Rocky road to re-opening; Downplaying Omicron; Jiang Zemin, Xi meets Michel; Zhao Lijian
Reopening may be very rocky and confusing but it is unfolding before our eyes. A new vaccine campaign with numeric targets is rolling out, more cities are allowing home quarantine and loosening testing mandates, and now experts are downplaying the severity of Omicron and possible long-term effects from getting it.
Summary of today’s top items:
Vaccination campaign and downplaying the severity of Omicron - Caixin reports that the government has “set a Covid-19 vaccination target for 90% of people over 80 years old to have taken at least one dose by the end of January 2023”. If a target is set and is part of local officials KPIs then the campaign is likely to be successful.
More on the Covid re-opening - Somewhat relaxed testing requirements, home quarantine in more places, propaganda that is walking up to “living with it”. One thing to pay attention to is whether or not the daily case number count increasingly deviates from the real number as fewer people are required to test regularly.
Jiang Zemin - Memorial service set for the morning of December 6th. His body was transported to Beijing today and met at the airport by Xi and current former standing committee and other politburo members, as well as other officials.
Xi meets President of the European Council Charles Michel - The PRC continues to work hard to wedge space between the EU and the US by continuing to emphasize the EU’s “strategic autonomy”. The PRC readout quotes Xi saying “China supports the EU's strategic autonomy and supports a united and prosperous Europe. It is hoped that the EU institutions and member states will gain an objective and right perception of China, firmly pursue peaceful coexistence and mutual benefit in their China policies, rise above the Cold War mentality and ideological antagonism, transcend confrontation of systems, and reject a new Cold War of whatever forms”. Xi’s reported comments on Ukraine gave no indication of any shift in its position.
Jimmy Lai’s trial delayed - The Hong Kong government has asked Beijing to rule on the participation of British defense lawyer. They have also denied a work visa extension for the British lawyer.
Zhao Lijian - Wang Zhi'an has a very funny, acerbic episode on everyone's favorite wolf-warrior, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian. Netizens found his wife's Weibo account (大葱和臭丫头), and she had posted about traveling overseas, including to Germany where their son is studying, doing business, and uploaded lots of pictures of her unmasked. Zhao was very much off his game at a recent foreign ministry presser, as this segment shows, sparking speculation that his wife may have made a big mess for him.
Substack has launched an Android version of their app that includes the excellent chat function. You can join Sinocism’s chat here:
1. Vaccination campaign and downplaying the severity of Omicron
Caixin reports that the government has “set a Covid-19 vaccination target for 90% of people over 80 years old to have taken at least one dose by the end of January 2023”. If a target is set and is part of local officials KPIs then the campaign is likely to be successful.
China Targets Seniors in Renewed Covid Vaccination Drive - Caixin
China has set a Covid-19 vaccination target for 90% of people over 80 years old to have taken at least one dose by the end of January 2023, Caixin has learned from multiple sources.
In addition, for those 80-or-above who are eligible to be fully vaccinated or ready for a booster, the goal is also to get 90% of them to get another shot.
Among seniors aged 60 to 79, the inoculation rate target is set at 95% for eligible candidates to either complete the primary course of the first two doses or to get the booster shot if they’re fully vaccinated.
Are the PRC vaccines not efficacious enough, as some suggest? - US warns Beijing it cannot control Covid-19 without western jabs | Financial Times
Ashish Jha, who runs the US coronavirus response, said in an interview at a conference organised by the FT and the Commonwealth Fund that all the empirical evidence suggests Chinese-made Covid vaccines are “not as good” as mRNA shots made by Moderna, BioNTech and Pfizer...
Eric Topol, the founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, said there was strong evidence that a mix and match of the Chinese vaccines with a western-made mRNA booster provides more protection than three or four Sinovac or Sinopharm shots.
Exclusive: Chinese scientists prove Omicron’s pathogenicity has geometrically decreased compared with previous strains - Global Times
Pathogenicity and virulence of coronavirus variants are the key problems that Chinese scientists have been focused on. Recently a research team from the State Key Laboratory of Virology in Wuhan University conducted an experiment that shows that the pathogenicity of Omicron had dramatically decreased.
Lan Ke, director of the laboratory, told the Global Times that his team found that Omicron has less ability to infect Calu-3 (a non-small-cell lung cancer cell) than the original strain, and the ability of duplicating cells is 10 times lower than the original.
During experiments on mice, Lan's team also found that infective doses of 25 to 50 of the original strain could kill a mouse, whilst it takes 2,000 infective doses of Omicron to kill a mouse. And the virus load in tested mice' lungs was 100 times lower than the original strain.
Lan said that the results show that compared with the original strain, Omicron has weaker ability to cause diseases combined with a lower virulence. This reminds us not to panic about Omicron, and for ordinary people, the damage caused by coronavirus has markedly diminished compared to the original strain.
Global Times on the relatively low pathogenicity of Omicron, based on work by PRC researchers
No confirmed evidence shows existence of sequelae after recovery from coronavirus: epidemiologist - Global Times
There is no confirmed evidence in academia that shows the existence of sequelae after recovery from contracting coronavirus, said a senior Chinese epidemiologist in response to the public's concerns on Wednesday.
Chong Yutian, chief physician of Internal Medicine at the 3rd Affiliated Hospital of the Sun Yat-sen University and deputy director of Guangzhou Huangpu Makeshift Hospital, says sequelae are medically defined.
A Zhongshan University expert says there is no conclusive evidence of "long Covid"
On December 1st, Professor Zhang Wenhong and his team from the National Medical Center for Infectious Diseases, Huashan Hospital Affiliated to Fudan University published a paper, aiming at the seven major questions of public concern about vaccines, through a series of vaccine scientific research conducted by the team, combined with international data, to provide everyone with as comprehensive scientific answers as possible. "The prospects for getting out of the pandemic are becoming clearer
2. More on the Covid re-opening
Somewhat relaxed testing requirements, home quarantine in more places, propaganda that is walking up to “living with it”. One thing to pay attention to is whether or not the daily case number count increasingly deviates from the real number as fewer people are required to test regularly.
Chinese cities further optimize COVID response amid new realities - Global Times
Chinese cities including Beijing, Guangzhou and Chengdu, where the virus is rife, have continued to optimize their anti-epidemic policies in recent days, with Guangzhou resuming businesses, allowing dine-in services in low-risk areas; and shopping malls gradually opening in Beijing starting Thursday. Some cities have also started to allow close contacts to have home quarantine under certain conditions and exempt some groups from routine nucleic tests.
Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan underlined again on Thursday the importance of continuously optimizing China's response to COVID-19, following similar remarks she made on Wednesday saying the country is facing a new situation and new tasks in epidemic prevention and control as the pathogenicity of the Omicron virus weakens...
Sun listened to frontline medical workers' opinions and suggestions on improving epidemic containment measures, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Thursday.
Sun noted that having effective medicine, especially traditional Chinese medicine, vaccination of more than 90 percent of the whole population; and declining pathogenicity of the Omicron virus, have created the condition for further optimizing COVID-19 responses.
Comment: Do not be surprised if another TCM formulation rolls out to fight Omicron.
Sun's comments - 孙春兰强调 总结基层经验做法 推动防控措施持续优化-新华网
Comment: No mention of dynamic zero-Covid
Beijing Sees Record Covid Cases as China Vows Small Easing Steps - Bloomberg
5,006 cases for Wednesday...
With the surging numbers of infected, the capital is seeing its makeshift hospitals for mild Covid patients and those for treating more severe ones near capacity, which has also allowed more people to isolate at home by default.
China Starts to Loosen Covid Grip Three Years After First Case - Bloomberg
State-backed media, which have spent years demonizing the virus and showcasing the devastation and death toll in Western countries, are now playing up stories of Covid-19 survivors in a bid to reassure the same people they’ve frightened. The Global Times tabloid ran an article Thursday morning citing Chinese experts that people don’t need to panic over omicron, as it’s much less deadly.
China Eases Covid Restrictions in Beijing, Allows Some Patients Home Quarantine - Bloomberg
The shift has already begun in Chaoyang district -- home to some 3.5 million people as well as foreign embassies and company offices -- and it will act as an example for other districts to follow, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing an order that’s not yet public.
China set to loosen COVID curbs after week of historic protests | Reuters
The measures due to be unveiled include a reduction in the use of mass testing and regular nucleic acid tests as well as moves to allow positive cases and close contacts to isolate at home under certain conditions, the sources familiar with the matter said.
Xinhua has three short commentaries today, messaging around taking personal responsibility for epidemic prevention, making sure vulnerable groups are safe, and that urges local officials to do fast lockdowns and fast re-openings in as targeted a manner as possible
Xinhua commentary - Everyone is an important link in the fight against the epidemic
Everyone is directly responsible for his own health. Because the Omicron mutant strain is more concealed and spreads faster, it is more difficult to identify early infected people quickly. Therefore, daily work and life are more intolerant of negligence. It is necessary to prevent problems before they occur, and to consciously turn the magic weapon of "wearing masks, washing hands frequently and ventilation" accumulated in the past three years into a habit; We should adhere to the principle of "no gathering, no dinner parties, and no gathering" to safeguard our own safety and protect the health of others.
Xinhua commentary - To fight against the epidemic, we must help special groups survive the epidemic
Xinhua commentary - "Lockdown fast re-open fast, re-open all [areas under control] that should be re-opened"...accuses some local officials of adopting a one-size-fit-all approach to Covid prevention. “Given that risks can be managed, what should be managed must be managed well, and there should also be relaxation when appropriate,” it reads. It also says that scientific prevention must be predicated on “swift lockdowns as well as swift lifting of lockdowns.”
Beijing optimizes nucleic acid testing rules - Xinhua
From Wednesday, Beijing residents who do not engage in social activities are no longer required to participate in community nucleic acid screenings if they do not need to leave their homes, according to local authorities.
This includes groups such as homebound seniors, children and people working or studying from home, said Xu Hejian, a spokesperson for the Beijing municipal government, at a press conference on Wednesday.
China’s failing covid strategy leaves Xi Jinping with no good options | The Economist
The Economist has modelled the likely progress of China’s current outbreak. If it is allowed to proceed unchecked, even assuming all patients who need intensive care receive it (which they would not), some 680,000 people are likely to die. China’s leaders appear to be searching for a middle ground, but it is not clear there is any.
Comment: This has been the general assumption, but what if the dire predictions are wrong and the PRC experts are right? What if the PRC experts are wrong and this phased reopening does lead to mass severe illness and death?
China Appears to Loosen Covid Rules After Protests - The New York Times
At least one city in the country’s northeast, Jinzhou, said on Thursday that it planned to maintain lockdowns for several more days because “it would be a shame not to eradicate cases if they can be eradicated!”
The pushback from places like Jinzhou points to the challenge that Beijing might face in trying to unwind the heavy-handed approach that had until just this week seemed immovable.
Jinzhou, Liaoning officials do not want to end their lockdowns, say they have worked too hard to achieve dynamic zero-Covid, interesting push back
Zhang Boli says Omicron is very difficult to eradicate
Exclusive: China to allow home quarantine for some infected with COVID | Reuters
China will allow some people who test positive for COVID-19 to quarantine at home, among supplementary measures to be announced in coming days, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
Home isolation for the infected would be a significant change in China's quarantine protocols. Earlier this year, entire communities were locked down, sometimes for weeks, after even just one positive case was found. Last month, new and easier quarantine rules required just the lockdown of affected buildings.
3. Jiang Zemin
Memorial service set for the morning of December 6th. His body was transported to Beijing today and met at the airport by Xi and current former standing committee and other politburo members, as well as other officials.
Jiang Zemin's remains transferred to Beijing-Xinhua
Xi Jinping and other Party and state leaders including Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Li Qiang, Zhao Leji, Wang Huning, Han Zheng, Ding Xuexiang, Li Xi, and Wang Qishan, received Jiang's remains at the Xijiao Airport in Beijing and extended deep condolences to Jiang's relatives.
Cai Qi, some staff members of the office of Comrade Jiang Zemin's Funeral Committee, and Jiang's relatives escorted his remains from Shanghai to Beijing.
6 minute CCTV Evening News report on the transfer of Jiang's body from Shanghai to Beijing
Memorial meeting for Comrade Jiang Zemin to be held on Dec. 6-Xinhua
in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Dec. 6. The memorial meeting will start from 10 a.m., the announcement said.
The memorial meeting will be broadcast live and all localities and departments should organize Party members, cadres and the masses to listen to or watch the live broadcast, it added.
On the day the memorial meeting is held, the national flag will be flown at half-mast across the country as well as at China's embassies, consulates and other agencies stationed overseas. Public entertainment activities will be suspended on that day, the announcement said.
When the mourning session is held at the memorial meeting, people across the country will pay a three-minute silent tribute, horns will be honked for three minutes, and air defense sirens will be sounded for three minutes.
No ceremony for paying last respects to Jiang's remains will be held, the announcement said.
Comment: There was also no ceremony for paying last respects to Deng's remains in 1997, officially per the Deng family request. This announcement does not include language about the family requesting no ceremony.
Minitrue: Online Management Requirements For The Mourning of Jiang Zemin
The “mourning period” will last from November 30 – December 7, and the funeral will take place on December 6.
Overall tone: solemn and dignified, affectionate and orderly.
1. During the mourning period, the color scheme of website home pages, app home screens, and pages that link to reports about mourning activities should be changed to black and white. Note: content related to General Secretary Xi or 20th Party Congress special coverage may not be changed to black and white.
4. Xi meets President of the European Council Charles Michel
The PRC continues to work hard to wedge space between the EU and the US by continuing to emphasize the EU’s “strategic autonomy”. The PRC readout quotes Xi saying “China supports the EU's strategic autonomy and supports a united and prosperous Europe. It is hoped that the EU institutions and member states will gain an objective and right perception of China, firmly pursue peaceful coexistence and mutual benefit in their China policies, rise above the Cold War mentality and ideological antagonism, transcend confrontation of systems, and reject a new Cold War of whatever forms”. Xi’s reported comments on Ukraine gave no indication of any shift in its position.
Xi holds talks with European Council president-Xinhua
Xi made the following four observations on the development of China-EU relations.
First, it is important to keep the right perception. There are no strategic differences or conflicts of fundamental significance between China and the EU. China does not seek dominance or hegemony. China has never exported and will never export its system. China supports the EU's strategic autonomy and supports a united and prosperous Europe. It is hoped that the EU institutions and member states will gain an objective and right perception of China, firmly pursue peaceful coexistence and mutual benefit in their China policies, rise above the Cold War mentality and ideological antagonism, transcend confrontation of systems, and reject a new Cold War of whatever forms.
Second, it is important to properly manage differences. China and Europe differ in history, culture, development level and ideology. It is only natural that the two sides have different views on some issues. They should maintain communication and coordination in a constructive way. It is essential to respect each other's major concerns and core interests, especially sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and refrain from interfering in each other's internal affairs, in order to jointly preserve the political foundation of China-EU relations. China stands ready for the China-EU Human Rights Dialogue conducted on the basis of equality and mutual respect.
Third, it is important to carry out cooperation at a higher level. Europe is an important partner and beneficiary of China's rapid development. China will continue to pursue high-level opening up and move faster in fostering a new development paradigm. China welcomes the EU's continued participation for win-win results. The two sides need to strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination, seek greater complementarity in market, capital and technology, and work together to nurture new growth drivers in digital economy, green development and environment protection, new energies, and artificial intelligence. Joint efforts are also needed to keep industrial and supply chains secure, stable and reliable; to reject practices of decoupling, severing supply chains, and protectionism; and to oppose attempts to politicize and weaponize exchanges in economy, trade, science and technology. While China will stay open to European businesses, it would like to call on the EU to stay free from disturbances and provide Chinese companies with a fair and transparent business environment.
Fourth, it is important to strengthen coordination and cooperation in international affairs. China and the EU, both advocates of upholding the international system with the United Nations at its core, can work together to follow true multilateralism, rise to challenges, and safeguard global peace and development. The two sides need to lead the global response to climate change and efforts for biodiversity protection, energy and food security, and public health, among others, and strengthen synergy and coordination of each other's quality public goods and cooperation platforms. China welcomes the EU's participation in Belt and Road cooperation and the Global Development Initiative for greater synergy with the EU's Global Gateway strategy. Efforts should be made through existing mechanisms to push for more fruitful outcomes in dialogue and cooperation in various fields...
The two sides exchanged views on the Ukraine crisis. President Xi expounded on China's principled position and quoted an ancient Chinese saying, "When the city gate catches fire, the fish in the moat would suffer." A political settlement of the crisis best serves Europe's interests and the common interests of all countries in Eurasia.
Xi said under the current circumstances, it is important to prevent an escalation or expansion of the crisis, stay committed to promoting talks for peace, manage the spillovers of the crisis, and watch out for any risk of bloc confrontation. China supports the EU in stepping up mediation efforts and playing a leading role in building a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture in Europe. China will remain on the side of peace and continue to play a constructive role in its own way.
CCTV Evening News on the Xi-Michel meeting - 习近平同欧洲理事会主席举行会谈
Xi's comments on Ukraine:
Xi calls for long-term, strategic perspective in China-EU relations - Global Times
Michel's visit to China is of great significance, experts said, as Europe is now showing that it stands closer with the US, and the EU stance toward China is becoming increasingly tense, with more emphasis on competition and systemic rivalry. The EU's foreign policy is at a juncture on whether to confront or cooperate with China.
At such a critical moment, Michel's visit has sent a signal that represents rational voices, that is, refusing to follow the US and treat China primarily through a political and ideological perspective, Sun Keqin, a research fellow at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times on Thursday.
What the US wants is hegemony, but Europe wants survival, and the EU cannot achieve that without China, Sun said, "China, instead, has never posed a threat to them."..
At the Thursday meeting, Xi made observations on the development of China-EU relations and first stressed that it is important to keep the right perception. "There are no strategic differences or conflicts of fundamental significance between China and the EU. China does not seek dominance or hegemony. China has never and will never export its system," Xi noted.
Observers see this proposal as one of the highlights of the Thursday talk, which stressed that Europe should not blindly follow in the US' footsteps and let misunderstandings, especially intentional ones, sabotage Chine-EU ties.
Seizing on EU tensions with US, Xi tells Europe to keep investing in China – POLITICO
In a press conference, Michel said Xi told him that China was not sending weapons to Russia.
“President Xi … made it very clear China is not providing weapons to Russia. President Xi made very clear that the threat — the nuclear threat — is not acceptable.”..
There were few deliverables announced after his meeting with Xi, apart from what Michel's spokesperson called "the readiness to resume" the EU-China human rights dialogue.
EU and China leaders promise to keep talking amid ‘multiple crises’ | South China Morning Post
“I raised the issue of minorities and discussed at length the situation in Xinjiang,” Michel said. “This is not about interfering in internal affairs. It’s about upholding the principles agreed by the United Nations for decades. And this also applies in Hong Kong.”..
“The two sides should jointly ensure the stability of industrial and supply chains, oppose decoupling and protectionism. They should jointly oppose the politicisation and weaponisation of economic, trade, science and technological exchanges,” said Xi, according to the CCTV report.
China Direct: Death of an era — Charles M in China — UK embassy vs. Londoners – POLITICO
Xi made four main points for the EU — and Russia is nowhere near being on the list. Here are the four top lines: (1) China and Europe have “no fundamental strategic differences and conflicts” and systemic rivalry is irrelevant. (2) Respect China’s internal affairs and a human rights dialogue can only take place on an equal footing. (3) Say no to decoupling, come and invest, and be fair to Chinese businesses. (4) Make sure it’s a win-win for Belt and Road and Global Gateway, and (unlike the U.S.) let’s shore up the U.N. system together.
FIRST STEP: Before he departed, EU officials were unable to exactly identify the deliverables for his trip. “It’s the first engagement with a renewed situation,” a senior EU official said. “What we think is needed is a new impetus on the relationship and to check what has changed.”
Watching China in Europe with Noah Barkin - December 2022
some European diplomats are worried about a new wave of Realpolitik washing over Brussels, which can be summed up like this: Russia, not China, is Enemy Number One; the United States is profiting from the war in Ukraine at Europe’s expense; and closer engagement with Beijing makes sense, as a cushion against the forceful economic headwinds unleashed by the conflict and because Europe must do all it can to try to pry Beijing away from Moscow. “Some people have drawn the conclusion from Ukraine that we are overly dependent on the United States, rather than taking the view that this relationship is absolutely essential,” one European diplomat told me. “I am worried about a message that says: Europe needs partners right now, regardless of who they are. Whenever the EU decides to put its values aside, it comes back to bite us.”
Chinese premier welcomes foreign firms to invest in China-Xinhua
Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday welcomed foreign companies to continue investing in China as he met with President of the European Council Charles Michel in Beijing...
China is ready to boost cooperation with the European Union on the basis of mutual respect and equality, and handle differences properly to promote the sound and steady development of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership, Li said, stressing that China hopes to see a united and prosperous EU.
China's Xi Urges Calming War in Ukraine Crisis in Talks With Europe’s Michel - Bloomberg
Also on Thursday, China called for an investment agreement with Europe to be finalized. European lawmakers voted to halt ratification of the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment due to a dispute over human rights issues and both sides levying sanctions.
The deal is “good for China, Europe and the world,” Shu Jueting, spokeswoman of the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing, said at a press briefing. “China and Europe should work together to push for signing and entering the agreement into force so that it can benefit companies and the public on both sides soon.”
5. Jimmy Lai’s trial delayed
The Hong Kong government has asked Beijing to rule on the participation of British defense lawyer. They have also denied a work visa extension for the British lawyer.
Jimmy Lai’s national security trial: Hong Kong court postpones case to December 13 amid coming legal interpretation by Beijing | South China Morning Post
Three judges approved by the city’s leader to oversee the high-profile case on Thursday granted an adjournment to the 30-day trial in light of an imminent interpretation of the national security law by Beijing’s top legislative body, after the defence raised no objection to the application.
Lawyers for the publishing tycoon explained their decision was mostly because the Immigration Department had withheld the visa of British King’s Counsel Timothy Owen, who was previously allowed to appear for Lai in the case.
The Post learned Owen had already been issued a working visa to take up another case in the city when the High Court’s chief judge gave the green light for the barrister in October to represent the founder of the now-defunct Apple Daily newspaper in his trial.
But lawyers were told on Wednesday the Immigration Department had refused an application by the London-based lawyer to extend his temporary stay.
6. Zhao Lijian
Wang Zhi'an has a very funny, acerbic episode on everyone's favorite wolf-warrior, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian. Netizens found his wife's Weibo account (大葱和臭丫头), and she had posted about traveling overseas, including to Germany where their son is studying, doing business, and uploaded lots of pictures of her unmasked. Zhao was very much off his game at a recent foreign ministry presser, as this segment shows, sparking speculation that his wife may have made a big mess for him.
Wang Sir's News Talk | Zhao Lijian and his Sweatheart: The Paradoxical Life 20221130 - YouTube
AP’s Dake Kang profiled Wang in October in Fleeing Xi’s China, journalist makes fresh start abroad
Investigative journalist Wang Zhi’an once exposed corruption, land seizures, and medical malpractice in China, with millions of viewers and a powerful platform: state broadcaster CCTV.
Wang now lives alone in central Tokyo after being blacklisted in his homeland. His journey from on-air personality at the heart of China’s vast state media apparatus to reporter in exile illustrates how even government-backed critical reporting has been curtailed under Xi Jinping, China’s most authoritarian leader since Mao Zedong.
Unlike many muckrakers, Wang hasn’t given up. Deep in debt and armed with little more than a laptop, a tripod, and a camera borrowed from a friend, Wang is back in business — this time on YouTube and Twitter, both banned in China.
Business, Economy and Trade
IMF's Georgieva to discuss economy, COVID with Chinese authorities | Reuters International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Thursday that she will travel to Beijing next week with heads of other international institutions to discuss China's economic outlook and COVID-19 policies with the country's leadership
发力稳投资 前11个月新增地方债发行逾4.7万亿元-证券日报网 In the first 11 months, China issued new local government bonds totaling 4.7 trillion rmb, an increase of 11.2% over the same period last year, the Securities Daily reported, citing a data provider. Experts attribute the growth to China’s efforts to stabilize growth via infrastructure investments. Data shows regular government bonds 一般债券 issued declined during the period but 新增专项债券special government bond issuance — which funds projects like transportation and urban infrastructure — jumped 15.3% year on year.
从“三轮”到“五轮”，土拍市场又有新动向-中新网 A number of Chinese cities are making preparations for the fifth round of land sales. In Wuxi, Jiangsu, the fifth round had already been completed, with 14 pieces of land being auctioned all sold. Land sales market in major cities remains robust, especially after regulators announced a flurry of support measures to prop up the real estate sector.
Yicai - Tesla Recalls Over 400,000 Vehicles in China Due to Light Safety Issue Tesla, which has been at the center of numerous safety issues recently, is recalling more than 400,000 of its locally manufactured vehicles in China because of safety hazards in the light system. This is the second major recall by the US electric vehicle giant in China in the last week.
国务院印发《关于开展第五次全国经济普查的通知》-新华网 China will conduct its fifth economic census in 2023. For the first time, it will survey 投入产出 “inputs and outputs,” covering all businesses in both manufacturing and industry as well as the services sector. The announcement was made through a notice issued by the State Council, which warns local officials not to doctor or manipulate data during the census.
China to conduct 5th national economic census in 2023-Xinhua China will conduct its fifth national economic census in 2023 to take stock of the country's economic and social development. The upcoming national economic census will carry out an input-output survey, the State Council said in a notice. The objects of the census include all legal entities, industrial activity units and self-employed households engaged in secondary and tertiary industry activities in China.
South Korea’s exports to China tumble 25.5 per cent as world’s No 2 economy sputters under lockdown | South China Morning Post Shipments to China have fallen for six consecutive months, but November’s decline was the sharpest since mid-2009, with purchases slowing of Korean tech products such as semiconductors, which are used to make electronics for domestic sale or re-export.
Yicai - Guangdong’s Exports Jump in October as Imports Sink Guangdong’s international trade rose 7.2 percent in October from a year earlier, according to customs data. Exports surged almost 16.5 percent, the most this year, while imports dropped 8.5 percent. For the first 10 months of this year, the province’s foreign trade climbed just 1.9 percent from a year ago, with exports gaining 6.8 percent and imports falling 5.9 percent.
Yicai - Chinese Developer Sunac Sells Shanghai Project Stake for USD1.69 Billion, Source Says Sunac Real Estate Group slashed its stake in Oceanwide Construction Holdings, which owns the Dongjiadu project, to 10.3 percent from 100 percent on Nov. 28, according to corporate information platform Qichacha. Investment manager Citic Trust now has almost 64.7 percent and a limited partnership owned by China Huarong Asset Management has the rest.
Auto Dealers Face Mounting Inventories as Sales Slow - Caixinl An index tracking Chinese auto dealers’ inventories reached an alarming 65.3% in November, reflecting weaker demand and higher risks for dealers. The November reading of the Vehicle Inventory Alert Index published by the China Automobile Dealers Association was 9.9 points higher than at the same time last year. The index is based on the amount of dealer funds tied up in vehicle inventories as a percentage of operating cash.
China will move to protect its firms following U.S. telecoms ban | Reuters "China will adopt necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate rights of domestic firms," said Chinese commerce ministry spokesperson Shu Jueting at a regular press conference, urging the United States to correct the wrongdoing and stop politicising and weaponising economic and trade issues. The FCC's move represents Washington's latest crackdown on the Chinese tech giants amid fears that Beijing could use them to spy on Americans.
Caixin In Depth: U.S. Audit Row Dims Big Accounting’s Prospects in China Homegrown auditors have been picking up market share not only because of the “nationality” issue, but also because they’ve been engaged in a price war to win business. Amid concerns that price cutting could lead auditors to compromise on quality, in August 2021, the State Council released guidelines for the “healthy development” of the accounting industry, calling for a more unified supervision framework and an end to “vicious competition.” Accounting firms are currently overseen by multiple regulators, with one industry source saying that as many as 11 different government agencies have input.
Fosun Pharma Pours $220 Million Into France’s Cenexi - Caixin Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co.’s Indian unit Gland Pharma Ltd. will invest 210 million euros ($220 million) in acquiring privately held French pharmaceutical company Cenexi and pouring a shareholder loan into the operation as it seeks to expand its presence in Europe.
China Conviction Is Building as Fast Money Drives Market Rally - Bloomberg Despite the gains, swaths of Wall Street’s investing elite are yet to be drawn in. Long-only equity funds remain unconvinced, retail investors reluctant, and speculators are only in it for the short haul or simply covering shorts, data appear to show. // Comment: fear of missing out is buiding
China Has Vast Room for Property Demand, Government Adviser Says - Bloomberg “Chinese residents still have rather high rigid demand for housing as their income continues to improve,” said Wang Changlin, head of the China Academy of Macroeconomics, a research institute of the National Development and Reform Commission. “There is still rather vast room for demand in the real estate market.”
Politics and Law
U.S. believes China protests won't spread — for now - POLITICO U.S. officials believe the protests that erupted in a number of Chinese cities over the weekend are unlikely to spread or spark a wider movement against Beijing’s authoritarian rulers, according to U.S. government communications obtained by POLITICO. The communications, from Tuesday, describe the protests — in which thousands have gone into the streets to challenge China’s “zero-Covid” lockdowns — as disparate, unorganized and largely leaderless. That makes it unlikely the demonstrations will lead to a larger or more organized movement, the communications say.
China Clamps Down on Internet as It Seeks to Stamp Out Covid Protests - WSJ The Cyberspace Administration of China issued guidance to companies on Tuesday, including Tencent Holdings Ltd. and ByteDance Ltd., the Chinese owner of short video apps TikTok and Douyin, asking them to add more staff to internet censorship teams, according to people familiar with the matter. The companies were also asked to pay more attention to content related to the protests, particularly any information being shared about demonstrations at Chinese universities and a fire in the western Xinjiang region that triggered the nationwide backlash over Covid policies. The directives were issued following an internal meeting at the internet regulator, where officials were also told to ask Chinese search engines, e-commerce companies and internet content platforms to conduct a fresh sweep to remove sales postings and information about how to use virtual private networks, also known as VPNs, according to people familiar with the matter. The regulator also asked officials to get companies to prevent searches related to VPNs, which were used by protesters and their supporters to circulate videos of the recent demonstrations, the people said.
Lessons from a Chinese protest | The Economist Moments earlier, after hours observing the protests, Chaguan had been pulled from the crowd by police, questioned and told to leave. An eyewitness’s smartphone video captures the meeting with the police chief that began seconds later. A young protester in a white coat, maskless despite the certain risk of punishment, begins negotiating with the chief, Qi Yanjun. “If you’ve heard our voices then all this will not have been in vain,” says the protester, as if naming a price for leaving. Mr Qi is impatient, muttering: “Alright, alright. Let’s go.” The protester names another demand, saying: “We need to know who you are.” Without waiting for an answer, the young man uses an honorific dating back to imperial times, telling the police chief: “You are our fumuguan.” That title, meaning “father-mother official” and often used to describe local magistrates in imperial times
After Xi’s Coronation, a Roar of Discontent Against His Hard-Line Politics - The New York Times Now Mr. Xi’s second decade at the top may commence with another ideological offensive to reassert the party’s hold over minds, especially among students and young workers. “It will be a grinding, planned-out, constant response,” said Mr. Barmé, the academician in New Zealand. “This is a system with nearly 100 million party members stretching into every aspect of society.” // Comment: Agree with Barmé that this may be a likely response
What 1989 can teach us about the recent protests in China | The Economist Mr Xi may take comfort, however, from differences between the recent unrest and events in 1989. A crucial enabling factor in the growth of the Tiananmen Square protests (they spread nationwide, affecting most big cities) was division and dithering among China’s leaders. The rifts among them were huge and obvious...There is no sign of division among leaders. In October, after the party congress, Mr Xi unveiled a new line-up of the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee, the pinnacle of party power. For the first time all of its members are now clearly his loyalists. It was very different in 1989
Policy Continuity with Rhetorical Escalation: Parsing Xi Jinping’s Political Report to the 20th Party Congress - Minxin Pei | China Leadership Monitor The political report Chinese leader Xi Jinping delivered to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China represents a notable departure from his report to the 2017 19th Party Congress in its tone and depiction of China’s external environment. But in terms of policy, his report presents a policy agenda that summarizes existing policy. The focus on national security in the report largely formalizes recent policy initiatives rather than signaling a radical shift. When we compare the last three political reports, Hu Jintao’s report to the 18th Congress and Xi’s reports to the 19th and 20th congresses, Xi’s report to the 19th Congress was a radical departure from Hu’s report to the 18th Congress in both tone and substance, whereas his report to the 20th Congress took on a more combative tone than his report to the 19th Congress but it contained a similar policy agenda. This can be seen in the sections on national defense and Taiwan in the two reports. Taken together, Xi’s report to the 20th Party Congress signals a continuation of Xi’s current policy agenda in his third term.
Holly Snape on the 20th Party Congress and Intra-Party Regulation The thing I think it’s really important to watch going forward is how this growing intra-party regulatory system and Party documents more generally are integrated with law. I think it’s such a fundamental issue in terms of the way China’s governed. Steps have been taken over reform and opening to try to build up this sophisticated legal system and rule of law, and now the very idea of this set of intra-party documents is that it’s a component part of Socialist rule of law. So on a finer-grained level, in the mechanisms and the rules on how these things work, the connection between Party documents and law is really being stressed. Rules have been amended to make sure that in the formulation of Party documents, people are paying real attention to how they interact with laws. As I mentioned, we’ve seen on the most basic level that the Party has incorporated its leadership into Article 1 of the PRC Constitution, breaking with a 35-year precedent of not doing that. That fundamentally changed the relationship between what the Party says and law. What I think is really important going forward is to see how those two sets of documents—state law and party documents—interact with each other in practice.
Foreign and Defense Affairs
Dutch minister defends trade links with China | Financial Times $$ She also warned that it might not be possible to prevent China gaining leading-edge technology. “The development cycle goes very fast in China. We should not be naive.” Adriaansens said separate US measures to provide vast subsidies for green technology to domestic companies were of concern to The Hague.
NATO Nations Grow More Receptive to US Pleas to Confront China - The New York Times The discussion on China marked a shift toward a harder line on the challenges and threats it represents, especially among foreign ministers from previously more ambivalent countries, like Italy, Belgium, Spain and Portugal, some of whom called for less talk and more action to build a China strategy.
The EU has a spy problem — here’s why it’s so difficult to catch them – POLITICO Journalism is another good cover — providing access to a range of events and press opportunities, as well as a good excuse for being curious and cozying up to key officials. As many as one in five of the Chinese journalists working in Brussels are suspected to be intelligence officers, according to the Belgian security services. Indeed, so many Chinese spies are suspected of operating in Brussels that some treat it as a kind of a joke.
Xi’s New Central Military Commission: A War Council for Taiwan? - Joel Wuthnow | China Leadership Monitor A key result of the 20th Party Congress was the reappointment of Xi Jinping as chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) and the selection of new CMC members. Some have argued that the new military brass indicates a greater inclination by Xi to use force against Taiwan, but the evidence does not support this view. The new CMC is consistent with the recent past in terms of its internal structure; few of the new members whom Xi has chosen have deep operational expertise on Taiwan, and his new CMC is even less “joint” than the last one in terms of service representation and joint command skills. Rather than designed to lead a war, the new CMC will be charged with pursuing the PLA’s overall modernization, which includes becoming better prepared for future contingencies. The group of CMC advisors could also play a key role in deterring Xi from any temptation to use force if they can speak truth to power.
UN Security Council observes minute of silence for former Chinese President Jiang At the beginning of Wednesday's meeting, Ghanaian permanent representative to the United Nations, Harold Agyeman, in his capacity as president of the council for the month of November, expressed, on behalf of the council members, their deepest sympathy to the Chinese government and the Chinese people on the passing of Jiang.
China is erasing their culture. In exile, Uyghurs remain defiant. - National Geographic A growing Uyghur diaspora has found refuge—and a reconnection to their culture—in the neighborhoods of Istanbul
China on course for Africa trade boost as it offers duty-free access to 9 more countries | South China Morning Post As of December 1, nine more African nations will get wider tariff-free access to China, enjoyed by a similar number since September Policy covers nearly 8,800 items, as China seeks to boost African imports to US$300 billion by 2025
New Faces and Places: David Pierson and Alex Travelli Join the Asia Team; Chris Buckley heads to Taiwan | The New York Times Company Chris Buckley – a senior correspondent who has been a force behind our coverage of Xi Jinping’s rule, Covid Zero, the Chinese military, and, well, most things China – is headed to Taiwan later this year, after camping out in Australia following his expulsion from Beijing in 2020.
Hong Kong and Macao
Covid-19: Two ex-Cathay Pacific flight attendants jailed for 8 weeks after breaching quarantine rules - Hong Kong Free Press HKFP Two former Cathay Pacific flight attendants have been jailed for eight weeks each for breaching Covid-19 home quarantine rules last December. The pair, who had been infected with the Omicron variant, were accused by health authorities at the time of helping to trigger the fifth and deadliest wave of infections in the city.
坚持贯彻新时代党解决台湾问题的总体方略 - 求是网 Liu Jieyi, director of the Taiwan Affairs Office, in the latest issue of Qiushi - "Adhere to the party's general strategy of solving the Taiwan Province problem in the new era."
China accuses UK lawmakers of "gross interference" over Taiwan visit | Reuters The Chinese embassy in Britain issued a statement responding to the ongoing visit to Taiwan by British parliament's Foreign Affairs committee, calling it a "flagrant violation" of the one-China principle.
Tech and Media
China’s top memory chip maker YMTC takes latest step to become a global market leader, but US sanctions could derail its ambitions | South China Morning Post That conclusion was reached by TechInsights, a Canadian semiconductor and microelectronics intelligence provider, after it found that YMTC has introduced “the first 200+ layer 3D NAND Flash available on the market”, ahead of the industry’s leading memory chip makers Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix and Micron Technology...Proof of YMTC’s latest NAND Flash innovation, described in the report as Xtacking 3.0, was found in November by TechInsights, which performed reverse engineering analysis on a 2-terabyte SSD from Chinese surveillance camera maker Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co.
TSMC Plans to Make More Advanced Chips in US at Urging of Apple - Bloomberg Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. will offer advanced 4-nanometer chips when its new $12 billion plant in Arizona opens in 2024, an upgrade from its previous public statements, after US customers such as Apple Inc. pushed the company to do so, according to people familiar with the matter. TSMC is expected to announce the new plan when President Joe Biden and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo visit Phoenix for a ceremony next Tuesday, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.