The "Quad"; "Great Leader 伟大领袖" Xi Jinping; Bitcoin Cash Pump And Dump--Sinocism 11.14.17

President Trump is on his way home from Asia. 

The trip had its successes but overall it looks to have highlighted his apparent strategic schizophrenia.

In support of the recently articulated "Indo-Pacific" strategy he revived the "Quadrilateral Security Dialogue", aka the "Quad", a grouping of the US, India, Japan and Australia first formed in 2007 but quickly shelved, apparently in deference to Beijing's concerns. Now the big four may be back, as The Financial Times reports in Diplomatic initiative revived to counter China’s growing influence:

Officials from the US, Japan, Australia and India met at the weekend on the sidelines of the Asean summit in Manila to restart the “quad”, a diplomatic initiative set up a decade ago to counterbalance China’s growing power in the region.

None of the four mentioned China in subsequent statements but each touched on issues likely to make Beijing nervous. The talked of the importance of the Indo-Pacific region being “free and open” and bound by a “rules-based order”. All except India called for freedom of navigation in the region, potentially challenging China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea...

Asian nations worried about China's rise want both security and economic ties with the US. On the security side the Trump administration looks active and forward-looking, but on the economic side it looks less and less appealing. Trump’s APEC speech was not a success, as Reuters notes in Trump heads home with 'America First' ringing in Asian ears:

Trump’s vision has up-ended a consensus favoring multinational trade pacts whose regional champion is now China. On the sidelines of the Vietnam meeting, 11 countries kept alive a Trans Pacific trade deal that Trump walked away from last year in the name of protecting American jobs.

One cabinet member from a major ASEAN country told Reuters there was little enthusiasm in the region for Trump’s bilateral approach to deals.

“As Singapore Prime Minister Lee pointed out, the reason bilateral trade deals are so attractive for the USA, is precisely why no one will want to enter into one with the USA: because the USA could bully anyone on a bilateral basis,” said the Cabinet member who did not want to be named. “Why would anyone sign up for that?”

My understanding is that Xi and his team are concerned about the Indo-Pacific strategy because they see it as a potentially effective mechanism to constrain China's international space. I am not a fan of the Global Times but occasionally it has interesting pieces, and this one by Liu Dian, an assistant research fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University, on the strategy is one-Indo-Pacific alliance could end prematurely:

The introduction of the Indo-Pacific concept reflects the allied reaction of the US, India, Japan and Australia to China's Belt and Road (B&R) initiative. With the continuous promotion of the initiative, China's international influence has risen significantly, and it has begun to play a leading role in global governance. In contrast, the US and Japan are becoming anxious as their ability to shape the international order is relatively declining. Changes in the international environment have caused stress in these countries.

After the US withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), Japan still insisted on promoting negotiations for the pact. Additionally, in the hope of balancing the influence of the B&R initiative, Japan has been actively competing with China for infrastructure projects in Southeast Asia, and it jointly launched the Asia Africa Growth Corridor program with India covering the Asia-Pacific and African regions...

The US is an important promoter of the four-nation alliance. However, Trump, who gives the US priority, will also be an important obstacle to its unity.

This commercially minded president, while drawing Japan and India into an Indo-Pacific alliance, has also criticized the US trade deficits with those countries, and he is likely unwilling to assume more responsibility for the economy and security of its allies.

The US can not have a coherent strategy to counter China if it does not offer appealing security AND economic assurances to its allies. And right now President Trump looks a bit like a strategic schizophrenic. 

Thanks for reading. 

The Essential Eight

1. "Great Leader 伟大领袖" Xi Jinping

A Guizhou newspaper, the Qianxi Nan Daily, is going with "Great Leader" Xi. The Newspaper called him 伟大领袖 in the November 10 issue, and this article on local masses and cadres seeing him as "Great Leader" is in the November 14 issue-“伟大领袖习近平总书记” —— 黔西南各族干部群众的共同心声-黔西南日报·

Remember, the "core" appellation for Xi started in the provinces. Xi was a Guizhou delegate to the 19th Party Congress and Li Zhanshu and Chen Min'er both have deep ties there. I hope this is local officials overstepping, but it is worrisome. 

Local Jiangxi officials are killing two birds with one stone by cracking down on religion while pushing loyalty to the Party and Xi- Want to escape poverty? Replace pictures of Jesus with Xi Jinping, Christian villagers urged | South China Morning Post:

Located on the edge of Poyang, China’s largest freshwater lake, Yugan county in Jiangxi province is known equally for its poverty and its large Christian community. More than 11 per cent of its 1 million residents live below the country’s official poverty line, while nearly 10 per cent of its population is Christian, according to official data.

But as the local government redoubles its efforts to alleviate poverty, many believers have been told to take down the images of Jesus, the crosses and the gospel couplets that form the centrepieces of their homes, and hang portraits of Xi instead – a practice that hearkens back to the era of the personality cult around late chairman Mao Zedong, whose portraits were once ubiquitous in Chinese homes.

The Tea Leaves of Xi-Era Discourse | China Media Project - Qian Gang:

I always pay close attention to what I call the “deep red discourse”—the frequency of the terms like “Mao Zedong Thought” and the “Four Basic Principles.” In the 19th Congress report, we see these used at their lowest frequency ever. But in the aspects of Party power and struggle, Maoist language does not decreases but rather noticeably increases. This is perhaps one of the key aspects of what “Chinese Characteristics in the New Era” means–namely, the centralization of Party power, strengthening the whole nation, the unifying of will and direction, the suppression of dissent, the elimination of obstacles, and the efficient construction of a beautiful new world.

Xi Jinping’s report uses a new term with which we must familiarize ourselves. This is “channeling expectations” (引導預期). These words have profound significance for understanding the Xi Jinping era.

2. UCLA Basketball Players Sent Home After President Trump Intervened

Comment: Next time China wants special treatment for one of its citizens in the US Xi will have a favor to call in. I believe ESPN says there is surveillance video showing them shoplifting. Did Trump ask Xi to free any dissidents, like Liu Xia, Liu Xiaobo's widow? The UCLA players should consider themselves very lucky...

Trump personally asked Xi Jinping to help resolve case of UCLA basketball players arrested in China - The Washington Post

President Trump acknowledged Tuesday that he personally asked his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to help resolve the case of three UCLA men's basketball players who were arrested for shoplifting while in Hangzhou for a tournament last week...

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed in an email that Trump raised the matter with Xi. On Tuesday, Trump told reporters in Manila that he indeed spoke with Xi about the case. Xi has “been terrific,” Trump said. Asked if he expected a resolution soon, Trump added: “Hope so.”..

The story also eclipsed the Ball family’s entry into the Chinese market. In concert with the middle son’s expected participation in the game, the family’s shoe and apparel business, Big Baller Brand, opened the first of two pop-up stores in Shanghai Friday.

LiAngelo Ball, UCLA teammates flying home from China - China Sports Insider

3. The Party Trumps "Governing According To The Rule Of Law" 

The Nightmare – An Excerpt of Lawyer Wang Yu’s Account of 709 Detention and Torture « China Change:

Wang Yu (王宇), born 1971 in Inner Mongolia, was a lawyer with Beijing Fengrui Law Firm when she was abducted in the early morning of July 9, 2015. The date of her detention marks the beginning of, and gives name to, the most notorious human rights event over the last two years – the 709 Crackdown. She was released on bail on August 2016, but until recently Wang Yu, her husband and son have been sequestered in an apartment in Ulan Hot, Inner Mongolia, under severe surveillance. The family returned to their home in Beijing recently. Below is an excerpt of Wang Yu’s account of her first two months in Beijing from July to September, 2015 from the new book The People's Republic of the Disappeared: Stories from inside China's system for enforced disappearances:

"At that point, Chief Wang [the chief interrogator] said: “If you die here, you will just become another Cao Shunli.”

Indeed, I felt that I was dying. I had entered an empty state; a pain that is hard to describe. I couldn’t breathe. I felt pain in every part of my body. I felt that my soul had already drifted away. That day, I thought, I really was like a dead person. I spent another sleepless night strapped in the chair."

Teenage son of prominent civil rights lawyer Wang Yu barred from leaving China to study abroad | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP:

According to the message, his son was stopped at customs and held for over an hour. He was eventually told that he was not permitted to leave “because leaving the country could potentially endanger state security.”

Officials then claimed that his passport was invalid and cut two corners off of it.

4. Xinjiang: Grim and Getting Grimmer

Security clampdown bites in China’s Xinjiang region - FT $$:

Thousands have been sent to unmarked detention centres over the past year, usually for two to three months at a time. Nearly every Uighur resident interviewed by the Financial Times had a friend or relative who had been detained. In the centres they are taught Communist party doctrine and persuaded to forgo their ethnic and religious identities. 

“There are so many people being detained, the government is building political education centres in old schools, empty office buildings,” says one Uighur man in Kashgar, who was planning a dinner with a friend released from detention the day before. “You eat, sleep and attend classes in these centres — just like a university, only you cannot leave.”

Amnesty says China detains 30 relatives of exiled Uighur leader - Reuters:

Authorities in China’s far western region of Xinjiang have in recent months detained up to 30 relatives of an exiled ethnic Uighur leader, Rebiya Kadeer, rights group Amnesty International said on Tuesday

China Carries Out 'Mass Detentions' of Ethnic Kazakhs in Xinjiang - RFA:

Chinese authorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang have detained hundreds of ethnic Kazakh business owners this month, freezing their bank accounts and assets pending "investigation," RFA has learned.

Police in Dorbiljin (in Chinese, Emin) county, Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture have swooped on an estimated 500 ethnic Kazakh traders and businesses in raids from Nov. 6-11, sources said.

Squad fights terrorists who transit from Xinjiang to Southeast Asia - Global Times:

The team, which was set up in February, is the first of its kind in the region, with 11 soldiers and one officer who were selected from more than 1,300 soldiers in their regiment.

Chongzuo shares a 533-kilometer border with Vietnam and it faces the risk of terrorists, according to an article on the Chongzuo government website. Many extremists from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region want to get to countries such as Afghanistan and Turkey and try to use Chongzuo as a transit point because of the convenient transportation to Vietnam.

5. Countering Chinese Communist Party Influence In Australia and New Zealand

Comment: I believe we are near a tipping point in the US as well that will see much more focus on CCP influence operations in America. 

Foreign spies, lobbyists and donations targeted in new interference laws:

Confirming on Tuesday the completion of a review into espionage and foreign interference laws, Attorney-General George Brandis on Tuesday said the new laws would include a long-awaited ban on foreign donations and a US-style foreign agents' register...

There are growing fears about Chinese Communist Party influence in Australia's political system. Fairfax Media has confirmed Senator Brandis has received detailed intelligence briefings that suggest Chinese Communist Party-affiliated lobbyists and business people have sought to exert influence in local, state and federal governments, and with ex-politicians in Australia.

University of Canterbury professor calls for China's local influence to be curbed - NZ Herald:

University of Canterbury professor Anne-Marie Brady...made the call for New Zealand to follow Australia's lead in a policy brief  published today.

"It is time to face up to some of the political differences and challenges in the New Zealand-China relationship, including the impact on our democracy of Chinese political interference," Brady said.

Charles Edel, a US scholar now based in Australia, takes an historical look at the subversion risks open societies face from authoritarian states in China’s Influence Game Down Under:

China’s sophisticated infiltration of Australian politics is a troubling example of how authoritarian states can subvert open societies. The United States should heed the lesson...

More than two hundred years later, confronted by Russian and Chinese influence efforts, Australia and the United State are re-learning the lesson that open societies demand vigilance and require defenders. The first step is recognizing the threat posed by authoritarian states seeking to influence free societies. Governments must also inoculate the public to these threats by conducting public education campaigns to ensure broader understanding. Fundamentally, without a more robust defense of liberal values, open societies could find their core national interests of sovereignty, freedom of expression, and the free flow of ideas, goods, and people irreparably damaged. As the American Founders understood, the preservation of national interests requires the unceasing defense of liberal values.

China Daily has registered in the US under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Here is their most recent filing (PDF). CCTV's overseas arm CGTN does not appear to have registered with FARA. 

6. Amway China: A Multi-level Marketing Scheme With Chinese Characteristics 

How to Sell the American Dream (Without Getting Banned from China) – That’s Beijing:

Amway was banned for years, but China’s 2005 ‘anti-MLM’ regulations, ironically, allowed the company to muscle its way back sidestep its MLM status (while still operating as an unabashed MLM scheme in nearly every other country it sells in), Amway opened brick-and-mortar stores and and tweaked its payment scheme. Then, Amway stepped up its guanxi game. The company established the Amway Charity sent hundreds of Chinese officials to study public management at Harvard (and tour Amway’s headquarters in Ada, Michigan) in a program called ‘Amway Fellows.’..

“Hello,” says a woman the minute we step inside the Beijing Amway Experience Center, whisking us away on a tour of the complex...

“The US government likes Amway very much,” says our guide. “I’ll send you a picture later of Betsy, on WeChat.”

Betsy DeVos is the wife of Dick DeVos, Amway's former president, and the sister-in-law of Doug DeVos, Amway’s current co-CEO... In December, Trump named her as his pick for Secretary of Education.

7. Crackdown On Local Government Spending Hits Subway Construction

Another City Halts Subway Projects Amid Financing Concerns - Caixin Global:

Separate sources from banks and regulatory bodies told Caixin that Hohhot, the capital city of Inner Mongolia, scrapped plans to build two subway lines and one expressway linking the city with Ordos, a mining city in southwest Inner Mongolia...

The cancellation of the Inner Mongolia subway projects is having a ripple effect in other cities. Several city governments, including those of Xianyang in Shaanxi province and Wuhan in Hubei province, said in statements that their subway plan are unlikely to win immediate approval under the central government’s crackdown on financial risks related to borrowing for such projects.

Caixin looks at the construction halt on the Baotou, Inner Mongolia subway just 100 days after work began, says due to central government intervention because Baotou's population does not reach the 3 million threshold the State Council requires for cities to get approval for subways, and because the city's finances can't possibly afford the 30B RMB project without taking on massive amounts of debt-分析 | 开工不足百天 包头地铁为何被叫停? _公司频道_财新网 

8. Was The weekend Bitcoin Cash Surge A Chinese Pump And Dump?

Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, TL;DR: The Bitcoin Paradox, Uber-Softbank Deal – Stratechery by Ben Thompson $$:

What happened was this: when the price of Bitcoin Cash spiked while the difficulty of mining remained low, it become tremendously profitable to mine Bitcoin Cash for ~48 hours (and to sell off Bitcoin Cash that had been accumulated by miners after the fork earlier this year to panicked Bitcoin holders): it seems highly likely that this was an elaborate pump-and-dump scheme. And sure enough, when the difficulty change kicked in, miners abandoned Bitcoin Cash en masse and started mining Bitcoin again, plowing through all of those high-fee transactions..

In theory the Chinese miners that seem to have driven this scheme could have pressed their advantage and tried to replace the temporarily-crippled Bitcoin with Bitcoin Cash; in reality, though, that would have been massively expensive. The moment all of the profits were taken and it was prudent to do so the miners switched back to Bitcoin.

Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

China’s Economic Growth Slows as Property, Industrial Output Cool - Caixin Global Julian Evans-Pritchard, an analyst with research firm Capital Economics in Singapore, said infrastructure spending was still strong and has helped to offset the drag on growth from a cooling property sector, softer foreign demand and disruptions from the anti-pollution crackdown. “But this support seems unlikely to last given that local governments are set to reduce spending in the final months of the year in order to meet budget targets,” he wrote in a research note after the data.

Stable Bad-Debt Figures Mask Problems at Smaller Lenders - Caixin Global Smaller banks, particularly city commercial banks, who have been more aggressive in their lending practices and tend to make riskier loans, saw their average NPL ratio increase to 2.95% at the end of the third quarter from 2.49% at the end of 2016. Bankers familiar with the matter told Caxin that some local government officials have been interfering in the reporting of nonperforming loans by commercial banks in their jurisdictions.

Agreeing on China's Favorite Trade Deal Set to Drag Into 2018 - Bloomberg The RCEP, which includes China and India but not the U.S., is on the agenda for discussions at regional summits this week in Manila. Most officials acknowledge the deal will miss a year-end deadline, though they hope to have a framework agreement in early 2018

Spotlight: Against anti-globalization wave, China champions greater economic integration in East Asia - Xinhua Despite the rise of an anti-globalization sentiment and trade protectionism worldwide, China has been rooting for greater and deeper economic integration in East Asia. Addressing the 20th ASEAN-China, Japan and South Korea (10+3) leaders' meeting here Tuesday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang urged advancing the construction of an East Asia Economic Community (EAEC) to promote regional integration and common development.

KFC Still ‘Finger Lickin' Good’ in China - Caixin Global Zhao and other early visitors to the original KFC recalled how long lines snaked outside the store in its early months, and the difficulties many people faced in figuring out alien concepts like how to order at a takeaway counter and to eat without chopsticks. There were also similarly alien prices, which averaged around 20 yuan for a meal in those days, or about $3 at current exchange rates. At a time when most people made 100 yuan per month or less, those kinds of prices were out of most people’s range.

CFIUS Reform and U.S. Government Concerns over Chinese Investment: A Primer - Lawfare overview and analysis of the CFIUS reform legislation

海航人事地震 元老董事辛笛被免职_公司频道_财新网 Caixin reports that HNA Group board member and HNA travel head Xin Di has been removed from his positions by the company

Why China waited for Donald Trump to leave to open the door to its financial sector | South China Morning Post Renmin University foreign affairs specialist Jin Canrong said the decision to raise the caps was nevertheless a big concession to the US. “It aims to address market access, one of the three core problems Trump has lashed out about along with the trade imbalance and lack of intellectual property protection,” Jin said. “It’s a big present to Trump. But China doesn’t want to give the impression it did so for Trump, because it has to consider domestic reverberations amid mounting nationalism.”

Former Chief of Citic Securities Jailed for Bribery - Caixin Global Cheng Boming, former general manager of CITIC Securities Co., was jailed for 3.5 years for bribery following an investigation that brought down many top managers of the biggest brokerage in China. Two other former executives received suspended sentences. Sources close to the matter told Caixin that Cheng was sentenced in a court ruling in December 2016 for accepting “hundreds of thousands of yuan in bribes” in exchange of business favors.

Provincial Aviation Merger Plan May Clip Wings of Shenzhen’s Ambition - Caixin Global Sources close to the matter said the provincial government is studying the feasibility of merging the airports of the three largest cities under its jurisdiction — Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai — as part of efforts to boost regional integration.

铁总追责:沪昆高铁贵州段个别隧道存在严重质量问题_新浪财经_新浪网 Netizen exposes exposes shoddy construction, illegal subcontracting on segment of the Shanghai-Kunming high speed rail line

Even China's Debt Market Can't Escape Alibaba Singles' Day - Bloomberg The company’s financial affiliate got regulatory approval last month to sell up to 3 billion yuan ($452 million) of what it called “shopping festival” asset-backed securities. The underlying assets are consumer loans made by Ant Financial, controlled by Alibaba’s billionaire founder Jack Ma, during the Nov. 11 Singles’ Day event, according to a prospectus seen by Bloomberg News.

China's LeEco debt problems: A cautionary tale for Chinese regulators - CNBC Jia is said to have stayed in the U.S. since his resignation and he has remained relatively silent, leaving debt-holders and LeEco employees back in China wondering where he is and when he will return. Last month, a Chinese tech news outlet reported that Jia intends to file for bankruptcy for Faraday Future in the U.S. and then sell it to American investors.

Faraday Future CFO Stefan Krause Accuses Embattled Chinese EV Company For Defamation – China Money Network “Faraday Future issued a statement today that falsely described my departure from the company. The truth is that I resigned from Faraday Future on October 14, effective immediately,” reads a statement issued last Friday by Krause, who was formerly a Deutsche Bank executive and chief financial officer of Bayerische Motoren Werke AG before joining Faraday Future in March.

China Home Sales Fall by Most in Almost Three Years on Curbs - Bloomberg Sales by value dropped 3.4 percent from a year earlier to 909 billion yuan ($137 billion), according to Bloomberg calculations based on data released Tuesday by the National Bureau of Statistics. That was the biggest year-on-year decline since November 2014.

Govt to further promote healthy market environment - The system will enhance cross-departmental and cross-regional coordination in solving major issues concerning market supervision, deepen reform in business operations and reinforce the implementation of market supervision policies. The conference system, led by the State Administration of Industry and Commerce, will be composed of 35 departments, including the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Commerce, and the General Administration of Customs.


Politics, Law And Ideology

Party Building as the Guide to Social Responsibility in Non-Public Enterprises | China Social Credit System This post presents a translation of an article discussing the role of Party groups in CSR in private enterprises, published on the People’s Daily

Behind the Scenes, Communist Strategist Presses China’s Rise - The New York Times Comment: Another profile of Wang Huning  //  As others argued that China could never modernize without becoming democratic — a view that later gave rise to the ill-fated student movement based in Tiananmen Square — Mr. Wang made the case in a 1988 article that an enlightened autocracy would be “highly effective in distributing social resources” in order to “promote rapid economic growth.” “He believed in modernization and that China needed strong political leadership,” said Ren Xiao, a professor of international relations at Fudan University in Shanghai and a former student of Mr. Wang. “That is still on his mind. It is his firm belief.”

China's New “Black Box”: Problems and Prospects for the Central National Security Commission | The China Quarterly | Cambridge Core Based on an analysis of numerous authoritative but under-utilized Chinese sources, this article addresses the rationale, prospects and implications of the CNSC. It argues that the organization is both a fulfilment of a long-held desire by many in China for a centralized, permanent national security deliberation forum and also a reflection of the unique challenges facing China in the 21st century. Contrary to existing analyses, which argue that the CNSC is likely to be focused primarily on domestic security tasks, the article contends that it is more likely to play a major role in both internal and external security affairs. Moreover, the article argues that if certain obstacles can be addressed, the CNSC may have broad implications in areas ranging from China's crisis response capability to the role played by the Chinese Communist Party general secretary in the national security decision-making process.

Why Xi Jinping needs a stronger Communist Party to achieve his Chinese dream | South China Morning Post Deng Yuwen says strict internal governance and discipline are clearly the top priority for President Xi Jinping

赵克志任公安部部长 领导班子中四名中央委员--组织人事-人民网 Zhao Kezhi officially named Minister of Public Security, People's Daily article notes that among the top 8 officials of the MPS four--Zhao, Fu Zhenghua, Huang Ming and Wang Xiaohong--are also central committee members.


Foreign and Military Affairs

Senior military official stresses building strong army under Xi Thought - Xinhua "Firmly upholding the guiding role of the thought is of great significance practically and historically for adherence to the path of building a powerful army with Chinese characteristics and for advancing the modernization of national defense and armed forces," wrote Xu Qiliang, vice chairman of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Military Commission (CMC) in the [People's Daily] article. 牢固确立习近平强军思想在国防和军队建设中的指导地位(认真学习宣传贯彻党的十九大精神) 

China’s Strategic Use of Research Funding on International Law - Lawfare: the Chinese government incentivizes Chinese international law academics to focus their research on certain areas of national interest, including most prominently, international economic law and the law of the sea. And within these topics, the government often creates incentives for them to develop a nationalist bent in their research...One likely result of the strategic use of research funding is China’s development of a strong cohort of international lawyers in fields like international economic law and the law of the sea. 

Japan's Abe Meets Taiwan Envoy Hours After Xi Warning - Bloomberg Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a meeting with a Taiwanese politician Sunday, hours after Chinese President Xi Jinping warned him not to break with past consensus on what Beijing regards as a renegade province. Abe held a 30-minute meeting with James Soong, head of the People First Party on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Danang, Vietnam, according to Japan’s foreign ministry

S.China Sea doesn’t need outside ‘help’ - Global Times During his visit to Vietnam, US President Donald Trump offered his services as a mediator to the South China Sea claimants. "If I can help mediate or arbitrate, please let me know," Trump said in comments during a meeting in Hanoi with Vietnam's president, Tran Dai Quang. He also stressed that he was "a very good mediator and arbitrator." However, Trump's boastful offer has only received tepid response from Hanoi and Manila.

China, ASEAN to formulate strategic partnership vision toward 2030 - Xinhua | Chairing the 20th China-ASEAN (10+1) leaders' meeting in Manila with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Li Keqiang said the vision will upgrade the China-ASEAN cooperation framework from 2+7 to 3+X. The 3+X, using the letter X in math to represent the unknown, means China-ASEAN will touch many fields while focusing on three pillars -- political security, economy and trade, and people-to-people exchange.

CMC to standardize benefits for senior military officials - China - The Central Military Commission (CMC) has released a regulation to standardize the benefits for military officials at or above corps level, including offices, housing, cars and medical services. The regulation also requires such officials to have the appropriate number of staff as stipulated, showing the CMC's determination to strict military governance, it said.  中央军委印发《军级以上领导干部有关待遇规定》

South China Sea code of conduct talks to be 'stabilizer' for region: China premier - Reuters The framework seeks to advance a 2002 Declaration of Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea, which has mostly been ignored by claimant states, particularly China, which has built seven manmade islands in disputed waters, three of which are equipped with runways, surface-to-air missiles and radars.

‘They Want to Know If Trump’s Crazy’ - POLITICO Magazine For years, [Suzanne] DiMaggio and Joel Wit, a longtime U.S. diplomat turned scholar at Johns Hopkins University who founded the influential North Korea-watching website 38North, have been quietly meeting with North Koreans to talk about the country’s nuclear program. In the past, they hardly acknowledged the conversations, part of a “Track 2” dialogue that has kept a line open to the isolated dictatorship even when the two governments officially were not on speaking terms.

China’s satellite start-ups vie for private contracts - FT $$ China’s space entrepreneurs are primarily launching CubeSats — tiny satellites that are comparably cheap to make and can be launched en masse. They typically are used in universities for research purposes but also can be rapidly launched to support telecoms networks and rising demand for remote sensing and imaging.

Has scrapped US$2.5 billion Nepal hydro dam deal with Chinese state firm hurt Beijing’s Himalayan ambitions? | South China Morning Post “In the meeting of the Board of Ministers held today, the agreement with the Gezhouba Group in respect of Budhi Gandaki Hydro Electric Project was found in an irregular and thoughtless manner and rejected under the direction of Parliamentary Committee,” he said.

Xi wraps up state visit to Laos with strengthened partnership - Xinhua The two countries reaffirmed their firm support on issues related to each other's major interests, agreed to accelerate the synergy of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and Laos' strategy of turning itself from a "land-locked" country to a "land-linked" one. China and Laos agreed to jointly build a China-Laos economic corridor, forge ahead with landmark projects such as the China-Laos railway, elevate the scale and level of their economic and trade cooperation in a bid to promote economic complementarity of the two countries.



EPA head blocked from climate change conference | CNA Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Minister Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) was not able to attend a climate change conference held in Germany on Sunday due to objections from China.


Tech And Media

China and the CIA Are Competing to Fund Silicon Valley’s AI Startups - Defense One A trio of new investments in Silicon Valley machine-learning startups shows that the U.S. intelligence community is deeply interested in artificial intelligence. But China is investing even more in these kinds of U.S. companies, and that has experts and intelligence officials worried.

中国人工智能标准化体系建设提速_科技_腾讯网 Xinhua's Economic Information daily reports that China is speeding up the construction of an AI standardization system.

China dominates list of world's top supercomputers again - Xinhua According to a biannual ranking of the world's 500 fastest supercomputers, called the Top500 published Monday, China's Sunway TaihuLight maintains the lead as the No. 1 system for the fourth time, with a performance of 93.01 petaflops. China's Tianhe-2, or Milky Way-2, is still the No. 2 system at 33.86 petaflops. Intel chip-based Tianhe-2 had topped the list for three years until it was displaced in November 2015 by TaihuLight, which was built by entirely using processors designed and made in China.

Amazon sells off China cloud assets as tough new rules bite - Reuters “In order to comply with Chinese law, AWS sold certain physical infrastructure assets to Sinnet,” an AWS spokesman said on Tuesday, adding AWS would still own the intellectual property for its services worldwide. “‎We’re excited about the significant business we have in China and its growth potential.”

China Business Cast 73: Building a unicorn with Mobike co-founder, Joe Xia - TechNode

Jack Ma is the star of a kung fu movie where he beats 8 celebrity martial artists with the power of tai chi | Business Insider Since Saturday, the movie has garnered over 106 million views and some 11,000 comments, many of which praise Ma’s acting skills. Ma has been studying tai chi since 1988, Alibaba said last month. A spokeswoman for the company previously said that Ma took part in the movie to “promote exercise and wellness and cultural exchanges among people of different cultures.”


Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

Ctrip Child Abuse Case Continues to Roil China - Caixin Global As other parents, shocked by the revelation, rushed to look through the videos, they found widespread abuse at the child care center located inside Ctrip’s headquarters in Shanghai. In CCTV footage spanning over a period of four months, parents found that children were mistreated or abused on 61 occasions. Incidents included children being slapped on the face and kicked by their teachers, said one parent, who asked not to be named because she is still employed by Ctrip.

Vancouver readies official apology for past discrimination against Chinese residents - People's Daily Online Vancouver City Councillor Raymond Louie said the apology marks an important step forward for the city. "It's not just looking backward at the historical wrongs that were perpetrated against the Chinese people, but rather looking at it as a model based on the historical data about what we can do differently going forward as well," he told Xinhua in local Chinatown Monday.

Exhibiting the Cultural Revolution, Part 2: The Visual Spectacle of “Dazibao” As part of the Fairbank Center’s exhibition of dazibao (大字报 “big-character posters”) and woodcuts from 1960s China, we present a four-part series on Cultural Revolution-era artworks. Xiaofei Tian, Professor of Chinese Literature at Harvard University, presents part 2: an exploration of the imagery and visual dynamism of dazibao.



Cold Snap Prompts Early Start to Beijing's Heating Season | the Beijinger Monday night's cold snap prompted city officials to activate Beijing's central heating system a day before the official start date, which traditionally falls on November 15.

China to Provide "Spiritual Nourishment" With Multiple 24-Hour Bookstores Opening in Beijing | the Beijinger To explain the area's switch from bars to books, Sanlitun road construction committee secretary Tang Yongtao referenced Chinese President Xi Jinping's policies made at the 19th CCP Plenum: "We must follow the direction of the general secretary" in order to provide "spiritual nourishment."


Jobs And Events

Job Announcement - VOA China Branch Chief This position is located in the China Branch in the East Asia and Pacific Division at the Voice of America in Washington, DC.

Director of HNC Washington Operations - SAIS  Provides consultation and guidance on the Hopkins-Nanjing Center (e.g., operations management, key administrative issues, financial and resource needs) to SAIS leadership.