Propaganda positive energy and the push to restart the economy; Medical personnel martyrs

I am struggling to come up with any commentary worth your time so today we just go right into the curated selections.

Thanks for reading.


The Essential Eight

1. The outbreak

New infections of novel coronavirus drop for 14th consecutive day outside Hubei - Xinhua

A total of 79 new confirmed cases were reported on Monday outside Hubei, a 14th consecutive day drop since Feb. 3, showed figures released by the commission.

A total of 890 new cases were reported outside Hubei on Feb. 3.

The commission said it received reports of 1,886 new confirmed cases on Monday from 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, including 1,807 in Hubei.

China Touts Fall in New Coronavirus Infections, Deaths - WSJ

On Tuesday, China’s National Health Commission reported 1,886 new confirmed coronavirus cases in mainland China on Monday, the first time the daily tally has fallen below 2,000 since the beginning of the month. The daily number of confirmed cases outside Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, also fell to below 100 for the first time this month, while the number of new deaths across mainland China—98 on Monday, all but five of them in Hubei—fell to less than 100 for the first time in nearly a week.

China's Hubei to comb for patients with fever - Xinhua

According to a notice issued Tuesday by the province's epidemic control headquarters, Hubei will check records of all fever patients who have visited doctors since Jan. 20, as well as people who have bought over-the-counter cough and fever medications at both brick-and-mortar and online drug stores.

Those people will be visited for health check-ups and, if necessary, be put in quarantine or hospitalized, according to the notice...

All neighborhoods in cities and rural villages will carry out door-to-door visits to look for fever patients, with results reported to the headquarters daily, said the notice.

Residents are encouraged to report information of untreated fever patients and misconduct in the work to treat patients and implement epidemic-control measures, it said.

In Depth: Hubei’s Other Cities Offer Lessons on Battling the Coronavirus - Caixin Global

Qianjiang demonstrates that responding just a few days faster can make a big difference. Wu Zuyun, Qianjiang’s party chief, first heard of the virus when he was attending a province-wide government meeting in Wuhan in mid-January. “The mayor and I had a feeling that this could be huge,” Wu said. “So we took preemptive measures, even if that meant taking some risks by not following the rules.”

Qianjiang took measures earlier than most other cities in Hubei, putting its first group of 32 suspected patients into quarantine on Jan. 17. On that day, the Wuhan health authority’s official report was still saying there was “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission.”..

What a conclusion from Caixin:

The city was cited as an example of “villager autonomy” by the Ministry of Civil Affairs in 1999 for its experiments in rural democracy. Following such a tradition, residents in Qianjiang have a higher awareness of autonomous governance, which translates into a smoother interaction with the local authorities.

While most cities in Hubei were sending out cries for help, Qianjiang actually donated supplies to Wuhan twice. Its donations included 100,000 medical masks and necessities like rice and vegetables.

As the situation in Hubei remains dire, the rare example of Qianjiang offers a lesson. If only there were more cities in the province that acted early, before it was too late.

湖北省委书记应勇去疫情严重的黄冈、孝感,问了三个问题

Ying Yong, the new party boss of Hubei, on Monday visited Huanggang and Xiaogan, making sure measures are properly implemented to keep all the residents at home.

武汉市委书记王忠林:这是人命关天的事,不能眼巴巴看着这些人失去生命

The Wuhan party boss Wang Zhonglin on Monday urged officials to make sure mild case patients will also receive treatment. “This is about life and death, [we] can’t just watch these people die.”

China seeks help of national tech giants to track coronavirus with QR codes - Reuters

On Wednesday, Alipay, the payment app operated by Alibaba’s financial division Ant Financial, released a feature in collaboration with the government that assigns a coloured QR code representing the health of residents in Hangzhou.

Users in the city fill out an online form reporting their ID number, whether they have travelled outside Hangzhou recently, and any symptoms they might have that suggest an illness, such as fever or a heavy cough.

After filling out the questionnaire, users receive a colour-based QR-code, a type of barcode, on their mobile phones indicating their health status.

Coronavirus: Russia to ban Chinese citizens from entry - Reuters

“The entry of all Chinese citizens via Russia’s state frontiers will be suspended from February 20 for work travel, private travel, study and tourism,” said Tatiana Golikova, the vice-prime minister in charge of health, according to local agencies.

A Beijing district govt quarantines 69 employees after one confirmed coronavirus infection - Global Times

Sun's statement came after rumors began circulating on the internet claiming the confirmed case caused the Xicheng district government to shut down.

Rare coronavirus cases can have long incubation period, warns leading Chinese respiratory expert | South China Morning Post

The unusual length has raised concerns about giving an accurate diagnosis, but Zhong Nanshan said these cases were an exception.

He told a news briefing in Guangzhou that research suggested the incubation period could be as long as 24 days, but the median figure was three to seven days.

China’s Super-Strict City Lockdowns May Be Illegal - Caixin

Zhao Hong, a professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, told Caixin that Chinese laws only permit the National People’s Congress (NPC) — the country’s main legislative body — and its Standing Committee to set out punishments for violating restrictions on freedom of movement. As local-level governments don’t have that power, official actions in Xiaogan “have clearly violated legal stipulations,” he said.

President Xi Jinping mentioned at a central government meeting Feb. 5 that lawful forms of epidemic control demand that officials adhere to legal norms even during emergencies.

Caixin Editorial: Coronavirus Epidemic Poses Test for Rule of Law

We believe the country’s response to the coronavirus epidemic is a stress test for the rule of law in China. The desperate situation we face is no excuse to neglect the principle of the rule of law...

Some government departments, not to mention a large number of citizens, claim that disease control should be free from abstract, sometimes-pedantic debates about the rule of law. After all, they say, who will be in charge if the epidemic gets out of control? Any abuses can always be corrected later. Faced with criticism of their heavy-handed responses, they loudly fire back: “Have you got a better idea?” Such claims rely on shelving the legality and rationality of the means in order to justify the ends. As China’s countless painful past experiences have proven, this can be a dangerous mix.

What makes Wuhan a Catastrophe? - Rui Zhong - Medium

Wuhan-based writer 方方, who has been a formidable force in Chinese literature, has been writing blog entries illuminating the tragedy left in the wake of the COVID19/coronavirus. I translated a paragraph in which she lashes out in anger at people that consider the city’s anguish under COVID19 crisis overblown:

During the early days of the epidemic, there was no man power, there were no hospital beds, and there were no protections in place for medical personnel. Infection was widespread, and there weren’t enough people to staff and transport bodies to crematoriums. There weren’t enough cremation ovens. Yet the bodies carried the virus, and needed to be burnt as quickly as possible.

Are you aware of this at all? It’s not a lack of effort from the people, but the arrival of a catastrophe.


2. Medical personnel martyrs

Comment: Authorities now say over 3000 medical personnel have been infected.

Senior Wuhan doctor dies from coronavirus as authorities start to 'round up' patients | The Guardian

Liu Zhiming had taken part in the battle against the virus from the start and had made important contributions in fighting and controlling Covid-19, the Wuhan municipal health commission said. During that process, “unfortunately he became infected and passed away at 10:54 Tuesday morning at the age of 51 after all-out efforts to save him failed”, the commission said.

Confirmation also emerged of the death last Thursday of Xu Depu, the former director of the Ezhou city Chinese medicine hospital in Hubei province. A nurse at the hospital confirmed his death on Tuesday, according to reports in state media.

武昌医院院长刘智明患新冠肺炎去世, 为首位殉职院长

Caixin confirmed that the nurse Liu Fan who died on Friday is the sister of the filmmaker Chang Kai. Their parents both died last month. Chang’s wife is now in ICU. An earlier article by Caixin urging the authorities to examine this family cluster of infection has been censored (湖北电影厂员工一家四口接连去世柳帆常凯实为姐弟). The Sichuan cyber police earlier said it was fake news that the nurse died.

Govt rolls out reward for medical staff, family - Global Times

Chinese authorities have rolled out policies to support and award frontline medical workers and their families amid national efforts against the COVID-19 that had claimed the lives of seven medical workers and infected more than 3,000...

The Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security declared on Monday that salary distribution, bonus, and welfare for personnel in public institutions should favor outstanding staff fighting in the frontline of the battle against the coronavirus.

Education authorities in Hubei Province on Tuesday said it is offering 10 extra points to frontline medical staff's children who will take this year's high-school entrance exam.

Chinese military issues notice on honoring personnel deceased against the COVID-19 outbreak - Ministry of National Defense

Recently,the Ministry of Veterans Affairs and the Political Work Department of the Central Military Commission (CMC) jointly issued a notice on honoring personnel who died in the fight against the novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) outbreaks.

According to the notice, the deceased medics and epidemic prevention workers who got infected with novel coronavirus and died during their direct contact with the patients to be investigated or confirmed, and sample collection, diagnosis, treatment, nursing, etc., shall be assessed and approved as martyrs.

Orginal report - 符合条件的因工作感染新冠肺炎殉职人员应评定为烈士

Question: How many PLA members have died in the fight against the epidemic?


3. The economy

Local Governments Start to Loosen Coronavirus Restrictions on Companies - Caixin

In a radical turnaround, doctors’ certificates will no longer be required of anyone returning to work in Jiangxi, which has reported nearly 1,000 cases of Covid-19. Returnees from the outbreak epicenter of Hubei will still need to self-quarantine for 14 days, but everyone else will be subject to the more vaguely defined “health monitoring,” which could refer to things like workplace temperature checks.

Also on Sunday, the Zhejiang provincial capital of Hangzhou in East China relaxed its rules in a similar fashion. Many companies in the city, known for hosting the global headquarters of Alibaba and other tech startups, will be able to resume business without being individually granted government approval.

Fewer Than a Third of China’s Nearly 300 Million Migrant Laborers Have Returned to Work - Caixin

Many manufacturers have found it difficult to fill their factory floors as millions of workers have had trouble returning to their jobs after going back to their hometowns for the Lunar New Year holiday due to travel restrictions. Among those who have made it back, many face mandatory quarantines to contain the spread of the virus...

Many business owners said that shortages of funds and rising customer arrears were among the major issues they faced, and that the lack of labor was not as severe as imagined, according to an online survey of 950 business managers, employees and investors. “Operation of privately owned enterprises is basically driven by orders, and the anticipation of a shrinking market has led them to stop hiring or even start to lay off staff,” two organizers of the survey wrote.

China cuts pension, insurance costs to help firms ride out coronavirus - Reuters

China will cut some pension contributions and insurance fees to help companies cope with the coronavirus, while firms in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, won’t have to pay pensions, jobless and work-injury insurance until June...

Small firms in other provinces will be exempt from paying pensions, jobless insurance and work injury insurance until June, while payments by large firms will be reduced by half until April, state television quoted the cabinet as saying.

Yicai Global - PBOC Denies Market Talk of Adjusting Property-Loan Quotas in MPA

The statement from the People's Bank of China (PBOC) was in response to a media report that the central bank will tweak quota management of property-related loans in the MPA framework to spur lending to developers as part of efforts to minimize the impacts of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Property Giant Offers Massive Discounts Due to Covid-19 Virus - Caixin

The latest sales promotion could potentially reflect Evergrande’s need for cash, after it extended the Lunar New Year holidays to Feb. 20 for its 1,040 offline sales divisions.

“Keeping turnover moving quickly is crucial for real estate firms,” said Li Yujia, chief researcher at a housing policy research institution in South China’s Guangdong province. “Two weeks of suspension at sales department will have a significant impact on funding.”

China stresses timely spring farming, stable employment - Xinhua

Local governments should take responsibility for guiding spring farming to ensure stable agricultural production and a bumper harvest, according to a statement released after a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.

Efforts should be made to promote agricultural enterprises, involving seed, fertilizer, pesticide and fodder production, to resume work, while establishing smooth channels for the transportation of agricultural materials to ensure sufficient supply.

The country will provide support such as extending loans to key poultry suppliers with great losses, and strengthen cooperation between slaughtering enterprises and farmers, said the statement.

Economic Watch: China seizes the spring to ensure steady food supply - Xinhua

Held by China's e-commerce platform Taobao on Saturday, the so-called village livestreaming intended to help push sales of farm produce and keep the market stable.

Besides the livestreaming stunt, China is taking a raft of steps to ensure stable food supplies, incomes of farmers and steady preparation for spring plowing.

China's central SOEs step up efforts to resume production - Xinhua

The State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC) will stick to this year's goals of production and operation and guide enterprises to resume work in a safe and orderly manner, said Ren Hongbin, vice chairman of the SASAC, at a press conference.

Over 80 percent of central SOEs' production subsidiaries have resumed operation, and more than 95 percent of the companies in the sectors of petroleum and petrochemical, communication, electricity and transport have resumed work, Ren said.

It is naive to expect Chinese economy to collapse - Global Times Editorial

In fact, all economic disasters ended up being completely out of control with the collapse of public confidence. The outside world should see clearly this time. As long as China has the political system it has today, a collapse of confidence on that scale would never happen in China, so the Chinese economy won't have the kind of collapse that some American elites expect.

The Chinese society will try its best to reduce and recover the economic loss this time, and the government and the market will try their best to help the enterprises in trouble. At the level of social ethics, this is the test we need to go through now. Any gloat from abroad during this period is disgraceful. As for strategy, those who want China to suffer can stop. All we can say is that they think too much and are naive and like to deceive themselves.

New Chinese fund attracts $17 billion; trading undeterred by virus - Reuters

The mutual fund, which can invest up to 95% of assets in stocks, aimed to raise 6 billion yuan, but the marketing campaign was cut short by the outpouring of interest.

South Korea warns of economic ‘emergency’ from coronavirus | Financial Times $$

President Moon Jae-in called for “all possible measures” to support the South Korean economy, as Singapore also unveiled a S$6.4bn ($4.6bn) stimulus package to offset the impact of the virus. This came a day after analysts said Japan faced a recession as the virus disrupted regional supply chains and exports.

Jaguar Land Rover rushes parts out of China in suitcases to prevent UK shutdown | Financial Times $$

Sir Ralf Speth, chief executive of the UK’s biggest carmaker, said the company’s British plants are “safe for this week” and the week after, but face difficulties sourcing parts from China in the weeks after, which represent “a risk for overall production”.

Investor update on quarterly guidance - Apple

As a result, we do not expect to meet the revenue guidance we provided for the March quarter due to two main factors.

The first is that worldwide iPhone supply will be temporarily constrained. While our iPhone manufacturing partner sites are located outside the Hubei province — and while all of these facilities have reopened — they are ramping up more slowly than we had anticipated. ..

The second is that demand for our products within China has been affected. All of our stores in China and many of our partner stores have been closed. Additionally, stores that are open have been operating at reduced hours and with very low customer traffic.

Yicai Global - [Exclusive] Wuhan Workers Call on LCD Maker to Put Wellbeing Before Profit

Workers at China Star Optoelectronics Technology's Wuhan plant are calling on the maker of liquid crystal displays for TCL and Samsung to put their wellbeing ahead of profit and scale back production as they have hardly had a day off since before the start of the Chinese New Year holiday.

Chinese E-Commerce Companies Boost Supports to Coronavirus-Hit Merchants- PingWest

A number of tech giants including Alibaba, JD, Pinduoduo are offering financial services such as loans, subsidies, delayed repayments to thousands of merchants as the coronavirus outbreak threatens their businesses.

Coronavirus slows China's Belt and Road push | Reuters

China's top regulator of state-run companies said in a Tuesday briefing that the outbreak has caused "difficulties" on some overseas projects and investments.


4. Propaganda efforts

Coronavirus Latest: Outrage Builds Over Chinese Virus Propaganda - Bloomberg

Beijing’s efforts to rally the nation with stories of upbeat patients and heroic front-line doctors are falling flat, with social-media users instead lashing out about harsh working conditions and insufficient measures taken to protect medical staff...

“China has entered a different time,” said Gu Su, a professor of philosophy and law at Nanjing University. “Covering positive stories while withholding the cruel facts won’t work as people can still access information from elsewhere. The propaganda department needs to reflect upon its approach.”..

China has also started using stage-managed events to portray the government as in control of the situation, and to push a narrative that the outbreak is reaching a turning point.

Global Times Hu Xijin is tweeting positive energy:

Commentary: Coronavirus won't stop China's march towards rejuvenation - Xinhua

Relying on its unique institutional strengths, particularly the highly efficient national mobilization of medics and materials and the pairing-up aid of other provinces in treating patients in affected cities in Hubei Province, China will win the people's war against the novel coronavirus disease, or COVID-19, despite the severity of the current situation.

The country's daily new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus pneumonia outside Hubei, the epicenter province of the outbreak, have dropped for 14 consecutive days. Positive results are being delivered with all the unprecedented decisive and stringent measures taken under the centralized, unified leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, such as the city lockdown and the construction of multiple makeshift hospitals. Several local officials, including the Hubei provincial health commission head, were removed from their posts following the outbreak...

With the comprehensive and extraordinary measures, China has protected its own people and prevented the world from suffering a big catastrophe. In handling this international public health emergency, China is worthy of recognition and support.

越是艰险越向前!——总台疫情防控阻击战武汉一线宣传报道工作纪实之二 (webcache)

The China Media Group, parent of CCTV and China National Radio, revealed in a propaganda report published earlier this month that, its reporters in Wuhan had written “internal reports” about the virus outbreak in as early as Dec. 31st, 20 days earlier than the government’s decision to lock down the city. The article has been deleted.

2019年12月31日,疫情信息一出现,站长王志刚当即布置了内参报送任务,要求全站记者把工作注意力向疫情防控转移,发现情况及时预警。接着,迅速建立针对性的疫情报道工作机制,确保高效运转。在记者站的统一安排下,大家分头行动,广泛深入医院、社区、学校,开始了一场抗击疫情零距离“肉搏战”。副站长张毛清来到与华南海鲜市场相邻的汉口火车站,了解车站人流和防控压力,并向出租车司机了解社会反映。记者左艾甫采访武汉市华南海鲜市场经营户和附近居民,了解海鲜市场卫生面貌。当天记者站就采制了两篇有数据、有分析、有建议的重要内参。2020年元旦,左艾甫没有休息再次来到专门收治重症肺炎病人的金银潭医院采访患者家属,当天编发了建议对不明原因肺炎患者实行免费治疗的内参。

"Our Cities Are Sick, But We Will Make Them Better" - Popular Online Video Promotes Chinese Unity in Times of COVID-19 | What's on Weibo

Originally posted by state-run media People’s Daily on Weibo, the three-minute film attracted more than 80 million views within two days after it was posted. By now, the hashtag “3-minute Documentary Features Chinese Cities in Times of Epidemic” (#3分钟记录疫情下的中国城市#), also hosted by People’s Daily, was viewed almost 90 million times.

Online Outrage over Gansu Female Medical Workers Required to Shave Their Heads | What's on Weibo

A video showing tearful female medical workers having their head shaved before going to COVID-19 epicenter city Wuhan has sparked outrage on Chinese social media.

The video, originally posted by Gansu Daily (每日甘肃网) on February 15, shows how a group of female nurses is standing in line to have their hair shaved off in preparation of their mission to Hubei to assist during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

共青团虚拟偶像四小时即下线,追爱豆式爱国为什么不行?

The Communist Youth League had to suspend their propaganda campaign featuring two nationalist virtual idols after it drew criticism online. The two cartoon virtual idols 红旗漫 and 江山娇, named after Mao’s poem, is not the first effort by the Youth League to connect with the new generation Chinese who tend to idolize everything from Japanese manga figures to K-pop stars. They had to suspend the campaign after it was criticized as inappropriate since many are still mad at the government’s handling of the virus. The most liked reply to this on Weibo said, “I’m your friend and a citizen, not your fan.”

China is paying a heavy price for coronavirus because of lack of free speech, says leading professor | South China Morning Post

“I hope the heavy price [of the outbreak] will make Chinese authorities come to realise that without press freedom, people will live in distress and the government in mendacity,” He Weifang, a professor of law at Peking University, wrote in an article shared with friends via the social media network WeChat on Monday.

The article, which had been handwritten in an effort to bypass the censors, also said this limited the country’s ability to develop good governance.

The Li Wenliang Storm | China Media Project

The following are translated portions of several articles, including the papers in which they appeared. They provide an interesting, if sometimes subtle, criticism of official narratives of abstracted “heroism” against genuine respect and protection of flesh-and-blood human beings committing simple acts of conscience.


5. Trump breaks hawks’ hearts again 

His tweets from earlier Tuesday:

Trump pours cold water on tightening China export restrictions - POLITICO

"We applaud President Trump's tweets supporting U.S. companies being able to sell products to China and opposing proposed regulations that would unduly curtail that ability," said Semiconductor Industry Association president and CEO John Neuffer. "As we have discussed with the administration, sales of non-sensitive, commercial products to China drive semiconductor research and innovation, which is critical to America's economic strength and national security."

Trump's soft touch with China's Xi over coronavirus worries advisers - The Washington Post

President Trump has lavished praise on Chinese President Xi Jinping for his handling of the growing coronavirus outbreak — a posture some in his administration are growing increasingly uncomfortable with as his advisers remain concerned about China’s lack of transparency and handling of the epidemic.

Worries about rattled financial markets and their effect on the economy as well as the delicate negotiations with China over a trade deal — a key to Trump’s reelection — have played a large role in influencing the president’s friendly posture toward China over the deadly coronavirus, according to several senior White House and administration officials. Trump has heralded Xi’s leadership and “discipline” in responding to the outbreak...

Trump has repeatedly told advisers that pushing for a harder line against China could backfire because Xi controls the government “totally” and will not work with the United States if it says anything negative about the country, said one of these senior administration officials, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private talks.

China urges U.S. to be constructive contributor, not irrational spoiler - Xinhua

"We noted this report. It also says that GE is arguing against the possible move of the U.S. government, saying that mimicking the advanced manufacturing techniques that have produced the engine is far harder than some administration officials believe," Geng told an online press briefing, adding that GE has also argued the engines have been on the ground in China for years, meaning there is no reason for China to wait until now to begin the reverse-engineering if it had wanted to do so.

If the content of the report is true, it suggests that Americans in industrial sectors seem to have more common sense, and be more sensible and likely to tell the truth than certain officials in the U.S. administration, the spokesperson said.

And as long as China delivers on the phase one deal and gives Trump no reason to get upset then he will probably continue to push back on some of the more hawkish proposals. - China Sets Up for U.S. Commodity Purchases With Duty Waivers - Bloomberg via Yahoo

Tuesday’s announcement of commodities eligible for waivers was further evidence that Beijing wants to clear the path to more U.S. imports. It has already been issuing tariff waivers on an ad hoc basis for U.S. farm products, including soybeans, but this is the first time it has expanded the exemptions to include energy products, such as LNG and crude.

But the anti-American propaganda nastiness continues:

人民日报:疫情面前,美方做了什么

“Facing the virus, what the US has done?” People’s Daily Wechat account lashed out at the US for cutting the contribution to WHO, imposing travel limits against China, spreading conspiracy theory about the virus, and not delivering its pledge to donate 100 million USD.

补壹刀: 美国为何急着派“抗疫专家”到中国?

popular WeChat account run by Global Times journalists played up the conspiracy theory that the American try to send CDC experts to China because the they want to collect military intelligence on China’s bioweapons. 

警惕!中国忙着战疫,美国正在憋这些坏招

This is from last week, also from the WeChat account of Global Times reporters. It criticized the US on a long list of issues ranging from military containment against China, not helping out on the virus, and Taiwan.


6. More US scrutiny of CCP propaganda organs

State Department to designate five Chinese media outlets 'foreign missions' | Fox News

The State Department is planning to designate five Chinese media outlets as “foreign missions,” calling them, in essence, state-sponsored propaganda and agents of the Communist Party of China, according to documents obtained by Fox News...

The U.S. offices of the five Chinese media outlets to be designated “foreign missions” are:

-Xinhua News Agency

-China Global Television Network

-China Radio International

-China Daily Distribution Corporation

-Hai Tian Development USA [They print and distribute the People's Daily Overseas newspaper in the US]

Comment: The Foreign Agents Registration Act is fairly useless in regulating these outlets, so State has gotten creative. Under the Foreign Missions Act the report notes:

“Entities designated as foreign missions must adhere to certain administrative requirements that also apply to foreign embassies and consulates in the United States,” according to the State Department documents. “At this time, they must inform the State Department of their personnel rosters as well as their real estate holdings,” just like any country would about its diplomatic personnel.

Comment: I will guess that President Trump did not even know this was coming? Now that it has leaked it may be hard to undo.


7. Sino-UK “golden era” intact as Boris Johnson says he loves China?

Xi says China's battle against COVID-19 making visible progress - Xinhua

China's measures to prevent and control the COVID-19 epidemic are achieving visible progress as the battle has reached a crucial time, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a phone conversation with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday.

He added that he loves China, and stands ready to lead the new British government to work with the Chinese side to strengthen exchanges at all levels, deepen cooperation in various fields, and push for continuous achievements in the "golden era" of bilateral relations.

Britain welcomes investment from Chinese enterprises and is willing to strengthen cooperation with China within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, he said.

Britain and China, both influential major countries, share similar positions on many international issues, Johnson said, noting that both sides advocate multilateralism, support free trade and safeguard a multilateral trading system.

Less detail in the official UK readout - PM call with President Xi of China: 18 February 2020 - GOV.UK

He offered his sympathies for those affected by the outbreak of coronavirus in China. President Xi thanked the UK for its support and in particular welcomed the donation of vital medical equipment to China.

The Prime Minister and President agreed on the importance of the UK-China relationship and resolved to work together across a range of issues including strengthening the economic partnership, to benefit the people of both China and the UK.

Boris Johnson tells Xi Jinping he 'loves China' and will 'work together' to fight coronavirus | World News | Sky News

Ambassador Liu said: "It is a very good conversation. It not only set the tone but also set the new direction for China-UK relations at a critical moment between China and the UK."


8. How good is Taiwan’s military?

Taiwan's Army Is A Hollow Shell After End of Conscription - Foreign Policy - Paul Huang

Even as the military refits itself with flashy U.S. arms purchases, such as M1 Abrams tanks and F-16V fighter jets, its front-line units are hollowed out, and the entire reserve system is so dysfunctional that few experts or serving military personnel believe it can make a real military contribution in the event of a war. These problems are well documented but continue to be downplayed, if not outright ignored, by Taiwan’s political leadership—and there is no clear plan to solve the crisis...

The personnel shortfalls are a clear consequence of the ill-executed transition from conscription to an all-volunteer military over the past few years. It was a political decision made during Ma Ying-jeou’s administration and continued by current President Tsai Ing-wen, despite their coming from different parties. And despite Tsai’s tough rhetoric about defending Taiwan during her successful recent reelection bid, and her vow to thwart Chinese aggression, she has shown no sign of stepping in to fix the problems.


Business, Economy and Trade

The Fed - Rising Import Tariffs, Falling Export Growth: When Modern Supply Chains Meet Old-Style Protectionism We examine the impacts of the 2018-2019 U.S. import tariff increases on U.S. export growth through the lens of supply chain linkages. Using 2016 confidential firm-trade linked data, we document the implied incidence and scope of new import tariffs. Firms that eventually faced tariff increases on their imports accounted for 84% of all exports and they represent 65% of manufacturing employment. For all affected firms, the implied cost is $900 per worker in new duties. To estimate the effect on U.S. export growth, we construct product-level measures of import tariff exposure of U.S. exports from the underlying firm micro data. More exposed products experienced 2 percentage point lower growth relative to products with no exposure. The decline in exports is equivalent to an ad valorem tariff on U.S. exports of almost 2% for the typical product and almost 4% for products with higher than average exposure.

23 Chinese Banks Reduce Interest Rates for Business Loans During Coronavirus Outbreak – China Banking News A new re­port in­di­cates that the vast ma­jor­ity of Chi­nese banks are heed­ing Bei­jing’s call for the adop­tion of mea­sures to ease the fi­nanc­ing dif­fi­cul­ties of small busi­nesses dur­ing ef­forts to con­tain the spread of the novel coro­n­avirus.

Politics and Law

China's top political advisor stresses overcoming COVID-19 impact on poverty relief - Xinhua China's top political advisor Wang Yang said the novel coronavirus epidemic is the biggest factor affecting this year's poverty relief work, and demanded resolute efforts to overcome such impact.

Coronavirus Won't Be China's Chernobyl - The Atlantic - Rory Truex Any change in China will come from the top. Contrary to popular belief, Xi Jinping has not formally secured the right to rule China for the rest of his life. He appears bent on doing so, but according to existing party norms, he should hand over power to someone else in 2022. This means that for the next two years, there will be a power struggle within the party—one that outsiders will be unable to observe unless it turns particularly nasty. Xi will likely prevail, but that is not a guarantee.

What the coronavirus crisis tells us about Chinese governance | Financial Times $$-Charles Parton The CCP’s governance system got off to a slow start in tackling the coronavirus crisis. As a result, it faces bigger challenges. This is not “China’s Chernobyl”, fine alliterative phrase though that is. If Mr Xi’s world is to end, it will not be with a bang or a whimper. But it might be with a broken economy.

China’s Coronavirus Outbreak and Economic Performance: Test for Performance Legitimacy? – The Diplomat-Chen Dingding & Yu Xia The Coronavirus outbreak raises public distrust of the authority, which is rare to be put on the table. The government received similar criticism in 2003, yet grievance has been accrued considerably by more robust social media today. The public anger peaked on the day Doctor Li Wenliang died of the Coronavirus infection. Li had stood out to warn the public about incoming danger yet was punished for spreading rumors by the local authorities. The misconduct of the Wuhan Red Cross and all other news disappointing the public further damaged the government’s credibility. Chinese netizens are now less tolerant of deleted comments and blocked articles. Indeed, the efficiency of case reporting has been improved since 2003. With the help of technology and more access to the outside world, Chinese people can raise their demands of transparency and openness.

Foreign and Defense Affairs

Huawei Is Winning the Argument in Europe, as the U.S. Fumbles to Develop Alternatives - The New York Times Fear of Chinese retaliation has gripped Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and her government. While Germany’s intelligence chiefs have largely joined the American assessment of Huawei’s national security dangers, Ms. Merkel is focused on the effects on German exports to China, especially after Chinese officials have hinted that Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler, the maker of the Mercedes-Benz, would bear the brunt of retaliation.

Self-censorship and the Gleichschaltung of Sinology | jichang lulu The cooption of the field, or fields, of “China studies” likewise relies on the habits of key members of the target group. The effects achieved may be less evident, but should be irreversible within a generation or two: China experts trained in the climate of conformism and collaboration illustrated in this post can be expected to dominate the teaching and research of everything China-related by then. // Brutal

China in the Middle East: Part Five | Center for Strategic and International Studies Jon Alterman looks at U.S.-Chinese cooperation and competition in the region with Robert Manning and Dawn Murphy. They discuss how the United States is changing its traditional role in the Middle East, and what that means for China’s role in the region. Jon also discusses how Somali pirates have brought China closer to multilateral military cooperation.

Chinese naval ships conduct real combat training in Gulf of Aden - China Military

India Captures Chinese Ship Going To Pakistan With Components Of Ballistic Missiles - Custom officials have intercepted a ship going to Karachi port in Gujarat. The ship carrying the flag of Hong Kong contained goods that could be used in the launching of ballistic missiles. Actually, the ship has loaded autoclaves (containers that are used for chemical reactions or other processes at high temperatures and pressures). The crew on the ship gave it incorrect information and called it an industrial dryer.

Hong Kong and Macao

Videos of Hong Kong police officers dining with Jackie Chan and other pro-establishment, anti-protest entertainers goes viral | South China Morning Post Videos showing Hong Kong police chief Chris Tang Ping-keung and top brass dining with entertainers known for their pro-police stance during the city’s anti-government protests went viral on Monday. The banquet on Sunday night was hosted by the football teams from Hong Kong Movie Star Sports Association and Sun Hei Sports Club following matches with a police team.

Taiwan

'Don't be kidnapped by China': Taiwan tells WHO in bid for separate virus tally - Reuters Taiwan has reported just 22 cases, versus China’s figure of more than 72,400, but the self-ruled island shares the agency’s classification of China as “very high risk”, since the WHO considers Taiwan as part of China. “Taiwan is not ruled by China and certainly should not be labelled as an infected area,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou told a news conference. “We urge the WHO to be professional and neutral: Break away from China’s unreasonable claim. Don’t be kidnapped by China.”

Tech and Media

Wong Kar-wai's Blossoms Postponed Due to Coronavirus Outbreak and Tong Wars Cancelled Wong Kar-wai’s Amazon Studios series Tong Wars has been canceled. The director formally came on board the project in 2017 and casting calls were even posted, but with no updates since then (only last year that the company relinquished the rights), we could’ve guessed it wasn’t coming along, yet it’s unfortunate to hear nonetheless. The multi-year-spanning drama was to focus on the clashes between the Chinese immigrants and the mob in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

China forfeits Davis Cup tie in Romania due to virus - AP The International Tennis Federation cited “increased restrictions in response to the current coronavirus outbreak” for the decision.

Malaysian government said MH370 was ‘murder-suicide by pilot’, former Australian PM Tony Abbott claims | South China Morning Post Former Australian PM Tony Abbott’s remarks are part of a documentary. He also said the Malaysian government never provided alternative explanations

Education

Schools in China are closed indefinitely becuase of the coronavirus, so students are taking classes online - The Washington Post The Ministry of Education on Monday introduced a “national Internet cloud classroom” supported by more than 7,000 servers and designed to cater to 50 million elementary and middle school students at the same time. Lessons cover 12 academic subjects, including “moral education” and “epidemic education.”

Online Classes Get Mixed Reactions From Students, Teachers - SixthTone Many online education platforms including Rain Classroom, Superstar Study System, and China University MOOC apologized for poor service on Monday, naming the surge in users as the chief cause. “The number of concurrent online users on the platform is about 10 times higher than usual, resulting in system overloads and platform instability,” China University MOOC wrote on Weibo. The education platform recommended that students log in during non-peak hours when possible.