Trade talks interruptus; Cold War II?; Zhao Lijian

The mooted “phase one” US-China trade deal may not become reality any time soon. December 15 is the next big tariff deadline, and President Trump now says he likes “the idea of waiting until after the [2020]election for the China deal”.

Negotiations are still ongoing, and Trump looks to be negotiating in public by warning the Chinese side that if they want a deal they have to back down from what the US side believes are additional asks the Chinese made after what was supposed to have been an agreement in principle. The Chinese side though I hear feels the US side has walked back from what was agreed to in October. But there are still twelve days for both sides to blink.

If there is no deal, or at least an extension, by December 15, we could be looking at the potential for a year without a deal, increased tariffs, and rising tensions across just about every dimension of the US-China relationship. The trade negotiations have actually been a bit of a brake on the forces pushing the relationship into a faster descent, and while a deal was never going to solve the fundamental tensions between the two countries it could at least put a bit of a temporary floor under the downward trajectory.

Thanks for reading, and make contingency plans.


The Essential Eight

1. US-China

Dow drops 400 points after Trump says he could wait on China deal - CNBC

“In some ways, I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal, but they want to make a deal now and we will see whether or not the deal is going to be right,” Trump told reporters..

The president later added that Tuesday’s slump is “peanuts” compared to how much the market has climbed since his election and the importance of striking a favorable trade deal with China.

Price to be paid by US for its meddling: China Daily editorial - China Daily

Some may consider China's response disproportionate in both intensity and scale and that the measures add little weight to China's customary verbal protests against US meddling. But such a view fails to take into account that when the decision was announced on Monday, it was stressed that China will take further measures to safeguard its national interests in light of how the situation develops.

蓬佩奥又抹黑中国 外交部:“三观”不正,无法对话--国际--人民网

Hua Chunying attacks Pompeo for his Politico OpEd on 5g, calling him Xianglin Auntie” (祥林嫂), a character from Lu Xun's "Blessing". She was supposedly a ranting, mentally ill woman.

U.S. double standards reveal deep-seated hegemony - People's Daily Zhong Sheng

In recent years, racial discrimination, gun violence, and political polarization in the U.S. have led to massive demonstrations and even street violence in some cases. If demonstrations break the legal bottom line, the U.S. law enforcement departments will surely take tough measures to quell the violence...

Why do American politicians, who will never question law enforcement in their own country, now groundlessly accuse law enforcement in other parts of the world, notably Hong Kong?

US Navy orders $22 billion worth of submarines with eye on China - CNN 

The massive contract for nine nuclear-powered, Virginia class attack submarines comes just months after the head of the US Navy in the Pacific warned of a massive Chinese naval buildup and his trouble in getting enough submarines to counter it.


2. Are we entering Cold War II?

Niall Ferguson thinks we are. Melvyn Leffler, one of the preeminent US historians of the Cold War, says we are not. I think Xi’s description of the state of the relationship as 缠斗, fighting while embracing, is apt.

Niall Ferguson Opinion | The New Cold War? It’s With China, and It Has Already Begun - The New York Times

If Cold War II confines itself to an economic and technological competition between two systems — one democratic, the other not — its benefits could very well outweigh its costs. After all, the economic spinoff from research and development operations associated with the original Cold War were part of the reason American growth was so strong in the 1950s and 1960s.

Back then, there was also a political benefit. Once the spasm of McCarthyism had passed, as Americans came to a consensus that they all faced a common foe, domestic divisions decreased notably...

In 2007, the economist Moritz Schularick and I used the term “Chimerica” to describe the symbiotic economic relationship between China and the United States. Today, that partnership is dead. Cold War II has begun. And, if history is any guide, it will last a lot longer than the president on whose watch it started.

A Cold War With China Is Purely Optional - The Atlantic - Melvyn P. Leffler

I am a historian who has been writing about the U.S.-Soviet Cold War for nearly three decades. However tempting the analogy might be as China’s influence and military strength grow, invoking it now is profoundly wrong. The Cold War happened not simply because there were two superpowers in the world, but because of the specific circumstances confronting the United States after 1945. The historical context in which the United States operates today, the prevailing configuration of power in the international arena, and the ideological appeal of the rival regime are all entirely different. In today’s circumstances, Cold War–era policies—starting with the containment strategy adopted in the late 1940s—are not only unnecessary, but likely to catalyze a destructive spiral of heightening tensions that would make the world a more dangerous place...

The Chinese today are not seeking to destroy Americans’ way of life, as the Soviets were said to be doing in the 1940s. Indeed, the Chinese accept fundamental aspects of our capitalist marketplace, and they have similar interests in halting climate change, fighting terrorists, and combatting pandemics. China should be regarded as a serious rival as well as a crucial partner. But despite recent tensions, the rivalry is entirely less dangerous than the one with the U.S.S.R. after World War II—and the potential partnership so much more important to the welfare of both nations and to the global commons.

We should not turn our rivalry with China into a Cold War by embracing a bad analogy. To understand that China is acting like a normal state, we need only to look at our own history from the 1890s to the 1920s...Americans must not dismiss a rivalry inherent in China’s regional ascendancy and growing global power, but the United States should also seek to avoid a spiraling era of distrust in which both sides will lose.

Remarks by David Stilwell - The U.S., China, and Pluralism in International Affairs - United States Department of State

If the “responsible stakeholder” notion has been overtaken by reality, what replaces it? We know Washington is against aggressive or threatening conduct by Beijing, but what is Washington for? In competing with the PRC, is Washington forcing countries to choose?

The word “pluralism” is not the complete answer to all such questions, of course. But it helps us address all of them because it captures something essential about what we mean when we talk about divergent visions of world order.

US vision for global order is vastly different to China’s, Trump administration official says | South China Morning Post

Stilwell – along with Assistant Secretary of Defence for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Randall Schriver and United States Deputy National Security Adviser Matthew Pottinger – are seen as being among a group of senior officials working to better explain the administration’s priorities, which include using an “whole of government approach” to counter Beijing more robustly than past presidencies.


3. It is definitely a “tech war”

And assuming this Reuters report about discussions to block Huawei from the US banking system is true, then we have the real possibility of the “tech war” bleeding over into the arena the Chinese side appears most worried about, a “financial war”.

White House considered kicking Huawei out of U.S. banking system - Reuters

The plan, which was ultimately shelved, called for placing Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, the world’s second largest smartphone producer, on the Treasury Department’s Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list.

One of the people familiar with the matter, who favors the move, said it could be revived in the coming months depending on how things go with Huawei...

The plan was considered by the White House National Security Council, and seen by officials as a nuclear option atop a ladder of policy tools to sanction the company, two of the people said...

Administration officials drafted a memo and held interagency meetings on the issue, according to one of the people

U.S. to Tap $60 Billion War Chest in Boon for Huawei Rivals - Bloomberg

A new agency, called the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, plans to tap some of its $60 billion budget to help developing countries and businesses purchase equipment from other companies.

“The U.S. is very focused on ensuring there’s a viable alternative to Huawei and ZTE. We don’t want to be out there saying no. We want to be out there saying yes,” Adam Boehler, the first chief executive officer of the DFC, said in a recent interview

US attempts at blocking 5G to fail with NATO allies: experts - Global Times

Shen Yi, a professor at Shanghai-based Fudan University, told the Global Times that US attempts would fail as allies would first weigh their own national interest and technology needs and then their relations with the US.

Shen noted that the US is losing its dominance in NATO after the US media outlet CNBC reported Monday that the organization's secretary general Jens Stoltenberg insisted the military alliance did not want to "create new adversaries."

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei plans to relocate research centre to Canada from U.S. - The Globe and Mail

Mr. Ren wants to build new factory capacity in Europe to make 5G equipment there, hoping to assuage fears – fanned in part by the U.S. security establishment – that the company’s ultrahigh-speed wireless technology can be employed as a spying tool by China.

He is also elevating Canada’s importance to Huawei as his company battles U.S. criminal charges and economic sanctions. Huawei’s “centre for research and development will be moved out of the United States. And that will be relocated to Canada,” he told The Globe and Mail in an interview on Monday at the company’s headquarters in Shenzhen.

As U.S. Pressure Grows, So Do Chinese Firms’ Lobbying Expenses - Caixin

Derek Scissors, a resident scholar at Washington think-tank the American Enterprise Institute, thinks Chinese companies lobbying in D.C. “doesn’t matter, unless they’re too aggressive and upset American politicians,” adding it’s the American partners of Chinese companies whose lobbying can cause policy to become more pro-China.

'Sad end to his career': Liberal Senator blasts Nick Xenophon's Huawei evasion - Sydney Morning Herald

Former senator Nick Xenophon's claims that his legal work for Chinese telecommunications exempt him from registering on the foreign influence register are wrong, Liberal senator James Paterson has said.

In a blistering speech delivered in the Senate under parliamentary privilege late on Tuesday, Senator Paterson said Mr Xenophon risked a "sad end" to his career of public service by taking on Huawei's cause in Australia


4. Hong Kong

Top Chinese official praises Macau, warns Hong Kong to toe state constitutional line | South China Morning Post

At the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Tuesday, Li Zhanshu, third in the Communist Party hierarchy, diverted from prepared remarks on Macau to make a direct point about Hong Kong.

“I mostly talked about Macau today. But Hong Kong also needs to pay heed to the central government’s policies, the constitution, and the relation between [the central government’s] comprehensive jurisdiction over [Hong Kong and Macau] and their high degree of autonomy,” Li said.

“The central government has the same demands for both Hong Kong and Macau.”

Hong Kong Economist Says His Views on China Cost Him His Job - Bloomberg

Law Ka Chung left his role as chief economist at Bank of Communications (Hong Kong) in October, with no official announcement. The analyst said he suspects his views are the reason he was asked to leave after more than 14 years.

The former chief economist in an article in August said protests in Hong Kong would deepen the city’s slowdown but argued their impact was limited, contradicting the dire outlook in China’s mainland media. He said he was asked to leave the bank shortly after he shared with colleagues a link to an outside article critical of China’s firewalls and closed system. He was also asked to refrain from commenting on the Chinese economy, he said.

“China just needs people to stay low profile and be quiet,” Law said in an interview on Tuesday. “They just want to silence all voices, be it researchers, students or media.”

Chinese bank accused of forcing Hong Kong employee to quit over protests | Financial Times $$

Mr Law added that BoCom’s move was representative of a broader policy shift by mainland Chinese banks, which he said were slowly purging Hong Kongers and moving towards not employing young locals...

interviews with senior executives at several financial services companies — including banks, asset managers, accountancies and law firms — suggest the reluctance to hire Hong Kongers extends far wider than mainland Chinese banks. The executives said they fear recruiting anyone who has participated in activities deemed illegal by local authorities during the protests because it could affect relationships with mainland clients.

Hong Kong's Lam to visit China and meet Xi on December 16: Cable TV - Reuters

Beijing’s top official in Hong Kong shrugs off doubts over future by thanking ‘reporter friends’ for their concern | South China Morning Post

Wang Zhimin, head of the liaison office, refused to discuss reports that he would be moved to another post and asked reporters if he was ‘looking great’

Boycott of HK secessionist entertainers in mainland - Global Times

The online movement has created a heatedly discussed topic, #zhuibuhuangshiyiren, roughly translated as "hunting down Hong Kong secessionist entertainers," on China's Twitter-like platform Sina Weibo, which has attracted over 200 million views and more than 33,000 comments as of press time.


5. More bad news from Xinjiang

China Uses DNA to Map Faces, With Help From the West - The New York Times

Chinese scientists are trying to find a way to use a DNA sample to create an image of a person’s face.

The technology, which is also being developed in the United States and elsewhere, is in the early stages of development and can produce rough pictures good enough only to narrow a manhunt or perhaps eliminate suspects. But given the crackdown in Xinjiang, experts on ethics in science worry that China is building a tool that could be used to justify and intensify racial profiling and other state discrimination against Uighurs...

Some of this research is taking place in labs run by China’s Ministry of Public Security, and at least two Chinese scientists working with the ministry on the technology have received funding from respected institutions in Europe. International scientific journals have published their findings without examining the origin of the DNA used in the studies or vetting the ethical questions raised by collecting such samples in Xinjiang.

Paul Mozur, one of the reporters behind this piece, wrote an accompanying Twitter thread:

The US House of Representatives is voting on the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act today, and the Global Times is already relaying threats of retaliation:


6. MIIT drafts new NEV plan

China's new NEV plan allows automakers greater autonomy in tech development · TechNode

China will minimize government intervention to allow carmakers more freedom to decide the direction of new energy vehicle technology development, according to a plan published Tuesday by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT)..

In a shift from its singular focus on fully electric vehicle technology, the plan more broadly promotes new energy vehicle development, primarily fully-electric, plug-in hybrid (PHEV), and fuel-cell vehicles.

China Raises 2025 Electrified-Car Sales Target to About 25% - Bloomberg

The country wants about 25% of new cars sold by 2025 to be electrified, according to a draft policy published by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on Tuesday. Its last roadmap on the industry announced in 2017 called for new energy vehicles -- all-electric, fuel-celled autos and plug-in hybrids -- to make up more than 20% of vehicle sales by 2025...

In a previous version of a new draft policy earlier this year, the government called for electrified vehicles to account for 60% of sales by 2035, according to people familiar with the matter. In the latest draft, a percentage goal for 2035 was omitted.

The draft plan, in PDF from MIIT web site《新能源汽车产业发展规划(2021-2035年)》

Billionaires Investing in China’s Electric Cars Face Shakeout - Bloomberg

That leaves the flagship companies of Jack Ma, Pony Ma, Hui Ka Yan and Robin Li facing an increasingly steep path to profitability on their bets that electric vehicles can be smartphones-on-wheels connecting passengers to other businesses. Their capital, along with dozens of startups raising $18 billion, helped inflate an electric bubble that now looks to be in danger of popping.


7. One big read: profile of Ken Liu

Why Is Chinese Sci-Fi Everywhere Now? Ken Liu Knows - The New York Times Magazine

In the fall of 2012, Ken Liu received an intriguing offer from a Chinese company with a blandly bureaucratic name: China Educational Publications Import and Export Corporation, Ltd. It was seeking an English-language translator for a trippy science-fiction novel titled “The Three-Body Problem.”..

The success of “The Three-Body Problem” not only turned Liu Cixin into a global literary star; it opened the floodgates for new translations of Chinese science fiction. This, in turn, has made Ken Liu a critical conduit for Chinese writers seeking Western audiences, a literary brand as sought-after as the best-selling authors he translates. (Among Chinese sci-fi authors and fans, he is often referred to affectionately as Xiao Liu, Little Liu, to distinguish him from Liu Cixin, who is known as Da Liu, Big Liu.) Liu’s translations have reshaped the global science-fiction landscape, which has long been dominated by American and British authors. Over the past decade, he has translated five novels and more than 50 works of short fiction by dozens of Chinese authors, many of whom he has discovered and championed himself...

“The political climate inside China has shifted drastically from when I first started doing this,” Liu says. “It’s gotten much harder for me to talk about the work of Chinese authors without putting them in an awkward position or causing them trouble.” Liu usually travels to China at least once a year to network and meet new writers, and has attended the Chinese Nebula and Galaxy Awards, the country’s most well known science-fiction prizes. But this year he was denied a long-term visa, without explanation, prompting him to cancel his planned trip.


8. Interview with Zhao Lijian

Meet Zhao Lijian, The Chinese Diplomat Who Got Promoted For Trolling The US On Twitter - Buzzfeed - Ben Smith

Zhao was in fine form this Thanksgiving weekend, offering an eight-part tweetstorm on American racism, tweeting at one point that the US was merely suffering from “replacement anxiety” at China’s unstoppable rise (he deleted that one), then mocking the US president...

when I was in Beijing last month, I DM’d Zhao one morning, and he responded 15 minutes later to suggest we meet that afternoon at a Maan Coffee down the street from the Foreign Ministry...

“This is a time for Chinese diplomats to tell the true picture,” he said

I gave my thoughts on Zhao and these efforts in yesterday’s newsletter.


Business, Economy and Trade

China’s $17 Billion Default Wave Is About to Break a Record - Bloomberg At least 15 defaults since the start of November have pushed this year’s total to 120.4 billion yuan ($17.1 billion), within a hair’s breadth of the 121.9 billion yuan annual record in 2018, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Two China Firms Miss $526 Million Bond Payments as Woes Grow - Bloomberg Peking University Founder Group was unable to secure sufficient funding to repay a 270-day, 2 billion yuan ($285 million) bond, according to a company filing to the National Interbank Funding Center. Tunghsu Optoelectronic Technology Co. failed to deliver repayment on both interest and principal on a 1.7 billion yuan bond, according to Shanghai Clearing House.

China's finance ministry publishes draft law on consumption tax - Reuters China’s finance ministry published a draft law on consumption taxes on Tuesday that would give China’s cabinet the power to adjust the rates applied to various goods when necessary.

China's pork prices continue to retreat - Xinhua From Nov. 25 to 29, the average pork price index in 16 provincial-level regions tracked by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs came in at 40.95 yuan (about 5.8 U.S. dollars) per kg, down 3.5 percent week on week. This is the third consecutive week that the pork price index has retreated since the beginning of November.

微博搜索 - #猪肉价格又降了# "Pork prices dropping" is the #3 top trending item on Sina Weibo right now.

Chinese premier stresses streamlining approval procedures in FTZs - Xinhua Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has underlined efforts to push a full-coverage pilot reform that separates business operation permits from business licenses in free trade zones (FTZs) with an aim to streamline the approval process for companies and expand market access

China Economists Spar Over How Slow the Economy Should Go - Bloomberg Chinese economists with influence in government circles are beginning to set out their positions over how much the nation should support growth next year, ahead of a key economic planning meeting. // Question: How influential are Huang Qifan and Yu Yongding these days?

Ping An Co-CEOs Talk About the Chinese Insurer’s Move Into Tech - Bloomberg In 10 years we’ll just become a “technology-plus-finance” company. We’re already starting to show that. Technology’s contribution to revenue remains small to the company now, even though it’s already a big number—38.4 billion yuan [$5.4 billion] in revenue in the first half of this year from the 11 tech companies.

Politics and Law

深入学习贯彻党的十九届四中全会精神推进市域社会治理现代化 建设更高水平平安中国-中国长安网 The Central Politics and Law Commission holds a work conference on "Modernization of municipal social governance 市域社会治理现代化", a concept featured in the Fourth Plenum decision document

陈一新:市域社会治理现代化试点启动 全部地市都有均等机会参与! More from Chen Yixin on "Modernization of municipal social governance" for 市域社会治理现代化

中央候补委员、上海市委副书记尹弘赴任河南 Yin Hong is no longer Shanghai deputy Party Secretary, is now Henan Deputy Party Secretary

China launches weeklong Constitution publicity campaign-SCIO The campaign, the second of its kind, was jointly held by the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, the Ministry of Justice, and a national office overseeing legal education work. // December 4 is China's 6th "Constitution Day"

China Focus: China presses ahead with frugality campaign - Xinhua In the first 10 months of this year, more than 63,800 people were punished for having violated the code, including two ministerial-level officials and 594 bureau-level officials, according to the Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and the National Supervisory Commission (NSC). In October alone, a total of 4,601 cases of violations were investigated, and 6,358 violators were punished.

The new Mapping China Journal No 3 is online - Mapping China Holly Snape studies the paradigm shift that has taken place in the civil service and cadre management systems since 2012. She argues that politicisation is being institutionalised to such an extent that it has shifted the balance between political and professional values. Being “red” has become of paramount importance in Xi Jinping’s New Era.

亳州市人民政府 - 市商务局抓好“三个建设”扎实推进主题教育走向深入 坚守政治原则,班子成员坚持以更高标准、更严要求做到“两个维护”,自觉在思想上政治上行动上同以习近平同志为核心的党中央保持高度一致,对党绝对忠诚,以实际行动维护党中央一锤定音、定于一尊的权威

Carl Minzner - Intelligentsia in the Crosshairs: Xi Jinping’s Ideological Rectification of Higher Education in China | China Leadership China is in the midst of an ambitious rectification campaign.  Since 2014, Xi Jinping has launched an aggressive effort to reassert party ideological controls over art, culture, and higher education that had partially slipped during the more relaxed atmosphere of China’s post-1978 reform era.  Within Chinese universities, intellectuals are facing intensified pressures for political conformity —through political education, funding pressures, and direct repression. Such efforts resemble the early stages of the campaign to re-establish party dominance over the bar and legal profession in the early 2000s.  These pressures are likely to steadily worsen in the near future, with significant negative implications for intellectual life in China

Foreign and Defense Affairs

Russia, Iran, and China to hold naval war games later this month: TASS - Reuters Russia, Iran, and China will hold joint naval war games on Dec. 27, Russia’s TASS news agency cited a senior Iranian naval official as saying on Tuesday

Abe plans late Dec. visit to China - Jiji Press Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tuesday that he will visit China on Dec. 23-25. Abe showed the trip schedule at a meeting between the government and the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito. Abe also said he will take a three-day trip to India from Dec. 15.

Record 998 Chinese gov't ships spotted in Japan's contiguous zone near Senkakus this year - The Mainichi A record 998 Chinese government ships were confirmed in the contiguous zone around the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, just outside Japan's territorial waters, this year, largely surpassing the previous record of 819 in 2013

China’s Sharp Power Comes to the Fore: The Values Gap Grows Clearer in the Academic Sphere | Nippon.com rofessor Iwatani has been released, but this will not clear away the worry still felt by Japanese academics and Japan’s society as a whole. The scope of application of China’s anti-espionage law remains as murky as ever. To date 14 Japanese citizens have been held by the Chinese authorities, who went on to press charges against 9 of them. And those charges are also vague in many cases.

Heading south - The voyage of two icebreakers have been creating headlines in China | The Economist For weeks Chinese state media have been proudly reporting the progress of two icebreakers, Xue Long and Xue Long 2, on their voyage to Antarctica. China has maintained research bases in the Earth’s southernmost region since the 1980s, but the approach of these vessels (their names mean “snow dragon”) has been described as the start of a “new era” for the country’s exploration there. Of about 20 countries that have year-round bases on the continent, China’s activities are growing fastest.

Gladys Liu linked to donor at centre of cash drop probe - WAToday Liberal MP Gladys Liu secured access to the federal government for a company and Liberal Party donor endorsed by the Chinese Communist Party and later implicated in a major organised crime probe into $1 million in suspected drug money

China to improve service, support system for military retirees - China Military The Central Military Commission has issued an official document calling for greater efforts to ensure that China's military retirees are well taken of. Titled "Guideline on Strengthening Work on Military Retirees at the New Era 中央军委印发《关于加强新时代军队离退休干部工作的意见》," the directive stresses advancing theoretical and political buildup and putting in place a locality-based service and support system featuring holistic management of resources and high efficiency for retirees.

Xinhua Commentary: Blaming China cures no American illness At a time when Washington politicians tend to blindly blame China for almost everything they mess up, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich at least seems to remain a bit soberer. "Some of the greatest failures and weaknesses in America can't be blamed on China," Gingrich wrote in his new book titled "Trump vs. China: Facing America's Greatest Threat," citing examples in such fields as education, military, aerospace and 5G technologies.

Multilateralism needed in governance of Middle East - People's Daily Zhong Sheng As a country that has an important influence on the Middle East, the US has injected huge instabilities into the complicated situation of the region with its selfish and unilateral Middle East policies.

Chinese troops head to Pakistan for joint drills - Global Times A Chinese unit from a special forces brigade of the People's Liberation Army Xinjiang Military Region departed from their base camp Saturday morning and began mobilizing in Pakistan for the "Warrior VII" joint exercise, using vehicles and aerial transportation, according to a statement released on Monday by China's Ministry of National Defense. This is the seventh "Warrior" series exercise between the two countries' special for

China's Long March-8 rocket successfully passes engine test - Xinhua The hydrogen-oxygen engine worked normally in the test and was shut down after completing all test procedures. Developed by the CASC, the Long March-8 rocket is a new type of rocket that uses module design and can be prepared in a short time, making it competitive for commercial launch.

Wang Qishan Attends and Addresses the Opening Ceremony of the 2019 Imperial Springs International Forum Wang Qishan noted, China practices and champions multilateralism, as well as benefits from and promotes multilateralism. China always abides by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, takes part in a wide range of international organizations and conventions, actively shoulders international responsibilities, and abides by the rules of the World Trade Organization, making huge contributions to facilitating recovery and growth of the world economy.

Xi meets guests to Imperial Springs Int'l Forum, calls for upholding multilateralism - Xinhua President Xi Jinping said Tuesday that all countries should shoulder their respective responsibilities, carry out constructive dialogue, seek common ground while shelving differences, and uphold multilateralism, so as to build a community with a shared future for humanity.

China welcomes El Salvador to jointly build Belt and Road - CGTN Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with the visiting El Salvadoran President Nayib Armando Bukele Ortez on Tuesday in Beijing and the two leaders agree to strengthen cooperation. President Xi welcomed Bukele on his first state visit to China, saying that the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations opens the door for cooperation and marks an important event in the history of their bilateral relation

China Gets First “Common Destiny” Center | China Media Project t a ceremony held in Beijing on November 29, the Communication University of China formally announced the creation of the “Institute for a Community with Shared Future” — a new think tank paying homage to Xi Jinping’s signature foreign policy concept. According to state media reports, this is the first research center in China devoted to the study of the notion of a “community of common destiny.”

US senators want Trump probe of China’s new corporate social credit system | Politico Citing NBA tweet controversy, senators say system would further normalise Beijing’s ability to influence opinion toward foreign companies

Imagery Suggests China Deployed Surveillance Aerostat to Mischief Reef in South China Sea – The Diplomat Little is known in the public domain about China’s indigenous military aerostats, but these systems are likely designed to augment the surveillance capabilities currently in place at Mischief Reef.

Government to ban foreign donations of above $50 under urgency | Stuff.co.nz The Government will ban foreign donations of more than $50 in a single day, Justice Minister Andrew Little has announced..."There's no need for anyone other than New Zealanders to donate to our political parties or seek to influence our elections," Little said.

How China is replacing US as Thailand’s main defence partner and arms supplier | South China Morning Post “It’s about creating balance – we can’t choose sides, we have to be friendly to everyone,” Raksak Rojphimphun, the director general of policy and planning at the Thai Defence Ministry, said on the sidelines of a regional gathering of defence ministers in Bangkok last month. “We’re a small country. We can’t choose our friends.”

Navy expels suspected Chinese spy vessel from Indian waters - India Today An Indian Navy warship identified and expelled a Chinese vessel a few weeks ago, which may have been indulging in spying activities against India near the Port Blair region in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Globe editorial: Beijing’s harshness is forcing Canada to rethink its China delusions - The Globe and Mail The one silver lining in the extradition case against Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, now entering its second year, is that Beijing’s behaviour has awakened Canadians – including senior members of the Trudeau government – to the nature of China’s Communist Party regime. Many in Ottawa and the business community had talked themselves into believing fantasies about the hard men who run Beijing. Some imagined that, although China might play rough with other countries, Canada would somehow be entitled to special treatment. Instead, Beijing has spent the last year giving Canada a special education in how it sees our not-at-all special relationship

Michael Swaine - How China's Defense Establishment Views China's Security Environment: A Comparison between the 2019 PRC Defense White Paper and Earlier Defense white Papers| China Leadership this simplistic, propaganda-laden take on the world simply reinforces the suspicions of many in the West regarding China’s “real” goals.  Many observers tend to interpret China’s honeyed words as designed merely to defuse efforts to confront China’s increasingly aggressive agenda in Asia and beyond.  In this way, China’s feigned naiveté serves to reinforce what are in fact weakly supported worst-case assumptions about its goals, thus deepening tensions with the U.S. and others.  Until Beijing 1.) injects a much more pragmatic, hard-power perspective into its public-security stance, and 2.) attempts to engage Washington on that basis in order to realize some meaningful level of mutual accommodation, the global security environment will continue to fray.

Tech and Media

Investigation Exposes Lies and Rule Breaking On Tencent-Backed Platform Meant To Help Sick Patients - Caixin Shuidi Fundraising, a Tencent-backed non-profit online crowdfunding platform allowing patients of serious illnesses to raise money, is in crisis after an investigation exposed serious flaws. According to a short investigative video produced by the well-known multimedia platform Pear Video, Shuidi allowed staff to mislead patients, set up fundraising goals and tell patients no one would investigate how any of the money raised was spent, all in an attempt to increase Shuidi’s market share.

Video Firm Baofeng Loses Nearly All Employees in Wake of Flopped British Deal - Caixin Almost all staff have left troubled online video service provider Baofeng Group Co. Ltd., which has been haunted by operational and financial challenges as it struggles to manage fallout from its involvement in a high-profile and ill-fated acquisition of British firm MP & Silva Holding SA.

TikTok owns up to censoring some users' videos to stop bullying | The Guardian TikTok has admitted censoring posts by users it identified as disabled, fat or LGBTQ+ as part of a misguided effort to cut down on bullying on the platform. According to a report from the German site NetzPolitik.org, the video-sharing site artificially limited the reach of users who it thought would be vulnerable to bullying if their videos reached a wide audience.

California Class-Action Lawsuit Accuses TikTok of Illegally Harvesting Data and Sending It to China The suit, filed by Misty Hong, a college student from Palo Alto, alleges TikTok and its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, neglected their duty to handle user data with care and knowingly violated a slew of statutes governing data gathering and the right to privacy.

江和平 - 维基百科,自由的百科全书 I hear Jiang is the new head of CGTN America, now in DC

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

China’s CRISPR babies: Read exclusive excerpts from the unseen original research - MIT Technology Review Earlier this year a source sent us a copy of an unpublished manuscript describing the creation of the first gene-edited babies, born last year in China. Today, we are making excerpts of that manuscript public for the first time. Titled “Birth of Twins After Genome Editing for HIV Resistance,” and 4,699 words long, the still unpublished paper was authored by He Jiankui, the Chinese biophysicist who created the edited twin girls. A second manuscript we also received discusses laboratory research on human and animal embryos.

China aims to reduce coal power production | Financial Times $$ Five of China’s centrally controlled power suppliers will aim to cut coal power capacity by a quarter to a third across the provinces of Qinghai, Gansu and Shaanxi, and the regions of Xinjiang and Ningxia, according to state media. The three-year pilot project by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, or Sasac, is expected to be the first in a multi-stage initiative to make coal production more efficient across the country.

Researchers Dismiss Doubts Raised About New Alzheimer’s Drug - SixthTone A government body associated with a newly discovered treatment for Alzheimer’s disease has said it stands by the research that led to the drug’s creation amid speculation that researchers misrepresented their findings, Shanghai-based media outlet Wenhui Daily reported Friday. Following a preliminary investigation, the Shanghai Institute of Materia Metica, which is dedicated to the discovery of new medicines, concluded that no dubious practices were evident from the research paper explaining the drug.

Food and Travel

Chinese celebrity chef roasts Michelin's Beijing guide - SupChina “Michelin’s ratings are on par with this kind of novelty-seeking attitude,” wrote Dong, who founded the Peking duck restaurant Da Dong (two separate branches in Beijing each received one Michelin star; he also owns the one in New York, stylized “DaDong”). “The sense of cultural superiority communicated in their selection of Beijing dishes creates an illusion that the culinary level of ordinary people in China remains on tripes, offal, and viscera. But these foods obviously do not capture mainstream Chinese culinary culture, let alone the artistic elegance of Chinese cuisine.”

Jobs and Events

Call for Applications: Summer Associate Program - MacroPolo From June 8 – August 14, 2020, you will work on your own project in our downtown Chicago office. In addition to all think tank events, such as our “Decoding China” series, you will also participate in activities specifically crafted for Summer Associates, such as networking lunches, research presentations, and social events in Chicago. We provide a competitive stipend.

Employment Opportunities | Congressional-Executive Commission on China The Commission is seeking a professional staff member to assist in monitoring and reporting on substantive issues pertaining to the mandate of the commission. The professional staff member will assist in assessing China's compliance or noncompliance with international human rights standards and Chinese domestic law. Successful candidates should have expertise on Hong Kong or the Chinese government’s political influence activities.