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Third Plenum Communique; Who Will Run the National Supervision Commission?; Wang Xiaohong To Head The Ministry Of State Security?; More on Term-Limits; US-China "Disengagement"; Water Crisis
We will get right into it today, with one flip comment from me. The way Xi has maneuvered through Chinese politics and manipulated and reshaped the system is remarkable. He looks like a cross between Mao and Machiavelli, so I think we can start calling him Maochiavelli...
I wish it were actually funny.
Thanks for reading.
The Essential Eight
1. Third Plenum Communique
The Communique makes clear that the goal of deepening reform is to strengthen the Party's leadership of everything, so expect to see more of the re-merging of the Party and the State.
CCTV Evening News Wednesday devoted the top 16 minutes to the 3rd Plenum and the Communique, with the full text and video from inside the meeting. The delegates were allowed paper and pencils--[视频]中国共产党第十九届中央委员会第三次全体会议公报_CCTV:
Sounds like changes are coming to central-local relations, as well as even more focus on proper local implementation of central policies:
The main task of the overhaul was to “strengthen the party’s full leadership of all areas and all aspects of work, to make sure the party’s leadership is all encompassing and becomes even stronger”, the report said.
It said the existing structure and functions of the party and state departments did not fully meet the needs for better development under Xi’s new era, and failed to meet the demands of modern governance...
There will also be a shake-up of the government’s ministries and agencies, including a possible merger of the banking and insurance watchdogs – the China Insurance Regulatory Commission and the China Banking Regulatory Commission, sources have told the South China Morning Post...
Wu Qiang, a former Tsinghua University political science professor, said the announcement sounded a loud note of the party’s leadership in all aspects of governance.
A broad communique released after the meeting pledged further changes to the economy and to “adamantly remove any restrictions that keep the market from playing a decisive role.” The document pledged “institutional reform” of the party, government, military and other public bodies and promised to balance power between the central and local governments.
A People's Daily commentator on the spirit of the Third Plenum--Advancing the Modernization Of State Governance Is A Profound Transformation-推进国家治理现代化的一场深刻变革--观点--人民网:
2. Who Will Run the National Supervision Commission?
It will be under the National People's Congress, so might Li Zhanshu head it along with the NPC, rather than Zhao Leji?
A major change proposed to the Constitution is to list the supervisory commissions as a new type of State organ.
The proposal says supervisory organs will be listed together with administrative, judicial and procuratorial organs of the State, all of which are created by the people's congresses, to which they are responsible and by which they are supervised...
The law applies to all public officers, including civil servants and those working for public schools and medical institutes, which means that the nation's fight against corruption covers every public corner, experts said.
3. Xi Ally Wang Xiaohong To Head The Ministry Of State Security?
If Xi controls the sources of hard power--PLA, MSS, MPS, CCDI-as it appears he does, is he really worried about dissenting voices over the term limits change? Or are most people so cowed there will be no outward signs of dissent, and if there are it will be an opportunity to remove those people too, kind of an unintentional 引蛇出洞 (lure a snake from its hole) Mao-like bonus for Xi?
Wang Xiaohong, 60, a vice minister of public security [and head of the Beijing Public Security Bureau since 2015], will replace Chen Wenqing as minister of state security during the session of parliament which begins on March 5, three sources with ties to the leadership and two foreign diplomats said.
Chen, 58, will become the country’s top prosecutor after a little more than a year as minister of state security, three of the sources said. The ministry is responsible for counter-intelligence, foreign intelligence and national security...
Wang was deputy director of the Public Security Bureau of Fuzhou, the provincial capital of Fujian, from 1993 to 1998 and the city’s top police official from 1998 to 2002. Xi was Fuzhou party boss from 1990 to 1996 and provincial deputy party secretary until 2002.
“They are very close,” a source with leadership ties said. “Wang Xiaohong used to help look after Xi Jinping’s daughter.”
Xi has been masterful at raising the costs of opposition, and of publicizing those costs, and that is why I am skeptical that despite much grumbling online and inside the system that we will see any real resistance.
4. More on Term-Limits
Take this Reuters report with a large grain of salt. It would be stunning and deeply disruptive it there were a deadlock at the Second Plenum but Xi still went ahead and issued the Constitution ammendments document under the Central Committee's name.
The constitutional amendments were discussed in January at the Second Plenum of the 204-member Central Committee, a key Communist Party decision-making body, but there were reservations and no consensus was reached, according to two sources with ties to senior officials.
"There were differing voices," the first source told Reuters, adding that the deadlock was a significant reason why a third plenum, normally held in the autumn, was organized this week.
The source said the announcement of the constitutional amendments on Sunday, a day before the three-day plenary session, was designed to railroad the proposal.
"The manner in which Xi is forcing through the changes is drastic, it was not consensus-based," said the second source. "It was forceful and may offend many people, not just liberals."
Xi Jinping’s power and the political line he has pursued will now continue indefinitely. But more importantly, the basic assumptions about China’s politics and economy, about the future of Xi Jinping, and about the prospects of reform, have all been punctured by this development. There are now no immediate prospects for change. This is why what was such an unsurprising announcement has led to such universal shock and lamentation.
For all of the shortcomings of Xi’s rule on economic reform, the increased domestic repression, and the security challenges to China’s neighbors, Xi is not an impulsive, hot-headed, or irrational leader. The comparisons to Chairman Mao are thoroughly wrong-headed, as Chinese who experienced the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution point out. Foreign leaders tend to value rationality and predictability, and Xi is likely to provide that, though he certainly is capable of boldness, creativity, and assertiveness unsettling to Americans and some neighbors (e.g. South China Sea reclamation, the Belt and Road Initiative, and the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank). One should not assume that having him around longer will prevent some preferable or more emollient leader from emerging.
Media in Hong Kong are now reporting that the English-language news brief from Xinhua was the cause of some consternation in Beijing, where unspecified central Party leader have ordered an investigation into what has been called a "serious political error" (严重政治失误). It is reported that the editor responsible has been removed, and that top leaders at Xinhua have been asked to submit self criticisms (检讨).
Shanghai-based former investigative reporter Yang Haipeng (杨海鹏), a former CMP fellow, was one of the first to report word on February 26 that the Xinhua news brief had been identified as a problem.
Perhaps it is time to again watch Jiang Wen's 1994 classic movie "In The Heat Of The Sun 阳光灿烂的日子 about kids and hooligans in the Cultural Revolution, as it may provide some insight into leadership in today's China... The whole movie is here on Youtube:
5. Prepare For US-China "Disengagement" If Not Conflict?
Dan Rosen is out with a note offering advice on how to manage the New Era of US-China relations. He has known Liu He for many years, I hope Liu sees this.
While it is up to China to choose its policy course, it is others’ choice to take steps to avoid collateral damage. Given Beijing’s current resurgence of a Party-led economic policy approach, a change in US attitude is to be expected. Liu He and his American interlocuters should manage this shift in the relationship, rather than pretending that what is already happening is preventable. Trade and investment de-coupling could be done in a managed way, rather than through unilateral threats, protectionist measures, retaliation and escalations to intimidate the other side into concessions. It is possible that neither China nor the advanced economies are willing to work toward a convergent future at this time. If that is the case then it is better to state it plainly rather than beat around the bush.
China’s relentless rise and its more recent embrace of repressive tactics that recall the Mao era — a process accelerated by President Xi Jinping’s bid to stay in power indefinitely — have fractured a deeply rooted consensus in Washington about the long-term direction of its relationship with Beijing.
Gone is a widespread agreement among diplomats, scholars and businesspeople that China is gradually converging with the United States and, therefore, that Americans should work to manage any flare-ups between the two countries. With China now unabashedly charting its own course — one that diverges rather than converges with the liberal democracies and market economies of the West — conflict, many say, is inevitable.
Former (??) MSS think-tanker Cui Liru has some choice words about the US in an interview with the New York Times--As Xi Jinping Extends Power, China Braces for a New Cold War - The New York Times:
Rather than beginning a final term next month as a lame duck, Mr. Xi will govern with new authority to pursue his agenda of making China a global power even if it risks putting Beijing in conflict with Washington and triggering a new Cold War after 40 years of mutual engagement, the analysts said.
“In the Asia-Pacific, the dominant role of the United States in a political and military sense will have to be readjusted,” said Cui Liru, former president of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, a think tank under the Ministry of State Security that often reflects official thinking. “It doesn’t mean U.S. interests must be sacrificed. But if the U.S. insists on a dominant role forever, that’s a problem.”
Asked if conflict was likely in the region, Mr. Cui said: “I don’t exclude that possibility. In this transitional period, it depends on how the two sides handle it.”
6. US-China Trade Tensions To Increase
“The president has come to the conclusion that there’s nobody in the room who shares the president’s views on trade when these decisions are being made,” one senior White House official said.
On Feb. 12, Trump called Navarro into the Oval Office and asked him why his administration’s trade policy wasn’t more aggressive, according to two senior White House officials. Trump told Navarro that this was the year he wants to move the trade policy forward. He then called in Kelly and told him to move Navarro and his office out of the NEC and restore the office’s independence.
“This has been building for a long time,” another senior White House official said. “It’s not the nationalists versus the globalists, it’s Trump going forward with the trade agenda that he advertised to the American people.”
The U.S. Commerce Department slapped stiff duties on aluminum foil from China after concluding that the country’s producers are receiving unfair subsidies and dumping the product in the American market.
Duties from 49 percent to 106 percent will be imposed on Chinese aluminum foil for selling the product in the U.S. below fair market value, the department said in a statement Tuesday. The Trump administration also set duties of 17 percent to 81 percent for the unfair subsidies that the U.S. has concluded Chinese producers receive.
Nice timing to announce this on the eve of Liu He's visit.
Officials in at least four countries have privately discussed ways they can manipulate Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with intelligence reports on the matter.
Among those nations discussing ways to influence Kushner to their advantage were the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico, the current and former officials said.
Beijing should now see Kushner as radioactive.
7. Radio Free Asia Xinjiang Reporting So Sensitive Beijing Is Arresting Reporters' Relatives
China’s security services have detained several close relatives of four U.S.-based reporters working for Radio Free Asia, in an apparent attempt to intimidate or punish them for their coverage of the Muslim-majority Xinjiang region, the news organization said Wednesday.
“This land was an independent country before the Chinese invasion, and it is now under the occupation of the Chinese Communist government since they took it over in 1949,” replied the Uyghur student, who asked that RFA not mention his name or the name of his university for fear of Chinese retaliation against his family at home.
“We cannot allow you to speak against China in our class!” his Chinese classmates shouted. “And as you are a separatist, we are going to report you to our embassy!”
“If you report me to the Chinese authorities, I will report you to the American government. And we will see who wins,” the Uyghur student, who now lives and studies in Virginia, said.
8. How Will Xi Solve Northern China's Massive Water Crisis?
Accepted definitions of water stress, scarcity and acute scarcity are resources of 1,700 cubic meters, 1,000 cubic meters and 500 cubic meters per person per year, covering everything from nuclear power stations to teeth cleaning. China’s overall resources are roughly 2,000 cubic meters, but 80 per cent of water resources are in the south. In the north, eight provinces suffer from acute water scarcity, a further four from scarcity. They account for 38 per cent of China’ agriculture, 50 per cent of its power generation, 46 per cent of its industry and 41 per cent of its population.
Here are a few more scary statistics for economists to consider. The water resources of the 112m population of the Beijing/Tianjin/Hebei region, equate to half of acute scarcity. In the past 25 years, 28,000 rivers have disappeared. Groundwater has fallen by up to 1-3 metres a year. One consequence: parts of Beijing are subsiding by 11cm a year. The flow of the Yellow River, water supply to millions, is a tenth of what it was in the 1940s; it often fails to reach the sea. Pollution further curtails supply: in 2017 8.8 per cent of water was unfit even for agricultural or industrial use.
Business, Economy, Finance And Trade
Amid liquidity concerns, China's HNA Group aviation fuel bill hits $476 million - Reuters HNA’s outstanding balance with China National Aviation Fuel Group Ltd (CNAF), the country’s near-monopoly marketer and distributor of aviation fuel, has swelled significantly over the last six months, the sources said, without quantifying. “HNA has not stopped fully paying its bills, but it only has paid a small amount at a time, so the outstanding (balance) has grown bigger and bigger,” said a senior oil industry executive with direct knowledge of the matter.
HNA Plans to Cut 100,000 Jobs Worldwide This Year, REDD Reports - Bloomberg Quint HNA Group Co. is planning to cut 100,000 jobs, or about a quarter of its global workforce, this year amid a liquidity squeeze, Risk Event-Driven and Distressed Intelligence reported, citing five unidentified people. The Chinese group plans to eliminate jobs in areas such as human resources, business operations and asset restructuring, REDD reported, citing the people
Rare Guarantees on HNA Dollar Bonds Give Solace to Investors - Bloomberg The structure means that overseas investors would in theory have a direct claim against the Chinese-based entity in the event of any default or bankruptcy proceeding. While there’s no indication that such events are in the offing, scrutiny of such protections has increased after the group’s units missed payments to several Chinese banks and yields on some of its units’ notes traded at times in recent months at levels considered distressed.
Germany Weighs Tighter Rules After Geely Takes Daimler Stake - Reuters An Economy Ministry report to the economics committee of the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, said on Wednesday, “Against the backdrop of the current case, the federal government will examine whether the existing rules are sufficient to provide an adequate level of transparency, or if further guidelines are necessary,”
Is Chinese state behind Geely’s Daimler swoop? - FT $$ Through acquisitions and stakebuilding, Zhejiang Geely Holdings has quietly become a major force on the global automotive stage. It owns or controls Volvo Cars, British sports car brand Lotus, Malaysian carmaker Proton, Hong Kong listed carmaker Geely Automotive, London taxi maker LEVC, Saxo Bank, flying car start-up Terrafugia, as well as being the largest shareholder in truckmaker Volvo Group.
Tencent CEO becomes richest Chinese with $47 billion: Hurun - ECNS With Pony Ma ranked 15th globally, the second richest Chinese is real estate tycoon Xu Jiayin, who was ranked 20th, a 78-place rise in the global ranking over last year. Ninety-year-old Hong Kong real estate tycoon Lee Shau-kee ranked third among Chinese and 25th in the world.
China working-age population shrinks, presenting pitfall for pension plans - Reuters hina’s total working-age population, or the number of people aged between 15 and 64, was 998.3 million people last year, compared to 1.0026 billion at the end of 2016, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed, the biggest decline since the working-age population began falling in 2014.
China manufacturing gauge suffers sharpest fall in 6 years - FT $$ The manufacturing purchasing managers’ index published by China’s National Bureau of Statistics fell to 50.3, down a point from January and the largest fall in more than six years. The fall marked the gauge’s nearest brush with the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction since August 2016.
GreenTech Automotive Files for Bankruptcy - WSJ GreenTech Automotive Inc., an electric car maker co-founded by former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, has filed for bankruptcy..GreenTech, Mr. McAuliffe and Anthony Rodham —Hillary Clinton’s brother, who was the chief executive of a company involved in GreenTech’s EB-5 fundraising—are defendants in an investor lawsuit now pending in Virginia federal court. Another group of Chinese investors who each invested $500,000 as part of the EB-5 program, sued the company in Virginia state court last year and were awarded $7.6 million, bankruptcy record shows.
Brokerage House Files Lawsuit Against LeEco’s Jia Over Unpaid Loans - Caixin Global Xi’an-based Western Securities Co. said Tuesday that it filed the lawsuit against four shareholders and former executives of LeEco’s listed unit, Leshi Internet Information and Technology Corp., for breaking a contract to buy back Leshi shares that were used as collateral for 1.02 billion yuan in loans.
China growth rate to 'stay above 6.5 percent' mark - China Daily The report, jointly released by Xiamen University and business newspaper Economic Information Daily, forecast that China will achieve a growth rate of 6.73 percent this year and will see slightly slower growth of 6.6 percent in 2019. // Comment: Impressive precision
Politics, Law And Ideology
Xi Jinping thought in proposed constitutional amendment common aspiration of CPC, people: article - Xinhua | An article under the byline of Xuan Li stressed that the proposal to write Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era into China's Constitution is a common aspiration of the whole Party and Chinese people. 将习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想载入宪法的重大意义
Jailed Chinese Human Rights Lawyer Suffers Memory Loss in Prison: Wife - RFA Jiang Tianyong was sentenced to two years' imprisonment on charges of "incitement to subvert state power" last November, after he pleaded guilty at what his family said was a show trial in August. Jiang has yet to be transferred to prison from the Changsha No. 1 Detention Center, where he was held under pretrial detention and pending appeal, but was recently permitted a visit from his sister, who found his health deteriorating and his memory unreliable, his U.S.-based wife Jin Bianling told RFA. Jin said Jiang's memory has shown "serious deterioration" since the last visit by a lawyer or family member, leading the family to suspect he has been force-fed with psychiatric medications -- a method the Soviet Union used against political prisoners that China has also employed.
独家|徐翔案财产执行起波澜 家属请求返还合法财产_政经频道_财新网 徐翔妻子要求法院甄别徐翔及家人合法财产并予以返还；代理律师及刑法学者认为，徐翔共同犯罪案件中违法所得不应连带追缴，罚金执行与没收违法所得均应只针对徐翔的个人财产，不能株连配偶及其他家庭成员
Foreign and Military Affairs
China's military flexes muscles for domestic objective: more funding - Reuters Although it is the world’s largest military, the People’s Liberation Army has been privately unhappy that it got less than double-digit funding increases the past two years. It has recently been making the case that it needs more money to deal with increased global uncertainty, diplomats and several sources with ties to the armed forces say. In the run-up to the defense budget’s release at the annual meeting of China’s parliament next week, state media outlets have been filled with coverage of military drills, advanced new equipment and thrilling tales of derring-do in a new film very loosely based on China’s evacuating people from Yemen’s civil war in 2015.
Operation Red Sea - Wikipedia This film serves as the highlight film presented to audience as a gift for the 90th Anniversary of the Founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, as well as the party's 19th National Congress. This film is said to be the "China's First Modern Naval Film". It has grossed US$358.81 million, making it the third highest-grossing film of 2018....While on duty and touring through the waters of the Red Sea, the Chinese Navy patrol fleet receives a distress call that Somalian pirates are boarding a cargo ship and endangering Chinese passengers and seamen on board. They immediately deploy the 8-person Jiaolong Assault Team as their forward unit to try to slow the progress of the pirates until the heavily armed naval vessels can arrive on the scene. Using the assistance of a forward helicopter and a sniper dispatched as part of the assault team, they make significant progress to neutralize the situation while awaiting the main Chinese fleet on duty in the Red Sea. During the operations, their primary sniper receives a crippling spinal injury from gunfire and must be replaced. The assault team is praised for their success once the main fleet arrives.
人民日报评红海行动：揭示实力与道义兼具的底气 _ 新浪国内 _ 火狐中文网 Zhong Sheng praises the movie "Operation Red Sea"//一声“勇者无惧、强者无敌”，喊出新时代中国军人的精气神；一句“中国海军，我们带你们回家”，让人动容之余更为强大的祖国而自豪。正在全国热映的军事题材电影《红海行动》再次点燃中国人的大国豪情，让世界关注正在强起来的中国维护世界和平的担当精神。
人民日报评论员观察：主旋律文化如何成为“红海蛟龙”--舆情频道--人民网 More propaganda love for Operation Red Sea// 今年春节档，火出“史上最强”的票房。尤其值得一提的是，军事题材主旋律电影《红海行动》凭借口碑实现“逆袭”，票房已经突破14亿元。习近平总书记说过，“爱国主义始终是激昂的主旋律”。《红海行动》击中人心的不只是影片的“燃”，更有现实的“真”。影片改编自中国海军的也门撤侨行动，“蛟龙突击队”在索马里海域解救中国商船，在战乱国家营救中国公民，一个个紧要时刻、一系列生死救援，让人们通过镜头看到了什么是“勇者无惧”、什么叫“强者无敌”。站在电影传播的角度，这是“高品质”与“高口碑”的一次默契；站在国家进步的高度，“蛟龙”所获得的掌声，更像是生活在“强起来”时代的人们，对国家和军人一种自然而然的期许。
Operation Red Sea (2018) - Rotten Tomatoes It is playing in the US
经中央军委批准 《军委主席负责制学习读本》印发全军-新华网 《读本》共8讲，系统阐述全面深入贯彻军委主席负责制的重大意义，阐释军委主席负责制的形成发展、本质内涵、独特优势，阐明全面深入贯彻军委主席负责制的体制机制保障、实践要求、落实责任等基本问题，是学习贯彻中央军委《关于全面深入贯彻军委主席负责制的意见》的配套读物，是各级开展军委主席负责制学习教育的基本教材。
China has plan to build nuclear-powered aircraft carrier - Reuters China is developing technologies to build a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, state media reported on Wednesday, as Beijing pushes forward with an ambitious military modernization program. 中船重工发布新时代发展纲要：加快实现核动力航母攻关突破
China Defense, Surveillance Stocks Do Best Since Xi's Power Grab - Bloomberg Defense-related shares dominate the top performers list for the CSI 300 Index this week, with AECC Aero-Engine Control Co. surging 26 percent, China Avionics Systems Co. climbing 16 percent and surveillance equipment maker Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co. rising 9 percent. Overall, the stock market has fared poorly since the news was announced, with the gauge falling 1.5 percent.
Argentina fires on Chinese vessel 'fishing illegally' - AP The Argentine Naval Prefecture said in a statement Friday that its officers fired shots at the Jing Yuan 626 after the vessel was caught illegally fishing in the country's exclusive economic zone.
“The UK Is Not a Safe Place” – Concerns over Second Chinese Female Student Reported Missing in London – What's on Weibo Two Chinese students have been reported missing in London within 24 hours. Yan Sihong has not been in touch with family or friends since February 16; Rong Luqi last contacted friends on February 25, saying she had been kidnapped. Chinese state media warn that the UK is not a safe place.
China’s Pernicious Presence on American Campuses - The Chronicle of Higher Education By Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars—In the case of Confucius Institutes, we’ve moved beyond threats to serious compromises. The best answer to this situation is for the federal government to clarify the choices: If American colleges want to take funding from China for Confucius Institute courses in Chinese language and culture, they ought to do without the equivalent U.S. funding, especially in Title VI programs, which provide foreign-language and area-studies education.The Higher Education Act should be amended to require greater financial transparency when it comes to gifts and payments from foreign entities. The exemption of Confucius Institutes and the Hanban from the Foreign Agents Registration Act should be eliminated.
Abbott's office involved in China donation after ASIO warning - The Age The allegation about Huang Kun is sensitive because he was, until January, a staffer to Labor senator Jenny McAllister, who is a member of the parliamentary security and intelligence committee. He said he quit as a the senator’s staffer in January to pursue further study and his political career. Huang Kun, 27, was not interviewed by Mr Hamilton or Mr Joske prior to his naming in their PJCIS submission. He said that if he was, he would have relayed a more nuanced story about his links to CCP groups than that presented at the committee. Huang Kun’s story highlights how those seeking leadership roles in Australia’s disparate Chinese community can come into close contact with people deemed by the Chinese Communist Party to be community leaders.Fairfax Media has no evidence that Huang Kun knew he was involved in United Front groups.
China dismisses ROK complaint over ADIZ - Xinhua China's movement of aircraft in the region for military exercises was in complete accord with international law and practice, said Lu. "I must emphasize that an ADIZ does not equal territorial airspace," Lu said. "The ROK's complaint is completely unreasonable."
Independence referendum launched, backed by former presidents CNA NEWS Former presidents Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) voiced their support on Wednesday for an initiative to hold a referendum in April 2019 on Taiwan independence. "I attended the press conference today as a concrete action to show my support for the referendum," Lee said to hundreds of pro-Taiwan independence supporters at a kick-off event for the campaign.
In Taiwan, Young Protesters and Ex-Presidents Chafe Against China - The New York Times Young protesters in the northern city of Taoyuan, carrying an anti-China banner, splashed red paint on the tomb of Chiang Kai-shek, the generalissimo who fled to Taiwan after losing China’s civil war to the Communists and who declared martial law on the island that lasted until 1987, 12 years after his death. And at a news conference in Taipei, the capital, two former presidents called for a referendum in April 2019 on whether to replace the Republic of China, which has been the island’s government since 1945, with a Republic of Taiwan — a move that Beijing has warned would lead to war.
Tech And Media
Tech Mogul Gets $13 Billion Richer Just by Leaving New York for China - Bloomberg Zhou Hongyi did just that, relocating his online security firm to China and merging it into a shell company, which soared as much as 550 percent since he announced the plan in November. Qihoo 360 Technology Co. delisted from the New York Stock Exchange in July 2016 and began trading Wednesday in Shanghai as 360 Security Technology Inc. The move boosted Zhou’s net worth to $13.6 billion, making him China’s 12th-richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Baidu's video unit iQiyi files for U.S. IPO that may raise over $1.5 bln - Nasdaq.com Beijing-based iQiyi has posted losses since its inception in 2010, and reported a net loss of 3.74 billion yuan ($592 million) for 2017, compared with a 3.07 billion yuan loss a year earlier. Revenue, however, rose to 17.38 billion yuan from 11.24 billion yuan. It has over 50 million subscribers and more than 420 million monthly active users on mobile devices. The site has a mix of user-generated and original content, including several successful local web-series as well as licensing deals for foreign content.
Massive Sharebike Graveyards An Open Secret in Beijing Suburbs | the Beijinger Last week's meeting of the city transportation committee drew a renewed vow by department head Zhou Zhengyu to continue to reduce share bikes in Beijing after having rid the city of some 150,000 sharebikes in the four months leading up to January....And unlike previous situations that saw sharebikes unceremoniously dumped in fields far away from prying eyes, Beijing is now offloading unwanted sharebikes into "open graveyards" alongside roads and busy highways for everyone to see.
China’s semiconductor firms catching up, but technology gap with foreign rivals still remains - Global Times "The concerns arose from the recent market speculation that Apple might cooperate with Chinese chipmaker Yangtze Memory Technologies Co [YMTC] in semiconductor supply," Xu Xiaohai, a veteran industry insider, told the Global Times on Wednesday. Apple Inc was in talks with YMTC to buy NAND Flash chips, some media outlets reported during Spring Festival. "If this move turns into a real deal, it will definitely reshape the semiconductor sector, as Chinese manufacturers may choose domestic chipmakers over foreign ones if their technologies are recognized by the US tech giant," he said.
Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History
China Scrambles to Build Winter-Sports Power in Time for Beijing Games - WSJ But China is scouring the country in search of athletes who could deliver Olympic glory on the slopes or on the ice. Scott Rawles, head coach of the Chinese Olympic mogul skiing team and former head coach of the U.S. team, last fall took a four-hour train ride south to visit an acrobatic school in the city of Puyang. Rawles said he and his Chinese colleagues tested students between the age of 12 and 15, and recruited promising ones to try mogul skiing. They began training last month.
Hong Kong and mainland leaders pay tribute at funeral of renowned scholar Jao Tsung-i | South China Morning Post Born in Chiuchow – now Chaozhou – in Guangdong province in 1917, Jao was self-taught. After quitting school in Form One, he immersed himself in his banker father’s extensive book collection. From then on he excelled in the humanities, studying everything from Sanskrit to the art of the Dunhuang grottoes. The scope of Jao’s research spanned more than a dozen topics related to Chinese culture, including ancient history, oracle bone inscriptions and Chu Ci – an anthology of Chinese poetry with roots in the Warring States period (475-221 BC).
The Triple Killing on Lunar New Year’s Eve - Sixth Tone The trigger for the feud between the two families more than two decades ago, says Zhang Furu, was a minor slight: The Zhang family once skipped the Wangs when gifting watermelon to neighbors. Zhang Koukou’s mother, Wang Xiuping — who is not related to the Wang family — took offense. Many people, including members of the Zhang family, tell The Paper that Wang Xiuping was notoriously strong-minded: “Her tongue took no prisoners,” and “she’d had arguments with many people in the village before.”
Energy, Environment, Science And Health
Administration: unattended Chinese stations in Antarctic not open to visitors - ECNS The administration recently introduced The Environmental Protection Regulation on Activities on Antarctica amid an increase of Chinese activity on the continent, especially the rapid increase in the number of Chinese tourists. Following the regulation, the new rules also ban the taking of aerial photography with drones, using noisy equipment, conducting commercial events, or engaging in other activities harmful to the public order or China's national image. // Not sure Antartica is ready for a PRC tourism boom…
How Sichuan’s ‘Panda Tribe’ Went From Poachers to Protectors - Sixth Tone With the support of Shan Shui, local people in Guanba have taken part in voluntary environmental campaigns since 2009. In 2010, they started patrolling the mountains, and in 2015, the Guanba Community Nature Reserve was formally approved by the Sichuan Forestry Department. Today, around 25 people regularly patrol the 40-square-kilometer reserve. Their mission is to protect and monitor the estimated five pandas which still live here, preventing the poaching and trapping of other animals like musk deer and takin, and guard against illegal logging.
Want a Drink at Mr. Li’s Bar? Please Climb Through the Window - WSJ $$ Beijing, in a zoning-regulation crackdown, is bricking up restaurants, bars and other small businesses operating illicitly out of residential buildings. Crafty owners are finding creative new openings.
Work begins on Beijing-Xiongan rail link - Xinhua The 33.5 billion yuan (5.3 billion U.S. dollars) line stretches 92.4 km via Daxing District of Beijing and Bazhou City in Hebei Province and has five stops. Travel time between Beijing and Xiongan will be 30 minutes.