Progress in US-China trade talks; NBA may get a reprieve; New report on China “engineering global consent”

The US-China trade deal touted Friday is not actually a deal yet. Official Chinese media made that clear Friday and over the weekend as they said there had been substantial progress but avoided saying “deal”. President Trump confirmed that Sunday night in a series of tweets:

The tariff increases threatened for tomorrow are on hold but the existing tariffs remain in place, the threatened additional December tariffs are still on the table, and all the other non-economic tensions in the relationship continue, and at least in some areas look like they will intensify.

I hope I am wrong but it sounds like the easy stuff, things China would have mostly agreed to in 2017, are in “phase one”, while all the difficult, structural bits are kicked further down the road. This approach should give little confidence to investors or businesses that any of the fundamental issues are closer to resolution.

The NBA however may be closer to a resolution with China. The second preseason game in China played as scheduled and now Tencent is showing preseason games again, with the exception of Houston Rockets games. CCTV Sports has not yet said if they start broadcasting games again.

The NBA may have avoided a death sentence in China in part because they are so popular, cooler heads in Beijing realized how ridiculously insecure China looks, and killing the NBA barely two years away from hosting the Winter Olympics could create other problems. But the authorities have made their point and the censorship pressures will not lessen. I would expect that any other sensitive comments from team ownership, coaches or management will result in a Rockets-style punishment for that team in China, while individual players who speak out “inappropriately” will lose all their China-related revenue streams. Who in the NBA, or other leagues or corporations, is going to risk that?

The “anaconda in the chandelier”, as Perry Link wrote in 2002, has gone global:

the Chinese government’s censorial authority in recent times has resembled not so much a man-eating tiger or fire-snorting dragon as a giant anaconda coiled in an overhead chandelier. Normally the great snake doesn’t move. It doesn’t have to. It feels no need to be clear about its prohibitions. Its constant silent message is “You yourself decide,” after which, more often than not, everyone in its shadow makes his or her large and small adjustments—all quite “naturally.” The Soviet Union, where Stalin’s notion of “engineering the soul” was first pursued, in practice fell far short of what the Chinese Communists have achieved in psychological engineering.

Thanks for reading.

The Essential Eight

1. US-China trade

Mnuchin: Tariffs likely to go up in December if there is no China deal - CNBC

Mnuchin tells CNBC (8:20) he and Lighthizer will have a call with Liu He next week, deputies will meet "between now and Chile" and that his expectations are that we will be meeting w the vice premier in Chile before the presidents meet to finish the deal"

China, U.S. achieve substantial progress in new round of trade talks in Washington - Xinhua

Under the guidance of the important consensus reached between the heads of state of the two countries, the two negotiation teams conducted candid, efficient and constructive discussions on economic and trade issues of mutual concern.

The two sides achieved substantial progress in areas including agriculture, intellectual property rights protection, exchange rate, financial services, expansion of trade cooperation, technology transfer and dispute settlement.

The two sides also discussed the arrangement for future consultations, and agreed to make joint efforts toward eventually reaching an agreement.

新一轮磋商盘点 这些内容要留意

Taoran Notes on Sunday strikes a fairly positive tone, says China can easily buy 40-50B in US agricultural products each year, also says the US has shifted on the enforcement mechanism demand to one that is more palatable for the Chinese side

沉心静气 稳步向前-新华网

Saturday Taoran Notes (the author travels w Liu He I hear) says there was progress but there shouldn't be excessive optimistic, also says "substantial progress" but does not call it a "deal" but that they agreed to work hard towards reaching one, and without saying so directly makes it clear there is no "love fest" from prc side “打打谈谈,边打边谈”,可能成为常态,我们也要尽快适应这种常态 as reiterates that 'fighting, talking, fighting while talking" is likely the new normal for the US-China relationship and so China better get used to it

Trade War Latest: Trump, China, deal, hawks, tariffs, agriculture - Bloomberg

What you see depends on the lens you look through. China wants more talks to hammer out the details. Longtime trade experts see an incomplete deal missing the big issues. But view it like those China hawks advocating a steady decoupling of the world’s two largest economies and you just had a pretty good week.


People's Daily Zhong Sheng praises the progress in the US-China trade talks - 透过10月10日至11日在华盛顿举行的新一轮中美经贸高级别磋商,能够感触当前中美经贸关系发展之脉。中美经贸磋商团队在两国元首重要共识指导下,就共同关心的经贸问题进行了坦诚、高效、建设性的讨论。双方在农业、知识产权保护、汇率、金融服务、扩大贸易合作、技术转让、争端解决等领域取得实质性进展。双方讨论了后续磋商安排,同意共同朝最终达成协议的方向努力。积极向好的信息说明,中美双方共识的一面在上升,合作的意愿更突出。

Trump Promises to Deal with Chinese Students’ Visa Woes - Caixin

“We’re not going to make it tough, we’re going to make like for everyone else,” Trump said on Friday at press conference announcing that U.S. and Chinese negotiators had reached agreement on the outlines for a partial trade deal. “And China is not going to be treated any differently.

China announces timetable to scrap limits on foreign ownership of financial firms - Xinhua

Foreign ownership limits on fund management firms will be lifted starting April 1 next year, the China Securities Regulatory Commission said in an online statement.

Shareholding caps on foreign investors currently faced by brokerages will be scrapped from December 1 next year, the statement said.

In July, the country announced a move to end foreign ownership limits on brokerages, fund management firms as well as futures companies in 2020, a year earlier than originally planned as the country speeds up its financial opening-up.

China ‘must ensure its own food security’, but soybean imports to continue | South China Morning Post

China must rely on its own resources to ensure its food supplies, officials said in a white paper released on Monday, dimming hopes among overseas producers that Beijing will expand imports to meet domestic demand.

Unveiling the document in Beijing, Zhang Wufeng, head of the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration, said China’s food security was “the best in history”, citing the country’s high levels of food production and reserves, and its stable food prices.

Xinhua - Full Text: Food Security in China

2. Beijing antagonizes the US Congress

Beijing Tries To Bully Congress - WSJ - OpEd by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney $$

China took the extraordinary step earlier this month of denying visas to a bipartisan American congressional delegation. We were barred from the country for one reason only—our planned visit to Taiwan.

Chinese officials told members of my staff on multiple occasions that if I canceled the trip to Taiwan, I would be granted a visa. This was visa blackmail, designed to stanch the longstanding tradition of robust U.S. congressional engagement with Taiwan, which is especially critical given the executive branch’s self-imposed limit on official travel.

When we made clear that canceling the delegation’s stop in Taiwan was not an option, the officials demanded that I issue a statement endorsing Beijing’s version of the “one China policy,”

Senator Ben Sasse: China is waging war with U.S. businesses. And it’s winning. - The Washington Post

U.S. businesses must step up to the plate and aggressively confront China’s intimidation campaign. And if they don’t have the courage and integrity to fight back, American consumers should demand that our companies put basic human rights above profit margins. The U.S. government has a role to play, too; Washington needs to stem the rising tide of Chinese intellectual property theft and cyberattacks so that we can empower American businesses to take a tougher stand. If free and open societies don’t wake up to this geopolitical reality, we’re going to be encircled before there’s time to fight back.

Sun Tzu’s ancient maxims don’t command our destiny. We’re not going down without a fight. We ought to have the courage of our convictions and confidence in our own ingenuity.

Commissioner's office of Chinese foreign ministry in HK warns U.S. Senator Cruz to "stop running amok on China's land" - Xinhua

…warning him to "stop running amok on China's land."

Cruz told blatant lies without conscience, staged political shows in Hong Kong, acted as a cheerleader for the violent extremists, and arbitrarily pointed fingers at Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs as a whole, said the spokesperson of the commissioner's office.

"We express strong indignation over and condemn Cruz's remarks, which have openly trampled upon international law and basic norms governing international relations," said the spokesperson.

It is really dumb of China to antagonize US Congresspeople like this. The bipartisan mood on the Hill towards China is already quite hawkish, and they can legislate a lot of pain for China, and most likely with veto-proof majorities.

3. The anaconda brings the NBA, Apple and others to heel

NBA games return to China screens but Houston Rockets not included | South China Morning Post

Tencent, the NBA’s exclusive digital partner in China, streamed two games live with commentators – Chicago Bulls vs Toronto Raptors and Maccabi Haifa vs Minnesota Timberwolves – on Monday morning after skipping live broadcasts of two exhibition games in China last week.

Games featuring the Houston Rockets, whose next game is on Wednesday, have been taken off the schedule...

Wang Huiyao, president of the Centre for China and Globalisation, welcomed the decision to resume NBA broadcasts.

“It’s good the NBA can be broadcast again. We shouldn’t make decisions based on the voices of social media. We should see the big picture. A blanket boycott is not good for China’s image,” Wang said.

Tencent restores streaming of some NBA preseason games - Global Times

"Sports exchanges have always played a positive role in enhancing the friendship between China and the US, but the premise for any communication is mutual respect, whether in China, the US or anywhere else," Geng Shuang, spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry, said on Monday following Tencent's broadcast.

James Harden on NBA-China dispute: 'I'm staying out of it' - USA Today

Back at practice in Houston for the first time since returning from a preseason trip to Japan, the Rockets star said Sunday he doesn't intend to address the controversy anymore. During a scrum with reporters, Harden tried to steer the conversation back to basketball and the upcoming season.

"I'm staying out of it," said Harden. "I'm focusing on what we have and trying to get better. We're a week and a half away from the regular season."

Apple Told Some Apple TV+ Show Developers Not To Anger China - Buzzfeed

In early 2018 as development on Apple’s slate of exclusive Apple TV+ programming was underway, the company’s leadership gave guidance to the creators of some of those shows to avoid portraying China in a poor light, BuzzFeed News has learned. Sources in position to know said the instruction was communicated by Eddy Cue, Apple’s SVP of internet software and services, and Morgan Wandell, its head of international content development...

Apple’s tip toeing around the Chinese government isn’t unusual in Hollywood. It’s an accepted practice. "They all do it," one showrunner who was not affiliated with Apple told BuzzFeed News. "They have to if they want to play in that market. And they all want to play in that market. Who wouldn't?"

Comment: I am surprised the GOP-controlled Senate has not hauled Hollywood executives up to Capitol Hill to testify under oath about their efforts to ensure Beijing approves their content.

Gaming firms Riot and ESL warn employees not to discuss politics after row over Blizzard’s decision to suspend Hong Kong gamer | South China Morning Post

At least two major gaming companies have warned employees and staff not to discuss political issues after the fallout from American game publisher Blizzard Entertainment’s decision to suspend an e-sports player for expressing support for anti-government protests in Hong Kong.

US game developer Riot Games [owned by Tencent] and German-based e-sports company ESL issued the guidance to staff after Blizzard came under fire from gamers, politicians and its own employees for punishing the gamer Ng Wai-chung, also known as “Blitzchung”.

Tencent Gets ‘Wakeup Call’ From China’s Assertions of Patriotism - Bloomberg

Epic CEO Sweeney jumped into the crossfire, explicitly giving Fortnite players the green light to discuss politics. The game maker is 40% owned by Tencent, but Sweeney is the controlling shareholder.

4. Hong Kong

Hong Kong protesters plead for American protection as police crackdown intensifies - The Washington Post

Protesters gathered in the tens of thousands in central Hong Kong on Monday night, pleading with American lawmakers for the second time to pass legislation that supports the territory’s democratic aspirations and punishes those who try to curtail it.

The demonstration, the first approved by authorities since the imposition of an anti-mask ban at all public gatherings, was marked by the sense of anguish that has gripped the movement after months of protesting. Instead of offering any further concessions, the government has instead expanded police powers and imposed more restrictions.

As the crackdown on protests intensifies — with the arrest of more than 2,500, including 201 arrested in smaller-scale protests over the weekend — some see foreign pressure as the best hope for securing a democratic future for Hong Kong.

Protester 'slashed police officer's neck' with sharp object, amid clashes and vandalism across Hong Kong | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

Hong Kong police have arrested two people in Kwun Tong after an officer was “slashed in the neck” by a black-clad protester on Sunday afternoon. The incident came amid widespread unrest across the city, as protests entered their 19th week.

Video of the attempted murder of the police officer:

Commentary: Hong Kong rioters must not be allowed to do whatever they want and get away with it unpunished - People's Daily Online

“This is murder,” exclaimed netizens after watching videos shot at the scene, while a great number of netizens expressed their support for the Hong Kong police, saying “I hope the wounded police officer recovers soon.”

A violent attack on the police is a felony in any country. In the US, criminals who kill police are basically all sentenced to death, or receive life imprisonment in those states without a death penalty.

Rioters' attacks on police become fatal in Hong Kong - Xinhua

Kong Wing-cheung, Senior Superintendent of the Police Public Relations Branch said that the attack resulted in a 3-to-4-cm long wound in the officer's neck and damaged his jugular vein and nerve. A man was arrested on the charge of attempted murder, a crime could lead to life imprisonment.

'We will not sever ties': Hong Kong violence prompts debate but no division among protesters | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

Hong Kong’s more hardline pro-democracy protesters have embraced increased violence towards private property, businesses and even people, triggering some soul-searching within the movement. But few moderates are willing to abandon their more radical comrades.

Protesters used remote controlled bomb, say police - RTHK

At a press conference, deputy police commissioner Tang Ping-keung said they believe the device, planted at the junction of Nathan Road and Fife Street in Mong Kok, was detonated via mobile phone.

It’s make or break for Carrie Lam as she prepares to deliver her policy address | South China Morning Post Editorial

With the social unrest raging for months and her fate hanging in the balance, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor could make or break her leadership with her third annual address on Wednesday.

Lam is not only under tremendous pressure to deliver a well-thought-out strategy to end the chaos, she also needs to restore confidence in her governance and rekindle hope in the city’s future.

Ted Cruz’s pernicious agenda in Hong Kong - Global Times

Look at the people who Cruz is most interested in Hong Kong. They are Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, Anson Chan Fang On-sang and radical opposition figures whose names the Senator refused to disclose. It is not difficult to imagine how Cruz will encourage those people to continue to confront.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam called off the meeting with Cruz who immediately accused the chief executive of "weakness." Cruz's arrogance and conceit has breached diplomatic protocol that politicians deserve. There may be different levels of reception given to a visitor. The world does not grant US senators the privilege of meeting at the highest level. Cruz takes himself too seriously.

Taiwan’s Tsai Says Unrest Shows China’s Failure in Hong Kong - Bloomberg

The twin speeches showed how far the debate has tipped against China as Beijing struggles to suppress increasingly violent pro-democracy protests in nearby Hong Kong.

Two young candidates running for Hong Kong District Council assaulted while campaigning on the streets | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

The 2019 District Elections are set to take place on Sunday, November 24.

Hong Kong protests: "60 Minutes" on the streets of Hong Kong with pro-democracy demonstrators - CBS News

President salutes Nepal, warns separatists - China DailyDaily

Those who engage in separatist activities in any part of China will be smashed into pieces [粉身碎骨], Xi said, adding that external support for separatists will be seen by the Chinese people as delusional.

5. Xi’s visits to India and Nepal

Chennai summit: Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping avoid Kashmir, discuss trade deficit and hit right notes but it's tricky to trust Beijing - Firstpost

On two issues, Modi should feel satisfied. One, a major part of his nearly six-hour long one-on-one chat with Xi at the seaside town of Mamallapuram focused on trade, and the Chinese president seemed amenable to the notion that the huge imbalance in figures that are heavily skewed against India is unsustainable and must be addressed. According to latest data, annual bilateral trade stands at $95.54 billion in 2018 with India's deficit pegged at $53 billion...

The second point that may give Modi a quiet satisfaction is that the issue of Kashmir wasn't raised. China's ploy of blowing hot and cold on Kashmir just before the summit, and Xi's meeting with the visiting Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan a day before his scheduled arrival in India were diplomatic signaling aimed at setting the bar low during Chennai summit so that expectations remain manageable. Khan would have certainly wanted Xi to pick up the topic of Kashmir during discussions but, as FS Gokhale said, "(Kashmir) issue was not raised and not discussed. Our position is anyway very clear that this is an internal matter of India.."

Xi makes proposals on China-India ties as meeting with Modi enters 2nd day - Xinhua

Xi made the following proposals.

First, Xi said, China and India need to correctly view each other's development and enhance strategic mutual trust...

Second, Xi urged China and India to have timely and effective strategic communication, enhance mutual understanding and cooperation, and firmly hold the general direction of bilateral relations...

Third, the two countries should effectively improve military and security exchanges and cooperation...

Fourth, China and India should deepen pragmatic cooperation and tighten ties of interests...

Fifth, they should enrich cultural and people-to-people exchanges and consolidate the foundation of friendship...

Sixth, China and India should strengthen cooperation in international and regional affairs.

China’s Xi and India’s Modi Talk Up Trade, but Turn Aside Touchy Topics - WSJ $$

While the summit didn’t break new ground, it continued the effort on both sides to keep the complicated relationship between Asia’s two fast rising powers on an even keel, experts said. “The two countries are just trying to manage each other, realizing their limits,” said Harsh Pant, a professor of international studies at King’s College London. “I don’t think any fundamental altering is likely in the bilateral relationship, which remains competitive and conflictual.”

Xi, Modi agree to trim trade deficit, boost mutual trust amid US-China tensions | South China Morning Post

In a sign of China’s willingness to address India’s trade deficit with it, the leaders agreed to launch a “High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue”.

Chinese Vice-Premier Hu Chunhua and Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will meet regularly to discuss ways to boost two-way trade and investments, Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale said in a media briefing.

Modi accepts Xi's invitation for third informal summit in China - India Today

The dates and location of the summit are yet to be decided.

Nepal pushes to end dependency on India with China rail, tunnel deals - Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping wound up two days of meetings in Nepal on Sunday with separate deals for a rail link to Tibet and a tunnel, an official said, as the Himalayan nation seeks to end an Indian dominance over its trade routes by increasing connectivity with Beijing...

Nepal has sought to increase connectivity with China since a blockade along its border with India resulted in several months of acute shortage of fuel and medicine in 2015 and 2016.

China, Nepal upgrade ties - Global Times

Given Nepal's special geostrategic position between China's Tibet Autonomous Region and India, the US-led West has been lobbying Nepal's certain forces to strengthen cooperation with the West so that the West can use Nepal as a lever in the US Indo-Pacific strategy..

In a joint statement released on Sunday, the two agreed to intensify implementation of the memorandum of understanding on cooperation under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), to enhance connectivity in ports, roads, railways, aviation and communications with the overarching framework of trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network.

Xi meets Nepal Communist Party co-chairman to advance inter-party ties - Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping met here Sunday with co-chairman of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Pushpa Kamal Dahal, also known as Prachanda, and the two leaders agreed to reinforce inter-party exchanges.

"You are a veteran statesman in Nepal and also a good friend and old friend of the Chinese people," said Xi, speaking highly of Dahal's important contributions to the development of the China-Nepal relationship.

"Last year, you, together with Nepali Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli, made a political decision by forming the Nepal Communist Party, which opened a new stage for Nepal's political stability and economic development," said Xi.

"China and Nepal are bound by mountains and rivers, and stay as close as lips and teeth," said the Chinese president.

September - A blueprint for consolidating power: China exports Xi Jinping Thought to Nepal

China’s President Xi Jinping may be visiting Nepal next month, but his doctrine, widely known as Xi Jinping Thought, arrived a month earlier in Kathmandu, bundled as a two-day symposium for top leaders of the ruling party.

While the Nepal Communist Party has maintained that it wants to learn from China’s ruling party—particularly on functioning and discipline—the participation of around 200 leaders, including the party’s top brass and scores of Chinese officials, shows that there is more to this symposium than meets the eye.

6. Deutsche Bank’s Dirty China dealings

A Brazen Scheme, and a Minor Penalty, for Winning Business in China - The New York Times - Michael Forsythe, David Enrich and Alexandra Stevenson

The bank gave a Chinese president a crystal tiger and a Bang & Olufsen sound system, together worth $18,000. A premier received a $15,000 crystal horse, his Chinese zodiac animal, and his son got $10,000 in golf outings and a trip to Las Vegas. A top state banking official, a son of one of China’s founding fathers, accepted a $4,254 bottle of French wine — Château Lafite Rothschild, vintage 1945, the year he was born.

Millions of dollars were paid out to Chinese consultants, including a business partner of the premier’s family and a firm that secured a meeting for the bank’s chief executive with the president. And more than 100 relatives of the Communist Party’s ruling elite were hired for jobs at the bank, even though it had deemed many unqualified.

This was all part of Deutsche Bank’s strategy to become a major player in China, beginning nearly two decades ago when it had virtually no presence there. And it worked...

The younger daughter of Li Zhanshu — now a top member of the Politburo Standing Committee — was judged unqualified for the bank’s corporate communications team. She got an offer, too.

7. New report on China “engineering global consent”

Engineering global consent: The Chinese Communist Party's data-driven power expansion | Samantha Hoffman - Australian Strategic Policy Institute | ASPI

This report explains how the party-state’s tech-enhanced authoritarianism is expanding globally. The effort doesn’t always involve distinctly coercive and overtly invasive technology, such as surveillance cameras. In fact, it often relies on technologies that provide useful services. Those services are designed to bring efficiency to everyday governance and convenience to everyday life. The problem is that it’s not only the customer deploying these technologies—notably those associated with ‘smart cities’, such as ‘internet of things’ (IoT) devices—that derives benefit from their use. Whoever has the opportunity to access the data a product generates and collects can derive value from the data. How the data is processed, and then used, depends on the intent of the actor processing it.

The Chinese party-state intends to use bulk data collection to support its efforts to shape, manage and control its global operating environment, and to generate cooperative and coercive tools of control. This paper uses the company Global Tone Communications Technology Co. Ltd (GTCOM) as a case study to illustrate how the global expansion of the party’s tech-enhanced authoritarianism can work. GTCOM is a subsidiary of a Chinese state-owned enterprise that the Central Propaganda Department directly supervises. It provides both hardware and software translation tools. GTCOM describes itself as a ‘cross-language big data’ business: it collects bulk data globally in more than 65 languages and processes the data for output into other products and services for government and corporate clients (see the Appendix). The products can be applied to tools that have global implications, such as parts of China’s social credit system.

China Broadens Data Collection Through Propaganda App and Translation Service - WSJ $$

The Australian report, published Monday, found strong indications that the Chinese company, Global Tone Communications Technology Co., or GTCOM, generated military and other state-security intelligence using the data it collected. The data could help “support the party-state’s development of tools for shaping public discourse,” the report says.

The company’s parent entities, China Translation Corp. and China Publishing Group, are under the direct supervision of China’s Central Propaganda Department. GTCOM has cooperation agreements with foreign universities in Sydney, Vienna and elsewhere in the West.

Are Australian universities putting our national security at risk by working with China? - China power - Australian Broadcasting Corporation

A joint Four Corners-Background Briefing investigation has uncovered extensive collaborations between Australian universities and Chinese entities involved in Beijing's increasingly global surveillance apparatus.

At least two of those companies and organisations have been blacklisted in the past week by the US Government, which concluded they were implicated in human rights abuses against China's Muslim minorities.

A major player that has secured a foothold in Australia is Global Tone Communication (GTCOM), a global data-mining company that is majority owned by the Chinese Government.

8. Guo Wengui connection hurts US journalist

The Free Beacon Fired A Top Reporter For A “Financial Transaction” With Someone He Frequently Covered

On Friday, the Free Beacon’s leadership published a note saying that the site “recently learned that senior editor Bill Gertz entered into a previously undisclosed financial transaction with an individual or an affiliate of that individual whom Mr. Gertz had covered in some of his reporting.” Gertz was asked to resign, according to the note, and did so...

This note has been attached to stories Gertz wrote about Guo Wengui, about whom he has regularly written over the last few years. The Free Beacon attached the note to stories Gertz wrote about Guo beginning in 2018. The note does not appear to be attached to Gertz’s stories that do not have to do with Guo....

"Mr. Guo is shocked about the news regarding Mr. Gertz because Mr Guo has never had any financial transaction nor has an affiliate of Mr. Guo's" with Gertz, a lawyer for Guo said on Saturday.

Business, Economy and Trade

China Exports, Imports Decline Further in September - Caixin In dollar terms, goods exports declined 3.2% year-on-year to $218.1 billion last month, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs. The reading was worse than both the median forecast of a 2.8% decline by a Caixin poll of economists, and August’s 1% drop...In September, China’s imports fell 8.5% to $178.5 billion year-on-year, also behind both the Caixin forecast of a 4.6% decrease and August’s 5.6% decline...The Caixin China General Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)…rose to 51.4 in September from 50.4 the month before, the highest reading since February 2018. China’s official manufacturing PMI, released by the National Bureau of Statistics, rose to 49.8 in September from August’s 49.5

China September iron ore imports surge to 20-month high on firm demand - Reuters The world’s top iron ore consumer brought in 99.36 million tonnes of the mineral last month, the biggest purchase since January 2018, Reuters calculations showed. That was up 4.8% from 94.85 million tonnes in August and compared with 93.47 million tonnes a year earlier.

Yicai Global - Tycoon Jia Yueting to Lose Faraday Future Stake After Filing for Bankruptcy in US Jia Yueting, the Chinese billionaire who left China two years ago after running up massive debts, filed for bankruptcy and restructuring in the US yesterday. Once the process is completed, he will no longer own a stake in Faraday Future, the new-energy vehicle startup he founded five years ago.

Regulator Targets Ex Bank Chiefs in Fight to Raise Compliance - Caixin The impact of two multi-billion yuan fraud cases exposed in 2017 involving second-tier Chinese lenders continues to reverberate, with three senior bankers fined and two given formal warnings by the regulator.

Investors Shun China’s Small Banks Despite Half-Price Deals (1) - Bloomberg Since May 24, when the Chinese government stunned the market with its first bank seizure in more than two decades, there have been more than 1,400 attempted sales on Taobao of mostly unlisted rural and city bank shares. Even with deep discounts, over half the auctions failed to attract bidders in their first attempt, transaction records show.

China’s Daily Yuan Fixing Hasn’t Been This Steady Since 2011 - Bloomberg The People’s Bank of China set the daily reference rate around 7.073 per dollar for a fifteenth straight trading day on Monday, pushing the fixing’s 10-day volatility to the lowest since January 2011.

Historic Slump in China Car Market Continues as Sales Drop 6.6% - Bloomberg The market has been hurt by a slowing economy and stricter emission rules, prompting the government to urge local authorities to boost consumption. Measures included easing car purchase curbs put in place to reduce pollution and traffic jams, though there’s not been much impact yet.

China's crackdown on sugar smuggling leaves global storage headache - Reuters The crackdown comes as Beijing faces pressure from industry to extend hefty sugar import tariffs beyond 2020 and keep growth in licensed imports into China historically low. “Chinese authorities have really clamped down on that (smuggling trade) this year. It’s been shut down for all intents and purposes,” said a source a London-based sugar trader with ties to Asia.

China’s truck drivers say they are forced to overload vehicles to survive despite fatal road collapse | South China Morning Post The provincial authorities in Jiangsu, in eastern China, launched a campaign to rectify overloaded vehicles after a four-year-old girl and her mother were crushed in their car as the flyover collapsed on top of them in Wuxi city on Thursday evening. A man in another car was also killed and two people injured in an accident that was blamed on an overloaded truck. The authorities said the truck was carrying more than 170 tonnes of steel coils –115 tonnes more than the permitted maximum.

China Hidden Capital Flight at a Record in 2019, IIF Says - Bloomberg That’s according to the Washington-based Institute of International Finance, which said the “net errors & omissions” in China’s balance of payments, widely seen as an indicator of concealed capital flight, rose to a record high of $131 billion in the first six months of this year. That was larger than the average $80 billion recorded during the same period in 2015 and 2016, when outflow pressures intensified, it said.

Market Metrics: A Fact-Based Approach to the Chinese Economic Challenge | Center for Strategic and International Studies -Scott Kennedy & Dan Rosen the more important driver of not just U.S. but global economic concerns, which drew such an audience for the pugnacious unilateralism of Trump in the first place, has been China’s flagging convergence with global market norms over the past decade. Western patience with developing China’s slow transformation was contingent on sufficient proof that it was not illusory. No advanced economy has as much confidence today compared to a few years ago that China is still on that path.

Politics and Law

Wu Jinglian: Soul Searching on China’s 70-Year Economic Evolution - Caixin Looking back at China’s 70-year journey, the pursuit of reforms has been lauded for the wellbeing it brought to the public but also faced questions and doubts. Sometimes, the momentum of reforms was stagnant or even negative. But fortunately, the country has kept its main direction toward reforms unchanged.

Withdrawal system introduced for Chinese political educators - Global Times A withdrawal mechanism and severe punishment was proposed for political teachers at Chinese primary and secondary schools who are found to damage the Party's authority and violate professional ethics, a new guideline on strengthening the political education teacher team showed.     The guideline issued by China's Ministry of Education (MoE) on Monday proposed to introduce a withdrawal mechanism for unqualified political teachers, and those who damage the authority of the Communist Party of China (CPC) or go against the Party's policy during teaching will be subject to punishment.

China’s internet regulator praises whistle-blowers for keeping cyberspace free of ‘harmful’ content | South China Morning Post People blowing the whistle on one another for uploading “harmful” content has become a crucial part of the country’s online governance, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said in a statement released on Friday. Last year alone, 165 million reports of such material were filed across the country, a figure more than double the previous year’s and four times the number in 2016, the agency said.

Chinese propaganda app doubles as new spying tool for authorities, report says - The Washington Post  A review of the terms and conditions of the app, which was developed by the Communist Party’s Propaganda Department in collaboration with Chinese tech giant Alibaba, show that users must agree to allow access to a vast trove of information and functions.

The full OTF Report | Studying “Study the Great Nation” Report The audit specifically focused on Android operating systems, which accounts for close to 80% of the mobile OS market in China.

Foreign and Defense Affairs

Chinese Students and Scholars Association's deep links to the embassy revealed - China power - Australian Broadcasting Corporation according to new documents obtained as part of a joint Four Corners-Background Briefing investigation, the mission of the CSSA in Canberra is to "assist the Embassy of the People's Republic of China" while helping students and promoting exchanges. Are Australians aiding China's surveillance state? In the shadow of Hong Kong protests on university campuses, Australia's top universities are failing to scrutinise blacklisted Chinese tech firms, according to critics. The CSSA ACT's incorporation documents filed in 2012, show the association's role is to "facilitate the connection between the embassy and the Chinese students and scholars" and its executive board must "communicate with the embassy … regularly".

UQ course on 'understanding China' established with Chinese government funding - Sydney Morning Herald A University of Queensland course was established with funding from the university's Confucius Institute, a rare arrangement for the Chinese government-funded soft power centres which are not ordinarily involved in formal degree courses. The course, titled "Understanding China", is billed as a comprehensive introduction to the Asian giant and has been offered to students from this year. According to the university's website, it was developed by UQ's economics school "in partnership with UQ’s Confucius Institute".

Chinese-Australian newspapers say advertisers withdrawing due to China pressure - Sydney Morning Herald Vision China Times general manager Maree Ma said two businesses in recent months withdrew advertisements after they were approached by Chinese government authorities who asked that they do so. It comes a month after the paper experienced a sudden drop in website traffic coming from mainland China alongside what Ms Ma suspected was an influx of Chinese troll comments.

Senior Australian minister says China is behaving badly, draws rebuke - Reuters “We have a very important trading relationship with China – incredibly important,” Dutton told reporters in Canberra. “But we are not going to allow university students to be unduly influenced, we are not going to allow theft of intellectual property, and we are not going to allow our government bodies or non-government bodies to be hacked into,” he said.

Queensland student seeks court order against Chinese diplomat - Sydney Morning Herald A University of Queensland student has sought a court order similar to a restraining order against the Chinese Consul-General in Brisbane, Dr Xu Jie, who he claims has endangered him by describing him as an anti-Chinese separatist in a statement published on the Consul-General’s website. Drew Pavlou, who was last week elected to UQ's student senate, has made an application under the state's Peace and Good Behaviour Act and is seeking an order against Dr Xu in response to his complaint.

China issues angry criticism of Stephen Harper’s visit to Taiwan - The Globe and Mail China’s foreign ministry issued an angry response on Monday to a Taiwan visit by former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, with Beijing saying it has made its displeasure known to Ottawa. Mr. Harper became the first former Canadian prime minister to set foot in Taipei last week when he spoke at a conference organized by a government-backed think tank. He also met Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.

Pompeo slammed for lying that Xinjiang woman was sent to training center, forcibly sterilized - People's Daily Online The elder brother of Zumrat Dawut on Sunday slammed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for making up lies, saying his sister has never been sent to a vocational education and training center in Northwest China's XinjiangUyghur Autonomous Region and forcibly sterilized. Abdulhelil Dawut on Sunday posted a Uyghur language video to "tell the truth to the world" on Chinese short video platform Kuaishou.

Huawei's 5G Tech Isn't Worth the Risk - Foreign Policy - Elsa Kania and Lindsey Sheppard The Chinese company’s lead in the 5G race isn’t insurmountable, and other firms and countries shouldn’t rush into the fray.

Philippine Top Diplomat Apologizes to China for Tweets on Mao - Bloomberg In a tweet two weeks ago, Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin called the Chinese revolutionary Mao Che “Tutung,” which means burnt rice in the Filipino language. In a separate tweet on Oct. 11 while reacting to a challenge by left-leaning groups for leaders to use public transport, Locsin said the point of communism is “to take power and unleash a famine like Mao did.”

Statement by Ambassador FU Cong, Director-General of the Department of Arms Control of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, at the General Debate of the First Committee of the 74thSession of the UNGA I would like to preface my statement with a brief response to what the representative of the United States said yesterday. The Chinese delegation was appalled by the US remarks that were replete with jaundiced ideological bias and anachronistic sentiments. We categorically reject the baseless accusations levelled by the United States against China. The light of justice lives on, undimmed, in the hearts and minds of global citizens. The international community bears collective witness to the US perversities in international affairs, in defiance of norms and reason. Their baseless accusations cannot write off China's positive contributions to international security and disarmament; nor can they cover up the serious damage caused to international peace and security by the United States' breaching of and withdrawing from multilateral agreements, as well as their unilateral acts of bullying.

China to send Xi deputy to Japanese enthronement. | NHK China says it will send Vice President Wang Qishan to the enthronement ceremony of Japanese Emperor Naruhito.

Vietnam pulls DreamWorks' 'Abominable' film over South China Sea map - Reuters Vietnam has pulled the animated DreamWorks film “Abominable” from cinemas over a scene featuring a map which shows China’s unilaterally declared “nine-dash line” in the South China Sea, state media reported on Monday...“Abominable”, about a Chinese girl who discovers a yeti living on her roof, was jointly produced by Shanghai-based Pearl Studio and Comcast-owned DreamWorks Animation and was first shown in Vietnamese cinemas on Oct. 4.

German security rulebook to keep 5G door open to Huawei: source - Reuters “Germany’s approach did not and does not foresee any clause that would exclude any one company,” a senior government official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Xinjiang crisis: Not a matter of politics, but of being human - Sinopsis Interview with Gene Bunin, scholar and human rights activist based in Almaty, Kazakhstan, working with victims of the Xinjiang crisis. - "I don’t have much respect for scholars who choose to do “apolitical” work at a time like this, because this is not a matter of politics but a matter of being human. I froze all my scholarly work a year ago because I concluded that it didn’t matter when all of that was happening in Xinjiang."

Tech and Media

Baidu to Relocate Part of U.S. Autonomous-Driving R&D Unit to China - Caixin Global The company did not give either a timeline for the move or any further details on the rationale behind it. It declined to comment on whether the decision was linked to ongoing U.S.-China trade tensions.

How safe is Apple’s Safe Browsing? – A Few Thoughts on Cryptographic Engineering This morning brings new and exciting news from the land of Apple. It appears that, at least on iOS 13, Apple is sharing some portion of your web browsing history with the Chinese conglomerate Tencent. This is being done as part of Apple’s “Fraudulent Website Warning”, which uses the Google-developed Safe Browsing technology as the back end. This feature appears to be “on” by default in iOS Safari, meaning that millions of users could potentially be affected.

Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

Sun Yang gets Nov. 15 date for doping hearing in open court - AP The court says “it is intended to live stream all or parts of the hearing on the CAS website.” The case could see Sun banned from the Tokyo Olympics. It involves a disputed attempt by sample collectors to take blood and urine from the three-time Olympic champion in Beijing last year.

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

Authorities Reiterate Plan to Scrap Hydrogen Car Subsidies - Caixin China's Ministry of Finance has indicated it will scrap all subsidies for hydrogen fuel cell cars by the end of 2020 as planned, bringing their treatment into line with other types of new-energy vehicles (NEVs).