Sanctions; Russia-China; US-China meeting; Vaccines come with a dose of Xi

Thanks to everyone who participated in the weekly open thread that started last Friday. It is still ongoing, one of the more active ones in a while.

China must be feeling very confident about Europe’s desire to ratify the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, or the PRC officials have massively miscalculated. Today the PRC announced sanctions on ten EU individuals and their family members and four entities, including the European Council's Political and Security Committee, made up of 27 ambassadors, and the think tank MERICS.

The PRC sanctions came just before the announcement of coordinated sanctions by the US, UK, Canada and the EU over Xinjiang. Those sanctions again do not target any of the real decision makers on the Politburo Standing Committee, nor will they have much substantive effect. There is symbolic value to the joint coordination and announcement, but the move is more an annoyance to the PRC, though one with significant domestic propaganda value that will feed into the nearly universal belief inside China that the West’s real goal is to keep China down. That said, the coordinated Western effort will likely elicit another response from the PRC government, which may then damage the PRC’s relationships with these countries even more.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov is visiting China and sanctions are on the agenda. The US runs the risk of overusing sanctions and giving China and Russia, among other targets, even more incentive to try to develop sanctions-resilient financial systems. It seems especially short-sighted when the US sanctions related to Xinjiang have so far been mostly toothless, targeting lower-level officials and no meaningful financial institutions. If Mao Zedong were still alive he would probably describe them as something like “farts from a paper tiger”.

The theme of Western repression was also part of Yang Jiechi’s remarkable Anchorage statement in front the press last week. Yang spoke without a script but I have to believe he had prepared those remarks in advance. Perhaps he would have made them regardless of what the US side said at the meeting with the press, but he was given a clear pretext and used it to full advantage, and to full value domestically. Did the US side not anticipate he would do something like that?

If you missed the Thursday Asia Society event I participated in you can watch the full program here and read Asia Society President Kevin Rudd’s prepared remarks here. Warning, we were not particularly optimistic about the future of the US-China relationship.

Today’s Essential Eight items:

  1. Sanctions

  2. Russian and Chinese foreign ministers meet

  3. US-China meeting

  4. No diplomats allowed at trials of the two Michaels

  5. PRC Embassy in France not helping China’s cause

  6. Hong Kong

  7. Poverty alleviation and rural revitalization

  8. Vaccines come with a dose of Xi

Please note, there WILL BE NO newsletter tomorrow, Tuesday March 23rd. Our kids are on Spring Break this week and I am taking one day off this week to take them to some very long overdue appointments. I will back to normal Wednesday.

Thanks for reading.


The Essential Eight

1. Sanctions

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Announces Sanctions on Relevant EU Entities and Personnel

The European Union (EU) imposed unilateral sanctions on relevant Chinese individuals and entity on March 22, citing the so-called human rights issues in Xinjiang. This move, based on nothing but lies and disinformation, disregards and distorts facts, grossly interferes in China's internal affairs, flagrantly breaches international law and basic norms governing international relations, and severely undermines China-EU relations. China firmly opposes and strongly condemns this. The Chinese government is firmly determined to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests. The Chinese side decides to sanction the following ten individuals and four entities on the EU side that severely harm China's sovereignty and interests and maliciously spread lies and disinformation: Reinhard Butikofer, Michael Gahler, Raphaël Glucksmann, Ilhan Kyuchyuk and Miriam Lexmann of the European Parliament, Sjoerd Wiemer Sjoerdsma of the Dutch Parliament, Samuel Cogolati of the Belgian Federal Parliament, Dovile Sakaliene of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, German scholar Adrian Zenz, Swedish scholar Björn Jerdén, Political and Security Committee of the Council of the European Union, Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament, the Mercator Institute for China Studies in Germany, and the Alliance of Democracies Foundation in Denmark. The individuals concerned and their families are prohibited from entering the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao of China. They and companies and institutions associated with them are also restricted from doing business with China.

The Chinese side urges the EU side to reflect on itself, face squarely the severity of its mistake and redress it. It must stop lecturing others on human rights and interfering in their internal affairs. It must end the hypocritical practice of double standards and stop going further down the wrong path. Otherwise, China will resolutely make further reactions.

Chinese version - 外交部发言人宣布中方对欧盟有关机构和人员实施制裁 — 中华人民共和国外交部

China slaps retaliatory sanctions on EU officials – POLITICO

The most prominent entity on China's hit-list is the European Council's Political and Security Committee. The Chinese statement did not immediately specify whether the new sanctions directly targeted the 27 ambassadors who make up the PSC. Neither the EU Council nor the Chinese mission to the EU could immediately clarify this.

Five members of the European Parliament are on the list, including the prominent head of the Parliament's China delegation Reinhard Bütikofer, as well as as Michael Gahler, Raphaël Glucksmann, Ilhan Kyuchyuk and Miriam Lexmann. The subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament is also sanctioned.

Politico’s Stuart Lau:

S&Ds make lifting of Chinese sanctions against Euro-MPs condition for Parliament to enter any talks on EU-China investment deal | Socialists & Democrats

The Socialists and Democrats [145 votes in the European Parliament] condemn the Chinese counter-measure targeting ten Europeans, among them S&D MEP Raphaël Glucksmann...

“We stand in solidarity with our colleague Raphaël Glucksmann and 9 other Europeans, who were today targeted by the Chinese government with retaliatory measures. The lifting of sanctions against MEPs is a pre-condition for us to enter into talks with the Chinese government on the investment deal. We will not be intimidated, we will not be silenced.

Interesting statement from the Five Eyes, though Australia and New Zealand did not announce sanctions - Joint Statement on Xinjiang - United States Department of State

The text of the following statement was released by the foreign ministers of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, and the United States Secretary of State...

We, the Foreign Ministers of Canada and the United Kingdom, and the United States Secretary of State, are united in our deep and ongoing concern regarding China’s human rights violations and abuses in Xinjiang. The evidence, including from the Chinese Government’s own documents, satellite imagery, and eyewitness testimony is overwhelming. China’s extensive program of repression includes severe restrictions on religious freedoms, the use of forced labour, mass detention in internment camps, forced sterilisations, and the concerted destruction of Uyghur heritage.

Today, we have taken coordinated action on measures, in parallel to measures by the European Union, that send a clear message about the human rights violations and abuses in Xinjiang. We are united in calling for China to end its repressive practices against Uyghur Muslims and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang, and to release those arbitrarily detained.

Promoting Accountability for Human Rights Abuse with Our Partners - United States Department of State

Today, the United States, in unity with our partners, is imposing sanctions against Wang Junzheng, the Secretary of the Party Committee of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) and Chen Mingguo, Director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau (XPSB) under the Global Magnitsky sanctions program.  We are doing so in response to serious human rights abuse against members of ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang...

We have taken this action today in solidarity with our partners in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the European Union. As part of their actions today, our partners also sanctioned human rights abusers in connection with the atrocities occurring in Xinjiang and other countries. These actions demonstrate our ongoing commitment to working multilaterally to advance respect for human rights and shining a light on those in the PRC government and CCP responsible for these atrocities.

Canada sanctions 4 Chinese officials for human rights abuses in Xinjiang | CBC News

The four officials Canada is targeting are:

Chen Mingguo, director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau.

Wang Mingshan, secretary of the political and legal affairs committee in Xinjiang and former director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau.

Zhu Hailun, former deputy party secretary of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Wang Junzheng, secretary of the party committee of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.

Canada also announced sanctions against the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps Public Security Bureau, a state-run organization responsible for security and policing.

EU imposes sanctions on four Chinese officials – POLITICO

In its first bid to punish China on human rights grounds since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, the EU is expected to be joined by the U.K. and potentially other countries, diplomats say, as part of wider international coordination to confront China's abuses against its ethnic and religious minorities...

The four names on the EU's list include Zhu Hailun, former deputy Communist Party head in Xinjiang, and Wang Junzheng, party secretary of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.

Wang Mingshan, member of the Xinjiang’s Communist Party standing committee, and Chen Mingguo, director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau (PSB) are also targeted.

According to the EU, the listed individuals and entities will be subject to an asset freeze in the EU, as well as a travel ban in Europe. It’s also illegal for EU individuals and entities to make funds available to those listed.

Comment: Worth noting that the PRC sanctions target individuals AND their family members, while the Western ones do not target family members.


2. Russian and Chinese foreign ministers meet

Lavrov calls for high-level cooperation with China - CGTN

Lavrov said the international situation is undergoing profound changes, with new centers of economic, financial and political influence growing stronger. "However, these objective developments, which are leading to the formation of a truly multipolar and democratic world, are unfortunately being hindered by Western countries, particularly the United States," he added...

"From Obama to Trump to the current U.S. administration, the 'instinct' to use sanctions at every turn has become so deeply rooted that it has become the usual means of the United States in dealing with international affairs," Lavrov said, adding that it does no good to impose sanctions and it is unwise to impose sanctions on Russia and China.

Lavrov said that in order to deal with the sanctions, Russia and China should strengthen cooperation under the framework of the United Nations on the "immediate end of unilateral coercive measures," while also taking the opportunity to enhance independent scientific and technological innovation, and constantly improve national strength.

He called for strengthening the autonomy of the science and technology industry, promoting the settlement of local currency and other international currencies that can replace the U.S. dollar, and gradually moving away from the Western-controlled international payment system, so that the risks posed by sanctions can be reduced.

As US wields sticks, China, Russia to counter dollar hegemony - Global Times

Facing a series of damaging sanctions by Washington and potential blockade to the dollar-dominated global payment system, or SWIFT, Russia, China and other countries have embarked on de-dollarization efforts in recent years by using their own currencies in transactions instead of the dollar.

China, for its part, has been pushing for the internationalization of the yuan by expanding its use in transactions with more countries, particularly along the routes of the Belt and Road Initiative. China's development of a digital yuan is widely believed to further ratchet up its currency's broader use in many areas.

China: Cooperation with Russia needed in increasingly unstable world - CGTN

China on Monday hailed the positive comments made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, reaffirming that cooperation between China and Russia needs to forge ahead firmly as the world is increasingly unstable, Hua Chunying, spokesperson for Chinese Foreign Ministry told reporters...

At the briefing, Hua echoed Lavrov's words by noting that it is the U.S. who wantonly interferes in other country's internal affairs in the name of so-called democracy and human rights, and has become the source of turbulence and chaos after making so many troubles in the world.

On the other hand, as Hua pointed out, China and Russia always stand together and back each other firmly in the fight against hegemony and bullying.

Russia’s capabilities to offset Quad influence should not be underestimated - Global Times

The year 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation between China and Russia, which laid the foundation for the two countries' relationship and pointed the direction of its development. As the world has changed and the two countries have developed, some new content should be introduced into the treaty.

China and Russia have agreed to renew the treaty and make it more relevant to the new era. The breadth and depth of the two countries' pragmatic cooperation will be increased, with their political mutual trust enhanced and mutual support strengthened. The two countries will also improve cooperation on global governance and strategic coordination on the international stage. As Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, "This is a milestone in China-Russia relations and, more importantly, a new starting point."

US will get 'strategic overdraft' to confront China, Russia at the same time - Global Times

Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at China Foreign Affairs University, said it is too early to say a new Cold War has arrived. However, it cannot be ruled out and the possibility is increasing due to the wrong and dangerous foreign policy of the US.

"The US wants a new Cold War to crack down on its competitors China and Russia, and its diplomatic policy with other major powers always focuses on confrontation, but China and Russia want ties between major powers to be cooperative and be more inclusive. We hope the US is aware of how dangerous it could be if it continues its wrong policy," Li said.


3. US-China meeting

After a long section listing the PRC's grievances as well as its vision for the international system, this readout of the meeting concludes with narrow areas of possible agreement and future cooperation.

China, U.S. hold timely, helpful high-level strategic dialogue - Xinhua

The two sides agreed to follow the spirit of the Xi-Biden telephone conversation on Feb. 11 to maintain dialogue and communication, conduct mutually beneficial cooperation, avoid misunderstanding and misjudgment, forestall conflict and confrontation, and promote sound and steady development of China-U.S. relations.

Both sides expressed the hope to continue such type of high-level strategic communication.

Both sides committed to enhancing dialogue and cooperation in the field of climate change, and they agreed to establish a joint working group on climate change.

The United States reiterated its adherence to the one-China policy on the Taiwan question.

The two sides discussed making reciprocal arrangements for the COVID-19 vaccination of each side's diplomats and consular officials.

They agreed to hold talks on facilitating activities of each other's diplomatic and consular missions and personnel, as well as on issues related to media reporters, in the spirit of reciprocity and mutual benefit.

The two sides also discussed adjusting relevant travel and visa policies according to the epidemic situation, and gradually normalizing personnel exchanges between China and the United States.

They also exchanged views on a series of other topics, including economy and trade, military, law enforcement, culture, health, cyber security, climate change, the Iranian nuclear issue, Afghanistan, the Korean Peninsula and Myanmar, and agreed to maintain and enhance communication and coordination.

The two sides said they will step up coordination and consultation on activities within such multilateral frameworks as the Group of 20 and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

The Chinese version of the official readout -杨洁篪、王毅同布林肯、沙利文举行中美高层战略对话-新华网

Secretary Antony J. Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan Statements to the Press - United States Department of State

we were also able to have a very candid conversation over these many hours on an expansive agenda.  On Iran, on North Korea, on Afghanistan, on climate, our interests intersect.  On economics, on trade, on technology, we told our counterparts that we are reviewing these issues with close consultation with Congress, with our allies and partners.  And we will move forward on – in a way that fully protects and advances the interests of workers and our businesses...

As the Secretary said, we expected to have tough and direct talks on a wide range of issues, and that’s exactly what we had. We had the opportunity to lay out our priorities and intentions, and to hear from the Chinese side their priorities and intentions. We were clear-eyed coming in, we’re clear-eyed coming out, and we will go back to Washington to take stock of where we are. We’ll continue to consult with allies and partners on the way forward and, of course, on issues ranging from Iran to Afghanistan through the normal diplomatic channels. We’ll continue to work with China going forward.

U.S. and China Must Decide What’s Next After Talks Clear Air - Bloomberg

Within the administration, there was debate about whether the opening session -- and even the decision to have talks -- was a miscalculation. According to some officials, relations are so sour that Blinken and Sullivan should have expected, and sought to avoid, the show of vitriol.

But others argued that China often amplifies its rhetoric before making concessions, and it was important to allow that before getting down to business. Two people familiar with the matter said the idea of the meeting originated with Kurt Campbell, Biden’s Asia coordinator, and voices in the State Department had pushed back, arguing a meeting had little utility.

Skeptics said that the hope for a free-wheeling conversation was naive because Chinese officials rarely diverge from talking points even in private. That appears to have been the case, as one official who briefed reporters said that while the meeting was frank, they didn’t get the back-and-forth they had hoped for.

U.S. and China discussed climate change, but did not form working group - Axios

A delegation for the Biden administration "discussed the climate crisis" with Chinese counterparts during talks in Alaska this week, but the two sides did not form a working group on the issue, contrary to a Chinese media report, a State Department spokesperson tells Axios.

U.S., China Climate Envoys to Meet Despite Frosty Alaska Talks - WSJ $$

The U.S. climate envoy, John Kerry, will join his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, at a virtual climate conference on Tuesday. China will chair the meeting of top officials from dozens of European countries, the European Union and Canada.

Tuesday’s conference, known as the Ministerial on Climate Action, is an annual meeting of major economies and polluters.

Alaska talks a good beginning to amplify positive factors in China-US ties: expert - Global Times

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told the China Development Forum via a video link that the US and China require both sides to make "ever more intensive efforts" to work together, media reported on Saturday. Modern technology, global communications and the global economy require the two societies to begin ever more intensive efforts to work together, because the peace and prosperity of the world depend on an understanding between the two societies, Kissinger said.

Fu Ying, former Chinese vice foreign minister, said at the forum over the weekend that the bilateral relationship had experienced a sharp plummet, and now it seems to be in a stalemate period, noting there are more favorable conditions for two countries to improve their ties compared to 50 years ago with a crucial factor being whether they could solve their reasonable concerns under the same international structure.


4. No diplomats allowed at the trials of the two Michaels

China Confronted by Show of Western Unity at Canadian’s Trial - Bloomberg

Representatives from the U.S., the U.K., the European Union and numerous European countries were turned away en masse while attempting to attend the trial of Michael Kovrig. The International Crisis Group analyst and a former Canadian diplomat was accused of spying on state secrets...

Kovrig’s hearing at the Beijing No. 2 People’s Intermediate Court comes days after a two-hour spying trial for another Canadian, Michael Spavor. China seized the pair in December 2018 after Canada detained Huawei Technologies Co. executive Meng Wanzhou in response to a U.S. extradition request...

Canada sought access to the hearings under the Vienna Convention for Consular Relations and a two-way consular agreement it signed with China, which guarantees access to court proceedings against each other’s citizens.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a regular press briefing Monday that “Canada has brought together some other countries’ diplomats and points fingers at China’s handling of individual cases.”

“That is interference in China’s judicial sovereignty,” she said.

Canada denied entry to Beijing trial of former diplomat | Financial Times $$

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, has accused China of employing “coercive diplomacy” in the cases and labelled the lack of transparency over the trials “completely unacceptable”.

“China needs to understand that it is not just about two Canadians. It is about respect for the rule of law and relationships with a broad range of western countries,” he said on Friday.

The PRC's Trial of Michael Spavor — Jerome A. Cohen | 孔傑榮(柯恩)

I have been trying to follow PRC justice for over sixty years but am genuinely puzzled by the brief report I have seen on today’s “trial”. After a closed hearing of merely two-hours in Dandong, the court released a statement saying that the judgment would be announced at a later date. What is the PRC up to? Do its leaders realize what a self-inflicted wound this amounts to?

新京报 - 康明凯为境外刺探国家秘密、情报案一审开庭

据北京市第二中级人民法院消息,2021年3月22日,因案件涉及国家秘密,北京市第二中级人民法院依法对加拿大籍被告人康明凯为境外刺探国家秘密、情报案,不公开开庭进行了审理,康明凯及其辩护律师到庭参加诉讼。北京市第二中级人民法院将依法择期宣判

China slams Canada forming 'clique' to interfere in judicial process as Beijing tries Canadian Michael Kovrig over espionage charge - Global Times

"To protect personal privacy, some courts in the UK and the US will hold hearings in private. The military courts in the US also try cases in closed-door sessions," Peng Qinxuan, an expert on international law from Wuhan University, told the Global Times on Monday.

However, it is not important what the rules are in other countries, as China's laws specifically make it clear that their cases should be held in closed-door format, Peng said. "The trial will not be held according to countries', or foreign reporters' personal willingness."


5. PRC Embassy in France not helping China’s cause

Chinese ridicule French scholar for reigniting war of words with Chinese embassy for attacking China in pursuit of ‘political correctness’ - Global Times

A French scholar who recently engaged in a war of words with the Chinese Embassy to France was disdained by Chinese experts and officials on China-France affairs, with some expressing their support for the embassy's firm rebuttal against the claims of Antoine Bondaz, who appeared to be a "rising star" in some Western hawk-led anti-China circles engaging in another form of "political correctness."

The fierce online debate started when French senator Alain Richard announced plans to visit the island of Taiwan in the summer, which was resolutely rejected by the Chinese Embassy to France...

The French scholar has been interacting with the embassy on social media in the past few days with messages like "a big, big kiss to you and your trolls" to which the embassy retweeted with "Petit frappe" which means "little rascal."

One of the Tweets:

EU-China deal spells trouble for Macron at home – POLITICO

French President Emmanuel Macron is under fire from both the left and the right after he threw his weight behind an EU-China investment deal at the end of last year...

Marine Le Pen's National Rally has lost no time in questioning the deal.

"We have to be clear: This deal will encourage investments of European businesses in China. Is it a good moment to encourage even more [industrial] delocalization at a time in which the COVID crisis is heavily hitting the economy of certain European countries?" asked Hervé Juvin, a French MEP elected under Le Pen's National Rally's banner.

Far right politicians are not the only ones to question the deal as reports of forced labor in China's Xinjiang region make headlines. Leftist and centrist lawmakers fear that the EU didn't sufficiently use the deal as leverage to improve labor rights and environmental conditions in China on top of direct economic benefits.


6. Hong Kong

Chinese lawmakers to deliberate bills on amending HK electoral system on March 29-30 - Xinhua

Zang Tiewei, spokesperson for the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee, said the Council of Chairpersons of the NPC Standing Committee has decided to convene the 27th session of the 13th NPC Standing Committee from March 29 to 30.

Proposed agenda of the session includes reviewing draft amendments to Annex I and Annex II to the HKSAR Basic Law, according to Zang. The two annexes govern respectively the selection method of the HKSAR Chief Executive, and the formation method and voting procedures of the Legislative Council, Hong Kong's local legislature.

栗战书主持召开十三届全国人大常委会第八十八次委员长会议 决定十三届全国人大常委会第二十七次会议3月29日至30日在京举行--新闻报道-中国共产党新闻网

委员长会议建议,十三届全国人大常委会第二十七次会议审议全国人大常委会委员长会议关于提请审议《中华人民共和国香港特别行政区基本法附件一香港特别行政区行政长官的产生办法(修订草案)》的议案、关于提请审议《中华人民共和国香港特别行政区基本法附件二香港特别行政区立法会的产生办法和表决程序(修订草案)》的议案;审议有关任免案等。

NPCSC to Revise Hong Kong Basic Law Annexes, Implementing NPC's Electoral Overhaul Decision - NPC Observer

The two bills are styled as “revisions” [修订], rather than “amendments” [修正案]. Under the Chinese legislature’s established practice, revisions to existing statutes will replace them in their entirety. Similarly, the pending revisions to the two Annexes, once passed, will completely rewrite the two instruments. Under article 159 of the Hong Kong Basic Law, the NPC has the sole power to amend the Law, but it has given the NPCSC a special authorization to modify the two Annexes in its March 11 decision.

The revisions to the Annexes are likely to pass by late April, if not next week. Under the legislature’s more recent practice, revisions to entire statutes always undergo at least two reviews before being approved. But it is unclear whether that would apply to revisions to part of a statute, the Basic Law’s two Annexes in this case; Chinese law authorizes partial updates to a law to undergo only a single review. In any event, the NPCSC is expected to proceed expeditiously.

Over 2.38 mln signatures collected in Hong Kong for improving electoral system - Xinhua

More than 2.38 million signatures were collected in Hong Kong in support of improving the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) during an 11-day campaign ending Sunday.

Tam Yiu-chung, the chief convener of the campaign, said Sunday at a press conference that some 1.17 million people have signed the petition online and some 1.21 million have written their names at promotional booths on the street. Over 210,000 invalid signatures were identified and removed.

Thousands of Hongkongers will be unable to cash in their pensions after moving to the UK

Hong Kong’s Mandatory Provident Funds (MPF) Schemes Authority - which is in charge of the city’s compulsory pension scheme - said: “BN(O) passports are no longer recognised as any form of proof of identity in Hong Kong. Thus, scheme members cannot rely on BN(O) passport or its associated visa as evidence in support of an application for early withdrawal of MPF.”..

Hongkongers can withdraw their pension once before the retirement age of 65, for limited reasons including permanently leaving the territory. They must provide “Documentary proof satisfying the trustee that the member is permitted to reside in a place outside Hong Kong”, according to the MPF authority’s official website.

After the protests - China is not just shackling Hong Kong, it is remaking it | Briefing | The Economist

Western critics focus on the blow that the new election law lands on pro-democracy parties. Chinese observers are equally interested in its changes to the Election Committee, which will give Beijing-appointed members the power to dilute the influence of the property tycoons. “It’s shameful for an economy as rich as Hong Kong to have that many people living without basic human dignity in terms of housing conditions. And that sentiment is shared extensively in Beijing, in the leadership,” says the mainland financier.

He predicts a campaign to build large amounts of public rented housing. This could be facilitated by forcing local tycoons to release some of the territory’s copious undeveloped land, a resource they are accused of hoarding so as to increase the value of their property holdings by creating scarcity. Beyond that assault on Hong Kong’s old-school business bosses, a wider campaign is brewing to craft a new “capitalism with Hong Kong characteristics”.

Beijing knew national security law was not enough to control Hong Kong, which is why the electoral reforms had to kick in | South China Morning Post

Hong Kong’s pro-establishment elite who huddled in meetings with Beijing officials last week on the city’s biggest political shake-up came away with two hard truths: a new power centre was in the making and a vetting committee would be its tough sidekick.

The Election Committee to select the chief executive, which Hong Kong’s political class is familiar with, is being remade into a body that will decide not just on the top job, but also be the gatekeepers determining who gets to run as Legislative Council candidates. For added insurance, it will be sending its own members to the legislature to ensure it is in control.


7. Poverty alleviation and rural revitalization

Published December 16, 2020, released publicly today - “Opinion of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council on Realizing the Effective Connection between Consolidating and Expanding the Achievements of Poverty Alleviation and Rural Revitalization.”

This is important to consolidate the gains of the poverty alleviation campaign.

中共中央 国务院关于实现巩固拓展脱贫攻坚成果同乡村振兴有效衔接的意见--时政--人民网

Basic ideas and objectives and tasks. A five-year transition period will be set up after poverty alleviation is completed. According to the changes of the situation, the poverty-stricken areas should clarify their work ideas, make effective connections among the leadership system, work system, development plan, policy measures and assessment mechanism during the transition period, and shift from focusing on solving the "two guarantees and three guarantees" for the poverty-stricken people who set up the card to realizing rural industry prosperity, ecological livability, civilized rural style, effective governance and affluent life, and from concentrating resources to supporting poverty alleviation to consolidating and expanding the achievements of poverty alleviation and comprehensively promoting rural revitalization. By 2025, the achievements of poverty alleviation will be consolidated and expanded, rural revitalization will be promoted in an all-round way, the economic vitality and development potential of poverty-stricken areas will be significantly enhanced, the quality, efficiency and competitiveness of rural industries will be further improved, the level of rural infrastructure and basic public services will be further improved, the ecological environment will be continuously improved, the construction of beautiful and livable villages will be solidly promoted, the construction of rural civilization will make remarkable progress, the construction of rural grass-roots organizations will be continuously strengthened, the long-term mechanism of classified assistance for rural low-income population will be gradually improved, and the income growth rate of farmers in poverty-stricken areas will be higher than the national average By 2035, the economic strength of poverty-stricken areas will be significantly enhanced, rural revitalization will make significant progress, the living standards of low-income people in rural areas will be significantly improved, the gap between urban and rural areas will be further narrowed, and more obvious substantive progress will be made in promoting the common prosperity of all people.

基本思路和目标任务。脱贫攻坚目标任务完成后,设立5年过渡期。脱贫地区要根据形势变化,理清工作思路,做好过渡期内领导体制、工作体系、发展规划、政策举措、考核机制等有效衔接,从解决建档立卡贫困人口“两不愁三保障”为重点转向实现乡村产业兴旺、生态宜居、乡风文明、治理有效、生活富裕,从集中资源支持脱贫攻坚转向巩固拓展脱贫攻坚成果和全面推进乡村振兴。到2025年,脱贫攻坚成果巩固拓展,乡村振兴全面推进,脱贫地区经济活力和发展后劲明显增强,乡村产业质量效益和竞争力进一步提高,农村基础设施和基本公共服务水平进一步提升,生态环境持续改善,美丽宜居乡村建设扎实推进,乡风文明建设取得显著进展,农村基层组织建设不断加强,农村低收入人口分类帮扶长效机制逐步完善,脱贫地区农民收入增速高于全国农民平均水平。到2035年,脱贫地区经济实力显著增强,乡村振兴取得重大进展,农村低收入人口生活水平显著提高,城乡差距进一步缩小,在促进全体人民共同富裕上取得更为明显的实质性进展。

Some of the key sections:

建立健全巩固拓展脱贫攻坚成果长效机制 Establish and improve a long-term mechanism to consolidate and expand the achievements of poverty alleviation;

聚力做好脱贫地区巩固拓展脱贫攻坚成果同乡村振兴有效衔接重点工作 Concentrate on the key work of consolidating and expanding the achievements of poverty alleviation and rural revitalization in poverty-stricken areas;

健全农村低收入人口常态化帮扶机制 Improve the normalization assistance mechanism for rural low-income population;

着力提升脱贫地区整体发展水平 Focus on improving the overall development level of poverty-stricken areas

加强脱贫攻坚与乡村振兴政策有效衔接 Strengthen the effective connection between poverty alleviation and rural revitalization policies

全面加强党的集中统一领导 Comprehensively strengthen the centralized and unified leadership of the party


8. Vaccines come with a dose of Xi

Xi delivers video speech to Colombian people as Chinese vaccines arrive - Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a video speech to the Colombian people at the invitation of his Colombian counterpart, Ivan Duque, as the third batch of COVID-19 vaccines provided by China arrived in Bogota, capital of Colombia, on Saturday local time.

"Even mountains and seas cannot distance people with common aspirations," Xi said in his speech, noting that the vast Pacific Ocean cannot stand in the way of the profound friendship between the Chinese and Colombian people...

Xi said he hopes that the governments and peoples of the two countries will make joint efforts to strengthen friendly cooperation in various fields including the anti-pandemic fight, so as to elevate China-Colombia friendly cooperation to a new level from a new historical starting point and bring more benefits to the two peoples.

Duque, who was on a tour of inspection during the day, held a special ceremony and broadcasted Xi's speech to the whole country. He expressed gratitude to Xi and the brotherly Chinese people for their deep friendship to the Colombian people and their important support to Colombia's fight against the pandemic.

Sinovac has supplied 160 mln COVID-19 vaccine doses to 18 countries and regions - CEO | Reuters

Over 70 million doses of the vaccine have already been administered globally, Yin said at an academic conference in Beijing.

Third dose of Sinopharm vaccine needed for some in UAE - The Washington Post

Walid Zaher, the chief researcher for G42 Healthcare, which distributes the Sinopharm vaccine in the UAE, told Dubai Eye radio that a study was underway to give some people third doses.

“When some people are found to be not really responsive to the vaccines, which is expected with all vaccines, there was an initiative to approach these people and give them a third shot of the Sinopharm vaccine, which has shown, within the context of the study, to boost their immunity,” he said.


Business, Economy and Trade

Northern Steel Hub Ordered to Slash Emissions, Raising Fears of Higher Prices - Caixin The Tangshan government ordered seven local steel mills to cut their emissions by 50% from Saturday through July 1 by curtailing production, and continue to keep their emissions at 30% below current levels from July through year-end. Another of the city’s 16 steel mills will also be required to reduce their emissions by 30% from Saturday through the end of the year, according to a notice released on Friday.

Yi Gang - Make Full Use of China’s Monetary Policy Space and Promote Green Finance ----Remarks by Governor Yi Gang at the Roundtable of China Development Forum Let me begin with monetary policy. First, China has a relatively large space in monetary policy. We have managed to maintain a normal monetary policy, augmented by a big reservoir of policy instruments and moderate policy rates. We will continue to make good use of the normal policy space, and maintain the consistency, stability and sustainability of our monetary policy... Overall, we will continue to implement a prudent monetary policy, support firms and jobs, keep major financial risks at bay, and deepen financial reform and opening-up.

PBOC Chief Warns Climate Change Poses Challenge to Financial Stability - Caixin The massive amount of green investment needed to achieve China’s goal of reaching peak emissions in 2030 and carbon neutrality in 2060 will require mobilization of the private sector and market forces as the country’s public finances will only be able to cover a fraction of the hundreds of trillions of yuan likely to be required, People’s Bank of China (PBOC) Governor Yi Gang said in a speech at the China Development Forum in Beijing on Saturday.

State Council approves reshuffle of monetary policy committee Cai Fang and Wang Yiming were appointed as new committee members. Liu Shijin will remain on the committee. Liu Wei and Ma Jun will leave the committee.

Two New Members Chosen for Central Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee-Caixin New MPC member Cai, 64, is now a deputy head of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature. His research covers a variety of fields including agriculture and population economics. Wang, 61, had been a deputy director at the Development Research Center, a think tank under the State Council. Sources with knowledge of the matter have told Caixin that previous MPC member Ma appears likely to be appointed as China’s representative to the G-20 Sustainable Finance Study Group, which is co-chaired by the PBOC and the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

20省市全年重点项目投资近30万亿 集中开工带动原材料涨价潮_经济_宏观频道首页_财经网 - CAIJING An estimate by Chinese media shows that at least 6.5 trillion worth of infrastructure projects have broken ground since February, an increase of 658% compared to the same period last year. The blitz in new projects has pushed up prices of raw materials.

China finishes ratifying RCEP, member economies inspired to quicken completion of deal - Global Times China's Ministry of Commerce said that the country has completed the ratification of the RCEP agreement. On March 8, Commerce Minister Wang Wentao announced that the Chinese government has officially ratified the RCEP agreement.

易会满:注册制绝不意味着放松审核要求 _ 经济参考网 _ 新华社《经济参考报》官方网站 Yi Huiman, head of China’s securities watchdog, said the adoption of the registration-based IPO system doesn’t mean less stringent screening of companies that wish to go public. 注册制, or registration-based IPO system, allows companies to list their shares more easily, compared to the onerous old system that subjects firms to longer and more thorough screening procedures. Under 注册制, companies can list their shares as long as they disclose certain information. ..“ The mere information disclosure is not enough. China’s stock market has 180 million individual investors, and we must take this into consideration,” Yi said. “ The China Securities Regulatory Commission has always stressed the importance of the completeness of information disclosure, and we will strictly screen the quality of companies’ information disclosure. In the meantime, we will also consider the sectoral circumstances and if ( the IPO) is in line with industrial policies.”

上海要求查验真实信息 链家下架万套房源_财新网_财新网 Shanghai strictly regulates the listing information of second-hand houses, and fake and artificially high priced second-hand home listings will be strictly investigated. The notice also banned hyping up the concept of "school district housing"

Yicai - Shenzhen’s Banks Are Told to Hasten Recovery of Loans Misused in Housing Market Regulators have ordered banks in Shenzhen to recover ahead of time CNY51.8 million (USD8 million) in low-interest business loans misappropriated for use in the local housing market where prices have been rising the fastest in China.

China seeks to boost rust-belt province as a ‘golden place’ for technology development | South China Morning Post It was Liu’s first trip out of Beijing this year, underscoring the mission’s importance. Public records show that Liu, who is also overseeing the reform programme for state-owned enterprises and technological development, conducted only two field inspections outside Beijing in the past year. In September, he visited Mianyang, a research, science and technology hub in Sichuan province.

Yicai - Soochow Securities Poaches China’s ‘Best Paid Economist’ From Evergrande Ren Zeping, the former chief economist of Chinese real estate titan China Evergrande Group whose hefty pay package earned him the nickname of the country’s ‘best paid economist,’ has moved to brokerage Soochow Securities for an undisclosed sum.

China in $1.5 Billion Currency Swap Deal as Sri Lanka Seeks to Shun IMF - Bloomberg The Central Bank of Sri Lanka is entitled to a 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) swap facility from the People’s Bank of China, Sri Lanka’s monetary authority said in a statement Monday. The agreement is valid for three years.

Applied Materials Expects Kokusai Electric Deal to Fall Through - Bloomberg Applied Materials Inc. said it expects a planned $3.5 billion acquisition of KKR & Co.-owned Kokusai Electric Corp. to fall through since it has yet to receive regulatory approval in China. The U.S. maker of machines used to manufacture semiconductors said that if it doesn’t receive approval by Friday, it will consider the deal terminated

China’s Central Bank Digital Currency Will Offer Greatest Privacy Protection, Official Says - Caixin The digital yuan’s “controllable anonymity” can satisfy individuals’ reasonable needs for anonymous transactions and personal information protection, while helping to maintain financial stability by contributing to the fight against money laundering, terrorist financing and tax evasion, Mu Changchun, head of the PBOC’s digital currency research institute, said Saturday at the annual China Development Forum in Beijing.

Yicai - Chinese Firms Delayed, Cancelled 43% More New Bonds in Past Year as Gov’t Tightens Oversight Chinese companies have postponed or cancelled the issuance of 905 credit bonds in the 12 months to March 19, 43.4 percent more than in the previous year, as regulators raise the bar following a number of high-profile defaults last year, Xinhua’s Economic Information Daily reported today. Some CNY344.6 billion (USD52.9 billion) in new bonds failed to be issued in the year to March 19, an annual increase of 38.3 percent, the report said, citing Wind statistics.

Yicai - China’s Central Bank Keeps Benchmark Lending Rate Steady for 11 Straight Months The one-year loan prime rate was kept at 3.85 percent, while the five-year LPR stayed at 4.65 percent, the People’s Bank of China said. It fixes the rate once a month. No change was expected, said Wen Bin, chief analyst at China Minsheng Bank. It reflects the fact that the rates are basically adapted to the country’s economic recovery, he said.

Yicai - [Exclusive] Carrefour China CEO Plans IPO, Denies Talk Suning May Divest Carrefour China plans to seek an initial public offering, according to its chief executive, who also denied speculation that majority shareholder Suning.Com may sell its stake in the supermarket chain operator. Tian Rui did not disclose the specific timing or location of Carrefour China’s public offering in a recent interview with Yicai Global.

T-shirts and phone cases featuring Chinese diplomats' strong words see hot sales after Alaska talks - People's Daily Online T-shirts and mobile phone cases bearing slogans such as "Chinese people don't buy it", "Stop interfering in China's internal affairs" and "the US does not have the qualification to speak to us in a condescending manner," appeared on the shelves of Chinese e-commerce platforms like Taobao and Pinduoduo. "The sales performance is very good as we received hundreds of orders within just half a day," a manager surnamed Yu from a custom cell phone case shop on Taobao told the Global Times on Sunday, adding that after watching the video of the talks, he was moved by Chinese diplomats' sharp words, which inspired him to release the new case designs.

China to further expand cross-border e-commerce retail imports pilot - ECNS Six departments including the Ministry of Commerce in China jointly issued The Notice on Expanding Cross-border E-commerce Retail Imports Pilot and Implementing the Supervision Requirements on March 18th, proposing to further expand cross-border e-commerce retail import pilots. According to the notice, cross-border e-commerce retail imports pilots were expanded to cities (regions) having pilot free trade zones, comprehensive areas of cross-border e-commerce, comprehensive bonded-areas, demonstration zones to promote innovation in import trade and bonded logistics centers (Type B). With the approval of local customs, these cities are allowed to carry out online shopping bonded import business. // 六部门:将跨境电商零售进口试点扩大至所有自贸试验区等多地 _ 经济参考网 _ 新华社《经济参考报》官方网站

Chinese vice premier stresses efforts for socialist modernization - Xinhua | Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng on Sunday called for efforts to ensure a good start for the country to achieve socialist modernization. Han, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the remarks while addressing the opening ceremony of the China Development Forum 2021.

China strives for quality, efficiency in economic growth: Premier Li - Xinhua Li met representatives of overseas attendees to the China Development Forum 2021 via video link in Beijing. When answering a question about China's growth rate and quality, Li said setting the 2021 growth target of over 6 percent is for consolidating the foundation for economic recovery and growth. It also aligns with what the country can accomplish next year and the year after. The growth target is not low, and China may achieve even faster growth in its delivery, he said, adding that China focuses more on guiding expectation

China to Restrict Tesla Use by Military and State Employees - WSJ $$ The move follows a government security review of the electric-vehicle maker’s products, which Chinese officials said raised concerns because Tesla vehicles’ cameras can record images constantly, the people said, and obtain data including when, how and where the vehicles are being used as well as the contact lists of mobile phones synced to them. Beijing is concerned that some data could be sent back to the U.S., the people said.

Global investors seek freeze on China chip champion’s foreign assets | Financial Times $$ Tsinghua Unigroup, a national chip champion backed by China’s most prestigious engineering school, in November defaulted on a domestically issued bond, triggering concerns over cross-defaults of offshore notes worth about $2.4bn.

JPMorgan to Take 10% Stake in China Merchants Bank’s Wealth Management Arm - Caixin JPMorgan Asset Management (Asia Pacific) Ltd. has plans to invest about 2.7 billion yuan ($409.7 million) in China Merchants Bank Co. Ltd.’s (600036.SH) wholly owned wealth management subsidiary, according to an exchange filing the bank published Friday.

Cover Story: What Will Suning Have to Sell Next? - Caixin state-led bailout injected 14.8 billion yuan ($2.3 billion) to Sunning.com Co. Ltd. (002024.SZ), making two Shenzhen government-owned investment entities the largest shareholders of the Shenzhen-listed company. Yet that investment will do little to help Suning pay its 16 billion yuan of debt that’s due within a year, not to mention the more than 200 billion yuan of total debt the company and its subsidiaries owe. Suning’s billionaire founder Zhang Jindong is still rushing to line up potential investors.

CSRC Fines Auditor GP Certified for Its Part in China’s Worst Financial Scandal at a Public Firm China’s securities watchdog has fined GP Certified Public Accountants CNY57 million (USD8.8 million) for its involvement in the biggest financial fraud among mainland-listed companies. GP Certified falsified visiting records and included bank documents forged by its client Kangmei Pharmaceutical in its audit of the drugmaker in 2016, the China Securities Regulatory Commission said on its website on March 19. The CSRC had been investigating the Guangzhou-based accountancy firm since May 2019.

Premier Li’s Pledge to Cut Government Leverage May Target Hidden Debt, Analysts Say - Caixin At a State Council executive meeting on Monday [3.15], Li said that the government leverage ratio should be reduced this year. Analysts are speculating that the effort will likely focus on implicit, off-balance-sheet local government debt because China’s 2021 fiscal budget doesn’t limit the amount of explicit government borrowing enough to reduce the leverage ratio on its own.

Think Covid’s Messed Up Your Travel Plans? Try Getting Into China. - The New York Times Foreign executives think China is likely to be one of the last countries in the world to fully reopen, perhaps as late as next year, after the Beijing Winter Olympics in February. China’s restrictions will mean significant delays in building large factories or winning sales orders, according to business groups.

Han Wenxiu, Executive Deputy Director, the General Office of the Central Financial and Economic Affairs Commission, on the "New Development Concept" on page 9 of the Monday People's Daily - "Complete, accurate and comprehensive understanding and implementation of the new development concept" - 完整准确全面理解和贯彻新发展理念(深入学习贯彻习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想)--理论-中国共产党新闻网

Security is the proper meaning and inherent requirement of the new development concept. In the new stage of development, it is important to fully implement the new development concept and make overall plans for development and security. In recent years, the CPC Central Committee has been paying special attention to security issues, stressing the need to do two major things well: development and security. The "Proposal" puts the security issue in a very prominent position, which reflects this idea. With the changes of major social contradictions and the profound adjustment of international power, the internal and external risks of China's development have risen significantly. We must earnestly enhance the sense of urgency, take secure development as an important starting point for implementing the new development concept as a whole, be good at foreseeing and predicting various risks and challenges, and make good plans to deal with various "black swan" and "grey rhinoceros" incidents, so as to continuously enhance the security of development.

安全是新发展理念的题中应有之义和内在要求。在新发展阶段全面贯彻新发展理念,统筹发展和安全是重要方面。这几年,党中央一直特别重视安全问题,强调要办好发展安全两件大事。《建议》把安全问题摆在非常突出的位置,就体现了这一思路。随着我国社会主要矛盾变化和国际力量对比深刻调整,我国发展的内外部风险显著上升,必须切实增强忧患意识,把安全发展作为从整体上贯彻新发展理念的重要抓手,善于预见和预判各种风险挑战,做好应对各种“黑天鹅”“灰犀牛”事件的预案,不断增强发展的安全性。

Concludes with:

Implementing the new concept of development is a profound change related to China's overall development, and it will inevitably encounter various obstacles and obstacles. This requires us to persist in deepening reform and opening wider to the outside world, and resolutely abandon or adjust the factors that do not meet the requirements of the times in the traditional development mode, so that economic and social development will always follow the correct track. Reform is a powerful driving force for implementing the new development concept. It is necessary to strengthen the modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity, remove the institutional and institutional obstacles that restrict high-quality development and high-quality life, and strengthen major reform measures that are conducive to improving the efficiency of resource allocation and mobilizing the enthusiasm of the whole society. Opening up is an inevitable requirement for implementing the new development concept. No matter how the international situation changes, we must unswervingly adhere to the basic national policy of opening up to the outside world, make overall plans for opening up and security, and make better use of domestic and international market resources by implementing high-level opening up, so that domestic circulation and international circulation can promote each other and complement each other, and at the same time promote reform through opening up, and drive the continuous improvement of domestic institutional mechanisms.

贯彻落实新发展理念是关系我国发展全局的一场深刻变革,必然会遇到各种各样的阻力和障碍。这就要求我们坚持深化改革、扩大开放,坚决摒弃或调整传统发展方式中不符合时代要求的因素,使经济社会发展始终沿着正确轨道前进。改革是贯彻新发展理念的强大动力。要加强国家治理体系和治理能力现代化建设,破除制约高质量发展、高品质生活的体制机制障碍,强化有利于提高资源配置效率、有利于调动全社会积极性的重大改革举措。开放是贯彻新发展理念的必然要求。不管国际风云如何变幻,都要坚持对外开放基本国策不动摇,统筹开放和安全,通过实行高水平对外开放,更好利用国内国际两个市场两种资源,使国内循环与国际循环相互促进、相得益彰,同时以开放促改革,带动国内体制机制不断完善。


Politics and Law

Xi inspects east China's Fujian Province - Xinhua Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, on Monday arrived in east China's Fujian Province for inspection. Xi visited an intelligent management center in the Wuyishan National Park, an eco-friendly tea garden, and a park dedicated to Zhu Xi, a renowned Chinese philosopher in the 12th century, in Nanping City on Monday afternoon.

习近平赴福建考察调研--时政--人民网 习近平总书记22日赴福建考察调研。当天下午,他先后来到南平市武夷山国家公园智慧管理中心、星村镇燕子窠生态茶园、朱熹园,了解生态文明建设、茶产业发展和传统文化传承等情况。

Zhu Xi (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) Zhu Xi, the preeminent Neo-Confucian (daoxue) master of the Southern Song (1126–1271), is generally ranked as second only to Confucius (551–479 BCE) in influence and as rivaling Zhuangzi (fourth century BCE) in philosophic acumen in the Chinese philosophical tradition.

Full article: Zhu Xi's Philosophy in Perspective - Contemporary Chinese Thought, Volume 49, Issue 3-4 (2018) This issue features articles by four Taiwanese Confucian intellectual historians. For years, they have researched the field of “East Asian Confucianisms” under projects led by Professor Chun-chieh Huang (黃俊傑). Their studies described in the article examine the application and interaction of Zhu Xi’s philosophy in various historical, intellectual, and cultural contexts.

Man detonates explosives near Chinese city, killing four | Reuters A man detonated explosives in the outskirts of China’s southern Guangzhou city on Monday, killing himself and four others, police said. Five more people were injured by the blast at a building in the Mingjing area at 10 a.m. (0200 GMT), local police said in a statement on their official Weibo account.

CPC Central Committee to hold press conference on CPC centenary celebrations - Xinhua Wang Xiaohui, deputy head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, as well as officials from the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee, the Institute of Party History and Literature of the CPC Central Committee, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and the Political Work Department of the Central Military Commission will brief the public on the activities and take questions from journalists

北京互联网法院党组成员佘贵清接受审查调查————要闻——中央纪委国家监委网站 She Guiqing, deputy head of Beijing Internet Court, is under investigation

Translation: Young Woman's Unjust Prison Sentence Sparks Acts Of "Digital Disobedience" - China Digital Times (CDT) In the government’s telling (shared on Weibo), a series of powerful officials in Jiangsu Province’s Guannan County had sexual relations with then 19-year-old  Xu Yan soon after she joined the local police force. Between 2014 and 2019, Xu and her family extorted nine men (a deputy head of the Public Security Bureau, three separate police station chiefs, an elementary school principal, the vice-head of the township hospital, and three other men in less prominent positions) out of approximately $500,000 by demanding restitution for pregnancy and housing. In a secret 2020 trial, Xu was sentenced to 13 years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of approximately $750,000. It wasn’t until March 2021 that details of the case were leaked online by Zhang Xinnian, a lawyer. They quickly went viral. The public exploded with anger after learning that the officials had recast themselves as “victims” and sent their former lover to prison.


Foreign and Defense Affairs

Xi says China ready to work with DPRK to preserve peace on Korean Peninsula - Xinhua Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, has said that China is willing to work with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and other related parties to uphold the political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue and preserve peace and stability on the peninsula, so as to make new contributions to regional peace, stability, development and prosperity. Xi made the remarks in an exchange of verbal messages with Kim Jong Un, general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) of the DPRK. The messages were delivered by Song Tao, minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, and Ri Ryong Nam, DPRK ambassador to China, during their meeting on Monday in Beijing... Noting that the world is now undergoing transformations rarely seen in a century, which is overlapped by the once-in-a-century pandemic, while the international and regional situation is witnessing profound changes, Xi said the Chinese side is willing to work with the DPRK side and other related parties to stick to the direction of political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue and preserve peace and stability on the peninsula, so as to make new and positive contributions to regional peace, stability, development and prosperity.

Readout of Xi’s remarks with Kim -习近平总书记同朝鲜劳动党总书记金正恩互致口信--新闻报道-中国共产党新闻网 习近平强调,当前,百年变局与世纪疫情叠加作用,国际和地区形势深刻演变。中方愿同朝方和有关方一道,坚持半岛问题政治解决方向,维护半岛和平稳定,为地区和平稳定与发展繁荣作出新的积极贡献。

Secretary Blinken Travels to Belgium To Highlight the Strength of the NATO Alliance and the Transatlantic Relationship - United States Department of State NATO is also working to address the risks China presents to our shared security interests, our democracies, and to the rules-based international order...NATO leaders are actively considering the security implications of China’s aggressive and coercive behavior. Beijing is investing in infrastructure in Europe, while at the same time building up its military and expanding its footprint in cyberspace, the Arctic, and in areas that directly affect Transatlantic security, including the Middle East and Africa...U.S.-EU cooperation, based on our shared values, is crucial to upholding the rules-based international order and addressing global challenges emanating from Iran, Russia, and China.

Xi, Kuwaiti emir exchange congratulations on 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties - Xinhua In his congratulatory message, Xi said he attaches great importance to the development of China-Kuwait relations, and is willing to work with the Kuwaiti emir to take the 50th anniversary as an opportunity to carry forward the traditional friendship and deepen cooperation in various fields within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, so as to bring benefits to the two countries and peoples...On the same day, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also exchanged congratulatory messages with Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.

China honors military logistics units, individuals - Xinhua China's Central Military Commission has issued a circular honoring 10 military units and 20 individuals for their outstanding performance in logistics. Over the past years, the Chinese army has provided combat-oriented assistance and meticulously managed logistics support for military training, national defense and military reform, as well as accomplishing urgent, tough and dangerous tasks, the circular noted // The list of recipients - 中央军委表彰全军后勤工作先进单位和先进个人 - 中国军网

China hopes U.S. could guarantee legitimate rights of Asians: FM spokesperson - Xinhua China hopes that the United States could honor its words and take concrete actions to truly protect the legitimate rights and interests of ethnic minorities including Asians, foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Monday. Hua made the remarks when asked to comment on the three shooting incidents in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 16 that killed eight people, six of them Asians. Hua confirmed that one of the victims was a Chinese citizen, urging the United States to severely punish the killer in accordance with the law as soon as possible, and take effective measures to protect the safety and legitimate rights of Chinese citizens in the United States.

China ready to enhance cooperation with Liberia: senior legislator - Xinhua China is ready to promote cooperation with Liberia in areas including agriculture, COVID-19 response and legislature, a senior Chinese legislator said Monday. Wang Chen, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and vice chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, made the remarks during a video conference with Jonathan Fonati Koffa, deputy speaker of the Liberian House of Representatives

PLA to install new, performance-enhancing fire control system on airborne fighting vehicles - Global Times The Type 03 airborne infantry fighting vehicle, currently in service with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force, will soon get a newly developed fire control system that will enable the air-droppable armored vehicle to fire while moving, a capability that can greatly enhance the vehicle’s combat performance, analysts said on Sunday.

Western hype about Xinjiang an unprovoked attack on China: African ambassadors - Xinhua Adama Compaore, ambassador of Burkina Faso to China, Daniel Owassa, the Republic of Congo's ambassador to China, and Gafar Karar, ambassador of the Republic of Sudan to China, spoke at the Seventh Ambassador Lecture themed "Xinjiang in the Eyes of African Ambassadors to China" held in Beijing. Hailing the economic, educational and social development of Xinjiang, Compaore noted the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the World Bank, and countries including Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Thailand have all sent delegations to visit Xinjiang, and they appreciated China's anti-terrorism and de-radicalization efforts.

Seoul’s budding military ties with Beijing hit a snag as it tries to stay on Washington’s good side | South China Morning Post Seoul and Beijing earlier this month expanded their military communications to avoid potential miscalculations, adding two new direct lines between their navies and air forces to the three existing hotlines, while they also held their 19th round of defence talks to explore ways to promote peace on the Korean peninsula. The moves came after four Chinese warplanes and 15 Russian aircraft in December entered South Korea’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ).

Chinese and foreign nationals, fed up with West’s slanders, take to the internet to set things straight - Global Times Several residents in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region plan to sue the BBC for making fake news pieces and spreading rumors about Xinjiang, a senior official from the region recently said...Scholars in international relations and communication reached by the Global Times describe the spontaneous moves of individuals refuting China-related rumors by the Western media on the internet as a "people's war." "People's war," a military strategy of Chairman Mao Zedong, was once used in China in fighting against foreign invaders, such as the Japanese army during World War II. "As Chairman Mao said, '…the common people throughout the country will create a vast sea in which to drown the enemy,'" Zhang [Weiwei] told the Global Times...The number of individuals who voluntarily involve themselves in refuting the Western media's rumors, accordingly, will continue growing, predicted Zhu Wei, a communications researcher at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing. "Current readers and audiences not only learn and understand the world through media but also by their own eyes and experience," Zhu told the Global Times. "In the We-media era, every citizen can share online the truth they personally experience, to reveal the Western media's double standards and to be heard by a large number of netizens." // Comment: It would be interesting if the authorities were to unblock Twitter/Facebook/Youtube to allow for the "vast sea...to drown the enemy" on these platforms. The language of "war" is not a coincidence, but these platforms and Western policymakers are not paying enough attention to this increasingly intensifying and coordinated information war

Japan, U.S. defense chiefs affirm cooperation over Taiwan emergency - Kyodo News U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin brought up the issue when he held talks with Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi on Tuesday, though there was no discussion on how their countries should coordinate their response to such an emergency, the sources said...Tokyo has been reviewing the feasibility of issuing an SDF dispatch order to protect U.S. warships and military planes in case of a crisis between China and Taiwan given the strait's geographical proximity and the possibility of an armed conflict there affecting the safety of Japanese citizens.

Philippines accuses Beijing of 'provocative action' after 220 Chinese vessels encroach on South China Sea reef - ABC News Authorities said the Philippines coast guard had reported that about 220 vessels were seen moored at Whitsun Reef, which Manila calls Julian Felipe Reef, on 7 March...The vessels are fishing boats believed to be manned by Chinese military-trained personnel, according to Philippines security officials.

Top NATO Scientist With Security Clearance Busted Spying for China - The Daily Beast Chinese military intelligence recruited an Estonian national working at a NATO research institution focused on maritime and submarine research, The Daily Beast has learned. The spy, Tarmo Kõuts, renowned in the Estonian scientific community for his research, was convicted last week and sentenced to three years in prison...Kõuts received cash payments from his Chinese handlers as well as paid trips to various Asian countries, with luxury accommodations and dinners at Michelin star restaurants. The intelligence operatives handling him were operating under cover of a think tank.

China row: PM's father urges Boris to 'stand up' to Tories accused of 'cooking up new Cold war' | Daily Mail Online The Prime Minister's father has waded into the Tory civil war on China by urging him to 'stand up' to the hawks accused of seeking a 'new Cold War' with Beijing. Former MEP Stanley Johnson said it is 'absolutely vital' that Britain continues to 'work very closely' with the Chinese government 'even more' post-Brexit.

The China-Africa Daily Brief - China's Latest Efforts to Persuade African Publics on Xinjiang PROPAGANDA: When it comes to Chinese broadcast propaganda in Africa, most people mistakenly focus on the traditional outlets like CGTN, China Daily, and China Radio International -- all of which have a sizable presence on the continent but very small audiences. What's been far more effective are the free news feeds that People's Daily and Xinhua provide to African news sites like Ghanaweb where stories about Xinjiang are seamlessly intermixed with the rest of the site's content. It takes a sophisticated news consumer to look for the sourcing of an article and determine that it is state propaganda rather than authentic editorial content.


Hong Kong and Macao

In Hong Kong, can you be a patriot and criticise the Communist Party? Definitely | South China Morning Post - Wang Xiangwei So long as the people don’t cross those red lines listed by the Chinese officials, they should be allowed to continue to express their diverse opinions, including criticising the party, without fear of being labelled as unpatriotic or even worse. Moreover, patriots can sometimes be fierce critics because they want Hong Kong and the nation to get better. For the betterment of Hong Kong, listening to the party and criticising the party should be allowed to coexist.

Hong Kong promises investors its prized tax haven status is secure | Financial Times $$ Matthew Cheung, the city’s highest-ranking bureaucrat, also said Hong Kong’s respected judges would not have to swear a new oath to China and its ruling Communist party as the government cracks down on dissent in the city’s civil service. “You can rest assured that for some time Hong Kong will still remain a tax haven — very low tax in Hong Kong is assured, foreign investors don’t worry about it,” Cheung, Hong Kong’s chief secretary for administration, said in an interview with the Financial Times.

8 people who trespassed border handed over to HK after serving 7-month sentence - Global Times Shenzhen police confirmed that these Hongkongers had completed their sentences and been deported. Media reports said former “Hong Kong Story” member Andy Li Yu-hin will later be handled under the national security law for Hong Kong, while the other seven people released stowaways will not.


Taiwan

Black Gold - Exposing North Korea's Oil Procurement Networks — C4ADS Taiwan appears to be a key locus in this regional black market for fuel. The country’s preferential fuel policies price refined petroleum products lower than those of its neighbors, creating opportunities for arbitrage and offering smugglers a cheap and readily available source of fuel. Additionally, several of the networks and entities engaged in DPRK–related fuel smuggling operate from or out of addresses or ports in Taiwan. The country’s waters are also being exploited by illicit actors conducting DPRK-related, ship-to-ship (STS) transfers of fuel in a multilayered shuttle system that bisects both “dirty” vessels traveling directly to North Korea and “clean” vessels discreetly supplying those direct-delivery tankers with fuel on the high seas.

A Tanker and a Maze of Companies: One Way Illicit Oil Reaches North Korea - The New York Times We spent months reviewing ship-tracking data, corporate records and satellite imagery to uncover one way North Korea evades strict international sanctions.

Taiwan loses two fighter jets in crash, third such case in months - Reuters Two Taiwanese fighter jets crashed on Monday in the third such incident in the past half year, at a time when the Beijing-claimed island's armed forced are under increasing pressure to intercept Chinese aircraft on an almost daily basis.


Tech and Media

China seeks to rein in mobile apps' collection of personal data | Reuters China’s cyber watchdog said on Monday mobile app providers cannot deny users basic access to their services even if they decline to share non-essential personal information, in the government’s latest attempt to curb the sprawling technology sector. In a statement on its verified WeChat account, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), did not name any app providers in particular but said the requirement was aimed at regulating their access to personal data and protecting the information of individuals. // The notive - 关于印发《常见类型移动互联网应用程序必要个人信息范围规定》的通知-中共中央网络安全和信息化委员会办公室

Finally, I Don't Have to Work Tomorrow, Part 2 - Chinarrative Here is the second part of the long-form feature published recently by Media Fox (极昼工作室), an online media company affiliated with Sohu News. The writers—Cai Jiaxin, Yin Shenglin and Li Xiaofang—delve into the extreme work culture of Pinduoduo, an e-commerce firm that has grown rapidly into one of China’s tech titans. The first part can be read here. Through interviews with several former employees, the article shows the immense pressure on employees who endure long hours of overtime and could be fired at a moment’s notice.


Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

Treasures from mystery civilisation could rewrite history of China | South China Morning Post The treasures unearthed at the Sanxingdui site in Guanghan, Sichuan, belonged to a highly-developed civilisation that may have lasted for thousands of years but never appeared in any historical records, said government researchers and officials in a press conference on Saturday. A massive dig starting from 2019 unearthed more than 500 artefacts that were made from gold, bronze, jade and ivory more than 3,000 years ago, including a gold mask that may have been worn by a priest.

After Male Backlash, Intel China Cuts Ties With Comedy Queen The China office of American tech giant Intel has severed ties with one of its brand ambassadors following an online uproar led by men with hurt feelings. The ambassador in question is Yang Li, a television personality known for taking sharp jabs at men in her stand-up comedy. Yang’s critics resurfaced after Intel China released its ad Thursday to complain, again, of being offended. “Intel has a taste for laptops that is higher than my taste for men,” Yang said in the ad promoting the company’s Evo platform-based laptops.

Chinese cities strengthen management over joss paper burning ahead of Qingming festival, triggering discussion - Global Times Harbin, capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province has strengthened management over joss paper burning by strictly cutting production lines as well as banning sales ahead of Qingming festival, triggering a wide discussion among Chinese netizens on Monday...Qingming festival falls on April 4 this year.

Soccer-FIFA chief welcomes UK-Irish World Cup bid but leaves door open for China | Reuters China has yet to give any indication of whether it would bid for the 2030 World Cup. The bidding process will begin in mid-2022 with the vote held in 2024. Asked about China's human rights record, Infantino said: “Human rights are now a requirement in our bidding process but we must also realise that human rights being a requirement also means addressing it, going to the people, not excluding anyone but including everyone in the world,” he said.


Energy, Environment, Science and Health

More universities in Beijing start vaccination for students amid accelerated national immunization plan - Global Times A number of universities in Beijing have launched vaccination campaigns during the weekend in a bid to speed up herd immunity. This is part of the accelerated national immunization campaign which targets to inoculate 40 percent of the population by June.

China’s Former Grid Chief Sees Emissions Peaking Early in 2028 - Bloomberg Electricity sector emissions will top out by 2025 with the entire nation following suit three years later at about 10.9 billion tons, according to Liu Zhenya, who runs the Beijing-based Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization. He was previously chief of State Grid Corp. of China, the world’s largest utility that covers around 88% of the country.

【国家发展改革委环资司召开碳达峰、碳中和专家座谈会】-国家发展和改革委员会 On the afternoon of March 18th, Zhao Penggao, deputy director of the Department of Environmental Resources of the National Development and Reform Commission, presided over an expert forum to listen to the opinions and suggestions of relevant experts on related work, in order to implement the decision-making arrangements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council and earnestly do a good job in the top-level design of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality. Wang Jinnan, academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering, Wang Zhixuan, full-time vice president of China Electric Power Enterprise Federation, Li Junfeng, director of Academic Committee of National Climate Strategy Center, Wang Zhongying, director of Energy Research Institute of National Development and Reform Commission, Xu Huaqing, director of National Climate Strategy Center, Pan Xiaohai, deputy general manager of China Consulting Corporation, Zhu Liyang, president of China Circular Economy Association, and Yang Chun, director of Circular Economy Research Office of National Development and Reform Commission attended the discussion.

China Aims to Improve Access to New Medicines for Residents of Greater Bay Area - Caixin China launched a pilot program to improve access to imported medicine and medical devices for the 75 million residents in the Greater Bay Area in the latest effort to make the region economically competitive with its overseas counterparts. The Medicine Connect program will allow the region’s residents to get access to new medicines in a designated hospital in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, before the drugs win approval to market in the rest of the mainland.

Nearly 75M COVID-19 vaccine doses administered across China | english.scio.gov.cn China's annual vaccine production can fully meet the whole country's needs, as judged by the existing production arrangements, said Mao Junfeng, an official from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, at the same press conference. China has authorized five COVID-19 vaccines for conditional marketing or emergency use. These include three inactivated vaccines, one adenovirus vector vaccine, and one recombinant protein subunit vaccine, Mao noted

For China’s Middle-Aged Women, Depression Is an ‘Invisible Killer’ - SixthTone Depression among middle-aged women is a silent epidemic in the country, and since mental health largely remains a taboo topic in China, it makes the disease even more dangerous. An estimated 95 million people are living with depression in China, with middle-aged women among the most at-risk groups. According to a national mental health survey published in 2019, 65% of those with depression are female, while 53% are aged over 50.

China mulls bringing e-cigarette regulation in line with traditional tobacco products | Reuters The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and China’s State Tobacco Monopoly Administration, posted online the draft regulations that could potentially curb a fast-growing industry.

New standards on human cell types issued - China Daily China has issued new standards for six types of human cells, allowing regulators, doctors and companies to better understand, evaluate and supervise related academic activities. The standards, issued on Saturday, will also promote transparency, education and clinical translation of new technologies in the emerging fields of stem cell research and regenerative medicine, experts said. The standards were published by the Chinese Society for Cell Biology and will take effect on April 9. The six types are human heart muscle cells, primary human liver cells, human mesenchymal stem cells, human hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells, human induced pluripotent stem cells and human retinal pigment epithelial cells.


Jobs and Events

0- Author Talk: Te-Ping Chen Join NüVoices DC for an intimate chat with Te-Ping Chen, Wall Street Journal reporter and author of a new collection of short stories, Land of Big Numbers. MCed by NVDC's Christina Larson. Time Mar 24, 2021 08:00 PM

African-American China Leadership Fellows Program - American Mandarin Society This 8-month (April-November) mentoring program targets young African-American professionals who have demonstrated a strong interest in China either through formal study or time in country. This program will be remote and part-time.


Education

China updates vocational majors, pivoting to modern industries - Xinhua The adjustment also accommodates nine emerging sectors considered to be of strategic significance, such as integrated circuits, bioinformatics and new energy materials application, the ministry added. In another adjustment, occupational programs on infant care and smart elderly care have been added to the catalog, in response to a growing public appeal for such services.


Rural and Agricultural Issues

Vice premier inspects spring farming in China's Jiangxi - Xinhua Vice Premier Hu Chunhua has called for efforts to ensure agricultural production in the spring to lay a solid foundation for achieving the annual grain output target...The country aims to keep its grain output above 650 million tonnes this year, according to this year's government work report.

China Is Investigating Heaps of Dead Pigs Along the Yellow River - Bloomberg Dozens of pig carcasses were discovered in the Inner Mongolia section of the country’s second-longest river and some were rotting in the water, according to Banyuetan, a magazine run by state news agency Xinhua. Local authorities are investigating the source of the pigs and checking if they carried any disease, in addition to disinfecting the area. // video - 内蒙古黄河大堤内现死猪,官方回应