Politburo signals more support for economy; Politburo study session on AI, self-reliance, seizing the commanding heights and winning the technology race; US indicts more MSS officers; Is China interfering in Sri Lanka's internal affairs?

Happy Halloween!

The Politburo at least didn’t have such a happy 万圣节 as it looks increasingly spooked by the economic data and so in a meeting today admitted that the economic situation is deteriorating and more supportive policies will be forthcoming.

Xi also led the Politburo in a study session on Artificial Intelligence in which he made clear China’s goal to seize the commanding heights of AI and develop its own core technologies that allow it to be self-reliant in what the Communist Party clearly sees as the primary future technology battleground, the winner of which will have massive economic, social and military advantages.

Forget a “Golden Era” of AI. Xi Jinping and the CCP want it to be a “Red Era”.

The US indicted several more Ministry of State Security officers for corporate espionage in what looks to be a significant intensification of US efforts against PRC spying. It is hard to see the PRC not responding in kind soon, especially since they may want an American spy to swap with the MSS agent now in custody in the US. And I will bet the push for technology self-reliance is only going to increase the urgency and intensity of attempts to steal Western technology.

Thanks for reading.

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The Essential Eight

1. Politburo meeting signals more support for economy coming

CPC meeting analyzes economic situation - Xinhua:

In the first three quarters, the country achieved overall economic stability with steady progress, and economic performance was kept within a proper range, according to a statement issued after the meeting.

The economic structure continued to improve. Work has been done to support the private sector while a series of measures aimed to promote the healthy development of the financial market boosted market sentiment.

The economy has seen changes amid overall stability with increased downward pressure. Some companies are suffering from operating difficulties while some risks accumulated a long time ago have been exposed.

"China should attach great importance to the current situation and be more proactive in taking measures to cope with the issues," said the statement.

The country will uphold the underlying principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability, remain committed to the new development philosophy, pursue supply-side structural reform as the main task, further push reform and opening up wider, and come up with targeted measures to address major contradictions.

China will continue to promote high-quality development, implement proactive fiscal policy and prudent monetary policy, and move to stabilize employment, finance, foreign trade, foreign investment, domestic investment and expectations to cope with external environment changes and ensure stable economic development.

The country vowed to address difficulties plaguing private businesses as well as small and medium-sized enterprises, and improve institutions to promote the capital market's long-term and healthy development.

It will also promote active and effective use of foreign investment, and safeguard the legitimate interests of foreign companies operating in China, the statement added.

The official report, and the key phrase I think that signals a lot more measures are coming to help the economy and the markets - 中共中央政治局召开会议 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

会议指出,当前经济运行稳中有变,经济下行压力有所加大,部分企业经营困难较多,长期积累的风险隐患有所暴露。对此要高度重视,增强预见性,及时采取对策。

South China Morning Post - China’s top leaders prepare for worse as economy takes hits from US trade war

JD Finance chief economist Shen Jianguang said the leadership appeared to have changed its view about the country’s economic outlook and was preparing for protracted fallout from the trade war.

“This time they no longer described the economy as ‘stable with good momentum’,” Shen said...

In addition, the Politburo said on Wednesday that China would try to “stimulate dynamism” in its stock market to promote the market’s “long-term healthy development”.

Comment: The Central Economic Work Conference, usually held in December, will be interesting

China factory growth weakest in over two years, slump in export orders deepens | Reuters: 

“All the numbers from China’s PMI release today confirm a broad-based decline in economic activity,” said Raymond Yeung, chief economist for China at ANZ in a client note, adding that conditions for the private sector is “much worse” than headline data suggested.

China issues guideline on improving infrastructure - Xinhua:

"The country should further improve infrastructure and public services, raise infrastructure quality and make better use of the key role of effective investment in optimizing supply structure," according to the guideline made public Wednesday on the government's website.

Focus should be put on major areas of weakness including poverty relief, railways, roads, waterways, airports and energy, and existing planned projects should be stepped up, it said.

The country will enlarge its list of important infrastructure projects in key fields that need to be improved, step up preparatory work and the start of such projects and ensure projects under construction can be completed.

Govt to improve weak links in infrastructure - SCIO:

The government will continue to shore up weak links in infrastructure to deepen the supply-side structural reform, and further enhance the role of infrastructure in supporting coordinated development of urban and rural areas and improving people’s livelihoods, according to a State Council circular released on Oct 31.

国务院办公厅印发《关于保持基础设施领域补短板力度的指导意见》


2. Politburo study session on AI and winning the initiative in the global technology competition

Develop and control: Xi Jinping urges China to use artificial intelligence in race for tech future | South China Morning Post:

Chinese President Xi Jinping said China must develop, control and use artificial intelligence (AI) to secure the country’s future in the next technological and industrial revolution.

The comments underscored Beijing’s continued ambition for technological dominance despite Washington’s allegations of “theft” and “unfair practices” in relation to intellectual property.

Xi made the comments at a Politburo “group study” session about AI on Wednesday, after the Communist Party’s 25-member policymaking body met to decide on a new game plan to handle an expected worsening in the economy from the trade war with the United States, according to the official Xinhua news agency...

“AI is a vital driving force for a new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation, and accelerating AI development is a strategic issue to decide whether we can grasp opportunities,” Xi was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

Xi said China must ensure that it “occupies the high ground of AI core technology” and could firmly keep the technology in its hands by leveraging “China’s massive data and huge market potential”...

The official release - 习近平:推动我国新一代人工智能健康发展 

Computer scientist Gao Wen of Peking University was the lecturer. Google Scholar lists Gao's citations here

Among the choice quotes from Xi:

"加快发展新一代人工智能是我们赢得全球科技竞争主动权的重要战略抓手 accelerating development of next generation AI is an important strategic starting point for winning the initiative in the global technology competition” 

要主攻关键核心技术,以问题为导向,全面增强人工智能科技创新能力,加快建立新一代人工智能关键共性技术体系,在短板上抓紧布局,确保人工智能关键核心技术牢牢掌握在自己手里 It is necessary to focus on key core technologies, focus on problems, comprehensively enhance the innovation capability of artificial intelligence technology, accelerate the establishment of a new generation of artificial intelligence key common technology system…to ensure that the key core technologies of artificial intelligence are firmly in our hands.

我们必须加强研判,统筹谋划,协同创新,稳步推进,把增强原创能力作为重点,以关键核心技术为主攻方向,夯实新一代人工智能发展的基础。要加强基础理论研究,支持科学家勇闯人工智能科技前沿的“无人区”,努力在人工智能发展方向和理论、方法、工具、系统等方面取得变革性、颠覆性突破,确保我国在人工智能这个重要领域的理论研究走在前面、关键核心技术占领制高点。We must strengthen research and judgment, coordinate planning, collaborative innovation, and steadily advance. We will focus on enhancing originality and focus on key core technologies to consolidate the foundation of a new generation of artificial intelligence. It is necessary to strengthen basic theoretical research, support scientists to brave the "no-man's land" at the forefront of artificial intelligence technology, and strive to achieve transformative and disruptive breakthroughs in the direction of artificial intelligence development and theory, methods, tools, systems, etc., to ensure that China is at the forefront of theoretical research artificial intelligence and the key core technologies occupy the commanding heights.

Every American and American company helping China and the Chinese Communist Party accelerate the development of AI should take note of Xi's comments. 

Based on Xi Jinping’s own comments, if you still think the CCP is focused on “win-win” development in AI with foreign collaborators I have a Beijing bridge to sell you...

Forget entering a “golden era of AI”. Xi Jinping and the CCP want it be the “red era of AI”

Kai-Fu Lee Says U.S. Tech Companies Aren’t Ready for Chinese AI - Bloomberg:

The chairman and chief executive officer of Sinovation Ventures says America’s technology industry can’t afford to underestimate the artificial intelligence companies he’s funding in China...

The real issue facing mankind is not whether the U.S. is ahead or China is ahead. The real issue is that AI will create so much wealth and so many challenges—the replacement of jobs, privacy, security—that we really should work together on potential solutions. If we don’t have good solutions, any one of these issues can lead to disasters larger in scale than any other disasters in human history. We need to start preparing now.


3. US indicts more MSS officers

It looks like the US has decided to increase significantly the pressure on PRC espionage efforts against the US and its allies. This case is related to theft of jet engine secrets from GE. The "French aerospace manufacturer with an office in Suzhou" is not named but appears to be the Safran Group. 

In addition to signaling much tougher pushback against PRC activities, this case is a reminder to any foreign firm operating in China that it may be impossible to protect against insider attacks by PRC employees. They will always be vulnerable to inducements and/or pressure on themselves or their families from the PRC state. 

Chinese Intelligence Officers and Their Recruited Hackers and Insiders Conspired to Steal Sensitive Commercial Aviation and Technological Data for Years | OPA | Department of Justice:

The charged intelligence officers, Zha Rong and Chai Meng, and other co-conspirators, worked for the Jiangsu Province Ministry of State Security (“JSSD”), headquartered in Nanjing, which is a provincial foreign intelligence arm of the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of State Security (“MSS”). The MSS, and by extension the JSSD, is primarily responsible for domestic counter-intelligence, non-military foreign intelligence, and aspects of political and domestic security.

From at least January 2010 to May 2015, JSSD intelligence officers and their team of hackers, including Zhang Zhang-Gui, Liu Chunliang, Gao Hong Kun, Zhuang Xiaowei, and Ma Zhiqi, focused on the theft of technology underlying a turbofan engine used in U.S. and European commercial airliners. This engine was being developed through a partnership between a French aerospace manufacturer with an office in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, China, and a company based in the United States. Members of the conspiracy, assisted and enabled by JSSD-recruited insiders Gu Gen and Tian Xi, hacked the French aerospace manufacturer. The hackers also conducted intrusions into other companies that manufactured parts for the turbofan jet engine, including aerospace companies based in Arizona, Massachusetts and Oregon. At the time of the intrusions, a Chinese state-owned aerospace company was working to develop a comparable engine for use in commercial aircraft manufactured in China and elsewhere.

Defendant Zhang Zhang-Gui is also charged, along with Chinese national Li Xiao, in a separate hacking conspiracy, which asserts that Zhang Zhang-Gui and Li Xiao leveraged the JSSD-directed conspiracy’s intrusions, including the hack of a San Diego-based technology company, for their own criminal ends.

“For the third time since only September, the National Security Division, with its US Attorney partners, has brought charges against Chinese intelligence officers from the JSSD and those working at their direction and control for stealing American intellectual property,” said John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security. “This is just the beginning. Together with our federal partners, we will redouble our efforts to safeguard America’s ingenuity and investment.”

The indictment 

U.S. charges Chinese intelligence officers for jet engine data hack | Reuters:

France’s only civil turbofan engine maker, Safran SA (SAF.PA), co-develops engines with U.S.-based General Electric Co (GE) (GE.N) through their longstanding CFM International partnership, the world’s biggest jet engine manufacturer by number of units sold.

The venture’s latest engine, known as LEAP, powers the largest category of Airbus SE (AIR.PA) and Boeing Co (BA.N) jets and includes a version for China’s new passenger plane, the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) C919.

Safran Aircraft Engines Suzhou | Safran Aircraft Engines

Created in December 2005, the Safran Aircraft Engines Suzhou plant is an integral part of the company's global supply chain. Spanning 40,000 square meters, it is located in the Suzhou industrial park and is specialized in the machining and assembly of low-pressure modules and parts for the CFM56 and LEAP engines:  - Production of turbine and compressor shafts -  Production of low-pressure turbine disks and rings - Production of exhaust cases  - Assembly of major module 3.


4. US-China

Audio - The China debate: Are US and Chinese long-term interests fundamentally incompatible?:

On Tuesday, October 30, Evan Osnos moderated a public debate about the future of U.S.-China relations. Two teams of distinguished experts examined whether or not U.S. and Chinese interests are “fundamentally incompatible,” as a recent survey by Foreign Affairs posed. Both sides considered areas where U.S. and Chinese vital interests converge and diverge, whether each country’s national ambitions are reconcilable with the other’s goals, how the United States can best manage great power competition with China, and how domestic politics factor in within each country.

Can China-U.S. Relations Step Back From the Edge? - Bloomberg - Fu Ying:

At this moment, it is important for the Chinese people to understand what is confronting us in our relationship with the U.S. and why. Although events of late have increased apprehensiveness, we have not given up the hope of returning to a place of progress and stability, and we are willing to work toward this goal. Just because the Thucydides Trap is set, doesn’t mean we have to walk into it.

USTR faces decisions on China tariff exclusion requests - Politico Trade:

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative was flooded with thousands of requests earlier this month from companies eager to be excluded from tariffs that President Donald Trump imposed on an initial $34 billion worth of Chinese goods. Twenty-one days later, the opportunity for other companies to object (and the initial requester to reply) ended on Tuesday. That clears the way for USTR to start granting exclusions. However, it remains unclear how soon any decisions will be made — USTR’s press office did not reply Tuesday to Morning Trade’s questions.

Taiwan's UMC halts R&D activities with Chinese semiconductor firm after U.S. ban | Reuters:

Taiwan chipmaker United Microelectronics Corp (2303.TW) said it will temporarily halt research and development activities with its Chinese partner Fujian Jinhua, days after the United States cut off the state-backed firm from U.S. suppliers.

Global Times spins the Cornell withdrawal from two Renmin U joint programs - US trade friction hitting academia: experts - Global Times:

Cornell University has suspended partnership programs with Renmin University of China (RUC) in an incident that Chinese scholars say is an example of China-US trade friction spilling over into academic exchanges between the two countries.

Senior leaders of Renmin University of China are contemplating an official response, an employee at the media and publicity department of the school office told the Global Times by phone on Tuesday.

The incident has spurred heated discussions among students and news outlets on social media...

Terminating academic partnerships is not new, Wang Yiwei, director of Renmin University of China's Institute of International Affairs, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

"It signals the US is also attempting to contain China in academic and cultural fields," Wang said.


5. Taiwan

United States won’t allow force against Taiwan, new US envoy says as Beijing piles on pressure | South China Morning Post

In his debut press conference on the island on Wednesday, Brent Christensen, the new director of the US de facto embassy, the American Institute in Taiwan, signalled stronger US support for the island in the face of persistent pressure from Beijing against Taipei. 

“I am here to tell you that US policy towards Taiwan has not changed,” Christensen said. 

“Any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means represents a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and is of grave concern to the United States. 

“We are opposed to unilateral attempts to change the status quo.”.. 

Pentagon official urges Taiwan to boost defence spending in face of possible attack by mainland | South China Morning Post:

David Helvey, US principal deputy assistant secretary of defence for Asian and Pacific security affairs, told a conference in Annapolis, Maryland on Monday that the self-ruled island “must have resources to modernise its military and provide the critical materiel, manning and training needed to deter, or if necessary defeat, a cross-strait invasion”.

Helvey said “Taiwan’s current efforts will falter” unless its defence budgets keep growing, according to a transcript of his remarks released by the US-Taiwan Defence Industry Conference on Tuesday.

The official also accused China of attempting to “erode Taiwan’s diplomatic space in the international arena while increasing the frequency and scale of [People’s Liberation Army] activity within and beyond the First Island Chain”.

Taiwan marching toward self-reliant defense: US forum - Taipei Times:

Taiwan is looking forward to active participation by US industry in its self-reliant defense development and such participation would depend on policy support from the US government, he said.

“We welcome US industry to join us, and together make contributions for [the] peace and stability of [the] Taiwan Strait,” Chang said.

On the sidelines of the meeting, Chang was asked to comment on a prediction by US-Taiwan Business Council president Rupert Hammond-Chambers on Sunday that Washington would approve another round of arms sales to Taiwan by the end of the year, following a US$330 million deal last month.

Chang sidestepped the question, saying the conference was focused on cooperation between the two sides’ defense industries and did not touch on arms sales.

China firmly opposes U.S.-Taiwan military ties: FM - Xinhua:

Spokesperson Lu Kang made the remarks at a daily news briefing when asked for comments about the upcoming "U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference" in Maryland, U.S.

A PRC view - Jie Dalei is an associate professor in the School of International Studies at Peking University--Is the Taiwan Strait Heading Toward Another Crisis? - Carnegie-Tsinghua Center:

Beijing senses that there seems to be a collective interagency push in some parts of the U.S. government to elevate U.S.-Taiwan relations at the expense of the country’s One China policy. Even if the most pronounced pro-Taiwan views of U.S. officials such as National Security Adviser John Bolton and Assistant Secretary of Defense Randy Schriver are not yet totally reflected in formal U.S. policy, Beijing is understandably alarmed at how things in Washington seem to be trending.

In light of the already fragile relationship between Beijing and Taipei, cross-strait tensions could be aggravated or even driven to a crisis point in at least two ways. First, out of concern about Washington’s policy adjustments, Beijing could respond by retaliating against Taiwan as it is the easier target. If that were to happen, the Tsai government could conceivably conclude that the relatively restrained approach it has pursued to date does not work and switch to more radical tactics. Such a reversal on Tsai’s part could in turn convince Beijing that its fears about Tsai are completely justified, prompting the relationship to deteriorate further.

Defense Ministry's Regular Press Conference on Oct. 25 - Ministry of National Defense:

Question: It is reported that the US military is planning to send warships to conduct so-called “military operation to demonstrate force” in the Taiwan Straits and the South China Sea in November. There are many reports on this and what is your comment?

Answer: We have noticed related reports. China’s position on Taiwan and the South China Sea remains unchanged. The Chinese military’s determination to safeguard national sovereignty and regional peace and stability is rock-solid. Your question reminds me of the recent CCTV special program called “Pingyu Jinren” which is about President Xi’s quotes in his speeches and reports. In one episode, it says President Xi quoted many times the poem “From whichever direction the winds leap, I remain strong, though dealt many a blow.” I think this can be the answer to your question.


6. The Party worried about people's "sense of security"

Senior CPC official calls for improved security of society - Xinhua:

Guo Shengkun, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Commission for the Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks when chairing a meeting.

He demanded greater efforts to promote work on anti-terrorism, crack down on gang crime and find resolutions to social conflicts in order to improve the people's sense of security.

He also demanded the implementation of the decisions and deployments of the CPC Central Committee to deepen the judicial reform.

郭声琨在中央政法委员会全体会议暨中央司法体制改革领导小组专题会议上强调--狠抓司法体制改革和维护安全稳定措施落实, 进一步增强人民群众获得感幸福感安全感:

郭声琨强调,维护社会安宁是人民福祉所在,政法机关肩负重任。要针对当前社会治安形势特点,深入推进反恐防暴、扫黑除恶、社会矛盾排查化解等工作,认真落实困难帮扶、教育疏导、安全防范等措施,严防发生个人极端暴力犯罪等案事件,增强群众安全感。要坚持围绕大局履行职责,依法保护产权、保障投资,平等保护各类市场主体和公民个人合法权益,为经济金融持续健康发展创造良好环境。要扎实开展警示教育活动,打造忠诚干净担当的政法队伍。


7. Is China interfering in Sri Lanka's internal affairs?

China wants to buy country': Sri Lankan minister slams Beijing amid tussle for power with Mahinda Rajapaksa:

A deputy minister in Wickremesinghe’s administration, Ranjan Ramanayake, accused China of funding Rajapaksa’s buying of legislators. “I am telling China not to spend their millions to buy MPs in Sri Lanka. They want to buy the country wholesale," he said. Rajapaksa led a pro-China policy during his 10 years as president up to 2015. But the claim was denied by the Chinese embassy in Colombo.

China dismisses allegations of funding political legislators in Sri Lanka - Xinhua:

In a statement released to Xinhua on Monday, the embassy said such allegations were groundless and irresponsible.

"As a friendly neighbor, China is paying attention to the situation change in Sri Lanka," the embassy said.

"It is a matter of internal affairs, and China has consistently supported the principle of non-interference in other country's internal affairs. We believe that the Sri Lankan government, parties and people have the wits and ways needed to deal with the current situation," it added.


8. Super Micro again denies Bloomberg hardware hack story

Super Micro tells US lawmakers it found no Chinese spy chips, denying Bloomberg report | South China Morning Post:

The server maker, whose products were said to be compromised in a bombshell article by Bloomberg Businessweek magazine on October 4, said that, contrary to the report’s claim, no government agency had contacted the company about such hardware.

In a letter emailed to Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal – a copy of which was obtained by the South China Morning Post – Super Micro (also known as Supermicro) denied Bloomberg’s reports.

“We are confident the recent Bloomberg Businessweek stories are wrong,” wrote Perry Hayes, president of Super Micro Netherlands and its senior vice-president of investor relations.

Question: It is hard to see what this story got right. Does Bloomberg just hope everyone forgets?


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

China Vice President Wang Qishan to Deliver Much Anticipated Keynote at Bloomberg’s First-Ever New Economy Forum in Singapore on November 6-7, 2018  Bloomberg today announced that Wang Qishan, Vice President of the People’s Republic of China, will be the keynote speaker at the inaugural New Economy Forum, hosted by Michael R. Bloomberg in Singapore on November 6-7, 2018. The forum will convene a new community of 400 preeminent leaders, with the goal of seeking private sector-led solutions to challenges created by a world economy in transition, increasingly led by China and India as well as rising powers in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America

Ford, Baidu set to test self-driving cars on Beijing’s roads - Roadshow Ford is beginning a two-year initiative with Chinese internet giant Baidu to develop and test self-driving vehicles designed to meet Level 4 driving automation standards established by SAE International in China, the US automaker said in a statement today.

China's tariff on US natural gas delays Louisiana LNG project - CNBC 

China won’t seek to control global rare-earth market by cutting output - Global Times China's industry watchdog on Tuesday denied media reports claiming that the nation is limiting production of rare-earth minerals in the second half of the year, and it said that the country's planned rare earth output in 2018 had been raised rather than reduced. Experts said that as a reliable supplier, China will not try to control the market by reducing production. China plans to raise rare-earth mining output quota for 2018 from 105,000 tons to 120,000 tons and melting quota for the full year from 100,000 tons to 115,000 tons, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said.

China Launches Crackdown on Rampant Smuggling, Illegal Production of Rare Earths- Caixin China has launched another crackdown on the country’s rampant smuggling and illegal production of rare earths, as authorities try to get a better grip on an underground industrial chain that has hamstrung their efforts to set world prices.The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said a one-month special inspection was launched on Tuesday, aiming to stamp out illegal mining, excess production, environmental violations and smuggling of rare earths, according to the state-controlled China Securities Journal. The notice also called on the media to help report wrongdoers and expose crimes.

Trans-Pacific Partnership to start in December | Financial Times $$ The Trans-Pacific Partnership will enter into force from December 30, marking a rare victory for global trade liberalisation, even as the US erects tariff barriers and steps up its trade war with China. Australia on Wednesday became the sixth nation to ratify TPP, crossing the hurdle for the 11-member deal to take effect. The US originally was a member but Donald Trump withdrew from the pact in one of his first moves as president.

Are Chinese Banks Deceiving Super-rich Clients as Liquidity Pressure Intensifies? - China Banking News An advisor to the Chinese banking sector claims worsening liquidity pressure is driving financial institutions to lie to their more affluent clients in order to convince them to retire old debt. Speaking to Finews.asia the anonymous advisor said that the liquidity woes of the Chinese economy and the non-performing loans of its banking sector are far worse than generally realised. According to the source 60 – 65% of the owners of listed companies are using the lines of credit obtained from banks via share pledges to fund lavish lifestyles, while small and medium-enterprises are now coming under “tremendous liquidity pressure.”

Rivals Reap Rewards as China’s Monster Money-Market Fund Shrinks - WSJ $$ At one point this year, assets under management at the Tianhong Yu’e Bao fund—run by China’s largest financial-technology company, Ant Financial Services Group, an affiliate of e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. —were twice those of their biggest U.S. peer. They rivaled those of the giant exchange-traded fund known as SPY, which tracks the S&P 500 index. But Chinese regulators grew uneasy about the systemic risk of so large a fund. To aid its downsizing, Ant in May started adding money-market funds overseen by other domestic asset managers to its Yu’e Bao investment platform, helping send tens of billions of dollars their way.

New border market opens in Tibet - Xinhua According to the local government, the Gyirong international bordertrade market was constructed with a total investment of 42.5 million yuan (about 6 million U.S. dollars). Businessmen from Nepal, Pakistan and other nearby countries opened their booths at the market on the first business day, attracting many tourists.

German firms urged to cut dependence on China | Reuters A new strategy paper from Germany’s influential BDI industry federation calls on firms to reduce their dependence on the Chinese market, according to a draft seen by Reuters, in a sign of rising concern over Beijing’s state-driven economic model.

China's Electricity Consumption Surges to Six-Year High in Last Nine Months | Yicai Global Chinese people and firms spent 9 percent more electricity, and the growth was two percentage points more than during the same period last year, the National Energy Administration said in a press release yesterday.


Politics, Law And Ideology

Beijing engages with Pakistan's Uighurs in 'charm offensive' - Nikkei Asian Review In an unprecedented development, the Chinese embassy in Islamabad recently invited a group of Uighurs in the South Asian country to meet with officials. About a dozen Uighurs attended the meeting with Chinese diplomats, based on an image in a news release issued by the embassy At the meeting, the diplomats explained that the activities undertaken by Chinese authorities in Xinjiang were part of an "anti-terrorism stability" effort and "vocational skills education and training." The press statement quoted Shen Zicheng, a counsellor at the Chinese embassy, as saying: "Xinjiang's anti-terrorism struggle has achieved significant results, and the current Xinjiang region is stable."


Foreign and Military Affairs

New weather stations start operating in South China Sea - China Daily Meteorological observation stations for Yongshu Reef, Meiji Reef and Zhubi Reef in South China Sea are officially put into use on Wednesday, which means that fishermen and ships sailing in the area will get more accurate weather reports, said China Meteorological Administration.

China, Fiji vow to further step up all-round practical cooperation - Xinhua China and Fiji pledged on Tuesday to further strengthen all-round practical cooperation between the two countries. The pledge came as Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met here separately with Fijian President Jioji Konrote, and Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. During his meeting with Fijian President Jioji Konrote, Wang said China, as a developing country, will always stand by other developing countries as well as small and medium-sized countries.

China, UAE agree to further expand cooperation - Xinhua Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan agreed with leaders of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to further boost cooperation between the two countries during a three-day visit that concluded on Tuesday. Wang, who had been invited by the UAE government, met with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, and UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Dubai, respectively.

Xu Qiliang meets with Australian defense officials - China Military Xu Qiliang, a vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, said on Tuesday that China and Australia should deepen practical cooperation and add positive elements to the steady development of bilateral ties. Xu made the remarks when meeting with Australia's Chief of the Defense Force Angus Campbell and Secretary of the Department of Defense Greg Moriarty, who were on a visit to Beijing to attend the 21st Defense Strategic Consultation between the two countries.

改革开放是不断向前的伟大航程(国际论坛·风从东方来——国际人士亲历中国改革开放)--国际--人民网 Former Japanese PM Fukuda in the 10.31 People's Daily writes that reform and opening is an ever forward moving, great journey...Beijing loves Fukuda

坚持推动构建人类命运共同体 努力建设一个更加美好的世界--观点--人民网 ——学习习近平《论坚持推动构建人类命运共同体》 闻  言 2018年10月31日04:57

What was Xi Jinping's confidant doing in India? - Rediff.com India News The visit followed that by Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe to India in August and is obviously part of efforts to portray that India-China relations are improving following the Modi-Xi summit meeting in Wuhan in April. Notwithstanding this and highlighting their territorial claims, Chinese troops intruded into Arunachal Pradesh just days prior to Zhao's arrival. During the Chinese defence minister's visit too, a similar intrusion by Chinese troops in Demchok in Ladakh was vacated weeks after his departure. Important for Chinese President Xi Jinping will be Zhao's discussions on the issues of Tibet and the Dalai Lama and his assessment of the likely results of India's coming national elections.

Philippines Hopeful Xi Visit Brings South China Sea Energy Deal - Bloomberg Philippine Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi is optimistic that a deal to jointly explore disputed areas of the South China Sea for oil and gas will finally move forward when President Xi Jinping visits next month. Terms for an agreement between the Philippines and China may be finalized during Xi’s visit, Cusi said in an interview in Singapore. The government is also discussing lifting a ban on exploration in contested waters imposed by President Rodrigo Duterte’s predecessor, which thwarted a potential venture between PXP Energy Corp. and China National Offshore Oil Corp.

U.S. Embassy Uses WeChat to Air Criticism of China on Home Turf - Bloomberg First, the embassy shared with its 2 million followers excerpts of Vice President Mike Pence’s speech alleging election-meddling by China Then, on Monday, the account started publishing comments from a recent Secretary of State Michael Pompeo interview, in which he criticized the country for violating people’s human rights by detaining as many as 1 million members of its Muslim minority in “re-education camps.”//Comment: How long until shut down?

Top General Fears War With China and Russia at the Same Time - DailyBeast Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the just-retired commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, suggested conflict with the People’s Republic could come soon. “I think in 15 years—it’s not inevitable—but it is a very strong likelihood that we will be at war with China,” Hodges said last Wednesday at the Warsaw Security Forum...“My real audience that I was trying to reach with that comment there in Warsaw was our European allies,” said Hodges. “I was trying to tell them, ‘Hey look, we do not have the capacity in the United States to be able to deter Russia, to be the bulwark against possible Russian aggression, and deal with China.’” The general was, in short, reminding Europeans that the bulk of American military assets, in the event of twin crises, are “going to be focused in the Pacific.”

Chinese troops in Hong Kong and Macau ‘will join more overseas war games’ | South China Morning Post At least 250 soldiers from the two garrisons took part in 10-day exercise with Malaysia and Thailand Analysts expect they will be involved in more joint drills in the future, ‘serving as windows for the PLA to connect with the outside world’

China, PNG pledge to further boost ties, cooperation under Belt and Road Initiative - Xinhua China and Papua New Guinea (PNG) vowed on Wednesday to further develop the relations between the two countries and strengthen cooperation under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative. When meeting with visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill said PNG is a key and close friend of China among the Pacific island nations. Bilateral relations have reached the all-time high since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, he said, reiterating PNG's adherence to the one-China policy.

十余国高僧呼吁域外国家停止军事挑衅:南海是中国的_凤凰资讯 China convenes senior Buddhist monks from SEA and the US to say the South China Sea is China's and powers from outside the region should halt their military provocations

China-Vietnam Joint Patrols in the Spotlight | The Diplomat Last week, China and Vietnam held another iteration of a joint patrol around the Gulf of Tonkin. The patrol spotlighted an ongoing activity that both sides have continued to develop in spite of the lingering differences they have, including in the maritime realm. Vietnam and China have long managed a relationship that has been fraught with challenges even amid the opportunities it offers. China occupied Vietnam for nearly a millennia, the two countries have fought multiple wars, and even today, Hanoi continues to feel the occasional effects of Chinese coercive power, including in the South China Sea.


Hong Kong, Macao

Hong Kong Shares Suffer Worst Monthly Run of Losses in 36 Years - Bloomberg The moves in Tencent Holdings Ltd. have a big impact on the index because of the Internet company’s size, even after shedding more than $250 billion in value since late January. This month has been a bad one for Tencent, with a global tech sell-off -- the Nasdaq 100 is down 11 percent -- adding to woes including slower earnings and a clampdown by Chinese authorities on gaming.

Head of HKUST says new mainland campus will have autonomy, despite Communist Party secretary and gov't funding | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP The head of a top Hong Kong university has said that its new mainland China campus will have complete autonomy, despite the fact that the cost of the new branch is being partially covered by the Guangzhou government.  The new Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) campus will also have a Communist Party secretary. The facility – to be launched in conjunction with Guangzhou University – will be located near the Qingsheng high-speed rail station on the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link.


Tech And Media

Baidu Test-Drives Autonomous Taxis in Central China - Caixin Search giant Baidu Inc. is ready to test its first batch of self-driving taxis in Central China’s Hunan province, as it races toward commercializing autonomous technology — the next big thing in the tech world. A fleet of self-driving cabs, or “robo-taxis,” will soon be tested in a pilot zone in the provincial capital of Changsha, and will open to the public for rides in the future, the company announced after signing an agreement with the city government on Monday.

Baidu Sees Hit From China Slowdown as Forecast Trails Estimates - Bloomberg While Baidu dominates desktop search in China, questions hang over the ad outlook as businesses adopt a more cautious approach to spending with U.S. trade tensions escalating. Recent restrictions on video game licenses have forced many key customers to pull back advertising as they wait for permission to make money from their titles. Growth is also being eroded by increasingly tough competition from relative newcomers like Bytedance Ltd. and its suite of hugely popular content aggregation apps.

China’s Video App Kuaishou Targets a $25 Billion Valuation — The Information $$ While Kuaishou is among the most popular entertainment apps in China, there are some questions as it tries to fend off the explosive growth of rival ByteDance. Just two years after its TikTok was launched, it has reached 150 million daily active users in China, and 500 million globally, ByteDance says, threatening Kuaishou’s position in the live video-streaming market. // $300m or more a month in revenue doesn't make this a crazy valuation


Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

China: New Political Requirements for Tibetan Monastics | Human Rights Watch Chinese authorities are requiring key Tibetan monks and nuns to act as propagandists for the government and Communist Party, Human Rights Watch said today. Under new policies for “Sinicizing” religion, the government has been compelling selected monastics in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) to undergo political training designed to create a new corps of Buddhist teachers proficient in state ideology. Under the “Four Standards” policy introduced in TAR in 2018, monks and nuns must demonstrate – apart from competence in Buddhist studies – “political reliability,” “moral integrity capable of impressing the public,” and willingness to “play an active role at critical moments.” The implication is that they must agree to forestall or stop any attempts to protest state policy.

China Plans to Blacklist Citizens for Misusing Social Security - SixthTone Chinese authorities plan to introduce a blacklist system by the end of the year that specifically targets those who pocket social security benefits, China News reported Tuesday. Under the new rule, individuals or companies involved in social insurance misconduct — such as refusing to pay insurance fees and benefits, forging certification materials, and illegally trafficking personal data — could be barred for up to five years from working at public offices and traveling by plane or train, according to the report. China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security first published the draft guideline on Oct. 16 to gauge public opinion.


Energy, Environment, Science And Health

China's self-developed AUV probes into waters on plateau - Xinhua China's self-developed autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) was used for the first time to probe into waters on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the Harbin Engineering University said Tuesday. The scientific investigation, conducted by Harbin Engineering University, Qinghai University and Tsinghua University, aims to detect water quality and collect data in Sanjiangyuan, home of the headwaters of the Yangtze River, the Yellow River and Lancang (Mekong) River.

Wanted: Researchers for China’s mega telescope to interpret signals from across the universe | South China Morning Post For job candidates, the major stumbling blocks often are financial incentives and research independence, researchers told the South China Morning Post. The telescope’s remote location also may give candidates pause. George Smoot, a Hong Kong University of Science and Technology professor who won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2006, said candidates interested in working in a more developed setting might think twice about spending a lot of time in an area known for its traditional rural villages. “Another issue is how much the Chinese Academy of Sciences will influence and direct activities there,” Smoot said.

China to conduct water, biodiversity research under climate change in Pan-Third Pole - Xinhua The project, featuring 16 institutions, will study the mechanism between water, typical ecosystems and climate change, as well as conduct continuous monitoring and evaluation research on water and biodiversity. Researchers will work together to find the reasons behind and solutions to the degradation of the alpine grassland ecosystem of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the slower growth of the artificial breeding yaks and the influence of glacial recession on the plateau's aquatic organisms.