Those rumors about Xi; US "lies" about IP theft; Fengqiao Experience; Ozone pollution soaring; More on fiscal vs. monetary policy; Think tanks; Idols

Happy Wednesday, going to go straight into the comments below.

Housekeeping note: I am driving up to Maine Thursday to pick up our kids from camp and so there will be no Sinocism newsletter Thursday or Axios China Weekly on Friday. Normal publishing will resume Monday. I am always happy to get tips, either over email or Signal +13012460858.

Thanks for reading.

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The Essential Eight

1. On those rumors about Xi

As I have written earlier this week I have found no evidence the rumors are credible but given that PRC elite politics are more opaque than they have been in years it is certainly possible something strange is going on. We are less than a month away from the expected Beidaihe meetings and as always in advance of that mysterious conclave the rumors begin to fly in July.

Xi is getting lots of official media love in the last couple of days:

It is still worth looking at what some of the rumors are, and wondering who is behind them. Geremie Barme has translated commentator Lee Yee's column on the recent rumors about Xi Jinping and given them some historical perspective--Deathwatch for a Chairman – China Heritage:

Online reports last Friday night [13 July 2018] claimed that gunfire lasting some forty minutes had been heard in the vicinity of the south-east Second Ring Road of Beijing [outside Zuo’an Men]. It was claimed that anti-Xi Jinping groups had forged a consensus to overthrow the Chairman and that dramatic events were about to unfold in the Chinese capital. Yesterday, Radio France Internationale reported that Beijing was awash in rumours, the most unbelievable of these being that [former Communist Party General Secretaries] Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao had allied with the [Jiang-era Premier] Zhu Rongji and other Party Elders who were dissatisfied with Xi Jinping’s promotion of a personality cult. They wanted to convene an Enlarged Meeting the Politburo so it could invoke the precedent of former Party Chairman Hua Guofeng [successor to Mao Zedong from 1976 to 1981] thereby allowing Xi Jinping a face-saving way of stepping down. At the same time, rumours were wildly circulating on the Internet that summed up the mood with the expression ‘Number One will rest while Ocean will take over the military’ 一號休息, 大海領軍. Of course, ‘Number One’ means Xi Jinping [in 1971, Mao’s opponents called him ‘B-52’], and ‘Ocean’ indicates Wang Yang [汪洋, whose name is part of the expression ‘Vast Ocean’ 汪洋大海]. [Politburo standing committee member] Wang Yang is perceived of as having a relatively positive image and that he is a Party leader with a reformist mindset as well as being someone who has experience in foreign affairs...

A coup d’état seems hardly on the cards, but there is evident dissatisfaction with Xi Jinping inside the Communist Party. Political repression, Internet control, popular dissatisfaction with the costs of health care and education, as well as price increases are all a reality. In situations when there are such internal and external pressures, one in which both the ruling elite and the masses are resentful yet have no way to express their displeasure, it is inevitable that the general mood finds reflection in wild rumours and heady gossip.

Sounds to me like a different version of the “China Fantasy”, rooted in the search for the mythical Chinese Gorbachev. Sorry I am cynical, but I did name this newsletter to rhyme with cynicism, and when it comes to trying to understand the PRC the dictum that “you can never be cynical enough” seems to hold up well…

2. US-China trade

Many Chinese consumers ready to boycott US goods in trade war | Financial Times $$:

The survey found that 54 per cent of 2,000 respondents in 300 cities across China would “probably” or “definitely” stop buying US-branded goods “in the event of a trade war”. Just 13 per cent said they would not.

The remaining 33 per cent said they were unsure or did not at present buy US branded goods, according to the survey, conducted for FT Confidential Research (FTCR), a research unit at the Financial Times.

The survey was carried out between June 27 and July 10, mostly before the US imposed 25 per cent tariffs on $34bn of Chinese goods on July 6. The move elicited an immediate tit-for-tat response from Beijing.

"China steals American Technology? Lie!"--headline on page 2 of the 7.18 People's Daily-中国偷窃美国技术?谎言!--国际--人民网 


People’s Daily Commentary: The Claim that China Steals U.S. Technology Is a Total Lie – Chinascope:

The Deputy Director of the Expert Committee of the China Association of International Trade wrote an opinion article that People’s Daily then published. The article asserted that the statement that “China steals U.S. technology” is a total lie that the U.S. made up. It stated that the lie has risen to the level of “economic aggression,” which is alarmist. “By distorting the facts, the U.S. has tried to portray the development of China’s science and technology as a ‘threat to the world.’” It further pointed out that the purpose for this U.S. allegation is obvious. It is to “demonize China and fool the world.” The article then listed a number of China’s achievements.

US case against Chinese trade is fake news | East Asia Forum:

This is not to say that the issues raised by the Section 301 report are mere fantasy, or that China’s fulfilment of its WTO commitments has been impeccable. On the contrary, China has plenty of room to improve its WTO compliance, especially when it comes to opening up its financial-services sector and strengthening IP protections.

But trade-related issues should be addressed within the WTO framework, with the United States using that body’s resolution mechanisms to address its grievances. In lieu of such an approach by the Trump administration, China should consider launching a new round of WTO negotiations in cooperation with Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, Mexico and New Zealand. Multilateralism should be preserved, with or without the United States.

Trump’s trade war will not succeed in driving China to abandon its aspiration to catch up to the advanced economies. China is ready to fight a war of attrition. Unfortunately, both sides — as well as the rest of the world — will incur heavy losses in the process.--Yu Yongding is a Senior Fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and former member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the People’s Bank of China.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin not planning China meetings at G20 summit | Reuters:

The official said, however, that there would be ample opportunities for Mnuchin to interact with Chinese officials in G20 group sessions, dinners and informal settings to discuss trade issues dividing the two countries.

Mnuchin told US lawmakers last week the Trump administration was prepared to reopen talks with China to resolve trade issues, but only if Beijing was willing to pursue “serious efforts to make structural changes” to its policies.

3. More on fiscal vs. monetary policy

China’s cooling economy sparks debate on scope of fiscal policy | Reuters:

The remarks by Liu Shangxi, head of Chinese Academy of Fiscal Sciences under the finance ministry, come amid a debate among government researchers on whether fiscal policy should help to soften the impact of a trade war with the United States.

“The current proactive fiscal policy, which is different from the traditional expansionary policy, is not direct government effort to expand demand, but indirect effort through stimulating market vitality, optimizing resource allocation and increasing quality supply,” Liu wrote in the official Economic Information Daily.

China’s fiscal policy should focus on adjusting the country’s economic structures and controlling risks, instead of stimulating the economy in an indiscriminate way, Liu said.

刘尚希:积极财政政策作用不是大水漫灌 是精准施策 

Sure sounds like there is a real debate going on behind the scenes about the need for more stimulus and in what form.

4. Think tank alliance and think tank challenges

China sets up think tank alliance to better understand US as trade war continues | South China Morning Post

China is gearing up efforts to improve its analysis of US affairs with the finance ministry setting up an alliance of around 20 top Chinese think tanks to come up with better policy advice as it looks for ways to handle the trade war with the US...

The alliance, comprising researchers from the National Development and Reform Commission and Peking University, will study the latest political, economic and trade situation in the US...

Wang Huiyao, president of the Centre for China and Globalisation, which is also part of the alliance, said China’s existing research on US affairs is not deep enough.

Shuttering of Liberal Chinese Think-Tank Part of 'Long-Term Plan' - RFA:

"I don't think it's necessarily because [of that]," he said. "I think is part of a long-term strategy, namely, to suppress the freedom of expression of intellectuals, and people in general."

Unirule's director, Sheng Hong, said the current trade war with the United States means that China has more need than ever before of independent voices to shape policy, however.

"If you only speak with one voice, then we can provide a counterpoint to that: two voices are better than one," he said of current ideological controls under Xi

A criticism of the experts and think tanks whom this author, Zhang Guoqing, believe led China down the wrong path and into the US-China trade war believing the country is much stronger than it actually is...already harmonized in most places--中美贸易战:几个“厉害了”的专家坏了中国一锅汤-墙外楼



If Xi and his team have come to the conclusion, as I believe they have, that President Trump’s goal is to “destroy” China, and that there is no point in making any concessions to him, the think tanks may still not be of much help…

5. Legal Daily's new series on the "Fengqiao Experience"

Legal Daily has started a series on the "Fengqiao Experience" for social management as a "magic weapon for preserving stability and safety", in the 55th anniversary year since Mao Zedong first praised it and the 15th anniversary year since Xi, as Zhejiang Party Secretary, called for continued development of it.

This first installment in the series looks at the experiences of Zibo, Shandong in using the "Fengqiao Experience"-促稳定保平安的一大法宝--法制网:



David Bandurski of the China Media Project wrote an excellent primer in 2013 when Xi started talking about it again:

Xi Jinping, Playing With Fire

In 1963, the work team of the provincial Party committee of Zhejiang summarized the methods employed in Fengqiao in a document called, “Experiences in Struggling Against the Enemy During the Socialist Education Movement in Fengqiao District, Zhuji County” (诸暨县枫桥区社会主义教育运动中开展对敌斗争的经验). During the National People’s Congress in 1963, the minister of public security, Xie Fuzhi (谢富治), gave a speech called, “Relying on the Strength of the Masses, Strengthening the People’s Democratic Dictatorship, Transforming the Majority of ‘Reactionary Elements’ into New People” (依靠群众力量,加强人民民主专政,把绝大多数“四类分子”改造成新人). Xie’s speech made specific mention of the example provided by Fengqiao.

Then, on November 20, 1963, Mao Zedong added his written instructions to the Xie Fuzhi speech, in which he said: “The example of Zhuji raised here is a good one — various regions should follow this example, expanding the work through pilot programs.”

On November 22, when Mao Zedong spoke with the deputy minister of public security, Wang Dongxing (汪东兴), he said: “Of all the work carried out by the ministry of public security, the most important was the question of how to work among the masses, how to educate and organize them so that they can take part in the general work of public security. Judging from the experience of Zhuji, once the masses have risen, they can do things as well as you and as strong as you. You must not forget to mobilize the masses.” (NOTE: The implication here is that public security officials should not focus on simply arresting “reactionary elements,” but must organize the masses to “reeducate” and reform them.)

6. Ozone pollution soaring

China ozone pollution levels hit record high amid industrial output surge - Unearthed:

The Chinese government may be effectively cracking down on some forms of air pollution, but toxic ozone levels are rising rapidly, according to an Unearthed analysis of official data.

The country’s average ground-level ozone pollution hit a new high in June, up 11% from the same point last year and 21% from the year before.

This alarming trend – pollution records were consistently broken in 2017 as well – has seen ozone emerge as an emerging health threat in China, causing 70,000 premature deaths in 2016...

In most places suffering from severe ozone pollution, such as Mexico City, northern Italy or Los Angeles, transport is the dominant source. In China, due to the country’s vast manufacturing sector, both industry and transport are important sources.

China's ozone levels hit record high in June: Greenpeace - Reuters:

Experts had urged China to target ozone pollution in its latest three-year anti-smog plan released last month, but no special measures were included.

Vice environment minister Zhao Yingmin said at a press briefing that while average ozone concentrations rose 8 percent last year, hazardous floating particles known as PM2.5 remained the country’s priority.

7. Deep dive into celebrity idol creation

The Meaning of Idols – Elephant Room: Make China Relatable - Elephant Room:

From appearances, personalities to values, what Wang Ju and Yang Chaoyue displayed to the camera were contrasting to say the least. Such contrast nonetheless is exactly why Produce 101 was a hit; instead of forcing industrialized homogeneity (something idol shows tend to do), it presented an array of individuals with different attitudes and talents. Moreover, by setting up the audiences as "producers" (aka who has the power to make decisions through voting), Produce 101 really managed to construct a dreamy, pink fantasy that swept across the entire nation. For a while, the girls' dreams became our own dreams, and our stories became part of these girls' stories, too...

On July 10th, China's SARFT (the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television) published a new announcement to clamp down talent shows and idol competitions during summer vacation, requiring the productions to present "positive, healthy value" for young audiences and to "eliminate materialistic ideology at all cost". Although Produce 101 was not mentioned directly, media is now speculating that SARFT's announcement is a response to the show's misconducts in fans fund-raising: in order to make their beloved contestant win, Produce 101 fans organized many online fundraising campaigns during the show, and claimed to have used these funds to purchase votes. Without the proper legal infrastructure and supervision mechanism however, a large portion of the money ended up in untraceable destinations, some times personal pockets.

8. Qinghai-Tibet Plateau white paper

Full Text: Ecological Progress on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau | SCIO:

The Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese government have always valued ecological progress. Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping as its core has laid down ecological progress as a cornerstone for sustainable development of the Chinese nation, and made it one of the integral components of the development strategy for Chinese socialism together with economic, political, cultural, and social progress. China is striving to raise the awareness that "clear waters and green mountains are invaluable assets" and to put it into practice. We will value the ecological environment as we value our lives, and we will continue to pursue green development and build a beautiful China.

"青藏高原生态文明建设状况" 白皮书

Qinghai-Tibet Plateau still one of cleanest regions on earth: white paper - Xinhua:

"The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau has a low intensity of human activity. The air quality is little impacted, the types of pollutants are few and the density is low, and the content of pollutants is similar to those at the North Pole," said the white paper, titled "Ecological Progress on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau."

With the promotion of use of green energy, the progress in building ecological towns, and efforts to improve rural environment, the air quality on the Plateau has seen further improvement, it noted.

Of the 96 key cities whose annual density of particles met relevant standards in 2016, 16 were located on the Plateau.

But trees like air pollution? 

Beijing's air pollution helps its trees grow better, faster, stronger, study finds | South China Morning Post:

The government-backed study, published last month in the journal Global Change Biology, tracked the growth rates of six aspen trees in Beijing between 2012 and 2015, when the city was shrouded in some of the thickest smog it has ever seen.

The field observations showed the thicker the smog, the faster and stronger the trees grew.

Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

China Share Buyback Boom Aims to Help Sliding Equity Market - Bloomberg The current wave of buybacks, as well as pledges by shareholders to boost stakes in listed firms, may indicate that the market is at a trough, China International Capital Corp. analysts Hanfeng Wang and Changjie Zhou wrote in a July 9 note. The Shanghai Composite has tumbled more than 20 percent since a Jan. 24 high. Other indexes on the mainland and in Hong Kong have also fallen, plagued by a trade dispute with the U.S. and Beijing’s deleveraging campaign.

China bourses plan reprieve on dual-class Hong Kong shares | Financial Times $$ In an announcement on Wednesday, HKEX said that it had “reached a consensus” with the Shenzhen and Shanghai stock exchanges on devising a plan to allow Chinese mainland investors to buy dual-class companies through Stock Connect, the trading platform linking bourses in Hong Kong and China. The exchanges said they would set up a working group to decide on a way of phasing in the trading of companies with dual-class shares, after agreeing that investors in mainland China were “not yet familiar” with this structure, which gives company founders greater voting power at the expense of individual investors.

Wenzhou ex-fugitive shares business journey during China's 40-year economic reform - Global Times Merchants from Wenzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province are known for their talents in doing business. Many of them have grasped opportunities created by China's reform and opening-up policy to make ventures. The Global Times recently interviewed Hu Jinlin, a Wenzhou businessman nicknamed the "electric appliance king," to talk about his business ups and downs during the 40 years of reform and opening-up.

Caught in China’s cash crunch: why private companies are collapsing into a black hole of shadowy debt | South China Morning Post Chinese businessman Zhou Jiancan built an empire from steel pipes and industrial hoses but it all came apart when the money ran out  //  Comment: Maybe some of these companies are poorly run, their management makes dumb decisions, and they deserve to not get credit and to go out of business?

Trump and China Are a $43 Billion Waste of Time for Qualcomm and NXP - Bloomberg Back in April, the two companies set themselves a deadline of July 25 to complete the $43 billion takeover, as they awaited regulatory clearance from China’s Ministry of Commerce. That approval is still pending. While Qualcomm is based in San Diego, most of its sales are made in China. Almost 40 percent of NXP’s 2017 revenue came from the country.

China's Yuan to Weaken With No Set Line of Defense, Pimco Says - Bloomberg As long as the moves are driven by fundamental factors, the central bank is unlikely to defend the yuan at a particular level, according to Isaac Meng, an emerging market portfolio manager at Pimco in Hong Kong. Officials are more comfortable with swings in the currency and foreign funds have been boosting investment in onshore bonds, while domestic households already hold significant assets overseas, he wrote in a blog.

Securities Regulator Loses Lawsuit on Insider Trading Case - Caixin Global A Beijing court ruled against China’s top securities regulator Tuesday on its handling of an insider trading case that led to hefty fine on an individual. In a rare rebuke of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the Beijing High Court revoked a 130 million yuan ($19 million) fine imposed in 2016 on businessman Su Jiahong as part of an administrative penalty for alleged insider trading. According to a media report, the CSRC lost just two of 24 lawsuits in Chinese courts in 2016.

Government to List Firms Banned From Investing in Financial Sector - Caixin Global As China continues its campaign to rein in financial risks, the government is planning to draw up a negative list that will name companies deemed too risky to be allowed to invest in the financial sector. The State Council and the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) laid out at a meeting on Tuesday the principles and the criteria for inclusion on the list, which will be compiled by the end of the year, according to a report in the official China Securities Journal. Among those prohibited from making new investments in the financial sector will be companies whose main businesses are unprofitable, those with high asset-to-liability ratios, or those who have existing financial operations that are high-risk or whose role in supporting the company's core activities is unclear.


Politics, Law And Ideology

Senior legislators hold study session - Xinhua Li Zhanshu, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee and secretary of its leading Party members' group, chaired and addressed the meeting. The meeting noted that it is the historic mission of this generation of Chinese Communists to achieve the three-phase goals of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, basically realizing modernization and making China a great modern socialist country in every dimension. According to the meeting, the NPC and its standing committee will focus their work on implementing the major decisions, policies, and plans of the Party central authorities, addressing the people's key concerns, and pressing ahead with rule of law and law-based governance in every dimension.

Official Chinese report of the meeting - 人大常委会党组围绕“历史使命、历史责任和我们的历史担当”进行集体学习 栗战书主持并讲话--中国统一战线新闻网--人民网 会议认为,实现共产主义是中国共产党的最高理想、最高纲领。正如习近平总书记所指出,“一个时代有一个时代的主题,一代人有一代人的使命。”从全面建成小康社会到基本实现现代化,再到全面建成社会主义现代化强国,是新时代中国特色社会主义发展的战略安排,实现这三个阶段的奋斗目标,也就是我们这一代中国共产党人的历史使命。在这一伟大实践中,全国人大及其常委会要把各项工作紧紧扣在贯彻落实党中央重大决策部署上来,紧紧扣在回应人民群众重大关切上来,紧紧扣在厉行法治、推进全面依法治国上来,为统筹推进“五位一体”总体布局、协调推进“四个全面”战略布局、实施国家重大战略、打好“三大攻坚战”履职尽责,为完成党的历史使命作出应有贡献。


Foreign and Military Affairs

China’s stalled investments to top agenda when Malaysian envoy visits Beijing, observers say | South China Morning Post The visit of Tun Daim Zainuddin, chairman of the Council of Eminent Persons, will pave the way for recently re-elected Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s planned trip to Beijing next month. Zainuddin, who served as finance minister under Mahathir from 1984 to 1991, is regarded as one of the ageing leader’s most trusted aides on the council, which was set up to serve as an advisory body during his first 100 days in office.

Punished for Taiwan ties, lack of Chinese tourists forces Palau to cancel flights | Taiwan News Palau’s refusal to break ties with Taiwan, and Beijing’s efforts to punish the country economically by stifling tourism has prompted Palau Pacific Airways to "indefinitely" cancel their airline flights.

China’s new, secret missile garrison in Sichuan can target all of India and beyond – ThePrint China has built a new garrison in its central Sichuan province for its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) which have the capacity to cover all of India, the Indian Ocean Region as well as large parts of continental America.

Disgraced MP held Parliament press conference to promote Chinese propaganda on Tibet - WAToday Disgraced Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire hosted a press conference inside NSW Parliament with a key United Front official from China to promote propaganda on Tibet. Mr Maguire has refused to resign from Parliament, but has left the NSW Liberal party, after an ICAC hearing exposed his attempts to broker property deals for a major Chinese property developer and seek commissions.

China's cosmological Communism: a challenge to liberal democracies | Mercator Institute for China Studies China’s presence and influence is not confined to its own borders or East Asia anymore, but has reached a global scale. In the new MERICS China Monitor Perspectives, “China’s cosmological Communism: A challenge to liberal democracies,” journalist and former MERICS Research Fellow Didi Kirsten Tatlow shows how imperial philosophy meets Marxist orthodoxy in Beijing’s global ambitions. Tatlow argues that to fully understand China’s rise one must look at deeply embedded norms of power and imperial statecraft, which are reproduced by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to project power and build legitimacy. In her paper, she traces the relevance of the terms tianxia (“all-under-heaven”), tianchao (“heavenly empire”), and jimi (literally “bridling and feeding” horses and cattle) for modern CCP politics.

‘A purely north-south corridor is not going to be enough’ – Business Recorder BR Research recently interviewed Andrew Small on China’s evolving relationship with Pakistan in the regional context. Small expects the Chinese investments in Pakistan to be more resilient to security concerns now than in the past; he opines that the Hambantota case is a data point rather than a trend while maintaining that the perception that China plans to build military bases through debt-diplomacy is inaccurate.


Tech And Media

Ex-Googler Set to Join China's Top 25 Richest With Tech IPO - Bloomberg Colin Huang’s decision to quit Silicon Valley and return to China is proving one of the more ludicrously lucrative career moves in recent years, even in this era of extreme wealth creation. The former Google engineer, who founded Shanghai-based Pinduoduo Inc. three years ago, could soon have an $8.3 billion fortune, based on his holding in the e-commerce operator. That would make him among the 25 richest people in the country, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Apple’s iCloud service in mainland to be run by China Telecom: company - Global Times Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry Co (GCBD), the new operator of Apple's iCloud service in China, has recently signed a deal with China Telecom for cloud storage service, which is a smart move for the US company, an industry expert said. China Telecom will be the first cloud storage service provider for Apple in the Chinese mainland, with the use of its object-oriented storage (OOS) system, GCBD said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Tuesday.

Google launches game on Tencent's Wechat as it eyes China market | Reuters The latest product, Caihua Xiaoge, is a drawing game based on Google’s AI image recognition technology, and is a WeChat ‘mini app’, which works only within Tencent’s WeChat. Several foreign firms, including Starbucks Corp, have also launched mini apps.

Nanjing to create $20 billion integrated circuit investment fund · TechNode The Nanjing Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund is expected to benefit chip manufacturers and downstream companies, which will gain economically from domestically produced chips. It will be guided by localization, specialization, and better use of capital, and aims to promote the local IC industry, local media reports. The timeline for the fund was not specified.

Singer Sues Idol Show for Illegally Using His Music - Sixth Tone Popular Chinese talent show “The Coming One” perhaps didn’t see a lawsuit coming when its second season aired last month. Singer Li Zhi is suing the all-male show for performing his songs without authorization, demanding 3 million yuan ($450,000) in compensation, The Beijing News reported Monday. Li said the show’s producer, Wajijiwa Entertainment, and broadcaster, Tencent Video, had acknowledged the case but not accepted his terms


Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

Bury Me With My Comrades: Memorializing Mao's Sent-Down Youth | The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Over the last decade or so, China has seen an unprecedented building boom of museums and memorials. One curious new genre is the museums for Mao-era "Cultural Revolution" youth "sent down" to the countryside by Mao during the 1960s and 1970s. After Mao's death, they struggled to return to the cities. Surviving returnees have recently established several museums commemorating their suffering and sacrifice, even though the topic is politically fraught and the period's history is strictly censored in official museums and histories. One museum, the Shanghai Educated Youth Museum, doubles as a memorial site and a collective cemetery for former sent-down youth who wish to be buried together. This paper locates these memorials and burial grounds in their historical and political context. It also reflects the Shanghai institutions' copying of the design and architecture of the Korea and Vietnam war memorials in Washington D.C.

Chinese embrace sanfu, hottest time of year - China Daily Chinese people embraced the first day of sanfu, the hottest and dampest period of the year, on Tuesday in unique ways across the country. Sanfu, also called China's "dog days of summer", refers to three 10-day periods that are predicted to have the hottest days of the year. As a millennium-old tradition, Chinese people are spending sanfu like their ancestors. In traditional Chinese medicine, sanfu is considered a particularly suitable time for treating illnesses. Sanfutie, a special treatment, has been used by Chinese people for hundreds of years


Energy, Environment, Science And Health

Premier urges cheaper prices of anti-cancer drugs - China Daily: "The fact patients with cancer and other serious diseases can't afford, have no access to or cannot wait to buy imported 'lifesaving drugs' highlights the urgency of reducing drug prices and ensuring supply," Li said in a written instruction in response to heated discussions following the screening of Dying to Survive. "It costs too much for a family with a cancer patient. Cancer has been identified as the No 1 killer threatening people's health," the Premier said. "We'll do our best to save them and relieve the burden on their family." "Measures must be taken to shorten the drug circulation process and speed up the reduction of drug prices, so our people can get more tangible benefits," Li said.//李克强就电影《我不是药神》引热议作批示 

The Dark Side of China’s Solar Boom - Sixth Tone China is now the world’s biggest solar market in terms of money spent, panels manufactured, and energy produced. But despite the country’s sunny outlook, there are dark clouds looming. PV panels, which convert solar energy into electric energy, have a lifespan of around 30 years. Experts say that millions of aging panels could have significant environmental impacts — especially since China doesn’t have specific regulations on solar panel recycling. The International Renewable Energy Agency predicted that by 2050, about 20 million tons of PV panel waste could be accumulated in China — the largest amount of solar trash worldwide. And according to a 2018 study from Tsinghua University’s School of Environment in Beijing, the panels have been piling up since 2015.

U.S. Expects China to Buy Even More Iranian Oil After Sanctions - WSJ Some in Washington now expect that China will vacuum up much of the Iranian oil that other nations won’t buy because of the threat of U.S. sanctions, according to a senior U.S. government energy official. China buying extra Iranian oil could dull the economic impact of those sanctions. It could also bring Iran closer to China at a time of elevated tensions between Washington and Beijing over trade.


Agriculture And Rural Issues

Dim Sums: Rural China Economics and Policy: Stop Illegal GMO Corn by Legalizing It, China Scientists Say Industry experts told Science and Technology Daily that the main reason for the persistence of illegal GMO corn-planting is that farmers "love" the seeds. Farmers growing conventional corn have suffered serious losses from pests, and scientists say mold from pest-damaged corn contaminates other corn when the ears are mixed together, resulting in further losses from mycotoxins. China has varieties of corn genetically altered to resist pests using genes from bacteria which can reduce pest losses, raise yields 10-30%, and increase income by about 40 yuan per mu (about $40 per acre).



US academic and critic of Beijing censorship loses job at top Chinese university | Reuters Christopher Balding, who had taught for the past nine years at Peking University’s HSBC School of Business in Shenzhen, said in a blog post on Tuesday that the school had not renewed his contract. Balding wrote in his post that he was given an “official” reason for his contract not being renewed, but added: “I know the unspoken reason for my dismissal.” He said he was notified in early November that his contract would not be renewed.// This post is making waves, I wonder if the school will try to give its view?

China closes a fifth of foreign university partnerships | Financial Times $$ "Over the past two years, there has been growing suspicion with regard to foreign programmes, and foreign curriculums and ideology. There’s been an inward turn,” said Jiang Xueqin, an education consultant based in Chengdu. ..“This is meant to be a turning point,” said Mr Jiang. “Officials are telling Chinese schools that they are under close scrutiny in the next few years.” He said the closures of so many programmes would have required direction “from the top”.


Food And Travel

Backlash following a deadly boat accident could cause a $1.5 billion hit to Thailand's economy | Markets Insider Nomura economists led by Euben Paracuelles predicted in a note that the incident could cost the Thai tourism sector $1.5 billion, based on past drops. For example, Paracuelles said the number of tourists to Thailand fell by around 8% within two months of a deadly bombing at a popular Bangkok shrine in 2015. The industry took about four months to fully recover, he said.

Air China’s flight hours cut by state regulator and pilots’ licences revoked after plane’s 25,000-foot plunge in vaping fiasco | South China Morning Post n a string of sanctions imposed on the country’s flag carrier, Air China will be forced to reduce the flight hours on its Boeing 737 fleet by 10 per cent, undergo a three-month safety review and be fined for the incident. The decision was made by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), according to state television and an internal note obtained by the Post.

Beijing’s new Zaha Hadid-designed airport to showcase latest facial recognition technology | South China Morning Post Chinese artificial intelligence start-up Yitu is preparing a bid to provide its facial recognition technology to the airport, while its close rival SenseTime Group is also expected to compete for the contract...It is expected that identity verification at the new airport will be conducted by cameras that will match the user’s appearance to a national ID database. Through computer vision, airport authorities will also be able to match users to their belongings, so that unattended baggage is easily tracked and assessed for security risk.  // Comment: What about foreigner faces?



Beijing subsidizes brick-and-mortar bookstores in digital era - Xinhua | The government's information office said on Tuesday that from 2018, the yearly budget will be appropriated to support 150 brick-and-mortar bookstores. According to the subsidy plan, each of the 16 districts in Beijing should have a large bookstore by 2020, when there should be 200 bookstores in the city's bustling commercial streets, densely-populated residential areas, and near key scenic sites.