Publication of Xi's 2013 speech not related to US-China trade talks?; Taiwan; China’s current account surplus
|Bill Bishop||Apr 2, 2019|| 3||3|
This Friday is a holiday in China for the Qingming Festival (Tomb-Sweeping Day).
While in Hawaii we went grave shopping at the Valley of the Temples, where General Zhang Xueliang is buried, and were shocked at the prices. But the Fengshui is excellent , you own the plot forever, unlike in mainland China, and they are now marketing a section to Chinese. $1.8m USD will get you an eternal villa with room for lots of your extended family. That may look expensive to you and me but it looks cheap to some Chinese tycoons given prices in places like Hong Kong.
Now back to the living and the trade talks this week in DC. The state of the negotiations has been tightly held and so I have not good leaks or rumors to pass on.
In yesterday’s newsletter I highlighted Qiushi’s publication of excerpts from Xi’s 2013 speech. I now have a better guess at why they published it now, and unlike some of the speculation out there I do not think the timing has to do with the US-China trade talks, nor is it a way of inoculating Xi against charges of weakness for any upcoming concessions he may make with the US. Even if Xi is preparing to make significant concessions I do not think he would need to use a lead essay in Qiushi as a propaganda prophylactic.
The same issue of Qiushi also published a long editorial explainer about the importance of Xi’s comments—毫不动摇坚持和发展中国特色社会主义 - 求是网 (Unswervingly adhere to and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics):
"Today, as we usher in the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China, re-studying General Secretary Xi Jinping's important manuscript will help us better understand the inherent logic contained in the 70-year historical change of New China, the new chapter of socialism with Chinese characteristics written since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, and the hard-won historical change and achievements. A profound understanding of why we should arm the whole Party and the people with the socialist ideology with Chinese characteristics in the new era of Xi Jinping will surely bring profound historical enlightenment.
It seems more likely that this essay should be placed into the broader context of the overall political environment inside China. It fits with the extraordinary meeting Xi convened in January to discuss risks, and jibes with the propaganda messaging that the Party is on the right path and everything it is doing is correct, and that if they can stay on that path the historical opportunity has never been greater for the Party and China.
My speculation does not mean that China is not going to make concessions to the US, just that I am not convinced that the publication of Xi's comments has much to do with the trade talks. Please let me know what you think.
For DC readers there are three upcoming events you might find interesting:
Thanks for reading.
The Essential Eight
Even if Xi and Trump resolve the issue as part of a broader agreement to defuse the bilateral trade war, it could take another two years before Visa, the largest US payments company, is able to offer its services in China. And then comes the challenge of wooing away consumers from a well-established brand...
UnionPay already accounts for the vast majority of cards issued in China. It also has expanded to account for about 44 per cent of the 15 billion credit, debit and other payment cards in use worldwide at the end of 2017, according to RBR, a research and consulting firm. By contrast, Visa accounts for 21 per cent of the world market and Mastercard 16 per cent.
A landmark order from China for 300 Airbus jets signed during a state visit last week was bolstered by repeat announcements of dozens of existing deals and advance approval for deals that are not yet completed, two people familiar with the matter said.
Echoing an umbrella order for 300 Boeing jets awarded during a visit to Beijing by U.S. President Donald Trump in 2017, the headline figure for the new “framework order” for European jets was partly driven by political considerations, the people said.
Comment: If the US and China announce a trade deal we will have to play close attention to any of the announced purchase deal, as it is likely some will have been announced previously and are being sold again. Has anyone tracked how many of the deals announced at the 2017 Trump-Xi summit in Beijing have actually come to fruition?
We are going to have to figure out a way in a 5G world that we’re able to manage the risks in a diverse network that includes technology that we can’t trust,” said Sue Gordon, the deputy to the director of the U.S. intelligence community. “We’re just going to have to figure that out.”
Officials have not let up on their campaign to urge other countries to block Huawei — a firm with close ties to the Chinese government — from their burgeoning 5G networks, which will power everything from self-driving cars to military operations.
The success of the transatlantic alliance is based on trust and at times frank conversations about what actions are necessary to keep every member safe. We’re in the midst of a frank discussion about Chinese telecommunications technology, which poses an unmanageable security risk to the alliance. Our allies must take steps to keep Huawei out of their 5G networks. If not, we could soon live in an unpredictable environment where information flows at the discretion of an authoritarian power, which at all times has its ear to the door and its finger on the kill switch.
Huawei technologies, the Chinese tech company, has been aggressively pursuing 5G dominance, adding the most technical contributions to the 5G standard at international conferences where what 5G is and how it will be implemented is outlined. The company has added more than 11,000 technical contributions to the 5G standard. Swedish telecoms company, Ericsson, has added the second most to the standard, adding over 10,000 technical contributions.
Comment: Add in Huawei-owned HiSilicon and its total contribution per this chart is over 18,000. The top US firms—Qualcomm and Intel—have just under 8000 between them.
The markets seem focused on the US-China trade dispute. Increased tensions with China over Taiwan could be much more dangerous, and given China’s behavior and the view of senior Trump administration officials and the US Congress do not be surprised if US-China tensions over Taiwan reach levels we have not seen in many years.
[Tsai’s] order came as both US state and defence departments issued statements describing the mainland Chinese act as a provocation and a change in the status quo.
They asked that Beijing stop its coercion against Taiwan and resume cross-strait dialogue.
“Beijing’s efforts to unilaterally alter the status quo are harmful and do not contribute to regional stability,” the state department said. “Consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act, the US considers any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including by boycotts or embargoes, of grave concern to the US.”
"As a matter of fact, Taiwan is not worth targeting anymore. All of our military strength [shown] is used to tell the US to stop where it should stop. The island of Taiwan causes trouble because the US supports it. When the US calms down, it will calm down," an anonymous mainland expert on the Taiwan question told the Global Times...
"The US has been playing the Taiwan card in a more radical way lately, and such risky actions may result in a heavy blow to overall China-US relations," Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University's Institute of International Relations in Beijing, told the Global Times...
Further actions by the mainland could possibly see mainland warplanes flying across the island of Taiwan, the anonymous expert on Taiwan question said. "We have not done that for now because the hope of a peaceful solution to the Taiwan question still exists," and if the mainland decides to do so, the island and the US will have absolutely no way to stop it.
Taiwan plans to ban the video streaming services of Chinese-owned technology companies, in the latest move by the government in Taipei to counter the spread of false information online and curb Beijing’s efforts to influence Taiwanese politics.
The decision would apply to services such as Baidu’s iQiyi platform, which already operates in Taiwan, and fend off an anticipated market entrance from Tencent Video. It follows allegations of Beijing’s involvement in the creation of disinformation and spreading Chinese propaganda undermining President Tsai Ing-wen and candidates from her ruling Democratic Progressive party in the lead-up to November’s local elections.
Comment: If they are really concerned about fake news from the mainland they will need to ban Wechat
3. Duterte: “The United States will help?”
“I am being criticized about the South China Sea. Am I prepared to go to war? I am not. Will we win the war? No. It will just create a massacre. I would lose my soldiers and policemen,” Duterte said during his recent visit to Koronadal City, South Cotabato.
"If you attack China, its closest missile will hit Manila in seven minutes,” he said...
Those fools want me to… We can’t do anything about it. That’s how it is. The United States will help?,” he said.
Q: Mr. Minister? Mr. Minister, I wonder, sir, what's your concern about the rising of -- of China in the South China Sea, as well as its very hungry appetite for Subic Bay?
MIN. LORENZANA: Yeah, it's -- it's very concerning. In fact, they have been doing the building of islands from -- from reefs since, I think, 2011, 2012. So it concerns us because they are encroaching on our EEZ.
Now, with regard to Subic, the -- they are interested in the Subic. There are two shipbuilding -- Chinese shipbuilding companies who are interested from the get go when they learn about the financial trouble of Hanjin, and they're waiting in the wings.
But we are also talking to a lot of interested parties on the U.S., on Japan, Korea, from European countries, and from Singapore and Indonesia.
The United States and the Philippines have kicked off Balikatan 2019, an annual military exercise involving thousands of troops and, for the first time, advanced F-35B Lightning II stealth fighters training in the Southeast Asian nation.
The drills, which are to include 4,000 Filipino, 3,500 American and 50 Australian troops, began Monday with a ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City and will run until April 12, according to local news reports.
The Philippines has protested the presence of more than 200 Chinese vessels that were sighted from January to March near a Philippine-occupied island in the disputed South China Sea, officials said Monday.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said the Department of Foreign Affairs lodged the protest after the military monitored about 275 Chinese vessels near Thitu island, which is called Pag-asa by Filipinos, in the Spratlys, the most hotly contested region in the busy waterway.
4. Whither China’s current account surplus?
Barry Eichengreen: Is China’s Current Account Surplus Really Vanishing? - Caixin:
The reality, then, is that China’s current account surplus is larger than advertised. But it will shrink if the authorities again goose investment in response to a slowing economy. Prime Minister Li Keqiang recently announced plans to invest 800 billion yuan ($119 billion) in railway construction and 1.8 trillion yuan in roads and waterways. The implication is larger current account deficits going forward.
Earlier this month The Economist published an article that warned of far reaching consequences, including a weaker yuan and pressure to relax restrictions on capital inflows to enable China to attract the foreign investment needed to finance its deficit. China’s current account deficit may vanish one day, and these consequences may ultimately follow. But not yet.
China’s current-account deficit in the first quarter was exaggerated, since exports tend to be subdued at the start of the year. It is likely to return to a surplus in the coming months. But Ding Shuang of Standard Chartered, an emerging-markets bank, forecasts that the surplus will be just 1% of GDP this year and 0.5% next year. The trade ruckus with America could reinforce the downward trend. To placate President Donald Trump, China will try to import more from America and pay more for foreign intellectual property (IP), Mr Ding says.
One probable outcome is that the exchange rate will become more volatile. In recent years capital outflows have pressed down on the yuan, but the current-account surplus has countered that effect. In the future China will have a thinner cushion. Depending on quarterly trade swings, the yuan will be as likely to fall as to rise.
5. New head of CIC
Peng Chun, former chairman of the Bank of Communications Co. Ltd. — one of the country’s “Big Five” state-owned commercial lenders — has been appointed chair of China Investment Corp. (CIC), which manages part of the investment of the nation’s foreign exchange reserves, Caixin has learned. The post had been unoccupied for over two years.
CIC Executive Vice President Ju Weimin has been promoted to president, replacing Tu Guangshao, sources said on condition of anonymity...
It is understood the ruling Communist Party’s top organization department, which oversees high-ranking personnel moves, announced the appointments at CIC’s headquarters in Beijing on Tuesday morning.
6. Feminist voices
When I started writing this article, Feminist Voices had been deleted for six months and ten days. Yes, I have been keeping track of the time: ten days, fifteen days, thirty days, sixty days, three months, six months… The first week after it disappeared from the internet, my heart was filled with mourning; every day I lay in bed and cried. As time went by, I seemed to see a figure drifting away, but her soul was still near me. And her name will always linger in my mind.
Losing Feminist Voices was like losing a loved one, or even like having a part of myself die before my eyes. I must put this story into words, in the first person, because people should know that online censorship and persecution do not only erase information; they cause psychological and physical pain to real people. Another important reason to write this is to prevent the memory of Feminist Voices from being erased entirely. To preserve and spread the intellectual contributions that it has created—that is the real purpose of this essay.
7. Vaccine management
The repeated vaccine scandals in spite of multiple efforts by the government to improve vaccine safety have done as much as any other problems to damage the government’s credibility. Perhaps this new interministerial group will improve things, but if I were in charge I would add the Ministry of Public of Security and the CCDI, since corruption is core to the vaccine scandals.
The State Council approved the joint interministerial meeting on vaccine management in a circular issued recently.
The meeting, led by the State Administration for Market Regulation, the National Health Commission, and the State Food and Drug Administration, is intended to enhance coordination among different departments and continue to improve vaccine management with clear responsibility and an efficient system.
According to the circular, the meeting will coordinate the layout of the vaccine industry, production, circulation, quality, safety, supply and storage, vaccination, and compensation.
8. Petition for Xu Zhangrun
On 31 March 2019, an Open Letter and Petition to the president of Tsinghua University in Beijing bearing an initial 137 signatures from present or former academics and students from Tsinghua and 94 signatures from others throughout China was published online. Below we offer a translation of that petition followed by the original text and list of signatories....
To Tsinghua University and President Qiu Yong,
Upon learning that Professor Xu Zhangrun, an academic working in the School of Law at Tsinghua University, had been stripped by your estimable institution of all duties, banned from accepting any new students as well as forbidden from pursuing his teaching and research activities, we the undersigned were Shocked, Dumbfounded and Outraged.
Sorry to be cynical, but I am skeptical that the petition will do much, or that most people in China even care. Remember the Lei Yang case in 2016? - A young man died in police custody, and middle-class Chinese are outraged - The Washington Post - 12.31.2016:
The death of Lei, who worked for a state-backed environmental organization in Beijing and was a graduate of the prestigious Renmin University of China, sparked a social-media outcry at the time and a call from President Xi Jinping to improve police conduct. But the decision not to charge the police officers involved, announced Dec. 23, has reopened the controversy.
Thousands of alumni of Renmin and other top universities have signed petitions asking for criminal charges to be reinstated, while lawyers, academics and business executives have defied censors to speak out publicly on the matter.
Business, Economy and Trade
Yicai Global - PBOC Sics Cops on Reserve Requirement Ratio Rumormongers The People's Bank of China has referred for police investigation the circulation of a rumor on social media that it will cut the reserve requirement ratio starting from yesterday, the central bank said on its Weibo account today. Someone posing as a reporter from state Xinhua News Agency fabricated the RRR cut news, which circulated in chat groups on Tencent Holdings' ubiquitous WeChat social app on March 29, according to a post on PBOC's Twitter-like Weibo account.
Chen Yang's Big Bet on Chinese Debt - Bloomberg In another market, a strong credit ratings industry might support the risk analysis done by Chen and his team. Yet the ratings put out by the handful of major local companies bear little resemblance to those in developed markets: More than 40 percent of domestic corporate bonds are rated AAA by the top four local companies, compared with just 2 percent in the U.S., according to data compiled by Bloomberg as of Feb. 13.
China Company Bond Delinquencies Quadrupled Last Quarter: Chart - Bloomberg Chinese companies have missed payments on 26.2 billion yuan ($3.9 billion) of local bonds in the first quarter, almost quadruple the same period in 2018. It was also the third highest quarter for bond delinquencies in China’s history, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
New Economy Index Rebounds Slightly After Capital Influx - Caixin The Mastercard Caixin BBD New Economy Index (NEI) rose to 28.3, indicating that new economy industries accounted for 28.3% of overall economic input. The reading was just off February’s 27.4, the lowest of available data dating back to March 2016, when the index launched.
栗战书出席全国人大常委会中小企业促进法执法检查组第一次全体会议--时政--人民网 Li Zhanshu pointed out at the first plenary meeting of the Law Enforcement Inspection Team of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises...Create a good legal environment and business environment...Promote the healthy development of private economy and small and medium-sized enterprises.
State lenders keep bad debts under control - China Daily Using big data technology, it built nearly 100 models, using which it established a strong risk monitoring system. The system ensures the bank would not extend total loans in excess of 120 billion yuan at the initial stage by strictly examining the client's loan access eligibility, said Wang Bairong, chief risk officer of ICBC. In the past few years, the bank put greater emphasis on a top-level design. Each year, it has a plan for the direction and volume of new loans in terms of geographical and industrial layout. As a result, the NPL ratio of its new loans issued since 2015 was only 0.42 percent at the end of last year.
Ownership Shakeup Emerges for Gree Electric as Controlling Shareholder Seeks Sale - Caixin The filing, which said the deal still needs regulatory approval, did not disclose the buyer, the size of the deal, or how much of Gree Group’s stake is up for sale. Caixin, however, has learned that the deal aims to bring in a strategic investor for Gree Electric. E-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and rival JD.com Inc. have both denied widespread rumors that they had taken part in the deal.
CICC: Rule on Sponsors Holding IPO Stakes Should Be ‘Temporary’ - Caixin A rule that requires sponsors of initial public offerings (IPOs) on China’s new Nasdaq-style high-tech board to invest their own money in the IPOs should only be “temporary” arrangement and can’t be a long-term mechanism, the country’s largest investment bank said.
Canada gets tough with China over canola ban that ‘defies science’, demanding proof of contamination | South China Morning Post “The restrictive measures imposed by China are said to be rooted in science. We have asked for the evidence,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said in a statement...Goodale said “measures that defy science and contravene sound business and trading practices detract from the good reputation for reliability which all trading nations seek to maintain.”
China to start wide-ranging construction at Xiongan New Area - Xinhua Chen Gang, vice governor of Hebei Province who also heads the management committee of Xiongan, said a large-scale building phase will start this year. In January, China's central authorities approved the 2018-2035 master plan for the area. More than 200 teams and 1,000 experts from China and abroad participated in the drafting of the plan, Chen said.
These Chinese cities depend on dwindling resources. Can they survive? - National Geographic In 2017, Beijing-based photographer Li Junhui set out to document the pains and gains being experienced in Fuxin, Jingdezhen, and six other resource-dependent cities. Each is facing unique challenges, he says, but all have this in common: Their residents’ lives are intimately bound to their city’s ebb and flow, “like boats rocking against the waves.”
Politics and Law
聚力防范化解政治安全风险--法制网 Chen Yixin, secretary-general of the Political and Legal Affairs Commission delivered a report on preventing and resolving political risks to the current class at the Central Party School...more follow on from the meeting on risks Xi convened in January, preventing and resolving political risks looks to be the unifying thread for all Party work this year especially
CPC establishes mechanism to curb "formalities for formalities' sake" practices - Xinhua China's central authorities have established a specialized work mechanism to address the practice of "formalities for formalities' sake" and alleviate burdens on primary-level authorities. The first meeting on the mechanism was held Monday in Beijing and was presided over by Ding Xuexiang, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee as well as director of the General Office of the CPC Central Committee. 中央层面整治形式主义为基层减负专项工作机制启动 丁薛祥主持召开专项工作机制第一次会议
New round of inspection to oversee central gov't departments, SOEs - Xinhua The three central government departments were the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, the National Energy Administration, and the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense. The 42 SOEs were administrated by the central government..The inspection teams will be stationed at the departments and state firms for two and a half months
十九届中央第三轮巡视进驻一览表——中央纪委国家监委网站 table of the targets of the 3rd round of CCDI/NSC inspection tours.
中国农业发展集团有限公司 One big SOE that may be in trouble is China National Agricultural Development Group Co., Ltd, given its ties to the "Cao Yuan" illegal construction scandal in Mudanjiang
中国共产党发展党员工作流程图--党建-人民网 People's Daily flow chart on process for developing Party members
增强脚力眼力脑力笔力 更好完成宣传思想工作使命任务 - 求是网 Enhance the power of the eye, the power of the brain, and better the task of propaganda and ideological work.-Xinhua Party Secretary Cai Mingzhao piece in the latest Qiushi
阔步迈进西藏发展的新时代 - 求是网 United Front head You Quan has an essay in the latest Qiushi on the 60th anniversary of Tibet's democratic reforms...
Xi urges civil affairs authorities to better fulfill duties - Xinhua Xi...made the statement in an instruction read at a national civil affairs conference held in Beijing Tuesday. Identifying civil affairs work as a fundamental aspect of social development, Xi called on Party committees and governments at various levels to be committed to a people-centered approach, strengthen leadership over the civil affairs work and enhance civil affairs services at the primary level.习近平对民政工作作出重要指示
Integrated Fragmentation and the Role of Leading Small Groups in Chinese Politics | The China Journal We conclude that compared with previous Chinese regimes, Xi Jinping is making greater use of leading small groups to promote further reforms and to practice individualized centralization.
Former head of National Energy Administration arrested for taking bribes - Xinhua Nur Bekri, former head of the National Energy Administration, has been arrested for taking bribes, the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) announced Tuesday.
Foreign and Defense Affairs
China, New Zealand agree to deepen comprehensive strategic partnership - Xinhua New Zealand pursues an independent foreign policy and firmly supports multilateralism and free trade, Ardern said, adding that the country had long supported the Belt and Road Initiative and participated in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. She said New Zealand would send a high-level delegation to the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to be held later this month in Beijing.
China warned other countries not to attend UN meeting on Xinjiang human rights violations - NGO | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP A letter obtained by NGO Human Rights Watch from Chinese ambassador Yu Jianhua cautioned delegates against joining the meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. In the appeal dated March 7, Yu said: “In the interest of our bilateral relations and continued multilateral cooperation, I hereby kindly request your delegation, bearing in mind the political motivation behind the above-mentioned side event, not to co-sponsor, participate in or be present at this side event.”
President cites US ties in gathering with ex-leaders - China Daily Most of the members of The Elders are leaders of international organizations and former political leaders including Ban Ki-moon, former secretary-general of the United Nations, and Ernesto Zedillo, former president of Mexico. Its chairwoman is Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland. Members spoke highly of China's achievements in environmental protection, poverty reduction and ethnic relations and development. // Comment: what exactly did they praise about China’s achievements in “ethnic relations”?
Beijing willing to step in to aid Wang Xiyue, Chinese-American scholar imprisoned in Iran, his wife says | South China Morning Post: Beijing has offered to assist the United States in the case of a Chinese-American scholar serving a 10-year prison sentence in Iran, according to his wife, who has been briefed on the situation by US State Department officials. Wang Xiyue, a naturalised US citizen originally from China, is approaching his 1,000th day behind bars in Tehran after a closed-door trial found him guilty in 2017 of attempting to “infiltrate” Iran at the behest of Princeton University, where he was pursuing a PhD in history.
Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga: U.S. losing to China diplomacy in Africa - Washington Times “The reason I’m here is to attract American investment and money in all fields, including petroleum,” Mr. Maiga told The Washington Times between meetings with U.S. officials amid rising concern about Beijing’s influence and infrastructure lending projects in Mali and numerous other countries across Africa.
Wang Qishan Meets with Foreign Minister Beibut Atamkulov of Kazakhstan - MoFA The Kazakh side pays high attention to China's development path, appreciates China's development achievements and is willing to continuously enhance cooperation in various areas with the Chinese side including the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative and strengthen coordination in multilateral mechanisms, so as to promote bilateral relations to a new high.
Chinese vice president meets Mongolian FM - Xinhua Wang said the two countries should work together in implementing the consensus reached by the two heads of state, maintaining the momentum of high-level exchanges, jointly pushing the Belt and Road Initiative, deepening cooperation in various sectors and enhancing cultural and people-to-people exchange.
Russia ‘to pitch Su-57 fighter jets to China’ | Asia Times Jane’s Defense Weekly quoted Viktor Kladov, director of international cooperation and regional policy at Rostec Defense Industrial Holding Company, as saying that Putin may, in the coming weeks, approve sales of the Su-57E, an export variant of the Su-57.
Remembering Chinese hero pilot, 18 years after fatal midair collision - China Military The number "81192" has shown up on many Chinese media outlets on this day every year for 18 years, reminding readers of a name most Chinese people won't and can't forget. Wang Wei, a Chinese pilot serving in the Navy Air Force, was missing and then assumed dead after a midair collision between a U.S. surveillance plane and a Chinese fighter jet on April 1, 2001. He was on duty tracing and monitoring the surveillance plane and parachuted out after his fighter jet was rammed and destroyed by the US plane.
BeiDou navigation system guides China-Arab cooperation on "Space Silk Road" - Xinhua A project manager of the Arab Information and Communication Technologies Organization (AICTO), Laabidi has been working part-time at the center for a year. But her passion for the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) has become so intense that she is determined to study in China to attain a degree in satellite navigation. This is because she, like many other people in the Arab world, sees the huge potential and opportunities provided by the growing space cooperation between China and the Arab states. The two sides are jointly building a "Space Silk Road" led by the BDS application within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative
Hong Kong and Macao
New deputy director of Beijing’s liaison office makes first public remarks: Calls on Hongkongers to be patriotic, study Chinese history and help develop nation | South China Morning Post Lu Xinning, the new deputy director of the central government’s liaison office, also promised that her office would continue to listen to Hong Kong’s younger generation. “[We] will walk with the young people, care about them and build more platforms for them, so that together we can make the nation and Hong Kong better,” she said.
Tech and Media
China regulator approves 30 imported online video games, including Tencent's | Reuters China’s regulators approved 30 imported online video games Tuesday, including Tencent’s “Game of Thrones: Winter is Coming”, according to a notice on the regulator’s website. It marked the first batch of imported online games approved since February 2018.
China’s Tencent to issue $5bn bond | Financial Times $$ Tencent’s US dollar bond, which will price Wednesday in the US, comes 15 months after the social media group last launched a $5bn bond – an issue that pulled in orders for $40bn worth of paper, even as sovereign markets were wilting.
China Regulator to Set Time Limits on Hot Short-Video Apps - Bloomberg From June, all such apps will have to install a “youth mode” feature for parents that can limit what children watch and for how long, according to a note published on the website of the Cyberspace Administration of China. While the regulator didn’t specify a time limit, Douyin, which is known as TikTok internationally, and Kuaishou both said screen time could be as little as 40 minutes a day. 网信办：短视频平台6月份要上线青少年防沉迷系统
Pricey Purchase Plan for Popular WeChat Account Draws Regulator Scrutiny - Caixin The Shenzhen Stock Exchange demanded that an online education company disclose more about its eye-popping plan to pay 1.5 billion yuan ($223 million) to acquire a popular WeChat account.
Briefing: Chinese social media star Mimeng dissolves media company · TechNode The announcement was made Mar. 30 and came in the form of a WeChat Moments update. Prior to the dissolution, Mimeng Group shut down its flagship WeChat account in February 2019 after being accused of fabricating a story. The social media star apologized, but was censured by the People’s Daily and subsequently banned from Weibo and Bytedance-owned Jinri Toutiao.
Hackers trick a Tesla into veering into the wrong lane - MIT Technology Review The researchers behind the lane-recognition hack, from the Keen Security Lab of Chinese tech giant Tencent, used a similar attack to disrupt the vehicle’s automatic windshield wipers. They also hijacked the car’s steering wheel using another method.
Mobike and Bluegogo double rates in Beijing in bid to stay afloat · TechNode According to a notice dated Monday released on Mobike’s mobile application, Beijing riders will be charged RMB 1 (around $0.15) for a trip up to 15 minutes, and RMB 0.5 for every additional 15 minute increment. This is double the going rate, RMB 1 for a 30-minute ride.
Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History
Little people, big ambitions: China trials football kindergartens - AFP Citing the ministry of education, Xinhua news agency said that "each provincial-level region" will have 50 to 200 football-centric kindergartens.
The Internet was obsessed with this philosophy-quoting homeless man in China. Now he’s fled the fame. - The Washington Post This unlikely viral star was discovered by social media when clips of him quoting Aristotle, Confucius and Dante began to surface on Douyin, a short-video platform. To the surprise of many, this homeless man — with uncombed hair, soiled clothes and unwashed beard — turned out to be well versed in literature and philosophy.
Marriage rate drops as more Chinese get married later - People's Daily Online The marriage rate, the ratio of registered marriages to China’s total population in a year, has been dropping over the past six years, Chinanews.com reported on April 2. The marriage rate was 7.2 percent in 2018, the lowest since 2013's 9.9 percent. Shanghai and Zhejiang province saw the lowest marriage rates, at 4.4 percent and 5.9 percent, respectively.
Energy, Environment, Science and Health
Yicai Global - Chinese Couple to Fund up to 400 Brain Science PhDs Each Year in California One of the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute's priorities this year is to launch the global postdoctoral program and it will be the first project directly operated by the organization, Tianqiao Chen, the chief executive of Shanda Investment Group, told Yicai Global.
Can the world quench China’s bottomless thirst for milk? | The Guardian China’s leaders have championed milk as the emblem of a modern, affluent society – but their radical plan to triple the nation’s consumption will have a huge environmental cost...Dairy farming requires access to vast quantities of fresh water: it takes an estimated 1,020 litres of water to make one litre of milk. But China suffers from water scarcity, and has been buying land and water rights abroad, as well as establishing large-scale processing factories in other countries.
Books and Literature
The State of Chinese Sci-fi – China Channel Fei Dao (a pen name) is a Chinese science fiction writer, born in 1983. The characters for Fei Dao originally meant “flying dagger” (飞刀), but he later changed the second character to 氘, a chemical element also pronounced dao (deuterium, to be exact). He is the author of three collections of sci-fi short stories, including The Storytelling Robot, and received his PhD in literature at Tsinghua University. He currently teaches comparative literature and sci-fi at Beijing Normal University. The interview was conducted in Chinese, and a translation of one of his stories will follow tomorrow.