Plenum decision; China wants US tariffs removed; Xi's CIIE speech; More TikTok disclosures

The relevant authorities released the Plenum decision Tuesday, so far there is no official English version, in my initial read I did not see anything surprising given what what came out last week. That may change with a closer read.

Sinocism readers will not be surprised by the news that China has made removing existing US tariffs a key point for reaching a phase one deal (see the October 24 newsletter “Fourth Plenum; China pushing for all tariffs to be removed before phase one deal?; Business environment”).

Taoran Notes, which given its author’s ties to Liu He should be taken very seriously, issued two pieces today reiterating that removing those tariffs is China's most core concern and saying that if the US wants to keep on all existing tariffs there will be no deal, but the current tariffs do not have to come off all at once, just proportionately.

Global Times editor in chief Hu Xijin pushed the same message on Twitter earlier today:

White House officials are not surprised China is pushing this now, but China risks overplaying its hand if they try to force too many of the existing tariffs into phase one. President Trump and General Secretary Xi clearly want a deal, so I still think the odds are good there is a phase one deal before the end of the year, but it may not be as done a deal as many seem to think.

Thanks for reading.


The Essential Eight

1. Plenum decision

CPC releases decision on system, governance - Xinhua

A decision of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on some major issues concerning how to uphold and improve the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and advance the modernization of China's system and capacity for governance was made public Tuesday.

The decision(受权发布)中共中央关于坚持和完善中国特色社会主义制度 推进国家治理体系和治理能力现代化若干重大问题的决定-新华网

China's Communist Party pledges to master core technologies - Reuters

China’s communist party says it plans to build a new type of nationwide system to master core technologies and become an innovation-driven country, the ruling Communist Party said on Tuesday, following a meeting last week of its senior leadership.

the relevant bits from the decision:

 (四)完善科技创新体制机制。弘扬科学精神和工匠精神,加快建设创新型国家,强化国家战略科技力量,健全国家实验室体系,构建社会主义市场经济条件下关键核心技术攻关新型举国体制。加大基础研究投入,健全鼓励支持基础研究、原始创新的体制机制。建立以企业为主体、市场为导向、产学研深度融合的技术创新体系,支持大中小企业和各类主体融通创新,创新促进科技成果转化机制,积极发展新动能,强化标准引领,提升产业基础能力和产业链现代化水平。完善科技人才发现、培养、激励机制,健全符合科研规律的科技管理体制和政策体系,改进科技评价体系,健全科技伦理治理体制。

习近平:关于《中共中央关于坚持和完善中国特色社会主义制度 推进国家治理体系和治理能力现代化若干重大问题的决定》的说明--时政--人民网

Xinhua publishes Xi's explainer of the decision and the process of drafting it, says Politburo Standing Committee met on February 28 and the Politburo on March 29 to decide on the theme of the Plenum and set up a drafting group, under the leadership of the standing committee, says the drafting group held its first meeting on April 3, and on April 7 sent out a notice to relevant groups for comments and suggestions.

省政府党组召开会议_省政府会议_福建省人民政府门户网站

Fujian Governor Tang Dengjie holds Fujian Government Party Leadership Group meeting to convey the Plenum "spirit", refers to Xi as "People's Leader"

我们要始终在思想上政治上行动上同以习近平同志为核心的党中央保持高度一致,把对人民领袖的深厚爱戴之情转化为践行“两个维护”的高度自觉,不忘初心、牢记使命,稳稳地做、实实地干,更好地服务全国大局。

We should always keep in high accord with the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core in terms of ideology, politics and actions. We should translate our deep love the people's leader into a high degree of self-consciousness in carrying out the "two safeguards". We should stay true to our original aspiration and keep our mission in mind.


2. Xi at the China International Import Expo

No surprises from Xi’s comments, we have heard much of this before, perhaps the economic slowdown will force better implementation of some of these promises?

Xi: China to adopt 5 measures to promote higher-level opening-up - China Daily

Xi pledged that China will adopt five measures to promote higher-level opening-up:

-- Continue to expand market opening-up;

-- Continue to optimize the framework of opening-up;

-- Continue to improve business environment;

-- Continue to deepen multilateral and bilateral cooperation;

-- Continue to jointly build the Belt and Road.

Xinhua Headlines-Xi Focus: Xi proposes "humanity first," reaffirms China's opening-up commitment at import expo - Xinhua

"Economic globalization represents the trend of history. Like the world's great rivers, the Yangtze, the Nile, the Amazon and the Danube -- they all surge forward in relentless flow, and nothing can stop their mighty movement," Xi said when addressing the opening ceremony of the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai.

"We must all put the common good of humanity first rather than place one's own interest above the common interest of all," he said.

In the speech, Xi presented a prospect of jointly building an open world economy through cooperation, with innovation and for mutual benefits.

"We need to 'join hands' with each other instead of 'letting go' of each other's hands. We need to 'tear down walls,' not to 'erect walls,'" Xi said. "We need to stand firm against protectionism and unilateralism. We need to continually bring down trade barriers, optimize global value and supply chains, and jointly foster market demand."

He called for joint efforts to uphold the core values and basic principles of the multilateral trading system, and promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation.

Full text: Keynote speech by President Xi Jinping at opening ceremony of 2nd China International Import Expo - Global Times

Standing at a new historical starting point, China will open its door only wider to the world. The Communist Party of China has just concluded the fourth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee. A decision has been made to further uphold and improve the socialist system with Chinese characteristics and to modernize the country's system and capacity for governance. That included a host of significant measures to deepen reform and opening-up. China will adhere to its fundamental state policy of opening-up and stay committed to opening-up to promote reform, development and innovation. This will bring about opening-up at an even higher level.

习近平出席第二届中国国际进口博览会开幕式并发表主旨演讲-中国长安网

Xi, foreign leaders tour CIIE exhibitions - Xinhua

While visiting the Chinese exhibition area, foreign leaders viewed the models of China's home-grown five-hundred-meter aperture spherical telescope and its deep-sea manned submersible.

In front of a countdown screen for winning the country's battle against poverty, Xi said China is ready to share its poverty relief experience with other countries and jointly build a community with a shared future for humanity featuring common development and the elimination of poverty.

Chinese and foreign leaders also toured the exhibition areas for China's Taiwan, Macao and Hong Kong.

Ganbei! Trade goes wild for Xi, Macron drinking wine in Shanghai – Grape Wall of China

Trade people are going wild on WeChat over pics of Chinese president Xi Jinping and French president Emmanul Macron enjoying wine at the China International Import Expo today in Shanghai. My feed has featured a fast flow of the pair these past few hours. And ‘enjoying’ is perhaps not the best word as Xi doesn’t exactly seem comfortable, but both were definitely putting grape-based liquids in their mouths. And apparently some meat, too.


3. US-China trade

陶然笔记:取消已加征关税是达成协议的必要条件_新浪财经_新浪网

Two Taoran Notes today. This first one says removing existing tariffs is a requirement for reaching a deal, reiterates once again that removing those tariffs is China's most core concern. Taoran Notes matters because the author travels with Liu He to the trade negotiations so is correctly seen as very representative of Liu He’s, and therefore the official, view

达成协议必须同步等比率取消已加征关税

This second one says if US wants to keep on all existing tariffs there will be no deal 想完全保留已加征关税,那么不会有任何协议。they don't have to come off all at once, just proportionately

达成协议必须同步、等比率取消已加征关税。

把这些问题处理好,中美离达成协议也就不远了。

An agreement must be reached at the same rate as the cancellation of tariffs already imposed.

If these issues are handled properly, China and the United States will not be far away from reaching an agreement.

China Wants Trump Tariff Rollback as Price for Phase One Deal - Bloomberg

Negotiators asked the Trump administration to eliminate tariffs on about $110 billion in goods that were imposed in September and lower the 25% tariff rate on about $250 billion that began last year, said some of the people, who asked not be named discussing the private talks.

Chinese officials also suggested the U.S. could temporarily waive some tariffs, people familiar with Beijing’s position said. In return, China could remove tariffs on a reciprocal amount of U.S. goods, mostly farm products, one of the people said.

Comment: I hear the US negotiators already told the Chinese at the last meeting in DC that they would not impose the threatened December 15 tariffs? If true, what kind of signal did that send to the Chinese side?

US considers dropping some tariffs on China | Financial Times $$

According to five people briefed on the discussions, the White House is considering rolling back levies on $112bn of Chinese imports — including clothing, appliances, and flatscreen monitors — that were introduced at a 15 per cent rate on September 1. 

The US move would meet a core demand from Beijing as negotiators from the world’s two largest economies work out the terms of a ceasefire to be signed in the coming weeks by Donald Trump and Xi Jinping. 

But Washington would probably expect something in return, including beefed up provisions on the protection of intellectual property for US companies, greater certainty on the scale of Chinese purchases of US farm products, and a signing ceremony for the agreement on American soil...

One person familiar with the matter cautioned that although there was a growing consensus within the Trump administration that they had to make a concession on existing levies, it was unclear whether the US president himself would agree. 

Business groups' complaints show how Trump's China deal falls short on foreign investment - POLITICO

“The reality remains that the Draft Implementing Regulations do not address clear differences between the treatment of China’s state-owned enterprises and the private sector,” the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Chamber of Commerce in China and the U.S. Information Technology Office wrote in joint comments obtained by POLITICO...

"If you thought the foreign investment law was going to allow multinational companies to compete with state-owned enterprises, you’re a fool," said Derek Scissors, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who is critical of China's policies. "What the Chinese are saying is, 'We will treat you better subject to the condition that with any sector the state thinks is important we will take your technology and give you nothing.'"

China, U.S. to disclose details of rare cooperation against fentanyl drug scourge - Reuters

Drug law enforcement officers from China and the United States will jointly brief the media on Thursday on a fentanyl smuggling case, in an unusual disclosure of rare Sino-U.S. cooperation in cracking down on fentanyl crimes.

Comment: Real moves against Fentanyl to satisfy US demands may make it easier for Trump to take of some of the existing tariffs for phase one

U.S. Trade With China Tumbled in September After Fresh Tariffs - Bloomberg

Merchandise imports from the Asian country fell 4.9% from the prior month to $37 billion, the lowest in more than three years, while U.S. exports to China dropped 10% to a five-month low, according to data released Tuesday by the Commerce Department. That narrowed the deficit to a seasonally adjusted $28 billion.

Trump tariffs cost China $35 billion, hurt both economies: U.N. - Reuters

A trade war between the world’s top two economies cut U.S. imports of Chinese goods by more than a quarter, or $35 billion, in the first half of this year and drove up prices for American consumers, a U.N. study showed on Tuesday.

Will Farmers Gain from the New US-China Trade Truce? | PIIE

Even if the deal is signed, it’s unlikely that either side could deliver on its bloated promises to sharply increase US farm exports to China to $50 billion annually, or anywhere near that total. Total US farm export revenues have averaged about $130 billion annually for the past three years (see table). If farm sales to China were to rise to $50 billion a year, China would account for almost 40 percent of US farm export revenues

At Smithfield Foods' slaughterhouse, China brings home U.S. bacon - Reuters

Since late spring, pigs trucked to the plant have been slaughtered and sliced into thirds for shipment to China, where Chinese workers process the carcasses further, company employees and industry sources told Reuters.

“They got an order to fill: China,” said one plant worker, who asked to remain anonymous...

The mystery of who gets tariff exemptions in Trump's trade war - Axios

Despite possible progress toward a trade deal with China, American companies are frustrated by the opaque process for gaining an exemption to President Trump's tariffs on Chinese goods

Comment: Seems almost like faceless bureaucrats making central planning decisions...

China’s renminbi strengthens past seven to the dollar | Financial Times $$

The onshore-traded renminbi firmed to Rmb6.9955 per dollar late in the Chinese trading day, passing the seven threshold it had previously breached on August 5...

American Brands Face Boycott at China’s Biggest Web Shopping Day - Bloomberg

More than three-quarters of Chinese consumers surveyed said they’ll reconsider buying from American companies during the Singles’ Day shopping event on Nov. 11, according to a report released last week by consulting firm AlixPartners LLC. Of those, more than half cited allegiance to their nation as the reason for doing so.


4. Rate cut

China Makes First Cut in Key Lending Rate Since 2016 - Caixin

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) reduced the interest rate on the one-year MLF by 5 basis points to 3.25%, the first cut since the interbank market instrument was introduced in 2016, it said (link in Chinese) on its website. The central bank simultaneously announced it had handed out 400 billion yuan ($56.83 billion) to banks in one-year MLF loans, the first use of the facility since Oct. 16, to roll over 403 billion yuan of maturing debt.

“After keeping interbank rates broadly stable for most of this year, the PBOC is starting to take more direct steps to push down borrowing costs,” China analysts at research firm Capital Economics wrote in a note. “We think this could mark the beginning of a series of PBOC rate cuts,” they said, pointing out that this is the first reduction in over three years to the rates on any of the PBOC’s lending facilities.

China cuts loan rate for first time since 2016, seeks to soothe bond market - Reuters

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said it was lowering the rate on its one-year medium-term lending facility (MLF) loans to financial institution by 5 basis points to 3.25% from 3.30% previously.

The move could pave the way for a reduction in China’s new benchmark Loan Prime Rate (LPR) in a few weeks. It is linked to the MLF rate and is published on the 20th of every month.

Hao Zhou, senior emerging markets economist at Commerzbank in Singapore, said the cut, while “really tiny”, sends a message that the PBOC does not want the market to doubt its will to support growth.

China Stabilizes Bond Market With Symbolic Interest Rate Cut - Bloomberg

While Tuesday’s 5 basis-point reduction in the cost of one-year loans to banks was largely symbolic, it was the first such move since 2016. That was enough to soothe nerves in a market that’s been walloped by the prospect of tighter liquidity in the financial system.


5. More evidence TikTok censors overseas

Inside TikTok: A culture clash where U.S. views about censorship often were overridden by the Chinese bosses - The Washington Post

TikTok says its U.S. operation doesn’t censor political content or take instructions from its parent company, the Chinese tech giant ByteDance. Company leaders extol the app as a platform free of the contentious content that has come to characterize its online competitors, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. ByteDance said no moderators for TikTok’s U.S. platform are based in China.

But former U.S. employees said moderators based in Beijing had the final call on whether flagged videos were approved. The former employees said their attempts to persuade Chinese teams not to block or penalize certain videos were routinely ignored, out of caution about the Chinese government’s restrictions and previous penalties on other ByteDance apps...

But former employees who worked in the company’s U.S. offices as recently as this spring said they were instructed to follow rules set by managers at ByteDance’s Beijing headquarters, such as demoting and removing content related to social and political topics, including those censored by the Chinese government. The Post talked to six since-departed workers who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution...

The company has also staffed up in Washington. TikTok announced last month that it would retain two former members of Congress as part of a broader effort to revise its content-moderation policies and fend off political controversy. ByteDance also registered its first federal lobbyists earlier this year

The Cyberlaw Podcast: ByteDance bitten by CFIUS - Lawfare

We open the episode with David Kris’s thoughts on the two-years-late CFIUS investigation of TikTok, its Chinese owner, ByteDance, and ByteDance’s US acquisition of the lip-syncing company Musical.ly. Our best guess is that this unprecedented reach-back investigation will end in a more or less precedented mitigation agreement.

The mounting pressures on TikTok | Revue

ByteDance has begun to deploy a phalanx of spokespeople to push back on allegations of censorship and promote a more positive view of the company. Last month, it also announced it had hired an independent American law firm to review its content moderation practices. It also hired an American firm to audit its security practices, which found that TikTok would have been unable to transmit user data to China during the period it surveyed. And the company is reportedly making plans to join the industrywide Global Industry Forum to Counter Terrorism

China’s TikTok Blazes New Ground. That Could Doom It. - The New York Times - Li Yuan

TikTok’s popularity — if you’re the parent of a teenager, that teenager probably has it on her phone — blazes uncharted territory. Its unexpected rise is forcing Americans for the first time to consider living in a world influenced by a Chinese-backed social media network.

That invites the public to take a closer look at Bytedance. It is not an arm of the Communist Party. However, it owes much of its success to its ability to navigate Beijing’s political currents, as well as its skills in delivering harmless fluff that could pass muster with censors.

China worst abuser of internet freedom as online censorship hits ‘unprecedented’ levels, US human rights group says | South China Morning Post

For the fourth straight year, the internet in the country was ranked the least free among surveyed nations, Freedom House says

The country is at the forefront of a global embrace of social media to ‘manipulate elections and monitor citizens’


6. Blacklisting not stopping US sales and distribution

These Chinese Companies Are Building Xinjiang’s Surveillance State. You Can Buy Their Cameras On Amazon.

The goods and apps come from three companies — Hikvision, Dahua Technology, and iFlytek — which the US Commerce Department recently placed on an export blacklist for their role in aiding in the surveillance and detention of more than a million Uighur Muslims and other Muslim ethnic minorities in China’s northwest Xinjiang region. The blacklist designation prevents US companies from exporting commodities or software to those companies. But it does not stop Amazon and eBay from selling their products in their own online marketplaces, or Google and Apple from distributing their apps to US consumers.

BuzzFeed News’ findings underscore, however, the extent to which the technology industry’s leading companies continue to work with entities that supply surveillance software and cameras to watch over one of the world’s most persecuted ethnic minorities. BuzzFeed News counted hundreds of products from Dahua and Hikvision, which manufacture security system equipment, and iFlytek, a voice recognition and translation company, on Amazon, eBay, and Overstock. Apple and Google also collectively distributed more than 100 apps from the three Chinese companies on the Apple App Store and Google Play, the main marketplace for Android software.


7. CCP influence in Western universities

'Alarming' Chinese meddling at UK universities exposed in report | The Guardian

The report, rushed out before parliament is suspended pending the election, finds “alarming evidence” of Chinese interference on UK campuses, adding some of the activity seeking to restrict academic freedom appears to be coordinated by the Chinese embassy in London.

The report says: “There is clear evidence that autocracies are seeking to shape the research agenda or curricula of UK universities, as well as limit the activities of researchers on university campuses. Not enough is being done to protect academic freedom from financial, political and diplomatic pressure.”

The committee highlighted the role of China-funded Confucius Institutes officials in confiscating papers that mentioned Taiwan at an academic conference, the use of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association as an instrument of political interference and evidence that dissidents active while studying in the UK, such as Ayeshagul Nur Ibrahim, an Uighur Muslim, were being monitoring and her family in China being harassed.

The committee accuses some academic organisations, such as Million Plus, which represents 20 modern universities, of complacency.

MPs call for Government action in face of mounting evidence of interference - News from Parliament - UK Parliament

The Report, 'A cautious embrace: defending democracy in an age of autocracies' says the battle for university students or trade deals should not outweigh the international standards which have brought freedom and prosperity to the UK and the wider world. The Report is also critical of the Government’s failure to use key sanction tools such as ‘Magnitsky Powers’ to curb interference.

How Should Universities Respond to China’s Growing Presence on Their Campuses? | ChinaFile Conversation

Such events have prompted larger concerns that as China’s power grows, so too has its ability to shape, suppress, and censor speech around the world. This has raised alarm at the prospect that various forms of pressure emanating from China’s government could erode the foundations of liberal education and democratic debate.

How should universities encourage respectful dialogue on contentious issues involving China, while at the same time fostering an environment free of intimidation, harassment, and violence? And how should university administrators and governments involve themselves in this process?

Chinese student association at McMaster University loses appeal, remains decertified after report of on-campus talk to consulate | South China Morning Post

The student representative assembly at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, deratified the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) in September following allegations that it had endangered students by leading a campaign to report an on-campus talk by a Uygur activist to the Chinese consulate in New York.


8. Beijing Bookworm Closing

Much more than just a bookstore, seems another marker of an end of an era in Beijing…

The Bookworm, a centre of literary life in Beijing, to close, unable to renew its lease amid crackdown on ‘illegal structures’ | South China Morning Post

“[When] they started to privatise state-run enterprises 20 years ago, regulations were looser then. [The bookshop was built] on a pump room. It doesn’t have an address. It’s [built on] a structure that was never [transformed] into things that they can rent out. [It is an illegal structure]. We've been paying rent here for a long time.
“[The government] are trying to clean up Beijing. City planners are trying to get things in order. Whether there's anything else behind it, it is unclear to us,” he said.

"The End of an Era"? - Beijing Bookworm Closes Its Doors | What's on Weibo

Famous Chinese journalist and author Luo Changping (罗昌平) writes on Weibo: “The Bookworm is forced to close! It used to be next door to my former office, and it was once like my living room. Sigh.”

Shanghai comedian Storm Xu called the closure of the Beijing Bookworm “the end of an era,” saying he looks back on many good memories there...

There are also various Weibo commenters who also mention that news of Bookworm’s closing comes just a day after the news that publisher of magazine-books and online bookseller Duku Books (读库) is forced to close its Beijing warehouse for the sixth time

The Bookworm Bookstore to Close | the Beijinger

After almost two decades in the business of providing the city's book enthusiasts with food for thought, beloved Sanlitun institution The Bookworm will close its doors on Monday, Nov 11.

A statement issued via the bookstore's official WeChat account on Tuesday afternoon describes how, "Despite our best efforts, we appear to have fallen prey to the ongoing cleanup of 'illegal structures,' and we have not been able to secure an extension of our lease," adding, "This is particularly disappointing given that, despite many challenges, at this time The Bookworm remains a thriving business with stronger, more diverse links to the wider Beijing community than ever before."


Business, Economy and Trade

Former People’s Bank Online Payments Executive Falls Under Probe - Caixin Yang Biao, who was once deputy director of the financial services department at the People’s Bank of China’s Shanghai head office, is being investigated for “serious violations of law,” a district inspection committee in the city said last week in a post (link in Chinese) on its official WeChat account. Yang worked for years at the central bank’s payment and settlement regulation department and headed a payment unit in the financial services department from 2007. He left the central bank in 2014 and has worked in senior roles at payment companies since then...The probe has sent shockwaves through the sector because at that time China’s online payments industry was still in its formative stages. If the case is indeed related to licensing for third-party payments, then “the impact could be huge,” an industry source told Caixin.

Beijing Braces for a Smoggy Winter as China Prioritizes Growth - Bloomberg “How to step up efforts to curb air pollution while avoiding impacts on the economy is becoming a pressing question,” said Ma Jun, founder and director of the Beijing-based Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs. “Current emissions of pollutants are still a lot greater than the capacity that the environment can accommodate.”

Yicai Global - PBOC to Restrict Big Cash Withdrawals in Shenzhen, Hebei and Zhejiang to Tackle Crime The PBOC will set up a registration and analysis system for big cash withdrawals and deposits as well as oversee substantial cash transactions in different sectors in Hebei, Zhejiang and Shenzhen, it said. Corporate bank clients in the three locations will need to apply to take out cash exceeding CNY500,000 (USD71,368), the statement said. The threshold for personal accounts has been set at CNY100,000 (USD14,275), CNY200,000 and CNY300,000 in Hebei, Shenzhen and Zhejiang respectively.

Across China, Buying an Apartment Just Became a Whole Lot Easier - Bloomberg At least 30 cities in China have made it easier for workers to obtain highly sought-after residency permits since September in a sign authorities are keen not to let the nation’s real estate sector slow further.

Yicai Global - China's Couriers to Handle 50% More Parcels During Double 11 Retail Orgy, State Post Says China's express delivery sector is expected to deal with a 50 percent jump in the volume of goods shipped during this year's Black Friday-like Double 11 online shopping bonanza, according to a senior official at the State Post Bureau.

China-Owned Gaming Group Playtika Eyes IPO After Sale Plan Collapses Just a half year after that re-listing, Giant Chairman Shi Yuzhu formed Alpha with several other investors to pay $4.4 billion for Playtika, a former unit of U.S. gambling giant Caesars Entertainment that specializes in social card games for mobile platforms. Shi originally aimed to have his listed Giant ultimately take over Playtika, but that plan ran into repeated difficulties.

China’s Megvii Considers IPO Delay on Blacklist Concerns - Bloomberg The artificial intelligence startup is discussing with advisors whether to proceed with the planned Hong Kong share sale this month or hold off as they try to get off the U.S. “Entity List,” which cuts off access to key American technology, the people said, requesting not to be named because the matter is private. Investors are hesitant to buy shares and Megvii may have trouble securing even a $3.5 billion valuation, one of the people said.

Europe ‘pushed off Beijing’s radar’ in China’s drive to seal US trade deal | South China Morning Post China’s all-consuming focus on sealing a US trade deal forced its top trade negotiator to cancel a trip to Brussels, raising the risk of Europe being pushed “off a cliff”, according to the head of a leading European business group in Beijing. Joerg Wuttke, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, said on Tuesday that concerns were mounting among European businesses and leaders over the lack of progress on an investment treaty between Beijing and Brussels, which had already taken seven years of talks.

Chinese Regulator Investigates Firm’s Blockchain Efforts Amid Stock Surge - CoinDesk An obscure porcelain and education firm is under investigation by a top Chinese regulator after it became one of the most sought-after blockchain stocks last week. Guangdong Great Wall Group, whose stock price soared for five consecutive days last week after Chinese president Xi Jinping praised blockchain technology, said Monday it was under investigation by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC).

SEC.gov | SEC Chairman Clayton, PCAOB Chairman Duhnke, and Members of SEC Staff Meet With Auditing Firm Representatives to Discuss Audit Quality in Emerging Economies and Markets The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) Chairman William Duhnke, and members of the SEC staff met last week with senior representatives of the four largest global network auditing firms to discuss the audit quality and certain of the challenges faced in auditing public company operations in emerging markets, including China, the largest emerging market economy.[1]  The discussions emphasized the need for effective and consistent global firm oversight of member firms, including those operating in emerging markets.  The discussions also focused on the design and implementation of audit procedures that are tailored to reflect changes in risk.

Short Selling Ambush on China Apparel Giant Fails Miserably - Bloomberg Anta Sports Products Ltd. -- a subject of multiple critical reports by Blue Orca Capital, GMT Research and Carson Block’s Muddy Waters Capital -- leads a gauge of Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong with a gain of more than 100% this year. Rival Li Ning Co., which was briefly caught in the crossfire despite not being a direct target -- is the fourth-best performing stock on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index with a 208% surge

Alipay Now Open to International Tourists in China | Alizila.com Visitors will need just an overseas phone number, a visa and their bank card to sign up for Alipay’s “Tour Pass” mini-program. They can top up in increments of as much as RMB2,000 ($285), and use the service to not just make offline payments but also hail cars, purchase train tickets and book hotels, among other features available within the Alipay app. Access to Tour Pass lasts three months, and then any leftover funds are refunded automatically.

China’s Pork Consumption Risks Collapse as Prices Surge - Bloomberg At current prices, the country’s pork consumption could fall by 50%, said Cheng Guangyan, director at the farm ministry’s Institute of Food and Nutrition Development in Beijing.

Politics and Law

王小洪已兼任公安部特勤局党委书记局长(图)|王小洪|兼任_新浪新闻 Vice Minister of Public Security Wang Xiaowen is now also in charge of the Ministry's "special duty bureau"

‘Like a movie’: In Xinjiang, new evidence that China stages prayers, street scenes for visiting delegations - The Globe and Mail To quell international anxieties about Xinjiang, one of China’s most important assets has been government loyalists who have defended the indoctrination centres and, according to multiple people interviewed by The Globe and Mail, have staged intricately managed scenes filled with pedestrians, street vendors and drivers played by people – police officers, teachers, retirees – who have been screened by the authorities and assigned roles.

Foreign and Defense Affairs

U.S. withdrawal from Paris Agreement is regretful, says China - CGTN "We believe that climate change is a common challenge facing all mankind, and all members of the international community should work together to do their utmost," noted Geng. Stressing China has all along firmly supported multilateralism and the Paris Agreement, the spokesperson noted that China is willing to work with all parties in the international community to push forward the effective implementation of the agreement and promote green, low-carbon and sustainable development of the global.

Less than a third of Canadians view China favorably -poll - Reuters The University of British Columbia survey also found half of Canadians did not want Huawei Technologies Co Ltd to play a major role supplying next-generation 5G network equipment.

China army exercise puts drone defence capability to the test ‘after years spent studying US tactics’ | South China Morning Post CCTV reported on Monday that an air defence brigade had shot down all drone targets during a recent exercise carried out in both daylight and at night, under “real war” conditions that included bad weather.

Security Contractor Erik Prince Is in Talks to Acquire Ukraine’s Motor Sich - WSJ $$ The Trump administration has approached Mr. Prince and at least one other potential buyer from the private sector about Motor Sich, a U.S. official said. In recent weeks, Mr. Prince has discussed the company with Ukrainian officials and visited the company’s main plant, according to people briefed on the matter. Motor Sich is a leading maker of helicopter and airplane engines and the U.S. wants to scuttle its pending sale to a group of Chinese companies to keep Beijing from acquiring vital defense technology.

Extreme-right misinformation is flooding Chinese media in Canada — and observers say there’s virtually nothing stopping it | The Star Some of the posts suggest teaching sexual and gender identity in schools could cause an AIDS outbreak. Others warn Mexicans are streaming across the border to sell drugs or that hatred against Muslims is only natural. The articles are called misinformation by some and flat out hate speech by others. They are but a sampling of the far-right rhetoric on Chinese-language websites and social media platforms like WeChat

Harassment of the Family Members of Uighur Activists and Survivors in Xinjiang, China - United States Department of State The United States remains deeply troubled by multiple reports that the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has harassed, imprisoned, or arbitrarily detained family members of Uighur Muslim activists and survivors of Xinjiang internment camps who have made their stories public.  In some cases, these abuses occurred shortly after meetings with senior State Department officials. On behalf of the Department of State, I want to express our sincere condolences to the brave individuals and their families who have been directly impacted by the Chinese Communist Party’s campaign of repression, including Ferkat Jawdut, Alfred Erkin, and Zumrat Dawut.  Most recently, Ms. Dawut learned her elderly father, who was reportedly detained and interrogated multiple times by Chinese authorities in Xinjiang in recent years, recently passed away under unknown circumstances.

China says it's not joining a trilateral arms control treaty - CGTN China has dismissed the possibility of joining a trilateral nuclear weapons agreement with the U.S. and Russia, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang on Tuesday...The statement is a response to U.S. President Donald Trump's remarks on Monday, which claimed that the U.S. is in talks with both China and Russia on arms control and nuclear weapons in particular. Geng rejected the negotiations and questioned the U.S.' intention of pushing China to join the treaty.

Chinese naval training ship Qi Jiguang arrives in Fiji for goodwill visit - China Military Chinese naval training ship Qi Jiguang (Hull 83), which is carrying out an ocean-going training and visit mission, arrived in Suva, capital of Fiji, for a four-day friendly visit on Monday morning. This is the first time that the vessel visits Fiji after it was commissioned.

Features of PLA's latest combat camouflage uniforms - China Military The new combat camouflage uniforms, worn by the officers and soldiers participating in the National Day parade this year, were featured different new patterns and colors, which could be divided into five categories according the environment they will adapt to, including woodland, wilderness, jungle, city, and desert, so that they could be integrated into various topography and geomorphology both at home and abroad. Zoom in and you will find that they are covered with masses of small color dots looked like stars, which are obviously much smaller than those of the digital color blocks on the old-fashioned uniforms.

Ideology tints West’s view of China’s technology - Global Times Take China's social credit system as another example. It aims to promote honesty and acts as a deterrent against dishonest behavior. While subway operators in Beijing plan to install a facial recognition system at stations that is integrated with the social credit system, the move, which aims to speed up security checks and improve the overall security performance of public transportation, was labeled by Western media as having "Orwellian intentions."  What China does and what the West believes China does are often completely different. The discourse systems of China and the West are also poles apart. China used to take Western opinion seriously because the West was leading in many domains. But now facing a narrow-minded West, China should distinguish its well-intended criticism from malicious distortion.

Macron says Europe-China climate cooperation 'decisive' - Reuters “If we want to be in compliance with the Paris agreement, we will need next year to enhance our commitments to reduce emissions, and we must confirm new commitments for 2030 and 2050,” he said. “The cooperation between China and the European Union in this respect is decisive,” Macron added. “Next year, we need, in the agenda of enhancement, to be collectively up to the task.”

Colombia seriously considers joining BRI: Ambassador - People's Daily Online Colombia wants to join the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) next year as the two sides will celebrate their 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations, said Luis Diego Monsalve, the Ambassador of Colombia to China. In an interview with People's Daily Online during the China Inbound-Outbound Forum 2019, held in Beijing last weekend, Monsalve noted that the BRI is an excellent way to promote investment, trade and closer economic relations between China and countries around the world.

Voice of moderation can ease US-China conflict - China Daily OpEd by Goh Chok Tong This is not a call for "Asia First" or an Asia only for Asians. On the contrary, for Asia to prosper, it must be part of the world, and countries outside Asia that have a stake here, such as the US, must also continue to be deeply engaged with it. Asia should band more closely together and find its own common cause before urging China and the US to similarly find their common cause. If Asia can do so, it will remove much of the suspicions of China's long-term intentions as a global power. There are two possible futures for the world today. One path leads to deglobalization and decoupling. The other leads to detente and development. Our leaders need to reach a new equilibrium that benefits all our peoples.—The author is emeritus senior minister and former prime minister of Singapore.

Sri Lanka's 'debt trap' port thriving, Chinese owners claim - Nikkei Asian Review In April, the Chinese oil and gas giant China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., commonly known as Sinopec, outbid more than 20 competitors to win a tender to run bunkering -- ship refueling -- out of Hambantota. The port operator said that it hopes Sinopec's global reach will allow it to become a bunkering hub for South Asia, and ultimately to put the port back on the map for global shipping.

US navy secretary warns of ‘fragile’ supply chain | Financial Times $$ Richard Spencer, the US navy’s top civilian, told the Financial Times he had ordered a review this year that found many contractors were reliant on single suppliers for certain high-tech and high-precision parts, increasing the likelihood they would have to be procured from geostrategic rivals. Mr Spencer said the US was engaged in “great power competition” with other global rivals and that several of them — “primarily Russia and China” — were “all of a sudden in your supply chain, [which is] not to the best interests of what you’re doing” through military procurement.

Taiwan

Facebook says it will crack down on fake news ahead of Taiwan election | South China Morning Post Facebook said on Tuesday that it would step up efforts to counter disinformation and state-backed influence operations ahead of the Taiwanese presidential election in January. The authorities on the self-ruled island have reported an average of 30 million cross-border cyberattacks each month this year, with a sizeable number from the Chinese mainland suspected of trying to affect the result of the election.

Tech and Media

German minister casts doubt on Huawei participation in 5G build-out - Reuters German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Monday cast doubt on whether Chinese telecom equipment vendor Huawei Technologies could participate in the development and construction of the country’s fifth-generation data network (5G). Maas told reporters in Berlin that Huawei was a company dependent on the Chinese state due to its national security laws, which meant Huawei was obliged to pass on information to the government there. Germany therefore wants to add a test of trustworthiness to the 5G security catalogue that so far had mainly envisaged an evaluation of technical criteria, Maas said.

Hungary says Huawei to help build its 5G wireless network - AP Speaking at China’s International Import Expo in Shanghai, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said Tuesday that Huawei will cooperate with Britain’s Vodafone and Germany’s Deutsche Telekom in the project.

New 5G Pilot Raises Questions About New Zealand’s Huawei Ban - Caixin Despite being blocked a year ago from deploying Huawei gear in its 5G networks, mobile carrier Spark New Zealand announced Saturday that is providing a Huawei-powered 5G offering for the exclusive use of Emirates Team New Zealand, a sailing team, which aims to use the network in designated parts of Auckland Harbor to gather real-time data on a new boat it is testing.

China’s minors face new limits on mobile games in war on gaming addiction | South China Morning Post State media published the new rules on Tuesday, which introduced a stricter real-name registration system and, for the first time, an age rating system. The State Administration of Press and Publications (SAPP) guidelines also include limiting gaming to between 8am and 10pm, with no more than 1.5 hours each day – or three hours on holidays – and no more than 400 yuan (US$57) to be spent each month on in-game purchases.

Ex-Google chief warns of need for AI co-operation with China | Financial Times $$ Speaking at the release of the commission’s interim report on how America should approach AI, Mr Schmidt said the US relied on Chinese technology experts and should make sure they remained in the research chain. “One of the things that the commission investigated pretty carefully was, how are we on China today? And the answer which some people may not want to hear is that we are dependent upon Chinese researchers and Chinese graduate students,” Mr Schmidt said. “A decoupling at the human level would hurt the United States.” // The report in PDF

China redoubling crackdown on apps over privacy violations · TechNode Regulators on Monday ordered China’s app developers and third-party service providers to halt illegal collection and use of personal data in a sweep targeting some of the country’s largest apps, which may include those run by major commercial lenders.

Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

专访“两膺上将”洪学智之子、吉林原省长洪虎 Interview with Hong Hu about his father Hong Xuezhi

How China’s traditional villages are falling victim to its global ambitions | South China Morning Post Photojournalist Wang Xiaoyan’s pictures of a vanishing settlement in Shanxi’s Taihang mountains reflect the fate of thousands of similar villages in China