Tariffs And A New Era Of US-China Relations; More On The "Revolutionary" Reorg; Debt Cleanup; Third Plenum; From Shenzhen To Xiongan

Politico reported Tuesday that President Trump rejected a $30 Billion tariff package against China as too small. Reuters reports it may be as high as $60 Billion. Why not make it $100 Billion? That is a nice, big, round number, and fits with his tweet from last week. 

Whatever the number is, the 301 investigation will soon bear very bitter fruit. And as Trump reverts to his long-held inclinations towards China while surrounding himself with like-minded advisors we should expect that US-China relations are about to enter a much more difficult "New Era". This is not unexpected, Trump seems to always revert to his base and gut, but North Korea and "globalist" advisors have checked some of the stronger moves against China, until now. Now the dam here in DC really looks about to break...

Thanks for reading

The Essential Eight

1. Trump Wants A Big, Round Number For China Tariffs As We Enter A New Era Of US-China Relations

Trump demands aides pump up anti-China tariffs - POLITICO:

Trump told Cabinet secretaries and top advisers during a meeting at the White House last week that he wanted to soon hit China with steep tariffs and investment restrictions in response to allegations of intellectual property theft, according to three people familiar with the internal discussions...

During the meeting, which hasn’t been previously been reported, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer presented Trump with a package of tariffs that would target the equivalent of $30 billion a year in Chinese imports. In response, Trump urged Lighthizer to aim for an even bigger number — and he instructed administration officials to be ready for a formal announcement in the coming weeks, according to two people involved in the administration’s trade deliberations...

Comment: Restrictions on visas for science and technology-related study and exchanges would be significant. Will other countries like Germany, UK, Japan and Australia follow the US, or would the scholars just move from the US to those countries? And would this lead to a “purge” at the the US national laboratories?

The administration is also considering restricting visas for Chinese citizens or tightening controls on exports of certain goods or technologies that have both military and civilian uses, two of the administration officials said.

The visa restrictions could hit Chinese students going to school in the United States, especially graduate students in science and technology programs, as well as other Chinese nationals working in sensitive jobs, such as at national laboratories. But some administration officials have raised objections to the visa restrictions, and it’s unclear whether they’ll be included in the final package.

Trump eyes tariffs on up to $60 billion Chinese goods; tech, telecoms, apparel targeted - Reuters:

A third source who had direct knowledge of the administration’s thinking said the tariffs, associated with a “Section 301” intellectual property investigation, under the 1974 U.S. Trade Act begun in August last year, could come “in the very near future.”

While the tariffs would be chiefly targeted at information technology, consumer electronics and telecoms, they could be much broader and the list could eventually run to 100 products, this person said.

Marco Rubio: To Fight China on Trade, We Need More Than Tariffs - The New York Times:

We should enforce the rules by taking additional actions against China. Last year, the Office of the United States Trade Representative announced its investigation of Chinese intellectual property theft under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. This authority allows for a wide range of actions. The Trump administration should push its boundaries.

For example, the government should impose duties on Chinese industries that benefit from stolen American intellectual property, and those penalties should be equivalent to the size of the economic loss faced by American producers. We should limit “joint ventures” with Chinese copycat companies and encourage our allies to do the same. We should prohibit Chinese investment in industrial categories where the Chinese have blocked American investment. And when the Chinese threaten retaliation and bring suit at the World Trade Organization, we should welcome the opportunity to have China publicly repudiate its anti-free trade practices.

China has ample bargaining chips to use as it faces possible trade war with US - Global Times:

According to a plan submitted to the national legislature for deliberation on Tuesday, the country will set up a State grain reserves administration. China has huge reserves of corn and grain as great efforts have been made to safeguard its food security. If Beijing launches anti-dumping and anti-subsidy probes into imports of US soybeans, the government can increase the supply from reserves to the market. China can stabilize the market even if the country temporarily suspends imports of US soybeans.

In addition, Brazil-sourced soybeans have become an ideal substitute for the US crop. Brazil's share of soybean exports to China grew to 53.3 percent in 2017, while US sales accounted for only 34.4 percent of China's imports, Reuters reported.

Washington’s economic nationalism will bring chaos to international order - Global Times

The US will suffer due to its unscrupulous attempt to pursue economic interests at the expense of other countries, a lose-lose situation for Washington and other major economies.

The author is a professor with the Institute of International Relations at China Foreign Affairs University

With Tillerson gone, who is there left for China to talk to in the Trump White House? | South China Morning Post:

Zhang Zhexin, research fellow at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, said the appointment of Pompeo, a member of the ultra-conservative “tea party”, as secretary of state meant a hardliner would be at the forefront of US foreign policy.

“This is definitely not good news for Sino-US relations,” Zhang said. “Once Pompeo is confirmed, it could cause a further deterioration in trade disputes between the two countries, and the tensions could extend into the security and diplomatic arenas. Pompeo has consistently held a very conservative position, and is likely to be even tougher on Sino-US relations than Trump, which to a certain extent will expand conflict between China and the US.”

Comment: What about the nomination of Susan Thornton to be assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs? There are plenty of people in DC who think she has been too soft on China, and in the current environment and with the State Department leadership change it is not clear if the nomination will now proceed.

CIA Director Pompeo Says More Powerful Xi Could Be a Force for Good - Bloomberg October 2017

“We think that President Xi will come out of this in a dominant position with incredible capacity to do good around the world,” Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo said Thursday in Washington. He said the CIA’s “old-school guys who used to do Kremlin work” in the days of the Soviet Union are now tracking the political machinations surrounding the congress that’s held in China only once every five years. 

Does Pompeo still think this?

2. 5G Will Be Huge For China

China Eyes Leading Role in Global 5G - Caixin Global:

If the plan proceeds on schedule, 2020 could see 484 billion yuan ($76.5 billion) worth of output in China for products and services related to 5G, said Liu Duo, head of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, a top research body connected to the nation’s telecommunications regulator...

Such a timeline would also make China among the first countries in the world to roll out full-scale commercial 5G services. Such a development would be a sharp contrast to the past, when the nation was often years behind as it let Western companies take the lead in developing and perfecting new technologies.

“In the past, China was a blank slate for 2G,” Liu told Caixin in an interview, referring to some of the earliest wireless technologies to enter the country around the turn of the millennium. “For 3G, we played catch-up; for 4G, we were in step with others; and now for 5G, we hope to be a leader. We have been creating an industrial chain these last few years, which has given us the ability to reach this stage.”

Trump’s Killing of Chip Deal Pushes Protectionism as It Invokes Security - The New York Times:

In part, the White House was concerned that Broadcom’s multiple joint ventures in China might give the Chinese government the ability to influence Broadcom’s actions — including decisions about whether to continue building up Qualcomm’s research and development capacity. On Monday, Mr. Trump killed the potential $117 billion takeover, circumventing Qualcomm’s shareholders, who had been asked to give Broadcom control by approving a slate of new board members.

3. More On The "Revolutionary" Reorg

The NDRC, previously the State Planning Commission, looks to be the biggest loser. 

‘Too big and too powerful’: why Xi Jinping is reining in China’s economic planning agency | South China Morning Post:

The National Development and Reform Commission, known as the “little cabinet”, has been a formidable power centre in the world’s second-biggest economy, with its portfolio ranging from approving high-speed railway projects to the electricity rates for every household. It will remain one of the 26 bodies under the State Council, but many of its functions will be taken over by other agencies, according to the plan presented to the National People’s Congress...

Cai Jiming, director of Tsinghua University’s political economy research centre and an NPC delegate, said on Tuesday that the commission had focused too much on “development” and not enough on “reform”.

“Its [previous] responsibilities were focused on development ... It supervised too many things – planning, project approvals and investment – but it did very little in terms of reform,” Cai said.

Latest Overhaul Marks China’s Eighth Cabinet Revamp - Caixin Global:

The changes in government structure have also reflected Beijing’s efforts over the past four decades to move toward a market-based economy.

In 2003, the term “planning” in the name of the country’s top economy policymaker was scrapped, leaving it with its current moniker, the China Development and Reform Commission.

China to Shake Up Central Agencies - Caixin Global:

The reorganization of central government agencies is not just about reshuffling existing agencies or the creation of new ones, but more about helping the government become more professional, accountable and efficient, according to Mao Shoulong, professor of governance study at Renmin University.

Any overhaul of the government will work only if it is guaranteed by forceful laws and regulations, Mao wrote in China Reform, a bimonthly magazine owned by Caixin.

4. The Debt Cleanup

This Time It’s Different: The Ecosystem of China’s Financial Sector Cleanup - MacroPolo:

Beijing is in the midst of a campaign to improve the quality of Chinese banks’ assets, but its success in cleaning up the banks during the early part of the 2000s is no guide to the approach being taken this time.

Rather, a new ecosystem of financial institutions, products, and investors has evolved to help banks dispose of their bad loans. Some of this is driven by top-down reform, others by bottom-up innovation, and much of these activities have gone relatively unnoticed.

Unlike last time, the banks don’t need to be rescued. The clean-up is about shoring up the financial system now, at a time of the government’s own choosing, rather than being forced to do so under duress caused by some economic or financial shock.

MacroPolo’s ‘The Cleanup’ will monitor those efforts, track the changes, and strive to identify trends that might otherwise not draw much attention.

The Cleanup - Macropolo site on China's Debt:

The Cleanup features regular and in-depth analysis of the ways China’s financial system is dealing with the risks that potentially threaten its stability.

MacroPolo fellow Dinny McMahon has a new book out on China's debt-China's Great Wall of Debt: Shadow Banks, Ghost Cities, Massive Loans, and the End of the Chinese Miracle, reviewed here in the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. McMahon, a former Beijing-based correspondent for this newspaper, suggests that China has powered ahead for as long as it has not because it is immune to crises but because its government has so far managed to intervene to stave them off. When China’s stock market plunged in 2015, the central government directed fund managers to buy instead of sell and pressured journalists to write only optimistic reports. One reporter who strayed from the official line was trotted out on state television to apologize.

China to Merge Banking, Insurance Regulators - Caixin Global:

The reform, part of the nation’s overhaul of government agencies, marks the most significant change in the structure of China’s financial regulatory framework since the CBRC was created in 2003, as the country attempts to better control risks springing from an industry that has become increasingly sophisticated and opaque.

The restructuring of the financial regulatory system aims to “solve the problems in the existing framework, including unclear regulatory responsibilities, overlapping regulation, and gaps in regulation,” State Councilor Wang Yong said in a report to the National People’s Congress explaining the overall government overhaul plan.

The new system will “strengthen comprehensive regulation, optimize the allocation of regulatory resources, and better coordinate the regulation of financial institutions of systemic importance,” he said.

Central Bank Gets More Power in Government Shake-Up - Caixin Global:

The PBOC will be responsible for the formulation of a development strategy for the financial industry, and the relevant financial regulators will no longer prepare their own plans. The central bank will also coordinate legislation for the financial industry so that it will be unified rather than each regulator doing things their own way. This will also avoid any conflicts between different laws and delays in preparing legislation. In addition, the PBOC will coordinate the security review of mergers and acquisitions in the financial sector and the industry’s opening up to foreign investors.

Separating the responsibilities of regulation and enforcement and giving the PBOC the power to formulate policies governing the financial industry takes two main factors into consideration.

First, taking away regulators’ right to make the rules reduces the discretionary power of the departments responsible for enforcement and increases policy transparency. This will ensure that regulators focus on enforcement and prevent them deviating from their objectives.

Second, it will help prevent and defuse systemic financial risks. Against the backdrop of the clear trend of financial companies getting involved in a wider range of business activities, the potential for financial risks to spread and amplify across jurisdictions and business sectors is evident. As a result, the task of preventing systemic financial risks has gone beyond the capabilities of individual regulatory authorities.

5. Financial Regulators Have To Prove Their Mettle

In the current environment there is no upside for being lenient. If you are soft you are either not properly implementing Party Center policy or you are on the take from your regulatory targets, or both. This logic applies across the system…

China's regulators compete to look tough as political pressure mounts - Reuters:

Officials at the central bank, as well as at the banking, insurance and securities regulators, have been stepping up their enforcement activities, which have been under increased scrutiny since late last year, the sources told Reuters.

Regulatory officials worry they may get into trouble for not acting fast enough or being tough enough on financial institutions, the sources said.

But senior industry sources say some of the new regulations, such as the central bank’s new rules restricting asset management, are unnecessarily harsh and can may hurt the development of the financial system and the economy.

Chinese stock regulators levy $870M fine in scandal - AP:

China’s securities regulator said Wednesday it fined a company a record 5.5 billion yuan ($870 million) for manipulating share prices in the latest scandal to roil the country’s turbulent markets.

Xiamen Beibadao Group made a 945 million yuan ($150 million) profit by using 300 trading accounts to manipulate share prices of two banks and an aluminum maker, the China Securities Regulatory Commission said. It gave no details of possible criminal charges against employees. Phone calls to the CSRC weren’t answered.

6. US Federal Reserve Warns Industrial & Commercial Bank of China

U.S. Warns China’s Largest Bank Over Money Laundering Protections - Caixin Global:

The U.S. Federal Reserve has ordered the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. (ICBC) to bolster its protections against money laundering.

The central bank identified “significant deficiencies” in the risk management of the Chinese lender’s New York branch, which failed to comply with laws and regulations that seek to prevent money laundering, the Fed said in an enforcement order (PDF) on Tuesday.

ICBC, which has agreed to resolve the issue without going to court, will be given two months to submit new policy plans to the Fed, and was instructed to work out an “internal program” with risk-based auditing that “encompasses all appropriate areas of audit coverage,” the order said.

The order does not disclose what the violations were. Is it possible this is another warning shot around North Korea? China Merchants Bank has been under the gun to clean up DPRK-related dealings, but so far the Trump Administration has resisted significant action against any of the big PRC banks.

7. The Recent Third Plenum May End Up Known As The "Party Eating The State" Meeting

Article stresses CPC overall leadership in Party, state institutions - Xinhua:

The overall leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) should be guaranteed and strengthened in the deepening reform of Party and state institutions, a senior Chinese official wrote in the People's Daily on Wednesday— 杨晓渡在《人民日报》发表署名文章: 构建系统完备、科学规范、运行高效的党和国家机构职能体系 

"The overall leadership of the Party is the fundamental guarantee for deepening the reform," wrote Yang Xiaodu, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee...

Yang wrote that leadership of the CPC was the most essential attribute of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and the greatest strength of this system, therefore it is necessary to improve the Party's ability to govern and lead.

He said that apart from the overall leadership of the Party, the reform also requires law-based governance with clear functions and responsibilities, world-class forces with Chinese characteristics and mass organizations for bridging and serving the general populace.

"Only in this way, can the reform promote coordinated actions and resultant forces among the people's congresses, governments, political advisory bodies, and supervisory, judicial and prosecutorial organs, people's organizations, enterprises, public institutions and social organizations, under the unified leadership of the CPC," Yang wrote.

"To carry out the reform, efforts should be made to improve the system for upholding overall Party leadership and optimizing the structure and functions of government institutions.

The background to the restructuring announced at the NPC is in the Third Plenum decision on deepening reform of Party and state institutions that came out right before the NPC--official English summary  official Chinese release.

8. From Shenzhen To Xiongan

On the first anniversary of the Xiongan announcement CCTV has released a 5:30 minute video -"From Shenzhen to Xiongan". It opens with comments from Xi’s dad Xi Zhongxun...the Deng Era had Shenzhen and Pudong, the Xi Era will have Xiongan-原创时政微视频丨从深圳到雄安:

2017年3月 ,中共中央、国务院印发通知,决定设立河北雄安新区。




Here is the video on Youtube:

Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

Chile attempts to block China from prize lithium asset - Reuters Chile’s government has asked antitrust regulators to block the sale of a 32 percent stake in Chilean lithium company SQM SQM_pb.SN to a Chinese firm on the grounds it would give it an unfair advantage in the global race to secure resources to develop electric vehicles.

Breakingviews - Blackstone’s Schwarzman schools CIC on art of deal Stephen Schwarzman has schooled China Investment Corp on the art of the deal. China’s sovereign wealth fund has offloaded its stake in Blackstone, according to documents the $42 billion private equity firm filed with U.S. regulators on March 1. It bagged a so-so return over the decade or so of its investment, while the partnership helped the buyout behemoth open some lucrative doors in the world’s second-largest economy.

China’s Economy Is Not Normal. It Doesn’t Have to Be. - The New York Times - Yukon Huang What some take to be the Chinese economy’s weaknesses have, in fact, been strengths. Unbalanced growth isn’t evidence of a looming risk so much as a sign of successful industrialization. Surging debt levels are a marker of financial deepening rather than profligate spending. Corruption has spurred, not stalled, growth.

Factory Activity Growth Picks Up on Solid Demand - Caixin Global China’s economy got off to a strong start this year on the back of robust capital spending and real estate investment, as well as strong demand for industrial goods.

What Caused China’s Coal Crunch? - Caixin Global A number of factors led to this winter’s coal crunch. On the supply side, at the end of 2017, China’s total coal inventory — including stockpiles at coal mines, railway stations, ports and power stations — plumbed an all-time low of 60 million tons, after two years of capacity cuts, curbs on coal imports and an extensive anti-pollution campaign. At the same time, economic recovery and extreme summer and winter weather meant demand for coal rebounded in 2017 after three years of declining consumption from 2014 to 2016.

China Steel Hub Orders New Output Cuts in Push for Blue Sky - Bloomberg Tangshan City, the country’s steel-producing hub, has ordered a two-tier system of restrictions that will last from March 16 through Nov. 14, according to a statement on the website of the city’s branch of the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top planning body. Mills closest to the city center will have to halt 15 percent of capacity, while the remainder will need to idle 10 or 15 percent.


Politics, Law And Ideology

Wang Yang elected chairman of China's top political advisory body - XInhua A total of 24 people were elected vice chairpersons of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country's top political advisory body, on Wednesday. They are Zhang Qingli, Liu Qibao, Pagbalha Geleg Namgyai (ethnic Tibetan), Tung Chee-hwa, Wan Gang (China Zhi Gong Party), Edmund Ho Hau Wah, Lu Zhangong, Wang Zhengwei (ethnic Hui), Ma Biao (ethnic Zhuang), Chen Xiaoguang, Leung Chun-ying, Xia Baolong, Yang Chuantang, Li Bin (female), Bater (ethnic Mongolian), Wang Yongqing, He Lifeng, Su Hui(female), Zheng Jianbang, Gu Shengzu, Liu Xincheng, He Wei, Shao Hong, Gao Yunlong.

Forbidden Feeds: Government Controls on Social Media in China - PEN America Based on extensive interviews with writers, poets, artists, activists, and others personally affected by the government’s grip on online expression, as well as interviews with anonymous employees at Chinese social media companies, Forbidden Feeds: Government Controls on Social Media in China lays bare the destructive impact of the Chinese government’s vision of “cyber sovereignty” on netizens who dare to dissent. The report also includes an Appendix that documents 80 cases of Chinese citizens warned, threatened, detained, interrogated, fined, and even imprisoned for online posts over the past six years.

China to adopt more flexible policies for hukou registrations in cities - ECNS China's top economic planner has called for a comprehensive increased relaxation of criteria to register for urban hukou (household registrations) amid efforts to promote a new round of urbanization. The National Development and Reform Commission said efforts will be made to study how to transfer hukou and credits-for-hukou among regions, as well as help people who live in rented homes to become eligible for urban hukou.

Xi Jinping takes leading role in hit propaganda film extolling ‘amazing’ China | South China Morning Post Chinese President Xi Jinping was the de facto lead of Amazing China, a film released by state broadcaster CCTV to highlight China’s achievements over the past five years, and now the all-time top grossing documentary in the country. As one of the most highly rated films now in mainland theatres – attracting a 9.6 out of 10 on Chinese film platform Maoyan – it has raked in 227 million yuan (US$35.9 million) at the box office since it hit cinemas on March 2. The 90-minute documentary is part of a sweeping propaganda blitz that elevates the ruling Communist Party’s successes and Xi’s role in driving progress.

Xi Jinping, Constitutional Reformer | China Media Project On January 2, 2013, the China Media Project published an English-language translation of the New Year’s Greeting that opened the January edition of the liberal journal Yanhuang Chunqiu. Called “The Constitution is a Consensus for Political Reform” (宪法是政治体制改革的共识), the article argued that divisions over how to promote political reform, a “task of pressing urgency,” could be bridged by turning to the language of the Constitution. “As this new year begins, we have a new group of leaders, and certain changes in the way these leaders operate have been cause for encouragement,” said the article. “In this new year, what we hope among a multitude of other things is that there can be real action to make our Constitution real.”..One has to imagine the insult cuts deep. Xi Jinping, it turns out, is a constitutional reformer after all. And now that he has detonated term limits on his own position as head of state, he can continue to be.

SIPO/IP Agencies to Be Reorganized and Consolidated | China IPR - Intellectual Property Developments in China According to the plan, after the reform, the number of state-level ministries and commissions will be reduced by 8 and vice-ministerial agencies were reduced by 7.  State Councilor Wang Yong(王勇), who was formerly a Minister at AQSIQ (Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, 2008-2010) where he addressed tainted milk amongst other issues,  noted in introducing the changes to SIPO that “SIPO would be newly organized.  The creation, protection, utilization of IP will be strengthened as an important measure to speed up the establishment of an innovative economy.” The proposal includes combining trademarks and patents which are separately managed and have “redundant” enforcement authority.   These authorities will be combined with ASQISQ’s authority over Geographical Indications to establish a national General Administration of Market Administration (国家市场监督管理总局) (“GAMA” for purposes of this blog).

Minitrue: Do Not Hype Two Sessions Reporter’s Eyeroll – China Digital Times (CDT) Urgent notice: all media personnel are prohibited from discussing the Two Sessions blue-clothed reporter incident on social media. Anything already posted must be deleted. Without exception, websites must not hype the episode.

Supervision Law (Deliberation Draft) - China Law Translate

Bilingual NPC Organizational Chart – NPC Observer The above chart and the following notes are based on relevant provisions of the Constitution and the Organic Law of the National People’s Congress.

China Focus: Mobile internet enhances judicial efficiency, transparency - Xinhua As a hearing on a securities fraud case was about to open in the intermediate people's court of Guangzhou in south China, the plaintiff's attorney, Ye Fapan, was accompanying his pregnant wife in their hometown in Anhui Province, over 1,000 km away. However, the lawyer did not miss the hearing. He opened a mini-program embedded in messaging app WeChat, named "Guangzhou Micro Court," on his mobile phone and completed an identification process. Seconds later, his face appeared on the LED screen in the courtroom. This was the first time the court allowed an attorney to join a proceeding via mobile internet.

Xinjiang reported free of terror attacks last year - China Daily There were no terrorist attacks in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region last year, the region's chairman said on Tuesday as he discussed the regional government's determination to keep the social situation calm. "Xinjiang will continue to enforce the comprehensive anti-terrorism measures to keep the region stable," said Shohrat Zakir, chairman of Xinjiang. He spoke during a plenary session of the Xinjiang delegation to the first session of the 13th National People's Congress, the top legislature


Foreign and Military Affairs

China launches mega aid agency in big shift from recipient to donor | South China Morning Post The new agency, the International Development Cooperation Agency, will answer to China’s highest executive body, the State Council, and consolidate roles that had been between divided between the ministries of commerce and foreign affairs. It comes as China, the world’s second-biggest economy, is dispensing foreign aid in all forms, from loans at both market and concessional rates to donations, making the transition from recipient to donor.  //  Comment: Why does the World Bank still work in China then?

China raises pay, pensions for trimmed down military, announces plans for veterans’ ministry | South China Morning Post Backdated increases are partly an attempt to improve compensation for officers who have been told to head for the exit, source says

Special Chinese envoy to visit India between March 18-21 - Times of India In the current springtime atmosphere between India and China, India will host a significant Chinese leader this weekend. Song Tao, chief of the international relations department of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will visit India between March 18-21 to meet leaders of different Indian political parties.

China to Give Century-Old Laos Hospital New Lease of Life - Caixin Global China has signed an agreement with Laos to renovate a hospital in Vientiane, one of Beijing’s largest overseas health care investments, as the government seeks to diversify “Belt and Road” initiative projects. China’s Ministry of Commerce on Wednesday said that construction will start in October of a new 600-bed hospital building on the site of the century-old Mahosot Hospital along the Mekong River in the capital of the Southeast Asian nation.

Chinese Military Website Confirms Sea Trial of Shipborne Railgun | The National Interest Blog Sea tests of China’s indigenous electromagnetic railguns are underway, Chinese papers have revealed, quoting delegates of the People’s Liberation Army who are attending the annual parliamentary session in Beijing. This has been further confirmed by a feature on the PLA-run news portal 81.cn about a female lead engineer who was the brains behind a repeating pulsating direct current power system that could charge the railgun.


Hong Kong, Macao

Hong Kong chief Carrie Lam on protests and Xi’s charisma - FT $$ When I ask which political leader she most admires, she pays homage to Xi, who this month laid the groundwork to be China’s president for life after amending the constitution. “You may say that it’s shoe-shining but I have to say I find President Xi more and more charismatic and admirable in the things that he is doing and saying,” she says.


Tech And Media

Ex-Regulators Fill Top Posts at Ant Financial - Caixin Global Anbang also hired ex-regulators to fill top posts.... //  The revolving door from regulator to industry has some questioning whether there has been excessive accumulation of power within enterprises such as Ant Financial. At least four former employees of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and one former employee of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) are now working at Ant Financial, Caixin has found.

Ant Financial Ventures Into Pakistan Through Telenor Deal - Caixin Global Ant Financial Services Group, the internet finance affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., has agreed to buy a 45% stake in Telenor Microfinance Bank (TMB), Pakistan’s largest mobile financial service provider.

张朝阳和王小川共振的产物出来了,到底是啥?_搜狐科技_搜狐网 王小川:往下是个融合的时代,可能以后企业里要求你建党委,开始入国资,就是一个混改。如果你想清楚这个事,你真的和国家能够共振起来,你的支持会非常大。但是你天生觉得说我要自由,我要跟国家的这种利益和国家所倡导的东西唱反调,那你可能自己会痛苦,比原来更痛苦。// Comment: Sogou CEO Wang Xiaochuan explains why it is a much better choice to submit to whatever the Party wants

Abacus Launched By South China Morning Post To Offer Insider’s Look Into China Tech Industry The South China Morning Post, a global media company reporting on China and Asia for over a century, today announced the launch of Abacus (www.abacusnews.com), an English-language news brand and product covering the China tech industry. Abacus is led by Ravi Hiranand, who joined SCMP's editorial leadership from CNN, and offers an insider's look at the China tech revolution, highlighting the key players, emerging companies, hottest gadgets, and more through both editorial and multimedia storytelling. To celebrate the launch of Abacus, Hiranand and SCMP Head of Product Malcolm Ong, will ring the New York Stock Exchange Opening Bell this Friday.

Abacus-South China Morning Post The content looks interesting but the UI/color scheme looks like a Wired layout

Tencent disables comments section for new official WeChat accounts at request of Beijing | South China Morning Post Tencent Holdings, which operates the app on the Chinese mainland under the name Weixin, said all new official accounts as well as those opened in the past three months that had not activated the comments section by Tuesday, will not be able to use the comments function, “upon the request of authorities in charge.”

China’s New Media Regulator Is Likely to Push Patriotism – Variety Establishing a new super-regulatory body over media, entertainment and online communications will make it easier for the government to enforce its hard line. So will the possible merger of giant state broadcasters China Central Television (CCTV), China Radio International, and China National Radio. The structure of the new regulator is not yet clear. It was previously reported that SAPPRFT would be merged with the Communist Party’s publicity department, but other sources describe it being folded into the Ministry of Culture.

Quick Take: Sunac’s Sun Resigns as Leshi Chairman - Caixin Global Sun’s Sunac in January 2017 agreed a 15 billion yuan cash infusion to LeEco in exchange for an 8.61% stake in Leshi.

Chinese AI isn't beating the U.S. yet — and may never catch up - Axios  U.S. and Canadian AI researchers retain an advantage in what is an archetypically futurist field requiring serious conceptual skills, namely because they can do whatever they want. The fact of western intellectual freedom may sound like vapid nationalism, but it's actually crucial in AI research // Comment: I hope the US is doing more than just hoping this view is true...


Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

习仲勋忆刘志丹谈“左”祸:为突出自己致同志于死地--文史--人民网 刘志丹率部东征前,习仲勋去看他,刘志丹对老战友说了一番肺腑之言:“从多年的经验看,我们党犯的左的错误多,这是小资产阶级急性病、狂热病的表现,企图一个早上把一切都变个样。他们看了一点马列的书,不看中国的实际……”

The Cabbage Villages Uprooted Over Olympic Dreams - Sixth Tone Scores of households refused to sign the relocation agreement, which was later rescinded. They remained in their homes while their neighbors gradually moved into apartment buildings. Months later, before the break of dawn on a November morning in 2016, authorities arrived to relocate the remaining villagers. Although dozens of police and medics were deployed as a precaution, the Taizicheng residents went quietly. Because the holdout villagers hadn’t agreed to the proposed compensation amount, a total of around 60 households took the case to the Zhangjiakou Intermediate People’s Court in late 2016. They won against the district government, but the Hebei provincial court later overturned the decision in an appeal. They are now hoping that other villagers who agreed to the deal but are still awaiting the apartments they were promised will join their effort. Both former Taizicheng villagers who spoke to Sixth Tone emphasize their support for the Olympics, saying that they love their country, and that they don’t want anyone to see China in a bad light. All they want is fair compensation.


Energy, Environment, Science And Health

China to launch Chang'e 4 this year, eyeing lunar base in 2025 - ECNS China plans to launch the Chang'e-4 lunar lander and rover spacecraft this year with the aim of touching down on the far side of the moon, said Zhao Xiaojin, Party chief of the China Academy of Spacy Technology and also a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference

China can live up to Hawking’s expectation for space exploration: Chinese scientist - Global Times "Although China's aerospace exploration started much later than the US and other developed countries, it may still obtain a leading position in moon landing and outer-space exploration in a new era," Jiao Weixin, a space science professor at Peking University, told the Global Times.