Politburo meeting, 5th Plenum, protracted war; Hong Kong election; RIP Lee Teng-hui
The Politburo met Thursday and announced that the Fifth Plenum will meet in October and will “assess the proposals for formulating the 14th Five-Year (2021-2025) Plan for Social and Economic Development and future targets for 2035”.
The readout of the Politburo meeting also stated that the members “studied the current economic situation..and made arrangements for the economic work for the second half of the year.” They clearly understand that the current situation is difficult:
Going forward, China will still be in a period of strategic opportunity for development, facing new opportunities and challenges, it said...
It said that the current economic situation remains complicated and challenging with unstable and uncertain factors.
Since many problems we face are long- and medium-term, resolving such problems is like fighting a protracted war, said the meeting...
The term “protracted war 持久战” of course comes from Mao’s famous 1938 essay “On Protracted War”.
Hong Kong officials disqualified 12 candidates from running in the September elections, which will probably be postponed anyway. These DQs come a day after several kids were arrested for among other things online posts that allegedly violated the National Security Law.
Developments in Hong Kong are turning out to be as bad as the most pessimistic expected, though that should not be a surprise to anyone with a solid grasp of the CCP and its history and methods.
This effective termination of “one country, two systems” for Hong Kong has sent a very clear reminder to Taiwan that no promises from Beijing about “peaceful reunification” can be trusted.
Taiwan is now mourning the death of former President Lee Teng-hui, one of the key architects of Taiwan’s democracy. His funeral may pose thorny diplomatic choices for Taiwan as Japan and the US especially may want to send senior officials.
Today’s Essential Eight:
Politburo meeting, 5th Plenum, protracted war
A new development pattern with domestic cycle as the main body
12 candidates disqualified from Legco election
RIP Lee Teng-hui
Fox Hunt tactics include kidnapping toddlers
Abuse at NBA China academies
Reminder: The newsletter will be on holiday next week, returning to normal publication sometime during the week of August 10. There will be an open thread tomorrow, Friday, and I hope many of you will participate. I want to talk Beidaihe.
Thanks for reading.
The Essential Eight
1. Politburo meeting, 5th Plenum, protracted war
The CPC Central Committee Political Bureau will present its work report to the fifth plenary session, where attendees will also assess the proposals for formulating the 14th Five-Year (2021-2025) Plan for Social and Economic Development and future targets for 2035, according to a statement issued after the meeting.
The CPC Central Committee Political Bureau also studied the current economic situation at Thursday's meeting and made arrangements for the economic work for the second half of the year.
The Political Bureau will present its work report to the CPC Central Committee at the plenary session, where attendees will also assess the proposals for formulating the 14th Five-Year (2021-2025) Plan for Social and Economic Development and future targets for 2035, according to a statement issued after the meeting.
The CPC Central Committee Political Bureau also studied the current economic situation at Thursday's meeting and made arrangements for the economic work for the second half of the year.
The 14th Five-Year Plan period is the first five years after China has completed building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and achieved the first centenary goal, according to the meeting.
The period will also mark the time for the country to build on this achievement to embark on a new journey toward the second centenary goal of fully building a modern socialist country, said the statement.
Going forward, China will still be in a period of strategic opportunity for development, facing new opportunities and challenges, it said...
It said that the current economic situation remains complicated and challenging with unstable and uncertain factors.
Since many problems we face are long- and medium-term, resolving such problems is like fighting a protracted war, said the meeting...
While requiring full implementation of macro policies, the meeting called for pursuing a more proactive and effective fiscal policy that delivers solid outcomes, and a more flexible and appropriate monetary policy that targets sound results, according to the meeting.
The meeting demanded unremitting efforts in improving regular epidemic prevention and control measures, increasing reserves of medical materials, and strengthening anti-epidemic international cooperation to build a global community of health for all.
Full readout of the Politburo meeting - - 中共中央政治局召开会议 决定召开十九届五中全会 分析研究当前经济形势和经济工作 中共中央总书记习近平主持会议_CCTV
The meeting held that the "14th Five-Year Plan" period is the first time that China has built a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way and achieved its first centenary goal. Five years. At present and in the future, my country's development is still in a period of strategic opportunities, but there are new developments and changes in opportunities and challenges. The world today is undergoing major changes unseen in a century. Peace and development are still the themes of the times. At the same time, the international environment is becoming increasingly complex, and instability and uncertainty are obviously increasing. Our country has entered a stage of high-quality development. Development has many advantages and conditions. At the same time, the problem of unbalanced and insufficient development is still prominent. We must deeply understand the new characteristics and requirements brought about by the development and change of the main contradictions in our society, enhance the awareness of opportunities and risks, grasp the law of development, carry forward the spirit of struggle, be good at cultivating new opportunities in crises, opening new situations amidst changes, and seizing opportunities , Respond to challenges, seek advantages and avoid disadvantages, and move forward bravely
The meeting emphasized that since the beginning of this year, in the face of the severe impact of the new coronavirus pneumonia epidemic, we have insisted on putting people’s life safety and health in the first place, intensifying macro-policy response, solidly doing a good job in the “six stability” and fully implementing the “six guarantees”. The task of coordinating epidemic prevention and control and economic and social development has achieved significant results. The economy has recovered steadily, and the resumption of work and production has improved month by month. The economic growth in the second quarter was significantly better than expected. The three major battles have been solidly advanced. The economic structure has continued to be optimized. The digitalization and intelligent transformation of industries have accelerated significantly. Reform and opening up continue to deepen, and people's lives have been strongly guaranteed. This fully demonstrates that the Party Central Committee’s decision and deployment are correct, the Party’s leadership is strong, my country’s economic resilience is strong, the Chinese people have great creativity, and the socialist system with Chinese characteristics has strong vitality.
The meeting pointed out that the current economic situation is still complex and severe, with greater instability and uncertainty, and that many of the problems we encounter are medium- to long-term, which must be understood from the perspective of a protracted war, to accelerate the formation of a new development pattern with domestic circulation as the main body and domestic and international double cycle to promote each other, to establish medium- to long-term coordination mechanisms for epidemic prevention and control and economic and social development, to adhere to the strategic direction of structural adjustment, to rely more on Scientific and technological innovation, and improving the cross-cycle design and regulation of macroeconomic management to achieve a long-term balance between steady growth and risk prevention
Interesting Caixin headline for the Xinhua release "Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee holds meeting: must understand current problems from the perspective of protracted war" 中共中央政治局召开会议: 必须从持久战的角度认识当前问题
For those who want to read up on “持久战”, here is Mao’s essay on the topic - On Protracted War - Mao Zedong, May 1938. I will bet Xi can recite it by heart.
The Xinhua statement summarising the Politburo meeting did not mention the US directly, but hinted that China was not expecting an all-out conflict with Washington even though the “international environment is becoming increasingly complex”...
“Peace and development are still the themes of the times … but there will be changes in opportunities and challenges,” the statement said.
Zhang Ming, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the Politburo statement showed the Chinese leadership was “not optimistic” about the years ahead.
“Under these circumstances, China has to speed up the formation of growth dynamism driven by domestic demand,” Zhang wrote in a note.
Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a greater push on reforms to stimulate domestic demand and the economy to ride out mounting risks and challenges, saying conditions remain “complicated and grave.”
Speaking at a Politburo meeting on economic policy, Xi said China should speed up its “dual circulation” growth model that is primarily driven by domestic demand, while drawing in foreign investment and stabilizing trade, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday...
While Thursday’s Politburo meeting kept the overall stance for fiscal and monetary policy unchanged, it added fresh emphasis for policy to be more targeted. It also called for lower financing costs for the real economy and reasonable credit growth
Heads of the central committees of eight non-Communist parties and the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, as well as a representative of personages without party affiliations, made their respective speeches, agreeing with the CPC Central Committee's analysis of the current economic situation and considerations for economic work in the second half of the year.
Full readout of - [视频]就当前经济形势和下半年经济工作 中共中央召开党外人士座谈会 习近平主持并发表重要讲话_CCTV
Report on Xi's meetings with the non-CPC personages, interesting that many sites are leading with this headline
2. A new development pattern with domestic cycle as the main body
Recognizing that the days of 20% plus export growth are over, the government has dusted off an initiative it tried out in 2009 during the global financial crisis – encouraging foreign trade companies to change strategy and switch their focus to the country’s 1.4 billion consumers.
At a meeting of the Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee on May 14, leaders stressed the need to “give full play to the country's ultra-large-scale market advantages and domestic demand potential, and build a new development pattern that promotes both domestic and international cycles.” Since then, this phrase has been refined into the “gradual formation of a new development pattern with the domestic cycle as the main body and the domestic and international dual cycles mutually promoting each other.”..
In June, the State Council, China’s cabinet, issued guidelines to help exporters sell their goods into the domestic market and “tide them over during the current difficulties.”
With no foreign-exchange risks, geopolitical tensions, trade protectionism, standards, or cultural and language barriers to worry about, such a shift in strategy would look to be a slam dunk. But it is not easy for exporters to shift gears quickly into what is in effect a brave new world. Interviews with exporters, analysts, and local government and trade officials, tell the story of companies struggling to overcome a mountain of problems from supply-side issues such as product development, distribution and taxation, to demand-side hurdles that crimp consumption, navigating the complexities of e-commerce, and meeting rapidly changing shopping habits and consumer tastes.
Since the start of the US trade war against China in 2018, however, Chinese President Xi Jinping has repeatedly called for self-reliance. Over the past year, relations between Beijing and Washington have been in a tailspin, and the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has prompted lockdowns around the world, seriously disrupting global supply chains.
It is against this background that China’s leadership has recently signalled a strategic shift in economic priorities.
Over the past two months, a new catchphrase known as “dual circulation theory” has been gaining currency but also causing controversy at the same time. According to the theory explained in official media, Chinese leaders envision a new economic pattern to be dominated by “major domestic economic circulation” and facilitated by circulation between China and the rest of the world.
3. 12 candidates disqualified from Legco election
Officials on Thursday barred 12 candidates, including well-known pro-democracy figures, from the September legislative election. The disqualifications came a day after the police made what appeared to be the first targeted arrests of four activists accused of posting pro-independence messages online.
Local news outlets also reported that the government was considering postponing the election by as much as a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, though pro-democracy lawmakers argued it would be a naked attempt to avoid a loss at the polls.
Opposition candidates said they had hoped to ride a wave of protests and public discontent to electoral success on Sept. 6.
Alvin Cheng, Alvin Yeung, Dennis Kwok, Tat Cheng Kwok Ka-Ki, Joshua Wong, Kenneth Leung, Ventus Lau, Gwyneth Ho, Tiffany Yuen, Lester Shum, and Fergus Leung
At least 21 other opposition hopefuls were still waiting for returning officers’ verdicts on their candidacy applications. With the nomination period closing on Friday, it remained unclear whether they, including six Democratic Party lawmakers and Joshua Wong’s nine allies from the “resistance bloc”, would be disqualified as well.
The Hong Kong Special Administration Region (HKSAR) Government today (July 30) agrees with and supports the decisions of Returning Officers to invalidate 12 nominees for this year's Legislative Council (LegCo) General Election. The HKSAR Government notes that Returning Officers clearly state that, in determining the validity of nominations, the core question is whether the nominee has complied with the declaration requirement under section 40(1)(b)(i) of the Legislative Council Ordinance (Cap.542), i.e. to uphold the Basic Law (BL) and pledge allegiance to the HKSAR of the People's Republic of China (PRC).
Under section 40(1)(b)(i) of the Legislative Council Ordinance, nominees for LegCo elections must submit the nomination form in accordance with the statutory nomination procedures. The nomination form must include a signed declaration to the effect that the person will uphold the BL and pledge allegiance to the HKSAR of the PRC...
The HKSAR Government reiterates that upholding the BL is a fundamental constitutional duty of every LegCo Member. People having the following behaviours could not genuinely uphold the BL and could not therefore perform the duties of a LegCo Member, i.e. advocating or promoting Hong Kong independence, self-determination or changing the system of the HKSAR by supporting Hong Kong independence as an option for self-determination; soliciting intervention by foreign governments or political authorities in relation to the HKSAR's affairs; expressing an objection in principle to the enactment of the National Security Law by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and its subsequent promulgation as a national law listed in Annex III to the BL; expressing an intention to exercise the functions of a LegCo Member by indiscriminately voting down any legislative proposals, appointments, funding applications and budgets introduced by the HKSAR Government after securing a majority in the LegCo so as to force the Government to accede to certain political demands; and refusal to recognise the PRC's exercise of sovereignty over the HKSAR and the HKSAR's constitutional status as a local administrative region of the PRC.
Liaison Office statement in support of the disqualifications
“Mr Deng Xiaoping pointed out long ago, there is a dividing line and a standard for ‘Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong’, and that is that it must be patriotic HK people who rule HK.”
Zhong Nanshan, China's top respiratory expert, has called for adopting stringent anti-virus measures in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) as community transmission of COVID-19 has already taken place in the region.
Comment: Will Dr. Zhong recommend postponing the Legco election?
The Center for Health Protection (CHP) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government reported 118 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong to 3,002.
At a press conference on Thursday, the Civic Party criticised electoral authorities for ousting its leader Alvin Yeung, lawmakers Dennis Kwok, Kwok Ka-ki and candidate Tat Cheng. Party Chairman Alan Leong slammed the reasons provided by the returning officers as excuses to eliminate candidates whom Beijing did not favour.
“After this very naked attempt to rip out any dissenting voice from the Legislative Council, we have no illusion that the Central People’s Government and the HKSAR government would honour their promises under the Sino-British Joint Declaration,” Leong said.
Today, 73% of U.S. adults say they have an unfavorable view of the country, up 26 percentage points since 2018. Since March alone, negative views of China have increased 7 points, and there is a widespread sense that China mishandled the initial outbreak and subsequent spread of COVID-19.
Around two-thirds of Americans (64%) say China has done a bad job dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. Around three-quarters (78%) place a great deal or fair amount of the blame for the global spread of the coronavirus on the Chinese government’s initial handling of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan
At the start of the decade Chinese students, tourists, homebuyers, and investors flocked to the United States, pushing bilateral relations beyond goods trade into a new era of business, cultural, and social engagement. But rising US-China tensions—particularly since 2016—are now undermining such connections.
Whether political forces in both countries undo these ties remains to be seen, but the China Footprint measures this evolving dynamic by tracking the full picture of Chinese consumption and investment on American soil over the past ten years. The data show this “footprint” of more direct and tangible economic linkages has faded far faster than bilateral goods trade and portfolio investments between the United States and China.
By end-May, imports were running behind 2017 levels - rather than 50% ahead as needed - and while orders for China’s main farm import, soybeans, have started to pick up, scorching levels of buying would be needed to hit the mark...
The chances of meeting the target will be clear in the next few months. Soybeans typically account for about half of China’s U.S. farm imports and the vast bulk of buying comes in the last three months of the year when supplies from top grower Brazil dry up.
The U.S. Agriculture Department said on Thursday that private exporters sold 1.937 million tonnes of corn to China for delivery in the 2020/21 marketing year. That topped the previous biggest deal to China of 1.762 million tonnes, reported just two weeks ago.
In a separate report, the USDA said soybean sales to China rose to 1.925 million tonnes in the week ended July 23, the biggest weekly total since Nov. 17, 2016
The purchases -- made as part of the phase one trade deal between Washington and Beijing -- are hitting just as the pandemic shuts down clothing stores, decimating demand. That means China’s state-run companies are stashing away the cotton they bought, dimming the outlook for further imports.
Chinese government-linked hackers targeted biotech company Moderna Inc, a leading U.S.-based coronavirus vaccine research developer, earlier this year in a bid to steal valuable data, according to a U.S. security official tracking Chinese hacking activity.
Such "deliberate and provocative" moves seriously violated basic norms of international relations and sent a wrong signal to separatist elements advocating "Taiwan independence," said Ren Guoqiang, spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of National Defense.
FBI Director Christopher Wray and other intelligence community officials warned about China’s increased capability to interfere in U.S. elections in separate classified hearings with the Senate Intelligence Committee this week, two sources familiar with the hearings tell Axios.
Question: legit, or setting the stage to claim the election is invalid if Trump loses? Or a little of both?
The China-U.S. relationship can have a future only when it is built on dialogue and cooperation—a future of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. China’s U.S. policy remains unchanged. The closure of America’s Chengdu Consulate this week is merely a legitimate response based on the principle of reciprocity, which is consistent with diplomatic practices and a due right of all sovereign nations. We are still willing to grow China-U.S. relations with goodwill and sincerity and hope the U.S. will return to the right track.
During his visit to China, Nixon quoted President George Washington at a banquet: “Observe good faith and justice towards all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.” Today, his words are still resoundingly true.
Most importantly, on China, we see the Chinese Communist Party also for what it is: the central threat of our times.
Our vigorous diplomacy has helped lead an international awakening to the threat of the CCP. Senators, the tide is turning...
Our diplomatic efforts are working, and momentum is building to mitigate the threats that the Chinese Communist Party presents.
Comment: Almost half of this statement was about China
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. is planning measures to address human-rights violations in China’s Xinjiang region, furthering the administration’s recent confrontation with Beijing.
“I don’t want to get in front of the final decision, but you can rest assured there are further actions,” Mr. Pompeo told a Senate panel when asked about the U.S. response to China’s treatment of Muslim Uighur and other minorities in the northwest Xinjiang region.
In a hearing on the State Department’s budget and foreign policy, Mr. Pompeo drew praise from lawmakers for his tough approach toward Beijing, including in a speech last week that criticized Chinese leader Xi Jinping by name.
Comment: And do not forgot likely financial sanctions over Hong Kong. Today’s DQ and a postponement of the September elections may lead to using the longer list of targets.
For some time now, some politicians in the United States have been peddling lies and maliciously attacking China, doing everything they can to fabricate rumours and slander. Wherever they go, this "rumour-mongering group" brings a "cloud of smoke" with it, trying to disturb the public's ears and eyes and confuse the people. However, no matter how hard they try to disguise themselves, their evil intentions to "change China" have already become clear to the world: they deny the history of Sino-American relations, suppress China on all fronts, provoke China's core interests, attack the social system chosen by the Chinese people, and smear the ruling party, which is tied to the Chinese people by blood and flesh.
Some U.S. politicians have misinterpreted the original intention of developing U.S. relations with China as "changing China," and undermined U.S.-China relations with a false concept, which, in the view of Richard Haass, president of America's Council on Foreign Relations, is completely "ignorant of history, ignorant of China and ignorant of the United States". The leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese road are the choice of history and the choice of the people. Any attempt by some politicians in the United States to obstruct China's path to a better future is foolhardy.
Comment: Zhong Sheng has kept up its attacks on Pompeo, but CCTV Evening News again is silent on the speech, only anti-American propaganda today is the latest installment in its series on racism and the protests in the US
Charles Freeman, a former veteran diplomat who worked on multiple positions in the U.S. State Department, told Xinhua in a recent interview that Pompeo's speech served domestic political agenda and his own political ambition, instead of foreign policy goals...
Standing in front of Nixon's birthplace, Pompeo asserted that U.S. engagement policy with China, originated from former President Nixon and implemented by successive U.S. administrations, was a failure because it did not change China domestically.
Such a claim was entirely against the history in the opinion of Freeman, who joined Nixon's path-breaking visit to China in 1972 as the principal interpreter.
Nixon had "absolutely zero interest" in changing anything but influencing China's foreign policies, Freeman told Xinhua.
"Those who don't understand what engagement achieved argue that it failed to change the Chinese political system, something it was never intended to do," Freeman emphasized.
Chapter 1 identifies more than 250 published research collaborations between scholars based in the United States and counterparts from seven universities in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) that are integral to that nation’s defense research and industrial base. This report maintains that it is not in the US national interest to collaborate and assist with the military development efforts of the PRC, a nation that the US government increasingly views as a strategic competitor and military rival, even if the relevant research is unclassified, considered basic or fundamental, and is ultimately published in open sources.1 Such collaborations are emblematic of systemic flaws in the ways that the US research community approaches foreign engagement risk. To remedy those flaws, the research community should embrace a new, proactive risk assessment and management paradigm informed by the principles of Operational Security (OPSEC) and implemented through capability maturity modeling. Chapter 2 delivers that paradigm.
In China, officials have so far responded with relative restraint. They can read polls too, and may want to see if the current trajectory of relations continues after January. Some propagandists have suggested they would like Mr Trump to win, on the argument, like Mr Blinken’s, that he has weakened America’s strategic position and strengthened theirs. That may be bluster. Or they may also view Mr Biden as someone who would back up tough talk on issues like human rights, rather than turn matters of principle into bargaining chips. On that score even hawks who are wary of Mr Biden do not doubt his sincerity. China has changed since he was vice-president, as has the elite consensus in Washington. It will take more than an election to end the dark new era in US-China relations
Team Biden has recently launched a new public effort to attack Trump on the trade deal he made with Chinese President Xi Jinping—a pact that the Democrats say fails to compel Beijing to buy significantly more American goods. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, hawkish Republican policy experts on China—people who, until recently, were in Trump’s greater orbit—are connecting with members of the Biden campaign.
The two lawmakers said they were asking for the investigation because of reports of violations of Americans’ civil liberties. “Based on numerous reports, we are extremely concerned that Zoom and TikTok have disclosed private information about Americans to the PRC and engaged in censorship on behalf of the Chinese government,” they said in the letter.
Translation of the 1.5 page People's Daily 'fact check" last week
5. RIP Lee Teng-hui
Lee Teng-hui, who as president of Taiwan led its transformation from an island in the grip of authoritarian rule to one of Asia’s most vibrant and prosperous democracies, died on Thursday in Taipei, the capital...
As president from 1988 to 2000, Mr. Lee never backed down from disputes with the mainland. In 2018 he was calling for a referendum on declaring the island’sname to be Taiwan, not the Republic of China, as it is formally known — a move that would have paved the way for sovereignty, but was not made...
“China’s goal regarding Taiwan has never changed,” he said in a rare interview with The New York Times, amid efforts by the Chinese government to further isolate the island from the international community. “That goal is to swallow up Taiwan’s sovereignty, exterminate Taiwanese democracy and achieve ultimate unification.”
The office of Taiwan’s current president, Tsai Ing-wen, praised Mr. Lee’s achievements. “The president believes that former President Lee’s contribution to Taiwan’s democratic journey is irreplaceable and his death is a great loss to the country,” it said.
Former Taiwan leader, also known as the "Godfather of Taiwan secessionism," Lee Teng-hui, has died at the age of 97, a Taiwan hospital announced on Thursday...
Chinese mainland netizens also noticed the report. Some said, "What a shame, because we want him to be punished for his treason when we reunify the island." Others also criticized heavily that Lee "has forgot his own origin, and betrayed his ancestors."
Lee's death is definitely not a sad news to most people in the Chinese mainland as Taiwan pro-reunification politicians and mainland experts said he is "a traitor and a sinner of the Chinese nation."
A Chinese mainland spokesperson on Thursday expressed condolences over the deaths of Mao Chu-lun and Wang Hsiao-po, former chairman and vice chairman of the Taiwan-based Alliance for the Reunification of China.
Zhu Fenglian, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, praised Mao and Wang as "respectable" for staying committed to pushing for national reunification, and resolutely opposing "Taiwan independence."
Comment: but no mention of Lee
Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party said recent political developments in Hong Kong "went entirely against the principle of democracy and the rule of law, as well as basic human rights."
"Hong Kong has ushered the darkest moment of red terror," it said in a statement. "The world can now see clearly China's infringement to the freedoms of the Hong Kong people and its intention to create a reign of terror."
8 minute video by Storm Media on Lee Teng-hui's life:
6. Fox Hunt tactics include kidnapping American toddlers
In the summer of 2017, a few months after the couple arrived in California, a Discipline Commission official from Hunan turned up with people whom Mr. Peng in filings referred to as a “hit squad.” They staked out the couple’s Chinese friends in California and threatened to detain one friend’s family members in China unless she provided Mr. Peng’s phone number, according to the filings.
The official, Chen Jian, called Mr. Peng telling him that “a squad of 20 local agents and Triads” stood ready to spirit the couple to China, the filings say. Mr. Peng told the official that he wouldn’t return and that he and his wife had applied for asylum in the U.S., they say...
Discipline Commission agents turned to the couple’s son, taking him from his daycare in October 2017 to an orphanage, and conveyed to Mr. Peng that the boy would be put up for adoption if Mr. Peng didn’t return, according to court filings by Mr. Peng.
State Department and other U.S. officials got involved within weeks, according to court filings and people familiar with the episode, because the child had been born in the U.S. and was thus an American citizen. After weeks of wrangling—and with President Trump due in China for a summit—the boy was returned to the grandparents, according to the filings and the people familiar with the episode. While the son has been in the grandparents’ care, Chinese authorities haven't allowed any visits from U.S. consular officials, or allowed him to be reunited with his parents, the filings say.
Comment: The Pengs may very well be guilty of all sorts of corrupt misdeeds. That said, CCDI cadres kidnapped his son, an American citizen, and threatened to put him up for adoption. That is straight up mafia-state behavior, and behavior that was not portrayed on the recent TV series glorifying the overseas Fox Hunt - "猎狐 Hunting".
On the night of July 24, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson and Director General of the MFA Information Department Hua Chunying held consultations via videolink with Russian foreign ministry spokesperson and Director of the Information and Press Department of Russia's foreign ministry Maria Zakharova.
Both sides agreed that against the backdrop of the on-going pandemic, certain countries, out of ideological bias and political needs, have been spreading disinformation, distorting history, attacking other countries' social systems and development paths, politicizing the pandemic, pinning labels on the virus, and restricted and oppressed foreign media for doing their job. Such acts have severely poisoned the atmosphere of global public opinion, obstructed international cooperation against the virus, and set obstacles to mutual understanding among people from different countries.
The two sides stressed that disinformation is a common enemy of the international community. Countries should strengthen solidarity and coordination, jointly reject disinformation so that political viruses such as rumors and slanders and the perpetrators and manipulators behind the scene will have no place to hide. When it comes to information release, facts should be respected. Countries should not adopt double standards, interfere in others' internal affairs or level groundless accusations on other countries' political system, development path and state governance based on ideology and political prejudice.
Both sides noted that as responsible major countries and comprehensive strategic partners of coordination, China and Russia will strengthen communication, jointly combat disinformation, offer an accurate account of facts and truth, champion justice and legal principles, and uphold morality and conscience.
On July 25, Max Blumenthal, the founder and editor of the far-left news site The Grayzone, went on Going Underground, a current affairs show broadcast by the Russian state-controlled TV channel RT. On air, he questioned the scale of the detention of Uyghurs in camps in Xinjiang, China.
“I don’t have reason to doubt that there’s something going in Xinjiang, that there could even be repression,” said Blumenthal.“But we haven’t seen the evidence for these massive claims.” He went on to describe reports of Beijing’s abuse of Uyghurs as “the hostile language of a Cold War, weaponizing a minority group.”..
This is not the first time a writer from The Grayzone has sought to refute or downplay reports of Beijing’s actions in Xinjiang, and there is precedent for Blumenthal’s words. With a hardline anti-imperialist ideology and a deep-seated antagonism towards U.S. interventionist foreign policy, The Grayzone has followed a similar path on Syria, challenging reports of atrocities by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. What is more, these fringe views appear to be creeping into other areas of the American left...
Once a supporter of the Syrian revolution and a critic of Assad, Blumenthal has made frequent appearances on state-run broadcasters such as Russia’s RT and Sputnik radio, and China’s television news channel CGTN. In December 2015, he attended a 10th anniversary party for RT in Moscow. Around this time, he became a fervent advocate for the Syrian regime and set up The Grayzone.
Comment: The Grayzone looks to be increasingly cited favorably in various CCP propaganda organs, and on occasion at Foreign Affairs press conferences
The broadcasting icon’s fake interview with a Russian journalist went viral on social media, spread by accounts tied to China’s government...
Posted on YouTube under the title “Larry King US China Special Conference 2019,” and quickly spread by social media accounts linked to Chinese government influence operations, the fake interview went viral across Chinese-language social media, likely reaching hundreds of thousands of users on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
As diplomatic tensions escalate between the U.S. and China, the video demonstrates how foreign disinformation campaigns are growing increasingly aggressive even as they conceal their origins to boost credibility.
8. Abuse at NBA China academies
American coaches at three NBA training academies in China told league officials their Chinese partners were physically abusing young players and failing to provide schooling, even though commissioner Adam Silver had said that education would be central to the program, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the complaints.
The NBA ran into myriad problems by opening one of the academies in Xinjiang, a police state in western China where more than a million Uighur Muslims are now held in barbed-wire camps. American coaches were frequently harassed and surveilled in Xinjiang, the sources said. One American coach was detained three times without cause; he and others were unable to obtain housing because of their status as foreigners.
A former league employee compared the atmosphere when he worked in Xinjiang to "World War II Germany.
Business, Economy and Trade
China Pushes Local Governments to Borrow $220 Billion by Oct. 31 - Caixin China’s central government is pushing local governments to issue the remaining 1.51 trillion yuan ($220 billion) of new special-purpose bonds that are intended to spur the economy by the end of October — and they can’t use the borrowings for just any old thing. In a notice issued Wednesday, the Ministry of Finance published a list for how the money from special bonds can’t be used. The negative list includes replacing existing debt, funding white elephant projects, paying wages and pensions, buying land and investing in real estate projects
China Tries Its Favorite Economic Cure: More Construction - The New York Times “This year is a very bad year for overseas contracts, and I cannot travel,” said Vincent Cao, the drilling and tunneling equipment manager at the company, better known by its initials XCMG. Despite those limitations, business is booming, he said, adding: “It is a good year for China.”
Beijing Municipality-Owned Firm Scales Back Bond Sale as Demand Cools - Caixin A Beijing government-owned capital management firm has been forced to scale back a planned 4 billion yuan ($571 million) bond sale aimed at repaying the borrowings of a heavily indebted subsidiary after investors gave the issue a cool reception. Beijing Haidian District State-owned Capital Management Center (Haidian SCMC), reduced the size of the five-year 3.8% bond sale to 1 billion yuan, sources close to the matter told Caixin.
Yicai Interviews AIIB President Jin Liqun The AIIB will revert to its conventional business and will not issue policy-based loans after the pandemic is in check, Jin said. The bank will extend its business into health care, but ensure its proper ratio, he added. The AIIB's areas of focus will remain transport, energy, water supply and urban development.
Yicai - Chinese Property Tycoon Wang Sells Chicago Project, Clears Up Wanda Assets In order to reduce the group’s debt and focus on its main business, Wanda Hotel Development, a unit of Beijing-based conglomerate Wanda Group, announced today that the company signed an agreement on July 24 to sell its property project in Chicago for USD270 million. With the sale of the United States project, Wanda Group has cleared up all its overseas real estate assets.
Hedge funds open by their thousands in China as they pile into US$9 trillion equity market in search of outsize returns | South China Morning Post New fund offerings swelled to about 1,500 in July after running at a 1,217 monthly pace in the first half, the fastest since at least 2015, according to fund tracker Shenzhen PaiPaiWang Investment & Management
Politics and Law
Former top banker in China pleads guilty to US$12 million corruption after being caught in Xi Jinping’s sweep | South China Morning Post Hu Huaibang, former party secretary and chairman of the China Development Bank, had taken advantage of his positions to illegally receive money and goods worth a total of 85.5 million yuan (US$12.1 million) between 2009 and 2019, heard a court in northern Chengde city.
Senior CPC official stresses reading new book to study Xi thought - Xinhua Wang stressed the roles of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as the theoretical banner for building a strong Marxist governing party and ensuring the long-term governance of the Party and long-term stability of the country, and as the guideline for upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics at a new historical starting point and achieving national rejuvenation. Noting that the book's third volume must be studied throughout the whole Party with the first and second volumes as a whole, Wang urged better theoretical publicity, education, research and interpretation at home and innovative communication abroad to help the world better understand Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era
China Uses Coronavirus as Cover to Detain Dissidents, Activists Say - The New York Times Rights activists say the coronavirus has given the Chinese authorities a new pretext for detaining dissidents. Summary quarantines — often imposed just after detainees, like Mr. Wang, had cleared a previous one — are the latest way to silence dissent, part of a broader campaign under China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, to stamp out activism through arrests, detentions and harsher internet controls, activists say.
China Scholar Xu to Sue to Clear Name in Soliciting Prostitute Charges - RFA Former human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang participated in the meeting between Xu and the lawyers. "This is a matter of justice. I am very inspired by Xu’s personality. I admire him very much. I also believe that what he said is true. It is just a question of how the legal process unfolds. This could be a problem,” said Pu. It is understood that Tsinghua University decided to expel him as early as when he was detained, and dispatched an official to the detention center to read out his expulsion notice.
许章润“嫖娼”事件被指“构陷诬陷” 委托律师准备提告VOA text and audio report on the latest in the Xu Zhangrun case. Given Tsinghua's treatment of Xu Zhangrun how can any foreign academic institution be comfortable w Tsinghua as a partner if they truly believe in academic freedom? How many of the foreign luminaries on various Tsinghua advisory boards have expressed concern over treatment of Xu?
Veteran Democracy Activist Evicted, Harrassed in China's Sichuan - RFA Authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan have evicted dissident and 1989 pro-democracy movement veteran Chen Yunfei from his home after he criticized a draconian new security law recently imposed on Hong Kong, RFA has learned.
Chaguan - Digging up China’s past is always political | The Economist It is not beauty that lures visitors to Shuanghuaishu. At 5,300 years old, the settlement is the work of a culture too simple to have left behind exquisite bronzes or written inscriptions. The single most precious find, to date, is a finger-length sculpture of a silkworm, carved out of the tusk of a boar. Nor is the setting lovely: a scrubby plateau patrolled by dragonflies and deafening crickets, between a highway and two power stations. Rather, the site’s importance is historical, and thus political. For since the birth of Chinese archaeology in the 1920s, it has been inseparable from claims that China boasts the oldest unbroken civilisation on Earth.
Senior Cop’s Much-Hyped Book of Mantras Prompts Party Probe - Caijing He Dian is not just a prolific writer, but also the second most senior police official in Northeast China’s Jilin province. His book has received glowing reviews from local government and media outlets since its publication in December. But his success has also attracted the wrong kind of attention. After Chinese social media users pilloried the book, the Jilin government said Wednesday that provincial-level party political, discipline and publicity officials were looking into the matter.
Former Head of Bankrupt Coal Giant Probed for Corruption - Caixin The former head of Sichuan Coal Industry Group Ltd. Liability Co. is being investigated for corruption, as the province’s leading miner moves through a court-led bankruptcy reorganization after defaulting on more than 1 billion yuan ($143 million) in debt over the last four years.
Foreign and Defense Affairs
UK to blame for 'poisoning' relations, China's ambassador says - CGTN "People are asking: 'What is happening to the China-UK relations?'" Liu noted, continuing: "My answer is loud and clear: It is the UK, not China, that has changed."
China warns UK: You have no future if you try to sideline China - Reuters “It is hard to image a ‘Global Britain’ that bypasses or excludes China, decoupling from China means decoupling from opportunities, decoupling from growth and decoupling from the future,” China’s ambassador to London Liu Xiaoming told reporters.
UK names new MI6 spy chief to tackle challenges from China, Russia By Reuters Britain on Wednesday named career diplomat and intelligence officer Richard Moore as the new chief of the MI6 spy service
China warns India against 'forced decoupling' of their economies - Reuters The Chinese ambassador said China was not a strategic threat to India and that the "general structure that we can't live without each other remains unchanged". The statement came after New Delhi's recent moves to ban or sideline Chinese business interests in one of the world's biggest markets, even as the border remains tense, with many more troops on the ground than usual.
Chinese ambassador lashes out at Western rights reporting - AP Ambassador Liu Xiaoming’s presentation stressed that China’s actions in Xinjiang were meant to fight terrorism, and the grainy images he played for reporters included bloody scenes showing the aftermath of attacks. The videos were meant to counter a recent BBC interview in which presenter Andrew Marr had challenged the diplomat to explain drone footage that apparently showed Uighur prisoners being guarded and transferred to trains by Chinese authorities.
Next gen fighter jet forthcoming in great power competition: J-20 chief designer - Global Times A revolutionary, cognition-subverting next generation fighter jet, characterized by long-range, high capabilities in penetration, awareness, firepower and fast decision-making, is about to come into being amid great power competition, according to a recent paper by the chief designer of China's J-20 stealth fighter jet. Artificial intelligence is a key field to help pilots process vast information and make decisions in complicated battlefield environments, it said.
A cold war does not answer China’s challenge | Financial Times - Philip Stephens Moscow presented the world with an alternative way of ordering society. It had fellow travellers, allies and agents in established parties across the world. This was a contest that only one side could survive. Beijing thinks in terms of “spheres of influence”. Mr Xi is not anticipating what Mr Pompeo calls the “global hegemony of Chinese communism”. // Comment: But it does have "fellow travellers, allies and agents in established parties across the world"
China shoots across US bow with South China Sea drills - Nikkei Asian Review The drills, which will run through Aug. 2, are taking place off the Leizhou Peninsula in southern China, in the northwestern part of the South China Sea, according to the People's Liberation Army. This is not far from Vietnam, which is locked in a territorial dispute with Beijing over the Spratly Islands. China has warned civilian vessels not to enter the area.
Malaysia rebukes Beijing as South China Sea ‘lawfare’ heats up | South China Morning Post A battle of diplomatic notes to the United Nations between claimants in the South China Sea dispute has taken a fresh turn, with Malaysia rebuking China for claiming Kuala Lumpur had no right to seek the establishment of its continental shelf in the northern part of the waters. Instead, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s government, in a note verbale to the world body dated July 29, stressed that its application was fully within its rights under the UN Convention for the Law of the Sea (Unclos).
Russia may be withholding missile deliveries to China - Asia Times Chinese news portals including NetEase and Sohu have reported a delay in the delivery of S-400 mobile missiles to the Chinese military. They cited the Chinese Defense Ministry and Beijing’s ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to Moscow Zhang Hanhui as blaming the Covid-19 epidemic for the delay.
US-China relations: PLA bombers carry out ‘attack exercise’ in South China Sea | South China Morning Post Chinese bombers took part in a high-intensity exercise over the South China Sea, Beijing said on Thursday, just weeks after two US aircraft carrier strike groups conducted drills of their own in the disputed waters. Both H-6G and H-6J bombers from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) were involved in the drills, which simulated nighttime take-offs, long-range raids and attacks on sea targets, the defence ministry said.
India Adds 35,000 Troops on China Border as Tensions Simmer - Bloomberg “The nature of the Line of Control, at least in Ladakh, has changed forever,” the director of Delhi-based think-tank The United Service Institution of India and retired major general, B K Sharma said. “Additional troops rushed by either side will not move back, unless there is a rapprochement at the highest political level.”
Canada’s troubles with China are only temporary, says former ambassador: ‘Chinese people and Canadian people are good friends' - The Globe and Mail Canada’s troubles with China are temporary and relations with the rising superpower will return to sunnier times, including borders once again open to immigration and investment, John McCallum, the former ambassador fired from his position last year, has told clients of a major Chinese immigration company.
Remote Control: Japan's Evolving Senkakus Strategy | Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative The East China Sea disputes had settled into an uneasy status quo over the last few years, but tensions persist. Recent events suggest that the risk of violence is again growing. China’s maritime forces deployed around the contested Senkaku Islands have become more capable and more determined. In response, Japan is upgrading its ability to project power from the nearby Ryukyus, or Southwest Islands.
EU imposes the first ever sanctions against cyber-attacks - Consilium individuals and entities from China Russia and North Korea //The Council today decided to impose restrictive measures against six individuals and three entities responsible for or involved in various cyber-attacks. These include the attempted cyber-attack against the OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) and those publicly known as 'WannaCry', 'NotPetya', and 'Operation Cloud Hopper'.
Western Strategists Are Obsessed With Thucydides, Athens, and Sparta. Here Are Some Asian Alternatives. Even when strategists move beyond Athens, they’re still writing about Europe. In all the takes on the U.S.-China relationship, the history of Chinese warfare itself—and the vast span of Asian conflict, warfare, and political contention over the last 3,000 years—goes virtually unmentioned.
New Cold War: U.S. Names Arctic Policy Czar to Keep Tabs on China, Russia - WSJ $$ The creation of the post is the latest in a series of administration actions on the Arctic, including the White House’s plans to acquire a fleet of icebreakers; the June 10 reopening of the U.S. consulate in Nuuk, Greenland; and Mr. Pompeo’s recent meetings in Copenhagen with the Danish, Greenlandic and Faroese foreign ministers.
The Making of ‘Insidious Power: How China Undermines Global Democracy’ – Taiwan Sentinel A new book released on July 30 takes a close look at the agencies and mechanisms of CCP ‘sharp power’ in eight democracies around the world. For many of the authors, the study of Chinese influence operations has come at a price, both professionally and personally.
Tech and Media
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on July 30, 2020 AFP: The US government is about to complete its national security review of TikTok. Does China have any expectations for the outcomes of the review? Wang Wenbin: The Chinese government always asks Chinese companies to observe laws and regulations when doing business with foreign countries. Without any evidence, the US is threatening a Chinese company based on presumption of guilt, revealing its hypocrisy in so-called "upholding fairness and freedoms." This is in violation of the WTO principles of openness, transparency and non-discrimination, and it doesn't serve the interests of the American people and companies. Governments and media of some countries have emphasized that there shouldn't be any "double standard" when it comes to social media. China's software and apps meet people's need and market demand, provide diversified choices, and help social media markets in all countries grow in a sound manner. We call on some in the US to heed the voices from the international community, provide an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory market environment for entities of all countries including China, and stop politicizing trade and economic issues. This concerns the image and credibility of the US
Wang’s comments in Chinese - 2020年7月30日外交部发言人汪文斌主持例行记者会 — 中华人民共和国外交部 法新社记者：美国政府将完成针对TikTok的国家安全审查。中方对审查结果有何期待？ 汪文斌：中国政府一贯要求中国企业在依法合规的基础上开展对外经济合作。美方在拿不出任何证据的情况下对中国企业做“有罪推定”并发出威胁，暴露了美方所谓维护公平、自由的虚伪性，违反了世贸组织开放、透明、非歧视原则，不利于美国民众和企业利益。近期一些国家政府和媒体表示，不应在社交媒体领域搞“双重标准”，中国的有关互联网软件顺应了公众和市场需求，为各方提供了多样化选择，有利于各国社交媒体市场的健康发展。我们呼吁美方一些人认真倾听国际社会的声音，为包括中国企业在内的各市场主体在美经营提供开放、公平、公正和非歧视的环境，停止将经贸问题政治化。这事关美国形象和信誉。
Disney's Head of Streaming, Kevin Mayer, Becomes TikTok C.E.O. - The New York Times in May A TikTok spokesman on Monday stressed that TikTok was not owned by a Beijing-based company. Instead, its parent company, ByteDance Ltd., is incorporated in the Cayman Islands, though he could not say how many people are based there. That entity owns TikTok and all of the businesses in China, he said. // some history on the TikTok claims it is somehow not a Chinese company. This actually made it worse for them
Yicai - ByteDance Breaks Up With Game Developer That Inflated Links ByteDance has ended cooperation with Hash Technology after the mobile games developer alleged that it is the only firm to team with the TikTok-owner on augmented reality games.
Yicai - Huawei Topples Samsung to Take Top Spot in World Handset Sales in Second Quarter, Canalys Says It is the first time in nine years that a mobile phone maker other than Samsung or the US’ Apple has held the top spot, it added. Shenzhen-based Huawei shipped 55.8 million smartphones between April and June, an annual decline of 5 percent, while Seoul-based Samsung sold 53.7 million, a 30 percent drop from last year.
Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History
Douyin Purges 170,000 Comments for Joking About Grisly Murder - SixthTone After a Hangzhou man was found to have dismembered his wife and disposed of her remains in a septic tank, netizens began posting about giving their partners “septic tank warnings” for disobedience.
Energy, Environment, Science and Health
Top Epidemiologist Says Dalian Outbreak ‘Most Likely’ Caused By Seafood - Caixin The outbreak in the Liaoning province port city, which has recorded 57 cases since last week and spread to nine cities including Beijing, is most likely to have been caused by contaminated imported seafood, said Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Beijing inspects refrigerated food storehouses as COVID-19 precaution - Xinhua At a press conference on COVID-19 prevention and control on Thursday, the city's market regulation administration said authorities had inspected 4,719 such storehouses. Seafood products from three companies were removed from the shelves during the inspection. A total of 86,900 nucleic acid samples were collected from the food items, personnel and local environment of the storehouses, and all have tested negative, said Chen Yankai, deputy director of the administration.
Loose Shipping Pollution Rules Leading to Smog Spikes, Environmentalists Say - Caixin The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a nonprofit environmental advocacy group, released a report on Tuesday urging China to tighten nitrogen oxide (NOx) emission regulations in the shipping industry, as current rules governing the ozone-destroying compound only apply to some newly-built vessels.
重磅通知！论文数量、影响因子不可与奖励奖金挂钩_新闻频道_央视网(cctv.com) The Ministry of Science and Technology and the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) released a document on July 29 that set 10 requirements, including strict implementation of the information reporting system and no link between the number of papers published and impact factors and rewards.
Will Covid-19 tame China’s wildlife trade? | Financial Times $$ In Guangxi, which produces about 70 per cent of China’s snakes, some 37,000 people relied on the snake trade as a source of income. Bolao is in Lingshan county, known as the “home of China’s snake breeders”. The region has won plaudits from Chinese state media for using the wildlife trade to spur economic growth and the alleviation of poverty. Local entrepreneurs have banded together to share best practices, create modern farms and scale up the industry. After so many years of encouragement, they are struggling to understand why they suddenly are not allowed to farm snakes
China Push Sees Coal-Fired Generation Rise to Record in Pakistan Pakistan’s coal-fired power generation jumped 57% to a record in the fiscal year through June, according to data from the government’s National Electric Power Regulatory Authority. Coal accounted for about a fifth of total output, backed by supplies from the country’s first coal mine in its Thar region, developed as part of China’s Belt and Road plan.