The five fundamentals; National security; Power shortages; RIP Ezra Vogel

We are going to be hearing a lot more about the “five fundamentals “五个根本”. They make up one of the key themes in the propaganda since the Central Economic Work Conference:

  1. The authority of the Party Center is the fundamental support for the whole party and the people of all nationalities in times of crisis 党中央权威是危难时刻全党全国各族人民迎难而上的根本依靠;

  2. The supremacy of the people is the fundamental premise for making the right choice 人民至上是作出正确抉择的根本前提;

  3. Institutional advantage is the fundamental guarantee for the formation of great strength to overcome the difficulties 制度优势是形成共克时艰磅礴力量的根本保障;

  4. Scientific decision-making and creative responses are the fundamental methods to turn crisis into opportunity 科学决策和创造性应对是化危为机的根本方法;

  5. Self-reliance in science and technology is the fundamental support for promoting the overall situation of development 科技自立自强是促进发展大局的根本支撑

This is the likely the last issue of the newsletter in 2020, barring something big happening between now and January 4, 2021. Thanks for all your support and I wish you and your family a very healthy and happy holidays and New Year.

Today’s Essential Eight items:

  1. Central Economic Work Conference

  2. EU-China

  3. MSS chief on National Security

  4. The Propaganda-Political Security-Industrial Complex

  5. Getting harder to spy on China

  6. US-China

  7. Power shortages

  8. RIP Ezra Vogel

And one last plea/reminder:

If you are like me and still looking for holiday gifts, please consider giving a year of Sinocism to anyone who you think should get smarter about China. You can sign up by clicking this button, and schedule when you want the message to arrive.

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Thanks, and happy holidays. See you in 2021.

The Essential Eight

1. Central Economic Work Conference

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Friday open thread. We had some good comments on the CEWC.

宏观政策把握好时度效 构建新发展格局见到新气象——韩文秀解读2020年中央经济工作会议政策看点-新华网

"Grasp the advantages and disadvantages of macro-policies, build a new development pattern and see a new atmosphere —— Han Wenxiu's interpretation of the policy of the Central Economic Work Conference in 2020" [Han is the Executive Deputy Director, the General Office of the Central Financial and Economic Affairs Commission]

Some excerpts:

He said that next year macro policy should maintain continuity, stability and sustainability, and make macro policy gradually return to normality as the economy resumes normal operation. This can be combined with three aspects of the background to understand and grasp.

First, the macroeconomic operating trend. Due to the steep reduction in the base this year, next year's economic growth rate may be higher in terms of figures, which is mainly a digital phenomenon caused by the base effect. The International Monetary Fund predicted that next year China's economic growth of 8.2%, the World Bank forecast growth of 7.9%, the OECD forecast growth of 8%. From the average item this year and next year, China's economic growth is expected to be about 5%, the figures look good days may not be good, economic development is still facing more internal and external uncertainty.

Secondly, the actual situation of micro subjects. Next year's macro data may look better, but the micro level may not be so shiny. Many small and medium-sized enterprises experienced the impact of the epidemic, so to speak, is a serious illness, the need for sustained policy support to restore vitality, some enterprises are also concerned about the policy withdrawal too quickly to bear.

Third, the future policy space margin. After the implementation of the social security contribution policy throughout this year, the pressure on the income and expenditure of the social security fund has also increased significantly, and now the majority of provinces have a current shortfall in the basic pension fund. Meanwhile, some major initiatives have been taken this year in financial support of the real economy, and the macro leverage ratio has risen by more than 20 percentage points. These measures are necessary, but sustainability should be considered.





Comprehensive review of the Central Economic Work Conference readout - Pekingnology

there is no mention of a numerical target for economic expansion next year, just 要促进经济运行保持在合理区间 to promote economic operation to remain in a reasonable range, a standard statement. But traditionally Central Economic Work Conference readouts didn’t mention numerical targets either, so this is not a surprise.

Xinhua - 开局“十四五” 开启新征程——从2020年中央经济工作会议看以习近平同志为核心的党中央谋划“十四五”开局起步_滚动新闻_中国政府网

“Start the 14th Five-Year Plan and Start a New Journey —— From the 2020 Central Economic Work Conference, the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core plans to start the 14th Five-Year Plan”…

The "five fundamental" experiences put forward at the meeting can sum up the past and enlighten the future.

"These' five fundamentals' are laws and experiences, and they are the fundamental follow-up for us to coordinate economic and social development and move from victory to victory." During the discussion, the participating comrades generally believed that this is a high summary of the latest achievements of Xi Jinping's Socialist Economic Thought with Chinese characteristics in the New Era.



Monday page 1 People's Daily commentary - 深刻把握在严峻挑战下做好经济工作的规律性认识 - ——论学习贯彻中央经济工作会议精神

Deeply grasp the regularity of economic work under severe challenges-- On studying and implementing the spirit of the Central Economic Work Conference

The Central Economic Work Conference made a high level of understanding of these regularities, that is, the authority of the CPC Central Committee is the fundamental reliance of the whole party and people of all ethnic groups in times of crisis, the supremacy of the people is the fundamental prerequisite for making correct choices, the institutional advantage is the fundamental guarantee for the formation of great strength to overcome difficulties, scientific decision-making and creative response are the fundamental methods to turn crises into opportunities, and self-reliance in science and technology is the fundamental support for promoting the overall development. These "five fundamentals" fully demonstrate the superb wisdom of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core to lead China's economic giant ship to break the waves, and fully demonstrate the skillful ability of the CPC Central Committee to calmly cope with risks and challenges on the road ahead, which is an important epistemology and methodology for us to do all our work well.



"Commentator of Xinhua News Agency: Adhere to the "Five Fundamentals" and move forward against the wind and waves-learning and implementing the spirit of the Central Economic Work Conference"

Based on the practice of coordinating the two major domestic and international situations, epidemic prevention and control and economic and social development, the Central Economic Work Conference summarized the regular understanding of the "five fundamentals", provided scientific guidance for us to do a good job in economic work under severe challenges, and further enriched and developed Xi Jinping's socialist economic thought with Chinese characteristics in the new era. To do a good job in next year's economic work, we must adhere to the "five fundamentals" and constantly create a new development situation in the struggle to overcome difficulties and turn crises into opportunities.


Xi Focus: Xi Jinping's Economic Thought steers China through challenges for sound journey ahead - Xinhua

Xi Jinping Thought on Socialist Economy with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era has been advancing with the times, steering the Chinese economy ahead amid a changing world full of uncertainties.

Xi's economic thought, unveiled at the Central Economic Work Conference held in December 2017, is mainly based on the new development philosophy put forward by Xi in 2015 and features innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development...

As challenges at home and abroad are getting increasingly complex and more intertwined, the thought stresses the need to strengthen the Party's centralized and unified leadership over economic work, adhere to a general principle of maintaining stability while making progress.

Comment: It is interesting that in the CEWC readout there is no mention of 习近平新时代中国特色社会主义经济思想 but it is in some of the accompany commentaries and propaganda.

2. EU-China

EU nears China trade deal despite slave labor fears – POLITICO

Negotiators from Brussels and Beijing have made a breakthrough on access to each other's markets and the EU's trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis will on Monday try to seal the deal with his Chinese counterpart Liu He, EU diplomats and officials said.

Sabine Weyand, the bloc's top trade bureaucrat, on Friday briefed EU ambassadors on progress in talks and described a surprisingly good offer from the Chinese side, according to five diplomats and one official. However, she warned that China had not agreed to the binding commitments on labor rights, especially a ban on forced labor, that Brussels would have wanted...

Many European politicians have been pressing Brussels to avoid economic and political alignment with China, but instead stop Beijing from undercutting the EU on lower labor and environmental standards.

"The political signal is disastrous. This deal mocks the concentration camps and enslavement of a people," said French MEP Raphaël Glucksmann. "I will be active in organizing opposition to this deal. If [EU leaders] think that ratifying this deal will be like posting a letter, they are gravely mistaken."

Xinjiang forced labour concerns threaten to derail China’s investment deal with EU | South China Morning Post

Although China has offered the European Union multiple concessions in a landmark investment agreement, it has firmly refused to budge on a make-or-break issue: labour rights...

Beijing’s position on the issue marks a contrast to fellow Communist state Vietnam, whose free trade agreement with the EU, came into force earlier this year.

As part of the deal, Hanoi committed to enacting several fundamental conventions of the ILO, including those on freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining, ending forced labour and child labour.

EU officials now say Beijing’s refusal to ratify International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards on forced labour will make it politically difficult for the European Parliament – whose endorsement is vital to validate the deal – to vote in its favour.

Chinese FM emphasizes dialogue, cooperation with EU - Xinhua

No matter how the international situation changes, China and the European Union (EU) should stay on the right track of dialogue and cooperation for mutual benefit, and properly manage and control differences, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Monday.

Wang made the remarks when meeting envoys to China from the EU and 27 of its member states in Beijing...

Wang said China and the EU, as two important forces in the process of multi-polarization, should jointly provide more stability to the world. "For China and the EU, cooperation far outweighs competition, and our areas of consensus far exceed differences. China-EU are mutually beneficial partners and bilateral relations are strong."

EU should bide its time on China investment deal | Financial Times Editorial

Talks have taken seven years as Beijing dragged its feet on offering meaningful concessions. Hopes rose sufficiently earlier this year for German chancellor Angela Merkel to pencil in an EU-China summit for September to seal an agreement. But President Xi Jinping gave her the cold shoulder as he awaited the outcome of the US election.

Now, all of a sudden, Beijing is in a hurry to strike a deal — and get one over an incoming Biden administration looking for transatlantic co-operation on China. EU officials want to capitalise on Beijing’s urgency. Ms Merkel would no doubt regard a deal as a landmark achievement of Germany’s EU presidency and a vindication of her belief in change through engagement with Beijing. For Europe, though, this should be a moment for more speed, less haste.

3. MSS chief on National Security

Beijing Youth Daily - "After the collective study of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee, the Minister of National Security held a meeting” - 中央政治局集体学习后,国家安全部部长开会部署_新浪新闻

One question is, how to understand "coordinating traditional security and non-traditional security"?

”Zheng Zhijun” noticed that in April this year, Chen Wenqing wrote an article in Seeking Truth.

In that article, Chen Wenqing mentioned that since a period of time, General Secretary Xi Jinping has repeatedly emphasized the overall planning of traditional security and non-traditional security issues, and made forward-looking arrangements for non-traditional security issues such as biosafety.

He wrote that in the new era, politics, military affairs and homeland security are still the top priorities of national security, which must be seized at any time.

At the same time, we are faced with more and more non-traditional security threats. To deal with non-traditional security problems such as economy, culture, society, science and technology, network and biology, we need to make overall plans and comprehensive policies.

He also mentioned that in the face of the attempts of hostile forces at home and abroad to challenge our core interests, we should take a clear-cut stand, not be afraid of showdown, be firm in the will to fight, pay attention to the strategy to fight, dare to fight and be good at fighting. ..

It should be noted that, apart from the central level, local governments have also made arrangements for national security issues one after another. ..

On December 18th, the Proposal of Guangdong Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China on Formulating the 14th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development of Guangdong Province and the Long-term Goals for 2035 was released to the public.

It is mentioned in the proposal to keep the "south gate" of national security. We will firmly safeguard the security of state power, system and ideology, and strictly guard against and severely crack down on hostile forces' infiltration, sabotage, subversion and separatist activities. ...

Also on 18th, the Proposal of Yunnan Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China on Formulating the 14th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development of Yunnan Province and the Long-term Goals for 2035 was released to the public.

Yunnan mentioned that it is building a security and stability barrier in southwest China.












The article included this graphic of all the elements national security.

Source: 国家安全部宣传教育局制 The Ministry of State Security Propaganda and Education Bureau

4. The Propaganda-Political Security-Industrial Complex

How China Censored Covid-19 - The New York Times

The orders were among thousands of secret government directives and other documents that were reviewed by The New York Times and ProPublica. They lay bare in extraordinary detail the systems that helped the Chinese authorities shape online opinion during the pandemic...

The documents include more than 3,200 directives and 1,800 memos and other files from the offices of the country’s internet regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China, in the eastern city of Hangzhou. They also include internal files and computer code from a Chinese company, Urun Big Data Services, that makes software used by local governments to monitor internet discussion and manage armies of online commenters.

The documents were shared with The Times and ProPublica by a hacker group that calls itself C.C.P. Unmasked, referring to the Chinese Communist Party. The Times and ProPublica independently verified the authenticity of many of the documents

Thousands of internal directives and reports reveal how Chinese officials stage-managed what appeared online in the early days of the outbreak.

Comment: One of the authors of this report added more detail in a Twitter thread:

Message Control | ChinaFile

The outbreak of COVID-19 presented Warming High Tech’s clients with an especially acute challenge. But the company’s recommendations reflect a widespread set of practices in a new, for-profit industry that has cropped up to help China’s leaders address a more everyday difficulty: the power of the Internet to circulate the thoughts and feelings of China’s citizens.

In official writing on the subject, the problem appears dire. China’s leader, Xi Jinping, speaks of it using the language of war, calling the changing media environment “a great struggle” and exhorting propaganda officials to “grasp the initiative on this battlefield of public opinion as quickly as possible. [We] cannot be marginalized.” Xinhua News Agency, citing Xi’s guidance, described the Internet and new communication platforms as “the main battlefield for news competition, and even more so the Party’s front line for public opinion work.”

Across the country, officials are arming themselves for this battle with a new arsenal of technology and squadrons of human recruits. To better understand the tools and techniques Chinese officials use to stem the tide of public opinion at home and abroad, ChinaFile analyzed some 3,100 procurement notices and corresponding documents, issued by both central and local governments across China and dated between January 2007 and late August 2020. In these notices, authorities express their desire to more easily track, manipulate, or erase online speech through purchases of “public opinion monitoring” software and services. These commercial technologies aren’t intended to replace the monitoring and censorship performed by humans, but to enhance them. The procurement notices also highlight governments’ deepening dependence on commercial enterprises as the sheer volume of online information threatens to overwhelm public sector employees’ capacity to manage it. Together, the documents reveal the breadth of Party and state agencies engaged in this work

5. Getting harder to spy on China

China's Secret War for U.S. Data Blew American Spies' Cover - Foreign Policy

In 2010, a new decade was dawning, and Chinese officials were furious. The CIA, they had discovered, had systematically penetrated their government over the course of years, with U.S. assets embedded in the military, the CCP, the intelligence apparatus, and elsewhere. The anger radiated upward to “the highest levels of the Chinese government,” recalled a former senior counterintelligence executive...

The anger in Beijing wasn’t just because of the penetration by the CIA but because of what it exposed about the degree of corruption in China..

Over the course of their investigation into the CIA’s China-based agent network, Chinese officials learned that the agency was secretly paying the “promotion fees” —in other words, the bribes—regularly required to rise up within the Chinese bureaucracy, according to four current and former officials. It was how the CIA got “disaffected people up in the ranks. But this was not done once, and wasn’t done just in the [Chinese military],” recalled a current Capitol Hill staffer. “Paying their bribes was an example of long-term thinking that was extraordinary for us,” said a former senior counterintelligence official. “Recruiting foreign military officers is nearly impossible. It was a way to exploit the corruption to our advantage.” At the time, “promotion fees” sometimes ran into the millions of dollars, according to a former senior CIA official: “It was quite amazing the level of corruption that was going on.” The compensation sometimes included paying tuition and board for children studying at expensive foreign universities, according to another CIA officer...

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a three-part series. The second part, to be published Dec. 22, covers how U.S. intelligence under Barack Obama struggled as Xi Jinping consolidated his power. The third part, to be published on Dec. 23, covers the Donald Trump era and the growing cooperation between Chinese intelligence and tech giants.

Comment: Worth remembering that in 2011 a speech by General Jin Yinan leaked in which he talked about several "corruption cases" actually being espionage cases but that they could not say that publicly. -General says Beijing concealed spying cases - Financial Times 2011

In a video recording of a four-hour speech available on YouTube, Major General Jin Yinan named eight senior Communist party, government and military officials who allegedly sold state secrets to foreign countries, but said some of them had instead been convicted on corruption charges, as a way to minimise embarrassment.

6. US-China

Exclusive: U.S. to publish list of Chinese and Russian firms with military ties | Reuters

The final list does not include Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), or the Hong Kong subsidiaries of Colorado’s Arrow Electronics and Texas-based TTI Inc, a Berkshire Hathaway electronics distributor, the officials said. Those companies were on the draft list seen by Reuters.

The final list names 103 entities, 14 fewer than on the draft list seen by Reuters in November. Fifty-eight are designated under China, down from 89, and 45 entities are tied to Russia, up from 28, one of the officials said.

Commerce Department Will Publish the First Military End User List Naming More Than 100 Chinese and Russian Companies | U.S. Department of Commerce

Wang Yi’s speech to the Asia Society-Reorient and Steer Clear of Disruptions For a Smooth Sailing of China-U.S. Relations

In retrospect, 2020 might have witnessed the greatest damage to the international order and international relations. Among many others, we see power politics jeopardizing international stability, as arbitrary interference in others' internal affairs and sanctions have become the biggest destabilizing factor to regional and global security. We see protectionism jeopardizing international trade, as backlash against globalization is gathering momentum, with more barriers impeding trade and investment, and global industrial and supply chains on the cusp of breakdown. We see unilateralism jeopardizing international cooperation, as the "go it alone" approach and walking away from international commitment fracture and cripple the international system, and drag on international efforts against global challenges. And we see McCarthyism jeopardizing international exchanges, as those with radical and entrenched political biases seek to label and stigmatize open and lawful political parties and institutions of other countries, and use ideology to disrupt or even sever international engagement, aiming at starting a new Cold War and forming a new Iron Curtain...

I know you all follow China's diplomacy closely, the style and future direction of which has been the subject of ongoing discussions. What I would underline is that China follows an independent foreign policy of peace, and seeks to engage other countries for friendship and cooperation on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. China is committed to bringing happiness to the Chinese people and contributing to progress of humanity, and seeks to play a constructive role for world peace and development. China has no intention to compete for hegemony. We never interfere in other's internal affairs. We don't export our system or model. Not in the least do we seek spheres of influence....

In my video discussion last week with friends from the U.S.-China Business Council, I talked about the importance for China and the United States to restart dialogue, return bilateral relations to the right track, and rebuild mutual trust. We should expand cooperation and manage differences through dialogue. Among the four priorities laid out by President-elect Joe Biden, at least three - COVID-19 response, economic recovery and climate change - provide big space for cooperation between our two countries.

The video of Wang's speech, via Youtube:

Comment: I didn’t hear anything new from FM Wang or hear any particular “olive branches” on offer.

This nasty Wednesday commentary from Xinhua attacking people who "worship" and "kneel to" America should be read in concert with Wang's speech.

Additional Restrictions on the Issuance of Visas for People’s Republic of China Officials Engaged in Human Rights Abuses - United States Department of State

Today, I am announcing the imposition of additional restrictions under Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act on the issuance of visas for Chinese officials who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, policies or actions aimed at repressing religious and spiritual practitioners, members of ethnic minority groups, dissidents, human rights defenders, journalists, labor organizers, civil society organizers, and peaceful protestors. Family members of such persons may also be subject to these additional restrictions.

U.S. adds SMIC to Entity List - The Washington Post

national security experts and some lawmakers said that the semiconductor export control is virtually meaningless because of the way Commerce wrote the rule governing its application.

The ban applies only to those technologies that are “uniquely” capable of producing semiconductors at 10 nanometers in size or below. Because nearly all semiconductor manufacturing tools are capable of making nanometers of different sizes, only a tiny fraction will effectively be barred, said one industry executive speaking on condition of anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), foreign affairs committee ranking member, said the rules “may be more bark than bite.”

Said the industry executive: “They may as well have done nothing because nothing’s restricted. You have to ask yourself why did they even bother?”

China Mulls Retaliation After U.S. Blacklists Drone-Maker DJI and Others - Caixin

China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement over the weekend that the U.S. has “generalized national security and abused export controls to suppress other countries’ enterprises, institutions and individuals,” severely damaging the international economic order, free trade rules and the security of global supply chains.

The greatest near-term impact from the U.S. blacklist could be suffered by DJI, the world’s largest drone manufacturer, which held an estimated 70% to 80% of the global commercial drone market according to a June report of research firm Drone Industry Insights. No rival has more than 5% of the global market.

A drone industry source told Caixin the manufacturing of drones for the Chinese domestic market relies heavily on chips that contain technology from U.S. companies and that the impact on DJI would result from its current reliance on such chips.

China slams U.S. signature of bill barring Chinese firms from U.S. stock market - Xinhua

The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, demands additional information disclosure from foreign public companies in the U.S. market, including the requirement that foreign issuers of securities establish that they are not owned or controlled by a foreign government.

"This was nothing but an unreasonable political crackdown on Chinese companies listed in the United States," Wang said at a press briefing...

"We urged the United States not to implement the discriminatory provisions in the law that involve China, and to cease the erroneous practice of politicizing securities supervision," Wang said.

What Do Chinese People Think of Developed Countries? – The Diplomat

With these questions in mind, we conducted a survey of 1,064 Chinese adults right before the U.S. presidential election. We asked them about their feelings toward the same 14 countries covered by the Pew study, using exactly the same wording: “What’s your view of the following countries?” We found that the negative feelings are mutual. In particular, Chinese and Americans dislike each other to the same extent. In the Pew study, 73 percent of Americans held either “very unfavorable” or “somewhat unfavorable” views of China. On the Chinese side, the antipathy is even more widespread: 77 percent of the Chinese hold such views of the United States...

Beginning with the trade war, the Huawei ban, and diplomatic rows over the Hong Kong protests, continuing with a significant escalation of animosity stemming from criticisms of each other’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic, and culminating in mutual closures of consulates — everything points to a rapid descent into a level of confrontation unprecedented since the two countries established formal ties in 1979.

China Tightens Covid-19 Testing Rules for Travelers From U.S. - Caixin

The Chinese embassy in the United States has announced new rules for China-bound travelers due to the potential risk of importing Covid-19 and alleged testing evasions.

Starting on Wednesday, travelers are required to conduct an IgM serum antibody test through venous blood sampling instead of finger-prick blood testing, which will no longer be accepted, the embassy said in a statement released on Saturday.

The news also stipulated that passengers must take the pre-travel tests in the city or vicinity they are departing from and must not leave the vicinity they took the test before they receive their results and board the direct flight

After Historic Touchdown, Chinese Tune In to American Football - SixthTone

In a video posted Friday, Tencent Sports said it would broadcast a game between the Arizona State Sun Devils and Oregon State Beavers to give fans in China a chance to see He Peizhang, also known as Jackson He, take the field. The running back — a speedy but sturdy offensive player — has been a sensation on Chinese social media since scoring on a 1-yard drive in Arizona State’s game against its top rival, the Arizona Wildcats, on Dec. 12, becoming the first-ever Chinese-born player to record a touchdown at the highest level of college football.

Biden space advisers urge cooperation with China - POLITICO

Most of the nearly two dozen former astronauts, government officials and space experts interviewed by POLITICO agreed that America could lose its position as the global space leader if it shuts Beijing out entirely.

Together, The U.S. And China Can Reduce The Risks From AI - NOEMA - Fu Ying and John Allen

Over the past 15 months, we helped lead a series of track-two (unofficial) dialogues on the development and application of artificial intelligence-enabled military systems, organized by the Center for International Security and Strategy at Tsinghua University, the Brookings Institution, the Berggruen Institute and the Minderoo Foundation. The series consisted of three day-long dialogues. The first was held in October of last year in Beijing and the second in February of this year in Munich, Germany. Due to travel restrictions related to COVID-19, the third dialogue was held virtually in October. We agreed to keep these discussions and the findings that flowed from them confidential until now. This starts with an essay by Fu and is followed by an essay by Allen.

He Yafei: China, U.S. Should Cage Vicious Competition to Turn Around Bilateral Ties - Caixin Global

In a jointly signed article in Foreign Affairs, Kurt Campbell and Jake Sullivan claimed that China presents a greater ideological challenge to the U.S. than the former Soviet Union. Ignorance about Chinese culture and the Judeo-Christian sense of cultural superiority have led to prejudice against the Chinese political and social systems among U.S. elites in both major political parties. Many now look at cultures and political institutions that are different from their own from a perspective of confrontation. If the “shining city on a hill” thinking doesn’t change, U.S. understanding of China will go awry and misjudgments will inevitably follow.

In this regard, the first imperative is to stop fixating on talk about cold war or hot war and deescalate present tensions. The persistent ideologically charged Cold War-style rhetoric on the U.S. part has severely worsened the biosphere of bilateral ties and resulted in increasingly negative feelings on both sides.

The new U.S. administration should restrict and guide officials-in-waiting, and major think tanks, so that they can evaluate and make comments on the present and future of China-U.S. relations from a positive and objective perspective to create a balanced, objective public opinion environment for resetting the relationship.

Comment: "restrict and guide" out of touch from reality is He?

Axios story on suspected Chinese spy years ago complete fiction to poison China-US ties: source - Global Times

A tale cooked up by US news website Axios earlier this month which alleged that a suspected Chinese spy got access to California politicians and a congressman in a political intelligence operation run by China many years ago was complete fiction, and such fabrication shows that some US personnel deliberately use the Cold War mentality to poison China-US relations, a source told the Global Times on Monday...

Shen Yi, a professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs of Fudan University, told the Global Times that American intelligence agents have no evidence on these politicians and have to cut in by hinting about their lifestyle and social activities.

Shen, in particular, criticized some American media which has lost professionalism and moral integrity in the distorted domestic political environment.

7. Power shortages

‘Politics come first’ as ban on Australian coal worsens China’s power cuts | Financial Times $$

Chinese energy and industrial groups have said the problem is partly due to an embargo on Australian coal imports, which many power plants in the country depend on, as tensions between Beijing and Canberra simmer.

“The import curb is enough to change the industry landscape,” said a director at China Huadian Corporation, one of the nation’s largest energy groups. “Many local power plants depend on Australian coal due to its higher efficiency and now they are having trouble finding an alternative.”..

Official data show Chinese plants obtained about 3 per cent of their thermal coal from Australia last year. The ratio, said an official at trade association the China Electricity Council, could exceed 10 per cent in more developed provinces that are drawn to the high quality of Australian coal.

China attaches great importance to regional power shortages amid rising demand, new-energy ambition - Global Times

Multiple factors have overlapped to cause power shortages in the aforementioned provinces, although at the national level, power supply still outstrips demand at large, analysts and industry players said...

A high level of growth in industrial production, compounded by cold fronts, have resulted in highly maximized power demands, Zhao Chenxin, deputy secretary-general of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said Monday.

In the first 10 days of December, electricity production and consumption in Hunan Province rose by 19.8 percent year-on-year with a record peak power load of 31.44 million kilowatts, according to Zhao.

East China's Jiangxi Province saw an 18.4 percent increase in power generation and usage. In Zhejiang, the figure is at 9.2 percent.

However, a decline in the imports of Australian coal after a reported Chinese curb due to quality issues was not mentioned by analysts and industry insiders, and some brushed aside such suggestions as Australian coal accounts for only 2 percent of China's total coal consumption.

China's top economic planner pledges efforts to ensure stable power supply - Xinhua

Household electricity consumption in provinces including Hunan, Jiangxi and Zhejiang has not been affected, Zhao Chenxin, secretary general of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), told a press conference.

Noting that cold weather and rapidly expanding industrial production created a surge in electricity demand, Zhao said that the NDRC and the National Energy Administration have been working with power companies to ensure stable supply.

He said the country will take more measures to meet winter demand, including enhancing generation capacity and increasing coal supplies, among others

More power rationing in Zhejiang, Guangdong, Hunan, Jiangxi - 电网、煤炭央企全力保供电:加大电力输送能力,增加电煤产量-国际煤炭网

Affected by the cold wave in winter, the power grid load in many provinces has reached a new high in winter recently, and Hunan and Jiangxi have successively issued orderly power consumption or power restriction notices. On December 18th and 19th, State Grid Corporation of China and State Energy Group announced a series of measures to fully guarantee the supply of coal and electricity...

The State Energy Group said that it will increase coal production, optimize and adjust the variety structure, and increase the output of electric coal. Increase procurement efforts and do everything possible to meet the demand for supply guarantee. Overall balance, both inside and outside, to ensure the coal supply in key areas such as the north.



Traders at Odds With China Import Ban Keep Coal Cargoes in Limbo - Bloomberg

Worsening relations between Beijing and Canberra have stranded 74 vessels, about 8.1 million tons of coal, and an estimated 1,480 mariners off Chinese ports, according to an analysis of shipping data by Bloomberg. The original charterer of two of the vessels wants them to sail somewhere else to relieve the exhausted seafarers, but so far the traders who own the cargo won’t agree.

Comment: For "humanitarian reasons" China should let these ships unload the, no one loses face

8. RIP Ezra Vogel

Ezra Vogel saw the good in every person and every nation | The Japan Times

A son remembers his father, a tireless scholar who remained active throughout his long life…

Ezra F. Vogel, 90, one of the country’s leading experts on East Asia through a career that spanned six decades, passed away in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Sunday due to complications from surgery.

Vogel studied an extraordinary range of substantive topics in multiple countries from the perspectives of various academic disciplines, retooling himself as a scholar many times over in his academic career.

He was originally trained as a sociologist studying the family in the United States. He devoted two years to language study and field research in Japan in 1958-60, emerging as a specialist on Japanese society. He then embarked on Chinese-language study in the 1960s, before it was possible to travel to mainland China, and became an accomplished scholar of Chinese society as well.

Death of Ezra Vogel a ‘huge blow’ amid China-US tensions - Global Times

Diao Daming, a China-US relations expert at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times on Monday that Vogel represented the older generation of US scholars who first understood China from the perspective of history and culture, with the main purpose of promoting the development of China-US relations and getting more Americans to understand China.

However, as this group of scholars grows old and many have passed away, the voice of rational thinking about China in the country is getting increasingly weak, while more and more young scholars are holding an antagonistic sentiment to support the suppression against China and promote the "China threat theory," Diao noted.

This has resulted in Americans being less rational about China, Diao explained. "Vogel's death has raised concerns about this trend again."

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on December 21, 2020

The Paper: It has been reported that Ezra F. Vogel, a prominent China expert in the United States and professor emeritus at Harvard University, died on December 20 local time, aged 90. Does China have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: Professor Vogel is a renowned expert on China in the United States and an old friend of the Chinese people. We are deeply saddened by his passing and extend sincere condolences to his family. Professor Vogel dedicated tireless efforts to promoting communication and exchange between China and the United States and to enhancing the two peoples' mutual understanding. His contributions to China-US relations will not be forgotten.

Chinese ambassador to U.S. expresses condolences over death of renowned sinologist Ezra Vogel - Xinhua

"So sad to learn (about) the passing of Professor Ezra Vogel. He was an outstanding scholar on China and an old friend of the Chinese people," Cui tweeted hours after the Fairbank Center of Chinese Studies at Harvard University, where Vogel served as professor emeritus, announced the news.

"Throughout his lifetime he was dedicated to greater mutual understanding between the Chinese and American people and made significant contributions to their friendship and China-U.S. relations," said Cui. "His wisdom and insight on China have been of immeasurable value not only to people in the field of study, but also to the world."

40 on 40: Ezra Vogel - YouTube

Ezra Vogel, who has served as a professor at Harvard University since 1964 focused on Asian research, shares his insights on the U.S.-China relationship. An expert on the Deng Xiaoping era, he discusses the impact normalization had on the United States and China, as well as his hopes for the future of U.S-China relations.

Business, Economy and Trade

China to solve housing problems in big cities through rental market - Xinhua To address the concerns of new city dwellers and young people, especially those engaged in basic public services, China will promote the development of rental housing by increasing government-subsidized housing projects and ensuring the supply of public rental houses, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development said at a conference. Cities with a net population inflow should give priority to developing rental housing, the ministry said.

上海一周内推出12宗租赁宅地,可提供超1.5万套租赁住房 Shanghai has allocated 12 pieces of land within a week for the building of 15,000 rental home...very much in line with the spirit of the CEWC on the housing market

China central bank dismisses criticism of its financial regulation, urges ‘realistic’ appraisal of environment | South China Morning Post Speaking at the China Wealth Management 50 Forum on Sunday, outspoken former finance minister Lou Jiwei opened fire on the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) for its regulation of bond markets, its supervision of big financial tech firms, and its 170 billion yuan (US$26 billion) capital injection of taxpayers money into the failed Baoshang Bank. He also suggested the nation’s top financial regulatory body needed new leadership. In response to Lou’s criticism, Finance News, the newspaper affiliated with the PBOC, said on Monday that the current situation must be considered from a historical and “realistic perspective”. // 央行有关专家:信用债离不开银行间市场_债券_中国金融新闻网

China issues national security rules on foreign investment | Reuters China published rules on Saturday for reviewing foreign investment on national security grounds, potentially broad measures that it insisted did not amount to protectionism. The review system announced by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) covers foreign investments in military sectors and the acquisition of controlling stakes in such sectors as energy, natural resources, agriculture, internet technology and financial services.

Comprehensive guide to China's Dec. 19 foreign investment security review Rules - Pekingnology A very good overview.

China-Australia dispute: Huawei documents reveal Beijing's grievances against Australia - Sydney Morning Herald Australia's push for a World Trade Organisation investigation into China's crippling tariffs on barley is set to be challenged by its own decision to ban Huawei in 2018, with new documents revealing Australian trade negotiators dismissed China's concerns at the WTO about discriminatory action. The confidential document by Chinese trade negotiators was obtained by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age two days after Australia lodged a formal complaint with the WTO last week...The Huawei claim is not yet a formal investigation but the complaints could now be re-escalated in retaliation for the Morrison government pushing for a formal investigation into China’s launching tariffs on Australian barley.

Brokerage Involved in Upending China’s Bond Market Punishes Handful of Executives - Caixin Haitong Securities’ punishment of executives signals that the whole firm was involved in illegal structured bond issuances, and that its internal risk management is insufficient, a bond market source said. A shady fundraising practice in China’s bond market, structured bond issuances (结构化发行) help companies raise funds by having them buy a portion of their own offerings, or having an affiliated party make the purchases, to inflate issuance sizes and create a better image to attract investors. Lower-rated local government financing vehicles, privately owned companies and some state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are the major users of such issuances.

Jack Ma Makes Ant Offer to Placate Chinese Regulators - WSJ $$ As Jack Ma was trying to salvage his relationship with Beijing in early November, the beleaguered Chinese billionaire offered to hand over parts of his financial-technology giant, Ant Group, to the Chinese government, according to people with knowledge of the matter.“You can take any of the platforms Ant has, as long as the country needs it,” Mr. Ma, China’s richest man, proposed at an unusual sit-down with regulators, the people said... // I believe he has said this before, though perhaps this time was the most serious?

Bribery Confession Sends Shockwaves Through Online Payment Sector - Caixin The case has sent shockwaves through China’s online payment sector, as potential misconduct involved occurred when the sector was still in its formative stages. Most of the companies in Shanghai that looked to obtain payment licenses were linked to Yang, an experienced industry source said. Yang previously said at a meeting that companies that didn’t have a connection to the PBOC’s head office could go to him for license applications, a source with knowledge of the matter said.

Fintech Giants Follow Ant Group’s Lead in Halting Bank Deposit Products - Caixin China’s biggest fintech companies have removed savings products linked to regional banks from their online platforms, amid heightened scrutiny from regulators concerned that the funds are being raised by unstable smaller lenders and could fuel financial risks. The financial services arms of tech giants Tencent Holdings Ltd., Inc., Baidu Inc., Didi Chuxing Technology Co. Ltd., Meituan, Xiaomi Corp., and Lufax Holding Ltd., which is backed by financial conglomerate Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd., have stopped offering products that allow consumers who use their online platforms to make deposits with brick-and-mortar lenders

新京报 - 吴晓求:我国债市须摒弃“谁审批、谁监管”的发展思路和监管原则 “Shocking” growth and “huge invisible risks.” These are the words a scholar uses to describe the spike in local government debt in recent years. In a lengthy essay published by the Beijing News, Wu Xiaoqiu, an economic and former Vice President of Renmin University, provides an overview of China’s debt and capital markets.

China approves FAI projects worth 370 bln yuan in November - Xinhua The projects were mainly in the transport, informatization and energy industries, according to the National Development and Reform Commission. China's FAI went up 2.6 percent year on year in the first 11 months of the year, 0.8 percentage points higher than the rise in the first 10 months, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.

China’s Liquor Giants Intoxicate Investors - WSJ $$ Shares in Kweichow Moutai Co. , which at the start of 2020 was already the world’s biggest alcoholic-drinks company by market capitalization, have gained 56%, valuing it at about $354 billion as of Monday...Rival Wuliangye 000858 1.82% Yibin Co.’s share price has more than doubled, for a market cap of $167 billion. An index of 36 drinks companies whose shares trade in Shanghai or Shenzhen rallied 86.7% this year

Zoom Says It’s Being Probed by SEC, Two U.S. Attorneys Offices - Bloomberg The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and two U.S. Attorney’s offices have been investigating Zoom for months, the San Jose, California-based company said Friday in a blog post and a filing. The videoconferencing company disclosed the legal and regulatory scrutiny the same day a former employee was charged by the U.S. Department of Justice for assisting China to block a remote gathering on the service commemorating the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square uprising.

Politics and Law

The people China’s detaining, spying on and forcing into internment camps - Los Angeles Times On a recent weeklong trip across Xinjiang, a Times reporter and a colleague working for a German outlet visited more than a dozen prisons, detention centers, demolished mosque sites and former reeducation camps turned into high-security factories. The Times met with Uighurs — they are predominately Muslim — who spoke of their imprisonment, fear and life in the region.

'Forced labor' rumors abuse Xinjiang workers' rights: officials reject West's slandering at rare Beijing press conference - Global Times A rare press conference was held in Beijing on Monday, where Xinjiang regional government officials and ordinary citizens clarified Western hype-up and rumors on Xinjiang-related issues, including "forced labor" and "building of re-education center."..Officials also refuted "forced labor" in cotton and textile industry hyped by Western media. The "forced labor" story is ridiculous. These people and organizations (Western anti-China forces) use "human rights" to abuse Uygur people's labor rights and take away their right to have a happy life through work, an official from Xinjiang's publicity department said at the press conference.

AP Interview: China signals shift but no let-up in Xinjiang - AP “We cannot be complacent at this moment, because the threats are still out there,” Xu Guixiang, the deputy director-general of the Xinjiang Communist Party publicity department, said in an interview with The Associated Press in Beijing...Xu said the party is consolidating the measures taken to date and would also explore ways to achieve sustained stability in multi-ethnic border areas such as Xinjiang, a western region about 2,400 kilometers (1,500 miles) from Beijing. To Xinjiang’s south is Tibet, another region marked by past unrest. “We need to think more about how to solve the deep-seated issues, including the social foundation and the soil that give rise to extremism and terrorism,” Xu said.

Caixin - 人事观察|唯一“70后”藏族高官再获重用 普布顿珠任昌都书记_政经频道_财新网 The only "post-70s" Tibetan senior official was appointed as secretary of Changdu (Chamdo), Prabhuton Chu.

毁林盖别墅、建豪华坟墓,广东某国家森林公园乱象无人管?_腾讯新闻 Someone in Guangdong is going to be in a lot of trouble. Yicai reports on the illegal construction of luxury villas and tombs in a state forest park in the province. A similar case brought down several senior officials in Shaanxi last year

贯彻习近平法治思想  更好担当检察使命--理论-人民网 Tong Jianming, deputy party secretary of the Supreme People's Procutorate, on page 9 of the Monday People's Daily on Implementing Xi Jinping Thought on the Rule of Law and Taking on the Procuratorial Mission Better


China boosts efforts to deter bad faith - State Council Greater efforts should be made to improve China’s bad faith deterrent system and build a long-term mechanism for promoting honesty, according to a circular released by the General Office of the State Council on Dec 18. The move is aimed at facilitating implementation of the regulation on optimizing the business environment, and further applying the rule of law and uniformity into the country's social credit system. The circular required strict compliance with laws and regulations when documenting acts of bad faith, identifying individuals and businesses with high levels of dishonesty, and punishing their practices.

China puts Han official in charge of ethnic minority affairs as Beijing steps up push for integration | South China Morning Post Since 1954, the official responsible for implementing regional autonomy has been a member of one of the country’s many ethnic minority groups, starting with Ulanhu, a renowned ethnic Mongol general whose name could be translated as the “red son of Communism”...On Monday, the 66-year old convention was broken when Chen Xiaojiang, a Han official who had worked at the Communist Party’s disciplinary watchdog, replaced Bagatur, a Mongol cadre, as the party secretary, according to an announcement on the commission’s website.

Woman ‘serial killer’ goes on trial for seven murders in China after 20 years on the run | South China Morning Post A woman accused of killing seven people, including a three-year-old girl, went on trial in eastern China on Monday after 20 years on the run. Lao Rongzhi, 46, apologised to the victims’ families but denied that her involvement was “intentional”, saying she had been in an abusive relationship and had been forced to take part in the crimes, according to local media reports.

2021: The Birth of Xi Jinping Thought (习近平思想)? | The China Collection - Carl MinznerI’m starting to suspect that the rectification campaign that will sweep through China’s political-legal bureaucracy in 2021 might be a major vector for trying to raise Xi Jinping’s ideological place in the CCP political pantheon yet closer to Mao Zedong... Naturally, “Xi Jinping Thought on Rule of Law” (习近平法治思想) is going to be a big part of this. And to understand what this involves, it helps to look at statements by key people. For example, here’s a 12/21 editorial in the Party’s flagship paper, the People’s Daily, by Guo Shengkun 郭声琨. Guo is the 政法委书记 – the Party Secretary for the Party’s Political-Legal Committee. That’s to say, he sits at the top of the Party bureaucracy that overseas the political-legal apparatus that is about to be rectified. Unsurprisingly, his piece is a paen to Xi Jinping Thought on Rule of Law (习近平法治思想). Fifty-one (!) invocations of Xi’s name. If that’s a sign of what 2021 holds for China’s political-legal apparatus, it’s going to be Xi, Xi, Xi – all the time in those mandatory study sessions.

Guo Shengkun's People's Daily piece -深入学习宣传贯彻习近平法治思想 奋力开创全面依法治国新局面--法制网

Foreign and Defense Affairs

Xi signs order to publish regulations on military professional education - Xinhua Focusing on training new types of high-caliber and professional military personnel with both integrity and ability, the regulations are of great significance for promoting the development of military professional education and fostering a new system for training military personnel. With eight chapters and 43 articles, the regulations specified who are eligible to receive military professional education, the forms of education and requirements.

Belt and Road Initiative: China ups investment despite coronavirus and doubters | South China Morning Post China has increased investment in its flagship Belt and Road Initiative this year and will make digital cooperation along the route a priority, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, rebuffing suggestions that Beijing had scaled back the programme during the coronavirus pandemic...“Amid the world economic recession, China’s overall investment in [the belt and road] has not dropped. Instead, it has shown a contrary trend of growth.” He said the country’s outbound direct investment along the belt and road route rose 30 per cent in the first three quarters of this year, up from 2019.

Yearender-Xi Focus: Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy guides China's actions as responsible country amid pandemic - XinhuaIn the special year of 2020 shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, China has fulfilled its responsibilities as a major country in the world while safeguarding its national interests and dignity. This has been achieved under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy. The thought consists of 10 principles including building a global community of shared future to safeguard world peace and promote common development, pursuing peaceful development on the basis of mutual respect and win-win cooperation, and steering reform of the global governance system to promote greater equity and justice. The key principles also include pursuing major-country diplomacy with distinctive Chinese features to accomplish the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative under the principles of extensive consultation and joint contribution to benefit all, and upholding China's sovereignty, national security, and development interests as the core and non-negotiable position.

‘They’re taking him for a ride’: Has Philippines gained from Duterte’s China pivot? - CNA In 2016, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warmed to Beijing in exchange for investments. But so far, only a fraction of the billions of dollars pledged have materialised. The programme Insight asks if his China policy has come to naught.

Trial delayed for Australian writer detained in Beijing on spying charges -supporter | Reuters The trial of Australian writer Yang Hengjun, detained in Beijing since January 2019, has been delayed by three months, according to his former teacher and a supporter Feng Chongyi...“Yang’s refusal to confess in spite of 300 rounds of interrogation does cause real difficulties for the confession-based legal system,” Feng told Reuters.

人事观察|四将晋升 陕西人郭普校成最年轻现役上将_政经频道_财新网 Caixin gives some more background on the 4 newly promoted generals

Ruling party rift overshadows political stability of Nepal - Global Times - Long Xingchun When Hindustan Times newspaper covered this news, it tried hard to connect the situation with China, noting that this situation "also hurts China". It also accused China of interfering in Nepal's domestic affairs and with the Communist Party's internal disputes.  The publication seems to have a long-term tactic to drive a wedge between China and Southeast Asian countries. China does not interfere in Nepal's domestic affairs - or any country's for that matter.  Of course, China hopes Nepal can have a stable government which does not change too frequently so that everyone benefits. This also includes China-Nepal ties.  Actually, China has no preference about who the ruling party is, but only hopes that Nepal has a stable government. China has not aided, coerced, or imposed pressure on any ruling party of Nepal. It is India that has pressured Nepal, including implementing a blockade. The coordinative role played by China should not be viewed as interference in Nepal's internal politics. The accusations from the Indian side are groundless.

India China border news: ITBP personnel, civilians push back Chinese soldiers in civilian clothes at Chanthang in Ladakh - Times of India A group of Chinese soldiers in two vehicles recently crossed the Indian border into Changthang village in Nyoma area, 135 km east of Leh in Ladakh, as per a video circulated by the residents on Sunday. The Chinese soldiers, who were in civilian clothes, were apparently objecting to the local nomads allowing their cattle to graze in the area.

Indian media hype of Chinese soldiers’ incursion reflects hysteria, hinders military disengagement: observers - Global Times With China and India engaging in multiple rounds of talks through military and diplomatic channels to push forward a solution to their longstanding border row, Indian media driven by malicious intent on Monday came up with new claims of "Chinese soldiers' crossing" into Changthang village in the Nyoma area, east of Leh in Ladakh on the Indian side, before they were "forced" out, all of which were based on speculation over a viral video that made the rounds among local residents. Chinese observers said they are not surprised by this typical show of Indian media's hysterical tarnishing of China and its army.

Fake news will not disturb China-Africa friendship: FM spokesperson - Xinhua China-Africa cooperation and friendship will be advanced to a new level instead of being disrupted by fake news, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Monday. Wang made the remarks at a press briefing in response to a media outlet saying that suspected Chinese hackers stole camera footage from the African Union (AU), which referred to reports two years ago that China monitored AU headquarters.

The Military Wants to Hide Covert Messages in Marine Mammal Sounds | Hakai Magazine The underwater chorus of killer whales or dolphins could contain secret military messages hidden in plain sound. Chinese researchers have recently published a series of studies describing how to disguise underwater communications as artificial dolphin clicks and killer whale songs, potentially allowing stealthy submarines or underwater drones to cryptically pass covert military communications between each other or a home base. Mimicking marine mammal sounds to disguise military communication is a decades-old idea that has resurfaced.

Hong Kong and Macao

Hong Kong activist Nathan Law applies for asylum in Britain | The Guardian Law revealed in an opinion article for the Guardian on Monday that he had submitted a refugee claim to the UK government. He said he had chosen Britain in the hope he could “sound an alarm” over threats to democracy in Europe from the Chinese Communist party.

Hong Kong seeks to arm immigration officials, empower them to ban people from leaving city | Apple Daily Immigration officials would be allowed to possess firearms and ban individuals from leaving Hong Kong under a legal amendment proposed by the city’s government this week, sparking criticism from pro-democracy figures.

Hong Kong-based activists mostly silent after US Senator Ted Cruz blocks bill giving special refugee status to dissidents, citing spy threat from Beijing | South China Morning Post Cruz says China would exploit relaxed immigration standards to send spies to the US

Hong Kong court dismisses judicial review lodged by journalists group about "police hindering journalistic activities" - Xinhua Although the police have a duty to ensure journalists' safety and their reasonable access and uninhibited reporting "first-hand," the police must have regard to other considerations such as the duty to maintain law and order, the lawfulness of the conduct of the protesters and journalists, whether any violence was used, and if so the degree of violence used, by the protesters, and all other relevant circumstances on the ground, according to the judgment. Expressing welcome to the judgment, the police in a statement stressed the respect to press freedom and journalists' right of reporting and the understanding of the need of journalists to report and film at the scene.

Hong Kong mask ban for protests upheld - The Washington Post The ruling represents a defeat for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy opposition, now forced out of the legislature, which tried to establish that the ban was unconstitutional and violated basic liberties. It also upholds the power of Hong Kong’s chief executive, who is handpicked by Beijing, to use colonial-era security laws to unilaterally enact legislation.

Hong Kong to deny entry of visitors from Britain to fend off new COVID-19 strain - Xinhua Hong Kong will deny entry of visitors who have stayed for over two hours in Britain during the past two weeks, effective from midnight Monday, to fend off a more infectious strain of COVID-19 virus reported there.


Chinese aircraft carrier passes through Taiwan Straits - CGTN A Chinese aircraft carrier passed through the Taiwan Straits on Sunday to conduct training in relevant waters of the South China Sea, according to a spokesperson for the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.  Liu Wensheng, a spokesperson for the PLA Navy, said in a statement on Monday that aircraft carrier Shandong's voyage is a normal arrangement.

Tech and Media

Our Perspective on the DOJ Complaint - Zoom Blog In June 2020, Zoom received a grand jury subpoena from the Department of Justice’s U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York (EDNY). This subpoena requested information regarding our interactions with foreign governments and foreign political parties, including the Chinese government. In addition, it requested information regarding storage of and access to user data, the development and implementation of Zoom’s privacy policies, and the actions Zoom took relating to the Tiananmen commemorations on Zoom. Zoom has since received additional subpoenas from EDNY seeking related information. In July 2020, we received subpoenas from the Department of Justice’s U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California (NDCA) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Both subpoenas seek documents and information relating to various security and privacy matters, including Zoom’s encryption, and Zoom’s statements relating thereto, as well as calculation of usage metrics and related disclosures. In addition, the NDCA subpoena seeks information relating to any contacts between Zoom employees and representatives of the Chinese government, and any attempted or successful influence by any foreign government in Zoom’s policies, procedures, practices, and actions as they relate to users in the United States.

HarmonyOS gives China own ecosystem, has far-reaching importance to nation's software sector: Huawei's Wang Chenglu - Global Times "As we are developing HarmonyOS, we not only want to make a competitive product in the market, we're hoping to slowly let the Chinese industry and academia realize that there's a possibility for China to have its own ecosystem for the first time," Wang Chenglu, president of Huawei's consumer software business, said during an exclusive interview with the Global Times. "If the HarmonyOS system can be finally 'made,' I believe that China will be the most advanced nation in Internet of Things programming language innovation," Wang said, calling for the whole industry to work together to build the system.

The Open Brands Dataset: Unified brand detection and recognition at scale - Alibaba Researchers Intellectual property protection(IPP) have received more and more attention recently due to the development of the global e-commerce platforms. brand recognition plays a significant role in IPP. Recent studies for brand recognition and detection are based on small-scale datasets that are not comprehensive enough when exploring emerging deep learning techniques. Moreover, it is challenging to evaluate the true performance of brand detection methods in realistic and open scenes. In order to tackle these problems, we first define the special issues of brand detection and recognition compared with generic object detection. Second, a novel brands benchmark called "Open Brands" is established. The dataset contains 1,437,812 images which have brands and 50,000 images without any brand. The part with brands in Open Brands contains 3,113,828 instances annotated in 3 dimensions: 4 types, 559 brands and 1216 logos. To the best of our knowledge, it is the largest dataset for brand detection and recognition with rich annotations. We provide in-depth comprehensive statistics about the dataset, validate the quality of the annotations and study how the performance of many modern models evolves with an increasing amount of training data. Third, we design a network called "Brand Net" to handle brand recognition.

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

China’s firms ‘set to export 400 million vaccine doses’ | South China Morning Post Three front-running Chinese firms – China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), Sinovac Biotech and CanSino Biologics – have made those deals to supply countries in Latin America, the Middle East and Asia, according to public data compiled by both British analytics firm Airfinity and the Duke Global Health Innovation Centre in the United States.

Yicai - China Says No Major Side Effects After Million Covid Jabs, Immunity Lasts at Least Six Months There have been no severe side effects in the more than one million people who have received the Covid-19 jab since July and results show that protection is conferred for at least half a year, officials from the National Health Commission said.

China steps up prevention of COVID-19 via cold chain - Xinhua The measures include strict testing and disinfection at customs, the protection of workers throughout the shipment chains, regular nucleic acid testing for workers in the shipment sector and the inoculation of high-risk groups, said Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, at a press conference...Infections are possible only when the foods or cargoes shipped via the cold chain are heavily contaminated by the virus and people are in contact with them repeatedly for a long period of time, Wu explained, saying that recent sporadic infections were mostly among cold-chain workers.

China issues white paper on energy - Xinhua The white paper, titled "Energy in China's New Era," was released by the State Council Information Office to provide a full picture of the country's achievements in energy development and major policies and measures for energy reform...The main body of the white paper was divided into seven sections: developing high-quality energy in the new era, historic achievements in energy development, an all-round effort to reform energy consumption, building a clean and diversified energy supply system, leveraging the role of innovation as the primary driver of development, deeper reform of the energy system in all areas, strengthening international energy cooperation across the board.

PetroChina strikes big gas find in China Xinjiang's Junggar basin: state media | Reuters PetroChina,Asia’s largest producer of oil and gas, has struck a large natural gas discovery in northwest China’s Xinjiang region with an initial estimated reserve exceeding 100 billion cubic meters, China’s state news agency Xinhua reported over the weekend.

China Announces Plans to Allow International Access to Giant Radio Telescope | Voice of America - English China has announced it will allow access by international scientists to its massive radio telescope — the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope, or FAST, in southwestern Guizhou province. It is now the largest and only instrument of its kind in the world following the recent collapse of a Puerto Rico-based observatory. Ahead of the announcement, Chinese officials last week allowed international journalists access to the instrument, built in a natural basin between mountains in a remote area of Guizhou.

In Depth: China Needs to Get Serious About the Growing Abuse of Laughing Gas, Experts Say - Caixin Chinese experts have called on the country to step up control of the production and sale of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, amid signs that an increasing number of people are recreationally abusing the common industrial and medical substance. Police around the country have recorded hundreds of cases of nitrous oxide abuse since last year, far more than the handful they logged prior to 2019. Most cases involved people in their 20s and 30s.