Politburo meeting on economy and Party discipline; Politburo study session on PLA commercial activities; Indo-Pacific economic vision; "Adem yoq" everybody’s gone in Xinjiang; Pinduoduo's fakes; Official media hits Apple

Good morning from Sinocism. Here are some of the top things I am following:

  • Xi chaired the July Politburo meeting that called for economic stability amid the changing external environment and while facing new challenges and new problems;

  • Xi also chaired a Politburo study session on ending all PLA commercial activities;

  • On the eve of Apple’s quarterly earnings release the company is coming under criticism from official media for not doing enough to prevent spam and indecent content over iMessage

The July 30 People’s Daily page 1 headline 习近平回到北京 “Xi Jinping returned to Beijing” has led to more speculation about problems for Xi, but as I note below a search of the People’s Daily database shows that exact headline, sometimes in the exact same location, has been used twelve other times since Xi became General Secretary, and a variant that includes the detail of from where he was returning another seven times. Maybe there are some things going on (aren’t there always?) but this People’s Daily headline on its own does not appear to be an indication of anything out of the ordinary.

August st1 is the 91st anniversary of the founding of the PLA, then we should expect the leadership to mostly disappear from view for a while as they head to Beidaihe. If precedent holds they will not all spend the same amount of time there, but Xi may very well be out of view for days, which will no doubt spur even more rumors. PRC elite politics under Xi are about as opaque as they have ever been, sadly.

Housekeeping note: I am off to China Thursday so there will be no newsletter August 2. I am not sure yet how the publishing schedule will shake out while I am in China. I am planning to do a few issues before I return to DC August 17 and normal publishing should return August 20. I will be in Beijing, maybe Shanghai, not sure where else. If people want to get together please ping me, and if there are enough maybe we can pull together a Sinocism dinner.

Thanks for reading. 

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The Essential Eight

1. July 31 Politburo meeting

CPC meeting stresses economic stability in H2 - Xinhua:

China will keep its economy on a stable and healthy development track with a proactive fiscal policy and prudent monetary policy in the second half of 2018, according to a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on Tuesday.

The meeting, presided over by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, stressed that China will maintain the basic tone of "seeking progress while maintaining stability" for its economic work and allow the economy to continue to perform within a reasonable range.

Efforts should be made to push supply-side structural reform and win the "three tough battles," according to a statement released after the meeting.

The meeting also reviewed the regulations of the CPC on disciplinary action.

The Wall Street Journal’s Lingling Wei summarized the meeting in a tweet:

Lingling Wei@Lingling_Wei

Just-concluded China Politburo meeting called for economic stability amid "changing external environment." Said fiscal policy should "play a bigger role" in boosting demand, liquidity should remain "reasonable and adequate," AND rights of foreign cos in China would be protected.

July 31, 2018

中共中央政治局召开会议 习近平主持会议-分析研究当前经济形势和经济工作 审议《中国共产党纪律处分条例》 中共中央总书记习近平主持会议-新华网:

会议指出,当前经济运行稳中有变,面临一些新问题新挑战,外部环境发生明显变化。要抓住主要矛盾,采取针对性强的措施加以解决。下半年,要保持经济社会大局稳定,深入推进供给侧结构性改革,打好“三大攻坚战”,加快建设现代化经济体系,推动高质量发展,任务艰巨繁重。要坚持稳中求进工作总基调,保持经济运行在合理区间,加强统筹协调,形成政策合力,精准施策,扎实细致工作...

会议指出,中国特色社会主义进入了新时代,党要有新气象新作为,必须靠严明的纪律作保证。党的十九大把纪律建设纳入党的建设总体布局,在党章中充实完善了纪律建设相关内容,要把党的十八大以来纪律建设理论、实践、制度创新成果总结提炼为党规党纪。条例全面贯彻习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想和党的十九大精神,以党章为根本遵循,把坚决维护以习近平同志为核心的党中央权威和集中统一领导作为出发点和落脚点,把党章和新形势下党内政治生活若干准则等党内法规的要求细化具体化,坚持问题导向,针对管党治党存在的突出问题,扎紧制度笼子,实制度与时俱进。

China still focused on reducing debt, creating jobs despite trade row with United States | South China Morning Post:

China will remain focused on reducing debt and creating jobs despite the “clear changes” in the external economic environment, the nation’s top decision making body said on Tuesday in what was most likely a reference to its ongoing trade dispute with the United States....

The government will deepen its “structural supply side reforms” in the second half of the year and “firmly” continue deleveraging, which has been a hallmark of President Xi Jinping’s economic policy. It will also seek to curb rising house prices...

The statement said the nation’s leaders also agreed to implement a “more proactive” fiscal policy, adopt a prudent monetary policy stance, and put greater emphasis on “employment stability”.

China says will strive to hit growth target despite challenges | Reuters:

The Politburo meeting also pledged to “resolutely curb” housing price rises and speed the process of establishing a long-term mechanism for the property sector, the agency said.

7.31 CCTV Evening News also reports on a 7.17 meeting Xi held with the heads of the other political parties, and Justin Lin, among others to discuss the economic situation.--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

中共中央政治局常委李克强、汪洋、王沪宁、韩正出席座谈会。李克强通报了上半年经济工作有关情况,介绍了中共中央关于做好下半年经济工作的考虑。..

座谈会上,民革中央主席万鄂湘、民盟中央主席丁仲礼、民建中央主席郝明金、民进中央主席蔡达峰、农工党中央主席陈竺、致公党中央主席万钢、九三学社中央主席武维华、台盟中央主席苏辉、全国工商联主席高云龙、无党派人士代表林毅夫先后发言...

丁薛祥、刘鹤、胡春华、尤权、王勇、肖捷、何立峰,中共中央、国务院有关部门负责人出席座谈会。

出席座谈会的党外人士还有陈晓光、郑建邦、辜胜阻、刘新成、何维、邵鸿和蒋作君、李钺锋、张伯军、张道宏、李世杰、朱永新、曹鸿鸣、赖明、黄荣、高鸿钧等。

CPC central committee holds symposium on economic work - Xinhua:

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) convened a symposium earlier this month to listen to the suggestions of leading members of non-Communist parties and the All-China Federation of Industry & Commerce and representives of personages without party affiliation over the current economic situation and the economic work in the latter half of the year.

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, presided over the symposium held on July 17 and delivered an important speech emphasizing that the country must capitalize on the advantages of the system of CPC-led multiparty cooperation and political consultation.

Official Manufacturing PMI Dips to Five-Month Low - Caixin Global:

The manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for July, released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) (link in Chinese), came in at 51.2, its weakest since February. The nonmanufacturing PMI, which includes the construction sector, came in at 54, its slowest expansion in 11 months. A figure above 50 indicates activity expanded, while anything below that signals it contracted.

Output and market demand slowed in July as some factories and mines suspended production due to “unfavorable weather conditions,” NBS analyst Zhao Qinghe said in a statement. He was referring to the heavy rainfall that caused floods across the country, affecting 23 million people and leaving at least 86 people dead, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Yuan weakens, set for fourth straight monthly loss in July | Reuters:

If the yuan’s late night closing session matches the domestic finish, it would have lost 3 percent against the dollar in July for the fourth consecutive monthly loss. The Chinese currency has shed more than 8 percent since the end of March.


2. Xi chairs Politburo study session on ending PLA commercial activities

CCTV Evening News - On eve of 8.1 Army Day Xi chaired a Politburo study session on ending all PLA commercial activities. The discussant was Hu Xiaohua, deputy director of the "comprehensively stopping military commercial services work leading small group"--习近平在中共中央政治局第七次集体学习时强调 坚定决心意志增强工作合力 坚决做好全面停止军队有偿服务工作_CCTV节目官网-CCTV-1_央视网(cctv.com) 

中共中央政治局7月31日下午就全面停止军队有偿服务举行第七次集体学习。中共中央总书记习近平在主持学习时强调,全面停止军队有偿服务,是党中央和中央军委着眼于强军兴军作出的重大决策,是深化国防和军队改革的重要内容。要坚定决心意志,加强创新突破,坚持积极稳妥,增强工作合力,不开口子、不打折扣、不搞变通,坚决做好全面停止军队有偿服务工作,为新时代强军事业创造良好条件。

这次中央政治局集体学习在八一建军节前夕举行,习近平代表党中央和中央军委,向全体解放军指战员、武警部队官兵、民兵和预备役人员致以节日的祝贺。

军队全面停止有偿服务工作领导小组办公室专职副主任胡晓华就这个问题作了讲解,并谈了意见和建议...

Xi reiterated the plan is to cease all commercial services by the end of 2018:

习近平强调,根据既定部署,全面停止军队有偿服务要在2018年年底前完成。目前,相关工作势头总的很好,但任务仍然艰巨繁重。要乘势而上、迎难而上,善始善终、善作善成,如期实现我们确定的目标。

And for those keeping track, all the PBSC members were in attendance and got their CCTV Evening News appearance, including Wang Huning


3. America's Indo-Pacific economic vision

Of course the goal is to counter PRC influence, even if Secretary Pompeo never mentions China...It is not a direct analog to the Belt and Road Initiative, and will only work if private sector firms participate, and they will need to see reforms and much more transparency in the target countries. Corrupt local governments likely prefer BRI and the lack of any FCPA-type laws...

Secretary of State Pompeo Remarks on "America's Indo-Pacific Economic Vision":

When we say “free” Indo-Pacific, it means we all want all nations, every nation, to be able to protect their sovereignty from coercion by other countries. At the national level, “free” means good governance and the assurance that citizens can enjoy their fundamental rights and liberties.

When we say “open” in the Indo-Pacific, it means we want all nations to enjoy open access to seas and airways. We want the peaceful resolution of territorial and maritime disputes. This is key for international peace and for each country’s attainment of its own national aims.

Economically, “open” means fair and reciprocal trade, open investment environments, transparent agreements between nations, and improved connectivity to drive regional ties – because these are the paths for sustainable growth in the region...

Like so many of our Asian allies and friends, our country fought for its own independence from an empire that expected deference. We thus have never and will never seek domination in the Indo-Pacific, and we will oppose any country that does.

Rather, we aspire to a regional order, independent nations that can defend their people and compete fairly in the international marketplace. We stand ready to enhance the security of our partners and to assist them in developing their economies and societies in ways that ensure human dignity. We will help them. We will help them keep their people free from coercion or great power domination.

Pompeo is heading to Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia Wednesday. 

Pompeo announces $113 million in new US initiatives in 'Indo-Pacific' - Reuters

Speaking to reporters ahead of the speech, Brian Hook, senior policy adviser to Pompeo, said the United States was not competing with China's mostly state-led infrastructure initiatives.

"It is a made-in-China, made-for-China initiative," Hook told reporters on a conference call. "Our way of doing things is to keep the government's role very modest and it's focused on helping businesses do what they do best."

Global Times editor-in-chief Hu Xijin was not impressed by the announcement:

Hu Xijin 胡锡进@HuXijin_GT

Come on, is the money enough to renovate toilets in Mumbai? https://t.co/EqN3ihpvsy

July 30, 2018
Australia joins US-Japanese Pacific investment plan but offers no budget details | The Guardian:

Australia has joined a push by the US and Japan to significantly boost infrastructure investment in the Indo-Pacific region, as China continues to spend billions of dollars on its “Belt and Road” initiative across Asia.

The move is part of a broader effort by the US and its allies to reassert their influence in the Pacific amid fears the region is increasingly susceptible to diplomatic pressure from Beijing.

But the move has been announced with minimal detail, and analysts have questioned what level of financial commitment Australia, which has cut its foreign aid budget in recent years, will make towards the new partnership.

OPIC - Overseas Private Investment Corporation / US-Japan-Australia Announce Trilateral Partnership for Indo-Pacific Infrastructure Investment: '

The United States, Japan, and Australia have formed a trilateral partnership to mobilise investment in projects that drive economic growth, create opportunities, and foster a free, open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific. We share the belief that good investments stem from transparency, open competition, sustainability, adhering to robust global standards, employing the local workforce, and avoiding unsustainable debt burdens.

'We will uphold these principles as we mobilise investment in infrastructure, such as energy, transportation, tourism, and technology that will help stabilize economies, enhance connectivity, and provide lasting benefits throughout the region. To deepen this trilateral partnership, we are currently developing a framework for cooperation. OPIC is also placing a representative in the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan.

Australia Says US, Japan Partnership Doesn't Challenge China - AP:

Trade Minister Steve Ciobo denied the three-way initiative was a challenge to China, saying it only added to various regional programs already underway....

In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China viewed the move positively and was willing to work "together with relevant countries including the U.S. to boost regional economic growth, stability and prosperity."

"If the U.S. and any other countries have the will to step up infrastructure investment to boost regional interconnectivity, we welcome it," Geng told reporters at a daily briefing

Payment due: Pacific islands in the red as debts to China mount | Reuters:

In particular, the loans give Beijing a lever in one of the most contested areas in the world over recognition of Taiwan, which has strong diplomatic ties to the region.

Reuters’ analysis of the financial books of 11 South Pacific island nations shows China’s lending programs have gone from almost zero to over $1.3 billion currently outstanding in a decade.

The documents show China is now the region’s biggest bilateral lender, although Australia’s significant aid programs mean it remains the largest financial backer in the South Pacific.

Chinese loans accounts for more than 60 percent of Tonga’s total external debt burden, and almost half the external debt of Vanuatu. In dollar figures, Papua New Guinea has the biggest debt to China, at almost $590 million, representing about one-quarter of its total external debt.

Follow the New Silk Road | Cities | The Guardian:

In the first part of a week-long series revealing the effects of China's Belt and Road Initiative on cities around the world, Jon Watts journeys from the steppes of Central Asia to the Black Sea and into Europe, as Beijing's grand plan radically remakes the lives of people in its path


4. “Adem yoq” everybody’s gone in Xinjiang

The author speaks Uyghur and wrote this after conversations with many Uyghurs around China. 

How the “Happiest Muslims in the World” are Coping with Their Happiness • art of life in chinese central asia - Gene A. Bunin:

For many, the situation in Xinjiang is an elephant masquerading as a mouse, whose presence is tacitly acknowledged but whose identity is frequently obscured. When talking about it becomes inevitable – for example, when someone unwittingly asks about a person who’s been sent to Xinjiang, to camp, or to jail – it is standard to use euphemisms.

The most common by far is the word yoq, which here may be translated as “gone” or “not around”. The phrase adem yoq (“everybody’s gone”) is probably the one I’ve heard the most this past year, and has been used to describe the absence of staff, clients, and people in general. To refer to people who have been forced to return to their hometowns (for hometown arrest, camp, or worse), it is typical to say that they “went back home” – more specifically, people in inner China might say that they “went back to Xinjiang”, while people in northern Xinjiang might say that they “went back to Kashgar”.

“Do you get what I’m saying?” a friend asked me once, as I tried to figure out what had happened to a certain somebody. “That guy is yoq. He’s got another home now.”


5. Vaccine fallout includes official suicide attempt

Attempted suicide by insulin injection sounds painful, and desperate. Song Lizhi must be very worried about what the investigators will find.

Top Chinese official in charge of immunisation in critical condition after suicide attempt | South China Morning Post:

Song Lizhi, director of the Immunisation Management Department with the Shandong Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, is in critical condition after injecting himself with a large dose of insulin, according to China Times, a newspaper affiliated with the China Disabled Persons’ Federation...

The report came after revelations that children in the eastern province had been given ineffective vaccines supposed to protect them against diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus, produced by Changchun Changsheng Bio-technology.

Premier Li stresses improving full-cycle vaccine monitor system - Xinhua:

Premier Li Keqiang underscored improving the country’s full-cycle supervision system for vaccines at a State Council executive meeting held on July 30.

Premier Li made the remarks after hearing a report from a State Council investigation team which shed light on the illegalities of Changchun Changsheng Life Sciences Limited in making rabies vaccines for human use.

Investigators have found “extremely severe” violations with the vaccine-maker, who had arbitrarily altered the production process, fabricated production records and product inspection records, and destroyed evidence, according to a statement released after the meeting.

Chinese Parents Protest Bad Vaccines for Hundreds of Thousands - The New York Times:

The protesters, standing outside the offices of the National Health Commission, called for stricter oversight of China’s drug industry, according to interviews with parents and images posted on social media. Holding a banner showing photos of children, the demonstrators rejected assurances by Chinese leaders that the issue was under control.

Fake data – the disease afflicting China’s vaccine system | South China Morning Post:

The head of one disease control centre for about half a million people said problems with the quality of vaccines had existed for a long time and “everyone inside the loop knows it”...

The fraud also extends to production, according to a senior executive with a Chinese vaccine maker who said manufacturers often forged vaccine test data to get state approval.

“Another irregularity is changing the production date. If a batch of products is going to expire pretty soon, then the production date will be changed so that they can still be sold,” the source said.

US embassy’s social media account used to slam China’s vaccine scandal | South China Morning Post:

Internet users vented their anger and disappointment with the Chinese authorities on the social media account of the US embassy in Beijing, after it posted an article on Monday about how the US regulator made improvements following a vaccine accident six decades ago....

More than 1,000 commented on the article, which was liked more than 1,800 times and shared over 2,700 times after it was posted on Weibo around 11.30am on Monday. This is the third posting by the embassy on vaccines – including one on how vaccine regulations work in the US – since the scandal unfolded last week.


6. Can you build a 5G network without Chinese tech?

Fighting Chinese cyber-espionage could cost U.S. 5G dominance - Cyberscoop:

...many industry, trade and technological experts are worried the measures may come at a steep price. The quest to upend China’s surveillance capabilities may be hurting America’s competitiveness in the race to develop and roll out 5G wireless technology. The dilemma presents the latest — and perhaps fiercest — technological showdown between Washington and Beijing to date.

CyberScoop spoke with more than a dozen individuals knowledgeable on the matter, including elected officials, congressional aides, Chinese policy experts, cybersecurity researchers, industry insiders and former diplomats and intelligence analysts.

The prevailing sense among many of them is that two of the U.S.’s chief technological priorities in the coming years — a spying-proof telecommunications supply chain and the world’s first national 5G network — may end up undermining each other.


7. Official media targets Apple

Apple Comes Under Media Fire in China - WSJ $$

Apple Inc. AAPL +0.15% has come under fire by Chinese state media, which claims the U.S. technology giant isn’t doing enough to block texts and images trafficking in prohibited content including pornography, gambling and counterfeit goods. 

In a barrage that began last week, China’s state-controlled news agency Xinhua and at least four state-supported media outlets have published criticisms of Apple for not doing enough to filter banned content on its iMessage service. 

State broadcaster CCTV joined in Tuesday on another front, saying Apple’s app store allowed illegal gambling apps disguised as official lottery apps... 

On Monday, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and other top government agencies said they would impose new requirements requiring mobile phone makers to include spam-filtering features.

赌博广告、色情小说 苹果iMessage垃圾信息泛滥谁来管?_TMT_产经频道首页_


8. Newly listed Pinduoduo has a problem with fakes

Pinduoduo says it's a victim of massive trolling - ECNS:

Jing Ran, spokesperson for Pinduoguo, said the company welcomes criticisms in good faith but the truth is that "it's receiving unprecedented waves of online attacks."

Jing also said gossip about Pinduoduo spread over social media has gone viral because of Internet trolls. After mainstream media picked up the rumors, reports were edited and received new headlines, then shared again, creating a communication farce that looked like mainstream media was the first to report the rumors and only further instigated online outcries, it was added.

China's Pinduoduo has a big problem with counterfeits and fakes — Quartz:

But something is wrong on Pinduoduo. A careful look at the platform reveals scores of shoddy counterfeit products pretending to be from well-known brands—and increasingly, those brands are speaking up.

Over the weekend, Skyworth, a Chinese manufacturer of audiovisual equipment, demanded Pinduoduo remove counterfeit Skyworth products from the platform, and said it reserves the right to sue over the matter. On July 19, US diaper maker Daddy’s Choice filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Pinduoduo in a New York federal court (paywall). It alleges the Chinese company knowingly allows the sale of knockoff products bearing its name.


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

Chinese firms get lessons in the law to avoid conflict with US over Iran sanctions | South China Morning Post The China Council for the Promotion of International Trade has said it has invited legal and trade experts to join company representatives at a seminar this week to assess the possible implications of Washington’s actions for the shipping, shipbuilding and port industries, and how firms could best deal with them. “US sanctions on Iran will have a big impact on Chinese enterprises,” the council said in a notice.

Rustbelt Chinese province sets up team to oversee spending: report | Reuters The province of Liaoning in China’s rustbelt northeast has established a parliamentary committee to scrutinize government spending and control debt, the first province to do so, local media reported. The Beijing News said the new body, set up by the standing committee of the Liaoning People’s Congress, was part of the province’s push to tackle rising debt.

Central Bank Appoints New Deputy Governors: Sources - Caixin Global The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has internally approved the appointment of Liu Guoqiang, previously one of its assistant governors, and Zhu Hexin, a former vice president of the Bank of China, as new deputy governors, sources told Caixin.

CNBC Transcript: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Speaks with CNBC’s Michelle Caruso-Cabrera Today: MIKE POMPEO: So two thoughts. First, there's new leadership in Pakistan and we welcome engagement with them in a way that we think will benefit each of our two countries. Second-- make no mistake-- we will be watching what the IMF does. There's no rationale for IMF tax dollars-- and associated with that, American dollars that are part of the IMF funding-- for those to go to bail out Chinese bondholders or-- or China itself.

Chinese Housing Buyers Splurge the Most in US Amid Market Cooling | Yicai Global The amount paid by foreigners in the US for residential property reduced 21 percent to USD121 billion in the period of a year from April 2017 to March 2018, data from US trade organization National Association of Realtors shows. This made up 8 percent of the total of USD1.6 trillion in house sales across the States. Chinese investors' money accounted for 25 percent of the total from overseas investors, as the source nation kept its lead for the sixth consecutive year, followed by Canada. Chinese people paid up to USD30.4 billion for houses, a slight drop of 4 percent. They also bought the biggest number of units at 40,400, which was 15 percent of all.

China Needs USD2.8 Trillion to Build Mostly Rural Roads Over Next Decade | Yicai Global The infrastructure demand for new roads requires an investment of CNY19 trillion (USD2.8 trillion) between 2021 and 2030, Yu Shengying, a former inspector at the Ministry of Transport said at a forum yesterday. The average annual investment is 10 percent lower than what was and is required for the separate years between 2016 and 2020. Some 750,000 kilometers of rural roads, including touristic and industrial ones, need to be built, as well as 2 million kilometers of thoroughfare which needs a comprehensive renovation. The estimated total investment will reach CNY8 trillion.

Breakingviews - China shows foreign investors carrot and big stick | Reuters China is showing foreign investors a carrot and a big stick. The commerce ministry on Monday released proposals to ease restrictions on some overseas investment in mainland stocks. That’s a welcome reprieve from trade tensions. But calls to vet buyers for security risks will give officials new clout just as investors have fresh reasons to be concerned.

Chinese investors take route one out of European football | Financial Times $$ Aston Villa narrowly missed out on a $130m payday by failing to secure promotion to the Premier League in May. With the club facing a cash crunch, Mr Xia last month sold a 55 per cent stake to Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris and Fortress Investment co-founder Wes Edens for £30m. He is reported to have paid roughly £75m to buy the club in 2016. Li Yonghong, the previously unknown Chinese businessman who acquired AC Milan from Silvio Berlusconi for €740m in April last year, this month lost control of the club to US hedge fund Elliott Management after failing to repay high-interest loans of more than €300m.

Starbucks to Begin Coffee Delivery in China With Alibaba - Bloomberg Ele.me, the meals delivery service owned by Alibaba, will handle the logistics in a deal that will be announced Thursday, according to the people, who asked not to be named because the information is not yet public. Starbucks last week said it plans to start deliveries with a partner this fall in Beijing and Shanghai.

Central Bank Fines Payment Providers for Flouting Rules - Caixin Global Kayou was ordered to hand over 25.8 million yuan ($3.8 million), made up of fines and the money it made from breaking the rules. The company, which was spun off of state-backed payment processor China UnionPay, was found to have committed a string of violations including mismanagement of funds deposited by consumers, holding sensitive information regarding bank cards, and failing to require merchants to prove their real identities.

More Asset Management Products, More Problems - Caixin Global It’s not against the rules for firms under the same ownership to issue multiple investments products. However, the situation opens the door to practices banned by the regulator, such as using funds raised from new products to repay investors in maturing products, several fund managers told Caixin. These practices in China’s 12 trillion yuan ($1.76 trillion) private fund industry add strands to the complex web of liabilities outside the formal banking system, which regulators have been warning about for years due to the risks they pose to the financial system and private investors.

 

Politics, Law And Ideology

人民数据-人民日报图文数据库(1946-2018-)"习近平回到北京" I am not sure why people think the 7.30 people's daily headline 习近平回到北京 is strange. A search of the People's Daily archives turns up 13 instances of the People's Daily page 1 headline 习近平回到北京 since 2013, another 7 instances where the name of the place/event from which he is returning is also mentioned. This does not mean nothing is going on, but the 7.30 People's Daily headline is not an indication of anything strange

GPS cards aid Chinese Muslims on hajj pilgrimage - Global Times More than 11,000 Chinese Muslims are heading in official groups to Mecca and Medina for the month-long hajj this year, and their Chinese organizers say that a special GPS card pilot program will make the trip better and safer. The electronic device includes the photo, passport number and name of the pilgrim in both Chinese and English. It also contains a QR code on the back of the card which shows similar information, as well as a rescue call number, after scanning the code... "Using the GPS, the app can also help Chinese organizers see the real-time location of the pilgrims, which organizers say will help facilitate management of the activity that lasts nearly 40 days," she said.

Former provincial political advisor under investigation - Xinhua Ai Wenli艾文礼 , former vice chairman of the Hebei Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), has turned himself in and been investigated by the Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and the National Supervisory Commission, said the CCDI statement. // Apparently Ai turned himself in, the most senior official so far to do so 艾文礼投案自首,体现高压震慑和敬畏纪法 

China punishes 36,618 officials for violating frugality rules in first half of 2018 - Xinhua The top anti-graft body of the Communist Party of China (CPC) said that 36,618 officials, including a ministerial-level official, were punished for violating Party frugality rules in the first half of 2018. The officials were involved in 25,677 cases, said the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) in a statement Monday.

Dozens Detained Amid Maoist-Led Rights Campaign at Chinese Factory - RFA Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong are holding dozens of workers at a technology factory after they tried to set up their own trade union with the help of Maoist activists. More than 20 workers at Shenzhen Jasic Technology are being held on suspicion of "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble," after their cause was supported by a group of Maoists from the far left of China's political spectrum

Former home of Dalai Lama’s parents demolished in Lhasa - International Campaign for Tibet The former home of the parents of the Dalai Lama, one of the largest and most important of the few remaining historic buildings in Lhasa, has been demolished and a new concrete structure is being built in its place. The Yabshi Taktser residence appears to have been razed within weeks of Lhasa’s protection being discussed at an annual meeting of the world’s leading heritage body, UNESCO from June 24

 

Foreign and Military Affairs

China appeals to military veterans not to protest, respect law - Reuters Speaking at a news briefing ahead of Wednesday’s Army Day, which marks the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, Vice Minister of Veterans Affairs Fang Yongxiang said their door to accepting petitions about problems was always open.“We also hope that everyone can rationally and moderately report problems, to ensure an even better resolution and prevent radical words and resolutely stop and prevent them from being used and coerced by people with ulterior motives,” Fang said.“We oppose the use of extreme methods to petition or the carrying out of mass petitions,” he added, referring to protests. “I hope that every veteran respects the law.”//中国如何处理老兵抗议事件?退役军人事务部回应 

‘Beijing huddle vows practical steps for Afghan peace’ | Pajhwok Afghan News A trilateral meeting in Beijing has vowed to take practical steps towards achieving peace and stability in Afghanistan instead of only making pledges, a participant said on Monday. University teachers, civil society activists and government officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan and China attended the meeting in Beijing, the Chinese capital, and discussed in detail possible threats to the three nations and existing opportunities, said an Afghan participant.

Philippines raises concern over Chinese radio warnings - AP The Philippines has expressed concern to China over an increasing number of Chinese radio messages warning Philippine aircraft and ships to stay away from newly fortified islands and other territories in the South China Sea claimed by both countries, officials said Monday. A Philippine government report seen by The Associated Press showed that in the second half of last year, Philippine military aircraft received Chinese radio warnings at least 46 times while patrolling near artificial islands built by China in the South China Sea’s Spratly archipelago.

UK's new foreign sec. Jeremy Hunt meets with families of detained lawyers during China visit | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP Hunt met Li Wenzu, wife of detained lawyer Wang Quanzhang; Wang Qiaoling, wife of previously detained lawyer Li Heping; Xu Yan, wife of detained lawyer Yu Wensheng; and Wang Yu, one of the lawyers also arrested in the so-called 709 Crackdown. “I explained the situation of Wang Quanzhang’s three-year disappearance and the latest developments in detail to the minister and the ambassador,” Li said in a tweet. “The minister expressed his sincere interest in our difficult experiences.”

Chinese-produced documentary to be aired in Cambodia - Xinhua The State Administration of Radio and Television on Monday said "Amazing Cambodia" -- produced by China Central Television (CCTV) -- tells the history of the Cambodian people and their deep ties with China. The documentary will be dubbed in Khmer. Its Chinese-language version has already been screened on CCTV's documentary channel. Cambodia has recently aired the Chinese TV series "Justice Bao" and the popular animation "Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf."

Berggruen Institute and Peking University Announce New Hub for Research & Dialogue on Global Transformations Affecting Humanity | Governance Center | Berggruen “To address the transitions facing humanity throughout the world, we began to envision our work in China as a hub for both research and idea generation shaped by integrative disciplines and experts throughout China. “Our new Research Center provides a gathering place for linking the East and West—drawing from Chinese perspectives that will allow us to look at the world in a less fractious and compartmentalized way,” said Nicolas Berggruen, Chairman of the Berggruen Institute. “We are tremendously grateful to Peking University for their collaboration on this adventurous new Research Center and we greatly respect how its rich scholarly life will deepen our research and contributions to the important questions of our time.”  // Co-director is Song Bing, Goldman Sachs China alum to whom Daniel Bell is married.

China hands over massive emergency relief to Laos - Xinhua The humanitarian emergency relief of the Chinese government's assistance for the flooded southern Laos was handed over to the Lao side on Monday in Lao capital Vientiane. The aid, carried by a Boeing-747 cargo plane of China Eastern Airlines, includes 100 boats, 500 tents and 100 water clarifiers.

 

Taiwan

China urges U.S. not to allow stopover by Taiwan president | Reuters China urged the United States on Tuesday not to allow Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen to transit its territory when she visits Belize and Paraguay next month, adding to tension between Beijing and Washington that has worsened amid a trade war.

Taiwan's youth breaks away from Tsai as frustration mounts - Nikkei Asian Review As the previous Kuomintang government under President Ma Ying-jeou pushed Taipei closer to Beijing, alarmed young people supported Tsai and her pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party to keep the island from falling under the mainland's sway. But a survey late last year by CommonWealth Magazine found that just 23.8% of respondents were satisfied with the president's performance. The figure was even lower, at around 20%, among those in their 20s and 30s -- once some of her biggest supporters.

 

Tech And Media

China’s long game in techno-nationalism | Ahmed | First Monday The passage of China’s national cybersecurity law in June 2017 has been interpreted as an unprecedented impediment to the operation of foreign firms in the country, with its new requirements for data localization, network operators’ cooperation with law enforcement officials, and online content restrictions, among others. Although the law’s scope is indeed broader than that of any previous regulation, the process through which it was drafted and eventually approved bears similarities to three previous cases from the past two decades of Chinese information technology policy-making. In comparing these four cases, we argue that economic concerns have consistently overshadowed claims of national security considerations throughout laws directed at foreign enterprises.

Tencent and Alibaba invest in former "Voice of China" producer Canxing · TechNode Chinese tech giants Alibaba and Tencent have invested in television show producer Shanghai Canxing Culture & Broadcast Co., in a funding round worth RMB 360 million ($53 million), according to local media. Tencent’s investment of RMB 160 million was made through its subsidiary, Tibet Qiming Music, while Alibaba’s contribution totaled RMB200 million. The companies hold 0.94% and 1.17% of Canxing’s shares respectively

How a Chinese tech company conquered markets overseas | Financial Times $$ Overseas users generated 67 per cent of Cheetah’s Rmb4.97bn ($731m) revenues last year. That achievement sets the company, valued at $1.3bn on the New York Stock Exchange, apart from Chinese tech giants such as Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu, for whom overseas income is a small proportion of revenues.

Bitcoin Mining Company Bitmain Hit $1.1 Billion in Profits in Q1 2018 | Fortune Bitmain reportedly brought in $1.1 billion in net profit just in the first quarter of 2018. According to the email, a conservative estimate of what the company could earn in net profit for the full year hovers at approximately $2 to $3 billion.

Bilibili promises to enhance regulation of its videos following government crackdown · TechNode The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), along with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the Ministry of Public Security and three other government agencies, has led a crackdown on low-quality and pirated content, in which Bilibili was targeted. The sanctions, which were imposed on 19 video platforms, were a result of “vulgar, violent, pornographic or pirated content, and promoting distorted information,” according to authorities. Bilibili’s app has been removed for a period of one month, from July 26 to August 25.

 

Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

Coffins smashed, seized, exhumed in China as province bans burials to save land | South China Morning Post Under a “zero burial” policy introduced about six months ago, authorities in rural regions of Jiangxi province have waged war on the traditional practice, going so far as to seize or destroy coffins that many poor families have spent their lives saving up to buy.

 

Energy, Environment, Science And Health

Chinese researchers link parasite disease to eating raw centipedes - Xinhua Researchers from the Southern Medical University and Zhujiang Hospital in Guangzhou said that it's the first time the rat lungworm, named for its preference for the pulmonary arteries of rats, had been detected in centipedes. "We don't typically hear of people eating raw centipedes, but apparently these two patients believed that raw centipedes would be good for their health," said Lu Lingli, a co-author of the report who works at Zhujiang Hospital.

China’s pollution obsession spawns a global consumer industry | Financial Times $$ The market for air purifiers has boomed since 2011, when the US embassy began tweeting Beijing air quality levels. At that time, 3m air purifiers were sold in China each year, according to Guangdong-based GF Securities. By 2016, 4.35m units a year were sold. GF Securities expects the number will rise to 9.85m a year by 2021.

Hordes of tourists damaging Chinese salt lake’s pristine environment with discarded plastic | South China Morning Post The refuse around Chaka Salt Lake – mostly plastic shoe covers – is discarded by inconsiderate tourists to the popular attraction, Beijing Youth Daily reported on Tuesday and is damaging the natural environment. The lake is situated in Ulan county, Haixi autonomous prefecture, in western China’s Qinghai province. The blue skies reflected off the surface of the crystallised saline water have given it the name “Mirror of the Sky”, and it attracted millions of tourists in the first half of 2018.