PRC vaccinations; EU-China investment deal close; "Worshipping America" and "Kneeling to America"
Today’s top items:
EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) near
"Worshipping America" and "Kneeling to America"
New report on the Chinese LGBT movement
ASPI on WeChat’s influence
I hope to see many of you in tomorrow’s open discussion.
Holiday schedule: I am planning to send a newsletter next Monday December 21 and then resume publishing Monday January 5, though if interesting things happen during that period I may send out a short newsletter. We are not going anywhere this year, and like all of us I need a mental break, but China only shuts down for a couple of days around the New Year.
If you are like me and still looking for holiday gifts, please consider giving a year of Sinocism to anyone who you think should get smarter about China. You can sign up by clicking this button, and schedule when you want the message to arrive.
The Top Items
1. PRC vaccinations
China is ramping up to vaccinate 50 million people against the coronavirus before the start of the peak Lunar New Year travel season early next year.
Officials from centres of disease control and prevention across the country were summoned for a televised training meeting on Wednesday to prepare for mass inoculations of high-priority groups.
Beijing is planning to distribute 100 million doses of the two-dose inactivated vaccines made by Chinese firms Sinopharm and Sinovac, according to a health specialist with knowledge of Wednesday’s meeting. He declined to be named because details of the meeting have not been made public by the government.
The Sichuan provincial government held a video conference on epidemic control and prevention work in winter and spring on Thursday.
Jing Jing, an official from the Sichuan provincial health department, said at the conference that 46,000 Sichuan residents had accepted the first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and another 12,000 had accepted the total two doses.
According to Jing, 118,000 vaccine doses have arrived in Sichuan and the province is accelerating emergency vaccination of high-risk groups, along with vaccine purchase and storage.
The province will finish the first vaccination dose for all high-risk groups by January 15 and the two doses by February 5.
Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa said on Monday that China’s health authorities are not transparent in authorizing emergency use of COVID-19 vaccines, a statement that may further inflame political tension in the South American country.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a consistent critic of China, has repeatedly cast doubt on the CoronaVac vaccine being developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd, saying its “origin” made it untrustworthy.
2. EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) near
The likelihood of the accord being settled soon is rising despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus crisis, officials from both sides have told the Financial Times. A shift by Beijing in the important area of market access has given the process additional momentum, EU officials said...
“The talks are now in the final stage,” Zhang Ming, China’s ambassador to the EU, said in an interview with the FT. “Both sides are working towards the objective of finishing the talks by the end of this year.”
Mr Zhang said the two powers had reached a consensus on so-called level playing field provisions and were focused on outstanding questions such as market access and sustainable development. He pointed to Chinese president Xi Jinping’s repeated public commitments to striking a deal.
Stuart Lau of the SCMP tweeted that a deal appears close:
EU2020DE @EU2020DEThe following topics will be discussed during the #COREPER II meeting tomorrow: https://t.co/Rexiyyi4za
And a senior Advisor for Asia at Institut Montaigne tweeted:
Comment: A deal would be a big win for Xi and China, and quite the statement to the incoming Biden Administration.
"Parliament strongly condemns the Chinese government-led system of forced labour -- in particular the exploitation of Uyghur, ethnic Kazakh and Kyrgyz, and other Muslim minority groups -- in factories within and outside internment camps in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region," the EU body said in a statement Friday.
3. "Worshipping America" and "Kneeling to America"
“The "Worshipping America" and "Kneeling to America" soft-bone disease must be cured!” is a very nasty piece by the Xinhua commentator "Xin Shiping" directed at people who have been critical of China's more assertive stance towards America. I translated 软骨病 as "soft-bone disease" rather than rickets as I think the literal translation carries the intent better.
No one is mentioned by name but I can think of some scholars and well-known commentators who have been somewhat critical of the "wolf warrior" approach and the aggressive rejection of Deng's "Hide your strength, bide your time" mantra.
I wrote yesterday that "from my qualitative view the PRC relevant organs have toned down anti-American propaganda recently", and I still think they have moderated slightly the outward attacks that we often see in the People's Daily and the CCTV Evening News. This Xinhua commentary has a very specific domestic target, with the stark message to pick the correct side or you will be in trouble - "for those "kneeling people" who forget their ancestors and and aid the evil-doers, we must resolutely struggle against them, pierce their painted skin, eliminate their influence, and not let wrong values confuse people."
No matter what softer messages PRC officials and their proxies may be trying to send to the incoming Biden Administration, the new President and his team should understand that Xi means it when he says the PRC needs to prepare for a protracted war. One of the key tactics of protracted war is to soften up and confuse the adversary to buy time while hardening and strengthening themselves internally.
It is not a long piece so I decided to give you a full translation, done using DeepL, Sougou Translate and Google Translate, then cleaned up manually. I once worked professionally as a translator long ago, I really dislike translating now, and while machine translation tools save a lot of time none are perfect.
The "Worshipping America" and "Kneeling to America" soft-bone disease must be cured!
For some time now, some people have been spreading all sorts of arguments about "worshipping America" and "kneeling to America": they envy American "democracy" and "freedom", or tout the current situation of human rights in the United States, or exaggerate the "self-repair ability" of the American system. Some even go so far as to "open their minds" and praise the "anti-epidemic ability" of the United States.
Facts are the most powerful "shredders" of lies. The alarming figure of more than 300,000 cumulative new cases of death in the United States, the painful cry for help of the black man Floyd "I can't breathe", the chaotic situation of political polarization in the United States, the perfidious and unreasonable bullying behavior of some American politicians, have long made the image of the so-called "lighthouse country" collapse in the hearts of the world. Some people will inevitably be "punched in the face" by the truth no matter how carefully they whitewash and fool. But people know the real situation. Some netizens have hit the nail on the head with their comments: "It's obviously a joke, but they treat it as a fairy tale".
The people who "worship America" and "kneel to America" are often the ones who will praise the United States and disparage China, they only ask the position, not the right and wrong. They believe that "the moon in a foreign country is rounder than that in China" and they do their utmost to denigrate and slander their own country. They are happy to weave all kinds of "American fairy tales", and even create and spread rumors; when some American politicians go against the grain and cause serious consequences, they either pretend to be confused, or are busy helping to whitewash. In turn, China's development achievements are not worth mentioning in their eyes, a vigorous, flourishing new era of China, in their view, useless.
In the end, some people have not yet "stood up" spiritually. The "worship America" and "kneel to America" people take American values as a guideline, bow down to the "world overlords" and suffer from "soft-bone disease" of their minds. ", willing to be a "surrender faction" in the struggle, losing their self-confidence and basic judgment. Some people naively believe that the benefits for security, relying on compromise to seek self-preservation, as long as China "does not hit back, does not return the scolding," can be exchanged for peace and quiet. Such an absurd argument, Such a ridiculous theory, where is there a little bit of Chinese integrity and courage! Some people are not ashamed, but proud of it, and even boast that it is "objective", "profound" and "insightful", is it not a strange thing? Some people are not ashamed, but proud, and boast that this is "objective", "profound" and "insightful". Isn't it strange? For this kind of fallacy, which reverses right and wrong and is self-frustrated, and for those "kneeling people" who forget their ancestors and aid the evil-doers [Note: 助纣为虐 is the idiom for “aid the evil-doers”. One other accepted translation is “give succor to the enemy” but since the word for enemy 敌人 does not appear in this commentary I decided not to use that version], we must resolutely struggle against them, pierce their painted skin, eliminate their influence, and not let wrong values confuse people.
The Chinese people are not afraid of trouble, in front of any difficulties and risks, our legs will not shake, our waist will not bend. In the face of big winds and big waves, as long as we have confidence and determination, and steadfastly do our own thing, there is no hurdle that can not be overcome. A self-reliant, civilized and progressive China is the best cure for "soft-bone disease".
It is time to retire the term “wolf warriors” as it looks like they all are all mainstream now. Perhaps “Xi Jinping Diplomatic Thought Warriors” is more accurate, if less catchy?
One of the people who may be seen as having the "soft-bone disease” is Chairman Rabbit, who got a lot of criticism for this recent post arguing against the "wolf warrior tactics"
The United States and People’s Republic of China (PRC) have met regularly since 1998 to conduct the MMCA dialogue as a consultation mechanism to strengthen military maritime safety, to improve operational safety in the air and sea, and reduce risk between our two militaries. The Department of Defense (DoD) and the PLA agreed to hold the 2020 MMCA meeting virtually due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. This exchange is an agreed-upon event in the U.S.-PRC 2020 defense engagement plan.
“The PRC’s refusal to show up to MMCA is another example that China does not honor its agreements, and this should serve as a reminder to all nations as they pursue agreements with China going forward,” said Adm. Phil Davidson, the Commander for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
Question: Why would the PLA skip this?
Liu Wensheng, a spokesperson for the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy, made the remarks when asked about the U.S. accusation on China's refusing to participate in the meetings scheduled to take place from Monday to Wednesday.
"The U.S. side did not abide by the consensus reached between the two sides and called black white to make the accusation," he said.
Liu said two online meetings were to take place this year, as agreed by the defense departments of both countries. He added that China had offered on Nov. 18 its suggestions on the topics and arrangements.
"The U.S. side insisted on forcing its unilateral agenda, arbitrarily reducing the length of the annual meetings and changing the nature of the talks," Liu said. "The U.S. side even tried to force China's participation without an agenda agreed by both sides."
Asked what Biden, declared winner of the Nov. 3 presidential election by the Electoral College on Monday, should do with the Phase 1 deal, Lighthizer said: “I would hold their feet to the fire on Phase 1.”
“I think in some parts they (China) have done a reasonably good job, in other parts they haven’t,” Lighthizer said.
He said that Beijing is well behind on its purchase commitments, partly due to the pandemic.
Huawei Marine, which was recently divested from Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and is now majority-owned by another Chinese firm, submitted bids along with French-headquartered Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), part of Finland’s Nokia, and Japan’s NEC, for the $72.6 million project backed by the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB), the sources with direct knowledge of the project details said...
The project is designed to improve communications to the island nations of Nauru, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and Kiribati.
Biden may nominate Bob Iger because of what he said. Sucking up to China is the qualification. And actually Bob Iger is just following the lead of the Biden family. Today, our reporter Brooke Singman, obtained a 2017 e-mail from Joe Biden’s son, Hunter to the chairman of the Chinese energy company, CEFC. That e-mail offers, quote, “Best wishes from the entire Biden family.” It goes on to urge CEFC’s Chairman to quickly send a $10 million wire to, quote, “Properly fund and operate the Biden family’s venture with the company.”
Comment: Carlson's influence should not be underestimated, Biden is in for four years of attacks for being compromised by and too soft on China. Disney should not want Iger to be nominated to be the ambassador to the PRC, as the confirmation hearings might prove embarrassing.
Reconsider travel to the People’s Republic of China (PRC), including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws.
Exercise increased caution in the Hong Kong SAR due to COVID-19.
Much debate on Washington’s China policy focuses on the dangers China will pose as a peer competitor later this century. Yet the United States actually faces a more pressing and volatile threat: an already powerful but insecure China beset by slowing growth and intensifying hostility abroad.
he following is the U.S. Sea Services’ new maritime strategy, Advantage at Sea: Prevailing with Integrated All-Domain Naval Power that was released by the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard on Dec. 17, 2020....
Advantage at Sea is a Tri-Service Maritime Strategy that focuses on China and Russia, the two most significant threats to this era of global peace and prosperity. We prioritize competition with China due to its growing economic and military strength, increasing aggressiveness, and demonstrated intent to dominate its regional waters and remake the international order in its favor. Until China chooses to act as a responsible stakeholder rather than brandish its power to further its authoritarian interests, it represents the most comprehensive threat to the United States, our allies, and all nations supporting a free and open system.
5. New report on the Chinese LGBT movement
“Precarious Progress: Advocacy for the Human Rights of LGBT People in China” explores the relationship between law and the lives of LGBT people in China, and the Chinese LGBT movement’s efforts to make law a force for greater equality rather than one that entrenches stigma.
The LGBT community in China has experienced a period of tremendous change. Over the course of the past several decades, LGBT people have gone from being nearly invisible in Chinese society, to forming a vibrant social movement. Once focused on grassroots community building and service, China’s LGBT movement is increasingly reaching beyond the realms of LGBT communities, striving to make society as a whole more inclusive through advocacy...
on balance, China’s LGBT movement continues forward, building visibility and gaining support. Surveys show increasing acceptance of LGBT people among younger generations, views of pro-LGBT social media hashtags have reached into the hundreds of millions several times (though are often censored shortly after), and LGBT plaintiffs have won pioneering rights litigation in court.
Comment: An important report. Full disclosure, my sister once served as co-chair of OutRight Action International and I have contributed to the organization
8. ASPI on WeChat’s influence
WeChat, a Chinese social media app created by Tencent, may be driving the most substantial and harmful changes ever observed in Australia’s Chinese-language media sector. On the one hand, the app is particularly important to Chinese Australians and helps people stay connected to friends and family in China. It’s used by as many as 3 million users in Australia for a range of purposes including instant messaging.1 It’s also the most popular platform used by Chinese Australians to access news.2 However, WeChat raises concerns because of its record of censorship, information control and surveillance, which align with Beijing’s objectives. Media outlets on WeChat face tight restrictions that facilitate CCP influence by pushing the vast majority of news accounts targeting Australian audiences to register in China. Networks and information sharing within the app are opaque, contributing to the spread of disinformation.
"We hope all sectors of the Australian society and the international community can tell right from wrong," spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a daily press briefing.
Wang made the remarks when asked to comment on Australian media report of ASPI's smearing of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and on media disclosure that ASPI receives funding from the Australian Defense Department and the U.S. State Department.
The ASPI has long been funded by U.S. defense and diplomatic organizations as well as arms manufacturers to fabricate various anti-China rumors, Wang said, citing Australian media reports...
"I think this is another example of ASPI serving the interests of its patrons as a tool to denigrate and contain China," Wang said, calling the ASPI, in essence, a rumor-making machine.
Business, Economy and Trade
China regulator approves opening of fifth nationwide bad loan bank | Reuters The newly set-up company is 65% held by China Galaxy Financial Holdings, and 13.3% held by Central Huijin Investment Co, an investment arm of China’s sovereign fund China Investment Corp, the regulator said a statement on its website 第五家全国性AMC来了！银河资产获银保监会开业批复 _ 证券时报网
Private Chemical Producer Fails to Repay Bonds on Time but Avoids Default Label - Caixin Chinese chemical producer Hongda Xingye Group Co. Ltd. failed to repay 950 million yuan ($145 million) of bonds that were due Monday but found a way to controversially avoid labeling it a default. A day before the debt matured, Guangzhou-based Hongda Xingye held an urgent meeting with 12 institutional holders of the 270-day ultrashort-term bonds. More than 90% of the holders voted to cancel registration of the bonds and accept repayment sometime later under separate agreements, according to a Hongda Xingye executive.
群众的笑脸最美 ——全面贯彻新发展理念的三明探索与实践（中） 本报记者 刘 磊 颜 珂 刘 毅 李心萍 The second in the series of 3 People's Daily articles on Sanming, and Xi's role since he was a Fujian official in making it a model of the "new development concept"
Xi Focus: Bold, persistent reforms forge ahead under Xi's leadership - Xinhua The program, which aims to bring down the pricing by large-scale purchasing and squeezing out multiple layers of agent middlemen, owes its origin to Sanming, an industrial city with a permanent population of 2.6 million in east China's Fujian Province. Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, has paid close attention to the country's medical reform progress, and praised Sanming's medical advancement at several key meetings. At the 33rd meeting of the central leading group for deepening overall reform on March 24, 2017, Xi hailed Sanming's experience in medical reform. He said Sanming's medical reform is in the right direction and has produced obvious results, urging promotion of Sanming's practice nationwide.
三明医改：求解世界性难题的改革样本 _ 经济参考网 _ 新华社《经济参考报》官方网站 Xinhua on the success of medical reforms in Sanming. Is Sanming going to be used as one of the key examples of the success of Xi Jinping Economic Thought?
Yicai - China Pocketed USD26.4 Billion From Stock Trading Tax After 49% Jump in Jan.-Nov. At over CNY197 trillion (USD30.16 trillion), 11-month stock trading was up 1.55 times from a year earlier, according to data from Shanghai Wind Information.
China Mulls Tighter Controls on Steel Mill ‘Capacity Swaps’ to Fight Overcapacity China is considering tighter controls over steel ‘capacity swaps’ — including further reducing production quotas — to prevent newly built mills impeding the country’s long-running battle against overcapacity. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issued a draft plan on Wednesday aiming to further control new capacity in the bloated steel industry.
China to boost citywide railways in metropolitan regions - State Council Preferred candidate areas for construction of the railways include the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the Yangtze River Delta, the Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle, and the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, and others eligible in financial standing, passenger traffic and development needs. With a focus on meeting one-hour commuting needs, these citywide railways should be incorporated into a clearly layered and efficiently integrated transportation system, together with main railways, intercity railways and urban rail transit lines, each geared toward specific functions.
Inside the Cutthroat World of China Mutual Fund Livestreaming - Bloomberg Understanding the country’s internet landscape is key for global companies, because a successful online fund launch typically requires a well-orchestrated strategy involving not only big platforms such as Tencent and Alipay, but also financial news portals and distributors’ own platforms, Hongtai’s Lu says. To be a hit, funds need to synchronize promotion across media platforms before opening up subscriptions to users on multiple distribution channels. “When people across all platforms start paying attention at the same time, panic-buying could be induced” and sales will spike, Lu says.
China’s intellectual property agency reports fall in patent applications after quality drive | South China Morning Post Applications in 2019 were down a tenth from the previous year, China’s first decrease in 24 years The Chinese authorities have taken measures to improve applications and reduce unqualified filings
Sailors on the Jag Anand and Anastasia languish while Australia’s coal dispute with China heats up - Sydney Morning Herald Onboard the merchant ship the Anastasia, four crew members are on suicide watch. “They need to go home immediately or something worse will occur,” says Gaurav Singh, 29, second officer of the ship that has been stranded at anchor for nearly five months off the Caofeidian port on the Chinese coastline. An estimated 1500 seafarers are stranded in Chinese harbours “essentially as pawns of war”, according to Dean Summers from Maritime Union of Australia.
Imax May Add Over 400 Theaters in China by 2023 With New Deal - Bloomberg The Ontario, Canada-based firm known for massive screens in its movie halls, has signed a deal with its Chinese partner Guangzhou Jinyi Media Corp. for five new locations and upgrades at seven existing ones, it said in an email. Imax, which has about 700 theaters in China, sees the possibility of expanding its network by more than 50% over the next three years, it added.
Investment bankers revel in bumper fees from Chinese groups in 2020 | Financial Times $$ Banks based outside of China have earned $1.73bn of revenues this year from selling shares in Chinese groups on bourses in New York, Hong Kong and mainland China, up 113 per cent from a year ago, according to data from Dealogic. That puts them on the verge of surpassing the $1.77bn in fees earned in 2010...Goldman Sachs enjoyed the biggest haul in 2020, with revenues of more than $382m from Chinese companies, up 220 per cent from last year
China chip self-sufficiency up the agenda with maximum of 10-year tax exemption: analyst - Global Times Four Chinese Ministries on Wednesday have together published a list of incentives that would give qualified domestic IC manufactures a maximum of 10-year tax exemption from 2020 in a bid to encourage domestic semiconductor development and production, an announcement on the website of China's Ministry of Finance showed. According to the announcement IC enterprise with the line width of less than 28 nanometers and an operating period of more than 15 years, shall be exempt from income tax for the first ten years from 2020; those with line width of less than 65 nanometers and an operating period of more than 15 years, shall be exempt from income tax for the first five years from 2020; and those with line width of less than 130 nanometers and an operating period of more than ten years shall be exempt from income tax for the first two years from 2020.
SEC.gov | Luckin Coffee Agrees to Pay $180 Million Penalty to Settle Accounting Fraud Charges The SEC’s complaint, filed today in the Southern District of New York, charges Luckin with violating the antifraud, reporting, books and records, and internal control provisions of the federal securities laws. Without admitting or denying the allegations, Luckin has agreed to a settlement, subject to court approval, that includes permanent injunctions and the payment of a $180 million penalty. This payment may be offset by certain payments Luckin makes to its security holders in connection with its provisional liquidation proceeding in the Cayman Islands. The transfer of funds to the security holders will be subject to approval by Chinese authorities...The SEC appreciates the assistance of the China Securities Regulatory Commission and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority. // Comment: What about criminal prosecution?
China extends financial support to major foreign-funded companies - Xinhua Chinese authorities have urged efforts to extend financial support to major foreign-funded firms to lower their fund-raising costs and help them weather the COVID-19 economic fallout. Major foreign-funded companies should get equal access to some financing programs as their Chinese counterparts, according to a circular released jointly by the Ministry of Commerce and the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission.
Politics and Law
How Information Bubble Drives the Chinese Public’s Views of China’s Global Standing and Fuels Grassroots Nationalism - China Data Lab unfavorable international opinions on China are rarely reported in China’s official media, although one can find some limited discussions in social media. Instead, state media are filled with headlines like “Wuhan once again awes foreign media” and “American media marvels at Qingdao’s testing of eight million people in three days”. These narratives are not just short-term efforts to boost morale during the pandemic; they are part of a larger and long-standing propaganda campaign to tout how “amazing” China is. And they appear to be working. A survey I conducted in March 2020, and reported in a paper presented at the 2020 American Political Science Association annual meeting, shows that the Chinese public vastly overestimates China’s global image and popularity.
China Crackdown on Illegal Construction Hits Wealthy Homeowners in Beijing Suburb | Voice of America - English Last week in Xiangtang Village, a suburb of Beijing, hundreds of men dressed in black arrived, accompanied by a fleet of excavators. They handed residents notices, informing them the government concluded that their properties were illegally built, and that they had seven days to pack their belongings and move out as their homes would be demolished. Eyewitnesses said many tried to protest but were subdued by the guards. Yang Yusheng, a law professor at China University of Political Science and a resident at the village, started a hunger strike and wrote online about his anger and frustration with the government’s decision. Soon, his electricity and water were cut off, apparently in retaliation, as temperatures outside dipped below freezing. The episode marked the latest faceoff between China’s central government authorities and an informal housing financing system called the Small Property Rights Housing (SPRH).
Another Exoneration Sees Prisoner Walk Free After Years Behind Bars - Caixin Yang Songfa, who had long appealed for his case to be revisited, insisting that he did not murder his girlfriend Liu Caiju in March 2001, has been released and will be reunited with family after a 14-day precautionary quarantine for coronavirus. Yang’s son told Caixin that his father will apply for state compensation for wrongful imprisonment.
天津高院对杨松发故意杀人再审一案依法公开宣判-新华网 Yang Songfa, convicted of murder and sentenced to death with a two year reprieve in 2003, has his conviction overturned and is released
习近平同志《论坚持全面依法治国》主要篇目介绍 People's Daily summarizes the table of contents of Comrade Xi Jinping's book "on persisting in comprehensively governing the country according to the law"
Party Committees See Rising Prevalence in Private Sector - MacroPolo Data based on ACFIC corporate surveys, which are more consistent and contemporary than figures from the Party’s Organization Department, show that: 1) The prevalence of Party organizations in private firms has continued to grow under Xi, but falls short of a majority; 2) Party organizations are widely present in the largest private enterprises; and 3) Party organizations remain uncommon in foreign companies.
Cyclopes on My Doorstep - Xu Zhangrun The following translation, made with the author’s permission, is part of a China Heritage series titled ‘Viral Alarm.’ For an account of Xu Zhangrun’s background, work and those who support him, see the Xu Zhangrun Archive, also in China Heritage. Xu Zhangrun’s classics-inflected prose style is sardonic and it brims with literary references. Notes would only interfere with the flow of the text, although a number of minor explications have been added, marked by square brackets. Interested readers are encouraged to consult the Chinese text, also provided here. — Geremie R. Barmé
深入学习贯彻习近平生态文明思想 持之以恒做好中央生态环境保护督察工作--新闻报道-人民网 Han Zheng emphasizes at the meeting of the Central Leading Group for Ecological Environmental Protection Supervision: Deeply study and implement Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization and persevere to do a good job in the supervision of central ecological environmental protection
Activist Held For Helping 'Ink-Splash' Woman in China's Hunan — Radio Free Asia Authorities in the central province of Hunan have detained a prominent rights activist after he helped to publicize the story of Dong Yaoqiong, a woman sent to a psychiatric hospital for splashing ink on a poster of ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping in a Twitter livestream. Ou Biaofeng was taken away from his home in Hunan's Zhuzhou city by officers of the Lusong district police department on Dec. 3, who held him under administrative detention for 15 days for "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble."
Foreign and Defense Affairs
Xi congratulates complete success of Chang'e-5 mission - Xinhua Noting that there is no end for space exploration, Xi expressed the hope that those who have participated in the Chang'e-5 mission will carry forward the lunar exploration spirit of pursuing dreams, daring to explore, collaborating in tackling difficulties and win-win cooperation, and start new interplanetary exploration, so as to contribute more to building China's strength in aerospace, achieving national rejuvenation, peaceful use of space and building of a community with a shared future for humanity. The congratulatory message was read out by State Councilor Wang Yong at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center.
Moon rocks in hand, China prepares for future moon missions - AP Following the successful return of moon rocks by its Chang’e 5 robotic probe, China is preparing for future missions that could set the stage for an eventual lunar base to host human explorers, a top space program official said Thursday. China’s next three lunar missions are on track, along with programs for returning samples from Mars and exploring asteroids and the planet Jupiter, Deputy Chief Commander of the China Lunar Exploration Program Wu Yanhua said.
China ‘a thug and shocking bully’, says former Australian envoy Mark Higgie - The Australian Mark Higgie, a former Australian ambassador to the European Union and one-time adviser to former prime minister Tony Abbott, has warned Britain not to concentrate on trade deals with China because the country is “a thug and a shocking bully” and blatantly uses trade “in an overtly political way”. In a blunt assessment of Australia’s deteriorating trading woes with its biggest trading partner, Mr Higgie told the London Telegraph’s podcast Planet Normal that Boris Johnson’s government should exercise “extreme caution” in its future trading deals with China because of the way the country was treating Australia.
Australia’s ‘amateurish’ China diplomacy sets business on edge | Financial Times $$ “Australian foreign policy with respect to China has been weaponised, and it’s largely because I feel the security, intelligence and defence establishment has taken over the management on Australia’s foreign policy over the past six years,” said Geoff Raby, a former Australian ambassador to China, who runs a consultancy and is a board member of Yancoal, which is majority owned by a state-backed Chinese company.
Wellington in no position to mediate Beijing-Canberra talks - Global Times - Qian Feng China is still willing to develop good relations with Australia as long as Canberra changes its ways. However, Australia still has not changed. The land down under should take China's advice and not go further down the wrong path. If Australia continues to hurt the feelings of the Chinese people, Chinese consumers will choose to vote with their feet. The author is director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University
Swedish court allows telecoms regulator to go ahead with Huawei exclusion | Reuters A Swedish appeals court on Wednesday said telecoms regulator PTS would be able to conduct 5G spectrum auctions, setting aside an earlier ruling, though it remained an option for Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei to appeal the decision.
China, France to enhance parliamentary exchanges - Xinhua China's top legislator Li Zhanshu Wednesday attended via video link the opening ceremony of the 11th meeting of the parliamentary exchange mechanism between legislative bodies of China and France. Both sides agreed to enhance parliamentary exchanges to contribute to the development of relations between the two countries.
OHCHR | China: Shock at continued crackdown on human rights defenders and lawyers – UN expert A UN human rights expert today expressed dismay at the treatment of human rights defenders and lawyers in China, saying they continue to be charged, detained, disappeared and tortured five years after the start of a crackdown on the profession under the guise of national security concerns. “Since the so-called ‘709 crackdown’ began on 9 July 2015, the profession of human rights lawyer has been effectively criminalised in China,” said Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders*.
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on December 17, 2020 AFP: A UN human rights expert Mary Lawlor published a statement yesterday calling China's crackdown on rights defenders a shocking display of disregard for human rights. Does China have any response to the statement? Wang Wenbin: China is a country with rule of law where everyone stands equal in front of the law. No individual or organization is above the law. This is the true meaning of rule of law. China's judicial authorities handle cases in accordance with law and protect the suspects and defendants' lawful rights. The alleged cases of "disappearance" or "torture" are simply non-existent. We urge the special procedures of the Human Rights Council to abide by purposes and principles of the UN Charter, fulfill their mandate in a just and objective manner, stop meddling in other countries' domestic affairs and judicial sovereignty, and take concrete actions to help advance the sound development of the international human rights cause.
The International Criminal Court prosecutor’s decision on China and Xinjiang: “no basis to proceed” | The China Collection It’s important to understand what this determination means and doesn’t mean. Most importantly, it doesn’t mean that the Office has determined that genocide and crimes against humanity, violations of the Rome Statute governing the ICC, are not taking place (para. 73). Nor does it mean that other violations of international human rights law and international refugee law are not taking place (para. 74). What it does mean is that the Office determined that it did not have jurisdiction over the acts alleged, even assuming for the sake of argument that they occurred
Ten years since Arab Spring, the US leaves a mess, ruin in Middle East with interference, imposing ‘Western democracy’ - Global Times Ten years on from the Arab Spring - a string of uprisings across the Middle East that first started in Tunisia - how has the Middle East fared? While some governments have been overthrown, the reforms many once demanded still seem to be a far-fetched dream. Some countries have even entered an era of more turbulence and insecurity.Are the people living in those countries satisfied with their current situations? The Global Times reporters talked to people in Tunisia, Egypt and Syria to gauge how some see the outcomes of the Arab Spring...
朱利安·葛威兹：美国并没有走向衰败，美国应向中国证明这一点-朱利安·葛維茲 Guancha translates Julian Gewirtz's recent piece for Foreign Affairs "China Thinks America Is Losing. Washington Must Show Beijing It’s Wrong". The comments are harsh
以党的政治建设为统领 奋力打造国际新型主流媒体--党建-人民网 China Daily is striving to build a new international mainstream media under the guidance of the party's political construction
China Building Massive Myanmar Border Wall: Reports – The Diplomat According to a report in Radio Free Asia (RFA), the giant undertaking has been codenamed the “Southern Great Wall” and began construction earlier this year. According to the RFA report, stretches 659 kilometers of the barrier have so far been completed. The reports have been accompanied by social media images from the town of Wanding and the city of Ruili – both of which sit on the border between Yunnan province and Myanmar’s Shan State – that appear to show reinforced steel fences topped with barbed-wire.
China's Long March-8 rocket in position for test flight - ECNS Long March-8 rocket, a new model that is potentially reusable, was delivered to Wenchang Space Launch Center on Wednesday. It will make a test flight by the end of December.
Xi Focus: Xi signs order to release revised military metrology regulations - Xinhua The regulations put in place metrology management, technology and supervision systems featuring overall optimization, coordination and high efficiency to ensure work related to military metrology is carried out in a procedure-based manner in full. The regulations, with nine chapters and 44 articles, will take effect on Jan. 1, 2021
中央军委主席习近平签署命令 发布新修订的《军队计量条例》--新闻报道-人民网 The "Regulations" thoroughly implement Xi Jinping Thought on a Strong Military
Chinese FM to address meeting on int'l B&R cooperation - Xinhua Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend and address the opening ceremony of the 2020 meeting of the Advisory Council of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) via video link on Dec. 18
CPC leadership is fundamental guarantee for poverty alleviation: FM spokesperson - Xinhua British economist Jim O'Neill, chairman of the London-based think tank Chatham House, said recently that China's achievements in poverty alleviation might be "due to a combination" of factors, including clear prioritization and commitment from the Chinese government and industrialization. Spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a daily news briefing that O'Neill's remarks reflect the fact that the CPC puts people front and center, and that the leadership of the CPC is the fundamental guarantee for the Chinese people to shake off poverty.
Hong Kong and Macao
Hong Kong political newbie Bauhinia Party dismisses fears over mainland China roots, says mission is to mend rifts | South China Morning Post Organisation has aroused suspicions among pro-Beijing groups that it aims to supplant them, while others question whether members are secretly serving the Communist Party But a co-founder tells the Post the party seeks only to move Hong Kong past political gridlock and solve a failure in governance so causes of anti-government protests can be addressed
US mission in Taiwan condemns ‘disinformation’ regarding safety of American pork | Reuters The United States’ de facto embassy in Taiwan on Thursday decried “disinformation” from politicians about food safety, amid a contentious decision by the island’s government to allow imports of American pork treated with a leanness-enhancing additive.
China puts tanks to the test in a mock street battle for Taiwan | South China Morning Post The People’s Liberation Army would deploy two of its main battle tanks in street combat in a possible war against Taiwan, according to mainland Chinese state television reporting on a recent military exercise. In a documentary aired by CCTV last week, Type 96A main battle tanks and Type 04 infantry fighting vehicles were shown engaged in a mock combat exercise
Tech and Media
Yicai - WeChat, Autohome, Other Apps Are Forcing Too Many Ads on Surfers, Shanghai Watchdog Says An excessive number of mobile applications now have embedded advertisements that cannot be closed with a simple click, infringing the rights of consumers, according to a Shanghai consumer watchdog group. Social messaging app WeChat and car service platform Autohome, backed by internet giant Tencent Holdings, are among the offenders.
Budget smartphone brand Gionee made more than US$4 million after employees infected 20 million phones with malware | South China Morning Post Employees of a Gionee subsidiary were sentenced to 3 to 3.5 years in prison this week for installing malware on the company’s phones
Video games get age-based ratings in China under new guidelines long sought by parents and gamers upset by censorship | South China Morning Post The China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association (CADPA), a government-backed industry group, revealed the new system at the Chinese Games Industry Annual Conference (China GIAC) in Guangzhou on Wednesday. Formally known as the Online Game Age-Appropriateness Warning, the new standards have officially entered a pilot phase, said Zhang Yijun, the first deputy chairman of CADPA.
Analysis: China to crank up anti-trust heat on Big Tech after unprecedented fines | Reuters China’s market regulator is now gearing up to put more transactions under scrutiny, reversing a once laissez-faire approach towards its vast internet space. The regulator is particularly keen to “make an example” of a $3.5 billion plan for search engine Sogou Inc to be taken private by shareholder Tencent Holdings, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said.
All Huawei products to use HarmonyOS - China Daily Huawei Technologies Co said on Wednesday that it plans to expand its in-house operating system HarmonyOS to all of its self-developed products, including smartphones and tablets next year, as the Chinese technology giant accelerates its push to build a robust app ecosystem amid the US government restrictions. Yang Haisong, vice-president of the software department at Huawei's consumer business group, said that, so far, more than 100,000 software developers have participated in HarmonyOS' development projects and the number of hardware partners has risen from five to 10.
GOG Bails On Selling Taiwanese Horror Game Devotion - Kotaku In February of last year Devotion, a Taiwanese horror game, was pulled from Steam after a controversy regarding a hidden Easter egg. Today GOG, the online PC gaming store run by CD Projekt, announced it would be selling Devotion. Then, hours later, declared it would not...Devotion’s hidden piece of art that caused so much fuss last year contained what news reports at the time described as “an ancient style of writing” that read “Xi Jinping” and “Winnie the Pooh”
Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History
The Young Teacher Determined to Talk Sex - Gushi Written under an alias, this close look at a young teacher’s campaign to put sex ed on the agenda in the mountainous Daliangshan region—known for its concentration of ethnic Yi, or Nuosuo residents—won top prize at the 2020 summer writing camp organized by We Are People with Stories (WeChat ID: wmsygsdr).
Finding Yingying Review: A Scary Documentary About Globalism Gone Bad | IndieWire A handcrafted and haunting documentary about what happened after 26-year-old Zhang Yingying disappeared from the University of Illinois.
Energy, Environment, Science and Health
Yicai - Over 73,000 Chinese Nationals Have Returned by Charter Flights During Covid-19 China has arranged 351 charter flights to repatriate citizens stranded in 92 countries, including Italy, the UK, South Africa, Iran, and the US, Cui Aimin, director-general of the consular affairs department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a press conference today.
Yicai - Shanghai Sets Up USD7.6 Billion Fund to Put City at Forefront of Vaccine Research Shanghai has launched a CNY50 billion (USD7.6 billion) investment fund to turn the city into a cutting-edge biopharmaceutical hub, with a particular focus on the development of Covid-19 vaccines, Xinhua News Agency reported today.
East China Government Admits It Can't Clean Up Algae-Infested Lake on Time - Caixin Lake Tai, in East China’s Jiangsu province, made international headlines in 2007 when pollution from nearby factories caused plant-like algae to proliferate and prompted authorities to cut the water supply to millions of people. The government later ordered the closure of many nearby factories and issued a plan aiming to slash levels of pollutants including phosphorus, a key nutrient for algae, in the lake by the end of 2020.
Beijing rolls out e-certificates for medical services - China Daily Beijing residents can use their electronic certificates of social security to access medical services at all designated hospitals across the city from Jan 1 without the need to take the social security cards along with them...At present, Beijing residents must take their social security cards while going to hospitals, and if not, the medical expenses are not reimbursed immediately, or they have to go to social insurance agencies for manual reimbursement. // "Beijing residents"