President Tsai's inauguration; People's Leader Xi; Two sessions starting; One helmet, one road
|Bill Bishop||May 20|| 5|
Congratulations to Tsai Ing-wen on the start of her second term as President of Taiwan.
US Secretary of State Pompeo issued a statement that was read at her inauguration [Note: I previously wrote in error that he called] and Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger recorded a video message that played during her inauguration ceremony. Officials in Beijing are very unhappy, and their reactions should be another reminder that Taiwan remains perhaps the most dangerous part of the deteriorating US-China relationship.
President Trump tweeted about “some wacko in China” this morning:
I still have not figured out to whom exactly he was referring, but if you know please let me know.
And CGTN has released another video mocking Pompeo:
None of this is normal, whatever normal is these days. I wish I had something more insightful to write for you but my heard hurts too much from banging it against my desk.
Thanks for reading.
The Essential Eight
1. The two sessions
Lou Jiwei, a former finance minister, said in a speech last month that China’s budget deficit, pending approval by the congress, could exceed Rmb3tn, or 16 per cent of fiscal revenue this year thanks to tax cuts and the economic downturn.
The NPC could also approve more than Rmb1tn in special treasury bonds and a doubling of infrastructure bonds to Rmb4tn this year from 2019, according to CICC, a brokerage.
China is likely to announce a slew of reform measures to facilitate the development of private enterprises at the upcoming annual session of the top legislature, experts and business leaders said on Tuesday.
With the idea of fair competition at the core, the measures will not only help stabilize the private economy and employment, but also inject new momentum for high-quality growth, they said.
Their comments are based on a new guideline unveiled on Monday, which sets the reform path to create an institutional environment that can accelerate improving socialist market economy in a new era.
Acting as the framework for China's future economic reforms, the guideline cited the word "privately-owned" 11 times and called for systemic reforms to ensure equal treatment to enterprises of different ownership types.
“Beijing feels security threats posed by the US and other foreign countries are increasing, so the People’s Liberation Army wants a budget increase to support its military modernization and combat-ready training,” said Song Zhongping, a Hong Kong-based military commentator and former officer in the PLA...
Although the actual size of China’s defense budgets are a matter of dispute, military insiders say the PLA will want to match or exceed last year’s 7.5% growth rate – with one estimating a 9% jump.
"Having a civil code will be another crucial milestone in developing a socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics," said Wang Yi, dean of the law school at Renmin University of China. "It will greatly boost the modernization of China's system and capacity for governance."..
In December 2019, a complete draft civil code was unveiled.
Then the draft was posted online to solicit public opinions.
A total of 13,718 people submitted 114,574 pieces of advice from late December to late January, said Yue Zhongming, spokesman for the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee.
Zhang Mingqi of the China Law Society on page 9 of the Wednesday People's Daily on the importance of the new civil code 民法典 that will pass at the upcoming NPC
The Xinhua piece highlighted in yesterday's newsletter was on page 1 of the Wednesday People's Daily.
"Story of Xi Jinping's poverty alleviation", opens and concludes referring to him as "People's Leader 人民领袖"
Each touching story connects the indissoluble bond between the people's leader and the cause of poverty alleviation...
From the educated youth who came to Liangjiahe to the People ’s Leader who serves the country for the people, Comrade Xi Jinping walked the winding mountain roads , the rural roads covered with snow and snow, and the field trails among the rolling waves of wheat ... … In both the wind and the rain, going forward....
Lawmakers are expected to rubber-stamp government plans for resuscitating the domestic economy and approve China’s first unified civil code of law. The civil code is meant to improve legal protections for citizens, companies and other organizations by updating statutes and making it easier for courts to apply them consistently. Some legal scholars have voiced skepticism about whether the new code could be implemented equitably, given the Communist Party’s control of Chinese courts and routine intimidation of lawyers deemed to be straying from the party’s interests.
With the Trump administration leading the charge against China and attempting to hold it to account for the pandemic, many policymakers in the United States view Xi as particularly vulnerable and this moment as an opportunity to take aim at the party.
But that view could hardly be more different from the perspective inside China: Xi is emerging from this crisis not weaker, but stronger.
“My view is that he’s gotten nothing but stronger out of this situation, and he will probably use the NPC to bolster his power and influence in the system,” said Christopher Johnson, a former China analyst at the CIA who now runs the China Strategies Group consultancy.
“I think we’re going to see some horn-tooting because they can’t help themselves,” he said, referring to the party’s effort to contrast its coronavirus response with that of Western nations.
Already challenged by the long economic slowdown and the U.S.-China trade war, those goals are suddenly being pushed out of reach by the coronavirus pandemic. That reality is expected to be clear this week at the annual meeting of the legislature, the biggest political event of the year in China: Xi’s government may avoid giving a numerical growth target for the first time in decades as the world’s second-largest economy braces for its worst performance in the post-Mao era.
“This has put great pressure on Xi, who has personally advocated such goals under his watch,” said Gu Su, a professor of philosophy and law at Nanjing University. “Anybody with basic economic knowledge knows they’re not viable.”
Beijing municipal officials vowed on Sunday that not a single mishap would occur during the seven-day two sessions. Departments are urged to act decisively in ensuring the safety of the capital city, and resolutely prevent and eliminate all possible risks. Beijing is still in "wartime" mode against the epidemic, officials stressed at a press conference.
Tsai's inauguration speech, with English translation
In the face of complex and changing cross-strait circumstances, we have made the greatest effort to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait over the past four years, gaining approval from the international community. We will continue these efforts, and we are willing to engage in dialogue with China and make more concrete contributions to regional security.
Here, I want to reiterate the words “peace, parity, democracy, and dialogue.” We will not accept the Beijing authorities’ use of “one country, two systems” to downgrade Taiwan and undermine the cross-strait status quo. We stand fast by this principle...
Cross-strait relations have reached a historical turning point. Both sides have a duty to find a way to coexist over the long term and prevent the intensification of antagonism and differences. Faced with changing circumstances, I will hold firm to my principles, adopt an open attitude to resolve issues, and shoulder my responsibilities as President. I also hope that the leader on the other side of the Strait will take on the same responsibility, and work with us to jointly stabilize the long-term development of cross-strait relations.
According to a statement released by the ministry, Pompeo has called Tsai "Taiwan's president" and hyped up the U.S.-Taiwan "partnership" in his statement on Tsai's inauguration. Some U.S. officials and politicians also sent video congratulations to Tsai.
"The above-mentioned moves constitute a severe violation of the one-China principle and the three China-U.S. joint communiques, and a serious interference in China's internal affairs. China expresses strong indignation and condemnation over such moves," said the statement...
"We'd like to warn the U.S. side that 'Taiwan independence' has no way out. Indulging and supporting such forces is doomed to fail," said the statement, adding that any action that undermines China's core interests and interferes in China's internal affairs will meet vigorous countermeasures by China and will not stop the historical trend of China's reunification...
"China will take necessary countermeasures against the above-mentioned erroneous moves of the United States. The consequences arising therefrom shall be taken by the U.S. side,"
Matt Pottinger sends a video message to the Tsai inauguration
Interesting reference to Fang Lizhi, definitely pushing some Beijing buttons
There is no way out to bank on foreign forces to build themselves up, and it is doomed to be futile to contain China with Taiwan. The "Taiwan independence" secessionist forces and their acts go against the great interests of the nation and will leave behind historical imprints of notoriety. The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has the strong will, full confidence and sufficient capability to thwart any form of external interference and any separatist attempts for "Taiwan independence". The PLA will take all necessary measures to firmly safeguard China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, safeguard peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits.
The diplomatic landscape could end up like this: Taiwan's allies will be cut to zero, and only Washington is likely to give it some preferential treatment. But this preferential treatment, if it violates the Anti-Secession law, this would mean the end of all previous games on Taiwan question overnight.
China is becoming more powerful, and our ability to claim sovereignty over Taiwan is certainly growing. At this time, the US and Taiwan want to play petty tricks at a low cost, which is too naive. We will make them feel pain in some places that they can't think of.
Taiwan Major General Chung-Bao Hsieh [中華民國陸軍少將謝宗保] briefs the U.S. Army Indo-Pacific Landpower Conference on experiences dealing with COVID-19
two Members of Parliament from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were among the dignitaries from 41 countries who sent in messages of congratulation that were played at the inaugural ceremony.
Japan called Taiwan an "extremely important partner" in this year's annual foreign policy report submitted Tuesday, a step forward from last year's description of "crucial partner and an important friend."
The wording seen in Diplomatic Bluebook 2020, presented by Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi to the cabinet, emphasized the relationship amid mounting tensions over the self-governed island's status.
Symbolic of the shift in weight, the bluebook devoted a full page to Taiwan, twice as much space as the 2019 edition.
3. Hong Kong
Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said on Tuesday that it is a "disappointment" that the city has failed to perform the constitutional duty of enacting national security legislation according to Article 23 of the Basic Law since the SAR's return to the motherland almost 23 years ago.
Lam made the remark to reporters ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting.
In Hong Kong, our decision on whether or not to certify Hong Kong as having “a high degree of autonomy” from China is still pending. We’re closely watching what’s going on there.
This week pro-democracy legislators were man-handled while trying to stop a procedural irregularity by pro-Beijing legislators. Leading Hong Kong activists like Martin Lee and Jimmy Lai were hauled into court. Actions like these make it more difficult to assess that Hong Kong remains highly autonomous from mainland China
"It is obvious that Beijing has decided that they have no more patience for Hong Kong, that enough is enough," said Claudia Mo, a pro-democracy lawmaker whose colleagues were dragged from the legislature by security guards when they challenged the pro-Beijing camp's takeover of the committee.
“We are now at the end of Hong Kong as we know. [Beijing is] telling Hong Kong people that it can do anything it wants, at whatever cost, and that it couldn’t care less about the consequences.”
Initium piece says Beijing is less pushing a "cultural revolution" in Hong Kong than "Party consolidation"
The restaurants are part of what Hong Kongers call the “yellow economic circle,” a loose affiliation of thousands of businesses that support the movement calling for universal suffrage and other political and legal rights not available to Chinese on the mainland. (The yellow is a nod to the American suffragists of the 1800s, who chose the color to identify their cause.) Starting last year with a handful of eateries that would sometimes offer free drinks and food to pro-democracy protesters, the circle has expanded to include hair salons, florists, printers, pet groomers, accountants, lawyers, opticians, van delivery, pharmacies, tailors, jewelers, and more. It even has its own chamber of commerce.
4. The outbreak
The Chinese mainland recorded four new domestic COVID-19 cases and one new imported case on Tuesday, according to China's National Health Commission (NHC). No new deaths were reported.
The commission also registered 16 new asymptomatic patients.
ThePaper reports that authorities in Shulan still have determined the source of the current outbreak
compared with 467,847 a day earlier
The China Association for Science and Technology, a government-backed organisation, asked its members to contribute to the WHO’s collection of data in an open letter on its website on Tuesday.
“The CAST calls on all relevant publishers to proactively participate in building the WHO’s Covid-19 database, and to authorise the WHO to use their original metadata and journal papers,” the letter said.
The Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) recently issued guidelines on improving services for foreign enterprises, as well as attracting investments, stabilizing foreign trade and foreign investment, and stimulating consumption. It also established a working mechanism with relevant departments and local governments to timely spot and address foreign enterprises’ difficulties in work resumption.
The film festival was earlier scheduled to be held from June 13 to 22 this year. The organizer is to release the new schedule in the near future.
The instruction was given at a meeting of the leading group of China's COVID-19 epidemic response, which was chaired by Premier Li Keqiang...
Noting the risks of cluster cases in some regions, the meeting said a certain number of asymptomatic cases remain, and no relaxation is allowed in epidemic prevention and control.
The group urged further expanding nucleic acid tests to identify asymptomatic infections promptly, adding that information should be released with openness and transparency...
After hearing a report on the epidemic prevention and control during the May Day holiday, the group said consumption of food and accommodation has seen fast resumption during the holiday, with effective epidemic prevention and control measures implemented.
Based on such achievements, the resumption of service industries should be accelerated to meet people's needs, according to the meeting
In this edition of Depth of Field, we highlight Chinese visual storytellers’ coverage of COVID-19 inside China.
Qiu Haibo, an expert with China’s CDC who is advising the Jilin province in handling the new outbreak, told CCTV that the gene sequences suggest the virus in Jilin and Heilongjiang is imported from overseas and the symptoms they caused are different than those in Hubei. Qiu said compared with those native cases in Hubei, the cases in Jilin and Heilongjiang displayed milder symptoms and they stayed asymptomatic for a longer period of time.
Patients found in the northern provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang appear to carry the virus for a longer period of time and take longer to test negative, Qiu Haibo, one of China’s top critical care doctors, told state television on Tuesday.
Patients in the northeast also appear to be taking longer than the one to two weeks observed in Wuhan to develop symptoms after infection, and this delayed onset is making it harder for authorities to catch cases before they spread, said Qiu, who is now in the northern region treating patients.
Will the CCTV attacks on the US pause for the two sessions? Still going Wednesday, another in the long series of "international sharp commentaries". This one - "Do American politicians who lie continuously want to be known throughout history as "the king of passing the buck"? -[视频]国际锐评：谎话连篇的美国政客想给历史留下“甩锅大王”之名吗?_CCTV
PLA Daily has started a series of commentaries attacking US politicians for blame shifting. This article, by “Jun Sheng” (voice of military), said the vicious attacks on China and the WHO can’t conceal the fact that it is Washington’s mishandling that led to the massive outbreak in America. It even quotes Abraham Lincoln 美国前总统亚伯拉罕·林肯曾说：“最高明的骗子，可能在某个时刻欺骗所有人，也可能在所有时刻欺骗某些人，但不可能在所有时刻欺骗所有的人 You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time"
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday questioned Washington's intensive deployment of biological laboratories in countries neighboring China and Russia, as well as its unwillingness to disclose the biological experiments being performed in those facilities...
What threats to humanity are being hidden in those suspicious biological labs? It is a question that needs to be honestly answered by Washington, especially when the world faces a major threat to its public health safety.
Specifically, the statute would require a foreign company to certify it’s not owned or manipulated by a foreign government if the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board is unable to audit specified reports because the company uses a foreign accounting firm not subject to inspection by the board. If the board is unable to inspect the company’s accounting firm for three consecutive years, the issuer’s securities are banned from trade on a national exchange...
The bill’s passage via unanimous consent around noon reflects the growing anger among U.S. lawmakers toward China, its handling of the Covid-19 outbreak and what many American regulators say is a persistent disregard of American financial disclosure standards.
Even if he loses in November, Mr Trump will go down as a landmark president. He hardened the US line on China in a way that now appears irreversible. Mr Biden’s job is to persuade voters who salute Mr Trump for that feat that his usefulness has been served. Identifying a rival takes pugnacity and even a certain paranoia: maybe no other president could have done it. But the same traits disqualify him from the patient, nuanced work of building and tending a non-China bloc.
Since January, the percentage of U.S. voters who say China is an “enemy” has risen 11 percentage points to 31 percent, while the percentage of voters who say China is either an ally or friend has fallen 9 points to a combined 23 percent, a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll shows. The 30 percent who say China is unfriendly but not an enemy has held about constant in the past five months...
Republicans are the most critical of China, with 55 percent saying the U.S. should hold China accountable even at the expense of cooperation on the coronavirus. Only 25 percent of independents and 12 percent of Democrats agree with this view.
By moving swiftly, Shenzhen-based BGI Group won hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts with traditional U.S. allies including Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Now the U.S. is warning those countries that they may be giving Beijing access to highly prized personal data that will propel economies of the future...
A U.S. official described BGI to Bloomberg as the “Huawei of genomics,”
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Kelly Craft called on China “to validate its claims of global leadership in combating COVID-19” by supporting “a resolution to allow the U.N. to combat this pandemic by delivering life-saving aid cross-border” into Syria.
Responding, China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun said Beijing urged the United States to focus on global efforts to fight the virus, “stop playing political games and really focus on saving lives and stop diverting (from) its own responsibilities to other countries.”
According to its May 17 posting, the account, “yuguisuibi” by name, found that among the recent 40 Global Times’ daily front page editorials, titles of 29 articles carry the words “the United States.” The proportion is as high as 72.5 percent. The figure was, however, only 18, or 45 percent, out of 40 editorials over the same time period last year.
Zheng Yongnian says US-China relations are even worse than being in free fall
In the speech, which was shared with Axios ahead of delivery, Hawley will articulate his own vision of America First.
“The international order as we have known it for thirty years is breaking. Now imperialist China seeks to remake the world in its own image, and to bend the global economy to its own will.”
“Are we in this nation willing to witness the slow destruction of the free world? Are we willing to watch our own way of life, our own liberties and livelihoods, grow dependent on the policy of Beijing?”
“Now we must recognize that the economic system designed by Western policy makers at the end of the Cold War does not serve our purposes in this new era."
6. Wang Wen on the “awakening of the Chinese people”
Obviously, the COVID-19 fight is changing Chinese people's social and political values. It is like the Enlightenment, and Chinese people are experiencing a new spiritual awakening that is surpassing Western neoliberalism. When China opened up more than 40 years ago, individualism and liberalism flooded into the country. The emancipation of minds and protection of rights attracted Chinese people. We have to admit that these new thoughts, which originated from the process of Western modernization hundreds of years ago, have contributed to the success of China's reform and opening-up.
But wise Chinese people have perfectly combined their domestic cultural traditions with foreign ideologies. They have balanced this delicate relationship between freedom and restriction, market and government, reform and stability, capital and welfare, and individualism and collectivism. Every time when our country faces difficulties, those cultural characteristics that benefit China's development will be highlighted.
After the 2008 financial crisis, Chinese people fully reflected on Western countries' economic, financial and political model under neoliberalism. They confidently found China's own advantages. The Washington Consensus went bankrupt in China, and the Chinese approach was often quoted by the world...
it is a pity that a lot of US media and politicians still regard these Chinese experiences as a rebellion, revolution or even evil. This is undoubtedly ideological discrimination.
Fortunately, a group of international scholars, including Martin Jacques, Kishore Mahbubani, Daniel A. Bell and John Ross, have started to restudy China. Hopefully there will be more and more such foreign scholars. Those certain US media and politicians that underestimate the awakening of Chinese people will eventually pay for their own mistakes.
Dr. WANG used to be a Chief Op-eds Editor and Editorial Writer at Global Times, one of the most best-selling newspapers under the People’s Daily, and won the China News Awards in 2011. He has authored, co-authored, translated and contributed to more than 30 books, including "Great Power’s Long March Road: The views of China's rejuvenation and the future of the world after hundred countries’ visit"
7. Foreign work
China will continue to support Myanmar and Bangladesh to fight the COVID-19 pandemic at its best in terms of medical supplies and teams of medics based on their needs, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday during separate phone calls with Myanmar's President U Win Myint and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
In promoting its conspiracy theories, China exploits Russia’s propaganda apparatus. RT and Sputnik, pro-Kremlin media outlets, are among the top five most-retweeted non-Chinese news outlets by China’s state-funded media. Several individuals associated with pro-Kremlin websites are among the top 100 accounts most frequently retweeted by Chinese state funded media and diplomats. Meanwhile, in recent weeks, RT and Sputnik have praised China’s assistance to European countries such as Serbia, while criticizing Europe’s lackluster responses to the virus. RT has also run stories calling European solidarity “a myth,” and the European Union’s initial assistance to Italy as “largely inadequate.”
China, post-COVID-19, will be operating in a very different external environment. It may wish to recall what Kissinger told the White House staff in July 1971 after his trip to the country: “The Chinese style is impressive. The Russians will fight you for every nickel and dime, and elbow you at every level, and lose a million dollars of goodwill in the process. The Chinese have a sense of the longer trends and focus on that, not on ploymanship.” The Chinese appear to have lost that style. If they cannot regain it, the ship of diplomacy could be dragged further afar from the shore on the receding tide.
Vijay Gokhale is a former Foreign Secretary of India and a former Ambassador to China
China’s authoritarian rulers are presenting themselves as a viable rival to democracy and have played the UK economically, Stephen Kinnock, Labour’s foreign policy spokesman on China, has said.
In a significant hardening of the party’s stance towards China, he also described David Cameron’s golden era of engagement with China as “an abject failure”, adding the UK has been naive about China’s intentions.
Rather than allow itself to be frustrated by what it perceives as unfair criticisms, China needs to understand and sympathize with dissenting voices in the course of upholding its international responsibilities. And a more low-key approach to publicity might be in order. Historically, China itself has associated receiving aid with weakness, so it should come as no surprise that other countries might feel the same way. Besides, even if China’s earlier success in controlling the coronavirus was facilitated by aid and supplies from abroad, it ultimately came down to its own hard work and sacrifices made by millions of Chinese. The same is true of Italy, South Korea, Germany, and all the other countries that have “flattened the curve,” thanks to the work of their policymakers and residents.
Second is to form international synergy. President Xi Jinping stressed, solidarity and cooperation is our most powerful weapon for defeating the virus. Helping developing countries, African countries in particular, build capacity must be our top priority in COVID-19 response. The world needs to provide more material, technological and personnel support for African countries. The World Health Organization should lead the global response. To support WHO is to support international cooperation and the battle for saving lives as well. China calls on the international community to increase political and financial support for WHO. Such gestures showcase the great importance China attaches to African countries and China’s firm support for the United Nations and WHO. It will help pool the concerted efforts of the international community and mobilize resources worldwide to defeat the virus.
Ambassador Zhang also expressed appreciation for the good efforts made by CCCEU and its member companies in supporting the response to the pandemic in China and Europe. Ambassador Zhang said that since the outbreak, China and the EU have been in close cooperation and lent each other a helping hand, providing strong support for each other and the global fight against the virus. Despite the impact of the pandemic, the major agenda of China-EU cooperation is still in good shape and moving forward steadily. The two sides continue to move in the right direction. Going forward, cooperation between China and the EU will be further enhanced, expanded and diversified.
The International Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on Tuesday sent messages to foreign political parties to introduce the practices and results of resuming work and production in China in the course of implementing regular COVID-19 prevention and control measures.
8. “One helmet, one road” causes spike in helmet prices
The Ministry of Public Security had a good idea to require helmets for people riding motorcycles and electric bikes starting June 1, in what they call the “一盔一带 One helmet, one road” safety campaign. They forgot though that there are a lot of heads in China, far more than the helmet production capacity, so of course there has been a huge surge in helmet prices before the June 1 deadline.
under new rules announced last month, from June 1 every time a rider takes to one of the nation’s more than 250 million registered battery-powered bikes, they’ll be required to wear a helmet or risk being fined.
It will be easier said than done. According to research from Guojin Securities, China’s biggest helmet manufacturers can turn out around 2,000 per day, and there’s very little unused capacity. The firm puts China’s demand gap at about 200 million helmets...
The “One Helmet, One Belt” campaign, its name a nod to China’s signature Belt and Road foreign policy and investment initiative, is intended to bring down traffic deaths. But its short implementation timeline and ambitious scale is creating chaos in China’s helmet market, sparking an acute supply shortage and sending prices through the roof.
Since the policy was announced on April 21, the price of breathable helmets used in the summertime has more than doubled, while the cost of warmer winter helmets is up as much as fourfold
Now the MPS says it will not fine people on electric bikes who are not wearing helmets, just ones on motorcycles
Business, Economy and Trade
China’s Total Domestic Debt Hit 317% of GDP by April for Record Quarterly Increase: IFF – China Banking News The report published by the Washington-headquartered IFF in May indicates that China’s total domestic debt reached 317% of GDP in the first quarter of 2020. The 17 point increase compared to 300% in the final quarter of 2019 marks the largest quarterly rise on record, during the period of China’s peak struggle to contain the spread of COVID-19. Figures from Chinese think tank the National Institution for Finance and Development (NIFD) point to total debt of 245.4% of GDP as of the end of 2019, for a rise of 6.1 percentage points compared to the preceding year.
China’s private firms demand tighter oversight of local governments as virus causes spike in late payments | South China Morning Post China should establish a system to monitor the finances of cash-strapped local governments that fail to pay private businesses on time, fed up company executives say, a problem that is growing worse as the coronavirus ravages the economy. Governments with low creditworthiness scores could be punished, and jurisdictions banned from starting new projects, according to the proposals.
High-Tech Push Boosts China’s Chipmakers - WSJ $$ Chinese semiconductor stocks have soared recently, as investors bet these companies will benefit from Beijing’s quest for high-tech self-reliance.
中金: 产业链会转移出中国吗？ China International Capital Corporation wrote in a new research paper that it will be difficult, at least for now, for foreign companies to “decouple” with China, given that China has such a big consumption market, its advantages in a rather complete value chain and a big talent pool. The paper said for the long term, if China can continue its opening and reform policies, it needs not to worry too much about the decoupling. For investment strategies, the report said China will from now on put more focus on domestic consumption, industry upgrades and technology self-reliance.
中信证券：张岸元：大脱钩场景下的人民币国际化命题 Zhang Anyuan, a former official at the NDRC and now chief economist at the China Securities admitted in a latest analysis that China’s push for RMB internationalization has not made much progress and there are more difficulties ahead.
Yicai - China to Spend USD113 Billion Extra on Transport to Revive Economy, Minister Says China plans to spend an additional CNY800 billion (USD113 billion) on transport infrastructure this year in order to help hedge against the impact of Covid-19 by stimulating employment and consumption, according to the nation’s Minister of Transport. The move will take total spend transport spending to CNY2.7 trillion (USD380 billion) this year, still CNY500 billion less than last year, Li Xiaopeng said yesterday.
CBIRC Commits to Further Squeeze on Shadow Banking Following 16 Trillion Yuan Decline – China Banking News On 18 May a CBIRC official said to domestic media that the authority would “further improve improve shadow banking regulatory mechanisms, and prevent a rebound and return of risk.” According to CBIRC its shadow banking crackdown has reduced shadow banking activity by 16 trillion yuan over the past three years, most of which was comprised of “high-risk operations that were structurally complex or involved significant regulatory arbitrage.”
US semiconductor giant shuts China factory hailed as ‘a miracle’, in blow to Beijing’s chip plans | South China Morning Post US chip giant GlobalFoundries has halted operations at a joint venture factory in China, the company has confirmed, dealing a potential blow to China’s bid to own a bigger slice of the global semiconductor market.
China Keeps Germany’s Car Makers in the Fast Lane - WSJ $$ Having skidded to a halt in February, Chinese vehicle sales are rebounding—particularly at the luxury end of the market. Premium brands clocked year-over-year growth of 13.6% in April, according to insurance sales tracked by brokerage Bernstein, bringing the decline for the first four coronavirus-stricken months of 2020 to just 14.2%. Bernstein’s feedback from dealers suggests demand remains strong this month.
Yicai - Over Half of China's Logistics Firms Fell Into the Red in First Quarter, Survey Shows Nearly 80 percent of firms in China’s logistics and supply chain service sector did not resume operations until March 1, according to a report by the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing. Finances are tight, they said. Almost 10 percent of those surveyed responded that money is ‘very tight,’ while 40 percent said they have less to play with than the same period last year.
China’s Pigs Gobble Up Brazilian Soybeans - Caixin Brazil is expected to export about 84 million tons of soybeans in the 2019-2020 marketing year from October 2019 to September 2020, up nearly 10 million tons from the previous marketing year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in a Tuesday report.
China's central bank, market regulator sign data sharing MoU - Xinhua China's central bank said on Wednesday that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the State Administration for Market Regulation on data sharing and cooperation to enhance the regular flow and integrated use of data across regions and departments...The central bank expects the MoU to boost information sharing between the financial sector and areas related to people's livelihood and enhance the effective integration and in-depth use of data. It also aims to improve financial services for small firms, targeted poverty alleviation and social security as well as solve financing challenges.
Politics and Law
Keep Commercial Livestreams Aboveboard, Xinhua Warns Officials | Sixth Tone To help rural economies stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, officials have taken to livestreaming platforms in droves to promote and sell their constituents’ local specialties, from produce to handicrafts, all over China. Unfortunately, some seem to have gotten carried away, inflating sales figures as well as viewership data, according to a commentary published Sunday by the state-run Xinhua News Agency.
Xi's discourses on fighting formalities for formalities' sake, bureaucratism published - Xinhua A compilation of discourses of Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, on taking tough action against the practice of formalities for formalities' sake and bureaucratism has been published by the Central Party Literature Press. Starting with Xi's speech at a meeting summarizing a CPC education campaign themed "staying true to our founding mission," the book contains 182 paragraphs of important discourses on nine topics, many of which were published for the first time. 《习近平关于力戒形式主义官僚主义重要论述选编》出版发行—中央纪委国家监委网站
Xi Focus: Xi urges Maonan people to continue to strive for better life - Xinhua Xi..made the remarks in an instruction on the poverty elimination of the entire Maonan ethnic group. Xi said he was pleased to know that all Maonan people have shaken off poverty and their lives have improved significantly...The Maonan ethnic group is one of the country's 28 ethnic groups with a smaller population. About 70 percent of Maonan people, or 64,500, live in Huanjiang County, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. 习近平对毛南族实现整族脱贫作出重要指示
The Communist party will survive Covid-19 | Financial Times - Jamil Anderlini $$ Since February, the Communist party’s image at home has been helped immeasurably by the disastrous virus response from other major countries, especially the US and UK. Shrill rhetoric from US President Donald Trump’s regime, blaming China for the pandemic, has helped Beijing build solidarity and nationalism. Though some in the west wish China was on the cusp of open rebellion, they are likely to be disappointed.
求是：如何做好新时代青年工作 He Junke, the first secretary of the Communist Youth League, wrote in the latest Qiushi discussing “how to do well the work on the youth in the new era”. He wrote that the new generation of Chinese is more confident, better educated than they parents but also have the problems of overspending and not hardworking. He pointed out that there are now more rural youth who moved to the cities and more students who studied and returned from overseas; they are more hooked to the internet and they have more demands. He said the Youth League will continue to do well the propaganda to “guide the thoughts” the youth so they will better understand the greatness of China and the CCP.
Foreign and Defense Affairs
China accuses India of trespass, Line of Actual Control heats up - The Hindu China has accused the Indian Army of crossing into its territory and of “blocking” its patrols and “attempting to unilaterally change the status” on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between the two countries in Sikkim and Ladakh. As both sides increased troop strength at points of conflict along the LAC, sources indicated that military commanders were holding talks to defuse the situation.
Chinese bring more boats to lake in Ladakh, Indians a road | India News,The Indian Express Two weeks after Indian and Chinese troops came to blows near Pangong Tso, a lake in eastern Ladakh, the Chinese have stepped up patrols and deployed more boats on the lake. They are also objecting to Indian construction of a vehicle track, and patrols beyond a certain point.
India-China conflict in Ladakh: The importance of the Pangong Tso lake | Explained News,The Indian Express Sino-Indian border dispute: Most of the clashes between the Indian and Chinese armies occur in the disputed portion of the Pangong Tso lake. As things stand, the 45 km-long western portion of the lake is under Indian control, while the rest is under China’s control.
India could suffer from speculative attitude amid China-US conflict - Global Times China-US relations are worsening amid the pandemic, while India and the US have seen tighter relations. This has pushed a growing speculative attitude among Indian politicians, the country's media and even the military, seeing it is an opportunity for India to seize benefits, such as luring foreign investment to relocate from China, seeking strong bonds with the US and gathering more bargaining chips in foreign relations with China. The Indian military has also been shoring up its strength in border areas, and since its normal military patrols, troop rotation and deployment might have been affected by the epidemic, it tends to take a tougher and even irrational attitude toward border relations - Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University
Making sense of India-China border tensions | The Hindu In Focus Podcast - The Hindu Zorawar Daulet Singh is a historian and strategic affairs scholar based in New Delhi.
Australia gets ‘slap to the face’ as global community welcomes China-sponsored resolution on COVID-19 - Global Times Some Chinese netizens also mocked Australia's attempts as it has been trying to become a martyr for defending so-called independence and transparency while its ideas are denounced by the global community. By following the steps of some US hawks who harshly attack China over coronavirus, "it seems that Australia, this giant kangaroo that serves as a dog of the US, will hit a deadlock with China on trade disputes in sectors like coal and beef. Hopefully, the US will compensate it!" one netizen said in a Weibo post on Tuesday.
China’s Pandemic-Fueled Standoff with Australia - War on the Rocks China’s attempted coercion of Australia is part of two concerning trends. It’s an acute case of Beijing’s “coronavirus information offensive” which aims to deflect criticism of the Chinese Communist Party’s handling of the pandemic, present China as a responsible global health player, and stoke uncertainty about key facts — in this case, Australia’s foreign policy independence. It is also part of Beijing’s longstanding campaign to pressure Canberra against adopting policies at odds with China’s interests and to drive a wedge through the United States-Australia alliance. Beijing’s tools of choice in both pursuits consist of disinformation, economic leverage, and targeted influence operations to shape and constrain Canberra’s policy choices. Although China’s standoff with Australia draws from a familiar playbook, it marks an escalation on past behavior insofar as the intensity, directness, and combination of disinformation and economic coercion are concerned.
Documents show China's secret extradition request for Uighur in Turkey - Axios Axios has obtained a Chinese government request sent to the Turkish government for a Uighur man who fled Xinjiang amid worsening repression.
Bayer Vietnam CEO Fined Over Disputed South China Sea Map Bayer Vietnam Chief Executive Officer Lynette Moey Yu Lin faces a fine of as much as 70 million dong ($3,007) for including a disputed map of the South China Sea in a document about the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to a post on the Ho Chi Minh City government’s website. The map reflects China’s so-called “nine-dash line” in the South China Sea, according to the post.
A Student Criticized China and Now His University Is Threatening to Expel Him - WSJ An Australian university is threatening to expel and take legal action against a student known for his criticism of Beijing, in a case that has renewed tensions over Chinese influence in higher education.
China’s Plans to Win Control of the Global Order - Tablet Magazine In their internal speeches and planning documents, China's communist party leaders describe their perceptions of this struggle quite openly: As Beijing sees it, China’s success depends on discrediting the tenets of liberal capitalism so that notions like individual freedom and constitutional democracy come to be seen as the relics of an obsolete system. To understand how China’s leaders intend to accomplish this and fully appreciate their designs for the future, we must first come to terms with how they understand themselves.
Belgium confirms inquiry into Malta-China spy threat | The Guardian Malta’s ties to China have come under the spotlight after Belgium’s intelligence services confirmed they have been investigating suspicions that Beijing has been spying from the country’s embassy opposite the European commission’s headquarters in Brussels.
Russia summits are on the cards for Xi Jinping in July | South China Morning Post Russia could be the destination for President Xi Jinping’s first overseas trip since the coronavirus hit, with plans for two regional summits still on track, providing a boost to the alliance as Beijing faces a growing backlash over the pandemic. Russian ambassador to China Andrey Denisov confirmed the schedule and said there had also been discussions about President Vladimir Putin visiting China in September, though no date had been set.
China’s dangerous double game in Myanmar — 9DASHLINE The Covid-19 pandemic has underscored Myanmar’s reliance on its giant neighbor China’s assistance in times of crisis. Beijing has delivered testing machines and medical supplies and has sent teams of doctors to work with Myanmar’s health care providers and in military hospitals. However, it had become increasingly clear prior to the outbreak of the virus that bilateral relations had largely reverted to their historic closeness, which was briefly interrupted by Myanmar’s democratic transition and short-lived opening to the west from 2010-2015.
Chinese fans of Sun Yang wipe superstar swimmer - The Australian Fans of Chinese swimmer and drug cheat Sun Yang have apologised to “all those who have been threatened and cursed” less than a month after The Weekend Australian Magazine revealed a campaign of harassment and intimidation by Sun supporters against Australian swimmer Mack Horton and his family. The Sun Yang Global Support Association announced its intention to close on Weibo, a Chinese microblogging site, the US-based Swimming World Magazine reported.
于细微处见“尊崇” - 解放军报 - 中国军网 Discussion on implementing Chairman Xi’s important guidance to “make soldiers a revered profession.” On May 16th, Zhengzhou joined Wuhan, Nanjing, Changsha, and other large cities in providing free local transportation to active duty soldiers. The formation of a Retired Soldiers Affairs Bureau; added legal protections for soldiers; and a host of smaller policies (“Military Privlege” lanes and seating areas at airports and train stations; retired soldiers’ names being put into county annals; etc.) show the great respect PRC society has for its military.
Chinese tracking vessel Yuanwang-6 sails to Pacific Ocean for multiple monitoring missions - Xinhua Yuanwang-6, commissioned in April 2008, represents the third generation of the country's Yuanwang space-tracking ships. After completing a monitoring mission of the Chang'e-4 relay satellite in July 2018, the vessel has undergone maintenance and maritime calibration tests. Yang Bianjiao, captain of Yuanwang-6, said the upcoming mission will test the vessel's new equipment and improvement in measuring and controlling operation, laying foundations for future missions including the Mars exploration and Chang'e-5 lunar probe launch.
US Air Force ramps up flyovers near China in sign of rising tension and risk of conflict between world powers | South China Morning Post In the latest announcement, the US Pacific Air Forces said on Twitter on Tuesday that B-1 bombers conducted a mission in the South China Sea, just days after training with the US Navy near Hawaii, “demonstrating the credibility of US air forces to address a diverse and uncertain security environment”.
Labor Treasurer Tim Pallas lashes out at Morrison government as China deal deadline looms - The Australian Victoria is locked in critical final-stage negotiations with Beijing over investments worth billions of dollars at the same time as its Treasurer has savaged the Morrison government’s “vilification” of China over trade and the COVID-19 pandemic. Tim Pallas’s pro-China intervention comes as the deadline for Victoria to sign an “investment road map”, which ties the state to the communist giant with extraordinarily cosy language, is just weeks away. Under Victoria’s decision to sign-up to China’s Belt and Road Initiative — in defiance of federal government security advice — key investment details are meant to be signed by the middle of 2020 following completion of a draft road map in March.
‘High alert’: After suing China over coronavirus, Missouri braced for retaliation, records show | Political Fix | stltoday.com Members of Gov. Mike Parson’s administration, in the days after the lawsuit was filed, expressed concern about cyber attacks and disruptions in shipments of personal protective equipment, or PPE, from China, according to emails obtained by the Post-Dispatch through an open records request. The emails are further evidence that officials in the Parson administration were caught off-guard by the headline-grabbing lawsuit, which the Chinese government has called “very absurd.”
Beijing’s African port ready for aircraft carriers |The Times Although China calls its presence in Djibouti a logistics base, the new 330m pier indicates a grander strategy: a forward-operating facility for Beijing’s rapidly growing “blue-water” navy that can operate around the world.
Harvesting vegetables with 'sand-to-earth' tech on S. China Sea island beach - China Military The breakthrough also counters international theories, including those in a 2016 arbitration, that islands in the South China Sea could not support communities of their own, Chen Xiangmiao, an assistant research fellow at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, told the Global Times on Tuesday. "Now China's capability of being able to support civilians on these islands would allow more people to live on the islands," Chen noted. // changing facts on the ground, one cabbage at a time
Tech and Media
Xiaomi gets first-quarter sales boost as smartphone demand rebounds - Reuters The company attributed the jump to rising prices for its just-released 5G phones in China, as well as growing sales overseas.
TikTok Owner’s Value Surpasses $100 Billion in Private Markets - Bloomberg Some trades recently valued the Chinese company between $105 billion and $110 billion on the secondary markets, some of people said. It has also traded as high as $140 billion, one person said.
TikTok parent ByteDance leads $6M round in financial AI startup Lingxi | TechCrunch TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has added Lingxi, a Beijing-based startup that applies machine intelligence to financial services such as debt collection and insurance sales, to its ever-expanding portfolio of investments.
Yicai - Alibaba Invests USD1.4 Billion to Boost Smart Speaker-Centered AIoT Ecosystem The investment is aimed at expanding the AIoT ecosystem and boosting the Tmall Genie user experience by integrating more content and services from Alibaba’s diverse ecosystem, ranging from entertainment to healthcare, education and online shopping, the Hangzhou-based company said today.
Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History
Couples clamor to get married on 'once-in-a-lifetime' date - SHINE News Shanghai lovebirds flocked to marriage registration centers across town on Wednesday, as the date May 20, 2020, sounds similar to ai ni ai ni wo ai ni, or “love you, love you, I love you,” in Chinese.
One-Third of Child Sex Abuse Happens at School, Report Suggests - Sixth Tone The reports were released at a press conference Monday, in the presence of several delegates from the National People’s Congress. The delegates are likely to raise some of the issues touched on in the reports during the “two sessions” — high-profile meetings of China’s top legislative and political advisory bodies — in the coming week.
Mao's Third Front: The Militarization of Cold War China: Meyskens, Covell F.: Amazon Drawing on a rich collection of archival documents, memoirs, and oral interviews, Covell Meyskens provides the first history of the Third Front campaign. He shows how the militarization of Chinese industrialization linked millions of everyday lives to the global Cold War, merging global geopolitics with local change.
Energy, Environment, Science and Health
All provinces in China are asked to set up P3 lab: ministries - Global Times China's economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), and two other government ministries on Wednesday issued a plan that requires every province in China to set up at least one P3 lab, and major cities to have at least one P2 lab, as part of the nation's efforts to improve its testing ability for pathogens and health hazards. Under the plan, centers for disease control and prevention at the provincial level should focus on improving their lab testing abilities, upgrading lab equipment and instruments, and strengthening their bio-safety containment capacities.
State Electricity Giant Increases Share of Cleaner Generation Capacity - Caixin As of earlier this month, State Power Investment had 155 gigawatts (GW) of total power generation capacity, with 78 GW coming from what the company called “clean” sources, which include solar, wind, nuclear and hydroelectric power, the company said at a press conference on Monday.