Report on CCP influence in US; G-20 and US-China; P2P purge; Shrinking online space

The G-20 guessing games should soon be over, but I do have one prediction in which I have very high confidence. At the Trump-Xi dinner in Argentina this weekend the US President will eat steak. Beyond that, I just want it to be over…

A group of "leading China specialists and students of one-party systems" under the auspices of the Hoover Institution and the Center on US-China Relations of the Asia Society has just issued a long report titled Chinese Influence & American Interests: Promoting Constructive Vigilance.

The report is interesting. balanced and timely, though I do not like the title. It is a mistake to talk about “Chinese influence” when the issue is Chinese Communist Party influence and interference operations, as just saying"Chinese" is a dangerous conflation that can spark anti-Chinese sentiment. To paraphrase Confucius, names matter.

The report comes at a time when many Western governments, led by Australia, are waking up to the activities of the CCP inside their countries. I believe the the US National Security Council has recently done its own report on CCP influence/interference activities, though so far nothing from it has become public.

I reached out to John Garnaut, a participant in today's report and one of the leading forces behind Australia's awakening. I hope to run an interview with him in Friday's Axios newsletter. For today I will share this from Mr. Garnaut:

The great significance of this report is that it shows how the China-watching community has turned.

The experts across the United States and further afield who came together to write this report are by no means China hawks. This group has been leading the engagement effort over many decades. These are people who share a great commitment to China and its people, without exception. But gradually, and reluctantly, they have accepted - we have had to accept - that China under General Secretary Xi Jinping is materially different to the China we knew under Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. The liberalising forces of civil society and market economics are not prevailing. The possibilities for reform have narrowed, and they have been pushed further over the horizon, and the risks to our own open societies have grown. So the policy of engagement has to be coupled with a commitment to managing risk. 

Thanks for reading. 

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The Essential Eight

1. New report on CCP influence and interference in America

China specialists who long supported engagement are now warning of Beijing’s efforts to influence American society - The Washington Post:

A distinguished group of China specialists who have long championed engagement with Beijing are now advocating the United States take a more skeptical view of what they see as growing Chinese efforts to undermine democratic values, including free-speech rights, both here and abroad.

“Except for Russia, no other country’s efforts to influence American politics and society is as extensive and well-funded as China’s,” the specialists say in a report to be issued Thursday by a working group convened by the Hoover Institution and the Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations.

The report Chinese Influence & American Interests: Promoting Constructive Vigilance | Hoover Institution and the video of its report rollout in DC this morning

‘Tit-for-tat retaliation’ may be the only way US can counter Beijing’s influence campaign, leading China experts say | South China Morning Post :

Susan Shirk, a prominent US-China policy expert who contributed a “dissenting opinion” to the report, told the South China Morning Post that the publication’s conflation of illegitimate and legitimate influence activities provided “an inflated assessment of how big the threat was”. 

Legitimate activities included the dissemination of Chinese news media in the US, said Shirk, a professor of political science and Chinese policy at the University of California, San Diego and a former deputy assistant Secretary of State responsible for US policy towards China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mongolia in the Clinton administration.

Global Times weights in on the new influence report, says it is ridiculous and a sign America is losing its strategic confidence--社评:驳“中国渗透论”,同时努力消蚀它_评论_环球网 

我们认为,报告所描述的中国对美渗透,与中国的主观意愿完全对不上号。这两年在西方兴起的“中国渗透论”很令中国社会意外,大大超越了中国与西方加强文化交流的实际目的。

可以肯定的是,中国从上到下没有改变美国和西方国家政治制度和生活方式的野心,也不认为我们具有这样的能力。中国政府希望对美国和西方社会产生某种影响的唯一目的是减少西方社会对中国的误解,让中国与他们的友好合作更顺利一些,避免节外生枝。

我们认为,这份报告再次显示,美国社会对中国的整体心态出现变化,简单说就是美方的战略自信因中国崛起而出现了消蚀,他们看中美之间同一件事的感受与从前比大不一样了,这是美方不安的最大原因。

Comment: There is nothing in this next news story to indicate anything untoward, and I did not include it to suggest that. In fact seems to be a great story of local political activism and another example of the importance of protecting embracing American democracy and diversity even if it involves Wechat and people of people Chinese ethnicity - Lily Qi: How WeChat helped a Chinese American immigrant win a seat in the Maryland statehouse - The Washington Post:  

In November, she was elected as one of three delegates representing legislative District 15 in the General Assembly. She will join at least two other Asian immigrants and 10 other Asian Americans in Annapolis, said state Sen. Susan Lee (D-Montgomery), who chairs the Legislative Asian American & Pacific Islander Caucus.

Qi says she worked to energize a group of historically nonpartisan immigrant voters, many of whom, like her, grew up in Communist China and were reluctant to engage in local politics.


2. Restrictions on PRC students in the US coming?

If the US enact these rules with Beijing reciprocate? The authorities already are paying increasing attention to Twitter posts, should we expect them to more systematically monitor the global social media activity of foreign students?

Fearing espionage, U.S. weighs tighter rules on Chinese students | Reuters:

In June, the U.S. State Department shortened the length of visas for Chinese graduate students studying aviation, robotics and advanced manufacturing to one year from five. U.S. officials said the goal was to curb the risk of spying and theft of intellectual property in areas vital to national security.

But now the Trump administration is weighing whether to subject Chinese students to additional vetting before they attend a U.S. school. The ideas under consideration, previously unreported, include checks of student phone records and scouring of personal accounts on Chinese and U.S. social media platforms for anything that might raise concerns about students' intentions in the United States, including affiliations with government organizations, a U.S. official and three congressional and university sources told Reuters.

“Every Chinese student who China sends here has to go through a party and government approval process,” one senior U.S. official told Reuters. “You may not be here for espionage purposes as traditionally defined, but no Chinese student who’s coming here is untethered from the state.”..

Question: Is this claim about every Chinese student still true? Or just the ones who are getting aid/subsidies from the PRC government and/or are in certain sectors/organizations? What about all the kids who come and pay for everything on their own?

Already worried about restrictions, universities have mounted a pressure campaign focused on the White House, State Department and Congress and held multiple meetings with the FBI, according to lobbyists, university officials and congressional aides.


3. Trade and the G-20 

Gulf between US and China looms large ahead of G20 meeting | Financial Times $$:

“China held off giving the US anything for months and then sent essentially the same warmed-over proposal that they had sent six months ago,” one of the people said of the negotiations, which only began again in earnest this month. “The G20 has never been an action-forcing event. We’re just not in a place where the Chinese are willing to do that much.”

He added: “Xi doesn’t want to appear weak. There’s not much that he can give or wants to give. Both sides are just trying to get through this process and be done with it so that maybe next year things can happen.”

Bob Davis and Lingling Wei take a long look at the road to the current US-China trade conflict. --‘Bring Me Tariffs’—How Trump and Xi Drove Their Countries to the Brink of a Trade War - WSJ $$:

On Sept. 21, Chinese President Xi Jinping convened an emergency meeting of two dozen top officials. The day before, the U.S. had taken Beijing by surprise by imposing sanctions on a research unit of the Chinese military, shortly after announcing tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports. The Chinese didn’t know how to respond.

Mr. Xi arranged the meeting so hastily that three of the seven members of the group’s Standing Committee—China’s final arbiter of power—couldn’t attend because they were traveling, say individuals with knowledge of the discussions.

The party members, who gathered at the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in central Beijing, eventually concluded that a forceful counter was essential. China canceled impending trade talks in Washington, suspended a meeting with U.S. military officials and summoned the U.S. ambassador in Beijing to complain.

“There was no point in talking when the entire atmosphere was so poisonous,” recalls a senior Chinese official. In an interview Monday, President Trump responded: “I just want our country to be treated fairly.”

Comment: This next point is one that may cause problems for Ambassador Cui and Yang Jiechi. It is quite possible someone in the system will have to take the fall for the complete misreading and mistaken analysis of Trump and his team

China’s leaders misread Mr. Trump as a businessman first, rather than the politician whose fixation on trade had helped carry him into office. They mistook his Treasury secretary as the key interlocutor, not the White House hard-liners who truly had his ear. And they failed to recognize the growing resentments in the U.S., and the world, about their own winner-take-all approach to trade and economics.

How China’s economic reformers are using US trade war to push demands for opening up | South China Morning Post:

About a dozen intellectuals in government-backed think tanks have been calling for key reforms through lobbying Liu, the country’s vice-premier, and other policymakers “in oral or written forms”.

Many of these correspond to America’s demands – such as ending subsidies and preferential treatment, reducing the emphasis on state-owned enterprises, treating companies equally and making China a real market economy, according to sources involved in the endeavours.

“We are not organised, but found others have been doing the same thing recently,” one of the sources said. “We recognise the pressure from the trade war could catalyse the decision to deepen reforms. We decided not to miss the chance to influence policymakers before the showdown at the G20 summit.”

USTR Statement on China’s Auto Tariffs | United States Trade Representative:

“As the President has repeatedly noted, China’s aggressive, State-directed industrial policies are causing severe harm to U.S. workers and manufacturers. We are continuing to raise these issues with China. As of yet, China has not come to the table with proposals for meaningful reform.

“China’s policies are especially egregious with respect to automobile tariffs. Currently, China imposes a tariff of 40 percent on U.S. automobiles. This is more than double the rate of 15 percent that China imposes on its other trading partners, and approximately one and a half times higher than the 27.5 percent tariff that the United States currently applies to Chinese-produced automobiles. At the President’s direction, I will examine all available tools to equalize the tariffs applied to automobiles.”

China's Xi Highlights Economic Crossroads Before Trump Talks - Bloomberg:

Addressing the Spanish Senate Wednesday, Xi said the world has to decide whether to continue working to support the global trading system. Failure to do so will lead to new barriers emerging between nations.

How U.S. and Chinese firms are outmaneuvering Trump in trade war - Politico/SCMP:

Executives of all types of companies are weighing what to do if the trade standoff lasts long. A recent survey by business consulting firm Ernst and Young found that more than half believe tariffs will remain in place until 2020 or later. About 84 percent are reviewing their supply chains, and 51 percent said they have already made changes.

In Asia, dozens of intermediary firms seeking commissions are more than eager to help manufacturers find real estate, employees and permits to move to Vietnam.


4. US-China

The Road to Confrontation - The New York Times - By Mark Landler:

From the White House to the boardroom, from academia to the news media, American attitudes toward China have soured to an extent unseen since Mr. Kissinger’s historic trip. China’s rapid rise, and the acute sense of grievance and insecurity it has stirred in the United States, has led some to conclude, as the title of a recent book about the relationship suggested, that these two giants are “destined for war.”..

the current chill in the relationship seems different, less a temporary rupture than a searching reappraisal of what a status-quo superpower should do about an ambitious, formidable challenger...

Matthew Pottinger, the senior director for Asia on the National Security Council, portrays it as more of a traditional, Cold War-style rivalry between superpowers with competing ideologies. He began his career as a foreign correspondent in China, where a state security officer once roughed him up.

“We in the Trump administration have updated our China policy to bring the concept of competition to the forefront,” Mr. Pottinger said recently at the Chinese Embassy in Washington. “But I think that’s O.K. For us, in the United States, competition is not a four-letter word.”

After a Hiatus, China Accelerates Cyberspying Efforts to Obtain U.S. Technology - The New York Times - By David E. Sanger and Steven Lee Myers:

American trade and intelligence officials, as well as experts from private cybersecurity firms, all acknowledged that the previous agreement had completely fallen apart.

And that, they agreed, has made it still more difficult to imagine how any new agreement struck between Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi would become a permanent solution to a problem that reaches back years, and seems rooted in completely different views of what constitutes reasonable competition...

Why the espionage has spiked again is a matter of debate. Some officials and analysts call it a cause of the worsening trade relationships, others a symptom. Still others argued that the tightening of American export controls in critical industries like aerospace and rules on Chinese investment in Silicon Valley — which China sees as part of a “containment” strategy to blunt its industrial and geopolitical rise — has led the Chinese once again to try to steal what they cannot buy.

US far from the only target for cybertheft - South Korea Charges 11 With Selling Samsung Technology to China - Bloomberg:

The chief executive officer of a Samsung supplier and eight of his employees received 15.5 billion won ($13.8 million) after conspiring with two representatives of the Chinese company to transfer organic light-emitting diode knowhow, according to a statement from prosecutors in Suwon. The names of the companies and individuals weren’t disclosed.

Intellectual property theft is a national concern for South Korea as it tries to maintain its narrowing technology lead over China.

China’s ZTE cheated on deal with US by installing Dell hardware for Venezuela, senators tell White House | South China Morning Post:

The database, which, according to the Reuters report, allows the Venezuelan government to monitor its citizens through centralised video surveillance and other methods, has components manufactured by US IT infrastructure company Dell Technologies.

“ZTE installed data storage units built by Dell Technologies,” the letter said. “Though Dell’s transaction appears to have been with ZTE in China, we are concerned that ZTE may have violated US export controls by misidentifying the end-user or purpose of the end-use.”


5. Shrinking space for diverging opinions online

The Party does not yet rule over everything | Mercator Institute for China Studies:

In a previous study published in mid-2017, MERICS found a remarkable spectrum of opinions in Chinese internet discussion boards. This has changed over the past two years. Whereas diverging opinions are still visible, they occupy far less space than in 2016.

For the follow-up study, the authors observed the degree of diverging opinions in discussions in Chinese social media on two foreign policy issues of central importance to the Chinese leadership. The debates revolve around the forum on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which Beijing hosted in May 2017, and around the North Korea crisis in the summer of 2017.

The authors found that the CCP succeeded in shaping both discussions according to its own preferences. The official narrative of China as a responsible global actor and as offering alternatives to “western” concepts found considerable support in debates on the BRI and on North Korea across most popular discussion boards.

At the same time, the study also revealed that the Chinese government still allows diverging opinions to be published within certain limits. This suggests that the CCP feels secure enough to permit criticism – and that it relies on critical voices as a way of tracking the public mood on certain issues.

The authors conclude that the strictly controlled Chinese internet still leaves some room for controversy, but that this room is shrinking.

And as part of the increasing efforts to control online activity, new rules for online video are coming - China to adopt unified criterion for internet and TV video programs - Global Times:

Nie Chenxi, head of the State Administration of Radio and Television, delivered a speech at the conference.

Nie suggested reinforcing coordination and management of radio, television and internet entertainment, and ensuring a clean environment in the area.

The administration will staunchly implement a unified standard and coordinated management both online and offline, said Nie.

In addition, relevant regulations will be improved as a next step to strengthen control of the platforms and make sure the same standard is applied both online and offline.

New rules for short videos and their platform providers coming soon too--国家广电总局局长聂辰席:《网络短视频平台管理规范》和《网络短视频内容审核标准细则》100 条,近期将向社会公布 | 每经网:

聂辰席表示,要把齐抓共管作为长久之策。“广播电视行政管理部门,要履行监管职责,网络视听业务延伸到哪里,管理就要覆盖到哪里,把该管的都管起来。我们提出网上网下统一导向、统一标准、统一尺度,下一步各级管理部门要加快细化操作路径、完善工作机制,推进政策落地落实落细,营造公平公正的市场环境。”


6. P2P Purge coming

China Is Said to Plan Major Purge of $176 Billion Loan Market - Bloomberg:

Alarmed by a surge in defaults, fraud and investor anger, Chinese authorities are planning to wind down small- and medium-sized P2P lending platforms nationwide, people with knowledge of the matter said. Regulators may also order the largest platforms to cap outstanding loans at current levels and encourage them to reduce lending over time, one of the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private deliberations.

The planned shakeout, which broadens a city-level purge in the P2P hub of Hangzhou, is the clearest sign yet that Chinese leaders want to dramatically shrink a market that spawned the nation’s biggest Ponzi scheme, protests in major cities, and life-altering losses for thousands of savers. It suggests that Xi Jinping’s government isn’t done cracking down on China’s $9 trillion shadow banking industry, despite concern that tougher rules have choked the flow of credit to the world’s second-largest economy


7. More gene-editing fallout

Research activities of persons halted over gene-edited babies incident - Xinhua:

Chinese authorities on Thursday ordered suspending research activities of persons involved in the gene-edited babies incident, denouncing the matter as "extremely abominable in nature" and in violation of Chinese laws and science ethics.

The gene-edited twins matter reported by the media has brazenly violated Chinese laws and regulations and breached the science ethics bottom line, which is both shocking and unacceptable, Xu Nanping, vice minister of the Ministry of Science and Technology, told Xinhua.

China's National Health Commission and the China Association for Science and Technology also spoke against the incident.

Yicai Global - GM Baby Doctor Could Face Civil, Administrative and Criminal Charges, Legal Expert Says - Yicai:

He Jiankui, the scientist who genetically modified twin babies to make them immune to HIV, may face charges in civil, administrative and criminal courts, according to a legal professional.

The main one would be that if he is not a qualified doctor, then he has practiced medicine illegally, said Xu Hao, a senior partner at Beijing-based Jingsh Law Firm.

Who are the investors supporting He Jiankui, the Chinese scientist behind the gene-edited babies? | South China Morning Post:

Shenzhen Direct Genomics Biotechnology, a Shenzhen-based genome sequencing firm that He chairs and has a 33.2 stake, received 218 million yuan in Series A funding round in April, according to a statement on its website earlier this year.

The funding was led by Shenzhen Cosun Venture Capital Investment Management, a venture capital firm owned by Shenzhen-listed Coship Electronics and Chen Libei, an executive of state-backed Fortune Capital.

A Chinese article claiming to have slides from He's business plan, and that He wanted to use the gene-edited twins to fund raise - 头条 | 贺建奎创业计划书曝光,编辑基因是为了融资吗? 

‘I feel an obligation to be balanced.’ Noted biologist comes to defense of gene editing babies | Science | AAAS:

When a researcher in China startled the world earlier this week with the revelation that he had created the first gene-edited babies, only one prominent scientist quickly spoke out in his defense: geneticist George Church, whose Harvard University lab played a pioneering role in developing CRISPR, the genome editor used to engineer embryonic cells in the hugely controversial experiment.

Opinion | Before the Claims of Crispr Babies, There Was China’s One-Child Policy - The New York Times - Mei Fong:

China excels in most kinds of technology, but when it comes to gene editing and designer babies, it has an extra advantage: a population that has been conditioned to manipulating reproduction as a tool for progress. I’m referring, of course, to the three decades of family-planning rules known as the one-child policy.

Behind the science of what’s doable is the mind-set of what’s desirable. China’s unprecedented reproductive experiment, officially ended in 2015 although many restrictions continue, has created a people accustomed — in many cases, forcibly so — to controlling the number and gender of their offspring. The one-child policy was established ostensibly to curb population growth, but China’s leaders were not shy about exhorting the country’s people to reduce quantity to improve quality, shading the policy with eugenic undertones.


8. Bloomberg investigating its own reporting in the alleged spy chip bombshell?

Bloomberg is still reporting on challenged story regarding China hardware hack - The Washington Post:

According to informed sources, Bloomberg has continued reporting the blockbuster story that it broke on Oct. 4, including a very recent round of inquiries from a Bloomberg News/Bloomberg Businessweek investigative reporter. In emails to employees at Apple, Bloomberg’s Ben Elgin has requested “discreet” input on the alleged hack. “My colleagues’ story from last month (Super Micro) has sparked a lot of pushback,” Elgin wrote on Nov. 19 to one Apple employee. “I’ve been asked to join the research effort here to do more digging on this … and I would value hearing your thoughts (whatever they may be) and guidance, as I get my bearings.”..

One person who spoke with Elgin told the Erik Wemple Blog that the Bloomberg reporter made clear that he wasn’t part of the reporting team that produced “The Big Hack.” The goal of this effort, Elgin told the potential source, was to get to “ground truth”; if Elgin heard from 10 or so sources that “The Big Hack” was itself a piece of hackery, he would send that message up his chain of command. The potential source told Elgin that the denials of “The Big Hack” were “100 percent right.”

It is past time for Bloomberg to retract or unequivocally prove the iCloud spy chip story:

Bloomberg had a stunningly important —and apparently stunningly wrong —news story about an alleged iCloud spy chip and now it's hoping we'll forget about it. Two months on, the company has a responsibility to either prove or retract it, and it's a responsibility the publication is avoiding.


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

China to step up support for provinces facing sharper growth slowdown | Reuters Targeted policy steps will be taken to help “regions where economic growth slows down due to objective reasons” to ensure their economic operation is within a reasonable range, Xinhua cited the cabinet as saying. “We should strengthen monitoring and early warning in areas with high leverage ratios, strengthen cooperation in local financial supervision and risk prevention, and more effectively prevent and resolve systemic regional financial risks,” it said中共中央 国务院 关于建立更加有效的区域协调发展新机制的意见 

China to launch bond trading link with Bloomberg - Xinhua The preparation is basically ready for a cooperative project between the China Foreign Exchange Trade System and Bloomberg that allows overseas institutions to invest in renminbi-denominated bonds through the latter's terminals, the People's Bank of China said Thursday in a statement.

Beijing VC firm adjusts investment strategy amid US-China trade war - CNBC MSA Capital is now focusing on "things that would be developed organically, domestically, and will have a lot less dependence on U.S. inputs." "Regardless of what happens in Argentina, the expectation is there's a hard reset going on in relations between China and the United States," the firm says

The End of the Nonperforming Loan Bubble – More Supply, Less Credit - MacroPolo Prices paid by investors for Chinese bank nonperforming loans (NPLs) soared in 2017, rising from about 30% of the underlying loans’ face value to as high as 80% by year end. However, the bubble has deflated, with prices reverting to the lower end of that range in 3Q18. The decline is attributable to two main factors: 1) a spike in the supply of new bank NPLs for sale; 2) a contraction in the shadow banking system that had previously allowed investors to borrow funds to acquire NPLs. The decline in prices has made Chinese bank NPLs more appealing to foreign distressed debt funds

Chinese Takeover of EU Tech Assets Set for Greater Scrutiny - Bloomberg EU negotiators last week approved the first bloc-wide rules to prevent foreign investments from threatening national security, largely driven by unease over acquisitions by Chinese companies. Under the new rules, authorities are likely to intensify their scrutiny of so-called dual-use technology that can be tapped by both the civilian and military sectors, according to Mikko Huotari, deputy director at the Mercator Institute for China Studies in Berlin. France and Germany in particular are likely to train their eyes more closely on acquisitions from China, he said.

Hang Onto Your Seats: China to Juice Up Old Rail Network - Caixin Global China’s state-of-the-art high-speed rail network has grabbed global headlines over the last 10 years, as the nation built up a 25,000-kilometer (15,500 miles) system cutting travel times by half or more using trains that travel up to 350 kilometers per hour. But those trains comprise just a third of China Rail Corp.’s (CRC) total fleet of 73,000 carriages, in a nation that depends heavily on rail travel. Many of the older routes not served by high-speed rail are about to get one of their biggest speed upgrades in decades, as CRC gets ready to roll out its first new generation of traditional, more local trains to replace the current generation that has been in service for the last quarter century

Foreign Lenders Move a Step Closer to Their China Dream - Caixin China’s banking regulator has fleshed out details of government plans to give foreign lenders greater access to the domestic market, laying out requirements on a range of issues, including how different entities, such as locally incorporated subsidiaries and branches, will be allowed to operate. The draft rules, published Wednesday, form part of the revision of laws and regulations that will be necessary to allow foreign banks and other financial institutions to expand in China, fulfilling pledges made by the government in November 2017 to open up its financial sector.

China Has Become Much More Unequal, and Property Market Is to Blame - Caixin China’s Gini coefficient — which measures the distribution of wealth in a society and is the most commonly used tool to gauge inequality — rose by more than a third in just 10 years, between 2002 and 2012, due in large part to rapidly rising real estate prices, Wan Haiyuan, an associate professor at Beijing Normal University Business School, said at a news conference Thursday. The conference was hosted by Peking University to announce the results of a research project on wealth inequality in China led by multiple universities.

End of Japanese rice ban sign of warming ties - Global Times The move by China to lift the import ban on Niigata rice from Japan has more political than economic significance, and it's a sign of warming bilateral ties between two major economies in Asia amid worsening trade wars, experts said. The General Administration of Customs of China said it would lift the import ban on rice grown in Niigata, a production center of agricultural goods in Japan, according to a document released on Wednesday. Imports should be in line with China's food safety, plant hygiene laws and regulations, customs noticed.

楼市惊现维稳!从“活下去”到成立维稳组,再到通知被删除,地产告别暴利时代?_维权 The neighborhood committee at Shushan in Xiaoshan district, Hangzhou has established a stability maintenance team to handle potential property owners’ protests as real estate prices drop


Politics, Law And Ideology

Xi Jinping targets grass roots in push to extend Communist Party control | South China Morning Post Beijing this week released its first regulations in its 90 years on how party branches should be run, as part of President Xi Jinping’s efforts to reassert the party’s control over the grass roots of society. In China, party branches have long been a feature of political life, branded the party’s “fortress in the grass roots”. The charter demands all grass-roots organisations – including companies, villages, schools, research institutes, communities, social organisations and military units – must set up a party cell if they have three or more members.

图解:带你读懂《中国共产党支部工作条例(试行)》中篇--党建-人民网 visual diagram to the proposed new Party branch rules

Political advisors study Xi's instructions on CPPCC - Xinhua Wang Yang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the CPPCC National Committee, attended the opening session of the two-day meeting. The meeting, which was the fourth of the Standing Committee of the 13th CPPCC National Committee, was the CPPCC National Committee's first to center on improving its own construction in the new century and was an important approach to thoroughly study and implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and the spirit of the 19th CPC National Congress, said the attendees.

Why Xinjiang governance is worthy of copying - Global Times The West tends to turn a blind eye to the region's previous grim reality. There was a time when quite a few radical Muslims there believed the money paid by local government was not halal, women without head scarves were not real Muslims, all documents issued by the government, such as identity cards, were invalid. Randomly intercepting and killing Han people on the road was righteous… These prove the presence of extremists in the region. One can surely say that choosing what to wear, like head scarves, is a freedom. But amid the spread of extremism in Xinjiang, secular residents would only be caught up in fear and dare not go out without a proper regulation. China and the West have different judgment criteria when it comes to human rights. But the West itself should be consistent over its own value system. How can it be fine to kill terrorists with missiles and drones, but a humanitarian crisis when China attempts to turn them into normal people?

Tracking China’s Muslim Gulag - Reuters Reuters worked with Earthrise Media, a non-profit group that analyzes satellite imagery, to plot the construction and expansion of 39 of these camps, which were initially identified using publicly available documents such as construction tenders. The building-by-building review of these facilities revealed that the footprint of the built-up area almost tripled in size in the 17 months between April 2017 and August 2018. Collectively, the built-up parts in these 39 facilities now cover an area roughly the size of 140 soccer fields.

让新疆发展变化的巨大成就来说明一切---A03要闻--2018-11-29--新疆日报 former deputy head of the Xinjiang NPC writes about the success of the Xinjiang policies

Elderly Former Editor of Uyghur Publishing House Jailed Over ‘Problematic’ Books, Speech - RFA In addition to Kashgar Publishing House’s current deputy editor-in-chief, a 30-year veteran editor, and two former editors-in-chief, the source said that 80-year-old Haji Mirzahid Kerimi, a former editor for the company and celebrated poet, was sentenced to 11 years in prison because he wrote five books that were later blacklisted by the government and delivered a “problematic” speech during an award ceremony for his poetry.

大力弘扬伟大奋斗精神(深入学习贯彻习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想)--观点--人民网 艰苦奋斗的自主精神。从革命战争年代的翻雪山、过草地,到深化改革开放的啃硬骨头、涉深水区,都充分表明能吃苦、肯吃苦、艰苦奋斗是我们党永远都不能丢的光荣传统。我们所推崇的艰苦奋斗,不是抑制人们正当的物质追求和精神享受,而是一种勤俭节约、艰苦朴素的传统美德,一种自力更生、不等不靠的自主精神。艰苦奋斗才有出路,自强不息方有前途。中国这么大的体量,不能指望依靠别人来实现自己的梦想,不能拄着别人的拐棍走路,必须坚持走自力更生的道路,扎扎实实做好我们自己正在做的事情。

The Dilemmas of Competing with Xi Jinping’s China - War on the Rocks In many respects, The Third Revolution is a microcosm of the American debate about China today and the path ahead. The changes — or at least the explicitness of Beijing’s ambitions — under Xi are disturbing, but alternatives to emphasizing engagement remain tantalizingly out of reach. The Trump administration may be pushing forward on a much more explicitly competitive approach to China, but a new bipartisan consensus is far from being forged. Americans still debate the compatibility of U.S. and Chinese interests, of how to seek out areas of cooperation amid competition. Others claim U.S. policy toward China was never mistaken and worked immaculately. Twenty years from now, Elizabeth Economy’s book will be remembered for being a clear, if not picture-perfect, snapshot of the United States at a crossroads in policy toward China.

Li Wenzu, Chinese ‘709’ campaigner banned from seeing detained lawyer husband, wins human rights award | South China Morning Post Barred from leaving country, Li – wife of Wang Quanzhang – praises work of activists who fought for rights of the 300 lawyers China sought to silence...It was the first time the Edelstam Prize, named after Swedish diplomat Harald Edelstam, was awarded to a Chinese person.

公安部推出6项便民措施:身份证相片不满意可重拍三次 MPS rolls out what it says are new services for citizens, including allowing you to have your ID photo taken up to three times if you do not like the picture

心中有梦想,脚下就有力量——写在“中国梦”提出六周年之际 For the 6th anniversary of the "China Dream" Xinhua has created a stirring multimedia page


Foreign and Military Affairs

New facilities to aid S. China Sea studies China Daily Construction of a new base to support China's archaeological studies in the South China Sea began in Qionghai, Hainan Province, on Tuesday. Hu Bing, deputy director of the National Cultural Heritage Administration, said the base is planned as a complex of facilities for research, underwater excavation and conservation of historical heritage in the South China Sea. It will also be used to promote relevant international exchanges.

Panama the new flashpoint in China's growing presence in Latin America | The Guardian Linked to the mainland by a slender causeway, these strategic outcrops are home to a handful of derelict buildings once used to house US military personnel. But they have become a new flashpoint in the global rivalry between Beijing and Washington, as the US struggles to develop a coherent strategy to deal with China’s rising influence in Latin America. China’s plans to build a new embassy on the islands were derailed after US officials pressured the government of Panama’s president, Juan Carlos Varela, to withdraw its offer of a four-hectare plot, according to senior Panamanian and diplomatic sources.

China-Panama ties have enormous potential - People's Daily Online With its location advantages as a center of international transportation and a regional hub of aviation, logistics, and finance, Panama will play an important role in China-Latin America cooperation on joint construction of the Belt and Road. Taking the historic state visit by President Xi as a starting point and under the guidance of the two leaders, the two countries will continuously consolidate political mutual trust, promote connectivity, accelerate integrated development, and make every effort to pursue common prosperity. I believe they will make further contributions to the co-construction of an open, innovative, and inclusive world economy and the joint building of a community of common destiny for mankind, through jointly constructing the Belt and Road and building the China-Panama community of common destiny and the China- Latin-America community of common destiny.--(Wei Qiang is the Chinese Ambassador to Panama)

China rushes to launch rival to GPS | Financial Times $$ Since 2017, China has been rapidly creating a navigational satellite constellation to rival America’s GPS. This year alone, it launched 11 BeiDou satellites, some as few as 17 days apart. Global commercial coverage is slated for 2020, at which point BeiDou, the name in China for the constellation called the Big Dipper or Plough in the west, will be one of only three global navigation systems in the world. The project, estimated to cost at least $9bn, is part of China’s ambitions to become a major scientific power

Chinese Construction on Remote Reef Rekindles Dispute with Vietnam - VOA China's new construction on a remote South China Sea reef has soured its relations again with Vietnam, a claimant to the same islet, after a period of calm, and may also draw concern from the Philippines. Satellite imagery shows China recently installed a new “platform” at the otherwise largely undeveloped Bombay Reef in the Paracel Islands, a chain in the South China Sea, the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative under the U.S. think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies says on its website.

Japan to get first aircraft carrier since second world war amid China concerns | The Guardian Japan is to acquire at least one aircraft carrier for the first time since the second world war, as it attempts to counter Chinese maritime expansion in the Pacific ocean. The government will upgrade its two existing Izumo-class helicopter carriers so they can transport and launch fighter jets, according to media reports. The plans are expected to be included in new defence guidelines due to be released next month.

Yicai Global - Huawei to Build Its Fifth French R&D Hub - Yicai The center will be focused on sensors and software, state-owned news agency Xinhua cited Shi Weiliang, general manager of Huawei's French unit, as saying at an annual conference for partners and suppliers on Nov. 27. The report did not disclose financial details.

向正风肃纪“最后一公里”挺进(上集) - 中国军视·中国军网 This documentary produced by the PLA media center and screened on CCTV 7 yesterday, talks about how the PLA has been trying to root out “minor corruption” 微腐败 at the grassroots level of the military. Since April last year, the PLA discipline inspection commission has begun to instruct discipline inspection organs to set up 风起检察联系点 – basically a call center – to allow soldiers to report commanders’ malfeasances. Some of the malfeasances mentioned in the video include soldiers bringing tea to their squad commander, a battalion commander asking soldiers to buy him a new phone etc.

《退役军人保障法(草案)》即将向社会公开征求意见-中青在线 draft of military veterans protection law about to open for public comments. And CCTv reports on the progress in establishing the Ministry of Veterans Affairs...clearly the protests got the center's attention 中国退役军人事务部机构组建已基本完成 


Taiwan

Two U.S. Navy ships pass through Taiwan Strait, opposing China | Reuters The United States sent two Navy ships through the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday in the third such operation this year, as the U.S. military increases the frequency of transits through the strategic waterway despite opposition from China.  // Comment: US normalizing this though running and publicizing the transits

Taiwan hints F-16V fighter jets are back on its defence shopping list | South China Morning Post Defence Minister Yen Te-fa said on Thursday that the self-ruled island needed to inject new blood into its air defence capability, after local news reports that the air force had abandoned its campaign to buy the F-35s in favour of reissuing a request to the US government for the F-16 fighters. “As three types of the air force’s major warplanes are reaching their mid-life phase, we will take into account purchasing of the [new warplanes] as long as they meet our defensive needs,” Yen said


Tech And Media

It turns out some Google staff do believe in controversial plan to re-enter China | TechCrunch A pro-Dragonfly letter that has been in circulation for a number of weeks has picked up 500 signatures in an effort to stop the project from being dropped. The letter — which was provided to TechCrunch by a source within Google — principally argues that China is part of Google’s wider mission of connecting people with information.

Long-Form Magazine Writing With The New Yorker's Jiayang Fan | NüVoices Podcast | SupChina Alice and Joanna interview Jiayang about her immigrant background, long-form magazine writing (especially her piece on Yan Lianke, “Forbidden Satires of China”), the impact of her male, white predecessors, and the field of Asian-American writing.

If your Tesla knows where you are, China may too -AP More than 200 manufacturers, including Tesla, Volkswagen, BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Mitsubishi and U.S.-listed electric vehicle start-up NIO, transmit position information and dozens of other data points to government-backed monitoring centers, The Associated Press has found. Generally, it happens without car owners’ knowledge. The automakers say they are merely complying with local laws, which apply only to alternative energy vehicles. Chinese officials say the data is used for analytics to improve public safety, facilitate industrial development and infrastructure planning, and to prevent fraud in subsidy programs.

CAA to Represent Controversial Chinese Filmmaker Wu Hao – Variety Creative Artists Agency has signed on to represent controversial Chinese filmmaker Wu Hao. Wu’s latest work, “People’s Republic of Desire,” has been selected for consideration in the documentary section of the Academy Awards and goes on commercial release in North America this week. CAA is set as Wu’s exclusive representation. The company will deploy agents in Beijing and Los Angeles to help build out his career in both the Chinese and international markets.

Transsion and Huawei among top 3 bestselling phones in Africa · TechNode According to DigiTimes, IDC research manager Ramazan Yavuz stated that “There is a new wave of China-based brands aggressively pursuing growth opportunities” across the African continent. In terms of feature phones–which offer less functionality than smartphones at cheaper prices–three brands under Chinese phone manufacturer Transsion took up 58.2% of market share in the third quarter, with Nokia trailing behind at close to 12%.

Cash-Strapped, Money-Losing Ofo Says It Will Soldier On - Caixin In an internal letter, Dai Wei — Ofo’s founder and CEO — also announced a major board and organizational shakeup, including combining the legal, corporate strategy and risk management departments into a single unit. “We will kneel for survival, now that the winter has arrived… but we remain faithful even at the most difficult time,” Dai said in the Wednesday letter, using a Chinese idiom that means refusing to give up despite being in a bad position.

90 Percent of Chinese Apps Surveyed ‘Over-Collect Data’ - Sixth Tone The China Consumer Association — the national organization responsible for monitoring goods and services and protecting consumer rights — said that over 90 percent of the 100 apps it assessed failed to inform users before collecting their data, or required users to agree to certain terms and conditions that would give them or third-party companies access to nonessential information. The report, released Wednesday, includes several large players, including messaging app WeChat, microblogging platform Weibo, and ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing.


Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

How the Fabled Folk Tradition of Feng Shui Endures - Sixth Tone Unlike Zhong, who believes in the existence of the underworld and a feng shui master’s ability to interact with it, Zeng takes a more cautious view. “I’ve never been there,” he says. “Personally, I don’t think we have that ability.” There have been times when Zeng, who was born in a family of Taoist priests and started learning feng shui at age 30, doubted the tradition. “The core of feng shui is mystery,” he says. “But, after doing this for decades, I think some theories of it have been verified, because the families that have followed my advice are blessed and prosperous.” Zeng and all other feng shui masters interviewed for this article claim a 100-percent success rate.


Energy, Environment, Science And Health

Yitu unveils new AI cancer detection tool, hailing such products ‘great creations in human history’ | South China Morning Post Unveiled at the Radiological Society of North America’s annual conference in Chicago on Wednesday, the tool enables machines to make diagnosis and treatment recommendations within seconds based on a comprehensive array of inputs, including patient scans, ultrasounds, pathology specimens, genetics and written records.

网传湖南长沙一名2岁儿童接种疫苗后死亡 多部门已介入调查 investigation into claims online that a 2 year old in Hunan died after getting an immunization


Agriculture And Rural Issues

Yicai Global - China to Speed New Round of Rural Land Policy Reforms - Yicai A new round of rural land policy reform will soon be introduced besides the above policies, the state-backed Economic Information Daily reported. It said China will soon introduce policies on extending rural land contracting for another 30 years. China will further improve the rural collective property rights system, fully verify rural collective assets as well as collective owners' identities, and promote the transition to a shareholding system of collective assets. The country will speed up the issue of beneficiary policies concerning 'three shifts' from resource to assets, from capital to shares, as well as from farmers to shareholders.