The core is a "magic weapon"; Hong Kong; Tough job market; Indo-Pacific strategy
It has been a week since Xi or any other members of the Politburo Standing Committee have been seen in public reports. Xi has sent several messages and signed at least one order, and Li Keqiang sent comments to a meeting on agriculture, but they have not personally appeared. They also do not appear in the Tuesday, February 15th People’s Daily.
Does anyone anyone remember a week with none of the PBSC members appearing in public that was not the “Beidahe break” in August?
Perhaps they are preparing for the Two Meetings that start in less than a month, perhaps they want to let the focus remain on the Olympics, so it may be nothing. But it seems worth mentioning.
The US released the public version of its “Indo-Pacific Strategy”. It is not the long-awaited China strategy, though China does loom large in it. The strategy looks interesting, though the lack of any real commitment around joining existing or creating new free trade agreements is a glaring weak spot, and one that is impossible to fix given US domestic politics.
Today’s Essential Eight:
Laying the theoretical foundation for Xi at the 20th Party Congress
Hong Kong outbreak
Tough job market
Financial Asset Exchanges - microcosm of why it is so hard to prevent financial risk
US Indo-Pacific strategy document
Plan for agricultural and rural modernization
Thanks for reading.
The Essential Eight
1. Laying the theoretical foundations for Xi at the 20th Party Congress
"Party, government, military, civilian, and academic, east, west, south, north, and center, the party leads everything"--First in a People's Daily series on the 10 clarifies from the historical resolution. This first one is on clarifying that the Party leads everything.
There is not much new in here from what we have seen since the 6th Plenum, but there are a couple of bits I thoughts were interesting.
First, this, another usage of the term '定于一尊、一锤定音的权威 one position in the highest authority, making the final decisions", which I discussed in the 2.8 newsletter after its appearance in Qiushi. It is one of those terms that popped up for a bit a few years ago, then seemed to have faded, and now may be coming back in a big way in the runup to the 20th Party Congress。
The other interesting language is that "having a core is a magic weapon to lead one from victory to victory 拥有了核心，就拥有了从胜利走向胜利的法宝". There are three "official" "Magic weapons" - United front, armed struggle, party organization building - so if having a "core" is going to be made a fourth that would be a big deal. It is not clear that is what is going here, but as this piece is on page one of the People's Daily it is worth watching.
Concepts like these matters because they, along with the new concept from the 6th Plenum of the "two establishes" - establish the status of Comrade Xi Jinping as the core of the Party’s Central Committee and of the whole Party, and to establish the guiding role of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era - look to be key additions to the theoretical foundation being built to justify Xi staying in power as long as he wants. Theoretical justifications matter for the CCP, and even though most people expect he will not step down at the 20th Party Congress and instead will either stay on as General Secretary or as the newly reconstituted "Party Chairman", there need to be the proper theoretical supports in place.
The piece includes 24 mentions of "core 核心", including several exhortations to "拥护核心 support the core" and "捍卫核心 defend the core".
Party Central Committee must have one position in the highest authority, making the final decisions
The establishment of Xi Jinping as the core of the CPC Central Committee and the core of the whole party, and the establishment of the guiding position of Xi Jinping Thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era reflect the common aspiration of the whole party, the whole army and the people of all ethnic groups in the country. This is of decisive significance to the development of the cause of the party and the state in the new era and the historical process of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
When the red flame was ignited in China, the people realised more and more clearly from the bright oil lamp in the small building in Zunyi, Guizhou, and from the spring breeze of reform and opening up that having a core is a magic weapon to lead one from victory to victory; when we defend the core, we are defending the advantages of Marxist political parties.
Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, General Secretary Xi Jinping, with the loyalty of "I will be selfless and determined to devote myself to serving the Chinese people and China's development", has led the great ship of China to navigate through dangerous beaches and fight rough waves, and promoted the historic achievements and changes in the cause of the party and the country, becoming the well-deserved core of the party, the People's Leader and the commander-in-chief of the army.
Tracking People's Daily has a longer excerpt of this piece here.
The orchestrated adulation that has carried Mr. Xi into 2022 adds to the growing certainty that he will secure another term in power at a Communist Party congress late in the year. In an era of global upheaval and opportunity, scores of senior officials have said, China needs a resolute, powerful central leader — that is, Mr. Xi — to ensure its ascent as a superpower.
2. Hong Kong outbreak
Hong Kong breached a new threshold with about 2,000 suspected Covid-19 cases reported on Sunday, along with more than 1,340 confirmed infections, as sources revealed authorities could start imposing rolling district lockdowns to cut off transmission chains.
To boost the vaccination drive, the government also announced that children as young as three would be allowed this week to receive the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine against the coronavirus...
While Chief Secretary John Lee Ka-chiu on Saturday ruled out adopting mainland China’s controversial but effective strategy of city lockdowns, an insider familiar with the matter said the local government was considering blanket bans on movement on a district level in order to carry out mass testing.
The approach could involve breaking down each district into several areas and locking down each one, in a rolling approach to screening.
As “the tremendous surge” in cases has “lengthened the lead time for admitting people who test positive to isolation facilities,” which is “highly undesirable,” the Hong Kong government will start working through the task forces with the mainland as soon as possible to enhance the city’s testing and isolation capabilities by all means, she added.
Lam made the remarks at an internal high-level meeting Sunday, during which she appointed five senior officials to convene five task forces that will coordinate with their counterparts in the central government and the Guangdong provincial authorities to tackle the “aggravating situation,” according to the press release.
On Saturday, top officials from Hong Kong and the mainland held a meeting in the neighboring city of Shenzhen.
The mainland side decided at the meeting to send Covid testing personnel and rapid antigen test kits to Hong Kong, provide aid in building community isolation and treatment facilities and ensure the supply of fresh food and daily necessities to the city
Last Saturday, the CHP said 42 residential care facilities had reported infections since the beginning of the fifth wave in late December. That was followed on Sunday by an additional 11 care homes.
“The outbreak serves as a window of opportunity to introduce whatever China means by its ‘dynamic zero strategy’ to Hong Kong,” said Kenneth Chan, associate professor specialising in Hong Kong politics at Hong Kong Baptist University. “The ‘patriots only’ leaders in government and the legislature are eager to transplant what they see as the mainland approach to show how it works in Hong Kong, though none of them were able to tell and inform citizens here what exactly they have in mind.”
Sources said it would be “a scalable plan” that would allow for capacity to be increased should the outbreak spiral further out of control, but the choice of location would be partially decided by the initial size of the facility.
The hospital would be modelled on the type that first appeared in the mainland Chinese city of Wuhan at the start of the pandemic more than two years ago and which provided thousands of additional beds within just a few weeks, they said.
3. Mainland outbreaks
Suzhou sounds worrisome.
The eight cases -- seven confirmed patients and an asymptomatic one -- are all from the Suzhou Industrial Park, home to some 1,837 high-tech firms in areas including bio-pharmacy, nanotechnology applications and artificial intelligence.
The first confirmed patient was working at an enterprise in the park dealing with imported material (not cold-chain) warehousing.
The city of Suzhou in East China’s Jiangsu province has beefed up epidemic control measures, including suspending online and in-person sales of anti-fever medicine as well as part of hospitals’ outpatient and emergency medical services, after four people tested positive for Covid-19 Sunday.
Another four people tested positive since then, bringing the total number to eight cases, local authorities said at a Monday press conference. Preliminary analysis results showed the patients were infected with the highly transmissible omicron variant.
Suzhou issued Circular No.10 in 2022, which stated that citizens "don't go out without necessity or leave the Suzhou without emergency"; From 0: 00 on February 15th, the city closed 15 expressway entrances.
The Chinese mainland on Sunday reported 84 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 26 locally transmitted cases and 58 arriving from outside the mainland, the National Health Commission said in its daily report on Monday.
Of the new local cases, 18 were reported in Liaoning, six in Guangxi, and one each in Guangdong and Yunnan, the commission said.
The statement came after some netizens swarmed the comment section of the Beijing Municipal Education Commission's social media account, asking for an explanation over some campuses' controversial policies on persuading students to get inoculated
Pfizer’s pill will serve a strategic purpose, said Zeng Guang, a former chief scientist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention who advised Beijing on Covid control, told investors in a briefing organized by Sealand Securities Co. on Saturday, hours after the approval was announced. The move may lay the groundwork for China’s Covid containment regime to gradually give way to a more flexible approach, he suggested, according to a transcript seen by Bloomberg News
Comment: One, why wouldn't they if they can get supplies? Two, I am skeptical this is a sign of any near-term shift in the government's approach to "dynamic zero-Covid". I expect they would need a massive stockpile of doses, far greater than Pfizer is expected to produce this year, for the entire world, before they wold loosen up because of this treatment.
An online rumor that the National Immigration Administration is issuing and renewing passports for private travel was denied by the administration on Saturday.
It said it will continue to maintain a strict entry and exit policy due to the COVID-19 pandemic overseas.
The rumor that immigration authorities in some regions had resumed the issuance and renewal of passports for private purposes, including overseas travel, spread rapidly on social media platforms last week, prompting some people to make inquiries to the administration.
It refuted the rumor in a statement, saying the pandemic situation abroad remains grim and there are major security risks in cross-border travel. It said people should not leave China unless such travel is urgent or necessary.
The warehouses will conduct unified disinfection and testing procedures for imported cold-chain foods, which can enter the market only after certified at the warehouses, according to the State Administration for Market Regulation.
These warehouses will play an important role in cutting off potential COVID-19 transmission channels, facilitating the disposal of imported cold-chain foods in emergency cases and reducing costs, the administration said.
Question: Are there any good estimates of the size of the COVID-related economy in China, from testing to PPE to quarantine center management and construction to this kind of stuff? At least when it comes to the testing business don't be surprised if it turns out some people are making massive profits, and that at some point that draws the ire of central officials
4. Tough job market
The government will offer special help to young entrepreneurs as “starting a new business has a multiplier effect in driving up employment”, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s top economic planning agency, said on Friday...
The list of preferential policies include free, government-funded start-up incubators, special loans with reduced interest rates, fee and tax cuts, as well as the possibility for college students to retain school credits while taking years off to start a business.
Comment: A sign of a very difficult job market
NDRC notice on employment - 【关于深入实施创业带动就业示范行动 力促高校毕业生创业就业的通知(发改高技〔2022〕187号)】-国家发展和改革委员会
Youzan, one of China’s largest e-commerce service companies, is reportedly planning to lay off 1,500 people, or nearly 30% of its employees. The company is the latest Chinese tech firm to cut workers as Beijing enters the second year of tightening regulations.
Comment: Rumors also that Didi laying off 20% of its workers and Zhihu also doing layoffs. That is a lot of relative well-paid white collar workers being dumped into a tough job market, in large part due to the regulatory changes. The Education regulatory wipeout alone probably cost will over 100,000 decent jobs.
Chinese media outlet LatePost reported on Monday that Didi Global Inc., the Chinese ride-hailing giant, is now implementing the company’s long-rumored layoffs. One Didi employee said that the plan will be implemented very quickly and that layoff notices will be completed by the end of February.
The proportion of layoffs will vary from department to department. The overall layoff ratio will remain at 20%, and the operations and business departments will be cut by 20%.
Their situations mirror the results of a quarterly report released late last month by the Ant Group Research Institute and Peking University’s Centre for Enterprise Research and Institute of Social Science Survey.
The report included data from a survey involving 15,569 micro and small enterprises (MSEs), and it shows that the fourth quarter of 2021 saw turnover among MSEs fall to 129,000 yuan on average, from 131,000 yuan in the third quarter.
5. Financial Asset Exchanges - microcosm of why it is so hard to prevent financial risk
Baoneng wasn’t the only cash-hungry company to tap these relatively low-profile but popular local exchanges. HNA Group Co. Ltd., China Evergrande Group and UCF Holdings Group Ltd. each raised billions of yuan on these markets, according to a Caixin analysis, adding to the buildup of unsustainable debt that eventually crippled them...
Local exchanges “deviated (from their original purpose) and turned into channels for illegal financing … for those wanting to raise money, and some even became illegal self-financing channels for individual companies,” a source close to regulators told Caixin. “They have turned into a new kind of hidden risk.”
Now, after years of playing whack-a-mole, financial regulators are planning a decisive strike to end the chaos...
Local FAEs boomed because they seemed to be a win-win for everyone. Local governments had a vested interest in promoting their FAEs and ensuring their success. They were an important channel for LGFVs to raise money to invest in local projects and for real estate companies to fund their local housing projects, which created jobs and generated fiscal revenue through land purchases and property-related taxes and fees.
Retail investors were happy because the exchanges allowed them to buy investment products even though the rules banned them from doing so...
Locals buy these products because they know that if there’s any problem with repayment they will be first in line to get their money back because the local government needs to maintain social stability, a person at a local exchange told Caixin...
The source with a local FAE told Caixin, “If I am supervising myself, what’s the motivation for supervision? If you don’t restrain local officials, you’ll never solve this problem. There will always be performance impulses and rent-seeking impulses at the local level.”..
6. US Indo-Pacific strategy document
In the last year, the United States has modernized its longstanding alliances, strengthened emerging partnerships, and forged innovative links among them to meet urgent challenges, from competition with China to climate change to the pandemic. It has done so at a time when allies and partners around the world are increasingly enhancing their own engagement in the Indo-Pacific; and when there is broad, bipartisan agreement in the U.S. Congress that the United States must, too. This convergence in commitment to the region, across oceans and across political-party lines, reflects an undeniable reality: the Indo-Pacific is the most dynamic region in the world, and its future affects people everywhere.
The public version of the strategy, here in PDF. Some excerpts:
This intensifying American focus is due in part to the fact that the Indo-Pacific faces mounting challenges, particularly from the PRC. The PRC is combining its economic, diplomatic, military, and technological might as it pursues a sphere of influence in the Indo-Pacific and seeks to become the world’s most influential power. The PRC’s coercion and aggression spans the globe, but it is most acute in the Indo-Pacific. From the economic coercion of Australia to the conflict along the Line of Actual Control with India to the growing pressure on Taiwan and bullying of neighbors in the East and South China Seas, our allies and partners in the region bear much of the cost of the PRC’s harmful behavior. In the process, the PRC is also undermining human rights and international law, including freedom of navigation, as well as other principles that have brought stability and prosperity to the Indo-Pacific...
Our objective is not to change the PRC but to shape the strategic environment in which it operates, building a balance of influence in the world that is maximally favorable to the United States, our allies and partners, and the interests and values we share. We will also seek to manage competition with the PRC responsibly. We will cooperate with our allies and partners while seeking to work with the PRC in areas like climate change and nonproliferation. We believe it is in the interests of the region and the wider world that no country withhold progress on existential transnational issues because of bilateral differences...
We will also work with partners inside and outside of the region to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, including by supporting Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities, to ensure an environment in which Taiwan’s future is determined peacefully in accordance with the wishes and best interests of Taiwan’s people. As we do so, our approach remains consistent with our One China policy and our longstanding commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act, the Three Joint Communiqués, and the Six Assurances
Comment: The economic bits look to be glaringly deficient given that the US can not deliver on what much of the region wants most-- The US joining the CPTPP is not possible
Derek J. Grossman @DerekJGrossmanIndia is big winner in Biden’s new Indo-Pacific Strategy. Basically, you can’t have an INDO-Pacific strategy without India’s strong role. US must keep “Supporting India’s continued rise & regional leadership.” Modi’s foreign policy shift paying dividends. https://t.co/RHECYOLVNP
“This is not our China strategy,” said a senior US official. But “it clearly identifies China as one of the challenges that the region faces and in particular the rise of China, China’s much more assertive and aggressive behaviour.”
"Fiji and all the Pacific Island nations are a vital part of the Indo-Pacific region," Blinken told a news conference with Fiji's Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyu...
Fiji and our small-state neighbours have felt at times, to borrow an American term, like a flyover country, " he said...
In a briefing on the flight to Fiji, a senior U.S. administration official told travelling reporters that "there are very clear indications that (China) want to create military relationships in the Pacific".
Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences saw the strategy as a "ridiculous conclusion of the US on dealing with so-called 'Indo-Pacific' affairs" in an attempt to join hands with a wide range of Asian countries who are reluctant to do so, except Australia...
Experts believed that the strategy, which desperately urged reluctant countries to act together to counter China, is not only a waste of its already shrinking diplomatic resources, but also reflected the US' "powerlessness" in competing with China on its own. "In the end, Washington will realize its Indo-Pacific strategy is too big to be realized by such a declining power, basically a fantasy," said Lü.
Ma Xiaoguang, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said relevant content has gravely interfered in China's internal affairs, violated the one-China principle and basic norms governing international relations, and undermined peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
7. Plan for agricultural and rural modernization
The Chinese government has issued a plan to advance agricultural and rural modernization during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025), according to a circular issued by the State Council on Feb 11.
The plan outlines that by 2025, supply of grain and other staple agricultural products will be guaranteed, with quality, efficiency and competitiveness of agriculture industry enhanced, and new progress made in rural infrastructure construction...
The plan has specified tasks to stabilize grain acreage, optimize structure of grain species, beef up farmland protection to guard the red line of 1.8 billion mu (120 million hectares) of arable land and promote high-standard farmland construction...
Disaster prevention and relief, market adjustment for important agricultural products must be strengthened with stabilized supply chains of international agricultural products to enhance anti-risk ability of the sector, according to the plan.
The country will strengthen scientific and technological support for modern agriculture, boost development of seed industry, and improve abilities for agricultural equipment research and application, as per the plan.
It also outlines establishment of a modern rural industry system to keep the main body of industrial chains in county regions to create more jobs and benefits for farmers.
Xu Mengtao won the first-ever Olympic gold medal in women's freestyle skiing aerials for China at Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou, north China, on Monday night, and could not stop screaming with joy after a confident display in sub-zero temperatures.
The 31-year-old veteran, who won the individual silver in 2014 and followed it up with another silver in the mixed team event at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics last week, scored a whopping 108.61 points in the final to take the long-awaited title of Olympic champion.
Gu Ailing has been a great success at the Winter Olympics. I, like most Chinese, am happy that she won a gold medal for China. At the same time, I would like to remind everyone that propaganda directed at Chinese public opinion about her should be moderate, limited to the scope of her athletic success and her Olympic spirit. There should be no patriotic emphasis such as “she won glory for China”. Such statements are better avoided; better to say she “she won glory for the Chinese Olympic Team”.
The reason for this is that Gu Ailing has barely turned 18 and for at least the next several years, she is likely be based mostly in the United States. We cannot be certain about the decision she may make about her nationality and how she will manifest her national identity as she matures. Propaganda towards domestic Chinese public opinion regarding her should leave some areas ambiguous so as to avoid a shock in the future.
For all of the events of the Winter Olympics, China has established deep collaborations with experts from winter sports powers such as Norway, Austria, Switzerland and Finland, including the recruitment of high-level foreign coaches and overseas training for athletes.
At present, nearly 100 foreign winter sports coaches are working in China, including some of the best in the business.
After South Korean speed skater Cha Min-kyu lost to Chinese skater Gao Tingyu in speed skating men's 500 meters final on Saturday, he made a controversial gesture by wiping the podium before stepping on it at the award ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics, appearing to hint that the competition was "unclean and unjust."
Jake Chelios confirmed that he and several of his Team China teammates still have their American passports. When asked whether he had naturalized as a Chinese citizen, Chelios said, “I don’t think we’re supposed to comment on that.”
In Zhangjiakou, an area near Beijing where some competitions are being held, the Chinese authorities have temporarily taken over the Malaysian-owned Genting Secret Garden ski resort. The resort expanded its capacity to 3,800 rooms and vacation apartments, up from 380 before China won its Olympic bid. Lim Chee Wah, the founder and a co-owner of the resort, said in an interview that he had not been told how much the government would compensate him for the use of the resort for most of the winter season, but that he trusted it would be fair.
Recalling those vitriolic attacks from the US media, US lawmakers, and the Indian press, Vipinder Jaswal, founder of the PR company, Vippi Media, said the attacks were misplaced and that the Olympics should not be so politicized.
Media reported that US-based PR company Vippi Media had signed a $300,000 contract with the Chinese consulate general in New York to "strategize and execute" an influencer-led campaign to promote the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
Business, Economy and Trade
China's cenbank to keep liquidly ample, step up finance support for key sectors | Reuters The People's Bank of China (PBOC) will meet the reasonable financing demands of the real economy while not resorting to flood-like stimulus, it said in its fourth-quarter implementation report...The PBOC said it would keep growth of money supply and total social financing basically in line with nominal economic growth...The central bank will also fend off systemic financial risks and will not use real estate as a short-term method of stimulating the economy, it said.
PBoC's Financial News on the report - 人民银行发布《2021年第四季度中国货币政策执行报告》 稳健的货币政策要灵活适度 加大跨周期调节力度
China’s provincial GDP growth targets average 6% for 2022 - Global Times With North China's Tianjin Municipality releasing its GDP growth target for 2022 over the weekend, the nation's 31 provincial-level regions on the mainland have all announced their economic goals, which average about 6 percent - generally lower than for 2021
Chinese developers selling off more London property to raise cash | Financial Times $$ Other Chinese developers have defaulted on loans and stopped paying bills on London projects as Beijing cracked down on the highly levered sector. One of the largest projects, the Royal Albert Dock development owned by Beijing-based Advanced Business Park, is on the brink of collapse after creditors appointed administrators to recover unpaid debts last week.
Beijing court forces Chinese billionaire to hole up in UK | News | The Sunday Times The billionaire behind one of China’s biggest property developments in the West is holed up in London after a Beijing court served him with a travel ban and tough spending restrictions over unpaid debts. Xu Weiping, the businessman responsible for developing the Royal Albert Docks in east London, is also embroiled in a legal dispute in Britain after his former finance director accused his company of fraudulent trading. He was staying in a £5.5 million mansion in an affluent suburb last week.
Tesla zeroes in on Beijing for design centre to build Chinese-style cars for the mainland market | South China Morning Post The US carmaker’s design and engineering hub will be one of the key projects in China’s capital this year, according to a report by the Beijing municipal government. Construction of the centre will start this year, but other details such as investment and inauguration date were not provided.
八部门：对网约车不依法纳税等行为纳入联合监管-中新网 Eight ministries including China’s transportation watchdog and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology published a notice recently intended to close the loopholes in car-hailing services. From “low-price dumping” to personal information protection to the reporting of relevant data, the notice makes it clear that the authorities have the right to suspend apps if companies fail to comply with regulations. These ministries will also intensify scrutiny on tax evasion activities from car hailing firms.
上海新规：禁止平台以“最严算法”考核新就业形态劳动者 _ 经济参考网 _ 新华社《经济参考报》官方网站 In a move to protect the rights of gig workers, Shanghai has unveiled a new guideline aimed at prohibiting firms from adopting the “most stringent assessment” method 最严算法, which covers a slew of standards from food delivery time to the reasonable amount of orders. According to the guideline, firms must “bear relevant, legal responsibilities” even if they hire workers on a contract basis.
The US is about to get its first Chinese IPO in months from Meihua International Medical Technologies - CNN Meihua International Medical Technologies, which sells medical supplies around the world, is expected to debut this week on the Nasdaq in New York.
2022年提前批地方债额度1.79万亿：专项债1.46万亿，一般债0.33万亿 - 21经济网 When the government debt research and evaluation center of the Ministry of Finance released the January local debt issuance data, it was disclosed that with the approval of the State Council and reported to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for the record, the Ministry of Finance issued the new local government debt limit of 1,788 billion yuan in advance in 2022, of which the general debt limit was 328 billion yuan and the special debt limit was 1,460 billion yuan. // 财政部政府债务研究和评估中心发布1月地方债发行数据时披露，经国务院批准，并报全国人民代表大会常务委员会备案，财政部提前下达2022年新增地方政府债务限额17880亿元，其中，一般债务限额3280亿元，专项债务限额14600亿元。
发改委将出台国有经济布局优化结构调整目录_中证网 The National Development and Reform Commission will unveil a catalogue on “structural adjustments” as part of the state-owned enterprise reforms, with a focus on mixed ownership reforms in emerging industries. One other priority will be risk control. Specifically, the authorities are looking to bolster China’s strategic reserve system in areas like railways, electricity and grain security. 二是更加注重通过改革防范化解重大风险。把推进改革同防范化解重大风险结合起来。加强战略物资储备体系建设，稳步推进电网、铁路等行业改革，建设全国统一电力市场，保障重要资源能源安全。推动政府粮食储备规模结构布局调整优化，保障粮食安全。完善社会主义市场经济条件下的新型举国体制，深化科技体制改革，推动实现高水平自立自强。
Chinese Developer Shimao to Sell Five-Star Quarry Pit Hotel for USD354 Million to Cut Debts Shimao Group Holdings has put its luxurious Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland hotel, located down an abandoned mine pit and close to the Asia Pacific region’s only Smurfs theme park, up for sale for CNY2.25 billion (USD354 million), Yicai Global learned from a realtor source...It is one of 36 real estate projects that the Chinese developer said last month that it intends to sell as the debt-mired firm looks to raise more than CNY77.1 billion (USD12.2 billion) to reduce liabilities. // Comment: Rare to have an opportunity to buy something in an abandoned mine pit that is also close to a Smurfs world.
支付宝基金平台涉嫌“操纵”销售榜单 销售数据靠“综合排名”_金融频道_财新网 Alipay suspected of manipulating the rankings of the "top-selling funds" it displays to users - Caixin
Property Giant Vanke Prepares for ‘Life or Death’ Battle Amid Flagging Market - Caixin “We are facing a battle this year for life or death, with no gray area. The real estate industry’s overall balance sheet will shrink, which means its development will rely less on borrowing,” Vanke Chairman Yu Liang told the company’s annual managers’ conference in January, according to a transcript of the speech verified by Caixin...With state-owned Shenzhen Metro Group Co. Ltd. as its largest shareholder, Vanke has been able to avoid a liquidity crisis faced by a number of debt-ridden property companies since late last year.
China Car Sales Falls in January Amid Holiday, Covid Disruptions - Bloomberg Total car sales fell to 2.1 million units in January, data from the China Passenger Car Association released Monday show. Deliveries of new-energy vehicles however more than doubled to 347,000 units. Tesla Inc., the U.S. electric car pioneer that has a factory in Shanghai, was the No. 1 seller of such cars during the month, shipping 59,845 vehicles including 40,499 for export.
China Developer Zhenro Bonds' Drop Shows Transparency Risk - Bloomberg Zhenro Properties Group Ltd.’s spiraling bond prices show just how risky it is to invest in Chinese developer debt -- even when a repayment looks imminent. The firm’s $200 million perpetual bond was trading at 93 cents on the dollar before it plunged 59.3 cents Friday, after concerns emerged that the firm may not proceed with a planned redemption of the note in March // Comment: That "transparency risk", known to anyone paying attention, seems to have been underpriced
Chinese interbank bonds held by overseas institutions top 4 trln yuan-Xinhua By the end of January, bonds in China's interbank market held by overseas institutions reached 4.07 trillion yuan (about 639.29 billion U.S. dollars), said a report released by the People's Bank of China Shanghai Head Office. The figure showed a rise of 70 billion yuan from the end of December in 2021.
China's central SOEs report growth in January-Xinhua Net profits of central SOEs expanded by 10.2 percent from a year ago to 142.38 billion yuan (about 22.36 billion U.S. dollars) in January, said the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) of the State Council. The central SOEs raked in 3 trillion yuan in combined revenues in the first month of 2022, an increase of 12.4 percent year on year, according to the SASAC.
BlackRock Unit Gets Green Light to Join Personal Pension Trial in China - Caixin BlackRock CCB Wealth Management Ltd. received the green light from the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) to launch retirement WMPs, a type of personal pension product, in Guangzhou and Chengdu for a one-year trial period, according to a notice released by the commission on Friday.
Starbucks facing backlash from Chinese consumers, after its store asked policemen to go away - Global Times US coffee giant Starbucks is facing a backlash from Chinese social media users after staff in one of its stores in Chongqing, Southwest China, reportedly drove out local police who were eating food at the doorstep of the store, citing that the latter's behavior could affect the coffee brand's image. The US company apologized on its Weibo account on Monday for a misunderstanding in communication, but denied online accusations that it “asked policemen to go away” or that it “issued complaints against policemen.”
Yicai - CATL Gains After Denying ‘Malicious’ Rumors of New US Sanctions, Tesla Talks Collapse The rumors alleged that CATL is facing new US sanctions, will be dropped from the ChiNext weighted stock index, and its battery price talks with Tesla have fallen through, with BYD, another Chinese battery giant, taking its place. Rumor also had it that Xpeng Motors would replace the products supplied by CATL with those made by China Aviation Lithium Battery.
PBOC’s Rate Decision Sparks Debate as Economy Comes Under Strain - Bloomberg Sixteen of the 27 economists polled by Bloomberg forecast the central bank will keep the interest rate on its one-year policy loans unchanged on Tuesday, when it’s scheduled to conduct a monthly medium-term lending facility operation. Six of them expect a 10-basis point cut and another five see a 5-point reduction.
China Textile Mogul Pushed Into Fashion, Then Ran Into Trouble - WSJ London tailor Gieves & Hawkes is among brands owned by Trinity Group, which entered liquidation in January. Queue Chinese textile magnate Qiu Yafu spent years buying up luxury fashion labels, saying he wanted to build a rival to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE. That ambition is now faltering, embroiling iconic brands he snapped up along the way, including Paris fashion house Cerruti 1881 and London’s Gieves & Hawkes, the Savile Row tailor that has dressed British royalty for more than 200 years. Those brands’ owner, Trinity Group, a Hong Kong subsidiary of Mr. Qiu’s Shandong Ruyi Technology Group Co., entered liquidation in January
Politics and Law
In China’s financial circles, Wang Bin is known as a capable and well-connected executive who steered China Taiping Insurance Group Ltd., one of the country’s largest state-owned insurance companies, onto the fast track...
The 64-year-old chairman of China Life Insurance (Group) Co., the nation’s biggest insurance company, became one of the highest-ranking financial officials to fall under scrutiny of the Communist Party’s anti-graft agency last month. Authorities have yet to release any details of Wang’s case, but Caixin learned that he allegedly reaped enormous illegal gains, including a cache of gold bars found at his home...
Investigators are probing a massive investment black hole at Taiping Financial Holdings Co. Ltd., Taiping’s main investment arm in Hong Kong, people with knowledge of the matter said. Taiping Financial has billions of yuan of losses on the books, but its actual loss could have mounted to 20 billion to 30 billion yuan ($3.15 billion–$4.73 billion), one person said...
Wang was a close acquaintance of Lai Xiaomin, the former chairman of China Huarong Asset Management Co. Ltd., who was executed in January 2021 for corruption
As Wang came under investigation, Yuan Haibo, executive director and CEO of Huayi Tencent Entertainment Co. Ltd., disappeared from public view in early January. Two people familiar with Yuan said he missed meetings with them and was questioned by authorities for financial ties with Wang...
“This is a phenomenon in Hong Kong as there are so many state-backed companies and easy access of funding but a limited number of high-quality assets to invest in,” said a Hong Kong trader specializing in shell company transactions...
Taiping’s investment in the secondary market also bled heavily. In 2017, the company invested HK$208 million in the stock of Frontier Services Group. The investment has lost 46% of its value so far.
Comment: Based on various quotes and hints in this Caixin piece, this case sounds interesting
Wikipedia - "Frontier Services Group (FSG) is a Chinese Africa-focused security, aviation, and logistics company founded and led until April 2021 by Erik Prince, the former head of Blackwater Worldwide."
China issues supervisory rules to handle dereliction of duty by SOE executives-Xinhua The document was on Monday made public on the website of the Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervisory Commission (NSC). It is the NSC's first document on substantive rules to guide the work of supervisory agencies in identifying duty-related violations. 国家监委印发首个职务犯罪实体认定监察执法指导性文件 规范国企管理人员渎职犯罪案件法律适用————要闻——中央纪委国家监委网站
China strengthens actions taken against duty-related crimes: top procuratorate-Xinhua China's procuratorates investigated and prosecuted 21,300 individuals for duty-related crimes from January to November 2021, up 15.1 percent year on year, according to a senior prosecutor. There were more cases with significant amounts of money involved during the period, which led to severe damages and consequences, said Shi Weizhong, an official from the Supreme People's Procuratorate, in an online interview on Monday.
60页PPT！女市委书记痛批一些官员：有人混日子、等组织安排，等转岗、退休_黄山市_作风_凌云 Huangshan, Anhui Party Secretary appraises cadres' work performance with a 60 page PPT // 比如，在担当不够方面，她说，有的干部只要不出事、宁可不做事，对矛盾问题回避绕行、视而不见；有的瞻前顾后、怕担责任，遇事层层请示汇报，总是说“上面没文件”“以前没干过”，说到底是不敢抓、不敢管。 For example, when it comes to their lack of responsibility, she said that some officials would rather not work as long as there are no accidents, and they avoid problems and turn a blind eye to them. Some people are cautious and afraid to take responsibility, so they always ask for instructions and report to people at different levels, saying that "there is no document" or "it has never been done before". In the final analysis, they are afraid to arrest and regulate the situation.
Caixin - 人事观察｜接替张裔炯 陈小江任中央统战部分管日常工作副部长_政经频道_财新网 More than a year after being transferred to the Central United Front Work Department, Chen Xiaojiang, a 59-year-old senior Zhejiang official, recently succeeded Zhang Yijiong, a two-term member of the Central Committee who was over 66 years old, as the deputy minister in charge of daily work of the Central United Front Work Department, and continued to serve as the director of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission and party secretary. Chen Xiaojiang served as deputy secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, and was the first Han official to be the director of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission in more than 60 years.
How Soft Propaganda Persuades - Daniel C. Mattingly, Elaine Yao, 2022 An influential body of scholarship argues that authoritarian regimes design “hard” propaganda that is intentionally heavy-handed in order to signal regime power. In this study, by contrast, we link the power of propaganda to the emotional power of “soft” propaganda such as television dramas and viral social media content. We conduct a series of experiments in which we expose over 6800 respondents in China to real propaganda videos drawn from television dramas, state-backed social media accounts, and state-run newscasts, each containing nationalist messages favored by the Chinese Communist Party. In contrast to theories that propaganda is unpersuasive, we show that propaganda effectively manipulates anger as well as anti-foreign sentiment and behavior, with heightened anti-foreign attitudes persisting up to a week. However, we also find that nationalist propaganda has no effect on perceptions of Chinese government performance or on self-reported willingness to protest against the state.
Empowering China’s Digital Informants – China Media Project in an era of explosive digital development, with an online ecosystem shaped by nearly a billion active Chinese internet users, these intersecting human-technical-regulatory webs, which form the biggest thought control system in human history, are still not regarded as sufficient by the CCP. The answer is to create a further layer of control by mobilizing the population, again with the help of internet platforms, to flag “illegal and undesirable information” (违法和不良信息).
Caixin Editorial: Protecting Women’s Rights Starts With Ensuring They Are Free From Fear Recently, a Chinese mother of eight was found chained in Xuzhou, East China’s Jiangsu province, sparking outrage across the country. The suffering of this woman, who had been abducted and abused, has crossed a line with the public and has brought shame to every honest Chinese citizen. The incident is one of the reasons for all the recent attention paid to proposed amendments to the Law on the Protection of Women’s Rights and Interests. The revised draft of the law received more than 420,000 comments while it was available for public review from Dec. 24 to Jan. 22. That’s 100 times more than the number of comments about the revised draft of the Company Law over the same period...China is building itself into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful. Allowing women’s rights to continue to be violated runs counter to these lofty goals. How far it goes in protecting women’s rights shows how far it has advanced as a society. The tragedy of the woman in Xuzhou, again, speaks volumes for making the protection of woman’s rights a priority.
Rush hour mystery bus blast in China kills 1, injures 42 | South China Morning Post The cause of the rush hour blast in Shenyang, provincial capital of Liaoning, is under investigation
Foreign and Defense Affairs
Xiplomacy: Xi's reply letter carries friendship across Pacific, says U.S. foundation-Xinhua "This is international friendship in action," Adam Foster, chairman of the Helen Foster Snow Foundation, said recently after receiving a reply letter from Chinese President Xi Jinping. "It is wonderful to see that President Xi acknowledges the special role people like Helen Foster Snow have played in the relationship of our two countries," Foster said in written responses to media outlets, including Xinhua. "The Helen Foster Snow Foundation and its important work has also received tremendous support from people across the United States and China." // Comment: PRC side pushing the Edgar and Helen Snow as part of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Nixon's visit to the PRC is going to fall flat in the US
Chinese, Mexican presidents exchange congratulations on 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties-Xinhua In his message, Xi noted that both China and Mexico are countries with time-honored civilizations and history, and the friendly exchanges between their people date back to ancient times...Lopez Obrador said that over the past 50 years, Mexico and China have forged together an unbreakable friendship, and carried out extensive exchanges and cooperation in politics, economy, education and other areas, as exemplified by the two countries' joint fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Xi congratulates Steinmeier on re-election as German president - Xinhua In a congratulatory message, Xi pointed out that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Germany. Xi said he attaches great importance to the development of China-Germany relations, and stands ready to work with Steinmeier to enrich the China-Germany all-round strategic partnership and take bilateral relations to a new level
China calls on all parties to avoid actions that would escalate tensions in Ukraine: FM spokesperson-Xinhua Spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a daily press briefing that China is closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine, and the Chinese embassy and consulates in the country are operating as usual...Noting that China's position on Ukraine is consistent, clear and unchanged, Wang said that to solve the Ukrainian issue, it is necessary to return to the starting point of the Minsk-2 agreement, which is endorsed by the U.N. Security Council.
Beijing’s embassy warns citizens in Solomons to stay alert after another Chinese shop looted | South China Morning Post The Chinese embassy in the Solomon Islands warned its citizens in the country to stay alert on Monday, two days after a Chinese store was looted.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese dismisses claim China influenced party’s candidate selections | World | The Times Albanese denied that Beijing had influenced Labor’s candidate selections, saying the heads of Australia’s counter-espionage and intelligence agencies had never raised such concerns with him. He accused Morrison’s government of being “desperate for distractions”.
Germany hardens China stance, echoing EU's 'systemic rival' label - Nikkei Asia The German foreign ministry is poised to send a paper to other government departments urging them to regard China as a "systemic rival," as the new Olaf Scholz administration breaks with longtime Chancellor Angela Merkel's nonconfrontational approach. The ministry's plan, confirmed to Nikkei Asia by high-ranking German politicians, would make official key China-related points in a coalition agreement Germany's three ruling parties signed after their election win over Merkel's Christian Democratic Union last September, much to Beijing's displeasure.
India bans 54 Chinese apps, including those of Tencent, Alibaba and NetEase, on security concerns, report says | Bloomberg India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology banned rebranded versions of Chinese apps that New Delhi already prohibited in 2020
UNIDO chief supports China-proposed Global Development Initiative-Xinhua The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) supports the China-proposed Global Development Initiative (GDI) and is willing to deepen cooperation with China on the initiative, UNIDO director-general Gerd Muller has said. Muller made the remarks when meeting with Wang Qun, the Chinese envoy to the United Nations and other international organizations in Vienna, on Wednesday.
Labor senator Kimberley Kitching names Chau Chak Wing as puppeteer behind foreign interference plot Labor senator Kimberley Kitching used parliamentary privilege on Monday night to suggest to the head of ASIO – Australia’s counter-espionage agency – that the wealthy businessman behind the plot was Chinese-Australian property developer Chau Chak Wing.
Federal election 2022: China spies attempted to install Labor candidates Australia’s national security agencies fear a wealthy Chinese businessman who set up a sophisticated spy ring to get Labor candidates elected in the upcoming federal election still feels emboldened to interfere in the nation’s democratic process.
It was run by a wealthy businessman with deep ties in both Australia and China, who was known to ASIO as “the puppeteer”. There is concern within national security circles that he will continue to attempt to interfere in Australia’s election process at the behest of the Chinese government.
02/11/2022 China MFA Press Conference Reuters: According to reports in Australian media, Chinese spies sought to fund candidates for Australia’s opposition Labor party in an upcoming federal election. The Chinese spies, according to these reports, were stopped by the Australian security agency. Do you have any comment on these reports?
Zhao Lijian: I noted the above-mentioned reports, which are not worth refuting at all. I believe you may have noticed that some people in Australia have criticized such remarks as reckless and purely for political gain.
Wang Qishan Delivers a Speech at the High-Level Meeting of the "One Ocean" Summit Wang Qishan said, China has always been a promoter of sustainable marine development, a builder of global marine governance and a defender of international maritime order, and will work with other countries to build an ocean of peace, cooperation and beauty. The "One Ocean" Summit was hosted by France, which holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. The High-Level Meeting of the Summit was held in Brest, France, and chaired by French President Emmanuel Macron.
PLA Navy flotilla to arrive in Tonga to deliver second batch of relief from China - Global Times This will be the second batch of relief supplies to Tonga. On January 28, two Y-20 large transport aircraft of the PLA Air Force arrived in the South Pacific nation, delivering 33 tons of supplies including food, fresh water, water purifiers and tents.
China’s latest portable missile shows world-class defense ability - Global Times The QW-12, an advanced portable air defense missile developed by China, recently demonstrated its outstanding performance in intercepting helicopters, jets and cruise missiles in a live-fire test, with experts saying on Monday that the weapon is world class, as it displayed an anti-decoy capability no foreign counterpart has ever shown.
China’s snake-like robot designed to move or manipulate a large object in space, according to paper | South China Morning Post A large robotic snake of unprecedented strength, flexibility and lifespan has been built to explore space, the Chinese research team behind the project said amid long-running concerns about China’s potential to damage other nations’ satellites...“Making repairs in a complex space environment costs a great deal of human and material resources. The modular hyper-redundant manipulator is an effective solution to this problem,” said the team led by Professor Xu Zhenbang, of the key laboratory for on-orbit manufacturing and integration for space optics system at Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics in a paper published in the domestic peer-reviewed journal Robot last month.
How China is using humanitarian aid to gain a military foothold in the South Pacific - Anne-Marie Brady China next announced it was setting up a permanent disaster relief platform in Guangzhou for crises in the Pacific. And it trumpeted meetings to strengthen further military co-operation with Fiji and New Zealand. The PLA navy and airforce units sent to the Solomons and Tonga were from the Southern Theatre Command in Guangzhou, which has run extensive military exercises in the Western Pacific in the past two years. The Chinese government sponsors political interference activities in every state and territory of the Pacific, weakening already fragile political systems
Whirlwind of "Olympic diplomacy" for the BRI - Panda Paw Dragon Claw Perhaps most noticeable in the Xinhua news reports and official joint declarations which came out of the 18 bilateral meetings was messages of support for the Global Development Initiative (GDI) announced by President Xi Jinping at the UN General Assembly in September last year. Though its announcement at the time did not generate big waves of media interest, subsequent discussions in China’s foreign policy circles have indicated that the GDI is a new priority for China. The words of support from nine heads of state last week - present in the statements in almost identical wording - is further evidence that the new initiative occupies a central place in China’s diplomacy.
Joint Statement on the U.S.-Japan-Republic of Korea Trilateral Ministerial Meeting - firstname.lastname@example.org - Gmail Noting their shared concern about activities that undermine the rules-based international order, the Secretary and Foreign Ministers reaffirmed their desire for a peaceful and stable region that would allow all countries to reach their potential. They expressed strong opposition to any unilateral actions that seek to alter the status quo and increase tensions in the region. The Secretary and Foreign Ministers reiterated their governments’ longstanding support for international law, highlighting in particular the importance of compliance with international law as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. They emphasized the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
China continues its labour abuse practices against Uighurs: UN | Uighur News | Al Jazeera China continues to carry out discriminatory work policies, such as forced labour, impossible production expectations and long working hours, against the Uighurs in its northwest province of Xinjiang, a United Nations committee said on Friday, urging Beijing to bring its employment practices in line with global standards. The report from the International Labour Organization stressed that China has violated various articles of the Employment Policy Convention of 1964, which Beijing ratified in 1997, including the right to freely choose employment.
U.S. Aims to Thwart China’s Plan for Atlantic Base in Africa - WSJ $$ A delegation of senior U.S. diplomatic and military personnel plans to visit the small Central African nation next week, according to government officials, and is expected to discuss American counter-piracy assistance and other inducements intended to convince Equatorial Guinean President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo to spurn Beijing’s advances. The delegation will be led by the State Department’s top Africa official, Molly Phee, and Maj. Gen. Kenneth Ekman of the military’s Africa Command.
Enemies of My Enemy - How Fear of China Is Forging a New World Order | Foreign Affairs - By Michael Beckley The liberal order, like all international orders, is a form of organized hypocrisy that contains the seeds of its own demise. To forge a cohesive community, order builders have to exclude hostile nations, outlaw uncooperative behaviors, and squelch domestic opposition to international rule-making. These inherently repressive acts eventually trigger a backlash....There are only two orders under construction right now—a Chinese-led one and a U.S.-led one—and the contest between the two is rapidly becoming a clash between autocracy and democracy, as both countries define themselves against each other and try to infuse their respective coalitions with ideological purpose...This clash of systems will define the twenty-first century and divide the world. China will view the emerging democratic order as a containment strategy designed to strangle its economy and topple its regime.
Covid-19 Pandemic: On the Ground in Wuhan, China in Early 2020 - Rolling Stone This excerpt describes the harrowing experience of Dr. Michael Callahan, an infectious disease doctor and bioweapons expert who had once been an enthusiastic supporter of the risky virus research taking place at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and other international institutions because of its potential to prepare us for the next pandemic. On the ground in Wuhan in January 2020, Callahan, like many others in the field, believed that the novel coronavirus had spilled over from animals to people, as was shown with the first outbreak of SARS in 2002-2003. Callahan has since advocated for a joint U.S.-Chinese team to investigate the potential that the virus leaked from a laboratory, arguing that maintaining international research ties are the key to getting to the bottom of COVID origins and to preventing future outbreaks.
Political scientist Brian Fong leaves Education University of Hong Kong after pro-Beijing attacks | South China Morning Post A Hong Kong political scientist viewed as a rising star of local academia has left Education University of Hong Kong following attacks by pro-Beijing media over his alleged pro-independence stance. A university spokesman confirmed on Sunday that associate professor Brian Fong Chi-hang was “no longer” a member of staff but declined to comment further. His profile page on the university’s website was also no longer accessible.
Education University president to step down next year - RTHK The Education University of Hong Kong has announced that its president, Stephen Cheung, will not seek reappointment after his current term expires on August 31 next year.
Hong Kong: IFJ report documents dire status of Hong Kong’s media - IFJ The IFJ’s report Lights Out: Is this the End of Press Freedom in Hong Kong? details the slate of weapons used in Hong Kong to restrict the work of independent journalists. In the period covered by the report, foreign journalists have been denied visas, whilst the blocking of websites has increasingly restricted access to international news. The IFJ also notes that Hong Kong’s government is currently proposing a new law against so-called “fake news” that could criminalise any reporting labelled as disinformation by officials.
US-funded news service to suspend some Cantonese programming over 'dire situation in Hong Kong' - Hong Kong Free Press HKFP US-funded news outlet Radio Free Asia (RFA) has announced the suspension of some Cantonese programmes and commentaries, citing concerns about press freedom in Hong Kong and the “red lines” of the national security law.
Hong Kong prosecutors slap 3 Apple Daily-affiliated firms with colonial-era sedition charge | South China Morning Post Apple Daily Limited, Apple Daily Printing Limited and AD Internet Limited have all been charged with sedition as part of ongoing national security law case
Tech and Media
Metaverse-Like App Pauses User Registration Over Data Leak Claims - SixthTone Zheli, a top social app that is popular for its use of virtual characters, suspended new user registrations Sunday after being accused of violating user privacy and plagiarizing its virtual avatars’ clothing designs. However, its developers said the app was taken down to improve existing user experience, adding it faced “continuous and organized attacks,” including the spread of “deliberate disinformation” on other platforms.
China’s Most Popular Metaverse App Removed From Apple's App Store - Caixin Metaverse social app Zheli (啫喱) has been removed from Apple’s Chinese App Store after apparently becoming a victim of its own sudden and blistering success. Publisher Beijing Particle Information Technology Co. Ltd. said in a social media post (link in Chinese) Sunday that it had taken down Zheli that day due to “technical issues,” including crashes, lagging, and outages caused by unexpected demand.
Tencent adds metaverse elements to its social app QQ to woo Gen Z - PingWest Tencent launched the beta version of Super QQ Show within its social app QQ on Thursday, marking the Chinese tech giant's latest push to expand its presence in the metaverse. Super QQ Show is an enhancement of QQ Show, a service introduced in 2003 that allows users to build their own 2D full-body avatars.
Top China Chipmaker Warns of Growing Shortfall as U.S. Decouples - Bloomberg Customers are telling Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. they need to secure a certain amount of capacity within China itself because of concerns the industry could become more fragmented, disrupting inflows from abroad, co-Chief Executive Officer Zhao Haijun said.
3 Wild Bets for Crypto in China in 2022 - by Shuyao Wild Bet 1: China will produce the next hit crypto game
Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History
China censors Friends, removing references to LGBTQ and sex - The Washington Post Clips posted by upset viewers on the microblog Weibo showed the new Chinese version of the show — centered on six friends living in Manhattan — had cut scenes or changed language related to homosexuality and sex. The site Bilibili appeared to have excised references to the ex-wife of main character Ross being a lesbian.
China issues list of universities for top-class academic initiative-Xinhua China has issued a list of eligible universities for the second stage of its initiative to build top-class universities and academic disciplines, the Ministry of Education said Monday. As a flagship initiative to boost the high-quality development of China's higher education sector, its first stage was launched in 2016 and finished in 2020. Based on the monitoring statistics, results, and evaluation of the previous stage, a total of 147 universities and a range of disciplines have been selected in the second stage after optimized procedures and expert reviews.
The notice from the Ministry of Education 教育部 财政部 国家发展改革委关于深入推进世界一流大学和一流学科建设的若干意见 - 中华人民共和国教育部政府门户网站
第二轮“双一流”名单公布：新增七所高校，逐步淡化“双一流”身份色彩 - 21财经 More details on the additions to this second phase
University of Utah foreign student Haoyu Wang arrested on murder charge after allegedly injecting girlfriend with heroin - The Washington Post Wang’s girlfriend, 19, has not been publicly identified. The Salt Lake City Police Department said in a news release that she was living with Wang at the time. Wang, according to the affidavit, is a Chinese citizen. The University of Utah identified his girlfriend as an “international undergraduate student.”..In January, Wang was charged with assault for hitting his girlfriend during an argument at another hotel, giving her what paramedics described as a “goose egg” on her head, according to a probable cause affidavit in that case. He was released from jail to await trial after being deemed low risk of committing a violent crime, according to court documents.
Rural and Agricultural Issues
Chinese premier stresses support for agricultural production-Xinhua Chinese Premier Li Keqiang stressed increasing support for agricultural production to ensure that annual grain output continues to exceed 1.3 trillion jin (650 billion kg) this year. Li...made the remarks in an instruction to a national work conference on Spring agricultural production held on Sunday in east China's Shandong Province. Noting the current growth of wheat seedlings is weak, Li urged precautions against plant diseases, insect pests, and extreme weather to ensure another bumper summer harvest.