Staying true to our founding mission campaign “largely completed”; Taiwan election; Baoshan Bank bailout

Thanks for reading.


The Essential Eight

1. Staying true to our founding mission campaign “largely completed”

Comment: This campaign may be "largely completed" but do not expect the pressure on cadres to lessen. The intra-Party cadre cultural revolution will continue.

Xi stresses always staying true to Party's founding mission - Xinhua

Xi…made the remarks at a meeting summarizing a campaign themed "staying true to our founding mission."

"We must resolutely remove whatever weakens the Party's advanced nature and undermines the Party's purity, and rid ourselves of any tumor that erodes the Party's health," said Xi, adding that the Party should resolutely guard against all dangers of running counter to the original aspiration and the mission or shaking the foundation of the Party...

Members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Zhao Leji and Han Zheng; and Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan attended the meeting.

Wang Huning, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the leading group of the campaign, presided over the meeting.

The campaign, carried out from the top down in two batches starting from the end of May 2019 and having been largely completed, has promoted unity in thought, political orientation and action within the Party, said Xi...

Xi's full speech at the meeting, via Xinhua -(受权发布)习近平:在“不忘初心、牢记使命”主题教育总结大会上的讲话_中国经济网——国家经济门户

Don't be surprised if we start hearing about the Xi Era "6 musts", as laid out by Xi in this speech:

1. 必须作为加强党的建设的永恒课题和全体党员、干部的终身课题常抓不懈 We must make unremitting efforts to strengthen party building as an eternal task and a lifelong task for all party members and cadres;

2. 必须用马克思主义中国化最新成果统一思想、统一意志、统一行动 We must unify our thinking, our will and our actions with the latest achievements in adapting Marxism to China;

3. 必须以正视问题的勇气和刀刃向内的自觉不断推进党的自我革命 We must have the courage to face up to the problems and "point the blade inside" as we continuously advance the self-revolution of the party;

4. 必须发扬斗争精神,勇于担当作为 We must carry forward the spirit of struggle and have the courage to take responsibility;

5. 必须完善和发展党内制度,形成长效机制 We must improve and develop the internal Party system and form a long-term mechanism;

6. 必须坚持领导机关和领导干部带头 We must ensure that leading organs and officials take the lead

Top 13 minutes of the Wednesday CCTV Evening News on the meeting-习近平在“不忘初心、牢记使命”主题教育总结大会上强调 以主题教育为新的起点 持续推动全党不忘初心牢记使命_CCTV

This bit may be a useful window in Xi's worldview:

Xi Jinping pointed out that we must carry forward the spirit of struggle and bear in mind our mission. Our party was born in a time of internal and external turmoil and national crisis. It has been marked by struggle ever since it was born....We must always be vigilant, constantly uplift our spirits, and have the courage to carry out great struggles with many new historical features. All party members and cadres should develop their abilities and build up their muscles and bones in the face of wind and rain and the world. They should develop the backbone, iron shoulders and true skills to take on their responsibilities.

习近平指出,不忘初心、牢记使命,必须发扬斗争精神,勇于担当作为。我们党诞生于国家内忧外患、民族危难之时,一出生就铭刻着斗争的烙印,一路走来就是在斗争中求得生存、获得发展、赢得胜利...时刻保持警醒,不断振奋精神,勇于进行具有许多新的历史特点的伟大斗争。广大党员、干部要在经风雨、见世面中长才干、壮筋骨,练就担当作为的硬脊梁、铁肩膀、真本事,在有效应对重大挑战、抵御重大风险、克服重大阻力、解决重大矛盾中冲锋在前、建功立业。

Basically every leading cadre in the bureaucracy, military and security services attended the meeting in person or via video conference

中共中央政治局委员、中央书记处书记,全国人大常委会党员副委员长,国务委员,最高人民法院院长,最高人民检察院检察长,全国政协党员副主席出席会议。

中央“不忘初心、牢记使命”主题教育领导小组成员,中央和国家机关各部门、各人民团体,中管金融企业、中管企业、中管高校,军队有关单位负责同志,第二批“不忘初心、牢记使命”主题教育中央指导组、巡回督导组组长、副组长等参加会议。会议以电视电话会议形式召开,各省区市和新疆生产建设兵团以及各市(地、州、盟)、县(市、区、旗),解放军和武警部队团级以上单位领导班子成员和直属各部门负责同志在分会场参加会议。

At ‘Sacred’ Nanhu Lake, Chinese Declare Love for Xi and Communist Party - The New York Times

In 1921, Mao Zedong and a small group of revolutionaries held the party’s first congress on a boat in the middle of the lake, after the police chased them out of Shanghai, about 60 miles northeast. Across China, the so-called “red boat” is well known. [红船精神]

At the museum at the lake, which started construction when Mr. Xi was the top party official here in Zhejiang Province, a selective retelling of party history is on display.


2. Hong Kong

Beijing’s new Hong Kong envoy Luo Huining was a surprise choice. Here’s why | South China Morning Post

Having turned 65 in October, Luo was supposed to be easing into semi-retirement. Under party rules, senior officials of Luo’s rank are relieved from key positions at the age of 65. They are then transferred to less demanding roles – usually in China’s two parliamentary houses – before they formally retire at 68...

Luo’s abrupt appointment suggests it was a decision made recently, and it was kept on a need-to-know basis until the last minute. A source familiar with the discussions told the South China Morning Post that President Xi Jinping only finalised the decision after his trip to Macau in the third week of December.

A separate source familiar with the matter said the fact Luo had never held a position related to Hong Kong could be seen as an advantage, since he would bring a fresh perspective. It could also confound the opposition, since they would be dealing with a mainland official they had little knowledge of.

“His deputies and the liaison office officials have the local know-how,” the source said. “It’s actually better that Luo does not have connections with existing liaison office people and Hong Kong’s business and other communities, so he can carry out his work and Beijing’s will without the complications of these relationships.”

Comment: I think the Hong Kong tycoons and their families should be very worried about his appointment. If Xi believes the root cause of the problems in Hong Kong is economic, then taking a sharp instrument to the SAR's oligopoly may be seen, probably incorrectly, as a way to placate most of the protestors


3. Taiwan election

How not to write about Taiwan's elections — Quartz

According to Mark Harrison, a senior lecturer in Chinese studies at the University of Tasmania, much of the vocabulary used in discussions about Taiwan “describe a world of US hegemony, the Cold War, a rising China, and US-China relations,” which comes at the expense of a more Taiwan-centric perspective...

A common trope is that Taiwan and China were “divided” in 1949 when the Chinese civil war ended with the defeated Kuomintang (Nationalist) forces fleeing the mainland to set up the Republic of China government in Taipei. This is seen as akin to the way that the Koreas were split and based on this version of events, Beijing desires Taiwan’s eventual “reunification” with the mainland. But, says Harrison, the People’s Republic of China has never had sovereignty over the island of Taiwan, which was a Japanese colony until 1945. Prior to that, there were just two centuries when the dynasty ruling in the mainland also governed in Taiwan. Nevertheless, China frames Taiwan’s existence as a doctrine of design, he adds, where a “division” must be resolved. Similarly, some dislike the common description that Taiwan is considered a “renegade province” by China as it insinuates Taiwan was or is a province of China.

China's spy Wang Liqiang threatened, induced to retract his story about CCP espionage in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Australia - The Age

Mr Wang could not be reached for comment and appears to have gone into hiding. However, the sources said he was told in a series of messages that his family would be spared punishment and his debts would be repaid if he gave a public statement retracting his claims about spying for China. The directives sent to Mr Wang appear to have been co-ordinated by a senior political operative in Taiwan and a businessman in China, according to sources and messages sighted by this masthead...

Mr Wang was provided with a script and told to record a video message in which he would falsely claim that Taiwan’s democratically elected governing party, the Democratic Progressive Party, had bribed him to lie by offering him “a large sum of money”. Such a video would be a controversial intervention in Taiwan's presidential election this weekend, where Chinese Communist Party influence and Mr Wang's claims of being ordered to disrupt the election have become a key political issue.

Russia’s disinformation campaign in the U.S. has nothing on China?s efforts in Taiwan - The Washington Post

One problem for those trying to counter China’s influence is producing incontrovertible evidence that the Communist Party is behind these efforts.

“It’s really difficult to track the origin of this funding, to find a smoking gun,” said Ketty Chen, vice president of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy think tank. The money trail is obscured by shell companies, business interests and public relations firms, she said.

Taiwan's Election May Be Decided on the Economy, Not China - Bloomberg

On almost every other metric, though, Tsai lands on top. Unemployment sits around the lowest levels in two decades. Annualized stock market returns outperform the Ma era, including 30-year highs just a month ago. Wages, perhaps the most important issue for Taiwan’s 24 million people, have grown faster under Tsai than any leader since at least 2000, when the DPP’s Chen Shui-bian succeeded the Nationalist Lee Teng-hui.

China Looms Over Taiwan’s Election, Giving a Boost to the Incumbent - The New York Times

Hong Kong was “a wake-up call” that validated Ms. Tsai’s efforts to forge deeper economic and political ties beyond China, said Lai I-Chung, the president of the Prospect Foundation, a think tank in Taipei, who is also an adviser to Ms. Tsai’s party.

“What’s happening to these youngsters is resonating with the youth in Taiwan,” he said of the protest movement, which has received support from Taiwanese activists and church leaders, if not the government. “This is not something abstract.”


4. 2019 annual report from the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China

China must face sanctions for human rights abuses, influence operations, U.S. report says - The Washington Post

A U.S. government commission led by bipartisan lawmakers urged the Trump administration to enact sanctions against Chinese officials and companies for human rights abuses and develop stronger policies to counteract what it called China's intensified political influence operations abroad.

The Congressional-Executive Commission on China argued for tougher and more cohesive U.S. action against Beijing in a new annual report that detailed the Chinese government's crackdown against religious minorities and labor activists, its expansion of digital surveillance and censorship, and its political influence activities around the world.

"Rising authoritarianism in China is one of the most important challenges of the 21st century," said the commission, which is led by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

2019 ANNUAL REPORT | Congressional-Executive Commission on China

U.S. lawmakers predict passage of bill backing China's Uighurs - Reuters

Democratic Representative Jim McGovern and Republican Senator Marco Rubio said negotiators were working on a version of the legislation they hoped would pass the House, receive unanimous approval in the Senate and be signed into law by President Donald Trump, a month after a version of the measure passed the Democratic-led House but failed to come up for a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate.


5. More arrests of PRC students near US military installations

Chinese students — again — charged with photographing base | Miami Herald

The latest — a pair of Chinese nationals attending the University of Michigan — were arrested over the weekend and appeared in federal court in Key West on Monday on a charge of entering a U.S. Naval property for the purpose of photographing defense installations...

Since the fall of last year, a total of four Chinese nationals have been arrested on charges of shooting pictures of military facilities in Key West, drawing the sharp interest of U.S. counterintelligence investigators who have been probing suspected Beijing-led spying activities in South Florida, including visitors to President Donald Trump’s private club, Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach.

Question: Why does there appear to be so much interest in the Key West military facilities?


6. Progress in Baoshan Bank bailout

Exclusive: In Wake of Baoshang Bank’s Collapse, Regional Lender Comes to the Rescue - Caixin

The bank that lost billions of yuan on its investments with troubled Baoshang Bank Co. Ltd. is now coming to its rescue, Caixin has learned.

Hong Kong-listed Huishang Bank Corp. Ltd. has disclosed a plan to purchase part of the assets and liabilities of a banking institution — an institution that Caixin has learned is Baoshang Bank, which regulators took the rare step of taking over in May...

The new commercial bank is part of regulators’ plan to defuse the troubled lender’s risks. Just like how regulators restructured scandal-plagued Anbang Insurance Group Co. Ltd., the authorities plan to set up a new entity — in this case a new commercial bank — to take over part of Baoshang Bank’s problematic assets, the sources said.


7. People’s Leader Xi

This piece does a good job of tracing the appearance, disappearance and recent reappearance of the term.

The “People’s Leader” Rises Again | China Media Project

Last month, the Politburo held a special conference on “democratic life” that gave us a further glimpse of recent shifts in the discourse of praise. How the conference promoted democracy is unclear, but the following passage from an article appearing in the People’s Daily on December 28, 2019, elucidates the true purpose of the meeting:

The conference emphasized that protecting General Secretary Xi Jinping’s status as the core of the central Party, and the core of the whole Party, and protecting the Party’s centralized authority and unified leadership, is the fundamental political guarantee of the steady and forward development of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.

The article spoke of the need to address “major tasks,” about facing a “great struggle of historical character,” and so on. But perhaps most importantly, it said that “General Secretary Xi Jinping is looking ahead,” while “evincing the firm idealism and faith of a Party member, and the deep feelings for the people of a people’s leader.”

Is this the start of a new round of worshipful praise for China’s top leader? Yes, possibly. But we must continue to observe the development of this term “people’s leader.” It is quite possible that in 2020 it will experience a notable rise, which of course would be reflective of Xi’s further consolidation of power and strengthening of his position.


8. China and international development

Interesting Q&A with Matt Ferchen.

How China Is Reshaping International Development - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

In the West, international development has come to be associated with governments, multilateral lenders, and NGOs in wealthy countries providing development assistance to poor countries. But for China, development is not primarily about aid. Instead, Chinese approaches to development are based on the country’s own headlong drive in the post-Mao years to achieve high growth and improve material living standards.

For better or worse, this understanding of, and focus on, domestic development has carried over into Chinese foreign policy. Beijing’s international development narratives and policies encompass a wide range of often state-backed commercial engagement from trade and investment to lending. Aid, as understood in the West, plays only a marginal role. Former World Bank chief economist Justin Yifu Lin has been a vocal proponent of this alternative Chinese vision of development. His book Going Beyond Aid is emblematic of China’s commerce-is-development view...

the BRI has exacerbated many of the existing flaws in China’s development policy, such as unsustainable debt and environmental damage. Before the rollout of the initiative, China was already mired in an unsustainable loans-for-oil arrangement with Venezuela. Therefore, more recent concerns about poorly conceived and executed loans-for-infrastructure deals in Sri Lanka and Malaysia should come as little surprise.


Business, Economy and Trade

China’s Vice-Premier Liu He shifts focus to domestic financial issues as trade war deal nears | South China Morning Post A top Chinese commission in charge of the country’s financial industry, led by Vice-Premier Liu He, has held five meetings in the past 40 days...The China Financial Stability and Development Committee convened for the 14th time on Tuesday to discuss financial help for the country’s small businesses...The last publicly announced gathering of the committee was on November 28, the 10th meeting of the group. No public statements were made about the timing or topics of following three meetings.

China lifts yuan midpoint to highest level in 5 months - Reuters The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) set the midpoint rate at 6.9450 per dollar prior to the market open, 240 pips or 0.35% firmer than the previous fix of 6.9690 and the strongest since Aug. 5, 2019.

GM Posts Its Biggest China Sales Decline - WSJ $$ The Detroit car maker said Tuesday that it sold about 3.09 million vehicles last year in China, roughly a 15% drop from 2018. It was GM’s second straight year of falling sales in its biggest overseas market.

China’s Citic Tightens Grip on CLSA After Mass Departures - Bloomberg China’s biggest broker is creating a “coordination committee” at CLSA, which will include its President Yang Minghui and Chairman Zhang Youjun, according to people familiar with the move who asked not be identified discussing internal matters...The setup is an interim step in a re-ordering of CLSA’s decision-making structure, which is seen as being too independent, one of the people said.

China to further clear arrears owed to private firms, SMEs - Xinhua Clearing arrears is significant for maintaining market and economic order, and improving the business environment, market expectations and government credibility, according to a statement released after a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.

New Report Sheds Light on Financial Habits of Chinese Middle-class Households – China Banking News The re­port which was re­leased in early Jan­u­ary was jointly pre­pared by Ten­cent Li­caitong (腾讯理财通) and the 21st Cen­tury Re­search In­sti­tute (21世纪经济研究院). Ac­cord­ing to the re­port these house­holds are cur­rently most heav­ily con­cen­trated in ma­jor cities around China, with Bei­jing host to the largest num­ber of mid­dle-class house­holds, fol­lowed by Shang­hai in sec­ond place, Shen­zhen in third and Guangzhou in fourth.

China's central bank debuts app monitoring system · TechNode The Shenzhen branch of the central bank unveiled the country’s first internet finance app monitoring system, which it developed in order to continue to reduce associated financial risks, National Business Daily reported

Nine Chinese Provinces Ban Online P2P Lending Operations – China Banking News Shanxi is the lat­est Chi­nese province to put the ki­bosh on P2P lend­ing ac­tiv­i­ties within its bor­ders, is­su­ing a di­rec­tive in early Jan­u­ary call­ing for all P2P plat­forms within its ju­ris­dic­tion to com­plete “be­nign with­drawal” be­fore the end of June 2020.

Yicai Global - Ohio Honors China's Glass King Cao Dewang, Whose Plant Featured in 'American Factory' The company's investment in the United States has created a large number of jobs, stimulated local economic growth and had a significant impact on the development of the Miami Valley, Chinese news site The Paper cited Governor Mike DeWine as saying in a commendation letter. DeWine hopes Fuyao's success will inspire more Chinese firms to invest in Ohio, he added.

Yicai Global - Chinese Tourists' Top Lunar New Year Destinations Are Bangkok, Tokyo, Baidu Maps Predicts The three capital cities of Bangkok, Tokyo, and Seoul will attract the biggest number of Chinese tourists during the upcoming Chinese New Year holiday, according to Big Data analysis done by Baidu Maps, Ctrip, and others.

China’s private nursing homes out of reach for most of elderly | Financial Times $$ The Jianwai care home vacancy rate is not unusual. A census conducted by Peking University in 2017 of 460 nursing homes in Beijing found that two-thirds of privately managed respondents were running at a loss and that half of their beds were empty.

Politics and Law

China cements Communist Party’s role at top of its SOEs, should ‘execute the will of the party’ | South China Morning Post According to the “provisional” regulation which took effect at the end of last week, a state-owned enterprise must include recognition of the Communist Party in its articles of association and a party organ must be created in any state firm that employs more than three Communist Party members. “All major business and management decisions must be discussed by the Communist Party organ before being presented to the board of directors or management for decision,” according to the regulation. The party secretary and chairman of the board of a state firm should be “the same person”, and the general manager position within a state company must be taken by a deputy party committee secretary, according to the regulation.

Catholic persecution worse after Vatican-China deal, Congress finds - Catholic News Agency The report said that “After the PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs signed an agreement with the Holy See in September 2018 paving the way for unifying the state-sanctioned and underground Catholic communities, local Chinese authorities subjected Catholic believers in China to increasing persecution by demolishing churches, removing crosses, and continuing to detain underground clergy.”

Cardinal Zen Decries the ‘Murder of the Church in China’ Cardinal Joseph Zen wrote to all his brother cardinals of the Catholic Church begging them not to sit idly by as the Church in China is “murdered,” in a letter made public this week. Saying he was “begging on his knees,” the former bishop of Hong Kong asked his fellow cardinals: “Can we idly watch this murder of the Church in China by those who should protect it and defend it from our enemies?” in reference to recent agreements made between the Vatican with the Chinese Communist Party.

State Council to further standardize transparency in grassroots-level government services - SCIO The transparency will proceed in a more targeted and timely manner, with Internet Plus government services fully implemented. Meanwhile, more innovation is needed in integrated publicity, accurate information push, smart searching, and other means to open government services. According to the circular, grassroots-level governments should complete the list of service items for openness by the end of 2020 in accordance with standards set for the 26 pilot sectors by the State Council. // Comment: The government is trying to become more responsive and accountable in many areas 国务院办公厅印发《关于全面推进基层政务公开标准化规范化工作的指导意见》

How the Truth Disappears: Chinese Censorship and My Film ‘One Child Nation’ Nanfu Wang, who co-directed the Oscar-shortlisted doc “One Child Nation” exploring China’s one-child policy, writes about how state media has scrubbed mentions of her film.

China province of 80 million claims only 17 people in poverty, sparking debate about official data | South China Morning Post The coastal province of Jiangsu is the first to declare a near elimination of absolute poverty – which is defined in China as per capita net income of 2,300 yuan (US$331) in 2011 prices – as part of President Xi Jinping’s drive to wipe it out and build China into a comprehensive well-off society by 2020. China has yet to publish official statistics for all of 2019, but the government has said the number of people in poverty was cut to 16.6 million at the end of 2018 and an additional 10 million were lifted out of poverty last year.

Who won the battle of ideas in China? | Andrew Batson's Blog While Xi is proficient at delivering “dog whistles” that excite the neo-Maoists, he is not one of them. Rather, his ideology draws on multiple sources, as the excellent book Inside the Mind of Xi Jinping, by the French journalist François Bougon, makes clear. Bougon seems to have constructed his short and vividly written book through the simple strategy of reading a lot of Xi Jinping’s speeches and articles, and taking them seriously. By tracking down Xi’s various inspirations, he provides a more comprehensive overview of the important strands in China’s intellectual scene over the last couple of decades.

Foreign and Defense Affairs

Indonesia president visits islands also claimed by China - AP Widodo, accompanied by top military officials, toured Natuna Islands on a naval ship in a move designed to send a message to Beijing. “Natuna is part of Indonesia’s territory, there is no question, no doubt,” Widodo said in a speech after the trip. “There is no bargaining for our sovereignty.”

China starts work on US$97 million, 10,700 tonne civilian patrol vessel – its biggest ever | South China Morning Post At 165 metres (540 feet) long and 20.6 metres wide, the vessel will weigh in at 10,700 tonnes and be large enough to accommodate several types of helicopters. According to earlier reports it is expected to be completed by September next year. At present, only the Chinese coastguard, which is administered by the People’s Armed Police – a branch of the military – has patrol ships weighing more than 10,000 tonnes.

Mike Pompeo stresses Hong Kong autonomy, urges global censure of China over ‘brutal treatment of Uygurs’ | South China Morning Post At a Washington press conference, the top US diplomat attacked Beijing’s policies against the Uygurs, who largely live in the Xinjiang autonomous region in China’s northwest, as “part of the [Communist] Party’s broader war on faith”. “We are asking all countries, particularly those belonging to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League, to denounce the Chinese Communist Party’s brutal treatment of Uygurs,” Pompeo said.

Chinese airlines cancel, re-route flights around Iran amid rising security concerns - Global Times Major Chinese airlines on Wednesday decided to cancel direct flights to Iran or re-route other flights to avoid the airspaces of Iran and Iraq, citing security concerns after Iran's missile strike at US bases in Iraq.

Czech govt will follow principles of transparency, fairness on Huawei’s 5G - Global Times Richard Krpac, consul general of the Czech Republic in Shanghai, told the Global Times in an interview that whether Czech will include the Chinese telecom giant into its 5G network deployment is not decided yet, but it will follow the principles of transparency and fairness.

Banning Huawei would leave Britain trailing behind on technology - Amb to UK Liu Xiaoming OpEd in The Telegraph As the third decade of the 21st century begins, China and the UK both stand at a new historical starting point. I hope that the British government’s decision on Huawei will stand the test of time, that it will demonstrate an adherence to open and inclusive cooperation and uphold the principles of fairness, justice and non-discrimination. Making the right choice will help foster sound conditions for deeper and mutually beneficial cooperation between China and the UK and deliver more benefit to the peoples of our two countries.   Liu Xiaoming is the Chinese Ambassador to the United Kingdom

Xi Jinping Meets with Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith offered his congratulations for the success of the fourth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee, saying that China's experience in upholding and improving socialism with Chinese characteristics and modernizing governance system and capacity is worthy of studying and learning by Laos. It also encourages Laos to unswervingly follow the path of socialism. The action plan on building the Laos-China community with a shared future reached by President Xi Jinping and General Secretary Bounnhang Vorachit has charted the course for Laos-China relations, and the Lao side is earnestly implementing the plan in an orderly fashion. The Lao side will actively work for the completion of important Belt and Road projects such as the Laos-China railway as scheduled, and play an important role in promoting economic development and improving people's livelihood of Laos.

Risky research: Huawei spends millions at Canadian university, but some professors fear US repercussions | South China Morning Post At least three University of British Columbia professors have shunned Huawei funding, concerned it might put them in peril with the US, colleague says

China’s first launch of 2020 lofts mystery payload – Spaceflight Now A Chinese Long March 3B rocket launched a satellite Tuesday toward a position in geostationary orbit more than 22,000 miles (nearly 36,000 kilometers) above Earth. Chinese state media claimed the mysterious spacecraft has a communication and television broadcast mission, but analysts believe it could enter service for the Chinese military.

Was Engagement with China Really Such a Failure? - Carnegie-Tsinghua Center - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Shortly before the United States and China announced that they had reached a “Phase One” trade deal, Paul Haenle sat down with Andy Rothman, principal advisor at the investment firm Matthews Asia and former head of macroeconomics and domestic policy at the U.S. embassy in Beijing. The two discussed the trade dispute, whether the U.S. policy of economic engagement with China failed, and the trade deal.

Tech and Media

TikTok revamps content rules, aiming to clear up which videos it allows or blocks - The Washington Post The updated guidelines spell out 10 categories of videos that aren’t allowed on the Chinese-owned social media app, including those that glorify terrorism, show illegal drug use, feature violent, graphic or dangerous content or seek to peddle misinformation that’s designed to deceive the public in an election, the company said.

Facial recognition to facilitate Spring Festival travel rush in Beijing - Xinhua Beijing Railway Station has installed facial recognition software in 30 self-service ticket checking machines to shorten the check-in time during the upcoming Spring Festival travel rush, which will begin on Friday.

Yicai Global - Baidu Lures In Ex-Alibaba VP to Head PR, Govt Affairs Chu Yu took up the reins that ex-VP Wang Lu left behind last September to become an operating partner at New York-headquartered General Atlantic, The Paper reported yesterday.

Yicai Global - Bitmain's Ousted Chairman Says Firm's Job Losses Are Like 'Committing Suicide' Bitmain has initiated huge layoffs, mainly in its artificial intelligence division, with some local reports suggesting that half of the Beijing-based firm's employees will be let go. Zhan Ketuan, co-founder and ousted chairman, who was instrumental in shifting Bitmain toward AI, said in an open letter to employees on Jan. 6 that he is "firmly opposed" to the cuts.

Chinese is now Steam's most popular language, according to its hardware survey | PC Gamer Simplified Chinese has become the largest language demographic on Steam, according to the results of Valve's December 2019 Steam Hardware and Software survey.

Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

Viral Star Fang Jinlong on Making Chinese Folk Music Fun - SixthTone As 2020 went underway, a folk musician named Fang Jinlong suddenly became the biggest star on the Chinese internet. The reason was the 57-year-old’s appearance on video-sharing platform Bilibili’s “Last Night of 2019” — a variety show that became China’s most talked-about TV event of New Year’s Eve, amassing over 46 million views within three days.

Boss of Chinese health care firm linked to four-year-old’s death given nine years in prison, fined US$7.2 million | South China Morning Post Shu Yuhui, chief executive of Quanjian Group, was arrested in January last year along with 11 of his colleagues.

美食作家王刚 - YouTube I much prefer Chef Wang to Li Ziqi. Chef Wang's videos are a mixture of cooking lessons and life back in a Sichuan village

Former Chinese university vice-president fired, kicked out of party after #MeToo allegation | South China Morning Post China’s education disciplinary commission and the party’s disciplinary watchdog for Beijing municipality found that Cai Xiang had maintained “inappropriate sexual relationships with several women, accepted bribes and misused public funds”...Cai was vice-president of the Communication University of China between 2014 and January 2018, according to the statement. He was then assigned to the role of doctorate and master’s student supervisor at its Institute of Communication Studies.

Why China’s Gay Academics Feel They Must Stand Out or Stay Hidden - Sixth Tone Since 2018, I’ve interviewed 40 gay men who either currently teach or have previously taught at Chinese colleges and universities.

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

New Virus Discovered by Chinese Scientists Investigating Pneumonia Outbreak - WSJ $$ The disease afflicting patients in Wuhan hasn’t been transmitted from human to human, and health-care workers have remained uninfected, according to city health officials as of Jan. 5, suggesting that what is sickening them is for now less virulent than SARS.

China virus: Specter of new illness emerging from Wuhan raises alarms across Asia - The Washington Post Officials in Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines said in recent days they will begin setting up quarantine zones or scanning passengers from China for signs of fever or other pneumonialike symptoms that may indicate a new disease possibly linked to a wild animal market in Wuhan.

Education

Peng Liyuan meets Juilliard School president - Xinhua Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, on Wednesday met with Damian Woetzel, president of the Juilliard School. Woetzel introduced the school's cooperation and exchanges with China, as well as the construction of the Tianjin Conservatory of Music Juilliard Graduate School.

Rural and Agricultural Issues

China Says Rush to Boost Pork Supplies Raises Risk of Outbreaks - Bloomberg The African swine fever situation “is still severe and complex,” Vice Agriculture Minister Yu Kangzhen said during a press conference in Beijing on Wednesday. “The risk of outbreaks will rise with the rapid increase in the number of live hogs.”

China suspends national rollout of ethanol mandate - sources - Reuters China has suspended its plan to implement a nationwide gasoline blend containing 10% ethanol this year, three sources briefed on the matter said, following a sharp decline in the country’s corn stocks and limited production capacity of the biofuel.