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PLA exercises around Taiwan; Macron and the PRC; Did Tedros "slander China"?; AI Bubble
Summary of the Essential Eight:
Reaction to Tsai’s US visit - The PLA waited until Ma, Macron and VDL had left the PRC to launch three days of exercises - “联合利剑” united sharp sword” - around Taiwan. This demonstration was not as "provocative" as the ones last August but they do demonstrate some important tactics and joint capabilities of the PLA, and are another reminder of how much the PLA has improved in recent years.
Aftermath of Macron’s visit - Macron spoke with reporters on his flight home. The Politico report on his comments has caused a lot of controversy, as some of them make Macron sound like he is regurgitating a Xinhua commentary. The Les Echos version in French sounds not as bad, but regardless Xi and his team should be ecstatic about their successes with Macron on this trip.
Xi Thought study campaign, more Xi books - The Xi Thought study campaign is getting underway, with a notice from the Central Committee “calling on the whole Party to study the recently published first two volumes of a new book series of selected works of Xi Jinping”, the publication of three more books that compile Xi’s thinking on self-revolution, research and studies and the worldview and methodology of Xi Jinping Thought. Multiple ministries and Party and PLA organs have held their study campaign kickoff meetings.
State Council Executive Meeting - Last week’s State Council Executive meeting focused on finding on ways to reverse the negatives trends in exports, improve the bleak employment prospects for college graduates as well as adopted on new draft on regulation of unmanned aircraft flight. If anyone knows why that specifically has risen to the level of a State Council Executive meeting please enlighten us.
Party media as organ of statecraft - David Bandurski from the China Media Project has a fascinating look at how the China Media Group and other parts of the PRC Party-State apparatus coordinated on the announcement of Honduras dumping Taiwan for the PRC. It is a good reminder of how any claims of “independence” should not be taken at face value.
Rights lawyers and human traffickers sentenced - Rights’ lawyers Xu Zhiyong and Ding Jiaxi received sentences of 14 and 12 years respectively for political crimes. Also last week six people received sentences ranging from 8 to 13 years for their role in the horrible case of the chained woman that blew up online last year. It is disturbing that the PRC justice system issues longer prison sentences for political crimes like “developing so-called ‘citizen community groups,’” and calling for “equal access to education" than for trafficking a woman and keeping her in chains.
Did WHO’s Tedros “slander China” with his Covid origins comments? - Last week, in response to new research paper, WHO Director General said that “without full access to the information that China has, you cannot say this or that…All hypotheses are on the table. That's WHO's position and that's why we have been asking China to be cooperative on this”. In response “experts” accused Tedros, but not by name, of “using twisted and incomplete pieces of evidence to slander China on the origins of COVID-19” while another suggested that “now the onus falls on other countries who could be linked to the virus to undertake similar investigations, to hopefully shed light on where the virus came from”.
More warnings about an AI bubble - The Economic Daily warned of a bubble in AI stocks. They are correct, some of the moves in AI “concept” stocks have been crazy. This week’s Caixin magazine cover story is on the rush to “jump on the ChatGPT bandwagon”. The article quotes the CEO of Megvii as saying that “To train large-scale models like ChatGPT, at least 10,000 A100 chip clusters” and “Chinese companies possess only about 40,000 A100 chips”.
Thanks for reading.
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The Essential Eight
1. Reaction to Tsai’s US visit
In China’s exercises last year, it fired at least 11 missiles into the seas off Taiwan. Though the latest exercises have not involved missiles, experts will examine the drills for signs of how the People’s Liberation Army’s abilities have evolved.
One focus may be the Shandong, the Chinese aircraft carrier. It sent dozens of sorties by fighter jets, according to Japanese military authorities. The flights seemed to be the first time that Chinese J-15 jets, designed to operate from aircraft carriers, have been tracked entering Taiwan’s “air defense identification zone,” said Ben Lewis, an analyst who monitors such flights.
China deployed the aircraft carrier to reinforce its claim that it could “surround and encircle” Taiwan, said Ou Si-fu, a research fellow at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research in Taipei, which is affiliated with Taiwan’s defense ministry. “That is to say that it can do it on our east coast, as well as our west coast,” Mr. Ou said.
The first day of the exercise focused on testing the task force capabilities in seizing the control of the sea, air and information under the support of the joint combat system, as the forces simultaneously pushed forward to encircle the island, creating a suppressive situation in which the island is surrounded from all directions, CCTV reported.
According to a video viewed by the Global Times on Saturday morning, the Army deployed PHL-191 modularized multiple rocket launcher systems, the Navy sent a Type 052C destroyer, Type 22 missile boats and YJ-12B land-based anti-ship missiles, the Air Force sortied J-10C fighter jets, a KJ-500 early warning aircraft and a YU-20 tanker aircraft, and the Rocket Force mobilized DF-11 conventional ballistic missiles in the drills.
Other types of weaponry and equipment, including electronic warfare aircraft and bombers, are also expected to be part of the exercise.
A second video released on Saturday evening showed more details of the drills, including the participation of dozens of J-16 and J-10C fighter jets, the Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft, the H-6K bomber, the Type 054A frigate and the DF-15 conventional ballistic missile.
Under the unified command of the PLA Eastern Theater Command, multiple military services and branches on Sunday carried out simulated joint precision strikes on key targets on the island of Taiwan and in its surrounding waters, keeping the suppressive situation in which the island is encircled, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on the day.
This is the first time an official public report has revealed that "key targets on the island of Taiwan and in its surrounding waters" are mock strike targets of the PLA, observers said.
Zhao Xiaozhuo, a research fellow at China's Academy of Military Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday that the key targets refer to military facilities and specific buildings on the island of Taiwan.
The defence ministry separately released pictures on Monday of mobile launchers for the Taiwan-made Hsiung Feng anti-ship missiles at an undisclosed location, as well as missile-armed fast attack boats at sea.
Reuters reporters at the Cape Maobitou park in Pingtung county on Taiwan's southern tip saw Hsiung Feng launchers deployed near a scenic spot on Monday, as soldiers stood guard and tourists watched and posed for pictures.
Life in Taiwan has continued normally with no signs of panic or disruption, and civilian flights operating as usual.
The Monday CCTV Evening News on the conclusion of the three day exercises
While the DPP authorities take every opportunity to conduct separatist activities for "Taiwan independence" out of selfish political gains, the U.S. has wantonly used Taiwan as a pawn to contain China in total disregard of the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and the fundamental interests of the people in Taiwan. It is a "troublemaker" and "destroyer" of the peace and stability across the Strait...
By firmly rejecting the U.S. provocations on the Taiwan question, China is saying no to the U.S. hegemony and bullying, and upholding international fairness and justice, which is why China's action has been supported by the overwhelming majority of countries in the world...
The Chinese government has great capabilities to shape the strategic situation and environment for its national reunification, and to thwart "Taiwan independence" separatist activities in whatever form.
The cross-Strait reunification is an overriding historical trend and the right course, while "Taiwan independence" is a retrogression leading to a dead end. The separatist forces seeking "Taiwan independence" and external interference will not stop the prevailing historical trend of China's reunification or the course of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
The Chinese people have the resolve, the will, and the ability to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity. They must and will realize the historic goal of reuniting their motherland.
To this end, the DPP authority has been thriftlessly spending the money of Taiwan taxpayers and purchasing a bulk of weapons from the US with continuously increasing budget. Under the US incitement, it accelerates the vicious outflow of competitive industries within the island, transforming Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company into "American Semiconductor Manufacturing Company". What's even more shocking is that the DPP authority is also deliberately ingratiated toward the preposterous "destruction of Taiwan" plan of the American politicians, and makes the Taiwan people the cannon fodder to contain China with Taiwan. With clamors of so-called "protecting and loving Taiwan" but doing wicked actions of "devastating and betraying Taiwan" in essence, the DPP authority directly intensified the tension and turbulence across the Taiwan Strait and devastated the peaceful reunification of both sides.
Is the US "security assurance" undependable? The answer is absolutely no. From Iraq to Syria, and from Afghanistan to Ukraine, for so many years, the US has been agitating conflicts and stirring up regional security situations around the world, but gaining private profits from these actions. The US' international credit has been impoverished long ago...
China must be and will surely be reunified. The Chinese People's Liberation Army shall firmly safeguard the national sovereignty, security and development interests of China, and never allow any forces to make Taiwan separate from China under any name or by any means. And any wrongdoings attempting to make trouble in the name of Taiwan question and damage the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of China are bound to encounter bitter hit and ignominious defeat in the end.
Goodies await those who have the correct view - Top political advisor pledges benefits for people, enterprises from Taiwan-Xinhua
During a meeting with a delegation from Taiwan on Monday, China's top political advisor Wang Huning stressed that the mainland will always respect, care for and work to bring benefits to Taiwan compatriots.
Wang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, met with the delegation led by Liu Chao-shiuan, co-president of the Cross-Strait CEO Summit, in Beijing...
Wang stressed that the mainland is committed to safeguarding peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, but this cannot be realized with the existence of "Taiwan independence."
He called for joint efforts across the Strait to work against external interference and the separatist activities of "Taiwan independence" forces, and to strive for the great cause of national reunification and the cause of national rejuvenation.
But sanctions for the people supporting “Taiwan Independence”: China imposes further sanctions on Taiwan's US representative - CNA
China has imposed further sanctions on Hsiao Bi-khim, Taiwan's de facto ambassador to the United States, prohibiting her and family members from entering the mainland, Hong Kong and Macau
The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced on Friday sanctions on the Hudson Institute and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and their directors in response to the latest meeting between the regional leader of the Taiwan island and the US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in the US.
Universities, institutions and other organizations and individuals in China are prohibited from conducting exchanges and cooperation with the two US institutions and four senior representatives from these two organizations are prohibited from entering China.
Tokyo also urged Beijing to stop its coastguard ships entering Japanese waters, adding that it was deeply concerned about Beijing's military activity near Japan and its coordination with Russia.
"We conveyed our deep concerns over the situation in the East and South China seas, and reiterated the importance of having peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait," a Japanese foreign ministry statement said.
Taiwanese are rushing to buy patches being worn by their air force pilots that depict a Formosan black bear punching Winnie the Pooh - representing China's President Xi Jinping - as a defiant symbol of the island's resistance to Chinese war games.
This patch of s bear with a Taiwan flag punching Winnie the Pooh has gotten a lot of attention. Will anyone dare show it to Xi?
2. Aftermath of Macron’s visit
Speaking with POLITICO and two French journalists after spending around six hours with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his trip, Macron emphasized his pet theory of “strategic autonomy” for Europe, presumably led by France, to become a “third superpower.”..
“Europeans cannot resolve the crisis in Ukraine; how can we credibly say on Taiwan, ‘watch out, if you do something wrong we will be there’? If you really want to increase tensions that’s the way to do it,” he said...
He also suggested Europe should reduce its dependence on the “extraterritoriality of the U.S. dollar,” a key policy objective of both Moscow and Beijing.
Politico added this at the end of the article:
As is common in France and many other European countries, the French President’s office, known as the Elysée Palace, insisted on checking and “proofreading” all the president’s quotes to be published in this article...The quotes in this article were all actually said by the president, but some parts of the interview in which the president spoke even more frankly about Taiwan and Europe’s strategic autonomy were cut out by the Elysée
Question: So who is going to leak the franker bits?
The interview in Les Echos - Emmanuel Macron : « L'autonomie stratégique doit être le combat de l'Europe » | Les Echos
Two senior EU diplomats said Macron’s comments would hurt both Europe and Ukraine’s relationship with the US, and make it harder for the EU to forge a united position towards Beijing.
“It is not a win for anybody,” said one of the diplomats. “Except Xi.”
Monday CCTV Evening News has a report on Macron's interview with the headline "French President Emmanuel Macron says Europe must strengthen its strategic autonomy"
The French President's rational plea for Europe jams the brakes on some Eastern European nations and European Parliament, lured by the US, in their attempt to lead the continent astray and get more involved in the Taiwan question, Sun Keqin, a research fellow at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times. Macron is warning Europe not to go so far on this issue and risk damaging Europe's own interests, said Sun.
Sun noted that Macron's stressing the need for Europe's strategic autonomy was a result of a sober awakening from the US' selfish policies on Europe, especially since the Russia-Ukraine crisis, and also from being emboldened by his "very successful" visit to China, during which he saw China's good will toward France and the huge potential of cooperation with China, said Sun...
Cui Hongjian, director of the Department of European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, said that the US politicians' and media's discomfort reflected the US' rising anxiety over its hegemony, as well as its declining ability to rein in its allies...
"Some US media tend to use the term 'Gaullist' to criticize Macron. But in my view, Gaullism helped France break the antagonism during the Cold War, and won space for East and West; France and China," Cui told the Global Times.
"France has made the right choice before. Given a second chance, it is still possible to make the right choice," Said Cui.
China and France, according to Xi, as permanent members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council, major countries with a tradition of independence, and firm advocates for a multi-polar world and for greater democracy in international relations, have the ability and responsibility to rise above differences and obstacles, keep to the overall direction of a comprehensive strategic partnership that is stable, mutually beneficial, enterprising and dynamic, and practice true multilateralism for global peace, stability and prosperity...
China will keep its Europe policy stable in the long run, continue to see Europe as an independent force in a multi-polar world, and stay committed to a China-Europe relationship that is not targeted at, subjugated to, or controlled by any third party, Xi said...
Macron noted that in a world full of uncertainties, the EU and China should work with each other to stay away from the trap of economic decoupling and severing supply chains, carry out mutually-beneficial cooperation on an equal footing, tackle pressing global challenges such as climate change, and keep deepening the EU-China comprehensive strategic partnership.
Norbert Röttgen, a German centre-right MP who is a member and former chair of the Bundestag’s foreign affairs committee, said Macron had turned his trip to China into “a PR coup for Xi and a foreign policy disaster” for Europe. “With his idea of sovereignty, which he defines in demarcation rather than partnership with the USA, he is increasingly isolating himself in Europe.”
Reinhard Butiköfer, an MEP who chairs the European parliament’s China delegation, described Macron’s China visit as a “complete disaster”. The German Green MEP, who has been sanctioned by Beijing over his stance on human rights in Xinjiang, also said Macron’s “pipe dream” of EU strategic autonomy and becoming a “third superpower” was “beyond the pale”. He added that the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, had shown “a better alternative”.
The problem Macron faces is that whether Europe follows his desire to pursue strategic autonomy or decides instead to pursue a more Atlanticist foreign policy, the policy conclusion is the same; the European Union needs to reduce its dependency on China as well as Russia. To be a strategically autonomous actor, Europe cannot be dependent on China. And to be a strategic partner of the United States… Europe also cannot be dependent on China.
Xi can be heard as saying clearly in the segment:
The "High Mountain and Flowing Water," thousand-year old music played by a thousand-year old Guqin[a traditional music instrument]..... A person expects a bosom friend, and they are in sync in the same way between high mountain and flowing water ...... it was a beautiful, ancient story, the story of Yu Boya and Zhong Ziqi ...... embodies the bosom friendship, only bosom friends can understand this music.
The delegation is heading to the island Sunday, according to one French official who will be part of the group. Press officers at the French National Assembly and Senate didn’t immediately reply when asked to comment on the plan Monday, a public holiday in France.
3. Xi Thought study campaign, more Xi books
The notice, which was made public Monday, said that it is of great significance for the whole Party and people across the country to carefully study the new publications so that they can closely follow the CPC Central Committee with Xi at its core in thinking, political stance and action, and jointly strive to advance the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.
The Party committees and leading Party members' groups at all levels are urged to organize Party members and officials to study the publications and make the study an important part of the Party-wide education campaign on the study and implementation of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.
Three books, including a compilation of excerpts from Xi Jinping's discourses on the Party's self-reform [Bill: self-revolution 自我革命], have been published and distributed across the country.
The publication followed the launch of a Party-wide campaign by the Communist Party of China (CPC) to study and implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.
The other two books are a compilation of excerpts focusing on the worldview and methodology of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, as well as a compilation of excerpts from Xi's discourses on research and studies.
Selected Readings of Xi Jinping's Works includes the important works of General Secretary Xi Jinping from November 2012 to October 2022. These important works vividly record the historical process of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core uniting and leading the whole Party and the people of all ethnic groups throughout the country to carry out great struggles, build great projects, advance great causes, realize great dreams, promote historic achievements and changes in the cause of the Party and the country, and usher in a new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The valuable experience of promoting the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation with Chinese-style modernization reflects in a concentrated way the major theoretical innovation achievements achieved by our party in insisting on integrating the basic tenets of Marxism with China's specific conditions and with China's excellent traditional culture, and promoting the Sinicization of Marxism, and is an authoritative teaching material for the whole party and the people of all ethnic groups throughout the country to deeply study and implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. Conscientiously studying "Selected Readings of Xi Jinping's Works" is of great significance for the whole party and the people of all ethnic groups throughout the country to deeply understand the decisive significance of the "two establishments", strengthen the "four consciousness", strengthen the "four self-confidence", achieve "two safeguards", consciously maintain a high degree of consistency with the party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core in ideology, politics and action, and strive to push forward the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era....
Studying "Selected Readings of Xi Jinping's Works" is a major political task to persist in forging the soul with Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.. Party committees (party groups) at all levels should give priority to studying the "Selected Works of Xi Jinping," closely integrating the study and implementation of the spirit of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and the thematic education on studying and implementing Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. Party members and cadres should study and comprehend the original texts earnestly, understanding both the words and their deeper meanings, as well as the reasons behind them.
Theoretical learning center groups of party committees (party groups) at all levels should include the "Selected Works of Xi Jinping" in their study plans, learn deeply, comprehend thoroughly, and practice diligently, continuously improving their political judgment, political understanding, and political execution. Party schools (administrative colleges) and cadre academies at all levels should incorporate the "Selected Works of Xi Jinping" into their training and teaching programs, hold various seminars, training classes, and study classes, and promote multi-form, multi-level, and comprehensive learning.
Higher education institutions should use the "Selected Works of Xi Jinping" as teaching materials for teachers and students to better promote Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era into textbooks, classrooms, and minds. Propaganda and organization departments of party committees at all levels should strengthen guidance, supervision, and inspection of the study, conduct good propaganda and reporting, organize and introduce lectures, and continuously deepen the study.
If you want to dig into the Xi Thought study campaign, People's Daily online has summarized 5 commentaries it made on Xi's speech at the recent study campaign work conference
Xinhua has launched a micro-site for the Xi Thought study campaign
4. State Council Executive Meeting
China's State Council has studied policies and measures to promote the stability of the scale of foreign trade, as well as its improved structure, according to a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Qiang on Friday...
In light of practical problems in different fields, more efforts will be made to enrich, adjust and perfect related policies, implement a policy mix to maintain the stability of foreign trade, and help enterprises secure orders and expand the market, according to the meeting.
The country will find ways to stabilize exports to developed economies and guide companies to continue their exploration of markets in developing countries, as well as regional markets such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, it said.
The meeting also adopted a draft on the regulation of unmanned aircraft flight. Stressing the need to coordinate development and security, the meeting urged efforts to regulate the flight of unmanned aircraft and related activities, promote the sustainable and healthy development of relevant industries, and safeguard aviation, public security and national security.
To continue to reduce the burden on college graduates from families with financial difficulties, the meeting decided to continue the policy of interest-free and deferred principal repayments for government-subsidized student loans.
More efforts will be made to increase policy and financial support for companies that recruit large numbers of college graduates and promote the multi-channel employment of new graduates, according to the meeting.
Readout of the State Council Executive meeting, the section on unmanned aerial vehicles- 李强主持召开国务院常务会议 研究推动外贸稳规模优结构的政策措施等_要闻最新_中国政府网
The meeting reviewed the Provisional Regulations on Flight Management of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Draft). The meeting stressed that it is necessary to fully implement the overall national security concept, coordinate development and safety, take the implementation of the Regulations as an opportunity, standardize the flight of unmanned aerial vehicles and related activities, actively promote the sustained and healthy development of related industries, and vigorously safeguard aviation safety, public safety and national security. Adhere to safety-oriented, focus on the whole chain of production and sales, assembly and modification, registration and identification, personnel qualification and operation monitoring, speed up the improvement of supervision system and mechanism, improve the supervision service platform, enhance the supervision service capability, and ensure the safe and orderly flight activities. Adhere to innovation-driven development, vigorously promote key core technology research, accelerate the construction of independent, controllable, safe and reliable industrial chain supply chain, promote technology integration and innovation, enrich application scenarios, improve industrial ecology, and better promote the high-quality development of related industries.
5. Party media as organ of statecraft
During a ceremony in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa on March 28, the state-run China Media Group (CMG) inaugurated a new national bureau in what was one of the first formal celebrations between China and Honduras since the Central American country formally broke off relations with Taiwan just two days earlier, on March 26.
Reporting on the event, which took place at the Presidential Palace, under the bright red glare of China’s national flag, CMG’s international broadcasting arm, China Global Television Network (CGTN), said the media conglomerate would now be “positioned to bring more in-depth coverage of Central America to audiences around the world.” The head of the conglomerate’s Latin America division, Zhu Boying (朱博英), told an audience that included Honduran Cultural Minister Anarella Velez that the new bureau would “collaborate with the country’s leading media organizations.”
But the message between the lines of this new bilateral media relationship, coming with astonishing swiftness in the wake of a diplomatic shift that left diplomats in Taiwan reeling, was that official PRC media outlets, far from reporting on the sidelines of international affairs, are active agents in advancing the interests of the Chinese Party-state — well in advance of the story...
Also shown on screen in the CGTN television spot on China-Honduras relations is Wang Hua (王华), deputy secretary of the China Foundation for Peace and Development (中国和平发展基金会), or CFPD. The foundation, which identifies itself as a non-profit organization, is operated under the International Liaison Department, or ILD, of the CCP Central Committee (中共中央对外联络部), which is tasked with maintaining ties with foreign political parties, organizations, and individuals, and has a vital role in intelligence collection...
Despite its easily ascertainable and completely undeniable link to the Party’s central leadership, CFPD has been treated seriously in even United Nations documents and proceedings as a “non-profit organization” having a purely advisory role.
CFPD is one of China’s many fronts in pushing forward the political goals of the state under the guise of society-level engagement and people-to-people exchange. The media outlets under the China Media Group umbrella similarly perform a sock-puppet role before global audiences in all of the world’s major languages.
6. Rights lawyers and human traffickers sentenced
The lawyers, Xu Zhiyong and Ding Jiaxi, had been charged with subversion for promoting what they called a “New Citizens Movement,” which encouraged ordinary Chinese to exercise the rights such as free speech guaranteed by the country’s Constitution, at least in theory. They had been detained after organizing a gathering of about 20 lawyers and activists in the seaside city of Xiamen in 2019, where they discussed their plans to work toward those goals, and about the future of the human rights movement in China broadly...
The length of the sentences surpassed even the dire predictions of the men’s family members and supporters. Mr. Xu had previously served four years in prison, and Mr. Ding three-and-a-half, also related to their work with the New Citizens Movement...
The authorities, in laying out the charges against the two men, described a litany of offenses over the past several years, including “developing so-called ‘citizen community groups,’” and calling for “equal access to education."
Xu was a 2020 recipient of PEN America’s PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award. In 2023, the United States Department of State awarded Ding the Global Human Rights Defender Award.
The sentence came more than one year after a video went viral on Chinese social media platforms in January 2022 showing a woman (Xiao Huamei) chained in a dilapidated hut wearing thin clothes in freezing winter in Fengxian county, Xuzhou. The video quickly sparked outrage, with many angry netizens demanding help for the woman and an investigation into the case.
Dong Zhimin, Xiao Huamei's "husband," was sentenced nine years in prison for domestic abuse and unlawful detention, according to the verdict issued by the Xuzhou intermediate people's court.
Five other individuals were punished for human trafficking with Shi Lizhong sentenced to 11 years in prison, Sang Heniu 10 years, Tan Aiqing 13 years, Huo Yongqu eight years and six months and Huo Defu eight years, they were also fined, according to the court.
the punishments, ranging from eight to 13 years, only revived public fury. On Chinese social media, where multiple hashtags related to the case quickly topped the list of trending topics, commenters criticized them as too lenient, particularly the sentence of Dong Zhimin, the man who officials said had purchased the woman and fathered eight children with her. He was given nine years...
Users also demanded to know where the woman was and how she was doing. She has not been seen publicly in more than a year, since shortly after the video of her chained in the shack surfaced on social media.
7. Did WHO’s Tedros “slander China” with his Covid origins comments?
China has urged World Health Organization (WHO) officials to return to science and fairness and not to be subject to or willing to descend to become a tool of politicization of certain countries, after some in the international organization smeared China for lacking transparency in sharing data about COVID-19 origins. Using twisted and incomplete pieces of evidence to slander China on the origins of COVID-19 will only undermine the international body's credibility and impair investigations on the virus said experts.
An epidemiologist close to China's COVID-19 origins-tracing task group told the Global Times that next stage of origins-tracing should concentrate on animals who are more prone to carry coronaviruses, such as bats. China has done abundant work on investigating virus-carrying animals for years, and now the onus falls on other countries who could be linked to the virus to undertake similar investigations, to hopefully shed light on where the virus came from.
A Chinese Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researcher on Saturday said she felt surprised that some officials at WHO accusing China of lack of transparency in COVID-19 origins-tracing, as Chinese scientists have shared all available information and the results have been approved by WHO-China joint mission.
"If such presumptuous accusations persist, WHO's credibility could be undermined," the expert from China CDC said.
The remarks were made at a news conference held by China's State Council's Information Office on Saturday.
8. More warnings about an AI bubble
The article, titled “Bubble prevention needed while promoting AI”, was published on Monday by the Economic Daily – a newspaper founded by the State Council, China’s cabinet, and supervised by the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda department.
“While capital is chasing the ChatGPT concept, it needs to pay attention to avoid running into a bubble,” the article said, adding that some domestic stocks related to AI and large language models had soared by more than 50 per cent in the past two months...
China Science Daily, a newspaper backed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and other top research bodies in the country, published an article on Friday, cautioning that ChatGPT may corrupt, rather than improve users’ moral judgment, citing a study by German and Danish researchers that appeared last week in the journal Scientific Reports.
The Economic daily warning - 热捧人工智能需防泡沫
To train large-scale models like ChatGPT, at least 10,000 A100 chip clusters and at least 2 billion yuan ($291 million) in hardware investment are needed, said Yin Qi, chief executive of Megvii, a Beijing-based company that designs facial recognition and deep-learning software.
Chinese companies possess only about 40,000 A100 chips, mostly in the hands of internet giants such as Alibaba and Baidu, Yin told Caixin..
With a relatively low entry barrier and with the support of venture capital, many small -and-medium-sized companies have crowded into the AI-based application programming interface (API) market, intensifying the competition.
Since everyone can make API apps, and the products are similar, companies will soon enter a vicious cycle of price wars, said Lin Demiao, founder and CEO of P.A.I Tech, a Beijing-based AI company that develops financial text reading data platforms.
Xu Li, CEO and co-founder of one of China's largest AI firms, showed a live demonstration of the chatbot they called "SenseChat" writing an email and telling a story about a cat catching a fish when prompted by questions, as well as scripting computer codes.
this week’s feature translation tackles a Bilibili video by Chapingjun [差评君], a popular Internet technology blogger who got access to Ernie Bot and tested it against GPT-4/ChatGPT on six different capabilitie...
Key Takeaways: The video concludes: “Overall, as we demonstrated earlier, Ernie Bot was essentially beaten by GPT-4 in all aspects.”
Chinese search engine giant Baidu (9888.HK), has filed lawsuits against "relevant" app developers and Apple Inc (AAPL.O) over fake copies of its Ernie bot app available on Apple's app store.
Business, Economy and Trade
How China’s Economic Slowdown Could Hurt the World | Foreign Affairs By Daniel H. Rosen and Sophie Lu As China’s rate of growth has slowed markedly, its leaders have taken a far more statist posture in managing the economy. As long as Beijing further delays liberalizing reforms, it will struggle to contend with an inevitable slowdown. This hard-wired macroeconomic shift has profound implications for numerous areas, and potentially serious consequences for Beijing’s effort to decarbonize the economy. If the Chinese Communist Party cannot embrace economic reforms and continues to rely on old-style energy- and emissions-intensive investment to drive growth, then China will not be able to ramp up its climate goals in concert with its global counterparts. The travails of an economy as large as China’s are not China’s alone. The macroeconomic changes underway will affect not only China’s decarbonization efforts but also those of many other countries. Beijing must change course, instituting reforms so that its slowdown does not imperil its prosperity—or the planet.
Registration-based IPOs adopted on main boards of Shanghai, Shenzhen bourses-Xinhua At a ceremony celebrating the listing Monday, Yi Huiman, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said it represents "another landmark of reform and development in China's capital market."..The registration-based IPO reform, initiated in 2018, was first adopted by the science and technology innovation board in 2019, and was broadened to the start-up board ChiNext in 2020 and the Beijing Stock Exchange in 2021.
Yicai - China’s Passenger Car Sales Slow in March Due to Weak Demand, Inconsistent Pricing Sales of passenger vehicles climbed 14.3 percent in March from February and just 0.3 percent from a year earlier, according to figures released by the China Passenger Car Association today. Car sales slumped 12.4 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier to 4.3 million units. New energy vehicle sales bucked the trend, soaring 21.9 percent in March year on year to 543,000 units and accounting for 34.2 percent of all sales. This was a big jump from the penetration rate of 28.1 percent a year ago.
Caixin - China’s Passenger Car Sales Dip 13.4% as Price War Rages Sales of passenger vehicles fell at a faster pace in the first quarter than in the same period a year ago. In the first quarter of 2022, passenger car sales dropped 4.5% year-on-year to 4.9 million units. The CAAM cited several factors for the first-quarter sales decline, including the earlier timing of the 2023 Spring Festival. Meanwhile, market expectations of potential government incentives to stimulate sales and the ongoing price war have also led to a wait-and-see sentiment among consumers, the association said. Deliveries by joint ventures of global auto brands suffered the most during the first quarter.
Yicai - China’s SAIC Motor Denies Rumor of Pay Cuts, Staff Layoffs “SAIC Motor has not issued any notice of pay cuts or layoffs,” Securities Daily reported today, citing a manager at the Shanghai-based firm. People in charge of the Roewe and Morris Garages brands at the company's SAIC Motor Passenger Vehicle unit also denied receiving any such notice, the report added.
明码标价、减少宴会餐饮浪费……国家发展改革委就防止和减少餐饮浪费征求意见-新华网 Clear price tag, reduce banquet catering waste... The National Development and Reform Commission has solicited opinions on preventing and reducing food and beverage waste
China will continue to boost consumption: vice premier - CGTN China has become the second largest consumer goods market in the world. It is also an emerging mid- and high-end market. In 2022, the total retail sales of consumer goods reached 44 trillion yuan ($6.4 trillion), with an average annual growth rate of 7.9 percent in the past decade, said He Lifeng, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and vice premier of the State Council, at the opening ceremony of the third China International Consumer Products Expo which was inaugurated in Haikou, south China's Hainan Province, on Monday.
原国家统计局副局长李晓超：小众消费是恢复和扩大消费的重要力量_财经上下游_澎湃新闻-The Paper Niche consumption should be a major contributor to the broader consumption, Li Xiaochao, former vice director of China’s statistics watchdog, said in an interview with the Paper. Examples of niche consumption include trash management, family doctor services, senior care, etc. Such jobs are closely related to everyday lives and can bolster employment, he argues.
“五一”临近，旅游市场“春意”浓-中新网 From the lowering of airline fuel surcharges to government transportation subsidies, local governments and businesses are hoping to capitalize on the upcoming May1 holiday to lure tourists back. In recent weeks, hotel bookings and airfare bookings have increased significantly
新政陆续出台，这些省份如何当好稳外贸主力军？ Many Chinese provinces are rolling out measures to bolster exports, which declined in the first two months of this year. On April 7, the State Council convened a meeting to study plans to promote and optimize foreign trade. Bai Ming, a researcher with a think tank under the commerce ministry, said Chinese exporters must try to capture new markets using new products and technologies while exploring new client bases. In recent years, many exporters that traditionally focused on the European and American markets have pivoted to Southeast Asia and the Middle East regions.
Yicai - Chengdu Tops China's Pre-owned Home Sales in March, Beating Shanghai, Shenzhen Chengdu in southwestern Sichuan province was the Chinese city that sold the most previously owned homes in March, more than Shanghai and Shenzhen, thanks to a raft of supportive policies and the influx of more people looking for jobs in the rapidly developing western regions of the country.
China’s First IPOs Under New Relaxed Rules Surge on Debuts - Bloomberg Electronics distributor Shenzhen CECport Technologies Co. led gains among the 10 companies trading for the first time under the new IPO process, gaining as much as 239% Monday, while BOTH Engineering Technology Co. rose as much as 133%. The other eight firms that listed also jumped in early trading, each triggering a 10-minute trading halt that takes place once a stock moves more than 30% in either direction.
China Smaller Banks Cut Deposit Rates to Ease Margin Pressure - Bloomberg Rural lenders in provinces including Henan and Hubei lowered deposit rates by as much as 45 basis points on some tenors, according to their announcements. After the adjustment, these lenders will pay an annual 1.9% for one-year deposits, down from the previous 2.25%.
China’s railway investment hits highest level since 2013 as infrastructure focus shifts to border regions, defence | South China Morning Post Total fixed-asset railway investment in the first three months of the year hit 113.55 billion yuan (US$16.5 billion), up by 6.6 per cent from the same period last year, China State Railway Group confirmed on Sunday. It is the highest first-quarter investment in the past decade, although the start of the year is traditionally a slow season for railway construction.
China’s Repeated Detention of Japanese Citizens Raises Tensions - WSJ Japan isn’t the only nation to see its people abruptly grabbed in China. Two Canadians seized in 2018 and other Westerners have been taken under similar circumstances. But in Japan’s case, it has become practically commonplace. According to Japan’s Foreign Ministry, the Astellas executive was the 17th Japanese detained by Chinese intelligence since 2015.
Japanese pharma boss rules out China exit after executive’s arrest | Financial Times In his first public comments since its employee was arrested in late March on espionage charges, Naoki Okamura said Japan’s second-largest pharmaceutical company by revenue planned to take further steps to diversify its supply chain in China, but cautioned against the incident becoming a catalyst to pull back its presence.
ByteDance posts record profit despite TikTok losses | Financial Times $$ Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, ByteDance’s preferred metric for profitability, surged 79 per cent to about $25bn in 2022, according to two investors briefed on the numbers. That was up from about $14bn the year earlier.
China Has Reopened to Tourists. The Hard Part Is Getting There. - The New York Times American and European carriers are not as eager to resume all of their prepandemic flights to China, aviation analysts say. Since invading Ukraine more than a year ago, Russia has banned the American and European carriers from flying through its airspace, meaning flights to China now require longer routes with more fuel and flight crew. U.S. carriers have been lobbying Washington to force Chinese airlines, which are still flying over Russia, to use the same routes as their American competitors
Caixin - Shanghai Police Bust Gang That Conned Firms With Fake Employees A total of 53 people have been arrested for their alleged involvement in a gang that conned businesses out of more than 50 million yuan ($7.3 million) in wages, Shanghai police announced on Thursday. The alleged scammers dressed up job applicants’ education and work background to get them hired by multiple companies, sometimes simultaneously, and then the new hires would collect their salaries without doing any work, according to a police press release.
Caixin - Shanghai-Listed Developer on the Ropes After Share Plunge Cash-strapped Shanghai-listed Chinese property developer Sichuan Languang Development Co. Ltd. is facing delisting risks, after its closing price fell below one yuan per share for two consecutive days and the company warns of insolvency.
In Depth: China’s EV Battery Boom Goes Bust - Caixin Yang Ming, an employee of CALB, China’s third-largest power battery producer, was confused and surprised by the company’s sudden pay cuts, layoffs and reduction in output. “I don’t know what happened this year,” Yang, in his early 20s, told Caixin in mid-March. “The entire industry has few orders. Nearby factories are all laying off people, and any production line without orders may cut jobs.”
Chinese banks ditch bad loans amid property woes - Nikkei Asia Lenders last year sold off 2.7 trillion yuan ($392 billion) in NPLs, according to the mainland regulator, with many of the delinquent debts winding up on the books of state-owned distressed asset management companies that often absorb troubled credits in China. Credit-rating agencies have responded by raising the alarm about the asset managers. China Great Wall Asset Management, one of the four major "bad banks" set up by Beijing in the late 1990s to support troubled state-owned lenders as they sought stock market listings
Tesla (TSLA) to Build Megapack Battery Factory in Shanghai - Bloomberg Tesla will manufacture its Megapack large-scale energy-storage unit in the new facility, which adds to its factory for electric vehicles in Shanghai. The company led by Elon Musk, who is said to be visiting China this weekend, made the announcement at a signing ceremony for the project in Shanghai. Tom Zhu, Tesla’s senior vice president of automotive, and Shanghai government officials including vice mayor Wu Qing attended, with Tesla Vice President Tao Lin signing the contract.
US carmaker Tesla, chip giant Intel unveil new business in China instead of ‘decoupling’ - Global Times US carmaker Tesla announced on Sunday that it will build a Megafactory in Shanghai. The new plant, which will manufacture the company's energy storage product Megapack, is scheduled to break ground in the third quarter of the year and to start production in the second quarter of 2024, said the announcement the company sent to the Global Times on Sunday.
Shanghai market regulator launches investigation after cusotmers complain of diarrra-like symptoms after dining at $900 per person reaturant - Global Times Shanghai market regulation authority has launched an investigation into food suppliers and will arrange mediation after several customers complained they felt sick and got the runs after dining in a Michelin three-star deluxe restaurant. The restaurant, called Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, has been listed among Asia's 50 Best Restaurants in 2022. It was very popular with only 10 seats available every day and required online booking ahead of time.
Politics and Law
Central discipline group dispatched to sports authority - Global Times The Central Leading Group for Inspection Work dispatched to the GAS is one of the 15 central leading groups that have been dispatched to 21 organs under inspection, China Central Television reported on Saturday. The group is scheduled to work at the GAS for one and a half months, according to an official release by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the Communist Party of China.
China’s top anti-graft investigators kick off first round of probes into five financial institutions - Global Times Finance is the "lifeblood" of the national economy and an important core competitiveness of the country, Yang Zhengchao, leader of the fifth inspection team under the 20th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee's first round of inspection, said at a mobilization meeting. Conducting a "looking back" inspection of certain financial institutions is an important measure to promote the high-quality development of the financial sector and a move to comprehensively promote strict Party governance in the sector, Yang said.
瞭望|习近平总书记的矛盾观--新闻报道-中国共产党新闻网 Liaowang writes on "Xi Jinping's views on contradiction"
Leading group established for national economic census - State Council The group, headed by Vice-Premier Ding Xuexiang, will be in charge of the organization and implementation of the census and addressing any major issues. Four senior officials were appointed as deputy heads. The group also includes seven members who are mainly senior officials from State Council departments and organs.
Foreign and Defense Affairs
An enraging case - How a Volkskrant-reporter became the target of Chinese intimidation - deVolkskrant Threatening messages, false bomb scares: from her days as a correspondent, Volkskrant-reporter Marije Vlaskamp was aware of Chinese tactics to smother critical voices. Now she herself is the target of an intense intimidation campaign...
China, Japan hold first face-to-face consultation on maritime affairs since 2019 - Global Times It is their first face-to-face meeting under the mechanism since 2019. It came about one week after China's State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang's talks with Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoshimasa Hayashi in Beijing on March 2, during which the two sides agreed to promote bilateral ties amid a turbulent world.
Xi shifted gears on Japan's claim to Russian-held isles in Putin meet | The Japan Times Chinese President Xi Jinping did not support Japan's claim over Russian-held islands off Hokkaido in his talks with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin last month, according to a Chinese source familiar with the matter, abandoning a long-held stance of recognizing them as Tokyo's. Xi told Putin in their meetings in Moscow that China "does not take either side" regarding the territorial row, in a shift to neutrality from China's position indicated by then-Chinese leader Mao Zedong in 1964 to view the four disputed islands as belonging to Japan, the source said.
Lula to the PRC this week, hope his weakened lungs can handle the sand storms - What’s in store for Brazil’s President Lula during China visit? | South China Morning Post He will arrive in Shanghai on Tuesday before travelling to Beijing where he will meet his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, on Friday. His four-day visit, which was originally planned for late March, was rescheduled after he was diagnosed with the flu and pneumonia. Brazilian officials have said the main goal of the visit is to diversify the country’s trade relationship with China, the largest customer for its exports, which mainly consist of soybeans and iron ore.
Brazil’s Lula to visit China; More comprehensive cooperation to be reached, also eyeing participation in BRI - Global Times Guo Cunhai, an expert in Latin American studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Monday that "if Lula's trip can make Brazil formally join the BRI, then it means there will be 22 Latin American countries formally in the China-proposed initiative, which has great significance to show that the initiative is greatly welcomed in the continent."
Yuan settlement with Brazil to boost trade, deepen cooperation: president of BraCham - Global Times China and Brazil will see a strong boost in their economic and trade ties after the use of the yuan as an alternative to the US dollar and the euro, Henry Osvald, president of the Brazilian Association for Industry, Commerce and Innovation in China (BraCham), said, extending his expectations for deepening cooperation between the two countries... Speaking with the Global Times in an exclusive interview on Monday, Osvald said that cooperation between China and Brazil over using yuan clearance in economic and trade affairs is very important as "hedging in Brazil is quite expensive and Chinese companies add an average of three percent to cover exchange rate fluctuations."
India boosts investment along disputed border with China | Financial Times Amit Shah, India’s home affairs minister and a top deputy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, travelled on Monday to Arunachal Pradesh, a sparsely populated north-eastern territory, to inaugurate the scheme, which aims to boost living conditions and employment prospects in five states and territories that border China. Arunachal Pradesh was the site of a violent clash in December between Chinese and Indian soldiers, in which both sides sustained injuries. China claims all of the contested territory as part of Tibet, and in 2015 summoned India’s ambassador to object after Modi visited the region.
India launches villages programme in Arunachal, ignores angry China | Reuters "Zangnan is China's territory," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said earlier on Monday in response to a question on Shah's visit. "The Indian official's visit to Zangnan violates China's territorial sovereignty, and is not conducive to the peace and tranquility of the border situation."
Pakistan's arrest of anti-China militant felt from Beijing to Tehran - Nikkei Asia Pakistan says it has a top anti-Chinese Baloch separatist militant leader in custody, a development insiders hope will help to secure Beijing's interests as the government in Islamabad attempts a broader crackdown on terrorism. It could also affect diplomacy with Iran, experts say. "Gulzar Imam, alias Shambay, was apprehended after an innovatively conceived, carefully planned and meticulously executed operation, spanned over months over various geographical locations," according to a statement issued on Friday by ISPR, the Pakistan Army's mouthpiece.
Chinese Vice FM to visit Australia, Fiji amid signs of warming ties - Global Times Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu will visit Australia and Fiji this week at their invitation, the Chinese foreign ministry confirmed at a regular press briefing on Monday, saying Ma will hold the new round of political consultation between the officials of the foreign ministries of China and Australia.
Philippine military bases with US access won’t be used for offensive actions, says Marcos | The Straits Times The four additional Philippine military bases that the United States now has access to under a 2014 defence and security deal will not be used for offensive actions, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said on Monday. “China’s reaction is not surprising, since it has its own concerns. But the Philippines will not allow our bases to be used for any offensive actions. This is only meant to help the Philippines should the need arise,” he said.
March, for example, witnessed packed schedules and travel by envoys representing the Chinese government or the Foreign Ministry and focusing on specific regions or issues, such as the Middle East and the Horn of Africa...
In one of the latest developments, Zhai Jun, the Chinese government's special envoy on Middle East issues, met with a group of Beijing-based diplomats from Arab states and the League of Arab States on Friday in Beijing.
"China will continue to make relentless efforts to facilitate a proper resolution of the Palestinian question at an early date," Zhai said.
At the heart of the Chinese envoys' discussions with foreign peers is Beijing's overarching blueprint for peace — the Global Security Initiative, which was proposed by President Xi Jinping in April last year, officials and experts said.
Beijing's expanding lineup of special envoys and its efforts to send them worldwide are among China's practices in carrying out the Global Security Initiative and building a community with a shared future for mankind, analysts added.
The initiative "offers insights for promoting political settlement of flashpoints such as the Korean Peninsula issue and for coping with global security challenges", and it "speaks volumes about China's sense of responsibility to world peace", said Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese government's special representative on Korean Peninsula affairs.
Special Envoy of the Chinese Government on the Middle East Issue Zhai Jun Has a Phone Call with Swiss Special Envoy for Middle East and North Africa Wolfgang Amadeus Brülhart On April 6, 2023, Special Envoy of the Chinese Government on the Middle East Issue Zhai Jun had a phone call with Swiss Special Envoy for Middle East and North Africa Wolfgang Amadeus Brülhart at the latter’s request. The two sides exchanged views on the Palestinian question, the situation in Yemen, and other issues of mutual interest and concern. Zhai Jun expounded on China's principled positions and work on such regional hot-spot issues as the Palestinian question and the situation in Yemen, and emphasized that the Palestinian question should be properly resolved on the basis of the two-state solution, and peace and stability in Yemen should be realized through dialogue and consultation. China will continue to play a constructive role in realizing peace and stability in the Middle East.
Special Envoy of the Chinese Government on the Middle East Issue Zhai Jun Has a Phone Call with Norway's Special Representative to the Middle East Peace Process Hilde Haraldstad On April 6, 2023, Special Envoy of the Chinese Government on the Middle East Issue Zhai Jun had a phone call with Norway's Special Representative to the Middle East Peace Process Hilde Haraldstad at the latter’s request. The two sides mainly exchanged views on the Palestinian question. Zhai Jun expressed concern over the escalation of the current Palestine-Israel tensions, and urged all relevant parties, Israel in particular, to stay calm and exercise restraint to prevent further escalation of the situation. The international community should have a greater sense of urgency, and take substantive measures to promote the implementation of the two-state solution, to promote a proper settlement of the Palestinian question at an early date.
An objective, impartial, professional investigation into Nord Stream blasts critically important: FM spokesperson-Xinhua Spokesperson Wang Wenbin also said that China supports an early international investigation into the explosions, and hopes that relevant countries will positively respond to the doubts and concerns of the international community and bring the truth to light at an early date. Wang made the remarks at a regular press conference when responding to reports that the Swedish public prosecutor in charge of the ongoing investigation said the current findings show the explosions most likely, directly or indirectly, involved a state actor.
Senior CPC official meets president of Malaysia's Progressive Democratic Party-Xinhua Liu Jianchao, head of the International Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, met with Tiong King Sing, president of Malaysia's Progressive Democratic Party and minister of tourism, arts and culture, on Monday in Beijing. They exchanged views on implementing the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, strengthening inter-party exchanges and promoting bilateral tourism and cultural cooperation.
Senior Chinese legislator meets Venezuelan delegation-Xinhua Senior Chinese legislator Li Hongzhong met with a delegation led by Mervin Maldonado, a member of the National Directorate of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) on Monday. Li, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and vice chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, said that the two countries' leaders have maintained close communication and reached important consensus, charting the course for the development of China-Venezuela relations under the new circumstances.
China’s consulate in Vancouver conducts political screening on the potential leadership at influential community organizations that promote candidates for Canadian political office, according to a recording obtained by The Globe and Mail of remarks by a former executive of one of those groups...
The Globe played back Ms. Wang’s recorded comments to her. In response, she said she does not now understand the process for selecting leadership.
Before coming to Canada, Ms. Wang worked in shipping and real estate development in China, she said on the recording. She also spent time with the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the feared internal graft-busting arm of the Chinese Communist Party, she said.
What is a Chinese political review or 政治審查?; Canada-U.S.-China relation; Polling; China’s economy Like many who grew up in China, I’m no stranger to the Chinese word for this process: 政审. It incentivizes family members to monitor each other and think twice before they speak or act in a way that could be seen as challenging the Party.
Commerce officials heading to China ahead of possible Raimondo trip, sources say - CNBC as part of an effort to lay groundwork for a potential trip by Secretary Gina Raimondo later this year, according to people familiar with the planning. Elizabeth Economy, a senior advisor to the secretary on China issues, and Scott Tatlock, the deputy assistant secretary for China and Mongolia, will assess whether such a meeting between Raimondo and her Chinese counterparts would produce results to justify the visit.
Top Treasury Official Says US Not Seeking Decoupling From China - Bloomberg “We occasionally have issues with different economic policies in China and we will always defend US economic interests as well — but we will not in any way be trying to separate these two economies entirely,” Jay Shambaugh, Treasury Undersecretary for International Affairs, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s David Westin. “This is neither practical nor in our interest.”
Beijing’s Grim Sense of Resignation | Stephen Roach For the broad consensus of Chinese I met with during my March 23 to 28 visit to Beijing, the air was heavy with a grim sense of resignation over the US-China conflict. This was true of government officials, academics, business executives, and students who I spoke with at the China Development Forum and at several other functions during my trip. By resignation, I don’t mean a deep understanding of the source of the problem. To the contrary, most seem puzzled as to the sudden sharp deterioration in the US-China relationship over the past five years—the trade war that quickly morphed into a tech war and now a new cold war. But they were especially troubled by the ominous turn of events over the past eight months
7th Fleet Destroyer conducts Freedom of Navigation Operation in South China Sea > Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet > Display On April 10, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69) asserted navigational rights and freedoms in the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands, consistent with international law...The United States engaged in "normal operations" within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef. Under customary international law as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention, features like Mischief Reef that are submerged at high tide in their naturally formed state are not entitled to a territorial sea. The land reclamation efforts, installations, and structures built on Mischief Reef do not change this characterization under international law.
Chinese netizens cheer as US lease of giant panda Ya Ya expires, soon to return home - Global Times Cheers among Chinese netizens celebrating that giant panda Ya Ya saw her 20-year lease expire and will soon come back home are paralleled by voices opposing the renewal of the partnership with the Memphis Zoo in the US, which has been widely questioned of having mistreated Ya Ya and her deceased male partner Le Le. A Ya Ya-related topic was again trending on major Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo on Sunday with its hashtag saying "Ya Ya has been officially handed over to Chinese side [Chinese caretakers]" after the lease of the female giant panda expired on Friday. The topic had been viewed 250 million times as of press time.
Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka reminds Chinese nationals of overseas recruitment traps - Global Times The Chinese Embassy had rescued 13 Chinese nationals who were trafficked to Sri Lanka, cut off from contacts with their families and the outside world, and forced to engage in illegal activities such as telecom scams and internet gambling, the embassy said in its media release...According to the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China, victims involved in overseas telecom scams will most probably face punishment even if they were coerced into committing the crime, Zhao Guohua, lawyer and co-founder of Beijing Mingji Law Firm, told the Global Times on Sunday,
It’s impossible for South Korea to enjoy being monitored: Global Times editorial - Global Times According to documents posted online, at least two discussions about South Korea's internal debates over the Ukraine issue were illegally eavesdropped on by US intelligence personnel. As the saying goes, when one cockroach is found in the light, there can be a thousand more in the dark. The leak indicates that the "true identity" of the US is not clean, and a slight exposure will bring out a pile of dirty things. This is not only a matter of the unsightly and dishonorable private morality of the US, but also a significant "public matter" concerning how other countries, including US allies, perceive and deal with the US.
Tech and Media
China establishes national semiconductor standards committee to further advance industry development amid US sanctions - Global Times According to MIIT, the committee will accelerate the construction of the IC standards system, enhance the effective communication of the industrial chain, and support enterprises to participate deeply in the global industrial division of labor and international standard setting.
Beijing chooses targets carefully as it goes on offensive in US chip wars | Financial Times $$ Industry insiders say Micron, which generates 11 per cent of its revenue in mainland China and another 5 per cent in Hong Kong, was an obvious first target for Beijing because its tech would be more easily replaced with competitors’ chips if China ultimately decided to ban it. The US group had also been downsizing some of its operations on the mainland while increasing investment in the US.How will putting a dedicated Party Commission help China’s research and development? Officially, the committee serves “to strengthen the Party Central Committee's centralized and unified leadership over science and technology-related work.” One purpose could be to better coordinate the work among the various layers of government by means of Party Decree. This could help in reducing waste and duplication. Indeed, one challenge that China has been facing is that it does not have one industrial policy, but many, as the World Bank and the Development Research Center documented in a 2019 report. Each province and municipality pursues its own goals, with its own tax incentives and its own “government guided fund.” This results in too much money pursuing the same ideas and the same talent, and on a political timetable to serve the local leader’s next promotion.
Yicai - Chinese Pop Icon Jay Chou Sues NetEase Chinese pop star Jay Chou is suing NetEase for rights infringement, reportedly in relation to a promotional event last summer for one of the internet giant’s online games. The case has been launched by Chou and his music production company JVR Music, according to corporate information platform Tianyancha
TikTok Struggles to Enlist U.S. Merchants for Shopping Service — The Information Relatively few U.S. merchants are showing interest in signing up for the nascent service, both because they’re more focused on expanding in bricks and mortar and because they’re concerned the app could be banned, merchants say.
Huawei Looks to Move Middle East HQ to Saudi Arabia - Bloomberg Saudi Arabia announced that from the beginning of 2024 government entities will be restricted from doing business with foreign firms that don’t have regional headquarters in the country, as it looks to limit leakage out of its economy and attract foreign investment
Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History
三联生活周刊｜天门山跳崖：四个决绝赴死的农村青年 Tragic, three people jumped to their deaths from the glass walkway at tianmen mountain in Zhangjiejie, one other tried but was stopped but she had taken poison so she died as well..
Lockdown U - by Min Lee - Gushi the first of a mini-series of stories looking back at the fallout from the COVID outbreak in China...While the final number of total cases and deaths remains murky, longform accounts published online have painted a vivid picture of the outbreak’s exacting mental toll, often the result of the government’s aggressive containment policy. In this selection, writing under a pseudonym, an imminent university graduate provides this detailed report on how COVID fundamentally altered her residential college experience and tampered with her career aspirations.
Energy, Environment, Science and Health
Blue alert for sandstorms issued across northern China in April - Global Times sand and dust are expected to hit parts of southern and eastern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the Qaidam Basin in Qinghai Province, western and northern Gansu Province, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, central and northern Shaanxi Province, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Shanxi, Hebei and Shandong provinces, Beijing and Tianjin municipalities, northern Henan Province, southwestern Heilongjiang Province, central and western Jilin Province, and central and western Liaoning Province in the 24-hour period starting 8 am Monday. // Quite the Sina video of the current sandstorm in Beijing
Biden’s Landmark Climate Bill Lures China’s Clean Energy Giants - Bloomberg Some of the nation’s top solar panel makers are involved in setting up American plants, while the Chinese company that makes the world’s largest wind turbine, Ming Yang Smart Energy Group Ltd., is exploring whether to establish production and research facilities there.
New COVID vaccine plan shortens interval between 1st dose of booster to 3 months - Global Times To effectively deal with the recent COVID-19 situation, China's National Health Commission announced on Monday that for people above 18 years old who have completed basic immunization, the interval between the first dose of booster immunizations will be shortened from previous six months to three months. And the domestic mRNA vaccine will be put into emergency use to enhance the immunization of adult people.
Why would a hospital choose to close a newly opened clinic, which was generating unprecedented levels of positive media attention? In March, Sixth Tone traveled to Dong’e to investigate, speaking with current and former hospital staff, as well as local residents.
This reporting provided a revealing glimpse into the intense local disputes sparked by the opening of the facility — and suggests that China may face daunting obstacles as it seeks to roll out psychiatric services across its rural interior.
As in many parts of rural China, mental illness still carries a deep social stigma in Dong’e. Though the hospital won national praise for opening the clinic, it also quickly faced widespread — and, at times, fierce — opposition in the local community.
China's deep-sea gas field goes fully remote-controlled, typhoon-proof - CGTN China's offshore oil giant, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), announced on Monday that it has achieved full remote control operations of Shenhai-1, the first deep-sea gas platform operated by a Chinese company. The upgraded platform is capable of working in extreme weather conditions, such as typhoons, with no human intervention needed.
China plans to build 400-km hydrogen pipeline-Xinhua The project designed to channel hydrogen from Ulanqab, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, to Beijing, will be the country's first trans-regional, long-distance hydrogen pipeline, said Ma Yongsheng, chairman of Sinopec, China's largest oil refiner and operator of the pipeline.
LETTER 4.7: Don’t lend Yale’s name to human rights abusers - Yale Daily News We, a group of Yale Chinese and Hong Kong students, are writing to express our concerns about your upcoming speaking engagement at the 2023 Yale US-China Distinguished Colloquium on April 8, 2023. In this event, you will speak alongside Ping Huang, the consul general of the People’s Republic of China in New York, who has recently defended the Chinese government’s genocidal policies towards the Uyghur people in Xinjiang.
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