Quarantine bus tragedy; Xi at the SCO; Biden on Taiwan; Real estate
Summary of today’s Essential Eight:
Chengdu reopens, deadly bush crash in Guizhou - Chengdu is fully reopening after a two week lockdown. Guiyang appears to have hit its political target of no new cases spreading in the community, but one of the ways they achieved that was by sending thousands of residents to quarantine facilities outside the city, and that policy has killed at least 27 people in a bus crash on a mountain road in the middle of the night. There is widespread anger over the crash, and the censors are working overtime to control the narrative. Guizhou Party Secretary Shen Yiqin is considered a top pick to replace Sun Chunlan for the woman's spot on the Politburo (sadly there never seems to be more than one among the 25, perhaps this Party Congress will be different but no signs so far) and given how close we are to the 20th it is unlikely that this Guiyang tragedy will hurt her prospects.
Xi at the SCO - Xi’s first trip out of China since early 2020 looked successful, I think the claims of troubles in the relationship with Putin are over-egged, and interestingly Xi did not have a bilateral with Indian Prime Minister Modi. Will Xi now have to go into quarantine for at least the next week?
Another Russia-China meeting - Yang Jiechi met with Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, in Fujian for the 17th Round of Strategic Security Consultation between China and Russia. The timing just after the SCO summit is interesting, even if long scheduled, and not a positive sign for those hoping Xi is somehow upset with Putin or that there are cracks in the Russia-PRC relationship.
Biden again says US will come to Taiwan’s defense - Joe Biden made clear in an interview that aired Sunday that he does not believe in strategic ambiguity when it comes to Taiwan, echoing comments he has made several times since becoming president, even as his staffers then try to walk back his remarks. He also garbled the official policy about independence for Taiwan, saying "Taiwan makes their own judgments about their independence...that's their decision" when the official language on the State Department web site is "we do not support Taiwan independence". Xi and the PLA must assume that the US would intervene, so Biden's rejection of strategic ambiguity is not a game-changer, but the comments about independence, even if just a gaffe, are not constructive.
US executive order on outbound investment imminent? - National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan seemed to hint as much at an event Friday. As to what such an order might look like, draft legislation from earlier this summer may provide a roadmap.
Local government financing vehicles bailing their governments out? -LGFVs are buying land from their local governments as those governments are desperate for revenue. Somehow this does not feel like it is sustainable or will end well.
Bailout plan for real estate project completions - Caixin got details of a $29 Billion loan program to help developers finish projects they have halted, part of the response to the mortgage boycotts and public protests over the many unfinished housing projects. $29 Billion does not seem like it will be enough, and if developers are required to put up the collateral how will the regulators deal with the projects whose developers have no collateral?
Patents for improving public opinion work - China Media Project looks at patent applications submitted by the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC) to improve “the monitoring, detection, and management of information threats in cyberspace”.
Thanks for reading.
The Essential Eight
1. Chengdu reopens, deadly bush crash in Guizhou
Chengdu is fully reopening after a two week lockdown. Guiyang appears to have hit its political target of no new cases spreading in the community, but one of the ways they achieved that was by sending thousands of residents to quarantine facilities outside the city, and that policy has killed at least 27 people in a bus crash on a mountain road in the middle of the night. There is widespread anger over the crash, and the censors are working overtime to control the narrative. Guizhou Party Secretary Shen Yiqin is considered a top pick to replace Sun Chunlan for the woman's spot on the Politburo (sadly there never seems to be more than one among the 25, perhaps this Party Congress will be different but no signs so far) and given how close we are to the 20th it is unlikely that this Guiyang tragedy will hurt her prospects.
Residents will need to be tested at least once a week for the virus, with a negative result from within the previous 72 hours required to enter most venues and take public transportation, according to a statement from the local government.
Guizhou is battling a Covid outbreak with 100 freeway toll booths under strict control as of Saturday, state broadcaster CCTV reported, citing local authorities. China’s traffic rules prohibit passenger buses from driving on the highway between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m.
Guiyang city officials apologized at a press conference Sunday night and disclosed more details. The vehicle in the crash was being used to transport “epidemic-related” residents in Guiyang’s Yunyan district to a hotel in Libo county for centralized quarantine and health observation, Vice Mayor Lin Gang said.
The bus departed from Yunyan just after midnight carrying 47 people, including a driver, a health worker and 45 residents. The wreck occurred at about 2:40 a.m. when the bus overturned on a highway section and fell into a deep ditch on the roadside, Lin said.
Guiyang tests all residents three days in a row Friday-Sunday, announces that as of September 19 there have been no cases spreading the community for three days, will start loosening restrictions in some areas
Three Guiyang officials suspended and put under investigation - chief of the district where the victims lived, head of the work group in that district in charge of transporting residents to quarantine facilities, and deputy party secretary of the district public security department
The doomed bus:
In a post to WeChat yesterday, law expert Nie Riming (聂日明), a researcher at the Shanghai Institute of Finance and Law (上海金融与法律研究院), reflected on the Guizhou accident and some of the basic legal issues that point to elementary questions of responsibility.
In his post, Nie is direct in saying that local authorities in Guizhou violated several key points of law, and he likens the decisions involved ahead of this weekend’s accident to other Covid-related measures taken across the country in 2022 that involved the suspension of other basic safety considerations in the single-minded focus on Covid numbers: the placing of barricades across main roads; the welding closed of entrance doors; the erection of steel cages around doors, and so on.
“In recent decades, China has established a basically sound safety management system, and every provision of laws, rules and regulations is a price paid in blood, a requirement written with the lessons of history,” Nie writes. “Guizhou has been the most strictly governed region for long-distance buses traveling at night, and the question we have to ask is why this strictly enforced policy has failed here when it comes to the transfer of people involved in epidemics.”
Travel groups organised by tour agencies in border areas in China can choose their port of entry and exit "flexibly", the Ministry of Culture and Tourism said in a statement, without giving specifics on locations and dates.
The authorities in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa have apologised for their handling of the city’s lockdown after angry residents complained about food shortages, a lack of proper care for hospital and quarantine patients, and a chaotic mass-testing system.
Zhandui, one of the city’s vice mayors, bowed in apology during a media briefing on Saturday night and said the complaints had highlighted the city government’s shortcomings and weaknesses.
They’ve been in lockdown for 42 days already, but according to some Lhasa-based bloggers, there have been no improvements in the local epidemic situation. They say there is a stark difference between what officials are reporting and the daily reality they are dealing with in Tibet.
2. Xi at the SCO
Xi’s first trip out of China since early 2020 looked successful, I think the claims of troubles in the relationship with Putin are over-egged, and interestingly Xi did not have a bilateral with Indian Prime Minister Modi.
Xi delivered an important statement entitled “Ride on the Trend of the Times and Enhance Solidarity and Cooperation to Embrace a Better Future”...
We welcome all parties to get involved in implementing the Global Security Initiative, stay true to the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture. We should crack down hard on terrorism, separatism and extremism, drug trafficking, and cyber and transnational organized crimes; and we should effectively meet the challenges in data security, biosecurity, outer space security and other non-traditional security domains. China is ready to train 2,000 law enforcement personnel for SCO member states in the next five years, and establish a China-SCO base for training counter-terrorism personnel, so as to enhance capacity-building for law enforcement of SCO member states...
China is ready to work with all other stakeholders to pursue the Global Development Initiative in our region to support the sustainable development of regional countries. We need to implement the statements on safeguarding international energy and food security adopted by this summit..
We should remain firm in safeguarding the UN-centered international system and the international order based on international law, practice the common values of humanity, and reject zero-sum game and bloc politics. We should expand the SCO’s exchanges with other international and regional organizations such as the UN, so as to uphold true multilateralism, improve global governance, and ensure that the international order is more just and equitable.
China is also willing to train 2,000 law enforcement personnel for SCO member states in the next five years and establish a base for training counter-terrorism forces, said Xi, while encouraging the bloc to carry out joint anti-terrorism exercises and crack down on drug trafficking and cyber and transnational organized crime.
Chinese President Xi Jinping's trip to Central Asia from Wednesday to Friday is a strategic move to break US' "encirclement" of China by expanding the "circle of friends" at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), demonstrating President Xi's confidence and influence, while indicating the further strengthening of China's international status and influence, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at the end of the trip, noting that this is also the general view of the international public opinion...
At the summit, Iran officially became a full SCO member. China and other SCO members also started the procedure for Belarus' accession, granted Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar the status of SCO dialogue partners, and reached agreement on admitting Bahrain, the Maldives, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Myanmar as new dialogue partners.
Wang noted that the new round of the largest expansion of the SCO membership has consolidated its status and influence as the most populous regional cooperation organization with the vastest territory in the world.
They said that the coordination of the situation in Afghanistan at an early date is one of the important factors for maintaining and consolidating security and stability in the SCO region. The SCO member states support Afghanistan to become an independent, neutral, united, democratic and peaceful country, which is free of terrorism, war and drugs.
During the SCO Summit in Samarkand on Sept. 16, 2022, leaders of the SCO member states signed a memorandum of obligations on Iran's SCO membership. The member states stressed the importance of the decision to start the procedure for Belarus' accession.
The member states noted with satisfaction that during the summit an agreement was reached on admitting Bahrain, the Maldives, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Myanmar as new dialogue partners. Relevant parties noticed that MOUs granting Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar the status of SCO dialogue partners had been signed.
Chinese President Xi Jinping met at least 12 state leaders for one-on-one talks during a three-day diplomatic blitz last week, his first trip outside China since the early days of the pandemic.
But they did not include Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The pair posed for group photos at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit held in the Uzbek city of Samarkand and attended multilateral meetings, but there was no publicly reported two-way meeting.
Throughout the past week of Russian retreats, China has maintained impressive message discipline. Each night, the main evening news programme on China Central Television, “Xinwen Lianbo”, has followed the same pattern. Over images of rockets being fired and shells zipping skyward, it tersely reports assertions by Russia’s defence ministry that it has struck targets in Ukraine, followed by Ukrainian claims to have fought back. The Biden administration is often accused of troublemaking, for instance by sending new weapons to fatten the profits of American arms manufacturers. Then comes the meat of each report: a lengthy account of how unhappy Europeans are reeling from sky-high fuel prices and gas bills, and how they blame them on American-led sanctions. This is delivered over such captions as “International view: America is only out for itself, and Europe is headed for failure.”...
Propaganda chiefs might call their low-drama war-reporting proof of China’s neutrality in the fight between Russia and Ukraine. But that claim of neutrality has never been convincing. Chinese officials have spent months repeating Russian talking-points about America provoking the war by expanding nato up to Russia’s borders. Chinese diplomats and state media have promoted and relayed Russian disinformation accusing American armed forces of funding and controlling biological-weapons laboratories in Ukraine.
3. Another Russia-China meeting
Yang Jiechi met with Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, in Fujian for the 17th Round of Strategic Security Consultation between China and Russia. The timing just after the SCO summit is interesting, and not a positive sign for those hoping Xi is somehow upset with Putin or that there are cracks in the Russia-PRC relationship.
Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, Monday co-chaired the 17th Round of Strategic Security Consultation between China and Russia with Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, in east China's Fujian Province.
The two sides agreed to continue to make positive use of the consultation mechanism, implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state during the SCO Samarkand Summit, and enhance mutual trust. They also agreed to support each other in taking the development path in line with their conditions, jointly safeguard global strategic stability, and continuously consolidate and enrich the content of the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination between the two countries...
He said that the two countries have continued to deepen strategic coordination and firmly supported each other on issues involving each other's core interests and major concerns. He added their cooperation in various fields has grown.
The two countries have jointly upheld the international system with the United Nations as the core and the international order based on international law. They also safeguarded global fairness and justice, and set a model of relations between major countries with mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation for the global community, said Yang.
China is willing to work with Russia to fully implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state to continue deepening political mutual trust and strategic coordination to build a more secure and stable external environment for the development of the two countries, said Yang. He added China is ready to contribute more to safeguarding the common interests of the two countries and world security and stability.
Moscow considers the development of its strategic partnership with Beijing an unconditional priority, and this course is not subject to external influence, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev said on Monday at Russian-Chinese consultations on strategic stability with Yang Jiechi, member of the Politburo of China’s Central Committee of the Communist Party.
"The course to develop a strategic partnership with China is an unconditional priority of Russia's foreign policy, it enjoys broad support of the peoples of the two countries, it is based on deep mutual trust, and therefore is not subject to external influence," he stressed.
Patrushev continued that this attitude has been confirmed on the top level several times, including at the meeting of President Vladimir Putin with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Samarkand a few days ago.
Chinese version of the PRC readout - 杨洁篪主持中俄第十七轮战略安全磋商_中华人民共和国外交部
The two sides agreed to continue to make good use of the important platform of strategic security consultations, implement the consensus of the Russian and Chinese heads of state at the SCO Summit in Samarkand, enhance mutual trust, support each other's development path in line with their national conditions, jointly maintain global strategic stability, and continuously consolidate and enrich the connotation of the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries.
Yang Jiechi said that the leadership of the head of state is a fundamental guarantee for the stability and dynamism of relations between the two countries. In recent years, under the strategic leadership of President Xi Jinping and President Vladimir Putin, China-Russia relations have always maintained a vigorous momentum of development. The two countries have continued to deepen their strategic cooperation, firmly supported each other on issues related to each other's core interests and major concerns, enriched the content of cooperation in various fields, jointly defended the international system with the United Nations at its core and the international order based on international law, safeguarded international justice and set an example for the international community of a new type of major power relations based on mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation.
Yang Jiechi noted that the heads of state of the two countries met face-to-face for the second time this year in Samarkand. China is willing to work with the Russian side to fully implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state, continue to deepen mutual political trust and strategic cooperation between the two sides, ensure that bilateral relations move forward in the direction determined by the two heads of state, create a more secure and stable external environment for the revitalization of the respective development of China and Russia, and make greater contributions to the maintenance of the common interests of the two countries and the security and stability of the world...
Wang Xiaohong, Deputy Secretary of the Central Committee of Political and Legal Affairs and Minister of Public Security, participated in the consultations.
Guo Shengkun, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, Monday co-chaired the 7th meeting of the China-Russia law-enforcement and security cooperation mechanism with Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, in east China's Fujian Province.
4. Biden again says US will come to Taiwan’s defense
Joe Biden made clear in an interview that aired Sunday that he does not believe in strategic ambiguity when it comes to Taiwan, echoing comments he has made several times since becoming president, even as his staffers then try to walk back his remarks. He also garbled the official policy about independence for Taiwan, saying "Taiwan makes their own judgments about their independence...that's their decision" when the official language on the State Department web site is "we do not support Taiwan independence". Xi and the PLA must assume that the US would intervene, so Biden's rejection of strategic ambiguity is not a game-changer, but the comments about independence, even if just a gaffe, are not constructive.
Scott Pelley: What should Chinese President Xi know about your commitment to Taiwan?
President Joe Biden: We agree with what we signed onto a long time ago. And that there's one China policy, and Taiwan makes their own judgments about their independence. We are not moving-- we're not encouraging their being independent. We're not-- that-- that's their decision.
Scott Pelley: But would U.S. Forces defend the island?
President Joe Biden: Yes, if in fact there was an unprecedented attack.
After our interview a White House official told us U.S. policy has not changed. Officially, the U.S. will not say whether American forces would defend Taiwan. But the commander-in-chief had a view of his own.
Scott Pelley: So unlike Ukraine, to be clear, sir, U.S. Forces, U.S. men and women would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion?
President Joe Biden: Yes.
The United States approach to Taiwan has remained consistent across decades and administrations. The United States has a longstanding one China policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three U.S.-China Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances. We oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side; we do not support Taiwan independence; and we expect cross-Strait differences to be resolved by peaceful means. We continue to have an abiding interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. Consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act, the United States makes available defense articles and services as necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability -– and maintains our capacity to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of Taiwan.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning urged the United States on Monday to fully understand the extremely important and highly sensitive nature of the Taiwan question, after US President Joe Biden said that the US military would defend Taiwan against the mainland.
"China deplores and firmly opposes the remarks made by the US president and has made stern representations with the US," Mao told a daily news briefing.
During a CBS 60 Minutes interview broadcast on September 18, US President Joe Biden said that the United States had committed to defend Taiwan. He said that “Taiwan makes their own judgements about their independence” and that the United States is “not encouraging their [Taiwan] being independent. . . . That’s their decision.” President Biden also said that US forces would seek to defend Taiwan if there was an unprecedented attack. A White House official later said that US policy remained unchanged, reiterating that the US is committed to providing Taiwan with the means to defend itself in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of the Republic of China (Taiwan) extends its sincere appreciation to President Biden for once again emphasizing the staunch and rock-solid US security commitment to Taiwan.
“They have a very large navy, and if they want to bully and put ships around Taiwan, they very much can do that,” Vice Adm. Karl Thomas, commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal...
“There’s a term in Mandarin—can shi—nibbling like a silkworm,” he said. “They just kind of continue to push the boundaries, see what they can get away with.”
5. US executive order on outbound investment imminent?
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan seemed to hint as much at an event Friday. As to what such an order might look like, draft legislation from earlier this summer may provide a roadmap.
On export controls, we have to revisit the longstanding premise of maintaining “relative” advantages over competitors in certain key technologies. We previously maintained a “sliding scale” approach that said we need to stay only a couple of generations ahead. That is not the strategic environment we are in today. Given the foundational nature of certain technologies, such as advanced logic and memory chips, we must maintain as large of a lead as possible...
we are making progress in formulating an approach to address outbound investments in sensitive technologies, particularly investments that would not be captured by export controls and could enhance the technological capabilities of our competitors in the most sensitive areas.
Is this draft legislation embedded below, crafted by the White House working with a small, bipartisan group of senators and representatives to develop legislation that would regulate outbound investment. the roadmap to the executive order to regulate outbound investment?
6. Local government financing vehicles bailing their governments out?
LGFVs are buying land from their local governments as those governments are desperate for revenue. Somehow this does not feel like it is sustainable or will end well.
According to official data, land acquisitions by LGFVs rose to Rmb400bn ($57bn) in the first half of the year, up more than 70 per cent compared with the same period in 2021. This is despite overall land purchases, which have previously been dominated by private developers, falling by almost a third as Beijing cracks down on real estate speculation.
The buying spree is intended to help cash-strapped local authorities, for whom selling land is an important source of income. But the LGFVs, which play a critical role in funding long-term infrastructure development, are being forced to borrow more from state banks and issue bonds to finance the deals...
In Weihai, a city in eastern Shandong province, an executive at Huancui District Urban Development Investment said his LGFV paid at least twice the market price for a suburban plot at the end of last year. “We made the investment for political reasons, not business ones,” the executive said.
State banks have provided financial firepower for the shopping spree.
A growing number of Chinese local government financing vehicles (LGFV) are failing to repay money they owe to suppliers in the form of commercial paper debt, according to some analysts, underscoring growing financial stress among companies tasked with raising funds to support infrastructure investment.
At the end of August, 43 LGFVs — including parent companies and subsidiaries — had failed to redeem maturing commercial paper at least three times over the previous six months, analysts at Lianhe Credit Investment Consulting Co. Ltd., a consultancy, wrote in a note last week based on data from Shanghai Commercial Paper Exchange. That’s up from 27 at the end of July.
China’s fiscal revenue in August recorded the first year-on-year growth since March, fueled by policies aimed at stabilizing economic growth and as the impact from a tax refund scheme tailed off, according to the Ministry of Finance. The general public budget revenue in August totaled 1.3 trillion yuan ($186 billion), growing 5.6% year-on-year, according to data published by the finance ministry on Friday.
All 31 provincial regions in China -- with the exception of Shanghai -- logged a deficit in the first seven months of the year. Authorities handed out trillions of yuan in tax breaks to support businesses amid the economic slowdown, as well as covered the cost of Covid Zero policies, such as mass-testing and restricting the movement of residents. Plunging land sales are adding to the squeeze by cutting a key funding source.
7. Bailout plan for real estate project completions
Caixin got details of a $29 Billion loan program to help developers finish projects they have halted, part of the response to the mortgage boycotts and public protests over the many unfinished housing projects. $29 Billion does not seem like it will be enough, and if developers are required to put up the collateral how will the regulators deal with the projects whose developers have no collateral?
The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, the Ministry of Finance and the central bank will support developers through special loans from policy banks, state broadcaster China Central Television reported.
Caixin confirmed from several independent sources that the loans will be initially provided by China Development Bank and Agricultural Development Bank of China, and the Export–Import Bank of China may join the effort later...
The regulators made clear that the 200 billion yuan national rescue fund doesn’t aim to stimulate the real estate market or rescue developers. The funds will be strictly limited to the construction and delivery of residential projects that have been sold or suspended due to developers’ liquidity difficulties, the regulators said.
Local governments will comb through local housing projects and review developers’ assets and liabilities before lending the funds, Caixin learned.
Applications for the loans will be due at the end of March 2023, according to a person close to the matter. An executive at a real estate company said a local working group was notified orally of the application rules.
The loan program planned by the central government aims to help developers resume construction of apartments that have already been bought but are unfinished due to an industrywide shortage of funds.
Developers have this month been urging their regional branches to file loan applications as soon as possible and local authorities are conducting audits to select the first batch of projects to finance, several property industry insiders told Caixin..
Developers should be able to provide assets as collateral. One distressed developer’s regional branch manager told Caixin that the company has no assets to put up, so it is unlikely to be given a loan...
The loans will be initially provided by the China Development Bank and Agricultural Development Bank of China to municipal governments, which will then allocate funds to housing projects. The central government will provide the banks with interest subsidies of 1% on the loans for up to two years, sources with knowledge of the issue said.
Chinese homeowners can now sell their properties even if the mortgage hasn’t been paid in full, in a policy reversal intended to stimulate the sales of second-hand homes. A number of Chinese provinces and cities have announced new rules that will likely see more second-hand homes enter the market. Prior to the new rules, some homeowners were hesitant to list as they must set aside cash for the ongoing mortgage.
The report by real estate research institute China Index Academy said that since July, nearly 30 provinces and cities have rolled out measures to guarantee the delivery of real estate projects, including introducing funds from local state-owned enterprises and financial institutions to revitalize them. In August, the central government also proposed support for the construction and delivery of overdue projects through policy bank loans.
On September 17, Wang Yi, deputy director of the Department of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of Henan province, disclosed at a press conference that the province has promoted the resumption of construction at 694 suspended projects this year, and 50 have since been completed and delivered.
While censorship on social media has blocked messages and wiped videos of the protests, largely taking them out of public spotlight, the boycott has nonetheless expanded.
A widely monitored list on the GitHub open source site entitled "We Need Home" showed the number of projects across China whose buyers have joined the boycott at 342 on Sept. 16, up from 319 in late July.
In Tianjin, residents without Hukou can now buy homes as long as they’ve been contributing to their social security funds for at least six months, the latest in a series of measures meant to boost home sales.
New-home prices in 70 cities, excluding state-subsidized housing, dropped 0.29% last month from July, when they fell 0.11%, National Bureau of Statistics figures showed. From a year earlier, prices dropped 2.1%, the most in seven years...
Other figures released Friday showed residential sales tumbled about 30% in the first eight months of the year and property investment shrank more than 7%.
The platform, Shenzhen Anju Jianye Investment Operation Co. Ltd., is owned by four state-owned companies including property giant China Vanke Co. Ltd. and is part of a real estate bailout task force set up by the city government in early 2022, according to sources...
Shenzhen Anju Jianye, in principle, won’t inject funds into stalled projects, but will function as a platform that provides services such as managing funds from presold homes and helping project developers communicate with financial institutions to get more loans, said the same source.
8. Patents for improving public opinion work
China Media Project looks at patent applications submitted by the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC) to improve “the monitoring, detection, and management of information threats in cyberspace”.
For the Chinese leadership today, the intelligent control of public opinion is about perceiving and removing political risks to the regime by seeing through mountains of data in a rapidly changing information landscape. Party leaders like Xi Jinping see this as a grand and historic project powered by new technologies.
This report is a preliminary study of Chinese patents, both pending and granted, revealing how various actors – including the defense industry, state-owned enterprises (SOEs), universities, and private corporations – have responded to Xi’s call and enabled the state to monitor and regulate the internet. While it is difficult to know just how widely specific patent-registered technologies have been used in practice, the patents nonetheless offer a glimpse into the state’s priorities and methods in policing online activity and guiding public opinion...
In this article, we focus primarily on 20 patent applications submitted by the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC), a state-owned military technology supplier that has, by the admission of one former top executive, closely studied and put into practice the vision outlined in Xi Jinping’s April 2016 speech...
Our study of the patents registered and pending for CETC identifies three core priorities in the development of new technologies for the monitoring, detection, and management of information threats in cyberspace. These are (1) early warning mechanisms, which enable the proactive prediction and detection of security threats; (2) automated functions, capabilities for making decisions or generating responses to unfavorable public opinion without human involvement; and (3) visualization, the visual presentation of risk indicators in digestible forms.
Business, Economy and Trade
China to accelerate projects, boost consumption to spur recovery | Reuters hina will speed up fund injections to expedite project construction and boost domestic consumption, China's state planner said on Monday, even after the economy showed signs of renewed momentum last month.
盘活存量5000亿专项债限额进展：多省份披露额度，拟在10月份发行 - 21财经 Across China, the issuance of special-purpose government bonds in October is likely to increase as local governments deliberate on how to use existing government bonds, the 21st Century Business Herald reported. In many provinces, the bonds issued so far have reached 34%-45% of the official cap. As of Sept 18, China had issued 6.2 trillion in local government bonds. Data from the finance ministry shows that there was a gap of 1.5 trillion between issued local government bonds and the mandated limit as of the end of 2021. 财政部数据显示，截至2021年末地方政府专项债限额18.2万亿，余额16.7万亿，二者存在1.5万亿的空间。
发改委：进一步研究完善新能源汽车政策体系_中证网 The National Development and Reform Commission said it is now studying a development plan to promote the new-energy automobile industry. The measures will help Chinese companies speed up innovation in core technologies and encourage “higher levels of cooperation and win-win” between Chinese firms and foreign companies.
独家｜航运融资领域持续反腐 多家金融机构高管被带走调查_公司频道_财新网 Growing corruption scandal in the shipping finance sector, Caixin reports executives of several financial institutions have been taken away for investigation
China Congress May Not Boost Stocks Due to Covid Zero, Property Crisis: Goldman - Bloomberg Growth momentum has been historically strong in the run up to the key political event, but “it’s uncertain whether the historical precedents will be valid” for the Oct. 16 gathering, wrote strategists including Kinger Lau. Goldman expects China’s Zero Covid policy, which has been offsetting the impact of policy easing measures, to stay until the second quarter of 2023...It doesn’t expect a “drastic shift of policy dynamics” following the congress, but says the confirmation of personnel changes “may lead to better policy coordination and more efficient implementation,” according to the note
Xi sends congratulatory letter to int'l forum on industrial, supply chains-Xinhua The forum opened on the same day in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province. In his letter, Xi noted that maintaining the resilience and stability of the global industrial and supply chains is a vital guarantee for promoting the development of the world economy and serves the common interests of people globally. China will unswervingly ensure that the industrial and supply chains are public goods in nature, safeguard the security and stability of its industrial and supply chains, take concrete actions to deepen international cooperation on industrial and supply chains, and make sure that people of all countries share the fruits of development, Xi said.
Chinese Companies Alter Products, Strategies to Offset Rising Costs - WSJ “Income expectations are weakening,” said Tang Jun, a food and beverage sector analyst at Soochow Securities. “If companies raised prices, they would drive consumers away. That’s why we see companies trying very hard to minimize costs through revamping their operating models.”
Lululemon Billionaire Helps China’s Anta in Consumer Sales Push - Bloomberg The Canadian billionaire was a minority partner in the group led by China’s Anta Sports Products Ltd. that bought Amer for more than $5 billion, a deal announced in 2018. Amer’s portfolio includes Salomon and Atomic ski equipment, Arc’teryx outdoor apparel and sporting goods maker Wilson
Yicai - China’s Yunnan Province to Provide Subsidies to Multi-Child Families Over Next Three Years In order to alleviate the downward trend in birth population, southwest China’s Yunnan province said last week that from 2023 to 2025, a one-time birth subsidy of CNY2,000 (USD285.2) and CNY5,000 will be issued to the newly-born second and third children, respectively. In addition, a subsidy of CNY800 (USD114.08) will be given to for each household on an annual basis, it clarified on Sept.16.
Frugal is the new cool for young Chinese as economy falters | Reuters Retail sales in China rose just 2.7% year-on-year in July, recovering to 5.4% in August but still well below the mostly 7%-plus levels during 2019, before the pandemic. Almost 60% of people are now inclined to save more, rather than consume or invest more, according to the most recent quarterly survey by the People's Bank of China (PBOC), China's central bank. That figure was 45% three years ago. Chinese households overall added 10.8 trillion yuan ($1.54 trillion) in new bank savings in the first eight months of the year, up from 6.4 trillion yuan in the same period last year.
Exclusive: Kaisa offshore creditors offer $2 billion to take over stalled projects | Reuters The offshore bondholder group, which is being represented by financial advisory group Lazard Ltd, made the offer to acquire Kaisa's stalled projects to the developer's advisor CITIC Securities, said the people. The offshore bondholder group aims to offer up to $2 billion to buy some non-performing loans from Kaisa's lenders, tied to unfinished housing projects, at a 20%-25% discount and provide the financing needed to complete the projects, they added.
China Boosts Yuan CNY USD Defense With Strongest Fixing Bias on Record - Bloomberg The People’s Bank of China fixed the yuan at 6.9396 per dollar, 647 pips stronger than the average estimate in a Bloomberg survey of analysts and traders, the widest difference on record since Bloomberg started the survey in 2018. The onshore yuan dropped as much as 0.6% Monday even after state media cited the regulator as saying last week companies shouldn’t bet on the direction and extent of currency moves.
UBS hires Chinese ‘content reviewers’ to vet research reports | Financial Times $$ A job advert posted by the UBS global wealth management division in July said the “reviewers” would ensure that the “language, tone and content” of all its reports published in Chinese is “appropriate and adheres to regulatory and internal guidelines”. “You will ensure that all our Chinese language publications are . . . free of any sensitivities,” the advert read.
Tycoon Running a Quarter of China’s Copper Trade Is on the Ropes - Bloomberg He Jinbi built a copper trading house so powerful that it handles one of every four tons imported into China. A born trader with an infectious sense of humor, the 57-year-old grew Maike Metals International Ltd. through the rough-and-tumble rush for commodities in the early 2000s, to become a key conduit between China’s industrial heartlands and global merchants like Glencore Plc.
Politics and Law
China’s top police chief warns law enforcement to stay alert to risk of ‘colour revolution’ ahead of major Communist Party gathering | South China Morning Post In the article, Wang Xiaohong, the minister for public security, also stressed the importance of loyalty to President Xi Jinping and the leadership, urging law enforcement to “clear risks” and “maintain stability” ahead of next month’s party congress, where Xi is expected to secure a norm-breaking third term...“Focus on preventing and resisting ‘colour revolution’,” he wrote in Study Times, the official newspaper of the Central Party School, where top cadres are trained. // Wang's article - 公安部党委书记、部长王小洪：新时代公安工作的历史性成就和变革 |警务_网易政务
China Focus: Maintaining CPC's position as leadership core in developing socialism with Chinese characteristics-Xinhua In 2021, a major political conclusion was made at the pivotal sixth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee. The Party has established Comrade Xi Jinping's core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole, and defined the guiding role of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. The conclusion, or Two Affirmations, is the most significant political achievement and historical experience achieved by the Party in the new era. It will serve as the fundamental guarantee for realizing all the goals and tasks on the journey ahead. // Comment: So the official translation for 两个确立 is not the two establishes but the two affirmations?
江苏中远助学帮老基金会成立十周年总结表彰大会举行 _大公网 105 year old Song Ping appears by video at an event for a charity, some overseas Chinese media say he said that "reform and opening is the only choice is the only choice for China's development".
中共中央办公厅印发《推进领导干部能上能下规定》--时政--人民网 CPC General Office issues updated "Guidelines on Advancing Capacity to Promote and Demote Leading Cadres". They were last updated in 2015.
时隔7年，中央修订重磅文件，几个细节值得关注_凤凰网 Beijing Youth Daily looks at some of the changes in the 2022 version
钟华论：办好发展和安全两件大事-新华网 Xinhua's "Zhonghua Lun" has a long piece on coordinating development and security
加强古籍研究 坚定文化自信（学术圆桌）--观点--人民网 Full page in the Monday People's Daily "Strengthen the study of ancient books and firm up cultural confidence."
Facing Bribery Accusations, Former China Railway Czar Expelled From Party Sheng Guangzu, a former top official overseeing China’s vast railway system, has been expelled from the Communist Party for serious violations of duty and alleged bribery, the country’s top graft watchdog said Monday. An investigation found Sheng, 73, had abused his power in his former roles at the General Administration of Customs and state-owned China Railway Corp. by accepting a large amount of money and valuables in exchange for personal benefits
One year on, few details available about detention of activists Wang Jianbing and Sophia Huang Xueqin | China Labour Bulletin t’s been a year since labour activist Wang Jianbing and #MeToo journalist Sophia Huang Xueqin disappeared into state detention. Although most details about their cases remain unclear, according to information from their friends, Wang’s case has now been sent to court, after having been returned to the police for a second investigation. Huang’s case has also been sent to court and the two are expected to face trial at an unknown date.
Bloggers and Citizen Journalists Demand Accountability and Transparency in Guixi Rape Case - China Digital Times (CDT) Earlier this week, numerous social media posts alleged that the party chief of Tianlu, a small town near the cities of Guixi and Yingtan in Jiangxi Province, had raped a young girl while her parents were being held in a fangcang, or makeshift quarantine hospital. Furthermore, when the parents received the news about their daughter, they were reportedly prevented from leaving the facility. A public notice from local police later confirmed that a 52-year-old man surnamed Liu had been placed under criminal detention for the assault, and that an arrest warrant was imminent. The notice also stated that the parents had not been placed in a fangcang, but it did not specify their whereabouts, or the age of the victim. Just days before the rape allegation, the Yingtan People’s Congress published a post praising Liu for his skillful handling of the pandemic. The post has since been deleted.
China's Anhui publishes draft rules allowing single parents to register births — Radio Free Asia Faced with falling birth rates, authorities in Anhui are gearing up to remove bans on unmarried women having children. The Anhui Provincial Health and Health Commission issued a draft change to regulations for public comment that will free up requirements around registering births and remove a ban on single women registering a birth, the official provincial news website AnhuiWang reported.
New leaders will soon inhabit China’s top decision-making bodies | The Economist The new line-up could also reflect the degree to which recent setbacks compel Mr Xi to compromise. One indication will be what happens to 67-year-old Li Keqiang, who is expected to step down as prime minister. Another is Hu Chunhua’s fate. Despite his best efforts (he recently penned a newspaper article that mentioned Mr Xi 52 times), he is not considered an ally. But if Mr Xi sees a need to foster elite unity, Mr Hu could join the Standing Committee—and maybe become prime minister. // Comment: I question the assumption that Hu getting promoted would be a sign of "compromise" by Xi.
Xi’s Heir Is Likely Among China’s Rising ‘Luckiest Generation’ - Bloomberg If Xi keeps age caps for everyone but himself as widely expected, leaders born in the ’60s will retire over the next decade. That would clear a path for the ’70s cohort to join the powerful Politburo. Xi himself will be 79 if he reaches the 2032 congress as party leader, older than any previous general secretary. // Comment: so in 10 years he will be Biden's age today
Foreign and Defense Affairs
Wang Yi to Attend the General Debate of the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly and Related High-level Events State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend the General Debate of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly from September 18 to 25. On the margins of the General Debate, he will host a ministerial meeting of the Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative, attend the meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations and the dialogue of foreign ministers of China and the Quartet of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), hold a group meeting with the foreign ministers of the Troika of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and have bilateral meetings with the UN Secretary-General, the President of the 77th session of the General Assembly and the heads of delegation or foreign ministers of some countries.
West weighs calling for China Uyghur abuses inquiry at UN | China | The Guardian Western powers are weighing the risk of a potential defeat if they table a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council calling for an independent commission to investigate alleged human rights abuses by China in Xinjiang.
China-Eurasia Expo kicks off in Xinjiang, rebukes US-led crackdown - Global Times Over 3,600 companies from 32 countries and regions attended the 7th China-Eurasia Expo, which was launched on Monday in Urumqi, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, as the region strives to build itself into a bridgehead of Belt and Road cooperation despite the US' economic suffocation of this strategically important region. Underscoring China's commitment to make Xinjiang a core hub for the building of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to the opening of the expo
China and the UAE Hold the First Meeting of the Consultation Mechanism on Counterterrorism and Deradicalization Cooperation On September 12, 2022, External Security Commissioner of the Foreign Ministry Cheng Guoping held the first meeting of the consultation mechanism on counterterrorism and deradicalization cooperation with Chairman of the International Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism (Hedayah) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ali Al Nuaimi in the UAE. Representatives from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Public Security, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and Jinan University, with representatives from Hedayah of the UAE, attended the meeting...During his visit in the UAE, Commissioner Cheng and the delegation also met with H.H. Sheikh Al Murr bin Juma Al Maktoum, an important member of the Dubai royal family, and Salem Mohammed Al Zaabi, Director of the International Security Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the UAE. They exchanged views on bilateral relations and issues of common interest and concern. He was also for a talk with the compatriots from Xinjiang. Commissioner Cheng, together with Abudurehap Tumuniyaz, President of Xinjiang Islamic Association and President of Xinjiang Islamic Institute, exchanged ideas on the religion management and other topics with Director of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center and Chairman of the World Muslim Communities Council.
Have France’s Macron and Germany’s Scholz agreed to go to Beijing soon after the 20th Party Congress to meet with Xi? Noah Barkin says they have:
German Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck has frequently fired shots at China recently. After a meeting with his G7 counterparts last week, Habeck claimed that "the naivety toward China is over." His ministry was also considering new measures to make business with China less attractive, including closer examination of Chinese investments in Europe, as it seeks to reduce its dependency on the Chinese market and products. But Habeck's remarks are both unprofessional and nonsensical.
UK parliament U-turns on letting Chinese delegation view Queen Elizabeth’s coffin – POLITICO Vice President Wang Qishan and three other representatives of the Chinese government were invited into Westminster Hall, which forms part of the Houses of Parliament, on Sunday afternoon. POLITICO revealed on Thursday that Lindsay Hoyle, the House of Commons speaker, had rebuffed a request by Chinese government representatives to witness the ceremony because of Beijing’s sanctions on seven British parliamentarians.
Chinese, S.Korean officials seek to strengthen supply chain cooperation despite US pressure - Global Times During a visit by China's top legislator Li Zhanshu to South Korea, officials from both sides exchanged views on strengthening supply chain cooperation, a signal of the strong complementarity of the two countries, especially in the chip sector, despite efforts by the US government to push for a decoupling in the supply chain. During the "official goodwill visit" to South Korea from Thursday to Saturday, Li, chairman of China's National People's Congress Standing Committee, said that economic and trade cooperation are important highlights of bilateral relations, according to the Xinhua News Agency on Sunday.
S.Korea proceeds with THAAD to enhance alliance with US, 'risks China ties' - Global Times China and South Korea had a series of diplomatic interactions, as the two countries celebrate their three decades of diplomatic relations. China's top legislator Li Zhanshu said during his visit to South Korea last week that handling sensitive issues properly is crucial to the healthy and stable development of bilateral ties. Earlier in August, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin and exchanged views on the issue, agreeing that both sides' security concerns should be respected and the two countries should make efforts to properly handle THAAD-related issues so that they will not become a hurdle in bilateral relations.
Seoul asks Beijing to prevent distortions of Korean history | Inquirer News outh Korea’s National Assembly speaker asked China’s third-ranking leader Li Zhanshu to ensure efforts to prevent possible attempts at distorting the history between the two countries, during a bilateral meeting held at the National Assembly on Friday. “History is related to the identity of a country and its people. It is important to accept facts as objective as possible and educate the next generation as such,” National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo said.
South Korea complains of growing friction with US over high-tech trade | Financial Times Ahn also acknowledged disagreements between Seoul and Washington over US restrictions on the transfer of cutting-edge manufacturing capabilities to semiconductor facilities in China. “Our semiconductor industry has a lot of concerns about what the US government is doing these days,” said Ahn, citing the recently enacted Chips Act, which prohibits recipients of US federal funding from expanding or upgrading their advanced chip capacity in China for 10 years. “Of course, we share the US government’s concerns about the top level of semiconductor products because there is the danger [that they could be] utilised for military purposes,” said Ahn.
Exclusive: US Embassy, Consulates in China excessively collect Chinese employees’ information, may turn over data to US intelligence agencies, posing data leakage risk: source - Global Times The Global Times recently interviewed several Chinese employees who had worked at the embassy and consulates including Li Ming, who said the job looks decent but is not that good at all. Under the cover of background vetting, the US Embassy and Consulates forced Chinese employees to submit their personal, family members and even their neighbors' information. The vetting made them feel like they were being interrogated. The US Embassy in Beijing has not replied to the Global Times interview request as of press time. Chinese experts said that the practice of the US Embassy and Consulates is typical of excessive data collection and completely violates the relevant provisions in China's Personal Information Protection Law.
Chinese envoy recounts fierce exchanges at IAEA over AUKUS deal, calls nuclear submarine plan a blatant violation of non-proliferation - Global Times The nuclear-powered submarine deal under AUKUS is a blatant, irresponsible act of nuclear proliferation, and once again proves that AUKUS countries are practicing a "double standard" on nuclear non-proliferation and using the deal as a tool for geopolitical gamesmanship, Ambassador Wang Qun, China's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Vienna, told the Global Times in an exclusive interview on Monday.
Qin calls for deep China-US ties in agricultural technology - China Daily Chinese Ambassador to the US Qin Gang conducted another Midwest agriculture trip on Friday. He said China and the US, as two major agriculture countries, should build deep cooperation in agricultural technology, climate action and sustainable development. "I believe as China pursues high-quality development, our demand for technology and services in agriculture green development will become as strong as that for agriculture products," he said at the US-China Sustainability and Climate Smart Agriculture Roundtable Discussion in St Louis, Missouri, on Friday.
The US Ambassador to the PRC is having a bit of a different experience:
Chinese defense minister meets Pakistani chief of army staff-Xinhua Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe on Monday met with Pakistani Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa. Wei said that, as all-weather strategic cooperative partners, China and Pakistan will always be trustworthy and the most reliable friends and brothers, no matter how the global situation changes.
Chinese, Togolese presidents exchange congratulations on 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties-Xinhua Xi said that he places high importance on the development of China-Togo relations, and is ready to work with President Gnassingbe to take the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties as an opportunity to consolidate political mutual trust, deepen cooperation in various fields under the frameworks of the Belt and Road cooperation and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, lift bilateral ties to new levels, and make positive contributions to building a closer China-Africa community with a shared future.
Chinese premier, Vietnamese PM hold phone conversation-Xinhua Li stressed that peace and stability in the South China Sea are in the common interests of all parties. The Chinese side, Li said, is ready to work with ASEAN countries to take the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea as an opportunity to strive for an early agreement on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea by giving full play to the wisdom of all parties, focusing on the overall interests, promoting cooperation and managing differences, so as to build the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation
Japan eyes building shelter on Okinawa island amid Taiwan tensions - Japan Times The need for such a facility comes as Japan's Self-Defense Forces have been expanding the scale of deployment on the southern island prefecture's remote islands, with Yonaguni just about 110 kilometers away from Taiwan, amid China's military buildup.
Beijing-backed Chinese language schools in UK to be replaced with teachers from Taiwan | Taiwan | The Guardian MPs in talks with Taiwan to help phase out Confucius Institutes as relations between the countries worsen
Indian government accused of ceding land in Himalayas to China | India | The Guardian Indian people living near the country’s disputed Himalayan border with China have accused their government of giving away swathes of land after both sides agreed to withdraw troops from some contested areas and create buffer zones. Earlier this month, Indian and Chinese troops, who have been locked in a tense border dispute since June 2020, began to draw back from the contested area of Gogra-Hot Springs after an agreement was reached to disengage.
Pics Show China Had Large Base, Fighting Positions At Gogra-Hot Springs In Eastern Ladakh Mutual disengagement and the creation of buffer zones have proven to be the only way to get the Chinese to return across the Line of Actual Control. While this has meant that the stalemate has been broken in 4 areas where the Chinese crossed over, it is also clear that these buffer zones have been created within Indian territory, areas where the Indian Army or the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) can no longer patrol.
Hong Kong and Macao
Hong Kong on track to ditch dreaded hotel quarantine: sources - Nikkei Asia Hong Kong is on track to announce the end of its much-loathed hotel quarantine for overseas arrivals, according to people familiar with the discussions, in a move that could ease the financial hub's economic woes. Sources said the plan would likely be unveiled this month and before a policy address on Oct. 19 to provide a "road map" for the city ahead of November's Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament and an international banking conference after a growing outcry from politicians and business chambers.
Hong Kong Calls on Finance Firms to Bring Workers Back - Bloomberg There’s growing concern at the Securities and Futures Commission over prolonged absences of licensed managers at the investment firms and brokerages it oversees, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified discussing private deliberations. It’s in communications with some firms to urge them to have key personnel return to the city, emphasizing that the flexibility allowed during the pandemic is temporary, the people said. // Question: What if many don’t want to return?
Hong Kong could see deficit of over HK$100 billion, financial chief says, as Covid continues to batter economy - Hong Kong Free Press HKFP In a blog post published on Sunday, the financial minister estimated that the government’s fiscal reserves could plunge to the edge of HK$800 billion. If the city were to record a deficit of HK$100 billion for the 2022-2023 financial year, it would be around double the original forecast of HK53.6 billion stated in the annual budget, which Chan delivered in February.
Leader of Hong Kong journalists’ group charged with obstruction days before flight to UK to take up prestigious Oxford University fellowship | South China Morning Post The head of Hong Kong’s biggest journalists’ organisation was on Monday charged with obstruction of a police officer, days before he was expected to take up a prestigious fellowship in Britain. Ronson Chan Ron-sing, chairman of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, who was expected to leave next week for a fellowship programme at the University of Oxford, said he would apply for bail at a court appearance on Thursday.
Macau gambling boss denies illegal gambling, criminal syndicate allegations | Reuters A well-known Macau gambling boss in China's special administrative region of Macau denied charges including enabling illegal gaming, running a criminal syndicate and money laundering at the start of his trial on Monday. Alvin Chau was chairman of Macau's Suncity junket - which brokers the gambling activity of Chinese high rollers - until December 2021, a month after his arrest on a warrant from the eastern Chinese city of Wenzhou accusing him of operating illegal gambling activities on the Chinese mainland.
CH-4, WZ-7 drones spotted in PLA patrols near Taiwan island for 1st time - Global Times The defense authority on the island of Taiwan on Saturday spotted a CH-4 armed reconnaissance drone of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) near the island for the first time, marking the sixth type of drone that has appeared in the region in September following the WZ-7 high-altitude reconnaissance drone that made its debut on Thursday.
Tech and Media
Another ‘Big Fund’ Honcho Under Corruption Probe.- Caixin Ren Kai, vice president of Sino IC Capital Ltd., was detained by authorities Thursday morning, several people familiar with the matter told Caixin. Sino IC is the sole manager of China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund, known as the “Big Fund,” the largest state-backed semiconductor investment fund and a key player in the country’s quest for self-sufficiency in chipmaking. Since July, seven current and former executives of the fund and its management firm have been put under graft probes, along with several others at companies the fund invested in. // Comment: Hear lots more, not yet disclosed, struggling with how this kind of a purge will motivate the talent the PRC needs to breakthrough in semiconductors
Why is it more urgent for China to have a reliable operating system than chips in the automotive industry? Co-hosted by China EV100 中国电动汽车百人会 and the government of Jiangning District in Nanjing, the capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, the "2022 Conference on Innovated Global Supply Chain of NEV and ICV " kicked off on September 6. Miao Wei 苗圩, the deputy director of Economic Affairs Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conferencee (CPPCC) and former head of Ministry of Industry and Information Technology addressed the event. Today's piece is a translation of Miao's speech at the conference. In the speech, Miao expressed his concern over the operating system (OS), calling it "a more urgent and fatal issue than chips
Alibaba sets up AI labs with two prestigious Chinese universities as Washington ramps up tech restrictions | South China Morning Post Alibaba is teaming up with Peking University and the University of Science and Technology of China to focus on frontier theories and cognitive intelligence
China’s Silicon Valley Lingang in Shanghai Has Tesla, Struggles to Lure Others - Bloomberg A giant new tech hub near Shanghai successfully attracted major names like Tesla, but Lingang remains almost empty of residents three years into its launch
Energy, Environment, Science and Health
Online backlash over Chinese expert’s monkeypox prevention warning | South China Morning Post In a verified Weibo post on Saturday, Wu suggested: “To prevent possible monkeypox infection, and as part of our daily healthy lifestyle, [I] advise 1) don’t have skin-to-skin contact with foreigners; 2) don’t have skin-to-skin contact with people who have returned from abroad [in the past three weeks].”
He also advised the public not to have skin-to-skin contact with strangers and to use disposable toilet seat covers in public facilities, including in hotels.
Effectiveness of inactivated and Ad5-nCoV COVID-19 vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA. 2 variant infection, severe illness, and death | medRxiv Conclusions Our real-world study found high and durable two- and three-dose inactivated VE against Omicron-associated severe/critical illness and death across all age groups, but lower effectiveness against Omicron infection. High direct protection from severe/fatal Omicron COVID-19 provided by inactivated vaccines, and a consequent potential reduction in health-care utilization, reinforces the critical importance of full-series vaccination and timely booster dose administration for all eligible individuals.
One-third of China's land protected under ecological 'red line' scheme | Reuters The establishment of national parks and the restoration of ecosystems have now helped bring the total area under protection to more than 30% of China's territory, said Zhuang Shaoqin, China's vice-national resources minister. The figure is in line with a target recommended by the United Nations and supported by more than 100 countries to protect at least 30% of the earth's land and ocean areas by 2030. China has not yet formally agreed to the target.
China Nuclear Deal Held Up Over Argentina’s Reactor Fuel Demand - Bloomberg Months after an announcement that China will build and largely finance an $8 billion nuclear power plant outside Buenos Aires, the deal is hung up over Argentina’s demand that its engineers be permitted to manufacture the reactor fuel domestically. Becoming the first nation licensed to make fuel for China’s Hualong One reactor would greatly advance Argentina’s atomic program. It would also signal that China is willing to license technology to trading partners, following a commercial pathway blazed by US nuclear manufacturers.
Tech School Enrollment Shrinks Despite Efforts to Boost Skilled Workforce - Caixin The number of students enrolled in secondary vocational schools dropped to 4.9 million last year, more than 1.5 million fewer than in 2020, according to the annual report (link in Chinese) on national education development published Wednesday. The closely watched diversion rate — the secondary vocational school enrollment divided by the sum of that number and the general high school enrollment — slid to 35% in 2021, the first time on record it fell below 40%, according to the report.
Rural and Agricultural Issues
国家发改委：近日将投放第三批中央猪肉储备-中新网 China is poised to release the third batch of pork reserves as the Oct national holiday nears. In Sept, China released 20 tons of pork reserves, the highest single-month figure. Meng Wei, the spokesperson for the National Development and Reform Commission, told reporters on Sept 19 that the current pork prices are too high.
Dim Sums: Rural China Economics and Policy: Gyrating Pork Prices Vex Chinese Officials According to agriculture ministry wholesale market price monitoring, August 2022 pork prices averaged 33.88 yuan per kg (about $2.23 per lb). That was higher than any historical pork price excluding the once-in-a-lifetime prices during Sept 2019 to January 2021 when African swine fever cratered pork supplies.