Tariffs all around; Political thought work needed in education; Fake data, HNA's strange transactions; New Era for "One Country, Two Systems"?; Crackdown on box office subsidies

As expected the US has announced the next round of tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, and the Chinese quickly replied with tariffs on an additional $60 billion of US imports.

The White House announced the decision Monday evening:

Today, following seven weeks of public notice, hearings, and extensive opportunities for comment, I directed the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to proceed with placing additional tariffs on roughly $200 billion of imports from China.  The tariffs will take effect on September 24, 2018, and be set at a level of 10 percent until the end of the year.  On January 1, the tariffs will rise to 25 percent.  Further, if China takes retaliatory action against our farmers or other industries, we will immediately pursue phase three, which is tariffs on approximately $267 billion of additional imports…

China has had many opportunities to fully address our concerns.  Once again, I urge China’s leaders to take swift action to end their country’s unfair trade practices.  Hopefully, this trade situation will be resolved, in the end, by myself and President Xi of China, for whom I have great respect and affection.

President Trump doubled down on Twitter Tuesday morning:

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

China has openly stated that they are actively trying to impact and change our election by attacking our farmers, ranchers and industrial workers because of their loyalty to me. What China does not understand is that these people are great patriots and fully understand that.....

September 18, 2018
Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

.....China has been taking advantage of the United States on Trade for many years. They also know that I am the one that knows how to stop it. There will be great and fast economic retaliation against China if our farmers, ranchers and/or industrial workers are targeted!

September 18, 2018
Since they can not match the US dollar for dollar expect the mooted “qualitative measures” against US firms operating in China to start kicking in as well.

While the Chinese have not publicly declined the invitation for Liu He to visit DC I would be shocked if he comes next week as originally discussed. There is some talk of a lower-level delegation still coming.

Even in the very unlikely event there is a short-term resolution, the message to the PRC that America has a broader strategy to contain China’s rise is crystal clear now.

In April I wrote that the US smackdown of ZTE proves Xi’s point:

While the company may end up crippled, the episode has strategic and propaganda value for Beijing. The timing of the announcement — right before the 2nd anniversary of an important speech on cybersecurity and technology made by Chinese President Xi Jinping — only serves to strengthen the point he's been making about the need to reduce reliance on foreign, and especially American, technologies.

Yesterday’s announcement of the new tariffs and threats of even more unless China surrenders unconditionally, on the 87th anniversary of the September 18, 1931 Mukden Incident that was used as the pretext for Japan to invade Manchuria, will only further prove the point to just about everyone in China paying attention that America’s real goal is to keep China down. In the past that view may have only resonated with some of the more hawkish people inside the system, but the ZTE case and the trade war have made it undeniable to just about everyone.

As painful as the trade war may be, it could have political upside for Xi. He clearly believes the West had gained too much influence in China by the time he became General Secretary and he can point to a capricious, unyielding hegemon intent on preventing China’s great rejuvenation. In the face of this challenge from the US there will be even more pressure to rally around the leadership, and increased risks for anyone questioning Party Center’s decisions.

The propaganda will write itself, though a big question is how far the Party will go in encouraging and allowing more of a mass reaction to the US pressure, up to and including boycotts. I do not think we are near there yet, and to date the authorities seem to want to keep things in check.

A propaganda directive from last week I have seen had some interesting orders:

最正基调:平实理性,不要出现刺激性语言,e.g. Bully

The correct narrative – simple and rational, don't use words that are provocative, e.g. bully

中美经贸摩擦进入新阶段,进入战备状态,加强应急值班,随时待命 The US-China trade friction has entered a new stage and we should be in a war-readiness position [Bill’s note: To be clear, in this context “war-readiness” should be taken not as actual combat but trade-related.]. (News media) should assign more staff for emergency/breaking news rotation and they should be ready 24/7.

Now we wait to see how the propaganda machine shifts to message this new phase of the deepening US-China contest.

One thing is clear, there seems little chance of turning back now, so suppress any remnants of wishful thinking and prepare accordingly…

Thanks for reading.

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The Essential Eight

1. US-China Trade War

China Tariff Retaliation Will Hit $60 Billion of U.S. Goods - Bloomberg:

China announced it will take retaliatory tariff action against $60 billion of U.S. goods, sharply escalating the trade war as the Trump administration considers imposing duties on virtually all Chinese imports.

China’s retaliatory tariffs, ranging from 5 percent to 10 percent on more than 5,000 items, will take effect on Sept. 24, China’s Ministry of Finance said in a statement posted on its website. Beijing is still ready to negotiate an end to the trade tensions, it said.

China's announcement of its new round of tariffs - 国务院关税税则委员会发布公告决定对美国原产的约600亿美元进口商品实施加征关税--时政--人民网:

根据《中华人民共和国对外贸易法》《中华人民共和国进出口关税条例》等法律法规和国际法基本原则,经国务院批准,国务院关税税则委员会决定对原产于美国的5207个税目、约600亿美元商品,加征10%或5%的关税,自2018年9月24日12时01分起实施。如果美方执意进一步提高加征关税税率,中方将给予相应回应,有关事项另行公布。

中方再次重申,实施上述加征关税措施的目的是遏制贸易摩擦升级,是对美方单边主义、贸易保护主义的被迫回应,中方希望美方停止贸易摩擦,中美双方通过平等、诚信、务实的对话,相互尊重,共同维护互利共赢的双边经贸关系大局,共同维护自由贸易原则和多边贸易体制,共同促进世界经济的繁荣与发展。

China Stocks Surge Despite New Trump Tariffs - Caixin Global:

Investors seemed to have shrugged off the index’s unfortunate milestone on Monday, when it hit its lowest level since November 2014. The index has been in bear market territory since June over lingering fears about the trade war, an uptick in credit defaults and a broader economic slowdown.

Trump Announces New Tariffs on Chinese Imports - WSJ $$:

Mr. Trump gave his approval for Mr. Mnuchin to try and arrange the meetings, but also made clear that wouldn’t stop the swift imposition of tariffs. That may undercut Mr. Mnuchin’s credibility in Beijing, making it more difficult to restart talks.

“This president is standing up to Chinese predation,” Peter Navarro, Mr. Trump’s trade adviser on China, said in an interview with Fox News, describing the president’s decision to issue more tariffs is “historic.”

“So far, the Chinese have responded, not by changing their behavior but rather by slapping tariffs back on us and engaging in the bullying of our farmers,” he added.

China Ready for `The Worst' in U.S. Trade War, Official Says - Bloomberg:

Fang Xinghai, vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said Trump’s tactic of trying to pressure China into trade concessions wouldn’t work because the economy was too strong. Tariffs on all exports to the U.S. wouldn’t be enough, he said.

“Even in that scenario, the negative impact on China’s economy is about 0.7 percent of GDP decline,” Fang said on a panel at a meeting of the World Economic Forum in Tianjin on Tuesday. “China has ample fiscal and monetary policies to cushion that impact. So we prepare for the worst, and we think the economy will still be fine.”

China Once Looked Tough on Trade. Now Its Options Are Dwindling. - The New York Times:

Chinese officials know what they don’t want to do. They have rejected one idea that would replace the matching tariffs with a more sophisticated system, said the people briefed on the discussions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the fragility of the deliberations. That response — discussed in detail within the Commerce Ministry and other agencies — would have led to lower tariffs on American goods in dollar terms, which could be seen as a fig leaf to the White House.

That approach would have recognized a potentially expensive new reality for Beijing: The tariffs may be here to stay. Mr. Trump is suffering from weak approval ratings and could lose influence in congressional elections in November. But while Democrats have opposed most of his agenda, many have supported his attacks on trade with China. Even if Mr. Trump leaves office in two years, there is little guarantee that his China trade policies will be changed.

Trump Tariffs Set Stage for Drawn-Out Trade Battle With China - Bloomberg:

In a call with reporters, two senior administration officials complained that China had retaliated to U.S. tariffs rather than bent to Washington’s demands.

Officials in Beijing, meanwhile, grumble to visitors that a third or more of U.S. demands are unrealistic, such as the calling for dismantling key areas of Xi’s “Made in China 2025’’ policy to lead the world in areas such as artificial intelligence.

They may have a point. Some American observers have started calling the demands the Trump administration presented in May the “surrender or die” document.

Goldman Sachs: China could target US tech stocks in trade war - CNBC:

Peter Oppenheimer told CNBC's "Street Signs" on Tuesday that China may impose tariffs on industry components that could have an effect on supply chains.

U.S.Technology firms could be first in the firing line, Goldman's chief global equity strategist added.

"The target may be technology companies that have been the main driver of the equity bull market that we have seen in the U.S. and beyond," Oppenheimer said.

Wilbur Ross: China 'out of bullets' to retaliate to new Trump tariffs - CNBC:

China is "out of bullets" to retaliate because its imports to the U.S. are nearly four times larger than the U.S. exports to China, Ross said on "Squawk Box."

Comment: Ross seems heavy on wishful thinking these days...

China's Grip on Rare Earths May Have Proven Too Strong for Trump - Bloomberg:

Rare earths including scandium and yttrium are absent from the latest list of about $200 billion of Chinese goods on which the Trump administration plans to impost duties from next week. They were among a number of items scrubbed from the preliminary target list released in July along with car seats and Bluetooth devices.


2. More political thought work needed in education

The People's Daily has been running a series of commentaries in the wake of Xi's speech at the recent National Education Conference, something I should have been paying more attention to. 

The People’s Daily commentary today on Xi Jinping’s recent speech stresses the CCP’s overarching role in education, says political thought work should be all-round, omnipresent, constant, integrated, embedded, permeating…

坚持党对教育事业的全面领导 ——论学习贯彻习近平总书记全国教育大会重要讲话 :

党政军民学,东西南北中,党是领导一切的。

习近平总书记在全国教育大会上发表重要讲话,从党和国家事业发展全局出发,突出强调了加强党的领导对于做好教育工作的极端重要性,对加强党对教育工作的全面领导提出了明确要求,为加快推进教育现代化、建设教育强国、办好人民满意的教育指明了正确政治方向、提供了根本遵循..

思想政治工作决不是单纯一条线的工作,而应该是全方位的,无处不在、无时不在的,融入式、嵌入式、渗入式的,不能搞成两张皮; 要精心培养和组织一支会做思想政治工作的政工队伍,把思想政治工作做在日常、做到个人。把加强党对教育工作的全面领导落到实处、落到细处,办好教育就有了根本保证。


3. #MeToo

Is #MeToo changing China? - The Washington Post:

The #MeToo movement in China has sent shock waves through progressive circles as some of the men accused of sexual assault and harassment are prominent intellectuals and activists who have long advocated for equal rights...

Like much of Chinese society, some male intellectuals and activists habitually call their female colleagues “beauties” or “goddesses” and post photos of scantily clad young women on social media. In campaigns to raise money for families of detained activists, organizer Rou Tangseng used photos of women’s bare legs to attract donations. I was once called “goddess” by a male activist when I criticized the Chinese government’s detention of political dissidents — but the same person called me “an ugly woman no man wants” when I raised the issue of gender discrimination in Chinese society.

Now something new is emerging from #MeToo: Some liberal intellectual men who in the past have not paid much attention to women’s rights issues have called for self-reflection and support of women’s rights.

Chinese feminists welcome progress after anti-harassment adverts on Beijing subway win widespread backing | South China Morning Post:

A campaign on the Beijing subway encouraging people to speak up against sexual harassment has been hailed by feminists as a sign of progress – a year after authorities in another Chinese city blocked an activist group’s bid to display a similar poster...

The signs on the passenger straps read: “Speak up together to prevent sexual harassment. Don’t be a silent victim. Don’t be a cold, distant observer.”


4. Real crackdown on fake data?

New rules crack down on fraud in statistics, guard data - China Daily:

China has introduced a new inspection regulation to crack down on statistical fraud and related illegal operations, which is expected to improve the authenticity of economic data and better support policymaking.

The 20-clause regulation, focusing on preventing and punishing statistical fraud, was disclosed by the general offices of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council on Sunday.

It was approved at a meeting of the Committee for Deepening Overall Reform of the CPC Central Committee on July 6 and has been in place since Aug 24.

The regulation - 中共中央办公厅 国务院办公厅印发《防范和惩治统计造假、弄虚作假督察工作规定》_中央有关文件_中国政府网 

Five Regions Caught Telling Companies to Cook Their Books - Caixin Global:

According to a statement issued by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Tuesday, staff members at local statistic bureaus were found to have instructed enterprises to fabricate statistics. In some cases, staff members filled in false information on behalf of the companies

The named and shamed cities included Binhai New Area of Tianjin municipality, Kailu county of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Fengxian county of Liaoning province, Gaomi of Shandong, and Lingwu of the Ningxia Hui autonomous region.


5. HNA's strange transactions

Caixin takes a long look at a shady 8 billion RMB worth of HNA related party dealings...the details came out after a lawsuit between HNA and the owner of a firm HNA acquired...sounds like HNA was using the firm to move money around to help other HNA firms get loans among other shady things...interesting that Caixin would go into so much detail, may very be a sign of more coming problems for HNA...

海航蹊跷走账80亿迷雾 -

这些走账资金呈现统一特征:资金往来均发生在与海航集团的关联公司之间,由海航集团的计划财务部统一调度,数额非常大,频率非常高。操作手法也相当一致:先将资金由一个关联企业(即贷款主体)转入拓展建设,再由拓展建设直接或辗转转回原转出企业,最终流向急于使用资金的“海航系”企业。资金仅仅在拓展建设账上停留几个小时,最迟次日就转出,且均不在月度报表和年度报表中予以反映。

丁小琥指称,海航集团利用拓展建设具备的一级建筑资质,通过虚构建设工程合同、虚开发票等方式,骗取银行贷款、票据承兑和金融票证,银行贷款以工程款名义汇入拓展建设的公司账户,再迅速转出到海航集团的关联公司,挪为他用,海航内部将其称为“盘活资金”。财新记者获悉,资金来源除了贷款,还有大量的信托融资。


6. New Era for "One Country, Two Systems"?

Professor Tian Feilong, associate professor at Beihang University’s Law School in Beijing and executive director of that law school's One Country Two Systems Legal Studies Centre argues that in the context of the rise of independence movements in HK and Taiwan China should upgrade its “one country, two systems” from its 1.0 version (with the focus on keeping the two systems separate) to a 2.0 version (integrating 融合 HK into the mainland with the emphasis on keeping “one country” as the bottom line). The “one country, two systems” policy should also be incorporated into the “belt and road” initiative as one of its important components to expand China’s influence.

十九大报告涉港论述解读 | 依法治港和有序融合

以往无论是对港还是对台,“融合”甚至一度成为一种政治禁忌,那是因为一国两制1.0时代奉行的是两制相对隔离的“分立模式”,分立有利而融合无力成为彼时一国两制实践理性的内核。这种与改革开放初期相伴随的港台治理思维与实践是具有历史合理性的,是对大陆及港台产生“双赢”结果的最优化安排,但却与中国今日引领的新全球化事业以及港台产生的本土分离挑战不相适应。

总之,一国两制已经出现了从“分立模式”的1.0版本向“融合”模式的2.0版本的转型,这种变化比邓小平时代的原初设想来得要早一些,但并未超出一国两制的宪制框架及其根植的国家理性范畴。进入有序融合时代的一国两制,已经不是简单的重构“一国”与“两制”关系,而是这种重构将严格服从和服务于作为国家顶层战略的一带一路。


7. Nightmare on Chang'an Jie for film industry

The tax evasion crackdown, limits on salaries, increasing content restrictions, now going after the box office...

Film Regulator to Ban Cinema Ticket Subsidies - Caixin Global:

The authorities met with major movie theater chains last week, including those under Dalian Wanda Group and the state-owned China Film Group Corp., to inform them of upcoming policy changes, including the prohibition of subsidies, several sources familiar with the matter told Caixin.

Subsidizing moviegoers has been a common tactic to boost box-office figures for years, leading to ticket prices often less than 10 yuan ($1.46). The cash either came from online ticketing platforms, which since its launch a few years ago have sought to change moviegoers’ habits and beat out their rivals; or from distributors and producers keen to inflate box office numbers to impress investors...

Distributors of certain films have spent tens of millions of yuan on ticket subsidies, which has made the competition “barbaric” and turned box-office revenues into “bubbles,” a film marketing professional told Caixin.


8. Shan Tianfang RIP

Shan Tianfang, a Superstar of Chinese Storytelling, Dies at 83 - The New York Times obituary by the always excellent Amy Qin:

With the collapse of the Cultural Revolution in 1976, Mr. Shan set out to revive his pingshu career. Many Chinese were hungry for something other than bland, party-approved propaganda, and it was against this backdrop that he leapt at the opportunity to record a pingshu radio broadcast.

So for his first radio performance, an abridged version of the historical novel “The Romance of Sui and Tang Dynasties,” Mr. Shan used the studio’s three recording technicians as his audience and adjusted his performance based on their reactions.

The performance had its premiere in 1980 on Chinese New Year, and more than 100 million Chinese were estimated to have tuned in during the 56 hours over which it was broadcast. It was the beginning of a dramatic second act both for Mr. Shan and for pingshu in the People’s Republic of China. He was soon a household name across the country.

Here is one video of him performing, from Youtube:

I used to listen to him occasionally to learn Chinese...another era..


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

China's central bank injects market liquidity via MLF - Xinhua: China's central bank Monday pumped 265 billion yuan (38.6 billion U.S. dollars) of funds into the market via the medium-term lending facility (MLF) to maintain liquidity. The funds will mature in one year with an interest rate of 3.3 percent, unchanged from previous operations, according to the People's Bank of China (PBOC)... Analysts said the MLF operation was aimed at offsetting the impact of government bond issuances, tax payments, quarterly regulatory assessment on banks and a stronger demand for cash ahead of the Mid-Autumn Festival and the National Day holidays.

李克强:各地一律保持现有社保政策不变 Li Keqiang tells officials to not change the social security tax collection policies in their localities...clearly the center is very sensitive to any changes that will increase the tax burden on already struggling firms, even if they have been cheating on their social security tax payments for years...“必须按照国务院明确的‘总体上不增加企业负担’的已定部署,确保社保现有征收政策稳定,在社保征收机构改革到位前绝不允许擅自调整。对历史形成的社保费征缴参差不齐等问题,严禁自行集中清缴。”李克强总理在9月18日的国务院常务会议上特别强调。

China's Central Bank Has $1.3 Trillion Money-Fund Headache - Bloomberg: While the funds have offered savers a handy alternative to risky stocks and once high-flying wealth management products, they’re effectively raising borrowing costs. That’s because, with some 8.6 trillion yuan ($1.3 trillion) according to the Asset Management Association of China, they’re sapping the flow of savings to banks, which in turn are having to pay the funds higher rates when taking their cash as deposits.

原深圳市副市长张思平:政府退一步 中国经济海阔天空 Former deputy mayor of Shenzhen and a long-time reformer Zhang Siping expressed concerns over SOEs’ encroachment on market economy on an economic forum in Hebei during the weekend// 各级政府在实践中将大量的资源通过不同的方式基本上都配置给了国有企业,这使得国有企业成为政府用行政手段配置资源的工具、平台、载体,扭曲了资源配置在政府、市场、企业之间的关系,背离了“政府调控市场,市场引导企业”的市场经济调节模式 他指出,这一方面形成了国有企业的市场垄断地位和不公平竞争的环境,妨碍社会主义市场经济体制的完善和市场机制的发挥,另一方面还鼓励国有企业凭着特殊的地位和政府的政策,盲目扩张,挤占了民营企业的发展空间,形成国有经济布局不合理、产能过剩、“国进民退”的格局,给国有企业发展带来长远不利影响。

Investors hungry for Chinese hotpot as Haidilao raises nearly $1 billion in IPO | Reuters Haidilao, which mainly serves spicy Sichuan style hotpot and is popular for the free services and entertainment such as manicures and board games offered to waiting customers, sold about 8 percent of its enlarged equity capital at HK$17.80 ($2.27) per share, giving it a valuation of about $12 billion.

China issues 4.4 trln yuan of bonds in August - Xinhua The value of bonds issued in China last month totaled 4.4 trillion yuan (about 641 billion U.S. dollars), according to data from the central bank. Treasury bond issuance stood at 369.5 billion yuan, while local government bond issuance was worth 883 billion yuan, according to the People's Bank of China.

‘Made In China 2025’: a peek at the robot revolution under way in the hub of the ‘world’s factory’ | South China Morning Post In the second report in a series, He Huifeng and Celia Chen look at how Beijing's ambitious industrial plan aims to break China’s reliance on foreign technology and pull its hi-tech industries up to Western levels

Controversy Swirls as Global Rating Firms Customize for China - Caixin Global “What China lacks most is credit ratings and analyses that are in line with international standards. If S&P and Fitch do so (tailoring ratings for China), foreign investors will still have no point of reference,” a Hong Kong-based bond market professional said. S&P, Fitch and Moody’s Investors Services have all submitted applications to Chinese regulators to set up solo units in the country. The central bank announced policies last year to allow foreign rating companies for the first time to assess the quality of bonds on the China Interbank Bond Market, where 90% of onshore debt is traded.

Trump tariffs: Hurricane Florence rebuilding costs to rise | McClatchy Washington Bureau While prices naturally rise after a natural disaster, given the spike in demand for building materials, Trump’s trade war has already boosted costs for imported plywood and lumber, which jumped 30 percent in the six months after the Trump administration announced tariffs on Canadian softwood timber in December. In addition, Trump’s tariffs on Chinese imports have boosted prices for furniture, washing machines and other appliances, and the president late Monday announced an additional 10 percent tariffs on a range of Chinese exports, which could increase to 25 percent by the end of the year.

 

Politics, Law And Ideology

习近平在全国组织工作会议上的讲话 published version of Xi's remarks at the July National Organization Work Conference

New judicial guidelines proposed to safeguard core socialist values - Xinhua China's Supreme People's Court (SPC) has released a 2018-2023 work plan to promote the full implementation of core socialist values in handling judicial interpretations. Judicial interpretations are guidelines or instructions issued by the SPC on specific legal issues, which are binding on courts at all levels across China. 

以社会主义核心价值体系为魂,全面筑牢司法解释的价值基础——就《最高人民法院关于在司法解释中全面贯彻社会主义核心价值观的工作规划(2018-2023)》访最高人民法院研究室负责人 A spokesperson from the Supreme People’s Court elaborated in an interview on the court’s recently released work plan (full text not seen yet) for implementing core socialist values in judicial interpretations.// 一是,就司法解释中如何体现爱国、敬业、文明、和谐的核心价值作出要求。就此,要修订完善有关名誉权、荣誉权司法解释,加强对英雄烈士名誉权、荣誉权案件纠纷的指导力度 要修订完善有关执行工作的司法解释,促进社会信用体系建设。要修订完善涉海事海商案件司法解释,服务和保障我国海洋强国战略。

Thai Court Rules Police Can Hold Chinese Dissident Couple For 12 More Days - RFA Wu Yuhua, who is also known by her nickname Ai Wu, was detained by police in Bangkok with her husband Yang Chong on Aug. 29 and locked up in an immigration detention center. They had lodged a bail application last week in a bid to stall attempts to repatriate them to China, where they fear political reprisals at the hands of the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

 

Foreign and Military Affairs

Entente Is What Drives Sino-Russian Ties - Carnegie Moscow Center - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Still, a Russia-China defense alliance is a far-fetched possibility. Both China and Russia regard themselves as self-sufficient military powers. Neither Russia nor China would want — or tolerate — a hierarchical relationship with the other. Permanent military alliances in peacetime are a thing of the past, or — as in the case of NATO — a reflection of dominance and voluntary submission, hardly relevant for China and Russia. Yet the Moscow-Beijing relationship, while not an alliance, is also more than the strategic partnership it still calls itself. To borrow a word from the past century, it is best described as an entente — a basic agreement about the fundamentals of world order supported by a strong body of common interest.

Critic of China's internments says Turkey may bar his family - AP An outspoken critic of China’s internment camps who now lives in Istanbul says his wife and son face potential deportation to China because Turkish authorities might bar them from entering the country. Omir Bekali, a Kazakh national, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Turkish authorities are holding his wife and 2-year-old son at the airport in Istanbul and are accusing them of using fake passports.

Chinese institute's virtual ground stations serve 10 countries - Xinhua The Institute of Aerospace Information Research has helped 10 countries install virtual ground stations, it said in a report Tuesday. The report was released at the fourth International Symposium on Earth Observation for Arid and Semi-Arid Environments, which began in Xining, capital of China's northwestern Qinghai Province, on Monday. The 10 countries are Mongolia, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Venezuela, Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Thailand and Belgium.

Art troupe of PLA Rocket Force shuts curtain with last song before demobilization - Global Times The art troupe of People's Liberation Army (PLA) Rocket Force said farewell to the public in a video uploaded on the army's website 81.cn on Friday afternoon.  The Rocket Force is the first military branch that announced it would shut down a performance troupe. The shutdown of the Rocket Force art troupe is part of the massive restructuring of the PLA which will see 300,000 soldiers laid off.

Top Chinese Army officer assures Australia free navigation in South China Sea 'never a problem' - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Speaking in Canberra, People's Liberation Army Senior Colonel Wang Jingguo said it is up to Australia to decide whether its military wanted to challenge China's territorial claims in the strategic waterway. "Actually — freedom of navigation exercises is not a problem, it has never been a problem in the South China Sea," Colonel Wang said.

The BRI in Pakistan: China’s flagship economic corridor | Mercator Institute for China Studies CPEC projects (as listed on this Pakistan government website) constitute the bulk of BRI-related activities in Pakistan, and its stated goals align with those in China’s main BRI policy documents. CPEC, however, does not cover all joint Sino-Pakistani infrastructure efforts that can be seen as furthering BRI goals. CPEC projects, moreover, do not always involve China directly. In line with the methodology behind the MERICS Belt and Road Tracker, we have chosen to include non-CPEC projects when they fall within the range of BRI goals.

Chinese Navy launches 2019 pilot recruitment, focusing on recruiting carrier-borne aircraft pilot cadets - China Military The highlight of this year's recruitment is the selection of future carrier-borne aircraft pilot cadets. Through shifting from "shore-based" to "carrier-based" standards, the PLA Navy aims to build a pilot recruitment system “with Chinese naval characteristics that can adapt to carrier-borne requirements".

China decries ‘arrogance’ in Sweden and rejects police response as tourist row escalates | South China Morning Post Ambassador Gui Congyou went on the offensive during his second interview in two days with Swedish media, after local police denied wrongdoing in their handling of the incident. Gui blamed what he described as the “biased” views of Swedish people for the impact on bilateral ties, as well as reiterating his criticism of the Swedish government’s handling of the tourist case two weeks ago.  //  Comment: Beijing is turning this into a real test for Sweden. Will the country cave to Chinese histrionics and bullying? Perhaps if the politicians had not rolled over in the Gui MInhai case Chinese diplomats would be a bit less aggressive?

Senior CPC official meets Myanmar's NLD delegation - Xinhua | A senior Communist Party of China (CPC) official said Tuesday that the CPC will continue to deepen exchanges on state and party governance experience with Myanmar's ruling party, the National League for Democracy (NLD). Huang Kunming, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks when meeting with an NLD delegation led by vice chairman of the NLD U Zaw Myint Maung.

Vatican to send delegation to China before possible bishops deal: sources - Global Times Vatican may send representatives to China before both sides could reach a long-waited agreement on the appointment of bishops, sources familiar with the matter told the Global Times. There are no "disputes on issues of principle" between the two sides, and since the meeting between the two sides was previously held at the Vatican, the Vatican delegation will come to China this time for a meeting in late September and if the meeting goes well, the agreement would be signed, a source familiar with the issue told the Global Times on Tuesday.

 

Tech And Media

State media calls out Didi for its misleading "one click" panic button · TechNode Despite the improvements, China National Radio called out the ride-hailing company for potentially misleading users about its emergency button. Although the feature is branded as “一键报警,” usually interpreted as “one click to call the police,” it actually prompts passengers to tap at least twice to contact authorities.

China’s Temporary Game Approval Freeze – All questions answered – Niko It is important to note that despite the temporary game approval freeze, the demand from gamers has not decreased at all. In fact, the games industry has continued to see growth, albeit it a slower rate than during the same period last year. Hit legacy titles continue to perform well and larger companies have been able to launch brand new successful games that were approved prior to the freeze. Whilst it’s unclear when the SAPP will complete its reforms and start game approvals again, we do expect to see a rebound in the China games market when this happens as new games are approved and released.

Grand Theft Auto maker calls US-China video game trade unequal | Abacus Zelnick pointed out that Chinese companies are free to buy American companies and publish their games in the country -- something US companies are unable to do freely in China. “We, in order to go to China, have to have half our business owned by a local company.”

Huawei, ZTE Deny Indian 5G Network Ban | Yicai Global Huawei is actively listening to the Indian government’s needs and is in regular cooperation with authorities and operators, the telecoms giant said in a weekend statement. New Delhi welcomes Huawei with an open mind and supports the firm, which is also conducting 5G trials with operators, it added. ZTE has not received notice of a ban, it told Yicai Global.

 

Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

China’s ‘Masculinity Crisis’: The Internet Slang That Stereotypes Chinese Men | What's on Weibo This month, a well-known Chinese educational program for children that featured a ‘feminine-looking’ boyband ignited discussions on masculinity in China. What’s on Weibo provides an overview of Chinese media’s stance on the recent discussion, and an introduction to five popular social media slang terms stereotyping Chinese me

 

Energy, Environment, Science And Health

China names and shames 158 companies for pollution - Xinhua | China's environmental authority has named and shamed 158 companies that discharged major pollutants at seriously excessive levels in the first quarter of 2018. Nearly half of the polluters were urban sewage treatment plants, and others included heat suppliers, coal chemical processing firms, and printing and dyeing companies, according to the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

Chinese consumers’ crazy rich demand for rosewood propels drive toward its extinction | South China Morning Post The tastes of China’s nouveau riche are driving demand for the rare tropical hardwood, which is prized for its use in replica Ming and Qing dynasty furniture. Known in Chinese as hongmu, rosewood is a fragrant, richly hued tree native to the tropics, from Southeast Asia to West Africa to Latin America. Chinese rosewood furniture has been meticulously carved by craftsmen since at least the 10th century, but the wood came into its own during the Ming dynasty, when a unique joinery technique was perfected.

Are China’s toxic running tracks still poisoning its children? | South China Morning Post The latest cases occurred in the city of Handan, northern China’s Hebei province, and in Wuhan, capital of central Hubei province. Several first-grade pupils at a junior school in Handan began experiencing nosebleeds earlier this month, according to the Yanzhao Evening News. They were all in first-floor classrooms next to a running track that had been retrofitted with a plastic coating in the weeks leading up to the start of school, the report said.

Parents Claim Children Sick From Toxic School Grounds - SixthTone Some 132 of the 1,200 students enrolled at the newly built Canglong No. 2 Primary School in Wuhan suffered from nosebleeds, vomiting, and eczema, one parent surnamed Xia — who did not offer her full name for privacy reasons — told Sixth Tone on Monday. The mother of a 7-year-old student claimed that the illness was linked to toxins in the classrooms, running track, and playground.

 

Agriculture And Rural Issues

Swine Fever Mystery Threatens China's $128 Billion Pork Industry - Bloomberg With no vaccine to protect animals, researchers say the lethal virus -- which can survive for more than a year in dry-cured ham -- is likely to spread rapidly among China’s 433 million pigs and reach other countries, potentially even the U.S. “What we’re seeing so far is just the tip of the iceberg,” Juan Lubroth, chief veterinary officer with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome, said after an emergency three-day meeting in Bangkok this month. The emergence of the disease in other countries “will almost certainly occur,” he said.

 

Jobs And Events

Upcoming Live Event: Reporting from Xinjiang with Journalist Megha Rajagopalan | Center for a New American Security Watch a special conversation with BuzzFeed News correspondent Megha Rajagopalan, hosted by CNAS and ChinaFile, to discuss her on-the-ground reporting on China’s internment camps and other abuses of the ethnic Uighur minority in Xinjiang.