"They got rid of China 25"; Kissinger to Beijing; New MPS vice minister; Military-civil fusion; Political vetting for Gaokao

HI everyone, apologies for the late delivery today, got stuck with some issues on the home front this AM. All good now...

President Trump caused a bit of a stir yesterday in his press conference when he said that China has ended its Made in China 2025 program. Trump called it China 25. That comment led some to speculate that the US and China have worked out a deal and the G20 will finalize it. I think that speculation is incorrect and that it is more likely he misspoke and does not listen to his briefers...Happy to be wrong, but I would not bet on a deal right now.

The US-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue will be held Friday in DC, I am not hearing what if any deliverables to expect. 

Henry Kissinger went to Beijing and got a meeting with Xi Jinping, though the substance is unclear, as is Dr. Kissinger's influence in the White House.

Thanks for reading.

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The Essential Eight

1. Trump-"They got rid of China 25"

Trump sets off alarm with 'nonsense' China claim - POLITICO

President Donald Trump incorrectly claimed on Wednesday that China “got rid of” its Made in China 2025 program of state support for high-tech industries like robotics and artificial intelligence “because I found it very insulting.”

While Chinese propaganda authorities have killed use of the term “Made in China 2025” because of international backlash, Beijing has not given up on the program it sees as key to its economic development.

That disconnect from reality is worrying industry, which told POLITICO that Trump is either exaggerating the importance of largely cosmetic changes from Beijing or he’s mistaken the elimination of a slogan with the need for China to make fundamental reforms to policies that put American firms at a severe competitive disadvantage. One industry official called Trump’s statement “total and utter nonsense.”

The video of his comments, the “moral leader” bit starts after the China comments:

"China got rid of their China 25 because I found it very insulting...I said that to them...I said China 25 is very insulting because China 25 means in 2025 they're going to take over economically the world..I said that's not happening”

One of those hopeful speculations--Trump all but announces trade deal with China | Asia Times

“They got rid of ‘China 25,’” the president said in response to a reporter’s question, in an apparent reference to China’s Made in China 2025 program to eliminate dependence on imports in several key high-tech industries by the year 2025.

“China would have superseded us in two years as an economic power. Now they’re not even close. China got rid of their ‘China 25’ because I found it very insulting. I told that to them. That means in 2025 they’re going to take over – economically – the world,” Trump told reporters.

Significantly, Trump used the past tense, as if referring to a deal that was already well on its way to completion.


2. More US-China

President Xi meets Henry Kissinger - Xinhua:

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in Beijing Thursday.

Calling Kissinger an old friend of Chinese people, Xi hailed the "historic contribution" he has made to China-U.S. relations.

"We will not forget that," Xi told Kissinger...

"I have agreed with President Trump to meet during the upcoming G20 summit in Argentina, where the two sides can have an in-depth exchange of views on issues of common concern," Xi said.

It is noteworthy that negative voices concerning China have been rising for some time in the United States, Xi said, adding the two countries should have a precise judgment of each other's strategic intentions.

"China sticks to the road of peaceful development, and is still committed to the building of a relationship with the United States that features no conflicts, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation," Xi said...

Xi called on the United States to respect China's rights to develop according to the path chosen by itself and respect China's legitimate rights and interests, meet each other halfway and jointly safeguard the healthy and stable development of bilateral ties.

Kissinger said he is pleased to meet Xi in China again at a critical moment when Sino-U.S. relations have entered a new stage. He recalled that he had visited China many times over the past decades and witnessed China's development.

Cooperation between the United States and China is essential for peace and prosperity in the world, Kissinger stressed, praising China's efforts to this end.

The meeting got about 2 minutes on the Thursday CCTV Evening News 习近平会见美国前国务卿 

No quick fix to US-China trade war – even with a Trump-Xi meeting, top Beijing economic adviser says | South China Morning Post:

“What they were negotiating in Beijing and Washington in the past round [of talks earlier this year] was mostly about trade itself,” Fan Gang, a former member of the monetary policy committee of the People’s Bank of China, said in a speech at Harvard University on Wednesday.

Since the countries had not even begun to discuss the two issues at the heart of the trade war, it was “hard to have a solution” to the dispute, Fan said...

Fan, a leader in an economists’ club founded by Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He, said he was pessimistic about bilateral ties “in the short-run and the long run”. ..

“I don’t think in the short-run you can reach an agreement,” Fan said. “How can you reach agreements with Donald Trump and his team? They are not talking about trade. How much can China actually buy? Buying doesn’t solve the problem.”

China Exports Roar As Traders Rush to Beat U.S. Tariff Hike - Caixin:

“We believe front-loading activity continued in October and will extend into the last two months of 2018 as exporters hurry their shipments in anticipation of higher tariff rates in 2019” upon U.S. importers’ requests, Nomura economists said in a report.

The rush was so widespread that shipping companies are charging sharply higher prices for cargo to the U.S., the economists said. For example, the container freight rate to the U.S. from Ningbo, a major port in eastern China, surged 48% from July to October, while that to Europe declined by 14%.

China's senior official, U.S. National Security Adviser talk over healthy ties between China and U.S. - CGTN:

"Both sides should seek an appropriate solution through equal and mutually beneficial negotiations," said the senior CPC official, adding that the essence of China, U.S. trade and economic ties is mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation.

As the Taiwan issue remains the most critical and sensitive issue in China-U.S. relations, Yang also hoped that the U.S. could adhere to the one-China principle and the three joint statements between China and the United States and prudently handle Taiwan-related issues.

The two sides will also strengthen cooperation in the respective areas of the two militaries, counter-terrorism, law enforcement, drug control, humanities, local affairs, major international and regional issues to better serve the two peoples and the world, he added.

US’ Taiwan policy has not changed, Brian Hook says - Taipei Times:

US Special Representative to Iran Brian Hook on Wednesday reiterated that the US’ policy toward Taiwan remains unchanged, despite US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling it a country on Monday.

“Our policy has not changed. The United States remains committed to the US ‘one China’ policy, the three joint communiques and our responsibilities under the Taiwan Relations Act [TRA],” Hook told a regular news briefing in Washington when asked whether it was a slip of the tongue by Pompeo or if it marked a policy change.

China October soybean imports jump from yr before amid worries trade war will hit supply | Reuters:

China, the world’s top soybean buyer, brought in 6.92 million tonnes of the oilseed in October, up 18 percent from 5.85 million tonnes in the same month last year, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs.

But that was down 13.6 percent from 8.01 million tonnes in September.

“The figures were higher than expected. It was likely that some crushers scrambled to buy more cargoes from Brazil as (the) Brazilian bean season neared the end,” said Xie Huilan, analyst with Cofeed, an agribusiness research firm.

Soybean inventories pile up amid US-China trade battle - Business Insider:

The Agriculture Department lowered its production and export outlook, according to a report out Thursday, and increased its inventory estimates. Projected exports were lowered by 160 million bushels to 1.9 billion for the 2018-2019 marketing year, with lower imports projected for China. Ending soybean stocks estimates came in at 955 million bushels, well above analyst estimates of around 898 million bushels.

Soybean prices have fallen to multiyear lows, trading around $8.65 a bushel, on the back of demand concerns. Beijing placed a 25% import tax on the legume in July to retaliate against the Trump administration, which argues protectionist policies will help force changes to trade policies it sees as unfair.


3. More reassurances and promises for private businesses

Premier Li urges efforts to maintain stable, healthy economy - Xinhua:

Li made the remarks when discussing with economists and entrepreneurs about current economic trends and development in the next year during a seminar...

The country will introduce effective measures to alleviate the financing difficulties of private and small and micro businesses and place more emphasis on employment in macro-policies, Li said.

To facilitate development, Li called for measures to improve business environments and policies according to the demands of enterprises and unleash market vitality and social innovativeness.

China will further reduce administrative approvals and expand market access for private businesses, encouraging them to enter the infrastructure sector and ensuring fairness of competition, Li said.

Entrepreneurship and innovation will be promoted to create jobs, and businesses will be encouraged to make technological breakthroughs and enhance their competitiveness, Li said.

Thursday CCTV Evening News on the meeting 李克强在经济形势专家和企业家座谈会上强调 群策群力 应变克难 保持经济平稳运行和健康发展 

Guo Shuqing promises to direct more loans to private sector - Xinhua:

The private sector contributes more than 60 percent of the economy but only receives 25 percent of the loans, Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC), told Xinhua in an interview, stressing the two ratios do not "match" and efforts should be taken to change the situation.

Big banks should make at least a third of their loans to private businesses in the next three years and for small and medium-sized banks, the level is two thirds, Guo said.

"It's critical to push lenders to grant private companies more loans."

打好“组合拳”纾解民营企业融资困境——访中国人民银行党委书记、中国银保监会主席郭树清-新华网 

Govt to issue policies easing businesses’ concerns - Gov.cn:

The State Council released a document on Nov 8 focusing on improving the business environment, urging policies to be accurately carried out regarding easing enterprises’ burdens.

Fairness is highlighted on the list of priorities. A revised negative list must be finished and put into practice by the end of 2018, which will lower the market threshold for social capital in civil aviation, railroad and other areas, and give the green light to more projects that represent public-private partnerships.

A slew of favorable policies to help relieve financing difficulties for medium-sized, small and micro enterprises should be issued and implemented in a timely manner, local protection and administrative monopolies should be eradicated, and government credit must be enhanced, as requested in the document.


4. Will this winter have a repeat of the coal-to-gas conversion fiasco?

Plans to Move Households to Clean Energy Faces Challenges Again This Winter - Caixin:

Hebei alone aims to complete the change for 1.8 million households this year. Baoding, a city in Hebei about 90 miles southwest of Beijing, aims to transition 250,000 households away from coal, of which 28,000 will change to using electricity for heating, and 222,000 will switch to LNG. The city’s southern Qingyuan district is a microcosm of the coal-to-gas and coal-to-electric project...

Qingyuan is a traditional agricultural area of 867 square kilometers (335 square miles) and is home to 600,000 people across a number of small villages. Last year, the district completed coal replacements in 53,876 households, and began but did not complete the work in 66,096 households. In early November, Caixin visited several townships in Qingyuan to see the progress of the project...

Many villagers told Caixin that they had kept their coal stoves, and they are still burning coal this winter, buying 1 metric ton of “blue coal,” a type of clean coal also known as anthracite, for 900 yuan. There were also many illegal sales of dirtier coal, although the price has risen, from 760 to 780 yuan per metric ton.


5. "Military-civil fusion" and technology controls

Washington unnerved by China’s ‘military-civil fusion’ | Financial Times $$:

The two men posing for photographs in a Nanjing conference room could not have more different backgrounds. On one side was Mao Yongqing, head of the 28th Research Institute of China Electronics Technology Group, which develops electronic warfare technology for the People’s Liberation Army. On the other was Yin Shiming, vice-president of cloud computing at Baidu, one of China’s privately owned internet groups.

Mr Mao is one of a small group of state cadres entrusted by China’s leader Xi Jinping with pushing the military into the era of artificial intelligence. Mr Yin is an engineer who built his expertise at some of the most important western tech companies, including Apple.

But at the ceremony this year, they smiled and lifted a red silk scarf to unveil a bronze plaque that declared CETC and Baidu to be partners in a “joint lab for intelligent command and control technology” — the facilities that are used to direct military operations.

Question: What exactly does Baidu's Silicon Valley Research Lab work on, and how can Baidu guarantee that none of the work in the US is going to support efforts to strengthen the PLA?

“If you really want to slow China down in its push for dual-use technology, the key is not export controls on AI itself. It’s the precision tool makers for semiconductors, that’s the chokepoint,” says one US diplomat. Observers believe Washington could opt for limiting export of machinery used for spotting faults in wafer manufacturing, high-end equipment made by US companies Allied Materials and LAM.

Related: Why China Technology-Transfer Threats Matter - Remarks Dr. Christopher Ashley Ford Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation

Xi Jinping Calls for ‘Healthy Development’ of AI (Translation of recent Politburo Study Session release) - New America 

The Politburo of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) convened the ninth group study session on the current status and trends of AI development on the afternoon of October 31. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CCP Central Committee, emphasized that AI is an important driving force for a new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation. Accelerating the development of a new generation of AI is related to the strategic issue of whether China can seize the opportunities for a new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation. It is necessary to understand profoundly the great significance of accelerating the development of a new generation of AI, strengthen leadership, properly plan, clarify tasks, establish a solid foundation, promote AI’s deep integration with economic and social development, and advance the healthy development of China's new generation of AI.

The Chinese original - 习近平:推动我国新一代人工智能健康发展 


6. Furor over political evaluation for Gaokao report in Chongqing 

A story in the Chongqing Daily saying those who do not pass political vetting can not take the Gaokao college entrance exam caused a furor. Even under Deng China never got rid of the 政审 political evaluation, but it has not been much discussed in recent years. To have it be put front and center in the current political environment in an official news article, and in Chongqing, run by Chen Min'er, caused quite a stir online.

The education bureau later backtracked and said the journalist made a mistake. So what is really going on? I am not sure, but this is worth watching.

Sinocism intern Adam Wu notes:

Some people say this shows Chongqing is trying to reverse what Deng Xiaoping did in 1977 about removing 政审 from the requirements for 高考. But I actually don't think that Deng actually removed it but instead just simplified it. 

Attached below is the second volume of 邓小平文选. If you go to page 69, this is what he said to the education officials in 1977 

你 们 起 草 的 招 生 文 件 写 得 很 难 懂 ,太 繁 琐 。关 于 招 生 的 条 件 ,我 改 了 一 下 。 政 审 , 主 要 看 本 人 的 政 治 表 现 。 政 治 历 史 清 楚 , 热 爱 社 会 主 义 , 热 爱 劳 动 , 遵 守 纪 律 , 决 心 为 革 命 学 习 , 有 这 几 条 , 就 可 以 了 。 总 之 , 招 生 主 要 抓 两 条 : 第 一 是 本 人 表 现 好 , 第 二 是 择 优 录 取

So basically I would argue that Deng's version of 政审 is very ambiguous, some very flexible concepts like 本人的政治表现,政治历史清楚,热爱社会主义(this is explicit but not that bad in that context),热爱劳动,遵守纪律, 决心为革命学习(革命 is kind of a strong word but not unusual again in that context)

I can't think of any cases in which over the past decades high school graduates got rejected by universities after failing the political review. And I don't remember seeing any mention of this in media reports. 

I think the most striking thing about this news is how Chongqing is defining 政审

有以下情形之一者,属政审不合格:反对四项基本原则;道德品质恶劣;有违法犯罪行为的 

If you are opposing the four cardinal principles, you will fail the political review. This actually seems to be pretty specific and concrete than the definition in Deng's version. And the fact that Chongqing Daily is reporting this based on the announcement from Chongqing edu department makes it a bit more significant.

The original report - 重庆考试院:政审不合格不能参加高考|_新浪网:

11月7日至16日,重庆市将进行2019年普通高考报名。市教育考试院发布消息,称政审材料是参加高考录取的必备材料,将反映在考生综合素质评价中,是高考录取时的重要参考依据,政审不合格者不能参加普通高校的录取。

重庆日报记者了解到,政审就是对考生的政治思想品德及现实表现进行审核。政审的结论分合格与不合格两类,政审不合格者不能参加普通高校的录取。这项工作主要由考生所在的学校或单位对考生的政治态度、思想品德以及学习、工作等表现作出全面鉴定...

据悉,政审不合格者不能参加普通高校的录取。有以下情形之一者,属政审不合格:反对四项基本原则;道德品质恶劣;有违法犯罪行为的。此外,报考军警、公安以及有特殊要求的院校,公安部门和院校会对考生进行再政审。

The claim the reporter made a mistake--重庆教育考试院:高考“政审”是记者写错了_手机新浪网

The Global Times' editor Hu Xijin's take on the the Chongqing Education Bureau's blaming the "political assessment" report on a journalist making a mistake-微博正文 - Hu Xijin Weibo:

我注意到重庆教育部门的回应中,提到重庆市严格按照教育部的精神,文件是一脉相承的,往年一直都是按照教育部的文件来的,“一个字都没变”。看来这件事还应有教育部出来做一个说明,为公众解惑。

其实这件事之所以触动了人们的神经,是它让人担心一些“左”的做法会回来。在国家近来大力强调发展非公有制经济和推出对外开放重大措施的时候,人们希望社会治理层面能够跟上改革开放的大政方针,使得那些政策能够切实落地。老胡非常理解很多政府部门开展工作的难处,也深知经常有一些灰色的地带,不太好拿出来公开争论。但是这一次,我个人谦卑地希望把这件事讲清楚,促进全社会的共识。

Wall Street Journal reporter Chun Han Wong also weighed in with a thread on Twitter:


7. Lin Rui is a new deputy Minister of Public Security

Lin Rui is now a Deputy Minister of Public Security. He looks to be replacing Meng Hongwei. Lin spent most of his career in Fujian, including as police chief and deputy mayor in Xiamen, and moved to Beijing in June as a member of the MPS Party Committee.

This Caixin article notes the speed of Lin's promotion and that there are now several members of the MPS leadership who spent significant time in Fujian, where Xi Jinping worked for many years...The promotions are not a coincidence, and it is possible (probable?) the Meng Hongwei takeout was a major piece in Xi's final push to fully consolidate power over the MPS system. If I am Politburo member Guo Shengkun I am getting nervous...

人事观察|四个半月火速晋升 林锐获任公安部副部长_政经频道_财新网

曾掌舵厦门警界的林锐,在获任公安部部长助理四个半月后“火速”晋升公安部副部长。至此,公安部领导层有四人曾长期任职福建,有三名副部长曾任职厦门警界。

11月7日,人社部官网发布国务院任免国家工作人员名单,任命林锐为公安部副部长。根据人社部6月22日发布的消息,任命林锐为公安部部长助理。

现任公安部领导层中,有四人曾长期任职福建。除了林锐,公安部党委副书记、常务副部长王小洪,公安部副部长、国家移民管理局局长许甘露,仕途也起步于福建警界

Interpol chief: Rules forbid probe into vanished official - AP:

Interpol’s leader says the international police organization’s rules forbid him from probing into the fate of the man who served as Interpol president until he vanished in September on a trip to his native China.

In rare public remarks about the disappearance of Meng Hongwei, Interpol Secretary General Juergen Stock said Thursday that he has “encouraged” Chinese authorities to provide information about the case but can do no more.


8. Hong Kong government not even pretending it cares about freedom of expression

Hong Kong Venue Pulls Out as Host of Events Featuring Exiled Chinese Writer - The New York Times:

A cultural venue run by a nonprofit organization with close ties to the Hong Kong government has abruptly canceled plans to host two events featuring an exiled Chinese writer, in what some saw as the latest sign of eroding freedoms in the city.

The cancellation came just days before the writer, Ma Jian, was scheduled to speak at the Tai Kwun Center for Heritage and Arts as part of the annual Hong Kong International Literary Festival. It left festival organizers scrambling to find a new venue for the Saturday events.

“We do not want Tai Kwun to become a platform to promote the political interests of any individual,” Timothy Calnin, director of Tai Kwun, said in a statement sent to reporters on Thursday. “We have therefore worked closely with the Hong Kong International Literary Festival to find a more suitable alternative venue.”

Organisation & Management | Tai Kwun - Timothy Calnin

Mr Calnin should buy a forehead pad, otherwise the marks from the kowtows he will increasingly have to perform may become permanent...

Senior FT editor refused entry to Hong Kong | Financial Times $$:

A senior Financial Times editor was refused entry to Hong Kong on Thursday, several weeks after the government of the territory declined to extend his work visa.

The rejection came on the same day that two Hong Kong talks by a London-based Chinese author were cancelled, a move that critics argued was a further step in a trend of increasing restrictions on free speech in the territory

Victor Mallet, the FT’s Asia news editor, attempted to enter Hong Kong on Thursday as a visitor but was turned away at the border after several hours of questioning by immigration officers.


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

National security: Are Chinese companies targeted for FCPA enforcement? - The FCPA Blog - The FCPA Blog The announcement does not provide further details, and it is unclear whether this goal reflects an intentional shift for the DOJ (and the Fraud Section specifically) to prioritize and devote additional resources to FCPA cases involving Chinese companies, or is simply a reflection of the broader hardening of tone in U.S. government strategy vis-à-vis China. (No one with whom I have spoken can recall another situation where the DOJ has announced that it would target companies headquartered in a specific country for FCPA enforcement.)

IPO of Money-Spinning Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway Steams Ahead - Caixin CRC has yet to decide to take Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway Co. Ltd. (BSHSR) — of which it has a controlling 46% stake — to float in Shanghai or Shenzhen, Mao Bingren, a manager for CRC’s finance and development department, told Caixin on Thursday. He said no timetable has been set for the listing...The Beijing-Shanghai rail line, which started operations in 2011, is one of the country’s few high-speed routes that have turned a profit. In 2016, BSHSR had a profit of 9.5 billion yuan, up from 6.6 billion yuan a year earlier, according to its financial reports.

Who to Watch Among the Younger Generation of Central Bank Officials - Caixin 

China Has More Distressed Corporate Debt Than All Other EMs - Bloomberg In the span of just 11 months, China went from having no distressed dollar-denominated corporate bonds to having more than any other emerging market. The world’s second-biggest economy has 15 bonds whose option-adjusted spreads over U.S. Treasuries were above 1,000 basis points as of Nov. 6, according to a Bloomberg Barclays index. That’s more than all the other nations on the gauge, combined.

What ‘capital winter’? Sequoia Capital’s Neil Shen says there’s still plenty of money around for China’s start-ups | South China Morning Post There is no “capital winter” and there is plenty of funding in the yuan-denominated market, Neil Shen, the founding and managing partner of Sequoia Capital China, said on a panel at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, China, on Thursday. The stock market also provides a very good way for investors to exit their start-up investments, he said.


Politics, Law And Ideology

Anti-corruption teams to be installed at China’s state banks and insurance companies, acting like ‘human surveillance cameras’ | South China Morning Post Targets include China’s four biggest banks and insurers, such as People’s Insurance Group and China Life Insurance, according to Zhao Leji, chief of party watchdog the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI). Zhao described the move as “just like installing surveillance cameras” in the institutions, keeping the companies and their top management team under constant watch. Speaking at a recent internal meeting, Zhao said the new discipline inspection and supervision teams were part of a stepped-up effort by the CCDI to curb corruption and malpractice in the financial sector’s mega state-owned enterprises (SOEs).// As the official release of Zhao's talk makes clear, it is not jut about corruption or financial SOEs. Much of the focus is on political correctness--赵乐际在深化中央纪委国家监委派驻机构改革动员部署会上强调 完善体制机制 强化监督职能 着力提高派驻监督全覆盖质量 

Senior CPC official calls for steadfast, professional efforts among pressmen - Xinhua Huang Kunming, head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks at the award ceremony of this year's China News Award and Changjiang Taofen Award, the country's top two journalism awards, in Beijing.//黄坤明出席中国新闻奖长江韬奋奖颁奖报告会强调 增强脚力、眼力、脑力、笔力 守正创新做好新形势下新闻舆论工作 

Former Editor-in-Chief of China's People's Daily Newspaper Falls to Death - RFA Hu held a master's degree from Peking University’s Department of Philosophy, and first began working for the People’s Daily in 1990 at the paper's "theory department." She had served as editor-in-chief of the paper and of its sister publication Frontline News, and won several Chinese press awards, as well as having articles reprinted in The New York Times.

1.1 million civil servants in Xinjiang pair up with ethnic minority residents to improve unity - Global Times The report said that various administrative departments, enterprises from the central government and military departments, including the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps and Xinjiang Armed Police Corps, have made over 49 million visits to local residents. The number of activities themed "ethnics unite as a family," held by these departments, reached more than 11 million. "The pairing and assistance program has been implemented for two years, which is a successful practice for Xinjiang," Zhu Weiqun, former head of the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Why Won’t Muslim Countries Defend China’s Muslims? | Human Rights Watch At the Universal Periodic Review, 13 countries challenged China to close the camps, and some echoed the call from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to allow access to Xinjiang investigate the scope of abuse. More expressed concerns about restrictions on the freedom of religious belief and on ethnic minority groups. But not a single government from an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation member country explicitly called out China for its shocking abuses of Muslims, making it easier for Beijing to paint the criticism as another “Western” conspiracy. Only Turkey acknowledged the problem, speaking about “confinement of individuals without legal grounds,” but without specific reference to Xinjiang. And some of those governments have been complicit in Beijing’s “Strike Hard” campaign – forcibly returning Turkic Muslims, particularly Uyghurs, to China, denying them safe passage to third countries, providing information about their identities to Chinese authorities. Few have even challenged Beijing for persecuting Turkic Muslims who have visited, studied in, or had family members emigrate to their own country.

Xinjiang’s Kashgar University Students, Teachers Forced to Give up Muslim Dietary Restrictions - RFA Officials at a university in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region are forcing students and staff to forgo their Muslim dietary restrictions in favor of traditionally pork-heavy Han Chinese cuisine, saying halal food is associated with religious extremism. A report recently published on the official website of Kashgar University, in the XUAR’s Kashgar (in Chinese, Kashi) prefecture, detailed an Oct. 22 meeting entitled “Remain Committed to Removing Extremism From Eating,” during which deputy secretary of the school’s Communist Party committee Ji Peng announced that all students and staff must swear an oath to “follow Chinese food culture.”

扎实抓好县级融媒体中心建设(深入学习贯彻习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想)--观点--人民网 内容提要:“要扎实抓好县级融媒体中心建设,更好引导群众、服务群众。”这是习近平同志在全国宣传思想工作会议上提出的重要要求。当前,蓬勃发展的互联网日益成为信息集散地、舆论策源地与思想交锋主阵地,对宣传思想工作产生了重大影响。抓好县级融媒体中心建设,是统一思想认识、凝聚社会共识的迫切要求,是提升基层媒体传播力、引导力、影响力、公信力的迫切要求,也是更好服务群众、满足群众美好生活需要的迫切要求。我们要深刻认识当前县级融媒体发展存在的突出问题,在顶层设计、体制机制、服务功能、人才建设、经营管理、资金保障上下功夫,以更好引导群众、服务群众。


Foreign and Military Affairs

U.S. Shouldn’t Say Anything About China’s Belt and Road: Michael Bloomberg - Caixin China is doing what it should be doing with its Belt and Road Initiative, and the U.S. should be doing the same thing and should not say anything about China’s efforts, billionaire media mogul Michael Bloomberg told Caixin in a Tuesday interview on the sidelines of the Bloomberg New Economy Forum he organized in Singapore.

U.S. Allies Vie With China to Make Pacific Island Friends - WSJ $$: Asia-Pacific leaders will meet next week in Papua New Guinea, where China’s President Xi Jinping is expected to open Beijing’s pocketbook. Commitments over the past year, if realized, would make China the second-largest donor behind Australia in the Pacific region, which the U.S. and its allies have dominated since World War II. Beijing, which says its goal is to help Pacific countries achieve peace, stability and prosperity, has urged other countries to “discard the Cold War mentality” and view its relations with Pacific states in an objective way.But old Western allies are concerned about its intentions toward impoverished island nations whose strategic value outstrips their size and wealth.

China’s brightest children are being recruited to develop AI ‘killer bots’ | South China Morning Post The 27 boys and four girls, all aged 18 and under, were selected for the four-year “experimental programme for intelligent weapons systems” at the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) from more than 5,000 candidates, the school said on its website. The BIT is one of the country’s top weapons research institutes, and the launch of the new programme is evidence of the weight it places on the development of AI technology for military use.

China gives rivals glimpse of its latest tactical weaponry at Zhuhai air show | South China Morning Post The 609 intelligence radar is able to detect long-range early warning of stealth aircraft such as the US F-35, tactical ballistic missiles, and targets close to space, according to its developer, the 14th Institute of the China Electronic Technology Group Corporation (CETC). Hong Kong-based military expert Song Zhongping said that the 609 radar was an important part of China’s comprehensive anti-stealth and anti-ballistic missile systems, which could be integrated into the PLA’s air and sea combat systems to form a powerful air-to-air and air-to-sea defence network.

China, Russia eye enhanced mutual trust, economic ties - People's Daily Online China and Russia agreed on Wednesday to further enhance political and strategic mutual trust while expanding economic and trade cooperation. The agreement came as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev co-chaired the 23rd regular meeting between Chinese and Russian heads of governments here in Beijing. The meeting is the first of its kind since the two countries formed new governments and it is of great importance, serving as a link between the past and the future, said Li.

Country's first unmanned missile boat on display at Airshow China - People's Daily Online The unmanned boat, Liaowangzhe-2, is the country's first and second globally to fire a missile successfully. A remote-controlled unmanned ship of Israel's "Protector" series successfully fired a missile during an exercise last year. It is for the first time that Liaowangzhe-2 is shown to the public. It is jointly developed by Zhuhai-based shipping developer Oceanalpha, Xi'an Institute of Modern Control Technology and Huazhong Institute of Electro-Optics.

Xi holds talks with Cuban president to advance ties - Xinhua Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with visiting Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel here on Thursday, calling on the two countries to cherish their traditional friendship and write a new chapter in China-Cuba friendly cooperation. Xi extended welcome for Diaz-Canel's first state visit to China and asked Diaz-Canel to convey his cordial greetings to Raul Castro, first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba.

Vietnam protests China's weather stations in disputed sea - AP China last week announced it started operations of the stations on three islands to offer weather forecasts to fishermen in the South China Sea region and neighboring countries as well as passing ships. Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang told reporters at a regular briefing Thursday that Vietnam has legal basis and historical evidence to assert its sovereignty over the Spratlys and Paracels and asked China to stop the action.

Argentina seeks new currency swap deal with China as Beijing pursues closer ties in Latin America | South China Morning Post Argentina is seeking a new currency swap deal with China that would add another 60 billion yuan (US$8.7 billion) to its reserves, as the Latin American nation tries to boost confidence in the peso amid an economic crisis in the region.


Taiwan

Taiwan commissions warships amid China threat warnings - AP Taiwan’s president on Thursday commissioned a pair of guided missile frigates that are expected to boost the island’s ability to counter Chinese submarines amid rising military threats from Beijing. President Tsai Ing-wen attended the ceremony for the Ming Chuan and Feng Chia at a navy base in the southern port of Kaohsiung and reiterated Taiwan’s determination to resist all threats, her office said.


Tech And Media

Xiaomi’s China Comeback Runs Out of Juice - Caixin Smartphone-maker Xiaomi Corp.’s comeback in its home market came to an end in the third quarter, as the globally minded company posted its first sales decline in more than a year amid stiff competition. Apple Inc. and Oppo also posted sales declines during the quarter in China, which recorded an overall 10.2% drop in shipments for the three months through October, according to new data from IDC. The only major players to post growth during that time were Huawei, which consolidated its spot as the nation’s biggest player, and Vivo, which overtook Oppo for the No. 2 spot.

At World Internet Conference Pony Ma says official accounts have 2.3 billion combined followers · TechNode During his speech, Ma announced that WeChat official accounts operated by media have amassed a combined following of 2.3 billion, which he said is an indication that mainstream media have successfully undergone a transformation by leveraging of WeChat official account platform. “This is merely the beginning of the evolution and revolution of media,” Ma said, “big data and cloud computing, along with other cutting-edge technologies will help push ahead the digital revolution of media.”

Post takes home five prizes at Asian Digital Media Awards | South China Morning Post The newspaper bagged gold awards in the Best Digital News Start-up category, for its new platform on Chinese tech, Abacus, and in the Best Data Visualisation category, for its infographics on North Korea. Another of the Post’s digital news platforms, Inkstone, came second in Best Digital News Start-up. Inkstone gives readers a unique insight on China and is available on the web and via a smartphone app.

Xinhua News Agency debuts AI anchors in partnership with search engine Sogou | South China Morning Post The new AI anchors, launched by Xinhua and Beijing-based search engine operator Sogou during the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, can deliver the news with “the same effect” as human anchors because the machine learning programme is able to synthesise realistic-looking speech, lip movements and facial expressions, according to a Xinhua news report on Wednesday.


Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

China: Female Civil Servants Face Discrimination, Harassment | Human Rights Watch Human Rights Watch found that in the Chinese government’s recently released 2019 national civil service job list, 19 percent of the postings specify a preference or requirement for men. In an April 2018 report on gender discrimination in job advertisements in China, Human Rights Watch reported that 13 percent of the postings in the 2017 civil service list and 19 percent in the 2018 list specified “men only,” “men preferred,” or “suitable for men.” Chinese law prohibits gender discrimination in hiring, but job discrimination remains a widespread problem in the country.


Energy, Environment, Science And Health

Water ‘Clean’ After Fujian Chemical Spill, But Locals Cry Foul - Caixin Nearly seven metric tons of C9 aromatic hydrocarbon — a substance frequently used as a solvent in paint and rubber products — were released into the water early Sunday at a petrochemical terminal in Southeast China’s Fujian province. At the terminal — owned by Fujian Donggang Petrochemical in the city of Quanzhou — a pipe reportedly broke while the material was being transferred onto a chemical tanker. By Sunday evening, almost all of the affected water had been cleaned up after an effort involving over 100 vessels and more than 600 people, the local government of Quangang district, Quanzhou, said in a statement. But local residents, especially in Xiaocuo village near the site of the spill, told Caixin the government had not responded appropriately to the incident and that their fishing community faces poisoning and destroyed equipment.


Agriculture And Rural Issues

China says corn crop 20 percent bigger after overhauling years of data | Reuters The data overhaul follows last year’s agricultural census, China’s first in 10 years, which led the National Statistics Bureau to revise a broad swathe of data, a bureau official said on Thursday. The data was published in the bureau’s China Statistics Yearbook for 2018, which was made available for sale last month. It shows corn output in 2017 rose to 259 million tons, a 20 percent increase from the 215.9 million tons that China had originally reported for the crop.


Beijing

Historic Preservation or Just Ripping Out a Way of Life in Beijing? - The New York Times Hu Xinyu, a trustee of the Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center, said the city was bringing order to neighborhoods where economic forces and the lack of zoning enforcement had resulted in chaotic and even dangerous conditions. “It is helping to draw a clear line,” he said in an interview at the Courtyard Institute, a cultural center that is inside a traditional courtyard house. “Otherwise Beijing will just become a mega city and will have more and more problems.”