach. We fully support Kazakhstan’s freedom to choose to do business with whatever county, whichever country, it wants. But I am confident. I am confident that countries get the best outcomes when they partner with American companies. You get fair deals, you get job creation, you get transparency in contracts, you get companies that care about the environment, and you get an unsurpassed commitment to quality work. American companies are naturally incentivized to behave this way. It’s just simply how the American system works. // Comment: fantasyland if the US thinks Kazakhstan would choose not to do business with China

Coronavirus may disrupt China’s diplomatic agenda, US trade deal, observers say | South China Morning Post hinese and European leaders have an intensive line-up of talks scheduled for this month and next, including a trip by Vice-Premier Liu He to Brussels for an economic dialogue in the middle of February. Talks between China and the European Union are also due to be held on strategic issues, climate change and human rights ahead of their annual summit at the end of March, to be hosted by Beijing.

人事观察|战区多位军官晋升中将军衔后首次亮相_政经频道_财新网 包括北部战区的副司令员姜国平、副政委兼政治工作部主任缪文江,西部战区副司令员王强、副政委兼政治工作部主任赵瑞宝,中部战区的副政委兼政治工作部主任郑璇和曾任浙江省军区政委的杨笑祥等 // new promoted Generals appear for the first time

Tech and Media

China Debuts of ‘Dolittle,’ ‘1917,’ and ‘Jojo Rabbit’ Postponed – Variety Cinemas are currently shut across the country, and all film and TV production has been indefinitely halted.

Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

China attaches great importance to security of Beijing Winter Olympics: envoy - Xinhua China's Permanent Representative to the UN Zhang Jun made the remarks at the UN's launch of "Global Programme on Security of Major Sporting Events, and Promotion of Sport and Its Values as a Tool to Prevent Violent Extremism."..On counterterrorism efforts, Zhang noted at present, terrorism remains a serious threat to international peace and security, and the international community should foster a sense of community with a shared future for mankind, strengthen international counterterrorism cooperation, stick to unified standards, and fight terrorism in all its forms.