“Supply-side structural reform” to expand domestic demand; Better treatment for Africans in Guangzhou; Lin Songtian gets a new job
One of those days where I feel I have nothing useful to add beyond some commentary in some of the sections below.
Thanks for reading.
The Essential Eight
1. The economy
Following yesterday’s People’s Daily front page commentary on expanding domestic demand, there was another one Tuesday talking about the importance of implementing “supply-side structural reform” to expand domestic demand. The commentary emphasizes the reform document issued last week in saying that China must give the market a bigger role in allocating resources in the economy.
Recently, the CPC central committee and the state council issued the opinions on building a more perfect market allocation system and mechanism of factors, which put forward the reform direction and specific measures in five areas of land, labor, capital, technology and data, and proposed to improve the price formation mechanism of factors and market operation mechanism.
The opinion came out last week, we are all so jaded with unfulfilled reform promises but perhaps we should take this seriously given the mounting economic pressures? China unveils guideline on improving market-based allocation of production factors - Xinhua
China has issued a guideline on improving the market-based allocation mechanism of production factors in a bid to further facilitate the free and orderly flow of factors and stimulate market vitality.
Efforts will be made to further deepen reform and opening-up and remove institutional barriers that hinder the free flow of factors to lay a solid foundation for high-quality development, according to the document issued by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council.
China will promote market-based allocation of factors of production, including land, labor and capital while accelerating the development of the market of technology and data factors, it said
The guideline - 中共中央 国务院关于构建更加完善的要素市场化配置体制机制的意见_中央有关文件_中国政府网
Comment: As nice as this may sound, how can they push reforms fast enough to bridge the yawning gap created by the pandemic, even if it turns out they now really mean it? The answer I think is they can not.
It has barely been three months since the outbreak started hitting China hard, and I think it is way too early to conclude that Xi and the Party have “won”. The stresses inside the system are immense, and the economic downturn that is in many ways now out of their control is likely to exacerbate those stresses considerably, with very unpredictable results.
China’s March Trade Yet to See Full Impact of Coronavirus Pandemic - Caixin
The milder-than-expected decline in exports was partly due to the shipment of backlogs of delayed orders as factories that had shut down during the coronavirus epidemic resumed work, Li Kuiwen, a spokesman for the customs administration, said at a briefing (link in Chinese) Tuesday...
“As the global pandemic continues to spread, the downside risks to the world economy have intensified and uncertainty and instability have significantly increased,” Li said. “China will face an export shock as global demand shrinks, and problems such as declining export orders are emerging. The difficulties facing our foreign trade development cannot be underestimated.”
China takes measures to support enterprises, boost employment - Xinhua
China will take solid steps to implement supportive measures for enterprises to help them through challenges, and boost employment for college graduates, according to an executive meeting of the State Council...
Solid implementation of the policies should be guaranteed, said the meeting, including a series of tax cuts which would ease the burden for firms by 1.6 trillion yuan (about 227.25 billion U.S. dollars).
In terms of financial support, China has offered 3.55 trillion yuan of low-cost capital to financial institutions via reserve requirement ratio cuts, re-lending and re-discount quotas, according to the meeting.
CCTV Evening News - 李克强主持召开国务院常务会议
Li said, “because of the virus the employment situation is dire for college graduates this year
China's 2020 GDP growth set to sink to 44-year low as coronavirus cripples economy: Reuters poll - Reuters
Growth in the world’s second-biggest economy for 2020 was forecast at 2.5%, according to the median of 62 analysts surveyed by Reuters, which would mark the weakest clip since 1976, the final year of the decade-long Cultural Revolution that wrecked the economy...
The survey also predicted China’s economy in the first quarter will contract by 6.5% year-on-year, for the first time since at least 1992 when the country first started issuing quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) data.
It also marks a reversal from 3.5% growth forecast in the last survey done in the previous month. China will release its first-quarter GDP data on April 17.
2. The outbreak
Chinese Mainland Reports 89 New Confirmed Covid-19 Cases - Yicai
Chinese health authority said today that it received reports of 89 new confirmed Covid-19 cases on the Chinese mainland yesterday, of which 86 were imported.
Three new domestically transmitted cases were reported, all in Guangdong province, the National Health Commission said in a daily report.
Shanghai Logs No New Covid-19 Cases - Yicai
Shanghai logged no new imported or domestically transmitted novel coronavirus cases yesterday, with the eastern metropolis' total remaing at 618, the city's health commission said this morning.
It also reported no asymptomatic cases under observation in the city as of yesterday.
Second Covid-19 Wave Could Hit in November, Expert Says - Caixin
While countries may be able to bring the deadly pandemic under adequate control by autumn, the coming winter may bring a “second wave” of infections in China and elsewhere, said Zhang Wenhong, who heads Shanghai’s Covid-19 clinical expert team and directs the infectious disease department at one of the city’s top hospitals...
Speaking Saturday during an online livestream broadcast by popular short-video platform Kuaishou, Zhang said China’s experience with disease control means any resurgence in infections later this year will be manageable, and not require a repeat of the dramatic measures taken to curb the virus’s initial spread.
“China won’t implement any shutdowns, and imported cases will certainly still make up the bulk of the outbreak,” Zhang said. In recent weeks, infected people traveling into China have made up the vast majority of the country’s new confirmed cases.
Last 4 COVID-19 patients leave makeshift Leishenshan Hospital - ECNS
Leishenshan Hospital, a makeshift facility built in the Hubei provincial capital of Wuhan to help combat the novel coronavirus outbreak, will close Wednesday after 67 days' operation.
China issues guidelines for orderly college reopening amid epidemic prevention - Xinhua
Local authorities can make decisions to allow reopening of universities and colleges in a staggered manner on the prerequisite that local epidemic situation is well under control, and universities are well prepared in epidemic prevention and control as well as effective measures are readied to protect the health of faculties and students, according to the guideline...
No mass gathering activities should be held after classes resume, and staff workers and students are asked to wear face masks in closed venues or crowded places, the guideline said.
Cafeterias should stagger meals for students and arrange separate dining tables with an interval of 1.5 meters, it said, noting that libraries and laboratories among other public venues should also limit the number of students inside.
Govt launches compensation procedure for Huanan wet market merchants - Global Times
The government of Wuhan in Central China's Hubei Province is checking receipts and purchase documents of vendors at the Huanan Seafood Market, as the vendors demand compensation for their losses incurred from the closure of the market, where the earliest COVID-19 cases in China were reported.
It is part of a necessary procedure for the compensation of merchants in the market, and this requires documentation for their goods that were destroyed
China approves three COVID-19 vaccines for clinical trials - Xinhua
An adenovirus vector vaccine, developed by a research team led by Chen Wei, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a researcher at the Institute of Military Medicine under the Academy of Military Sciences, was the first to be approved to enter clinical trials, said Wu Yuanbin, director-general of science and technology for social development with the MOST, at a press conference.
Zhong Nanshan at live streaming session on April 14: Vaccine will still be the solution for COVID 19. The fatality rate is too high and it is too threatening to people.
Caixin reports that because of the travel ban, most of the foreign teachers in international schools in Beijing can’t return to work. Parents are unhappy with the online courses for which they are still paying high tuition. Many of these parents are demanding refunds or refused to pay for the new semester.
The deputy director of the People's Daily Network Public Opinion Data Center: Be aware of the PR risks triggered by foreigners in epidemic prevention. 人民网舆情数据中心副主任 单学刚:关注涉及外国人防疫工作引发的舆情风险
3. Imported cases
The Suifenhe city on the China-Russia border reported another 79 cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, all of whom came from Russia. The total tally has surpassed 300 in the city. Many Chinese in Russia took trains from Moscow to Vladivostok and entered China from there after China cancelled most of the flights. The Suifenhe city has shut the border crossing.
Starting from April 14, travelers entering China through cities like Shenyang, Dalian and Dandong are required to take twice nucleic acid tests and 14 days’ mandatory quarantine. Travelers are to pay for their own bill of the spendings for the food, accommodations and virus tests.
China deploys medical experts, resources to border regions to battle COVID-19- Xinhua
Chinese authorities on Monday urged efforts to send medical experts and resources from inland areas to border regions to help fight novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The instruction was given at a meeting of the leading group of China's COVID-19 epidemic response, which was chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.
Chinese Cities on Alert Over Rising COVID-19 Cases From Russia - SixthTone
Authorities in Harbin, the provincial capital of Heilongjiang, announced Saturday that they were stepping up measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. All arriving international passengers will now be given two nucleic acid tests and an antibody test, as well as a mandatory quarantine period of 28 days.
Housing units in the city with confirmed and asymptomatic cases will also be placed under lockdown for 14 days, and all residents there will be given nucleic acid tests and antibody tests, according to authorities.
Other cities outside Heilongjiang also reported new infections among arrivals from Russia over the weekend.
On Sunday, the northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region reported 34 newly confirmed cases from Russia. All 34 people had entered China through the subprefectural border city of Manzhouli, a major port between China and Russia.
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on April 14, 2020
RIA Novosti: I have two questions. First of all, yesterday Heilongjiang provincial authorities promised up to 5000 yuan for reports about illegal crossing of China-Russia border. I wonder if there were already any cases or incidents of illegal border crossing, or it's just precautions And secondly, I wonder if the Foreign Ministry has any statistics or information on how many Chinese citizens are in Russia at the moment?
Zhao Lijian: Regarding the first question, according to the agreement on the border management system between China and Russia, the competent authorities and local governments on the two sides should jointly take necessary measures to prevent and stop illegal border-crossing and other illegal activities in the border region. This is a responsibility that the two sides should fulfill in order to uphold the order in the border region.
As to the second question, based on the information we have, there are about 100,000 Chinese citizens in Russia but the exact figures are hard to come by for the time being
China's NE Border City Reports 322 Imported Covid-19 Cases as of Monday - Yicai
The city of Suifenhe, at the China-Russia border in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, reported a total of 322 confirmed novel coronavirus (Covid-19) cases from overseas by Monday, local epidemic prevention and control authorities said Tuesday.
The city also saw 38 asymptomatic Covid-19 infections by the end of Monday.
One of the first two evacuation flights for PRC minors in the US had at least 4 kids who tested positive upon landing from NYC-Guangzhou
I hear there may be 40,000 PRC minors in the US. How many will try to get evacuated back to the US, and how worried must be their parents be if they are unaccompanied?
4. Foreign work
Xi says joint COVID-19 fight shows China-Serbia brotherhood - Xinhua
He made the remarks in a phone conversation with his Serbian counterpart, Aleksandar Vucic.
The China-Serbia relationship is the most profound type of relations between countries, Xi pointed out, adding that the Chinese side empathizes with the COVID-19 threat the Serbian people are facing right now.
Noting that China has provided Serbia with urgently needed medical and protective supplies and sent high-level medical experts to the European country, he said China will continue to offer help and support for Serbia's fight against the coronavirus disease.
Xi says China to help Finland address shortage of anti-epidemic supplies - Xinhua
Xi made the remarks in a phone conversation with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto
Xi says China to continue helping Kyrgyzstan fight COVID-19 - Xinhua
China will stand together with Kyrgyzstan in the fight against COVID-19 and continue to offer as much assistance as its capacity allows.
He made the remarks in a phone conversation with Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov.
Chinese premier stresses joint efforts for early victory against COVID-19 in East Asia - Xinhua
Li made the remarks in Beijing while attending a special summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ASEAN Plus Three or APT) on COVID-19 via video link...
"The battle against COVID-19 has made us more aware that we are in a community with a shared future," Li said. "We must act with greater synergy and common purpose, and articulate our determination to work together in closer coordination and cooperation and make a collective response to the epidemic."
France summons Chinese envoy after comments on coronavirus handling - Reuters
“Certain publicly voiced opinions by representatives of the Chinese embassy in France are not in line with the quality of the bilateral relation between our two countries”, Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement released by his ministry.
The latest comments on the embassy’s website, which in part suggested Western countries had left their pensioners to die in nursing homes, come after France ordered millions of masks from China to curb a shortage in the country.
China's coronavirus public-relations war is backfiring in the West - The Washington Post
In many Western countries, it has not been so much China’s medical assistance that has drawn consternation, but rather Beijing’s departure from its traditional diplomacy into the realm of disinformation that had rarely been seen from China before the coronavirus emerged in Wuhan in late 2019.
Sun Yanrong, vice director of biotechnology development center of the Ministry of Science and Technology said China has done academic discussion and exchange with on epidemic control and prevention with more than 140 countries in the world at the press conference of the joint prevention and control mechanism of the state council.
Chinese experts fly to Russian by military aircraft to help fight COVID-19 - China Military
A team composed of 10 Chinese medical experts to help Russia fight against COVID-19 flew by the Russian military aircraft and arrived at Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow at 4:00 p.m. on April 11, local time. The aircraft carried a batch of anti-pandemic supplies donated by China to Russia, including various types of protective masks and medical protective gears
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov castigates attempts to make China pay reparations for COVID-19 damages - TASS
"Allegations that China will have to pay for the fact that the virus originated there and they failed to inform others in due time go beyond all boundaries. I have heard that someone in London says that China has to pay three trillion and 700 billion dollars or euro to the European Union to offset the damage caused by the pandemic. Others call for seizing Chinese property overseas if China fails to pay reparations. My hair stands on end when I hear such things," the Russian top diplomat pointed out.
Question: But is Lavrov saying that the virus originated in China, while couching it in a criticism Western countries?
111 Africans in Guangzhou test positive for COVID-19 - Xinhua
Among them, 19 were imported confirmed cases, Chen Zhiying, executive vice mayor of Guangzhou, said late Monday.
All of them, including asymptomatic cases, were being treated, he said.
A total of 4,553 African people in the metropolis had undergone nucleic acid testing since April 4, Chen said...
Chen Yongqiu, deputy chief of the city's public security bureau, said in the recent epidemic prevention and control work, the isolation and nucleic acid testing measures for Africans in Guangzhou fully followed previous measures for Chinese citizens and other foreigners.
"We arranged the same designated hotels and personnel for Africans when they were quarantined, without any racial or national discrimination," Chen said.
China-Africa friendship rock-solid: Chinese FM - Xinhua
The China-Africa friendship is rock-solid and will not be affected by a single incident, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Monday.
During a phone conversation with Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, Wang said China and Africa, as comprehensive strategic cooperative partners, should strengthen coordination and cooperation in response to the common challenge of COVID-19...
Regarding the problems reported by some African friends on the anti-epidemic work by some Chinese local governments, Wang stressed that the Chinese side is dedicated to maintaining the health and safety of all Chinese and foreign nationals, and treats all foreigners in China equally...
The African side will not forget China's support during its national liberation and independence struggles, the elimination of racial segregation, and the continent's social and economic development, Faki said, adding that Africa specially thanks China for its emergency assistance to help the continent fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two sides share a sacred mission of safeguarding the Africa-China comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, and will never let those forces who are trying to exploit the current situation to sow discord between Africa and China have their way, he said.
MFA: Assistant Minister Chen Xiaodong Meets with African Diplomatic Envoys to China
Chen said that China has taken the most comprehensive, stringent and thorough action to fight the virus. That is how China has been able to achieve important progress in controlling the outbreak, albeit at huge cost. As the outbreak continues abroad, China is facing a growing challenge in preventing imported cases. This is particularly the case with Guangdong, a leading province in China's opening-up endeavor, with much higher risks of inbound transmission. We must institute more rigorous measures across the board and tighten all potential loopholes that may trigger a rebound. This is the only way to make sure that everything we have worked so hard to achieve will not be lost. China is doing this not just to be responsible to its own people, but also to the Africans and indeed all foreign nationals in Guangdong.
Chen said that China is paying serious attention to the issues raised by some African diplomatic envoys regarding the situation of Africans in Guangzhou and elsewhere involved in local outbreak response. Guangdong authorities are taking a number of steps to improve its response. Health measures will be implemented in a non-differential way. Starting from the day of this meeting, measures on Africans who are neither confirmed cases nor close contacts (suspected cases included) will be lifted in a phased way pursuant to relevant containment protocols. A mechanism for effective communication will be established with African consulates general in Guangzhou.
Victimisation of Africans in China threatens Afro-Sino relations - Daily Maverick
A protest letter prepared by the African Group of Ambassadors in Beijing has cast a disturbing spotlight on how Africans are treated in China. Presented to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Communist Party, the letter details concerns about reports of degrading treatment of Africans in the city of Guangzhou, including forced eviction of African nationals from their hotels and apartments, selective testing of African students, arbitrary quarantines, illegal seizure of passports and threats of withdrawal of visas.
If not addressed, these reports threaten not only to damage relations between China and the African continent, they also risk hurting China’s assiduously cultivated global image. They could also fuel a backlash against China and Chinese interests on the continent. The Chinese government has stated that it is not the country’s policy to discriminate against Africans. That may be the case, but it does not dispel the perceptions many Africans harbour about the country, which will be compounded by the latest incidents in Guangzhou.
Initial Reflections on an Unprecedented Crisis in China-Africa Relations - The China Africa Project
Roberto Castillo, an assistant professor at Lingnan University in Hong Kong, is one of the world’s foremost scholars on the African diaspora in China where he’s done extensive research on the African population in Guangzhou in particular. He joins Eric to share his initial reactions to what’s going on in southern China and what he thinks it will take for Beijing to resolve the crisis.
African Countries Complain of Racism in Chinese City’s Pandemic Controls - WSJ $$
Last month, footage of masks and test kits donated by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma being flown in on an Ethiopian Airlines jet was broadcast across Africa. Now the narrative has turned negative just as many African families are stuck at home under lockdown, glued to their televisions.
“This is very damaging to the Chinese narrative,” said Cobus Van Staden of Wits University in Johannesburg. “The power of this story is that it’s confirming preconceptions across Africa that China is a very racist place.”
China says willing to study African debt relief jointly with international community - Reuters
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs made the comments via a fax sent to Reuters on Monday in response to questions on China’s plans for debt held by African countries amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Reuters reported earlier that Beijing is likely to endorse a temporary freeze on debt payments by African countries as part of an expected agreement by the Group of 20 (G20) major economies this week.
Zhou Xiaoming, former deputy head of China’s mission in Geneva, wrote that the West’s efforts to blame China for the global outbreak is “a carefully coordinated PR campaign” initiated by American government to contain China. “It is a new battle ground carved out by the US in its war to contain China’s rise. We must not underestimate it.”
“Facing the epidemic, cooperation is the only correct choice for China and the US,” People’s Daily wrote. It echoes with the open letter written by Chinese academics last week in saying that some Americans should not seek to shift their blame by blaming China for the outbreak. “This mentality is unhealthy, unethical and lunatic,” it wrote, adding that China has been transparent all along and has been aiding others including the Americans. It said that China has been restraint toward US smearing, but “on the major issues related to our principles we dare to draw the sword, and we will never concede.”
“Honestly, the America today won’t back off before crippling China”, Hu Xijin of Global Times wrote on his Weibo. “Many people keep saying the situation today is a result of China’s actions. They argue that China should show some goodwill to the US, and make major concessions, so to win back the Americans’ trust so the relations can get back to normal. But I have to say … they are too naïve … the biggest drive behind the US shift in attitude toward China is the change of power balance between the two countries. The US won’t accept the possibility that China may become an equal power. That’s the most fundamental.”
Tensions Rise in U.S. Over China’s ‘Donation Diplomacy’ - The New York Times
New regulations in China are delaying its shipments of medical supplies around the world. And some American officials worry accepting donated gear helps China’s propaganda efforts...
On Monday, Mr. Trump signaled in a news conference he may be ending the détente with China when he used the term “Wuhan virus,” a label despised by Beijing that emphasizes the city where the virus was first detected.
Trump Funding Threat Against World Health Organization Linked to Hiring Practices - WSJ $$
President Trump’s threat to withhold money from the World Health Organization stems from an ongoing discussion inside the administration to link the $12 billion the U.S. spends on international organizations to the number of American citizens hired by the groups, officials said.
The effort has been part of a broader push to curtail China’s growing global influence but was delayed by turnover inside the White House and the State Department, according to current and former administration officials. Some of those discussions have been rekindled as Mr. Trump seeks a way to punish the WHO for what the administration views as the group’s “China-centric” tendencies and criticism of his early actions to confront the coronavirus.
Comment: Secretary of State Pompeo making the case against China with lots of local US media. We still have over six months until the US elections, odds are people are going to be a lot angrier and poorer then than they are now:
Secretary Michael R. Pompeo With Chris Salcedo of The Chris Salcedo Show, KSEV Houston & Newsmax TV - United States Department of State
SECRETARY POMPEO: Chris, those are all good questions. So I have spoken to my Chinese counterpart. I made clear President Trump’s expectations that the Chinese Government would be transparent, honest, timely in passing this information. This isn’t political; this is about saving American lives – frankly, saving lives of people all around the world.
We know where this virus originated. It originated in Wuhan, China. These are just the facts. And we need every government to do two things. One, they’ve got to be honest about what’s going on. They’ve got to talk about where the disease is in their country, how many fatalities they’ve had, what kind of cases they have, what kind of testing they’re engaged in. And then for the Chinese Government, as the President said when they were talking about the fact that this might have come from an American soldier or an American weapons lab, that’s really risky. That creates risk when you put disinformation out there in that way.
Secretary Michael R. Pompeo with John Fredericks of The John Fredericks Show, WNTW Richmond - United States Department of State
QUESTION: Secretary Pompeo’s – it’s always an honor to have you on. I want to start with a question today that I got from an article that was just published, an op-ed in WaPo by Josh Rogin. He has a bombshell story this morning and he’s quoting from State Department cables about the lack of supervision in the P4 lab in Wuhan, specifically about the bat coronavirus research that was ongoing. What can you share with us, Mr. Secretary, concerning that story?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So I can’t comment on the story directly. I can say this: The United States works all across the world with various labs. We’re trying to do right by the American people to try and help keep them safe, and we saw at the initiation of this epidemic – we saw that this virus originated in Wuhan, China, and then we watched as the American medical professionals tried to get in to evaluate, to see what was going on, to figure out what the spread looked like, all the things we were talking about back in February and March of this year. How do we make sure we have the right data sets so the American people can understand from where this began so that we can solve the problem? And unfortunately we weren’t able to do that as quickly as we needed to. The World Health Organization wasn’t able to get in either. It delayed the capacity for the world to respond.
Look, accountability for those decisions, we’ll get to. Today, the President’s focus, as you can see from his briefings each day, are on protecting the American people. We will have a full chance to look back at what precisely transpired there and to conduct investigations that help us understand how it’s the case that this epidemic broke out.
Secretary Michael R. Pompeo With Tony Katz of The Morning News - United States Department of State
QUESTION: Talking to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. It is Congressman Jim Banks of the Indiana 3rd District who has called upon you, called upon the Attorney General Bill Barr, to bring international – an international criminal case against China over the cover-up. You talk about there’s going to be a time to look into these things. I’m a believer that we are the society that can indeed walk and chew gum at the same time, and maybe we need to be doing both at the same time. But on a personal level, as the man who leads the State Department, do you trust China?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Look, I’ve seen the data over these past weeks, where the Chinese Government has simply not lived up to their obligations – their obligations to the international organizations, including the World Health Organization, and to the things that nations do, the way we’re supposed to treat our fellow human beings. And so frankly, it certainly applies to the Chinese Communist Party, it applies to other countries as well. It’s not about trust. It’s about actions. It’s not about what they say or what they tell us, but to observe what they do.
Look, we’re trying to find places – as the President said last week, we’re trying to find places where we can cooperate with China as we move through this time. Our fundamental obligation in the days and weeks ahead is to do everything we can to fight back against this virus here in the United States and get our economy going back again.
Secretary Michael R. Pompeo With Bud Hedinger of Good Morning Orlando - United States Department of State
QUESTION: May I ask you very quickly in closing, because I know our time has gone here, is the United States going to punish China for lying and covering up about the coronavirus right from the beginning? We’ve got a class action lawsuit coming out of Florida to that effect. What about it?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I’m very confident – as President Trump has said, I’m very confident that when the time is right, those who didn’t act appropriately or misled or didn’t put information out properly, or frankly, those who engaged in disinformation campaigns, I’m confident they’ll be held accountable when the time is right.
Comment: The leak from a lab hypothesis keeps getting more mainstream media coverage. I have no idea if the Wuhan lab leak hypothesis has any real intel to back it up, but I do know it is gaining significant momentum in the US government and on Capitol Hill, and that Zhao Lijian gave that momentum a significant fillip with his disinformation attacks:
State Department cables warned of safety issues at Wuhan lab studying bat coronaviruses - The Washington Post
In January 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing took the unusual step of repeatedly sending U.S. science diplomats to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), which had in 2015 become China’s first laboratory to achieve the highest level of international bioresearch safety (known as BSL-4). WIV issued a news release in English about the last of these visits, which occurred on March 27, 2018. The U.S. delegation was led by Jamison Fouss, the consul general in Wuhan, and Rick Switzer, the embassy’s counselor of environment, science, technology and health. Last week, WIV erased that statement from its website, though it remains archived on the Internet...
What the U.S. officials learned during their visits concerned them so much that they dispatched two diplomatic cables categorized as Sensitive But Unclassified back to Washington. The cables warned about safety and management weaknesses at the WIV lab and proposed more attention and help. The first cable, which I obtained, also warns that the lab’s work on bat coronaviruses and their potential human transmission represented a risk of a new SARS-like pandemic.
Bannon Interviews WaPo's Josh Rogin on the 2018 Wuhan Lab Warning - YouTube
Senate Republicans plan coronavirus probe — with a focus on China - POLITICO
The Senate's main oversight committee is beginning a wide-ranging probe into the origins of and response to the coronavirus pandemic, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson said in an interview on Monday...
"Where did this all start from? Was this transferred animal to human? Was this from a lab in China? Might have been the best of intentions trying to come up with the different cures, with the different therapies for the coronavirus in general," Johnson said, echoing some conservative theories. "We need to know what role WHO might have had in trying to cover this thing up."
Steve Scalise: Republicans Having 'a Lot of Discussion' on China's Role in Coronavirus - Breitbart
“We’ve got to pull that supply chain back, and ultimately we’ve got to hold China accountable for what they did,” Scalise stated. “Not only did they start this in Wuhan, they hid it from the world. They weren’t transparent. When our medical experts were reaching out to China, their medical experts wanted our help, because we’ve got such brilliant minds in medicine in America, and yet they shut us out, and that cost lives, it cost trillions of dollars to our economy and to other nations, as well.”
GOP senators demand WHO explain early coronavirus response in China - Axios
A group of U.S. senators have sent a letter to the World Health Organization asking it to provide an accounting of its early handling of the coronavirus outbreak in China.
And there is this:
Coronavirus Hit on China Trade Eases, but Export Outlook Is Bleak - WSJ $$
despite a drop in total trade with the U.S., China’s imports of agricultural products from the U.S. rose sharply in the first three months of the year, as the two countries implemented the first phase of its trade deal, official data showed. By tonnage, China’s purchases surged—soybean up 210%, pork 640% and cotton 43.5%—between January and March compared with a year earlier, said customs spokesman Li Kuiwen.
7. An old story about Bloomberg quashing coverage to please Beijing gets new legs
I put this up top because NPR has audio of the infamous conference call with Matthew Winkler. It may seem like past history, but the success Bloomberg has had repairing its relationship with the relevant organs in the PRC in the wake of this is worthy of a Harvard Business School case study - After Killing 2013 Investigation, Bloomberg News Sought To Silence Reporter's Wife : NPR
"They assumed that because I was the wife of their employee, I was the wife," the author and journalist Leta Hong Fincher tells NPR. "I was just an appendage of their employee. I was not a human being."
Fincher is married to the journalist Mike Forsythe, a former Beijing correspondent for Bloomberg News who now works at The New York Times. In 2012, Forsythe was part of a Bloomberg team behind an award-winning investigation into the accumulation of wealth by China's ruling classes...
in late October 2013, Bloomberg's famously intense founding editor-in-chief, Matthew Winkler, weighed in, via a private conference call. In attendance: senior news executives in New York and the China-based investigative team. NPR has obtained audio of Winkler's remarks on the call.
"It is for sure going to, you know, invite the Communist Party to, you know, completely shut us down and kick us out of the country," Winkler said. "So, I just don't see that as a story that is justified."
He expressed great apprehension because of the potential consequences of publishing another investigation. In this case, it was one that would itemize the links between top Chinese Communist Party leaders and the country's wealthiest man...
"It has to be done with a strategic framework and a tactical method that is ... smart enough to allow us to continue and not run afoul of the Nazis who are in front of us and behind us everywhere," Winkler said, according to the audio reviewed by NPR and verified by others. "And that's who they are. And we should have no illusions about it."
Bloomberg News Is Said to Curb Articles That Might Anger China - The New York Times 2013
In the call late last month, Mr. Winkler defended his decision, comparing it to the self-censorship by foreign news bureaus trying to preserve their ability to report inside Nazi-era Germany, according to Bloomberg employees familiar with the discussion.
“He said, ‘If we run the story, we’ll be kicked out of China,’ ” one of the employees said. Less than a week later, a second article, about the children of senior Chinese officials employed by foreign banks, was also declared dead, employees said.
Mike re-reported the story after he left Bloomberg for the New York Times - Wang Jianlin, a Billionaire at the Intersection of Business and Power in China - The New York Times 2015 - Wang Jianlin
A yearlong examination of his success by The New York Times casts a light on the murky intersection of business and power at the heights of the Chinese economy, where market competition is often warped by the whims of Communist Party leaders.
Does Bloomberg still use this censorship code on PRC terminals, as Ed Wong reported in 2013? - At Bloomberg, Special Code Keeps Some Articles Out of China - The New York Times 2013
It is called Code 204. Editors at Bloomberg News append it to an article to ensure that it does not appear on Bloomberg financial data and news terminals in mainland China. Little known outside Bloomberg, the system has been in place for more than two years, and it is used regularly to keep articles on Chinese politics and social issues away from the eyes of powerful people in China who might be offended, Bloomberg employees say.
Not just Bloomberg, and not just 7 years ago- Refinitiv used filter to block Reuters reports on Hong Kong protests - Reuters December 2019
Under pressure from the Chinese government, the financial information provider that distributes Reuters news to investors has blocked over 200 stories on the mainland that could paint Beijing in a negative light. The censorship began earlier this year after Refinitiv feared its China operation would be suspended.
8. Lin Songtian replaces Li Xiaolin as head of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries
Comment: Li Xiaolin, 66, the youngest daughter of the revolutionary leader Li Xiannian and wife of general Liu Yazhou, the former political commissar at the PLA National Defense University, will retire from her post as chairman of the state-run Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC). She will be replaced by Lin Songtian, former ambassador to South Africa.
Someone familiar with the move told me that Lin is turning 60 next month, it is time for him to be placed out since he is not going further up in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs system, that the CPAFFC role is 副部级 vice-ministerial rank for him, and that with his background in postings in Africa and the group's focus on "亚非拉 Asia-Africa-Latin America" the move makes sense, and not much more should be read into it. Sounded plausible but not sure what to believe. It is noteworthy that Lin was quite the wolf warrior on Twitter until he suddenly deleted his account last month.
Li wrote in a letter announcing her retirement that her association needs to work harder to improve China’s relations with others. Without naming any Americans, she wrote that “What really concerns me is that at this very critical juncture to overcome global challenges, the isolationism and populism is on the rise, and opinion leaders in some major countries repeatedly do and say selfish things that harm others,”
Trade, business and economy
Tianqi looks to sell stake in world’s largest lithium mine | Financial Times $$ The move marks a setback for Tianqi, which in the space of a decade grew from a small provincial company to one of the world’s largest producers of lithium, putting China in a dominant position in the global market for the raw material used in batteries just as sales of electric cars took off.
Chinese State-Owned Bank Offers Test Interface for PBoC Central Bank Digital Currency - CoinDesk Screenshots of an internal mobile application developed by the ABC, initially seen circulating on WeChat on Tuesday and later verified by CoinDesk, shows the banking giant has already developed a front-end interface of how users could potentially interact with China's CBDC – also known as DE/CP.
CSC Financial Denies Citic Securities Merger Report; Shares Rocket - Yicai CSC Financial’s board secretary denied knowledge of an upcoming merger with Citic Securities after Bloomberg reported the process to potentially combine China’s two largest brokerages has begun. The shares of both firms surged.
Wanda Group Scoffs at AMC Bankruptcy Rumors - Yicai Wanda Group denied that its unit AMC Entertainment Holdings, the largest movie theater operator in the US, has filed for bankruptcy. Dalian-based Wanda gave no further details in its brief statement today, saying only that claims of AMC filing for bankruptcy were pure rumor.
As Pandemic Epicenter Moves Abroad, Chinese Excavator-Makers Raise Prices - Caixin As the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic moves outside China, multiple major construction equipment makers have raised the prices of their excavators amid rebounding domestic demand and the rising cost of imported components.
Apple shipped 2.5 million iPhones in China in March following virus slump: government data - Reuters Mobile phone shipments in China in March totalled 21 million units, according to data from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), a government think tank. That was a more than three-fold increase from February, yet still down roughly 20% compared with March 2019.
Renault pulls out of China joint venture as auto outlook darkens - Nikkei Asian Review Renault has ended its joint venture with its Chinese carmaking partner, a day after China's leading state-owned automaker gave an unusually bearish outlook in a sign that the country is struggling to shrug off the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The move by Renault and the forecast from SAIC Motor underscore the changing mood in the industry, despite expectations that state and local governments will try provide incentives to juice consumption.
China Weighs Merging Biggest Brokers to Take on Wall Street - Bloomberg Citic Securities Co. and CSC Financial Co., along with their government shareholders Citic Group and Central Huijin Investment Ltd., have recently started due diligence and a feasibility study on how to structure the deal, according to the people, who asked not be named discussing private matters. Regulators, including China Securities Regulatory Commission and the State-owned Asset Supervision and Administration Commission, are briefed in the process, said the people.
美的高管30%工资暂停发放 方洪波称“给大家些压力”_财新网 Midea froze senior managers’ 30 recent of salaries until the end of 2020.
CBA高管降薪，若6月无法确定重启时间，赛季或取消_CBA公司 CBA executives took salary cuts. If the restart time of the new season cannot be determined by June, the season may be cancelled.
文化和旅游部 国家卫生健康委印发《关于做好旅游景区疫情防控和安全有序开放工作的通知》_滚动新闻_中国政府网 Ministry of culture and tourism and National Health Commission: tourist sites can receive no more than 30 percent of maximum number of visitors.
财新：最新财新周刊：银行行长骗贷案Caixin investigation gives more details of how a governor of the Beijing and Shenzhen branch of China’s Exim Bank issued false guarantee on behalf of the bank to help his friend to get loans worth of more than 1.7 billion RMB. The governor Li Changjun surrendered himself to the authorities and was sentenced to life in prison in 2018.
Politics, Law and Ideology
央视新闻：最高检公安部联合督导鲍某某涉嫌性侵案 Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Ministry of Public Security have set up a joint task force to supervise the investigation into Bao Yumin, the Shandong lawyer who allegedly raped his daughter. The online uproar has forced a response.
财新：金融反腐风暴不休 2019年立案超6900件Caixin reports that the CCDI, the party’s anti-corruption body, said it opened more than 6900 investigations last year into party members working in finance last year. The officials that were targeted include former governor of CITIC Bank, as well several senior executives at ICBC.
北京日报：北京检察机关依法对戴自更涉嫌受贿案提起公诉 Former editor in chief of Beijing News Dai Zigeng is charged with taking bribes. Some say this as another sign of the crackdown on media, some say he was indeed corrupt. 一箭双雕 kill two birds with one stone？
财新：人事观察|17年辗转皖湘新，孙金龙回京履新生态环境部Sun Jinlong, former deputy party boss in Xinjiang, is the new minister for environment. Sun used to work at the Communist Youth League headquarters with Li Keqiang and Zhou Qiang, who is now head of the supreme court.
新时代学习工作室：习近平谈总体国家安全：把生物安全纳入国家安全体系 Wednesday is China’s fifth “National Security Education Day”, The CCP News did a wrap up of Xi’s previous comments and speeches on the concept of “comprehensive national security”, which he said includes biological security.
江小涓：谋划疫情后信息采集问题应加快立法 Jiang Xiaojuan, a standing committee member at the National People’s Congress, said in a speech that China needs to speed up the regulation on protecting private data. This comes after both the government and internet companies have collected massive amount of private data during the coronavirus outbreak either to track the population or for commercial purposes. For example, she said the “health code” programs used by provincial governments have more than one billion people users.
财新：百万条金融机构客户信息被售卖？ 已有监管部门介入排查Caixin reported that hackers are selling online the private information of more than a million of clients at Shanghai Bank, Industrial Bank, Pingan Insurance, Pudong Development Bank and Merchant Bank. Industrial Bank said the information are fake and the rest declined to comment. Chinese authorities are looking into the matter.
较真碰硬！中央政治局常委直接约谈县级一把手有哪些考量？--独家稿件-人民网 4月13日，中共中央政治局常委、全国政协主席汪洋在京主持召开脱贫攻坚约谈会议并讲话。这是今年公开报道中，党中央就此话题召开的第二次电视电话会议。本次会议透露出哪些重要信息？人民网·中国共产党新闻网为您梳理。// Is it a new thing that Wang Yang is chairing meetings on the war on poverty?
福建省委常委、副省长张志南接受中央纪委国家监委审查调查————执纪审查——中央纪委国家监委网站 Zhang Zhinan, a deputy governor of Southeast China’s Fujian province, has been placed under investigation for “serious disciplinary violations. He is the first provincial -level official to be put under invesitigation this year
China's local governments to hold annual 'two sessions' soon - Global Times Though local two sessions are major political events in provinces and municipalities that pave the way for the national two sessions, analysts and some NPC deputies and CPPCC members contacted by the Global Times said they had not been notified on a new date for China's biggest political gathering. "Currently, Beijing faces mounting pressure in preventing imported infections and a possible second wave of infections, and lacks the conditions to hold such an event," Wang Hongwei, a professor at the Renmin University's School of Public Administration and Policy, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
首都规划建设委员会召开全体会议 丁薛祥讲话 蔡奇主持--时政--人民网 新华社北京4月14日电 首都规划建设委员会14日在京召开第39次全体会议，学习贯彻习近平总书记关于首都规划建设的重要指示精神，研究审议《首都功能核心区控制性详细规划（街区层面）（2018年－2035年）（送审稿）》，部署首规委2020年重点工作。中共中央政治局委员、首规委主任丁薛祥讲话，中共中央政治局委员、首规委主任蔡奇主持。
China Focus: CPC to step up efforts in curbing "formalities for formalities' sake" practices - Xinhua The General Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee has issued a circular stressing consistent efforts to eliminate "formalities for formalities' sake" and avoid placing unnecessary burdens on primary-level authorities. There are more difficulties in promoting social and economic development this year, the circular said, noting that the country faces mounting risks and challenges, as well as the impact brought by the COVID-19 epidemic. It highlights the need to improve the Party's conduct and boost the enthusiasm, initiative and creativity of Party members and officials, it said. 中共中央办公厅印发《关于持续解决困扰基层的形式主义问题为决胜全面建成小康社会提供坚强作风保证的通知》
人民领袖习近平_新闻频道_央视网(cctv.com) People's Leader Xi Jinping CCTV online site is on day 4 of pushing "Xi Jinping's Art of Fighting the Epidemic War"
Foreign and Defense Affairs
Daily Telegraph stops publishing section paid for by China | The Guardian The Telegraph would not comment on why it is no longer running the lucrative branded material, with one report claiming that the newspaper was paid about £750,000 a year for reproducing the China Daily material.
Social media giant "Twitter" apologizes for suspending Chinese embassy account in Sri Lanka - Xinhua "The Embassy made solemn representation to Twitter twice, requesting the latter to clarify and correct their decision, to avoid any misunderstanding and random association in the public. In the early morning of April 14, Twitter officially replied to the Embassy for a 'systematic mistake', apologized and unsuspended the Embassy's account," the Chinese Embassy said. "The Embassy feels regretful to this 'systematic mistake', and would like to reiterate that the 'Freedom of Speech' must be honored, while not be misused to spread groundless, racial or hatred speech, nor be treated with 'Double Standards'," the embassy added.
COVID-19 pushes world to a turning point - Global Times The spreading coronavirus pandemic is having far-reaching effects on the world and it's believed the black swan event will change the world forever. How will the pandemic affect China-US relations, globalization and global leadership? Michael D. Swaine (Swaine), a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Jeffrey Sachs (Sachs), director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, shared their views on these issues in written interviews with Global Times (GT) reporter Yu Jincui.
Responding to the Epidemic in Wuhan: Insights into Chinese Military Logistics - Jamestown The Joint Logistic Support Force (联勤保障部队, Lianqin Baozhang Budui) or JLSF, which was created in September 2016 as part of Xi Jinping’s larger overhaul of the military, has been at the forefront of the PLA’s response.  The JLSF’s role in Wuhan illuminated several key strengths of the PLA logistics system—including centralized control, effective use of information technology, and civil-military coordination—while also suggesting potential deficiencies. At a minimum, the crisis likely resulted in “lessons learned” that could improve the JLSF’s role in supporting commanders during wartime.
Open Letter - The Communist Party’s rule by fear endangers Chinese citizens—and the world 共产党依靠恐吓为主的政治统治方式危害中国公民乃全世界 The Communist Party’s rule by fear endangers Chinese citizens—and the world 共产党依靠恐吓为主的政治统治方式危害中国公民乃全世界
Hong Kong and Macao
Carrie Lam refutes accusation over central government's comments on HKSAR LegCo - Xinhua The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council on Monday urged the HKSAR LegCo to resume normal operation as soon as possible and condemned "despicable tactics" used by some opposition lawmakers to paralyze the LegCo for personal political gains. The Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR also condemned some LegCo members who maliciously filibustered and delayed the discussion for multiple bills related to people's livelihood and the fight against COVID-19 outbreak. Lam said the central government has given Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy through the Basic Law under "one country, two systems," which, however, doesn't mean the central government has given up its power and authority on Hong Kong affairs.
Taiwan records no new COVID-19 cases, total kept at 393 - Focus Taiwan Taiwan recorded no new cases of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) for the first time in 36 days on Tuesday, keeping the total at 393 since the pandemic began late last year, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).
Confusion prompts call for China Airlines name change in Taiwan, but at what cost? | South China Morning Post Taiwan is mulling a change of name for its carrier China Airlines to make clear that it represents the self-ruled island and not mainland China. Some 40,000 Taiwanese petitioners and a group of lawmakers have been demanding the change, after reports that China Airlines (CAL) had been mistaken for the mainland’s flag bearer Air China when delivering face masks and other donated medical supplies from the island to countries in the midst of the escalating coronavirus pandemic.
Tech and Media
财新：瑞幸、春雨医生等20余款App涉嫌侵犯隐私 被通报下架 China’s National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center said it had suspended more than 20 mobile apps that violated users’ privacy. It said these companies, mostly for take-out food, online education and online medical advices, are collecting private data without the users’ consent.
ByteDance Launches Global Hiring Spree in Middle of Virus Tumult - Bloomberg The world’s largest startup is recruiting people for 10,000 open positions, of which about a third are high-level research or software coding jobs, according to an internal website provided to staff for referrals and shared with Bloomberg. Representatives with ByteDance didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Chinese Upstart’s New Memory Chip Still a Year Behind Industry Leaders - Caixin Registered in July 2016 and backed by Chinese chip aspirant Tsinghua Unigroup as well as several local and national government-supported tech funds, Yangtze Memory plans to invest $24 billion over three phases with an aim to become China’s first homegrown 3D NAND champion. TF Securities estimated Yangtze Memory could have about 5% of the global NAND market by next year, which would make it the world’s seventh largest manufacturer.
How Tencent’s WeChat Poses Creeping Threat to Apple — The Information $$ The team from Tencent had come to broker a truce. They gave Cook a framed piece of Chinese folk art and assured him that WeChat’s mini programs would be too basic to compete with stand-alone apps and games, according to people familiar with the meeting and a photo of the visit that circulated in Chinese media. The executives convinced Apple that mini programs were more like appetizers to a main course, and that mini program users would eventually move over to iOS apps and games in the App Store, the people said. Three years later, Tencent’s mini programs have changed the way users engage with businesses and apps in China. And the growing diversity of mini programs makes stand-alone apps less important, which threatens to erode one of the iPhone’s advantages over Android phones—its stronger lineup of apps.
Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History
Yu Hanchao dismissed by Guangzhou Evergrande - Xinhua= The two-time Asian champion team announced on its official website that Yu Hanchao seriously violated its regulations and was dismissed by the club. Yu was detained by Guangzhou Police after being caught altering his license plate earlier on Tuesday.
Agricultural and rural affairs
Two cases of African swine fever reported in north western China in the city of Jiuquan and Yulin on April 12. 甘肃省酒泉市和陕西省榆林市各发生1起非洲猪瘟疫情 .
Question: Given the stigmatization that comes from naming diseases after places, has the PRC government launched an effort to rename “African Swine Fever” to something less stigmatizing for Africa and Africans?