Trade war, tech war, financial war, cold war...Real war?; Five Eyes split over virus origin?; Hong Kong

The PRC will be back to work Wednesday after the five day May Day holiday. There was no rest however for the CCP propaganda organs as they continued to trade fire with US officials over the origins of the virus and accountability for the pandemic.

When US officials started really ramping up the claims that the virus came from a Wuhan lab I wrote this in the April 16th newsletter:

The stakes involved are astronomical. This “devil” virus as Xi so accurately called it has caused a pandemic, a near depression and is destroying millions of lives. If it escaped into Wuhan due to an accident then Xi and the PRC would face excruciating pressures from around the world, and perhaps from within China, to be held accountable, which could lead to all sorts of unpredictable domestic and international outcomes.

If US officials want to convince the world the virus leaked from a Wuhan Lab they are going to have to do a much better job of proving the claims, and they will also need to have allies on board. Those allies I expect will demand a very high standard of proof given the fixed intelligence that helped lead the US and several key allies into the disastrous 2003 Iraq invasion. From what I am hearing, and from media reports, the intelligence community has not yet found dispositive evidence.

Three weeks later, the accusations have only intensified, but key allies still do not look to be convinced. In fact, some may be coming to the opposite conclusion, if this CNN report today is accurate -Intel shared among US allies indicates virus outbreak more likely came from market, not a Chinese lab:

Intelligence shared among Five Eyes nations indicates it is "highly unlikely" that the coronavirus outbreak was spread as a result of an accident in a laboratory but rather originated in a Chinese market, according to two Western officials who cited an intelligence assessment that appears to contradict claims by President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

"We think it's highly unlikely it was an accident," a Western diplomatic official with knowledge of the intelligence said. "It is highly likely it was naturally occurring and that the human infection was from natural human and animal interaction." The countries in the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing coalition are coalescing around this assessment, the official said, and a second official, from a Five Eyes country, concurred with it. The US has yet to make a formal assessment public…

A third source, also from a Five Eyes nation, told CNN that the level of certainty being expressed by Pompeo and Trump is way out in front of where the current Five Eyes assessment is. This source acknowledged that there is still a possibility that the virus originated from a laboratory, but cautioned there is nothing to make that a legitimate theory yet.

Why do US officials need to oversell the case against China? PRC officials are doing a bang-up job of it themselves as they anger governments around the world. The answer would seem to be US domestic politics. Unless of course there is a secret cache of intel that only the US has and which it has yet to share with key allies, including those in Five Eyes?

Could someone please tell me how this ends well?

Thanks for reading.

The Essential Eight

1. Trade war, tech war, financial war, cold war…Real war?

Internal Chinese report warns Beijing faces Tiananmen-like global backlash over virus - Reuters

The report, presented early last month by the Ministry of State Security to top Beijing leaders including President Xi Jinping, concluded that global anti-China sentiment is at its highest since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, the sources said.

As a result, Beijing faces a wave of anti-China sentiment led by the United States in the aftermath of the pandemic and needs to be prepared in a worst-case scenario for armed confrontation between the two global powers, according to people familiar with the report’s content, who declined to be identified given the sensitivity of the matter.

The report was drawn up by the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), a think tank affiliated with the Ministry of State Security, China’s top intelligence body...

One of those with knowledge of the report said it was regarded by some in the Chinese intelligence community as China’s version of the “Novikov Telegram”, a 1946 dispatch by the Soviet ambassador to Washington, Nikolai Novikov, that stressed the dangers of U.S. economic and military ambition in the wake of World War Two.

Novikov’s missive was a response to U.S. diplomat George Kennan’s “Long Telegram” from Moscow that said the Soviet Union did not see the possibility for peaceful coexistence with the West, and that containment was the best long-term strategy.

The two documents helped set the stage for the strategic thinking that defined both sides of the Cold War.

Comment: Interesting time for this to leak. And another reminder if anyone still needed one that there is no going back to pre-2017 US-China relations, no matter who wins in the US election this November. That Era is over.

China and US in ‘new Cold War’ as relations hit lowest point in ‘more than 40 years’, spurred on by pandemic | South China Morning Post

“The United States and China are actually in the era of a new Cold War,” said Shi Yinhong, an international relations professor at China’s Renmin University and an adviser to China’s State Council, effectively the country’s cabinet.

“Different from the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union, the new Cold War between the US and China features full competition and a rapid decoupling. The US-China relationship is no longer the same as that of a few years ago, not even the same as that of a few months ago.”

May 5 PLA Daily Page 3 essay on the importance of financial security.-"We should guard against the "high explosive point" of the strategic game of the financial "chess game" and earnestly safeguard the national financial security" 警惕金融博弈这一战略博弈高爆点,切实维护国家金融安全 - 中国军网 

[Lightly edited machine translation] "Financial strength is the "strong backing" of national defense strength. In order to maintain the military's equipment level and combat capability, the total military expenditures of the United States have remained high in the past 20 years, often more than the sum of the military expenditures of the second to tenth economies in the world. The spread of the New Coronary Pneumonia epidemic in the world will inevitably trigger a global economic recession, which will inevitably affect the overall financial strength of all countries in the world, accelerate the adjustment of national defense resources allocation in various countries, and promote the accelerated evolution of the global defense military strength.

The financial game is the "high explosive point" of the strategic game. The contemporary game of great powers has not only been limited to direct military conflicts, but also manifested in the smokeless war in the financial markets. The foreign exchange offensive triggered the Asian financial crisis, etc., which are typical examples of games in the financial sector. The spread of the new coronavirus epidemic in the world has caused dramatic fluctuations in the international capital market. Some countries have wielded the stick of the economy, and adjusted financial policies and passed on the economic crisis as a "daring vanguard" in political games and strategic confrontation. This has affected the already weak global economy. The situation is getting worse, and the international economic order and strategic pattern are facing unprecedented impact."



2. Virus origins

Was Coronavirus Outbreak From Wuhan Lab? Pompeo Says ‘Evidence’ - Bloomberg

Trump pledged the report Sunday in a “virtual town hall” with Fox News, in which he added that he had little doubt that Beijing misled the world about the scale and risk of the disease. Earlier, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said “enormous evidence” shows the Covid-19 outbreak began in a laboratory in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, without providing evidence to support his claims.

“We’re going to be giving a very strong report as to exactly what we think happened. And I think it will be very conclusive,” Trump said in response to a question about the lab. “My opinion is they made a mistake. They tried to cover it. They tried to put it out, just like a fire.”

Mike Pompeo: 'enormous evidence' coronavirus came from Chinese lab | Guardian

Pompeo’s claims, made in an interview with ABC’s This Week, represented an escalation in rhetoric. He had previously said the US was looking into the possibility the virus came from a lab in Wuhan, China.

On Sunday, Pompeo said: “There is enormous evidence that that’s where this began,” later adding: “I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan.”

Wuhan lab virus claim knocked back by Australian intelligence - Sydney Morning Herald

Australian intelligence agencies have questioned evidence trumpeted by United States officials supposedly linking the coronavirus to a Wuhan laboratory as concerns within the government grow that the push will derail efforts to eliminate dangerous wildlife wet markets.

Senior members of the Australian intelligence community told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age a research document shared in political circles under the Five Eyes intelligence arrangement was mostly based on news reports and contained no material from intelligence gathering...

Multiple senior intelligence sources who spoke to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age in recent days have confirmed Australia has still not been provided with any evidence that strongly suggests the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the source of the outbreak.

Five Eyes network contradicts theory Covid-19 leaked from lab | The Guardian

There is no current evidence to suggest that coronavirus leaked from a Chinese research laboratory, intelligence sources have told the Guardian, contradicting recent White House claims that there is growing proof this is how the pandemic began.

The sources also insisted that a “15-page dossier” highlighted by the Australian Daily Telegraph which accused China of a deadly cover up was not culled from intelligence from the Five Eyes network, an alliance between the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

British and other Five Eyes agencies do believe that Beijing has not necessarily been open about how coronavirus initially spread in Wuhan at the turn of the year. But they are nervous about getting involved in an escalating international situation.

Dossier lays out case against China bat virus program | Daily Telegraph

The 15-page research document, obtained by The Saturday Telegraph, lays the foundation for the case of negligence being mounted against China.

It states that to the “endangerment of other countries” the Chinese government covered-up news of the virus by silencing or “disappearing” doctors who spoke out, destroying evidence of it in laboratories and refusing to provide live samples to international scientists who were working on a vaccine.

Fauci: No scientific evidence the coronavirus was made in a Chinese lab

“If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what's out there now, [the scientific evidence] is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated … Everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that [this virus] evolved in nature and then jumped species,” Fauci says. Based on the scientific evidence, he also doesn’t entertain an alternate theory—that someone found the coronavirus in the wild, brought it to a lab, and then it accidentally escaped.

WHO says it has no evidence to support 'speculative' Covid-19 lab theory | The Guardian

“Like any evidence-based organisation, we would be very willing to receive any information that purports to the origin of the virus,” Ryan said, stressing that this was “a very important piece of public health information for future control”.

“If that data and evidence is available, then it will be for the United States government to decide whether and when it can be shared, but it is difficult for the WHO to operate in an information vacuum in that regard.”

Tucker Carlson warns that Beijing sees coronavirus pandemic as 'beginning of a new Chinese century' | Fox News

Tucker Carlson opened his show Monday night by reacting to a research dossier compiled by the so-called “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance, which reportedly concludes that China intentionally hid or destroyed evidence of the coronavirus pandemic in what amounted to an “assault on international transparency."

"This new information is not thanks to our press corps," Carlson began. "Reporters are supposed to be open-minded and curious, that was once their job description, but our media is no longer interested in learning what they don't know. Wherever freethinking emerges, our media are there to slap it on and suppress it.

For months, they demanded we not think about where this virus came from, and a suggestion it may have come from China, they told us, was dangerously racist."

"Tying this pandemic to China is not racist," Carlson said after playing a montage of media figures decrying Trump's references to "the Chinese virus". "It is true. It came from China ... as we are learning it could only have come from China in the way that it did."

Apolitical scientific tracing of virus urged after earlier cases found in France - Global Times

Chinese experts urged international communities and regions to carry out apolitical scientific research to trace the origin of the virus, rather than passing the buck to China for political purposes as some countries including France and the US have reportedly discovered COVID-19 cases that occurred earlier than the first cases they previously reported and showed no direct relation with China.

Tracing the origins through scientific investigation would help in the development of a vaccine, according to Cui Hongjian, director of EU studies at the China Institute of International Studies in Beijing.

Russian MP speaks out against the West’s anti-Chinese campaign - People's Daily Online

“The publication in the Western press about the results of the investigation of the Five Eyes alliance about Beijing’s suppression of data on the coronavirus is part of the politicized anti-Chinese campaign unleashed in the West, ” said Leonid Slutsky, Chairman of Russian State Duma Committee on international Affairs on May 4.

Pompeo Ties Coronavirus to China Lab, Despite Spy Agencies’ Uncertainty - The New York Times

Senior American officials, including those who have looked at intelligence and who favor the lab theory, have said in private that evidence pointing to a lab accident is mainly circumstantial and based on public material. Intelligence officers have told senior administration officials that they probably will not find proof of a lab accident. And among scientists and especially virologists, there is largely agreement that the chances that a lab accident sparked the outbreak are slim, while the probability that the new virus made the leap from an animal to a human in a nonlab setting in southern China is much higher...

Some American officials say even intercepts of Chinese officials in Beijing discussing questions surrounding the lab could be circumstantial, since central-level officials always suspect local officials of hiding information and so want to examine all possibilities as they investigate. And American officials say they had little in the way of intelligence collection focused on Wuhan officials before the outbreak.

Comment: One of the things I have heard is that there are intercepts of Chinese officials asking each other if the virus could have come from the lab. I believe the above paragraph is alluding to that.

China’s ‘Bat Woman’ Shi Zhengli refutes rumor of ‘defecting with intelligence files’ - Global Times

Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli denied rumors of "defecting to the West," saying Saturday on her WeChat that, "Everything is all right for my family and me, dear friends!" She also post nine photos of her recent life.

In the post, Shi said that, "No matter how difficult things are, it (defecting) shall never happen. We've done nothing wrong. With strong belief in science, we will see the day when the clouds disperse and the sun shines."

3. Matt Pottinger’s May 4 speech

Remarks by Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger to the Miller Center at the University of Virginia | The White House

So who embodies the May Fourth spirit in China today? To my mind, the heirs of May Fourth are civic-minded citizens who commit small acts of bravery. And sometimes big acts of bravery. Dr. Li Wenliang was such a person. Dr. Li wasn’t a demagogue in search of a new ideology that might save China. He was an ophthalmologist and a young father who committed a small act of bravery and then a big act of bravery. ..

As the May Fourth Movement today marks the inaugural year of its second century, what will its ultimate legacy be? It is a question only the Chinese people themselves can answer. The May Fourth Movement belongs to them. Will the movement’s democratic aspirations remain unfulfilled for another century? Will its core ideas be deleted or distorted through official censorship and disinformation? Will its champions be slandered as “unpatriotic,” “pro-American,” “subversive”? We know the Communist Party will do its best to make it so.

The speech, which he gave in Chinese:

Trump official’s Chinese speech reaches few listeners in China - Inkstone

In the hours following his speech, there were scant mentions of Pottinger on China’s Twitter-like Weibo, although many users bubbled with anger over Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s unsubstantiated claim that the coronavirus originated in a Chinese laboratory.

The lack of reaction to Pottinger’s speech owes partly to internet censorship. Some Weibo users have reported not being able to share parts of Pottinger’s remarks.

Inkstone tested the censorship by posting the text of the speech in Chinese paragraph by paragraph and found that mentions of Xu Zhangrun, a law professor who was suspended from teaching after he criticized President Xi Jinping last year, are forbidden.

4. US-China

Trump blames China for coronavirus spread - NY Post interview with Trump

“Well I know of the intelligence. And they report to me,” Trump said. “Bad things happened, let’s face it, bad things happened. They didn’t do it on purpose. But it got out.”

Trump clarified that he meant the virus “got out” of Wuhan, not the lab specifically.

Trump's anti-China rhetoric aimed at boosting US leverage - AP

The State Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the White House have all launched public efforts in recent days to lay bare what they say is clear evidence that China tried to mask the scale of the outbreak and then refused to provide critical access to U.S. and global scientists that could have saved lives. More than 250,000 people have died globally from COVID-19, including more than 68,000 in the U.S.

The Trump administration, a senior administration official says, is trying to convince the world that China isn’t playing by the same rules as everyone else, and that may be the biggest punishment for an intensely proud emerging superpower. The official was not authorized to publicly discuss the issue and spoke only on condition of anonymity.

DHS report: China hid virus' severity to hoard supplies - AP

Chinese leaders “intentionally concealed the severity” of the pandemic from the world in early January, according to a four-page Department of Homeland Security intelligence report dated May 1 and obtained by The Associated Press. The revelation comes as the Trump administration has intensified its criticism of China, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying Sunday that that country was responsible for the spread of disease and must be held accountable.

U.S. Moves to Address ‘Extraordinary Threat’ From Some Foreign Electric Gear - WSJ $$

Friday’s order reflects a consensus among senior intelligence officials that foreign adversaries including Russia and China have secured hidden footholds in the electric system and could use that access to cause blackouts at some future date.

Trump administration pushing to rip global supply chains from China: officials | | Reuters

The Trump administration is "turbocharging" an initiative to remove global industrial supply chains from China as it weighs new tariffs to punish Beijing for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, according to officials familiar with U.S. planning...

The U.S. Commerce Department, State and other agencies are looking for ways to push companies to move both sourcing and manufacturing out of China. Tax incentives and potential re-shoring subsidies are among measures being considered to spur changes, the current and former officials told Reuters.

“There is a whole of government push on this,” said one. Agencies are probing which manufacturing should be deemed "essential" and how to produce these goods outside of China.

Clouded thinking in Washington and Beijing on COVID-19 crisis - Ryan Haas

By getting drawn into a tit-for-tat mud-slinging contest with China, the Trump administration is becoming perceived as a contributor to the problem, rather than a leader in galvanizing global efforts toward a solution. It is in America’s interest for the harsh global spotlight to be centered squarely on China, not on each side’s contribution to the dysfunction in relations between the world’s two most capable powers.

‘Not the World’s Number One’: Chinese Social Media Piles On the U.S. - POLITICO

As coronavirus has spread outward from its Wuhan origins, the Chinese government has worked hard to spin an initial embarrassment into a win for its international image, with mixed success. But to Chinese authorities, the audience at home is the one that really matters, and among that vast cohort, the verdict is unsparing: China has outperformed, while America has disastrously faltered. It’s a sentiment shared by even educated, internationalized Chinese observers — the very group once inclined to look to America as an exemplar...

The coronavirus response — now playing out on Weibo, within the private discussion rooms on mobile social behemoth WeChat, and in private conversations — telegraphs a wound to America’s image even deeper and wider than the one sustained after the 2008 financial crisis, which convinced many Beijing policymakers that the United States was more paper than tiger.

Congress Republicans accuse China of seeking to indoctrinate U.S. students - Reuters

The ranking Republicans on seven House committees sent a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, asking for information and accusing China of providing funds to U.S. universities in an effort to spread Communist party propaganda and restrict research into COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.

Congressman: Pelosi Blocking Investigation into China Coronavirus Origins - Breitbart

Appearing on Breitbart News Saturday on SiriusXM 125 the Patriot Channel, Reschenthaler discussed his efforts to investigate tax dollars that flowed through a New York firm to the Wuhan lab. He said that Pelosi and House Democrats are not interested in holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable and, instead, want to focus their oversight efforts on politically harming President Trump again just like they tried and failed with the partisan impeachment last year and earlier this year.

U.S. Probes University of Texas Links to Chinese Lab Scrutinized Over Coronavirus - WSJ $$

The request for records of gifts or contracts from the Wuhan Institute of Virology and its researcher Shi Zhengli, known for her work on bats, is part of a broader department investigation into possible faulty financial disclosures of foreign money by the Texas group of universities.

The Education Department’s letter, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, also asks the UT System to share documents regarding potential ties to the ruling Chinese Communist Party and some two dozen Chinese universities and companies, including Huawei Technologies Co. and a unit of China National Petroleum Corp.

The department is also seeking documents related to any university system contracts or gifts from Eric Yuan, a U.S. citizen who is the chief executive officer of Zoom Video Communications Inc.

5. No holiday for the CCP propaganda organs

Chinese state media step up attacks on ‘evil’ and ‘insane’ Mike Pompeo after he blames China for coronavirus spreading | South China Morning Post

“If evil politicians like Pompeo continue to lie and bluff, then the Americans ‘becoming great again’ can only be seen as a joke,” said another commentary released by China’s National Radio.

An editorial by state news agency Xinhua described Pompeo as a “liar” for promoting the theory that Covid 19 came from a lab, while the Guangming Daily, a newspaper run by the party’s propaganda department, said Pompeo and other American politicians were “blind” and “irresponsible” for calling into question China’s virus data.

国际锐评:美国疫情防控疑点重重 理应接受国际调查_CCTV

May 5 CCTV Evening News "international sharp commentary" - "The United States deserves an international investigation into its epidemic response"

"Why the incredible failure of the us epidemic response? What exactly is America's responsibility for the spread of the global epidemic? What are the hysterical diversions of American politicians trying to hide? These need to be investigated by the international community.

Critics stress that America's own muddle over the outbreak should be sorted out. Including all kinds of biological laboratories inside and outside its country, some contents disclosed by the media show that its danger is chilling. Such laboratories should also be subjected to rigorous scientific investigation by the international community to give an account to the people of the United States and the world!"




May 4 CCTV "international sharp commentary" again attacks Pompeo over his comments about the origins of the virus



U.S. practice to claim compensation for COVID-19 outbreak a shame for human civilization (人民日报署名文章:追责索赔闹剧是文明之耻 ——造谣中伤“中国抗疫”有悖国际正义(三)) - People's Daily Zhong Sheng

There are also questions that need to be raised to the U.S. Why are the CT images of the patients of electronic cigarette pneumonia that broke out last August in the U.S. resemble those of the COVID-19 patients? What on earth happened in the bioweapons lab in Fort Detrick, Maryland? When did the earliest COVID-19 infection happen in the U.S., since a COVID-19 patient without travel history to China died on Feb. 6? Why are American scientists silenced for publishing COVID-19 studies in the U.S. which always brags about its freedom of speech? Chinese and European scientists have published multiple genetic sequencing results of the novel coronavirus, and why doesn’t the U.S. release its studies as the top power in biogenetic studies? The U.S. politicians must give answers.

人民日报署名文章:空喊“爱人如己” 实则自私冷血——造谣中伤“中国抗疫”有悖国际正义(六)-新华网

6th piece so far in the Zhong Sheng series criticizing the US, Pompeo and "some American politicians" (Mostly Trump without attacking him by name)


The virus is the common enemy of mankind, epidemic situation is the common challenge of all countries. At present, while preventing and controlling major epidemics, all countries should do their best to help others. This is not only a matter of human nature, but also a matter of morality. Some American politicians and their followers, on the other hand, say the biblical motto "love your neighbor as yourself" but do it in cold blood.

The other pieces in this series so far:



人民日报署名文章:追责索赔闹剧是文明之耻 ——造谣中伤“中国抗疫”有悖国际正义(三)



Accusations of violating Christian precepts is an interesting line of attack for CCP propaganda, and seems like it is not just limited to Zhong Sheng:

'Cover-up,' a label China shall return to the White House - Xinhua

Some U.S. politicians have suggested that China should be held accountable for the global pandemic, accusing China of covering up information about the outbreak.

However, this "cover-up" label should be put on the U.S. administration as its incapability in handling the disease is clear for all to see. The time of smearing China should have been spent on better controlling its domestic epidemic situation.

Lies never to be allowed to distort true history of global COVID-19 fight - China Daily

As the COVID-19 situation continues to worsen in the United States, their smearing campaign against China has become even more unscrupulous. Calling China "the origin of the coronavirus" and blaming China for "hiding information," they are desperate to hold China accountable for the pandemic, and blackmail China to "compensate" for the losses caused by COVID-19....

During this year's pandemic, China's early warning is worth remembering, China's experience is worth learning from, China's sacrifice is worthy of respect, and China's contribution is commendable.

Liars should never be allowed to reconstruct reality.

Opinion: Washington, disruptor-in-chief in global pandemic fight - Xinhua

Many politicians in Washington love to boast of America's leading role in the world. The country is truly leading today, but in a tragic way no one is willing to see...

Being the world's epicenter in the COVID-19 pandemic, the country now has about one third of the world's caseload and death toll respectively, more than any other places on the surface of the Earth.

Clearly, despite all the warnings flashed by China or the World Health Organization (WHO), or even its own intelligence communities, this U.S. administration has simply dropped the ball because of either self-conceited arrogance or gross negligence, or both...

The human race today faces a myriad of daunting challenges, like climate change and fatal infectious diseases such as COVID-19. To weather those challenges demands the input from everyone. If those U.S. decision-makers want their country to be exceptional, they need to be responsible and their actions should be inspirational. Otherwise, "American exceptionalism" would only become a laughing stock, for which the international community would feel an intense loathing.

Sunday CCTV Evening News comment attacks Steve Bannon as an "anti-China element" for his criticism of China's handling of the outbreak, and his calls for reparations-国际锐评:口出狂言的反华急先锋班农唯恐天下不乱_CCTV




People's Daily May 4 commentary attacks Bannon, calls him a "cold war fossil". May 4 CCTV Evening News summarized this article. CCP propaganda attacking Bannon will certainly elevate and energize him


Global Times editorial also attacks Bannon

Comment: Call it a “trifecta” for Bannon, he is no doubt very pleased to be attacked by CCTV, People’s Daily and the Global Times

6. The outbreak

Chinese mainland reports no new domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases - Xinhua

Chinese health authority said Tuesday that no new domestically transmitted cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) were reported on the Chinese mainland for Monday.

One confirmed case arriving from overseas was reported in Shanghai Monday, the National Health Commission said in its daily report Tuesday.

No deaths related to the disease were reported for Monday, according to the commission.

Coronavirus Survivors Want Answers, and China Is Silencing Them - The New York Times

The Chinese authorities are clamping down as grieving relatives, along with activists, press the ruling Communist Party for an accounting of what went wrong in Wuhan, the city where the coronavirus killed thousands before spreading to the rest of China and the world.

Lawyers have been warned not to file suit against the government. The police have interrogated bereaved family members who connected with others like them online. Volunteers who tried to thwart the state’s censorship apparatus by preserving reports about the outbreak have disappeared.

WHO says Taiwan did not warn about possible human-to-human transmission in December message - The Washington Post

At a briefing on Monday, WHO legal officer Steven Solomon said he wanted to “set the record straight” and argued that Taiwan did not warn the WHO.

“That email was not a warning. It was a request for more information on cases of atypical pneumonia reported by news sources,” Solomon said. “The email asked for more information — more information about news reports that WHO and most public health services already knew about. Others, in fact, sent similar emails that same day.”

China to strengthen COVID-19 infection control in medical institutions

Medical institutions are urged to enforce management requirements of fever clinics, and all medics working in the fever clinics should be familiar with the diagnosis and treatment plan for COVID-19 while strengthening personal protection, said the circular issued by a working group of the State Council joint prevention and control mechanism against the coronavirus.

The capability of nucleic acid testing for COVID-19 should be improved in medical institutions

China's State Council sends group to Wuhan for further prevention work - CGTN

A special liaison group sent by China's Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council arrived in Wuhan on Monday to hold meetings with leaders from Hubei Province and its capital, Wuhan.

The group's primary responsibility is to evaluate the epidemic prevention and control work in Hubei Province and its capital, supervise the implementation of further prevention and control measures, consolidate the current achievements, and strictly prevent the epidemic from rebounding


Baidu Uses AI Temperature Measurement System in Elementary Schools in Beijing- PingWest

Chinese tech giant Baidu has rolled out its AI temperature measurement system in a number of elementary schools in Haidian District, Beijing, including Peking University Elementary School, Zhongguancun No.1 and No.2 Primary Schools, and Balizhuang Primary School, in a bid to prepare for students’ return to school.

A personal account of gaming and life in Wuhan during the COVID-19 Outbreak – Niko

7. Foreign work

Coronavirus: China gets defensive during high-level EU event on fundraising and vaccine development | South China Morning Post

The European Union’s effort to raise new funds for developing and distributing Covid-19 vaccines has met with a cold shoulder from China, despite the bloc’s success in almost reaching its US$8 billion fundraising target.

Not only was China the country that sent the lowest-level official to the online event on Monday, it also made no new financial pledges, nor promised to make any successful vaccine a common public good, as several participating countries have called for.

Instead, Chinese ambassador to the EU Zhang Ming asked the world to stop the “blame games” over the coronavirus. He also outlined existing Chinese efforts, such as commercial sale of protective equipment and masks, to needy countries...

Zhang’s attendance was announced at the last minute, since earlier EU documents indicated Premier Li Keqiang would be speaking, according to an EU media note sent four hours before the Monday event. But one hour before it began, the EU’s programme published online showed Zhang instead.

Allegations of doctored films fuel concerns about Beijing propaganda | Financial Times $$

Days after Beijing had announced it was sending urgent medical supplies to Italy in its hour of need, Chinese state media showed Italians on their balconies and in the streets applauding the Chinese national anthem...

A close analysis of the videos conducted by the FT alongside work by two Italian fact-checking and manipulation experts raise concerns about their authenticity, adding to wider anxiety about Chinese disinformation in Europe.

Australia’s coronavirus disputes with China are growing. So are debates over its deep economic ties to Beijing. - The Washington Post

“This ‘Wolf Warrior’ diplomacy hasn’t made it any easier for those hoping to inject some balance into an increasingly febrile debate,” said Michael Clifton, chief executive of China Matters, an Australian policy institute, and a board member of the Australia China Business Council. “If the ambassador’s remarks were intended to sway sentiment and encourage business to call for a reversal of the government’s position, they were poorly chosen. Indeed, they have achieved precisely the opposite effect.”

China confident Indonesia will win the fight against COVID-19 soon: ambassador - Xinhua

Ambassador Xiao stressed that China will continue to provide support and assistance for Indonesia in dealing with the coronavirus.

As China and Indonesia are battling the COVID-19 outbreak, both offer sympathies and mutual support. In March, China sent the first wave of medical assistance to Indonesia. The equipment includes test kits, medical masks, protective clothing and ventilators.

Xiao said China would soon send a second batch of assistance to Indonesia in the near future. A number of provinces, cities and companies in China have planned to extend assistance to Indonesia.

Global Backlash Builds Against China Over Coronavirus - The New York Times

Chinese diplomats are encouraged to be combative by Beijing, said Susan Shirk, a China scholar and director of the 21st Century China Center at the University of California, San Diego. The promotion of Mr. Zhao to spokesman and his statement about the U.S. Army “signals to everyone in China that this is the official line, so you get this megaphone effect,” she said, adding that it makes any negotiations more difficult...

But in the longer run, China is seeding mistrust and damaging its own interests, said Ms. Shirk, who is working on a book called “Overreach,” about how China’s domestic politics have derailed its ambitions for a peaceful rise as a global superpower.

8. Hong Kong

Beijing liaison office slams US-funded report ‘filled with lies’ about national security law, Hong Kong protest movement | South China Morning Post 

On Sunday, the office targeted the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), a US Congress-funded, American pro-democracy group, for an April 23 report that accused Beijing of falsely blaming last year’s social unrest on “malevolent foreign forces” and urged the central government to “refrain from any further moves that undermine Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy”...

“[The report] glorified the series of inhuman, terrifying, criminal acts of extremists who ignored the rule of law as a fight over democratisation,” the statement continued. “The untrue remarks of these politicians is a violation of international law and the basic norms of international relations. This is another example of gross interference in the affairs of Hong Kong and China by external forces.”

The report - The Promise of Democratization in Hong Kong | National Democratic Institute

The Liaison Office response - 香港中联办发言人强烈谴责西方反华政客和组织干预香港事务 发言人指出,近日,美英个别反华政客对香港基本法23条立法大放厥词,对香港警方的执法行动和香港司法制度作出歪曲评论,对“一国两制”和基本法进行无理攻击,其言论之荒谬、态度之嚣张,令人震惊。维护国家安全是香港特区的宪制责任,纯属中国内政,其他任何国家无权干涉。这些政客的错误言论严重违反国际法和国际关系基本准则,是外部势力粗暴干预香港事务和中国内政的又一例证。

Hong Kong Protests and China: Liaison Office Comments - Bloomberg 

China’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong accused protesters of jeopardizing the future of the city, calling demonstrations on Friday “illegal activities,” in the latest signal that China’s top agency in the semi-autonomous territory intends to take a more hands-on role.

In a statement published on Saturday on its website, the Liaison Office said “extremist radicals” were involved in illegal gatherings, harassment of shops and throwing of petrol bombs. It accused them of trying to incite people into taking part in violence at a time when the international community was jointly battling the coronavirus pandemic.

The Liaison Office statement - 香港中联办发言人:严厉谴责极端激进分子无视民生疾苦再启“暴力揽炒” 


Tam tells of the right time for Article 23 | The Standard 

Hong Kong should enact legislation on national security law under Article 23 by August next year, says National People's Congress Standing Committee member Tam Yiu-chung.

Tam said it should be up to the SAR government to decide how to legislate the Basic Law's Article 23 and the exact timetable.

"Although the government should decide how and when to enact the laws, making it a national law and putting it under Annex 3 of the Basic Law could be one of the methods," Tam said.

Annex 3 is a list of national laws to be applied in Hong Kong. There are five currently listed - including laws on the national flag and emblem, as well as the garrisoning of mainland military personnel in the SAR.

Hong Kong Coalition launched to uphold ‘one country, two systems’ - Global Times 

The launch ceremony of the Hong Kong Coalition took place on Tuesday in Hong Kong. In a joint declaration, the coalition called for adherence to the "one country, two systems" principle and noted that only by upholding it can the city have value of existence and space for development.

The coalition was started by vice chairmen of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Tung Chee-Hwa and Leung Chun-Ying, along with 1,545 people from all walks of life in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Luo Huining also wrote inscriptions marking the establishment of the coalition.

Business, Economy and Trade

独家|哪些投资者有望拿回20%的保证金?高层定调原油宝责任分担原则_金融频道_财新网 Liu He chairs May 4 meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Committee, on the agenda was the collapse of the BOC's crude-oil product, emphasized proper risk management, sounds like these kids of commodity-linked products for individual investors are going to be much more heavily regulated

Bank of China Tells Investors It Will Absorb Some Oil Losses - Bloomberg China’s fourth-largest bank by market value dropped a claim to seek additional payments from clients to cover losses from its settlement of an investment product at a price below zero, mirroring a collapse in an oil futures contract, according to four retail investors who received phone calls from the lender this week. The bank will also return 20% of the initial investment to some clients, they said.

Blackstone’s Soho China Investment Discussions Stalled - Bloomberg The private equity firm’s discussions are no longer progressing after the coronavirus outbreak made it difficult to assess the developer’s business outlook, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. Recent turmoil in the debt market introduced concerns about arranging financing for a deal, the people said.// Did the Ren Zhiqiang case also come up?

China’s Property Developers Go on a Shopping Spree - Caixin The country’s top 100 land-buying developers spent a combined 388.2 billion yuan ($54.4 billion) acquiring new land in April this year, up 108.9% from the previous month, according to a reportreleased Friday by the China Index Academy, a property market research organization. The figure rose 7.2% year-on-year.

Supermarket Major Posts Fat Profit as Consumers Cook at Home - Caixin Yonghui Superstores Co. Ltd., one of China’s leading supermarket operators, saw its business surge in the first quarter, as its traditional stores and newer online business benefitted from millions of Chinese people staying home during the Covid-19 outbreak.

China should raise US$700 billion from special bonds to kick-start economy, top adviser says | South China Morning Post China should look to raise up to 5 trillion yuan (US$700.5 billion) from the sale of special bonds to stimulate the economy after the “unprecedented impact” of the coronavirus pandemic, a top government adviser said.
The funds created by the debt sale – which would be in addition to already budgeted spending – were necessary to drive investment and restore consumer confidence, both of which had been ravaged by the health crisis, Liu Shangxi, president of the Chinese Academy of Fiscal Sciences, told a forum in Beijing.

India Pledges Easy Access to Land for Factories Leaving China - Bloomberg A total area of 461,589 hectares has been identified across the country for the purpose, the people said, asking not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak to the media. That includes 115,131 hectares of existing industrial land in states such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, they said. Luxembourg is spread across 243,000 hectares, according to the World Bank.

China's Young Spenders Say #ditchyourstuff as Economy Sputters - Reuters Xu Chi, a Shanghai-based senior strategic analyst with Zhongtai Securities, said some Chinese consumers may prove the '21 Day Habit Theory,' a popular scientific proposition that it only takes that long to establish new habits. "We believe people's spending patterns follow the well-known theory, which means most people in China, having been cooped-up at home for more than a month and not having binge-shopped, may break the habit and not return to their old ways," Xu said.

首都民营企业家热议总书记“回信” - 北京市工商联供稿 北京市光彩事业促进会副会长兼秘书长、锡华实业投资集团董事长张杰庭说,在“五一”国际劳动节来临之际,习近平总书记给郑州民营企业圆方集团全体职工回信,是对整个民营企业的劳动者的关爱。作为一位大国领袖,习总书记每天工作日理万机,繁忙工作之中,他仍然时刻惦记平凡岗位上的劳动者,关注民营企业,这是人民领袖对人民情怀的真切体现。// Beijing branch of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce praise People’s Leaeder Xi for his support of workers and private enterprise

Politics and Law

中央依法治国办领导成员有调整 changes to the office of the Central Commission for Overall Law-based Governance. New Justice Minister Tang Yijun replaces Fu Zhenghua as a vice director of the office, Wang Hongxiang, deputy director general of the central politics and law commission, and Liu Zhao, deputy minister of justice, have joined the office

Rebranding Stability Maintenance and Rebirth of Zhou Yongkang’s Comprehensive Governance Committee Recently, a new organization, the Building Ping’an (peace and safe)-China Coordination Small-Group (BPCCSG), made its first public appearance (link in Chinese) in Beijing on 21 April 2020.

China's low acquittal rates: interesting statistics | The China Collection I’ve been looking through a recent massive collection of Chinese court statistics going from 1949 to 2016 (人民法院司法统计历史典籍) (“People’s Court Historical Statistics” or “PCHS”) and will be posting from time to time on interesting finds. This post will be about acquittal rates, because the statistics show something interesting and counterintuitive: that acquittal rates were higher in the Mao era than in the post-Mao era, and have been historically and extremely low in the last several years.

State Security Police Raid House Church Meeting in Chinese Port City of Xiamen - RFA An estimated nine people were detained after state security police and officials from Xiamen's religious affairs bureau raided a meeting of the unofficial Xingguang Church on Sunday morning, local time. Chaotic scenes ensued as dozens of law enforcers struggled to grab and take away church members, some of whom fought back hard not to be removed from the meeting, according to cell phone footage of the raid seen by RFA.

共产党人的政治灵魂——习近平这样论述马克思主义-中青在线 5月5日是马克思诞辰纪念日,人民网·中国共产党新闻网带您回顾习近平总书记关于马克思和马克思主义的重要论述。// May 5 is Marx’s birthday, state media looks at how Xi analyzes Marxism

A Murderer at Large Turns Himself in to Police Due to Unable to Make a Living Without Health Code- PingWest On May 1, the man traveled to Hangzhou. Unable to show his ID card and health code required by the authorities, the man was turned down when looking for a job, renting an apartment, or even entering a store for shopping, so he had to sleep on the street.

China spent years preparing for this economic crash. Coronavirus brings political dangers to the fore. - The Washington Post “Xi Jinping’s political control policies all along have been guided by a recognition that someday the economic miracle will begin to sputter,” said Richard von Glahn, a China economic historian at UCLA. “The coronavirus has accelerated the timetable.”...In 2010, China’s top leaders commissioned a team led by Liu [He] to study the Great Depression and the 2008 financial crisis. The project included officials from China’s central bank and banking regulator, and it resulted in hundreds of pages of analysis and policy recommendations published three years later.

Xi extends greetings to young Chinese ahead of Youth Day - Xinhua Facing the sudden outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease, young Chinese of all ethnic groups have actively responded to the Party's call and participated in the all-out people's war against the epidemic, said Xi. Undaunted by hardships and dangers, they have charged ahead and dedicated themselves to serving the country, showing a high sense of responsibility and winning high praise from the Party and the people, Xi noted. "I'm very proud of you," said Xi.

Xi Focus-Quotable Quotes: Xi Jinping on young people - Xinhua Chinese youth of the new era should carry on the spirit of the May Fourth Movement and shoulder their responsibility for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. -- The right direction for China's young people today is to work hard with the people and forge ahead with the nation, and to serve the people and contribute to the motherland.

Epidemic fight boosts national pride among young Chinese: survey - Xinhua The average score of national pride among young Chinese aged 18 to 35 is 9.57 out of 10, up from 9.18 in a similar survey in 2019, said the report of the survey. Nearly 71 percent of the young respondents said they acquired a strong feeling for the idea that people and life matter most during the nationwide fight against the epidemic. Another 70.2 percent of the Chinese youths noticed that the young generation has come forward and actively shouldered their responsibility amid the epidemic fight. The average score of happiness in life also increased from 8.2 out of 10 in 2019 to this year's 9.03. The survey, conducted from April 24 to 28, had a sample size of 8,212 people from 31 provincial-level regions

China plans to send Uygur Muslims from Xinjiang re-education camps to work in other parts of country | South China Morning Post The Chinese government has resumed a job placement scheme for tens of thousands of Uygur Muslims who have completed compulsory programmes at the “re-education” camps in the far-western region of Xinjiang, sources said. The plan, which includes a quota for the numbers provinces must take, was finalised last year but disrupted by the outbreak of Covid-19... The South China Morning Post has learned that at least 19 provinces and cities have been given quotas to hire Muslim minorities, mostly Uygurs, who have “graduated” from re-education camps.

Foreign and Defense Affairs

US family tells of travel nightmare: China bans their exit and father imprisoned without charge | AP Hsu is a United States citizen. He has not been convicted of any crime in China, yet he was detained there for six months in solitary confinement under conditions that could qualify as torture under international conventions. Authorities from Anhui province in southeastern China placed exit bans on Hsu and his wife Jodie Chen, blocking them from returning home to suburban Seattle in August 2017 and effectively orphaning their 16-year-old daughter in America. Hsu says Anhui authorities have been effectively holding them hostage to convince his father, Xu Weiming, to come back from the US and face charges that he embezzled 447,874 yuan (US$63,000) more than 20 years ago. Xu denies the allegation.

US spy planes could be pulled from Britain as White House conducts major Huawei review-The Telegraph Half a dozen sources including current US and UK officials have told The Telegraph that the review - not yet announced in public - is underway, carrying potential ramifications for the ‘special relationship’. Every military and intelligence asset the Americans have in Britain is being assessed to understand the knock-on implications of letting Huawei, the Chinese tech giant, construct part of the new wireless network.

German telecom carrier: We need Huawei in 5G network construction - CGTN Europe's largest telecom operator Deutsche Telekom said it needs Chinese company Huawei's involvement to quickly solve the problem of 5G signal coverage in the country. Dirk Wössner, a board member of Deutsche Telekom and general manager of the German company, made the remark in an interview with local newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitun on Saturday.

Vietnamese, Philippine Fishermen Protest China’s Fishing Ban in SCS - RFA Fishermen’s associations in Vietnam and the Philippines protested Monday China’s annual summer fishing ban in the South China Sea and called for their national governments to oppose it, amid the threat of strict enforcement by the China Coast Guard.

着力提升因应外部对华舆论攻击能力-中国社会科学网 interesting article in a CASS publication advocating much more aggressive efforts on global social media platforms to better respond to "external public opinion attacks on China"//第二,建立应对重大公共事件对外传播协调机制。针对重大公共事件时期外媒涉华反华舆论异常增多情况,可以考虑建立由政府媒体、民间媒体、媒体工作协会、外交部门、重要企业、智库机构等多主体联合参与的境外舆论监测因应机制(网络),组织24小时对美国等境外主要媒体动态监测,对诋毁、污蔑、攻击我方且引发负面国际影响的言论组织快速有力的回应和反击,并争取覆盖传导到负面舆论源头及其传播范围,尽可能阻断或消减外媒涉华负面影响持续发酵。

CCP to Monitor Postings on Foreign Self-Media – Chinascope Han Lianchao, a former employee of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted a screenshot on Twitter of a notice from the Publicity Department of the party committee of the Beijing International Studies University. His comment indicated that the CCP will impose large-scale censorship and monitoring of Twitter, YouTube and Facebook accounts overseas

1900 & 2020 — An Old Anxiety in a New Era – China Heritage Translation of Zi Zhongyun's Still Suckled on Wolf’s Milk 喝狼奶長大的   - Much is made of ‘Wolf Warrior’ and ‘Wolf Warrior Diplomacy’. This has been long in the making, and some would argue such as the author of the present essay, in the late-Qing era (although ethnic-inflected or race politics has been a feature of Chinese history from even before the dynastic era, which started with the founding of the Qin empire)

辽宁舰航母编队完成远海跨区机动训练_军事频道_央视网( After a month at sea, the Liaoning aircraft carrier returned to port in Shandong. It sailed close to Taiwan and parts of Japan. While other militaries deal with COVID, the PLAN was able to keep the Liaoning operational throughout the month of April.

中央军委政治工作部下发通知部署开展“牢记习主席寄语嘱托·青春建功强军伟业”主题团日活动 - 中国军网 Officers and soldiers throughout the country extolling the May 5th Spirit represented by Chairman Xi’s 五四 speech.

海军陆战队打造多维一体新型作战力量 - 解放军报 - 中国军网 Lead story in the May 5 PLA Daily discussing the transformation of the Marines from “dual-talented” (e.g. land and sea) to “multidimensional” (e.g. air, land, and sea.) The article discusses operations in the South China Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Significant development of Marines in the last decade in preparation for contingencies dealing with Taiwan and the SCS.

军旗管理规定5月1日起施行,强化军旗意识是贯彻落实关键 - 中国军网 New trial regulations for PLA unit military flags. Additional regulations to instill professionalism and respect into PLA forces. The article uses the Ganling campaign, where PLA units defeated enemies “armed to the teeth” and its flag gathered 381 bullet holes, as its lead example. It also discusses Chairman Xi’s personal interest and attention to the topic.

Bring back the “Bandung Spirit” in China-Africa relationship – Panda Paw Dragon Claw Chinese scholar Liu Haifang argues that China should re-discover its early embrace of Africa to build a new foundation for China-Africa solidarity.

How does China wield influence in the World Health Organization—and other international organizations? | The China Collection - Yu-Jie Chen So how does China exert influence in the WHO—and, more broadly, other international organizations? To answer this, we must look at the group dynamics that Beijing has been able to mobilize among other member states. Generally speaking, China—which claims to represent the interests of the global South (much of which relies on economic relations with China)—has consistently and carefully cooperated and coordinated with authoritarian governments and developing countries to ensure that important policy decisions, including the selection of leadership, in international organizations are made in line with China’s favored outcomes.

China’s Guangdong province unveils new anti-discrimination measures after widespread reports of racism against Africans | South China Morning Post On Saturday provincial officials in Guangdong called on representatives of industry to “resolutely oppose racism”, at a meeting between African diplomats and local business representatives...The local government said service providers in the province were not allowed to treat Chinese and foreigners differently, or discriminate based on nationality, race, gender or skin colour, according to a report on the meeting by state media published on Sunday.

China’s long-range Xian H-20 stealth bomber could make its debut this year | South China Morning Post Military sources said the Xian H-20 supersonic stealth bomber – expected to double the country’s strike range – could make its first public appearance at this year’s Zhuhai Airshow in November, if the pandemic was sufficiently under control. “The Zhuhai Airshow is expected to become a platform to promote China’s image and its success in pandemic control – telling the outside world that the contagion did not have any big impacts on Chinese defence industry enterprises,” a source said.

CITIC Acquires Majority Stake In Medea Group | Prague Business Journal 0 Rainbow Wisdom Investment a subsidiary of China’s state owned CITIC Group exercised options to become the majority owner of Jaromír Soukup’s Medea Group with a 57 percent stake. The acquisition opens the way for the Chinese state firm to influence Czech media who are dependent on the advertising revenue that is given to them by the Medea. Medea manages advertising budgets of CZK 3 billion a year.

Ji Chaozhu, Chinese diplomat who acted as bridge with US during historic thaw in relations, dies aged 91 | South China Morning Post Ji Chaozhu, the Chinese diplomat and interpreter who played a crucial role in Henry Kissinger’s secret meeting with premier Zhou Enlai in 1972, has died aged 91.

West Capella Standoff Leaves U.S. Allies Uncertain - Foreign Policy Competition in the South China Sea is an endurance game. Like counterinsurgency, it requires stamina and benefits from the “indirect approach.” Presence is more important than firepower. The USS America amphibious ready group was a show of strength, but such fleeting muscular demonstrations are largely ineffective at countering China’s suffocation strategy directed at Southeast Asian claimants. The USS Barry, having since transited the Taiwan Strait and conducted a freedom of navigation patrol in the Paracel Islands, reveals how hard the 7th Fleet is being worked. But trying to be everywhere at once can mean going around in circles.

Southeast Asia rail projects stall as China focuses on recovery - Nikkei Asian Review Mainland media report that the coronavirus outbreak will have a limited impact on the Belt and Road project, given that the initiative still led to many new contracts in the January-March period. But construction could face further delays if host countries continue to limit the entry of foreigners. This in turn could hurt Southeast Asia's growth and its appeal to foreign investors.

Chinese navy anti-piracy drill ends with detour through South China Sea islands for US attention | South China Morning Post The official People’s Liberation Army outlet PLA Daily reported that the fleet, including the destroyer Taiyuan and frigate Jingzhou, conducted drills to rescue hijacked ships and coordinated anti-piracy operations in the Spratlys – called the Nansha Islands by China – passing through the Miyako Strait and Bashi Channel.

China launches manned spacecraft prototype with new Long March 5B rocket | South China Morning Post China successfully launched a prototype of its next-generation manned spacecraft – without astronauts – along with a new version of its heavy-lift Long March 5 rocket on Tuesday, its space agency said. The capsule detached from the Long March 5B rocket eight minutes after being launched from Hainan Island and it was sent into its designated orbit, state broadcaster CCTV quoted the Manned Space Engineering Office as saying.

Long March-5B rocket enables China to construct space station - Xinhua The Long March-5B was specially developed to launch the space station modules, said Wang Jue, chief director of the rocket development team at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. The new rocket, a variant of China's largest carrier rocket, the Long March-5, will help expand China's aerospace activities, said Wang Xiaojun, head of CALT.

America Challenges China's National Talent Programs | Center for Strategic and International Studies This paper reviews the history of China’s overseas talent programs, analyzes why they have generated diplomatic discord, and offers policy recommendations for China and the United States. If adopted, such steps will protect collaborative research and publishing.

Hong Kong and Macao

HKSAR chief executive announces relaxation of social distancing measures - Xinhua Chief Executive of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam on Tuesday announced the relaxation of social distancing measures, including allowing some entertainment venues to reopen and schools to resume classes, as the COVID-19 epidemic is, what she claimed, subsiding in Hong Kong.


Taiwan rebuffs WHO, says China has no right to represent it - Reuters Only Taiwan’s democratically-elected government can represent its people on the world stage, not China, its foreign ministry said on Tuesday, calling on the World Health Organization (WHO) to “cast off” China’s control during the coronavirus pandemic.

‘Too costly’: Chinese military strategist warns now is not the time to take back Taiwan by force | South China Morning Post Qiao Liang, a retired air force major general who is seen as a hawkish voice in China, made the remarks as nationalistic sentiment is rising in the mainland, with calls for Beijing to take action on issues like pro-independence forces in Taiwan and Washington’s criticism over the pandemic.
“China’s ultimate goal is not the reunification of Taiwan, but to achieve the dream of national rejuvenation – so that all 1.4 billion Chinese can have a good life,” Qiao, a professor at the PLA National Defence University in Beijing, said in an interview on Monday. “Could it be achieved by taking Taiwan back? Of course not. So we shouldn’t make this the top priority. If Beijing wants to take Taiwan back by force, it will need to mobilise all its resources and power to do this,” he said. “You shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket, it’s too costly.”


New report links state forces to death of 1980s activist Chen Wen-chen - Focus Taiwan Democracy activist Chen Wen-chen (陳文成), who was found dead on a university campus in Taipei in 1981, is believed to have been murdered, and state security forces were most likely involved, according to a new investigative report released Monday. The report by the Transitional Justice Commission (TJC) summarized the latest findings in its investigation into the death of Chen, who was a 31-year-old mathematics professor at Carnegie Mellon University at the time.

U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher: Announces donation of 100,000 surgical grade masks from Taiwan | WisBusiness Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) today announced the donation of 100,000 surgical grade masks for the state of Wisconsin from Taiwan. The donation comes after Gallagher had multiple conversations with Taiwanese officials about working together to combat the Coronavirus pandemic. Taiwan has set a global standard for Coronavirus response and has offered support to a number of areas in the United States, including New York, Massachusetts, and Illinois.

Tech and Media

U.K. Chipmaker Said Chinese Investor Pushed for Board Nominees - Bloomberg Imagination Technologies Group Plc’s owners defended plans to name members of a state-owned Chinese asset manager to the U.K. semiconductor designer’s board, at the fund’s request, because they could be helpful in plans to expand in China.

AI chips gap may be larger than it appears · TechNode Is China pulling ahead of the US in AI? Not quite, argues Dieter Ernst of CIGI in a recent report entitled “Competing in artificial intelligence chips: China’s challenge amid technology war. .” His deep dive into the dynamics behind China’s recent progress on AI chips manufacturing merits closer attention.  In addition to the hard engineering, Ernst reveals a social story of a global AI community on the verge of fracture. These new restrictions will likely bring the best out of some Chinese firms, while putting others out to pasture. All the while, basic research is likely to suffer worldwide as ties that bound the Chinese and western academic communities fray.

Chinese Live Streaming Apps are banning Channels with Foreign Streamers- PingWest China's Ministry of Culture issued a regulation back in 2017 asking foreigners to apply before live streaming themselves on Chinese platforms, or face being shut down. The enforcement situation of the rule has been largely unnoticeable until recently. Xiaohongshu ruled that no foreign people will be allowed in front of a camera during live streams. This will not only apply to foreigners with non-Asian descent, but also East Asians who look like Chinese, such as Koreans and Japanese.

China’s Novel Health Tracker: Green on Public Health, Red on Data Surveillance | Center for Strategic and International Studies The development and rollout of the health code system was fueled by fierce competition between Alibaba and Tencent. The two major Chinese tech companies simultaneously built and launched on February 9 their own systems in their respective headquarter cities, Hangzhou and Shenzhen. Competition between the two tech giants and wide support from local governments across China enabled the swift extension of the health code system across the entire country. A nationwide health code system was first embedded in Wechat at the end of February. So far it seems that Tencent is leading in this battle as its model emerged as the national standard in this field, and the portal for international travelers entering China is first embedded in Wechat. Within a month, the health code system was used over 6 billion times among 900 million users in Wechat alone.

The subatomic age: Asia's quantum computing arms race - Nikkei Asian Review Speaking anonymously to avoid jeopardizing their future funding opportunities, several academics at international institutions in Asia and Europe told Nikkei that there is already a suspicion around researchers with links back to China. One said that it was "inevitable" that individual scientists, research groups and even universities would eventually be forced to choose between working exclusively with Chinese companies, or avoiding them entirely.

Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

Liu Shouxiang, Champion of Watercolor in China, Dies at 61 - The New York Times Liu Shouxiang, a teacher and painter of watercolor in China who spent decades championing the form, which is often overshadowed by oil painting and traditional Chinese ink painting, died on Feb. 13 at Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan. He was 61.

Police Raid Ukraine Center Suspected of Smuggling Surrogate Babies Into China - Caixin Police in Ukraine have launched an investigation into a birth center suspected of harboring an illegal cross-border child-trafficking ring that smuggled surrogate babies into China. Officials in the Eastern European nation suspect the privately operated Kiev center of recruiting Ukrainian surrogate mothers for Chinese clients and then forging marriage and identity documents to smuggle infants into China, according to a report of a raid on the center published April 25 on the official Ukrainian police website.

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

Central government allocates 2.5 bln yuan for rural water ecology - Xinhua The Ministry of Water Resources and the Ministry of Finance have announced the first batch of 55 pilot counties for water system connectivity and comprehensive improvement of rural water systems. The 55 pilot counties will carry out projects to improve rural water conditions from 2020 to 2021 with support from the central government.