Phase One deal timing; Belgian Confucius Institute head espionage allegations; Citizen morality construction
Happy Tuesday…Today is day two of the Fourth Plenum but there is no news about it. All we know is it will end October 31.
The timing of the signing of the mooted “Phase One” deal between the US and China is in some doubt now after Reuters reported that a US administration official said it may not be ready by the APEC meeting in Chile.
Hong Kong election officials have blocked Joshua Wong from running in the November district council elections. Are they hoping to cause more unrest that will lead to a suspension of those elections?
In what may be the first case of a Confucius Institute official being accused of espionage, Belgium has effectively expelled Professor Xinning Song, director of the Confucius Institute (CI) at the Brussels University. I will guess he was been found doing something fairly egregious for the Belgians to take such an action. This case will certainly feed the arguments that CIs are trojan horses with Chinese characteristics.
Thanks for reading.
The Essential Eight
Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump are tentatively expected to meet on November 17 with the aim of signing an interim trade deal, a source briefed on the arrangements told the South China Morning Post.
“If it’s not signed in Chile, that doesn’t mean that it falls apart. It just means that it’s not ready,” the administration official said. “Our goal is to sign it in Chile. But sometimes texts aren’t ready. But good progress is being made and we expect to sign the agreement in Chile.”
Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, told a panel at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin “have made a fabulous deal” with Beijing.
“I think people understand the president, that he’s firm, they know that he’s going to make the decisions that he thinks are right, and I think ultimately that we’ve come to an understanding with China now on where we want to head,” Kushner said.
“Meeting this target will be quite challenging because around 70% of China’s agricultural imports from the U.S. before the trade war were soybeans” and almost all soybean imported into China are used for animal feed, Nomura economists led by Lu Ting wrote in a research note. Hog stocks are down about 40% in the last year, and even though farmers are restocking it will take a while to return to earlier levels.
China will eliminate all restrictions on foreign investments not included in its self-styled “negative lists”, a vice commerce minister said on Tuesday, signaling upcoming directives.
It will also “neither explicitly nor implicitly” force foreign investors and foreign companies to transfer technologies, Wang Shouwen told a news conference in Beijing.
Comment: US pressure has made a difference
Zhou Yu, director of international finance under the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said that a connectivity program among the three countries' respective systems is a better way to augment influence in cross-border trading than building up that influence bit by bit over time...
"Given the likelihood of the trade war morphing into a financial war or currency war, China also feels more than ever the urgency of beefing up its financial independence and sovereignty," Zhou told the Global Times on Tuesday.
On Thursday, the US government-supported Defense Visual Information Distribution Service posted a set of pictures, in which the US Coast Guard cutter Stratton was conducting "missions" in the Yellow Sea and the South China Sea in September and October. And China Coast Guard's 12,000 dwt patrol vessel Haijing 2901 was found keeping watch on Stratton, which was an exercise of China's sovereignty.
The exhibition area of enterprises from the United States covers 47,500 square meters, the largest among all the participating countries at the second China International Import Expo (CIIE).
A total of 192 U.S. enterprises will attend the second CIIE, increasing 18 percent from the previous year, said Assistant Minister of Commerce Ren Hongbin at a news briefing held in Beijing Tuesday
Nine Chinese companies have filed for initial public offerings in the U.S. this month, including three overnight, making October the busiest of the year so far in terms of filings, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
epublican senator Marco Rubio said on Monday he plans to introduce legislation to block U.S. government pension funds from investing in Chinese stocks after a fund delayed a decision about tracking an index provided by MSCI Inc (MSCI.N).
The USTR, the lead U.S. trade agency, said it would take comment on the proposed tariff suspension from Nov. 1 to Nov. 30. The USTR said in December 2018 that, at the request of U.S. importers, $34 billion in Chinese goods would be exempt from 25% tariffs first set in July of 2018.
2. Hong Kong
Authorities on Tuesday barred Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong from contesting local elections, citing concerns that he does not respect China’s sovereignty over the territory, a step that threatens to inflame tensions after months of civil unrest.
The decision comes as pro-democracy candidates look poised to gain in the Nov. 24 vote from public fears over an erosion of freedoms in the Asian financial hub...
Explaining her decision in a letter Tuesday, returning officer Laura Aron said there was a “consistent case” that Wong and his party believe “the independence of Hong Kong is an option” for the self-determination of its people, and that it was “questionable whether Mr. Wong accepted the People’s Republic of China’s sovereignty” over Hong Kong. Aron had replaced another election official, Dorothy Ma, who went on indefinite sick leave Thursday, according to the Electoral Affairs Commission.
The disqualifying of candidates, many of them young, has exacerbated fears of shrinking freedoms at the root of recent unrest in the city. Young people on the front lines of monthslong protests have complained that they have been driven to violence in part because their representative voices have been shut out of public office.
Banning Mr. Wong—a student leader of protests in 2014 who has visited Washington to press Congress to support Hong Kong’s democracy movement—runs another risk. Any backlash could derail the Nov. 24 elections, as the government has threatened to call off the vote if there is violence.
The Global Times supports Aron's decision to disqualify Wong according to law. How can Wong, a man who has used his full strength to attack the political system in Hong Kong and stood against the country by publicly relying on the political forces of the US and the West, have no shame to participate in the election in Hong Kong to become part of the political system?
Wong has no bottom line in morality. Although he is young, he is a political extremist and rogue.
It must be noted that disqualifying Wong is the authority of the district officer, and any election in Hong Kong is an internal election of a special administrative region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China, rather than an election within the framework of a sovereign state.
A Hong Kong government inquiry that focuses on claims police used excessive force during 21 weeks of street protests and ignores violence by demonstrators would amount to a “moral betrayal”, influential mainland commentator Ren Yi told his million-plus Weibo followers on Monday.
If such a commission were set up, it should be led by Beijing and must also look at the possibility of foreign interference in the protest movement that emerged from public opposition to a now abandoned extradition bill, said Ren, who writes under the pseudonym of Chairman Rabbit.
It would be wrong to point the finger just at ARU. Demonstrators wishing to show solidarity with Hong Kong at Leeds, Sheffield and Liverpool Universities have all faced pro-Beijing intimidation. In none of these cases have the university authorities leapt to the defence of our common values.
Like so many other industries, UK higher education has sleep-walked into Chinese dependency without having calculated the cost. And like so many other industries, they are discovering that they can no longer speak freely for fear of economic reprisals.
The response came after a blog on the Coffee House of British magazine The Spectator reported that Lord Alton had written to Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), by which Ho was bestowed with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 2011, that Ho made comments about the holocaust, attacked gays and women, and was racist, urging the university to deprive Ho of the honor.
ARU withdrew Ho's honorary degree with a statement from the university saying, "Mr. Ho's conduct since he was honored has caused increasing concern," media reported on Monday.
“When we were in the academy, we were taught to use only the minimum amount of force. It’s not for us to deliver punishment,” he says. “But now, the majority of the police think the ‘rioters’ need to be punished … they attack people indiscriminately, even non-protesters.”
“The awful thing is, the majority of police don’t see it as a problem.”
“When they watch footage of police beating people, they shout for joy: ‘Yeah, we’re hitting the cockroaches!’,” he says. “They don’t give any consideration to their high ideals of freedom and democracy.”
Sales in the secondary market have more than doubled since mortgage rules for first-time buyers were eased mid-October, Midland Realty Ltd. said. Primary home sales are also doing well, with all 167 units at China Evergrande Group’s Emerald Bay project selling in six hours Monday, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported
The businessman, identified by his surname Hu, was expelled from Taiwan on Monday evening and prevented from re-entering the island for five years. Prosecutors found he had “damaged property” by removing posters on Sunday at an underpass in Taichung, in the island’s west, Taiwan’s immigration department said on Tuesday. Hu was also fined NT$30,000 (US$980).
3. Xi’s blockchain is not the crypto-utopianists’ blockchain
Speaking at the Bund Financial Summit in Shanghai, Huang Qifan the vice chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges (CCIE) declared that China was looking to create a cross-border renminbi (RMB) liquidation system independent of SWIFT...
Keen on preserving its monetary distribution right, Qifan declared that China will move forward with plans to create its digital currency. According to the CCIE chief, the country will be the first to deliver on a working digital currency electronic payment (DCEP) framework.
And remember this quote from the Global Times story in section 1:
"Given the likelihood of the trade war morphing into a financial war or currency war, China also feels more than ever the urgency of beefing up its financial independence and sovereignty," Zhou told the Global Times on Tuesday.
Following Xi Jinping’s bombshell speech last week urging his countrymen to “seize the opportunity” created by the technology, the CPC released a decentralized app (dapp) for members to attest their loyalty on a blockchain.
According to a post [“链”上初心，来体验一下“党建+区块链”] from the CCP’s propaganda office on Saturday, the dapp, in literal translation called “Original Intentions Onchain,” allows members to pledge their allegiance to the party and store it on a blockchain, which can be shared and seen by others.
Li Wei (李伟), head of PBOC’s tech department, said that the blockchain is a key emerging technology that possesses immense potential for driving innovative development of the digital economy...
According to Li the use of blockchain technology will be help to resolve a number of problems for the Chinese financial system, including the financing difficulties of small and medium-sized enterprises, bank risk control and regulation in hard-to-reach areas.
There is, however, one feature of cryptocurrencies that must be very attractive to Beijing: the idea of a unified, secure record of transactions. China’s regulatory state is very powerful but suffers two persistent, related problems: a lack of quality, timely information—due in part to heavy censorship—and corruption. Recurring food and safety problems like the current swine-fever outbreak, persistent “unofficial” capital outflows that regulators can’t account for and poor credit access for companies without political connections are among the results. China’s nascent corporate social-credit system is one attempt to address these deficiencies. Blockchain’s secure ledger technology clearly has the potential to help as well—as long as the identities of the parties involved are viewable by Beijing, which isn’t the case for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
In total, the identities of 506 such projects have been published by the Cyberspace Administration of China, which, since January, has required every entity developing blockchain technologies to register their projects for further supervision.
The information released so far is from two lists – 197 projects named in March and 309 in October – and offers a trove of insight into hundreds of enterprise blockchain projects under development in China.
More lists could be published, but these large tranches already include some of the largest Chinese state-owned banks and commercial tech conglomerates, as well as the many government and public sector projects that define China’s economy today.
Regulation for blockchain needs to be improved as the technology is still at an early stage, according to the People’s Daily commentary, which was published on the WeChat account of the paper’s opinion department. Technical innovations on blockchain aren’t the same as speculative trading of virtual currencies, it said.
“The message is clear -- companies should focus on their main business and not jump on the blockchain bandwagon,” said Sun Jianbo, president of China Vision Capital Management. “It’s a warning that support for the sector does not equal an endorsement of speculative trading.”
4. More US issues for Huawei & ZTE as China prepares to launch 5G
As a brand-new report on 5G security put it, “the most severe threats [are] posed by compromised confidentiality, availability and integrity associated with a State or State-backed actor.” And there are mounting reasons to believe that the Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE pose an unacceptable risk to U.S. national security.
Recognizing this risk, today, I’m circulating an order that would prohibit the use of Universal Service Fund dollars to purchase equipment or services from any company—like Huawei—that poses a national security threat. Going forward, we simply can’t take a risk when it comes our networks and hope for the best.
In the process of examining this issue, I also determined that the FCC needs to take a look back, so to speak. That’s because some rural wireless carriers that receive USF funds have already installed Chinese equipment. So, I’m proposing that the Commission initiate a process to remove and replace such equipment from USF-funded communications networks. My plan calls first for an assessment to find out exactly how much equipment from Huawei and another Chinese company, ZTE, is in these networks, followed by financial assistance to these carriers to help them transition to more trusted vendors. We’ll seek public input on how big this “rip and replace” program needs to be and how best to finance it. I hope that my colleagues will join me in voting for these important steps to protect our national security at our November 19 meeting.
"We firmly oppose the United States abusing its state power and suppressing particular Chinese companies without any evidence. Such economic bullying behavior goes against the principle of market economy which the United States has always claimed to champion, nor shall it win the support of the international community," spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a press briefing.
Geng made the remarks in response to a question concerning expected vote by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission in November on whether to designate Huawei and ZTE as national security risks. If the answer is yes, U.S. rural telecom carriers will be barred from buying Huawei and ZTE products using an 8.5-billion-U.S.-dollar government fund.
ZTE has revved up global deployment of its commercial fifth-generation telecoms equipment. The company secured 35 5G commercial licenses across the world in the first three quarters of this year, according to its website.
Chen Zhaoxiong, the country’s vice-minister of industry and information technology, said this month that its telecoms companies have installed 86,000 5G base stations this year...
Speaking at a major telecoms event in Sao Paulo, Derrick Sun, of Huawei Brasil, noted the company sees more than 70 countries allocating spectrum to 5G by 2021. So far, 56 countries have deployed 5G networks and 40 have launched some kind of 5G service, Sun said.
According to details posted by the Chengdu branch of China Mobile (via cnBeta), the carrier will offer monthly 5G data plans starting at only 128 Yuan ($18), setting a new international floor for the high-speed service, with the most premium plan priced at 598 Yuan ($85). Unsurprisingly, the $18 plan will come with significant restrictions — limited voice talk time with 30GB of total data, speed capped at 300Mbps — while higher-end plans will offer up to 300GB of total data, speed capped at 500Mbps or 1Gbps, with additional talk time.
5. Guideline on implementing citizen morality construction in the New Era
“Xi Jinping’s new era requires that its citizens have a moral quality in line with the development of broader society,” said Shen Dingli, a Fudan University professor who is one of China’s top scholars in international relations. “In this new era, the Chinese government sets a higher moral standard for its citizens.”...
It is “part of a very much larger political trend that is tied to the China Dream, a resurgent nation that can be free of Western influence,” said Jiang Xueqin, a Beijing-based researcher who studies Chinese schools.
“This is also very much connected to what is happening in Hong Kong. They see too much Western free thought in Hong Kong schools as the root cause, and so correct political indoctrination is becoming the top education priority.”
中共中央 国务院印发《新时代公民道德建设实施纲要》_中央有关文件_中国政府网 Central Committee and State Council issue updated guideline on implementing citizen morality construction in the New Era
Jointly published Sunday by China’s Cabinet and the Communist Party’s elite Central Committee, the guideline is effectively an update to a similar document from 2001. Officially titled “An Outline for the Implementation of Building Citizens’ Morality in the New Era,” it stresses the importance of embracing Communist ideals and core socialist values.
The updated version also includes a section on “cyberspace ethics” that instructs individuals and businesses to “promote positive content and provide moral education, as well as strengthen supervision of social media platforms and public accounts.”
The bits about cyberspace, from an official Q&A on the guideline - 加强新时代公民道德建设 为实现中华民族伟大复兴中国梦凝心铸魂——中央宣传部负责人就《新时代公民道德建设实施纲要》答记者问_解读_中国政府网
Jointly issued by the Office of the Central Rural Work Leading Group, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and nine other departments, the guideline was unveiled at a press conference Tuesday.
Despite the progress seen in recent years, problems such as extravagant funerals and betrothal customs as well as a lack of filial piety still exist in rural areas, according to Han Jun, deputy director of the office and deputy head of the agriculture ministry.
6. Radio Free Asia and Xinjiang
Alongside academics and human-rights groups, Radio Free Asia (rfa), a station funded by the American government, played a vital role in exposing Xinjiang’s horrors (see article). By employing Uighur-speaking journalists, rfa has gained something that cash-strapped commercial media would find hard to replicate: a reporting team that is able to penetrate China’s wall of secrecy in Xinjiang by pumping local sources for information, using their own language. This has put rfa at the forefront of newsgathering in the region...
Many consumers of Chinese-language news from rfa and stations like it, such as the bbc World Service, are Chinese people living in the West. They badly need independent news in their own language as China’s propagandists buy up the rest of the world’s commercial Chinese-language outlets.
A bill in Congress would double the American government’s annual allocation for rfa’s Uighur-language service, from $2m to $4m
On a single day in January 2018 in the far-western region of Xinjiang, 25 members of Gulchehra Hoja’s family, including her parents in their 70s, received calls summoning them to police stations in Urumqi, the provincial capital, and in Ili, 500km away near China’s western border. When they arrived they were told they were being detained because of their kinship with Ms Hoja, a reporter for Radio Free Asia (rfa), a broadcaster funded by the American government. rfa had recently reported on the mass internment of Uighurs, a Muslim ethnic group that makes up nearly half of Xinjiang’s 22m people. Ms Hoja’s father could not answer the summons because he was in hospital. Instead, police sent guards to stop him escaping...
Few exiles have felt intimidation more acutely than the 12 Uighurs in America who produce rfa’s Uighur-language news. That is because the station is the only one outside China that broadcasts in this Turkic tongue, and it pulls no punches. rfa reports relentlessly on Xinjiang’s human-rights horrors. Uighur staff say their relatives have been interrogated or detained just for having a family member who works for rfa. At least six of them have a combined total of more than 40 relatives who are in the new detention facilities (officially known as vocational-training centres—one is pictured) or in prison, or have gone missing.
7. Steve Bannon got $1 million for consulting with Guo Wengui’s eponymous media firm
The mystery of who's funding Steve Bannon's work has been at least partly solved: Guo Media, a company linked to a controversial Chinese billionaire, has contracted Bannon for at least $1 million for “strategic consulting services,” according to contracts obtained by Axios...
Guo Media is owned by Saraca Media Group, a company incorporated in Delaware, according to the contracts. Per a March 2019 tax filing, the president and director of Saraca was an individual named Han Chunguang.
“[I]t is my understanding that given Mr. Bannon's cross-border financial expertise at Goldman Sachs and Societe Generale, Saraca previously retained him for strategic advisory work regarding media investments, M&A, joint ventures, and cryptocurrencies,” Daniel Podhaskie, a spokesperson for Guo, tells Axios in an email statement.
“Mr. Bannon's work in these areas was complete and he is currently not retained. Mr. Guo had no involvement in him being retained or his work for Saraca.”
“Mr. Guo has no financial interest in Saraca Media Group or its media platform known as ‘Guo Media.’ Mr. Guo is merely the face of Guo Media and was requested by Saraca to act in this capacity given Mr. Guo’s outspoken criticism of the Chinese Communist Party.”
8. Accusations of CCP interference and espionage in Belgium and the Czech Republic
Professor Xinning Song, director of the Confucius Institute at the Brussels University (VUB), can no longer enter Belgium after being accused of espionage for China, De Morgen writes. He had a 10-year tenure. Previously, there were complaints at the French part of the Brussels university (ULB) about Chinese pressure on academics working on China.
From a Belgian media report - "Why the Chinese director of the Confucius Institute at the VUB is no longer allowed to enter our country" via Google Translate:
Song is not known as someone who talks about Chinese propaganda, but as an open networker. He maintains excellent contacts with think tanks and educational institutions such as College of Europe, the Bruges eliteschool for Eurocrats...
On October 3, Song was expected at a new lecture at the Egmont Institute on EU-China relations, which he had organized himself. He tried to travel with a Schengen visa through the Austrian embassy in Beijing and then discovered his entry ban.
"I have registered an appeal," says Song, who we were able to reach at Renmin University. “I don't know where people make contact with Chinese intelligence services. I do have a good relationship with Geng Huichang, the former Minister of State Security in China, who also teaches Renmin as a guest professor. Is that it?"
Xinning Song was a Senior Associate Research Fellow at UNU-CRIS in Bruges until the end of December 2016. He is also Jean Monnet Professor for European Integration Studies at Renmin University of China in Beijing. He was the Director of the Centre for European Studies at Renmin University from 1994 to 2007. He acted also as the Vice Chair and then the Associate Dean of the School of International Studies at Renmin University from 1988 until 2005. He is a member of ISA, BISA, the China Association of European Studies and the China Association of Asian Pacific Studies. He is a member of the Editorial/Advisory Board of various academic journals: Review of International Studies, Pacific Review, Global Society, Journal of European Integration, International Spectator, Review of Chinese Social Science, and China Journal of European Studies.
And a case of academic corruption by the CCP in the Czech Republic is unfolding -Konference, které pořádá rektor UK Zima, platila skrytě statisíci čínská ambasáda - Aktuálně.cz
Google Translate: The Chinese Embassy has paid 1.2 million invoices for conferences organized by Charles University and under the auspices of Rector Tomáš Zima. The event, which is criticized by some sinologists as biased in favor of the propaganda of the Chinese regime, is co-organized by the secretary of the Czech-Chinese Center, Miloš Balabán. Chinese money leaked into his business. After queries he resigned.
Business, Economy and Trade
Wechat Pay Creeps up on Acquirers as Payment Industry Fears Reshuffle- PingWest the rule change allows WeChat pay to directly process transactions between a customer’s account and a merchant’s account as they both are in Tenpay's system. This may also imply that UnionPay, China's largest acquirer, clearing institution, as well as the de facto financial regulation enforcer, would not be able to see through Tenpay's system and regulate its transactions like before. NetsUnion, another one of China's largest acquirer and clearing institution, will also be affected.
Top Bitcoin Miner Engulfed in Power Clash as Co-Founder Ousted - Bloomberg Bitmain Technologies Ltd.’s billionaire founder Wu Jihan announced Tuesday the resignation of his co-founder, a surprise ouster that appeared to resolve a struggle for control of the world’s largest crypto-mining startup. Micree Zhan Ketuan, who started Bitmain with Wu six years ago, no longer holds any position at the Beijing-based company effective immediately, Wu said in an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg News. The crypto-entrepreneur warned employees against taking further instructions from Zhan or attending any meetings he convenes, threatening staff with dismissal or criminal charges
Red, Dead, Renewed - SixthTone Memories loom large in Yumen, a proud town that fostered not only three generations of Du’s family, but also the soul of socialist China. Home to the country’s oldest oil well, Yumen boomed after the Communist takeover in 1949...Few would make that claim now...China has wrestled with the demise of single-resource cities like Yumen for years. In 2013, the State Council — the country’s Cabinet — published an official list of 262 ailing “resource-based cities” as part of a plan to transform their economies, ensure sustainable development, and help them catch up with rapid nationwide growth by 2020.
China's Ctrip changes name amid globalization push - Xinhua The company's shareholders have approved the change of the company name from "Ctrip.com International, Ltd." to "Trip.com Group Limited," which is expected to be easier for global travelers to recognize and remember.
Chinese President Xi Jinping to deliver keynote speech at 2nd CIIE - Xinhua Chinese President Xi Jinping will deliver a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) on November 5 in Shanghai, Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Bingnan announced Tuesday.
60% of Chinese Household Debt Tied up in Home Loans, Existing Homeowners Dominate Lending: Ant Financial Report - China Banking News The “China Household Finance Survey – China Resident Leverage Ratio and Household Consumer Loan Issue Research Report (中国家庭金融调查专题——中国居民杠杆率和家庭消费信贷问题研究) indicates that nearly 60% of Chinese household debt is comprised of home loans.
Chinese bank raises more than $7bn with record convertible bond | Financial Times $$ The Rmb50bn convertible bond offering from Shanghai Pudong Development Bank was about 330 times subscribed, according to a stock exchange filing on Monday evening. The Shanghai Pudong deal tops the previous record of $6bn raised for a convertible bond from state-run Citic Bank that priced in February, and is the seventh this year to raise more than $1bn, according to data from Dealogic.
How the Global Economy Is Changing: The New Growth Drivers - Bloomberg From Beijing to Brasilia, getting the right mix of smart investment, skilled workforce, innovation capacity and effective governance in place is already tough to do. Combating disruptive forces—which, from protectionism to climate change, threaten an outsize impact on low- and middle-income economies—adds to the challenge. The New Economy Drivers and Disrupters Report captures the new forces narrowing the path to development and upending the pattern of winners and losers in the global economy.
VW ramps up China electric car factories, taking aim at Tesla - Reuters Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) is ramping up production of electric cars to around 1 million vehicles by end of 2022, according to manufacturing plans seen by Reuters
Chinese Bitcoin Mining Machine Maker Canaan Files for U.S. IPO - Bloomberg Canaan attempted a Hong Kong listing last year before letting its application lapse in November. The South China Morning Post has reported that the city’s exchange and regulators consider IPOs by cryptocurrency companies to be “premature.”
Bankrupt Chinese Fuel Trader Claims $5.66 Billion From Mercuria - Caixin Global energy trader Mercuria Group is facing more than 40 billion yuan ($5.66 billion) of claims from a bankrupt Chinese state-backed company related to fuel oil trading contracts years ago that could possibly turn out to have been a hoax. The bankruptcy administrator for Chinese fuel trader Guangdong Zhenrong Energy Co. is submitting a demand for arbitration to the Singapore International Arbitration Centre as Mercuria’s Singapore subsidiary refused to provide proof in a dispute regarding the contracts, according to people close to the bankruptcy administrator.
Robert Friedland, China and the rush for copper in the DRC | Financial Times $$ When the new president of the Democratic Republic of Congo visited Washington in April, the mining billionaire Robert Friedland was waiting in a room at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel to greet him. Also there were the US ambassador to the DRC and Sun Yufeng, the head of China’s state-owned Citic Metals, the largest investor in Mr Friedland’s company Ivanhoe Mines....“What’s driving him on is his legacy. Can he create for the Chinese a vehicle to rival BHP?” Mr Gait asks. “It’s no longer flipping assets but about building something for the future. He wants to be a partner with the Chinese and that process is going to make him exceedingly wealthy. You’ve got the synergy of his ability to operate, own and find mining assets, coupled with the balance sheet of China.”
Soho China Said to Sell 11 Co-Working Centres - Mingtiandi Soho 3Q, the loss-making flexible office unit of developer Soho China, is reported to have sold a portfolio of 11 co-working centres in Beijing and Shanghai for an undisclosed amount, according to a local media account. Representatives of the buyer, Shenzhen-based shared workspace provider Dream Star, are said to have confirmed the sale.
China Investors Keep Making Deals in Silicon Valley Amid Washington Pushback - WSJ $$ Some Chinese investors are choosing different tactics, including taking pains to conceal their identity, U.S. defense officials and venture capitalists say. Mike Janke, co-founder of Maryland-based DataTribe, a venture fund that incubates cybersecurity startups, said that six times in the past year and a half, government-backed investors, including from China and Russia, have offered money for his fund through layers of front companies or subsidiaries. He rejected the offers after learning the origins of the money.
Politics and Law
王沪宁的最近一次讲话(全文)|王沪宁_新浪新闻 text of Wang Huning's speech at even commemorating 130th anniversary of the birth if Li Dazhao, reemphasizes what Xi has been saying about struggle: 今天，我们学习李大钊同志，就要按照习近平总书记所要求的，始终保持共产党人敢于斗争、善于斗争的风骨，发扬斗争精神，增强斗争本领，以“踏平坎坷成大道，斗罢艰险又出发”的顽强意志，投身具有许多新的历史特点的伟大斗争，有效应对重大挑战、抵御重大风险、克服重大阻力、解决重大矛盾，切实把改革发展稳定各项工作做实做好。
Chinese authorities promote public services in education campaign - Xinhua A number of Chinese authorities have launched initiatives to improve education, health care and other public services in the Communist Party of China's (CPC) ongoing education campaign themed "staying true to our founding mission," according to China's top anti-graft body. The CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervisory Commission said in a statement that they had led the 15 authorities, including the ministries of education and civil affairs and the National Health Commission, to deal with a series of problems regarding the public wellbeing.
Uighur musician listed for China show year after disappearance - CNA A prominent Uighur musician who was rumoured to have disappeared into a re-education camp in China's northwest Xinjiang will perform in Shanghai next month, the event organiser said Monday (Oct 28). Singer-songwriter Sanubar Tursun will perform at an award ceremony organised by the Shanghai Conservatory of Music on Nov 4
报名开始！中央机关需要这318个人 Official Wechat account of the Central Politics and Law Commission lists the 318 open positions in central organs that should be filled by people who pas this year's civil service exam.
书记省长都在京开会 委托政法委书记汇报扫黑除恶|政法委书记_新浪新闻 Beijing Youth Daily on the latest meetings of the central group overseeing the anti-gang crackdown, says the provincial secretaries and governors can't attend because they are in Beijing for a meeting (The 4th Plenum) so they sent their politics and law committee secretaries instead
Killing Reignites Debate Over Serious Crimes Committed by Minors - Caixin The case of a 13-year-old boy who confessed to killing a 10-year-old girl in the northeastern Chinese city of Dalian has reignited debate about how the country handles serious crimes committed by minors...Local police announced Thursday that the boy had been sentenced to three years of “rehabilitation and reeducation,” during which time he will be sent into foster care.Fourteen is the minimum age of criminal responsibility in China meaning the boy cannot be charged with a crime.
China's Leadership Gathers For Secretive Meeting as Dissidents Placed Under Guard - RFA Veteran political journalist Gao Yu indicated that she too was under surveillance...Beijing-based activist Li Wei said he had been under police restrictions for the past three days...Beijing-based rights activist Hu Jia said he isn't allowed to leave his apartment.
Foreign and Defense Affairs
China Rejects Policy of Nuclear Launch on Warning of an Incoming Attack - Union of Concerned Scientists Fu Cong, the Director General of the Arms Control Department of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, recently called on all nuclear weapons states to abandon the policy of preparing to launch nuclear weapons on warning of an incoming nuclear attack. He issued the unprecedented official statement in his keynote address to a major international arms control conference held in Shenzhen in mid-October.
US welcomes China’s offer to host talks between Taliban and Afghan government | AFP The Taliban last week said the conference would happen on October 29-30, but on Monday an insurgent spokesman denied a report that said a Taliban delegation was in Beijing. The Taliban have refused to negotiate formally with the Kabul government, but the Beijing and Doha gatherings are seen as fostering dialogue and planting the seeds of an eventual brokered solution.
U.S., Russia, China and Pakistan Joint Statement on Peace in Afghanistan - United States Department of State The Special Representatives of Russia, China, and the United States of America held their fourth consultation on the Afghan peace process in Moscow on October 25, 2019...Welcomed the Chinese proposal to host the next intra- Afghan meeting in Beijing with the participation of a wide range of political figures of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, including representatives of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, other Afghan leaders and the Taliban.
Beware a Faltering China - Foreign Affairs Beijing’s Assertiveness Betrays Its Desperation By Michael Beckley // "desperation" is a dangerous assumption
New Zealand to lift Pacific defense capabilities to protect interests - Reuters The latest report by the defense ministry does not mention of China, but says New Zealand will have to act in new ways and at new levels to protect its interest and to tackle regional issues of climate change, transnational crime and geopolitical competition.
Canada’s new ambassador to China gets to meet detained pair, but warned he faces uphill struggle to repair relations | South China Morning Post Canada’s new ambassador to Beijing Dominic Barton will face an uphill struggle to improve relations between the two sides, a senior Chinese diplomatic adviser has warned, after a year in which the arrest of a senior Huawei executive and the subsequent detention of two Canadians caused a significant deterioration in relations.
Vogel Group adds a health care lobbyist - POLITICO The IOC worried about the possibility of calls for a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics? // Former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) has registered to lobby for the International Olympic Committee. Daschle and three of his Daschle Group colleagues — Nathan Daschle, Veronica Pollock and Spencer Wolf — will lobby for the committee on athletics, foreign policy, health, environmental, broadcasting, immigration and human rights issues, according to a disclosure filing. It’s the first time the IOC has hired a Washington lobbying firm in more than a decade.
US official urged to stop contacting the Dalai Lama clique: Chinese FM - Global Times Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday urged US officials to stop contacting the Dalai Lama clique, making irresponsible remarks and using Tibet-related issues to interfere in China's internal affairs, after top US diplomat Sam Brownback met with the Dalai Lama and discussed how to improve religious freedom. The US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, began his trip in Dharmsala, India on Monday, where he delivered remarks alongside the Dalai Lama at the 60th anniversary celebration of the Tibetan Institute for the Performing Arts, India media PTI reported.
And the US Ambassador to India went to Tawang:
Ken Juster @USAmbIndiaIt is great to be in Tawang as the Chief Guest for the Tawang Festival. #USIndiaDosti https://t.co/0h22s1z3vA
China slams US hype of botched deal in Solomon Islands - Global Times Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a routine press conference that the deal was terminated as the local government did not report the plan to the Solomn Islands government, and that "it is an isolated commercial case."...Geng said situations may occur in Chinese companies' overseas operations, including the Pacific region, which is normal. However, the US unexpectedly overreacted as even the US defense minister issued a statement on the issue to smear relations between China and Pacific island countries.
Tech and Media
Yicai Global - Tencent's Web Services Unit Gets Fined, Lands on 'Bad Operator' Blacklist Tencent Holdings' internet services unit Shenzhen Tencent Computer System has run afoul of China's industry and information technology ministry, which slammed it with a fine and entered it onto a list of bad operators for unlicensed business dealings, exceeding its scope of business, failure to cooperate with oversight and inspections, and violations of the real name system, the ministry announced today on its official website.
TikTok Owner ByteDance Shores Up Global Operations Before IPO - Bloomberg This year, the Beijing-based giant hired executives to head up its business in the U.S. and India and is now seeking to expand its Australian and European teams to broaden its international reach, the people said. At the same time, ByteDance has been looking for a buyer for its U.S. news service TopBuzz, one of the people said, to rid itself of an under-performing business.
Hawley to lead hearing on China threat - Axios Republican Sen. Josh Hawley plans to spotlight risks to consumer data posed by foreign governments and cyberattacks in a hearing next month, amid rising concerns about Chinese social media firm TikTok. Hawley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee, will explore security concerns raised by social platforms that collect vast amounts of user data in a Nov. 5 hearing called "How Corporations and Big Tech Leave Our Data Exposed to Criminals, China, and Other Bad Actors," according to his office.
What Trade War? Hollywood Movies Invade China — The Information $$ The number of foreign films imported into China has risen steadily over the past few years. The trend was most pronounced last year, when the total reached 124 compared to 108 in 2017. So far this year, the growth has continued, but at a more muted pace: the number of foreign film imports has reached 102 so far this year versus 99 by the same time last year. Not all of these are American films but Hollywood’s share of the foreign film box office is also rising...As of Oct. 27, the U.S. box office was down almost 6% this year at $9.06 billion, while China’s box office revenue, excluding fees from online ticket services, was up 5.5% at $7.3 billion—making it second only to the U.S
Leshi Shrinks as Independent Directors Fret About Massive Debt - Caixin Leshi and LeEco founder Jia Yueting, who has remained overseas since the summer of 2017, currently holds 23.07% of Leshi’s shares, the report showed. However, most of that stake has been frozen or pledged as collateral, because he has been named as a debt defaulter by court officials since that year.
High-Def Map Rules to Be ‘Adjusted’ to Help Self-Driving Car Industry, Official Says - Caixin China will “adjust” restrictions on high-definition mapping, as national security concerns have been limiting the development of self-driving vehicle technology, an official with the country’s mapping authority said, without giving a timeline.
Energy, Environment, Science and Health
President Xi sends congratulatory letter to World Laureates Forum - Xinhua China will strengthen international sci-tech exchanges with a more open attitude, and help transform the wisdom and research achievements of Chinese and foreign scientists into a powerful momentum for economic and social development on the basis of platforms such as the World Laureates Forum, Xi stressed.
China pulls back on setting tough ethanol fuel content standards | Financial Times $$ China is likely to miss a deadline for enforcing the mandatory use of ethanol-blended petrol nationwide by 2020, after a backlash from energy firms and local governments thwarted a crucial part of Beijing’s effort to clean up the environment.